Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Montessori Division Work ~ Christmas Ideas

What's Cookin'?

I totally messed up the monkey bread recipe from Heavenly Homemakers.  The house was too cold for it to rise in an hour, but I didn't have time and cooked it anyway.  Bleh.  The dc loved it but I couldn't finish mine; it felt like a rock.  I'll count it as practice for our 3 Kings Day breakfast.

I've been *trying* to plan our weekly meals out better.  This week we're having baked chicken with rice and corn on the cob; leftovers of the same; bean and cheese melts on homemade tortillas (using Kelly's fermented tortilla recipe, and wonderful Amish cheese from Minerva Cheese Factory); chili (home soaked/cooked beans, 1/2 lb grass-fed beef, spices, no msg flavoring); chicken noodle soup (homemade bone broth); spaghetti (with the other 1/2 lb of ground beef).  For breakfast tomorrow we're having soaked German Pancake to get them through a long day of volleyball games.  Very simple, inexpensive meals that stretch the higher priced items of cheese and meat.  Now I'm pausing to go make a yogurt/cherry smoothie for snack...

What's Schoolin'?

I have wanted tessellation manipulatives for about 15 years, at least, I'm not kidding.  We have pattern blocks like the ones below but I remember seeing tessellation kits with odd shapes in a co-worker's room when I taught 4th.  They were more like the blue template in the link below.  Youngest dd still likes the pattern blocks but she's soon to outgrow it.  However, I think all 3 would enjoy making tessellations using these awesome (and inexpensive!) templates.  Shipping is 9% with a minimum of $7, though, so that's something to keep in mind.  However, they had other items of interest and some clearance items that might make the $7 shipping worth it.  I saw when I was looking for shipping cost that they are based in Fort Collins, CO - I have a little affinity for them, then, because I went to CSU for my first 2 years of college :).

Here are some other templates (I actually think the first 2 are the same):

Division Work:
Youngest Dd is doing the Division booklet right now in which they go through using the unit division board.  Here is an excellent link with the presentation of the unit division board.  I simply used the blank back side of my $1 hundred board I got years ago from Mardel (see picture below - the back side is a blank grid).  You could even just print out a blank hundred board grid online to use.  I used a sharpie to write the numbers across the top and down the side.  I quickly pulled out some glass chips for markers and units from the base ten blocks to use.  Fortunately I already had a booklet printed from the olders years ago in my Math storage bank box.  I'm still working on remaking the racks and tubes division boards.  I have them printed and decided to use a wooden base for my little plastic tubes.  Dh has been drilling a few holes at a time as he's able.  I always plan on it but have only run into the garage for a few minutes at a time to check on the chicks... yes, you read correctly - we have chicks in the garage.  19 to be exact.  I'm trying not to get attached because they're broilers for a 4-H show and then (gulp) we're planning on, uh... (sigh) broiling them.  I'm still not sure if I can do it.  I'm the one who couldn't eat a chicken I had played with from the market when I was a little girl (saga of the chicks to be continued...)

This is a blatantly selfish post as I window shop for ideas.  I keep losing my lists so this way I can come back to it!  Last year I got each person in our family a book for Christmas and it was so helpful to have my links on my blog to refer to as I whittled it down.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Montessori Division Work ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

I need to remake my division board and racks and tubes materials.  I'll paste my old photos below.  However, my racks and tubes took up a lot of shelf space.  This time I won't make them oversized, nor on corkboard.  I may just laminate them and put them on foam board like I make the pin maps.  Instead of the tubes I would love to have some stackable pill cups but will need to test that they hold exactly 10 beads.  Part of the beauty of the racks is that the dc doesn't have to constantly count out their ten beads and can focus on other aspects of the work.

Intro to the Division Board (using a booklet that my dc only use once but it's very valuable):

My old photos of the racks and tubes:

What's Cookin'?

Hamburger Buns:  I used this recipe and they came out great (it sounds boastful, but it's the recipe I'm boasting - not my cooking!).  I put the warm water and yeast in the bread maker alone for 5 minutes.  Then I added the rest and let it run on the dough cycle for about 10 minutes.  I checked it throughout to see if it needed more flour (I was using all white because I hadn't planned/soaked and started out with 2-1/2 C flour.  I added about 1/2 C more a little at a time as I checked it.

Frozen Biscuits:  The same blogger (Stacy) was a guest blogger on Katie's Kitchen Stewardship and we tried her frozen biscuit recipe. I made 2 batches of soaked flour because I just knew the first batch would never make it into the freezer :).  Everyone loved them and they easily "fork split."  The night before I soaked the flour, buttermilk (or kefir or yogurt or whey), and butter (melted and cooled).  Then, after soaking, I added the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Thanksgiving Dinner:

Sweet Potato Casserole:  I'm trying this recipe using fresh sweet potatoes and homemade marshmallows from the freezer.  I'll put the homemade marshmallows on one half and store-bought minis for dh on the other half.  I hope they bake well!  I have melted them to make the grotto with puffed rice cereal but have never used them in a baked recipe (I switched out real butter instead of the margarine they mention).

