Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Perfect rainy day meal

Today we had the perfect meal for a windy, rainy, cold day. Pasta Fajoili soup, herb drop biscuits, and blueberry cobbler with fresh whipped cream. The weather quickly turned this morning and so after A finished a few chapter of "Little House in the Big Woods" while I was making lunch, she quickly went to work creating the cabin right there in our living room....complete with bar-stool turned hollow tree for smoking meats, and fish from her fishing game strung up on yarn and hanging inside over the yellow dish towel and driftwood fire. It was a great afternoon and we even decided to use vegetables form our root cellar (read pantry and fridge) to create a fabulous soup while pa (read dad) was out hunting (read working LOL). Here is the recipe for this delicious soup.

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion- chopped
4 medium carrots thinly sliced (match sticks)
3/4 to 1 cup diced celery
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked white beans
1 cup cooked red kidney beans
1 cup water
32 oz beef broth
1 jar marinara sauce
1 1/2 tsp oregano
5 tsp fresh parsley
dash pepper
4 oz dried macaroni pasta ( I actually think this would be better using smaller noodles, but hey you work with what the store sells out her in the bush LOL)

Brown beef in large stock pot until almost browned. Add in onions, carrots and celery. Saute. Add in 2 cans diced tomatoes. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir in beans, water, beef broth, marina sauce, oregano, parsley and pepper. Stir. Add dried pasta. Simmer 45 mins to 1 hour until vegetables are tender.

I served this topped with shredded parmigiana cheese and a side of herb drop biscuits A and I stirred together.

It was the perfect meal for a rainy evening and we followed it with blueberry cobbler and fresh whipped cream. Yumm!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feeding My Soul

Little touches of spring. Today the sun shone for a few minutes before low clouds moved in an obscured the view, but those brief moments of warmth, standing in the sun and soaking it in, feeds my soul. The snow is melting more each day. As I type, Ansley is outside with her toy animals playing in the soft damp earth. The dirt underneath her fingernails makes us both happy and reminds us that winter is truly over. 

Life is good. I am blessed by a child that lights up every moment of my day, a husband that works hard to provide for us and loves us both dearly, who makes me laugh and makes me smile, and goes along with my whims...most of the time LOL. My house is finally clean....that is a miracle in an of itself, considering that while I was out of town for 3 weeks and then sick for a week after, it got away from me. Clean and filled with touches of spring to make me smile as I go about my day.

My favorite Aunt left this teapot at my mom's house for me to take home. It is so charming and makes me smile.
And then my mom bought me this little colorful teapot that now resides on my stove.
A few cute towels now bring an extra splash of color to my stove.
A touch of paint turned these formerly black candlesticks to a spring treasure. (Notice the snow still outside and the vast expanse of frozen lake and you will see why my soul craves the colors of spring. It has been a long winter)
 Happiness in a frame 
And I replaced my winter grass center piece with my spring bouquet, my spring table runner from last year, a cute wooden bird I picked up off the island, and our new cloth napkins. 
Today my soul is feed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Direction for the Year- Charlotte Mason

It's Spring! Well at least we had some major meltage yesterday and glory be, I can finally see brown grass. Of course there is still plenty of snow like the 3-4 foot drift next to my house that will take quite a while to melt, but hey...I'm not complaining. Spring is on it's way.

So since I have been under the weather and unable to really start my spring cleaning or spring decorating, I decided to spend all that time resting working on plans for the rest of the school year. Basically my thinking is that I want to transition us into what we will be doing next year to find our rhythm. We are now officially enrolled with IDEA (Interior Distance Education of Alaska), and so next year we will be able to use $1700 in funds to purchase curriculum. This will be a huge boost for us. We will have to report to the state, send in work samples and communicate with our assigned teacher once a month, however they will let A work at whatever level we feel is appropriate. They will not expect to see Kindy work from her next year. In fact they are amenable to grade skipping. So much so that they are letting us skip K right off the bat and enroll her into first grade and then once the year gets started we can move her up to what ever grade I feel she is ready for. Basically they said I can move her through the grades as fast as she needs, and even if she is enrolled in 2nd, if a 6th grade curriculum in science, or 4th grade curriculum in math is what we feel is best, then that is the work we send in. So yea! The benefit to grade skipping her is that we will have transcripts, so basically proof from a school in our future advocacy efforts. Also if we stay in Alaska and continue with IDEA, then she would be issued high school credits and a diploma once we have skipped her up to highschool level. So while Alaska has some of the most relaxed homeschool laws- we don't even have to notify anyone- I think right now the trade off for the financial support is worth it. 

