Showing posts from June, 2010

Summer Reading Program

Every year since Froggy's very first summer we have participated in the summer reading program just because we could and it was fun to get free stuff. This summer is different though. This summer the goals will be much harder to reach. This summer only the books that Froggy reads herself are going on the tally sheet.

The very first book she chose is already on the list The Dino Expert. She is so excited. This book was very challenging for her with large concepts as well as words. We paused several times to discuss the concepts or what a word meant. It was also a great learning experience for her to see that even Mommy needs to sound out words sometimes.

Life is very different with an independent reader. I am no longer present for the vast majority of information input. Independent reading means independent learning. Many times now Froggy has come to us spouting new information she has gleaned from her Totally Amazing books. It means that more information can go in on a wide…

Beach Musings

We go to the beach often, at least twice a year and more if we can manage it. This year, due to some unexpected but very much enjoyed company, we ended up delaying our trip by a day and resorted to staying in a hotel rather than camping.

We stayed right on the boardwalk which made for a very different trip than camping on the dunes out in the wild. We were right in the center of everything which meant lots of excitement and lots of people and lots of opportunities.

Every day we went for a morning bike ride on the boardwalk. Froggy rode a little training wheel bike for at least part of each ride after the first. She rode longer and longer each day until she did probably close to two miles the last day. This from the kid who would not even ride five feet at home. We decided that her success at the beach earned her a bike back home that really fits her.

After the bike ride we made our trek down to the waters edge. Despite having a room just a short walk away we looked like pack mule…

Menu Planning Monday - Beach edition

Monday -
Tuesday - Ravioli and salad.
Wednesday - Leave for the beach - Tuna Burgers cooked at home
Thursday - Pasta with sauce (made at home) and a salad maybe garlic bread
Friday- Challah (storebought), marinated grilled chicken, broccoli,
Saturday - burgers, corn, green beans


This past Sunday Froggy had her ballet recital. She was so thrilled. It was her very first time ever on stage. All the girls had to wear makeup and that was quite an amazing privileged for Froggy in her opinion. She loved her costume which in my opinion was probably the least attractive of the entire collection.

There was a dress rehersal on Saturday evening during which time each class got to practice their dance on the big stage with the lights and everything. Froggy was so thrilled to be on stage that she forgot a good amount of her dance.
It was during this time that Froggy and I actually got to watch the other dancers. Froggy is still in love with the idea of being a ballerina and seeing the big girls dance and talking to them was probably her favorite part of the entire recital. We stayed at the dress rehersal until the very end so that we could watch the multi-class production of Peter and the Wolf. It was fun and well done. Froggy was mesmerized. The dancers really con…

Froggy at Fencing

For the first time ever, Froggy is participating in one of the county's summer camp programs. These are week long classes on different topics. Froggy chose fencing because two of her friends are doing it as well. She went to the first class yesterday. Turns out she had absolutely no idea what she was getting herself into.

Her first question to the coach is "why are we hitting each other with these things"? I am not sure he answered that well but I can tell you he explained well the forms and rules of fencing. She knows it is a saber and that you get bonus points for backing your opponent up across the line.

She had an amazing time and is psyched to go back. We will see what kind of demon I have created come the end of the week.

Menu Planning Monday June 14-20

My menu planning is really rough right now. I am afraid to try anything new for dinners because it is mission critical that Froggy eats well at dinner since that is right before swim practice and she needs the full belly to make it through. It used to be the best time to try new foods because if she did not eat a big dinner it did not matter she could make it up at her bedtime snack. Now all the dinners have to be enticing to her or it is a problem. bleah :(

Monday - Pizza (which we missed having last week) and Salad
Tuesday - Tacos, refried beans and rice
Wednesday - Chicken nuggets, oven fries and salad
Thursday - TofuStir fry rice and keem
Friday - Challah, steak,salad and grilled corn homemade Icecream sandwiches (these were a big hit last time)

A Seperate Peace

Havdalahis Hebrew for "Seperation". It is also the ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and separates it from the rest of the week. Much of Judaism is about being seperate and different. It is not wrong or bad to be different all the time.

