Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dried Fruit and Kid-Approved Linguine with Clams

This week for the Letter of the Week, we will be learning the letter "D." So how perfect would dried fruit be? We will also be tasting dragonfruit tomorrow for the first time. I decided to make cinnamon apple crisps. I also tried banana crisps, but they came out too burnt for pictures lol.



Cinnamon Apple Crisps

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours and 5 minutes

Makes one large tray of cinnamon apple crisps


Ingredients
4 apples
cinnamon sugar


Directions
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.



Slice your apples into the thinnest slices possible. It'd be best to use a mandolin, but I don't have one. This was my first time making these, so some of the apples were still a little juicy because I didn't slice them thin enough.



Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar ALL over :)



Pop them in the oven for an hour and a half. Flip the apples and leave in for the remaining time. I left them in as the oven cooled as well. 



When it's done cooling, enjoy!!


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Kid-Approved Linguine with Clams

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes 6 servings


Ingredients
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cans of minced clams
salt/pepper to taste
1 box linguine

Directions
Heat a small pot to medium/medium high and add garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add salt/pepper to taste. Add butter and simmer for about 8 minutes. 



Add olive oil, cans of minced clams (with the juice), parsley, and basil. Simmer for as long as it takes to cook your noodles. 



I prefer linguine with my clams, but you can use whatever noodles you like. 


As you can see, they kids LOVED it! I wish I got a picture, but our little mamas had two plates!!




***This dish is not organic, nor is it the healthiest meal I've ever made. But it's SO good I just had to share it. In my first post, I told you I would take you with me on our journey through our first year. We fell back on the strict organic, but are still clear from fast food, artificial dyes, and food coloring. I'm going to be straight forward with my blog and post from our first year-on track or not, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So here it is :) Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Line Art Project

We had our first art class yesterday. I ordered the Atelier Art Program for our oldest and after browsing through it, I'm not that thrilled about it. The projects are decent, but the execution I just don't feel it goes along with my children's interests. So what I've planned to do is take the projects and create my own lesson out of it instead of the "word by word" plan in the curriculum. 

Our first art project was about lines. We discussed what they are, a few of the different kinds of lines there are, and where can we find these lines. The lines we discussed were zigzag (or sharks teeth as Brud calls it), straight, wavy (like the ocean), curved zigzag (like the back of a crocodile-we made the name up though lol), and curly ("like our hair" says Big Sis).



I had them draw these lines with crayon on a piece of construction paper. The kids LOVE painting, so we used watercolor in between the lines-changing colors after each line. They were amazed to see the paint separate from the crayons! We also had a mini-lesson in watercolor. We observed how you could "play" with the depth of color-making it lighter with more water, and darker with less water. I didn't realize how much you could learn from just this lesson alone!


Brud with his watercolors



Big Sis with her watercolors



Here's the finished product of our "Line Art Project."


He was so happy to finish it!! 



She drew so many lines, it took her two attempts to finish. But here it is :)




Friday, August 23, 2013

What I Learned in My First Week of Homeschooling...

Okay, so it wasn't even a full week and I have to say....WOW...I give major props to the moms who have been doing this for years. Planning curriculum is a walk in the park compared to the complaining, negative attitudes, and "I don't wanna do this" nagging. Anyway, here are a few things I've learned in the first three days of homeschooling...




1- The feeling of wanting to pull your hair out is BOUND to happen. And it's totally okay. I see the damage that a traditional school did to our oldest. Especially in her attitude. Once she's told her answer is incorrect, she balls up and freezes, and doesn't want to participate anymore. She feels inadequate, and her mood tumbles down hill. I never expected such a snowball effect of emotions, but here I am, unexperienced, thinking of what to do next. The mother in me wants to tell her to "shape up" and "quit pouting," but the other part is trying to accept how she's been feeling in traditional school this entire time. My job now is to undo all the negative feelings that overcomes her when A) She gets something wrong or B) When things don't go her way. I've had to remind her a few times today that just because we are at home, doesn't mean she can skip out on the class rules.

