I have been a busy bee in the kitchen as of late...I have canned, to date:
7qt tomato sauce
12pt blueberry preserves, 7pt peach preserves, and 5pt peach chutney
8pt apple butter
...and I baked 3 apple pies with my new secret recipe pie crust. This is alot of canning for a gal who has never canned before this year! And let me tell ya...there is no better sound than the POP of the jars sealing :) I am hoping to get about 6pt of salsa canned and another 6-8qt of tomato sauce. I figure we use about a qt. a week and 14 qt.s would get me through the winter. Pretty cool! I still have a half a bushel of apples that I will probably need to freeze...I will bake with some but most will be cooked down to applesauce and frozen for winter baking. I also have POUNDS of zuichinni frozen for that purpose, along with lots of greens. Not bad!'
Secret recipe pie crust? PIZZA DOUGH. For real. I am a sad excuse for a baker, and me and pie crusts share no love. I know many people who make fantastic pie crusts but me....not so much. I was about to go back to the store bought rollout crusts when a friend of mine said to me "why don't you use pizza dough? Just don't let it have the second rise." Now, I LOVE to make bread, and I have a tried and true recipe that I use for all things bread product, including pizza dough. I had my doubts but ANYTHING had to be better than the wretched pie crust I made for last week's peach pie...which ended up in the compost pile. I put the bottom crust in the pan, pricked it and baked it for about 15 mins at 425. Then I added my filling, popped it back in the oven for an hour at 350. When it was done...I gasped. They were gorgeous! They looked like pie shaped turnovers!!! Beautiful. That will be my new crust for future pies. Plus, since I make a quadruple batch, I had enough for 3 pies with tops, a batch of biscuits this morning and I can probably get 2 loaves of bread or a batch of bagles if I am feeling really motivated :) Wanna see?
We have started school, and I am very much planning on following the Charlotte Mason curriculum this year...minus the religion piece. In reviewing the website and reading over the book it is just such a good fit for us. Everything CM says it is a way of life, not just a curriculum, involving lots of time spent in nature, and pursuing personal interests. This is not to say she is not promoting kids learning *school stuff* it is simply stating she likes balance...as do I :) So, we spend 2-3(usually closer to 3) hours on actual sit-down-and-work school stuff, and the rest of the day is more experiential things...I have a couple GREAT books I am going to implement this year, a fantastic art book, and 2 great science books. History will start off with us reading out of the American History book and see where that takes us. I like to start with that, and if something catches their interest we can read biographies, etc. CM is HUGE into 'living books' which are books about real things and real people, along with a heavy dose of classical literature. We do several poems a month which we will continue, and I am thinking of doing some fables this year as well. We did finish the Peter Rabbit book aka Adventures with Animals by Thorton Burgess and the kids loved it. I have the actual individual novels as well, so we may read some of those this year too. I am planning on the Little House on the Prarie series, along with My Side of the Mountain and its sequels...I read it last year and LOVED it and it would go along superbly with our Nature Studies.
We also get to start the most ginormous Nature Study book this year. It is an amazing book I was able to download off the CM site, and I absolutely love it. We will be spending at least one day a week on the mountain until it snows, so I expect the book will come in handy. I will most likely plan our lessons around chapters that apply to us geographically and seasonally. Fun times ahead! As far as the rest of the curriculum...we will be skipping the Bible pieces, though I may substitute that with something of a spiritual bend...we'll see. The math they use is a little lacking in my opinion, especially for JD, so we are following a different math path :) Everything else is a go, and the kids are super excited. As is their mom :)
Want some links? These are my favorite CM sites...
Speaking of school....the kiddos are waiting! :)