Archive for April, 2016

Week In The Life (What A Beast)

April 30, 2016

Fridays in our house are now known as having friends over days. I have enjoyed watching all those hours that I spent on hostess skills, emerge.

Today the girls made chocolate chip cookies, for those in between playing games/ watching anime snack breaks. I have also made sure the freezer is stocked with the appropriate teen binge foods. Sky is in charge of everything, such as making sure those favorite foods are added to our grocery list every week, as well preparing them. My job, is to stay out of their way.

I am no longer needed to chaperon “play-dates”. This has allowed for lots of free time for reading. 🙂 Which is a good thing too, because I finished Blue Lily Lily Blue just in time for the new release of The Raven King.

One of Papa and my goals is to have our bedroom completely set up how we want it, so the girls’ friends can hang out over at our house. This is something I picked up from my childhood best friend’s parents. Her house was our “safe haven”. Her parents would retire to their room and allow us the freedom to hang out downstairs. They knew where we were, and that we were safe.

I would love to have a big enough house with a family room to have a set space for friends to hang out; unfortunately, that just isn’t an option with our small quarters. However, rearranging our bedroom is. We even have a door that leads out from our bedroom onto our backyard deck, perfect for summer evening game nights.

Papa and I spent many nights playing rummy before Sky was born. I am happy with where I am on my journey right now, being able to spend time with Papa again. I thought it might be lonely with the girls not needing me as much, actually I love it. I love not needing to worry about where the girls are on the playground all the time, or if they are playing nice with the other children. I feel good knowing the girls are independent enough, and are capable of doing things without me.


Language Arts


We finished reading The Kingdom of the Moon and Stars. Sky said that it reminded her of Watership Down, but with mice.I didn’t think it bad for a first novel, but do think it could be revised a bit. I could sense the author was trying to go for a more mature type of story, but sometimes the dialog felt a little immature.

I decided to take a little detour this week and read The Jungle Book (found free for Kindle on Amazon), in honor of the new movie release. I didn’t realize before we started reading it, that the stories were originally published in a magazine; which would explain why they didn’t really follow the elements of a story very well. Now, I understand why the title was left so broad.

I didn’t really care for the story(ies) to be honest. I think, like Peter Pan, it is one of those stories that is better told visually. I am really excited to see the movie in theaters.

This was my first time reading Kipling too. I didn’t come away a big fan. Maybe, if I was a boy back in Victorian times curious about adventures in other countries, but being that I’m not, I personally think there are better writers out there to our spend time on.


We listened to the story of Beauty and the Beast at Storynory too.


We discussed, and the girls copied the poem: Beauty and the Beast by Jane Yolen in cursive.


(Little Sis)


We read chapters 11-14 of Grammarland, learning about the nominative case, adverb, and preposition. I also read about them in Basher’s book of Grammar, and we watched the Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube.

Other videos we watched were the Ted-Ed videos: Does grammar matter?, Comma story, When to use “me”, “myself” and “I, and Grammar’s great divide: The Oxford comma debate (YouTube).


The girls warmed up at, and worked in their workbooks.




We watched the movie Marie Antoinette. I was impressed how accurate this movie was; the costumes and scenery was amazing too. (Thanks Big Sis)

The Arts


Little Sis and I made vegan (using Earth Balance), gluten-free granola. She has been doing a good job keeping track of her protein. (Recipe from Feeding the Whole Family.)


Theater Appreciation:

Stage: We attended a showing of The Lost Boys (a version of Peter Pan).


It was recommended for older children since it dealt with darker elements of death. Basically, it was about Tinker Bell actually dying, and the different ways Peter Pan dealt with it. Not only did it fit in perfectly with our fairy-tale unit, it also fit in with psychology, and the 5 stages of grief.

Small Screen:

We watched Faerie Tale Theatre: episode 14 Beauty and the Beast – YouTube.


Being our usual YouTuber (Dramatic Parrot) hasn’t made a video of Disney’s Belle yet, we tried making a chibi version instead from Draw So Cute.


On a side note, I have really been enjoying the soundtrack to the musical Hamilton.


We took advantage of the weather, in between rain breaks, and walked around the block.

That about sums it up, peace for the journey.


Week In The Life (Hey! No Idleness Allowed)

April 22, 2016

So, naturally once our spring break was over, it would actually start feeling like spring; well, more like summer (where we actually in need of shorts). I have a feeling that summer is not going to be kind to my hot flashes this year. Oh well, what is a perimenopausal girl to do? Buy stock in ice manufacturing I guess; be thankful we have air conditioning. Maybe, actually go swimming like I have mentioned these last few years.

