Monday, April 30, 2012

Picnic by the Lake

 Yesterday Nanna, Popo, Izzie, Maddie and I had a picnic on at the lake. It was a blustery day and we almost blew away! But good times were had by all.

 Maddie and Izzie walking around the "balance beam."

 Maddie, Izzie and Popo walking down to check out the lake. We decided it was a bit too cool to get in!

 The butterflies were everywhere! One landed on Nannna's shoulder.

Maddie helping to pack up the picnic blanket and take it back to the car.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lots of Lessons, but lots of fun too!

 Taste bud lesson. The girls identified sweet sugar cubes and pineapple. Bitter cocoa powder and coffee, salty soy sauce and pretzel and sour lemon and sour cream. This Izzie showing her categories.


 We did this lesson at Nanna's house. Here Nanna is explaining what the different tastes are.

Then we followed up with a lesson on Juice. As people who know me know, I don't let my girls drink juice. They drink water, milk, kombucha or water kefir (the last two are probiotic drinks they get occasionally.) We talked about how juice was made. 

First we talked about sugar. (Wish I had a photo!) But we started with REAL sugars like: Maple Syrup and Honey. Then we went to Raw Cane Sugar which is more processed but still fairly healthy. Then we showed white sugar and last in the most processed category we showed corn syrup (not HFCS, which I'm not even sure you can buy as a household.) We explained that companies like to use cheap sugar so they can make more money but the cheap sugar doesn't have as many vitamins and minerals.

So we started with lemonaide and we used Lemons, warmed up honey and water. They said it was so tasty. Then we made homemade fresh squeezed orange juice. Which only had 1 ingredient! Then we showed how not all companies use cheap sugar and showed them some orange juice that was okay. It still had absorbic acid (which we explained helps it not decay, a word they already know.) We did not go into the fact that store bought juice is pasteurized which kills the vitamins but we did talk about the fact that it wasn't a whole fruit when you drink the juice, so you are leaving some of the healthy stuff behind.

Next we took a package of koolaide and made instant orange juice. We told them it smelled like oranges and may even taste sorta like oranges but there were NO oranges in the ingredient list! It was a fake food made in a factory. They had a really good time counting the ingredients on each thing we made.

Last we pretended to be a factory. Mom got some orange extract and we smelled it. It smelled like oranges so we put it in a glass of water. But it wasn't the right color. So we took out some food coloring. The only thing we use food coloring for (except the one time I made green milk, which I'm still cringing at that I did) is homemade art supplies. So we added the food coloring to make it look "orange." Then we said but it isn't sweet enough so we globbed in some corn syrup and stirred it all up. We asked the girls if they wanted to taste. As you can see below, Izzie is saying, "NO WAY! That's YUCKY!"  I think our juice lesson hit home. Not all juice is terrible, but in most cases, even if it is a healthy juice, it is still a sometimes food.

(By the way, this was tied into our Five in a Row lesson on Lentil.)


 Maddie and Momma at the girls' first play, Charlotte's Web.

 Holly and Me at Lucy's 3rd Birthday Party

 Izzie hitting the pinata. Both girls picked out their own party dresses that morning and there was no changing their minds on mixing patterns.

 John and Holly.

 Lucy checking out her Minnie Mouse cake.

 Maddie's turn at the pinata.
 Cousin Sabrina!

 We made Apple Pie's yesterday as one of our lessons from How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World. I think it came out pretty cute! I made them little apple books with facts and problems to work out while we were cooking.

 A bit out of order here, but this is Izzie and Maddie putting on a puppet show.

 Maddie and Izzie showing off the pie they made!

 Izzie and Maddie looking at the butterfly dish we put out that attracted lots of butterflies! It had a little orange and some old water kefir grains in it.The girls added a flower off to the side (because butterflies like flowers) and decorated their table with a rock and some grass.

 Playing at the Melker's house a couple of weeks ago!

 A lesson I did for the story of Lentil. The yellow cards are glued down but the rest is velcro. I think I made it a bit too complicated, but they actually did pick up Title, Character and Setting. We talked about why the author chose Lentil as the title and why not something else.

