Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Take me out to the ball game... or enforced family fun

Last night we all went to a Kane County Cougers ball game. It was fan appreciation night, so that meant Free Tickets! Who turns down that? And since the stadium is less than a half an hour away from our house, we decided that everyone would go and it would be a fun family outing. Some older people were not so sure this was their idea of fun, but sometimes we just decide that it is a required family fun time. J. and I were reminded of the ball game trip that J. took the six younger people on last year. Same place, but a lot more involved because of the length of time it took to get there. This was a lot more fun. Plus, the Cougars won... 9 to 1. A slightly closer game might have been a little bit more exciting.

G.

K. and L.

Y.

R.

J. explaining the rules of baseball to D. I was doing the same thing the row behind with TM. It turns out neither of these boys knew how baseball worked. They do now.

D., having done a little research during the game, was filling me in on the likelihood of getting hit with a baseball at a game.

I don't think P. was doing baseball research.

H. with slushie. I briefly thought about calling our little night out an eating, rather than an outing. (Hat tip to Russel Hoban in Best Friends for Frances.) Because the evening was filled with a lot of snacks. Various people would head up to the concession stands, come back with something, and share it. 

G. and L.


A. even came... without Olive, who had to stay at home in her crate.

Y.

H.

D. took some pictures for a while.

We really did watch the game.

What three young people really wanted to do was catch a fly ball. They moved over to the emptier part of the bleachers, where several fly balls had been hit, but... nothin'.


Seventh inning stretch. 

Y. thinking the ball was coming to her.

But it didn't.

It was a fun night spent together, even if no fly balls were caught.
_____________
Vegetable tally

Tonight I needed a fairly easy dinner so we could eat early and get to the game. So, I made homemade hamburger helper. It's pretty easy, and you can vary the ingredients to whatever you want. Here's the general recipe. Chop some vegetables (I used onion, celery, and carrots) and saute them for a bit in some oil. Add about a pound or so of ground beef and brown. Add a can or two of diced tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and I added some marjoram and parsley. In the meantime, cook some egg noodles and drain. Right before I add the meat mixture with the salad mixture, I stir in some frozen peas. Mix everything together, and add some grated cheddar on top. Easy, and generally popular.

Artichoke - 1
Avocado – 3
Basil - 1
Beans (black) - 2
Beans (navy) – 2
Beets - 1
Bell pepper – 2
Broccoli - 1
Brussels sprouts – 1
Carrots - 3
Cauliflower – 1
Celery - 2
Chickpeas - 1
Chipotle pepper - 1
Corn – 3
Cucumber – 2
Edamame – 1
Escarole – 1
Green beans – 1
Green onions – 1
Jalapeno – 1
Lettuce (iceberg) - 1
Lettuce (leaf) – 4
Lettuce (romaine) – 2
Mushrooms (white button) - 1
Okra - 1
Onion – 7
Peas - 2
Potatoes - 1
Spinach – 1
Swiss chard - 1
Tomato (cherry) – 2
Tomato – 6
Zucchini - 2

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

See, we're doing something about school

There are a lot of moving pieces to get this crew ready for the school year, and unpacking and getting settled in a new place were not the only ones. Another part was just figuring out logistics. We don't have the big school room we used last year, where everyone could keep their school books and supplies laying about. While we do have school storage, it is not nearly so large, and we won't be working in that room, we will be using the dining room each morning instead. 

I've used kitchens and dining rooms before, and the most challenging thing about that is getting them cleared off for use as actual tables to eat on afterwards. We needed an easy way that people could carry their stuff about, and keep it contained. I decided that if each person had a bag for their books and a pencil case for pencils, erasers, and crayons, doing the moving and cleaning would be easier. So we did some crafts. I bought each child a new, blank canvas bag and a new pencil box. Everyone decorated their and they are now hanging on hooks behind the door in the studio where they will live.


R.

K.

H.

Y. and G.

L.

G.

Some of the finished products.

This cute bag is Y.'s, 

And this fantastic dragon is L.'s.


