Saturday, September 06, 2014

Going Back to School For You and Me Too

I treated myself to an inexpensive "Sorbet Peach Melba" viola plant to brighten my front steps

Now that Labor Day is over, kids in my area are back in school. I live right next to an elementary school - every morning I hear children's happy, excited little voices as they are being dropped off. Now that my nephews have moved away, I no longer go next door every day at 3:25 pm to pick someone up, give him a snack, help him with homework, take him home and fix dinner for him and his brothers. It makes me a little sad to hear the school bell every day, missing him. But then again, now that I'm not spending all those hours every day doing those things for him, I have time to take some classes myself.

I'm so jealous! I want to go school supply shopping; take down notes in a fresh new notebook; pore over a syllabus of upcoming readings. I want to sit in a classroom soaking up interesting knowledge. I might even look forward to a writing assignment or two.

If you at all have room in your life, see if you can make time this fall for some enriching classes you will enjoy. Be a lifelong learner. Continue to explore your interests and passions. It doesn't have to be something related to your job or career.

Whether you take classes at a cooking store, community college, karate school, yoga center, or online, give yourself the gift of knowledge. Maybe all you can fit in is a weekend workshop this fall, or an online course you do at night after your kids are in bed.

You might have to trade babysitting with another mom, ask a family member for one evening a week to yourself, arrange to leave your children with your partner one night a week, or barricade yourself in your room for an hour a night to finish an online course. You might have to give up TV two nights a week, or limit your daily computer time until the class is over. If it's important to you, you'll find and make the time for yourself.

I know it's hard if you're working, especially if you're a working parent, to find time after you get home tired every weeknight. But you do still have weekends, and people in your life to trade favors with, and an Internet and TV that will still be there after you turn them off for two hours a night.


  • When's the last time you personally visited a library? Even if you don't check out any books, you can enjoy sitting in peace and (hopefully) quiet for half an hour or so, thumbing through magazines, browsing the shelves, and soaking in the atmosphere.
  • Wipe down kitchen sink and counters; fill or empty dishwasher as needed
  • Take out trash if needed, or make someone in your household help you
  • Have any magazines you need to finish reading and then recycle or give away this weekend?
  • Clean one shelf, two door shelves, or one drawer in both your fridge and your freezer.
  • If it's still nice weather in your neighborhood, take a long walk this evening while you still can.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Sign Up for a Class

Gorgeous Windsor Writing Set on Amazon

If you can carve out the time in your life and you're interested, see what kind of class you can sign up for. Your class might be a one-shot cooking class at your local cooking store or health food market; or you might have one night a week to take a writing class at the local community college. Maybe you have a small child at home, so you'll barely have time to take one quick online course.

Whatever you sign up for, give yourself time and energy to learn something for yourself. We shouldn't stop learning just because we're done with high school or college.

I'm taking four classes this month at the PCC Natural Market near my house. Each class is just three hours during the evening. I'm also teaching three online classes myself this month, so I'm a bit stressed about only having three "at home" or socializing nights every week. But I'd rather be busy than not, and rather be learning than staring at the TV (especially some of the dumb shows I succumb to watching, like Below Deck.


Class Central


Craftsy's Free Online Classes


Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) List


Open Culture

Writing University

LOVELY ACCESSORIES: Lulu Guinness Backpack

Since I'm taking classes online, and not actually leaving my house to go to a nearby campus, I don't actually need this backpack. Sigh. So I'll just have to admire the picture of it!

Hands Backpack at Lulu Guinness

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Wary Meyers Soaps

I haven't smelled any of these soaps yet (the scents include Lemon Verbena, Grapefruit & Clementine, Oud Wood, Violet and Sea Air) but I love the way they look! They remind me of those horrible tasting, but lovely, licorice square and rectangular candies. These are made in small batches by a couple in Portland, Maine.

Wary Meyers Soaps, at Shop Pretty Mommy

LOVELY BLOGS: Paper and Salt

"Paper and Salt attempts to recreate and reinterpret the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction." Nicole blogs from NYC. She's currently writing about Ezra Pound's spaghetti recipe; Edna St. Vincent Millay's wild blueberry pie and Hunter S. Thompson's huevos rancheros. I love the mix of literature and cooking here! Really intriguing blog to read.

LOVELY BOOKS: Puffin in Bloom

I am so delighted by the new Puffin in Bloom series of children's books. They're illustrated by artist Anna Bond of the Rifle Paper Co. They just came out last week. I definitely need these lovely books on my shelf. I might skip "Heidi" though, I don't really enjoy that book. I definitely need to get "A Little Princess" as that was my favorite children's book of all time growing up.

Puffin in Bloom, on Amazon

LOVELY CHALLENGES: Give Something Away Today

Last week when my house painters were here, I found myself working really hard to empty the curio cabinet my dishes are stored in, so the men could move it to paint behind it. Piles and stacks of dishes were on my dining room table. As I looked over them, fantasizing about future Family Nights and dinner parties I'll throw this autumn using these dishes, I did feel like I own too many things. I looked through and decided I hadn't used this lovely teapot at all in the last year other than during a spring tea party. I have other teapots that are lovelier and more sentimental. This one was inexpensive, doesn't hold any particular meanings or memory for me. So I put it in the car to take it to The Salvation Army. On the way I stopped by the bookshelf in the garage where I keep my autumn decor and dishes. I scooped up four pretty IKEA glass plates I never use, and found FOUR "tea for ones" in great condition to donate. (Not sure why so many people have gifted me tea for ones over the years. It's a nice thought, but I never end up using them!) I never donate anything chipped or cracked, so I carefully inspected these all for damage before donating them. There's a Salvation Army truck parked in the parking lot of my local Fred Meyer, so on my very next errand day I dropped everything off. It took less than 30 seconds to interact with the friendly donations man.

I challenge you to give away something today!

LOVELY WEBSITES: School House Craft

"Schooling you in the business of craft." The classes here aren't free, unfortunately. But if that's what it takes for them to present high quality classes for crafters, that's ok. This business is located in Seattle - they offer real world classes, not online classes. I'm tempted to take a couple of these even though I'm not a crafter. Upcoming classes include Braking Into the Handmade Wholesale Market, Getting Started Selling Online, Subversive Craft, and Turning Your Creative Ideas into a Book.


Autumn Sipping: Make Your Own Personalized Pumpkin Spice Latte (Plum Deluxe)

Baked Avocado Eggs (The Baking Fairy)

Baked Nutella Turnovers (Barbara Bakes)

Baked Omelettes in Bread (Full Fork Ahead)

Baked Pasta Tart with Smoked Tofu (Gourmandelle)

Crispy Baked Chicken Croquettes (The Kitchen Whisperer)

Mini Maple-Dipped Glazed Pumpkin Muffins (Diary of a Recipe Collector)

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe (Cully's Kitchen)

Spotted on Shelves: Chobani Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt (The Impulsive Buy)

Troubles With Life in the Big House (WSJ)

1 comment :

Valentina said...

Thank you for sharing my Baked Avocado Eggs recipe! Lovely blog post :)