Friday, August 31, 2012

Free Friday

It’s Friday! We’ve had an exciting first week of school, adjusting to new routines at home and in class. Now it’s time to wind down for the weekend. Fridays here at Down Home will usually either highlight local events happening in our area, or offer other suggestions for spending time with family and friends over the weekend. But one thing you’ll often notice in our Friday posts is a reminder to be “Free by 5:00” and today our Director Susie Theule has something to share with us about this, so without further ado...

What is up with "Free by 5:00" every Friday? 
Since SLOCA’s inception, we have encouraged families to use technology wisely.  We have educational goals for our students that require concentration, imagination and sustained attention.  We believe in the wonder of a good, long story, the necessity of play, and the beauty of human interaction.  We also believe in the genius of technology.  Technological advances in the last 30 years have been impressive.  I personally enjoy my iPhone, MacBook and movies.  We use internet research and when my husband and daughter were in India, Skype kept us in touch.  I love seeing the photos my daughter posts on Instagram and thanks to a photo texted to me last week, I got to see my son right after his tooth came out at Grandma’s house.  
However, as an introvert, a psychologist and a person who values privacy, I have also been forever suspicious of technology and am quite aware that the various forms that being plugged in takes - phones, iPads, computers, Facebook, twitter, handheld game devices, Wii, TV (to name ONLY a few) - together have a power that digs its way silently within us until technology controls us rather than us controlling it.   They take up vast amounts of our time, consume our energy, and change the way we relate with those around us.  They take us from required tasks, play on our emotions, and change the way our brains work.  Yes - really!  If you’re not a believer, perhaps you will be after linking to this article Newsweek printed just weeks ago:

Why do we remind you - week after week after week - to turn off your devices on Fridays?  As a community wholeheartedly committed to seeing our children thrive, to making the most of our years with kids, and to teaching them the value of hard work, stories, outdoor play and creativity - we believe we need to constantly remind ourselves that the line where technology becomes our enemy rather than our friend is always playing right at our feet.  Or, more accurately, right around our minds and hearts.
We want to encourage you to read this article with your spouse or older children as a starting place to conversing about technology in our lives.  We know that some of you already have made decisions to limit technology in your home.  Share your approach with our community!
Parents, please note that when you link to the article, there may be questionable photos at the bottom of the page, so use caution if allowing kids to read it. 

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Enrichment and Education

{photo by Jenny Bischoff}

We’ve almost got one week under our belt and we’re already looking at a holiday! Labor Day weekend is coming up, and there will be no classes Monday or Tuesday. We’d like to encourage you to use some of that time for what we call “Enrichment and Education” or “E&E” hours. As outlined in the parent handbook, twelve hours of E&E activities are required each trimester in addition to classroom days and assigned home days. SLOCA Academy Classes, Enrichment classes, field trips, and catching up on school work all count toward this requirement, but there are many other fun ways you can fulfill these hours without taking classes. 

Today we’d like to offer some suggestions to get you started. Here are several activities to keep in mind for E&E fun:

- Visit a local mission or museum, or other historical or educational site (family field trip!).

- Attend a fine arts performance.

- Go on a nature walk, and study something your kids find or are interested in. Sketching is a great way to study nature.

- Play educational games that build skills in critical thinking, memory, or concentration. These can be board games or activities found online, such as these:

- Try a hands-on home science experiment: here’s one website with ideas, but there are many out there.

- Have fun with art projects.

- Cook or bake with your kids and let them do most of the work.

- Let your kids make up a play or puppet show about what they are learning and perform it for the family (make a video!).

- Read interesting supplemental books that correspond to our history time period.

- Watch historical films or documentaries. 

- Do optional enrichment activities suggested by your child’s teacher.

- Explore any topic of interest to your child.

One final idea, pictured in the photo above, is to make an E&E Box to hold small educational games, puzzles, activity books, flash cards, videos, cds, maps, etc. The box pictured is specifically tailored to American History to go along with our studies this year. This makes an easy go-to spot where kids can choose something they’d like to do on E&E days. 

If you’re looking for some supplemental activities to have on hand, or other school supplies, why not try a visit to B Wise School Supply in Arroyo Grande. (Click here to read our summer post spotlighting this great local resource.)  They have generously offered our SLOCA community a coupon (click here to view and print coupon), which will save you $5 off the purchase of $25 or more.

