Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning Highlights: August 2013

We've settled into a new preschool routine and have happily filled our mornings with learning. I'm really trying to put the camera down more during our learning time, but it's just become second nature to take a few pictures especially after documenting Tot School and Preschool at Home for the last two years. So here are just a few things that we've been doing lately.
We did some monster truck mashing with "-at"words.
I would call out an "-at" word and Seth would smash it. 
We worked on patterns...
and reviewed beginning sounds.
We practiced counting and ordering numbers from least to greatest.
Silas worked on fine motor skills while we worked on numbers.
Our Discovery Box this past week was all about frogs. 
Inside there were all kinds of frog related things. I added velcro to several plastic bugs and the end of a paper party blower and it was an instant frog catching activity. It was a big hit and worked so well!
We've also started our little preschool co-op with a few friends. We are going to focus on one or two themes each month this "school" year. We're planning on gathering together a couple times each month to focus on a particular theme. This month we focused on caterpillars and butterflies. 
We went to the "Butterfly Habitat" at Lost River Cave.  
My friend Lara read the kids Farfallina & Marcel, Emily brought Elefun for the kids to play, and I contributed butterfly lacing cards.  There also just happened to be a lot of caterpillars crawling around in the outdoor classroom.
For the month of September our co-op themes will be apples and fall. 
I'm already excited about the fun we're going to have!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backyard Bounty: Persimmon Heirloom Tomatoes

We have several varieties of tomatoes growing in the garden, but one of the the new heirlooms we're growing this year, is the Persimmon tomato. It's an orange/golden yellow tomato. It took me a few tries before I picked it at the perfect ripeness. The persimmon color was throwing me off a little I guess. It's not too juicy or too seedy. When it's ripe, it's a mighty fine tomato.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fun, Football, and Family

 Bryan took Seth to his first movie yesterday. While they were at the theater, I found out my brother had four extra tickets to the Titans Preseason game that they were going to later that day. So as soon Seth and Bryan returned from an already very exciting afternoon, we left for Nashville for an extra special night. Here are a few favorite pictures from our night of fun:
on the pedestrian bridge
 ready for some football
 here come the players
daddy tried on the stickers

the view from our seats

 a very, very tired Seth

Thanks, Uncle Michael and Aunt Kristen for the free tickets and a fun night at LP Field!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Local Food This Week: 8/17-8/23

It's been a while since I've posted what we bought at the market and how we used it so I thought a summer edition would be fun to do. Here's what we picked up from the market this week...
  • chicken, ground beef, and olive oil (from River Cottage)
  • potatoes and watermelon (from Sunny Point)
  • yard long beans (from Festina Lente)
  • gluten free peach bread (Esters Baked Goods)
  • round steaks (Stoneycreek)
  • strawberries (Garich Family Farms)
  • okra (Caneyville Gardens)
  • purple hull peas, peaches, tomatoes, and various peppers (Plano Produce)
  • pears (Summer Garden Memories)
Using those local ingredients, along with some we already had in the fridge, freezer, and our own garden, we made the following meals/snacks throughout the week...
 {butternut squash from our garden topped with sausage from Stoneycreek and maple syrup from River Cottage, purple hull peas from Plano Produce, and a big slice of an heirloom tomato from Rough Draft Farmstead}

 {watermelon slices from Sunny Point}

{sausage from Stoneycreek, topped with homemade marinara sauce made from tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil from the back yard and Plano Produce, garlic from Caneyville, shallots from Sunny Point, and eggplant nuggets made using eggplant from Crooked Creek, eggs from the backyard, and ground oats/coconut flour}
 {kale from the backyard, Applegate bacon, homemade marinara sauce, poached egg from the backyard}

 {round steaks from Stoneycreek, mashed potatoes from Plano Produce made with coconut milk, pattypan squash from Rough Draft Farmstead, and watermelon from Sunny Point}

{leftover round steaks from Stoneycreek chopped up, patty pan squash from Rough Draft Farmstead, yard long beans from Festina Lente, organic broccoli, shredded carrots from the backyard, hot peppers from Plano Produce, rice noodles, and coconut aminos}

{burgers from River Cottage, okra and banana peppers from the backyard, mashed potatoes from Plano Produce, homemade pickled gingery beets made using beets from Summer Garden Memories} 

On Tuesday, we picked up our first CSA share from Rough Draft Farmstead. Rough Draft Farmstead is a new addition to the Tuesday market. We purchased a small CSA from Hannah and Jesse and will pick up a bag full of food each Tuesday until November. (If you are a local they still have a few spots available if you would like to join in on the yumminess.)
Our first share included:
  • potatoes
  • okra
  • patty pan squash
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • hot and sweet peppers
  • half a watermelon
  • flowers 
For the rest of the week we made:
{shredded chicken from Peacefield, okra and patty pan squash from Rough Draft, tomatoes from the backyard, hot peppers from Plano Produce, shallot from Sunny Point, organic rice}

{pork burgers from Crooked Creek, mashed potatoes and watermelon from Sunny Point, yard long beans from Festina Lente, and sliced tomato from Rough Draft}

