Valentine’s Week (Feb 11-15)

-What a busy week!  Monday began with our homeschool group Valentine’s Day party.  The kids were so excited to exchange Valentines.  We made Valentine’s Day M&M blondies to share with the group.  The kids had so much fun playing at Clarke Park and picnicking.  Lots of goodies and candy, but lots of good times too Smile

-On Tuesday we went to a Valentines themed story time at the library.  We had a pancake breakfast in honor of Mardi Gras and I tried to eat all of the candy in our house!

-Wednesday was Ash Wednesday so we attended Mass in the morning at St. Luke’s.  A and S behaved well, but M decided she had enough after communion and had to be taken outside during an intense rain storm.  Always an adventure!  We spent a lot of time talking about Lent and the meaning of Ash Wednesday.  A decided he wanted to give up chocolate, although I told him he wasn’t old enough to have to participate.  I decided to give up desserts (AHHHH!) and getting lunch out for the kids during the school week.

-Thursday was St. Valentine’s Day.  We went grocery shopping and had a special steak dinner.  For breakfast I made heart shaped cinnamon rolls with pink icing, strawberry milkshakes, and pin scrambled eggs.  We had a light school day with only Valentine activities.  Aidan did some coloring sheets and a candy heart bar graph.

-Friday was a nice, slow day after a busy week.  We tried to finish up the school work we didn’t get to earlier in the week.  M did some more dot worksheets with a Valentine theme.  She really seems to like them and after we talked about the letter Vv she did a great job finding them on the paper.  We also tried a pattern worksheet, but I am not sure how much she really understood it.  She did like gluing the squares in the correct spot on the paper.  A and T went to the Philadelphia Union game Friday night, and the girls and I had a great shrimp pasta dinner at my parents’ home.


January 21-25

-We discussed Martin Luther King, Jr (I forgot to check out library books this year, so we just talked about segregation, racism, and the “I have a dream..” speech)  Aidan made an insightful comparison between racism and the Dr Suess movie The Sneetches.  I was telling him he should never judge anyone by their appearance because God made us all to be different.  He said oh, that is like the movie where some Sneetches have stars and the other Sneetches won’t talk to them.

-We watched the Presidential Inauguration for the historical significance…..not a fan of the speech content Sad smile

-A and M watched Wild Kratts: Lost at Sea.

-We read The Mitten and used our printables to act out the story and practice counting with M.  We practiced ordinal numbers with A.  The kids really enjoyed playing with the mitten and animals when we were finished.  A helped M match the pictures with the words.

-A played a Wild Kratts computer came on the PBS Kids website.  The games were neat, but my computer was acting slow and that made them hard to play.

Tot School January 14-18

On Monday, M colored a snowman booklet.  We also began the Arctic Animal Tot Pack.  We began with a “dot the Pp” page and we used a purple dot marker.  I talked to her about big P and little p and then asked her to put a dot on the p when I called out big or little.  She really did a great job! 


We talked about the sound a p makes and put the letter in our Leap Frog Fridge Phonics set (we did not pay that much for ours!).

Then we used some tracing pages from the Arctic Animal Tot Pack to practice left to right movement.  I placed the paper in a heavy duty sheet protector and we used dry erase markers, an idea from 1+1+1=1.  She really liked the markers, but the worksheet itself didn’t hold her attention very long. 

M also played with pom poms and tweezers, painted with water colors, and practiced color sorting with our counting bears.

We did another P coloring page from the Arctic Animal Tot Pack, and M was able to identify “big P”!  My goal for now is just to help her become familiar with the idea that letters are letters.

Books we read this week:

Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?

You Can Do It, Sam!

Katy and the Big Snow

Gingerbread Baby

Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord

At Mass on Sunday, Father gave a great homily explaining the Epiphany and the true story of the Magi.  He said Magi is a Greek word meaning “astronomer”.  The Magi may not have been kings but merely members of the King’s court who studied the stars.  Father mentioned that if you closely read the accounts in the Gospels, you notice that the Magi are following the star but then they lose sight of it for awhile before it is visible to them again.  They don’t turn around and return home, however.  Instead they patiently wait at King Herod’s palace for the star to reappear.  We all experience times of darkness in our own lives when we can’t find our direction, but the key is to continue on our path until we can see our star again.  Do we persevere as the Magi did, or do we give up in the face of darkness? 

January 7

Back to school Monday!  Since I didn’t get around to planning over the break, I decided to take it slow this morning and plan as we went along…..

M was up way before 7 this morning, so we watched the sunrise while I emptied the dishwasher.  For breakfast, I grabbed some pancakes from the freezer (yea for making a big batch last week!), scrambled some eggs, and gave the kids bananas and orange slices.

S awoke closer to 8 and then joined us for breakfast in her high chair after her morning snack.  When she was ready for her nap, M and A colored nicely together while I put S down.  They worked on a winter coloring activity from 1+1+1=1 that I printed out over the weekend.  They really enjoyed it and I was glad that they weren’t starting out the day glued to the t.v. while I was upstairs!

While M played, A worked on his spelling and grammar.  She wanted to write too and surprised me with her ability to draw a circle and “balloons”.  When S awoke, she joined A and me to work on reading, while M ventured out into the backyard.  She stubbornly refused to use the bathroom before she went out which resulted in a wardrobe change an hour later Smile.  After cleanup, I popped S in the stroller and the kids and I took a 20 minute walk before our lunch of grilled cheese and apples.

A received a Leap Pad 2 and we have been allowing him to use it as he pleases over Christmas break.  I was a little concerned today how he would respond to screen limits, but he obeyed the 15 minute time limits when they were implemented.

After naps for the girls (an unusually long one for S!) and a little quiet time for A, M and A enjoyed more outdoor play while I cleaned up, worked on laundry, and made preparations for dinner.  We studied A’s religion together (the Feast of the Epiphany) and M really enjoyed being included.  While A did a couple religion activities, M asked to look through the text at the pictures.

Italian Sausage Minestrone

While online this morning, I came across a recipe for Minestrone on Our Best Bites.  I realized I had most of the ingredients to make this soup, which sounded great for dinner and to use as leftovers later in the week.  I only had dried great northern beans, so I quick soaked/cooked them in the morning while we were doing school work.  I had mild Italian sausage in the fridge, so I decided to use it up, and I had to omit the zucchini as I didn’t have any Smile.

Italian Sausage Minestrone

Adapted from Our Best Bites

  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced (I used a little celery salt)
  • 1 small zucchini (omitted this time)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 can of green beans, drained
  • 2 15oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 15oz cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14oz can diced tom with Italian seasoning
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 3-4 t beef broth base OR 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 c hot water OR 2 c if used veg broth
  • 1/2 c macaroni or other small shell pasta
  • 4 c loosely packed fresh spinach (I had baby spinach)
  • parsley

Heat large dutch oven to medium high and add olive oil to coat.  Add onion, carrot, and celery and saute until onions become translucent.  Add pressed garlic, and saute until you start to smell it.  Remove veggies and set aside.  Add Italian sausage and brown.  Return veggies to pot.  Add tomatoes and all beans.  Add water and beef base (or water and broth).  Bring to simmer and cook covered on low heat 20-25 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add pasta and cook until done, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add spinach and parsley.

VERDICT:  Really good!  Made it in my new Lodge dutch oven.  We had a lot of leftovers that will be great for lunch.