When planning E&E hours, you can use the above list as a menu to pull ideas from, or get as creative as you want to and keep adding to this collection of activities. Please let us know what you like to do for E&E, or leave additional suggestions, by commenting below. We can all use fresh ideas!

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Welcome to What's for Dinner Wednesday! Each Wednesday we will feature a recipe or food-related post that will hopefully make a good addition to your repertoire. Or if cooking isn't your thing, that's okay - you can pass these along to a friend. I enjoy cooking and have my own arsenal of tried-and-true recipes, but I love to experiment a bit too. Generally I stick to easy, nutritious meals, and while I prefer to use local and organic products, I know this isn’t always possible so feel free to substitute as necessary. I will try to include a variety of recipes here, including vegetarian options, crock-pot meals, quick recipes, and my own favorite family classics. 

Feeding my family healthy food, and spending dinner time together are important to me. I hope these ideas will help all of us in our pursuit to connect with our families over food. If you have a nutritious and delicious recipe to share with me, please send it my way! I'd love to feature other SLOCA family favorites.

On that note, we are going to start off this week with an unusual selection for tweaking your Labor Day BBQ just a bit. Basic burgers are fine and dandy, but if you're looking for something a little more special, try these Green-Chile Burgers with Fried Eggs. We loved them. If the addition of fried eggs isn't appealing to you, these burgers are delicious without them, but the eggs make for a fun twist, and hey, it's more protein! To make things a little easier, I use store-bought green chile salsa instead of making their relish. Regular hamburger buns work here too. Fire up that grill this weekend have fun cooking!

Green-Chile Burgers with Fried Eggs
By Tim Goodell, Food and Wine Magazine, serves 4

2 ¼ pounds ground chuck, preferably organic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ pound mild American blue cheese, such as Maytag Blue Cheese, cut into 4 thin slices
4 large eggs
4 brioche buns, split
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
1 cup Green-Chile Relish, warmed up

1. Light a grill. Gently form the beef into 4 thick patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred on the outside and medium-rare within, about 5 minutes per side. Just before the burgers are done, top each one with a slice of cheese and let it melt.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet and brush it lightly with oil. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook sunny-side up over moderate heat, about 4 minutes. Spread the cut sides of the buns with the melted butter and toast on the grill. Transfer the burgers to the buns. Top with the Green-Chile Relish and the fried eggs and serve.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Workbox Update

Tuesdays and Thursdays here at Down Home will usually offer tips and tidbits relating to home learning and home life, organization, crafts and activities, classical education, informative articles, or parent polls... all kinds of good stuff.

Maybe you've heard of the wondrous “Workbox System” that has functioned so well for many families in managing school work on home days. If you haven't, last year we featured a couple of articles on how two of our SLOCA families use this system. You can go here to read how we (the Bischoffs) started using workboxes, and here to read workbox tips from the Talleys. For general information about workboxes, check out Sue Patrick's website. Though it may not be the right fit for everyone, many families have found increased organization, independence, and peace in the home after implementing this system, or a modified version of it.

Our family has made several small workbox modifications to fit they way we do things, and as we start fresh this fall, we slightly revised our workbox system again to address one common complaint: the traditional boxes are too narrow to fit some of the books, resulting in that unsightly bend in paperbacks, or difficulty fitting larger hardback books. While I did keep one row of narrow boxes (for those subjects that don’t require a large book), I replaced the others with 2 shallower, wider boxes in each row, like this:

The wide boxes fit perfectly and can hold much larger books flat, as well as plenty of math manipulatives or other bulky activities. Although I can now only fit 9 boxes instead of 12 on the rack, I have found that 9 is sufficient for all of the subjects requiring books or items in a box. For the other subjects that still need to be done but don’t require a workbox, we are trying out a card with clothespins to track these tasks. Each clothespin is labeled with one subject (or you can just write on it), and the kids simply move the clothespin to the other side when they have finished the task. It hangs on the side of their workbox rack, attached with zip-ties:

(As explained in her book, Sue Patrick uses a workbox schedule strip to guide students through their day for both workbox and non-workbox tasks. The strip works very nicely, but we wanted to try something different this year to keep it fresh.) 

