Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Home Apothecary; Cold Edition

When I moved to my current house, I found baby sage plants everywhere. Even growing in the walkways. Before I had never used sage for more than Thanksgiving stuffing, but I gathered the plants all up and put them in the herb garden. I then bought some herbal books, and started harvesting my sage.  I am so glad I did. 

drying sage on my radiators

This is a smaller batch of the infusion which I dilute with more hot water in each mug, of which is some sage, lemon, ginger if you have it, and I put some honey and sucanat in there for the kids. It doesn't taste like stuffing, I promise.

The wonderful thing about it is that it brings almost instant relief from the stuffiness and pressure of a cold.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Opening night was an utter smash.

These are from the dress rehearsal, so, no hair and makeup.

After the play, we all hit the local diner and when the kids were done eating (all 35+ of us!) they sang Be Our Guest to the one sweet waitress who served all of us.

We were VERY loud. :D

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Some questions that have been swirling around this head of mine...

Bloom's Taxonomy

Leisure. Schole. Rest.

Feste Lentina (make haste slowly).

Remembering, thinking, communicating.


Those aren't far from Bloom's Taxonomy, at which the apex is creativity.

What I've been thinking about is what creativity is, where does it come from, how do we foster it, how do we bring it into the day and into 'the classroom'.

As a homeschooler, you could easily reach out to artistic endeavors, writing, painting, and try and build a project around a lesson/semester/class.

But would that be true creativity? Or would that be me, the teacher, dragging them through some other part of the 'lesson'?

The alternative to this is what I've seen my children do, to take the poetry that they've been learning about for years through copy work and through The Grammar of Poetry and months later, sitting on the top bunk in their room, writing their own poetry. Or, as my son does, writes songs. Or how my littlest daughter who paints pictures for the stories I've told her.

Now, I'm not holding my kids up as stellar examples, I'm using these examples to ask what true Create, Communicate, Compositi is. And how do I get more of it?

Those examples happened at my house unprompted by me, and were a total accident of teaching.

But what if I taught in a purposeful way that produced MORE Create, Communicate, Compositi?

How do I do that?

First, I know that they need to have the base knowledge, the Remembering, Lectio part.  Then they need to obtain the skills. They needed to learn the poetic tropes, the scales, the color wheel and paints. Then, they needed to have the time-this is where the Meditatio, Thinking, Understanding comes in. You can't command it. You can practice, you can plan, you can build skill, you always keep working at it, but how those connections are made in your head, that is the unknown. That is why there are a bazillion paintings of flowers, and yet each one is delightful and poetic from the masters to your toddler's scrawl. Because the earth laughs in flowers, and consider the lilies, and the birds and the bees, and Rembrant, to Monet, to Van Gogh, how they all represent a flower is so individual. Its all unique as to how it happens to each of us. But all of them took brush, pencil, color in hand.

I don't know. I'm still thinking about it. What I do know is that skill still has to be built, and that time to ponder is much needed. The scaffold of liturgy still needs to be upheld and walked through each and every day.

The rest is still up in the stew of my brain.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sourdough Bread

I accidentally forgot about it and let it over rise. I mean, that looks nice, but it will further rise int he oven, and then... can get a little top light and as you cut it, the top will kind of fall off.  But it was still amazing. 

You can learn how to make a wonderful sourdough bread at Cultures for Health.  The video is one of the most useful I've ever watched. Truly.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Why I Dropped History as our Homeschool Spine.

This idea of not reading a lot of historical fiction and dropping history as a spine, really tends to piss people off. That's not what I intended, that my personal decision be taken as an attack on their way of homechooling. We all have to make our own decisions and I'm sharing the story of how I made mine. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What's been going on?

For the first time since late October, I am not having to wear thermals.

Not only am I not wearing thermals, but I am not wearing wool socks, and AND, in a moment of sheer hope, I took the flannel sheets off the bed.

Now, just to get the craziness of that, when I went food shopping on Monday? At about 1:30 in the afternoon? The temperature was 26 degrees.

I am starting to feel quite hopeful that we actually might have a Spring. I even took pictures. Not of the outside. Just mud out there, though the salamander crossing has started, and hopefully I'll be getting to see that with the kids one of these nights.

But instead, food pictures. Why? Because summer is coming. I know, it's crazy, but we even got the pool opening notice and that's the proof summer will come. And when summer comes, my people start eating because they swim all day. So I have to start thinking about Summer Food and Feeding. I've had some awesome food happenings here and I want to share.

This is happy sourdough.

That happy sourdough made these muffins. Yep, sourdough's not just for bread. I have recently learned this fact myself, and my family is happy.  I haven't been baking a lot for them because it's Lent, but also because I don't want them to have unsoured flours. I am trying so hard to prevent the problems I have in them.

Here's a few recipes for you to start you off. It's easy, and so adaptable. Just make sure you think ahead and start the day before.

In the warm months we also go through TONS of yogurt. Epic tons. And I used to make it in wide mouthed quart jars.  It was easy and delish, but I just couldn't keep up with how much yogurt they wanted and I don't like being stingy with it, and that's what I was having to do. So I finally broke down and bought this.

I cannot tell you enough how awesome this is. Nonono, don't be dumb like I was, go buy it. I also bought an extra container. Not only is the yogurt thick and creamy, but it makes two liters at a time and, ...are you ready? It makes them in FOUR hours. 4. Not overnight like I was having to before. I can make two batches a day if I want. And come smoothie season, I probably will.

Now, if I can just stop this...

I might be getting somewhere.

Of course if you give a kid some yogurt, he's going to want some granola to go with it.

But how do you soak oats and then make granola? Well apparently this was another easy thing. (don't forget to soak your almonds, too, if you put them in!)

So, for the past few days, my kids have been eating boatloads of yogurt and granola  and this mom is very happy. They love smoothies in the summer, and they also love frozen yogurt, so this is just a huge bonus at our house. You can imagine how much yogurt we'd go though with 9 people in the house, and how much that would cost if I had to buy it at the store.

Mmmm. These are cherry, almond, and coconut. I'm a dumper. Open the pantry, see what's there, and dump it in.

Homeschooling has been taken over by our local play, and we're almost done. I have three kids in major parts, and I'm making some of the costumes. We have a Belle, Chip, and Cogsworth at my house. So in about three weeks, that will all be over and I will be back to life as usual. In the mean time, they are earning some art credits.

I miss reading and knitting. I miss it a lot. I miss our schedule. I know I, Alice like, will land in Holy Week with lots of prep to do, and then be thrown into Gardening, but after that? There will be days of sitting by the pool. Sun. Warmth. Nothing but good times ahead.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why I Chose Homeschooling

I have a post up over at Sandbox to Socrates. 

It's kind of a naked post. It's the honest truth, that's for sure.