Friday, August 27, 2010

Let's Salsa!

What do you do when this . . .

. . . turns into this?

You make this!

Thanks to my very generous Mom and Dad and the people who invented Miracle Gro, I spent the better part of this evening making the 12 cups of salsa you see in the picture above.  Yep, 12 cups.  It's in my freezer right now, but I betcha it'll be gone in two weeks.

Here's my recipe, just in case you're in the same predicament I was in!  Not only is it delicious, but it's easy, too!


5-6 large tomatoes
olive oil
1/2 onion
1 can Ro-Tel
2 T. garlic salt
2 T. green sauce (such as Herdez, Mrs. Renfro's, Embassa, etc.)
1 T. dried cilantro

  1. Blanch tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for 3 minutes, then immediately put them in ice water for 1 minute.  The skin will fall right off.  Cut the tomatoes into 1 inch chunks.  
  2. Dice onion into small pieces.  Saute in olive oil.  Add the tomatoes to the onion.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients.  Stir well.  And if you're like me, blend the heck out of it so there are no chunks to be found anywhere!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Show & Tell: Adventures Week 3

We have another week of school successfully under our belts!

In history this week, we traveled back in time and spent the week at Jamestown with Captain John Smith and Pocahontas.

Here is the summary page Hannah made for her United States notebook.  No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get it down to one page without eliminating pertinent facts.  The brown triangle at the top is her drawing of Fort James.

My Father's World didn't have any hands-on projects scheduled for history this week, and since Hannah has really been enjoying those, I scoured the internet and found a couple I thought were age-appropriate.  The first was a Jamestown & Pocahontas lapbook.  I found most of the Jamestown printables at Currclick and most of the Pocahontas printables at Homeschool Share.

This is what's under the Jamestown flap.  It includes the reasons they wanted a settlement in the New World, information about their voyage over, and hardships they faced when they arrived.

This is what's under the Pocahontas flap.  It includes information about Pocahontas' early years, as well as how she helped the settlers in Jamestown and how she saved John Smith's life.
 Our second hands-on project that I thought was age-appropriate was a paper model of Fort James, which I found at Homeschool in the Woods.

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking, either.  When I looked at it, I thought, "Map colors, scissors, and glue.  How hard can it be?"  But after I printed it and saw how tiny everything was . . . well, let's just say it ended up being a pretty mom-intensive project!  I did all of the cutting and assembled all of the houses, and Hannah helped put up the fence and arranged all of the buildings inside of the fort.

Speaking of the arrangement of the buildings inside the fort, did you know that the church was the center of the community?  Literally?  I love the symbolism in that.

In Bible, we spent time talking about what it looks like to follow Jesus.  The girls were introduced to the phrase WWJD (nope, they had never heard that before!), and they each made a WWJD bracelet.

This morning, they also each made a Jesus suncatcher to hang in the window.

In science, we did a few more experiments with air.  At lunch one day we took our empty juice boxes and saw what happened when we changed the air pressure in the box.

First we decreased the air pressure in the juice box by sucking all the air out through the straw.  The result was that the air outside of the box pushed in on the sides, causing the box to "crush."

Then we took our mouths off the straws and the air pressure stabilized.

Finally, we increased the air pressure inside the box by blowing into the straw.  We saw that, as the air pressure increased, the air inside of the box pushed out against the sides, causing it to "puff up."
 For our second experiment, we put a ruler on the table and tapped it.  It easily fell down.

But when we laid a piece of newspaper over the ruler, we had to push much harder to make the ruler fall.  This is because air was pressing down on the large area of the newspaper and helping to hold the ruler in place.

And for our final science experiment, we filled a glass up to overflowing with water, put a piece of cardboard on top of it, and turned it over.  The water was supposed to stay inside of the cup, but this is what happened . . .

Glad we decided to do that one over the sink!  We popped in our Inquisikids:  Discover & Do DVD so we could watch "the pros" do it.  We realized they were doing it with a glass instead of a plastic cup, so we decided to try it again.  It worked!


So we realized that, yes, air was pushing the cardboard against the cup in both scenarios.  However, the plastic cup was actually changing shape, which broke the seal the water had made with the cup, and air was getting in, causing the cardboard to fall.

The three R's are going well.  Hannah set up a school table in her bedroom for her and Sweetie to do a math lesson.  She even declared math her favorite subject!  Whaaaaat?!  WOO HOO!!

And at some point during the course of the week, Hannah was able to get in a little handwriting practice ...

Yep, when Mama's busy building Fort James, the cleaning gets overlooked!  :)

In Tot School this week, Millie mastered the letter M.  I'm so proud of her!  We're using MFW K phonics with her this year, and she's doing far better with her lessons than I ever would have imagined!

She also had a big day on Tuesday when she made her first 10 Train!  We're also using MFW K's math for her preschool, so she's going to get a lot of practice making 10s.  She even kind of counted down before she made it to 10, like, "Mom!  We have 8!  We only need 1 . . . 2 more to have 10!"  Yesss!  She gets it!!!

