March 3, 2017

Daily Rhythms & Our Growing Love For Poetry Tuesdays


We are now two full weeks back into the normal swing of life since Dad returned from being away for a week. For the most part, our days are ticking by without too much out-of-the-ordinary. As we are now into March, I'm trying not to think too far ahead about furlough in two short months. This will be our third family trip back to Canada, and along with this kind of trip there comes a lot of clearing out the old to make way for new things we need to bring back here with us. A fair amount of planning and organizing has to be done before we hit the ground in Canada. My To-Do-Before-We-Leave-For-Canada List will be written in due time.

Photo Credit: Hamilton Beach

For now, I am enjoying the normal rhythms of life here: Listening to the birds of the Madagascar summer sing outside my bedroom window, and stealing away a few moments in the sunshine with my ereader every now and again. I hear Malagasy children's voices across the lake in our backyard and smell the neighbors' and helpers' afternoon meals wafting into my house in the heat of the day.

I'm saving a cool drink for the late afternoons to share with my husband when he returns from work. Then we spend some moments together on our back deck debriefing about our day before the dinner and bedtime rush ensues.

Living in the southern hemisphere means we see the sun setting before 6:30pm year round. So we spend much of our evening in the dark, and our bodies feel as though it should be much later than 8:00 when the time comes. Typically we are turning our lights out by 9:00 or 9:30. Being a homeschool family makes the quietness we have after our children are tucked in that much more special, and time I want to make as much of as I can. The children are with me all day long, so that hour I have in the morning before they wake, and the 1 or 2 I can have in the evening after they're asleep is really important to both my husband and me. I'm so thankful our time overseas is helping cultivate our friendship as husband and wife as we stand together in so many unique experiences.


"I love poetry days," says my 8-year old son. 
Music to this homeschool mom's ears - let me tell you. I wouldn't be as surprised to hear one of the girls say this.... but my sword-wielding, rough-and-tumble, full-of-pranks son??
Besides some poetry lessons being incorporated in our Language Arts, we try and have a Poetry Tea Time every Tuesday. This is a highlight for my kids, and I was surprised to hear my 3rd Grade son verbalize that he really likes poetry tea time.

It's actually super simple. One day a week I make them tea, we have some cookies or cinnamon toast, or other little snack. I gather some poetry books I'd like the kids to see that week. 

While they are having tea I read them a poem or two that I've chosen (looking them in the eyes as much as I can, with as much drama as I can muster! haha). Sometimes I try and have a discussion question ready, but other times we just enjoy the selection without any grilling at the end. Then everyone else chooses a poem (or two, or three) and they take turns reading them aloud to each other. My non-reading child chooses a poem, and I read it on his behalf to everyone. It has been fun to hear my children revisit favorite Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes or other favorite poems over the weeks.

The whole thing takes about 20 minutes. (Let's be honest here, maybe it's the tea and cookies that makes this such a pleasurable experience for my boy. :)

That's it. Simple, fun, memorable.

In the Kitchen

Jumbo Chocolate Muffins 
These muffins are definitely a treat - and are probably just named "muffins" to trick you into thinking you're not eating cake.... but they are pretty much a cupcake without the icing.

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup sifted cocoa powder
3 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 Cup granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup oil
1 Cup plain yogurt
1/4 Cup water
1 TB vanilla extract
3 ounces chopped milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius. Grease 12 muffin tins with oil.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip eggs with sugar until completely smooth. Add oil into egg and sugar mixture and combine well, then add yogurt, water and vanilla.

Combine dry ingredients with wet, and stir until there are not dry spots. Fold in chopped chocolate.

Fill muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 180 degrees celsius and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. Leave muffins to cool in the tins for 10-15 and carefully spoon out. The tops become quite crusty and will easily lift off the bottom half of your muffin.


The Lobster Claw, once again - completely open... almost finished. This has been a lovely flower to watch and has stayed in bloom for a very long time!

On My Side Table

I quit on Emily of New Moon. Despite how much I remember enjoying Anne of Green Gables, after getting about fifty percent through this one, I just couldn't keep going.

My Life in France: Julia Child has been a delight to read. I may even try to find this cookbook she published, or see if I can find some early cooking shows of hers from the 1960s on YouTube.

The kids and I are listening to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz together from the library. This is the first time I've listened to an audiobook alongside them, and it's been a really nice change! The last time I read this book aloud was 5 years ago during my oldest child's kindergarten year.

It was especially funny to hear them discuss the needs and desires of the Tinman and the Scarecrow---which is better? A heart or a brain?

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