Archive for November, 2014

Week In The Life (Cookies and A Movie)

November 22, 2014

(Well, really movies.) Does anyone else remember the television show Dinner and A Movie?

You sure can tell it’s cold outside because we have been busy baking away inside. Like most of the states we had our first accumulation of snow along with bitter cold temperatures. Blankets have become an added necessity to our school habitat. Nothing like a fire, snuggles, and audiobooks (and hot chocolate).

Sticking to experimenting with oat flour we tried two new recipes this week, both very successful. I loved my oat waffle and pancake recipes but disliked the 4 TBSPs of coconut oil. The new recipe called for vegetable oil, I used canola, and apple sauce. However did it taste the same? Yes, says the family!

I also used maple syrup instead of honey. I can’t wait to try them as pancakes. The only thing I still want to experiment with is the 2 TBSPs of baking powder as I am trying to keep our sodium consumption in check.

Since going gluten free I have been enjoying using oat waffles in place of bread for egg sandwiches (splitting 1 Belgium waffle size in half). Much more filling than bread.

Our second recipe was gluten free chocolate chip oatmeal cookies using oat flour as well.


They too turned out great!


These however must stay a once in a while treat for myself with the recipe calling for 1 cup butter and 3 eggs (and sugar). I love my oat flour banana bread recipe, that is eggless and that now calls for canola oil (especially with blueberries),  and have been wanting to try baking cookies with oat flour so I am glad to have tried these. I am thinking of experimenting baking with Egg Beaters, especially with the waffle and pancake recipe.

The movies? The Arts:  Persepolis is an animated film based on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel and I highly recommend it!

Like The Diary of Anne Frank this is Marjane’s story growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. So many conversations from this movie. You can watch it as the original French version with English subtitles or in English. It is PG-13 due to language and some intense scenes so it may not be suitable for young children but was perfect for the girls and the books are being added to our home library.

We watched DreamWorks version of Sinbad, Sky really enjoyed the combination of 2D and 3D animation, and we watched Disney’s Pocahontas 1 and 2.

A small tangent, why are people SO surprised with a Disney version of Pocahontas or dislike these movies SO much? I mean, The Little Mermaid!? I personally really like them and think they are a perfect jumping off point to learning about the true founding of Jamestown, Pocahontas, and John Rolfe (lung cancer and slavery). I for one am glad they left the learning of cannibalism, that happened during the starving time, to me.

Social Studies, American History : This lead us to watching Dear America’s episode of A Journey to a New World (Netflix) and episode 1 of America Experience We Shall Remain, After the Mayflower (YouTube). If you have not seen the We Shall Remain series it is from the Native Americans point of view not just the Pilgrims. Then we watched a short film on explaining the Mayflower Compact.

Of course I can’t forget a family favorite, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving which contains The Mayflower Voyagers.

The girls added their notes to their timeline. I printed out a blank map of the United States to use as a divider between world and American history.

Language Arts: Little Sis finished reading Magic Tree House, Thanksgiving on Thursday out loud and we listened to The Courtship of Miles Standish and An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving on audio.

I had never heard Longfellow’s poem before and we very much enjoyed it.

They copied the Thanksgiving poem in cursive,



their word of the week was woo, and their journal entry was imagine you are on the Mayflower.

Mathematics: This week Sky practiced prime factorization, GCF, and LCM at KA.  She had no problems getting 5 in a row and for sure is ready to move on. I am going to wait until the new year to learn anything new though. The holidays just doesn’t work for her to try learning a new concept. Little Sis had worksheets from Math is reviewing 3 digit addition and subtraction and single digit multiplication and division.


P.E. Walk Away the Pounds.

We will be taking next week off so wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!

Peace for the journey.


Week In The Life (May I Borrow Your Flower?)

November 15, 2014

Man, it is cold out! The woodstove has officially been broke in due to lows in the teens. I mean I know it is November but I just wasn’t ready for the cold or snow flurries yet. Thank goodness Papa just finished all the outdoor maintenance. I guess I am still in denial that it is almost winter already. As of last week I still had windows open. Well at least the house is ready for winter hibernation, even if I’m not. Time to reap the benefits of the previous seasons work.

On a side note, the girls love their new socks Big Sis!


It may be gray outdoors but indoors toes are toasty warm and colorful. 🙂

I did try out a new pancake recipe this week that I love! Not just because they taste like banana bread but they have no coconut oil in them (Yay!).


They also use my new favorite flour to bake with, oat flour. Being that my family is not big on eating oatmeal for breakfast I am always looking for ways to reap its benefits (like adding it in my meatballs and meatloaf).

The only thing I did different is add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the recipe.

From the Study, Language Arts: The girls have been typing their character “wikis” in word pad. Little Sis has been typing up her stories instead of writing them out too and she started reading Magic Tree House, Thanksgiving on Thursday out loud. I read the research guide, Pilgrims.

I like the Magic Tree House research guides, not only because of the information, but they are great examples of what research essays should look like also (and how to research one).

