Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saying Good-bye

This morning, local soldiers left for Iraq. A couple AHG dads were among those leaving, so the American Heritage Girls and Boy Scouts gathered with friends and family to say good-bye.

For all the soldiers, who go bravely to defend, who toil for freedom and justice, who long to return to their families, we pray:
May the LORD God cover you with His feathers,
and under his wings may you find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Let there be no fear of the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Though a thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
may it not come near you.
Blessed be the Name of the LORD, our refuge.
(from psalm 91)

Monday, March 30, 2009

MTD - butterflies and chickies

No theme today. PBJ butterflies and hard-boiled egg chicks.

Scroll down or click here for my first giveaway.


*This giveaway is over, but please continue reading to learn about Uganda Orphans Fund.*
This is my 100th post, so I'm offering a little giveaway.
I really want to introduce you to an organization called Uganda Orphans Fund. As stated on their website, "The Uganda Orphans Fund is dedicated to the care and shelter of Ugandan orphans, most of which find themselves in this state through AIDS having taken the lives of their parents." Here are some of the children:

On their website, they sell necklaces made by Ugandan widows with HIV. The profit from these necklaces benefits the orphans. So I'm giving away two of these beautiful necklaces. All you have to do is comment on this post by next Monday, April 6. (Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you win.)

The beads are handmade out of colorful paper.

Modeled by Zahana, who is no longer an orphan!

Please go check out the website, and leave a comment here!

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Native American Week

We finished our study of ancient native Americans this week. We moved from the Northwest Coast to California/Great Basin to Plains to Northeast/Woodlands and finally the Southeast. There were LOTS of books involved, but I'll only name a few of our favorites. Many of the books were creation tales or other legends. Some of the craft ideas came from this book.
When we learned about the native Americans of the northwest coast, we decided to have a potlatch. That involved giving gifts. So the kids worked on their presents throughout the week, and we had our potlatch feast Saturday evening.
Here, Larkin is carving a salmon totem to give to Jeremiah. He's looking at a book about totem poles for ideas.

This bead loom was a Christmas present to Miah this past year. She was really excited about it but had a hard time using it. We put it away for a couple months. Then I pulled it out for her to try again this week. It was a success! I was amazed at how much easier it was for her after only a short time. She really enjoyed making a bracelet as her potlatch gift.

Burden baskets from the Great Basin region.

Shields from the Southwest region. The kids used a book called Indian Designs for inspiration.

Paul Goble has some beautifully illustrated children's books about the Plains tribes. One of my favorites was Tipi - page after page of brightly painted tipi designs. We used it to make these:

Another book we enjoyed was Talking Hands. The kids liked learning a few indian signs from that one.

Miah grinding corn (clods of dirt) and filling a conch shell with the meal.

Coloring pictures of Woodlands Indians and making wampum in a longhouse. One particular book I liked was The Iroquois: A First Americans Book. This is part of a good series of books. Another group of books that had nice pictures and were very informative were the Bobbie Kalman books.

Some Cherokee words written by Miah. I realize all of this wasn't particularly ancient, but we did get a good overview of native American life AND we had fun.

Finally, our potlatch/green corn festival. I tried to pick foods that the native Americans ate even if I didn't really cook them authentically. I've learned that authentic foods don't get eaten around here. Those are the gifts in the center.

The bracelet Miah made for me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Toddler Time

I saw this darling activity on two different sites this week and had to try it with Zahana. I painted part of a cardboard box and tied a string across the top of it. I cut the little clothes out of felt. It took me probably 15 minutes to put together . . . if you don't count all the time it took to find my little clothespins . . . and if you don't count the 27 interruptions. Anyway, it was simple to put together.

For Zahana, it was a little trickier than I realized it would be. First off, I goofed by having her pinch the clothespin with her right hand - I keep forgetting she's left-handed. She also had to remember to grasp the clothespin by the correct end, hold the clothes close enough to the line, and pinch line and clothes at the same time. So complicated! She was very patient though and kept working on it for a long time. I ended up folding the clothes over the line and letting her put the clothespin on. She also liked taking the clothes off the line and putting the clothes and the pins in their seperate baskets.

While I made the clothesline, Zaahana busied herself with cups, spoons, a turkey baster, and water in the sink.

Rohan stuck nails in playdough . . .

and entertained the cat.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Laundry Soap for Sensitive Skin

I have two kids with sensitive skin, so I make their laundry soap. This recipe comes from The Handbook of Vintage Remedies by Jessie Hawkins.

Gentle Baby Laundry Soap
1/2 c. borax
2 c. baking soda (one 16 oz. box)
1/2 c. liquid vegetable soap
15 drops lavender oil (opt.)
1 c. distilled water
Mix all. Sometimes I use my hand to break up the chunks of borax. Instead of adding lavender, you can use lavender liquid soap. A couple big scoops with a tablespoon is enough for a large load.

