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.


Shawnell said...

That sounds like an interesting recipe idea. Can you share the recipe?

Sarah said...

Added it to the post. :)

Cindy said...

The match candles... OMG... can't stop laughing!

Marcie said...

Can I just say how much I LOVE that you refered to chocolate as a need? (when you got needs, you got needs) lol I always knew! :)

Lindsay said...

Love it! And what a cool cake recipe. I think I'm going to have to save that one for when Meredith is a little older. So true about how this learning thing just kind of happens. Meredith has been asking lots of questions lately, so it's been on my mind a lot. I just wrote a post about unschooling today actually lol. And now, I'm off to make something chocolatey. =) (Hey, like you say, when you've got needs, you've got needs!)

CCC said...

I love kids with freckles like that. You have very cute children. I loved the wishing on a star from horseback picture. I think I'm going to try that.