Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coupon Code for The Six O'Clock Scramble

I've already written in detail about The Six O'Clock Scramble here and here.

In about twenty minutes we're going to head to the grocery store and get ingredients for this week's meal plan, which includes Baked Flounder with Fruit Kabobs; Crunchy Chicken Fingers with Carrots and Dip; and Rigatoni with Tomato-Artichoke Sauce.

I just realized, however that if you subscribe to Six O'Clock Scramble and use coupon code GLJEN10773, you get $3 off your subscription. (And, I believe I get a free month added to my subscription.)

All the more reason to try it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Benjamin, the red-nosed Tigger

The girls were putting on one of their shows, and made red noses for themselves while singing "Rudolph."

When they were done, Rebecca put the red nose on Benjamin, and Robert was smart enough to go get the camera.


Sleeping kids

On Saturday, Robert and I went to a Christmas Party with people from Robert's office. We were out til about midnight, which is late for us!

When we got home, Robert went into the kids' bedrooms and took pictures of them.

Here's Rebecca, fast asleep ...

... and a sleeping Rachael ....

... and here's ... well, Benjamin not sleeping!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade igloos

Remember when I said my goal was to do something "hands on" for every Five in a Row unit we do?

Well, we are just finished up The Very Last First Time, about an Inuit girl in the Arctic, and we made igloos!

Here's 6 year old Rebecca starting hers ...

This was pretty cool in its simplicity. We used those "Magic Nuudles," I think they're called. If I had planned ahead or was more of a packrat, we could have used regular packing peanuts. All you do is press each one against a wet paper towel, and then they stick together.

Even three year old Benjamin got in on it (although he had trouble making an actual igloo).

Here's 8 year old Rachael working intently ...

And the girls with their finished products!

Popcorn Letters!

Both girls have been enjoying doing some activities from a book I got called Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye.

Most of them are pencil and paper activities. For example, Rebecca likes doing one called "A Race of Words," where you have a category and she and I each make our own list, and then compare the two lists when we're finished. (The scoring works so that she will almost always win.)

When the list was "Things You See at Christmastime," Rebecca wrote:


When I asked her about the last one, she said, "Harmonica ... you know, what the Jewish people have."

Anyway, today we did something a little different and made "Popcorn Letters." Rebecca liked this a lot.

First I had her write the letters and numbers on a piece of paper. Then I circled the ones that she wrote backwards and wrote them on a piece of construction paper. She put glue on the letter, then popcorn.

She made both letters ...

... and numbers ...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Update on the Six O'Clock Scramble

You may remember me raving about a website I recently discovered called The Six O'Clock Scramble.

Well, I wanted to let you know that I'm still enjoying it quite a bit.

Today we had a meal that all five of us enjoyed (which is very, very rare): Spaghetti Carbonara, which is spaghetti cooked with bacon and eggs, believe it or not.

One possibly downside of sorts is that going grocery shopping is a little more challenging for me these days. Every week I have to ask the Publix workers something: What is Quinoa? Where are the pomegranates? Where do I find bags of sun-dried tomoatoes? What is ginger root, and how do I buy an inch of it?

But we are eating so well!

We had Ginger Shrimp Stir-Fry with rice and oranges yesterday. Tacos del Mar (seafood tacos) with homemade guacamole earlier this week.
Hot Dog Creole with Red Peppers, and Green Bean Almondine on the side.
Cheesy Spinach Strata, served with pineapple and homemade hash browns.

Maybe this is just proof that I have a really dull life, but every day I get kind of excited about what's going to be for dinner next.

A friend recently said to me, "The hardest thing about homeschooling is having to feed everybody all the time!" No kidding. These days I just slide some leftovers into the oven at lunchtime.

Check it out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple Machine Experiments

I'm trying to make a point to include at least one hands-on activity with every Five in a Row unit we do.

For example, when we did How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, we baked ... well, actually we baked apple crisp. Mostly because Robert loves apple crisp, but does not like apple pie.

And then when we did Madeline, the girls made an Eiffel Tower out of Legos.

Well, a couple weeks ago we did a book called Who Owns the Sun?

What was really cool about this book is that it was written and illustrated by a fourteen year old girl -- m0re specifically, it was written by a fourteen year girl who was attending my high school at the time. [My first one, in Pittsburgh.]

I looked her up and dropped her an e-mail. She is about 3-4 years younger then me. She also attended my middle school, and from what she described, it sounds like she lived about a 20-minute walk from my house.

And interestingly, she has an older brother -- who is a year younger than me -- who is on Wiki as "an American novelist."

And I thought I was cool because I won a couple writing contests when I was a teenager. Um, no.

Anyway, back to the hands-on activities before I get too depressed.

One of the FIAR topics for this book is simple machines, so the girls and I did some of the interactive games on this site.

We also did some Simple Machines experiments.

They dropped at egg into a pan to see if it would crack ...
(this probably would have been more effective with raw eggs, but everyone wanted to eat them afterwards)

... and then dropped it from the same height using a inclined plane.

They arranged blocks on a lever and saw how the balancing changed if they moved the fulcrum.

And they saw how lifting something with a lever ...

... was easier than lifting something without it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kids who "look like they're homeschooled"

Rachael, age 8, joined a community children's choir this fall, and her first concert is this weekend.

When we came home from rehearsal tonight, I was asking her a little bit about it, and if she gets a chance to talk with the other kids, etc.

I said (among other things), "Do you know if any of the other kids are homeschooled?"

She said, "Yes, I think so." Pause. "There are a couple who look like they are homeschooled."

My ears perked up. [Since homeschooling "didn't exist" when I was a kid, I was really curious what a homeschool kid looks like to other kids.] I said, "Really? What does that mean? What does a homeschool kid look like?"

She said, "Well, the kids in Bible Study [homeschool CBS] are different from the kids in dance class who go to school."

"Really?" I pulled up a chair. The journalist in me was practically set to whip out a notepad and pencil. "Can you explain what it is?"

To myself, I'm thinking, Are the homeschooled kids nicer? More mature? Dress less trendy? Talk less about pop culture? What? What???

Finally, after mulling it over best she could, she said, "Well ... for example, there's one boy there. I saw him write something, and it was with these really blocky letters, and it was really messy, and I thought -- 'He must be homeschooled!'"

Oh well.