Saturday, January 30, 2010

To go on my "mad money" list

Just in case you don't read Cyrillic, the composers are, left to right, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Mussorgsky, and Scriabin.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter copywork

This time around I had a little more time to select passages for copywork, so I chose some passages that mention winter, snow, or ice from children's books instead of relying on thinkexist or Bartleby for material.  I tried to pick short excerpts that showed a good use of visual imagery or word rhythm.  Once again, I wanted different copywork selections for the eleven-year-old and the eight-year-old, so material and length vary.


If any of you happens to find these documents useful, I'd love to hear about it--please drop me a line in the comments section!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Two favorites, together.

Science and music, melded beautifully.  Thanks to Suji for posting about these videos on the Living Science list.  I *love* watching and listening to them.  Here is the latest video, "The Unbroken Thread," featuring David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, and Jane Goodall:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What you will. . .

Twelfth Night is almost upon us--let there be mirth and laughter!  There seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether or not the holiday is January 5th or 6th (the 12th day is the 6th, of course), but we will celebrate it whenever the movie of the same name (the 1996 version) arrives from Netflix (since someone else has checked it out from the library right now).  In addition to movie watching,  here are some resources for the related Shakespeare play that we will be using today and tomorrow:

Tales from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb. In this narrative version of the Bard's plays, Twelfth Night is sixteen pages long, and the language used is that of the authors, i.e., that of early nineteenth century England.  It is, however, easier to read than a novel written for adults around the same time, as the authors wrote it for children, and I find it particularly engaging.  I found the book in my middle school's library and devoured it almost in one sitting at about age twelve or so.  The entire book is available at, and Twelfth Night can be found here.

Many people prefer the retellings in Shakespeare Stories I and II by Leon Garfield (and illustrated by Michael Foreman), as, in addition to more current language (first published in 1985 and 1994, respectively), there are some fun black-and-white pictures in and amongst the text, as well as some truly gorgeous full-color, full page illustrations placed sporadically throughout the book.  Twelfth Night has the distinction of being the first story in the first volume, and is twenty pages long.  I will likely choose this version to read aloud with my five- and eight-year-olds, but will give the Lamb to DS (almost twelve) in one of his workboxes tomorrow.  We'll see how that goes.  : )

The only movie version (the one from 1996) I have seen stars Imogen Stubbs as Viola/Cesario, Bellatrix Lestrange Helena Bonham Carter as the fair Olivia, and Ben Kingsley as a most excellent Feste.  But, there are at least a couple of others, including an animated version (on disc four of the set), one from the BBC (1979), and one directed by and starring Kenneth Branaugh (1988).

There are seven songs in Twelfth Night, and many, if not all, can be found in various incarnations.  In the play, four of the songs are sung by Feste, and three by Sir Toby.  Of the seven, I'd guess "O Mistress Mine" is the most popular text chosen by composers, and the one found in the 1996 movie (sung by Ben Kingsley) is particularly charming:

But there is also a fairly new choral setting (2001) by Romanian composer György Orbán (b. 1947) that appears with regularity on concert programs:

Sung by Chicago a cappella in this 2005 recording.  Text below:

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true love's coming
    That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers' meeting--
     Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
    What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty,--
Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty,
     Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Good finds of the week. . .

. . . and it's only Monday!

1. Thanks to Sheila for letting me know that Joshua Bell is featured in this month's Bon Appetit magazine.  An interview by Amy Albert can be read here.  The illustration (right) is by Masa.

2. Ten Dollar Dinners is a new cooking show on Food Network that the kids and I discovered after watching a marathon of "The Next Food Network Star" on New Year's Eve and Day (the show is the winner's "prize").  While I'm not sure our Massachusetts prices will allow me to make all of the meals for under ten dollars, I was pleasantly surprised to look at the recipes available and realize that a) most of the ingredients are ones I have on hand, b) most of the recipes contain foods my kids eat, and c) with a few minor modifications I can actually eat most of the foods prepared as directed (I don't eat eggs or soy in any form, and limit my dairy intake).  

Toujours bon appetit!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Copywork

Just a few for this week, then we'll move on to winter copywork (coming soon).

