February 27, 2010

Ashlyn Loves Her New Math

We are going to slowly move into Miquon. Right now we are just familiarizing ourselves with the Cuisenaire rods. Ashlyn thinks they are SUPER!

She built the stairs.

This is Daddy's work building :O)

February 26, 2010

New Yogurt Experiment

I've been talking yogurt with the folks over at my favorite homeschooling forum, Simply Charlotte Mason, and Doug gave me a new method to try. He thinks it may address the runny factor. Here is the way his family makes yogurt.

"We've been making yogurt a lot lately too and I've worked out a procedure that has been consistently producing nice thick and flavorful yogurt.

I make it in a large roaster oven so I can load it full of pint jars. Ours roaster easily holds eight to twelve jars.

The key is to get the temperature just right. I use a digital thermometer with a probe and an alarm. Heather, you mentioned yours being a bit runny and that may be a temperature issue. A crock pot on low actually gets too hot for the yogurt bacteria and can kill them. The ideal is between 110 and 120 degrees F.

We started with a good quality Greek yogurt that didn't have a bunch of extras in the ingredients. Greek yogurt usually contains five cultures instead of just L. Acidophilus. It has a creamier texture and less tartness. Of course, we just use our own yogurt as a starter now.

Each jar gets filled with skim milk and maybe a quarter cup of yogurt as a starter. I put lids on them, load them into the roaster, and fill the pan with water to help keep the temperature steady. I crank up the heat and set my alarm for 110 degrees. When it reaches that temperature I turn off the heat because it will continue to climb a bit. I then set my alarm for 118 just in case it climbs too high. If it does, I just dip out some of the warm water and replace it with cool.

It usually takes about four hours but I let it go longer if the yogurt isn't as thick as I'd like. I do check now and then to see if the temperature drops below
110. If it does I just apply a little more heat as before."

Well, I have a super neat digital thermometer from Pampered Chef, and my sweet husband stopped for a roaster oven and greek style yogurt last night at the local Wal-Mart. The roaster oven was only $30, and it is HUGE! Even if it doesn't work for yogurt, I am set for making ham, turkey, or soup for a crowd!!! Money well spent.

I'll let you all know how it turns out.

February 25, 2010

A New Favorite Poetry Anthology

Maybe it's because it has so many beloved classics, or maybe it's the logical topical organization, or perhaps it is simply the lovely cover. Whatever it is, we fell in love with this book at our library, and now have one on the way. Allie is very excited!

Furry decorations are my favorite

February 24, 2010

Yogurt in a Crockpot?

YES! Another homeschooling mom posted about yogurt making on her blog and I was inspired. Yesterday, I gave it a try. It was so easy, and best of all.....it worked! I tried using an envelope of unflavored geletin instead of milk powder for a thickener. It is still pretty runny, maybe next time I'll try two envelopes. OR, maybe I'll just "get over" the thinner texture and get excited about REAL food for my family!

I enjoyed mine this morning with a drizzle of honey, blueberries, and homemade granola. YUM!

February 23, 2010

Have you heard of this?

I ordered The Big Cook Cookbook a few weeks ago and today I did my first mini-session. What Fun! I now have 10 fresh -ready to go dinners in my freezer.

I know, I know, I am home everyday, and making dinner shouldn't be a *huge* deal, but some days I'm just plain tired. I look forward to being able to put together a "Sunday" quality meal on Tuesday. Click here for a sample recipe.

My favorite part is that the meals are fresh, unlike other freezer cooking methods where you pre-cook everything. You just put you ingredients in a baggie, label, and freeze.

February 22, 2010

One of my favorite things is.....

...homemade soap from my dear friend Sandra.
It smells fantastic!

February 16, 2010

The "Freshman" Year Plan is Done

Grade 9 Overview

I had a birthday

I turned 35 on Saturday and my mom brought me this beautiful bouquet. It was a wonderful reminder that spring will come...it will...REALLY...and not a moment too soon.

In which Ashlyn learns to be a proper lady.....

February 12, 2010

It sounds so simple.....

.....but, putting together a highschool curriculum is a bit daunting, and dare I say, emotionally draining. I want to keep as many subjects Charlotte Mason style as we possibly can. I also struggle with guiding my daughter in a Godly direction while still keeping college on the radar.

Currently, I am reading College Without Comprimise, and it is providing much insight into alternatives to traditional post-secondary education, but I'm not sure I am against her attending college. *heavy sigh*

I keep telling myself to "let go and let God". I can already see that *Trusting Him*is going to be on my list of lessons to learn.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

February 01, 2010

Well, it's official......

Allie will be starting highschool level work in the fall. This means she will be skipping 8th grade. It is a bit scarry, but she is clearly ready for upper level work. Now, the fun of laying out the plan begins.