Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Alright here's another week and pay week at that! I really try not to go to the store on paydays simply because everyone else seems to be there at the same time. I use to think it was only the commissary, but now I think almost everyone gets paid on the first or the fifteenth. lol
I was proud of myself that we stuck to everything that was on the menu. Only problem was it ended up not being enough food. Opps! Either I'm starting to really hit close to 4 servings with each dish or someone is eating more. Who knows, although my son seems to ALWAYS want seconds...or thirds.

This week's menu:

Actual Porridge this week (last week the neighbor brought over cereal for the kids... it was gone in 2 days)
Egg Omlets
Crepes with fruit filling
Cinnamon bread (if it makes it past this afternoon)

Sandwiches, Leftovers, salad, egg salad, special Dr. Suess lunch on Wed.

Turkey Enchiladas
Spinach and Cheese pizza
Minestrone soup (it was soo good last week)
Greek Spinach and Feta Pie
Vegetarian Chili and cornbread
Corn Chowder
Mexican Cornmeal Pie

Snacks: popcorn, pistachios, oranges, and whatever Hazel and I cook up this week

I'm so excited because all of the ingredients for these dishes are already in my inventory! YAY! No shopping this week!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Wrapup- Feb 21-25

This week was an action packed week for us. Academically wise it was short due to Daddy having a day off for President's Day (yay for red letter holidays!) and I have learned that the "normal" schedule just doesn't happen when Daddy's home. And that's ok. It seems as though he's so rarely home without a laundry list of to-do's or to-go's.

Any who- Monday we laid around doing a whole bunch of nothing except for a little outing to Whole Foods. They had a Rainbow Food Snacking workshop for the kids. It was so much fun for the kids to taste all sorts of foods and they were indeed every color of the rainbow.

Since I felt like last week's lessons on the Iroquois did not contain my best efforts I decided to extend our look into these peoples for our three day week. Our week included three more legends, a little beading, and exploration with a water drum. We learned that the Iroquois used water drum instead of conventional drums so that their sound was different than the neighboring tribes. Our "drum" was an empty coffee can but we could definitely tell the difference with water and without. Fun times.

Jakob took the lead on an activity this week and wanted to create a candle vase from a craft book he happened upon in our stash. The kids drew their designs on cardboard and wrapped it inside the jar and painted the outside based on the design inside. I think they turned out beautifully.

This week was a vacation week for public schools so the local library hosted some pretty awesome events to keep the kids busy. Although I was very tempted to just Library hop all week, we only attended our regular story time and the awesome Celtic Music hour. This was a total indulgence on my part, but thanks to Jakob's inquisitiveness and youtube's awesomeness, we had a little mini lesson on Ireland, instruments, and family that have traveled across seas to visit this beautiful land. The kids were "River dancing" for the rest of the day. It was so much fun.

Hazel's fun this week really came in a win again from Fairy Tale Feasts. We made a very creamy carrot soup and read Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. This was such a fun story for me as a child as I use to have records of Jackie Torrence telling all the Uncle Remus tales. Although I doubt I came close to doing the story justice, we had fun listening to the silliness of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby.

Hazel also decided that this week would be puzzle week. So she had to have all of them.

We took a break from our music lessons this week to focus on the songs that Jakob was to have learned for his Blue and Gold ceremony this weekend with his Scout troop. Jakob also worked on a skit that he and his den leader performed for the ceremony which led to a discussion on using one's diaphragm to project out voices and how practice is just one more way to help us overcome our nerves.

The rest of the week was full of spelling lessons, readings, a little sewing, and a whole lot of inventions.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Perhaps a new skill or just a little too much time online

I scored some salvage material online this week. Jakob has taken an interest in sewing and we don't have much practice material around so I thought this was a very timely deal. Some of these materials are only good for practice projects but there are some that have me thinking of a certain little girl who has recently outgrown most of her dresses. So far she has requested a 2 skirts and a dress. I'm hoping that between the little sewing I learned in 4-H and Jakob's new skills (and maybe a video conference or two with Granny) we can pull off something.

Here are some ideas I am entertaining:

Oh a peasant skirt! I remember mine... and there ARE a few lovely little purple prints that would look so nice together.

