Friday, August 31, 2012

Love in the Garden

Dear Husband Of Mine:
When I saw these weird carrots you grew in your garden, I thought of us.

We are growing together.
If separated one from the other, we would no longer look the way we're meant to.
 We nourish others.
I realize that it might be an indication of my slipping mental state that I am once again seeing people in vegetables, and I will now trot back to the kitchen and finish peeling and wedging carrots into sticks for our children's lunch.  Good news: unlike our carrot counterparts, no one has plans to skin and eat us.  Although GBaby has been given me some strange looks this morning.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Type A Bee

Do you aspire to be like a frantic little bee, sucking the best things out of life without disturbing the beauty?  A bee is such a do-gooder. 
My ten-year-old son took this picture. I just thought you should know that. 
She steps daintily through the stamens and pistils, seeking the nectar needed for honey making.  Almost as an after-thought, she provides pollination service to the flowers she visits.

Like reading Proverbs 31, watching bees makes me feel guilty about my own laziness.  I think I'm more of a slug type.

For the record, I'd like to point out that bees are also known to deliver a pretty nasty sting to others that get in their way or annoy them.  It is probably because they're so focused on their busy-ness.  I admit, when I'm over-achieving, I get a little mean.  What violence do slugs deliver? Slime?  Ooze?

So I'm not going to feel guilty about my laziness.  We are enjoying the last week of half-day school and by the time lunch rolls around, I feel as though I've used up the next to last ounce of energy I possess. {I bet bees don't even stop for lunch or afternoon coffee.} I feel confident that we're doing a decent job of covering the most basic of elementary subjects: reading, writing and arithmetic.  During the afternoons, we've sprinkled a few important extra-curriculars in: piano lessons, Sauder Village, cookie baking and the like.  {Today I taught my daughter how to steam open a sealed envelope, a life lesson whose importance might very well be questioned in this age of electronic mail, instant messages and the senseless abbreviations we call "texts."}  After labor day we plan to commence our six hour school days. I hope to find myself infused with a bit more get-up-and-go.  But can I become both bee-like and sting-less?  Or is a slug always a slug?

Here. Let this short little snippet of song cheer you up. This is a lip sync video the Man of the House and his children entered into a local radio station's contest.

I know, right? They're just so cute.  I live with this cuteness every day.  If I were a bee type I probably wouldn't notice the cuteness.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Sometimes my brain is so full to the brim, I don't think I can get anything out of it without spilling its entire contents.

And that's when I come up with winning statements like that.
Maybe that 1/2 glass of wine I had with my dinner was 1/2 a glass too many.

Anyway. We My husband and children are making a music video outside and I think they need my expert spectatorship.
Also, I just put GBaby to bed 10 minutes ago and I'm pretty sure that I hear someone waking her up right now.  I'm going to pretend ignorance and see if she settles herself back to sleep. 

I need some chocolate.  If I eat it now, the children will demand that I share.  If I tell myself I'll just have a little snitch of something later, I will forget.

This over-full brain is not helping out.

I think I will see if the hammock is empty.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


So we started our own little home-style school today. I'm calling it Brick House Home Education, for obvious reasons.  Our offspring are officially excused from the public schools, so I am not looking for any truant officers just yet.  I am brewing a second pot of coffee just now, in case anyone reading was concerned about the cohesion of this post.  Maybe cohesion is not the word I want; but until I have more caffeine tainting my blood stream, the brain part of me is not working at its best.  This is great for a teacher, even better for a teacher dealing with the truth of the old adage "Familiarity Breeds Contempt."  Adage, smadage is what I say.  GBaby is familiar with me, and also contemptuous of my sleep needs.

Let's just focus on the good parts of today, ok?  It will help, no doubt, if I use pictures.

After our morning chores were completed and our hairs brushed, we started our school day with a Psalm. I blinked back a tear while I listened to their sweet voices read the ancient prayer. They giggled at the line, "I am a worm and not a man," and we stopped to explain that the writer of the Psalm felt like a worm, not that he actually was a worm.  My heart was gripped with a tiny fragment of truth I'd never considered: "Who cares about worms? No one. Except the One who made them. So even though King David felt like he was a worm and no human cared about him, he could know that God still did. That's why he was praying."

"Dad and I care about worms, Mom. Because they're good for the garden."
That's going to be another fun part of keeping them home; they already know something about everything. [INSERT WRY SMILE HERE.]

After the worms in Scripture discussion, we reviewed our plan books, text books, markers, pencils and everything else we could possibly ask questions about.  Then we did a little first-day-of-school journaling, using an adorable printable I found at Positively Splendid.  We measured and recorded our height and weight (and not one child asked me to get on the scale! Winning!) and stepped outside for the obligatory first day pictures.

Fourth Grade!
Third Grade!

First Grade!

General distraction of cuteness.

These are crazy good pictures, right? With everyone barefoot and squinting into the morning sun you might wonder why I bothered.  We're getting professional pictures taken tonight (yay! for photographers in the family!) and I've got a little surprise for them this afternoon.  So we'll have plenty more pictures today.

