Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Purple Pretties

A leisurely afternoon hanging out in the yard yielded these fun memories!  The almost-6-year gap
between our girls hasn't stopped them from being best buddies.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Father's World--The Letter M (Moon)

This last week we studied the moon.  I wasn't sure if I'd have enough project ideas but ended up with more than enough to do.  I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this week because it didn't sound as appealing as the Sun stuff had been but I actually REALLY enjoyed the week and learned a lot about the moon myself!

We played with Moon Sand!  I love this stuff!  It's like a squishy, but powdery kind of lightweight clay.  I got it at a yard sale from a homeschooling mom friend for $3 a year ago and they play with it often!

They learned to make craters by pressing a marble into the Moon Sand.

We did another Letter Treasure Hunt and they searched around the house for "M" words.  Ali wrote half of them out and I told the kids if they found more than 20 they could pick a piece of candy out of our candy box.  They found 21.

We made "Moon Biscuits."  We used our regular baking powder biscuit recipe and formed them into moon shapes and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

We worked daily on the Phases of the Moon.  There was a kid's rap song on Youtube we listened to each day that was about the phases of the moon.  But beware!  It's really annoying.  The kids complained that they couldn't get it out of their head and it got stuck in mine too!  Making the phases of the moon out of Oreos was a big hit with my kids who LOVE to eat!  I kept getting confused about whether or not the moon is waxing or waning so I came up with this saying to remind myself:  Wayne is a Leftie and it is Right to Wax your car.  So, if the yellowish part of the moon is on the left, I know the moon is waning.  If it is the right side that is lit up, it's waxing. 

Baby Katri, who has to eat everything we are eating, loved that lesson!!!

M&Ms are a great thing to have on hand for the letter M so we made a graph to chart out how many of each color there were.  Then we divided them up to eat for snack!

I made "Full Moon Toast" for lunch one day. 

Tin foil on a bike helmet makes a nice space helmet for blasting up to the moon in one's rocket ship.
Jeremiah spent a lot of time this week putting a cardboard box on his head as well to play astronaut.
We watched videos of the first landing on the moon (on Youtube), read some science reports about it, and talked a lot about astronauts.

Justy was playing with blocks at recess and found some quarter moon shapes that made a full moon together.  He was so excited to show me!

I made a Phases of the Moon memory game which we played together.

M is for MATH!  We did lots of Math this week, especially since our Math-U-See manipulatives, which had been backordered, finally arrived!  We are loving Math-U-See so far!

When we first started talking about the phases of the moon Ali said, "Let's make paper plate masks to do the faces of the moon!"  She thought I said faces instead of phases!  I thought it was a great idea since mask begins with the letter M as well as moon!  So, we made moon masks with our phrase of the week on them.  My Father's World gives the theme "I am the light of the world" as the key words for the moon lessons, but I didn't like that.  Last week's was "Jesus is the light of the world" and I wondered if the kids would be confused by hearing one week that Jesus was the light and then the next week that they are the light.  Since we studied a lot about reflection this week, I made our key words, "Reflect the Son."  We talked about how the moon reflects the sun (and used a flashlight in a dark room on a globe to show this) and how we should be like the moon and reflect the Son of God.  My hubby even has a t-shirt with this phrase on it!

My mom loaned me some books from her classroom and I had a couple of my own and got a couple from the library!

It was a busy week again as we had homeschool swimming every afternoon.  Thankfully my friend Lori and I took turns taking the older kids and babysitting the younger ones (we each have 4) so that we didn't have the daily nightmare of dragging 4 kids to the pool at naptime.  Her baby boy napped at my house and Katri napped at her house well so it worked out wonderfully and was a lot less stressful than it could have been.  However, we are both relieved swimming is over as it really throws a cramp in the day.  But it was soooo worth it as Ali loves to swim and had so much fun seeing her buddy Ansley every day.  They just so happened to have the same swim suit and were so excited to wear them together!

In addition to the activites above we did our weekly page for their Letter Binders, which you can get free here, and traced the letter M and practiced writing it on white boards, colored an M picture and did our other school routine stuff like chore charts, weather chart, songs, Bible reading, prayer, review of last week, poem of the week (my mom gave me a great children's poem book with cute little poems on science and nature), etc.
I ran out of time and didn't get to do any activities with marshmallows, make a moon and star mobile, or make bagel moons (with cream cheese and bagels). 

