Monday, February 10, 2014

Homeschool Preschool and Learning Projects!

I love teaching my kiddos! I love seeing the little lights go on, the minds wrapping around big concepts, and seeing them use what they have learned. My Boy latches onto certain things and becomes obsessed with learning about them! My Girl at his age loved everything to do with ladybugs so I used ladybug's dot to teach adding and number sequencing. Everything we learned was through ladybugs in someway or another. But in the age of My Boy, his interests are more concretely based. He loves counting numbers and in the past couple months, he has fallen in love with the Alphabet, mostly thanks to Super Why! Here's a small snippet of what we do during the day for his preschool homeschool.

I like to use sticker books because my kids love stickers! Who doesn't? (Confession: I don't like them because them end up on my walls or tile floors sometimes... cursed stickers!) I think it really helps with his gross motor skills, pincher skill, and building vocabulary. This sticker book is all about animals. We work together and its a nice structured time together!

The Dollar Tree has a whole collection of these sticker books/activity books. We finished the Alphabet sticker and decided to move on to the Animal book. The only issues I have with these books is the stickers are quite delicate and hard to get off the sticker sheet and some of the words they choose are odd. See the "U" square in the book. One of the words is "uncle" which is a bizarre choice and slightly confusing.

After the sticker book we move onto the planets of our solar system. He likes looking for letters I pick on the back of the placemat. We haven't gone over the stuff on the back. It is a bit much for him at this time.

He is learning to name all the planets. I put a cheerio on each one and we name them. He is getting very close to knowing them all by sight. I also use flashcards or the planets hanging from the ceiling in their room.

Then its time for some coloring, cleaning and finally baking! Kids love to help bake. We read the recipe together and he helps measure and pour the ingredients in. I love to let him cut the butter up!

Then we watch it mix in the bread maker because I let it do the mixing, kneading, and rising for me. We pop it into the oven after that!


When My Girl gets home from school, we listen to 3 school house rock songs: Nouns, Verbs, and The Preamble. They have the Preamble down by now and its way cute to her them recite it! We do homework, chores, snack, and then move onto My Girls special project: Learning all 50 states. There is a 50 states that rhyme song we use. I'll get more into this activity later. But she's keen to finish it soon so she can move on to learning all the presidents!

If you want your kids to learn the presidents or states or solar system, these placemats are stellar!!! I love them! I found these at K-mart for about 2.50 each and amazon has tons more (periodic table, water cycle, etc.) They are very effective with repetition and I find them using them on their own a lot! All the books with the placemats I found at the dollar tree or in the dollar sections at target.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hot Vanilla

I don't like chocolate.

There I said it. This is no surprise to the people who know me. I don't like soda either. I love water, best drink ever! This really causes me issues with weight loss though as the first recommendation is to cut soda out of your diet and to drink more water.

I am not a sweets fan. I love savory and spicy. Everything I eat either has sriracha or tapatio on it. Drives my husband crazy! But enough tangents.

I was grabbing a cup of coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea after grocery shopping when from the backseat My Girl asked for a hot chocolate. She said please. She had been amazingly helpful and well behaved in the store while I dealt with My Boy's not so good behavior. He is the screamer, egg smashing, 3 year old strapped into the cart yelling, "I'm stuck!" while trying to knock everything of the shelves. Not a pleasure to take shopping. I looked at the kid's menu and right under the hot chocolate was "hot vanilla". I ordered one of each and as soon as I tried it I was in love.

Its creamy, vanilla with almost a toffee flavoring. I found a recipe online because I can't be buying coffees and drinks for a coffee shop daily, who am I? Kim Kardashian? Nope, I got a budget!

It is really easy to make and super cheap. My husband says its like warm vanilla ice cream.

Without further ado,

Hot Vanilla

1 Cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp sugar

Put in a pan and warm up slowly. I stir mine like crazy to give it a whipped sort of consistancy, however it might make no difference to it at all. I just like to keep busy while watching any pot.

Pour in. Top it with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if you are feeling fancy and enjoy!

Ps. My Girl loves this as a base to hot chocolate... if you still want chocolate. Nothing like a hot drink on a cold day after a long nap!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Free Fire Cider

I don't know how many of you remember, in 2010 the Dervaes Institute (Dervaes Family) registered "urban homesteading" and "urban homestead," and similar phrases as trademarks. They sent "cease and desist" letters out to bloggers, authors, and had several facebook pages removed. I recall the Denver Urban Homesteading being hit pretty hard. The urban homesteading terms trace back long before the Dervaes Institute. From what I understand they are still fighting in court. (Urban homesteading Wiki)

The same thing is happening now to "fire cider". There is a petition to hopefully keep "fire cider" free for everyone. Here is it:

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Shire City Herbals

Fire Cider is a term that has been used by herbalists since the 1970's. This term was originally introduced by Rosemary Gladstar in her copyrighted and published books, blogs and you tube videos. This term is actually Rosemary's intellectual property. Since the introduction, Rosemary has freely shared her recipe with tens of thousands of herbalists. This recipe is sold, reproduced, modified and shared freely. This name has become a household name for a blend of herbs historically used to prevent and support the body during times of colds and flu. Trademarking this term is like trademarking the word pizza! The company trademarking the term is not the only maker of this recipe, did not come up with the name fire cider, and will never be the only one selling it. This is a cultural, historical term that should not be trademarked. Thanks for your time. 
[Your name]<--- then you click here and sign the petition.

Confession time: I had never heard of Fire Cider before the beginning of the week. But I remember being so angry at the urban homesteading trademark One of my close college friends has been posting on facebook about this. I was raised on a prescription bottle house (to each their own) and haven't had a lot of practice with natural remedies beyond what comes in an herbal supplement bottle. So I am glad there is such a storm over the fire cider, not that it is being trademarked (no no that's awful) but that I got to hear about it and am going to try it. I love all the ingredients. I grow most of them myself and I hope you sign the petition and make some of this stuff yourself.

World Fire Cider making day is February 2nd:

Thank you and enjoy your fire cider making... I'll be making my first batch tomorrow.

All these pictures are from the Free Fire Cider facebook page.