I have also started to plan for the school year. TM is signed up for a couple of classes with a co-op, P. is signed up for a class at the community college, D. has planned enough coursework for himself to keep busy for several years, so really, the bulk of the planning is for my grade schoolers. I love grade school! It just feels so easy. To keep it fun, I've decided that we are going to go on a 'round the world tour this year. I'm in the middle of figuring out how many countries we can visit, and what that is going to look like. You know it will involve a lot of books, and we'll throw in some music and art and food as well. I am going to try to hit the seven wonders of the world as we travel around, as well as some major architectural sights. I have passports to stamp, and we'll keep travel journals. Now, I just have to figure out the details. My new library is going to get to know my name very, very well, as the massive piles of reserved books show up.

I have also decided that this is the year that all five of my grade schoolers will be playing the piano as well. Y. and K. started a bit last year, but the craziness of the year got the better of us. Plus, I packed their books, so it was difficult to play. This year, I'll add in G., L., and H. as well. Because I will have so many siblings starting at the same time, I've had to do a little research into piano methods because I want them each in a different one. (There is so much less craziness that way.) They will become my little guinea pigs as I try them each out. H. was trickier, as I wanted to find a method that would be appropriate for her and the speed at which she learns things. I have some leads, but have yet to purchase anything.

Actually doing the research does help me to get a little excited about the school year starting. The next question is, can I actually do the amount of research and planning that I typically like to do, before we should be starting. No, I take that back. I could totally do it. The real question is, can I do it and still interact with the family in the meantime. That's the real question.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A day at the fair

Some pictures from our second visit to the fair.

K.

G., L., and Y.

K.

Y. and K.

TM and L.

H. and R.

Watching A. and G. on a ride

P. and A. getting off the ride

Y.
____________
And I haven't done this in a few days, so here is our monthly vegetable tally:

Artichoke - 1
Avocado – 3
Basil - 1
Beans (black) - 2
Beans (navy) – 2
Bell pepper – 2
Broccoli - 1
Brussels sprouts – 1
Carrots - 2
Cauliflower – 1
Celery - 1
Chickpeas - 1
Chipotle pepper - 1
Corn – 3
Cucumber – 2
Edamame – 1
Escarole – 1
Green beans – 1
Green onions – 1
Jalapeno – 1
Lettuce (iceberg) - 1
Lettuce (leaf) – 3
Lettuce (romaine) – 2
Mushrooms (white button) - 1
Okra - 1
Onion – 6
Peas - 1
Potatoes - 1
Spinach – 1
Swiss chard - 1
Tomato (cherry) – 2
Tomato – 5

Zucchini - 2

How is yours going?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Going, going, going

That is what we've been doing the past couple of days. Our new little town has a big festival the third weekend of August, complete with parade, carnival, tractor pull... you name it. Everyone enjoyed the parade and carnival last night, but it did make for a late bedtime. This morning, we were up early to head into Chicago for a memorial service. It was a sad reason to see M. and B., as well as lots of friends. Of course, one doesn't make the trek without doing some visiting, so we were gone all day.

I'm pooped. It's late, I'm tired, and tomorrow is promising to be another busy day. It also means I don't have a lot to say other than that.

And really, I'm popping in here not just to say that I'm tired, but to also ask you, if you are a praying type, to keep my mom and her new puppy in your prayers. A couple of weeks ago, she bought home a new little bulldog puppy, whom she adores. Then, a week ago, Daisy, the new little puppy contracted pneumonia and is a very, very sick dog. She will be needing 24-hour care if she is going to pull through. I know I... and my mother... would appreciate everyone's prayers for Daisy's healing. Thanks!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday bullets, August 18, 2017

We get closer and closer to September, and I still have no done homeschool planning. I may take a page out of a friend's book, and consider September 1 to be August 32. I can do that, right? Make summer another month or two longer?


