Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homeschool Today

We had a great day today, even though I still feel completely disorganized.

Started geography today. We began by putting a big puzzle of the United States together. We talked about how all the different states make up one big country. The puzzle has lots of little pictures on each state showing what things that state is known for. She really enjoyed seeing little pictures of some of the things we've seen, like Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Florida.

For math today, Laural practiced writing her numbers - she still has a little trouble with 5 & 6. Then she did some addition problems in her sticker book.

She reviewed a lot of the Spanish that she did in Pre-K. We discovered the spots she needs to work on before we move on to the next level.

In Bible time, we talked about being honest and playing nice. We made a homemade ring toss game and practiced playing nicely and not getting upset when your turn is over or when you don't do very well at the game.

For recess/gym time, we had a kitchen dance party. Laural got down and did a crab dance. Very cute!

We also did reading and music today.

We introduced our shape for the week - square. I gave him the magna doodle and helped him draw squares on it. He got a kick out of that. Then we went around the kitchen looking for things in the shape squares. We found a cd case, a napkin, a box of canning lids and his Moo, Cow, Moo book and then we read the book. We talked about our weekly theme - cows - and I showed him a picture of a cow. We practiced our best mooing. I also showed him a picture of a calf which is our weekly vocabulary word. The pictures and the shape go on the Learning Poster. I still have to fix up the learning poster because he tore some things off of it when he was younger plus I need to put his name on it. We sang "Old McDonald Had A Farm" using the animals bull, cow and calf which all, of course, say moo! Then we put on some music for the dance party and we encouraged him to dance like a cow. Here is how he was dancing:
Too cute

We had a fun and productive day today. I can't wait until tomorrow!

I also wanted to mention that I found a really neat (and free) online planner at http://www.homeschoolskedtrack.com/. It takes a little bit of looking around to get the hang of it, but I really like it. I have the whole year outlined and each day, I can look at the course schedule and make sure that I am not forgetting any of our subjects or activities I have planned!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Day of School & Muffin Tin Monday & Treasure Hunting!

We have had a fun and busy first day of school today! Laural started the day with a dentist appointment - her teeth are perfect though they did say they'd like her to floss more. Other than that, her teeth look clean and there are no cavities! Yay!

Laural's first day of school picture. Such a little beauty. Remember what she looked like last year?
She's growing up so fast!
A soon as we were home, we started our school day with a treasure hunt. I gave Laural and Micah the treasure map and they had to follow the map to find, first the additional pieces of the map and then the treasure. Both kids had a ball looking arounf the yard and then looking through their treasure boxes.

Checking out the initial map she received.

Found the last piece!

Following the map.

Could this be the X that marks the spot?

I cheated a bit. I really didn't want to dig a hole and bury the treasure, so I took an old bird cage bottom and covered the treasure with it. It was quite convenient that it had a big X on the bottom. Once she uncovered the treasure, we went inside to look at the booty.

Each kiddo got a plastic pencil box filled with back to school goodies: A sheet of stickers, a flash card box, 6 pencils, pencil grips, a pink pet eraser, thumbtack (for mommy to tack up their school work on the bulletin board), a post it pad, some silly bandz, a new pack of crayons, a composition book and a fruit roll up. Micah wasn't happy that none of his pencils were sharpened. Once I sharpened a pencil for him, he got right to work writing in his comp book and on the post its.

After searching through their boxes, it was time to start with school work.

Micah began by coloring a cow picture because his theme this week is cows. I also read the book Moo, Cow, Moo. We learned that a baby cow is called a calf. I read the book What is a Farm? to both kids, focusing on the cow a little extra for Micah's sake.

Laural did Hooked on Phonics on the computer and did some workbook work.

Then it was lunch time and Muffin Tin Monday to boot! Since we had a treasure hunt today, I decided to do a treasure hunt tin rather than do the number theme.

We had: A Compass (pb&j sandwich with icing directions and a blueberry center with carrot needle), Gold Coins (yellow colored string cheese circles), Pearly Gems (sugared grapes and blueberries), Diamonds and Emeralds (cucumbers cut in the shape of diamonds and emeralds - skin on for the emeralds) and a Buried Treasure (a silver wrapped Hershey Kiss in pudding & cookie dirt). It was a big hit!

