Monday, July 28, 2014

just peachy

Every year we have a tradition of peach cream pie for my dad's birthday. There was the birthday where there were pies enough for 40 people and we've been known to cart a package of peaches (or nectarines...I use either) up to the lake if his birthday falls during the week we are there.

This year was simple. Today is his birthday (happy 29 again, dad!) and so when we celebrated this weekend, we had to have pie!

While this is not the first time I have posted this recipe,  I shared the recipe on Rhythm of the Home online magazine. ROTH has now closed shop and while their website was still running, currently, none of my links are working, so I feel compelled to share the recipe again here! (And I was asked to, but whatever...)

Peach or Nectarine Cream Pie:

  • 1 cup white sugar (you can use less and you can probably replace this with another sweetener, although to be honest, I have never tried)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour (or gluten free flour mix)
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 8 large peaches or nectarines, pitted, skinned, and slices. (A carrot peeler works wonderfully.) This is about 4 cups of fruit.
  • 1/4 teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1 pint whipping cream, divided
  • 1 pie crust (I use the gluten free pie crust recipe from Gluten Free Baking Classics from Annalise Roberts)
Beat the egg in a dish, brush some on the unbaked pie crust to prevent sogginess when baking, and set the remainder aside.

Place the peaches in the unbaked pie shell.

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the remainder of the egg, flour, vanilla, and you can also add 1/4 cup of whipping cream if you like. This will make a richer, although wetter, filling. I add it. Mix completely until you have a soft paste. Spread this over the peaches.

Sprinkle the cinnamon on top.

Bake at  400 F for 10 minutes, the reduce to 350 F and bake an additional 45 minutes.

Serve as is, or cool completely, whip the remaining cream, and spread over the top before serving (cold). We serve it this way. Delicious!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

a little pottery

I am sharing a little pottery with you today. A little of the lots (and lots) the kids dreamed up and made all on their own (with a little support from the fabulous staff at the kids' pottery studio).

Below, a bowl (Lala), lion fountain (Finn Luca), bowl (Lala), random assortment (both kids), marble run (seriously! Finn Luca), whistle (it really works! Finn Luca), cat (Lala).  Not pictured is another stack of bowls, some useful and some unique plates, a fairy fountain, an elf bath, a hand plane (yup), a saw, and a massive collection of ceramic food, and a number of other items.

Can you imagine your first introduction to clay being unlimited? Dreamy (and prolific)!

Monday, July 14, 2014

a new purse for mamma

That is a big statement...a new bag for mamma. Two reasons; 1) I have happily been using my Tom Bihn on and off for maybe 20 years. It's timeless, really. I am sure it will be on again some time in the future, but for now I needed a little something feminine and fresh. 2) I sewed it myself, which meant I got sewing time. Time to sew. Time completely unrelated to the kids. (Thank you, Mike!) The (free) pattern for the bag is the April Bag.

I love it. It is just the right size. It feels nice with its solid straps and lining, and I love the fabric I used. I purchased the bird fabric new, over a year ago, with a bag in mind, but never got around to sewing anything. I believe it is Oh Deer! fabric by Moda.  The lining is leftovers from these pants I made Lala (which are already too short. She and I just chose some new fabric to make longer, replacement ruffle cuffs for them!)

Friday, July 4, 2014

right now...

Right now...

I am:
  • Enjoying a break, but missing you, too. (I heard Landslide again. I think that song becomes truer every time I hear it.)
  • Getting a lot done, but realizing the list never seems to get shorter. Trying to distinguish the rocks from the sand.
  • Missing taking photographs. And writing. And sewing for pleasure. Realizing the me things I haven't been doing.
  • Feeling a little lighter and perkier with a hair cut.
  • Feeling grateful.

You are:
  • Seeming so much bigger and more independent, but still little enough to be absolutely exhausted at the end of all day summer camp.
  • Loving, needing, wanting, whining for shop time with dada.
  • Falling out of the lower bed bunk, now that it has no railing.
  • Disliking hearing "no," but saying it oh so clearly.
  • Wearing through your jeans at an alarming rate.
  • Avoiding the camera.
  • Frequently grinning.