One other modification we use, for those who are new to workboxes: instead of emptying each box into a large tote when they are finished, my kids simply turn each box around to show the “Done!” cards that I placed on the back side of each box. This saves space, and saves me time later since all I need to do is turn the boxes back around instead of fishing them out of a bin and reorganizing them. Here’s what it looks like:

Have you tried using a version of workboxes? If you have some workbox tips or modifications to share, or if you've found something else that works for your family, please leave a comment below or send me an email! You can also email me if you have any questions about workboxes.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Magical Moments

The beginning is the most important part of the work. 

This week we officially begin our studies, and we hope you are filled with wonder and excitement at what the year will bring! This is most certainly an important work we are doing, so you have done well just by beginning. 

Here at Down Home, Mondays will most often feature what we call Magical Moments, which might be parent testimonies of those Aha! moments experienced by us or our kids, examples of students making important connections, highlights that capture the wonder of anything happening at school or home, or something inspirational that reminds us why we are educating our kids this way. 

To get us started, we have a beautiful example of a magical moment that happened over the summer for a returning Track A family, the Ritters. Tamzin and Trees Ritter and their 3 daughters, Mia (Intermediate), Sienna (Intermediate), and Fiona (Primary) are entering their 4th year at SLOCA:

This summer our family went on an amazing trip to England. One of the places we spent time in was Stratford Upon Avon (the birthplace of William Shakespeare). Having read so much about Shakespeare’s life and work, the girls were absolutely fascinated by everything in his house. When asked by a docent if they knew any of Shakespeare’s plays, Mia answered “yes, I have seen Romeo and Juilet, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream and have read them both along with The Tempest and Hamlet. Then Sienna piped up with, “some of Shakespeare’s characters are hilarious!” The docent was blown away. Visiting Shakespeare’s home really helped the girls realize that Shakespeare really did live and breathe in a totally different time from ours. The past and present are so connected. Thanks SLOCA!
(click on image to enlarge)
The Ritter girls

Thank you Tamzin for sharing this meaningful experience with us! It's encouraging and magical when our kids connect something they've read about to a real life place or encounter. 

If you've had a similar experience, we'd love to hear about it! Comment below, or email me at if you'd like to share your magical moment with our SLOCA community. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Down Home Welcome

{photo by Jenny Bischoff}

A hearty welcome to our new families, and a warm welcome back to our returning families as we start another exciting year of learning together! Here at SLOCA we are all about “educating for life” and this blog, Down Home, will focus on our home life. It is meant to encourage, inspire, nurture, and educate us on the home-front, as we nurture and learn alongside our children. Some of what you will see here are organizational and home learning tips, recipes, crafts, informative articles, and interactive posts where we hope you will chime in and share what you think. These are all designed to support your vital role at home as a parent providing a rich, classical education to your children.

Our unique partnership approach to education wouldn't work without our great community of parents, and our hope is that the blog will also serve as a way to connect us so that we can get to know each other and encourage one another along the way. We want to have fun with this, so please get involved in the conversation, enter the drawings when we have give-aways, and share your thoughts and ideas with our community. We know this group of parents has a lot to offer, and you never know who you might encourage with what you have to share, so jump on in!

Semper Discentes (always learning together).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Parent/Teacher Training?

One reason SLO Classical Academy stands out in our community, and one of the things parents love about our school, is the valuable training we receive as home educators. We are a learning community here at SLOCA, and this kind of support and assistance strengthens the partnership between school and home, and builds confidence in us as parents guiding our children’s education. Tomorrow we have the privilege of being instructed in the writing and math programs that we will be using with our children. Today, our Associate Director Troy Wathen has something to share with us about why we do this important parent training:

All professional fields require some specific training in order to qualify the individuals in that profession for the tasks related to it. Teachers are generally required to spend an additional year after college in preparation for their career. As home educators, we believe that you possess certain knowledge about your child that allows you to enter into teaching without all the child development and psychology classes required of our paid teaching staff. However, just as we seek to train our faculty in the specific curriculum being taught at SLOCA, we believe it is vitally important that all new teaching parents receive training in our writing and math curriculum. For writing we use the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) resources. This program makes a lot of sense once one gets familiarized with it, but until you receive some background, it can sound very complicated. The same is true of Singapore Math. While it helps to develop foundational skills necessary to become proficient in math, it does not present those skills in the same way with which many adults are familiar. We have found that, just as we take time for teacher inservice at the beginning of the year, it is wise to do the same with our teaching parents. We invite you to join us on Friday, August 24 to attend our IEW and Singapore Math curriculum training from 8:30 to 12:00. We hope you will join us as we work to sharpen the skills of our entire teaching team.

