Monday, February 11, 2019

Sugarless Snow Ice Cream

We don't normally get a lot of snow, so when we do, it is a celebration. Some of the rules get stretched (starting school at 8:30 for example, is suddenly flexible).

There is only so much we can break the 'limited sugar' rule (especially with the snow going on for days!), so this recipe has allowed us to party with snow ice cream several times a day without eating tons of sugar. Until we ran out of milk.

1 heaping cup snow
1/2 cup whole milk
3-5 drops vanilla stevia

Mix and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Creamy Coconut Milk

My newest experiment in the kitchen is making coconut milk. I used the recipe from the Wellness Mama blog, and coconut I ordered from Azure Standard. I used a loosely woven kitchen towel to strain out the pulp. It drips through pretty slowly so some squeezing with my hands or pressing with a spoon was needed. The recipe makes a quart.

Don't throw away the pulp, it can be eaten or used in baking! I have been making it into makeshift muffins with mini chocolate chips, but there's no official recipe to post yet.

The homemade coconut milk was very sweet and great for making hot chocolate. 

The cream will rise to the top, and in the fridge it hardens to a solid. The cream can be eaten by the spoonful, melted back into the coconut milk if you heat it when you use it, or just chopped into small pieces that will end up in your glass of milk or bowl of cereal.

A 32 oz. carton of So Delicious brand coconut milk costs a little over $2 at Walmart or Winco, so I estimate that homemade costs less than half of purchasing, plus you get the leftover pulp to use.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Easy Hymn and Folk Tunes

It's been embarrassingly long since I've done a blog post but here it is...

My family and I keep busy with life, homeschooling, music and more, and here's something I've been working on.

Tobias plays the violin and piano (included in his recent exam video here) and his favorite thing to play is familiar tunes. I've written out some of our folk tunes and hymns that are studied for school so he can play them after we've sung them awhile.

In order to keep track of ones that I've done and share them with others I will link to the pdf files here:

Brightest and Best (Star in the East) for easy violin, in A minor
A Nice Field of Turnips for easy piano, in C major, some right hand movement
In the Bleak Midwinter for easy violin, in G major
My Jesus, I Love Thee for easy piano, in C major middle C hand position, some right hand movement
My Jesus, I Love Thee for cello (no current cello players here, made this for someone else)
Marching to Zion for piano, in C major middle C hand position, some right hand movement

Monday, July 18, 2016

We Passed!

Nate got his amateur radio license a few months ago and challenged Toby that if he studied hard he could take the Technician test and get a license too. Nate helped Tobias understand frequency, wavelength, calculating voltage/resistance/current, safety, text-taking skills, FCC rules and a lot of new vocabulary.
There are 350 questions to study for the Technician level exam; some are calculations and some are simply memorizing various rules and terms. They studied a different topic each night like FCC rules or Ohm's law.
With the test date approaching quickly, I helped Tobias review some things during the day. I even took a practice test and nearly passed. So Friday night I decided that I would take the test with him on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, we had our number 2 pencils and calculators ready to go, filled out all the paperwork, and began the 35-question test. I finished and passed, and then Toby finished up his text. The text administrators counted up his wrong answers and I could see they wanted him to pass. They got up to 9 wrong answers (the maximum you are allowed), and then checked the last column of questions, which had NO mistakes! Whew! We both passed. The test administrator said they had never seen someone so young pass before.
Now we wait for our call signs to appear in the FCC database, and then we are allowed to be on the air.
I'm so proud of the hard work Tobias put in and all the things he now knows about electronics, waves, and more. He has a small radio on the way to use.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring 2016

From "When Early March Seems Middle May" by James Whitcomb Riley
When through the twigs the farmer tramps, 
And troughs are chunked beneath the trees, 
And fragrant hints of s'gar-camps  Astray in every breeze, 
 And early March seems middle-May,
The Spring is coming round this way.

We didn't harvest any maple syrup this spring, but we did plant raspberries, kale, elderberries, blueberries, garlic, and peas. We have large baby bunnies and tiny baby bunnies, and a handful of weeks of school work left for the year.

Today we sang "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad", reviewed some Spanish sentences and Sunday school Bible verses, Tobias and Malachi drew flowers (an indoor one that was on our table) in their nature journals, Tobias read "St. George and the Dragon" and practiced piano, we read a poem and the Bible, and now a serious train-building session is in the works. Later today (aka nap time) we hope to read about Pope Gregory and practice violin.

Park time last week

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Tempests and Frogs and Ceasars, Oh My!

Our family is 11 weeks into our homeschool school year, and it's only October. I rightfully anticipated a crazy August and September due to moving and a long road trip, so we got an early start. Although we missed a few details here and there, we kept chugging through our main readings and activities through it all. It has provided a nice constant, and on top of that I think everyone is learning and enjoying themselves.

This year Tobias is in 1st grade and we are using Ambleside Online. It is a freely provided curriculum plan built by a volunteer committee based on the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. She was a British educator whose principles included a belief that children are not just receptacles for intellectual facts, but they have a God-given ability and desire to learn ideas and digest a high-quality feast of knowledge. People following her philosophy generally try to follow her ideals of cultivating good habits (especially the habit of attention), relatively short lessons, time in nature, "living books" (not watered down or summarized already for the child, written by people who care about the subject), and having students narrate back a summary or response to what was read rather than worksheets or quiz-type questioning about details.

A typical day for us includes:
  • 9:00 Singing time: Hymn and folk song or Spanish song
  • Math: We use Miquon math worksheets with some blocks/rods that go with them, or Khan Academy on the computer
  • Independent reading. Tobias just finished the My Father's Dragon series and Because of Winn-Dixie.
  • A Poem a day: Today we read October's Party
  • Handwriting
  • Spanish video
  • Piano practice
  • Bible memory work, or sometimes work on memorizing something else like a poem
  • Once or twice a week: Nature study with journals, a craft or useful skill (currently origami), drawing
  • Readings from the Ambleside "chart". Readings are assigned by the week, and can be divided into whatever days we want. They cover history, literature, geography, Bible, and more. This week we're on Week 10, so today we read "The Frogs who Wished for a King" from Aesop's fables, and "Prince Darling" from the Blue Fairy book.
  • We are also supposed to focus on one composer and artist every 12-week term, and for right now we have just listened to a Brahms playlist and haven't done the artist study yet (oops)
Believe it or not, that takes 2-3 hours depending on the length of the readings and how many interruptions we have. Play, errands, chores, and meals fill up the rest of the day for him.

There are of course lows ("I don't remember anything." and "NO. 3 - 4 has to equal ZERO!" being among them), and those lovely braggable moments where your child declares that Shakespeare's Tempest was even better than A Midsummer Night's Dream (we read children's adaptations), and everything in between. Overall, very happy with how it is going so far!

“The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”  -Charlotte Mason

Friday, June 05, 2015

A: 1 Year Old

Toby explains to me "It's called the first birthday, but it's really the second birthday because on the first one he was born. Because what do you call the day you were born? A birthday, the least funnest birthday."

Regardless of how you count the birthdays and which one is most fun, Avery is 1 year old!

photo by Tobias
He loves wrestling, peekaboo, music, climbing onto things, giving people 5 and stopping to smell the roses. His brothers assert that his favorite color is orange, so orange cupcakes are on the menu for his birthday.