The ultimate "Do that." …Step right up.

Wow, so apparently blogging for me has taken a major back seat in life! I have had many plans, taken many photos, formulated posts in my head, jotted down notes… but nothing has surfaced because there has been a priority hanging about.

Yes, yes-yes. I’m educating my children at home. Well, more specifically, we are starting our second year of actual-real-life-bonafide-planned-purchased-created-morphed-yet-structured home school. Not only are we pursuing a classical method, but I have signed on as a tutor in our classical community tutorial.

The ultimate “Do that.”

I’m more excited than I am frightened, so that is definitely a good thing. Oh, I’ve taught before…home school enrichment fine art, tutorial fine art, 4th grade masters for a few weeks… all very short-term and only for 40-60 minutes at a time. This year, I’ll be tutoring a 2nd grade age class for close to three hours, drilling their grammar foundations in all subjects. FUN TIMES! This particular undertaking will broaden my horizons and boost my endurance as a teacher with my own children.

All that to say, I am completely immersed in Classical Conversations. If you’re thinking about a classical method, or perhaps just weighing out home school in general, please check out CC. I’ll do my best to keep you updated and post those “lost summer posts” periodically. There’s so much to tell you…

If you’re a CC tutor or parent, you can download my weekly tutoring plan. There is also an example of how I would use the sheet in context of Week 1 (Cycle 1).

  • Update: Here is another weekly tutoring plan sample. This one has been morphed according to what I’ve needed the first four weeks. 

No more ice packs!

Just saw this today so I have to share. I haven’t purchased one yet, but I definitely will!

This product is ingenious. If you’re a parent or caretaker of a small child you are familiar with ice packs, blue ice, reusable gel packs, and all means of keeping milk or food cold while out of the house.

The freezable lunchbag!

During our vacations has been especially difficult because I don’t want to have a bulky cooler on the plane, and I want to pack as much food as I can into the cooler bag so I only bring one ice pack. With this product it looks like I can pack as much food & drink as possible without having to make room for the big ice pack that lasts the longest.

More positives?
* Freeze a little drink container of tea in the bag, it’ll be nice and slushy for you by lunch time.
* You won’t forget the ice pack since the whole bag is the ice pack.
* Earth friendly solutions are having items that you can re-use, and help you remember to pack your own lunch, for a long period of time.
PackIt website

Glassical Music

We’re back! After 2 weeks in California I am ready to get back into the groove of our life at home. While I prep the photos of the patio garden, take a look at this musician Carrie shared with me. It made me laugh because we spent one evening ardently arranging my wine glasses into a glass harp — just to play the theme song from Doctor Zhivago, “Somewhere My Love” (or “Lara’s Song”)! We had another piece that we started but I can’t think of what it was… All I know is that we were SO excited when someone came home so that we could share our magnificent musical feat. It is a LOT of fun, so if you’re looking for something to pass the time or to entertain your guests, try a glass harp challenge.

By the way, the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is the video I first saw. It is over 7 minutes long so you can leave it playing, or just check out the first few minutes to understand the brilliant musicality of Robert Tiso (search “roberttiso” on YouTube). He has other familiar pieces uploaded so you can listen to your heart’s delight.

A Colorful Month in the Yard

Magnolia Saucer and Forsythia

I cannot even begin to express my excitement this year. Seriously, it’s inexplicable. Since we’ve lived in the mid-south (oh…almost 8 1/2 years), my husband and I have dreamed of having some local favorites in our yard. We’ve spent a lot of money trying to foster baby trees, adopt transplants, and have even received gift trees… yet they all died or simply did not bear one flower… until THIS year.

Call it a spiritual rebirth, a new season in life, whatever you like. The fact of the matter is, this is the year of flowering trees.

Our Magnolia Saucer (which normally looks like a bunch of tulips on a tree) was frost bitten a few years back. We left it alone since in it’s first healthy years had not produced one flower (we frowned, a lot). After thinking it was completely dead, it decided to grow back like a spindly bush. For two years or so it has been trying to make a comeback.

One day, after loading the kids in the car, I noticed a few pointed buds on the tiny bush-tree. “Could it be? Maybe it’s just leaves,” I thought. The next day, I took this picture (singing on the inside)! Our first Magnolia Saucer bloom!! Do you know what this means? Yet another lesson in life after death. Oh, and next year will be even better.

Another sweet surprise was the Redbud. We’ve owned approximately five Redbud trees, most of which have been long gone. These suckers grow in the crevices of the stone cliffs by the road, in ditches along the countryside, and in every neighbor’s yard it seems. Why and how we were not able to maintain a living Redbud that could actually show its reddish pinkish buds is a complete mystery.

After getting rid of a large diseased tree that almost flattened our house in a storm, one of the fostered Redbuds seemed to flourish. They are underlings, so we planted it…wait for it… UNDER another tree. It was tattered and broken, so it too decided to be a bush-tree. In its second year of being left alone–Houston, we have bud. There is nothing like having a flowering tree looking back at you when you look out of a window. Spectacular.

Nectarine Flowers
As for the rest of the yard, everything is doing pretty well. I’ve mentioned a few posts ago that our plum tree is back in business, and our nectarine looks like it will bear more fruit than ever. The Yoshino Cherry Tree makes me smile every morning when I pull the curtain back in the living room.

Plum Flowers

What a tool.

I have to say that I didn’t believe in having Christmas lists until I became an adult. How great is it that you get to give your family a list of things you would like, then you happen to get most of it for Christmas? Of course, giving gifts that are unexpected is wonderful too, but sometimes it’s nice to check a few things off of your personal wish list!

Interesting thing…all of the things on my list this last Christmas were kitchen items! Here is one of the great little tools that has been a valuable addition to my kitchen:

The Chef’n Mixer Spatula from Williams Sonoma.

Can you believe it? It’s a bowl scraper, spatula, and scooper, all in one! Fabulous.

It is even heat resistant up to 650ºF so you can cook with it too.

I love that it scrapes around the electric mixer attachments so nicely, and uses little effort to get the bowl emptied.

I also got a set of WS mini spatulas. They came on a little ring… Red, yellow, green and orange. So cute! They were a welcome addition to the tool drawer since my only remaining baking spatula is gigantic. Now muffin cups and cupcakes will be a breeze!

Mixed Bowling

There is something so appealing about a set of mixing bowls. Or, maybe it’s just the appeal of bowls nesting within each other…filling that nurturing hole in a woman’s being. Comfortable, sweet, proportioned – whatever best describes YOUR prerequisite for a set of bowls – here are a few of my favorites that I’ve seen lately.

Lost & Found: le souk olive wood nesting bowls

I love the olive wood set above from Lost & Found. I can imagine using this sweet family for ingredients while cooking.

My mixing vessels? Well, I own a set of 5 shallow metal bowls that have the same height but different circumferences. Suits me fine, but when I get more kitchen space, I’m getting a set of deeper nesting beauties. You see, there are plenty of artsy nesting bowls out there, but the perfect set is where form meets function.

Tropical Nesting Bowls at Patina

Of course, there is my favorite Cinderella vintage bowls (as seen on the “What I’d Love” tab above). I have the second blue bowl. 
Cinderella bowls (vintage pyrex) at Modern Findings