Despotic Fiends and Brash Mabel!

Okay, we love books.  I don’t mean a normal, “We love books.”  I mean the we have 10,000 books that are taking up as much space as our Legos love books.  And as book-lovers, we are always looking for new books to devour.  When asked what my kids would do with two weeks of down time, the eldest asked the others to think about how much they could read over two weeks.  And she’s almost 14 – that’s saying something.  As I was looking at Penguin Kid’s today, I found this intriguing new title from Will Mabbitt:

You know you are a book-a-holic when you see a name and instantly know another book / author with a similar name.  DD shouted, “OH!  Text-to-text connection, Mommy!  His name is like Natalie Babbitt from Tuck Everlasting.”  It was 8 AM.  I need to give my kids melatonin or something so they awake in the fuzzy pants, dire need for coffee daze that I am in at 8 AM.  I am certainly not thinking about text-to-text anything …

Mabel fights despots after making her dessert for breakfast with jam to the edges to cover the taste.  Who doesn’t want to read that?  This book just hit the shelves, and I urge you to fight all despotic intercession to grab a copy!  I am going to try to review it.

And as we live in a rural community, our library does not have this book.  We don’t have a great number of good books, but we have a lot of trees and cows and can blow-up fireworks that might be slightly illegal, depending on how you define that word.

I do believe that the librarian that receives the suggestion emails detests me.  Usually mine say something like, “How is it possible that we don’t have this series?”  And yes… I tend to give statistical breakdowns of reviews, purchases online, etc.  I did notice that they have made the suggestion form shorter.  And no, they don’t usually order what I’ve requested.  And no, inter-library loan here costs us $15 a year and an additional LARGE fee per book.  Cheaper to put it in the Amazon cart and get it later used for $0.01.

Ah!  Despotic librarians.  Despotic fiends.  Despotic fireworks laws.  All in one day… and a heroine that we covet just from the preview read on Amazon.


PS.  And we don’t own Kindles.  We like paper.  No judgment.  We just like paper.

PPS.  We like our house, too, which might fall down under the weight of all of these books.  Hmm… I need to rethink this… someday.


Salmon Saturday… and a FEW hidden ingredients!

Today DD had an idea.  Why don’t we review recipes we find online and on the cooking channels on your blog?  Well, not really my platform, but if they cook the food, it’s win/win.  Homeschooling at it’s best.  Measurement, critical thinking, forming opinions and justifying them.  So, all of you ladies better watch out!  These kids are tough but honest critics.

LB is allergic to gluten, but the rest of my family have leaden bellies.  I think I am allergic to gluten, as well, but I eat “around” the kids so we have more food for the kids.  You will read that as – leftovers so I never have to make lunch – or one less dinner to make.  Heehee!

Consequently, I use a lot of paleo recipes to whip up meals.  With Aldi being the high-end store on our current budget, we have to select recipes where we have access to the ingredients.  I can always get sweet potatoes and plantains.  Almond meal… not so much.  I splurged at Christmas on a giant bag, and we use it sparingly.  This is my favorite: 


Tonight we are reviewing, Everyday Maven’s, “Weeknight Salmon Cakes,” at http://www.everydaymaven.com/2013/paleo-salmon-cakes/.


Raise your hand high if you eat fresh salmon every week.  Month?  Well, here is a way to eat gluten free or just plain healthy AND eat salmon cakes like a royal.  My 11 year old likes to make these, and we find the pictures of Everyday Maven looking for the canned fish skin and bones funny.  You have to have guts (no pun intended) to post those pics.  My kids demand the science disposable gloves all homeschoolers have.  The only tweak we make is to swap onions for dried minced onions and the fresh parsley for dried.  We use 4 tablespoons or so.  We fry in whatever oil we have, but if you have coconut, use that.

The lemon and hot sauce kill the canned salmon taste.  They sound horrid when you discuss them with the girls at parties – sadly, yes that would be me – but if you try them you will never go back.  The recipe always turns out perfectly, which does not happen with some blogger recipes.  And I find that exceedingly frustrating… the food cost money.  Don’t post it until you vet it with friends.

