quick 5

Well hello there, quick 5 reader! Hope this Friday meets you with a sunny morning and a strongly caffeinated beverage to share it with.

 Did you know that today is National Comment on Blogs Day? Who knew! So read the five and leave us a note!

1.  I take requests, I really do. So I'd like to dedicate this walnut update to my friend, Tori, who asked for the walnut update.

Every fall I post about the walnut tree. Its part of the circle of life on this blog (like cankles and dr. pepper and rumors of a novel that is mostly just that). So here's the scoop on the walnut tree: its growing. And mass producing.

Every fall it rains walnuts in green husks (just a bit larger than a golf ball) and we hear the loud bonks on our car and the top of the fort and the roof of the garage. And a kid or two gets hit. Its just reality. 

We collect bags and bags of them- last year it was FOUR full yard waste bags. That's a lot of walnuts.  (The first year we told Drew we'd pay him a nickel for each walnut he picked up. In two days we owed him over $20, so the price has gone down).

There are three major areas of bummer in regards to walnuts: 

#1- they are a ton of work. If you want to crack and dry them, it is a long process that needs some space to let them all air out. Time and space run short in this season of life, so we have never endeavored to do that. (If you are local and would like some- just holler. Seriously- they are yours for the taking. Or my son will collect you a trash bag  for $2.)

#2.  When the husks are cracked open, they have a dark filling that bleeds out. This filling stains. Everything. (clothes, feet, hands, playground, big wheels, etc.)

#3. When you get hit with one, it hurts like the dickens. For real. Last year there was a week period where I had the kids wear helmets as they played in the backyard. We aren't quite to the part where they fall that heavily but it should be coming any day.

2. Part of the curriculum at our Classical Conversations community involves Fine Arts, which takes the form of art for the first quarter (next quarter is music). So because of the need to prep drawing activities and new resources to check out, we have been drawing a lot. I began to read the book Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes and found it so interesting. The author makes the point that drawing is mostly a skill set and not merely a natural talent. Because we no longer teach drawing as a skill (as would have been common in a classical education or in Pride and Prejudice) most people grow up feeling that they aren't "good at art". But just like playing the piano or taking ballet, drawing can be taught. 

Isaac has really taken with the Ed Emberley books which are FANTASTIC. Just having the basic steps in front of him has given him a lot of confidence. 

I found Drew a book at the library called 5 Steps to Drawing Dinosaurs by Pamela Hall and he's loving it. (Will he be in his dinosaur "phase" forever? Maybe.)



3. I mopped my floor yesterday and the world somehow righted itself when I was done. If someone had told me when I was 19 that some day mopping my floor would be a great source of relief, I would have declared that impossible. But here I am, over 24 hours later and still riding the wave of a Libman mop and dusty bucket. Ah, adulthood.

4. Today I read an article about how public schools in NY will now make the morning after pill available to teenage girls as young as 14- without parental consent. The goal of the program is to combat the alarming rise of teenage pregnancy- I get that. And I understand that many people do not see the morning after pill as a form of abortion or see abortion as a moral issue- I get that, too. What I cannot comprehend is how parents would not want to be informed that this is happening to their daughters. Call me old fashioned, but I went to high school in an era when parents were called if the nurse gave you tylenol. And now,  thirteen years later, a nurse can give you a pill to terminate or avoid pregnancy, and your parents need not know. I was stunned. Totally, completely, painfully stunned. As La Shawn Barber, a World Magazine columnist, pointed out, a NY city teen can legally be given a morning after pill but "they cannot buy a 32-ounce sugary drink to wash it down." (referring to the recently passed soda ban). Legislation is a confusing (and frightening) thing, that is for sure.

5. We've taken to the backyard as we celebrate the departure of the heat and try to savor the weeks before the cold sets in. Tessa is big enough to get in on the action.

Here she is on her scooter...

Here she is trying to figure out how to make it go forward...

Still moving backwards...

"How does this blasted thing work, anyways?"

And here Isaac was showing Tess her shadow. So sweet. 

I'm out of numbers already and I feel like I haven't told you everything. So here's a few bonus notes from the week:

  • I watched "The Help". Awesome. It spoke to me on so many levels: about being a voice for others, about the power of story to speak to injustice, about writing something that matters. Where have I been and why did I not see that sooner? (And what else am I missing out on? Help me, please!)
  • I am a third of the way through draft #2 on my manuscript. Slow and steady, slow and steady. (Husband joked the other day about what book I would write for National Novel Writing Month this year to which I replied, "Are you insane? I am still writing last year's book!" Sheesh.) On our way to Colorado last week, I actually read  about a fourth of the book to Garrett and it was really fun. Way more fun than I expected, which was a good thing.
  • The fruit flies are hanging around (by the way, thanks for the suggestion, Aunt Nancy!) The bad thing is I'm kind of developing a tolerance for them, like I notice them less. I don't think this is a good development. 
  • My friend, Heather, told me a recipe for cake that is one box Duncan Hines chocolate cake, one cup of greek yogurt, and one cup of water. Oh my word- AMAZINGNESS. The batter is so good- it tastes like the chocolate mousse you've always dreamed of. (You don't dream of chocolate mousse? that's weird.)  And then they bake up (if you bake them- you could just eat it as mousse) perfectly fudgy. No frosting necessary, people. Do it. For real. As a bonus, they are an egg-free dessert should you ever need one. And if you use coconut milk greek yogurt- then it is a dairy free dessert. I'm just sayin...
Sometimes when days are long and I'm not sure what I'm doing, I am struck by the verse from John 1, "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men." It just speaks to me quietly, to a lonely dusty corner, down deep somewhere. Any verses striking you in particular? 

Well, I guess that's all for now. Sorry the pics got a little out of control and the words tumbled out beyond the five points. Enjoy the last weekend of September!

Over and out. 


Stacey said...

I totally hear you about the fruit fly situation! When we were in the kitchen upstairs, we had several fruit fly problems! There was a door onto the roof outside the kitchen, and it wasn't sealed properly. Bugs got in all the time, and we had to be really strict about what could be on the counters or the fruit flies swarmed us! I don't know what your aunt suggested, but Nick got rid of them by putting out cider vinegar with a little dish soap in it. He covered the bowl with saran wrap with a few small holes so they could get in, but not out. It worked several times for us!

Teresa said...

... major area of bummer
#4. you step on them and your foot rolls out from under you or you twist your ankle.

At least, that's how it was with our apple tree. One morning chore was to do an "apple run" and pick up any that had fallen on the ground so we wouldn't kill ourselves when we went out to play.

Becky said...

Stacey- I tried something similar with cider vinegar and it didn't work. Maybe the dish soap is the key. I'll give it another whirl- thanks!

Teresa- not a bad idea to do a walnut clean up early in the day. That would really help!

Nicole @ she-laughs said...

You are exactly who I would want to watch "The Help" with... the feelings were mutual.

Heather said...

I just read this post. Have you ever read The Help? I could lend it to you Kindle version. I read it after I watched the movie. Very good.

Heather said...

I just read this post. Have you ever read The Help? I could lend it to you Kindle version. I read it after I watched the movie. Very good.

Heather said...

I just read this post. Have you ever read The Help? I could lend it to you Kindle version. I read it after I watched the movie. Very good.

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