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. 
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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

Eggciting Times!

I hope you all had a great Christmas. Now that the new year has begun, we’ve been sifting through our old toys, clothes and miscellaneous stuff…

Some ideas for your 2011 organizing? Give things to friends, families in need or charitable organizations when you can, recycle or simply “up-cycle” some goods.

ice dental

Do you have any board games that are old, missing pieces, or just need to be thrown out? We had one of those games that we tried but really didn’t like, so my husband decided to recycle the paper and cardboard and was left with an egg timer. He remembered reading somewhere that egg timers can help with brushing teeth for the recommended amount of time, so he suggested this to our four year-old.

WOW. She can’t brush her teeth without first declaring that she needs to use the timer. Then after brushing, she announces that she brushed her teeth with the timer. We couldn’t ask for a better motivating tool to help keep our kid’s hygiene up to snuff!

Livin’ La Vida Verde

Green! Honestly, I never realized how much I loved GREEN until I started to see things pop that match my new stuff. I chose these items as my favorites in Anthropologie as I was browsing on the last day of a visit from my friends. I didn’t know my pals were fishing for my preference for a reason!

ceramic measuring cups and magnetic timer

Maybe you can relate to, or just imagine, having friends that are so close they are family.

The lines get blurred in my family’s culture. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the question, “are you all related?” If you spend enough time with someone you start to look like them. Not just hair, clothing, and make-up (all of which has happened over the years)… I’m talking about expressions, mannerisms and vocal intonation. Likes, dislikes, opinion, conviction. What I’m trying to say is that there are people in my life that fit the bill, and I was SO blessed to have them for 5 wonderful days.
I certainly can’t describe the feelings of that bipolar final day together. What I CAN tell you is that I walked away with a fabulous weekend stash! Ok, I really was quite emotional, but I didn’t want to let the violins eek on for too long. 
The goods…
The Game of Things
A new Game of Things! Thanks, Matt & Lani, for introducing us to this game…and for making me laugh so much, it literally hurt.
Thanks, Trish, for the invaluable advice on the garlic olive oil. Seriously, this has totally changed our lives. Those Vinni bags were amazing, thanks for bringing the wine! I’ll look for that yummy Frascati, but I’m not holding my breath. 
My lovely husband took a trip to the superT and got me the large Green Pan skillet. Oh, sweet man… Another thing to make my experience in the kitchen even better! (Glad you got the pans, Jen & Priss. Pretty sweet, right?)

See how perfect this timer looks on my fridge, Jannell? By the way, those cute little van Gogh deals are souvenirs from my sister’s latest jaunt to Amsterdam.

Thanks, Jen, for the cute denim dress. Thanks for driving so far by yourself with the kids – and you never complained about being in that tiny room with both of them all weekend. Dude, you’re a rock star mom.

The darling “California mission tile style” measuring cups (from Lani) sit just above my sink. I can be reminded every day of my home state…and my homies.

Thanks for an amazing weekend, girls! 

Date Night!

We called in the babysitter last night (the fabulous Katie) and headed out to the bookstore. Yes, our date night was at the bookstore! We looked at the movies for a bit and marveled at how they didn’t have “This Is It” for sale on the anniversary of MJ’s demise… We browsed the books a bit, then sat and had coffee with a couple of magazines. Mike looked at how to build your own green home and I explored the world of Mary Jane Butters in her magazine, Mary Jane’s Farm. I left the store holding hands with my date, mocha’d up, and feeling very good about my new resource. Check her out, as well as her “farmgirl friends.”

image: craftingagreenworld.com

So, what have you done recently for a date night?