Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY Moon Sand, err, Cloud Dough

Moon sand, or Cloud Dough, is easy to make and a fun sensory play experience. It's almost like wet sand, but not gritty.  It's pretty soft, pliable and a little messy. 

So much fun! 

I actually heard of this about 4 years ago under the name "Cloud Dough" and made up a batch. I store it in an airtight plastic container and it has kept for all this time. When we got it out a couple of weeks ago, I had to add a little more oil to it, otherwise, it was still good! That is just amazing. 

Even though I already had some on hand, I wanted the kids to experience making the concoction themselves. The list of ingredients is quite extensive..... NOT!  

Just flour and oil! The first time we made it, we used baby oil. This time we used vegetable oil, making it edible should the Little Tot wanted to taste it. 

The original batch used 4 cups oil and 3/4 cups baby oil. I wanted the kids to make just enough for themselves so they could take it home with them. So we measured 1 c. flour. To figure how much oil to use, we began with 1 Tbs and adding slowly by the tablespoons until we got the right texture.  

The "right" texture is when it starts to stick together, but not wet. 

After we got it all measured and mixed, I think we ended up using 2 Tbs or maybe 3. I can't remember. I waited too long to blog about it. 


As you can see, the children had fun with this. 

Maybe a little TOO much fun!  

Don't see Adelle and Jonathan pictured? Yeah, that's because their unacceptable behavior that day resulted in being grounded to their rooms and missing out on this fun activity. 

NOTE: I came across a blog where a mom and her son made Cloud Dough and Moon Sand. I guess there is a difference in the textures. She used corn starch and flour together with water. 

We might have to try that recipe sometime. 

Linking up with Fellowship Fridays

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Making Homemade Butter: FAIL

After learning about life in America during colonial times last week, we were to going make butter this week.  I had directions in my teacher manual to put some heavy cream into a jar and shake for 20 minutes. Then I went to the internet to see if anyone else put their butter making experiences out there. 

They did. 

We watched lots of butter making videos. Some people shook it in a jar while others used food processors and electric mixers. We thought we were set to go ahead and give butter-making a try using the food processor. 

Here's what happened:

I was all ready, with camera in hand, to make butter, take pics and show off our butter making experience. 

I didn't know I was going to broadcast a FAILed experience! LOL

We poured some regular heavy whipping cream into the food processor. After about 3 minutes, we stopped to see if we had whipped cream yet. 

It was not quite whipped cream; 'twas a little thicker but not whipped cream consistency. Drippy drippy off the spoon. 

So we turned the machine on again. After about 5 minutes, we checked again. The substance looked a little more like whipped cream. On again we go.....


So after about 10 more minutes, it looked like it was beginning to separate. We left the machine on after that and watched the outside of it until we saw the butter clumping and the butter milk separating from the butter.

We never really saw that happening. So we checked it again and decided we needed to scrape down the sides. 

We mixed more and it never turned to butter and butter milk. 

So, not knowing what in the world I'm doing, I thought that maybe the mixer was too big or we didn't have enough heavy cream, so I decided to transfer to my teeny food processor.

You'll never guess what happened after that! 

After mixing in the itty bitty processor, the cream turned into liquid. All liquid! No thickness. No clumps!  What in the world?!?  

At that point I decided to pour into 2 mason jars. 

I thought maybe we needed to shake by hand. So the kids shook and shook. They took the jars outside and ran around the yard with them and shook, shook, shook and shook some more.  This whipping cream never got passed thick cream, but not even to whipped cream consistency. 

We spent a total of 45 minutes trying to turn this cream into butter.  Ach!

I don't know if we used the wrong kind of whipping cream or if the cream was bad, or if we mixed too much or if maybe I shouldn't have let it sit out at room temp for a bit before we started. Whatever the reason, we did NOT make homemade butter! 

I can only laugh. This was quite the experience. 

Linking up with Fellowship Fridays.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Our 2015-2016 Curriculum

I had a LOT to think about when it came time to plan for this school year, especially after I agreed to take on 2 more children. I knew we were going to do something different for Adelle's 3rd grade. I have spent plenty of time on the internet researching different curriculums, checking out blogs and watching homeschooling videos on Youtube. And I thought I knew what I was going to use for 1st grade b/c I already had curriculum books. Here we are, having chosen some things and bought the books and still, changing things up a bit. Here is what curriculum we are using this school year (and some of the changes still being made).

