Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Learning

Most of the boys' educational opportunities this summer have centered on their activities.  Robin had a role as the Rat King in The Pied Piper of Hamelin and spent till mid-July caught up in a whirlwind of dramatic fervor.  Daniel attended Starbase Atlantis at NAS Pensacola and boy scout camp, as well as spending a week with Uncle Joe and Aunt Sarah - learning all sorts of things about flight, first aid, wood carving, basket weaving, leathercrafting, etc.

For the last couple of weeks of summer, I think we will focus on cultures (in addition to making sure Robin has his multiplication tables down).  Next week - Greece.

1. At least one Greek meal - cooking (Robin loves cooking)
2. Mythology (Daniel loves this)
3. Geography
4. History
5. Math (Pythagoras and Archimedes among others)
6. Science (kind of ties in with the history and math.

I will update with what we do each day - I think we will have a great time!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Firework Cupcakes

For 4th of July, I made Firework cupcakes (from the Cupcake Heaven cookbook my mom gave me for my birthday).  Because of the boys' nut allergies, I had to get creative, as the cake part used ground almonds as a base.  I pulled a different cupcake for the base, but kept the frosting and they turned out very decadent and delicious - everyone enjoyed them.  Here is what I made:

Cake: (From the White Chocolate Devilish recipe)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (I used dark, as that was what I had)
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened (I did use unsalted)
2 separated large eggs
3 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) Place 12 paper baking cups in muffin pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.  In medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add egg yolks and beat well.  Add melted chocolate and vanilla, mixing well.
Add flour and milk alternately beating after each addition.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, and gently fold into batter.
Bake for 20 minutes, let cool in pan 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz.) of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
generous 1/2 cup of whipping cream.

Heat whipping cream to almost boiling, then pour over chocolate.  Let sit a couple minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Allow to sit till thickened (about a half hour or so).
Spread frosting over cupcakes.  Decorate.  (The recipe recommended multi-colored dragees or silver ones.  I used red, white, and blue decorating sugar for the 4th.)  Stud each cupcake wth sparkler.  (The recipe recommended mini indoor sparklers.  I couldn't find any, so I used the ordinary ones and served the cupcakes outside.  Light and serve!  Lots of fun, but again if you use ordinary sparklers, I wouldn't serve them in the house!