Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Taking it Slow (Knitting and Reading)

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading and I love sharing my projects and current reads here. I would love for you to join me every Wednesday to share a single photo of what you are knitting (or crocheting) and reading too!~ Ginny at Small Things~

I decided to join in on Yarn Along this week! I have been reading Ginny's blog for a while now, and I happen to finally be starting a knitting project this week. I am working out the gauge for a fun looking Olivia Cowl with some squishy Swans Island Ecowash Organic Wool. It uses a basketweave stitch (my first time using a chart!) and once you're done, you Kitchener stitch the ends together to make it one continuous piece. 

I'm participating in a Victorian read-along of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. We started reading the book in May. Each month, we read the chapters as they would have originally been serialized in the newspaper in 1864-65. We will be finishing the book in November 2017! It's very good so far. Once I finish my chapters for the month, I will be finished with Book 1. 

What have you been reading and making? Please check out the Yarn Along post at the Small Things blog to see what lots of other people are reading and making this week! 

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Make This Happen: Crispy Gluten Free Tacos

I love tacos. I love tacos so very much. While it is possible to find gluten free crispy shells, they aren't readily available in our area, so with a bit of researching online, I learned a technique for making my own crispy stuffed tacos using soft corn tortillas, which are gluten free and always at my market!

This is the brand that I have been using, and they are perfect. I use them for soft tacos, too, and they are really tasty. To make a crispy taco, start by heating up around 1/4" of vegetable oil in a heavy pan (mine is cast iron). Once it's nice and hot, I put two corn tortillas into the oil, and then lay my filling on top of them (on this night I think I used some leftover shredded chicken and cheese, but I have also used black beans and corn and pulled can use pretty much anything you like!). After one minute, fold one side of the taco over on top of the other with a spatula. Let the taco fry for about 3 minutes, then flip it over to crisp up the other side (around another 2 minutes). 

Transfer the crispy tacos to a paper towel-covered plate to drain off the excess oil. We dip our tacos in salsa and sour cream. They are the best! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Adventures in Homeschooling


“It’s back-to-school time, or as homeschoolers call it, stay-where-you-are time.”

 ~ Stephen Colbert

Our family has had a lot of adventure since last I wrote a blog post. We made the decision to move across the country, and we'll be here for the next couple of years. With this big decision came another: we're going to be homeschooling during our time here. Homeschooling is something that I have been reading about and thinking about since before the girl was even old enough to start school. It's something that I have always wished that we could do, and with this move it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it a part of our lives. It's exciting and scary, but we're all learning together, and that, to me, is my favorite part.

We "started school" last Thursday with some science, some physical activity, some math and reading comprehension (by following a recipe for apple crisp), and lots of quiet reading time. My approach so far is to have a loose schedule for each day of the week. We purchased curriculum for math and history, and everything else I am either sourcing online or making up as we go. There are so many resources available for free on the internet - it's really incredible! We also have a library that offers an entire homeschooling resources SECTION. How cool is that!?!? I will get more into the details of our daily routines at some point. For now we're just trying to find our rhythm and enjoy the freedom of not having to rush out the door every morning.

When you are adventuring, there isn't always time to decide how you imagine things will turn out. You jump in. You have fun. You show love to your companions. You pack extra snacks. My family is my favorite team, and it's pretty special to me that we get to embark on this particular adventure together.

More soon.

P.S. This song has been stuck in my head for 5+ days now. It's like living in a Contempo Casuals. Peace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reading = Sleep?

This morning, I noticed something unusual.

It would appear as though the children and I all slept through the night.

They stayed up a little later than usual, but they both managed to wake up naturally at 7:00am. I myself woke up a little after 6:00, but didn't actually get out of bed until more like 6:50. Ahem.

I realized that there was one thing that we all did last night, which I have apparently been failing to notice is the possible key to all of this restful, continuous sleep: We all read a book.

My son, now 6, read an entire book to himself, cover to cover. ("The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Hot Air Baboons," for those curious. I highly recommend this entire series.) He begged to stay up, "just a few more minutes!" to finish the last few pages.

