Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Classroom Today--March 30

Today we hit the Minnesota History Center for a special Homeschool day with Ben Franklin.
I wish I had pictures, but they were prohibited in the actual exhibit, and the actor who impersonated Franklin simply would not stand still long enough for a decent picture!

We started the day with a group learning activity about Minnesota inventions--things like the paper bag and Totino's pizza. Who knew! The kids got to act out the story of the inventions to try to make the ideas stick. It was interesting, but good that it didn't last any longer.

Then we had the opportunity to go explore the museum. I had never been to the History Center. It turns out it is an interesting place. They had an exhibit on Minnesota in World War II, which was by far my favorite (even better than the Ben Franklin exhibit). In the exhibit they had an old time soda fountain with play ice cream and sundae and soda cups. The kids had a blast taking and fulfilling orders. They also had an assembly line for ammunition which the kids thoroughly enjoyed.

The Ben Franklin exhibit was fun, too. We had read a bit about Franklin, knowing we would be headed to the exhibit. I think my favorite things were the armonica, the display of Poor Richard Almanacs, and the printing exhibit. There was a kiosk where the kids could put in their names and then see it "printed" on a page. You can see the same thing here, and even print out the page. We might do that as something to put in the kids learning notebooks.

Kiddo and Kutey liked learning about Ben Franklin, and it was fun to see some of the things we had read about, such as the armonica, but the exhibit was not as interactive as I might have liked. At their ages, more interaction is better, and even better than machines to interact with are real people to answer questions, something this lacked. That is the reason kiddo likes living history exhibits so much, the interaction he can have with the people. He learns a lot from asking questions.

Kiddo's favorite Ben Franklin invention? The lightning rod. Kutey's? the same thing. Mine? The lending library!

Want more information on Ben Franklin? Check out these resources!
Ben Franklin 300
The Ben Franklin Exhibit
The World of Ben Franklin

Liberty's Kids Ben Franklin

Monday, March 29, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday--Blue/Purple

It is Muffin Tin Monday again. I have been terrible at keeping up with other blogging, but haven't missed our muffin tins! Today's theme was Blue/Purple. Yeah. Did you know there are very few foods that are naturally blue? Even blueberries tend to be more of a purple. We did the best we could. Here is what we came up with:

Muffin Tin Monday

Here is Kiddo's:
Muffin Tin Monday
Top row: purple grapes, blue hard boiled egg, grapes, milk (in a blue cup!)
Middle row: yogurt, purple lettuce, repeat
Bottom row: blue corn chips, blue "Robin's Eggs" candies, more chips, purple M & Ms
And Kutey's:
Muffin Tin Monday

What blue foods can you think of?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Classroom Today--March 23

It was a unique Tuesday today. There are four families in our group. One couldn't make it. I got a message from another as I drove into the nature center that they wouldn't make it. I hadn't heard from the third, didn't have her phone number (which has since been remedied), and she didn't have mine. But the weather was GORGEOUS! And we were already at the nature center, so why not enjoy it!

Enjoy it we did. We started by a pond, poking at the thin sheets of ice still floating on top, fishing out snail shells, observing the leaves and bugs and things caught in the ice. Fantastic fun.

As we headed in from the pond, we heard some rustling in the leaves to the side, so we sat down as still and quiet as we could to try to see what it was. We caught just a glimpse of a very small mouse/vole/shrew as it scurried under the leaves. Quite a treat.

Then we went on a little walk. We observed all sorts of animal signs--tracks, scat, broken twigs, and that little burr in the middle of the path. That led to a great discussion about what it was and why it would have tiny hooks. So cool.

As we came back around toward the building, we spotted our friends. YAY! So the kids got to hang out with J, while I talked to his mom O. They had a great time, we ate some lunch, and played some more in the wonderful, warm sun. Ahhh...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday--Themeless 6--or Red, Orange, Yellow

I love it when my Muffin Tin Monday meals create their own themes. There was no specific theme this week, so I pulled some muffin tin staples together. As I was putting them into the tin, I realized that We had the beginning of a rainbow! Red, orange, yellow!

Muffin Tin Monday

Top: dried cranberries, pepperoni
Middle: baby carrots, cheese
Bottom: applesauce, vanilla yogurt with honey (to make it yellow)

Muffin Tin Monday

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am addicted to watching Molly!

Molly the barn owl, that is. Have you seen it yet? Molly is a barn owl in California who is currently sitting on a nest with 5 (or 6?) eggs. McGee (the male of the pair) brings her food and you can watch her eat it right there in the owl box! It is amazing! If you follow the chat next to it, you can sometimes catch answers to questions about the owls from the people who are providing the feed, and from other folks knowledgeable about owls. I'm now looking for resources so we can learn a bit more about barn owls and all my time spent watching them will not be completely wasted! Go check it out!

