Showing posts from April, 2012

Still Working on it.

I made another pass on sourdough bread on Friday.  I made one loaf and some cinnamon rolls.  The loaf was overcooked and the crust much too thick.  But the crumb of the bread is so much better this round.  I am still working on finding just that right combination.

Menu Planning Monday - 8 Iyar

First the review -  Tomato soup - I like the flavor but it is missing something.  Perhaps a touch of coconut milk whisked in at the end.  And some vegan Parmesan croutons on top.  The goulash is great but I need to cut back on the paprika next time for my family.  I love the double prep. It is really nice to get up in the morning dump a bag in the crockpot  and be done with dinner prep for the day.

Sunday - PotLuck at a friend's.  We are bringing the Goulash, Raspberry bars, and Chocolate Pretzels
Monday - Strawberry Picking  and Swim Class - Crockpot Bourbon Chicken, rice and Peas
Tuesday - sloppy Joes, corn and salad
Wednesday -  Fish sticks, couscous and green beans
Thursday -tacos per Abba's request
Shabbat - We will be 8 for dinner this week.  Challah, Gefilte Fish Loaf, Matzah ball Soup, Apricot Chicken (cutup to make it serving easier), steamed broccoli, honey roasted potatoes, and Strawberry Icebox Cake made with our fresh picked strawberries and parve whipped cre…

Going Round The Sun

We have officially started a Apologia's Astronomy book as our Summer Science. This is not part of our official curriculum but more of a test drive to see if we like "textbook science"  The hope of using it is that it will keep us focused and help us learn new things.  I figure summer is the perfect time since we camp quite a bit and can see the night sky much better.  Also with the recent one in a life time opportunities,  (the space shuttle stuff recently and the upcoming VenusTransit) I felt compelled to focus on Astonomy.

Our first lesson was an overview of the solar system.  I tried reading Froggy the textbook passages but neither one of us could stomach them.  So we skipped that.  I will read the textbook and share any sections that contain new information.

 Froggy made a notebook to document her learning through this process.  I was surprised at how much she enjoyed the project.  Her first "assignment" was a pneumonic to remember the order of the plan…

Literature and Twaddle

In addition to our Yom HaAzmaut books, we have done lots of other fun reading as well.  I picked up some astronomy books for our new unit and Froggy found some as well while I was browsing.  She chose My Friend, the Starfinder.From the cover, it looked like it was a book about constellations but it is not.  It is twaddle describing a young girl's relationship with an older neighbor.  Unfortunately Froggy loves it.

Frequently I am not fond of Froggy's choices.  She often picks twaddle like the Rainbow Fairies.  Her motivation for going to the library is new Fairy books.  She is limited in how many she can get each week but always wants more.  I justify allowing her to read these books because she will also of her own choosing read books that are not twaddle.  I like mind candy at times so I suppose she should be allowed some as well.

For instance, she also chose Keeping The PromiseI found this book at the used booksale at  the Day School.  I put it on the shelf planning to r…

Yom Ha'atzmaut

We have been really building up Yom Ha'atzmaut this year.  I am not sure why more this year than others except Froggy is more interested.   All week we have been reading Israel books.  Froggy insisted on It's Israel's Birthday.  It is really too baby a book for her, but she still loves it.  She read it to me at least a dozen times this week.  We read And Shira Imaginedwhich is not specifically a Yom Ha'atzmaut book but the reader travels with Shira as she tours Israel both ancient and modern. 
 Today we had mini birhtday party for Israel consisting of an Israeli lunch of Falafel, Israeli Salad, and hummus with Birthday cupcakes for dessert.  We sang Yom Huledet as well as Hatikvah.  We watched several YouTube videos, including this one which really shows the transition we are emphasizing from Yom HaShoah to Yom Ha'atzmaut

 Froggy made a cute Israeli flag and we both made pinwheels.  The schoolroom is covered in glitter.

Shakespeare for Kids??

When I first saw Shakespeare on our curriculum for this year, I balked big time.  I said no way am I doing Shakespeare with a six year old.  But I did it.  And it worked out great.  She loves it!!
I attribute her enjoyment to two things.  The first absolutely most important is the source material.  We are using Beautiful Stories From Shakespeareby Edith Nesbit.  The plays are abridged but much of Shakespeare's original language is kept.  The length is just right for Froggy.  So far we have read A Midsummer's Night Dream as well as The Winter's Tale.  How can you turn down fairies right?  That was not a hard sell.  But I was really worried about The Winter's Tale particularly since I had never read it myself. 
 Enter item number two.  The next step to making Shakespeare fun for us is Masterpuppet Theatre.  It is a set of 60 cards with finger holes cut out to make them like puppets.  There are also a series of backdrops included.  Froggy was thrilled when this arrived in…

Conquering Battles

Sometimes, as with everything in parenting, schoolwork becomes a battle.  Froggy just is not in the mood to do as she is asked on that given day.  Most days the battles are non existent or minor. But for awhile we had been having big battles every day regarding Math.  Finally I accidentally stumbled on a solution. 

