Math and Such

Here's a view of some of our math activities for the week:

Bean Bag Toss

We've used it 3 different way so far-
Cohen- tossing 1 bean bag and calling out the number it lands on
Cale- tossing 2 bean bags and adding the 2 together
Rylan- throwing 2 bean bags and multiplying them togther

It's also great for my not-so-good catchers to get practice in catching the bean bags when I throw them back.

This is Rylan's project from yesterday:

It is adapted from an activity in the book Family Math. Basically I gave him a bunch of 1 in squares and we talked about forming rectangles. Then he set to work making rectangles with a certain number of squares...starting with 1. He went up to 9. Then we discussed squares, odds/evens, and prime numbers. I am planning to have him work more on it so he can begin to see which numbers share factors.

Dot Paint Graphing:

This one was pretty simple, but Cale hasn't done much with graphing so it was good for him. I gave him a set of buttons and a had him make a dot for how many he had of each and answer the questions.

Money Combinations:

The top of the sheet says "This chocolate costs $0.65. Can you think of 4 different ways to pay for it?" I gave him 1 of each coin and crayons. So he made rubbings of the coins up to $0.65 in 4 different ways.

In other, picture-less news....

Rylan started double digit multiplication today- as in 34 x 21. After a quick explanation as to WHY there was a zero in the second row, he took off. His book is nice in that the first page uses graph paper and has the zero already printed. Then they slowly over the next 4-5 days wean him off to just the written problem. He wanted me to sit right with him at first...but after 2 we was ready on his own and came to me later saying that in a few weeks he'll learn how to multiply by a 4-digit number and that he thinks he knows how it will be done :)

Cohen has been begging for school so I have made a conscious effort to include him. So far this week he's done our tanagram book, creating bead color patterns on pipe cleaners, and his favorite is this new website I found- Reading Eggs - they give a 4 week free trial so I signed him up. He's enjoying it and if it helps him learn to read, why not?

Last week, I mistakenly told Rylan that I was done transplanting raspberries. I went down the entire fence row planting 45 and I was just going to dig up the rest. He didn't want that so he planted 37 more in the back side of our yard. The garden is free but I still have a few more that have popped up in the path between the beds.

Now I am off to re-learn precalculus. Paul is going back to school and is currently taking 2 independent study courses- Ag Econ and Finite Math- his advisor wanted him to take a lower math first based on previous test scores, but agreed since I would be able to help tutor him....but it's been 9 years since I've even looked at calculus....hopefully it'll come aback easily.


A few of our favorite things

Being vegetarians, bread in some form or fashion is a staple around here. A common dinner around here is fruit, veggies, cheese/yogurt, and some type of bread. It's easy, and everyone eats it. I make a lot of muffins. Our freezer is usually stocked with banana muffins, pumpkin muffins, applesauce muffins, zucchini muffins, cucumber muffins (in the summer at least), orange juice muffins, etc....The kids eat them for breakfast or snack or both. I drastically reduce the sugar content on most of them and use maple syrup and honey when I can get the recipe to work right, and always add extra eggs. Lately though we've been on a biscuit kick. So here are a few of our current favorites:

Plain Baking Powder Biscuits:

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/3 c butter- cold
1 c milk

In a food processor mix the dry ingredients. Add butter and pulse until it resembles crumbs. Gradually add milk while pulsing until dough forms. Pat out to about 1/2 in and cut out with a biscuit cutter (or cup). Bake for 15 min at 425.

Rylan loves these for breakfast...if there is ever enough leftovers. If you make it ahead of time, roll it up in foil and let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours they will bake up even taller.

Maple Corn Biscuits

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 T butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 c maple syrup

In a food processor mix the dry ingredients. Pulse in butter until it resembles crumbs. Combine milk and syrup, add to dry ingredients and pulse until just combined. Drop spoonfulls on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

This one is really good, and a nice change from our corn muffins.

And tonight we tried something new....and I think it is my new favorite.

Sweet Potato Biscuits:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
4 T sugar
4 T butter
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
3/4-1 cup milk

Again, mix dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in butter. Add sweet potato and mix. Gradually add in milk. (The recipe called for 3/4-1 cup...I don't think I even used 1/2 and it was pretty wet and needed additional flour for stickiness) Roll and cut as desired. Bake for 10 min (mine needed a little longer) at 450.

Really, really yummy and makes me want to try growing sweeet potatoes this year :)


Happy Spring

Spring is officially here!

45 raspberry plants transplanted along the entire length of our fence;

50 strawberry plants in their new bed;

And over 100 pea seeds starting to poke their way up through the ground.


