Renaissance Mama

Field Trip:: Heritage Museum and Gardens on Cape Cod

We took advantage of a beautiful Friday afternoon and headed out early after farm chores to the town of Sandwich, just over the canal on Cape Cod.  The museum was offering free admission as part of the Highland Street Foundation’s “Free Fun Friday” program.  It was just too good to pass up.  And we weren’t disappointed.  Heritage Museum and Gardens is a lovely botanical garden nestled into an otherwise sleep residential neighbourhood.  It is deceptively vast.  There is an automobile museum, an art museum, and a history museum.  There is a large maze and a woodland labyrinth, a secret woodland play area, and an old carousel (which we unfortunately missed).  And as you walk around, there are garden gates of various design, each one a work of art.  I would love to go back just to make a photographic study of them.

Today, I’m sharing some views of the gorgeous gardens.  I’ll post more pictures from our day, particularly from the automobile museum and the play-spaces.  I wasn’t able to take photographs inside the Norman Rockwell exhibit, but it was marvelous.  It simply made my heart swell.  What a treat.  If you get the chance, it’s still on through September 3rd.

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

A bench smothered in beautiful blue hydrangeas that are SO very Cape Cod

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

More lovely blue hydrangeas

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

And still more... So lovely.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

Lilies on the pond. There is a marvelous man-made waterfall, that looks not unlike an old aquaduct, which spills into this pond. What a magnificent place to sit and rest.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

Gorgeous bright pink spirea. Mine are almost as lovely.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

More blue hydrangeas laid out on either side of a woodland path, leading to a white wooden arbor.

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

A closer view

 

{Family Centered Learning} | Field Trip | Heritage Museum and Gardens

This windmill captivated the children, especially Sophie. She was so enamored that we may have to work out how to get one built on the farm.

Twenty

This weekend, we celebrated Catherine’s twentieth birthday.  Twenty years.  Two decades since the day I saw her sweet baby face looking up at me after a very long night of labour.  In fact, 28 hours of labour.  So worth it – every minute.

Her birthday was actually the Friday before Brian’s ordination.  With all of the hustle-bustle, we decided to postpone so that we could have a proper family celebration.  And it turned out to be a beautiful day for another picnic:

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

A woodland glade picnic

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

Luminaria hanging from the trees.

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

Pretty plate.

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

Primrose Pie

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

A trug full of sweet gems.

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

A bouquet of white clover for the birthday girl, from her little brother (and godson) James.

 

{Celebrating Everyday} | Twentieth Birthday Picnic

More leather-bound classics for her collection!

 

We have been blessed with glorious weather this summer.  Every picnic we’ve planned has come on a lovely, sunshine-y day.

The Menu::

Primrose Pie::

  • Almond Crust (double recipe)
  • 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1.5 c. sugar
  • 6 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 1.5 c. boiling water

Pat 1/2 of the almond crust mixture into a pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, until set and golden brown.  In a large saucepan,  combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt.  Add lemon juice and cold water and stir until smooth.  Stir in egg yolks, and butter.  Slowly pour in boiling water, stirring constantly.  Place over medium heat and continue stirring gently until it comes to a full boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for one minute.  Remove from heat and add lemon zest.  Pour into the baked pie shell, and top with remaining almond crust mixture.  Place in the oven and continue to bake for 1-15 minutes, until topping is lightly browned.

 

 

{Made for Learning} Getting Organised

Over the last 15+ years of home education, I have tried various curricula and approaches.  I have found something to like about each.  None fit perfectly for our family on its own.

Fountains of Grace™ Overview

After several years of designing my own curriculum, I have finally put together a curriculum that is comprehensive enough to satisfy requirements, logical enough for my inner ‘Neat Nick’, and flexible enough for me to feel spontaneously creative.  And best of all, it works perfectly for a large family spanning several ‘grades’.

Fountains of Grace™ Overview

Today, I spent my afternoon escaping from ordination preparations by decorating the file box which will hold the entire curriculum.  The whole thing. Twelve plus years worth.  In ONE pretty box.

Fountains of Grace™ Storage Box

an ordinary file box made pretty with scrapbook papers and glue

 

I’m so excited!

Seven

Garden Birthday

Garden Birthday

A balloon 'chandelier' hangs over the table from the wild cherry tree in the front garden.

 

Garden Birthday

 

Garden Birthday

Tournesol - Sunflower

 

Garden Birthday

Birthday Girl

 

Garden Birthday

Make a wish!

 

Garden Birthday

... and blow out the candles.

 

Garden Birthday

 

Garden Birthday

Big brother, Jack made her a crown of sweet clover. It is an ancient symbol of comfort and prosperity, and the leaves, of course, symbolise the Holy Trinity.

 

Garden Birthday

Surprise!

 

Garden Birthday

New earrings!

 

Garden Birthday

Pa and his girl

 

Garden Birthday

 

Garden Birthday

 

Garden Birthday

Sunflower lolly

 

Garden Birthday

James and sunflowers.

 

{Made for Learning} Short Bead Stair

In our decade-and-a-half (plus) of homeschooling, we have discovered that nothing clarifies and solidifies understanding of math concepts like the use of manipulatives for younger children.  There are many types available, and we have bought several of them over the years.  The high quality, natural material ones were costly, and sometimes difficult to replace if pieces were lost.  There are less expensive, plastic options, which we also tried (as replacements), but didn’t like. They are all essentially the same – units and bars of differing colours used to represent numerals and quantities.

Anytime that I can make my own tools and materials – especially when that is a more economical option – I am happy.

Below are instructions for making your own bead stair sets.  We made 11 complete sets.  (I’m planning to post a little something on making bead stair trays, as well as on how we store our materials).

You will need:

  • 10 mm painted wooden beads in the following colours and quantities –
    • red – 11
    • green – 22
    • pink – 33
    • yellow – 44
    • light blue – 55
    • orange – 66 (traditionally, this would be brown, but I prefer the orange!)
    • white – 77
    • violet – 88
    • dark blue – 99
  • Paddle wire (craft wire that comes on a paddle).  Try to get tarnish-free.
  • Wire Cutters
  • Round-nose pliers
  • Felt pad to work on (handy, but optional)
  • Good, sturdy pair of hands. 🙂

 

Gather up your supplies. With a bustly house, it helps to keep them on a tray, if you have one available.

 

Sorting the beads makes work much easier than fiddling with plastic bags.

 

Cut the wire a bit longer than you think you'll need it. A good pair of jewelers wire cutters are essential.

 

Make a loop around the fattest part of the pliers for this project. It prevents the bead from falling off, certainly, but also gives a little something more for small hands (and big arthritic ones) to grasp.

 

Thread the bead (or beads) onto the wire. You'll have to eyeball how much you'll need for the closing loop. Trim if you need to and curl that wire around the pliers at the fattest point.

 

Continue this way with all of the beads, making bars as follows below.

 

  • Red – units
  • Green – 2-bead bars
  • Pink – 3-bead bars
  • Yellow – 4-bead bars
  • Light Blue – 5-bead bars
  • Orange (or brown) – 6-bead bars
  • White – 7-bead bars
  • Violet – 8-bead bars
  • Dark Blue – 9-bead bars

 

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right?

I got my coloured beads on EBay from two different sellers – Yo-Yo Beads and Hobby Funhouse.  Both were excellent!

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