Saturday, July 7, 2007

Back to Old and New Routines

My sweet brother (here a bit pink from our day at Busch Gardens!) and his twin boys

are in the air as I write this - on their way home to Minnesota. *sigh*

We had a terrific week together at the beach (the girls here hunting shells with Grandma)

playing games

enjoying traditional Independence Day fare (though that's a "veggie brat" on her plate!)
and, of course, fireworks!

While they were here, I finished my first knitted sock. I have done tube socks before, but this was my first sock with the heel flap and everything. It turned out really well and was a lot of fun to do! The only problem is, I don't have enough yarn for a second one and I purchased the yarn in Minnesota when I was up there this spring. It's okay, though. I figure this is my prototype and now I know how to do it and have already cast on another sock - this time for Eve. I should have enough for two and if not, I know where to get more! :)

Now that our family visit is over, my mind is shifting more toward some home and school organization projects before the new school year is upon us. We tackled Maia's bedroom closet today and will be working on her desk this week.

Another project I will be hoping to put into regular practice is the weekly meal preparation with each of my daughters. Tomorrow I plan to sit down with each of them and have them help me design a menu for one supper for each of them. We will add the needed ingredients to the list for market day on Monday and they will help with the preparation of their chosen meal on each respective day.

This will be more work for me,initially, plain and simple. But I am sure most of you are familiar with Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

I want my girls to know how to prepare healthy meals for themselves and their future families and I want them to learn it from me, instead of books, the way I learned much of what I know about cooking today. Books are adequate, of course, and I am grateful to the ones that taught me what I know, but the time spent with them does not contain the love and the stuff of which memories are made that time spent together provides.

My goal is to train them well enough that they will begin to develop their own repertoire of favorite meals and will be able to create their own, complete meal for our family once in a while, to begin with, moving on to once-a-month, and eventually to once-a-week.

These cooking lessons, in addition to some laundry and sewing lessons are new things I am hoping to integrate into our routines and hopefully maintain them as we move into the school year.

Of course, you just never know how the school year is going to go until you actually get there. Some of my lofty summer plans end up a bit dashed once things get going. But every summer I take a little time to motivate and refresh and inspire myself for the coming school year. This year the book that is doing this for me is Lorraine Curry's, Easy Homeschooling Companion that I have checked out of the library via an interlibrary loan (I love that service!!). She has written another called Easy Homeschooling Techniques, that I also want to be sure to check out. But for pure inspiration and encouraging words, this is one that I am enjoying immensely!

Along the lines of books, I am wondering if some of you can help me. Could someone tutor me or link me to a tutorial that will explain how I might post pictures in my sidebar that link to the books I am reading? I have seen this on many others blogs - usually with a link to Amazon.com - and have wondered how I could do that too. I haven't been able to figure out quite how to do it yet on my own. Any assistance would be appreciated! :)

Finally, I am also looking for some yummy jam/jelly recipes. I have been making my own peanut butter with great success, simply in my food processor. I've been experimenting with adding just a bit of canola oil to smooth it a bit. This last batch, though, I went without the oil and tried adding agave nectar in lieu of sugar and the oil, and I think I've hit upon a good blend!
I started doing this to avoid the continual additions of containers in our house. Now I'd like to do the same with jam, so if you have a good recipe your family really enjoys, please do share it with me!

I will be stopping by many of your blogs in the next few days. I've been a bit out of the loop with our company. Thanks for stopping by here today!
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