Painting With Ice

Cowgirl came up with a great idea yesterday. We were playing outside, drawing on the driveway with chalk, and she came outside with a cup full of ice. She says “I like to paint with ice” and handed out the cubes.

It was a fun activity, of course the designs don’t last long, they dry and dissappear quickly in the sun.

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Notebooking

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we homeschool, I like most of what we do, but I want to find ways to make it more interactive and self-directed. I have been studying Charlotte Mason, TJed, Well Educated Hearts, and Classical Education. We kind of do a mash up, I take what I like from each, what I think will work for our family, and I don’t worry about what I know won’t work for us. I have been thinking a lot lately about incorporating notebooking and it was so overwhelming for me to even think about. I didn’t know how to get started, what to do, how to do it. I never even tried because I was just so overwhelmed.

So, I did what I always do. I started looking for resources to help me. Well Educated Hearts talks about notebooking, and I love all of the resources and support available on the website. I wanted to find more information and see how other homeschoolers did it, so I continued looking and I found notebookingpages.com There is a free membership and a paid membership. If you watch for a sale, you can get a paid lifetime membership for a great deal. Both include tutorials, tips and ideas. I’m headed there right now to get started on the first tutorial. 🙂

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

A generous neighbor gave me some rhubarb, usually I would make rhubarb crisp but there wasn’t enough for that. What to do? I have strawberries, I could make strawberry rhubarb pie! I’ve never made a pie before so I turn to the trusty Internet for recipes.

I found this recipe for perfect foolproof pie crust: The Best and Only
Pie Crust Recipe You’ll Ever Need by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

and a recipe on the same website for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I said already I have never made pie crust before. My mom doesn’t make pie crust, she always buys it because she says hers turns out more like cardboard. I watched my great grandma make pie crust once or twice, but that was a long time ago. Everyone tells me that making pie crust is hard. So I was nervous to try it.

I forgot to take a picture before we devoured the pie, but it turned out perfectly!! The crust was delicious and the perfect texture. I will never search for another pie crust recipe again, this is the one I will use forever more. The pie recipe was also very good, easy to follow and delicious.

Favorite Mom Podcasts – “At Home With Sally”

I recently discovered a podcast called “At Home With Sally” by Sally Clarkson. I have listened to the first five episodes and I love all of them. Each podcast is uplifting and encouraging. She talks about motherhood, homeschooling, and faith in God. After listening to these podcasts I want to read all of Sally Clarkson’s books. I love finding things that inspire me to do better and be better in an encouraging and uplifting way. 🙂

Dandelion Pancakes

So, some of you are going to think I’m crazy, and maybe I am. We made Dandelion Pancakes today. With actual dandelion petals in them. How did this happen?!

It all started when I was listening to an interview that John Gallagher from learningherbs.com did with Aviva Romm entitled Outdoor Kids. I tried to find a link for you but I couldn’t find it. If I find it I will add it here.

In the interview Aviva mentioned making dandelion pancakes with her kids. I was thinking “We have a yard full of dandelions, maybe we should make dandelion pancakes, I’ll never get my kids to go for it.” So I say to the kids, “Hey kids, should we make dandelion pancakes?” and they all said “Yes!!” (What?! that was not the reaction that I expected at all!)

So today we made dandelion pancakes. I looked for a recipe on Aviva Romm’s website but could not find one, so I turned to trusty Google and found these two:

Dandelion Pancakes – Wintergreen Farm

Dandelion Sourdough Pancakes – Montana Homesteader

We decided to try the recipe from Wintergreen Farm first. This recipe calls for 6 to 8 cups of dandelion blossoms. That is a lot of dandelion petals! Picking all of the petals off of that many dandelions took a really long time. Cowgirl and I sat and picked them all off, Princess helped a little. We sat outside in the sunshine (finally some sunshine!!) and listened to one of our new favorite podcasts:Eleanor Amplified

Cowgirl, Tank and Monkey liked the pancakes, Princess tolerated them (with a lot of jelly on top), I did not mind the flavor, but I could not handle the texture, there were a lot of petals.

We may try the other recipe, (there are fewer petals in that one) we may not, it depends on whether or not the kids ask me to make them again.

Mere Motherhood

Several months ago I read an amazing book, one of the best homeschool/motherhood books that I have ever read. The book is Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. I heard about it from several bloggers and instagrammers and went searching for it. Suddenly “Mere Motherhood” and “Morning Time” were buzzwords on all the homeschool blogs and I had to see what they were talking about. I remember having a hard time finding the book because it was not available on any of the sites that I usually buy books from (it is now available on Amazon).  I finally found it here and discovered that there is a companion book “A Handbook to Morning Time” I ordered them both. I loved the book, it has become one of the books that I recommend to other moms when they ask me about homeschooling and how to get started, or for advice on what books they should read. I also found the handbook to be very helpful, it includes a sample schedule; suggestions for songs, bible verses, and poetry to memorize; and suggestions for how to get started with Shakespeare and Plutarch; book suggestions; and more.

