Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: T

Tennis, anyone?
Tree: climb one. Or build a tree fort!
Trail: there are so many wonderful trails to hike in our area.
Thrifting: score some great deals. Kids love thrifting too!
Trade babysitting with someone and enjoy some alone time.
Take-out for dinner: in case you missed our earlier post about favorite take-out spots, find it here!

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: S

Today, S is for School Supplies, and we are putting the spotlight on a local resource that some of our families might not know about: B Wise School Supply in Arroyo Grande. They have a lot to offer and carry products for teachers, parents, grandparents, and kids such as books, toys, and classroom/homeschool supplies. The staff is very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, and they are willing to work with parents and teachers to find whatever you might need. For example, they started carrying Singapore math manipulatives last year when some of our families requested it. 

I shop there regularly, not only for school supplies but for supplemental activities, science kits, and unique gifts as well. I highly recommend stopping by their store to pick up some fun new items for fall. We all feel good about supporting local businesses, right? This one is a gem. B Wise is located at 1314 E. Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande, and their website is www.bwisesupply.com

B Wise has graciously offered SLOCA families a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. (Just click on the coupon below or here for a pdf version.) This offer doesn't expire, and I encourage you to use it!

And of course, S is also for School Store! Don't forget that all of our core curriculum books can be conveniently purchased in our very own bookstore on campus, which is now open every Tuesday from 10am-1pm (except for this week it's Thursday instead of Tuesday), as well as August 21-24 from 10am-1pm.

Please share what you find at B Wise in the comments below!

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above mentioned business.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Free Friday

Welcome to another Friday! We are so blessed to live on the beautiful Central Coast, where there are ample choices for weekend family fun. Will you be heading up to the Mid State Fair this weekend before it's over? Or maybe checking out the Arroyo Valley Car Show in Downtown Arroyo Grande? There are several locations around the county that offer free summer concerts, if you're in the mood for some live music. Perhaps relaxing at home together is more your speed this weekend. Whatever you choose to do, put down the electronics and be Free by Five o'clock this evening for quality time with your loved ones. Enjoy the weekend!

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: R

Relay Race: there are many fun ideas online, here's one your family might enjoy.
Rock Art: let the kids use their creative imaginations to turn rocks into faces, bugs, race cars, etc. Here's an example.
Roast hot dogs and marshmallows.
Ride bikes.
Recite poetry: Have a family recitation night. Parents can participate too! Whether you make it fancy or casual, it will be memorable.
(Parent) Reading Group tonight! We hope you'll join us this evening at 7pm in the Lewis Library for an engaging discussion of "A Thomas Jefferson Education."

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's for Dinner?

photo by Jenny Bischoff

Pinto Bean Salsa Salad
Food Network Kitchens
serves 6

This is one of those summertime salads that I look forward to and often crave. It can be eaten straight up as a salad, served alongside grilled chicken or steak, wrapped in a tortilla with some lettuce for a light lunch, and it makes a terrific chunky dip for tortilla chips. This one is always a hit at potlucks! 

1 small clove garlic
1 1/2 limes, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small Hass avocado, halved, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems

Make the dressing: Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with a pinch of the salt, and with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. (I usually just press it through my garlic press instead of making the paste.) Whisk the garlic paste, lime juice, remaining salt and chili powder together in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream.

For the salad: Toss together the beans, corn, bell pepper, and onions. Add the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Gently fold in the tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: Q

Send the kids on a Quest.

Mom, you are Queen for the day and your loyal subjects can be sent to do your bidding. While you're waiting back at the castle, why not start a quilt (or learn how), quench your thirst with this mint limeade, or just enjoy the quiet.

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: P

1. Paint
2. Paper airplanes: Do you have a stack of scratch paper, or better yet, a stack of last year's grids that you're holding on to unnecessarily? Put them to good use! Find designs here.
3. Pick Berries (or another fruit): The Avila Valley Barn is a good spot, and Rutiz Farms in Arroyo Grande sometimes has U-pick days on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Or if you're up for a bigger adventure, try Santa Barbara Blueberries near Gaviota on Hwy 101. If you know of other spots around the county to pick fruit, please share in the comments section!
4. Pie: Use some of those berries to make a scrumptious pie. This blueberry pie looks amazing. 
5. Picnic: Whether at the beach, park, front yard or living room, kids always go for a picnic. Don't forget the berries and the pie!

Plan for the upcoming school year. And if you haven't yet seen the fantastic books will be using this year, come and check out the curriculum preview tomorrow at school from 10-12. 

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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Free Friday

Happy Friday! The weekend is here and we'd like to remind you to be Free by Five o'clock.  Turn off the computer, turn off your smart phone and put it away.  A vibrating phone is just as interruptive as a ringing phone.

