cookbook

Homeschool Gift Guide: Everybody Needs Books!

Homeschool Gift Guide: Everybody Needs Books!

The “something to read” is always my favorite part of shopping. I can’t buy all the books for my own family, so here’s a roundup of fabulous titles for many ages and interests.

Stuff We Like :: 9.18.15

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

This week we celebrated my birthday, knocked out a big chunk of the fall issue, which just may be our best issue yet, and logged a lot of couch hours. (Only three more weeks until one of my boots is scheduled to come off!)  

around the web

I love this: A hotel in Sweden keeps your sourdough starter going while you’re on holiday.

Hilarious: Five television shows they will never stop making. (The Adventures of Mr. Superabilities and Detective Ladyskeptic!)

If you have kids in college, you will appreciate these letters from medieval students hitting their parents up for more money.

 

at home/school/life

on the blog: We’re digging Shelli’s husband’s online history lectures. Check them out if you haven’t already.

on pinterest: These DIY architectural building blocks would be fun to make together.

from the archives: I love Idzie’s post on gaps in unschoolers’ educations. (Spoiler: They are nothing to worry about.)

 

reading list

I didn’t love Louis Sachar’s new book Fuzzy Mud, which made me sad because I always love Louis Sachar’s books. The kids thought it was just okay. Maybe we’re missing something?

I can’t cook, so I’m reading cookbooks nonstop. Right now I want to make everything in the Salad Samurai cookbook, especially the grilled miso apples and Brussels sprouts salad.

I finally convinced the kids that we should read Museum of Thieves, and they are totally enraptured. You should definitely include this one on your library list!

 

at home

My friend convinced me that Grey’s Anatomy is the show to binge-watch if you’re stuck on the couch. She may be right. (It’s streaming on Netflix.)

I need a new knitting project. I’m thinking maybe Shleeves because I love my Sleeves so much and this is kind of like a fancier version of that. Has anyone else made it?

We’ve fallen into the habit of playing Power Grid in the evenings. I seriously think this game could replace the average high school economics class.


4 Easy Ways to Homeschool Lunch

Great list of easy lunch ideas for homeschoolers.

One of the biggest practical challenges of homeschool life is feeding everybody all the time. And lunch — right smack in the middle of your day — can be the biggest challenge of all. These four strategies won’t make lunchtime hassle-free, but they will free up your brain enough to worry about what you're going to do for dinner instead.

Solution 1: Lunchboxes

  • Pros: lunch is ready to go whenever you are
  • Cons: requires nigh􏰁t-time prep; not always the most budget-friendly option

Take a cue from the school set, and simplify lunchtime by packing it up the night before. Stick with the classics — we like hummus, quinoa, cucumber, and grated carrots on a spinach tortilla or peanut butter, honey, and banana on oatmeal bread for easy sandwiches, with little containers of yogurt, fruit, veggie chips, and a cookie for dessert. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can steal some cute bento box ideas, but kids who don’t pack a lunch every day are likely to be just as excited about a plain sandwich and apple combo. (I get all my best sandwich ideas from the Saltie cookbook.) Make a lunchbox or brown bag for each kid, stash it in the fridge, and lunch is ready to go even before you start your morning coffee. 

 

Solution 2: Freezer Meals

  • Pros: easy on the budget
  • Cons: gets boring; does require some advance planning

Once-a-month freezer stocking ensures that you’ll always have a hot lunch at the ready. Our freezer faves include macaroni-and-cheese bowls; black bean and butternut squash burritos; soups and chili; and chicken potpies. There are lots of freezer meal cookbooks out there, but I’ve splattered and dog-eared Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook enough to recommend it. Freeze meals in individual portions (so you don’t have to listen to a 10-minute argument about whether you should heat up spinach lasagna or kale, sweet potato, and lentil hand pies), pop them in the fridge at bedtime, and they should be ready to heat up for the lunchtime rush.

 

Solution 3: Snack Plates

  • Pros: great for picky eaters, no cooking needed
  • Cons: assembly required; can be expensive

The beauty of this cheese plates-inspired lunch is that you can assemble it with all the random bits and pieces in your fridge and cupboards. Presentation is what makes a snack plate like this feel like lunch, so take the time to arrange small wedges of cheese, little stacks of chopped vegetables or fruits, cured or smoked meats, leftover tuna salad, and other hearty nibbles. Add crackers or vegetable chips — homemade or store-bought — and spoonfuls of mustard, jam, chutney, and purees to the plate. Set it out, and the kids can assemble their own lunches from the ingredients. It’s nice to give each kid her own plate, but you can also set up a fancy spread on a serving plate or cutting board for everyone to share.

 

Solution 4: Emergency Pizza

  • Pros: versatile; easy to customize for picky eaters
  • Cons: requires last-minute stove time

Until a genius friend introduced me to tortilla pizzas, I always thought pizza was too much hassle for lunchtime. But using a tortilla for a base makes a quick pizza as easy as a grilled cheese sandwich. The usual tomato-mozzarella-mushroom combo is great, but you can get adventurous with pesto topped with leftover grilled chicken, veggies, and fontina cheese; butternut squash puree topped with goat cheese and bacon; or even hummus with crispy chickpeas, avocados, and roasted garlic. Lay your tortilla flat in a cast-iron skillet, layer on toppings and cheese, and let it bake in a 375-degree oven for about 13 to 14 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and crispy.

 

This article is reprinted from the fall 2014 issue of home/school/life.


Stuff We Like :: 5.28.15

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

Around the Web

I loved this: that magic moment when you become a reader, not just someone who can read a book. (With bonus REM lyrics!)

Why can’t we read anymore?

Are you watching this great web series from the American Museum of Natural History? This most recent episode, all about languages as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist and a computational biologist, is fascinating.

 

On home/school/life

On the blog: Lisa nails it with her thoughts on the whole “Oh, I could never do that” attitude homeschool parents sometimes run into.

From the magazine:Practical strategies to help a student who’s having trouble focusing. (Middle school parents, this one’s for you!)

On Pinterest: I think building this cardboard castle would be such a fun summer project.

 

Crafty

I’ve been ripping up old T-shirts to knit rugs for all our bathrooms. (It feels so good to find a use for all those old T-shirts.)

I’m also knitting up fresh dishcloths for the kitchen, which is probably as close as I ever get to spring cleaning. I like the Ballband Dishcloth pattern (it’s free!). (I use KnitPicks Dishie because it has the best colors, the cotton isn't too hard on my hands, and it seems to hold up well.)

 

Reading

Sometimes these kinds of books annoy me because you would have to have a PhD in woodworking to do anything they suggest, but Woodshed for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build really does have projects that kids can build.

I downloaded Rebecca from the free SYNC summer audiobooks series and have been loving listening to it while I’m walking the neighborhood. (Rebecca's not available anymore, but they have a great lineup of freebies for this summer.)

I am stalking Amazon for my copy of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams— it’s supposed to be a fascinating read.

 

At Home

I am so late to the party with the whole Homicide: Life on the Streets thing, but I am so hooked.

Speaking of being late to the party, Jason and I are just getting around to listening to Serial, finally. Of course, being late adopters means we can binge listen, which is a plus.

Honey-roasted carrots with tahini yogurt are so good. (If you don’t have Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, go get it — it will change your vegetable cooking life forever.)