Friday, June 29, 2012

Free Friday

Did you even realize today is Friday? The summertime schedule  makes keeping the days straight difficult.  We hope you are fully enjoying summer--whether that means swim lessons, art class, visitors, vacationing, or staying home.

Since it is Friday, we'd like to remind you to be Free by Five o'clock.  Turn off your electronics and engage in quality, real-time with those around you.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: F

Fingerpaint: Use paint or food (yogurt or pudding) or try the recipe above
Fishing: Ocean or lake? We have both options close by
Flowers: Work in the garden, or craft flowers from paper or fabric
French fries: Where's your favorite fry place?
Farmer's Market

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's for Dinner?

How about a little food equation?





an easy, delicious dinner!
(sorry no picture)

Last week Trader Joe's was offering tasters of this salad and I loved it! I meant to get back there and buy the ingredients to make my own batch, but haven't been able to get to the store.  This would be perfect picnic fare and one bag of orzo makes a lot of orzo!

Orzo-Bruschetta Salad
Trader Joe's

1 bag of orzo pasta
1 1/2 containers of TJ's Bruschetta sauce
marinated mozzarella balls
fresh basil, chopped

Cook the orzo according to the package directions.  The lady at TJ's told me she added 1 1/2 containers of the bruschetta sauce. Maybe start with one and go from there.  Quarter the mozzarella balls, or leave them whole, your choice! Chop or chiffonade some fresh basil. Mix everything together and adjust the seasonings to taste. Enjoy!

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above businesses.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: E

1. Encourage: How can you encourage someone today?
2. Evite: Plan a summer gathering 
3. Exercise: Begin a new family exercise regime 
4. Egg toss: Organize one for the neighborhood kids
5. Eat: Try a new food

Elfin Forest: Go for a hike

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above businesses.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: D

Dream today
Draw on the sidewalk, on paper, on canvas 
Delight in your kids
Do something different (dessert first?)

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above business.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Free Friday

photo by Cade Newman

It's Friday!  Have you tried any of our suggestions from the "ABCs of Summer" series?  We'd like to remind you to be Free by Five o'clock.  Turn off your electronics and maybe even put them to bed until morning.  Enjoy the long evenings and the lighter schedule.  Breathe deeply and just be.  Invest real face time with family and friends. Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: C

Cracker Jacks: Introduce your kids to a classic
Create: Cupcakes, cookies, stories, something from clay...
Camp: Plan a camping trip or camp in the yard or living room
Change: Furniture arrangement, hair style, flowers in the yard

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above businesses.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's for Dinner?

I'm tired. Are you?  Maybe not this week, but I'm sure some other time, you go searching for that organized (ahem) binder of take-out menus, right?  This week, I'm sharing some family-friendly, personal favorites from around the county.

A&W: I think there is still one in Atascadero.  Their curly fries are so good, they are definitely worth the calorie splurge.

Splash Cafe: Their breakfast burrito with bacon. I know that's not dinner and I don't think they serve it all day, but you need to try one at some point. I have tried breakfast burritos all over town and this is still my personal favorite.

Mo's BBQ:  Fish Tacos. It's been awhile since we've been there but the last time I had their fish tacos and they were fresh and clearly memorable.

Firestone: Steak Cobb Salad and fries.  I just love their fries with my salad.  

Pizza Solo: Chicken Caesar Salad.  Pizza Solo and Mondeo are kind of old school (I was around when they first opened!) but I still enjoy their food. 

Mondeo:  Macaroni and Cheese.  My kids are huge fans of their very cheesy version.  And their meatloaf?  So delicious.

Alphy's: Veggie Salad with Chicken. I know that's kind of an oxymoron, but I like the added protein.  Be sure and get the balsamic vinaigrette!  Actually, I love all of their salads.

Stacked:  I don't have a favorite sandwich, as it depends on my mood, but their sandwiches are rockin.

Umi Sushi: Umi's is very family friendly, which I love. Plus, they serve Korean side dishes which is fun for me personally.  I like getting the box dinner so I can get tempura and something else.  Their brown rice is so good.

Fattee's Pizza:  Order white sauce with your favorite pizza toppings and it elevates the pizza. I'm serious!

And, for those who count on a recipe, here is a link to one of my favorite sandwiches ever.  

Okay, so these are some of my favorites from around the county. What are yours? Chime in with suggestions!  

