Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pinning it Down 8

I had a bit of trouble choosing what to post for this week's Pinning It Down. After I looked over the pictures I took the choice was made easy. After all, isn't a cute little fox much cuter than beef stew or buttermilk biscuits? Yes, exactly. I usually do the crafts right along with Athena. It is as good for me to try them as it is for her to do them. I am looking to find some inspiration to fuel my creative side. There is no shortage of that out there, that is for sure. The website that this project is from was the inspiration for a previous Pinning it Down post. So many good ideas. Go check it out here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Snow Day

It started to snow just after breakfast on Saturday morning and continued on all day and evening. Sunday found us outside shovelling snow along with everyone else. People were laughing and talking back and forth as we all cleared snow on this bright sunny day. Neighbors helping neighbors. I like that. We didn't get much in terms of accumulation but there were drifts that had to be shovelled. We got enough to keep one girl quite happy. She played outside several times that day. Supper never tasted so good to her. She ate double portions of chicken and broccoli and even saved room for a slice of pie.

The temperature turned colder and will be for much of the week but oh, you just cannot beat the sparkly snow twinkling in the sunlight and the clear blue skies. It is a thing of beauty that not everyone gets to see. The weather is supposed to warm up by the weekend and the snow will soon be gone. We will be sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

And, do you realize how utterly difficult it is to get a decent picture of a moving target? Of course you do.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pinning It Down!

This weeks Pinning It Down  is a Gingerbread Cake recipe. This was so easy to put together. Athena did it all herself. Although you see cocoa powder in the picture, it is not a chocolate cake. Only 1tsp.

The batter mixed up with just a wooden spoon, baked in about 35 minutes and made the house smell great!
She loved that she could do the whole thing herself. And just to give you a "behind the scenes" peek...

Yes, that is a her coyote tail which she has worn on a daily basis for 4 YEARS. She can even pin it on herself on occasion. And yes, those are her pajamas. A definite homeschooling benefit. Pajamas all day.
Every day. Next fall I am going to fill her drawers with pajamas and buy one or two outfits for city days! She goes through a lot of them. Who, I ask you, wears out the knee in pajamas? Athena does.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinning It Down

I am a little late on the Pinning it Down this week  but I wanted to join in anyway. We actually do a lot of our pins from Pinterest, I just sometimes forget to take pictures. This week we did a little watercolor that I found on this blog. It is a great site for art ideas for younger kids. So many to choose from. Athena really enjoyed this project and of course she had to add her own personal touch. Which is a good thing. After she painted the birds she was to put salt on the paint, allow it to dry and brush it off. Evidently I was to use fine table salt but I used Kosher so it didn't work out exactly as we planned.

The weather has been so mild that we have spent large blocks of time outside. Walking for about an hour a day. This is good for the soul. Our school week has been unconventional in other ways as well. We have done Math and Language Arts every day. We read, she reads. This week she has been doing some story writing and illustrating. She really likes this, and who can resist a brand new book with all of the pages waiting to be written? Surely not I.

We finally finish studying some of the Biomes. According to the schedule we were to have done this in one short week. It took us 3 weeks at least. We watched the accompanying videos on the BBC Planet Earth series, which were very very good. I recommend that resource for your use. I have had these videos for some time and only now did I get around to using them. I mentioned that the Earth Science book we are using moves at too quick a pace and I still think it is so. No matter, as we have all the time in the world.

Tomorrow we will finish off the school week, tying up loose ends and we hope to spend a good amount of time outside this weekend. Lots of comfort food, some more knitting (finally cast on Athena's Spring Sweater), hopefully some good reading too. And bread. There will be bread. And Eggs. Oooh, and bacon. Don't you just love bacon?

Friday, February 10, 2012

{this moment}

Friday is housework day for me. We don't 'do' school on Fridays so I do the housework in the morning, leaving the afternoon open for whatever we want. This week I took some pictures of what I saw, some of her creations, things I didn't notice until I took the time to look.  This is what I saw in {this moment}

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Simple Saturday (Pinning It Down)

Saturday was a day to remember. Not because we went anywhere special or did something exciting but because we were all together at home with nothing planned to do. At all. As is the custom, Paul asked after breakfast  "So what is the plan for the day?" Turned out, there was no where we had to go or nothing that needed to be done so we each gravitated to our own thing.

