Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cabin Fever Recipe

We have got a full blown case of Cabin Fever running through our house.
So our form of a cure was to make a dutch oven meal!

We made my husbands famous breakfast!
It is asked for at ALL family events we attend.
It is his signature dish, and I love it when he cooks this, because I don't have to cook!

I will share the recipe here, but don't tell him. He thinks he made it up, but I have seen it in some dutch oven cookbooks.

1 bag hashbrowns
1 lb cooked/ crumbled bacon
1 lb sausage cooked/ crumbled
1 onion chopped
1 lb cheese shredded
2 green peppers chopped
1 dozen eggs/ scrambled
1 lb mushrooms/ chopped
salt and pepper to taste

mix it all together in a 12" Dutch Oven.
Bake for 45 min with 15 coals on top and 12 on bottom
(we did 17 on top and 15 on bottom, and baked it for 1 hour, because our temperature was 20 degrees outside)

Lift the lid
and mmm enjoy.

We like to serve ours with country gravy on top.

The leftovers heat up great too, (if there is any). I like mine in a tortilla.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Preschool Week of Jan 25th.

This week we spent quite a bit of time on Pinewood Derby cars!
Which was great fun. (We make Pinewood Derby's for all our kids)
So that was a really great lesson in patience for K. It really is a lot of waiting, waiting for dad to cut them, waiting to sand them, waiting for the paint to dry, waiting to put the wheels on. Then waiting to race them!
Racing them was the best part! K was so cute she would run the whole length down the track with her car, rather than wait at the finish line with the rest of the kids! She was very worn out at the end, and had a great night sleep!

Other than that, this week I have decided to do a letter of the week/ theme idea's with K.
This week we started with "Bb" and "Are You My Mother?"
I made these lapbook pieces from Homeschool Share. That site has many great resources! I can picture me using it a whole lot!

We made cereal necklaces also and talked about patterns.

This is my most favorite picture that I have ever taken!

To see what other families are doing in preschool check out Preschool Corner.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday ABC/123

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Oh, how my children look forward to this. They are older than most I see on MTM, so I try to make theirs a little more complicated. I do have a preschooler so I keep hers simple. This week the theme was 123/ABC. We have been working on sounds so I decided to have

A - Apple slices
B - Banana slices
C - Cheese slices

1 - 1 cup of chocolate milk (they had to measure it out using 1/2 cup measuring cup)
2 - boiled eggs (they had to think of how to make their 1 egg into 2)
3 mini sandwiches with 3 ingredients (they had to make 1 sandwich with 3 ingredients, then cut it into 1/3)

This Muffin Tin Meal gave us the opportunity to talk about a lot of sounds and fractions and measuring.

It was a fun challenge for my kids too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning from Life!

We have been taking this week off from formal schooling.
I needed the break.
I have been pushing and pushing in so much fear of them "falling behind" their classes in school. Because what if I decide to send them back. (I clearly have a fear of commitment.) When we started I said "Well, we will give it one term and see." Then I said, "Ok, the rest of this school year and then we will see." Now, I am saying, "This is one of the biggest blessings that has happened to my family." I am grateful and amazed that while on this "break," I keep seeing my kids reading, or playing a board game together, or researching on the internet, or working on their pinewood derby cars (2 weeks away, whoo hoo). I remember summer breaks where all they would want to do was watch TV, and then say, "I'm bored." Since homeschooling they don't even ask to watch TV very often. (I don't let it be on until after 4, unless it is a specific show/movie that has to do with our lesson.) I haven't heard them say I'm bored that often either. They actually watch less TV now then when they were in school. They are beginning to gain that LOVE OF LEARNING!

One of my many goals was to keep them at or above their local public schools grade level standards. While that still remains a goal of mine, I was putting way to much emphasis on it. I was stressing over it and it was affecting my teaching, I was teaching at a faster pace just to finish curriculum that I had bought in November, before June. This break has helped me to realize WHO CARES WHEN I FINISH! The more time I spend on a subject, the more my family will get from it. I had K in preschool since she was 3, and she doesn't know her ABC's or days of the week. One thing that her first preschool teacher told me was that it was ABOUT THE PROCESS, NOT THE PRODUCT! I am going to remember that the rest of this school year. Who cares if we are in the same history book next year, or if we don't move up to the next level in math until December (or whenever really). When my kids are older what will matter is that they know the stuff, not when they learned it!

