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Wednesday
Oct122011

Week in Review

We had an almost normal week!! Friday ran over into saturday do to some impromtu park time and over sleeping. Also we saved our science lab to share the fun with  Daddy. AKA I am horrible at getting pulses, especially on a 7 yr old chatter box.

Friday was the monthly Nature class with our meetup group. I totaly forgot my camera, and the lack of reception killed my phone, so, hopefully, next month I'll grab a few pics. It was so fun! I totally recommend it to everone. The kids learned all about seeds and pods. They saw how different seeds spread in different ways and even helped spread some milkweed for the butterflies. I think if DD had her way we would have a milkweed garden just like "Lanie" does in her American Girl book.  The kids also had plenty of free time to play, and the parents to trade ideas and have some adult time, which is always appreciated.

You will notice we stepped away from our curriculum this week as we focused on strengthening our skills and vocabulary.

Practicing math facts. For some reason this seems to be a complicated idea for my DD. The addition and multiplication facts come easy, but relating them does not.  This "mini white board" is actually just a piece of printer paper slipped into a sheet protector.

Grammar was held outside due to the terrific weather and to keep daddy company while he transplanted some peonies. Step 1) create 3 sentences: Declaritive, Exclamatory, and Interrogatory.  Step 2) change 2 words in each scentence.  On paper this exercise was a total failure, but using a white board helped the creativity process a lot. I am not sure if it is the size or the lack of permanency, but I took to letting her copy them onto paper after we were done. You can also see we were labeling part of the sentence so we knew what type of word we needed to replace them with.  

Multiplication practice.  Can you tell I fell in love with the white board?  Makes it so easy to show the groups with counters.  Making mistakes seems a lot less traumatic when you can rub them out with a finger.  There is also a ton of space to help the grouping process.

We combined a couple of subjects on this one. Health, science and PE. DD did some push ups, walked and ran in place as well as sat still (that had to be the hardest part) before measuring her pulse.

Then Buddy joined in to help fill in pulse rates and find what activity caused her heart to work the hardest.

 

Friday night started Yom Kippur.  This is the most important Jewish holiday. We talked about fasting and repentence. Some big topics for a 7 year old, and the dictionary was put to good use. She's finally getting the idea that not everyone has the same idea of "god" and not all celebrate the same holidays.

  Vocabulary was such a focus this week it deserved its own post

 

Saturday
Oct082011

Meal Planning Challenge-Week 4

Last week went out the window with meal plans as of thursday, but for a good reason. I have learned if something fun comes up roll with it. What is important is that you're not going nuts wondering what's for dinner and that you are not missing key ingredients that require multiple trips to the store. Not that you must make said meal on said day. Nothing in a mom's life is predictible and sometimes spontaneity is fun!

I discovered this dough from Heavenly Homemaker and decided it would be a fun project for my daughter. We made many sandwich pockets that night and shes been munching on them ever since. I would like to find a dough that has less butter in it but a similar consistancy. They where such a win that I think they are going to find a permanent home in the freezer as a quick go to even with the butter. DD loved stuffing them and had no problem eatting them even with different fillings.  The dough works with milk instead of yogurt for those of you that run out as I did.  I also let her in on the secret that we put beans in our ground meat, explained here , and that she's eaten them her whole life. Wish I had a photo of that the initial YUCK! It was quite funny but she got over it quickly.  She even asked that this week's taste test be Beans.

My husband rolled the dough out and used a bowl to make the circles.  Then my daughter loaded them up and I folded and crimped.  Our topings included  sauce, cheese, cooked meat and beans, peas and carrots, peppers and onions, cooked spinach, and sliced black olives. I defrosted all the veggies quickly in the pan after I cooked the meat mixture.  The spinach you can run some warm water over in the sieve and squeeze out the liquid.  The pockets went into the oven, on some tinfoil to help keep our baking stone clean, for about 20 minutes. While there was no rhyme or reason to how my dd stuffed these,  I personally like them best where there is a bit of sauce and cheese along with toppings in each one.  I heard no complaints from anyone and the majority of them have disappeared no matter what combo appeared to be in them.  I wholeheartedly recommend shredding your own cheese.  It is cheaper, melts nicer, and tastes better. I just didn't have the time to run across town and buy it at BJ's, and I will not pay Stop and Shop prices for more than a little bit.  These do take a little while to make and have a lot of clean up, but they are fun and, when you can spread them out to multiple meals, the work pays for itself. I also loved that my daughter was willing to eat anything since she didn't see what was inside first.