 A more simple lesson was just the fact that stories have a Beginning, Middle and End. Each flap opens so they can see a picture of the different parts and help recount the story.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Making an Apple Pie

How can April almost be over? We've been keeping so busy, this spring is flying by, that is for sure. We just finished "rowing" our third "Five in a Row" book. And I have to say, I'm loving this program. I think it's a great fit for our family. The manual for FIAR Volume 1 says it is for 4 and up and while I can see that, it is a stretch for 4. There are lots of lessons my girls get and some I'm modifying. This past week we've been reading How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. It is a terrific book! The lessons in the manual were just sort of lack luster, but using them and searching other moms who use FIAR, I came up with some pretty good lessons.

Today, our last lesson, my mom came over and we baked a pie together. I made little mini-books for them to fill out as we cooked. For instance we needed 2/3rds cup butter for the crust. So they had to color 2/3rds of a drawing of a stick of butter on their sheet. Then we looked at a real stick of butter. We also used fractions when talking about cutting the apples. It was a good idea having the little book for them to work in as we were cooking. I think they enjoyed it and now have something to look back on.

Sometimes, I wonder if the lessons are hitting home, but later in the week they let me know. Wednesday night they went out to dinner with Nanna and Popo and over dinner they told Popo that cinnamon is harvested in Sri Lanka, which is a pear shaped island. I love that they are learning geography at such a young age! The other day in the bathtub they were splashing with some rubber duckies and I heard Maddie tell Izzie that they were swimming in the Yangtzee river (in China, which we studied with The Story of Ping 3 wks ago!) Izzie was playing with a little plastic frog and she told Maddie, "He can't go visit France! They eat frog legs in France, he better visit Italy where they eat Pasta." It's so cool hearing them play out the things they are learning.

I have a bunch of photos that I promise to put up soon. I was working on this blog post and designing a special birthday invitation when my computer completely crashed tonight. I'm typing this from the tablet my father in law gave me a few weeks ago. John is working on my computer.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Third Eye in the Back of My Head

Awesome. Izzie went to get some milk out of the fridge while I was cutting up a carrot for Maddie. My back was to the fridge. Izzie walked away without closing it. I called her back to close the fridge. Maddie exclaims, "You could SEE that???" I smiled at her and said, "Yes, Momma can see LOTS of things, so remember that!"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Play - Charlotte's Web

Last night, John and I took the girls to go see their very first play! We went to see Charlotte's Web put on by The Wylie Acting Group for Children ( It's a non-profit acting group for ages 5-18. I must say the kids in the play did a fantastic job. I was super impressed! Maddie and Izzie both had a great time. They had to look forward to it all day long. Their normal bedtime is 7pm, but the play didn't even start until 7. We told them that they go to stay up late (this is an extreme rarity in our house) and they were equally excited about that prospect as of the play itself.

I rented Charlotte's Web from the library thinking if they knew the story they'd be able to pay attention a bit better during the play. The disk was scratched so they didn't get to watch the DVD beforehand. I also checked out the book which they now want me to read to them! They did pretty great during the show. The first act they were a bit wiggly and the had a ton of questions. But for four, they did well. After the first scene all the actors left the stage for a minute and both girls turned to us and said, "That was short! Are they coming back??" We reassured them they were indeed coming back and that there would be more to see. Both girls followed the storyline pretty well, keeping track of the characters names and what was going on. They did not like the loud applause at the end of the play, but by then they were getting very tired. After tucking them in when we got home last night, I think they were sleeping before I even made it back down the stairs. But both girls can't wait to see their next play!


Smiles from my pretty girls. Madeline and Isabelle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chicken Stock

My evening consisted (in part) of putting away several quarts of chicken stock. Homemade healthy, wonderfully nutritious chicken stock. When old Jewish Grandma's say that Chicken Stock is Jewish Penicillin, they are NOT referring to stock from a box loaded with "(un)Natural Flavors" aka MSG. They are talking about chicken bones (and feet!) lovingly simmering in a big stock pot for 24 hours to release all the nutrients and gelatin. For a (small...haha) list of the health benefits of bone broth...
aging skin
attention deficit
bean maldigestion
brittle nails
carbohydrate maldigestion
Celiac Disease
dairy maldigestion
dental degeneration
food sensitivities
grain maldigestion
heart attack
high cholesterol
hyperchlorhydria (reflux, ulcer)
hyperparathyroidism (primary)
increased urination
infectious disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis)
intestinal bacterial infections
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
joint injury
Kidney stones
leaky gut
loss of appetite
meat maldigestion
muscle cramps
muscle spasms
muscle wasting
muscle weakness
Muscular Dystrophy
Periodontal Disease
rapid growth
Rheumatoid Arthritis
shallow breathing
weight loss due to illness
wound healing
For more information:
By the way... 1 quart of Swansons broth is about $3.50. I made about 6 quarts of stock for about $4.50 using farm raised free range chicken carcasses. I usually use chicken feet which are even cheaper, but this batch I didn't use the feet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Quick Fun Activity

Maddie and Izzie playing with some homemade spray chalk that I whipped up for them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A bit of sunshine will do ya good.

