Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What We Did

What we didn't do today:
make a doctor and two optometry appointments
track down errant backordered Christmas gift
clean up

What we DID do today:
lunch with friends
find good books at the library (including fairies & Thomas)
hot coffee
more racecars
get home at a decent hour
make a delicious, nuritious, fast dinner (which includes veggies & people still eat it)
more reading
more racecars

Good Day.

black bean soup
4 cans black beans, drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 container fresh salsa (1 1/2 - 2 cups)

Saute salsa.  Add broth & beans.  Heat.  Remove from heat.  Puree with imulsion blender.
Serve with sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.

(I'm thinking of calling it Racecar Soup because it's so speedy!)

*Thanks, D, for another recipe that always delivers!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Remember that mending pile I unearthed a few months back?  Today seemed like a good day to choose a project.  I pulled out this toddler quilt that I bought when I was pregnant with Sela because it was just the kind of quilt I told myself I could start with.  When I got started on quilting.  I really love it.  I can't believe it's been out of commission for YEARS because it came open at a seam.  So - today - it took me all of 5 minutes to thread a needle and mend it.  And now - back in play!

Sela mended the ball she sewed for Linus for his first
birthday.  Check out this link to make a ball - or a
pumpkin pincushion.  It was a great project for a
beginning sew-er & a great use of scraps!
 Well, today wasn't just about delving into an old stack of sewing projects (it never really is just about one thing, is it?); I've decided that 2012 will be a year to do some gentle tending.  I read a blog a while back -- I'm sorry I don't recall exactly which one -- in which the author talked about choosing a word to guide her year.  She chose "tending."  I don't remember what she needed to "tend to," although I recall thinking that her list looked quite different from mine, but I remember the feeling.  I liked the idea of having a guiding word for the year.  Not a rigid one, just a supportive and gentle frame for the year.  No crazy, weekend warrior-type stuff.  Just pulling up some lingering, unresolved, or ignored aspects of life -- seeing them with fresh eyes and a new perspective since the last time they saw daylight.
I like the feel of "tending."  It feels meditative.  Slow and methodical and thoughtful. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fresh Air!

Time to get outside for some old-fashioned fun.  Running and hopscotch - classics for a reason : )

Try some variations of hopscotch - and take a trip around the world!

And for more driveway fun, check out these activities, including Do-the-Math Hopscotch - a favorite of ours.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mind Map the Month

My 7th grade English teacher taught us to make this spaceship-y thing to organize our thoughts before writing.  He probably showed us some other methods, too, but...

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is that we have time and freedom to participate in and organize activities that suit our interests.  Ideally, I'd create accompanying activities for them to extend our learning, as well as our enjoyment.  We like these things after all!  In my real life, well, it was still a lovely experience, in and of itself.

With a little breathing room after the holidays, I felt refreshed enough to notice my calendar sitting in front of me -- on my desk.  (How this happened I can't imagine.)  And, ah-ha, a clean sheet of paper AND a sharpened pencil.  Well, the universe was certainly rooting for me that day.

I got started on a little mind map (or, spaceship-y thing, whichever you prefer).  By jotting down classes, performances, and events we already have planned, I can see some rich (and easy!) opportunities to have more impact on our homeschooling.  A little more focus -- and on the things we planned because we enjoy them!  It works better than a calendar or to-do list.  It's like... quirky art that makes friendly suggestions. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Place Value Snake

Here's a fun way to practice place value.  We cut up, decorated & labeled an egg carton.  We took turns coming up with numbers & problems to fill our snake.  Sela designed a chart.  Like mother, like daughter.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

A toast to you -- in a tall, fancy glass or on a well-worn baking sheet -- wishing you a happy & healthy 2012!

apple turnovers
2 baking apples - peeled, cored, chopped coarse
3/4 cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
1/8 tsp salt
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pulse apples, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, and salt in food processor until apples are coarsely ground.  Let sit 5 minutes, then drain and reserve juice.
Cut each puff pastry square into 4 squares.  Mound 1 Tbsp apple mixture and 1 Tbsp applesauce into center.  Brush edges with juice and fold over into triangle.  Crimp edges with a fork to seal.
Freeze for 15 minutes.
Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Brush pastries with juice and sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes until well-browned.
Makes 8, invite your loved ones over.

Thank you, Emily!