Music: “May Song” and “Song of the Wind”

10 07 2010

After a long hiatus, Floppy agreed to return to Suzuki guitar and dusted off the rust on these two pieces he had been working on. I laid on the couch and dozed through the concert, though, so I didn’t get any pictures.


Writing: Blogging Berries

10 07 2010

Floppy and his father went for a walk to get the mail and found an embarrassment of summer riches. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Reading: On His Own

10 07 2010

Floppy can pretty much tackle chapter books these days. Can you guess what he is reading?

Here is a page close up to help you guess:

Still not sure? Here: I’ll show you.

It’s the Black Stallion! He requested the Coke — in its coveted 8 ounce glass bottle — as a reward for having read aloud several chapters to me. (“Please? My voice is dry.”) I think he looks like a Coke ad in this picture, actually.

Math: BTUs and multiplication

10 07 2010

We tackled a *very difficult* multiplication problem in this math lesson. In this exercise, again from Aunt Betsy’s math textbook, she had us calculate the BTUs needed to cool a room with an air conditioner, using a complicated formula that required you to figure the area of all the room’s windows — separately and added together — the area of the room itself, and the room’s perimeter. Then each of those numbers had to be multiplied by a factor taken from forms that really do calculate these things. One thing I love about Betsy’s text is it uses real life examples that show how math functions are used in the real world. We could have done the calculation for a room in our house, but for once we kept it simple(r) and used the sample room dimensions she provided. It took most of an hour, but Floppy was finally able to complete this incredible problem. Here’s the finished worksheet, followed by a picture that illustrates how challenging this work is.

Math: Polish 1-10.

7 07 2010

We used this video to learn our Polish 1-10, but the meal had me stymied.

It was such a hot day, today. Well up over 90, and we don’t use air conditioning, though our circa 1960 era house was designed to waste as much energy as possible, not catch cross-breezes. Anyway, not exactly the ideal time to be cooking a heavy Polish meal. I could think of some Eastern European-type hot weather dishes — cucumber salads, chilled fruit soup — but either didn’t have the appropriate ingredients or didn’t think they were substantial enough to count as a meal.

I ended up with a not-very-authentic, but very, very delicious, version of this bialy barszcz and an even more approximate Salata po Polsku inspired by this.

The barszcz (said “barsch”) turned out to be so delicious I will write up the recipe for you.

Bialy Barszcz ala DBI Schoolroom

  • 4 parmesan-garlic lamb sausages
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup no-knead bread sour dough
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle jar liquid (from vinegar-based, not kosher dills)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2-3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 2 large slices no-knead bread, cubed
  • horseradish (we used wasabi powder)

Chop the sausages into bite-sized chunks and put them in about a quart or a bit more of cold water along with the whole eggs (still in their shells). Heat to a rolling bowl, cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 18 minutes. Fish out the eggs and return the water with sausages to a simmer. Cool the eggs in cold running water, peel and slice them and set them aside. Take the sour dough in your hand and pull off dime-to-nickel sized lumps and toss them in the simmering sausage water to turn into dumplings. Add the pickle-liquid. Leave the soup to simmer while you prepare the bread and cheese cubes, and place a handful of bread cubes, cheese cubes, and a sliced egg in each person’s soup bowl. Mix the sour cream, garlic, and the flour. Working quickly, whisk the sour cream mixture into the soup, whisking rapidly to prevent lumps (don’t worry if there are a few). Stir in the milk,horseradish,  salt & pepper to taste, and the marjoram. Taste and correct seasonings as needed. Pour into the waiting soup bowls with the bread, cheese, and egg slices. Serve with a green salad. Serves 4. Yum.

Writing: Revenge is sweet.

7 07 2010

If you felt that I risked embarrassing my offspring with my last post, check out his latest blog entry. (The remainder of his writing lesson today consisted of generating thank you notes. They really did need to be written. It wasn’t a return salvo from mom.)

Physical Play: Swimming Lessons

7 07 2010

Floppy is straight-up terrified of the water. Here he is, blessed with the unheard-of luxury to actually live on a beautiful New Hampshire lake, and he screams and cries as if we’re murdering him whenever we insist he enter further up than his knees.

It’s not a good situation. This year, we put our foot down and signed him up for beginning swimming lessons at our local pool. He hates that, too. He’s the oldest kid in the class, and the most totally uncooperative. That’s not really a good situation either. So since I have a week off of work, we’ve been doing family swimming lessons at home.

That faint screaming you’ve been hearing probably emanates from our neighborhood.

He is making some progress, though. He is now able to swim, with a pool noodle….

out to our swimming float (which floats in a death-defying depth of about four feet)….

And after much weeping and gnashing of teeth….

somehow end up in the water…

And even swim back….

where, safely upon shore, he cursed our other offspring for seven generations or so, before going inside and calling his grandmother to brag about his fabulous accomplishment.

A pretty good lesson. Now we’re working on actually putting his head in the water without having to jump off the swim float to do it. Terrifying, I tell you.