For those of you who are not familiar with Marilyn Scott-Waters and her artsy smartsy ways, I highly recommend you visit her site called The Toy Maker. Trust me, your kids will thank you. This is a perfect go-to place for rainy day boredom busters, or for everyday fun & learning! Marilyn has lavished us with her talent by providing us with free printouts; oodles of toys for you and your little lovies to enjoy.
The bowling bunnies stole my heart,
the brownie math games are awesome,
and the koala-go-round is too cute for words.
Three cheers for Marilyn!
I guess when one writes in a blog, every day is share day. Although, I thought this particular site deserves a merit badge, or rather, a post of its own.
If you, your significant other, or your kids are at all interested in bugs/entomology, What's That Bug? is definitely worth checking out. People from all over the world send in photos of bugs that they haven't been able to identify and these folks do the rest. So cool. I have referred to the site on a couple of occasions when we can't find a bug we're looking for in any of our reference books, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Take tonight for instance; Logan found a Eucalyptus long-horned borer beetle (14th one down) on our front patio. For those of you who aren't family and in the know, Logan wears many hats, one of them being "the bug guy". He said it looked like a borer beetle and left me to figure out the rest, and thanks to Lisa Anne and Daniel at What's that Bug?, I did. Case closed, and I didn't even break a sweat. =)
Oh, I also found out that it was first found in 1984, originates from Australia, and is now killing many of our Eucalyptus trees because it has no natural predators. Although, scientists are attempting to keep the population in check with certain types of wasps. Logan didn't hesitate to drop it in a bottle of alcohol and add it to his collection.
Since the topic in our household this month is Native American studies, I thought it would be a fun idea to try and make a different type of bread from a Native American recipe every day for a week. As it turns out, I was right. Isaiah was very excited, and looked forward to this little project of ours every day - and we have had some very delicious results.
Now, I can't guaranty the authenticity of any of these recipes. All I know is that when I Googled "Native American bread recipe" these are some of the ones that showed up.
Algonquian fry-bread - we cut the recipe in half. It was good, but waaaay too salty for our taste. I would use 1/3 the salt next time around.
Zuni sunflower seed bread - This recipe came from the same site as the Algonquin bread above. Because of this, I assumed that this recipe would be too salty for our taste as well, and halved the amount of salt. I think this is the best bread I have ever tasted. Seriously. And as far as breads go, this one is extremely straight forward easy to make. I would definatley recommend giving it a go.
Bear Paw Bread - Logan called mine radio active bread for obvious reasons. Although it was a great snack for all of us (nice thin crunchy crust - moist on the inside), there was a lot of snickering going on. Okay, I knew they didn't even so much as resemble a bears paw going in, but I thought they would somehow take on a new form in the oven. Snicker all you want.
Carrot blueberry bread - delicious and nutritious. What could be better? We all loved it, and I'm sure this batter could be poured into muffin tin cups for an excellent single serving snack. We only had 1/2 lb. of carrots and 1/2 the amount of blueberries on hand but gave it a try anyway. I'm so glad we did.
Wild sage bread - I'm sure you'll be shocked when I tell you that I didn't scamper around my neighborhood in search of wild sage. I dug into the depths of my spice cabinet and found a container of sage that has been sitting back there for longer than I care to admit. This is the one recipe that I was very iffy about, and I unknowingly saved the best for last (in my humble opinion).
I started off with going strictly by the recipe using 1 cup of whole wheat flour and the rest unbleached white. Then when I started to knead the dough I realized that there was not enough flour so I added in about another 1/2 cup of each, but don't mark my words because I didn't measure. I stopped adding flour when the dough "felt right". After it had risen, I topped the dough with melted butter and fleur de sel before popping it into the oven. I took it out after 30 minutes, because I could smell the bread over by where my computer sits which is usually an indicator that what ever I am cooking is done. Strange, I know, but whatever works right? The bread was beautiful. Perfect crust and savory flavor. I could totally see myself binging on this stuff like I do ice cream late at night.... my stomach hurts just thinking about it.
I've got the best seat in the house playing Into The Forest with Isaiah. This game was a favorite of mine when I was his age. I'm sure my mom played it with me more times than she cared to.
It's so satisfying to be able to share those favorite memories with him, hoping to create new ones and to carry on the tradition.
Here is a crafty project that Isaiah and I did while Phoenix was taking his nap yesterday. We both tore up a bunch of pieces of colored tissue paper then laid them down on a sheet of wax paper. We covered it with another layer of wax paper then very quickly whisked a hot iron over the top. I totally cheated and downloaded images of these animals from the internet. I blew them up to the size I wanted then printed them out. I placed the animal print on top of a piece of construction paper and cut out both layers with an Exacto knife. Isaiah then cut the wax paper "stained glass" out to size and glued it to the back. Ta da! This is so easy to do, and you get beautiful results. We did a stained glass window for almost all of the animals mentioned in How Rabbit Tricked Otter. This will be a good reference for totem animals as well.
Our topic of the month, and I use the word month very loosely, is on Native American culture and early American history. I was going to wait until the Summer months for this topic, but I just couldn't stand having this wonderful collection of books sitting on a shelf any longer. This week we began with reading How Rabbit Tricked Otter by: Gayle Ross. The book features a wonderful collection of Cherokee folk tales that are effortlessly weaved together. Murv Jacob painted the illustrations, which are simply beautiful and are not, for lack of a better term, "in your face". They flow gracefully with the stories without taking over the imagination.
Yesterday we moved on to Dog of Discovery by: Laurence Pringle. I can tell that this book might be a bit cumbersome for a youngin like Isaiah at times, even if I'm reading it. Although, there are lots and lots of great little snippets and factoids throughout the book that will break it up a bit, and provide numerous opportunities for conversation, further research, and my inevitable tangents.
There are many other fantastic books on this topic that we will be diving into this month, and I will share them with you as they flow into our lives.
It's so nice when Logan has a day off during the week because we can take advantage of our favorite spots without all of the 'traffic'. Yesterday was one of those days. We packed up a little cooler and set off for our favorite local park.
There, we bumped into a very friendly small group of home-schooling moms. It was so nice to get a chance to meet like-minded people in person and not over the internet!
At the park we spied a western blue bird, which are not as common as you might think in our area. And Logan found an orioles nest. I didn't bring my camera with me, and totally regret it. There was a beautiful field of yellow flowers which I am going back to photograph today. It was really stunning. But for now, here are some photos of the nest Logan found.