French Macaron, Tries #1 and #2

I’ve been watching too much Great British Bake Off. Again. LOL. I just love it and I binge watched a bunch on the 4th of July. As a result I’m challenging myself to learn some cool baking skills this month.
Like this… A Spanische Windtorte

It was BEAUTIFUL, but no more delicious than a pavlova and about 10 times the work/time. I filled it with fresh whipped cream, cherries, strawberries, and fresh lemon curd. It was insane. (I used the linked recipe and cut the sugar by 25%.)
Today I tackled the French Macaron. I’ve never made them before so I watched a couple you tube videos and read up on Pinterest. I used the recipe from THIS video.

Well, I learned A LOT in the first batch.

1. Bake one tray at a time. Or this will happen:

2. Use more food coloring (to avoid cookies that are weak in color) and cook them a little longer.

3. I get what they mean about consistency of the batter more now. It’s such a weird thing – get lots of air in… then stir it out.

Batch #2 went better than #1. I rested the piped cookies longer, so I got nice feet. I used the convection setting, so they cooked faster. That’s nice, except I overcooked them. Ooops. 

I used the same filing for both – a French Buttercream (from the linked video). I followed the directions except instead of 3 1/2 T milk I used lemon juice. It was basically lemon curd and it was fabulous. Tart, bright…perfect with the cookies.

No filter!!

So I’ll keep practicing. The macarons very nice, fun, and a just little impressive. LOL! And, for those when I need a go to recipe, they’re gluten free. I like that they aren’t too sweet, and are tasty!! What’s not to love??

Weeks In Review – 3/24/17

I know I haven’t done a Week in Review in a couple of weeks, so much for my resolution of awesome consistency, eh? LOL! Such is life. Hopefully I can cover two weeks without annoying my 2 readers!

This Week In …

… School:

 

It’s been a busy and somewhat productive couple of weeks. Last week we rocked 4 days of school. I’ll freely admit, one of those days was some serious car schooling. My Brother-In-Law needed us to go test drive a car about 70 minutes away, so that took up the majority of Thursday. We did get a lot done in the car and at home before we left for the day.  Friday the local schools were out, so Little’s scout troop had a trip starting at noon, and Big had her initial meeting with her Student Adviser over at the Dual Enrollment college, so the day was a wash. We are all definitely seeing the light at the end of the semester’s tunnel.

This week we pulled off 3 solid days and one lighter day. Thankfully, the kids have worked so far ahead and have been very diligent before and since the move, so we’re having no problem with days off and easier days. Big and I took one day off and went to meet some friends at Berry College for an official visit (Little worked hard at home with DH), and another day we met an old friend in Atlanta for lunch. It was an old grad school friend I haven’t seen in about 10 years, so it was a welcome reunion.

 

 

… Life School:

 

Cooking nights for the kids are continuing. They’re actually enjoying it (usually!). Little had a fiasco of a giant sandwich / lime pie night, but otherwise things have gone smoothly. Big made some delicious cheeseburger soup one week, and KILLED IT on PI DAY with excellent individual chicken pot pies.

 

So, we bought a little, old, very fun sailboat a few weeks ago off of Craigslist. It’s been SO SO SO MUCH fun teaching the kids to sail. Both DH and I grew up sailing little boats, and I was even a competitive sailor in college, so it’s such a blessing to get to pass this on! Thankfully DH is a STUD and can repair anything because The Boat leaks. Kind of a lot. LOL! So he’ll add more patches and we’ll get her lake-worthy for the summer.  Seriously, this is the best thing.

 

 

… Other Stuff:

 

We had some minor sadness here last weekend. We were supposed to have friends stay with us for a few days and do some fun stuff and college visits. Sadly, one of the visiting kids got sick so they had to head home early. It made for some gloom and disappointment here, but our friend recovered quickly, the sickness didn’t spread, we got to meet up for lunch and the college visit anyway,  and we’ll get to see them again soon.
Recipe of the week – BREAD MACHINE NAAN. I am NEVER buying naan again. Ever.

 

Free cone day at Dairy Queen. Score!!! I took the boys before scouts, and indulged with them, and then let the girls run in after Beauty and the Beast (which I really, really liked!).

 

… The Move:

 

I think I hit a wall this week. I’ve realized that we’re met some people, and everyone is very “friendly”, but we don’t really have any “friends”. I know it’ll be a while. It takes time to connect and let down your guard. I know. But I think that maybe spending a night with some great, real life friends made me realize we’re  [I’m]  in a pretty lonely spot. We are inviting people over for meals (which is hard, but good), and even attended a social event with people from church (including dinner after), but it just feels weird… forced… awkward. I really miss being around people who know me and accept me for me.

 

Friday nights at the fire place continue. We love this. It’s a great time of connecting and grounding our weekend. Love it.

 

We’ve discovered Bruster’s. Yum. Serious yum.

