Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caramel Chocolate Chunk Blondies Mix

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chunks

To make the mix, measure flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix and add to quart jar. Next add a layer of packed brown sugar, followed by layers of sugar and finally chocolate chunks.

On the card to accompany the mix are the following directions:

1 jar of mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/3 c. caramel ice cream topping

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13" baking pan and set aside.
2. Place the contents of the jar in a large bowl and mix well. Beat butter in another large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mix; stir until well blended.
3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of caramel topping over the batter and swirl it into the batter with a knife. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in a pan on a wire rack.

I thought this one sounded delicious. Since caramel ice cream topping isn't something that my sister keeps on hand, I thought I would box a jar of the mix together with a jar of caramel topping (in a Ziploc bag just on the off case that it breaks in shipping) and wrap them up for her birthday.

For my bil, I decided to modify an online recipe. The recipe is called
Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Mix in a Bag. Since I know that my sister already has plenty of nice bread pans to bake in, I decided to drop the 1/2 cup of chopped nuts from the mix and move it down to the attached card as an optional ingredient. Then I layered the flour mixed with baking powder and salt, the sugar, and the chocolate chunks in a quart sized jar.

Now I'm off to make the cards to attach, and have one more look around the house for a box to ship everything in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gift in a Jar recipes

Shopping for my sister's family around Christmas time has required some new creativity this year. In addition to buying Christmas presents for my sister, her husband, and my niece and getting them mailed, I also have to take care of birthday presents now as well. My brother in law has a late November birthday. My almost 1yo niece will be celebrating her birthday December 1st. My sister's birthday actually isn't until February but with the cost of shipping it just seems wiser to send them all in one fell swoop. Top that off with the fact that I am a bit behind in sending out the package, and I needed two quick and easy birthday presents for grownups.

As I was thinking about this at the end of last week, my mil showed me a new magazine that she had picked up with gift in a jar recipes. I did find one recipe in the magazine that I thought would work well for my sister, but I thought most of the rest of the recipes either required too many special ingredients for me to buy or too much effort for the recipient to use them. So I went back to the internet looking my favorite gift in a jar recipe sites. (I hate it when I lose bookmarks). Here are a few that I managed to find again.

Recipe Gold Mine gifts

Razzle Dazzle Recipes

Heart 4 Home

Fits My Budget

Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting Ready for Advent

Yesterday, instead of Sunday school, our church had an advent celebration. Families crowded into the gym. We sang some Christmas songs and made advent wreaths. For the first year, the kids actually put more of the greenery on the wreath than I did. I mostly just cut greenery into smaller pieces, divided the pieces among the kids, and rotated the circle every so often so that all of the sides got greenery. (OK. I confess. I did rearrange a few pieces here and there that I thought were sticking straight up far enough to be a fire hazard.) Here is our advent wreath.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Review Week 13, part 2

You would think having DH home for an entire week would free up more time for me to do fun things like blog on the Internet. Alas, he's been trying to "help" me around the house. Don't get me wrong. I love the help. It's just that if he's helping me get work done then I have to be up and doing work too. Anyway in the midst of it all we did get some school work done last week.


We doubled up on math last week to try to accelerate our pace. Our current math schedule would have us doing math through the end of May, and I would really prefer to get the work done before the baby comes if possible. I simply told the girls that if we did some extra math lessons at the beginning of the week then they could have off the day after Thanksgiving as well. (Thank goodness they liked that idea. I really needed to do some Christmas shopping Friday morning.) Jessie actually finished 6 lessons in 3 days last week. Violet did 5 lessons. Needless to say we spent some extra time on math each day.


In language arts we just caught up from last week. Spelling, grammar, and Latin assignments for week 13 were completed. We managed to squeeze in Little Pilgrim's Progress one day. (I think we'll finally finish next week). For memory work we just reviewed what was already in the box by doubling up on the weekly sections Monday and Tuesday so that everything was covered. The girls got the week off from copywork again due to lack of time. We'll have to make sure to get back to that next week.


The girls almost finished their Illinois booklets. They need a new page of seal stickers printed off. I figure we can stick it in Monday since I'm not getting much computer time this week. For history, I found our book about Pilgrims and realized that we had read all that we needed for this section of history. We'll actually finish the book in a few weeks when we get to the topic of King Phillip's war. No booklets or timeline this week because I need to get a new black ink cartridge. My plan is to either catch up next week during school time or just do an hour of lapbooking on Saturday morning.



We just did lots of reading this week. Benny's just not interested in working on letters or numbers with DH at home. Despite some cold temperatures, they were outside almost every day bringing up wood, raking leaves, going on nature walks, playing, etc. He also helped me make pancakes for dinner Wednesday evening. (I convinced DH that we didn't need a big meal the day before Thanksgiving). He dumped in the rice milk and did a great job of stirring the batter while I cooked the pancakes.