And I think a "yoga skirt" to go with her "yoga" pant collection would make her day. I found this cute tutorial here. Maybe I can use some t-shirts up for this one....

Some of the pieces are not that long but are a little wide, maybe I can use this tutorial and make it work.

And I just discovered Thread Banger, it has a lot of awesome tutorials on there. I especially like this roundup of skirt tutorials.

I found this video tutorial for a dress but I'm a little afraid of the zipper... and pleats.

This is cute and I can use some shirts of mine and Mikes

I'm a little scared of my sewing machine. Nothing ever comes out the way I think it should. Hopefully this will be a simple starting point for me. If not then I'm just gonna start sewing with Jakob in his new sewing book.

this moment- Do you see what I see?

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Total Health Tuesday...What I'm doing RIGHT

So many times when one embarks upon a health or fitness journey there immediately appears a list.
A List of things you are doing wrong.
Don't eat this, don't drink that, do this workout over the other.
Obviously this is necessary to point out mistakes so that one can better themselves, but I think too often we don't stop to think of all the things we are doing right to better ourselves. Our list may begin short, but I think its important to really look back and add to it so that even when you think NOTHING is going in your favor, you can see Hey! I did THIS!!
Maybe. But sometimes you need the pep talk.
Sometimes the hill you are trying to get over right now is blocking everything else from sight until you turn around and look at the Mountains you just covered. Maybe everything you have gone through does not fit in the "normal" fitness category, but its still your accomplishment and therefore should be celebrated.

So I made a list
  1. I quit smoking
  2. I have managed to pull myself out of a deep depression following my miscarriage
  3. I taught myself to knit
  4. I have run for 4 miles without stopping (it was only once but it WAS so its an accomplishment)
  5. I have learned to cook without meat for 90% of our meals
  6. I make all our sandwich bread
  7. I constantly strive to eliminate stress.
  8. I have kept my bathroom clean for a whole month straight!
  9. I have made our laundry soap for 3 years now!
  10. I have lost 12lbs (solidly) since we moved to Rhode Island
  11. I have begun to rise before my children to meet my day.
  12. I have eliminated cereal from our budget for almost a year now.
  13. I have "moved" (worked out in some way) for 5-6 days a week since the beginning of the year.
  14. With the inspiration of Dave Ramsey and the teamwork of my husband, we have managed to live credit card free and credit card bill free for a year.
Like I said, all accomplishments may not adhere to the normal *fitness* category, but accomplishments are accomplishments and therefore should be celebrated.
Do you have things that you haven't celebrated?
Let's Celebrate together. Leave a comment or link below to your accomplishments great and small.
And just for fun here's an oldie but a goodie that will remind you to.....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fairy Tale Feasts Does it again!

Remember my porridge post? Oh we have had so much fun finding stories to read and even stories to make up just to "justify" having porridge for breakfast.
Its been loads of fun!
Lunch has been a different story. Lunch for me is the hardest part of the day. Its still an awkward transition between activities with Hazel and Jakob finishing up his written work. Most times I find myself just heating up leftovers for me and a peanut butter sandwich for the kids.
Out of pure desperation and boredom of how lame lunch had become I grabbed Fairy Tale Feasts and looked to see if they offered anything quick for lunch. (Because quick IS the requirement for lunch as Momma is usually more than ready for quiet time afterwards)
And there it was...
the Story?
The Magic Cave
the meal?
Goat Cheese Sandwiches
umm... YUM!!!
I had to tweak the recipe a little as no one who is home during the day in my house likes tomatoes or cucumbers, but cheese and bread and balsamic vinegar? What's not to love?
I had a package of buns collecting freezer burn in the icebox so they became the canvas for this masterpiece. Add in the cheese that the kids made the other week, some basil flakes and a salad and lunch suddenly became this Event!

I could barely get through the story. I was ready to EAT! And the kids loved it and even saved Daddy a slice to go with his painted cookies when he got home from work.
It was simple and quick, but it truly was heavenly.

Tonight we had "Seaweed" Stuffed Shells to go along with our story of "The Little Mermaid".
The seaweed was actually spinach, but the kids didn't care, it was too yummy to even think about it.
I'm excited to see if I can plug in any more recipes and stories before we have to turn the book back in to the Library. Tomorrow's lunch looks like maybe a little Brer Rabbit and some Carrot Soup. I'm so excited! Hope Hazel's on board too!

