Monday, 31 October 2011

Memory Monday :: Halloween

I am revisiting past Halloweens for the first Memory Monday.  I hope you will enjoy these few photos.  

2005: We had some kind of lizard (or was it a dragon?), and two unicorns!

Sick Pumpkin 2008

Cannibal Pumpkin 2008

2009: We had a corpse bride, a witch, and Harry Potter!
Orion had a black halloween shirt on, but he wasn't too impressed.
He did enjoy all the walking though!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Feeding my family :: being sneaky

I tend to stay focus on homeschooling here at Canadian Home Learning, but lately I have felt the desire to share a bit more of our lives. I keep a personal blog where I share my adventures in quilting, photography, reading, and other "stuff" (you can visit my corner here).

I am not sure how often I will post in this new category of posts that I am starting called "feeding my family". I think a lot of us moms have an interest in what we feed our families. I like to make meals that nutritious. I also make a conscious effort to keep artificial ingredients out of our house, or as I usually call them "fake stuff". We are not vegetarians, but we don't eat meat often, and when we do it's usually chicken, turkey, or fish.

I am always trying new recipes. I have always been that way and my family is used to looking at something new to them at dinner time. My kids know that they need to try the food I make for them and that I won't make them something else.

Anyway, what I would like this new series of posts to be about is food. Recipes I have found that pleased my family or a particular cookbook that has become a favourite.

This past week, I have tried several recipes from the Sneaky Chef cookbooks. I took three books out of our local library.  The titles are "The Sneaky Chef", "The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen)", and "The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue", all by Missy Chase Lapine. My oldest daughter helped me make our meal planning for the two weeks and chose many recipes from two of the books (the man one and the kids one). We both narrowed it down to a few to try and so far, we have been very pleased with the results.

The Sneaky Chef's recipes all include a little boost of nutrition. The boost comes from purees (best made in advance) full of healthy vegetables and fruits, or extra grains. I made these purees last Sunday afternoon. It didn't take very long and I froze a batch of green and orange purees for the week ahead. The rest of the purees I used I made right before starting on the recipe.

Our favourite recipes so far are the Enlightened Enchiladas (kids), the Doctor's Choice Chili (men), the Blockbuster Blueberry Muffins (men), and the Roasted Squash Soup (kids). [kids or men refers to which cookbook the recipe came from].

The Enchiladas were my husband's favourite. The kids loved them too. At that point, only Adrienne and I knew what was in them! I didn't tell them until yesterday that the delicious meals they had been eating contained extra veggies! These had ground turkey and extra veggies were sweet potatoes, carrots, baby spinach, broccoli, and green peas. All those were blended with the meat so you couldn't see anything! I didn't use whole wheat tortillas this time, but will next time. We'll be making this one again.

Another favourite was the Doctor's Choice Chili. I forgot to take a photo of that one, but we all liked it. Made with ground turkey again, it contained extra veggies too: baby spinach, broccoli, green peas, cauliflower, and zucchini. It also had red kidney beans and tomatoes.

Another recipe that I missed taking a photo was the Brainy Brownies. They didn't last long! Very moist and tasty, they had purple puree (blueberries and baby spinach)!

Today I made some soup, the Roasted Squash Soup from the kids cookbook. It has extra veggies from the orange puree (sweet potato and carrots). I love butternut squash soup and this one is delicious.

We will be trying a few more recipes, some drinks and breakfast recipes from the Sneaky Chef.  

Sneaky Chef has a great website with lots of information, free recipes and videos. You can visit here, and also find her on facebook and twitter.  I always recommend checking your public library before buying books. I think it's a good idea with cookbooks to try a few recipes first, then decide if the book is for you or not. So far, this is a winner in our house!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 11

While I was getting organized for this wrap-up post, I noticed I didn't have many photos this week, so this post will only have the one photo. 

It was a busy week with school work and watching our mail box!

Adrienne and Celeste both spent some of their savings and got American Girl dolls for themselves. Celeste has been wanting one of these for the last 4 years! I finally agreed that she was old enough and now she has her very own. She is so happy. I think these dolls are extra special to my girls because they saved their money for them too. I love giving my children gifts, but I think it's important for them to have the satisfaction of getting their own things too.

Receiving their big box was the highlight of their week, I am pretty sure!

