Monday, October 29, 2012

A Thanksgiving Beast Feast

This is a glimpse of one of our activities last year.  For reading, Alissa was reading the book A Thanksgiving Beast Feast.  I checked it out from our library, but it can be purchased online.   (

After reading the book, we made our own beast feast.  We gathered these materials: 

pine cones, peanuts, trail mix, peanut butter, a spoon, and string.

To make the feast, cover the pine cones with peanut butter, and press the other food items into the peanut butter covered pine cones. 

We then placed the pine cones in two different areas in the yard:
hanging from the bird feeder stake, and

in a tree.
We then turned it into an experiment to see which "feast" would be eaten first.  She wrote out how she made it, and which one she thought would be eaten first.  She later went back and wrote which one was eaten first.  It was the one in the tree.  ;)  Looking at this picture, I see it would also make a great writing project.  Poor Alissa's pen pal is starting to get a lot of writing projects.  :)
I have many Thanksgiving related children's books, but the following is a list of children's books I like to use for my Thanksgiving season lessons and activities:
Squanto:  Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
...If You Lived With the Iroquois by Ellen Levine
...If You Lived With the Cherokee  by Peter and Connie Roop
    There are other "...If You Lived With...:" books, but these are the only two I own.  I actually will cover many different Indian groups this year.
Thanksgiving Day by Mir Tamim Ansary
Let's Celebrate God's Blessings on Thanksgiving by Lise Caldwell
     This book give a simple comparison of the first Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving today for younger children.  There are also great Bible verses at the end of each comparison.
The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola
The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola
     This book doesn't relate to Thanksgiving, but I just like it for this time of year.  One idea I just thought of is to make a quilt square or two each year to put together in a large quilt to give to your child/children when they are grown.  Can you imagine the memories they can wrap around them when they pull out the quilt?  :)
Samuel Eaton's Day:  A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
Sarah Morton's Day:  A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters
The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
The Pilgrims of Plimoth written and illustrated by Marcia Sewall
    If you happen to look this up, make sure you spell Plymouth the way it is spelled in the title.
Turkey's Gift to the People by Ani Rucki
   Even though this book is a story based on a traditional Navajo folktale, there is a great opportunity to relate how Christians are a part of the body of Christ.  We all have our jobs and gifts and we need each other.
A Thanksgiving Wish by Michael J. Rosen
   I don't own this book.  I found it in the library last year.  I really hope they will have it in this year!  If not, I liked it so much, I will probably buy it.  It doesn't give a Christian viewpoint, but it is just a sweet story.
I hope you have lessons and other books to share! Please feel free to leave your ideas or link in the comments.
Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thanksgiving Lessons Begin!!!

I am so excited about wrapping up our current work and beginning on our Thanksgiving lessons!  I thought I might give you a preview of a couple of lessons we will start with.  Perhaps you may pick up some new ideas, but better yet, maybe you will have even better ideas to share!  I learned as a classroom teacher, that teachers love to "borrow" other ideas!  :)  I will share more as we complete our most interesting lessons or when I think of new ideas to share.

Math:  On the first day, we will create a calendar for November, marking special days such as Thanksgiving and family gatherings.  We will review months of the year and days of the week, asking questions such as "What month is before/after ________?",  "How many days until_________?",  "What day was it ___ days ago?" , etc... 

On another day, we will make a pumpkin pie to discuss reading a recipe, measuring, and following directions.  The next day we will divide the pie to review fractions.

Reading/History:  Read "Voyage of the Mayflower."  This is a booklet from the 1995 Sept/Oct Copycat magazine.  I will ask comprehension questions along the way.  The next day, the story and vocabulary will be reviewed and Alissa will answer written questions.

