Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rainbow letter sorting

 After the success of the (fake) cat litter box letter hunt I wanted to do something fun with the letter R. For Mini Piwi I am sure very little could top scooping letter P 'poop' but I was going to try.

Here is Mini Piwi Sorting the Letter R by color...she loved  it!!

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Chocolate Cherry Brownies

Piwi Daddy is trying to combat some inflammation with cherries so I wanted to get some into a dessert for him. The zucchinis were from some inspiration from this chocolate cake recipe we had as kids (which also had a cup of oil in it). This recipe turned out to be successful experiment in making a brownie recipe healthier. It was really moist and chocolaty. Next time I am going to add in some nuts and dried cherries (Valentines dessert maybe?)

Chocolate Cherry brownies (vegan)

  1¼ cups Spelt (or whole wheat) Flour

 ¼ cup Cocoa powder

 1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking soda

 ½ tsp salt

1  banana, mashed

¾  cup brown sugar

½ cup pureed cherries (I used frozen ones)

 ¼ cup almond milk

1 tsp Pure vanilla extract

 1 cup grated zucchini

 1/4 cup Non Diary choc chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease brownie pan and set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt. In another bowl, mix together banana, cherries and sugar. Add in Almond milk, vanilla, zucchini and Chocolate chip. Add flour mix and stir until just combined. Pour batter into greased muffin pan and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
More recipes posts:

Pre K Monet

Mini Piwi had her own Monet Art class while Miss K was working on her Monet Lapbook and Art study.  We looked at the series of Monet's Water lily paintings and  I made up a story of a frog that lived in the pond. Mini Piwi decided ducks probably lived there too and asked to go feed them lol! cute!

We started off with Painting with water....

When the Monet style art lesson was ready to go Mini Piwi added green leaves with Oil Pastels. In stead of the water colors Big sis was using Mini Piwi went with dot markers...

She 'washed' her painting with water....

The water made a great effect with the 'dots' and acted a lot like water colors with the pastels. We were all very proud of her first artist inspired Masterpiece.

You may also like Miss K's Monet Art study

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Piwi noodle house

We enjoy all sorts of Asian noodle dishes. I am just not that great at cooking them. Piwi Dad enjoys Spicy Dan Dan noodles and there was no way I would have ever considered even attempting to make them. This all changed when I was asked to review Jaden Hair's Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites. 

Some how I didn't know about Jaden Hair's blog steamy If I had I would have been cooking up a noodle storm by now!

Dan Dan Mein  & 15 min Asian noodles (for the Piwi's)


The cover made me a little weary as it looked a bit fancy. However flicking through the pages on my laptop (it's a digital copy) I realized this was all the recipes for the kinds dishes (noodles and otherwise) we enjoy when we eat out. Even Piwi Daddy had a scroll through the  amazing photos and announced his approval.

Tonight I decided to try the recipe for Dan Dan Mein (from the book) and  15 minute Asian noodles (from the blog) The recipes were super easy to follow and I swear the dish was as good as we have had in a restaurant. The Piwi's actually didn't have anything to say as they were too busy eating. This is as high as praise gets from them! They are food critics in training lol. Next on my list is Vietnamese fresh rolls. Piwi Dad is dropping hints about the Pineapple-crab fried rice. The Piwi's are eyeing up the desserts chapter. This is definitely a book worth keeping in the kitchen for easy, healthy and tasty week night meals!

Link to 15 minute Asian noodle recipe

 The recipe for Dan Dan Mein is from the Book Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites: 100 Recipes That Are Fast, Fresh, and Simple Enough for Tonight's Supper

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of  Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites, in exchange for an honest review to be submitted to 10 speed press via I will not receive any monetary compensation from nor 10 Speed press. The links to amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through this link.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Secret Valentines

This late night inspiration was an extension of our oil pastel and watercolor experiments.

We wrote our messages on white paper with a white oil pastel.

To reveal the message the Piwis 'washed' the paper with watercolors...

We made a lot of Valentines like this  today, some we put away for next month but a quite a few got painted. Mini Piwi especially loved watching the pastel repel the water. Talking of secrets I picked up this new Splat book for the Piwi's. I am saving it for valentines week. We love anything Splat but the flaps make it even more fun. In this book Splat is trying to find the perfect Valentine's gift for his teacher. I am pretty sure the kids will think it is awesome when I bring it out on Monday
Love Splat came out last Valentines day and we read that year-round.

These are the best pastels I have used with the Piwi's. They are affordable, smooth and don't break as easily as other brands.

Other Arty Piwi Posts

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monet Art study

This week Miss K is working on a France unit Study. For LA we use Learning Language Arts Through Literature . Each week-long lesson works with an except from children's literature or a specific book. I had saved the Madeline 'literature link' for this unit study. It was also a great opportunity to study Monet.

We began our study by looking at a timeline of Monet's art.  It was a great way to learn about his life and the creation of impressionism. I had made up an art study lapbook for Miss K to use.

It included mini books to record information about Monet's life and impressionism. There are also mini books for 8 paintings. In these Miss K is able to record what she saw and background information. We are looking at two pieces of Monet art each day this week.

We started with Water lilies, 1914.

