Thursday, May 31, 2012

O is for Outrageously Talented


I just love this man's artwork. Most of it is utterly gorgeous and his use of light is masterfully done.

Enjoy. Click to enlarge. It is worth it.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633

Belshazzar's Feast, 1635

Philosopher in Meditation, 1632

The Girl in a Picture Frame, 1641

Outrageously talented, isn't he? These are more than 350 years old. 
Isn't that astonishing?
I love it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Salsa up!

So I paid a sharp price last week for making salsa again. I almost chopped the top of my finger off! It has been loads of fun dealing with cooking all week and I am very grateful for my husband's "finger cots" we have due to the occasional woodworking slips. :D I could not have finished the salsa without them!

I have two ways of making it and one is my "fast" way and one is not. The fast way does not have any source of "heat" but it is still very good and we never have any trouble eating it up! The second is with some "heat."

This is my recipe:

Five good sized tomatoes. (If very large, use four.)
Large bunch cilantro
Large red onion (important that it is red)
8-10 fresh garlic cloves, minced
2 Anaheim peppers
2 Jalapeno peppers
Juice of one lime
Juice of one lemon
salt to taste

Chop up tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and place them in a bowl. Cut out all seeds from the two peppers, and chop up very fine and add to the bowl. Mince the garlic cloves and add in too. I always use this wonderful stainless steel citrus juicer for the next part because it is just so awesome.

I slice the citrus in half and then squeeze the daylights out of them. This lemon is as small as a lime so make sure you don't use one of the huge regular sized lemons or it will be too much. I use the juice of both of them. I then salt it - probably a 1/2 teaspoon, but I never measure so who knows. I do it to taste. 

Mix well. If you let it sit for an hour, you will have a lovely mix of flavors that make your black bean/chicken tacos (or other deliciousness) perfect! This is the "easy" salsa as I did not have any peppers. 

Yum! I think I want this again... 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blue Ribbon Best of the Crew!

As the 2011-2012 Crew year comes to a close, the TOS Homeschool Crew present awards to our vendors that make the Crew Favorite list. We vote towards those we felt had the most impact in our families and the ones with the most votes receive a TOS Homeschool Crew Blue Ribbon.

The following vendors are the recipients of the award this year. Click on their name to check out the Crew reviews! If I reviewed it, I shared the link there too.

Favorite Reading Instruction Product: Reading Eggs          My Review
Favorite Writing Product: Write Shop
Favorite Language Arts Product: Progeny Press 
Favorite Social Studies Product: TruthQuest History

Favorite Science Product: Amazing Science
Favorite Math Product: Math Mammoth 
Favorite Online Math Product: Math Rider
Favorite Foreign Language Product: Visual Latin 

Favorite Fine Arts Product: Artistic Pursuits 
Favorite Christian Education Product: Apologia: Who Am I? 
Favorite Preschool Product: Before Five in a Row 
Favorite Elementary Product: All About Reading 

Favorite Middle School Product: Write with WORLD            My Review
Favorite High School Product: Excellence in Literature 
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Excellence in Literature 
Best Online Resource: Reading Eggs

Best e-Product: Heritage History 
Best Homeschool Resource: Apologia: Educating the Wholehearted Child
Best Book, Novel, or Magazine: Apologia: How to Have a HEART for Your Kids 
Best Children's Book: Amazing Animals by Design 

Best Game or Toy: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers and Say Anything 
Best Hands-On Resource: Pitsco Education 
Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: eMeals 
Best Customer Service: K5 Learning              My Review

Most Adaptable Resou0rce: Creek Edge Press 
Most Family-Oriented Resource: Northstar Games: Wits and Wagers and Say Anything
Kids' Choice (favorite of CHILDREN ages 0-12): Reading Eggs 
Teens' Choice (favorite per the TEENAGERS): Pitsco Education 

All Around Crew Favorite: Visual Latin  

Each winning vendor has received this wonderful award to display with pride:

  Congratulations to our winning vendors!
We hope you will sail with us again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creek Walk!

