Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fun!

Today's school 'work' was devoted to the theme of Halloween.  I read to the children about the origin of Halloween.  We learned that it began as a Celtic new year festival called Samhain (SAH-win) and  over the years has evolved into what we call Halloween.  We learned about how the Jack-O'lantern came into being.  Then, how the Romans incorporated their feast to goddess, Pomona, with the Celtic traditions.  Next, Christianity was established in the Celtic region and the evening before All Saint's Day was known as All Hallow's Eve - Halloween.

We read a funny ghost story, "Grizzly Pete and the Ghost" by John Beder.  Then learned a few Halloween jokes.

How do you mend a broken jack-o'-lantern?
With a pumpkin patch!

How do witches tell time?
They look at their witchwatch!

What do mummies dance too?
Wrap music.

Which room do zombies stay out of?
The living room.

We then went to the grocery store to pick up all the things we needed for Halloween cookies, mummy dogs, dragon's blood punch, and ghost fingers.

My kitchen then became the staging ground for a big mess!  Cookie dough, flour, cookie cutters, rolling pin, pans, etc. made their way to the kitchen island.  The children had a blast!

Finally, after and hour and half of cookie making and baking.  The children were done.  We finished icing a few cookies and everyone seemed to disappear when it was time to clean up.

I made the Dragon's Blood punch and then cleaned up the cookie making mess.

Combine all four in a one to one to one to one ratio.  Refrigerate and drink when cold.
Next, I got out the 'ghosts' for the yard.  My mother-in-law had given us the old curtain sheers out of her living room last year.  I am using them for various craft projects with the children.  I decided that they would be good ghosts to hang in the tree.  So, off I went to add the ghosts.

Molly just figured out it is Halloween and was begging to come inside.  I couldn't resist taking her picture next to the jack-o'-lanterns.

Now, all I have left to do is make the hot dog mummies and then take the children trick or treating later.  Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toasting Pumpkin Seeds

The children carved pumpkins this morning and that left us with a lot of pumpkins seeds.  Instead of tossing them into the trash, I decided to toast them.

I put the pulp laden seeds in a colander and rinsed them under warm water.  The pulp easily separated from the seeds and I was able to remove the bulk of the seeds with very little pulp.  After I finished separating the seeds, I filled a large bowl with water and the seeds floated to the top.  The remaining pulp slowly sunk to the bottom.  I scooped out the seeds using a slotted spoon and placed them in a bowl.

I added two tablespoons of oil to the seeds and seasoned with salt, garlic and seasoning salt.  Stirring all the ingredients together to make sure all was coated.  The oven had been preheated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I placed the seeds on two cookie sheets.  Trying my best to get them to lay in a single layer.  Then into the oven they went for 50 minutes.


Pumpkin Carving Time!

Today we carved pumpkins.  The children had picked out their pumpkins several weeks ago.  The pumpkins have been decorating our front steps, but today they turned into jack o'lanterns.

We normally carve pumpkins on Halloween, but today I decided to let them do it a day early.  They were surprised. 

The children retrieved their pumpkins and placed them on the kitchen island.  Little Man scoured the utensil drawer for the pumpkin carving paraphernalia.  Egee found the marker to draw the face.  I carved the tops, so they could scoop out the insides.

They worked on gutting the pumpkins.  Scooping out a lot of seeds and pulp.  I helped scrape the sides when they needed.  We found out a pasta spoon makes a great scooper.

After the insides were out, they drew faces on their pumpkins.  A washable marker works great.  Little Man made a tiny face on his pumpkin, so I removed it with a damp paper towel.  He redrew a larger face without messing up his pumpkin.

