Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Another project we did was bake a coffee cake! The boys are really enjoying doing cooking & baking, so I've been trying to include them more in projects & planning. The hardest part is that Elie always wants to help too! She wants to be on the same chair, wants to measure with the same cup or spoon & don't even think about not letting her use the mixer!! So when the recipe says 10 minutes prep, figure 20-25 depending on how much pushing & shoving there is!


We've been having a pretty nice winter break. I haven't been stressing too much about what we are getting done, especially since Nate is gone & very obviously on break in California w/his dad. But I did find some books about origami at the library,so we did some of that! We talked about the shapes, lines of symmetry & just how hard it is to follow someone's instructions! But it was fun & we plan do more today. Obviously, we started w/the very easy origami kids book! And hey, I needed it just as much as they did!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dental Disclosing Tablets

My Mom sent the kids some sour gummy candy recently. I also found the dental disclosing tablets that our dentist sent home the last time we were in. So the boys had a great time discovering just how much gunk those candies left on their teeth. It was impressive. And yes,they did get it all the purple dye off their teeth after a couple tries!

Park Day

We met Luca's friend today at a local park. It was a bit chilly [in the 50's] but lots of energy was expended & that was the goal. ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Japan Brochure by Niles

If you click on the individual pages, it should allow you so see them closer, so you can actually read what he wrote.

Acrostic Poems

Jumping Samurai

Urangatans in Mountains

Niles was shocked to discover how the Japanese treated missionaries [hence the Samurai attacking Mormons in the above poem]. He's really enjoyed learning about their culture and does actually talk about more than their warrior spirit. We're working on a travel brochure and I will scan that info in when we're done, to show that. ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Haiku by Niles

Cherry blossoms, spring
play, fire, work, music, festivals
poems and dancing

Fun, earthquakes, mountains
tsunami, typhoons and death
destructive waters

Islands of the sun
Is beautiful with Nature
and its past and present

The land of beauty
and courage and great battles
undying peacefulness

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stone Soup

This week at our Kindergarten co-op, Colleen had the kids reenact the book Stone Soup. There are several editions of this book, as the story, in various forms, exists throughout the Europe. We have a version by Jon J Muth which we've read in honor of Samurai Week, as this one is set in China and uses Chinese folklore in the characters of Hok, Lok and Siew. They are deities which bestow health, wealth & prosperity. In this version, the villagers have become suspicious of strangers and even their neighbors and won't help each other out due to famine, floods and war. The book shows the villagers learning to be giving and rediscover happiness. The monks trick them into this by making soup, starting off with three smooth round stones, and the villagers end up bringing everything else.

For the reenactment, we had villagers and soldiers. We had a big pot and put in the veggies and the rice, etc. Then the kids played outside for awhile as it cooked. It turned out very well & Elie loved it. So did Niles. Luca had mixed feelings about the whole veggie thing. ;) But it was a fun activity and we have some leftovers for lunch today!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Samurai Week

Luca desperately wanted to do ninja week. Well since Ninjas are part of a "secret" society, it's hard to find books on them. So we settled on Samurai Week. This is currently in process as I had wanted to start it next week, after Thanksgiving, but the boys were SO excited about the idea that we started this week. So we've been reading books about samurai warriors and Japan. We had pot stickers for dinner one night & fortune cookies for dessert. Work w/me here - the boys aren't that into sushi. The Japanese eat very different then what we as Americans are used to. In fact there breakfast looks a lot like our lunch. A traditional Japanese breakfast consists of steamed rice, miso soup, and various side dishes. Common side dishes are broiled/grilled fish, tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), onsen tamago, tsukemono pickles, seasoned nori (dried seaweed), natto, and so on. So I'm having a hard time w/that one. I don't think I'm going to get good enough to make tamagoyaki anytime soon! But I got a couple Japanese cook books, so as we work our way into next week, we'll do a couple more uniquely Japanese meals vs. simply Asian meals.

We've started making felt samurai armor and are going to finish that up in the next day or two, depending on how it fits in w/cooking today. And we also borrowed Mulan 1 & 2 from my friend Heather, so that's our movie option today. To really get into the spirit of samurai week, I took all Niles' word problems from his books & rewrote them to reflect something about the warriors or Japanese culture. He found that more interesting, so I'll continue that this week as we finish up our review of multiplication and division. I also found a great unit study on Japan through CurrClick that he's doing, so this is a pretty well rounded week! One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is to have Niles read Luca a library book about our subject. He read him a book on Japan and You Wouldn't Want to be a Samurai [A Deadly Career You'd Rather Not Pursue] by Fiona Macdonald. Very funny but informative! Here are some pictures of what we have done so far w/the felt.

Field trip to a friend's

Our friends Angela & Neil have chickens now! So we added some school adventure to the playdate with their son by visiting their chicken coop. Chickens are much softer than I anticipated. I expected their feathers to be...I don't know...maybe coarser? When you touch an individual bird feather, they seem firmer, but when you touch the actual feathers on a live chicken, they are very soft. They were curious & did some pecking [to see where we fit in in the whole pecking order, hahaha] but otherwise, just scratched & bobbed. It was fun! Nate enjoyed picking them up & kept calling them "little dinosaurs".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Real World Math

Niles has been seriously hating math lately. So while we're still forging ahead somewhat w/the Singapore stuff, I'm going to try & put in some more practical real world instances of math use. Today, we made strawberry yogurt scones & spent a lot of time talking about fractions. And transferring the smaller measurements into the one cup size. An example, we had 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour. We saw how much 1/3 filled up the 1 cup and then how much more another 1/3 cup filled up and guessed how much remained. Here are some shots of it. I got the recipe from the blog Annie's Eats. She's got some yummy stuff out there! Check it out.