22 November 2013

Homeschooling Saturday Week Six - Homemade Advent Calenders

Welcome to Homeschooling Saturday, week six! Homeschooling Saturday is a recap of our favorite craft(s) or activity we've done in the past couple of weeks.
This week, we've been busy making advent calenders. Why buy when you can make ones that are beautiful and meaningful with things you've already got around the home?
We made this beautiful Mary and baby Jesus:
I took the template provided, and instead of using that to trace, deleted the labels on everything and printed those out to color. Then I copied and pasted the stars into one document and I used those for my calender, the kids are just using star stickers.
Here is the star template I created. Keep in mind I in no way am taking credit for it, in fact it has the original link on it. It just took me a while to save the format provided (had to screen shot it eventually) so I thought this might save a step or two for some people: http://nantucketknitter.com/pdf/stars1.pdf.
Everyone painted whatever background they wanted onto poster-board:
And we colored in everything...
...and then glitter glue and metallic colored pencils got involved:
After the year and a half everything took to dry, I started to cut it all out and lay them out onto the poster board to number where the stars and baby Jesus would go as the days of December pass. (Days one - 23 are small stars, 24 is the North Star, and 25 is baby Jesus.)
I totally ignored where the stars go about halfway through, and just numbered where I thought they should go from some picture in my head. Which was a mistake, if you look closely at the finished product up above, you can see my attempts at erasing them. At least I did that on my own, not the kids'! This idea is from: http://www.thatartistwoman.org
We're also working on a funky tree calender:
Each tree will have a little trinket or confection in it. I was supposed to use Washi tape, but I have no idea where to even find that on Nantucket, so we stuck with regular old translucent. Not as polished looking, but when you've got rainbow trees, who cares?!
I am mostly using super inexpensive (cheap) things like mini candy canes, plastic ornaments and small chocolate bears, but for a few of them I did little things of princess chap-stick (Little M gets super chapped lips in the winter, so we always have a bunch of them) and bangles. On the 24th, I put in Cinderella nail polish.
I have no idea where this feminine little girl came from, she certainly didn't get it from me!
The idea for this one came from Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2010/make-a-geometric-tree-advent-calendar/.

That was what we did this week. What did you all do for homeschool this week?


I have decided to make this into a Linky Party! Please link up to Homeschooling Saturday with anything at all to do with homeschooling you and your little ones did this week! If you want, awesome. If no one wants, no problem!
If you do decide to link up, please just link back from your post to this post! You can use this picture if you want:

Use this code:
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18 November 2013

Make Something Monday week six

Hi there, and welcome to Make Something Monday, week six. A recap of any and everything I deem worthy of posting, that I've made in the last week.
Last week, for Make Something Monday, I posted these tree lights. I love them and they are fast becoming the single most popular post on my Blog. Simple Mitts, beware! It'll be interesting to see if they're popularity keeps up after the holidays. I just can't wait to see what people are going to make with that pattern!
The past couple of weeks I have been knitting, knitting, knitting. I have completely finished four stuffed animal sets, which include the animal, clothing, and a mini stocking:
Not sure who all of them are going for yet, but some little ones are going to be very lucky! I made all four stockings this week and the reindeer and mouse girl. (She's in the pink dress.)
I have at least one more stuffed animal set planned, and she's going to be raffled to benefit a cause very close to my heart. She's probably going to be a bunny, as they're my favorite, in a sparkly blue reindeer dress, as I've wanted to make one for a while. I am planning on using some very special yarn that's been shorn and spun on Nantucket, it's so pretty. I just have to decide if it's going to be white or grey, opinions please!
They're jointly ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/sr2
By the way, I have two skeins of this yarn, I am planning a giveaway with one soon! Check back!
Also made recently is this awesome dragon, knight and princess set:
I love knitting this set up. I am planning on making a couple of the dragons for Christmas gifts, and making a few knights and princesses to tuck into mini stockings. Easy, peasy! Ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/1v1ap
Also finished were a set of Simple Mitts:
Sorely tempted to keep these for myself! But they've already been pretty much claimed, I don't think they'll last too long at the fair. I am going to chug through at least two more pairs, although I have the yarn for probably four pairs, so we will see! These mitts are really perfect for anyone new to working in the round, as they're simple (hence the name) and ideal for a first pair of fingerless mitts!
Then I finished a Santa Polar Bear Beanbag Animal. Why the caps, I have no idea.
He has yet to be ravelled, but he's made out of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and polyester fiberfill. I accidentally used the wrong size needles (my number one mistake, I am always doing it) and he's huge...but hey, someone is going to get a deal!
Those are my finishes for the past while. What have you made?
Off to knit my little one a pair of bright pink mittens!