Here is Jessie's website, Vintage Remedies. Go there for more great tips and recipes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vittles For Littles

That title cracks me up.
I'm starting a regular series on food that kids can prepare and hopefully will enjoy. Kids can learn a lot in the kitchen - cooking, of course, and measuring, counting, fractions, reading recipes. But I think the most important thing is that cooking with kids can be a time of fun and togetherness, as a family or one-on-one.
All inspiration for this comes from Jojoebi. She recently hosted a postcard swap that I joined to trade recipes that kids could help make. Here's the recipe we shared for easy, healthy sorbet.

You will need:
1 c. fruit
1/4 c. juice
1 tsp. honey (opt.)

Chop your fruit. We chose strawberries.

Put all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth.

Pour into three individual serving dishes.

Place in freezer for 30 min. If you leave it longer, it will get too hard. In that case, just set it out for a few minutes to soften before serving. Stir and enjoy.

I'll post the recipes we receive in the swap and hopefully many more. Have fun in the kitchen!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sorting Size

I found these cards (under Free Printouts) for Zahana. She picked up on the concept quickly and has been enjoying it. Also good for teaching animal names.

GF Cinnamon Biscuits

This recipe is adapted from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. It's a nice treat - yummy but not too sweet.

Cinnamon Biscuits
Preheat oven to 425.
Mix together:
1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. amaranth flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs. sucanat
1 scant tsp. salt
4 tsp. powdered egg replacer
Cut in:
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
Mix in:
about 3/4 c. buttermilk

Pat into rectangle 1/2" thick. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sucanat and cinnamon. Cut lengthwise into three equal pieces.

Stack the long pieces on top of each other.

Cut into 12 equal pieces.

Lay each of the 12 sections, cut side up, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Pinch the ends together as you lay them down so they won't fall apart.

Bake 10 - 12 min.

Monday, March 23, 2009

MTD -Rainbow

Muffin Tin Dinner theme today was "rainbow".

Red apple flower, orange bell pepper bees, yellow cheese rabbit, green spinach flower with ranch, frozen blueberries, and purple sorbet. I used the paper muffin tin liners.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Miah's Nature Journal

Here are a few pages from Miah's nature journal. She doesn't always draw what she sees; she likes to be creative. You may notice horses and birds with lovely long hair. Enjoy the show!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Whole Lotta Math

Today, I finally cleaned off some shelves holding math, reading, and writing stuff. I ended up only putting math materials back on the shelf. I put away some things we didn't need out anymore, and I'm hoping to revive a few old things. Since I have everything nice and neat for a change, I thought I'd share what we do for math.

Ta da! I wonder how long the orderliness will last. The folders to the side hold some really great math lapbooks the kids made in their Monday Fun math class with Mrs. Julie. There are three different ones - time, counting and numbers, and measurement.

On the bottom shelf we have some number cards and these little booklets for learning to make addition and subtraction sentences. I made the counters with beads and pipe cleaners. Each color has a different number of beads.

Pattern blocks and designs to fill in.

Tangrams and a book of picture puzzles, also from Monday Fun math.

Next shelf up, geometric solids and TOPS Get A Grip lentil math. For the lentil math, there are several little problem booklets and a set of jars, each having its own symbol. It starts out really simple: which of two given jars holds more? And progresses up to fractions and complex problems such as, (square) - 2(heart) - (person) = ? The child fills the appropriate jars with lentils and transfers them to other jars to find the answer. Good for little kids who are just learning concepts like greater than/less than and for older students being introduced to or struggling with algebra.

In the middle of this next shelf is a box of number puzzles. I drew each number onto a different color of craft foam and cut it into four interlocking pieces. I scribbled on the backside of each piece so the number couldn't be reversed.

These addition/subtraction materials are free from Montessori Materials.
Look under "Rulers" and "Strip Board Material". This website has lots of useful things to print off in every subject.

Also from the same website under "Teen and Ten Board".

This shelf has various math games on it. You can see a number/number word/ dot matching game. We usually play it like Go Fish. A miniature deck of playing cards. A good game for practicing addition and subtraction is to play War, except each player lays down two cards at a time. Whoever has the greatest sum (or difference) takes all four cards. Play until one person has all the cards (or set a time limit.) The cat and mouse game is from the HomeSchool Hutt. We play it with flash cards from one of the math lapbooks.

Top shelf shows our Singapore Math books. We use the US edition textbook and workbooks. And I have the Home Instructor's Guide, which I think is essential. Miah enjoys using these books and is doing well with them. Before starting Singapore Math in January, I was trying to use a basic outline and do my own thing. It didn't go that well. I have an absurd fear of textbooks, but I'm glad I gave in and bought these. Larkin, who is technically still in preschool, is doing the same first-grade book with Miah. He understands the concepts, no problem. He has difficulty sitting through a whole lesson and having the patience to write out the answers. I found some little number stickers for him to use so he doesn't have to write all the numbers. As the stickers run out, he's having to gradually write more numbers, and that's working for him. Sometimes, he just has to tell me the answer, and I usually don't make him do all the problems Miah has to do. The box holds manipulatives we use with the workbooks - cuisenaire rods, legos, miniature craft sticks.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. — Albert Einstein

You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way. — Marvin Minsky