Archive for March, 2014

Week In The Life (Tradition)

March 30, 2014

Well, I am at least making progress with posting. ๐Ÿ™‚

So without further ado, I think I will start with last night and Earth Hour.

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This year we did something a bit different. We usually play games but this time we started watching The Fiddler On The Roof. The intermission came 1 minute before Earth Hour started so we switched off most of the electricity (refrigerators and freezers stay running of course) and ended up discussing the movie the entire hour.

I am going to admit this musical is one of my most favorites (West Side Story being number 1). The movie was made before I was born yet the script, musical score, and acting is timeless. I could not wait to share it with the girls and it fit in perfectly showing a different side of Tsar Nicholas the second. It also fits in perfect with the start of Passover and Easter.

Since I’m already on a roll with television I think I will mention Cosmos next. Like Sundays when Downton Abbey is on we make sure dinner and dishes are done as we gather round the tube. This week we had further discussions about Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and gravity. It was interesting learning all the things Edmond Halley invented besides predicting Halley’s Comet and about Robert Hooke. We also had fun figuring how old we will be in 2061 when the next comet is predicted.

We are still enjoying reading our way through Jenny Goes To Sea and Little Sis is loving learning about the different breeds of cats like the Abyssinian and Burmese.

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Miss Sky is reading Junie B. Dumb Bunny aloud and Little Sis has been getting back in with the video games Kingdom Hearts 2 and My Sims Kingdom. Such a big difference now that she is literate.

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We started our time review with a poem and Miss Sky worked on probability and reading ordered pairs which I am proud to say she already knew because of playing games like Battle Ship, Bingo, and Toss Up.

Miss Sky had the root word chron this week

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and the girls continually draw.

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(Little Sis as Miss Sky is still working on hers.)

We celebrated Papa’s birthday this week so there really isn’t anything new to report from the kitchen. I guess all that is left to say is…

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Here Ticky Ticky)

March 23, 2014

Well I seem to have set a pattern for myself going weeks between posts. I can’t help it, sometimes I am either too busy cleaning or we are so deep in learning I don’t want to stop the momentum.

We have been in so many deep discussions all I know to do is list them by topic. So take note this is not exactly how our weeks flow. It’s more like talks about previous Russian history then watching the show Cosmos then discussing world headlines about Crimea and the missing Malaysian plane. All these discussions connect in one way or other not separated into “subjects”.

However for the sake of keeping my sanity I think I will begin with math. Both girls are moving right along. Little Sis caught on quick to regrouping with subtraction including using 3 digits and zeros. Miss Sky mastered decimals, turning decimals into fractions, and graphing.

With Little Sis moving on to measurements beginning with time, she knows how to tell time but has trouble with days of the week and months so we are doing a review, copying recipes have been put on hold. Their last recipe was oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

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(Little Sis)

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Of course the girls will continue baking just from the recipes they already have.

Last post I mentioned Miss Sky creating her own root word notebook (to have for later to help study for the SAT), she has also been learning prefixes and suffixes. Little Sis is still continuing with a word of the week.

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We celebrated St. Patrick’s day, learned more geography of Ireland and the Giant’s Causeway along with the river Shannon thanks to PBS Nature.

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Speaking of geography thanks to Little Sis’s story Jenny Goes To Sea we have been learning about Africa, starting with South Africa and Zanzibar, freight, and had many talks about boats, the age of exploration and trade. If you have a cat fan I can not recommend this book, series, enough.

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I finished the story Socks by Beverly Cleary and we watched the musical Cats as a family. I forgot to add Walking Away The Pounds to the picture which Miss Sky and I are continuing. I wanted to add I am not making Sky exercise, she is truly interested and this was the best fit for her.

Thanks to Cosmos we had many, many,(many) discussions about space, natural and artificial selection, DNA, atoms, evolution, and extinction.

I mentioned current world events I guess all that is left is ROBLOX which I will let Little Sis’s words speak for themselves, “ROBLOX is awesome!”.

From the kitchen, continuing with my new love of oat flour, the best gluten and dairy free waffles

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http://www.girlmakesfood.com/ridiculously-awesome-oat-waffles/

and oatmeal cookies.

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I used Pamela’s gluten and dairy free flour blend and Earth Balance for the cookies and Earth Balance for the glaze. The only difference I will change next time is only add 1 cup of raisins.

It’s the Healthier Oatmeal Cookies with optional Maple Glaze recipe at the bottom of the page.

http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2011/04/maple-cookies-2-ways-from-cleo-coyle.html?m=1

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life ( A Fraction Of Your Time)

March 10, 2014

So in my last post I had every intention to add what we have been up to but it began getting a bit long. I was meaning to explain why so long in between posts. Well besides goal making the spring cleaning bug has hit. So between being busy homeschooling and cleaning blog writing has taken the back seat. I hope to get caught up with this post.

I guess I will start with last night’s episode of Cosmos. We absolutely loved it. Miss Sky has always loved all things science and she was actually just as excited as I was for the premier. We had conversations lasting well into today with Little Sis asking lots of questions about Earth’s gravitational pull, why we don’t fly off and how we don’t keep from spinning farther into space. Miss Sky pretty much sums it up, “I can’t wait to buy this series”. We also have been watching Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego and Pokรฉmon.

Reading and playing?

