~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ scutoid cake, pancakes, and warm butter tortillas

~3-23 to 4-23~

for spring break we had no big plans other than reconnecting a bit with each other.

spring break breakdown:


q went to work with me; listening to lemony snicket audio again; also a sparkle stories installment of the “how to be super” series he hasn’t listened to yet entitled “the dragon within.” i love that he is 12 and still wants to catch up on new installments to stories. he has been a sparkler since he was four! we also went to the bank and i walked him through depositing checks into his savings account including filling out the deposit slip and writing his cursive signature. the lesson also covered speaking to the teller: “i’d like to make a deposit” etc. he is fun. he’s been depositing my checks at the atm as long as he’s been listening to sparkle stories, but when he goes to italy, he may need to make some in-person transactions to exchange money (or maybe it’s all machines, but he’ll be fine with that). it seemed like something everyone should know how to do even if you rarely do it anymore. he gets “scottie saver bucks” when he shows up to do his banking in person, so he can save them for prizes. with him it’s a matter of whether he’ll ever spend any of them. or his real dollars for that matter!

p.s. i love the ability to fact-check myself on my blog. indeed, q has been sparkling since age four.



we baked gooey yummy scutoid cake! we watched the hobbit; he stayed home alone for part of the morning while i went to work. i came home to him reading his calculus book. we did logic puzzles and anagrams all week, some inspired by navigating early (coxswain seat and its pesky silent w!).


he helped me take care of koala and wombat for camp boss, and ruby dog! we started a new favorite habit of playing scrabble dice at dinner. the scrabble dice are now a permanent fixture on the table.


he watched the desolation of smaug, snuggled ruby, drew on graph paper. he had picnics in the bathtub throughout the week.


a math meltdown turned into a hammock therapy session. i am working on instilling the concept of self care. sometimes you need to take a break from homework and visit the trees…

…and peek at the owl pellets! it’s no surprise to me that we have been hosting quinn’s spirit animal in our back yard forest.


pancakes and warm butter tortillas

every time our pancakes visit, there are always striking visible signs of how much all three kids have grown. this time quinn looks like he towers over them. he has clearly grown the most in the past year. it is just so good to watch the 3 of them fall into their play like nothing has happened and no time has passed. the longer they’re together, the more and more comfortable they get, and the more they’ll go in serious pretend play directions.

one thing i was noticing about the girls (a similarity they have with quinn) is they know what they want. they got to our house friday at 4, just when quinn and i were pulling into the driveway. sometime that evening, b asked if i would make pancakes for breakfast the next morning. i said i couldn’t because i had to go to work so early, but that i planned to make them sunday, and she was fine with that. saturday night she was getting ready for bed and looked sideways at me, “mary beth, pancakes tomorrow?” oh yes. then they both helped me make the pancakes. “do you have some chocolate chips for the pancakes?” and i did. and z said she would like hers with blueberries, so we did both. and grandpa had his with chocolate chips and blueberries. they did lots of art as usual, but at one point z asked, “do you have colored pencils?” because she was wanting them instead of markers. b had a little cold when they arrived, and was a lot better after a few days at our house but her appetite was a little low the first day or two. i made pizza friday night that everyone else ate but she wasn’t feeling it. she thought maybe a quesadilla sounded good, but she likes the cheese that is yellow and white, and i only had pepper jack and yellow cheddar. so she settled on “warm buttered tortilla” at which point i said sure! and walked into where her dad was in the living room, “so, fill me in on the preparation of a warm buttered tortilla?” and he laughed. in case you are curious about the recipe, it is:


warm buttered tortilla

spread butter on a tortilla.

microwave for 10 seconds.

by the end of the weekend she had eaten about a whole package of tortillas and she was independently cooking her own warm buttered tortillas.


the girls still have the tendency to be able to get a little wild, but they are so mellow compared to when they were younger. it is really easy for me now to steer them into something indoors-appropriate, which is good because we had rain all weekend. a little novelty goes a long way. i put out graph paper instead of plain, because it was what i found first, and they loved it and dove into making cool pictures on graph paper. later on they had a paper airplane contest going between the 3 of them, and it was very controlled and awesome (they tossed them towards the stairway so nobody would be “impaled” by an airplane, as quinn put it. the girls got SO into the scrabble dice we had on the table that i pulled out a couple of other sets of them i have collected from the thrift store so each one of them could have enough to really spell some things. they played a little bit of minecraft together, but mostly they were very off-screen, playing hide and seek in the house and playing with the game qbitz. when we went to watch their dad’s alumni basketball games, i brought uno and a deck of cards and they played war. at one point they were playing a four-way version with another little girl they had absorbed into their midst.

