Friday, September 30, 2011

{this moment} - a family game

{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. See Soulemama to play along.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

leaf learnin'

I haven't shared much about our homeschooling endeavors lately, but Finn and I have so enjoyed the leaf unit we've been working on this week that I thought I'd show you a bit of what we've been working on. As autumn starts to cool our air and bring the slightest hint of color to our trees, Finn and I have been studying the leaves that will soon be changing and falling all around us.

Almost everything we've done this week has had a hint of autumnal leaf to it, which seems to suit Finn just fine. We've collected several leaves from our yard.

And compared those leaves to our leaf guide.

We've made numerous crayon rubbings over leaves.

Then we compared the rubbings to the leaves and especially looked at the vein structure to see how much showed through on the crayon rubbing.

We baked a "leaf loaf" of sourdough bread, which we enjoyed with peach jam harvested just a few weeks ago.

We colored pictures of trees, identifying the roots, trunk, branches and leaves each with a different color.

We learned the parts of a leaf and colored them.

Finn can read the word tree so we made a worksheet for him to read and practice writing tree. (Finn loves worksheets and flies through them as quickly as I print them, but I try to keep them on topic and relevant to what he is learning so that he continues to enjoy them.)

We did some wet-on-wet watercolor painting of leaf colors and then traced one of our maple leaves on the dried painting.

Finn drew veins on his watercolor leaves.

And we hung the watercolor leaves in the window over the nature table.

This time of year seems to inspire so much learning and creativity. I think we might extend our leaf learnin' for another week and find more fun leaf projects to enjoy.

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along this week, I have 2 projects that I'm working on alternately. The other sock to match the one I recently finished and a bookmark from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I just started reading Swiss Family Robinson to the older kids and they are really enjoying the adventures and trials of the family stranded on the deserted island. I think a family movie night to watch the classic will be in order when we've finished the book.

I've knitted the bookmark before and it really is a nice woven-looking bookmark that I might try to embroider this time. We shall see.

I also finished the scarf from last week and blocked it. I think the diamond rib pattern turned out lovely with this yarn, and I can't wait to gift it to it's intended recipient. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

a meal fit for an Ingalls

When we decided to have a special meal for the arrival of autumn, I thought it would be around a fire, but since the weather didn't cooperate, we needed a new plan.

A warm and cozy meal around the fire is wonderful, but a homey meal in a cozy kitchen during an autumn rain is a pretty fine plan as well. This is not our first foray into Ingalls' cooking, but since I stumbled upon the Little House Cookbook at the library recently, an Ingalls-style meal seemed like a good way to celebrate the advent of autumn on a rainy day. From the cookbook, we chose the buckwheat pancakes, fried potatoes and fried apples'n'onions as our autumn meal.

Then [Pa sat] down, as they urged him, and lifting the blanket cake on the untouched pile, he slipped from under it a section of the stack of hot, syrupy pancakes. Royal forked a brown slice of ham from the frying pan onto Pa's plate and Almanzo filled his coffee cup. "You boys certainly live in the lap of luxury," Pa remarked. The pancakes were no ordinary buckwheat pancakes. Almanzo followed his mother's pancake rule and the cakes were light as foam, soaked through with melted brown sugar. ~ The Long Winter

Outdoors was crisp and cold. Sunshine gilded the frosty windows, and in the house everyone was hearty and cheerful. How the travelers did enjoy that breakfast! The praised everything they ate. The biscuits were light and flaky, the fried potatoes were brown, and the slices of fat pork were thin and crisp, and the gravy was smooth and brown and creamy. ~ By The Shores Of Silver Lake

They talked about spareribs, and turkey with dressing, and baked beans, and crackling cornbread and other good things. But Almanzo said that what he liked most in the world was fried apples'n'onions. When at last they went in to dinner, there on the table was a big dish of them! Mother knew what he liked best, and she had cooked it for him. ~ Farmer Boy

The kids were mildly suspicious of the brown sugar layered between the buckwheat pancakes instead of maple syrup and very suspicious of the fried apples'n'onions. Everyone was game for trying each dish, and almost everything was quite enjoyed. A winning meal in my book!

I'm pretty sure that the Ingalls never ate ketchup, but after finding this recipe for homemade ketchup, I really wanted to try it so we inaugurated it with the potatoes at our Little House meal. A little more tangy than regular ketchup, it was pretty well received, and I do believe it will become a staple around here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

our community Michaelmas celebration

We celebrated Michaelmas today with our little festival community and had a perfectly lovely afternoon. (You can see last year's celebration here.) We were afraid that the rain might ruin our celebration, but fortunately, the skies cleared just as we began so while the kids were wet and muddy, they were not drenched. Our celebration consisted of games promoting courage and strength, making dragon bread, painting and decorating wooden shields, making paper crowns, dancing and games to beautiful music, and of course joining together for a meal, including blackberry thumbprint cookies. (Blackberries are traditionally last served for the season during Michaelmas because according to legend when St. Michael cast Satan out of heaven, he landed in a blackberry bramble.) Looking back at the photos, I think the children enjoyed their Michaelmas festival very much.

With much strength to forge the coming fall and winter, happy Michaelmas!

Friday, September 23, 2011

{this moment} - companionable silence

{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. See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Apple Cake

Even though we're still a day away from the actual advent of autumn, the cooler, damp weather feels like autumn made her appearance a few days early so I decided that I would follow suit and bring our autumn books out of dormancy and back into the seasonal book basket.

Finn was so thrilled, "ooh, I remember this book. Mama, can we read this one!" I'd love to tell you that the first book he latched onto was The Apple Cake, that would make for a better story, but in actuality we had to read Albuquerque Turkey three times before we could move on to anything else. He did eventually ask to read other books, including The Apple Cake, and we decided that the cool rainy weather might make good apple cake weather.

Elizabeth did pause from her painting long enough to read with us but went back to her own task rather than helping us bake. Finn enthusiastically set about following the instructions to chop the apples into small pieces.

He was also the chief olfactory inspector along the way. "Mmmm...smells like apple cake, doesn't it, mama?"

The entire house smelled like a wonderful autumnal afternoon with the apples and cinnamon wafting through the air.

Just when our stomachs could not take the teasing any longer, the apple cake appeared, dusted with a layer of snow, as Finn burbles.

Welcome autumn, you are clearly as eager to arrive to us as we are to have you!