Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stories from an Unconventional Childhood: Week Seven

Over at Mommy's Piggy Tales there's a cool project going on about family history. There is a challenge to blog for 15 weeks about our growing up years, with a different time period covered each week. Spitfire talked me into joining in because she's hoping for some wild stories from my childhood.

The summer before my fifth grade year, my parents decided they had had enough of roughing it. The animals were sold or given away, the wood cook stoves sold and the rest given away or packed. By this time, my grandparents had been asked to run a combination hotel and apartment complex in Austin. They offered my dad a position as handyman which included a one-bedroom furnished apartment. We pared our belongings down to the bare minimums and moved in.

I loved living in the apartments. We had a TV for the first time and a swimming pool a few feet from our door. I got to see my grandparents all the time too. The one thing I didn't like was sleeping on the couch. We had lived in a communal room in the tent and the structure built after that. I missed my old room with the patchwork rug and the big windows. After a year and a half of sleeping on a mattress on the floor, now I was on the couch.

When it came time to register for school, my mom made a call to find out where my school would be. She left to go register me, but came back looking grim. There were then more calls made and a lot of discussion in the bedroom with the door shut. When they finally came out, I was told I would be going to a private school nearby, a Catholic school.

Now for a girl growing up with a Baptist mom and a sometimes Church of Christ dad, attending a Catholic school seemed like quite a stretch. It seems the school the apartments would use was a black school. I would have been only the second white child in that school and the only white girl. My mom wasn't comfortable with that scenario, so she looked around to find a private school that was close to home.

Catholic school was quite an adventure. It came with religion classes and mass every Thursday morning. A lot of things were new to me like rosaries and confessionals and holy water. Although I didn't really fit in, I did make friends and really enjoyed school. The curriculum was quite progressive and filled with interesting hands-on projects and free time to read.

Getting to school was an adventure in itself, as I had to ride the city bus every morning and then walk a couple of blocks to school, past the school I would have been attending. The catcalls  and indecent offers that came my way confirmed my mom's concerns. In the afternoon, I walked back down those blocks and waited about 20 minutes for the bus to arrive and then rode it the rest of the route until it circled back around to my house. I was really nervous at first about missing my stop, but soon got comfortable with the journey.

We eventually moved into our own apartment a little further from the school and the bus didn't run close to our place. I had to be taken to school and picked up when my parents got off work. I would sit in front of the school and watch my friends leave, and then the teachers, and then the administration. I would sit and read or do my homework until my parents came about 6PM. I didn't like having to sit out there all by myself, but I considered it a small sacrifice to make for what I own room.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Bloggers You Need to Meet

I'm getting to know so many bloggers because they are also participating in the 31DBBB. We are having a wonderful time, meeting new bloggers and supporting each other on this journey. Here are a few blogs I want to extend some link love to. Please check them out.

Anna: "From the longest list post in the history of list posts 10 things We Wish Someone Had Told Us When We Started Graduate School to the post from yesterday The Basics: Graduate Seminars which offers some advice for surviving and thriving in college and graduate level seminars and tutorials, Anna Blanch often writes about her journey through Graduate School and her life as an ex-pat – she is an Australian living in the St Andrews, Scotland who spent some time living in the heart of Texas! But more than this, Anna, a self described scholar-blogger, explores the relationships between literature and popular culture, religion, theology, and faith. She also writes about Children’s literature and seeks to serve parents who are considering what it means to raise discerning readers!"

My take: Anna's blog is loaded with great information. I really enjoyed her Parent's Guide to Children's Literature and her lists of theology blogs. This is a scholarly blog, the kind I seek out when I want to think deeper thoughts than "What's for dinner?".

•Kreate by KeKe•
Kendra: "Kreate by KeKe: a scrapbooking blog by a beginner, for beginners. I promise this blog will only be about scrapbooking (with an occasional tangential rambling about life here and there). I promise I will try techniques and teach them to you to the best of my ability. I promise I will show you how to make a scrapbook that is YOU and friendly on your budget. I promise to have links to the most fabulous scrapbooking blogs, resources, and supply sites. Do's & Don'ts: Etiquette for Beginner Scrapbookers is a funny post on the do's and don'ts for beginner scrapbookers."

My take: Kendra's blog is loaded with great information about scrapbooking. I love that she has stuff for beginners and info about getting kids involved. A small head's up for parents: I haven't read everything on the blog so I can't comment on how much there is, but I did run into profanity on one of the pages for beginners.

 •Strong Personality•
Jenny: "Here’s a little bit about my blog , called Strong Personality. I'm a Seattle parent on the brink of a career change. Strong Personality is my place to share tips & tools that make my busy life easier
Caregiver Brochure
Caregiver Brochure

My take: Jenny has wonderful tips on keeping kids quiet during a plane trip and Quality Time on a Budget. I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.

  •All My Loose Threads•
Jamie: Jamie blogs at All My Loose Ends where she tackles marriage, motherhood and creativity all tied up in one. She wrote the post Saying Yes in February as a reminder about the importance of saying yes.

