Monday, August 30, 2010

Today centered around chocolate.

It started with Gray talking Ains into getting the chocolate milk mix canister for him. He decided it would be better to bypass the milk entirely and put it straight in his mouth. He didn't use a spoon.

Can you tell how covered he is? His face and hair turned dark brown when I showered him off.

I got him cleaned up and went to go help Ainsley with a project. Ten minutes later I found Gray at the kitchen table doing this.

When you got needs, you got needs.

Hannah decided that her father was the best father in the whole wide world and as such he deserved a cake. Fair enough. We looked through The River Cottage Family Cookbook and found a recipe for chocolate cake.

It was an interesting recipe - you didn't have set amounts of sugar, flour, and butter. You had to weigh the eggs and then use the same weight of the other three ingredients, so I pulled down our scale and set Hannah to work expecting to have to be hovering and helping her. It turned out that all I had to do was write down the weight in grams of the eggs and she could compare the weight shown on the scale and measure the other three ingredients just fine without my help and with quite a bit of impressive self-correction.

It may not seem like much, but she's not had any formal instruction in less than/more than, bigger than/smaller than, addition/subtraction. I still have my niggling, suspicious worries sometimes about the big scary math issue with the way we homeschool. This helped put some of that to rest. Like she said, "It's so easy Mother. Seven is bigger than five, so if I want 175 grams and I have 153, I still need more. I don't need your help."

So I stepped back.

When the cake was done, they wanted to put 'a ton' of candles on it. We only had 3 1/2 Toy Story candles (please don't ask about the 1/2) and that wasn't nearly enough for the best Daddy in the world so we used matches.

The result was predictable.

(and the cake was delicious, btw - great recipe)

And as for Ainsley's chocolate contribution today?

She cooked me a chocolate cow.

Cake recipe - (very, very basic - go to the book for more in-depth instructions)

4 eggs
softened butter (not melted)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cake pans.

Weigh eggs, note weight. Weigh same amount of butter and beat until very soft. Weigh out same amount of sugar and beat it with butter until very fluffy.

Weigh out the flour (if making chocolate cake, substitute 30 g of chocolate for 30 g of sugar) and add the pinch of salt to it.

Break one of the eggs into the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Add all eggs one at a time in the same manner. Add some of the flour with the last egg to prevent curdling. Stir in vanilla extract.

Add flour to mixture and fold in. Consistency of mixture should drop off the spoon - if it pours off, add a bit more flour (or chocolate, of course!), if it sticks to the spoon add a tablespoon of milk at a time until it is the right consistency.

Pour into cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Friday, August 27, 2010

In which we meet The Phantom of the Farmyard.

A whole bunch o' summer snapshots.

The Phantom makes an appearance.

The county fair brings out the crazy.

(that's the only Hannah picture in this post - not because she's been doing nothing, but because everything she's doing I have blog posts planned for)

Gray tries to convince us he's old enough to water ski.

The youngest get their groove on at an outdoor concert.

Ains makes a wish upon a star.

Seriously. That's what she's doing - with her little clasped hands and her upturned face on a horse bareback by herself. I think I deserve an award for not eating her up before now. Better than chocolate, that cuteness.

Skippy Jane Jones tried to ride Gray's trike.

But she got distracted by the ribbons. It could happen to even the most reasonable kitten.

There was air travel.

Though she's declared that she doesn't want to be a space traveler. "I'm gonna be that wady that twains seals at the ocean." So that's that.

Play in the living room in a life jacket.

Just in case. Better safe than sorry.

This had nothing to do with the fact that I overran the bathtub last week. He's too young to connect the dots. I hope.

Boat rides.

And we've still got a month of summer!

Yee haw, Cowboy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a ritual everywhere, isn't it?

The backyard campout.

My girls thought of doing it at 8:30 at night, so it was getting dark when we set it up.

Then Hannah brought out 29 books for us to read, they fell asleep, and it thundered and poured all night long. It was surprisingly relaxing. The girls slept in the next morning.

It's not like waking up in the forest, but it's not like waking up in your bed either.

Definitely more exciting than the boring old bed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I did not teach him that.

Sometimes our kids do stuff and we don't know where they learned it. Like when Hannah was barely three and walked into the room with a pool noodle that she'd jammed two knitting needles into sitting on her shoulder, aiming it and saying "Pew! Pew! Pew pew pew!!!"

She'd made her own bazooka and we still don't know where she got the idea.

Yesterday when I was doing chores, I looked over to see Gray sitting on the grass-shooter-tube-thingy that we had taken off of the lawn mower, aiming it around at things and giggling maniacally when his sisters pretended to run away screaming. The dogs just looked bemused.

Once again, I don't know where he got the idea.

But the one thing both kids' inventions have in common is that they didn't go for little handheld stick varieties - they went straight for the big stuff. Should I be worried or proud?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Filling our days.

Making flags. "Mercan flags" with stars and stripes and everything.

Drawing super-heroes.



Three very unique children.

We went on our nightly walk down the 'farm road' tonight and I was struck by how unique these kids are.

There's Hannah wearing high heels and with a teddy bear safety pinned to her shirt.

There's Gray with a life jacket and a badminton racket.

There's Ains with her bunny (and eventually her shoes) tied to her handlebars.

On the way home, she let Gray do what he loves most of all these days - sitting on her back fender while she pedals.

It's very generous of her because it doubles her work load.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Button Venn diagrams.

Yesterday I wrote "Ains is busy dividing her button stash into 'pretty' and 'cute' piles. She deliberates a long time over some of the buttons - one button got over three minutes of thought out (out loud) debate." on Facebook. Laura said "Sounds like a Venn diagram is in order!" That sounded too cool to pass up, so we did it.

She caught on really fast and was sorting for over an hour.

Then she found some that were neither cute nor pretty but 'awesome' and 'cool' and one was even 'stupendous'. These got their own space outside of the diagram because she didn't want me to draw her a new one.

It's amazing how closely she had to study some of them to get the classification just right.

Hannah wanted to do one, so I made her a diagram with her specifications - 'cute', 'pretty', and 'interesting'.

She's played a Venn diagram game on Zoombinis - Island Odyssey, so she was off and running as soon as I put it in front of her.

*If you want to connect on Facebook, just email me at unprocessedfamily at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Remember when we had 14 year olds visiting?

Now it's 11-year-olds. Two of them.

And we're having so much fun.