Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sugar Free Mornings

Daniel wakes up early to watch his breakfast bake.

Most Monday mornings start with a new batch of Granola in our home.  Sometimes that batch doesn't last the week and I'm making another to get us through the weekend.  It's safe to say that we're addicted to it-from the oldest to the youngest in the house.  We usually enjoy our Granola with homemade Almond Milk, but it also goes great with yogurt or ice cream. 
I've been stocking Granola in our cabinets for years, but it wasn't until recently that I took the time to write the recipes down.  I like to take a bag of this breakfast treat when I'm taking a meal to someone, and that always comes with a recipe request.  So here you go-my three favorite recipes.  But be warned - it is Addictive!  Did I mention that these recipes contain no sugar? 
Chocolate Protein Granola
Chocolate Protein Granola
6 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Cups Flour (I use whole spelt)
½ Cup Almond Meal
½ Cup Finely Shredded Coconut
½ Cup Carob Powder
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Cup Honey

½ Cup Peanut Butter
½ Cup Oil (I use Safflower)
½ Cup Warm Water
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Raisins
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine wet & dry ingredients and pour into a 13x9 or larger dish.  Bake at
250° for 1 hour.  Stir 3-4 times while it cooks.  Add raisins.  Store in an air tight container after it has cooled completely.   
Banana Walnut Granola
Banana Walnut Granola
6 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Cups Flour (I use whole spelt)
½ Cup Flax Meal
½ Cup Finely Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Finely Ground Walnuts
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Honey
1 Ripe Banana, mashed
½ Cup Oil (I use Safflower)*(you might need a little more, see instructions)
½ Cup Warm Water
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine the mashed banana and enough oil to measure 1 Cup of total liquid.  Whisk the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine wet & dry ingredients and pour into a 13x9 or larger dish.  Bake at
250° for 1 hour.  Stir 3-4 times while it cooks.  Store in an air tight container after it has cooled completely. 
Winter Harvest Granola
Winter Harvest Granola
6 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Cups Flour (I use whole spelt)
½ Cup Almond Meal
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds
½ Cup Finely Shredded Coconut
1 Cup Sliced Almonds
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Oil (I use Safflower)
½ Cup Warm Water
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
½ Cup White Chocolate Chips
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine wet & dry ingredients and pour into a 13x9 or larger dish.  Bake at
250° for 1 hour.(I have found it necessary to cook this particular Granola at a higher temperature for the last few minutes because I'm using fresh Almond Meal, which makes the mixture a little wetter.)  Stir 3-4 times while it cooks.  Add Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips (omit the chips to keep it sugar free).  Store in an air tight container after it has cooled completely. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

13 Slices of Pie

Martha Stewart was recently interviewed and had this to say...

“Who are these bloggers? They're not trained editors at Vogue magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren't tested, that aren't necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts. And we have to understand that.”  (Emphasis added)

She took a lot of heat for her comments from the blogging community.  Someone is out of touch with reality. Generations have thrived without chefs in white hats and food labs in New York City.  You haven't really cooked until you've made Whoopie Pies with a baby attached to your leg, kneaded bread to relieve the stress of the day or GASP...let you kids lick the brownie batter off the spatula. 
Before the "experts" told us how to birth our babies, raise our children and feed our husbands there were Mothers, Aunts and Grandmothers.  Both my maternal and paternal Grandmothers left this world before I entered it.  All I can cling to are pictures, old recipes and the memories of those who knew them.  But it recently occurred to me that I didn't have any of those things for my paternal grandparents.  So for the past few months I've been accumulating treasures and tidbits about Anna Elizabeth Devonshire (born 1908) and her husband Theodore Roosevelt Dunfee (born 1904).  I originally thought this would be a simple post with some pictures and a recipe.  However, searching for a pumpkin pie recipe and confirming some dates led to more information than I expected.

