Monthly Archives: August 2010

Homeschoolers tied to computers?

Yesterday I saw an article in this online newsletter, entitled The Best Form of Birth Control regarding the tuition crisis in the Orthodox community.  Below was the response I sent to the author in response to this statement:  “Home schoolers abound, but the kids spend their learning hours in front of a computer, without healthy peer-to-peer interactions.”

>>I read your recent online newsletter, forwarded to me by a friend.  As a long term home educating parent of nine children, she felt I would find your discussion about the challenges day school parents are facing today, as well as your token comment regarding homeschooling, of interest.

I share your belief that the best birth control the Jewish community has is tuition.  We have an unsustainable system that is causing tremendous financial pressure on parents throughout the country.  It is painful for me to read articles like yours, as well as to hear a similar message in personal discussions on a regular basis because I recognize how much anguish is represented.

Despite my belief that the current educational system is in serious trouble, I have faith in the ability of individuals to look for solutions.  Will we have to adapt, and to think differently about education?  Absolutely. There are options that parents are either not willing to consider, or are, like yourself, hardly considering before discarding them without thought.

I’m referring to your almost flippant dismissal of homeschooling as an alternative that could bring significant financial relief to parents, without religious or academic compromise.  Not only without compromise, but with benefits of individualized learning, increased social and extracurricular opportunities, along with the enhanced self-image and self-esteem that accompanies those who develop without constant comparison to peers on a daily basis for years.  A not insignificant benefit is the enhanced family bonding that takes place when siblings and parents spend significant amounts of time together in a healthy and supportive environment.

When I read your comment about homeschooling, I couldn’t help but wonder how you’ve drawn the conclusion that homeschoolers are socially deprived and glued to the computer for hours a day.  How many homeschooling families do you know personally who match this description?  Many parents share my feelings that computers are a tool that need to be used with caution, lest the time be spent displacing activities of much more value and importance; we limit our high school age children to an hour a day, and our younger children hardly use the computer at all.  After homeschooling over a decade, I’ve met numerous families (in person and online) who homeschool, but hardly know any who match your description.

I’m on the other side of the country, but if you were closer, I’d without hesitation invite you to come to our monthly homeschool gatherings to see what homeschooled kids actually look like.  Many parents who are interested in homeschooling initially fear that by choosing to homeschooling, their children will be socially weird; it’s actually meeting homeschooled kids and seeing that overall they are more mature and confident than their schooled peers that is the encouragement parents need to begin homeschooling.

If you’re truly looking for an option that isn’t dependent on a wealthy individual to magnanimously throw a lifeline to the struggling schools in time for your family to benefit, I’d suggest you consider looking into homeschooling.  There are as many ways to homeschool as there are families, and every family has the ability to make the experience what they want it to be based on their vision.  Even for those who don’t make the decision to home educate, thinking outside the box may help you come up with some other viable options.

Best wishes to you and your family in finding a solution that helps you meet your goals and brings you serenity and joy.<<

The article that I linked and responded to brought up the challenges to families of high tuition costs, something I’ve repeatedly seen clearly identified as communally a problematic expectation in forum after forum.  Despite being confronted with this reality, one common response seems to be to talk about pulling in more funds from somewhere without making any other substantial changes.   I believe that charity dollars are limited but in any case, if a system is fundamentally broken, then bringing in more money to keep it afloat a little longer isn’t tenable long term.

From my vantage point, it seems that homeschooling is slowly becoming more accepted in the Jewish world, and it is one option that can offer tremendous hope to families and communities, if people are willing to look at it with an open mind and find out what it really is – and isn’t – about.

Avivah

How I do menu planning

The way I shop is different than the way most people do (ie buying almost everything once a month with just a couple of trips mid month to buy produce), and not surprisingly, the way I menu plan is different as well.  It’s a pretty simple process that works well for me in making meals with a good amount of variety while staying within a fairly strict budget.

The main difference in my approach to what is typically recommended is, most people make a menu plan and then go shopping for the ingredients. I go shopping, make sure I have basic staples on hand and supplement with whatever is a good price, and then I make a menu plan based on all of that.

Here’s what I do:

Step 1 – Make list of available ingredients.

When I’m ready to write up the weekly menu plan, I first take a look to see what is in the fridge. Are there any leftovers that need to be used up, vegetables that are getting soft? I look in the freezer and see what I have there – is there anything taking up space that needs to be used up?  I make a list of all of these things, and this becomes the basis of my menu plan.

