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Work Day



I am so happy right now. It's 7:30am and I've got the whole place to myself. It'll fill up soon enough, but with five hours ahead of me and a quiet start; I feel primed for writing, planning, and creating. Sweet bliss.

Mama got a work day! Best get to it... 

lately, time has been spent...


...studying, studying, studying.


... processing apples. (Apple butter is next. Favorite recipe??)


... on early holiday gift preparations.


... loving a treat of homemade pieorgies (at a favorite restaurant).


... studying geology.

... dreaming about what is to come.


... reconnecting with the luxury of having a car.


... thinking of project ideas worthy of cutting into my feedsack stash.

These early days of autumn are full and inspiring. Soon we will go pear picking - I'm wondering if I can turn a Rhubarb Ginger Jam recipe into Pear Ginger Jam. Oh, that sounds good. I'd love to make a few batches of that. 

Is it strange that with all the reports coming through about our economic and sociopolitical scene, all I can think to do is simply spend a whole lot less money and take to the kitchen a whole lot more? These two things feel very much in my control at a time when many things do not. Money stashed (in my possession) and a pantry filled with food seems like a good way to take care of business right now. 

Okay, it's time to get back to a list that looks very similar to the one above... there are more apples to peel and a geology project that involves plaster of paris and lima beans! 

We've Turned the Corner




























As much as I love the laid back days of summer - I'm truly meant for the cool and crisp promise of autumn in New England. 

Last week I fell in love with Renee's Roasted Tomato Soup recipe, but lamented the fact that our farm had just finished harvesting them. On an apple picking outing this weekend, I came upon a twelve pound box of roma"seconds" - perfect! I think it's funny (and sad at the same time) that farmstand "seconds" are better than the "firsts" that are sold in grocery stores.

I'm very happy to be making that soup today... with a farewell to summer basket of tomatoes no less. Somehow I think that makes for extra special soup.

We used a few of those tomatoes, the last zucchini from our garden, and the last potatoes from our farm to make this Vegetable Tian (I'm on Pinterest!) for dinner last night. It was the perfect rustic vegetable meal to fill our post-hike bellies. 

Good Monday morning to you!

Our First Week



It's almost the end of our first week of school, all is mostly well so far. It's been a funny start to the year - not much in place organization-wise but we gathered the texts from our springtime curriculum shopping and just sat down and got started.

It turns out that it actually can work that way! Imagine, just opening a book and starting to read without any pre-reading or lessons planned. Amazing... the world still turns.

We've had one wrench in the works this week. Some of you may remember the struggles I shared last Spring with regards to "doing it all" - meaning I homeschool my daughter and I work from home. Add to that the element of homeschooling an only child (something I don't usually discuss specifically, but it has its very unique considerations), and I find it a constant challenge to make it all happen. I suppose it's good to stay on my toes!

I love homeschooling. I love my work (and we need my work). Because my work is home based, it makes sense that I'm the parent that does both. It's one of those things that should work in theory, but in reality it's exhausting. Partly because a lot of what I do is creative and requires me to be one of those slightly crazed artist types who spends too much time in their head, working through the process.

This year we decided to arrange Adam's schedule so he would work from home one day a week. On that day I would leave the house to work elsewhere. Well, day one of trying this much needed routine, he was called out two separate times to emergency meetings/appointments. Sad mama.



A few of the over twenty texts I get to devour over the next two years.

My sense is the biggest challenge of homeschooling this year will be to balance the work/school piece (this tune sounds familiar...). Speaking of school, I'm back in school too! I know, it makes no sense - or maybe it makes perfect sense! (Let's go with the latter.)

This program is more rigorous than the last that I did, though the two seem to compliment each other beautifully so I'm very happy to be pursuing this. I do find it pretty doable to study right along Emily as she studies, it's my 'work' that seems to require a lot more introspection and, um... solitude, at times.



It'll figure itself out, I'm sure of it. Doesn't it always? I'm just doing a little processing out loud here (thank you for listening). 




Each day this year I'd like to make it a point to share with Emily an article, short video, or perhaps a website from the news and/or art scene.

Something that takes only about 10 minutes to view/read, but is the sort of thing that might inspire bigger projects, or reveal unknown interests and passions.

