Hmph

 Just another example of the Press doing the kind of thing that makes normal people distrust the Press. We know they are not on the side of truth. They have a narrative to sell.

“I’m offended” really means, “The mob is coming, and you are the next victim.”

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Oral tales

Charlotte Mason suggested that parents pull together a little repertoire of half a dozen oral stories to tell children- oral story telling builds their language skills, their listening skills, and their ability to imagine scenes based only on words.

“Every father and mother should have a repertoire of stories––a dozen will do, beautiful stories beautifully told; children cannot stand variations. “You left out the rustle of the lady’s gown, mother!” expresses reasonable irritation; the child cannot endure a suggestion that the story he lives in is no more than the “baseless fabric of a vision.” Away with books, and “reading to”––for the first five or six years of life. The endless succession of story-books, scenes, shifting like a panorama before the child’s vision, is a mental and moral dissipation; he gets nothing to grow upon, or is allowed no leisure to digest what he gets. It is contrary to nature, too. “Tell us about the little boy who saved Haarlem!” How often do the children who know it ask for that most hero-making of all tales! And here is another advantage of the story told over the story read. Lightly come, lightly go, is the rule for the latter. But if you have to make a study of your story, if you mean to appropriate it as bread of life for your children, why, you select with the caution of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. Again, in the story read, the parent is no more than the middleman; but the story told is food as directly and deliberately given as milk from the mother’s breast. Wise parents, whose children sit with big eyes pondering the oft-told tale, could tell us about this. But it must be borne in mind that the story told is as milk to the child at the breast. By-and-by comes the time when children must read, must learn, and digest for themselves.”

Pick about half a dozen of the different types, or start with just two or three. Read a few versions of the story and come up with a retelling of your own. Make sure it’s one you won’t mind telling again and again and again, because you will be asked for it a hundred times or more. 🙂

Charlotte Mason recommends including these considerations in your tales:

“Here are some of the points which make a story worth studying to tell to the nestling listeners in many a sweet “Children’s Hour”;––graceful and artistic details; moral impulse of a high order, conveyed with a strong and delicate touch; sweet human affection; a tender, fanciful link between the children and the Nature-world; humour, pathos, righteous satire, and last, but not least, the fact that the story does not turn on children, and does not foster that self-consciousness, the dawn of which in the child is, perhaps, the individual “Fall of Man.” But children will not take in all this? No; but let it be a canon that no story, nor part of a story, is ever to be explained. You have sown the seed; leave it to germinate.”

Consider that stories with a bit of mystery, where every single word, event, and turn of phrase is not immediately clear are the stories children are more likely to think about, ponder, retell to themselves.  This is why we prefer stories that seem slightly over their heads.  It is in that quiet thinking they do on their own time and in their own way that they make the story their own and the ideas germinate and grow.  Do not too hastily reject a tale because ‘they will never understand that.’

The types of stories I think are good to consider:

Bible stories
Folk tales/fables
Stories of your childhood or your parents’ childhood– not ordinary stories, but stories of hardships endured, or stories where the grandparents or great-grandparents have done something brave and good, or learned hard lessons.
Hero tales from history– do not be too persnickety about whether these are ‘true’ or not. One reason is that many so-called debunked stories actually haven’t been debunked. For instance, there is not sound historical evidence to reject the George Washington and cherry tree tale as false.  Another reason is that tales that have grown up around historical figures and been passed down are true in another way- they give us a sense of

Here are some of my suggestions for those oral tales:

Bible Stories: David and Goliath, Noah’s ark, Joseph and the coat of many colours, Jesus’ birth, some of the parables, some of Jesus’ miracles (healing the 10 lepers, the boy with loaves and fishes, raising Jairus’ daughter).  Creation. The temptation of Eve and the Fall. Cain and Abel. Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Jonah and the whale,

Folk tales: Little Red Hen and Grain of Wheat, Teeny Tiny Woman, Red Riding Hood, 3 little pigs, any of Aesop’s fables, Gingerbread Man, The Turnip (a Russian folk tale), the fisherman and his wife
Hero tales: The boy with his finger in the dyke, http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/68/fairy-tales-and-other-traditional-stories/5093/the-little-hero-of-haarlem/
Kete Shelley and the train (http://www.americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/kate_shelley_saves_the_train.html)
The Burghers of Calais- Many years ago, King Edward III of England took the town of Calais from the French king. He could not take it by force, for the walls were very strong, but he succeeded by another plan. He placed his soldiers all round the walls, and would let no one go into the town to take food to the people. Inside the walls, the people waited bravely, but at last all their food was eaten, and then they knew that if they tried to hold the town any longer they would starve.

So the governor sent word to King Edward that he would give up the city, and begged him to have mercy on the people.

But Edward was angry. “Tell your masters,” said he to the messenger, “that I will not spare the people unless six of the chief men come out to me, with their feet bare, and ropes around their necks.”

At this sad news, the poor starving people cried aloud. But soon six brave men were found who were ready to die for their countrymen, and, with their feet bare and ropes around their necks, they went out to the place where King Edward was waiting, with Queen Philippa and the English nobles.

“Great king!” said the men, “we bring you the keys of our town, and we pray you to have mercy on us.”

