Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My life in Pin: Foxy Leaves

When I saw this pin idea for foxes made out of maple leaves I knew we had to make some. We have a huge maple tree in our back yard that is currently shedding all over our yard so we weren't lacking for the supplies. Also, it's fall and this project just fits the season.

Gathering small leaves for the ears.

Throwing dirt!

Working hard!

Using scissors and glue all in one day is such a treat!

There's a reason they are doing this project standing. This is what we built that morning so our chairs were being used:

Jackson hid in the tent while we worked.

Someone got glue happy!

Amelia's foxes after the mounds of glue dried.

Abiah's foxes

Hazel's foxes took the longest to dry.

I just adore how these turned out. Each one has such character. And it was easy and cheap. Those are the characters I look for when crafting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Life in Pin: Mess Free Finger Painting

This week's My Life in Pin installment comes from my To make with kids board. Mess free finger painting (original pin). I love the idea! I've had the same jars of paint for too many years because I don't like the mess of paint  + kids. 

I decided to pull this one out one day when I needed to distract Jackson for a few minutes so I could do some work with Hazel and Abiah. Amelia was content to color.

To begin you squirt some paint into a ziplock bag. Then you place it on top of a piece of plain paper and tape both down to the table surface. 

The child is then free to mix the paints up as much as they like...but the paint stays in the bag!

Of course, some children just prefer to rip the bag off of the paper...

and color like sister.

I think this project will work better with the older kids. They understand the concept of "don't rip that off there!" Well, kind of. They were all interested at least so I'm sure I'll be using it again.

If you haven't already, find me on Pinterest! My username is queenshiree.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Most Delicious Thing You'll Ever Make

So, Mrs Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Nutella Rice Crispy Treats last week. They looked amazing but I can't have them since Nutella has soy in it. I sent the link to a friend and then read through the post. One of the topping suggestions Ree had was for salted caramel. It was at that moment that the stars aligned and the heaven's split open and the angels sang, "Ahhhhhhh!"

Salted caramel is one of my favorite things EVER! I can have salted caramel. So If I just make rice crispy treats I can top it with salted caramel. And the world would be a better place!

So I convinced HH that I needed to run to the store and he decided he would make dinner that night ( more starts aligning!). By the end of two hours I had a 9x9 pan of marshmallow and caramel goodness.

(Of course the going to the store factors into the time. It only takes a few minutes to make this wonderful treat. So you should do it. Now.)

First make rice crispies. 6 cups of cereal, one 10 ounce bag of marshmallows, and 4 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter and marshmallows and when completely melted and smooth, mix with cereal. Press mixture into a well buttered 9x9 pan.

For the caramel topping I used one bag of caramels. I don't know what size it was, but just figure the more the merrier. I melted the caramels with about 1/4 cup of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon of butter and a splash of milk. When this mixture is smooth and creamy pour it over the rice crispy treats then top with salt. I use sea salt. You'll want to let them sit for a bit before you cut into them to allow the caramel to set.

When you do cut into them eat one right away. It will be the best decision you've made all day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Life in Pin: Matching Letter Eggs

For years I've avoided it. The evil time worm hole know as Pinterest. I avoided it for a reason. I knew I would be powerless against it. So many cute things!

My life is already busy. I wouldn't be able to do all the projects I would want to "pin." And I won't be to own half the clothes I've labeled "My Style."

I had friends tell me to join. Over and over. They knew I'd love it. But I couldn't.

Until this last weekend.

Through facebook I had been exposed to one too many cute ideas that I just HAD to do with the kids. I even talked my decision to join over with HH. All along he's known what would happen if I joined. He was right.

Day one and I've spent a few evening hours clicking on one cute thing after another. Day two and I've got 12 boards each with multiple pins and I spend a good 15 minutes laughing so hard I'm crying over funny pins I want to pin but don't have the guts to pin.

I did decide from the start that I would have to try a good portion of the ideas that I do pin. Pin. I'm planning a few weeks of craft with the kids for advent and have lots of ideas stored up for that time.My goal is for them to make gifts for their 14 cousins for Christmas. You call it slave labor, I call it Craft Time which means Mommy gets some good mom points! I'll try to post our versions of the crafts here.

It's a two-for really. (Two birds, one stone. Keep up!)

So, my first pin craft is from my School Ideas board for uppercase and lowercase egg matching (original pin). Here's what mine looks like and my twist:

I have a big supply of left-over plastic Easter eggs so I didn't spend any money on this project.

Basket of eggs!
 My twist was to put the letters in print on one side...

And cursive on the other...

The idea behind this is for the girls to get familiar with both versions. Whether this was a good idea or just a good way to confuse them is yet to be seen.