My daughter, now 8, started reading "The Lemonade War," which she has chosen for her January book report. Her goal is to read 20 pages a day, so that she can have it finished in just 8 1/2 days. Last night, she read 23 pages.

I started "Bonjour Tristesse" by Francoise Sagan, and managed to get through Part 1 in about an hour. I can't wait to get back to it.

I wonder if sitting in bed and reading for a time is what helped us all to relax into sleep, rather than the usual grumping and complaining (not from me - you will never hear me complain about having to curl up in bed). No one jumped out of bed and ran in to me, asking if I would come and lie down with them. No one suddenly felt hungry or thirsty; no one cried out of frustration because they were having trouble relaxing.

Clearly, this could all be a fluke. Maybe we were all so exhausted from having to start another day at school, that we really did just sleep fast and hard.

You are crazy if you think I won't be repeating this ritual for the rest of week, just to be sure.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Actual Conversations: The Kids, 01/04/16, 2:48 PM

Him: In the wintertime, food for animals is very scarce.

Me: That's right. That's why some animals migrate, and some animals hibernate.

Him: Bears don't really hibernate, though. I learned that at school.

Her: Well, just because you learn something at school, that doesn't mean that it's true. If a teacher doesn't know something as fact in their own mind, they can only teach you what they're TOLD to teach you.

{I will admit that it made me quite proud to hear that she believes in questioning everything.}

Monday, February 2, 2015

{weekending} :: January 30 - February 2, 2015

Our weekend started early this week with a day off from school on Friday, for a superintendent's day. We baked bread, worked on projects (my shawl is coming along quite nicely), and had a nice time hanging out together in the relative warmth of the house. The husband brought home some sandwiches for dinner, which was a nice treat.

Saturday was for errands. We went to the big weekend farmers market, and to our favorite place for groceries, Healthy Living. We had a lot of fun together, and we were also able to get some new pants for the kids, who seem to have suddenly each grown several inches in the last week! 

Super Bowl Sunday was all about cooking for me. I made some baked apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast, and then got to work on some root beer pulled pork in the crock pot. It turned out really well - it shredded itself once it was done, and I added in some homemade barbecue sauce. I was glad that I talked with the butcher a bit - he gave me the great idea to use the root beer! I also made some Buffalo chicken dip and mini soft pretzels. We had fun watching the game - it was so exciting, for once. The commercials this year seemed incredibly depressing, but we enjoyed a couple of them. The kids really loved Katy Perry's halftime show - the boy kept remarking on how happy the people in the beach ball costumes must have been!

This weekend quickly turned from a 3-day affair to a 4-day one, when we woke up this morning to a bunch of snow! SNOW DAY! It's true - I took these pictures of our yard just a few minutes ago. I would say we have accumulated well over a foot since the late evening. It's still coming down, too! On that note, I had better get out and shovel the walk again. At least it's very light!

Monday, January 26, 2015

{weekending} :: January 24 and 25, 2015

This weekend seemed to be over in an instant! On Saturday, we spent most of the day preparing for projects. I was winding yarn to cast on for a new shawl project, and the husband was collecting materials for a bit of construction in our bedroom. The girl had a birthday party in the middle of the day, and she enjoyed getting to spend some time with some of her friends from school. The husband surprised me with a late lunch from the restaurant down the street - a very nice beet and red cabbage salad with apples, walnuts and blue cheese, and a Brie Reuben! Delicious. 

Sunday was all about making. I cast on my shawl and made some pretty good progress. At first I was intimidated by the lacework and the multiple colors, but I think that I have the hang of it! I'm excited to see how it turns out. The boy was a big help with the bedroom project - check out the new lighting! I am loving it. It's a nice little feature in our small room, and I think that it makes it so cozy. 

It was nice to have a mostly relaxing weekend, especially one where we could all focus on our own personal work. The girl really enjoys playing Minecraft lately, and has a lot of fun building worlds and then telling us all about them. It's nice to spend our down time in a way that is productive, but not draining. Today was back to the regular schedule, but I hear that there may be a bit of snow on the way, so who knows if we will have the time for a little more making tomorrow!