Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beginning our Sonlight Journey

On Monday of this week, I started using Sonlight Core B + C and Grade 3 Readers with Language Arts with my third grade son.  I made the switch over to Sonlight from Moving Beyond the Page because I realized that what I most enjoy and appreciate about homeschooling is being able to cozy up on the couch and read great books with my children.  Sonlight's program is designed to allow me to do just that!!  For science with my 3rd grader, I've added A Reason For Science Level C.  It has lots of hands-on experiments and a lab book.  I'm planning to use it in conjunction with other resources that I pull together for each "area" of science.

The first photo shows my son preparing our first experiment from A Reason For Science.  This experiment explores germination.  I've purchased the Usborne Science Encyclopedia to supplement our study of science.  What an amazing resource it is!!

One more change to our curriculum for the year, I've decided to ditch SpellWell ( I did NOT like it and neither did my son).  Instead, we are pulling out All About Spelling Level 2 again.  I don't know why I ever wanted to switch from this wonderful program.  The photo below shows my son writing dictated spelling words on a whiteboard.

With our Sonlight Core B + C World History study, I've decided to have my son do a history notebook page each day to reflect our reading for that day.  Below you can see the page he did for our first day of Sonlight.  I am excited that he will be writing and illustrating his own history book.  It will be a treasured keepsake for the future!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sonlight Box Day!!!

Last Friday was the day our big box of Sonlight curriculum arrived.  I was very excited to receive it and wanted to document the opening of the box so I would remember it!  This box contains Sonlight Core B + C:  World History One Year Condensed and Grade 3 readers with Language Arts.  I'll be using this with my third grader.

It's so awesome to have so many amazing books to explore this year!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homeschool Bliss & News

I do truly intend to blog here on a regular basis.  I just need to get into my groove with it.  I'd so appreciate it if you keep stopping by.

I wanted to record a great moment that just happened in our home.  I went into my bedroom where my oldest son was lying on the quilt in the sunshine doing his daily 30 minutes of independent reading.  The cat was curled up by his side.  I ruffled his hair and said, "Good book, huh?"  He replied, "This book has a very engaging plot which makes you want to keep reading it.  You should read it sometime."  YES!!  This is my kid who is a die-hard non-fiction addict.  I've instituted the daily 30 minutes of independent reading to instill (hopefully) a love of fiction in him.  I'm so excited that he is loving his book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  He told me last night that he likes the book so much he sometimes wants to keep reading.  I quickly assured him that reading MORE than 30 minutes is completely acceptable!!

On another note, from my last post,  you may have surmised that I was considering making a curriculum change, at least for my youngest son.  I have ordered Sonlight Core B+C for him with the Grade 3 Readers/Language Arts program as well as A Reason For Science Level C since he'd been begging me to do science experiments.  I am planning to document our experiences with these new materials as soon as they arrive.  I've been stalking my email hoping to see that my Sonlight has shipped.  I think it will be a great fit since my favorite part of each day is that we start out with a read-aloud on the couch.  Now we'll just being doing that a lot more every day.  Can't wait!!  If you use Sonlight I'd love to hear from you.  Oh, and I'd love to hear from you even if you don't!  ha!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Something missing...........

We are into our third week of homeschooling and getting everything on our work plans checked off, but I feel like something is missing.  It's been bugging me a lot lately.  I think I've figured out that it has to do with the fact that we aren't doing as much "together" as last year.  Since I have a 6th grader and a 3rd grader, my two sons obviously have a lot of different needs academically.  They are in different levels of our Moving Beyond the Page curriculum.  Still, I'm thinking if we did more of our content area work "together" I would feel like we were having a richer experience.  Does that make sense?  I would love to hear from any of you about how you address this issue in your homeschool.  PLEASE comment!! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Here's a little something........

My youngest son is a LEGO fanatic!!  He loves LEGO!!  He has a great space in his room to build with LEGO bricks and spends lots of time there.  Once in a while he takes my camera in there and takes photos of his scenes to make a stop-motion video.  He very much wanted me to share a video he made recently.  I am so proud of him.  He did ALL the photos and building himself.  He took 326 separate photos to make this video.  I only helped with uploading them to the computer and adjusting the timing, adding music, etc.  He did everything else.   He's eight years old.

