• homecoming

    Last night when I got home from rehearsal, this is the sight that greeted me.

    I had called my husband as I was zipping out of town (and right before stopping by the store to pick up some on-special ice cream—priorities!) to let him know I’d be there in time to do bedtime reading. But as soon as I stepped in the door, I saw that I was not needed after all. The children were deep into the papa read-aloud, and totally entranced. So I tiptoed across the kitchen, pulled a chair up to the computer, and went about some of my “work.” (Reading plays is work, right? Right?) Every now and then my husband’s droning voice was interrupted with shrieks of laughter from the children. The house was warm and (mostly) clean, and it smelled of cinnamon. I had just stashed three boxes of ice cream in the freezer. What a sweet, gentle ending to an ordinary day.

    This same time, years previous: roasted cauliflower soup, the quotidian (2.25.13), for my daughter, and reverse cleaning.

  • I guess this means we’re unschooling

    Last year I went through a personal homeschool revolution. How did I feel about self-directed learning? What was my relationship to unschooling? How did learning actually happen? What did it mean to act on the new information I was acquiring?

    I’ve always felt dubious about traditional schooling, but last year’s questions made me go far deeper. I wasn’t just happening to do things differently, la-de-da-de-da. Now I had facts and reasons to back up my experiences. And oh, the experiences! Interesting how, after fifteen years of Growing People Up, there is so much perspective gained. Tuning in with how my children learn has been hugely instrumental in My Paradigm Shift of 2014.

    For example! I have watched as…

    …my older son listened to Khan biology lectures with complete absorption. He wasn’t taught cell structure year after year, progressively getting more detailed (and more jaded), so the information was new and fascinating. Also, there is a big difference between listening to information for the fun of it and listening to it with a need to glean key points for future regurgitation. His openness and free-wheeling fascination is palpable and completely different from how I, a top-of-the-class-student, listen.

    …my younger daughter, for years, could not grasp basic mathematical concepts. She couldn’t mentally maneuver numbers to understand that, for example, 8 + 7 is the same as 8 + 2 + 5. It felt insurmountable, so we took it slow. Lots of repetition and elementary concepts. But recently, in the last few months, there has been a shift. All of a sudden she’s juggling numbers with more ease. The multiplication facts stick in her brain faster and easier. This (small but major!) shift has nothing to do with my steady dedication and everything to do with developmental readiness—if it was the former, I would’ve seen steady improvement, but with the latter, there’s a jump that’s clearly a result of ability. So why was I pushing it all these years?

    …my younger son frolics with numbers. He gets numbers. Multiplication, square roots, fractions—it’s all a game. I do math with him because he’d be mad if I didn’t. (As I was writing this post, he came out of rest time in search of a calculator. He had pulled an 8th grade math book off the shelf and was giving it a go.)

    …my children begin launching into the real world of employers, paychecks, responsibility, and tedium. These they’re-actually-doing-it! experiences, and the fact that they are thriving outside of the home, has done wonders for my anxious mind. Just because they don’t know the state capitals or prepositional phrases doesn’t mean they’re destined to a life of drugs, whoo-hoo!

    …my almost-a-teenager daughter finally learned to read and then took off flying.

    So now that I’ve read lots of facts and amassed a bunch of experiences, how does this change our homeschooling practices? Quite frankly, not that much. I still make my kids do things they don’t want to do, and I still let them take initiative in their learning. But I’m much more comfortable gauging my decisions on, not the school system at large, but on what makes sense for us. For right now, here’s what that looks like.

    *My older daughter works at the farm two full days a week. My older son works there one-and-a-half days a week. My older son also sometimes goes to work with my husband. The result: I only have all four kids at home for one or two mornings a week, so I’m not spread quite as thin as I used to be.

    *I aim for three or four “study periods” per week with each older child. I aim for four or five with the younger two.

    *For the younger two, there is a daily math lesson. Also, each child reads aloud to me (or an older sibling) for about fifteen minutes. My younger daughter is also taking a gymnastics class.

