Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coffee Cubes


Did you know that today, Thursday, September 29, 2011 is National Coffee Day? (Don't worry, I didn't either until a few days ago…) However, I thought I would share my coffee creation with you now in which you can enjoy any day!


First of all, I could never part with my unused coffee (it's too expensive!)…

so any leftover is poured into ice-cube trays and placed in the freezer.



Once frozen, I release the coffee cubes from the mold and place in a large plastic container in the freezer. Make sure to keep it covered. I do this every time there is extra and keep adding to the collection. And now… you can make your own blended coffee beverages without paying all the fancy money and without leaving your home. You can also make your own iced coffee's without diluting your coffee by using these cubes. Blended mochas are my favorite!

Buy at Art.com
                      
Here is my recipe (printable of this recipe is below) but you can get creative and make your own masterpiece:

Blended Mocha
  • 1 cup of frozen coffee cubes
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 TBSP of sweetener (I use honey or agave syrup)
  • 2 1/2 TBSP chocolate syrup
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and enjoy! 


Yields: One Large or "Venti" Blended Mocha

If you are feeling extra rambunctious, you can add a few tablespoons of chocolate chips to the blender with everything else in order to make it a "Blended Mocha Chip"… That is what I am enjoying right now and to be honest, I often feel rambunctious!



Click here for a free PDF FILE printable recipe
from me to you for your Recipe Book!



My favorite chapter to read while drinking coffee?

He-brews of course (wink…)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Words of Wisdom



Watch Your Tone

There's more to speech than the words you say:
Your tone will also a thought convey.
For words may be warm - or icy cold;
Be touched by love or a hatred bold;
Be bright like sunshine, dispelling fears,
Or stinging - peppery - causing tears.

A tone that is sharp will cut and tear,
And say to others, "Look out! Beware!"
But words that are gentle, soft and kind
Bring healing balm and sweet peace of mind.

by ~ Ada Wine


"She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
 ~ Proverbs 31:26


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fourteen Carrot Gold


Segment four of our first ever autumn garden features carrots.  We planted some for the first time with a slight problem... We planted too close and stunted the growth a bit. We just dropped a slew of seeds in a row, watered it occasionally and walked away (some of these gardening books make it sound so hard when it can be so simple). But, make sure to thin out the seedlings once they sprout or you will have baby carrots like we did (see above). However, they are just as tasty!


  1. Excellent source of Vitamin A
  2. Excellent source of Vitamin C
  3. Excellent source of Vitamin K
  4. Good source of potassium
  5. Supports eye health
  6. Can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
  7. Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease

Serving Suggestions:
  • Steam carrots and serve with some butter (or add some brown sugar as a treat)
  • Add into pasta salads
  • Serve raw with ranch and other dippy vegetables
  • Add into a stir fry
  • Make carrots with rice (recipe is pictured below and can be downloaded/printed below)


You may want to add this recipe to your "Inspirational Recipe Book".

Monday, September 19, 2011

Geography in Picture Books


Do you want to share interesting places and cultures with your children? Travel with your family using beautiful and fun picture books that take them to far away lands… Who said geography was boring?

Make sure to interact with them as you read. You can ask them if they can find the places you read about on the map or globe (I like to keep one nearby for easy access when we read). Do they know anyone famous from that region? Do they know what the weather is like in that region? Do they know any famous places in that area? These kinds of questions will bring the books to life and you will be surprised at how comfortable they will become with a map in their hand.

Keep in mind that geography needn't be taught as a lone subject. Incorporate it into your daily routine. A bit here and a bit there and you have gently taught them without forcing in a time slot that you don't have! When you read about bugs in North America, have them point to North America on the globe. When a country is named in a book you read to your children, pause at that moment and have them find it on a map. When a passage describes a famous river, have them find it in an atlas. I think you get the point… Geography can be easily integrated into anything you are studying!

Here are some of our favorite picture books relating to geography:


Geography in General ~ Picture Books


World Geography ~ Picture Books



U.S. Geography ~ Picture Books

    I hope you enjoy your journey!

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Awful Assumptions & Associations

    David's men insulted by the Ammonites

    I was just reading the 2nd Book of Samuel where King David is crowned over all Israel. He remembered a few people who were good to him in his time of need and wanted to show his gratitude...
    "In the course of time, the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David thought, "I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, just as his father showed kindness to me." So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father. When David's men came to the land of the Ammonites,  the Ammonite nobles said to Hanun their lord, "Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn't David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?" So Hanun seized David's men, shaved off half of each man's beard, cut off their garments in the middle at the buttocks, and sent them away." 
    2 Samuel 10:1-4
    The result of this hasty judgement toward David's good intentions was eventually the slaughter of the Ammonites. What was supposed to have been a blessing became a curse.

    Awful Assumptions…

    It got me to thinking… How many times do we judge good intentions thus so? Our husband might say something that we take the "wrong way" or a friend may think she is doing you a favor which you take as an insult? Are we surmising too much when we know too little? (And then assuming the worst?) Do we create havoc where peace was intended like the fellow above?