But the king would not listen. “Take them away and cut off their heads,” he cried angrily. And when his nobles begged him to spare such brave enemies he would not listen to them.Then Queen Philippa, whose heart was filled with pity for the poor men, fell upon her knees.

“My lord,” she cried, “if you love me, give me the lives of these men.”

King Edward could not bear to see his beautiful queen in tears upon the ground, so he raised her, saying: “Lady, I wish you had not been here, for I cannot say you nay. Take the men, they are yours.”

Then Queen Philippa joyfully led the brave men away, and gave them food and clothes, and sent them back to their friends. So they, and all the people of Calais, were saved.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22080/22080-h/22080-h.htm
Richard the Lionhearted and Blondel: http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=baldwin&book=thirty&story=richard

George Washington and the cherry tree
Abraham Lincoln and the borrowed book
Dolly Madison saving the painting of George Washington

The story of Kapiolani, Hawiian convert to Christianity who defied taboos to show her people God had true power rather than the goddess Pele – http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/hlov/hlov25.htm

Of course, if you are not an American and you don’t live in America, you should pick the hero tales and folk tales of your own culture.

 

Don’t spend too much time trying to decide which story to tell first.  Pick one- if you need to make yourself choose by writing out the titles and putting them in a hat, then do that.

Don’t memorize it.  Just read it and review it enough times that you can retell it clearly.  Learn that story well enough to retell it, and then tell your story some evening at bedtime, or while you are peeling potatoes and the children are nearby, or you are weeding the garden together, or in the morning when they want you to get up and out of bed and you are not yet ready.

 

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Random lunch

Diced fried fish (Banggus or milkfish), diced fried sweet potatoes, slices of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.  Regarding cherry tomatoes: I can find these at one grocery store and their cost is silly expensive but NO tomatoes here have flavour and I was craving tomatoes with flavour.

Sliced red oinions, and I think that was okra over to the side, with diced fresh mango at the bottom.  The flavours actually all worked well together, like a giant mango chutney with fish.

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Toaster Oven Mini-Cakes

Original ingredients and directions:

TOASTER OVEN SNACK CAKE
1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.

On a sheet of wax or parchment paper, sift together flour, salt and baking powder (or whisk together in a bowl).

In a glass bowl or measuring cup, microwave milk until it begins to steam – about 1 minute (do not boil!). Add butter, stirring until melted. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk, beat eggs well, gradually adding sugar. Stir in a few tablespoons of the warm milk; then slowly combine all of the milk with the egg and butter mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in flour mixture, then vanilla or lemon extract (if using lemon extract, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest may also be added for extra flavor).

Pour batter into a small aluminum foil “snack sized” pan which has been buttered (or sprayed with non-stick spray) and lightly dusted with flour. May also be prepared in mini-cupcake pans.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done (a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Mini muffins will bake in about half the time.

——————————

What I do at my little house in my little toaster oven with my little bitty pans:
Forget all the heating this, mixing this slowly and alternating that- put all ingredients in the blender and whirl. Pour into oiled and floured pans. Bake.

Variations: Add about half a cup, or maybe a third, of orange marmalade or other jam of your choosing. Currently, I’m using a Korean Citron tea mix which has to be stored in the fridge and tastes pretty much just like orange marmalade with less peel.

Or: Add some cinnamon and nutmeg- chopped walnuts if you have them. This is a tasty spice cake.

OR: Put some slices of pine-apple in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle with brown or raw sugar and bake these for a few minutes, until they look golden brown and sticky. Pour plain cake batter, or cake batter to which you’ve added some pineapple or calamansi juice, and bake as usual. Turn out upside down.

My toaster oven doesn’t have the luxury of temperature settings. I have some small pans, very small pans, and with three of them in oven, they are done in about 15 minutes. Depending on how moist they are, they sometimes need an extra ten minutes or so. I cover the tops with foil at that point or the tops burn.

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Plastic straws are a phony issue for phony people

There is a lot of trash and litter here in the Philippines. It is everywhere. Sometimes the stench is awful.
Plastic trash is ubiquitous.
Many products are sold in tiny, single use cellophane packages and bags- salt, soy sauce, chili powder, baking powder, pepper… all kinds of things are single use items in plastic or foil pouches.
Large containers, especially of glass or metal, or even hard plastic, are luxury items.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4970214/95-plastic-oceans-comes-just-TEN-rivers.html

Good infrastructure and waste management systems are also luxuries when you are so deep in poverty you are hungry every day and children in your country are sleeping on the streets.
America’s plastic straws are not the problem. Most of the expensive replacements also use a *lot* of resources.
You want to help in a meaningful way?
Do something for people in poverty in Thailand, India, Viet Nam, Africa, the Philippines. Contribute to school scholarships, food programs, microloan places like Kiva. Spend the funds for your steel straw and hundred dollar shoes from sustainable products to help people who do not know when their next meal will be. Buy the more environmentally friendly 2nd hand shoes. Lift others out of poverty so they, too have the luxury of waste management instead living on garbage dumps and digging through trash for scraps.
It won’t display your environmental virtue like a stainless steel straw. It will only help your fellow humans as well as the environment, and for a much longer time.

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