Monday, November 28, 2011

Hot Cocoa to Warm Chilly Hands

New Mexican Hot Chocolate
5 Tbsp powdered, unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup hot water
4 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine the cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and honey in a saucepan and mix well.  Stir in the hot water.
2. Stir over medium-high heat until it begins to boil.  Turn down heat immediately and simmer and stir for 30 seconds.
3. Add milk and stir constantly over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.  Don't let it boil.
4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Use a wire whisk or rotary beater to make it frothy.

From Josefina Just For Fun

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Falling Leaves

My creative energy has felt blocked, or somehow stuck, lately. Not the ideas or inspirations -- I would describe these as "overflowing." This isn't a good combination. Does this ever happen to you?

Needing a project for our handmade calendar, I found an activity that looked fun on the Art Projects for Kids blog, and I quickly gathered the supplies for the three of us before I could get distracted.

Good news: the movement in these pictures has restored my creative energy flow -- can you feel it, too? And just in time for Christmas crafting!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Wreaths

When you make your cranberry sauce this year,
save a few berries for these pretty little wreaths.
We found them on maya*made.   

These are all the supplies you need (floral wire found at Michael's, ribbon, fresh cranberries & scissors) 
Wire cutters make the project even easier.

Linus did a little stringing, too -- but mostly he sampled the berries.

We may take this to our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow -- it's easy enough for all ages, you can spend as long or as little time at it as you like, people can come and go, and if you end up with a lot of them they can be festively hung on trees outside for your outdoor friends!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Knee Bone's Connected to the...

Halloween skeletons got us started on a really fun study of the body.  We started with bones.
Here's a little trivia to get you started -
1. How many bones do you have?
2. How many bones make up the skull?
3. Where is the smallest bone in your body?

We printed the template for the paper plate skeleton and used some really great books to discover the names of things.  We had a good time experimenting with the different kinds of joints we have -- sometimes it was downright humerous (hee hee)!
From here, we've got big plans for experimenting, game playing, and art project making about all-things-body.  Well, maybe not all things.  But, you get my point.  Here are the books on deck for that:

How well did you do?
1. There are about 206 bones in an adult body.
2. There are 22 bones in the skull.
3. The smallest bone in the body is in the cranium.  The "stirrup" is smaller than a grain of rice and is found deep inside the ear.

Source: The Search for the Missing Bones (The Magic School Bus)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Comin' on Christmas...

With Nutcracker rehearsals in full swing, and the impromptu sketching of gingerbread house ideas for the Waldorf Gingerbread House exhibit, it was only natural that the Christmas cd's should come out.  We started with our favorite, Santa Baby.

     What marks the beginning of your season?

What are your favorite Christmas songs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last of the Summer Garden

The summer garden finally came out, the winter garden finally went in, some pesto went into the freezer for a cold winter evening.

1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup basil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp ground pepper
pinch of salt

Combine in the food processor.  Stir into pasta. 

The adults toss some fresh spinach & tomatoes in our bowls as well.  We go to bed feeling proud of ourselves for eating our leafy greens.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Friend for Maryann

Because hermit crabs do best when they live with others (despite their name), we went to Petco in Davis to find a friend for Maryann.  Sela chose this cutie (yep, I think she's cute!) because she thought she seemed like a good choice for Maryann - not too big and didn't seem like she'd crawl over top of her.  Her legs are a pretty gray-blue, and Sela named her Blue. 

She heartily ate the apple and grape dinner her first night with us, checked out the salt and fresh water, and today explored around the crabitat all day.  I think she's climbed over and under every surface, including the hygrometer (measures humidity) -- where she took a pretty long nap!  You should know that the hygrometer is about a quarter-inch thick and is velcroed to the side of the tank.  I'm serious - these guys are funny.  People don't believe me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dinner for One?

Quick and delicious.  Well, for one of us, as it turns out.  But, the one of us was me -- so maybe for you, too?  It's not unusual for us to have several versions of dinner at the table.  So, I'm keeping this one in the rotation!  Now to fill those other three bowls...

artichoke & pine nut pesto
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/8 cup raw pine nuts
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch coarse salt
A few grinds of black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves, thinly sliced
2-3 teaspoons pasta water, to thin

Pulse the first 6 ingredients together in the food processor.  Stir in the tarragon and season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.  When you're serving it, it's good to loosen the mixture with a little pasta cooking water.

Due to a little gardening mishap, I didn't add in the tarragon.  I thought it was great without.  This would also be really great as a spread on toasted rustic bread -- a great party hors d'oeuvre for all those holiday parties you'll be attending?

From Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Sad Day

In Memoriam
Rapunzel Arugula

With sadness we say good-bye to our
first and beloved pet

Happiness is

...a warm puppy.  Sharing his "polka-dot cookie."

"Stained Glass"
 The Charles Schultz Museum generously offered a Homeschool Day last week.  We've been wanting to go for years, and this year we finally did!  It was a great day trip.  They had art projects, a photo scavenger hunt, artists to talk with, an interesting visiting exhibit, so many interesting pieces about Charles Schultz and the Peanuts.  One artist was there painting a mural.  Signs said, "Do Not Disturb Artist," and they posted what he was drawing and painting.  It was incredible to watch.  There was ice skating and my kids loved the large Peanuts statues.

Peanuts cartoons were everywhere, and Sela couldn't get enough.  And what's not to love?  It combines three of her favorite things: reading, drawing, and silliness.  She picked as her souvenir from Snoopy's Gallery & Gift Shop her first book of comic strips.  The first of many, I think.  It's so exciting to watch kids discover something new and drink it up!

See you next year, Charlie Brown!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apple, Apples, Apples! (and Apples)

Which apple is your favorite?
We chose a few varieties and rated their texture and flavor.
What would you rate?
Sela suggested we add these scores together for an "overall" score.
We used a 1 - 5 rating system.
Looks like we have room to pick up a couple more varieties.

Some books about apples that we like:
Golden Delicious: A Cinderella Apple Story by Smucker and Kemly
Apples by Gibbons
Apples, Apples, Apples by Wallace
Apple Fractions by Pallotta
The Ziegler's and Their Apple Orchard by Flanagan

No graph paper on hand?  You can find lots of sites with free downloadable graph paper.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

With Lunch Today

Heat up some cider on the stove and drink in fall!

Our Nature Table's bounty

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Wonder... (Or, Homeschooling Means Using What's Handy!)

Lately, we've been using the little chalkboard in our kitchen to collect data, analyze stuff, ...wonder about things.  Hmmm...

We made tea from the mint in our garden.  Here's the taste-test data.

First, the comments.

Then a "bar graph" of which sweetener each of us preferred.  The results interpreted: 1 person said Honey, 1 person said Agave, 1 person said Plain (unsweetened). Hee hee.

The data from our homemade butter experiment.

We tasted the butter (B) and the buttermilk (BM).  The buttermilk was gone by the time it got to me : )

This was a question Sela asked after noticing how the sunlight came through the window during breakfast.  Now, we're talking about it, wondering about it, experimenting with it...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Boot Weather

Don't you just love how kids know it's boot weather the minute they wake up?

 And, how mamas know it's sitting-on-the-porch-in-your-jammies-eating-breakfast weather?