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The Genial Hearth
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Archive for February, 2009

He Can Read!

As I mentioned last week, I came across this post a while ago… but had just a bit of uncertainty as to when would be appropriate… I’d happily describe Puggle as a reader, but he’s not an independent one. A bit of further feedback from Suzanne (on whose blog I read the idea) led me to the obvious idea of asking Puggle whether he could read:-) He said yes, so Paddington and I decided today was the day:-)

We headed out on the bus and the train to get ice-cream:-)

gelatoicecream

Puggle took great delight in telling a couple of people that we were getting ice-cream to celebrate the fact that he can read:-)

(When it’s Bilby’s turn, we may need to come up with something other than ice-cream! She preferred the water!)

Progress

Week 2, Block 2, Boronia Term

This has been a good week. We’ve not been especially well, but Puggle has been doing a lot of incidental reading, and lots of writing (copying all sorts of things:-) ). We’ve made progress on most of the reading, and I’ve borrowed the Beatrix Potter stories on CD from the library, which has helped save my voice a little:-)

Chicken Spaghetti

Some time ago, I came across Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti recipe. To make it easier to make, I’ve made a couple of changes:-)

chicken-spaghettiChicken Spaghetti
2 cups chicken, cooked (I use leftover roast chook)
2 cups stock, chicken
500 grams spaghetti, thin
(600 milliliters Cream of Mushroom soup, 2 cans [I replace this with 500 mililitres of milk and some flour, to turn the chicken stock into Cream of Chicken soup:-)])
1 onion
1 capsicum, green, diced
½ capsicum, red, diced
2 cups cheese, cheddar, grated
1 teaspoon seasoned salt,
dash of paprika, garlic, turmeric and onion powder, cayenne pepper
pepper
salt
(whatever other vegetables you want to include… I’ve added peas, broccoli, corn… but I figure you might as well try what you have:-) )
1 cup cheese, cheddar, grated (extra, for the top)

Warm the stock and the milk. Mix the flour with a bit of the milk until it thickens, and add it to the remainder of the milk. Mix with the stock in a large bowl. Dice the green capsicum, red capsicum and onion, and add to the bowl. Add the grated cheese and the salt and spices, as well as any other vegetables you’re choosing to include.
Put on water to cook the spaghetti (you can add some chicken stock powder if you like), break the thin spaghetti into pieces and cook it.
Allow the spaghetti to cook for several minutes, until very al dente… don’t overcook the spaghetti, it’s going to be cooked some more. When it’s cooked, add it to the bowl.
Stir thoroughly, then take a bite and check your seasonings. Add a little salt if needed, a little more pepper, and maybe a little more cayenne.
Tip into a casserole dish.
And top with an additional 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar.
Bake it at 180˚C for 35 to 45 minutes until hot & bubbly.

Food Post Friday

Friday: Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti (really must post this recipe, I’ve made a few changes to localise it:-) )
Saturday: Going out to dinner!
Sunday: Roast Beef with Roast Vegies (onion, butternut, peas and potatoes)… I might even try Yorkshire Pud—I keep meaning to.
Monday: Dinner with Granny and Grandpa
Tuesday: Sushi… California Rolls and Tuna Rolls
Wednesday: Dinner with Grandma and Grandad
Thursday: Hamburgers (homemade as usual, but I’m going to try my hand at these Hamburger Buns! Actually… I’m tempted to chase up some of the frankfurter things Mikey_ob had from his butcher, and do Hotdogs sometime, too:-) )

Summer Chickpea Salad

This is my absolute favourite salad:-) It tends to be the one I take anywhere a salad is required:-) It’s so simple, and it tastes fabulous!

summer-chickpea-saladSummer Chickpea Salad from Jamie’s Dinners

1 small onion, red, peeled and finely sliced (I have taken to grating it)
1 chilli, red, deseeded and finely chopped (I use chilli flakes to speed things up—and save myself from having to chop the chilli)
2 handful tomato, red or yellow, roughly chopped
1 handful sultanas
2 lemons, juiced
EVOO
410 grams chickpeas, tinned, drained
1 handful basil, fresh, coarsely chopped
1 handful mint, fresh, coarsely chopped
200 grams feta, crumbled
salt
pepper

Mix the tomatoes in with the onion and chillies. Scrape all of this, the juice and the sultanas into a bowl and dress with the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and about 3 times as much EVOO. Season to taste. Heat the chickpeas in a pan (I don’t usually worry about this) and add 90% of them to the bowl. Mush up the remaining chickpeas and add these as well—they will give a nice creamy consistency. Allow to marinate for a little while and serve at room temperature.

Just as you’re ready to serve, give the salad a final dress with the fresh mint and basil. Taste one last time for seasoning—you may want to add the juice from your remaining lemon half at this point. Place on a nice serving dish and crumble over the feta cheese.

