Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

I took this this morning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Frugal Breakfast Just Became -- CHEAPER!

Pancakes are, I think, one of the most dirt-cheap breakfasts you can serve your family. Six ingredients, and they think they are getting a real good treat. Now I can go one better, instead of regular pancakes, how about Bread Crumb Pancakes? I don't know about you, but I have a hard time "selling" the heels of bread around here. So I stick them in the freezer. And I use them for ... nothing, actually. I get a big bag of crusts that I do nothing with, then I end up tossing them after a while, when they are all dried out and freezer burned.

But not anymore. I have found a way of using those bread crusts (mostly from my homemade bread, too!) in Bread Griddle Cakes. The recipe is from an old Fanny Farmer recipe book:

Bread Griddle-cakes

11/2 cups fine stale bread crumbs (just swirl them in the blender)
2 eggs
11/2 cups scalded milk (I just used it out of the fridge, no scalding)
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder

Add milk and butter to crumbs, and soak until crumbs are soft; add eggs well beaten, then flour, salt, and baking powder mixed and sifted. Cook same as other griddle-cakes.

Now for the $64,000 question, how do they taste? They taste like FRENCH TOAST!! Yum-O! (to quote Rachael Ray). Seriously, you could sprinkle a little powder sugar over them, instead of syrup, and really make it frugal. Or fresh raspberries from the brambles outside, or applesauce, you get the drift.

Good, cheap and easy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What didn't work for us Meme

Time to start (Like I ever stop) thinking about next year's curriculum. In pruning some dead wood, so to speak, here's what didn't really work for us this year:

1. Starting too late in the day. I have a dear friend who can begin school in the mid-day, and they do a very good job of it. If we procrastinate, linger over breakfast, get too involved in chores or hobbies, and so on, school gets shoved aside, and we end up not doing much.

2. Turning on the computer before 3:00 in the afternoon. This thing sucks you in. Seriously. There is no need for it, and we are waaaayyy more productive if it just isn't turned on.

3. The telephone trap is also a bad one to get into. Even if I have a legitimate need to call someone for something, to pick up the phone is to spend (waste) a half hour. ugh.

4. Assignments that are too open-ended. We attempted a unit on King Arthur this year. Although I think that the girls did learn alot, it was hard to get them to complete assignments without a concrete framework of what I expected from them.

5. "Winging it" without really preparing anything specifically. This had two problems, first, I wasted too much time trying to figure out what I was doing, and it lead to more of the open ended assignments that my kids rebelled against, see above.

6. Expecting too little of Deuce. She is a challenge, make no mistake, but giving her less to do, because I thought that it would be better, or would avoid arguments, was nearly always a mistake. Bribery worked much better.

As far as specific curriculum, we had some hits, such as My World Science (which, sadly, is no longer being published), Genevive Foster's George Washington's World, Henty's The Dragon and The Raven, and Friday math games. We've also had some misses, such as the above mentioned King Arthur study, Primary Language Lessons (for Deuce, it worked well for Ace), and nearly all the attempts at art.