    *My older daughter has a math lesson and listens to a Khan lecture on biology. (Regarding Khan lectures: my goal is not mastery or complete understanding, but rather an exposure to ideas and terminology. If my children decide they want to learn more about a particular area, then other measures are taken.)

    *My older son writes for thirty minutes, listens to a Khan history lecture, works on his Algebra, and practices his music for choir. He was working through a book on Latin and Greek root words, but that kind of fizzled. He’s also on a Bible quizzing team and studies (the book of Mark) for the matches.

    *I read library books out loud to the younger kids, and nights when we’re all home, we have a family read aloud time.

    *We’re slowly (as in, over the last year or so) working our way through the Cosmos series, as well as the From the Earth to the Moon series. We are re-watching the Planet Earth series. We just started watching The Incredible Dr. Pol on Netflix—it drives us crazy that they put a blur-spot over the prolapsed placentas and autopsies. We want to see what’s happening!

    *All the children are involved in youth group activities at church. They get together with friends. They relate to extended family members, mentors, youth group leaders, Sunday school teachers, and our dinner guests.

    *Then there is all the regular life learning which makes up the bulk of our existence: watching over the dentist’s shoulder has he pulls two of my older daughter’s teeth, studying up for a learner’s permit, babysitting the cousins, junior ushering and nursery duty at church, listening to Radiolab, reading oodles of books, baking cookies, playing in the snow, biking, doing chores, caring for the animals, selling eggs, attending a viewing, writing letters, playing Monopoly and countless games of cards, etc, etc, etc.

    bandaging a hurt paw 

    To sum up: I no longer spend much time thinking about what kind of schooling we’re doing anymore. We’re learning and living—our days are full. Even in our small family unit of six, we have drastically different abilities, gifts, and interests. I’m relaxing into the freedom to simply be who we are and learn as we wish. It feels so natural I almost forget to talk about it.

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.24.14), birds and bugs, bandwagons, cream scones, food I’ve never told you about: part three, and Grandma Baer’s caramel popcorn.    

  • the quotidian (2.23.15)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    Sausage, butternut, and spinach quiches.

    A lapful of babies.

    Plus braces; minus two teeth.

    Waiting impatiently (and for two hours!) for her father to unstick himself from the snowbank 
    and get home with the two extra kids he was hauling back from town. 

    In his snowy element: the man from Upstate New York.

    (I think he was secretly pleased that the snow defeated him.)

    A spot of warm in a world of drear.
    Hearth clutter.

    Because of course.

    After the storm, a day of bizarre warmth.

    This same time, years previous: peanut butter and jelly bars, pan-fried tilapia, the quotidian (2.20.12), a quiet day on the ranch, the case of the whomping shovel, blueberry cornmeal muffins, the morning after, and Molly’s marmalade cake.

  • lemon cheesecake morning buns

    The problem with sweet rolls is that they are a breakfast food that is too complicated to make in time for breakfast. What with all the yeasty risings, they just can’t happen first thing in the morning. 

    Sure, there are makeshift solutions. Shaped rolls can be proofed in the fridge overnight and then baked first thing in the morning. Or already-baked rolls can be wrapped in foil and then, come morning, warmed in the oven. But both of those solutions are, I think, suboptimal. Dough made with commercial yeast is not enhanced by a refrigerated timeout—the dough often overproofs, turning bloated and sour—and reheated rolls feel second best. There’s nothing quite like freshly-baked sweet rolls, period.

    All my sweet roll angst came to the forefront when, just the other day, I read this title: lemon cheesecake morning buns. Fresh rolls? In the morning? With lemon? Ooh-la-la!