Cranberry Sauce:  I'm using this recipe and will wing it from there.  I may use 1/2 C water and 1/2 C orange juice instead of 1 C OJ.  For the sugar I'll use rapadura but wonder if I could get away with slipping in some molasses.  I'll start with 1/2 of the recommended sugar. [update:  turned out awesome.  I went ahead and used just OJ for the liquid.  Dd mashed it when it was cooked and we sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon gelatin on it and stirred it in carefully.  It was fun seeing the cranberries pop :).,1955,143162-224201,00.html

Green Bean Casserole:  I made homemade french fried onions using this recipe below.  Then I used the grease/bits and a bit more flour and the soaking milk (plus a bit more) to make a gravy.  I'm just using the gravy instead of the "cream of mushroom soup" called for in the traditional recipe.  I ended up with 2 C gravy and will use that with 2 cans (sigh) of french style green beans with the homemade french fried onions on top.

Sourdough stuffing:  DH wants Stove Top dressing so I got him a box of that to make.  However, I'm also making stuffing from scratch with no msg, etc in it.  I happen to have a loaf of California Sourdough in the freezer and will use that to use with this recipe below.  I'll add 1/2 C apple and some spices.  Right now I'm doing a super quick bone broth just on the stove to use in the recipe.

Cocol:  Today is the feast day for Blessed Miguel Pro, one of my all-time favorite heroes.  Seriously, google him... wait, I'll do it for you.  When you see the thousands and thousands pouring out into the streets for his funeral procession, remember that it was ILLEGAL to even be a practicing Catholic in Mexico at that time and that many were persecuted for their faith.  Anyway, we somehow managed to make this sweet yeast bread for his feast day and talked about what he did and how he showed such courage, devotion, charity, and good cheer. Viva Cristo Rey!  The first link is a recipe for cocol but we just used the one from the Catholic Calendar yahoo group which was almost identical:

Yesterday we  read about Fr. Byles who went down with the Titanic and what heroism and devotion he showed to both the people on board and to God as he served them and refused to get on a lifeboat several times.  Here is a link to this other hero:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Texas Felt Map

I took the concept of the World Felt Map and extended it to our state studies.  I used the megamaps site to print out a 4x4 page map (I *think* it was 4x4... it may have been 5x5 but I don't think so).  First I taped the pages together; then youngest dd roughly cut around it leaving a space of about 1-1/2 inches all around.  After pinning it to a yard of felt (she chose orange - sorry Aggies! - we love A&M so it really had nothing to do with college alliances!), I cut it out in detail.  She chose black for the background yard of felt.  I still haven't tacky glued it to the background but it's been fine anyway.

I actually uploaded photos today on my computer (yes, all 375 of them!) so here it is in its glory:

I took pictures of her work but unfortunately I was borrowing other dd's camera for that so... those photos will come later.  When they do, you'll see her layouts for Native Tribes, rivers, and cities.  I have the controls in page protectors and the cards for each work in their respective sleeve (along with blue pipe cleaners for rivers and chips for cities).

What's Cookin'?

I have 40 pounds of ugly apples sitting in 2 small boxes on my kitchen table and I couldn't be happier :).  I didn't process any today but we've been snacking on them.  They may not be "grocery store pretty" but they are crunchy, sweet, and in danger of not making it to the freezer, stove/canner, or dehydrator!  I plan on preslicing and freezing in 2 C quantities for pies/cobblers/crisps/applesauce or whatever.  I also plan on dehydrating a bunch for snacks (and I have precious little freezer space).  I would like to go ahead and can applesauce but I no longer have a water bath canner - I'll see what I can do with my soup pot.

Hmmm.... I think I'll go soak some yogurt dough right now for a pie tomorrow!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ancient Greece

What's Cookin'?

One of the reasons I avoid Canola Oil:

Green Spaghetti:  I couldn't find an online link to give credit but it's basically 2 C fresh spinach steamed until just wilted blended in a blender with 1 C broth, 1/2 C milk; 1/2 C shredded cheese served over pasta.  It was too much liquid for 1/2 box spaghetti noodles that I used for lunch so I froze the extra liquid for another day.

What's Schoolin'?

Texas History is not enough, 20th Century US History is not enough, we are ALSO doing World History this year (!!) and happen to be on Ancient Greece.  Here are some links:

Free homeschoolshare lapbook:

Cool timeline (not only Greeks)(found it looking for Aesop fables):

Aesop sites: (I just printed out the pages for each fable that has the story on it for booklets instead of all of the pages.  Olders will incorporate it into their huge history lapbook this year and younger will make an Aesop's Fables lapbook with just these)

Drawings for lapbook for Greece (Greek gods and heroes):

Free Iliad lapbook:

Good questions (see appendices) for the Iliad [We are reading this aloud before The Odyssey; I'm using the version written by R. Sutcliff - see link/image below - but the questions in this pdf don't directly match up with her book]

We'll also be reading some of this Iliad translation at Gutenburg Press (free online books):
They have kindle also (I don't have a kindle but could read it on my pc):

Odyssey story online (if using the detailed version and you scroll down under each book it has really good notes for each book)
Here is a printable pdf:

More Odyssey Lesson Plans (I'm just using Appendix B onward)

A Trojan hidden picture page (battle scene).  There are no answers but we'll see how many we can find:

These are some random links I forwarded to my dc so they could go through them (delicious wasn't working well on my computer to bookmark, I think it's google chrome giving me trouble, so it was easier to just put the links in an e-mail to my dc's account - seems odd but that's modern technology!).  Just ignore if some are duplicates.  I tried to put them here as I went along but since all tasks are interrupted (I'm sure you can relate to that!) I quit trying :) :

Design a pot:
Go through these after seeing the Hercules slide show above:

Below are some resources from Amazon (note the free kindle downloads)(since Blogger quit allowing the Amazon tool these may not align or look right):