Mother Culturing: Second Quarter 2022

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What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call “the domestic rag-bag” of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it “growing”… Is there, then, not need for more “Mother Culture”?


A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window-pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.

So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window-sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.

~ The Sparrow by Paul Laurence Dunbar ~

Every quarter feels like a cliche when I look back and think, “this was a crazy quarter!” So maybe it’s more that life is just crazy? It feels like it has been for at least a few years, anyway, and this quarter, of course, followed that theme.

We took a much-needed little vacation to eastern Utah in late April to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. It was quick but fun, and I’m glad we made the time for it.

Not long after that, my husband was traveling again for his business, and while he was away, the kids and I sat out on the patio one night and watched the lunar eclipse. Just a few days later, we got 15 inches of snow….in the end of May. Colorado does not hold back on the crazy weather. Fortunately, all of our trees and new plants survived, and I hadn’t planted my garden starts yet. We also really needed the moisture as we are, once again, in drought conditions.

We ended our school year at the beginning of June, followed by a week of horse camp for the kids and then two weeks of THE sickness. After 2.5 years of avoiding it, we finally got hit, and it took about two weeks to get through all four of us. I was thankful that no more than two of us were sick with it at a time, but mostly whoever had it spent a lot of time sleeping, so it was pretty uneventful.

We have a few things planned this summer but (and I said this last quarter too…) I am looking forward to slowing down before we start school again in late August. We need to continue a few school-related things through the summer (math), but otherwise, I’m hoping to spend this time doing some deep cleaning around the house and more than just a little reading. We’ll see what actually happens. ?

And now on to this quarter!


For Me

Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason. Finished for the Idyll Challenge. This one has probably been the most challenging of her volumes for me to get through so far, especially the last third or so. Of course, there are still gems in there, so I’m glad I read it, but I prefer the other volumes over this one.

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell. After enjoying Hamnet earlier this year and discovering that I read another of O’Farrell’s books several years ago that really stuck with me, I decided to read another one. I thought it was interesting how she used different ways to tell the story, and I think she’s an author I need to explore more.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I mentioned in my last Mother Culturing post that there is comfort food and there are comfort books, and this is one of them for me. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel, but this is a very, very close second.

The Art Forager by Barbara Shapiro. I was in the mood for a good art book that interwoven history with a modern story, but this was “meh” at best. I do not recommend it.

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. Another disappointing book. I love WW2 fiction and liked the time travel-y aspect of this one, but I didn’t really enjoy it.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. Towles is a favorite author, so I was glad when I finally got this one from the library. A very good story (and I loved the Sally character!), and the end was good, though I would’ve liked to see what happened to everyone. Favorite quote from Sally when she was pondering why she took the time to make jam: “I do it because it’s old-fashioned. Just because something’s new doesn’t mean it’s better; and often enough, it means it’s worse.

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs. I usually love books about books, and I really liked the bookshop in the story, but I did not care for this book, especially the end.

Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland. I have been slowly working on this book since last year, and I’m glad I finally finished it. As essentially a collection of biographies that spanned the history of Ireland, it was slightly different than what I thought it would be. However, I enjoyed how it was told in an almost story format as if I was sitting at a bar with Malachy and he was telling me about the history of his country. I’ve always been a little obsessed with Ireland, even as an adolescent. When I was young, my dad told me that I was only German on my mother’s side of the family. I knew there was no Irish on his side, so I admired Irish heritage from afar and wished I could claim it as my own. Imagine my overwhelming, unadulterated, radiating joy when my mother, who I met for the first time in 2009, told me I was also Irish. I was beyond happy. This book made me even more pleased to be Irish.

For myself, I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard (for my morning reading time), and A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (with my Idyll Challenge group).

For the Kids

Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George. This was such a good series, and both kids have enjoyed these books.

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. This was cute, and both kids enjoyed it. C is even asking for the other books that Lenski wrote in this same vein.

The Good Master by Kate Seredy. I did not care for the beginning of this, but it redeemed itself quickly. B enjoyed this one. I would’ve let C read it, but we had to return it to the library.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Very cute, and both kids liked this one as well, though I’d recommend it for younger ages.

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. This was slow initially, but as the story picked up, it got more interesting. Both kids like this one.

With C, I am currently reading The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum, and with B, I am currently reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. I’m also pre-reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (one of my favorite childhood books) for B. I started to read The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander for B, and though I will finish it, I’m not sure I’ll give it to him just yet.

For School

We ended our school year at the beginning of June, which means we also finished quite a few books, including George Washington Carver: Man’s Slave Becomes God’s Scientist by David Collins, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The First Book of Plants by Alice Dickinson, Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Rome by James Baikie, Great Inventors and Their Inventions by Frank Peterbaugh Bachman, The Tempest by William Shakespeare, and This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall.

