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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for November, 2007


Last night, Bilby clapped for the first time! A single connection of her hands.

Today, she’s been a clapping fiend:-) Although, she does miss about a third of the time still… but she is starting to string them together.

And then, she got up on the couch all by herself (well, aside from the use of a stool)!


Puggle had some sort of bug this week. If I hadn’t been so exhausted from lack of sleep (thanks to all those midnight loads of washing!) we would have done a lot more. As it was, we went over the things on the TV cabinet. So ‘Agricola habet fundum’ (Old MacDonald Had a Farm, on the Latin Songs page) was a frequent chorus:-) We didn’t do much reading at all (aside from the books in the basket beside the couch).

This is in fact, the end of our ‘formal’ year. We’re about to have break week, and there is another block to follow… but that’s designed as mostly Christmas preparation. So this is it! I’ll probably post separately reflecting on the year, although, I might wait until we’re into that block first.

Apple Pie

I don’t have a photo at the moment, we can’t think of taking a photo of this when it comes out, because it smells so good! I think it probably tastes better with the lemon in either the crust or the filling, rather than in both. I really like the combination of cooking and eating apples in the filling. This is one I’ve made again and again…

Apple Pie from Jamie’s Dinners

225 grams flour
140 grams butter
85 gramscaster sugar
grated rind 1 lemon
2 egg yolks

small knob of butter
1 large cooking apple
4 eating apples
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
handful of sultanas
egg yolk mixed with a splash of milk

Preheat the oven to 150˚C. To make the pastry, rub the butter through the sugar, flour and lemon zest. Then add the egg yolk and a tiny drop of water to bind the mix together. Butter a 20cm pie dish.
Divide your pastry dough into two and roll half of it out on a flour-dusted surface until 1/2 cm  thick. Lay the pastry in the metal dish and gently push it down into the sides. Don’t worry if it tears or breaks – just patch it up – as it will look nice and rustic! Pop the pie dish and the remaining half of your pastry into the fridge while you peel your apples. Quarter the cooking apple and cut the eating apples into eighths. Toss the apples in a small pan with the sugar, lemon zest, ginger, sultanas and a tablespoon of water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the apples are just tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Remove the pie dish and pastry from the fridge and pack the apple mix tightly into the pie dish. Egg-wash the pastry rim and then roll out the other half of the dough. Drape this over the top of the pie and roughly pinch the edges together using your finger and thumb and trim any excess pastry. Egg-wash the top, make a couple of small incisions and bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Spoon out the portions of apple pie and serve with some custard.

Raspberry Cream Pie

I keep meaning to post this recipe. I made it for mum’s birthday (she’s a big raspberry fan:-) ) but it’s really a summer food. The cream bit is just a bit weird, but it tasted pretty good!

Raspberry Cream Pie from Australian Gourmet Traveller, January 2007

Raspberry Cream Pie420 grams plain flour
300 grams cold butter, coarsely chopped
80 grams caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons iced water

600 grams raspberries
125 grams caster sugar
1 egg, separated
55 grams raw sugar
150 mls pouring cream

Process the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and water and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Divide into two pieces (1/3 and 2/3), form into rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out the larger piece on to a floured surface until around 5 millimetres thick and use it to line an 18 centimetre ceramic pie dish (we used metal). Refrigerate for a further half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Put the raspberries in the pastry-lined dish and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Roll out the other piece of pastry until it is large enough to cover the pie. Place on the top, pressing edges to seal. Make a 1 centimetre hole in the centre. Brush with eggwhite and scatter with raw sugar.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
Warm the pouring cream in a saucepan over low heat, add the egg yolk and whisk to combine. Use a funnel and pour the cream into the pie until full (it didn’t use as much as I might have thought, and I’m not sure wasn’t sure what to do with the rest—but I guess you could just add a little sugar and make some custard). Return pie to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm with ice-cream or double cream.

Who Are You All?

I signed up for Feedburner because it would allow me to add an email subscription option to the blog—and some of you are making use of it:-) But what I’ve ended up finding most interesting is the ease of it’s statcounter:-)

It’s been a little over a month since I started “officially” blogging here. Things have settled a bit, I think most people who wanted to have managed to subscribe to some sort of feed. Aside from the flurry of visitors for the Toymaking Fair, the numbers are steady, and the flags are reasonably regular.

But I am noticing that I have no idea who most of the people viewing are! The Australian visitors are mostly from around Perth, so I figure you guys I know (although, Camberwell has me puzzled!)… and there are some coming from LJ friends pages… so I am guessing who they are… but I have no idea who’s visiting from the US or the UK! (There aren’t a huge number of searches… and most of the visitors are apparently not one time only.)Delurk

So I’m wondering who you all are?

