Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sketch Books

A fun project we are doing this year is a drawing diary. I purchased some sketch books, these ones were about $4 and gathered up some markers, crayons and pencils. When we do something fun like a field trip or a cool science experiment I am going to have the boys "document" what they did by drawing a picture. This will help them remember what they learned as well as a fun activity (that will also be a "before dinner distraction"). :)

Here is an example of their work! W drew his bicycle in a tornado (the biking part really did happen, the tornado... not so much!). We went to "Bike Safety Town" and learned all about street signs and road markings.

L said the best part was going down the hill really fast! (He's 3).

What are some fun ways you get your kids to remember what they've learned?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nature Walks, hands on Science!

Last week we went on a nature hike at one of our local parks. I can't tell you how much of a valuable resource parks can be! The kids love getting outside in nature and exploring, plus it gets mom some well needed exercise!

On our hike we talked about habitats and what types of animals and bugs live in a forest habitat.

We saw a mole trail and talked about how they live underground and burrow.

We saw some neat holes in an embankment and talked about the bugs that might live in them!

We saw how water can erode the earth.

Here are some great resources for getting into nature!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

15 Bean Soup!

This is a fun and frugal learning activity for your little ones! Seriously this bag of beans cost me $2.60 and we can use it over and over and over again!

For our kindergartner I got him to sort the beans into like groups then count them into groups of 10.

For our pre-schooler I asked him simply to sort. This is great for fine motor skills, as well as basic counting.

We also used the beans to count by 10s.

Other Things you can use beans for:
  • playing bingo
  • glue them to paper and make a mosaic
  • Make bean bags
  • Make Maraca's out of plastic containers

It was great fun! When we were done we put the beans in a container and saved them for another day... or soup!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicken Fajita Soup

Here is a quick and easy soup you can make with your home made chicken stock! It literally takes 5 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to warm through, that's it! You aren't really cooking anything just warming it up!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 c chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or a few large chopped tomatoes)
  • 1- 1 1/2 c chopped chicken (left overs from roast chicken works great)
  • I can black beans
  • about 1 c corn ( I used leftover corn cut off the cob this time but frozen is OK too)
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T Paprika
  • 1 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper


Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat right away. Your soup is done!
You can serve it with lots of yummy garnishes, we like:

  • grated pepper jack cheese
  • Grated Monterrey Cheddar
  • tortilla chips
  • sour cream
  • splash of lime juice
  • strips of warmed tortilla's
  • Pita Chips

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bubble Painting

Today it was so nice out we decided to do a messy craft outside! Be fore warned your kids will probably need a bath, or at least a good hose down after this!

We got our instructions from the Family Fun Education website.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Grubby clothes
  • tempra paint (different colors)
  • dish soap
  • straws
  • shallow containers (we used old sour cream containers, they were a bit deep)
  • water
  • Popsicle sticks
  • paper (we used a card stock heavy weight paper, but you don't need to)
How we did it:

Pour the paint into the container and add the soap. Stir with the Popsicle stick. Add a little water to dilute and stir.

Take your straw and place it in the container, it works best if it's touching the bottom of the container.

Blow, blow, blow!

If you're really talented you can do two colors at once!

Just be careful not to suck in! YUCK!

Keep blowing until the bubbles come up over the top edge of the container, then gently and quickly place the paper on the bubbles. Don't hold it there, just touch it to pop the bubbles and remove.

We did one color at a time, and got a layered look.

You can also paint rocks with the leftover paint! :P

When it's all done, take out the hose and wash away the mess! Then put your kids in the tub! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock

Making your own chicken stock is probably the one of the easiest things you'll ever do in the kitchen! Let me show you how I do it!

I start with a whole chicken. Drizzle the chicken with oil, or butter and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder or onion powder. Roast in the oven at 375F for about 3 hours, until the skin is golden. We usually have the roast chicken for dinner, then I wait until it cools and with my hands pull all the meat off the bones.
What you have left is meat, the carcass and lunch for your hubby for the next day!

Take the bones, fat, skin and bits of meat that are left and put them in the biggest pot you own! Fill it to the top with water.

Now add your seasonings. These are the basics that I use:
Garlic, bay leaf, and onion (if you're feeling extra lazy you can used minced dehydrated onions!)
Other things you can add to your stock for flavour:
  • chopped celery
  • chopped carrot
  • parsley
  • basil
  • 1/2 c vinegar

I fill my pot right to the top, and bring it to a boil. Then leave it to simmer for a few hours, let it cool then strain it.  It's that easy! I usually take a good portion of the stock and freeze it in a large plastic jug. Then you can use it for:
  • soups
  • flavorful broth for cooking rice
  • cooking potatoes
  • sauces

It's really that easy!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What we did this week!

This was our first "un-offical" week of school. We are gradually working our way into a more structured day.
This week we did Bible, numbers and letters with both boys.

This is what we did today! We made an alphabet trail with Chalk. I wrote the letters on the driveway and it was W's job to connect them in order.

We played a number game, I called out a number and the kids had to jump to it from the number they were on.

 L has been fascinated with Cicada shells... kinda gross! :P
 My tree climber.
 My hubby had been building the kids a tree house, so they've been using the scraps to make tree cabins of their own! Creative play at work!

 And one tired baby brother!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Homemade Brownies

Sorry, this isn't a recipe, but a great life lesson instead!

"Last week, I walked into my office to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three chewy, tasty, homemade chocolate brownies. Some thoughtful and anonymous person who knew my love for tasty homemade brownies had placed them there, along with a hand written short story. I immediately sat down and began eating the first chewy, tasty, homemade brownie as I read the following story:

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go the theater to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the Internet, he denied their request.

"Aw dad, why not?" they complained. "It's rated PG-13, and we're both older than thirteen!"

Dad replied: "Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior.

"But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That's what our friends who've seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It's based on a true story and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites say that!"

"My answer is 'no,' and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over,and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion."

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their Father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, "Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he's going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all."

About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating and the brownies in the story. I kept reading...

The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies, which he offered to his kids. They each took one. Then their father said, "Before you eat, I want to tell you
something: I love you both so much. "The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening. "That is why I've made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I've made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic. The best organic flour. The best free-range eggs. The best organic sugar. Premium Vanilla and chocolate."

The brownies looked mouthwatering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad's long speech.

"But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own back yard. But you needn't worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think."

"Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?"

"Why? The portion I added was so small. Just a teaspoonful. You won't even taste it."

"Come on, dad, just tell us what that ingredient is."

"Don't worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients. "


"Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is fresh organic....dog poop."

I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and I spit it out into the wastebasket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the paragraphs that still remained.

Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.

"DAD! Why did you do that? You've tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can't eat these brownies!"

"Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won't hurt you. It's been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won't even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies.

Go ahead and eat!"

"No, Dad....NEVER! "

"And that is the same reason I won't allow you to go watch that movie. You won't tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that Our Heavenly Father will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?"

I discarded what remained of the second brownie as well as the entire untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute go had become detestable!

And only because of the very slim chance that what I was eating was slightly polluted. myself.

What a good lesson about purity! Why do we tolerate any sin? On the day of the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to remove every bit of leaven from their homes. Sin is like leaven - a little bit leavens the whole lump, faith and sin, don't mix.
                                    1 Corinthians 5:6, 7

Make it a blessed day all and enjoy something sweet today!