Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Friend Barack Obama

See- Barack Obama ( came to visit us! Well, we did have to pay- $29.95 plus shipping, but he's at our house and he's here to stay!
Actually we ordered this life-size cardboard Obama for fun, for part of the big fundraiser Friday night to raise money for the trip to Denver and the Democratic National Convention. A friend of ours took people's pictures with Obama and printed them out on glossy paper, different sizes. He's very popular here, who knew?
The fundraiser went very well- it seemed like everyone had a good time. My Mom cooked and shopped for a week ahead of time, and we all worked hard all day long (and all night- I think we got home and unpacked at 11:30 pm). There was homemade spaghetti and pasture fed beef meatballs, salad, homemade garlic bread, pound cake and different berries, whipped cream. Our friends at Selah Heights winery donated a case each of red and white wines. There were some games set up and a little silent auction. My parents donated some beautiful minerals. After supper we had a really fun band- the Okemah Fruit Tramps- they're local guys and they play tons of old-timey music. I think they turned it from just a regular fundraiser into kind of a community party, which is exactly what we wanted. A number of local politicians came, and had a good chance to talk to people in a relaxed environment.
We firmly believe that it is possible to raise money for political causes while strengthening the community and having fun. This fundraiser proved it! Thank you everyone!

First Tomatoes!

Hooray! Today I picked the first ripe tomatoes!
We had such a cold spring I couldn't even put the tomato plants in the ground until late May, and then they just kind of sat there for a few weeks, but now its over 100 and they're going gangbusters! Mmm.
I planted 26 tomato plants in the garden, and had two Brandywines I couldn't fit and couldn't kill, so they're in pots on the deck steps. I'll get around to killing them, I'm sure, but so far they get watered enough....
I also have lots of lettuce, a spinach patch about to be converted to lettuce, broccoli coming along, lots of sweet peppers and 12 hot peppers, green onions, garlic, onions, radishes everywhere, 3 kinds of potatoes, sugar snap peas, oddly struggling basil, green and yellow zucchini, lemon cucumbers, striped Armenian cucumbers, 4 kinds of winter squash (maybe 5?) and 3 kinds of melons. This is the best part, by far, of living in this dry hot land!
My baby rhubarb keeps on trying. The asparagus apparently didn't like their home, so I'll try again next spring in a different place and turn their patch into something fun. Maybe currants, with a big strawberry bed in front?
The raspberries are coming on strong. The 2 blueberry bushes I planted last spring haven't made any fruit, but the 6 I planted this spring are making a few berries. Mymy had the first ripe one this morning.
The baby pie cherry tree looked like some science fiction plant a couple of weeks ago- its only a few feet high and it was covered! in cherry stems, each with the cutest little cherry on the end. They're pretty tart, but the boys ate them anyway, before the birds could! It was a bowlful, at least.
And 4 of the billions of sunflowers surrounding the deck have flowers now, so its cheery every time I look outside from air conditioned comfort. Summer is here!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Food Plan June 30

breakfast- cantaloupe, zucchini bread, cream cheese
snack- yogurt, raspberries
lunch- egg salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, lemonade
snack- smoothie popsicles
supper- chicken-bell pepper-pasta, salad
snack- poundcake bread pudding with berries

breakfast- berry smoothie, toast
snack- zucchini bread
lunch- nachos
snack- ice cream
supper- spaghetti, salad, garlic bread
snack- bread pudding

breakfast- hashbrowns, egg, bacon, fruit
snack- smoothie
lunch- broccoli soup, toast
snack- solar smores, watermelon
supper- fried rice, cucumber salad, green salad
snack- popcorn

breakfast- rice porridge, fruit
snack- yogurt, fruit
lunch- biscuits, bacon, dried applesauce (pioneer meal)
snack- popsicles
supper- calzones, veggie sticks (in the car)

out of town all weekend- will figure it out then!

