Monday Pep Talk

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If you were a fan of Amy’s “Monday Pep Talks,” you’ll definitely want to sign up. Once a quarter (between the magazine issues), we’re going to send out the Pep Talks by e-mail. But this will be an ultra-pep talk like this one: click here.

Pep talks are full of inspiring things to do, delicious food to cook, book recommendations and other inspiration to rev your engines and put spice into your homeschool life.

We will also fill you in on some of the best blog posts from the last quarter and let you know what else is happening around here on home/school/life.  And don’t worry, we absolutely promise we won’t spam you, sell your e-mail address, or send out a pep talk more than four times a year. 

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Monday Pep Talk No. 41

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

Need a little Monday morning pick-me-up to get the week going?

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Sunday marks the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and there’s no better way to appreciate one of the world’s best known speeches than by listening to the original recording.

Mark Pluto Demotion Day (August 24, 2006 was the date Pluto officially got knocked down from “planet” to “dwarf planet”) by watching NOVA’s “Chasing Pluto,” which includes information from the New Horizons flyover.

As pool season winds down, transform those pool noodles into backyard games fun.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

It’s still gazpacho season!

Mix up your August grilling routine with coffee-crusted grilled pork chops.

Possibly your new favorite sandwich: Grilled cheese with zucchini, bacon, basil, and Gruyere

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

I discovered The Midnight Folk in childhood because it’s one of the books mentioned in Edward Eager’s Magic or Not? (I love Eager’s habit of paying in-the-text tribute to the authors he loves), and I’m so glad I did! This is a playful, charming fantasy story that deserves a spot on your shelf next to the Chronicles of Narnia or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
— Andy Rooney

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

best-ever pina colada


Monday Pep Talk No. 40

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

Let the week begin!

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

It’s Davy Crockett’s birthday on Wednesday. Celebrate the man, the myth, the legend by reading Davy Crockett: His Own Story: A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, and follow up by watching the Disney classic Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier so that you can identify all the film’s historical liberties.

Brush up your amusement park physics so that you can count a trip to the park for Rollercoaster Day on Tuesday.

Photography Day (on Friday) is a great excuse to set up an outdoor photography nature scavenger hunt.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

For me, a lobster roll tastes just like the end of summer, even if I’m not lucky enough to be spending August on the beach.

This roasted tomatillo tortilla soup is quick and so good.

The surprise green beans are the stars of this summery BLT salad, but you can throw in any veggies you happen to have hanging around.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

Castle Hangnail
By Ursula Vernon
 

Castle Hangnail is an utterly delightful readaloud—and you need to get it on your library list before the Ellen DeGeneres-produced movie version comes out and the wait list gets ridiculous.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

What was difficult
was the travel, which,
on arrival, is forgotten.
— Louise Glück

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

the tempest


Monday Pep Talk No. 39

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

Hello, Monday! Let’s get this week started, shall we?

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Celebrate Bowling Day (on Monday) with a trip to the bowling alley. (If you sign up for Kids Bowl Free, your kids can bowl two games at participating bowling centers for free.)

Find out what it actually takes to build a skyscraper in PBS’s four-part documentary Skyscraper: The Making of a Building. (It’s free to watch online.) What better way to mark Skyscraper Appreciation Day on Wednesday?

Decorating our new notebooks is a tradition in our homeschool. Get inspired with this Pinterest collection of cool notebook upgrades.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

Something different to do with that zucchini: Zucchini basil soup with creme fruit and picked corn. (I think I’d serve this with tomato toast, but that’s what I want to serve with pretty much everything in August.)

Can you believe you only need five ingredients to make this summer squash pizza?

You could serve this warm faro salad with chickpeas, feta, and spicy dressing all by itself — but it’s also yummy with grilled portobello mushrooms, grilled chicken, or grilled pretty much anything.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

The Adventures of Miss Petifour: The whimsical, episodic adventures of Miss Petifour and her sixteen cats make a perfect easing-back-into-your-routine readaloud. This book has a Pippi Longstocking-Roald Dahl-ish vibe that we really loved.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming.
— Madeleine L'Engle

 

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

tequila-colada cremoladas


Monday Pep Talk No. 38

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week. photo by death to stock photos

Just FYI: We’re going to be moving the Monday Pep Talk over to a newsletter soon, so if you’re a Monday Pep Talk fan, keep an eye out for details. 

 

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

The summer Olympics start on Friday! Here are some fun ideas for Olympics projects you can work on together while watching the events.

Use your science skills to make your own ice cream for Ice Cream Sandwich Day (Tuesday).

Make a a batch of fizzing sidewalk chalk and decorate your driveway.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

Ready in the time it takes to cook spaghetti: spaghetti with tomatoes, bacon, and eggs

This vegetarian take on the classic gyro is a great base for whatever summer veggies you have lying around.

Miso corn soup may just be my new favorite summer soup.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

The Secret Garden
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
 

Celebrate Yorkshire Day (Monday) by reading the book that puts your Yorkshire accent skills to the test: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry

 

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

blackberry-green tea cocktail


July Pep Talk

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

We’re taking a break from our weekly pep talks this summer, so for June and July, we’re hooking you up with an over-stuffed monthly pep talk instead. We’ll be back in August with our regular weekly pep talks.

 

10 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

July 4 is Independence Day, sure, but it’s also Sidewalk Egg Frying Day.

Celebrate Yellow Pig Day on July 17. I don’t totally understand this mathematician’s holiday (devised by two students studying the number 17), but any day that celebrates math, has its own songbook of Yellow Pig carols, and ends with a Yellow Pig cake is okay in my book.

What better way to celebrate Ice Cream Month than by making your own ice cream? Bonus: It’s a legitimate science experiment.

Video Games Day is July 8, and Suzanne’s got us all excited about checking out the Uncharted series, starring rakish adventurer Nathan Drake. (Add him to the list of people Nathan Fillion should be playing in a film adaptation.)

The easiest summer art project: Make sun prints.

Make a set of rock dominoes to play all summer. (River rocks are ideal for this, so collecting them is a great excuse to take a little river field trip.)

July is Picnic Month! I love the idea of painting a chess/checkers board on your picnic blanket for picnic gaming.

Make your own wooden stilts to get into the spirit of Walk on Stilts Day (July 27).

Celebrate Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day by making your own vuvuzela (a South African horn) out of recycled materials.

Get crafty on Thread the Needle Day (July 25) by making some easy-to-sew and completely adorable bean bags.

 

10 IDEAS FOR THIS MONTH’S DINNERS

I love how versatile these (gluten-free!) farinata are. Think of them as chickpea pancakes, and top them generously with whatever looks good at the farmers market.

You don’t really need a recipe to make a rainbow cauliflower rice bowl, so experiment with whatever veg you have on hand.

Put a summertime twist on Taco Tuesday with chipotle quinoa sweet potato tacos.

Make a batch of freezer-ready mini pizzas on a quiet day, and you’ll have an emergency dinner/lunch/snack whenever you need it.

I want to make a batch of this pickle-brined fried chicken for our next family picnic.

Break out of your grilling rut with grilled sweet potatoes.

This Big Green Cobbler with leeks, gruyere, and split peas is like a vegetarian take on the best chicken pot pie you ever had.

Summer is all about salad for dinner—and this Thai grilled corn and peach quinoa salad looks like a great addition to your summer salad lineup.

Another dose of inspiration for your grilling menu: Soy-based chicken kebabs with sesame-citrus sprinkle.

Summer squash pizza with goat cheese and walnuts puts a seasonal spin on pizza night.

 

 

FOUR GREAT READALOUDS

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is a retelling of an Iranian folk tale, in which the fourth of seven daughters sets off to make her family’s fortune, disguised as a boy. I’m a sucker for a girl-powered fairy tale, so it’s no surprise I love this one.

Speaking of spunky girls, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is as fun to read aloud as the Lemony Snicket books: plenty of nefarious villains, dramatic plot twists, and, yes, two plucky heroines who must save themselves from an evil governess’s plot.

