2022-23 School Year–Week Nine

This week, Ladybug learned about Paschal’s triangle in algebra two, something I think is really cool. In chemistry she learned the difference between polar and non-polar covalent bonds. She read about the Ostrogoths (again?) and Byzantium (also again?) in history. She started a literature study of The Scarlet Letter. We finished reading book one of The Fellowship of the Ring. We worked on our second The Nightmare Before Christmas dinner featuring cucumber and mint limeade love potion, Jack Skellington Shepherd’s Pie (she did a great job with the details on his face!), and The Mayor Two-Faced black and white cookies.

Chickadee is working toward long division in math. She also reviewed division problems with money. In science, we started a chapter on marsupials…so far, we’ve read about kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and koalas. We read about some doughnut trouble in Homer Price. She learned how to diagram predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives in grammar. She was very excited that she finally got to read about King Tut in history. We also covered Moses and the Exodus.

It’s hard to believe October is already about halfway done, but we’ve still got a lot of stuff to look forward to!

Tasty Tuesday–A Look Back at Disney Dining

For the last few months, I’ve been sharing all of the Disney Dinners I’ve made…here’s a look at each dish we tried from either a Disney cookbook, or an online resource with copycat Disney recipes:

We also tried quite a few thing while we were at the Disney parks (my favorite was the Dole Whip!):

And we enjoyed one very special dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby:

This wraps our summer of fun Disney dinners, but I’m looking forward to trying (and retrying) recipes from our Disney cookbooks in the future, and I’ve already pre-ordered The Official Disney Parks Cookbook, which is scheduled to come out next February, so we’ll have even more new recipes to try!

2022-23 School Year–Week Eight

We started the week with a rare Sunday field trip, to Grant’s Farm:

Ladybug learned how to identify the conjugates of a binomial in algebra 2. In chemistry, she read about single, double, and triple bonds to finish the fourth chapter. We finally finished Romeo and Juliet…she’s glad to be done with that (although we do still need to watch the movie)! She read about the High Kings of Britain, Niall of the Nine Hostages, and St. Patrick in history. In grammar, she started identifying appositive phrases. Now that it’s October, we set aside Recipes from the World of Tolkien for the time being, and made a dinner from The Nightmare Before Christmas Cookbook, featuring Vampire Brothers Bloody Party Punch, Snake and Spider Stew, (an albondigas or Mexican meatball soup with fettuccine “snakes”), and Oogie Boogie Meringues.

Chickadee made factor trees in math, and reviewed multiplying three-digit numbers. We finished reading Heidi and started Homer Price. In history, she learned about the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and the Hyksos. We read about hyenas, mongooses, and meerkats in science, finishing the chapter on Feliforms. She put everything together that she’s learned in grammar so far to diagram some complex sentences. We also did a little baking together this week, making s’mores cookies from the My Little Pony Baking Book:

And we ended the week with a field trip to the pumpkin patch:

We’re already almost a quarter of the way done with the school year…I can’t believe it!

Tasty Tuesday–The Twelfth Disney Dinner

For our final Disney Dinner of the summer, I didn’t use any of my cookbooks…instead I turned to the internet, where I first found a copycat recipe for violet lemonade like they serve at the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival, something we were able to attend on our trip. The drink had a lovely floral quality, and was such a pretty color!

The Disney Parks Blog had a recipe for Totchos as served at Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The recipe included a simple, thick chili as a topper, and while it wasn’t my famous three-meat chili, it is perfect for things like totchos, hot dogs, and baked potatoes, so I’ll probably make it again!

For dessert, we had classic but simple Mickey Mouse cupcakes with Oreo ears! I know I saw a picture of this idea online somewhere, but it’s not like you need a recipe to make it happen.

While we’ll continue making recipes from our Disney cookbooks (we’re already looking forward to getting The Official Disney Parks Cookbook, a companion volume to Delicious Disney, when it comes out next year!), there was something really special about this summer of Disney Dinners that I’m really going to miss!

Five Pieces of Wisdom

I don’t know how much actual wisdom I’ve shared with my children, but I have realized that there are five things I tell them regularly, and that’s probably as close to passing on wisdom as I get!

  • “It’s nice to be nice.”–This is probably my most-repeated phrase, and I think it’s also the most useful. I hope I’ve taught my children to be kind to others, even when others aren’t kind to them. And I hope they never decide to finish the saying à la Frank Burns in M*A*S*H…”to the nice.”
  • “Ganache covers a multitude of sins.”–I came up with this saying once when a bundt cake I baked (probably our favorite Guinness cake) stuck to the pan, resulting in a less than attractive-looking cake. Luckily for me, the recipe includes a ganache that is poured over the top, and I realized that once I did that, you couldn’t tell that there had been any problem with the cake at all!
  • “Measure garlic with your heart.”–If ganache covering a multitude of sins is my number piece of baking wisdom, then this is my best cooking advice. A recipe can call for a certain amount of garlic, but in my experience, it’s almost never enough, and even if it is, your cloves may be a different size than used by the recipe’s author. This is one of those things where you just have to trust your instincts and measure from the heart.
  • “Lake Michigan is an inland sea.”–I am very protective of my favorite Great Lake, and I really hate when people act like it’s “just” a lake. When you look at its size and the way it behaves, it is hardly a simple lake, but actually a large inland sea, and should be respected as such.
  • “Look up.”–My final piece of advice is usually given regarding architecture, although it applies to lots of other things as well. There are so many amazing details, especially on historic buildings, that are higher than eye level, and if you don’t look up and really pay attention, you won’t ever notice them. Looking down or even straight ahead can cause you to miss out on some really great things, so take the time to look up and really see the world!