    We must be careful how we view situations. We shouldn't be so eager to judge actions in a poor light or jump to conclusions. It is so easy to assume the worst, but in the end it can destroy relationships…

    Awful Associations...

    Another part of this story that was thought provoking to me, were the nobles who were counseling Hanun. They truly gave him poor advice and it cost them their lives. Do you have any family or friends who act in the same manner? Do they "stir the pot" in your marriage (such as, "I can't believe you let your husband get away with that…") Do you notice that "drama" follows these people everywhere they speak? Guard your hearts and homes from such persons who enjoy bringing "flavor" to life by re-interpreting situations and facts and bringing controversy where ever they go.
    "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19)
    "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." (1 Corinthians 15:33) 
    "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.  Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established." (Proverbs 24:1-3) 

    May we find the strength and wisdom to...
    Romans 12:18



    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Autumn Inspired Activities


    "Autumn time is melancholy;
    Then the Winter storms are nigh;
    'Mid the garden's fading relics
    Mournful gusts are heard to sigh.

    Autumn's a luxuriant season;
    Then the Harvest glads our sight,
    Fruits grow ripe; and, glittering pheasants,
    You must fall for our delight."

    ~ Excerpt from "Seasons" by Sara Coleridge

    Motherly Love by Jacob Henricus Maris

    Autumn 
    by Emily Dickinson

    The morns are meeker than they were,
    The nuts are getting brown;
    The berry’s cheek is plumper,
    The rose is out of town.

    The maple wears a gayer scarf,
    The field a scarlet gown.
    Lest I should be old-fashioned,
    I’ll put a trinket on.

    • Read some autumn inspired poems to your family while drinking hot cider.
    • Read some autumn inspired picture books:

    Down Buttermilk Lane by Barbara Mitchell

     
    Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro

    How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro


     
    • Go apple picking.
    • Visit a pumpkin patch.
    • Make apple and/or pumpkin pies with your children.
    • Do some bark rubbings (If you have a tree field guide, label the type of tree you rubbed and cut out your specimans and paste onto a poster board to hang in your home for fall fun).
    • Do some iron on leaf crafts (When you have them completed, punch holes through the top of each leaf; run yarn or ribbon through the holes and make a leaf garland for your fireplace mantle or any other place in the house to give some autumn flavor to your home. The children will be thrilled to see their work displayed).
    • Decorate your hearth or windows with a pinecone banner. Using this clip art from the Graphics Fairy, have each child color a few "cones" and attach to string and hang as a garland. You may want to decorate with some brown glitter. 
    • Light your fireplace (if you have one) and snuggle together with all of the above…

    Or go outside and play in the leaves!

    Autumn by Norman Garstin

    Do some yard work while the weather is so crisp and clean…

    Start a compost pile with all those leaves…


    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Bouquet of Beets

    Bouquet of Beets

    Welcome to segment number three on our first ever autumn garden. We had never planted beets before and had no clue what we were doing… But they did all the work and thinking for us. All we did was scatter some of the seeds into a little row, cover with earth and creation did the rest. Beets have the most beautiful and brilliant color in their stems. The root itself (the beet) reminds me of "jewels of the soil".

    Fresh from the Ground
    Beets are a good source of:
    • Dietary fiber
    • Vitamin C
    • Iron
    • Magnesium
    • Manganese
    • Potassium
    • Niacin
    Serving Suggestions:

    Confession… I am new to the whole "beet" thing.  What I do is boil them until tender, peel them and slice them up for salads. Very tasty! (Okay, I must admit that I also drizzle ranch on them… I love ranch! Or you can drizzle with italian dressing as shown below.)

    You can also can some pickled beets. I have shared my tutorial here.


    What else can you do with them? Beets me! Do you have some suggestions?

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    An Announcement Board


    Announcing the announcement board… which is really just a magnetic dry erase board that I placed on our refrigerator but children love to read special messages on it.  It gives them something to look forward to in the home. I am convinced that if you make your abode a warm, inviting and engaging place, your children will be less likely to seek the world for its amusements.

    Here are some samples on what you may find being announced as "festivities" in our household. It is not a daily event (we do ours three or four times a week) so it is kind of like a surprise when one shows up...


    You can see that it is very simple however it really excites the children...


    It makes them feel special to have something planned and prepared...


    And of course, this is only for the well behaved that day...

    What will yours say?


    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Owl Unit Study

    The "wise old owl" is a hero in many picture books. Why not glean some wisdom with your children from this fascinating bird by studying them for a week or so? Try the below activities... 

    Chapter Book ~ Read Aloud Suggestion: Read the following two chapters about owls aloud from The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess. You can read them online for free at these chapter links: Peter Learns Something About Spooky (The Screech Owl) and Peter Sees Two Terrible Feathered Hunters (The Goshawk and the Great Horned Owl).