I'll do my best to paint an accurate picture of the Dunfee family in this post.  The canvas may look like it came from the easel of Norman Rockwell.  The painting clearly depicts some interesting characters but their motivations, the sounds of the scene and what lies beyond the edge of the frame is left to your imagination.

Before the Duggars there were the Dunfees.  Thirteen children in all, with nine boys and four girls.  My dear Grandmother had six sons before her first daughter - oh sigh.   No one turned their head when a Mom had a dozen children or more back in those days.  Pictured below you'll see...(listed in birth order)

Thirteen children of Theodore & Anna Dunfee.
Photo courtesy of Ruth Dunfee Taylor.











I am the daughter of David (1931), his fifth child from his second marriage (my half sister Joy used to joke that I was from his second litter).  He is pictured at the far left in a suit and tie.  He has always taken great care and pride in his appearance.  Now that I see these old pictures of my Grandfather (below), I'm guessing he learned that from his Dad.

This Pennsylvania family lived in the Oxford and Cochranville areas before moving to Delaware in 1950.  They weren't rich but they always had plenty to eat.  Mom Mom Dunfee baked her own bread, made Squirrel Pot Pie and cooked up turnips and poke for supper.  (I know all about the turnips and poke because my Dad brought those things to our dinner table too.) 
My Dad managed to stay warm at night by wrapping up a cast iron clothes iron (handles were removable) in newspaper and taking it to bed with him.  Not in his own bed and certainly not in his own room.  Their house had three bedrooms - one for the parents, one for the boys and one for the girls. 

Bare feet were fashionable in the summertime for the Dunfee clan.   That is...they didn't have the money to shoe the children until school started.  One school that the children attended was the Highland Township Consolidated School in the village of Gum Tree just outside of Cochranville, better known today as the Highland Township Building.  At one time this was also where the congregation of Highland Baptist Church met.  My parents are charter members of that church and I recall my Dad being so tickled that he got to return to his school to attend Sunday Services.  Before our church could call the building home it would need a lot of renovations.  I spent many chilly Saturdays in that old building while my Dad did things like construct a stage and install Double Dutch doors for the nurseries.  
Like my Grandfather, all the Dunfee boys became carpenters.  All but one worked for The Carpenter's Union Local 626 of New Castle, Delaware.  The Delaware Memorial Bridge, Concord Mall and Interstate 95 were made with Dunfee hands.  Some of my earliest memories are of "going down to the Local" with my Dad when he was out of work.  In a back room full of cigarette smoke the brothers and other carpenters would play cards - probably Rummy.  One day while they were in the middle of a game I went behind a freestanding chalkboard to cut some paper with my new red scissors and eventually my hair.  Dad never noticed but Mom sure did when we got home.

Anna & Theodore at Brandywine Park (year unknown). 
Photo courtesy of Ruth Dunfee Taylor.
Mothers do notice everything.  I wonder what my grandmother noticed as she raised her thirteen children.  Did she have the time and energy to act upon all she noticed? When the boys required discipline, the girls wanted affection or the husband longed for admiration, did she push forward and continually give of herself or did she at times grow weary of all that was demanded of her?

Anna Dunfee with her half brother Warren Smith.
Photo courtesy of Ruth Dunfee Taylor. 
I don't have answers to these questions.  Mom Mom Dunfee died of heart failure on Thanksgiving Day in 1960.  Long before I was born and when many of my cousins were just learning to walk, she was gone.  Tombstones and genealogies don't tell the personal stories of those that have gone before us.  So besides these few pictures and a pumpkin pie recipe you'll see at the bottom of this post...this is all I have of her.
On several occasions I recall my father talking about Aunt Jennie and how she was so kind to him and the rest of the family.  All these years I assumed she was an Aunt, but her name is not found in the Dunfee Family Tree.  After a little digging I unearthed some stories that shed some light on why Jennie McDonald  was apart of the family and how the actions of her and some other kind souls forever changed the life of Theodore and his little brother James.

