Baiting-Cakes and Books for Rainy Days

It’s a rainy, cooling sort of day after another long week of heat. Thunder-storms are expected later this afternoon, but the gray drizzle we have going right now is as cozy as can be.

I’m making lists of books we’ll need (‘want’ is probably a better word) for the fall – not only for the kids, but for me as well. And it’s such a very long list – I’ve discovered Rumer Godden (thanks to my sister, who sent me In This House of Brede. Read it, really! It’s an absolutely absorbing book, heart-rending, rich, and incredibly written. It’s pure magic.) Rumer Godden has apparently written a few books for children as well. I’m putting a few on our ‘read-aloud’ list, and possibly on Yarrow’s ‘To – Read’ list.

If you haven’t discovered a delightful little children’s book: The Adventures of Mabel, check it out! We found it in the back of a used book store and the illustrations caught our attention. The adventures themselves – brownies, a friendly wolf, a talking lizard – were so sweet and fairy-tale-fun; we bought it for Yarrow’s birthday and she devoured it.

But school books have been taking up most of my focus. We’re still using TAN’s Story of Civilization Vol 1 that we began in March of last year. Yarrow and Ilya are loving the tone and language, though we’ve mainly abandoned the activity book. Activities aren’t really our thing as a family, so I’m trying to find other ways to incorporate what we’re learning. And our local library, (ok, it’s 30 minutes away, but it’s the closest library we have!) has so many fun children’s histories to supplement. But I’m still hoping to own a lovely, well-translated, children’s version of The Illiad!

We’re also continuing on with our Primary Language Lessons book and Saxon Math. But with math, I’d like to get a set of flash cards to help Yarrow memorize basic facts better and with more confidence. I think flash cards would fit well with her learning style. I’m also looking for some great books for both kids on birds, insects, and northeast American wildlife. Beautiful books that tell a story – like the Burgess Bird Book (this one seems to have all the illustrations too!) Because I’d love for this year to be heavy on nature and prayer. Now that Yarrow’s Sacramental Prep is over and Ilya’s is a few year’s off, I’d like this upcoming Catechism year to focus primarily on devotions, prayers, and the virtues. And we’re introducing Latin to our homeschool! Since we attend the TLM, it’s already something the kids have been somewhat familiar with, but this fall we’ll start introducing it to Yarrow as a subject of study – gently and lightly, prayers and bits of the Mass to explore in-depth.

And while I’m doing all my book-planning, I’m baking Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Boy-Bait – which looks and smells amazing! And makes enough for a large-ish spring-form pan and our fairy-cake pan. So this evening, when the real storm is supposed to start, we’ll brew up some peppermint tea and slice up the Boy-Bait, but the little cake will just be set out as a gift when the storm is passed. Fairy’s don’t like being baited.

Today

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Feeling: still slightly hazy-brained, tired, but refreshed. We spent all day at home yesterday, and didn’t work on a single thing! We all went to bed last night in that tired, happy, hot, summer exhaustion that has nothing to do with accomplishment and everything to do with company.

Thinking: about boosting my immune system seriously this month! Since Easter we’ve all been sick at least twice and something needs to be done! I think the biggest issue is stress, we’ve just had so much going on and so many little stressors that built up; but my side job is a problem as well: it’s a greasy pizza kitchen with a whole bundle of sickly co-workers, and, because the owner is a somewhat emotionally unstable person, it’s a emotionally draining place to be. I’ve recently taken to meditative prayer during our stressful times, which helps a lot, but I think I need to go into each work day with a stronger sense of intentionality and interior quiet.

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Dreaming: of finding a way we can actually pay our bills consistently and pursue our passions. Everything was going so well until the Subaru took sick and needed to pass inspection – we had a balance; now we have a distractingly stressful imbalance of funds and expenses. I feel as though a tiny shift in perspective and lifestyle could fix it all, but I haven’t found that sift yet. What works for you? How do you find that balance?

Praying: For a delightful man I’ve never met, who heard my husband’s camera had broken and sent him a replacement. Only better.. Seth had a little point and click digital camera from Best Buy, his faraway friend sent him a Canon “rebel”..which is a good camera. Maybe Seth should start taking family photos for local friends? Anyway, this delightful man is tucked up on our altar now, may his generosity and friendship be “counted unto him as righteousness.”

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Drinking: creamy coffee. It goes so well with the blueberry crumble cake I made yesterday (recipe via the amazing Smitten Kitchen) and served up with strawberries for breakfast – heedless of sugar content. Seth is reading a loud to the kids while the sun rises higher and higher in the sky.

Working on: Starting a local bookclub (real and in person!); organizing my summer days – now that I have energy for more than just work and animal-tending again! – Minimizing my things and, more importantly, my distractions/online time/wants/how-on-earth-do-you-get-spam-numbers-to-stop-calling?

How is your day today?

Changing Habits in July

This month, I said ‘good-bye’ to Facebook.

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Seth and I joined together (with a joint account) when we were married in 2008. Over the years, we’ve had a careless, shifting level of engagement there, but I’ve seen it creep up slowly in the last few years to become a real distraction. And I don’t want that. So while Seth is still on Facebook with our old account, it’s just him now.

It’s not that I think the troubles in our world don’t matter, it’s just that I feel most qualified to heal them by shaping my own environment and tending the people in my care. If Facebook has taught me anything, it’s that intense, personal discussions can rarely be fruitful online – especially among strangers who think that they’re friends. Rarely. It’s just not something I’ve the time or energy, or battery life to invest in at this phase of life. I have young children who want a mama to read with them or walk them through the trees, I have a garden growing wild, hungry animals, and pages to write before I sleep.

I do still manage my blog’s little page on Facebook. I link this posts, I read comments, and I try to share bits and pieces of our daily life. But the newsfeed, and the rest of Facebook I’ve turned over entirely to my less empathic husband.

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It’s inspired me to make this July a month to nourish intentionality in my daily life overall. June was a trying month, stress, sickness, busy days, uncertainties.. definitely a perfect month to offer up to the Sacred Heart! But now that July has come, hot and humid – with a green garden, good health (soon, I hope!), and some semblance of structure – we’re working on reclaiming our Slow Life and enjoying it!

So what does that look like at our house?

  •     (Besides me giving up Facebook for good!)
  •     Staying home more! We’re back to organizing our trips into town and making as few as possible but..
  •     Seeing more of friends! I’m organizing a monthly ladies night out with a few close friends, and working on starting a book club locally as well! But we’re not limiting it to that. We have visits planned with a few local friends this month. I think a lot of us millennial parents are missing out on the joys our parents got to experience in the 80s and 90s, so I’m channelling a bit of that spirit and building up our local community!
  •      My Instagram Intentional Living Challenge (#makeintentionalitycoolagain – and yes, I’m mocking the whole Make America Great Again, but gently..don’t hate me!) I’m so excited about this! And it is never too late to join in!!
  •     ….and more! But I’m not sure what yet, because I’ve only just begun planning this out!

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I’m so excited! It’s going to be a great month!