Their word of the week was courtship and their journal entry was, “What does Thanksgiving mean to you now?”. Both girls included watching the dog show and Macy’s Parade. 🙂

Mathematics: The girls like to get math over with first. Here lately I’ve had them warm up, to help get them focused like what “circle time” did, by playing either the game Blink or the Table Tree Multiplication game. This week they played Multiplication Math War together. I set the timer for 10 minutes and Sky helped Little Sis with ones she didn’t know. I think I will use the game Zoom like this too.

Speaking of games, Little Sis wanted to play games as a family for her birthday. Her two new favorites are Toss Up and Pass the Pigs. We played the normal way and the opposite way starting with 100 points and using subtraction to be the first person to zero wins. It’s fun to try getting the least amount of points too, this works best by setting a time limit. The one who has the least points when time runs out wins (come on oinker).


This brings me to the Prodigy math game. Both girls have been playing it all week and find it “incredibly boring”. So when I am working with one, the other plays Minecraft, which made learning the rock cycle SO much easier, or any of their 3DS games, which are just as educational. (Mario is just a modern day puzzle, why I have always loved playing it. I love puzzles! Thanks Grandma.)

Sky worked on finding the lowest common multiple at Khan Academy ( that she caught onto quick ), which brings me to Math Doesn’t Suck. I have mixed feeling about the book, Sky does not like it period.

My review, she does good trying to tie mathematics to real things but none of those things, like shoes, appeal to Sky. She could be talking about car parts for all Sky knows. She gives lots of clear instruction and examples but Sky says “too many examples confuse me, I wish she just do one way”. This is one thing Sky really likes about KA. So I think I will keep the book for when we may need it to help understand a concept, I do like having it in our home library, but stick with Sky working at KA.

Little Sis and I tossed a Puffle, from Club Penguin, to the multiplication tables (I downloaded and made a CD from the link in my last post). I really like how you need to be able to think fast.

Science: We watched and discussed the Crash Course Big History video on Human Evolution which lead us to watching a NOVA documentary called, The Last Great Ape about the Bonobo monkey (found on YouTube).

Social Studies, World History: We finished our studies on ancient Persia with the girls adding notes to their timeline.


(Miss Sky)


(Little Sis)

American History: We watched the Crash Course American History videos, Natives and Spaniards and discussed St. Augustine, the first Spanish settlement. Next we watched Colonizing America and Natives and the English. Then we watched the episode of In Search Of about Roanoke Island and the documentary Secrets of the Dead, Jamestown ( all which can be found on YouTube).

Home Economics: The girls made chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies.

The Arts: We watched Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad movies, The 7th Voyage and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. We all agreed The Golden Voyage was more like the stories we listened to. We also watched Ray Harryhausen Special Effects Titan documentary.

P.E. Yep, 3 mile Walk Away the Pounds.

Peace for the journey.

Happy Birthday, My Little Sunshine

November 9, 2014


Growing up fast, my little optimist. I sure wouldn’t mind if you decided to slow down. It is hard to believe 9 years have already passed. One thing I do know, you could never take my sunshine away. 🙂


Week In The Life (I Ran (So Far Away) )

November 8, 2014

I forgot to add in my last post that we finally did pull the sweet potatoes, due to the first frost, and though they were growing, they were still far from being ready. I don’t think we will try again next year. We are going to make our garden bigger for more potatoes but since I am the only one in the house who will eat them I can just keep buying them from the store, oh well.

Since on the subject of failures, our science project has not started dripping yet. I don’t know if we used too big a piece of wool or if our salt solution wasn’t enough. I will let it be for 1 more week and if that doesn’t work maybe we will try using baking soda or just scratch the whole thing.

If that wasn’t enough, the girls tried making pumpkin Rice Krispy treats, following the recipe exactly, that just didn’t stick together enough.


They taste alright, after letting them sit overnight, but we probably won’t make them again.

We did however answer a mystery from a few years ago as to discovering what insect this is.

pictures 2218

Science: It’s called a Katydid. Though I thought it was some kind of grasshopper it’s not related to them at all but closer to the cricket family (yay, more damn crickets to deal with). We watched a video about them and actually have heard them outside at night but never knew what they were. They sound like fingernails rubbed against a comb.

They like to eat leaves, flowers, and stems so I don’t think they are great to have around. In rare cases they even can be pink, though I see how that would be a huge disadvantage.

We also watched the Crash Course video, Evolutionary Epic which was a great review of the geological column and finishing up our lessons on geology we learned about the laws of superposition.

Language Arts: We went ahead and finished our story of the Arabian Nights, volume 1, by listening to the conclusion and the stories of Ali Baba and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. I mean the storytelling went on for almost three years and we just don’t have that long to listen to all of them. The girls were glad the story ended happy.

(Conclusion as well as Arabic poems and verses from the Quran.)

(Ali Baba and Aladdin from Storynory)

Little Sis finished reading Season of the Sandstorms out loud and their word of the week was merchant. Their creative writing topic was Stop the Evil Genie.

