Monday, June 27

Menu Planning Monday - 25 Sivan 5771

At the Beach!!! Woohoohoo

We are leaving this morning for the beach.  The car is packed with everything except the cooler and the people.  We camp at the beach so that means cooking but I keep it minimal.  We leave the beach for Shabbat which will be spent with friends so it is a short simple cooking week. 

Monday - pasta and sauce (brought with from home)
Tuesday - kebobs (prepared at home cooked there), fire roasted potatoes and salad
Wednesday - burgers,  corn on the cob and green beans
Thursday  - grilled chicken, pasta salad and peas

Lunches / breakfasts will consist of  coconut yogurt, hard boiled eggs, tuna fish and crackers, deli sandwiches and granola. 

Sunday, June 26

Ancient Science

We are enjoying Story of The World.  To complement it, I chose to coordinate our science with it.  We are using Ancient Science as our curriculum for the upcoming school year.  Since Froggy is so interested in the history right now I decided to go ahead and start our lessons. 

She did some map work to go with the history.  We read First Dog and then we did our "experiment"  


 Froggy tried to push a regular stick into the ground.  She could not get it to break the sod even the slightest.   
Once we got it whittled she tried again to push it in the ground as hard as she could.  This time she got it in.
 
She got it in much farther.  This showed her how helpful tools were. 

We measured the difference to prove how better it worked.  We then talked about all the ways the tool she had could be used.  

Swim Update

What I learned about swim meets this week is that they can be exhausting.  Each family is supposed to volunteer at each meet.  We did not help out at the time trials or the first meet because I needed to help Froggy become comfortable with participating and understanding the chaos.  Having accomplished that I made up for lost time by doing double duty.  It made the meet move faster for me and Froggy enjoyed helping me.  But I came out of the meet exhausted and limping because I had not worn the right shoes.

Froggy competed in both freestyle and backstoke this week.  Backstroke is new for Froggy but she completed the race and did not get disqualified.  Many of the little ones get disqualified because the flip over before finishing.  She also took a whole 6 seconds off her freestyle time from last week.  She is one the slowest swimmers in the league and I don't care.  As long as she keeps improving and doing her personal best I am hugely proud of her.

Thursday, June 23

Dippers

Froggy and I did an impromptu nature study while reading Swallows and Amazons.  We love this book and I have talked about here and here because as you can see it is part of Froggy's life right now. We were reading the chapter "Robinson Caruso and Man Friday" in which Titty (among other things) meets a Dipper. Froggy asked what a dipper looked like.  I told her honestly that I had no idea but we could find out together. 

We researched dippers online and in our field guide.  They are not native to our area which may account for why I had not heard of them.  We added this one to our nature journals since it is probably the one Titty saw since it is common in Britain.  We drew its picture, added the date and notes about its habitat and behavior the same as if we had discovered the bird on a walk. 

We also found this one which is common in America but only out west. It is "North America's only truly aquatic songbird"

Wednesday, June 22

Blueberries for Sal (and Froggy)

Blueberry picking is one of our favorite activities.  This is our second year at the same farm.  They use mostly organic practices and do not spray so we feel quite safe going with little ones.  It is on top of a hill at least a little bit like the hill Sal gets to visit.  Luckily we have yet to encounter any bears, mom or baby.  Reading Blueberries for Sal is critical part of the outing though.

This year, we went with another homeschooling family who we are getting as much as we can of this summer before they leave us for Nebraska.

We did not actually see much of the childrens' faces as we picked.  We heard them though.  Playing fairy games, singing songs and making new friends with the other families who came to pick


We picked until the kids decided it was time for lunch.  Then we walked down to the lake on property for a glorious picnic lunch.

After lunch, the children wanted more of the lake and visited the little canoe up close.

Froggy was explained that it was Wildcat Island.  She let the other family be the Swallows since they have four children and she and I were the Amazons
This is the farmhouse for the owners of the farm.

After the other family left, Froggy and I picked for about another 45 minutes or so and headed home ourselves.  We brought home a full 5 quarts of berries.  We snacked ourselves silly, made blueberry crisp, had enough to freeze and still make ice cream.

Limudei Kodesh

The vast majority of our "school" time is spent on Limudei Kodesh.  I include learning Modern Hebrew as part of that because it is something we only do because we are Jewish.  Learning it helps her with davening and other studies.  So I put a great deal of time and effort into finding just the right balance.  So after much thought and consideration, we are launching on a new plan for the upcoming school year.

Thanks to encouragement and suggestions from Adventures in Mamaland, I am starting Chumash with Froggy.  As she is, we are starting with Lech Lecha.  We will be using a collection of homemade worksheets/activities in addition to the great free workbook Mamaland suggested from Bright Beginnings.  

We are taking it nice and slow.  I suspect as time goes on we will do one passuk a week.  But for this very first passuk, we are spending two weeks.  Each day we will practice reading the passuk and do some sort of activity or worksheet for it.  Studying the Chumash will introduce vocabulary and grammar as well as decoding skills. Some may question this slow pace but it is not forever.  The goal is mastery not progress and I want her to truly master the skill and vocabulary.

We are not giving up our other Limudei Kodesh to focus on Chumash.  We still study the weekly parsha using a variety of sources.  We are also working on HWT Hebrew.  And I just ordered the full introductory Migdaolor Program. for reading. 

Some people ask how I can spend so much time on Limudei Kodesh without doing book work all day.  It is easy for us because I do not teach English at all and have not from the beginning.  Froggy learns that on her own because she lives in an environment surrounded by English.  I spend the time on Hebrew that I do because she does not live in Hebrew environment.  If we lived in Israel, I might be able to focus only on Parsha and Middos and let the Hebrew learning come naturally but here it takes work or does not happen.

Tuesday, June 21

Ballet Recital

Froggy's ballet recital was last week. It has taken me awhile to post about it because it was part of the weekend of craziness and disaster and I had no great desire to relive it here.

Froggy was so happy and excited going into the recital.  At her studio, recital is a full weekend production with hours of dress rehearsal on Saturday and the returning on Sunday for the actual recital which never seems as long.
The problems started with rehearsal.  I forgot to pack her tights for her.  But we figured best to get all the kinks out now.  That is the purpose of rehearsal.
 
The older girls led the rest in some stretching while waiting to be called for blocking the final bows. 

 The little ones did not know what they were supposed to be doing but they had fun trying to follow

Eventually they lined up for the bows.
And then came into the audience to watch the other classes and wait for their turn.
 They started out really well.
Then came time to make the circle and trouble struck. They did not know which direction to go.
 With some coaching on stage they were able to finish and bow.  They did not have that coaching during the recital
 On recital day, she got all made up and was willing to give me a moment.
Then they lined up eager to go on stage

Happy and smiley they waited as the previous number finished.
They danced until the circle came.  At which point they got so confused that they ended up getting called off stage and not finishing their dance.  Froggy came back in tears, "We didn't even get to do our butterflies." My heart bled for them.  We got them fixed back up and distracted and willing to go back out for the final bow.
But as you can see the sadness prevailed.

Monday, June 20

Menu Planning Monday - 18 Sivan 5771

 I changed up our menu for Shabbat a bit and made Veggie Corn Fritters from KBD Twenty something instead of the TriColor Kugel.  It was an awesome hit.  I need to make only half a batch next time though because even loving it it was too much for our small family.  I will point on that they hold up great and are yummy even kept on a warming tray on until Shabbat Luncheon.  The Cabbage Salad was not a hit with anyone but me

Monday - Sloppy Joes, Corn on the Cob, green beans
Tuesday - lasagna, garlic bread and salad
Wednesday - Fish ala Jenn Rice and broccoli
Thursday - Lentil Shepards pie (from Freezer) and Salad
Shabbat - Challah, Salad (not sure what kind yet) citrus chicken, roasted potatoes, peas and desserts: Oatmeal Fruit squares, m&M cookies, raspberry chocolate squares

Sunday, June 19

Swim Meet = Success

This time she did it!  I am such a proud mama. It is amazing what a difference can occur in just one week's time.

After the disaster at time trials, I thought that between having a team full of strangers and being at a strange pool, there was no way Froggy would do well.
She did amazing.  She did not want to get in the water for warm ups and ended up missing most of it as we talked about it but she did get in and participate eventually with some bribery.  I am willing to use bribery to help a child past a fear.  I won't bribe her or force her to stay on the team or compete in meets if she decided at some point she did not like.  I will however do pretty much anything in my power to help her overcome what amounts to stage fright, to take a child who is very eager and excited about an event and then chickening out a the last minute.
After warmups she was much better.  I was still scared because we had gotten this far before.  But she was much more animated and playing with her friends and seemed very confident rather than nervous.  That's okay because I was nervous enough for both of us.  

 
 She went off to the holding pen clerk of courts with her friends with an easy wave
 Look we get to be in the lanes next to each other isn't that great?
 "On deck"
 Swimmers take your mark!
 She swam like a trooper.  She finished right in the middle of her heat. Her time is 1:35. She placed 19th out 23 swimmers.  Luckily they give ribbons up to 20th place in her age group so she will get one at her next practice.
Yippee!! We did it!!  Froggy with her best bud. 
 
And they stayed to cheer their team mates on 
I told Froggy the goal for each meet is to do better than the last one.  She did that this time by making it across the pool.  We now have a goal for the next meet which is to beat her time.  If she remembers to kick the whole time, she should be able to do it with ease.

Crazy Daddy

In honor of Father's Day I thought I would share the crazy things the Daddy at the Landing decides are a good idea.