Many of you know one of the biggest reason I began homeschooling was to bring my family closer. I felt as if the teachers knew more about my kids than I did. Once my primary leader called to spotlight one of my children in church, and asked me his favorite color, and I didn't know it. I felt like a terrible mother. Something so silly, showed me, that I needed to do more. Here I am, doing more, giving it my all, and I am loving it.

I have been doing some major cleaning out and organizing this week. I have made this big change into homeschooling, and this lifestyle change. My home was not set up to be a full time school. We still do not have a "school room." As much as I would like a central location for everything, that is something that we just don't have the space for. We got a new bookcase and have moved many of our books onto it, especially the ones we use daily. The bookshelf is located in our main living area. I also have a shelf on it for library books, to be kept in a central location. (I used to have a basket, that was working great, so we will see if I go back to that.) We have a small bookshelf in our kitchen for art supplies and preschool supplies. We have a large bookshelf downstairs for less used books. I had to "put away" a lot of stuff, that I just haven't gotten around to yet, since beginning this journey. I am falling into some routines that are starting to allow me to keep up on my house better. But it is definitely not easy for me. I have never been a neat freak and I think clutter loves me. I am working on that always. I really feel good, no, I feel great (I will have to learn how to do that cool strike through words trick) about my house now. I think it will help us have less distractions during "school time." The more organized I am, the less time I will have to look for something, while the kids wait.

Now if only I can keep up on it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

19 Things we should say to our chilren

19 Things we should say to our children

1. I love you! There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.

2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one!

3. It’s all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do.

4. You’ve made a mistake. That was wrong. People make mistakes. I do. Is it something we can fix? What can we do? It’s all over. You can start fresh. I know you are sorry. I forgive you.

5. You did the right thing. That was scary or hard. Even though it wasn’t easy, you did it. I am proud of you; you should be too.

6. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I made a mistake.

7. You can change your mind. It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change.

8. What a great idea! You were really thinking! How did you come up with that? Tell me more. Your mind is clever!

9. That was kind. You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person. That must make you feel good inside. Thank you!

10. I have a surprise for you. It’s not your birthday. It’s for no reason at all. Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.

11. I can wait. We have time. You don’t have to hurry this time.

12. What would you like to do? It’s your turn to pick. You have great ideas. It’s important to follow your special interests.

13. Tell me about it. I’d like to hear more. And then what happened? I’ll listen.

14. I’m right here. I won’t leave without saying good-bye. I am watching you. I am listening to you.

15. Please and Thank You. These are important words. If I forget to use them, will you remind me?

16. I missed you. I think about you when we are not together!

17. Just try. A little bit. One taste, one step. You might like it. Let’s see. I’ll help you if you need it. I think you can do it.

18. I’ll help you. I heard you call me, here I am. How can I help you? If we both work together, we can get this done. I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked.

19. What do you wish for? Even if it’s not yet time for birthday candles and we don’t have a wishbone, it’s still fun to hear about what you wish for, hope for, and dream about.

This was posted on one of my very favorite blogs, While They Sleep,
She got it from another blog, who got it from another blog, but all that's on her blog. While They Sleep really is an amazing blog. I love her outlook on everything, and the fact that she is an amazing seamstress, WOW!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January: National Eye Care Month

I found out from Our Homeschool Home that January is National Eye Care Month. We went ahead and made eye doctor appointments, and it turns out that T is very near sighted and needs glasses. I had no idea of this while he was in public school, he always passed "their" eye screenings. Now that I have had him home with me I learn new things about him everyday. That in itself is one really great benefit to homeschooling. I have noticed him having to get close to see things, such as videos on the TV, or when I am reading aloud he has to walk across the room to come and see the pictures. So, I did see this coming, plus am also a glasses/contacts wearer. I had just procrastinated making the appointment, really for no reason at all. I saw this blog post and I called immediately. I am so glad I did. I will incorporate some of the lesson plans that she has linked to her blog from the National Eye Institute found here. I am so excited and can't wait for his new glasses to come in, in about a week. He will be amazed at what he is missing. I know I was.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Egyptian Muffin Tin Meal

There was no theme this week for Muffin Tin Monday, so here is what we did, (we didn't serve it in a muffin tin, because I don't have very many yet, we are working on that)

We have been learning about ancient Egypt. So what better way to make it stick, then with food. So we had a royal Assyrian meal. We made some Egyptian bread (Sebatu Rolls) , we had grapes, apples, figs, dates, and grape juice, (they drank barley beer and wine, but that's not for us). The girls made royal crowns, and T made an Egyptian bracelet and we made toga robes (out of our bed sheets). For a snack the day before we had Overnight Fig Cakes.

