Wednesday, December 30
I did manage to make two different gifts for this holiday season. To set my daughter down this path, we made ornaments for all the relatives that decorate trees. I hope to make this a tradition, adding a new different kind of ornament each year so that the relatives have a memento of her growth. I made a pants outfit for the youngest cousin. The inspiration and directions came from Today's Housewife. It would have been much easier if I had made the pants but I used store bought and just added the ruffle. Next time the pants get made too. My daughter does not wear much pants so I am working on a similar idea for a dress.
The template for the applique came from Skip to My Lou. It is my new favorite template. I have down sized the lowercase letters to write words and everything.
So that is what works for me. Check out What works for others at We are that family
Monday, December 28
We do not have the ton of leftovers some are dealing with this week so instead we took stock of our freezer and will be cooking some neat things from it. I need to grocery shop this week but only for fresh fruit and veggies. All the meat is from the freezer.
Some activities are still on winter break so this is a quiet week of catching up and sorting.
Monday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
Tuesday - Stir Fry with Chicken and a sweet sauce.
Wednesday - Picnic dinner at the pool - Salmon burgers, carrots sticks, cantaloupe, cookies
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Pot Roast, acorn squash, broccoli, challah, chocolate chip melted icecream cake.
Saturday - Tacos, salad
Sunday, December 20
We got the once in a decade blizzard this weekend. We got close to 20 inches of snow in 24hours. That means lots of home time and lots of cooking. But no trips to the store. Add on top of that, the trip to the grandparents on Wednesday and it all comes together to mean a menu focused on the freezer.
Luckily we keep a well stocked freezer.
That being said here is our menu for this week.
Saturday - Beef Barley Soup - This was a new adventure for us. It is good but I need to make a much smaller batch the next time. It was great at the time but did not survive the long haul. The barley soaked up all the broth and turned to glue so the leftovers were much less appealing.
Sunday - Turkey Pot Pie
Monday - Frittata
Tuesday - Homemade Pasta Sauce and noodles - The leftover sauce will go in the freezer to make a ready meal for when we get back.
Saturday, December 19
We have a fire going and are enjoying some serious family time. We all bundled up and went out for a bit this morning. I did a first pass of shoveling on the driveway while Froggy and Sebastian (the puppy) played in the snow. We tried to build a snowman but the snow would not stick together enough. The temperatures are supposed to stay below freezing so we will keep trying until we get at least one made. With this much snow there is no excuse.
Sebastian loved playing in the snow but did not like getting dried with the hair dryer afterwards. He does not seem get covered when he goes out to do his business but playing caked it on there but good.
Today's snow day menu consisted of comfort foods galore!! French toast for breakfast, turkey noodle soup for lunch and Turkey Pot Pies for dinner
Wednesday, December 16
When we first investigated homeschooling, I looked at a variety of teaching styles and curricula. I found several I liked and even one I planned to use. Luckily I did not purchase too much since much of what we do has taken on an extremely unschooly (and yes it is now a word - I say so) approach. It is what works for us.
Today's school consisted of our standard breakfast fare - the weekly parsha and sidrah as well as some pages from her workbook. A workbook I hear you cry that is not unschoolly. It is when she demanded to get it - I was trying to find her some Kumon books for cutting practice - and she picks the pages we do.
But then later we wrote letters. I was working on some email and she demanded to write a letter too. I have asked and prompted and suggested before with absolutely no results. We wrote several letters and we learned all about question marks. She dictated and I typed exactly what she said. And had to explain some strange spellings when the word on the screen did not look like what she thought it should
The first - She wanted so much to write to this family but really did not know what to say
hello Mrs. G**** and too Mister G****** hi m***** and e**** the song we were singing goes "i love you wing dum dum" It is called "Turkey Love" Sandra Boyton wrote it. She is my favorite writer. I love you too the gibson family we love being with you. love S*** and her mommy her daddy is working
She really got into the groove here
Aunt Petal and E*** What kind of food do you have? Its in the middle of Hanukkah. Love S*** And Aunt M*****. Happy Hanukkah. Too Aunt Petal and E*** Do you celebrate Hanukkah? We have wanted to go on another fieldtrip to see you and Evan's bed is cool. It has a ladder and a slide and you gotta becareful when you jump on his bed. Goodbye Aunt Petal and E***
Sunday, December 13
Sunday - dinner out after the shul Hanukkah party
Monday - Babysitter tonight. It will be a simple early dinner that the sitter can take over if er run late. Pasta, homemade sauce, and salad
Tuesday- Meeting tonight for me - Turkey Noodle Soup and biscuits
Wednesday- The first quiet night at home this week. We will do a simple meal of latkes, veggie sticks and leftover turkey.
Thursday - dinner out
Friday - Shabbat and the last night of Hanukkah- Challah, brisket, latkes, broccoli, and menorah cupcake dessert.
Saturday - homemade pizza
Froggy wore her special Hanukkah dress. It was a gift from a wonderful friend at shul. Her mom made for her daughter who is now too big for it.
