Archive for June, 2013

My Favorite Salad Dressing

June 25, 2013 @ 6:13 pm | Filed under:

I make up a serving of this simple vinaigrette almost every day for my lunchtime salad. I could make a bigger batch to keep in the fridge, but there’s something very satisfying about stirring up just enough for the day. So quick, so tasty.

To make a single serving, I slosh a tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl, letting it overflow just a little—a tablespoon and a splash, we’ll say. Then a squeeze of mustard, stir stir stir, and a scant tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Dash of salt, and we’re done. Especially good with some gorgonzola crumbles in the salad. I’m eating that now, which is what made me think of posting this. Delicious!

Where I’ll Be This Summer

June 25, 2013 @ 8:09 am | Filed under:

July 12-13th, I’m speaking at the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference in Centennial, CO. Karen Edmisten and I will be giving a talk together on relaxed homeschooling, and I’m speaking on literature/living books as well, and possibly also on special-needs children. If you’re in the area, come see us!

July 18-21, I’m back here in San Diego for Comic-Con. Which, yes, means a lot of driving in between! I’m taking the whole gang out to Colorado before the conference to spend some time with my family and friends in my hometown. Been way too long since I’ve been home!

Adjusting to Feedly

June 21, 2013 @ 4:33 pm | Filed under:

Only eight more days, guys, until Google Reader goes poof. Have you downloaded your data yet? Have you migrated to another reader? I’ve settled in at Feedly (will be investigating Digg Reader when it launches, though) and am mostly happy there.

I’m usually pretty eager about change—it energizes me—so I’m not sure why I’ve been so grumpy about shifting away from gReader, especially since Feedly offers some features I actually like better than Reader’s. Let’s face it, I’ve been sulking ever since Reader Share got the axe. But onward, allons-y, and all that jazz.

So here’s what I like about Feedly: the granular customization it offers. I very much like being able to customize the feed view at every level: all posts, topic folders, and each individual blog.

Like this. When I click on “All” (that is, all unread posts), I like the titles-only view. You can scroll quickly down and click on any post title to expand it to reveal the full post.

Feedly titles only view

You change the view by clicking one of the icons by the red arrow.

When I click on newest posts (“Today” in the sidebar) or any of my topic folders, I prefer magazine view: a thumbnail image and post excerpt.

feedly thumbnail view


For individual blogs, I nearly always prefer full article view. As you scroll down the page, posts are automatically marked as read. You can mark them as unread with a click. I love this—it’s faster than gReader’s mark-as-unread function was.



For a few particular blogs, especially ones whose feeds are excerpt-only, I choose card view instead—a larger thumbnail image plus post excerpt. (Sarah, I think your blog is exceptionally lovely in this view.) 🙂



It didn’t take me long to click through my feeds and customize these views; it’s just a simple click in that top right corner. I did it a little at a time, as I read through a few days’ posts.

My default start page is “Today”—you can customize that in Preferences (bottom of the sidebar). You can also select a default view for all your category and feed pages, and then tweak individual blogs later.

feedly prefs


Another feature I love: you can click the number next to a category or blog name in the sidebar, and that marks all posts in that section as read. Gotta be careful, though; I’ve done it by accident a couple of times, meaning to click a category and marking the whole darn thing as read.

(By the way, if you don’t see your blog in the lists above, don’t be offended. I’ve probably got you squirreled away in another category. I have a filing system to rival Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s.)

The other thing I appreciate about Feedly is how easy it is to share links to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. And the bookmarking and tagging features are clutch. (Updated: Gwenda Bond just discovered all our Google Reader Starred links have been automatically migrated to Feedly’s “Save for Later” section. YES.)

You can change the colors, too! Click “Themes” at the bottom of the sidebar. I go back and forth between the blue, a soft green, and this nice, simple white layout:

Feedly in white

Yep, it’s growing on me. How about you? Even if you land somewhere else later, now’s the time to migrate your Google Reader account to Feedly’s new cloud server.

Ask Me Why

June 19, 2013 @ 5:35 am | Filed under:

Over at GeekMom today, I’m thinking about a small child’s most beloved word:

Why is a chameleon-word that shapeshifts into all the questions put together. Who, how, when, what, where, will. Why is the wonder-word. It collects the flurry of bewildering input that swirls around a small child like leaves in a tornado—and in a single syllable, it tames the wind. It puts form to the formless: When other words are leaping all over the place with their jittery meanings (leaves fall in the fall but snow doesn’t winter in the winter), why stays put. Why is reliable. When grownups all around you are failing to comprehend the very clear statement you’re making about eating opiemeal in the hoffabul, why is a word they understand. Sometimes it’s the only word they seem to understand, so you use it in place of all the other words they can’t quite grasp…

GeekMom Counterpoint: Why I Love Why.

Comments are off


“That line. That wait. This is the face of dental care in America.”

June 18, 2013 @ 5:48 pm | Filed under:

Last year, my friend Dan Tapper wrote a guest post for Bonny Glen about the Mission of Mercy event in Connecticut—a free dental clinic people wait all year (and many hours in line) to attend. This year, I’m delighted to once again feature Dan’s recap of this remarkable event.

Connecticut Mission of Mercy: The Wait, the Line, the Need

by Dan Tapper

The rain hadn’t started quite yet around noontime in Bridgeport, CT last Thursday, but the sky was showing it could happen at any minute. There was a steely pall and a grim chill that spoke more to March than to the early summer day it actually was.

Beth Carter was ready, rain or shine. The New York resident was going to get her ailing teeth fixed, no matter what. She was here, first in line outside the Webster Bank Arena, and doors to the free Connecticut Mission of Mercy (CTMOM) dental clinic would be opening in just…18 more hours.

To Beth, it didn’t matter. She was here. And she was prepared to wait.

“I missed last year’s clinic by one day. There was no way I was missing this year’s,” the Westchester County, NY resident said with a smile. “The cost of dental work is so expensive – I’ve been planning for this since last year!”


Old man, how is it that you hear these things?

June 12, 2013 @ 7:32 pm | Filed under:


Ah, June…that lovely time of year when mothers everywhere are driven to a frazzle by endless activities, gatherings, ceremonies, and general running-around. I guess I’ve been maybe a bit…distracted?…lately? Dithered? Headless-chickened?

At least so I gather from the moment I had with my eerily perceptive seven-year-old this morning.

“Mommy, will you come outside with me for a minute?”

“Okay,” I toss over my shoulder, en route to the room with the printer. “Just let me do this one thing—” which of course turned into three things. Maybe four. Half a dozen max.

Finally, though, I told her, Okay, how about now. She took me by the hand and led me to the backyard. Paused at the edge of the lawn, looking out across the grass at the butterfly garden, the bird feeder, the trees beyond.

“See,” she said solemnly, all business, “I was noticing our mornings have been grumpy this week. People have seemed…tense. Now: listen. What do you hear?”

I’m breathless. She has this preternaturally serene expression on her usually animated little face: positively Charles Wallace.

“Birdsong,” I venture. Fluty house sparrows, a persistent scrub jay, the operatic mockingbird.

“Right,” she nods. “The music of nature.”

I’m hiding a smile. She’s so very serious. Any minute now she’ll call me Grasshopper.

“Now breathe deep,” instructs this tiny guru. “What do you smell?”

It’s a rare overcast day. You can hear the grass singing to the clouds, yearning for rain.

I’m feeling very humble now. “The good smell of green growing things?” I murmur.

“Yes,” says the seven-year-old. “Life.”

Point taken, Master Po.