July 2008

The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas and Sweet Accompaniments
by David Lebovitz
Ten Speed Press, 2007

ISBN-13: 9781580088084
ISBN-10: 1580088082

Here’s a beautiful ice cream book that our library stocks.  It is becoming a family tradition (two years in a row makes a tradition, right?) to check it out once every summer and try a recipe.  The comments that accompany the recipes are entertaining in themselves.  If you don’t own an ice-cream maker, there is a  whole chapter on granitas, which you (or more specifically, your children) can make using a plastic container and your freezer.  Also a chapter on toppings (sauces, whipped cream, etc), and some of the ice-cream or sherbert recipes are noted for also making good popsicles.

Worth seeing if your library carries it, or if you are an ice-cream person, or putting it on the wish list for relatives looking for gift ideas.

 Ah, and look at this: if your library doesn’t carry it, the author has a blog with recipes. (Note: the blog is for adults — every here and there is a comment you would rather not read and probably don’t want your kids reading either.  But overall good — think on par with Chicago Public Radio’s This American Life.)


 I’m such a traitor.  I started this article ("Surprising Foreign Language Helps") right here in *this blog*, and I’ve gone and finished it and posted it over at my new blog.  It was kind of a toss-up as to where to put it, honestly.   If you’re a homeschooler who is intimidated by the whole foreign language thing, please go take a look, even if my other blog usually isn’t your thing. 


In castle news: Miraculous Corn.  That is to say, corn  that was:

1) Planted late.

2) Planted by a six-year-old with no supervision.

3) Came from the remainders of an old seed packet, way too few plants to give us the appropriate stand-size for proper pollination, says my gardening book.

4) Was knocked over twice by big storms, and *continued to grow* sideways.

But I prayed for corn, and corn we got.  Jesus really does indulge us around here.  Longest ear was only about six inches long, but our kindergartener is more than satisfied.  Got two "dinners" out of it so far, if by "dinner" we mean "each child was served a homegrown corn-shaped food object with at least a few edible kernels on it, and no bugs."

 Big news, we’re thrilled.

Anyone want to weigh in on the choice of Latin pronunciations? 

Mr. Boy’s textbook he wants to start is classical, but of course church stuff uses ecclesiastical pronunciation.  (We don’t go to the local Latin Mass regularly, but will probably take a field trip or two once we get any good at this.  Our parish uses a smattering of Latin here and there, and in the Agnus Dei every week.)

Trying to decide whether to learn both intentionally, or just adopt one for school purposes and wing it on the other on an as-needed basis.

Any advice welcome.


Report cards are in the mail!  Next year’s curricula are more or less mapped out, depending on how industrious I feel — what I have in place now as a rough draft is good enough for paperwork purposes.  Process gets quicker every year, though I’ll admit I’ve been pre-planning for months in my head, and did a little on-paper planning during vacation earlier this summer. 

–> A homeschooling-dad friend asked me if I found all the planning for homeschooling to be difficult.  Apparently his wife is not a natural planner (so she tells me).  No, I answered, planning school is not my problem. It’s the actual doing of it that gets me every time ;-).

[That said, report cards testify that we did get quite a lot done — did very well in some areas.  Still a little behind on math from where I think we ought to be, but all in all I think the year went well enough.]

Book review is up on the other blog.  Summary: not for children, but interesting book for history buffs who can read critically.

Over here on the homeschooling front, progress reports are completed but not mailed.  Did get a box of free books (thank you generous donors) in the mail for another homeschooling friend.  I so completely love, love, love media mail.

I head over to Las Vegas for my younger sister’s wedding middle of next month (SuperHusband and kids stay here – have you looked at airfares lately?), with the nieces coming for a week or so just before.  So the to-do list still presses: clean house, plan niece’s visit, write up and send in ’08-’09 curriculum plans, confirm babysitters for my absence, and do some blogging-in-advance so that I stay on schedule.*   That should keep me busy.

Baby is calling to be rescued from nap.  Must run.  Have a good weekend.

*Having deadlines seems to be working so far.  I might try to institute some here, too.

Riparians at the Gate.   The title is a play on words, not especially deep though I could give you a list of possible allusions if you are unable to fabricate any of your own.  Difficult to come up with a blog title that, when you put it into Google, doesn’t return someone else’s blog.  Header image FYI is from the SuperHusbands treasure-trove of stock photography, this one pulled from his trip to Winchester some time ago. 

The structures of justice entry I’ve been promising here since last December is now up over there.  Scroll down, I put it up last week.  (My apologies for not telling you here sooner.)  I’ve reposted the whole living wage series from here over there so that it is in one place, and you can click on the ‘living wage’ category to see it all at once. 


Here at the castle we’re in between times.  Need to get year-end report cards written up and mailed in, and would like to do a little housecleaning before my nieces arrive at the end of the month.  Will resume school as soon as I’m satisfied with those two to-do items, and also as soon as I order the next round of math work books.  Oh and I need to write up next year’s course of study, put some packages in the mail, and I wouldn’t mind getting to the pool a couple times as well.  Normal life I guess.

PS: Thank you to whoever has been praying for me.  My prayer life is much improved.  Please keep up the good work.