My Favorite Walks Around the World

I found this post mostly completed in my drafts folder, and thought I’d share, since it’s been awhile since I did a nostalgia post. One of the beautiful things about moving often is that you experience the “little things” of life in so many different ways. Like the smell of the plants outside your window. Or the way different fruits taste when they’re in season. Or the cadence of stray overheard phrases in different languages.

Among the constant yet changeable things in my life is the evening walk that Tony and I have taken ever since we got married. Besides being a great time to reconnect as a couple, talk about what’s on our minds, and get some fresh air, our walk also helps to explore whatever neighborhood is ours at the moment.… Read more

Safe in the United States

I’ll start out this post with a story from when we were living in Ireland a couple of years ago. We had taken the children to the park down the street, and while we were watching them play, we struck up a conversation with a fellow parent. We never did get down the Irish accent, so as always, it came up pretty quickly that we were American. He remarked that he had considered visiting the United States. We smiled and nodded, since most people responded to our nationality with either an account of their visit to America, or an expressed desire for such a visit.… Read more

Globetrotting, Mormon-style

One of the things almost sure to be heard in a Mormon testimony meeting after someone has traveled (whether it’s across the ocean or just to the next town over) is an expression of gratitude that “the Church is the same no matter where you go.” To a certain extent, it’s true. We all sing the same hymns, although every ward congregation seems to have its particular favorites. We all read the same scriptures. Sunday meetings follow the same general format, even if the meetings are in a different order.  Sunday School and other lesson manuals are standardized and translated into over a hundred languages, and on any given Sunday the whole worldwide Church is studying the same lesson (give or take a week or two depending on how organized the local Sunday School teacher happens to be).… Read more

Strange & Norrell, Wine to Water, The Egyptian Revolution, and The Dream of the Celt

This week’s book reviews (with the exception of #1, which is just an irresistible indulgence) are dedicated to people who want to save the world.

Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an absolute delight: witty, intelligent, exciting, and original.

I am addicted to footnotes (I even like reading annotated critical editions of novels), so I adored the abundant tongue-in-cheek scholarly footnotes in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I also appreciated the length. No matter how quickly you read, you won’t be finishing it in an afternoon. At over 1000 pages, there is just so much of this book to love.… Read more

The Emerald Isle

In honor of the holiday, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from the summer we spent in Ireland.

For sheer beauty, I’m not sure if any countryside can compare to Ireland’s. It is so, so lush, even in the dead of summer. The quaint low rock walls everywhere, the charming steeply-sloped roofs, and the green, green, green of everything make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

All that green does come with a price tag in precipitation. So rain boots were standard attire when going out.

I believe the fields of Ireland were the origin of Axa’s frog-catching obsession.… Read more

Casteluzzo Acadamy 2010 Term 3

I thought I had put up this term’s curriculum before. We’re already halfway through it. I like to wait a few weeks into it, though, before I post, so that I can note any adjustments I’ve made.
Note: This schedule is readings for Axa, who is five. She narrates after each reading. Raj Dominique, who is three, does not have a schedule, and is not required to narrate. However, he was dying for stories of his own, so he is reading from The Rainbow Book of Fairy Tales for Five-Year-Olds (he already finished the one for four-year-olds).
Bible – I’ve added a New Testament and Old Testament component to our studies.
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Render unto Caesar when in Rome

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.

I’ve been asked to teach Axa’s Primary class at Church today. The lesson is on obeying the laws of the land. One of the activities is to tell the story from Matthew 22 when the Pharisees and the Herodians go in to trick Jesus with a question about whether they should pay taxes or not. On another tax paying occasion when His disciples were worried about having the needed funds, I remember Him sending them out with their nets to catch a fish with a coin in its stomach.… Read more

Plaid skirts and Rubber Boots

I have one great regret about homeschooling. School uniforms. I would love to dress up Axa in plaid skirts and sweaters and Raj in ties and knee socks. And they would love it too. (Really, they would. In fact, for her school the other day, Axa dressed both herself and Raj up in dresses, crowns and veils. My fantasies are much tamer.) I have considered dressing them up in school uniforms even though they don’t go to school. But the way we do school is so messy. It involves bread dough, mud, snails, and other things incompatible with starched white collars and shiny black shoes.… Read more

Diary of a Neo-Edwardian Lady

We were at Lough (Lake) Ennell yesterday, and it was beautiful. It barely rained on us at all. And, I discovered the macro button on our camera (actually, Tony showed it to me). What joy and delight! I snuck up on every bug in sight, not to mention dozens of very obliging flowers. Maybe I really could do a nature journal. I’ve been stuck on that point for some time, as my repertoire of feminine accomplishments does not include brush drawing. I was just about to capture a slug when the camera battery finally died. From above, the slug looked as sedentary and blobby as slugs are wont to look.… Read more

We’ll make Rome before six o’clock

We walked down the canal again today. It’s my favourite walk here in Mullingar. Although it’s over two hundred years old and no longer serves as a conduit for goods and passengers coming up and down from Dublin, they still keep it cleared for the occasional motorboat. I was very pleased the first time we walked down it to demonstrate my extensive knowledge of canals and those who work on them (derived entirely from the verses of The Eyrie Canal, which my mother taught me). Just a couple of weeks ago I read some more about bargees in The Railway Children, which is our current daytime readaloud.… Read more