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    Seven Quick Takes: Saturday Edition

    July 12, 2014 by Brandy Vencel
    — 1 —

    I almost skipped writing this post. But then I realized I skipped it last week {because we had company}, and then I’m skipping it next week {because it’s conference week….YIKES!}, so it is better to do it, even though I need to post it a day late.
    You know what I just realized? My life is going to be back to normal in less than two weeks. That is really exciting.

    — 2 —

    Looking for summer handicrafts for girls? My mother-in-law brought a couple really awesome ones for my girls.

    First, we have these Glossy Bands. It’s sort of like having liquid plastic in a glue bottle. She brought this one for Q-Age-Seven, who is making them completely on her own.

    Using drops from the bottles and a toothpick to swirl them together, the end product has been rings and bracelets — and also hours of fun. She’s really proud of herself.

    Apparently, you can buy more of the liquid plastic stuff, so we’re going to search out and see if they have any camo colors because O-Age-Five wants a bracelet, too.

    Second, there is Charming Chains. Now, A-Age-Nine isn’t really into jewelry, so she wasn’t sure about these. I think she was afraid we’d force her to wear it.

    She eventually asked me if she could make these…to give to someone else. I said she could, of course, and now she’s working on them. She gets easily frustrated with handicrafts, so it’s been a pleasant surprise that she’s enjoying it. And they’re very pretty; I’m sure friends and family will enjoy her little gifts.

    Anyhow, these have been fun. I thought you should know.

    — 3 —

    The latest addition to my book stack is Augustine’s Earlier Writings. I bought it so that I could read De Magistro {On the Teacher} as part of the research for my talk. This is going to sound terrible, but I was prepared to be bored. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised! It reads like a Platonic dialog — a great example of dialectic — and it’s a wonderful read. I like it enough that I intend to read the rest when I have time.

    One thing I really like about this edition is that it also includes a portion of Augustine’s later writings — his Rectractions — before you read each work. So, for example, if he changed how he viewed something when he was older and wiser, you get to actually know this before reading the earlier work.

    I find that really helpful.

    — 4 —

    We took a day trip to the beach over the weekend. We just decided that, {1} 108 is entirely too hot and {2} Gigi needed a real taste of California while she was here. So we made the trek, and I’m very glad we did.

    On the way over, I read aloud from Margaret Hodges’ Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. This is out of print, but easy to find and cheap as a used book, even when you find it in a hardback. Ambleside Online assigns the real work later {well, I think it’s a slightly expurgated or shortened version}, and I like the idea of the children being already familiar with the general outline of the story. Plus it’s been fun to read.

    It looks like a picture book, but it has chapters and takes more than one sitting to read through it.

    Unless, of course, you are on a road trip. Then, it works.

    — 5 —

    I got behind on the comments while I was offline so much this past week. I’m sure you understand that I may never, ever catch up. You are all such great conversationalists that I feel guilty about this, but at the same time I thought you should know that I know that I am a slacker.

    You know?

    I am reading them all. I’m just not able to reply as much as I usually do.

    — 6 —

    Have you ever heard of a vegetable spiralizer? They seem to be popular among the paleo diet crowd. Anyhow, since we have a long history of low grain consumption, I’m always looking for new and easier options. Spaghetti squash is great, but the time spent on prepping it is a deterrent to regular use, in my opinion. I was, however, never willing to invest in a spiralizer. I wasn’t sure we’d like the results, and I don’t have lots of excess storage space for random kitchen gadgets.

    So imagine my surprise when I mentioned it to my dad and he said he had one that I could borrow! The one pictured at right is the one he lent to me. We have tons of zucchini coming out of our garden, and sometimes O-Age-Five lets his grow to huge proportions before harvest. So we took two jumbo-sized ones and it was fantastic! I just made my regular spaghetti meat sauce. I use the smallest size attachment, which means they came out around the same size as spaghetti noodles.

    To prepare them, you simple put them into a kettle with water to cover {plus about an inch or so} and then let them reach a rolling boil. Then you strain the, and they’re ready to go. It was less messy and so much quicker than spaghetti squash, and it tasted great. Have any of you done this? Do you love it as much as I now do?

    I’m prepping a little for AO Year 7. It’s only a very little. You see, I’m buying books. It’s a favorite pastime, really. He he.

    Anyhow, I wanted to let you know about your new best friend if you’re doing the upper years of AO: Push to Kindle. Someone introduced this to me about a year ago, and I’ve been using it mainly to send interesting articles to E-Age-Twelve’s Kindle. But this year, we’re using this for school. For example, he’s supposed to read selections from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, and the selections are already up on the website ready for use. But I don’t want us to have to use a computer for this. That’s too much of a hassle. So I’m using Push to Kindle and sending it to his Kindle, where it’ll be ready for whatever is assigned to him in the coming months.

    I use Chrome as my browser, and there is even a cool toolbar button that means all I have to do is click and whatever is on my screen is emailed as a .pdf file to my Kindle. How’s that for totally awesome?

    And that is all for this Friday Saturday. I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

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