Hands on Education

Fun breakfast
Fun breakfast

When Allan has business trips, we do school a little differently.  This morning, I treated the kids out to breakfast and then we went to look for some materials we needed for an art project we want to do.  After roaming the library looking for books on China and good read out louds, we headed home.  Mark worked on the leaves while Adrian sat in the swing drawing tigers.  The girls played outside and then worked on some of their art work.

Then this evening, we enjoyed having our friend Miss Jili over. Miss Jili is from China and an intern where Allan works. She said she would teach us how to use chopsticks and teach us some recipes from home. It was a fun evening!

Jili taught us how to make eggs and tomatoes–which is similar to something that I make for breakfast–asparagus with chili peppers and garlic, and spicy chicken called Kong Poa.  Everyone enjoyed the meal and ate a lot, even using chopsticks!  Adrian asked how do they drink in China and Jili said, “with chopsticks”.  Adrian just had to try it. After dinner the girls showed Miss Jili how to make beaded bobby pins. Adrian fixed us apple slices for dessert while Mark made us tea and we talked some more.

We enjoyed ourselves so much, that everyone stayed up very late!  I hope that we have the chance to get together with Miss Jili again after Allan gets home so he can share with her some of his trip.

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Today’s Guest Cook

Today for lunch, Adrian learned how to cook hard boiled eggs.  Master chief Adrian will tell you his secret recipe!  Shhh…don’t tell, it is a secret!

First you find an egg, but not duck eggs. You put six in a small pot and add cold water.  Until it is on the tip top of the eggs. Then you start cooking it until the water boils. Set the timer from 10 to 15 minutes. (Momma said we like them at 13 minutes) Turn off the heat and cover the pan. When the timer beeps, take out an egg and put it in a small bowl. Put it in cold water and wait until the egg cools down a little. Then open it up and if the egg yolk is hard, do the same thing to the other eggs, but don’t cut them open.  Put in refrigerator until ready to eat.  If you like pepper on eggs, you can put some pepper on when you start eating it.  Enjoy!

Valentine Cookies

Last night we were invited to a friends house to make Valentine cookies.  The girls enjoyed rolling and cutting out the cookies.  After the cookies were baked, the boys helped taste test them.

Today, we decorated the cookies and the kids were able to share them with the neighbors. 

Thank you, Jen and Evie for inviting us to a baking party.  It was a lot of fun!


We worked on finishing the caramels yesterday. Since we have never tried these candies, we made half of two different recipes. They made a lot! Everyone helped to wrap them until we got tired of that. When we had company come last evening, I asked (made) them help finish wrapping the candy.

We are very pleased with how the candy turned out. We learn how to make a new candy almost every Christmas and now have a good selection of “favorites”.

Christmas Baking

We are working on some Christmas baking today.  Andrea helped me make some Gingerbread and Dark Chocolate Caramels. Mark was our “slave” and did most of the stirring.  Tomorrow we will finish them up by wrapping them in wax paper.  Today, the kids sampled them, and as Megan said, “MMMMMM.”

The kids are complaining that Megan is coming up to them and stealing their spoons to eat their candy 🙂



Animal Crackers

When we were getting ready to move overseas, I was not sure what ingredients I would find. I searched around for recipe books using simple ingredients. One of the recipes I still use is for Graham Crackers. We made them when Mark was teething and have continued the tradition through Megan. All of the kids love home made animal graham crackers. If given the choice, they prefer the small ones.

This recipe is very easy to make. The sugar has already been reduced some, but it is still a sweet recipe. They freeze wonderfully. Megan knows that her “cookies” are kept in the freezer, so will sign “please” if she is near the freezer and wants one. They are very addictive with milk!

Animal Crackers
By Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers I think;
When I’m grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.
What do YOU choose when you’re offered a treat?
When Mother says, “What would you like best to eat?”
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It’s cocoa and animals that I love most!

The kitchen’s the cosiest place that I know;
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow,
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

Daddy and Mother dine later in state,
With Mary to cook for them, Susan to wait;
But they don’t have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by;
And Daddy once said, he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea.