Romania’s Vlach roots.

According to wikipedia, the etymology for the “Vlachs” is “ultimately of Germanic origin, from the word Walha, a name used by ancient Germanic peoples to refer to (mainly) Romance-speaking neighbours”. Slavs initially used the term “Vlachs” to refer to Romanic…

roamschooling

c.1300, romen, from Old English ramian “act of wandering about” Old English scol, from Latin schola, from Greek skhole “leisure, spare time” Roamschooling is a way of learning which involves leaving your home. I have been inspired by an Alabama…

Roamschooling the Garden of the Gods.

roamchooling: the how and why As you may know, we are big fans of roamschooling. Since people have asked me about how roamschooling works, I thought I’d give an example of the way it plays out for us “in the…

Road-tripping across Arkansas.

On the drive to Colorado, we crossed Arkansas and stuck to I-40 all the way. First came the spectacular border crossing of the Mississippi River in West Memphis. Then came Forrest City and Little Rock, followed by Conway (where we…

Revisiting France with Thomas Merton.

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” Thomas Merton When…

Returning to an old love at 35.

My calves ache. Each time I lean forward, a burning sensation tunnels up from my ankle. The small muscles above my knees throb when I bend to pick up a book. My inner thighs feel like they felt after the…

Reading the Alabama summers.

Summer at our house is a time to get lost in books and small bruises of the sort acquired as badges from “playing in the woods”. Since I’ve had a few friends ask for summer reading suggestions, I thought I…

Railroad Park and Dr. Seuss on humor.

Gnome finds a frame at Railroad Park. A few weeks back, we wandered around Railroad Park in Birmingham and the kids found so many things to touch, see, and explore. The goofiness was contagious. Shadows and light. In 1952, the…

mom-by-traian-010.jpg

Puppets in Romania.

The photograph of my mother was taken by an ex-boyfriend in Romania before her children, husband, and American life became matters of fact. The excerpt is from Mariana Zaharia’s “A Little Piece of Advice for Parents”. The pose is one…

Project Budburst in our backyard.

I’ve been having a hard time finding a reason to be inside over the past few days. Spring is blowing my mind. Perhaps I thought my fascination would grow less as I “matured” and grew older…. Actually, I find myself…

Pretend parlors and parlor games.

I’ve always been partial to the color combo on this bedspread-currently-being-used-as-a-couch-cover in our parlor. I’ve also always been partial to ladies who use the word “parlor” in all seriousness because I know that deep down inside, they have a secretly…

14223008365-dccaf58cb8.jpg

Poems growing from garden soils.

I found this first poem on Tweetspeak, alongside a delicious recipe for collard greens. The thought of “eating and drinking poems” makes so much sense to me in the context of a carefully tended garden. CUTTING GREENS by Lucille Clifton…

poems for small folks

Many of these poems have been used as copywork and dictation for Max’s Poetry Collection binder. He paints, colors, draws, or collages a background for each poem so the illustration reflects what he takes from the poem and how it…

poems for big folks

The poems we use to tell and retell, to mold or remember, the moments which make us anew. My personal requisites-fuels are marked with +. Anna Akhmatova (bio) Requiem “We never quite learned to part…” We’re all heavy drinkers and…

Playing with privet, or how the privet played with us.

Max’s nature journal sketch. Playing around with the Ligustrum lucidum this afternoon and trying to learn more about this plant for our nature journals brought us to a soil-shattering discovery. Ligustrum lucidum (broadleaf privet) is easily confused with Ligustrum sinense…

Playing around with celery.

MAX: I don’t think I’m ever going to like celery, Mom. It gets that yucky, rubbery texture. I don’t like it. ALINA: It’s not always rubbery. Usually, it’s pretty crisp and crunchy. You can keep it from getting that way,…

play all day

Unlike crafts, which tend to be directed activites with a general goal in mind (i.e. to create a drawing, etc.), play includes directed activities like games as well as completely unscripted and undirected activities. Most kids don’t need a reason…

Pintucked wrap skirt tutorial.

I needed something easy to wear, easy to fold, easy to rumple in a way that suits me. So I found a satin and velvet curtain and decided to transform it into a wrap skirt. MATERIALS 1 yard of 60…

Pilgrimage to a quasi-secret sulphur spring.

James F. Sulzby, Jr., the Birmingham realtor who founded the Alabama Historical Association in 1947, shared his personal passion for local history in Historic Alabama Hotels and Resorts. The bland title obfuscates the diligence to detail within. Sulzby’s chronicle reveals…

Peasant love songs.

Bardezi by Ovidiu Balaban PEASANT LOVE SONGS by George Cosbuc, translated by Maurice Aisen I. He In the garden of my sweetheart Sing two birds beautifully, And the sun proudly shines, And my darling sits and dreams. Near the garden…

oct07-047.jpg

Our wild and crazy weekend…

We started the weekend with a trip to Red Top Mountain in Georgia to celebrate the wedding of Ryan and Keturah Coryell. The weather was spotless, and the location rather sentimental for us, since we camped at the Red Top…

Our Rural Studio Pilgrimages

In honor of the brilliant badass Samuel Mockbee, known to most as “Sambo”, the kids I decided to see every Rural Studio creation in the state of Alabama. It was a roamschooling goal set back in 2011- one which we…

Our local history excursion.

Mrs. Henderson’s native honeysuckle thrives in the front yard. Sometimes the greatest adventures begin with an informal chat at the Geological Survey of Alabama. This one began when I stopped to talk to Lewis Dean while scouring the shelves for…

Our lemonade stand.

Of all the days to raise money for a good cause, this morning might just have been the hottest. All proceeds from Max’s lemonade stand will be sent to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, so we were hoping that we might…

Our eco-dyeing experiment.

We did this backwards, picking plants before preparing our fabric, so we didn’t mordant the fabrics we used. Enter our first experiments- will the prints work without mordanting the fabric beforehand? (I did soak the fabrics in water with sea…

Our discovery of serpentine mines.

It was Prophet who led us to our study of leaf mining insects. Prophet tends to express dismay over what she calls the “ugly leaves” with all the holes and “messy places” on them. I usually stifle a laugh- mostly…

Our daily tea time ritual.

Since the King usually misses our daily tea time ritual at 10:30 am, we decided to invite him to a weekend version this past Saturday. The ritual begins with the boiling of water, the selection of a tea, and then…

Our Christmas reading.

There is nothing I love more about the holiday season than that powerful impetus to draw closer as a family– to spend even more time together, sharing everything, including our bedtime stories. I’ve been enjoying so much the nights when…

ONLY ONE YOU by Linda Krantz: A family craft.

Grandma Vicki always sends the loveliest books. The latest, Only One You by Linda Kranz, encourages individuality in the context of love and respect for family. Krantz’ love for all the colors of the rainbow makes this a joyful read….