Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Mm" is for Moon!

 If you've been following my homeschooling posts recently you will know that we are doing a letter a week like "My Father's World" kindergarten curriculum has but we aren't doing it in their order.  THIS week is all about the moon and I found some books at the library to introduce some of the concepts about the moon.

  One fact about the moon is that there isn't any air or atmosphere there so there isn't any wind.. which means that the foot prints left by the astronauts will stay there!  I thought those concepts were something we should focus on and to help them remember I painted their feet and they got to leave their own footprints on our "doodle on the moon" (we did the medium sized print out which was 6 pages.. you could do the large one if you have more space and more kids!)
Even the baby thought this was a pretty spiffy project!

I'm pretty sure this made an impression on them and the 4 year old was even able to answer back correctly when I asked "why do footprints stay on the moon and not blow away?"  -- because there's no atmosphere! 

My 6 year old especially liked the fact that the moon has less gravity than the earth so we'd be really light and springy if we walked on the moon.  ;]
 I showed them a few videos talking about the phases of the moon and here is a pretty good one if you'd like it!  "Why does the Moon change shape?"
While they watched the videos that I'd collected I helped them turn their cookies into the shapes of the moon.  This of course was fun for them since they got to eat a LOT more cookies than I'd normally give them in one sitting!   
BFG33701 - Kinnikinnick FoodsKtoos Chocolate Sandwich Cream Cookies
If you have to be gluten free like us, might I suggest these cookies!  They are super tasty.  My husband who doesn't have to be gluten free loves them as well so they won't make anyone feel less special.
The girls have been doodling on the moon a lot this week, but the foot prints were the biggest hit of all.

Last foot to do is on the little one.


The final doodle was my oldest making her toes into a family.  How cute is that!?  :}

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

gluten free pumpkin cream spice filled pizzelles

 I wrote up some gluten free recipes for the pizzelle on a former post so I will try to not repeat myself too much.  I have a few things to add now though!  My husband wanted a sort of cream cheese spicy pumpkin filling in the pizzelles for his birthday.  Personally, I'd have gone with just nutella, but it is becoming cooler and Autumn is in the air so the pumpkin thing was a good idea.

A few changes from the former recipe is that I've been using Pamela's gluten free mixes so I didn't have all the individual flours like the original post uses.
1 &3/4 cup flour mix
half a stick of butter (or so)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp anise extract or vanilla extract (I used vanilla because it matched the pumpkin filling best)
(and 2 tsps of baking powder if you don't use a mix that already has that in it.)

The filling was about a half a can of pumpkin
one thing of cream cheese
about a 1/2 cup of honey or agave (or to your taste!  I kept tasting as I went)
1 tsp of cinamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 tsp of ginger
(Again, taste it and add more spice if you like it spicier or more sweetener if you like it sweeter.)
Spread out the filling along one edge and start on that side to roll it up.  You've got to do this really fast before the pizzelles harden.  After they are rolled up just put them on a plate and stick them in the fridge so they cool quickly.

Here's my example of one that I overdid and the blond one that rolled correctly.  The one that is more done tasted fine, but it was too crispy to roll well.  Be prepared to open the Pizzelle maker 30 seconds after putting the batter in to check them.  They cook super fast and it's really easy to over do them.
So, in the end it was much easier than I thought it would be!  You can use your own frosting (or nutella!) or another filling of your choice.  They keep well in the fridge for several days (IF they last that long!)

If you have any questions write them in the comments and I will be happy to clarify... or if you have specific flours that you'd like to use you can ask about that too and I can help with the ratios and how to use them.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Butterfly puppet tutorial

So many great ideas can be found on the internet and pinterest!  I got this one from THIS blog My 6 year old loves doing art so much that this was a great choice for her to practice reading her site words (it's like coloring with numbers.)

