Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Some special stuff coming on Project 333

For anyone interested in Courtney Carver's Be More with Less / Project 333, she has an upcoming webinar planned, and you can also win a personal session with her. Details here.

(Nobody's asked me to post that, I just thought I'd pass it on.)

Wednesday Hodgepodge: almost an April Fool

From our Hodgepodge hostess: "Here are this week's questions to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then spring back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe.  See you there!"
1. What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?

Oh dear, you're not starting us off easy this week!

And I'm honestly not sure how to answer that one. Are expectations different from wishes, goals, or things we take for granted?

2. In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?

It's too early for gardening here. But we have been doing a bit of yard raking and cleanup, since the last snow melted: Mr. Fixit makes the piles, I fill the bags.

Yesterday we saw the first violet in the yard.

3. According to this site (Roadtrippers), six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are-Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara. Have you seen any on the list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?

I haven't even been to Webster's Falls, although that's the closest of those on the list. But I have seen Niagara Falls a few times, and Montmorency Falls in Quebec. I like the Elora Gorge Falls, also in southern Ontario.

4. Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

Learned to drive.

5. Ham...yes please or no thank you? If you said yes please which of the following do you like best-baked ham with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple? 

Ham (pork in general) seems to be unfashionable now, but we still eat it. Not "with all the trimmings," usually, but just baked in a roaster, and then the leftovers made into sandwiches the next day.

 6. Are you typical of your generation? How so?

Another tough one. I would say somewhat yes, somewhat no. Most women my age have spent more time working away from home than I did, although some of them may be winding down their careers. Some of them already have grandchildren, but we're not there yet. I do blog, but don't Facebook; I don't go to a gym or jog. But if we're talking about fiftyish mindsets compared to thirtyish or twentyish...yes, I think I'm more like my own age group. I grew up when phones were attached to walls, and we used to go to our trailer without any phones whatsoever...or an answering machine at home. T.V. shows were on once a week (and if you missed an episode of Mork and Mindy, maybe you could catch the rerun later in the season), and photocopies were something maybe your dad could get done for you at the office, if you asked nicely and didn't need too many. Computers were something you wrote programs for in tenth grade math class (and they came with tape recorders to hold your work). Record clubs actually sent records. Gift certificates came on paper, not plastic cards.

It's not that we haven't kept up with technology and the times, it's more that we remember when there were other ways to do things.

7. April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme...'act the fool', 'nobody's fool' 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me'...which foolish idiom most recently applies to you?

One of my favourite poems right now is Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." In spite of being done to death in English classes, it's quite marvellous, and Anthony Hopkins does a great job reading it. It's about many things, but one of them is worry about getting old (he says the eternal footman is holding his coat and snickering), people's expectations, trying to see or talk about things beyond the everyday routine, but worrying either that he'll look like a fool or just be ignored.

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

 8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's definitely a random week. There are scenes or two I'd like to see start, but I'm trying to be politic, cautious, and meticulous. I'm waiting for certain things to transpire, another shoe or three to drop, before I can make plans for more than just the stretch of road immediately ahead. But, on the other hand, who can ever do much more than that?

Linked from No Foolin', It's the Hodgpodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter-style food

 Butter tart squares
Strawberries and grapes
 Poppy seed loaf from Eurofoods
 Store cookies and pretzels
 Carrot chips and celery
 Pasta-chickpea salad (a recipe I got from The Common Room)
Bundles of cutlery and napkins

Also on the menu: food from the barbecue, and salads and desserts brought/made by family. The Apprentice arrived, alliteratively, with asparagus.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Treehouse snapshots: Easter Weekend

These pictures are for The Apprentice, who may not be able to  get here because she is under the weather.
Chippy sympathizes.
Front hall
Love seat
Working on the dining room
Dolls kicking back
Family souvenirs
Coffee table 
Lydia's tissue flowers on a vintage box embroidered with porcupine quills

Stained glass we have had for a long time...I just moved it to another window so we would notice it again
Ceramics my mom painted in the 1980's
We decluttered some holiday things this year, but Mr. Fixit wanted to keep the rabbit.

Now all we need is the ice to melt. (It's dripping! Yes!)
 Actually it's less dripping, more sliding from the roof with great smashings and crashings (to quote Lloyd Alexander).  Those things that look like broken panes of glass are shovel-sized pieces of ice. They sound like thunder when they roll down the steel roof of the Treehouse.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge: It's My Party edition

From our Hodgepodge hostess:  "It's that time again! Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog then march back here tomorrow and add your link to the party. See you there!"
1. March is National Women's History Month. In that vein, who are three women who've been influential in your life? How so? 

Homemaking skills
Family devotion (and sense of style)
Writing and friendship.

2. In what ways do you think women have it easier than men? 

I don't know--do we?

3. What do you need most right now: faith, love, hope, or peace? 

All of the above.

