3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter
1 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, combine the cookie butter and crushed pretzels together. Chill for about 10 minutes, then using tablespoonfuls, form into 1″ balls onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes. About 5 minutes prior to removing from the freezer, melt all your chocolate chips, so it is warm and gooey, and ready to coat your pretzel balls. My preferred way of melting chocolate is to use the double boiler method. Remove the pretzel balls from the freezer, and quickly dip each one in the melted chocolate to coat, then place back on the parchment paper. Put all the pretzel balls coated in chocolate back in the freezer or another 30 minutes, or until set.
Oh this is so delicious, but I’m easy please when it comes to dessert. The girls and I made this together and it is inspired by this recipe. I changed it because True is allergic to peanut butter, and I thought cookie butter would be a good substitute. Also, since I made the switch to cookie butter, I decided to leave out the sugar and butter the Martha Stewart recipe called for because it just didn’t seem necessary, and indeed in my version it definitely wasn’t needed. These cookies are totally not healthy, but they are so good! If you want to indulge in a little bit of “low-nu” (low nutrition), make these!
Week two done and onto week three… whew! Days are much busier with homeschooling the three (we’ve sort of added Soul to the mix), or as they have progressed in grade, their learning material takes more time. Soul’s preschool age, but I’m not one to push kids to learn everything so early. I think children need a lot of play (they learn a lot through that) and when it’s time, and they seem ready, then we can tackle all that vowel, consonant, and number stuff. We’ve changed things up in our homeschool area to accommodate for her though, so she can feel part of it. Most of her “work” consists of coloring and drawing, but we’re slowly going through the vowels. The important thing is now she feels like part of the team, and she likes being right there next to her sisters as they learn. I’ll have a homeschool space tour for you soon, but for now, let’s talk about why (I’ve shared this before and it really hasn’t changed) and what we use.
I’ve tackled some of the whys we homeschool here, but basically, it’s what we feel is best for our family right now. That’s the same reason I gave in the previous post too. We live in an area with a good school district, and while I don’t doubt the teachers there are excellent, we still feel it best to homeschool our children. I have my bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and went on to get my California Multiple Subject Credential, and I used to teach 4th grade at a public school. I loved being a teacher to thirty, fun loving (most of them) fourth graders, and while my career as a public school teacher wasn’t that long, I think that experience really helps enrich my daughters’ homeschooling.
I find teaching my three daughters (still mostly two though) is much more difficult than managing a class of thirty, but it’s infinitely more rewarding (and did I mention hard?!). In addition, these days there’s a lot of pressure for teachers to “teach to the test” because of the standardized testing and what those scores mean for schools. While we still participate in the state testing, I’m free to teach my children with what I feel is best, not just in preparation for the test. We actually get to fully explore science, history, and art, which is something some schools may not be able to do as much due to class sizes, time constraints, and budgets.
While I advocate homeschooling, it may not be the best thing for your family and your situation. Every situation is different and we are all making the best choices we feel would best suit our family. I’m also thankful for the public school system. I still have many friends who are still public school teachers and they are so darn good at what they do. In regards to homeschool, private school, or public school, I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but it’s to each their own. There are some parents who shouldn’t be homeschooling and they are some teachers who shouldn’t be teaching, you’ll find good and bad ones in both areas.
We mostly follow Classical Education, and while it really emphasizes facts, memorization, and language-based learning, especially in the early grades, I tweak and change it to what fits my kids best, and I give them plenty of opportunities for creativity. The structure of Classical Education is something we do well with, and I believe the learning of facts as a base is very important, but we always extend beyond the lessons to include creative projects. My children are visual learners, so I accommodate for that in our lessons.
Here is our curriculum information…
Math: Singapore Math
Reading: We go through different books through the year, but currently it’s Old French Fairy Tales since we’re focusing on the Late Renaissance/Early Modern period.