My take: I'm reading my way through her posts on House Cleaning for Slobs. Check out the great recipes too.

•On Step Journeys•
Spitfire of Spitfire's World  says: "I am the daughter of 2, sister of 9, wife of 1, and mother of 2 beautiful girls. I separated from the Air Force the day before I got married, and am currently studying medical transcriptions, as well as learning this awesome world of blogging!

 If life is a highway, we all know what the necessary stops are, where the speed bumps are, and where the rest stops are. We can look at our life and find the flat tires, the miles with nothing in sight, and maybe even when the car just stopped working. I want to remind you of the joys of life; the parks, the rainbows off in the distance, the funny town names etc. Anything that makes the ride more smooth, the views more pleasant, and keeps the kids (and you) from asking “are we there yet?”
Seeing Like a Man

My take: I'm probably a bit biased but I love this blogger. She's my eldest daughter and I think she's awesome. She has a unique perspective and a snarky sense of humor. Be sure to visit her other blogs as well. You can find the links for those on the Spitfire's World page.

I hope you enjoy these blogs and the posts featured here. You never know where you might find an amazing blog that helps you in some way or an amazing blogger that becomes a friend.

Top Ten {Tuesday}: Ten Pioneer Woman Recipes I'm Aching to Try

I love to visit the Pioneer Woman's site. It's loaded with beautiful pictures and hilarious stories, but the things that attracts me the most is the recipe section. Step-by-step instructions paired with incredible photos makes the recipes come alive. I have so many of them on my list to make it's ridiculous. I hope her next book is The Pioneer Woman Diet, so I can learn her secret, because I would weigh 400 pounds if I ate all the stuff she talks about eating. Here are the next ten things I'd like to make off the website:

1. Baked Lemon Pasta

Oh, the lemon and the garlic and the sour cream. A nice salad, some crusty bread and maybe a little grilled chicken thrown on top. I can taste it in my head. Really!

2. Buttered Rosemary Rolls

I love rolls and these sound heavenly. I haven't even tried them yet and I'm already concocting different variations of the basic recipe.

3. Chicken Spaghetti

My grandmother made chicken spaghetti and I have been craving it. This recipe looks amazing. Cheesy. Creamy. Comfort food.

4.  Simple Perfect Enchiladas

 I love enchiladas of all kinds. I love green chile ones and sour cream chicken ones and spinach ones and ...well, you get the idea. I'm anxious to try these with their homemade sauce and black olives. Oh my.

5. French Breakfast Puffs

The last time I had French Breakfast Puffs, I was in home ec class freaking out because my teacher gave us this recipe and gave the other groups in my class regular muffins of different varieties. We were marked down because they were too buttery. Is that possible? Where is Paula Deen when you need her? Anyway, despite all that, I thought they were wonderful little buttery, sugary things. I need to make these soon.

6. Hyacinth's Everything Cookies

Why don't I have the kind of friends that show up and make heavenly stuff in my kitchen? Oh well. I'll just have to do it myself. Cookies with cranberries and apricots? Oh yeah.

7. The Marlboro Man Sandwich

The Marlboro Man loves it and I'm pretty sure thecooldad would too. Just sayin'.

8. My Most Favorite Burger Ever. For Now.

Juicy beef and blue cheese. Wow. The only thing I'm gonna' do differently is use a multi-grain bun. That will be perfect.

9. Onion Strings

I wonder if there could be any correlation between my intense craving for fried food and the fact that I've been on a low-fat diet. Hmm.

10. The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich

Multiple kinds of cheese and Hatch green chiles on seeded rye. I'm not sure about the Grey Poupon though, but I would try it. Worst case scenario, I substitute spicy brown mustard.

There you have it. Of course, I had to leave behind Sesame Noodles and Pioneer Woman's Favorite Salad and lots of other stuff. What I need is a Pioneer Woman buffet, so I can try a bite of this and a bite of that.

For some great top ten lists, be sure to visit Oh Amanda.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Brand New Challenge--The 31DBBB

I joined in a new challenge called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from the amazingly awesome creator of, Darren Rowse. The challenge is being run by The Secret is in the Sauce community on The Blog Frog. I will be doing the assignments every day for the next 31 days. I'm excited about the challenge because I think it will help make the blog better and be fun as well.

The first assignment is to write an elevator pitch, a short description of the blog and what it's all about. Here's the shortened version of mine:

TeachableSpirit is the place where I talk about home, kids, books, health and life in general. Along the way there will be quirky quotes and cookie recipes and other bits of fun.

You will find a slight variation of this on the blog's tagline from now on.

In the course of working on this, I made a discovery. I had initially intended for my blog to be about all things "home", including education. However, When I thought about it more, I realized I really wanted to resurrect my abandoned homeschool blog and have another go at it. So without further ado, I would like to announce my new/old homeschooling blog TeachableSpirit. Stop by and take a look.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quirky Quote

Before you try to keep up with the Joneses, be sure they're not trying to keep up with you.
--Erma Bombeck (1927 - 1996)

Food for Thought

"We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. " 
 --Davy Crockett (1786-1836)