Saturday, February 24, 2018

Our Weekly Amble for February 19-23, 2018

This past week was Break Week at the Garrett Academy. We worked hard for six weeks and were ready for something different. I kept telling my kids that Break Week does not equal vacation, and it doesn't. Break week is still work - it's just different work ... and this week proved it. There's a proverb that says a change is as good as a rest (i.e. A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation), but in this case I think the change of work makes us ready to go back to our regular work.

Monday was a slightly quieter day for the children. I purposely planned the first two days to be work days, but primarily work I need to do. I needed to order AmblesideOnline Year 7 books and think about the differences between Lite and regular Year 7 because I am thinking about how to differentiate for R-girl. I don't think she can keep up with a full Year 7 pace. I think she can read the books, but maybe not quite so many of them. I figure anything I drop from her now could be added back when she's in Y12, though, because she'll "finish" with N-boy - so I may need something. Anyway, I did the ordering, but I have the next 6 weeks to plan and organize.

The kids still had all of their outside classes to continue, so there were piano lessons and choir to attend to.

Tuesday was supposed to be office filing and online work day. I did some of the online work, but the filing went by the wayside ... it was absolutely, gloriously beautiful here in central Ohio and we took advantage of opening the windows and going to the park with friends.

Organ ended up being canceled, so we enjoyed the quiet day.

During all that free time on Monday and Tuesday, I was trying to pay attention to how my kids were spending their time. Mystie Winckler says a part of break week is about assessing how affections are being ordered. So, while I was tapping on my laptop, I was watching things like - Bible reading first thing, domino builds, reading (lots and lots of reading), playing with scratch programming online, writing stories, riding bicycles, joining my Pilates challenge, playing piano and/or organ music on the piano, and some voluntary moving books around to improve spaces. R-girl got her final Doodle Crate from her Christmas subscription, so she worked on that. I was really pleased with what I saw.

Doodle Crate

Scratch Programming on the new family laptop

Nice enough to read outside!


1000 Dominoes! It was my Dad's birthday, so my kids sent him this video.
Wednesday is our regular cleaning day and day out. The morning cleaning was not what I expected so we had to do some when we got home. There were hurt feelings and some tough words until attitudes improved and the work was accomplished. I've been trying to establish that cleaning time as it is a personal (and therefore family) weakness. Opportunities to repent and work together. The work didnt' take very long once we all chipped in and they still ended up with some free time prior to their evening classes - parkour for the younger kids and soccer conditioning for the oldest.

Thursday was baking day. Perhaps you recall my breakfast and lunch plan where I assigned a certain food for each day of the week?

It was a rousing success. That made the main food pain point "Second Breakfast." On Thursday I planned Baking Day where we would take care of that ... and we made so much food to freeze

We made Sausage Balls (replacing the Bisquick with Almond Flour - and I like them better), Lemon Coconut Energy Balls (I also add zest of one lemon), Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites (which R-girl made, having put them into her Enquire Within journal during a Keeping Hour)

We also made some quick breads - Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread (a new recipe! mine is pretty crumbly but I might've used regular chocolate chips and more than the recipe called for ;) It still tastes yummy!)

And three old friends:

Banana Bread

Sift 3C flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 12/ tsp salt. In separate bowl, cream 3/4 C butter and 1-1/2 C sugar. Add 2 eggs and 2 over-ripe bananas. To the creamed butter, sugar, banana alternate adding sifted flour and 2/3 C milk. (you can add nuts or chocolate chips or whatever, I usually don't) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* 45-50 minutes

Pumpkin Bread

Cream 2/3 C Butter with 2-2/3 C sugar. Add 4 eggs. Add 16 oz pumpkin (1 can) and 2/3 C of water. Sift 3-1/3 C flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves (or to taste) ... you can add 2/3 C coarsely chopped nuts or 2/3 C raisins or 1 C chocolate chips (I did white chocolate chips recently) Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350* for 1hr 10 mins.

Finally, I made a batch of my "Big Batch Chex Mix" I make it in one of those roaster ovens which is great because I don't spill Chex all over my oven.

Big Batch Chex Mix

Mix 12 oz box of Corn Chex, 12 oz box of Rice Chex, 14 oz box of Wheat Chex, 4 C cheerios, 4 C pretzel sticks, 4 C mixed nuts in a great big huge bowl (or the roaster oven itself. On stove, melt 3 sticks of butter with 8 T Worcestershire Sauce, 2 Tblsp Lawry's Season Salt, 3 tsp  garlic powder, 1.5 t onion powder. Pour over and mix well. Roast at 350* for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and put in wide mouth Mason Jars for storage. Makes about 8-1/2 jars.

Thus ends my career as a food blogger :)

We went out to dinner Thursday night (and, in full disclosure, I made the cranberry bread Friday morning)

Friday was clean out the basement day. We have a children's half a family quarter, affectionately called the library, and a grown-up quarter. All portions needed significant attention. Much of the portions I worked on included throwing things away and organizing. We have boxes that we moved from our old home (almost 14 years ago) and my office. We have boxes of things we inherited (so many pictures from my mom) and things I'd like to keep, but don't necessarily need to access.

I also have a copious amount of craft stuff because while I don't have a hobby, per se, I do like to dabble from time to time (usually around Christmas).  My stuff was a big jumble with no organization. I got a good start on clearing that up.

The kids half was more of a struggle, although they did find pieces for and put together a lot of games. I'm leaving much of that mess to them ... we'll see if they can get it organized and cleaned up. They did put some baby and toddler toys out of their area into the crawl space but it was harder than it needed to be.

Today, M-girl and N-boy are at workshops for the local Organ Guild. The music is amazing to sit here and write and work to :) Choirs and organs. Wonderful.

Now, I'm ready to preread for the school term that starts Monday. I think we're all ready to get back to our regular work after this busy week.


  1. what a wonderfully productive & also fun week! :) can’t wait to see your plans for year 7!

  2. What a fun & enjoyable read. Obviously you and I are in separate stages of life, but I do look forward to reading your weekly amble every week. I loved the Dominoes video--what fun. I loved seeing what you guys did on break week.

  3. I am so impressed by your children's free time activities. I am curious about your screen time limitations for them. Do they have devices of their own? Do they watch tv? I am currently re-assessing my kids' screen time, which has gotten out of control. I wish their free time choices looked like what you've described here, and I think it would be more likely if I did a better job of limiting their stupid screens.

    1. They have Kindle Fires which are mostly used for books and a few games. They self-regulate better than I do with the screens 😑. We don't have cable and any tv is almost all sports related. We do have breakfast for dinner with some cartoons on nights Jason has a late meeting. Jason and I enjoy some Netflix after they're in bed, but they don't ask very often. We also have an Xbox that gets occasional use, but if it's nice out I say no.

      When they were little I over used pbskids, so we had some pain when that ended, but the tv is less of a draw because we did that.

      We do have laptop limits - 30 mins of "free" use per day, less limits on writing or educational endeavors like Khan academy or scratch, but even then I want to see other things.

      Your family culture has to be what you and your husband determine. Glean ideas, but I don't share to compare or put anyone down. I love things I've seen your kids do that mine don't. I'm for you, friend!


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