Friday, July 27, 2012

Harry Potter: the birthday food fest!

My son The Builder turned 10!  

He received a towel for the pool of his own, the D&D Monster Manual 3, and LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 (a $9 score from Game Stop). 

We went swimming and some owl pellets were dissected. 

It seemed appropriate to get the owl pellet kit out because I spent the WHOLE DAY cooking Harry Potter-related foods.

We had the following from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook:

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Breakfast Rolls (HP1, ch16)

Kreacher's French Onion Soup (HP7, ch12)

for which I had to make French Bread (from my Fannie Farmer cookbook!)

 Glazed Carrots (HP1, ch7) and Bangers (HP5, ch18 "Sausages" in the American version)

and Sugar Mice from Honeydukes (HP3, ch10).  Actually DS12 mixed the sugars and DD15 shaped the mice.  Give credit where credit is due!

I also made pizza for lunch...using crust I had in the fridge from the weekend.

Birthday dessert was Cauldron Cakes and Butterbeer, both from
DS10 had a single candle stuck in his.

I declared the following day a COOKING FREE day.  :) 

I find it slightly ironic that this post follows my "Whole 30" post.  Perhaps we will return to the Whole 30 way of eating until Thanksgiving.

And perhaps I should blog about homeschooling as well...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Whole30 Eating -- Tracking for 3 days

Rainbow Fruit Plate & Green Butterbeer from St. Patrick's Day

We're following the Whole30 way of eating this month...we're on week 3.  Well, dh and I are.  Okay, dh is.  I am putting whole milk in my coffee still!  

In an attempt to curb my leaning toward a steady diet of fruit & nuts, I'm tracking our eating for a week.  Plus I'll be able to look back at the tasty recipes I found! 

Hard boiled egg -- not quite boiled all the way, oops!
Avocado -- keeping them refrigerated is the key to freshness
Sliced deli turkey -- Wegman's sells a "just turkey" with no sugar added
Raw Veggies -- carrots, red & green peppers, cherry tomatoes
Brazil Nuts -- too many
Almond Butter -- too much, but oh so delicious!
Coffee with cream/whole milk -- dairy is out on Whole30

Greek Meatballs (ground turkey) -- everyone liked
Spinach -- serve everything on a bed of baby spinach
Sauteed asparagus -- dash of black pepper
Raw Veggies

Coconut milk, orange juice, banana smoothie w/ ground flaxseeds and spinach
Brazil Nuts & Cashews
Lemon water
Cold leftover chicken
Raw Veggies
Hard boiled egg
Coffee with cream/whole milk

Crockpot Chicken Tacos -- topped with onions & tomatoes, not bad
Steamed Broccoli

Hard boiled egg
Raw Veggies
Cold leftover chicken
Leftover veggies cooked in tomato sauce
Coffee with cream/whole milk

Cilantro Lime Cod -- used ghee instead of butte, so-so but dh liked
Mild Homemade Salsa on spinach & avocado, delicious!
Raw Veggies

I really am turning into a nut & fruit-itarian!  Tomorrow I am going to have NO nuts and NO fruit.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Painting on the Walls

DD17 finished her next D&D character painting, a cleric (I mistakenly thought she was a mage). 
Starting the rough sketch
DD15 worked on the face
Starting to paint
Facial close up
I love the hair and leather armor.

And she is done and beautifully so!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time4Learning -- 30 Day Review

Thirty days already?  Time flies when you're learning!

Our free (for a review) thirty days with Time4Learning came to an end, and my biggest regret is not using the program more.  My reason for signing up was to find something completely different for math for DS9 who was frustrated beyond reason (no one learns when frustrated beyond reason!) with long division in Math-U-See Delta.  So, was it a good fit?  Yes and no, of course.

T4L did serve its purpose for me.  Most school days DS9 would pick a math concept and work through it.  On the days I sat with him and engaged him in discussion on the topic he seemed to learn quite a bit.  On the days I left him to his own learning he could tell me little if anything about what he'd covered.  Which just goes to show the ageless mathematical truth: Teacher > Curriculum!

Things I liked (primarily from math):
Easy log in.
Graphics/Animation very nicely done.
Right/Wrong completion "pie graph" very clear.
Large variety of topics.
Can pick up or down a grade level.

Things I feel the need to nitpick about (again, from math):
Right/Wrong answer animation took too long.
"Exploration" section didn't appear to offer guidance/answers.
Examples not always broad enough range (all triangles shown were equilateral, for example)

Things I cannot comment on because I never explored:
Teacher/Student score page

So...are we going to continue? No, not at this time.  I had signed all three boys (12, 9, 6) up and I don't think DS12 ever logged in, DS6 probably 2 times, and DS9 only for math...although he did one Social Studies (Vikings) and maybe one Science (Weather?).

And why the lack of eagerness for such a fun game-like learning environment?  Because here, computers are for games.  Currently, as it always comes back to, that is World of Warcraft.  I don't want to add computer time for school (my domain), nor do I want to say their computer time must be split between gaming (Dad's domain) and learning.  That would create a lot of negativity.

However, if such computer time issues are not a factor in your house, Time4Learning could be a great fit.  Check out these links: - Online interactive curriculum for home use, PreK-8th Grade. - Online writing tutorials for high, middle, and elementary school students. - A forum to chat with parents online about kids, education, parenting and more.

Disclosure: The opinions in this review are entirely my own.  I was compensated with 30 days use of Time4Learning.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Painting on the Walls

After redoing our floors we wanted to have the whole house painted...but that just isn't in the budget this year.  So, DD17, with some assistance from DD15, has taken to doing some acrylic painting on the girls' bedroom walls.

First, it was a little dragon (next to an ElfQuest family tree):

Sketch from a D&D manual
Getting the base coat down
Adding some details

Dragon Head Close Up

And since that turned out so darling, next came a Druid, also from a D&D Manual:
Starting the sketch, DD15 helped with the facial features
Skin tones proved a trifle difficult
Now for the green
Adding some action
Druid Face Close Up
Completed Druid

And finally, a little fairy from Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies:
DD15 Sketched most of this one
And DD17 painted it so fast, I didn't get any progress pictures!

Next up is a Mage from D&D...and some more fairies for the baby's room...and the boys are asking for large dragons!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Time4Learning -- checking it out for 30 days!

Over the next 30 days, I will be reviewing Time4Learning's online education program. It can be used as a homeschool curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or for summer learning. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. You can write your own curriculum review, too!

The above is the required text for my free 30 days!  I've heard of Time4Learning but never checked it out before.  I signed my 3 boys (grades 6, 3 & 1) up and am looking forward to turning them loose in the learning environment!

Speaking of environment, we are changing ours...we are having tile installed in our kitchen and hardwood in the rest of the house.  Goodbye, nasty carpet!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012, Yes it is!

New since the last time I posted we've only done a few projects, because we got an Akita Inu PUPPY!  Her name is Tenshi, which means angel in Japanese (where the breed originated).
9 weeks ~17 lbs

 3 months

 4 months

5 months ~40 lbs

I also joined Pinterest, which means I have all kinds of ideas for new (non-history) projects!

In 2012, I'm looking forward to our family and homeschool life getting back to normal...a new life-with-a-dog normal, anyway!