Friday, March 27, 2009

Real Life Homeschool Days

Yesterday afternoon I had one of those rare moments of absolute quiet. The little ones were down for their naps, the older ones were reading (okay, so a couple of them were playing video games - they were still being quiet!) I had worked like a mad woman earlier in the day, and had the housework pretty well caught up. Dinner, in the form of a casserole, was in the oven.

I started a fresh pot of coffee, and sat down for a little web surfing. Being early spring in the Rockies, it was still a little nippy outside. The afternoon sun was pouring in through the windows though, heating the living room to the point where I turned off the heater and opened a few windows. In typical homeschool fashion, this got me thinking about solar ovens.

'Wouldn't Friday be a good day for a little spontaneous science,' I thought to myself.

I quickly located directions for making your own solar oven out of a shoe box, and perused the list of needed materials to see if I had everything on hand. The only thing I was lacking was an appropriate piece of plastic to reflect the sun with - but I could probably dissect one of my picture frames for the Plexiglas covering (thank you MacGyver for all those brilliant ideas I absorbed in the 80's).

Next I turned to the problem of what to make in the solar oven. S'mores seem to be the online favorite, and why not, who wouldn't want a S'more? Of course, now I had a problem. There was not a marshmallow to be found in my kitchen. Normally, I would make a quick dash to the store and buy a bag, but I've been faithfully following the advice of the frugal bloggers, and I was not about to make an unnecessary trip to the store. I would simply have to make marshmallows.

I waited until after dinner, when my husband and oldest son had headed off for an evening of hunter safety class. I put on some cartoons for the little ones, scattered about a few interesting looking toys, and then retreated to the kitchen, recipe in hand. It had taken a little bit of searching to find a recipe which didn't call for unflavored gelatin. If I didn't have marshmallows, I surely didn't have unflavored gelatin.

An hour later I had a two year old prone on the floor at my feet, crying for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a six year old looking for help on a Zoob helicopter, and a large sugar brick that was supposed to be a pan of fluffy marshmallow. (Mental note: deciding to be a homeschool mother of six does not automatically turn one into a rolled together mix of Martha Stewart and Laura Ingalls Wilder).

No problem, I simply whisked the evidence of the failed marshmallows into the dishwasher, and went off to build a Zoob helicopter, after gently explaining to my two year old that we don't get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when we refuse to eat dinner (okay, everybody knows I made her one anyway). Resigning myself to being more frugal next week, I decided to call my husband and ask him to pick up a bag of marshmallows on the way home from hunter safety.

Flash ahead to Friday morning - the sky is darkly overcast, and definitely promising rain. Oh well, so much for the solar oven. It's still great to be a homeschool mom!

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