"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: GF Power Packed Pancakes!

These pancakes are by far our very favorite!  This is a recipe I have come up with as I modified other various recipes to our liking.  It's a tried and true favorite.  We eat pancakes often at our house.  These ones are home made with nutritional flour and charge us all up for the mornings work.  I will often serve them with a fruit smoothie, making a nice complete breakfast for them. 


Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside:

1 cup arrowroot flour OR tapioca flour
1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
3/4 cup of oats or quinoa flakes (I grind mine up into a flour because my kids don't like the texture)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Blend together all wet ingredients:

2 tbsp of coconut oil OR butter OR any other light flavoured oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup of apple sauce (you can omit if you don't have this on hand)
2 cups of buttermilk OR milk OR almond milk

1.  Place wet ingredients in a stand mixer or hand mixer and blend.
2.  Pour in little bits of the flour mixture and continue to blend in until nice and smooth
3.  Pour about a 1/4 cup of mix into a hot skillet until the one side bubbles, then turn to finish baking.
4. Serve with maple syrup, a dallop of yogurt or kefir or even some jam!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: Trailblazer Books

I bought these from a Homeschooling Mom who has her last child in college. We have about 8 of them now.   The books are called Trailblazer by Dave and Neta Jackson and are historical fiction gems!  My daughter read her first one and couldn't put them down, she was hooked. There are 40 titles in the series.  They present the life of missionaries and other Christian figures in an exciting, action packed way that holds the young reader to the very end of the book.  The Christian figures include:  David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Martin Luther, Hudson Taylor and more!  These are great living books.  A fantastic way of weaving adventure, history and people together.  

Some of these books came with a Curriculum Guide as well.  They have a little lesson for each chapter that include a Praise and Prayer section, vocabulary, some background information, activities and suggestions of what to discuss.  We haven't used those though.  My daughter just loves to read them and narrate back to me what she has learned about any number of things that impacted her about the book.  But the guides are there if I would like to read over them for some reason or another.

On the trailblazer site they are offering all 40 titles on ebook format, as they are not all in print any longer.  They are also offered on amazon.com, and you can certainly pick them up used on there or other used book stores.  I will likely get more for my Kindle Reader.  I find that format nice for a huge series like this.  They are keepers for sure.  I'll be keeping them on the shelf for my other two to pick up and read at some point.  Whether for a read aloud or an individual free read, they are fantastic. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: November 23rd

This week was a short one! We did some seat work and the kids worked on their speeches for their homeschool speech workshops and competition. Graham didn't end up doing his though because he got a dental appliance in that made it more difficult for him to clearly pronounce his words. Heather did great despite her nerves. This is apart of their curriculum for the year, so I've had to push a little but they are rising to the challenge. It's that delicate balance; gentle encouraging pushes that help to build confidence while building a new skill. Public speaking can be intimidating! It is such a good skill to learn and the more they do it the more comfortable they will become being up there in front of others.

We ended the week with an amazing camping trip to a stunning Provincial Park in Northern Ontario. We went on nature walks, taking in the complex Eco systems, saw a screech owl, some bald eagles and other wild life. We had fun building a camp fire and staying in a yurt (a tent like structure built for camping). It was a truly incredible time of learning and making memories that will last a life time!

It was awesome walking through the forest!
Campfire!  It was such an amazing end to a perfect day!
This structure over looks the marsh and protected wetlands below.
Ahhhh, beautiful provincial park, so quiet and peaceful.
Heather working on the outline of her speech.
The girls walking back from the sunset at Sunset Point.
Esther had me take picture of her progress along the path.  This is one of many! lol

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: GF Donut Muffins

These were so yummy!  We made them as a special treat for morning breakfast.  They made an even dozen and were gone in no time.  The kids told me they tasted just as good as regular donuts.  And the best part:  they don't have all the fat and calories of store bought donuts!

Here's the recipe:
3/4 cup all purpose GF flour (I used El Peto's corn free all purpose flour)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar

1.  Preheat Oven to 350F
2.  Mix all the dry ingredients (except for sugar) together in a medium sized bowl and set aside
3.  Place all the wet ingredients along with the sugar in a blender and blend for 1 minute
4.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix just until it is moistened.
5.  Pour into buttered muffin tin/stone 
6.  bake for 20 minutes or until the 'donuts' have a nice golden look
7.  You can toss muffins lightly in cinnamon sugar while still warm (a mixture of cinnamon and powdered sugar).

Monday, November 19, 2012

A First Book of Fairy Tales

A First Book of Fairy Tales came with Sonlight's P3/4.  Child friendly timeless tales retold with gorgeous illustrations grace the pages of this book.  From well known tales such as Sleeping Beauty to not so well known but wonderful stories like Diamonds and Toads make this book a delight.  My five year old loves to take this one to bed with her at night and reaches for it during the day as well.  

The introduction to this book is fascinating as well.  It gives a good glimpse into the world of fairy tales:  how they came to be, how they were passed down and how they were preserved to bring others the pleasure of reading them and enjoying them.  Both for their story and for their timeless lessons!

