Monday, February 28, 2011

A Day In The Life

6:45 am -- Wake up, make coffee, read newspaper, eat breakfast
7:45 am -- Make beds, take paper to recycle, wash dishes (by hand) more on that later.
8:35 am -- Talk with Jen as I do every day at this time. Abby's bus comes at 8:30.
9:15 am -- Begin school work. Reading lesson. Explode the Code, Writing With Ease lesson.
10:00 am - Athena watches Little Einsteins on TV. Excellent resource for classical music and art
                  appreciation. I start up the Monday laundry and check blogs.
10:30am - Math. Introduction to fractions. Flash cards.
11:00am - Recess.Athena eats some fruit. I switch up the laundry and eat 5 Bacon Dipper crackers.
11:15am - Science. We read a book about vegetables on the food pyramid. She illustrates a page for
                her science book.
11:45am - First lesson in Drawing With Children. I decide to participate in the course with her. We do an
                 introduction and the first part of lesson one.
12:15pm - Lunch time. Grilled cheese, carrot sticks and sliced pears.
1:00pm -- We start on our Art Folders to hold all of the wonderful things we will make. I fold and put away
                laundry and put the last load in the washer.
1:45pm -- School day finished. Clean up art supplies and books.
2:00pm -- Athena goes off to play with her toys. Today it is her Arctic Exploration Set, complete with
                wood dog sleds and teams, igloo, people, polar bears, seals and walrus. Mama head upstairs
                to the yoga studio. Today's lesson: Moderation and Karma, taken from the book Meditations
                From the Mat, which I am really enjoying.
3:00pm -- Athena is playing with modelling clay. I look on the computer for some eco friendly art supplies.
3:30pm -- Athena is playing with some animal toys. I finish up the laundry and sit on the couch and read my
               book. I am reading Love In A Time Of Homeschooling, which I am enjoying so far.
4:00pm - Prep for dinner. Chop, mix, stir.
4:30pm - Back to the couch with my glass of wine. Back to reading the book.
5:00pm- Start dinner. Kung Pao Chicken, Shanghai noodles, (which contains tofu, which Paul will NOT eat)
              so I make rice for him and Athena and spring rolls.
5:30pm - Paul gets home from out of town. There is a blizzard and travel is not recommended. Sigh of relief.
6:00pm - Dinner time. We eat, visit and I have another glass of wine.
6:45pm-  Clean up. Paul washes today and I dry. Read Athena a book.
7:00pm - Run Athena's bath. Paul goes out to shovel snow. I go and begin this post.
7:50pm - Get Athena out of the tub, brush her teeth and get her into bed. She listens to a book on CD.
              I am thinking this would be a good time for Jim Weiss.
8:00pm- Back to the living room with some tea. I contemplate what I should knit. Maybe Athena's
              Christmas sweater? Maybe some slippers for her? Visit with Paul
9:00pm - Paul goes downstairs to watch TV. How I Met Your Mother. I go up to the bathroom and have
               a shower, get ready for bed.
9:45pm- Talk with Paul for a few minutes. Get the morning's coffee ready. Have some water.
10:00pm- Brush teeth. Off to bed. Use Rocky Mountain Soap Factory Foot Butter on my feet.
                Work an easy crossword puzzle. Relax into Reclined Cobbler for several minutes. Then
                do some relaxation Pranayama in Savasana and drift off to sleep. ZZZZZZ.

This is pretty typical of a day around here. I usually wake up a few times during the night and often have trouble falling back asleep. The joys of being a 45 year old woman I guess. What I wouldn't give to fall asleep and wake up in the morning. Even 6 or 7 hours later would be good. Maybe if I skipped the wine?

Sorry for the formatting. I don't know how to fix it!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Menu Plans

(today's stellar lunch: Lipton Chicken noodle soup
and canned pears)

After a craptacular* week of eating (Paul was in Toronto all week)
I have decided to step it up a notch next week.
I am always so hungry when he gets back from these long trips.
My plans may be rather ambitious but
what the heck? If we are going to have
freezing cold weather, I'll have plenty of time for cooking
now won't I?

