Archive for May, 2009

Adventures in Bike Riding

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids | Tags: , , |

That’s right, the munchkin is learning to ride his first bicycle.  He has a little one with 16 inch wheels that we just put training wheels on.  On his first effort ever he managed to fall and skin his knees and run into a stationary object (hubby’s car).  I think it was a great start.  Especially since he got back on the bike immediately after each crash.  He is starting to get the hang of the brakes now, so hopefully there will be less crashing.  Anyway, here are some pics:

j bike 1

He discovered it’s a lot harder to ride in the grass.

j bike 2

Dad giving him a push.

j bike 3

A serious discussion of brakes and steering.

j bike 4

After the crash.

j bike 5

He’s getting the hang of it.

j bike 6

Now he’s having fun!

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Spelling Curriculum

Posted on May 13, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool | Tags: , , , , |

I sometimes hang out at the Well-Trained Mind Forums(there is a homeschool book/guide called The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education – the authors set up the forum for homeschooling parents following their program to communicate with each other) and get tips about various school related topics.  It is a great place to learn about new things in the world of homeschooling, and about how to deal with your kids when you are with them ALL THE TIME.  Seriously people, it is great, but it provides a whole new set of challenges you non-stay-at-home parents never have to deal with.  Anyway, I dropped in on a thread about spelling curriculum the other day.  It turns out that my ambivalent feelings toward Spelling Workout are pretty common.  It isn’t bad, it’s just boring and sort of busyworkish (and yes, I know that’s not a word).

The main recommendation from the parents of early elementary students was a program called All About Spelling.  I looked it up on the internet, and liked what I saw.  It uses multiple teaching methods to reinforce learning, including tactile for those kinesthetic learners out there (people who learn by doing – they use letter tiles to form the words).  I’m not sure if it is right for my little guy since it seems pretty intensive and he is already a good speller, but when I go to the FPEA Homeschool Convention next weekend I’m going to look for a vendor selling the program so I can see it up close.  I’ll post what I find.

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Mango Pineapple Jam

Posted on May 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , |

Ok, so after letting my first ever attempt at homemade jam sit in the fridge overnight, I am ready to declare it a success!    Hubby has still not tried it, but my dad and stepmom were over today and they tried it.  Plus, I like it, and that’s what is really important ;).

So anyway, here is the recipe I used:

  1. 2 cups diced mango (I actually used a melon baller to get the mango off the seed)
  2. 1 small container of pineapple chunks or tidbits – or even crushed pineapple
  3. 3-4 tablespoons honey
  4. a couple squirts of lemon juice

I mixed all ingredient in a 2 qt saucepan and brought the mixture to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered for about 30 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes or so.  If you want more fruit chunks, cook less.  If you want your jam smooth, cook longer.  Then I put the jam into 2 pint jars that I had previously cleaned.  I let them cool on the counter for a while before I put them in the refrigerator.

I would assume the basic recipe would work for any type of fruit.  As I have extra fruit I will try different things and update you all on how it goes.

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Adventures in Making Jam

Posted on May 8, 2009. Filed under: Money, Recipes | Tags: , , |

A friend recently gave me some fresh produce that I haven’t been able to use all of, and the fruit was getting quite ripe.  I was wondering what to do with it, since my diet limits my fruit intake, and my little guy has been under the weather and so hasn’t been eating much.  I didn’t want it to go to waste – a part of my new budget mindedness is using everything we have in a timely fashion, thereby not wasting money on things we buy but don’t use.  Just because I didn’t buy this fruit is no reason to let it be wasted!

So I hit the internet for inspiration (of course), and found a great recipe for a small batch of jam!  I am currently cooking down my 1 1/2 ripe mangos, plus a small can of pineapple chunks for a little extra flavor, honey, a small pat of butter, and a little lemon juice.  If it turns out well I’ll post the exact recipe.  It is smelling pretty good so far, so I’m hopeful!  🙂

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Home, Sweet Home

Posted on May 5, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , |

The little guy and I spent most of the month of April traveling (not necessarily together), but we are back home now for a while.  He has another trip planned with his local set of grandparents on Memorial Day weekend – they are going to Kentucky for a family reunion and to do yearly maintenance on family graveyards there.  I think it will be an interesting trip for him.  (Plus he’ll get to put another flag on his US map – he marks every city he has visited.  First time in Kentucky!)

While he is gone, I will be attending the FPEA (Florida Parent Educators Association) Annual Homeschool Convention.  My grandmother (who just turned 80 – happy birthday!) is going with me to help me navigate through the multitude of vendors who will doubtless be hawking their wares.  The convention itself should be interesting too.  They have numerous free lectures on a variety of topics.  Some are vendor workshops, to help customers better use their programs.  Others are tips from long time homeschoolers.  They even have several lectures by frugality experts about living and homeschooling on a budget.  So anyone who will be in the Orlando, Florida area on Memorial Day weekend should definitely attend!

Oh, and I know I have quite a few camera crazy relatives, especially when they are around kids, so any of you who have cute pics of the munchkin’s visit feel free to post them (or links to them) here in comments.

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