Friday, May 24, 2013

Prairie Primer Schoolmarms Go to Tea

 The Prairie Primer schoolmarms from our co-op were able to get out of town for an afternoon of bliss at Cup of Blessings Tea Parlor in Wallowa, OR. We decided we needed to do something fun to celebrate our making it through the Prairie Primer unit study. Out of five moms, four were able to attend. Poor Stephanie wasn't able to make it, so another friend of ours, Jaime, was able to join us in her place. We had a lovely, restful afternoon of eating, drinking five pots tea, walking around the garden, and of course, fellowship!
An exact replica of the dress I wore to my senior prom was hanging in the corner of the tea room. This dress wasn't even in style when I was a teenager, but I loved it so much, I didn't care, and wore it anyway.

Judi always does an amazing job with the presentation of the food she serves. She started us off with a creamy Earl Grey tea and some colorful veggie/cucumber cups.
Beautiful hands folded in prayer.
Along with cucumber sandwiches (shown in the above picture), she served chicken almond and smoked ham and Gouda sandwiches. Delicious! She always encourages us to eat the violets, too, since they are so good for you. We had the Bourbon St. Vanilla roobios tea to go with these.
After the sandwiches, came her huge, yummy lemon scones. She even had a whole wheat scone that was wonderful. She serves it with homemade lemon curd and Devon cream. We had a pot of Valley of Peace (and almond flavored roobios tea) to go with these.

Last but not least, came a lemon rhubarb cake. Can I just say that it tasted as wonderful as it looks? Wow, Judi can cook! She served us a Thai lemon ginger roobios tea with this dessert.
We enjoyed browsing her gift shop and trying on hats. These hats had to have weighed at least 5 lbs a piece!  I can always count on Jaime to be silly with me. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I adore hats.
In between scones and dessert, we walked around the garden. It was a little early for most of the flowers, but we found a few. I wanted to take pictures of each of the ladies since we are usually the ones behind the camera. The ladies were beautiful models for me, and I had so much fun setting up portrait shots. This is my sweet friend Beth.
The lovely Christine. Doesn't she look like she is straight out of a Downtown Abby episode? Loved her outfit!
I had fun editing this picture in black and white, leaving just a splash of color with the tea pot.
Now that my kids are older, I love wearing black and white again.

The lovely Jaime.

I had fun editing this photo, too.

This was my favorite picture of "Coy Cora".  Isn't she adorable?
Here we all are, enjoying the garden together.

I like this pic in black and white, too. It has been a privilege to know these women and call them my friends.  We've decided we need to do this every year to celebrate the end of each school year. It is so important to take these "Sabbath moments" and really have time to rest and relax. We were at the tea parlor for nearly 6 hours and it felt like the time raced by. Can't wait for next year!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! God Bless, Jackie

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May Prairie Primer: "The First Four Years" - And It Is Finished!

 With bittersweet feelings, I write my last Prairie Primer co-op post for this year. I plan on doing this unit study again when Hailey is old enough to read the books for herself and Josiah can participate in all the writing activities that we skipped this time around. One thing I can say, is we are Prairie Primer Fans!
              Hailey attempting to recite Psalm 46.
                                                My friend, Cora, with her charge.
Painting their own tic tac toe stones to use outdoors.
This was such a fun exercise! I helped Hailey answer questions about what she learned this year and what her favorite and least favorite things about the Prairie Primer where. It was so fun to hear what my kids wrote and the things that made an impression on them.
Sunny (one of the involved grandmothers) helped Josiah with his Prairie Primer paper.
This is a new way to make lemonade (or should I say an old way?). You soak lemons in warm water, then roll them in a towel until they feel soft, without breaking the skin.
                                             The little girls rolling their lemons.
Getting those lemons soft!
Josiah had a turn, too.
After the lemons were soft, Stephanie, sliced and layered them in a bowl and sprinkled sugar on them. After sitting for 30 minutes, she added water and strained it. Yummy lemonade!

 Below, Beth is giving out the final Trivia Questions. This was always a favorite for the kids. Also, not pictured (I wish we would have got a video of it) is everyone singing while I played, "Happy Land" on the fiddle. What fun song to fiddle to.
I tried making bird's nest pudding. Josiah helped me peel and core all the apples which took quite awhile. This is basically a baked apple dish with "pudding" batter over it. I thought it was delicious. You pour sweetened heavy cream with nutmeg over the top of each slice as served.
Josiah did a presentation on his own about St. Bernards and their history as rescue dogs. I let him do it completely on his own. Josiah is getting to be a confident presenter, as are all the children.
My beautiful fellow school marms, Beth and Cora. Love this pic in sepia
Standing in line (ladies first), and praying before we dig into the delicious food.
Tomatoes with cream and sugar, half a bird's nest pudding piece, lettuce with sugar and vinegar, baked spare ribs and potato salad. Plus we had fresh lemonade to drink.
Only group picture we have of all of us. Sooo glad we took the time to do this. The kids have made some really good friends and us ladies have become very close over this past year.

