Where Faith, Food and Life Converge

Month: October 2014

The Search for Happiness via Hector

The Search for Happiness via Hector

Yesterday, I used a free movie ticket and treated myself to Hector and the Search for Happiness. I don’t know about you, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been looking for happiness.  Sometimes, it’s just there, in every breath, like the day I […]

Monday Morsels 10.27.14

Monday Morsels 10.27.14

This past weekend we were in Chicago for my nephew’s wedding.  I lived outside Chicago for a year or so when I was growing up, so it’s always fun to go back and see how things have changed.  And boy, have they changed!  Yet somehow, […]

What’s GREAT about Homeschooling

What’s GREAT about Homeschooling

camperschool

There’s a stereotype of homeschoolers that “do” school every day in their pajamas.  Sounds kind of great, in a way. While it may be true for some homeschool families, it rarely happened in ours. Unless, of course, someone was sick and took a detour into the schoolroom to see if Mom would make a grilled cheese sandwich, find a blanket, get more cold medicine, etc..  I’m of the mindset that actually putting on clothing prepares you to make the day happen.  Still… there may be homeschoolers out there that swear doing school in their pj’s is the bomb, and one of their favorite things about being home all day.

That’s great.  Awesome,  Incredible.  Amazing.

Because my absolute favorite thing about homeschooling is that the rules can change.  Homeschooling allows such a huge degree of flexibility it’s astounding.  You want to wear pajamas?  Fine.  You don’t?  That’s fine also.  You’re all sick?  Well then, you can watch Johnny Tremaine with a mug of tea in hand, and say you studied history.  In fact, when I was in elementary school, the entire 4th grade went to the school auditorium to watch Johnny Tremaine as part of our history studies.  So why can’t I do the same thing at home?  Well, I can.  If a certain math curriculum isn’t making sense to your child, you can change it.  Or if one child is capable of doing the same schoolwork as the next oldest child, you can accelerate their work.  Or not.  Homeschooling affords the flexibility to tailor school to your situation, your family, and your students.

Another terrific thing about homeschooling is that you get to be with your kids, and know them really really well.  I do know people that have sworn to me that they could never be with the kids ALL. DAY. LONG.  While I understand it to a degree, I truly believe that both parent/teacher and child/student grow into the relationship and proximity of it.  Think of it kind of like when someone is newly married.  They got married because they couldn’t imagine not being with each other, but learning each other’s habits and quirks takes some adjustment time.  I am inherently tidier than my husband, and sometimes it drives me crazy, but I’ve learned to live with that personality trait, and vice versa.  The same can be said for the 24-7 homeschooling situation; you may have more exposure to your kids acting like kids, but the more time you have with them, the more time  you have to guide them toward maturity.   Being with your kids all day long isn’t just a job; it truly is an adventure!

oldfaithful

Likewise, because you homeschool, you can have all sorts of adventures and experiences!  Beyond the normal art and science museum field trips we took, we were able to travel all across the country and call it school.  We visited Plimouth Plantation and saw how the first pilgrims (one of whom was our ancestor) lived, experienced Lexington Green, Concord, the Old North Church (one if by sea, two if by land) first hand, toured Gettysburg and several other Civil War battlefields, ending at Appomattox Courthouse, where the Confederates conceded to the Union.  We took an in-depth tour of Chicago, visiting the Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, neighborhoods off the “L,” and saw Jackson Pollack’s Greyed Rainbow and Suerratt’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, forever feeling at one with Ferris Bueller and his friends as they did the same.  We worked with our congressman to get a special tour of Washington, DC, visited New York City shortly after September 11th, saw Broadway plays, and the pièce de résistance – took a 6 week camping trip across the Midwest, West, finishing up in the South.  We experienced 13 national parks, camped with sea lions on the Pacific Coast, visited friends in Seattle, boating past Bill Gates’ house, strolled through a ghost town, and the list goes on.   And on and on and on!  School doesn’t have to take place in a room with 4 walls!

devilstower

When you do teach within 4 walls, however, you can teach to both your children’s strengths and weaknesses.  I mentioned in another post that our daughter is dsylexic, so when she learned to read, both of us were exhausted by the task pretty quickly.  But because we homeschooled, we could try different methods of learning, such as tracing letters on sandpaper because sometimes brains need tactile reinforcement.  To help her want to read, we used cereal boxes, magazines, toy assembly instructions, recipe cards, and more because book reading can be repetitious and boring.  We did this off and on all day long; we weren’t constricted to a 6 hour period to get it “done for the day.”  Conversely, one of our sons was reading by the age of 4, so he was able to read and comprehend much more advanced material throughout his education at home.   Rather than sitting in a classroom with 30 other kids, bored out of his mind, we were able to continually challenge him.  Each of us is unique, so it makes sense that we don’t learn in the same manner or at the same pace either.  Homeschooling is an optimal way to teach each child in a way that steadily improves both their strengths and weaknesses.

While there will certainly be days that aren’t fun in homeschooling – just like in life! – it can be a wonderful way to help your kids learn more than just the 3 R’s.  I will forever be glad that we had the opportunity and means to home educate our children.  I loved them which made homeschooling so much easier!

Autumn Squash Soup

Autumn Squash Soup

Up until two autumns ago, if you asked me what I would want for my last meal, without hesitation, I would have said ravioli stuffed with butternut squash and cooked with toasted walnuts in a brown butter sage sauce.  Yeah… that exactly. After that, well… […]

Monday Morsels 10.20.14

Monday Morsels 10.20.14

Last week I relaxed.  Sort of.  That is, I relaxed when I wasn’t lying on the floor of my bathroom with stomach trouble. I had a couple recipe related posts planned, but for almost 5 days food looked, smelled and sounded awful.  On the bright […]

Monday Morsels 10.13.14

Monday Morsels 10.13.14

Rakotz Brucke, Germany
Rakotz Brucke, Germany

We’ve had a tentative dip into fall here.  Several days of cool weather, followed by a brief sub-freezing snap, rebounding with a LOT of days of almost summer-like rain and sun.  I’m glad I didn’t put on my flannel sheets just yet.  It’s been kind of nice going to bed at the just-right temperature and then waking up somewhere in the night and having to pull my blankets up.  I don’t know about you, but even though I’m more of a Spring/Summer girl, I’m always happy to turn the AC off, throw open the windows and relish the chilly mornings. Likewise, in Spring, I’m always grateful for opening the windows and letting the house breathe!  For now, I’m finding the happy balance between still wearing my shorts and t-shirts, and reading the news in the morning with a blanket on my lap and a cup of steaming English Breakfast tea in my hand.

Here are some of the most interesting, helpful and delicious finds I saw this past week:

Alton Brown worthy – the science of whipped cream, butter and creme fraiche

Scientifically, expressing your gratitude goes a long way toward your mental health

Write yourself a letter – the perspective will amaze and unburden you

Apple cinnamon pretzel bites with salted caramel dipping sauce

I made this delicious soup in honor of Oktoberfest – Cheddar Beer Bratwurst Chowder

20 minute TED talk on unleashing the happier and more capable you

38 coffee drinks explained

The world’s oldest art discovered

Where you live says a lot about how much time you sleep

Stunning autumn photos

REALLY eye-opening post on our privacy in this instantaneous and vast world of social media sharing. Must read!!!

Found these super crunchy apple chips at Costco and now I’m obsessed

And these Dove Chocolate cherries I found at Sam’s Club (I’m an equal opportunity shopper)

Cute little DIY bowl covers

How to be a contestant on Jeopardy

Practical advice from Norman Vincent Peale on facing problems in your life

Great idea for labeling bakeware so it’s returned to you

Oh my!  Goo Goo Clusters inspired parfaits

I’m still VERY partial to real books.  This science shows why we need to read them

How not to be crazy angry mom (or any kind of crazy angry).  This is a must-see!