This week my starter list looked like this:
fridge – hardboiled eggs, sprouted green lentils, sour milk, beet salad, carrot kugel
produce – napa, baby bok choy, jicama, apples, carrots
freezer – 1.5 lb ground meat, sweet potatoes, strawberries, peaches, bananas

I also look to see if there’s anything in the pantry that I have a large amount of – I try to keep basic supplies in stock and rotate through it regularly. This week I noticed that I have several boxes of rye noodles, so that went on the list.

Step 2 – Make list of recipes that use available ingredients.

Next I look for recipes that will use what I have on hand. I have a few recipes that I make somewhat regularly, but nothing that I make week in and week out.  Months can go by before I make the same recipe again!  As I see recipes that look interesting, I write down the name of the recipe, as well as where I found it.  If it’s an online recipe site (eg food.com is the one I usually go to), I note the recipe number, and if it’s in a cookbook, I note the page.  On recipe sites I do a search for the key ingredient that I want to use up (eg green lentils); I also ask myself, ‘what can I do with x ingredient?’  Not infrequently I’ve made up recipes that have turned out very well based on that question!

Step 3 – Fill in chart with recipes from list.

On this same paper where all the available ingredients and recipe ideas are listed, I quickly make a graph that will have room for three meals a day, Sunday through Friday.  Once I know what ingredients I have to work with and which recipes will use them, I start filling in the graph. The more perishable something on my list is, the sooner it gets scheduled. Sunday lunch or dinner almost always includes leftovers from the weekend. I don’t like to have things sitting around in my fridge, because the reality is that they’ll get forgotten and turn into interesting science experiments that get tossed at the end of the week. :)

Very often I have a basic framework for my weekly meals that I set up once a year, though I don’t always stick to it.  It will look something like this:

dinner – Sunday – leftovers (meat); Monday – vegetarian; Tues – dairy; Wed – meat; Thurs. – vegetarian

Then I match up the main dish I’ve selected with the day that it best fits for (eg, pizza would be written down for Tuesday).

I don’t usually use all the ideas that I come up with for the week. Some get transferred to the following week, some don’t. This week I had the following listed on my sheet:

  • warm lentil and potato salad
  • roasted garlic quinoa and vegetables
  • baked sweet potatoes and apples
  • curried chickpeas with vegetables
  • spicy peanut sesame noodles
  • jamaican rice and peas
  • braised lentils with sausage

If you look at my menu plan for this week that I posted yesterday, you’ll see that I didn’t use half of these ideas.  For example, there are two lentil recipes listed though I knew I didn’t need more than one, but I don’t know how the week’s recipes will go together overall until the menu is put together.  I like to have several good options to choose from and then I pick the one that works best in the context of what else we’re having that week – for example, I wouldn’t want to have potatoes every day, so I’d choose the recipes in which the ingredients were more varied.

A couple of things I also took into account this week: yesterday I was just finishing writing up the menu plan, when my mother walked in and said she had lunch for us! She had attended an event yesterday morning and the hosts asked her to take as much of the leftovers as she could (they know she’s the grandmother of a lot of local grandchildren!), so she brought us a couple dozen bagels, egg salad, and tuna salad. Because I use whatever is prepared first, that became a much enjoyed lunch an hour later.

Because of the fiasco with all of my milk souring thanks to my forgetfulness, I needed to find ‘sour milk recipes’ (in most quick breads, sour milk/buttermilk is a baking enhancer).  To use some of the milk, I scheduled muffin loaf, biscuits, and cornbread for this week.

So that’s my basic three step process – once the menu plan is done, it eliminates the ‘what should be we have for dinner’ question, as well as the need to go shopping to pick up some groceries needed for that night’s planned dinner.  Truly, I credit making a menu plan and sticking with it one of the biggest factors in keeping things in the house running smoothly.

