Friday, July 31, 2009

Flower Arranging

With a garden full of big beautiful zinnias, we're finally able to do a Montessori activity I've wanted to do for a while: flower arranging.
Larkin ran out to the garden and brought back five zinnias of different colors.
Miah stripped the leaves off so they would fit in the vase.
Cut the ends at an angle so the stems can absorb water better.
Arrange the flowers in a vase.
And enjoy.
Nothing earth-shattering. Just a simple exercise in loveliness.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Sybille at Buntglas tagged me with this award. Sybille is a homeschooler in Italy with some great ideas.
And here are ten more "Honest" blogs:
A Sustained Life - I love reading about the farm life. . . and dreaming.
Adventures of a Rainbow Mama - A great source for Montessori ideas with lovely pictures.
Burbs and the Bees - "Adventures of suburban homesteading and novice beekeeping"
First Fruits Farm NE - More homeschooling farm life.
Her Cup Overfloweth - Muffin Tin Monday and other fun kid stuff.
His Hands - His Feet - Life with ten beautiful adopted children.
Homeschooling in the Rose Garden - Fun homeschool with lots of ideas.
Living and Learning - Kindergarten homeschool.
Ordinary Life Magic - Life and learning, outside.
Periwinkles and Pine - Beautiful nature and more homeschool fun.

And ten things about me. Hmm. Let's go with my past life.
1. I went to aircraft mechanic school with Jeremiah. I didn't finish. I don't like metal.
2. I've worked as a cashier in a grocery store, home improvement with Jeremiah for his dad (my favorite part -besides Jeremiah-was ripping old shingles off roofs - seriously), as a pooper-scooper at a vet's office (parvo is bad!), at Arby's (yuck), McDonald's (for 3 days - not sure that counts) taking care of an elderly woman in her house, and at a doughnut shop ( all the free doughnuts I could eat!! good job!).
3. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil.
4. My childhood managerie included horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep, hamsters, fish, an iguana, a squirrel, pheasants, etc. and I was always dreaming of more. See why I need a farm?
5. When I was 12 or so, I woke up one morning sure that there was a baby deer in trouble. I searched in the woods all morning. When I got home, our neighbor called and said her dogs just attacked a fawn and could I bring some of my lamb's milk replacer for it. I still have no idea what this means.
6. I used to want ten kids. I think four is a great number.
7. I really can't think of anything interesting about me, so let's not drag this out any longer. How about a nice Charlotte Mason quote?

"Cocoa is the best drink for children."

There you go. Charlotte Mason said it. It must be true.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Field Trip Weekend

My parents came down this weekend, and we had lots of fun together. On our way to go camping, we made an unexpected stop at Crockett Tavern Museum in Morristown. The place didn't look like a big deal, but this was one of the best museums we've visited. This was not a look-and-read museum; it was very hands-on and our guide was both knowledgeable and kid-friendly.

Grating tea and sugar into a cup. Dried beans. An old flour mill. Today, Miah picked some beans and asked to dry them out near a fire like at the museum. Since we don't have a fireplace and it rained most of the day, we stuck them in the oven to dry. It thrills me that she brings up these things days later to do on her own. I suppose this is normal, but it still makes me happy.
Tightening the mattress ropes and pretending to be Davy Crockett.
Churning butter.
It took us a while to find a campground with available tent sites, but we finally found a beautiful one on Douglas Lake.
We had planned on camping all weekend, but unfortunately we woke up to pouring rain and solid gray skies Sunday morning. But we decided to have fun anyway. We headed down to The Lost Sea in Sweetwater, where the sky was blue.
Mining for gems and eating way too much candy.
This was the kids' first time to see a cave, and they loved it. Well, Miah loved it. Zahana, bless her heart, got a little tired of walking and holding my hand and decided to jump and jerk around until her elbow popped out of joint. It ended up popping back in place on its own. I think the boys liked it too but will enjoy it more when they're older. I, for one, enjoyed the whole lovely weekend and wish we could have more like this one.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all the peoples. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it. Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chr. 16:8-11, 23, 24, 29, 31-34

Friday, July 24, 2009

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables

I didn't intend to have a Moroccan theme going, but a friend requested this recipe so I thought I'd share it here. Maybe the oranges would make a nice dessert. This recipe comes from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Cookbook.

Moroccan Roasted Vegetables
1 medium onion
1 medium zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 large sweet potato
1 large red bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes
1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas (one 15.5 oz can, drained)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. salt
(Adjust any amounts to your personal preference. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, but I don't use it.)

Preheat oven to 400. Cut all the vegetables into large bite-size chunks. Mix all ingredients together and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes, stir, bake 20 more minutes. Serve over couscous, rice, or other grain.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vittles For Littles: Moroccan Cinnamon Oranges

It's about time for another kiddie cooking class, isn't it? I found these pictures from back in April. (We're not exactly back into the normal swing of things yet.) This delicious recipe comes from Jojoebi at Her son made these yummy oranges, and we had to try it too. They remind me of Christmas.
Remember: the name of the game is to have fun. There's really not much your little one can do to ruin these.

Moroccan Cinnamon Oranges
2 oranges
2 Tbs. honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
We used Clementines. They're very easy for little fingers to peel. And we didn't measure the honey or cinnamon.

Peel your oranges.

Separate the segments, and cut them in bite-size pieces. Put them in a bowl.

Pour honey into a small bowl.

Sprinkle in cinnamon.

Stir. If you want, zap it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. This makes it easier to stir.

Drizzle over oranges and mix well.

Ta da! A quick and easy special treat.

If junk food is the devil, then a sweet orange is as scripture. ~Audrey Foris

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Word of Encouragement

It is easy to think that teaching your child can be done better by someone else - someone smarter, someone with more training, someone with more material resources. It is easy to become discouraged when a child struggles, when he just doesn't get it, when things don't go according to plan. But your child was given to you. My children are my responsibility - a great and awesome thing, fearful, yet filling me with joy.
Charlotte Mason writes this quote in Home Education. It is a word of encouragement.
"The mother is qualified," says Pestalozzi, "and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principle agent in the development of her child; . . . and what is demanded of her is - a thinking love. . . . God has given to thy child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided - how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education."