Here is a picture of us making our crowns.

Here we are enjoying our lunch on the floor. (Ancient Egyptians didn't have tables and chairs, or silverware.)

We really love History Odyssey
One of our favorite books with many fun learning activities are from this book: Ancient Egyptians And Their Neighbors.

To see how other moms are incorporating lunch with learning, visit The Muffin Tin Mom

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Piggy Banks finally finished...

So way back we read Charlotte's Web. We had a party to celebrate the end of the book, you can read about that here.

We made paper mache piggy banks. (not really pigs) We had to let them dry for a few days. Then time just got away from us. So I decided that I am sick of them just sitting around our kitchen, so we took an afternoon and had a little painting party. They were so excited when I gave them each some change to put in them. After they put the change in, they asked, "Hey, how do we get it out?"
I said, "You will have to break it."
They still all chose to go get their change from there store bought banks and put in these ones. It was a really exciting day to finally have them finished.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We learned about simple circuits this week. We learned about wiring in series and parallel. (Thanks to my friend who was a science teacher, and she let me borrow some of her supplies). At first we just wiring one battery to one light, then we added a switch. Next we tried more batteries and more lights. We did learn how NOT to wire, as we ruined 2 batteries. So he had The Man help him. This was great fun and was right up T's alley. He did not want to give the kit back. He has a birthday coming up, and I see some electrical fun in his future.

E did do her simple circuit with a switch, but she was just not as into this as he was.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Preschool Week of Jan 11th.

This week, I made a project bag, we filled a bag with shaving cream and drew pictures in it. I did made this for K, but my older kids loved it so much, that I ended up making 2 more, and I guess I did not get a picture of K with hers. We used the back (not the sharper side) of cookie cutters to press shapes in them. They all did alot of pretending with these as well. These were great for traveling too. They could play with them anywhere and not make a mess (as long as the bag didn't open). These did not last long, only a day or two, but that way the idea didn't get old and they will like them next time. I did get this idea off of another blog, but I cannot find it now, and she used paint. I am now keeping better track of where I get my ideas from, but if you have any suggestions of how to keep track let me know.
I got a little more organized with K, I printed these workbox cards, that I got from Homeschool Creations. I laminated them, and hung it on our wall, that way my prereader can know what she is to be doing all day, and what comes next. I also gave her the 3 help cards, that she can use throughout the day for things such as finding her shoes, or coat, or cleaning up after herself. These are so far, working out wonderfully, because she is asking for help alot less. Also now I know how often she is really getting help, with 4 people in the house older than her, (dad, mom, big brother, big sister) I didn't realize how much everybody waited on her.K had two kitchen bowls and some beans, and various kitchen utensils. She just played with these for hours. The next day she even asked to play with them again. This just shows that your kids don't always need the latest greatest toy, just buy them a bag of beans. She did use a help card to pick up all the beans off the ground when she was done playing.

She was very excited to do writing on her dry erase board. She has had this board for some time, but has never been excited to use it. I think it's because of the schedule that she was excited.
We really didn't do that much schooling this week because Tiny T was very sick, and we spent one day in the hospital running tests, (he is now fine after 2 shot of antibiotics) so they just got lots and lots of reading in with Grandma and Grandpa. Gotta love when family is close and can come to your rescue like they did. The schedule also came in very handy when this happened, because even though they didn't do what I would have done, they found activities that would work within the categories on her schedule.