Imagine we’ve reached De-Lurkers Day (hmmm… looks like it was either at the beginning of October or early in January) and say “Hi!”


Paddington’s mum brought dinner over, because we had been supposed to go there, but didn’t because Puggle was still ill. She told Paddington, and he told me, and Puggle overheard what was for dinner.

He was very taken with the notion of Roast Butterfly! (Really it was a butterflied leg of lamb:-) )

More Progress

This morning Bilby was on our bed. I had got up, and was getting my glasses and gathering my clothes while watching her. She crawled across the bed (away from me), keeping on looking at me grinning. Just as she got close to the edge (me poised to leap for her:-) ) she turned around, and got down backwards! (I did end up helping her, it’s a bit taller than she is…)

The last two or three days we’ve been seeing some definite fits of temper! Normally, if she’s not been ready for bed, she’ll cry and roll over and sit up. The last couple of days, she’s decided she doesn’t <i>want</i> to go to bed and will start arching her back and kicking… She’s really quite strong!

We  measured them both against the kitchenette this week… Bilby is 71 cms and Puggle is 101 cms—he passed a metre and we didn’t realise!

Carnival Time Again

CM carnival logoCarnival of HomeschoolingOnce again the carnivals are here, and it’s approaching Thanksgiving in the US, so there are two thankful carnivals.
Our Journey Westward is hosting the Charlotte Mason Carnival. I found the post on the Book of Centuries was quite interesting.
The Carnival of Homeschooling is being hosted by Nerd Mom. Once again, it’s jam-packed!

The Toymaking Fair is Here!

Toy Making Fair
Welcome to the Fair!

Christmas is getting closer, and I’ve already put some orders in! Puggle will be finding one of my Dad’s spinning tops in his stocking this year! (My mum made this Teddy Bear for Bilby’s first birthday just recently:-) ) I had been hoping to persuade Dad to try his hand at a train set, but I think that Puggle will just have to satisfy himself with the rocking-horse, Willow. (I’ve been trying to persuade my parents to start blogging, so please say ‘hi’ if you stop by:-) )

Other children have also been treated to hand-made toys. Here is a delightful Toy Kitchen made especially for a grandson. This clever cardboard kitchen was made by one mum, and these parents turned this
TV cabinet into a kitchen! (I know kitchens have been on a few people’s minds!) If you need a tea-set to go with a toy kitchen? Check out about halfway down this page, for the cute knitted tea set! (You will have to register at Knitting Daily, but it is one of their free downloads.) There are a lot more knitted toys (Harry Potter characters, anyone?) at Craftzine.

Amy, at Angry Chicken, has made a number of fairy items just recently, Wings, and a Musical and Magic Wand. I’m sure that most fairies would love to play with some of these playsilks—dyed at home, with Kool-Aid!

Amy has also made some delightful Peg dolls, with their own carry case. Also delightful are these St Lucia Dolls made by Alicia.

If you’re looking for ideas for Toys for Babies or Toddlers, hopefully these links will provide some inspiration.

And finally, the Toymaker has a lot of paper toys—just make sure your printer has plenty of ink!

Hand-made toys are the stuff of memories. Perhaps you might include some references to some in a (home-made, of course!) Family Memory Game

Thanks for stopping by—I hope you’ve found plenty to inspire! You have one final opportunity before Christmas, to share your homemade toys in the Fair! Visit Colleen at Footprints on the Fridge for details.

Montessori Monday—Number Rods

Number RodsLike the Red Rods, these sat partially done for some time.

I made them at the same time as the Red Rods. I hadn’t meant to, but when I went to get the wood I couldn’t get five and a half metres exactly, so I figured I might as well get enough for both sets at once—and it was certainly just as easy to do two sets at the same time:-)

These are exactly the same as the Red Rods aside from the paint job. I started by painting them all red.Painting Rods Then it was just a matter of painting the ten centimetre blocks over in blue.

I think Puggle is actually about ready to start using these, but I’m glad I did both sets:-) I suspect I’d better get a move on with the accompanying number cards:-)
I’ll be using presentation information from here, as well as here and here.


