If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Equinox! Monday Musings....

Fall (autumn) is my favorite time of the year, so I am happy to welcome it once more! The leaves, the cool crisp air, the anticipation of holidays, soup simmering on the stove, time for hot tea... 

Our maple tree's leaves are turning red. I can't wait for all the liquid amber trees in town to do the same, as they turn a truly magnificent color. The olives are ripening, and it looks like we have a bumper crop this year! Our apples are almost done -- I need to pick the stragglers for homemade apple butter.

Tonight we're welcoming fall with a fall veggie soup and homemade corn muffins. Last night I made a spaghetti dish everyone loved:

 Pizza-Style Spaghetti
1/2 package turkey pepperoni, sliced in half
8-10 mushrooms (crimini are nice), sliced
1 can sliced olives
1 large can crushed tomatoes (or you can use a premade pasta sauce)
1 small can petite diced tomatoes (can skip if you are using the premade pasta sauce)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Italian seasoning (maybe 1-2 Tbsp? I didn't measure)
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Whole grain spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add pepperoni, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to get crispy. Add garlic, onion, and mushrooms, and continue cooking until the onion is translucent, and the mushrooms are fairly well cooked. Add tomatoes, olives, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Serve sauce over cooked pasta, and top with the Parmesan cheese.

The Girl also helped me make some pumpkin-cranberry-walnut muffins over the weekend that were very good, and felt very appropriate for the season.

The Boy has chosen to work with Write With the Best for the moment. I really like this book -- the excerpts they use are very good selections, and the work required is both straightforward and not overwhelming. He was a bit overwhelmed with the Art of Problem Solving last week, in working with negative numbers. I pulled up some videos on Khan Academy, which seemed to really help. AoPS does offer video instruction for much of the prealgebra book, but section 1.4, the one he struggled with, wasn't a featured section!

The Girl is doing quite well with Math Mammoth, so I am glad we made the switch. She's making good progress in Reading Horizons too, and we're taking time to make sure she reads aloud from real books on the side.

...Reading & Watching...
We finished The Twenty One Balloons (to which we all wish there was a sequel), so today we can start delving into The Marvelous Land of the Snergs which J.R.R. Tolkien cited as the inspirational book for Hobbits. The Boy is reading Two Hundred Years of Bicycles, as well as The Lord of the Flies. The Girl and I are still in the world of Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth & the Spanish Armada), and we're enjoying Sea Turtle Scientist. The Boy and I are trying to decide if The Wizard of Quarks would make a good read aloud for a science selection for the Afternoon Basket.

As far as watching, we started The Amazing Race (season 1). We already have a favorite team just two episodes in (Team Guido). We're finally back to watching season two of Once Upon a Time (from which we had taken a rather long break), and plan to start Firefly soon.

I am finally back to knitting, so that I can finish The Girl's scarf in time for winter, as well as my own. I have found the best time for this is while at The Girl's derby practices. I have a gift certificate to a fabulous yarn shop from my last birthday that I need to spend still!

The Girl is fascinated by the book Fairy Houses...Everywhere!, so I think we might expect some crafting there soon, and she's been making all kinds of scaled down clay models lately... a tea set, cookies, sandwiches, and more. She loves to play restaurant that way. The Boy is building a very intricate and very tiny model airplane -- I will take pictures later this week!

...Doing & Going...
We're getting used to the whole M-working-schedule, and ironing out the loose ends when it comes to getting everywhere we go on time. Regular practices this week in both roller derby and fencing, and I have my classes (speaking of which, I have homework to catch up on!). I'd really like to start getting in a regular nature walk on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

...All the Rest...
The Boy's new iguana, Hyperion, is settling in nicely. is very meticulous when it comes to feeding and changing Hyperion's water. The Girl is taking great care of Olivia, her wild-caught bluebelly (aka Western Fence) lizard. She has been trapping ants and fruit flies to feed the tiny creature. She does plan to eventually return Olivia to the wild, as she knows even the nicest habitat isn't a substitute for the great outdoors. If she continues to take such good care of the lizard, she may be next in line for a pet one!

Hope you have a good week, and enjoy the beginning of a new season!

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