Showing posts from May, 2012

Summer Water Fun

We attend two different parkdays at two different parks.  Our Friday park has a creek the children love to play in when the weather gets hot.  The Tuesday park has nothing similar.  So with a heat advisory and forecast of over 90+ degrees, our choices were skip Parkday or do something to help beat the heat.

Enter sponge balls. I got the directions here.  It took us about 5 minutes total to make about 15 balls.  We brought a dishpan to hold water for reloading. After setting just a couple of ground rules (only throw at someone who says they want to play) we turned the kids loose.  They had a blast and got completed drenched.

Once soaked and tired of the game, they were able to play all their other regular games happily without overheating for several hours.

Swim Team

Last night was the first practice for Froggy's new swim team. This is officially her third year doing swim team but I think it is probably the first year in which she has a chance of actually being competitive.

There were a ridiculous number of children present, particularly surprising were the number of 5 and 6 yr olds. On Froggy's old team, there were less than a handful.  Here there at least a dozen maybe more and all of them are capable.

The head coach of the new team is a man which threw Froggy for a bit of a loop but he is great with the kids.  He is a 3rd grade teacher by trade and only coaches as a summer bonus.
Coach welcoming all new Marlins and explaining that the first few practices will be different than normal as everyone gets to know everyone else. 
Froggy lined up to show off her stuff  Showing off her backstroke Coach regathered all the kids at the end and thanked them for a great first day.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

We took Froggy to see a local production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  This is probably her most favorite musical.  She knows all the songs by heart and will randomly start singing bits and pieces.
Froggy was so excited to be there. She was bouncing in her seat waiting for it to start.  She danced in her seat to her favorite numbers and clapped enthusiastically for the performers.  She was so captivated that the whispered questions and comments came only during scene breaks. 

This production was put on by the Pied Piper Theater.  They are phenomenal.  The production was almost professional level.  This show has some really hard roles, namely The Narrator.  She is 10th grade homeschool student who has already received awards for Opera performances.  Froggy and I both were so impressed with the production that Froggy will be attending camp with them this summer instead of going to the camp I had hoped she would with her friends.

My new skirt

I am so happy with my new skirt.  This is the first time I have ever made something for me that I am truly pleased with the results.  Froggy's clothes always turn out great but no so my projects.  What makes it even more amazing is that I designed the pattern myself combining two very different patterns.  I think the total cost for the skirt was approximately $8 because all I had to buy was the zipper and interfacing for the waistband. The fabric came from my stash, a piece I had purchased ages ago for a different dress pattern that never got made.  I still have enough of the fabiric left to make a matching dress for Froggy if she wants one. It is long like all my skirts and full at the bottom so I can walk but it is fitted through the hips with a back zipper rather than an elastic waist.  This makes it much more flattering.  I can't wait to try it again in a fabric with more drape.

Menu Planning Monday - 8 Sivan

Review - Our Grill night was fantastic and will be repeated many many times over the summer. The Icebox cake was a super hit. It was half gone the same evening.  It will definately be repeated over the summer. The Ribs turned out ok but I doubt we will do that again.  They did not wow anyone. The pasta primavera salad seemed to be a lose with everyone but me.  I don't know why.  I have a hard time getting good feedback on preferences.

Monday - Cookout at Auntie Fawn's
Tuesday - Abba away - First Swim Practice - Mac and Cheese and green beans
Wednesday - Grill Night - Burgers, Potato Wedges, Salad
Thursday - Vegan Vursday - Tofu StirFry, Rice and Keem
Friday - Party at the Park for lunch - Black Bean and Corn Salad, Chicken and Pineapple Kebobs, and Meringue Surprise Kisses(KBD Kids)


Shavuot comes right on the heels of Shabbat this week.  While I am doing the extra cooking and preparing for the three days of  festivities (Shabbat, YomTov, YomTov) that this entails, Froggy has been preparing as well. Lots of the things we are doing this year are repeats but Froggy does not remember doing them so obviously she can still learn from them. 

She has been reading some fun Shavuot stories. The best of the bunch are  A Mountain of Blintzes and Who Knows Ten.  The latter is new to us this year and probably a bit young for Froggy but good specifically because it is new.