Science:  Discuss how people long ago may have kept food for long periods of time.  Discuss preserving foods, especially drying.  Next, let children help with drying apples.
  1. Wash and dry apples.
  2. Peel the skin off apples.
  3. Cut each apple into 1/4" slices.  Point out the star made by the apple seeds.
  4. Cut around center to remove seeds and create apple rings.
  5. Cut a 36" length of string or dental floss, and string the rings about 2" apart on the floss so air can circulate.  The apples should not touch.
  6. Hang the rings in a warm, dry, airy place.  It may take from a few days to two weeks to dry the apples.
On another day, we will discuss how settlers cleaned without chemicals bought in stores- They made their own from what they had or found.  We will discuss chemical and physical changes.  Next, we will make a paste of salt and vinegar like the pilgrim girls would have used to clean tarnished brass kettles and candle sticks.  The children will use the paste and an old rag to see how shiny they can make a tarnished penny.

Crafts:  We will be trying our hand at stitching fabric together to make a pouch.

Some of the next week's lessons include the use of Indian corn, regular corn, corn husks, and hominy!

What fun lessons have you got planned?  Please share!  I am always looking for new ideas for my lessons.  I'll be posting my pictures and other ideas when I can when Bill comes back home with my computer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dinner Rolls

If you have known me long, you know bread and pie crusts have been my challenge in the kitchen.  I finally found a pie crust that usually works for me, and now, as the beautiful music plays above my head, I have found a bread recipe that I can actually use to make beautiful, soft rolls!  :)  I cannot believe these things actually came from my oven.  My husband didn't even believe it; he kept saying I bought them at the store!  ;)  I cannot remember which recipe site this recipe came from.  I wrote it down a while back, and I guess I didn't think it would actually work.   I'll do an update at the bottom if I can find it again.  It certainly deserves credit!

Don't look too closely.  I forgot to put the eggs in the picture!

4 1/2 t active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 c warm milk (110-115 degrees)
6 T shortening 
2 eggs
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t salt
7- 7 1/2 c flour

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the milk, shortening, eggs, sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

2.  Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (dough will be very sticky).  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3.  Punch dough down. 

Turn onto a lightly floured or oiled surface.

Divide into 24 pieces.

I divided each fourth into six pieces.
Shape each into a roll.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Cover and let them rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

This picture doesn't really show how much the rolls had risen.
Oh, well.  There's always next time.  :)
4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks. 
Yields 2 dozen

I hope you try them and let me know how they work for you.  Mine came out perfectly soft on the inside, but they weren't so great the next day.  They were a little too dry and crumbly.  I think the next time, for the rolls our family will not use right away, I will slightly under bake and freeze.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

*Update:  I found it!  This is the link for the recipe on the Taste of Home website.  It wasn't the original recipe of whoever posted it, either.  :)  .  Happy baking!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Campout and Crockpot BBQ Porkchops

Hello, my friends!!!  Oh, how I have missed my blog!  This has been one challenging month.  Everyone in our home has been sick except for Bill.  Bless his heart, that's probably simply because he has been here so little.  He finally got back in last night from a run that was over two weeks.  We were so happy to see him again!

Our children got to enjoy their first little camp out Thursday evening and all day Friday at our church.  We are so blessed with such a wonderful church that puts so much time and effort into building up children.  The kiddos had been so sick, so I was really worried they were not going to be able to go.  Perhaps it would have been better for their health if they had not gone, but how could I not let them go when they had looked forward to it for so long?  :)  These are a couple of pics of their fun. (To all my Facebook friends, sorry you have to endure them again.  :))

They have been exhausted all day today, but we all think it was worth it!  We weren't even in the car last night on the way home before they were asking when next year's camp out will be.  :)

Well, on one of my many days in the last couple of weeks when I was completely exhausted, I had the sound mind to pull a family pack of boneless assorted chops out of the freezer for the next night.

I picked out these spices from my drawer.  If you have these spices in your supply,
sprinkle a little of each on each side of the chops.  It seems like I decided to add a little pepper after I took a picture of the spices. I didn't measure anything.  I just sprinkled what looked good to me.  I poured about 1 1/2- 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of the crockpot, and put the pork chops in on low.
When the chops were close to being done, I poured on our favorite BBQ sauce.  This is what they looked like when they were done. 
These were so good!  The chops were moist and just fell apart with a fork.  I am so happy I found the courage to try them in the crockpot!  This may be the way I do them from now on.  Mmmm...mmm! I hope some of you try them and let me know how you like them.  Perhaps you'll do something I like even better, so make sure you share! 

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!