Monday, January 23

Menu Planning for a new crew

I am trying to learn a whole new style of planning in so many phases of life right now.  Tiger is very very picky eater who is reluctant to even taste new things.  As well I now have at least two clamoring for breakfast before my feet hit the ground.  This is the biggest change for me who is used to having a solid couple of hours to get everything ready in the morning.

Sunday - B Baked Oatmeal  D Fish ala Jenn, rice, and mixed veggies
Monday - B Pancakes  D Chili, Chips and veggie sticks
Tuesday - Swim Night B scrambled eggs and Fruit  D Chicken Noodle Soup and Biscuits
Wednesday B Oatmeal D Pulled Chicken, tatortots, and peas
Thursday - Drama B toast with peanut butter D Pizza and Salad
Friday - B _____, D Challah, Pot roast , squash and broccoli, melted ice cream cake 
Saturday - B Yogurt and muffins,  Kiddush at Shul,

Friday, January 13

Learning Club and Mittens

I love our learning club.  We just started our Spring Semester with some major revamps. We have added 3 new families.
The Big Kid Group (first grade and up)  has shifted its focus from history to science. I will alternate teaching this with one other mom.  This group does science first and then art.

The Kindergarten group has split off completely now and has their own teachers.  Since I have no kids in this group and do not teach it at all, I really have very little idea what they do. All I know is that i helps immensely in teaching the big kids since the range of abilities is much smaller.

The tag alongs are now an official preschool group.  There are 4 currently and it may be going up to 6.  We do a stART activity each week.  I had the privilege of teaching this group for its inaugural session.  I picked The Mitten  as our primary story in honor of our first real snow of the year.  The version I found was much nicer than the one I read with Froggy so many years ago.  The sidebars were a fun hint of the story to come.  The illustrations were much richer.  My audience enjoyed the story and stayed attentive through the entirety.
After the story, we sang a fun action song imitating each animal as it takes its turn snuggling into the mitten until that final sneeze sent us scurrying in all directions.  All the children collapsed in giggles.

Knowing my audience I had brought along a couple of other snow stories so we read Thomas Gets a Snow Plow as well before continuing with our craft.  The boys had so much fn showing me who all the different trains were.
Then we moved downstairs for our craft.  These are young preschoolers who I had not worked with before so I kept it very simple.  Each child cut out a mitten of their choosing then they glued animals I had cut out for them onto the mitten snuggling each animal in in turn.   Some of the children then colored those animals.  It was neat watching the differences in how the children approached the project.  This is the first time I have ever down a significant craft with multiple preschoolers.  The differences were clearly personality not gender or age. I look forward to having Tiger join us at future groups.

Wednesday, January 11

Wordless Wednesday

Big Sisters can do amazing things.

Tuesday, January 10

Multiple Math

Today is the second day in a row we have done two batches of math rather than just one.  Froggy did not want to stop at the end of the first lesson and asked please can she continue.  Who am I to deny a child her learning opportunities. 

We use Singapore Math and it is strange to me how they introduce topics and how they define mastery. The topic that sparked Froggy is multiplication.  They use that term and use the multiplication sign.  Yet they do not teach skip counting or tables or any kind of memorization.  It is all about understanding the process. 

I keep stressing over the fact that Froggy unlike some of her friends does not have all her basic math facts memorized.  When she is focused though she can easily do all her problems about as quickly as the friends who have them memorized. 

So I figure that as long as she is enjoying math and getting the idea who cares about memorization.

A MidSummer Night's Dream

Froggy met Shakespeare this week, with the help of one of our favorite authors, E. Nesbit.  We read "A Midsummer Night's Dream" out of Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare.
I introduced the story by reminding Froggy of meeting Puck in her Sisters Grimm book.  In it Puck claims to be the star of MidSummer Night's Dream.  I asked her to see if she thought Puck was the star as he claimed.  Then I began to read. 
And Froggy was enthralled.  This in obviously an abridged telling of the tale but it is still lengthy and the language is rich with quotes from the original.  I tried to stop about half way through but was met with such negative response that we read the whole story in one sitting.  Froggy was thrilled to find the Oberon and Tittania were the king and queen of Fairy here as they are in her Rainbow Fairy series. 
I cannot recommend this book enough.  I do not normally like abridged stories but I think is a delightful age appropriate way to introduce children to such rich classics. 
We also watched a few clips from different stage productions. This summer we will see it live on stage.
I leave you with this final version just as a I left Froggy.  I hope you enjoy it as much as Froggy did.

Sunday, January 8

Menu Planning Monday - 14 Tevet 5772

We are heading out of town on Thursday for a super long holiday weekend so the menu is a bit short this week.

