Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strawberry Season!

Today I baked the first strawberry goodie of the season--Strawberry Almond Bread.

The proportions are a little weird because I used a slightly larger pan than I should have, but it came out perfectly.


1 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp banking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c sugar
10 oz fresh strawberries, cut into chunks
2 eggs
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/2 c cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, and then in a separate bowl, mix the liquid ingredients.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and stir until mixed (don't mix too much, because you don't want to pulverize the strawberries).  Pour it into a greased and floured pan, and bake at 350 F for one hour.  Let it cool in pan for ten minutes, then remove from pan.

Hope you enjoy!

I alway like farm fresh local strawberries SO much more than the ones from the grocery store.  The ones from the store are big, have no flavor to speak of (other than some sourness), and never ripen properly.  They are also more acidic and make my mouth prickle.  Local strawberries are smaller but have real strawberry flavor, are a pretty red color, and don't make my mouth hurt!  If you are in New England, this is peak strawberry season.  Look around for a farm near you.  Often you can pick your own berries, and even if you can't, just the difference in quality of the fruit will make it well worth the trip.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Overcoming obstacles...

For my new readers: This is my blog about home and hearth, where I discuss family, homeschooling, simple living, special needs, and anything else that pertains to my day to day life.

It has been SO long since I've posted on here.  Things have been nuts.  The good news is that maybe things will slowly start to settle down now that I have acknowledged the nuttiness.  But there are no guarantees!

I noticed over a month ago that the Chief has not been himself for a long time.  He so anxious about everything and it affects everything, even things that he should enjoy.  He gets so worked up over things that he gets into a panic.  So if he wants to play with his friends, in his mind ahead of time he starts making a plan so that he can have the optimum amount of fun.  Of course, when he gets together with them, things don't work out the way they played out in his head.  So he panics instead of enjoying things as they happen.  When we go in the car, he gets so worked up over going "somewhere fun" that even when we do go somewhere fun, he can't enjoy it because he's exhausted himself worrying over it.

A moment of Spring
I've been brainstorming these past few weeks to figure out what we can do to help this situation, and I've decided that the word of the summer around our home is going to be Nurturance.  We're going to take a step back, and focus on family, and togetherness, and security.  Rather than pushing rigid academics, we are going to back to doing some work with Five in a Row, revisiting some of the books we've enjoyed over the years.  I've always found that Five in a Row presents information in such a way that it sticks in the mind, yet it doesn't feel like work.  The Chief will be doing the activities in the manual as well as doing some extra work, in order to "beef" things up a bit.  He'll be doing a report every week on something inspired by that week's book.  We'll be reading extra books about the topics presented that week, and do some additional map work, science experiments, and cultural studies.

Another thing we'll be doing: an Adventure Box.  I'm not sure who first came up with this idea, but I heard of it from Heather W over at Blog She Wrote.  The Chief is fascinated with early New England life, especially with industry and mills.  So his adventure box is full of goodies we got from places like Old Sturbridge Village: different crafts and books and projects, a fife, and cut out models to make of early New England buildings.  This will be taken out during "exploration time" (which might be renamed "adventure time") after lunch.  We'll also be doing some more field trips pertaining to this adventure, to places like Lowell, Ma, and Pawtucket, RI to see old mills.  There is so much stuff around here, I'm sure we could do even a field trip every week and still not run out of things to see pertaining to textiles and early America.

Spinning wheel at Old Sturbridge Village

One more thing I am trying: during the day, I will be focusing more on "home" stuff, and less on writing stuff.  Then, at night after the Chief is in bed, I will do my writing.  I'm sure on the weekends, too, when my husband is home, I'll be able to have time as well.  I find that I am not very productive during the day on my stories anyway, and it just leads to frustration.  I can write more in a half hour at night than I can in two hours during the day.  The only sacrifice will be movie time with my husband, but I will figure out a way to have that a couple times a week, too.

Hopefully, I will be updating the blog weekly (I would say twice a week, but we all know how that works...).  Next week we will be "rowing" the book The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer, which has been one of the Chief's favorites since he was a toddler!