I have tried multiple times over several days to upload the video here.  I did finally figure out how to upload it to YouTube, however, so if you CLICK HERE you can go to YouTube and watch.  He would LOVE to have feedback, so feel free to comment either on the YouTube page or on this post.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Old and crappy" or "Old and crabby" decide!!

A funny story from today.........while driving my oldest son to middle school for his two classes that he takes there each day (an elective period and band) I was listening to an "oldies" station on the radio and singing along.  Thinking I was talking to him, my oldest son asked me what I had said.  I replied that I was singing along to a song from my youth, pointing out that although I am an "old crabby" mom now, I did at one point in time actually HAVE a youthful period.  ha!  He promptly assured me that I wasn't "crappy".  He said, "You might get old someday, but you'll never be crappy."  I realized at that point that he had misunderstood me the first time and thought I was calling myself "crappy" not "crabby".  What a hoot!!  I told him that I had actually said "crabby" and asked if he thought that moniker fit since he wasn't willing to describe me as "crappy."   Long pause...........crickets...........(he's an honest boy for the most part)..........  Finally, ""  I let him off the hook and told him I know that I can be crabby at times (can't we all?) and it's okay to actually admit it!  Just a funny little story that I wanted to share and remember. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Big Picture

As I type this I am halfway through the fourth day of my third year of homeschooling.  Do I sometimes question if I'm doing the right thing?  Yes!  Do I sometimes wish I were back in the workforce? Yes!  Do I sometimes miss interacting with other adults on a daily basis in a work setting?  Yes!  Do I plan to continue homeschooling anyway?  Yes!

When I talk about our decision to homeschool with others, I find myself often saying that it's not easy.  I don't say this to be negative about the experience.  I say it because when people find out I homeschool, they often say things like, "Oh, I could never do that" or "You have a teaching degree so I'm sure it's easy for you, but I wouldn't have a clue what to do" or similar expressions of amazement and awe.  Being a pretty humble person (I hope!), I tend to try to deflect comments towards myself that are complimentary.  I feel compelled to make sure that people know that homeschooling isn't easy, even for someone with a teaching degree and 20 years of "professional" teaching experience.  It isn't easy when your children balk at doing their work, distract each other, speak disrespectfully to you, or fight during their school day. And one or all of these things happens around here pretty much on a daily basis.  No, it certainly isn't easy.  Yet I will persist in doing it because when I stop to take a breath, even on the hardest days, I am reminded of the big picture.

The big picture could very well be different for each family.  For our family, the big picture is that we want to raise our sons to be kind, caring and compassionate adults.  We want them to have the self-confidence to stand behind their morals and beliefs in the face of challenge and adversity.  We want to nurture and develop their individual talents and interests, giving them lots of time to spend doing activities that they love.  Notice that I'm not mentioning having a certain GPA or getting into a certain college.  We definitely also want academic excellence for our sons, and we very much want them to attend college or other post-secondary education.  However,  what is most important to me as a mom is that my boys learn to care about the world and its people and that they have the desire to do good as adults.  I believe that I can best empower them by having them home during this season of life where we can talk freely about God (even questioning our beliefs and being okay with that), where they can develop a strong sense of self without worrying about what's "cool" or what others will think, and where we can focus on matters of the heart in a relaxed and loving setting. 

A while back, we started a new practice of beginning each school day with "sticks."  We have a can of colored craft sticks on which we have written the names of  people and issues to pray about.  Of course our sticks have the names of our family members, friends who may be struggling, our Compassion-sponsored children, etc.  We also make sticks for people who need prayers for healing or grief.  We have a "Boston" stick and a "Connecticut" stick to remember those communities and the tragedies they have recently experienced.  We have a stick for "military" and one for "government".  Each morning we begin by picking a stick and praying out loud for the person or entity represented.  When my children were both attending school outside our home, we would not have had time to do this in the morning rush.  I'm so thankful that we can do this simple thing together every school day.

Today, my oldest son and I had a good, but difficult conversation about what is currently happening in Syria and our country's possible involvement in the conflict.  Surprisingly, I found myself tearing up as we talked.  It was suddenly so hard for me to have to reveal to him the face of evil in the world.  For so many years of their young lives, we shelter our children from things that can be upsetting or frightening, like the fact that humans can do such evil to one another.  Now that my son is almost twelve, it is time for him to begin to have a more global perspective, even the bad stuff.  He's now studying World War I and will be studying World War II shortly.  I'm so thankful that I have him home for these subjects so we can talk about the role that our Christian and moral values have when reflecting upon past and current atrocities.