Monday

Breakfast: waffles

Snack: Apple slices

Lunch: chili/ PB and banna sandwich

Snack: Going to try making gelatin using juice. I'll give an update next week

Dinner: Stuffed squash - this was moved from last week

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggs

Snack: yogurt

Lunch: Tuna fish sandwiches

Snack:  gelatin

Dinner: Chicken pot pie -using leftovers from sunday

Wednesday

Breakfast: waffles

Snack: Banana

Lunch: rice macaroni and sauce

Snack: trail mix

Dinner: Breakfast- this is my husband's specialty and he's home first on wednesdays.

Thursday

Breakfast: pancakes - we normally have leftovers from wednesday night

Snack: fruit bar

Lunch: leftovers.

Snack: taste test- the asked for beans, I am still trying to decide how to present these. Maybe with some sauce

Dinner: Fish with rice and steamed veggies- we also didn't eat this last week, and thursdays are nuts with our library trip, so this makes a quick easy meal

Friday

Breakfast: waffles

Snack:Peanut butter and crackers

Lunch: egg salad sandwich with spinach

Snack: fruit slices

Dinner: Pizza

Saturday

Breakfast: Pancakes

Snack: trail mix

Lunch: chicken sandwiches for a picnic lunch

Snack: fruit

Dinner: Pizza pockets I mentioned above - This will be a quick heat when we get home

Sunday - I decided to roll with my family's sleep schedule instead of trying to conform on this one.

Snack: cereal

Brunch: french toast

Snack: veggies and dip

Dinner: pork loin, steamed veggies and mashed potatoes - going to try to freeze some mash and see if it works out.

 

Remember to check out my other Meal planning posts, all including our meal plan.

Week 1 - How to meal plan

Week 2 - My pantry list as well as chili recipie

Week 3 - How to use beans to replace ground beef

 

Also, every monday check out many meal plans at  Keeper of the Home  and I'm an Organizing Junky, where I link up my post and gather a whole slew of ideas.

Saturday
Oct082011

Vocabulary Lessons (part 1)

As many of you that follow me on facebook know, my dd is struggling with vocabulary and flying through everything else.  So I decided to slow down and focus part of each day on vocab from both her science and grammar books as well as anything else that comes up. 

We had started with the book suggested method of look up the definition and write it out. Good suggestion but, my daughter tends to not read as she is copying, and the more you make her write anything out, the more she shuts down. I still have her do this with new words because learning to use a dictonary is important, but I no longer expect her to retain anything from it.

 

I then moved on to making her worksheets: some sentences with a bunch of blanks and then a bank of words to fill them in. This went a little better.  Unfortunately, there is no way I can keep up with the pace, and that is a whole lot of paper and ink.

I also had her create sentences for each word. This we will also use again but it is not enough for the amount of vocab we are learning.

So, tradition out the windows, I got out my word program and created many pages of note cards (I made ours business card size), printed them on some paper and laminated. ** strong suggestion here: make sure you set your printer to mark corners if you're not actually using perforated card paper. We had a long night of drawing lines and trying to figure out where to cut the cards.

Now for the fun!  Here are the games we've played so far this week. I am planning to do a couple of posts with all the games we come up with.

 

For the first one I laid out all the cards we were learning on the table, in this case words from her grammar book. Words on the left and definitions on the right. I then gave her clothes pins to make sets out of the words. I took turns with her to make it seem more like a game, but if you have multiple kids I am sure that will not be an issue. She paired far more words than I gave her credit for. The couple that got confused happened to be synonyms, such as fly and soar.

 

For the other game I came up with this week, I had to dig out my old white board and tape the cards on. She then had to match them with a wipe off marker. I tried combining some she would know with some she could figure out when the rest were eliminated. If you do not have a spare wipe off board I would suggest taping them to the table and giving the kids some lengths of string/yarn to match them with.

This was an instant hit, and instead of avoiding her vocab box, she's trying to skip to it.  Both of these made her read the cards many times to familiarize herself with the words. I also found her now using these words when we make sentences for our grammar work.

I have some new games up my sleeve for next week.

Friday
Oct072011

If It Looks Good and Tastes Good, Must be Homemade!

