Sunday, December 30, 2012

Curriculum Spring 2013

After lots of planning and thinking and tweaking, here is our curriculum schedule for the next semester.  Much of it continues on from the fall, with a few changes:

Lucy (age 7)

My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures - I will be adding in quite a bit from Expedition Earth.  We've been enjoying parts of ECC, but it is mostly over Lucy's head.  Expedition Earth will add in more projects and fun on her level and allow us to continue our journey around the world.

Rod and Staff English 2 - Lucy hates this!  We're continuing through the book, but have switched to doing the majority of it orally.

Rod and Staff Spelling - same as fall.  Lucy does well with spelling.

Lucy finished her Explode the Code (phonics) book.  We will be using a Wordly Wise (vocabulary) workbook next.

Reading - Lucy is eating up books as fast as I can throw them at her.  We do a combination of reading out loud (Josefina American Girl books, CLP Nature Readers), silent reading (anything she can get her hands on), and reading comprehension projects.  I purchased Sonlight's reading comprehension questions for grade 3 for this semester.  We'll borrow those books from the library and work through the questions, just to be sure she is understanding what she is reading.

Math Mammoth - same as fall.  I love Math Mammoth, it continues to be a great program.  I like that it approaches math from all angles and teaches concepts very thoroughly.  Lucy still struggles with concepts from time to time so we are trying to include more math computer game time, Flashmaster practice, and the Mathtacular DVDs from Sonlight.

REAL Science Odyssey - We started this in the spring last year and loved it.  In the fall we dropped it in order to use the science from ECC.  That is definitely not working for us, so I'm excited to pick this back up again.

A Reason for Handwriting T (transition to cursive) - Lucy has been asking to learn cursive.  I had held off in the fall, just giving her various things for handwriting practice.  She will enjoy working through this book.

Rosetta Stone - We are easing into this.  Lucy struggled with getting the computer to recognize her pronunciation of the words when we tried it.  (Julia couldn't do it at all.)  I have various Spanish learning CDs and things that I need to pull out and let the girls listen to.

I Can Do All Things - Lucy has picked this art book up again recently and likes to work in it from time to time.

Julia (age 5)

Julia listens to any reading we do for ECC, and usually joins art projects.

The Reading Lesson, Bob books - We read a few pages from one of these books several times a week. Julia is excited that she can read and enjoys practicing.  She got a beginning readers book for Christmas and wanted to read it with me right away.  :)

A Reason for Handwriting K - same as fall.

DK Math workbook - Julia is excellent at math and almost done with this book.  I ordered The Complete Book of Math for her to use next.

Explode the Code - same as fall.  She is working through Get Ready For the Code, Get Set For the Code, and Go For the Code.

Sonlight Core P4/5 - This is new!  I decided that too much of ECC was over Julia's head, so we are going to begin working through Sonlight's Core P 4/5.   It looks like some of the stories will go along with our world studies nicely.  I think Julia will also really enjoy the science books.

Esther (turning 3!) and Baby Isaac interrupt listen in on many of our lessons as well.  :)

Sneak peek: Where are we headed?
In the fall of 2013 I'm thinking of using Sonlight Core B for history, Bible, and read aloud stories.  We'll move to Abeka for English and Spelling.  I just ordered BraveWriter's The Writer's Jungle and Jot It Down.  I'm excited to learn more about her writing approach and implement it over time.

Overall, I think I have a good plan in place and like how things are working together.  It has taken some time to feel settled in various curriculums that we enjoy, but I think we're getting there.  Every now and then I panic and research curriculum like crazy, trying to be sure we are on the right track.  Tell me I'm not the only one?! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Nativity Story 2012

Yay, I can finally share this!  It was a Christmas present for the grandparents.  We dressed up and acted out the nativity story.  Be sure and pay attention to Esther Joseph's expressions.  Priceless.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snowflake Canvas

We had a blast making snowflake canvases the other day!

planning her design

cover the whole canvas

5 different blues to choose from

We found the idea via Pinterest here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chocolate Donuts (Paleo Indulgences Book Review)

Our gluten-free, dairy-free diet continues...  Many of my recipes have come from The Healthy Gluten Free Life.  I love the cookbook, so when I saw that the author had come out with a new book, Paleo Indulgences, I begged her to let me review a copy.  ;)

The Paleo diet is new to me, but it is gluten free and contains minimal dairy, so most of the recipes work for us.  Its actually grain free too; the baked goods are made with almond flour or coconut flour (much easier than the zillion different gf flours needed for some things).  Paleo Indulgences is not a Paleo guidebook, rather it tells you how to make those special treats you might be missing from time to time.  (Read: a mother's lifesaver!)

With Christmas coming up, and therefore all of the holiday recipes that we can't eat, I've been trying hard to come up with replacements.  I splurged on two donut pans and decided that would be our Christmas morning meal.  Of course we've had to test out a few recipes to be sure they work well...

This morning I used this recipe from Paleo Indulgences:

Chocolate Mini-Bundts

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  
  2. Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the wet ingredients, except the coconut oil, to the dry and mix well with a hand mixer.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the coconut oil.  Mix well.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among a 6-cavity greased mini bundt pan.
  6. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until the center of the cakes spring back when pressed lightly.
  7. Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.
I used two donut pans, and baked them for 15 minutes.  For the frosting I mixed some powdered sugar with a bit of coconut milk.  The donuts were cakey tasting, but my kids were completely thrilled!  We certainly didn't have any leftovers.

I'm sure I'll be using many more recipes from Paleo Indulgences.  Like The Healthy Gluten Free Life, there are full-page color photos for each recipe.  It is well written and easy to follow, with great information in the front of the book.  One thing to note is that recipes are sometimes small and need to be doubled for my family.  

Thanks, Tammy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Green Giant Seasoned Steamers Flash Giveaway

We recently received a fun package from Green Giant including a coupon for a free package of their new Seasoned Steamers, a cute apron, a serving spoon, and bowl.

I was interested in trying out the Seasoned Steamers because it looks like they have some fun flavorings.  Unfortunately I didn't read the ingredients closely enough and they all have either soy or dairy in them.  I can't have those foods right now, so we haven't eaten the veggies yet.

I have another package like this to give away, so one of you will have to try out the veggies and let me know how tasty they are! ;)  I'm going to do this quickly and close the giveaway tomorrow, Monday afternoon.  To enter, leave a comment and tell me what your favorite veggie is.  Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact a winner. Giveaway closed!  Congrats, Emily!

The coupons, information, and gift packs have been provided by Green Giant through My Blog Spark.