the bounty

Since late July we've been trying to fill the pantry. Here's what we have so far.

crab apple jelly - 15 jars and still going
plum jam - 15 jars
peach chutney - 10 jars
canned cherries - 14 pints, 6 quarts
canned peaches - 20 quarts
frozen cherries, peaches, blueberries
frozen zucchini, peppers, swiss chard, basil
garlic stored
drying hot, hot peppers to make into flakes
drying apples & tomatoes
salsa - 10 jars canned and about the same amount frozen
applesauce - 8 jars with more to come
pears - to be announced


hawking cookies

Jeremy's last comment reminded me of the three cases of Girl Guide cookies Ivy brought home today. She's in her first year as a Brownie and couldn't be more thrilled, especially about the selling. Whose kid is this anyway?

So...if anyone local is itching to buy the fall chocolate/mint cookies please leave a comment here. Ivy would be so thrilled, and so would I to be honest. They're $4 a box and here are some recipes of things you can do with the cookies in case you don't like them straight up and end up with a few extra cases.

the unexpected (...or Life As A Mom)

Here's a list of unexpected things I can remember that happened today.

- The girls got up a full hour earlier than usual.
- Ezra slept two hours less than on a good day.
- We ran out of milk. Yes, I should have anticipated this one.
- I broke one of Ivy's rented violin's strings and the first class isn't until tomorrow.
- Ezra got his toe fully bloodied and bruised minutes before I had to head out to work.
- Ezra was very surprised to get a whole cookie before supper while I tried to clean him up.
- I was late to work due to interminable construction on the local highway and the fact that Jeremy had to pick up a new violin string on his way home from work.
- Supper was late due to aforementioned bloody toe incident. Hmm, I didn't actually eat any supper now that I think about it.

- The sun shone brightly and with some warmth. We spontaneously raked up a big pile of leaves and jumped out of the (low) tree onto them.
- We threw in the towel on school books when Ezra wasn't napping and had a fun time building doll beds from scraps of wood. Shop class.
- There were a handful of ripe raspberries on the bushes.
- The caterpillar the girls caught a few weeks ago had made a chrysalis almost immediately after capture - it emerged as a butterfly today!
- I listened to part of "The Hobbit" on CD today while doing routine chores (this was unexpected because I borrowed it for car listening and it was a bit of a brainwave for me to try it inside).
- Work went well despite the crazy rush to get out the door.
- I stayed relatively calm all day.


Notes on weeks 1 & 2

Wow, have two weeks gone by already? We're starting to sort out this home school scene a bit. The first week I made up whatever I wanted for the girls, that was a nice way to ease in. This past week we were given all kinds of work books. At first flip through, the math and science look good, some of the English stuff is okay but the socials...we will probably be charting our own course on that one. While the books lend much needed structure (for this random soul), I've found that they distract us from doing the things we really want to do fairly often.

Some "extra" learning we've done:

Ivy decided it would be cool to build a Barbie house - full scale, two floors plus loft. Where is Papa Larry when we need him? I asked her to draw up a design for me of what she had in mind. We went over all kinds of factors and got out a doll and some wood to see what proportions would be appropriate. That's as far as we got that day but I want to follow this up. Problem solving, design, math, learning to use tools...all good stuff.

Worm relocation mission. Our compost bin is packed with happy worms. The mission for the girls was to redistribute some worms into the various garden boxes. We followed up on the internet and figured out the basics of how worms actually break down food.

Paper boat building. I'd always wanted to make an origami style paper boat so on one of our first days (it was sunny), we printed off instructions, packed some paper and headed down to a local beach with a stream. We made a few boats and watched them run the "rapids". We learned that they are useless once they've capsized but if they do well, they could manage up to three runs before they were soaked. It was fun to speculate about why they stopped in certain places or went backwards at times. We also learned that I cannot hold a baby, video, and save boats from being washed out to sea all at the same time. The video suffered by the way, the baby and boat were fine, although a tad soggy.

A (lame) scavenger hunt in the bird sanctuary. I thought this would be a clever way to get the girls excited about going out. What happened was some weird frenzy of rushing around the trails, moaning about not finding the items and wanting to get it over with and go home. Normally they love to run the trails and they discover lots of cool things. Interesting.

Planet Earth videos. The timing worked out so that this series we've had on hold for months showed up this week at the library. That's been our afternoon down time the past few days. I ask the girls to draw a picture and make a few notes on what they find most amazing on each one.

The girls had a fabulous day with Dianne (Jeremy's mom). She worked on some introductory Spanish with them, helped with workbooks, made lunch together, letter writing and sticker making. There was probably more but I can't keep track of it all! Ah yes, she took Ivy shopping for her Brownies uniform, which she's over the moon with excitement about. The uniform! The friends! The campout!!!

Making pancakes, baking soda volcanoes, the list goes on. As I document this it's becoming clear why I'm so blessed tired every night.

I hope the reader isn't lost in some rosy haze about all of this. Did I mention the raspberry-crazed and somewhat intolerant toddler lurking around most of the time?

These are cool things (to me) but don't get the idea that the girls are always on board. They think my ideas are lame or they don't want to go out. Often they run out of steam before the project has reached the conclusion I'd like to see it get to. I suspect my expectations of attention span and depth of analysis are too high for their ages. I have to be careful not to take the fun out of everything by making them document it. They love to learn and explore. It's painful to sit down after every adventure and make notes.

The classroom portion of this deal starts for Ivy tomorrow morning, at 10:30am, sharp. Heh heh. I'm very curious to see what it's going to look like.