Monday, September 19, 2011

Chop-Suey!

What the heck is that? Roadkill? A toupe?
That is 9" of my hair ready to be donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths !They collect the hair and have them made into wigs for cancer patients/survivors. I have it in a ziplock bag like some kind of stalker or serial....yeah, you get the point. It'll be mailed off this week and will go to someone very deserving of a little kindness :)

I decided to do an inverted bob, thought not as drastic as Victoria Beckham because although her hair in fanflippintastic, its slightly unrealistic in unkeep and work for a non-celebrity mom such as myself.  Kimberly Caldwell was also part of the inspiration:

They both have gorgeous hair.
A very sweet friend with an infant and who is also pregnant, graciously let me come over tonight and she cut my hair. That means I got to go kid free since the little girl's were in bed already. Heaven, right???

Wanna see what we did????
Ok, here's the before:

Pretty much just long and plain. I kept it virgin since you can't donate hair with any bleaching. I haven't dyed it in almost 3 years actually. However, it was very short about 1 1/2 years ago and it grows like my sweet peas, fast!

This was me January 2010 (shortly before I got pregnant with Evangeline).

This was me tonight 9/19/2011. Long right? Told you it grows fast!


Drumroll please!!!!



Getting ready to cut the 2nd pontytail off!

And just like that, it's gone :)

We discussed bangs or no bangs quite a bit and decided I might as well just do it since I just cut off 9 inches of hair!




Here it is:






Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pear White Chocolate Blackberry Crisp with Streusel Topping

*Your white chocolate will be chopped and mixed in with the streusel, I was figuring out the best way to do it in this pic :)


Pear White Chocolate Blackberry Crisp with Streusel Topping
By: Diana Frazier

2-4 ripe pears, sliced (no need to peel)
6 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tapioca
3 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter plus 2 Tbsp, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, chopped (more if you want it super sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter sides and bottom of 9x13 glass baking dish.


Place sliced pears in the bottom of the baking dish, covering the bottom.  

Put blackberries in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 Cup of the sugar, add cinnamon, tapioca, and mix well. Pour over the pears.


 In a separate bowl, stir together flour, white chocolate, and remaining 2 Cups sugar. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until crumbly. Cover the pears and berries with flour mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I actually did almost an hour). Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Homeschooling: Week 1

On Monday we began our brand new venture of homeschooling Jacob for his 6th grade year. I was up late Sunday night making sure the lesson plan was ready to go...I have a feeling this is how I'll spend Sunday evenings :) I decided to use the same lesson plan format my mom used with my brother and me.  It's simple, but clear and easy for me to write it out so he can follow it. If you'd like to have it, leave your email in the comments requesting the lesson plan and I'll send it to you.

My mom actually saved everything from my entire 6th grade year. I had a few good laughs reading the stuff I wrote. I wrote a fact and opinion piece on Special K cereal. The facts were from the box like, it has X amount of calories, the box is blue, white, and red, etc. My opinions were, "It does not taste very good." "It is too healthy." LOL
For handwriting I wrote a letter to Mariah Carey at a fictional address. So funny!

This week Jacob did spelling, math, English, handwriting (aka cursive), science, home economics, history, Bible, reading, and writing. We will add in music, government, geography, business economics, language, etc as time goes on.

What materials are we using?
 Bob Jones University for English
Modern Curriculum Press for math
Spelling Workout
A Reason for Handwriting for handwriting and cursive
Sower Series for history for now. I have other stuff we'll do as well.
Backyard Scientist and lots of other misc, very fun stuff for science.

I am blessed to have an entire hutch FULL of books we can use. My mom saved everything from homeschooling us 20 years ago. I just grabbed the stuff that's appropriate for a 6th grader. The above first four links were things that we purchased.

Jacob works on the list on his lesson plan for the day, asking questions anytime he has one and I sit with him periodically to teach new concepts and that sort of thing. This week was a lot of review and figuring out what he knows or needs to learn still. English is a strength for him definitely. This week was very in depth with subjects, predicates, coordinating conjunctions, sentence structure, etc and he caught on quickly and did well. Math was a review of the basics; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc. Once we got past subtraction he had a tougher time. We'll be working a lot on math and the multiplication tables. He is doing well at handwriting. He says he likes the book this year and that it's easier to understand and learn the letters than the book he had at school last year. Yay! The spelling book is great so far. It took him a bit of time as spelling is not a super strength of his, but with time he will do well.

History, particularly American History, seems to be majorly lacking in his knowledge repertoire. I feel like that's just sad since he's been in American public schools for the last 5 years. He told Craig and me that George Washington was the 2nd President and not a Founding Father. My heart sank. American public schools have failed him on that one! I LOVE history, so we'll be making sure to catch him up and get him excited about history as well. This past week we studied Christopher Columbus. Craig says I should do George Washington next week, and that's not a half bad idea, ha!

