homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Twisted fun

The boys and I made an unplanned stop at the library today. On our way out, I caught sight of a sign declaring, "Today is National Pretzel Day!"

Well, you know me...I got all geeked out and needed to do something about it. When we got home, Theo and I went through my "files" (ahem, stacks of unsorted papers) and found a recipe I'd clipped for making soft pretzels. Score! We got to work immediately. As we'd mixed and kneaded the dough, I got to thinking how these random fun celebration days could be springboards for all sorts of learning. Why, we could make this into a Homeschooling Moment! So while we waited for the dough to rise, I went online and Googled "Pretzel Day".

The first result linked to the About.com Homeschooling section. Doh! So apparently I'm not the first mom to think of this little piece of brilliance. But hey, at least I have outside confirmation that it's a good idea, right?

And for what it's worth, I'm really enjoying going through that site. I've avoided it thus far, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's a combination of my less-than-wow'ed impression at several other Guide sites and the fact that I'm tired of finding more information on ordering standardized workbooks than on learner-led "unschooling". I must say, I've been pleasantly surprised. The Guide (Beverly Hernandez) seems to have a decent sampling of information for the home-based learner, no matter what flavor. Yay.

And, because the story is always better with images...I present my guys!

Ahem...mixing the dough.

Kneading.
The finished product.


Oh, and by the way--apparently Pretzel Day was yesterday. Oops. Oh well, it was still a lot of delicious fun!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Vant to Be Alone!

I don't have time for much else these days, so why not another meme? This one, courtesy of The theme? Top 10 things you like to do alone.

Mine? In no particular order...
  1. read
  2. sew
  3. cook
  4. bike
  5. walk/hike
  6. go to the library
  7. shop
  8. visit museums
  9. bathe (Hey, I have small children. It truly is an overlooked luxury!)
  10. pee/poop (See above.)

Several of these are also activities I enjoy with other people...notably, I like to go to the library and cook with my children...but there are still times I crave solitude to enjoy it just for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chick Lit

Reasons to love chick lit:
  • Most of the lead characters are just as neurotic, or more so, than me.
  • British authors who tickle me with words like "grotty" and "naff".
  • Most of it features women who are not necessarily young, gorgeous, independently wealthy, or fabulously adored by men. But they get the guy anyway. And he's always someone worth getting.
  • Frankly, you can read most of this stuff quickly without having to think too hard about much.
Reasons to hate chick lit:
  • Oh dear me, the cliched characters. Like the gay best friend, the sister with wonderful children and an equally wonderful husband who the single heroine secretly envies, or the Sex-and-the-City friendship circle (wit, priss, overachiever, slut).
  • Also a Sex-and-the-City cliche, but bad enough to deserve its own entry...any book which pays undue homage to designer shoes that cost more per pair than my single-girl apartment's monthly rent. 'Cause that is sooooooo relatable. Criminy, if I wanted that much escapism I'd read the Lord-of-the-Manor bodice-rippers.
Chick lit authors I love:
  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Jennifer Weiner
  • Jane Green
  • Rachel Gibson
Go buy something by these ladies...send a little royalty their way, would ya? In a painfully formulaic field that's unfortunately full of some trite and poorly written stuff, these authors actually have talent, original voices, and just enough "quirk" to keep your interest without getting obvious and kitschy. They're good at what they do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

auld lang syne

Today my baby is one year old.

It doesn't feel real to me. His first year went so much faster than his older brother's. With the first baby, you have more time to smell those roses, you know? Time to focus all of your attention solely on this little person for practically most of the day. Time to savor each moment, each new milestone and discovery.

Two is different. When you have two, your attention is necessarily divided. And I feel like I've been so busy trying to keep the mechanics of daily life running smoothly, and running constance triage duty--putting one kid's needs on hold while I deal with his sibling's more pressing needs--that I've missed out on a good deal of that blessed, magical honeymoon period.

I need to keep in mind that every day with a child is full of wonder. I need to smell those roses a little more and stop worrying so much about tending the garden.

But I still feel kind of sad that we're "here" already. A year. Where did that go?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My rock

You know, the rock I apparently live under?

Okay, I remember when M&M's candies added the blue to the standard mix. Hell, I even voted for the new color...one of the few times in the past 15 years that my candidate actually won.

So please tell me why it took me 12 years to actually notice...hey...there aren't any light brown ones anymore!

Yeah apparently they replaced the light brown with the blue. Shows how well I pay attention.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Look at me now, Grandma!

I've always wanted to preserve food by canning, but never got around to trying. Especially once I started studying up on it and found out how much work and equipment is needed to really do it right. Anyway...

About a week ago, my brother-in-law called and asked if I could use some apples. His neighbor works at a large local orchard and they have end-of-season fruit that isn't going to last much longer in storage. I said sure, bring some over, I'd make some pies or something. Well, he brought several bushels of fruit. And he's right...they're fading fast. And they're small. A real pain to peel & core for pies. (Although I have managed two pies so far with the random large fruits. I have a very happy hubby.)

After some thinking, I decided to make apple butter. Which I've never made before. And don't even like. But most of my loved ones do like it. I've done two batches now; trying out two different recipes. And I am SO geeked out by my neat little rows of glass jars. I gave everyone apple butter on Easter; I was so proud.

My dear spouse is getting a kick out of this too. We just got through his maple sugaring experiment (which went VERY well; we got several gallons of finished syrup when it was all said & done--not bad for a residential yard!) and now I've taken over the stock pot. He joked tonight that we are totally getting our money's worth out of that purchase. He also remarked this weekend that it makes him feel "all warm and homey" to see me putting up preserves. Aw. It probably helps the whole image that I've also started collecting and wearing vintage aprons. There's a post in that, too...one of these days.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Inconceivable!

or..."I don't think that word means what you think it means"...

I'm a word person. I love language and the many nuances of vocabulary and phrases. I love wordplay and have a deep appreciation for a very well-turned phrase.

The flip side of this attitude is that it seriously grates on me when someone uses language incorrectly. And I don't mean saying "ain't", but rather when I'll see someone grossly misuse a word, confuse a homonym, or otherwise murder a perfectly lovely phrase by misapplying it.

So I get really paranoid about doing it myself.

To that end, does anyone want to cast a vote as to which of these phrases is correct?

speak my piece
speak my peace

Both can make logical sense to me...but I'm sure that one is correct and one is used erroneously by people who also write "should of" instead of "should've" and still can't seem to get there/they're/their figured out.

Really. This stuff can keep me up at night. At least for a little while.

In related news, I recently had to scramble for my dictionary and look up jaded, because my husband uses it differently than I do. My assumption is that it means "cynical, especially from overexposure", while he maintains that it means "stuck in a rut, from habit or repetition". So at least we agree on the timing aspect. I'm still not sure which of us has it right, as it seems that the true nuance falls somewhere in between. I guess this at least means that I don't have to stop using it for fear of looking like a half-wit who got her hands on a $10 word.