Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Yarn Along


I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along, sharing a current crochet project and read-in-progress, a bit early because I have other blogging commitments later in the week (I'll add my post to her link-up tomorrow). I'm glad I decided to join the Yarn Along; I feel more organized already.

Crochet-wise, I'm still working on the ripple throw I shared last week. I've finished my second color segment and have moved onto a third one. All the yarn is Stylecraft Special DK; the new color is Meadow. I'm really enjoying this project; it's not quite mindless, since you have to count stitches as you go, but it feels sort of mind-clearing to work on anyway. I think it's the rhythm of the pattern. I always enjoy a project that lets me be both present and far away while I work on it.

I finished last week's book, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, over the weekend. It was good, but not as great as I'd hoped from reading reviews. The story was suspenseful, with an interesting subplot about being different - and whether that means wanting to stand out or wanting to blend in, depending on the character and his or her surroundings. I think this is an important aspect of the human condition and something virtually everyone can relate to. One thing that irked me about this book was the way the author seemed kind of desperate to create the setting (1970's Ohio) through endless references to books, music, movies, hairstyles, fashion, cars, food, etc. I know some of that was to help advance the conflict (being Asian, and being from a mixed-race family, in a more racist time and place), but I've read plenty of period novels where the setting comes through vividly with fewer reminders.

I'm now reading a cookbook, which I often read as if they were novels; to me a good cookbook can be captivating. The Family Cooks by Laurie David is an excellent resource for cooking healthy family meals together. David offers lots of tips and suggestions for involving even young children in kitchen tasks. I borrowed this book from the library as part of my planning for the summer break; we keep our homeschool going through the summer even though our school is out for the summer. One of our goals this summer is to get both small Bears doing more in the kitchen. They're at different levels, being three years apart in age, but both enjoy helping with meal planning and prep. We've been sitting together and choosing recipes to try; from this book, first up will probably be granola.

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Thank you so much for the anniversary wishes! We had a nice evening out by ourselves this weekend, including a relatively fancy child-free seafood dinner and, later, coffee and cheesecake at a diner. We stayed out until the dizzying hour of 9:30. The rest of the weekend was spent on household tasks and recovering from the past few weeks of craziness. I barely touched my computer and I'm hopelessly behind on my blog feed now; I'm just going to start over with new posts. I hope you're all doing well and that you enjoyed your long weekend (I know they were happening in a few corners of the world). 

I wanted to answer a couple of questions I've been asked recently. One was about our school calendar. Here in New Mexico, the schools are in session from about the second week of August until about the third week of May. Summer vacation is nearly three months long. There are two weeks off from school for the December holidays (with school back in session just after New Year's Day). There is a long weekend in October and another in February, and a week off around Easter. This is somewhat different from the school calendars I experienced when I was a child (and later a teacher) in the northeastern US. I will freely admit to having a raging case of UK-school-calendar envy. I think it makes a lot more sense.

I've also been asked to explain our own school situation. We're part-time homeschoolers, you could say. Our children attend an alternative public school in our city which is designed to help parents take a more active role in their children's education. The school provides 50% of their schooling hours and we do the rest at home. The truth is that we do a lot more than 50% at home - because we want to. We love teaching our own kids and we like having a traditional-school element as well. We think this plan gives us the best of both worlds.

23 comments:

  1. Loving your blanket. Thanks for the review on the book, it is on my list, but maybe I will move it a little further down for now as there are other interesting reads I want to read.

    I love that you can do 50/50 with the school/homeschooling. It is something that would never fly here, and I wish school boards were more open to alternative approaches. Maybe one day....

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  2. The 50/50 schooling always sounds like such an excellent idea. Getting the children involved with cooking is great, I need to do more with my younger two. I like to read cookery books from cover to cover as well, it's nice when there's writing along with each recipe, as well as the basic recipe. Enjoy the rest of the week Jennifer. CJ xx

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  3. When our girls were young, Douglas and they made our evening meal every Sunday. The idea was they would all learn to cook - and clean up after themselves. There was only one meal that was completely inedible so it worked out really well! Both girls can cook really well now - not so sure about Douglas! LOL

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  4. I'm always so interested in what you tell us about your home schooling. Here, home schooling is pretty unusual and I know only one family who ever did it (for a year - their children were 1, 4, 6 and 7 and it was full on!). There's no option of mixing the two like you do. As for our school calendar, I think the 6 week summer break is too long. I marvel at how you cope with the 3 month break. I envy the Australian calendar with four terms spread over one year.