We started doing Morning Time as part of our day, usually right after breakfast, I will start reading as the kids finish eating, and they will clear their dishes and pull out coloring books, handwriting, or math worksheets to work on as they listen. We LOVE Morning Time!! If we forget or our morning gets busy my kids will pull out the Morning Time box at lunch and ask if we can do “Afternoon Time” instead. Morning Time is a great way to start our day, a good way to get in some extra read-aloud time and do our history, art or science lessons as a family before we separate to do individual math and language arts lessons (we haven’t started on Shakespeare or Plutarch yet, but I plan to soon). I will write some more about our selections for Morning Time in another post.

A few weeks ago I discovered that Cindy Rollins has a podcast through the Circe Institute and I have really enjoyed listening to that as well.

Book Darts

These things are amazing! How did I not know about them?!

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I learned about these from Sara Mackenzie’s Simple Reading Journal class. (It’s free and totally worth taking the time to watch.)

This is how I keep them handy.

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On this card that fits just right in my Morning Time Box.

On bookmarks in the books I’m reading. Or (my favorite) on the first page of a book.

When I am reading and I come across something that I want to copy in my notebook I can mark it with a book dart. Later, when I sit down to do my Notebooking I can easily find all the things that I wanted to include.

Sourdough

Several months ago I became interested in trying to make whole wheat sourdough bread. I searched through books that I already had on my computer (please tell me that I’m not the only one who buys those book bundles and then forgets what is in them😕) and found Sourdough A to Z from Traditional Cooking School.

I started reading through the information in the book. It is very well written, and a great place for beginners. I made a sourdough starter of my own and started trying recipes. We love the english muffins, cinnamon rolls, and impossible brownie pie. I have tried, but not had much success with pitas and bread. I’m going to keep trying though. I am determined that I will master the art of sourdough bread. Wish me luck.

How we do Family Scripture Study

A couple of years ago we set a goal as a family to read the Book of Mormon in a year. My husband figured out that if we read two pages every day we would be done in time. There were just a few problems with this.

  1. Reading scriptures based on pages rather than chapters is a very disjointed way to read and makes the stories hard to follow. It’s a fine way to do it if you are really studying each verse individually and doing more in-depth study, but for our young family it just did not work.
  2. Two pages of scripture is A LOT, especially for young children who aren’t as familiar with the language used in the scriptures, and especially if you are wanting small children to listen and get anything out of family scripture study. They get bored, they have a hard time following the story because it is written so differently from the story books that they are used to. This resulted in lots of lectures, impatient reminders to the kids to sit still and listen, and (let’s be honest) yelling, and tears. When family scripture study ends in yelling, tears, and consequences, clearly something is not right.
  3. The children began to hate family scripture time.
  4. We, as parents, began to hate family scripture time.
  5. We felt like we were reading scriptures AT our children, rather than to them or with them.

I finally decided enough was enough and began to look for a better way. I talked to my husband and told him that we were done with the two pages a day thing, I explained that we were not creating the type of feeling that I wanted our family to have during scripture time, and that we were creating an atmosphere in our home of contention, dread, and power struggles. He said he was open for suggestions, he didn’t like the way that things were going either.

We decided that we were going to slow down and focus on one scripture STORY a week. Our kids are young it’s the stories that are important at this stage, it’s the stories that they remember. Someday when they are older we can have more in-depth study taking one or two verses at a time, or reading several pages at a time. For now, they are young, it’s the stories that touch their hearts, and that they can find something familiar to relate to, that they remember. And it’s the stories that they think of, or the spirit brings to their minds, when they are in a situation where they have to make the right choice.

Once we made the switch to telling stories from the scriptures things completely changed. If I forget to do scriptures the kids remind me, they look forward to hearing the stories, and usually by the end of the week they can tell ME the story. It’s fun to have them remembering the stories that they hear from the scriptures, talking about them and acting them out. I like to keep some variety in the way we teach and tell the stories, just to keep things fun. Here are some ideas:

  • Use pictures from the Gospel Art Picture kit (I hear that it’s a book now, which is a shame because the box with all the pictures is awesome) or pictures from lds.org
  • Tell it like a bedtime story. (We usually do this when bedtime is later than I would like and I’m telling the story as the kids get ready for bed.)
  • Read a few verses from the scriptures and explain what they mean. (It is important for kids to learn to understand scripture language and for it to become familiar to them)
  • Watch the videos on the Mormon Channel or on lds.org.
  • This book Children of the Book of Mormon by Merrilee Boyack is awesome!
  • Story kits from Time Savors on Etsy, she has one for The Book of Mormon, The Old Testament, The New Testament, and she’s working on one for church history. These are fun, they include stories with picture symbols so even really young kids can help ‘read’, clip art that can be used for puppets or flannel board figures (check out this post for an easy way to make flannel board stories), mazes, lacing cards, a memory game, and ‘test your memory’ quizzes. These kits are about $15 each, we only have the Book of Mormon set at the moment, I plan to buy the rest.
  • The Scripture Readers. We like these because there are lots of pictures to go with each story.

How do you do Family Scripture Study in your home? What have you found that works for you? I’m always looking for suggestions and ideas!