Our last summer kind of sucked with my back injury/surgery. So, I do plan on making it up to the girls.

I can honestly say that I have recovered to where I was before surgery. I am walking the same distance now as I did before my injury. Yoga has been such a tremendous help in  recovering. It is amazing how many times I need to correct my posture during the day. It’s amazing how such a little thing is so important, and can be taken for granted. Now, to get back on the losing weight bandwagon.

Our diet has gone through some major changes in the past year; now, with me being able to exercise fully again, I know it is only a matter of time. The waiting part is hard though.

This, will be the first time our family will not be buying half a steer this year. None of the men in Papa’s family have lived to see 60, all dying from heart disease. One of his brothers has already passed away, and two others have already had major heart attacks. The doctor told Papa that it wasn’t if, but when he has one himself. With him approaching 50 next year, change is our diet was inevitable.

Little Sis has also informed us that she no longer wants to eat meat. She still wants to eat seafood, so she is not quite a vegetarian, but pretty close. So, our meat consumption has drastically taken a nose dive.

Little Sis and I have had a really good week discussing nutrition. She understands, that she needs to make sure she is getting adequate amounts of protein. Since I am familiar with being a vegetarian once myself, I am able to help her find ways of adding it into her diet. She has inspired all of us to eat less meat, which I know will be beneficial to Papa’s heart, and with me finally being able to shed my baby weight; my fingers are crossed. 🙂

I was able to finish The Dream Thieves this week, and started book 3 in the series: Blue Lily Lily Blue. I am so loving this series. Sky, has been reading The Game of Thrones series on her Kindle. This is huge. Up until now she has only read graphic novels , or manga on her own time. We have had several discussions on how the books differ from the show. “Now, I understand why you like the books better.” She is actually surprised on how easy they are to read. I explained, that is what good writing does.


Language Arts:


Speaking of good writing, we finished The Little Princess. The girls loved it. Sky replied: “I am going to miss reading this story.” It will, for sure be added to our favorite books from the year list.

We continued reading The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon. This book has a lot of symbolism leading us into the French Revolution. It even mentions Napoleon’s son being raised in Austria.


We discussed, and the girls copied the poem: Against Idleness and Mischief by Isaac Watts. The girls recognized this poem from Alice in Wonderland.




We read/listened to Grammarland chapters 7-10, learning about interjection, verb, and verb’s three tenses. I also read about these topics from the Basher Grammar book, and we watched the Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube.



The girls warmed up at XtraMath, and worked in their Kumon workbooks.



We are continuing re-watching Cosmos. Have I mentioned how much the girls love this show? They don’t even considerate it to be part of school.



The girls added notes on the Mayerling Incident to their notebooks.


We watched Rick Steves’ episode: Alps of Austria and Italy – YouTube.


We learned about, and listened to Jahann Straus the second (The best of on YouTube), watched: A Corny Concerto (1943) “A Tale from Vienna Woods” & “Blue Danube” (YouTube), and the Tom and Jerry cartoon: Johann Mouse.



We watched: The Stanford Viennese Ball Opening Committee waltzes to KĂŒnstlerleben, or Artists’ Life, op. 316 , by Johann Strauss Jr. (YouTube)


The girls had homeschool gym, practiced Yoga, and we walked around our block.

Culinary Arts:

The girls used the recipe from last week’s bread making class ( a Craftsy class) to make cinnamon rolls. They also made another loaf of bread. They have asked if they could make bread whenever they wanted, and I said:”sure”. 🙂


I am thinking that when we are done with this dough’s different recipes , we might transition into our health course. With our discussion of nutrition this week, I think the timing is perfect.

The Arts:

We watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Waltzes from Vienna (YouTube). It was fun seeing some of his more famous shots in his earlier work.

Well, I think that is about it, besides me listening to Prince while typing this post.  😩

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Don’t Be A Sissy)

April 16, 2016

Wish I could say that our spring break was a productive one, but it was too damn cold. It actually snowed! So, hibernation mode kicked in; close to the fire we stayed. I did manage to get lots of reading accomplished. I mean, what else is a break for, right? 🙂

I finally finished A Dance With Dragons (Yippee!). Then, after being a little depressed at what the heck I was going to read next, I found The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater. I love, love this story! It has a very Rebel Without a Cause, Outsiders vibe to it. Or maybe it is just me picturing Gansey as James Dean. 🙂

At first, I didn’t think I would like her writing style, but I was swept up into the story before I knew it. I could have easily stayed up all night finishing this story, but being a mom and all, I do have responsibilities. I still managed to finish the book in four days, and am well into book 2: The Dream Thieves. Maggie Stiefvater has renewed my hope in YA fiction. I am just a little disappointed that I didn’t wait to read it with the girls because Sky would love it. This was the perfect series to fight off my Game of Thrones blues.