NOTE: I found where I got the shaving cream idea. It is from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Scroll down, it's where she did paint in a bag.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Science lesson

We have been doing our own unit study on space. They had to find at least 3 facts from each planet, the sun and stars. They have to gather some facts from a variety of sources such as: library books, some from the Nasa website, some from other websites that they have searched (with supervision), some from television shows or a movie, some from just asking people, and some from encyclopedias. Once all of these facts are done, they will need to compare them and see which ones make the most sense and are from trusted sources. Then once we have made our decision we will make a poster with what we have learned.
We have been learning alot with this. We learn how to research from different knowledge bases. How to organize our facts. We learn that not everybody has the same opinion, we learned that space facts have actually changed over time. We just learn so much more than Space.

Pre School this week.

I found a very this very cool ABC Puzzle, along with many abc activities. I printed off the lowercase one, gave it a quick color, cut and laminate. Ta da. Now she has a fun letter puzzle that she can do all by herself. She really likes races. So I set a timer for 15 min. so she could see if she could beat it.

She loves loves loves to play with Fisher Price Little People, so we just talked alot about the colors of their clothes and hair, the colors of the furniture. We also did some role playing with kindness and manners as we played with them. We both really love this free time, and she doesn't even think of this as school.

I also did a little obstacle course type assessment with the forms I got from Tot School, just to see where she is, since I am new to all this. We began by jumping on 2 feet for about 10 feet, then hop on R foot for 5 feet, then march and sing the abc's, then tip toe to the kitchen and count to 10, then hop on L foot out and walk backwards down the hall, turn around and skip into the frontroom, where I had our playyard mat laid out and we did a somersault and then rolled across the finish line. She thought this was so fun! It definately did not feel like an assessment for her, but I was watching as we played and now I know what motor skills to work on. K is a little resistant when it comes to school, ( I think it's because she does not want to stop playing). I really have to work to make it fun, she is NOT a worksheet learner.

I am not even sure if she realizes all of this is school, since she was in a preschool earlier this year. I just had a strong feeling to homeschool all of my children. I was paying $80 a month for her preschool, I am spending less than that now on manipulatives and spending way more time with her and all of my children. I am really loving it, and so are they.

To see what the rest are doing visit The Preschool Corner.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today I broke a board with my fist.

Today I took a self defense class with E. It was an amazing opportunity. We really learned a lot of great moves, so don't mess with us.
I was the smallest mother in the class, so the teacher picked on me. I learned where to kick, and elbow somebody. I leaned that you stomp with your heel on their feet, as opposed to your toes. I learned how to get big and heavy, by the way you hold your feet.
When it came time to practice our skills, I was the first person not to break the board. I got a second chance and broke it so hard that my hand hit the floor. I thought that I was so strong too, after all those kickboxing classes at the gym. It wouldn't have been so bad, except for I took the class with a group of women I know. So I will see them again. Hopefully they won't remember. I also learned that you can't take pictures of you taking a self defense class. ( I took my camera, but was to involved, so their are no pictures, you will just have to use your imagination)
We will now just have to teach the rest of our family what we learned. I am grateful that we did this. It was such a fun mother/ daughter activity.

On a side note, I started taking an Ice Skating Class with my sister in law. I know how to ice skate forward, and a slight turn. I have no idea how to stop or anything else. I am looking forward to learning some tricks, so that I can skate better with E and K. They have both been in ice skating for a while now and we are at the rink quite a bit. Now for my sister in law, she has never ice skated before. Neither of us fell for real. I fake fell once, to make her feel better (she was very nervous). The instructor had us get on the ground, to teach us how to get up if (I mean when) we do fall.

Oh WOW! Do I deserve this?

A really great thing happened to me today. I got my very first blog award from Mind Games!

The Sunshine Award

This award is given for inspiring others. I kinda can't believe it happened to me. I am amazed! I feel honored really. I really enjoy blogging. I do it for a journal for me, and I notice how I learn and grow from my own blogging, but also from others.

So I now pass this award on to 10 bloggers that inspire me.

Little Hands, Big Work is my first pick, because that is where I originally got the name tracing idea, but her's is much cooler with snack food.

My Family My Forever I know she already received this, but she is one of my biggest inspirations, she began homeschooling recently after public schooling, as did I. She has a 5th grader, as do I. She has a new baby, as do I. She has a Pre K, as do I. I just feel like she has been in my shoes.

Our Busy Homeschool She is an amazing homeschooling mom, that inspires me that you can homeschool on a tight budget.

Superheroes and Princesses I just love her blog.

