Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rolling out and cutting Gingerbread Houses

top photo: Miss A with the favored rolling pin. It's obviously so much better than the rest. :-)

I'm so glad I had a rolling pin per child. Of course, one was favored over the rest, but we only had minor complaints. And you thought she was too cute to complain!

Cutting out the gingerbread shapes. By the way, 7 year olds will have crooked shapes regardless of how many templates, rulers, pointers, and knives you give them.

See, I can cut straight. And, I used a toothpick to label my parts. After this I realized that was probably a waste of time considering that there are only 3 parts. Oh well.

Tomorrow we will make the royal icing and do some division and word problems while we sort out the candy and decorate our mini-gingerbread village.

More photos soon,
Mrs. P

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread Houses for Math

Today we are making gingerbread houses for math class. We will talk about shapes, divide and group candies, measure walls and ingredients in the dough and icing. We'll also get to work with temperature as we bake the pieces. The kids are looking forward to this yummy math lesson. We'll post pictures after we finish our creations.

Here is the pattern we are using so each child can make their own house.

Here is the recipe we are using. It is for a gingerbread house that you can eat. You could use salt dough, graham crackers, or even cardboard if you don't want to eat them.

Loreta’s Favorite Gingerbread Dough

February 20 2008 at 9:43 PM

Loreta Wilson (Premier Login Gingerbread)
Forum Owner

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cups molasses
2 eggs, beaten

In large saucepan, melt shortening on stove over low heat. While shortening is melting, in a separate bowl stir together flour, salt and spices (if using for cookies, add 1 tsp. baking soda). When shortening is half melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted. Add sugar, molasses and beaten eggs. Mix well and quickly (to prevent eggs from cooking). Add molasses mixture to flour mixture. Mix well. Dough will be soft. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to handle.

When dough is firm enough to handle, remove from refrigerator and let sit until room temperature (about an hour). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To prevent aluminum foil from slipping, wipe counter with wet sponge then smooth aluminum foil over damp counter. This will prevent the foil from slipping while dough is being rolled out.

Working with a small handful of dough (about the size of a baseball), roll dough onto aluminum foil that has been sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle dough with flour to prevent dough from sticking to rolling-pin.

Roll dough to about 1/8” thickness. Place gingerbread house pattern pieces onto dough and cut-out dough pieces (don't forget to cut out windows). A pizza cutter works great for cutting out walls and roof sections. Remove excess dough pieces. Lift entire piece of foil and place on large cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet in oven. Check frequently to prevent burning. Bake until golden brown. Large pieces may bake as long as 14 minutes. Smaller pieces might take 6 – 7 minutes. Unused dough may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (bring to room temperature and knead briefly to use again). To prevent from sagging, I bake my roof sections until dark brown, almost burnt.

When dough pieces are done baking, remove baking sheet from oven. Quickly lift foil from baking sheet and place on a flat area for gingerbread pieces to cool. If pieces have distorted while baking, while still warm, run knife or pizza cutter along sides of walls/roof sections to create a straight edge. If pieces have curled up during baking, while still warm, gently push edges down to lay flat.

With gingerbread pieces still on the foil, let cool overnight. Next day – gently peel foil off of gingerbread pieces. You are now ready to assemble, or add windows!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas tree advent calendar

My older daughter is making a Christmas tree advent calendar. The pattern for the tree is here.
Instructions are here. I know it's a bit late, but she was sick all last week so we are trying to catch up on all the school she missed.

North Pole Freebies

The children are enjoying a little break from our usual curriculum and school work. We are still working on the skills needed but with a Christmas theme. This website has a number of worksheets with a Christmas theme. They are perfect for my preschooler and 1st grade son. I did google 5th grade Christmas lesson plans and found some Christmas word problems for her to practice. Somehow changing up the work just a little has made the school work more fun.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Helper Freebie

You can get a Charlotte Mason Christmas mini-unit free from Living Books Curriculum. It includes copywork, picture study, and yummy recipes. Just look on the home page for the presents on the left side of the screen. You will enter your email address and then it will take you to the free Christmas Helper. I started using this curriculum after listening to the authors on a Charlotte Mason online seminar. It was such a good seminar that I ordered one of the specials they offered. We are studying middle ages and I also purchased her unit for the Apologia Astronomy text. We will work on that in the spring. I have sick kids this week so I'm putting together all of my Christmas lesson plans. This freebie came in my email box today and it was just perfect so I wanted to share it for any other Charlotte Mason Home schoolers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

William Blake

From Wikipedia....

