Our Favorite Five Fall Activities

Continue reading “Our Favorite Five Fall Activities”

Badgers, Butterflies, and Sourdough Bread

It seems that every week is a crazy week around here lately and I know that part of that is probably my fault for trying to squeeze so much into my days. It’s definitely a juggling act around here with the kids, homeschooling, square dancing, blogging and the list of things that need to be done to keep up house and I then I add in things like trying to revamp some of our favorite recipes to make them healthier, working a couple of part-time jobs from home to earn a little extra income and trying to start up my own notary business. Yeah, no wonders things are so crazy right? Not to mention I’ve signed up for a multitude of online classes like the Positive Parenting Solutions which has really helped out when I remember to use the tips and tools I’ve been learning about.

Sigh… parenting is hard. When you add the special challenges of raising two special needs children (ODD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and a few others) to the mix it can be even harder on some days. It may be because I am making some progress with our class that I am seeing a little bit more rebellion or ‘testing of the waters’ but whatever the reason it has been quite the challenge here lately. It is enough on some days to make a Momma wanna through up her hands in defeat but I know that God is here and He is going to help us all get through this.

The kids have had a blast with this week with our newest Academic Adventure using the Little House on the Prairie book series. We’ve learned about dugout homes, even a whole town that lives underground in Australia, and some other interesting facts about the strange animal that Laura encountered on one of her adventures.

They’ve also learned some important lessons about obeying rules and right now I have a couple of little girls who have lost some privileges and are under constant supervision similar to what Laura experienced at the beginning of our On the Banks of Plum Creek Week 1 Lesson Plans.

The boys also enjoyed learning with Ziggy as they started their All About Reading Level Pre-reading lessons. They also enjoyed reading  The Very Hungry Caterpillar which I thought was a good book to go along with our lessons this week.

 

Another book they are really enjoying is Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature which are reading through as part of our science lessons. It is full of facts and illustrations that they love. The jacket also unfolds to make a huge poster for them to look at. The next best part of their science lessons was looking at bugs with their Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars(pictured above)

We haven’t finished all of this week’s lessons as this week has been a bit busy and it was hard for some people to get back on the school routine. We still have a few like skills lessons which include our new Herb Fairies books and some dog training lessons from Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. These might not be things you’d normally expect to find in your school lessons but the kids asked for them so I have included them to keep them interested in learning. Plus we can all benefit from these lessons and I find them pretty enjoying myself.

The best part of our homeschool experience this week is at the bottom of the post so you can keep reading or scroll through to find out what it was.

Getting back the week we’ve had, we had an amazing day at the zoo last weekend followed by a birthday party at my sister’s house. The kids had a lot of fun and a bit too much sugar that day. We had to deal with the after effects for a few days afterward. No fun!

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On Monday we had our usual square dance and then back home. Tuesday I decided to make a grocery run with my favorite Walmart Grocery Pickup service. Mr. Awesome had announced that he was starting a new diet after I had already made up my grocery list so that meant we needed to run into the store for a couple of last minute items. I already had the menu planned out as well so I just decided to tweak a few of the recipes to make them a little more diet-friendly and healthier for everyone. Be on the lookout for some upcoming recipes that we have been trying out.

I remembered that I had bought a couple of Trim Healthy Mama books (Trim Healthy Mama Plan and Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook) before so I dug them out and started skimming over them a bit. I also bought the last book, Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table, as I kept finding references to some recipes that weren’t available in the original book. There are several recipes that I want to try and I have been adding some things like collagen, acv, psyllium husk flakes, sunflower lecithin, nutritional yeast to some of my recipes for a little extra health benefit.

I know we can’t undo all these years of unhealthy eating in a day but we can make one change at a time to become a little healthier every day. I also know that my kids will be learning how to eat healthier and hopefully, they will pass some of these habits down to their kids. I’ve added some healthier options to our breakfast menus like omelets with mushrooms and a side of sauteed spinach. While Mr. Awesome passed on the spinach at breakfast I did manage to sneak in some greens and A TON of veggies at dinner time. That’s not potatoes on that plate but you wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t told you.