Another idea from Pinterest was making letters with drawn circles so that the child can cover the circles with glass rocks.  Our letter of the week is "Bb" so my four year old worked on her project.
 Scrapbooking and blogging are really invaluable to us mothers.  Too often we get bogged down with all the stuff that we have to do.  Like my last post about not feeling like I could enjoy the little moments.  Today I was overwhelmed with the mess at the table after we did these projects (mainly because I didn't have time to do anything about it because I had to go grocery shopping and then put all the groceries away while I was making dinner and it was under a time crunch because of the event tonight *blah blah* you get the picture.)

Well, sometimes enjoying things fully come in our memories.  So, here I am looking at the pictures and realizing that my feeling of "WHAT am I doing?  Where is my grocery list?  What was I supposed to get?  How am I going to keep it all in budget?  Oh no, I forgot to do language arts with Lily!  Why do we have so many toys on the floor?  ACK, I forgot to put chocolate on my grocery list!  Where are the babies shoes?  Bother, I walked out the door without remembering the sling or to change the toddlers diaper first.  Should I try to buy something else for the cats fleas or wait?"  ...and on it goes.. yeah, too much in my head to really enjoy these sweet moments with my kids, but they had fun.  I was even able to make the fussy toddler a bit happier today than in past days, so I call it all a success!  Even though I have to do a little school with Lily on Saturday -- it's all good and I'm determined to keep this up because we are getting better at it!

Both girls absolutely LOVED watched some videos of a butterflies life cycle and a butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis today.  We've also been playing the song "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" this week since last week was all about Frogs and this week was butterflies.
"My Father's World" curriculum does a 'badge' in the shape of the subject each week with the 'words to remember' on it.  This week it was "God can make me new" but rather than using a badge this week I decided to pull out some craft stuff to make butterfly puppets and it was so cute that I took some pics to make a tutorial!  So, first fold the felt in half.

Cut a butterfly wing shape on the folded felt so that it will become symmetrical.  I didn't use a pattern.  Just wing it!

Ta da!  Not brilliant, but it works.

Snip four holes on either side of the fold line.

Slip some pipecleaner through the hole and loop it around the wooden spoon handle.

Cross it over and back into the other holes so it sort of looks like this.

Twist around the handle again so it's something like this.
Curl the ends.  You can now wave it around and the wings will "flap" up and down sort of like a butterfly... only heavier. 

Curl up the ends so it looks like the antenna of the butterfly, and decorate however you wish.

The older one wanted to cut up felt to decorate hers and the middle one wanted to use these bangle things.

I squirted some tacky glue on a paper plate and gave them Q-tips to dip in it to make it a bit easier for them.

I wrote the words to remember and a Bible verse on the spoon part.

Almost done.

They kept adding more and more!

It even has a cute red poof-ball for a face.

All done!  Except later she added 6 legs and a proboscis (the "tongue")
 So, to recap.  You will need --
 -- decorations to glue onto it (this could be other felt or sparkles or puff paint or buttons or paper.. glue or staple the decorations on.)
 -- wooden spoons
 -- Pipe cleaners

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Week 2 update on homeschooling

First off, I should say that the more we work through the girls language arts programs (from Sonlight) the more I'm impressed with it.  The pacing is perfect and it's consistent without being boring because they change it up just enough.  It was "mix it up" day for the spelling words for the 6 year old and so rather than having her write on paper we went outside and she wrote them on the sidewalk with chalk!
She's wearing my glasses that are for a slight stigmatizm and they actually DO seem to help her.  We really should take her in to get her eyes checked.
My 4 year old is having so much fun with her school that she begged me to do just "one more page" about 4 times!  "Developing the Early Learner"-- is her favorite and I just got the last three books for it (I'd only gotten the first one because I didn't know if she'd like them or need them, but they are amazing!)  I wish I'd known about these for my oldest.  The language arts for the 4 year old is a bit easy for her at this point, but I don't know if I want to skip ahead since she's not even 5 yet.  She heard me doing spelling words with her older sister and got up to the table and sounded out and spelled and WROTE the word "Cat" legibly! 
An advantage of homeschooling is that the kids can roast marshmallows while I read to them.  Wouldn't you have loved this?  The 4 year old is just smashing and eating hers, but still.. totally awesome perk of schooling at home.
So, all that to say there's some really great moments in our school time.  I feel like we are making great progress and having My Father's World as well is helpful and the girls like to learn new songs and Bible verses and other projects that comes from that curriculum.