Last week I left you with this disclaimer:

In sharing these photos I am not saying that everyone should homeschool, that every homeschooler should blog their lessons, that every My Father's World Homeschooler should do things my way. I am not trying to make those of you who are not into crafts or projects feel guilty--there are probably a thousand things you do better than me! Here are the reasons I'm going to try to blog our school lessons:

*It's a hobby! 
*To inspire others.
*To cherish these days with my kids.
*To have a homeschooling record.

I'd love to hear about what you did with MFW or the different letters of the alphabet or if you have any blog links that you would like to pass on to me that would be wonderful!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

I am so excited that Bountiful Baskets has come to our area.  For those of you not familiar with it, it is a produce co-op that serves some of the western and southern states.   For just $15 you can get a conventional basket and for $25 an organic one.  You can add on extras, like bread for $2 a loaf or whatever they have in stock that week (example: 25# roma tomatoes for $11 or 48 ears of corn for $14, etc.)

Bountiful Baskets has been such a blessing to our family.  Our growing kids continue to eat more and more and more!  In the last year I have not been buying as much produce as I'd like to because it is just so expensive!  We usually eat salad, bananas, and whatever fruit happens to be $1 a pound that week.  I stock up on frozen peas, beans, and corn when they go on sale and usually have carrots around, but beyond that, it's too expensive to bring much variety to our table.

That is until Bountiful Baskets!  I love the suprise element of not knowing what you are going to get until you show up to get the basket you paid for.  It's like someone else does your grocery shopping for you and you get to try new recipes to work with what you have!  In the past 6 weeks of getting baskets (they only come every other Sat.) we have gotten to eat kale, figs, mangos, asian pears, italian plums, yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, mini cucumbers, pluots, etc.  I'm lovin' it!

The contents of this photo's basket? 
I ordered 2 regular baskets and added on 10 loaves of bread (for an extra $20). 
The produce included:
4 large bunches of green leaf lettuce
5 huge bunches spinach
9 bananas
2 stalks celery
10# yukon gold potatoes
8 peaches
20 italian plums
10 asian pears
3 large mangoes
2 heads of cauliflower
Since it's a bit of a drive to get our baskets, my friends and I are taking turns with the pick-ups.  However, after picking up for 10 friends, I realized that was TOO MUCH!  My poor van was stuffed to the max, even with all the seats out of it!  So we've decided to divide into groups of 3 or 4 for the future.  And hopefully soon someone will head up starting a drop-off point in our town so we only have to drive a few blocks instead of half an hour to pick-up.  I don't mind doing pick-ups since my friend Tracy and I go together and get some girl time in!  She brings mochas and I bring chocolate muffins!  Unfortunately our drop off is at 7am and if you don't get there within 20 minutes, your basket, which you've paid for online with a debit card, gets donated to the local food shelf!  So, the only draw-back for us is the early morning run!

This is what came in the organic basket (above).  A little less produce for a bit more money but still less than half of what we'd pay for organic produce at our local grocery stores.

So, what came in this basket?  This last time I got 2 regular baskets.  So I spent $30, plus the $1.50 shipping fee you get charged each time.  I got:
14 mini cucumbers
22 pears
14 bananas
8 Gala apples
8 giant plums
18 sweet potatoes
6# brocolli
5# grapes
5 large yellow onions
3 packages of figs
(and some zuchinni and yellow squash someone was giving away for free at the drop-off site)
This week my friends and I had the challenge of figuring out what to do with figs.  I'd never had them before!  I found a great recipe online (from Emeril) for Fig Preserves that called for two ingredients.  I washed the figs (24 oz. of them) and cut the stems off the top and threw them in a pot with 1 c. brown sugar.  (You could use honey, agave nectar, rapadura, etc. if you wanted to).  You simmer on low, stirring occasionally, and after 30 minutes, it's done!  I did add a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves just because I thought it would give it an extra kick.  Then I put it in a blender and blended so my jam would be smooth (for the kids).  It made 3 cups of jam which I stored in the fridge as it will be gone soon!  A friend sent me a link to a sweet potato biscuit recipe so I made those and topped them with warm fig jam!  Yum!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 stick of butter
1 mashed banana
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cooked, and mashed
(or use 8 ounces of sweet potato baby food)
1 C. milk

Mix dry ingredients and then cut butter into flour.  Using a pastry blender or fork, mash until butter and flour has formed into little pea-sized crumbles.  Then mix in banana and potato.  Add milk all at once.  Stir just until mixed in (don't over-stir) and then drop large spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 until lightly browned on top (12-15 minutes).  Makes 6 large biscuits.

