2/23/14

My Favorite Afternoon Beverage: Tea

I’m a coffee in the morning person but I’m not a coffee in the afternoon person. Nope. Maybe it’s because I did a study abroad in England while in college and feel in love with “real tea”.  (That Lipton tea is not not not not real tea in my opinion!)  One of my favorite memories of my time in England was the tea break during our 2 hour Tues/Thurs afternoon class.

Favorite Anything Afternoon Drink Tea

Class started at 2pm and promptly at 3pm we would have our tea break.  The tea lady pushed a small cart containing a tea pot, cups and biscuits.  For 10p (pence) you could get a nice cup of tea.  For 10p more you could get a biscuit or two to go with it. On Mondays and Wednesdays I would get a cup of tea in the afternoon at the commons. And on days off and week-ends I would enjoy a cup of tea in the afternoon when studying.

When the girls were young we had “tea time” in the afternoon.  I, of course, had real tea with milk and sugar and they usually had juice.  During this time I would read to them.  Now anytime after 2 but usually before 4, I will enjoy a cup of tea while I write blog posts or finish up school with Supergirl.  My favorites are English Breakfast or the more basic “British Blend” from Tetley.  I also enjoy Irish Breakfast and Earl Grey.

This afternoon I’ll have be having tea time with some friends at a local English Bistro.  The couple who own the shop are English emigrants.  I love the shop because I can get Jelly Babies (think Doctor Who’s 4th Doctor, Tom Baker) or I can buy tea to bring home to brew myself.  I usually bring home a lemon mini-vicki from the bakery section.

Do you have an afternoon tradition? Do you have a favorite afternoon drink? I’d love to hear what you like to drink in the afternoon!

Favorties Anything 52 Week Series at Circling Through This Life

Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your  favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite anything is this week.

Rules for linking up:

  1. Post must talk about something that is your favorite.  It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
  2. Please include a link back to my blog.  You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.

I’ll be linking this post up to 52 Weeks Series Blog Hop.

For the Display of His Splendor 52 Week Series Blog Hop

2/21/14

Random 5 on Friday ~ Feb 21 Edition

 

1. Last week was Valentine’s Day which means it was February 14!  This day has extra special meaning to my family.  We were received into the Holy Orthodox Church on this date!  It’s my chrismation anniversary!

2. Speaking of Valentine’s Day, Honeybear gave me a giant chocolate Kiss.  I meant to take a picture of it but I didn’t.  There is a chunk of it left but it’s not worth taking a picture.  We also did something we have not done in years and years.  We went to dinner and a movie.  We ate a place called Buffalo Wild Wings.  We’d never been there before.  I had the *best* burger I ever remember eating.  And the wings?  They actually were the best wings I’ve ever had in a restaurant.  They could rival my own home made ones.

Buffalo Chicken Wing Recipe Circling Through This Life

3. A week ago Sunday we had lots of snow (well for us it was lots of snow!).  For more pictures you can read my S is for Snow post. By last Friday, when I played taxi driver, the sun was shining and it was 53 degrees!  I didn’t need my coat!

Snowy Sunday Morning 2_9_14 S is for Snow

4. The Schoolhouse Review Crew is in full swing.  The first vendor for 2014 is Kinderbach.  Though we did not review it for 2013, we did review it in 2011, early in 2012 and again in late 2012.  Look for the reviews from the 2014 crew to start posting on Monday!

5.  Look for my first review of the 2014 Crew Year next week!  We’ve been exploring different languages with Mango Languages Homeschool Edition.

The Pebble Pond

Come join us over at the Pebble Pond for this week’s Edition of Random 5 on Friday!

2/16/14

My Favorite Time of Day ~ Favorite Anything 52 Week Series

Over the years my favorite time of day has changed.  It changes to meet my current needs in the different seasons of raising children. 18 years ago my favorite time of day was naptime.  Her naptime.  I was a new mom with a new baby and I treasured those afternoon nap times. There were no other children.  Just her and I.

A few years and 3 more children and naptimes were not my favorite times anymore. I had one who didn’t take naps anymore and 1 who was never (and still isn’t) a great sleeper. I remember a very short season when I loved 3:30 to 4 O’clock on most Thursday afternoons.  My two good sleepers would still be napping.  My 5 year old would be content to play quietly on the living room floor and I laid on the couch with my teeny tiny special needs 3 year old.  It was too short of a season.

For many years my favorite time of the day was the early morning.  4 children asleep, a husband doing Army PT.  The house was still and quiet.  I had a morning routine that included a few chores and then some computer time.

