Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Veggie Soup

   It's officially fall! My favorite time of year! The time of year in which I am inspired to pick up old, neglected hobbies in order to avoid deep cleaning my house for winter. It's also the time for long nature walks, jumping in leaf piles, baking, hot drinks, and... soup!

   We were blessed this weekend with many, many eggplants and tomatoes. I do not know how to can, and that will have to be a project for another year. Instead, I searched Pinterest for "eggplant and tomato" recipe ideas. No one of them seemed just right, but I was able to glean tips off of several to come up with what my family named, "The Best Vegetable Soup Ever." They want to have it every night until we run out of eggplant. I think if we did that, they'd stop calling it the best ever and start calling it, ".....Again?!?!"  All good things in moderation, right? So, here's my recipe, which I served with homemade pumpkin bread. Yum!                                                                                                                                                                                                  
10 cups beef broth (or as I did, water and beef bouillon)

3 small eggplant, chopped into pieces *

4 or 5 small tomoatoes, chopped

1 onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 or 3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp curry powder **

1/2 tsp ginger

couple handfuls of lentils

Combine everything except the tomatoes. Simmer for 45 minutes. *** Add chopped tomatoes. Simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Enjoy.

* I don't really measure veggies, I just add them until it looks like the right amount.

** Same with spices- I don't measure- just add to taste. Didn't really taste any curry or ginger. May have to try a little more next time.

*** You guessed it- no precise timing. I just let it simmer until it seemed done.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Scratch Art

In my previous post I wrote about how much my children enjoyed the book Seven Loaves of Bread. One thing that makes the book so great are the scratchboard illustrations. Last week we decided to make some scratchboard art of our own. It's very easy to do!

First, gather your supplies. There are a few different ways to do this. Experimenting with new techniques is one of the funnest things about creating art. Here are two that we experimented with:

Supply List #1: white cardstock paper, crayons, black paint, liquid soap and toothpicks.
Supply List #2: white cardstock paper, markers, black crayons, toothpicks

The consensus was that coloring the cardstock with marker made for a brighter picture in the end. The black paint was easier to apply than the black crayon, but the black crayon was easier to scratch off. So... mix and match and find the way that works the best for you! Or come up with a new way to do it!

Now on to the next step:

Have the children color in the white cardstock paper completely with crayon (or marker). They can color it however they like, using as many colors as they wish! Just make sure they press hard with the crayon and that no white space is showing.

Next, pour a few drops of liquid soap into a dish of black paint. (This will help the paint stick to the crayon.) Paint the entire paper black. Set aside to dry.  Or color over the entire sheet of cardstock with a black crayon. Press hard to make sure it goes on thick and that the entire sheet is black.

Once the black paint is completely dry (or the paper is completely covered in black crayon), give each child a toothpick. They will use that to scratch out a picture.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Seven Loaves of Bread

Any mother of small children has certain books memorized because of repeat readings. Sometimes it makes one want to pull their hair out, and other times a mother is delightfully happy to read that book for the fifth time today, because, well, she likes it too. Seven Loaves of Bread by Ferida Wolf is one of those books.
Milly and Rose are sisters who live on a farm. Milly does all the baking, and Rose often wonders why she makes seven loaves of bread everyday. It seems like so much work. Milly answers, "Seven is as easy as one," and continues her work. Each loaf of bread is designated to a person or animal on the farm. When Milly gets sick Rose takes over the baking and decides seven loaves are too many and starts cutting corners. Unsurprisingly, Rose quickly learns that cutting corners only creates more work. By the end of the story Rose, "who only worked as hard as she had to," learned that seven is indeed as easy as one! The scratch board style illustrations are charming and go so well with the story.
"Seven is as easy as one." has become a catch phrase on our house. Our only copy is from the library and we have renewed it three times already! My four and six-year-olds especially love this story, I think partly because of the repetition and cadence of the tale. It certainly is worth reading at least once!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Although this summer we spent most of outdoor exercise time biking, we still haven't forgotten our love of a good hike. The kids were so excited at the prospect of a hike Tuesday afternoon that all of their school work was finished before lunchtime and attitudes stayed positive!
By popular demand, Schramm Park was chosen as our destination of the day. The hiking trail at Schramm Park is short- 1 to 3 miles, depending on the trail one chooses. Today we chose the one mile trail. While the boys are old hands at hiking and can easily go much further, Isabel is still working on her endurance. We haven't hiked much since she outgrew her carrier. So glad the weather is cooling down. We're looking forward to many more trips this fall!

