Tuesday, June 30, 2009

a chill, if you will

today in school, the kids and i did memorization reviews. this year i gave them seasonal poetry to memorize (a simple haiku for the 5 year old, and a little more complex one for the 8 year old). the ones my daughter memorized are among my favorites, ever.

and seeing as though it is wretched hot outside, i found her winter poem especially soothing today.

join me for a moment.

close your eyes (well, actually don't do that...). ummmm.....let your eyelids become slightly heavy. like you just sipped your first bit of morning coffee or tea. that's it.....

now transfix yourself all the way ahead of time to winter. dead winter. a wide open field encompasses you, with large naked oaks cutting a few inches off your peripheral view on each side. snow covers everything. and it is snowing now. no other noises. just the "pit pit pit" of big and small snowflakes waltzing together through the ever so slightest breeze. not even so much that you feel the breeze.....just enough that it moves the snowflakes around in little happy swirls.
you hold out your hand just in time to have one fat ole snowflake float right down on your fingertip and stay there, refusing to melt until you can see every single stem and structure of icy beauty.

now, this is key. imagine the softest voice you have ever known and love. perhaps an actor or actress, or your mother's, or grandmother's. for me, i hear gabriel byrne.

now this voice begins to speak. perhaps this person you visualize is right there beside you. just talking above a whisper (because of course you don't want to drown out all that "pit pit pit" of snow). or maybe it is like a story in your head, a bedtime poem that your mother softly spoke as your mind fell off to sleep.

and this is what is said:

before i melt
come, look at me
this lovely, icy filigree

of a great forest
in one night
i make a wilderness of white

by skyey cold
of crystals made
all softly on your finger laid

i pause that you
my beauty see

and i vanish instantly.

simple beauty. that's walter de la mare. genius. find him, read him.

perhaps tomorrow, while i'm in the throws of a heat ridden hot flash, courtesy of the pregnancy, i will sit my extra wide self down upon a pillow, close my eyes, and let this piece remind me that the mind can win out over body if given the chance.....

Monday, June 29, 2009

first day

lesson # 425 in homeschooling:

each day brings new and challenging...uhh....challenges

starting back to school after a month off is rough. i won't lie or sugar coat it. screaming 2 year old, wiggly 5 year old, daydreaming 8 year old, and heartburned and tired of pregnancy mommy/teacher. but, the first day is over and we look forward to a new start tomorrow. and the rest of this week. and the weeks after. all uphill from here*!
*keeping up the optimism.

answer to general question of the month:

what is year round homeschooling? well, i'll tell ya! you have state laws for homeschooling, different in every state. in tennessee it is a minimum of 4 hours a day, 180 days a year. however you choose to use those parameters is up to you (unless you register with a public school or christian school that has set requirements). the first year, i took off every friday, and then a whole month off in summer (give or take days here and there). the past two years we have done a month, plus some, from thanksgiving to christmas, a lesser month in spring, and a lesser month in summer. and it works splendidly for us. so, our school year pretty much goes from september to september.

today, our school day was about 5 1/2 hours (doesn't include lunch break), due to the aforementioned daydreaming daughter. and we also took an unexpected bonus trip to france on the internet and painted the Pont du Gard, that then led to a mini lesson on the roman aqueducts. here is the inspiration pic:

here is keaton's rendition (the 5yr old)

and, oh......ok! here is mine (cause i like to show off my mad watercoloring skillz)

i sit back now, relaxing in sublime peace. children are either in bed, or doing chores quietly. the baby is moving a bit, probably digesting my dinner. and off in the background, my husband plays baseball on the ole x-box.

in a few minutes i will fall off into some daydreaming bit, most likely involving schooling projects, baby things, or lives that i would live if given the time, money, and sanity. perhaps that vegan/raw restaurant that i will own someday, or the call from martha stewart herself asking me to be her assistant photo editor. sigh.........

oh, this girl can daydream.......

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sophista-play Date

Playdates are almost essential in the life of a mom, whether the mom is working or stay-at-home. It gets children together with their peers and gives the moms time to chat and share adult conversation.

Being a mediocre foodie, I find this an optimal time to include a little sophisticated eating. Something only for the mommies, that makes us all feel a little pampered, right in the midst of a busy day.

I invited my friend Bethany over (using the lure of smallish kiddie pool to entice the kids into thinking this is for them), and utilized my most recent trip to the farmers market to help set the theme. On the menu: marinated heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced roasted garlic ciabatta, cranberry studded white cheddar, and honeycomb. Add in a little POM mixed with mineral water to seal the deal.

Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes

7-8 smallish (cherry sized) heirloom tomatoes, variety of colors, cut into quarters

drizzle of honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper

couple of basil leaves and mint leaves, thinly sliced, or chiffonade

mix well and let set, room temp, for at least 30 minutes to let flavors meld

The bread can be used as a spoon to help scoop up the tomato mixture and the cheddar can be spread with a bit of honeycomb on a slice as well. If you don't have a specialty cheddar, try blue cheese or gorgonzola instead, or thinly sliced good quality swiss. And also, any bread will do, but mostly ciabatta is the best. Plain or other special tastes of ciabatta work equally well.

This summer snack takes all of 10 minutes to prep and makes a normal playdate feel like a girls day at Martha's Vineyard. Well......with screaming kids and cool splashes of kiddie pool water dazzling into sunlight as the backdrop.

Friday, June 26, 2009

that rhythm to stir the feet

i am not a good dancer. i mean, i can move around and keep a somewhat steady rhythm, but i always end up making a face or moving my arms too much. my arms much like long ostrich legs waving about in mad cadence, and my face crumpled up in deep, almost bowel movement straining concentration. it's actually quite sad.

but i do like to dance. and today, i did. i did my little white girl, pathetic, gangly dance on the floor in our new school room.

a satisfied jig of accomplishment.

monday morning we start fresh and new in our sparkly, month old school room. we converted our carport into a snazzy den of education and fun. and since we homeschool year round, and still have exactly 40 (that's quite biblical) days left to finish out our school year, i really needed some change to get me over the "these are our last days of redundancy" slump. we always use up all the fun curriculum first, and then are stuck with math, reading, and english at the end. and we trudge through....just barely. but this new room will be the kicker, the syrup on the pancake!
and so today i start a blog journey. the means of this blog....i suppose to post mainly of our family's homeschooling adventures, a bit of photography, and food stuffs. and not any emotional or personal fluff. EVER.

and we will trudge on with you along side us. viewing each step, misstep, and challenge as they come up. i hope for the least of the missteps and challenges....optimism is K-E-Y!

see you on the next page!


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