My Grandfather, Theodore Roosevelt Dunfee was born to Harry Henry & Jennie Lilley Dunfee in 1904.  He was welcomed by five older siblings - Edwin (1894), Mary (1896), Ruth (1897), Chester (1898) and Henrietta (1902).  No doubt he was named after the man of the same name who was nominated by the Republican Party to run for President that same year.  

In 1906 my Great-Grandmother Jennie gave birth to a seventh child named James.  Sadly, she was only able to celebrate one birthday with her son before Tuberculosis took her life on September 28, 1907.  Just over a year later on October 1, 1908 Harry remarried Clara Thawley and they had six more children together.  

I am puzzled by what took place in that year between losing one wife and marrying another.  Harry gave up the children from his first marriage to foster care (or to the orphanage, where Mary was sent) because he could not care for them properly.  Only Henrietta "Etta" remained with him. 
Theodore and James stayed together but were separated from their four older siblings and moved from the Philadelphia area to the Oxford area.  There they were raised as foster children by Dr. Donald & Jennie McDonald, who had two daughters Emily and Jenny and one son named Clyde. (Sources also say that their names were Dr. David & Isabella McDonald, with five children.  Nicknames make family research very difficult) Theodore and James retained the Dunfee last name because at that time no one over the age of 40 was permitted to adopt children.

The Reed family were close friends with the McDonalds and had some involvement in the upbringing of the Dunfee brothers.  Both families attended Oxford Presbyterian Church.  Sarah Reed and her friend Mabel Cummings, lived with Sarah's father.  They were all "society" families in Oxford.  Jennie McDonald even wrote for the society column for the Oxford paper.  Sarah Reed has been credited with designing the "new" Navy uniform which was created between World War I and World War II.       
Over the years searches were made by the older siblings to locate Theodore and James, but they were unsuccessful.  But in 1950 a connection was made.  These orphans now had children and grandchildren of their own and they were finally able to be reunited with their childhood.  The event was recorded in the Coatesville Record newspaper on March 30, 1950. 

I made a copy of the original newspaper clipping at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania.  According to my Aunt Mary, the reunion was actually held at the Dunfee farm in Cochranville and the middle name of James was Harvey, not Darlymple (which is a last name associated with the Dunfees, but I'm not sure why is showed up here). 

Left to Right: Mary, Theodore, Ruth, & Henrietta
Photo Courtesy of Ruth Dunfee Taylor

Oxford, March 30 - After a separation of 42 years, a family of eight was finally united on Sunday, March 26, during a family reunion held at Camden, N.J.  Theodore Roosevelt Dunfee , of Cochranville, and James Darlymple Dunfee, of Oxford, were two of the seven sisters and brothers who met for the occasion.  Their father, Henry Dunfee, of Stony Creek, N.J., is still living, but all the members of the family were split up following the death of the mother while all were quite young.  This reunion marked the first occasion the entire family had been together since that time. 

Uncle Art & Aunt Doris in 1958 with
(left to right)
Ruth, Howard, Marie and Arthur Jr.
As promised, here is Mom Mom Dunfee's recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  It has been tested by generations and as far as I'm concerned, if you give birth to 13 children you are an expert at many things.  I had a hard time tracking it down, but my cousin Ruth (Arthur's daughter) graciously passed it along to me.  It was originally preserved by Aunt Ruth (Dunfee Berry) who went to heaven just a few years ago. (Yes, we have a lot of Ruths in the family)   A big thanks to my cousins Ruth and Arthur Jr. "Bubby" who were the backbone of this blog post.  Bubby especially has devoted a lot of time to Dunfee Family History.  My Aunt Mary (Elizabeth Dunfee Nickloy and known as "Peg") of Overland Park, Kansas and Aunt Mabel (Mrs. Willard Dunfee) of Elsmere, Delaware were also a huge help in piecing this story together.