Benedict takes his nature observing very seriously.

A tree had fallen across the path and was begging to be climbed on!

Isabel drawing in the dirt. She thought that was the coolest thing ever!

Watching the fish in the canyon pond. I remember doing the same as a kid.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday Girl!

Today is Isabel's 4th birthday! We usually let each child pick what activity they'd like to do as a family. This time that wasn't an option so we spent a quiet day at home. Isabel had a very happy day though. She's so glad to finally be 4!

Since Isabel loves to bake I let her make and decorate her own birthday cake today after lunch. I think that was the perfect birthday activity for her.

A beautiful cake, custom decorated by Isabel!
Make a wish!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September Picnic

We were feeling a little housebound today and decided that a picnic dinner at the park would be just the thing to cheer everyone up. It did!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Planning.... Part 2

I've finally got my school area set up.

A close up of the supply shelf.

My brother built the long, tall table, which is perfect for just about anything. The black shelf in the corner holds school supplies, games, and a basket for library books. There is a lot of room on the walls to hang art projects and other things we make through the year. The bulletin board is a calendar for teaching the day, month and year, as well as the saint of the day and the liturgical season. It is based of the traditional calendar. Here is a closer look:

To make your own, head over to Sanctus Simplicitus for instructions and printable pieces. There are a lot of wonderful things to print and read over at that website!

I also set up an area to hang our backpacks, so we aren't searching for them everytime we want to visit the library.

Most of our books are in storage right now, but we did get the ones we needed this year for history, as well as the books we owned from the MODG reading lists. We also included our field guides for nature study and some reference books. The magazine holders on the bottom are full of our school books for each subject.

Indian Cave State Park

On Thursday we took a day trip down to Indian Cave State Park as a family. It took a couple of hours to get there, but we were listening to Redwall by Brian Jaques on CD and no one minded the drive.

The scenery was beautiful! The weather was perfect! Not too hot, not too cold.

The boys found the perfect location for a lightsaber battle.
 Hiking the bluffs along the Missouri River.

A beautiful, scenic view of the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark camped here on their journey upriver in 1804.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Toga Party!!!

This summer the kids have been learning Latin. We've met weekly with our friends the Larsons to watch the video and work on the exercises in the Prima Latina workbook. Since the dads of both families had the day off today, we decided to celebrate what we've learned so far with a toga party! As with all proper Ancient Roman parties, we made sure there was plenty of food for all. Since it was important to the Ancients Romans that everything look impressive we made sure to have a nice setup.

We made sure everything we ate was something the Ancient Romans would have eaten. On the menu were artichokes, a delicious bean salad, fruit salad made of apples, pears, dates (replacing figs which I couldn't find!), prunes and walnuts, and garlic bread made with olive oil. Corrine and I made an excellent dip for the bread out of olive oil, chopped Spanish olives, feta cheese and minced garlic. MMMM, I could eat it everyday!

Instead of songbirds, we ate grilled turkey breasts. For dessert we ate honey flavored yogurt topped with walnuts and cinnamon rolls. The adults drank wine, but the kiddos were content with grape juice. Since we had no slaves to send to the mountains for snow, we had to forgo the slushies.
We forgot to bring our own forks, as is only proper when one is a guest at another Ancient Roman's feast, but our hosts kindly overlooked our faux pas and let us use some of theirs. Everyone enjoyed the meal!
After a dip in the Romans baths,
everyone put their togas on and prepared for a game of Latin Pictionary!
The competition was hot as everyone guessed, "Regina?" "Laudo?" "Nauto?" "Stella?" "Caelum?"

So yes, we are doing a bit of school in the summer, but I think everyone agrees: Latin is fun! Valete! Goodbye!