I started home play schooling my four year old a few weeks ago. The novelty hasn’t quite worn off yet, it’s not much different than our day to day rhythm, and truthfully we haven’t stuck to a rigid schedule. We did add a little more structure to the day, have included a formal learning activity (not really that formal) and started doing things to make it feel official like singing more songs about what we’re doing and boarding a “school train” to define the start and end of the “school day”. So far it has been a good experience, it helps that we’re basically exploring all day.. And considering we’re faced with the challenge of balancing our playschool schedule and a baby’s schedule that seems consistent until it’s not, we have done pretty well. Sometimes the littlest one will even join in, sitting on a little cushion like her big sister clapping along as we sing about the weather and days of the week. At least until a doll distracts her or she remembers that she needs to taste test the pot of soup simmering on her play stove.
Everyone’s favorite part of the day is when we do a hands on activity, or handwork. In translation that means baking time, especially since the weather has hailed the arrival of Autumn. In theory and planning I have hopes for teaching my daughter how to finish long projects she can work on a little each day. We have a hand knit scarf waiting to be finished for her doll, and we began a nine patch quilt she has been sewing with supervision (also for her doll). I also have a loom that she could weave a small rug for her play kitchen, a talent she learned during our volunteer hours at This Is the Place Heritage Park this summer. But there is a contentment I will not deprive her of as we measure and combine ingredients, then take pleasure in something delicious we made together while it is still full of warmth from the oven. She has taken to it well. Not surprisingly she is naturally drawn to the beauty and art of baking.
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
from Weelicious Lunches
Makes 12 muffins
1¼ cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk (almond milk with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
A handful of sugar (for sprinkling)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a standing mixer (or in a bowl using a wooden spoon), cream the coconut oil/butter
Add the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold in the berries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (filling each well three-quarters full).
Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on top of each muffin.
Bake for 14 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Originally this recipe called for fresh raspberries, which we didn’t have; and was baked in a donut pan, which we don’t own. Those are the two alterations we made to the recipe. Thanks to this cookbook I have gotten many fun ideas for “school” lunches, even if we’re only having lunch at home. My preschooler will help prepare our meal, eat up, then clean up. She surprisingly enjoys the work of preparing and cleaning up, and not so surprisingly, she really loves to eat it.