Showing posts from March, 2011


We have finally restarted our map work.  We love map time and it feels really good to get back to it. For our study this time, we chose Europe.  We are doing it in proper Charolette Mason style this time rather than the repetitive manner we did the last time.

Once a week, when I pull out the atlas and her map, Froggy gets to pick somewhere between 1-3 countries to color and explore. 

First she finds the country she wants to learn about on her blank map.  Then she locates it again in the atlas.  We read the name and maybe some information about it.  Then she colors it on her map.  Through trial and error, we learned it is important to write the name in pen before coloring in the country. 
 By coloring in the country, she learns the actual shape and all it includes. For instance, this week she chose the small islands between Spain and Italy.  When she went to the atlas, she learned that they are actually part of Spain.  I showed her how the color of the country indicates the country bo…

Tree Study - Maples

We began our year-long tree study this week.  Last year, we study the Cherry tree out front, watching it change through all the seasons.  This year, we chose the Red Maple in the backyard.  This tree is so important to Froggy and such a critical part of her nature landscape that it seemed the obvious choice.  This tree is the majestic king of the yard, gracefully surveying all who enter. Froggy's baby swing hangs from it and if we were staying in this house long term it would eventually be replaced by her tire swing.  In summer we set our hammock in its shade. 

Since we are using a maple for our year-long focus, I combined two challenges into one and did the Maple Sugaring study as well.  I am refering constantly to The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock for our studies at this point.  The Handbook of Nature Study Spring Challenges give a short overview and can be done without really refering to the book and that is what I had been doing.  But I get so much more out of the…

Homemade Marshmallows

We are going to try these for Shabbat this week since I will be able to restock my Kosher gelatin supply on Thursday.

3 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup - if these work the plan is to try again with honey so they are KLP
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c water
2 TBS vanilla

Combine water and gelatin.  Let stand for 20 minutesCombine sugar, syrup, salt and 1/3 c water in medium sauce pan.  Stir over low heat until sugar dissolved. Increase heat and heat until mixture comes to a brisk boil. Keep heating until mixture reaches 240F. Remove from heat. Pour carefully over gelatin.  Add vanilla. Beat with mixer on high for at least ten minutes. When mixture is very thick, white and doubled in size it is done.Scoop mixture into 9x13 pan that has been generously dusted with confectioners sugar. Smooth with spatula.  Let set overnight. Cut with pizza cutter or cookie cutters, dusting cut marshmallows so they don't stick.

Froggy's Haggadah

Two years ago, I made this haggadah for Froggy.  She loved it and it was great giving her something to use and help follow along.  But even just last year it was really to young for her already.  We still brought it out and she flipped through it.

One of my email lists shared how they have personal haggadahs for each child that the child builds and adds to each year.  Inspiration

So this year we are going to add to Froggy's Haggadah.  I will move her old haggadah into a 3-ring binder so the each new page can be added in the appropriate section. We are starting with the Maggid and the Four Questions.  We will do both question and answer as pretty and fun as we can.  If we finish that and have time, we will add whichever other parts Froggy picks.

I will post pictures as we go.

Menu Planning Monday - 15 Adar II

First the review -  I am so loving my new cookbook, Kosher By Design: Teen and 20-Something.  All the recipes we have tried have been tremendous hits with at least two of the household even if not all.  The chicken dippers were such a hit they are making a repeat appearance this week.  The recommended amount of chicken was not sufficient and I will double it this time.  I do not need to make dipping sauce again though.  The potatoes and pears are going on my Shabbat side dish list and I am decreasing the syrup to 3/4c.
We ended up with merguines sandwich cookies with ganache filling for Shabbat dessert.  It was fantastic and will be making a reappearance during Pesach

We also made dairy-free blintzes that were an absolutely tremendous success.  It felt so good to finally be able to eat blintzes again.

Then the menu
Sunday - Tofu stirfry,  and rice
Monday - pasta with sauce, salad and garlic bread
Tuesday - breakfast for dinner - pancakes and eggs
Wednesday- chicken dippers, carrot st…

Week Plan

I have not done this in a while but with Pesach just around the corner, I figure I better or we will miss stuff.

Reading/Writing - I am putting aside our regular copy work to combine Hebrew and English by using the Four Questions for our copywork.  We will do one question a week so that Froggy can focus on the Hebrew reading and pronunciation.

