Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Newest Project

A Project
Although I’d gone to a classical Christian school for six years, about a week ago, I realized that I really didn’t know very much about classical music. I came to terms with this while I was listening to just another sonata, and discovered that I had no idea who the composer was of that sonata, which time period it sounded like it was written in, and if that sonata was a sonata. It could’ve been a concerto, for all I knew. Or a passion.

Well, I tried to console myself, you do know that there is such a thing as a cantata, or a sonata, or concerto, and you do know that there is such a person as Bach, Hayden, Handel, and Schubert. But I didn’t feel that I understood or remembered concepts or particulars. Was that happy song about spring composed by Vivaldi, or was Vivaldi that dude I was obsessed with in kindergarten who painted beautiful 2 dimensional paintings on walls? I was determined to find out.

 I took a thick book off one of our bookshelves. We couldn’t bring very many movies, games, or stuffed animals to the Netherlands, but we brought a whole lot of books, and I appreciated this as I found exactly the book I was after.

“Classical Music-the 50 greatest composers and their 1,00- greatest works,” the title told me. This was what I was after. If I was going to work on learning, I might as well start from the beginning.

I, for once, didn’t skip the introduction and I found out that this particular textbook wasn’t a textbook, and that it was written by a music rookie-like me. I was inspired! I checked on the family iTunes account, and we had the 100 greatest works of Bach. This was perfect because Bach was the top composer.  According to the list,
  1.        Bach
  2. Mozart
  3. Beethoven
  4. Wagner
  5. Haydn
  6. Brahms
  7. Schubert
  8. Shumann
  9. Handel
  10. Tchaikovsky

  1. And so I started on a journey, an epic journey, and I’ve, even now, a week later, only done a little bit. I intend to go artist by artist and slowly work my way down to the very last. I’m reading books about Bach, (still) right now, both from the “big” book, the one with the great list, and from other resources, including a biography on Bach written very shortly after his death.

Our iTunes library is going to slowly grow bigger and bigger, and I hope my appreciation of classical music will too! Do look out for my narrations at the culmination of my research on each composer!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ella's School Day

After we made "How to Ride a Bike," and "Exploring 'Round the Netherlands," both of which starred Abe, we decided that is was definitely time for Ella to have her own video. Enjoy!

Friday, March 08, 2013

A Scrapbook on Lying on My Floor

My flag on my wall has pins on it from all the places in Europe I've traveled. My scrapbook on my floor has tickets from our travels in Europe, (including The London Tube tickets, and the Paris Metro tickets,) and it has postcards from places that didn't have pins.

Let's Open this Scrapbook, shall we?

This is the introductory page, and on the Tour de Eiffel ticket I drew, you can barely see that in pencil is written  "Travel Memoirs"
This page is special. At the top it says, "This First Long Month:May." Notice the boarding pass for the plane ride that took me out of America for the first time, the eiffel tower ticket, and Rembrandt's Night Watch postcard, which we saw at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
That's all the I can show you for now, partly because I'm still working on it, and partly because...
...well, wholly because I'm still working on it.

(For more "flag on my wall" posts, and "Scrapbook on my floor posts, go to "www.miasusanflagonmywall.blogspot.com" or just click on the "Flag Hanging on My Wall" tab.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

We are SO Homeschooled

Most girls around my age revere Taylor Swift and most girls my age are madly in love with One Direction, Justin Bieber, or one of the other random popular males. My family also has our share of favorite celebrities. They just are...


These are our favorite Celebrities.

1. Colm Wilkinson! There are no words to describe how much we respect this guy. He CREATED the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, and played the bishop in the newest Les Miserables movie.

2. Dwane Thomas! Our newest Latin teacher, who created the program Visual Latin, is our hero. This morning, my mom said that she received an email from him.

I said, "What? Not THE Dwane Thomas!
Sadie said, "No way!"
and Ella just gasped.

The email turned out to just be a newsletter sent out to every other person who's ever bought Visual Latin. 