Saturday: Wasabi Salmon, Brown butter brown rice and roasted broccoli
Sunday: Barbeque Ribs, Roasted Potatoes, homemade brown beans and veggies and dip
Monday: Kung Pao Chicken, Singapore Noodles and egg rolls
Tuesday: Beef Stew and Biscuits
Wednesday: Crispy Cod with oven fries and coleslaw
Thursday: Chicken and black bean burritos and leaf salad
Friday: Grilled Beef tenderloin steak, Parmesan popovers and Brussels sprouts creole.

And for lunch, in no particular order
Chipotle Sweet potato soup with bacon and cheese muffins
Tom Yum Soup (chick and shrimp in coconut broth)
Tuna melts

I love soup, as you can plainly see.You may also see that we are NOT vegetarians.
Not even close.
 I may not make all of those soups this week
but if I do, our elderly neighbors across the street
will be the recipients of fresh homemade soup
at least a couple of times next week.

So you can think of me, slaving away in the kitchen
(which is actually a rather zen experience for me)
in addition to all of the other tasks
Homeschooling Moms have to do each and every day.

*craptacular : kind of crappy, less than spectacular


Oh joy. It is -50 here this morning. I have never experienced this kind of cold in my life!
There is ice on the inside brick of our fireplace. The windows are all iced up as well. I think we'll have our school day huddled around  a space heater. In even worse news, we have to go out this afternoon. It is the only day each week our library gets shipments from around the province and the books we placed on hold will be ready for us.
Hope your weekend is warmer than mine.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brrrrrrrrrrrr! and Yeah!!!

It is -43 here in Delisle, Saskatchewan (with the wind chill factor)  as I type this. MINUS FORTY THREE people.
Where are you spring?

In other news, my niece, Kenadee Thompson, just won a Bronze medal at the Halifax Canada Games in Judo. She was admitted under an early bloomer clause because she is only 14. She was in the under 20 group and came in third. Yeah Kenadee!!

Monday, February 21, 2011


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach me, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Just thinking about this simple, profound quote today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

These Moments

These Moments.
Not to be confused with {this moment}.
I spent a lot of time knitting this week during Math lessons.
We are really nailing down telling time.
But the little girl is so precise.
Everything must be just so.

And so I sit while she meticulously
pencils in the digital clock time.
Dash by dash.

Thank goodness I have some knitting to finish.
There is always something cast on the needles.
I complain, but it is rather cute.
Don't you think?

And earlier in the week she has been playing a lot
with her wood toys.
We have a lot of wood toys.
But this particular set is what I want to highlight.

It is a sweet little town scene, complete with
houses and animals.

People and trains.

It appears to be quite old and was crafted in Eastern Germany.
I got it from EBay a while back.
I paid a pittance.
Maybe $3 or something.
It is so cute. The houses are 2 inches tall, tops.
I'd like to learn more about it and how old the set is
but my research has turned up nothing.

And lastly, I have to share this wonderful picture of dinner the other night.
Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto.
It was so tasty.
And after 40 minutes of stirring
as one has to do with risotto,
I ended up eating alone.
Paul got hung up on his business line
and Athena had a small amount and was off to play.
No matter.
I ate my dinner with a glass of wine
and listened to some Classical music on the CD player.
I could almost imagine I was in some
quaint Bistro in Italy.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Green With Envy Yarn Along

I can't believe it is Wednesday already.
Time for the Yarn Along with Ginny again.
I told you I would knit something with green
and here it is.

The yarn is 100% Simply Cotton Worsted
in Envy Heather.
These pictures do not do the color justice.
It really is quite lovely.

I am making myself some slippers.
The same slippers my Grandmother and Mother
used to knit for me way back when.
Same pattern, different yarn.
They always used the plastic phentex for these.
And although they last forever, as plastic tends to do
they offered little comfort and even less warmth.

I am just going to start this Wally Lamb book.
In truth, I started reading it a while back and I was enjoying it.
I was foolish enough to read a review which was negative so
I returned it to the library. I didn't want to waste
my time on such a long book if it wasn't going to be good.
So I will try it again .

And speaking of green, I have this lovely merino wool
waiting to be turned into something grand.
It was to be a sweater for Athena but
I am afraid I may have miscalculated the amount of wool I'd need.
Now, I just don't know, but after I finish these quick slippers
that yarn will be next on the needles.

