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Dinner and a Movie: Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Dinner and a Movie-Disney's A Christmas Carol include recipes for Slow-Cooker Roast Beef with Sweet Potatoes and Christmas Pudding with Butter Brandy for a fun family night this holiday seasonYou already know what a huge Dickens fan I am.  I’ve never read one of his books that I didn’t absolutely love.  Of course, A Christmas Carol is the story most of us are introduced to first (because there are so many movies based on it) and I’m no different in that respect.  So it remains one of my favorite stories ever, even though I didn’t actually read it until years after I first saw it on film.

Disney’s version is awesome in that it is the one film version that captures Dickens’ sense of humor.  With Jim Carrey playing Scrooge, you’re gonna get some sense of humor.  So this holiday season, you should totally watch it with your kids and make a delicious meal to go with it.

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Free Garden Planning Pages

This time of year provides us homeschooling mamas and dadas with a great opportunity to teach our littles about life and biology and botany and how connected we are (or should be) with our planet.  Getting into the garden or the greenhouse is one of my favorite ways to teach.

morning garden 4

You can study life cycles in the garden, simply by growing a plant from seed and watching it for an entire season.  Keeping a diary or calendar of the plant’s growth can help your little understand scientific observation.  Planning a garden helps your little learn about how things grow together.  If you’re planting flowers, you can add an ongoing color lesson for art studies.  If you’re planting vegetables your little can learn about where food comes from and what is good for his body.  Littles can learn how plants need water, soil, and sunlight.  If you’re starting in a greenhouse, they can learn about how different seeds need different temperatures to sprout.

morning garden 1

There is so much a little can learn about life from gardening, but one of the most important lessons they can take away from gardening is that hard work pays off.  Gardening takes some work–you have to baby those seedlings, make sure your plants are getting the right amount of water, keep weeds from stealing the necessary nutrients, and harvest at the right time.  My Littles have been helping with the gardens since they were old enough to walk, and they groan when the weeding or hoeing needs done, but they realize that all that work is going to result in lots of fresh food and beautiful flowers to enjoy from the patio.  So they do it.  I love that it keeps them physical all summer, beyond jumping on the trampoline or swimming in the pool.  It makes them work those growing muscles in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

morning garden 2

We always grow one special thing for each of the boys in our veggie/fruit garden.  For Littlest it’s watermelon.  For Middle, it’s our grape arbor.  This year we bought some new seeds that are supposed to grow giant watermelons, so Littlest better have his grubby hands ready to get sticky.  We’ve walked out to the orchard and looked at how our fledgling apple trees are covered in blooms this year, promising an actual crop of fresh apples for the first time.  Even the pear trees are producing this year, though not quite as much as the apples.

morning garden 3

Every year the things we grow provide fresh insight and lessons into science and nature.  I want the whole world to enjoy that connection.  I’ve made up a couple of freebies for you, and you don’t even have to subscribe to get them.  Though it’d be a lot cooler if you did.

Here’s a set of Garden Planning Pages to get you and your littles started:

 

garden planning pages

 

And here is a set of Garden Diary/Calendar pages to help your littles learn all season:

my plant diary

 

Print these out and get outside with your littles and enjoy glorious spring.  Learn while you’re having fun?  Yeah yeah.

That’s the stuff.

Love wins,

KT

Solutions for When You Just Can’t

I really didn’t mean to write a series.  But I figure you would like to know how things turned out and what I’ve decided to do about next week.  If you haven’t read about the week we’ve had here at Lit Mama, you can do so here and here.

All caught up?  Great.  So it turns out Martin’s baboon heart is actually pretty healthy.  It has a slight arrhythmia, which the cardiologist is treating with pills.  But they really think the underlying problem is sleep apnea.  See, when you have this problem, your body is constantly tensed to wake you because your blood is not getting enough oxygen while you sleep, which means your brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen for a a third of your day.  Which causes a lot of stress on the body, especially the heart.  I have to tell you, when we went into this, with all the scary tests looming and Martin feeling worse than he ever has, I would never have imagined sleep apnea being the thing.  They let me bring him home today and he may even be able to return to work next week.  So, now that I know nothing life-threatening is happening with my love, my own exhaustion from all the stress is something I intend to baby through Sunday.  I may not leave my couch, I ain’t gonna lie.

