Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Photo Dump!

Here are is our finished pear sauce.  Four canned/sealed jars and three freezer cups.

We made our first library visit and Ben kindly read to Anna.

Buggy has a budding love for books...

And combined with her "alpha" baby status it occasionally gets a little violent LOL

But look at that little elf face!!  She is too much!

Ben took this picture of the castle he and Anna built.  That horse doll next to it they call Blaze....after the horse in the Billy and Blaze books.

Ben took this picture too.  Buggy looks surprised.  Perhaps she is surprised I haven't yelled at her for dropping rice krispees all over the floor!

And picture requested by Anna and Ben.  Best of friends in an "old married couple" sort of way.  Anna is wearing Ben's pajamas (in case you wondered) because I let her sleep in Ben's room on non-school nights.  But Buggy was already asleep in the girls' room and so she borrowed Ben's jams instead.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Harvest Time

We have a few fruit trees around our property. Two apple and a pear.

We have been watching them anxiously since spring when they blossomed and then the fruits started growing...Our one pear tree has been covered with growing pears!  Our apple trees did not blossom too impressively and so we didn't have much hope for a good amount of apples.  The two apple trees are in massive need of major pruning.

I have picked a few pears for Anna and Beatrice, but I don't eat pears and had no idea if they were ready for picking.  When Cla tried one this morning he said it was delicious and perfect.  So I quickly did some research on preserving pears.  What I found out is that they are best picked BEFORE ripe.  Ooops.  Live and learn.

So we harvested what we could today and indeed many were already over ripe and thrown into the woods for the deer.

We also picked the apples because they looked perfect (and they are I had one with lunch!).  I was surprised at how many we got considering how the trees didn't seem to be doing that well.

So here is today's haul!! Pears in the orange crate and apples in the black.

the ugly apples will get turned into sauce and the nice ones will get eaten and dried in the dehydrator

Pears....I have never liked them.  I will save some for the girls and Claudio the rest will be turned to sauce and either canned or frozen.  I figure if nothing else they will make good baby food.

Anna has a very sweet and growing devotion to "Mother Mary".  Whenever she sees flowers she wants to pick them for Mother Mary.  So we trimmed a few blooms off of our hydrangea and she arranged them in a small vase.

I am sure Mother Mary is quite pleased by Anna's beautiful offerings.
In other news, Ben has become quite the little monkey.  Climbing whatever he can find.  He loves especially to climb this Japanese Maple in our front yard.  It is like a game of Where's Waldo....can you find his little face in there??

A little closer....see him now??  Considering a Japanese Maple is not made of the most sturdy branches it is shocking to me how far up it he gets.

There is the tree from top to bottom.  The chair is placed there by Anna in her attempts to do whatever Ben does.

Instead here is a cute picture of Anna with her bicycle  :)

In the tree Ben found a bird nest!  The first time he found it he said it had baby birds in it.  Now the baby birds are gone and there is just an empty nest.  Ben took the camera to try and get a picture of the nest but he had it set to video here is the video of his bird nest.

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day of School DONE!

First day of the new school year done and with a fair amount of success.

For some reason Anna asked if we could have chocolate cupcakes.  So I promised to make them for the first day of school.  They woke up very excited this morning..for school or cupcakes?  Unclear.

But I made by tried and true dairy/egg free zucchini bread recipe and added some cocoa, a few chocolate chips, and a squirt of chocolate syrup...and made them in a muffin tin and voila chocolate cupcakes!!  I even let them put frosting and sprinkles on them!

Then the kids finished their morning chores with little complaint or trouble.  We had our basket time while Buggy ate her breakfast (she is our late riser)

I had hoped that the morning would work out in such a way that Buggy would be ready for her nap when we finished basket time and it was time to start academic work, but totally didnt work out that way.  So, either we need to start school later or get Buggy up earlier!  Or just deal with her.  She wasn't so bad.  Mostly bopped around the school room.  But she did get some crayon on the wall, did like to climb up on Ben and Anna's chairs and try to "help" them with their work etc etc.  I brought in this big lady bug because she really does love to sit and lay on it and I brought in the little kiddie table where she did look at a few books.

And there are my two elders at the school table working.  Anna finished her work pretty quickly and did a very good job compared to what I expected.  At this point she was done and sitting on the table cutting a piece of paper with scissors.  Ben did great and accomplished a ton of work in our two hours.  He slogged a bit through his reading workbook but I totally loaded him down with reading in the hopes of getting through that last section of his last year's book that I let him cut short last spring in order to play outside in our new super yard.  I might just cut out some of the pages because if he knows the reading of it how many times does he need to re-write the same thing?  Probably not 4 pages worth.

So day one over with plenty of time before lunch.  The kids are out on the porch playing, the baby is napping, and I am about to get some laundry folded.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Embarking On A New Homeschool Year

Our new homeschool year starts Monday!! I have Benjamin doing 1st grade and Anna with some Pre-K work. Since we have our very own dedicated school room I thought I would give you a very short, and perhaps boring tour of our schoolroom. It is quite bare still, but I just love this room. It is all square and perfect and it isn't my dining room!!!

to the left of the doorway.  That is my desk! The table on the right is currently our school table.  I foresee us needing a bigger table in another year or so.

Our lovely window that looks into our yard and garden.

We have our own door outside.  This room actually has zoning to be for real home office or something like that because it has its own entrance.  The bookcase holds early readers and books of interest, Catholic/religious/saint books, read aloud books, and then some extra school supplies.  The closet is a mess currently but inside we are going to install some shelves and it will hold some more books and craft "stuff". 

