snacks

Stuff We Like :: 8.14.15

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

We are squeezing the heck out of these last few blissful weeks of summer. I'm glad that we take it easy in August because my soul just isn't ready to let go of summer yet.  

around the web

It’s a rare event, but news of the dystopian television adaptation of Little Women has left me speechless.

Apparently “on fleek” is nothing new: Teenage girls have been key figures in language evolution since at least the 1500s.

How does poetry matter in a world of insta-information?

 

at home/school/life

on the blog: Egg & Spoon is a delightful fairy tale for middle grades (and language lovers of all ages)

on pinterest: We’ve started our Nerdy Halloween Costumes board. (Apparently, I can't handle the prospect of autumn, but I'm cool with early Halloween planning.)

from the archives: I love this post from Shelli about how we have more time than we think we do in our homeschool lives

 

reading list

If Felicia Day writes a book and I don’t read it, does the world still exist? Luckily, we don’t have to find out because I did, in fact read it. (It was charming, as you’d expect.)

I’m finally reading The Doomsday Book — one of Connie Wilkes’ time-travel historian tales — and I am just loving it. (Have you read these? The premise is that future-day Oxford historians time-travel to their period of specialization, which sounds cool all by itself, but the books are smart and funny to boot.)

My daughter read Remarkable, about an ordinary girl living in a town of extraordinary people, and thought it was terrific. My son is falling in love with the Clementine books.

 

in the kitchen

I want to make spiced nectarine jam, but we keep eating all the nectarines. It’s a problem.

On hot nights, I am sometimes just plain not inspired to cook anything, so we have a cheese plate and a big vegetable salad and call it dinner.

These cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook are a crazy combination (cornflakes! marshmallow! chocolate chip!) that totally works.

 

at home

We’re officially old — Jason and I are going to the wedding of one of his students this weekend. (I have this super-adorable hat to wear, but I always chicken out and go hatless at the last minute. Do you do that, too?)

I feel like way too many of our dinner conversations this summer have been about Angry Birds Epic.

Every few years, I'm tempted to try quilting because quilts are so cool. About two squares in, though, I remember how much I hate ironing little squares.


Stuff We Like :: 8.7.15

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

One of my friends was teasing me that my weekly stuff posts make it seem like I have my homeschool life act totally together. So just for the sake of transparency: I haven’t been completely caught up on laundry since one glorious week in 2011 and I do not include things like “ordered cheap Mexican because I was too lazy to cook dinner” on my lists because they are such routine occurrences that they don’t bear mentioning. In other words, I totally have my homeschool life act together — for about 11 whole minutes of every day.

around the web

This warmed my heart: What happens when you give a tree an email address?

This blog rounds up every line spoken by a person of color in hit movies. Wow.

Is our obsession with photographing every minute of our children’s lives shaping the way they’ll remember their childhoods — and not necessarily for the better?

 

at home/school/life

on the blog: Did you enter our Oak Meadow curriculum giveaway yet?

on pinterest: I am in love with this cozy, creative corner.

from the archives: Easy ways to turn around a not-so-great homeschool day.

 

reading list

Is anybody else dying to get her hands on the adult-novel sequel to Five Children and It, set during World War II?

I have been listening to this Oxford lecture series on the works of George Eliot, so of course I had to crack open Middlemarch again. (It's even better reading on the other side of thirty.)

It’s that time again: I’m doing my annual end-of-summer reread of Little Women. (And I’m totally okay now that Jo doesn’t end up with Laurie. But even Gabriel Byrne is not going to reconcile me to Professor Bhaer.)

 

in the kitchen

In my effort to squeeze every bit of flavor from tomato season, I made a batch of tomato jam. Verdict: Yum. (Think of it as a very posh ketchup.)

Shawne inspired me to try making onigiri at home, and these little stuffed rice balls have become a favorite afternoon snack. The recipe makes them sound complicated, but they are actually really easy. (Sometimes I stuff mine with smoked salmon and avocado, and they are delicious.)

If there are blueberries, I’m making blueberry boy bait. And there are blueberries.

 

at home

My daughter and I had our annual homeschool planning retreat — at the pool, this year. I just reported my July homeschool budget, but August spending is well underway.

Jason and I are trying to find a new television show to obsess over, but in the meantime, we’re digging the Harriet Vane Collection on DVD.

We’re totally obsessed with Quirkle, which is kind of like dominoes but with more sophisticated strategizing required. We’re always pulling it out and saying “just one quick game.”


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.