Going to the grocery store offers learning and training time for the girls, but it's far from "relaxing"..

BUT ...

The little one is insisting on joining in now.  It's so much more stressful than it was with just one.
Truth time.  While I love homeschooling.  I love having my kids with me and teaching them and I'm excited about what we are doing and I wouldn't have it any other way ...  I have to say.. it's such a drag sometimes.  Often I just want some time alone.  I usually don't feel like starting school (but this is partly just me because I don't *feel* like starting most things.  I'm good at continuing and finishing something, but not so great at starting it.)  I'd love to do all the school in the mornings so that the baby's nap time could be time for me, but how often can I get it all done when the baby is fussing?
I'm not sure how many times the library is going to let me renew this Muppet show.  We might have to buy it to save my sanity.  It's pretty amazingly great to take a 15 minute shower and not have the baby fussing at the door for me near the end of it.  The other girls like it too and the song "I've got everything that I need, right in front of me" is encouraging.

Then I put on the Muppet show and the Baby will sit quietly and watch it and actually give me a break (note: this is the only show she will actually sit and watch-- clearly she has impeccable taste) still I feel like there's not enough of me to go around and I should spend more time reading or playing or cleaning or something, and what do I want to do?  Eat chocolate, drink tea, read a book, or do a project, ALONE.  Yes, I don't get enough alone time.  I'm introverted.. I admit it.  Energy is always in short supply for me.  I want to homeschool my kids and then hire a baby-sitter!  I wish I could drop them all off and Gramma's house at least once a week, but the travel expenses would kill me.  I'm so thankful for our church that has "parents night out" and other things for the older two to go to.  I wish it happened during the day though so I could use it to truly be alone.
The hallway at our church is so kid friendly!
I feel like I'm constantly in need of encouragement.  Just the "keep it up, you are doing great!" is always good to hear.  When I've felt overwhelmed and tired my husband has often said that we could put them in a school instead of homeschooling.. which is only depressing to me at this point and wouldn't help any of my troubles... it would just be hard in other ways.  Yes, I'd get alone time, but to do what?  Oh, clean.. yeah, that's my dream.  My brilliant idea was to hire someone to clean our house really well once a month or something!  Wouldn't THAT be great!   I often wish we could just order pizza for some nights, but ordering gluten free stuff would be too expensive.
I love reading to my kids and going to special art events and having a malleable schedule to take advantage of unbusy times of the day and great weather.
Okay, anyway.. enough complaining.  I really do love what we are doing with school.  I'm thankful for my husbands job that allows us enough food money and a schooling budget.  I feel like I have practically everything that I wanted when I was young except the energy to enjoy it.

There is always something to enjoy and something to be thankful for but do we look for those things?  Do we actually take the time to enjoy them?  I'm thankful for cartoons and the fact that my girls have fun doing projects on their own.  I need to enjoy THOSE quiet times to do my own stuff instead of wasting that precious time with dishes.  (Utilizing paper plates more often is my next plan.)

I know that if I work harder at planning my own projects and making my own space and time (all the "self care" that we are told we all need) that I will enjoy being with my kids more and truly enjoying the time with them.  Often I think too far ahead and what is coming up that I don't want to do.  And what does Jesus say?  "Don't worry about tomorrow.."

Lets enjoy the moment even when it's interrupted with crying and fussing and fighting between the siblings, because in between that is laughing and smiles and sweet hugs and moments of reflection and quiet.

I think I'll go make some more cotton candy before dinner.  :]