Regardless, they are delicious and make enough for our family with leftovers.  There are two secrets.  Upon our marital vows, my J at everything.  Peas, beans, sweet potatoes.  Fifteen years later, he is “slightly” more discerning in his tastes.  One night, he told me that his palette just didn’t want the food served.  This is fodder for an ongoing laugh with my girlfriends.  “Will J’s palette like it?”  My retort, “If they sell it at Aldi it better!”  Well, he now won’t eat hot sauce or sweet potatoes.  And guess what is in these sweet salmon pancakes?  Yep…

Now I realize that I am posting this all over the Internet and any old person can read it.  Namely J, but it’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s kind of gross to make – think of it as homeschool science – but it is DELICIOUS.  And now that he’s eaten and loved them, perhaps he will rethink the sweet potato and hot sauce.

So:  5 stars for a recipe that works with ease and that kids can make with supervision, as they are frying.   5 stars for taste.  5 stars for economical.  Thank you, Everyday Maven!

PS.  You can also swap it for tuna which we always have a bunch of.  I haven’t tried it with the white fancy pants tuna, but the good old tuna with water works great.

PPS.  And it was a homeschool science experiment.  My kids learned that fish has to be cooked to be canned, as well.  Later that night they went on the free Discovery Streaming via http://www.homeschoolbuyerscoop.com and watched the canning process.  bcuw7wzkz_r2998_f6

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/discovery-education-streaming-plus-free-trial/?c=1.  It’s free until the end of August.  We use it everyday.  No ad’s.  No scantily clad video game sales.  No sales that I’ve seen.  Videos, images, and articles at the typing of a few key words.  K did research on William Randolph Hearst and Orson Wells prior to watching “Citizen Kane” last night.  Today she’s on to “The War of the Worlds” and the impact of radio on our culture.

Salmon cakes, martians, and newspaper tycoons!  We are anything but linear … but it is the journey!


Pudewa saves the day… And A Bit of Minecraft!

photo (1) How you might ask, did Mr. Pudewa and IEW save the day?  There are two reasons in this home.

1.  Recently, LB and I attended the HEAV Conference in Richmond, Virginia.  We were given a much needed scholarship to the event.  Truly a blessing.  LB and I spent time laughing, parking near voodoo priestesses and having the car refuse to start, praying and watching it jump back to life (it was 100 degrees), listening, and gaining some much needed spiritual insight about our small crosses.  Minus the voodoo priestess in the parking lot, we met many wonderful folks, but “The Beatles Hit the US” moment was when Andrew Pudewa arrived from several talks and classes.  My little sweetie came flying over shrieking – something 13 year olds tend to frown on in public venues – from the bow and arrow display at another booth.  After approaching him from behind she said, “Excuse me sir, but you appear to be in DEEP YOGURT!”  Now, if you are an IEW user, you will understand that Mr. Pudewa uses that term in his DVD courses.   Pudewa swung around with a twinkle in his eye and told us that this was a much treasured phrase his father used when he was growing up.  He was delighted that he had taught more than the importance of “Dress-Up’s.”  Pudewa kindly allowed us a “fan shot,” and it struck me that it was so kind of him to talk to LB for so long after a his own day of travel, speeches, fans, and classes.  You would be surprised at how ardent homeschooling families get with their virtual teachers.  He looked so tired, but he just bounced back as he interacted with my daughter.  A sign of a true teacher!  It’s in the eyes!

2.  JJ is 8.  If  you do grade levels, he is entering third.  That tells us teachers nothing about the gifts of the child.  Well, I have been using guided writing with him all year.  He does a great deal of free writing in his journal about Legos and king baboon spiders.  Somehow Minecraft tends to fit in there, and he almost lost his mind when we saw a Minecraft writing packet on Teacher Pay Teacher.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Crafty-Minds-Creative-Writing-for-Minecraft-Crazy-Kids-1074354 by Hillary Lewis.


So, JJ has watched his siblings using IEW B all year.  And as learners absorb like sponges, he grabbed a sibling’s IEW notebook and an unused article about jelly fish.  In went the DVD.  Out came the paper and PEN – yes Mr. Pudewa… this Mommy listened and learned, as well – and off he went writing his own key word outline of this article.  At 7 AM this morning, my son was sitting at the table writing out his paragraph revision.  By 7:30 AM, he was typing his paper!  All of this and not a worksheet in sight.