Homeschooling wise, we had a great week. Last week seemed a bit relaxed and almost unfocused, but this week was the opposite. We had five full days of school work and accomplished lots. Here is a run down.

I usually don't share what we do in Math and Language Arts but this week, I thought I would.

In Math this week:

Adrienne's chapter is called "Freeing the Trapped X" with problems like "solve 2[4(x+6)+1]+3x=17. I am so glad she is using Teaching Textbooks!

Andre has been learning about fractions in the real world (clearance sales, ratios and recipes, advertising, carpentry). He also uses Teaching Textbooks. I can't say enough good things about this curriculum. Math isn't my favourite subject, so I am very very pleased to have found it!

Celeste and I started subtraction this week in Saxon Math 2. She is picking up Math really fast, it's amazing to see!

In Language Arts this week:

Adrienne and Andre completed several lessons in their grammar workbooks and both had one test this week as well. Adrienne finished her unit on sentences (run-on, comma splice errors, and sentence fragments) and Andre also finished his sentences unit and started on grammar and usage with nouns.

Both also worked on their Lightning Literature. Even though they are at different levels, they are both working on analyzing poetry at this time from a variety of poems found in Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages.

We haven't been working on spelling lately or in our vocabulary workbooks. We will get back to it soon. We did pick up our poetry memorization book though this week and started on level 2 with How Doth the Little Crocodile by Lewis Carroll.

Andre continues on practicing his handwriting with the Italics workbooks. Celeste also uses the same series and she has improved a lot since August with her handwriting.

Celeste worked in her Explode the Code workbook #2. The words she worked with this week were melt, lift, hunt, raft, belt, tent, ant, and bent. She really likes these workbooks.

We have been working along with Writing with Ease. It's mostly copywork and narration so far, but we both enjoy it. Caddie Woodlawn was the story we worked with this week.

Celeste practiced her reading aloud every day with her old reader too.

Adrienne and Andre read their own choices of books throughout the week and I read from Pippi Longstocking to Celeste.

In other subjects, in Science we moved on to the respiratory system and digestive system. Adrienne does her biology independently but I still correct her work. She has been learning about mitosis and meiosis. I went over to the Khan Academy to refresh my memory! I then shared the video with her. She said it was helpful and explained it well. I thought so too!

In Ancient History, we studied Hammurabi and the Babylonians, and Shamshi-Adad and the Assyrians. We also read several Aesop Fables.

We finished our study of Switzerland this week in World Geography and started Spain. We also continued reading Free the Children.

Adrienne is progressing with her Spanish lessons too!

Quite a busy week! I think next week should be similar as we don't have any field trips planned yet.

How was your week? If you would like to read other weekly wrap-up posts, visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

We love library book sales!

Before grocery shopping Saturday morning, Adrienne and I stopped at the library book sale. It was really busy, but we managed to find some nice books!

Prices were 10 cents for soft cover and 25 cents for hard cover.

I especially like the DK travel guides we bought for 10 cents a piece. We'll be using these this year as we study our world geography. I thought we could read them and then use some of the beautiful photos for our notebook pages.

Not in the photo is one of Shane Peacock's Boy Sherlock Holmes books that Adrienne was so pleased to find.

We ran into a few other local homeschoolers at the book sale. Homeschoolers love books and great prices!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up :: Week 10

Another week flew by! This past week, we had the opportunity to go see a production of Alice. It was a great experience and I briefly talked about it here.

The rest of the week went well, we completed all our main subjects and continued with some of our science, history, and geography as well.

In science, we watched a Magic School Bus dvd about the human body. Celeste hasn't watched many of their videos and she really liked it. I will have to remember to check our library for other titles that relate to our studies. Here is one episode we watched:

In Geography, we spent some time learning about Switzerland. I couldn't get our usual Enchantment of the World book on that particular country from the library, but we enjoyed reading Cultures of the World: Switzerland. We also made some Swiss dishes, Muesli for breakfast and Alplermagronen for dinner, which is similar to macaroni and cheese, and is served with apple sauce. It was delicious!


