Sunday, August 31, 2008

free worksheet generator

I just found this worksheet generator. It will come in very handy for copywork pages.
I've been struggling with K12 with Andrew and I think I just figured out why. He needs structure, he needs everything the same. It REALLY throws him off when things are different.
Well, as awesome as K12 is, it is different every day. I finally figure out that our terrible days happen when he has an assignment that he hasn't had before and it's presented in a different way.
He loves their language program but it's the same format every lesson.
He loves science and history, again same format every lesson.
Math and Language arts have different formats of teaching for most lessons. plan is to go back to what we did with Alyssa (and hey, she's a smart gal) and do copywork and narration for Language arts and basic facts and plain worksheets (Saxon style) for Math.
He also loves to use the manipulatives for math and play math-it.

We'll see how this new "structure" works for him.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We got our Ichiban Kan order today

I think we'll just move to Japan cause I'm having a lot of fun! Today we got our Ichiban Kan (Japanese dollar store) order from online. I stuck a big pot of rice in the rice cooker and for lunch we had way too much fun making onigiri. We made some sweet with my spice mixture, some the kids "hid" vegetables or meat in. And those we rolled in toasted black sesame seeds.
The rice shaper made things much easier than using my hands and the kids could do it easily too. (besides they eat things so much better when they help make them). We just scooped rice in, stuck in a piece of meat or a veggie, scooped more rice in, and tamped it down. Then it plops out onto the plate and one of the kids rolled it in sesame seeds. (This picture is of the rice mold)
They were so yummy. The toasted sesame seeds really gave a lot of flavor.
I'm still trying to figure out how to add things TO the rice. If it got the tiniest bit moist it would just fall apart.

More info on the rice balls

For the sweet rice balls I just shaped sticky rice into a ball (with wet hands) and then rolled it in the sugar/spice mixture. I made them small enough to be bite sized to pop in our mouths. They taste great cold also.
They are way easy to make and the kids can make them. No mess, 2 ingredients.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

yummy, easy dessert

Hmmm, I was going to take a picture but we ate them all....
small sized sticky rice balls rolled in a sugar and spice mixture. They were bite sized so we could eat them in one bite with chopsticks. The spice mixture had about 1/2 sugar and 1/2 cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and coriander. I keep that spice mixture all combined in a shaker cause I love it more than just cinnamon and those herbs are also good get ya going herbs.
It gave it a real dessert feel but with not a lot of sugar. And soooo easy to make.
Just remember to wet your hands first or you'll be a sticky rice ball.

oh also, don't let a baby feed herself sticky rice or she turns into a sticky rice ball. Then when you pick her up you will turn into one too.

Weston Price

Just thought I'd stick this on here cause I keep telling everyone about Nourishing Traditions, my favorite book around.

This website explains a lot of the NT philosophy, in essence eating like people did for 5,000 years before we got too busy.

oh oh, I've created a traveling monster

This morning I was making an omlette, plain old "American style" (yeah I know it's not really American) and Andrew ran in..."Mom, what country are we traveling to today?" LOL! Now what do I do? I'm going to have to make up a foreign name for everything we eat. Oh well, he's trying a lot more new things now. It's worth it.

Today we got our tiffin boxes and filled them for the first time. We had leftover rice and the garbanzo bean stuff in the bottom, a homemade treat and chips in the middle, and some carrots, green beans, and grapes in the top. Quite eclectic huh?

I let the kids take them outside and picnic on the grass, then ride their bikes. If we can get the little baby trailer fixed we can go on a ride to the park with our boxes. I've been missing our CM nature walks lately.

The big rule I plan to instigate is the washing of the tiffins after lunch. I have a thing with hooks in the kitchen that has misc. stirring things right now. I think I'll reserve that now for tiffin bags.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I would gather Children

I took this from the blog of's absolutely true. I'm so thankful for the natural love of children. I am asked all the time how I can do foster care, how can I take care of "other people's children", won't they affect my "own". This poem answers all that.


Some would gather money
Along the path of life;
Some would gather roses,
And rest from worldly strife.

But I would gather children
From among the thorns of sin;
I would seek a golden curl,
And a freckled, toothless grin.

