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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for March, 2008

This Week

Week 2 Block 3, Boronia Term

Introduce phonograms ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Minimus araneus compluvium ascendit (Incy Wincy Spider)
Non mater (No Mother)
J’ai des rubans sur mes souliers
Vite! (Quick!)

English Studies
The Wounded Lion‘ from The Pink Fairy Book Andrew Lang
Two Brothers‘ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Oak and the Reeds‘, ‘The Rat and the Elephant‘, ‘The Boys and the Frogs‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Market Square A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Black Velvet Band
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Work: Pictures at an Exhibition
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: The Mona Lisa
Music: Fast/Slow (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Lucy Locket
Art: Watercolour
Water Painting (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)

I’m Back!

I’ve found it hard to get caught up! I have a good half dozen posts to write, but what with getting back on top of email, and sorting out password issues, not to mention ‘real life’ distractions (we really will need to be able to fit the whole family in a car!), I haven’t got to them yet.

I do plan to put up this year’s Hot Cross Bun experience, as well as going back to fill in the gaps in the Planning and Progress posts… but other things may fall by the wayside:-(

But I’m back. I figured if I didn’t get on and start, it would just become even more difficult to get back to!


Week 1, Block 3, Boronia Term

Hmmm… not so much. It was a short week, after the Easter long weekend. And with computer recovery I’m only now getting things printed out. We have continued to sing and read (including some from his ‘school box’—I’m really appreciating having things in book form! I must get the song books finished…)

My Very Own Jedi

Puggle decided that two of the wickets we have (pink and blue) would make an excellent “Light-saver”, after watching Jedi Boot Camp at Swancon. He held them together as a staff weapon (we were sitting near that crowd, rather than the sword kind), and was stomping around “One, two, three, four, five!”


Carnival of Homeschooling

PHAT Mommy is hosting the 117th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival: The S word.

This Week

Week 1 Block 3, Boronia Term

Introduce phonograms ‘b’, ‘h’ (sandpaper letters and sand tray)
Minimus araneus compluvum ascendit (Incy Wincy Spider)
Ita mater (Yes Mother)
J’ai des rubans sur mes souliers
Vite! (Quick!)
English Studies
The Water of Life‘ from The Pink Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweeper‘ from The Complete Illustrated Stories Hans Christian Anderson
Narration: ‘The Frogs who Wished for a King‘, ‘The Owl and the Grasshopper‘, ‘The Wolf and His Shadow‘ from The Aesop for Children Ill. Milo Winter (He’s really a bit too young for Narration, so I’m mostly going to be keeping an ear out for re-tellings, or incorporation in play)
Recitation: Nursery Chairs A. A. Milne from When We Were Very Young

Art and Music
Folksong: The Black Velvet Band
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Work: Pictures at an Exhibition
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Work: The Mona Lisa
Music: Fast/Slow (The Kodály Method 1 Lois Choksy) Down Came Johnny
Art: Watercolour
Painting on Wet (Art Ideas Fiona Watts)


Break Week, Block 2, Boronia Term

We did do a lot of singing, and some cooking, but not a lot else:-( Have kind of kept going with all the music though, which has been good. Puggle’s started getting really regular in his enthusiasm for Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories. We’re now on the second book, Further Doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy (although, now that I look for it in Delicious Library, I think we may be reading the third—not that it makes much difference at all).

Carnivals Again

CM carnival logoCarnival of Homeschooling

Hearts and Trees is hosting the current Charlotte Mason Carnival, with beautiful photos of flowers from her own backyard.

Janice Campbell is hosting the 116th edition of the Homeschooling Carnival: Oh, the Things that You’ll Do!


I’m sorry for the unreadability of my blog at the moment… something in the set up is chewing up line breaks and paragraphs for any posts I write/edit:-( And I’m not used to putting a space in before I hit return… I will probably leave it until I’m ‘home’ on my own computer, I’m hoping changing where I blog will fix it up (the borrowed computer only has Safari, and I typically use Firefox to blog). I’m going to leave my sidebar alone and not update that just at the moment because I don’t want to risk that becoming too dense as well:-(

ETA Fixed (I think… If you notice any posts that still seem to be lacking breaks, please let me know!)

Sweet Potato Cloverleafs

I was looking through Bread for All Season last week, when I came across this recipe in the Autumn section. I was quite excited!

We’re in Autumn, and they seem appropriate for St Patrick’s Day! (How often does that happen? A seasonally appropriate food for a feast—in Australia!)

Today though, was the day that we had people around. (A surprising number arrived to craft… I had been thinking it would be very quiet.) So this morning I made them. I discovered some oddities with the recipe (I had already picked up that the maths didn’t make sense, it’ll make 12, but you should put it in 14 muffin pans?) On making it though, the quantity of flour didn’t work with the instructions. Fortunately, I’m reasonably confident with bread making, so the measurement was less important than the description—but it did cause me to pause:-(

Sweet Potato Cloverleafs from Bread for All Season
cloverleaf rolls 1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup cooked puréed or mashed sweet potato or yam (I used a white one, but I think a yellow/orange one would have been better)
Grated zest of one orange
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs
4 tablespoons (60 grams) butter, melted
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I used wholemeal)
2 1/4–2 1/2 cups plain flour (this ended up being about right)
melted butter for brushing (optional)

Sprinkle the yeast and maple syrup over the warm water, stir to dissolve and let stand till foamy. By the time I had assembled the remaining ingredients it was well and truly foaming!
Combine the sweet potato, orange zest, salt, nutmeg, eggs butter and wholemeal flour. Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of the plain flour. Beat until smooth and creamy (this would have been easier if I had mashed the potato better:-( ) Gradually add the remaining flour, half a cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed that just clears the sides of the bowl.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until satiny and elastic, adding only 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to prevent sticking. This should be a smooth dough (aside from the lumps of potato:-( ) Place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Divide each of these into 3, and each of these into 3. Form these portions into small balls (should be about walnut sized). There should be 36. Arrange three balls of dough in each of 12 lightly greased muffin cups. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C.