Math - More skip counting - review 3's and introduce 4's

Science/Nature - the last science class and Maple trees for our nature study

History - We have officially restarted our map study - Europe and will continue it this week

Art/Music - We are beginning our April Study - Schubert and Morisot. The materials are pulled together.  I am not sure when I will present them but I am ready at least.  The study is supposed to last all month so there is time to figure it out.

Judaics - Passover preparations kick into high gear.  We are making our annual shopping trip to KosherMart on Thursday so we can get all the KLP items that we cannot get locally.…

Hopscotch with a twist

Today was so beautiful the outdoors just called to me.  At the same time, I have been struggling with what to do to make skip counting fun for Froggy.  Bingo!! Inspiration struck.

After a breakfast/school time in the treehouse, I got to hurry through the clean up with a promise of a fun game when we were finished.  All cleaned up she wanted to know where to meet for the game.  When I told her "out front" her little eyes lit up and she could not move fast enough.
Waiting for her on the sidewalk in front of the house was a "hopscotch board", which mind you is what she called it when she saw it. I explained the game to her and went first.  It is really a lot like regular hopscotch minus the tossing.  I showed her how to hop/jump landing with one foot on the blue number and with both feet on the orange numbers.  I also told her she needs to say the blue numbers out loud as she lands on them.
Viola skip counting practice and no mention whatsoever of Math.
She loved the game…

Blintzes From Minsk

Here is the modified recipe we used to make our field of Sunflowers.  It is modified from How Mama Brought the Spring Our version is dairy-free

Ingredients - Wrappers
4 eggs beaten1 1/2 c coconut milk1 cup flour2 TBS sugarbutter for fryingIngredients for Filling
2 eggs beaten1 TBS applesauce1 pkg silken tofu - drained well1/4 c sugarhefty pinch of cinnamonPreparing the Wrapper - Pour, Swirl, Sizzle, Flip
Combine eggs and milk, stir in flour and sugar.  beat until smoothMelt butter in non-stick frying panPour in about 3 TBS of batter (I use medium scoop - the same as I use to fill my muffin tins)Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.Cook until small air bubbles form on the top of the wrapper and the bottom is golden.  Do not turn over. SizzleFlip the wrapper brown side up onto a tablecloth or paper towels. Repeat until all the batter is used up Preparing the filling and blintzes
Combine all filling ingredients and mix wellWith the wrappers brown side up, place a scoop of filling in the cente…

Crash Test

We took science to the sidewalk this week with our study of inertia.

We started with a toy car and a review.  Does the car go if you just put it on the sidewalk?  Heck no.  Push car with hand What made the car go now?  A push, a force.
Then came the neat part.  So why did it stop? This took some serious investigation.  At first the suggestion was because I took my hand off it but I showed them how far it went even after I took my hand.  Slowly we worked our way around to friction and the ground pulling on the car.  Once we established what friction does, we added a new term, inertia.  I explained that everything keeps moving until something stops it.  Just like nothing moves until something makes it.  That is called inertia.  We put a ball in the skate and watched what happened.  The ball started at the center of the skate then moved to the back.  I explained this was because I pushed the skate but the ball did not move until the skate pushed it. 

Next we replaced the ball with Curious G…

Books All Shapes and Sizes

I cannot stop cheering.  A magical event has taken place.  Froggy happily listened to  More All of A Kind Family in the car. This is a huge achievement.  I have been trying to get her to listen to audio books in the car for ages.  It not only allows us to share more books than we would otherwise but also creates more peace in the car during the drive.  More All of A Kind Family is a lovely book in which we see all our familiar friends mostly grown up.  Apparently I had misremembered the order of the stories from my youth causing us to skip several but that is ok.  We can fill them in once I locate them.

We also finished The Secret Garden.  We have enjoyed reading this book together but it did not seem to captivate Froggy the way More All of a Kind Family did.  Froggy enjoyed it in the moment but did not talk about it or bring it into her play the way she did with Mama's girls or the fairies.
 We enjoyed several fantastic picture books as well this week.  The top pick of the week is…

Early Spring Flowers

We were a bit late with this study due to the frantic Purim preparations but I did not want to miss out on it.  Froggy had been asking about tulip and iris seeds so I figured it needed to be done.  The Handbook of Nature Study gives a great concise description of several bulb plants.  We picked Daffodils as they are currently up in our yard and very easy to study.  The tulips have not yet bloomed.