So as I said, I sat down and planned out the rest of our year. And basically we are leaning to a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool. I know I have written about her methods before, and truly while I am still attracted to Waldorf and Montessori, and will be incorporating some of those aspects, this just fits both of us the best. You can read more about the method here. But what really attracts me is the literature basis. I love to read, and so does A. So much of what she already knows comes from books we have read together or she on her own. I love the beauty of the classical works, the study of poetry, and the concept of copy work. Many of you know that we have been doing copy work all along, and it has been a great tool. Now we have moved from handwriting paper to regular wide ruled, and copy work is increasing A's confidence day by day in the formation of her words on this new paper.

Charlotte Mason advocated for nature study- the science of the late 1800's not being what it is today LOL. And we love nature and nature study, but we will be continuing on with our own science curriculum and following A's love.

I adapted and condensed the Year 1 Ambleside curriculum to fit the rest of our year. Here is a look at our curriculum we will be using. Tomorrow I will post our daily and weekly schedule.

Literature/Poetry/ and Narration work
The Aesop For Children- Milo Winter
Just So Stories- Rudyard Kipling
An assortment of Fairy and Folk Tales
A Child's Garden of Verses- Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Myths to Read Aloud- William F. Russell
Knights, Kings, and Conquerors: 20 Stories from British History- Geraldine McCaughrean
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare- Edith Nesbit
The Wind and The Willows
(and of course Ansley will continue to read books on her own as normal LOL)

Math Daily Warm Ups: Grade 3- Teacher Created Resources
Common Core Mathematics: Practice at 3 Levels: Grade 3- Newmark Learning

McGraw Hill Science-  6th Grade 
Prentice Hall Science Explorer: Earth's Changing Surface- 6th Grade

A Little History of The World- E.H. Gombrich

Success with Grammar: Grade 3- Scholastic

Harcort Spelling- Grade 2
McGraw Hill Spelling- Grade 3

If we settle into a rhythm with this, then we will continue like wise with curriculum for next year and add in a foreign language as well as composer and artist study.

I will let you know how it went. Today was our first day following our new schedule and it was the nicest, most relaxed day of homeschooling we have ever had, and that's with me being irritable from prednisone and albuteral LOL. So I think we have found something good. Stay tuned to my adapted weekly schedule and daily rhythm post.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Well it is blowing outside right now, and raining...which I am hoping to mean some melting will occur soon. But it also means that I can't upload the pics that I was going to. So I thought I would post this post that I wrote when I was at my mom's on vacation but never got around to posting. It is just me musing on things. I started journaling a few weeks ago and it has really been a wonderful things. I have found that is really helping me wrap my head around things. I have started journaling off and on many times over the years, but this is different. I don't feel pressure to do it, and it is more of a what I am thankful for, seeking the beauty thing, sorting my thoughts, helping me to live in the moment and achieve my goals. But occasionally I pour out my thoughts like I did the night I wrote this, and I thought I would share on here because I know I have a few readers who are dealing with similar issues.

So here it is....

Today I watched my child explain the quantum physics theory of teleportation to my mom's friend. At 5 years old, her view and understanding of the world has a depth that often takes me by surprise. Examples...
-to my mom when she realized we only had 3 and 1/2 more days left here on our vacation- "Well Nana we will just have to make the most of the time we have together."
-On why she doesn't seem to hear me when I tell her to do something- "My thoughts are like a big brick wall in my brain and your words just can't break through."

Often I wonder what her life will be like. Will she ever find someone who understands her? I remember how I felt growing alone, like no one got me and I wonder if it will be even more so for her. I wonder how I will ever be able to handle getting her the education she needs and I agonize over the decisions to be made. I know there are no manuals for raising kids, but there are even less resources and more unknowns when faced with raising a highly/profoundly gifted child.

I was working some thoughts over with my mom last night and mentioned that I was concerned with A's processing speed, in other words, how slow she works through things. Literally she can spend 3-4 times linger on something then she should because she is so distractable. It is like she takes in every stimuli there is around her with no ability to filter out the unimportant. I know this is why she can recall the most minuscule of things with incredible detail down to the color of clothing, temperature, what someone drank, etc, for memories from over 3 years ago, however, this makes it difficult for her, I feel like to focus on one things, she has to fight through a jungle of vines of other thoughts and stimuli. So it takes time. For example, she may instantly know 3x5=15, but to hear it, it has to fight it's way through the jumble, be processed, and the answer has to fight it's way back through. The question is... is this a problem? Will it resolve itself as she gets older? Should I be concerned? She is a contradiction. She is always on the go, so fast in speech and motion, but when trying to focus in on one thought, she slows almost to a crawl that I worry if it stays that way it will be a hindrance as she works grade levels ahead to meet her academic and emotional needs. so how do I help her with this?
I realized in discussing this, that her stutter, well stumbling over words really, when she speaks is the same thing. By the time she is saying a thought, her mind has already moved on and it is like reaching back, remembering the old thought, and pulling it through the jungle, while trying to finish saying it. The results- stumbles, repeated words, etc. You can actually see this process happening as she looks off to the side as she stumbles reaching through the cosmos for her thought, a flitting bird, just out of reach. How tired her little brain must be. I wonder if she will grow out of this? If she will find a way to filter, to slow down her racing mind, or at least find a way to compensate? Her mind goes so much faster than her mouth can move. Do I let this be, or work with her on it? If so... how? See this is why I need a book. Maybe I will write one one day.

