Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fitting in nature study and all those 'extras'

I noticed this year as we got into a more rigorous curriculum (Ambleside Online), with more books to read, more work than last year, nature study had slipped a little around here. Sure, we still do a bit of nature study but it hasn't been as much as I would have liked nor as much as Charlotte Mason's students truly did.

Also, some of the so called 'extras' too like handicrafts, art etc were taking a nose dive! Because I am not an arty person, they would get left to the last and then when we ran out of time they wouldn't get done:(

So, I tried to rectify that by adjusting our schedule this term.

I've alloted certain 'days' to certain 'subjects' so they don't get left out.
So my schedule goes like this. Besides our daily subjects like Bible, Maths, penmanship and poetry, we allot the other subjects as follows:

Mondays and Tuesdays we cover Literature, History and Geography (the readings are spread out over two days as I don't want to overload her with one subject on each day)

Wednesdays is our 'science and nature study' day.

Thursdays we call our 'artsy' day in which we do all the extras (which are not really 'extras' because they are a key differentiator between a Charlotte Mason education and other methods): composer study, picture study (art), drawing, hymns, handicrafts (knitting) and the all important 'craft' for my craft loving daughter:)

Fridays we have off for park days, etc.

We are almost at the end of second 12 week term and I can say we've had better success with this than term 1.

By having a set day to do certain subjects that I don't necessarily like, I ensure it gets done and that Rebekah is getting that liberal education that Charlotte Mason talked about.

With Nature study however (where we actually go to a specific place to observe nature, do nature journalling etc) I have allowed myself to schedule it in once a fortnight (for my non-Aussie readers that's once every two weeks) (smile) instead of once a week as it involves much more time and preparation on my part! I figured that this way instead of constantly feeling like we never do it, if I allow myself some leeway and set a more realistic goal, it will actually get done!

So, having said all that, as we had no park day this week and also because of poor weather, we had our nature study day yesterday - a Friday.

We had a lovely picnic lunch along with Rebekah's new Sylvanian family bike and picnic set,

fed the ducks at leisure,

took time to relax and breathe, observed and discussed at length about the birds, trees and flowers, have fun,

did some nature journalling,

did some reading in a shady spot, and just marvelled at God's creation!

I brought to Rebekah's attention the design on the petals of the above flower. Nature has some invaluable lessons for us in that they display the beauty and wonder of God and teach us so much about Him. Prior to homeschooling Rebekah I would never have noticed the intricate designs on the inside of a flower!
Isn't this flower just amazing! It's a dietes and is a very common flower. I'm sorry that these shots are just from my mobile phone and don't do the beauty of the flower any justice but when Rebekah took a closer look, she was amazed and said, it's like God drew it with a texta! That's exactly what it looked like! A texta drawing / or as if someone had personally hand painted that brown design on the inside of the petal! To think that God put so much detail into a flower that is here today and gone tomorrow.....

We had an awesome day! It actually turned out to be a lovely nature study day mummy/daughter date actually:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fringe benefits of blogging

I started this blog in February 2009 mainly to keep an online journal of some aspects of our life here which I am keeping so Rebekah can read one day.
Along the way I have made some wonderful blogging friends one of them being Joluise at 'Stop have a chat'.
Well, Jo recently had a giveaway on her blog (some tissue holders she had made) and I won one, hurray!

It arrived in the mail today, along with a lovely surprise for Rebekah - some very pretty craft stickers (top half of the picture).

Here is the tissue holder after I unwrapped the little parcel along with a refill and a handy 2012 magnetic calendar:

Isn't it beautiful!

Rebekah jumped up and down when she realised part of it was for her. Jo, I wish I could capture her thank you for you, instead she decided to pose for this photo for you as a 'thank you'! You blessed my little girl so much today, thankyou!

If you don't follow Jo's blog, I'd encourage you to take a look.

Jo is a statician, so always has some very interesting posts to read. Besides that she is very creative with her garden, her crafts, her home...I could go on and on! More importantly I believe she is a very gracious and kind person (I think you get to know people a bit if you follow them over time) and I love reading her blog as it's very uplifting.