  • It's been a week of socializing. We've made some new friends which we are very excited about, who don't live very far from us. It certainly helps this seem more like home. But for this introvert, three days in a row of meeting people is a lot. I'm tired. The grocery store trip I need to make today sounds kind of relaxing. 
  • P. and I headed over to our local community college the other day to get her enrolled. She has decided she wants to try one class at first, and has settled on French 1. Her reasons for taking French are not because she has always wanted to learn it, or because I can help her. No, it's because they don't offer Romanian, and French is the closest she could get to it. (P. likes learning less main stream languages. For a while she was working on Dutch.)
  • We have a new lawn mower. No, we didn't plan on purchasing a lawn mower at this point in time, but the tractor we inherited with the house officially kicked the bucket a week ago. It has always been a bit finicky, and was not pleasant to drive, but when the blades stopped turning, we knew its time had come. On Tuesday, a bright and shiny new zero turn mower arrived at our house. It's probably just as well. It is far easier to use than the old tractor, and will make mowing the lawn a lot quicker and easier. Plus, it can spin in circles.
  • I miss my old kitchen.
  • We visited some new friends yesterday and they have chickens. Some of my children now think that getting chickens should not only be put on the to-do list, but should be bumped right up to the top. And a certain older child, who really, really loves eggs, finally made the connection between having chickens and eggs appearing for the gathering. I'm not entirely sure she had ever really put together the live animal chicken and the eggs that came out of the refrigerator before.
  • G. sits down next to me the other day, and says in a sad and pathetic voice, "I miss doing school," and then sighs heavily. She is not the only one to feel this way. I see this as being a problem in my hopes to extend summer another month or two. 
  • Puppy Olive is now 11 weeks old and stands taller than Nefertiti. This does not thrill Nefertiti, let me tell you. I think all of Olive's growth is going to her feet and legs. Her feet are nearly as big as Kenzie's now, and her front legs are like sturdy young tree trunks. A. is doing a great job with her, and it would seem that Olive is very close to having the whole house training-thing down. Or Olive is doing a great job with A., and nearly has her trained. One or the other.
  • To catch you up on other animals, Q. is doing just fine. He particularly loves it when one of the children scratches him under the chin. He is also continuing to do his part in eating the Japanese beetle population. 
  • The wean off of R.'s seizure medicine is still continuing, and still no seizures. I still cannot tell if the reduction of medicine is making any difference cognitively, though. She does seem to be in a particularly shrieky phase at the moment. I have no idea if the two things are related.
  • We still have boxes of IKEA furniture which has yet to be put together.
  • G. likes to go around and correct older siblings' grammar. She is often correct. D. does the same thing, only in his head. 
  • I'm willing to eat crow and admit having a smart phone does make life a lot easier. But auto correct... it drives me wild. The thing that makes me want to smash it into the sidewalk is its tendency to helpfully capitalize every single contraction regardless of where the contraction falls in the sentence. So sentences end up looking like this: Why Don't you pick up some milk since We're out. I Can't get to the store right now because We're in the middle of something. Clearly whoever did the programming for auto correct missed the day in school when contractions were explained. Or capitalization. Or both.
  • Yes, my children have inherited their grammar correction habit from me, though I'm quite sure J. is as much responsible as I am.
And with that I shall leave you. Don't forget to head to my studio Facebook page and click the little 'like' button.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Starting from scratch

When you move to a place where you know no one, it can be difficult to start all over again. This is particularly true if you are a private teacher. Since it seems that the area where we've landed relies heavily on the internet for information, I have decided that I needed to create a Facebook page for my piano studio. So this is what I did last night instead of writing a blog post. For people on Facebook, if you care to, a visit to my new page, and a like would be much appreciated. If I have ever taught you or your child, and you would care to write a positive review, that would be much appreciated as well.
___________________

Vegetable tally... last night we had pasta with pesto. I decided that even though basil is typically classified as an herb, when you use four cups of the stuff it counts as a vegetable. Halfway through the month, and we are at 29 different entries. If you want to quibble about me dividing up lettuce and tomatoes into types, then you drop the total down to 27. Either way, we are pretty close to 30, and still have a week or two to add some more obscure vegetables onto the list. Plus, as I look at it, there are some pretty ubiquitous vegetables I haven't fixed yet... such as broccoli.

Avocado – 2
Basil - 1
Beans (black) - 2
Beans (navy) – 2
Bell pepper - 2
Brussels sprouts – 1
Carrots - 2
Cauliflower – 2
Celery - 1
Chickpeas - 1
Chipotle pepper - 1
Corn – 3
Cucumber – 2
Edamame – 1
Escarole – 1
Green beans – 1
Green onions – 1
Jalapeno – 1
Lettuce (leaf) - 1
Lettuce (romaine) – 2
Mushrooms (white button) - 1
Okra - 1
Onion – 6
Peas - 1
Potatoes - 1
Spinach – 1
Tomato (cherry) – 1
Tomato – 3

Zucchini - 1

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dear Frustrated and Reluctant Homeschooler

It's the season when schools are starting, and thus many homeschoolers are starting their more formal learning as well. Recently I've noticed something. Maybe it's because I'm in quite a few groups where it seems that homeschooling has not been a first choice for a family, but they end up homeschooling because it feels like a last resort. These are not parents who are homeschooling because of the benefits homeschooling offers, but are homeschooling because their first options proved to be harmful to their children.