Micah went right for the chocolate - of course!

Laural liked to keep changing the carrot to point in other directions.

As always, check out Muffin Tin Mom and see what other kids had in their muffin tins today!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

After lunch, Micah went down for his nap and Laural continued her class work - some math, geography and writing. I have to admit, I'm not as organized as I wanted to be since I started a week earlier than I had originally planned, but Laural doesn't mind. She's just thrilled to be having school again. She's been asking all summer long when we were going to do school again. She has a heart for learning!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Night With The Fire Department

It would have been great my night with the fire department was for a fundraiser or benefit or something along those lines but it wasn't. This was the scene in the front of my home at around 4 o'clock this morning.

At around 3 AM, I thought I smelled smoke. It was just little whiffs. I really thought I was imagining things. About 5 or 10 minutes later, I smelled it again. This time, I got up and did a quick walk in the upstairs hall and each of the rooms. I also opened some windows to see if there might be smoke outside. I caught a light whiff once in the hall but I wasn't even sure it was smoke. So I went back to my bed. I smelled it here and there a few more times and I began to think that one of the yard sale books I had been looking through might be smokey. I proceeded to sniff each of the books. They smelled like books. I was becoming perplexed. I decided to go downstairs and check there next. I smelled the smokey smell in the kitchen but it wasn't too strong. I unplugged all my appliances and felt everything and sniffed everything. All I smelled was the light smell in the kitchen. I went back upstairs. After a few more minutes, I smelled it again. So, back downstairs I went. We rent our home which is a big 2 story attached to an Odd Fellows Lodge. There is a door between our kitchen and the lodge. This time I went over and moved my island away from the door and put my face up to it. The smoke smell was quite strong there! There was also a light on next door. The door is kept locked on both sides so I couldn't check anything out. I went outside and around to the other side. It was locked and I couldn't see anything inside. 

I called Steve to see whether he thought I should call the landlords or 911 first. He suggested I call the landlords first. I tried calling but couldn't get through. I went back inside and and sniffed at the door again. It was definitely a strong, stinky, electrical smelling smoke. I decided to call 911. It took a few minutes to get the operator to understand what I was talking about but they finally put the call to the fire department. The operator asked if we could get out safely and I told him that I really hadn't planned on waking my kids up yet. He told me I should go ahead and wake them up and take them outside. Right as we walked outside, the town fire siren went off. A minute later, an ambulance pulled in to the Odd Fellows lot. A few minutes after that, 2 firetrucks came rolling up the street. After explaining everything to them, one of them came in my side and he smelled the smoke. I was glad he smelled it because I was so paranoid that they would get there and there would be nothing. Several minutes later, a 3rd truck arrived. Since there was no visible flame or smoke, they waited for somebody with a key to come let them in. A couple guys tried accessing the other side through the basement but the door there was also locked. I stood outside while I watched them grab various equipment and make trips in and out of the building, including our side. We heard a lot of pounding as they tried to bust through a door that nobody seemed to have a key to. They weren't finding any fire or hot spots but they all smelled the smoke. About 10 or 15 minutes after the third truck arrived, a fourth truck arrived. Apparently, it's standard procedure to call Pine Township when there is a commercial fire call. So, there were 3 departments called out to our house. I really thought they'd send one or two guys to scope it out to see if they needed to call the whole lot of them out.

Finally, about an hour after they arrived, they started coming out of the building. They said it was a light ballast. I had no idea what they were talking about. It turns out that a ballast is part of florescent lights and one on the other side that had been left on, had burned out. I was so relieved that they figured out what it was and that it was something fairly minor. It could have caught fire, but I guess they don't usually. It still freaked me out. Smelling smoke in the middle of the night is one of my biggest fears and today, it happened! I am just so thankful to God that it wasn't something major. The wiring in this house is pretty old, so I was worried about that. I feel a little bad that 4 trucks showed up and spent over an hour looking through the whole place only to discover a burned out ballast. Of course, all I knew was that I smelled an electrical type smoke coming from the other side and had no clue what was going on over there.