Avivah

Weekly menu plan

I haven’t had much time to post lately, but this morning I had a solid chunk of time and wanted to write a few posts for the coming few days. But wouldn’t you know, I was having problems getting online! And naturally, the problem wasn’t resolved until all of the littles were awake and my opportunity had passed. :)

Shabbos (Sabbath) dinner – challah, chicken, roast vegetables, potato kugel, carrot kugel (w/almond flour), salad, chocolate coconut chia bars; lunch – were invited out

Sunday – breakfast – chia muffin loaf; l – bagels, egg salad, tuna salad; d – braised sprouted lentils with sausage, roast vegetables, beet salad

Monday – b – fruity chia blend, hard boiled eggs; l – spicy peanut sesame noodles (with rye noodles); d – vegetarian chili, cornbread, apple-celery salad

Tuesday – b – coconut rice; l – vegetarian chili, cornbread; d – curried chickpeas with vegetables

Wednesday – b – eggs, salsa; l – biscuits with peanut butter and jam; d – ground beef and cabbage stew

Thursday – b – carrot banana muffins; l – ground beef and cabbage stew; d – sunburgers

Friday – b – spirulina chia blend; l – CORN (Clean Out Refrigerator Night/Day)

This week I’m experimenting with two new items I bought in bulk: chia seeds (5 lb) and xylitol (55 lb). You’d think I would buy a small amount first to see how I like it, but I didn’t so it’s a good thing that so far I’m happy with both! They’re interesting additions to our diet and later in the week I’ll write more about them.

A couple of weeks ago when I did my monthly shopping, I was thrilled to find a new source of raw milk that is exclusively grass-fed; my current source wasn’t. The price was about $1.50 a gallon higher but I was glad to pay it, and I stocked up. Unfortunately, I was doing a huge organizing job in the basement during our recent heat wave, and I needed to plug in the fan; since the only plug was the one the mini fridge was using, I figured I’d unplug it for 30 – 40 minutes and then plug it back in when I was done and didn’t need the fan. Bad idea – that’s where most of the milk was being stored and I got so busy that I forgot all about it for three days. :( So now I have a lot of milk to use for baking. It will take me a while to use it up since I’ve moved away from a heavily grain based diet, and I’d have to make wheat flour (vs nut flour) quick breads every day to use it quickly! The good thing is that raw milk sours, not spoils, so it is still usable and at least it won’t go to waste. But I sure am disappointed not to be able to drink the milk as I had intended and wouldn’t have spent $45 to have sour milk!

Because I had some large bulk purchases this month (nut flours, xylitol, chia seeds, 5 gallon coconut oil) plus the boys backpacking trip supplies, I have a good amount of staples, but left myself unusually low on funds. Like maybe $12 for the second half of the month! Times like this are in some ways more fun because it forces you to be creative unless you want to feel deprived. :)

I got a lot of organic apples because they were on sale for just .33 lb, which was amazing! But they don’t holding up well in the heat (nothing does!) and I don’t have room in the fridge for them all, so today or tomorrow I’ll be slicing them up and freezing them. I don’t feel like canning or dehydrating them, and I think this will be the easiest thing right now. We gleaned peaches a couple of weeks ago from a neighbor with a fruit tree, which also had to be sliced up and frozen since they were so ripe.

It would have been best if I had dealt with the apples last week, but instead I took care of the large amount of organic carrots I bought (another nice sale, .50 lb)- in the hot weather I have to really be on top of the unrefrigerated produce so the great buys don’t end up being financial losses. Sometimes I really don’t feel like I want to spend the extra effort on doing things like this; when life is so busy you have to make a choice and doing the most frugal thing isn’t always the first thing. When dd15 saw a 40 lb case of ripe bananas for .25 (no, that’s not a typo!), she had to strongly encourage me to buy them before I would agree – I didn’t feel like making the effort to quickly use/freeze them before they’d be overripe and attracting fruit flies.

I haven’t been spending much time or energy on the garden, and like everything, you get the best results when you consistently invest yourself in something. But again, my energy isn’t unlimited, and I’m willing to accept that I have more weeds and less produce than I would if I was more attentive to the garden. So I’m not harvesting the amount of vegetables I initially anticipated. The ducks are growing fast and though they’re quite happy, I’ve hardly had time to pay attention to them – they get fed and watered daily, but aren’t played with the way the first ducks that we had were. Part of it is the hot weather – no one wants to be out in the middle of the day, and everyone has been busy going in different directions around here lately. My hope in getting the ducklings when they were a day old was for them to be used to us, and though they’re used to the kids playing on the swingset (that’s the part of the yard they prefer to stay in) while they watch from under an outdoor chair, they aren’t interested in being held by any of us.

We have another busy week ahead, but it’s a reasonably paced busy week with some nice activities planned. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer!

