Commonplace Book, 55

I’m finally learning how to French braid! Like a real girl!!

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

What I’m fixing:

  • Do you, dear reader, find yourself possessed of the calm conviction, “This is how I die” every time you endeavor to hack up a butternut squash? This trick doesn’t work for every recipe — because cubed roasted squash is really freaking good — but sometimes you can just roast the behemoth whole and cube it later. See instructions here.

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Each Friday, I go around our largeish co op goggling at all the families as we frantically scurry from one side of campus to another. No one else seems struck in the same way, by the children I know on sight as belonging to one mom or another, by the four sisters who match like matroyshka dolls, by the large and small packs making their way across the crowded hall, streaming half-dried art projects and unrolling lunch bags.

I am struck, mostly, by how much context this kind of environment provides. Read More »

Lorelei Gilmore and Adulthood

Lauren Graham.jpg
First season Lorelei

I would have to dive deeper into the fandom than I feel entirely comfortable with, but I think it’s safe to say that now, at 32, I’m close to Lorelei Gilmore’s age in the Gilmore Girls pilot — maybe even older if Rory is 15 at the start of season one, but let’s not get into the nitty gritty.

What’s certain and relevant here is that when I first watched the show I was young enough to identify with Rory and now I’m old enough to be a peer of Lorelei’s and that’s pretty weird.

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Commonplace Book, 54

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

Also on the recent menu

What I’m fixing:

  • In the continuing vein of mediocre cake skills, what do you do when you tear up a cake all to hell trying to get it out of the pan? If you’re me, and not cutesy enough for cake pops, you crumble it up further, throw it in a fancy wedding-gift dish with instant pudding and Heath bar bits, and call it trifle. BECAUSE IT TRIFLED WITH YOU, FIRST.Read More »

Homeschooling Takeaways from The Importance of Being Little

(NB: This is one I listened to as an audiobook so I couldn’t mark it up or copy down passages quickly enough. So quotations here were either hunted down online or are from excerpts and interviews that jive with the book.)

In Erika Christakis’s The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups, I was reassured to find many of my hunches are supported (while sometimes being called into question as the purview of overeducated financially stable white people). Her book tackles the problem of quality in American preschool programs as a social justice issue while highlighting the many points of mismatch between preschoolers’ needs and what educators, policy makers and parents believe they need. She very rarely even broaches the possibility of keeping kids at home during the preschool years, and never mentions homeschooling kindergarteners at all, even though the book’s scope includes that age range. Nevertheless, I found it fascinating. Here were some of the most striking takeaways for me:

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On Mentors

Emo photo of Willingham straight out of 2004

I attended Mercer University from 2004-8. It was an exciting time to be a student there, but maybe it’s always exciting to be an undergraduate. Beneath the heavy, humid stillness of Middle Georgia, the college was in upheaval, and discussion cropped up all over campus over what, exactly, it meant for the institution to be Southern Baptist, to be situated in that hazy, noble thing called the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I was a scrawny student watching from the sidelines, becoming increasingly vocal in our round table classes on Paradise Lost and Pascal and Jane Austen. But I was perhaps most captivated by the children’s literature class I took with a young and dynamic professor, Anya Silver.Read More »