Monday, March 25, 2013

March Prairie Primer - "These Happy Golden Years"

This is a picture of Hailey with her one of her besties, Hannah, holding up their autograph albums they made.

The "Little House" fun continued into March as we worked through These Happy Golden Years, my personal favorite. Oh how much richer it is to go through these books as I'm now aware of the concept of courtship! Laura and Almanzo serve as a wonderful example of proper courtship..

We did some taffy pulling. This was really fun. The taffy was made with molasses.

Hailey with her piece of taffy.

The kids split the pieces into bite-sized and then we wrapped them in parchment.

Josiah is showing off his autograph album.

Each family did a presentation on missionaries or evangelists during "The Great Awakening". My children chose Dr. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman since we live fairly near where the Whitmans were massacred by Indians along with 12 others, including several of the seven Sager orphans whom they were taking care of as their own. This occurred as a result of the white settlers invading tribal lands and bringing diseases with them. Most white men recovered from these diseases, but the Indians had no natural resistance to them and died at an alarming rate. While Dr. Whitman treated both the whites and Indians during the measles epidemic, it looked to the Indians like he was killing their children and saving the white children. It was customary for a medicine man's life to be forfeit if he could not heal his patient. These were the reasons behind the massacre. It is a very sad story for both the Indians and the people living on the mission. 

The second week started out with a quick basic music lesson from a local voice coach who was sweet enough to come and teach us.  We had a great time learning to sing and do hand motions at the same time. We sang, "Sailing, Sailing Over the Ocean Blue".

Hailey was trying to remember Psalm 27.

Josiah attempting Psalm 27.

Our veteran homeschooling mom, Christine, talked to us about courtship verses dating. She used Almanzo and Laura, as well as some of her own children as examples.

I learned "Polly Wolly Doodle" out of the songbook and played while everyone sang along. Fiddles do nothing for double chins, LOL ;)

Josiah is looking at a picture of a reproduction of Laura's engagement ring which had a garnet in the middle with two pearls set on each side.

Looking at different precious stones and gems set in jewelry.
Hailey and another one of her besties listening to a presentation about the ears and hearing.

The food was so awesome this month. Dear Christine stayed up late the night before to make us Laura's wedding cake. It was delicious!

First time I've ever made fried chicken in my life. I followed the recipe in the Little House Cookbook, but added a little more salt. I got rave reviews on that one! I think everyone was excited to be eating something somewhat normal rather than an oxtail.

The yummy spread.

Clockwise: whole wheat bread, fried potatoes and onions, fried chicken, creamed carrots, Laura's wedding cake and apple sauce. Not much went in the garbage this time. The kids really liked the food.

We finished our time together by making molasses popcorn balls.

Josiah couldn't wait to eat his.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birds of Prey Center

This is "Sky" the live bald eagle on display at the Birds of Prey Center near Boise, ID. We really enjoyed our time there when we were in Boise for about 24 hours a couple of weekends ago. We made the most of our short trip. There is so much fun stuff to do for homeschoolers there! 

This bird of prey is found in the rain forests of South America.  Beautiful animal!

It was hard to get pictures between the mesh of the cages, but I tried. This an bird of prey found in the Arctic. 

The condors were absolutely fascinating. They had a huge wing span. One of the main purposes of the center is to breed birds of prey and release them into the wild and to raise awareness. They have had wonderful success with the condors. At one point in the 1980s there were less than 20 of them left, now there are over 400.

We were blessed to have a private tour. Our guide showed us how they fed the baby condors with this puppet made to look just like a mother's head.

There was a great hands-on room for the kids to play in. Lots of furs, bones and feathers. The kids loved these glasses that helped you see how a bird of prey sees.

There was a display with a great explanation of the differences in eggs.  A cliff dwelling bird of prey has a pear shaped egg that rolls around in a tight circle, so that it doesn't fall off the cliff. God thought of everything, didn't He? This center provided us many opportunities to talk about God's wonderful creation.

The kids got to dress up as different birds of prey. Josiah is the condor and Hailey is a bald eagle. 

Josiah is a red-tailed hawk.

We were so blessed to get there in time to see two different presentations. Both were on falcons. Absolutely fascinating. 

Isn't she beautiful?

Josiah drew a picture of each bird and gave it to the presenter. She said she put them on her fridge in the back. My son is not the artistic type, so I was glad to see him "spreading his wings" and actually attempting to draw something for fun. It is nice that the kids are old enough to sit through lectures and tours. We can get so much more out of these kids of places now.

If you ever have a chance to see this center, it isn't very expensive and it is so worth the stop!
God Bless,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boise Zoo

What'cha say? Well I can finally say I've taken my kids to a zoo. It only took 9 years! We had a blast when we went to the Boise Zoo a couple of weekends ago. It is a smaller zoo, but it really had a lot of interesting animals I've never seen or even heard of. It was inexpensive, too! Of course a zoo is any homeschooler's dream field trip. A picture is worth a thousand words. Josiah is trying on a pair of fox ears in this pic.