Edited to add:
I just got my clickschooling e-mail of the day, and this is the feature! But she had a different site for the feed. It doesn't have the chat, but the picture is bigger. You can access it here! Oh, and it also explained. She WAS sitting on 6 eggs, but one cracked, so there are 5 eggs remaining.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays. My mom was Irish. She liked St. Patrick's day, though I will say that the celebration consisted mostly of wearing green! So we wear green. But we also try to do a little more. We eat green foods and, usually, I make Irish stew and Soda bread for dinner.

This year, though, St. Patrick's Day was packed with mostly non-St. Patrick's Day stuff. We did go and do a St. Patrick's Day craft with my MOMS Club in the morning, and we had a green lunch. The afternoon, however, was spent at a homeschool gathering to learn about reptiles and amphibians. Then we went to the park with some friends--hey, when the weather turns pleasant, you have to take advantage of it! We didn't get home until, well, not early enough to make stew and bread. Kutey has gymnastics on Wednesday evenings, so we had to eat and head out.

It was a fun day, just not terribly St. Patricky!

Here is the meal we had at lunch. The kids love food in a muffin tin, so we did another muffin tin meal :)

Muffin Tin Monday

This is the craft we did:
TERRIBLE picture. I had to cut it out of another poor picture. I'll try to get a better picture!

Hope your St. Patrick's Day was lovely!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Whipping Cream Jell-o

My kids adore Jell-o. In their eyes, you can never have it often enough. I came across this just before St. Patrick's day last year, and I knew we had to try it. They liked it enough that it made a repeat appearance this year! I made it for Muffin Tin Monday's green themed tin, but it will come back on Wednesday for the big day.

Since I spent a good deal of time this weekend looking for the recipe to make it, I am going to type it up here. You should, however, click through to see how beautiful it is! I have pictures, but mine are not nearly as pretty!

Whipping Cream Jell-o
2 (3 oz.) boxes of Jell-o (any flavor, but for St. Patrick's Day, we used lime)
2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup whipping cream

Dissolve the Jell-o in the boiling water. Pour in a flat dish (I used a 9 x 9 glass baking dish--I actually just mixed it all in the pan--less dishes that way!). Let stand for about 10 minutes. Mix in the whipping cream. (The cream will float on top of the Jell-o. The kids love to watch it spread across the top.) Chill until set. Cut in squares and serve (or get fancy like they do here).

Simple, no? And tasty! This time I ended up using a box of lime jello and a box of lemon jello. I forgot I needed 2 when the shopping was done, so I had to go with what I had. It was either make a half batch or mix and match. The lemon-lime combination is good and it still comes out very green, so it was good.

Muffin Tin Monday--Green

It's Muffin Tin Monday again! This week's theme was green. I love making green tins. I don't know what it is, but green is my favorite tin to make. This one had fresh fruits and vegetables that made it seem to ooze spring! With temperatures in the 50's and all of our snow gone, it was quite appropriate.

Here they are!
Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday
Top row: Spinach noodles
Middle row: lettuce, bell peppers, repeat
Bottom row: grapes, lemon-lime whipping cream J*ll-o(also posted here)
I also added a little shamrock. It is made out of leftover conversation hearts.

And here is Kutey's:
Muffin Tin Monday

The kids loved this tin! Kiddo asked if we could have all the same green foods on Wednesday, when we'll be eating green again for a certain holiday. I might have a few other foods up my sleeve so to speak, so hopefully it won't be an exact duplicate! Check back later in the week to see what our Wednesday meal is.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday--Yellow

The color themes for Muffin Tin Monday are still rolling. This week was yellow. I have been fighting a terrible cold, it is Kutey's birthday, and I feel like yellow didn't turn out as well as it could have, but here it is!

Muffin Tin Monday
Macaroni and cheese, applesauce, peaches, and yellow bell pepper.

After the fact I realized I could have made corn muffins, we could have had corn or eggs, I had bananas and Jell-o I planned to serve, but didn't. Looks like yellow might have to make a return visit in a few weeks!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Updating the backlog...again

I have a backlog of posts. I am hoping that over the next week or so I will be able to get several of them up. I'll be backdating them (since I use the blog as sort of a timeline of our school year, too), but if you read via a reader, you'll just get a mish-mash of posts. Sorry for that. Enjoy the posts!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday--Themeless 5

It's Muffin Tin Monday--again? Already? Where did the week go?
It was fortunate that this week was themeless, as we had a quick stop at home to eat between Lego playgroup and Art class. WHEW! It was a busy day.

Here is what I tossed into the tins:

Fish sticks, sweet potato fries, tartar sauce, apple sauce, carrots, and dried apricots (for Kiddo, Kutey doesn't like them).

Looks a little blah, doesn't it! The kids made no complaints, however, and ate it all in good time so we could move on to the next activity!

I am looking forward to the yellow theme next week! We have kind of already done yellow, but I have a couple of new things to try, too!