Celeste was not feeling well this past week, so part of Tuesday was spent at the local walk-in clinic to get her checked out. She is much better now, just a little bit of coughing left.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Field Trip :: To the Theatre: Annie

Yesterday, we went with other homeschoolers to see a production of Annie at the Migration Hall . It was amazing! The sets were very well done, the acting and singing perfect, even the costumes were right on! We didn't take photos or videos during the musical, but here are two favourite songs:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cooking with Celeste

Celeste loves to cook with me. Today, she wasn't feel well. She has a cold and is coughing.

She still wanted to help me bake. Sunday for me usually means cooking and baking, I like to make snacks and soups for the week ahead.

As I was getting all the ingredients out for making muffins, she told me she wished she had a little mask to cover her face so she could still bake with me. She then left the room and told me to wait. She came back with a bandana around her face! She wore it the whole time we were cooking this afternoon :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up :: Week 9

This week, we focused a lot more on our schoolwork. We didn't have any homeschool events to attend and the weather was often rainy.

Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada. Adrienne and Andre spent the day flying in a glider with their fellow Air Cadets. Celeste and I enjoyed our day and I started on some Christmas gifts. She also worked on her felt garland.

The rest of the week was uneventful. We worked on all our subjects. I took photos of the kids working on their math. My oldest works on a laptop in my bedroom (and doesn't like having her photo taken!). She does like Math though and has been helping our neighbour, tutoring her once a week.

This week, we continued our study of the human body. We learned about the skeleton, the heart, and the blood in our body. We even had a volunteer who donated a little blood for us to see through our microscope! 

I used the Complete Book of the Human Body from Usborne as a base to read aloud and we all visited some interesting links suggested in it:

Skeleton game
How Does Your Body Move : The Haunted House
Brain Pop Heart Movie and Quizz
Heart Animations

We also did the labs from our science curriculum, checking our pulse after doing several different exercices was a lot of fun!

In Geography, we studied Holland. We made one of the recipes from the Usborne Children's World Cookbook "Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce". I have made this dish before and everyone in our family loves it. We used Gouda cheese.

You can see a short video of a traditional Dutch cheese market: Alkmaar Cheese Market.

We managed to include our Art Appreciation in our studies this week! When we are busy, that is usually one of the subjects that gets left out unfortunately. This week we learned about Ancient Egypt Art. We used Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book, his books are great. Our library has a few of his titles and we have enjoyed them in the past. This time, Andre chose to do a pyramid and Celeste the Eye of Horus. As a read aloud, I used Ancient Egypt Art by Susie Hodge, a great introduction filled with photos.

There's our week! How was yours? You can see many other homeschoolers wrap-up posts at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers blog.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Your Science Experiment in Space: YouTube Space Lab!

"YouTube Space Lab is about space. We believe that space is more exciting and accessible than ever. On this channel, you can discover space by watching the amazing videos we find from across YouTube. If you're 14-18 years old, we're also challenging you to come up with a science experiment which could be streamed live on YouTube from the International Space Station, along with other great prizes. Some incredible partners and a distinguished panel of expert judges from around the world are helping to make this happen." from the YouTube Space Lab.

Check it out!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up :: Week 8

We had a busy week! We enjoyed the beautiful weather and went out with our homeschool friends a lot! The school work suffered a little bit because of that, but I know we will make it up when the weather turns cold and grey again. I truly believe that this is one of the great benefits of homeschooling: being able to take advantage of the weather and participating in fun homeschooling events, being flexible with our schedule.

We did manage to complete several lessons. Mondays are usually our most productive days and this week was no different. We had a full day of school last Monday. Tuesday was equally good, Wednesday and Thursday together made up another day.

Even when we are busy outside the house, I try to get our Math and some Language Arts completed with the kids. Adrienne and Andre work on these subjects independently and I check their work after they are done. Celeste and I completed 3 Math lessons this week and 3 days worth of her phonics, writing, handwriting, and reading practice.

In science, we started our unit on the human body by making our folder and reading the introduction to the unit. A very light day for science, but it was fun for Celeste to prepare her folder. Andre, Celeste, and I are looking forward to this unit!

Adrienne has been working on her high school science regularly every week and she is getting more confortable with the curriculum (Oak Meadow high school biology).

