Friday, September 04, 2015

In Only Two Steps

1. Always be willing to admit you do not know the answer.
2. Always be willing to learn.

That's it. Two steps to being an educated adult. Whether you homeschool your children or not, whether you work outside the home or not, follow those two steps and you'll see your knowledge ever growing.

Go ahead, try it. It is only two simple steps.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It is Never to Late

A dedicated Memory Work Time. This is the new-to-us item for this year's schoolwork. I have thought about it over the summer and discussed it with my good friend Amy, looked at blog posts on the Charlotte Mason Memory Work system and Classical Conversations memory work as well as read and watched a video on a "loop" system. Two difficulties I've encountered is that I haven't done this from the beginning and my kids are older plus I don't do Classical Conversations, which many, many, many of the posts I read do follow.

Regardless of those difficulties I have determined that it necessary for us to actively be working and reviewing memory work daily. Following is how I am going to arrange our "Memory Work" time together.

I will have a binder with 8 tabs labeled Daily, Odd, Even, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Behind each tab will be what we are to say aloud and review that day. Each day I will use three tabs, the Daily, either Odd or Even depending on the number of the day, and the day of the week.

This will be what we are currently working on learning to memorize. The new things in History, Latin, Geography, and Science we are working on for the year.

Odd Days:
We will review our Latin prayers and the verb conjugations and noun declensions we already know.
Lord's Prayer
Gloria Patri
Table Prayer
Conjugations 1, 2, 3
Declensions 1, 2, 3

Even Days:
We will review our Latin sayings and vocabulary, currently the first 8 chapters of Wheelock

Tuesdays: History Review
Old timeline songs from years 1, 2, and 3
Kings and Queens of England poem (to where we are currently learning)
Timeline Tips and Tricks
Presidents (to where we are currently learning)

Wednesdays: Grammar Review
Sentence Jingle
Types of Sentences
Noun Jingle
Verb Jingle
Helping Verb List
Linking Verb List
Adjective Jingle
Adverb Jingle
Article Adjective Jingle
Pronoun Chant (Subject, Object, Possessive)
Parts of Speech Chant
Preposition Poem
Sentence Patterns

Thursdays: Geography Review (Geography Songs Around the World)
States and Capitals
Southeast Asia
South Asia
Western Europe

Fridays: Science Review* and Music Review
Note names
*This is still a work in progress as I think about what I would like them to learn by heart. We will be studying Astronomy and Chemistry this year, so in our daily work things like the order of the planets and the periodic table will be memorized and then moved to this slot for review.

Saturdays: Spelling Review (Writing Road to Reading)*
Page 1
Page 3
Page 5
Page 6
Rule 4
Rule 12
Rule 20
Rule 24
*I chose certain pages and rules that I know my kids need help remembering. If I discover that they have forgotten the ones I thought they knew, I will add those to this list.

I think I will schedule 30 minutes to do this each day. We will begin with the Daily work, move to either the Odd or Even tab and then the Day of the Week tab. Only in the daily work will I strive to do everything every day. With all the others I will utilize the "loop." That is, we will get as far down my list as we can that day and then when it is time to do it the next week, we'll start where we left off.

I did not add any Bible memory work nor catechism or hymn review. That is done with Dad at the table after meals, following the Congregation at Prayer he puts together for his flock based on what he learned from Pastor Bender at Peace (click on the Congregation at Prayer tab under Weekly Downloads) The only new thing to this time will be taking one day each week and reviewing one of the chief parts of the catechism, six chief parts, six days review. Susan had recommended this a long time ago and I'm finally getting around to putting it into practice.

Since this is new to me, I'm sure this will change and grow as we figure out how best to do this in our daily life. I'm okay with that. One of the big things I tell all sorts of homeschool moms is that it is never to late to learn. Just start where the kids are and go from there. I really believe that and therefore I'm now applying it to myself and my own kids. We are starting where we are and we'll go from there. Here's to a good year, really learning and growing in our knowledge!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Thinking About Food

 From the third book in the Kristin Lavransdatter series, The Cross, by Sigrid Undset:
"Hm. Your mother has else the name of one that looks narrowly to her goods, and is a most notable and thrifty housewife --"

"Not with food," said Naakkve eagerly. "To that every soul can bear witness, very carl and every woman that has served on our manor -- with food is mother the most free-handed woman. In that way she is no otherwise not than when we were rich folk -- never gladder than when she can set on her board some dainty dish -- and she purveys such full measure that each serving-man and woman, down to the swineherd and the bedesfold, get their share of the good things."

