Category Archives: homeschooling

IMG_0156

My Top Three Favorite Tea-Time Recipes

Tea time. For many years, it was a special occasion when I traveled to England and had tea at Harrods or for a bridal shower. But when my children were about four or five and we were beginning to homeschool, I started serving tea in the afternoon with a little snack. Sometimes, I used store-bought cookies or made pretzels or little sandwiches. It was an opportune time to reinforce manners (still is!). I shared poems and art books with my children, and often we listened to classical music. They loved it. Seriously, even my son loved it. What boy doesn’t like food? Now, that they’re older, we don’t have time for tea every day, but we try to have it at least once a week. It’s a great way for us to come together and share about our day, to talk about books we’re reading, to discuss what activities are coming up on our schedule. Time together is precious, and tea-time is a delicious time for us to share, not only good food but our hearts. Here are three of my favorite recipes:

Scones! There is nothing better on a cold afternoon than hot tea (Earl Grey or Yorkshire) and scones. My hint: add a little extra heavy cream…or maybe a little more. It keeps the scones nice and moist. On the side, serve butter at room temperature, mixed with a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar. This is a great way to great your kids after school. It’s fun to sit around and chat about our day.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes! Let me just say one word: YUM! Child-tested, these cupcakes were a huge hit! You can serve these with hot tea or iced tea, depending on the weather.

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

These are my kids’ favorite scones. I love to make these in the summer with fresh blueberries. Again, my hint: add a little extra heavy cream. Serve with iced tea or lemonade.

FH000020

Foolish According to Whom?

I was ten. That’s the only excuse I can give. I honestly don’t know this many years later what I was thinking, but I looked in the mirror one day and decided I hated my eyebrows. They were too bushy, or so I thought. This was not during Brooke Shields‘ meteoric rise to stardom. Again, for some unknown reason, I didn’t ask my mother what I should do to fix this horrible defect. This was way, way, way before computers, so I couldn’t Google an answer. Instead, I grabbed a razor. Yep. You guessed it. I shaved off part of my eyebrow. At least it wasn’t all of my eyebrow. I figured out after only part of my eyebrow disappeared that it might not be a good idea after all. Well, believe me, I felt pretty foolish, especially over the six weeks it took for my eyebrow to grow back.

Then there was the day at school when I was in third grade. Mrs. Hudson was reading Little House on the Prairie, right after lunch. While she read, we were allowed to doodle at our desks. I had this new nifty hair comb. My best friend had bought it for me when she went to Galveston on vacation. It was shaped like a fish, and the combs were like the bones, so they stuck out on both sides. Well, that day it was rainy and my curls had fallen. The travesty! So while I listened to the story, I wrapped my hair around the fish comb, hoping it would curl my hair. Wrong again. How would you like to be in third grade, with half a day left, and a yellow fish comb stuck in your hair?

It wasn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last time I’ve made a fool of myself.

Just in case, you think these two events were flukes, I’ll share about the time in sixth grade when I sprayed red paint in my face. Yep. And no, it was an accident. Thankfully, it did wash off. But it didn’t erase the embarrassment I felt.

Of course there are many different ways to make a fool of yourself. As I read the headlines these days about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, I wonder if they are embarrassed by their antics. Maybe one day they will be. Even though I’m happy I’ve never been arrested or twerked in public, I am not immune to doing stupid things. I’m thankful, my embarrassing moments weren’t plastered all over the internet or put my life in danger. Hopefully, Miley and Justin will return to their faith, mature and gain wisdom. I hope there are Godly folks in their lives who can speak the truth to them. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to shrug off those foolish moments and keep them safely tucked away. (Believe me, there are many of those moments I’m not about to share on the internet!) Maybe I’ve gotten used to embarrassing myself. Or maybe (and I hope this is the reason) I’ve simply learned that one’s outward appearance isn’t as important as one’s inner beauty.

Is that something some elderly person came up with to make those of us growing older feel better? Maybe. But then again, Peter tells us God’s opinion in his epistle: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (I Peter 3:3-4)

As I am getting of an age that I don’t look the way I used to, I reflect on my grandfather’s words more and more: “Pretty is as pretty does.” I truly believe my grandfather was right. I have been blessed to know some amazing women in my life. Not all of them were Angelina Jolie beautiful. But they were beautiful nonetheless. And their inner beauty was something to behold as they served God, loved their families, and cared for others. You see, there are some ways in which the world might perceive us as being foolish but which brings glory to God.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been looked at by friends and family who didn’t understand our decision to homeschool. God led us to that decision for our family. It doesn’t always make sense to the world. But we’re not doing it to please the world.

Shakespeare said, “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Frankly, the world will never understand Christians and the choices we make for Him. King Solomon said, “Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?” (Proverbs 17:16) The world’s wisdom is not the same as the Lord’s. It is better to risk everything, even making a fool of oneself, for God’s glory than to seek the things of this world.

Unfortunately, I’m still apparently making a fool of myself at least occasionally. In light of the Super Bowl game yesterday (Congrats to the Seahawks!), there is no explanation for this picture of me.

So how have you made a fool of yourself? And how are you letting your inner beauty shine through?

Establish the Work

Lately, I’ve been working very hard, working on two books. One is due September first. I always get a little crazy as I near a deadline. I’m not having to write thousands of words to get finished…that would put me way over the edge, but I’m mostly tinkering with this and that and making sure the book holds together. But it’s a lot of details to keep in my little brain. Anyway, this morning as I was having my quiet time, I was reading in Psalms. This was such a good reminder for me. Of course, you don’t have to be a writer for this passage to impact you. No matter what we do, taking care of our children, cleaning dishes, laundry, taxiing our kids, homeschooling, going to a nine to five job, whatever our job may be, we want the Lord’s favor on what we do.It’s a particularly good passage as many of our kids are beginning a new school year, and their ‘work’ is homework and studying. And so I offer up these verses as a prayer this morning…

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us–yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:14-17

So what are your hands busy doing?