I can still feel myself shaking a bit. It's been about an hour and a half since everybody left but I'm still feeling a little wired. What a crazy night. I'm just so happy it wasn't something major. The kiddos went back to bed fairly easily after a little over an hour of bright flashing lights and strange men walking through the house. They sat really well on our park bench through most of the event. I don't think I'll be able to sleep for a little while yet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School Bento

Today I made some back to school themed bento lunches for the whole family. It's amazing how simply putting food in a bento box makes Laural want to eat it more than if I had simply placed it on a plate. Our bento today:
Top: A is for Apple, B is for Blueberries (on vanilla yogurt) and C is for Carrots (on broccoli)
(grapes and lettuce garnish the top)
Bottom: Steamed Carrots and Fried Rice with Chicken

So yummy! I made the same thing for each of us with the exception of omitting the blueberries on Micah's and mine. MIcah ate only the yogurt. Laural ate everything and then a little of Micah's!

She could hardly wait to open her bento.

Micah loves the little utensils and picks - he's got a spoon in his mouth and a giraffe pick in his hand.

Laural rearranged he bento to make a little scene - "C" trees and a little path for her puppy pick. LOL

I have submitted this bento at Hapa Bento for the B.O.M.B. for August. So many cute bentos over there. Go take a look!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

We are back to themes for Muffin Tin Monday. Today, in preparation for back to school, there theme is ABC/Alphabet. Here is what we had today.
A: Apples, Almond Butter, Animal Crackers
B: Bananas, Blueberries, Brownies
C: Cantaloupe, Crackers, Cheese

I actually made 4 tins today - that's right, mommy & daddy enjoyed lunch in a muffin tin as well!

Laural went for the cantaloupe first.

Micah went right for the bownie.

For more muffin tins, check out the blog below to see what other kids had in their tins today!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bento Lunch Today

Even though we weren't out for lunch today, I decided to make a bento lunch for Laural anyhow, just because she loves them so much.
String cheese rounds, red grapes, vanilla yogurt with freeze dried blueberries, strawberry flowers, a peanut butter & clover jelly sandwich and carrots.

She was quite pleased with the meal. It did look rather appetizing.

So I made the same thing for myself too!

Poor Micah slept through lunch. I don't think he would have eaten the fruits or veggies but I'm sure he would have loved the sandwich, yogurt (without the blueberries) and maybe even the cheese.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Treasure Hunt!

It is back to school time! One of the things we are doing this year to get ready for back to school is a fun treasure hunt! On Monday before lunch, I will present Laural & Micah with a treasure map that I made. They will have to follow each step in order to find the next piece of the map that will show them where to go for the next piece until they eventually find the treasure. The treasure will be pencil boxes filled with some school supplies and goodies. I can't wait to do this. I want to do it now but will have to wait until I at least finish my supply shopping this weekend!

The map.
I made it from felt and that puffy squeeze paint. This is our side yard and driveway. The dark green circles are meant to represent trees. The red and brown square is our fire pit. The blue square is the playhouse and the red and yellow thing is a toddler swing and slide set. Just above the number 6 is the turtle sandbox. The gold, sparkly line arounf the driveway is the fence. The X marks the spot and the red, dashed line shows the path the kids are to take. Click on the pic for a bigger version to see the detail.

This is what the kids will receive. They will have to start at the red dot and go to where the map shows them in order to find the next part of the map. Once they find it, they will have to glue it on the map so they know where to go next.

I put each of the pieces in a numbered zip top bag and will hide them in the morning before the hunt. Some will be slightly buried and some will be up high - like hanging from a tree branch, and some will be inside something else like the sandbox or the playhouse.

The treasure.
It's not much of a treasure now, but this weekend, I will stuff it with school supplies and other goodies to make it a real treasure. Laural is going to love this and Micah will think it's awesome just because Laural will be so excited about it. Me, I am going to have a rough time remembering to take pics because I'll be having so much fun watching them get into this.

I linked this post to:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

We really haven't been keeping up with muffin tin meals this summer. On these hot days, we tend to sleep in a bit, have a late breakfast and a light snack instead of lunch. As we sat down for lunch today, Laural asked me what day it was and when I told her it was Monday, she nearly had a fit that we weren't having lunch in a muffin tin. So, I transferred her food to a tin and everything was right with the world again.

Happy girl with her lunch.

She had a pb&j, a green bell pepper cup filled with apple sauce, the pepper top cut into pieces and a glass of milk.

The applesauce in the pepper was Laural's decision. I was teasing her earlier about putting the applesauce in the pepper and she really liked the idea and insisted that I do it that way. The pepper is from my parents' garden and the jelly on the sandwich is my homemade mint jelly.

Micah didn't have a tin because he was already eating, but when he saw me taking pics of the tin and Laural he started shouting "Mee! Meeee!" He seems to be growing up so fast all of a sudden. He's to that stage where he wants to have everything his sister is having and his speaking is becoming so much more clear and concise. He's really starting to communicate well by talking. Earlier today, while in the car, I turned down the radio to talk to Steve. Micah started yelling "Up! up!!" I looked at him, turned the radio up a bit and he said "Thank you." and he was quite happy again. It's awesome and a little sad to see him becoming a little boy and not my baby anymore.

If you want to see more Muffin Tin Meals, click the button below. Themes start again next week!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Get Even Hotter on a Really Hot Day or Canning Day - Part 2

I'm almost finished for the night. I'm still waiting on the last batch of beans to finish processing. I ended up with 16 pints and 1 quart of canned beans and 7 pints of freezer beans. I ran out of mason jars. Time to buy more. I'm going to need to rent storage to keep all the jars I will have once I work my way through all the stuff I have canned right now! Anyhow, here are a few pics from the rest of tonight's work:

The first batch of canned beans.

Freshly blanched beans cooling off in an ice water bath.

A quick pat dry before loading them into freezer jars.

Seven lovely pints of beans, ready to make a trip to the freezer.

So, as soon as the last batch comes out of the canner, I will be finished with beans! Elderberries and jelly will be finished up tomorrow! Yay! It's such a good feeling to get fruits and veggies put up for the fall and winter. I'm tired and sore (why can't kitchen counters be 6 inches taller so us tall people don't have to bend over them so far?) but happy to have them done. Time to hop into the hot tub!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Get Even Hotter on a Really Hot Day or Canning Day - Part 1

I got a big surprise last night - a load of green beans and elderberries that needed some loving attention. Since Brian's girlfriend's mom got seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident, she has been unable to tend to her garden while she recovers. Brian & Missy did some picking yesterday and called me to see if I would process them so they wouldn't go to waste. I readily agreed since I would love to have some canned beans and elderberry jelly in my pantry for the fall and winter.

My first step was to survey how many beans and berries there were to do. The answer to that was A LOT! There was a fully stuffed Walmart bag and a half stuffed bag of green beans. Then there was 15 to 20 pounds of elderberries. Wow.

I had half the berries in the sink and half still in the bag. At the same time, I had about a third of the beans in the other sink and the rest in the bag.

So, I started the beans and taught Laural how to snap them and then I started the berries. Before too long Brian and Missy stopped in and they snapped the beans with Laural.

We ended up with 2 1/2 big pots filled with cleaned and snapped beans.

I filled a big pot half way with elderberries to be cooked down for jelly.

About half way through the cooking, they looked like this:

Then I started putting the beans into jars. I filled 16 pint jars and one quart. I still have a lot to do but they will have to be frozen since I'm out of jars! Waiting to be processed:

Into the water they go!

After getting the 1st batch of beans into the canner, it was time to start straining the berries. Here they sit in cheese cloth, drip, drip, dripping away.

Well, I'm getting there. I think I might just put the juice in the fridge and turn it into jelly tomorrow. I will try to get the rest of the beans blanched and in the freezer tonight as well as freeze the remaining elderberries. I will post Part 2 later tonight or tomorrow morning.


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