Moonday! (This year in homeschool preschool…)

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Last school year I was a little obsessed with educating my child. I felt like I needed to spend every moment of his life educating him, but not always on the important things. I was working so hard to “make” him learn his letters, colors, etc… Yeah, I was terrible. Totally not age appropriate first of all, and planning things for him to learn truly bored him. He’d be interested in something else, so the things I wanted to teach him… well he couldn’t stay focused, and got very frustrated with me, which makes total sense. This year, I wiped that crazy board clean and decided to 100% follow his lead.

The first thing I decided to do was set up a “classroom” so that he would have a place to go to focus, and we could still do normal preschool activities like go over the calendar, read books, sit for puzzles, and go over our letters and numbers. These aren’t going to be forced things, but they are available, and if he chooses to do them himself, great! He often does. He loves puzzles, he loves matching games, and he is actually really interested in putting letters together and finding different letters out of a set. Part of the problem last year was that our schedule was always set, I would force him through the activities, and we would be in the living room or kitchen which was set up for other things as well. This year he will have a learning sanctuary that is his choice. It’s also a good way to keep all of his craft supplies, sensory buckets, and blocks in one place.

Now the next thing I did was realize that he had to already be interested in what I wanted to teach, so I decided that every Saturday we’d talk about the things he likes. Trees, weather, space, the ocean, firemen… whatever it may be, is what we will focus. Which leads me to…

Moonday! Last week Caleb let me know that he thought the moon was really awesome. I turned that into a whole week of learning about the solar system, but all he really wanted to learn about/play about was the moon and stars, which is completely understandable since he can actually see and somewhat understand them. At the daycare I work at, I did Moonday (Monday) with all of them, and want to share how it went with you all.

We started when I got there learning about gravity and the difference between gravity on Earth and the moon. We did this in a very simple way. I brought a bunch of Styrofoam balls and asked the kids to each grab a regular rock. We talked about how those rocks, Earth rocks, were heavy. Then I explained that on the Moon they would feel more like the Styrofoam balls and be very light. We played “moon rock toss” and tried to get the balls into a bucket.

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Next was snack time! Let me just add, this was delicious, and it’s my new favorite snack… We started with a rice cake base, smeared with cream cheese, layered with banana pennies and some little pieces of kix. One of our kiddos couldn’t have the cheese, so we used sun butter on her’s instead of the cream cheese, but it still looked really great.

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Then, I had each of the kiddos make their own telescope. I had prepped this activity so that the kids would each have a different color telescope, and wouldn’t have to spend the time painting. Instead they just each got a sticker sheet of stars to decorate the way they would like to.

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From there we went over to the rug and had a blast with this sensory bucket I set up for them. First of all, the bucket itself has a spot for each of the kids to set their wrist so they aren’t fighting for a spot or pushing one another, which I thought was great and a super bonus. Then I stuck on some star stickers, poured two bags of black beans in, added some of the white beans, about 15 glow in the dark stars, clear stones (because space is cold and full of ice!), and these awesome astronaut, ufo, spaceships, and jet erasers that I got at the Dollar Tree. Each child was assigned a different thing to find, and then they were able to just explore freely. They were so wonderfully focused on this bucket, it was a great time to call them over one by one for the big craft of the day…

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These were so much fun, and showed the personality of all of the kiddos. Just looking at them the other teacher and I knew exactly who made what. First each kiddo painted the back ground with their chosen combo of blue and purple. One little girl’s favorite color is blue, and only used blue. Caleb loved mixing colors, so used more purple than the others, because he likes swirling the two paints together. Then they each picked a glitter to sprinkle over the paint before it dried. After it all was dry, they got to glue on five of the glow in the dark stars and a cardboard moon however they wanted. I had painted the moons in an attempt to save time. We have such a limited amount of time the kids can stay sitting, that sometimes we just can’t let them do every part of a craft alone, sadly. Lastly I trimmed up to edges, and these lovely crafts were finished!

Along with these activities we used the sunlight to show how the moon rotates to make different phases, goes around the sun, and the size with little models of the Earth and moon I painted. We sang songs, pretended to be astronauts, and learned the sign for moon and stars. It was an excellent day of learning, play, and creativity, and it was all influenced by Caleb’s love for the moon and stars.

Trust your kids. They will learn if we follow their lead. I’m so incredibly sure of that. You can learn the alphabet during fun activities, you can help them learn their name using sensory boards, themed puzzles, and songs… Children learn through play. When you take the play away is when the learning stops. Trust your kids.

You Are Loved!

Turkey, Broccoli, Egg Muffins!

Okay, I have a REAL winner for you all today! My son has a new obsession with eggs, and I’ve made scrambled, fried, and omelets already this last week. I on the other hand have been on a muffin making binge, and also made a whole turkey yesterday. When Caleb asked for eggs today, I decided to put these delicious egg muffins together.