They then went to work carving out the face.  The little pumpkin carving saws are wonderful.  I don't have to worry about them cutting themselves.
Little Man's jack o'lantern

Egee's jack o'lantern

Thirty minutes later, they had carved jack o'lanterns!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Painting Part 5

Almost done!  The kitchen cabinets and back splash are now painted.  I decided to paint the bottom cabinets brown to cut down on the smudges from little hands.  I was going to leave the upper cabinets the way they were.  However, after looking at this configuration for a couple of weeks, I decided to paint the upper cabinets.  I toiled with the color scheme.  Should I paint them brown to match the bottom?  Or should I paint them spiced vinegar to match the walls?  Should I paint the back splash brown or spiced vinegar? 

I didn't want the kitchen to be too dark, so I decided to go with the spiced vinegar.  As I painted, I was glad I went light.

I had to remove the old back splash and spackle the wall.  Then I had to decide what to do with the back splash behind the stove.  Luckily, I had saved the old back splash.  I gave it a fresh coat of paint and it brought the brown from the bottom cabinets upward.

Overall, I am pleased with the kitchen.  Now, I just have to decide what to do with my large pantries.  Should I paint them to match the cabinets or leave them natural to match the butcher block island?

Music Appreciation

I have been trying to incorporate more fine arts into our homeschooling curriculum this year.  Last year, I hit the basics and we did the occasional arts and craft project, but we never got around to exploring the fine arts. 

I had found a book at the local thrift store "What Every 1st Grader Should Know" and started reading the section on music aloud to Little Man and Egee.  Both love music and took an interest to the story of Mozart.  They eagerly asked questions and we talked about composers and instruments. 

They like to get my trumpets out and 'play' them.  They sit at the piano and can play a tune.  So, I have made an effort to expose them to more varieties of music. 

The Music Sandwiched In program at our county library headquarters, has been a blessing.  It has allowed me to provide various music experiences for them, that I may have not chosen on my own.  Thus far, we have listened to an Oompah Band and a concert choir.

I am also trying to find things for us to watch at home.  Last week, we discussed "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas.  I explained to them how the music told a story.  Then I reminded them about Fantasia and the show we saw at Disney Hollywood's Fantasmic show.  Egee remembered, but Little Man was only three at the time we saw the show.  So, I picked up the movie at the library.

We spent a windy and cold afternoon watching Fantasia.  The children were quite intrigued.  We named all the instruments in the orchestra, as the musicians filed onto the set.  We listened carefully, as the narrator told us about the piece to be performed.  We watched intently, as the images flickered on the screen.  The children asked questions of me and Iasked questions of them.  We had fun exploring the music and discussing why the artists chose certain images during the music.  I can't wait for them to see "Peter and the Wolf"!

We are going to see parts of an opera next week at Music Sandwiched In.  The children can't wait.  We have read the story "Hansel and Gretel" and discussed how it is an opera and typically performed in German. So now, we get to experience it live!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Water Filtration

Today we went to the Landrum Library's home school class.  Our topic was on water filtration.  Mrs. Nancy had all the supplies and we brought the water.  I had collected a gallon of water from our fire pit and pool.

Egee was a little skeptical about filtering water for fear she may have to drink it.  I assured her that Mrs. Nancy had no intention of making them drink the filtered water.

For our morning science lesson, I had discussed the scientific method with the children.  We related it to our everyday life.  Now I got to see if any of our discussion stuck in their brain, as we conducted the filtration experiment.  Low and behold it did!  It makes me appreciate how much my children do retain, when it feels at the moment of teaching it, they are not paying it much attention.

Mrs. Nancy showing the children the materials they will be using.

Deciding what materials they would like to use first.

Putting the mesh into the bottom of the container.

Next, putting cotton balls on top of the mesh.

Seeing how much the cotton balls and mesh will filter.

Gravel has been added on top of the cotton balls.

The water is still green and cloudy.

Adding sand on top of the gravel.

The water is a little clearer.

Now we have added another layer of cotton, gravel, and sand on top of the exiting filtration layers.

Trying it out.

The water is clear!

We had a good time with Mrs. Nancy and learned a lot about filtering water!  We can't wait until next month's program.