I don't think homeschooling is for everyone.  I believe people when they say, "I could never do that".  I believe them because I know that what they are really saying is "I would never WANT to do that."  And that's okay.  For now, homeschooling is just right for us as we keep in mind the big picture.

I'd love to have comments on this post.  What are your thoughts about homeschooling and the big picture?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Little Tiny Cuteness

This adorable little milk and cookies set is something I made in multiple for the girls who came to Doll Club today.  I offer after-school enrichment clubs from my home studio once a week on Wednesdays.  We had our first "club" today.  It was a ton of fun.  If you'd like to see more photos, check out (and like) my studio Facebook page.  Link HERE!!

I'd love to have you stop by and take a peek!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kid-Pleasing Weeknight Menu

Our family has had a bad habit of not eating our evening meal together regularly.  In large part, this is due to the fact that last school year I taught piano lessons three nights a week and the lesson times overlapped with mealtime.  I HATED that we were not regularly eating together.  This year, I'll only be teaching two nights a week though.  Over the last part of the summer I tried hard to get back into the habit of planning out our menus and making sure we sat down to eat together.  I think this is such an important thing to do as a family.

I've had fun planning our menu and trying new recipes from the many I've pinned on Pinterest.  This week I came up with a menu that was a hit with both my sons.  (Important sidenote:  My oldest son is picky about a few things, but willing to try most foods.  He's pretty easy to feed in general.  My youngest son is picky about many things and is hard to feed in general.)  Finding a meal that appealed greatly to both of them was really an accomplishment.  The best part is that these two recipes are super easy to throw together quickly.

I made pancake bites or pancake dippers (half with and half without turkey sausage) and breakfast potato bites.  Links to the recipes for both of these dishes are in the previous sentence; just hover over the name of the recipe to get the hyperlink.  I pretty much made each recipe exactly as written.  I had read the reviews of the potato bites and saw that several people had trouble getting theirs to turn out crispy.  I did not have this problem at all.  I used store-brand frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (only half the bag) and 3 eggs, as suggested in the recipe.  I was able to make 12 potato bites in full-size muffin tins.  They were really good with salsa on top.  The pancake bites were made in a mini-muffin tin.  I used my Pampered Chef cookie scoop to schlop the batter into the holes, which made it very easy, and not messy at all.

We gave each person an individual cup of pancake syrup for dipping (this was one of the best parts of the meal for the boys) and also had a bowl of salsa on the table for the potato bites.  Super yummy stuff!!  I highly recommend this recipe combo.  We also had fresh apple slices on the side, but I was thinking a fruit salad with berries, bananas, and peaches would have been a perfect accompaniment.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013-2014 Homeschool Curriculum

Drumroll.........I know everyone loves a good curriculum post.  I actually don't know how many people are reading this blog here in its infancy, but I know that if it does pick up readership, especially amongst the homeschool crowd, that the masses will find their way to this post.  Here is what we are doing this school year.

6th Grade
In February or March of 2013, we started using Moving Beyond the Page.  I have loved this curriculum for both of my sons.  This year, my oldest, who is in 6th grade, is starting the year with Concept 2: Unit 3 from the 10-12 age curriculum.  Last semester he completed Concept 2 Units 1 & 2.  Below is an overview of the topics for Concept 2, taken directly from the website.  When we started Unit 1 last spring, we had just hit the Civil War era in the materials we were using so the timing was perfect.  We then rolled right into Unit 2.  He was very excited to dig into Unit 3 starting this year.  An important sidenote is that my oldest son is attending public school for 2 periods each day: band (he will learn trumpet) and an elective rotation period (Chorus 2 days, Art 2 days, Skills/Health 2 days, repeat).  We have talked about gradually transitioning back to school so that he will be full-time public school in high school.  He recently told me that he wants to finish the rest of Moving Beyond the Page (as far as it goes) before he goes back to school full time.

