Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homeschooling - New Start

This has been such a blessed week, as God has really shown me what matters in homeschooling my children. It started with a frustrating day last week when I was unable to teach my 7 year old Ben what an adjective is. I was so upset! So was Ben.
That night I lay, thinking about why Ben needs to know what an adjective is right now. My only answer was because society thinks he should. You know his kindergarten teacher was failing him because he couldn't hop on one foot. Well, within a year he could hop on one foot. So, I have adopted a new theme for our homeschool experience, "Relax". Not exactly relaxed homeschooling, but more like we have 10 years to learn everything, not this is grade 2 so we better learn everything in grade 2. We are going to learn about things the kids are interested in and do fun projects and focus on serving other people as God has called us to do as Christians. So we have signed up to help serve tea at the old folks home once a month.
Our first fun project is a lapbook on animals in winter.

To start, I asked the kids what they think about when they think about winter. They said, cozy houses, warm food and cold outside. Then we said ice is the coldest thing and we played "Melt your ice cube" game. Each child would roll a die and if they got;
1 - hold it for 10 seconds; 2 - drop it down your shirt (which Ben is doing above); 3 - blow on it for 10 seconds (which Ben is doing below); 4 - drop it; 5 - put 10 shakes of salt on it; 6- float it in water for 10 seconds.

This is Jacob holding his ice cube below because he rolled a 1. We had so much fun! It was so nice to laugh during school. Of course, this was a learning tool to see which melted the ice fastest. Rebekah won because when she dropped hers it broke in half and smaller pieces melt the fastest.

I am lucky, because my kids like doing math, so we will keep that up and I'll have to think of some fun ways to teach what an adjective is!
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my chilren walk in the truth." 3 John verse 4. NKJV

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Yogurt Using a Cooler

I was so excited recently to find a different way to make yogurt. I have been making it in the oven for about 14 hrs at 110 deg. I really didn't want to use so much electricity and I had heard vaguely about the cooler method, so I searched it up online. So, I made the yogurt as usual. I brought 3 quarts of milk up to 180 deg. F., then I let it cool to 110 deg. F. At this point, I added 1/2 cup of starter yogurt and stirred it in. Then I poured it into 3 quart jars, sealed, and placed into my KFC take out cooler. I heated up some water to 55 deg. Celsius and filled up the cooler 3/4 of the way up. Shut the cooler so that all the hot air stays in and let sit 3 hours. Ta da! The yogurt is ready for the fridge.

It actually worked! It had kind of a mild taste to me, but using the oven method, I always added sugar because it was really tart. I added sugar this time and I think I won't next time. We like to eat our yogurt with sliced banana, canned peaches and sunflower seeds.

Making Soft Cheese - Queso Blanco

I was telling some friends how my cousin, Amy, had shown me how to make a soft, very mild, cheese, and they said, "Put it on your blog". So, here I go.

First, warm 1 gallon of milk to 200 deg. very slowly. Once it is warm, add 1/2 c vinegar and stir until it starts to separate the curds from the liquid.
Then strain through cheesecloth, (or I use a clean tea towel).

Then add 1 or 2 tsp of course salt and mix in.

Next, tie up cloth and hang to let drip with a bowl under.

After 2 hours or so, you can take your cheese out and enjoy. I cut it in chunks and mix it with sun dried tomato salad dressing for flavor. I use it like feta cheese in salads and pasta, or we just eat it on crackers.

When you are all done, you will have just under 1 gallon of what I call "buttermilk", but it is probably known as whey. Anyway, I use it like buttermilk. So I plan ahead with some ideas to use it up. Like, I make buttermilk pancakes, add it to my bread instead of water or make scones. I have even made buttermilk pancake syrup. It was yummy.