I read through the relevant pages and highlighted what I needed to remember for our time outdoors looking at the flowers.  Then grabbing journal and pencils we went outside for some "art time"

There are daffodils all around our neighborhood so seeing them is easy.  We looked at them in our backyard where some were in full bloom while tanother was still working on opening up

We looked at the different parts of the flower and learned the names of the parts.  We played turning the daffodil upside down so that the petals became a skirt and the corona became a petticoat for the fairy wh…

Menu Planning Monday - 15 Adar II

First a quick review - the salmon chowder was amazing.  The flavor was perfect.  For the future though I would make a roux to thicken it up.  We had homemade bread with using our pizza dough recipe but turning it into a loaf instead and the whole loaf was gone in one sitting.

The hamentaschen came out great.  The most popular filling was a new jam from Wegmans, apricot, peach and passion fruit.  I really liked the spiced nuts but need to remember to double the recipe when making next time.  The truffles are always the favorite for the recipients and my least favorite.  I returned to using a hot water bath for melting the coating chocolate.

Sunday -Salmon Chowder and Challah (leftovers)
Monday -Cranberry Chicken Dippers and spicy carrot sticks both from (Kosher By Design 20 Something)
Tuesday -  Pasta with homemade sauce, salad and garlic bread
Wednesday - Picnic -Asian chicken wraps, pretzels and apple slices
Thursday -Tacos, refried beans and rice
 Shabbat -Challah, Soup, Pot Roa…

More on the scientific method

We are wrapping up our unit on forces.  We only have two more sessions. This week we theoretically were working of what makes different balls bounce differently.  It turned more in two a lesson on graphing and the scientific method.
The students were presented with a big piece of paper, a meter stick, some markers and a collection of balls. They passed the balls around squeezing and comparing them.  Then we gave each ball a color and a name.   We labeled the paper with the names in the designated color to show where to drop each ball. 

Before dropping the balls we predicted how high they would bounce. The predictions started out outrageous with the kids claiming the ball would bounce all the way up to the ceiling.  I tried to guide them reminding them we were only dropping the ball rather than throwing it down.  When they were unconvinced, they recorded their predictions as stated.Then we dropped the ball and recorded the actual results.

The balls came no where near their predictions…

Half of an Elephant

We took a break from our Purim preparations for the final installment of winter Stories in Art.  During this "investigation", the children were on the look out for clues about David Smith. 
First we listened to  Half of an Elephant.  It is a cute story about a time when the Earth splits apart.  All the animals get cut in half.  The elephant gets lonely without his other half and goes searching.  What makes the story perfect for this Stories in Art  are the illustrations.  Each illustration is a photograph of the animals built out of found objects. 
After the story, we visited his sculpture, Voltri VII.  Mr. Smith was not much into unique names for his pieces, many of which are numbered.  He liked working in series.  This piece was apparently inspired by the wagon wheels which he saw in Voltri. 

Next the kids all got to create their own sculptures using wood and metal.  Many of the children built wagons/car/buses using Voltri VII. as an inspiration.  Not Froggy.  She is an in…

Daylight Savings Time - The Upside

While I truly despise daylight savings time and the havoc it causes to our sleep schedules, there are some pluses.  Last night, we got to eat dinner outside and I was even able to work in the vegetable garden a bit.  I got the early lettuce, spinach and peas planted.  It was absolutely lovely to be outside in the evening.  I still miss my morning walks but this is nice too.


Since our house is totally immersed in Purim preparations, this week geography/history lesson consisted of a virtual trip to the Persian Empire. It was inspired by the Purim mapwork handout from Adventures in Mamaland.  She is the source of much of our Limudei Kodesh but it is surprising when we find secular work there as well. 

Froggy was fascinated with the map.  There was so much to look at and talk about.  We reviewed continents which we had learned in our initial map study but not touched on lately. Froggy had apparently forgotten much of it.  She was amazed that one country - even an empire - could touch more than one continent. 

We also learned some about who the Persians were beyond the brief moment we see of them in the Megillah.

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!

We did our outdoor time this week at the Zoo.  We have been making lots of trips to the zoo lately because the new additions, 7 lion cubs from 2 litters, are on display now.  We want to see as much of them as we can while they are still cute and playful.
We go often because Froggy's tolerance for standing and watching the same animal is limited even if they are active and fun as the lion cubs.  Personally I could watch them from the time they come on exhibit for the day until they go back inside. Today however they were much more somnolent than other times we have seen them so we did not stay as long.
The young male elephant made up for it though. He was out by himself and extremely playful.  He has a tire swing that he would push around. We also watched him throw his lighter toys back and forth. 

Daddy's favorite is the red panda which is right near the elephant so we stopped there as well.  The first time by we could not find them but lucky for us, we made another attempt.  The…