Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer Plans
With the summer looming so close, I am not sure who is looking forward to summer more, me or the kids. Me because then I won't have to be the mean school teacher anymore. Or the kids because hey summer is full of sleeping in and lots of swimming. Well I guess I have been feeling guilty about not  making school fun, so I have this weird idea of having a few themed weeks of 'fun' for the kids. I have been brainstorming ideas and themes. Initially I want to plan about four weeks of activities, and if its not to hard and the kids seem excited then I will plan another four weeks. Of course when I say a weeks worth of activities I mean only 4-5 days worth of fun. Any more than that and it won't be fun. I plan on getting four empty boxes and filling them with all the supplies that the week will require and getting most of the prep stuff done before the week begins. I;m not sure what to call this adventure, but it will come to me somewhere along the way. So here is my list of ideas, each idea chosen from this list will have its on blog post with links to activities or resources.
Spy Week
Movie Week
A Knightly Adventure
Penguin on Parade (I have a penguin fanatic)
Sewing and or Crafts
Mad Scientists
Stargates, Spaceships, Aliens, and Robots (yep we like scifi here)
A Hobbit Adventure (anticipating the movie this fall)
Fine Arts
Around the World
Air and Aviation
Roman Days
Indian Lore
Cardboard Creations
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Pioneer Days
Gold Rush and the Pony Express
Fashion Design
Water Wars (everything that could include water)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coconut Cracking

How to open a coconut

A kid (or a kid at heart)
A coconut
A hammer
A screwdriver
A mason jor of other glass
A kitchen knife or clean paint scraper
An oven

1. Find a kid
2. Give the kid one coconut, a hammer, and a screwdriver
3. Punch holes in the eyes of the coconut (find the soft ones) with the hammer and screwdriver
4. Drain coconut water into a mason jar
5. Heat coconut in oven for 15 minutes at 350 degress
6. Remove coconut from oven and drop on concrete a few times
7. Rinse the meat under cool water for about half a minute (this cools the meat but not the shell)
8. Slide a kitchen knife or a clean paint scraper between the meat and the shell, the meat will 'almost' pop off

Enjoy the coconut water over ice and nibble on the meat. If you are feeling brave dehydrate the meat and make coconut butter.

Trust me on using the oven, it is so much easier. The coconut expands when heated and the cool water contracts the coconut meat making it easier to remove from the shell
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Lost Art of Interactive Entertainment

Most entertainment in American culture involves a solitary response to something, even when the entertainment is within a group setting. Electronic gaming, watching TV, going to the theater, even reading a good book. Now I am not saying that any of these are bad or wrong. Only that the fine art of conversation and interaction is lost on most generations and is difficult to achieve with most American entertainment. Social Interaction often occurs on a hike or at the fishing hole when we away from the hum drum beat of everyday laundry and schoolwork. But think about how often we get to together as a family or a group and do something interactive. Where conversation flows and it is fun entertainment. Does it occur often? Conversation happens during dinner but there are always milk spills, food fights and dishes. I would like to suggest boardgames. Now I am not suggesting any of the games you grew up with. In the games I want to recommend there is no passing go, chutes and ladders, or spin and roll. I grew up with these games and find them lacking in anything fun. I will run screaming if any of these games are suggested as being fun. A decade or so ago in Germany a revival of boardgames began with strategic, fun games unlike what most people have seen. This new wave of games are known as eurogames, german games, or designer games. Games with weird sounding names like Carcasonne, Citadels, Tikal, Torres, Niagara, Blokus. All well thought out, strategic and most of all fun games.