First this morning was Froggy's Hanukkah religious school class party during school time. They had sufganiot as snack as well as gelt and had a special Hanukkah edition of "Ask The Rabbi" time.
After lunch, it was off to the community Hanukkah party which was a joint effort from shul and the Jewish Day school. It was so much fun. They did an amazing job. The had crafts,games and good food. There was a tremendous turn out and it appeared all the ages had a good time. I got a chance to talk with folks I do not get to often enough.
Froggy was so enamored of the crafts that she barely even said a word to her friends. Her favorite was decorating with stickers. My favorite was the Hanukiot. It was such a simple open end-ed fire safe idea that I am amazed I had not seen it done before. Each packet contained a tile and 10 nuts- 8 for each nightly candle and 2 to make the shamash taller. The arrangement as well as the decorations were completely open. We saw lots of interesting designs. At home one could decorate with paint or other materials. We decorated with stickers.
Finally it was time to for dinner then home and more Hanukkah. We lit our brand new Hanukiot and then played dreidle. All Hanukkah All the Time All Fun
Making the broth is super easy thanks to the crock pot. I throw the bones in the crock pot with any veggies getting old in the fridge but always celery, onions and carrots. I let it do its thing for at least eight hours. I strain it out, let it cool and then pack it up in two cup portions.
On soup night, saute a nice mix of onions carrots and parsnips. To me, parsnips are the key to yummy soup. I add the broth and bring it boil. I cook the noodles right in the broth. Shortly before the noodles are done, I add the turkey and voila soup is on!
Monday, December 7
Monday - Homemade sauce, pasta, salad
Tuesday - Tofu Stirfry and rice
Wednesday - Swim Night Picnic - Frittata,rolls,fruit and cookies
Thursday - Leftover buffet
Friday - Challah,Brown Sugar Salmon, rice,green beans, brownies
Saturday- Party!! - Veggie tray, Roast Turkey, squash and spinach, latkes, and homemade donuts for dessert.
Wednesday, December 2
I am not a big proponent of screen time for little people. I think there are so many better ways that they can be better spending their time. That being said I love Starfall. It is the only reading program that Froggy has been interested in doing.
The catchy little songs let me remind her of what she has learned anytime she is trying to sound out a word. The fun graphics and animated tales keep her wanting to read. The calendar game is also where she finally got the days of the week down and ever so helpful in counting down special events.
Froggy knows how to read now. And practice is the most important part. But her perfectionist nature was keeping her from it. So we resorted to bribery. She earned a star for each "book" she read to us. At 10 stars she got the reward of being allowed to pick any book from the bookstore and take it home forever. I tried to get her to read me one of her BOB books because I knew there was no chance she would get stuck and I thought it would build her confidence. Nope she was having none of it.
It is all about Starfall. When I said she could read a Starfall story and it would count, we reached ten in very little time. Peg is her favorite because she gets to change the colors. But since each story only counted once, we ended up reading way beyond where I thought she was capable. Having earned her prize, she now goes back and reads the stories over and over again. Her attitude to reading to Mom and Dad has turned around completely.
So Starfall and (judicious) Bribery are what work for me. See what works for others at We Are That Family
Wednesday, November 25
This did not work so well when we came across an evergreen shrub on a walk (For some reason the shrubs at her front door do not trigger). I took the opportunity to explain the difference pointing out how thin the leaves were so the snow could fall through without getting caught too much.
So now several days later she has added a new category to the mix, those that don't need to get changed. We often collect acorns on our walks so on our most recent walk when we were comparing evergreen with other trees, I showed her a pine cone under the tree
This led to an intense need in Froggy to match each tree she knows with the kind of seed it makes. She was slightly disturbed that the Maple tree's seeds were visible in Spring not Fall but has already declared her intention to play with them.
Tuesday, November 24
The tree itself looks nicer since I took more time with the prep and used my cookie cutter to make the leaves. Setting it up earlier and watching it blossom with leaves has made me smile.
So another thing I am thankful this year is our Thankful Tree.
Sunday, November 22
Monday -Chicken and Sweet Potatoes - We never got to this last week. I failed to plan ahead enough to take the chicken from the freezer.
Tuesday - Pizza with homemade sauce - we still have some leftover from the last batch I made
Wednesday - Leave for Grandparents!!!
Since it is a short week I thought I would include my pizza dough recipe. It is so simple. I love pizza night. I make the dough in the morning and I am done. Daddy and Froggy make pizza together as their special bonding time.
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon pure olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour (I grind my own which means it is whole wheat but any works)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Put all the ingredients in the mixer. Mix slowly until flour is incorporated with whisk attachment. Switch to dough hook. Turn up the mixer a bit and let it knead for 6 minutes. You are done. It is that easy.
We bake ours on a stone from Pampered Chef. It makes the crust so much crispier but we love it even on a cookie sheet.