Concept 2: Force and Power
Unit 1: Slavery and the Civil War
Unit 2: Force and Motion
Unit 3: The World Wars
Unit 1: Bull Run
Unit 2: Albert Einstein
Unit 3: Number the Stars  

I will try to briefly (can't promise brevity, sorry) tell you what I really like about this curriculum.  First, it is set up just how I would put together a curriculum if I wrote one from scratch.  Each unit has either a Social Studies or Science focus, so you aren't doing both subject areas simultaneously.  Rather, you dig deeply into one or the other over the course of the unit.  Each unit has a literature component that corresponds to the social studies or science focus for that unit.  For example, when we studied "Slavery and the Civil War" in social studies (history), the corresponding text was Bull Run, a fictional story set in the Civil War era.  I find that the assignments/activity pages are very rigorous in terms of the critical thinking required.  They go WELL beyond simply reading a passage and answering questions.  There are tons of application activities that really force kids to think outside the box.  I love this!!

Secondly, I love that this is an open and go curriculum.  I am willing, for sure, to put time and effort into the materials that I use to teach my children at home.  However, I am certainly not one to reinvent the wheel.  If someone else has put together something that is just what I want, I will jump on it like flies to honey.  Luckily for me, MBTP is just that.

It is a pricey curriculum, but I feel it's well worth the investment.  One thing we are doing a bit differently with it this year that will somewhat reduce our cost is to spread the units out over a longer period of time.  As written, each unit takes about 3 weeks if you school every day.  By doing the Reading/Language Arts lessons two days a week and the social studies/science lessons two days a week, with Friday as a catch-up day, we will stretch our units out over 6-7 weeks.  Last year when we tried to fit all the suggested activities for both R/LA and SS/Sci into each day, my oldest son got a bit bogged down.  I also felt that we didn't get as much out of it when I tried to plow through it that quickly.  I think we'll both appreciate the slower pace this year.

OOPS........I knew that wouldn't be brief.

OK......for Math we are using Math-U-See Pre-Algebra.  This is our first year with Math-U-See.  I used Right Start the first year and Teaching Textbooks last year.  I don't actually recommend jumping around that much, but I found Right Start to jump around too much with their topics.  I liked the hands-on, but did not feel it provided the continuity that it could have.  I also liked many things about TT, but felt that the hands-on aspect was missing.  I'm hoping Math-U-See will be a perfect blend of what I'm looking for in a math curriculum.

That's pretty much it for my oldest.  To practice cursive, he is writing in a Handwriting Without Tears journal twice a week.  He gets to choose a poem, quote or scripture to write in cursive just to keep in shape with it.  I think it's sad that many public schools are not teaching cursive anymore.  On the days he doesn't do his cursive journal, he will do Typing Instructor to practice keyboarding.

Extra-curricular activities for my oldest include piano lessons, band, and 4-H

3rd Grade

My third grader will be using Moving Beyond the Page Concept 2: Unit 2 for Reading/Language Arts, Social Studies and Science for ages 8-10.  He completed all of Concept 1 last year as well as Concept 2: Unit 1.  Below is an overview of this concept taken directly from the website.

Concept 2: Change
Unit 1: Environments Change Morning Girl
Experience life through the eyes of a brother and sister in the pre-Columbian Caribbean. Life on their island is dramatically changed when a hurricane blows through, but the biggest change is yet to come. . .
Unit 2: Communities Change Over Time Communities and Cultures
Follow the adventures of the Blinkerton kids as they travel back in time and learn what life was really like in Ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages.
Unit 3: People Change the World American Heroes
Read biographical sketches about the amazing people who have shaped our nation. Be inspired to make the world a better place.

I'll just add here that I have loved all the literature and non-fiction book selections for the MBTP units.  We have read books that we wouldn't have read otherwise and have added some amazing titles to our home library.  Fabulous stuff!!!

For math, we are using Math-U-See Beta & Gamma Levels.  Beta will be a bit of a review of multi-digit addition and subtraction and place value, but since we are starting with a whole new math series, I felt the review would be good.  We are planning to move through this level pretty quickly.  Then we'll move into the Gamma level, which is multiplication.

We are trying something new for spelling this year, SpellWell B.  I hope we like it.  I may also add in lessons from All About Spelling which we have used off and on during first and second grade.  I like how AAS teaches lots of spelling rules, but I like that SpellWell has assigned lists and spelling activities for each day of the week.  So it will probably be a combination.