A great read! :)   

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

Friday's are always so busy for us, so doing a weekly wrap up has been difficult. :)  I'll manage to squeak this one in though.  I haven't posted one for a couple of weeks as swimming, nature class (both on Friday's) along with heavy weekend activities have been interfering with my wrap ups.  I think I will need to do them on Thursday's. 

 My youngest has been keen to start reading and asked to be 'taught' to read.  We've been working with her in every day life but because she has asked to do some sit down work, I started her on her own reading program this week.  I am using Sonlight's Beginning Letters and Sounds Program.  She has been enjoying the activities.  In the picture above, she is working on a letter Ff page.   This program is strong on phonics as well as offering a complete Instructors Guide.  I have found it easy to follow and very complete.  
She also wanted to do math like the older two!  I started her on her math program a couple of weeks ago.  I have worked through Right Start with all of my kids as I love their approach to math.  She is beginning with their Level A.  

A half hour each day (if that) is all it takes with her.  We do tons of reading with her using Sonlight's P4/5 Core Program.  The books are delightful and timeless.  I have been purchasing Sonlight's Cores since we started home schooling with my eldest at the age of 5.  I have used this core twice now and I have to confess I have been looking forward to doing it again with my youngest.  The books are so much fun!  All my children love these books and they are favorites around here.  Not only do I get to read them again but my eldest girl (11yrs) will pick them up to read with my youngest (5yrs).  I listen to her read with enthusiasm, adjusting speed, tone and tempo as the stories change and I find myself so thankful that we use curriculum rich in literature. :)  I can tell, it's been working!
I picked up a few books from the Trailblazer Series from a Homeschool Mom who is selling a lot of her curriculum.  Her youngest is going in to College now.  These were gems for my eldest daughter.  There were four of them and she has read all of them!  She said she would love more from this series so I will keep my eye out for more.  We have read a loud a number of The Christian Heroes Then and Now Series but these were just perfect for her age group to read.  They even came with a guide for extra activities and what not.  She didn't use them, as she was using them as free reads but they are here if I want to pull it off the shelf for suggestions on further study.
We continued work on Apologia: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and their Lap Book Study.  These are coming along.  They both enjoy learning about birds and other such creatures, so this was a good fit for this year!
Finally!!!  Jenny Cote's The Roman, the Twelve and the King   in the Epic Order of Seven was  released!  We had it pre-ordered for our eldest.  She has read all of Jenny Cote's books (see Book Sharing Monday for a peek at the first one:  The Ark the Reed and Fire Cloud). and was waiting for this next one to be released.   It's a thick one!  I love the look on her face!  We didn't hear from her for a while after that, the little book worm was busy reading! 

The last few weeks have been full of activity but they have been good, challenging at times but also have found myself thinking a number of times how thankful and blessed I am to be homeschooling my children.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Mmmmmmmm What a treat on a cold overcast fall day!  The whole house smells fantastic.  This loaf won't stay around long but that's the test of true yumminess! :)  I love making delicious GF baked goods.  If you are concerned about the amount of sugar in the recipe substitute it for maple syrup, agave or even stevia!  This is a great recipe and the alternative flour adds variety and health benefits for anyone, not just those who struggle with wheat intolerance or celiac disease.  You can also omit the chocolate chips and add nuts.  (which personally I prefer but I sometimes put them in as a treat for my kids).  

Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

- Preheat oven to 350F

Cream together:
I cup sugar
1/2 oil or melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup sour cream

In separate bowl sift together:
1 1/2 cups of GF flour (read the flour package, as it will tell you what the measurement will be for 1 cup of wheat flour.  I used El Peto's Corn free All Purpose Flour: 2/3 cup = 1 cup white flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Blend liquid and dry ingredients together and add in 1 cup chocolate chips.  Pour into buttered loaf stone.

Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick come out clean.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Sharing Monday: The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book

The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Storybook has  been a well loved favorite read for all  three of my children.  It came to me from Sonlight Curriculum's JK Core.  The stories are whimsical, delightful and teach strong character lessons.   The illustrations are eye catching and beautiful and  just the right length for young listeners.  I had misplaced it on a shelf for a while and was so disappointed because I knew my 5 year old daughter would love this book!  When I found it (on a the book shelf tucked behind other books?) , all the kids were so excited.  We stopped everything and read a few stories.  Even the older kids will sit down to listen to the readings.  My eldest daughter willing read it a loud to her little sis. :)  

Not only was I pleased to find it as a read a loud for my youngest but I was hoping to use it for my oldest two children's speech Workshops.  They are each doing a Storytelling Speech for this years speech competition.  This book is an excellent book to pull a story from.  It also helps that the kids love these stories so much, it will make it easier to tell in a speech format.
One of the stories.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Curried Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

These were good!  I searched on line for a good recipe and found one called: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds Three Ways Recipe.  I choose the curry one because the kids and us really enjoy curry.   We carved our pumpkins for Halloween and kept all the seeds to make these little bits of yummy goodness.  It's the only time we have toasted pumpkin seeds and this recipe was fantastic.