Monday, August 31, 2009

Remember Blossom?

A former teen TV actress talking about EC, homeschooling and Shabbat. Wow! Check it out.

The School Room

You remember what we left the school room looking like..... here it was in the midst of cleaning, organizing and rearranging.

Here it was last night, ready for our open house. There are cookies and juice waiting on the table for our students. :) You can see the reading loft to the left and the bathroom door to the right.

Another view, to the left I put up an old fashioned pencil sharpener because I am DONE with electric ones, they always break! I use ice cube containers for pencils, markers, colored pencils, glue and tape. It works well for me.

The seating and relaxing area, the paper organizer and the smocks for art to the right.

Our dinosaur computer. Notice the paper on the windowed door, nobody can come in until the open house, it builds a tremendous amount of suspense!

This was really fun. I bought a little quart of magnetic paint from the craft store, to my surprise, it works!

Our l-o-n-g schedule. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I schedule our day to the half hour. I know that it make some people sweat just thinking about it, but again, it works for me. I like to know where everyone should be and what I should be doing. Daily, it saves me lots of thinking and even more time.

I use magazine holders to corral school books and big three ring binders for their weekly sheets and papers. This garbage can is new to our classroom and the little ones thought it was so wonderful. You can hit the lid and it goes around and around and around. It doesn't take a lot to impress around here!
Here is the previous wall paper in the bathroom, remember this stuff? I hated it! I came up with tons of ideas but ended up just painting plain white. It's so much better.
I glued numbers and letters to the vanity and mirror for pulls.
I think you should learn at all times!

Here are some of my little ones up bright and early for the first day of school. They went straight to the loft.

My big boy working hard at the desk.
My middle son loving his big boy status with his notebook this year.

Preschool time!
If you just adore looking at pictures of school rooms like I do, take a peek here to see what I did last year.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week In Pictures

We did lots of gardening this week. I pulled up all of the green beans, plucked out every carrot I could find and brought in the biggest load of tomatoes thus far. Macho Man thought that this tomato was an interesting one.

With the help of Teresa's tomatoes I was able to can a double batch of salsa and had a full drier of tomatoes.

My school room has had a signs up all week, "KEEP OUT!" and "Construction Zone" so the children have resigned themselves to playing in the sun room for now. I put out the blocks on one side of the room and the kitchen set and play dishes/food on the other. The blocks have by far been the most popular. It's nice to see them building.
Here is how the school room has looked this week. I took things down, rearranged and moved furniture. I'm coming up to the deadline, though. We are having an open house for our children on Sunday evening where they will see the "new" classroom, get their daily schedule, weekly work assignment sheets and see their new curriculum. Yikes. I am running out of time! Our home school will start on Monday!
This beauty is the bathroom in the school room. I spent one whole day painting it. Pictures of the finished product to come!

This is my super duper surprise for my little ones. A reading loft. My dear husband spent many hours working on my projects this week, even though he had to work an early schedule (not his favorite), came home and did all of the baths and book reading so I could work on this room and then, when they were all in bed slaved over my lists of to dos. He's a really good Dad and an excellent husband.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ode to Cucumber

This recipe is especially for Teresa, who has an abundance of huge cucumbers and tasty tomatoes in her garden this year, a friend with a prolific garden is a good thing! Teresa has shared some of her abundance with me. I'll be drying her tomatoes today and trying to fit cucumbers in to every meal I serve. :)

Cucumber Salsa

2 peeled cucumbers, seeded, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T lime juice
1 t minced fresh parsley (note to self: grow in garden next year!)
2 t minced fresh cilantro (ditto!)
1/2 t dill weed
1/2 t salt

In bowl, combine ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Serve with chips. Makes four cups.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Large Scale Garden, Small Scale Space

What a dream this is.... although my motivation isn't saving the planet, I'm all for living off the land. My yard doesn't look as small after seeing what this family has done with their little piece of dirt.

Go here to see more.

Tossing and Turning

Anyone else lay awake at night thinking of nothing but classroom layouts, school schedules and curriculum? Maybe it's just me. But, if there is a kindred spirit out there in the blogosphere, here's a fun tool to get your classroom all set up, you can even do it in the middle of the night and not wake your whole family.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sledding in August

So, I asked Macho Man to watch the baby while I was working in the garden this morning. Next thing I know, I look up and he's riding her around on a sled he tied to his bike. Of course, she loved it but it made my heart skip a beat. Crazy kids!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Week In Pictures

Some really creative stacking by my dish washing, eldest son. This says future engineer to me!

This week we are s-l-o-w-l-y move toward our new schedule for the school year. This year I will be taking all of the cooking back over (last year my eldest daughter was our dinner girl and my son made lunches) and so I've added in a baking day on Sundays.

