April 30, 2009

Painting with Walnut Ink at Coop

After we prepared the Walnut ink, we took it to coop with us to share with our friends. Everyone had a chance to paint with it and take some home with them as well. Mitchell used the walnut ink and leaves to create this stamped picture.

April 28, 2009

Cheese and Pizza Making at Coop

Lizzie - At coop we made mozzarella cheese out of whole milk. Each ingredient had a special job to do. The citrus was used to make the cheese stretchy, and the rennet was use to turn the milk into cheese. We mixed it all up into the pan of milk, which smelt bad and gave it its whitish color. When we kneaded it it changed from a bumpy texture to a glossy rubber look and feeling. Then we kneaded in salt for its flavor. When we tasted it, it was very yummy.

The temperature had to reach 90 - 100 degrees before we added the rennet.

After sitting for a few minutes, the milk clumped up into curds and whey.

We strained off the whey, heated the curds and strained off more whey. We did that several times to get out all of the moisture.

The we kneaded and stretched the cheese until it became glossy.

Mitchell - At coop we made pizza dough by mixing flour, water, oil, yeast and salt. We mixed it up and set it on the counter to rise. When it was done rising, we spread it out in a little circle with our hands. Then we put tomato sauce on it and some home made cheese and we put it in the oven for a couple minutes. When we took it out the cheese was melted and the dough was cooked. We ate it and it was very good.

Mixing our dough.

Alli shaping her pizza crust.

Britany and Keegan putting sauce on her pizza crust.

We made about 45 mini pizzas that day, including homemade pizza dough, homemade sauce and homemade mozzarella cheese. We were exhausted! (At least mom was.)

April 24, 2009

Recitation of the Kind Moon at coop

At the beginning of coop they let us recite something , so we said the Kind Moon by Sarah Teasdale.

The Kind Moon, by Sara Teasdale

I think the moon is very kind
To take such trouble just for me.
He came along with me from home
To keep me company.

He went as fast as I could run;
I wonder how he crossed the sky?
I'm sure he hasn't legs and feet
Or any wings to fly.

Yet here he is above their roof;
Perhaps he thinks it isn't right
For me to go so far alone,
Though mother said I might.

April 23, 2009

Craft for VA Hospital Residents

We last went to visit the residents of the VA Hospital at Christmas. We sang carols and passed out the candy cane reindeer we had made. This month we planned to do a Bar-B-Que for the residents who could leave their room. Our Sunday School class has done this before and it is always a great success. The residents love the opportunity to visit and hear the kids sing.

Unfortunately, there was sickness in our family this weekend, so we couldn't accompany our Sunday School class to the VA, but we did get to help make bookmarks for each of the residents. There are just about 100 men and a few women who live there. We look forward to the opportunity to go again soon.

April 22, 2009

4th Annual Homeschool Field Day

Our friend A.C. puts together a Field Day at church each year for homeschoolers. She has to limit the number of people involved, because it's such a popular event. This year there were 100 kids participating.

Teams are divided up evenly, so that each team has equal strength. Britany and Alli were on the same team, but everyone else was on a teams mostly of people they didn't know, so they made new friends.

One of the games was finding out information about your teammates, but most of the games were relay type games. Everyone had a great time!

Unfortunately, the light in the gym does not make for great pictures, but I thought you would want to see them anyway.

Mitchell doing a wheelbarrow race.

Alli doing the crab walk race.

Lizzie doing the 3 legged race.

Mitchell and his friend Caleb doing the 3 legged race.

Egg Race
Mitchell pictured above, Lizzy pictured below
Allison and Britany were on the Black Team. Alli wore out after a while and became the team secretary.

Gracie doing the Ball-Between-the-Knees Race. :)

Tug-of-War between teams.

Following the indoor games we had a water balloon fight and a treat of Popsicles.

Left to Right: Braden, Keegan, Mitchell, McKenna, Gracie, Lizzie, Allison and Britany.

April 11, 2009

How We Homeschool - The Charlotte Mason Method

If you want to know more about how we homeschool, you can check out the great Charlotte Mason post our friend Leslie wrote for our Coop Blog. (Do you recognize the turtle picture that is the header on that blog? I took that at Bay's Mountain last Summer.) Leslie is a collaborator on the AmblesideOnline.org website which we use for our curriculum, as do many people around the world. We are also blessed to have dear Leslie in our own homeschool coop. She is an amazing resource and inspiration!

Of course, Charlotte Mason isn't the only way to homeschool, and each family should find the style that suits them best.

