Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
We've been learning about Asia this month and will be for the next. For the last two weeks, it's been all about Japan. We've read lots of fiction and non-fiction books we've picked up from the library. We love watching a series called Families of the World that focuses on the daily life of two children from various countries of the world. We watched the Japan video yesterday. Isaac colors maps. He writes narrations of things we've read about and learned. He draws pictures to illustrate. He likes to put together puzzles of each of the continents. The other day, he tried his hand at Chinese calligraphy. I made him his own passport where he gets to put on a flag sticker with a handwritten label for the countries we learn about in each continent.
In years' past, I organized a monthly geography club with several other families where we each would do a presentation that involved food, games, and other hands-on activities. Those were the "glory days" of our homeschooling. I've always tried to make the learning come alive.
I think the funnest thing we do is eat the food from each culture. It comes in so handy for the monthly field trips we try to take. I've always done this with my other kids, and it's one of the best memories of their homeschool experience. If we can, we'll go to a Oriental food market, maybe a Mexican or European-type bakery, try our hand at making something special at home, (that means a party!!!) or for a special treat, we'll go on a special outing to an ethnic restaurant.
Isaac couldn't stop talking about our plan to go out to lunch for Japanese food.
Just him with mom. We sat on a low booth table on pillow mats. I normally don't like sushi (it's the seaweed that gets me), but for some reason, I felt a craving for the veggie roll. Isaac was feeling brave and decided to try a bite of mine. I watched his face...
He loved it! He even went so far as to try a, in his words, "microscopic taste" of the super-hot wasabi. No more of that, thank you very much, but needless to say, I ended up sharing the rest of the sushi with my boy.
Next weekend, we'll celebrate Chinese New Year!!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
by Edith Shaeffer
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
After going on my run (which was so great, by the way) and feeling a touch of warmth in the air, with no snow on the ground and no frosty car windows to scrape, I took that picture yesterday HOPEFUL for spring and change.
Just a few hours later, this.
Do you know what? I didn't really mind the return of winter. In fact, I loved it.
After taking Isaac to school in the morning, I came home and felt so happy just being at home.
The snow was falling fast outside, bringing with it a peaceful contentment inside my heart. I put on my apron, turned on the soundtrack to Somewhere in Time, and stood at the sink, washing the dishes and looking out the window at the trees now covered in snow. To me, that is one of the most beautiful sights there is to see.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Grandpa has Alzheimer's and is bedridden. He needs constant care. He was in liver failure in July. We thought we'd lose him, but he just keeps hanging on and has shown some improvement. Hospice comes in to give a hand. Nana, a nurse for over fourty years, never left Grandpa's side. She was completly and utterly devoted to his care. It was hard for her to let anyone else take care of Grandpa.
Early Saturday morning, while I was getting ready in the bathroom, Eliza came to me. Quietly and earnestly, she told me about her dream. These are her words.
Eliza and I cried. This was the first time she's dreamed of her Nana. I told her it was a gift.
I talked to Keith on the phone that night. I told him about Eliza's dream. There was a quiet pause. His voice was filled with emotion. I could tell that he was crying. He said he also had a dream that same night where he saw his mother. She was dressed in white. She was smiling. He didn't remember the rest.
Keith hardly ever dreams. He hardly ever remembers his dreams. He's never had a dream about his mother since she's died.
I don't believe that Eliza's and Keith's dream of Nana occurring on the same night are a coincidence.
I believe in an afterlife. I believe that we live on. I believe Nana lives on. I believe she knows of the sacrifice and care being shown to Grandpa. I believe she wants us to know she's aware and loves and cares for us.
Last night when Keith got home, we talked about these dreams. I told them that I really feel, deep down in my soul, that these dreams were messages to our family. I believe we can receive inspiration, comfort, and messages through our dreams.
A sweet gift.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
(this made enough for about 6 people)
Shred some cabbage and cut up some tomato to place in separate bowls to serve with your tacos.
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 lime, juiced (I substituted lemon juice, as I didn't have any. Still good.)
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (another change here. I used a few tiny banana peppers from the garden.)
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 to 1 t. cayenne pepper
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A couple of months ago, while looking through the used book/library sale shelves, I came across a copy of this magazine. It immediately caught my attention with its title Seeing the Everyday. I gleefully payed 50 cents for it and couldn't wait to get home to devour it.
