Saturday, April 25, 2015

Big book sale, small haul

This weekend was the annual book sale, but since I've been in more of a clearing-out mood, I limited the takings to five:

1. Sir Nigel, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

2. Northanger Abbey--a replacement copy

3. The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

3. The Man Who Would Be King, by Dorothy L. Sayers (the bright blue hardcover)

5. Robert Louis Stevenson's Essays, good comfort food reading. Some thoughts on Stevenson's writing, here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Supper on Earth Day: Climate Change Soup

Tonight's dinner menu:

Climate Change Soup. Recipe: Remove several small containers of soup, beans, and tomatoes from freezer. Melt in pot on stove, adding water as needed. Simmer until supper time. Serve with toast or sandwiches.

Lucky Lydia

Found at the thrift store: Louis Vuitton handbag. It appears to be the real thing. I vow that girl has a Muse of Shopping following her around.

From the archives one more time: God's Earth Day

First posted April 2010.  Ponytails was in grade 7 and Dollygirl (then called Crayons) was in grade 3.

I am not the only one to think of calling April 22nd "God's Earth Day," but it did come into my head as I contemplated one of my least favourite "holidays," on which it's demanded that we bow down not only to the Bunny but to the Asian Elephant, the Blue Whale, the Hybrid Spider Monkey, and every other endangered species, not to mention the Dandelion and the Recyclable Plastic Bag.

"On April 22nd, over six million Canadians will join one billion people worldwide in celebrating Earth Day. Nearly every school across Canada will also participate in Earth Day events and festivities. Everyone is looking to make a difference – one that will heal our planet."--TVOntario website

So how are we reclaiming this homeschooling day without using the words green, environment, recycle, or eco-anything?

Bible "Sword Drills" using the word "Earth"

Bible memory song: Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands..."

Favourite hymns: All Creatures of Our God and King, This is My Father's World, any others...and ending with Isaiah 6:3: "....Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

A chapter of Eleanor Doorly's The Insect Man (biography of Jean Henri Fabre)

Nature notebook time in the backyard--lots of dandelions to sketch, and our lone tulip that hasn't yet been eaten by The Bunny...

A game of Beaver Ed's Nature Cards, or maybe a round of Animal, Vegetable or Mineral (Twenty Questions)

A lesson for Crayons from Munro Leaf's book Geography Can Be Fun (which is about the earth too)

Watering the cucumber and pepper plants we've started indoors, and remembering to rinse the lentil sprouts in the cupboard

Usborne Map of the World Jigsaw


Making something good to eat...just haven't decided what yet...

Want more? Christian Earth Day Printables (colouring pages and such)

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!....Psalm 8:1

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Funniest commercial we've seen lately

Make sure you watch all the way to the part with the birds and the microphone.
 

A bar cookie recipe I made up

I made these last night for a meeting here. It's an adaptation of a Dad's Cookie recipe, but I changed some things to suit what I had, and baked them in a 15-inch pan to save time.

Coconut-Fruit-Oatmeal Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla (the recipe did not call for any, but I put in what was in the bottom of the bottle)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt (the original recipe did not call for salt, but I added a little)
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used a mixture of berries from the baking aisle at Wal-Mart)
1 cup or more shredded coconut (a leftover from Christmas)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugars, then add the egg and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, combine well. Add in the remaining ingredients. Spread in a large baking pan; you shouldn't need to grease it with all the butter in the dough.  Bake approximately 20 minutes, until golden and fairly firm but not overbaked. Cut into squares while still warm.

Friday, April 17, 2015

What's for supper? Crazy Crust Pizza

The recipe's been around forever, I've just never tried it before. Topped with ground chicken, onion, mushrooms, a bit of cooked bacon, sauce, and pizza-blend cheese. Good way to end the week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's for supper? Making it better

Tonight's dinner menu:


Revamp of last night's beef, mushroom, potato "stoop" that wasn't very inspiring particularly as leftovers. I rinsed off most of the stodgy sauce and reheated the remainder with onion and pizza sauce, then melted cheese on top and we'll have it on noodles. Peas on the side.

Revamp of leftover raspberry pudding, plus frozen bits of pizza cake, plus the end of a jar of jam and enough water to moisten it all.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Another four-day school week (Lydia's Grade Eight)

For the third time in three weeks, we have a four-day school week to pack everything into. Friday this week is a public-school day off for students, but Lydia is probably going to spend it being a "student for a day" at her friend's school where they don't get the day off. Got it?