I am starting to feel like a real homeschool mama with nature walks and everything. (This wonderful homeschool mama inspires me.) A week or so ago we received a Discovery Scope. I did not expect this, but wow, I am so excited to have it! This is the size compared to my daughter:

She was looking at what looked like a rock, but was actually water-soaked wood. It was neat to see the differences between wood and rock. Sand was my favorite because it was so utterly different under the scope. 

You can't see it here and I wish I could take a photo of what things look like under the Discovery Scope! It was like holding a handful of gemstones. 

I really enjoy creeks and my kids were wildly thrilled to be here. 

This is such a pretty plant to me. Freshly green and lush. 

Under the bridge on our "Expotition." 

Hiding among the bushes. 

Even Rocky got into the water. He is only just learning how to be a water dog. He will have full exposure come summer Delta fun!

He was hunting for tadpoles.

Still hunting...and not finding. :)

I think they would have stayed for hours. You would never know we live in the burbs. 

Some serious bird watching. We live near a huge olive grove that is home to several very large emus. This was one of what we think is a mating pair as they were defending their egg.

This is the other one. It was right up in our faces against the fence making this crazy sound probably hoping to scare us away. We could not figure out why they chose the fence line to lay! They are huge birds with the craziest feet. I tried to get a photo, but this one would not stand still. They are not particularly pretty, but wow, are they interesting!

It is difficult to tell the size of this egg, but it is very large--about the size of three or four avocados put together. I think it looks like a dragon egg. It looks black in the picture, but it is a very dark green. 

All in all it was a very naturish sort of homeschool day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nature Photo Day


I was so busy last week that I never got that recipe blog post up. I will do that this week as soon as I can locate the camera that has all the pictures! I used my daughter's camera to take a bunch of photos of the eclipse  yesterday--well, OK, the shadows from the eclipse. I thought they were so pretty. I didn't expect this to happen for some reason, but it was so fun to see crescents all over the place. Did you see them too? These were formed via the shadows from the trees on the house, fence, and ground as the light from the sun was shooting towards earth in crescent format. I thought it was so pretty.

(And those are my huge tomatoes and not-quite-large banana peppers.) The pictures are all clickable to view in a larger format.

It isn't possible to tell from these pictures, but it was significantly darker due to the eclipse. Were you able to see it too or did you have cloud cover?

Pinhole "camera" for seeing the eclipse. We didn't have the cool glasses or welding gear (lol) so we did what worked for us. It was great fun.

Long shadow crescents. 

Being a little naughty and taking a picture of the sun produced this sun shadow crescent. How cool!

This is my bean bush forest. I think it is so funny how they are up on little stalks. They are growing well. 

This is one of my favorite areas in the garden. It has a lot of weeds, but mixed in throughout are naturalized fuzzy mint plants, lemon balm, gladiolas that are popping up in the back, my zucchini EarthBox is doing well there on the right, and the pepper EarthBox is chugging along. We actually have peaches on that tiny little peach tree too. 

I really hope they taste good and that we get them before the birds do. :D

My black bins are doing well too (and so is our Annie dog).

I keep thinking of what we will eat when these things are a few months old!

And here is my pre-pesto. Soooo excited about this.

And my pre-cucumbers. :D

Evidently we had a chicken that couldn't get to the coop fast enough. She laid it in the pen this morning. They all seem to fight over the laying box--the same laying box--every day. There are five boxes and they all want the same one. Go figure. They are a little like feathery toddlers. :D

Here is our big dope, Rocky. He is a funny dog.

So did you get to see the eclipse? How does your garden grow?
Have a lovely Monday!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday's Musings

What I'm thinking: How glad I am to be alive today. Some people never get tomorrow and here I am today. Praise God!

What I'm reading: Wow, you do not want to miss the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Hop.