4. Do you have a collection? If so, what do you collect and why? 
 Books I want to read, and books I want to read again
 Vintage kitchen containers with words on them


5. Plaids, checks, polka dots, stripes...your favorite?

On me? None of them,  I like solid colours. But in the house, I'd pick plaids.

6. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? 

I like to write.

7. You're a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy. What category will you ace?  

Bible questions and books. But not American politics and college sports teams.

Monday, March 07, 2016

I knew there was a reason we homeschooled them (something to read today)

Have you ever been part of or worked for an organization whose goals, you eventually realized, were the exact opposite of what you assumed they should be?

Found via the AmblesideOnline Facebook page (I'm not a Facebooker, but anybody can read their public page): "How a Generation Lost its Common Culture," by Patrick Deneen, at
"During my lifetime, lamentation over student ignorance has been sounded by the likes of E.D. Hirsch, Allan Bloom, Mark Bauerlein and Jay Leno, among many others. But these lamentations have been leavened with the hope that appeal to our and their better angels might reverse the trend...Broadly missing is sufficient appreciation that this ignorance is the intended consequence of our educational system, a sign of its robust health and success...What our educational system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free processes and unexamined buzz-words like 'critical thinking,' 'diversity,' 'ways of knowing,' 'social justice,' and 'cultural competence.'”
And then go and read Brandy's Afterthoughts post, "The Origin of Nature Knowledge in a Charlotte Mason Education."
"I remember a number of years ago when my oldest child was reading  Secrets of the Woods...This book made him long to spend extended time in the woods, and it enticed him into holding still and listening for movement, and then seeing what there was to see. It changed a boy that once romped wildly along the path into someone who tried to be quiet as a mouse. To this day, he behaves differently out on a trail because of that book."
That is why.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Plugs and podcasts, now with an extra link

Some useful stuff for teaching parents:

Discover Reading, by Amy Tuttle. How an experienced homeschool mom applies Charlotte Mason's early reading lessons.

Let's Play Math, by Denise Gaskins. Just about everything you need to be a great homeschool math teacher, all in one book. I was impressed by the fact that this is not just another book of website links: it's something I actually enjoyed reading (even without anybody homeschooling here now).

Some things you might like to listen to:

The most recent episode of The Mason Jar, with guest Naomi Goegan. You too can do nature study!

And more nature study: The Deputy Headmistress reads from a CM-era conference paper. The Reverend Thornley is said to have been a favourite guest with the student teachers at Ambleside.

Episode 13 of Your Morning Basket. About Plutarch. With I hope you enjoy it. (There is a new volume of The Plutarch Project coming out soon too.)

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Hello March

From our Hodgepodge Hostess: "Hello March! Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then leap back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there!"

1. February ended with an extra 24 hours in 2016. What did you do with your bonus day?

I went thrifting with Mr. Fixit.

2. What's something in your life that's grown by leaps and bounds in recent days, weeks, months, or years? I'm giving you lots of room to come up with an answer here, so no fair passing on this one.

Almost too much room! I could give the obvious answer, my children over the years, but that seems like cheating.

How about something that's shrunk instead? My book collection and the amount of stuff in the house.
Awhile back.

3. Do you read reviews about a film before deciding if you'll see it? Did you watchThe Oscars this year, and if so your thoughts on the program? How many of the Best Picture nominees had you seen prior to the broadcast? (Spotlight, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, and Brooklyn) If you watched The Oscars who gets your award for 'best dressed'?

I hardly ever get to new movies, so I don't pay much attention to the awards. The last really good one Mr. Fiixit and I watched was His Kind of Woman, a film noir from 1951 with Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, and Vincent Price. Raymond Burr and Jim Backus also show up. How can you lose? (The trailer makes it look like a steamy romance, but it's more action/adventure.)

 4. When did you last have overnight houseguests? Give us your top three tips on being a good houseguest.

Don't crack your best friend's bedroom window blind having a pillow fight. Because her mother will get mad and not let you have another sleepover for a long time.

 5. March 2nd is Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Will you be celebrating? If so, would you prefer a home made peanut butter cookie, a Reese's peanut butter cup, an old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or shall I just hand you a jar and a tablespoon?

No celebration, my husband can't eat peanuts. Maybe I'll have a small quiet pb&j for lunch.

 6. Why is failure important? Or isn't it?

Being allowed the chance to risk and fail: yes, that's important. And if you never fail at anything, you might get a wrong impression of your own infallibility. But hopefully you will get smarter, more skillful, or just more aware of your own limitations as you go along, so you won't have as many disasters. Like my Evil Sewing Machine and me.

 7. Share with us one fun thing on your March calendar.

Lydia's school musical, starting tomorrow night. Gilbert and Sullivan, lots of parasols.

Linked from "And the Hodgpodge Goes To" at From This Side of the Pond.

Something to read today: Is it all so clear and obvious?

Joshua Gibbs on the Circe Institute blog muses on "Call No Man Father," among other texts.

What 10 cm of March snow looks like