If you're one of the many Dunfee cousins (and there must be hundreds), I would love to hear your own stories about our family before they are lost.  Any clarifications or corrections are also welcomed.  It would be fun to write a Part II with more information about our Grandmother Anna Elizabeth. 

A gooseneck pumpkin growing in my garden.
Dunfee Pumpkin Pie
2 cups of steamed pumpkin
    (1 gooseneck pumpkin)
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
Slice, remove seeds, bake at
350° for 1 hour, then puree.
1/8 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt

1 slightly beaten egg (or 2 egg yolks)
1 cup milk

1.  Get gooseneck pumpkin.  Peel and cut in to squares.
2.  Cook until done.  Add about 1½ cups of water to steam pumpkin.  Cook and put through ricer or food processor. 
3.  Blend until smooth - puree.
4.  Add ingredients and bake in pie shell at 450° for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350° and bake for 45 minutes.
 Serves 12 (or 13 if that's how many kids you have)

(As you can see in the pictures, I process 
my pumpkins a little differently because 
I find it impossible to peel pumpkins.)
Pie Shell
2 cups of sifted flour
2/3 cup Crisco
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Blend, then add 6 Tablespoons of cold water.
I put foil around my crust just until the last ten minutes of baking.
I tested this recipe three times to perfect the directions.  It melted in my mouth (especially with a scoop of Turkey Hill Vanilla Ice Cream) every time, but the pie spilt when I pulled it out of the oven.  While I did use fresh pumpkin, I drain mine to the consistency of canned pumpkin, so I found it necessary to reduce the cooking time by 20 minutes or more to prevent splitting.  If you're using fresh pumpkin that's a little runny, then this cook time will work great.   

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ruth's Garden

It has been said that "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger".  But I think it would be more accurate to say that "what doesn't kill you will make you numb, weak or broken".  It's been 365 days since that autumn afternoon when I discovered that three Littles didn't have a Mommy anymore.  It's been 52 weeks since I stood there helpless telling the 911 operator that I didn't think my friend was alive.  I've had 12 months to take it all in and become stronger because of it.  But 1 year later I still fight tears during the Sunday worship service, become panicky  when my husband goes away for the weekend and I just become unglued when a thunderstorm rolls in on a Friday night and the electric starts to blink.  It doesn't take much to trigger emotions these days. 

I am not stronger, I am broken. 

