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ChristmasHistory BundleChristmas Latin Latin Calendar

Monday, February 27

Slow Cook Mardi Gras


Mardi Gras Feast
In honor of Mardi Gras, today's menu has a New Orleans flair!

Creole Chicken

  • 1 lb cubed skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 15 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz cooked smoked sausage (chopped)
  • 1 c diced cooked ham
  • 3/4 c chopped onion
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 6 dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 2 c uncooked instant rice
  • 1 c chopped green peppers


  1. Mix chicken, tomatoes, broth, sausage, ham, onion, paste, seasoning, pepper sauce, and water in crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours (or high 3 hours).
  3. Turn off crockpot.  Stir in rice and green peppers. 
  4. Serve when rice is cooked (will absorb liquid).
Vegetarian Gumbo
  • 30 oz black beans (drained)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 16 oz frozen peppers and onions  (stir fry mix works well)
  • 2 c frozen okra
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • cooked brown rice
  1. Combine everything except rice in crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (or high 3-4 hours).
  3. Serve over rice.
Jambalaya
  • 2 c chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 lb cubed skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 8 oz sliced sausage
  • 15 oz Rotel (do not drain)
  • 1 lb peeled shrimp
  • 4 c cooked rice
  1. Combine everything except rice and shrimp in crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. 
  2. Stir in cooked shrimp (do NOT cook seafood in crockpot on low).
  3. Serve over rice.

Thursday, February 23

Cowboy Take Me Away (Dixie Chicks)

From fine art, pop culture, and firearms to Native American objects, historical cowboy gear, shopping, and dining, the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City tells America’s story as it unfolds across the West...

Running now thru May 14th is the "Power and Prestige Children's Gallery". We learned about Native American pictographs, and even had a chance to make our own stories on buffalo hide ... aka brown construction paper. The kids really enjoyed being creative with their tales. The staff also told us stories, had musical instruments to try, and we made a beaded necklace similar to Native American jewelry of years ago.

One of our favorite parts of the museum was the Children's Cowboy Corral. It is in its own building, and allows the kids to freely touch , play, and explore history! They can choose their chaps and western wear and then keep them on while playing. There is a quiet spot for reading, giant puzzles, and more. We really enjoyed the imaginary play campfire and riding the horses... eh, logs... I truly felt back in the saddle again!!

The weather was almost perfect, dare I say HOT for February, when we visited. There are gardens and statues to take in, and I had to literally carry my toddler away from the coy pond. The laminated floor puzzles of the artwork was a fun way to get the kids interested!

The kids really liked all of the statues and sculptures in the museum. We have learned about Abraham Lincoln in social studies, so it was really special to see him there.

Prosperity Junction is an old Western town replica that you can explore in depth ... Unfortunately it happened to be closed on the day of our visit. 😞 we WILL be going back to see it another day.

Inside of this tiny theater you can watch a superb documentary about the history of western movies. It is narrated by Sam Elliott, so that doesn't hurt either.

As a child, one of my favorite parts of a museum was always the realistic scenes. This proves to be true for the next generation as well. We spent a lot of time studying the details of each display.

Cowboys Unit Study
Literature


Hands-On Activities
Related Units

Tuesday, February 21

Teaching Kids About Herbs : Mullein


February's herb is Mullein......whether it's a lingering sinus infection, ear infection, or just the nasty old drainage that hangs around after a cold...now's the time to get it out!

Mullein
Just the Facts
  • Plant Description : Mullein has broad, fuzzy, silvery-green leaves with tiny, yellow flowers.  It shoots up very tall when it flowers.
  • Parts to use : Leaves and flowers
  • Used primarily for : earache, dry cough, cold / flu, bronchitis, asthma, lungs
  • You can make : tea, oil, poultice, tincture, salve, syrup, ear drops, or gargle
  • Notes : Do not use if eardrum is ruptured.  Leaf hairs can be irritating to membranes; be sure to filter them out.

Projects
  • Cough Tea : Mix 1 tsp mullein leaves with 1 ½ cups hot water and let steep 3-5 minutes.  Drink ½ cup of tea three times daily.  (May also be used with colds, as research has shown mullein to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.)
  • Oil : Put herbs (dried herbs work better than fresh) into a glass jar and cover with oil.  Set into a cool, dark place and shake daily.  Leave 3-5 days before straining out leaves.  Store oil in a glass jar in a cool, dark place.
  • Ear drops : Put 4 drops mullein oil in the ear every 4 hours until earache is gone.  Lie with ear facing up for 5 minutes, to allow oil to get into ear.  Cover with a cotton ball before rising.

Do it Yourself!


Monday, February 20

Project Passport Review : Ancient Greece

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

We have used several products by Home School in theWoods in the past, but HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece is at the top of our lists of favorites.  While we’re not specifically studying Greece this year (it’s in Year One, and we’re on Year Three), we were recently given the opportunity to check out this supplement….which I really think (when paired with its counterparts) could be used as a history and writing curriculum all on its own!  Other titles in this series include Ancient Egypt, Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reform.


The passport features twenty-five ‘stops,’ each featuring a different aspect of life in Ancient Greece.  At each stop, there is a selection of text and activities to accompany it – including timeline work, arts and crafts, and newspaper writing.  Some of the stops also have an ‘audio tour,’ which is like a short audiobook to go with it.  The audio tours have been one of our favorite features of the program!
Probably my biggest complaint about the printing is that every. single. thing is in a separate PDF file.  I would have much rather preferred to have it all in one huge file…or at least the entire itinerary section in one file, instead of multiple, smaller ones.  But, we got them all printed out.  It just took a little longer.

As the teacher, I went ahead and did some of the work ahead of time, so that they could focus on the projects themselves, rather than prepping for them.  For example, I made the postcard holder – then they could just focus on the cards themselves.  I also pre-printed the timeline for them to use with the figurines.  Finally, while I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, I set up a newspaper with all the sheets so that, once they have completed every stop, they will have created a complete Ancient Greek Times newspaper out of their writing assignments!

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study ReviewsI used a 3” binder to organize everything for quick access.  We separated stops by colored tabs, and each one had the itinerary, text / lesson, crafts and activities, maps, and teacher key included in its section.  This made it a lot easier to just grab and go each morning.  Also, I flipped through the lessons to see what supplies we would need for crafts and cooking projects.  Since it is a long drive to get to a store, we have to plan ahead for any extras.  Getting it organized did take some time, but it was very much worth that effort!

Pros
  • There are detailed instructions to tell you exactly how to print everything out, and how many copies of each sheet you’ll need.
  • This is a very thorough curriculum, and perfect for a hands-on learner!  It has art  projects, cooking, and everyday crafts, as well as audiobook components and lapbooking.
  • The itinerary is your Teacher’s Guide.  It details each stop’s lesson plans and activities.  Don’t lose it!
  • The Student Binder is a fantastic way to keep the work organized, plus it makes a nice keepsake for their school boxes.  As an added bonus, since we are doing Ancient Greece at the History Fair this year, most of their table work is already done!
Cons
  • Getting organized takes a concentrated effort – but if you don’t get organized ahead of time, you’ll regret it!
  • There is a lot to print.  If you have a good relationship with your local Kinkos, it might be worth it to get the whole thing printed out in one shebang before starting.  We printed at home, and it took nearly a day just to print everything – plus another to organize it.
  • All of the components are in many many small files, rather than a couple of larger files, which makes printing take longer.
 A Few More Notes…
  • The suggested grade level for Project Passport is 3-8.
  • It should take 8-12 weeks to complete the full study. 
  • Visit Homeschool in the Woods to see all the other products they have available.
  • This dovetailed nicely with our Greek Mythology fun, and we got to re-enact the Olympics!!
  • Ancient Rome is coming soon!
See what others are saying about Home School in the Woods over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, February 16

Cultural Cooking : Chinese

Asian food is the go-to for busy weeknights at our home.  Typically, we cook up a mess of rice and throw in all the veggies in the fridge, along with whatever meat is in there.  It's not true Chinese, but these recipes are!  请享用 (Enjoy!)

Hun-t'un-pi (Wonton Wrappers) (4 dozen)

  • 2c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c cold water


  1. Mix flour and salt in bowl.
  2. Pour egg and cold water into mixture.
  3. Use fingers to mix and knead until dough is formed.
  4. Roll out dough into 1/16" thick sheets.
  5. Cut into squares (3-4" is usual size).
  6. Use to make dumplings, wontons, and eggrolls.

La-pai-ts'au (Spiced Cabbage)

  • 1 lb cabbage or bok choy
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Cut cabbage into 1" strips, then dice into 1" squares.
  2. In a bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and cayenne.
  3. Heat oil in wok on high.
  4. Turn to medium and add cabbage - coat cabbage with oil.
  5. Stir in spices and remove from heat.

Chao-hsueh-tou (Snow Pea, Bamboo, and Mushroom Stir Fry)

  • 4 diced mushrooms
  • 1 lb snow peas
  • 1/2 c bamboo shoots
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Heat oil in wok on high.
  2. Reduce to medium and cook mushrooms and bamboo 2 min.
  3. Add snow peas, salt, sugar, and 2 Tbsp water - cook 2 min.
  4. Serve over rice, if desired.

Monday, February 13

Ice Cream (Sarah McLachlan)

One of Oklahoma's pleasures is the Braum's Ice Cream Parlor.  It's a chain that began in 1933, and a part of every child's memory in this area!  To find out more about the company's history, read more here.  During our stay in central Oklahoma, we had the opportunity to tour the Braum's Factory in Tuttle.  It's a tiny little town, but very beautiful!
The tour lasted about two hours, durin which time we were able to tour all of their bakery, processing, and packaging facilities.  One of the neat things about this company is that they make everything they need, from the food products to the packaging materials, right on site!  We were not allowed to take photos during the tour itself, but found you a video of the factory tour, which is beneath the unit study at the bottom.
The best part of the tour?  Getting to sample cookies and ice cream, of course!!  Actually, we also found some of the facts interesting that we picked up along the way.  For example, there are approximately 40 calves born at the farm each DAY....I'll let you do the math for the year!  The photo below shows the area where baby calves are housed and raised, right by the river.  (The other one is the truck housing...all trucks return daily, so they keep their stores close.)  Find out how you can take your own, free, tour!
Ice Cream Unit Study

Wednesday, February 8

Love (Sugarland)

Wouldn't this just make you want to stop and see what's up?  I mean...really.  That's one big piece of tail sticking out of there...   This is the Flight Museum, sponsored by and dedicated to Southwest Airlines, over at the Dallas Lovefield Airport.  Check out the museum here!

We see no need to reinvent the wheel, so you can find our (very) comprehensive Aviation Unit Study over here!! 
There's a training aircraft right smack in the middle of the museum, where you'll learn about the four forces of flight.  Also, the various instrument panels are designed to teach you the basics of instrument flight reading.  It's at an elementary child's level...both educationally and height-wise.
There are several different rooms dedicated to various eras of flight, including :  the Wright Brothers, ancient flight (think DaVinci), the World Wars, Vietnam, space exploration, and the future of flight.  We were so engrossed that we didn't take many pictures, but the family enjoyed learning how to spot various WWII aircraft and read aerial maps.
The strangest plane we saw was this V-173 Flying Pancake.  It's just a strange-looking beast, but it was designed with a purpose.....just like each of us was designed with a purpose!
After 'checking in,' we boarded the airplane for a private flight!
Unlike most post-911 flights, you can actually check out the cockpit on this flight!  Most of the seats are removed and have been replaced with information on how the Boeing is constructed and the history of the jet.  However, there are still a few spots left to rest in.
So....at times we got a bit distracted.  The kids had just as much fun pretending to be on an airplane as they did looking at the planes.  And this little guy?  Oh, pobrecito!  We found a dead lizard inside one of the maps, and had to spend a good ten minutes inspecting him....
En route from Dallas to our next location, we popped into the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo.  If you eat a 72oz steak there, in less than an hour, you get it for free!  All I have to say is....ugh.  Just the thought...   But look how pretty their Christmas decorations are!!!

Catch ya' on the next train!!!