I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving. Check out what everyone is planning for this festive week at Orjunkie
Saturday, November 21
The Daddyman decided that even though it means three long drives in three months, we will be visiting the grandparents for Christmas as well as Thanksgiving. That means I now have extra time for finish gathering all the presents. The only ones I need to take now are the niece's birthday gifts.
Friday, November 20
The Discovery Theater is also right on the Mall. So I have committed to several of the age-appropriate shows. The limited nature of these shows ensures that we actually get there. We went for our first show of the year today. Froggy got her first taste of HipHop with Secret Agent 23. She even got up and danced a bit.
We had planned to have a picnic afterwards and then head home to Park Day. But before the show even started, Froggy asked if we could go to the dinosaur museum after lunch. The picnic was wonderful. I wish I had brought our camera. Froggy danced with statues in the Sculpture Garden. I had to keep reminding Froggy that we only had limited time and that we could not see everything in one day. I kept telling her we would come back and this time I could even give her a date. This is the reason I homeschool. She wanted to visit all the museums. I want this joy to last forever. The unexpected learning is the most real and joyous.
We finally made our way over to the Natural History Museum. We spent about an hour in the new Ocean Exhibit. Froggy fell in love with Phoenix, who introduced her to Baleen. It took lots of questions for her to understand what makes these whales different and how they eat. But she just kept asking and asking until she was comfortable with her understanding.
Once we finally did make our way over to the dinosaurs, we got to see a scientist preparing a fossil with an autopsy saw (not this one but just like her). It was really cool. We had fun deciding which dinosaurs we should be scared of (only the carnivors). Herbivores are apparently nice even if they look frightening. Those big spikes are only for defense.
I am very much looking forward to our next trip.
Wednesday, November 18
We are going to the grandparents for Thanksgiving which means there is no holiday shopping or cooking here with which a little one can help. We have also limited our decorating since we will be gone from before Thanksgiving until right before Hanukkah.
So instead we are making place cards and decorations to take to Grandma's. We will be making Apple Turkeys. Ours are somewhere between this and this. I like the marshmallow face but I like the construction paper tail better. We are putting the names right on the tail. Eyes are raisins and the nose is a candy corn.
Sunday, November 15
- Sunday - Out with Friends
- Monday - Class for me - Homemade Pizza and salad for the gang. I will make the dough and the sauce early in the day. Then Daddy and Daughter get to dress the pizza together as their sp
- Tuesday - Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew and Broccoli
- Wednesday - Picnic at the Pool - We never got to the chili last week. I will reheat the chili and then pack it in the thermos. All the fixings will go in the picnic basket and we have an easy hot dinner pool side when we finish swimming. It is so much nicer than fast food on the drive home.
- Thursday - Spaghetti, Sauce (from Monday) and Salad
- Friday - Pot Roast, Challah, Butternut Squash with Baby Spinach -
- Saturday - Gyros and All the Fixings
Sunday, November 8
Our freezer is a mess and I would love to defrost it but have no where to put all the food while I do so we are working on trying to eat out of the freezer while at the same time I am trying to take advantage of some holiday food sales.
Sunday - Homemade pizza
Monday - Shepards Pie and Salad (from the freezer)
Tuesday - Tofu Stir Fry/ rice / Keem
Wednesday - Pasta, Homemade Sauce, salad, garlic bread
Thursday - Brown Sugar Salmon, Rice, broccoli
Friday - PreK Shabbat Dinner at Synagogue
Saturday - Chili (from freezer), chips and salad
Sunday, September 27
StirFry, rice and keem
Chicken Kebobs and peas
Shabbat - Picnic in the sukkah at shul - Frittata,salad,challah,chocolate chip zucchini bread
And I will be baking
Challah, sandwich bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin raisin cookies (I use applesauce instead of the oil), apple muffins, pancake mini muffins
Wednesday, August 26
So I have started to Wing It in the kitchen. We have lots of failures when I wing it but we have some great successes too. Here is one of the more recent. I added some pictures of it.
And out of desperation again I am now winging it in the craft room too. After hunting for the perfect pattern too often I have given up and started creating my own. Froggy's latest dress (pictures to follow) is a combination of this tutorial, a pattern we had and a great deal of improvisation. I think it turned out beautiful but I am just a little biased. It could not be too bad since I had trouble getting her out of it.
So winging it works for me. For other WFMW tips check out WEARETHATFAMILY
Monday, August 24
Before I get to this week's menu. Here is a review of last week.
I liked the Vegetable Tagine but no one else did. It made way more than expected. The recipe claims it makes 8 main dish servings. However after dinner for 2 adults and 1 lunch for me, I froze enough to easily serve 8 adults.
Our peaches were wonderful. The jam turned out delicious even though it did not jell up as well as I had hoped.
Breakfasts - my nephew (really my best friend's son but since he calls me Auntie I figure I can call him my nephew) will be joining us so I am cooking more
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles (need to remember to get our waffle iron back from Aunt Petal)
Lunches - again with the nephew who is strictly vegetarian.
cold cut Sandwiches
Tagine on Couscous
Red Beans and Rice
Dinner - with all the cooking I am doing during the day I get a break here. Two nights we are out with friends and I have a meeting for a third. Shabbat dinner is a Potluck at the shul.