I'm pretty proud of our first science experiment since it's the first one I've ever had to teach and I put it together myself. My goal was to teach him a scientific principle and also make him aware of a major catastrophic event. So here it is:

Experimenting in the Kitchen- Oil and Water

  • Watch several videos about the BP oil spill. We watched one showing the underwater footage and a couple showing the damage to land and animals. 
  • Talk about what caused the oil spill, what was done to remedy it (ha, that's a joke!) and what the resulting devastation was.

1)Smear a little butter on a plate (let your child do it). Hold the plate under the cold tap. Does the water make the plate clean? Does the water mix with the butter?
2) Add a little dishwashing liquid to the butter and mix it in with your fingers.
3)Hold the plate under the tap again. What happens this time? Does the water still roll off the butter?
4)Dishwashing liquid helps water to mix with things better than it can on it's own. This is how it helps to make things clean, such as the animals affected by the oil spill.
     Cleaning Birds- "Sea-birds can get covered in spilled oil, which water cannot wash off by itself. People use a cleaner like blue Dawn dishwashing liquid to remove the oil."

We talked a bit more in depth about why oil and water don't mix on their own and how the soap acts as a medium between the two allowing them to mix. I feel that overall it was a very good experiment. First of all, he had no idea a huge oil spill had even happened and second, he really seemed to understand. He liked how the water just ran off his finger with the butter still on it. I told him that was how it was for the poor birds caught in the oil. You'd think that it wouldn't be a problem for them to get clean since they live on the water, but the oil makes a waterproof coating and they cannot get clean by themselves.
______________________________________________________________________

We're really having to work on keeping him focused on what he is doing. I don't know how he could've possibly paid attention in a classroom with 20 kids when he can't pay attention in a quiet room with just me. It's mind boggling. I'm starting to understand why he was so desperate to homeschool and how he didn't know George Washington was the 1st President. It's like this, Jacob says, "So, the principle is i before e except after...oh and that leaf on the window is kind of a weird color.....c, right? So I need to switch the lett.....oh and, um, oh, um, and wanna read a story I wrote? Well, actually I need to write it. I just thought of it."
Not kidding. All day. I feel like a kid like that would just get chewed up and swallowed in a public school system. His math and history deficiencies would just get worse and he'd continue learning only half of what is being taught. He's too distracted to catch the other half. I'm glad that I can give him one on one time and can hopefully teach him the art of being focused and finishing a page, actually I'd be happy with a finished thought at this point :) He is incredibly bright. Brain space and intelligence are clearly not the issue. He's doing better with subjects and predicates than many adults would and he can clearly articulate and write down what he's learning in history. It's an issue of distractedness and I'm sure we'll be working on it all year. I'm keeping things as hands on as I can to help with the distraction issue.

Last night Jacob did a science experiment with Craig, this time from The Backyard Scientist. It was about surface tension and making a boat go with soap power. So fun!
                                              First, we had a large cooler filled with water.
                                      Then we had empty milk cartons cut in half to make the 'boats'.
                      First, Jacob put the 'boat' down with nothing on it to see what would happen.
                                                    The boat floated, but didn't propel forward.
  Then our trusty blue Dawn made another scientific appearance. Jacob placed a drop of Dawn at the back of the boat and put it back in the water.
 Amazingly, the boat lunged forward and went all the way across and even turned around at the end. It was pretty incredible. Jacob said, "WOW, THAT'S SO COOL. We really made soap power!!!" I believe Craig and I both sighed relief that the experiment actually worked. Lol. Craig went into detail with Jacob about surface tension and how and why it worked and why it didn't work without soap. Jacob wrote his 'observations' and 'solutions' in his binder in the 'science' section. It was fun!

If you are looking for fun, out of the box ways to teach science, I highly recommend checking out The Backyard Scientist.

I did home economics with Jacob today. We made chicken soup with rotisserie chicken, mixed wild rice, quinoa, carrots, celery, onions, and herbs (broth based). I didn't use a recipe, which is pretty much my norm, but told Jacob next time we'll use a recipe so he can learn how to do that, too. I cook by 'feel', same as my mom and he'll learn to cook that way, too. Don't get me wrong, I can easily read a cookbook, I just like to go by feel. Same way I like to sing :) Making the soup allowed me to teach him how to stir veggies, why we use olive oil, what simmering is, how to make broth, how to measure properly (yes, I let him use measuring cups even without a recipe), how to separate chicken from bones/tendons/cartilage/etc, etc. He loves learning to cook and I'm glad to teach him. There is something so sad about children not learning to cook or doing things hands on. My mom was an excellent teacher to my brother and me and that is why we both love cooking and being in the kitchen. It takes a certain confidence in the kitchen for someone to feel comfortable to try new things, cook without a recipe, etc. That confidence comes from practice and someone teaching and encouraging. When he got here Jacob had never made anything in the kitchen before. I told him putting cold cereal in a bowl or microwaving a Hot Pocket don't count :) He is learning a lot and his future wife will thank me someday!