{deviled eggs made using eggs from the backyard, honey from River Cottage, dijon mustard, and salt} 
{pulled pork from The Smokey Pig, potatoes from Sunny Point, purple hull peas from Plano Produce, and heirloom Persimmon tomato from the back yard

and all those heirloom tomatoes from Rough Draft 
and our back yard were turned into marinara sauce that will be added to the freezer.
It was a tasty week and we're so grateful to have such wonderful sources for fresh, local foods.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Stray Chicken

Last week, one of the boys in the neighborhood, as he was riding his bike beside our yard, stopped to tell us that one of our chickens was loose. Bryan had just moved the coop (we move it everyday) and knew that all seven of our girls were inside just a few minutes before. He went to count the chickens and they were indeed all there. But, there was a chicken running around! We couldn't investigate because we were on our way out the door, but we didn't see the chicken when we returned home after it was dark.
The next day, I saw the stray chicken cautiously strolling around this big bush/pile of weeds just beyond our fence. Every time I got near, it would scurry back to the bush and not come out until things were very quiet in the backyard. Seth and the neighbor boys managed to chase the chicken into our neighbor's shed later that afternoon and then right before dark, we saw it return to the bush. A few days passed and the chicken didn't make an appearance. It was probably traumatized from the boys. But then very early a couple mornings ago, the chicken was right beside our coop. It stayed there just walking around the coop all day.
 This young chicken didn't want to have anything to do with humans, but you could tell it felt a special bond with our chickens. After a day walking beside our chickens, we haven't seen it anymore.
Maybe it's still in the bush and will come to visit when it gets lonely. Maybe it will wander back to wherever it came from. (To our knowledge, no one else in the neighborhood is keeping chickens.) Should it come back, and if we were able to catch it, we would try to find this chicken a loving home of its own.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Backyard Bounty: Heirloom Waltham Butternut Squash

Back in April, we planted several Heirloom Waltham Butternut Squash seeds in the garden. While the plants have taken over a big portion of the garden and crowded out our watermelon and cantaloupe, they have been very successful. It's our first year to grow butternut squash, but we've already learned that they resist pests better than other varieties of squash. (Right now, we use no forms of pesticides other than bug squishing.) I think my favorite way to prepare this golden delicious squash is split in half, baked until soft, covered with local sausage, and drizzled with maple syrup.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Learning at Home 2013

Today was our first day of preschool at home since finishing up the alphabet and a small summer break. Preschool is going to look a lot different around here this year, because we are preparing for Kindergarten next year!!! Because I like seeing how other homeschooling families plan their days, I thought I would share how we'll be learning this year. There is no set curriculum yet, I am just planning a week at a time from the resources I currently own and using the help of Pinterest.
Each day will consist of these subject areas:
  • Indoor/Outdoor Play
  • Beginning Reading
  • Math
  • Writing
  • Read Alouds (I would like the total time reading aloud to be more than an hour each day.)
  • Bible (during Family Time in the evenings) 
Then these subjects will be taught at least once a week: 
  • Art/Art Appreciation
  • Music
  • Poetry/Nursery Rhymes
  • Science
  • History/Geography

     So here's a look at our day today...
    7:30-7:45 We started our day by reading books. We check out a lot from the library each week and we also have several bookcases full around the house.
    7:45-8:00 Writing Practice- This amount of time is just long enough for Seth to practice some, but not get bored with it.
    8:00-8:15 Calendar/Math- We just got this calendar to help with this. We counted all the days in the month, said the days of the week/months of the year, and checked the weather. For the rest of our Math time, we just practiced counting with our flashcards.
    8:15-8:30 Indoor or Outdoor Play (or more Math time if needed)- Seth chose to play inside today and I introduced this week's Discovery Box to him during this time. The items in this box will change each week.
    8:30-8:45 Beginning Reading- We are learning about the "-at" word family this week.
    8:45-9:00 Art- We read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, mixed colors, and did some painting.
    9:00-9:15 Science-  We were trying to make green water in the middle glass by watching the color absorb up the paper towel and into the middle glass. It finally happened around lunch time. (Instead of Art and Science, other days we might do Music, History, Nursery Rhymes, Poetry, Geography during these time blocks.)

     9:15-9:30/45 Indoor Play for Seth- This is when I do Tot School with Silas. Today we colored letter S's and I introduced a Letter of the Week Bag that contained a seashell, stuffed snake, shoe, sock, sponge, scrubby pad, sandpaper, and other objects that start with the letter S that I had around the house. (This will be a new to addition to Tot School for those of you that have followed along since the beginning.)

    For the rest of the day...
    We will read, do household tasks (like laundry, feed the chickens, cook, clean), and play leisurely. On the days we have play dates, we'll do some shifting around, but they usually don't start until at least 9:30 or later and Spanish and Story time at the Library doesn't start until 10:30 on the days we have that. So the schedule seems doable and seemed to make our morning fly by.

    I plan to update monthly on some highlights from our learning throughout the month. If you would ever like to know more about what the boys are learning though, please don't hesitate to ask.