Izzie to Maddie: Let's go play outside.
Maddie: I don't want to right now.
Izzie: But MADDIE! *DEEP SIGH* We haven't gotten our sunshine vitamins in today!
Maddie: Oh, that's right, let's GO!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ping and Lentil

 Last week we "rowed" The Story of Ping for our lessons. I bought a curriculum called Five in a Row and I'm really liking it so far. There is a list of books (most I can get at the library) and each day for five days in a row you read the story and do a lesson. Kids love repetition so re-reading the book is a good thing and something I wouldn't have done on my own. Each day we do pick up different parts of the story, so I really see the benefit of re-reading books so closely together like that. By day five, the girls are even helping me read some of the words (from memory.) Each day you do a lesson and tie it into the story. For Ping we did:
Geography: Location of China, Length of the Yangtze River in comparison to a trip we went on.
Vocabulary: Buoyancy, Utensil, Bank (of a river), Reflection and Scurry
Math/Art: Counting all of Ping's many family members and stamping them with a homemade stamp.
Science: Buoyancy
Art: Breaking down objects into their basic shapes so we can draw them. Also, use of colored pencil like the illustrator of Ping.
Culture: Chinese Flag, Costume, Writing

These are Izzie and Maddie's science notebooks we made for Ping. Izzie's is on the left and Maddie's is on the right. We looked at how a duck is shaped (ovals and triangles) and replicated it. Izzie drew a big blue wave for Ping to swim in. Maddie drew Ping flying in the air.
For our Buoyancy lesson I gathered up some bark, a screw, a birthday candle, rock, and a cork. I had the girls form a hypothesis about whether it would sink or float. We wrote down what we thought, then tested it and wrote down our results. They really had fun with this. Of course we documented everything with pictures.Above is Izzie's Bark page.

 Another page in Izzie's book.

 Maddie's Rock and Candle page. Both girls thought the rock would float and then sink. I thought it was neat that they came up with their very own hypothesis. The great thing was neither girl got upset if they got their guesses wrong.

Maddie's Bark page.

Yesterday we started the book Lentil. It was a quick lesson, introducing the book and the state of Ohio where the book takes place. We put together our floor puzzle of the United States and counted how many states away Ohio was from us. We also just talked about all the states we recognized and where we have traveled. Today after reading our book, we worked with Charcoal, which is the medium that the illustrator used to draw Lentil. It was really fun for me to pull out the charcoal from my college art days! They felt that it was super special to be using supplies from my art room. Although they didn't love the fact that it was all black and white!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Catch Up

 My sister's birthday cakes. I ended up making two. The left is a grain-free, unrefined sugar cake (almond flour, coconut flour, and maple syrup) the right cake is a chocolate chip cookie cake. Both came out pretty good.
 My sis.
 Dyeing easter eggs at Grandma's house with the cousins! Lucy, Sabrina, Sammy, Izzie and Maddie.


 Lucy, Sabrina, Izzie and Maddie all having a pow-wow.

 Easter Bunny left these baskets!

 Maddie and Izzie.

 Getting ready to go into breakfast with Dana, Lucy, Maddie, Me and Izzie.

 Almost time for the egg hung! Lucy, Sabrina, Izzie, Maddie and Sammy (being silly!)

Maddie and Sammy
 Looking for the LAST egg. Izzie found it in the sandbox!

 Checking out the prizes. Izzie, Maddie, Lucy and Sabrina.

 Izzie, Sabrina, Lucy and Maddie.

 Izzie, Sabrina, Lucy, Maddie and Holly. (Holly just had one of her many scheduled surgeries two days before to remove the birthmarks on her face.)

 The family.
 John, Me, Izzie and Maddie.

A bit of twirling and whirling.