So, yup, it was a great first week!

Paula Deen's Blackberry Crisp

Ok friends, THIS is a good recipe! Craig said he wanted to eat the whole darn thing.

4 Cups fresh blackberries, or frozen, thawed and drained well (I used fresh)
2 Cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter sides and bottom of 2 1/2 qt casserole dish.

Put blackberries in a bowl, sprinkle with 1 Cup of the sugar, add cinnamon, and mix well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour and remaining 1 Cup sugar. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until crumbly. Pour sugared berries into prepared pan, and cover with flour mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I actually did almost an hour). Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend



We found some pretty good deals at Goodwill this weekend! Canning jars (.20 each!), brand spankin' new Sanita clogs all silver and pretty and $100 on Zappos.com.....
 also Gap and Gymboree kid's clothes, Columbia men's clothes, and adorable Halloween costumes.
 We also scored finding Jacob a camo Carhartt jacket for $15. That will be awesome this fall and winter here on the Farm. We thought we'd accidentally taken crazy pills and then travelled to another universe today as Goodwill was extremely busy and LOUD and just generally felt like a circus. Or maybe like we were the chimpanzees on exhibit at the zoo. But we braved it and found some good deals. I'm still recovering.

We spent the early evening hanging out in the yard and picking blackberries.
This is my dear, sweet Eliana (almost 3 years old) riding her Tractor in TWO tu-tu's! She is amazing and daily cracks me up.

I made my 28th blackberry pie (not really, but probably getting close) and I think this might've been the best one yet! I changed a few recipes to make this one MINE :)



Diana's Blackberry Pie:


Ingredients

  • 5 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca
  • Pastry for the top and bottom of a 10"pie
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Combine 5 cups berries with the sugar and tapioca. Mix well, but gently as to not break the berries. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell.  Drop pieces of the 2 Tbsp butter on top of the berry filling. Place the top pie shell. Seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
  2. Bake at 425 degree F (220 degrees C) for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Yum! So good and delicious with plain vanilla ice cream. Enjoy :)

I also scored some fabric remnants at a friend's yard sale today, so I now must officially put "relearn how to sew with a sewing machine" on my to-do list. My MIL gave me her sewing machine :) I'm dreaming of shabby chic, adorable outfits....think Matilda Jane Clothing-ish. We'll see.....You know, because I really need more things to cram into my days! lol

Saturday night Craig and I had a date night :) Much needed as it had been almost 2 months since the last time out without 3 kids. This was also our first time out without Evie since her birth 9 months ago. We also went on our first  post-baby alone date 9 months after Eliana was born. Oh the magical 9th month....must be something about them finally sleeping well enough without needing to be nursed all the time. So, how'd we get out of the house kid-free? Well, my mom and sister came over to keep Jacob company. My mom put Eliana down to sleep. I put Evie to bed but she woke up crying and needed to be rocked by my mom after we left. We're very lucky to have family so close and to have family that we 100% trust and whom our children adore.

We went to The Loft in Poulsbo for dinner. It was ok, to be honest. I kept wishing I could've gone back in the kitchen and showed them some things. $13 hamburgers should be big, juicy, make your mouth water, and make you dream of when you can have it again. The Oahu Burger seriously fell short.  It was small (for costing so much), very non-juicy, and I'm not at all dreaming of having it again. We split the burger and also an order of the Cod Fish-n-Chips. The Cod was beer battered and had good flavor, but again, not a large portion and the 'chips' (house made fries) were soggy. The color of the french fries was quite dark and the flavor was not burned, but not right.  I guessed that maybe the fryer oil needed to be changed. The biggest bummer was the calamari appetizer. It was a plate covered about 1/5 (maybe) with calamari. It was the smallest portion of calamari I'd ever seen! The garlic aioli sauce was good, but it really wasn't worth $11 when you get maybe 2 little squid. We also had two beverages and neither one was ever refilled. The good: Beautiful view of the marina and sunset. Kind hostess and waitstaff. Pretty, beachy decor.
I suppose I just felt that The Loft simply fell short of it's potential. Beautiful restaurant, beautiful views, and yet the food wasn't up to par. If they could get their food to be like it is at The Yacht Club Broiler or The Boatshed, it'd be perfect. As a customer, you should feel like you get your money's worth. A $13 burger should be worth the $13. Right?

After dinner we went and saw The Help. It was such a good movie. We laughed, we cried, and we awkwardly listened to the lady SOBBING behind us. LOL! I read the book before going and as is fairly normal the movie didn't compare to the book. A LOT was left out and some little and big details were changed. Like Hilly, in the book she is described as being a bit on the chubby side. In the movie she's thin. That's a small detail, but it's all a part of Hilly's character. I think the movie as a stand-alone is fantastic. I was only a tad disappointed because I'd read the book first and the book was so darn good.
It was a great date night, even though dinner wasn't great, my company was :)