April 3, 2009

Western NC Nature Reserve

Our last field trip was to the Western NC Nature Reserve. It was so much neater than we expected. Most of the animals at the reserve were raised illegally as pets in homes. This caused them to be unafraid of visitors so they came up close and interacted with us. Each cage had a section that was glass instead of fence, which made it easier to see them. Their cages were true to their real environment, very nice with lush green grass and clear water. All of the animals seemed very healthy also. Their coats were thick and glossy and none of them seemed short of food! We had the benefit of a Naturalist showing us around the reserve. He had animal pelts from several animals for us to feel and look at up close, and he told us a lot of details about all of the animals. We really enjoyed our visit to the Reserve.

Ronnie - I liked Olive the River Otter the most because she looked like a ferret. She was constant running to the sides of her cage because she was excited to have new visitors. When you called her she would come up to you. She had a huge cage with a big pond that I would have liked to swim in. There was water flowing through the rocks and the trees and it almost went around in a full circle. We watched her long enough to see her go crazy because she knew she would be fed soon. When they threw the fish in the water, she jumped in and got it, then brought it out to a rock to eat it.

The water in her cage was almost clear, which was surprised me. The guide told us that they don't leave fish in the water for her to catch because they dirty the water. They just throw the fish in for her to eat.

All - The little Red Fox was darling. The catches his prey by pouncing on them, things like rabbits, mice and rodents. It was hard to find him at first because blended in with his environment. One unique thing about the Red Fox is that he can climb trees.

Lizzie - My favorite animal is the Red Wolf because it is very pretty. Our guide told us that in the late 1980's there was only 17 Red Wolves in the whole world. The captive breading and reintroduction program of the Wildlife Fish and Game, captured 15 and only left 2 in the wild. The program has continued to breed them and now there are at least 300 Red Wolves. I liked learning about the Red Wolf because they are very interesting. I didn't like the fact that they are an endangered species, but with the help of this program they are making a comeback. I would love to pet one, but they might bite me!

We got to feel a fur pelt from the Red Wolf.

Mitchell - Val is a Mountain Lion. I like cats, especially big cats. I like mountain lions because they live in California, up in the mountains, which is my favorite place to go. Mountain Lions are thought to extinct from the the Eastern United States. Val was from here, but she was kept illegally in someone's home. She isn't the size a mountain lion should be because she was probably fed cat food instead of the meat she would have eaten out in the wild. There are still thought to be some out in the wild because people keep them illegally, then because they have kids or can't handle them, and don't want them anymore, they think they are doing a good thing by leaving them out in the wild. But animals that have lived in captivity their whole lives do not have the natural instincts to hunt and take care of themselves.

Mountain Lions are stalkers. In her cage was a phone book. They guide told us that it was for putting a snake skin or other objects inside of so she could use her natural instincts to search it out, as she would in the wild. When we were there she was sleeping. I can't wait to go again. Hopefully she won't be sleeping then.

Mary - Bobcats are very cute. They are very similar to regular cats. They have very pointy ears and they have weird bobbed tails that are very short. They have pretty fur the blends in with the brown ground. They had a blanket and a ball in their cage and a tunnel, that they like to crawl through and cuddle with. These objects were given to them to make them smarter. I think bobcats are awesome and I would like to have one.

We got to feel a fur pelt from a Bobcat and a Cougar.

Lizzy - The gray wolves were pretty. When we came up to the glass the white one stood up on a rock like it was posing for a picture.

Gracie - I liked the wolves. Their fur was nice and furry. I got to feel the fur of it and it felt comfy. We had a great time and I loved the wolves.

Britany - My favorite part was the Black Bears. They were rolling all over each other while they were sleeping, and they kept hitting each other in the face. Their back feet looked like actual people feet. We could see them really well from where we stood. When we went camping we drove by the same kind of bears, but we weren't able to see them as close. They were muddy, but they actually look very soft.

Allison - Their paws look funny, and they look like pretend. They have branches in their home where they can put their feet up, to get up high and walk. They were laying by the tree, and the little bear was smelling the other ones paw. They like to play and run.

Gracie - I loved the goats. They were good and furry and nice to pet. I pet their little chin thing that was going down. One went up on the wall and he was funny. I loved it. It was really fun.

Allison - We saw the goats and one was sniffing Gracie and Gracie was petting one. I pet a big white one. I just loved the hair they have hanging down from their chin. If you pat your lap they will come to you. After we petted them we started feeding them. I told my friends not to feed them, because they might bite you. After that one climbed up the wall and I started laughing so hard.

We saw a mean one. I took a picture with the mean one. [See below.] He was all looking at me. I wanted to see him, but he almost bit me. I didn't like him. He was like [something angry].

It was so fun. They are so nice.