***I've found implementing class rules at the very beginning has been crucial to our success in quick attitude fixes and overall attitude adjustments. If they know they rules are there, they have an easier time readjusting their attitude/focus vs. just springing rules on them when they break one.

2- Oxygen becomes your best friend. Take a breather. You're probably not the only one who needs it. Chances are, if you are frustrated to the point it's affecting your attitude (and theirs), it's time for a break. Your kids are just as, if not more, frustrated than you.

3- You don't need to drill them until they "get it." I made that mistake today and it only made breaking away harder. It turned from drilling her until she understood the math lesson to drilling myself that I NEEDED to keep on until she understood-which obviously wasn't happening. They will get it at their own pace. We breezed through the lesson yesterday that corresponded with today's lesson, but for some reason, she just wasn't having it today. Yesterday, she got it 100%. Today, she got it 80%. I just need to remember, she did get something. The other 20% can be saved for another day.

4- When they are stuck, have them go eat a snack. Don't push them to understand something they aren't ready to. If they are ready, but just not focusing, a snack can do wonders.

5- Don't ever stop having fun. Yes, there is time to be serious, but never stop having fun. Once you start to lose that feeling, it's time for a break. Love what you do, and it will show through your children. Anytime you start a new schedule, chaos is unavoidable. Embrace the chaos and work through it together. You will get farther together than each of you on your own. Remember the reasons WHY you chose to homeschool.

6- Before you start homeschooling (even if you've started already, it's not too late to do this), make a list of reasons WHY you chose to homeschool. It will get tough. I had only a preview today and I'm so glad I did this. There will probably be a time when you question yourself as to why you even THOUGHT you could homeschool. For whatever reason that may be, look at your list and rest assured that you are doing what's best for your child. You will have concrete evidence that will reassure you that what you are doing for your child is for a REASON. Look at your paper and read what those reasons are.

7- This is the most rewarding job in the world (besides becoming a mother). Yesterday was a great day for us. I opened up our math lesson, taught it, and our oldest absorbed everything perfectly. She understood and taught it back to me. No problems. The feeling it gave me was almost liberating. I felt like I was MADE to do this. To see my child understand a concept that she didn't previously know was amazing. I taught her this. I taught her this. I taught her this. This is what I was replaying in my head while grinning like a silly schoolgirl. Maybe it was the calm before the storm (today)? Who knows. Point is, she got it, and I helped her.





There will be many, many more lessons for me to learn. I'm glad this week was such an eye opener. In these past three days I learned so much, and I look forward to the years to come.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Teacher's Supply List 2013-2014

I wanted to make a post to share with all of you how I organize my supplies (and quite possibly my life). I'm one of those people who need a list for everything and NEED organization in my life. Without these lovely drawers, notebooks, colorful pens (to color-code, of course!) to name a few, I'd be lost. If I show up at Wal-Mart without my list, I might as well walk back out empty handed...or leave with a cart full of stuff I thought I needed, but really didn't.

Here's a snapshot of my (messy) desk supply drawer:

I have to say that I use these Papermate InkJoy Ball Point Pens colored pens every.single.day. Honestly, it was the colors that did me in. They were exactly what I was looking for at a price I was more than comfortable with. Target had these babies on sale for $3. The link that I posted shows them now for only $3.89. It is worth every penny. They write so smoothly and effortlessly! 

I also use the post-it notes for my school planner. Refer to my previous post (Unexpected Trip to the ER) to learn about the revolutionary post it planner!!!! I have an update if you scroll a little ways down on this post.

And the (messy) bottom drawer:


Here, I have extra supplies, paper clips, fasteners, velcro dots, push pins, etc. The black book sleeve you see there is one of my dearest possessions. It's a German bible from the 1800s. I recently lost my Oma this past March. She gave it to me. Oma was one of the most important women in my life. I always like to keep her near me.

