Monday, February 27, 2012

Fraction Fun

So my oldest, is well the guinea pig with everything in my parenting and home-schooling.  Needless to say she is an amazing reading and reading chapter books by age 5 which to tell the truth I'm really not sure how it happened.   Neither of my other two have been that way.  Anyway I feel short in the math department but it works out good since I can now teach her and her brother at the same time.  Needless to say I included my 6 year old main because she wants to do everything they do.
 So when it comes to math I've learned a very important lesson.  Learn math concepts in concrete ways FIRST!  To do that you need lots of fun games.  Then when they can understand the concepts in this way concrete (or manipulative) just means they can actually count two beans and add three more beans to learn that it makes 5 beans.

So this is fraction fun.  I had the kids cut 5 different colored paper in 2in strips.  Then we (and when I say we I mean they, as I was in kitchen loading the crock pot with our dinner while they did the work) folded them; in half, in quarters, in 8th and lastly in 16th.  Then we cut on the folds and labeled them.

My son is way, I mean WAY into origami right now. I think he could make everything out of paper.  Anyway he made the die and add a marble to the inside so it rolled nice.  Then we labeled the dice as follows; 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 2/8, 1/16, 2/16.

The kids took turn rolling the dice and then add the fraction amount to their whole strip.  The object is to fill up you whole strip first.  But toward the end this gets trick since you will need a specific fraction amount to finish.   This really helps understand not only the concept of fractions but more importantly their relationship to one another.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Forget the Crockpot bring out the Pressure Cooker

So I love my crockpot but if I forget, or don't get it started so it has the 4-8 hours it needs to make the meal we don't have a meal.  Often time I'm looking at 30 min and what can I whip up in that time.  Which bring me to the PRESSURE COOKER.   I got this for christmas 2 years ago, last year I worked up the nerve to try it.   I loved it!  7 minute for rice.  30 min for home-made spaghetti sauce that taste likes it's been cooking all day, how about a whole meal in the "pot" in 10 min.  Oh I love it.  So here are a few of my staple recipes. Oh wait before the recipes lets go over a few pressure cooker basics.

Pressure Cooker Basic
First a pressure cooker is basically a pot with a "pressure" sealed lids on it.  It has a dial with (usually) 3 settings.  The steam images = letting all the pressure out of the pot, 1 = the slowest cooking pressure, 2 = faster cooking pressure.

The yellow thumb slide locks the lid and unlocks it.  The small yellow dot rises when the pressure is high in the pot. Once you turn off the heat and let the pressure out the dot goes down and you can unlock the lid. 

Second I've only been doing this for about a year but I was lucky enough to live next to a brazilian cook who used one everyday and believe me it smelled so good outside, anyway she encouraged me along the way.   First a few things to keep in mind.

- A Good seal ring (the little rubber thing) no cracks, etc.
- Make sure you add enough liquid for the pressure
- You'll need to make sure the seal is tight and locked
- Don't open it till you release the pressure.

Really it's super easy. This is the video I watched.

So I kinda do things my own way, I'm not really big on following the rules.  So I take the basics and make it up from there. So here are the recipes. 

Pressure Cooker Rice
- Tbsp Olive Oil
- Pad of butter
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 2 cups water
Optional - some times a throw in a few fresh herbs I like cilantro best for this.  Sometimes I add raisins and pine nuts.  Or what ever else strikes my fancy.

Heat the pot on the stove, add the oil and butter, add the onion and cook till translucent.  Add the rice and let the butter/oil coat the rice.  Add the water.  Bring to a boil and then seal the lid.  Set timer for 4 min.  That's it your done.    You can also add chicken in but fully cook it in with the onion then add the rice.  And you have dinner chicken and rice.

Spagetti sauce
- Tbsp Oil, butter, salt and pepper and any other seasoning you like
- Fresh Basil (the more the better)
- Chopped Tomatoes (depending on how much you want to make if you don't have enough you can add canned tom's)
- 1 onion chopped
- Some garlic
- Any other veggies you like.  I use carrots, zuckini, mushrooms, red peppers and such.  Really it depends on what I've got or not. I rough chop them (since my family won't eat them any way I usually blend the sauce after so they have to eat them :)

Ok so heat the pan, add the oil and butter, then onion and right before they are done add the garlic until it's just fragrant.  Then I add the veggies and toms.  Once they are cooked nicely like 5 min.  I add Tomato sauce, or chicken broth and tom paste which ever I have on hand.  Seal the lid, place it on #2 and cook for about 20-40 min.  Then turn it off, let the pressure out and I usually blend it.  Then I put it back in the pot and add the basil cooking for another 10 minutes.  Taste and add what ever you think it needs.  Me I love chili pepper, or a pepper sauce.  Put it over quinoa past and yum!

I've also done an awesome Chicken Soup, Bean Soup, Beans, etc.  Basically what ever you usually cook but cut off 2/3 of the time.

Well I hope my little blurp on Pressure Cooking has encouraged your to give it a try.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trying to blog

I've been so enjoying blogging and how it's keeping me accountable to intentionally create things.  Sounds easy for a creative person but when you are juggling; home-schooling, mother of 3 and their activities, making dinner, managing a home, trying to stick with our budget, and helping my husband run his business.  It's easy to cut out what you love in the attempt to get it all done.  

We just moved about 3 weeks ago and I'm still unpacking and setting up my craft room.  Moving is hard very hard for me.  It takes me time to settle in and readjust to life in a new place.   So I don't have any tutorials to post but I do have some fun pictures that may inspire you in creative ways.

First I think I have the COOLEST son.  Truly I've met other boys but they just don't measure up.  He's truly awesome.  So I'll brag on his coolness a little in the picture.  He was so excited to show me he's new trick.  We all laughed so hard, I just had to take a picture.

Then my daughter got a henna tattoo kit for christmas and we had so much fun painting on each other.  Although my youngest wasn't too into it.
 Poor Jake his birthday is on December 21st and I've always made sure to have big parties for him in January so he could have a day all his own.  But it wasn't long before I realized he and big groups of people don't work so well.  So we opted for an invite one friend over and we'll do something fun and they can spend the night kind of party.  But this year it didnt' happen till after we moved.  So we celebrated in Feb.  Anyway we made this fun lego cake.  We had a little lego mold for ice cubes but, melted chocolate and food coloring works too I found out.

He need that!

 One day on our way to church I spotted an awesome garage sale.  I quickly found a cool rocking chair and a tin of bead supplies.  My son on the other hand found a strange kind of popsicle maker I didn't really get it at the time and wanted to say no but I could see it in his eye this meant something to him.  Needless to say I don't think any of us have ever made a popsicle in it BUT Jake has made a ton and tons.  He loves asking friend do you want a popsicle and loves to make sweet treats for his friends.

 I had a spinach juice not so good.  I drank it but the kids wouldn't.  So we came up with juice popsicles and then we inserted in the center some banana cream I made.  This brought the idea of rootbeer float popsicles but those happened when I was at Yoga so I didn't get any photos.

So today we are off to a piano recital for our 12 year old.  And I'm working on a fun project in my downstairs bathroom.  As soon as I'm done I'll post some pictures!