Given that the news is mostly upsetting and sensationalized, this makes for selecting relevant pieces a tough job. I'm on the lookout for global and local information (hint hint, please recommend!), that reports real issues but with an emphasis on the 'silver lining'.

Isn't it best to be lifted up and inspired to action rather than feeling knocked down and hopeless? 

A resource we use regularly is The New York Times Learning Network. In addition, I've actually found Facebook to be a great place for this sort of content (imagine that). My Facebook friends have really interesting things to share!


These week we've enjoyed:


Next week I'll share specific details on the curriculum we are using, some people (myself included) like to check out that sort of thing. 

I hope your first weeks of September are feeling like the new beginning that most of us know them to be... oh, the beauty of a blank canvas. 

it's a wrap! (and a homeschool beginning)



Above photos by Emily

Today marks the final day of the current 30 Day Vegan session. Feels very bittersweet. 

It was such a wild month! New course elements (video cooking classes!), awesome guest contributor (Renee is amazing!), and a lovely mid-month wrench in the works named Irene (not so amazing!). To say this month ebbed and flowed is an understatement. Thankfully, it mostly flowed... quite gracefully at times too.





Yesterday we started our new homeschool year and in the spirit of all things September, I thought I'd replay the homeschool series I wrote up last year at this time:

It's interesting to look back on these posts. Our start to this school year is looking very different (I'll be writing about that at Simple Homeschool later in the week), but still fresh and new all the same. With a tweaked approach and a growing child teen, our homeschool is ever-evolving, as it should. 

I'm looking forward to giving proper attention to my blog again. Thank you for continuing to be here even (perhaps especially) when my attention is partially elsewhere... xo 

Irene Taught Me a Few Things



It was a good idea to bake all that bread before the storm.




Trust my instincts, always. I sensed this was going to be a bad one.




Trees close to the house can sometimes be a problem.




The basement is not nearly as neat and organized as I thought.




Twenty years of owning this game and it's still loved by kids of all ages.




Control is an illusion.




My husband is the kind of guy who heads out into the height of the storm when a tree crashes into a neighbors front yard and an electrical fire blazes - to offer his help in any way that is needed.


He is also the kind of guy that will head back inside just as soon as the neighborhood post storm folk music sing-a-long begins.




For a few hours that day, I knew fear.




Gas cookstoves are wonderful. So is ever-running (albeit cold) city water.




Headlamps make for good light shows.




Canning all the produce in the fridge before it went bad was a resourceful idea.


The guitar will always play. The girl will always sing.




In the days that followed life moved at a different pace. I loved that pace.




The poor lighting I complain about in my kitchen is actually kind of pretty.


There was time to get acquainted with the film camera my mom loaned us.




I will go to great lengths to keep us in green smoothies.



Living two blocks from a university library with great hours, wifi, and electricity is nice. It helped keep my course going.


As did a borrowed laptop and incredibly patient workshop attendees.


Although wouldn't you know it, the very day that I decided to take the plunge and invest in a laptop so I could more easily keep my course on track...




... utility trucks arrived on our street and worked non-stop until power was restored.


It happened to be on my birthday. That was pretty sweet.



Eight days without power. I learned a lot about myself, about how our family lives, and the sort of things we find necessary. We really did fine. My work was the biggest challenge but I managed to only be 'absent' for two days, and everyone was so understanding.

For a long time now (years), I've said the three most important elements of modern day living (for me) are indoor plumbing, the internet, and antibiotics.

I realize that's kind of a weird list. And certainly I appreciate many other points of modern life, but these are the three that I would choose if I ever needed to. 

This extended power outage has confirmed that list. 

I'm still pretty off schedule, the inside and outside clean up continues. In less than a week I'll wrap up this session of 30 Day Vegan (a little sad about that) and officially begin our homeschool year (a little overwhelmed that I don't have it all together... that's overrated, right?). 

Mostly, I'm just happy to be back here. 

Checking In

hurricane irene 086

Taken standing in my driveway, this is my neighbors house. That final standing trunk is leaning towards Emily's bedroom.

A quick note to say hello, we are all safe and sound. Irene hit here pretty hard, no power since Sunday, no power in sight. Lot's of clean-up ahead.

Hope you are all doing well... hello!