I did, however, make this stack of washcloths from my leftover
cotton stash. That is the reason why the sizes are all different.
No matter, they work equally as well in the shower
or to clean a little one's face.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sugar and Spice

I have been meaning to clean out my spice cabinet for a long time now.
Time to refill the jars and give them a wipe.
Time to get rid of not so fresh herbs.
Time to put an end to searching through bags and bags
of herbs and spices trying to find the one I need at the moment.
And so I did. And went from this huge mess:

To this little basket of glorious flavor.
(Note how clean and shiny the jars are,
quickly before I use them.)

Beautiful golden curry powder.
You have got to love the color of turmeric.

The remainder of last years harvest of chili peppers.
Basically the only thing that grew well last season.

And the staples of course. I love to use
old pickle and olive jars for the grains.
They are just so nice and big!

Moving along... I was in the mood for something fresh.
Sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and
sprinkled with salt and pepper.

And cucumbers with a home made ranch dressing.
Do these two things not make you think of
dinner on the deck?

And on to dessert. (Of which I am not a fan)
I found these adorable ice cream bowls
at the grocery store. So cute and very tasty I am told.
I can see putting a nice fruit salad in them
with some whipping cream in this summer.

But today it was Dulce de Leche ice cream.
(of which I am a HUGE fan)

The weekend was not so great for me as I had
a sinus headache for days on end.
Thank goodness for my neti pot.
Instant relief I tell you.
So, when I am under the weather I always
make soup.
Doesn't everyone?

Tomato Macaroni Soup

1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced.
1/4 cup butter
3 T flour
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp each of cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder
1/2 cup macaroni.

Saute onion and celery until golden.
Add garlic and saute a couple minutes more.
Add flour and stir for several minutes.
Add can of tomatoes and break them up with a fork.
Add chicken broth and sugar.
Then add spices.
Bring to the boil and add macaroni.
Simmer  until macaroni is tender, or
all day if you like.
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

And today, as I am still not feeling back to normal,
we took a day off of school.
 (Don't worry Mom, we'll make up the day on Friday)
I just needed to "get out of Dodge" so to speak.
And so in the sub zero temperatures,
Athena and I spent the entire morning outside.
Fresh clean crisp cold air.
Just what the doctor ordered.
I even built a small fire in the fire pit,
which had a hard time burning
 on account of the melting snow (read huge puddle)
in the bottom of the fire pit.
But we enjoyed ourselves anyway and came into
the house for lunch of a steaming bowl of leftover soup!

Friday, February 11, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A trio of photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Soulemama

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny from Small Things
for the Yarn Along this week.
And would you believe...

I have finally finished my sweater!

 It is an Elizabeth Zimmerman Tomten Jacket
with a ribbed collar instead of a hood.

It was knit with Wool of the Andes
Hand dyed, bulky 100% wool.
The zipper is sewn in and it is ready to wear.
Finally!! Finally!
I can't wait to cast on something else.
Something smaller.
More immediate satisfaction.
Like a wash cloth.

I am reading a book I read years ago. Back in 1994 when it was
first published. I wanted something woodsy and earthy.
Something familiar.
Something I knew I would like.
So I chose Wilderness Mother by Deanna Kawatski.
It is about a family who homesteaded/home birthed/home educated
"home everything"-ed really in northern
British Columbia.
I could not endure the hardship of pioneer living,
that much I know. And because of this book
I am deathly afraid of roosters.
Don't ask.

So next week for the Yarn Along, you will NOT see this sweater unless I happen to
be wearing it or it is laying across the arm of a chair or something.
What you will see is something... green maybe.
Yes, green. I'll knit with green and plan ahead for spring!

Monday, February 7, 2011

On Winter

Winter is halfway over. More than half way actually. There is light in the sky now as we awaken each morning. Makes it a little easier to start the day. And as we eat dinner in the evening, the sky isn't quite as dark as it was just the day before. The season of darkness is almost finished.
I have never dreaded winter. As I have said before, I am a winter person. I quite like the chill of the air on my face, being able to see my breath in the air. The sound of crunching snow beneath my feet. The ever familiar winter song "Chick-a-dee-dee-dee". And here in Saskatchewan, the Land of the Living Skies, the sky is almost always blue. The sun shines brightly, even though it may be 40 degrees below zero and sun dogs are a familiar sight. The shadows are long and the snow twinkles like sun on glass.

