Sunday, November 18, 2012

Native American Booklet

Alissa has been doing a lot of great work and writing with her Native American study.  To keep all her different pieces of work together, I had her create a Native American booklet. The cover is simply two sheets of construction paper.  She illustrated the front cover.  She didn't know it, but I was using her illustration to see if she really understood what early settlers were looking for when establishing a colony.  ;)  I think she got it!  -flat land, near water, trees for building

Each day, we add her writing or any other activity we want to keep. 

When we are through, we will bind the pages together with staples. It will be something great to keep and look back upon.

Thanksgiving Celebration

This year I really wanted to do something special for my children since we finally have friends who live close enough to come to events, BUT....I am on an extremely tight budget???  Ah, it turned out to not be so expensive after all!  It just took a little pre-planning. 
When homeschooling, sometimes the budget just doesn't allow one to do all the fun things one would like.  I hope this gives another family the courage to go ahead and try!  I learned everything did not have to be super fancy (or sparkling clean!) to have fun. 
Once I knew I wanted to do this celebration, each week when I went to the store I simply picked up one to three items for the celebration.  The items I had to buy included styrofoam bowls, plastic spoons, styrofoam cups, napkins, two craft kits (I found these in the clearance section for $2.50 each!), 2 bottles of vegetable juice, drinks, apple cider, and bay leaves.  Most of the items were around two dollars, so adding them to a shopping trip didn't bust the budget.
We started the actual celebration out by making Thanksgiving Soup.  The invitation included a list of ingredients that could be added to soup.  We asked each child pick one item from the list to bring and add to the soup.  I had already made the soup base ahead of time so that it was ready when everyone arrived.  As each family arrived the items were added to the soup to cook while all the other activities were taking place.  The moms also enjoyed a cup of hot caramel apple cider that I had put together earlier in the morning.
When everyone was here, and we could corral all the children, 12 total, I believe, I started our activities by reading Stone Soup. ( I didn't like the pictures in this version, but it was the only copy I had.)  We then talked about how they had brought ingredients to help make our Thanksgiving soup.  We even made a quick graph.
Then we moved on and made our crafts.  They made turkeys and place mats/pictures.  Some children didn't want to make anything and moved on to playing which was fine too.  Then point of the day was just to have fun.  These are some of the pictures of the crafts.

Next, we moved outside to play Stuff the Turkey.  This was just a fun relay game where the children who wanted to play divided into two teams.  Each team had a turkey (a pillow case) to stuff.  One person raced down to the stuffing (old newspapers), got one (or two or three!) pieces of paper, stuffed it into the turkey and ran back to hand the turkey off to the next person in line.  Each person had two turns.  The team that finished first won.  Both teams finished at the same time, of course.  ;)  We didn't get a picture of the activity.

Then, we went on a scavenger hunt to find pieces of our turkeys to put it together.  I made up clues, cut out really strange looking feathers ;) to write them on, and cut out pieces of the turkey to have at each station.  My husband hid the zip-top bags containing the clues and pieces at each of my stations while we read and did crafts.  This a picture of my clues and an example of the turkey pieces that were in each bag.  I had a couple bottles of glue that we toted to each station.  The moms, my husband, and I helped with gluing the pieces at each stop.

When we were done, each child had a complete turkey.  Well, it was almost complete.  I made the tail feathers white so that each child could color them later, and the poor turkeys needed eyes to be drawn on, too! 

This was the very last station.  There was a bag for each child. Once inside, the children could reuse the bag for their crafts to take home.  Each bowl was immediately filled with soup, and we enjoyed the meal we created together.  Yeah, well, the soup should've been turned up or cooked longer, but it was still good!  lol!  I can think of only one thing in life that is perfect, so it was okay.  Just being together and enjoying the fellowship of each other was enough.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thanksgiving Soup

When we had our Thanksgiving celebration with our friends, I decided to make Thanksgiving soup with the children.  This is an activity I used to do with my students when I taught school. 

When we invited the friends, we attached a list of food items that could be added to the soup.  We asked that each child chose one item from the list and bring it prepared to be added to the soup.  The list included things such as beans, pasta, broccoli, potatoes, greens, peppers, celery, onions, etc.  The night before the celebration I made the stock.  I just reheated it in the morning before the guests arrived.  The following is the recipe for the base:

20 cups water
8 cups vegetable juice
8-10 tsp. beef base
1-1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons chili powder
6 bay leaves

Put all ingredients in a very large stock pot and simmer for three hours.  When guests' vegetables are added, simmer for three more hours or until vegetables are tender.
This is a slightly modified recipe from the November 1991 AIMS Education Foundation.

