Homeschool Away From Home Day! #homeschoolspiritweek

24 09 2012

We are having a blast homeschooling, but one of the drawbacks is that there isn’t time leftover to post all the exciting things we do! (sorry!)  This week we’re celebrating Homeschool Spirit Week and I thought we could share some of the week with you.

Today is Homeschool Away From Home Day!
We’ve got other travel in store this week, so our “away from home” was outside today. We had the most perfect fall weather! (t made my heart sad to think of other elementary school children stuck inside.)

We practiced phonemes with a game of hopscotch. Hopscotch exploded all over the driveway and soon we were practicing writing numerals and skip counting. (By the way, chalk is awesome for beginning writers!)

And then making an underwater habitat for piranha. (They started off as koi, but Mighty Man added teeth.)

There was a momentary interruption when someone spotted an inchworm and we all stopped to observe.

Find International Homeschool Spirit Week 2012 on Facebook and at Currclick.

Recipe ideas with Fillipo Berio Olive Oil #imabzzagent

13 06 2012

There are many different kinds of oils jammed into my cupboard, but the one that’s sitting in front is Filippo Berio Olive Oil.  Filippo Berio is one of the brands that I like to buy, so I was excited to participate in the BzzCampaign. I’ve been brushing up on the health benefits to using olive oil over butter and other oils. Inspired to make some meaningful substitutions in our family’s diet, I started looking for more places to use it beyond the typical sauteed onions and garlic.

Once I started keeping track of how many things I can use olive oil in, I was surprised by how versatile it really is. With a bit of balsamic vinegar, a cutting of basil from the garden, and some salt and pepper, olive oil makes a tasty dressing for grape tomato halves. Adding a splash of olive oil to jarred spaghetti sauce makes it taste more like homemade. (And it only takes a tiny bit to keep cooked spaghetti from sticking to itself while trying to keep it warm until the kids have finished cleaning their room and are ready to eat dinner…that can be awhile!)

One of the new recipes I tried was this one for grilled pork from Leite’s Culinaria, using olive oil in place of the canola oil in the marinade. When I broiled the meat, the olive oil made a shiny crust on the outside of the meat just like canola oil would have. And, my goodness, the board dressing should not be optional! Using Filippo Berio Olive Oil gave it a bright, almost fruity flavor that really bounced off the sweetness of the meat. My family agreed that it had exceptional flavor, and ate it up before I could get a picture.

So, I made it a point to get some pictures of another flavorful dish, our family potatoes. During grilling season, we eat a lot of potatoes cooked on the grill in foil packets. Usually, I add butter, but have found that olive oil makes it a less heavy side dish and doesn’t burn as easily. This is an easy dish to make with kids, who love to shake the spices on! Here’s the recipe:

Family Potatoes Recipe:

1. Slice each potato into 8 wedges.

2. Add potatoes, enough olive oil to coat the pieces, and your choice of seasonings to a sturdy plastic bag. (Think beyond salt and pepper to rosemary, Old Bay, dill, etc.) Close and shake until coated.

3. Wrap in foil and throw on the grill or bake in 450 F oven about 20-30 minutes, turning once, until tender.

If you need more exactitude in your measurements, try this recipe for Oven Baked Parmesan Fries. Love them with freshly grated parm!

My next step is to find the Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil and start subbing it into my baking and desserts. Here’s some of the recipes I’ve found on Pinterest that I’m drooling over:

Olive Oil Granola (from a blog called “Love & Olive Oil,” no less)

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Palmiers (I didn’t think those could be made in a healthier way)

Olive Oil Pancakes (I love pancakes!)

 Do you have any recipes with olive oil that I should try too?

PS–Just a disclaimer, this is my own opinion of Filippo Berio Olive Oil. As a bzzagent, I got a free sample bottle as part of this BzzCampaign, but the opinions are all mine. You can take my review with a grain of salt…Or a whole sprinkle of salt over a small dish of olive oil with some crusty bread to dip in it. That would be nice.

Lenten Postcard Prayer Project

18 02 2012

Inspired by the Family Lent tradition shared by the Totus Tuus Family on their blog, we’ve decided to make an extra effort to prayer for our friends and family this Lent. We’ll spend the next few days gathering names on slips of paper in a basket. Then, during Lent, the kids can draw a name out at dinnertime and we’ll say a special prayer for that person.

I think it’s also important for us to share a little note with the people we pray for. I know it will help the kids make a more concrete connection with prayer. And hopefully, it’ll be a joy for the recipients to get a piece of happy mail.

I’ve made these postcards that the kids can personalize by coloring the flowers or even just signing their names. There is also space to write the recipient’s name at the top and the date. Yes, it’s going to be a big chunk of postage, but I think it’ll be worth it.

I invite you to download the file I made here. After downloading, just find some white or colorful cardstock, print the first page, flip it, print the 2nd page on the back, and cut into 4 cards.

{The cards were created with flower clip art from: and the Pea Kassidy from Kevin & Amanda at }

Catholic IcingI’ve added this post to the Lenten Link-Up at Catholic Icing where you will find more ideas for celebrating a meaningful Lent.

More birthday cupcakes…

12 02 2010

We celebrated more birthdays today for some stuffed animal friends. Bean got these cupcakes for her birthday and they are such a fun set. (Thank you, Auntie!) She loves to bake and decorate them! And, she always wears the oven mitt when moving the cupcake pan around. Certainly a lot easier than making cupcakes or candies for all of Bean’s friends!

