Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kid Friendly Recipes!

I was recently asked to review a book, Kids Cooking Made Easy by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek and in return I got the book for free.  I am SO glad I did it because we have already made multiple recipes from the book.  The recipes are very kid friendly, good, and easy.

As you know, my hubby is a chef (and no, he doesn't cook at home very often!) so the boys LOVE to cook.  It is one of their favorite things to do with me, so it was great to have recipes that they could actively help with.

Z and I went through the book and marked all of the recipes we were interested in making.  Then we went back through and narrowed it down from pretty much all of them, and picked out a few.  We started with the Chewy PB Granola Bars.  Let me tell you, these are delicious!  I have tried other granola bar recipes and they do not compare at all.  I accidentally made them in the wrong size pan so they came out thin, but next time (which will be really soon) I will use the right pan!

Next we made the Hot Pretzels!  This was really fun because the kids could dig in.  Z mixed with his hands and then we even got to practice some math with measuring the ingredients and the length of the dough ropes we made!  K was able to make his own pretzels or what he called "pancakes" and they came out great no matter what the shape was.  I have always been intimidated by making hot pretzels, but these were so easy and delicious that they will definitely be in our home a lot.

Last, for now, we made the Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets.  These were delicious.  Easy, good dinner.

This cookbook is a must get, especially if you have kids who eat!  I have attached an affiliate link to the Kids Cooking Made Easy for your convenience.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Things I Thought Before I Had Kids!

Lately I have been thinking about what I did with all of my time before I had kids.  Honestly, I have no idea!  I worked and went to school, but that only took up a portion of my day.  Not sure what I did the rest of the time.  I do know there are some things that I thought before kids, and I am sure I am not the only one!  So I decided to share and see if anybody else has something to add!

1.  Before kids: Why are there window locks in my car?
     After kids: If these windows couldn't be locked, they would most definitely be broken from over use.  Oh, and they have prevented many shoes and toys from flying out the window because the kids were bored on the 5 minute ride to the store!

2.  Before kids: Why is that person just letting their kid scream and throw a fit in the store?!
     After kids: Just ignore their fit and they will stop!  It might take an hour and an annoying time at the store, but they will day!  Getting groceries has to happen and sometimes kids just don't cooperate.

3.  Before kids: I won't let my kids watch more than a half hour of TV a day and I will never put the TV on just to keep the kids from acting crazy.
     After kids: I LOVE the TV!  I love that there are educational shows that I can put on when the kids are acting crazy and I just need to make dinner without 2 kids running under my feet and clinging to me while whining and asking for things.  Did I already say that I love TV?

4.  Before kids: My kids won't talk back.
     After kids: I don't know what exactly I thought I would do to prevent this, but I am pretty sure I did not grasp the complete determination of a 5 year old and his attitude!  So how do I get him to stop talking back?

5.  Before kids: I will never sneak food and hide treats from the kids.  If I don't want them to have it I just won't eat it.
     After kids: First I sneakily buy a candy bar at the store while they are looking the other way, smuggle it into my diaper bag, sneak it into the freezer way in the back, and then when they are happily pre-occupied I hide and eat it!  Sometimes mommy needs a treat that she doesn't have to share with 2 kids!

6.  Before kids: My kids will take care of the pets and learn young.
     After kids: Ok kids, please DON'T feed the cat!  No, no, no....only ONE scoop....Ok, I guess I am cleaning that up before we actually get to eat breakfast...

7.  Before kids: My kids will like to sleep as much as I do!
     After kids: No, it is not even light out yet, that makes it still night time so get back in bed!

What did you think before you had kids?

Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Make a Native American Travois

I know I have been posting less and less frequently, but only because we are having so much fun with Kindergarten and learning about lots of new stuff!

I am part of a small co-op and we are using the Konos curriculum to do unit studies.  The first one we have been doing is Native Americans.  We have done a lot of things so far, but we are currently on the Plains indians.

We were reading through some things before our co-op meeting and Z got completely interested in the Travois.  It was used to transport things by being either carried on a person's back, or later by dog or horse.  I saw the picture and decided I could definitely make it!

All we needed was:

A hot glue gun
Popsicle sticks
2 longer sticks- I used 2 dowels I happened to have

First I glued my dowels together a few inches from one end to make an X.

Then I made the platform to carry their belongings on out of popsicle sticks.  I used 1 for the top and 1 for the bottom, and cut a few in half and used those to connect the top to the bottom with hot glue.

Once I had those made I used my lion (I didn't have a horse or a dog!) to gauge where to attach the platform so that it fit right.  Once I had the right spot I hot glued it to the dowels.

Then I used my twine to make it look like it was held together with it and ta-da, we are now proud owners of a Native American travois!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Homeschool Schedule

Before I started homeschooling 2 weeks ago I thought "I am going to have a schedule and we will get x, y, and z done every day!"  And 3rd week in and that has all went out the window...

Let me tell you why.

I originally thought that I could do the 'school time' in the morning for about an hour while my husband played with our 2 year old.  Which was a great idea in theory. In my post Why I Am Homeschooling my number 1 reason is so that they don't lose time with daddy.  By doing school in the morning Z lost all that time with daddy and since we normally ran over the hour time frame because we were enjoying it, he didn't barely see daddy at all.  