The first time we played with them I had the girls write down the print version of the eggs they found matches for. Since they were both begging to do this project since I made it Sunday afternoon I knew neither of them would sit patiently waiting for the other to match all 26 eggs so we did it together and it was basically first come first match.
Hazel's written work

I didn't focus on their paper work as much this time since it was all new to us. Also we were at the end of our school day and they really just wanted to play with the eggs. Of course I helped Amelia with her written work more then Hazel.
Amelia's written work

We all really liked this and I know the girls will be excited to play with the eggs again. Come find me on Pinterest!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Curriculum Round-up 2012-13

I can't believe that it is already October! Our summer was a busy one and it just flew by so fast. I've been meaning to get on here and share our curriculum and plan for the year but haven't taken the time. Rachel's link-up gave me good incentive!

This year we changed a few things up. The biggest being that we are schooling year round. I've thought about it for the past few years but wasn't sure I could pull it off. Because the kids and I planned to go with Nathan on his annual September hunting trip I decided this was the year we would give it a try. I didn't want to start only to take a break for camping and I didn't want to start late. 

We began our first quarter on July 9th and went through September 7th when we took a three week vacation for hunting prep, hunting, and hunting recovery. We started our second quarter on October 1st and will go to the 30th of November. Our Christmas/winter break will end on January 7th (That's right! FIVE weeks!) and our third quarter will run until March 15th. We will take a week long spring break and be back for our fourth quarter on the 25th with plans to finish school the 31st of May. If all goes as planned, and we like the schedule, we will then have a month long break before starting school for the next year.

Curriculum wise, I have changed a few things from last year but still LOVE what we are doing. We use My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures (MFW) and it seems to fit perfectly. That doesn't mean that we never have rough days. MFW just meets all the criteria for the type of education HH and I wanted to give our children. 

HH is big on math and science. Math I get. Science I don't. I never was a huge fan and have always been nervous about teaching it. My things are history, literature, language arts, art, and music. And of course we both want a good Bible curriculum. My personal approach to homeschooling has been more along the Charlotte Mason/Montessori curve (hands on, small amounts of time spent on each subject, lots of literature). I'm learning more and more about this approach as I go, but it seems to work for us and I feel like MFW  facilitate this.

The thing I love about MFW is that they take all of these things and bring them together. While we learn about different countries and their locations (geography), we are also learning about different ecosystems around the world (science), the people and missionaries to the different countries (literature and Bible), and cultural practices (music and art). We use Saxon for math. It is a suggestion from MFW for math, but we would have chosen it anyways. 

In the past I've always felt like I needed to add to MFW's language arts choices because they seemed light and I wanted to make sure I didn't leave anything out. What ended up happening is that I would use the stuff I added and not have time for the MFW curriculum. Specifically the Intermediate Language Lessons, which is an approach to language arts that I really love. When I actually READ the catalog I realized that if I stick with what MFW has outlined we will cover all we need to. It will just come at age appropriate levels.

For spelling I use Spell to Write and Read (STWAR). I've been using this for years and really love the program. My main complaint is that it is hard to teach if you've not taken their Teacher's course. I have definitely adjusted the program to work for me so it doesn't seem so heavy a work load. I feel like we get a lot of her "extra" stuff in what we already do. 

Since last year Abiah has been in a Let's Play Music class learning music theory and now the piano. Hazel was able to join this year. We include their practice into our school day as much as possible. If you have an instructor in your area, I strongly recommend this course.

Hazel is not yet five but she is really ready to start school so she is officially in kindergarten. Amelia has declared that she is in "Pretty" school (Pre-school), although she'd rather be in kindergarten with her sister. For Hazel I am doing Horizon's for math, and Bob Books with STWAR for learning to read. Amelia's Pretty school is made up of random activities and About Three pages. She and I are also working through a pre-reader set of Bob Books.

I am trying to include the girls in Abiah's classes as much as possible. They don't necessarily understand everything, but they love to be included. They may not be able to do projects like labeling maps and such but they can color them. Which will at least familiarize them with them for the future.

My plan is to have activities for Amelia and Jackson while I'm schooling the others. Hopefully I will have time to share some of those ideas here. So far this about sums up Jackson's roll in school:

This is either an "I hate school" dance or an "I love school so much I had to get on top of the table and dance" dance.

I would like to think that the posts that I want to write about why we homeschool and what our day typically looks like will happen soon. Chances are it will take awhile. I have so many ideas for the kids to make this year-round schooling work well and be more appealing so I'm pretty busy. I'm also trying to be purposeful about doing the fun part of school. It's so easy to just do what we need to so we can say we did school, but that's a part of why we do this homeschool thing in the first place!

Like I said in the beginning, I'm linking up to Rachel's homeschool post. Click over and check out the other links!