Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"And we're off!"

The new school year has definitely begun! And we're off with lots of exciting new adventures....and what fun all of our new activities have been...but whew! We've been busy!

Last Thursday was "book club and lunch bunch" for the girls...the girls' little "club" meets once a month in the children's dept. at our Barnes and Noble, and then we head over to Piccadilly with a few friends to have lunch and let the moms catch up with one another! This year in book club, each child brought a report (or narration) of the book that they chose to read over the summer. And this year, Miss Betsy is having the kids step up onto the stage, tell their name and age and on what book their report is. Macy did really well...although I thought that she might pass out at any given moment, but she stood up there and read her LONG report! Last year, she and a friend were in constant competition to see who could write the longest book report, and Macy would tend to report the book word for word...from memory! Well, I'm assuming that her report won't be quite so long this next time!

Then on Friday, the girls and I met Eric downtown after he worked a half-day, and we all drove down to Atlanta to have lunch with his brother Josh, his wife Vicki, and their new precious daughter Ava Nicole. We had a wonderful time visiting with them and loving on little Ava! Then we went to Harry's to walk around leisurely...usually, we are in such a hurry! The girls had the best time pushing their "Little Customers in Training" buggies! They were so cute, and they enjoyed putting our things into their carts! It's amazing that Vicki and I were able to visit while little Ava slept , the girls pushed their buggies around and snacked on samples, and while we waited for the guys to get out of the large wine and beer section (not to mention us all hovering for some time over the olive bar)! We picked up some great foods for our picnic that we had with them and Eric and Josh's mom Debi and their niece Arielle at Stone Mountain. Thankfully, we all got there in plenty of time before the sun went down and to set up our dinner spread and to watch the wonderful laser show and fireworks display! After the show was all over, we hugged everyone goodbye and rushed home to get back for a very busy Saturday!

Saturday was filled with Annie's first day of soccer, a birthday party for Macy's sweet friend Susanna, house-cleaning and cooking for friends to come over for dinner. Perhaps it seemed like such a busy weekend, for it was the first weekend that we have ever had to coordinate who was going to take whom to what!

Then on Sunday we were able to spend some time at lunch with our new friend Nicole Lanni and also Beth Brodersen. Then that evening we spent with our dear friends Jonathan and Amy Stoddard. Jonathan graduated from Covenant a couple of years ago, and his sweet sisters Amy and Celeste are still students there, so thankfully we are still able to keep up with this wonderful family that we have been blessed to know. Our dear Jonathan is now living in Hawaii and is headed for a mission abroad...our prayers are with you, Jonathan! Hurry home!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A day in the school life of a Dixie Chirp!

At the beginning of our day:
Prayer Journal Entries/Prayer
Pledge of Allegiance

Math workbooks for each (ABeka)

Spelling/Penmanship/Language/Phonics for each (ABeka)

Spanish: Rosetta Stone on computer

Bible*: Nightly Bible reading with Daddy (NKJV)

Geography: Paddle to the Sea, Tree in the Trail, and Seabird all written by Holling C. Holling

American History Biographies*: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Buffalo Bill all written by Ingri D'Aulaire; Annie Oakley Young Markswoman by Ellen Wilson

History*: Trial and Triumph (Church history from a definite Protestant perspective) by Richard Hannula (selected chapters); An Island Story by H.E. Marshall, chapters 1-21 (this book known as Our Island Story in England); Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin for selected chapters; Viking Tales by Jennie Hall (hero stories and myths of Norway) Part 1, chapters 1-11

Natural History/Science (this year we'll focus on birds and wildflowers): Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (we plan to follow the Ambleside suggested rotation for nature studies in years 1-6, so we will cycle through every section in the Handbook of Nature's a book that I highly reccommend for everyone!); James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot; The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess - we'll make our selections of bird studies based on the season and which birds frequent our geographical region. (Supplements for Bird Study: our interactive CD on North American Birds, birdfeeding, nature walks, notebooking what we see/draw.)

Poetry: A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson; Now We Are Six/When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne

Literature: Aesop's Fables; Complete Works of Shakespeare; The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang; Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty

Artist Study Schedule: Study reproductions!
(September - November) Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) Flemish Northern Renaissance (December - February) JMW Turner (1775-1851) English Landscape
(March - May) Titian (1485-1576) Italian High Renaissance

Composer Study Schedule: Listen to composer's life story, then music!
(September - November) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1785) (Classical/Roccoco)
Listening selections for this term:
Piano Concerto 20 (2 weeks)
Symphony 40 (4 weeks)
Quintet in A maj for clarinet (2 weeks)
Piano Sonata in A maj K.331 (2 weeks)
Concerto for bassoon and orchestra in B-flat major, K. 191 (the only
bassoon concerto he wrote)
(December - February) Robert Schumann (1848) (Early Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Carnaval (for piano)
Scenes from Childhood for piano
Symphony no 1 in B flat Op 38 "Spring"
Symphony no 2 in C Op 61
an arabeske or humoreske
Liederkreis or other song cycle
(March - May) Richard Wagner (1813-1883); Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) (German Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Wagner: Siefried's Idyl (orchestral)
Wagner: Selections from The Valkyries (opera)
Wagner: The Love Feast of the Twelve Apostles (choral) (massive work requiring 1200 singers and 100 instruments!) (4 weeks)
Offenbach: Selections from Orpheus in the Underworld (opera)
Offenbach: Selections from The Tales of Hoffmann (opera)
Additional composer (daily listenings): Judy Rogers

