Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bears, Bread, Books, and Bodies - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the second day, I am focusing on a random collection of topics that all begin with B: Bears, Bread, Bodies, and Books.


When I went through the file about bears, I came across this card I had purchased in Alaska when I traveled there many years ago. It brought back good memories of the trip and the incredible beauty of the state.

The card is on the wall now where I can see and enjoy it...rather than in a file.

The artist who painted the bear is Alaskan Native Helen Jane Simeonoff of Sugpiak Kodiak Island heritage. She is known for her vibrant watercolor paintings; and incorporating Alaska native cultural designs and petroglyphs of the world into her artwork.

She was born in Kodiak, studied art in San Diego (California), and watercolor in Adak (Alaska). In 1993, she began her full-time art career after twenty years of employment as a legal secretary.


I came across a recipe for Sabbath Bread from the Star Tribune.

The two loaves of Sabbath Bread I made on Sunday.

On the reverse, there is an advertisement and it has a phone number without an area code. All phone numbers here now have an area code - so the recipe is easily more than a couple decades old.

At any rate, I've wanted to make it and now seemed like a good time to do that. Here's what's needed:

1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tablespoon and a pinch of sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
8 cups flour
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water
poppy seeds or sesame seeds

To make it, grease two loaf pans. Dissolve yeast and a pinch of sugar in the warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine hot water, salt, oil, and the tablespoon of sugar. Allow the mixture to cool to warm; stir in yeast, eggs, and a cup at a time, enough flour to make a firm dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, and turn so the top is greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, until it has doubled.

Punch the dough down and divide in half to make two loaves. Fashion each half into a braid; place in a prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Brush the loaf tops with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake 15 minutes, and then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake about 45 minutes longer, until done. (Note: the loaves turned a dark brown within the first 15 minutes at 500 degrees. I baked the loaves for about 40 minutes at 350 since the inside was done.)

Makes 2 loaves.

Going through files that begin with "B," I also learned some interesting facts about bodies:

- There are about 150,000 hairs growing on your head right now.
- An average adult's skin weighs about 11 pounds.


In the "Book Lists" file, I had magazine clippings, printed lists, and hand-scribbled notes of books I wanted to read.

Rather than just putting them back in the file, I ordered probably over 50 books from the library about a wide range of non-fiction subjects - finance, homemaking, camping, history, geography, homeschooling, creative expression, peaceful parenting, and more; and fiction titles for both my daughters and me. 

There were a few books that were not available from any library in Minnesota, so I added them to my wish list on


There were a lot more "B" files than "A" files that I went through.

All the "B" files (above) and what I kept (below) 

In the process of going through the files that began with "B," I recycled two more bags of photocopies and clippings.

That's three bags so far as part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge. (This is in addition to the over 40 bags I've already donated, recycled, or threw away as part of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge!)


Pamela said...

I use my Amazon Wish List as a place to store books I want to read, too.

Chicky Kadambari said...

Wow! That's a lot of de-cluttering! I love that bear card. Is that a print of water painting, or actual water painting?

Thank you for dropping over at my blog. Glad to connect with you via this A to Z.
Happy AtoZing!
Chicky @

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

I use my Amazon Wish List, too, Pamela, for books that aren't available in any Minnesota library. There were only a couple that I would like to buy at some point. With so many vendors, it's nice that books are affordable.


Chicky - the bear card is actually a print of a watercolor painting. I'm not sure the actual size of her original artwork. If the card is as vibrant as it is, I can only imagine how beautiful the actual painting is in real life.

FinnBadger said...

Fantastic bear art. And great combination with bread.

Phillip | B is for banana

Dicky Bird said...

I pinned your recipe for the bread. I want to make more bread from scratch so thanks!

Sharon Himsl said...

That bread got my stomach growling. Thanks for the recipe. Time for breakfast!

Danielle L Zecher said...

Your bread looks good.

LaurenEph said...

Great idea to use the A to Z challenge to encourage you to do some organising. Love the bear print, glad it's on your wall rather than stored away.

Pat Holloway said...

I love your theme for this challenge! Great idea! The picture of the bear would be a great one to use as a model to paint.

Linda Gardiner said...

That's a lot of B's, & they are all great. I buy cards on trips & frame them for display, nice way to remember a trip. The bear is a great little piece of art.
We did Alaska 2 summers ago & did a Kodiak bear watching camping excursion,& who doesn't love bread?

Cow Sketch

On to "C" today