Saturday, July 3, 2010

Scheduling Summer

If you are like our family, at the time of this writing, there are 69 days until school starts again. If that sounds overwhelming to you, then don’t get me started on how few days there are until Christmas!

Sixty-nine days is all at once a lot and not nearly enough days of rest and rejuvenation. Don’t you find that the kids who have been desperate for holidays all spring are bored and out of things to do by August 13th? And all those wonderful friendships in the neighbourhood that we hoped would blossom and grow over the summer break tend to actually wither and rot by the end of July? Maybe that’s not your reality. Maybe summer break for you is all about peace and domestic bliss and self-initiated chores. If so, you should write a book. I’d buy it.

Don’t get me wrong: summer, like the rest of the year, is generally a really smooth sail in our home. The kids get along with each other really well, and we all enjoy the break from the routine of school-books and assignments (and marking!) However, every summer there comes a moment where it is quite glaringly obvious that we have all, myself included, had too much free, unstructured, un-educational time. The bad habits of the neighbours are wearing off on my kids, mild irritations with each other become a bit less mild, and we are all generally looking for a rudder to our boat. What to do? What to do?

On top of that, haven’t we all sat at the dining room table in September listening to our kids ask, “What’s 8 times 7 again?” and then bemoan the incredible lack of retention children suffer over a summer that is devoid of intellectual stimulation.

In light of all that, I have come up with a list of things I’d like to do with our kids this summer. These are a few of the things that I always mean to work into our fall schedule, but they often get bumped by the “real school” stuff of core subjects and easily gradable topics. Maybe you’ll want to try some of these too. Or maybe you have a list of resources you’d like to share in the comments below.

Please read the rest of my latest Heart of the Matter Online article here. And be sure to browse their site. There is a wealth of wisdom there for moms of all sorts! What a talented bunch of contributors they have!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foodie Fridays

This week is audience participation time. Don't be frightened. It will be really easy!

I was talking to my eldest girly here about what I should post for Foodie Friday. This being delicious summer time I was thinking about all the fantastic salads and BBQ's awaiting us. Is there any easier way to cook? While my man is grilling up some yummy anything on the BBQ, I put together what is the freshest and ripest from the garden and call it "Salad".

I'm of the school of thought that salad shouldn't be complicated. It hardly needs a recipe. There are very few veggies that go poorly together, so you can't really lose. However, I also am a big fan of putting together just the right flavours and textures to make a brilliant plateful of salady goodness. Soup and salad: my two favourite things in the world to dream up.

So here is my request of you: please leave a comment for all our benefit with your favourite salad recipe or favourite salad ingredients (if you don't have a real recipe per se). Also, for 'bonus points' leave us a comment about your favourite thing on the BBQ. If you can be specific about name brands of products, please do!

I'll start: One of my favourite things on the barbie is Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches. Slice an eggplant in to "not too thick, not too thin" slices lengthwise, brush with olive oil sprinkle with fresh basil and grill on both sides until it is browning, softened and gorgeous. Beside that, grill some sliced, sweet onion rounds. Then make into a glorious sandwich by layering the eggplant, onions, a good mustard and maybe a thin slice of perfect tomato on rye bread. Seriously. Yum.

Salad? I love that broccoli salad. You know the one: broccoli, cauliflower, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, old cheddar, bacon bits, in a light mayo dressing. So.good.

Your turn! Can't wait to read your responses! Yay for Bar-B-Q season!