Thursday, February 22, 2007


The last several months my 4 year old has been into marine life. We started with books about seahorses and seadragons, moved on to coral reefs, rays and skates, and then whales. We visited the aquarium in Minneapolis when we had a 3 day trip there in February and he spent HOURS just petting the cow nosed rays. Fun!

We have been on the lookout for good materials and videos on this subject for him, as I think we have checked out every single book in the entire SCLS on this subject!

I found this great site, the Acorn Naturalists, which has everything!!! Marine life, freshwater life, astronomy, ecosystems, geology, gardening, insects, fish, amphibians, mammals, birds, archaeology. We plan to homeschool too, so I am so excited to find such a great resource.

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

My favorite scone recipe. Great for adults but my little guys love them too - and not too much sugar. You can leave the glaze off one or two for little people. Use only fresh blueberreies as frozen will bleed into the dough.

Blueberry Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut it into chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar (sifted)
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar). Use 2 forks or a pastry blender and cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; don't overmix. Fold in the blueberries. Try not to mash or bruise the blueberries or the color will bleed into dough.

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 inches and and inch and a quarter thick. Cut the rectangle in half then cut the pieces in half again, which gives you 4 squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops of them with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until brown. Let the scones cool a while before you glaze them.

Lemon glaze:
Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk the glaze to get rid of any lumps, and then drizzle it over the top of the scones. Let it sit to harden a tad before serving.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Children's Party Book, by Ane & Peter Thomas

The Children's Party Book, Anne & Peter Thomas

I have been searching through books from the library for ideas for my sons 4th birthday. We are trying to focus on more meaningful rituals and celebrations, reduce our plastics and character toys, and incorporate more natural elements into our home and play. SO. When looking for birthday party ideas, everything is bright, plastic, not made from renewable or recyclable materials. The icing is colored with who knows what. The refined sugar is crazy. Now, I am not going to serve granola cake on brown paper bags - I want it to be fun, important, and festive - but I don't want a pre-packaged party kind of theme thing.

My almost four year old wants John Deere (he, as every other 3 year old boy, loves construction and farm equipment). I thought I could incorporate that into a fun party "theme" without going matching store bought day glo stuff.

In my search, I came across a great book from the library. It has party games, themes, decor and costumes, and more which are are closer to the natural play ideology. There are many great ideas. Some are for school aged children, but there are plenty of ideas that can be incorporated for younger kids.