A Strong and Happy Gymnastic Bean

18 01 2010

Bean's drawing

I asked Bean what helps make her strong and happy, and she said going to her little gym. She drew a great picture of having fun at her gymnastics class. This idea was probably foremost in her mind because she’s been overly excited these past few days about practicing her skills for their “big show” in class next week. She loves to draw, but since she  just turned 4 years old, I had to ask her to explain some of her details. I love the little stick arms & legs and how she drew the faces with big open smiles. Her story is below in blue and I’ve translated a little after to make it easier to follow.

“One, two, three, four people. Four. This is me. This is me. This is me. This is me. [She drew herself 4 times, in 4 different outfits and hairstyles, of course!]
They follow all the dots to a beam…This dot to this dot to this dot.
[Her gym has dots on the floor to make a path; she followed the path in green marker on the lower left hand side]
…and jump over here…and walk over here all the way to a beam.
[She has a balance beam (line) and vault in purple in the lower right hand corner]
Right here they are jumping on here and then they are keeping their feet together and they are jumping.
[The girl with a red head, a red-orange leotard and green hair is jumping on the yellow & pink donut mat]
And right here they are tumbling.
[The girl with red hair in the lower left hand corner who appears to be wearing an orange toga with blue and green dots.]
And this one is laying here because there’s a puppet.
[The girl with huge hair and a red-striped leotard. Bean gave her a black dotted ball too. A puppet??]
And this one, she’s walking on the ball and then she’s jumping here and then she’s jumping on the ball.”
[The girl in purple is jumping on the two orange mats and the red ball.]

Two other things that Bean wanted to make sure I knew about are the “jumpy snake” [the light blue shape near the yellow mat] and the “swimsuit leotard” [the polka-dotted shape near the purple girl and red ball]. I’m not quite sure what either of those are about. Any ideas? The other details are different mats and gym equipment and some of her words. [the zig-zags in the middle of the page]

Bean coloring

Do two markers color twice as fast or make it twice as orange?

I’m entering Bean’s picture in the “Strong and Happy” Drawing Contest sponsored by 5 Minutes for Mom along with Yoplait Kids. Thank you Yoplait! (Bean enjoys Yoplait Kids yogurt cups and Go-Gurt.) Visit the contest here to see all the other cute entries and enter your kids’ drawings for a chance to win a generous prize to use towards classes (including sports) and/or education materials for them.

PS-Couldn’t resist adding these two flashback links:

Bean likes to exercise

Bouncy Bean (aka “Thank you, Grandma, for sending me a leotard!)

Christmas Tree Craft

19 12 2009

I was going to share some more of Bean’s crafts, but don’t know where to start. We made paper Santas this week with simple shapes cut out of construction paper and decorated with markers, crayons and stickers. Well, this is also the week Bean has decided to practice her scissor skills. Poor Santa is in a million pieces!

I saw this cute craft for paint stirring stick Christmas trees over at Many Little Blessings. I like the easy clean-up with the cotton swaps as paint brushes. I think the eraser end of a pencil would work too. We’ll have to stop at the hardware store and ask for some paint stirrers or maybe we’ll paint (and then cut up) some construction paper trees!

Cattiwampus Unusual Gifts & Giveaway Link

25 11 2009

I just found this fun shop called Cattiwapmus via the As Good As Cake blog. I love indie stores! From their adorable clothing like these Robot Tees, to their fun games like Candy Dominoes, you’re bound to find more than one thing to “ooh and awwwh” over. Bean and Mighty Man could really use some new tableware like the Wheels Dish Set. The store also has a blog where you can read about their specials and new products.

Enter to win $25 store credit to Cattiwampus from As Good As Cake Reviews and Giveaways: here.

As Good As CakeI highly recommend stopping by to see all the other the very unique and artistic ideas on her Holiday Giveaway list!

Fall Sugar Cookies

18 11 2009

Bean is always asking to make sugar cookies. I don’t mind since I love eating them too! We recently made a plate of cookies for meme & pepe’s anniversary party. They have two white cats that love to chase squirrels and leaves. Most of the squirrels look a little too happy to me!

We added some pumpkin pie spice to the sugar cookie dough that gave them a nice fall flavor. The icing is made with Wilton meringue powder which dries rock-hard, but gives a nice finished sheen to the cookie.


Personalizing Bean’s Totes

19 09 2009

tote 2Bean loves carrying things around in bags, so I bought a package of small, colorful tote bags at the craft store to make some Christmas gifts for her.  But, she didn’t forget about seeing me purchase them and I couldn’t wait to try out some ideas, so we’ve already made two together. Maybe I’ll get some of my cloth bags back from her now!

The blue one has a iron-on from Simplicity and a twill black ribbon which I ironed on with stitch witchery. The felt pieces on the yellow bag were cut out freehand from scraps. They were too thick to iron-on, so Bean helped me glue them on and I’m slowly finishing sewing the edges down. It’s a picture of her in a leotard (although she calls the girl Maisy) with Maisy’s Panda sitting on the balance beam (it was going to be Little Black Cat, but I couldn’t find a visual reference). They’re playing with the bouncy balls and the purple slide/beam/cheese/scrap that Bean found. She couldn’t decide what to call it, but insisted that it be part of the design! Bean also didn’t want the little girl to have a smile on her face. She’s saying “ta-da” with her arms in the air, so she must be happy!tote 1

Insert plug here: If you’re looking for a handmade, personalized gift for your super star, I’d be happy to help! Email me or convo through Etsy with your ideas and I’ll send you a quote. I could also put together a kit for you to assemble together…

The Mighty Man

29 04 2009


Bean calls her little brother “Mighty Man.” And he is…Just look at him showing off his startle reflex muscles in his sleep!