All self-motivated.  All self-generated.  I didn’t edit it.  I just let it flow and prayerfully kept my mouth closed when he made a mistake.  Thesauruses were flying, synapses were connecting.  How many synonyms do you know for neurotoxin?

All of this before I brewed coffee or fed the kids.  So as far as I am concerned, Andrew Pudewa is Captain America today.  My sweet boy has now gone off to create a paragraph about Minecraft to dissect and rewrite on Monday.

Thank you, Captain IEW!

PS.  As we don’t allow “screen time” during the week (minus Brainpop or Discovery Streaming if we have them for free) JJ studied US monuments and Washington, D.C. today – he decided to make the claim that one could actually build the Washington Monument and other memorials sacred to our country on Minecraft… so, thank you Captain Minecraft… where ever you might be.


Nancy Larson Science 3… The box is here!

Don’t we ALL love when a box arrives at our door?  The crisp, slightly damp cardboard smell?  The impending surprise?  The wait… As Willy Wonka says, “I wish it would last!”

Y’all know that I’m a Nancy Larson Science user and lover.  My kids love it.  My checkbook loves it.  My time management loves it.  My inner OCD – like it all in one place – loves it.  You may watch my Youtubes about NLS on my channel at:




Well… this morning… it came!  JJ ran to the door like he was greeting Our Lord!  Don’t be fooled by the list price.  What you get is SO worth it.  ALL IN ONE BOX PEOPLE!  Web access to teacher helps and kid extras!


Science 3


Scroll down the NLS 3 page and click on “Table of Contents.”  WOW!  Am I going to learn that all next year, too?



Science… check!


A Sample from TAN Homeschool’s New Product Line!

 I am so excited to use this with the kids.  I was at IHM with Nancy Larsen Science, which I use and love.  See my YouTube channel for my reviews.  I was able to take a sample CD and look through the teacher manual, student book, test book, and view both of the text and the teaching DVD’s.  I was so impressed by the activities and the CD blew all of my kids away.  So, look for a review in the fall after all of their products are finished.  This is the CD that we listened to.  Not a peep.  No fighting.  No yelling.  And the ultimate test… when I tried to park the kids tossed a ROYAL fit.  “Keep driving, Mommy!”  From 8 to 13.



Always on the look out for inspiring music that both speaks to my heart and bandages it, I slipped upon All Sons & Daughters last spring.  This song made me look at my sin without shame.  Without guilt.  Rather with ownership.  We are all broken.  God casts that aside and forgives us.  Our Lord suffered unto death to clean us.  Isn’t that enough for us to love ourselves?

// Amazon.com Widgets


Homeschooling for the Journey Not the Destination!


Homeschooling LB, DD, and JJ is a radiant journey and gift from God.  I love watching them sparkle.  I love watching the connect a circuit.  I love watching them ingest books.  I love them standing on tippy toes reaching for a new “can do.”

Yet, regardless of the focus on the “now” and the “rest” and the “learning from peace” we still fall into the same old trap every other family falls into.  And yet, I am more able to step back and yank the reins.  Pull us back into the journey and peace.  I am fallible.  I fall.  I fail.  I curse.  I become anxious.  They become anxious.

We all have tricks.  I say the “Memorare” over and over.  I have a three-fold prayer to slow down and humble myself.  To focus.  What do you do?  Brew and steep tea?  Stop, grab books and blankets, and snuggle up?  I am finding that homeschool moms and moms in general fall into two categories;  either they feel badly that they are not “doing” enough or they fume secretly at the mom who posted something cool her kids did that day.  We tend to also be a tortoise or a hare.  Now, I have a rodent and tortoise in the house – both exceedingly scrappy – so I know that of which I speak.  Can you be part of each… like a half Coke, half cherry Slurpie?

After all the life, all the school, all the brick and mortar teaching, all the babies, moopie husband moments, and fall to my knees with brokenness moments… I just know that so much time has slipped by me.  So much has been given to me.  I long to hold each grain of sand longer.  If that means no vacations.  No insurance.  Food from cans and creative cooking, than I am all in.  In the end I will look back and remember the moments of sparks of learning and connection far more than I will remember Donald and Mickey.  And to be honest, those giant animated-suit creatures freak me out.