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above businesses. This post reflects the personal opinion of the author.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: B

But, in case you need a few more ideas: books, baking, baseball, bonfire, baton, balloons, bubbles....

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above business.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: A

Welcome to our first day of summer blogging!  Monday, Tuesday and Thursday will feature a different letter of the alphabet and offer ideas for things to do or make this summer.  Wednesdays and Fridays will be the same kind of posts you are used to seeing.  Without further ado....

1.  Airport: Go to the airport and watch the planes 
2.  Add: Add a fun new summer tradition (Saturday s'mores, card game before breakfast, or ???)
3.  Antiques: Check out an antique shop and find relics from the past
4.  Apricot: Make this delicious looking Apricot-Almond Tart
5.  Arboretum: Visit Cal Poly's Leaning Pine Arboretum

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned businesses.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Free Friday

Happy Friday--the last one of this school year.  Pat yourselves on the back for a job well done!  SLO Classical Academy remains a strong community because of you, the parents--we can't do what we do without you.

Since it is Friday, we'd like to remind you to be Free by Five o'clock and power down your electronics.  Celebrate a great finish with a walk on the beach or an ice cream cone. Maybe sitting out under the stars is more your speed.  Enjoy real time with those around you.

"Down Home" will continue posting daily throughout the summer.  Monday we'll kick off our summer series, "The ABC's of Summer."  Each day will feature a letter theme and we'll be posting fun ideas for things to do. Come back Monday and check it out.  Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Today is our last day of school!  Don't forget that today after school is our Bubble Bash.  Come and join the fun.

Come back tomorrow to find out what's in store for summer on "Down Home." Happy Thursday!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's for Dinner?

photo by Joy Newman

Turkey Lettuce Cups
Everyday Food, Special Issue
serves 4

These lettuce cups are so bright and refreshing.  The turkey adds some substance while not leaving a heavy feeling.  And, you already have fish sauce in your fridge from this recipe, right?  My kids are starting to think it's fun to wrap things in lettuce.  I used a red-leaf lettuce, but if you want more crunch, try romaine leaves.  The recipe suggests a softer lettuce, like iceberg, Boston or Bibb and those would actually wrap more nicely.  

2 T soy sauce
2 t fish sauce
2 t sugar
1 large shallot
fresh ginger
1 small jalapeño
2 garlic cloves
1 T vegetableoil
1 lb. ground lean turkey
lettuce leaves for wrapping
fresh cilantro
green onions (scallions)
shredded carrots

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and set aside.  In a food processor, pulse the shallot (quartered), 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, jalapeño (stemmed and seeded) and 2 garlic cloves until finely chopped.

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add 1 T vegetable oil.  Add shallot mixture and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon until almost cooked through, 5 minutes.  Add sauce and stir until meat is cooked through, about 2 minutes more.  Serve in lettuce cups and sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves, chopped scallions and shredded carrots.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tip for Tuesday

While things are still fresh in your mind, now would be a good time to order home curriculum for the next school year.  Wouldn't it feel wonderful to enter into summer vacation with curriculum ordered and on its way?  Take a moment this week and assess your home curriculum programs, order what will be needed when the school year starts and set them on the shelf. 

Since you're already online, why not order the summer reading books, A Thomas Jefferson Education and The Wednesday Warsso you can take part in the summer reading groups?

Before you check out, take a look at the Resource List included in the packet with the green front page.  Now is a good time to add to your home schooling library.  No need to order Core Curriculum, as our school store will be well-stocked at the lowest possible prices.  Remember Wednesday and Thursday there are Coffee Talks and our Curriculum Preview.

Now, breathe a big sigh and get ready to finish up this last week of school.  Happy Tuesday, folks!

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with

Monday, June 11, 2012

Magical Moments

Wasn't Friday's Wax Museum amazing?!!!  All of our students did such a great job. It was so encouraging to wander through our Wax Museum and listen to first year Primary students up through high schoolers reciting from memory, while the backdrops and props just added to the magic.  A huge thank you to the History Day Committee and all of the many helping hands that went into a wonderful evening!