Friday, June 17

Tikkun Olam

 
I wanted to share a couple of projects we have been working on this year.  It has been hard to find opportunities with in the community that allow young people to participate in a meaningful fashion.
A friend of ours shared with us what she does and it is easy yet so personal that we immediately put it into effect.  We make "comfort bag" for the homeless and keep couple in the car so they are available whenever we see someone in need.
First Froggy decorates the bags (plain lunch bags)
Then we fill them with some comfort items. The contents have grown slightly since we started. If you have any suggestions of what we should add we would love to hear them.It has brought much joy to our lives to have these available when needed

 The other way we help is through a large community project, S.OM.E(So Others May Eat).  We bake tuna casseroles which are collected once a month at our Shul.  It was a great lesson in cooking as well as helping others.  I poured all the ingredients into the dish and Froggy mixed it up. Then she helped me deliver it to Shul

Thursday, June 16

Summer Fun Bucket

We did several of the activities off our Summer Bucket List this week and more that probably should have been on there and were not but we did them anyhow.

We finally made it to the farmers market.  It was dreadfully hot and still tons of fun.We ran into friends also shopping and walked around with them.  We got cherry tomatoes and blueberries that the children snacked on as we walked.  The girls felt very grown up being allowed to pay the farmer for the purchases

We also went creek walking. We will surely go again before the end of the season.  There is a creek that runs along the length of our Parkday Park.  The children play in or near the shallow area almost every single week.  Being allowed to go to the deep area is a special treat that requires a grown up and warm weather.  We went this week with four families worth of kids and two adults.  The mom who came with me is just amazing.  She is 9 months pregnant, vastly lopsided and she was the only other mom willing to go wading. The section of the creek is beautiful with a shallow waterfall area and large rocky area above it.  Further down is a deeper area that the kids call their "swimming hole"

Wednesday, June 15

Story of The World

We do not officially start our new school year until Rosh Hashana.  But I am gathering materials now and getting ready.  I chose to try Story of The World again mainly because it will pair nicely with the science we are trying Ancient Science.   Theoretically a friend of ours will be giving me a chart that tells me exactly which experiment to do with each chapter in SOTW.  It does not get much easier than that.

So part of getting ready was ordering the SOTW discs.  They came in and I decided to test them out in the car to see if they were enough "story" to be interesting in the car.  Major SCORE. 

Froggy loves it.  Since it was only for a test I just brought the first disc which is the first 6 chapters I think.  We listened to it twice since I was not sure how well she heard it the first time.  When that second round ended, I let the disc run to the next disc of music.  Froggy got very upset. She wanted more SOTW.  I explained that it had ended and I did not have the next disc.  She did not care.  "Play it again Mom!"   I figure if they are asking for more it is a major win.

I have no idea how much she is learning just from the disc but I also don't care.  We have not officially started. I will go one chapter a week and do lots of activities to help it all make sense and build the connections once we do start. 

Monday, June 13

Cooking With Kids

We had a little visitor on Friday.  So I took that opportunity to involve them in making our Shabbat dinner. On Thursday I had baked a special experimental dessert, Jelly Bean Cake.  I figured a fun dessert could only get more fun with children decorating it.

I turned the frosting and decorating of the cake totally over to them.  I mixed up the icing to the proper consistency and gave each child a bowl with the cake in the middle and they had at it.  We added different instrument first brushes then spoons as they went. 

After they frosted I gave them a container of different kinds of sprinkles and they decorated.


They had a blast.  A necessary task got accomplished. And I had live entertainment while I worked in the kitchen. 

Menu Planning Monday - 11 Sivan 5771

With the heat lately it had been hard to be inspired to cook.  I ended up totally revamping our Shabbat dinner at the last minute due to a very welcome vegetarian guest.  We ended up with Marinated steak and portabella mushrooms, corn on the con, grilled veggies.

Monday - Potluck at Girl Scouts - We are bringing Vegetarian Chili
Tuesday - Picnic at the WaterPark - Bean and Corn Salad, cold chicken, fruit salad, cookies
Wednesday - Grill Night - Burgers, corn on the cob and a big green salad
Vegan Vursday - Tofu Stir Fry
Shabbat - Challah, crunchy red cabbage salad, Pot Roast, tricolor kugel, steamed broccoli, and homemade oreo ice cream sandwiches.

Sunday, June 12

First Swim Meet = Total Fail

Froggy had her very very first ever swim meet.  She has been looking forward to competing since before the season started.  Apparently though she did not totally know what to expect.

 This is the sea of tents that we first saw as we arrived at the pool.  This is the same pool she practices in every day. 
This is Froggy getting an overview from the coach with all her age mates.

 Here are all the kids gathered for the opening cheer. This is the last positive moment of the meet.
And this is the start of the first race. This team is amazing.  In this race one of the young boys got scared and stopped halfway across the pool and would not move even with everyone cheering him on.  His sister got in the pool next to him and walked beside him as he swam the rest of the way. 

Froggy was slated to be in the second race with her very best friend.  She marched up to the start line and freaked out.  She cried and refused to even get in the pool.  I reminded her about her friend in the previous race.  Nope no good.  Still terrified and not willing to try.  

I am very much a fan of letting children choose their own activities. I understand that what is right for one person is not right for another.  As well people change their minds.  That is all fine.  

What makes me sad is when Froggy misses out because of fear.  If she had raced and not enjoyed it, we would have been done. But now I feel a need to help her overcome her fear so she can truly have the experience she was so looking forward to and then be able to judge.