I welcome the spring. The warm air. The fresh scents. The return of the songbirds. And new growth. But I cherish these last weeks of winter. Days when cheeks are reddened by the cold. Days when a warm stew simmering on the stove brings anticipation. Days when we gather by the fire and read for hours on end like we did this past weekend.(two chapter books in one weekend aloud to Athena! Oh my poor voice.) Days when we plan and dream and enjoy the warmth and just watch the flames dance above the burning logs.

These are the good times. Not many people feel this way, but I suspect I always will.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You NEED This Recipe

You need this recipe. You really do.
It is the easiest, yummiest cake.
It is quick to make and never fails.
Thus its name: Never Fail Cake

Never Fail Cake

1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Beat well.

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
Put in pan and heat.

Sift together:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add to egg mixture then add milk
and beat until smooth.
Put in an 8x8 inch pan.
Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.


Melt 2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
5 tbsp brown sugar
add 1/4 lb coconut.
Spread over baked cake and
return to oven to brown.

PS It is pretty tasty for breakfast with a cup of black coffee.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evaluating the Situation

I have been thinking about this girl. A lot. Thoughts of her have been in the back of my mind for a few weeks now. The question I pose to myself is "Am I doing the right thing for her?" This is not a new question. I am sure mothers have thought about this ever since time began and will continue to do so until time is complete.

I have been thinking about this more since my two granddaughters ( who are roughly the same age) who I love very much and are great kids, came to visit for a few days last weekend. To say there is a big difference is likely an understatement.

Abby and Eden are, how can I put this,... worldly, I guess. One has a slight crush on Justin Beiber, has attended 5 birthday parties in one month, loves her MP3 player, her french immersion classes and now skating lessons. The other knows how to phone various people on her mother's cell phone, can make her own food, get in and out of her car seat, wash and style her own hair and likes to watch So You Think You can Dance and Modern Family.  And then there's Athena. She actually thinks she is half animal. She tried to teach her cousins how to fly this past weekend. She plays with modelling clay for hours on end, can amuse herself outside with nothing but a stick and a pine cone. She doesn't know who Justin Beiber is,and she LOVES classical music, would not watch a sitcom on TV and still has me wash her hair and do the double check on the teeth brushing. Even though she is the oldest of the three, in many ways she seems to be the youngest.

Which got me to thinking... am I doing the right thing for her?

I have not a doubt in my mind that if she were in school she would be lost. It is difficult for me to keep her on task at home and that is one on one. She is very easily distracted and I don't think she would be reading as well as she does, if at all, if she were in public school. She does not have any trouble getting along with people. Any age people. She can talk with adults as well as children. She loves her cousins so much and gets so excited when they come to visit. On the third day, when they all leave she has had it. She is tired. She likes her alone time. In fact, they all left about 11am on Sunday morning. She was busy playing with her modelling clay and kind of watching Little Einsteins on the television. Three hours later, still playing with her clay, I said to her "Do you want to come say goodbye to Abby and Josie?" And her response was "Are they leaving right now?"

Some days I feel like putting her in every class I can think of, but I know she wouldn't like it, just so she can be with other kids more often. (She does play with neighborhood kids, more so in the warmer weather). Other days I feel like all of that "worldly" stuff can wait. Does she really need to deal with teachers labelling her? With kids laughing at her because she takes longer to put her snow suit on? Does she need to know she is not quite like other kids? Does she need to know who Justin Beiber is?  I don't think so.
It would be easier, I think, if she had a sibling, but that is out of the question.

I think of how it used to be, way back when, when there was a one room school house. There were no soccer practices and no birthday parties at the latest hot spot for kids. There was family. Children were taught how to behave, how to learn, the skills necessary for life on their own some day, to be kind and respectful of others.. And really, isn't that what we still need to teach them?

And as the title suggests, I am constantly evaluating the situation to see where we are and to see where we are going. I do the best I can do. The best I know how. And when I know better, I'll do better.