Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When Home is the Classroom

I was never going to be that teacher. You know, the one with the perfect classroom decorations like something out of Classroom Interiors. Fine, there's no such magazine, but there is Pinterest. It seemed like such a good idea-make a tree for the hallway from scraps of construction paper and brown paper bags. Yes, there's oak, maple and elder leaves on the same tree, but where's your imagination? It was all going so well until I decided the tree needed eyes. Instead of some pleasant seasonal decoration, I'm left with a tree that looks like a cross between a Morris Dancer and a startled moose. 

I suppose I ought to explain the owl hanging from the ceiling waving the Canadian flag You see, we bought the owl last Halloween, and decided to keep him up year round, decorating as seasonally appropriate. He wore a red hat at Christmas, a shamrock at St. Patrick's, bunny ears at Easter. When we got to July, I decided to stick a US flag in one hand and the Canadian in the other to celebrate both the Fourth of July, and Canada Day. My head is hiding the US flag. Clearly, he needs an update as we're a long way past July, but with Halloween soon approaching I might just leave him as-is. Around the Year With Owly has been great fun. I wonder, should we give it a second year? When your home is the classroom no one questions why you have an owl hanging from the ceiling, or a tree that looks like a startled moose in the hall. This is our, "normal."

 Also seen (if you squint hard) in the photo is Danny's "Science Table" by the window. There's mounted butterflies/insects, various bugs in jars, boiled and dried chicken bones to form a complete skeleton, and a bunch of other interesting stuff. The Science Table is not to be confused with the Science Box, that holds wires, and circuits, and all sorts of projects. That lives in the basement-science can get messy. Living in your classroom isn't nearly that strange when you already live in a library. This just seems like the natural extension, though our local library would never put up such a pathetic looking tree in the hallway-it might frighten the children. "Mummy, why does the tree have crazy eyes?!" Gawd, the more I look at it, the more I see Bullwinkle.

I'm wearing an interesting (I think) top today. Made by heritage brand Jantzen  from good wool some time in the late 50's/early 60's I found it in perfect, unworn condition at Thrift World. Shoved into the racks between dresses so tattered and stained they should have been discarded if not burned for health reasons, there sat this beautiful little top. I handed over my .98 cents (!) laughing at all the over-priced "vintage" they were trying to sell, and had a good smirk as I took it home. I wouldn't pay $40.00 for torn polyester maxi dresses (I haven't lost my mind, you know) and honestly, I can't believe anyone else will either. Thrift World is having some sort of identity crisis where they can't decide if they are a thrift store or a vintage shop. I'm sure they'll get it all sorted out eventually (when the vintage won't sell). 
 Outfit Particulars:
Jantzen vintage sweater-Thrift World
Pendelton skirt-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Bracelet and earrings-both Goodwill
Poodle scatter pins-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Ma Griffe (blech. I'm trying to understand it, but thus far I haven't acquired an appreciation for it)
 Hmm, time for some moisturiser-my arms are looking a bit dry. I am so blind I only notice these things in photos! I'm due for an eye exam, and I'm a little afraid I might leave there with a set of high-powered goggles.
There's new California Pottery in my life. I bought four plates, mugs, and a creamer. No sugar bowl, which is a shame, but should be easy enough to find. I don't know why I love this stuff the way I do, but thankfully it is still cheaply found. Someday it will become collectible, I'm certain. 

I baked two trays of cornbread for Mr. ETB to take to work tomorrow. His department is having a luncheon where the main dish will be chili. I volunteered to bake as I can't imagine chili without cornbread, though in this part of the country they eat it with cinnamon buns! Someone else is bringing the buns. This is a bit more work than most cornbread, but it is so moist and cake-like I feel it is worth the bother.

You Will Need:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cornmeal (not cornflour!)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk

Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. F.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light. Sift together the dry ingredients, and beat the eggs and milk together. Add flour to creamed mixture alternating with milk/egg mixture. Do not over-beat. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-35 minutes or until top is slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 The summer garden is winding down, but the winter vegetables are already showing signs of life (hooray for turnip greens!). There's a few more pattypan left on the vines, but I don't think they'll do much beyond this week. I have two peppers clinging on for dear life as well, but I suppose the time has come to harvest them. The larger squash will be grated into a quickbread, the others sliced and lightly sauteed with butter. They were fun, but really took over the garden. I don't think I'll be growing them again next year.
Bird banding starts again for the season on Saturday at Aksarben aquarium (I'm making my excited face...sort of). This weekend is also the Lincoln public library yearly book sale at the Events Center. This is one of the best sales I've been to, and on the last day, the books are sold by the carton. It runs Friday through Sunday. If you can get yourself to Lincoln, Nebraska, it is worth checking out. My best cookbooks come from there.

Hope the week is treating you well wherever you are. 


Sue said...

You have a talent for finding good things among the 'to be left behind' things. Your top looks fabulous, you do look good in red. Is there a colour you cannot wear? When you have school aged kids at home it is quite normal to have trees on the walls and owls from the ceiling, you are very NORMAL!!

Mim said...

Cinnamon buns with chili? You're not in the part of the US where they use doughnuts as burger buns, are you?

Living in a classroom and library sounds fine to me. You'll never be bored with that many interesting things to see and do!

Bibi said...