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake's work is now considered seminal in the history of both poetry and the visual arts. Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language".[1] His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced".[2] Although he only once travelled any farther than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life,[3] his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God",[4] or "Human existence itself".[5]

Considered mad for his idiosyncratic views by contemporaries, later criticism regards Blake highly for his expressiveness and creativity, as well as the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of both the Romantic movement and "Pre-Romantic",[6] for its largely having appeared in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions,[7] as well as by such thinkers as Jacob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg.[8]

Despite these known influences, the originality and singularity of Blake's work make him difficult to classify. The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary,"[9] and "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors."[10]

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Cross in the Mountains

This is the first portrait that we are looking at of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). He was a German Romantic painter. Here is what I read about him from CGFA.

He began to paint in oils in 1807; one of his first canvases, The Cross in the Mountains (1807?, Staatliche Kunstsamm-lungen, Dresden), is representative of his mature style. A bold break from traditional religious painting, this work is almost pure landscape; the figure of the crucified Christ, seen from behind and silhouetted against a mountain sunset, is almost lost in the natural setting. According to Friedrich's own writings, all the elements in the composition have symbolic meanings. The mountains are allegories of faith; the rays of the setting sun symbolize the end of the pre-Christian world; and the fir trees stand for hope. Friedrich's cold, acid colors, clear lighting, and sharp contours heighten the feeling of melancholy, isolation, and human powerlessness against the ominous forces of nature expressed in his paintings. As a faculty member of the Dresden Academy, Friedrich influenced later German romantic painters. Although his reputation declined after his death, 20th-century viewers are fascinated by his imagery.

Building Character in Young Girls

"Each decision made for good, each temptation resisted, each mean thought overcome with a kind one, each stubborn feeling quenched...is a brick added to the building of GOOD CHARACTER."

from A Girl Of Beauty by Carol Fiddler

A Girl of Beauty is a lovely book that I was introduced to one year when I helped to plan a Mother-Daughter Retreat. Our theme that year was building character in young girls. I got the book then, but had forgotten it on a lonely school shelf. Last night, I remembered it and dusted it off. The chapters are titled below. Each chapter is short and to the point followed by a few questions. The chapters are based on scriptures from the Bible and give an easy addition of memory work with the weekly reading. This week, for instance, we will read the chapter on Character Building. The verse that she will memorize is Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is more desirable than great riches." I'm looking forward to character development of my own in addition to helping my daughter become a girl of beauty.

  1. Character Building
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Obedience
  4. Sunshine-Makers
  5. Sincerity
  6. Careful Words
  7. Keeping Confidences
  8. Ideals
  9. Ambition
  10. A Sense of Purpose
  11. Service
  12. Personal Presentation
  13. Courtesy and Respect
  14. Loyalty
  15. Competition
  16. Disappointments
  17. Meditation
  18. Contentment
  19. Besetting Faults

Monday, October 27, 2008

Documenting the Journey

I'm a former teacher educating my own three children at our farm in the country. The children love living out in the country and I find that it is quite suitable for home schooling. My children are in preschool, 1st grade, and 5th grade. Miss A is the oldest, Mr. C the middle and Miss J the youngest. Each as different as night and day. Each challenging in their own right. Each a joy and blessing to our family. As we journey through school, I find that I often wish I had one place to organize all that we do. My hope is that this blog will journal their walk through school as they learn to read, learn about the world around them, and learn more about their Savior. Sort of a scrap book that can't get torn up, spilled upon, or eaten by our lovely dog, Sally.

Enjoying the journey,
Mrs. P