Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009-2010 Homeschooling Booklist

Here is our basic booklist. This does not include all novels, short stories and other works of fiction that we will read during the year. I can't seem to plan that far ahead.

Fourth Grade

Math-U-See Epsilon
My Catholic Speller D
Language of God C
Writing Strands 3
Great Science Adventures: Discovering Earth's Landforms and Surface Features
Our Pioneers and Patriots
Discovering Great Artists
Stories of the Saints
Catholic Mosaic
He'll also be continuing in Latin, but I'm not sure what book the tutorial will be using this year.

Second Grade

Math-U-See Alpha (halfway complete) and Beta
Language of God A
My Catholic Speller A
Great Science Adventures: Discovering Earth's Landforms and Surface Features
Our Pioneers and Patriots
Discovering Great Artists
My Bookhouse, volume 4
Minimus

Pre-K/Kindergarten (depending upon how it goes)

Continue Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Little Stories for Little Folks: Catholic Phonics Readers
Math-U-See Primer
She'll also sit in on and participate in other subjects as her abilities allow, especially science and history.

The littler kids usually just play and do their own thing while the older ones do school, so I have nothing planned for them. Later, I'll give you a post with a plan of how I hope the days and weeks will go.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

It's still July and thus I consider it fair game to still post a picture of the kidlets on the 4th.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'd Show You a Picture, But It Disappeared too Fast

I was making my umpteenth loaf of zucchini bread the other day and decided half-way through the recipe that I wanted to do something different. I needed chocolate. And thus a new recipe was born.

Marbled Chocolate Zucchini Bread
makes 2 loaves
(recipe can be halved)

2 lbs zucchini (or yellow squash)
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees and coat two 9x5-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil.
  • Shred the zucchini or yellow squash, either by hand or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Place zucchini between several layers of paper towels or cheesecloth and squeeze out moisture.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.
  • In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
  • Meanwhile, place chocolate chips in a microwaveable container (I like to use a Pyrex measuring cup) and melt for about a minute. Chips won't look melted until you run a whisk through them.
  • Take 1 1/2 cups of the batter and combine it with the melted chocolate.
  • Alternate spoonfuls of plain batter and chocolate batter, when filling the loaf pans. When pans are full, draw a knife through the batters to complete the marbling.
  • Bake until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs, about 50 minutes.
  • Cool loaves for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans and then cool for at least an hour before cutting.

And that's that. Happy eating!

Monday, July 27, 2009

When Housewifery Doesn't Work Out So Well

I find that having shredded chicken and chicken stock in the freezer help me throw a lot of recipes together quickly. So I frequently buy a whole chicken or two to roast (either in the oven or the crockpot), shred the meat and use the carcass as the base for stock. This works quite well most of the time, but not so much when you roast up two beautiful birds and then go to bed leave them sitting on top of the stove all night long. Sigh.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Quick Takes

1. Babies everywhere. My baby turned one. A dear friend at church had the most beautiful baby boy. Another friend from the first place we started attending mass had a gorgeous baby daughter and smiled during labor! And another blog friend had a baby boy.

2. The Adams' School will be starting up again soon. Since August weather in Tennessee isn't pleasant, we usually start up then, which gives us more wiggle room to goof off when the weather is more conducive to outside activities. I can't believe I have a fourth grader, a second grader and a child that may or may not be a Kindergartner.

3. My children have been on a Star Wars kick of late. Despite our telling them that the prequels do not exist (or at least we prefer to think so), they some how finagled us into letting us watch episodes 1 and 2 (I consider 3 to be too scary and violent -- I am one of those overprotective homeschoolers after all). And I was impressed by just how bad the lines and acting are. My memories weren't playing tricks on me. Those movies were that bad. Being some what influenced by their parents' opinions, or their own good taste, the kids prefer the older movies. My six year old is partial to Han Solo and I think she has good taste.

4. Just because I love the smell, I planted lavender in the garden this year. It's doing quite well and blooming. But other than sachets and herbs de Provence, is there anything I can use it for?

