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Monday, September 15, 2014

{homeschooling} The Journey Begins

Last week marked the first week of preschool in this house. In attendance were my 3-year-old and 16-month-old boys.

While I am not a teacher and pretty much have no idea what I am doing, after a little research on the internet and a couple days now under my belt, I'm feeling pretty confident about teaching letters, shapes, and counting. 

Being home-schooled myself, I have the added advantage of memories that come flooding back to me the moment we begin each morning. While I did not begin homeschooling until 8th grade, my little sister (8 years my junior) began kindergarden that same year and she had the added bonus of being personally tutored by my mom, a preschool, grammar school and special education certified teacher!

Not only was my mom (she passed away almost a year ago) a teacher, but she was an outstanding one who put her all into it. Singing, dancing, acting, demonstrating, and most importantly, a whole lot of patience!

It is amazing how much I remember as I go about our lessons. Something as simple as teaching my son the difference between the letters 'B' and 'E' brings back the memory from 17 years ago of my mom using her lips to exaggerate the sound each of these rhyming letters make.

My mom and I had always planned on, to some extent, homeschooling my children together. Unwittingly, I think I had expected her to do all the teaching while I just watched! Since her death was somewhat sudden and a bit of a shock to me, I had a little crisis of confidence once reality hit that I'd be doing this on my own: no mom to help with the littler ones, no mom to call and ask questions, no mom ask her opinion about different resources offered.

So while this journey has a bittersweet quality to it, enough time has now passed since that initial shock that I am able to focus more on the 'sweetness' of these precious memories of my mom that are being brought to life, and less the 'bitterness' of that never ending ache in my heart.

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." 
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

{recipes} Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tea is my comfort food. Since I am naturally a morning person and scare my husband away with needless and endless chatter if caffeine enters my body before 11 am, I enjoy my tea religiously as an afternoon pick-me-up while my boys are napping. To accompany my daily cup of tea, I love a neat little stack of cookies: Sugar Cookies if I'm feeling indulgent or these Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies if I'm feeling 'healthy'.

Around the time that one of my favorite food bloggers posted this recipe, my midwife (I was 8 months pregnant with my second son) advised me to pack as much protein as I could into every morsel that entered my mouth to aid in baby's brain development during those final weeks in utero. Thus, these nutrient packed cookies were created.

Months later my toddler and I still enjoy our "cado cookies" every afternoon. I usually omit the chocolate chips in half the batter for my little one.

This recipe yields 4 dozen large cookies.

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{Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies}
adapted from this recipe

1 ripe hass avocado
1 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. almond meal
1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat avocado with handheld mixer for one minute. Add butter and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat. Add dry ingredients with the exception of the oats and beat until just blended. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Scoop by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes.


{enjoy!}

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

{books} Tear Soup

After enduring a sudden and devastating loss recently, a friend of mine lent me the book, Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen.

One of the authors is a Registered Nurse with years of experience in Hospice.

It is actually a children's book, complete with detailed illustrations, but beneficial to all ages.

As I turned each page I found myself thinking: Yes, that's exactly how I feel! (With the exception of being angry at God... I plan on tearing that page when I purchase my own copy.) This short, sweet, little book put into words everything that was going on inside of me but that I hadn't been able to express.

Afterwards I felt validated and "normal" which gave me hope that if others have survived such losses, I suppose I can too.

At the end there are tips for those who are grieving and those who's loved ones are grieving. This is my favorite part. Never having suffered a major loss prior to this, I now wish I had read these tips years ago so that I would have known what to do when my loved ones were grieving.