Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

Twenty days down and 160 to go for the 2010-11 school year! We started school at the end of July because we knew we would be taking time off here and there to travel in August and September. We're using Story of the World for history this year and, honestly haven't gotten very far. We spent some time last week putting togethere our family history books and personal timelines then moved on to archeology this week. I set up an archeological dig sight in the backyard and told the kids to pretend they were scientists from the year 3010 looking for clues to human civilization in the year 2010. Before starting the dig, we read this book by Kate Duke:

Archaeologists Dig for Clues (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)

Sport and Spice had a fun time digging, once they finally came across the first artifacts. For awhile it was a little iffy and both kids decided there was way too much work involved in being an archeologist. Here's a tip if you do this activity: Draw a treasure map for yourself to remember what's buried where. I was sure I'd remember from one night to the next morning, but as it happened we actually did not get to complete this activity until 4 DAYS LATER! By then I could hardly remembered what I'd buried, much less where. At least I had kept the dig site contained to a small area.

I had the kids mark off their dig site with string and sticks then draw a diagram on graph paper showing what artifacts were found in each cell. After everything was found, along with a bonus bottlecap that Sport unearthed, we talked about each item and what kind of clues it could provide...pen and can showed they had a developed alphabet and knew how to write; the skaterboard dude and army guy showed what kind of clothes they wore and that they had weapons and wheels; the Mardi Gras doubloon could have been a form of money and the fork showed they had highly developed eating utensils (and perhaps worshipped frogs?) They had a good time with this and of course wanted to stay out digging afterwards which is why I planned this as the very last project of the day.
In math, Sport is humming along with Teaching Textbooks Math 4 this year. This is our first year with Teaching Textbooks and so far it seems to be a good fit. We started around Lesson 40 though because the first part was way too easy and I didn't see the point of spending the entire year in review. He is still reviewing, but he could always use more help with multiplication facts. Spice, meanwhile, is having a blast with Math-U-See Alpha. She loves Decimal Street and has asked everyday this week, "Are we going to go back to Decimal Street today?" So of course we do. Yesterday we used Mrs. Bear, one of her purple bear counters, to go from door to door asking how many units, tens, and hundreds were home. Spice has quite the imagination and can tell you a story that goes on for hours so this was right up her ally. I finally managed to tear her away after about 5 different number stories and two tornadoes on Decimal Street.

In just about every other subject, we've been studying John James Audubon. I'm employing more of the unit study approach this year and so far we are having a really good time with it. It has been much more relaxing for me too. Planning out 2-3 weeks at a time seems so much more managable! Sport has always loved birds, but his interest was piqued again during a recent trip to Avery Island in Louisiana. I promised him when we got back from our trip we would study birds. Next week we will focus on two bird units I picked up from Currclick. I thought learning about John James Audobun would be a nice way to ease into the unit. This week we read The Boy Who Drew Birds by Jacqueline Davies.

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12)

Then followed many of the unit study ideas from Homeschool Share. Today we recreated some of our favorite Audubon prints using this idea from Incredible Art Lessons. Spice drew a mallard.

Sport, the bird afficianado, used the ceramic birds he just had to have from the thrift store as models. He drew a cooper's hawk and a Florida Jay.

Here's a look at the finished products. (That's my Carolina wren in the middle. I can't resist getting in on the art action.)

That's pretty much a wrap on our week in homeschooling. Tomorrow we'll go to morning Mass, do some math, head to art class, and then enjoy an afternoon at the park with our homeschool group. Hope your week was as fun as ours. To find out how others are homeschooling, check out Weird Unsocialized Homechoolers Weekly Wrap-Up post.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leftover Rice Lunches

When Hubby was stationed in Okinawa with the USMC one of his favorite meals out in town was TRC - Taco Rice and Cheese. He has talked about it often and I have tried to make it many times, but there's always something not quite right according to him. Last month he spent some time in the kitchen on our anniversary and whipped up some TRC for lunch. Even then he complained that it wasn't authentic enough. Well, I don't know how to help him, but I do know my kids loved the meal and have asked for it often since then. Hubby and I are not fans of leftover rice, but the kids don't mind it so I've taken to incorporating it into their lunches anytime we have it. TRC is pretty self explanatory...take some rice, add some taco seasoned meat and a little cheese on top and serve. Last time I made it I added in a little taco sauce too and got rave reviews.

Now, it's a rare occasion when we have leftover taco meat. The other day we had leftover rice and no taco meat, but the kids were clamoring for TRC. On the fly I came up with PRC - Pizza Rice and Cheese. I threw some rice in a bowl and chopped up a few pepperoni slices and some cheese. We didn't have any unfrozen pizza sauce so, in another moment of desperation, I stirred in some tomato paste and Italian seasoning. They LOVED it and I love having two frugal, easy meals to add to our lunch rotation.

I'll be linking these "recipes" to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday.

Blessed with Grace

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bargain Shopping

Sport and Spice started their homeschool enrichment classes again last Tuesday. We are lucky to have a mega church nearby that offers all types of classes for homeschoolers. So while they're busy learning dance, art, geography, video game creation, Lego mechanics, and music, I get to go workout in the church's fitness center and shop in the basement thrift store. What more could a mom ask for?
The thrift store is small, but has unbelievable prices. I find that most church run thrift stores like this one or St. Vincent de Paul usually have the best prices. Amazingly, I wasn't in the mood for too much shopping, but as usual, I still managed to find some great bargains like this 99 cent Ralph Lauren turtleneck. Not many people are looking at sweaters when it's 99 degrees out, which is probably why they were running a 99 cent special.

I also found this apothecary stye jar for a buck (shells included). I've been hooked on apothecary jars ever since Thrifty Decor Chick first ran a post about them. My only problem is I'm never quite sure what to put in them. Any suggestions? I know the shells won't stay. We do have a large jar full of shells in our guest bathroom though so they'll be added to that collection.

My two favorite finds were this large letter C and this brass key for only 25 cents each! Can you believe that? 25 cents!

I still have to figure out where to put both of them. I also snagged a 12 pack of white plastic hangers for 50 cents bringing my grand total for the day to a mere $3.18. Not bad if I do say so myself!

This post was linked to Today's Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality and Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Posted by Picasa