Vermont + Spring = Maple Syrup! I love math when it’s as tasty as maple. Although it looks like we did it the hard way this year (which was true!), maple syrup-making has happened in my husband’s family for a long time. We have an on-site sugar shack that was fully operational up until about 2012, before we moved into the house. We haven’t had a chance to make it come back to life…yet. Plans are being made! So, what you see below is our small venture during our first homeschool year for something to do during the cold spring month of March and this is also an educational piece to add to the profile. The first picture you see is not our sugar shack. Our first grader went to a cousin’s farm to help gather the sap by hand and watch it boil down in syrup. Pictures 2-4 are from a day at our house with friends. The kids and their dad hung the buckets, collected the sap, created a small fire pit outside and boiled for 10 hours to get what you see in the last picture. It was a lot of work and the spoils of their labor did not last long in our house.
Maple syrup is like liquid gold. Not only is it delicious, it’s a healthier alternative to sugar. It’s got antioxidants that regular table sugar doesn’t have, plus the flavor is mouthwatering. We use it from the original, traditional breakfasts of pancakes or waffles to flavoring our coffee or using to bake with. When our sugar shack was operational, we would even boil hot dogs in it to give them a different flavor.
Crafting to bring the girls’ reading lessons to life was fun with a sock puppet lesson. They used the puppets to help them read and get into character and also used them to show their baby brother what the stories were about.
With Easter around the corner, the eggs were ready to be painted and thank goodness we had chickens so eggs were free!
The days were FINALLY getting warmer and we used every sunny day as an excuse to get outside and refill our vitamin D stores. We did have a lot of snow still on the ground, but March always means the snow won’t last long.
If the weather just didn’t cooperate, there was also dress-up to fall back on before a much-needed nap on a gray March day. We had a first birthday in the house to celebrate as well and Little Guy’s cake smash was a success. We turned his birthday into a baby science experiment. He didn’t quite know what to do with the cake and didn’t really want to touch it. With some coaxing and modeling of what he could do with some frosting, it didn’t take long until he was all in – literally!