Menu Monday

Wow he's a happy little feller isn't he?

In an attempt to be a little more organized and thoughtful about my food I am participating in Menu Monday with Orgjunkie
I won't set things for a specific day but I will have the list of whats on the menu so that we have a plan and can be flexible.

Granola and Yogurt
Porridge 3 ways- Oatmeal Porridge, Barley porridge, and MAYBE even Quinoa Porridge!!
Oatmeal and Wheat Pancakes- With a special treat I picked up from the Farmer's Market
Scrambled Eggs- Eggs and Cheese for the Kids, Spinach Egg and Cheese for Momma

Mainly here we do leftovers and sandwiches, salads, and the occasionaly hummus and veggie platter. I am thinking I need more structure here but right now that's what we are going with.

Spinach Stuffed Shells
French Onion Soup
Chickpea Pot Pie
Bean Burritos
Minestrone Soup(ish)
Butternut Squash and Cheese Ravioli
Dear God Please let there be a Leftover day in there somewhere!

Fruit- Apples and Oranges are in the house right now, cheese sticks, and popcorn... and of course whatever we cook during our school day.

I'm still cultivating Recipes from different books that fit my new nutritional needs, but I have to find something other than soups soon or my family may revolt!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up Feb 14-18th

Life was pretty ho-hum this week as far as school went. I have been put on a new medicine and it has totally drained me. We still did what we needed to do but it didn't have the usual pizazz. It happens.

Valentines Day came and went. Mike and I had a mini celebration over the weekend so other than a really nice dinner of Black Bean and Rice Burgers and stuffed mushrooms we didn't do anything else. Jakob had made each of us a card and Hazel spent the day wishing everyone she saw or talked to on the phone a Happy "Valintimes" Day! I made the kids French toast for Breakfast and sprinkled it with powdered sugar and they were ecstatic.

This week we studied the Iroquois Nation. We looked at how different their houses were from the Cherokee and the similarities in their modes of transportation. This week's stories involved ranged from frisky tales of Raccoons to How the Big Dipper Came to be in the sky. We looked at how the Native Americans would draw symbols to represent words and saw how this was a similar writing method to the Ancient Egyptians.

I was hoping to get to the Pequot Museum in Connecticut this week but there was an issue with the passes so we weren't able to go. There is a Native American display at our local Museum of Natural History so we may try to get there next week when it rains. I had planned for our big craft to be stringing wooden beads in patterns but a sewing book came in for Jakob at the Library and he has been consumed with a special project ever since.

We really began to focus on reading the music this week and noticing where the notes rested on the staff. We also worked on recognizing when a note had 1/2, whole, and 2 counts. We played all of our songs only by sheet music this week which was fun and challenging for the both of us.

Jakob conducted his own science experiment this week with a fleece shirt and found that his shirt was "strong enough" to keep water from coming through. Which led to a short talk about waterproofing, wetsuits, and "Oh yeah! I wanted to learn how to surf! Can I do THAT this summer?"

Since we didn't make it to the Museum this week (which was also suppose to double as a Scouts requirement) Jakob browsed through the history books of Pawtucket that the Librarian had sent us home with and picked out a few fun facts. This brought about a little lesson in gleaning information from books which he works on each week researching facts about various states, but this was a little different and he found he had to pay just a little more attention than normal because there were not the usual "key words" to look for.

We worked more with block crayons this week discovering how they can be manipulated to make pictures. Its much harder than it looks and definitely takes concentration. Which is also why I choose for it to be our before breakfast activity many days. It gets both kids who wake up on two very different frequencies a chance to come together and start on the same page.... sometimes.

A winning activity with Hazel this week was painting cookies. I got the ideas from this post by Artful Parent. Because I used whole wheat flour our cookies were already brown so we accomplished more "shading" than actual coloring. This was a good exercise for Hazel to focus on filling in areas completely with color and working on her fine motor skills. And make cookies... that's the main thing right?

