Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some inspiration!

For whenever you have one of those days, here is some inspiration to get you up and going!!!!

(ht: My Domestic Church)

This Crust is So Easy

This is the easiest crust for lunches, quiches, and etc. Originally from the LLL Whole Foods For The Whole Family cookbook, as part of a recipe for "Mexican Dinner," I've decided that the crust itself deserves a separate entry.

Easy Crust

1/2 cup flour (may be whole wheat, or not)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten

Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until it is well combined, mix in the buttermilk and egg. Pour into a greased and floured 9 or 10-inch pie pan (or cast iron skillet!!).

That's it for the crust. It will support 1 lb. meat, or a regular sized quiche recipe, etc.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lego craziness

Okay, this has got to be the funniest nativity I've seen in a very long time. (ht: Seabird Chronicles) I wonder if my Mom would like one like this. You see, every year my sister and I seem to manage to get my mom a new Christmas decoration. The decorations are usually long on, um, for lack of a better word, Character, and short on taste.

In the past, she's been gifted several really so-cute-they're-ugly nativity sets, various musical Santas, some scary snowmen, and a lovely nativity scene done in clear acrylic, on a mirrored base, that spins and plays music. We've been doing this for the past 15 years or so. At this point, now when my Mom decorates for Christmas, she REALLY decorates. Anyone who comes over to her house around Christmastime has got to think, 1. This woman really loves Christmas; and 2. This woman has absolutely NO Taste. (You're welcome, Mom.)

This year, I think I've got the prize. I found an angel, done is lovely clear acrylic, that, although it does not play music, does light up with LED's and goes through many dramatic color changes. I'd put in a picture of it, but it's already wrapped. Maybe I'll be able to capture her reaction. I'm sure she'll have a good one.

Speaking of somewhat tasteless things, here are some of the WORST Christmas songs ever recorded, just for you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Probem I Have With Labels

I was reading this post over at SeaBird Chronicles, on the subject of labels, or more specifically, how should we should define "homeschool." Why do we need a definition anyway? What purpose would it serve? I know a lot of homeschool parents who really have a DIY attitude about schooling. They basically write their curriculum from scratch, and their kids are doing fine. Others I know have a very school-by-the-book attitude, and their kids are doing fine too. Still others pick and choose from a variety of sources, including co-op classes, tutors for some stuff, and independant learning for others. Know what? Those kids are doing just fine as well.

I think the thing that makes all these different homeschool families alike is the commitment they have toward their childrens' education, and a recognition of their own strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the DIY homeschoolers that I know have a real attitude about having a tutor come in or having the kids attend a class on something like math or literature. Some hold the idea that having a teacher or a tutor isn't "real homeschooling." But these same parents have no problem enrolling the kids in a gymnastics course or guitar lessons. That is just goofy. Math and music, literature and P.E. are ALL important aspects of a well-rounded education. Just because you choose to outsource some of that does not make you a non-homeschooler.

By that definition, in fact, we would probably fail as homeschoolers. After all, Ace is attending an American History class with the Indian Hill Co-op, with a teacher, exams, and (eek!) HOMEWORK. Both Ace and Three attend piano lessons. Deuce goes to violin lessons. Plus, for two weeks during the summer, Ace and Duece attend classes with the gifted Worlds of Wisdom and Wonder program at National Lewis University. This year Three will be going as well.

The thing we should look for in a definition is: Who has control over our children's education? If we, as parents can choose what the kids learn, when they learn it, and how they learn it, then we are homeschoolers. If someone else, whether a tutor or the government, dictates their scope and sequence, then we are not. That is the bottom line.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Kids Have Their Own Agenda

It drives me a little nuts sometimes, when despite my well-made plans, my kids have their own agenda, and it isn't what I've got planned at all. To wit: today we were going to spend the morning on academics and music. The kids were amenable to this. Ace practiced piano for an hour and did part of her American History, and some math (although it was difficult to tell her she was going about it the wrong way:-( ). Deuce practiced her violin, and even attempted to arrange a duet with Three playing along with the piano. I couldn't sit her down for math, but she did her grammar without complaint, as well as entertained Jack and the baby for a good hour. Three played on the piano a little, practiced reading and spelling, and played a math game.

I had intended to do a little Christmas study during lunch (which we did, I read Becky's Christmas Dream by Lousia May Alcott), after which we were going to finish up the metalloids for our periodic table, and read some history before I took Deuce to choir, and went grocery shopping.

Here is what my kids did instead: