Thursday, August 20, 2009

Healthy deliciousness!

I just wanted to share a few of some of my favorite dishes that I've prepared on our new high-raw diet. In less than a week, I lost 5 lbs, some days it appears to be 8 lbs, but at least a steady 5 are gone and my stomach is noticeably thinner, so I'm pleased with that. In addition, I more energetic, my allergies aren't as bad, my headaches are gone, and well, I'm feeling fantastic!

My husband, who decided to do more of a vegetarian thing, decided he would go in for a high-raw diet as well and has really enjoyed the dishes I've whipped up.

This is a pesto pasta salad. The pasta is actually thinly sliced zucchini (I used a vegetable peeler with a blade on the top, instead of the side) which is marinated in a bit of olive oil, lime juice (just a touch!) and seasonings. It was yummy!

This is a raw taco wrap.

My vegan pizza. The only thing not raw is the Wasa Light Rye cracker. I made these for a bridal shower and EVERYONE loved them. There wasn't one left! I was asked for the recipe at least half a dozen times!

These were a big hit. I call them enchiladas. The sauce is guacamole (with cilantro) blended with almond milk. The corn isn't cooked- it's sliced right off the cob and is surprisingly tender! Of course, the tortilla isn't raw. I hope to be able to purchase a dehydrator around Christmas to make some raw tortillas. For now, I'm using the "warm" setting on my oven to dehydrate stuff.

Just Like Cheesecake- and yes, it really tasted like cheesecake... with no dairy in sight!

Another diary-less treat! "Icecream!" made with frozen fruit and macadamia nuts! Yum!

Anywho, all is well in our household. We tried to start officially homeschool a couple weeks ago, but decided to put it off until the rest of the kiddos in the neighborhood start. We're doing reading lessons and math lessons here and there, but we'll be back full force next week. I know the kids are always eager to play when the neighbors are home, and soon, they'll be back in school, so homeschool won't have to compete with playdates.

Keagan's birthday is coming up, and I've decided to to a cowboy theme... I think. I can't believe my little munchkin is going to be TWO.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Homeschool Activity Center Prepping

Keagan is officially beginning "preschool" this year. Of course, we've been doing little Montessori-style activities with him since he began crawling around, but I've been slowly working up a "collection" of activities for him. I really don't believe in buying expensive products when inexpensive things will do. You may not see the value in some of these items, but, with children, it's not the ginormous, flashy toys that really help them learn and grow, it's those inexpensive things we all have around the house- boxes, blocks, paper, kitchen tools, twigs, and millions of other items!

Here are some photos of a few of the things I've put together for Kbaby.

I bought these mini-blocks for under two bucks at Hobby Hobby. I had this metal tray hanging around the house. Sometimes K turns it over and sticks magnets to it. I painted some of the wooden cubes (red and yellow), but it's quite a tedious task (painting a few sides of each cube, letting them dry before painting the other sides), so I'll finish painting them later. I want to leave some plain. The natural wood color is appealing, but I love pops of color. All of the kids tested them out today, and I'm really interested to see what they work them into as time passes. So far, they've been dice, ice, and little castle bricks!

This is the beading tray with various beads- some are plastic, some are wooden. One of the activities I'd really like to do with the kids is make beads from a flour dough. I think they'd really like it, and the beads could be used for various activities. This activity (putting beads on a pipe cleaner) helps build the skills needed to write.

This is a super inexpensive activity but kids love it. I need to find some small tongs for K to transfer these colorful marbles to the ice tray. Still... picking them up with his fingers is good for him too. A spoon would be great, he definitely needs to work on using utensils. He pretty much has the fork down.

These shapes aren't new (you've probably seen them in some of my other photos), and neither is the little bucket, but I finally paired the two together. It's so cute to see K tote this around. Sometimes he leaves a trail of shapes.... like Hansel and Gretel. (Hehe!)

I just love finding stuff around the house that works for our homeschool, and I love open-ended toys! Really fosters their imaginations!

A few photos of Merika and Nolyn's stuff. I really don't have it all put together just yet, so "stay tuned" and you'll see more as we progress into school.

This is the case of chalkboards, obviously. I have about 5-6 chalkboards for the kids to use. The small ones are great for teaching them to write capital letters (Handwriting Without Tears uses this as a tool). The one on the right is from Dollar Tree.

I prefer to use chalkboards because they save paper. I mean, come on. I am not going to save every single handwriting paper. A paper a day for five days a week for who knows how many years... it adds up. My mom just bought them dry erase boards, one side is blank and the other side has the lines (like that chalkboard up there does).

And this is just half of our watercolor stash. The rest doesn't fit in this... so it's at the top of the pantry. (Actually, my aunt gave me a bunch, and we accumulated a dozen or so more from those too-good-to-pass-up back2school sales over the years.)

My aunt gave me these. They are really great for teaching fractions. The clear sheets have lines on them, and you place them over the colored squares. The strips are "fractions" of different sizes.

This is the kid's Math tray. The card (as pictured) goes in the first section. The top number goes into the second section, and they either take beans out (subtract) and put them in the third, or in the case of addition, count out the second number (in beans) in the third section and then transfer them to the middle. In both cases, the answer to the math problem ends up in the middle section. Get all that?

I'll post more photos as we get more organized.

How are you preparing for the new school year? Are you refreshing things?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A new art station & a poster sized art activity

I've always wanted a spot for my kids to go crazy wild with art. Because we're renters, this just isn't possible. I'm pretty sure our landlord would not like paint splattered all over the walls and carpets, but I'd really love to have a room to unleash the creative beast. My husband and I are both artsy folks, although lately, his art has been more focused on wood working... which needs a shop of it's own since that sort of hobby tends to cover things with a layer of saw dust.

Since we don't really have a designated space, we sometimes do the messier art outdoors, but I've always wanted a spot for the kids to sit down and color, draw, or doodle.... some place besides the kitchen table.

I've been eyeing IKEAS's LACK tables. They recently dropped in price so we headed to IKEA to snag a couple, and purchased four little kiddie stools as well. The kids really love their art station, and so do I.

There's a project I've been wanting to test out for some time, so we tackled that today. It's much more fun if you have more people involved, especially since there is so much coloring involved (and I didn't want to get out the paints).

I'm telling you, putting the stools and tables together definitely worked out my arms! Woo! Keagan loves having a seat and table that is his size.

I used a tin bucket to hold crayons and a black iron dish holder thingy (from Taste of Home- what are those called?) to hold scraps of paper.

It definitely is a big hit. They've also used the tables to eat on. I wanted two tables so the kids would have plenty of room. I think I made a good choice.

Here's our project. I took 8 sheets of paper and drew a cow on it. Then the kids each got a few papers (as did I), and colored them. Then I mounted them on red construction paper and taped them to the wall.

I know, I know... it's not the perfect cow. I promise, I'm a better artist than that! I'd love to do something similar to this and use frames instead of construction paper.

Let me know if you try it out! I'd love to see photos!