When I said there was something for everyone, I really meant it. These are the subjects being blogged about on all the different blogs:

Motivational Tools
Theme Park Schooling
Living out of my Pantry
Preschool Arts & Crafts
Traveling with Kids
Homeschool Technology
Summer Science
Service Projects
Raising Teens
Social Media
Nature Journaling
Living Math
Literature Unit Studies
Lesson Planning
Home Organization
Living History
Good Books
Freezer Cooking
Food Allergies
Fine Motor Fun
Farm Babies
Curriculum Evaluation
Classic Books for Girls
Character Training
Artistic Expression
Favorite Freebies
Homeschooling 101
Music Making
Kids in the Kitchen
Frugal Eating
Eating Around the World
Foreign Language
Educating with Games
Learning with BOB Books
Tutorials and How-to's
Hands-on Science
Love Languages for Children
Growing Godly Girls
Single Mom Homeschooling
Chaotic Homeschooling
High School Lesson Plans
Bringing Books to Life
Heart for Missions
Teaching Your Child to Swim
Classical Education
Competitive Athletics
Fighting Your Fears
Camp Schooling
Making Math Fun
Teaching Savvy Writing Skills
Sewing a Skirt
Crock-Pot Cooking
Preschooling with Pinterest
Scouting with Boys
Homeschooling an Only Child
Graduating a Homeschooler
Homeschool Life
Intentional Quiet Time
Discipling your Kids                                       Check it out!

What I'm listening to: One of the best sounds in the world in the morning, our burr grinder doing its thing to make coffee my perfect reality!

What we're learning: We are going to watch Amazing Grace this week for part of history. Now I know that it is not 100% historically accurate, but I think the movie is wonderful. We are also embarking on the Algebra 1 journey for Abigail via Pearson Homeschool. This came into the Crew and I am jazzed to get to try it. I don't think her level of excitement matches mine though...

What I'm watching: This one is easy -  Amazing Grace!

What's cooking: I am determined to get some Indian recipes under my belt. My dear friend Charlotte has inspired me with her regular variety of foods she cooks. The secret lies with Charlotte you know. tee hee

I will be posting my salsa and chicken taco recipe this week so for those that asked, keep an eye out! I made it again over the weekend with homegrown cilantro. YUM.

What I'm buying: I always always buy food. I am seriously considering buying another month of Reading Eggs. My Emma has done so well that I will probably do it.

What I'm thankful for: I am so very thankful that I am a Mama. I don't feel I deserve such a rich gift of these beautiful amazing five children I have, but wow, am I ever every thankful for them!!

What I'm creating: Lesson plans. Not too excited about THAT though. :D

What I'm praying: For so many personal needs for friends I cannot mention, but God knows. He is ever and always faithful.

What I'm planning: The summer months. So much happens in the summer and we still school so there is a lot to fit in.

What we did this last weekend: Saturday was a great work day. I planted the last of my peppers and harvested most of the cilantro. I did mostly house stuff and Crew stuff. Then on Sunday, we went to my favorite church in the world, heard a wonderful sermon, came home, ate a great lunch and made a Mother's Day dinner for my mother-in-law and our family with my oldest daughter. Some of our best talks happen in the kitchen when we are working together. God is good. Happy belated Mother's Day to all you lovely mamas out there!!

What I'm looking forward to: Camping with our church in the summer. I love this trip and it happens in early August this year.

A picture to share: I won this today! How fun is that? I don't often enter contests, but I did happen to enter this one, found on Amy Blevins' blog, Bow of Bronze. She runs some really excellent contests and I just happened to enter this one. Thanks, Amy!!

This means delicious pancakes when this arrives. Happy Mother's Day to me!! :D

Have a great week! I can't wait to see what my fellow Crew Team has to share on their blogs for the Blog Hop. Join me!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

HUGE Homeschool Crew Blog Hop!

You just don't want to miss this! Come join the TOS Homeschool Crew in their gigantic Crew Blog Hop!

5 Days of  . . .  Blog Hop 
5 days, 65 bloggerss, 325 blog posts

Sixty-five of our wonderful review bloggers will be blogging every day for 5 days on a chosen topic. That’s 325 creative, fun, informative, inspiring blog posts in less than one week! You’ll find everything you can imagine, from homeschooling to home management, science to history, art to music,  and some creative themes you’ve never even considered!

If you’re burned out, be renewed. If you’re just beginning, be encouraged. If you love hearing what other homeschool families are doing, be inspired.

The fun begins on Monday, May 14!

Each blog post will carry this 5 Days of  . . . Blogging banner, so you can click back and find the next blog to hop to!


Be sure to check back each day between May 14-18. You won’t want to miss a thing! Click on any button below to find out more!


Won't you join us? I can't wait to read it!