Friday, May 30, 2008

Afternoon Tea

This afternoon I decided to have a cup of herb tea. I have had a bit of a scratchy throat today so I thought a little tea with honey would feel nice. After making my cup of Triple Berry Zinger tea, Sophie decided it smelled really good and asked for a cup of her own. So I got her one.
Then the boys came out and decided they needed a cup of tea also. So this afternoon we sat around the table sipping our tea.
We also sampled some muffins I had made this morning.
I have been making a lot of muffins lately. I splurged and bought myself a mini muffin pan a week ago. I love it. The mini muffin is such a perfect size for the kids. They usually end up only eatting the tops of the normal size ones but with these mini muffins they actually eat the whole thing. So far, in the week I have had my pan I have made banana muffins, pumpkin muffins, and today was a spice muffin. Very fun. And I don't feel guilty for having a few.

While sipping our tea and enjoying our muffins, we listened to Winnie the Pooh.
The last two days we have been listening to the unabridged original Winnie the Pooh audio book. We have the books and Sophie often sits and follows along. This morning we read a short biography about A. A. Milne that I picked up at the library this week along with the audio books. I love that my kids know the author's name of many of their favorite books. I try to get biographies as often as I can. Sophie has now decided she needs to go to New York so she can go and see the original animals on display in the NY public Library. She got all excited when I told her that I had actually been there and saw them while I was in New York.

This little guy visited us today also.
Usually we only have our little sparrow friends come and visit our bird feeder but lately I have been seeing this little House Finch visit also. I was shocked at first to see the red. The picture doesn't give his red color justice. He is really a very bright red color. I am so used to the browns of the sparrow it is a nice change to see this little guy come visit.

Ian told me that he enjoyed the afternoon tea time. I guess I should see it happens more often. Except that Sophie and Henry both dumped their drinks all over the table, the floor and even spoiled a book that was on the table. I will have be more careful next time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One Word

My Mom sends me Meme Emails once in awhile. I often read them and think I will get back to them but end up just forgetting about them. I thought this time I would just include it here.

You can only type ONE word!!
Not as easy as you might think.
It's really hard to only use one word answers.
You can only type one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? gone

2. Where is your significant other? storytime

3. Your hair? Flat

4. Your mother? Reading

5. Your father? Working

6. Your favorite thing? pajamas

7. Your dream last night? forgotten

8. Your dream/goal? Calm

9. The room you're in? Bedroom

10. Your hobby? Music

11. Your fear? Debt

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. What you're not? Patient

15. One of your wish list items? Books

16. Where you grew up? Jimtown

17. The last thing you did? Read

18. What are you wearing? Pajamas

19. Your TV? Off

20. Your pet? fish

21. Your computer? Mac

22. Your mood? content

23. Missing someone? Family

24. Something you're not wearing? Makeup

26. Favorite store? Target

27. Your summer? Swimming

28. Love someone? Yes

29. Your favorite color? Violet

30. When is the last time you laughed? Minutes

31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

32. How many sisters? Three

33. How many brothers? Two

34. How many children? Three

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Over the weekend my children were introduced to new movie.This movie was put on while we were over at my sister's house inorder to keep the kids from destroying her home or traumatizing her cats. They quickly settled onto the couch and were quietly watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks. They didn't quite get to finish it before we left so they asked if they could borrow it. We took it home and finished it the next day. They have now watched it three times. They only get one movie a day so they have watched nothing else except this for days. It is always so fun to hear them totally bursting out laughing. They love the soccer game scene. What kids wouldn't love the elephant blasting the ball across the court with his trunk only to be smacked back by a gorilla goalie hanging from the goal post.

Sophie was very excited to find out that the story that this movie is based on is written by Mary Norton, the author of the Borrowers books which we have been enjoying and are almost finished with. She has already requested that we get the book the next time we go to the library. For now she is content just to sing the songs. They sure catch on to those things quickly. It doesn't help that I sing the songs along with her, I guess. I know the movie well from my childhood.

Green Hour Challenge #14 - Pressing Flowers

For our Nature Walk today we actually decided to take to take a different route. This morning we went down a street in our neighborhood we haven't ever been down before. At first the flowers seemed all about the same as what we usually see. But a few houses had some new flowers to look closely at. We found one house with Wisteria hanging about the doorway. Another house had a bunch of different cactus plants in the yard and some big white flowers interspersed among them. Some thing to look up! The kids loved finding the faces in the pansies too.