There is a big difference between choosing something proactively and feeling cornered by a lot of bad options and picking the one that seems least harmful. It's all homeschooling, but it is so interesting to me how many people can view the same thing, but with such different lenses. I see a lot of pain and frustration and feelings of failure among the 'homeschooling thrust upon them' group. Very often this group gives up on homeschooling, thinking they are not capable of doing it successfully. Maybe it's because the start of a new school year, but I've been seeing a lot more of the "Help me! I can't do this. How on earth do I do this?" sort of posts in various groups.

Whenever I find myself giving the same responses more than a few times, I think it's time for a broader audience, which just happens to be you, my dear readers of this blog.

So....

To the Frustrated and Reluctant Homeschooler,

I've been homeschooling a long time. Twenty-one years to be exact, if you include that year we did a homeschool preschool co-op with a couple of friends. During those years I've done a lot of reading. I've made a lot of mistakes. I've learned a lot about teaching my children. And I've had a few successes. My children have been all over the board in terms of ability and interest and cooperativeness. Some days go well. Some are a bust. And most are pretty average. My children learn things, become independent and capable, and my two adults are graduated from college and out on their own. I've homeschooled one young child and I've homeschooled up to nine at one time. I've seen homeschooling go from extreme fringe, where finding resources could be a challenge, to very mainstream and a market that everyone and their dog wants to sell things to. In fact, I started homeschooling only about four years after the last state in the union made it officially legal to homeschool. I've seen a lot.

Other than to make me feel old, I tell you these things because I have a long perspective on the whole process. I have felt as though I was failing my children, and have watched those same children grow up to be competent adults. As a result of this experience, I have a few things I want to share with you.

1. Stop thinking of homeschooling as a second best option. There is so much you can do with your child to facilitate learning when you have the luxury of time and freedom. You can take your child's interests and dig deep into them. You can take those interests and branch out into other things. You do not have to be tied to a text book or curriculum or time of day. If you want to spent the next 18 months learning about dinosaurs, you can. There are many, many positives to such deep learning. You are not constrained by school schedules, by grade levels, or by scope and sequences. The only limit to what you do in school is the limits of your own imagination.

2. You cannot replicate what happens in a brick and mortar school. I know that this is one of the most difficult ideas for people coming out of the school system to wrap their heads around. When you homeschool, learning just looks different. There is this tacit belief that unless the learning happened with a teacher in the front, a text book on the desk, and dozens of worksheets for homework in the backpack, that it somehow doesn't count. But it does! Learning happens all the time. Just try to stop a child with an active interest in things from learning. Children are born needing to learn and to soak up the world around them. All we have to do is direct and harness that learning. You can use textbooks if you like... I certainly make use of some...  but you actually don't need text books to learn. A child can learn without any of the 'school-y' things we mistakenly think of as learning. Education (the how) is very different from learning (the what), yet we can so easily get sidetracked into thinking the education is more important than the learning. I know people who have tried to replicate a regular classroom at home, and I cannot think of a single one who didn't become burnt out and disillusioned. Homes work differently than classrooms, even if you are homeschooling. So, if replicating a classroom is what you've been doing and it hasn't been working, the fault is not yours, but the method's.

3. Video is no substitute for a real live adult. I know I'm going to catch some flack for this, because video schooling is just so gosh darn popular at the moment. I think it's a combination of some really slick marketing, a huge dose of parental fear, and a little bit of parental laziness. Sure it's easier to plunk your child down in front of screen and call it school. Sure you don't have to do any planning or worrying, it's all laid out for you. You also don't get a lot of leeway if a child is struggling with a subject. You don't get to choose what you learn or when you learn it. You don't get to have those lovely long discussions that are the end result of following a rabbit trail you didn't plan on. No, you have to keep to the schedule. Education waits for no family. Keep moving. Check the boxes. OR you may be responsible for ruining your child, because the video people are the experts, you know. (Think I have an opinion about this?) Really, teaching anyone takes time and effort. It takes actually being there and discussing things and figuring out where the child got stuck and listening to their ideas. It takes conversation. Lots and lots of conversation.