Ingredients:

cooked turkey (enough to fill the bottom of the cup, you can use deli meat)

broccoli (three pieces per muffin)

6 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 slice cheese of choice (I used American)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin. I love, love, love these silicone muffin liners. They are reusable, and anything cooked in them just pops right out.

Next, microwave your broccoli. 30 seconds from fresh/thawed, or 60 seconds for frozen. Put the turkey and broccoli in each cup (like in picture three.

Now whisk together the eggs, milk, and seasonings until you have a consistent mixture. This is the same egg recipe I would use for scrambled eggs. Caleb loves them, and they have just enough seasoning without overpowering the eggs. I recommend whisking this in a measuring cup, or anything with a pouring spout really. It’ll make it much easier to poor over the turkey and broccoli, which is exactly what you need to do next.

Lastly, place a quarter slice of cheese on top of each muffin cup. If you don’t press it in, it should float, and will be the perfect topped layer. Put the muffin tin into the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes. Just like a regular muffin, stick a toothpick or knife into the finished muffin to test if it’s done.

These are really great, because you can prep them the night before, and stick them into the oven in the morning if you want. You can also freeze them for later. Microwave them 45-60 seconds from frozen, or 30 seconds from thawed. These are easy to transport, and totally dip-able.

Enjoy!

Best Apple Oatmeal Muffins Ever!

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These were a serious treat. I knew I wanted to make apple muffins, and I knew I didn’t want to use a recipe, but instead create my own. What came next makes my taste buds sing! The beauty of these muffins is they are great for snack time, breakfast, or just something to bring along in your purse for when you’re out and about. I so hope you all try these, and let me know what you think.

One more thing before I get to the recipe… I my six year old niece and two year old son helping with every step of this. I used a chopper for the apples where you push down a piece on top of it, and it chops everything. Both kiddos got to do that. They both got to stir both the apples and the batter. We used this as a chance for a math lesson, using only a 1/4 measuring cup and adding fractions to make half or whole cups. Kids in the kitchen are awesome! Alright, to the recipe…

First thing you’re going to want to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees, prepare for 24 small or 12 large muffins by spraying the pan or using liners. I did 12 small in liners, and six large heart muffins. They all cooked at the same time, and all came out great.

Next, gather all of your ingredients:

a fry-pan to cook the apples

3 chopped (1/4 inch pieces) apples

spray olive oil (1/2 tsp)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 1/4 cup oatmeal (I used quick cooking)

1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar (remember this is being divided into 24 muffins!)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Let’s start with the apples, the real star of this dish. Spray your fry-pan, or add the olive oil, then add in the apples and brown sugar. Mix well for about five minutes over medium high heat. Put a cover on it, and let simmer while you mix the rest of the batter. This will make the apples nice and soft, and the muffins won’t get to moist when the apples cook in the oven. This is the most important step when baking with apples.

While that simmers, add the milk and eggs to a bowl and give it a good whisk. Once you’re finished, toss the whisk in the sink and grab a spatula. Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl, and fold the wet ingredients in. DO NOT OVER MIX.

Now, to finish off this great batter, shut off the stove, and poor all of the apples AND liquid from the pan into the batter. That’s all apple juice, and it’s the main wet ingredient for these muffins. Fold these apples in gently.

Scoop your batter into the muffin tins, then put into the oven for 22 minutes.

Now here’s a couple of tips: use an ice cream scoop to get the perfect serving of mix into each muffin cup. One scoop for small, two for large, half for mini. Before you put the tins into the oven, bang them a little bit onto the counter. This gets any air bubbles out, and helps the muffins cook thoroughly.

Enjoy!

 

Healthy Banana, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Muffins!

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On Friday, during Families READ, we made banana oatmeal muffins. It was decent, but over mixed and had a little bit of chemical taste from the vanilla. I set out tonight to create my own recipe, and goodness I succeeded !! These are amazing! Fresh, healthy, and not two sweet. I am not a fan of things that are too sweet, nor am I a fan of things with much wheat in them. I hope y’all like them!

Instructions:

Preheat Oven at 350 degrees. Spray your muffin pan, or bet yet prepare the pan with liners. Next, mix all ingredients gently in a bowl. They are listed in the order I added and mixed them into the bowl.

¼ cup milk

1 banana chopped, not mashed

¼ cup peanut butter

½ cup oatmeal

1 cup sugar (or maple syrup)

¼ cup flour

1 egg

Pinch of salt

½ tsp baking powder

Bake for 25 minutes and then let cool completely. I chose to sprinkle with powdered sugar, but brushed it off after the first bite because it wasn’t needed. My whole family loves it!