Have you eaten popsicles and roasted marshmallows yet?  Played a nice long board game with the kids? Stayed up late to look for constellations?  Whatever the activities filling your days and nights, have a great weekend.  We leave you with the poem, "Summer Stars," by Carl Sandburg:

Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: O

1. Origami: Make origami animals (for the dog click here)
2. Ocean: Enjoy the ocean--we live so close!
3. Outdoor Movie: No access to a projector? 
4. Olive Cheese Bread: Make and eat immediately

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Pressed Picnic Sandwich
serves 10

I love a good sandwich, but this sandwich transcends the average sammie.  Crusty bread, dressing, cheese, Italian meats--it just oozes deliciousness.  In truth, I haven't actually ever made this sandwich; it's always been prepared for me by a dear friend.  Make this and pack a picnic for the beach.  I see the recipe calls for roasting your own red peppers, which isn't too hard, but to save time, I would buy already roasted peppers.  I also don't prefer goat cheese, so I think feta would be a good substitute.  It would be easy to modify for different tastes. If your kids don't like salami, use ham or turkey.  Skip the marinated veggies and maybe opt for thinly sliced carrots or cucumbers.  Use hummus instead of tapenade.  For the original recipe, click here.  Bon Appetit!

1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
2 T warm water
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 loaf rustic Italian bread, such as ciabatta
1 jar of roasted red peppers or make your own
1/2 c prepared black olive tapenade
8 oz. fresh goat cheese
8 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
6 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
1/4 lb. peppered salami, thinly sliced
2 1/4 c loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, or parsley

Make the vinaigrette by combining the mustard and vinegar in a bowl.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in 2 T warm water.  Whisk in salt and pepper to taste and set the vinaigrette aside.

Slice the loaf of bread horizontally, and remove the soft crumb; reserve for another use.  Spread the olive paste (tapenade) on the bottom crust, and add the roasted red pepper strips.  Crumble the goat cheese on top of peppers.  Arrange artichoke hearts over goat cheese.  Drizzle half of the reserved vinaigrette on top. Arrange prosciutto and salami over artichoke hearts.  Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.  Scatter herbs over meats.  Place the top crust on sandwich.

Wrap the sandwich tightly with plastic wrap.  Set a weight, such as a brick or large cast-iron skillet on top for at least 1 hour.  When ready to serve, slice the sandwich into ten pieces.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: N

Nook: Create a reading nook or a nest. (This is an involved tutorial, but some pillows in a corner would be just as good!)
Neaten: Tidy a room or closet
No: Just say no to TV today
Naked Egg: Try this fun and easy experiment
Nature Journal: Start a nature journal

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

Monday, July 16, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: M

Milkshake: What's your favorite flavor?
Messy: Host a messy party
Map: Mark where your family has visited using embroidery knots
Mission Statement: Start crafting a family/school 
Memories: Make some new ones today!

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free Friday

Happy Friday! I hope some of the ideas in our "ABCs of Summer" series are inspiring you as you try to keep the kids busy and enjoy a little rest and relaxation all at the same time. 

Did you know the Central Coast Shakespeare Festival is performing The Tempest in Paso Robles? There are performances in July and August, and you can find information and tickets online (http://centralcoastshakespeare.org/plays.htm). What a great opportunity to soak in some more Shakespeare while watching this story come alive on stage!

And speaking of Shakespeare, I hope many of you are reading "The Wednesday Wars" as a family and will participate in our Family Reading Group next month. My family is loving this book and we are looking forward to meeting with other families to discuss it.

Remember to be electronics-free by five o'clock, and enjoy real time with your loved ones on these long and glorious summer evenings.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: L

Laze Around. 
Take at least one day this summer to do nothing.

If you must do something, try these ideas: go to the libraryplay leapfrog (not the video game!), laminate artwork to make place mats, lip-sync to silly songs, try to make each other laugh, or let the kids do something you usually say no to.

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above business.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza
Everyday Food, July/August 2010
Makes one 10-inch pizza

Home made pizza in the summertime doesn't have to heat up your kitchen when the grill can do the job, and it adds extra flavor! This is a Bischoff family favorite, and you can add other grilled veggies or sliced grilled chicken too. (Or if you grill meat and veggies for a bbq one night, use up leftovers with this pizza.) For the kids I make them traditional-style with a little marinara, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Whatever you put on it, grilled pizza is a treat. If you don't have a grill, you can cook this dough in a cast-iron skillet over high heat, or on a preheated sheet pan or pizza stone in a 500-degree oven. Increase as necessary to make enough for the whole family.