Such serious work...
at least there's a pause for a smile


The cookies were a recipe we had made before came from a kids cooking book called
Cooking Fun by Rae Grant.
An almost daily activity here is Hazel washing eggshells. I put them in our compost and also crush them as added nutrients to our seed starting containers. She likes to clean them for me and they are definitely a test of mental and physical strength as she tries her best to clean them without cracking them further. Of course after they dry she smashes them to bits and sweeps them into whichever container we are working this week. Simple but so much fun.

Other than that we spent the week getting WAY to excited about 40 degree weather and played outside with our chalk, scooters, lots of mud puddles, and started "warming" our dirt for our seeds to be planted soon. (This basically means we took the dirt out of the bag and placed in in our seedling containers...)

Now to enjoy some more of this sunshine and the 3 day weekend to come!

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Moment.... Silly Girl

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soule Mama

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Because Porridge sounds more magical than oatmeal.....

Mornings are an issue here.
Each child has their signature "thing" that can try Momma's patience.
One doesn't like to get dressed, brush her hair, or eat an entire meal at the table the other likes to engross himself in endless chatter of video games, Lego creations, and antagonizing the dog.
Add in that Momma is desperately trying to keep a cheerful look on the day while combating 30 years of NOT being a morning person and it can get dicey.
I mentioned before that I had started setting up a little morning activity things like drawing, playing with playdough, or a quick card stamping fun usually gets them to the table and entertained while I make breakfast. Add in the new rule of, "You don't dress, you don't eat" and life seems to be moving in the right direction.
Until I foolishly ask, "What would you like for breakfast?"
Let's just say we rarely all agree... at the "both same time".
(That's a Hazelism for those who don't know us)

I decided to take away the "choices" and just cook, but I was still left with a scowl and a little girl who must get up in between bites to twirl in the kitchen. (and sometimes sneak off to her room to play)
Then I found this adorable book at the Library called Fairy Tale Feasts. Its basically a cookbook who's recipes compliment various Fairy Tales. And since both my kids LOVE to be read to, eating the breakfast that matches up with the story (while sitting in our chair the whole time) is totally achievable.
We have had French Toast to go with French Fairy Tales and Pancakes to compliment "The Runaway Pancake", but the one that still has the highest rating so far is...
Yes porridge is just a fancy word for oatmeal, but call it Porridge and my kids eyes light up like I am giving them free reign in Wonka's Chocolate Factory!
And although there is only one story in this anthology dedicated to Porridge I'm sure I can dig out a few others to keep the magic alive.
Here's to little houses nestled in the woods and children who eat all their

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not So Fat Tuesday....

Well it is confirmed... at least according to my Dr., that I have Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
And because every book I read and "professional" I talk to seems to have a different theory on the why's and how's of PCOS I won't even try to explain it.
I have an imbalance of sorts which causes a lot of things to happen or not happen in my body, ie: it's very difficult for me to lose weight.
Which to some seems like a poor excuse, but I am actually glad to at least have a reason. When you're heavy and you "try" to lose weight everyone just assumes you aren't doing enough. I've had trainers tell me this, I've had Dr.s tell me this, I've had family tell me this all my life.
It's rough physically but the physical has nothing on the emotional especially when you were spending 10+ hours a week in the gym.
I have decided to work with the Drs to create a treatment plan that involves both the medical aspect and the Lifestyle aspect of this issue.
They have me on meds to equal out my insulin levels and I have an appointment to meet with a dietitian to work out a food plan for me. There are different schools of thought on what diet regime actually works so I will study and do my thing until I can get in with the "Pro" and see what she has to say.
Because weight loss is and will be difficult for me for a while I don't think its really helping me to continue publicly updating whether I have lost according to the scales or not (the scales did not move this week btw).
I do want to hold myself accountable for taking control of the situation, even if its to my imaginary readers ;-)
So I was thinking I would like to turn this into a TOTAL HEALTH TUESDAY post from now on and talk about the positive things I am finding to do for my body, my mind, and general sanity!
And because the scales do play a part in my health I plan to celebrate my successes when they come and not on a weekly time line that seems to leave me on an emotional roller coaster steered by the numbers on the scale.
So if you are reading and want to play along, feel free to celebrate your successes in the comments box or link to a healthy post on your blog.
If you still want scales inspiration check out my buddy Nicole where she does her thing losing baby weight at Ramblings by Nicole
she has also found inspiration weight wise through one of her fav blogs
Me, I'm gona take this route until I can get a handle on things and feel more confident.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Now that the weather is breaking out of the 20's and low 30's I am slowly starting to allow the thought to enter...
Have we survived our first Winter in Rhode Island?
With the weather man boasting a warm 48 degrees here I just can't help but think its true!
(It was really windy and cold this morning though so I'm not gona put it out there as fact yet!)
The kids and I went out for a walk to see if we could spot any signs of the season to come.
No, standing on top of a ridiculously high snow pile isn't reassuring for my friends in Florida, but believe it or not the fact that the driveway behind the kids is perfectly clear is amazing!
Little runoffs
Drain systems finally back in use!

