Friday, April 30, 2010

The Cousins Came!

This past weekend we had family visit. We only see them once or twice a year, so it was such a nice treat. Miah requested that we wait to have our Easter egg hunt until the cousins were here, so that's what we did. Before the big day, we were busy making gifts and dying eggs.
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We tried some natural egg-dying with onion skins, cabbage, chili powder, and paprika. The cabbage turned out the best - a beautiful dark blue after sitting all night. And we did the regular tablets from a box too - some with rubber bands to make white stripes.
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When the cousins arrived, the kids had so much fun playing, dressing up, hunting eggs, and playing with the chickens.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Helping

Watering the chickens.
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Feeding the rabbits.
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Brushing Sultan.
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Chopping bananas for fruit salad.
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Folding laundry.
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"My very best advice is to make faith the centerpiece of your personal life. When the little darlings resist your best laid plans, it is important to be able to keep the larger view in mind. Most of us will find that is best achieved through divine intervention. Today only requires that you make progress, not that you do everything. Most importantly, have fun, make fun, be fun. Oh, and teach them how to do the laundry when they're young." ~Carrie

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vittles For Littles: Cookie Balls

This recipe is based Raw Epicurian's Heavenly Cookies.
You need:
1/2 c. nut butter (We used "sunbutter", made from sunflower seeds.)
1 c. unsweetened, dried coconut
1 c. raisins
4 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash cinnamon
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Measure nut butter and put into a big bowl.
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Add coconut.
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Dump in the raisins.
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Add honey and cinnamon. We didn't measure. Estimating is good enough.
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Here's the fun part! Mix it up really good with your hands . . .
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. . . and lick your fingers clean!
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Take about a tablespoon at a time and shape into nice round balls. At this point, you can put them in the fridge and let them firm up.
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Or you can just go ahead and eat them like we did.
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I have to say that, even though I don't really like coconut, I thought these were very good. Our coconut was finely shredded and that may have helped. The kids gobbled theirs right up. A definite success!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dandelion Harvest (and extras)

On a bright sunny day, a couple weeks ago, Jeremiah told the kids they could have a penny for every dandelion they picked out of the yard. For two days they picked, . . .

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counted, sorted, . . .
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. . . and tallied.
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Grand total: about $20 each!! Good thing it was only a penny a piece!
I wanted to try out a recipe for dandelion calzones I saw in Hobby Farm magazine - only I didn't exactly follow the recipe. It called for young dandelion greens, picked before the flower formed. I didn't really think when the greens were picked would be that important, so I just used whatever the kids picked. Oh dear! It was important. One taste was enough to throw the whole pot in the trash. Let me tell you, if the greens aren't young, they are nasty!
But I also tried dandelion jelly. Turned out nice and lemony.
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A few random pictures:

Zahana, modeling the pollen that has been blanketing the area recently.
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A trip to the zoo.
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Rohan, feeling a little squished.
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And for all of my family members who sent me birthday money, I want to say THANK YOU!! I had so much fun shopping on etsy for all this wool! Two pounds of dyed wool roving in four different colors, two pounds of llama roving in two colors, and two raw merino fleeces. I was so excited when it all came and can't wait to spin it. I'll let you know how it turns out. :)
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stars and Galaxies

We had a lot of fun with the chapter on stars and galaxies. First, we did the experiments in the book. Here Larkin is drawing stars on the inside of an umbrella to show how our view of the night sky changes throughout the year.
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In the next experiment, we measured the distance between the marks on the deflated balloon, then measured again once the balloon was inflated. This demonstrates the expansion of the universe - how every object in space is moving away from every other object.
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We made an astrometer out of cardboard and plastic wrap. Each rectangle is covered with a different number of sheets of plastic and lets in a different amount of light, so we can see the varying brightness of the stars. I was skeptical about this project; after all, the plastic is clear and not very thick. But it worked.
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Here are the kids poking holes in the pattern of constellations. The paper/foil constellations were placed over a can with a flashlight stuck through the other end of the can. Constellations in a closet!
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Some of our projects came from JaniceVanCleave's Astronomy For Every Kid. We learned about black holes with balloons, star brightness from a flashlight, and why you can't see individual stars when looking at a galaxy from earth.
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They each made a booklet of galaxy types with glue and powder. Powder, because we were out of glitter. Didn't really work that great. Oh well. They also made a constellation booklet, using white paint this time. Worked much better, of course.
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We read library books, made constellation eggs, and best of all, observed the night sky. It was so fun to go out at night with the kids and find the different constellations we had learned about. I have never been able to find anything but Orion's belt. Well, we went out and identified about 15 different constellations, individual stars, and a galaxy! It was such a neat experience for me. And there's so much more we can learn together.
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