Tofu Stir Fry
Ratatulli with With White Beans - another experiment from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
Pasta and Sauce
Sunday, August 23
I was going to wait until Shabbat to make Peach Crisp but I just could not hold out. Crisp is one of our favorite easy fruit desserts. It is so simple. We slice the fruit and top with an Oatmeal Crumb Topping. Bake and you are good to go. We made some lovely non-dairy peach icecream/frozen yogurt to go with it. I would share the ice cream recipe but I failed to write it down as I invented it. All this was a lovely treat during the middle of the week but left me scrambling for a dessert for Shabbat.
I still had more peaches to use but we also still had crisp sitting in the fridge.
What to do? Peach cake! No recipe? Well that is no problem any more. I remember a time not long ago when a lack of a recipe for exactly what I wanted would have scared me. No longer. Now I am free to experiment and invent in the kitchen.
The cake was simple and yummy. I used a boxed white cake mix. Instead of water I used fresh peach puree. I spread homemade peach jam and very thin fresh peach slices between the layers A nice light butter cream frosting and some more slices for decoration and dessert was ready. We served it with some of the ice cream from earlier in the week.
Tuesday, August 18
Well if I had been just a bit more patient I would not have needed to worry. Yesterday with out any prompting or cajoling Froggy drew me a person. We were coloring together as we often do. She drew a circle and then gave it features and the circle quickly became a "funny grandpa with earrings and silly hair" He even has fingers and toes.Patience is important. We started homeschooling so that she could go at her own pace without pressure. Moments like this help me find the patience again to allow her to do just that.
Monday, August 17
Last week's experiments had some wins and some loses. The biggest win was all the meals we got out of the Roast Chicken. Cooking once and eating several times is a huge hit with me. Movie night and the pizza never happened so are making a reappearance this week.
Monday - Shepards Pie using leftover pot roast.
Tuesday -Couscous with Vegetable Tagine from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
Wednesday - Mock Coq a Vin - from The One-Armed Cook
Thursday - Movie Night and Pizza
Friday - Challah, Maple Glazed Salmon, Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Peach Crisp
Saturday, August 15
For the time being (ie until we find a solution that provides meaningful study and fellowship and family time) we are having family time on Erev Shabbat and Shabbat afternoon while spending Shabbat mornings learning at Chabad. Not ideal but so far a justifiable compromise. Who am I justifying things to, I hear you ask? Myself, only myself. Maybe at some point I will need to explain them to Froggy but the real person is me. Why is not ideal? Ideal would be if everyone could be together learning at the same time in the same enviroment and enjoying Shabbat together.
Still we had a very pleasant Shabbat with a morning spent is joyful learning and prayer and a peaceful afternoon spent together in quiet pleasures.
Friday, August 14
Spinach Daal - from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. Not for us even though we enjoy it greatly out. The lentils took forever to cook. Easily twice as long as the recipe indicated. The texture and color was unappetizing. I am not sure what I did different but it was not what we were expecting.
Chicken Kebobs - For some reason kebobs make any food more fun for preschoolers. I used mango chutney to marinade some boneless chicken thighs added some red bell pepper slices and onion pieces and popped them on the grill. They were a huge hit with the whole family.
Baked Stuffed Tilapia - The stuffing was flavorful but the fish had no flavor and was dry and tough even though I cooked it for less time than specified.
The filling, which really worried me more, turned out delicious. I used 1lb firm tofu instead of ricotta, 10 frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained, and 2 TBS vegan parmesan cheese (from a can).
The process of making the ravioli was interesting. Froggy had fun helping me. She even tried one of the wrappers raw. She ate the whole thing so I guess it was good. Once cooked however the wrappers were vile. They turned slimy with a texture similar to steamed dumplings. Right now ravioli are on hold here until I either find a source for premade pasta dough or am willing to try it on my own.
Monday, August 10
We made a trip to the local farmers market yesterday and this week's menu will highlight some of our finds.
Monday - Baked Stuffed Tilapia, rice and green beans.
Tuesday - Chicken Kebobs, summer squash, corn on the cob
Wednesday - A new experiment from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone. It is a spinach dal rendition which will be served with rice and naan.
Thursday - Pizza and a movie night. Homemade pizza (using leftover sauce) and salad. Froggy will get to pick the movie
Friday- A real Shabbat dinner at last. We will have Challah, steamed broccoli, Pot Roast, potatoes, and this lovely treat for dessert, ice cream cake. A friend gave me a cool recipe which I can use non-dairy icecream.
I am also trying to plan out breakfast/lunch/snacks better too.
Breakfasts will be
- scrambled eggs x2
- zucchini bread x2
- fruit and yogurt
Lunches will be
- tabbouleh salad with chickpeas - The kasha came out too mushy but the flavors combined lovely. We used a recipe from The Mediterranean vegan kitchen
- deli sandwiches
- curry chicken salad - curtesy of Magpie Eats. I cut the recipe in half since I was concerned about my family's willingness to try it. It is delicious.
