Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

For our traditional "Goodie Making Day" this year we made coconut clusters, peppermint bark, chocolate lollis and our favorite fun new goodie - Pizzelles. Our friend brought her Pizzelle maker and we turned out dozens of the pretty sugar cookies.

Here is the recipe we used:

6 eggs
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla or anise extract (pure)
4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar

1. Beat the eggs until smooth. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan on low heat.
2. Allow the butter to cool briefly while you blend and mix the sugar and vanilla or anise extract into the eggs.
3. Add the melted butter into the mix, sift the flour and baking powder onto the mix and blend vigorously to ensure uniformity.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Dough Ornaments

By Allie,

My brother and I have been having fun making these holiday salt dough ornaments. Here's how:

What you'll need:
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup water
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie sheet
  • Toothpick
  • Cookie cutters - Christmas trees, snowmen, stars, etc.
  • Acrylic paints

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Mix together, salt, flour, and water until dough is formed.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.
  4. Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour.
  5. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes
  6. Use a toothpick to make a hole toward the top of the shape.
  7. Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven.
  8. Bake for 2 hours.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  10. Paint

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Baking

This year we made 6 pies + four mini pies for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. Nate helped with the pumpkin pies and blueberry pie. Allie made the banana creme, Micayla made key lime pie, and I made pecan. We started baking around 10:00 in the morning, and continued making a mess throughout the day; cooking and cleaning nonstop, as well as blasting Pandora on the stereo. In the end, we had 10 pies in all, beautifully displayed on our 1800's organ (which also serves as a sideboard). Mmm can't wait to eat them!

Micayla whisking up the key lime filling.

Me with the pecan pie. The recipe (<----click on link for recipe) for it used maple syrup instead of corn syrup.

Allie showing off her banana creme.

Nate and his scrumptious mini blueberry.

All the pies! Happy Pie (I mean Turkey) Day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Nutcracker

post by Micayla

.... It's time for The Nutcracker!! This year I am performing as little Clara!! Carly is in Snow and Chinese. You can see me as Clara on December 19th and 23rd. Here is the link if you would like to buy tickets.

Here are a couple of pictures from an outreach performance we did:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Secret Life of Scientists

These are awesome videos that we discovered which feature different scientists and what they do in their secret lives.

And here is one of our favorite ones:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nouveau Professeur de Francais

Nous avons un nouvel enseignant français (notre autre a eu un bébé si nous n'obtenons pas de la voir autant). Son nom est Chantal et elle avait l'habitude de vivre à Paris. Elle nous a appris beaucoup de choses en un court laps de temps (nous avons seulement l'ont eue pour un couple de mois). Si vous êtes à la recherche d'un bon instructeur français consultez son site web.

We have a new french teacher (our other one had a baby so we don't get to see her as much). Her name is Chantal and she used to live in Paris. She has taught us a lot in a short amount of time (we've only had her for a couple of months). If you are looking for a great french instructor check out her website.

Some of our favorite french sites and You-Tubes:
French in Action - free 1/2 hour video instruction on-line
Avez-Vous Deja Vu - funny You-Tube videos
T'choupi et Doudou - short french cartoons for kids
Mango Languages - computer language programs (free through some library systems)
Rosetta Stone - computer french language program

*Note - First French Tutoring (Chantal) is a vendor for Sky Mountian Charter School

Friday, October 22, 2010

Space Center

(as dictated by Nate)

We went to the Columbia Space Center in Downey. It was awesome! You got to fill up a bottle with air pressure and then press the other button to launch the rocket. It went so high up I thought it would land straight onto my head!

We programed a robot. Then we tried to make them pick up the magnets. It worked and it was awesome!

The space suit smelled really really bad but it was fun to climb up into it.

I got to land a space shuttle. It was fun.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Math in Nature

This is a great video that Aunt Jamie shared with us. It reminded us to look for Fibonacci numbers in nature!

Here are some of our favorite math resources:
G is for Google - A Math Alphabet Book by David M. Schwartz (F is for Fibonacci and N is for Nature)
Khan Academy - math videos
Agnesi to Zeno - Over 100 Vignettes from the History of Math by Sanderson Smith
All the Math You'll Ever Need by Steve Slavin
Family Math books by Stenmark, Thompson, and Cossey
Games for Math by Peggy Kaye
The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math by Tori Large
Math for Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns
The I Hate Mathematics Book by Marilyn Burns
Read Any Good Math Lately? by David J. Whitin and Sandra Wilde
Math for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Mathematicians are People, Too by Reimer
A Waldorf Approach to Mathematics for Homeschoolers by Barbara Dewey
Living Math - website
Cash Flow For Kids - board game
Dr. Mike's Math Games for Kids - website

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thunder & Lightning

~Written by Allie

It is raining so hard and there is thunder and lightning. I am a bit scared. I am hugging Gracie. We made a poem Nate, Carly, my mom, and me, here it goes...