Moving Math
Some exercises have simpler problems yet more of them.  These days seem to be the hardest for Froggy.  So we decided to get up and get moving.  It does not matter the activity.  We have done our Shabbos cleaning while working problems.  We have practiced bike riding while working problems. We have even just marched.  As long as she is using her mind and body at the same time. 
I wish I could find such a simple answer to all the moments of conflict in our reality.

Sour Dough Bread

So I actually fed the starter and kept it alive.  I made two loaves of bread and about 8-10 rolls with it.  I am so not thrilled with how it turned out though. 
This is the underdone one The loaves were under done at the duration recommended.  The one I put back in ended up over cooked along with the rolls.  The family has eaten them though.  The rolls were a big hit with Froggy..
 She will not eat the bread as sandwiches though.  I still need to keep working on bread for sandwiches.  This batch is too crumbly (my perpetual problem)

Kissing Space Shuttles

So first Froggy got to see the Shuttle fly overhead and then she got to see it up close and personal as it was delivered to its new home. We went with Aunt Petal and her cousin, E who is even more space obsessed that Froggy.  They got to touch and sign a shuttle wheel.  It gave them a good perspective on the size of the craft.
 We watched as Discovery rolled forward to meet Enterprise escorted by its entire crew. 
 Froggy and E. were right up front at the fence line and got a great view of the the shuttle and crew as they passed in front. You can get a hint in this picture of the wear and tear Discovery shows. 

And then the two shuttles were nose to nose.  It was a great moment.  When looking at the two together it was easy to see who had been sitting in a hanger for several years and who had just come back from completing 39 missions. 
Wouldn't they make cute astronauts?
We then went inside and got to talk to some people from NASA and see spacesuits up close and learn about the Orion…

Science in the Schools

Froggy and I attended Family Science Night at our local elementary school. This program is put on by the Children's Science Center.  I first encountered them about two year ago and have been volunteering with them ever since because I believe so strongly in their mission. In their words,
"Museum Without Walls "Mobile Labs" Family Science Nights are two-hour evening programs designed for parents to self-guide their students through a series of science lab experiments that can easily be replicated at home for further learning and enrichment. Schools are asked to provide volunteers at each station for assistance. The Children's Science Center provides all supplies and equipment for up to two exhibits and ten activities for hands-on science learning.When Froggy was informed of the event, she insisted on coming and being my helper for the event rather than going out to eat at her favorite restaurant and only attending later as a participant. It does a Momma's h…

Menu Planning Monday - 1 Iyar

We are having guests over for Shabbos much more often which makes me much more likely to make a complicated meal and more likely to try new recipes.  I made Miso Soup completely from scratch.  It is so so easy.  I will be making it much more often.  I did not make the Persian salad but made a Beet Salad instead.  It looked pretty but was largely flavorless.  I made it in advance and the beets soaked up the dressing as I had hoped but did not taste like it at all.
The dessert was marvelous.  It is time consuming but so worth it.  I want to try it again with all almond flour to see if can be done for Pesach.

Sunday  - Green Salad, Pasta, Garlic Bread
Monday -  Swim Class  - Lentil Soup and Sourdough Rolls made with our own starter
Tuesday - Stephanie's Goulash (I prepped it last week but never made it)
Wednesday - Fish Sticks, Peas and wild rice
Thursday - Dinner out before the Theater (Froggy and Abba are going to see Into The Woods)
Shabbat - Challah, Gefilte Fish Loaf,  Tomato S…

Dolly's Dress

High on our success from last week, Froggy started her next handwork project.  This is a much larger project likely to take several weeks to complete.  She is making a dress for her doll.  All by herself.

First we chose the fabric.  Froggy has been doing this with me for ages as I sew her clothes but it had a special feeling knowing it was her project.  She had so much fun rummaging through my stash and putting things together.
Then we laid out the pattern.  I showed her how to pin the patter to the fabric and make it smooth.  Then she cut it out.  She had a really hard time cutting it at first. So I took over to see if perhaps her scissors were not up to the task.   But they worked fine.  So we tested and tested to find a way for her to do it.  And she did it . She was so proud of herself when the piece was finally all cut out. Next came actually sewing the pieces together.  I showed her how to pin the two pieces together and then drew a stitching line for her.  I showed her how to &quo…

Yom HaShoah

The Holocaust is a hard topic to explain to a little person. Yet they are part of our lives and to hide the Memorial Days from them gives them a skewed perspective of reality.  After we lit our yellow Shoah candle, I showed Froggy this picture of six survivors lighting remembrance flames at Yad Vashem.  In Israel, it is easy because the Memorial Days are given the honor and respect they deserve. Here is a clip showing how everyone pauses to show respect for the two minutes of remembrance.  The siren sounds and everyone nationwide actually stops to remember whether they are in school, at work, or on even on the road.

