Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Behold The Christmas Planner

I know, I shouldn't even be thinking about Christmas yet.  I should be focusing on getting those Halloween costumes finished.  But, it's impossible not to think about it a little bit.  After all, I have started getting Christmas catalogs in the mail (only Fleet Farm, but they count, right?  Their Christmas toyland is already open!). 

Here she is!  The 2011 Christmas Planner.  Filled with a spot to keep my pen and highlighter, slot for catalogs and receipts, my calendar for November and December, Christmas list and budget, Christmas "bucket list", and blank pages to put my menus and party outfit schedule on.  I'm good to go!  C'mon Mother/Daughter/Sister Christmas shopping day, I'm ready!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Second Grade, First Quarter In Review

I'm almost done with my first quarter of homeschooling Millie!  So far so good.  We've both learned a lot, and made some really nice friends.

Here's what we've been doing, in detail:

Math - She's using Saxon Math 2, and breezing through it.  She really "gets" math.  We just finished lesson 50 today.  We've been skipping forward quite a bit, or else she'd be bored.  I think I'll be buying Saxon Math 3 before the school year is over.

Science - She spent a couple weeks learning about North American animals (...and culture...and geography.  She wrote and performed a 1 act play as part of her presentation on wolves), dinosaurs, volcanoes and plate tectonics, how machines work, and magnets/batteries. 

Reading/Read Alouds - She has been reading a book per week.  She's progressed to the "next level" of books already, and is now focusing on reading classics by DK Readers Level 4 (Black Beauty, in specific).  I'm really pleased with her progress!  We're also reading out loud each night.  She especially enjoyed The Cricket In Times Square and The Boxcar Children.

Spelling and Grammar - The spelling program that I'm using is helping a lot with phonics.  She's doing great!  Her first few weeks of grammar were focused on sentence structure and different types of sentences and punctuation.  Right now (and for the rest of 1st quarter) she's working on a writing unit.  Her first project was to write about an experience (The Renaissance Festival).  Right now she's working on writing about our trip to Craguns.  It's fun to see the progress she's making!

History - We're both LOVING history!  We started with the dawn of time, dinosaurs, evolution, etc.  It's been really fun (I can't believe how much I'm learning!).  She loved the book Life In The Great Ice Age

Fine Arts - She learned about Pieter Bruegel, and studied his use of color.  We used pastels to create warm and cool color pictures.  We also studied Georges Seurat, and made pictures using only tiny dots.  Millie started piano lessons, too.  Her teacher is fantastic, and Millie can read notes and play a few simple songs already :) 

Phy Ed - We haven't done as much as I'd like in this department.  Our phy ed has mainly been walking, biking, and hiking.  This is an area that definitely needs improvement for next quarter!

Field Trips and Out-of-the-home classes - We've taken MANY field trips during the 1st quarter!  Her first was out to Silverwood for a class about papermaking with her co-op friends.  She took another class out there about textures in nature, and made texture tiles out of clay, using textures she found on a nature walk.    When she was learning about fossils, we went hunting for fossils at the Lilydale Brickyard and made fossils at home using plaster of paris.  Every week for the past 5 weeks she's gone to a Farm Explorers class out at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista.  It's an absolutely fantastic class!  Only one of those left...  We are learning about the renaissance period later this year, so we took a trip out to the Renaissance Festival.  She learned about local history, dipped candles, and watched someone pretend to make ice cream at Gibbs Farm.  The last three outings of the quarter will be science day at the Roseville Library (Newtons 3rd law), a trip to see Luna Negra at the Ordway, and a mother/daughter trip to the theatre to see Dolphin Tail (she learned about Winter the dolphin last year, and it's now a movie, so we're going).

It's been a really great first quarter!  So far we're both loving this homeschool thing :)

What do I need to improve on?  Adding more phy ed into our day, and sticking to our monthly "unit of inquiries".  It was my intention to do more art, and  a lot of nature study.  We didn't do ANY nature study, which I'm disappointed about.  I'll have to up my efforts in the Spring.

Spooktacular Countdown - Let The Sewing Begin!

Only 14 sewing days until Halloween!  Can you guess what I'll be doing every evening for the next few weeks?  My fingers are crossed that I can get everything done on time, and that everything turns out.  Elise's costume looks like it will be hard!  I've never sewn with silky fabric and sheers before.  Now that's scary!

Here's my temporary sewing station.  I'm set up in the corner of my living room, on a card table :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spooktacular Countdown - Decorating for Halloween

15 Days until Halloween...

We finally brought up our fall/halloween decor boxes!

My favorite is my bowl full of acorns and old crow figurines.

Elise enjoyed dressing up in Millies old costumes.  She looooved the pirate costume, and it fit her perfectly.  Remind me why I bought a pattern and ridiculously expensive supplies to make her a costume this year...!?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spooktacular Countdown - Chicken and Snakes

Only 17 days 'til Halloween, and still so much to do! 

Tonight I made Chicken and Snakes for dinner.  It was sooo goooood!  I just made mashed potatoes the way I normally do, then dripped in a few drops of green food coloring.  Easy Peasy.  I put the mashed potatoes into a bag, clipped the corner, and squeezed snakes onto the plates.  I used the pimento from a green olive for the tongue, and cut the olive in half for the eyes.  The chicken also turned out really good.  I mixed 1/2 c of flour, 1 t Chipotle seasoning, a little salt, and a little pepper into a plastic bag.  I dipped each drumstick into milk, tossed with the seasoning, and put on a baking sheet.  I baked it at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, flipped the chicken, and baked for another 20 minutes.  I'd never cooked the drummies with Chipotle seasoning before, but I was out of paprika and sage, so I experimented.  Mmmm. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spooktacular Countdown - Chicken Cordon Bleu Mummy

Only 26 days 'til Halloween!  The fun is just beginning!  Last night I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, mummy style!  It was really good (although the kids wouldn't eat it). 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Mummy Recipe

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza crust
2 T garlic and herb spreadable cheese
4 oz thinly sliced cooked deli ham
6 oz thinly sliced cooked deli chicken
4 slices provolone cheese
1 egg
1 t grated Parmesan cheese
sliced olives

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Unroll dough into cookie sheet:stretch and very lightly press into a "triangular" shape; 14 inches long, 11 inches at the top, and 6 inches at the bottom.
2.  Spread garlic and herb cheese down the center (allow for about 3 inches down the middle to put the cheese and fillings), to within 1/2 inches of each end.
3.  Start layering the ham, chicken and cheese on top of the garlic and herb cheese.  Measure about 3 inches down from the top, and cut cuts at a diagonal angle, about one inch apart, along both sides of the mummy.  These will fold over the toppings and become the mummy wrapping.  Fold the top of the pizza dough down to form the head, and start wrapping that mummy!
4.  In a small bowl, beat egg.  Brush over dough.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
5.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Place sliced olives in the eye opening at the top.
6.  Cut into slices and serve!