I’ve also done a lot of food prep so that we would have some healthier choices when we needed a quick meal or snack. We made a few boiled eggs and our own bagged salads for the week. I made one bag special for Mr. Awesome as he said he wasn’t ‘Popeye’  and he didn’t want spinach in his salad.

We cut all the lettuces, a mixture of iceberg and romaine, into bite-size pieces. Then we washed everything and spun it dry in the salad spinner. (You want to make sure it is as dry as possible before bagging it.) We layered a couple of big baggies with a paper towel and carefully placed our lettuce and spinach inside. Then we squeezed out all the air and sealed them. They have been in the fridge all week and still look pretty. (You will also want to change out the paper towel frequently.) The kids really enjoyed practicing some of the kitchen skills they’ve learned and it seems to make them more interested in trying out new things when they are involved in the process.

I also decided to try my hand at making some sourdough bread again. My first starter died when I neglected it a few months ago when I was sick. I wasn’t really feeling like attempting my own so I ordered some San Francisco Sourdough Starter from Amazon. It was quite easy to get the activation started by using the instructions provided. We’ve named our starter ‘Fran’ and she seems to be doing well. We’ve got some dough rising right now so maybe we’ll have a bit of sourdough bread to go with dinner tonight.

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The kids are really excited about our new ‘sourdough baby’ and they keep checking up on her to make sure she isn’t hungry … lol. They even wanted to try out a new recipe for muffins using some of the leftover sponge we had from the bread dough. Here’s a couple of pictures of the batter and the finished product:

This recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking but I did manage to use some whole wheat flour with these muffins and I snuck some greens in there as well! The kids said they liked them but personally, I think they need a little something more before I want to share the recipe.

I was also excited to get my Grove order this week as I ordered several items I’ve never tried before. I did get the room spray for FREE and I love that it comes in a reusable glass bottle. You can even order the concentrated sprays to refill it. 

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The body wash smells amazing and the brushes have helped out a lot with some of the cleaning we’ve been doing around the house. I bought the washing machine cleaner to help get rid of the mildew on the refrigerator seals … yuck. It has helped somewhat but it may need to be used several times to get rid of it completely. I may cave and get some bleach to get rid of it because I just really hate seeing it.

And now for the best part of our week! We had gotten the Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden with 2 Live Cups of Caterpillars & Feeding Kit at Easter and the kids have really enjoyed watching their little caterpillars grow up. I don’t know if you can see in the first picture but they were small enough to fit on my pinky nail but boy did they grow quickly.

The kids have been excited to observe the whole process but they were also very excited to let them go. This was easier said than done as a couple of them didn’t want to leave their little home. A couple of them have been spotted hanging out near the pond so we still get to see them just not as often as we did before. The kids are begging to this again.

Well, I guess I better finish up here as the boys are begging me to ‘let the dough out of the bowl’ so they can work with it. They already have some plans for bread and jelly when it gets finished!

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We just want to wish everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day and we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

Remember that sometimes motherhood, or even parenthood, is not the way we had it pictured that it would be and we can get overwhelmed and stressed but it is so much more rewarding than we could ever hope that it would have been!

Here’s a picture of our finished bread:

**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!

 

Cover image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

Another Gift Idea: Zoo Membership

Another great idea came to me earlier. I know that my kids love going to the zoo. For us it actually comes out cheaper to buy a yearly membership than to pay full price for one or two visits!

Our local zoo offers some special rates and discounts at this time of year. You can make the purchase online or in person which also makes it a little extra convenient. Your loved ones will remember your thoughtfulness every time they visit their favorite place!

Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017

Well a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we had a special outing planned. Unfortunately we did not get to go the weekend we planned to go because of the weather. We did go this past weekend and it was so much fun!

As you can imagine trying to take a many kids as we did (we took 7 kids, ages 4-14) can be a bit daunting but we managed. One of my sisters was also able to join us which helped out alot. Continue reading “Family Outing: Jacksonville Zoo 6/10/2017”