Groceries, including laundry detergent and dish soap: $64.24

Friday, June 27, 2008


Mymy climbed on the table while I was spreading nutella on graham crackers for snack. "Fingertella, Mama?" (his favorite way of eating nutella, or jam, or honey- out of the jar, with his finger)

"No, Mymy, no fingertella. Sit in your chair and you can have a cracker."

Serious nod of the blond head, little guy climbing then sitting nicely in his blue tall chair. Then quick as a wink, he lunged across the table, grabbed the jar of nutella in two hands, sank back into his chair with the jar cradled on his lap, stuck in his hand, pulled out a fistful of nutella, and shouted gleefully "Teamwork, Mama, teamwork!"

And please notice his lovely haircut, administered to himself behind the couch (his favorite doing something naughty secret place) yesterday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Salt Pork Johnnycakes

We made this recipe today for lunch. The kids did all the measuring and mixing and thought it was pretty fun to eat something the pioneers would have really eaten. Salt pork is kind of gross, but kids like gross stuff, so there we go. Actually, the johnnycakes turned out tasty- what's not to love about fat, salt, and sweet?

1/2 lb salt pork, cut in little pieces, cooked til the skillet is drowning in fat and the chunks are crispy, then remove the chunks, and 2T. of oil.

Mix together 1c. cornmeal, 3/4 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1T. sugar. Stir in 1 egg, 1/2 c milk, 1/2 c water, 2T. melted salt pork fat. Add the crispy chunks of pork belly.

Cook the pancakes by 1/2 cupfulls in the hot grease, serve with melted honey and water in equal parts or syrup. They're very filling. We all thought it would be a good way to start the day and have energy to trudge on and on the Oregon Trail. And Foal said she was glad we weren't vegetarians any more, because then we would have just had pancakes for lunch, and that would have been kind of weird. Quite.

The "F" Word

The kids this morning somehow started talking about the "F word", just like that, the way kids do. Curious, I asked where they'd heard it. Sunny said from watching an R movie with his parents, and from his Dad's buddies. Foal didn't know, and Avery chimed right in, with a glimmer in his eye "Papa said it at the dump one time when we saw a truck loaded really high with trash."
When I made the kids whisper what the "F" word was, or spell it, in my ear, promising they wouldn't get in trouble, both Foal and Sunny new the exact word. Avery, getting his thrill on, told me, very seriously, that the "F" stood for "freaking". As in, "That truck has a freaking huge load!" Whew. Dodged the bullet on that one.
And boy, is Papa ever in trouble for using the "F" word in front of the kids!

Wagon Train

We made covered wagons today. They came out pretty cute, but it was a lot of work, at least for Strongmom and I, while the kids grew restless and floppy. I made one up ahead of time, I really did, to make sure the glue and all would be easy enough for the kids to do. The sample came out easy and cute, and I was proud for being such a good Mom, all organized and efficient! Unfortunately I think I got the only kit with all of the pieces cut the right size and holes drilled in the right places.
In the end it came out okay, though I do have a renewed frustration with this town and the lack of decent crafting and fabric stores. I hate to say it, because the people at Craft Wharehouse are always really nice (except the quilting corner lady who is rude and awful). But really, you can't even buy silk here by the yard in this town, or dye-na-flow fabric paint, apparently. And because I am always gathering supplies at the last minute I didn't find that out until last night. Darn it!
Anyway, we had fun setting up the wagons in the grass after Strongmom and her two left. Foal chose circus animals to pull her wagon, which is appropriate (and she painted her wagon cover in polka dots). She is giddy knees and elbows and shining to applause. Mymy chose dinosaurs. I guess when you're two 1843 might as well be the time of the dinosaurs. ABCD and Sunny both refused to paint their wagon covers, despite my assurances that real wagons were often painted in bright colors and designs, and both claimed litle play horses to pull their little play wagons (both were disappointed we didn't have a stock of play oxen). They are strict.
Before we made wagons I read Chapter 2 of Little House on the Prairie, where they cross the dangerous stream and nearly drown and Jack is lost. The kids were shocked at my choking back tears while I read. But honestly! What parent can read that chapter and not feel how fragile and scary it all can be? Still, though. Crying?! As if I haven't read that book about 150 times in my life. Really!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