3. Phillip Quast! The whole family admits and will give you a 20-minute lecture on how great a Javert (A main character in Les Miserables) Phillip Quast is. However, Sadie will give you a much longer lecture because although we all love him, she loves him the best. His song, "Stars" is probably the most viewed song we own.

Have you taken a look at our heroes? Hmm, what was your reaction? I totally agree with my mom, and as she said, "We are SO home schooled!"

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Here, in this distant European land, we all yearn for a sweet American treat. However, our brownie mixes have my now run out, and some necessary supplies for brownies we don't have. I mourned this loss for about a week before deciding that something needed to be done.

I then looked up a blondie recipe, as an alternate option and we've been enjoying the results of the subsequent find ever since. But we don't call them "blondies." Our brown sugar is very dark, and so our "blondes" are almost as dark as brownies. We call them "brunettes," a name which Sadie thought of for them.




  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of butterscotch chips (chopped walnuts and chocolate chips are equally tasty)


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
2 Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.
3 Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together. Add the butterscotch chips or other mix-ins.
4 Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A Flag Hanging On My Wall

On a certain wall, in a certain bedroom of a certain girl living one of  the tiniest countries in the world, hangs a flag. This flag isn't very big, but it is very special, because on it are pins from my travels in Europe.

It is my flag.

Last night, another pin was added onto my flag.

I'd already 10 pins hanging on it,

From a castle in Germany

From a Beer Garden in Munich

From Antwerp, Belgium

From the Netherlands

From a Museum in the Netherlands,

From Brussels, Belgium

From Westminster Abbey in London

From Hampton Court, (King Henry VIII's house in London)

From London,

From Haarlem, Netherlands,

And, added last night, Paris.

This collection, which was really my mom's idea, has helped me remember all the places I've gone, in a visual way. I don't know how many more pins will go onto my flag on the wall, but I have plenty of space.

(A LOT of space :~)

Friday, March 01, 2013

My Parisian Diary (Day 1)

As soon as I woke up today, I got right to business. For one thing, I had schoolwork to wrap up, and for another, I had to pack for myself as well as make sure that our electronics were charged and that we packed chargers for each one. It was to be a big day.

I have been working for the past few weeks, or ever since we came back on the plane from America, in early January, for a kindle fire. I had the most unpleasant fortune to discover that I had left my kindle on the plane. This was horrible because it was most of my books in the Netherlands. The books weren’t lost forever, and I still had ways of getting to them. For instance, we have one of the first kindles ever made which we call “The Old Faithful Kindle,” but my mom mainly uses that, and I find it sometimes a little hard to use. I needed another kindle, because we had guaranteed that my kindle wasn’t to be gotten back.

So I researched all the kindles that Amazon had to offer. I eventually decided on a kindle fire, and today I had earned about 75% percent of my kindle,(which my parents had kindly bought without me knowing so that I wouldn’t have to wait until the summer to pick it up in America, but could earn it from them) and my mom kindly let me use the kindle for our trip to Paris.

I spent the morning getting everything ready, and working for my kindle. While my mom dropped off the pooch at a kennel, we had a pleasant surprise in the mail. A good friend who Abe admires sent him a package and a note, and so Abe was ecstatic.

Finally, we all got into the car and have been thus driving for almost 4 hours. We were well prepared, and neatly fit the bare minimum necessary for 4 days in our tiny car. We drove on for a couple of hours, stopped at Mcdonald’s for Belgian/American burgers, and kept on driving. And we still are driving. I am in the car, and hope to publish this when there is wi-fi.

As one random fun fact, Abe forgot his coat, as we realized 3 hours into the drive. This is ironic, because this morning, when I was packing my suitcase, I decided to pack my fleece in my bag, although I didn’t really need it. At the time I thought that it was stupid, but now I see that if I hadn’t, Abe would be coatless. God certainly provided in that respect.

As another fun fact, here, McDonald’s is basically the same here. But one difference is that internationally, they make traditional food. Like, for instance, a traditional Dutch food is essentially fried gravy, called a kroket, and so they make McKrokets at McDonold’s, and in France they make McBaguettes. We love it.
It really is getting rather late, so I take my leave.