    Then a snowstorm hit, and a hot oven and freshly baked goods seemed the right thing to do. I had my husband pick up a couple lemons and some cream cheese, and that night after supper, I mixed up the dough, the cream cheese filling, and the lemon glaze. A couple hours later, after reading to the kids and popping them into bed, I hustled back out to the kitchen to assemble the rolls and pop them into the fridge. (Yes, yes. I know what I said about yeast doughs chilling in fridges, but this yeast dough is only mildly yeasted, plus, it boasts baking powder and baking soda. The nighttime rest left it only slightly puffed and with no ill-flavor effects.) That night I went to bed excited. Breakfast was gonna be delicious!

    And it was. The rolls were delightful: lemony and cheesy, light and tender. We each had two.

    Later, I had another one. Cooled, it tasted even better, I thought. Like a lemon cheese danish.

    So now I have a solution to the sweet rolls-for-breakfast conundrum. It’s not the classic sweet roll, but hello, LEMON AND CREAM CHEESE? ‘Nuff said.

    Lemon Cheesecake Morning Buns
    Adapted from Julie of Willow Bird Baking (via Becky of Chicken Wire and Paper Flowers).

    The only change I made was to reduce the butter. I know! I know! Me, Jennifer, the butter queen cutting back the butter! It’s crazy! But seriously, a whole stick of butter with pound of cream cheese for just the filling? Even for me, it seemed like overkill. So I cut it in half and didn’t miss it.

    I’ve broken the recipe into three stages: early evening, bedtime, and morning. It may look complicated, but taken one step at a time, it’s not. Also, the first step involves the biggest mess. If you do it immediately after supper, you can add the dirty dishes to the supper pile and better utilize the dishwasher’s services. If you’re sneaky, they won’t even know they’re being taken advantage of.

    Part One: Early Evening 
    For the dough: 
    ¼ cup warm water
    1 tablespoon yeast
    5 cups flour
    1 teaspoon each baking soda, baking powder, and salt
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) butter
    2 tablespoons white vinegar
    2 cups, minus 2 tablespoons, milk

    In a small bowl, combine the water and yeast. Set aside. Measure the vinegar into the bottom of a two-cup measure. Top it off with milk.

    In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using your fingers, cut in the butter. Stir in the milk and dissolved yeast. The dough will be sticky—there is no need to knead it. Cover with a cloth and set aside.

    For the cream cheese lemon filling:
    1 pound cream cheese
    ½ cup sugar
    1 egg
    zest of one lemon
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    4 tablespoons butter, softened

    In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon zest and juice. Cover with plastic and set aside. (The butter is applied separately from the filling.)

    For the lemon glaze:
    2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    ½ teaspoon vanilla
    ¼ cup milk
    lemon zest, for garnish

    Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and milk. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. 

    Part Two: Bedtime
    To assemble:
    Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Knead very briefly. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with the 4 tablespoons of softened butter and then with the cream cheese filling. Roll the dough up as you would for sweet rolls and cut into 24 pieces. Place the rolls into two, greased 9×13 pans. Cover tightly with plastic and store in the refrigerator.

    Part Three: In the Morning 
    To bake and serve:
    Turn the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the rolls from the fridge and let sit on the top of the oven while it preheats. Bake for about 25 minutes until the rolls are puffed and golden brown. While still warm, drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle with lots of fresh lemon zest. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Updated March 27, 2015: I made these without the nighttime rest in the fridge. In fact, I pushed the recipe through in three hours from start to finish. The resulting buns were good, but not as good. Which leads me to think that the slower method is better…?

    This same time, years previous: in the eyes of the beholder, homemade Twix bars, and dulce de leche coffee.

  • in my kitchen: 11:50 a.m.

