Monday, October 14, 2013

How Apple Cider is Made

       Ian decided he wanted to make waffles for breakfast this morning.  His brothers all thought that sounded tasty too but didn't offer to help him make them; just eat them.  Ian pulled out all ingredients, measurement and everything by himself and made waffles!  He had a few questions and I heard him muttering "it's been a while since I practiced fractions" but other than taking the cooked waffles out of the waffle iron for him I didn't do anything to help.  The waffles came out perfect! 
     Once they all sat down to eat we turned on the Boxcar Children tape and we're on the last side of the last tape.  The boys didn't want me to turn it off but I could tell they were getting restless.  I was cleaning up the kitchen and even I couldn't hear the tape over their talking and playing.  Once I pointed that out to them they happily agreed we'd finish listening to it later.  They all headed to get ready for the day.  Ian is one of those kids who gets up, gets dressed, and then comes downstairs for the day. He's ready for anything just minutes after waking so he only needed to brush his teeth. While waiting for his brothers (who could turn getting ready into an all day affair) he decided to read a book.  He read a book... out loud.... to me!  Ian hates to read out loud so I was glad of this special treat.  We read In the Deep, Deep Puddle.  It was cute and while there weren't many words on each page there were some large and rather difficult vocabulary words that posed a bit of a challenge for Ian.  
      After all the boys were ready, together, and focused on school, I pulled out the book Eat, Shoots and Leaves.  It's a book about the importance of commas and their proper use.  Each double page spread has a sentence written on it; one of the pages has the sentence written with the comma in it's proper place and the second page has the comma used incorrectly.  The illustrations that go with the pages where the commas weren't used properly are quite funny.  I was about half way through the book when Alec told me "with the comma there that turns it into a noun!" and he started laughing.  Startled I agreed with him.  He must have seen my face though because he explained that he had already read the book to himself one day including the back page where they explain how the commas are used on each page.  He did tell me that sometimes he can't really tell the difference between the two pages.  We discussed each page, read over some of the explanations in the back of the book and I asked them to keep an eye out for commas while they are reading.  I didn't really have a follow up activity to go with the book so I started a new chapter book instead.
      We haven't had a family chapter book in a while and I miss reading aloud to them.  It seems like our schedules are crazy lately and that is one thing that has slid through the cracks.  We listen to lots of stories together with all our books on CD and tape but I still miss being the one to read.  We checked out a book called A Magic Repair Shop Book-- The Multiplying Menace it sounded funny and the boys like books about magic so we thought we'd give it a try.  We read the first chapter today and already it sounds pretty neat.  Anything this girl wishes for comes true (though not always in the way she expects) and we laughed out loud a few times already.  We did set the book aside after just one chapter since they had been sitting for the comma book too and they can only sit so long before playing. 
      We decided what we wanted to do with our day and headed out.  We stopped for a few errands and picked up our tri folding boards for the science fair projects and then headed to the apple orchard.  We arrived to find it packed.  They have a huge Columbus Day weekend event with live music, free apple cider, free apple cider donuts, a children's book author, grills of burgers, hot dogs, chicken and so much more.  We went on a hay ride and saw the pumpkin patch, the blueberry bushes, all the different types of apples and even some of the other vegetable crops they grow.  We bought apples, candy apples, and cider.  The maple sugar shack we visited over the winter had a booth set up and the boys begged me to buy some more maple sugar cotton candy.  We walked over and watched them making apple cider.  We were just in time for them to bring in a whole new batch of apples.  We watched them dump the bin, saw the apples climb up the conveyor ladder, heard the apples getting crunched up and watched them fill the press with the apple mush.  As the mush is pressed we watched the juices dripping out of the bottom and pooling in the tank.  It was pretty neat.  The only complaint the boys had was that there were a lot of bees around.  All day long we were swatting at bees.   It was hot and sunny and, much like me, my boys don't love to be around crowds of people.  In no time at all we were all ready to leave.  I was happy with what we had accomplished for the day and we headed home.

getting comfy on the hay ride

The pumpkin patch
apple "sludge" being cleaned out of the press

apples getting dumped into the machine

apples going up the ramp
lots of lines to wait in today

Lovely New England scenery! 
     The boys played outside with their cousins (who didn't have school today!) until dinnertime.  They rode bikes, blew bubbles, dug in the sand and ran around like crazy.  Evan had a new whistle he wanted to try out and the boys even organized a quick game of baseball. 


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