    I really like the look of your blanket and one of my favourite "indulgent" things to do is read cookery books in bed. Xx

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  5. What an intriguing idea to do 50:50 schooling, so glad this is working out for your family. I read cook books too, and if I don't like the way a writer/chef writes, I can't buy or even read their books, even if I know the recipes are good, and even if the rest of the nation (or even the world) is swooning over them. X

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  6. I so envy you 50/50 system. How wonderful that would be. I would jump on that in on minute flat.
    Your project is beautiful, I love the colors. And oh how you made me laugh with the "dizzying 9h30" comment. Isn't that always the way! 2 years ago, my husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary by having soup and bagels at Panera and then nixing the movie for some early Xmas shopping. LOL!

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  7. I think it's wonderful that you are having your children get more involved with the meal planning and cooking and all. The best people are raised with responsibilities. Some people do all the work for their kids and then are surprised when they turn out spoiled and thankless. So.. good for you! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  8. Happy Anniversary friend! Glad you were able to get out for a good meal with your hubs! And your blanket is so very pretty! Let us know how the granola goes as I think I need to start making my own as we can't do nuts and it is hard to find without them. Have a great week you!! Nicole xoxo

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  9. I used to include my own three daughters in the meal preparation and cooking where appropriate and they are all good cooks now they are grown. Even now when they visit we all help each other out in the kitchen, such a social event. The crochet is coming along nicely, so pretty.

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  10. I love the way you do school! I wish that was available in more areas!

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  11. Your 50/50 schooling arrangement sounds wonderful, Jennifer. It is lovely to teach the children yourselves some of the time and I think it gives them a great start. Love that they are helping with some cooking too, children do love to be involved with the things you do, don't they?
    So glad you had a lovely anniversary :)
    Happy week.
    Helen xox

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  12. I had to laugh when I read the "dizzying hour of 9:30"! It's amazing how our lives change after children isn't it?
    We also homeschooled/private schooled our kids and the rewards are very great. I'm also glad I'm not the only cookbook reader out there. I don't make the vast majority of the recipes, but I like to read them anyway.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  13. Love the blanket. Interested school alternative. How open is Mexico to homeschool?

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  14. Love the blanket. Interested school alternative. How open is Mexico to homeschool?

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  15. Reading cookbooks is interesting and always is a springboard for what I cook, but I have rarely exactly followed a recipe :) Yay for your progress on your blanket! I was blessed to have a neat school district and curriculum when my children were in elementary school and middle school in NY., especially for my sons, but by the time my daughters came along to middle school they begged to be homeschooled, and my sons thought that it was a good idea for their sisters because of the climate of the high school which now has a police officer assigned to it! Your school structure seems very positive. I loved working as a teaching assistant in an elementary school in NY and was grateful for work that matched the holidays our children had so I was able to care for them year round, but work, too. Belatedly, Happy Anniversary!!! xx

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  16. I wish I cooked when I was young. I still struggle to cook (& I am 41 this year). I LOVE to bake though and I think that's because I have so many happy memories of baking with my grandma.

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  17. I think your 50/50 schooling is a great idea. Thanks for explaining your hols, I must admit that here in England I am a bit envious of your super long summer but I have also found that at the end of 6-7 weeks the kids are really ready for their next holiday, be it one or six weeks :-)

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  18. That book sounds great. I should look it up. Thanks for the recommendation. I love to read cookbooks in bed too. My favourite of all my books is Apples For Jam by Tessa Kiros. Simple beautiful family food.
    Rosie

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  19. I used to read through cookbooks too, but got away from that when my husband took over the supper meals. I love your blanket, and the new colour is a favourite of mine ... a nice mossy green :) Enjoy the rest of your week Jennifer!
    Wendy

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  20. What a fun post and pictures.

    Hugs Diane

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  21. I'm loving the colours of your new blanket and you're making good progress with it. I wonder what the next colour will be.. My best friend lives in California and her kids' summer holidays don't start til mid-June. I guess school calendars are slightly different depending on which state you live in. It sounds like yours have started well this week, I hope it continues that way and you'll all have a fun and restful school vacation.

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  22. Happy anniversary!

    I love the choice you have available to you for your children's educations! We homeschool, but I think greater choice for all families is better for everyone.

    I read cookbooks as novels a well. My most recent one is Chicken and Egg. Everything I made from it was delightful.

    Have fun with that blanket!

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  23. Love the chevrons and the colour.

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