So, I'd never actually had this before I made it for supper last night. I was vegan for 7 years, and vegetarian for 15 years (!) after that, so all of my formative young adult-hood cooking for myself food has been vegetables. For the last 7 months, ever since I read "Real Food" by Nina Planck, then got the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon, we've been eating meat. Well, the pasture fed, mostly organic meat that we can afford, but still, its a lot of meat compared to none! And while my cupboard is full of cookbooks, they're mostly vegetarian, so a lot of this I'm just winging. I've made "Shepherdess" pie a bazillion times. Lentils, veggies, top with mashed potatoes, brown in the oven. Yum.
But last night I made real Shepherd's Pie, because ground lamb is cheaper than pastured ground beef and Fred Meyer didn't even have any pastured beef when I did my shopping, and I read somewhere that lamb is always pastured.
A pound of ground lamb, browned with a chopped onion, layered in the bottom of a 9x12 pan.
4 carrots, peeled and chopped, 1/3 a head of cabbage, another onion, softened in the lamb pan then layered over it. 4 cups of mashed potatoes with a cup of cheese mixed in, spread all over the top, baked at 375 for 30 minutes or so. Yum. We had green beans and salad too.
Everyone was happy, except the 2 yo who poured his water all over his plate, then stuck his hand in it, grabbed a glob and smeared it all over. And threw his fork at his brother. And was excused from the table. One of these days he's going to figure out that supper's a lot more fun when he's not banished from the dining room. Right?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Food Plan June 23

breakfast- blueberry muffins, banana
snack- cheese and grapes
lunch- peanut butter and cinnamon sandwiches, carrots
snack- popcorn with brewer's yeast, smoothie popsicles
supper- shepherd's pie, salad
snack- vanilla ice cream and fresh cherries
tasks- start rice, beans, and flour soaking

breakfast- zucchini bread with butter, peanutbutter banana smoothie
snack- blueberry muffins, milk, raisins
lunch- egg salad sandwiches, carrot and cucumber sticks
snack- garlic white bean dip and veggies
supper- tandoori salmon, brown basmati rice, spinach, raita, salad, cardamom lassie
snack- blueberry crisp
tasks- soak flour in butter & yogurt for bread

breakfast- hashbrowns, eggs, cantaloupe
snack- zucchini bread with cream cheese
lunch- kindergarten soup, cheese toast
snack- white bean dip, crackers and veggies, popsicles
supper- asparagus frittata, oven fries, salad
snack- popcorn with brewer's yeast
tasks-soak flour

breakfast- french toast, yogurt, fruit
snack- hard boiled eggs and chili powder, grapes
lunch- bacon flapjacks, dried apple sauce
snack- tortilla chips and salsa, chocolate chip cookie
supper- white bean ratatouille bread pudding
snack- apple slices and peanut butter
tasks- soak oats

breakfast- oatmeal, dried fruit, milk
snack- graham crackers and nutella
lunch- egg salad sandwiches, veggie sticks, grapes
snack- cheese sticks, fruit
supper- The-Denver-or-Bust-DH-is-a-national-delegate-for-Obama-fundraiser spaghetti with
meatballs, garlic bread, salad
snack- chocolate cake

breakfast- puff cake, fruit, hashbrowns, sausage
snack- yogurt, fruit
lunch- spaghetti?
snack- white bean dip and veggies
supper- pizza, salad
tasks- soak oatmeal, flour for bread

breakfast- oatmeal, fruit, milk
snack- granola bar
lunch- meatball sandwiches or quesadillas
snack- fruit, chips and salsa
supper- roast chicken, potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls

Groceries this week were $82.65, not including several hundred for the fundraiser.