I am very blessed my bloggy friends, all of you! and this today was a fringe benefit which I didn't mind at all:) Thanks again Jo!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rosemary's Easy Sushi Recipe

I thought I'd put my blog to good use and tell you all how I make really really easy sushi, the one I mentioned here!

This recipe is for Arky a dear friend of mine who is no longer in Australia, all my real life friends that often ask me how I make sushi and anyone else out there wanting to know:)

Years ago I read a recipe in a women's magazine for sushi and I only ever made it a couple of times! Though it was well liked, the recipe was filed never to resurface due to it not being that easy to make. These days 'easy' is my middle name when it comes to cooking! I'm sure I'll get back into more elaborate cooking in another season and time of my life though.

Sushi can be unduly intimidating (at least it was for me), so here I'm going to try and dispel any doubts you have that you can make it!
If you're a more experienced sushi cook and you're still reading, please forgive me for elaborating too much:)


Sushi Rice 2 cups
Seaweed sheets

O'bento Sushi seasoning: 12 to 18 tbsp - the bottle indicates 18 but I find 12 is adequate, you can use 18 if you want a stronger flavour to the rice.

If you don't have this brand of sushi seasoning you will have to subsitute with japanese rice vinegar (though I'm not sure if that has added sugar to give it a sweet flavour). If it doesn't it won't give you that store bought sushi taste and you may have to add some sugar to it, or else look for another recipe lol!

Fillings as you desire. I used smoked salmon and avocado(cut into strips) (for the adults here) and cucumber(also in strips) and avocado for Rebekah. On a side note, Rebekah prefers raw salmon to smoked but I'm not game enough to try it with raw salmon:)

Cook sushi rice according to instructions on packet.
(An easy way I cook it in the microwave is to use two parts water to one part rice and cook it on high for a few minutes first until quite a bit of the water is absorbed. So in this recipe for 2 cups rice I would cook it for about 7 to 9 minutes for on high, let it sit for 10 minutes, then cook it for another 5 minutes on medium heat)

Add the sushi seasoning to the rice mixture and stir through and let it cool down to room temp. I normally cook this in the morning and leave it aside to cool down till later in the day when I make the rolls.

Cut all your vegetables, gather your fillings and have them ready on hand along with a bowl of water to rinse your hands between rolls.

Place the seaweed sheet shiny side down on a chopping board / tray.

Layer rice all over the sheet leaving a gap of an inch or so at one end which I will call the finishing end (this will be the flap that closes over at the finish to hold everything in place). The layer of rice needs to be evenly spread out and not too thick as otherwise you will end up with a very chunky sushi roll:)
I am sorry about this picture and some of the ones following, which kept getting rotated around every time I tried uploading them. I tried some workarounds I found on the internet but nothing has helped and I've already spent way too much time on this post lol so I am giving up!

Layer your fillings on the rice at the starting end.

Begin rolling over the seaweed sheet with fillings firmly in place.

I don't use a bamboo mat but you can use one to help with this process.
The trick is to ensure it's all tight when you roll it up.
Keep rolling it over until you get to the end of the rice and then fold the end side of the sheet over and using some water stick it down to hold everything in place.

Once you've done these and finished the rolls, place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This helps everything set and makes it easier to cut into pieces for serving.

I do not store left over cooked sushi rice as I believe it doesn't do well in rolls the next day due to a change in the texture resulting from refrigeration. Instead I make additional rolls with it and store them in the fridge overnight. I have often made rolls for two dinners (as I did today) and they taste just as good the next night!

Lastly, enjoy with a dash of soy sauce on the side and/ or wasabi!

Disclaimer: This recipe was adapted from the back of the seasoning bottle and other places I've read sushi recipes so I'm not claiming it's my own. Also, I am not getting paid for any of this by any company, neither do I own shares in any of the companies I recommend in this post, though I am open to it lol!