Off course Muffin Tin Mom at Her Cup Overfloweth She has inspired me to get over my shyness and get out into the blogging world and meet other bloggers like me and I am loving it!

While They Sleep She inspires me throughout my hobby of sewing. She has so many great ideas. Her blog is just full of inspiration.

Fifth Street Academy This blog is great, and has tons of pictures (which I love).

Rachel and her sister got me started in the blogging world on one wonderful Thanksgiving night, and for that I am grateful. They are the inspiration that started it all.

The Idea Room I vicariously sew and craft through this blog.

The 10th one on my list is YOU! You are all an inspiration to me. I really appreciate that all of you share your life with me. It shows me that I can do amazing things in my life along with my family.

The rules for accepting this award are:
  • Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
  • Pass the award onto 10 bloggers.
  • Link the nominees within your post.
  • Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pre School Today

With K's Pre K, I try to have some activities that she can do alone, and some that we do together. Today she had to trace her name with buttons, by herself, and come get me when she was done. It helps her to stay on task and complete projects, along with name and letter recognition, but it also allows me 10 or 15 minutes to spend helping the other kids, or to get something done.

The activity that she chose to do together was to play HiHo Cherry O. We had Tiny T down for a nap and the other 2 were playing another science based game, and we just spent the time together learning the game. It was great fun!

I got the Scotch Laminator for Christmas and I plan on doing many manipulatives from Tot School. It's really just a matter of time.

Looks like I'm gonna need to go muffin tin shopping

Presenting (dun, dun, dun)
Our very first Muffin Tin Meal!

The kids had heard me talking about this for 2 weeks now. They were really excited, so excited in fact I was afraid it wasn't going to live up to their super high expectations. It did! Yeah! They even had seconds. We had Carrots and Ranch, Ham and Cheese loaded mashed potatoes, peanut butter quesadilla triangles, cheese stick, tropical fruit, and orange soda. After looking it over it looks like my theme is an orange one. This was so much fun, and they are really looking forward to it again. Check out what more there is with the Muffin Tin Mom.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

This Week in Review

We got 20 pounds of hamburger on sale for $0.89 per pound. So naturally we had to cook it for freezing. This comes in as a huge time saver on busy nights. We also some for dinner a few nights, we had burrito's. We had super fun taco salads. I made taco salad shells by placing tortillas over an upside down bowl and baking them for about 10 min at 350 degrees. The kids thought that was really fun. We burnt (accidentally) some brownies. We also learned a very important lesson. We ran out of eggs. So we decided to substitute applesauce. Let's just say that is not a good idea. We had a pajama party for New Year's eve. We stayed up and played Rock Band till 11:45pm then we watched the countdown and went outside at midnight to bang pots and pans. The kids really thought this was the greatest. We went to sleep after that and slept, slept, slept until 11am. We just hung out the rest of the day. Tiny T even sat up on his own for a few seconds. He was so proud of himself.
We are really looking forward to the new year ahead and becoming a closer stronger family.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Laundry, Does it ever end?

I live in a fairly small house, and their are 6 of us. So in order to keep up on laundry better, I have this somewhat of a system. I bought these stackable totes and labeled them; towels, whites, darks, lights, work clothes. It works well for sorting, and doesn't take up alot of room, this system is adapted from one my mother used. I have been using this system for over a year now, and this is the first time my laundry has been caught up enough that I dared take a picture of it. One thing that helped me get caught up is that since I have been homeschooling my kids, I began making my older two take more responsibility around the house. With that they each have to do their own laundry, and they each have an assigned day. E on Mondays, and T on Wednesdays. I get every other day to do the rest of us.

Another area where they have to take on more responsibility is in the kitchen. They trade off weeks being the "Kitchen Manager". That means they get a say in the menu, they get to help cook all meals, and clean up after them, shop the ads, and go grocery shopping, all with me. So it is also special one on one time with me. It opens the door for some great conversations. Plus I really enjoy the help. There are countless benefits to doing this, some of which are, they get to see how much food actually costs, they become resorceful, they learn how to plan and prepare ahead of time. They learn cooking and clean up skills. They are interested in trying new foods. They are also gaining a sense of pride and accomplishment.

These everyday skills are really teaching them so much, and they are a great help to me around the house.

Now if only I could find a system to actually do the laundry.


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