Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jasper and Juliana

Our two green anoles have kept us very amused. Who knew that lizards cuddled? Or that both male and females displayed their throat pouches? Or that one anole could eat five crickets in one meal? Or that you could actually watch them change from brown to green before your very eyes?

Now we just have to learn how to make a cricket/moth/other trap so we don't have to constantly run to the pet store for crickets or figure out how to raise them at home... (Gevalt, I just remembered we were supposed to clean out their aquarium today!)


The weather has been so lovely. We've managed to go on several outings - to the beach, to Jaycee Park on Tybee Island (great little bike/rollerblading path around a pond!), and to nearby Hull Park and Forsyth Park. Amirah and Raizel have really been enjoying rollerblading. Eli's bike needs a few minor repairs, so he's been happily squishing into his old trike and zooming around anyway. Got to get that fixed!

Our newest rollerblader!

Hitting the trail at Jaycee Park

A couple of weeks ago we managed to get to the beach on a fairly warm day. It was warm enough for a picnic and to get all wet and sandy NEAR the water, if not in it.

Looking forward to more outings this week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Dear Kiva,

Palestine is not a country. Israel is a country. Please straighten out your geography. In the meantime, I am no longer a donor to this organization. Irked? Yes, very irked. I've only made 3-4 loans ever, but I guarantee my last one was definitely my last one.

Sincerely, Me

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Menu

At last, it's not the only post of the week. I still seem to be too busy doing things to write about them. So many, many good things going on right now!!!! Choir (and transcribing the melodies and writing accompaniments and practicing them on my imaginary piano), recorder class (with eight very lovely, enthusiastic girls - my dream class!), closing in on finishing up the music studio, continuing to be completely in love with homeschooling and learning how each child learns best, and great gratitude to Hashem for our life here. Gratitude every moment.

So, the menu:


challah (B"H there was enough in the freezer; I forgot twice to get yeast!)
steaks (thanks to the 40% off sales... I stocked up the freezer several months ago and we pull a couple out every few weeks)
roasted garlic lemon potatoes
spinach salad with fresh croutons
mashed sweet potatoes
roasted bok choi
spinach mushroom kugel
peanut butter cup bars (I'll have to post this recipe if it's as good as I think it will be, b"n!)

some of the above, plus
turkey deli slices

No guests... DH is still recovering from a sinus infection and a migraine-y week, so we'll keep shabbos kind of quiet and get lots of rest. Despite that, he sure has been working hard at work and at home. (And... in the spirit of Adar... DH's boss is no longer his boss... they're co-workers now... change is afoot and things are turning upside down... for the good, we hope, BE"H!)

Good shabbos, all!

Weekday Meals

Here's what we ate:

chicken noodle soup (l/o from shabbos)
fresh cracked wheat bread
mixed green salad

homemade felafel (CHEAP!) and pita w/yogurt sauce
lime cilantro coleslaw (delicious on the felafel!)

spinach lasagna
garlic bread
mixed green salad

chicken with preserved lemons and basmati rice
spinach salad

spinach mushroom omelet and plain scrambled eggs
buttermilk pancakes
home fries

YUM. :)

Learning This Week

Another week - GONE (almost)! Some of the highlights from the week:

Eli is zooming through Explode the Code 2 (phonics/writing book), so I went ahead and ordered him the next couple of books which made him zoom even faster. The books really suit him so much better than they ever suited Amirah. It's been a lot of fun. I ordered the books the precede Explode the Code for Raizel. They're on the easier side, but I'd rather she get really solid in all her letter sounds before starting Explode the Code 1. I wouldn't have her doing books really at all, except for that she begs to do learning time just like the others, so it makes her happy to have her own set. :)

Eli is halfway through first grade Saxon math, and doing a lot in first grade Singapore Math too. We'll just wallow in both until the fall, then I'll look to make a more concerted effort towards finishing Singapore 1A/B. It's more challenging then Saxon, and I think it is more effective at teaching mathematical thinking.

Amirah has been doing great using Saxon 2 as review and strengthening of math facts. Hoping to do Singapore 2B in the spring/summer. We'll see! But for now, math tears are all gone and we're having smooth sailing. I really think tears are a sign that a child is just not ready for something yet. I feel no compulsion to "push through" those tears and try to master something anyway. I think it's actually detrimental. Small, solid increments are so much better for strengthening their confidence and their skills.

