More than Flash Cards

My oldest is very good in math. BUT he hasn't memorized his addtion facts completely, and thus hasn't memorized or easily recall his subtraction facts. He can borrow, carry, do word problems, perimeter...He can add 189379+120869, but he can't always immediately tell me what 7+8 is. I was trying to come up with something that was a little more independent, and a little less boring that the standard flash cards. Plus something that didn't involve time, writing facts on a sheet of paper, etc....So here is what I made:


It has pockets from 1-20 and sticks for 0-20 both subtraction and additon. It hasn't passes the test yet since we are out of school and he knows it....but I'll give it a try when we get back to books at the beginning of July.


With the collection of our Cabbage Butterfly caterpillars a few weeks ago we have had butterflies on the mind. We ended up with 5 all together....3 collected as chrysalises, one collected caterpillar and one that was tiny and newly hatched that hitched a ride on the leaf. The leaves lasted long enough for it to grow and form it's chrysalis....we are waiting on it still. The other 4 have popped out and flown away. And out of all 4 we have seen ZERO emerge. All but the first we could see the wings forming, we could see it loosening, but we missed them each time. One we checked every 5 minutes until I took a shower and Paul and the boys didn't check during those 20 was out when I got out. This last one it was SO close. I set it next to Rylan while he was eating breakfast and not 2 minutes after he got up did we see it hanging there- wings still wrinkled. It's nice to hear them call these butterflies by their names now. All of them actually- on our butterfly bushes outside we have spotted Tiger and Black Swallowtail, Monarch and Painted Lady.

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Since it is summer and I don't feel like being to creative we did a lapbook with no outside creativity on my part. All of it was from it was a nice little lapbook and it was for fun, took no time at all, but it was enjoyed by all....

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Solar Oven

I have wanted to make a solar oven for awhile now....and a solar heater....but that one hasn't happened yet. A month or so ago I got a Family Fun magazine in the mail and it had plan for a solar oven. All laid out, using a pizza box. Finally last week while visiting Paul's grandmother we ate pizza out in. So I had the pizza box.

All it took was the box, foil, black paper, tape and some type of plastic....I used old page protectors from a scrapbook. And here is the finised product ready to go:


Then you close it up and set it so the sun reflects off the foil into the box.


Then you wait. But in the summer you should really plan ahead- I didn't- because as you know...chocolate melts a whole lot quicker than marshmallows..... I should have thought about that more when the chocolate was melting as I unwrapped it....but anyway.....the marshmallow was warm, but not gooey, the chocolate was almost a puddle....but it was still yummy when it was all said and done.


We will try again to capture the sun this winter....when I fully intend to make the solar heater to heat our play/school room.....

Edible Books

Every year our library holds an Edible Book Contest. Last year Rylan and I entered for fun. We made this cake:
It is of Wild Island from My Father's Dragon, we had just finshed reading the trilogy and it was a fun tie in to the book. Rylan had a lot of fun making little trees and helping with the animals and such.

So we have entered again this year. It took awhile to choose the book, but finally we chose one of Cohen's favorite stories.....I think it is an easy guess as to what book it is....if you know children's books, that is....

I don't know if I am happy with it or not. There are a few places I messed up on, which I suppose happens when you have "helpers". They were good helpers though- they kneaded my colors all together. Part of me wants to make another- but I won't...although I don't have to drop it off at the library until Thursday...

Editied to add: I couldn't leave it part was bugging me too much, so I covered it up....Photobucket


An Egg!!!

We went out to the chicken house today to turn on their fan for the afternoon and found this:


Our first egg! The larger one is our dummy egg to encourage them to lay in the right place....apparently it worked! The boys were excited, Rylan and Cale ate it right away for snack. And have since wanted to go out and check again and again in case another decides to lay too. They just turned 18 weeks old.

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Chocolate-Zucchini Bread

This is one of my favorite recipes. It's one of those cakes breads that you can pretend is healthy and not feel guilty about eating- after all it does have zucchini in it.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp b. soda
1/2 tsp b. powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa
Beat the eggs, add sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Mix the dry ingredients and add to the wet. Beat well. Bake at 350.

The times will vary depending on the size of your pan. I usually make mini-loaves. Easier to freeze and take out for eating later. They bake about 25 min. I think the original recipe was for 2 full size loaves.
Here is how I have changes the above recipe: NO salt. I reduce the sugar- I think last year I reduced it to 1 cup and it was still very good. Usually I just don't fill my 1/3 cup scoop all the way to the top so I have no idea how much sugar I am getting. I also use applesauce instead of oil and it is still good. Sometimes I do 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil.


