Homeschooling with a mild case of scatterbrain

I usually try to take a few notes as we go about our days, to make it easier to remember what we did throughout the week. I didn’t do much of that this week, though, so let’s all assume there was something very exciting that I’m forgetting to share with you.

I’m not the only one who was a little out of sorts this week. Poppy’s piano teacher described her as “scattered” after her lesson yesterday. I know she’s tired from her ramped-up activities lately, and I suspect that has something to do with her difficulty focusing. I’m still thinking about what to do to help her with that.

My personal scatterbrainedness would be greatly improved by getting up at least an hour before the kids. Pete has the uncanny ability to wake up 15 minutes before my alarm goes off regardless of what time I set it for, though, so it seems unlikely that I’ll make that dream a reality.


It was an entirely ordinary week in math, but it was the only thing I took a picture of this week so I felt compelled to mention it.


We’ve reached Chapter 24 of “Anne of Green Gables,” in which the schoolteacher is planning a concert for the community. Marilla doesn’t think much of the idea:

“But think of the worthy object,” pleaded Anne. “A flag will cultivate a spirit of patriotism, Marilla.”

“Fudge! There’s precious little patriotism in the thoughts of any of you. All you want is a good time.”

And Poppy doesn’t think much of Marilla’s attitude.

“But that’s what we all want!” she said. “Doesn’t Marilla understand that? Do you think she ever will?”

Later, after I told her that her dress was backwards, she informed me that that’s the way all the pretend girls in her school are wearing their dresses these days. Because it’s more fashionable.

I think I may be the Marilla to her Anne.

In other reading news:

  • Pete flew through books 7 and 8 of the Bob Books series. I think he’s getting a handle on this reading thing.
  • The kids are very excited about Monday, because it’s the first day of the Pizza Hut BookIt program. Nothing like personal pizzas to motivate a kid! Poppy’s challenge for October is to read 500 pages, and Pete’s challenge is to master two more Bob Books.


This week’s “Story of the World” chapter was about Augustine, monks and Christianity’s beginnings in Britain. Poppy did one of this week’s crafts a few weeks ago at co-op, so the only craft we did was making a cross necklace out of clay and twine. The crosses are just about dry this morning, so we’ll be painting them sometime this afternoon.

Extra credit

  • Pete scored his first-every goal in soccer last week! I expected him to strike a superhero pose afterward — as he had the previous week every time he kicked the ball — but he mostly just looked very surprised.

The Daring Bakers challenge resurrects a rather old point of contention

I often can’t remember exactly how old I am this year or which exit I need to take to get to my brother’s house. But I do remember the first time I heard of empanadas, something like 13 years ago. I remember because Rockford told me about them on the phone one evening, after a fellow intern on whom he still says he did not have a crush introduced him to them one day when they went out for lunch.

Jealousy is a powerful thing. Maybe if Rockford developed a crush on my shoes I could remember where I put them.

The only empanada that I knew of before this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was the small, handheld pastry version — like the Empanadas Mendocinas featured on From Argentina with Love — so I was surprised when I read through the recipe to find that I wouldn’t be making what I was already thinking of as homemade Hot Pockets. This recipe is for Empanada Gallega, which hails from Spain and, according to Wikipedia, is the great-granddad of the little empanadas I was expecting. This empanada is a big freeform pie that’s cut into slices to serve.

The host for the September challenge had a few suggestions for filling the empanada — salt cod and tuna were both suggested — but I decided to go my own way this time. I made a vegetarian version using black beans and plantain. The filling was tasty, but the bread on my empanada was much thicker than I’d originally envisioned. I think I could fix that by rolling the dough out thinner.

The finished product was kind of like a giant sandwich. Rockford thought it was great, but that may have been because it reminded him of the days when he got to have lunch with cute South American interns.

Continue reading The Daring Bakers challenge resurrects a rather old point of contention

A Perfectly Simple way to maintain my tenuous grip on adulthood

In the past I’ve tried to limit us to one or two activities every week, but we’ve added some things this year. I’m beginning to suspect that I’ve over-scheduled myself for the fall. We currently have:

  • Poppy’s regular ballet class and an additional “Nutcracker” rehearsal class on Wednesday.
  • Piano lessons on Thursday.
  • Two soccer games on Saturday.
  • And coming soon: More “Nutcracker” rehearsals every other Sunday.

Now, I know that a lot of parents do all that and more on top of ferrying the kids to and from school and holding down a full-time job. I’m 99 percent certain that the kids wouldn’t have any outside activities if that were the case for me. I’m an introvert and a homebody, and all this running around gives me The Stress, which I inevitably compound by neglecting to eat breakfast before we leave the house. And then I have to either tough it out until I get home or buy something on the go, and it is a scientifically proven fact that I make very poor nutritional choices when I’m hungry like a wolf and outside of my natural habitat.

You would think that as a fully grown and responsible adult, I could figure out a work-around for this. Such as: Eat breakfast or Pack a snack. You would be wrong, though, because I continued to leave the house, get hungry and descend upon the nearest Ho-Ho for months — OK fine: Years, if you count all of that time before now, when I’ve done the very same thing since forever — until finally Zone Perfect stepped in.

They sent me some of their new Perfectly Simple bars to try. Each flavor is gluten-free and contains fewer than 10 ingredients, which makes it a relatively “safe” thing to keep in my purse for snacking emergencies.

The bars come in three flavors: Peanut Crunch, Cranberry Almond and Toasted Coconut. I’m the vice treasurer elect of the Coconut Fan Club, so I thought I was going to love the Toasted Coconut bar. I found it cloyingly sweet, though; I pawned half of it off on Rockford while we waited in line to see Tigger and Pooh at Disney World. He said it was “not bad.” The Cranberry Almond bar didn’t make my tastebuds sing, but it wasn’t offensive either. It was serviceable in the food-as-fuel category, which is sometimes necessary. Like when I’m at the ballet studio and my stomach growls so loudly it distracts the dancers.

And then there’s the Peanut Crunch bar. A.K.A. my new BFF. The Peanut Crunch bar tastes like peanut butter. Really good, dense peanut butter. If you’re the type of person who occasionally indulges in a spoonful from the jar, you’ll like this bar. And I am that type of person.

So while my schedule is going to stay a little bit chaotic for at least the next few months, I no longer have to deal with the repercussions of my own dopey decisions on the breakfast front as long as I remember to keep the Perfectly Simple pocket in my purse stocked with Peanut Crunch bars.

Nichole received a few complimentary Zone Perfect Perfectly Simple bars for review purposed. All opinions expressed are solely her own.