Oregon Trail Curriculum

Week 1:
How did our country grow?
Why did people go west?
make walking sticks

Week 2:
What do we need and want?
Preparing to go- procuring supplies.
flower-leaf print painted tshirts

Week 3:
Famous Pioneers
make personal flags, have a parade around our cul-de-sac

Week 4:
Dangers on the trail.
drama camp this week- no big craft day

Week 5:
Frontier forts, pony express, and communication along the trail.
make wooden flower presses or marbled paper journals

Week 6:
Native Americans and Westward Expansion
bamboo lanterns?

Week 7:
Day in the Life of a Wagon Train.
Children and children's chores.
make whirligigs, pioneers toys

Week 8:
The Gold Rush
paint silk sun catchers or plant dye play silks?

Week 9:
The Mormon Trail
make soap or candles?

Week 10:
Life in a new land.
prepare for the show on Friday, no big craft day

Summer 2008 Circle

Our Circle verses this summer:

Morning is come, night is away, rise with the sun and welcome the day. (The children start out lying on the floor in a ring and slowly awaken and rise with the song)

There's the firm earth under me,
The blue sky over me,
So I stride,
So I stand,
And I see You too,
With the blue sky above you
And the firm earth under you.

Be you to others kind and true, and always unto others do, as you'd have others do to you. (Sung all together then in a round- challenging and fun for 8 yos.)

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!
(which just cracks everyone up and they say it over and over)

Pioneers all work as one as one- work as one all pioneers
Pioneers all work as one- work as one all pioneers
Pioneers all work as one- work as one all pioneers
Peace shall be for all the world- all the world shall be for peace
From the dawn til setting sun- everyone finds work to be done
From the dawn til night does come- there's a task for everyone
Pioneers all work hard on the land- men and women hand in hand
As they labor all day long- they lift their voices in song
Let us work, my friends as one
Let us work til the task is done
(This is an old Israeli song "Zum Gali Gali", but we're just doing the English translation, sung as a call and response type, each child leading a different verse- lovely!)

Stillness soars as a mountain peak, seeking greatness in eagle's beak, striving lifting, reaching, climbing, gentle reason in numbers finding (They're hand in hand from "Pioneers" and join in a circle, crouch down then rise, then split into a line, marching. One child starts quietly counting the steps "1, 2, 3, 4....", the next child chimes in on the 2's, and the third child chants the 4's. In Time. We're challenged by this, but working on it! I got this from Miss Marsha's resources at waldorf home educators)

The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children mounting fast
And kissing hands in chorus sing:
Goodbye, goodbye, to everything!
To house and garden, field and lawn,
To meadow gates we swung upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
And fare you well for evermore,
O ladder at the hayloft door,
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
The trees and houses smaller grow;
Last, round the woody turn we sing:
Goodbye, goodbye to everything!
(Farewell To The Farm by Robert Louis Stevenson)

I can turn myself and turn myself and curl up as I will,
I can stand on tiptoe, reaching high,
I can hold myself quite still.
I can be as small as a small, small seed,
I can be as tall as a tall, tall tree!
I can be as wide as the wide, wide world,
I can just be ME!
(I wasn't going to include this one, we used it last year, and ABCD has used it since preschool, but the children begged and begged and so I included it)

Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh, shadows of the evening steal across the sky.
Father give the weary calm and sweet repose, with thy tend'rest blessing may our eyelids close.
(Sung softer and softer, as the children fall asleep, curling down to the ground.)