A bittersweet co-op day for sure. I'm going to miss it so much. It has been a privilege and honor to have worked with some amazing ladies this year (Beth, Cora, Stephanie and Christine). I have learned so much and will be forever changed by this experience. I did the math and believe we tried around 60 recipes between us moms. 80 presentations were done for the group between our five families! We did around 20 different pioneer-related arts and crafts together and I don't know how many activities. That isn't including all the scripture we memorized, as well as memorizing states and capitals, and presidential reviews, poems, etc... And learned 20 different old-time songs. I would definitely recommend doing this unit study with a co-op if you can :) We only met twice a month and managed to get all this accomplished. We've made friends for life. Thank you, Margie Gray, for writing this study. The memories will last a lifetime!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Homeschool Arts and Letters Program 2013: Magician, Musician and Poet

This was our fourth annual Arts and Letters Program. Is is an opportunity for homeschoolers to show off what they've been learning through projects, talents, recitations, etc.... to friends, relatives and our homeschool support group. It just gets better every year and the kids draw inspiration from each other.  This year, I let my kids choose what they wanted to do themselves. Josiah decided he wanted to be a magician since I had bought him a children's book of magic tricks at a yard sale a couple of weeks before the program. He came up with this all on his own. After watching the video, he realized he needed to work on his entrance and exit, but other than that, I thought he did really good. I didn't not help him at all with this, although I think he might have received a few tips from his Grandma Kricket right before his little show. He even came up with his costume himself.

Hailey recited a funny short poem called Grungy Grace by Jack Perlutsky. For some reason I can't get it to embed, so I'm just adding the link. Click here to watch this very short, cute video of Hailey:

Since her poem was so short, she also played Hot Cross Buns on the fiddle. Again, click the link to see that short video. I'm so proud of her! She even got to wear the pretty dress that her Aunt Abby and Uncle Nathan gave her for Christmas. 

Here are a couple other favorite performances.  Two families had their kids dress up in Colonial clothes and play "Yankee Doodle". It was adorable.

Josiah's friend, Kelton, made an "Indian Fire Bow" and demonstrated how it worked WITHOUT actually setting anything on fire. 

Kelton's sisters tap danced and sang, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". They did a great job!

One family did a presentation about all the presidents who had been assassinated. I love that my Civil War outfit was used. She looks way cuter in it than I do. What a beauty! I love the beard my friend, Christine, knitted for her son, President Lincoln. She also knitted the hat on his brother. Josiah borrowed that same hat for his act.

At the end of their presentation, they did a little skit, reenacting Lincoln's assassination.

 Not pictured are a lot of fun verbal presentations, teen testimonies, recitations of poems, scripture and even the books of the Bible.
 At the back of the room, we always have tables set up for those who want to display arts, crafts or presentations. Some like this option as they are uncomfortable speaking in front of a large group. It is always fun to see what people come up with. This was our table. I decided to show some projects we did and some of the curriculum we used throughout the year for the Prairie Primer unit study. Josiah made a picture dictionary. also pictured are paper quilt blocks and button bracelets and practice stitching. Josiah even displayed one of his Lego creations.

Another homeschool student showed off a display board about growing plants in water. I love to see what other homeschoolers are doing. 

Afterwards, we always have a wonderful time of fellowship, eating finger foods and catching up. A big thanks to my home church, Calvary Chapel, for letting use their building, and a huge thanks to all those who helped make the evening possible through set up, take down, programs, etc... Looking forward to next year!

God Bless,

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Wannabe Butchers - First Time Butchering a Pig

Well if the neighbors didn't think we were crazy before, I KNOW they do now. We bought a whole pig from a local farmer and decided to do the butchering ourselves to save money. After reading Little House in the Big Woods, my children wanted to try some of the things considered "treats" by Laura and Mary. So we saved weird things like the whole head, tongue, bladder, heart, fat and even the tail. We wanted to waste as little as possible. We even took the carcass back to the farmer for their chickens to peck on.
 Josiah wanted to save the head to make head cheese. He didn't understand that isn't like the cheese you make out of milk. When I looked up the instructions on-line, he changed his mind and instead decided to just eat the jowls and tongue. I made him wash it really good. There was an amazing biology lesson in just the head, let alone the rest of the pig. He located where the spinal cord goes into the brain, and all kinds of other things.
I gave him an old hair brush to scrub the pig's head clean, and after he scrubbed it, he did the pig's hair. Not sure that the pig cared about it's hair-do at this point! We brined the pig's head overnight in a bucket just to be sure we got all the germs killed.

Josiah and Hailey dissected the heart, then fried it up into chunks and ate it. They made samples for everyone, complete with toothpicks. We were just learning about the heart in Farmer Boy so this was another wonderful biology lesson.

In Little House in the Big Woods, one of the special treats Laura remembered was roasting the pig's tail. Michael skinned it and then we bbq'ed it. Josiah proclaimed it delicious!

I know it looks like Josiah is licking the tongue, but he was actually holding his tongue up next to the pig's to compare how big the pig's tongue was to his. Josiah and Michael really liked it bbq'ed, too. They both said it was very tender. 

This was such a great father/son project. They both worked at getting the fat off of everything so we could cook it down in the crockpot and have lard to make our favorite milk soap recipe

Michael is figuring out all the cuts. We didn't have the right equipment, so some of it was hacked up pretty good, but we learned a lot and did much better with the next half of the pig that we cut up for my sis. Michael is cutting the pork belly to make bacon out of. That is my project for next week.

Cutting pork chops. All he had was a skinning knife and a dull saw he's meant for cutting up an elk in the field. We will be on the lookout for some better tools next time. Still, I was impressed at how well Michael did with what he had.

This is Josiah's plate of bbq-ed meat that night. he had tongue, tail and cheek meat. I had some cheek meat, and it was very good, but after cutting up the pig all day, it was just a little too much for my squeamish self. I learned that I need to wait a day or two after butchering to enjoy the meat. It was just a "fresher" than I was prepared for. 

It is nice to have some meat in the freezer and we saved over a $100 by doing it ourselves. We aren't done yet. We have all the smoking to do next and sausage to make. I got about 15 lbs of lard off this pig, which will make our soap for the year. 

I hope I haven't grossed you at too much. I made sure there weren't any bloody pictures, so hopefully it wasn't too much if you are squeamish like me. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

God Bless,


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