Starting this morning at 8 am I made a very, very big batch of pancakes, two pans of these oatmeal scotchies shown above, one batch of coconut chocolate chip cookies, a big batch of beans (you can see my stock pot peeking out in the photo above) for chili and baked beans this week, a batch of brownies and cleaned up the kitchen as I went. I took a break to make lunch (!) and then took a nap. I hope to get some meat cooked during these baking days too. Now I've got a head start on some dinners, there are quick pancakes for the toaster for a couple of mornings, my husband has snacks for work and my children have some afternoon snacks that I can pull out of the freezer.

I really hope that I can get back to the point where I bake one breakfast thing and one snack type thing every week and have enough in the freezer from previous baking days to pull something out several days a week. That will give me extra time to focus on dinner prep. Whew!

We enjoyed a wonderful time at the park with some friends one morning this last week. It was a beautiful day, nobody else in sight. When we were packing up I had several ask when we were going to do this again!

Another new thing, my daughter is going to try her hand at selling on ebay. We found some matching, possibly twin, outfits at a thrift store. She's trying to finance her upcoming piano lessons to go along with her voice lessons. Voice+piano+pony lessons and gymnastics for the the boys=poor parents. Who said that homeschooling moms can't do math!?

A little project time at the table.

My serious artist.

Bike time is back with our new schedule. Get your afternoon chores done and you get a half an hour to ride your bike or scooter or skates. In the house!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Days of Awe

We are coming upon a somber and serious time, really a a month of introspection and repentance. Tonight (Wed) is Rosh Chodesh Elul. Don't let the weird words throw you. That just means the new moon, Rosh Chodesh, which is what the Hebrew calendar is based on and the name of the new month, Elul.

From tonight, through Rosh Hashana, until the culmination of Yom Kipper, we are all to look at our lives, reflect and seriously take stock of ourselves.

Sound like a weird, Jewish Lent. Funny thing here. These 40 days are God-ordained. Those 40 days are pseudo-Holy Days, man made. Strange, isn't it? There are always imitations of the real thing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From the Hive....

Checking on my bee hive this morning, I found ten very full frames of honey. You'll never guess how good this stuff really is for you. Take a peek over here to educate yourself.

And, you know that honey is not the only great thing that comes from the bee hive. Check this post out at Beneficial Bee on how to make beeswax lip balm.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fun Snack Idea

I don't know about you, but around our house I make two snacks a day. It's almost always fruit in the morning but something a little different most of the time in the afternoon. And often I am stumped as what to offer. I hate to hear, "Again?" from my children.

I saw this recipe in the Family Fun magazine that was in my mailbox today, so I thought I'd try it:

Sticks and Stones
4 tbs. butter
3/4 cup frozen orange or apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal cereal squares
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Heat oven to 300. Place the butter, juice concentrate and sugar in large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds to melt the butter. Stir in cinnamon.

Spread the oatmeal squares, pretzels and almonds (NOT THE FRUIT!!) on a baking sheet. Toss to coat with the butter mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven then stir the fruit in. Let mix cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Well, I did have a little less than half of these ingredients... the butter, sugar and some pretzels but they weren't sticks, so I made up my own recipe with what I had:

Jenny's Juicy Snack Mix
4 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup grape juice concentrate
1/4 brown sugar
3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
2 cups mini-pretzels
1 1/2 cup cashews
1 cup dried apricots, chopped

Bake as directed above... but remember not to put the fruit in until it's done!!! (Can you guess what I did?)

Use what you have and bake your children up something a little different for snack today. And, consider doubling it and putting the leftovers in a gallon jar with a lid for another day.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I was just upstairs doing laundry. I caught a glimpse of my Speed Racer napping. Wearing his flippers. Just in case.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Too Much Zucchini?

The zucchinis are coming off in droves. Are you able to use them up fast enough? You can only make so much zucchini bread! Here are a few ideas that I use.....
Zucchini relish - really, it is great.

Zucchini pickles - this recipe is from my sweet friend Becki. I made it, I ate it. Even my picky boy liked it. And, this is of utmost importance, it looks very pretty in the jar.

Minted Zucchini Salad - I made this with dinner tonight. I was looking for something that I didn't have to heat up, something cold for a hot day. They all like it, surprise, surprise! My dear daughter says to double the mint. :)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T minced fresh mint
1/4 t salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 and a half pounds zucchini, thinly sliced

In large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, mint, salt and cayenne until blended. Add zucchini; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 6 servings

What We've Been Up To...

Canning, canning, picking and canning. Some sleeping in between.