Thursday, August 6
At 1:05 Sunday morning, my mother returned to G-d. After a long battle with breast cancer and two painful sick years, I know she is finally at peace.
She was a strong, independent woman. She raised four girls on her own in a time when being a single parent was even harder than it is today. She instilled in each of us the importance of independence and not relying on someone else for your livelihood. She taught us to think for ourselves and form our own opinions. She worried much in later life that she did not give us the best foundation but I know that she gave us a better foundation than her mother gave her and the best one that she possibly could.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ori moved to Florida when she was 6yrs old and never left. She built her dream home in Clermont in 2002, and became a full time resident in 2007.
Mrs. Cherin, as she was known by her students, graduated from the University of Miami and later received her Masters Degree from Nova University. She was an educator in the Florida Public School system for 17 years and was a member of the Florida Teacher’s Union. She was patient and kind and humorous as she guided people through learning. All her students loved her.
She enjoyed reading science fiction and was an avid “Trekkie”. Hard-core science fiction provided her an outlet for the dreamer part of her nature, as we ask what will the future be. She loved to poke at the "bad science" she saw in some of the shows or books. Each book was judged by the quality of the science they used in the design.
While she wasn’t always as successful as she liked , my mother raised us to be Jewish. One of the few routines our family had was lighting candles on Erev Shabbat. Saturday was Shabbat and that meant family time. We would go on adventures to local farms or neat parks. My mom was more observant than her mom and was thrilled that I knew more about the holidays and chose to be more observant than she.
Music abounded in my mother's house. She got to see the true result of her legacy a few weeks ago when 3 of her daughters and both her granddaughters were driving around town. The littlest one needed distracting so her aunt broke into Do Re Mi. Everyone else joined in. We say all the songs from Sound of Music and moved on to King And I and others. It was a bittersweet moment of family togetherness is a time of great sadness. I told my mom when we returned and she was able to smile.
I wish she was still with us, healthy as she is in my memories from childhood. It’s heartbreaking that she won’t be there to see her granddaughter graduate high school, or get married. And while I’m glad she has moved to a better place, it will be a long time before I stop going to call her to share the joys and pains of life.
Wednesday, August 5
Enter paper dolls. Exit Stress.
I purchased this paper doll book at Michaels. The thought had been, with the help of some posterboard, contact paper and washers, to turn them into magnetic dressable dolls. That was an utter failure.
Instead I laminated dolls and clothes and simply used the "reusable stickers" provided with the book to attach the clothes.
Froggy has gotten days of quiet enjoyment out of these dolls with more yet to come. I keep them engaging by presenting her with new dolls or clothes or both from the book each day. She has never seen the book itself so she does not feel like she is missing everything by not having it all at once. At her age, I think all of it at once would be too overwhelming. Right now she has a family of 5 with three adults and two babies. There will not be any more people for awhile but there are tons of clothes still to come.
Saturday, August 1
Every time I try, I select a great book and find neat activities to go with it. The problem comes in that we never seem to do the activities. Why you ask? Well I am not really sure. Probably poor planning on my part.
To solve this unfortunate problem, we are going to try something new. We are currently on vacation so not doing any formal work at all. This break gives me some time to get my materials all organized.
I am making a tub to keep all our FIAR supplies. In this tub will be the book of the week, our vocabulary journal, our flag book, and all the supplies for the current week. To organize the activities for each book, I am planning to try to do a lapbook for each.
In this prepatory phase I am collecting all the printables and activities for our first 5 books and organizing what the lapbooks will look like.
Our first lapbook will be Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. This will be our first lapbook ever. I hope it works and is enjoyed. Heather over at Blog, She Wrote has a great example and links to some great resources.
Our second book is going to be How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. It will go nicely with our annual trip to the apple orchard and our Rosh Hashana activities. The lapbook activities I have found for it look like lots of fun. For once I am not struggling with the social studies activities.
I don't know what will come next sequentially but I am also planning lapbooks for Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and Cranberry Thanksgiving which will obviously be done later in the year when they are appropriate. I am also thinking with all the coloring and writing that will be involved in the lapbooks that we may very well take two weeks per book.
This is very convenient since many activities start new in the Fall with the start of the traditional school year as well. I am trying to decide what activities Froggy will participate in during the upcoming year. She will certainly continue with swimming and gymnastics. She will also start Sunday School at shul. I feel there needs to be something on a musical front but the hubby wants to add in an organized sport and I feel that four activities is just too much.
We will also be starting a nature club with our local homeschooling group. This will probably take the place of any other science curriculum for this year. I will be leading the group if it actually comes to pass. It will be very laid back and mellow but I hope each family will be able to develop a useful nature journal as part of their participation. The group will be centered around our hikes and teaching the newer the Leave No Trace philosophy as well as introducing the younger children to skills of observation and classification.