Avivah

Handling social challenges related to eating styles

>>From reading your blog it’s evident that you invest a great deal of time and energy into feeding your family in the most healthful way you know how.  I’m hoping you can help me naviagte a social situation to enable me to do the same.

I’m presently 8 1/2 months pregnant with our first child, and have been married about 16 months.  Eating organic is something I feel strongly about, and something my husband basically goes along with for me.  When hearing of our organic preference, a well-meaning friend excitedly reported that her family also eats organic.  After we accepted the invitation and the hostess did her cooking, she informed me that, actually, she used some mayonnaise that wasn’t organic because she didn’t want to make a special trip to Whole Foods, and the eggs in the (dish) weren’t organic because the organic ones have more blood spots, and then there was the non-organic mazta meal in the kugel, and the challot were from a bakery–not organic.  She reiterated that the chicken and vegetables were definitely organic.  I would have preferred not to have eaten there.

My husband is concerned that my dietary preferences will socially isolate us.  I’m hoping that once we live in that neighborhood and can reciprocate … by having people over, not eating by other people won’t be such a big deal.  There’s also the possibility that once in the neighborhood, I might find at least a couple families similarly committed to eating organic.

What do you think?  How do you handle Shabbat invitations from families that don’t sprout their grains, etc.?  How can we best manage Shabbat invitations that I’d rather not accept?<<

I can see how this is a challenging situation for you!

I have a few thoughts on this. The first issue is to determine how flexible you're willing to be for the sake of developing relationships.  There are things I prefer to do in my own home but don't impose on others – we'd never go anywhere if I did!  I don't have an absolutist attitude about food even in my own home – life is very full and busy and it takes more  time and energy than I have to insist on always having something a certain way.  That means I myself don't always sprout my grains, soak flour, or whatever else, so if I myself don't do it 100%, I certainly don't expect it of anyone else!

Practically speaking, because dh and I both have health protocols that we need to follow that don't allow for sugar or flour, that's where we draw the line when we go to someone else's home.  I basically stick to vegetables and simple proteins from whatever is served, and bring my own whole wheat matza.  The kids eat whatever is served, and I'm fine with that, even if it's all white flour and lots of sugar.  I prefer not to give them fluorescent popsicles and allow only a minimal amount of soda, though.

I'm comfortable with this approach because I don't think there's a big issue with periodically having non-nutritive/non-ideal food.  My thoughts are that a strong foundation is important for health, but if that framework is in place, there's room to wiggle a bit and allow for things that are less than ideal.  Even when my kids went to camp for a month, aside from giving them guidelines about how to make the best possible choices food-wise, I accepted that they would eat whatever was served.  (In fact they did choose to stay away from most white flour products and stick mostly with proteins and vegetables.)

Having said that, we all have to draw a line somewhere, and if you feel passionately that you don't want to eat anything non-organic, it leaves you three options:

1) Prepare food for yourself (not your husband) and take it with you when you're invited out.  I think this is the best option, and have done this at times in the past when I didn't want to inconvenience my host to prepare foods without sugar for me.  I recognized it was hard for someone used to cooking in a certain way to adapt for me.  My message was never: "I have to bring my own food because what you cook isn't good enough"; rather "I know my food limitations can be challenging for someone not used to it, so I'd like to save you the work and will bring my own."  The former approach would clearly rub a host the wrong way and leave them with a bad feeling, the latter doesn't.

The focus on being at someone's home isn't about the food, but the fellowship, and you can enjoy that whether you eat their food or your own.  I've had guests bring their own food and I'm glad they are honest and have a way to meet their needs while we are able to enjoy one another's company.

2) Have guests to your home – this is a great choice but realize that it starts to be challenging to only have people over and then refuse their reciprocal invitations.  It makes a relationship inequitable when one side is always in the position of giving and one of taking, and most people aren't comfortable with this long term.

3) Socially isolate yourself by not accepting invitations and not be in a position to invite others over.  Obviously this isn't a good option!

My main concerns based on what you wrote are: a) be careful that you aren't giving off vibes to people that you feel they are below you in some way because their food standards aren't up to your preferences; b) it seems your husband doesn't share the strength of your convictions, so you'll need to be careful not to polarize the situation or turn this into an issue that you argue over.

Avivah

Expressive arts camp for girls

We had a super early morning today!  Last night dh and I talked about wanting to take the family to Gettysburg today, then at ds8’s violin recital we found out about the possible camp option for dd that began just yesterday, and then we got home at 10 pm to start putting our plans in place for this morning. Whew!

