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Famous Homeschoolers

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

I've always found it fascinating each time I learn of some other well-known individual who was homeschooled. Part of me thinks that if that person did so well in life "despite" being homeschooled, there is hope for my kids!

If you've never read about any famous homeschoolers, take a few minutes to do so with your kids. You may be surprised ... they may be encouraged. It's an exercise worth pursuing.

Now we can add another prestigious name to that list ... Willard S. Boyle was recently awarded 1/4 of the Nobel prize for physics. How exciting to learn that he was homeschooled! His mama (if she is still living) is surely proud of him.

Who knows what potential sits around your kitchen table today ... sleepily working their way through their spelling words or the intricacies of chemistry.

Blessings ...

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Applesauce!

>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yep ... it's that time of year. In the next few days my house is going to smell the best it will smell all year. The odor of cooking apples, cinnamon and cloves ... in addition to the smell of fall leaves each time the door opens, should really be bottled and sold!

This is a tremendous time of year to get your kids involved in something besides academics. Here's where science and math and practical life skills all merge together in your kitchen.

Find a local orchard where you can pick apples ... do a bit of research ahead of time so you can chat like an old pro about the different types of apples and their many uses. Here are some hints to get you started:

  • Cortlands - this "workhorse" apple is phenomenal for cooking just about anything ... pies, sauce, apple butter, crisps, etc... They are often a large apple which gives you more bang for your peeling!
  • Honeycrisp - This apple has exceptionally crisp, juicy, sweet-as-honey flesh with just a hint of tartness, making it a tasty treat any time of the day. You can also use this apple for baking. This has become a family favorite for an eating apple.
  • Idared - This rosy, brightly colored apple is a cross between two New York apples, Jonathan and Wagener. I love to add these to my sauce because of their bright pink color.
  • McIntosh - The tender white flesh is crisp when freshly harvested, but soon adopts a softer consistency, making it perfect for cooking into pies or sauce. Macs are sweet and juicy with a pleasant tanginess. I mix Macs, Cortlands and Idareds for an awesome applesauce and apple butter.
  • Granny Smith - Lime-green speckled skin that resists bruising and very firm, crisp flesh characterize this popular apple. Its sharp, tart flavor holds up well in recipes with spicy notes, and the flesh is firm enough to retain its shape when cooked. If you like to make baked apples, this variety is perfect!
Then go spend a chilly afternoon in your local orchard picking apples and enjoying the sights and smells of autumn. If you aren't lucky enough to live in the northeast (a little local pride there), then make a field trip out of visiting your local store and choosing apples. Head back to your kitchen to create some applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, apple crumble, or any number of delicious apple creations.

Even better ... create some applesauce ornaments to hang around your home. This keeps that wonderful apple and cinnamon scent around that much longer. These are easy to make ... combine 3 cups of applesauce with 3 cups of cinnamon. Mix well until you have a thick mixture. Carefully roll the mixture out on a very lightly cinnamon-dusted surface to about 1/4" thick. Find your favorite cookie cutter and cut away! Use a drinking straw to create a small hole at the top of each ornament. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 2 1/2 hours at 150 degrees. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Once cooled, thread a slender ribbon through the hole and hang! These make great Christmas gifts as well.

Have fun!!

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Going Home

>> Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A homeschool icon left this earth for a better place yesterday. HSLDA's Chris Klicka fought a 15 year battle with MS and "won" ... though not in the way that many might define winning. I have alternated between rejoicing and weeping with his wife, Tracy, as she documented Chris's final struggle with MS on their CaringBridge page. Being close in age to someone who graduates to heaven can bring the realities of life into sharp focus. I can only hope that I finish my life's journey as well as Chris has.

Bits and pieces of Sara Grove's song, Going Home, have been invading my thoughts over the past 24 hours. I have it playing in the background as I write this ...

Of going home, I'll meet you at the table
Going home, I'll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home.

I'm confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with you in sight.

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home.

Going home, I'll meet you at the table
Going home, I'll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home.

May we all be looking forward to going home ...

Blessings ...

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