A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Baking Bread

Last winter I found a fabulous winter bread baking routine, I would get up in the morning and make dough, letting it rise next to the wood stove until it was ready for the oven.  This year I found I was really struggling with finding that same routine.  Personally I blame this strange weather we've been having that doesn't always feel like winter.  Needless to say it has all changed with the discovery of my new book .  I must say we have been eating a lot of bread!
This dough that stays in the fridge (similar to a sour dough starter really) is fantastic!  I make a batch for the fridge and then pull off a hunk every morning, let it "rest" for an hour or two and throw it in the oven for 30 minutes!  It's cooked w/ steam which helps to make an absolutely divine crust.  And the smell, oh the smell...really I can't think of a better smell then fresh baking bread wafting through a drafty old house in winter.

I haven't really gotten past the master recipe (which is amazing with soup, pasta, almond butter and of course butter) or the soft whole wheat sandwich loaf but the book is full of some amazing recipes that I am sure we will get to.  It's amazing how just one little book has created such a trend in our house.
A bit of bread baking has spawned into cracker making!  Something I've always meant to do, I've heard how easy it is, but jeese...I'm so busy and a box of crackers from the store is easy.  Well, boy oh boy let me tell you!  The only problem I've had so far is keeping the jar full!
It almost seems that I need to be baking them constantly, but they are super yummy with hummus I assure you.  I got a "wheat thin" recipe from a friend that is very popular.  One day I was out of whole wheat flour and I made a batch with a mix of all purpose and barley flour with some garlic salt...another yummy success.  I may never buy a box of crackers again!
 Then, just to make all this bread love complete those crafty kids of mine got down to making us some cloth bread bags (another thing I've been meaning to do for ages).  Corey whipped them up with his usual draw-string bag pattern from some cotton tea towels I had and a bit of unbleached cotton fabric left over from another project.
 On Miss Molly's end she was busy with iron-on details.  We have this Sukie Iron-on Craft Pad full of cuteness that she has really been having fun with!  There have been t-shirts, doll diapers, bread bags and the such going on a bunch lately.
 Aren't they just darling?  We've already gifted one to one of our favorite friends and I have a feeling there will be more.
Well, I must go check on this applesauce banana bread I've been working on.  If it tastes as good as it smells right now I'll be sure and post the recipe.  In the meantime go whip yourself up some cotton bread bags to go with all the bread, they are practically perfect in every way!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Down by the River

We had a relaxing weekend around here.  We've all been so busy that it was much needed I can assure you.  There was an early morning basketball game on Saturday and then some serious tidying and cleaning that went on at this house (much needed).
The highlight of this relaxing weekend was of course gathering with friends for a simple afternoon of nothingness.  The big boys shot some hoops while the mamas did some knitting and the we all took a lovely walk to the river.
 Corey has named this little spot we love Goose Cove.  You can barely see them as they are swimming away, but there are often many geese hence Corey's clever naming. 
 The whole family enjoys a trip down here, it's literally down the hill so we can go quite frequently.  The area is tidal as it is shortly before the river dumps into the Atlantic Ocean, so as you can imagine every trip is always a bit different.  The kids love when the tide is coming in because the river is "flowing backward".
 The littlest of folks stayed close to their mama,
or got a ride on the back of another grown up.
 The big boys did a bit more free roaming, Corey has been excited to share this little spot with these friends for a while now...it was a walk worth taking for sure.
 The bond that these two boys have in spite of a 5 year age difference is wonderful and growing every day.  Just looking at the pictures as I post makes me smile and my heart feels full.  After all I've know his mama longer than I've known my own husband!  Imagine how it makes both mamas feel to see the littles having such fun together!

I realize I could have told this story with far fewer pictures, but it was hard to chose.  We are off to start some decimal division and review.  Hope that your weekend was full and wonderful!

