Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our Homeschool Week In Review: Week Two

If I could sum up our week in one word it would be COLD! Between trying to fight off a nasty cold bug that eventually ended up getting me and being trapped in the house due to sub zero temperatures and even colder wind chills, this week wasn't as productive and exciting as I wish it could have been.  But as I am often reminded, one of the beauties of homeschooling is that we are able to take the time when we need it to heal ourselves and that as unproductive as our days may have seemed, our children were still learning.  A few homeschool veterans have taught me that after having a week like we just had and when you feel as if you just didn't do enough, take a minute to write down all of the things that you did do.  Chances are, you have done plenty.  :)

Remember, we are starting the Oak Meadow First Grade Curriculum midyear.  This week we covered Lesson 2 for everything except science, which was Lesson 14. Here is our week in review!

This week I traced AG on a sheet of butcher block paper and finished it by drawing her face and clothing.  Judging by the flip-flops, shorts and t-shirt I think someone is read for summer. (Oak Meadow Curriculum)
AG and I made these Paper Roll Poinsettias to hang on her Nature Corner Tree (Oak Meadow Curriculum).  For DIY instructions CLICK HERE

We also made these beautiful Origami Window Stars.  For DIY Instructions CLICK HERE.
We tried our best to blow bubbles outside and watch them freeze.  All we ended up with were two giant mason jars full of bubbles.  For bubble recipe CLICK HERE
Cookie Cutter Bird Feeders were a big hit and so easy to make.  CLICK HERE for the DIY instructions. 
This week AG decided to take the pictures of her letters in a different direction (Oak Meadow Curriculum). 
This week in science we studied the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees.  Unfortunately all of the deciduous trees in our area are naked.  We were able to pull up some pictures online though and talk about the difference between the two (Oak Meadow Curriculum).
This weeks updated nature table, complete with Paper Roll Poinsettias and Origami Window Stars (Oak Meadow Curriculum). 
Another drawing of a person dressed for warmer weather (Oak Meadow Curriculum).
This week we worked on AG's calendar and added some special events, like mommy's birthday :) (Oak Meadow Curriculum)

Bringing the outside inside by making this adorable "I'm Inside a Snow Globe" project.  CLICK HERE for the DIY instructions. 
This week we introduced the four math symbols  (Oak Meadow Curriculum). 
Winter Sun Catcher.  CLICK HERE for DIY instructions. 
Working with word families (Oak Meadow Curriculum). For DIY instructions CLICK HERE.  
Tangibles (Oak Meadow Curriculum)

I'm Inside a Snow Globe!

Forty-five degree wind chills and a sick momma meant a long week spent inside.  A little disappointing since the majority of our science lesson this week was to go on a nature walk and explore the different kinds of trees in our area.  Since spending time outdoors this week was scratched, I thought what better way to connect the kids with the different trees outside than to bring them in? Why not create a snow globe using tree clippings found in our backyard....starring them!  I quickly ran outside and snipped a few small branches off of the different evergreens that we had in our back yard, threw a hat on AG, took a quick picture and we put together this awesome "I'm Inside a Snow Globe!" project and were able to explore the different kinds of trees without having to brave the frigid temperatures outdoors.

What you will need:
  • A mason jar, preferably with a wide mouth 
  • A picture of your child, cut out 
  • Tree clippings from outside 
  • Glitter! 
  • Hot glue gun 
  1. Glue your child's picture to the lid of the mason jar. 
  2. Fill the mason jar to the top with water.
  3. Add glitter, tree clippings and anything else you would like. 
  4. Slip the picture through the opening and screw closed. 
  5. Shake! and enjoy.

Winter Sun Catchers

What you'll need:
  • Leaves, tree clippings, berries, acorns, etc. 
  • A pie tin
  • Water 
  • A piece of twine
  • Freezing temps!