For money cannot enter
In that land of endless day;
And roses that are gathered
Soon will wilt along the way.

But, oh, the laughing children,
As I cross the sunset sea,
And the gates swing wide to heaven -
I can take them in with me.

-Author Unknown

Our Indian dinner

My kids had so much fun with the Japanese food and I had garbanzos soaking so I googled Indian garbanzo dishes.
I googled, got the ideas, then erased so I don't have the names but here's what we had
Flatbread that we grilled on the cast iron griddle, garbanzos with onions, garlic, and cardamom...thickened up with a little arrowroot powder, salt added at the end.
And for dessert I improvised a pudding that looked similar to a recipe for a real indian pudding. I did 2 cups of milk, 4 TBSP tapioca flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp cardamom, 4 egg yolks, stirred that all together and cooked till thick. Then I beat the egg whites till they were stiff and folded them into the pudding. MMMMMMMMMM it was so good
We all thought it was funny though cause we figured out that fruit loops taste like cardamom.

More on Bentos

Thought I'd add a bit more on our bento lunches...
This is where you can buy inexpensive bento accessories. Lots are sold out cause they just got their internet store up and running.
This is where you can see all about bentos and recipes.
This one is good if you want to waste a lot of time making "cute" food.
This is an Americanized version

Our Japanese day

As I was trying to figure out non-plastic and non-disposable solutions to lunches for Russ and also for when we go out I came across the bento box or tiffin box idea.
We went with the tiffin boxes from World Market because they were only $10 each and they had a free shipping special. They are also stainless steel which I love. Russ can reheat stuff in his toaster oven at work if he wants something warm.
So in the process of looking up Bento lunches I found some awesome recipes from Japan. We decided to try them out today and now my kids want to "be Japanese till Andrew's birthday". Which by the way is not till November.
Today I made Onigiri and Tamagoyaki for lunch. For the Ongiri we filled it with pineapple jam (I wanted it sweet so the kids could get used to the idea while it was yummy, later I'll try some meat or fish fillings. The Tamagoyaki I just made with eggs, braggs aminos, and sugar. It was really easy and later I might try filling or layering that also.
We ate it with chopsticks to complete the fun.
Afterwards they wanted a Japanese drink and I didn't want to bother that day so we broke out the ice cream...and ate it with...chopsticks!

BTW...Both the Onigiri and Tamagoyaki are frequently eaten cold for lunches in Japan. We are going to have way too much fun with these meals.
I love cheap and how much cheaper can you get than rice and egg? But with those cool names they sound much better than "rice and eggs"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Treehouse museum

We went to the Treehouse museum and when baby saw the dolls she crawled over and climbed up to get a closer look. Then she signed "baby".

I will survive

I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)
Originally written and produced by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris
Originally performed by Gloria Gaynor
Mercilessly altered with apologies by Natalie Criss
============ ======== ============ ======

First I was afraid
I was petrified.
Kept thinking I could never teach
'Cause I'm not certified.
But we spent so many nights
Reteaching homework that was wrong.
I grew strong,
so now I teach my kids at home!
We study math
and outer space.
I just kept on despite the fear
with a big smile across my face.
I bought a set of Base Ten blocks.
I bought books with answer keys.
My parents think we're nuts,
but they don't even bother me
Come on, let's go walk out the door.
We're on the road now,
'cause we're not home much anymore
My friends would laugh and say we'd be unsocialized.
I heard one mumble
that I'd give up b y July.
Oh no, not I!
I will survive!
As long as I know how to read
I know we'll be alright.
I've got all my life to learn.
I've got energy to burn.
and I'll survive.
I will survive.
It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart.
Decided to attend
a play date at the local park,
and I met oh so many moms
who offered eagerly to help.
They used to cry.
Now they hold their heads up high,
and so do we!
My kids are cool!
They're not those chained up little people
stuck inside at school.
So if you feel like dropping by
and just expect us to be free
you'd better call ahead first
'cause we're probably busy

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A little about me-my assignment

