Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What a Fun Week!

And it's only Monday (??!?!!).

For several days now I've just been feeling particularly... hummy! I love having different projects happening. :)

Here's what's been going on:

•We're all finally up to date with doctor and dentist visits. Hooray! It feels like we've had an appointment or two for months for one reason or another.

•Two thirds of our fruit trees arrived today. We need to find out if we can plant them now, with preparations for keeping them warm if it freezes (one suggestion I found was to string them with holiday lights - FUN!). Or we'll just keep them potted until after danger of freezing has passed (mid-February).

•I (finally) got around to ordering yogurt culture and was THRILLED to learn that now my usual suppliers are kosher-certified for repackaging. Hooray! That means I can order just the amount I need. So while I was at it, I got yogurt culture, rennet and citric acid for mozzarella-making (thereby gleefully lopping $100 off my co-op order), and a small "try-it" kit for making two small bries and two small bleu cheeses for $7. I'm so excited! Mozzarella cheese is the highest-yielding cheese and you can get between 3/4 and 1 pound of cheese from a gallon of milk. So cheese will cost $3–4/lb instead of $5.19/lb. And basic mozzarella is pretty easy to make (though you can make fancier, more involved mozzarella too!). I'll b'n post the easy recipe I've used before... Now I have visions of a cheese-curing fridge (just alter a regular, probably small, fridge and keep the humidity high. Eventually I want to try hard cheeses too...

•I am realizing that paint stripping is much more difficult than I had imagined! The paint on our kitchen cupboards has many layers, the oldest probably being 50+ years old. In other words, stubborn. Aargh. Oh, well. I'm in no rush. The plan is to strip the cupboards, paper bag decoupage the insides, paint the outsides, paint the counters with Rustoleum counter paint, and do the floor in paper bags. I only have about 5 hours per week to devote to it. It will take a while (60–80 hours?), but eventually it will be done! It really is fun. Especially the part about it costing less than $300 to redo the whole kitchen... Please, hashem!


•Amirah has, at last, finished 2nd grade math and we are going to be zooming into 3rd grade. If we keep to the same pace we have been we *should* be caught up by July-ish. The important thing is that she understand the concepts before moving on, and I'm so glad we finally found Math Mammoth for her. It has worked SO much better than any other math curriculum. It's worked well for all the other kids too.

•Amirah has finished Lech Lecha!!!! We spent a lot of time there, having not skipped any of it. Her reading has gotten much faster, and her ability to translate is pretty good. There have been generally only one or two words in a pasuk (verse) that totally stumps her. Vayera, here we come! Avraham and Yishmael just got circumcised, and Sarah is about to find out she'll give birth to Yitzchak when she is 90 years old. I love our chumash time. I think it's the highlight of my day. The other highlight is on those days here and there when ALL FOUR children are davening together, out loud. And we love, love, love L'shon Hatorah. What a great grammar book, and not overwhelming in the least. I did decide to really plow through L'shon Hatorah to help our chumash studies. My original plan was to do 3 days of LHT/2 days of Rashi. But I've decided to do 5 days of LHT so we can finish by pesach, then we'll do Rashi after that. Learning the script won't take too long, and I've been reading many Rashis out loud to her as we go through the text. I think that will put us in pretty good shape by summer.

•Raizel has finished another level of Hebrew in Aleph Champ. She's starting Level 5 (of 8), and Eli is almost done with Level 5. Raizel should finish it in about two months. After Level 5, they're ready to start chumash (the first seven days of creation!). For efficiency's sake I'll probably have Eli wait about six weeks so they can start chumash together. Exciting!

•Eli is happily zooming through 2nd grade math. Concepts that Amirah really struggles/struggled with are second nature to him. He often pipes up with the answers to her math problems without skipping a beat! :) She takes it in good stride. He's in the second grade Handwriting Without Tears and very happy with that. Explode the Code 4 has him very fired up reading and writing lots of compound words right now. He also started spontaneously reading whole books. So Raizel did too! They both like to sit in the kitchen and read various Dick and Jane stories to me. Eli is very happy with his Hebrew too. He's overall just very enthusiastic about all of his learning.

•Raizel's most striking skill right now is her beautiful printing. She's using a 2nd grade book now too (Zaner-Bloser). Her fine-motor skills have always been excellent. She makes the daintiest, most intricate little drawings. Her writing really is better than both Eli's and Amirah's. Everything else is great - Hebrew, Writing With Ease (w/Eli), Explode the Code 2, grammar (1st grade), English reading, everything... She's a smart little cookie.

That's just a rough, hitting-the-highlights summary. Lots of blanks, but it's good for me to write it all down for my own memory.


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Wow - everybody is making such incredible progress. Yay; what a great start to the week!!!

Yael Aldrich said...

Can you tell me about the cheese/yogurt supplies -- I may need them soon...

TYin Advance

alpidarkomama said...

It's all at thecheesemaker.com. I've also used dairyconnection.com. Both great resources!! :)