This circle will start each day, and also start the show we're planning for the last day of camp, at the end of August.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oregon Trail Summer

This summer at our little "day camp" the kids and I are studying the Oregon Trail. Last week they made up "families" for themselves, took a period occupational interest test to find out what job their OT "Dads" would have. ABCD, in a stunning turn of events, ended up with an Industrial Technologies job, and decided that Blacksmith would be a terrific job no matter what the century. Foal and Sunny both ended up as Baker.
They also started their lesson books, colored in maps of the US to show the stages of our country's growth, and learned about some of the reasons why Oregon Fever hit so hard. Friends came over one afternoon and we made walking sticks- ABCD and Papa had previously drilled holes in dowels, and he and I sanded them ahead of time. On the big weekly Craft Day we threaded string through the holes to make a good hand grip, and all the kids decorated their walking sticks with stain pens and sharpies. Strongmom and I helped the kids mark inches on their sticks, for measuring puddles and things.
This week will be our first real week, with both Foal and Sunny starting Tuesday. We'll purchase wagons and supplies and pack up to leave. I've got lists of costs from the time, and weights, and we'll start out by measuring out a 4x10' rectangle to get an idea of what moving your whole life and family with really only necessities meant. This will lend itself to lots of math this week, as they spend their money and prepare their wagons. Oregon or Bust!
The kids all decided that instead of starting tennis right away, as usual, they'd rather ease into summer a little and have more relaxing and playing time and start tennis in mid July. Its fine with me- they're all getting along really well and having fun.

My-my Boo-shoo Bye-bye

This is what 2 year old Mymy was singing quietly to himself as I drove home from the worst grocery trip in a long time. And so soon after reading this homeschool families, too!

Yes, of course, OF COURSE he had taken off his tennie and thrown it out the window. Of course he had. Because screaming at the top of his lungs the entire time we were at Fred Meyer and laughing hysterically during every time out wasn't enough.

And then at home he figured out that he can push a stool over, unlock the deadbolt, and open the door all by himself. Which is exciting. And best done in absolute silence. After all, its best not to bug Mama, she seems a little on edge today.

Third Grade Curriculum

Farming 1- harvest and preservation; life cycle bee
visit farms to observe and help with the harvest
visit beekeeper
cook with honey, make beeswax polish and candles
Farming 2- sprouts and microgreens; life cycle sheep
grow and taste many kinds of sprouts and microgreens
visit sheep and help tend them
Farming 3- planning and planting a garden; life cycle chicken
incubate chicken eggs
start a children's garden or herb garden
Shelter 1- history and geography of homes
draw and model many kinds of homes
Shelter 2- history and geography of clothing
visit spinner/weaver, help with wool -clothing process
hand sew wool vest; weave belt
Shelter 3- design and build a structure with a foundation
patio with pergola, playhouse, or walkway with arbor and benches
Time- history of telling time
make calendar, sundial, etc.
Money- history, practical skills
Measurement Linear
Measurement Weight
Measurement Volume

Math- Archios, Math Lessons for the Elementary Grades
daily puzzler/logic problem/diagramming/graphing problem
daily oral math
weekly math story and hands on play and solving
twice weekly Miquon 3rd grade/Key To Measurement
Language Arts- Logios
daily oral reading
daily circle with songs, poems, movement
daily cursive practice with art appreciation
weekly longer copywork
2-3 book reports
Old Testament- stories to set a backdrop for study of ancient Israel (Jakob Streit)
History- Lore of Life
our house, street, neighborhood, city, county, state
Form drawing-
daily knitting, sewing, etc..
Science- World Within Child Without, Child Awake, msnucleus
weekly nature story, nature walk w/journal, nature craft or picture
weekly story/project about Leonardo da Vinci
weekly experiments and projects
daily practice and weekly guitar lesson
daily harmonica practice
Art- Artistic Pursuits, art prints from Ambleside
daily viewing of artworks by: da Vinci, Picasso?, van Gogh
weekly story of the artist
weekly technique
drawing and watercolor in all subjects
twice weekly homeschool gym & swim at the Y
weekly homeschool gymnastics class
thrice weekly soccer U-9 fall and spring
weekly skiing lessons winter
Spanish- La Clase Divertida 2
Latin- Lively Latin Big Book 1