How to make them:

Fill a pie tin with water and have your children add whatever they would like to decorate their sun catchers with. Lay a piece of twine in the water and leave enough to hang over the edge.  Stick your sun catcher somewhere where it's cold and allow to freeze. 
Hang your sun catcher in a sunny, cold place and enjoy :)

Cookie Cutter Bird Feeders

Photo Credit: South Dakota Wedding Style 

What you will need :
  • 2 cups of birdseed
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Straws
  • Twine
How to make them:
Add both packages of gelatin to a small pot and boil until the gelatin is dissolved. Allow to cool and pour into a large bowl. 
Add your birdseed into the bowl and using your hands, mix the birdseed and gelatin together.

Place your cookie cutters on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, scoop your birdseed mixture into your cookie cutters.   Push your straw through the mixture to create a hole for your twine. 
Allow your bird feeders to dry overnight. 
Once the bird feeders are dry, string twine through the hole and hang outside !
(Photo Credit South Dakota Wedding Style )

Friday, January 10, 2014

Portillos Chopped Salad Copycat Recipe

The Best Portillos Chopped Salad Copycat Recipe
Portillos Chopped Salad Copycat Recipe 
I absolutely love Portillo's Chopped Salad and was hoping to find a copycat recipe so that I could make it at home.  I was able to nail the salad but was only able to find one recipe for the house salad dressing and sadly in my opinion, it tasted nothing like the original.  The recipe itself was very good so I decided to go ahead and post it for those who have never had the original Potillo's chopped salad and therefor have no expectations going into it.   For those of you who have had it, proceed with caution because you will more than likely be disappointed.  

Portillos Chopped Salad Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of cooked Ditalini pasta
  • 3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups of chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 2 cups of chopped red cabbage
  • 1 tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup of chopped green onions
  • 1 cup of crispy bacon chopped
  • 4 ounces of gorgonzola cheese 

  1. Cook pasta according to package, drain, rinse. 
  2. Cook bacon until crisp. 
  3. Mix lettuce, cabbage, green onions, bacon and gorgonzola cheese in a large bowl.
  4. Serve with dressing, recipe below. 
Portillos Chopped Salad Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil 
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender EXCEPT the olive oil. Turn the blender on low while slowly pouring the oil until the mixture is emulsified and blended.   

The Best Portillos Chopped Salad Dressing Recipe, Portillos, Chopped Salad, Recipe, portillos, dressing, recipe, portillos, portilos

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Homemade Bubble Recipe

With temperatures well below negative this week, there were a lot of really cool outdoor idea posts circling around the internet.  One that really caught my eye was a blog post written about a photographer who blew bubbles with her daughter outside in the freezing temps. As a result the bubbles froze and turned into these beautiful little ice domes.  Since all of our bubbles were frozen shut in our outdoor chest, Kevin went to the store to buy some.  Would you believe that he actually had a hard time finding bubbles at the store in the middle of January? ;)  So I just decided to make our own.  The experiment was a huge fail. Every bubble popped before it even had a chance to hit the ground.  I even went as far as to put bubbles on a plate and set them outside.  No luck.  So we made the best of two giant jars of bubbles, brought them inside and let the kids keep themselves busy for awhile blowing bubbles to the dogs.


  • 6 cups of water 
  • 1 cup of corn syrup 
  • 2 cups of dishwashing soap.  We used palmolive. 
Mix the water and corn syrup until the corn syrup has dissolved.  Gently add the soap. Store in a mason jar or milk jug.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Origami Window Stars

How to make: Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids
How to make: Origami Window Stars 
This is a project that is better spoken and taught through photos. The end result is just beautiful.  

How to make: Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids

How to make Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids, paper
How to make Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids, paper
How to make Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids, paper

How to make Origami Window Stars, origami project, kids, paper

Paper Roll Poinsettias

One of my favorite discoveries of the week was finding the blog The Crafty Crow.  How is it that I am just now discovering this blog? Hundreds of amazing craft ideas for the kids that will keep them busy until they're too old to want to do them! To continue on with our study of winter, AG and I decided to craft up these super easy Paper Roll Poinsettias to add to her nature corner! Here's how we made them.

