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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Coffee Table/Game Trunk

In our small house, I have learned that almost every piece of furniture need to do double duty if it is worth taking up a lot of room.  Functional with storage is the best find there is. 

 The boys learned how to play checker recently. My husband and I have loved playing with them and were looking for more games we could play together.  Most of  other our games were in the closet and not easy assess for the boys, so this was a perfect solution.   Then I saw this old trunk at a garage sale for $7.  The boys have played checkers or some type of board game almost every morning since I finished it.  I don't have a great before picture because I didn't really know how it would turn out.

Materials Used:

  • Old Trunk
  • Acrylic Antique White Paint and Brushes
  • Painter's tape for squares
  • Acrylic Sealer (2 to 3 coats)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crock-pot HawaiianMeatballs

This is a kid-friendly recipe that my kids ask for seconds and taste great as leftovers.
 I have also found this is a budget-friendly crowd-pleaser that I can make quickly for potluck or carry-in dinners.  Easily to double the recipe for large crowds. Serve with rice of your choice, or by itself.

Prep Time- 5 minutes
Cook time- Crock-pot low for 3-4 hours
Serves-5-7 people

  • 28 oz. package of precooked, frozen meatballs 
  • 20 oz can of unsweetened pineapple tidbits -or chunks, depending in large you like your pineapple (put juice aside)
  • 1  large green pepper, diced
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of  brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP. cornstarch
  • 3 TBSP GF Soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 Can of sliced water chestnuts, drained (optional)
  • Cup shredded carrots (optional) 
  1. Put meatballs in crock pot and top with green pepper and drained pineapple tidbits. 
  2.  In a separate bowl mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and soy sauce. 
  3.  Pour sauce over meatballs, pineapple and green peppers.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.  
  4. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Organization for First Grade MFW

I used home school logo to help unify all our materials.

Teacher Binder
I keep this binder in a large basket, along with student sheets and teacher's manual.

Inside the Binder
Kid's Binders

Dry erase pages
Folders for finished work
  • Finished Proverbs Copy Work
  • Finished Math U See work pages or tests
  • Finished Student Sheets
  • Finished Art Projects

Kid's Shelves
Each child has his own shelf with notebooks and materials.
  • Student workbook
  • Bible Notebook and Reader
  • Nature Journal

UPDATE 3/2014: Since writing this we have stopped using "Drawing with Children" and use "Draw, Write, Now" Books for art.  
We also have stopped supplementing with First Language Lessons and just use the reading program in Teacher's Manual and phonic readers for Language Arts. First Language Lesson is good L.A. curriculum, but my boys were not reading yet so we needed to focus on phonics and the Manual and Workbook were plenty.

First Grade Booklists for Boys

Adventure books to inspire a boys faith

O       Good Morning, God
O       The Squire and the Scroll
O       The Evergreen Wood
O       His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map for Your King
O       The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Other Read-Alouds for First Grade

O       Frog and Toad series
O       Click Clack Moo
O       What do you do with a tail like this?
O       Owl MoonThe Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
O       Charlotte's Web
O       The Boxcar Children
O       Heidi
O       The Cricket in Times Square
O       The Five Chinese Brothers           
O       The Littles
O       Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
O       The Velveteen Rabbit
O       Mr. Popper's Penguins
O       Five Children & It
O       Flat Stanley 
O       Dust for Dinner 
O       Daniel’s Duck
O       Ivy and Bean
O       Margaret and Margarita: Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser 
O       There Is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems 
O       Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian by Jessica Spanyol
O       Edward and the Pirates Written and illustrated by David McPhail 
O       You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Togetherby Mary Ann Hoberman
O       Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant (Aladdin, 1996). 
O       I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman, illustrated by Christina Ong 
O       Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Day in the Life: Our Homeschool Routine. MFW 1st Grade

I get asked all the time when we "start" and "end". My answer is almost always, "We start after coffee and end when we get done".  Some days it is 11am and some days it is 1pm. Below is an example of typical day of our home-school if we are home all day.

We have more of a routine than a schedule.  My boys like to know what is coming next, but I don't want to be so structured that we can't be flexible.  The daily agenda (featured on right) helps me keep on track and show the boys what we will (hopefully) get done that day. I change it up each day, with some days including computer and some days including music.

The key for our family is a balance between planning and flexibility.  Without planning, NOTHING gets done.  Without flexibility we don't enjoy ourselves. It took us a few weeks to get into a groove, then sometimes we loose it completely.  My goal is to always be getting better, while still being OK with the days that just doesn't work.