(Check the the summer update #3 for the training schedule.)

Thank you Troy! What a wonderful opportunity we have to be able to learn how to use these these exceptional programs with our students.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's for Dinner?

You don’t have to cook every night. Just eat real food.”
-Chef Thierry Rautureau, as quoted in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School  by Kathleen Flinn

Most of the time I enjoy cooking. But I definitely have those nights where I'm desperately throwing together anything I can find that loosely resembles “dinner,” either because I don't want to cook, or don't have time. Recently the idea of planned “no-cook dinners” has caught my attention. I read the above quote and felt it was worthy of re-posting, because it helps me realize that I DO have the freedom to embrace this once in a while and still know I'm nourishing my family. Yes, it may seem more like lunch or a snack, but tell your kids “It's Snacks for Dinner!” and they will love it. With the rush of school starting and schedules changing, perhaps you can periodically incorporate this idea into your own dinner routine. A few of my favorite no-cook dinners are:

-A sliced sourdough baguette with cream cheese, turkey, olives or tapenade, served with raw veggies like snap peas and cherry tomatoes

-Chicken salad, tuna salad, or egg salad on crackers, with fresh fruit (last week's recipe for Chilled Curry Chicken Salad works nicely here)

-A fruit smoothie (with some veggies hidden inside), served with chips and guacamole

I love the idea of eating this way on those nights when we are out of time or energy, rather than relying on a box of processed food for a quick meal. 

For more ideas on simple no-cook dinners, look here

What do you do on nights when you don't want to cook? If you have some refreshing ideas for no-cook dinners, please post a comment and share them with us! 

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Traditions

Milestones like the start of a new school year call for something special. How about celebrating with some back-to-school traditions?  They don't have to be elaborate, and some of them provide a way to capture precious memories of your kids as they grow. You may already have some rituals you engage in, or maybe you are in search of some fresh ideas. Here are a few simple family traditions to commemorate the beginning of a new school year:

- Take each child on a “date” to buy school supplies.

- Serve an unusual and special breakfast on the first school morning, such as Green Eggs and Ham, or Popcorn.

- The first-day-photo on the front porch, of course!

- Pack something special in their lunch, with a sweet note, for the first day of school (these ABC Cupcakes look fun to try this year!)

- Have the kids draw self-portraits the first week of school, and/or write about their interests and dreams for the future.

A few other great ideas to inspire you:

- Take your yearly back-to-school photo with the kids standing next to the same object or piece of furniture (such as a bookshelf or grandfather clock) to visually track their growth. 

- Read the same favorite picture book the night before the first day of school.

- Put special stickers on their lunch baggies. 

And for even more inspiring ideas, look here

Do you have any back-to-school traditions in your family? We love to hear what others are doing - please share them with us!

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Magical Moments

We're almost there - how are you and your kids feeling about starting school? We hear stories all the time from SLOCA kids who are excited that the first day is approaching, and can't wait to go back. Today, Jaime Mickey shares a magical moment she experienced this summer, which we hope will add to your enthusiasm about the start of school, and calm any nerves that new families might be experiencing. Jaime and Greg Mickey are a Track B family entering their 7th year at SLO Classical, with their children Alyssa (Lower Middle School) and Hudson (Primary).

A few weeks into summer, Alyssa asked how long school had been out. After checking the calendar I informed her that tomorrow would be 2 weeks. Completely shocked, she told me it felt much longer. When asked if she was just missing her friends or did she actually miss school, she said “both.” I promptly reminded her that there are great books to read and many things she can learn on her own over the summer. She informed me that's not what she meant. What she misses are the wonderful classroom discussions between the students and teachers. You know a school is amazing when students are only 2 weeks into summer and are already looking forward to returning to school. 
Alyssa and Hudson Mickey

You don't have to wait much longer, Alyssa! Many of our families are equally excited and ready to begin our new year of learning together. We hope this week is full of happy anticipation for all - do you have a story or encouragement to share with others about the start of school? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.  