So after the first week of doing it that way we came to the decision that we will do school time when we can throughout the day.  I found this much easier.  Last week we did all of the sit down school stuff when K went for his afternoon nap and turned everything into a learning experience.  

Then at the end of the week I realized that I really didn't know what we had accomplished even though I had written down our sit down school time to record it.  This week we will be switching it up a little more.  

I printed out a week's worth of a daily planner to try it out.  Each day I wrote activities and the subject we would be doing.  The goal is to cover all of the topics on that day.  The first week will be the trial to see if it works or if we need to add or cut items out.  But this way I feel a little more in control and if I have everything on my list checked off for the day, I know that we are done.

So far we love homeschooling and most days Z says something similar to "we didn't do school today!" because learning throughout the day doesn't seem like school.  Especially when you are having fun!

How do you schedule your day?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homemade Energy - Sports Drink

My husband has a love for Gatorade, Monster drinks, and other things that act like they are good for you but aren't.  So I decided to tackle this challenge and find a drink that can cut those things out of his diet while giving him the good stuff.  I found a recipe on Mom it Forward.  I followed the recipe except left out the B100 capsules because I couldn't find them where I was.  And as I was looking through other recipes I found that green tea is frequently used for caffeine among other natural qualities.

So we juiced all of the fruit (my little helper kept helping himself to it!).

Once I have the juice mixture done I put it in a pitcher.  Then I make the green tea in a separate container.  The kids like the juice and it is great to mix with water for my son at soccer.  

We bought a gallon drink cooler that hubby takes to work with him every day. I double the fruit recipe and use about 1/3 of that and add about 1/2 of the pitcher of tea.  Then I add water and ice to fill it up. He uses the agave nectar to make it to his taste and he has a great drink that he likes and is also better for him!  Hope you like it as much as we do.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1st Day of Homeschool Kindergarten

I have been preparing for this day for about 3 weeks now and was very overwhelmed with all of the curriculum choices and nervous about doing it right or wrong.  Another thing we have run into a lot was random strangers asking my son if he is ready for school.  I was determined to start our school at the same time as public schools so that he doesn't have to come up with any excuses or reasons for strangers.  So today was the day!

I worked hard getting his desk refinished and stained, but I didn't get it completely done.  This weekend I will finish it up with a last coat and finishing the roll-top portion of it.  He still loves having his own desk and pretty much sat at it every chance he could today!

Hubby doesn't normally have to work until around noon every day so we are doing our schooling mainly in the morning.  The plan is to not stress too much about time and getting things done on a strict schedule.

Today we woke up around 8, ate breakfast and around 9:30 we started school.  Hubby took care of the toddler while we did our core subjects.  We have a dry erase calendar and he wrote all of the numbers in the appropriate spots.  Then we focused on writing his full name in capital and lower case letters.  We went through sight word flashcards and reviewed ones we have already done.

I decorated our school area with posters I found at the dollar store and one is the layers of the earth. He was very interested in this and decided he wanted to do an earth craft.

After the toddler took his nap and he did his quiet time we took a field trip to the library and played and checked out some books.

When we got home we did our Earth craft.  All in all I think we had a pretty good day and he was pretty happy about it so it is a win win.  The best part is that I can have hugs whenever I want!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

When I decided to homeschool a few weeks ago I felt immediate relief because I made a decision.  Well that was quickly followed by a panic.  I had no idea what to teach, how to teach, or how to even begin to homeschool.  I really still don't but I am getting my feet wet.

First thing that I did was reach out to another mom I know who is homeschooling.  Our kids were in preschool together last year and we ran into each other at a birthday party.  It was nice to talk to somebody like-minded about something we were both unsure of.  We both sort of made our decision around the same time even though we didn't know it.

After sitting down with her my nerves settled a little bit.  Kindergarten is mostly basic core subjects and I can find most resources online and make my own curriculum.  One thing that she introduced me to is Konos.

As I said I don't know anything about any curriculums or options so this was all new to me.  I don't have my Konos book yet (I lucked out and am getting it free!) but she is part of a small co-op of 4 moms and I was lucky enough to be able to join it so now it is 5 moms!  We met and it is basically a unit study where you go through different units such as Indians or Prey and Predator.  You spend as much time as needed and go through the topic in as much detail as you want or don't want to and it can be child led.  If they are interested more in one subject than another, we will just spend more time on that.  It is nice because all of our kids are around the same age and we will meet once a week to do an activity.  Most are crafts so it will be like a learning play date.

I have also decided that I am going to start with a basic plan of schooling Tuesday through Saturday because hubby is a chef and his schedule is really weird, but the most likely days he will be off are Sunday and Monday.  I also plan to do one core subject a day in the morning for about a half hour.  If he wants to do more on it we will, but I think a half hour for Kindergarten work is plenty.  I am going to do it on a rotating schedule so every day we do a different subject.  In the afternoon we will do a craft or activity from the Konos curriculum.  This will be fun because my 2 year old can join in too and learn.

What curriculum are you using?  Do you think it is necessary to have one in Kindergarten?  How does your homeschool day look?