Grammar: First Language Lessons Level 3
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 3
Spelling: Spelling Workout Level C
Cursive: New American Cursive
History: Story of the World Middle Ages (almost done with this)
Science: Adventures with Atoms and Molecules with support from Usborne Sciecne Encyclopedia
Latin: Song School Latin (this our first year)
Art: Child-Size Masterpieces
It’s a lot of stuff, but listing it out looks more than it feels when we are doing it. I will have to break down how we tackle all this stuff, but history and science are taught on alternating days, same with Latin and art. In addition to what we do at home, they go to a full day school once a week (9am-3:30pm) and take a class on the American Girls, Geography, Spanish, and Theatre. They also get to interact with other homeschoolers there. The extra-curricular things they are involved in are hip hop, piano, and swim classes. Our days are full, I feel crazy most of the time, but we all try to find our rhythm together.
Technically, True is in third grade and Brave in second, but we do all third grade curriculum and Brave keeps up just fine. She scores especially high when it comes to informational text (she loves reading informational texts and encyclopedia type books!). I make accommodations for areas where I think they may be different, but they are so similar developmentally, that having them using material at the same level works great for the girls. It will be interesting when Soul joins next year for Kinder (and then Glow the year after) because I will have to become a better juggler. It will be a multi-age school house in our home!
I disappeared for a bit, but the end of last week was just so busy with homeschooling. My best friend texted me and said, “You haven’t blogged. Are you alive?!” I am indeed, but it’s been hustle bustle over trying to get our new routine down (and curriculum) for this new school year. On top of that, I have been preparing to be part of the Misha Lulu Art Show happening this coming Saturday at Leanna Lin’s Wonderland in Eagle Rock.
The show will be featuring Misha Lulu and all her wonderful works of art (her paintings are amazing!). The additional collaborators are Gracie Miller, Miko Design, who is coming all the way from the Netherlands, and me. I’m so excited to be sharing some of my felt floral wreaths for the show! I love using them to decorate a spot on the wall, and my girls like to steal them as crowns for their heads. There will be 10 there (and one dollhouse pillow) available for purchase, and they will eventually be up for purchase on Leanna Lin’s Wonderland online shop as well (if they don’t all sell that evening).
I know everyone has been working hard on it and I can’t wait to see it all come together. Unfortunately, I won’t be there since it’s Glow’s birthday, but I can’t wait to hear how it all turns out. I’m sure it will be such a fun evening, so if you’re free this Saturday, I hope you can make it (and please snap lots of pictures for me)! #mishaluluartshow
The big three recently went on a sleepover, so Ben and I used that time to take Glow on a special date to go fruit picking. Obviously, the location was clearly chosen by Ben, but this baby of ours couldn’t care less where it was as she had us all to herself. Actually, Ben was vacillating back and forth between us, the fruit, and our tour guide, but compared to having to vie for our attention with the other girls, she was the main star.
Oh she’s such a little ham, but especially when she’s by herself, and she does so much more talking. I think it’s nice to be able to get these one on one times with each of the girls. Ben and I have discussed doing weekly one-on-one dates with the kids; we are hoping to put it into action soon. Time is flying by and we’re trying to do what we can to treasure these moments while we have them.
We spent the evening walking through Adams Acres and Glow was so excited to try all the fruit Mr. Adams was offering us. She was taking charge in leading me through the orchards and was just having the time of her life roaming (and jumping) through this new place. Of course, we were intrigued with all the different things that are grown there, and as proof we came home with bags of fruit, and 5 watermelons (yellow and orange varieties). This just furthered our dreams of having our own u-pick farm one day. It was such an enjoyable evening and I’m so thankful that we were able to give the baby some undivided attention. I think special dates like these are necessary to give each of our children, and I’m hoping we get consistent at carving out time for times like this.
I bought Beci Orpin’s book Home from Amazon when it came out several months back. I was just drawn to the cover, so I bought it. I love the color scheme of the book, it’s totally the color scheme I gravitate to, and the projects are just so fun and quirky. Really such an inspiring book! And though we have had it for awhile now, it’s just this past weekend that I handed it to the girls and said, “Pick a project.” They picked the fridge magnets and I love how their’s turned out. From order from the top to bottom: True’s, Brave’s, Glow’s (really done by True and Brave), and Soul’s.