Friday, July 31
We are currently on an extended visit with my mother. We did the same thing last summer and therefore were somewhat prepared. This summer is different. My mom's library is closed while they move to their new expanded, magnificent facility. Great for the town, great for the library, not so great for us.
We have been here 4 weeks already and may be here two more. Six weeks with no new books is beyond comprehension for Froggy. We made a trip to a local used bookstore and picked her up some books to tide her through till we get home.
As for myself, I am so used to pulling up the library page and requesting a book I find interesting while surfing so it is ready for us on our next trip. I cannot do that right now since it will be so long before we can pick them up. I am keeping a running list of books to request when we get back. The list will take a few weeks to process since you can only request 10 books at a time. See I really do rely on my library for so so much.
Wednesday, July 29
How did we get here? We started swim lessons when she was very young and go swimming as a family on a regular basis showing her that her parents swim and value swimming. While we tried a few different sources for swim classes, we settled on SwimKids because of the quality of training the instructors receive as well as the consistency of the program between coaches.
Learning to swim is an important life skill I believe all people should master. it is one of the few life skills Jewish parents are required to provide according to Biblical guidelines. Not everyone needs to be able to swim competitively but everyone should be able to be safe in the water. Could you or your child get yourself to the side if you fell into water deeper than you could stand? If the answer is yes then that is good enough in my oh so humble opinion.
In addition to teaching how to be safe in the water, good swimming instruction includes how to safely enter the water, ie how to judge when it is ok to jump in and when it is ok to dive. It also includes clear guidelines as to when it is safe to swim, (get out at the first sound of thunder, never swim alone, etc)
Check out what works for other at We Are That Family.
Saturday, July 25
That being the case I went through and compiled both lists into one, removing duplications. I ended up with 164 books which means that while there were some duplications, there were lots of differences as well. Many of the ones that were duplications were also the obvious ones that we have already read.
I think I like the list from Tacoma Public Library better simply because more of the books we have not read looked interesting. As well there were fewer on that list that we had read and not liked.
There are a few on the combined list that we read so long ago when Froggy was just a teeny tiny baby that after being reminded of them I want to share again with her. I was surprised at how few in total we had read given how many books we read.
I am not sure we are going to read all of these but it gives us lots of room to explore new books.
Here is the list. I have italicized the ones we have already read. I have marked in bold the ones that are on our library request for the next trip. I will try to update with reviews as we read through them.
Each Peach Pear
Alborough Where's My Teddy?
Alborough, Jez. Hug
Bang Ten, Nine, Eight - A counting book. Sweet. Good quality. We might have enjoyed it much more if we had found it a couple of years ago.
Barrett, Judi. Animals should definitely not wear clothing
Barton The Little Red Hen
Barton The Three Bears
Barton, Byron. My car
Beaumont, Karen. I ain't gonna paint no more!
Bemelmans, Ludwig, 1898-1962. Madeline
Bloom, Suzanne, 1950- A splendid friend, indeed
Bornstein Little Gorilla - I found no redeeming value in this book but Froggy loves it beyond comprehension. We have read it many many times.
Brown, Margaret Wise, 1910-1952. Goodnight moon
Brunhoff, Jean de, 1899-1937. The story of Babar, the little elephant
Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy's outing.
Cannon, Janell, 1957- Stellaluna
Carle, Eric. The very hungry caterpillar
Chen, Zhiyuan, 1975- Guji Guji
Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Ella Sarah gets dressed
Cooke, Trish. Full, full, full of love
Cowell, Cressida. What shall we do with the boo-hoo baby?
Crews, Donald. Freight train
Cronin, Doreen. Click, clack, moo : cows that type
Daly Happy Birthday, Jamela!
De Paola Strega Nona : An Original Tale
Demi The Empty Pot
Dillon Rap a Tap Tap : Here's Bojangles-Think of That!
Dorros, Arthur. Abuela
Dunrea, Olivier. Gossie and Gertie
Eastman Go, Dog, Go!
Eastman, P. D. (Philip D.) Are you my mother?
Eclare A Handful of Sunshine : Growing a Sunflower
Ehlert Growing Vegetable Soup
Elya, Susan Middleton, 1955- Bebé goes shopping
Emberley, Ed. Go away, big green monster!
Everitt Mean Soup
Falconer, Ian. Olivia
Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George
Flack Ask Mr. Bear
Fleming The Everything Book
Fleming, Denise, 1950- Lunch
Fleming, Denise, 1950- The cow who clucked - Funny and cute
Fox, Mem, 1946- Time for bed
Freeman, Don. Corduroy
Gag Millions of Cats
Gág, Wanda, 1893-1946. Millions of cats
Galdone The Three Little Pigs
Goose Mother Sylvia Long's Mother Goose
Grimes, Nikki. Welcome, Precious
Guarino, Deborah. Is your mama a llama?