Believe me, it's all more than just easy peasy! 

All Together
We are learning most subjects together. This is a HUGE help! Bible, History, Science, & Music. I like Charlotte Mason's philosophy about children's learning environment and I'm so the type that needs help to plan everything so we went with My Father's World again, since it is based on the CM method of teaching.

For phonics, reading and handwriting we are using Abeka. It's a little tough, but it's very thorough and Mr. K5 really needs it. 

1st Grade
We started out with Abeka for 1st grade, but I am so done with Abeka.  I've stopped using it (all except for handwriting) and we are supplementing with Easy Peasy free online homeschool program. I'll continue with that until I figure something else out. 

3rd Grade
As stated before, we are using My Father's World. American History, Science, and Bible are included in that curriculum. MFW suggested Language Lessons for Today and Spelling Power to complete language arts. Language Lessons has been great. It's very easy to use. On the other hand, Spelling Power has been a bit of a challenge. I really can't make up my mind if I want to muddle through it or change to something else. I am considering Spelling You See

Math-U-See.  When I watched the overview video on the Math-U-See website, it got me excited about math! I jumped us all in with both feet! Mr. K5 is starting with the Primer level and I went ahead and placed Adelle and Jonathan at the Alpha level together. 

We are 6 weeks into our school year and still making adjustments, but it's all good. Figuring everything out is part of this journey. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ Sept. 5, 2015

The Lord is always amazing me. He is so gentle and patient. His reproof is so necessary in our training in righteousness. I must welcome it... ALL of it. It is difficult to bear sometimes and my flesh literally cries at the rebukes, but my spirit always testifies with His. He must increase. I must decrease. 

Everything boils down to the 2 greatest commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31) If I haven't loved Almighty God with everything fiber of my being, then I have sinned. If I haven't loved others with the same potency that I am loving myself, then I have sinned.  Any "should I?" questions must be weighed against those 2 greatest commands. 

At the end of the day, the question is, "Which master am I going to serve?" We can't serve two masters.

Yes. I despise my own behavior a lot of the time.  

Bible - We've been studying that Jesus is the Light and have memorized John 8:12.
History - We are learning American History this year. This week we learned about the Pilgrims. I, myself, didn't know the pilgrims tried to live in Holland before making their way to the New World. I also didn't realize they weren't the first people from across the sea to make America their new home. I guess I didn't retain much from my school days! LOL
Science - We've been learning about the stars, sun, constellations and the universe - in general terms.
Math, Language Arts, Reading - Not very interesting stuff to write about. Adelle's handwriting and reading skills continue to improve. Jonathan is blowing my mind with his reading abilities! He's learning cursive writing and tries very hard to do it correctly.
Music - We have listened to 2 patriotic songs and Jesus is the Light by Carman. Both children have started piano lessons back up. Adelle attends rehearsal for girl choir  on Monday evenings and Jonathan attended a rehearsal for the boy choir. 
Art - The kids continue to make little crafts at the Library Story time each week. We have also made some crafts in Bible to reinforce that Jesus is the Light.

#1 - You don't have to follow your curriculum lesson plans to a tee. Use what will best fit your children and schedule. 
#2 - Plan ahead! Just saying. 
These little tips are just reminders to myself.

Yeah.... I'm cooking, or we don't eat. That's just how our budget works right now. Sometimes I have to get creative and that is difficult for me. I do not enjoy being in the kitchen, yet I'm in there 75% of the time!

I don't think the boy choir is going to work out for us this year. I hate that! I want Little Man to be involved in the boy choir this year so much! That type of instruction and structure will be a good thing for him, but we're just going to have to wait until next year. Not only are we not going to be able to pay for it, but I, as a parent volunteer to the choir, will not be able to make that kind time commitment. There is too much on my plate already. 

My husband. He fears God. His pursuit of God and His righteousness inspires and challenges me.

I watched Audacity this week. You might find it interesting.

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark. It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.  Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil and let us see what we are made of." ~Charles Spurgeon

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we life and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.  1 John 1:5-10

Linking up with Fellowship Fridays