    *At the kitchen table, my daughter cuts out sugar cookie hearts.
    *Beside her mess sits the cookie cookbook that my younger son pulled out. He, too, wanted to make cookies, but I ignored him and then he got distracted by…
    *My husband installing little shelves in the back of my cupboards, to maximize space and organize our junk.
    *Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! is blasting on the radio and my husband’s drill is whine-screaming. Which means I can’t actually hear Wait! Wait!
    *The beef, onion, garlic, and jalapeno for the evening’s chili is browning on the stove before getting dumped into the waiting crock pot for an afternoon-long simmer.
    *On the cookie sheet atop the stove, the chili ingredients from the freezer: soupy black beans, red beans, corn. I didn’t plan ahead, so I had to thaw them in a warm oven for an hour.
    *On the counter, a bag of maseca flour. Ree introduced me to this chili-enhancing method.
    *Also on the counter, our new toaster, a surprise gift from the in-lawsTHANK YOU!!!! It has four slots and a bagel setting. For a good twenty-four hours, it was our main source of entertainment. I even bought a couple bags of bagels so we could have the full toaster experience.
    *On the dining room table, a pile of discarded coats. Because why bother actually putting them away?
    *And also, on the table but out of sight, a pan of cheesy bacon toasts (but with naan instead of bread) for lunch.
    *To the far left, a glimpse of the freshly-organized shoe room.
    *In the microwave, leftover beans reheating for lunch. (They were not a hit with the fambly, so lunch was an angst-ridden affair.)
    *On the kitchen table, lots of weird junk. At some point it disappeared.
    *On the counter, dishes from breakfast and a morning of cooking. After lunch, two kids worked together (not very cheerfully) to wash them all up.

    This same time, years previous: almond cake, Monday blues, digging the ruffles, coconut pudding, pain and agony, and I don’t feel much like writing.

  • in the last ten months

    When I was a kid, my mom made me and my brothers keep lists of the books we read. It was nice to know how we spent our hours and, when people asked for suggestions for good reading material, to have a list at hand. Also, she used the book lists to bulk up her homeschooling records.

    To this day, I still keep a list of all the books I have read, and I make my children do the same. However, up until a year ago, only my older son was reading. Despite being well-beyond the normal age at which children learn to read, my twelve-year-old daughter was not.

    I was, quite naturally, extremely worried (and had been for years—you can read the whole story here), but then, rather suddenly, she began reading. Now, one year later, the tables have turned so wildly that, when I have contemplated sharing her book list, I feel shy. Maybe people will think I’m bragging?

    When I mentioned my hesitation to my friend, she said, “Oh, no, you need to share that list. Remember how you felt a year ago? What would you have wanted to hear back then?”

    And so, for the pulling-her-hair-out worried Me of winter 2014, I share this book list. This, dear mama, is what your daughter-who-can-not-read has read … IN THE LAST TEN MONTHS.

    The Coming of Dragons: the Darkest Age, by A.J. Lake*
    Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
    Peter and the Sword of Mercy, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan
    The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan
    The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan
    Divergent, by Veronica Roth
    The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan
    Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
    Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
    Unwholly, by Neal Shusterman
    Unsouled, by Neal Shusterman
    The Island Stallion, by Walter Farley
    Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
    The Book of the Sword, by A.J. Lake
    The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
    Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen
    Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
    The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth
    Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare
    The Circle of Stone, by A.J. Lake
    Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
    Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson
    City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
    Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
    Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
    Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare
    Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare
    Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare
    The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
    Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
    The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan
    Here’s To You, Rachel Robinson, by Judy Blume
    The Mark of the Athena, by Rick Riordan
    New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer
    The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke
    Mind’s Eye, by Douglas E. Richards
    City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare
    City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare
    The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
    City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare
    Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
    The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    The Bane Chronicles, by Cassandra Clare
    The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    I am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore
    The Power of Six, by Pittacus Lore
    The Rise of Nine, by Pittacus Lore
    Fire, by Kristin Cashore
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

    *In the case of a series, I only linked to the first book in the series.


    If there is anything I have learned from this list, it’s this:

    Learning readiness is a real thing.
    Ignore arbitrary learning time schedules and trust the child.
    Imposed learning doesn’t hold a candle to the passion that comes from within: watch out.

    This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.17.14), chicken pot pie, creamed chicken with cheese biscuits, and tortilla pie.

  • the quotidian (2.16.15)

    Quotidian: daily, usual or customary; 
    everyday; ordinary; commonplace

    After a frightfully cold and windy night: 57 degrees in the house.