I brought along a little notebook to collect flowers to press. Pressing flowers was the challenge for the week. I usually don't let my kids pick the flowers that are in people's yards. They sometimes get away with flowers in the sections between the sidewalk and the street. But most of the flowers we look at are in our neighbor's yards so don't belong to us. But today I let them pick a few that I thought we could get away with. We brought them home to press.

First I showed the kids some flowers I had collected last week (Shortly after reading what our challenge would be) and had pressed in a phone book for a while.

We compared what the flowers looked like before pressing and after.

These composite flowers don't press really well. I really don't know much about how to arrange them.
Here is what we brought home from this trip. We will look at them again in a week or two and see how they all turned out.

Sophie didn't want to draw this time. She said the challenge was to press flowers not draw so she didn't take her sketch book with her and wasn't interested in it after our walk. I think lunch was on all of our minds when we got home.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sophie's Salmon Lapbook

The American Girl, Kaya's Nez Perce people ate so much Salmon and they talk about Salmon so much in the books I thought it we should do a more in depth study of Salmon. We of course have read many times the Magic School Bus goes Upstream but never really done a study or them. We also haven't made a lapbook in ages. We used to make a lapbook for each of the FIAR books we studied but I couldn't keep up with it and ended up not doing many more. But the other day I went to Homeschool Share and look through the free lapbooks they have there and Salmon was there and I thought that would be fun to do. We didn't do everything they had prepared for their lapbook but picked a few to go along with our study. And then added a bunch more pictures. We love pictures.
Here is Sophie's cover.After reading about salmon from the books we found at the library we went online to find out some information and pictures and found a page with most of the different types of Salmon listed with a picture of what they look like. So that is what she used for her cover. It is funny. In our reading they said there were 6 different Pacific Salmon and only one Atlantic Salmon. Somehow we ended up with Seven Pacific Salmon. They all look different too so I don't know which one doesn't belong or is a duplicate.
Sophie also got started gluing things into the folder before I could fold it so the flaps are in the center. She left the file folder as it was and went on with her gluing. Putting this lapbook together was another one of those moments when I really have to let her do it herself and not dictate too much exactly how I think it needs to be done. But she did need some direction otherwise she would have just pasted things in without taking the time to think about how they all worked together. It was a good lesson on organization and not rushing. She often just rushes to get the job done and then gets upset the the end result isn't up to her expectations. I had to help her pause and think a lot.

Here is the folder when you open it. This is all the information about the life cycle.Her pictures of the stages of development in the wheel are really good. But she also wanted to include the pictures we found online as well.

When the flap with the wheel on it is lifted there is some information about the number of Salmon that make it from egg to spawning adult. Salmon sure go through a lot just to end up with 2 surviving "children".
When the page is turned you see information, on the left, about where the salmon live and what they do in the fresh water and Salt Water. On the right there is a yellow added page that has pictures of what the salmon eat.

With the pink flap lifted you see the map which Sophie colored where the Salmon swimming grounds are. There is also a little picture of how far out the different salmon swim in the ocean before they return to find their stream.

With the yellow page lifted Sophie glued in pictures of some of the creatures that eat Salmon.
We actually have one last page to fill on the inside back cover. I suggested maybe we need to find a picture of the way we as a family eat salmon. My kids get all excited when I tell them we are having salmon for dinner. We often have canned salmon on salad. I make salmon patties once in awhile when I can't get salmon on a good price and only have canned. And when I do get frozen or fresh salmon I just bake it in lemon juice and pepper. And my personal favorite is salmon with tomatoes. Here is the recipe.

Pan Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

1 ½ pounds Salmon steaks, about ¾ inch thick
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 14 ½ -ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons chooped fresh basil

Dredge the fish in flour. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the fish and brown about 3 minutes on each side. Carefully lift the fish out of the skillet and set it aside on a platter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and return fish to the pan. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the fish flakes when tested with a fork or the tip of a knife. Remove the fish to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to high add basil, and reduce the sauce, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Variation 1
Pan-Roasted Salmon and White Beans

Prepare the Pan-Roasted salmon and tomatoes recipe but omit the basil. Use only one can of diced tomatoes and add it with one 16 ounce can of small white navy beans (drained). When returning the fish to the skillet, add 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon. There’s no need to reduce the sauce.