 We are also did lots of crafting.  I don't do enough crafting with Froggy and the holidays give it a purpose.  She loves the crafting and it is hands on learning that she does not even consider learning.We made a mini play Torah for Froggy.  She did all the work herself.  After the holiday we will make a cover for it (assuming I can figure out how)

We made origami Ten Commandments.
This one is mine Th…

Fairy Festival

One of our early summer traditions is a trip to the Fairy Festival.  It is always a fun day of make believe and pretend.  We get dressed up in costumes and play. Usually we attend many performances during the day.  This year we just wandered and visited mostly.
 Froggy's first stop was the baby goats.  They were about 4 weeks old.  Several sets of twins.  She loved playing with them.  She pet them and giggled when they nibbled her dress.  She stayed with them for ages as other families came in and left again.  I got to listen to a folk group perform while she visited so I was happy as well.
 Next stop was face painting.  Froggy chose a beautiful mask design and selected colors specifically to complement her costume.  For a child who rarely has any interest in choosing clothing or colors, she makes beautiful selections when she does do it.
 Finally it was time to dance the May Pole.  This is the most important event of the day according to Froggy. 
 First they went around all to…

Menu Planning Monday - 29 Iyar

Monday - Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs with Pineapple, Grilled Zucchini, and potato wedges
Tuesday - Salad and Pizza
Wednesday - Fish Ala Jenn, peas and rice
Thursday -Breakfast for Dinner, scrambled eggs, pancakes and strawberries
Shabbat  -Cookout Style. - Challah, Salmon Patties, Tossed Salad, black bean and corn salad, pasta primavera salad ( I am sure I will hold one for Shavuot but not sure which yet)  Beef Ribs (done in the crockpot), green beans, corn on the cob and Strawberry Icebox Cake.
Shavuot dinner- a dairy antipasta style meal of salads and spreads with yummy breads and decadent cheeses. 
Shavuot Luncheon - Not sure of all the details yet but I know I am making my blintz casserole now that I have finally found a parve way to do it that is not too too sweet. And of course it is not Shavuot without ice cream.  We will make homemade strawberry ice cream on Thursday in preparation.

End of Another Year

Today was the last day of Religious School.  We had a nice little siyyum for all the children.  Each grade did a presentation on what they had learned this year.  Here is a clip of Froggy's class doing some of their davening.  It is Froggy's favorite part every week.

Some old friends and Some new friends

It has been a pleasure this week to have an almost complete absence of Rainbow Fairies.

At our weekly trip to the library, I talked with the librarian about some new series for Froggy.   Ambleside helps us find quality literature and stories we love but not fun books that Froggy will read on her own.

Froggy's new best friend is Thea Stilton.  She is Geronimo Stilton's sister.  Despite giving her name to the series, she does not actually go on the adventures.  Five young mouseling girls who admire her create a club and call it, The Thea Sisters.  Their adventures are a bit more travel based rather than school based which is perfect for a homeschooled little girl.  Each book goes to some new location and has a mystery to solve.  Sometimes the place are real, like Paris, and sometimes they are in Mouseland.  We checked out two of the books and will certainly be getting more when we go back.

We also picked up Kristen Saves The Day.  Froggy had a phase awhile ago where she loved th…

Outdoor Time

Charlotte Mason recommends at least six hours of outdoor time during the developing years- ie at least lower Elementary Years.  During the Winter, we struggle to get an hour a day.  But as the nice weather resumes we spend more and more time outdoors.  

People have asked how do you spend that many hours outdoors and still get anything done. Many days we will take school and food outside and alternate lessons with playing.  Then Froggy will often go back outside in the late afternoon once her school friends come home and play until supper time.  It makes supper preparations very  easy since I can watch the children playing in the front yard while I cook.  Sometimes she will even go back outside for a bit after supper even though her friends cannot join her. 

And once Summer is fully here, we spend more and more days outside from sun up to sun set.  Our meals reflect it as well.  We eat lots of salads and picnics and live out of the cooler.  Between swim team and beach trips and family…

Menu Planning Monday 22 Iyar

Sunday - spider dogs and bean salad.
Monday - Out
Tuesday - Pulled chicken, frozen corn and peas
Wednesday - Tacos rice beans and salad
Thursday - Pizza and salad
Friday - Challa, miso soup, salad, Salmon, rice, Sesame green beans, swiss cake roll


We are camping for Shabbos.  We will arrive late afternoon which will give us tons of time at the camp site to get ready for Shabbos.  Froggy is looking forward to gathering wildflowers for our Shabbos table. She is in charge of beautification.