Nevertheless, I’ve been really–no, reeeeaaalllllyyyy–struggling with how to handle next week.  We didn’t really get a spring break.  Not one of us feels rested and rejuvenated and ready to jump back into school.  Our India unit we were supposed to pick up on Monday is in no way prepared.  I have so much I have to get done, because I got nothing At All done this week (and you should see my poor laundry room. Apparently, even when I’m not home people here still change their clothes every day.  Who knew?).

I think it would be physically, as well as mentally, impossible to do a full school week.

So here’s what I’m thinking.  We still have about half of Return to Gone-Away to read.  And we like science experiments, crafts, and nature study.  So I’m thinking we do our read-aloud every day.  We add in 1 science experiment or craft.  We pick 1 thing from nature to scavenge on a short walk, then the Littles can write and draw about it in their journals every day.

Done.

I got the idea because I spent A Lot of yesterday trolling Pinterest for lack of any better entertainment.  And I realized I have pinned so many things and then forgotten them.  And I Really wanted to do them when I pinned them.  So (also) here’s what I’m thinking in terms of the craft/experiment.  Because you like to find a bunch of links all in one place, right?!

DIY Nebula Jar from momdot

How-to-make-a-galaxy-jar-momdot

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is simple, sure, but since we just finished reading an Earthsky article about the recent comet flybys and we definitely aren’t schooling today, I know my Littles are still way interested in all things space. There’s a succinct explanation of nebulae on the website, the craft is pretty, and will require little work from me.  Oh. Yeah.

Magic Fluorescent Mud from The King of Random on youtube

magic mud

 

 

 

 

This is basically the same thing as the ‘oobleck’ we used to make at the library for Dr. Seuss day.  With this, you get the added adventure of making the powder from potatoes yourselves, plus it glows under a black light.  Win-win.  Again, my brain won’t even have to function.

Shadow tracing from The Artful Parent

Shadow-Tracing-Art-for-Kids

 

 

 

 

I don’t think this is something we’ve ever done.  Though I don’t know that we’ll use grape sculptures, I love the idea of tracing shadows to get a result.  And I won’t really have to do much to get them going on this, either.

Loving this pattern!

Make a Kazoo from The Joys of Boys

diy kazoo

 

 

 

 

What boys don’t like to make noise?  I’ll turn it into a real music lesson and make them kazoo Moonlight Sonata for me from memory.  They’d better hope they know their Beethoven!

Make a Pirate Treasure Map of Our Yard from Teach Beside Me

pirate map of yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cool project uses Google Maps and a grid to make a map of your yard.  It’s great grid practice, as well as fun, so we’ll probably do that on our warmest day.

Egg Carton Flowers from I Heart Arts and Crafts

EggCartonFlowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heart these flowers!  And the boys love to paint!  So they can’t complain that I’m making them paint flowers.  Or else.

Coffee Filter Flowers from Fun-A-day

coffee filter flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aren’t they pretty?  I might just stop torturing them by then and make these myself.  🙂

Actually, I think what I’ll do is write each of these projects down on a paper strip, drop the strips into a jar, and draw one every day next week.  I know they might be a little young for my boys, but I am also sure they will lead to conversations in which we will learn something–organic conversations that I don’t have to work too hard at, that we can have at 8 or 10 or 12 or after dinner, after a full, stress-free night of sleep.

Sounds like bliss.

If you are like me, and you’re slightly neurotic and unable to give yourself a break, planning a light week of fun is a simple solution that can help you feel better about everything.  You can even use some of my ideas.

Thanks for sticking with me through all this, lovely readers.  Your comments and messages have helped me more than I can express.

I’ll leave you with one final thought for the week:

Screw. Drama.

I’ll take a side of no more of that, please.

Love wins,

KT

Psssst… A Lit Mama Surprise and a New Free Download

The Littles think when I wake them this morning they are going to have a normal day of school.  Little do they know…

IT’S AUTUMN CAMP DAY!

I promised you back when I did my summer camp post that I would have an autumn camp this year and let you know my ideas.  So stay tuned, because some time between tomorrow and Monday I will post the full itinerary with pics and instructions.  Believe me, it will be worth the wait.  This day is going to be fun Fun FUN!!!!

In the meantime, do this autumn scavenger hunt with us today.  We can pretend we’re all playing and homeschooling together.  autumn scavenger hunt

Download Now

 

Have a frabjous, supercalifragilistic, beautemous Autumn Weekend, my beloved friends.

Love wins,

KT