Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Have you outdone yourself on turkey yet?  Let's lighten things up with a quick and easy tomato soup.  This recipe easily doubles or triples to feed a crowd.   For reluctant eaters, fishy crackers, crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches are a welcome accompaniment.

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup
Rachel Ray, serves 4 adults

2-15 oz. containers chicken or vegetable stock
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (Progresso or San Marzano are the best)
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper
fresh basil, optional

Combine broth and tomatoes in a medium saucepan over moderate heat.  When soup bubbles, stir in heavy cream and reduce the heat to low.  Season with salt and pepper as needed; simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  With an immersion blender puree the soup in the pot or use a blender (be careful with the hot soup).  Serve with freshly chopped basil if desired.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snowflake Tortillas

Once Thanksgiving has passed, it truly feels like winter. And, winter means snow and snow means snowflakes, right? Well, maybe not here on the Central Coast, but we can still have fun with snowflakes. Have you ever made edible snowflakes out of tortillas? Denise Indvik did this last year at one of the Classic Story Hours.  Simply get some flour tortillas and clean scissors. Fold the tortilla into a wedge and begin snipping. Unfold and voila--an edible snowflake! It's extra scrumptious with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  Here's a Family Fun recipe that you can bake and then eat.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Magical Monday

Welcome back!  Ahhhh...have the turkey and stuffing settled yet?  We hope this past week was one in which you were able to revel in gratitude--gratitude for family and friends, quiet amongst chaos and a rest from routine.  It's time to get back into the groove.  What better way than by attending tonight's Parent Training? Troy Wathan will be walking us through Trimester 2's history and themes. This training is optional, but you won't want to miss it.  Training begins in the Lewis Library at 6:30.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Friday

Because we were recapping our Down Home House Tours, What's for Dinner? is posting today, just in time for the holidays!  Family is arriving various times on Wednesday. You want an easy meal that will accommodate Grandma when she arrives at 3 and Uncle Mike who might roll in by 7.  Meatball sandwiches are delicious, easy and you can buy everything at one store!

Meatball Sandwiches

Big bag of frozen meatballs from Costco
Large can of Contadina spaghetti sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
French rolls

Place meatballs and sauce in a crock pot and cook for several hours until meatballs are hot. (They are already cooked.) If desired, toast the rolls right before serving, or just pile on some sauce, meatballs and cheese.  Enjoy!

It's Friday and our Pageant of the Masters is today.  After attending our Pageant, don't forget to be Free by Five and turn off your electronics.  Looking for a weekend activity?  Check out Tiber Canyon Ranch. This olive ranch is so beautiful and they donated their venue for our Venice Carnivale.  This month, November 19th & 20th and the 26th & 27th, they are hosting a holiday fair with glassblowing demonstrations.  (Education and enrichment hours?) If you're around, check it out.  Down Home will be on break all next week.  We have so much for which we are thankful, not the least of which is being part of this vibrant, amazing community.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Down Home House Tours: Susie Theule

Welcome back! We are finishing up our Down Home House Tours today.  If you're just joining us today, Jenny Bischoff's and Joy Newman's houses were the other two stops of the day.

Susie and Tim Theule should be familiar names by now, as Susie is SLO Classical Academy's Director and co-founder.  Their family has been with SLOCA since the very start when the school was in their garage.  Their schooling space has come a long way since then!

Susie's house has a school room (with a fireman's pole from the second story and a garage door with windows on one wall!) but it's obvious that theirs is a classical home.  The school room has lots of open shelving for storage of arts and crafts supplies, school supplies, books and work boxes for the younger two children.  The kitchen boasts a large chalkboard for posting more family oriented material such as our monthly character traits and chores.  A world map is the backdrop for the kitchen table; open library shelving houses the family's books; the upstairs landing has a comfortable reading nook with a view of the mountains; and there is a clear display case that holds birds' nests and shells.  Susie also wrote an article, "Creating a Classical Home", available in the office,
which details her approach to creating "an environment in our homes that is naturally conducive to learning and growth."  The Theules have definitely created a home that nurtures growth in thoughtful, intentional ways.

photos by Penny Malley

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Pictured above:

1.  Shelves in the school room hold inspiration and art/craft supplies
2.  This bookshelf makes the current reads easily visible and enticing
3.  Library style shelving house books in the family's living space
4.  The coffee table holds interesting books to encourage browsing
5.  The timeline around the upper perimeter of the school room

A big thanks to Susie and Tim for sharing their home with us!  Thank you all for joining us on the Down Home House Tours.  More pictures are posted in our Flickr account.  Plans are being made for other tours throughout the county so be watching.

