Friday, October 24, 2014

Decision Made

The kids and I recently started listening to Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl. At the start of the reading I was somewhat surprised to discover there were three different manuscripts in print known as A, B, and C. This left the question which version did I read in middle school, what was added to the complete version, and whether or not it would be appropriate.

First I scanned the book, I found the section where she kisses Peter. Followed by a conversation with her father. Benign. Then I did a little research. I had heard a couple catch phrases of what may be included in the complete version, so I googled them. Thank you Google! One article entitled, "The Things Anne Frank was Frank About" was helpful in presenting the topics that has caused some concern to other parents.

I was left with the decision of read version A which was censored by her father, Otto Frank, or continue with the complete audio version. I decided to talk candidly with the kids and left them to decide. Listen to the audio book which is includes Anne's perspective of puberty, including menstruation, her vagina and feelings for Peter or read the other which omits some of the references to puberty issues. They decided to listen to the complete.

Which I feel is healthy. Bodies change, it is healthy to be observant of ones body. To hear another teen write briefly about these changes will not do harm, rather may be the assurance or comfort they need to get through it themselves.

Decision made. I did let the boy know that on the occasions were she is discussing her period or body changes and he was uncomfortable he is free to leave the room. We shall see where the discussions lead. I have a feeling they will focus more on the fact that she was in hiding during the Holocaust and ultimately lost her life rather than the fact that she got her period. ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good Reads Read

 “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”  ― C.S. Lewis
All  these books can be enjoyed by youth and adult. Every single one got a 5 out of 5 rating by me on Goodreads. Listen up people, these are good books.
 Out of My Mind- A non-verbal wheel chair bound girl finds her voice.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963- Moments of humor, moments of deep reflection. This books is worthy of its accolades and your time.
The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake and Then There Were Five- the first three in a series of four. Heartwarming, vividly written stories of the Melendy family. Wholesome books the whole family will enjoy.
Counting By 7's- A glimpse of the mind of a genius. A walk through the journey of grief. The miracle of finding yourself surrounded by imperfect people that help you find your way.
Memorable characters, superbly written.
When You Reach Me- A nice throwback to A Wrinkle in Time. A coming of age with a twist of sci-fi.
Everything on a Waffle and One Year in Coal Harbor- I like books with hard life topics brought to life and beautifully thought through. Topics such as, loneliness, friendship, foster care, livelihood, environmental protest, loss, love and business adventures.
 The Giver- Do I want to live in the society portrayed in this book? Absolutely not.
Do I want to ponder on things that make the world tick? Yes.
Do I want sameness? No.
Can I celebrate diversity, independence, and free will? Yes, yes, and yes! I like this book because it makes one think. Yes it is sad, but there is something to be learned from the sadness and shock.
Gifted Hands- Anointed! Ben Carson is an amazingly talented man that persevered, worked hard, fought through prejudice, saved lives and changed his industry. Unashamedly a man of faith.
 The Julian Chapter- Even wonder why the bully of Wonder did what he did? This book answers that and more. 

 Never Abandoned by Lori Jo Schepers
Powerful! Redemptive! LoriJo takes the reader on a journey from brokenness to redemption, gives insight of the abandoned heart, and shares her struggles with honesty. With glimpses from behind the veil and touchstones from the Father, there is much to think about. This is a must read for hurting teens, broken adults, pastors, teachers, those pondering how a life can be redeemed, and anyone of influence. We all are people of influence. The words we speak, the encouragement we share, the love and concern of one makes a difference. LoriJo is a warrior, a spiritual champion. She will inspire you, her God will redeem you and change your life forever.

All of them were excellent reads! All of them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#50 Big, Thick, Hearty Thighs and That's a Compliment

Ha! The title of this recipe cracks me up. Look at those big, thick, hearty thighs!
 I like what I see here; chicken, potatoes, and french baguette.
The meal was easy peasy to make. The thighs were indeed thick and hearty, as well as moist and delicious. Served with a side salad and some baguette this meal was a huge success! Probably the best received meal yet. So yes, yes, yes to this in our future. Tomorrow is a variation, I hope it is as good as tonight's.
-Mom

I liked the chicken, loved the fruit. -DD
It was really, really good. -The Boy

And on the cleaning front, the rest of my e-cloth products arrived today. Happy Dance!

Monday, September 22, 2014

#49 Pasta with Swiss Chard, Bacon, and Lemony Ricotta Cheese

Houston, we have a dilemma. We had to skip #48. I really did not want to but it was made with puff pastries. There are no gluten free puff pastries available on the market and to make them from scratch takes HOURS and HOURS of dedication to get them to turn out right. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"
So unless someone makes some gluten free puff pastry or I can find it at a store, we are going to have to pass on #48. Oh darn, we had to have bacon tonight. :D
 I snagged a leaf of swill chard from my momma and daddio's garden. The onion came from the Kid's Garden. And then there was BACON!
 Scrumptious bacon, chard pasta on a bed of lemony ricotta cheese. WINNER! I have a big bowl of leftovers which have my name on them. We will definitely make this one again.
-Mom

