Showing posts from 2022

7 Simple Goals for 2023

1. Exercise consistently- I've printed out a schedule that will allow me to ease back into exercise. It is a three month schedule. I'll be happy if I can finish it in six, and that will actually be a great improvement from last year.  2. No Facebook- I am wasting more and more of my time scrolling on Facebook. I shouldn't know anything about the royal family, but somehow, I am learning all about them. I find myself conditioned to go back to Facebook throughout my day even when I am in the midst of a good book. Something is definitely going wrong! When I'm online alot, I judge people harshly and envy them badly. So I'm taking a year's break from social media. Do I think I'll stay off Facebook entirely? No. But if I make "no Facebook" the goal, hopefully, days and days will go by without it, I can retrain my brain to focus on tasks for longer periods of time, and do other, better things (like pray) with my insomnia.  3. Less podcasts-  When smart, s

Another Lovely Day

Adele and I made up a biscotti recipe today. We're calling it "Christmas Biscotti," since it has pistachios for green, and cranberries for red, also almonds and vanilla. We taste-tested the biscotti as we played some card games together.  Her big sisters listened to a Broadway soundtrack, chatted about the storyline, crocheted, knitted, created clay figurines for Etsy, or put together a puzzle.  Dwayne read a book, smoked a bunch of meat for several upcoming meals, and tried, unsuccessfully, to fix my kitchen drawer. (We have to take it to a professional for repairs.)  Later, I made we ate a homemade soup and watched an episode of The Chosen while eating. We usually always eat at the table, so it's fun when we don't. Norah's been watching Season One of The Chosen with her sisters since coming home. She wanted to see it, since her sisters like it so much. She doesn't have time or opportunity to watch it at school.  Then we all read silently from our various

2022 Goals- Successes and Failures

My successes this year often took a different form than I originally planned.  My failures this year were constantly humiliating, but oddly fruitful, too, since humility isn't a bad thing for a Christian. And I may have learned some lessons from my errors that will help me in future.  So here's my goals for 2022 and each assessment of how I did, however painful. 1. Track my calories- Failure. This happened some, but not consistently enough to create a habit. I found it somewhere between impractical and impossible to stop often enough to enter everything I ate in the record. Granted, when I made this a habit in the past, it produced greater accountability for what was going into my mouth, and I lost weight, naturally. I also built better and better eating habits with less unhealthy food and more nutritious food. But since this is so tedious, I'm prayerfully reconsidering this as a goal for the future. Perhaps there's another way to cultivate awareness and accountability

Books Read in 2022

The best book I read in 2022: The Intellectual Life by Sertillanges  Other favorite books this year: Life Together by Bonhoeffer Ourselves by Charlotte Mason Sounding the Seasons by Malcolm Guite The entire list of books I read (or reread) and finished in 2022: Ourselves by Charlotte Mason Mistobrn, Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages by Sanderson The Silmarillion by Tolkien Arcanum Unbounded by Sanderson The Deep Places by Ross Douthat Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold The City of God by Augustine Dune by Frank Herbert The Fiddler's Gun and The Fiddler's Green by AS Peterson Sounding the Seasons, Word in the Wilderness, Faith, Hope, and Poetry, The Singing Bowl by Malcolm Guite The Tempest by Shakespeare  The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. The Complete Poems of John Keats  Another Sort of Learning by Schall  A Heart to Know Him by Lynne Bauman Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens The Aeneid  The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin Strange New World Carl Truman

A Christmas Vacation Well Spent

This week between Christmas and New Year is the most leisurely of my year. It's the only week without appointments and lessons. That said, I've done a lot of calling, planning, paying, etc. for the activities that are coming this season. I'm getting the regular cleaning done, and a lot of extra cooking and baking. I'm also reading for hours in the middle of the day and napping some, things I hardly ever get to do. I actually took time to simply sit in the silence and think. That never happens. I wrote a letter to a friend, and I completed some of those more random household tasks that needed to be done, like inventorying and reorganizing my pantries, closets, and storage rooms. We started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia (in order of their publication, of course) before our oldest, Norah, left for college. Now she's finished an entire semester of college, and she's back for Christmas break, but we've been moving so slowly though read alouds lately that s


 I gave the girls Barnes and Noble gift cards in their stockings,  our very generous neighbors also gave them gift cards,  and Barnes and Noble was having a big sale the day after Christmas since it is moving locations and wants to get rid of inventory,  so it was a happy, happy day for these three bookworms! 

Christmas Day 2022

After breakfast and Christmas readings, we opened gifts.  Avril asked for crochet supplies galore. We gave her one of every single size needle and this Harry Potter character kit. She's getting great at crochet and takes a lot of joy in the works she makes.   Wearable blankets were the biggest hit with everyone. Arcus enjoyed the festivities, too. Later, he destroyed a few of the empty boxes bite by bite. Turning boxes into confetti is his favorite past-time.  Norah, now being an adult, now making her own money, now having access to cool antique stores and craft festivals in and around here college in Franklin, TN, bought Dwayne an awesome drinking horn! New converse for that college life- purple for everyday, black and white pair for special occasions Norah bought me an antique book of poetry! There are ample notes in the margins from the previous owner who was quite well-read and who loved mythology! I love it when previous owners make notes in old books! She also bought me a doi

Christmas Eve 2022

  We attended Christmas Eve service in the afternoon.  As always, we did our Advent readings after dinner and opened our new jammies before bed. 