Friday, January 27, 2012

This Moment

Ala Friday joining Soulemama for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
 have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lab Partners

One of my favorite things about home schooling is just sitting back and watching them work together.  I mean sure they get on each other's nerves, they squabble, but when push comes to shove they love each other and even have fun together!
I know I've mentioned Real Science 4 Kids in previous posts, we are currently using their Chemistry program and it's great.  The price is right, I ordered the digital copy and can print off as many as I need (unlimited home school licence) or just use the computer and save paper.  The middle grades (5-8) is what we are using, the reading is great and the lab experiments are fun and use mostly household items.  Their website has so much to offer including on line classes, clubs and science experiments.  We haven't done any of those and probably won't but we will continue next to Biology and then physics for sure.
It's so great to watch them having fun together while they are learning!  There is some sort of satisfaction as a parent.
This chapter was about chemical reactions, what a blast.  Corey really enjoys the whole concept, I think Molly just enjoys making a mess, but I'll take it.  Her lab notes are precise and she clearly understands what is happening and why.
It's nice to have something fun to mix in with our recent history discussions I posted about here.  We definitely need these reasons to smile to offset the sad realizations we have some days.

I can imagine them as adults talking about their "lab experiments" as children together.

disclaimer: just for the record, I am NOT advertising or getting any kickback from this company, it just so happens that I've found something I like and wanted to share:)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yarn Along

Joining in with the Yarn Along this week.
Haven't made much progress on the hourglass as I've been quite busy with a few projects to send off to Vermont for a newest niece or nephew to be born very soon!  So I thought I'd show you that sweetness all finished up.  the vest is Milo and I'm in love!  Wow, I've seen this vest around the Internet for a while, now only wish I found it when my two were smaller.  It's so simple and fast, and I love all the different cable choices.  I also made these little cable booties from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.  Sort of forgot that I owned this lovely little book.  The yarn for both is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby, one of my personal favorites for baby knits, so soft and yummy...and best of all it's washable!
Haven't done much reading this week.  The bread book I mentioned last week is great, a sandwich loaf is rising right now, we've had fresh baked bread every day!  We haven't tried anything crazy yet, just the master recipe, but it's been super.  I've also been re-reading Simplicity Parenting, specifically the chapter on Soul Fever.  I read/listened to this post and thought maybe a re-read would be good to see if I could apply anything to the struggle we sometimes have around here with a certain 11 year old girl and the hormones that are swirling around.  So far, just a friendly reminder:)

Thanks to Ginny for hosting, looking forward to seeing what others have been up to.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Trouble with the Truth

Growing up is tough.  Raising children who are growing up is really tough.  My babies are 10 and 11, still babies of course, but they are bright kids who are eager to learn.  Our home schooling lessons have been centered around a lot of history lately.  American history, westward expansion, the civil war, slavery.  Not a proud time in our nations history, but it is a time in our history that we are talking about.

We have kept these little people we are raising pretty sheltered from the realities of our sometimes pretty cruel world.  Until they were around 7 and 8 there was really no screen time in their lives.  No news, TV, movies, video games.  We did lots of reading together as a family, games keeping them at arms length and enjoying just letting them be children.  As they have gotten older we now watch a family movie, sometimes classics, sometimes movies based on books we've read.  Corey at 10 has now seen The Lord of the Rings movies!  Honestly they scare the crap out of him, but he's read the books so many times he has the things memorized and really wanted to experience the movies.  For him and his fantasy led mind knowing what happens makes it OK (especially when dad is right beside you).  But I'm getting sidetracked here...

Back to history, we recently watched a Ken Burns documentary called The West from PBS.  Wow, excellent, but very intense.  There were a lot of questions from kids and there was a lot of anger and confusion.  I think until this point the only view of "cowboys and Indians"  was very fictionalized.  Pilgrims and Indians sharing large meals, Sacajawea guiding Lewis and Clark happily along the Missouri and the such.  Ken Burns showed a much more realistic and upsetting scene of death and brutality, mostly by "white men" toward native Americans.  Harsh.  I don't recommend this very well done documentary for the "light afternoon viewing".    I do think this is important information for the children to learn, but it was hard to see them so shocked and dismayed by it. 

Now we are reading A Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas This book is available free on line and for your kindle.  Again a very real look at our history, this time slavery.  While the children have known it existed this view is much more real and disturbing.  "How could people think they are better than others?"  "How could they just take children away from their mamas?" These are the type of questions I am hearing on a daily basis.  Chapter 4 was quite bloody. 
We read each chapter together and I have a few questions on the chalk wall for them to write about after as well as some vocabulary words to look up.  We're taking the book quite slow, not because the reading is difficult, but the content is awful at times.  That being said, this is a figure from history that I want them to know about and understand what an important part of our history he truly was/is.
But when is the right time to learn these things?  I find that I doubt myself as a parent when I see the children sad or angry by what they are learning.  But raising them to be good, honest and caring people is what I'm trying to do.  
We still filter world news from them a great deal (my boy wouldn't leave the house) but are slowly letting some truths in.  I dread this part of raising them,  seeing their world change and become harder is not something I enjoy. 