 

… On the Horizon –

We’re joining a church! Well, DH and I are joining. LOL! The kids are learning more about the denomination and we’ve decided to let them decide for themselves if they want to join and when. Of course they’re attending with us, and had a ton of input in our decision to join there (as a family, even if they decide “officially” to join later), and are very happy with the decision to call it HOME.  It’s scary and awesome having older kids who are learning to make adult decisions for themselves. I am thrilled to be finding a HOME for our family to learn, serve, and grow.

 

Fun days ahead. I’ll update as I can!!

 

Praises:

+ Sickness was contained and recovered from quickly.

+ DE class swap. This is big. So thankful.

+ Fun college visit with friends. Berry is STUNNING.

+ A church HOME. A new start. A new family.

 

Prayers:

If you’re inclined to join us in prayer we’d HUGELY appreciate it!!!

+ House sale. Gods timing is perfect and it will sell when it sells, but we covet your prayers.

+ Safe travel. Fun times ahead. We’d love your prayers for safety!

 

How about you?? How was YOUR week?

Homeschool Coffee Break
The Homeschool Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working for Me Wednesday – Homeschooling High School

Math. I’ve talked a lot about it here on Fried Clams, but this week Big and I decided something was really working for us and I wanted to share.

We use Saxon Math from Algebra 1/2 and up. Love it. We use it with the Art Reed dvds and Big is currently on lesson 107-ish of the Advanced Math book. Starting in Advanced Math we do a half lesson a day. The lessons just start to take a LONG time, and the material is THICK so we ration it a little. So, we used to do the video and odd problems on Day 1, and then the next day we’d finish with the even problems. But, with this system the video days were always pretty long, with of the videos running 8 minutes, but some 20+.

While this may seem blatantly obvious, we decided that on video days we’d only do problems 1-10. Then, the next day we’d do 11-30. Now it seems like both days are a totally great deal. Mentally, we’re psyched for either day – “YAY! Video and only 10 problems!”, or “Sweet, no video and only 20 problems!”.  It’s funny how such a simple change has made our math time so much easier!!

What’s working for you this Wednesday?!

Homemaking LInkup

 

 

 

Homeschooling Older Kids – – MUSIC

A question came up recently on a homschool board I’m on about kids listening to music when they’re doing their daily studies.

When my kids were younger I usually had some relaxing music on when we did our work. I am a music loving person, so it was soothing to me. I’m not sure if that started it, but now one, and sometimes both of my kids like to listen to music when they work.

I am 100% fine with it as long as it’s appropriate, and they get their work done (with retention). I have one that can listen to music and read. Not instrumental – more like Owl City. To me that’s super weird. But, they’re relaxed and they retain like crazy, so I’m good with it.

I also have a “not so loud I have to beat you with a broom to get your attention” rule. I hate having to scream at the kids to listen. So, reasonable volume is a must.

image

Needless to say, we fight over who gets to use the Pandora One account. Normally, it’s me! And NO (no, no, no, no!!!) I didn’t pick all all the channels on the screen!! I prefer the likes of George Winston, The Piano Guys, and Fernando Ortega during the day.

How about you? Do you prefer silence or music when you work?

High School Planning: Rocket German

This spring I’ve started looking into our High School plan. It makes me sweat with fear and to be honest, I am a little overwhelmed. We’re planning on moving fairly soon, so in addition to looking into local laws, I’m learning new ones, projecting our plans, and trying to make sure Big is prepared for ALL of her dreams. It’s a big order. So, I’m trying to take it one bite at a time…

This bite – FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

Big needs at least 2 years of foreign language. We’ve done Latin in the past, and I think that’s a great foundation, but she really wanted to try something else. Sure! I’m game.

She picked… German. Seriously. I don’t speak German. DH doesn’t. We’re not in a good community for it. But, I’m game! Her grandmother (step, but who cares!) is a native German speaker, and her GrandPop is learning German. We also have some friends who speak it. With that encouragement, I started researching.

First, we looked at the Oklahoma State German Online program. It had good reviews, but we weren’t wowed by the videos. “Outdated” would be a compliment.  Now, we don’t need slick, but they were super fuzzy and a little dry.

We have Rosetta Stone Spanish. We don’t LOVE it, so I’m not interested in investing again. (And honestly, if I’m not making Big use it, you can tell I’m a little ambivalent.)

I looked into the Middlebury College high school Interactive Languages. I wasn’t totally wowed. I wanted to be. My sister is a Middlebury graduate. 🙂

I looked into the BYU High School distance learning program German. This one looks really good, but I really don’t want a classroom set up just yet. Maybe for level 2. I think this will be on the reserve list.

I looked into The Potter’s School. They had good recommendations, but again, I’m trying to keep this independent learning. I want to be able to travel during the school year and not be tied to a schedule, and I want her to start this summer to lighten the load in the fall. For that reason TPS didn’t make the cut.

