Monday, August 31, 2015

Disappointing, selfish night

We were eating dinner, discussing plans for the evening. Mike said he would take the kids to class tonight, and Sarah begged for Double D's afterwards.  He agreed to that, and I started fantasizing about ice cream.  I thought maybe I would go along, but that was a fleeting thought, because my need to be alone for an hour and a half is much greater than my craving for ice cream.  Then a brilliant thought struck me:  after they leave, I will go to Dairy Queen by myself!

I was more cheerful than usual as I cleaned up the kitchen and wished them a jolly goodbye.  A few minutes later, I skipped out to the garage to start my vacation.

What a disappointment to find that I couldn't get out because Mike's darling motorcycle was parked behind my vehicle.  How I loathe that thing!  It's almost always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Way too hot and humid to ride my bike to DQ, so I trudged back into the house.

I decided to whip up a batch of cream puffs. As I was putting them in the oven, I was thinking how quickly and easily that dough came together.  I was starting to feel hopeful and happy again as I made the filling. Twenty minutes later I excitedly opened the oven to see my beautiful golden brown puffs of deliciousness, but wait...what's this?
 Hockey pucks of yuck. Just as the disappointment hits, I know exactly where I went wrong.  In my haste, I forgot to add the eggs.  If you've ever wondered what French pastry dough becomes if you don't add eggs, now you know. The eggs are absolutely vital.

Now I'm faced with a decision: Should I just eat the filling and call it a night or start the whole thing over?  I started over.  The butter and milk were heating in the pan, and I went to get a new bag of flour from the pantry, because I had used the last of the other bag on the hockey pucks. Disappointment #3: the only flour in the pantry is whole wheat.  Who wants whole wheat cream puffs?  No one!  But that's all I have, so in it goes.  I added a little sugar and almond extract to the batter in hopes it would counteract the grossness of the whole wheat.
My precious free time was all gone before I even got to eat a puff.  I hid them behind the lettuce where no one will ever find them, so I can eat one after everyone goes to bed.

Hillbilly daughter-in-law

My dear son has always had horrible table manners.  I thought it would get better as he got older, but so far, no.  Today he was sitting at the table shoveling huge spoonfuls of food into his mouth and onto his face, chewing with his mouth open, smacking his lips like a wolf.  I watched this disgusting display for awhile before I decided to take a different approach than my usual nagging/training.  I calmly said, "Noah, the kind of wife you're going to attract if you continue to eat like that is not the kind of daughter-in-law I'm hoping for.  You'll end up with a redneck hunchback hillbilly fool with no teeth, smacking her gums and screeching, 'Honey, I done fried us up some deeee-lish-us rat for supper! Y'all git in here and smear it on your face with me and gimme a big ole kiss!'"  He laughed and laughed and laughed.  I hope he got the point.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Is nothing sacred?

I was eating popcorn.  Sarah flopped down right next to me and took my popcorn.  I went to get cookies to console myself.  She took my cookies.  I got out my phone to play a word game to console myself.  That darn kid took my phone right out of my hand!  That was the last straw.  I grumbled, "You took my popcorn; you took my cookies; you took my phone. Is nothing sacred?"  She said, "Well, you still have Jesus."

Making flags

Today in geography class, we were making flags of European countries. While drawing Sweden's, Sarah said, "Sweden looks like a present!  I want to put a bow on it!"  But when she was drawing Armenia's, she said, "Ewww, Armenia looks like ugly sweater day."  She had something even worse to say about Lithunia's: "Lithuania looks rancid."  That made Noah gag.

I should know better by now, but every time we get involved in a project, I make the same mistake.  Instead of stopping when things heat up or people lose interest, I keep pushing to finish.  I should break big projects up into smaller chunks so people don't get burned out, instead of trying to finish it all in one fell swoop.  Long past the point where we should have stopped for today, Sarah and I were fighting about Moldova's flag. First, for reference, here is the flag of Moldova:
and here is the flag of Romania:
She drew the flag of Romania, labeled it "Moldova" and hung it on the wall.  Then the fight:
M: Umm....where's the crest?
S: What's a crest?
M: That symbol in the middle of the flag.
S: Oh. That looked too complicated, so I left it off.
M: You can't just leave it off.
S: Yes, I can. I did.
M: If you skip the crest, you turn Moldova's flag into Romania's.
S: No, Romania's is a different shade of red. It's dark pink.
M: It's red. The Moldovan flag is exactly the same as the Romanian flag, except it has the crest.
S: No, it's different.
[Sweet, peace-making Noah interjects at this point]
N: Hey, you know a good tip I heard?  We should treat every person we meet as if they're dying.
S: Bye. It was nice knowing you.

