Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homemade Bow, Cajun Vegan Meal & Homemade Syrup, Summer Reading

So far this week....
Monday was a holiday, but I'm the person working all hours when the office is closed, so Monday I worked- Worked meaning I worked from home, answered calls and took care of things when the phone rang- a few calls came in the morning but brought a quiet afternoon, unusual but I was so very thankful that even though I couldn't go anywhere it was quiet enough for me to spend much time with my family that day.

Homemade Bow & Arrows
Monday the holiday, we had a 'Robin Hood' Day- we read several stories on Robin Hood (while we are awaiting the larger classic version from the library to come in!) and watched the Disney Movie that night as well. It was amazing what terms and situations brought up discussions and intrigue. So wonderful to see children's minds at work, really analyzing a story. Both our kids were involved and interested even though it was our son whose interest sparked first about bows and arrows and Robin Hood, his sister quickly wanted to join in as well. Then after some reading we did a little research, found several bow and arrow making links online and were off to the yard to explore and find our perfect sticks. The next one we may attempt to make is a PVC pipe bow, we'll see :)

Still need to make our 'arrows' as we only used straight sticks and notched them for now, but haven't finished making them fancy or anything yet!

How to Make a Stick Bow and Arrow
PVC Pipe Bow and Arrow for Kids

Success! The kids made a goal for themselves- set up a folding chair and were determined to shoot the arrow through the hole in the chair....and the DID it! SO FUN! Even Mom took a few shots, but wasn't as good as the kids were!

Cajun Dinner and Homemade Syrup for breakfast the next morning...
Although not anything fancy, we don't usually eat cajun spiced food only because of the kids, but we went light on the spice and tried these two options out, one baked one fried.
Baked Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower
tossed with olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, salt & pepper to taste
Bake 400' for 30 minutes, flipping half way through
 Cajun Battered Cauliflower and Onion Rings
flour, water, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, salt & pepper to taste 
stir to make into pancake consistent batter
Dipped Veggies in batter then fried in oil on the stove top, about 1 min on each side
 And we served the cajun veggies with a side of Dirty Rice :)

Homemade Butter Pancake Syrup
So simple, easy, love the site and all the recipes:

Butter Flavoured Pancake Syrup

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple extract
Place sugar, water and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla and maple extract until butter is melted. Serve immediately or cool (syrup will thicken as it cools). Store, covered, in the fridge.
Makes: 3/4-1 cup

We used earth balance soy free 'butter' and couldn't find pure maple so had to opt for imitation which I noticed other people commenting on her recipe post had used. We will be checking out other stores for some 'pure' maple extract.
 Just in case the household didn't like it, I made a small batch for the first time....
Our son put the syrup on his pancakes this morning and told me he liked this 'new' syrup MUCH better than his old!!! SUCCESS! 

Another amazing trip to the Library, Monday's are usually our shopping days, errand days, but with the holiday, we went grocery shopping yesterday, Tuesday. And with the week packed with activities of 4H, extra dance due to our daughters recital this weekend, we headed to the library yesterday as well. 
Summer Reading Program at Home
Our family has embarked on a Summer Reading program- the libraries have programs, giving kids prizes and doing fun activities but our kids wanted to come up with their own program for home. They decided that they would put together a prize bucket of sorts with little prizes they could earn weekly- our daughter picked out special color changing crayons, our son picked mini containers of bubbles, both kids wanted finger puppets then we decided that at the end of Summer we'd take another ice skating trip when their Reading program was complete.
Here is what each kid is doing for the program this Summer:
Our Daughter, 12..nearly 13years old:
Being our daughter reads daily several books, having her read a certain amount of books did not seem like anything out of the ordinary to be considered a Summer reading program- So she on her own, thought carefully about this and presented the idea, that she would read 1 new book each week, and each week she would do a book report of her choice- whether it be a written summary, a lap book, a diorama, poster board- whatever she chooses and then she would present it to the family to teach us about the book she read.
Our Son, 8years old:
Our Son, although he can read, has not up to this point enjoyed reading, it has been a struggle for him, reading only when he has to, when he is playing a game and has to read a card or instruction. When I'm reading to him and I have him help, every other sentence. Or at times he enjoys computer reading stories in which he can click on words he doesn't know.  So, he decided for himself that he would read 2 books each week for the Summer, this may sound a little amount, but any amount and being this decision was all on his own, is a huge step for him.
Our Son's books...
 Family Listening....
 Mommy Reading...

Sharing some Amazing Moments...
 At the Library our son found several Cat in the Hat books, and I reminded him we have a whole series at home as well- which excited him. He told me he was going to sit and look over the book, while I picked up our books off the hold shelf. With excitement he ran over to me several minutes later, exclaiming he had read 10 pages on his own and stated I come over quickly. Gathering my books up, I checked the time, supposed to be leaving right then to meet my husband for lunch, one thought briefly crossed my mind to tell him to gather his books and we'd read at home....but NO, my son WANTED to read NOW and that was AMAZING- everything else can wait, nothing is more important than this moment. I sat with him as he read to me- all the way to page 62!!! 62 pages! I could have screamed right there in the library- but I didn't. We high-five, hugged and I KNOW he knew how proud of him I was, and more importantly he was proud of himself and gained that reading confidence he needed. I knew it would come. I have had faith that his reading would progress and he would learn to love reading. Coming home, he told his daddy then asked to read me the rest of the book- of course! Then he did! Over 80 pages in 1 day from my son.  Amazing Moment.

Our daughter, at times has had doubts about homeschooling, questioning whether she is learning what she needs to, what she is 'supposed' to, how she compares to others kids in public school. I wonder at times if she questions because she was in public school so long...She goes back and forth with her thoughts. We had several months of no talks of public schooling then a few weeks prior as our year was ending she began talking about public school again. Just one day, one conversation and just like that it was done, no more talk of it. This has been a huge change for us, to home school, not only for the children but for me, my husband, our way of life. Yet with the change, it seems so incredibly natural. I know de-schooling can take time, lots of it even, and I remind myself of patience as we all settle into this new way of life. I am truly looking forward to this year, another year on this amazing journey.  But through the random here and there conversations of public school- I see the truth in her- as she freely tells a stranger at the store, so proudly that she homeschools, when asked if she is enjoying 'summer break'. As other children complain about having such a short Summer and she beckons them to come homeschool too, telling them how great it is. I know in my heart that this is right for both my children. It is natural to question- I have faith that she will settle into this and be at peace with herself, our way of schooling here at home and not feel the need to question if she is like everyone else, but to just be her own person- she is on her way there, it is an awesome journey as a mother to see and to be a part of, to support her in this, guide her, be with her.
This is a great be a mother.

4H Clover Kids Craft
4H Poultry Waterfowl meeting was last night, along with that, the littler kids, ages 5-8yrs has some time to do a craft, our son also chose a story for the craft.
Grass Eggs Instructions:
Egg Shell- empty the contents, let the kids decorate the shell- our kids did chicks, no soil needed, wet a cotton ball and place it inside the egg then sprinkle grass seeds inside. Should take 3-5 days to start sprouting then grow, grow a head of grass to trim!
Next month the kids project will be making a yarn birds nest for these little guys! The kids all had fun and each project was unique and different.

It has been a fun few days, more busy days to come but hopefully in between we'll catch our breath, play, read and enjoy!

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