New Growth!
Yes, the light is growing clearer now, but I will only rejoice here. For Fear that Old Man Winter will teach this southern girl a lesson or two.

Knitting... Its what gets me through the day.

My awesome niece turned 8 this week and so I took the opportunity (excuse) to hit the local Yarn store and pick out the *perfect* yarns for these fingerless Mitts. I got the pattern Here and knitted them on Double Pointed Needles. I tell ya, the girls at Ballet were so envious and were begging for a pair of their own. I needed to make sure they would fit little hands just so and used a couple for models. I hope Jamie likes them just as much.
I do and want a pair for myself.

Week In Review Feb 7-11

I often find myself stretching outside of my comfort zone with Homeschooling.
This week however I was totally "in the zone"
We started our Native American block this week.
Yes I attempted Native Americans last Semester, but I think there were too many subjects involved with too many distractions and a Momma's unforgiving desire to make "perfect lessons" really got in the way.
Things are better this go round. With a base from our Curriculum (love love love!!), and a few fun books from the Library we are all enjoying this block.
Because we have lived in three very different areas since joining Mike on his Coastie Career, I thought it would be nice to look at the Native Cultures from those areas.
First up: The Cherokee Nation
Our book this week was "If You Lived With The Cherokee" and it was a nice tie-in with all the stories we have gone through.
The week was spent listening and reading and illustrating various legends facts about the Cherokee and locating them on a map.
We learned about discipline, work, houses, food, and ceremonial dances.
To better illustrate the meaning of the dances I pulled up some videos on Youtube and we watched them. We also "acted" out our own little hunting dance to get a better "feel" for it.
Cornbread muffins were the kids baking activity, and Jakob and I made God's Eyes as well.

In preparation for Valentines day the kids painted and made their cards for friends and family. We made coffee filter hearts and also took toilet paper tubes and pinched them into hearts and did a little stamping for decoration. I was inspired by Filth Wizardy on that one long ago but can't find the actual post now.

This was the first year I have encouraged Jakob to totally make his cards own his own and he became quite frustrated when he couldn't decide what to write.
When I suggested a poem he almost burst into tears at the thought of coming up with one on his own.
We had been reading a little Valentine's Day Poem book and I told him to write some of those down or use them for inspiration. Well let me tell you he has been a poem writing fool since!! He really likes the ones that start "Roses are Red Violets are blue..." but has branched out a bit. Its wonderful to see his imagination and creativity take hold and not get the better of him!
We also talked about acrostic poems this week and he made one for the word Valentine.

Thursday was our Library Day and Jakob needs one more history requirement filled before he receives his Bear Badge. I am planning on taking him to a museum, but his Den Leader suggested we visit the archives as well just in case we cant make it.
So we went to the "grown up" side of the Library and he asked to see old Newspapers and historical documents from our area. The Librarian was great and grabbed a few microfiche for him to look through. I thought he was spacing out while she was explaining what they were and how to use the machine, but the moment she left he looked up at me and said, "This is the coolest thing EVER!!" He spent over an hour looking at newspapers and was intrigued mainly by the weather of the day... and the comics. We were sent home with a few good books on Pawtucket and should definitely be able to finish up the requirement this week.

Hazel had her own fun this week. While waiting for Jakob to finish his written work we usually read and then do an activity. I wanted to make some bread for the soup we were having that evening but she wasn't interested. I asked her if she wanted to wipe down the sliding glass door where we had decorated with Crayola Window Markers and it had been smeared from the days activities.
No Mama, I need to wash the floors.
I need a bucket of soapy water and a wash rag please. I need to wash the floors.
Really? OK.