Hamanaka, Sheila. All the colors of the Earth
Henderson, Kathy, 1949- Look at you! : a baby body book
Henkes, Kevin. Lilly's purple plastic purse
Hindley, Judy. Does a cow say boo?
Hoban Bedtime for
Hoban Is it red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? : An Adventure In Color
Hoban, Russell. Bread and jam for
Hobbie, Holly. Toot and Puddle
Hoffman, Mary, 1945- Amazing Grace
Holabird, Katharine. Angelina ballerina
Hutchins You'll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch
Hutchins, Pat, 1942- Rosie's walk.
Isadora, Rachel. Peekaboo morning
Jenkins Biggest, Strongest, Fastest
Jenkins, Steve, 1952- What do you do with a tail like this?
Johnson, Crockett, 1906- Harold and the purple crayon
Joosse Mama, Do You Love Me?
Juster, Norton, 1929- The hello, goodbye window
Kasza The Wolf's Chicken Stew
Katz, Karen. Counting kisses
Keats, Ezra Jack. The snowy day.
Kimmel I Took My Frog to the Library
Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the moss-covered rock
Kraus Leo the Late Bloomer
Krauss, Ruth. The carrot seed
Langstaff, John M. Over in the meadow
Lewis, Rose A. I love you like crazy cakes
Lin, Grace. Dim sum for everyone!
Lobel Frog and Toad All Year
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and toad are friends.
MacDonald Mabela the Clever
Marshall George and Martha
Martin, Bill, 1916- Brown bear, Brown bear, what do you see?
Martin, Bill, 1916- Chicka chicka boom boom
Mayo, Margaret. Dig dig digging
McBratney, Sam. Guess how much I love you Sweet and sad. I cried and cried. Reading as my mother was spending her last days did not help.
McCloskey, Robert, 1914- Make way for ducklings
McDermott Raven : a Trickster Tale From the
McDermott, Gerald. Raven : a trickster tale from the Pacific Northwest McKissack, Pat, 1944- Goin' someplace special
McGovern Too Much Noise
McMillan Growing Colors
McMullan I stink! - We live this book and come back to read it over and over again.
Meddaugh, Susan. Martha speaks
Numeroff, Laura Joffe. If you give a mouse a cookie
Orozco Diez deditos / Ten Little Fingers
Park Bee-Bim Bop!
Parr Do's and Don'ts
Peet Kermit the Hermit
Pfister, Marcus. The rainbow fish
Piper The Little Engine that Could
Portis, Antoinette. Not a box
Potter, Beatrix, 1866-1943. The tale of Peter Rabbit.
Rappaport, Doreen. Martin's big words : the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rathmann, Peggy. Good night, Gorilla
Rex, Michael. Truck Duck
Rey, H. A. (Hans Augusto), 1898- Curious George
Riley Mouse Mess
Rockwell The Toolbox
Rosen, Michael, 1946- We're going on a bear hunt
Rylant Dog Heaven
Say, Allen. Grandfather's journey
Scarry Best First Book Ever - Froggy loves all the Richard Scarry books. I find them cluttered and do not like them near as well.
Scieszka, Jon. The true story of the 3 little pigs
Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. Dog and Bear : two friends, three stories
Sendak, Maurice. Where the wild things are
Seuss, Dr., Cat in the hat
Shahan Spicy Hot Colors = Colores Picantes
Shannon Lizard's Song
Shannon, David, 1959- Duck on a bike
Shaw, Charles Green, 1892- It looked like spilt milk.
Sherry I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean
Sierra, Judy. Wild about books
Silverstein, Shel. The giving tree
Simmons, Jane. Daisy and the Beastie
Slobodkina, Esphyr, 1908- Caps for sale; a tale of a peddler, some monkeys
Steig, William, 1907- Sylvester and the magic pebble.
Stoeke A Hat for Minerva Louise
Swanson The House in the Night
Taback, Simms. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
Tafuri, Nancy. Five little chicks
Titherington Pumpkin, Pumpkin
Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Waber, Bernard. Lyle, Lyle, crocodile.
Waddell Owl Babies
Waddell, Martin. Farmer duck
Walsh, Ellen Stoll. Mouse paint
Watt, Melanie, 1975- Scaredy squirrel
Wells, Rosemary. Noisy Nora
Willems Knuffle Bunny : a Cautionary Tale
Williams I Went Walking
Wilson Bear Snores On
Wood, Audrey. The napping house
Yolen, Jane. How do Dinosaurs say good night?
Young, Ed. Seven blind mice
Zion, Gene. Harry, the dirty dog
Science and History are not so easy. I love science and love sharing it with Froggy. She knows lots of neat things, things I know I did not know at her age. Some of her favorite books are the Magic School Bus series. We talk about everything we see and do and explore. Yet there is no rhyme or reason to our explorations. The scientist part of my brain says how do you know that you are providing the full spectrum of desired information if you have no plan while the unschooler part of my brain says the best way to learn is living and following your interests and fooy on plans and checklists.
I think as far as science goes I may eventually have to make a list of things I want her to know / experience by X time and then just check them off as we reach them in our own unschooly fashion.