And, I'll be teaching the third grader cursive using Handwriting Without Tears Cursive Handwriting twice a week and keyboarding skills with Typing Instructor twice a week.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gearing up for a new school year

Tomorrow we will start our third year of homeschooling.  I'm planning to put up a post or a page on here soon about our curriculum choices for this year.  I know how much homeschooling moms love to check out a curriculum post!!  For now, I'm going to share my system of organization which has evolved over time into what works for us now.

Right now I have the first 6 or so weeks of our school year planned out.  I am lucky that our main curriculum is a unit study approach and lays out what we do for reading, language, social studies and science.  This makes my life SO much easier.  (I know you are now dying to hear what we are using!)  I'm using the file box shown below to hold the papers and worksheets that we need for the weeks I've planned out so far.  Each of my sons has a hanging file folder inside.  In that folder are stacks of papers for each week, clipped together and divided by week.

Here are the two folders inside the box that hold their papers.

This next photo shows the stacks of papers paper-clipped together by week.

For a few years now, I've typed up work plans for each of the boys so they can easily see what work they need to complete each day as well as for the whole week.  They keep these workplans on clipboards as shown below.  This year I've changed the way I format the workplans a bit, and I think we'll really like looking at our week this way.  Now they can more easily see what they have to complete for each subject by looking down the vertical column.  They can also easily see what needs to be done in a given day by looking across a row.   Last year I just used the day of the week as a heading and then listed out what needed to be done that day underneath.

Clipboards and all books/manuals/workbooks needed for completing assignments are kept in a basket.  Each of the boys has their own basket.  The basket also has a small pencil case that holds pencils, erasers, scissors and a glue stick.  These photos also show boxes of markers which are new for the school year.  We will either keep these in plastic boxes or in our supply drawers.  They won't stay in the boxes for long.

The baskets sit on a little dresser thing that we have right by our dining room table.  Like many newbie homeschoolers, the first year of homeschooling I set up a special "room" in our home to do our homeschool work.  Like most homeschoolers who've been at this a while, I have now learned that we like to do our work on the couch in the living room, at the dining room table, or other places in the house.  We don't like to be sitting at desks in the "homeschool" room all day. works great for us to have our materials easily accessible within the space where we will do most of our work.  I like that the baskets can contain the clutter and hold everything we need at our fingertips.  The little drawers in the photo hold markers, crayons and colored pencils (that drawer is's in my oldest son's bedroom, I'm pretty sure.)  When we need to use any of those supplies, we just pull out the drawer and move it where we need it, then return it to its place when we're done.  Easy peasy!  This system has worked great for us.  I'd love to hear how you get organized, so feel free to add your own two cents in the comments!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just Swingin' Along

The other day I took my youngest son to the park, just the two of us.  I was looking forward to hanging out on a bench in the shade, reading a book and sipping my beverage (Diet Pepsi from KwikShop).  Since we didn't have the other brother with us, my youngest decided that I needed to be his playmate.  While I sat reading my book on the bench as planned, he pleaded with me from his nearby spot on the swings to come and swing with him.  So........I put the book down and joined him.  It has been a while since I've been ON a swing.  I used to love swinging as a child, but as an adult it makes me kind of queasy.  Since he was happy to have me join him, I did swing with him for a few minutes, then I got my camera and snapped a bunch of photos of him playing on the swingset and slide.  It just so happens that this swingset and slide are the exact ones I played on as a child in the exact same park.  Although our park has two very nice new and "modern" pieces of play equipment, they have kept these relics from the past.  To be honest, when my sons were little and wanted to go on the "old" slide, it about gave me a heart attack.  Steep ladder and steps, shallows sides on the slide, etc.  The thought of climbing up that ladder myself kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies.  I'm a bit scared of heights..........even low heights.   I was able to evade having to go down the slide by using the excuse of being the photographer.  I'm so glad I gave in and hung out with him like this.  In a few years, he won't be asking "mama" to swing or slide with him anymore, moving inevitably on to bigger and better adventures and leaving mama behind.

Here are a few shots from our park outing..........

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hay-Time Switchel

Instead of writing a typical first post on a new blog explaining its purpose, blah blah blah, I've decided to just jump right in and offer you a nugget of pure ecleccentricity.  (If you want the story behind the blog, click on the ABOUT page above.  There are plenty of words there to satisfy your curiosity or put you to sleep.)