 So I got stuck drawing Moldova's flag.  I told Noah to hang it wherever he thought it should go.  He said, "It should go in an art museum!  It's fan-stinkin-tastic!" 

In the end, Sarah summed up the whole thing by saying, "Well, this was kinda fun....emphasis on the 'kinda'."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another random day

I always have a plan for the school day, but it almost always takes a different direction than my plan.  I'm all about following the students' interests, but it is a little chaotic and random sometimes.  Today it all started with looking out the window.  We saw Marty walking to her meditation tree (an apple tree by the creek where she spends many hours looking like she's contemplating life).
Noah wasn't out of bed yet, and Sarah suggested we go meditate with Marty.  That led to some interesting conversation and watching apples fall.  I don't know why I never thought of this before, but I finally realized we could be using these apples instead of watching them rot on the ground.   So Sarah climbed into the tree to pick some.
We brought back seven apples to make applesauce, and some branches for the chinchillas to chew. 
By the time Noah got up, there was warm cinnamon applesauce for breakfast. They ate that while I read our current read-aloud, which is a book about a missionary to the Philippines.  We wondered why people from the Philippines (with a Ph and two p's) are called Filipino (with an F and one p).

Then we started on math, and Noah asked a question.  This is usually where the train goes off the tracks.  Noah asks a question that appears simple until I realize I can't answer it, and then we're off searching for the answer.  The question he was supposed to write in his math book was, "1 cup = ______ fluid ounces."  His question to me was, "One cup of what?  One cup of feathers weighs more than one cup of lead." I said it was a fluid ounce, so one cup of fluid weighs how much?  He said, "One cup of water or one cup of molten lava?"  I stared blankly for a few seconds before I said, "Well, it's measuring volume, not weight."  He said, "Isn't 'ounce' a measure of weight?" and I was stumped.  He knows he's supposed to write 8 in the blank, and he's not trying to be a smart-aleck; he's just curious. 

I searched in the internet and finally asked the principal, who is smart but was also stumped. He searched the internet better than I did and found that a "fluid ounce" is a measure of volume, and a plain old "ounce" is a measure of weight.  First of all, how did I never know this?  And second, why don't we have a better term than "fluid ounce" for measuring the volume of something other than fluid? Perhaps something less similar to the word for measuring weight?

Then Marty pinned a cicada under her paws on the driveway and caused it to make a horrible screeching noise (the cicada, not the driveway).  We went out to investigate.  And then Noah asked a question.  "How do they make that sound? Do they make it with their wings like crickets?"  I said vaguely, "No, they vibrate some part of their body..." and he said, "Their balls?"  I said, "No. Cicadas don't have balls."  Sarah piped up then with, "Well then how do they mate?"  Back to the internet to research cicada sound-making technique and reproductive organs. How on earth did people ever homeschool before the internet???  We learned some VERY interesting things about cicada mating and had some good conversation about it.  Noah ended up chasing Sarah around the house with a screaming, gyrating cicada in his hand, making her absolutely freak out.  I made him throw the bug outside and sit down for a lecture about "when a woman says no, that means stop." I refuse to raise a rapist.

By this point in the day, according to my plan, we should be locating Slovakia on the map, but somehow it's well past noon and we haven't even had lunch. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pate a choux class

I couldn't sleep last night because I was craving cream puffs.  Finally at 2:00 a.m., I wrote a curriculum for a class I could teach later that day that would result in cream puffs.

First was a lesson in spelling, pronunciation, and etymology.  

I just about lost them at "cabbages", but I assured them there was no cabbage involved.  Then we whipped up the dough.  We decided to divide in half and experiment with different flavors.  We added garlic salt and cheddar cheese to one half and baked them into cheese puffs.  
Included in that lesson was a cheapskate cooking tip:  save butter wrappers and use them as parchment paper for baking.  I also save the paper that Subway sandwiches come in, and gondolas from La Gondola.

We added some vanilla and sugar to the other half of the dough and baked it into sweet puffs.  That's where the disagreement arose.  Sarah wanted to be in charge of making the filling.  I said she could.  She wanted to make chocolate, but my craving that kept me up most of the night involved vanilla.  We didn't really have the time or resources to make both. Usually I accommodate her whims in the kitchen, but I stood up for my fantasy this time. 
I ate way, way too many of them. All in the name of education. :)

Sarah's sermon

Sarah has had a special bond with Pastor Harry ever since the church hired him about 3 years ago.  She is always drawing pictures for him and giving him little encouraging notes.  He bought her flowers one time and gave her a gift card another time.  Recently, she gave him this: