Friday, August 31

Fall Schedule

Our new school year looks like lots of fun if I can just get organized.  There is lots more going on which makes it even more important to be organized.

Here are the things we will be doing on a daily basis.  Between our morning work and our afternoon outings I need to lie down for an hour.  I may do a telling back during that time.  I also need to lie down for an hour after our afternoon outing and before dinner.
  • Ivrit 
  • Parsha
  • Chumash
  • Math
  • Copywork / Dictation /Spelling
  • "Telling Back"  - This is where our Ambleside Readings occur.  This year several days will require two readings.
And this is our weekly schedule
Monday - Swim Lessons
Tuesday - Park Day / Hebrew School
Wednesday - PE Class in the morning / Handwork in the afternoon
Thursday - 4H or a playdate
Friday - Park Day / Shabbat Prep

Thursday, August 30

Changing Plans

There are times when Froggy's lack of serious emotional investment in oh just about anything is a serious plus. 

We had to cut our beach vacation super short and return home very unexpectedly due to problems with the pregnancy.  Froggy made one comment to Abba about being disappointed then bucked up and rolled with the punches.

We are in the process of totally changing how life is handled here and she is adapting very well.  She has lots more responsibilities because suddenly I have lots more limitations on what I can do. 

I have to literally lie down for 2 hours in the middle of the day whether I sleep or not.  I am not allowed any unnecessary walking or stairs. I cannot lift anything over 5 lbs.  All these together make for a very different life for Froggy who is used to Ima scooping her up for random hugs and chasing her up and down the stairs and going on hikes with her and the dogs.

When she asks why or grumps, I remind her about our middle of the night adventure to the emergency room and how much she prefers this to an Ima stuck in the hospital for weeks on end which is our alternative and likely eventual situation.

Wednesday, August 29

Loose Tooth

Froggy has her very first loose tooth.  She greeted me this morning with a maniacal grin showing off the clearly out of position tooth.  She has had trouble keeping her fingers off of it for even five minutes today.

 Eating was a very big challenge.  She took a bite of breakfast and then decreed eating too hard saying "I just won't till it falls out"  I informed her that could easily be weeks and she needed to find a way to work around it.

Given how fast it went from normal to very wiggly, I expect it will be out sooner rather than later.  Froggy is the last of her rough year mates to get a wiggly tooth so we have had the opportunity to see how many other families handle this rite of passage.

We have had plenty of time to form our own plan.  We have a tooth pillow to tuck it in at bedtime.  Once it falls out, Froggy will write a letter to the tooth fairy telling her about how she lost the tooth.  Then tuck in the special pillow for bedtime.  During the night the tooth fairy will replace it with a gold dollar and a letter in response.

What is the tradition at your house? Does the tooth fairy come?  If so what does she leave?  If not is there a different tradition that replaces it?

Thursday, August 23


I know. I  know.  There has been no real content on this blog in a while.  That is because we are on summer break.  Real content as well as some highlights from our summer will be coming soon. We start back to school with Rosh Hashana and then the blog will be filled with all our glorious Year 2 activities.

See you soon.

Monday, August 20

Menu Planning Monday - 2 Elul

Review - I really liked the Autumn Soup as did our guest.   Unfortunately, neither Froggy or Abba did.  The Honey Pumpkin actually ended up being our regular squash recipe instead.  It was a huge hit and got gobbled up.  The couscous salad was ok but nothing special. 

Monday - Coq a vin, salad, egg noodles
Tuesday - Tofu stirfry rice and keem
Wednesday -Pizza and Salad.
Thursday -leftover buffet
Shabbat - Asian Flair - Miso Soup, Asian Salad, Teryaki Salmon, Rice, Green Beans, and something yet to be determined for dessert

Friday, August 17

Shabbos Foods - Jewels of Elul

With the start of Elul, I am starting to try out some new recipes in preparation for Rosh Hashana.

Lunch / Slisha Seudah

Wednesday, August 15

Fruit Butter Bread

This is the first quick bread that Froggy has eaten and come back for more until it is all all gone.  I used homemade pumpkin butter.

Make this quick bread with cantaloupe butter, apple butter, pumpkin
butter, or your own favorite flavor.

    * 1 cup sugar
    * 1 cup fruit butter (apple, pumpkin, cantaloupe, etc.)
    * 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    * 2 eggs
    * 3 tablespoons milk
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
    * 1 teaspoon soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    * 1 cup chopped pecans (reserve 1/4 cup for topping)
    * .
    * Topping
    * 1/4 cup brown sugar
    * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    * 1/4 cup chopped


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine topping ingredients; set aside. Combine sugar, fruit butter, oil, eggs and milk; stir to blend well. Sift dry ingredients together; add to mixture and stir until ingredients moistened. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Pour in greased and floured loaf pan; sprinkle with topping. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. To prevent excessive browning, cover loosely with foil after the first 30 minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.