The winner of our drawing for $10 to the school bookstore is commenter number 3 (using a random number generator), Heather Tucker!  Congratulations, Heather! Look for your gift card in your family file.

Come back tomorrow for an easy recipe. Remember, our Pageant of the Masters is tomorrow from 2-5! See you there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Down Home House Tours: Joy Newman

We are in the midst of our Down Home House Tours so What's for Dinner? will be posted on Friday.  If you missed our first stop on the Down Home House Tours click here.

Today, we are touring the home of Cade and Joy Newman.  They have been with SLO Classical Academy for four years and Cade also serves on the Board of Directors.

Joy doesn't have a dedicated schoolroom, so most school work happens at the long kitchen table.  She has lots of great storage on one wall in her kitchen with cabinetry from Ikea.  Her work box system uses flatter boxes that fit in the existing cabinets. Touches throughout the house like a pull down map, globes and a nature table in the living room allow her family to spread out when needed. 

photos by Penny Malley

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Pictured above:

1.  Joy with the pull-down maps purchased on ebay
2.  Joy Erb enjoying the home tour
3.  A view inside the cabinet that holds work boxes
4.  Large bookshelf in the living room, holding books for all ages
5.  The nature table, also in the living room

Thank you Joy and Cade!  Today is the last day to post a comment on our Gratitude post and be entered in a drawing for $10 to the school store. Join us tomorrow as we finish up our Down Home House Tour.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Down Home House Tours: Jenny Bischoff

Last month, SLO Classical Academy hosted its first ever Down Home House Tour! Participants toured three homes and their home school rooms or schooling areas and then ended with a beautifully catered lunch at Talley Winery.  The emcee of the event was Jill Talley, who challenged everyone to find one take-away from each home.

The tour started at Jenny and Paul Bischoff's house.  Jenny is the Wednesday NOL (Nice Office Lady) and the Bischoffs have been with SLO Classical for six years.

photos by Penny Malley

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Jenny has a dedicated room for school work and it is brimming with wonderful materials, timelines, charts, calendars and art work.  Jenny's model is very "user-friendly" from her timeline on the wall, to the timeline on the tri-fold board, she uses every day materials effectively.

Pictured above:
1.  Timeline on the wall; wire and picture hangers are from Ikea
2.  Timeline for the Renaissance made from a tri-fold cardboard display 
3.  Jill Talley welcoming the group; Number charts and maps visible behind her
4. Calvin's calendar-- appropriate and user friendly for pre-school aged children. Notice the velcro, the words and the pictures
5.  Wall hanger housing math manipulative--if you can't see what you have, you can't use it!

A big thank you to Jenny and Paul for opening up their home!  Join us tomorrow for the next home.  Wednesday is our next campus tour--whom can you invite? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magical Moment

Today's Magical Moment was written by Cozy Faber at the very beginning of the year. Cozy and Jeff Faber have been involved with SLO Classical Academy for 4 years.  They have two daughters, Ava and Sia who are both in the intermediate level on track B.  Cozy is also the Development Director of SLO Classical Academy.

Four years ago SLO Classical Academy studied the Renaissance—just as we are this year.  During the Pageant of the Master’s History Day—that was our first history day—we wandered about the various classrooms where students froze in the likeness and depiction of a famous painting rendered during this time in history. We enjoyed the evening and we looked at every classroom’s portrayal.  However, we were new to the school, and Ava  was in kindergarten—I could not have even begun to imagine the impact this day, this learning, this school would have upon her memory and relation to the world.