Boom crackle boom
the rain is coming down down down
Buckets full
lightning splits the sky
boom boom chaka lacka boom boom
thunder rumbles
I'm so scared I'm hugging Gracie
I am Imagining that .....
lightning splits the house and pulls you up in the
sky you fall onto a puff of clouds and quick as a wink
the thunder rolls you back on the
wind landing you right back
where you were before
Boom Boom.
The End

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spatulatta Remote Reporter Halloween Edition!

Here is our special exclusive Spatulatta cooking show video, for Halloween. It's full of surprises! Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Poetry Tea Time

(by Micayla)
We had our first Poetry Tea Time! This one was for Fall, the next one that we do will be for Winter. We had little tea sandwiches, a salad, some yummy fruit and peach cream tea (from The Vintage Tea Leaf - our favorite tea house). We all picked our favorite poems and shared them. Then we all read Halloween poems together. Nate and Allie even dressed up for the occasion!

This is one of our favorite poems that we shared - It is the one that kept Nelson Mandela alive while he was in prison for 27 years :


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

(We got the idea for Tuesday Teatimes from the Brave Writer blog)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"What's That?" "It's a Grommet!"

Here is a short movie that I made for the Hot Grom Shorts kids' surf contest, "What's That?" "It's a Grommet!" It was so much fun to make, and I learned a lot in the process. I ended up making it into the Finals! The screening of all the finalists will be on October 10th in Oceanside (you can vote for my film here:)!

written by Carly

Monday, September 27, 2010

International Harpist

I am now taking harp lessons! It is so much fun and the harp sounds so pretty!! I have an awesome teacher named Erica. Erica used to live in England (fortunately she now lives here in Southern California). She has a super cute dog named Charlie, and a beautiful harp!

If you are looking for an excellent harpist for any reason, call Erica Walker @ (949)677-7824. You can check out her website at:

written by Micayla

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Highlights & Happenings

Here are some fun things that we've been up to as summer is winding down and we are attempting to get back into our fall routine:

*We walked the labyrinth in Palos Verdes.
*We checked out the new Homeschool Choir that will be happening on Mondays in Long Beach. If you are interested contact Beth Syverson 714-376-6666. (Carly was invited to intern as an accompanist for Beth).
* Carly and Micayla auditioned for the Nutcracker. This year they will be in performing with the Maple Conservatory in Irvine.

*We went to the Hurley Pro where Carly filmed and interviewed surf groms for a surf film contest she is entering (if you know someone who'd like to enter please note the submission deadline has been changed to September 30th). In the photo above is fellow homeschooler, 9 year old, Griffin.
*The kids tried out a few homeschool classes offered by Great Educational Experiences
*Nate and Allie have been making oodles of ounces of fresh squeezed O.J. in the last week after visiting the dentist, (he gave us a huge bag of oranges from his acreage in Fallbrook).

*A fun way to cool off and get exercise - bouncing on the trampline with the hose!
*Micayla made this yummy dessert.

What we've been reading:
*A Young People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
* Facing the Lion - Growing Up Maasai on the African Savannah
by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton
* Children Just Like Me by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley
* Around the World in 80 Tales by Saviour Pirotta
* Q is for Quark - by David M. Schwartz
* The Periodic Table - Elements with Style by Adrian Dingle
* It's Elementary - How Chemistry Rocks Our World by Robert Winston

What we've been watching:
*The movie Napoleon Dynamite after seeing the All American Melodrama Theater perform Homeschool Musical.
* Families of the World dvds - (we just watched the one on Ghana)
*Periodic Table Videos (just click on an element to see a video - love the professor's hair too:)
* And our favorite that seemed to mesh perfectly with what we've been studying:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not-Back-To-School Week!

To celebrate Not-Back-To-School, Nate and I (Carly) made a delicious Orange Bundt Cake from the Moosewood New Classics cookbook. It is a really easy recipe to whip up, and the glaze is scrumptious. Here is the recipe and a picture of the finished product! :)

Orange Pound Cake
Serves 16
Preparation time: 30 mins.
Baking time: 60-75 mins.
Cooling time: 20-30 mins.

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure orange extract (or orange flavor)
6 eggs
4 cups unbleached white pastry flour
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons baking powder

Orange Glaze:
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (see Note).

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the orange extract and the eggs. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat well. In a separate bowl, or measuring cup, stir the baking powder into the remaining 2 cups flour. Add to the batter and beat well.

Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60-75 mins. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 mins. Invert onto a serving plate, leaving the pan on top so the cake holds its shape. Cool for another 10 or 20 mins.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Stir the orange extract and the orange juice into the sugar with a fork, adding the orange juice a tablespoon at a time; use just enough to produce a thick smooth mixture. Spread the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush, while the cake is still warm, or drizzle it on in a lacy pattern (using a fork).

*Note Not every 10-inch Bundt pan holds the same number of cups. There are differences in shape and the slope of the sides. For this recipe, use a Bundt pan that holds at least 12 cups, or the batter is likely to overflow and make an oven mess.
If your Bundt pan is smaller, spoon a portion of the batter into a miniature loaf pan or a 6-inch round cake pan and bake it alongside your big Bundt cake. Check the small cake earlier: It will bake in less time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Daytripping in LA

We've had a few excursions in LA lately. If you are up for a fun adventure you might want to check out one of these places:

Favorites: The "Passage to America" exhibit and the listening lounge called "Jews on Vinyl" (one of our favorite songs was called "Dunkin Bagels").

Favorites: The Children's Garden, The Chinese Garden, the Rain Forest, Cloud Forest and Plant Lab.

We went to see the costumes from the Alice in Wonderland movie (unfortunately we could not take photos inside the exhibit).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nate Rides A Two-Wheeler!

Kids are born prewired to learn, right? Here is an example of what can happen when we get out of their way. A couple weeks ago Nate decided to teach himself how to ride a TWO WHEELER (without training wheels)! He refused all offers of assistance; talk about intrinsic motivation! It was so exciting. Watch him here:

An interesting book about motivation is Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. You can also hear the author in this TED Talk.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spatulatta Remote Reporter Blueberry Peach Cobbler!!

Here we have done yet another remote reporter cooking show!! Enjoy...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Valedictorian Speaks Out...

It would appear that this teen from New York did some studying "outside of the box". I am pretty sure John Taylor Gatto is not on most High School "Required Reading" lists. Read her "out of the norm" valedictorian speech!

If you are moved by Erica's speech and you haven't already seen the film
Race to Nowhere, you might find it worth a watch. It will be officially released this fall.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Photos ~by Micayla

I recently got a camera! Here are a couple of my favorite pictures that I took:

Allie took this one of me and Gracie..........................

One day I may post some of my artwork or photos on this site: (you can sell your work here as prints or notecards).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two Tiny Turtles

Nate now has two tiny friends, Joe and Frankie, his box turtles! They are both uber adorable, and about the size of a silver dollar (or a large brooch)! If you'd like an easy cute pet, our neighbors have 2 left! Grab 'em while ya can! Here is all the info regarding their habitat, and what to feed them etc...

While they are small they live in a container (outside during the day and inside at night because of the nocturnal creatures that might want them for a meal). In Joe and Frankie's container we have soil, moss, a small shallow container for water, a plant, a rock and a hollowed out log. Right now they are a year old; once they get big enough they will be set free to roam in the yard.

Right now they are primarily carnivores. They eat mealworms that we bought at the pet store (we feed them one each daily) and we toss in pill bugs from the yard for them to hunt down in their habitat. As they get older (we are told) they will become more omnivorous, eating fruits and veggies such as bananas, apples, and green leafy things. And when they are eventually released into the yard they will help us keep our gardens free of snails and slugs!

Frankie is the smaller, brighter colored turtle, and Joe is the big one.

Their habitat (can you spy Frankie and Joe?).

~written by Carly

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remote Reporters for Spatulatta

So a couple weeks ago my friends Katie, Meagan and I spontaneously decided to do a Spatulatta (a kids online cooking show that I have enjoyed watching for several years) cooking show! -Last year they published my story on their website, and told me that I could do a video for them if I'd like. We made BBQ Chicken Pizza! Annndddd, Spatulatta liked it so much, that they asked us if we'd like to be official "Spatulites" who do a cooking show from CA once a month! =D We are SO excited!

Here is the link to Spatulatta where we are featured:

And the clip on YouTube! the recipe is under "info" on the youtube site...

Monday, July 12, 2010

HOT Rocks!

Nate said, "This is more fun than drawing on paper!"

Nate had a blast coloring hot rocks recently. We got the idea from this great blog:
Then we found the same idea in this fun book on Summer Crafts.

If you'd like to try it, here's how:
Find a smooth, fairly flat rock and put it in the oven at 450' (we used a toaster oven) for about 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the hot rock (place on a heat-proof surface) and color with crayons (we discovered it helps to remove any paper on the crayon first). Use crayons that aren't too small because they can melt fast! Be careful not to touch the rock with your bare hands!

Nate's rock was steaming when he first started working on it and he loved how the waxy crayons melted and sizzled. The rock retained the heat for quite awhile; he was extremely careful and knew to touch the rock with his crayons only. Fun stuff!