Friday, October 21, 2011

Italian Pastry Diversion

Sometimes the days are so long and so hard.  It's so rare that I get any sort of break.  That is why those mandatory afternoon "quiet times" are absolutely golden. 

This week has been especially long since Kevin has had multiple evening engagements.  Yesterday I finally turned to the kids and said, "Is the reason you are so whiny because your dad has not been home?"  Then they started bawling louder.  If kids were at all logical, they would be extra kind when their dad is not home to help out their poor mom.  But, alas, kids are not logical.  

At the end of the day yesterday, when the kids were finally in bed, I decided to absolve myself of the guilt of dirty dishes and crumbs on the floor and that big, thick book I still need to finish for book club.  I decided to watch Cake Boss on Netflix.  

Let me just say: I love Cake Boss!!  

Here is this larger-than-life, boisterous Italian family in New Jersey, operating this 100-year-old bakery and producing these incredible cakes that can only be described as masterful works of art.  Last night I watched them make a Leaning Tower of Pisa cake.  Amazing!

I love watching them yell at each other and love on each other and make these beautiful creations.  It's 23 minutes of comic diversion for this tired mom's soul. I need that now and then. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tea and Art Time

God has given me three precious little girls. Sometimes I wonder why He did that because I'm really not that much of a girly-girl. I like law and politics and I have always enjoyed playing sports. Sometimes I think God gave me girls so that I would get more in touch with my feminine, feeling side! One of the things I have done to make sure that I am regularly connecting with my girls is have a weekly tea with them. Every Thursday after our Classical Conversations classes, we come home and have tea. I do not have time to do "fancy" at this point, but we do always get out the nice China. Some weeks, when we don't have any special snack in the cupboard, we just pop popcorn. We rotate through teas, but the girls' favorites are peppermint and Meredith loves English Breakfast. We all look forward to this time together. Last Thursday Meredith and Clara got dressed up for the occasion too.




After our tea is over, we also try to do some art together. I am not very good at doing planned art projects with the kids. (That is why I sign them up for library art classes and we do Classical Conversations!!) So we just get out some paints or do some pencil drawings. I had read in Teaching the Trivium that the best way to become a good artist is to copy, copy, copy. So I bought the book Animals: 1419 Copyright-Free Illustrations. Last Thursday we enjoyed doing some free-hand copying. It is really nice to just take a tea break and focus on doing something beautiful. Life frequently gets so hectic and busy. We love our Thursday afternoons together.


Pumpkin Day!

Pumpkin Day is a big deal at our house. This is our third year (maybe fourth?) doing it and it just gets more fun every year. We always start the day off with pumpkin pancakes at our house, go to a really fun pumpkin patch and fall fest, and then end the day eating more pumpkin goodies. This year Kevin's mom hosted dinner and made Spicy Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup. And, of course, we had pumpkin pie. I originally got the idea to do this from the book Pumpkin Day by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. What a fun day!!






















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Our Man

I love this man. He is amazing. His kids love him too. Family bike rides are the best. (And yes, people smile and stare when they see all these bike attachments!)

Have I mentioned already how wonderful my husband is? Here he is with the girls:

Impromptu Civics Lesson

This year the kids are memorizing all of the states and capitols. I have talked to them about how a capitol is the center of government for the state and it is where all of the state's laws are debated and enacted. After having lunch with Kevin on Friday--something we try to do at least once a month--we walked over to the State House to show them around.

Meredith, at the Court of Appeals. While I think that Meredith will be a businesswoman/artist (my prediction at this point!), she also is intrigued by law.

Clara takes in the beautiful interior of the capitol building.

Checking out the state assembly. The kids enjoying seeing the buttons on the desks and hearing about how the laws are debated and voted on.

A good day!
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Running ... continued.

I have continued the C25K running plan, with only one slight set back. During week three, I got a head cold. So, I decided to repeat a few days of week three, rather than moving on and kicking it up a notch. Currently I am running nine minutes out of 23. When I start week four, I will be running 16 minutes out of 26.5. Eek. That seems like a big jump to me.

On Saturday morning, I started my walk/run a little later than usual because Kevin was home and I had more flexibility. As I started out, it was just before sunrise and there was a thin fog ahead of me. The world was still and peaceful. I was the only one out. After 10 minutes, I got on the trail that runs behind my house. It was getting lighter at that point and I could see all of the splendid fall foliage and listen to the golden leaves crunch underneath my feet. I started to see a few more people out and about. I continued running and walking alternately, enjoying the crisp fall air. By the time I got home, the sun had just started rising and the sky was full of colorful splendor. I sat down on my back porch to enjoy all the color. All of the stillness. All of the peace. Every time I do this, in the end I think, "It is worth it." It is really hard to get up early. Especially when I feel sick. But in the end, I really, really enjoy it. I can understand why people really love running. When I run, I feel alive.

Apples and More Apples

The trek to Anderson Orchard to pick apples is an annual tradition.



We love the apple slushies!

We took home three bushels of apples.

And 24 hours later we had turned 2 1/2 of those bushels into 42 jars of apple sauce! Ta da! Kevin's mom has shown me that nothing tastes better with hot soup in the fall and winter than homemade apple sauce.

Another ... field trip!

I must be new to this homeschooling thing because I signed up for way too many field trips! But it really has been fun.

Here we are at an old-fashioned turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor in Columbus, Indiana, which is also a museum.




Columbus also has this amazing indoor playground. The kids LOVED it.


I also took Meredith to a fire safety program at a local fire department. It was really great because they filled a room full of artificial smoke to show the kids how to "fall and crawl" in the case of a fire and covered other basic info.

They also had the kids practice crawling out of a window.

Kevin took the day off work and we all went down to Marengo Cave in southern Indiana. We had a 60-minute tour of one part of the cave and a 90-minute tour of another part of the cave. The kids also got to mine for gemstones, which they really enjoyed. Unfortunately I only had my phone to take pictures with. :( We would definitely go back! Marengo Cave was great.