Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One turns twelve!

One celebrated her 12th birthday this month. On your birthday, in our home, you get to choose breakfast. One chose ice cream, and boy did her siblings appreciate it! LOL

Three asked her to add the brocolli to her bowl...a nice touch


Hubby picked up these MAC DADDY cupcakes from Whole were they decadent. It took 4 of us, 3 days to eat 4 of them! LOL They were YUMMYLICIOUS, but they were so super rich that you could only eat about 1/4 of one at a time!

She wanted to eat it with no's your birthday, go for it.

She requested a "Queen of Hearts" party (which was 10 days after her actual birth date), since seeing Alice In Wonderland she's been pretty obsessed with the red queen. :)

Decorations (this was by far the cheapest party we've ever thrown....the decorations cost me less than $10):

I made these for each of the 4 suits, they all had a picture of her as the "queen" in the middle, and were surrounded by all the other cards of that suit.

The wreath...I got this from another blog, and LOVED it. It turned out great. One helped make it.

Her cake.

And, my very own red queen. :)

PRESCHOOL: An oldie but a goodie, rainy day fun

While the temperature has dropped outside, it is raining. BLAH. So, in an effort to keep Three and Four busy this afternoon I'm digging out some oldies.

Three loved the Discovery Box I made (from Totally Tots blog.) For this afternoon, I have loaded it with some new small things for him to find. :) He also has a fire truck craft from Home Depot (it's a wooden truck that you assemble, my MIL found this at Goodwill) that we may attempt.

Four is into everything today, and after looking at 1+1+1=1 blog, I think I have some ideas for him too. Wooden spoon, metal mixing bowl, and play wooden food. Happy camper? Probably! Also after reading the blog, I think I'm going to let him play with the rocks. We have rocks that Three uses for school, but I haven't let Four play with them yet. He still REALLY puts everything in his mouth, so we'll see how that goes. For later this week, I'm hoping to get a paper towel tube from my neighbor, and give him some objects to drop down it. We don't use paper towels, so I don't have any of my own, but I know my neighbor will share. :)

I've also been going through my The Toddlers BUSY BOOK for some "Rainy Day Play." I came across "Blanket Riding" which we've done before, but I hadn't thought of it for today. Another fun thing for my brain!

I may also make a squishy bag. It is a ziploc bag with any sort of squishy substance in it, the book suggests: corn starch and water, mustard, ketchup (maybe the 2 together to work on color mixing for Three?,) hair gel, shaving cream....I have an excess of really cheap hair gel (because of One's dance recital, and her super short hair in the back that needed to be slicked UP for her high pig tails) so I may use that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recipe: Pepperonata with Penne and sausage

OK, this is a homeschooling blog, so you're saying "Why is she posting a recipe?" WELL....for one thing, homeschoolers (or at least the ones I know....) often find themselves at 4 in the afternoon saying "Oh, what am I going to make for dinner?" And this, 4pm thought, is the FIRST time they've thought of it all day. D'oh.

So, this recipe is GREAT for homeschoolers, because it seriously takes 20 minutes.


I have made this recipe a half dozen times in the last year, and I LOVE it. Yesterday, I was excited ALL day knowing that this was what's for dinner. Another bonus? It's got peppers in it. My kids don't like peppers...or so they would tell you, but they eat this up like there is no tomorrow. Another tip? When I make it, I dice up twice as much peppers as a I need, and freeze half. Next time I make it, I won't have to dice peppers at all.

This is from a book, I can't take any credit for the inception of this phenomena. My fabulous mother-in-law gave me a book called "Desperation Dinners: Home Cooked Meals for Frantic Families in 20 Minutes Flat"....she brought this to me when she came just before Four was born. Think she had an idea of what life would be like "after?" She is a mother of 5 after all.

Anyway, on to the recipe:
2 cups penne (I use whole wheat)
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 links Italian sausage (3/4-1lb total)
1 large onion
1 medium green, red, and yellow pepper
1 can diced or whole tomatoes (I've only ever used diced)
2 tbls light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbls balsalmic or red wine vinegar (I've only ever used balsalmic)
4 bay leaves (I've made it with and w/out, I would say these are optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Grated parm cheese (optional)