Then, there were these muffins.


Vegan, gluten-free carrot raisin oat muffins.

Carrot Cake Oat Muffins (vegan + gluten-free)

This was my first time using flax meal to replace eggs; we didn’t miss them. With Papa’s high cholesterol and Little Sis being a pescatarian, I thought, why not give them a try. I am really glad I did.


Language Arts:


Since on the subject of YA, we started reading: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Sky was like: “Again?  Every story sounds the same.”, and Little Sis was like: “Another “tomboy” tough girl story?”, and I was like: “Yeah, I am getting tired of the whole love triangle thing.”; so, we all agreed to not finish it.

Little Sis is in a reading slump as well. She liked The Hunger Game series, and the book Divergent, but she lost interest halfway through reading Insurgent. Twilight still remains her favorite series, and she’s not finding anything new that meets its standards. I am hoping to start reading  Anne of Green Gables this summer. I am thinking she will really like that series.

Both girls are enjoying A Little Princess though. We started reading it after we quit Throne of Glass. We are listening along with the dramatic reading from LibriVox. A friend of theirs is the voice of Sara.

We are also reading a book I bought through Amazon Kindle for a dollar called: The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon by Lowell H. Press. The story takes place at Schönbrunn Palace, and I thought we would give it a try. It’s okay, it probably won’t be listed on our favorites list from the year.

We watched a short documentary about one of our favorite authors, Beverly Cleary, to celebrate her 100th birthday.


I am continuing reading Basher’s book of Grammar, learning about nouns, pronouns, article, and adjectives. We also read chapters 1-6 of Grammar-land.

I was able to save a copy of the story to my computer; I don’t know if it is still available for free anymore.

We watched the Schoolhouse Rock videos to go along with the parts of speech that we learned about as well(YouTube).


The girls copied the poem Grodek, by Austrian author George Trakl, in cursive.


(Little Sis)

We also discussed what it meant.


The girls warmed up at XtraMath, and Sky started Kumon’s Pre-Algebra workbook 2. Little Sis is continuing with multiplying 2 digits.

We purchased two new games, one card game, and one game for the Wii. Both are a hit.



At first, the girls didn’t know if they were going to like it, but they did. We played it almost every night during spring break. It has been added to our favorites list.



We read April’s issue of Science in the News. We have also started watching the show Cosmos again. The issue of Science in the News talked about tardigrades and prompted the girls to want to re-watch the show.



We watched Geography Now! Austria (YouTube), and a documentary about the fall of the Habsburgs.  ~Franz Joseph 01.avi – (YouTube)

The girls added notes of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth of Austria to their timeline binders.



It is my goal to get all the European countries caught up to World War 1.


The girls had homeschool gym, they practiced Yoga, and this week, with the weather finally feeling like spring, we went for a walk.

The Arts:


The girls took a free Craftsy course on bread baking. We will be using this recipe over the next couple of weeks.


They did a great job. The girls have mastered making cakes, cupcakes, and cookies from scratch. We are moving on to bread. The girls already learned how to make French bread, now loaves.

The girls received a book on how to make five-minute microwave cakes for Easter, and have been making them while on spring break.


Theater Appreciation: (Stage and Big Screen)

We went to see a performance of The Little Princess.



The girls really enjoyed it. The young actors’ group that puts on these productions have so much positive energy. They are lots of fun to attend.

We watched the musical Into the Woods. I’m not really sure what to think about this musical. Most musicals have a point; the only point I took away from this musical was that the director could put a bunch of fairy-tales to music. I think this is the first musical that I didn’t like. Granted, I have not seen the stage version.

We watched the movie Mirror Mirror. I actually liked this movie. I thought it was a lot of fun. The girls liked it too.

We also watched The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials per Little Sis’s request.

Well, besides a dentist appointment, and having a friend over for most of their break, that pretty much sums up our past weeks. The girls still need shorts for summer, I just wasn’t feeling the summer shopping vibe. Did I mention it snowed? 🙂

Peace for the journey.