Now? My favorite time of day is just before bedtime. My children are nearly grown soFavorite Anything 52 Week Series at Circling Through This Life they stay up late and need to get up early. I don’t enjoy the mornings the way I used to because I need the girls to get up so they can get their chores done, eat breakfast and get started on their school work.  Yes, there is the rare morning when I decided I am going to sleep in but those are few and far between.

I shoo the children off to bed between 10:00pm and 10:30pm (earlier if I can get away with it; they do need more sleep). My husband heads to bed around 10:30pm and then the house is quiet.  There’s a stillness, a peace that settles over our little cul-de-sac.

In this quietness, a purring kitty joins me.  Sometimes I play games on the computer and then I go read my book. It’s only 15 to 30 minutes but it’s wonderful. And when I am ready to crawl into bed, it’s already pre-heated (Honeybear makes an excellent bed-warmer).

It’s nice to have some uninterrupted time to say some prayers before bed or read a book.  The quiet, the stillness (assuming said purring kitty isn’t busy fighting with giant kitty) and the dark outside the windows relaxes me.

What is your favorite time of day?

Please leave me a comment to share your favorite time of the day.  Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your  favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite anything is this week.

Rules for linking up:

  1. Post must talk about something that is your favorite.  It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
  2. Please include a link back to my blog.  You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.

I’ll be linking this post up to 52 Weeks Series Blog Hop.

For the Display of His Splendor 52 Week Series Blog Hop

2/13/14

S is for Snow!

This past weekend we had snow.  OK I know most of the country has been getting snow and lots of it. We weren’t.  While the Polar Vortex wreaked havoc on the Midwest, South, and Eastern parts of the US, we here in the Pacific Northwest experienced very mild and unusually warm January weather.  February arrived and that pesky short month brought cold weather and snow!

The first snowfall did not amount to much.  What little bit stuck didn’t accumulate to any kind of measureable amount and our school district (that tends to cancel readily) didn’t even have a late start!  The snow was gone quickly.  That snow was no big deal and is fairly typical for us: just enough snow to look pretty but not mess up life.  I can deal with snow like that. 

This past weekend?  Well it’s been a couple of years since we’ve had snow like that! It started Saturday during the late afternoon.  Big beautiful flakes of sticky snow.  And it kept falling and it kept sticking.  We went to bed and there was a thin blanket of snow barely covering the yard.  You could still see the grass poking up.  (Yes, we have grass here. And in the winter it is a very lovely green color, not that yucky dead brown color of exposed grass you see in the winter in places like Minnesota.) We wondered about whether or not there would be anymore and didn’t really think about how it would affect church.  I mean I was worried about our drive to church but Honeybear didn’t seem fazed at all by the snow.

This is what we woke up to though on Sunday morning:

Snowy Sunday Morning 2_9_14

The above picture is the view from my front door.  It’s nearly the same as from my bedroom window (but I don’t have a shot of that to share).  From my bedroom it was easy to see that no little tufts of grass were peeking out.  This is a covering blanket of snow.

The picture below is the view from our back door:

Snowy Sunday Morning Backyard View

 

Another backyard view!  Isn’t it gorgeous!

Another Backyard View of Snowy Sunday

Even with 4-6 inches of snow, it didn’t stick around that long!  The weather became very warm and so much snow fell from the trees that it looked like it was another snow storm!  Here’s what the back yard looked like late in the afternoon:

Not So Snowy Anymore Backyard

We did miss church on Sunday morning. Tailorbear measured 4 inches of snow in the front yard. With a driveway to shovel, a van to unbury and the real possibility of icy roads we decided to stay home.

By Monday morning the roads were clear and it was business as usual.  By Tuesday morning you really couldn’t tell it had snowed at all.  Such is life on this side of the mountains! And that is not a complaint. Snow is beautiful to look at but I don’t like having to deal with it on a regular basis.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Check out this week’s letter!

2/12/14

Homeschool Teaching Nemesis: Writing

Blogging is a form of writing.  I blog therefore I write.  Right?  I love reading.  I even have a reading goal for 2014 that is nearly double what I read in 2013 (sounds impressive but really I am aiming for 40 books).  I’ve been told that to be a good writer you should be a good reader. I don’t know. I’m not sure that my love of reading has helped my writing.

But what about teaching writing? Does a love of reading and a desire to write help with teaching writing? Teaching writing is my nemesis; it is the subject that I struggle with the most to teach. I find that odd because I love grammar. I love editing. I love reading. I can teach grammar.  I can teach reading. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around teaching someone to write.

