Monthly Archives: March 2011

Science for Very Last First Time

Today we learned about the tide, tidal pools, and animals that are found in a tidal pool. We did some searching on the computer for some photos of mussels and found a bunch. We both concluded that they are not something either one of us in interested in eating! This led to a great conversation about how different cultures of people find different things appetizing.

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Social Studies for Very Last First Time

Today we did some reading about Canada and Inuit people who live in the “Great White North”. This is quite a fascinating topic for both of us and luckily we have plenty of books to satisfy our curiosity.

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Very Last First Time

This week we’re beginning Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. We’ll be focusing on so many topics such as Canada, the arctic, Inuit people, tidal pools, and mollusks.

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Recipe(s) of the Week

I have two today that I’m going to share. I love both of these!

Chicken Fajita Soup

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 (1.27 ounce) packet fajita seasoning

1 red bell pepper,cut into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 large onion, cut into thin strips

1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 dash hot sauce

salt pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Place chicken in the hot oil; cook, stirring only occasionally, until brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle fajita seasoning over the browned chicken and stir well to coat. Add the red and green bell pepper, and onion to the seasoned chicken. Stir and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Pour the fire roasted tomatoes and chicken broth into the pot with the chicken and vegetables. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the soup with hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste and serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.

This soup is so quick and easy and I love that it’s overflowing with bell peppers! (one of our favorite, super nutritious veggies)

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers

The night before cream in a large bowl:

1 cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 cup of butter, softened

Mix in:

3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of salt

Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using white flour to dust your surface and dough, roll your dough out thin. Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares.Place your squares on an ungreased cookie sheet and prick with a fork. Bake for about 8 minutes and check, keep checking every two minutes until done (mine took about 14 minutes total). They should be browning slightly on the edges, when done. Place on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

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Today we talked about quilting. We read the book The Patchwork Quilt and then we were able to enjoy a lunch in our backyard on our picnic quilt! This afternoon we made “quilts” from paper scraps.

munching on their sauteed veggies

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Language Arts for The Rag Coat

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Science for The Rag Coat

Today we did our science portion of Five in a Row for The Rag Coat. I was especially excited because a friend of mine who lives in Pennsylvania and heats her house with coal contacted me and asked if we’d like her to send us some when she saw we’d be learning about it. I had been wondering how I could get my hands on some coal, for a hands-on experience, so this was a wonderful blessing to us! Thanks so much, Kari!

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Recipe of the Week

I was introduced to quinoa a little over a year ago and since learning about how nutritious it is, I’ve been trying to find ways to use it, however all of the recipes I’ve found have been failures. Most of them were just very bland and none of us cared for them, and the kids were slowing associating quinoa with “yuck”. I recently tried this Lemon Butter Quinoa recipe that was really good. The flavor was really nice and even the kids willingly ate a lot of it. If you don’t know much about Quinoa, take a minute to browse this page to learn more about how good it can be for your health.

Lemon Butter Quinoa

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 can (14.5 oz) can of vegetable broth

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 dash fresh lemon juice (optional)

DIRECTIONS:1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa, and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.2. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with garlic, parsley, thyme, and salt. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve.

I used dried parsley and thyme with this because it’s all I had on hand. I served it with Sandra Lee’s Pan-Fried Tilapia, and zucchini sauteed with garlic and onions. It was a really nice combination!

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Creative Writing Friday

Elliot came up with his own version of The Family Under the Bridge, which is a book he and Josh read together a few months ago.

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Elliot has become a huge fan of having chapter books read aloud to him. He and Josh are about to finish up their fifth book since the beginning of the school year. I know sometimes Josh might feel like his role in the kids’ schooling is not that big, but I’ve reminded him that he’s teaching Elliot so much through their reading together. We’re pretty picky about the book choices and try to choose only the best, which will challenge Elliot to make sense of new words and ideas. I also truly believe Elliot is becoming such a strong reader himself because he is so familiar with reading and associates it with very positive and happy feelings.

In the last month or so, I’ve also added reading aloud to our daytime school routine. We already have so many great things to read up on our bookshelf and I figured we may never have the time to get to them if I don’t also start doing some additional reading with him. I decided to start with this great collection of books we have by Thornton Burgess. Even Caroline enjoys listening to me read these cute little animal stories, as she’s playing. She’s been known to ask, “Are you going to read the next one?!” (meaning the next chapter) Though I’m not a big reader myself, I am really enjoying reading with the kids and have certainly gotten a lot more practiced at it over the last 7 months!

Elliot and Josh are currently reading The Children of Noisy Village at bedtime. Next week they’re going to move on to their last book of this school year, which will be The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

Our Thorton Burgess Animal Stories collection

We just finished The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse. The kids both enjoyed it, so we’re moving onto the next one, The Adventures of Grandfather Frog.

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