I originally thought I’d take dd14 early in the morning to sign her up for camp, then head back home to pick up everyone else, and then we’d all head to Gettysburg.  But then I realized that her camp in a half hour away, on the way to Gettysburg – so it didn’t make sense to spend an extra 1.5 hours driving if we could avoid that by all being ready early enough to take dd and go directly to Gettysburg from there.  So that’s what we did.

We packed milk and instant oatmeal for the kids to have for breakfast once we got to the camp – there was boiling water available and they ate while I made arrangements with the camp director.  We talked about different options to finance camp, and though they offered to let me pay half the fee for the overnight option over time, I wasn’t comfortable going into debt for a luxury.  Instead, we decided to send dd for the day option, which cuts the cost by 50% and gives her almost every aspect of camp except for pillow fights after lights out, lol!  Dd has agreed to pay for part of the cost herself, something we’ve asked our oldest two children to do in the past – I think it shows a lot when something is important enough to a child that they’ll pay a significant amount of money towards it.  It also helps them appreciate the experience more.

There there are five other families who are doing the same thing so an evening carpool is already in place for a couple of evenings (some have a big enough vehicle to accommodate an additional person, some don’t).  The voice teacher has a large van and takes girls in with her in the morning (since she teaches first thing in the morning), so I only have to get dd to her house by 8:10 am.   So the driving is mostly taken care of – isn’t that incredible?!  The girls get there in time for breakfast and get picked up around 9:30 or 10 pm.  A very full day for her, and it will still allow us to see dd every evening and morning.

Dd came home really, really excited about the camp.  Her current experience is already different in every way from her past experience at a residential camp (the same one that dd15 loves, but they have very different feelings about it).   This program is called Tizmoret Shoshana, an expressive arts camp for Orthodox girls.  There are girls from different parts of the country who are attending, in addition to the large local contingent, but it’s not a large camp – under 40 girls total.

Dd likes drama and dance, both things that she doesn’t currently have much opportunity to develop (she can’t participate in school based activities since she’s not in school, and though there are homeschool activities that are available to the general community, they aren’t suitable for her for religious reasons), so this is a wonderful opportunity for her.  She’s chosen drama as her major, art for her minor, and there is daily dance for girls in all tracks.  I think she also said something about being in a choir. That’s in addition to a daily Torah lecture, outdoor activity, and evening speaker or activity.

Some of the things she likes about the camp, in addition to the wonderful activities: she really appreciates the flexible schedule that allows for personal freedom and decision making.  I give my kids a good amount of autonomy, and it was hard for dd in the past to be told she couldn’t do anything or go anywhere within the camp grounds without express permission (eg to visit her older sister at a bunk five minutes away during free time), or to be highly controlled by others (eg being directed during clean up time to clean up the mess of the other girls after she tidied her own things in just a few minutes – she quickly learned that responsibility was punished and laziness rewarded).  She’s highly organized and responsible, and appreciates being treated like a person capable of good decisions, and therefore dislikes micromanagement.  There isn’t an insistence on girls participating in activities regardless of interest (something that is typical of most camps – dd hated being told she had to play a certain sport when she didn’t enjoy it and would rather sit and watch), which she very much appreciated – even though she wanted to participate in all the activities!  I think this kind of atmosphere is particularly well suited to home educated children, who are used to managing their own time appropriately.  Dd commented that the girls all seem very happy to be there and highly motivated so they get a lot done.

She said the girls were very friendly, the counselors were warm, the activities were fun, and the food was great! (The camp is hosted at a retreat center, and the food is hotel quality – I was almost drooling when I saw what they had for breakfast! Not your typical camp fare at all!)

Though it’s not related to camp, I’ll share a fun side note about our day after we dropped dd at camp.  While we were at the visitor center at Gettysburg (we were there for several hours), we saw two other Orthodox families there.  And we suprisingly enough knew both of them!  One hosted us for Friday night dinner in Israel the night before my oldest was born – so it’s been 17 years since I saw them (actually, she was visiting a friend who had a baby at the same hospital/time I had my third, so I saw her for five minutes 14 years ago).  They now live in GA and were traveling through the area – they were only at the visitor center for a very short while and if we hadn’t ‘happened’ to walk in right after one another we would have missed each other completely.  (Seeing this family was a very strange experience for me since I met them as a very young couple with two young daughters; I still mentally have that picture of them.  But now the child who was then four is a mother herself and this couple have become grandparents – kind of unsettling to have people age a generation in time within a couple of minutes of meeting them again.)