Breakfast Casseroles at Christmas

Dwayne's company sends us a gift of ham and bacon and various, assorted, related goodies at Christmas. It's a lovely gift.  I usually plan dinners or Sunday afternoon meals with these items in the days and weeks following. But this year, I'm planning four breakfasts for the four days we're together and home around Christmas.  We don't often get to eat breakfasts as a family on weekdays, because the adults get up hours before the children and my husband usually prefers not to eat before leaving for work. And even on weekends, we can't have a nice breakfast together because there events, errands to run, or church to attend.  But on holidays like Christmas, when we all just stay home together, there's plenty of time and opportunity to gather around the table in the morning. So I get to try some breakfast casseroles I don't usually have opportunity to make.  I'm specifically trying casserole in the Foster Family's Cookbook. The Foster family was Dw

Phantom of the Opera

Norah and Laura are best friends. They met in Challenge B at Classical Conversations and grew up together through Challenge 4. Now they are both freshmen at different colleges, but still staying in touch. As things go with homeschooling families, it isn't just the kids who are friends, it's the families who are friends with the other families. Ligian and I are old friends now and have taught each other's kids at Classical Conversations for years. We moms decided to surprise the girls with a trip to NYC to see "The Phantom of the Opera." It was a great night! The Phantom of the Opera is leaving Broadway soon, even though it's the longest running show in history, so we were glad to see it before it's part of history. 

Norah Made Us Dinner

Norah is home from college for Christmas break. She's been working all day to earn money for college, but she still made us dinner tonight. Her black bean soup was way better than mine or even Panera's. She's been planning meals, and grocery shopping, and cooking with her roommate since going away to school. I didn't even learn how to really do that till a few years into marriage! We are very proud! 

Christmas Break = More Piano and Reading

 I love Christmas break. The girls do more piano practice than usual, and we all do alot more silent reading.

Pajama Oscars

 Avril attended the "Pajama Oscars" at our church's youth group meeting tonight. I'll say. If there's a prize, she's sure to be in the running! 

Present Interrogations

 The girls interrogated me when I came downstairs for lunch. They asked all sorts of questions about the Christmas presents they knew I had been upstairs wrapping behind a locked door. It was all good fun. Aren't they silly? 

A Meditation on Gifts

It takes a few hours to wrap all our family's Christmas gifts.  While wrapping today, my thoughts turned towards gifts and all that I know and believe about them.  Gifts are good. Not only good, gifts are even Godly.  God is the Source of all the things we have, and He is most generous.  It's out of His abundance the universe was created.  It is from His being that we have our existence.  God pours unmerited gifts on His Creation and its creatures, and all the best things in life originate in Him.   Scripture says, "Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father in Heaven." James 1:17 Human parents are like God when we give our children good gifts.  Jesus said, "If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?" Matthew 7:11 I am delighted to give my kids mostly everything on their Christmas lists this year, because mostly everything they asked for is goo

Our Library Protocol

I don't let my kids go to the library during the homeschool year.  It's shocking, I know.  But through much trial and error, I've determined that library books can be a huge distraction from all the really great books and all the really important assignments they are supposed to be reading and completing during the homeschool year.  One too many great novels didn't get read in time or research papers didn't get written until the night before our CC community day because of some Harry Potter or Artmeis Fowl book.  (Actually, I'm pretty sympathetic to Harry Potter. I once let my daughter stay up till midnight before community the next day because she had finally finished all her schoolwork for that week and she only had a few chapters of the last book to read.) So library visits are reserved for the weeks when we have official homeschool breaks.  The library is right next to the piano studio where the girls take lessons, so after lessons and during holidays, it

Norah's Home

  Our oldest daughter is home from college for Christmas Break!  We picked her up at the airport Saturday afternoon, and she got to choose what kind of restaurant we went to for dinner; She chose Mexican. So we took her to a favorite Mexican restaurant where we already have a lot of fun family memories.  Later, we all settled in at home and instead of going to bed, she decided to come downstairs to visit with the fam. But that really just means that she just fell asleep on the couch with her feet towards the fire in the midst of us all! We just read and talked quietly around her for a few hours, happy to have her in our midst.  

Biscotti Basics

Adele and I spent most of the day Friday making all sorts of biscotti. We gifted half of it to dear friends.  Here's a basic biscotti recipe you can endlessly adapt.  Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons butter, cool and chopped in chunks 1 cup sugar (or brown sugar) 2 eggs  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1/4-1/2 teaspoon almond, anise, butter, mint, etc. extract and/or flavorings) 1-1 1/2 cups of dried fruits and/ or nuts Directions:  Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Mix together butter and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and any other extracts or flavors Stir the dry ingredients into the wet little by little by hand.  Add whatever dry ingredients you want up to one and half cups.  Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Shape dough into a ball to transfer to baking sheet.   Shape dough into a long loaf on the baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Take out the loaf and