 

If you’re looking for laughs, get yourself a copy of Daniel Pinkwater’s Yobgorgle, Mystery Monster of Lake Ontario. I like to think of Pinkwater as the elementary school set’s Douglas Adams, and this zany tale of a boy who takes up monster hunting is a delightful example of why.

New York City’s pushcarts declare war on the trucks in The Pushcart War, creating hilarious city-wide chaos.

 

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Education is a choice. We don’t become educated by watching television, and we don’t learn a whole lot having similar conversations with the same, safe people day after day. Our education comes from pushing up against boundaries, from taking risks that may seem at first to be overwhelming, and by persevering past the first disappointments or shortfalls until we reach a point at which actual learning takes place. Determination and perseverance are absolutely vital to developing a true education—rarely, if ever, do we learn the most valuable lessons in the first few steps of the journey.
— Tom Walsh

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

strawberry negroni popsicles


June Pep Talk

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

We’re taking a break from our weekly pep talks this summer, so for June and July, we’re hooking you up with an over-stuffed monthly pep talk instead.

 

10 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

Set up your telescope on June 3 to see Saturn at its brightest—with a decent telescope, you should be able to see some of the planet’s rings and moons.

June is Camping Month, so pitch a tent in your backyard for an outdoor sleepover. Make s’mores on the grill, put on a flashlight shadow puppet play, and do a little star-gazing. 

Take advantage of the sunshine and turn your nature walk into art by making sun prints.

Make sponge balls and have a backyard water battle.

Celebrate Maurice Sendak’s birthday on June 10 by watching Where the Wild Things Are and reading your favorite Sendak books. (I vote for the creepy, Labyrinth-ish Outside Over There.

Turn making lemonade into a fun science project.

Celebrate Drive-In Movie Day (June 6) by seeing a movie at a drive-in theater near you.

The Magna Carta was signed on June 15, 1215. Learn more about why this 13th century document still matters today by watching this video lecture from the James Otis Video Lecture collection.

I think we all know the best way to celebrate World Juggling Day (June 18). This video is a great tutorial for newbie jugglers.

To mark Log Cabin Day (on June 26), watch the documentary Alone in the Wilderness, a really fascinating account of a man who left the plugged-in world for the wilderness, building a log cabin and living off the land.

 

10 IDEAS FOR THIS Month’S DINNERS

When you want to grill but are feeling a little burned out by the same-old dishes, try this linguine with grilled clams and bacon. It’s unexpected and delicious.

If you bought more eggplant than you know what to do with, serve these falafel-stuffed eggplants with tahini sauce and tomato relish.

When the thought of cooking is just too much but everybody is insisting on eating dinner anyway, this chicken and peaches platter requires assembly only.

Mix and match whatever’s in your fridge to make this leftover salads Nicoise.

Anything you serve for dinner will taste better with this arugula, potato, and green bean salad.

This tomato chèvre tart is delicious just out of the oven, but I’ve also been known to eat a cold slice right out of the fridge for breakfast.

If it’s sunny, cook these Thai peanut chicken thighs on the grill; if it’s not, pop them in the oven instead.

Feeling adventurous?  This chilled crab and shrimp ramen salad is a staple on restaurant menus all summer long in Japan.

This summer minestrone is easy to adapt—and a delicious way to stretch those first tiny garden harvests.

Also a great way to use that late spring produce: spring vegetable bibimbap.

 

FOUR GREAT READALOUDS

I feel like book series and summer just go together, so for this list, I’m highlighting the first books in series I think make great readalouds—whether you stop after book one or keep going until the end.

Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)
By Brian Jacques
The Borrowers
By Mary Norton

Brian Jacques’ birthday is June 15, and Redwall makes the perfect summer series readaloud: epic adventure, talking animals, and plenty of irresistible characters.

Arietty, Pod, and Homily are just trying to live their lives in a way-too-big-for-them world in The Borrowers. I love the way this book blends matter-of-fact details (like peeling potatoes!) into a fantastic world.

You’ll be captivated by the adventures of Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran and his friends (an enchantress, a bard, a dwarf, and a, um, Gurgi) in The Book of Three, the first book in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain.

