Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

           Early this morning the girls and I  read a really great graphic novel called "Bluffton," by Matt Phelan. It is a work of historical fiction about Buster Keaton. We immediately became more interested at the beginning when we found out that the story was set in Muskegon, Michigan.

           After finishing the book the girls wanted to see Buster Keaton in some of his performances. So, we found a nice documentary on YouTube, as well one of his more popular films titled "The General." They both got to watch these films while walking/running on the treadmill, (because it was too windy and cold for much outdoor recreation.) The film actually fit perfectly into our studies because we recently finished reading about the Civil War.

              Then, we had a brief surprise visit from our neighbor, Brenda, who brought over some homemade salsa. I immediately tried some, and it is delicious! Later on I had it with rice and black beans and it is a perfect pairing. Here is the recipe:

Zucchini Salsa

10 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
4 onions chopped
2 green peppers chopped
2 red peppers chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
1 tablespoon pickling salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pepper
5 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces tomato paste


1. Day one: in a large bowl combine; Zucchini, onions, green pepper and the salt. Mix together, cover, and let stand overnight.

2. Day two: Rinse and drain mixture, put into a large pot, then add mustard, garlic, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes, salt, cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. HOT WATER BATH FOR 10 MINUTES.

        After this, Autumn worked on her math on Khan Academy for 2 hours...she had a few issues with box and whisker plots. Meow! Alaina practiced addition and subtraction in a math workbook for an hour, and then she worked on her handwriting and spelling  in her workbook for another hour. She was a super worker today with a great attitude.

         When the mail lady came (something the girls anticipate each day) we all were excited to receive a letter and a package with more letters inside from our friends the Huebschmans, who are living in Germany. Autumn was especially excited when she saw that her postcard from Kenzie had a piece of the Berlin Wall attached to it! We had just read about that! Both of the girls jumped up and down when they saw that there was also chocolate in their package. Ritter-Sport. The chocolate factory is located in Waldenbuch, which I guess is really close to where our friends live in Stuttgart. "Why can't we live close to a chocolate factory?" they both whined. It is AMAZING chocolate, and seems to come in an endless variety of flavors! My favorite thing about it is that the square brick is divided into little squares that help assist in my efforts to not eat the whole thing in one go.

       So, with all of this excitement,  we immediately sat down and started working on writing letters to return to our friends. We wish we had more time to write in the day, and need to put that up higher on our list of priorities...Autumn has been talking about organizing a family newspaper to send to family and friends and pen-pals. I think that would be a really fun project for each month.

      While I prepared for Steve to get home from work (i.e. cleaning up all the messes of the day), I had the brilliant idea to have Alaina work on a crochet project while listening to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," by Roald Dahl. She was delighted with this idea, and happily worked away on her first ever scarf.Autumn decided to use her free time to listen to an audiobook as well, "Matilda," by Roald Dahl, while she worked on an embroidery project. She learned to do a chain-stitch and a back-stitch. Even though Alaina had to call me into her room every 10 minutes to fix a mistake, I still enjoyed the hour of free time, and the quiet time it provided Steve when he arrived in the door.

We had "Dad's Famous Pancakes," for supper with lots of different toppings. Yes, Pancakes.

      Afterwards, while experimenting with an upcoming camera project we are interested in learning about, we were reminded of Uncle Craig's long exposure pictures where he uses lights to make "light grafitti." After a lot of fiddling with camera settings we finally got some pictures to turn out...and we had a lot of fun in the process.

Alaina and Autumn both went to bed listening to the ends of their audiobooks.

Jackrabbits Time Trial, 2014