Monday, April 26, 2010

Vision Forum deal

I'm not getting anything from this, but I thought it was a good deal. I love Vision Forum's resources! I have, well, a lot. But I wouldn't mind having more! Even the books for the girls help me learn about family life, parenting, God. Anyway, wanted to share, since it is only offered for 5 days. Got any birthdays coming up? Homeschooling resources? Fathers day? There is stuff here for everyone!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Homemade Bread

I've tried making bread a few times. It usually tastes good, but doesn't always work texture wise. And I go through spurts of making it and not. I've even made challah a few times under my mother-in-law's watchful eye. Then I go home and... well, the results are different!

All to say, I think I want to try again. So today I'm testing the recipe I saw on Large Family Mothering that she calls "fast, easy and delicious!". It is supposed to be quick, with whole wheat and white flour. I'm sure it won't be quick the first time, nothing ever is, but if it works, I'll keep trying and get faster, right?

Here we go!

Hmm, so I decided to use my stand mixer since I have one, even though she didn't use one. Note to self: when using a recipe from a Large family site, you might want to remember your equipment isn't large family size. The 30 minute rise time allowed me to dig dough out of parts of the mixer that aren't supposed to connect with the food, oops! I had to put the dough in a different bowl for that rise, the original one was very much not big enough.

The dough was giving off heat. I suppose that is from all the yeast, but it was strange to feel. It rose almost immediately, I could have watched it move if I hadn't had flour and dough on every counter, container and part of me.

It rolled out easy, and looks kinda like hers does after it cooks, so we'll see! Waiting on the 2nd rise...

Here it is right after being rolled. Looks good!

Here is what the table around it looks like, just for kicks. Flour, parchment paper container (I never quite understand "lightly oiled"), kids cup from lunch, rolling pin, pink plastic crown hair clip, and plastic bags from making a parachute with Grandpa.

It is in the oven now. I didn't realize there was no time limit on the recipe, and then remembered that was one thing I most dislike about making bread. How long do you cook it? "till it is golden brown" great. That usually means looks great on top, doughy inside. I've used the temperature method too, and that works better, but I don't remember the temp fully cooked bread should be. Oh, we'll see!

Here it is after about 30 minutes. I took this picture so I could have proof of how nice it looked before I chopped one loaf in half to see if it was finished. I know, very unprofessional. But I figured to sacrifice one loaf was fine in attempts to still have time to put the other back in to cook. Turns out, looks great! Off to wake up the girls and try it.

It was perfect! That's never happened, ever. Delicious, fully cooked, and at least one of the girls likes it. Um, yeah, I think I could have halved it, and still split it in half and made two normal sized loafs, but we have some in the freezer so that's actually kinda nice. Worth a try ladies, especially if you don't have a lot of time. I started during nap time and it was done before they got up!
(yeah, they did stick together, but oh well!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Homeschooling - current thoughts for next year

I've been more diligent about doing "school time" with my girls this last year (okay, just daughter #1 with a tiny tagalong). More diligent, but not as great as I would like. So here is my organizing of my thoughts for the upcoming year:

Hooked on Phonics - Kindergarten
Other literacy games here and there
Daily reading together (their level and chapter books)

Math (number recognition and writing)
Unifix cubes
Math games
Calendar time

Creating books together

Biblical Festivals
Holidays (ex. St. Patricks, St Nicks origional story)
Bible stories

Signing Time (I get them from library or MIL)
Spanish - reading books from the library, learning songs together

Random skills
Cutting book (Kumon)
Pasting book (Kumon)

Wow! That seems totally too much for a 4 year old doesn't it? Well, its not all of it every day, and it is a whole year.

Reading: The Hooked on Phonics was given to us by my lovely mom-in-law, so we are just taking that really slowly, trying not to push it. #1 is huge on reading and words, and she can sound out so much. I know when it clicks, she will be unstoppable with the reading. I don't know where she got that...

Writing/Math/Cutting/Pasting: I love the Kumon books. I pull them apart and put them in sheet protectors in a binder so we can do them again and again. The cutting book we have, I copy and then she cuts the copy. They are just simple and fun. I've purchased them at Target, a used/new bookstore, and then at Costco.

Writing: I got the Handwriting without Tears book in January and I copy the pages for her to do. We do one here and there. She had all of a sudden started writing letters even though I had never taught her, so we figured, good time to start refining that! I'm not terribly impressed with it, but I like it and it seems to help, if only just helping me actually work on it with her!

Bible: The bible studies from Doorposts are what I'm really excited about. I just ordered them tonight. I felt really uncomfortable all year that I wasn't getting enough bible in, and feeling a sense of panic as to how to teach something I've just been learning myself. I have this intense passion for the book of Proverbs, and couldn't find a study anywhere. Then all of a sudden (thanks Abba!), I came across their Hidden Treasures study! I have also really been feeling at a loss as to how to guide my girls in responding to life with a biblical outlook. Enter "For Instructions in Righteousness"! God is good to me, so good.

I also have frustrated myself for the last 3 1/2 years by remembering there is a festival or holiday coming... but only the day before. Enough is enough! I just printed out monthly calendars from this month to June 2011 and wrote all the important dates in it. I hope to use that calendar during my lesson planning so I don't forget things. At least it is another attempt, right?

Language: This is something I'm just thinking about sticking in here and there. Like I said, #1 loves words and reading. A while back, she brought me The Magic School Bus: Human Body. Those are pretty detailed books. And she sat through it, crazy girl. The thing is, she brought me the Spanish version. She sat through a hard book IN SPANISH. She didn't understand a thing, but she didn't care. I was struggling, and I "speak" Spanish. Whew. It made me think it might be good to have some other languages in the mix, just to see what happens.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Price List Part 3: Other peoples grocery experiences

This is a very disjointed series, but I like to organize things!

I've been following a new series of posts by 4 different moms. It is called 4 Moms, 35 kids. This last week they all posted their ideas on grocery budgets and I loved their ideas and their completely different takes on the same topic. Go check them out!

Life in a Shoe - where I found out about the posts. I appreciated the reminder to get a basic price for an item that I'm willing to spend, and to buy in season produce. (although organic produce doesn't seem to change much in our area, guessing Safeway is not buying things local :)

Smockity Frocks - they don't have a specific grocery budget even though they feed 10 people. That's already helping me get over my desire to know an exact amount and stick to it.

The Common Room - I think this post was an answer to my prayer this morning. Kit Cat is VERY picky, and we don't like it. But it is hard to make... ah, lets fix that, allow a strong willed 1 1/2 year old to not eat because she won't eat anything but cheese and fruit. Won't even let it touch her lips. This post helped me to emotionally get behind my husbands sound advice of "When the cheese runs out, don't get anymore." A few favorite quotes:

we think too much about our favorites, about what we like instead of what we need, about what we 'feel like having' instead of what we have in our hands or what is in season, and we want what we want when we want it and feel sorry for ourselves when we can't have it.

Being a picky eater displays a certain self centeredness, a focus on self and bodily comforts that I think hampers maturity as well as the ability to be content.

Raising Olives - As hospitality is something I would like to improve at, I especially noticed her practice of not including hospitality meals in the food budget. That way she feels free to get whatever she needs and not worry as much about the cost. This also instilled in me to try again to plan out breakfasts and lunches.