Monday, February 28, 2011

Cherry Blossom Water Colors

Hello Friends,

I am very behind on blogging this month.  With baby number 5, I have lost track of time and even signed into the HHH on Wednesday last wonder I couldn't log in!  I hope you take the time to check out my last couple posts on organizing my curriculum mess and one on  Childhood of Famous Americans.

Here is our latest water color project, Cherry Blossom Water Colors.  These are some of my favorite trees and I remember doing a pastel of cherry blossoms when I was in 3rd grade.  Just this past week, we had a huge storm blow over us and I watched as my blossoms were blown from the trees and covered the grass like the snow.  We were supposed to get a rare sprinkling of snow, but the storm just headed up to the mountains.  Thankfully most of the blossoms are still there.  When we completed our fall paintings last fall, I decided to have the kids paint seasonally as we discuss and celebrate the changing seasons.  If you haven't done so, I hope you check out the fall and winter ones too!


Joy-Joy is supposed to be fishing the chocolate chips out of the raisins but finds great pleasure in yanking the clip out of her hair...

Kids working on thier horizon lines, grass and sky.

Adding the tree and giant roots!

Adding the blossoms and other details...

Childhood of Famous Americans

Childhood of Famous Americans is one of our favorite book series.  "B" started reading these last year as he wanted to read about famous athletes.  We had started reading another book series and found that the one on Babe Ruth contained a lot of PG-13/R rated content.  Sad since it was a "kid series."  You could use this series as a suppliement to history as they have several biographies of famous athletes, presidents, and other famous people narrating their childhood up to the point they become famous. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Schooling in a Small Space

Many of you know that homeschooling and storing school supplies in a small space can be challenging.  When we first purchased our 1300 sq. ft. home (yes that's how "big" our house is) over 8 years ago, we had a one year old and another on the way...never anticipating we'd still be here, let alone homeschooling with 5 kids!  As a former classroom teacher and supervising teacher of homeschooled families, I  have become a curriculum addict over the years and love to test out new products.  Right before the baby was born, I started purchasing these nice little IKEA shelves.  We have this 4 x 2 in our hallway, another 4 x 2 in the kitchen and a 2 x2 next to our couch with books.  Then I found some cute little baskets at Target and recently, those nice brown storage crates at Target (see the bottom shelves).  These are my favorites as they are large enough to fit the shelves and are deep enough for binders and workbooks! 

This shelf is in the kitchen and replaced our iron wine table...Who has time for using a wine table with 5 kids?
If I didn't have a toddler, I could also use those large storage crates for kitchen items.

These are one of my favorite organizational ideas...Trader Joe's coffee cans.  My daughter loves to cover them in paper and label them.  They are the perfect size for pencils and most of the time you can even fit the lid on top.

This is the basket on the kitchen shelf.  We are currently using this one for pencils, rulers, etc.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gluten Free Coconut Cupcakes

Today was a modified school day.  Sick kids, new baby, Daddy's first day back at work and V-Day all rolled up in diapers.  If grandma didn't come over, showering would have never been part of the equation.  Today the kids did math, spelling, reading and writing.  History consisted of the bigguns reading about our Founding Fathers in their Comix with Content books and finding the matching BrainPop videos to correlate with them.

This is one of my favorite cupcake recipes from Martha.   The original is awesome and the Gluten Free version was just as tasty.  Instead of doing the 7 minute frosting she created, I added chocolate ganache.  What goes better with coconut than chocolate?  Coconut + Chocolate = Mounds Bar?

•1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used my GF flour mix)

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut (I accidently bought unsweetened and it turned out great)

•6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

•1 1/3 cups sugar

•2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites

•3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

•1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

•Seven-Minute Frosting

•1 1/3 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut (I didn't use this as I made a ganache to go on top)

Ganache: about 1/3 c. heavy cream and 1/2 c. 60% cocoa chocolate chips...heat cream and melt chocolate...YUM!  Have kids add some pink and red sprinkles made from raw sugar and vola!

Read more at : Coconut Cupcakes with Seven-Minute Frosting and Coconut Flakes - Martha Stewart Recipes

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 c. GF Flour Mix (see my GF link for hints)
2 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
1 c. 60% cocoa chocolate chips
1-2 T milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, add sugars, cream some more.  Add eggs one at a time.  Then vanilla...does it sound like you are making Toll House Cookies yet? 
Add dry ingredients...milk as needed as coconut flour needs a little more liquid.  Add chocolate chips.
Use an ice cream scoop to plop dough on cookie sheet.  Bake for about 11-12 minutes.

Lego Fun

My second son, aka #3 wants to enter a Lego creation in a contest so he can "win" a gift card for the lego store.  The theme something to the effect of things that fly.  He decided to make a bee with a supply of bricks, wings, and other misc parts collected over the years...and I mean years as my parents contributed a 13 gal container of all the Legos my siblings and I collected as kids.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Day Craft #2

This week's Valentine's Day Project was replicating those lovely candy hearts in paper form.  We used foam letters in a variety of sizes and colors, pipe cleaners, and heart die-cut hearts used for pocket calendars in the classroom.

Big sister used the letters to form Valentine's Day words like: hug, kiss, be mine, etc. on the hearts, punched a hole in the top and hung them with metalic pipe cleaners.

Then we hung them on the light fixture above our table.