13 October 2010

When Mom's Away


11 October 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

This week marks our first Muffin Tin Monday! The basic idea - food in a muffin tin. It's intended to change up the mealtime routine (what routine?) and can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, whatever!

The theme this go-around is Pumpkins, so here's our entry.

Clockwise from the left, we have a Happy Pumpkin bologna sandwich, three mellocreme pumpkin candies, a stack of mandarin oranges with an onion sprout stem, homemade pumpkin bread sticks, and yogurt with pumpkin purée. Of course, Isaac started with the candies.

Apples, carrots, and now pumpkins. Don't you just love fall?

They help you see in the dark, don't they?

The weather this past week in Southeast Michigan has been absolutely gorgeous. Cass Lake weather, we would call it - sunny and mid-60s/70s in the day, 40s and high 30s at night (good sleeping weather). It's this type of weather that makes me miss being in an office all day *so much* </sarcasm>

Anyway, so I took advantage of the day and did some fall clean-up around the garden beds. As I was pulling dead leaves and weeds out of the raised bed, I found some of the carrots that we planted (at Isaac's behest, though he won't eat carrots to save his life) back in the late spring. Not expecting much, I tugged at the tuft of green and found a tiny little carrot, about half as long as my pinky and not much bigger around.

Yay, a carrot! That I grew! Nobody famous once said, "Food never tastes so good as when you have raised/grown/cooked it yourself." Or they should have, at least.

Continuing with the garden cleaning, I pulled up the netting that we had placed over the sown carrot seeds to deter little munchy creatures from going all Peter Rabbit on our garden. If you ever want to harvest carrots easily, install plastic netting over them when you sow. The tops grow up through the netting, and when you pull it up, zzzzipp!, up come all the carrots at once!

But Zeb, I didn't know you could grow pre-sized baby carrots? Yours are so cute!

I will confess that I have always been apprehensive about growing things from seed - too high of a failure rate after the seedlings get to be about 2 inches tall. With that in mind, when we saw a plethora of tiny carrot sprouts, I was so overjoyed that they were growing(!) that I couldn't bear to thin them out. What if I plucked the good one and the rest of them failed?

As you can see by the photos, none of our carrots grew very large, because they were overcrowded. But we did get carrots, by George! Who knows if we'll try again next year?

Esther continues her agricultural exploration
Just to tie this to home education, Isaac worked on a file folder game later in the afternoon. And what should appear out of the bag, but a carrot counting game! Isaac breezed through it like a champ. Counting 1-5, check!

08 October 2010

Psalm 46:10

In this past Sunday's church bulletin, we received our monthly Focus on the Family insert. One of the articles therein addressed the practice of observing a Sabbath, a day of rest.

Sabbath has been rattling around in my brain for years. I don't like to work for pay on Sundays, and I try to focus Sunday activities more on family time than other things.

I don't really want to get in to a deep study right now, but both the Old and New Testaments talk about observing the Sabbath and proscriptions for activity during the period of rest. I've also got a book at home called Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab; I'm about two-thirds of the way through that. I'll probably do some more in-depth study and writing about Sabbath once I finish the book, but that'll probably be posted somewhere other than KU.

That said, there's no time like the present to begin new practices and forming new habits. As of sundown Saturday, I plan to observe a 24-hour sabbath. My basic guidelines at this point are:
  • Mark the beginning of Sabbath with some type of ritual. For now, I think lighting a candle will be in order.
  • Take a leisurely shower either Saturday night or Sunday morning to refresh the body.
  • No work for pay, no housework (dishes, laundry, yardwork, etc.), minimal cooking (flameless, if possible)
  • No electronics, which is mainly the computer since we don't have a TV. Cell phone will be on for incoming emergencies, but no outgoing calls.
  • Enjoy my rest with my family.
We'll see how this goes and how the practice evolves in our household. How do you explain Sabbath to a four year old and 1.5 year old? ;-)

Do you practice sabbath in your home? What does it look like? Share in the comments below.

Shalom, my friends.

06 October 2010

Tiffany Tuesday - The Apple Experiment

A guest post from Tiffany, who is starting a new semi-regular feature, Tiffany Tuesdays. Enjoy!

This was supposed to go up yesterday, but my shoulder left me immobilized most of the night last night.  But here you go, anyway!