We have marked time Jewishly as much as possible since Froggy's arrival. We want her to celebrate her Judaism and see her difference as gifts rather than burdens. Yet as she got older I worried more and more about how different she would feel and how hard it would be for her. So I sought out more Jewish friends and tried to make her not feel different more than necessary and in doing so I forgot the specialness of being separate.

Swim Team provided me with an unexpected moral dilemma and a chance to grow. When I signed Froggy up for swimming I could not believe how lucky I was that none of the practices were on Shabbat once school let out. I was amazed that they would choose to have a Sunday night practice rather than anything o…

What We Are Reading

It is still a new strange feeling to be much less in control of the reading that is going on with Froggy. We go to the library and she has her own definite opinions. Luckily for me she has been interested again in Little House on the Prairie and we are once again able to follow Laura as she they settle into their new home.

Froggy received King Solomon and the Bee in the mail this week thanks to PJ Library. We picked it up on the way out of the house and she read part of it to me in the car. It sparked an interest in an old favorite, And Shira Imagined, also from PJ Library which Froggy has read to me multiple times this week. To me it was a wonderful statement on her culture rather than ability that she was able to read "kibbutz" with no problem by struggled with construction. Rereading And Shira Imagined was fun for a variety of reason first because Froggy read it to us rather than us to her. Now that she is reading it, she is also focusing more on the book and going …

Geography - Welcome Central America

This is week 2 of our North America map study. I was completely surprised when Froggy was able to label three out of the four countries we had put on the initial map. It shows that this process really does work. We added some of the Central American countries and colored them in. I did the coloring. To me it was critical that they be colored because they were so tiny I was concerned that Froggy would not be able to distinguish which was which without the color. And there was no way that she could accurately color them herself.

Froggy was very curious about how they got their names which caught me off guard since she has never questioned where the name for our country came from. So we talked about Spanish and friends we know who speak Spanish and why they speak Spanish. And we read a few Dora books.

Art Box - I Can Sew

I have been working on designing a dress for myself for a few days now so it should not have come as any surprise to me when Froggy asked if she could sew something too. I quick whipped her up a managable project.

I had planned to cut it out for her so that she could focus on sewing and maybe get enough done to see progress before she got frustrated. She was heartbroken when I told her that so she cut it out too. She did an amazing job cutting it out and asked for help only once and only for a tiny section.

I gave her a tapestry needle and two strands of embroidery floss. She sat in my lap and I held her hand and walked her through the first couple of stitches. After that she happily went to town sewing.
She did not finish the project. There was no project I could make that would have been small enough to be expected to be done in one sitting and yet big enough for her hands to hold and manage comfortably. Finishing it was not the goal. The practice at fine motor skills and being …

Menu Planning Monday June 7-14

Last week's menu plan did not work. But I knew that was likely to be the case. Luckily swim team now moves to 7pm for the rest of the summer so we can eat dinner at a reasonable hour and as a family. The bonus of the week was our Shabbat dinner. Instead of salmon we had tilapia using a new recipe from a friend. It was a super hit with the grown ups. Froggy was not willing to taste it so she missed out. It was so good we will be having it again this week.

Monday - Sloppy Joes tator tots and peas
Tuesday -Asian Chicken Noodle Salad (This salad is a full meal in a dish)
Wednesday - Kids over - Salad and Homemade pizza.
Thursday - Salmon Quesedillas refried beans and salad
Friday- Challah Grilled Chicken pasta salad and broccoli melted icecream cake with Marshmallow frosting

Someone asked previously what Keem is. I replied in comments but she was not able to see that so I thought I would put it here as well. It is dried seaweed similar to Sushi wrappings but cooked more so it is …

Harvest Day

Today was harvest day at the Landing. I picked the last of our lettuce and spinach and took in all of the chard. This marks the end of the greens for us until the Fall. I also topped all the basil plants which netted me quite a bit of basil. Bits of it will be added to the salads to kick them up. Lots will go in the pasta sauce and the rest will be for lunches.

The big haul from the day though was the cherries. We have a sour cherry tree in the front yard. Despite living in this house over 4yrs, this is the first year we have harvested them for our own use. I will make a cherry pie with some of them but have lots I still need to figure out what to do with.

This is the first year for lots of plants. All of the following are firsts. We have two cantaloupe and one watermelon which are still growing and do not look sick but are still tiny. We have an acorn squash (featured last week) that has now blossomed and shows teeny tiny baby squashes.

We have harvested our first zucchini last…

Geography - Charlotte Mason Style

We finally started Map Study. It took awhile to get up and running because I wanted to find just the right Atlas to refer to during our work. I had thought a Children's Atlas would be best and really liked this one. But we ended up going with this one from the adult section because it was available without mail order. The key to me was showing both the physical map of the region as well as the political map and then breaking down the regions into countries with the political and physical regions within that country.

As planned we started with North America because that is home to us. Froggy was not able to identify anything on the blank map initially but I expected that and made sure she was not disappointed in herself. Alaska was tricky. She wanted it to be a country of its own. We looked at the colors on the map and I explained how map makers use color to show differences and similarities and a light bulb went off. "It is my country" Yes. I also pointed out Ha…

What We Are Reading

I realized this week that I am reading much less to Froggy these days. I still read to her in the morning and at bedtime everyday but the "Lets spend an hour curled up on the couch while Mommy reads to me" in the middle of the day is long gone. I don't know if it is more related to move away from Winter or the move toward independent reading since they happened so close together.

Froggy has really enjoyed reading to herself and reading to me this week. Many of her favorites are books written for beginning readers. Our library has several different series and they vary dramatically in the difficulty level and in the quality. The losers (from my perspective- Froggy liked them all) were Big Bird's Copycat Day, A New Roof, and I Can Help.

But the winners were I'm Not Scared and The Tooth Fairy.

I'm Not Scared is a cute story about two boys who take turns sharing what they are not scared of. Until at the end they are scared and run and climb into bed with the…

Swim Team

ok so it is really happening. Froggy is on a swim team. She is a constant source of delight and amazement to me. I am so proud of her.

She is the youngest person on the team by a good bit and at least a full head shorter than anyone else. While this may not matter much in lots of places it is making life challenging for her as she tries to keep up.

Her biggest challenges have come mainly because this is her first encounter with a large group organized activity. She is struggling to hear and understand the coach. She gets lost in the crowd and pushed around.

She is doing great. The coach was amazed that such a little person could keep up. She offered Froggy several modifications that she did not need.

The Art Box - A Self Portrait

It seems that lots of times, Art works better with Froggy if there is a purpose beyond the creation of something. This unit of our Hebrew study is Parts of the Body. So we made a Froggy and labeled her.

Froggy lay down on the craft paper while I traced around her. I drew a face on her because I wanted to be sure all the parts of the face would be identifiable for labeling.

Then it was Froggy's job to give her clothes as I labeled body parts. Froggy wanted nothing to do with it whatsoever while it was on the floor. I managed to convince her to add some hair.

But once I hung it on the wall and gave her paint pens rather than markers she was willing to do some independently.
She went back and traced her work with the paint pen still in her hand creating a neat double image effect.

I am hoping that as the unit continues she will add more to the artwork as I add more labels to girl.

Setting Up School

I finished our curriculum review and finally have at least some goals for the upcoming school year. But now the issue is how do we get that to actually happen. Judaica and Math will happen every day. Science, Geography, Art/OT, and Music Appreciation will happen one day each week.

To help me, I created a file system. The idea came from Dawn. She uses file folders but I am using duotangs instead so that the folder for each can easily travel with us. We do much of our schooling on the road and I need her stuff to travel well. I will use a folder for each week and a hanging file for each month. The reason to have everything laid out in the beginning is to mark the double parsha weeks as well as file the holiday stuff where it should be. Geography, Art and Music all work as multi-month units so this helps me plan them out and organize them.

The plan is that no later than Friday morning before Shabbat I can lay out the upcoming week using this template. The folder will give me a p…

Menu Plan June 1 - 5

Okay so I am a day late. Can I take a bye since it was a holiday yesterday?

Swim Team starts this week and meets right at dinner time which is throwing the Mommy for a big time loop. I have created a tenative plan but I expect it to get tossed to the wind as we adjust to our new schedule.

Tuesday - Tofu Stirfry, rice and Keem
Wednesday - some sort of cold supper salad
Thursday - pizza with homemade sauce and salad
Friday - Challah, Salmon, rice, green beans and something cool for dessert.