Monday, August 13

Menu Planning Monday - 25 Av 5772

Recipe Review - The Snickers Pie was a disaster.  The caramel sauce did not work at all.  I had left Abba in charge of watching it simmer and I suspect that it did not simmer fully so we will try the caramel sauce part again.  The filling of the pie (with the tofu) was not a pleasant taste and so the whole pie a lose.

Sunday - Pasta, Homemade sauce, Salad and Garlic Bread
Monday -Brown sugar and Garlic Chicken, Mashed potatoes (leftover from Shabbat), and peas
Tuesday - Salad, DF Lasagna Casserole based off of this recipe, and Garlic Bread
Wednesday -Tofu Stirfry, Rice and Keem
Thursday - Burgers, Corn on the Cob and Salad
Shabbat - who knows?  I want to make Pot Roast but can't find the kosher meat I need locally.

Friday, August 10

Shabbos Foods

  • Challah - rising in the fridge
  • Gefilte Fish Loaf
  • Chicken Noodle Soup - in crockpot - will add noodles 1 hr before serving
  • Salad
  • Roast Chicken
  • smashed potatoes
  •  green beans
 Seudah Slishit
  • cucumber salad
  • deli rolls
  • hummus
  • tossed salad
  • Tuna fish

Desserts/Breakfast Breads
  •  Snickers pie
  • cinnamon rolls
  • chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
Those items crossed out are finished and ready to go.

Wednesday, August 8

Homeschool Success Story

A huge motivate in our decision to homeschool was my belief that one of the major things that our schools teach children is that learning and school are yucky rather than fun.  Almost all Kindergarteners go in loving to learn and a huge percentage of children leaving Elementary school no longer like school at all.  One of our major goals was to ensure that Froggy always loved learning.

Last night I got confirmation that this is working even after switching to a much more formal structured curriculum.   We returned home after a full day of activities with one more piece of school left to do for the day.  Froggy requested a particular reading.  She is usually allowed to choose which reading we do on a given day from those assigned for the week.  I told her no since we still had a reading from the previous week we needed to finish first before we could start the new batch.

Froggy's response was "well that makes sense but if I go fast and do a great job with that reading can we do [her requested reading] as well?"  Of course I said yes.  She wanted me to promise which I did.  And we proceed through the assigned reading and the first part of the additional reading with great enthusiasm and success.

When Froggy finished her narration, I started to put away the stuff and move on.  Froggy objected strongly.  "Can't we do the other half, please?"  So I gave her a choice.  It was time to start getting ready for bed and I had planned on putting on her standard bedtime video.  She very clearly chose to do more school rather than watch her favorite video. 

This is why we homeschool.

Tuesday, August 7

Finishing Up Math

We are struggling to finish up our math for the year.  We use Singapore Math and are completing level 2.  We chose Singapore because unlike many children Froggy finds manipulatives a distraction rather than a help.  We are pleased with the program and will be continuing with Level 3 in the Fall.

We have two exercises left.  Unfortunately that does not mean we will be done in two days.  I am hoping we will be done in two weeks. Generally we do one lesson per day.  Sometimes if the lessons are particularly easy or fun we will do two lessons in a day.  Other times, we will split a lesson into two days.  Reviews are always split.  These last two lessons are reviews and take thirteen pages. Most exercises are between one and three.  Also as soon as Froggy sees that any exercise is a review she immediately balks at the exercise.  I have yet to figure out why but she is emphatic that reviews are awful.  She has no difficulty with the actual work asked of her but the name raises her hackles and thus makes the exercise hard.

Dancing with Degas

Our third stop on the Tour de France took us back to Paris and the Opera House.  There we learned that it was one of Edgar Degas' favorite places.  A lot of aspects of the Paris Opera House inspired his works from the rehearsals in the classrooms to the final productions on the stage.  

For our tour this time we came in the afternoon rather than the morning and had a different docent than we have ever had before.   We are very grateful for the wonderful docents we have during our regular morning visits.  This docent talked to the children as if they were 2 rather mostly 5 and 6.  
But even with a less than stellar docent the program is wonderful.  The book for this tour stop was  Bijou, Bonbon & Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas.  The book is a perfect mix of fiction and history.  Degas while a significant character in the book is not the main character but it shows his sketching process as well as his love for the Opera House.
The painting that we got to see is The Dance Lesson.   The docent explained how "authenticity is what interested Degas. He actually said that he wanted to "paint life through a keyhole." He liked to capture reality, intimate and informal. He loved the dance, but the performance was for everyone. This was a way of "peeking behind the curtain."

For the art project, each child was given a folio like piece with an outline of the Opera House on the cover and an outline of an empty stage on the inside.  They were encouraged to draw an "authentic" scene of a play from their imagination.  Froggy had tons of fun but I felt it was one of the less effective connections and least useful exercises.