Miss K used Oil pastels to create her Lillie pad leaves and flowers. She worked on the shapes of the leaves and shaded them with greens and pinks like she observed in Monet's painting. Blue water colors were painted around the leaves and she chose to paint over the flowers and other shading. Finally she wet the paper with her brush with water to change to create a water effect.

She worked so hard and made a beautiful piece of art....

Mini Piwi also did Pre K Monet

Some useful books I found:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr King & Harriet Tubman

Last year Miss K and I read and enjoyed the Drinking gourd, so this book was a step up.  It is a new (Jan 2013) biography of Harriet Tubman by Grace Norwich (Scholastic). It has a recommended reading age of  7 years and up. Miss K could read most of it herself. Instead, we chose to read it together so I could answer any questions she had. It is dealing with some pretty serious topics for a 7yr old such as slavery, the bad treatment of slaves and racism. Harriet Tubman’s life and work for civil and woman’s rights is inspiring to say the least.  Books like this make it easier for our children to understand that they live with equal rights today because of the sacrifice and courage of women like Harriet Tubman.  Although it is marketed as a children’s book I think that even adults who would like a simple outline of Ms. Tubman’s life would enjoy this book.
This title is the sixth in the Scholastic 'I am'  biography series written by Grace Norwich. Number four is about Martin Luther King Jr. We should have read this too because we had a lesson planned today for MLK day. Never mind we can look for it at the library this week.

Miss made a chart comparing Harriet Tubman and MLK

Mini Piwi made a paper doll chain to symbolize Dr King's dream of a world where everyone lives in peace together.

Mini Piwi wanted to decorate her kitchen with the Paper dolls

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of  I am Harriet Tubman, in exchange for an honest review to be submitted to Scholastic via I will not receive any monetary compensation from nor Scholastic. The links to amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through this link.

Science our way

This post is part of the 2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair at Homeschooling heart and mind. The theme this week is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science

We were fortunate to be able to explore a lot  of our Science curriculum at Museums and parks this school year. An unplanned 6 week stay in Houston’s Museum district meant that some amazing lessons were right on our doorstep.  

It sounds like a dream situation . Unfortunately, to begin with, I didn’t view it like that. We were travelling with the portable curriculum and missing our workboxes. We certainly planned to visit some of the museums and the zoo but it seemed too costly to visit all of them. The original plan was to stick to our my lesson schedule.   DH (the voice of reason) encouraged us to go everywhere while we were here & the kids were really excited . 

Note booking in Considering God's creation
I was scared we would fall behind. Crazy? Yep!

We homeschool so we have flexibility and I was trying to stick to some imaginary timeline!  Long story short, God gave me a jab in the ribs (long story) and reminded me that our stay was temporary. Humbled, I went through the science and history we had planned for the year and found that a lot of it related to the exhibits we could see. A local family, we met, also forwarded us an email listing regular free days for the Museums -even the zoo! Most museums' websites also had educational resources we could do while we were before, during and after our visits. This became our new lesson plan along with daily Math and Language.

Most of the visits were on free or discount days so the cost to see and learn so much was minimal. We knew we could go back the following week so we weren’t worried about seeing everything in one visit.

Some highlights
Houston Zoo:
During one visit we studied Elephant habitats and Miss K wrote a report. Mini Piwi was excited to see the baby elephants after a week of E is for Elephant Pre K activities

We also watched a chick hatch: Wow!
During another visit we met a long horn up close

Houston Museum of Science and Nature
The Piwis loved seeing all the crystals and Minerals ...

 Making clouds
 and waves...
 Presenting the weather
and entertaining the security team in the Dino hall...pretending to be Sloth-zilla
During our second visit we were identifying Carnivores and Herbivores in the Dino Hall. Mini Piwi was doing her D is for Dinos week and Miss K was studying predator/prey relationships and food chains.
Cockrell Butterfly house
Miss K worked on her Insect note booking pages from Considering Gods creation and Mini Piwi was all about C for Caterpillar the week we visiting the amazing Butterfly house in the HMNS.
Houston Space center.
I made up Space lapbooks in anticipation of this visit! Piwi Daddy was able to come with us and it was definitely a learning experience for everyone. One of the highlight was touching an moon rock and another was seeing Space shuttle Discovery.
Childrens' Museum
One warm afternoon the Piwi's learnt about the properties of water
We came back again to spend time in the lab

Health Museum:
A diagram is one thing but to be able to walk around a giant model of a brain, heart or eyeball is definitely an awesome way to learn!

Downtown Aquarium
Even Thanksgiving dinner was a Field trip....The Piwis liked the little aquarium on site but the huge tanks in the restaurant itself were amazing. The waiters were full of information about the species of Fish swimming around us. I admit this visit did not fall under the minimal cost category. We tend to do something to find different ways to make holidays special for the kids since we are away from extended family.
 looking at their new Moray eel buddy.
There is certainly no doubt that that Piwi's learnt plenty during our stay in the Museum district. I even learnt to relax and use the resources we are given. It also made DH & I more pro active in finding places to take the Piwi's. We no longer have the Zoo or Museums so close so we are more creative. If I can't find a field trip with local homeschool groups I try to organize one. We have found many Ice cream stores, yogurt shops & Pet shops are open to tours and talks. All you need to do is ask. There are also several websites to find field trips.