Friday, February 25, 2011

A Typically Random Day

Okay, show of hands. All of you full-time, at-home parents out there: How many times in your full-time parenting career have you been asked the question, "Yeah, but what do you DO all day?" Kind of annoying, idn't it?

Those of us who happen to homeschool at least get a bit of a break as most people envision homeschooling as some sort of intensive school-at-home operation that takes at least as many hours per day as the local public school does (it doesn't), but it's a trade off because we have to deal with the same tired old question, "Yeah, but what about socialization?" But, that's a topic for another post.

In answer to the the first question, here's a quick look at my typically random day yesterday.

My day started out pretty quietly, with reading The Omnivor's Dilemma in bed. Don't mistake this for a bit of "light reading"; it will make you want to change everything about the way you feed your family. And, I read for the umpteenth time The Velveteen Rabbit to BooBoo (his current absolute favorite read). And the first chapter of Anne of Avonlea to T-Bear.

After hubby'd had his tubby, I slipped in for a quick wash-up (sharing baths saves on water and gas for heating said water) and got dressed. Then, downstairs I made summer squash soup.


Post-boiling, pre-puree'ing.



BooBoo Bear, my kitchen helper.


The finished product. Yes, it was quite lovely.
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The past couple of weeks I've gone nuts making fresh soups of every description I can think of. Some have been not-so-great, but most have been fabulous. As the first "meal" of the day (we don't really do breakfast), it really gets me feeling good, and just bustin' to get outside and into the garden. Hubby agrees. The kids, not so much, though BroBear has been raving about just about every soup I've made, as long as he can follow it up with at least to PBJ's.
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After we'd had our fill, I put the rest into ice cube trays and froze them for Mimi (she's been recovering from surgery, so we're bringing her soups for light, easy meals). I also negotiated a composting co-op with her whereby we combine our kitchen and green waste, and our two composters, to see if we can get a little compost factory going. We'll use my composting bin to "collect and hold", then transfer to her tumbling composter to compost the batches. We both had terrible luck with the tumber getting far to wet, and I couldn't get the bin to compost completely. So, hopefully we can strike just the right balance to get some good compost going.
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BooBoo decided he wanted to plant some spaghetti squash in "his" garden, so we put the seeds onto a paper bag out on the table on the back deck to dry.



BroBear and BooBoo both decided they wanted to grow avocado trees (even though neither will allow an avocado to pass their lips, and I doubt they will thrive in our area). A few days prior, two pits from a previous meal were skewered with toothpicks and put into jars of water on the window sill (has anyone else ever done that?). I decided they were not getting enough sunlight, so moved them to the back deck. Made a mental note that BooBoo's pit was up-side-down, so I can point out the difference between the two plants when (if) they sprout.


I spent about an hour in the "yarden", tending to the newly-sprouted irises (weeding, composting and mulching), and finished mulching the bulbs I'd transplanted last week. I actually used the mulch PapaBear and the Cubs made last weekend with the chipper/shredder, which was cool. It got me thinking all about "suburban ecology" and the importance of re-investing nutrients taken from your property's soil back into your property's soil, rather than throwing it away in the green waste bin or (goodness gracious) burning it in the back yard.


Somewhere throughout the day, the kids did some "learning". We take a relaxed, eclectic approach to home learning, with a healthy dose of TJEd thrown in. Student interest-directed, lots of reading, and a bit of on-line computer learning for good measure.
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Although I don't count this type of thing as "studies" (the State of Georgia does have it's standards, even for homeschoolers), I consider these types of project to be at least as valuable as academics, if not more so. Bro and BooBoo joined forces to create this elaborate ramp, which BroBear mastered on his scooter (the helmet was an intensely negotiated qualifier, thus the slightly "tween" look on Bro's face at the end of the video).

video

Okay, let's see. Somewhere along the line we had afternoon snack, and I'd been tracking T-Bear's BG throughout the day. Overall, his BG has been drifting slightly upward, so upped his Lantus by 1u and was keeping an eye on him.
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And, I grabbed some "left over" organic cotton yarn from my stash and started knitting a kitchen scrubby. Also in The Basket are a holiday stocking for Grace, a red bear for T-Bear (BTW the pattern can be found in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson recommended to me by Grace, and BooBoo is insisting on a bunny from the same pattern), and a sock for ME!.


This was inspired by Tanya's Paperless Kitchen. Last week I hid the paper towels in the pantry, and replaced them with this:

Do you like my sign? ;) We already have piles and piles of "clean up towels" in the kitchen for every assortment of disgusting clean-ups, as well as cloth napkins (though, probably not nearly enough for the entertaining we do).
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I'd been having some difficulty getting my artisan bread to rise this winter, since I keep the house on the cooler side (to save gas) and we don't have a pilot on our gas stove. But, I came up with a solution. I put a cast-iron frier on the stove, heated it up, turned off the gas, and put the dough container near enough to it to benefit from it's long-radiating heat.