What you will need:
  • Round coffee filters 
  • Red acrylic paint 
  • A paintbrush 
  • Cardboard toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Scissors 
  • Glue (You will see that I used a hot glue gun. This will work too.  I only went this route because we were out of glue!
  • String to hang 
How to make them:
  1. Start by painting your coffee filters red.  Because you want the filters to be somewhat transparent, we dipped the filters in water, wet our brushes and then painted the filters. We used two filters for three flowers just to give you an idea of how many to paint.  Set aside and allow to dry.
  2. Next, paint the inside and outside of your cardboard rolls red.  Start by cutting them in half so that it is easier to reach the inside the tubes.  Once they are painted set them aside and allow to dry. 

  3. Once your painted filters and cardboard rolls are dry, press the cardboard rolls flat and cut them  into half inch slices. 
  4. Dip the cardboard slices in glue and stick them to the coffee filters.  Once they have dried, cut them out trimming away all extra paper. 

  5. Glue the slices (petals) together! Again, I used a hot glue gun so this process went rather quickly.  If you do use glue, you might need to use clothespins to keep the petals together while they dry.

  6. Thread fishing line or thread through the back of one of the petals and you're all set to hang!  

Monday, January 6, 2014

How to make snow when its cold outside.

So how cold is it in your neck of the woods?  Grab a cup of boiling water (I took mine from the Keurig coffee maker), open the door and flick the contents into the air!

Stay warm! ~ Kevin

Friday, January 3, 2014

Colored Ice Eggs

This is an incredibly easy and quick project to do when it's COLD outside! We only had blue, red and yellow food coloring and mixed them in different colored balloons so opening the balloons was a surprise.  Somehow we managed to mix every color of the rainbow.

What you will need:

  • balloons 
  • food coloring 
  • freezing temps
What to do:
  1. Put a few drops of food coloring inside the opening of your balloon, fill with water, tie closed and shake to mix the color.  
  2. Place the balloons outside for a least 24 hours to freeze.
  3. Using scissors, cut off the top of the balloon off and peel it back to reveal your beautiful ice eggs!

Our Homeschool Week In Review: Week One

This week was our first week using the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum.  Because we are starting midyear we had to jump around a bit. Just for reference we covered Lesson 1 for circle time, language arts, mathematics, social studies, music and crafts and Lesson 13 for science. We focused a lot on winter and snow this week which was perfect timing after getting over a foot of snow! Autumn said that she "loved" the curriculum which was reassuring.   :)

Here is our week in review:

 This week we were blessed with an almost 50 degree day so the kids and I decided to take a quick nature walk in the back of our house to gather items for AG's seasonal table.  As you can see that quickly turned into mountain climbing and very few items were collected.  
AG setting up her winter seasonal table (Oak Meadow Curriculum).
 Paper snowflakes (Oak Meadow Curriculum)
The winter seasonal table (Oak Meadow Curriculum).
We decided that AG's seasonal table needed a little more color. 
DAY ONE: Waldorf inspired monthly acorn calendar. CLICK HERE for more information.  
Freezing cold temps and over a foot of snow = lots of winter inspired crafts this week.  I love the way these beautiful Ice Eggs turned out.  CLICK HERE for more information.  
Pumpkin bird feeders.  CLICK HERE for more information. 
We made Sparkly Snow Playdough to compliment our study of snow and winter.   CLICK HERE for more information and the recipe.  
AG practicing her recorder (Oak Meadow Curriculum)

Planting and watering our microgreens.  We planted basil, cilantro, rainbow beets and carrots.  CLICK HERE for more information. 
I can't believe that this was the very first time that we have ever made bread.  It was so EASY! CLICK HERE for recipe.
The Four Processes of Math (Oak Meadow Curriculum)
This is an AWESOME website where you can download beginner phonic books totally FREE with zero commitment. The books can be printed or used on your handheld devices.
CLICK HERE to get yours! 
Oak Meadow Curriculum

Additional resources we found helpful:

Snowflakes and Snow:

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