Monday, December 21, 2009

Goodie Making Day!

Every year we make yummy goodies to give to friends, neighbors, teachers, and family members for the holidays. Our good friends from Carlsbad come and help create the goodies with us! All the kids help out with making, and packaging the goods. This year, we made Coconut Clusters, Peppermint Bark, Chocolate Lollies and jars of Black Eyed Peas for good luck in the new year!

If you'd like to make some "Good Luck" jars or just enjoy some delicious black eyed peas for the New Year, here is the recipe...

In the Southern U.S. eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day shows humility and thus invites good fortune. Enjoy this recipe and have a prosperous New Year!

1 C. black eyed peas cooked (soak peas first)
4 tbsp. oil
1 large onion, minced
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp. dried parsley
salt and pepper (to taste)
2/3 cup bean water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 large tomatoes chopped

Drain beans after cooking and save liquid. Heat the oil and fry the onion for 4-5 mins. or until soft. Stir in the garlic (add a little fresh garlic if you'd like), cinnamon, cumin, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for 2 more mins. Add to beans, bean water, tomato paste, soy sauce, and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer 15-20 mins. or until thick.
Happy Holidays from Mt. Moe Academy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gaia Girls Giving

by Micayla
Gaia Girls* went to a senior home in Torrance. We delivered vases of flowers and potted plants, we put them by rooms and on the tables in the dining rooms. Nate got lots of hugs (I don't think the seniors see kids very often)! A few of the employes got poinsettias. The seniors were happy to see somebody bringing color to their home. Nate gave out mini poinsettias to seniors who were on their way to their rooms, so they could put it on their night stands. Someone actually asked if they were real!! (From the few I saw in the halls, I guess they don't get many real ones.)
We had lots of fun putting together the bouquets, and adding the colorful stones. The employes were exited too - they where a little baffled when we said we had 3 more trips to take!! When we left it smelled much better (it had a funny sort of yucky food smell before), and it looked very nice! We could not wait until the seniors came out for dinner!!

*Gaia Girls is in an alternative homeschooling scout group. They meet a few times a month to explore nature, create something, and/or give to the community. This week they made the flower arrangements with flowers donated by Trader Joe's and vases collected by the kids. The joy on the faces of the seniors was priceless. Nate (who calls himself a "Gaia Guy") definitely got his fair share of hugs and kisses (some of them quite wet ones, he informed us:). It was such a worthwhile project and one the kids will surely have engraved in their memory banks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Music Fun!

Barry Cogert has been conducting a fun homeschool music ensemble this fall. A group of kids meet in his garage once a week to play a variety of jazz and rock pieces. It is quite an eclectic group with three drummers/percussionists, two pianists, two guitarists, Carly on flute and Micayla on violin. This Saturday (December 12th) the group is performing at the "Yule Ball Celebration" at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church (525 East 7th Street, Long Beach ~ 562-682-0231). The event is free of charge however they are accepting donations of new unwrapped toys which will be distributed at the Long Beach Women's Shelter. The kids will be on at 7:30p.m., so if you haven't any other holiday plans, come and take a listen! If you are interested in learning more about Barry's music groups/programs, you can contact him at 562-223-0086 or

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Homeschool Book Club

(by Carly)
I've recently started a homeschool book club. There weren't really any book clubs for the homeschool community near Long Beach, so I thought, heck, why not create my own? At the moment the club consists of me, and my friends Lauren, Katie, Meagan and Annabel. At first the book reading kinda got off to a bumpy start. The first book that I picked was by one of my favorite authors, but I hadn't read it, and it turned out to be...lets just say...not what I thought it would be like! A bit bizarre. But we've just finished Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. We had a great discussion about it, and some yummy gingerbread lemon cupcakes, homemade by Annabel! Whoever picks the book, brings a snack and leads the meeting. Here is our list of "books to read" for the book club: Leonardo's Shadow, A Mango Shaped Space, Ophelia, The Smile, The Secret Life of Bees, The Rising Star of Rusty Nail, Tuck Everlasting, Mara Daughter of the Nile, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Chain

As a Christmas tradition Allie and I make an advent chain. We cut out colored paper, staple them together, number them, and at the very end - for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we put gold or silver paper (this year we did it a little different because we couldn't find silver and gold paper) with *Christmas Eve* or *Christmas * printed on them. Each day we rip a strip off, and keep tearing them off everyday until Christmas morning! It is lots of fun. And is another way to remember what day it is!!

posted by Micayla

Saturday, November 28, 2009

River Flows in You

Here is my latest favorite piano piece that I've been working on. It's called River Flows in You by Yiruma. I've memorized it, and here is the end result. Enjoy!
~posted by Carly

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gettting Ready For Giving

(written by Carly)
Getting ready for Thanksgiving for us, means a day of pie making! This year we cranked up our favorite music on Pandora (your own personal radio station) and set to work.