Lanterns tableToday is Martinmas. There’s a tradition of making lanterns and going for a lantern walk. Well, thanks to daylight saving (:-() we won’t be going for a lantern walk… Puggle would never last until dark! But I thought we could make lanterns for the table (and then put them in the window after dinner). We also had wine (there’s a surprise:-) ) and nuts with dinner.

lantern windowThe lanterns were quite simple to make. I found empty glass jars with the lables removed. Then we took plain printer paper and cut it to the appropriate height (basically each page did two jars). Puggle and I used crayons to colour in every part of one side of the paper (colouring in heavily produced the best results).

We lay the paper, crayon side up, on some newspaper. Pour on a swish of oil and spread it over the whole page, then wipe up the excess. The paper will go translucent (and the faint crayon will disappear a bit:-( ). Attach your paper around the outside of the jars. I was a little worried that the oil would make the sticky-tape ineffective, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem—in fact, the oil makes the paper sort of stick to the jar.

I’m quite pleased with how these have turned out, possibly they would have been better with pencil, but I figured the crayon would give better coverage (Puggle ended up only doing most of one, because he had “run out of energy” by that stage). It’s definitely more effective to press firmly with the crayon!

This Week

Our plans for
Week 4, Block 9
‘My Treasures’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert L. Stevenson
‘Blockhead Hans’ from The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
The Fairy Caravan by Beatrix Potter
Folksong: Soldier, Soldier, Will You Marry Me?
Carol: The First Nowell
Composer: Richard Wagner
Work: selections from The Valkyries (It should be The Love Feast from the Apostles, but I’ve failed in sourcing it so far).
Artist: Titian
Work: The Three Ages of Man
Art Activity: Make a zebra ‘Z‘. Use plasticene.
Cooking: Dips and Dippers


Week 3, Block 9
We’re progressing nicely with ‘Ba-la Ovis‘ (Baa Baa Black Sheep) and ‘Soldier, Soldier‘. We didn’t get to particularly regular Mat Time, but we have sung and recited the pieces on the front of the TV cabinet often. I quite liked ‘My Kingdom‘, but I think Puggle doesn’t quite get it yet (although, he does ask me to recite it at least once a day):-) ‘Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes‘ is really quite cute:-) A nice mix of mostly familiar rhymes, with a couple of bizarre variations, and at least one that I’ve not heard before. (And blissfully short!)

Quite a bit of colouring in has been happening, and Puggle was stamping a bit in the latter part of the week. And of course, there was the plasticene🙂

And cooking! Much discussion of “Pikelet Parker!” (a friend’s baby, due any day… he’s very excited:-) ) prompted pikelet making… so we’ve done that a few times. He can get most of the ingredients (flour and sugar are currently too high for him) and with reminders can measure them all (except pouring the vinegar… needs a little help). He does the mixing (well almost all of it), but is still wary of anything to do with heat (understandably!). I need to set up the electric frypan, that’s why I got it, so we can cook at his height. See if that makes a difference. Last time we made them, he was all set to spoon the mixture into the pan—until I turned on the heat under the frying pan:-)

Pencils and Crayons

I have just bought some lovely Lyra pencils and some block crayons in preparation for next year.

I had also been thinking about getting some modelling beeswax… but I’ll wait on that until I get some input:-)

I’ve just started wondering about how the beeswax in the crayon will go over summer!

I’m addressing this to anyone in a mediterranean climate. How do the crayons (and moulding beeswax) go in your area? Do you need to do anything to keep them from melting? (I had all our pencils and crayons on tubs in a north facing window this winter and after one vaguely warm day I had to remove them because the crayons were soft and the colour was leeching!) Obviously I won’t be keeping them in the sunlight! But will I need to keep them in the fridge?


I finally gave Puggle some plasticene today!

He made yellow sausages that would make you sick—not because they’re poisonous, but because they have light in them, and glass (he clarified that they were pretend!)

Then he was making food… (for the people on the aeroplane.)
“One day I might go on an aeroplane! And Dada might show me where the washroom [I have no idea where he got that from! I guess we can blame Aunty B:-) ] is on the aeroplane so I’ll know if I need to wash my hands, if I get dirty hands. I might get dirty hands on the aeroplane. They might let you have nuts on the aeroplane!”
“And you can stay and look after my babies!”

He’s very into babies at the moment… he has four or five. One of them (a parrot) died last night but there’s another baby (also a parrot) in his thigh.

Later he was making the plasticene into an elephant’s trunk. He folded up a bit of it, and realised he’d made a mouth…
“This statue elephant has no manners, he opens and closes his mouth when he’s eating. (He’s just a pretend elephant.)”

He had a fabulous time playing with it (I was able to do my own thing beside him for more than an hour!), talking the whole time!

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