Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hummus recipe

We love hummus and it is so easy to make. Our hummus recipe is based on this one. Here is a picture of the ingredients we used last week to make hummus.
We like to have it with bagel or pita chips, cut up vegetables or warmed up flat bread (pita or naan). We usually buy our bread dippers already made, but surfing the other day, I found this recipe which we hope to try in the next few days.

Fall Garden Update

Here's a picture of a salad we grew in our fall garden. You can see pictures of the garden from a few weeks ago here. It is a square foot garden and we have one 4X4 foot "block" of lettuce and spinach planted. Currently, it is growing fast enough to make a salad for 6 every other day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Math Stuff

This morning, the boys were playing with some math manipulatives (not "playing" math - using the manipulatives as weapons in a Star Wars action figure war), and somehow, we managed to sneak some "math" into their play. The above photo is what our Kindergardener did with his chips (its hard to see in the photo, but the numbers are written on the paper and he put the matching number of chips on it). Our third grader made a long "chain" of chips, the counted it and wrote down the total number (sorry - no photo of that one - they turned into weapons again before I could snap, lol). Even though our 3rd grader is beyond really requiring counting practice, he still enjoys it and I think its good for them to practice things below their "grade". For N, it encourages him (he is really easily discouraged when he doesn't already know something or when he gets things wrong) plus, it helps with "fluency" just like reading below grade level. (jumping down off soap box :o)

This photo is of our Kindergardener's word box. Both boys have one. We put the words they recognized easily on cards and file them in the box alphabetically. Sometimes we just flip through the box and read the cards. Other times, the kids make up games to play with the cards, re-file them alphabetically, make easy sentences with them, etc. We started using this idea when I read about it in a book called Real Learning in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss. Great book! We are slowly incorporating many of her ideas - slowly (when I try to make them do too many planned "fun" learning activities, they stage an attempted coupe - not a fun time for the family, lol). They learn so much better, and much more enthusiastically, when I just stay out of their way. Your library might have her book, or if you are interested in buying it, you can click on my Amazon link in the side bar.

Also, if you enjoy any of the posts here, please consider subscribing in a reader so that you can know when new posts are made. You can find a subscribe link in the side bar and at the bottom of this page. Thanks :o)

My Favorite Snack ~~~ The Kids Like it, too

I finally got around to visiting the local health food store yesterday to pick up some cashew butter. You can often find cashew butter at "mega-mart" type stores and some grocery stores, too. I absolutely love cashew butter spread on graham crackers. Its a nice alternative to peanut butter (which we also love). The boys and I snacked on these and they were sooooo yummy. I find that cashew butter on graham crackers makes not only a filling snack, but also a snack that keeps me feeling full for a long time. I usually have only a small "sandwich" (1/4 graham cracker spread with a thin layer of cashew butter and topped with another 1/4 graham cracker - like in the photo) and feel full for hours. I guess something in the cashew butter helps prevent blood sugar spikes or something.

One day last week, I saw an episode of Good Eats (I'm a Food Network addict) about making crackers. Boy would I love to try homemade Graham crackers. Maybe one day . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Introduction to Multiplication for my Third Grader

I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. Our scanner is not working and this is the best I could get for the photos without uploading huge files.

As you can probably tell from this blog, we are very eclectic and somewhat relaxed (when I can relax, anyway) in our homeschooling. When N expressed an interest in multiplication, I decided to try a Charlotte Mason-"ish" approach to help with not only memorization, but also understanding the process. Here is what one of the pages looks like.

I try not to be too particular about small mistakes. In this example, he'd written the two backwards the first time (in red). A little while later, he came back to it on his own because he realized it was backwards and he corrected it. I really prefer this to me constantly correcting him. He almost always catches his mistakes and I think he learns better that way.

Here is an example of what he currently wants to do for reading/ spelling practice.

We both like it for the simplicity of it and the shortness of it. He's often happy to do many of these each day. He also writes all the words we review on an index card and files them alphabetically in a card file. He likes having lots of words in his file (our Kindergardener also has his own file of words).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Garden Update

With the move, the fall garden is very small (I'm actually surprised we have one at all). The only things I have growing right now are spinach and lettuce. Both are doing very well and we are having a salad with dinner tonight :o)

Here's our little spinach patch. I'm so skittish about commercial lettuce and spinach since the e-coli outbreak a few years back. We rarely eat leafy greens that we haven't grown ourselves, and since we live in the deep south, our greens growing season does not include the summer. Its been a long time since we've had salad on a regular basis and we are really looking forward to tonight.

Here is one of the lettuce squares. These are growing so quickly. We ate all of the "big" leaves on Saturday and already the smaller ones have grown enough for use to eat them - yay!

Are you growing anything this fall?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Menu Plan (Not) Monday: Week of Nov 2

I spent the weekend and beginning of the week being sick then recovering from being sick. Our menu for the week reflects my lack of motivation in the kitchen, lol.

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday it was "every man for himself" style breakfast with a choice of yogurt, cold cereal or peanut butter sandwiches

Strawberry Smoothies
Eggs, bacon and grits (twice)
Pancakes and bacon

Again, Mon., Tues., & Wed it was basically "get your own" such as Pizza (provided by my parents), hot dogs, peanut butter sandwiches

Leftover (really yummy) Potato, Corn & Shrimp soup
BBQ Sandwhiches

Chips and Salsa
Homemade granola bars (first time we tried them - they came out pretty good - nice taste, but a little too crumbly - we'll try again and tweak the recipe a little).
Hummus and homemade flat bread
grapefruit halves
cucumber and dip
carrots and dip
Way, way too much Halloween candy

Monday: Store bought roasted chicken, mac n cheese, cantaloupe, crescent rolls (relied a lot on convenience foods)

Tuesday: Used the rest of the chicken meat to make a Macaroni Grill Restaurant Favorites at Home boxed dinner (Creamy Basil). We got this as a free sample from Psst. It was tasty and convenient. If you would like a $1.50 off coupon, please leave a comment with your email address and I will email you a printable coupon. We had broccoli and mixed veggies on the side.

Wednesday: Cooked down the chicken bones to make a really yummy stock that was the base for Potato, Corn and Shrimp Soup (I'll try to post the "recipe" soon). We had these in homemade bread bowls that the boys helped to make.

Thursday: I cooked a roast in the crock pot and we are going to shred it and add BBQ sauce to it to make BBQ sandwiches. We'll have cucumbers and carrot sticks on the side.

Friday: We're having Spaghetti from the freezer with garlic bread and a veggie

Saturday: Baked fish, yellow squash, cheesecake for desert

I'm hoping to be back to menu planning on Monday. :o)