Apple Farmer Rylan

Last year Rylan planted a lot of apple seeds. It started with this one....isn't it beautiful?

It's a pink lady apple. The seed had already started to sprout when we cut the apple open to eat for lunch so he planted it in an empty peat pellet....and it continued to grow...

He planted a few more...mostly pink lady and a few golden delicious...4 sprouted. And grew. Sitting in a little wooden planter box made by him at Home Depot. Fall came, leaves fell. I thought once about bringing them in for the winter...but didn't.

Spring is around the corner. And they have leaves...

They range from about 6 inches tall to just over a foot.

We transplanted them into individual pots this evening. He is wondering if they will ever bear true fruit.

I find it all very exciting....coming from someone who planted numerous pear and apple seeds as a child, and never saw a single sprout. (Although that may be due to the fact that I planted them in the middle of the back yard and relied on my memory for where they were located....). The little trees go nicely with our compost pile- planted nectarine trees....which have blooms this year...


A Fuller Week

Last Friday it was supposed to be in the 70's, so I had told the boys the day before we would go up to the mountains after lunch. The day ended up being colder because of winds and clouds...but we went up the Foothills Parkway to Look Rock.
It's only like a half mile hike...so easy on little legs...

The top of the tower was FREEZING so we didn't stay up there very long, but even with the clouds the moutains were still beautiful...And Rylan, Cale and Cohen ran up and down the tower about 4 times before we walked back down to the parking lot.

We also stopped at another overlook along the parkway to explore and eat a snack....and in reality the boys were much more interested in this view (the city)

Than this view...

What is it about counting how many water towers you see that is so exciting?

The UPS truck also dropped off our new books....

and I loved that they each took one of 2 out of the stack and went off to look at them. We are only on day 2, and sometime once we've gotten farther along I'll post my review of Moving Beyond the Page.

On to Saturday....

We are now the proud owners of 4 of these little race tracks.... I love the free workshops from Lowes and Home Depot (this one was from Home Depot) and if your kids like to build things you should really go to them....they're free!

Today I didn't get to take many pictures, but I feel like we got a ton accomplished. Sometimes I feel like we completely waste Paul's off days...
Todays started off at about 9:30 when a friend of Paul's delivered a load of topsoil and compost.
We didn't get enough- but enough to fill one section of the above garden and all of my strawberry patch. You can see Rylan in the background of the picture with the shovel. He worked so hard. His brothers gave up, or played around a lot, but he worked. Shoveled the soil into the wheel barrow. Watered all my raspberry plants as I transplanted them along the fence. Pulled Cohen and Lakin around in the wagon while Paul and I worked in the hen house.
Tomorrow I should get my strawberries and blueberries in the mail. Hopefully the weather holds out long enough for me to get them in the ground.

Book Keeping

A really, really long time ago I recieved this award:

Actually I recieved it 2 times: from Erica at One Busy Mama and from Lara at Play, Explore and Learn. I didn't mean to let so much time pass, but thank you both!! I am supposed to nominate 10 others...so let's see:
....well that's 5 anyway....

I also got tagged by Val at Collecting the Moments. It's a photo tag and here are the rules: go to your pictures folder and go to the sixth one and then you find the sixth picture and post it.

Here is mine to share....it's of Cohen when he was just about 18 months old...he looks so much like Lakin in the picture....esp since Lakin was wearing these same clothes a few weeks ago...


Spring is Coming...

We're on break again....for the past 2 weeks. We were trudging along, but my creativity is spent for this year I think....with other things I am dealing with...something had to give. So I purchased a couple units from Moving Beyond the Page, so while we are waiting for them to arrive we took off completely. They should be here tomorrow, and we will be back and ready to go by Monday. But in the meantime here's what we've been up to....

We planted the peas, onions, lettuce, carrots and radishes...

We had the cubscout pinewood derby...

And worked in the yard some more...

We are in the process of extending our garden beds....we have a 16' x 16 ' main bed, an 8' x 8' herb bed, and another 8' x 8' that was our strawberries. Last year the berries didn't do well (our transplant bed in the front produced, but the back one didn't), so we tilled them under and this year that bed will be for lettuce, peppers and some tomatoes...
We are adding 2 raised beds- a 16' x 8' for the strawberries and a 8' x 32' for various items. We also have plans to till up a good portion of the dogs yard to make room for the planned 3-sisters garden and peanuts.

I am so glad it is March, that the forecast is for the 70s this week....Now I just have to wait for warm weather to stick around and turn all this brown back into green....