Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up (week 1 Spanish hour)

Big changes in our life...
My husband just finished reading

It has changed the way he looks at things, for the better. So we are going to be making some BIG changes in our life. A change I am very excited about is:1.My husband is going to start taking off 1 day during the week. We own our own company and for as long as I can remember my husband has worked 7 days a week. So taking one day off is HUGE to us. I am so used to my husband never being home it will be very strange for him to be around more.

Spanish hour:
In an attempt for our family to be fluent in Spanish by October we are having what I am calling "Spanish Hour" each day. During this time we watch Spanish videos, listen to Spanish CD's, play Spanish games, make flash cards and try to speak to each other in Spanish.

I found this game at Goodwill for only $2.00 and it was only missing a few cards.

If you have some great Spanish games, CD's, books or really anything that could help us learn the language and still have fun please feel free to link ideas I would LOVE to see some great ideas.

I have been using livemocha at night but sometimes I find it very confusing. I do love that you get speech reviews by native speakers.

Questions/thoughts I have…
If you were going to move to another hemisphere for 6 months with all your kids and could only take 1 suitcase per person what your priority items be?

I’m reading…
Finishing up Wheat Belly and planning on starting The 4 Hour Work Week this weekend.

I’m cooking…
A super moist Gluten free Pumpkin bread

The kids were excited to see the bean box out again. Last fall we had some bird seed in our basement that hatched millions of little black bugs, ewwwwwwww! So I threw out all our beans from out bean box because I found a few bugs in our bean box and wanted to be sure that they little black bugs didn't stick around and find a new place to eat and lay eggs. After 6 month of not seeing anymore live bugs I figured we were safe to buy more beans for our bean box. This time I chose a variety of bean (navy, pinto, Lima and black eyed peas) for our box. The kids seems to like the variation. I decided that the pinto beans were a bad choice because they blend in with our carpet very well.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gluten free pumpkin walnut bread.

I am so excited to finally have a great pumpkin bread recipe that does not taste dry or grainy. I hope you enjoy my dad tried this and did not know it was gluten free!

4 cups of almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup butter- softened
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup sucanat

Combine almond flour, baking soda,salt, and spices in a bowl then set aside.

In another bowl combine butter, sugar, pumpkin, and eggs add this mixture slowly to the flour mixture then fold in walnuts.

Pour into a greased 4x8 inch loaf pan then bake at 300 degrees until top of the loaf feels firm.

Enjoy the yummy moist gluten free bread!

We ate this so fast I never got a picture I will add one as soon as I make this again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ok Mother Nature Lets Bring on Spring ...

Happenings in my life...
You know when you just put clean sheets on the bed and you are laying in it enjoying the clean smoothness of them? I was, then Owl comes down the hall crying and climbs into my bed. I let him stay, he was being so cute, all giggles and smiles. Well that didn't last, just as I dozed off I heard him vomit all over my clean sheets, then all over me! So we missed our Homeschool's Valentine party at Chuckie Cheeses, the kids were so bummed.

On Valentines morning the kids found hearts all over the table each had 1 special white heart that had a message written on white crayon on where to find a special gift I got them. They needed use water colors to decode them.

Falcons decoded heart

Falcon got some Lego guys, and a 3D bookmark.
Robin got a stuffed Mulan doll
Duck got an imaginext airplane
Owl got a stuffed Micky Mouse

They were thrilled, it was a lot of fun. For lunch the kids made their own personal heart pizza's I made the dough into hearts for them though gluten free dough is really hard to work with, it's very sticky.

Falcon had the week off
Duck and Owl worked on the letter C, the color yellow and trains we planned to visit a train station but since everyone was sick we may have to move that to next week.
The train themed letter number recognition creative play idea I had make sure you check out my blog post on it.
Robin is almost through with all off her Headsprout reading she is on lesson 71, only less than 10 more to go. She is reading so well now.
We also finished up American Girl Josefina book 2.
We continued our study of China and rain forests.
We only finished about 1/2 of what I had planned but pretty good considering I had sick kids.

I am reading

Falcon will also start reading this starting next week for health class that way he better understands why we do not eat gluten anymore.

Yummy gluten free Valentine heart pizzas.

Yummy Gluten free Paleo Lemon Coconut balls
I am DONE with winter! I had all these great books on snow and snowflakes studies but all winter we have only had 2 snowfalls that have actually stuck more than a few days. I am sick of seeing them on my shelf so we are now going to start spring activities. I so love spring everything so fresh and new. So I spent a lot of time this week requesting spring books and searching for spring activities.

Speaking of spring, if you would like to see some great spring activities and link your own old or new themed Spring posts head over to Spring Blog Carnival

Train Station Play- letter number recognition.

My kids love all things train to I came up with this idea to play train station.

I just used clip art to make the tickets and the conductor check in sheet.
Printed them and laminated them.

Each child had to buy a ticket (we used play money to help them learn coin value)

Once on the train the conductor went up to ever passenger to collect the tickets. Each child had to say the letter and number on their ticket then circle it on the conductor sheet with a dry erase marker.

The kids had so much fun with this we even got out a United states map and I had each child point to states and cities (more learning) that the train would head to, they all took turns choosing destinations.

When they were done playing train station they still had fun matching the tickets to the conductor sheet and crossing them off.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paleo (gluten free) Lemon-Coconut Balls

Paleo Coconut -Lemon balls

You will need:

Makes about 30 cookies

Dry Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1 & 1/2 cups dried Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1/3 c Coconut Flour
2 big pinches of Salt

Mix all of your dry ingredients together - set aside.

Wet Ingredients

In a small mixing bowl combine the following:

3 Tbsp Pure Maple syrup
3 Tbsp Raw Honey
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla (optional)
If you are using a fresh organic lemon grate some of the peel (about a Tbsp) for added lemon flavor, otherwise skip this step and just use Organic Lemon juice

Mix your wet and dry together

*You will add your coconut oil and butter in the next step.

I let my kids just use their hands and squish this all up, you could be more civilized and use a mixer though!


1/4 cup of coconut oil AND 1 Tbsp butter in a pan 1 Tbsp butter (you could use coconut oil if you prefer to go dairy free)
Then, slowly pour this into the bowl and mix some more. Then roll into 1 inch balls.

Now you have two choices you can either make them warm or cold I really love both.
I have been calling them summer and winter cookies.

Summer Balls (to make cold)
just place in your refrigerator until they harden .... DONE!

Cooling in the refrigerator.

Winter Balls (warm chewy cookie type texture)
These are my kids favorite because they taste like the chewy cookies we used to eat with gluten in them. My son said they remind him of how yummy fresh bread is... all warm and chewy.

Winter Balls getting all toasty in my oven.

Put you oven on it's lowest setting (mine is 170) and bake with door open a crack for 1 hour. You are not really cooking these just drying them out a bit to get that crunchy/chewy texture that is in gluten cookies. When the outside is just hardening up and the bottom of the ball is golden brown they are DONE! Eat them right out of the oven or save for later. These are just as good at room temperature.


Finished Balls, The lighter ones on the left are the Winter Balls the ones on the right are the Summer Balls.

Note: This was adapted from a recipe on someones blog if I could remember her name I would mention her.

Monday, February 13, 2012

American Girl Felicity Projects and Crafts

A small group on homeschooling moms and I made an American Girl co-op. We meet once a month to discuss the books and do a group craft.

Meeting 1/ month 1
We made coral brackets just like Felicity wore in book. None of the girls wanted theirs to be all red coral like the book so we mixed in a few other natural beads.

We made also made mob caps for our dolls. The mother that brought this project also brought fabric and ribbon to make a matching child size one as well. We didn't have time to finish those.

At home we made a old fashioned fireplace and pretended to make apple butter in it. We used wood my dad was just getting ready to throw away from a chair he had in the basement from the 70,s it's not perfect but functional for our projects. I lined the back with a black garbage bag.I then taped construction paper to it for flames. We used old toilet paper tubes as logs to keep the fire going. Even my younger boys had so much fun with this collecting wood, stirring apples in the cauldron and then pouring it into jars. I bought the cauldron from a Halloween store in September then drilled a hole in each side to hang it over the fire. I couldn't find a small cauldron with a handle do I made one. We talked about how much harder the simple things were in Felicity's time and how having an open fire like this to cook on would be dangerous and hot. (note: the dress Robin is wearing was made by Mom and worn by me in a wedding when I was 4 in the early 80's. This has been my daughters favorite dress for 2 years.)

Here is Robin making sure she doesn't scorch her dress by the flames (just like the Felicity did in the story.) We made our own apple butter in the crockpot out of the apples we picked from the orchard and enjoyed this on our freshly baking gluten free bread at tea time.

Tea on Tuesday
We enjoyed having tea every Tuesday afternoon and discussing the book and enjoying a fun snack. My 11 yr old son would sometimes read to us chapters from the story while we sipped our tea.

Month 2/meeting 2

This is a tea block. This is actually the way that tea came back then. You just chip a bit off then steep it. This block is compressed tea leaves. So, during the Boston Tea party this is what they threw in the water not tea leaves. Who knew? I sure didn't!

Some of the girls taking turns shaking a jar of fresh raw cream to make butter

One of the moms was able to obtain a colonial box from a local museum which had many historical goodies in it such as: toys, a drum, coins, a flag, period clothing and so much more. They all had a blast looking through the items.

Here our Tin lanterns:

Directions to make these:
Step 1: Use a clean aluminum or tin can, fill with water leaving about 1/2inch from the top for water to expand.

Step 2: Lay on a towel to help prevent slipping then use a large head nail to hammer into your cam to make holes.

Step 3: Let the water melt. We used a battery powered tea light inside so it was child safe. Robin loves to use this as a light in her room and for creative play with her American girl dolls and other toys.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homeschooling = constant change

Happenings In Our Life

Falcon was super excited to see his face in the paper for the marketing add the library used him in. He is also on a big poster in all the libraries. All the librarians at the branch we frequent made a HUGE fuss over him when we came in today for one of the homeschool events I host. They asked him to sign the poster under his picture and quote. I also won a $25 dollar gift card in a drawing so I picked that up as well. So funny that all these cool things happened to us. It does make me a little uneasy though (I am a glass is half empty kinda girl) so I can't help shake the feeling that if its to good to be true then it is, and I am preparing for the bad news that may come my way.

When I picking up my husband from our office building I noticed a beat up SUV pulled up with a chair strapped to the roof. I found it very strange and because our AC unit and generator are in the back I decided to drive around and check it out. The man was facing the generator with his hands down near his crotch, then I notice he was peeing! Really? in broad daylight during business hours right near a gas station he could have used. Then he glares at ME, like I was being rude watching him! So gross!

Our New Homeschool ideas
Last week was a rough on so I decided to switch things up a bi. One of the joys of homeschooling is constantly changing and making things new to keep interests peeked.

Changes in Falcons week...
I decided to write out all the assignments I wanted him to complete this week and when ever he finished them he could be done with school work for the rest of the week then start his vacation early. (We school on a 6 weeks on 1 week off rotation and this week was week 6)Papabird decided to sweeten the deal up some more and tell Falcon that if he gets all his work done by Thursday he will buy him the Star Wars game he has been wanting all week.I am happy to say he succeeded and wants to try this new routine every week.

Left side of the dry erase board has his lessons the number next to it lets him know how many lessons he needs to do for each to be complete. He asked to watch

So I took off an English lesson, I didn't want him to feel he couldn't do something educational if he wanted too and have his other work pile up.
The projects on the right are things I needed to do with him. His journalism project was so fun, we watched the American girl Kit movie last week so his assignment was to capture some news and write an article on it. He dids a great job He took pictures of Robin playing diner with Duck and wrote and article on a new restaurant that just opened.

Changes in Robin's week...
I used a lesson planner that I bought a long time ago and things went very well. I usually don't do lesson plans but I really felt like it kept me on task and that I didn't get to busy with the other 3 kids and let her schooling slide. We got a lot done so I plan to continue with this next week.

