Friday, September 14, 2012

Best Homemade Pudding

I am a huge fan of pudding. Pistachio, vanilla, lemon, banana, butterscotch... they all fill my heart with joy. My husband is not. He thinks it's gross. I think the texture just weirds him out. However, my mom and dad won him over to pudding with their homemade cocoa pudding that we have during the holiday season. Well, really anytime, but especially around Hanukkah and Christmas. I finally started making it for him (well, us) a few years ago. It is SO easy and SO good! We like it best when hot, especially if you top it with homemade whipped cream. Oh my. It is also quite good cold. In fact, that is what I used as Moon Mud for our space day. I'm going to be a doll and share our super easy recipe :o)

Cocoa Pudding
1/2 cup sugar (brown or white! I have used both and can barely tell a difference)
1/4 cup cornstarch (I love Trader Joe's brand as it is non GMO)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/3 cups milk
dash of vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients in the pot, then add the milk. Heat on medium and whisk pudding until it is thick. DON'T let it burn! It will get weird and lumpy. When it is the desired consistency (about 4 minutes usually for me),  add the vanilla and enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Space Day!

Today was such a fun day! I have been thinking about doing a space day for weeks, if not months; I LOVE themes! My dear friend Allison brought her adorable kiddos over for the festivities. Her two older kids are great friends with Elijah and her baby is just a bit younger than Yohan, so our kids blend well together. Especially because her baby is so chill and relaxed while Hansi wriggles like crazy as he roars for attention. They are some of our favorite people so it made the activities even better.

I started our "school day" by reading this book  about our solar system. Then I had the boys color the pages to make their own solar system book. Unfortuntely I couldn't find the site to print a third one for Emmy, but she seemed content to color a picture of planets, as long as she could have a staple in hers as well. I did finally find it again though and think it is a great thing to add to any space units for home schooling or just for fun. Here it is :o)
After they were done coloring, I read the chapter in this book  where Little Bear wears his space hat and pretends to go to the moon. After it was through, I asked the kids if they would like to have their own space hats like Little Bear's. They were so excited to do this project! I loved the simplicity of his hat in the book so I copied it as close as I could by just having small boxes and pipe cleaners. They chose the color pipe cleaners they wanted and where to put them in, then they decorated them with markers. So easy and fun!

We took a little break for a space lunch, which included a sun made of mac n cheese and carrots, bread stars, and a rocketship with small planets made of pineapple, celery, and more carrots. And of course, no space lunch would be complete without Tang! I can't believe people still buy the stuff and really didn't think we would find it, but apparently all kinds of people are drinking the juice of the stars cos it wasn't hard to find at all.

After lunch I read one last book, in which Little Bear makes a rocket ship and thinks he has landed on the moon. I asked the kids if they wished they could play in a rocket. Of course the answer was a resounding yes, so we told them to put on their space hats and go downstairs...
... they were so excited to find a rocketship!

My awesome husband put this together a couple of nights ago using a bunch of boxes. I was just going to give them a big box to pretend in, but creative man that he is, my husband put in a little door to go in through, a window they can open and close, charts and buttons, and even this 3d computer, complete with keyboard. He also made little computer scanners for collecting data outside of the rocket ship. Inside there is even a flashlight is hanging down for lighting. SO cool!



After some play time, I served a snack, which was a jar of Moon Mud.


"is it really mud?...."

"it's chocolate pudding!" 

And because no Space Day would be complete without watching a video of space, we all watched this video of the men on the moon. I'm inspired every time I see it.

Our last activity was inspired by this awesome book. Instead of making a whole solar system, I just rolled enough balls of minty goodness for us each to paint our own planet. Honestly, they were kinda gross, but it was still fun :o) I love that over the course of the day Emmy ended up in a bee costume.


This is my planet. I took one little bite then threw it away.

And then after all this, my husband came home with flowers and chocolate for me. He said it was because there was too much traffic so he pulled over to the store, but I know it's because he is awesome.

Ss is for Sun

My impression of homeschooling thus far: I love it! I certainly don't love every moment of it, but in my 16 class days (we are doing a 100 days chart so yes, i know how many :o) I have really enjoyed it. I love the creativity it inspires, I love the flexibility of it, and most of all, I absolutely love watching my son learn and get excited about learning. It is one of the coolest things ever.

The last 6 days we have been focusing on the letter S and learning all about the sun. Since our second unit is M/m/moon, I decided to tie them both together for a full on outer space theme. It has been so much fun! Elijah was already quite interested in space so it was a good way to kick off school.

Every morning we do our Days of the Week song, go over our calendar, do our 100 days chart, and say the days for yesterday, today, and tomorrow and he sticks on the appropriate day. I let my son decorate the poster board for the days...

We then discuss the weather for the day and he marks it in his chart. Every week I am adding a nursery rhyme to our curriculum. The first 10 days of school was a bit of a review and a unit on creation. He memorized 1,2, Buckle My Shoe and Hickory Dickory Dock during that time. For the sun unit he did Star Light, Star Bright. I think this is one of his favorite things we have done. He loves memorizing them and putting the gold star stickers on when he has it down.

Aside from doing the regular things such as writing and reading and working on math and the alphabet, we have also done a lot of fun extra projects. Here are a few of them.

Awesome solar system puzzle by Melissa & Doug. I recommend buying it.

I got a solar yard lamp from the Dollar Tree. One morning I found a video online about solar energy and after watching it he put the lamp in our yard. That night we went out after dark and he got to see how it worked just using solar energy. 

Lots of stuff about shadows! All about shadows and how you can't get rid of yours. There's a great Reading Rainbow episode about shadows that we got from the library. We traced our own shadows, read about shadows, found funny ones, and left a pair of scissors on construction paper to see how its shadow kept the sun from fading the paper under it. We also made a sun dial and learned all about how people used them to tell time.

One of my favorite things we did was making a sun for our "classroom" (half of my husband's office). We cut open Trader Joe's bags and painted them. I had Elijah put it together then we hung it on the wall together. It reminds me of Eric Carle and makes me so happy! As we read through our books about the sun we kept a list of the facts we thought were the coolest/ most important, such as the fact that it only takes light 8 minutes to travel from the sun to earth, but using today's space shuttles it would take us over 3 YEARS to get there from here. Wild!

We talked about grapes vs. raisins and how they make raisins, then we ate them :o). We put a few grapes outside and every day Elijah charts what they look like as we wait for them to turn to raisins. It is kind of taking forever!

 We have played a lot of Star Wars lego's. Not because of the theme so much as the fact that my son is    
addicted :o)

Some other things we did with the sun unit were to make sun tea, practiced making S's with chalk and play dough, went on a "things that start with s" scavenger hunt, I had him water color on a white piece of paper, which I had already drawn a sun and stars and the names of them on the paper with white crayon, so it surprised him like invisible ink. 

I am taking a day off between our sun unit and our moon unit to have a day all about space with some of our friends and I am so excited about it! That blog to come soon!