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Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

Stop The Madness: Why I Vehemently Oppose SB277

calawmama:

My thoughts on the vaccination madness.

Originally posted on From Law School to Homeschool:

Before I begin, I have a few disclaimers to state:syringe

  1. I vaccinate my children. We made this decision based on what is best for our family.
  2. I homeschool my children, therefore this law does not affect me or my family.
  3. Bureaucracies and all of their downfalls make me crazy.
  4. In a Bioethics & Law course, I wrote a research paper on the substantive due process rights of parents to refuse immunizations for their children.
  5. My arguments are based on my legal training and experiences as a parent of four children, here in California.

California has long been a bastion for innovation in the legal field. From laws on Evidence, Environmental emissions, to philosophical aka personal belief exemptions for refusing vaccinations, we are first, and I like to think in some cases the best when it comes to making cutting edge choices.

This is not a cutting edge choice.

This is…

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It’s A Calling: This is Now

Originally posted on From Law School to Homeschool:

I’ve been having an existential crisis lately. Apparently, this isn’t uncommon for homeschoolers in February. I can only imagine how difficult things must be for those of you with snow!

Anyhow, as is often the case with this sort of thing, it is tied to what has been going on with us. My 5 year old had some sort of stomach virus over the weekend, and my nearly 1 yo is going on 48 hours of a persistent high fever. Luckily it is responsive to motrin and “airing him out.”

Anyhow, this means that we have been home A LOT. Since Friday. Those of you who know me IRL know that I hate being home. I loathe it. Sure, you can’t always not be home, but in an ideal world, I’d leave home at 10 and return at 5, cook dinner, etc.

I think the reason I hate it is…

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The Four Cups of Flour Rule

Originally posted on From Law School to Homeschool:

I don’t have the time to write any of the things that I want to right now, but I thought I’d share a little piece of wisdom that I recently realized.

In cooking for our family, 2 adults and 4 kids, any recipe that involves baked good requires a minimum of four cups of AP flour, or a combination of flours.

What this means, is that if a recipe does not have that, it will not be enough to feed everyone a decent amount.

For example, in making tortillas, the recipe for which I hope to blog sometime soon, the recipe I was following only had 2 1/2 cups of flour. I think that made enough for each person to have 1 1/2 tortillas, no bueno.

On another occasion, I was making oatmeal bannocks, which again I hope to share soon, and after mixing the various ingredients together, I could…

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Pizza Dough

WordPress is just not being my friend today. I had a whole blog post typed out, and it auto saved NONE of it. BLAH!

So anyway. Today I’m going to tell you about Pizza Dough, because you need to make it. This is a modified version of the recipe in Pioneer Woman’s first cookbook. There is one in a subsequent book, but we like this one the best.

Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast (make sure it says rapid or quick rise, not just active)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 8 cups AP flour (note this recipe could easily be halved for a family of four or smaller, we just eat a lot of pizza!)
  • 2/3 cup EVOO
  • 2 tsp salt

This recipe could not be easier. You pour the yeast into the warm water and let it sit. Meanwhile, in your electric mixer, or by hand, put in the flour and salt, then add the EVOO on slow, until it’s just mixed. Then, gently mix the yeast and water, then add it into the mix on a low speed. Once it forms a dough ball, you’re done! Just set it into an oiled bowl, cover with a paper towel, and let it sit 1-2 hours. 2 hours is the sweet spot IMO, check it:

photo (16)

Then, stretch it out and place onto an OILED surface, either straight onto the pan, or on an aluminum foil lined pan. Waxed paper works in a pinch. Top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings, and bake at 400-450 depending on your oven for 18ish minutes, until the cheese is bubbly, and crust is golden brown. If baking with kids, individual cake pans work great.

You can totally do this, behold:

Greek-ish style pizza: feta, sliced kalamata olives, spinach

Greek-ish style pizza: feta, sliced kalamata olives, spinach

8ish cheese pizza (mozzarella, cheddar, quattro formaggio, etc.)

8ish cheese pizza (mozzarella, cheddar, quattro formaggio, etc.)

kid pizzas

kid pizzas

I am so bad at formatting, I give up on today. I also suck at photography. Happy Monday, the end!

