One of the many things that I am enjoying about homeschooling is having time with my girls in the afternoons and evenings to read aloud.
Yesterday we started reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Little House books are ideal read-aloud books. I have always loved how so much of this book describes the small details of their lives. Tonight we read a passage of the book which describes cooking a meal on the prairie.
"While it heated she (Ma) mixed cornmeal and salt with water and patted it into little cakes. She greased the pan with pork rind, laid the cornmeal cakes in it, and put on its iron cover. Then Pa raked more coals over the cover, while Ma sliced fat salt pork. She fried the slices in the iron spider. The spider had short legs to stand on in the coals, and that is why it was called a spider. If it had had no legs, it would have been only a frying pan."
There is nothing flowery or lush about this description, yet the girls and I were mesmerized. We could see it all, the orange coals, the dark night, the frying pork on the coals. The book is filled with these descriptions of everything. How the covered wagon worked, how laundry was done- there is even a complete description of how Pa built their house. There are no cheap tricks, no literary devices, just the story of one family making their way across a piece of America which was still wild and full of danger and promise.
I wonder what Rebecca and Lily would write about our life.
"Today Mom needed groceries. She pushed a button on her key fob. The button made the door to the minivan open. We climbed into the minivan and pushed buttons to close the doors. Then we put on headsets. Headsets are headbands with speakers so that we can hear the movie playing in the car. After watching the movie for five minutes we were at the grocery store. Mom got a cart with a cup holder. The cup holder is for her coffee cup. She only goes to grocery stores with Dunkin Donuts in them because that is the kind of coffee she likes. She only drinks decaf because otherwise she doesn't sleep well. At the grocery store she looks over the produce and makes her choices. She buys one bunch of yellow bananas to eat right away and some green ones for later in the week."
"Today Mom went to a junk store. She likes to go to stores that sell things that other people don't want anymore. Sometimes the stores are dirty and some of the customers talk to themselves. Mom always finds things we don't need. She buys them anyway. After we leave the store she makes sure that we wipe our hands with Purell. This is to kill the germs from the dirty store. When she gets home she sets up the used items that she bought and takes pictures of them. Then she puts the pictures on her website so that other people can look at her used items too. Then she eats chocolate. She does not share her chocolate. She feeds us apple slices."
"Today Mom spent sixteen hours changing her blog header. First she downloaded GIMP. She worked with it for two hours. She swore many times. Then she downloaded IZoom. She worked with that program for one hour. She swore many times. Then she downloaded Imagewell. She liked it and worked on her header for hours and hours. She only swore a few times. Then she finished it and showed it to us. Then she ate chocolate. She fed us apple slices."
If you've made it this far you deserve a reward- go have some apple slices. I'll be over here with my chocolate...