Recently my oldest son, as eclectic and eccentric as anyone, approached me with a request to help him make "switchel".  I promptly pointed out that I had no idea what he was talking about, asking him to repeat the request about a thousand times (I exaggerate) to the point of frustration on his part.  I finally discerned that he wanted to make a beverage and that he'd found the recipe in our copy of the Reader's Digest book, Back To Basics: How To Learn and Enjoy  Traditional American Skills.  (Note:  Our copy is the original 1981 version.  You can see this version on Amazon by clicking  HERE.)

I'm going to admit right away that I am not always jumping for joy when my children (most often the oldest) ask me to help them with projects like this.  Like most adults, I would think, I am not prone to quickly and willingly giving up whatever I'm doing to dive into a spontaneous beverage-making project that I was not expecting or wanting.  HOWEVER, I do, admittedly, like exploring things that are off the beaten path, and once I read the book's description of said beverage, I was on board with attempting to whip out a batch.

To draw you into this experience with me, I'm going to throw in a few quotes from the book's description.  It's pretty cool.  First of all, how awesome is it that this recipe is found in a section of the book called, "Soft Drinks and Juices To Slake All Thirsts"?  Pretty awesome if you ask me.  Secondly, who could resist being intrigued by the following:

"Switchel is a refreshing, energy-boosting drink used by farm-hands to slake (italics are mine.......this is my new favorite word) their thirsts during the heavy work of harvest season, especially the back-breaking labor of haymaking.  Long before refrigerators, or even icehouses, jugs of switchel were kept cool in the springhouse or by hanging them in a well."   Back to Basics (pg. 246)

After reading the above, my attitude about trying this beverage had changed from "I am so not into this" to "Bring it!"   The unusual list of ingredients sealed the deal:  sugar, molasses, cider vinegar, ground ginger, water.  Really? son and I carefully followed the instructions in the book and made up a big batch of switchel.  (The recipe makes a gallon.)  Sidenote:  When my husband came upstairs and witnessed the large quantity of switchel being produced, he wisely inquired why we had made a full batch.  Ummmm........cutting the recipe in half would have been a thought, wouldn't it?

I'm sure by now you're wondering whether this is, in fact, the beverage to slake all thirsts. is the review direct from the mouth of my oldest:  "Because of the molasses, the taste is rather strong, but the sugar somewhat makes up for it."  When asked whether or not he would regularly like to have switchel as a beverage option, he said, "I would drink it sometimes."  I don't think I could give a better review than that.  I pretty much agree with him on all points.  It doesn't taste BAD, but it's not something I'd want to swill down in large amounts.  However, if I had been schlepping hay bales in the hot sun all day, who knows?  Maybe in that case that gallon of switchel would be swilled in no time flat.

I'll leave you with a photo of the switchel..........I had poured some into a mason jar and set it on our deck railing for this staged shot.  I don't have a great camera, so it did not turn out as glamorous as I'd hoped. certainly gives you a visual image of hay-time switchel that you most likely did not have before reading this post.  (Yes, I do know that it closely resembles muddy water that could easily have been taken from a river, but I assure you that this jar contains 100% bona-fide hay-time switchel.)

One more funny thing about this story:  For some reason I'm having a really hard time getting my mouth to say the word "switchel."  In my brain, I want to say swizzle as in a swizzle stick you would find in an exotic adult beverage.  I have had to be corrected several times by my son on the pronunciation of this word.  Just wanted to forewarn you of this possibility in case you plan to use this new word in daily conversation.

Finally, my son would like you to know that "many drinks that are obsolete today have been drunken back in America's past, and possibly other countries, such as 'shrubs' and 'syllabubs'."  He encourages you to try to find a recipe for these two types of drinks.  We are lucky that our Back to Basics book has a recipe for both "Raspberry Shrub" (no trees or plants other than raspberries in this) and "Fruit Syllabub".  I am inclined to want to try the syllabub if for no other reason than that it would be very fun to slip that word into a conversation.  For example, "Gee, it was so steamy out today.  I'm so glad I had a nice cool glass of syllabub to help battle the heat.  Whew!!"  Wouldn't that be fun???