New Year's Copywork

Friday, January 01, 2010


Favorites of mine in 2009


At Home with Friends, by Joshua Bell, et. al.
If on a Winter's Night, by Sting
Requiem, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)


The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King (King's Mary Russell novels are perennial favorites of mine). Book trailer:

Austenland, by Shannon Hale
Graceling and Fire, both by Kristin Cashore


Glee (Yeah, I know--me and the rest of the world.)

honorable mention: Castle. I've seen the first two episodes, and I think there's some potential. The chemistry between Mal Castle and Beckett is pretty convincing, and it's early days (in my viewing history, anyway).


Homeschooling resources (mine):

For the almost twelve-year-old: Complete-a-Sketch; Life of Fred
For the eight-year-old: Writing with Ease, by Susan Wise Bauer
For the five-year-old: anything involving clothespins or playdough
For all three of them: workboxes

Homeschooling (the kids'):

The Children's Homer, by Padraic Colum
Biographies (Mary Anning, Charles Darwin, and Bindi Irwin come to mind)


Beets and goat cheese. Friends Lynne and Stephen introduced me to these two ingredients fixed together, in the form of crostini, which I then recreated at home. Beets are delicious! I had no idea, since my mother grew up eating them to the point of nausea in WWII-era Virginia, and refused to make them once she was in charge of the kitchen. My crostini had chopped wild arugula instead of the watercress Stephen used (though I think I liked the 'cress better), as the watercress I found didn't look good to begin with, and certainly didn't improve after a few days in the refrigerator.

Chicken with Saffron Rice. I think it's almost time to make this dish again!


myPhone. I'm a cliche. I know it.
Chet Raymo's Science Musings blog

Least favorites of 2009

Music: Benjamin Britten's St. Nicolas. I so wanted to love this cantata, but was bored, bored, bored by it.

Books: Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer. I truly enjoyed the middle two books of the series, and liked the first one because of the introduction of the characters, but the last book left a bad taste in my brain.

Movies: I don't remember seeing any movies that were horrible. I know there were some that were not memorable, but can't recall their names or what they were about or. . .

Homeschooling resources (I didn't have any least favorites--these are the kids'):

Food : Carmelized Red Onion and Fig Dip. Ugh. DH picked it up at the local foodie haven. I think it's my turn to go there next.

Personal: Turning forty. Not so much the age, but the fact that I didn't recognize the birthday with any pomp and circumstance, which I didn't do because I didn't want to be stressed out planning and running a party in the middle of the summer. Since forty-two is the meaning of life, perhaps I'll celebrate then, instead. ☺

What I'm looking forward to most in 2010

Music: Getting to sing the Duruflé Requiem, along with songs by Eric Whitacre and John Corigliano


The God of the Hive, by Laurie R. King (April)
A River in the Sky, by Elizabeth Peters (April)
The Black Cat, by Martha Grimes (April). I'm hoping the author has regained her sense of fun, which has been sadly lacking from the last several Richard Jury novels.
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones, by Alexander McCall Smith (January)
Aunt Dimity Down Under, by Nancy Atherton (February)
Steamed--a Steampunk Romance, by Katie MacAlister (February)

Also looking forward to reading La's Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith; The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, though all three of these have already been released (and are currently in my house, waiting for me to read them).


The Young Victoria (came out in December but not out locally yet): Emily Blunt
Leap Year (January): Amy Adams (Enchanted, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Julie & Julia)
Letters to Juliet (May): Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia)
Paris (September) : Juliette Binoche

honorable mentions: Valentine's Day, with a huge cast list including Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Hector Elizondo, and many, many more; and Beastly, which has only a teaser so far, but I'm a sucker for retold fairy tales, so I have hopes for it.

TV: Joss Whedon directing an episode of Glee? Did I read that right? Could be cool.

Homeschooling resources: Brave Writer's Writer's Jungle. I'm reading it. And even planning to implement it. Wish me all kinds of luck. Please.

New year, new goals:

more yoga
more walking
more (any) strength training
more hanging out with friends
more adventures (and less stressing about them)

How about you, friends (if you've made it all the way down here to the end of what turned out to be a very lo-o-o-ng post)? What were your favorites and least favorites in 2009? What are your goals for 2010?