So Momma got her the necessities and she washed the floors. The whole time I was torn between two thoughts..
Ohh how sweet she's just like Cinderella

She did a great job though!
Next week, on to the Iroquois Nation!

Friday, February 11, 2011

This moment..... Hazel's Hat

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not so Fat Tuesday

No I didn't forget last week. I had nothing to say, and as my last week off the scales I had nothing to report either. Emotionally I have been up and down about this on again and off again weight and just felt as though if I opened my mouth absolutely nothing positive would come out so I just let the post pass me by. It's still in my box venting away and I re-read it this morning and just shook my head at my own emotional silliness.

Fingers crossed I am to receive definite info into all these hormonal issues I have been having on Thursday. That is if 3 technicians who drew 6 VIALS of blood from me last week remembered to label everything correctly and sent it off in time. They weren't having a great day so I'm not so sure that its gonna happen this week. But if it does then I should have more answers as to the what to do and what not to do's instead of bumping my head on every wall and then stepping on the scale and seeing not a whole lot of difference. I have been pouring over cookbooks like crazy learning meals from diabetic cookbooks, diabetic vegetarian cookbooks, gluten free vegetarian cookbooks, good carbs versus bad carbs, oh my head is spinning! The only thing I know for certain is how my body reacts to food. I have started paying attention. And basically if its processed at all or pre-made from the store my belly says NO WAY now you will suffer. And that's all I really know. Oh that and the fact that Stuffed Mushrooms are SUPER yummy! lol

That being said I have taken the three recipes that seem to fit guidelines that I can figure out from the 12 cookbooks I got from the Library and added them to my recipe rotation. And my body seems to be ok with that for now. I stepped back on the scales this morning and was down 8 lbs! Progress-wise its actually 3lbs because if you remember I gained 5 right before I vowed not to hop on the scales again for a couple of weeks. I am stoked about the loss and yet am very leery of excessive celebration. I feel like I have been fighting these 10lbs for ever now. I have taken the turtle mentality walking everyday for 2+ miles while I catch up on my Bible in 90 Days challenge. I was getting frustrated with my running and knew I couldn't just stop totally so the compromise is walking right now. I just know quitting is not an option, so I will do this until I can get some better answers. But YAY for 3lbs!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly wrapup- Jan 31-Feb 4

This week our math block ended with a focus on liquid measurements. I remember this being such a tough subject for me to master, and honestly I still didn't really *know* the info by heart, but Jakob and I worked together and figured it out and taught each other our tricks on how to remember the various amounts of gallon, pints, quarts, and cups.

Working with conversions between the measurements showed us that we really needed to work on 2 digit multiplication. We have mastered things like 22x4 but when we were met with problems such as 16x90 it clearly was time. Jakob took the info really well and has been a multiplying champ ever since. We ended the week with some basic division skills but I hesitated on showing him the number sentence for fear we were covering too many different thing in one week. He's got it though he just doesn't know it yet ;-) I'm loving this is just happening on its own!!
To go along with our measurement work this week we measured and made butter. Only took three different methods but we got it made! I tried to make it a family event and make shake butter and speed it up with a marble.
The marble cracked the jar.
Then I put it in the mixer for about 5 minutes... just got whipped cream.
Finally we put it in batches in my mini chopper and VOILA! Butter! We used coffee filters to strain out the buttermilk to be used later that week in pancakes (YUMMY!). This was because I don't own a cheesecloth. And can never remember to get one until I need to strain something.... right then. It was messy but we made do.
Another day we made cheese. CHEESE! Is that not the coolest thing ever? And I didn't have to order any fancy mix to make it. Mainly cook whole milk then curdle it with vinegar and add herbs.

Ours needed a little salt in my opinion, but it served well for our snack of cheese and crackers. Jakob was in charge of the whole production even down to choosing the herbs and spices to go in the cheese. He seemed a bit lost when he looked at my spice cubby, so I introduced him to my fail-proof scientific method of cooking....Sniff it!!

