Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cheesemaking at the library

 Here it is, the final post of November's NaBloPoMo, and it is to be much the same as any other post, a snapshot of our day.  

C went to a cheesemaking class at the library.  They made organic fresh mozzerella (I love the library).  She learned about how the proteins are formed into curds, and helped separate the curds and the whey.  C didn't actually like the end product, but her sister and I thought it was delicious.  Does anyone reading this have any suggestions for making cheese without rennet?  Otherwise, I'll do some homework to research my options....
S played on the library computer to occupy her time.
As usual we left the library with a staggering load of picture books, chapter books, DVDs, and audio books, and I think I know what the rest of our evening will be like....reading, watching, and listening.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is the penultimate post of NaBloPoMo.  After tomorrow, I will have managed to post every day of November.  Some days I have had more to say than others, but it was a good way for me to stretch my blogging muscles.  (I think I'll give those muscles a little rest after tomorrow)
C spent the morning playing picma and pennywhistle hero on the laptop while watching a history show on PBS.  We have been reading the history section from What Your Second Grader Needs to Know, so she was excited to see many of the things we had been reading about, like the Great Wall of China. Last month we read the First Grader history section ,and next month we'll probably do the Third Grader one, if C is still this interested.  She begs me to keep reading aloud at night before bed, until my voice starts to get hoarse.  It has prompted a lot of good discussion, about human rights particularly, considering the lack of basic human rights different groups of people have had to endure in the past.

 S has been putting together puzzle after puzzle, and making a "cake" (layers of bread, whipped cream, and sugar...not bad actually).  A is just starting forward movement which looks something like crawling and something like launching herself onto her face from her hands and knees.  She is also cutting her third tooth and almost always has her tongue sticking out, which I cannot look at without smiling.
I'm starting a new knitting project.  I hope to be able to finish by Christmas, but these girls keep me pretty occupied... we'll see.  I'm so much better at starting things than I am at finishing them ;-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

an ordinary Sunday

We started the day with brunch at one of my favorite restaurants.  C and S both got mango lassis (yogurt drinks) and dal (Indian bean soup) instead of their usual order of waffles.  C and I have a plan to try out different dal recipes, and want to start with red lentil dal.
C counted all of her Girl-scout cookie money, added the checks, and figured how much we still owed for the cookie sales that are due tomorrow.  It was much better than any math worksheet!  She added, subtracted, multiplied money values, worked with decimal places, and ate thin mints all the while ;-)

roller-skating in the house?
of course

S found roller skates recently at a thrift store, and had fun skating up and down the hallway and through the dining room.
We also went to a craft store where half of the things on my list just happened to be 40% off or more.  I love it when that happens.  We needed watercolor paper, sock yarn, jingle bells, and a compass for upcoming projects.  We also couldn't pass up a light-up yo-yo, and light-up magnet toy for $1 each.  I'm not a big "shopper", but this was a pleasant trip with my three girls.  C just told me that she's glad that she has only sisters and that I'm a "girl-maker" (he he he)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do you have a life outside of being a mom?

I was recently asked, "Do you have a life outside of being a mom?"  This was not asked with ill intent, but I've never had someone ask that in such a straight forward manner before.  I was unsure of what to say, not because I'm unsure of where I want to be in my life, but because I didn't know how to express myself.  In short, I don't have a life outside of being a mama to my three girls, but my life is lived fully.  I babbled a bit about the homeschooling community being a big part of my life, and the fact that I have a baby that I don't feel comfortable being away from yet, and that I'm sure that when I feel the need for more in my life that I will be able to find it in some form or another.

The truth is that I don't have a life outside of being a mom, but I have a life which fully includes being a Mama.  I have no shortage of social interaction, or time for creativity, self-expression, love, kindness, fulfillment, laughter, movement, and friendship.  These just all happen to include my children.  I will have greater amounts of the illusive "time to myself" as they all grow and become more and more independent members of the community, and I will find meaningful ways to fill that time, but for me, right now, being a mama is the most meaningful thing I could be doing every... single... day.

"There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world
than a transformation of the way we raise our children." Marianne Williamson

Friendsgiving potluck

This morning, after C's aikido class, she went grocery shopping with Papa.  An hour and a half later, C came home and proudly informed me that she did all of the shopping herself, and proceeded to carry in the groceries and put them away.  Apparently, Papa followed her and gave her clues where she might find stuff, but otherwise, he let her do it all herself.  In a similar way, he helped S make a pie crust for a pot pie.  She did everything herself, with just enough direction to be able to do it.  This is something I could take a lesson from.  I am always eager to jump in and help, or point out a different way to do something.  Today, both of  these girls were so proud of their accomplishments because they were able to take the reins without interference.  Papa was able to step in only when needed, and in the simplest way possible.

When we brought the pot pie to a "Friendsgiving leftover potluck", S could truly say that she made the food we brought, and it turned out great.  The crust was filled with chicken, corn, roasted veggies, and gravy from our Thanksgiving day feast, mixed with cream and some added spices.  Papa stayed home with C because they were both feeling a little under the weather, but S enjoyed running around with all of the other kids her age at the potluck, and A slept for awhile in various people's arms, giving me a chance to enjoy some of the delicious food ;-)  There was also singing and music making, which is always fun.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lazy day

It's nice to have Papa home today.  We all watched lots of Cake Boss, and ate T-day leftovers.  Mmmmm.  C and S have been playing together happily for hours and hours.  I've been working on one of A's Christmas presents.  It's going to be a twelve-pointed ball, filled with wool and lavender.  It's made of self-patterning wool sock yarn, using the Celestine Sox pattern from Ravelry.  In light of the consumer madness, we are honoring Buy Nothing Day ;-)

