Friday, January 19, 2018

Taking A Day, Building with Dad, Martin Luther King Jr. Day,

Due to illness and ice issues, we had to skip our foreign language day.  Since there was so much other activities I had planned for that day (the girls were supposed to have a sleepover), I hadn't planned any other work.  So we literally had a day with nothing on it.  I told the girls they couldn't sit on their laptops all day.  So we had a Disney Nature video day.  The boys watched Born in China with us.  We watched Disney Oceans to finish up our Oceans unit study.  We also watched some other fun videos including Leap and some history videos.  We were able to finish up the 3 History lessons, that helped us get a little ahead on our history lessons.

Caty heard about the Building Clinic at Home Depot and begged to go.  So Joe took the girls over since their cheer competition had been cancelled.  They build desk calendars.  In true spirit of other Home Depot projects, they are both still sitting unfinished in my living room.  I am constantly reminding them to FINISH THEM NOW!!  But they will be cool when they are finished.

I'm not ready to start our meteorology science unit yet, so this week for science we'll be watching a lot of videos, including this series I found on Amazon Prime called Animal Encyclopedia.

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we spent the week having small discussions about the various parts of the Civil Rights Movement. We compared what steps the groups were taking then, what happened in the 70s and also how people are protesting today.  We also loosely used all of the resources from Channel 1 Student news.  This is a great resource that Joe discovered a few months ago that was available on our Firestick.  The kids really like using it.

They also watch Our Friend Martin...

And this Reading Rainbow reading of Martin Luther King Jrs. Kids biography

In History, the girls and I actually covered Charlamagne and the Franks and also The Vikings/Celts.  We are almost at the end of From Adam to Us Volume 1.

We watched More Pipo's Animated History from Amazon

and also this great Nova Special on Vikings.

We are spending two weeks on Rembrandt for Art Class.  Illness prevented us from meeting for full Science Club.  This week for Rembrandt I decided to work on etching.  I actually went through and put beeswax on copper plates that we had from another art project.  The kids then used sharpened popsicle sticks to etch their design into the plate.  We added ink to make it look like a plate they would have used during Rembrandt's time.

These are videos that they watched:

Since Rembrandt was famous for his portraits, next week we'll be working on facial symmetry.

The kids had bball practice this week (we missed way too much already.)

Brayden and Lydia are working on taking shots from various areas on the court.

Caty working really hard on her Spanish colors and numbers.  She been doing this daily.  This week I added in family words to start practicing also.  But I haven't gotten the puzzles ready yet.

Brayden's job is filling bird feeders.  We got about 3 inches of snow on Monday.  He made sure they got plenty of food.

Brayden is loving on Finn while watching our MLK Day videos.  Can't tell the dog does like him!

Lydia has started writing a story that she is going to turn into a book.  It's in the early rough draft stages right now.  She will start adding more next week.  This will be an ongoing project for the next month.  I found empty story books for her to draw her illustrations and story into.  Spoiler, sparkly and chickens... 😂😂😂

The boys are working on their biographies for our upcoming Living History Event next month.  Brayden is learning about George Lucas and Joey is reading about Milton Bradley.  Lydia started her reading also.  She will be learning about Helen Keller.  Caty took a little longer to decide and now we are waiting on her books from the library yet.  Hopefully this week.  She wants to learn about Lucille Ball.  They kids look forward to this event every year! 

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

How I Meal Plan for our Family

Yes...this is a picture of our fridge.  Covered in magnets (remember we collect them from all the places we go) and pictures.  There are reminders, postcards, work calendars and of course, art work!!

But most importantly is the ... menu/schedule.  If this is missing, the kids flip out!

Most people meal plan to save money.  Others do it to stay organized.  I do it for both.  If I plan...not tempted to eat out.  We don't live in a town with a lot of eating out options.  But I don't want to be tempted to send Joe for food. 

As the kids have gotten older, and my health has declined a bit more, I have come to detest grocery shopping.  I get extremely anxious in stories and want to avoid multiple visits as much as possible.  Planning helps me get in and out of the store quicker!!  Plus I can cut back the number of trips, to usually 2-3 a month, but mostly no more than 5 a month (and that is with emergency trips).

After much searching at what others use and meal planning sites, this is what I finally designed in Word.  It's just my own table that works for our family.  The super simple design just contains 5 columns for the date/breakfast/lunch/dinner/activity. 

The first thing I actually put on the menu as I plan is our weekly activities/schedule.  This allows me to see what we are doing that day so that I am not planning a more elaborate meal on a day when I'm going to be out running all day.  (It also lets me know days that I need to plan a freezer meal.)

Next, I actually created a master list of favorite meals.  You know those favorites where there is very little whining and complaining.  I have a list for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This list changes according to moods, because I can't stand making the same thing constantly.  Plus I know daddy gets annoyed eating the same things over and over.  So I do try to mix it up.