1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 bunch asparagus, grilled
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Olive oil or Herb Oil (recipe found here)
Store-bought pizza dough, or Basic Grilled Pizza Dough (recipe found here)

1.  Heat it up: Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill.

2.  Stretch it: On a lightly floured work surface, stretch or roll 1 piece basic grilled pizza dough or 4 ounces store-bought dough into a 10-inch-long oval or other desired shape. Brush one side lightly with herb oil or olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

3.  Grill it: Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source. Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Slide dough to cooler side of grill.

4.  Top it: Top with desired cheese and toppings; cover grill. Cook until cheese melts and toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: K


1.  Kitchen Science: Buy a kit or browse the abundance of ideas online. 
2.  Knit: Get out those knitting needles again, or learn how
3.  Kick the Can: Do you remember how to play
4.  Learn how to tie Knots.
5.  Share a Kiss

Show Kindness to someone today.

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

Monday, July 09, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: J

{source, source, source, photo taken by Trina Dart}

1.  Jump Rope: Why not get out there with the kids and take a turn?
2.  Jam: Capture summer in a jar by making homemade jam.
3.  Jello: Try some of these fun jello recipes.

4. Jenny: 

Hello SLOCA family! My name is Jenny Bischoff and this month I am sharing blogging duties with Joy Newman, as I transition to become the new Down Home blog coordinator. Since today's letter is J, I thought I'd introduce myself and my family. My husband Paul and I have three children, all attending SLOCA: Kate (12) will be in Upper Middle School, Georgia (8) will be in Intermediate, and Calvin (5) will be in Kindergarten. We are on Track A and this will be our 7th year at SLO Classical Academy. The past two years I worked on staff as the Wednesday NOL (Nice Office Lady), so my face may be a familiar one.

This year I will be a little more behind the scenes, but I am excited to be involved in our community in this way. I have some pretty big shoes to fill... Joy has done an incredible job running Down Home this past year and building it into a vibrant and valuable resource. You will continue to see many of the features you've come to know already, and perhaps a few new ones. My vision for the blog is that it will remain a source of encouragement and ideas, both practical and "magical," and that it will also become a way for us to connect with each other and get to know some of the families we see around campus. When it comes to home education, not one of us has it all together or does it all perfectly. But we can share what we do, what works, what made the day special, what we delight in, and even what we struggle with. 

Thank you for reading Down Home. I hope it will enrich your home days and foster connection between us. I invite you to send me snippets of your homeschooling experiences, great ideas, and thoughts about what you'd like to see here on the blog, so that this can be a place for us to nurture and support each other on the home-front. You can reach me at jenny@b-h-i.com.

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

Friday, July 06, 2012

Free Friday

Another Friday is here!  Remember to be Free by Five o'clock and step away from electronic media.  Maybe tonight is the perfect evening to walk downtown and enjoy a drippy ice cream cone.  Hopefully your summer is full of rest, fun and relaxation.  Happy Friday, folks!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: I

Illuminate: Hang some outdoor lights or make mason jar 
Inches: Measure your kids' height this summer (Look at this great DIY height chart!)
Ice Cream: Go out for ice cream or make some at home

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Happy 4th of July!  Our family is going to take some time today and read the Declaration of Independence.  We will talk about the birth of our nation and remember those who fought for freedom.  How do you celebrate?  Are you going to a picnic or having an evening at home?  

These spicy beans are so delicious.  If your spices aren't new, consider buying some new ones as they lose their spice after awhile. I don't prefer kidney beans so I substitute with black beans or pinto.  This dish is super spicy so watch out! If you don't like spice, omit some of the spices and enjoy the other flavors.

Enjoy your day as we celebrate our nation's birth.

Fiery Chipotle Baked Beans
Cooking Light, serves 10

4 oz. chorizo, thinly sliced (substitute any sausage you like)
2 1/2 c chopped onion
1 c chicken broth
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c cider vinegar
1/3 c bottled chili sauce
1/3 c dark molasses
2 t dry mustard
2 t chipotle chile powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground allspice
1-15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Heat a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat.  Add chorizo and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in broth and remaining ingredients.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour. If you don't have a Dutch oven or oven-proof pot, place beans in a baking dish. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: H

1. Holes: Donut holes--easy recipe or from scratch
Or, dig holes at the beach
2. Hopscotch
3. Home: Stay home. After all, there's no place like home
4. Hike:  Take a hike
5. Hide and Seek

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

Monday, July 02, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: G

Games: Board games, card games, word games--play a game today
Goats: Visit the Avila Barn and feed the goats, then pick some berries and end with ice cream
Gift: Plan a surprise gift for a neighbor or friend. Just because!

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