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Friday, June 25, 2010

Summertime


Flower Bag from the CSA


Okie as Zack Sees Him

90 degrees..Let's do Solar Projects


The Ladies and Big Grif
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Friday, June 18, 2010

A Toast to Gluten- Free Goddess

After suffering with colitis since fourth grade, my amazing sister went gluten-free last year and it literally changed her life. She also has to be free of a staggering array of other foods.  Like cheese. The very thought of giving up cheese fills me with anxiety. I ate some sharp cheddar moments ago.  But my sister gave up cheese. And toast.  Except for gluten-free toast. The control she has gained over a horrible condition feels miraculous. While learning a bit about gluten-free cooking I ran across the wonderful  Gluten-Free Goddess whose writing is so much fun to read she could be writing about the life cycle of the tapeworm and I would still want to read her blog.  She has a great birthday post called 56 Things To Remember that is well worth a visit even if gluten is not a problem for you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"I've always wanted to play the violin"

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When he was five Adam told me that he'd always wanted to learn to play the violin. Finally, at seven, he got his chance to join a beginning violin class. Will it stick? Who knows? But watching him challenge himself and find joy in playing has been one of the high points of my motherhood. Hearing him practice does not pain me. It is as if I was always meant to live in a home with a beginning violinist and almost as if I have done this before. This is a sticky place for mothers. What if someday I love his violin more than he does and he is done with it? What if he quits? Will I be able to let go, with grace, and support him in what comes next?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Safer Cleaning With A Swiffer Wet Jet

I have been meaning to do this for years but was afraid to try. My Swiffer Wet Jet went unused because even though I loved the mop I hated the chemicals. This week my washable head rope mop gave up so I poked around and found directions for a mod (I learned this term from my son who likes to tweak his Nerf guns) at     
Greenmamaspad. 
My son had the cap off in a jiffy  ( wearing eye protection, of course) and after fumbling a bit with the small, flexible membrane that sits (unattached) in the cap, I had the purple Swiffer bottle undressed, rinsed and refilled with plain old water.  Ahhh! The relief! I have some leftover pads I'll save for special occasions.  Otherwise I'll use microfiber cloths which can be sewn but worked fine for me just stuck to the bottom of the mop.  I found wetting the cloths and squeezing out the excess worked well.  You'll work harder because the cloths have more friction BUT you can burn a few extra calories and feel good about yourself now that you have ditched those nasty chemicals. Thank you Green Mama!


*Note*6/28 Since I first modified the mop I have been using a solution of about a teaspoon of Greenworks All Purpose Cleaner added to plain water to fill the container for my tile, old vinyl, and linoleum. I just want to use it up and then make something greener. I plan to use a black tea solution for hardwood floors for regular cleaning.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Explaining Why We Homeschool

We are relaxed, eclectic, secular homeschoolers. When people ask us why we homeschool our boys I can rattle off a list of reasons and the things on the list are all important. But a list of reasons does not capture the essence of the thing. With some people I may just say it is a lifestyle that works for us and leave it at that. Sometimes I mention my forward thinking father and my experience at the now defunct Hammonasset School where he taught. Many reasons for our choice are deeply personal and complicated and relate to what I believe about childhood and how we handle children in our culture. Some of my reasons are spiritual though I am not a religious person. A simple conversation, even with a well meaning person, can become deeply philosophical very quickly. And deeply uncomfortable. Once, I was told by a retired public school teacher, in front of my children, that I was ruining their lives. Luckily most people have more thoughtful responses.

Homeschooling is so much a part of me, of us, of our family, that pulling reasons out for discussion and explanation can feel like throwing a jellyfish on a dissecting tray in the hot sun to understand its jellyfish nature. As I have gotten older and no longer feel an almost nutty need to "explain myself" and be "acceptable" to others, I find that I have a deepening appreciation for people who articulate some of my own beliefs about education and children and are reaching a wide audience. These folks are doing an incredibly important job challenging people to think about children and learning in different ways. The video below made my homeschooling heart sing so I want to share it here.

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