Tag: unschooling

Hummingbird Cake

Two weeks ago Esther, my one who LOVES to watch cooking shows with me, asked if we could get out a cooking show DVD at the library.  We all like to bake so we picked Martha Stewart’s baking DVD–assuming it would have someting more than the dozens of varieties we already know how to make.  We were right.  We watched two thirds of the DVD (the rest being things that were nearly impossible to adapt for our food allergy needs).  The favorite was the Hummingbird Cake–not so much for the inside–which had to be heavily adapted but for the outside–pineapple slices dried so they looked like flowers.  With Rachel’s birthday on the way and edible decorations for my preservative and dye allergic child rather hard to come by this was a winner.

They have been reminding me almost daily since then, asking when we would buy a pineapple.  Two days ago I finally did (too expensive for every day but no more pricey than  all the decorations for cakes).  The day before yesterday I sliced the pineapple and the kids laid them out to dry in the over overnight.  Yesterday we made the cake (we adapted even more than usual since Rachel can’t have cinnamon and I can’t eat pineapple–in fact in the end we went for a organic gluten free cake mix I had picked up instead although I have promised to try the original recipe–adapted of course. )  In the end it wasn’t really a hummingbird cake at all, more like a regular cake covered in icing, dried pineapple flowers, and walnuts but it was very much enjoyed (in fact all that remains are a few pineapple flowers which the kids have been nibbling on.)  We will definitely using the dried pineapple slices to decorate again, and likely trying some other fruit drying to see if we can get any other flower like decorations.

The slices were easy.

  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Peel pineapples and remove “eyes” using a very small melon baller. Cut crosswise into very thin slices and place in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake until tops look dry, about 4 hours. Using tongs or chop sticks, flip slices over and continue to cook until completely dried out, 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Wordless Wednesday (or look at our new play shelter!)

Cool damp weather brings out the worst in me–this week I am taking it easy as I am relying on my herbal supplements, eating right, and wisdom to keep my arthritis from having a full-fledged flair-up.

So of course I would decide to help the kids build a new shelter today, this time out of wood and tarps instead of just bungee cords and tarps. 🙂

It is comprised of an old apple tree, an old wooden climbing toy, scavenged wood, tarps, lots of bungee cords, some nails, plus an old sliding board from the climbing toy. All aspects of this shelter were scavenged, nothing was purchased for the project.

Yes, this project included hammering, and sawing, and carrying heavy things. Yes, I know those are not wise things to be doing when you are already fending off an attack of rheumatoid arthritis.

(The kids helped a lot and did a lot of the planning though I had to do the sawing and some of the carrying and hammering.)

It was well worth it. I spent the rest of the day resting and playing Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, huddled in a pile of blankets trying to keep warm–which was nice in its own way.

I have actual work I need to do but was not up to that so just sat and rested.

The kids spent that time playing in their new shelter and discussing how the next one will be even better ( Rachel spent quite a bit of time perusing Issac’s new “The Dangerous Book for Boys” for how to build a tree house–I have a feeling that will be their next such project. :))

(This shelter is nice because it is out of the wind and when we do get snow will provide a place for the kids to get out of the elements without having to climb the hill to our house. 🙂 They can’t wait for snow!