Warning the siren is loud. You may want to adjust your sound
So our Yom HaShoah studies have consisted of mostly reading books and Ima answering the questions that arise.  We pulled back out One Candlewhich is really a Hanukkah book but also shows how the family remembers those who perished and honors their perseverance. 
We also read Memories of Survival.  This is our fir…

The End of an Era

Today we watched shuttle Discovery fly to its new home at Udvar-Hazy.  We got to see it ass over piggy-backed on its jet three separate times.   I am glad it flew over three separate times because the first time Froggy did not understand exactly what she was seeing. We moved closer to the path for the second pass (when I got this picture) and she got to see it better.  The third pass was icing on the cake that she got to share with another local homeschool family that came out to see it.

I have so many memories associated with the shuttle program that it was important for me to share this final moment with Froggy.  While she will get to see it again, it will be on the ground.  It is important for her to know that it really did fly.  Once while visiting my mom, we blessed to chance upon it taking up from Cape Canaveral and she got to witness that but she was too young to remember.

Sourdough Starter

I am finally trying my hand at making sour dough.  I used this recipe for the starter.  According to the recipe it needs to grow for two days before I feed it and then it is another 3-5 days before I can try baking a loaf with it. After that things move faster and in theory I will be able to make bread with the starter a couple of times a week.

Menu Planning Monday 24 Nissan

We finally got around to trying quinoa this week.  I actually liked it.  Abba was pleasantly surprised by it and gave his approval for it to replace some of the rice in our diet even after Pesach.  The big win from the week was the Sephardic Charoset which I ended up making a second batch because we were craving more. Everyone loved it.  

Sunday -  Salad, Pasta with homemade Pomodora sauce(new vegan recipe) and garlic bread
Monday -Lentil Soup and Biscuits
Tuesday - Crockpot - Stephanie's Goulash over egg noodles and salad.
Wednesday -  Sloppy Joes (made with leftover Brisket), buns, frozen corn, Salad
Thursday -  Theater - Dinner out before the Show.
Shabbat - Challah, Miso SoupPersian Tomato and Cucumber Salad Salmon, rice, keem, Cauliflower  Chocolate Rasberry Torte

Light, Mirror, and Lenses

We have been doing a series of experiments with light.  We started out investigating the basic properties of light and mirrors.  We read Day Light, Night Light  and Light.  We used a nail and a flat mirror to determine the focal point of the mirror.  We played a neat maze game bouncing the light from mirror to mirror to make it shine on a specific spot.  Next we look at parabolic mirrors and lighthouses.  We used a big metal bowl and a candle to see how the shape of the reflective surface changes how the light shines back.  The bowl helps focus the light sending it all in one location. 

Since treats always help information sink in, they built a parabolic mirror out of rice krispie treat and used foot by yard as the light beams to show the path of the light as it comes in and bounces back.

Taking the next step, we moved on to lenses.  We discovered the magnifying effect of a drop of water.  It was really neat to see the "Eureka" moment in the kids.  They were supposed to look…

Book Backlog

It has been far too long since I chronicled our favorite books.  I know because there is no mention of the wonderful series we just finished.  Our bedtime book (read by Abba) for the last several months have been the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce.  Abba and I first read this series many years ago.  It was fun finally sharing it with Froggy.  The series is aimed at tween.  Alanna starts as a 10 year old and becomes an adult through the course of the series.  Abba did need to do some on the fly censoring as Alanna begins her explorations of romance. To me it is worth it, since Alanna buck gender assigned roles and shows that women can be strong.  She is honorable and requires those around her to be honorable.

We just started our next series in this same universe, The Immortals which again takes a young girl and watches the struggles she faces as she grows to adulthood.  Daine is gifted with animal magic but did not know it at first.  These books are about coming of age and…


Froggy made a Potholder!!! This is her first real handiwork project ever.  She received a similar potholder from her cousin for the Winter holidays.  I told her she could make them as well.  Well it has taken her this long to be willing to try.
This is an upclose view

I was very proud of her because she did the entire project, from setting up the loom through the weaving to the finishing completely by herself with only a demonstration of each step from me.  It took her about 2 hours of work over 3 days to finish.  The first day she worked on making the loom and starting the weaving.  The second day she finished the last bit of weaving and started finishing it off.  This step was much harder than anything else for her.  She did not want to continue.  She came back the next day and with much struggling finished.

Cattails and Starlings

On our nature hike today, we noticed a patch of fluff on the path.  Froggy was fascinated and curious as to its origin.  I pointed to the old mostly dead cattails just out in the marsh.  She quickly made the connection that it was the fluff or seed pods to the cattails she was familiar with.  We took a moment to examine the texture before pocketing a bit to bring home and examine with the magnify lens. We were also blessed to see some of the fluff taking root and beginning to grow right at the water's edge.  Sure made me wish I had brought the camera.

We also saw a new bird on our walk and Froggy asked me if it was a Longbill because she knows he likes to live near marshes.  We had just read about Longbills in our Burgess book.  It was a starling instead.  We get to meet him a couple of chapters from now. 
Once home we examined our Cattail seeds and looked up some more information online.  We both were fascinated to learn that they are edible.  Froggy wanted to go right back out a…