The second family looked familiar but I couldn’t place them at first – turns out we met them a couple of months ago at the day long screening in NYC for the Elite Academy program!  They live in NY but were in the area because they brought one of their daughters this morning to this same camp that we are sending dd14 to – it’s amazing what a small world it is!

Discovering this camp at just the right time for dd  is to me is one more reminder that I don’t have to rely on myself to know everything and be everything for my children. There is Someone else looking after them and making sure they get what they need, sometimes in spite of their parents! (I had heard of this camp but because of the expense, never even considered considering it. :))   It’s a wonderful, warm, and supportive environment for girls who have a talent they want to develop in the expressive arts;  I’m so delighted and grateful to have discovered it at just the right time for dd!

Avivah

Violin recital for ds

Tonight my ds8 had his first recital, playing the violin!  Five of our children take music lessons, but ds8 is the only one to play violin.  (All the others play piano.)  It’s nice for him as the youngest of the first six to have something that he’s good at that no one else knows how to do.  That’s not an easy thing to do in a family with five older siblings who are so competent, and I’m delighted he’s had this opportunity.

It was really a lovely evening.  The recital was for all of the students of this teacher, and there were a number of different levels represented. They mixed up the levels, so that there would be someone more advanced followed by someone who was a total beginner, which I thought was really nice.  It made it more interesting to listen to, and everyone was appreciated for whatever level they were on.

Ds played together with two classmates four renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Each rendition was using a different rhythm, and the three of them did beautifully.  They all stayed together throughout each of the four pieces and did a really great job.

The recital took place in the evening at a retreat center about thirty minutes away, since the teacher is also teaching at an arts camp for girls that began just today at that same location.  It was a beautiful location, and seeing the camp that just began today which was located there gave dh the idea that it would be good for dd14.  (Did I mention she just had a birthday?  Well, she did. :)  And spontaneous me decided to speak to the director about the possibility of her joining the camp – gulp – first thing in the morning.

Though the director agreed it was a possibility, the price is way over our heads, so I didn’t leave on a definite note with her – just said dh and I have to talk about it together.  And at the point that I was having the conversation with the director at 9 pm, dd had no idea that dh and I were thinking about anything, and even dh didn’t know I was having the conversation.  He mentioned that he thought she’d like it, I had to go to the restroom before leaving, and between getting back to where everyone else was, I had this conversation with the director. :)  It was all very spontaneous.  So we all needed to talk and think about it.

When we got back home at 10 pm, I called to discuss pricing and make a concrete reservation for dd to attend.  But I couldn’t get the director on the phone.  So because I think this could be a wonderful opportunity for dd14, and because the director already said technically she was fine with accepting someone a day after the program began, here’s my plan.  I’m going to take dd there at 8 am – with her packed suitcase in tow (she and dd15 stayed up late to get her ready), and talk to the director again.  There are two options; one is residential, and one is the day option.  The day option is half the price of the residential option, and the girls are there from 8 am – 10 pm – so they don’t miss any activities, just sleeping there.  I’d have to drop her off and pick her up every day, which would be two hours of driving for me daily (unless I found other parents to carpool with).  Dd would strongly prefer to stay overnight, and I understand why – it’s a different kind of experience.  But I don’t know if that will be financially feasible.  If it works out, then I’ll leave her there with her suitcase.  If not, I’ll take her suitcase back home with me and come back for her at night.  Either way she’ll be there in time to eat breakfast with everyone!

Sometimes I wonder how a person like me who likes to have things organized in advance ends up with big projects like this that end up needing to be done at the last minute!  Tonight I was pondering if I’m really the organized person I think I am or not, and realized that it’s not an issue of organization as much as a willingness to be spontaneous.   As someone who likes to have things worked out ahead of time, my natural mode of doing things isn’t to wait until the last minute and then be harried, but sometimes opportunities come up when it’s not convenient for you, and you have to push to be able to access those opportunities.  I don’t know if most parents would be willing to deal with having an hour or two to get their child ready for two weeks of camp or not, but because I think it would be very special for dd, it’s worth it to make the effort and overcome my natural preference for how things are done.

To sum up, it was a lovely recital, and it opened the door to a possible interesting opportunity for dd. I’ll let you know tomorrow what ends up happening!

Avivah