Thursday, November 29, 2007

Recipes & Food Adventures

I have been looking for a place to store my recipes and such, and I had joined Xanga a while back- creating yet another unused blog! So today I set it up to be dedicated to that favorite subject of mine- FOOD, glorious food!

I posted 2 new recipes there that we tried out this morning- Pumpkin Tarts & Scrambled Egg Pockets. I'd love to have favorite recipes of friends and family to share on the site if you want to send them to me- I'll try them out, G & I will rate them, and then post them to my site.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Baby it's cold outside!

It's beginning to feel a bit chilly in these parts!! Grace learned a new vocabulary word yesterday that is quite fitting- frost. It is from the book we are reading, Groucho's Eyebrows, a chilling tale of a white kitty who gets lost in snow and is found only because of his "funny looking" black eyebrows, which stand our against the whiteness.

I'm trying to create a lapbook for this unit- I found a Teacher's Activity Guide online, and many of the activities could be displayed in lapbook format. For some reason my creative juices just aren't flowing though.

Probably all the stress and impending doom. Ok, not doom- moving back to OC will be fine, it's just that I really do love Temecula. It will be nice to be near family, and surrounded by so many options for life-based learning- not to mention nearer Shawn's work.

On another topic- Grace has had a very slightly loose tooth for a bit now, and then this morning she told me another was loose- this one is on the bottom and her adult teeth are already growing in behind it. It is VERY loose, it may even come out today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fiber Arts & Friendly Acquaintances

Last night I went to a Knit-Tea-ing circle that another homeschool mom invited me to. It was so relaxing and peaceful, and I finally learned how to knit!! I have been crocheting a blanket (shown below) for Joy, but I've always wanted to knit. So Shannon (oh so patiently) showed me and 3 other ladies the basics- casting on and knit stitch. I took apart what I did last night to start over and make sure I have it (the pink yarn shown below) and someday soon that ball of yarn will magically transform into baby booties!

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I have found that the repetition, the feeling of the yarn, and the sense of productive accomplishment involved in Fiber Arts is very stress relieving. I have been doing a little every night in front of the TV and I am very close to just taking it with me everywhere I go!

It was especially nice that the women who came were from all walks and generations. Shannon the hostess, made a de"light"ful dinner. I do not know when she has time to do all that she does- it boggles the mind- what with 3 kids whom she homeschools, a husband who works many and widely varied hours and co-runs a soccer program that the older 2 kids (who are VERY talented players) participate in- AND she always has very clean and organized home!

Then there is Mendy, a single mom who homeschools her sweet son, Shane, and is a care provider for an elderly lady with Alzheimers, plsu has been working on earning a degree in Homeopathic Medicine; her sister Katy who just had a baby and got married, whose new husband leaves for the Army today. And lovely Bev, a grandma and Special Education teacher, who is just finishing her Masters and has the sweet soul of a saint it seems- she reminds me very much of my own mother.

All of these women inspired me- they do so much and still make the time to gather with friends, and share of themselves. I really needed to be around them last night and I so very much enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall at the Learning Barefoot Kindergarten

Just a few of the highlights from our first two months of homeschool. Enjoy!

Learning Barefoot- Fall
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Friday, November 09, 2007

Look what Grace learned how to do today...

Grace wanted to go for a walk, and it is a cloudy day so she decided to put on warmer shoes. A few minutes later she came running over with one Dora shoe on, squealing "look what I did!!", all by her little lonesome she figured out how to tie her shoes. She's been practicing for half an hour now, so that when Joy is born, she'll be able to do it for me since she'll know how. She also just informed me that she knows how to spell "boy" now- she just remembered it for no reason, apparently.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Family Night

I made a delicious London Broil, with homemade mashed potatoes (with chunks of yams) and spinach salad for dinner tonight. We did have to move the puzzle of Da Vinci's The Last Supper that we are doing, but after a slight delay involving a convenience store and steak sauce, we all three ate at the table - at the same time- and we left the TV off!!

After dinner I rinsed the dishes (and actually scrubbed the broiling pan instead of soaking it- I think I am growing up!) while Grace prepared a ballet show (she had come to the dinner table dressed in tights and skirted leo) and Shawn fed the wild things- ahem, beloved pets.

Grace's performance was beautiful, she has great "musicality"! The "ice skating" portion was especially riveting- oh the fun of tile floors! Her twirling, whirling and skirt swirling was as adorable as her new bouncy bob and I was reminded that I NEED to get her into dance class, or at least back into gymnastics.

