Michaelmas part IV

Here we are, halfway through our week of celebration. Surprisingly, we’ve managed to make all the crafts I had planned (thanks to the schedule system) and also some mandatory curriculum.
However, that is not to say everything went smooth.
Oh no.
20130925-153159.jpgIt began with pancakes. Because we’ve been reading “The Hungry Dragon” every day, it seemed fair that on baking day, we’d get some good pancake action… not that we needed an excuse, you know.
Kid number 2 helped mixing the ingredients and even poured some of the mix on to the frying pan. He’s relatively short so this was done with care.
His attention spam is as his height so his pancake making consisted in pouring and running to the living room to check Cartoon Network.
Because its an English Channel with no subtitles, it works as learning foreign language. See how that works?
20130925-152921.jpgIt was market day so i got a bag of almonds for our Dragon bread and extra groceries. I really like the dark light in the market, there are usually few people there so I feel like a walking target duck, but everyone is really nice. It takes a while but eventually I become a familiar face, regardless of full arms tattooed.
The old lady at the yarn shop adores to check up close all the details. She’s my favorite. We always talk a long time about homeschooling.
20130925-152931.jpgToday’s extra story was finally the one of St George and the Dragon, a story kid number 1 has been looking forward to hear. There were several pieces that could be used on the math lesson so it was fairly easy – and planned out the night before – .
They both drew their impression of the story and kid 1 took longer to draw, making an amazing piece of art. She draws fairly quick and goes through paper like no ones business but it seemed that today was special.
Kid 2 was starting to boil. Slowly and surely.
We did numbers and opposites;
“what’s heavy?” – the dragon
“What’s light?” – an orange / the princess silk dress
Plenty (swords) vs few (oranges again, I guess they were impressed by the magic orange tree…)
Thin vs thick (both swords)
Then units and hundreds, because the spear split into a hundred pieces and the armor into two.
But it was when we reached free form drawing that kid 2 decided he had had enough.
Writing this I feel like laughing, but I got really upset with his attitude at the time.
Both kids have this peculiar thing about them where when I ask to do something they don’t want to, they do the opposite. Or just something other.
Just for kicks, I guess, because explaining it to me wouldn’t be as fun. I assume my idiotic reaction is priceless and that’s why they do it.
Or maybe it’s me (its probably me) because my own brother used to do this and later told me the reason why he did it was because I look cute when I’m angry.
If anything, I look like a monster when I’m angry but hey, to each their own.
… But I digress.
Time out.
Kid 2 feels like I’ve thrown him in the pit with the most awful of dragons.
When he’s calmer he returns and we have lunch.
Now this is something I would like to change, make a bigger lunch routine. It’s usually sandwich, fruit, bread, something light, on the go, get back outside and play kind of food.
Maybe this is one reason for afternoon grumpiness (although I’m inclined to say “naps! We need afternoon naps!”) so I need to look into cooking a bigger meal.
20130925-152948.jpgBut the best part of the day is coming!
We’ve been talking about the bread for the last four days and baking bread was never something I needed to convince them to do so I drag my self into the kitchen (I’m still bummed with the snotty attitude) put on Social Siberia as background music (it’s calm but melodic enough to chase the bad vibes away) and sure enough, two songs in and I’m ready to start.
I tried a new recipe because even though I like the one I usually use, it’s always good to explore. Also, it’s bread. I have a hardback book on bread.
Surely I could learn a third bread recipe, it’s almost offensive if I don’t.

Dragon Bread Recipe:

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar

20130926-031835.jpgWe don’t use “cup” measurements as standard here, so we talked about how the pilgrims came up with the standard unit of measurement.
Because scales were hard to come by, they came up with “cup” because every house had a cup.
This was important in a way that for the past weeks I’ve been trying to explain why we can’t always do things the way we want to.
Most times it’s good to question and use our heads but there seems to be a little confusion going on as to when we should really follow the rules.
Luckily we’ve had examples everywhere, like knitting (it’s been done like this for years but if you wanna start knitting with your toes and invent new stitches go right ahead. My suggestion is that first you learn how to knit with your fingers), or driving (why yes, the British and the Japanese drive on the other side of the road but they do it in their country. When they come here they drive on the same side as everyone else. Also, to them, *we* drive on the *other* side. But it doesn’t really matter, as long as we use the *right* side according to the country we’re in).
The list goes on, kid 1 questions everything. Kid 2 doesn’t question, he goes right ahead and does his thing.

