Mother Culturing: Third Quarter 2021

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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”?

“Mother Culture” Parents’ Review – Volume 3

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost ~

It feels like fall has been slow to arrive this year as we had 90+ degree temps well into September. It’s common for Colorado to have wildly ranging temps and there was one day recently when it was scorching outside, and I was reminded somewhere that the same day in 2020 brought a blizzard. It’s been cooler the last few weeks, for which I am thankful, but I am always ready for the coming of fall.

Lake Koronis, Paynesville, Minnesota
Ford Bridge, near Lock and Dam No. 1, St. Paul, Minnesota

This quarter brought a few significant events in that I took my first plane ride in twelve years up to Minnesota for the Living Education Retreat in early July. This was also the first time I had ever been away from both of my children for more than one night, which I really struggled with. But it was a great trip, and I loved being able to spend a lot of time with my friend Dawn who moved from Colorado to Georgia last year, and my other friend Dawn who I had yet to meet in person up to that point. And, of course, there was Minnesota. Land of my childhood and ten thousand lakes. The Sunday after the retreat, we drove around the Twin Cities, including past my childhood home and elementary school in Circle Pines. We also stopped to take a little walk down to Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Mississippi River. It was so, so incredible, even though I didn’t get to hear a loon (and I tried!), to be there again.

In August, B turned 11, and, as usual, another candle on his cake makes my mama heart weep. But also, I do love to see how he’s growing and maturing. My friend Dawn said that as her kids got older, she enjoyed their friendship more and more, and I think about that often.

We aimed to start our school year on August 23rd, but sickness (unrelated to the current pandemic) started making the rounds the previous week, and it finally hit me the night before. So we didn’t start until August 25th, which was fine as we are not part of a homeschool co-op this year, so I felt like we had enough flexibility to catch up quickly. And we did.

Though we aren’t part of a homeschool co-op this year, we did join a local Charlotte Mason nature group that meets every other week. Because it’s still an opportunity to socialize (both for the kids and me), but I don’t have to do any prep for teaching, I think it’ll be very good for us.

In September, I turned 41. A pretty uneventful, but not bad, birthday. 🙂

And here is this quarter….


My book list is a little embarrassing as I only finished five books and read them either for or to my children. ? In my defense (because I need to defend myself), I met my reading goal last quarter, so I decided to start a few long books that have been on my to-be-read list for a long time. I’ve been slowly chipping away at them, but life has been busy, so the chipping hasn’t been as steady as I had hoped. This post is a good reminder to me, though, that I need to get back at it.

The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson. This was a pre-read for B. He has enjoyed this series so much that he read this book twice while waiting for me to read the next one.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is my……18th time reading this book? 19th? 🙂 This was a before-bed read with C, and she very much enjoyed it.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry. Another before-bed read for C. This is the second time I’ve read this book and the second time I’ve wanted to go out and get a donkey after reading this book. We both enjoyed it a lot.

Little Britches by Ralph Moody. This was a before-bed read with B, and I chickened out and did not read him the last chapter even though Brandy Vencel offered good reasons why that part, in particular, is important. I read it on my own later, and maybe someday, B will reread it on his own and find out what happened, but there were several factors in my decision to skip it. It was, however, so neat to read this book as many places mentioned were familiar to us. I know the area he lived in extremely well as I lived there myself for close to twenty years.

The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson. This was another pre-read for B (who started reading it the second I handed it to him).

I’m currently reading (this list is ridiculous and is also why I haven’t finished any books for myself this quarter) The Cross by Sigrid Unset, The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, The Once and Future King by T.H. White (audiobook), Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes, Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland by Malachy McCourt, and Ourselves by Charlotte Mason with my Idyll Challenge group.

With B, I am reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and with C, I am reading The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (she is reading Charlotte’s Web on her own).

2021 Book Challenges

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 38/33

Back to the Classics – 5/12

Literary Life Podcast 19 in 2021 Reading Challenge – 5/19

Reshelving Alexandria 2021 Reading Challenge – 5/12

Well-Educated Mind List – 8/87

On the Blog

Teaching Cooking as a Handicraft (+ a free printable!) A little overview of how we used The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children as a handicraft guide in our homeschool and a free printable!

6 Books to Encourage a Creative Family Culture Creativity often needs to be cultivated as a habit, especially for children. Here are a few book ideas to help with that cultivation.

Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Art of the Yuan Dynasty I gave the second Picture Study Aid I ever created an overhaul earlier this year, and the new version is now available in the shop!

A Homeschooler Guide to Making a Simple School Year Archive I have been putting together a homeschool year archive binder for both of my kids each school year since we began homeschooling in 2016. I’m sure there are many different ways to record your year, but here is how I set up ours!

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Year 5 Plans and Charlotte Mason Homeschool: Year 2 Plans (Take 2) These are all of the plans I’ve made for our school year. I won’t be doing any term recaps this year, but I will write end-of-year posts to report on what has worked and what changes were made.

Simple Morning Reading Routine for Mothers I originally posted this two years ago but decided to make some updates and suggestions for things to include in a personal morning reading time.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool Room Tour This was another re-post from 2019, but since we’ve made changes to our homeschool space, I wanted to update it as well.

Charlotte Mason Homeschool: How I Plan My School Weeks This outlines how I plan my school weeks and includes a video going over how I lay everything out.

Charlotte Mason Picture Study: Emily Carr A new Picture Study Aid on the site for Canadian artist Emily Carr!

My Favorite Sources for Real Food These are where I get the majority of our food at reasonable prices.


Kettle Care Balancing Lavender Creme with Ylang Ylan & Goji Berry I’ve been looking for a new moisturizer as I like to try new things every so often, and this stuff is terrific. It’s reasonably priced, the texture is very creamy, it leaves my skin so soft, and smells lovely. I plan to try all of their products soon.

Van Gogh Washi Tape Because I use a lot of washi tape when laying out my weekly plans, this was kind of a must.

Chocolate Chips + Chipped Coconut + Raisins + Walnuts (Soaked) I’ve been making this trail mix as an afternoon snack a few times a week for the last few months, and it is so tasty!

Book of Common Prayer Green Vivella Edition I’ve been using a generic, red, hard-backed Book of Common Prayer in my morning reading time for several years now, but I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. When I got a gift card for Amazon a few months ago, I decided to splurge, and it was worth it. It’s so pretty.

In the Shop

This was another productive quarter in the shop! I have two new (or re-done) Picture Study Aids:

Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid: Art of the Yuan Dynasty -
Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid and Prints: Emily Carr -

I also posted most of the printables I’ve created for Patreon over the last year or so. These are all available as digital downloads, or you can order professional prints of the quote!

See all of them here!

On Patreon

And here are the Patreon printables offered in the third quarter. In July, the extra printable was a daily planner, and I think it is one of my favorite printables to date. In August, I offered a printable page with bookplates featuring watercolor books to prepare for the coming school year and all the new books. And September’s downloads included a printable chore chart that matches my free printable calendar!

Bird Sightings

American Goldfinch in our sunflower forest

The biggest event for us right now is the birds, primarily American goldfinches, landing on the sunflower plants all around our patio and eating the seeds. It’s been interesting to see this clump of sunflowers evolve over the last several years and get bigger and bigger. The bees love it in the spring and early summer, and the birds love it later on. It’s a bit unruly and doesn’t look all that great, but we love that it is good for pollinators and birds!

I was a little lazy this summer with the feeders and never put out safflower. Instead, I used a cylinder feeder for our seed mix and put a cage around our column of seed. This worked well to keep the squirrels out, but we definitely didn’t have as much variety this season. I hope to be more diligent over the winter months.

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