Countdown: Last Week of School

June 5, 2023

Chloe’s looking forward to summer vacation. Just five days left of school!

Chloe decided she wanted to make manicotti. Here’s the cheese.

She wants you to know how shocked she is by the sheer size of the pasta.

Who’s that bald old guy?

Came out good!

Yesterday we went to Fern Hill and took a long meandering walk…

Still life of Pre-Teen With Peach Twizzlers

Unrelated photo by Lisa. Snooze time.

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May Fun

June 5, 2023

Every spring Chloe’s school holds a Mayfaire at their farm (kind of a mini-farm). This includes a maypole, snacks and general running-around.


Chloe volunteered to make about 100 shortbread cakes.

And here she is helping serve them up!

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Easter Plus, 2023

April 24, 2023

Easter was low-key this year. Only two photos!

We did some other fun stuff, though.

Spaghetti Squash for dinner!

Chloe is getting good at our old family game of Punce!

Chloe decided to make cupcakes!

We went to the Portland Art Museum, and made art!

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Lamb Shoulder Chops

March 29, 2023

So our latest adventure started with a STEM kit from the Multnomah County Libraries. We used the kit and instructions to turn a lemon into a battery that can light up an LED! How cool is that?

It’s good to have a couple clues about how electricity works. Turning a lemon into a battery is not terribly practical, but is fun to do as an experiment. So, what’s next?

Chloe wanted to make baked potatoes, so I paired that with lamb shoulder chops and the process of cooking was so simple I didn’t get any photos of it, but…

As you can see, we dug into some fine eats, even though we made some mistakes aka “learning opportunities” along the way.

What happens when you eat your lamb with your fingers?

I had the stove turned up too high at first, which created a lot of smoke we had to vent with open windows, so the kid got cold!

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Fastnachts, 2023

March 5, 2023

Most every year I vow to make fastnachts (a Pennsylvania Dutch treat), then it ends up not happening. This year with Chloe being interested in cooking, I promised we’d make them. Due to scheduling issues, we missed the traditional date. Oh well, we don’t observe Lent anyway. Here’s the recipe we used. (Here’s a PDF you can download)

The biggest difference between a fastnacht and the donuts you’re familiar with is fastnachts are made with potatoes, giving them a different texture and flavor. Here’s Chloe making a funny face while working on the tater.

That’s Day One. Once the dough is mixed, it sits overnight to let the yeast go to work.

Day Two: We split the dough across two bowls, and it rose to the top of each! Here’s Chloe digging in. We think we left the dough a bit too sticky, next time we’ll add more flour.

Chloe shows us how it’s done.

Time to fry!

And they came out good! Pretty much like I remember. Since you can’t get Turkey Syrup off the shelf in Portland, here I’m using regular molasses. The basic idea is you slice them like a bagel and put something sweet on the yummy thing. Honey works, even maple syrup.

We got about 30 fastnachts out of this batch. We put powdered sugar on some. Chloe’s going a step further by bringing them to share with her class at school. I’m sending her off with a couple printouts of PA Dutch Hex signs and a few factoids about the Pennsylvania side of her family. I just got her after-action report. The fastnachts were well received, no leftovers!

And for some more fun, here’s how to translate from Pennsylvania Dutch English to General American English. Git aught, naw!

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February Snow!

February 26, 2023

Here in late Feb we were hit with a sudden snowstorm. It turned out to be the second-most snow in one day in recorded Portland history!

Who’s that old guy?

Snowball fight!

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Chloe in the Kitchen

February 26, 2023

Chloe’s been cooking using the clever stuff from I’d have to say everything’s been coming out great and she’s really been enjoying it!

Making chicken tacos…

Eating chicken tacos!

Soft pretzel bites!

Chloe made gumbo! Then we watched The Princess and the Frog, which opens with a father and daughter making gumbo. How about that?

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Christmas 2022

December 27, 2022

It’s Christmas!!!

It snowed a bit! Actually more of an ice storm, so it goes.

Here’s Aunt Mandy with The New Dog.
His name is Lewis and he’s our new best friend.

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Chloe on YouTube

December 27, 2022

Chloe’s been working away on animations. As of 12/26/22, this one had more than 55,000 views! (and yes, it is incomprehensible to adults)

Click here to see more of her animations on YouTube.

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Crafting for the School Holiday Market

December 26, 2022

Chloe felted up a storm for her school’s holiday market fundraiser. Check out all the things she made, all felted!

…and more!

This was part of her classwork, which believe it or not is Business Math. About time they taught this stuff to kids early. Here’s a breakdown of what they were working on, leading up to the holiday market where they sold their products:

11/29 Business Math begins with a focus on how loans work and simple interest calculations. Students will also be working on a business plan for a small market of their own. Here’s the tentative timeline:
12/2 Decisions made regarding what students will be selling
12/5 Estimate start up costs and applications for loans due. Begin working on logo/sign
12/9 Create inventory lists with estimated units for sale and submit pricing ideas
12/15 Market opens with student stores at 12:00 for 6th grade pre-sales. 
12:45 Market opens to the general public 

How did Chloe get that black eye? She got a stilt to the face! Here she tells the story:

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