Grapefruit Fennel Salad

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With all the sunshine and warm weather we’ve been having, I’ve been craving all the fresh, bright, light foods of spring. Every day for the past week, I’ve been craving some version of this salad, which I’ll eat on a big bed of baby lettuces for lunch or just like this as a snack right after working out or gardening. It’s so refreshing! Continue reading “Grapefruit Fennel Salad”

Gourd Sculptures

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After growing gourds this past summer, I was left with many vessels that had broken or become weak in some place as they were drying. Some were even broken into by squirrels. Instead of throwing away the pieces, I decided to make gourd sculptures: half basket, half bowl. I love the way they turned out!  Continue reading “Gourd Sculptures”

Reading…

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Water: New Short Story Fiction from Africa

This collection of short stories from project “Short Story Day” comes from last year’s competition and are tied together by the theme of water. I enjoyed some of the stories, but found others difficult to connect with. I’m sure that this is a common theme with short story books, but for this one in particular, I didn’t find myself pulled back to the book as much as I have other short story fiction.

A couple of my favorite stories were the ones that touched on the folklore of Africa: Chido Muchemwa’s Finding Mermaids, during which malicious, dangerous mermaids were thought to be stealing young women by pulling them underwater to teach them witchcraft. Another favorite was Pede Hollist’s The Tale of the Three Water Carriers. But my favorite of the whole book was Cat Hellisen’s The Worme Bridge, which was beautifully written though strange and disturbing. Throughout the whole book, I found the varying perspectives interesting, especially those of new immigrants to our country, which is such a relevant topic today.

What are you reading?

P.s. – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Around Here

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I can’t believe how quickly this week slipped away. I had planned to share a few posts here, but I was busier than usual with work, plus I have been doing some home repairs, which always end up being more complicated than I think, thanks to owning a 104-year-old home! I have been updating a room in our house that really needed some extra love: two fresh coats of paint, ceiling repairs, wall repairs, new ceiling paint, and painting trim (my least favorite thing), plus a new light fixture and a few other small changes. I can’t wait to show it to you once it’s complete.

We’ve been battling illnesses left and right. Last Friday, on my birthday, we had to cancel dinner plans because Oliver was so sick (but we’re planning to go out tomorrow to make up for it — it’s been waaaaay too long). Last week, even though Oliver had a high fever and felt just terrible, he insisted that he needed to go with Andrew to buy me a birthday cupcake with his own money! Poor, sweet little thing! He is all better now.

I hope you and your family are doing well; it sure seems like there are a lot of germs floating around out there!

Thriving

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I snapped this shot of Oliver in his classroom last week, working away in  his own little corner. I was there to document the Chinese New Year party, which was a really cool celebration. But what I was reminded of, and am reminded of time and time again, is how my middle child is thriving in the Montessori environment.

He comes home from school full. The best way to describe it is that he is full of some kind of richness, like his spirit is being nourished. I see some part of this with my other two children, but am most moved by it with Oliver. I think the reason for this is that he is a different learner, and the kind of child who could easily fall through the cracks in a traditional setting.

This observation comes from the deep understanding of who he is as a person, not from observation of him in a traditional setting (which he has never been part of), so it may be wrong. He could have been fine in a regular classroom. But he could also not have been. Who really knows.

What I do know is that he really struggled with reading for awhile, that I was worried about it, that he compared himself to his peers and more directly, to his older brother, for whom reading came early and fast, setting in just before his sixth birthday. For Oliver, an entire school year passed without evidence that he was making a lot of headway; and yet, his directress, who knows him so very, very well (and sees progress since she has him for 3 years in a row), assured us that it would come, that there was another window at 7 years that was a reading-sensitive time (and a reason many Waldorf schools don’t even start reading until that age). Sure enough, Oliver is reading fluidly, out loud, and really enjoying it.

It’s so wonderful to see your child thriving, whatever the subject or situation. To see him enjoy and seek out learning, to see him inspired and happy, and to feel the contagion of curiosity and knowledge.