Grapevine and Olive Shoots

growing in grace and knowledge.

The Duchess Bakes A Cake

on October 5, 2014

It seems as if we’re settling into a groove of spending two weeks on any given row.  It just seems to work better with the limited one-on-one time I have with Peanut; when Munchkin is awake, she (rightfully)  needs a lot of attention, especially as she has become very mobile, very early.  Added to which, we are thoroughly enjoying the books we’ve been rowing so spending two weeks savoring them is a treat.  Speaking of treats…

The Duchess Bakes A Cake

by Virginia Kahl

Field Trip Friday – Hammond Castle

This has been, by far, the coolest field trip we have taken in our 2+ years of homeschooling.  Who knew a castle like this, imported piece by piece from real castles and chateaus in Europe, existed 45 minutes from our home?  It was built by the eccentric inventor John Hammond in the early 20th century.  It is situated right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and is positively magical.  When we went, we were one of only three families touring the castle.  I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves.  For more info and background, you can click on the Hammond Castle link above.

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Language Arts – Alliteration (and the “-tion” ending)

Alliteration is such a fun concept.  We had a great time finding all the examples of this literary technique in the book (“a lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake”), and making up our own.  It also led to a rabbit-trail discussion of words with the “-tion” ending; what it sounds like, what it does to a word, and how many examples we could find in the book.

Social Studies – Medieval Times and Coats of Arms

We did an overview of the medieval time period using the book Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle, a historical spin-off of the popular Magic School Bus series.  Then we found this fun online coat-of-arms generator, and Peanut created her very own:



Science – Leavening

The duchess’ failure to follow a recipe resulted in a massive cake that rose and rose.  Building upon our knowledge of yeast from Little Nino’s Pizzeria, we explored more ways to leaven bread (baking powder and baking soda, as well as revisiting yeast).  Baking soda + vinegar gave us the most bang for the buck, but also deflated the most quickly.  Yeast did exactly what it did in our Little Nino experiment.  And baking powder was rather disappointing…I think this was a fail on my part.  But overall, the experiment definitely helped show explain why baked goods have holes in them!

From left to right: yeast + sugar + warm water, baking soda + vinegar + water, baking powder + vinegar + water

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Art – Figures in Motion

The FIAR manual had a really fun art idea which we implemented — tracing stick figures from the appendix, and then trying to match them up with character drawings in the book.  It really showed Peanut how to make people look like they’re moving.

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But honestly, I prefer her way of showing figures in motion. 🙂

Peanut running:


Peanut jumping over me:



We were given a huge lot of gently used board games and educational tools by a friend, and it occurred to me halfway through this row that one of them was something about knights and princesses.  Turns out, this game (Clever Castle) was a HUGE hit…not only a fun and independent activity, but great for teaching logic with 40 levels of increasing difficulty.  Peanut pulled this out frequently throughout the row, and for weeks afterwards as well.


Once again, a snack based on the book.  Cake = bread, frosting = peanut butter, and a candle stuck on top.  Happy birthday, 2 months early!


 Math/Cooking Friday

We hear it all the time, that children learn by consistent repetition, so I was glad to see that liquid and dry measuring was again a math option.  Baking a [rainbow!] cake from scratch was our culminating experience for this row, and it certainly was a “lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake!”

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