Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{Making Soap}

Today I'm linking up with the Hip Homeschool Hop.

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


This week we tried our hand at making soap. I've been wanting to try making soap for a while, but while reading our latest book about Ben Franklin they have soap and candle making activities. Doing a "requirement" for school is definitely a reason to make it happen! We are going to tackle candle making later this week - but for now it's soap making.

I know young Ben didn't make soap with a melt and pour goats milk base, and I know they didn't add color (or probably fragrance), but that's how we did ours. Bonus points - I'm counting it as this week's art project too. Little man did all the coloring and swirling so he gets credit for that.

He really did all of it - I just supervised and gave him direction. That's the good thing about melt and pour instead of cold process - no lye. Poor young Ben, what a nasty job that must have been!

Putting colors in the molds

He made them very colorful

All poured and setting up

Ta-Da!

It was fun and my hates-to-take-a-shower tween boy is so excited to try them out!

Monday, September 16, 2013

{Baking Binge}

Yes, I've been on a baking binge lately. It's kind of in line with my (trying) to go crunchy theme, but it does hinge more on I'm sick of paying $3 for a loaf of bread. Ugh. You can call it frugal or cheap, but you have to call it delicious!

Last week I tried my hand at dinner rolls and hamburger buns. They were the exact same recipe, just divided and shaped differently. They came out so good. I didn't take pictures of those, but trust me they were good!

So this week I decided to try my hand at a few things.

First - pumpkin spice creamer. No, this isn't baking but it did lead to baking so I'm counting it! My niece gave me the idea and I followed the recipe found on Mrs. Happy Homemaker. For the base I used the sweetened condensed milk and (organic) half and half. It tastes so good. But you must remember to shake it every time you use it. My husband also suggests stirring your coffee a lot because it does settle. I say it's super good and much more frugal than a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice. Not that I'm giving those up entirely, but hey - I get to drink a lot more this way! All this to say, I ended up with an almost full can of pumpkin puree, which led to:


Yep, pumpkin bread. And muffins. Because I made four mini-ish loaves and had batter left over. Erik says they are good. Here's another secret - this is the first time I've made pumpkin bread without a box mix. Good thing it all turned out alright!

My Sunday night foray into baking was basic white bread. Yes, we eat white bread in this house. Don't judge! Most of my baking recipes have come right out my good ol' Better Crocker Cookbook. You know the standard red and white checked one? Mine is pink and white, but the recipes are still great.

This recipe I didn't get from that book though. I picked it up online at Daily Dish Recipes. I followed this recipe exactly except for maybe the kneading time. I don't time that part - I just let it go on my stand mixer until the motor got too hot, then I turned it out and kneaded it maybe 10 more times. The end result was awesome!

Two different size pans!

What I learned about this bread (other than it's sooo good - did I say that already?), is that even when you think it's cooled down all the way, let it sit a little longer. We didn't wait quite long enough before we sliced it and it did crumb a little bit. Honestly I don't know how long we let it cool. I just know that next time when I think it's ready, I'm adding another hour!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

{USS Yorktown}

Today we played tourists. We went to Charleston and after a brief stint in downtown (very brief - it was crowded!) we went to the USS Yorktown. We wanted to go to Fort Sumter but we missed the last boat out. Now we know. That is going to be another trip because of our history studies this year. Maybe a during the week trip though, when it's not so packed with people who are really tourists or people just acting like them!

Charleston from the deck of the USS Yorktown


The Yorktown is moored with a destroyer and a submarine. Miss Claustrophobic almost didn't make it through the submarine, but I held my panic in check (barely) and survived. I'm going to be honest if I had to live on one of those people would be dead. Or I would die trying to blow a hole in the side to get out!

It really was a fun time. We did three of the five tours (self guided) through the Yorktown, walked the destroyer (the USS Laffey - named after a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient), and walked through the USS Clamagore (the sub). The best part though (at least in my opinion) is the Medal of Honor Museum. Very awe inspiring.

At the beginning of the Medal of Honor Museum

Today I learned that each branch
had it's own Medal of Honor. I thought
it was just one. 

Here is the link to the web page for Patriots Point. If you are ever in Charleston and need to kill some time before one of the famous ghost tours you should visit. There are ghost tours of the Yorktown too so you can spend tons of time there!

Here are a few pictures of our day. My phone died, so I didn't take very many - maybe I should have brought a real camera?

USS Clamagore

On the flight deck

The Yorktown

Mickey supporting the guys.

Friday, September 13, 2013

{Art & PE}

My effort in include art and PE this year has been hit or miss. That, sadly, is nothing unusual in this house! PE especially has taken the back burner ~ it usually does. I know I'm not teaching my son good, healthy habits by not doing something everyday. I hope that we can start making changes in that area.

On the other hand art has been going much better. We've completed a few projects (which is a few more than last year). I get our ideas from pintrest or this book



We've had this book since 2nd grade - it only took us 5 years to use it...

It has lots of good ideas and we decided on Squares with Concentric Circles by Vassily Kandinsky. It was one of the easier projects :) That's how we roll around here!

What the original looked like

Our circles

Completed project



Zach enjoyed working on it, choosing his own colors and and how dark he wanted to paint each section. I had him make all the choices, did it need another coat of watercolor? How dark did he want the wax circles to be?

Since including Art this year I've loved spending this quiet time with Zach and watching him learn how to put different colors together. Sometimes the best curriculum is the one that isn't written.