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Showing posts from March, 2010

Bedikat Chametz

The house is clean. The kitchen turned over. Everything is spic and span. Froggy searched for the chametz. What a difference a year makes at this age. She knew what she was doing and was so excited. She hunted and found all ten pieces brushing carefully with the feather after each piece.

Tomorrow the bonfire and cooking. This is when I start to enjoy Pesach.

Chag Sameach All

Menu Planning Pesach

It is almost here. We search for the Chametz today and tomorrow morning we will burn them. I am trying several new recipes this year as well as including some old favorites. Breakfast is always the hardest meal for us and I hope some of these recipes help us with that battle.

Monday - Seder at Shul. Make Charoset and roast the shankbone/eggs.
Tuesday - Seder at home - Hard Boiled Egges,Gefilte Fish, Matza Ball Soup, Brisket, Glazed Carrots, Asparagus, Kugel, macaroons and an Almond torte.
Wednesday - Pesach Breakfast Bars, Salmon Burgers (we need something lighter after two seders)
Thursday -Leftovers and Matza Crunch Cookies
Friday - Apricot Glazed Chicken, Carrots,Latkes, Flourless chocolate cake
Saturday-Fish and Chips

Sticks and Stones

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"Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" Who has not heard this as a child growing up. I never had a problem with the philosophy until now.

How can I reconcile this with Lashon Hora? I am teaching Froggy that words can hurt and she must be very conscious of her words. We explain that it is just as important to have gentle words as it is to have gentle hands. If I tell her words can hurt, how can I also tell her that "only stick and stones" hurt? I want her to "turn the other cheek" and be better than those who participate in name-calling.

All that being said, "sticks and stones" don't work for me. I will not teach "sticks and stones" as I was taught. Instead we will continue with only Lashon Hora.

To see what works for others check out We Are That Family.

Laying Down the Rails - Manners

One of the big Charlotte Mason principles in Laying Down the Rails is focus on one habit at a time. Create that habit until is a rail in your spirit and then move onto the next. We are working on Manners right now.

Froggy has a bad habit currently of ignoring people when they ask her a question. This is rude and drives me crazy. Therefore we are focusing on answering someone each time they speak to you no matter who it is or what you are doing.

The important point repeated throughout the guide is how important it is not to nag or let the new habit become a battle ground. I am struggling with this currently. I can easily present the requests and reminders without nagging. The problem I am having is keeping it from being a battle ground. Requiring compliance without it being a battle ground eludes me. I am still working my way through the section on removing bad habits so I hope it offers some useful advice.

Menu Planning Monday - Preparing for Pesach

My menu this week is totally uninspired. I am trying to clear out the chametz and use stuff up without buying anything new. Next week will be much more fun and interesting.

Sunday - Pasta, Homemade sauce, peas
Monday - Mom has class - Pizza (using previous sauce) and salad
Tuesday - Chicken Stirfry, rice, keem, green beans
Wednesday - Family Swim Night Picnic - Salmon Burgers, Apples, Carrots and Cookies
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Challah,Maple Glazed Salmon, Rice, Broccoli, and yet another experiment from the Chocolate cookbook.

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six

We are investigating Charlotte Mason extensively in preparation for starting Kindergarten in the Fall. The more I read and learn about Charlotte Mason the more I love the philosophy. To that end here is a list I found on Ambleside, that we are using as a very low key goal/checklist for next year. My notes to the list are in red italics.
A reprint of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's. from Summer 93 Parents Review pub by Karen Andreola1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm - Not quite sure how this will fit in
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundries of their own home I don't really understand what this means …

Pesach Field Trip

We are off today on our yearly Pesach Field Trip. We are going to the Orthodox community about an hour and a half north of here where we can find the supplies we need for Pesach. We go as a whole family and make a full fun adventure of it.

Our immediate community is much better since Wegmans arrived but we still need our field trip to get the full range of supplies for the holiday.

What are your Pesach prep activities besides cleaning and turning over the kitchen?

Hebrew - Living it.

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We are officially returning Rosetta Stone. We gave it a really good try but it is just not working for us. That does not mean I am giving up on learning Hebrew. We are taking a more natural approach now, an approach which is more similar to our approach to other subjects.

We are going back to baby steps and learning Hebrew more the way Froggy learned English. It is not as fast because I cannot learn and use the words as quickly but it is working.

For the month of March we are focusing on colors. I have written the more common colors in Hebrew in the relevant color on big cards and put them on our learning wall just like I put up our early sight words. Randomly through the week, Froggy will ask me about them and we will say them.

But more importantly we are incorporating the new words into our everyday speech. When mention a color I try very hard to use the Hebrew name for it rather than the English name. I can do this now with 3-4 more colors than we were able to at the beginning…

A menu that works for me - Mar 7-14

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I have not managed to do much month ahead cooking that works but do try to follow some of the principles. Namely I always roast 2 chickens any time I do. So from those chickens I get lots of meals for our little family. We had Shabbat dinner, then I made 5 lunch sized Potpies for the freezer for Daddy's lunches. Then we had Chicken StirFry and we still have Vietnamese rolls coming. And I got chicken salad for my lunch. It is nice having the precooked chicken to go into any dish I want. Not to mention the 8 2cup containers of stock I put in the freezer from the carcasses. So doubling up works for me here.

I am still in love with my new cookbook. Thanks to a surprise visit from Aunt Laura, I get an extra opportunity this week to try things from it. The Chocolate Swiss Roll with Strawberries (recipe below) turned out fantastic. It would be the perfect Pesach dessert for a family who can do dairy. Our dairy-free substitutes make it not KLP.

Sunday - Chicken StirFry, Rice, Ke…

Laying Down the Rails

A friend (thanks Emily) let me borrow a dvd of a Charlotte Mason conference. I put it on to watch while I folded laundry. Needless to say the laundry never got folded. I had to pay attention to the video. So much so that I felt compelled to take notes. (Does that make me a geek or a freak?)

According to Charlotte Mason, the first step to educating children well is "laying down the rails" which amounts to giving them good habits for life. These habits or "rails" form the tracks for them to travel through life. These habits eliminate the need to ponder each decision every step of the way and make room for them to ponder more interesting and important topics. After all, who wants to waste time trying to decide whether or not to brush our teeth each day.

Charlotte Mason wrote six volumes detailing exactly how to go. I do not have time to read all six volumes. Luckily Sonya Shafer, who also led the workshop, summarizes the recommendations in Laying Down the Rails…

Welcome Spring

This year March is coming in like a lamb. Today for the first time in ages, we actually went outside. We saw the beginnings of several bulbs coming up, at least in those places where there were not holes from the squirrels.

I cleaned up the vegetable garden and opened it up for spring. I turned the soil and added compost, homemade compost for the first time ever. It was glorious to be out in the sun and feel the dirt in my hands.

I planted spinach and lettuce. Yes it is only March 1st but I bought a cold frame for just this reason. I am hoping that I can get 3 full plantings in the same plot by starting this early.

Welcome March. You are promising to be so much kinder than February.