Plans for this week include:

Chapters 2 and 3 of Mere Christianity. Interesting that "the law" comes into so many books we read this year.

Some serious work on Latin.

History: The New World, chapter 21, about the return of Charles II.



Done with George Herbert, starting John Milton.

Two chapters from Eric Sloane's Weather Book.

Mathematics: work on Chapter Six, "Mathematical Curves"

Keep reading Perelandra together.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

What's for supper? Creamy Ziti with spinach and ham

Tonight's dinner menu:

Creamy Ziti, from Saving Dinner. We even have the frozen spinach and ham she calls for. Serendipity.

Quote for the day: shiny happy people?

"I do most of my work sitting down; that's where I shine." ~~ Robert Benchley.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

What's for supper? New lentil mixture

Tonight's dinner menu:
Sweet Lentil Stew from Saving Dinner
Reheated meatloaf
Garlic toast made with leftover dinner rolls (photo is before toasting)
Chocolate Easter bunny.

Never say I don't tell all.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Smart Charlotte Mason people, and the Blog Carnival

If you're looking for some good Charlotte Mason-related posts this week, you should check out Don't Get Your Head Turned, at Afterthoughts, and also this very good post from Wendi Capehart about what makes living books really living, at the Archipelago blog.

Also, the CM Blog Carnival for April is up at Fisher Academy International. As in the previous few months, this one is in linky format, so you can add to it during the month.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Spring Flower Afghan

My sister-in-law gave us two bags of yarn leftovers. In one of the bags were twenty granny squares with off-white borders, and the rest of the yarn she had bought for her project.

At first I thought I would just sew the squares into a pillow cover.  Then I looked at this afghan (photo below) that I made almost thirty years ago (scary thought), and wondered if I could use the new squares to make something similar, because there was quite a lot of the off-white yarn. I didn't have the original pattern anymore (it probably came from Crochet World), but it didn't look that hard to figure out. (The yarn is Patons Canadiana.)
So here are some photos of the new afghan as it progressed. I'll put the captions under each photo.
I sewed the squares into two strips and went around each strip once to make a small border. I made three plain strips, the center one a little wider than the others. The plain strips are rows of treble crochet alternating with rows of half-double crochet, with chain stitches between the other stitches. The original afghan is all one colour except for the flowers, but I wanted to use some of the extra coloured yarn. I had enough egg-yolk yellow to edge the side strips, and I added apricot-orange borders to the flower strips.
The middle panel got a teal blue border.
Borders done, panels sewn together.
Off-white and teal granny-square style edging around the whole thing.
Then a solid off-white border. All this is pretty much the same as the original, but it shows up better with the bright colours.
Another view.
Close-up of the corner.

Oh, I forgot to say: I gave the afghan to my sister-in-law.

Easter photos

Snow in April.
Raw veggie plate
Fruit pizza, ready except for banana slices we're adding at the last minute
Dinner table
My favourite coffee percolator (that's for Jeanne).

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Easter food, in progress

 Orange-flavoured cream cheese candy
 Lemon-flavoured cream cheese candy
 Cake in a pizza pan, ready to add fruit and other toppings tomorrow
 Sauce cooking for Tofu-Almond Lasagna
 Lasagna, assembled. I will bake it tomorrow.
Sweet potato salad.

Friday, April 03, 2015

For Good Friday, from Perelandra

Giorgio Vasari, The Garden of Gethsemane

In Perelandra, the second book of the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, linguistics professor Elwin Ransom has been transported to "Venus," a planet that somewhat resembles the Garden of Eden and that contains not only a humanoid "Eve," but an evil force determined to subvert the planet for its own ends. Until this point in the story, Ransom has hoped that he can simply out-argue or out-logic the evil one, which has taken over the body of another man from Earth (Ransom thinks of it as the Un-man). Now he realizes that more may be required, and he is not sure if he has it in him to give. During a long, silent night, he confronts his fears.