My cat, Bunny, showed up to get into the action here.  He is completely nocturnal...if nocturnal means waking for the two hours between the kids going to bed and the adults going to bed...And yes I know he is rather large and fluffy *shrug*

yup....he's large.  But I love my Bunny Fuffins
And a little of what we will be working on this year...

I decided to start our school day with a "basket time".  There were a few things I wanted both Ben and Anna to be working on and this way I think Beatrice will be ready for a nap by the time we are ready to start academic work.

So in our basket is some:
-Shel Silverstein Poetry.  If you never read these poems as a kid your should check them out to read with your kids.
-Everyday Graces by Karen Santorum.  It is a book about learning manners through lessons in literature
-Golden Children's Bible
-Kindergarten Stories and Morning Talks.  This is a book I picked up from Hillside Press.  Little stories for each month that cover certain seasonal topics
-A coloring book about learning the Ten Commandments
-Chats With God's Little Ones. Beginning faith and catechism study
-Catholic Mosaic-saint/liturgical year activities

Ben 1st grade:
-Abeka 1 Arithmetic. Loved it for Kindergarten so don't fix what ain't broke.
-Little Angel Readers.  We have a section left to finish from Book 2 and then we should be able to plow through Book 3 pretty quickly.  After that we will either do Book 4 or start Primary Language Lessons.  I will decide that when we get there.
-CHC spelling A and grammar A.  Not much to say there...this boy needs to learn spelling and grammar and these looked like they would do what we needed.
-Seton for Handwriting....I picked it basically because of the beautiful artwork in it.  As far as I can tell (and I am likely totally wrong) handwriting is handwriting so pick the one that looks the nicest.
-MODG recommendations for poetry memorization
-St. Joseph First Communion Catechism for religion

PreK for Anna:
Well I basically going to try what I used with Ben and hope for the best.
-Teach your Child To Read in 100 EZ lessons
-BOB Books
-Rod and Staff/Seton PreK workbooks for basic math and reading/writing skills
She is not exactly reading ready like Ben was so we will be moving very slowly and just see how it goes.  She is a brand new 4 so if we get good letter and letter sound recognition under her belt I will be quite happy.

I also made these very simple chore charts for Ben and Anna.  Just the basics of personal hygiene and tidiness.  Trying to make keeping their "spaces" neat part of the daily routine.  And Ben will take over feeding the cat and fish.  After this becomes routine I will reevaluate and possibly add more things on for each, but this is a good start.  Previously they did chores as they were assigned, "Ben please go pick up the books and put them back in the basket..."  This way they can check off their daily tasks.

Prayers for all who are preparing and beginning their new homeschool year!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Did Not Make Me Happy!

You know what that is???  It's a BAT.....A BBBAAAATTTT!!!!!!!  Basically a rat with wings!!!

And do you want to know where it is????  in a fishbowl in my BREEZEWAY!!!!!  So basically IN MY HOME!!!  How it got on my breezeway and into a fishbowl is unknown.

I will happily take the deer and the turkeys and even the bear....but I DRAW THE LINE AT BATS INSIDE MY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yarn Along: Tiny Tea Leaves and Tiny Baby Vests

Linking up with Ginny over at Small Things for her Yarn Along.

I have completed the body of a new cardigan for Anna using the Tiny Tea Leaves pattern.  I have to do the sleeves and button bands stuff.  I want to do the sleeves in Magic Loop instead of DPNS.  I have never done Magic Loop before and need to buy the needles and so I keep putting it off  :)

Also started working on a tiny baby vest from some free pattern I came across somewhere.  Aren't I vague LOL...

I am reading The Complete Journals of LM Montgomery And I am loving it!!  I can't wait for the second volume to come out!  Highly recommend it for any Anne fans...or Emily of New Moon fans etc etc..

And here are some totally unrelated pictures of dear Beatrice.  She was attacking me for the there ya go!

Click here for more Yarn Alongs

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three Jars of Pickles Pickling

Some of the bounty from our garden....I am not a huge cucumber fan....and neither is anyone else in the family.  We are, however, pickle fans! 

I got this recipe from my stepmother's sister.  She has been making them for years and I have been enjoying them for years!  I can tell you right up front that when I layered the cucumbers and onions it came to the top of the jar.  This confused me (not hard to do).  So while the recipe calls for 2 jars I just didn't see how it would all fit.  So I did three jars and doubled the vinegar/spice mixture, thinking I needed it to come to the top of the jar.  Of course once I poured the vinegar mixture in I realized that the cucumbers and onions sort of squish down/condense an it could have all fit into two jars with one vinegar mixture.  Live and learn.  They still taste great.

So here is the recipe:

Easy Refrigerator Pickles
These are like a bread and butter pickle
6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
    In a glass or crockery bowl, alternately layer the sliced cucumbers and onions.  In a medium saucepan combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, and ground turmeric; bring to boiling, stirring just till sugar is dissolved.  Pour vinegar mixture atop cucumber-onion mixture; cool slightly.  Cover tightly.  Refrigerate pickles at least 24 hours before serving.  Store up to 1 month in refrigerator.  Makes 7 cups.

Note.  I put the cucumbers and onions in storage jars and then pour the mixture of vinegar, sugar etc. over them and keep in the refrigerator for longer than one month.  I’ve had them a lot longer than that and they are still good, maybe just not as crunchy.