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Little Sis started the Jenny the cat series and loves it. She is also enjoying the Chi’s Sweet Home manga and passed the Cooking Mama DS game. She has made a request for the new 3DS game as she really likes it. I finished Ramona’s World and Miss Sky is reading Junie B. Jones Mushy Gushy Valentime’s. Miss Sky also started the Sailor Moon manga series.

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For mathematics Miss Sky has been reviewing equivalent fractions as well as reducing, adding and subtracting same denominators, adding mixed fractions, factoring and prime numbers. Little Sis is still subtracting with regrouping and playing Putt-Putt Travels Through Time.

Baking? Yep with sugar cookies,

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chocolate crinkle cookies,

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and maple cookies.

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Which brings me to our road trip to Salem Indiana for the annual maple syrup festival.

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Besides the word of the week,

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I started a root word of the week with Miss Sky.

Being that Miss Sky is 13 and pretty soon needing PE/ Health credits we started working out to Walking Away The Pounds with Leslie Sansone. I really like her for a “beginner” and Miss Sky does not like dancing workouts so this is a perfect fit. She is learning the difference between aerobic and muscle toning as well as the importance of warming up and cooling down. She is learning what a recovery heart rate is and how to take her resting heart rate. She is also learning about calories and what “burning calories” means as well as the many different muscles she is working.

We planted wheat grass for our Spring nature table,

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and you know there is always drawing. A few examples from our weeks.

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(Little Sis)

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(Miss Sky)

From the kitchen,

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the best gluten and dairy free pancakes I have ever had using ground oats and some of the strawberries I froze from the strawberry patch (delicious cooked in cast iron) .

http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/healthy-oatmeal-gluten-free-pancakes/

Then having fresh maple syrup I made a batch of gluten and dairy free cranberry granola.

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I have tried a few different granola recipes but always come back to the recipe from Feeding The Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. I use Earth Balance instead of butter and gluten free oats. I love it with vanilla Silk.

Well I think that is about it. Of course I always seem to have the feeling of forgetting something and probably have. ๐Ÿ™‚

Peace for the journey.

Efficient Enough

March 7, 2014

Our electric company has started issuing monthly energy reports and I am very pleased to announce we are in the top 10 energy efficient families(out of 100). Another one of our family principles is trying to leave as small a footprint as possible.

Well we have reached our goal of setting our trash and recycling out twice a month (more times than not once monthly). Being we get our year supply of meat directly from farmers we have also reached our goal of grocery shopping once a month thanks to our finished pantry (next week is stock up).

To briefly explain, our home is just over 1000 square feet. Papa busted out a wall from an utility closet off our bedroom to use as our pantry. We are firm believers in less is more and learn to use our space wisely.

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Being we get farm eggs, use soy milk for baking and with me being gluten free we rarely need to make a milk, bread or egg run. I keep a notebook in the kitchen with a running list adding an item when it is taken from the pantry and thanks to my small Ma and Pa grocery store training I showed the girls how to rotate. ๐Ÿ™‚

I know our woodstove saved us tons of energy and money this winter ( we recycle wood from a tree service friend and our woodstove heats our entire home comfortably) and during summer I don’t use the oven or dryer making our air conditioner run more . I cook everything stovetop, crockpot, or grill.

Just like we can and freeze summer’s wonderful bounty, I take advantage of winter and the oven by stocking our freezers with homemade goodies like meatballs (which could be made in the crockpot too), mini quiches and tortilla pizzas (which can be cooked on the grill) to get us through the summer.

During winter we have soup nights and during summer we have salads. Being our family doesn’t care much for the white meat on chicken (we purchase 24 whole chickens a year from our poultry farmer), Papa cuts boneless breasts and I freeze them in a tamari, olive oil marinade to grill and add to the salads.

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I use the backs to make broth and either make soup or BBQ the shredded meat (which kicks butt on baked sweet potatoes I tell ya) .

With Papa’s hours and working 5 miles from home we manage with one vehicle. Living in a small town everything is in walking distance. It was our goal to be debt free this year. We managed to pay off our vehicle but still owe less than $3000 on a credit card (a pain in my side that thing is).

Papa and I decided 8 years ago to cut up our credit cards after racking up $25,000 in debt. The sad thing is most of it was due to not having health insurance. So we have tried to pinch pennies buying used and learning to do things ourselves, like haircuts, plumbing, drywall, changing the oil and other vehicle maintenance. We have learned to buy only what we need with most our expenses going toward food and homeschooling (We still do not own a cell phone or flat screen television). It has been a very humbling and eye opening journey.

So we our using some the money we are saving from paying off our vehicle early to double our credit card payment along with the interest. Besides paying ourselves we are putting the rest towards the principle of our mortgage. Our goal is to be completely debt free in 10 years. Anytime we save money like by not having 1 months electric bill, thanks to our woodstove, we put it in savings.

I want to mention it has not been easy. In this time we have dealt with a layoff, surgeries and many unexpected expenses (like after living here 13 years all of a sudden our home is in a flood zone and needs flood insurance). SO many times I have wanted to give up and throw in the towel. SO many times I have said “Why should I care about our footprint when no one else does.” Then I get notes like these

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reminding me who we are doing it all for.

“Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” – Native American traditional

After all if children learn from example I want to make sure Papa and I are setting good ones.

Peace for the journey.