    Suggested Picture Books: All About Owls by Jim Arnosky, Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel (An I Can Read Book), The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies


    I would suggest reading together from the above books for about 1/2 hour a day and having the children do some of the listed activities below each day according to their abilities.  Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. Have them decorate their own covers with owl pictures, stickers or owl clip art. Encourage them to be creative.  By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "owl scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake.

    Owl Inspired Activities:

    Spelling/Vocabulary Words: (Have children study one word a day and add definitions to the words they are not familiar with. Add any words from the above picture books as well that would pertain.)
    1. nocturnal
    2. prey
    3. beak
    4. carnivore
    5. talon
    6. feather
    7. night
    Bible/Penmanship: Copy some Bible verses about owls in their best writing, paying careful attention to punctuation.

    Science/Nature: Draw a picture of an owl and diagram it.

    Science/Nature: Dissect an owl pellet with an Owl Pellet Dissection kit.

    Science/Nature: Make an "owl menu". List what owls like to eat after reading the above books together in menu form.

    Science/Nature: Make a list of common "types" of owls. Older children can put that list in alphabetical order.

    Language Arts/Penmanship: Copy the following poem below in your best handwriting.  Be sure to pay extra care to punctuation and spelling. 


    A wise old owl lived in the oak;
    The more he saw the less he spoke;
    The less he spoke the more he heard;
    Why can't we all be like that bird?
    ~ Author Unknown

    Bible Discussion: Discuss the above poem with your children. Talk about the verse, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19).

    Grammar Lesson: Can your children point out the nouns in the above poem? How about verbs?

    Learning to Read: Have your younger children practice reading using the book, Owl at Home -- An I Can Read! Picture Book by Arnold Lobel.

    Art: Draw a picture of an owl and try to color it realistically using colored pencils (See above or print off a full page via this link).

    Art: Color a barn owl with this printable from National Geographic.

    "Owls" by William Holbrook Beard
    Picture Study/Art History: Have children study the picture above by William Holbrook Beard which is titled, "Owls".  This link will take you to a larger view. See if they can point out a new detail each day. At the end of the week, print a small version of the picture and paste on notebook paper and have your child write an "art review" stating their opinion of the painting (younger children can just tell mother in their own words).  Make sure they include the title of painting and the name of painter at the top of the paper.

    Geography: Explain to your children that William Holbrook Beard (the painter of "Owls") was an American painter born in Ohio and was buried in New York. Have the children point out Ohio on the globe or map. Now see if they can point out New York. Ask them to point out where you live as well. Does it seem like he lived that far from you?

    History: Read about John James Audubon, the famous naturalist in the beautiful book titled, The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies. This is one of my favorite books and I love the illustrations in it! Your children will be inspired to become bird watchers after this read. (I would recommend this gem for your homeschool library.)

    Foreign Language: Learn how to say "owl" and "bird" in the foreign language you are studying (or want to study in the future). The internet provides many language dictionary's for free use.


    Craft: I am sure the "wise" old owl read many books which helped him to become so smart! Make some bookmarks with your children using this free owl clip art (see sample above). Let your child choose which owl he or she likes and print them out. Have your children color their chosen bird and cut out the graphic. Next, have your students cut out rectangular strips of construction paper (bookmark size so you may want to trace out a pattern for them prior to cutting) and glue owl image on front. Hole punch the top of your rectangular strip and have your child lace in a piece of yarn, ribbon or string. Craft is complete and best of all… it is useful.

    Home Economics: Make an "owl pizza" with your children. The fun idea is shared here!

    Movie SuggestionYour Backyard DVD (An excellent Bible based video on birds for children).


    Field Trip: Visit an aviary or bird farm with your children (you will be surprised at what is available in your area when you do an internet search). There may even be a local museum with bird exhibits that would be fun to go to as well or a local zoo which features an aviary.

    "…and let birds fly above the earth 
    across the firmament of the heavens."
    ~ Genesis 1:20


    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Bounty of Broccoli


    Here is our little broccoli "baby" springing forth from the cluster of leaves.


    I thought I would share how easy broccoli was to grow! It is an excellent addition to your autumn garden as it can handle the cold (just keep a plastic cover over it if expecting a deadly frost). We planted some for the first time this year and are very pleased with the results… It was so simple! We placed the seeds directly into the soil and sprinkled the earth with a shower of water every day in order to keep the soil damp. Within a few weeks, we had little seedlings and then tiny flowers...


    Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, has anti-cancer properties, and is beneficial for prevention of heart disease.

    Serving Suggestions:
    • Steam broccoli, add some butter to it and sprinkle some cheese on top for an extra tasty treat!
    • Add into a pasta salad (give it a quick dunk in boiling water to blanch it first).
    • Serve with ranch and other dippy vegetables.
    • Add some into a stir fry.
    • Add it into a hot pasta dish (here is a recipe that we love).
    • Make some cream of broccoli soup.
    Of course, any extra broccoli from the garden can be blanched and stored in the freezer for future use. This is such a frugal (when you grow your own), fresh and fun food to prepare for your family. Do you have any good recipes you recommend for these green flowers of the garden? 

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