Amirah has been doing lots of independent reading - she read a simplified version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Twits by Roald Dahl, and now she's reading Black Beauty. We're going to start the third McGuffey Reader this coming week, which starts to place more emphasis on elocution. I love that series for oral reading.

Chumash is going great. We're working each pasuk until she has at LEAST 80% mastery (can effortlessly read and translate a word and explain the parts of the word), and doing cumulative reivew as we go. In Lech Lecha she's able to begin reading a pasuk with 50% understanding, so that's a good start and it doesn't take much time to up that to 80+%. B"H! And all without stress or tears. B"H again!

For biur tefillah I've been reading every day from Rav Schwabs book. It is an excellent book for all ages and I've edited or paraphrased very little of the book. Eli catches on very well and we have great discussions about the meanings of each tefillah. This has been a highlight of the week as we discussed the mitzvahs that have no prescribed measure, and the mitzvahs that give us the greatest reward in olam habah.

In science, we have had a GREAT start in astronomy. They are each making books with illustrations and narrations. So far, we have covered the sun and Mercury. We have also had a great time going outside at night to identify things from our star maps, including stars, nebulas, galaxies, and planets. We can now find Betelgeuse, Sirius, and Aldeberan. FUN!!!!! I love learning their locations too, watching their locations shift in the skies, and using the stars to find the compass directions. We also got a really nice green laser pointer for a Channukah present, so we can "point" at the things we find in the sky. What a joy to really take in the wondrous vastness of Hashem's universe.

Time to cook, and cook, and cook. Better go at bionic speed...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Menu

Yet another week where I only blog about the menu. :) I need to be writing things down, for myself. I use my blog entries (and some other notes I keep) to write the annual homeschooling summary we have to have on hand in case any state official ever cares to know what we did in any particular year. I use them for menu planning. I use them to go back and see when certain things happened. They're useful records! :)

It was a great week this week too. Some really good learning. We started astronomy, learned about the plague in 15th-century Europe and how it affected the Jews, did some speedy math, enjoyed our third recorder class (yay!), played math games, told and read stories, developed our chumash skills (with NO complaints... B"H!!!!!!!!), lots of good davening with more parts being taken by Raizel and Eli... Those are some things that randomly come to mind. On Wednesday we played hooky and went to the beach and had a great time getting all soggy and enjoying the magnificent weather. A few viruses dodging in and out of various family members, B"H most of them blessedly short! Spent some fun phone time chatting with old friends (yay, Doda Sh!). A very good week.

So. The menu.


chicken noodle soup
beef won tons with sweet and sour sauce
ginger soy chicken
brown rice
steamed ginger cabbage
steamed carrots
pineapple upside down cake

And for lunch:

sliced beef
spinach etc. salad
and the salads and etc.s from above

Good shabbos, all!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Menu

All this non-blogging! Between finally catching one of the viruses (after 8 weeks of dodging them!), arranging songs for the new choir, doing a little prep work for recorder class (but not much since I've probably done 40+ beginning recorder classes! :)), doing some heavy-duty prep for our kodesh learning, and working to understand the ins and outs of Discovery streaming educational media, I've been a bit occupied... I still don't know how dinner will get done, but somehow it will! More than halfway there and it's only 12:50. Three overnight guests will keep me honest about getting some real cleaning done, but my stuffed-up head would sure rather go back to bed!

And for the menu...

asparagus soup
red pepper sauce
cinnamon sweet potatoes
scalloped potatoes
oven-fried chicken
broccoli kugel
carrot ginger purée
strawberry sorbet
lemon pudding cake

and for tomorrow...

turkey sandwiches
spinach salad
and stuff from dinner

Good shabbos, all!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quote of the Week

Eli: Mama, I found some paralyzed bricks!

Mama: What's a paralyzed brick?

Eli: It's stuck and can't move out of the ground!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Menu

Friday - we're out! :)

For lunch...

red pepper spread
fish cakes w/special sauce
cabbage cilantro coleslaw
arugula salad with tomatoes and croutons
brown rice salad with roasted veggies
black bean beef chili w/lots of fixings
turkey deli meat for the non-chili-eaters
strawberry coconut sorbet
butterscotch brownies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quote of the Week

Amirah: My eyebrows felt too long.

(I'll just let you imagine what the question was that preceded her response...)