4. Fear is the real problem. If you are homeschooling, and are feeling like a failure, I'm pretty sure that the problem isn't homeschooling, but the fear you have regarding your child. Nothing instills fear in a parent faster than thinking about that child's future. And when you are the one responsible for educating that child, the fear is doubly present. What if they don't learn? What if they don't learn enough? What if they could do better elsewhere? What if I don't know enough? What if I use the wrong schedule or curriculum or co-op? What if I ruin my child? A parent trying to help their child learn while having all of this fear running around in their head is going to be an impatient and irritated parent. Anyone who has had the experience of trying to learn something and the teacher becomes impatient and irritated knows that it is not really great for learning. And the cycle begins. A child is uncooperative or doesn't understand something. The parent feels a degree of fear over the child's future. Usually fear does not come out as fear, but sideways, and then you have the impatient parent. The child senses the parent's irritation and responds back, by becoming fearful themselves. The child's fear can come out as perceived laziness ("He won't try to do anything!") or as oppositional ("I'm not going to do that, and you can't make me!") Some children shut down. Others stop actually thinking and just resort to guessing ("I want my mom to be happy with me and I don't know how to do it.") The parent feels more fear, and the situation escalates until the parent decides that homeschooling doesn't work for their family. It's fear, not homeschooling, that is driving the behaviors.

5. No homeschooling family is perfect. Despite what you may believe based on various Pinterest boards, blogs, and books, no family homeschools perfectly. Some have good days and bad days. Some planned activities are a bust. Some days children are grouchy and uncooperative. And some days, those golden days you hold on to which don't come along all that often, things fall into place, and you think, "Ah! This is how it is supposed to be." I cannot tell you the number of times that I have planned something that I think is pretty cool, only to be met with blank stares and less than enthusiastic responses. I almost expect it now. The first few years it was pretty disheartening. I would plug away with the activity, and sometimes everyone would find themselves enjoying it, and other times it would be a slog and we would all be happy to be done with it. A few times, I even threw in the towel altogether and bagged it. Here is where perspective comes in. You can never be sure what seeds you are planting in those less-than-wonderful, slog-it-out moments. Years later, children will be reminiscing about some of the things that we did as a family, and inevitably, some of those activities that I thought were a flop were mentioned as some of their favorites. You just can't know. So you persevere, check your expectations, and hope for the best. This is a long-term endeavor you are engaged in. It will be years before you see the final results.

6. Remember you are on the same team. It is so easy to fall into the trap of making your children the opposition. Homeschooling is more of a lifestyle issue than people realize. I find there is not a lot of differentiation between what we do. Is it a family outing or a field trip? Is this a don't-understand-thing or an I'm-mad-at-mom-thing? If a child snuggles with you at the end of the day and wants to sound out the words in a Boxcar Children book, is that school? Then there are the conversations and debates at the dinner table, the child who reads classic literature for fun, or the self-described scientist who plays with test tubes. Where does that all fit in? The lines are fuzzy. When you homeschool everything is school... or nothing is school... it kind of depends on how you look at it. All that to say, if you have a child that is being uncooperative in the homeschool environment, it isn't a school issue, it is a family/parenting issue. Sending the child to school may get some math worksheets completed (maybe), but it won't solve the problem in the long run. Far more important in the life of the child is to figure out the why to the uncooperativeness and address that first. Yes, even at the expense of the math worksheets. Because in the long run, academic skills can be learned at any point, emotional health not gained in childhood is extremely difficult to gain in adulthood. As a parent, you want your child to succeed and be healthy. Figure out how to make that happen first, and cooperativeness with schoolwork will follow.

7. (And the last, I promise.) You can be on your own timeline. Just because popular culture and the public school system has declared that school begins at kindergarten when a child is five, and ends with 12th grade, when a child is 18, followed by college, with at most a gap year in between, does not mean that this is what has to happen. Is it the end of the world if a child takes longer to learn the basics? Whom does it hurt if a child goes to college later? Will five years for high school kill anyone? Really, nothing horribly dire is going to happen if a child takes longer than usual to move on with college and adult life. It's not as though a ship is boarding to take your child to adulthood, and if they miss it, that's it. If your child came to you at an older age, all this does is give you a few more years together to make up for the ones you missed. There is no rush! Can I say that again? There is no rush in raising our children. Sure, society is all for creating children who learn better, faster, smarter. It's cool to brag that your 14 year old has already finished with trig and is working on calculus. If that's where that 14 year old is, that's great. But no one is running a race, and in the long run, there is little difference between learning calculus at 14 versus learning it at 18. (And since I never took calculus at all, I can say without hesitation that people can lead full and productive lives without it completely.) There are no medals to those who finish the school race first. There is no parenting award for most on target children. There is really very little to support the idea that children can be standardized at all. We are all unique and run on our own timelines. We are all jagged in our abilities. If a child is moving at their own trajectory, there cannot be any behind or ahead at all. They are just where they need to be right then.

