Catching up and Re-establishing Routine

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The turkey has been transformed into tetrazzini and the black Friday deals are in the bag. The kids are thoroughly strung out on pie and their eggnog addiction is in full swing. So, in an attempt to push the proverbial reset button on the family today we did nothing but homeschool in the morning and playing in the backyard followed by crafts.  Nothing crazy, nothing new, we just got back to normal after after family fun and altered schedules.

The boys were still a bit crazy-to the order of about a dozen xmas ornaments ripped off the tree, but they did help put them back.  So, that’s something. We said goodbye to November and tomorrow we begin our 25 days of fun and activities advent calendar! I’m going to be busy setting it up tonight. Pictures to come- of course!

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Morning 92, 93, and 94: Family Homeschool

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We’ve had family in town for the past week and as a consequence homeschool has taken a back seat. I love playing hostess, but have little time to execute lessons and calm the boys down into their routine while Daddy is off work and their grandparents are “sleeping over”. Nevertheless, when I was away on errands my husband and my parents both held homeschool without me. Maxwell enjoyed “teaching” them his routine and of course, they loved it too. Was it a structured lesson? No. Did the routine Maxwell led my family look exactly like what I do? No. Did the boys have fun sharing their love of learning with family? Yes.

We may not have made a great deal of academic headway in the last couple of weeks, but it’s obvious the boys have been growing through the love of their family.

Turkey Buns: Thanksgiving Breakfast Just Became A Thing

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For those of you already daydreaming about all of the gastronomic joy that is going to take place during Thanksgiving dinner this year, consider adding thanksgiving breakfast to the turkey day festivities. You have to get up early to watch the a Thanksgiving Day parade anyway; so, why not make these easy, tasty, and adorable little Turkey Buns with your kids? We made these last year and they were a huge hit. They’re seriously delicious, in the same perfectly salty sweet way of chicken and waffles. You can make the bacon and rolls in advance (or morning of) and then just have the little ones put everything together by adding the sugar googly eyes, candy corn nose, and sticking in the bacon feathers.
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Ingredients:
Your Favorite Cinnamon Rollshomemade, store bough, or pilsbury.
Baconwe used uncured-nitrate-free bacon, but you could use turkey, veggie, or whatever kind of bacon floats your boat
Sugar Googly Eyesyou can find these in most baking aisles
Candy Cornleft over from halloween and usually on clearance at the supermarket
Some kind of frosting to glue the eyes and nose in

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Classroom in the Kitchen: Making Edible Legs

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We’ve been learning all about the body; our most recent topic has been muscles and bones. It’s hard for kids to understand that there are things inside of them since they can’t see it.  So, with the help of some simple ingredients we explored the most basic elements of the legs-bones, muscles, fat, and blood- in our kitchen, and ended the lesson with a tasty snack!

Materials:
Premade pizza dough (skin)
Marinara (blood)
Mozzarella cheese stick (bone)
Shredded cheddar cheese (fat)

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Objective: (for 3-5 year olds)
Child will be able to identify skin, fat, bone, and blood.
Child will be able to briefly explain the function of:
Skin-helps us feel
Blood-sends oxygen and nutrients around our body
Bone-helps us stand up and makes blood
Muscles-helps us move

A note on objectives: these are variations on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and are likely very similar to objectives for prek in most states. The expectation is not that the child will master the objective after just one lesson, but rather that they are simply working towards mastery over time

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Monster Slime: Marvelously Messy Sensory Play

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Sensory Play is an essential part of early childhood learning and getting messy is one great way to involve all of the senses-enter EDIBLE MONSTER SLIME!

Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.

PBS Parents Website

There a tons of Edible Slime Recipes online, but really it just needs to be green and goopy. The edible part is pretty important here because my 20 month old will be joining in the fun and he can’t help but use his sense of taste!  I had planned on making the Chia Slime recipe on the link above, but when I got to the store and realized that Xantham Gum was $13 for a small container I decided a less slime like recipe with cornstarch would be just fine.

On Chia Seeds:
I feel like the Chia Seeds I’ve been using in my cookies, oatmeal, and cereal have been keeping a secret from me. In addition to having manifold health benefits, these tiny seeds turn into fabulously slimy little tapioca-esque beads.

No-Cook Edible Chia Seed Slime Recipe:
Baby Spiders
1/2 cup Chia Seeds mixed with 1 cup of warm water and allowed to “grow” for at least an hour
Monster Boogers
1/2 cup corn starch mixed with green food coloring and between 2 tbsp and 1/4 cup of water. Just play with the ratio until the mixture is thick enough to pick.

I had the boys “pick the monster boogers” and put them into the baby spider brew –classy I know.

Then I went to the kitchen and pulled out anything edible that looked remotely ewwy, gooey, creepy, or crawly.

Add-ins:
-Frozen Peas “Frozen Bugs”-these are so great for sensory contrast of hot/cold
-Green sprinkles
-Karo Syrup –this really invited their sense of taste
-Lentils

Utensils:
Having an assortment of cups, bowls, spoons, and whisks allows little ones to experiment with moving the slime from one place to another.

¡WARNING!
Do not do this inside unless you want a seriously impossible mess to clean up.
I recommend any location where you can clean up by simply hosing everything-including the kids-down after you’re all done. The food coloring I used even stained their hands a bit and took some scrubbing to get off, but we had fun 🙂

Cut-out Spider Web with Step-by-step Instructions

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If you have paper and scissors you can make Halloween decor or a web to accompany your reading of The Very Busy Spider.

1. Fold Rectangular Paper to form a triangle and long a rectangle
2. Cut off long rectangle
3. Cross outer corners of folded triangle across center point
4. Fold in half one more time
5. Cut a U-shape into the thickest part of the triangle.
6. Cut u-shapes along the fully folded edge of the triangle DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THRU
7. Unfold and VOILA!

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Your emerging scissor  user can even help on step 6 and a fully functioning scissor user could make a spider web of their very own! 

Tiny Green Thumbs

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“But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of things that grow.”  Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Rings

Although we may not have much peace and quiet around our house today we did try to have some good tilled earth. The boys got their tiny green thumbs good and dirty too.
This quote from Lord of the Rings always makes me give an internal sigh of frustration at my own lack of green thumb. I’ve always felt a strong kinship to the jolly little Hobbits in no small part because I share their literal and figurative closeness to the earth.

Also, sharing Hobbits’ love of food we enjoy cooking at our house and I’m always shaking my head at the ridiculous price of fresh herbs at the grocery store. So, we decided to plant basil, thyme, oregano, and peppermint. I also read that these were easy to grow-another vote in their favor for our first attempt at gardening.

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Maxwell and Patrick were both so excited that I was actually encouraging them to dig in the dirt. The gardening gloves I got them were so laughably insufficient at keeping them clean that I quickly surrendered to the chaos of “good tilled earth” all over our persons and just gave us all a good hosing before going back into the house.

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My mother has a lovely set of green thumbs that I can only hope the boys will inherit from her. I struggle to keep desk cactus alive longer than a week. I’m sure I’ll be calling my parents for tips on the regular, but I’m not going to be too upset if I kill everything and have to start over. Even if we don’t get any caprese salad or herb marinated chicken out of our little potted garden I hope to least teach the boys that plants need soil, sun, water, and attention to grow.