Monday, when we went to the library, I told Isaac that he needed to choose 1 apple and 1 pumpkin book BEFORE he chose 2 train books.  Well, he did one better and chose 2 apple books, 1 pumpkin book, and 2 train books (including one about how they brought Abraham Lincoln's body back from Washington D.C. to Illinois for burial).  On our way home, Isaac dove into his first apple book ("My Apple").  It's a great little book with various mini-experiments for kids to do with apples. Well, he found the "does it float or sink" page and wanted to know the answer.  One thing I like about this book, is that it doesn't give the answer, forcing you to do the science experiment with him.

We dialoged a bit about apples and whether they might float or sink.  I asked Isaac what he thought would happen. He answered with, "I think the apple will sink."  I decided now was a great teachable moment and taught him a $5 word, explaining that when we make a guess about what will happen and then do an experiment to find out, our guess is called a hypothesis.  And oh, how I wish you could hear him say it.  It is unbelievably cute!  

So, we got home and raised the platform on our learning towerZeb got out a bowl of water, and I raided our bag of apples left from our picking adventure last week!  

Here is our first go round at introducing Isaac to the Scientific Method...

The Question: Will apples sink or float? 
Hypothesis: The apple(s) will sink.

  1. Place one small apple in the bowl. 
  2. Place one large apple in the bowl.
  3. Place multiple apples in the bowl.
  4. Let them be kids and just make a royal mess...
  1. The small apple floats.
  2. The large apple floats.
  3. You can put 4 apples in the bowl and they still float!
  4. We had to leave the tower upside down overnight to let the feet dry.

And the documentation of said Scientific Method!

And if that weren't enough, Isaac's class "Storybook Forest" had the theme of apples this week!  They did some fun crafts and read the book "Ten Apples Up On Top", which is a fabulous book if you've not ever read it!  One of their activities was to put 10 apples on the page (picture below).  Isaac did put exactly 10 pictures on his page, which is not a surprise.  What was startling to his teacher, and what I thought was pretty cool, was that he put 3 of the apples in their mouths.  A few minutes later, he went to his teacher and asked, "May I please have another apple paper. The kids' apples are in their bellies now."  She let him have another paper.

Isaac is doing very well at homeschool co-op and even helps to clean the rooms afterward to earn money for things he wants to save up for. He has the opportunity to sit and watch a movie, but chooses cleaning instead!  I love this kid and it makes the cleaning job (we have for 6 weeks) go so much faster and a lot more fun!  Hopefully, Zeb will post soon about Isaac and his money scheme plan!

Tiny Tot Jam Session


05 October 2010

How is a Librarian like a Bartender?

...they both cut you off when you've reached your limit.

It's the return of Library Monday. We skipped our weekly library trip last week for some reason that I can't recall now, but we made up for it this week by taking the whole family, through the woods, with the wagon. Fun times. It's cooled down enough here that the killer mosquitoes in the woodlot aren't a concern anymore. Thankfully, no need for these in October in Michigan.

Our pattern over the last month or so has been that we end up checking out more books than we return (or at least it feels that way when we're carrying the books back home). I've joked that, taken to its extreme, this pattern would eventually result in us schlepping the library's entire circulating collection to our bookshelf at home.

I no longer have to fear this conclusion, however. As we were checking out tonight, the librarian got to our last book on the counter and received an error message on the screen - we had reached our limit! Apparently, 30 books is it for any single patron to have at one time.

So, here's the Saline District Library's current off-site storage inventory, with a beginning reader thrown in for scale:
And of course, he selects the train book.

Esther even gets in on the action from time to time. Here's a shot of Isaac teaching Esther about different types of trains:

And Esther having enough...
I tell ya, kid, this home education is hard work!

03 October 2010

Gospel Challenge

This morning, Pastor Bert issued a challenge to the congregation.

There are 89 chapters among the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). There are 89 days left from now—4 October—to the end of the year (or so he said; I haven't counted myself).

The challenge? For the rest of the year, read one chapter of the Gospels each day. We start tomorrow with Matthew 1 (actually, I read it tonight to the kids at bedtime, but Tiffany and I plan to read it again on our own).

Old Bible
'Old Bible' photo by eye2eye on Flickr.com

If we claim to be Christians, we must be people of the Book. We have to know what the Bible says if we claim to believe in it. John MacArthur said:
"The Bible is always attacked.  The worst attack of all is by people that say they believe the Bible, yet don't know what it teaches.  That is the subtlest kind of attack there is.  There are people all across America who say, "I believe the Bible from cover to cover," but they don't know one paragraph of it.  They believe what they don't know."

If we want to show fruit in our lives, and not just be leafy, we have to have the same mind as Jesus. So many of the activities and ministries that we claim as evidence of our faith and salvation are really only leafy and never produce a single fruit for the Kingdom.

So come along with us and read the Gospels. When was the last time you really did?