This Week

Our plans for
Week 2, Block 2, Boronia Term

Puggle
Chapter 2 ‘Making Friends’ from Song School Latin by Amy Rehn
‘Ares’, ‘Poseidon’ from The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus Aliki
‘The Goose and the Golden Egg’, ‘The Spendthrift and the Swallow’ from Aesop’s Fables for Children Illustrated by Milo Winter
The House at Pooh Corner A. A. Milne
‘The Clever Cat’ from The Orange Fairy Book Andrew Lang
‘The Duck and the Kangaroo’ p64 The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense Edward Lear
Copywork: Name, ‘a’, ‘c’

Bilby
‘Mealtime’ from European Word Book Richard Scarry
‘Rain On the Green Grass’, ‘Warm Hands, Warm’ from My Very First Mother Goose Iona Opie
‘Travel’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Story of Pretty Goldilocks’ from The Blue Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny Beatrix Potter
La Chenille Qui Fait Des Trous by Eric Carle

Everyone
ba-la ovis
Tam gratia est; Benigne (no, thankyou)
Il Etait un Petit Navire
Regarde!(Look)
Folksong: The Gallant Hussar
Composer: Johannes Sebastian Bach
Work: Air on a G String, Ave Maria
Artist: Sandro Botticelli
Work: Madonna of the Magnificat
Music: Fast/Slow (p. 22 The Kodaly Method I)
Bye, Lo; Baby-O
Art: Watercolour
Colour Blends (Yellow/Blue) (p. 49 The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas)
‘Archipelago’, ‘Atoll’ from Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton (basically, we’ll look at the book, and I have a pile of line drawings for Puggle to colour in… although this is an ‘everyone’ topic, realistically, we’ll probably do it while Bilby naps in the afternoon)
Recorder

Progress

Week 1, Block 2, Boronia Term
Both children have definitely got into the rhythm of Mat Time. Bilby loves to come over and have the French picture book, the poem, the nursery rhymes and the songs—and she is pretty keen on recorder as well. (I haven’t really been worrying about the longer texts so far.)
Puggle is very excited by his new Latin book:-) But he’s also really keen to hear the various stories (Aesop’s is still a great love). He’s taken to getting quite motivated with copywork as well, and he’s become really enthusiastic about colouring in—and paying attention to the lines, so how he colours in.
He still hasn’t really attacked the Phonics Readers this year, but he is reading a lot of environmental text. I’ve been leaving him a note on a number of mornings, and he pretty much reads them unassisted. I came across this post some time ago… and I like the idea—I’m just trying to decide what ‘reading’ actually looks like:-)

Food Post Friday

Friday: Fish and Chips at the Park:-)
Saturday: Friend’s birthday dinner
Sunday: Roast Chicken and Roast Vegies
Monday: Dinner with Granny and Grandpa (make Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti with the leftover chicken for the freezer)
Tuesday: Pancakes🙂
Wednesday: Dinner with Grandma and Grandad
Thursday: Chops and Summer Chickpea Salad

RIP Kabuki

kabuki
Sadly, he’d not been himself for a while… tonight he came home as we did, went into the laundry and died. I am so glad he came home to us, rather than finding a bush somewhere. Puggle is finding it all very difficult:-( He was the one who found him lying in the laundry and called me, so we were all there as he died. Puggle keeps telling us that he wants him to still be alive:-(

I had him since he was a kitten, fourteen and a half years. He loved being around people (although, not large numbers of them), and was so lovely with the children—most of the photos we have of him since their arrival include them… Puggle reading to him, Bilby grinning delightedly as she stood up next to the chair he was on, Cygnet sleeping on the couch with Kabuki reaching out a paw to touch his foot… He was a bit of a ditz, but he was part of our family.

Tomorrow, we will bury him and plant a tree on top.

We will miss him:-(

This Week

Our plans for
Week 1, Block 2, Boronia Term

Puggle
Chapter 1 ‘Greeting Words’ from Song School Latin by Amy Rehn
‘Eros’ from The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus Aliki
‘The Farmer and His Sons’, ‘The Two Pots’ from Aesop’s Fables for Children Illustrated by Milo Winter
The House at Pooh Corner A. A. Milne
‘The Enchanted Wreath’ from The Orange Fairy Book Andrew Lang
‘The Duck and the Kangaroo’ p64 The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense Edward Lear

Bilby
‘At The Supermarket’ from European Word Book Richard Scarry
‘To Market, To Market’, ‘Wash the Dishes’ from My Very First Mother Goose Iona Opie
‘Foreign Lands’ from A Child’s Garden of Verses Robert L. Stevenson
‘The Master Cat’ from The Blue Fairy Book Andrew Lang
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny Beatrix Potter
La Chenille Qui Fait Des Trous by Eric Carle

Everyone
ba-la ovis
Tam gratia est; Benigne (no, thankyou)
Il Etait un Petit Navire
Regarde!(Look)
Folksong: The Gallant Hussar
Composer: Johannes Sebastian Bach
Work: Air on a G String, Ave Maria
Artist: Sandro Botticelli
Work: Madonna of the Magnificat
Music: Fast/Slow (p. 22 The Kodaly Method I)
Hush Little Baby
Art: Watercolour
Colour Blends (Red/Yellow) (p. 49 The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas)
Recorder

Valentine’s Food

Valentine’s Day isn’t (and hasn’t ever been) really a thing we do. Since my highschool days however, it’s become ubiquitous. So to mark the occasion, I figured we’d focus on people we love—and lots of red stuff:-)

So, family, and food as red as we can manage:-)

Breakfast
double-yolk (Egyptian Eyes, with heart-shaped cutouts… mine was a double-yolker!)

