As September wraps up at the McGaugh Academy, we are taking time to review a bit and wind up our thematic study of apples for the year. My mom is going to lead us in making candy apples this week, and we have a couple more little activities as well.

My freelance editing/consulting work has also become enjoyably busy again, as I just added two new clients this past month. One is a children’s book author, and the second is in the process of applying to top-tier MBA programs. I love it. Working in various writing genres suits me well. Not only do I revel in the writing process itself, but also stimulating is how lovely it is to interact constantly with fresh subjects.

So, the McGaugh Academy took a hiatus on Monday for the purpose of a little “back to school shopping.” Hey, that involves (as in, is remotely related to) school, right? Here is Katie, ready with her purse, to go shopping:


Both kiddos have been needing to upsize their wardrobes (Katie is turning 4 and has mostly 3Ts) for a couple months—and of the garments that do fit, most are for warmer weather.

Today we picked up some of our slack before my Toastmasters meeting. Last night we prepared a hard boiled egg (shell intact) and poured dark cola (left over from Eric’s party) over it. We talked about the main ingredient in soda, sugar, and how the eggshell is supposed to be like our teeth. What happens if we consume lots of sugar and don’t brush, or brush well enough?


That’s right—we get stained, sugary teeth. Does this seem random to be doing in the middle of our apple unit? Pretty much…


This afternoon, we used toothpaste and a toothbrush to brush our egg. We talked about how long brushing takes to make a real difference.

Eric and I also cooked:


Mr. E helped me to make the pate brisee for our annual apple and chicken tartlets. I don’t actually make up many recipes of my own, but this happens to one. We caramelize apples and red onions in olive oil, brown sugar, a wee bit of butter, and balsamic vinegar. We add thyme from the garden. This mixture is layered first in the tartlets, followed by roasted chicken. Then it gets topped with cheese: I’ve tried bleu, white cheddar, and gruyere over the years—yummy. Today I forgot that my cheese drawer was not prepared for this dish, and I had to use cheddar. Not bad…but I have a palate that prefers much sharper, more piquant cheese.

By the way, Eric kept taking nibbles of the pastry dough, which he is doing here!


Then Katie climbed our apple tree as the daylight faded. Most magical moment of the day, along with studying roly-polies with Eric.


Climbing higher…


I love this picture… Shortly after, she told me, “I am nice and stabilized.” That’s good to know!


This is her first official tree climb ever, initiated totally by her. She was talking happily tonight at bedtime how she plans to try every tree in our yard tomorrow. Love her!

Tomorrow is baking day chemistry over at our house. My mom is coming over, and we’re making double loaves of challah and honey buns at least. Katie had a great moment with fractions last week making my mom’s birthday cake. It called for a teaspoon of an ingredient, so I purposely took out the 1/2 teaspoon measure so I could give her a puzzle (I’m sneaky like that, I admit—I view everything as a time for teaching, generally). I said, “We need a teaspoon of this, but we only have a 1/2 teaspoon measure! What can we do? How many times will we need to scoop this into the baking soda to make one teaspoon?” She responded, “Two!” Hurray!

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