I'd also like to share the way I set up my binder and folders. I had the kids choose their favorite color and assigned them each a folder (the purple and blue ones are theirs). My desk is off limits to the lil ones, so when they draw me a picture or do something for daddy, instead of leaving a huge mess of papers all over, I file them in their designated folder. GENIUS!! 

My orange binder is where I keep the important stuff....



This is our library list from Confession's of a Homeschooler's Letter of the Week (LOTW) Curriculum. We go to the library every Saturday and choose our books that we need. We also stay for a little free arts and crafts time for our oldest.



I make a section for each child. In each section, I put the paperwork for their Daily Learning Notebook and any extra papers for their curricula.



Here's our son's Letter of the Week Curriculum.



Last, but not least, is our packing slips. These are important to hang on to because if you don't receive an item, or for any reason need to return curricula, you have everything right here.

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I've decided to make a list of school supplies that I couldn't live without. Everyone is different, but these just really make my life SO.MUCH.EASIER. I use them pretty much daily and if I didn't have them, I'd probably have given up at some point. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but I REALLY need them lol!!


Teacher's School Supplies

Besides the usual pens, pencils, etc....

Laminator- I use a Scotch Thermal Laminator TL901 This is a lifesaver because I can't imagine spending the money on driving down to Office Max and laminating everything I needed. Plus, I just don't want to wait. Town is 30 minutes away!

Laminating Sheets- I find these the cheapest on Amazon.com

Printer- I have a HP Deskjet 1000. Once this thing breaks, I wont be getting another one. This one uses sooo much ink. I am looking into a laser, but I do a lot of color print, too. If anyone wants to give me tips on printers, I'd love to hear it!

Whiteboard- Seriously, check craigslist for this option before going out and buying one. I purchased a 5ftx7ft whiteboard for $45! Thank you, craigslist!! Another option is to go to Home Depot and buy the board material (not sure of what it's called, but if you pinterest it or google it, you'll find it!) and it's very cheap to do.

Corkboard- I love, love, love the extra cork space in our room. Our kids do a lot of artwork, crafts, and projects and now we have a place for them! My whole back wall in our classroom is lined with corkboards!

Timer- Yes, I just said a timer. I set this guy up when I need something to be done quick, and it works every time. Beat the clock!! My kids know exactly what to do when they hear me say I'm taking out the timer. It works with cleaning, a quick pick up, and free time. They can always look at how much time is left on the clock and really gets their butts in gear. For a fun time, hide the clock so they can't view it. I bet you they work twice as fast!!

Planner- Ahhh the post-it planner. I hope you've all got a chance to see how I set mine up. And here's how it turned out...



L-O-V-E!!!


These are the things I use on the daily. I love the convenience of my glue gun, but that's not used as much as my can't-live-without supplies. I would like to say that I am in no way affiliated with the companies of any particular item that I've posted. I am just...in love. When I really like something, I want everyone to try it to see if they like it, too. So forgive me if I sounded like I was selling anything :) After all, I loved my job in jewelry sales before I became a SAHM!! Enjoy!!

Any questions or comments, leave them below :) I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Our First Day of HOMESCHOOL!!!

I'm one of those people who will start to prepare weeks, if not months, ahead of an event just to be SURE I am prepared for anything and everything...for those of you who know my dad, yep, that's where I get it from. No matter how much preparation, no matter how much time I spent planning, crafting, thinking, writing...nothing could prepare me for the night before the first day. I can't blame it on nerves, I don't think I was nervous. I was....not satisfied with what I had been planning for the weeks and months prior to this very moment. Go figure. So (in my scratch notebook of course), I scratch out pretty much everything I had planned for the first day and redid it. "Mrs. Prepared" felt like a freshman in high school who was about to take her first exam without studying. Anyway, after redoing everything, putting up my Ten Commandments poster that I had received from Amazon that very day, and figuring out that I was MISSING an entire section in my Language Arts curriculum (Sing, Spell, Read, and Write), I finally finished. I managed to clean my entire house looking for the lost section and ended up finding it in the kid's room closet. How it got there, I have no idea. But the main thing was I found it.