So much of the time, it is not really homeschooling that is the issue, but expectations and assumptions that a person holds and are not aware of. It can be difficult to struggle with the questions of, What, really, is education? How does our family actually function? Why do I think these certain expectations need to be met? What am I afraid of? It may be that in wrestling with these questions, the answers will lead a family to public school. Or it may lead to something completely unexpected. Either way, when tacit expectations have been exposed and addressed, decisions are easier to make. Homeschooling can be a fantastic choice for a family, but I often find that the families who have been extremely purposeful about their choice are the ones who are most content doing it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trying out my new toy

Well, it's not really new, but it's new to me. For a while, A. was really interested in photography and used her own money to buy herself a really nice dslr camera. I thought she took some really good photographs with it, but eventually she moved on to other things. As we were packing, she came across it again, and decided she didn't really want it. So I happily snatched it up. I don't actually enjoy taking bad pictures, and having a good camera would encourage me to actually practice. 

I've spent some time reading the manual and figuring out how the basics work, and decided before moving on to more technical aspects, I should just fool around with it and get used to it. What do you think? Better? (Don't say anything if you don't think so, because I think they are.) These are from this morning.

H.

And some of Kenzie.



Various plants growing in the yard.


This is on a medium height, rounded bush. Any idea what it is?



Since I had the camera outside, I thought I'd also take a few pictures of what our street looks like. Across the street from us is a big professional greenhouse. In front of the greenhouse is a huge yard of wildflowers to supply pollen for the dozens of bee hives they have. A couple of weeks ago, it was all blue. Now it seems to be yellow, with a lot of sunflowers poking up above the other plants.



This is what our street looks like if you turn left out of our driveway. Beautiful, huh? I still kind of pinch myself when I realize we are living here. I was also a little dismayed to see just the beginnings of a little color on some of those trees down there.


Here is a shot of the front door and porch of the house, through the trees, which is the view from the drive as you first enter. It looks kind of nice in this shot.


But when I add in a little more, you can see some of the dozens and dozens of volunteer bushes that have grown up between many of the maples. On our list is to begin to clear these out and tidy it up. It will also help to let some more light in, and hopefully cut down on the amount of mosquitoes which currently inhabit this particular spot.


Other than take a few pictures, this, plus one that looks exactly like it, are the sum total of my day. Well, when I wasn't helping children, cleaning the kitchen, taking children to appointments, etc. Two more boxes down... 8 boxes to go.

___________________
Vegetable Tally

Avocado – 1
Beans (black) - 2
Beans (navy) – 2
Bell pepper - 3
Brussels sprouts – 1
Carrots - 2
Cauliflower – 1
Celery - 1
Chickpeas - 1
Chipotle pepper - 1
Corn – 3
Cucumber – 2
Edamame – 1
Escarole – 1
Green beans – 1
Green onions – 1
Jalapeno - 1
Lettuce (romaine) – 2
Mushrooms (white button) - 1
Okra - 1
Onion (yellow) – 6
Onion (red) - 1
Peas - 1
Potatoes - 1
Spinach – 1
Tomato (cherry) – 1
Tomato – 2

Zucchini - 1

Sunday night was vegetable soup with alphabet noodles. The alphabet noodles were an inspired addition, because everyone was having so much eating their soup and spelling words, that no one seemed to notice the many different vegetables I had put in it. They ate more of it at lunch yesterday. Last night was supposed to be a dish with chicken and cauliflower and carrots, but those dang shelves took so long, I didn't get it in in time. Instead, we had the coconut beef curry, which he have a lot. We have it so much that I now put an entire can of red curry paste in it, and it is still not quite hot enough. When I first made it, I put in just a tablespoon full, and people were complaining they couldn't eat it. I think our taste buds have adjusted.
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