Does anyone else with older kids struggle with this?  How do folks deal with some of these harsh realities?  When are kids ready to hear of such things?

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Moment

Joining Soulemama for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yarn Along

Haven't been in a while but today I'm joining the yarn along over at Ginny's blog.  Such a fun little community that I love to visit.
I just got Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day,  I'm excited to give it a try.  A friend at work has been using their other book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I had read this recipe in Mother Earth News a while back and now I'm really looking forward to seeing how it goes.  The idea is basically no need, you make a mega batch (to last about a week) and every day you break off a piece and let it rest and bake....I'll let you know how it turns out for sure.
On the knitting side I'm actually knitting a sweater for myself!  Something I just don't do and I'm thrilled about.  It's the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.  I've had this Malabrigo silky merino forever with plans to make a tea leaves sweater for myself someday, but somehow I've ended up going this route instead.  It's such a yummy yarn to knit with, and I love the color.  I've actually got two dye lots so I'm alternating between them.   Working out perfect with the natural variation in the yarn color. 
Thanks to Ginny for hosting.
Heading out to see what everyone else is up to.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Moment

Joining Soulemama for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big Smiles

before, in the chair right before the big moment
Our sweet Molly had a very special trip to the orthodontist this week.  After a year and a half of wearing braces she got them removed!  It was a very exciting day for all of us.
 Getting braces first put on meant a special trip to our favorite local coffee shop for a smoothie. So of course getting them meant the same special trip, this time a big ol' Cinnamon bun too (no breakfast before hand).

This is one happy-smiley girl, life is good, notice the fancy finger-nails...had a trip to the nail salon after a big sleepover this past weekend!  Oh to be 11.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fun with Chemistry

As I mentioned before we have been using the Chemistry from Real Science 4 kids for our science lessons.  I must say I like the program so far, text, labs, reviews, the whole deal.  Everyone is having fun.  So this week we are learning about molecules and how they are put together.  The lab has a great little ditty on marshmallow molecules, however my dear sweet little vegetarian Molly was having none of that!  After all "they are made with gelatin and that comes from cows" she informed me.  That's OK I say!  The amazing, awesome, super wholesome, homeschooling, handcrafting mama extraordinaire that I am will make home-made marshmallows with no animal byproducts and NO high fructose corn syrup.

Then life took over as it does sometimes.  The busy, gotta-get-this-done and move on mama that I also am went down to the store and bought some gross candy gumdrops, made from who knows what (I opted not to analyze the ingredients).

In the end it wasn't has wholesome as I had envisioned, but they seem to have a solid grasp on ionic vs covalent bonds.  The understand the rules that atoms follow to bond and that the shape of the molecules have rules to.  We had fun, learned a bunch (in our school uniform of pajamas) and no animals were harmed.  Oh and I can move on from this unit finally!
I DO plan on mastering the home-made marshmallow for our annual camping trip so if anyone knows a good recipe send it my way please.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Like I Need Something Else To Do...

Life has been full in this new year.  There have been family walks in the woods, ice skating a the local pond, home cooked meals, and school is back in full swing.  So while I have been reading through Patchwork Style and Scrap Republic in all my spare time lately I've decided I need to learn how to quilt.  After all Greg and I need a quilt for that big old bed of ours.
Of course I need to try some things out before I start on such a big project not to mention I am a girl who loves instant gratification.  So I looked at the drab brown pillows on our couch (been meaning to replace them for ages) and thought "perfect"!
So in between a gymnastics meet, a sleep over, a basketball game, a free throw contest and a few hours at the sewing machine, voila:

A perfect way to try out my new love for turquoise and red I've been pinning about. Most of the fabric on the big pillows is from bliss and ruby both from Moda fabrics.  I used up an old sheet I've had stashed forever for the backs and the little pillow was a sort of log cabin attempt with a bunch of different scraps.  Greg says I've done enough "practice" and would like me to get going on our bed quilt (he's cold).  The kids of course would like new quilts for their beds,  I'm thinking a patchy quilty bag is a must...Like I need something else to do right? 
I'll add it to the list and just keep plugging away.  What are you working on this new year?

Friday, January 6, 2012

This Moment

Joining Soulemama  for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.