The bread is an easy recipe and if you’ve baked bread before, you know how it goes. Mix the water and the yeast, on a second bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Then go crazy, mix it all and knead the dough. Let it rise for an hour and come back to make dragons.
Our stove does not have temperature indicator, just good old fashioned low, medium, off.
I use medium for half an hour but check from time to time.
20130926-031937.jpgThe bread really grew when baking so next time I should make a smaller dragon because it will puff up in his oven cave.
I also only used half the oil (I used olive oil and used a cooking brush to “paint” the dragon before baking.)
While we waited for the grand finale, it was time for the last activity of the day, Arabian belts made of yarn!
And pssst, more math! (The horror, how dare you Mrs Mom?!)
Follow me through logic and everyday math use.
We need 24 strings, 3 meters each.
We had a visitor last week, aged 3 who is a great magician, specially with measuring tapes. Did wonders making mine disappear.
Now I know that from one hand to the other I happen to be one meter and a half.
(So convenient I know.)
So we do a little math on halfs and its hilarious to follow their train of thoughts but they do get there.
But they decide they want 3 colors on their belts. It’s fine by me, this math I can do in seconds (eat that, math teachers !) and because my opinion on math is that it’s not as theoretical as everyone’s says so but more practical, I explain that we have to divide our 24 strings into 3 so we know how many strings of each color to cut and we should use “things” to do the division and not try and do it in our heads.
But they do it. They grab a puzzle with 24 pieces and make 3 piles and divide all the pieces, getting 8 pieces on each pile.
And yes, they counted all 3 piles. I need to work on their trust issues.
Now it was time for kid 2 to have a meltdown.
Despite “braiding” being on her list, it’s also something new and her usual reaction to something new is, it either goes perfect the first time or I’m unleashing the inner warrior.
(I mean her, not me. And it never goes perfect.)
Expect meltdown in 5.
Weird sounds start coming off of her mouth.
Here’s a solid “Humphf.”
Flimsy arms. Get ready, Mrs Mom is staring.
“Are you serious?”
1. Houston we have lift off.
Everything drops on the floor, including kid 1, who does drama so well we might consider theatrical career.
But I feel her. Oh I do. She’s given up many things because of her fear and its been two years before she started knitting again.
Except I’m already having a bad day, I’m tired, I want to take a nap and for goodness sake, give me a break!
(Now insert mid afternoon existence crisis as to whether or not I should go through all this for them, maybe they like worksheets better, maybe I’m being a jerk making them do braids and drawings… Maybe this is a million times more fun for grown ups because we actually have a clue of what we are doing and our hands, arms and eyes actually work well as a team. Oh, Mrs Mom, you need a time out)
So I leave her and go get the bread.
It’s gone huge and delightful with raisins and almonds and golden color.
And so soft.
So incredibly soft. It’s probably the eggs, as I never use eggs, but it’s amazing!
“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”
The smell invades the house and soon kid 1 and kid 2 are beside me marveled at their work of heart.
Strawberry jam and butter and its time to finish those belts.
Except I do the big braiding.
You leave about 55cm of the tip, make a knot and braid from there all the way to the other end, also leaving about 55cm off the tip.
(This comes from “The Childrens Year: Seasonal Crafts and Clothes”)
Join both tips with a knot or sew together, (you have a loop and loose string on the tip) and the remaining strings on the tip are to be divided again into 8 pieces (4 each end, made of 6 strings each. Doesn’t make sense? It does when you’re making it. Hopefully. Ill do a step by step post if requested, this post is long as is!)
If you thought this was only a belt, think again. It became a tail very quickly, also a necklace and something other that I couldn’t really understand.
It took me two hours of rock music on my headphones after sleep time to get back into normal mode.
Then I got to writing.
And all was well again.

Join me tomorrow as kid 1 and kid 2 make their golden capes and crowns!

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