That's right we sniffed and smelled all different spices and he came up with a few that he thought smelled the best together. And the moral of the lesson is when they smell good together they generally taste good together! And that ladies and gentlemen is the extent of my knowledge about spices. (you may applaud now)
After the coffee filter butter experiment I knew I needed a much bigger and less messy way of draining the cheese. No I didn't go out and get a cheesecloth. I cut up a clean flat sheet and clothes pinned it to the bowl. Hey it worked!! AND it was free! Yippee!

Hazel had her own fun this week with painting up some toilet paper tubes and turning them into candles with a little help from Momma. Once dried we spent much of the afternoon jumping over them reciting Jack Be Nimble... It was our way to celebrate Candlemas for the whole week.

After our walk one day we tried our hand at creating salt icicles on paper. This was a cute little craft inspired by this blog I read often. There is something so mesmerizing about watching glue drip down the paper....

Music this week was fun and Jakob is still progressing well. Now that we know a few notes we are working on recognizing them in sheet music and understanding what different notes counts look like when written. Loads of fun and probably the only thing I actually remember from taking piano so many moons ago.

Reading wise Jakob has finished the Captain Underpants series and has moved on to BOTH the Magic Tree House Series and The Magic School Bus Chapter Books. So far both series are relatively short in length for him so he is knocking out about a book a day. A BOOK A DAY!!! His confidence in his reading is growing more and more and he offers to read out loud almost everything.

I started something new this week towards the end where I have the kids come to the table first thing in the morning to draw with our block crayons. There has been this frustrating gap in the mornings between when they get dressed and ready and when I get breakfast on the table. This usually ends with me pulling them away from some toy or playtime they have involved themselves in and either breakfast going uneaten or now we can't concentrate on the rest of the morning routine because all thoughts are now tuned into what we were doing before. Having them come to the table and just color and explore with the crayons seems to be a nice quick activity to keep them occupied until breakfast is served.

And that's the week in a nutshell!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I almost did it......

I almost complained about the weather this week. As in throw a huge hissy fit because Mother Nature was not cooperating with me.
I know, how dare she right?
This is huge for me because I made it a personal goal not to whine about the snow our first year in New England.
Especially since we were the annoying ones asking where all the snow was right before Christmas.
So far the snow has not *totally* messed up any plans we had....
Until Thursday.
I had things to do. Places to go. Libraries to visit. And Dr.s to go and see.
But I also had 6 inches of ice at the end of my driveway and my road was white and super slippery.
Did I mention its our first winter in New England?
Yeah... I don't drive on ice.
I especially don't back up on ice since I'm one of those people who backing comes very unnatural to. (I admit it, when we go in reverse, everyone around is praying .... for themselves!!)
Thursday found me not going anywhere because I was certain that the roads were nasty everywhere and I would end up all over the road if I attempted it.
I was frustrated. This was not part of the plan. And worst of all the kids were not taking the news well.
I put my massive amounts of blogstalking and book ideas to good use and we made planters out of milk cartons, toilet paper tubes turned into candles that we jumped over, and our new yoga tape from the library was received very enthusiastically.

After much debate I called the Health Clinic to see what the roads were like an hour south of us and was told to come down then because there was another ice storm coming the next day which would make it nigh impossible to go anywhere.
So I loaded the kids up and set my teeth against making it out of the ice and snow.
And I'm glad I did, 3 streets over and beyond everything was completely clear!
On my drive I was able to witness all the beauty of this winter land. And the houses, (oh these houses!) that are such a lovely sight in the summer time are so quiet and picturesque with their smoke rising from the chimney and puffy snow on every roof like a blanket, and icicles hanging and glinting in the sun reminded me that there is still beauty to behold in this quiet cold time.
I realized I had not been out to see it in a while.
So the next day and the days after we have made it a point to take a walk outside to look for icicles, and snow sculptures, and in general enjoy the beauty in our neighborhood during this season.

Its hard to appreciate what the Earth is doing for us unless we go out and experience it. Even if, and perhaps especially if that means experiencing it when the "schedule" says otherwise.
I'm so glad we are here to enjoy these seasons and to be able to gratefully accept them as they change and give us their goodness.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This moment- At least the bear gets a "hair-do"

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soule Mama
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