Thursday, July 28, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.  


 Our quickly growing Twinkle Toes, wearing a pretty new dress and holding the Strawberry & Peach Tea Cake we just finished baking! 


Captain loves the new Catan: Cities and Knights Game Expansion, for with The Settlers of Catan, that he received for his birthday!


"The Fireman" made with Stockmar Modeling Beeswax
by Rascal (age 9)


Snuggles was the only one that didn't like the Tea Cake...  

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment!

Strawberry & Peach Tea Cake

I have been wanting to bake this cake ever since first seeing it on Jennifer's blog and then again on Kelly's.   It was so worth the time and effort.  I am reposting the recipe here for future reference, since I plan to make it again... and again!

Stone Fruit Tea Cake

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 -1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mixed stone fruit, fresh or frozen (I used 1 cup of fresh peaches and added 2 cups of fresh strawberries)

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (I used Maple Sugar)

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture and stir just until smooth dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a 1-inch thick disk, and freeze for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter a shallow 10 inch round baking pan or tart pan. Divide the dough into two equal portions and pat one portion evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the fruit over the dough. Break the remainder of the dough into tablespoon-size pieces and distribute atop the fruit, then sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the dessert.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

It was also the perfect opportunity to pull out our iSi Cream Whipper and make some homemade whipped cream to go along with the cake.   I am still amazed at how neat this little gadget is, and it makes the BEST whipped cream!

Wrapped in plastic wrap, this tea cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the unbaked dough; if wrapped well, it will keep for up to 3 months. You can freeze a whole, unbaked cake with fruit, wrapped well for 1 month.  Serves 10 to 12.

It won't last that long around here!  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

American History :: Our Book Lists & Plans

I've been spending some time over the past couple weeks creating plans for our American History Study for this coming school year - using the books we have on our shelves, in addition to a few of my favorite resources for finding additional book suggestions, to create our book lists.

I've broken the year into 6 Units, each unit containing core reading assignments, additional picture books/literature based on the time period, coloring books, a lap book, timeline entries, additional activities, and geography (state) assignments.   I've broken the lists into two sections - one for my Pre-K/Kindergartner-3rd graders (mainly the girls) and the other for my 4th-5th graders (the older boys).   We will most likely spend 4-8 weeks on each unit, some units requiring more time than others, but we'll have to see how it goes.

These plans are completely tailored towards my own family, and I didn't intend to share them online (at least not until after completing each unit and posting our Lap Book pictures), but since so many of you asked for them, here you go. . .

I've uploaded our plans to Scribd, along with listing our book list for the year below:

Note:  Books in bold on these lists are ones that we already own.  The rest we will purchase throughout the year if they are not available to check out from our local libraries.   Overall it is a LOT of books, but I don't intend to have all of my children read all of them.  They will each be assigned some of the books from the lists, and at least 2-3 from each list will be read aloud all together.  



Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games


Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games


Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games


Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games


Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games


Kindergarten-3rd Grade
4th-5th Grade
Coloring Books, Activities and Games

It's a pretty full book list already, but if anyone has any additional favorites to recommend for these time periods, I'd love for you to share them in the comments!