Monday, June 14, 2010

A Morning Amid Blueberries

We are several weeks into our love affair with delicious Temecula blueberries from the Temecula Blueberry Company: jams, parfaits, blintzes with sauce, plain handfuls. Muffins are on the horizon this weekend. I hardly want the season to end, but I know we have only another month or so of time to handpick them before the crop ends for the year.

So Amie, Katie, and I went out this morning to pick a few pints.

Already quite warm, the morning sun had warmed all the berries to yumminess. We also needed hats for a bit.
Picking berries with Katie June.

I love being with my girl...

Later we went grocery shopping. Amie put her in the cart for a moment. Since we were both watching her, it was safe for a few minutes.

Home again, we put away our groceries, made some lunch, and tidied the kitchen a bit. Katie and I then made our pastry dough for the buttery almond bear claws we're making this week. We have been working on fractions in the kitchen, using measuring cups and spoons as tools. I will ask her questions like, "Which one is the whole cup? Which one is just the 1/4 cup? Which one could fit inside the other?" I've been asking her to identify the teaspoon and the half-teaspoon and so on. This is coming naturally to her now, for we have spent years cooking together and talking about measurements and the science behind what we make. She's been on my hip in the kitchen since she could hold up her head. I really believe that everyday life has so much to offer us in the way of teaching/learning. It is exciting to be able to give Katie a natural context, also, for what we want her to know. Since she loves helping me to cook, the learning is fun and not forced.

After making our pastry dough (we have to refridgerate it until at least tomorrow in order to work with it), we worked on some of our puzzle/learning books. We worked on the concept of same/different and categorizing. In our reading comprehension book, I read her a short fiction story, and she answered five questions regarding sequence, character's feelings, and plot points. Then I read her an informational piece on plants, and we worked through five true/false questions. Four of those problems were easy for her, but one of the statements used the word "can't" which, when combined with the concept of "false," was more tricky (potentially as a double negative) for Katie. Bill and I collaborated to explain it and to diagnose where the trickiness was for her, and we tried explaining it in different ways. Eventually I changed the word to "don't" (which maintained the meaning of the statement), and she was able to identify the truth/falsity easily. So I think the vocabulary of "can't" was tricky here. But she hears "don't" quite a bit, I guess. ;-) As in, "No, don't dump out all the straws, please" or "We don't want to leave our toys on the floor, do we?" So that was enlightening for me as both a parent and a teacher.

Katie works in one of our workbooks. She had to look at three objects in a row and put an "X" on the picture that was different from the other two.

I bought a bunch of ingredients to make a small Greek feast tonight. With Eric I have been craving Greek cuisine. I will make something else for Bill, but I feel like I could just eat and eat and eat falafel and feta and gyros and kalamata olives. YUM! In fact, I think I should wrap up this blog and get working on dinner!