Summer reads…

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If you can’t tell already, I have taken full advantage of the quiet summer months, reading like I was running out of air. I feel like my adult brain is finally firing back on all cylinders. Interestingly enough, I’ve been a serial, monogamous reader for as long as I can remember- one book at time. Start to finish. This summer though, I’ve been reading and thinking my way through all of these books in a very non-serial way. I’ve tended to pick up the one that most closely matches my mood and thought processes at the moment. I guess it helps that two of them are essay collections, so they lend themselves well to non-monogamous reading. I wonder if it’s a trend that’ll hold? That being said, I haven’t finished any of these in total, but what I’ve read of each has been just what I needed at the time. So, so good.

1./ Art of the Commonplace
2./ Food, Faith, and Fasting
3./ Following A Sacred Path
4./ Roots & Sky
5./When I Was A Child I Read Books

 

Art Friday: Let us take joy in it.

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It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

Neil Gaiman

Fill er’ up…

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A few homeschooling reads I re-visited this summer. Teaching from Rest should be one of those that you re-read anytime you start to feel the walls closing in, not just once a year in the summer!

1./ Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path

This came out early last summer, and it was so inspiring. Re-reading this year, I’ve been reminded again to look at the overall picture of our schooling days and years. I’m so excited about Heather and Ben’s collaboration, Home Grown Education.

2./A Mother’s Rule of Life

It’s good on all levels, but I was specifically re-visiting this one for scheduling considerations as we move into the new year. Our rhythm has really changed over the last year and needed tweaking. Jen Mackintosh’s planning posts are also super helpful!

3./Teaching from Rest

If you read no other “homeschooling” book, make it this one. Worth its weight in gold. Revisit as often as needed, whenever needed. (Circe Institute’s Restful Teaching seminar is a close second!)

4./The Well-Trained Mind

I hadn’t picked this up in a long while (and it’s obviously an older edition) but since we use so much of Susan’s curriculum for history, it was nice to check back in. I think everyone should read an edition of this, regardless of whatever eclectic homeschooling style you may choose to go with- it’s just a really good, solid reference to refer to when needed.

5./Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home (out of print)

Elizabeth wrote this many, many moons ago. I thought I had lost my copy, actually! But it was a good re-read. If you aren’t familiar with Montessori type approaches for young ones, it’s a great place to start. She blends a lot of Charlotte Mason in too. It holds up to the test of time. Good luck finding a copy!

Part of the continuing series, Wonder and Inquiry.

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Yarn Along

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I’ve been working on a washcloth design of my own invention the last few days, as the type I knitted two and three years ago are starting to reach the end of their working life. I want a bit more of a scrubby-type texture so we can use steel wool scrubbies less. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you love Jan Karon’s Mitford series, you’ll love Aidan’s Song. It is like Father Tim’s diary- if he were an Orthodox priest instead of an Anglican one- but it’s a true story! (ANNND, Fr. Aidan is married to a Cynthia, too. I’m just sayin’.) It is so delightful! My friend Elizabeth sent it to me. I laughed and cried and laughed again and had “big thoughts” as Pooh likes to say. Truly lovely!

Sharing with Ginny.

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Daddy’s Mexican Casserole

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Our never ending quest to find gluten free recipes for our large family is, well, never ending. It’s a constant thing, no? And we’ve found quite often our favorite recipes haven’t come from a book but from Necessity, the mother of invention. Isn’t that the way of it? This one came about one night when we realized there was only a smattering of leftovers and no full meal in the pantry. James dived into the refrigerator and came up with this, and it’s fast become a favorite, made from other nights’ leftovers. (We now make sure to make a bit extra on the normal nights.) It has become our “pizza night”- when we’re too tired or too low on pantry or funds. Fast, easy, yummy.

One of the amazing gifts God gave this summer: an eighth of a grass-fed beef share- some 25 lbs of free organic grass-fed super healthy ground beef from a local farm. We rarely buy beef because it has to be grass-fed (grain-fed has enough gluten to trigger) and it is so stinking expensive. It’s been a tremendous blessing!

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Daddy’s Mexican Casserole

Serves 8.

soft GF safe/corn tortillas (enough to cover a 9 x 13 pan twice)**

8 oz  of your favorite salsa

1 lg can refried beans (or 2 cups home made/pre-cooked)

1 large bag of stirfry veggies (peppers and onions- sometimes this is called fajita mix)

1 large bag frozen corn**

2-3 cups leftover cooked rice

leftover taco beef (seasoned) around 2-3 cups (1/2 to 2/3 lb.)

2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Layer the ingredients like lasagna, subbing the tortillas for the “noodles”. It’s fine (and especially helpful) if your soft taco shells are getting a bit dry. This is a great way to use them up. We cover the top layer of corn tortillas with just shredded cheese, making a nice crusty, nacho like top when cooked. Cook at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. Since all of the items have been pre-cooked or frozen, you’re basically looking to warm it up and melt the cheese. If you don’t have leftover taco meat or rice, you’ll need to cook that up separately and then layer it in to the casserole. When it’s done in the oven, we top with sour cream and diced green onions, if we have them, sometimes some torn up fresh spinach. The great thing about this? Choose your own fillings! We’d add black olives and etc if it was just us older people- the younger kids don’t like them. It stretches a bit of meat and a bit of tortillas really far.

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**Just a note, as we explore more of the auto-immune protocol diet, and from what we already know, we try to limit corn for Ellianna to only once or twice a month. There are some studies showing that corn is causing many of the same problems for Celiacs, and Elly’s dietician recommended this approach. We will often make her something “safer” if we’ve already had this a couple of times that month. We rarely cook separately for her, but it does happen sometimes. All of our main meals are gluten free to prevent cross-contamination. 

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