Monday, June 14, 2010

Learning to Swim

Yesterday at 9 am was the first time I saw my girls since I said good-bye to them at noon when school dismissed June 4th. (My ex-husband and I alternate weeks during the summer.) I was so excited!!!

I'm determined to make the most of the summer. Yesterday we had a playdate at a friend's house. They had lunch, played, worked in the garden, ran through the sprinkler, squeezed lemons for homemade lemonade, etc. Lovely summer fun. We stayed and had dinner there. I contributed some salad greens from our CSA. The children and I didn't leave their house until about 7:30 at night so it was a full day.

Today I took the girls to Hudson Trail Outfitters first thing in the morning and got them all Thermarests. We are slowly gathering the gear necessary to do some serious camping. Actually, 2 are Thermarests and the third one is a sleeping pad made by Big Agnes. I love my Big Agnes backpacking tent and so I was willing to try some more gear by them. It's not self-inflating, though, so Natalie had to get a lesson in inflating her sleeping pad. She said it was very comfy. We are doing "indoor camping" and the girls are sleeping on the living room floor in their sleeping bags for practice.

After the shopping excursion, lunch, and naps, we started some homemade yogurt (the Crockpot Yogurt recipe which I love) and then went down to the beach for a walk along the shore and a good splash in the water. The children and I are moving to a beach cabin along the Chesapeake Bay on July 1st so I was taking them all around our new community. It happens to be the place where I grew up -- we'll be right next door to my mom -- and so I was thrilled to think of all the fun times we will have there. We stopped by the pool and I signed my two older girls up for private swim lessons. Natalie has been too timid until this year. According to Games Children Play: How Games and Sport Help Children Develop 1st grade is the appropriate age for learning to swim. I myself have it as a Bridge activity between K and 1st. Natalie never wanted to do it, though, and I didn't want to push her. Leah is moving from K to 1st this school year so it is perfect timing for her & I signed the two of them up to be together. 1/2 hour two times a week. $25 per session. The girls are SUPER-EXCITED and I am so pleased for them. I'm also thrilled to be aiding the discovery and not pushing. I have felt a little uncomfortable watching (it seems) every one else's kids swimming and thinking, my daughter is 8! But all in good time. And, I told the children, there are chapters of Water Games in Games Children Play: How Games and Sport Help Children Develop(my new favorite book) and they are really looking forward to trying them out.

Crock Pot Yogurt
(This recipe isn't mine -- I found it on the Internet. So I don't take credit. But it's genius!)

Recipe notes: This recipe uses a 2 quart crock. In using a 4 or 4 1/2 quart crock I found the yogurt to have a bit of a "springy" texture. I was able to alleviate this by heating the milk an additional 15 minutes for a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

• Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
• Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
• Once 2 hours and 30 minutes have elapsed turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.
• After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well.
• Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.
• Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
• Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
• In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.
• For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.

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