Sunday, March 4, 2012

Little Miss Earned Her 1st Awards

Yippee!!! Daddy came home on Sunday afternoon. It is always a fun time
when Daddy gets home. My husband and I made the decision before the
school year began that on days he was home from work, the kids would
have time off from homeschooling also. It was a great decision to
make. As excited as the kids become with Daddy home from the road, they
would have a hard time focusing on their schoolwork anyways.

After dinner, I brought out the 4 awards that Little Miss had earned in
the Little Keepers at Home program. Over the past couple of months, she
has been working on the phonics portion of the ABC's academic skill.
She had already learned to say and write her ABC's but I wanted to be
sure she understood their sounds. The second skill she worked on was
Decoupage. She used the decoupage technique to make holiday gifts last
December. That was one of her most fun projects. She really enjoyed
making them. The third skill was Cookie Baking. At the holidays and
since then, Little Miss has been helping me to make cookies. At her
age, I have to do the actual baking to prevent her getting a burn. She
is able to do the mixing of the ingredients and putting the dough onto
the baking sheets. We did take a minor shortcut in the baking part. I
always try to have parchment paper on hand to line the baking sheet
with. I am then able to simply slide the parchment paper full of baked
cookies off the sheet and onto a cooling rack. This helps also to
prevent her from getting burned due to a hot pan. The last area that
she worked on was a health unit on Keeping Clean. We talked about good
personal hygiene and why it is important. Having learned it during a
time of year when colds are going around was especially timely. She was
able to manage going through the season without getting sick, even
though exposed to others with colds.

Daddy was really pleased with her efforts. He made quite a production
out of awarding her the pins. I haven't made her banner yet to display
them on, which is a good thing. We decided to make her a vest with her
helping to sew it. This will give her another skill area to work on.
She has been wanting to learn to sew something. Letting her help sew
her vest will make a nice project. I already have a pattern. It is
very simple and does not require button holes. I have a couple of ideas
for closures, but will wait and let her help choose them.

I am finding that Little Miss, while very much an outdoors type of girl,
is also a very dainty girlie-girl. She is so cute to watch. One day
she is wearing bib overalls, playing in the mud with her brother and
nephew. The next day she can be found wanting to wear a dress and do
the more dainty things. I love it! I hope that she always knows that
being a lady doesn't have to mean always being "girlie" but means far
more. I believe it to be an attitude more than anything. Of course,
this is coming from a Mom who used to drive trucks for a living.

Afternoon Tea

Little Miss and I are greatly enjoying our tea times. typically, we
will have tea in the afternoon while Little Man in resting or taking his
nap. This has led us to talking about the tradition of having tea in
England. I have tried looking up information about it in library books,
but have been disappointed to find that the interpretations of
"Afternoon Tea & High Tea" in America differ from one author to
another. Unfortunately, many of these same authors say that they
learned about the English tea customs when living in England.

This has led me to questions about the custom of the more British style
of tea. What is the true difference between the afternoon tea and high
tea? One resource said that scones, light tea sandwiches, and pastries
are served at a High Tea, while another said that these were served at
an Afternoon Tea. I am sure that to some, it may not matter. I am
wanting to teach my daughter the custom however. In her Keepers at Home
program there is an optional award for hosting a tea party. Since we
are not doing the Keepers program as a group, but as a family, I am
wanting to alter the suggested activities a bit. I want to teach my
daughter the difference between an Afternoon Tea and a High Tea. With
the amount of enjoyment that she gets from our tea times, I know that
she would enjoy helping put together both types of tea for our family.
Who knows? We may even begin adopting the custom in our own family.

I would love to hear about the Afternoon and High tea from anyone who
has a knowledge of them. Maybe even share a recipe? Here is a recipe
that we use for scones. We love them and the recipe is easy enough that
Little Miss is able to do much of the putting it together.

Banana-Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

2.5 cups of all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped bananas
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until
mixture is very crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk
and egg. Pour into flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture
is completely moistened and you have a soft slightly lumpy dough.
Gently fold in the chopped banana and chocolate.

Lightly flour your hands and press dough into a ball. On a floured
surface gently knead the dough about 10 times. Do not be tempted to
knead more than this. If you overly knead the dough and the bits of
butter melt, the scones will not be light and flaky.

Pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches diameter. Using a sharp
knife, cut the circle into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the
parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

*** I have made these without the bananas and chocolate. You can make
them plain or substitute your own favorite fruits and nuts. Just keep
the ratio to about the same as those given. Dried apple pieces with a
bit of cinnamon is good. You can take the dried apple pieces and toss
them in a little bowl of cinnamon - brown sugar before stirring them
into the dough.

This recipe doesn't make a lot of scones, but that is what we like.
Scones always taste best to us if they are fresh from the oven.