After all the research, I decided that for German 1, Big would use ROCKET GERMAN.

What do I like about it?

  • It was highly reviewed online.
  • It’s very thorough. (I’m having cut and paste issues, so you’ll have to check the site to see what I mean, sorry!!)
  • It’s funny and engaging.
  • It has a really solid speech recognition element.

Here’s our plan…

1. In Level 1, there are about 66 lessons, about an hour long each, minimum. She will complete those, and then move to Level 2. There are 3 levels in the program so we’ll have plenty of time to meet the 120-140 hour requirements for a high school credit.

2. We will supplement with writing assignments, and maintaining a student notebook.

3. We will add in conversation with grandparents for practice.

4. We will also add in a German workbook recommended by GrandPop’s wife, “Auf deutsch, bitte!, Übungsheft“.

5. We are planning on taking an immersion field trip in the fall. This is my favorite part of the plan! 🙂

I’m pretty happy with this plan. We’ve started this summer with about 45 minutes a day. Big is having fun, and I think learning a lot. She needs more speech practice, so we’ll be working on that!!

How about you? Are you working on setting up a High School language credit?

Weekly Report – 5 June 2015

It’s summer. Really, truly summer.

Hot.

Humid.

Summer!!

I love it. I used to hate summer in the South, because summer here is unlike summer anywhere (except maybe other insanely hot, humid, rainy places). Hot here is over 100. Humid is over 90%. And, now, I love it. I actually rarely swim when it’s under 90 – and I swim a lot!

So I am thrilled that it’s summer.

And, strangely, I thought summer would mean that our days would be filled with quiet, and reading, and relaxation, and easily completing our chores and piano… What was I thinking?!?!

It’s been INSANE.

Last weekend Big and I went to Boston to visit my parents. It was a good / bad trip – but it’ll have it’s own post.

We arrived home late Sunday and drove straight to a friend’s house for church. We have a BBQ, lake swim, lakeside service a couple of times a year and this was the weekend. It was awesome, but I was TIRED.

Monday – piano lessons at 8:30, a brief at the library for later in the week, and loads of scout stuff to get wrapped up for Monday night’s meetings (troop and committee). We also mowed the lawn, cut a gas line, and evacuated the house. Good stuff there, eh? LOL!! Everyone was fine and the repair minor.

Tuesday – After DH falling down some stairs and nearly breaking his ankle, we sent him off to work and I started the MOM-IN-A-CAR day. The kids volunteered at the library for a couple of hours (I went home and tried to catch up on the blog), then home for a couple, then the afternoon: library club from 2:30-5, TKD from 5-7, Robotics from 6:30-8:30. Yeah, there’s some overlap there. We ate pizza in the car on the way between events. In the fall – something (library) will have to give.

Wednesday – More library volunteer time… then errands… home for a quick lunch… and then Little off to a friend’s for a pool time / airsoft party… Big decided to stay home and chill. We picked up some ice cream and waffle bowls (because “waffle bowl” is awesome to say!), and watched Miss Congeniality. I love that movie!! Later my friend dropped off Little and his bud, and I was tasked with taking them to a Youth Group yogurt shop meet up. I took Big along and sent them to hang out while I chilled. I was pooped.

Thursday – Almost a breather. We slept in – until 8. Little had a make-up piano lesson at 9, so Big and I dropped him off and ran to Walmart to pick up a birthday gift for a friend. After shopping, we picked up Little, went home and caught up on house stuff. At 2 I had to pick up a couple of Little’s friends – and then to the library for a party – another car trip to drop off one of the friends – and then back to TKD. It was a BIG night with the kids breaking their first boards. That was SUPER COOL to watch and I shot a lot of video!!

Friday – EXHALE. Nothing major today. At least not before 1… I slept TERRIBLY so I was slow starting. First stop was the gym, with the kids needing a timed run (merit badge work), and I walked. Then off to the library… again. The kids finished the books from Tuesday and Thursday. Really. Then to a local spot for brunch, and then home. I took a short nap and the kids – well – they read. More. I made the call to skip food pantry packing and later we headed to the pool. After pool was a disappointing stop for fast food (I knew better!), and then to apologetics (not without taking a rock and likely headed for a windshield replacement on my car… the one with almost NO miles on it… I’m a little overwhelmed and frustrated). Here at apologetics I sit. Quietly. Hiding in my car. Being a little anti-social. It’s been a long week and I’m Ok with listening to David Jeremiah and my husband, and that’s about it.

Tomorrow – It continues. Food pantry. Pool. Pack for camp upcoming. In-laws coming for the night. Triplets coming for the following week…

I’m starting to think that this teen thing – it doesn’t slow down. Busy is good. I just need to work on my endurance and keep up more. More smoothies. Less fast food. More prayer. Less worry. Maybe carpooling! And maybe, a little more margin. We’ll see. 🙂 I hope your summer is starting out well – even if it’s a little hectic.