    Struggling to keep up.

    Cheesy bacon toasts, but with naan instead of bread.

    For the neighbors, with love.

    The open-air studio.

    Hanging out.

    This cuddly little guy has completely won over my non-baby-loving husband.
    Never too old for dress-up and a tea party.
    A new cousin! 

    This same time, years previous: chocolate pudding, Shakespeare in church, sweet, ginger lemon tea, just stuff, food I’ve never told you about, food I’ve never told you about, part two, odd ends, and cleaning up bad attitudes.    

  • it gets better

    Nine years ago, I had four children under the age of six. For the next few years, I was in survival mode. Nearly every day around 3 pm I’d call my husband and ask, through clenched teeth, what time he was going to be home.

    “Please,” he’d say, “I get home at five. You already know that. You don’t need to call me.”

    “But sometimes you get home at 4:30,” I’d explain for the hundred millionth time. “Just knowing you’ll be home a half hour—even just fifteen minutes—earlier gives me energy.”

    And so I called him, day after day after day. For years. Sometimes I called him in tears. “You need to come home now,” I’d screech. “I can’t do this anymore.”

    And he’d come, bless his heart.

    I rarely call him at work anymore. Even when a kid tantrums for hours on end (like yesterday morning), it’s not the same. Sure, my nerves are jangled and I’m punchy-pissed, but I’m not climbing the walls. I can do this. The tantrum will work its way out, and the child will eventually get involved in something non-screamy. There will be moments of wit-gathering calm. No longer is my husband’s five o’clock arrival my only reprieve.

    They say that parenting is always hard, and it’s just the kind of hard that changes from age to age. When my children were young, people told me that “these are the golden years.” I’d remember them fondly, they said. Fast-forward to the future and I’d be hankering after my life with babies.

    But you know what? I don’t. At least, not really. Sure, raising older kids can be rough, but the struggles don’t hold a candle to the boredom and angst I felt when I had a houseful of babies. The exhaustion and frustration. The loudness and intensity. The constant messes. The never-ending battle to find some alone time, some peace and quiet. (And don’t dare think for one minute that battle is a cute metaphor. No way. That battle had all the desperation and despair of a life-or-death situation. My soul was dying.) 

    When I see sleepy mamas wrangle irate toddlers into carseats, or hear about the child who won’t go to sleep without a nip at the boob-grog, or watch parents juggle toys, sippy cups, and diaper bags, all I can think is: we don’t have carseats! My boobs no longer make milk! And, diapers? what are diapers?

    Okay, okay. So there were sweet times, too. I look back at pictures like this and get hit upside the sappy heart with a wave of longing. They were so innocent and sweet! Such bright eyes and soft skin! My babies.

    But! Now my “babies” wipe their own butts and wash their own hair. They hang up laundry, scrub floors, clean the bathrooms, and empty the trash. They make phone calls and earn money and go on trips and put books on hold at the library. They disappear to their rooms to read for hours on end. They sleep in. They tell funny jokes and make cutting observations. They rub my feet. It’s so much better now.

    But just because I think it’s better now doesn’t mean all mothers feel the same way. Maybe, for some mothers, parenting older children really is a whole heck of a lot harder. Maybe my desire to spread hope by saying “it gets better” is just as misguided as those dreaded “these are the golden years” comments.

    Or is everyone like me, thinking that each new stage is, over all, better than the last?

    This same time, years previous: colds, busted knees, and snowstorms, the quotidian (2.13.12), the outrageous incident of the Sunday boots, a meaty lesson, physics lesson, and slow thinking.  

  • one-pot macaroni and cheese

    Remember my vodka cream sauce and how I got the recipe from a guy that posted to Facebook? That vodka cream sauce is now MY VERY FAVORITE SPAGHETTI SAUCE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, so when Mr. Foodie posted again, I was all ears. This time he wrote about one-pot macaroni and cheese.

    Boring, right?