Sunday - Pizza, salad and garlic bread
Monday - walnut crusted turkey cutlets with cranberry sauce (from KBD Entertaining)
Tuesday - Minnestrone Soup and Biscuits
Wednesday - Fish ala Jenn, Rice, Roasted Brussel Sprouts.

New Cast Members

There are some big changes taking place at the Landing.  We are welcoming some new members to our crew.  We will now be a mixed school away and school at home family. 

The first is Tiger, a active fun loving little boy of three.  He is a Train enthusiast and SpongeBob fan. His big goal for this school year is moving into big boy underwear and learning his letters

Next is Bella a little princess of 21 months.  She is a tiny tiny slip of a girl who does not yet speak but still manages to share her sparkling wit clearly.  She loves puzzles and exploring but still likes to be worn and snuggle as well. Her  big goal for this year is learning to talk.  She has a couple of words already.

The final new member is Munchkin, a bouncy baby girl of four months.  Her big goal for this year is learning who her family is and how her body works.

With three new crew members, I foresee lots of schedule changes and lots of chaos as we all learn about each other and how to work together.  I hope to chronicle our learning journey here but the most important part is surviving it.

Tuesday, January 3

Italy

Froggy is participating in her first ever Geography Fair this month.  The country of choice is Italy.  Each child is supposed to research the country and then make an age-appropriate presentation on the country. 

We made our first ever successful lapbook for Froggy's presentation.  I used two different sources for the lapbook.  Froggy's main comment about the lapbook was "I didn't realize there was so much cutting."  Cutting is still hard for her so I kept it to small batches.  She loved the learning and labeling part.





To learn about Italy, we read Celebrate Italy and Countries of the World: ItalyAs we are working Froggy pops up with "One summer we visited Italy"  meaning the virtual tour we took as part of our Art program.  We looked back at the blog posts about it and revisited the stories.  Froggy was thrilled to reread Gaspard on Vacation.  The little mouse is adorable and Froggy (being almost 2 yrs older now) was much better able to appreciate the travels. We also read A Boy Named Giotto which is fictional biography of Giotto, the pre-Renaissance master whose magnificent frescoes illuminate the Church of St. Francis in Assisi.  

Cutout Cookie Recipe

This is the new recipe I used this holiday season.  It was a huge hit and so I wanted to document it here.

Ingredients
1 c coconut oil or other shortening as desired
1 1/4 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3c flour
2 TBS coconut milk

Cream sugar and shortening.  Add egg and vanilla. Mix well.  Add flour and 1 TBS milk.  Mix just until blended.  Add additional milk if dough is too dry.  Mix by hand additionally if needed.  Dough will be a bit crumbly but that is good.  Roll dough for cut outs with little or no additional flour.
Bake at 375 for 13 minutes.

Monday, January 2

Menu Planning Monday - 7 Tevet 5772

Seems that every week has company over.  This week for the first time in ages, it is just one day.  We are slowly working our way into our new semester's routine.  Some of our activities have restarted but many do not restart until next week.

Sunday - Pasta, Homemade sauce, Garlic Bread, Salad
Monday - Daddy off Work - Company For Bunch  - Scrambled eggs, Baked French Toast, Blintz Casserole Orange Juice, Sliced Fruit - Dinner is leftovers
Tuesday - Soup and Biscuits
Wednesday - KashaVarnshka  and Salad
Thursday - Geography Fair - Dinner Out
Shabbat - Challah, Apple and Ginger Salad, Sweet Salmon, Sesame Green Beans, Rice, Chocolate Strudel

Sunday, January 1

Happy Birthday Charlotte Mason

Happy Birthday to Charlotte Mason! 1 January 1842
 
Thank you so much for your research and fortitude.  Your work and writings have inspired me and formed the foundation for the schooling and learning that Froggy enjoys every day. Hopefully next year our learning will be even more keeping with the guiding principles you provide and I love but have a hard time enacting.

Happy New Year!

  
To us celebrating holidays as a family is very important.  Our New,Years Eve tradition consists of attending one of the local First Night celebrations.  For us, it provides a festive family focused way to celebrate far away from the typical liquor focus.  

Since Froggy has been around we have done a "kid-version" and celebrated the "ball drop" at 9pm.  (Many of festivals do this)

This year however, both she and I made it all the way until midnight.  We attended First Night Alexandria which is a bigger one than we have done before.  It is also very different in that it did not have that "street festival" flavor.  Everything was indoors, which can be a real plus.  I would have loved to be inside during some of our past First Nights.
 
Froggy won a free book just for telling a joke. They had lots more for the kids to do long into the night and lots more quality family music.  
 
 We did swing dancing or at least tried.  There were some children who seemed to really know what they were doing.  
Both Froggy and Abba got face paintings.  Froggy's was more traditional while Abba opted for morbid.