1. Place the penne in 2 1/2 quarts of already boiling unsalted water, cook until tender (11-13 minutes)
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in an extra-deep 12 inch nonstick skillet that has a lid. Pierce the sausages several times with a fork and add them to the skillet. (I personally cut the links up into large pieces instead of leaving them whole..but that's personal preference.) Let brown, turning the links occasionally while peeling and slicing the onion. Add the onion to the pan as you slice, seperating it into strips. (Again, out of personal preference, I dice the onion, and also the peppers....the smaller the pieces the less likely my kids are to ask questions LOL.)
3. Seed the peppers and cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide. Add them to the skillet, stir, cover the skillet and raise the heat to high. Keeping the skillet covered as much as possible, add the tomatoes with their juice, the brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaves and basil. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil.
4. Lower the heat to medium-high and boil until the sausage is no longer pink in the middle and the veges are tender but not mush, about 7 minutes, uncovering to stir occasionally.
5. Drain the penne and place some of each on each serving plate. Season the sausage mixture with salt and black pepper and top each pasta portion with some of the sauce, making sure to discared the bay leaves. (Another variation, I drain the penne and then add it to the skillet with the sauce.)


Thursday, June 17, 2010

PRESCHOOL: Field Trip to the Mill

Storytime @ the mill was the story of The Little Red Hen, then the kids made a headband.

Then they went outside to "plant" (they really just dug up the dirt, but they enjoyed it!)

They ground some wheat:

Then we toured the actual mill, which is over 300 years old. I took a picture in there, but it was blurry. After that they did a second craft, which I didn't get a pic of because by this time Four was pretty sure he no longer wanted to be in the wrap and I couldn't do anything but chase him around the room. After the craft, we went out to the lobby where there was a dress up center. Here is Farmer Three. :) (You see Four in the background trying to destroy the mirror...wonder why we call him the jabberwocky?)

I got to snap a picture before Four ripped the hat off his head (but you can see him reaching for it already!)

Sisters getting in on the dress up action, One.

And, Two.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PRESCHOOL: Spring crafts and Field Trips

Field Trip to the Farm:

Planting a watermelon (FAVORITE FOOD) seed! He was so excited when Farmer Fred offered this option.

Farmer Fred cranking the tractor to take us on a hayride through the fields. We got to try squash and brocolli straight from the field!
Feeding some picky goats!

Brushing a horse, who was funnily enough named "Bubba" (which is what we call Four.)
Another planting, this one is a flower planted with our neighbors.

These are foam flower stickers. We are working on counting objects to 5 (you could alter for whatever number or color you are working on.) There are 5 flowers, we counted them as we stuck them. Then we counted them again (and worked on pre-writing skills) as we added stems.

A is for Ant craft: Cardboard egg carton segment, paint, pipe cleaners.

Field trip to the fire station (Three has serious hero worship.)

Tractor (we weren't working on anything specific here, he just wanted to make a tractor!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baby Birds

(I'm typing this fast....Four is cutting molars, and he's actually playing happily so I thought I'd try to get these up! Please excuse any grammatical, spelling or capitalization errors made in my haste.)

We have been so fortunate this year that a set (or maybe it's been 2 sets) of Sparrows have given us 2 clutches in our bluebird box (that'll show those bluebirds who is boss!) AND, a barn swallow has nested in an existing nest on our front porch above a pillar. This has been SO MUCH fun.

Baby house sparrow's!

This is a barn swallow egg, found on our porch on 6-3, the same day we could hear them cheeping!

AND, how SWEET is this shot!! There are 4 baby barn swallow heads appearing over the edge of the nest. They were waiting for mama to come feed them. I'm pretty sure there are 5 babies up there...but only see 4 heads here.

The sparrow babies are now flying and we get to watch them come in and out of the box and watch mama and daddy hover close by. Amazing.


I found my camera charger, and now have lots of pics to share:

Two at bat. This was the last game of the season.

One being consumed by a T-Rex.
One, Two and Three inside a tree trunk at the science museum (if you look up while in the tree trunk, you see a family of bats.)

Two recieving her bowling certificate as bowling league wraps up for the year.

One and Two attempting to catch a crayfish, I eventually did catch him. :)

Two caught a nice bass.

We are still working to finish up our school year, but I feel confident we should be able to take some time off in August (I don't know if I want to take the whole month off....the natives get restless when there is no structured time in their day.)
Two finished her yearly testing this week, and I hope to be able to start One's testing soon. I'm trying to wait until we have wrapped up the current 9 week period...somehow she got "behind" where Two is, as Two was finished with her 9 week period.
Dance is over, softball season just ended (although, All-Stars may take us through mid-July), my own dance class just started and I LOVED it! Two made the competitive soccer team, so that will be a big commitment for us come August. She is really looking forward to it though. Four turned one, and that makes me sad. He is also cutting molars, and has turned into quite a miserable beast.
I would promise to do better, but I always fail at that, so maybe I'll just say, I HOPE to be back soon!