I keep an eye on what meals will usually have leftovers, and make sure to include that on the menu.  They usually eat those at breakfast and lunch.  The little excerpt above actually has 3 meals open for take-out options, since we are going to be out and about on those days.  I can figure that money right out of our grocery budget then.  (We'll most likely though not eat out on Sunday.  I just really hate eating out, especially during cold and flu season.  Too many people are forced to go to work sick on truly grosses me out!!)

I keep an eye on little extras that appear on trips to Costco or when I may pick up items on sale/clearance.  When I plan the next couple weeks of meals, I make sure that this food is on the plan in some way.  I actually had picked up a box of cheese curds on sale at Costco a couple weeks ago.  Threw them in our big freezer, and forgot they were there.  Discovered them when I was checking the cabinets the other day.  So now those are on the menu for next week.  

If you do not keep your cabinets organized (and that includes your fridge and freezer), it's too easy to lose food.  

I have started including the kids in the planning process.  I figure if they are helping to plan, they are going to tell me meals that they want to eat.  Then I won't be frustrated with their food OCDs and sitting with food that won't all be eaten.  The waste drives me crazy!!

I know I have a long way to go.  This isn't a money saving post.  I do not coupon.  I will use coupons, but I still struggle keeping coupons straight.  It's my own issue.  That is actually one of my goals in 2018.  Now that I have my planning down pat, start seeking out coupons for items that we will be using.  (I don't buy stuff just because I have a don't.)

But for right now.  This sheet on our fridge keeps me straight.  I check every morning and know what I need to do that day.  I keep an eye on when I need to start food items, or I simply remind the kids that it's time to start the food.  It also helps me plan our grocery list.

What helps you keep your meals straight?  Do you use an online program?  Is there a program you like more?  A program that is not worth it?  Leave a comment below on what you use!!  

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Back to the Grind

We started back the grind this week.  We held Science/Art Club on a different day.  And we had a field trip with our Girl Scout Troop.  We started back to school with not having a full load.  I did my best to keep the workload down and not let them feel overwhelmed.

For our field trip, we got to visit our local service units historical archives.  We watched a GS movie from 1918 and got to go through all kids of neat stuff, such as old uniforms and skill patches you could earn.

Sang old songs.

The kids had their first basketball game of the season.  It was a lot of fun.

The past few months we have worked harder as a family to make sure we have daily Bible time.  Everyday we start our morning with a daily scripture text, Bible reading/discussion, and prayer.  It's starting to make more of an impact on the kids, and I'm so happy for this.

Some of the kids have started a couple 4H projects.  Caty is trying to decide if she wants to do the sugar cookie project.  So she tried the first recipe to take over to our friends house.

(I heard they were

One of our exciting new projects is letter writing to share the Good News of God.

I made tamales for the family.  Joe loves tamales, but I always avoid making them.  But I made a huge batch in my pressure cooker.    We invited my parents over to watch television with us.

My poor dad works 3rd shift and fell asleep while watching with us.

I was tired and told Brayden he was going to make dinner that night.  He made bubble pizza.  A cheese one and then he tried making a BBQ chicken one also.  It was a hit!!  He did it almost totally by himself.

The boys finished reading their latest books.  Brayden finished The Westing Game and Joey finished Wrinkle in Time.  Next week they will switch books.  I also have them starting to read the Who Was landmark series as part of their schoolwork.

In Art Club we learned about Raphael and did Perspective projects this week...

We got a new kitchen table.  It seats 8.  I love the square design.  But we are not sure about the pub style yet.  Caty is struggling a bit.  But I like it so far though, and there's room at the table again!!!

Brayden had Craft Night.  They made snowmen from ceramic flower pots.  He really enjoyed this craft (and the puff corn snack).

In Science Club, we worked on currents.  We took a large tub and talked watched the rubber ducks in the currents that they made.  We talked about ocean gyres and about how toys were used to track ocean currents.

We used balloons to represent the sun, moon and earth to show tides.

In History, the girls learned about St Patrick

Muhammed the Prophet....The Fall of the Roman Empire:

We watched a lot of videos for history the last couple of weeks.  I found this series on Amazon and really like it.  Animated History with Pipo 

We also learned about Ancient Japan and the Huns.  For the fun of it, the girls watched Mulan also.  (I said we were watching a lot of history and history fun

Caty has been taking my Animal Vs. Animal Class with Homeschool with Minecraft.  So we have been learning about sloths, narwhals, honey badgers and so much more!!!

Caty started back in a Spanish Class.  She loves learning Spanish and I have been rather relaxed with it lately.  So I was excited to discover this class for her at a local Y.  I printed color and number puzzles for her to practice with.  Since we were iced in for her 2nd class, this at least gave her some extra practice.

Lydia and her friend started back with American Sign Language classes using ... Signing Online.  They work on the lesson during the week and then meet up to practice the conversational side of the program.   I'm glad Lydia has a friend to practice and learn with.

And that is our catch-up from last week.  We have so many cool things coming up!! Stay tuned.  Some super awesome field trips and a great NASA science club for the girls, and that's on top of our other work.  It's going to be a busy 3 months!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!  See you next week!!

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