Music Appreciation/Memorization/Copywork: (Folksongs/Hymns)
(September-November): Cockles and Mussels
(December-February): Minstrel Boy
(March-May): Star of the County Down

September: Marching To Zion
October: My Jesus I Love Thee
November: O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
December: Star in the East
January: Thus Far The Lord Has Led Me On
February: Blest Be the Tie That Binds
March: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
April: On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand
May: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee?
June: It Is Well With My Soul
July: Great is Thy Faithfulness
August: My Faith Looks Up To Thee

Physical Education:
Fall - PE classes at local college; soccer; ballet
Spring - gymnastics; ballet

Handiwork: Help in house and garden; clay modeling; beadwork; artwork (Draw 50 Flowers, Trees and Other Plants by Lee J. Ames); drawing from nature and from tales

*Timeline entries: we are corresponding our readings with our timeline (each of us, including Mommy, has our own 3-ring binder with our own timeline) and possibly a map

Additional Activities:
Unit Study - Little House on the Prairie
Weekly American Heritage Girls
Monthly Book Club
Monthly Writing Club
Monthly Fieldtrips
Weekly Story Hour/Arts and Crafts at Library

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Amaretto Sour Cream Pound Cake

Amaretto Sour Cream Pound Cake
(my version taken from Paul Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs
1 teaspoon amaretto

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a tube pan and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugar together and then add sour cream.
Sift flour and baking soda together. Add to creamed mixture, alternately with eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add extracts and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes and then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.

Garnish: A drizzle of an amaretto glaze would be good, but this time I'll just dusted with powdered sugar and berries (with a sprig of mint)

Too much to cook/garden; too little time!

It's five minutes until 1AM, and I shouldn't still be up! Tomorrow is the Lord's Day, and our church is expecting many returning college students, so the church families are preparing lunch for everyone after morning worship! And I highly doubt that other ladies are still up waiting for their sour cream pound cake (with amaretto!) to come out of the oven! So far, "we" (Eric, my sous chef, is assisting!) have completed two chicken poppyseed casseroles and two cornbread salads! (We've doubled everything, for we are also eagerly anticipating getting to take dinner tomorrow night over to one of my dearest girlfriends (Kendall) who has just given birth to "my" little boy, Carter!)
One reason why we didn't get into the kitchen earlier is that "we" were outside gardening... in the dark... in order to get some gardening pots set out by the church's front doors (for all of our visitors tomorrow!), doing so in honor of our sweet, late Alal, for she is who gave me my great love for cooking and gardening, day or night! And one reason why we didn't get started gardening earlier is for we had SO many errands to run in order to be fully prepared for beginning school on Monday! AND we were late getting to run errands for we had to go to Annie's "sign-up" day for soccer (which is going to be SO much fun for her and us)! So we have definitely had a very long day!
We've gotten Annie all set for soccer (yippee!), and we completed a very, long list of errands, which included running all over town looking for just the right planter and plants for the's still too hot for Fall plants, and it's not early enough in the year to purchase "great-looking" Summer annuals and/or perennials! But the Lord did graciously provide a perfect $.50 annual sale, and planters half off! So I feel that we did come up with a pretty gardening container...until we can get some Fall plants! So they looked pretty good to Eric and the dark! I am praying that they'll look "okay" in the daylight tomorrow! So when we finished planting our plants, we did a "drive-by gardening container drop off" at the church under the dark of night! (The poor girls sat in their jammies in the van having a great time watching mommy and daddy tripping all over the place and especially getting to see Mommy scream like a little girl when a HUGE toad jumped toward me and into my path!) After that, we delivered a welcome basket to a new college student, and now we're at home, with several meals prepared and the house smelling GREAT! So now I'm off to check on my pound cake, and then Lord-willing off to bed!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A fresh, new beginning!

Who doesn't love the fresh smell of a new school year? For it's a time of year that we can selfishly indulge ourselves in our love of the smell of new erasers, the smell of fresh new notebooks and workbooks, and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils! We can appreciate the welcomed Fall breeze that begins to blow through the leaves of the trees; and we actually appreciate the profit of having a more structured, daily least we do! Yes, gone are the lazy days of summer, and now we can feel the excitement in the air of a fresh new beginning!

Chandler Elementary school officially opens its doors (bedroom doors) to our new school desks in the family room on Monday!

Friday, August 11, 2006

A night with the Lookouts!

What a fun but fun!

Once or twice a year, Eric's office will have the luxury box (directly behind home plate!) at the Chattanooga Lookouts! It is fun to get together and to see everyone that he works with and their families, and it is also fun to sit outside in the reserved seats and be able to go inside once we feel the need to cool off! And did I mention the food? What's a baseball game without a warm hotdog that is steaming inside a plastic sleeve and a cold drink to go with it?!? But my favorite part of the night was being able to have my mom with us, for she was in town visiting us that evening as well! The girls would probably say that their favorite part was either getting to visit with Looie the Lookout or getting to ride the tram that dropped us off at the ball park! Eric's favorite part...getting to stand in front of the air conditioner that actually spit out ice crystals it was so cold! We're already looking forward to next year! Oh...yes, the Lookouts the 10th inning!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All Fired Up!

What a great day we had spending the day with Daddy! First, we went to a free movie at the Rave, "Annie's favorite movie theatre"! Lunch at Piccadilly! Some shopping throughout the mall, and then an afternoon of painting pottery! What a great day indoors while it's so hot outside! Now we're just waiting for our pottery to be "fired up"!