Typical Weekday:

 Start at 9 or 9:30am
  • Calendar and calendar journal, 100's chart.   Spiderman likes to sit at the table to do his work, and Batman likes to lay on his belly on the blanket.  Either one works for me.
  • Bible- Proverbs or Bible activity in MFW 1st grade Teacher's manual 
  • MFW 1st Grade Student- Workbooks and Student Sheets, or Bible Reader and Notebook

  • Reading- Reading game from 1st grade Teacher's Manual (appendix) or Phonics Readers from our own collection or from Library. I usually take turn with he boys, depending on who gets done with their workbook or proverbs Copywork first.
  • Art- On days we do not have Bible Notebook, we use Draw, Write Now.  Drawing with Children did not work for us. Sometimes (if I am feeling very creative) I look on pinterest a craft that suits the story or science. I usually have one boy doing art while I read a phonics reader with the other.
  • Break of 20 to 30 minutes.  Essential for all of us, especially in first grade.  I get some materials ready for afternoon or throw a load of laundry in.  They play  on the kids trampoline or with toys.
  • Math time- We use Math-U- See. 

Batman was "teaching" us about Place Value.
 They love when I play student.
  • Lunch and 30 to 60 minutes of Rest Time.  If they don't nap, they look at books or draw quietly in their beds. This is essential if you are a mom who works from home.
Depending on the day the afternoon consists of a one to three of the following:
  • Library Trip on Mondays- pick up already reserved online books for next two weeks.
  • Outdoor play  
  • Board Games or Playing Legos (counts as problem solving right?)
  • Reading Books from Book Basket
  • Nature walk or exploration day Science experiment 
  • Art Project listed in 1st Grade Teacher's Manual or from Pinterest 
  • PBS Kids.  This is true if Mommy has work to do or sickNetflix is that because I have no voice I can set up an episode of The Magic School Bus that goes with our science.

  • Computer Time about 30 minutes each and I try (don't always succeed) in picking their first game, like asking them to make sure they do a "Keyboarding game" before "building a robot".

Other Weekly Activities:
If we have a weekday morning activity, we only do the light afternoon projects, like book basket and nature walk. We also take Field Trips.

Heading to first day of Co-Op
  • Field Trips throughout the year. Sometimes we go with other home school families from our co-op, and sometimes we just hit a nature center by ourselves.
  • Bible Study Fellowship.  
    • Tuesday 9-11am Seriously GREAT preschool and school age program for men and women.  Find a class near you and you will be glad you did.
  • Co-Op Wednesday 9:am to 12:30pm 
  • Lego Club- once a month in the afternoon
  • Upwards Basketball

Friday, September 6, 2013

Crockpot Apple Butter

This recipe could not be simpler, you can literally cook it in your sleep!  We use it on English Muffins, and sometimes instead of jelly in PB & J.  IT also makes a wonderful Christmas gift for teachers!

Crockpot Apple Butter

  • About 3 to 4 lbs of apples- cleaned,  cored, and peeled
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp nutmeg (dried ground)
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon  (dried ground)
  • 1/2 tsp cloves (dried ground)
Materials Needed:

1. Fill crock-pot with apples.  Add other ingredients & Stir until mixed.

2.  Cover and cook on low setting overnight, about 8 to 10 hours, until butter is spreadable consistency.  I put mine on about 9:00pm and stirred again before I went to sleep at 11:30pm.

3. In the morning, You can test the consistently by putting some on a spoon and letting it fall.  If the water separates from the apple, it isn't think enough. If there is still too much liquid take off lid of crock-pot and cook on high until thickened.

4.  Store for future use:
  • In fridge for 6 weeks
  •  In freezer for 6 months.  
  • Water bath Canning- 10 minute hot water bath, 1/4 inch head space. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Homeschool Room Clock

We studied telling time in our math curriclum ,  Math U See , over the summer between kindergarten and 1st grade. Math U See does a great job with visualizing time, but it was still a hard concept for my kindergartners to grasp fully.

I was inspired by several ideas on pinterest, and ended up making this clock for our school room.

Materials Needed:
1.  I drew very simple petals,leaves, and stems, and then had my boys color them with colored pencils. After cutting them out I covered them each in contact paper. You can also use a laminator.

Tip for using contact paper to laminate-put the colored/displayed side down first to avoid wrinkles

2. Cut out your petals and space them evenly around your clock BEFORE you hot glue. Write  numbers on with sharpie.  Pay attention to the change direction on numbers between 30 and 35 minutes

3. I added "spacer petals" because I had made my "minute petals" too small.  I spaced them all evenly , and then began hot gluing.

4. Hot Glue Minutes and hours leaves/stem on bottom of clock behind petals. use heavy carstock when making leaves and petals so thet they stay up.


IF I HAD TO DO IT AGAIN, what I would do differently.
  1.  I wish I had made my hours leaf smaller and my minutes lead bigger, to better show which hand is which! 
  2. I would also use a lamination for the leaves and stem (the petals weren't such a big deal), so they didn't bend when hanging on wall.