Here is the menu

Friday Dinner
Challah - made at home in the morning
Gefilte Fish Loaf
Minestrone Soup - made at home and reheated on site.
Teryaki Steak - marinating since Wednesday night.  Abba will grill it up on site as the last thing.
Corn on the cob - it stays nice and warm for a long time when you grill it in the husk.
Sauted Green beans
m&M cookies
Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Kiddush - I am not in charge - woohoo

Saturday Dinner - Special for the littles
Spider Dogs - these taste fine if cooked ahead and allowed to come to room temp.
Black Bean Salad
Roasted Marshallows after Havdalah.

An Olympic Farewell

Our Learning Club is over for the year.  To say goodbye, we had a mock Olympics for the children.  Since we had just finished studying Ancient Greece this seemed like the perfect theme for the party. The children started off with a coloring activity introducing the Olympic rings and their meaning. Or Just the rings for the younger set Then they took turns trying to find Eygpt and Greece on the globe. And listend to a story about good sportmanship The first game was a Torch Pass ala Hot Potato Then a team based jumping game pairing a big kid and little kid where they really had to focus on cooperation. Then it was supposed to be a standing long jump but turned into a bunny raise for the littler ones And a three legged race.  Froggy and her partner did not fall down even once. And the final game was the Shotput ala beanbag toss. We finished with the presentation of medals.  Every child got at least one medal.  But they really were awarded based on the results for the most part. …

Bridging to Brownies

We are wrapping up our Daisy year.  As part of Bridging to Brownies, we invited a Brownie troop to come show us what it was like to be a Brownie.  It was tons of fun.  Our girls were great, very respectful and fascinated by her presentation. 

The brownie who came did a good job with her presentation even if she was a bit shy.  Once she warmed up and was actually willing to talk to us, she was great.  She showed us her vest and we all talked about the differences between being Daisy and Brownies
She even brought an activity that she did as part of earning her Science badge.  It was called "Dancing Raisins" and demonstrated density.

Torah Home Education Conference

On Sunday, I attend the Torah Home Education Conference.  It was amazing.  This was the 4th annual conference and it was about twice as big as last year.  There were families from all over the continent.  The prize for the farthest travel went to a mom from Victoria BC. 

The speakers were amazing.  The opening session was inspiring reminding us as parents not to give in to peer pressure but to make the choices that are best for each precious child given into our care.  Unfortunately in many Orthodox communities, homeschooling families have to fight external pressures long and hard so these comments were well appreciated.

There were several parallel sessions which is both a wonderful and sad thing.  It is great that the conference was large enough to support simultaneous sessions and allow more varied topics.  It is sad because it meant that I did not get to hear all the speakers.  Thank goodness the sessions are available via MP3 so I can listen to the ones I missed later.

There were…

Menu Planning Monday 15 Iyar

First the review -  the goulash was amazing.  I need to back down a bit on the paprika to make it edible for the rest of the family but the flavor combinations are fantastic.  The bourbon chicken was a lose.  I thought it was ok but not fantastic and no one else would even eat it.  I ended up making Strawberry Lemon Parfaits for Shabbos dessert.  It was a lot of work and fiddly but a beautiful presentation and wonderful flavor well worth the effort. 

Monday -Pasta with pomodoro sauce, Salad and garlic bread

Tuesday - Tofu Stirfry, rice and keem
Wednesday - Picnic dinner in the park - bread and jam, cold chicken,  carrots and hummus, grapes and apples, cookies
Thursday - Leftover Buffet
I am still working on our Shabbos menu.  We are meeting another family for a Shabbaton in the woods.  which means I need to prepare a portable mostly precooked meal.

Week in Review

It has been a fun exciting week.  In lots of way it felt like the end of school year.  We did our year end testing and gymnastic has ended.  We did lots of partying this week.

We went Strawberry Picking.  It was a cold overcast day but we had fun none the less. We got tons of really nice berries which is surprising since it was not even May yet.  And we made strawberry jam.   This is my last attempt at stawberry jam.  It never turns out right for me.  We use dthe last of our picked strawberries for Shabbos dessert,  a Strawberry-Lemon Parfait.

And then to end the week, Abba and Froggy along with my niece began the summer season with a trip to the Amusement park.  Froggy really liked the new dinosaur play area where she got to dig for dinosaur bones.  I spent the day at home cooking and cleaning and sewing.  While a small part of me missed seeing Froggy's joy at the trip, I really needed and enjoyed the quiet day at home.

This week was strange also in that Froggy and I spent a gre…