Variation 2
Pan-Roasted Salmon and Sweet Onions

Prepare Pan-Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes recipe but omit the Tomatoes and basil. Slice 2 large yellow onions and saute them with the garlic until limp. When returning the fish to the skillet, add 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, ½ cup black olives (pitted), and 2 tablespoons water. There’s no need to reduce the sauce.

All these recipes also work with Halibut, sea bass, or tuna steaks

I got these recipes from a Magazine and have made each one. They are very good! I don’t use fresh spices I use the dried spices and they turn out tasting great. It is a fast (30 min total) and easy. I often serve with noodles or couscous. I think we need to have this soon! Yum. Except like most things salmon is going to be very expensive since people/companies aren't allowed to fish salmon this year due to low salmon populations.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Green Hour Challenge #13 - Flower Parts and a Scavenger Hunt

Today's temperatures were much more moderate so we decided it was high time to get outside for a nature walk. Before we headed outside Sophie and I filled out the flower parts work sheet that Barb included with the challenge. Sophie actually did remember quite a few of the parts from when we have gone over them before. I was surprised that Ian even remembered a few of them too.
For a little more fun on our walk I also printed out the Spring Nature Walk Worksheet from Hearts and Trees.

Right across the street from our house we saw a bush covered with white iris'. We went over there to take a good look at them.

They were very beautiful but a little difficult to figure out all the different parts.
After looking at these flowers a while we stopped to look at our scavenger hunt list to see what else we were supposed to look for. One of the items was a tree in blossom. I didn't think we would find one because so many of the trees had already blossomed. But then I spotted one of the many magnolia trees in the neighborhood and saw a few nice big blossoms on it.

There are a lot of buds on the tree so within the next few days the trees should really be beautiful with all the big white flowers all over them.

Since we saw so many blossoms a few months ago we took a good look at some of those trees and found some heavy with growing fruit.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, the same sidewalk we walk along all the time I suddenly noticed this orange in the tree ahead. Below it is the Bottle brush bush that we looked at closely last week so I know this tree wasn't orange last week.

When we got up closer I looked at what was making the orange and it really surprised me. I am going to have to find out what kind of tree this is. I haven't seen any others in the neighborhood.

Since this was a scavenger hunt for the senses we also had to touch a lot of different things. We were all surprised by how many leaves are soft and fuzzy. Here is the leaves of a Geranium that were very furry.

The birds were out this morning too. We saw them everywhere and they were loud today too. They are hard to get good pictures of so bear with my meager attempts.

I don't know what kind of bird the one above is. It is hard to identify birds when you only see them from below. But when this one flies it has black wings with white patches on them. Any ideas? Here it is again later on our walk.

This loud crow kept cawing and cawing during our whole walk.

We watched this little gold finch for awhile. Sophie was sure it had a worm in it's mouth. After looking at the picture I think it is only some grass or leaves it has in its mouth.

We didn't get a picture of the blue bird we saw or the humming birds we watched. They were a lot more difficult to catch on camera.
Here are just a few more pictures of the lovely flowers around the neighborhood. These ones were interesting how the petals radiated out like a pinwheel.

I have found it so fascinating to watch how the early spring flowers have almost all faded away and been replaced by the Summer flowers.
There is always new wonders to behold.
Now here is a great flower to look at when you want to point out the different parts. By the time we found this one we had been trying in all other flowers that we found. So the kids new all the names when we got to this one.
Henry's favorite part of the walk was this sticky tree. We examined it and had to touch it.

Sophie collected a few things along the way.

So did Ian.

Sophie came home and colored this picture on the back of the scavenger hunt paper. The drawing on the right is a magnifying glass looking closely at the inside of the flower. I love the butterfly with the little flag that says pollen on it.
She also drew the california poppies on the front of the scavenger hunt paper (you can see the front up at the top of this post). There are still some poppies about. My kids love them!

So that was a lengthy, photo rich description of our walk around the block this morning. I am very grateful to have Spring like weather back for a bit. I am not ready for those high 90 degree days yet.