Anyway, Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today I am thankful

Today I am thankful.

Thankful for the medicine which is starting to improve my breathing even though it has made me feel not the best.

Thankful for a good nights sleep. I could breath through my nose last night for the first time all week.

Thankful for my husband who took the afternoon off and took A and Bella out in the tundra to play on this beautiful day so I could rest, and who cooked a wonderful dinner for us and is now watching a movie with A while I rest in bed.

Thankful for the wonderful compliment I received in the grocery store today. A woman organizing a fundraiser for the Unalaska Visitor Bureau sought me out to let me know that she had many inquiries into weather they would have my artwork at the auction (They won't. I was out of town) and that this is not the first time she has heard so much raving about my work. She told me that I need to sell my work as well. Definitely thinking about that now. I love painting and creating. It is my release, so why not. Just some things to pray about.

And thankful for the beautiful sun melting (hopefully) the feet of snow out my window!

So yes, today I am thankful.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm out of commission for the moment :(

Well I am out of commission for the time being. My asthma started acting up at my mom's due to all the pollen (one of the things I don't miss about spring in the south LOL) It seemed to get a little better towards the end, but I managed to pick up a cold or some type of bug on the plane I guess and have been feeling not the best since Monday. Last night was horrible. I was so congested that in between breathing treatments on my nebulizer for my asthma, I was hanging upside down off the bed trying to drain my sinuses. Needless to say, I got very little sleep. To top it off I woke up this morning with my right ear killing me. So a trip to the clinic was definitely in order. So on top of my asthma I have a bacterial infection and an ear infection. Ugg. I left with 5 prescriptions. Antibiotics, steroidal nose spray, prednisone (for the asthma) and 2 meds for my nebulizer. My heart rate was through the roof due to the continuous use of my nebulizer and my reaction to the typically used drug albuterol. I was in tachycardia with my resting heart rate over 150. Lots of fun.

So now that I am loaded up meds, I am praying that I can get some sleep tonight and be on the mend tomorrow. This being sick is really throwing a kink in my plans. I have been in major spring cleaning/sprucing up the house mode since I returned. It is still snowy and blowy here, but being in the beautiful green blooming spring, makes me want to bring a bit of it home for the next 2 and 1/2 months until we green up here. I haven't been able to start and it it is driving me nuts. And A wasn't to happy with me since my doc appointment messed with her school schedule. She was quite upset really. She really loves school and our routine, and we just got back into the swing of things Tuesday after 3+ weeks of vacation. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and we can get back on schedule. Although, I have to say, it is nice to see how much she loves what we do in school here. Makes me feel good about our decision to homeschool.

Alright, I am off to rest and hopefully be able to breath and not feel like a 200 lb man is sitting on my chest.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simple Moments

The simple moments are the best. The sweet taste of honeysuckle on a beautiful spring day.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Happy Easter! He Has Risen!
It was a beautiful Easter Sunday here. The sky was robin egg blue, the flowers were blooming, and my child was smiling. Nothing could be better except DH being here to share it with us.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A day at the zoo

Last Friday we headed to Texas to visit the Tyler Zoo. It was an absolutely perfect day. Clear skies, a light breeze, and temps in the high 70s. Nothing better!

Do the Flamingo!

Turkey Vulture

Scarlet Ibis

Ant Eaters

Rhino Time

More Flamingos



Beauty everywhere!

Majestic Creatures

Texas Longhorns!


Beautiful White Tigers

And A's favorite part....feeding the birds. Looks like these guys hatched a plan to dig out of there. Makes me think of the penguins on Madagascar. LOL



And finally....petting zoo time.

We had such a great time. Poor A was miserable though by the end of our stay. The pollen had done a number on her and her whole face was hived up. I dosed her with so much benadryl that she fell asleep on the way home (and if you know here, then you know what a rare occurrence that really is) Unfortunately she has maxed out on the allergy meds she can take, so if we were to ever move back to the south, I know a visit to an allergist would be in our future. Luckily for her, where we live now she does not suffer so. I did find that benadryl cream on her face helped the hives to go down and she is almost back to normal now.
This is our last week on vacation and it has gone by so much fast. I almost hate to leave the beauty of spring and head back knowing that it will be several more months before we see green on our island, but I am missing DH and my home and routine.
Well I am off for now. Going to play robot dominoes with A. Have a great week everyone.