History is an even bigger mess. I hate history and see essentially no point in learning it as a formal subject. My feelings on the subject are you can't help but absorb some by living and thats all you will ever need. Clearly most people disagree with that. Luckily we live near DC and there are tons of fun living ways to explore history that happen without teaching. As well, my husband is a big history enthusiast and believes it is very important. So while I know that is the area Froggy is being exposed to the least, I also know despite my own prejudices Froggy will eventually get enough to hold her own in an educated society.
I will say that Geography is different. I feel Geography is very important and we spend lots of time learning Geography at the slightest opportunity. We have to huge maps up in our family room, one of the US and a Decater map of the world. We show famiy and friends travels on the map plus all the neat places we visit though books.
Wednesday, July 8
Monday, June 29
Sunday, June 28
Social Studies will consist of at least Geography
Language Arts will consist of vocabulary and story-telling
Math will consist of counting and playing store
Science will consist of Weather and Weather Forecasting
Saturday, June 27
Bakewell Tart History and Lore
Flan-like desserts that combine either sweet egg custard over candied fruit or feature spiced ground almonds in a pastry shell have Mediaeval roots. The term “Bakewell pudding” was first penned in 1826 by Meg Dods; 20 years later Eliza Acton published a recipe that featured a baked rich egg custard overtop 2cm of jam and noted,
“This pudding is famous not only in Derbyshire, but in several of our northern counties where it is usually served on all holiday occasions.”
By the latter half of the 1800s, the egg custard evolved into a frangipane-like filling; since then the quantity of jam decreased while the almond filling increased.
This tart, like many of the world's great foods has its own mythic beginnings…or several mythic beginnings. Legend has it in 1820 (or was it in the 1860s?) Mrs. Greaves, landlady of The White Horse Inn in Bakewell, Derbyshire (England), asked her cook to produce a pudding for her guests. Either her instructions could have been clearer or he should have paid better attention to what she said because what he made was not what she asked for. The cook spread the jam on top of the frangipane mixture rather than the other way around. Or maybe instead of a sweet rich shortcrust pastry case to hold the jam for a strawberry tart, he made a regular pastry and mixed the eggs and sugar
separately and poured that over the jam—it depends upon which legend you follow.
This challenge was lots of fun. It was neat to try a totally new process. I also liked that it was essentially dairy-free already so required very little in the way of modification. The hardest part of it was that I really had no idea what to expect as far a finished product when I started.
The shortbread-like crust was much easier to work that a traditional pie crust, even the Froggy wanted to try her hand at it. The next layer was the jam. I chose apricot. I should have used much much more than I did.The second attempt turned out much much better. What is the old saying about practice. I used a homemade strawberry sauce for the "filling". Some of it leaked out creating a bit of a mess in the oven but there was still much much more inside to balance out the frangipane.
The other change was backing off a bit on the almond extract in the frangipane itself. These changes together made for a more balanced flavor.
The frangipane layer was luscious with a distinct almond flavor. The texture was perfect not too creamy but smooth.
The Recipe - courtesy of Jasmine and Annemarie. My modifications are in italics
One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability - I probably only used 1/2 cup tops. Mistake on my part.
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds
Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.
The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.
When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film
225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water
Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened - Again I used coconut oil instead.
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle.(Mine did not appear curdled at all). After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.
Wednesday, June 17
This week we begin Five In A Row, which is a curriculum created around the concept of learning through literature. We chose to start with Madeline. Here are some of the activities we will do related to the story.
Locate France on world map
Locate Paris on map of France
Show Seine river
Talk about river transport
Tuesday – LA – Vocabulary
Wednesday – Math
Grouping – use manipulatives - Madeline cutouts
Thursday – Art
Look at photos of Paris – try to match to the illustrations
Friday – Science
Healthy habits “Thank the Lord you are well”
So Learning through Literature really works for us. What works for you? To see what works for others check out We Are That Family
Tuesday, June 16
For dinner last night we had a green salad with the last of our lettuce and the first of our cucumbers. We will not be buying any more cucumber from the store for the rest of the summer. As you can see, some one could not wait for dinner to sample the goodness.
We took out the remains of the lettuce and added in some additional tomato plants. We will see how they do. So far the count from the garden is
Monday, June 15
My in laws will be here for Father' s Day and will be staying for about 10 days. I do not do any menu planning while they are here as my mother in law loves to cook for us. I will make Shabbat dinner since they are not Jewish and anything else would be awkward.
In preparation for their coming, we eat foods we know they won't enjoy sharing with us or we pretest things to share with them. Regardless we try to make sure we have no leftovers when they arrive.
So here is our menu this week
Monday - Pasta with Homemade Sauce
Tuesday - Dinner at the Amusement Park
Wednesday - Tofu Stir Fry
Thursday - Salmon Burgers
Erev Shabbat - Challah, Brown Sugar Salmon, Sugar Snap Peas, Rice, Keem. A neat parve cake