Filed under: Being Deliberate, Cooking for Large Families, cooking from scratch, cooking with kids, Easy recipes, quick recipes, , , , , ,

What’s Your Homeschool Missing: Blank Page Mentoring

Blank page mentoring is a big deal.

photo (6)

My 7 yr old in play LoL

photo (5)

My blank page– things I want or need to do for myself in the coming week.

photo (3)

For my 3 year old

photo (4)

My 5 yo Core Phaser

I am having an issue formatting, so hopefully these pages will all be magically next to each other in this post, ahh!!!

Anyhow, blank page mentoring. It’s the idea that you sit down, each week, to a blank piece of paper, and you write out what you hope to accomplish for your child.

In 2015, I have made a commitment to be more deliberate and intentional. This means figuring out what it is I want to do, and then making a plan to do it, with a view to the long term, if that makes sense. So, for example, if I really want to see a certain person that lives far away at a park day, then I have to plan the preceding days and weeks around it to ensure we aren’t doing a bunch of far away drives at the same time.

Blank page mentoring is a way of being more deliberate in your homeschool. You reflect about what is going on with your child, one at a time, and what role you will play in supporting them, or getting them resources. For example, if I know that my oldest wants to work on sewing, how can we make that happen? If my 5 year old really wants to bake, what should we make, and where will we need to get the ingredients in advance, etc.

This also means planning field trips and outings based on what’s going on with the kids. For example, they have been really interested in walking to our local library, both for the walk itself, and for the library part. So we have been making a lot of time for that lately.

I’ve also noticed, and read in unschooling groups, that if you hope to have any free time, it’s important to make sure that each child’s cup is filled, so to speak. Therefore, putting the time in with your 3 year old in an intentional and focused way, is just as important as with your 5 or 7 year old. For me, just offering to “do whatever he wants” with my 3 year old is not fruitful. His conception of “whatever” is amorphous, what does that MEAN? What do you MEAN read a book. Which book? They are everywhere in our home. It is much more productive to say, would you like to play tangrams with me? We an build them this way which I know you have liked before. That creates peace, and engagement. You’ll notice that my BPM with my 5 yo includes a lot of “play X.” She is very into games lately, and the specific ones listed are her absolute favorites. She can never get enough time playing them. It is a very special time for her, and so fun for me to participate!

Same with my 7 year old. Asking her to read aloud to me is much less fruitful than asking her to read D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths, eventhough she ultimately decided to read from The Hour of the Olympics instead. Please note, sometimes she will not want to read what I have suggested, or sometimes even she won’t want to read at all. So I move on, and do not let it get to me. It’s not personal. Sometimes we don’t want to do certain things. To be successful with a TJEd home, though, we have to focus on ways to inspire our children, hence the Key “Inspire NOT Require.” This means strewing interesting things for our children, and more specifically in our experience, and the experiences of many people we know, strewing experiences. You have to keep going, even if nothing seems to be working. I’ll write more on strewing in future posts– it is a very special and very important topic, well deserving of its own separate writing space!

Back to BPM– so at the end of the week, yesterday, as I was watching Daniel Tiger with the kids, I decided to look back at the week and see what we had done. I didn’t get a chance to do everything listed, we did some different things instead, and that’s ok! I had a great time thinking about what we had experienced, and looking forward to this week.

Once I opened the email with This Week in History (TWIH), I knew it was going to be another fun and exciting week! Happy Monday everyone!

Filed under: A Thomas Jefferson Education, Being Deliberate, Being Intentional, Blank Page Mentoring, Core Phase, D'Aulaire, inspiration, Inspire Not Require, Leadership Education, Love of Learning, Magic Tree House, TJED, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog Update

So, I recently made the decision that I wanted to really commit to my personal blog. What this means is that I have to do it in a way that not only makes sense, but in a way that all the things I want to blog about actually get done. Therefore, it seems to me that it makes the most sense to merge all my various projects together. Therefore, I will be talking about those things that were originally only covered in my CALawMama Blog (legal developments, news, work related topics, etc.), and those from my Ruby Acre (crafts, cosmetics, wine, home, more lifestyle type things). Therefore, this will become a more of a cohesive blog about the things that interest me.

Eventually I hope to hire a web designer to make everything all organized and in different tabs, but for now I just have categories and tags. I will be working to update my about and pages to reflect the changes, but like everything else in my life, it will probably take a while to get done! LOL

I hope you will enjoy!

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On Following Arbirtrary Rules and Other Life Lessons: This Week-ish in our TJEd

calawmama:

Latest on our TJEd on the homeschool blog, check it!

Originally posted on From Law School to Homeschool:

7606_10152451706551485_562915599540582178_n Recently, while we were eating out at a local restaurant, someone actually approached our table and said that our family had the best behaved small children they had ever seen. They had a teenage son. Can you imagine? :D

We have been doing a lot lately. I know this is true because when I look back at all the photos that I have taken, I see, objectively all the places we have been, things we have done, people we have seen, etc. However, it’s difficult to have the mental space to keep running tally of what exactly we have been up to.

This year, we are part of a charter. For those unfamiliar with homeschooling — hey I had NO idea what this was even after we started homeschooling– a charter is registered with the state of California, and works with parents to procure the materials they want, while maintaining…

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What Mama’s Reading

I haven’t had the chance to read much, since baby #4 was born– surprise, surprise! Just before he was born, I had a chance to finish 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami.

Perhaps more poignantly, rather than not being able to read, I haven’t been able to venture to the adult section in the library, because, as you may be well familiar, you have to be absolutely quiet and calm in that part of the library– something my big kids are not always necessarily the best at. I’m sure the librarian from our local library would attest to his joyful sprinting through the stacks and laughing all the while yesterday afternoon, during our brief visit.

So anyhow, our largest local library has many floors of books, with the adult books being on different floors than the children’s (and therefore utter insanity to attempt to brave with the kids), but the smaller local libraries have the pin drop silent adult section, which is located adjacent to the kids section. So, the past two times when we have visited the smaller libraries, I quickly snuck over and grabbed some things.

Here’s what I’m hoping to make a dent into:

Thinking Fast and Slow

Steve Jobs

The Scarlet Letter

and for the TJEd Discussion of the Classics group, Jane Eyre

Also, as a part of our “KidSchool,” we have begun The Violet Fairy Book, The Green Fairy Book, and Little Women.

Additionally, I have picked up some pretty killer audio books, IMHO, but so far my kids hate them all indiscriminately. These include Little Town on the Prairie, Treasury of Native American Heroines, Magic Tree House books, and many more. It is literally as though my children believe that the sound system in our car should solely be used for music. Further, unfortunately, this isn’t a new phenomenon. They have hated audio books since our first attempt. My five year old literally yells, repeatedly, “I HATE this! Turn it off!” So pleasant to hear as a driver :) Anyhow, we shall see what other means we may find to listen to these treasures.

What are you reading these days?

Filed under: A Thomas Jefferson Education, Children's Books, Classics, Parenting, TJED, , , , ,

Book Review: The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom by Oliver DeMille

I want to start out this review by engaging you in a visualization technique. I want you to close your eyes, concentrate, and think back to when you were in elementary school. Think back to the days of paper friendship chains, and cornucopias, and when you remembered which President’s birthday it was when you got a day of school off. Now, focus, and remember a thing called a “Citizenship Award?” or something with a similar name. Remember what it stood for? Perhaps helping out class mates, doing things without asking, being nice to other people, in some way being a good person, just for the sake of it.

Now open your eyes and be an adult again. When you hear the phrase, do your civic duty, what does that make you think of? I’m guessing you are thinking of voting, or jury duty, and how you dread it. THAT juxtaposition of what being a good citizen as a child and what it means as an adult are what I believe this book, at its core centers on. It is a call to true citizenship, in the full meaning of the term.

This book came into my life at an interesting time. I was recently asked to be a part of the HomeSchool Association of California‘s legal team, and have been returning to a more rigorous study of the various homeschool methods out there. If you read my Homeschooling for Lawyers blog, you’ll remember I’m a fan of Charlotte Mason and Classical Education, although we don’t follow either or any to a T. Additionally, as a blawger, I am always interested in opportunities to engage my “legal brain” so to speak.

So, when I saw a solicitation to read over this book in a Thomas Jefferson Education discussion group, you can bet I jumped at the chance. At its core, the book The U.S. Constitution and the 196 Indispensable Principles of Freedom, by Oliver DeMille, is about freedom. What it looks like, what erodes it, and why we need it.

I personally believe that a solid understanding of Natural Law and the Enlightenment as it relates to government, is key to understanding some of the concepts that DeMille is discussing. And I personally cannot engage in a conversation about Natural Law without hearkening back to Hobbes in Leviathan, where he says:

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry… no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Therefore, in nature, we begin in a state of every man for himself, in which case, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Clearly, no one wants that, or to borrow the phrase, “no man is an island.”

With that as the starting point, the question that presents itself is, what sort of government DO we want? DeMille recounts an impressive history of the Founders, and discusses in depth the sources from which they drew their inspiration in order to frame our Constitution and federal government system. (At first I was going to list them, but I think its better to not, so that you will be further incentivized to read for yourselves.)

He does this for three primary reasons: 1) in an attempt to put the reader on a level playing field in terms of common knowledge for the terms of discussion; and 2) in order to encourage the reader to delve into a study of them; and 3) to demonstrate how important these various ideas and writings are both historically and in modernity.

I’m not sure why, but as I was typing that last sentence, the story of Icarus came to mind, but alas perhaps my TJEd 7 Keys Certification brain is getting muddled with my review, so I will move on :)

DeMille gives an extensive overview of the various texts in order to arrive at a sort of open ended answer to what it means to truly be free. For example, one concept that will certainly appear radical to the reader, is the notion that the government is only responsible, in very broad terms, of protecting people from each other, only in as much as they might kill each other, so to speak. See the Leviathan quote above to get a better sense of what I mean. He also mentions specific limited governmental responsibilities, but beyond that, it is the OTHER factions of society that are responsible to carry out various tasks.

For example, imagine this:

  • Churches, families, and communities rallying together to boycott an artist.
  • A community voluntarily cleaning up a polluted waterbed.
  • Communities, churches, and families rising up to cloth the naked and feed the hungry, etc.

This is just a very basic overview of his discussion of these 7 separate spheres, and I highly recommend reading it for yourself to get a better understanding of this view of limited, balanced, government. There is also a very compelling discussion of the problems with a political party based system. I would venture to guess that DeMille and I might be at opposite ends of the Liberal to Conservative spectrum, demonstrating that political affiliation is irrelevant in drawing wisdom from this inspirational text, and in fact can obfuscate the heart of important matters in governing a truly free society.

Another concept that was very compelling to me, was his discussion of lawyers. It is always interesting to me to hear what other peoples’ perceptions are of the profession from the outside, and in this case, I tend to think he was dead on.

For example, most current American lawyers define the term “constitutional law” as a study of the historically important Supreme Court cases and development of the U.S. judiciary, but a more accurate meaning of the same phrase is a study of how constitutions are written.

This concept is often lost to current legal thinkers…”They speak as if they were bound.” The contemporary legal systems to which they are bound seem to leave an ever-shrinking area to individual freedom.

Not once during law school do I recall ever thinking, I cannot wait to get out of here and CHANGE the laws or how they work. Granted, MUCH Socratic discussion was given to why certain laws seemed poorly written or ineffective, but the manner of the day in each discussion was how to use the current system to argue that the law does not apply, or to use it to your client’s advantage, whether that be an individual, a business, governmental branch, etc.

There is no call to action to revitalize the legal system itself, in my opinion, in the current law school classrooms. There is also an important discussion of the problem with having too many laws, laws that are too complicated (hello tax code!), laws and sentencing rules that are applied unfairly, and laws that are not well known. You will find yourself nodding all the while.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the concept of a vicinage jury. You’ll have to read this for yourself and let me know what you think! I thought it was fascinating. I think most people will agree that there is much room for progress in our current criminal law system– or within our litigious society in general, for that matter. Ideas abound.

Relatedly, he engages in a brief discussion of political scientists, saying that they, “often appear to be inclined to think of politics as a sort of technique, comparable, say, to engineering…The engineering idea of political science has, in fact, little, if anything, in common with the cause of individual freedom.”

I cannot lie, my senior seminar paper in Political Science, In Defense of: In Defense of a Political Court, based upon the book written by one of my mentors, was VERY science-y. In fact, all majors were required to take an Applied Quantitative Methods course where we learn how to apply statistical analysis to political facts. My paper focused on the statistical significance of drug laws on drug related outcomes (emergency room visits, etc.). However, to my professor’s great credit, the purpose of the seminar, was to read, discuss, and analyze the writings of many of the foremost scholars in the field on the topic of judicial review. These included Ely, Black, Segal & Spaeth, Bork, and many many others that I am embarrassed to admit I just can’t remember nearly 10 years later. In retrospect, I also was amazingly blessed to have a very inspiring and thought provoking Political Philosophy professor, who assigned as required reading many of the sources referred to in the text.

So what is the point of this borderline narcissistic discussion of my back story as it relates to this book? It is that this book is critical, in my opinion, for awakening the slumbering beast that is an apathetic citizenry in this country.

Complacency is not new. In fact, as a senior in high school, one of our assignments was to write to a local congress person on an issue that we thought was important. I wrote about my concern that none of my contemporaries CARED. Perhaps many will recall the scene in Network, where the protagonist puts his head out the window and shouts: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

A Thomas Jefferson Education was inspiring to me because I want to give my children an education such that they are intimately familiar with great works and big ideas, AND I want them to be leaders. I want them to be informed. I want acting honestly, and with integrity to be second nature, and I want them to be able to make decisions in difficult times. I want them to make our country a better place, and they cannot do it unless they are exposed to authentic sources, the least of which include writings by our founders.

This book comes into play because it is up to us as parents and adults to lead the charge. If we are so preoccupied with the American Idol finale– gosh what a fitting title that show has– then who will be available to discuss the Declaration of Independence with our children? Who will be around to teach them why we feel Supreme Court decisions were unfair or unjust, and what to do now? Those are very singular and focused examples of what may get our family going, but the opportunities for learning and teaching about freedom abound, as this book specifically elucidates. (Some might say that is what grandparents and the older generations are for, but if our generation is not investing in learning about those things now, who will have that wisdom to share when we become grandparents?)

The book closes with DeMille’s list of 196 principles which he has drawn from the various sources he discussed. They are thought provoking and exhaustive. Further, each individual section ends with a list of study questions and recommended reading, true to DeMille-ian form.

My brain was literally bursting when I finished the book, to the point that I had to take nearly a week to digest all of the big ideas. This book will re-awaken a sense of importance and mission and purpose in you if you are willing to let it in. You may not agree with everything DeMille has to say, but that is not necessary, nor even suggested.

Finally, I would like to close with a quote that really spoke to me, and I believe perhaps best captures what DeMille was going for here:

A free people must be generally courageous. A free people must be generally resilient. A free people must exhibit the general habit of initiative. A free people must be generally virtuous. A free people must be generally and voluntarily self sacrificing for freedom.

Even as it is written, I feel as though this review doesn’t nearly touch upon all of the points I would like to cover or thoughts that it made me think, but as they say, these continual well of wisdom is the mark of a true classic. This book should be on your Holiday wishlist, you will not regret it. This is a book that you will definitely want to buy a physical copy of so that you can highlight and annotate to your heart’s content. Click here for ordering information. Please share your thoughts with me after you get a chance to read it as well. Cheers!

Filed under: A Thomas Jefferson Education, Book Review, Classics, Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Freedom, Judicial Review, Law, Natural Law, TJED, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Staples.com: *HOT* School Supply Deals (Crayola Colored Pencils 97¢, Crayola Markers $1.01 + More)

calawmama:

GREAT School Supply Deal!

Originally posted on Hip2Save:

Wow! Here are even more *HOT* school supply deals that you can snag without leaving your home – love that! :) In addition to the 17¢ 1-Subject notebooks that you can score at Staples.com, check out these items you may want to add to your shopping cart…

NOTE: All prices below are valid with an order of $25 or more so mix and match items to get to that total. Most items are limited to 6-12 per customer.

* Crayola Colored Pencils 12 ct $0.97
* Crayola Classic Markers (Broad Line) 10 ct $1.01
* Staples® #2 Yellow Pencils 12 pack $0.89
* BIC Cristal Ballpoint Pens 10 Pack $1
* Staples® Dual Dome Pencil Sharpener $0.59
* Staples® College Ruled Filler Paper 120 sheets $0.71
* Crayola Crayons 24/Box $0.50
* Staples® Pink Wedge Erasers 3/Pack $0.69
* Staples® 1 Subject Notebook Wide Ruled $0.17
* Staples®…

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