Teaching Writing

I have lost track of the number of books I have read and the number of curricula we’ve tried over the years to help me teach my daughters to write. All of these materials had two things in common:

  • Read aloud to your child every day
  • Write every day

The, first one was easy. Reading aloud everyday was one of the things we did consistently. It helps that we used Sonlight, a literature-based history program. (To be fair to Sonlight they offer more than just history but to me I always think of history.)

I had a love/hate relationship with Sonlight’s Language Arts program.  I loved the philosophy and theory behind the program.  I hated the writing instruction. Write 8 sentences about dirt. I loved that they scheduled research papers in the early years. I hated the lack of instructions. I needed guidance. I needed my hand held.

I first heard about Learning Language Arts through Literature (LLATL) before I had heard of Sonlight and I had determined that I would use LLATL. I loved how it taught spelling, vocabulary and grammar using real literature selections.  This was the same theory and philosophy as Sonlight (both were heavily influenced by the late Ruth Beechick). LLATL felt more structured. But LLATL seemed lacking.  It seemed too easy. I ended up supplementing LLATL with additional vocabulary, spelling and grammar work.

I tried something called Writing Power. Yes by the same author as Spelling Power. I also looked at, but never used, Understanding Writing by Susan Bradrick. I did pull one idea from her material: letter writing. Neither of these two programs really gave me what I needed to be comfortable teaching writing. I liked the ideas and the philosophy but they didn’t fit my style.

Other writing programs we used have included WriteShop, Institute for Excellence In Writing (Teaching Writing Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive)  Essentials of Writing Grade 11 by Matthew Stephens, and Writing Fiction in High School by Sharon Watson. Each of these programs are excellent and have helped me to feel more confident that even if I feel I can’t teach writing, I can at least have someone else to hold my hand and help me out.

I especially love the materials we’ve used that are published by Institute for Excellence In Writing.  We love Andrew Pudewa. Teaching Writing Structure and Style saved my sanity. Finally I had a program that focused on teaching writing. A program that taught me how to teach writing.  I used Student Writing Intensive C with BooBear and Turtlegirl.  I’ve been using Student Writing Intensive B with Tailorbear. Maybe if I’d discovered IEW when I first started to home educate, I wouldn’t have struggled so much with teaching it.

I still don’t think I can really teach writing but at least I’ve found ways to make sure my girls learn how to write well.

Do you home school?  Do you struggle with teaching a particular subject?  Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog for this week’s Blog Carnival and see what my team mates share about their struggles.

2/9/14

My Favorite Kitchen Spoons: Bamboo! {Favorite Series}

A few years ago I received a box of goodies from an anonymous friend. Inside was a touching letter and things for everyone from little toys and a dress to some kitchen things for me.  My favorite things from the box are my Pampered Chef Bamboo Spoons.

I will wash a dirty bamboo spoon to use rather than reaching for a clean plastic wooden-spoon-shaped spoon. The set I have includes 3 different spoons. I do have a favorite among the three for different mixing jobs.  Two are the same length (long) but have different shaped bowl ends. The third is short with a similar but deeper bowl shape.

My Favorite Spoons Pampered Chef Bamboo Spoons

My favorite is the shorter one with the deeper bowl.  It’s perfect for when I when I need to stir something constantly, like a cream sauce or a gravy. It also works very well for mixing the cereal and seasoned melted butter for home made Chex Mix. I also reach for it first when I am stirring my popcorn to evenly distribute the butter and salt.

I like the shape of the handles and how they feel in my hand.  The rectangle shape feels better than the round dowel shape that most wooden (or fake wooden) spoons have. They have a good weight as well being not too heavy nor too light.

At first it seemed silly to me to even have a favorite kitchen spoons set but as I work on decluttering my home and organizing my kitchen tools, I realized that I only want to keep those things that I truly love using. I don’t want to have dig past the items that are just there taking space and that I avoid using.  If I don’t want to use them why do I have them? These kitchen spoons have earned a spot in my orange canister on the counter next to the stove.  I use them so often that I want easy access.  I don’t want to dig through the drawer.  I love these spoons. They’re my favorite!

Favorties Anything Series Circling Through This Life Bamboo Spoons

Do you have a favorite kitchen spoon?  What kind?  Leave me a comment to share your favorite kitchen spoon.  Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your  favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite thing is this week.

Rules for linking up:

  1. Post must talk about something that is your favorite.  It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
  2. Please include a link back to my blog.  You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.

I’ll be linking this post up to the 52 Weeks Series Blog Hop.

For the Display of His Splendor 52 Week Series Blog Hop

2/8/14

Random 5 on Friday {February 7th Edition}

I can’t believe January is over!  Hello February.  I know February is only 3 days shorter than January or March but those 3 days make a huge difference.  February is 1/4 of the way gone!  So here’s my 5 Random Thoughts for this week:

1.  Today is actually Saturday, not Friday. I had every intention of finishing this blog and posting it on Friday but I went out to dinner with my family.  We rarely go out and it was a real treat.  (See number 2 below).