Before bed we played a couple games of Zingo- Grace's favorite game; Shawn won the first one and Grace the second- but in my heart, I know I am the true winner. I have such a beautiful family and blessed life. Shawn's day wasn't that great (no new trials); Grace and I vegged on the 'puter or in front of the TV for most of the afternoon... but I'm not feeling bad about that. I'm not beating myself up that we only had one green food today (the spinach salad was good with the London Broil). And I'm okay with the fact that I have to drive the Golf to our Girls Club meeting tomorrow- at least I get to go.

Sometimes in worrying over trying to do all the "right" things, I know that I miss the moments that make our life so wonderful. But not tonight. It wasn't a scheduled, planned Family Night, everything just sort of happened, and we enjoyed each other - and that's why it was perfect.

Monday Muffins

Monday we made muffins in the morning. We had just a few frozen blueberries and strawberries that we had been using for smoothies, and we still have LOTS of peaches- and with the weather finally turning colder we aren't using them... so we altered the basic muffin recipe from our Betty Crocker cookbook, added a package of Marie Callendars cornbread mix, threw in a mashed banana and the frozen fruits and voila! and they turned out delicious. We made 40 mini-muffins and 12 standard size. While measuring the ingredients we focused on "halves" and "thirds" by using only those 2 measuring cups.

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We also updated both of our chore charts. Grace decided on 2 chores a day that she will do, and I created a chart for myself based on my Daily To Do List (14 things I want to get done every day). Grace earns happy face stickers and she picks the color; I earn foil stars- gold for doing all 7 things in both the AM & PM, silver for 6, blue for 5, red for 4 and green for 3 things done. We can both earn up to 2 stickers a day. We also help each other with our chores and we are going to see who gets the most stickers this month. The one who does gets to pick where we go on a special Mommy & Grace lunch date.

I've been thinking about my random, inconsistent, all over the place online "tracking" and I realized that what I really want to create is like a combination scrapbook, photo-album "life book". Something we can refer to as a family and share with others as we journey through our lifelong learning. Not to "show off" our work, more to have a central location to find recipes we enjoyed, remember events and learning experiences, and collect links and information. I get so sidetracked with the social aspect of blogging, especially with all these cool soc-net sites! I thought of deleting my entire online presence, and making this blog private- but I do enjoy reading the blogs a few friend... I just wish I could comment on their posts without having to join their chosen site for blogging!

I am in the process of pulling all the posts over from my oldest blog site Yahoo! 360- maybe I will do the same with all the others and truly consolidate this time!! Then to work on labels, photos and privacy...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday, Nov 4th

After reading my friend's blog ( it really got me thinking about the things I take for granted. I have been trying to live more simply, to return to the land, and nature's cycles as the backdrop for our busy lives. It seems that so many things we consider conveniences or luxuries actually cause more effort and create a false sense of how things should be. Laundry for example. The clothes we make, how many we own and our modern opinion of what is "clean" have changed dramatically. People cared for their clothes more, and even though they worked harder and got dirtier they washed them less frequently.

Depression is at epidemic proportions. I noticed something recently, after spending a long Sunday rearranging the house for the baby- moving furniture, deep cleaning, sorting organizing- and on that same day making bread, drying apple "leather" and making meals for my family from what we had left in the cupboards because we were too busy to go to the store for convenience foods and too broke to get fast food! The following day I was EXHAUSTED, but I felt content and accomplished. Being productive and doing work that actually matters and makes a difference to my family created a sense that I hadn't felt in a while.

So many studies say that exercise combats depression- well I think that hard work does it even better. Getting on a treadmill at the gym may get those endorphins flowing, but where is the sense of completion? Have all these "wonderful" inventions weakened the human spirit? Causing us to be dissatisfied, unmotivated and unfulfilled? And are we now breeding these qualities into the human DNA? What can be done to stop this scary adaptation?

Hard work is it's own reward and yet we seek all sorts of luxuries and conveniences as symbols of our success and accomplishment. We fill our homes with things that will require care and responsibility and provide little in the realm of function or true value. Then we sit back a relax because we "deserve it". I am saddened by it all.

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Shawn last finished Da Vinci's Last Supper in Nov! No time for puzzles this fall- can't wait until we are in our own place again!!
Are you a puzzler? Want to trade?