Tasty Tuesday–A Pioneer Inspired Dinner

Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink it till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day, the first day that Laura helped in the haying. “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Whenever possible, I try to include a special meal as part of  our summer school. Some years, that’s easier than others. Coming up with a pioneer-themed meal wasn’t too difficult, but I can’t vouch for the authenticity of our dinner. I was more interested in having a meal of foods pioneers might have enjoyed, rather than cooking them the way pioneers would have needed to. So tonight’s dinner included bean soup and homemade cornbread, ginger-water (a last-minute addition!), and a pieplant (rhubarb) pie for dessert. It was a very delicious meal, and I think I’ve found some new things to add to the recipe file!

“‘That’s the way I like it,’ he said. ‘If there is no sugar in the pie, then every fellow can sweeten his own as much as he likes without hurting the cook’s feelings.'” “The First Four Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Quote of the Day

This may be old wisdom, but it is great advice regardless of the century!

What must be done is best done cheerfully. Pa Ingalls in On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Third Grade: Week Fifteen Wrap-up

This week, (today, actually), we celebrated our 100th day of school! The children are very excited, because I made them each a bag with 100 m&ms, which they are allowed to eat at their discretion. Plus, we completed our countdown “doodlebug,” which everyone looks forward to every year, although at this point, it’s more for Ladybug’s benefit than anything else.

It was a fun, busy week. It felt like we had more schoolwork to do than normal, but I don’t think that was actually the case. We’ve just had so many good conversations in regards to what we’ve been learning that school has been taking a bit longer, which is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination!

One of our favorite things about returning to our regular Adventures in My Father’s World studies has been our daily read-aloud. Actually, all of the read-aloud books have been excellent so far, but I have to admit to having a certain bias toward our current book–Farmer Boy. I really loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a child…except for Farmer Boy. I’m not really sure I ever actually read it, or if I just skipped over it every time I read through the series, (which was often!). I guess I assumed that because the main character was a boy, it would be boring to me, and therefore not worth my time.

Then, I finally picked up the book as an adult. And I loved it! It’s fascinating to see the differences between Almanzo’s childhood and Laura’s. Almanzo’s family was obviously better off, financially, and it shows. They ate massive amounts of food, their house was huge, they had tons of livestock. When you contrast that with Laura’s very modest upbringing, it really makes their relationship all the more complex. The children have loved listening to this book, as well…like me, they really like the descriptions of the food. They’ve also been astounded at how often Almanzo eats donuts, (and apple pie!), for breakfast.

Reading aloud is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. Yes, I’m sure I’d still be reading to them even if they were in public school, but I’ve been introduced to many new, wonderful books I otherwise never would have known about. There’s something very fun about sharing a book that even I’ve never read before, (like The Hundred Dresses),  with the children. And it’s even more fun to share my old favorites with them, and see their reactions to the story!

Quote of the Day

“Every Christmas is better than the Christmas before,” Laura thought. “I guess it must be because I’m growing up.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, By the Shores of Silver Lake

Quote of the Day

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the following as her first essay when she was still a schoolgirl, and shared it in the book These Happy Golden Years. I think she had an excellent grasp of the good and bad of ambition, especially at such a young age!

“Ambition is necessary to accomplishment. Without an ambition to gain an end, nothing would be done. Without an ambition to excel others and to surpass one’s self there would be no superior merit. To win anything, we must have the ambition to do so.
Ambition is a good servant but a bad master. So long as we control our ambition, it is good, but if there is danger of our being ruled by it, then I would say in the words of Shakespeare, ‘Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition. By that sin fell the angels.'”