Be sure to check the weekly update and school emails for info on all of the scheduled events this week.  Check out our website too! Oh, and the school bookstore will be open tomorrow through Friday from 10-1 to purchase any books still on your list. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Free Friday

Another Friday is here!  There's a lot happening next week as we all get ready for school to start. Last Saturday's Work Day was a grand success and our campus is certainly looking ready for us - an enormous thank you to all who came to pitch in! 

click on image to enlarge
Work Day 2012

One thing to mention for this weekend - it's that time again at Rutiz Family Farms in Arroyo Grande. They are offering pumpkin engraving this week: today from 1-6 PM and tomorrow from 10 AM - 3 PM. You can carve your name, words or a picture into a growing pumpkin, and when they are ripe in the fall you have a beautifully personalized pumpkin to pick up! Visit their website and sign up for their newsletter so you'll know when the pumpkins are ready.


Now, take a deep breath and don't forget that there's still time to go to the beach, sleep in, try some of those summer activities you didn't get to, or just play! Enjoy the weekend and let's be free of electronics by five o'clock to connect with family and friends face to face.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The ABCs of Summer

Summer is not quite over, but we have made it through the alphabet in our ABCs of Summer series. Whew! We hope you were inspired by some of the ideas and that you continue to explore summertime fun in the days remaining. Has your summer been full of on-the-go adventure, given you lots of down-time to relax and recharge, or a little of both?  

If you tried any of the suggestions, we'd love to hear about it! Our family especially enjoyed picking berries, making milkshakes, beach bonfires, and reading The Wednesday Wars. Did you or your kids have any favorites? Please post your comments below and share what you did this summer!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's for Dinner?

photo by Jenny Bischoff

Chilled Curry Chicken Salad

If you have some leftover chicken, this is a snap to make, and I love it for those nights when I need something quick and easy, or when I don't want to heat up my kitchen. It's great for a summer picnic or potluck too. This can be made into sandwiches or eaten on mixed greens as a main salad. You can also substitute (or just add) cranberries or raisins for the apples.

1½ cups chicken, cooked & chopped
1 cup Granny Smith apples, chopped
½ cup raw almonds, sliced
½ to ¾ cup fresh cream
½ teaspoon honey
½ rounded teaspoon curry paste (may use curry powder instead), or to taste

1. Place chicken, apples and almonds in medium-sized bowl. 
2. Add cream.
3. Add curry paste or powder.
4. Add raw honey.
5. Stir well to combine.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: Z

ZZZZZ: Let everyone (including you) sleep in! Tomorrow, if you didn't today...
Zoo: Take a day trip to a nearby zoo, or let the kids make a zoo out of their stuffed animals.
Zucchini: We are still in zucchini season, so use it up! You could always let the kids carve them into art, or here are a couple of recipes to check out: Zucchini Pie, which looks rich and delicious, and a Zucchini with Toasted Almonds side dish. Yum!
Zip your lip and listen today.

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: Y

{source, source, photo by Cathy Berthiaume}

Yarn: There are so many fun things to do with yarn, even if you don't know how to knit or crochet. Let the kids string it throughout the house to make a maze, or try a fun craft like this yarn bowl.
Yodel: Have you ever tried? How about a family contest?
Youth: Show your kids some of your childhood pictures. 
Yogurt: Homemade, store-bought, or frozen, here are some fun ways to serve it.
Yak: Invite a friend over for a good talk, go out to coffee and catch up, or chat on the phone.

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

Free Friday

Work Day 2011

It's Friday, and the weekend is just around the corner! This weekend we have a special mission for you - our All School Work Day is tomorrow from 8:30-2pm, and if you haven't already signed up on the google doc, we want to encourage you to do so, and help make this day a huge success! This annual tradition not only gets our campus ready for the school year, but is also a wonderful time of connecting with other families, and a chance to get the kids involved in contributing to our community and making their school shine. 

Our SLOCA family sure knows how to come together to make great things happen, and this is one of those opportunities. It just might get you excited about the start of the school year, and anticipating the adventure that is before us. The whole family can get involved, and the kids are usually so proud to be part of it. Plus we are reinforcing those character traits of Citizenship, Responsibility, Resourcefulness, and Stewardship. We hope you will join us!