This may be the most amusing & precious thing I saw all week – 2nd graders treated to a 7 course $220 meal

Make (and eat) your salads in a mixing bowl

 

NO is a Very Good Word – Especially to People that Suck You Dry

NO is a Very Good Word – Especially to People that Suck You Dry

She breezily walked into my room and plopped down on the bed. “Do you know what I woke up to this morning?” she asked. I thought maybe a pesky stinkbug had worked its way through a window crack, or the cat had fallen asleep on […]

Sons of David

Sons of David

I had a difficult and highly disappointing conversation with one of my sons the other day.  After ending the discussion, I was just…. wrecked. I try to remain optimistic most of the time, but some times are just harder than others, aren’t they?  I’m only human with limited […]

Monday Morsels 10.6.14

Monday Morsels 10.6.14

 

wpid-20141005_172854-1.jpgSometimes fall days are just perfect, full of sunshine and breezes that smell like the air is sweeter somehow.  That’s what I like about fall. That, and roasted pumpkin seeds!  Around here, it’s usually the 3rd week in October that the leaves reach their peak, so I enjoy that particular week, because the array of colors on the trees contrasting with the still-green grass is lovely.  I spent my formative years in Florida, where there was summer, more summer, and 5 weeks of cooler weather, so I should be grateful for real seasons, but I confess – maybe because I grew up in Florida –  I’m just not that crazy about fall. I’m not a fan of the leaves falling and leaving bare trees, grass that’s more brown than green and skies that are more often gray than blue.  My family will tell you that somewhere around the end of January or beginning of February, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) really kicks in for me.  I’m grumpy, testy, antsy; I long for Spring when green becomes the norm again.  Spring is my favorite season, and to me, fall is the opposite on the seasonal spectrum, so it’s probably my least favorite season.  I know, I know, I’m most definitely in the minority, I think.  There are surely people out there that disagree with me vehemently, but if we were all the same, life would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, yesterday was one of the more perfect fall days, and my daughter took advantage of the breeze and sunshine to head out into our field to fly a kite.  When I was younger, I used to have to walk, ride my bike, or drive to a place large enough to fly a kite, so it’s been a happy perk of living in the country having that room out the front door.  When all my kids were young and at home, kite-flying happened a LOT, but has become very infrequent these last few years.  It was wonderful to look up from my reading and see her out there – with the dogs running around – flying a kite.   It was the perfect thing to add to my gratitude journal list on the newest app I discovered, Happier, which is not only an online gratitude journal, but a community that shares the joy with you.  It also has short “courses” with tips to help you discover happiness all around you in each and every day.

On that note, here are a few things this past week that made me a little more joyful and knowledgeable…

Pretty vintage style Facebook covers

Daughter presents father with list of 22 milestones he missed while working, so he quits his job!

Slow cooker Lemon & Olive Chicken

Even though prime growing season is over, it’s never too late to think about next year – garden watering system

And this… vegetable gardening in one graphic

Best ways to store your groceries

LOVE this response to what stay-at-home moms do all day

Men are happier if their wives are happy but the reverse isn’t necessarily true

Cat thieves

Maps and charts that will surprise you

My husband’s gone paleo, so I will be making this paleo date nut bread

Baking substitution list

We don’t sleep like our ancestors used to

Where you sit in a restaurant says a lot about your eating habits

Because orange and chocolate is one of my top 5 flavor combinations, I will make these cookies

How to treat yourself without going overboard

Perfect for fall – Tarte aux Pommes (Apple tart)

Raspberry Chocolate Chip cookies (gluten, grain, dairy, egg and sugar free!)

And for days when I want to indulge… Mocha milkshake

Why table salt is unhealthy but natural salt isn’t

Regrow your kitchen scraps

Crispy buffalo potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearness

Nearness

One of my dogs is getting older. Well, both are, actually (indeed, aren’t we all?), but one is getting measurably older.  Her back legs are lagging when she walks or runs, her eyesight and hearing are failing; she’s just feeling the effects of time. And […]