Paul worked out a training program on his computer for the Fire Department and Athena was playing something and I, feeling a little crafty, headed down to the classroom. I have had the following project in mind for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to do it. My mother used to travel with the kids at her high school back when she was still teaching and she brought me these pretty tea towels from some of her trips. Pretty? Yes. Practical? Not so much. They are thin and not very absorbent. So I took an old bath towel and got to work on a dish draining cloth. We do have a dishwasher but the knives, wood and wine glasses are hand washed and I needed something to set the wet dishes on.

First I cut two pieces of the towel, one for each tea towel, roughly an inch smaller on each side of the tea towel.

Next, I turned over the edge on all sides and pinned it in place.

 Then I stitched the towels together one at 5/8 seam allowance and the other at 1/4 or so.

I top stitched it once horizontally and once vertically just to keep it together. That's it. So simple and so practical and now I get to see those pretty towels without fear of staining them.
Thanks again Mom for these little souvenirs.

Of course, hearing the sewing machine, Athena came down to join me in some crafting of her own. She thinks that I should put this penguin and the flower on Pinterest so that other children can make them.

Then she asked me if she could sew a 'stuffed up animal" and while she did I made her her very own sewing box from an old pencil box. Easy as pie.

I just glued some wool felt in the bottom and padded the top part with fibre-fill. The glue in of the fibre fill didn't work out as nicely as I planned but ... oh well.

Then I filled it up with everything she would need for her projects. She was well pleased.

 (Pretty good blanket stitch for an 8 year old. No?)

The creativity didn't stop there. We made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and some buttermilk blueberry muffins. Daddy grilled steak for supper. My tenderloin with blue cheese of course.

The day could not have gone any better. We read a few chapters of Little House on the Prairie, I finished knitting my slippers and Athena went outside to play with a friend and then she watched a video. We were all tucked in bed early. Perfectly magical day.

Pinning it Down with Sarah.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Then Shall We Eat?

Ah, the diet dilemma. Is it any wonder we are more confused than ever? (And by diet, I do NOT mean weight loss diet. I mean the kinds of food we eat. Just to be clear.) There are so many thoughts on what humans should eat and they all vary so much. Even the way of thinking within certain diet plans has many variables. It is enough to make us pull out our hair in exasperation. Let me expand.

The following summaries are my understanding. They are not a thorough evaluation.

The newest diet trend seems to be the Paleo Diet. Primal Diet. Eat Like a Caveman diet.

Do eat: meat
             fruit and nuts

Do not eat: dairy
                    starchy vegetables

Once a week, run around like crazy as if a dinosaur was chasing you.

Then we have the ever more popular Vegetarian or Vegan Diet.
People all over a choosing forks over knives. On the surface this diet seems ultra healthy. Of course eating more fruits and vegetables can never be a bad thing. Living food. Green food. Super-foods. Sounds good, no? But when my daughter told her Naturopath that she was adopting a vegetarian diet, the Naturopath questioned why? She did not think it was a good idea. In fact she told her she should have high quality animal protein. Of course any diet that requires supplementation (B12) cannot be what our bodies were designed to eat. Or can it?

We then have all types of variations on a theme. High Protein. Low Carb. Low fat. No fat. Grain free. Wheat Free. Gluten Free. No Dairy. Food Combining. Eat Right for your Type.

I just don't get it.

Another way to eat, and one I find most practical is the Whole Foods Diet.
The book that I am reading now is Nourishing Traditions and it is very wordy and reads like a text book off the start. It talks about eating meat, dairy, vegetables, grains. There is talk of soaking grains and fermenting food and on and on it goes but the thought here is if your Grandmother could not recognize the food, don't eat it. This, to me, sounds like the most natural diet for humans to utilize. BUT... even within people promoting Whole Foods, the types of foods considered whole vary from person to person.

Some say no wheat.
Others say yes to wheat but no meat.
Some say dairy is fine, others, not so much.

Wouldn't reason tell us to eat real food? Real food. Make our own food at home. Don't open boxes or packages. Don't open cans or bags. Make your own food.

No matter which diet we choose for ourselves and our families, I do feel it is so important to create a positive environment around the dinner table. Make it a priority to prepare good meals for your family. Encourage them to linger at the table just a bit longer. Light some candles and play some quiet music in the background. Pour some wine and really connect with those you love or with those you invite to share a meal. Strong family bonds and the sense of tradition can be built this way. Family and food are two of the best things in life and when you put them together on a very regular basis, who knows what can happen?