That red looks absolutely gorgeous on you!
The tree reminds me of the apple trees in the forest of the Wizard of Oz-
Dorothy: [Reaches to pick an apple from the apple tree, the tree grabs the apple and slaps her hand] Ouch!
Apple Tree: What'd'ya think you're doing?
Dorothy: We've been walking a long ways and I was hungry and... did you say something?
Apple Tree: She was hungry! Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?
Dorothy: Oh dear! I keep forgetting I'm not in Kansas!
Scarecrow: Come along Dorothy. You don't want any of those apples!
Anyhoodles.....Just got back from Moscow (who knew Russians are such HUGE fans of niche & upscale perfumes?) & I'm still in like WOW mode. Got some fabulous fragrance bargains & rarities!
Packing for a vacation that went from Miami to Moscow was quite the feat in itself!
Aeroflot rocks!
Oh well, might be a while until you hear from me again as the tribals along the border of Nepal are in a tiff with India & have blocked all Indian TV channels, border crossings, & occasionally internet access. Petrol, cooking gas, salt, & sugar are already being rationed. Every day's a new world around here.

Goody said...

Thanks hon, I like knowing I haven't lost the plot ;)
I can't wear pastels of any shade without looking embalmed. Lavender is particularly bad.

The doughnut thing ran its course-the new "it" food is a sandwich where the bread is replaced by two pieces of boneless fried chicken breasts. The chili/bun thing goes back to school dinners where the dessert was served on the same tray and kids started dipping it in the chili. I can almost see it as I like cinnamon as a savoury, but yes, it is a local oddity.

The Russians are crazy for perfume, and they have the $$$ for the good stuff (and I don't mean Maroussa, though I admit a fondness for the scent and the great bottle).

Do take care. I know you can used to anything after a while, but rationing water and fuel can't be anything but a drag.

Beth Waltz said...

The red sweater with the plaid skirt is THE school marm's costume for the day, especially since you accessorized it with pearls and poodles.
So, too, is the owl serving as a classroom mascot (much tidier than a rabbit or gerbils) and a brown-bag tree with googly eyes and grafted limbs (hence the variety of leaves).

Cornbread with chili is customary in these parts; however, the cinamon bun craze now extends to pizza take-out offers. The nutritional information would undoubtedly scare a cossack from Minsk.

Now I'm concerned about Bibi as I usually am about Vintage Vix and Jon when they make their annual trek to the sub-continent. Shall send very positive energies (some call them prayers) in her direction!

ThriftyParka said...

Hee, hee, hee. LOVE the Startled Moose Tree!! Please tell me you posted it to Pinterest!!

GORGEOUS outfits!! You may think you're going blind, but obviously you're able to see quality clothing (hmmmm, maybe you have Quality Clothing Radar???).

.....still chuckling at the moose, I think it's adorable.

happy thrifting ;)

Connie said...

Jantzen and Pendelton. Now there are two old brands that say back-to-school. I love your pleated skirt. I have to hand it to you. I could never have home schooled my children. They wouldn't have it. They wouldn't even let me volunteer at the school as a lunch lady. And I REALLY wanted to do that because I look great in a black hairnet and I'm a expert with a big spoon. I just know that Danny is getting a better education than my kids ever did in public school. That place was a shark tank! And I'm just talking about the other mothers. Yikes!More people should decorate their houses with moose trees and dual citizenship owls. I keep a few holiday decorations up year round. It's festive and saves the effort of packing and unpacking. Your earrings are so pretty and I promise I'm not a weirdo or anything but you have very nice earlobes.

Goody said...

@Beth Waltz
We have a goldfish (he'll be two in November, which is pretty good for a classroom pet)and I *might* let Danny have a finch. It will need to live in his room, but I'm *this close* to letting him buy one.

@Thrifty Parka

If I posted things to Pinterest I'd be lost forever down a black hole of sorts and never get anything done.


Ah, you should have seen them before all the huge 80's earrings ;)

I'm sure your kids got great educations (you get out what you put into it) and will manage superbly. There's pros and cons to homeschooling, and it really depends on the family. Some children do well homeschooled, but others need the discipline of an outside authority to encourage them to work to their potential. Some schools are better than others, and that's much the same with homeschools. The big difference I see between Danny, and other children his age is in vocabulary as we read quite a bit, and I don't need to teach to the test. He struggles with maths, and we're getting there, but one-on-one instruction is no guarantee of success.

Curtise said...

Ooh, don't yo just love stumbling across a fine, well-made piece of vintage that seems to have escaped everyone else's notice - even the people pricing it up?! You look fantastic in red, that's a classic, kind-of school teacher-ish outfit (in a good way). I trust you are a strict disciplinarian, Ms Juniper! Home schooling - the very thought of it makes me want to weep, I'm very happy to hand my kids over to someone else for most of their education, and I'll do the good stuff (the history of pop music, Chinese and Indian food, vintage fashion, and making soup). Although Owen came home with a very decent leek and potato soup from Food Tech yesterday, so perhaps I can drop that from our home syllabus.
Love your tree and multi-purpose Owl! xxx

Goody said...

Can you teach Danny about pop music for me? I never did understand it myself.
That's encouraging that they're having the children cook real food (rather than the fancied-up sandwiches we made at school).