Just a reminder that this is Teacher Appreciation week.  Our teachers create magic in their classrooms and they facilitate many magical moments parents don't get to see.  Showing appreciation and gratitude for the time and effort our teachers pour into our students need not be expensive nor elaborate.  Take a little time to hand-write a note, and/or have your child write their teacher a note. A small bouquet of freshly cut flowers from your garden, a bag of homemade goodies, maybe an afternoon/morning delivery of their favorite coffee drink--all simple ways to express gratitude.  SLO Classical Academy is thankful for our dedicated teaching staff!  

Friday, June 08, 2012

Free Friday

Happy Friday!  Tonight, it should be easy to be Free by Five o'clock since it is History Day.  Come with plenty of coins and enjoy strolling through SLO Classical Academy's Wax Museum.  Reacquaint yourself with the many historical figures we have studied this year and perhaps meet some new ones. See you tonight!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fun Family Toys

Time together is one of the top reasons families love SLO Classical Academy.  Here are a few ideas to enrich your family time this summer:

1.  Owl Whistle--sound like an owl and hopefully hear one calling back to you
2.  Moleskine notebooks--great for nature journaling on summer hikes
3.  Night Sky Star Wheel--shows only the brightest stars simplifying the night sky
4.  Fire Pit Popcorn Popper--for popcorn over the open fire
5.  Know your Knots--learn how to tie useful knots

SLO Classical Academy is not endorsing nor affiliated with any of the above mentioned businesses.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Grilled Steak and Arugula

I do enjoy a great steak every once in awhile.  My husband and I seem to always, always mess up steak. I know, I know, it's all in the marinade, or the dry rub, the grill, sear it first, etc. We still mess up steak. Enter Ina Garten's cookbook, How easy is that?  Success!!!  Not only is this meal delicious, meaty but not heavy, it's simple, too. The peppery arugula, the cheese, the tart lemon all with the beef....mmmm.  This is a great warm weather meal.  One note of warning--I tend to find Ina's recipes salty, so I typically start with half the salt she calls for, but left her amounts as printed.  In this recipe, you do want to liberally salt the steak before grilling.

Grilled Steak and Arugula
Barefoot Contessa, serves 4

2 (1-inch thick) boneless rib-eye steaks
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for the steaks
salt and pepper
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice ( 2 lemons)
1/2 t Dijon mustard
8 oz. baby arugula
1 (4-oz) chunk of good Parmesan cheese

Prepare your grill.  Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper.  (Don't skimp on the salt--this is Joy talking here.)  Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/2 c olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Set aside.

When the grill is ready, place the steaks on the grill. Cook for 5 minutes each side, then close the lid, making sure the vents are open slightly.  Cook for 5 to 15 minute more for medium-rare, depending on the heat of your coals.  The centers of the steak should register 125 degrees.  Remove to a plate and cover tightly with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thickly.

Toss the arugula in a large bowl with enough dressing to moisten; divide among 4 plates.  Place half a steak on top of each salad. Shave the Parmesan onto each steak using a vegetable peeler, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Semper Discentes

Semper discentes is one of our mottos here at SLO Classical Academy and it means "always learning together."  Summer is coming and it's the perfect time for you and your family to learn something new.  Sewing, scrapbooking, golf, tennis, cooking, writing, roller blading, knitting--the possibilities are endless!  Or, if it seems overwhelming to begin learning a new skill, start simpler and pick one thing: the perfect roasted chicken, a new song on the piano or the guitar, memorize a poem yourself, change the oil in your car.  Pick something for yourself, encourage your kids to do the same or choose something new to learn as a family (the states and capitals? our presidents?)  

If we tell our children that learning never stops, then we better go ahead and live it.  What will you choose this summer?

{source}, edited by Joy Newman

Monday, June 04, 2012


Respect for ourselves guides our morals, 
respect for others guides our manners. 
~ Laurence Sterne

Happy June!  Our character trait for June is obviously Respect.  The above quote is so applicable in today's world as manners and morals are increasingly left by the wayside. Do you show high regard, value and appreciation for authority, others, self and property?  Our children need to see us consistently being respectful.  How can we work on the character trait of Respect this month?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Free Friday

Do you feel something like this?

Progress reports are finished and turned in.  Exhale.  Take time to relax and rejuvenate this weekend.  Remember to be Free by Five o'clock and put away your electronics.  Be bold and even turn off the vibrate feature, maybe put your smart phone out of sight for a few hours. Go boogie boarding with the family, pull out badminton or play bocce ball.  Breathe in the spring air and enjoy.  Happy Friday!