Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School Days

Today is the first day of school for Maxwell Elementary, where my boys would normally be attending.  This, however, is not a normal year.  This year we are embarking on the adventure of homeschooling.  While many students are just heading back to school today, this in our eighth day of school here at the Young Men's Academy (I have to come up with a better name).

My guys are working hard and we fit some fun in there as well.  We are planning many trips to the library, museums, and even a trip to Washington DC with the principal of our school!

Have a great year everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible.

I have a book I would like to tell you all about: "The Greatest Stories of the Bible".  It is a New King James Version abridged Bible for parents to read to your kids.  The cover of the book reminds me of an old fashioned storybook.  It is not the whole Bible, but it catches the "high points" so to speak.  Each chapter could be read as a bedtime story and your kids will have a wonderful overview of the whole Bible by the time you are finished reading it.  Each chapter gives reference to the verses being used so that you may go to your full Bible and look up the completed, unabridged version.

Just like the full version, this book is filled with love, war, good, and evil.  Life lessons abound.  I, as a Christian, see the Bible as an instruction book for life.  "The Greatest Stories of the Bible" will help you open up discussion about different topics that every child will go through.  It may also generate questions that will require more research and questions that may not have a black and white, clear cut answer.

This book is a great gift for parents who want to give their children Biblical knowledge in an easier format than the full Bible.  This book does not replace the Bible.  It is a stepping stone for understanding.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In a Pickle

Back in May, I got to be a chaperon for the littlest M's field trip to a farm.  After a very wet and rainy tour, he was given a garden in a glove.  Four seeds and a strawberry plant.  We planted them all in giant flower pots on the back deck.

The sunflower never came out to look at the sun. The beans didn't show up.  The peas made an attempt, but when the scorching sun arrived this summer, the one pod shriveled and there was no saving it.  We were told the strawberry plant would take a couple of years to have any berries, but it is still alive and growing.

Our plant winner for the garden in a glove is:  The Cucumber!  We picked 6 large cucumbers off the vine that took over a fourth of our deck.  I think animals and heat hindered the number, but 6 from one seed is a good number.

My little M also discovered pickles this summer.  Bread and butter pickles mind you, he does not like dill (takes after his momma).

So we called our pickle expert (Thanks Granny), found a recipe, and let the fun begin.

This is a small store bought cucumber we used to supplement the three home grown ones we had left.

Slice the cucumber into 1/4 inch slices (give or take a few millimeters).

Have your helper put them in a crock. If you don't have a crock, I suppose a glass dish will work, but this is how Granny always made hers ( and hers are the best!)

While you put dishes away from the dishwasher, have your helper add salt and water to cover the pickles in a saltwater bath for 3 hours.

I forgot to mention, fill it to the brim and place a heavy plate on the top to hold the cucumbers under the water.

After the three hour wait, mix water, sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed in a large pot and bring to a three minute boil on the stove.  While this is boiling, drain and rinse the slices with clear water.

Add the clean slices to the pot and stir.
Bring to a boil, but don't let it keep boiling (your pickles will get soggy).

Then place your pickles in jars and fill the jars with the juice left in the pot.
We ended up with three quarts (I didn't have pint jars) of wonderful bread and butter pickles!

We will open the first jar on Monday for the taste test. I'll let you know how it goes.