Book Giveaway: Stone Crossings

Stones on Stones

Thanks to The Wellblog for graciously reflecting on Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places and hosting a giveaway.

Labels: ,


Rollover Recipes: Provencal Sauce to Greek Casserole

Greek Potato Casserole

This has been a week of food experimentation. Sure, I have my month of meals, but every so once in a while I find spare energy and it funnels itself into cooking creativity. I become a veritable vegetable-sculpting Picasso.

The Unknown Contributor started the ball rolling (Now, is that potential or kinetic energy? Kinetic, I think, once the ball started. Potential, when her recipe for White Chili was just sitting there all innocent and everything, saying, “Come on, give me a whirl.”)

Anyhow, I made the white chili using TVP instead of turkey. Total hit with the family. This gave me inspiration to throw together a new Provencal sauce the following day, that I served over whole wheat angel hair pasta. Here’s the sauce, and it was so rich I was licking the stirring spoon (don’t tell, okay?)

Day 1: Provencal Red Sauce

Sauté until lightly browned, in oven-proof pot…

• medium red onion, chopped

Add and sauté briefly…

• 2 garlic, minced
• ½ tsp oregano
• 1 TB capers
• 1 TB dark brown sugar
• a few pours red wine
• ½ jar of green olives with pimientos, sliced into rounds
• 2 links sausage substitute

Add and heat through…

• 1 jar Muir Glen Cabernet sauce
• 1 28 oz. can Muir Glen tomato puree

Put pot in oven, uncovered, and roast sauce at 350 degrees for half an hour.

Serve with whole wheat pasta, salad, and green vegetable.

Day Two: Greek Potato and Greens Casserole

Slice 8 small to medium golden potatoes, unpeeled, and arrange half of them on bottom of baking dish, with about ¼ inch of water in bottom.

Add a layer of greens (spinach, chard, or other) that have been chopped and wilted with…

• medium onion, chopped and sautéed in olive oil until golden
• 2 garlic, minced
• 1 leek, cleaned inside layers, and cut into rounds (can substitute green onion but leek is more Greek)
• salt and pepper

Add a layer of yesterday’s Provencal sauce

Arrange remaining potatoes and top with more sauce. Give a few good pours olive oil, shake on some salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (until tender).

Serve with whole wheat bread. Garnish with sour cream. Recipe for 4.


Based on my family’s response to all three of these recipes, I’m going to have to add a fifth week to the month of meals (which leads us to a math problem after we already encountered a physics problem here… who knew cooking required not only the artistry of Picasso but also the mind of Einstein?)

Greek Casserole photo, by L.L. Barkat.

Labels: , ,


Sitting with the Swing (or, reminding myself why I home educate)

Lean-To 2

Tiger Cage 2

Tiger Cage 1

Lean-To 1

I come home from this place, dreaming. Full, still. And with two questions haunting me, that Andy Crouch asked the crowd...

1. what is one thing you want to start doing

2. what is one thing you want to stop doing

Somehow I cannot answer these questions except with a vague ache to remember why I home educate my children. This, coupled with a deep wish for more solitude and freedom for myself (the two seem somewhat in conflict). See? I have no answers, only more questions.

Sitting outside with the swing that my kids managed to craft and sling to the pine tree, sitting with the lean-to (I see now I needn't ever be homeless because they can whip up a lean-to if need be), standing in the (oh so messy) living room and looking at the "tiger cage" my oldest daughter built today... I still have no answers. Just a deep sense of remembrance: this is why I home educate.

If you think of it, pray for me. I don't mind if the answer to your prayers is yet more questions. Maybe they will lead me to rest, to swing, to gaze up at the lean-to ceiling and breathe. Maybe I will find a few answers lingering in the fabric of what my children's fingers weave.

Lean-To and Tiger Cage photos by L.L. Barkat.

On another note, I decided to keep a running list of the books my kids are reading/listening to. Thus begins the list...

List of Books (eldest, 11):
Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories: Parables of Faith for the Modern Reader by Chris Fabry
Understood Betsy by Corothy Canfield Fisher
The Hobbit by Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Grim Tuesday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Drowned Wednesday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Sir Thursday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Lady Friday, by Garth Nix
The Keys to the Kingdom: Superior Saturday, by Garth Nix
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare
Macbeth, Shakespeare
Missing Mountains: We Went to the Mountaintop but it wasn't there; edited by Kristin Johannsen, Bobbie Ann Mason,
and Mary Ann Taylor-Hall
Putting on a Play: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to All Aspects of Amateur Theater by Michael Legat
Putting on a Play: The Young Playwright's Guide to Scripting, Directing, and Performing by Nancy Bentley and Donna Guthrie

List of Books (youngest, 9)
Magic Treehouse Series, books 1-11
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deep Woods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean: Take Care of the Babysitter by Annie Barrows
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A Giant Problem: Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles Book 2, by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

Labels: ,


Ancient History


This was the view out our window when we went to Marseilles way back in September. The city is over 2500 years old (of course, it has been built and rebuilt on top of ruins). I thought it made a fine picture to pair with my daughter Sara's shot at the Once Upon a Time challenge...

"Once Upon a Time"

The stars were shining overhead,
the treetops dark and misty.
As I lay down atop my bed,
I thought of ancient history.

The ancient horse of the city Troy,
the worst present to ever get.
Hidden warriors emerged unalloyed
to conquer everything yet.

And then I thought of Shakespeare's plays,
the characters of long ago,
and also still performed today,
even if it snows.

So that is it for this verse here,
the sun is coming up.
And now it's sort of very weird,
I can't remember all this stuff.

Poem by Sara, age 11. Marseilles Old Port photo by L.L. Barkat.

Labels: , ,