2.  I love Arby’s Beef and Cheddars. I know the are not good for me at all. I do only eat half the bun though but I always add extra red ranch. And I don’t like the curly fries. Nope I have to have potato cakes.

3.  I have a husband that cooks. I am blessed.

4.  I posted, I think it was last year, about Shrimp.  I have developed a taste for shrimp.  My favorite is Shrimp Creole.  I also like this Italian Shrimp that is like an appetizer or I’m thinking served with some angel hair pasta.  Saw the recipe idea on Facebook.  Take some butter and melt it in a shallow baking pan (like a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides) and lay out raw shrimp.  Sprinkle with a packet of dry Italian Dressing Mix.  Bake until shrimp is cooked.  Now if I could just like shrimp in more dishes.  It’s progress though!

5. This week we’ve been going through the toy bins.  Years and years ago I invested in Sterilite brand and Rubbermaid brand containers.  The 55 quart sized ones are perfect.  These helped to contain like items and allowed us to rotate bins and keep toys “fresh.” (oh I think I have another blog post idea!).   Anyway with an 18 year old, a 16 year old and a 14 year old, we no longer need quite so many toys.  Yes Supergirl still plays with toys but she doesn’t need 8 different tea sets.  Two bins of kitchen related toys condensed to one.  One bin of “baby stuff” including diaper bag, babies, blankets, and outfits is much more manageable for Supergirl.  The living room still looks like a disaster area as we are still purging, cleaning and organizing.

I’m sorry I have no pictures this week.  I’ll do better next week!

The Pebble Pond

Come join us over at the Pebble Pond for this week’s Edition of Random 5 on Friday!

2/2/14

A Few of my Favorite Quotes

When trying to think of a topic for the letter q I seem to always want to gravitate towards quotes.  Last week I combined Ben and Me’s Blogging Through the Alphabet Meme with my Favorite Anything Series. I decided to combine my Favorite Anything Series with my alphabet blogging again this week.  I couldn’t narrow it down to just one quote so I’ve picked a few of my favorite quotes to share this week.

52 Week Series Favorite Anything Circling Through This Life

When I was in high school I decorated my notebooks with doodles and hearts and names and quotes.  Usually the quotes were song lyrics. One of those quotes still frequently comes to mind: It’s from yourself that you have to hide.”

It’s from a song: “Come up and See Me (Make Me Smile).”  I first heard the song as a live version recorded by Duran Duran.  “It’s from yourself that you have to hide.”  It just sounds so profound.  So deep. I found it thought provoking and sometimes true. I don’t think we hide just from others but sometimes from ourselves and sometimes I think others may know us better than we know ourselves.

Another favorite quote of mine reflects a different season in my life. A season that is passing but still beautiful.  I don’t know where the original quote come from but it was a friend who said to me many years ago and it has stuck:  “The days are long but the years are short.”  This is my favorite quote to describe those years of having only little ones. I guess you could say it’s my favorite child-rearing quote.

When the girls were little the days were so busy and so long and so tiring.  I had 4 babies in less than 4 years.  (BooBear was just under 26 months when the twins were born and she was 3 years, 9 months and 1 day old when Tailorbear was born.  It was exhausting but I think very cool to say “I have 4 children ages 3 and under” for 3 months and then to say “I have 4 children ages 4 and under for a year.”)

Those days were long but the years?  Those just kept getting shorter and shorter. I blinked and now they are 18 1/2, nearly 16 1/2 and nearly 15. The days were long and the years are short.

I have one more quote that I want to share.  It’s a quote from Mother Teresa. It is Boobear’s favorite quote and it has become a favorite of mine as well. "I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” I think it’s among my favorites because I want to be used by God.  I love the imagery.  God is writing a love letter to the world and He does so by the actions of Christians.

Do you have a favorite a quote?  What is it?  Leave me a comment to share your favorite quote.  Have a blog post about your favorite book, actor, hymn, Bible verse or anything that is your  favorite? Then come link up. Be sure and visit the other blogs linked up to see what their favorite thing is this week.

Rules for linking up:

  1. Post must talk about something that is your favorite.  It doesn’t have to be the same topic as my favorite post this week but it must be about something that is your favorite.
  2. Please include a link back to my blog.  You are welcome to grab the button from the sidebar to include in your post.

I’ll be linking this post up to 52 Weeks Series Blog Hop.

For the Display of His Splendor 52 Week Series Blog Hop

 

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Check out this week’s letter!