09 November 2013

Homeschooling Saturday Weeks Four and Five - Naan Bread

Welcome to Homeschooling Friday (well, looks like it's turned into Homeschooling Saturday), week weeks four and five! Homeschooling Saturday is a recap of our week in homeschooling, with any new or exciting crafts we've tried along the way.
So I think I am going to make Homeschooling Saturday a biweekly thing. I think I am going to share one craft or recipe we did those weeks instead of an overview of everything. It's just too hard to take pictures of everything! This week I will do a general recap of what we did, then start the new format next time.
Last week, we reviewed the letters A, B and C. We made them out of clay as reminders so we can look back on them.
We have been having lots of fun with sand lately, too:
The kids draw what they want in glue, then sprinkle with sand. I think it's a little like magic to them. Then mommy is left with the cleanup, which isn't so magical to me.
I like this project because not only does M love it, but it's something that can be touched as well as looked at later. The sand has a funky texture, which M likes to trace when the glue is dried. It really drives home the shape of the letter we are learning that week.
It requires only two things, plus whatever you're gluing the sand onto:
Well, those two things and a cleanup crew.
I taught M about mixing two colors to make a third:
This coming week I will add the third primary color, and gradually teach that those three colors can be used to make any color imaginable. She likes smooshing the water around on the wet paper.
Last year, my friend Amber taught us about Diwali. We celebrated for the first time a holiday I plan on celebrating the rest of my days. Amber has since moved off island, but we still celebrated with friends last week. I was thinking of her and was grateful that she had shown us such a rich and beautiful tradition.
In celebration of Diwali Magdalena and I made naan bread to bring to the party:
I love this bread. It is one of my favorite things to make. I would recommend trying it, and maybe consider making it a staple in your home! After all, it's only about 150 calories per piece and pretty low in fat. Magdalena loves these and cannot get enough, and she's one tough cookie when it comes to what goes in her gullet. Here's the recipe I use:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons fat free milk
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions * In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees F). Let it sit on your counter until it's frothy, about 10 minutes.
* Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.
* Once the yeast is frothy, add the milk and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel like there isn't enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2 to 4 hours.
* When you're ready to roll, separate the dough into 6 equal portions.

Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece out. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Once you've formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough's own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.
* Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it's nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet.
* Gently lay one of the naan in the skillet and set your timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble.
* After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened, don't worry - that's typical of traditional naan! Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
* Remove the naan from the skillet, and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.

* Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/naan-indian-oven-baked-flat-bread-recipe/index.html

What did you and your homeschooler learn about this week?

04 November 2013

Make Something Monday Week Five

Hi there, and welcome to Make Something Monday, week five. A recap of any and everything I deem worthy of posting, that I've made in the last week.
I never got around to posting Homeschooling Friday last week. We did plenty, I just didn't really get too many pictures. This week, I will be better!
I finished a stuffed animal and a doll this week. I love this doll, it's something I've been meaning to knit for well over a year:
Can you guess who she is? She's known for her incredibly curiosity, even following a white rabbit down a mysterious hole and embarking on many adventures. I have since sewn her apron down, but was really lazy with pictures all the way around the past week.
She's been ravelled here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/NataliesKnits/alice My other finish, and another new love, is this darling girl:
I mentioned last week that I was into the foxes and wanted a girl fox, and here she is. I am loving making up the little dresses, it's the details that really make them pop. I don't know what other animals I can make for these dresses! She's ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/h6evg
I am currently working on a cute little squishy baby doll, but have no pictures. I am also planning a Hello Kitty stuffed animal, for someone's stocking.
M and I wrote up a list of Christmas gifts, I told her I wanted them to be all things I could knit. Well, I now have about 16 mini stockings to make, a few dragons, and a bunch of baby dolls. These posts are going to be getting a lot bigger soon!
What did you all make this week?
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