I made an apple pie (and didn't drop it on the floor, like last year:),

Micayla made a blueberry pie,

Allie made a banana creme pie,

Nate made a pumpkin pie, Mom baked a maple pecan pie, and each of us kids made four little ones to eat ourselves (we used cute little 4 inch pie tins for the mini pies. We found them at: Classic Cake Decorations.)

We also made a couple of unedible treats for our family. Little folded fortunes! You can print the paper cut outs and sayings for free at Kind Over Matter (click on freebies). We are going to set them on each person's plate so they can find it when they go to sit down at their place. We also created a fun Thanksgiving word search! You can customize any type of puzzle at: Puzzle Maker. The word searches are a lot of fun to figure out with family. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Art Farm

We have discovered a great new art teacher, right here in LB! Her name is Shannon Buchanan and her studio is called the Art Farm; it's a really neat place.
She has a magic wardrobe where we get to pick what size canvas we want to paint on. Then we sketch what we want to paint (sometimes using an image to help us), and then we start painting!

On our first visit to Shannon's Art Farm, Allie painted a sugar glider,

Micayla a pointe shoe,

and me a kitten.

Nate got to paint too!

We have a lot of freedom in choosing what we want to paint, and which canvas we'd like to work with. As we work Shannon gives us painting tips and suggestions. My next painting will be a 7 layered cake, Micayla a moose, and Allie doesn't know what she'll paint next.
The Art Farm is located in a really cool warehouse where there are paintings everywhere, and 7 easels for students. There are snacks and drinks for anyone who is thirsty or hungry, beautiful music playing in the background, and even a library to look in if we need some inspiration! Also, there is Shannon's adorable cat "Kitten DoodleBean" that you may see hanging around. If you're looking for a great art teacher, check out Shannon Buchanan and the Art Farm!

~Written by Carly

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Learning at the Lagoon

Warming up with a little soccer!
Getting ready for exploration...

Every second Thursday of the month, Education Director Taylor Parker ("The Lagoon Dude", as we affectionately call him:), takes a group of homeschoolers on a marine biology/ecology exploration at the Colorado Lagoon. He has the kids measuring the depth of the water, testing the pH levels and salinity, learning about phytoplankton, sea sponges, sea squirts/brains, sea snails, sea jellies, sting rays, collecting algae, mussels, digging for clams, looking at creatures under microscopes, and identifying birds and plant life (among other things)! Taylor's enthusiasm for marine life is contagious; we learn something new every time and we love learning science "out of the book"!

Friday, November 6, 2009

San Diego Botanic Garden

This week we met up with our good friends in S.D. County and went to the beautiful San Diego Botanic Garden. We visited the Mexican Garden, the Bamboo Garden and Pond, the Herb Garden, the African Garden, the Tropical Rain Forest and Waterfall, the Subtropical Fruit Garden, the California Gardenscapes, and the Children's Garden. Such an incredible place; we could have spent the entire day there and still not seen all of the gardens.

Allie's favorite was the Bamboo Garden, "There were tons of really tall bamboo and bamboo that was red and yellow. It felt like China".

Micayla's favorite was the Mexican Garden. She liked the fountain, the topiary mariachis, and all of the succulents like the agave and aloe vera plants.

Carly liked the Tropical Rain Forest and Waterfall because, "it was really pretty, and really big with lots of lush tropical plants".

Nate loved the Children's Garden where there was a huge tree house, musical instruments to play, and Indian storytelling.

And we all loved the Subtropical Fruit Garden where there were papaya, guava, guava-pineapple, apricot, orange, lychee, peach, olive, avocado, lemon, and a variety of banana trees.

This is definitely a place we'd like to visit again. Many thanks to the Kaihatu family for sharing one of San Diego's treasures with us.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Foot Baths

Friday nights are for relaxing - movies, dessert, and more recently foot baths! We got the idea from a summer issue of Mothering Magazine. We fill tubs up with steaming hot water and we've experimented with adding a combination of Dr. Brommer's Magic Soaps (peppermint or lavender) and/or essential oils and/or epson salts. The baths feel good and smell good too!

Carly says, "Very relaxing and good for healing blisters (from ballet)."
Micayla says, "Your feet feel all fresh afterwards."
Allie says, "Footbaths are really nice and pepperminty."
Nate says, "Can I have a foot bath too?"

If you are looking for some good essential oils, Aunt Jamie happens to sell them! Check out her website at Soma Arts Lounge.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Music Fun!

Nate requested music lessons with Ms. Danuta this year (he remembered her from when Allie took her class a couple of years ago). He goes once a week with a small group of mostly four year olds for a "Music and Movement" class. He loves it! Ms. Danuta has them singing, dancing, naming and counting notes, playing games and instruments. She uses elements of the Orff Shulwerk and Kodaly methods with her approach. If you are interested in checking out one of her many classes for kids, you can call her @ (562)494-1529.

The kids playing xylophones and glockenspiels.

Nate practicing his musical skills at home with the ukulele!