After our mini photo shoot, we settled back down with our reading and math books. Just in time for GBaby to melt into emotional chaos.  Just in time for my first disciplinary problem of the day.  Just in time for lunch and the back yard sunshine!  Everyone crated their books up, stashed them neatly in the closet that we cleaned out last night (a terrible terrible choice in timing on my part, worthy of its own crazy post) and called it a half-day. 

It is still summer, see? And I'm just trying to ease into this school year thing.  Plus there is that whole less-than-five-hours-of-sleep-thing I've got going on.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Procrastination Cookery

"About an hour ago," according to facebook's accurate time keeping,  I recorded this most inspiring status:
I think it might just be time for a little procrastination in my life.
I followed up with another brilliant idea:
actually, I'm thinking about pairing that procrastination with some ice cream on the side. that really sounds like what I need right now.
And so I walked to the kitchen...

This is the part in my show when all my veg-table-ari-an friends and neighbors might have to change the channel or pretend I am talking about the sweet corn we had for dinner or the fresh tomato and basil salad I made or the mounds of broccoli and purple cauliflower waiting for me in my refrigerator.

...where I remembered the 20 pounds of pork waiting fer ta be pulled...

Also pretend I have not been talking in a thick Carolina accent to which I have never been able to lay claim. I skipped the procrastination and the ice cream and pulled that pork to pieces. Delicious, juicy, fat-laden pieces. Goodness. I hope there is barbecue in heaven.
I am not certain on the theology of eating and drinking in a state of blessed eternal life, but I do recall the book of Revelation referencing a "marriage supper of the Lamb."
Supper is a country word.  Look it up.
Lambs, I realize, are vegetarian, just like the people who aren't reading this post.  Lambs eat grass and maybe broccoli.
But maybe, since it will be heaven and all, we could have Bar-Be-Que on that grass?
Just in case we can't have pork in heaven, not even in the Gentile section, I'm eating my fair share of it here on earth.  Here's how I do it, you can do it to:
  1. Call the meat market.  Get Ask for their best price on a pork picnic roast.  Explain that you think it means a shoulder roast.  Agree to a "boneless butt roast" if it does, indeed, come from the shoulder of the beast. Scrawl their offered price per pound on a scrap of paper.
  2. Call the nearest competing meat market.  Ask for their best price on a pork picnic/shoulder/butt roast.  Scrawl this figure beside the price from the first market.
  3. Note that the two prices are exactly the same.  Call the first place because you gave them such a definition run-around.
  4. Order 15 pounds of boneless pork butt roast (that actually comes from the shoulder) because the lady on the phone says you should be able to get 4 sandwiches per pound of meat. 
  5. Once you've hung up the phone, do the sandwich calculations. 15X4=60.  Realize you need roughly 80 sandwiches.
  6. Call the meat market back and ask for 5 more pounds. Arrange a pick up time.  Profusely offer thanks.
  7. Forget.
  8. Pick up meat early the morning after the pre-arranged pick up day.  Casually, as you are making payment, inquire as to the correct time and temperature to which the meat should be cooked.
  9. While lugging around 20 pounds of boneless pork butt (that actually comes from the shoulder), proceed with a tour of the meat market's portable barbecue ovens and a moderately detailed description of the proprietor's late mother's roasting methods.  Nod politely, taking no notes.
  10. Hurry the meat home. Place in borrowed roaster set to 325. Drizzle with bottled BBQ sauce.  Place lid atop roaster.
  11. Leave home.
  12. Run back in the kitchen to make sure you plugged the roaster into the wall. (You did.)
  13. Leave home again, but for several hours this time.
  14. Re-enter home to the amazing smells of MEAT cooking itself away in your kitchen.
  15. Check the internal temperature of the meat. Sample a piece, if it has cooked to a high enough temperature.
  16. Turn off roaster when your husband makes a remark about overcooking.  Allow the meat to cool to touchable (but not comfortable touching) temperature. 
  17. Forget.
  18. Plan for ice cream and procrastinations.
  19. Walk in the kitchen.
  20. Remember.
  21. Using two over sized worthless forks, remove cooked-to-perfection and falling apart chunks of boneless pork butt (that actually comes from the shoulder) from the roaster and separate out the large portions of fat (save fat for the puppy).  Shred remaining meat using two forks.
  22. Give up on the forks idea and start using your hands.
  23. Place shredded meat in a clean plastic container (an old ice cream bucket works great)
  24. Do you have a problem with people who take their ice cream in a bucket? Are you saying I eat too much ice cream? 
  25. Drizzle generously with more bottled BBQ sauce.
  26. Get over the guilt of not preparing a sauce from scratch and stir the shredded meat until sauce is more evenly distributed.
  27. Forgo even distribution because you're tired of the slick of boneless pork butt (that actually comes from the shoulder) grease on your hands.  Empty remaining contents of BBQ sauce bottle on the meat, snap a lid down on it and bury it in the recesses of your refrigerator.
  28. Clean up.
  29. Or, alternatively, get back to the procrastination.
About that broccoli...