1. Start working on and continue hobbies:
- Try at least one new recipe per week.
This week we tried a few new recipes:
=> Cheesy Garlic Rolls - from Eat Your Way through the U.S.A. We are studying about Wisconsin now and this is one of the recipes that tie into the state's culinary tastes. Both the girls made the rolls. These were very good - especially hot out of the oven.
=> Carrot Cake - from Eat Your Way through the U.S.A. We are studying about Wisconsin now and this is one of the recipes that tie into the state's culinary tastes. Olivia made the cake, and it turned out great. With three cups of grated carrots, it had a lot more carrots than other carrot cake recipes we've tried.
=> Tangerine and Watercress Salad - this is a Japanese recipe and ties into Sophia's study on the Eastern Hemisphere. Sophia made the salad (with a blend of lettuces rather than watercress) as well as the dressing. It was a healthy and refreshing addition to our dinner.
=> Oatmeal Scones - this recipe came from Wabibito (an e-magazine that I reviewed). We enjoyed having the scones for breakfast.
=> Buttermilk Cornbread - this is recipe from Olivia's Five in a Row Cookbook and ties into the book When I was Young in the Mountains. This version of cornbread turned out a bit more crumbly than other recipes we have tried in the past. The flavor was good...it just was rather crumbly.
=> Korean Egg Casserole - this is a recipe that Sophia tried to tie into her study of the Eastern Hemisphere. It is supposed to cook in a special pot on the stove, but we didn't have one so we baked it in the oven and then in the microwave instead. It took much longer to cook and get the eggs to be firm and water to evaporate.
We've never made egg casserole with zucchini so this was an interesting difference - and healthier - change from other egg bakes that we've made. There were also scallion, red pepper, and onion in the egg casserole. The flavor was very good, and we enjoyed the egg casserole for breakfast.
- Write in my nature journal at least once a week.
I did a back-entry for January 8th about a walk I took with Gretel and Montague. This was important for me to do because Gretel died unexpectedly on January 12th from (most likely) a heart attack. She would have been five years old on January 23rd.
It was the last walk we took together, and it was such a wonderful one. She had a great time exploring a new trail - running eagerly from side to side of the trail and sniffing new scents. Her enthusiasm and excitement during the walk never waned. It was a walk I will always fondly remember.
I also wrote in my journal on January 15th about bird migration. Sophia, Olivia, and I watched Winged Migration as well as read How Do Birds Find their Way. We each wrote and illustrated things that we found interesting about bird migration.
I now have three entries in my nature journal for January, so I am right on schedule with this goal.
- Continue keeping some form of a daily/weekly journal.
I have continued to write two pages each day in my Artist's Way journal. This has been very helpful to do given that it was the one year anniversary of my father's death on January 5th and Gretel died on January 12th. Lots of things to process and think about...and writing helps me clear my mind so I can focus on other things during the day.
- Grow African violets. Get first one on the anniversary of Dad’s death.
I completed this goal during the first week of January; and have been enjoying caring for the three African violet plants.
2. Do 4 interesting and/or memorable homeschooling activities this month that aren't part of the core curriculum.
=> See the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
During the second week of January, Sophia, Olivia, and I went to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit. I wrote about that last week. (Please go HERE to see pictures from the exhibit.)
I ended up watching this movie by myself. I think this goal is a more personal one versus a homeschooling one. So I have changed this goal with another one (listed below).
I enjoyed this movie (which was in black and white); and laughing throughout it. I needed to watch something funny after a particularly difficult weekend.
=> Watch one movie that has received an Academy Award for Best Picture.
I am still waiting to receive this movie from the library. It is coming from a library from outside the county in which I live, so it is taking a bit longer than normal.
As with Some Like It Hot, I think this is more of a personal goal versus homeschooling goal. I rather focus on active, hands-on activities that are more memorable for the girls versus a passive activity (like watching a movie). Therefore, I added another activity below in replacement for this one.
=> Visit the ice castle at Mall of America.
We visited the ice castle at the Mall of America today - January 18th - for Olivia's 10th birthday.
The sun behind some thin clouds
with the ice castle below it.
This is something that she wanted to do this month, and we couldn't have asked for a better day to see the ice castle.
Sophia and Olivia by one of the ice sculptures.
It was a beautiful, warm day outside (39 degrees); and was wonderful for spending time outdoors to explore the ice castle.
The girls are sitting in a miniature ice cave.
Looking up towards the sky.
It was fun to go through the different passageways and see the ice formations tower over our heads.
Sophia and Olivia in one of the passageways.
Although the ice castle wasn't a "castle" in the sense that one may envision a castle, it nonetheless was a very interesting trip and fascinating to see the way water freezes and melts to create unique sculptures.
A wall of ice.
While we were at the Mall of America, the girls went on a couple of rides, checked out the new doll of the year at the American Girl store, and had lunch.
That's a big hot air balloon for a doll.
Saige - the new American Girl doll of the year - is in the basket.
We also stopped by the Lego store so they could take a look at the giant Lego sculptures as well as the wall of Legos.
The girls standing by the wall of Legos.
You can reach in each bin and take as many as you want.
=> Visit Richardson Nature Center.
We went to the nature center on January 18th since Olivia enjoys wildlife and it is her birthday.
Olivia by a tank with two turtles in it.
We enjoyed seeing the snakes, turtles, toad, barred owl, and red-tailed hawk. We sat in room that had a wall of windows that overlooked many feeders and feeders. There were so many birds and squirrels that we watched while we sat in the chairs there.
A woodpecker was one of the many birds
that we saw at the nature center.
=> Go swimming in an indoor pool.
Both the girls enjoy swimming, and with the weather so cold outside indoor pools are the only place in Minnesota where they can swim at this time of the year. We'll be going swimming on January 19th.
3. Volunteer with seniors twice during January.
The care center where we will be volunteering had an isolation in force during the first half of January. There was a flu outbreak there, and so they were restricting the number of visitors and volunteers during this time period.
I talked with the Volunteer Coordinator after the isolation was lifted, and we are set up to volunteer twice during February - the 9th and 16th - doing baking one day and painting on another.
The remaining two Saturdays in January are booked for us, so we are unable to volunteer this month. Trying to volunteer during the week - at this point - may be a possibility...but it would be a last-minute decision based on everyone's energy level and schedule.
So, in lieu of actually volunteering with seniors, we will be planning our two sessions in February.
Also, we will make some table and/or window decorations for the 9th.
Origami boats with felt sails that are filled with candy hearts.
These table decorations I made back in 2008.
We may make some to bring to the care center on the 9th.
We are doing a pre-Valentine's Day theme on February 9th, so all the decorations will be pink and red.
Red and pink window star that I made for Valentine's Day 2012.
I'm thinking of making window stars in a variety of patterns
for the care center.
We also will be determining what painting projects we'll be doing on the 16th. We will create examples to show the seniors so they can choose what they want to do that day.