Lunch
bruschetta

Dinner (with stemmed glasses, placemats, and new napkin rings)
red-saladchilli-chicken Red Salad (with added beets and red cabbage) and Chilli Chicken (with a bag of dried chillies, instead of only 10)
pancakes Heart shaped Pancakes with Berry Coulis

After dinner, we watched some of The Muppet Show with the kids. They loved it (although, they weren’t especially impressed with the guest bits…):-)

We finished off the evening with this fudge (although, I used butter and honey as replacements). It was alright for something quick and easy… but not particularly fudge-like.
fudge

Mmmm….

rhubarb-champagne
Rhubarb Champagne!

I have never liked rhubarb! But, oh my! I’m going to grow some now!

Food Post Friday

Friday: Bacon and Eggs
Saturday: Chilli Chicken (which is not actually what I was planning on doing, but I can’t for the life of me find the recipe I actually used:-( ), Red Salad (based on this one), Pancakes with Berry Coulis
Sunday: Roast Lamb, Roast Vegies
Monday: Dinner with Granny and Grandpa
Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie (I always use any leftover roast vegies in the bottom, and I’ve taken to mixing some peas and corn or chopped carrots in the potato layer)
Wednesday: Dinner with Grandma and Grandad
Thursday: Sausages and Coleslaw

Mmm… Ice-Cream!

ice-cream-smashice-creamTowards the end of last year, our Home Schooling Co-op began experimenting with a science session as the activity for the older kids. Last week, they were introduced to states of matter, and got to play with ice. They were sent home with the instructions for making Ice Cream using salt to ‘super-freeze’ the ice.

I have previously come across the idea of Coffee Can Ice-Cream, but haven’t yet had a go… this was a similar idea, except using ziplock bags.

Into a small ziplock bag, we put 1/2 cup of milk, 2 dessertspoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract. Puggle was really keen to make chocolate ice-cream, so into his we also added a good shake of drinking chocolate mixed with a little water. The bags were sealed, and mixed well. In a larger bag, we put a good lot of salt with as much crushed ice as we could fit (leaving room for the little bags) and mixed them around a bit. Then we sat the little bags inside, sealed the big bags, and the kids began squishing:-)

ice-cream-eatingThey quite enjoyed the process, although, Bilby in particular found it too cold to do consistently. It only took about 8 minutes to be recognisably ice-cream:-) It was really delicious—not too sweet, even Bilby was happy to eat it! They were both silent while they ate… which almost never happens!

I think we’ll definitely do this again:-) But I think I might combine the two methods… put the ingredients in a small ziplock bag, but use a large tin for the outer container. I think the two of them would get on better with the kicking the can:-)

I was even considering doing this for a wine dinner, the next time we’re on dessert. Give everyone a ziplock bag with the basic ingredients, and have a selection of flavourings that they can add as they choose. Stick them all in the tin with ice and salt, and kick it around—at that time of the evening, it could well be amusing:-)

Adventures in Tandem Nursing

A couple of weeks before Cygnet was born, it suddenly struck me that Bilby would still be nursing… (I had never intended to wean her, she was still less than two—too young for me to be prepared to wean her… but I’d always anticipated that she would self-wean). It occurred to me that I might need to do some preparing!

So I asked a couple of friends (being in the fortunate position of knowing a couple of people who have/do tandem feed) for advice. Specifically, I was after suggestions for preparing Bilby, and also ideas about the logistics of it… Nursing a toddler (with their long legs!) can already be a challenge adding a baby…

One of them (as well as answering my questions) lent me a book.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond was a really helpful read! I wished that I had got hold of it when I was pregnant with Bilby herself! I’d ended up weaning Puggle, and angsted about it quite a bit—I probably would have made the same decision after having read this book, but I suspect I would have felt more at ease about it.

It gave me lots of useful information… both about feeding while pregnant, and what I might expect once Cygnet actually arrived (breastfed toddler poo!). There was a good mix of ‘technical’ information and personal stories, and a fabulous collection of photos. I hadn’t considered how Puggle might view things… but that was no problem—he caught sight of one particular photo and started telling me how I would need to hold Bilby and the baby to nurse them:-)

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently nursing and might be expecting another baby—or might be considering getting pregnant! I wouldn’t wait until the tail end of the pregnancy… tandem nursing starts before then!

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