OK, I'm trying to learn a little more about blogging so I'm participating in a blog school. Our first assignment is to write a little about ourselves. You'd think it would be easy but it's not.
I love computer, blogging, and making friends on the internet. It's a time waster sometimes but at the same time I don't go out too much otherwise, I don't have other expensive hobbies, and I can find all the info I need here.
Sometimes however I find that I'm "ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth" as one of my church leaders said.
I have goats, chickens, bees, a humongo garden, 3 children and 1 to be adopted in 26 months, and 1 on the way via the birthmom who let us know she's expecting again.
We homeschool and that takes up most of our time.
I get frustrated when people think we're just home all day so we must be able to do whatever we want. They don't realize that I have a full time job and it's not just watching kids. Would they ask a school teacher to take a day off to participate in so and so project?
It's the same thing with my hubby who works till 2am. He's "home" in the daytime so he must be available. They don't realize he's sleeping still, then getting up and ready, and then a short scripture study time with the to work.
Well, enough of that rant...
We do have a ton of fun homeschooling. My oldest is in 7th grade this year so we have to keep transcripts and it's been challenging. She has a goal to graduate and go to college by age 16. She'll do it too. She's very motivated. She is learning Spanish, French, and Latin this year. Outdoes me by a long shot.
The boys are busy being boys and it's hard to get them to want to sit to learn. We do a lot of games and manipulatives with them. Songs also go far.
We are all learning instruments. Alyssa and Andrew on the cello, Adam and I on the violin. Russ says he wants to learn the harmonica, LOL...Alyssa is also teaching herself the guitar.
We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we try to live how we are instructed. Don't think that members of our church have to homeschool, raise bees, and goats, and sew...Sometimes I wonder what people think when they see my pic up top. We were on a pioneer trek for that, got all dressed up in our pioneer clothes and everything. We're kind of weird that way but hey, we sure have a ton of fun! I love the good old life. I feel good when we're living 100 years ago. Modern day is just weird and sometimes I wish we could just hide from it all.
I guess that's all I can think of right now...till the next assignment adieu.

I'm feeling old today

You know, I'm feeling really old today. I was thinking...I have a 12 year old daughter, and a 9 and 7 year old son, AND a baby, AND a baby on the way. When did I get here?
Holy cow, I'm old!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The prime minister on Educational Services

So funny! The prime minister on Educational Services. Gotta love British humor.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

my great idea

I just had a stroke of brilliance!

I change my curtain every
other month anyway (I like dollar store white curtains so I can keep
them clean) so why not write on it?

I am in the process of writing our spelling words, some vocab, etc
etc. on the shower curtain.

We'll use that one for a month or two while I have my kids write
on the new one that will be used later.

That way we'll have recurring notes that we see every day. I'm not
sure yet if we'll be able to write on both sides. Probably not.

I used permanant marker and it hasn't come off.

Friday, August 15, 2008

we're pregnant again!

Well, our birth mom (of Hailey) just let us know that she is pg again and would like us to adopt the new baby (in about 6 months) HOLY COW!
Right now I am so excited. I can't believe it. I'm going to go through all the pg feelings but with no control over what happens.
I'll worry later but for now I just keep thinking about all these spirits who want to come to earth so badly that they'll come to a situation like that.
I feel so blessed that she remembered us and knew that we loved Hailey and we'll take good care of her.
Now for the wondering...can I handle this?
Here goes more of the foster coaster...wheee

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Power of One

This is a great music video about the little things that we can do every day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Alyssa's Commonwealth School is in the paper again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

a funny answering machine

California staff voted unanimously to record on their school telephone answering machine This is the actual answering machine message for the school. This came about because they implemented a policy requiring students and parents to be responsible for their children’s absences and missing homework. The school and teachers are being sued by parents who want their children’s failing grades changed to passing grades - even though those children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough schoolwork to pass their classes. The outgoing message:

“Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all the options before making a selection:

To lie about why your child is absent - Press 1

To make excuses for why your child did not do his work-Press 2

To complain about what we do - Press 3

To swear at staff members - Press 4

To ask why you didn’t get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5

If you want us to raise your child - Press 6

If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone -Press 7

To request another teacher, for the third time this year -Press 8

To complain about bus transportation - Press 9

To complain about school lunches - Press 0

If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework and that it’s not the teachers’ fault for your child’s lack of effort: Hang up and have a nice day!

If you want this in Spanish, you must be in the wrong country.”