15 Great Projects to Educate Your Kids Without Them even Realizing it!

I know how you feel mom.  It’s February and you’re in a rut.  So are the kids, and they show it by not really wanting to buckle down for homeschool.

February and March are two of the worst months in homeschooling for that reason.  Those are the months that you have to FIND the energy you had tons of in September. Three more months to go! (Unless you’re a year-round schooler).

It’s times like this when you need to mix it up a little and implement a few plan B’s (or C’s, or D’s).

Try one of these “educational” (shhhhh!) ideas to gets their minds going again!

Math

Math Art by “What Do We Do All Day?”

Heart Shaped Puzzle

Tessellations/M.C.Escher

Fibonacci Sequence/Fibonacci Art/Mondrian

Concentric Circles/Kandinsky

Foldable Geometric Shapes

 

Science

Shadow Sculptures

DIY Bouncy Balls

Magnet Painting

Shaving Cream Rain Clouds

Color Mixing Spinning Tops

Kids Container Gardening

 

Handwriting

Improving Handwriting with Art

Fine Motor Worksheets

Cursive Name Bugs

 

 

Many thanks to all the awesome blogs collected on this page!

 

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Zucchini Chocolate Bread

Zucchini!  I planted a lot of it.  A little more than I realized.

This is really a zucchini year and they are exploding!  I cannot keep up with it actually.   If I skip a couple of visits out to the garden, the zucchini that was 10 inches long exponentially grows to 25 inches long.

So, my son and I decided to put our favorite thing (chocolate) together with our over-abundance of this green squash and make CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD.

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This is a simple recipe from All Recipes.

The most labor intensive part is the grating, which my son was thrilled to do.

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And here is the final product! YUM!

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But if you’re not into chocolate, what is one to do with all that zucchini?

Here are some awesome ideas from all over the internet!

Recipes

Chicken Zucchini Poppers – with cilantro, onions and garlic.  Yum! This recipe coordinates with the Whole30 diet.

Zucchini Green Chili Corn Bread – this idea seems really interesting!  The post is very elaborate; very interes

Zucchini with Egg – this combination just sounds really yummy.

Happy cooking!

 

 

Cooking with Cast Iron: Part 2

Now that your cast iron pans are seasoned, it’s time to cook!

Although this is considered an “old-fashioned” was of cooking, I have to say, it is MUCH easier than I expected!

My first foray into cast iron cooking was on an open fire when we went camping as a family.

We built a healthy fire under a cooking grate. When cooking with cast iron outside it is very useful to have a grate or a trip-pod to cook with. Then I oiled the pan with olive oil.

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Cast iron oiled with olive oil

Allowing the pan to heat up for about 15 minutes, I then placed the dough balls in it.  I was making biscuits.

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Not too pretty, but we were camping right?

At this point, with this type of cast iron which is called a dutch oven, I placed the lid on and piled hot coals on top.  This creates an actual oven-type environment for the biscuits to cook.

Don’t be too impatient and keep looking like I did.  It’s a low and slow type cooking style.

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Dutch oven with top on
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Dutch oven covered with coals on top.  This really makes ALL the difference.

After about 35 minutes, the biscuits were done.  They didn’t burn, they didn’t stick to the oven – it was amazing!  And with just water and a little elbow grease (no soap), the pot was clean!

Here is my son enjoying a biscuit with cheese!

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Garden Update July 2016

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Blackberries are almost ready

The Northeast has been hotter than usual this month.  July feels like August!  When your day is 96 degrees out, it’s pretty hard to get motivated to garden.  But, there has been a recent respite and I spent two days weeding and working outdoors.

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I was having trouble identifying this, but figured out that this is called a blazing star. I have to tell you, I have NO IDEA where it came from. I love when God works like that.
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It’s a pumpkin year!
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Raspberries have been amazing. My sons eat them every day.
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Queen Anne’s Lace
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Our vineyard, affectionately called “Coe Estates”
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Red sunflower
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Silver Queen corn growing

Cooking in Cast Iron Part One: Seasoning

Big, heavy black pans, filled with bacon or eggs or corn bread.  Doesn’t that sound rustic and heavenly?

I have wanted to use cast iron for a long time and I finally got the opportunity two weeks ago when my family went camping.  Thank to my mom-in-law (she purchased me three different pans for Christmas) I was able to jump in feet first to this fun, old-fashioned way of cooking.

Seasoned or not seasoned?

New, unseasoned, out of the box

Do you know what that means?  I didn’t.  I had no idea, until I started to learn about what it means to have a “seasoned” pan.  As my children have serious food allergies (soy, peanut, egg and legume), I am militant about new foods and whatever they eat on, off of of etc. So I had to find out more about this “seasoning.”

Good seasoning of cast iron is essential. If you’re lucky – and probably most of you can do this – you will purchase a pre-seasoned pan.  Your job is done, cook away! Pans will be black in color.  The pan will have already been treated with vegetable oil so that the iron is sealed and not prone to oxidization (rust).

But if your family is like our family, you will have to scour the Internet for the rare UNseasoned pan so that you can season it yourself  (my children’s soy allergies extends to vegetable oil.) 

We seasoned ours with olive oil. 

Seasoning Your Pan for the First Time

Once you get the pan, block out a few hours to season properly. Per pan. Yes it takes that long – you don’t want to hurry the process.

Turn your oven up to 450 degrees.  Place the newly unseasoned pan in the oven.

A waxy coating will now take about 25 minutes to melt off.  Remove carefully from the oven and wipe down with a paper towel.

Now you’re ready to oil the pan.  Put a good size amount on the pan and using a towel or paper towel cover the entire pan, including the handle and the under side.  Again be careful not to burn yourself.

Place in oven for about 40 minutes.  Pan should be blackened.

One initial coating is sufficient, but you can do this several times depending on how seasoned you want it to be.

Further Care

When you go to cook in your cast iron the first time you will be amazed at how evenly it cooks!  When you are done with it, take it to the sink, rinse it in warm water WITH NO SOAP and DO NOT USE a scratchy sponge.  A towel or your hand will do. Caution: Using soap removes the seasoning – a no-no!

I hope you try this old-fashioned way of cooking! It has been a joyful surprise to me!

Next time: cooking in your cast iron!