02. July 2018 · Comments Off on Blueberries for Sal · Categories: Blessed Virgin Mary, Books, Homeschooling, July

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey was originally published in 1948.  It won the Caldecott Honor Book award in 1949.  This is such a lovely book with a sweet story and beautiful illustrations

When teaching especially preschool-grade 4, this is a great book for many different themes, seasonal studies or unit studies. Children older than 6 might be able to read it on their own, but it is a wonderful read a-loud.  Themes include: blueberries, black bears, summer time, Blessed Virgin Mary (blue is Her color, of course!) and you might throw in a small chat about obeying your mother.  With older children, talk about where you will find blueberries (wild and cultivated), varieties of blueberries (especially high and low) and methods of consuming blueberries (fresh, in a cold or hot recipe, frozen, preserved, dried).  And if you are lucky enough to live in the vicinity of New England, take a drive to Maine in July and buy some fresh blueberries.  There is just something special about Maine blueberries!

If you look on Pinterest, there are art projects, crafts and recipes galore.  Here’s the link to my Pinterest Blueberries for Sal board.

Read the book aloud!

Make blueberry crisp and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  YUMMY!

We love Betty Crocker’s recipe for apple crisp so I use it as my “go-to fruit crisp recipe”.  I exchange the apples for blueberries and sometimes a variety of berries.

Here is my revised Betty Crocker apple crisp based recipe:

Ingredients:

4 cups of fresh (or frozen) blueberries

3/4 brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of oats (old-fashioned or quick-cooking)

1/3 cup butter softened

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (you can also use a touch of nutmeg as well, I’m just not a fan)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees, prepare an 8×8 pan with cooking spray or butter.  Spread the blueberries in the bottom of the pan.  Stir the remaining ingredients together and spread evenly over the blueberries.  Bake 30 minutes (or until brown and bubbling).  Serve warm with ice cream!

I highly recommend reading this book every July followed by a bowl of warm blueberry crisp and ice cream.

 

 

18. June 2018 · Comments Off on New Simple Catholic YouTube Channel! · Categories: Uncategorized

Good News! We have decided to combine a few of our interests and create a YouTube Channel that will feature videos of Catholic sites that we visit along with descriptions, history and information for visiting the site. We’ve started with a few videos that we had on our existing channel but will be adding new videos shortly.  As we travel we will visit more sites and share them as we put them together.

You can visit the channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4gSMQq4T5pygzbxsCUh0kg

Please consider being a subscriber so you’ll get notified of when we post new videos.

20. December 2017 · Comments Off on My Troubles with the Morning Basket · Categories: Books, Homeschooling, Morning Basket, St. Anne's Academy at Balsam Woods Farm

Are you familiar with the morning basket?

It is an awesome concept.. for morning people.  I am not a morning person. Technically, I think God meant me to be a coffee drinker.  Let me clarify further; a coffee drinker as in one of those people that always have a coffee cup in their hand.  The only problem is, I really do not like coffee. I can drink it disguised as a mocha, but I’m only just tolerating it. I’ll drink copious qualities of hot tea during fall/winter/spring and I drink iced tea by the gallons year round, but there is so far not enough caffeine in a few cups of hot tea to turn me into a morning person.

Getting myself motivated bright and early in the morning to actually pull off a morning basket is probably not going to happen during this lifetime.  I am old enough to know myself and my limitations.  However, I really, really want to do a “morning basket” with my son.  Here’s were I have been for a very long time, not capable of pulling off a morning basket, but unable to figure out where to fit it into the rest of our day.

Lately, I have also been listening to Pam Barnhill’s Morning Basket podcast.  I would highly recommend listening to her podcast series from the very beginning.  She and her awesome guests really get you thinking.  If morning baskets are new to you or something you have wanted to incorporate into your homeschool day, her podcast is the place to start.

Between kicking myself for being a early morning slacker, having morning basket guilt and a conversation I had with my husband the other evening; I had an epiphany!!  Do “morning basket” in the evening when the whole family can participate.

One of Barnhill’s guests spoke about how morning basket can create a family culture.  Well, when it’s Mom and a lovely bunch of children, that sounds like the most beautiful thing ever. God graced us with a son; one child.  It just did not seem fair to be creating this “family culture” between my son and I only.  Our family is so small that if we do not include my husband in creating that “family culture” we are not being fair to our little family.

It occurred to me that including my husband in our “morning basket” would give us a chance to have everyone’s insights, shared experience, shared knowledge, and shared faith.  And when we read make emotional connections with a book, it is not going to be just between my son and I.  It also really does make education something everyone participates in everyday.  Win-Win-Win!

So last evening was our inaugural evening “morning basket”.  (Seriously, I will come up with a better name for it!!).  For an hour and a half, we read, we prayed, we listened, we saw, and we learned TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!

I mean to encourage you with this post, really!  If you do not already do a “morning basket”, can not figure out where to put it into your day or whatever your hang-up is, keep trying to work it in.  There is great value in sharing your education with the whole family, to the best of your ability.

As we continue to do our “evening, morning basket”, I’ll let you know how we as doing.  In the meantime, God Bless and Keep Learning!

UPDATE:  I drafted this post sometime ago (September), and I am happy to report that “morning basket” in the evening with our whole family, is going awesomely!  It has turned into such a connection point for the whole family.  Now for a better name…read-aloud basket, evening basket, learning basket…I’d take suggestions.

08. October 2017 · Comments Off on Morning Glory Muffins · Categories: Recipes

These Morning Glory Muffins make a perfect “breakfast-in-a-hurry”.  Pair one or two of these muffins with a hard boiled egg for a filling breakfast that will carry you through to lunch time.

On the morning that our young man and I have to get to the homeschool co-op, we have to leave by 7AM in order to make daily Mass and co-op.  These muffins are a great “car food” for a family needing to get out the door in a hurry.

Here is the recipe (I used a couple of sources to come up with a version that works for us):

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup canola oil

3 eggs

8oz of crushed pineapple, undrained

3 large carrots, peeled and shredded

1 apple, peeled, cored and shredded

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened is fine to use, but unsweetened is best)

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Use cupcake papers to line 18-24 muffins cups.
  2. Combine your dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In your mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the oil, eggs and pineapple for about 2 minutes.  Add the flour mixture, mix until combined. Add in your carrots, apple, craisins, and coconut, mix until combined.
  4. Scoop into your lined muffin cups filling each to about 3/4 full.
  5. Place in center of oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool before storing.  Can be left at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for 3 months.

I freeze these muffins and pull out the number needed the night before to defrost in the refrigerator.

02. October 2017 · Comments Off on New Shirts · Categories: Uncategorized

As part of our creative outlet, we’ve created some new shirts that will help anyone show their joy for their Catholic faith and homeschooling.

First up are our Catholic Pride shirts:

Keep Calm and Catholic On t-shirt Pax Christi t-shirt Keep Calm and Catholic On yellow and white t-shirt

Keep Calm and Catholic On is available in many colors and we also made it in yellow and white, the traditional colors of the Vatican.  We also created the Pax Christi shirts because there is such a lack of Christ’s peace in the world today and what better way to show it with the emblem of His church.

For our homeschoolers, why not show your pride with one of these shirts, also available in multiple colors and youth as well as larger adult sizes:

Life is Good...I'm Homeschooled t-shirt

Finally, we wanted to do something that reflected our family farm and the fact that we produce real maple syrup.  We just felt that we have to support the use of real maple syrup!