First time I've ever seen a red panda. I want one! They are so adorable. I'm sure they aren't as friendly as they look.

Unfortunately the groundhog exhibit was closed, but the kids still had a great time playing in the bubbles.

This was by far the weirdest animal I think I've ever seen. It is called a sloth bear. They are from Asia. Moments after this picture was taken, it attacked Hailey through the glass.  

You could pay extra to feed a giraffe. We were impressed at how long their tongues were.

 Zebras are so cool.
This strange animal looks kind of like a hare and is from South America. They are huge! Way bigger than a rabbit.

Loved this female lion who was basking on the rock like she owned the place. She was beautiful!

We also went to the Birds Of Prey Center while we were there, which was amazing. I would highly recommend it. Will post on that next. 

God Bless,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

Let me first say, there aren't too many chocolate cakes out there that I like, but this one is so moist, rich but not too sweet, that it really tantalizes the taste buds. I got this recipe out of my MOPS cookbook and just changed it around to make it even more healthy. This is super simple, especially if you already have ground up or grated zucchini and apple sauce on hand or in your freezer. 

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe:

1 & 3/4 cup of sucanat (instead of refined white sugar)
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
1 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (I use Celtic Sea Salt)
1/2 cup buttermilk (regular milk works fine, too)
2 cups grated, or ground zucchini
1 cup organic chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Kitchen Aid, mix together all ingredients except the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and cook for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans and cook another 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a bit and enjoy! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Treasure Chest

The other day, the kids were in my closet and found my treasure chest hidden away. They begged me to open it and let them see what was inside. It is were I keep all my treasures from childhood. I haven't looked at it in years. My twin sister just laughed when I Skyped her and showed her all the things I had kept. She didn't get the sentimental genes. It brought back a lot of memories for both of us, because we typically got the same toys and stuff as gifts from people since we are twins. I found my baby silverware set, our baby moccasins, high school dance pictures, and even some of Michael's childhood mementos, like a kid's cowboy shirt they bought in Mexico right before Michael's dad passed away. I think it will just fit Josiah now. The funnest treasure of all was my diary I kept during middle school. Oh, the drama!
Here is Josiah in Michael's shirt and wearing his belt buckle. It fits him perfectly. 

I had kept all my graduation hats and honor cords from high school and the two colleges I attended. I found Michael's, too. Hailey is wearing my mother's high school graduation dress that my grandmother made her. See previous post for the photo shoot of her in it.

My grandmother and aunt made my sister and I each one of these prairie girl dolls since they new what huge fans we were of the Little House book series.  They made these dresses out of the leftover material from the flower girl dresses we wore at my aunt's wedding. They even knitted shawls for them. I decided to let Hailey enjoy her since she is very careful with her dolls. The love and details put into this doll mean so much to me.

This shawl was bought in Mexico and given to me by my mother's father whom we affectionately called "Grandpa Puffball". I was about her age when he gave it to me. This is considered vintage now, LOL. I let Hailey add it to her dress up box.
I asked my mom what the story was behind "Grandpa Puffball's" name and here is what she wrote me:

You called Grandpa George Simpson “Grampa Puffball” because I got up one morning and he was out in the corral with a coffee can picking puffball mushrooms.  I didn’t know they were excellent eating and had taught you girls that they were “Icky!  Poison!  Don’t touch!” so we would always stomp on them.  He kept saying, “You’ve got a gold mine here!  Look at all these!”   That night they cooked them and I was afraid to eat any.  When they didn’t die, I found out they are one of the more ‘sure things’ to identify in the mushroom world.  You girls asked why Grandpa was picking poison mushrooms and were afraid he and Grandma Helen would die that night.  After that visit, one of you called him, “the grandpa that picked the puffballs” because you couldn’t remember his name.  So we just started calling him Grandpa Puffball to differentiate him from your other grandpas!
Love you!

Thought I'd put that story in here for posterity's sake :o)
I had completely forgotten about this jewelry box my "Aunt Gabby" made for me. She had made and hand-painted it. I have every single one of the ornaments she made for me when I was a kid. They are very special and always go on the tree. This went on Hailey's shelf with some earrings that were given to her by her Grandma Kay when we decide to let her get her ears pierced someday.

This has nothing what so ever to do with the treasure box, but I had to throw it in there. We were watching a wonderful documentary called, "When We Left Earth", about the space program. Josiah made this rocket and boosters with fuel cell. I think my favorite part is the launch pad made of hot-glued Jenga blocks, complete with an elevator. I was frankly astounded at how he came up with this.

What about you guys. Did you keep a treasure box full of childhood mementos? If so, please share what you kept and why. I'm very sentimental, and will enjoy your stories very much.

God Bless,


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