Monday, January 31, 2011

The End is Nigh

Here in the Midwest, we are bracing for a massive winter storm.  Even if I did not have 24 hour access to the Internet, television and Facebook, I would still know that the weather is about to go crazy.  How?  Because my animals are going insane today.  They have been chasing each other and fighting horribly over one common interest:

The pink doll that Daisy Dog received in her Christmas stocking.  Oh, and it squeaks when she bites it, so there is that to contend with as well.

Guarding the turf.  Waiting for Stella to just try to take dolly.
But Stella has lost interest.  Instead she has employed the age-old method of predicting the weather.

"Nothing yet!  But I think it might do something soon."

So, if the predictions are right, whatever will the family do when we remain stuck in the house for days without power? 
Well, we will fire up the generator, cuddle around the fireplace (in which we will burn our furniture, I suppose, as we have no firewood), and read aloud together from a fascinating book.

Ok, I will save that one for silent reading and just bust out the Little House books. 
Stay warm everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Simple Woman's Day book

FOR TODAY: January 24, 2011

Outside my window...the sun is shining on the snow that covers the ground.  It sparkles.  Normally this would be beautiful to me, but the migraine I have makes it painful.

I am thinking...about how one decision leads to another, and this can be good or bad.

I am thankful for...Excedrin and naps.

From the learning work is finished for the day, aside from some read aloud time, which will happen when my eye stops feeling like someone is stabbing it.  I noticed today that teaching reading and how to tell time have been vastly easier with Tiny Love than with Curlyjo...there is much to be said for the "better late than early" philosophy.

From the kitchen...tonight I wanted to make Salisbury steak, but I have no red wine.  So, chili, maybe.

I am pants, t-shirt, and hoodie.  I need to branch out a little :)

I am creating...a mess in some areas of my life, and order in others.  I am a walking contradiction.

I am my sister's house for lunch.  She is making me soup, which warms my heart and makes me feel loved.

I am reading...When I Don't Desire God:  How to Fight For Joy by John Piper. 

I am figure out how to fight for the joy I am lacking. 

I am hearing...Tiny Love narrating a conversation between two Lego men.  Apparently there is a disagreement between them about where to sit on the Lego bus.

Around the house...things are quiet and neat.  Daisy Dog is snoring on the couch, lying in the sun.  Smella is in the basement, thinking about why it is wrong to pee outside the litter box.

One of my favorite sisters and my brother, who encourage me and show their love to me.  If there is even a hint that I am struggling, they call, visit or send flowers.  I am so blessed to have them in my life.  Even when brother's text says only, "I hope you are ok, gay.  Brother is here for you," I feel the love. 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  PE time with the kids at a local activities center, a trip to the holistic doctor, and school work. 

Here is picture for thought I am reason.  I just love it.  And I relate with it.

Photo credit

Monday, January 10, 2011

Get Out Your Soapbox...

because I am getting on it.  You see, I don't have one for this topic, because my opinions and values have been silenced in the interest of "keeping the peace" and not seeming "judgmental."  Well, I am going to say a few things.  What I have to say will almost certainly make some angry, hurt their feelings, and perhaps change their opinions of me.  Well, welcome to my world.  I feel this way often, and yet I stand there, dumb but not deaf, hurt but smiling politely.  So, maybe those people can just do what I do...tolerate the opinions of others.

I home school my children. 

No, I do not do it perfectly and I could certainly do more.  And you know what?  Neither is the public school, and they could step it up a bit too.  My kids won't graduate high school at twelve.  And you know what?  Neither will yours.  I have a hard time accepting most of the reasoning behind why people think my kids should be in school. 

I often hear that home schooled kids are antisocial.

Mine are not.

I hear that they are behind their peers.

Mine are not.

I hear that I cannot teach them everything the need to know. 

Neither can the public school.

I hear that I have to do it perfectly or send them to school.

Where is the public school planning on sending them, because they have been unimpressive for YEARS. 

Let me tell you a story:

Little Sally gets up at six every morning, hurries to the bus stop and rides for half an hour to get to school.  Then she has her highly processed, impersonal, nutrient-sparse breakfast in the cafeteria.  Then she goes to class for seven hours, learning more from her peers than she does from her teacher.  She does the worksheets, gets good grades, and doesn't really know what she is even interested in.  She leaves school and rides the bus to daycare, where she stays for another three hours, watching TV or learning more helpful hints from her peers.  Sally goes home, eats the quick dinner that her tired parents have to offer her, and then goes to bed.  The rest of the week is much the same, except for weekends, when Sally spends her time in the car, going from one activity to the next and waiting for her over worked parents to have time to play with her.

Feel sorry for Sally. 

Feel sorry for the millions of kids who are uninspired, frustrated and alienated by their public school experiences.

Feel sorry for the multitudes of teenagers who think school is a boring place, seeing their classes as just an unwanted break in their social lives and their parents as these annoying people who feed them. 

Don't waste time feeling sorry for us.