 I can relate to Kristin, Naakkve's mother, in this aspect. I, too, very much want to make sure all who are at my table have enough to eat and more. To set a dainty dish to delight the diners brings me great pleasure. The planning and the preparing, as well as the dining and dish work which follows is a joy to me.

Honestly, the cooking and cleaning are two great joys of mine. While others may be overwhelmed with such chores, and I admit, I am too at times, I really do get delight from it. I first learned this joy from my mom.

When I was growing up she babysat lots of kids. Every day for lunch she would fix these toddlers a hot meal.  Not peanut butter and jelly, or a sandwich, although sometimes those were fixed. But hot lunches, like frying them fish and hush puppies, macaroni and cheese (not from a box), spaghetti and garlic bread, corn and green beans. Often these weren't leftovers from our supper the night before, but meals she prepared for their lunch. My mom is now 80 and she still babysits, two toddlers and an infant. Yep, she still fixes these little toddlers a hot lunch. When asked why, she says because they need to eat good food.

It isn't only in the daily cooking of food for my family that brings me joy, but also the cooking for friends and family who visit. To try and prepare as much as possible from scratch, to set dainty dishes on the table, to think about what might bring my guests gastronomical delight is a fun puzzle I like to solve.

Come visit me sometime. Give me the joy of not only your company, but the joy of cooking and cleaning for you.

Time for lunch for the family. Today, much to the joy of my kids it isn't leftovers but steak fajitas with rice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sandwich or a Spoon?

Food Again.

I just can't get enough.

Although one could argue I have had enough.

The excellent brownies Ellie has been baking.

The scones Abby baked for breakfast.

The yummy turtle pie Rachel baked last week for dessert after dinner.

The Kopp's custard.

The Sobelman's hamburger and fries washed down with a good beer we ate for lunch last week.

But this post isn't about any of that good food. It is about walnuts and cream cheese, green peppers and onions, salt and pepper. It is about all those things mixed together to form a yummy deliciousness.

I first made this for Hannah's 18th birthday tea party. We (and by we I mean Hannah) searched for various recipes to make for the special occasion. This Walnut Tea Sandwich Recipe was one we found and made and loved.

I have been craving this creamy yummy concoction for awhile. I kept thinking it would be great as a dip for vegetables, especially when I'm wanting to cut down on the carbs and sugar I've been stuffing my pie-hole with lately.

Today I finally got around to making it. And now you should to.

Walnut Tea Sandwich Recipe
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup ground toasted walnuts
2 TBSP finely-minced parsley
1 TBSP finely-minced green bell pepper
1 TBSP finely-minced onion
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg (or more to taste)
Salt and white pepper to taste

Mix this all together.
For a sandwich the recipe says to choose the best-quality white or wheat bread. Spread a piece with butter, top with the mixture, add another slice of buttered bread on top. Cut off the crusts and then cut in half diagonally and then cut in half again.

Or simply grab a celery stick and dig in.
Or a green pepper slice.
Or a carrot stick.
Or a spoon.

Fifty percent of those are easier to get the delicious spread to your mouth than the other fifty percent. But you can experiment for yourself.

Quickly now, gather the ingredients, make a sandwich or grab a spoon or celery stick. This is food you'll make again and again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bacon and Eggs

We just picked up a butchered pig from the meat market. Now my freezer is full of yummy things like, pork roasts and chops, hams and ribs, sausage and bacon!

A member in the congregation who has chickens is being overrun with eggs. Usually her kids and their families have no problem keeping up with the laying hens. However some of the families were away on vacation, and the chickens know it is spring and our busy laying eggs galore. Therefore, she gave us several dozen. We were quite happy to accept.

So for breakfast I made a favorite: bacon and eggs.

I don't remember now where I saw this recipe the first time, a blog? on Face Book? on Pinterest? I don't know. But I do know it is easy and yummy.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Wrap a piece of bacon around the edge.
Crack an egg in each cup.
Add salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are as done you prefer.

The original recipe I saw from the place I no longer remember said to crack the eggs into a bowl and whip, then add some to each cup. I did it that way the first couple of times, but pouring the egg mixture into each cup got real messy real quick. As my girls will tell you, I did what I normally do and adjusted the recipe. It is so much easier to simply crack one egg into each muffin cup.

Coming out of the oven, ready to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. . .

and some fresh strawberries I bought from Aldi.