    Um, no.

    See, my friend’s mac and cheese called for a special ingredient: sodium citrate. I had never heard of the stuff before, but after only a few minutes of web research, I ordered it. It’s inexpensive, and there’s nothing more effective than firsthand learning.

    I’ve only used the sodium citrate to make mac and cheese twice, and each time I’ve done it differently. I’m still experimenting (I have questions! I have ideas!), so maybe this post is a little premature. But I can’t help myself! With this magical stuff, macaroni and cheese has never been so fast, easy, and creamy-lush. It’s a game changer, and I want you all in this game with me. Let’s go!

    First, about sodium citrate. Sodium citrate is an emulsifier. Dissolve a teaspoon of the white powder in some water or milk and then heat it up, mix in a bunch of cheese, and you have the creamiest of cheese sauces ever. It seems weird to cook with a mystery powder, but best I can tell, it’s really no different from using citric acid (not the same thing) in canning or baking powder in baking.

    Second, about the one-pot part of the mac and cheese. My friend’s method involves adding the dry macaroni to a pot of simmering milk, and then allowing it to soak, burner off, for twenty minutes. Voilà, perfectly cooked macaroni! Then add the dissolved sodium citrate and stir it into the cooked macaroni. Add the cheese, stir until creamy, and dinner is served. Bonus, since the sodium citrate eliminates the need for a thickening, flour-based roux, you have (as long as you use a gluten-free pasta) gluten-free mac and cheese. Brilliant! 

    After twenty minutes in a pot of hot milk, perfectly cooked pasta.

    Three cheeses: sharp cheddar, fresh mozzarella, and extra-sharp white cheddar.

    Mixing it in.

    I still prefer my baked mac and cheese. I think it’s more flavorful (butter!) and complex-tasting. Plus, it has those toasty edges from the hot oven. But compared to the instant mac and cheese, I suspect this stuff is leagues ahead. And when it comes to quick lunches and hot summer days when the oven must stay off or I’ll die, this version definitely has the upper hand.


    Ideas for future experimentation:
    *perfect nacho cheese sauce without the Velveeta
    *creamier cheesy potato and broccoli soup
    *other ideas?

    One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese

    All the flavor comes from the cheese, so choose accordingly. The sharper, more flavorful (smoked gouda! extra-sharp cheddar! blue! Parmesan!), the better.

    1 pound dry macaroni
    5 cups milk
    4 cups grated cheese
    1 teaspoon sodium citrate
    2/3 cup water
    freshly ground black pepper

    In a large kettle, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the macaroni and stir well. Turn off the heat, smack on a lid, and let sit for 20 minutes.

    Dissolve the sodium citrate in the water. Add to the cooked macaroni and stir well. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add a couple grinds of pepper and serve immediately.

    Optional method: cook the macaroni according to package instructions. In a saucepan, dissolve the sodium citrate in the 2/3 cup milk. Bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Mix with the cooked pasta and serve.

    Note: I made the cheese sauce as in the optional method and poured it over steamed broccoli. The cheese sauce got watery, but I’m not sure why. Too much moisture in the broccoli, perhaps? I mashed up the leftovers and served it as a sauce for fried potatoes.

    For further reading on sodium citrate in macaroni and cheese, check out this and this.

    This same time, years previously: and then I turned into a blob, how we do things, a roundabout compliment, life, interrupted, potato gnocchi, and mocha pudding cake.  

  • a taste

    Sunday, we had a taste of summer. It was so warm—nearly bumping 70—that the air felt heavy. So luxurious!

    After church, the kids shucked shoes and straightaway went about the serious business of making all things mud, and I coerced my husband into planting some shrubs. What is it with our innate need, come the first signs of spring, to plunge our hands into the dirt? We are such primal beings.

    This week, the temperatures are dropping again. But that’s okay. At least we had a taste.

    This same time, years previous: home education series: the moral high ground, school: the verdict, learning to knit, hauling wood, and my me-me list.