Reading Is SO Delicious!

Since life has prevented me from blogging much lately, I wanted to share my guest post from last week at Teaching Good Eaters.  If you have picky eaters you should check out some of Julie's great tips.  Things seem to maybe, kind of, just a little slowing down here, and I hope to be posting a little more this week.  :)

So here's a recap of some of our school related "food adventures". 

One of our most recent adventures took us to the beach with The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, where we had a hot dog roast and marshmallow toast just like the Sneetches.

We visited a Medieval Castle with a feast of Beef Wellington after reading The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl.  (We also upped the adventure on this one by going to dinner at Medieval Times as well.)
After reading The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer we had a delicious meal of butterflies, ladybugs, banana slugs, robin sandwiches, and rainbow fruit pizza.
We loved reading Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf so much that we had a different variety of oatmeal every day for a week, made scones and Scotch Broth, and tried oatcakes and potato farls.
We had a picnic with Harold and his purple crayon.
Since we don't get much snow in our part of California, we got out every snow themed book we owned, and made snowman pizza and had a paper snowball fight.
This year we also had our birthday party with The Nutcracker complete with castle and magical trees.
We've also had a few simpler muffin tin adventures, with books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit where everything in our tin came from Mr. McGregor's garden.
We had blackberries, peas, a "goldfish", green beans, fried potatoes, and dried currants.
Most of our meals don't have a theme, but when I do prepare a literary meal I like to add in a new food or preparation method.  My children will normally eat just about anything you put in front of them, but if there's something they're not wild about, they are usually willing to try it if their favorite character likes it, or if it's presented in a different way.

To me healthy eating and reading are two of the most important things for a child, so why not combine them, and have your own food adventure?!


Teaching Good Eaters

I'm visiting my friend Julie's blog, Teaching "Good" Eaters,  today with a guest post on Summer Reading Food Adventures.  I hope you'll drop by and visit.  Julie has lots of yummy and creative recipes and great tips if you have a picky eater.


Week In Review: Miss Rumphius

I haven't posted a "Week In Review" in a while, and honestly I'm not entirely certain how often I will do them in the future, because they're fairly time consuming, but I do want to do them at the end of a "row".  We actually finished Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney a few weeks ago, I just haven't gotten around to blogging about it, so here we go.  This was a somewhat atypical row for us, because it lasted about two and a half weeks, even though we worked on it every day.  There was just so much to read and learn about that I didn't want to rush. 

Social Studies
Miss Rumphius visits far off islands, so we read lots of go-along books about and from Australia and New Zealand, including Koala Lou by Meme Fox, and every book our library had my Margaret Mahy.  The little ones favorite by Margaret Mahy was by far The Rattlebang Picnic!  Since Miss Rumphius lives in Maine, we also learned about Maine's state bird and flower.   

We also discussed life by the sea, small beginnings, and how we each have a special work to do, and read The Usborne Book of Wild Places: Mountains, Jungles & Deserts.  The Wild Places book was really informative, and the little ones loved reading it, they asked for it every afternoon.

Language Arts
Language Arts stretched out for about a week with this row as we spent a lot of time reading about and visiting the library.  I briefly introduced the Dewey Decimal system, and intended to use Kym Wright's Library Unit Study, but the little ones really wanted snuggle time on the couch so we skipped the more formal lessons for lots of good literature.  My favorite book on libraries was Our Library by Eve Bunting.  It is a sweet story about saving a library and the knowledge the books at the library contain.

Our first art project gave us a chance to learn more about shadows.  We went out at two different times during the day with the little ones standing in the same place, and then we traced their shadows.  It was fun for them to see the change in size and direction of their shadows, and also gave us the chance to talk about how people can tell the time by the location of the sun.    