Bake in the pre-heated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the muffin cups immediately to cool.

(You can apparently brush the tops with melted butter after forming the rolls, cover loosely with 2 layers of plastic wrap [allowing for expansion] and refrigerate for between 2 and 24 hours. When you want to cook them, leave them at room temperature for 20 minutes while you pre-heat the oven.) I’ll be making these again, although not with white sweet potato. I’ll probably try an orange one, and I might well give it a go with butternut. I think it’s probably a good one to try for breakfast sometime:-)

(Edited to add the photo.)

This Week

Our plans for
Break Week, Block 2, Boronia Term

I have some plans for this week, mostly continuing to sing and making Hot Cross Buns. Other than that, we’ll see what pans out. Hopefully some art and more music making:-)

Manuscript Paper

We made more music today, and we’ve begun to work on acquiring a common répétoire:-)

We’ve been going through the songbooks we have from the ABC radio’s singing programme (while you’re there, you can search for a song and see if they’ve included it—much easier than scanning all the indexes:-) ), and have chosen about a dozen possibilities. Today we kind of ‘fiddled’ through them, and from that we’ve (I think!) chosen a couple to work on.

I’d like to attempt to learn them on both the violin and piano, which both present ‘problems’:-) I’m much more proficient at the violin, but I still am really only comfortable in the key of D (two sharps… fingers on the lines… I did Suzuki). So anything that is not in that key requires extra concentration—and that’s most of the songs we’ve chosen:-) Piano is different. I can pick out a melody line, but two hands is in no way intuitive. The books give a melody line and chords for guitar. I have no clue about chords, but I do have a chord finder. So I figured the best option is for me to write out the melody line and then detail the notes for the chords on the bass clef (of course, then I have to read the bass clef to play them, and my bass clef skills are rather lacking!)

To do that though, I needed manuscript paper. I thought I had some, but it had been used up years ago. Obviously the next idea was the web, and there were plenty of options:-) From plain staffs with nothing else, treble/bass/tenor clefs and piano staffs, and the one I ended up using. This allows you to select layout, number of staffs per page, which clefs, key signatures and time signatures and you can even include bar lines. When I know what I’m wanting to do, that all helps me to end up with a sheet of music I might have a hope of reading:-)

And the best bit… unlike most of the manuscript paper I’ve seen sold, because I’m printing it myself it’s A4, which means it fits nicely in those plastic loose leaf books, so it can be kept neatly and together:-) I’m printing the words out as well, to go opposite (I don’t like my chances of writing neatly enough as well as writing the notes clearly!) Given I don’t really want to investigate and experiment with software to do this (I’m figuring it will take us some time to work on any given song, so I’m only going to need to do about one song a month!), this is a solution I’m happy with:-)

(I also wanted to note this site, and this, which are set up for various ensembles. I haven’t got to it yet, but I’m still hoping that I’ll get to play with others, and these may be handy:-) )


Week 4, Block 2, Boronia Term

We actually got through most of our reading for the week! Sadly though, my reaction to reading at the moment is to fall asleep:-( So it was usually followed by Puggle playing with Lego (Bilby has gone back to morning naps again this week.) As a result we missed our Nature Walk again, although, Puggle did have a fabulous time experimenting with water colours:-) And I’ve mentioned elsewhere our musical involvement:-) Altogether, it’s been a pretty good week:-)


I’m kind of always on the lookout for more vegetarian recipes. Recently I have been looking through Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, and have found a few to try. We had this Ratatouille the other day, and Paddington, Bilby and I enjoyed it, Puggle not so much:-) Today my parents were over, so I offered them lunch. Dad decided he would have this as it didn’t have meat (it being Friday)—and he ate with actual signs of enjoyment:-) (He’s not at all into vegetarian stuff really:-) ) He had to share some with Bilby, who in spite of the fact that she is really a meat girl (she will polish off as much meat as we will give her!), thinks that this is fabulous! So, I’m guessing it’s a keeper:-)

Ratatouille from Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
Serves 6
750 grams eggplant (skin on, cubed)
cooking salt
3 small zucchini (skin on, cubed)
2 capsicums (red or green, seeded and sliced)
3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 large onions (finely chopped)
4 large, ripe tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sprinkle the eggplant and zucchini cubes with a little salt and set aside in a colander for about an hour. Press out and discard the liquid drawn out by the salt (I did this using paper towel, and I did wonder what the non-paper alternative would be? Tea towels?) Heat the olive oil, and gently cook the onions and garlic until they are soft but not brown. Add the eggplant, zucchini and capsicums. Cook over a low heat for half an hour (I see now I was supposed to cover it, but it worked fine). Add the tomatoes, coriander, basil and salt and pepper (I went very easy on the salt, because I wasn’t sure how much would remain on the vegetables, but I could safely have added more). Cook for another half an hour or so. Vegetables should be very tender. It suggest serving with Middle Eastern or crusty French bread. Sadly, although I pre-read the recipe, I missed this, so we had it without. It would definitely make it a more ‘complete’ meal though. She also suggests putting the cooked meal in an oven proof dish, making hollows in the top and breaking in an egg for each person before baking at 180˚C until the eggs are cooked.

I’ll definitely be remembering the bread (and I think I’ve seen a version with chickpeas included that might also be a nice alternative?), but otherwise this will become somewhat regular as it is:-)


Who knew?!

The things you find on the web.

California has The Vampire Slayer Act of 2006! So cool:-)

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