Today we are getting ready to start the Renaissance.  We have books about Leonardo (notice my use of the familiar as I refer to Da Vinci!) strewn strategically throughout the house. Ava picked one of them up today and was looking at paintings that he had done.  “WOW!” she shouted with admiration and recognition in her voice.  “I had no idea that Leonardo Da Vinci painted THAT picture—we saw that at our first history day.  That is so cool!” 

At SLO Classical Academy we talk about connections.  We talk about solidifying memory and reference points and the power of history in our students’ minds.  We talk about how this model of education will give everyone that partakes the springboard upon which to jump even higher when their time comes.  Today I witnessed this power of connection, the importance of history days and the lasting impact that will forever be within the very core of my little Ava.  Thank you SLOCA!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Friday

One of the by-products of our education is finding history and literature in the most unlikely places--like at the deli counter of a local grocery store.  When one of your children notices that the deli makes sandwiches named the "The Nina," "The Pinta," and "The Santa Maria" using Columbus brand turkey meat, it hits home that learning never stops and the world is truly our classroom.

It's Friday once again and your progress reports are all tucked away safely in your teachers' hands, right?  Time to relax and enjoy the rainy weekend.  Maybe it's a good time to grab a bite at Laguna Grill or Firestone.  (Did you know both restaurants made donations to our auction?)  Don't forget that the History of Painters concert is Sunday. To buy tickets click here.  You still have time to leave a comment or suggestion on our Gratitude post and be entered in a drawing for a $10 credit to the school store! Contest closes next Wednesday night and the winner will be announced on Thursday.  Let's try and be Free by 5 and turn off our electronics by 5 o'clock.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Gratitude is our character trait this month and November is an easy month to think about and display gratitude in many forms.  Let's allow this month to be the springboard to teaching and practicing our character traits at home. Maybe post the character traits somewhere in your school area or just post the one we are focusing on that month.

Here are some suggestions to foster gratitude this month:

  • If your computer is on all the time, set it to automatically play your photos in a slide show.  Without saying anything, this can remind your family of the special people and places in your life.
  • Practice saying "thank you" in specific circumstances (i.e. saying thanks to whomever made dinner before eating).
  • Make a thank you board by having family members hang pictures of people, words, times or places they are thankful for.  Or, make a gratitude tree by hanging the pictures or words from a branch and placing in a prominent place.
  • Incorporate thankfulness and gratitude into literature conversations about what it was like to live during other times--keep it light and fun and don't let it be guilt-inducing.
  • Hand-write or draw thank you notes for gifts received. 

What are ways you foster gratitude in your home?  Share an idea or leave a comment and be entered in a drawing to receive a $10 credit to the school store!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Progress Reports are due this week--are yours almost done?  Sometimes I feel my menu planning is in a rut. I get easily bored with our usual fare so if I feel the need to spice it up, I'll look for flavors we don't typically eat.  I rarely cook with oriental flavors so it feels fresh when I do. Once I saw this recipe for Vegetable Bibambap in Everyday Food, I knew we had to try it--if for no other reason than that I am Korean. I was unsure about the yolky-egg on top, but it was delicious!  Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Vegetable Bibimbap
Everyday Food Sep. 2011, serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Sriracha sauce, for serving

  1. In a medium pot or a rice cooker, cook the rice according to package instructions.  In a large nonstick skillet, boil 2 cups of water. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly until wilted, about 30 seconds; drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze dry with a paper towel.
  2. Wipe out skillet and heat 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil over med-high heat.  Add carrots and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Add garlic and scallion whites and cook until fragrant.  Add mushrooms, cook 4 minutes. Add cucumber and cook until softened, 3 minutes.  Add spinach and soy sauce and stir to combine.  Transfer veggies to a bowl and wipe out skillet.
  3. Heat 3/4 t oil in skillet over med-high.  Fry 4 eggs until whites are set but yolk is still runny. Divide the rice among bowls, top with the vegetables and an egg. Drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle with scallions greens, and serve with Sriracha.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Open House

This Wednesday and Thursday, the school book store will be hosting an open house with free cider!  Come and finish purchasing your books and supplies for the second trimester and get a jump on your holiday shopping!  In case you haven't been in the store lately, there is a variety of hand-made goodies for sale in the store including knitted beanies and scarves, fabric-covered journals, zippered pouches, flower posy pins, wooden signs, baby shoes, jewelry, and of course Blue Fin's wonderful coffee!  It's no surprise that there are many talented families at SLO Classical Academy and your purchases benefit our students as part of the proceeds are going straight back to our school.