for rich’s birthday the kids helped me make brownies. they kept it a top secret birthday dessert and would go to the kitchen doorway and announce, “no one is allowed to come in here!”

then they got into playing a pretend dog school game (there was training and giving the dogs treats and taking them on walks involved…) i can see why they adore quinn who is a giant 12 year old but will still crawl around on the floor and play doggy school with them.

more hide and seek. the funniest moments. one time grandpa helped z hide and the others took a half hour to find her. she would wait until she could hear they were in the other room looking and would say the funniest things from her hiding spot and grandpa and i were in stitches. then she had a great hiding spot once while b was counting but before the counting finished, z got tempted by the bubble wrap beside her hiding spot and we kept hearing *pop* giggle… *popoppopop* teehehehe! and of course b found her right away. z’s kryptonite is bubble wrap.

quinn read them the first dog and some of nim’s island at bedtime.

a few times during the visit, quinn went to the other extreme from the little kid pretend play and entered the nerd zone and it was kind of cute. the girls just accept his nerdiness and don’t really seem phased by it at all. he would take a break, “i’m going to go read calculus.” the other book he is reading is about the periodic table called elements. he’d come back from reading some of that, having memorized choice lines about alkali metals or how bananas are radioactive.

academics, culture, and miscellaneous learning

i had a conversation with quinn about the oxford comma when he brought it up, borrowing a tip i learned from a fellow poppy mom. To quote her, because someone else needs this:

“Zombies, or dinosaurs. Whenever you have to describe an abstract concept, pull out zombies or dinosaurs.

“You were so hungry, you were a dinosaur at dinner.” That is super easy for kids to see, feel, and understand and it then makes a REALLY good jumping off point for figurative language. 

Also good for Oxford comma, etc. 

“Go get your brothers, the zombie, and the dinosaur, for dinner.” (There are children, a zombie and a dinosaur.)

“Go get your brothers, the zombie and the dinosaur for dinner” (There are two coming to dinner, the zombie and the dinosaur.)

Passive voice: I am being eaten by zombies. 

If you can add “by zombies”, it’s (almost always) passive voice. 

Zombies or dinosaurs man, I’m telling you.”

quinn will sit down at the table and then look over at me in the kitchen and say “can i have a fork?” and i think it’s ridiculous he doesn’t notice there’s no fork before he sits down, or just get back up and get one himself. so i give him a hard time for it. i said, “you’re a dork without a fork,” and got him one. and he said, “yes, i’m a forkless dork.”

quinn and i went to the high school play. i have so much love for today’s youth and their natural skepticism for disney’s princess-marries-prince storyline. saturday night the three of us went to othello. quinn has such a grip on shakespearean language, it just doesn’t seem to phase him. goldberry was in the play and rich had several friends in it so we went back to the green room afterwards to say hi to the cast. q had a headache during the first act, so he leaned on me and took a nap and it went away! he was totally fine the rest of the night, and he didn’t even lose track of the plot… he is quull. he just needs to remember to hydrate.

it was a weekend of theatre and half-baked easter celebration. i did plan ahead enough to order him a dino-themed magic card deck. the artists who paint the cards are rad, the dinos have feathers and are colorful – they do their research. quinn also approved heartily. he made me play a game with him sunday night, which completely boggled my mind. but i also did not provide the boy with a sibling, so this is what i have to do. When i say half-baked i’m mostly referring to how i filled his plastic eggs with costco snacks we already had on hand, but quinn and i also dyed easter eggs.

catching up on homework each time he comes home is an ongoing theme, but he is doing a bit better. he had an F in travel hacking last term, as he wasn’t turning in anything. it’s all google-classroom based, and i didn’t know that last term but now i do, and now he is getting caught up. he is also feeling a lot more positive about travel again, and saturday while i was at market he was back on duolingo for the first time in a while. he has goal of “being able to talk with the locals” when he is on his italy trip. the teacher for that class is the one who leads the italy trip, so i’m glad he is turning it around. his teacher is very understanding, “most of them are 8th graders, i’m used to 8th graders.” and i know this because i sell him organic veggies.


he is pushing 5’4″. he is “wah don’t make me do homework” and “please pretty please can i read calculus and learn italian before bedtime?” all rolled into one. he had his first marching band rehearsal and he came home and had several dinners. (he is now having multiple breakfasts, too. oy!)

2 comments to ~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ scutoid cake, pancakes, and warm butter tortillas

  • Holly

    Why, what pretty painted eggs (I want some of those too!). Miss you, friend. I thought we’d be out to the coast this summer. Alas, it has not yet happened. School starts August 15th!! Our life will be forever changed, and busy.

  • camp boss

    Thanks again for having the koala and wombat during spring break, it is more fun to remember then it was to do!!! They are all growing up so fast!!!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>