Saturday, February 28, 2009

Love Birds and a New Bird

We saw these house finches at our bird feeder a few days ago. As part of their courting behavior, the female would tap on the male's beak and then open her beak like a baby bird asking for food. The male would then give her a little bit (or pretend to).

Inspired by recent posts at The Boy's Almanac, the kids spread peanut butter on some pinecones and rolled them in birdseed. And I unraveled a cotton sweater to give the birds some nesting material.

Then on a trip to the park, I saw this golden-crowned kinglet. Since I had never seen one before, I added it to my bird book.

Recent visitors - a titmouse, a chickadee, and a goldfinch.

What a joy to give a little seed and string and be rewarded by the beauties of God's creation right outside our window!

. . . He who waters will also be watered himself. Pr. 11: 25

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yesterday's Lessons

We all went to Cherokee National Forest yesterday. Jeremiah gave the kids their lessons.

Rock-skipping lessons.

Frisbee-throwing lessons.

Then after Larkin fell out of a rhododendron

. . . tree-climbing lessons.

Other scenes from the day. Move your mouse over the pictures and find:
*Miah and Larkin climbing
*Miaj looking out at the lake
*A killdeer
*A vulture
*Jeremiah and Rohan
*Larkin and Miah with the fishing pole they made
*Zahana's feet after getting stuck in the mud
*Jeremiah and the kids at Bald River Falls
*Higher up on Bald River Falls
*A Chickadee
*More hiking
*A hearty meal after a hard day's play

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Z is for. . .

. . . zoom! And Zahana, of course!

So tell me, which of my ABSee Meme photos did you like the best?

And, in honor of the letter Z, here are a few Z names I like:
Zuriel - Hebrew - God is my rock
Zimri - Hebrew - song of praise
Zaid - Arabic - increase, growth

Zahra - Arabic - shining, flower
Zuri - Swahili - beautiful
Zahavah - Hebrew - golden
Zaylie - princess
Zosha - wisdom
Zimra - Hebrew - song, singing

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Y is for . . .

. . . yummy!

I don't know if I can adequately describe for you my love of hot chocolate. Winter is just not my thing. I don't like to be cold. It's a good thing we don't live any farther north. BUT occasionally, in warm weather, I'll think, "I wish it was cold enough to have some hot chocolate." Then I'll just make some anyway. Usually, I'm just making one cup for myself, so I mix up a spoonful of sucanat, a heaping spoonful of cocoa (at least twice as much cocoa as sucanat), gradually stir in some milk, and heat it in the microwave. If I'm making it for others too or just want some really good hot chocolate, I make this recipe:
In medium saucepan, mix 1/3 c. sucanat, 3 Tbs. cocoa, and a pinch of salt.
Stir in 1/4 c. water. Stir over medium-high heat until boiling. Boil two
minutes. Add 1 3/4 c. half-and-half, 1 c. milk, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and 2
oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate. Stir until melted and heated
through. Don't boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. And if
you're really not in the mood to care about sugar and corn syrup, add a big
dollop of marshmallow creme to your mug.

Here's another I found in a magazine. A bit more work but delicious.
Timberline Hot Chocolate
4 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar (or sucanat)
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 recipe schlag (follows)
crushed english toffee
In saucepan, mix milk, water, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate. Whisk until melted and frothy. Pour into cups. Top with schlag, toffee, and cocoa.
For schlag: 1 c. whipping cream, 2 Tbs. sugar, 2 tsp vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

X is for. . .

. . . xiphoid process!

Let me explain.
One of Zahana's favorite things to do is to name body parts. When I grew tired of hearing "eyes, nose, mouth" over and over again, we branched out to chin, elbow, toe. . . until finally I said, "Hey, just for kicks, let's learn something a little unconventional!" And so I showed her xiphoid.
A couple days after I showed her, she came to me with her arms crossed over her chest and said, "Where diboy?"

There it is! Yay!

Monday, February 23, 2009

W is for. . .

. . . worm!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

V is for. . .

. . . vacuuming! Or, shall we say, attempted vacuuming.

Every time I bring out the vacuum, I get lots of "help". Zahana says, "I do it!" She wants to push it over to the rug and unwind the cord. Then as soon as I turn it on, they're all over it. Apparently, it makes a pretty good musical instrument too. Rohan dances when it's going, and Zahana plays it like a washboard. Who knew vacuums were so much fun?!

U is for . . .

. . . undaunted!

un⋅daunt⋅ed – adjective
1. undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort: undaunted by failure.

The door was locked, but he had the key! And despite the fact that he couldn't have turned the door knob even if he had somehow been able to get the key in the right place, he kept trying. . . and trying. . . and trying.
While I'm glad he never succeeded, I can appreciate the perseverance.

T is for . . .

. . . technology!

Zahana and Rohan listening to music. They'll know more than me before too long.

S is for. . .

. . . snowflakes!

We were surprised this morning by snow, which had fallen in the night. I took these snowflakes outside to photograph them with the real snow. We made them a couple months ago and they've been hanging in the windows. Actually, these particular ones were probably made by Jeremiah, since he's the best paper snowflake maker around here (although Larkin is the most enthusiastic and dedicated.)

Remember to magnify His work, of which men have sung. Job 36: 24

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I am allergic to the aluminum in regular deodorant. When I found that out, I began trying different deodorants from health food stores that don't contain aluminum. I tried several brands and none of them worked. Then last year, I found a recipe at Passionate Homemaking that has been wonderful. It's very simple and cheap to make. So if you need or just want a natural deodorant that actually works, give this a try.

1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. baking soda
3-6 Tbs. coconut oil

Mix the cornstarch and baking soda together. Add coconut oil until you like the consistency.

And that's it! Hope it works for you. (If you click on the link above, you can learn more about why avoiding aluminum is a good thing.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

R is for. . .

. . . random! Just a few pictures of this and that.

Larkin and Rose, the cat

A frosty day

A bird made by Larkin out of pins

And Rohan!


The Olympics were next on our timeline. I didn't feel the need (and neither did the kids) to do much on the subject. Back in the summer, when the Olympics were on, we learned about it more in depth. So we just read a couple books from the library, Eyewitness Olympics and Olympics! by B.G. Hennessy. Here are some pictures from our own Olympics we had in September.

An obstacle course

. . . which ended with a splash!


And a pie toss.

The Etruscans

Another picture for our timeline. Actually, there were a couple pictures we just colored and put up and one we read a couple books about. Then we did the Etruscans. Since there weren't any children's books on the subject, we looked at the pictures in a couple books from the library. We found where the Etruscans lived on a globe and in an atlas. The kids did a dot-to-dot of Italy.

Miah built an Etruscan arch out of legos.

Larkin drew this Etruscan fortress and put Odysseus and Telemachus inside. :)

And here's Rohan, building something Etruscan, I'm sure.

I don't remember ever even hearing of the Etruscans before, so while the kids were building and drawing, I picked up one of the library books and began reading about the Etruscan language. I ended up reading for quite some time from both books. It's so nice when I can enjoy learning right alongside the kids.

"The bracing atmosphere of truth and sincerity should be perceived in every school; and here again the common pursuit of knowledge by teacher and class comes to our aid and creates a current of fresh air perceptible even to the chance visitor, who sees the glow of intellectual life and moral health on the faces of teachers and children alike." -Charlotte Mason