I'd never seen or heard of this magazine before. I was so attracted to the gorgeous photography (these are the types of photos I wish I could take), the toothy feel of the paper, the themes, and the absence of any advertising whatsoever. It looked like the one I had picked up was the first published edition. It made me want to find out if it was still being published.
I did some research. I went to the website: http://www.seeingtheeveryday.com/The magazine is published quarterly and comes out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Here's the phone number if you're interested: 617.475.5130)
I told my family how excited I was to be able to find this magazine; they enjoyed it as much as I did. Later, I was happily surprised when Jane gave me a subscription for a Christmas gift.
It came in the mail a couple of days ago. It looks like each edition has the same format and general topics. Each story or essay comes from contributing readers who submit their work for publication. Sort of reminds me of just the sort of blogs I like to read and gravitate towards.
Each edition highlights something different about "the everyday". This winter one focused on Eating. It looks like each edition has the same general format or contents.
This might give you an idea:
Biscuits and Gravy
Green Bean Pizza
Setting the Table
Dad Following Through
All While in the Kitchen
Getting Dinner On
While We Wash Dishes
Growing Around the Table
Graham Crackers and Mom
Dad Saw What I Couldn't
Graceful and Majestic
Soup for the Soul
Family Mealtime-Coming Home to Eat
Hope this little review was helpful to you. It's nice to be able to share neat finds with each other. I love it when beautiful things, opportunities, resources, helps, and gifts, like this magazine is for me, just fall into your lap.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I am thinking: How much I've been blessed this past year with such kind and caring friends. They've each come at a time in my life when I've truly needed friendship and connection, filling a hole in my heart.
chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
I am creating: Need to get thank- you cards written and sent.
I am going: to gather everyone in a bit for what we call "Family Home Evening" time. We reserve Monday night for being at home together. We'll sing, pray, read a bit from the New Testament, maybe read a character building story or have some sort of lesson, maybe play a game, and then have a treat. That's the plan we try to shoot for. Some nights are better than others. It's seeming like Sunday evenings are working better for us this way. Sam has an away game tonight and Gary is doing the same kind of thing with his church youth group.
Isn't it cute how the snowman is melting?
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Here is my baby. The pantry of my dreams. My weekend creation. I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
After Friday's tour of the beautiful, historical, art- filled home of Eliza's art teacher, professional painter, and now my new friend, I felt inspired and motivated to take on the project of my pantry.
It had always been a beast for me. When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, I was disappointed that the newly hung pantry doors could never be lined up correctly because of a framing error. The white of the doors seemed so stark to me compared to the warmth of the wooden cabinets and paint color throughout.
Trying to find a better way was taking out the doors and replacing them with some homemade plaid curtains. (They will now be recycled into a tablecloth for the kitchen table.) They always bothered me because they ended up not being long enough and people never closed them, exposing the hodge- podge of horrid, "can't ever feel clean" plastic containers, assorted ugly food packaging, and small appliances. To make matters worse, we've been dealing with (and just got control over) a terrible moth fly infestation. I had enough and needed to start clean.
I was on fire Friday night. I couldn't believe how much energy I had. (Maybe from those green smoothies!) It would be so fun to surprise Keith when he gets home tonight from his 4 day stay at Grandpa's. After Sam's basketball game on Friday, dinner out (it was 9:00 by then), a stop at the hardware store, and the grocers for some glass canning jars, I got home and didn't stop until I lay my weary, but happy, head on the pillow at 3:00 a.m. (A funny thing to note: Gary came home after midnight so surprised to find all the lights on, the kitchen in chaos, U2 blaring loudly, and his crazy mom an absolute mess with paint all over her hair.)
I finished painting, purchased more jars, and put everything together yesterday. This morning while lying in bed, I felt like child on Christmas morning, so excited to put everything on the shelves.
I wanted to make this area both functional and beautiful. I wanted it to say ME and reflect the colonial decorating style I like and am going for. I wanted an apothecary feel with the jars. To let the contents of those jars add beauty and color and texture. A old- time general store type pantry that I would feel proud of freely displaying and not hiding with doors or a curtain.
Top shelf includes a scale, large serving pieces, Portuguese pottery, pottery jugs, a little copper for interest, and some baskets.