It worked. Ain't that lovely?



Since PapaBear went to the trouble of buying me a new baking stone (I have a knack for shattering them), I figure it's time to get back to baking bread. I compromised my "whole grain" standard by using all-natural, unbleached white flour because this bread just does NOT do what it's supposed to with whole wheat flour. Let's just say, this is one of our guilty pleasures.
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Nana (MIL) arrived in the late afternoon (hem, Hubby, a little notice would have been good) to work on her taxes. It gave me the perfect opportunity to alternately chat, listen to Shakespeare's Sonnets for Classic Moms Book Club, and finish the first washcloth (which was immediately put to use in the kitchen).


PapaBear ordered Japanese for dinner from a local place, and picked it all up for us...in this box, which kinda blows my mind.


And, after dinner we sat down for a game of Canasta. BroBear loves this game as much as Papa, Nana and I do (I'm all about Cut-Throat Canasta), and I love that he loves it. It's a fabulous way for the kids to learn complex addition...counting by combinations of 5's, 10's, 20's, 50's and 100's...as well as strategy. BroBear won the round, though I was only 150 pts behind (we both scored over 4,000...not bad considering I did not get a Wild Card Canasta).
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And, thanks to Nana's card holders, I was able to finish up my second wash cloth while playing...

Yes, I AM a multi-tasking maniac. When I pulled out my camera to take this shot, Nana just about lost it.
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So, that was just about the brunt of my day. Except that my day rarely ends when I go to bed. I had to take a wild guess at the carbs T-Bear ate for dinner and figure his insulin dose accordingly, because I couldn't find a carb count for tempura. And then check his BG more frequently than usual in case I mis-guessed.
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About 1:00 am I woke up with Tempura Revenge and was sick for a few hours (sooooooo not used to fried food, and I wasn't the only one experiencing Fried Food Regret). Checking T-Bear's BG at 3:00 am he was too high to let slide (over 300), so I gave him a correction...which means I had to check again in 2 hours to be sure he didn't crash. Still high 2 hours later, but not so high I had to risk another correction (and possible crash). And, sleep simply would not come for more than 30 min at a time.
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Got out of bed later than usual today, and tried to guide my family through the day today...but, really, mostly read and knitted. Some days are better, and more productive, than others.
So, what does this review of my day say to me? That I spend a lot of my time and energy on things that are not necessarily valued by our modern industrial society.
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Things like reading to improve oneself and one's understanding the world. Reading aloud for hours at a time to our children, so they develop a love of learning and exploring and understanding and literature and their human history.
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Saying "yes" to a child's need to build something on their own, to master the use of tools, and to show off what they have accomplished. Supporting children in exploring what may very well become a passion in their lives.
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Baking bread from scratch, making soups from fresh ingredients, and supporting a beloved friend through her recovery by delivering said fresh soups so my friend knows that she is loved, and so my children, hopefully, will develope the compassion to do the same for others during their lifetime.
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Putting aside the convenience of resource-killing paper products in favor of re-usable towels and cloths, which will have to be laundered ad-infinitum in a desperate attempt to keep up. Just because it's the responsible thing to do.
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Combining my energy and attention with those of microbes and critters I can't even see to re-invest green matter back into our little patch of Earth in the form of compost, and recruiting others to help in the process. Showing as much love and attention and respect to our little bit of Earth as possible, so our kids will develope the same sense of reverence and awe.
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And, so much more than I can express.
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This is what I spend my life on. This is what I "do" all day... For just one day. Because tomorrow will most likely be completey different.
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And, so do a dozen other parents I know personally, and dozens more through the internet.
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We're all out there, every day, doing what we do everyday, whether we are acknowledged or not.
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Because, what we do is IMPORTANT, whether we are acknowledged or not.
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So, Rock on! I'm right there with you, and I KNOW what YOU do everyday.

3 comments:

  1. OMG...I AM TIRED AFTER READING THIS POST!!! You are amazing. I love Canasta btw. My sister and I used to play it all the time. I make bread kind of from scratch in my bread machine...a flax bread. I love the way the house smells after baking it.

    Oh...and Omnivore's Dilemma was phenomenal!

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  2. WOW!!! You've written a really special and important message there, on so many levels. Thankyou, from me and everyone you helped that day too, just in case they forgot to say it!

    We enjoyed the extreme sports video clip too, what superb balance!

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