Robin doing yoga in the playroom

Changes in Duck and Owl's week...
We started letter of the week making sure we focus on a letter (b), shape (triangle), color (orange) and theme, his weeks theme was Sharks. Duck for the first time actually showed interest in learning when were were at the library last weekend and wanted books on sharks. He helped me pick them out, check them out and carry them to the car. I was just elated that he wanted to learn.

I stayed up late on Sunday night making these

I searched for the right clip art, printed, colored, and then laminated them!

We also started learning Spanish as a family due to our company landing some big South American Clients which he will be soon taking a trip to.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Groundhog Week and yearly goal update.

It was one of those weeks that when Friday rolled around it felt like it should be Tuesday still.

I was on the news this week (the groundhog day event the kids and I were at), my husband and 3 kids were photographed for a promotion at our mall, and I won a gift card in a random drawing from the library. Our family just cannot get out of the spotlight! Last week the TV commercial, marketing add, and newspaper write up about the library this week about a local groundhog day event and other things. The news crew asked me a few questions that I did not know the answer too! Luckily they cut most of what I said out and just had me on for a quick second with just one short statement.

Our local park system held a groundhog day event with games, snacks (all healthy fruits a groundhog would eat grapes, apples, oranges etc..) I was so excited to NOT see a table full of processed crap food. Here we are on our nature walk through the park looking at an actual groundhog burrow. In the summer they sit on this rock all day. I cant wait to take the kids back in the spring to see if we see them.

looking down from the bridge at the chipmunks running across the logs over the water.

We spotted many animal tracks on our walk baby and mama deer tracks, snake tracks, varies rodents, and of course groundhog tracks.

We ate Ice cream at Coldstone Creamery for lunch one day. Got messy with art projects from the Painted Paper blog (I will be blogging about our awesome art project we are working on later next week)and had fun dancing to Choo Choo Soul.

My New Years resolution update:
remember my goals
1. Write at least 1000 words a week for my novel
I did NOT hit this goal, I got side tracked on another writing project that I am working on. One that will bring in more money (hopefully) for the family. I saw this as a priority and will be working on both next month
2. Make a kids created monthly scrapbook
We will be finishing up a page for our scrapbook this weekend, I got a little behind on this one due to my computer crashing and having to buy a new one.
3.Do yoga at least 2 nights a week
Hit this goal easily
4.Jog outside, kids free!
I had a good start on this one but then I had to go see a chiropractor about some back issues and I was told not to rum for awhile
5. A year long study of 12 famous artists. Each month we will focus on one 1 artist and create an art project replica of a famous painting
Hit this goal and Studies Van Gogh with beautiful art replicas now hanging in my kitchen (check out my blog post on it)

Skeletal System

We read all about the skeletal system.

Made model of the spine using a pipe cleaner and pony beads.

The pipe cleaner is the spinal cord and the white beads represent the 33 vertebrae.

We tried to make a model using pink as the cartilage in-between the vertebra but there was not enough room to put 33 vertebra and cartilage.

Trying different ways our spine let's us move.

We watched magic school bus- Human Body. Then took pictures of our ribs to get a better look at them up close

Ducks ribs!

A trip to the chiropractor with me. I had the doctor pull up my X-rays to show the kids. You can see by the red line my hips are all out of whack ( I am assuming every woman who carries a baby around on their hip or crosses their legs is the same way)

The doctor wasn't very excited that I had 4 kids with me at the chiropractor and was turning my appointment into a science lesson!

I printed off a skeleton from enchanted learning website then laminated it.

The kids had fun putting the skeleton back together.

Robin wasn't sure at first why she had extra pieces (she left out the Femur and Humerus) by the end of week she could do it very easily.

We played games naming different parts of our bones to each other and pointing them out on each other.
One child stood up in front of all of us while we shouted out different bones the person in front had to point to the part until he got one wrong then he sat down. We played this everyday and by the end of the week Falcon and Robin could name 25 major bones in the human skeleton.

Of course we cooked bone broth and discussed why the bones are so strong when I put them in but after I boil it for 12 hours the bones will just fall apart in your hands. We discussed why bone broth is so healthy for you if made right because it pulls all the vitamins and minerals out of the bones so we can eat it.