Monday, September 13, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme is Movies. This is probably a stretch, but here's my contribution...a build your own pizza kit because what goes better with movie night than popcorn pizza?!?

Truth be told, I've never been good at keeping up with the MTM themes (that would require planning ahead) and it's sheer luck that with just a little imagination, today's meal could acutally work with the theme. The thing I love about MTM is it's a great way to serve a decent meal when the pickins' are slim. I come up with some of my best meal inventions at the spur of the moment on Mondays when the kids proclaim 5 minutes before eatin' time, "It's Muffin Tin Monday!"

Today, I lucked out and found two large pepperonis in the fridge. We were out of tortillas, pitas, English muffins (you get the picture), but I did find one hamburger bun lurking in the cabinet. I toasted the bun, gave each kid a half and called it a pizza crust. I also lucked up on a little piece of Parmesaen cheese that I sliced up and split between the two and  a stash of homemade pizza sauce in the freezer. To round out the meal I added in a handful of almonds and a couple shreds of carrot. Spice is the world's pickiest eater. She'll eat carrots, but only with a side of ranch dressing. I put the carrots in the tin and acted like it was a perfectly normal pizza topping and it worked. She actually put them on her pizza and ate them. Score one for Mom!

Check out the Muffin Tin Mom for more creative muffin tins meals.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up For The Birds Part 2

We continued with our bird theme this week. I thought we would wrap things up today before taking some time off to visit Disney World, but the kids are really enjoying themselves. There's always more to learn so maybe we'll extend our studies for one more week before taking a few more days off to tag along with Hubby when he goes to a conference near the beach.

We do most of our heavy work from Wednesday to Friday. Mondays are devoted to the basics and Story of the World Volume One. Sport has a religion class and Cub Scouts on Monday nights so I like to make sure he has some time for fun during the day. The kids have homeschool enrichment classes on Tuesday so I also don't like to start in on our unit study work on Monday just to be interrupted by Tuesday! We do math and grammar every day of the week. Wednesday through Friday are more of our FUN days - assuming the kids like the unit we're working on. So...when I write these weekly wrap-ups and go on and on about what we did Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday that doesn't mean we didn't have school on Monday and Tuesday. It just means whatever we did wasn't exciting enough to share. We actually did have school this Monday, despite the holiday. Hubby had to go out of town, so after a morning of family mountain climbing, he left and the kids and I had night school. They were intrigued by the idea at first until they realized it was just regular school held in the evening.

Wednesday we started the day by going to Mass, then made a quick library run and visit to the park with friends. We came home and spent some time in the backyard looking and listening for birds. Then we put together profiles of the birds we spotted. Sport's profiles came from Cornell University's online bird coloring book, an awesome free resource.

Spice's profiles were from Enchanted Learning. We added to our collection of bird profiles throughout the week. Spice also had fun using her Math-U-See manipulatives to complete this Duck Stories worksheet from Home Education Resources.

We studied bird nests on Thursday. I'd been waiting for this day so we could work on our big art project for the week - making yarn nests! I've seen this project all around the web. Some crafters refer to them as yarn bowls. The basic idea is to cut strands of yarn, dip them in watered down glue, and stick them all willy nilly around a curved surface. Let them dry overnight and viola, you've got a nest (or bowl). I picked up a skein of brown variegated yarn from Wal-Mart for Sport to use because I knew he would want to go au naturel. Spice wanted to make her nest out of her favorite color...rainbow, so I dug out the yarn stash I put together for 75 cents a skein at Big Lots earlier this year. We started with about 30  4-6 inch long strands each, but ended up cutting more, so I'd double that amount.

My little darlins' hate to have messy hands so the idea of swishing yarn around in a bowl of glue was almost too much to bear. They did it, but weren't happy about it. I think both of them could have used more glue, especially on the ends of each strand. Here's how the nests looked about halfway through the project:

The original instructions I saw for this project said to turn a bowl over then place a piece of plastic wrap over the bottom of the bowl to provide the nest shape. I decided this would be too aggravating 'cause we all know plastic wrap never actually stays in place. I taped a barely inflated balloon to a large cup for each kid and had them glue the yarn to the balloon. I drew a line just above the halfway mark so they'd know where to stop with the yarn. Overall the project turned out well, but it was difficult to get the balloon unstuck this morning without messing up the nests. Here's a look at the finished products:

Today, as a fun activity to close out the week, we played hide and seek with these little birdies we colored in earlier this week. The template came from Preschool Express.

The first time around I hid the birds in easy to find places, like the red cardinal on a black TV stand. Spice quickly found all 6. The next time around, I made it much harder by camouflaging the birds. I stuck the bluejay on a blue part of their American Idol dance mat (it was free people) and the cardinal on a sheet of Strawberry Shortcake stickers. Spice had a much harder time finding the birds which led to a discussion about how birds camouflage themselves to hide from predators.

We read or referred to these books throughout the week:

All in all we had an enjoyable week of school that did not feel like school at all! If only every week could be that way! To see what other homeschoolers did this week, check out the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


Sport loves to read all of my old Peanuts books. The other day he was telling me about a particular comic strip in which Charlie Brown and Lucy discussed the philosophy of life. Charlie Brown stated, "Life is like an ice cream cone. You just have to lick it." Sport, a deep thinker in his own right, told me he'd come up with his own philosophy: Life is like a thermometer. It has its ups and downs.

Later that day after getting some disappointing news, he applied this philospophy to his own situation, saying, " Life is like a thermometer. It has its ups and downs and right now we're at about minus a hundred."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up...For the Birds

Last week seems so long ago, I hardly remember what we did! I felt like we had a pretty boring week, but looking back at the pictures, it doesn't seem so bad afterall.

I found these synonym cards at the Dollar Tree a few months back. Sport has been learning about synomyms, antonyms, and homonyms in grammar, so I cut these cards apart to make a matching game for him.

Of course Spice had to get in on the action too. I pulled out some of the easier synonym pairs for her to work with. She begged me to do this over and over the rest of the week.

As promised in my last wrap-up (sadly I haven't posted anything since then), we started a unit on birds. I purchased two unit studies from Currclick (Birds of North America and Birds) and we have based most of our work off of them. I also looked around one of my favorite websites, The Crafty Crow, and found quite a few bird feeder related projects to work on. On Thursday, Spice strung Cheerios on pipe cleaners to make food rings for the birds in our backyard. They obviously enjoyed it because the whole thing has completely disappeared!

The always resourceful Sport dug through the recyle bin and crafted a bird feeder out of a Laughing Cow cheese wedge container.

On Friday we set our new hummingbird feeder out on a table on our deck until we could find a place to hang it. It wasn't long before we were rewarded with a visit from a fine feathered friend. The picture isn't the best because it was taken from inside the house looking out the window, but the green blur on the lower left-hand side is a ruby-throated hummingbird.

We also read these two books:

We will continue with our bird theme for another week or so. Check out Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-up to see what other homeschoolers have been up to.