We also tried our hand at a little mixed medium sponge painting.  There were finger paints, tempera paint, dot paint, and a little water color paint thrown in for fun.  Bitsy and Manly used sponges, paint brushes, and of course their fingers to depict their versions of a coral reef.
Math involved a lot of counting.  We also went over the manual lesson on bushels and pecks.  When I showed them our bushel basket in the garage they were in awe of Miss Rumphius' purchase of five bushels of lupine seeds!
We completed a seed book from Homeschool Share that was a lot fun.  We also learned about how seeds travel, and did a flapbook on the parts of a seed.
We also visited a local botanical garden, where we got to see some of the plants Miss Rumphius may have seen in her world travels up close.  Lettie LOVED exploring the flora and fauna.
We made sure to take time to just sit back and relax too, while we were there.  :)
 I LOVE these happy bonding moments!!!
Just for Fun
We also took a field trip down to the beach.  Bitsy and Manly built the "Bapa Raja's house" out of a picnic table, and decided daddy's new name for the evening was Bapa Raja.  :) 
 We learned a little about shells while we explored the beach.
 And we ended our row with tropical smoothies and a tropical fruit tray with pineapple yogurt dipping sauce.
Several times during the weeks that we read Miss Rumphius I found myself completely in awe of all that could be learned from this one picture book, it really felt like walking into a whole new world.  The Lupine Lady made the world a more beautiful place through the seeds she sowed educationally as well as agriculturally.


A Flag Day Picnic

The town just north of us allowed us the opportunity to have a very special Flag Day celebration today by honoring some returning troops with a parade.  The only difficulty with a parade in a busy town in the middle of the week when streets are going to be closed off is parking...  Unless of course you decide to show up early and have a breakfast picnic!

The little ones enjoyed helping me make breakfast casserole bites, then we filled our thermos up with orange juice, added some bananas and oranges, and headed out the door.

We arrived an hour early, so we could take our pick of spots to sit, laid out our blanket, and unloaded the food.  Mommy may have gotten a little carried away with the amount of food, but we had plenty to share with some neighbors.  And it's better to be safe than sorry, right?
Just about the time we were done eating and the little ones were starting to get restless, the Marine band started marching.  I tell you, I don't think I've ever seen a better looking band!  They looked sharp in their dress blues marching down that street!!  It was really breathtaking.
The little ones were thrilled, and the flags began to wave in full force!
Finally we got to cheer for these men who have just returned from defending us so bravely in Afghanistan.  I'm sure while we were thinking about how wonderful it was to have them home, they were thinking about the five men who didn't make it home with them.  It's a stark reminder that freedom sure isn't free.

When we got home we read Our Flag by Carl Memling and talked about the history and importance of our flag. 

By the time we got home we were all tired, and a little sunburned, but I felt overcome with gratitude at the chance our family had to celebrate this oft overlooked, but very important holiday.  (If you're interested in learning more about the history of Flag Day, has a good one.)

I also want to wish our brothers and sisters in arms in the U.S. Army, a Happy 237th Birthday.  What a long and honorable legacy!!


Make Your Own Pizza- Muffin Tin Meal

Friday night has become "Family Fun Night" at our house, and it typically involves pizza and some sort of activity such as a movie or games.  Of course my children would eat pizza every day of the week, but after a few weeks mom needs to shake things up a bit for her own amusement, and we did just that a few weeks ago with our french bread pizza muffin tin meal.  (Say that three times fast!)  :)

I cut five mini french bread loaves in half, shredded some cheese, and mixed up some pizza sauce, and then started filling up muffin tins.  We had chopped ham, chopped green and orange peppers, diced tomatoes (there are some in each muffin tin), shredded pineapple, and diced mushrooms in the muffin tins for everyone to choose from.
The little ones had a blast adding the ingredients to their pizzas, and really surprised me by adding things they normally insist they don't like on their pizzas.  

After our pizzas were assembled, we tossed them in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, and then settled in on the couch for dinner and a movie.


Sneetches are Sneetches

"When the Strar-Belly Sneetches had frankfurter roasts
Or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts,
They never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches.
They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches." 
Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite activities while daddy was home was our family beach night!  In the Sonlight P3/4 Instructor's Guide it suggested reading The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, and then roasting hotdogs with your children.  If you haven't read this story with your little ones I highly recommend it, it teaches several wonderful lessons in a gentle and amusing way. 
Well, we all know how I like to "improve" recipes and directions, and this night was really no different.  Instead of just staying at home roasting hotdogs we went down to the beach, read The Sneetches, and had a frankfurter roast, picnic, and marshmallow toast.

As we ate our hotdogs and fruit we read The Sneetches and talked about how we should be kind to everyone, no matter how similar or different they are, because we are all children of God.  Of course since we had the fire going for the hotdogs already, we decided we better roast marshmallows and make S'mores too!

This was such a simple evening, but it was a night full of precious memories and valuable lessons, and I think that's the best kind of learning!


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