Cara discovers a magical world full of dragons, dwarves, nightmares, and more when she heads Into the Land of the Unicorns.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.
— John Lubbock

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

bluenerry lavender vodka spritzer


Monday Pep Talk No. 37

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Get outside and make a mess with paint Alka Seltzer rockets. It’s the perfect art project to kick off summer.

Don’t forget your towel and your copy of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Wednesday is Towel Day.

Celebrate Learn about Composting Day (on Sunday) by starting your own compost heap. Start it now, and it should start giving back by fall.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

This grilled chicken with grapefruit glaze comes together in a snap and tastes terrific—the perfect combo for a weeknight cookout.

Update your regular pasta dinner with 20-minute chicken parmesan bolognese.

Why did I never think of this before? Spring roll salad takes all the yumminess inside a spring roll and turns it into an irresistible salad.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

Space pioneer Sally Ride was born on May 26, 1951. Celebrate her birth with a readaloud of Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space, a book that tries to capture some of Ride’s exuberance and brilliance written by her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

I give you this to take with you:
Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can
begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.
— Judith Minty

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

no-bake nutella cheesecake


Monday Pep Talk No. 36

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Celebrate National Transportation Week by exploring some of the ways people got around before the Industrial Revolution.

Hit your library for Biographers Day (Monday). We published some of our favorite women’s history biographies in March and will pretty much never stop raving about Lerner’s STEM Trailblazer biographies, but you can find a biography on almost anyone.

May 18 is International Museum Day. Take a field trip to a museum in your neighborhood that you’ve never visited.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

Upgrade taco night with double pork carnitas.

Easy, endlessly adaptable simple California style omelets are a perfect vehicle for a great farmers market haul or for cleaning out the veggie bin.

Kick off official grilling season with honey grilled chicken with citrus salad.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
By Marjorie Agosin
 

I Lived on Butterfly Hill, a story about a girl who’s sent to live with her aunt in Maine when a coup destabilizes her family’s life in an imagined version of Chile, makes a great conversation starter for Latino Books Month. Older kids may enjoy comparing the events in the story to the history of Chile.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Have faith that your child’s brain is an evolving planet that rotates at its own speed. It will naturally be attracted to or repel certain subjects. Be patient. Just as there are ugly ducklings that turn into beautiful swans, there are rebellious kids and slow learners that turn into serious innovators and hardcore intellectuals.
— Suzy Kassem

 

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

peanut butter choco tacos


Monday Pep Talk No. 35

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Make a sock puppet to mark the solemn occasion that is Lost Sock Memorial Day (on Monday). I love this fun rock and roll puppet and these googly-eye puppets.

Mother Ocean Day (Tuesday) was created to encourage ocean appreciation—and there’s no way not to marvel at the wonders of the deep when you’re watching the gorgeously filmed documentary Oceans.

Celebrate Limerick Day (Thursday) by—what else?—writing limericks. This tutorial from Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids website has all the info your family needs to create limerick masterworks.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

I’m not saying that I guarantee this crunchy tofu chopped salad will convert the tofu-reluctant, but if it won’t, you may have to accept the possibility that nothing will.

When you have leftover salmon and leftover rice, you want salmon fried rice. (Honestly, I would cook the salmon and rice just to make this.)

Portobello burgers, or the only veggie burger me entire family will actually eat. (We like them with sweet potato fries on the side.)

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, which seems like the perfect excuse to read Lawrence Yep’s Dragon's Gate—a funny, tender book about a reluctant 14-year-old boy from China who finds himself in 1860s California. 

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.
— Iris Murdoch

 

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

sarasota lemonade


Monday Pep Talk No. 34

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

May the Fourth be with you! Shelli has a great roundup of fun ways to celebrate Star Wars Day on Wednesday with your family.

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Find a participating shop near you, and score a shiny new comic book for free.

Get hands-on with a simple art project, and paint your own version of budding spring trees with this cake tempera paint tutorial.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

I have been craving these smushed lamb meatball burgers since I discovered them.

Shakshuka is one of my favorite quick dinners, and this smoky white bean version looks terrific. Think of it as an outside-of-the-box take on breakfast for dinner.