5. When doing my lesson planning, I've been very frustrated with the Catholic history programs out there. The two that I most like and would love to use History Links and Connecting with History don't get much past 1066. I've been using the M.B. Synge books and before that the Story of the World books, but neither suited my most fidgety child. Most of the other options out there that sound great are also so heavily Protestant in flavor that it makes me tired to think about adapting them to suit our needs. I finally bought Bishop Furlong's book Pioneers and Patriots and plan to use a lot of living books, which we always have, but why can't what I want be out there waiting for me? Hmph!

6. In order to better organize for the school year, I wanted a filing cabinet drawer of my very own. In order to get one, I cleaned out a lot of old papers. We usually hang on to bills and such for about a calendar year, but we hadn't cleaned things out in a while (since before we sold our old house in 2007) so I had a lot of papers to go through. In the end, I sent 3 big bags of stuff to my husband's office for industrial shredding. It felt great to get all that done, which makes me wonder -- why did I put it off so long?

7. This NFP stuff would be a whole lot easier if I worked like a textbook. And I'll leave it at that!

Quick Takes hosted, as always, by Jen.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dropped Off the Face of the Internets For a Bit

I didn't intend to disappear, but life outside the computer and in other sections of it has overwhelmed me recently.

Outside in the garden, the cucumbers continue to swamp me. I have no idea what to do with all of them. Most of my kids don't like them and wouldn't touch a pickle with a ten foot pole either. I've been sneaking them into other foods, taking cucumber salads to every event we're invited to and giving them away as I can. I still have a lot. The zucchini and summer squash are also doing great and we've had a lot of zucchini breads as well as various savory dishes made with them. The okra is coming in strong and we've been eating and freezing a lot. I've made a big batch of pesto and today I made my first batch of pasta sauce from my tomatoes. The only thing not growing is my pepper plants. Neither the hot peppers nor the bell peppers have done much of anything, much to my disappointment.

Inside and mostly at the computer, I have been busy signing the kids up with a new homeschooling umbrella school (which is how things work in Tennessee) and planning their first few months of school. In the past I haven't been a good planner and things tend to devolve rapidly. When I have had more of a concrete plan of the basics, the basics and more get done. So planning is quite necessary for me. At the end of last year, I almost decided to just buy one whole program and be done with it, but then I started looking at the ones that interested me and thinking that maybe I'd change the science book and the math book and maybe do this or that a little differently. And by the end of that, it seemed silly to buy something that I was going to have to rewrite anyway.

Now after two weeks of plans and printing, I can again see why it would be nice to have someone else write out all of those plans. But I also know I'd still tinker too much with them to make them worth my while.

In a later post I'll go into my plans in more detail, but for now I must go back and check on dinner.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On to Year Two!

A year ago, she was fresh from the belly and wondering where she was. Who were all these loud creatures looking at her all the time?

Now she's one of the brood. She gets into the fray and tries to hold her own against her two year old brother (sometimes more successfully than others).

And she's just so cute.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Three Dozen

Three dozen is the number of full-sized slicing cucumbers awaiting us upon our arrival home from a visit to my hometown. Even a family of cucumber lovers might be overwhelmed by this number, but not everyone in this family will touch the things and even those of us who like them are getting a bit tired of cucumbers.

I've become one of those crazy neighbors begging everyone to please take a cuke or two. I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Tea Party

A while back, Meredith wrote about saying yes instead of the routine no that moms are often guilty of. So often, I find myself answering every question with no, later, or "Go away kid, you're bothering me." Okay, maybe I don't say that last one, but I think it.

When the girls came and asked if they could have a tea party, I bit my tongue and said, "Yes!" We got out the tea pot. Made cucumber sandwiches, peppermint tea and set out some fruit and slices of plum bread and had ourselves a tea party. I even got out my hats for the girls.

And the world didn't end for me. I spent time with my kidlets and had fun. I need to say yes more often.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Benefits of Good Soil

In the Biblical parable, we are told of the seeds that fall in different locations and what happens to them. Of course, there is a deeper meaning to this passage, but for a purely visual image of the seed grown in good soil, I present to you a volunteer sunflower growing in the spot where our compost bin once stood.

This is also evidence of how much it pays to know your seedlings. When this and a companion sunflower (blown over in a windstorm) as well as several tomato plants sprouted out of the compost bin's soil, I could have yanked them. But I knew fairly quickly what they were and let them grow. Now I have beauty and tomatoes. Yay!

(Please ignore the tall weeds, brick pile and rotting fascia as best you can.)

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