Public school is not the cure for all that ails my family.  And homeschooling may not be the cure for all that ails your family.  And that is the beauty of democracy, of freedom.  I get to make the decisions I think are best for my family and you get to do what you deem right for yours.

But, you know what?  I think home schooling is a wonderful, respectful, real way to learn about life. 
I don't think public school is any of those things.

Freedom of speech is alive, people.  Even for creepy home schoolers.

Now, I would give you your soapbox back, but my weird, uneducated children took off with it and are currently cutting it up, making a doll house out of it, complete with hand sewn curtains for the windows.  And then we are going to play with it. 

Look--we turned your soapbox into an education.

Imagine that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Leek and Potato Soup

I think Potato Soup always tastes better than it looks.  Case in point:

The potatoes get all shy and flee to the bottom of the pot, while the parsley puts on a slinky show with the butter. 
But this potato soup was amazing in its simplicity and had a slightly more sophisticated taste.

Leek and Potato Soup

2 Leeks, trimmed of the dark green tops and root tips
5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups of water
2 tbs. butter
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tbs. dried parsley

Now, leeks are a little fussy.  I think that since they look like the upperclassmen version of the green onion, they think they have the right to boss everyone around and be difficult to handle. 
But we can do it.

Slice the leeks in half, lengthwise.  Then slice them crosswise into little half moon shapes.  Fill the sink with a little water, place the leeks in a colander in the sink and let them soak so that the sandy dirt will fall to the bottom of the sink (so Rachel Ray).
Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the leeks and the garlic.  Let them cook until they get all soft and lazy.  Then add the chopped potatoes, water, and bouillon cubes.  Crank up the heat and bring it to a boil.  Boil until the potatoes are soft, maybe 12 minutes. 
Once the potatoes are soft, turn down the heat to medium low and add the evaporated milk and parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

It is so good.
I served it with homemade chicken salad and crackers.
Oh, and when you make chicken salad, add a couple of tablespoons of capers to the usual mix. 
But, don't tell me you did.
Because I might show up at your house and lick the bowl in front of your family. 
And that would be weird for all of us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good Morning, Snow

Oh, what a beautiful sight...the freshly fallen snow, the glisten of light in the neighbors' darkened windows, the peaceful silence that follows snow as the world pauses to admire all that is lovely.

And then the silence is broken by a woman, oddly dressed in pajama pants, an offensively large, orange sweatshirt, and fluffy pink snow boots belonging to a child,  screaming around the neighborhood a word that doesn't fit the landscape:


Someone, who is normally terrified by snow, got all brave and decided to take a solitary stroll around the neighborhood. 
Good morning, dignity. 
No need to stick around here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My New Addiction

I have serial addictions...before you go all "Intervention" on me, listen.
I am rather fickle in my addictions, so I don't feel they ever become a real problem.
And most of my needs can be met at your local Wal-Mart, where we are told we can "Save more and live better," so I am sure there is no danger here ;)

I have had obsessive thoughts about:
  • Oatmeal
  • Post It Flags
  • Almond Butter (as you well know)
  • Coffee (OK, this one isn't so fickle)
  • Cigarettes
  • Steno pad notebooks
  • Coupons
  • Sylvia Plath's writings
  • Charlotte Mason Methods
  • Laundry soap
  • Exercise
  • Zebra F-301 Ink pens
  • vegetarianism
  • Presidential elections
The list could go on and on. I know this behavior isn't necessarily "normal," but it could be much worse.  I saw a show this week about a woman who could not stop eating Comet kitchen cleaner, so I figure I am in the clear.  And these little mind ruts don't usually last long.
Right now, I am hyper-focused on obtaining and ingesting this:

I think I need to figure out where to buy it in bulk.
I only drink coffee and water, and I can't stand soda or artificial sweetener, so my drink options are limited.
But this mineral water (especially the one with lime in it) is soooo good. 
I left some on my counter the other day, and I think my Dad thought it was alcohol.
It was the jumbo size bottle, and it was nearly empty.
I promise, Dad.  I only drank water.
And this time you can believe me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Errand Girl

Yesterday morning, the Husband informed me that he had neglected to pay his union dues (which were due that day), and he would need me to go to Springfield to pay them for him.
Confession:  I don't drive on the interstate.  Ever. 
I know, I am over thirty years old and need to get over such a silly and infantile fear. 
Maybe I will make that my New Year's Resolution in 2045.
So, I called my mother and asked her to drive me to Springfield.
Yes, I did.
I am a little ashamed.  Wait...ok, I am over it.

So, since we were already there and all, I went to the happiest place on earth to use my gift cards:

Can I just interject here...I find a certain joy and satisfaction that when you begin to enter "Barnes & Noble" into the Yahoo search box, the bookseller comes up first, after only entering "b-a-r."  Barack Obama is a distant third. 

I have had my eye on a certain cookbook for quite some time.  It was a bit expensive, so I never purchased it for myself.
Enter gift card.

It is amazing.  I can't wait to post some photos of the yummy things I am going to make from the recipes in this cookbook!
This fits in perfectly with a certain New Year's Resolution that I have made for 2011. 
I will share those soon!