Shrimp curry with chickpeas and cauliflower tastes like you spent all day cooking it but comes together fast enough for an it’s-so-nice-we-stayed-too-long-at-park-day dinner.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

Celebrate Leo Lionni’s birthday on on May 5 by reading Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, a whimsical story about a real mouse who years for the affection given to a mechanical mouse toy.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
— A.A. Milne

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

salted chocolate matzo toffee


Monday Pep Talk No. 33

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Commemorate Richter Scale Day (on Tuesday) by building your own seismograph.

Save the Frogs Day (Saturday) was created to raise awareness about the threat of frog extinction—a real possibility if certain environmental factors don’t change. Nature’s Frogs: The Thin Green Line make a good introduction to the subject.

Take a cue from the spring issue of home | school | life, and celebrate William Randolph Hearst’s birthday (on April 29) by watching American Experience: The Battle over Citizen Kane, a fascinating look at the battle that raged around one of the world’s great movies. (There are more Citizen Kane resources in the spring issue.)

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

I think these artichoke gratin toasts might be one of my favorite spring recipes.

Upgrade your standard side salad with this pea, feta, and prosciutto salad, and your regular grilled chicken rotation will feel new and exciting again.

There is some advanced kitchen puttering involved in making Rick Bayless’s creamy enchiladas with chicken, tomatoes and green chile, but if you’ve got a lazy day at home on the calendar, they’re worth the effort.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

Celebrate Children’s Day / Book Day—El dia de los niños / El da de los libros—a.k.a. Dia—a multicultural celebration of the joys of reading by reading Tomas and the Library Lady, the true story of a child of migrant workers who discovers new worlds with the help of a kind librarian. The author, Pat Mora, established Dia in 1996, which makes this year its 20th birthday.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

icy-cool green tea mojitos


Monday Pep Talk No. 32

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 fun things to do this week

Make your mark on Chinese Language Day (Wednesday) by learning how to write a few simple Chinese characters. I’m not always a fan of worksheets, but these step-by-step practice sheets are a good starting point.

Looking for an Earth Day science experiment? (Earth Day is Friday!) This vanishing styrofoam experiment from Steve Spangler Science is a great, hands-on look at why conservation and recycling are so important.

William Shakespeare’s birthday is this Saturday. Celebrate the birth of the Bard with an epic Shakespeare movie marathon. (We list our favorite adaptations in the spring issue.)

 

3 ideas for this week’s dinners

Sandwiches totally count as dinner when they are open-face steak sandwiches with parmesan dressing.

This golden leek and potato soup is warming enough for still-chilly nights, light enough for sun-warmed days.

A fresh take on a dinnertime classic: stuffed shells. (My children would probably eat these for dinner every other night.)

 

one great readaloud

Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion is a little like the Seder experience in a book: Lots of really interesting stuff (stories, poems, history) punctuated by occasional boring-ish bits. If you are interested in the history and context of Passover, this book makes a great readaloud.

 

one thought to ponder

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.
— Erica Jong

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

A charoset-inspired cocktail


Monday Pep Talk No. 31

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Go fly a kite! This Rough Science guide walks you through the science of kite flying and then through the steps to build your own kite.

Wednesday is Scrabble Day. Isn’t that the perfect excuse for an all-day marathon Scrabble tournament?

Beverly Cleary turns 100 on April 12. Take a trip to Klickitat Street and read Ramona the Pest (or pretty much anything she ever wrote) to celebrate.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

I love the jumbled-up, multilayered flavors of this Thai steak and noodle salad.

Salads just feel like the perfect springtime dinner. Case in point: springtime Cobb salad. (Yum!)

I am always on the hunt for new taco recipes, and this roasted cauliflower version with chipotle cream is definitely going to making an appearance in our test kitchen.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

Pax
By Sara Pennypacker
 

Pax lacks the laugh-out-loud exuberance of Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine books, but this novel—part boy-and-fox friendship tale, part survival story, part animal adventure narrative—is incredibly rich and rewarding. You’ll be talking about in the car for weeks.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucius

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

homemade chocolate pop tarts