I really wish I had a photo to share, but the soup was eaten so quickly and we were enjoying our time together so much that I didn't have a chance to take one.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wampanoag Indian Pouches and Journey Cakes

This was another fun learning day when Jacob got to do the same thing Alissa was doing.

After learning about the Wampanoag Indians, we made pouches from brown grocery sacks.

Then we made Journey Cakes to fill the pouches.

 The Wampanoag would put these in their pouches when making long journeys to keep themselves nourished. 

These were so easy to make and SO delicious!  I thought we would get sick we ate so many so fast!  lol!

1 cup of fresh, fried corn, see instructions below
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 to 1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
vegetable spray

To fry the corn, cut kernels from one ear of corn.  Heat one tablespoon oil in skillet.  Stir corn until it starts turning brown around the edges of kernels.

Preheat griddle to 375 degrees.  Mix together milk and egg.  Add dry ingredients.  Batter will be thin.  Spray griddle with shortening.  Pour batter onto griddle as you would pancakes.  When bubbles form and edges are dry, turn cakes over and cook on other side.  Flip onto a plate and serve alone or with soup.

I got brave enough to let Alissa measure
out the cornmeal on her own.  :)  She did a
great job!

I hope you get to try them!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Oneida Corn Soup

This is a soup recipe of the Eastern Woodland Indians.  It was yummy enough that at least one of my children would eat it!  lol!  The other one didn't want to eat it because it had "something green" in it.  Hahaha!  I love my children!  The recipe calls for beef, but the day I made it, I only had ham.

I know it isn't a great picture, but we were hungry!  :)

1 cup fresh spinach, torn
1 15-oz. can whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup cooked beef cut into small pieces
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 quart water
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a medium pot.  Simmer until rice is cooked (20-30 minutes).

We ate the soup with Wampanoag Journey Cakes.

Native American Writing

One of our writing projects the past week was Native American writing.  We looked at symbols and talked about what they meant.  One of our original projects had been to construct a teepee from stakes and canvas such as a drop cloth and have the kiddos draw and paint symbols on that, but sometimes life dictates when other things must be done. (There is always next year!  :)  ) Instead, I gave Alissa time to write a few sentences using a combination of words and symbols.  This would be a great project to let children exchange writings and decode the sentences.  My youngest even got in on the fun, too.  He had fun trying to copy some of the symbols.  It actually worked great as a pre-writing practice lesson.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Goodness!  Sometimes when it rains it pours.  There has been so much sickness and death in our family and around us lately!  Still, I will sing God's praises.  It is so hard for me to sit down and write when my heart and mind are so full of the chaos around me.  I seem to only be able to write when my heart, mind, and soul are at ease.  Today is the first day in a while that I have felt calm enough to try, or maybe there is so much bottled up within that it needs a starting place from which it may flow forth.  There has been one family issue that has been such a burden on my heart since my husband's grandmother's funeral that I can't seem to shake the thoughts when everything gets quiet.  I really don't feel comfortable sharing details, but I would really appreciate any prayers you may offer.  There are some things only God can fix when our efforts, tears, and hurt don't work.

Oh, my friends, never let us forget how short and fleeting life is.  Let us lift each other up, and forgive when we need to forgive, forget when we need to forget, love when there is any chance, build up when one is down, be strong when the other is weak, hug tightly when the other can't hold on, run when the other can't even crawl, lift loud praises when the other can't even whisper a prayer.  God has given us too much love to let time pass meaninglessly by.  Make each moment count for good.  When we are able to let go of whatever it is holding us back or down, God is able to lift us up.  Perhaps the "whatever" is fear, hurt, doubt, insecurity, or unwillingness to forgive.  It doesn't matter.  We can lay it at the foot of the cross and begin again.  I have made my mistakes, but God is bigger than those mistakes.  He can turn a mess into something beautiful.  We just have to be willing to let it go.

Into the hands of Jesus I place those burdens I cannot change or make right.  Into His hands I place the hurt and regret.  Won't you do the same?  He can do what we can't.  He can make it into something beautiful.  "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.  Come home. Come home.  Ye who are weary come home."  Isn't it so sweet to know we don't have to wait until we die to go home?  When we are His our heart can always go home and talk to the Father.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed.