Remembering…. and learning

September 11th.


It has been twelve years since the towers came crashing down, since so very many lives were lost.  In that day, in those moments we were all changed.  As the years have gone by, though, many have begun to say that we’ve heard enough, that it is time to move on.  Yet, this morning I find myself compelled and driven to bring 9/11 to my children, to lay it and all its heartache and all its lessons in their laps.  Oh, they’ve heard the phrases “twin towers” and “9/11”, and we have certainly explained the day to them in the past.  But, even they, find themselves, this year, not knowing or not remembering what happened.  It breaks my heart.  It also gives me pause.

The most significant event of our recent history should never be forgotten, should never be brushed aside, should never be treated like a reminder to do our chores, bringing barely tolerant sighs – even from the adults.

Why the drive to teach them again this year?  Maybe it is because, when I look down my street, not a single flag is flying.  Maybe it is because most of those houses don’t even own a flag.  Maybe it is because when we forget the lessons we should have learned then we run the very real and great risk of having to learn that lesson again.  Maybe it is because, as a nation, we have made ourselves vulnerable and weak in recent years.  And, particularly, in recent days.  Maybe it is because our nations’ children should not have to relive and repeat tragedies because we got tired of hearing “the same ol’, same ol'”.  Our laziness and foolishness will lead to their harm.  Maybe it is because we really do learn from lessons past down generation to generation and this younger generation is being fed a washed off, cleaned up, distorted can of worms.

When this nation is vulnerable, my children are vulnerable.  They deserve to know why.  They have the RIGHT to know why.

So, we will spend some time today.  We will watch the memorials.  Yes, they will see the images.  They will hear the heartbreak that still lingers in the voices of those who lost so much more significantly than we did that day.  We will talk politics.  And religion.  We will talk of love and hate.  We will discuss and debate and reflect and soul search.  We will talk about lessons to learn from really bad things in life.  Perhaps a little innocence will be lost.  That I do regret.  But as I prepare to gather them in I cannot negotiate that consequence away.  It is necessary.  And I love them.  And they will be aware, and they will have informed and educated opinions of their own, and they will know truth and be able to separate it from the rest.

Because they are young and vulnerable.

Because we have the responsibility to protect and teach them.

Because I love them.


Mexicali Stew and Blueberry Pancake Kind of Week

Tocci Cafe

The Tocci Cafe is open, and oh, so delicious!  That’s what my little monkeys dubbed our kitchen some time ago and boy, are they knockin’ it outta the park. I can’t wait to see what they are going to try next.

This Week:

Mexicali Chicken-Tortilla Stew

Homemade Corn Bread (gf)

Blueberry Pancakes (gf)

Burgers and BLT Salad

Ham Cannon Balls

Green Beans with Lemon-Herb Butter

The Mexicali Stew was sensational and our oldest did a fine job of preparing it and the corn bread in time for a very busy evening.  I should have a lovely, tantalizing photo for you.  But, no.  I spent the last two days feasting on the leftovers for lunch.  Yum!  I’ll do better, I promise!

The original stew recipe is from Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking, click the link to find it on Amazon.  We did a little tweaking, cuz that’s what we do, and used what we had.  While we love black beans, we happened to be out and used kidney instead – still delish!  This was definitely one to keep and use again later.

Tocci Café version:

2lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast 48 oz. chicken broth 1Tbsp. olive oil
½ – ¾  c. chopped onion 2 tsp. minced garlic 2 c. chunky salsa
1 c. frozen corn 1 Tbsp chili powder 4-6 soft corn tortillas, cut into 1 in. pieces
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced 1 can (15oz.) black beans, rinsed, drained 1 can (15oz.) kidney beans, rinsed, drained

In medium pan, boil chicken and broth.  Reduce to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes until chicken is done.  While this is cooking, heat oil in large pot and cook onion and garlic until tender.  When chicken is fully cooked, remove from broth and set aside.  Add broth to garlic and onions along with the rest of your ingredients.  Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Shred chicken and add to stew.  Cook another 5 minutes until heated through.  Top as you like with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro.



The School Bell Rings…

I suppose in our home it’s not so much a school bell that rings, though I know I just saw one here somewhere and it might actually come in handy.  It’s more along the lines of “All right everyone, let’s go!”, belted out by me.  This, in turn, is met with endless combinations of the following; thundering herd coming down the stairs to grab their books, total oblivion and continued play, sudden scampering and silence in hopes that mom will get distracted and forget to call us again, shouts of ‘Hooray!’ and much rejoicing.  Ok, so maybe not as much with the last one.  But, with 4 kiddos in the house you can bet that red pen of yours that we get most of these throughout the course of the day!

Come join us at Cornerstone Academy for the adventure, discovery, challenges, joys and satisfaction that all define homeschooling!

A Beginning…

Well, here we go!  A little place to call home.  A place to share our adventures (and misadventures) in homeschooling, going gluten-free, and cooking with children.  This is also where my hobbies and social/political views, opinions, and words of advice will land.  Many thanks to the amazing Caitlyn for the above photo!  You can find her endless creativity on display over at found, funky and fabulous.  Now, Welcome!  Kick your shoes off, grab a cup of coffee, a chai or a lovely glass of wine and take a load off.  And if you happen to be picking up a tall, chai tea latte from Starbucks, grab one for me, too!