They also copied the pumpkin cookie recipe from last week into their cookbooks. The girls mentioned they should have made those again instead.

Mathematics: Continuing review of GCF with Sky she finally is ready to move on. I am doing something a bit different with Little Sis and the multiplication tables. We are tossing a Bennie Baby back and forth to the Child’s Introduction to Multiplication instead of the Table Tree game.

The girls also have been playing the math game at Prodigy.

It goes all the way to 8th grade. They play this when I am working one on one with them and it has been working out great.

Social Studies: (Besides midterm elections) World History, we learned about Ancient Persia. First we watched the Crash Course video, Persians and the Greeks then watched Iran, The Forgotten Glory documentary where we learned about Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, and Zoroastrianism. We also learned about the bird Roc from mythology and the story Sinbad.

We watched Disney’s Aladdin and Walked Away more Pounds.


Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Rock ‘N’ Roll)

November 2, 2014

What a quick change in weather this week. Monday was beautiful with high temps in the 70s. Windows were open and the girls had on shorts. Halloween was cold and rainy with snow flurries, snow! Man I am not quite ready for snow yet.

Well while the temperatures were still nice, I organized our deep freezers according to cuts of meat and took inventory. Now I know exactly where everything is. I also have my Fall and Winter recipe rotation ready.

I have about 4 recipes for each cut of meat (As well as meatless and fish recipes. Papa works with someone who goes fishing in Michigan during the salmon run and we purchase about 15lbs of fresh salmon. ), 2  using stovetop, crockpot, or grill during late Spring and Summer and 2 using more of the oven during Fall and Winter. I use a calendar as my homeschool planner, not just to keep attendance but I keep track of our weekly meals on it too. This way we never have repeat meals unless requested. The girls would eat chicken and salmon all the time if they could.

We also finally spotted the first ladybugs of the season. Once temperatures began to drop, I moved my organization indoors to the girls closets. Their winter wardrobe is ready and this time I made sure to purchase boots ahead of time. Why do stores not sell boots during winter?

From the kitchen: I have been enjoying snacking on popcorn popped in Earth Balance with just a sprinkle of salt. I am trying to limit my coconut oil intake, which was my favorite way to pop corn, and experimented with Earth Balance. Unlike butter, Earth Balance doesn’t burn allowing it to be used with high heat temperatures.

The girls made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies which they devoured.


They used this recipe.

The girls love all things pumpkin and apples.

From the study: Language Arts: We are still listening to the Arabian Nights. Little Sis started Magic Tree House, Season of the Sandstorms. The word of the week was sediments and Sky worked on paraphrasing about sedimentary rocks and Little Sis wrote a story about a volcanic eruption.

They also did a geology word search.

I’ve stopped our daily grammar lessons for now as I noticed a bit of confusion between verbs and adjectives. I think I will wait until next year and listen to Grammarland again to reintroduce all the parts of speech first then pick up the daily grammar lessons again.

Mathematics: I signed both girls up in Khan Academy continuing with Sky practicing greatest common factoring. She prefers the multiplying monkey method, from Math Doesn’t Suck, but sometimes forgets to list all the prime factors getting the answer wrong. So I think we will continue one more week.

Little Sis is working her way through third grade at Khan Academy and she has mastered many of the skills already. She continued the Table Tree game practicing 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 tables. She is catching on to the tables quick.

Games, I purchased 2 new games, Pass the Pigs and Zoom. Both are pretty much like Toss Up or Farkle. Toss Up is great for younger children helping them count by 10s. Pass the pigs is a step up having to add more than 10 but still simple as most of the points are by 5s. Zoom is a bit harder as it also includes multiplication. I am glad to have all 3 games but if had to choose only 1 I’d pick Pass the Pigs. I mean pig dice, not to mention it is a great travel game and is quick to play anywhere.

Science (fiction double feature): We learned about the rock cycle. We reviewed how the Earth’s crust is made from soil and rocks and discussed what we already learned from our soil experiments. We talked about the 3 groups rocks fall into and discussed how Indiana has lots of limestone and I showed them the picture from the maple syrup festival I took.


Sky had brought home some samples that we looked at. We also talked about our trip to the caves. This brought up erosion. We did a jellybean experiment around last Easter and reviewed the results. We also watched videos about plate tectonics, the rock cycle, Bill Nye’s Erosion, and a camel documentary.


We also did an experiment to make our own stalactites.


Social Studies, Geography:  I printed a blank map of the middle east and the girls filled in the countries they knew.


I helped them fill in the rest. They added this as well as the worksheets above to their timeline notes.

The Arts: We watched From Up On Poppy Hill directed by Goro Miyazaki. We loved it! We also busted out the Halloween movies. Besides our regular favorites, we watched Frankenweenie the stop motion and live action versions then compared. We all agreed we like the stop motion version best.

We also busted out our favorite soundtracks.


P.E.: 3 mile Walk Away the Pounds.

Peace for the journey.