You are:
  • Seeking independence and uniqueness, but quick to come back for comfort.
  • Maturing emotionally.
  • Loving 4-H.
  • Giggly.
  • Excelling at swimming.
  • Often loyal.
  • Still spirited.
  • Still loving music and learning the piano beautifully.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

planning for 4th and 1st grades

Sprouting sunflower

After a full year of homeschooling 2 children and trying to describe how we homeschool while not applying too many labels, I am currently (for this may change) describing us as Waldorf inspired child-interest learners. We are not unschoolers. I like to make a plan and have a rhythm. I want to bring as much of the beauty and child-developmentally appropriate lessons of Waldorf to our family, but I have learned that pushing my own agenda on my children doesn't work, so if I can pull this off with consideration to their interests, we are all happier.

This year, after much reading and much thought, I am shaping my own curriculum plan. This feels most comfortable for me for a number of reasons.

1) I am pulling from multiple resources already.
2) I need the flexibility my own plan provides. Trying to stick to someone else's plan makes me anxious.
3) I can plan around charter classes and activities, and
4) I can tailor what I am teaching to meet both kids.

Here are some of the key resources I am using this summer as I plan:
  • Waldorf Inspirations. (It helps me a lot that they are in California, as 4th dives into local geography and history!)
  • The WaldorfHomeEducators Yahoo! Group. (Marsha Johnson has an incredible, free Files section.)
  • Waldorf Essentials. I have a lifetime membership to the Thinking Feeling Willing program, which covers all aspects of Waldorf homeschooling, so I will always look to this for support and connection. The TFW program helps me with skills, support, and inner work as the parent and teacher. I won't be using Waldorf Essentials curriculum so heavily this year, at least for 4th. While it is a lovely Waldorf curriculum, in 3rd, I was adapting so much to fit our family and the requirements of our charter, so I was supplementing. In general, I start to feel anxious that I am missing things if I am not following a book as laid out before me.  I read through both 1st and 4th and can certainly fall back on it as necessary. I call it my backbone. I plan to use 1st more consistently than 4th.
  • Christopherus. I have their Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers, From Nature to Natural Science, and Living Language guides, all of which have been helpful in my planning for both grades. 
  • Oak Meadow. I have both 1st and 4th. I am not sure how much I will use 1st. I prefer Waldorf Essentials' stories and layout for letter introduction. I do like being able to pull project ideas from OM and I like having it to refer to, especially for 4th. It is most in line with mainstream schools, which helps me since we school through a charter.
  • Bedtime Math
  • Of course, loads of other supplemental books. I have an ongoing resource list, by grade, as well as by subject, specific topic, and for me as parent-teacher.
I am uncertain about whether or not we will use Life of Fred for additional math.  We all like it, but by the end of the year, it felt like one more thing we had to do. (For those interested, it is math, with other subject blended in, in story form. There are a number of God references, though, and as a secular family, those seem unnecessary.) I am not incorporating it into my planning, but I may assign it as reading for Lala. (Finnian will begin learning to read this year.)

This summer, I have approached planning a little differently, after a very stressed time planning last summer. By the time I put a plan in place last summer, I also made a list for myself of what the criticial things were that I needed to do to begin planning next time around. As a result, I have taken some time, created a 6-month inventory for each of us (needs, goals, and an intention), and made several calendars for myself. This year, I am using the computer (Evernote, Word, and Outlook) to do my planning. Editing is easier and creating summaries for our charter will be easier than by hand, although I do like my hardcopy, so I will be printing!

The calendars are all August 2014-2015 and are as follows:
  1. Our overall calendar (my Outlook) with appointments, repeating events, holidays, celebrations, etc.
  2. An overall calendar showing, each month, what blocks each child will cover.
  3. A more detailed calendar for each child, with each month showing all subjects (incorporating Common Core for our charter, as well as Waldorf). So two, one for Lala, one for Finnian.
  4. A more detailed calendar for each month, which includes both children, and details verses, songs, music to be taught, specifics of what I want to cover for each block the children have that month, assigned reading, and lists the resources I plan to use that month. (I am still fleshing this one out.)
Month by month, I will make adjustments and fill in any gaps. Now I need to set it all aside and just start reading all the materials I want to teach them or want them to read!


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