2022 Book Challenges

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 38/36

Back to the Classics 2022 – 4/12

Literary Life Podcast 2 for ’22 Reading Challenge – 6/20

Reshelving Alexandria 2022 Reading Challenge – 4/12

2022 Art Book Reading Challenge – 2/7

Well-Educated Mind List – 10/87

On the Blog

John Singleton Copley Picture Study for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers I gave this Picture Study Aid an update, added another piece, and am now offering a printed version of the book!

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling This is a new series I started in April and will continue through the summer, highlighting the resources we’ve found helpful in our homeschool. This first post was about overall curriculum and our Morning Time.

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: Bible and Shakespeare

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: History and Plutarch

Claude Monet Picture Study for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers One of my goals this year was to update all of my Picture Study Aids to seven pieces each and printed versions of the book, and with this re-release, I met that goal!

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: Language Arts

Free Printable Calendar for Homeschoolers! I think this is my favorite of the free printable downloads I offer, as I get excited when it’s time to update it every year. 🙂

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: Geography and Math

Hokusai Picture Study and Art Prints for Homeschoolers My newest Picture Study Aid is for Japanese, Ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Fifth Grade Recap and Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Second Recap (take 2) It’s that time of year!

My Favorite Resources for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: Nature Study and Science


3DFitBud Simple Step Counter I’m trying to get at least 8,000 steps per day in an effort to get more movement in my days. On the days that we don’t go for a walk or hike, I have just been doing laps around the backyard, and thanks to this little device, I can keep track of those and what I do around the house. I like that it has no wireless signal and doesn’t connect to my phone or anything else. I just slip it into my pocket in the morning and keep it on me the entire day to track my steps.

E-Cloth Washing Up Pad I got several of these a few months ago, and they’re perfect for cleaning bathroom counters and sinks!

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Retractable Erasable Gel Ink Pens My friend Anna suggested these to me when I mentioned I was nervous about using a pen in my homeschool planner. These are perfect as they’re erasable!

Straus Family Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream I buy this in bulk from Azure Standard, and we treat ourselves to a pint of it every weekend. Aside from homemade, this is the best ice cream I have ever had.

Nature Fluxx Game I picked this up earlier this year for my daughter’s birthday, and it’s been a huge hit. We’ll definitely be picking up more versions of this.

One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps Cereal This is my new favorite bedtime snack.

prAna Foundation Short Sleeve V-neck T-shirt This has become my favorite t-shirt. It’s soft, lightweight, and very versatile. I wear it when we go hiking or around the house but it can also be dressed up easily as well. I actually set up a search specifically for these in thredUP so I can snatch them as they come in! (Get $10 off your first order at thredUP with my link!)

In the Shop

Several new and updated things this quarter!

On Patreon

I’m feeling inspired by lots of floral watercolor designs this year for my Patreon offerings! (I also sell older Patreon downloads in my shop!)

Bird Sightings

Turkey Vulture
Spotted Towhee
Say’s Phoebe
Juvenile Black-headed Grosbeak

We had a few different visitors this quarter around the feeders in the form of a juvenile black-headed grosbeak (which we get every once in a while, usually during migrating season), a spotted towhee (we get them in the yard often, but they don’t generally come to the feeder), and a Say’s phoebe (which we hear all the time but only actually see rarely). The chickadees haven’t been stopping by as often, so the main visitors we have at the feeders right now are house finches and Eurasian collared doves.

We’ve had some other visitors of the mammal kind, though, that we’ve actually finally caught on our trail cam. I got this for my husband a few years ago, and we rotate it around the yard, hoping to catch something. We know we have a lot of neighborhood cats that visit at night as we sometimes hear them catching mice, but we also saw a lot of evidence of a bear visiting overnight. We finally got him (and a good shot of our neighborhood raccoon) last week before he made his way to our garbage can and ate an expired package of raw chicken. I hope we get more glimpses of him!

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  1. hehehe… THE sickness… I had to chuckle. Same for us. Avoided it for 2 years!!! And then bam! went through my entire family. ? Anyways… I had to pop in and say that I am always enjoying your posts. Pretty sweet that you caught a bear on camera! I know my kids would think that is “way cool!” You’ve inspired me to record what I have read for 2022. I loved the idea! It’s a struggle sometimes. I feel like when I do have the time to at least read what’s on my own personal book list, I am either too tired to read whether it be my eyes or my brain, or I just can’t focus and find myself reading the same sentence 5 times, lol… but I LOVE reading and will keep going. I have my CM books to read. Slow moving for me through Know and Tell; not because it’s boring, but just because I want to absorb every word to get the art of narration right! From what I have covered so far has been so helpful in our homeschool, especially, because we have some late narrators in the house. I still have my copy of Pride and Prejudice on my kitchen counter to continue a page or two when I can. ❤️ Following AO for each of my children has not only been educational for them but also for me. I have noticed my own reading skills and comprehension have improved quite a bit!

    1. Oh my, I have definitely been in the “reading the same sentence 5 times” camp many times! But slow and steady wins the race. 🙂 I am working on finishing “Formation of Character” but you have inspired me to read “Know and Tell” after that! And I agree….AO has been such a good education for my kids and me!

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