I miss my friend.     
What was it about Ruth Leatherman that had such a deep impact upon me?  It wasn't her death, it was her life.  For five years she shared her life with me - her ups, her downs and everything in between.  She was genuine without complaining.  She accepted difficulties as a season in life that soon would pass.  I loved our talks.  I'm not a talkative person but the two of us always managed to keep quite the conversation going. 
With Daniel in my arms on Friday night I told Ruth of my bizarre experience just moments after his birth.  I was exhausted, I was delirious and for a moment I saw Ruth standing in the doorway.    I knew she was camping that weekend, but she was in the room with me.  Ruth had been on my mind.  She had called me while I was in labor but things were too intense for a conversation.  Jeremy spoke with her briefly to update her on my status.  Ruth liked to know what was going on.  In realty the person standing in the doorway was my Doula, Mary Ann - a distant cousin of Ruth. 
"Have you ever met her Ruth?"  I asked. 
She said she had not, so I quickly offered to invite them both over one day to meet. 
Then Ruth told of her experience after the birth of each of her children.  She was overwhelmed by it all and the joy of seeing her baby brought her to tears every time.  She told how she just cried and cried after each birth.  She was so happy to bring a life into the world to love and care for.
Two Bible verses come to mind when I think about Ruth:
"...your care for others
is the measure of your greatness." 
Luke 9:48 (TLB)
"...through love be servants one to another."
Galatians 5:13 (ASV)  
Ruth was a servant.  She wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty or be inconvenienced.  Her example has inspired me to reach out to others more in the past year.  I sent care packages when I didn't have the time, took meals when I didn't have the energy and made connections with people during their time of need.
 Ruth did a lot of planting in her 31 years.  She always had a vegetable garden in the back yard.  It was hard work but she enjoyed it.  In an effort to minimize the impact of her loss, Ruth's mother Sarah planted and tended Ruth's garden this past summer. To see the children running through the rows brought such joy.   
Just weeks before Ruth went to heaven she purchased some chicks that now provide eggs for the family.  The kids really enjoy them - but those poor chickens!  On several occasions my Jason and Esther locked themselves in the hen house to play Doctor with the chickens - that's what they said.  Like I said, those poor chickens! 
But the planting didn't stop there...
Ruth planted a lot of fruit in her garden -a different garden with eternal value.  She planted the Fruits of the Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.  This garden has blossomed with surreal beauty since last October. Because Ruth gave so much of herself while here on this earth an army of people have given of their time, resources and prayers for the Leatherman family. 
Within minutes (yes minutes) of the sad news that Ruth was gone, a neighbor offered some breast milk for Ruby that was in his freezer.  I was still in a state of shock so I don't remember the man's name or why he had breast milk in his freezer but that was just the beginning...breast milk was provided for baby Ruby from three different sources for the next several months.
Within a few hours the food started pouring in.  It started with trays of sandwiches and bottles of water.  Before long the refrigerator was overflowing and stayed that way for months.  God's people really stepped up and took care of the physical needs of the Leatherman family.
Without hesitation Ruth's sister in-law volunteered to homeschool the children for the remainder of the school year.  No easy task, believe me I know. 
Ruth's young neighbor felt led by God to put school on hold for a while and offered to fill in as a Nanny for the children.  She displayed such maturity in the most difficult of circumstances.
The grandmothers went above and beyond this past year.  Nanna and Mom-Mom wiped many tears while drying their own.  The strength of Sarah and Carol could only have come from God.  They selflessly served Mark in his distress.  They reached out to me numerous times and have become close friends.  It is no wonder why Ruth regularly displayed servanthood in her life -she had some great examples.
Before Ruth was taken from her home I asked to see her one last time.  I knelt down on the floor beside her, gently kissed her forehead and said "We'll take care of your babies."  As a mother it was all I could think about and I mourn Ruth's loss of not seeing her children grow.  It was a tremendous effort to fill the huge void that this wife and mother left behind.  If Ruth could see all that has taken place in the past year she would be so grateful to the countless people who held her family together when they felt so broken. 

I read an old devotional book called Streams in the Desert 
that belonged to my Grandmother.  God knows what we
need when we need it.  This is what I meditated on just a
few days ago.  May it bring comfort to all who are broken.


October 15
"By reason of breakings they purify themselves" (Job 41:25).
God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. It was the breaking down of Jacob's natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses' rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people.
It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support.
It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.
It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS.
Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God's glory. "The lame take the prey," Isaiah tells us.
O break my heart; but break it as a field
Is by the plough up-broken for the corn;
O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love's great Master,
Set free the odor, break the alabaster.
O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life's eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought's sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.
-Thomas Toke Bunch

Monday, October 14, 2013

Indian Summer Memories

It's been a few months since I last collected some thoughts in my blog.  Here are the top three reasons pictured below.  I honestly don't know how so many homeschooling Moms with more children than I have find the time to publish so many fabulous recipes, craft ideas and pictures of their beautifully decorated homes.  The days are many that I'm just trying to keep my head above water.  
The warm weather has lingered these October days.  Indian Summers are such a blessing!  We did our best to get in a few more trips to Dutch Wonderland with our Season Passes.  Daniel spent many of our visits oblivious to his surrounds but he has started to take notice to the many sights and sounds of the park.  He really enjoyed a train ride during our last visit, but his favorite ride is on Jeremy's back.  Daniel does well in his stroller but it doesn't compare to the joy of being close to his Daddy with a better view of his surroundings.         
Daniel is small for his age but quickly learning to better maneuver in his world.  He spends many mornings at our basement sliding glass door playing with the cats and dancing with the curtain.  He longs to be outside each day, so I anticipate having another restless little boy this winter.   