Infestation or Life Cycle Education??

So my broccoli is not doing so well. I haven't had the time to go out and pick caterpillars off and they have destroyed it. Luckily it isn't a total loss....2 small plants to eat and a nice lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly. First order of business was to collect one of the pests...


Then we went online to find what exactly we had: An Imported Cabbageworn. Of course we get to observe him devouring my broccoli, the leaf we brought in now has a huge hole in it. Today we went out to the garden and saw the white-yellow butterflies with the black spot on it's wing on my butterfly bush and hollyhocks- so they got to see what our little bugger would look like all grown up. Then while inspecting my damaged plants we found this:


Actually we found 3- which are now sitting in the vase on our dining room table with the caterpillar's leaf. So in a week or so we will see the final stage emerge....

I also found this when looking for other information on this:

Sprinkle damp leaves with corn meal, rye flour or a mixture of one part salt to two parts flour. Cabbage worms that eat this coating will bloat and die.

I'll have to remember than for next year....because in the past we have had a smaller problem with these....but there is nothing like cooking broccoli and seeing dead worms floating in the water, they are so well camouflaged and they get into the flower stalk and hard to get out....


Zucchini- Garlic Bread

It's that time of year.....every year we are blessed with an over abundance of zucchini and cucumbers. We are almost to that time....we are picking about 1 zucchini a day and our first cuke should be ready tomorrow. 2 years ago we picked 18-20 cukes a DAY for a week. So I am on my annual search for recipes. Something new, so we don't only eat plain raw veggies and quick breads. Last night I tried this recipe. It turned out really good.

Zucchini-Garlic Bread

½ cup non-fat evaporated milk

½ cup water (or just 1 cup skim milk instead of the evaporated milk and water)

½ cup butter

2-4 T honey

3 cups flour- divided

I pkt (2 ¼ tsp) quick rise yeast

1 tsp salt

1 cup grated zuccinni

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 T chopped herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, sage, dill…)

Mix milk, water, butter and honey in a glass bowl and microwave until melted. About 120 degrees.

Mix 1 cup flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and add to the warm liquid. Beat well

Thoroughly mix remaining 2 cups flour, garlic, zucchini and herbs. Add the yeast mixture and mix.

Turn out on to a floured surface (or use a dough hook) knead for 5-10 min, adding flour as needed.

Allow the dough to rest, covered, for 10-15 min.

Punch and knead a bit then spread on a pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Grease your hands with 1 tsp of olive oil and spread the dough evenly over the pan.

Cover and rest for another 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 F, prick a dozen time or so with a toothpick

Bake 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.

I used fresh rosemary, sage and oregano from our time I will use more than I did. I think this would make a wonderful pizza crust too. So next time I may do that....use 1/2 for pizza and maybe make the other into a loaf instead of focaccia style.


Our Day in the Mountains

Paul was off work today, for the first time in weeks. We headed up to Townsend to spend the day at his grandmother's camper. There is a pond- okay TECHNICALLY it is a lake- to fish, a huge playground, a swimming pool, and it is about 5 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The boys had our day all planned out for us- and suprisingly it all went according to plan.

We left the house at 9:30, arriving up at the camper just after 10. First order of business: FISH. Rylan was excited to use his new fishing pole. One he got for a prize for selling popcorn with cubscouts. So we got out the rods and walked down to the lake....


here's the first thing we caught with our corn/bait:


This kept him occupied for quite some time. And my 3 little fishermen....being very patient:


After about 10 minutes Paul and the younger ones headed to the playground and Rylan and I made our way around the lake, stopping to cast every once in awhile. Finally we made it to the far end and SUCCESS!

Fish #1 and Fish #2:


After the first fish, we called the others over, and when Cohen saw Rylan catch the second fish he was determined to catch one too. Actually he refused to leave the lake to go eat lunch until he caught a fish. Luckily we were in a good spot for these little fish and after about 10 minutes, Cohen caught his first fish ever:


After lunch we headed up to the Smokies.....we stopped a couple of different with less water and more rocks to jump on and one with a bigger shore area for Lakin to wander on and more water for the boys to explore. They caught waterbugs, minnows and attempted a crayfish but it was too quick.

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Then we headed back to the camper to swim for a bit, then another round of fishing- Cale wanted to catch one. He never did, but Rylan caught his 3rd for the day. But it was hot and buggy so we went to the playground for awhile before heading home.