Since I'm such a smoothie addict I freeze whatever can't be used within a week or two.  The one week we got about 5 huge bunches of spinach, I froze most of it, which will keep my spinach-yogurt smoothie habit going for a long time!  I freeze the extra loaves of bread and it's so nice not to ever be out of bread or to have to make 6 loaves by hand once or twice a week!  So far, 2 regular baskets are lasting us 2 weeks and the kids are eating fruits and vegetables every day for their snacks and we're having more vegetables with dinner each night.

I've also discovered that kale is delicioso when you chop it up, stir it up with melted butter, sprinkle with sea salt, and cook on a cookie sheet in the oven until it gets crispy like chips.

And cauliflower?  It is WONDERFUL when you chop it up and put it in a cake pan, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkle with a garlic-herb seasoning, roast for 45 minutes in the oven and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  FABULOUS!

How do you save on produce and feed your family healthy food on a dime?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Father's World--The Letter S (Sun)

I've decided to share on my blog what we do each week for My Father's World Kindergarten (which I am using for Jer and Justus' preschool).  My Father's World 1st Grade is a bit less exciting than kindergarten so I may not feature many pics of that, but the K stuff is just so much fun!   I was greatly inspired by my friend Kristin's blog and wanted to share these ideas with any of you who may be able to use them.  This post does not include everything we do for school (Bible verses, singing, prayer, pledge, weather chart, Family rules, chore chart, Math-U-See, computer games, etc.) but gives you a taste of the fun stuff!


In sharing these photos I am not saying that everyone should homeschool, that every homeschooler should blog their lessons, that every My Father's World Homeschooler should do things my way.  I am not trying to make those of you who are not into crafts or projects feel guilty--there are probably a thousand things you do better than me!  Here are the reasons I'm going to try to blog our school lessons:

*It's a hobby!  I relax by taking pics and blogging
*To inspire my friends as I have been inspired
*To cherish the memories of these fleeting days with my little ones
*To have a homeschooling record
*So that my husband (who sometimes, much to my great annoyance, has the audacity to ask "Do you guys EVER do school?" because he is gone during our school hours and only hears about the fun stuff/playdates/activities we did during the day and not necessarily the worksheets) has an idea of what we do.

I don't know why My Father's World starts with S necessarily, but it does, so after a small unit on creation the week before, we jumped into the alphabet with the letter S.  It's quite appropriate for our family, since our last name begins with S!

Painting with spaghetti noodles--We made the letter S and also a sunshine and a snake

We did a few worksheets on the letter S each day from online printables.  One was on shadows, one on seasons, one on practicing writing the S, etc.

We cut out these sun designs and taped them to yellow paper and put them up in the window for a week to see how the sun fades paper

We went on a hunt around the house and yard looking for objects that start with S

We put some grapes in between the dining room windows and observed their change into raisins!

What lesson on the sun would be complete without Sun Tea?

Sunshine pancakes!  We didn't have oranges or peaches or strawberries on hand, but bananas worked!

The kids and I often take an evening bike ride.  We look for shadows, play at the nearby school playground or park, or ride to my folks' home 4 blocks away.  We loved how the sunshine lit up this field of weeds.

I couldn't find the main book MFW suggested for this lesson at my library so I went with one of their secondary suggestions, "What the Moon Saw."  We read it and discussed the theme of opposites, which is prevalent in the book.  We read many other books on the sun throughout the week.

A handprint sun

A crude sundial, which still needs to be marked according to the hour.  The days we tried to chart the time, it was cloudy or too windy.

We learned a lot about shadows this week!

The kids are making binders full of these papers, which I got free from this site.  At the end of the year they will have a "book" reminding them of all their letters and the lessons that go along with each letter.

This is an idea Ali came up with, thanks to her Clubhouse Jr. magazine.  We "painted" bread with new paintbrushes dipped in colored milk.  Just squeeze a few drops of food coloring into 2 T. milk!

My kids love quesadillas!  One day I was fixing them and realized that they could easily be made into suns!

I traced each of the kids' silhouettes on some posterboard against the wall. They didn't turn out wonderful, so if I ever want to make some to frame I will try it again and get some better ones.

We made sunshine badges that say, "Jesus is the Light of the World" our theme for the week!

This also happens to be the time of the year when we have homeschool swimming (free lessons at the local pool) so it has been a busy week!  But tons of fun too!  I don't know who is having more fun, the children, or me......................
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