Because Jonathan and Daniel have birthdays just five days apart we celebrated with one party this past weekend. There are eight years between these boys but they enjoy a special connection that's hard to explain but easy to observe.  Their relationship brings such joy to my heart - especially since Jonathan and Jason fight ALL THE TIME!  Jonathan recognizes how great it is for Daniel to have an older brother and he regularly complains at me that he doesn't have a big brother.  He seems to understand that it is impossible for me to do anything about that, but he still brings it up when he's looking for something to be grumpy about. 

Just before Daniel blew out the candle on his whoopie pie he had his first adventure.   Five minutes of freedom.  Five minutes that I could not find him.  Yes, I lost my baby!  I plopped him down in the hallway for a quick stop in the Little Girl's Room.  With so many grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in the house for the party - I thought he would meet up with one of them.  But Daniel was no where to be found when I asked who had him.  I looked upstairs, downstairs and even outside - everywhere but my bedroom because my door was closed.  Never under estimate the determination of a red head!  Daniel managed to open my bedroom door, close it behind him and headed right for our second bathroom.  When I found him he was grinning from ear to ear with the toilet brush IN HIS MOUTH!  Happy to find him - but Ughhh!  Wanting to kiss him but he was just sucking on the toilet brush like he had just found the world's biggest lollipop.  I wiped his mouth off ceremonially, but really, the damage had been done.  No kisses for him until after he ate his whoopie pie.  

Jonathan turned nine this year.  He has displayed such maturity these past twelve months helping out with the baby, so I thought he could handle the responsibility of a Bow & Arrow set.  It is possibly the best gift I have ever purchased for him - we both think so.  He has already spent many hours with it.  The set came with a bow, three arrows and a quiver.  My favorite feature is the dense foam ball at the end of each arrow.  This means no one gets hurt and the lawn mower won't find the arrows before Jonathan does.  I purchased this gift at  from Etsy. 

Speaking of Etsy...there are only 70 more days until Christmas.  Etsy is a wonderful place to find little treasures for those special people in your life.  If you're not familiar with the site it is a place to buy/sell all things handmade and vintage.  I'm not a fan of the short lived toys that come from China so this is where I go when I want to purchase a quality gift.  Happy Shopping!  Pin It

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Third Day in the Third Grade

Summer has been busy as usual.  I've blogged little but have kept my hands busy picking and preserving the harvest, packing for little trips here and there and am in a constant state of preparing for the family's next meal.