Dinner was AWESOME SAUCE! I think I may have put in a little too much ricotta because it was pretty cheesy, but still it was YUMMY! -DD

Side note- The first of my e-cloth products arrived this afternoon. My new dusting cloths. I decided to tackle my bedroom fan since it had not been dusted in ???? who knows how long, if ever. They are amazing!
 I was having so much fun that DD had to go try one out on the kitchen fan. YEAH!!
 Who knew dusting could make me happy? I can not wait for my other products to arrive. :D

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#47 Couple-of-Minute Steaks and Potato Ragout

What is not to love with a steak and potato dinner?
 This one used three different herbs; parsley, rosemary and thyme. I am so glad I purchased the mini pots of herbs. Fresh really is better. I did make the mistake of putting the parsley near an open bowl of cider vinegar, I think it yellowed some of the leaves. Easy remedy though.
Couple-of-Minute Steak and Potato Ragout
The seasoning on the steak was spot on. The ragout was good, however there was a bit of a wine aftertaste that we were not used to. Good but probably not repeated with the wine.
Mama liked.
-Mom

The steak was good but a bit fatty. The potatoes were not very good with the wine.
-DD

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Precepts

 The other day I was at the library and a new release was on the shelf. It caught my attention and I picked it up. It was one of those books that I knew instantly that for me it was not merely a library book to check out and return; it was must a book to be purchased, cherished, read, pondered and reread and pondered some more. The book?
365 Days of Wonder Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts.
If you have read Palacio's book Wonder you are familiar with Mr. Browne's precepts. I for one loved them. I have always loved quotes, reflecting on the words of others. In our home school we have quote books. Each day we choose a quote and a bible verse; writing them down in our books. We don't necessarily write responses to them as I am happy just to expose them to the words, writing and thoughts of others.
This book adds to the wealth of words in this world. Some are well known, while others were writtned by kids and sent to the author in response to the book Wonder. Wherever they come from they make my heart happy. Enjoy a few along with pictures taken yesterday before dance class. :D

To thine own self be true.-William Shakespeare
 Follow your dreams. It may be a long journey,but the path is right in front of you.-Grace
 A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. -Chinese proverb
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Elanor Roosevelt
Just follow the day and reach for the sun! -The Polyphonic Spree

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#46 Prosciutto, Garlic and Herb Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Herb Pan Sauce

 No vegetables. Happy daughter.
 Stuffed chicken, never done in this house before but it was done tonight. Those breasts were smashed, prosciutto and some tasty cheese. They were rolled and cooked up.
 Tarragon was the herb the recipe called for but I could not find it so I substituted some herbs I did have and the sauce turned out awesome.
Stuffed chicken! It was really good but it was difficult to determine when the chicken was cooked through. We ended up needing to cook it longer. We will make it again but make sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked properly the first time.
-Mom

The first few bits that were actually cooked were awesome and then I got to the part that was not cooked, not awesome.
-DD

Monday, September 15, 2014

#45 Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta

We like sausage!
 I finally got smart and bought those potted herb plants in the produce section. I picked up parsley, thyme and rosemary. Such a huge difference to have fresh right from the counter-top. I misread the recipe at the store yesterday and I bought pancetta instead of polenta so I had to go back to the store today.
It was our first time using fennel. The boy was not too found of the smell when it was cooking. I thought it smelled delicious.
Appetizing to two out of the three consumers.
-Mom

I cooked the sausage. I think the polenta tasted like mac-n-cheese. Duh-lish-ous!
I also made chocolate pudding for dessert- DD

Sunday, September 14, 2014

#44 Ricotta Smothered Mushroom "Burgers" with Sweet Onion Topping

 This one took some mental preparation before we could get the courage to make it. Well I was ready on Thursday when it was first scheduled but dear sweet daughter on the other hand, she could have waited forever. 
 Finally with the promise of BBQ chips and pomegranate she bucked up and got her done.
The onions were caramelized in tomato paste, this was a new thing.
I decided to go sans bun. This is one giant portabella smothered in ricotta cheese and topped with the onions. It was a rather dramatic dinner. Gagging; some legit while some forced. Yet miraculously they both got it down. Gladly took the BBQ chips and both proclaimed, NEVER AGAIN!
I am indifferent.  In my vegetarian days I had so yummy portabella burgers so I know never say never.
-Mom

Disgusting! Never again! Excuse me while I go eat my pomegranate, this is my kind of food. -DD

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Just Keep Reading

The last month in books:
Cheaper By the Dozen
Owls in the Family
All of a Kind Family
Homesick
Ben and Me
Almost Home
Wonder

Yet again they were all fabulous.
My new favorite though would have to be Almost Home. Poetic, raw, real life with a dose of encouragement. A great read for the middle school crowd and those who love young adult fiction.

Wonder was thought provoking and sincere. Every person should read at least once.

Cheaper By the Dozen is a hilarious telling of the Gilbreth family. Written by two of the dozen. It is a wonderful glimpse into the life and mind of an efficiency expert at the start of the 20th century. Brilliant! Those who like biographies will love this book that has you laughing out loud as you turn the pages.