We also continued with history, learning about Sargon and Sumer. We are also reading some bible stories. Celeste has never heard these, so this was interesting. This week we read the story of the flood and of Samson.  We read these stories in a beautifully illustrated book from the library called "Everlasting Stories" by Lois Rock. We also watched an episode of Veggie Tales on Youtube "Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson's Hairbrush"!  Celeste liked that! On the photo below, you can see the book I mentioned and Celeste's drawing of Noah's Ark.

In geography, we finished our study of Ireland. Adrienne and Andre finished their notebook page. We have been reading from the Enchantment of the World series. This series of geography books are wonderful for reading aloud, our local library has several titles. We also made some Irish food on Monday: Irish Soda Bread and Colcannon Potatoes. We also listened to U2 and watched some Irish dancing!

We went to the homeschool park day on Wednesday morning.

On Thursday, we met two other homeschool families for a nature hike in a Carolinian forest. We had a lot of fun together and saw so many different types of mushrooms and fungus. I requested a guide book at the library and will do a seperate post with more photos once we identify the mushrooms.

Earthstar Puffballs

 On Friday, we participated in a homeschool track and field day. The weather was again perfect and it was a good turnout. The kids competed in races, long jumps, discus, javelin, and more. It was all in fun and the kids had a blast! We finished the day at the beach, playing in the water and the sand.

We also watched two beautiful family-friendly movies this week, both portraying homeschoolers in a good way! Dolphin Tale which is still playing at the theatre, and the other we watched on dvd: Soul Surfer. Both were beautiful movies based on true stories. I highly recommend them!

There's our week! How was yours? If you would like to read more weekly wrap-up posts, you can visit Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and see all the links to other homeschool families blogs.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Khan Academy :: Learn Almost Anything for Free.

If you haven't checked out Khan Academy, take a few minutes to watch this video and then head over to Khan Academy and see the long list of videos available. Math, Science, History, Medicine, and more. This is an amazing resource for homeschoolers and all students!

"With a library of over 2,400 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 180 practice exercises, we're on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace."

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 7

The month is almost over! This week was very much like last. We completed all the main subjects every day, and also fit in some history, science, and geography. We will be doing our Art and Music Appreciation this weekend because we missed it again this week. I don't want to be too far behind and I find that if we miss a couple of weeks, then we tend to forget about this altogether, so we did catch up on Music Appreciation today (Saturday).

In Science, we continued studying our snail. We even found another snail on Thursday on our way to the library again! It has been interesting to watch them interact with each other. Both snails will be released this weekend. We learned that some snails hibernate through the winter. We also learned about how they lay eggs and reproduce. I had requested a few books from the library, we read several but we were really happy with only one, Snails Up Close by Greg Pyers ,(if you have one to suggest, I would love to hear about it, please leave a comment on this post!).

In Ancient History, we continued learning about Egypt, mummies and pyramids. We are using Story of the World 1 and a few library books. Celeste's attention isn't always all that great, so I have been using the comprehension questions from SOTW Activity Guide. She has been slowly doing better. She was quite interested in how the mummies were made and she played a game online that Andre and Adrienne played when we used SOTW during our first year of homeschooling! It's a fun one: Mummy Maker from BBC History.

We finished our unit on the United Kingdom and started Ireland. We are also still reading Free the Children by Craig Kielburger, an amazing and inspiring book but definitely for teenagers and up.

We spent Wednesday morning at the park with other homeschoolers. We had missed it the week before because of the weather, so it was nice to connect again!

Another nice week for us, but a little bit on the light side. There were a few subjects that didn't get completed as often as they should, so we'll be working on that next week.

On a positive note, Celeste and I enjoyed baking together. She always wants to help me cook dinner or lunch too! She is a big helper and loves to cook.

Another positive thing, and I am not trying to brag. As I told my homeschool friends, I just want to encourage moms with younger children, let them know that they will grow up and in turn help you! Over the years, I haven't been a big fan of assigning chores. My kids always know what is expected of them (picking up after themselves, making their beds, clearing the table..) but I often ask them to help with the laundry or cleaning in general. Over the years, this method has worked for us. This week I was pleasantly surprised when Andre decided to vacuum after tidying up our shoes in the front entrance! He just thought it needed it. The next day, he asked me if he could take over the vacuuming because he really likes it (he also likes to clean bathrooms)!!!

How was your week? If you would like to read more weekly wrap-ups, you can visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for links to other families posts.


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