Monday, August 6

Menu Planning Monday 18 Av 5772

Recipe Review - The Chocolate Peanut Butter pudding was delicious and very easy to make.  I don't think the merguine topping added anything to it though and would probably make it more of a trifle the next time rather than the baked dish.   We were in theory going to have a cucumber salad (recipe below) along with the other dishes for Shabbat but it was so good I ate it all by myself before anyone got to taste it.

Cucumber Salad
Peel cucumbers, remove seeds and slice into half moons.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit for a bit to pull out some of the water.  For the dressing mix Sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a 4:4:1 ratio.  I used 1/3c sugar and vinegar for 2 English cucumbers and it would reduce it to 1/4c in the future. Toss cucumbers and dressing in a tupperware and let sit as long as you can bear to wait before yumming it up.

Monday - No Daddy = Mac and Cheese
Tuesday - Pizza and Salad
Wednesday -Pulled Chicken, tator tots and peas (we never had any chicken last week)
Thursday - leftover buffet
Friday - I end up rewriting our Shabbat menu so much during the week I am not even going to try to put it here this time.  I will post it by itself later when it is more stable.

Sunday, August 5

Looking forward to Year 2

We won't officially start second grade until Rosh HaShana.  But as we finish up other things we are starting some of our curriculum and I am pulling together all our resources.  We are going to have so much fun. 

It is going to be tons of fun because I learned a great deal this past year about what makes it more fun for Froggy.  We are going to do a notebook for the Burgess Animal Book from the very beginning.  Froggy loved putting the pictures of the birds in her Bird Book above her narrations.  I also purchased a guide to help with our Geography study.  I am not sure how much we will use it but it has some ideas for making it fun. 

I am still looking for ways to make our Book of centuries more fun and more useful.  I am putting together a clipart file to use with it of all the figures we are going to meet during the year.  That way when we meet them she can just cut them out, glue them into our BOC and add the information she wants.

As this past year has progressed we have added more and more elements from Charlotte Mason and the Ambleside curriculum.  Year 2 will be even more in keeping with it.  For instance, we are trying to do as many of the "Free Reads" (which I totally ignored in Year1) as possible starting with Mr. Popper's Penguins.  
I have also gotten some great tips on how to incorporate Picture Study and Music Study better into our life   For our first artist of the year, we are doing Renoir.  Froggy already has somewhat of a relationship with this artist so it makes a nice gentle introduction. 
 I love this video on how to do picture study.  I made an Art Gallery in our "School Room" to hang the pictures once we introduced them. 

For Music Study, I have made a playlist in GrooveShark of this term's composer, Claude DeBussy.  With Music Study, we are not doing anything formal.  I am simply going to play it during the day and answer her questions as they arise.  Easy peasy and fun.

Friday, August 3

What We Are Reading

Now that Froggy is older and reading longer books, sometimes it takes a while for the book to really get interesting.  I am working with her not to give up too fast on a new book.  A great example is Mr. Poppers Penguins.  We have a paper copy of this book that Froggy has picked up and put down several times without really giving a valid chance.

This week I picked up an audio version of it.  When I put it on in the car, her cmment was "I know this book and don't like it"  After listening to only 2 chapters her new impression was totally captivation and enthusiasm, so much so that she wanted to continue the story with the paper version when we came inside.

I also wanted to share my latest treasure, Surely You're Joking Mr. Fyneman.  This memoir is far outside my typical reading material.  When I was a bit older than Froggy is now I read lots and lots of biographies and memoirs but as an adult generally the only non-fiction I read is for educational purposes, ie how to be a better parent, how to do x,or y or z.

Adventures in Mamaland recommended the book and it is wonderful.  "In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize­-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature"  I am scientist by trade and even though physics is not my area of expertise, it is neat to see this look into its early beginnings.  Some of the math that he references goes right over my head but it does not detract from my ability to enjoy the book and his fun geeky way of seeing the world.  As a person who has always hung out with true mathematicians and scientists, it is fun to see that yes most of them really are socially clueless and lost in their own world.

Wednesday, August 1

Baby Cheetahs

We are members of the National Zoo as well as the local(ish) Science Museum.  We like to support our local resources in order to encourage them to continue.  The most useful benefit we receive from our zoo membership is free parking. They also offer special member only classes and exhibits which we tend not to take sufficient advantage of.
This time we did.  Froggy and I went to the special advance showing of the brand new three month old baby cheetahs.  It was wonderful  They are so adorable.  
 They are being hand-raised by their keepers because mom abandoned them at birth.  Despite bottle feeding and the necessary touching and contact hand-raising entails, the keepers are really doing their very best to give the cubs as little human contact as possible .  The keeper who was out in the enclosure with them during their entire one hour exhibition played "statue" and ignored them whenever them tried to engage him.
The cubs, a brother and sister, chased each other and pounced each other and snuggled each other at great length much to the audience's delight.