So come and check it out this Wednesday and Thursday from 8:15-9 after dropping off or from 1-3PM in the afternoon.  See you there!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Classic Story Hour

Did you know something magical regularly occurs at SLO Classical Academy the second Wednesday of every month?

The Classic Story Hour began last year with (now) Jr. K teacher Denise Indvik reading quality literature and providing fun craft activities for those in attendance.  The Classic Story Hour has continued this year with Meredith Eades.  This Wednesday, Mrs. Eades will be reading about Leonardo da Vinci, sculpting with playdough, reciting poems about birds and making a bird feeder!  Story hour begins at 9:30 in the Lewis Library and is open to all families in our community.  Perhaps you have a neighbor with pre-school aged children, or you run into moms at the park or soccer--please invite them to join us this Wednesday!

Pictures from October's Story Hour with Denise

Friday, November 04, 2011

Free Friday

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; 
serenity, that nothing is.  
~Thomas Szasz

It's been a busy and fulfilling week! Remember to be Free by Five and fully there with family and friends.  Wishing you serenity this weekend.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

History of Painters

SLO Classical Academy is excited to be hosting local favorite, History of Painters in a family friendly concert on November 13th!  This is their FIRST show featuring their new EP titled "Only What the Spring Can Bring."

Join us as we support the arts in San Luis Obispo County by attending on November 13th.  In addition to the concert we will also be hosting a bake sale with goodies and coffee.
History of Painters boasts the talent of Justin Hooper -- one of SLOCA students' favorite teachers. They are a hopeful, melodic band that is comprised of two songwriters who together strive to create genuine, heartfelt Alternative/Folk music. They put the truth and their hearts into every song they write and are dedicated to making honest music that makes a difference. Moved by artists such as Sigur Ros, Coldplay and Simon and Garfunkel, History of Painters produces a unique and uplifting outlook on life and love. 

learn more

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Breakfast for Dinner

Home projects are due this week. Phew! Moving onto progress reports now, so an easy meal is in order. When I need easy, I go for breakfast.  The kids also think it's really fun eating breakfast at night. My go-to is honestly scrambled eggs, buttered toast and fruit. Waffles, pancakes, french toast, even oatmeal are also a good option. Don't forget the bacon! Unless you're vegetarian or don't eat bacon.  But, I can't leave you without a recipe so here's a recipe for a very delicious, decadent quiche. Cathy is a family friend of my husband's and this quiche is divine.  I recommend purchasing a pie crust to save time. And, me and home made pie crust? Not friends.  Actually, we are starting to be civil with one another but aren't friends. Yet.

Cathy's Quiche Lorraine

1/3 -1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and chopped (Costco also has precooked. I've never tried it.)
3/4 c shredded swiss cheese (Jarlsberg is delicious)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 c half and half
3 eggs
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 t chopped chives
grated nutmeg
pie crust to fit a 9" pie pan

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a 9" pastry shell and brush with beaten egg white.  
  2. Sprinkle the bacon and cheese into the bottom of the pie shell.
  3. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over cheese and bacon. Using a fork, lift the bacon and cheese a little bit into the egg mixture.  Grate or sprinkle nutmeg on top.
  4. Cover the edge of the quiche with tin foil to keep edges from getting over done.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Test for doneness with a skewer or small knife.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow filling to firm up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Song School Latin

Traveling for the holidays?  Need some new family-friendly tunes?
Check out Song School Latin.

This is an optional text, but it's well worth purchasing.  This is Latin set to child-friendly, familiar tunes.  Play this in the car on the way to school and even your 4-year old will be singing songs in Latin; play it on the way to Grandma's house and everyone will be singing in Latin.  Each of the songs on the included CD corresponds to one of the lessons in the workbook. This is such a fun and gentle way to introduce students to Latin grammar and extend our Latin root study that happens around the flag pole.  To listen to a song click here.

Song School Latin is available in our bookstore.