"He sat straight upright again, his heart beating wildly against his side. His thoughts had stumbled on an idea from which they started back as a man starts back when he has touched a hot poker. But this time the idea was really too childish to entertain. This time it must be a deception, risen from his own mind. It stood to reason that a struggle with the Devil meant a spiritual struggle...the notion of a physical combat was only fit for a savage. If only it were as simple as that...but here the voluble self had made a fatal mistake. The habit of imaginative honesty was too deeply engrained in Ransom to let him toy for more than a second with the pretence that he feared bodily strife with the Un-man less than he feared anything else. Vivid pictures crowded upon him...the deadly cold of those hands (he had touched the creature accidentally some hours before)...the long metallic nails...ripping off narrow strips of flesh, pulling out tendons. One would die slowly. Up to the very end that cruel idiocy would smile into one's face. One would give way long before one died--beg for mercy, promise it help, worship, anything....

"The voluble self was almost thrown out of its argumentative stride--became for some seconds as the voice of a mere whimpering child begging to be let off, to be allowed to go home. Then it rallied. It explained precisely where the absurdity of a physical battle with the Un-man lay. It would be quite irrelevant to the spiritual issue. If the Lady were to be kept in obedience only by the forcible removal of the Tempter, what was the use of that? What would it prove? And if the temptation were not a proving or testing, why was it allowed to happen at all? Did Maleldil suggest that our own world might have been saved if the elephant had accidentally trodden on the serpent a moment before Eve was about to yield? Was it as easy and as un-moral as that? The thing was patently absurd!

"The terrible silence went on. It became more and more like a face, a face not without sadness, that looks upon you while you are telling lies, and never interrupts, but gradually you know that it knows, and falter, and contradict yourself, and lapse into silence. The voluble self petered out in the end. Almost the Darkness said to Ransom, 'You know you are only wasting time.'....

"He had exhausted all his efforts. The answer was plain beyond all subterfuge....This he must do: this he could not do....'It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom,' said the Voice."

Thursday, April 02, 2015

What do you eat at Easter? (updated)

The local supermarket ads always feature any ethnic feast or holiday that's going on. When it's not your own tradition, the reasons for the specific foods they're featuring are quite mysterious. Why does this or that Indian festival require this or that vegetable, or that dessert? What are they going to make with those big sacks of rice and flour that are on sale?

So with that in mind, I find the Easter-week ads amusing. What do non-Easter-celebrating people make of the fact that cream cheese is almost always featured, along with eggs? I'm not even sure what we're meant to do with that: cream cheese icing for carrot cake? Cheese cake? Cheese balls?

There are frozen vegetables, fruit pies, vanilla ice cream, cases of pop, cake mix, Pillsbury rolls on sale. Stuffing mix and spices. Clamato juice (I don't think I have ever had that, not even once). Ham, lamb, and turkeys. Pots of spring flowers. Bacon, I suppose to eat with the eggs or pancakes at your Easter Brunch.

Well, anyway, here's our extended-family menu for Sunday dinner this year.

Turkey if we can find one, or ham if we can't
Sweet potato salad from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
Carol Flinders' Tofu-Almond Lasagna
Salad that my sister-in-law is bringing
Raw veggie plate
Kiffle (jam-filled Easter rolls, but we're using this roll dough this year)

Fruit pizza (white vegan cake baked in a pizza pan, with strawberry jam sauce and fresh fruit on top)
Maybe another dessert from my sister-in-law
Maybe some other fresh fruit or candies if we have some.

Something to drink.

Besides the family dinner, we have a "Paska Party" at church before the service on Easter morning, which means, mostly, coffee and sweet breads, or whatever people want to bring. I am probably going to take cream cheese mints (the gf people at church like them, and I had already bought some of that mysterious cream cheese on sale) and some of our kiffle. For Friday we don't usually buy hot cross buns since nobody except me likes those weird bits of peel and stuff in them, but I did make Carrot Spice Cupcakes (more like muffins) for a treat.

(The Apprentice wanted to know why the texture of the muffins was lighter than most of our muffins. It's sort of a hybrid recipe, halfway between cake and muffin batter, with two eggs. Also, I used one cup whole wheat flour and the rest ground-up rolled oats. I have made them with just ground-up oats, too. The recipe calls for coconut, nuts, and raisins in addition to carrots, but I left those out; and I changed the spices a bit, left out the ginger but added a bit of cloves and allspice.)

Mystery package, thrifted wrapping

One way to wrap a present: an embroidered pillowcase from the thrift store.

If you want to know what's inside, you'll have to come back on Monday.
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