I'll leave you with a few fun pictures from Monday.  We made a library run and met some friends at the splash park right next to the library.  The kids played and splashed, then we all went to Chick-Fil-A for a drink.  All that and still home by 3:30.  Ahhh . . . behold the joys of homeschooling!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trip to the Lake

This year we chose a 4-day-a-week schedule for our homeschool. We school Monday through Thursday and take off every Friday. I think we're really going to love it! We can go to theater or ballet performances any time we want and use Friday as a make-up day if we need to. We can enjoy playing with friends after co-op when it meets and not feel like we need to rush home to "do school." We can take advantage of our Fridays to schedule some fun field trips. Plus, it's one less day for Mama to have to prep! ;)

This week we took advantage of our day off and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's for the weekend.

Ashley (my niece) just moved into their guest apartment while she's going to college, so we got to see "her place" for the first time. It's so cute and young and fun! I would move in, except I'm no longer cute or young or . . . well, I think I'm still fun! (I think?!?) We also got to meet Ashley's cat, Pop, for the first time. Hannah was in L-O-V-E, which means that poor cat didn't get much of a break while we were there!

Mom and Dad have the perfect driveway(s) for bike riding, and the girls always take advantage of it when we visit. They rode bikes on Friday . . .

. . . while Grandpa fried fish for dinner.

Millie never gets too far away when Grandpa is frying fish!

It was insanely hot . . .

. . . but still good to be outside relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

On Saturday morning, we went to visit my grandpa, which is always a bittersweet experience. This time, fortunately, it was more on the sweet side! He just turned 92 years old and he's suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers, but he remembered my name this time without being told! I wish my girls had the chance to know the grandpa I remember from my childhood—the one who fished and hunted, the one who barbecued chicken when we came for a visit, the one who swished the water for you before you got in the bathtub so you would have lots of bubbles and no hot spots or cold spots—but I'm still grateful that they've had a chance to know him and not just hear stories about him.

And before we left, Hannah found a walking stick, which none of us had ever seen in person before.

At first she mistook it for a Daddy Long Legs, but then she saw the body and realized it was something else. I'll never know how she managed to see it while she was playing outside, but I guess that's why she's the one studying entomology in 4-H next year and not me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Show & Tell: Adventures Week 2

Today we wrapped up our 2nd week of 2nd grade. Let me tell ya, this is fun stuff!

In history this week, we learned about Christopher Columbus. Here's the notebook page Hannah made for her United States notebook.

We've worked together on her notebook summaries for these first two weeks. I'll write down the 5 W's of journalism (who, what, when, where, why), and she answers each question orally while I write down her answer. Then we work together to combine the information on our paper into a sentence or two. She has done a great job with it so far and has maintained a wonderful attitude—much better than our notebook experiences last year!

We also made another map from Interactive 3-D Maps: American History that shows the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria leaving Spain and heading to San Salvador. We felt pretty darn smart when we found an error in the book. Their map shows that Columbus crossed the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic Ocean! Oops!

MeeMaw picked up a book at a garage sale last year called Animated Paper Crafts for Special Days that had a pattern for the Santa Maria, so we cut out the shapes and glued them onto paper. Turned out pretty cute, huh? Nothing "academic" about it; just a fun project and something extra to slip into the Christopher Columbus part of her United States notebook.

Speaking of fun projects, I think the highlight of our week was yesterday when we turned our pool into the Atlantic Ocean. We made three ships out of foil, clay, pencils, and paper. Then we designated one side of the pool to be Spain, and we put our carefully-crafted vessels into the water off the coast of Spain.

We added a little wind . . .

. . . and they were off! Notice the girls are in their swimsuits. Hannah was ready to jump in just in case our ships got off course or our wind current wasn't strong enough to get them there. (This really made me think about the sovereign hand of our Almighty God. I wonder how much he intervened on Columbus' journey as he protected the well-being of the ships and the crew and allowed them to find land just as the crew was ready to turn back for Spain, all so the Gospel could reach the ends of the earth.)

Finally, our ships arrived safely at the other side of the pool . . . I mean, in North America.

If our homeschool had a Rewind button, I would have had Millie waiting in North America wearing Hannah's Indian headdress. Oh, well, you can't win 'em all!

In Science this week, we studied air. The girls took turns fanning each other to see that, even though they can't see the air that's all around us, it's still there, and they can feel it when they move it around.

We also had a race where the girls used cardboard to fan a piece of paper across a finish line. We talked about how the cardboard moves the air, and the air moves the paper. I love the way these pictures show how things progressed. Hannah was in the lead to begin with.

Then Camille started gaining on her. Notice how she's checking out the competition!

Determination must have set in because her paper caught a huge gust, and suddenly she was in the lead.

In this picture, they both think they won. Look how shocked Camille looks!

And if it wasn't for this picture, they'd probably still be fighting over who the winner was.

We also took a look at an "empty" shampoo bottle to see if it was really empty. We put it underwater and saw bubbles come out to show that nothing is ever really empty; it's full of air!

Finally, in Bible, we segued from the meaning of the girls' names last week to the meaning of Jesus' name this week. We learned that His name is Greek for "the Lord saves," and we started a "names of Jesus" poster that we'll add to throughout the course of the year.

Hannah told me that she chose the colors she used for a reason. Yellow represents that Jesus is a king. Black stands for all of our sins that were put on Jesus when He died for us. Red stands for his blood when He died on the cross. Green (very dark green, but green nonetheless) tells us that he is still alive. And finally, blue reminds us that He is in heaven with God the Father. We also looked at some Old Testament prophecies and talked about how Jesus fulfilled them. Wonderful time!

All in all, another fantastic week!

You can read what others were up to this week by heading over to Kris' Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!