Friday, February 19, 2010

A Taste of the Tropics

Last week, we wrapped up a unit study on Courage. We took a look at the lives of Bible heroes like David, Daniel, Joshua. That's always fun and always a good reminder of how God can use us where we are if we trust Him.

We also read a book out loud titled Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry. The main character is a boy who lives on a polynesian island (long before Hawaii was even a US territory!) and was afraid of the sea. He set out on a journey to face and overcome his greatest fears. A terrific read! And to finish off our unit with a bang, we enjoyed a tropical feast. This included fresh coconut and pineapple, plantains and mango and more.

In order to pour out the coconut milk we could hear sloshing around inside, Luke pulled out the big guns, er, uh, the cordless drill!

With three holes drilled in one end, pouring the milk was an easy task. Everyone was quite surprised to see a clear, yellowish liquid draining into the glass.

And then the taste test - yummmmm! Or maybe not. I don't think anyone was impressed with the coconut milk. Maybe it was just an old coconut.

Next, it was time to get really serious. Luke used a saw in order to get to the meat inside. It was beautiful - pure white! We all tried a bite, and agreed that it tasted better than the milk, but wasn't like the coconut we are used to.

An ice cream scoop worked great when cleaning out the shell. Hmmm, coconut ice cream - now there's an idea!

More taste-testing -- although no one wanted seconds on the coconut, the fresh fruits and fried plantain were a hit!

And now we are leaving the tropics behind, heading back to the mainland, moving on to the War for Independence, continuing to look at examples of the courage it took to establish our country, our constitution, our government.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Sweet Treat From My Sweet Daughter

Caitlin knows how much her mother loves chocolate, so that was the theme for her Valentine's Day cake this year - chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! Yes! Triple Chocolate Delight!

And if you like what you see here, check out our new blog site, Creations From Our Kitchen which showcases the many cakes we've whipped up in recent months.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Bears

Anyone throwing a 'Global Warming' or 'Climate Change' party these days? Here is the perfect cake for your celebration.

Caitlin likes to treat our Dentist and his staff to a sweet treat when we head in for our yearly exams. This was what she came up with this year. Very cute! And the report was that it was tasty too!

Oh, and by the way -- NO CAVITIES!!! Now, that is something to celebrate!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our TimeLine

I've had some requests for a peek at the Time Line we've put up to supplement our unit studies. As we study people, events and important dates in history, we add a figure to the timeline we hung in the hallway. It is a great tool to put everyone and everything in history into perspective. It helps keep names and dates and places in our minds, helps with memorization. And I especially love the way it weaves all of history together -- Biblical, secular, scientific, historic, etc.

Here is a view from the beginning of the hallway, as you head to the bedrooms:

Here is a view from the opposite direction, looking back toward the living room:

We put the timeline strips on large fabric panels and hung the whole thing from hooks. The little ones are getting a visual idea of how time goes along chronologically, from creation of the world to present day. They have learned about A.D. and B.C. and what that means, and are beginning to understand that abstract concept of how the dates B.C. get larger instead of smaller. Trying to capture a photo in a 3foot hallway is not an easy task, but you can kind of see how it all makes a large triangle, with the beginning of time down on the lower left, following up then to the birth of Christ at the top center, and the moving forward to present day down at the right hand bottom corner.

To make it 'come alive' we add figures each week that coordinate with our studies. Above you can see some of the people we studied during our Early Settlers unit - Plimouth Plantation, Pilgrims, Indians, First Thanksgiving. OK, it isn't a great close-up (I know these old eyes of mine can't read the names!) but it gives you an idea! Each figure has their name and date printed on it.

We bought this set almost 20 years ago to go along with our core curriculum, KONOS, which is unit study based on character qualities. They made some changes and additions through the years, but basically it is the same program we've used all these years. We love it, highly recommend it. Anyone curious can find out more at the Konos website.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Peek Into My Day

Outside my window...
I see my children building a snowman, a snow fort, a snow chair

I am thinking...

I would like to simplify. Such hard work, but oh, so worth it.

I am thankful for...
a healthy family this winter. Hardly a sniffle, no flu, no fevers.
It could change tomorrow, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

From the school rooms...

high seas and tropical islands, courage and bravery

From the kitchen...

Homemade Granola Homemade

Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

I am wearing...

denim tiered skirt, white turtleneck w/ striped burgandy blouse, purple fuzzy socks

I am creating...

a little girl's crocheted pink poncho prairie dresses for 3 sweet nieces

I am going...

to clean out the download folder on the computer stay inside where it's warm
and let hubbie go out to play in the snow with the littles

I am reading...
How To Homeschool by Gayle Graham Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

I am hoping...
in the promises of my God

I am hearing...
some of my favorite music playing in the background:
Steve Green, Nat King Cole, Showtunes from favorite musicals, favorites from Praise&Worship, Randy Travis Inspirational Hymns

Around the house...
floors are swept clean, a bucket of legos was turned upside down,
the machines in Mike's workshop are whirring away

One of my favorite things...


A few plans for the rest of the week:
doing my best to stay warm focus in on school schedule for next week

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

I did my best to soak up the sweetness of my first grandbaby while I could. It'll have to last me quite some time.

A big thank you to Peggy over at 'The Simple Woman's Day Book' for the inspiration of the blog post - you can visit her at:

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