Time Well Spent playing games

Why do we believe that 'any time spent playing games is time well spent'?
In today's world, there are many ways to spend our time.
The benefits to spending it playing games are abundant.
Here are a few:
  • Time with family
  • Time with friends
  • Economical (a few games on your shelf can provide a lifetime of playing)
  • Develops strategy and thinking skills
  • Great party activity
  • Something to do on a rainy day
  • Anyone can participate
  • Teaches kids (and adults!) valuable lessons like:
    • how to win or lose gracefully
    • patience
    • critical thinking
    • creativity
    • academic skills (reading, math, geography)
    • planning/anticipating
    • making choices
  • Fun! Fun! Fun!
With so many games available, for all ages and interests, we hope that more and more people will “get hooked” on this favorite pastime. We can personally attest to the above list of benefits. We see it in action during our family nights when we play games with our 3 kids… We see it in action
during our game parties, when dozens of friends show up to participate… date night…vacations…visits from grandparents…when the kids are bored (never happens in our house!)…Any time is a good time for playing games. 

This was written by the owners of Time Well Spent my favorite online source for board games and it is a family owned business. They have the best prices and customer service is superb.
Check out what they have to offer. Over a thousand games, most which you have never heard of, and toys R us doesn't carry. Dave will also give personal recommendations if you give him some idea of who will be playnig the game.What better way to spend the afternoon than playing  games with the family.

Square Meals – America's Favorite Comfort Food Cookbook

A book review on Square Meals – America’s Favorite Comfort Food Cookbook
You never know what kind of book is going to fall into your hands at a yard sale. Last Saturday while taking our daughter P to a church event I stopped at a yard sale, though technically it should of been called a driveway sale, though I doubt I could have fit the driveway or even the yard into my van. But I digress, I picked up and paid the nice lady 2 quarters for a cook book called Square Meals. I love to peruse a good cookbook. Of course my oldest K later rolled her eyes and asked why since she seems to think my cooking repertoire is repetitive. It might be but she will never know since she rarely eats at home and seemingly never with the family.
This cookbook has no color pics for those of you who grew up with the instant gratification of cell phones, dsl, and ipods. But the book does have this great nostalgia feel for an era of hot cocoa and homemade meatloaf. The pages are rife with retro pics and nostalgic prints. Recipes are not for the faint of healthy hearts, it is comfort not calories that counts in this book. To give you a feel for the types of recipes I will mention a few of the chapters. Where else could a person find recipes for Nursery Foods, Victory Dinners, Ladies Lunches, to name a few. Ending with the final chapter being the Cuisine of Suburbia. This book reads less like a cookbook than a tourbook of the kitchens of yesteryear.
The recipes are basic and down to earth and who knows maybe I will even give the recipe Queen for a Day Noodleburger Casserole or the Purple Poodle Drink a try, but more than anything I enjoyed the trip through culinary time. This book has earned a place on my library shelf.

A Parent Journey

In a Land Far Away a long time ago, a child was born. The parents didn't know what kind of adventures this
child would create. But the journey and adventures started right away and have not stopped. At first the parents did not know what to do with a child, and had to learn the ways of the parent. If the parents knew what the journey would entail, perhaps they would have screamed in fear. But the smile of the child blinded the parents to the dangers of taking the 'parent journey.'

Book Hound, book hoard, home library?

I love books. My first job out of high school was in a bookstore, but it started much earlier than that. I remember going to the public library after school and riding my bike to the library on Saturdays and checking out the absolute maximum number of books. So I always wanted alot of books in the home. I think now I am bordering on to many. Sound impossible? I buy them at yard sales, used book sales, thrift stores, Costco occasionally, and anywhere there is a bargain. I have bookshelves in every room. Other homeschoolers
come over just to look at what I have on the shelves, or they say, “Hey can I see everything you have on Egypt?”

Fantabulous Find of the Week *June 19 -Mini Wooden Croquet Set

Nothing terrible big, in fact quite small. This super cute wooden croquet set to play indoors. The wickets have little wooden feet so it can stand up on the carpet. The little mallets have matching balls. Totally awesome set for a mere $1 and no missing pieces.

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Fantabulous Find of the Week *June 12 - Pottery Barn Sandbox

Fantabulous find of the week.
It has got to be the Pottery Barn teak sandbox boat.

With Delivery $10
The joy it will give my littlest munchkin - priceless.