Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thrift Shops and Learning Resources

Since we follow a 12 week on and 4 week off schedule we will be out of school through December. However, I have learned over the years that when the boys aren't working on anything that long that isn't constructive for the mind - the mind tends to slow down in its function. Miss Mason was on target when she tells us that a child needs Something to Love, Something to Do, Something to Think About. With this information on the back burner of my memory I began searching for something that I thought the boys would like to do but still be learning. But I kept drawing a blank. Then I made a trip to the thrift shop with my mother and Edmond (our oldest son). Edmond and and I searched the shelves of games and toys for educational treasures and BINGO!!! Here's what we came up with.

 A complete 1979 Science Fair Kit - 150 in 1 Electronic Project Kit for $2.49. What a deal - did anyone see me dancing in the aisle? The boys have seen these in homeschooling catalogs for $50 and up so it was always out of our reach. So this is a real treasure for them.

We also found a Science Fair AM Short Wave Radio Kit for $1.49. I'll read to them from the Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia on Electricity and Circuits and we'll check out the links for more information as we move through the holiday season. A very relaxed schedule for Wildwood Academy and they don't even know it!

I found a wonderful Curious George Paint Set for $1.49 and My First Book of Time with large fold-out clock for $1.00 for Joseph. The paint set was perfect timing since he's in his "George stage" and we are reading through The Complete Adventures of Curious George.

Last year about this time hubby and I found at the same thrift shop a Thames & Kosmos Chem C1000 Kit for $4.98 (retails for $89),Thames & Kosmos Elementary Microscope Set for $11.49 (retails for $100) and a new copy with dust jacket of The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay. Both of the kits were never used - still in shrink wrap so they were used for Christmas presents. We have truly been blessed in finding wonderful items for our homeschooling life at this thrift shop over the years.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Persimmon Bread

Don't you just love the glory of autumn's bounty! Here is a recipe I ran across in an old book off my shelf by Rodale Press named Have a Natural Christmas 1980 that we are itching to get at. I'v added vegan alternatives.
Persimmon Bread
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses or agave nectar
2 eggs, beaten (can replace with tofu, banana or applesauce to equal 2 eggs)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup persimmon pulp**
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we'll use walnuts)
1/2 cup raisins, lightly floured (we'll use golden)

Mix the first three ingredients, then stir in remaining ingredients. Bake in two 8x4-inch well oiled bread pans. Bake for 1 hour at 300F. Makes two loaves.

Okay, the boys and I are awful about making muffins and loving them. So as with every quick bread recipe we get - we'll be using the well oiled muffin tin instead of a loaf pan.

**Choose ripe soft persimmons when purchasing them. Simply wash them and run them through a food mill to remove the seeds. The resulting puree can be used immediately or frozen in small batches (8-ounce yogurt containers work well here) and store for future use.
How we're off to the farmer market (Joseph's favorite place to go) today for some persimmons.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old Book

This is my latest read Hiawatha by Henry W. Longfellow - the full epic poem. I acquired it several years ago at from a thrift shop for a couple of dollars. I decided it was time to read it through. The book is showing its age,yet it is still in good condition. The copyright date is 1889.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autumn Dinner Menu

With the cooler weather and an itch for soup I searched the frig for autumn fruits and vegetables for this perfect seasonal recipe.

Winter Pear, Apple & Butternut Soup
(from Cooking By Moonlight)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, peeled, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, diced
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, chopped
2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 cups of vegetable broth
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup coconut milk

In a heavy bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion, and cook gently, stirring frequently until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, squash, pears, apples, curry powder and brown sugar, sauté for 10 minutes. Add the broth and season to taste with salt & black pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the squash and fruit are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree the soup carefully with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender). Return to the puree to the soup pot, and add the coconut milk. Gently warm the soup through, being careful not to boil. Serve with rye croutons. Serves 6

Rye Croutons
5 slices of German rye bread
Non-hydrogenised soy margarine
Spread the margarine on one side of the bread. Pop it into a hot broiler until crispy, then turnover and repeat with the other side. Remove from the broiler and cut into small squares.

Serve this with a fresh salad of mixed baby greens and the following brownies for desert. These are the best brownies ever and very rich – big time yummy!!

Wolfie’s Chocolatey Moist Brownies
(La Dolce Vegan! By Sarah Kramer)

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 12 ounce pkg. soft silken tofu
½ cup oil
½ cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175degrees C.) Lightly oil and 8x8 inch pan and set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking soda, slat, cocoa powder, and sugar and set aside. In a food processor blend together the tofu, oil, water, and vanilla. Add the walnuts and tofu mixture to the flour and mix together gently until “just mixed.” Pour evenly into the baking pan and sprinkle top evenly with chocolate chips. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into squares. Makes 6- 8 brownies. These can be frosted; however I have found these to stand alone on their own wonderfully.