While I don't have the time and energy to make all of our presents this year, we have gone simpler and simpler in the way of presents and traditions each holiday season.  Each girl will have about three presents to open on Solstice from us, and presents from grandparents/family on Christmas and Christmas Eve.  We try to be generous with fun activities, games, and supplies throughout the year, and I don't even know of many things that the girls would want, above and beyond what they enjoy in their usual days.  So, I am looking forward to a peaceful and simple holiday season this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Feast Day!

appleberry pie

feast for four

I am so thankful!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

S had so much fun climbing up on the kitchen table and helping bathe her baby sister this morning.  There were a lot of giggles from both of them.  It's fun for me to see A getting old enough to interact more with her big sisters.  C and S have always given her lots of attention and love and kisses, and now she can kiss them back.  A is also using sign language to let me know when she wants to nurse.  She signs "milk" (just a fist opening and closing repeatedly), and even says "ma-ma".

C had been very moody for a couple of days, and now has regained her spirits, but she wants to spend several hours each day not speaking and communicating only with signs.  This has been frustrating S until today, when I have been more active in making a game out of it, and being their "translator".  (They both know many signs from watching the Signing Time videos from the library.)

C has been wanting to follow the drainage ditch by our community garden plot since the summertime, but for one reason or another it hadn't happened yet.  Leave it to us, to finally go on this little adventure on a very chilly, windy day.  C went through each culvert while S and I crossed over on the roads and met her on the other side.  We followed it until it was too deep to cross without getting wet in one direction, and until we saw a culvert with bars across in the other direction.
S enjoyed riding in the jogging stroller even over the bumpy terrain.
We made it home before the rain came down, and now it feels so cozy to be in our nice warm house.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

indoor play

After S's ballet class today, we went to an indoor play gym.  C kept wanting to  jump rope with me. I used a 7 ft. rope and she stood right in front of me facing the mirror. As I twirled the rope, we jumped together. When we could get a rhythm going, we could keep jumping and jumping. It was fun, and I got some exercise, too. Besides running, jumping, swinging, riding, and climbing, S enjoyed finding an Etch-a-Sketch and making a picture of a volcano. She spent a lot of focused energy working on that. A was content in the swing for quite a long time.  When the weather turns chilly the girls beg and beg to go here and seem to challenge themselves in different ways each time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tie-dyed snowflakes tutorial

Materials needed:
coffee filters
food coloring

I have been making tie-dye snowflakes ever since I was a kid, and I love the way they brighten up a wintry window.  They are also very simple to make.  You start with a coffee filter and fold it in half, then half again, and one more time until it is shaped like a slice of pie.  Cut out shapes along the folded sides and outside edge to form the snowflake design.

I cover the table in newspaper before we start dying the filters.  To prepare the "dye", simply mix food coloring and water in small cups.  I used about 10 drops of food coloring for 1/4 c. of water, but you could use more or less depending on how saturated you like the colors.  Then, after your design has been cut and the coffee filter is still folded, dip various edges of the filter in different colors of dye, letting the excess drip off between colors.
This next part is the hardest step because the filter is pretty fragile at this point.  Very carefully unfold your snowflake while it is still wet and set it on newspaper to dry. 

 Hang in a sunny window and enjoy!
...and while we had the food coloring out, we did this from Scientific Tuesdays.
 ...and played with marshmallows and toothpicks.

C also enjoyed playing fidgets from Design Squad, and making pie crust with the 4H cooking group today, and she spent a couple of hours only communicating through sign language and gestures.  It was fun for both of us to see communication in a different way.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I just finished reading S a couple of picture books for bedtime.  One of them was called Sandbear, which inspired me to make up a story for S.  It went roughly like this...
"If I was building a sandgirl, I would start with nice strong legs, perfect for running and jumping and kicking and dancing."
"...and swimming," S added.
"Then, I would make a nice healthy body just the size and shape as yours, with arms just like these ones.  The arms would be great for hugging and creating things and painting and digging in the dirt."
"...and making food," she murmured.
"...and a head very much just like yours, with sparkly eyes, and a nose just this shape, and a mouth for laughing and talking and singing and kissing."
"...and a neck.  She needs a neck."
"...and hair just the color of yours would be perfect, and I would love her so much.  Just like I do you...."  Then, S sighed and her whole body relaxed and she was asleep.

Good night.

20 Posts

C, in her wizard robes, from her 6th b-day

20 posts in 20 days, officially 2/3 of the way through NaBloPoMo!  C went to Harry Potter at an Imax theater this morning with Papa and loved it.  C said she was sooo happy that she had read the book and knew what would happen next or she would have been scared, but as it was, she was thrilled.  The rest of the day has been a blur of activity...enchilada making...tie-dyeing snowflakes (more about that tomorrow)...delivering more Girl-scout cookies...swimming at the Y...and life goes on...and on...

motor boat, motor boat go so slow,
motor boat, motor boat go so fast,
...motor boat, motor boat, step on the gas

Saturday, November 20, 2010


 Here's A "helping" S with her favorite puzzle.  She reworks this puzzle almost every day.
 We tried the butterbeer recipe I linked to yesterday, and it is very delicious.  C declares that it's as good as they say it is in the book.  I was a little leery about the imitation butter flavor, but it does really add something to the recipe.  Mmmmm.
We also went to a chocolate party today.  Yes.  C's pottery teacher also makes homemade chocolate confections.  Wow, they were amazing, and the company was lovely as well.  We have had a very sweet day.