We woke up at 7am, had the kid's favorite breakfast, banana pancakes with some orange slices and bananas with almond milk. Then it was picture time!!


Tear, tear!!!


After our pictures were done, we went inside to start our lessons. We started Page 1 of our Handprint Art Book. Each month we are going to be doing a handprint art page. Today was an About Me Handprint Page. At the end of the school year, we are going to laminate and bind the pages and make a book. Hopefully, I am able to make color copies and send them to the grandma's, nana's, papa's, great Opa, and great grandpa. 


This was the kid's favorite part of the activity. And of course, they didn't want me to type anything. Our big girl wanted to "write everything because I can do it myself, mom..." I'm so proud of her eagerness. 



Page One of Dallas' Art Book



Page Two of Damon's Art Book



Busy bees working on their Daily Learning Notebooks.



In the meantime, our youngest was having a very serious phone conversation with her Daddy....


I am so happy and feel so blessed to be able to homeschool my children. It's definitely not for everyone, but I love being with my children 24/7. I love being their mom, their teacher, their best friend. I love sharing in just about every memory they have. I love that one day when they grow up and have kids of their own, through them, they will remember their life growing up and hopefully cherish the memories we make together forever.






From Playroom to Schoolroom...

This had to have been one of my most FAVORITE home projects ever. I got to turn the kid's playroom into a schoolroom. It's my dream to start from a clean slate-nothing in the room but white walls and carpet. I wish I could pull out the carpet, but that's just not possible right now lol. I wanted to share the pictures of our complete overhaul of the room. I can't get the kids out of here!!

Before...


Future geography area for our postcard swap, busy bag center, and manipulatives and craft supplies.



Future reading nook (in closet), white board, and wall decor.



Future kid's reading center, supply pitchers, wall decor, and educational posters.


After....


The view from the kid's table.



My area with my desk, book shelf with curriculum, extra supplies like my laminator, paper drawers (I'm so excited about this, we have foam paper in the top drawer, felt sheets in the second, scratch paper and scraps, folder paper, and computer paper in the third, and construction paper of every color in the fourth. To the left of that is the kid's manipulatives center and extra craft supplies. The three blank corkboards in the back is for artwork display and pictures.


Here is our Letter of the Week wall so our son can place his letters that we've completed on his own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired tree. To the left of that is the reading nook.



Here's a better shot of the reading nook. Our oldest loves it in there :) I have to admit, it's pretty darn comfortable with all those pillows!!



This is our busy bag center. Whenever our son is finished with his work or it's time for me to help his older sister, here's where I send him :) We have busy bags for all three children. To the right of that is a little shot of our wall map for our geo center.



Here's the supply pitchers!! The pitchers were $1/each from Walmart and the curtain rod was $2.50. Score!! Here, we hold crayons, pencils/colored pencils, markers, glue, scissors, and dry erase pens. It's so convenient for the kids to come up and grab whatever it is they want. And there's plenty enough for everyone!


I hope you love our homeschool transformation as much as we do. If you'd like to see more or have any questions about where we got our stuff (I'm a HUGE bargain shopper and my whole room was very competitively priced), please feel free to send me an email to mommier@gmail.com. Or just comment, I'll be sure to get back to you.


It's A.....



It's a GENDER CAKE!! No, really, this was the best surprise we could have done as a family. Our kids weren't allowed in the ultrasound room with us so that was a no-brainer for us. We wanted to find out together so we had to figure out a way to make this work. The hardest part was not looking when the ultrasound tech was doing the scan. She handed us the envelop and off we went to the bakery. I have to give MAJOR props to Short N Sweet Bakery Market Cafe for making our dreams come true. They were professional, very friendly, and the price was fair. It turned out EXACTLY how we wanted it to. The workers were so excited for us-both dropping it off and picking it up. I will always go there for a cake when I don't want to make one myself :)

Our cake was ready the very next day. I think the kids were more anxious than I was at that point. We get home, clear our table, and Dad grabs the knife......

Its.....



A.............




GIRL!!!!!!