Today is officially Day 13 of homeschooling for us, but this is only our third day behind the desks.  Summer offers so many opportunities to learn hands on and we took advantage of all we could. 
 I've heard over and over again that Americans don't know where there food comes from.  What a sad disconnection in our society.  Summer School at this house is all about the seasonal produce.  I grow what I can and rely on the local farmers for the rest. 
Jonathan often goes down to the garden in the morning to pick blueberries or raspberries for breakfast.  In the afternoon he returns with basil leaves and tomatoes for supper.  This year the boys really contributed to the mountain of corn I purchased to freeze for the winter.  As soon as peaches were in season we went to Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown to pick a full bushel for canning.  I can't wait to take them back in the fall to pick apples. 
This school year is the first that the homeschooling is official for our family.  As required by law I filed several documents with the school district.  My apprehension leading up to the submission of paperwork is almost laughable now.  Jill at the district office was so kind and helpful.  I somehow got the notion in my head that my objectives were going to be handed back to me with a bad grade written in bright red ink at the top.  Instead the district employees just smiled at my three wiggly sons that couldn't contain their energy and laughter for the brief time that they sat in the office.  I was reminded how quickly they grow and before I knew it the paper work that I fretted over was handed back to me with a smile and an "OK, looks good." 
Because I found it so incredibly helpful to read the objectives that other homeschooling teachers shared online, I decided to make mine public as well.  My favorite objectives fall under the Social Studies category.  Oh how I enjoy history, especially American History.  As I reviewed the objectives with Jonathan on Monday his eyes became enormous with excitement that the Declaration of Independence was a real document, not just a pretend piece of paper from the movie National Treasure.   
Jason started Kindergarten this year
and is practicing the letter "S".
Speaking of the Declaration of Independence.  Has it occurred to anyone else that many in the next generation will not be able to read the original document located at The National Archives in Washington D.C.?  Why you ask?  Cursive Handwriting has been removed from America's public school system.  If I Ran the Zoo this would be one of the last things to go.   Do you know the many benefits of learning cursive?  I didn't until I read the article What Learning Cursive Does for Your BrainCheck it out.
So, here are my objectives for the year (including Cursive Handwriting).  May they be of use to you if you too teach your children at home.
Third Grade Objectives
·         To continue participation in AWANA® Clubs. This year Jonathan will begin the Truth & Training Ultimate Adventure™ Book 1.  He will answer the below questions through Bible study and activities.   
-Why did God give us the Bible?
-Who is God?
-Who is the Lord Jesus?
-How does God want me to live my life?
·         To teach and encourage intentional courtesy and proper etiquette in a variety of social situations including:
-Considering the needs and feelings of others
-Manners of speech
-Rules for public transportation
-Ways to be considerate to adults
-Table manners
-Phone manners
-Rules for going to church
-Rules for traveling in the car
Language Arts/Reading
·         To continue teaching Jonathan to be a proficient and self-reliant speller and writer
·         To encourage more confidence and independence in reading skills. 
·         To introduce Cursive Handwriting. 
-How to write each letter of the alphabet
-Combining letters to make words
-Combining words to make sentences
·         To increase speed and accuracy in Addition and Subtraction.
·         To introduce more complicated multiple digit Addition and Subtraction.
·         To continue solving Word Problems.
-Addition and subtraction
-Reading graphs
-Drawing graphs and counting given concrete objects
·         To continue Geometry and Measurement concepts:
-Ordinal numbers
-Read and compare numbers to 1000
-Compose and decompose two-dimensional shapes
-Group two-dimensional objects and shapes by like properties
-Length (inch, foot, yard, centimeter, meter)
-Weight (pound, gram, kilogram)
-Capacity (pint, quart, liter)
-Time (to five minutes)
-Temperature (degrees Celsius, Fahrenheit)
-Money (coins and bills, $1, $5, $10, $20)
-Find the area of rectangles and squares using a grid
·         To introduce the game of Chess. 
·         To study flying creatures including birds, feathers, the science of flight, nesting, bats, flying reptiles and insects.
Social Studies
·         To study American History from the first exploration of the “New World” to the 21st century.
-Who explored the “New World” of America
-Who led the revolution against England
-What is the Constitution
-What do the branches of government do
-When were the great spiritual “awakenings”
-When did the U.S. become a world power
-Where did key civil war battles occur
-Where were the most important civil rights advances
-Why is the United States unique in the world
-Why can we trust God for America’s future
·         Make the connection between key historical events, geography, and people with Maps. Such as the Mayflower’s voyage, Lewis and Clark’s exploration, the Trail of Tears, the Transcontinental Railroad.
·         Reviewing the 50 States and their capitals. 
·         To read biographies of great Americans.
·         Review fire safety rules in our home, in the community, and in the wilderness during National Fire Prevention Month in October. 
Physical Education
·         To keep Jonathan physically active through outdoor play and to acquaint him with new sports and physical activities. 
·         To study American artists and to encourage Jonathan to try their unusual techniques as he learns about architecture, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture.

In Loving Memory of our sweet kitten Avery (black & white). 
He was struck by a car last Friday night. 
The boys are so devastated that they lost such a good friend. 
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