What wisdom do you share with others?

2022-23 School Year–Week Seven

Fun things first…on Monday, we went on a field trip to the St. Louis Zoo. Our top priorities were taking a look at some of the animals Chickadee has already learned about in science (mainly bears), and some she’s learning about next (the big cats). We were somewhat successful, although several exhibits we would have liked to visit were closed. We did see the polar bear, plus lions and leopards, which was good. And it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside, which was even better!

This week was the week nobody was waiting for…Ladybug started working with imaginary numbers in algebra 2. She was less than thrilled. She finished Act IV of Romeo and Juliet and began Act V. In history, she read about Attila the Hun. She learned how to draw Lewis Structures in chemistry, and read about ionization energy. In writing, she worked on scripting internalization. We tried two new recipes from Recipes from the World of Tolkien: Whole-wheat molasses scones with molasses butter and Elvish white bread rolls:

In addition to those recipes, we also baked Romeo’s Sighs and Juliet’s Kisses cookies from our A Literary Tea Party cookbook…they were amazing! 

Chickadee worked on finding multiples and factors in math. She started learning about big cats in science…so far, we’ve discussed lions and tigers. In grammar, she learned how to identify and diagram direct and indirect objects. She read about the Yellow River Valley and Huang Di in history. We only have a few chapters left to read in Heidi! We watched a few episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe that were filmed in Switzerland to get a better idea of what her Alpine home might have looked like.

I hope the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying sticks around, because we’re really enjoyed having the opportunity to do some of our schoolwork outside!

Tasty Tuesday–The Eleventh Disney Diner

For our penultimate Disney Dinner of the summer, I turned to Delicious Disney for all three recipes. We started with the seasonal old fashioned from the Enchanted Rose Lounge. Yes, an old fashioned is by nature an alcoholic drink. But what my children were most interested in was the combination of fall flavors like cranberry and rosemary, so I substituted apple cider for the alcohol, which paired well with the other flavors in the drink.

For the main course, I made honey spicy crispy chicken from Nine Dragons Restaurant, a fine dining establishment in the China area of Epcot’s World Showcase. I don’t usually deep fry chicken, but I made an exception, and I’m glad I did, because this was one of the best recipes we tried all summer!

For dessert, I made Amorette’s recipe for pumpkin crème brûlée topped with sable cookies. This was kind of a disaster, because I dropped mine on the floor, breaking the ramekin in the process. I’m told it was good, though, and it kept with the “fall flavors” theme of the meal.

Stay tuned for our final summer Disney Dinner!

2022-23 School Year–Week Five

We spent a lot of time this week watching coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, but we did manage to get a lot of schoolwork done, too.

Ladybug factored polynomials in algebra 2. She read about Alaric and the Visigoths, and the division of Rome, in history. In chemistry, she learned about light, including wavelengths, amplitude, and frequency (having visited the ocean this summer made it easy to picture these concepts!). She finished finished Act III of Romeo and Juliet. In grammar, she worked on identifying infinitive phrases. As we continued to read The Fellowship of the Ring, we baked spiced pear and cranberry muffins from Recipes from the World of Tolkien.

Chickadee reviewed estimating sums and differences in math, and she also did some multi-step word problems. We read about different kinds of bears in science, including black bears, polar bears, and panda bears. In history, she learned about Shamshi-Adad and the “Epic of Gilgamesh.” We also read about Heidi’s return home to the mountains in literature. In grammar, she reviewed adjective and adverbs.

I was hoping for another outdoor field trip next week, but I don’t think that’s going to happen as we’re expecting a heatwave, but hopefully it won’t last too long, and we’ll have some fall weather to enjoy soon!

2022-23 School Year–Week Four

This week has been more…complicated than I expected. It started out pretty well, with a day off on Monday so we could see Moose march in the town Labor Day parade. And then on Tuesday, we had a field trip day to the Missouri History Museum (for the first time in almost three years!), to see the new Coloring STL exhibit. We had a really great time…how often are you encouraged to color on the walls of a museum?!?

Even I made a small contribution, because I found something mid-century marvelous!

On Wednesday, we got back to our regular work. Ladybug reviewed radicals in algebra 2. She began Act III of Romeo and Juliet. She learned about mixtures and compounds in chemistry. In history, she read about Flavius Theodosius and the Roman Catholic Church. Her creative writing course had her rewriting sentences to make them more interesting and less repetitive. We continued reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and baked Barliman Butternut’s Blackberry Pie, which was delicious!

Chickadee reviewed calculating area and perimeter in math. In science, she continued learning about order Carnivora by starting a chapter on bears. In history, she read a brief history of the Jewish people, focusing on Abraham and Joseph. She learned how to add adjectives to a sentence diagram in grammar. We continued reading Heidi, and to my relief, we have almost reached the part where she gets to go home to the mountains.

On Thursday, our school day was interrupted by the developing news in the United Kingdom, and we spent most of our day watching the BBC. Today, I decided we should continue to focus on the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so we watched The King’s Speech and some of our royal documentaries. Hopefully, next week we’ll have a little more success staying on task!