When you find yourself hungry for bacon and eggs, try this recipe and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Boring Life Update

Tonight is the last Lenten service before Holy Week. I have helped serve four of the last five Lenten suppers. That kept me busy in the kitchen on Wednesdays.

My good friend, Karin, and some of her sons planned to visit us last week for a few days. What they didn't know when they planned that was Karin's uncle would get quite ill, enter hospice, and then die. Since he lived only about thirty minutes away from me, I was her home away from home while she dealt with the responsibilities she had with her uncle. Between February and last week, she was here four different times. We laugh because each time there were different kids with her. I'm glad I am here for her and I enjoyed her, what came to be, every two-week visit.

We had quite the warm first part of March. Several days of 50, maybe even, 60 degree weather. It prompted us to clean up the front porch and put out our rockers. That was the ides of March. It didn't last long. We got a spring snow fall this past Monday. Over Sunday night into Monday morning about eight inches of heavy, wet snow fell. It was so pretty.

I can hear birds singing in the mornings when I awake. And when I'm walking outside during the day. It is lovely.

Monday was Nathan's 15th birthday. He requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We took him to Five Guys for supper. He also requested enchiladas, so I made those for Tuesday's dinner. We are having birthday pie (apple, currently baking) and opening gifts this evening after evening service.

For the past several years our congregation has had every Sunday communion during the Easter season. Last week the elders suggested that this year that practice continue after Easter and it become our normal practice. Soli Deo Gloria! I am thrilled that now every Sunday I have an opportunity to receive Christ's Body and Blood.

An update to my reading update post. Since I wrote that, I have read all 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia books. I've also finished Le Morte D'Arthur with Nathan and Abby, as well as Anna Karenina for my book club. This coming Monday my book club will discuss the final chapters of Anna.

I decided to start reading the Kristin Lavransdatter series by Sigrid Undset that so many friends have recommended. For book club we will start reading The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. I'll have to get that book next week sometime. Our first discussion will be the second week of Easter. Finally with Nathan and Abby I decided to take my daughter, Hannah's, advice and read Dante's Inferno next. For Lent David has been preaching on the seven deadly sins - one life-giving Savior. Reading Dante will give us some perspective and wrestle with the ideas.

There you go. A list of what has been happening in my little neck of the woods. Boring to some, busy to others, but our life at this time.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Reading Update

It is now the third month of 2015. Time for an update on my reading challenges.

I self-declared this to be the Year of the Re-Read.
So far I have re-read the following:

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit (finished January 3)
The Fellowship of the Ring (finished February 6)
The Two Towers (finished February 23)
The Return of the King (finished March 5)

I first read these Tolkien books in 2002 and then again in 2006. It was definitely time to re-read them. Wow, are they good books and I need to not let so many years pass in between re-reads. My daughter Hannah, lover of all things Tolkien, is lobbying hard for me to read The Silmarillion. I told her I'll add it to my list. Maybe, just maybe I can get to it this year. For now, I will continue my re-read list with C.S. Lewis's Narnia books.

For Jane's challenge I listed 10 books and 5 alternates. I have completed one:
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (finished January 11)

Oh, and as part of the Year of the Re-Read, I decided to re-read aloud to my younger three The Series of Unfortunate Events. We have finished book one.
The Bad Beginning (finished February 9)

Isn't that sad that I've only finished one of those? It is difficult to find time for read alouds anymore. We struggle to find time when we are all home and ready to listen and mom is ready to read. Something to work on in the coming days and weeks and months.

I did join the book club which some of my friends, also home-school moms, started. They began in January with Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Wow, do I enjoy this book. It has been interesting, intriguing, fun, and full of characters I want to hug or hit. We only read a certain number of pages each week and then discuss those together via chat. We will finish the book at the end of March. I'm not sure what will be next for book club.

I've also been reading with Nathan and Abby Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur. That is quite interesting as well. But reading it and Tolkien and Tolstoy all at the same time was quite hard. None of the books are hard by themselves, but together it made for a challenging time. That is why I'm picking Narnia for my next re-read. It won't require near the thinking cells I've used the last month. I'm debating on if I should tackle Dante's Inferno with Nathan and Abby next or simply move into Shakespeare and delve into his plays.

March is here and I've read so far six books plus two that I'm still reading. I really don't know if that is good or bad. But it is what I've accomplished. At this point I admit I'm a teeny bit concerned about meeting my reading challenges. Only a teeny bit for now though. It is only the third month of the year. I have time. Now back to my scheduled reading.