You can thank Penny over at A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned for motivating me to dig these pictures out of storage. :) My family has a history of homemade birthday cakes. You know something isn't going well if there's a store bought cake in the house and, well, you feel a bit jipped. My grandmother had made us all our favorite cakes from scratch for as long as I can remember.  Now, unfortunately, she is gone, but her cakes live on! We have taken the same recipes and added a twist.

 

 

 

For DD's 1st birthday, my sister made her this cookie monster cake along with some cupcakes to match. I believe she got the dye for the icing at a party/baking supply store. This will always be my favorite. It was made to match her sesame street peek-a-boo book that was never far from her side. DD had a cupcake to her self and, boy, was it a good thing I had stripped her down to a onesie before she got her hands into it.

 

I have to thank my sister once again for these princess cakes.  It's amazing what can be done with a cake topper and some imagination.  Oh, and a steady hand doesn't hurt.

My daughter is lucky to have a January birthday, which means we can come up with all sorts of themes most people can't use.  For DD's 3rd bday, nothing would do but Rudolph. Ever have that one DVD you are tempted to hide? Yup, thats right!  For us it was Rudolph.  I think I packed it away with the tree that year, but it gave me a great place to start.  We did reindeer cupcakes, reindeer paper supplies and pin the nose on the deer games along with a bunch of crafts and reindeer ornaments as favors.

I will thank my sister once again. I was scrambling trying to come up with a tinkerbell cake and she saved the day by making it a lot simpler than I was trying to. DD got a pretty cake and birthday gift all in one for this one.

For dd's kids parties I try to stick with cupcakes. The less work I have to do during the party, the more time I have to talk to socialize myself, and that's what parties are really for right? ;) So that the parents can get our time in as well.  Here you see some cute little doggies all with different color eyes.  You can tell the eyes are candy-covered chocolates, the ears are cookies, the mouth is one piece of a twizzler, and the nose is a rootbeer jelly bean.

 

For the family party I show off a little.  By no means am I a master icer or cake maker, but a lot of icing, toothpicks, twinkies (yes, a rare treat, but you do what you have to), candy, some crackers, patience and a bit of time, and everyone's so amazed at the creation no one notices you can't ice a cupcake evenly to save your life.

 

Tom the Turkey was a family effort. We made it for Thanksgiving, but it would be cute for a fall birthday also. You can see how the cake was cut and layered on the left. Pyrex bowls and loaf pans make great building blocks. My daughter happily decorated the feathers.

Winter birthdays definitely have an upside in creativity. DD's second favorite animal after dogs just happens to be penguins.  If you're like me and just don't get along well with icing, remember sprinkles are your friend. I find them in Target dollar bins and the Stop and Shop bakery area.  I would love to know if anyone has found food coloring free sprinkles! For now, I will consider it a once a year treat!

The downside of having a January Birthday tends to be a lot of snow, and last year was definitely a record year. We made the best of it by having a Valentine's Day party instead. These were just simple stencils I picked up from the craft store and some sprinkles. DD had great fun picking the designs and colors each cake would have. They had an extra suprise of some sprinkles thrown into my white cake mix to liven it up a little.

I hope I have given you some inspiration and courage to try your own cake. With a little planning, and creativity, it's so easy to make a homemade cake. Between the cost and the taste you can't go wrong. Once again, keep it simple and make use of what's on hand. Also avoid anything that costs a lot.  You can buy confectionary sugar and butter for a couple dollars instead of canned frosting that is always the wrong consitency and way more expensive.

Wednesday
Oct052011

1 down and 9 to go... Months that is :)

We were on a short week with a three day weekend. My DD spent some time with her aunt and cousin on friday, while I had a doctors appointment and some errands to run. I have to say, a four day week does seem to fly. Here is what I managed to record. We did manage to fit in some science projects, but I was busy helping, so I didn't get all the pictures I wanted.

The family had a picnic in the park. This is a shot DD took of Buddy.

This is her favorite way of working on time, so who am I to refuse! You can find the printable here on Mr printables.com

We worked on some multiplication skills. Hard to believe she's on multiplication! Seems like she should still be learning to count.

And of course, we learned about Rosh Hashanah.  The apple is a symbol of a good year, and so far, ours is off to a good start.

Though we don't normally have a three day weekend, the shortened week helped us to recover some of our seemlingly lost energy.  The weather hasn't been the greatest up here, and we needed a day to play.  Next week we'll come back nice and strong!

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