Homeschooling preparations

… have begun in earnest. I spent a few hours the other day poring over Montessori math materials and made some purchases and decided on what to try to make instead of buy.

Today I spent a few hours poring over the Ambleside Online book list for Year 1 and made an Amazon wish-list. Some of the books are short and only used for a short time; these we could maybe get at the library. Others we might prefer to own, or might be used over a longer time period than would be practical for library books.

Still to do:

1) Actually make the math materials.

2) Buy or make the first materials I will need to begin Godly Play (Montessori-based Christian Ed).

3) Figure out where to put stuff and where to work.

4) Everything else.


A dungeon

Last night, among other things, I dreamed of a sort of dungeon.

We were in a very large building. Perhaps I was a researcher, an intern, a journalist, a new employee, or had some other reason to be given a tour and to be learning about what happens in this building, what this organization is about. It might be a college. It might be some kind of research and development think tank or something.

The part I remember is being shown to another stairwell — not the pretty kind intended for visitors, but the back corner kind, with all sorts of exposed pipes and ducts, industrial paint, very narrow, with narrow and steep stairs, many many floors down and down below the earth.

We were going to where the really bad stuff happens. The stuff that should discredit the whole organization. The stuff they would say is necessary and fruitful despite its appearance of evil. I’m expecting rows of solitary confinement cells — torture — that kind of thing.

But down there is just one large room — plain, bare — tables and chairs, no windows, nothing to do. It is a little like a day room in a psych ward, except no tv or board games or magazines or anything. Several people are sitting around doing nothing. They are all mentally retarded, or suffering from mental illness. The person giving me the tour sits down — does he engage them in conversation? or just sit there? I can’t remember.

Later in the dream there are two other parts whose relevance to this part I’m not entirely sure of.

One is a large public square kind of thing, surrounded by tall buildings with balconies. “The Jews” are gathering here, planning something or coming to discuss something that needs resolution. There is anger, anxiety, urgent concern. I think I have information that is important to the topic at hand. I think I am helping, even though it feels awfully dangerous, and even though I am uncertain of the information I have.

The other part seems much less immediately relevant, but perhaps is connected anyway — perhaps by contrast. I’m in a light room, getting out of bed, choosing a light sweater to wear, getting ready to go join some people, for breakfast perhaps.


Lent is coming at an interesting time for me. Some old and chronic wounds have been freshly felt again, and with them various layers of fear and shame and judgment. Perhaps I will fast from trying to change those things, trying to get over them as quickly as possible or to pretend that I have, trying to protect other people from them, and being ashamed when I fail. Such efforts prop up the false self; they don’t foster the development of the true self, the one God knows.


I will be online one hour or less each day (except for Spanish lessons, during which I will have no other tabs open). If I need to use the computer to write a blog post or an email, I will do so offline and publish / send during my online time.

I will accept all feelings with mindfulness, neither pushing any away nor clinging to any.

I will embrace all of myself, even the parts I don’t like.

I will remember Jesus, and that I have no longer any need to fear.

I will be open to gratitude.

I will show up for my life and not be ashamed.

Blog year in review

For what it’s worth, I thought I’d list here some representative or favorite posts from blogging in 2012.


Of love, fear, and anger
“Punishment is painful”

Psychology and Theology

It IS pretty slippery
The ridiculous pants
Anger: What is it good for?


Children who are not yet peaceful
Charlotte Mason
Martin Thornton


Amy: Self-portrait playing dulcimer

Stuff I’ve made / done

A doll for school
Church sketch
Carousel horse dress

Not really resolutions

I might as well list here, mostly for myself, what all I need and want to do in the new year. Obviously the list is not going to encompass everything I care about and want to do — just the things I think need reminders or goal-setting and that I’m willing to share publicly.

1) Prepare for the beginning of homeschool. That includes thinking about what room(s) to use in what way(s) and any changes I might need to make or furniture I might want to build, doing a little curriculum / lesson planning, and buying and making materials to continue with Montessori math.

2) Continue in the Daily Office — morning and evening prayer — and when I’m able, attend Wednesday evening prayer and mass. The diocese is also doing a read-the-whole-Bible challenge and I would like to join in with that. I might also want to work on creating time and space for other spiritual disciplines, including solitude and silence, which are hard for me.

3) Finish the quilt! And then perhaps start to learn pattern drafting.

4) Progress in computer time management — two hours or less each day seems a reasonable goal right now. To do the wonderful things Facebook allows with more moderation, and turn Facebook off when I am doing something else. To continue blogging through Charlotte Mason, maybe through Thornton, along with other things. Continue reading

Red lentil soup. And pumpkin custard.

1/4 – 1/2 c onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 T olive oil
2 c broth
2 c dry red lentils
28 oz tomatoes
1 t basil
3/4 t cardamom
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t curry
1 1/2 t coriander

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until tender. Add all other ingredients and simmer until soft. Puree as much or as little of the soup as you like.

I wrote this recipe down without recording the source; if anyone recognizes it, let me know so I can give credit.

1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 1/4 c whole milk
3/8 c sucanat or other sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t each ginger and cloves
1 t vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of water — water should not touch the bowl. Bring water to a boil and stir custard constantly until it is thick or about 170 degrees. Pour into a baking dish. Set this in another dish, and pour the boiling water in the outer dish to the level of the custard. Bake about 30 minutes until just barely wiggly in the center.

This one I adapted from this one — it seemed fine for using three eggs instead of 6-7 yolks and milk instead of cream. It was somewhat light and fluffy, with a great flavor. Would be nice as a pie filling.

Apples for pie

Actually, apples for crisp in this case — a smallish crisp — didn’t have quite enough slices for a pie.

The point of the post, though, is to show how you can put the slices in a freezer bag, then set the freezer bag into the pan or dish you’re going to use when you get around to making the pie, crisp, or whatever, pushing gently to mold the slices into the shape of the dish, being careful no folds or wrinkles of the bag get caught between slices.

Then, once it’s frozen, you can fetch the dish and return it to your kitchen cabinets.