We will all have earned an afternoon rest after the work day, so enjoy the remainder of the weekend and don't forget to put down the electronics and be Free by Five o'clock! 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

ABCs of Summer: X

(Roman numeral ten)

Do things in tens today:
Give 10 hugs.
Say 10 nice things to people.
Eat 10 bites of everything (within reason). 
Do 10 dives into the pool.
Take a 10 minute walk, or walk 10 times around the block.
Make a "Top 10" list of what you did this summer.

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Salmon Skewers with Lemon-Parsley Pesto
Cooking Light, September 2007 

Salmon is a favorite in my house, and the pesto in this recipe is a bright and delightful accompaniment to the grilled fish. You can always use store-bought pesto, but if you have the time to make this one, it's worth it. (It's best to make the pesto right before grilling, so it maintains its color.) The skewers are fun, but I've also just grilled salmon fillets when I didn't want to take the time to chunk and skewer. I love serving this over orzo pasta (as the recipe calls for), and usually grill some veggies or make a salad to go along with it.

1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 cups hot cooked orzo
Parsley sprigs (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)

Prepare grill.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to herb mixture; process until smooth, scraping sides. Set aside.

Thread fish evenly on each of 16 skewers. Brush fish with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Arrange skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 1 minute on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill, and keep warm.

Combine orzo and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well. Place 1/2 cup orzo on each of 8 plates; arrange 2 skewers on each plate. Top each serving with about 1 tablespoon herb mixture. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, if desired.

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above business.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

ABCs of Summer: W

Water balloons: Have some wet and wild summer fun. 
Wind chimes: Try this cute craft next time you gather shells.
Watermelon: Here's a creative way to serve it.
Write: a letter, poem, story...
Walk somewhere.
Wish upon a star.
(Wednesday Wars Family Reading Group is this Thursday - hope to see you there!)

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

Monday, August 06, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: V

1. Vanilla: Treat yourself to this classic flavor of ice cream, frozen yogurt, pudding, etc.
2. Video: Make one, or let your kids get creative with the video camera.
3. Volume: Turn up the music!
4. View: Find a peaceful spot with a view (maybe of a vineyard?) and sketch or watercolor what you see.
Visit a friend.

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

Friday, August 03, 2012

Free Friday

It's Friday, and time to wind down for the weekend. Let's remember to be Free by Five, and set aside those electronic gadgets for awhile. Here's a fun idea: starting tomorrow night, you can catch "Movies at the Mission," a free family-friendly event featuring outdoor movie presentations at the Mission Plaza Amphitheatre in SLO. Here's the info:

Saturday, Aug 4, 7:00pm
at Mission Plaza, San Luis Obispo, CA
Price: Free!
Phone: (805) 781-7300
Age Suitability: All Ages

Join the City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department for Movies at the Mission, a free family-friendly event featuring outdoor movie presentations at the Mission Plaza Amphitheatre. 
Saturday, August 4 - E.T. 
Saturday, August 11 - Toy Story 
Saturday, August 18 - Spy Kids 
All movies start at dusk. Movie goers are invited to bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner. Concessions will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the SLO Skate Park Building Fund.

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with the above business.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The ABCs of Summer: U

1. Up: Watch the movie. (Or hike up something...)
2. Under: Build a blanket fort and play under it.
3. Ukulele: Give it a try! It seems to be all the rage, and it's the perfect instrument for summer beach bonfire gatherings.
4. Upcycle: "the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value." This is easy and fun to do with kids. Here's a website with ideas (or try searching "upcycle" on Pinterest!). 

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

What's for Dinner?

photo by Kana Okada {source}

Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini, Serves 4

Summer is the time of year when there is an abundance of zucchini, right?  I love that the zucchini is featured as the main dish, rather than just a side in this recipe.  I usually serve a salad with this, and sometimes rice or roasted potatoes.  This is a really simple meal... no surprise, considering I got it from  Enjoy!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage links, casings removed
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 chopped scallions
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1. Heat oven to 400° F.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked sausage, Asiago, pine nuts, tomatoes and scallions.

3. Using a teaspoon, hollow out the zucchini.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Fill with the sausage mixture and roast until the zucchini is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

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