That's about it. Next week I'll start posting pictures again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Introducing our newest blessing

After struggling through two miscarriages in the past year, I'm happy to say we have finally made it out of the first trimester!! The baby is about fourteen and a half weeks along now, and I'm finally starting to relax. Perhaps in a couple more weeks I'll regain my ability to concentrate on things that need to be done around the house and slowly start getting some things done again. It's been a stressful and prayer filled few months so far. DH has been great about not complaining when I fed him scrambled eggs or pancakes for dinner because I couldn't stomach the thought of anything else. He's also been pitching in with the house cleaning since I haven't had much energy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

We'll call this Week 13 Report part 1...

The week started off uneventfully enough. We finished our school work Monday. Tuesday I let the kids off early to play outside. Wednesday started well, and then my computer started flashing blue screen of death and locking up every few minutes. It took most of Thursday to backup the files on my hard drive onto my flash drive. Today has been zapped reinstalling software and looking for a few missing cds. (An hour to find my modem driver which ended up being on top of the computer under the HTTA box. 30 minutes to find the software that goes with my digital camera hiding in the bottom of my desk behind the drawers.) We may not have gotten all the school work done that I had planned, but at least I made some strides in cleaning and organizing in my office. I figure we'll just call next week 13 1/2, and play catch up. Sorry no pictures this week, I usually take them between Wednesday and Friday.


Jessie finished Singapore 3A and has started on 3B. At least for her math has been fun this week since it starts with some review. She also started in on the Miquon purple book and is already looking forward to having just one math program next year. Violet continued to struggle with subtraction within 100 in her Singapore book. It turns out there are two problems. First she hasn't mastered all of her math facts yet so she was trying to recalculate them all in her head causing some simple errors. Second she kept forgetting where she was in the problem. In a problem like 76-37, she figured out 76-30 was 46, but then she would get confused and forget how much more she needed to subtract. We solved that problem by writing down 30 and 7 separately under the number like a number bond. We'll add in some daily math drill and move on. I'll think she'll find it easier to subtract when the numbers are stacked on top of each other in the next book. She also started a new section in Singapore on money. Apparently, I didn't cover that in Kindergarten with her like I did Faith. We'll review the coins and how much they are worth as well as counting by 25s as part of memory time for a couple of weeks.


Jessie started memorizing our next poem Time to Rise already. I forgot to put the new card in Violet's daily slot, but it's short enough I'm sure she can learn it next week. We did manage to read a few more chapters of Little Pilgrim's Progress. I hope to finish that up next week as well. Violet's finished lesson 22 in spelling, but we need to test that next week. I had her restart lesson 21 because she missed so many of the words Tuesday when I tested that lesson. Jessie has only done part of her spelling and grammar assignments. Neither did any copywork this week (my fault for not having anything ready to copy).


I know the girls started their Indiana booklets. I need to print out a new page of flag stickers for both girls and a new population map for Violet (the first having mysteriously vanished I'm told). We did some more reading on the Pilgrims until the book mysteriously vanished. It's probably either behind the sofa or has been moved somewhere by DH. No booklets this week with all the pc problems.


Alas poor Benny got left out again in all the chaos. His only work has been life skills for the week. Last night he helped me load the washing machine until I needed to get to the clothes he was standing on to reach the top of the washer. Then he helped DH crumple paper and handed him some of the small pieces of wood to get the wood stove started. Wednesday I sent him under the dining room table on a hunt for dropped cheerios. Unfortunately I forgot to keep an eye on him so I think more of the cheerios were eaten than put in the trash. (YUCK!!) Monday he folded some of his own clothes and a few of DH's socks. (Don't tell Violet, but right now Benny's folding is neater than hers).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Week 12 report: Trying to get going again

Last week went pretty well overall. Switching back to standard time did help the girls get up earlier so we were able to start school closer to 8:00. Now I just have to reteach the girls not to dawdle along through their morning routines and their schoolwork. This is of course my fault for lack of consistency so I have no one to be frustrated at other than myself.


Both girls are close to finished memorizing Against Quarrelling and Fighting. We'll probably review it one or two more days next week before starting our next poem. Jessie started Spelling Workout E this week and wrote her own version of The Ball and the Top for Classical Writing. I'll post the picture later this week when I find the missing file on my hard drive. Nothing new to report for Violet.


Jessie has almost finished all of her review for Singapore Math 3A and has finished her Miquon Yellow book. (Both of these were started last year in second grade.) Violet is still struggling with subtraction within 100 in her IP book so I guess we're going to have to add in some extra practice in the next few weeks.


In geography we finished Hawaii and Idaho. I still forgot to review our song. In history we're still reading about the pilgrims. It looks like I'll have to extend the topic at least one more week to finish up. We'll catch up on our lapbooks then as well.

Still no art and music


Benny had his own plans last week and promptly disappeared back to his room to play every morning after breakfast. I wasn't feeling very good so I just let him do whatever last week. We'll start up preschool again next week.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Week 11: A little behind

Almost a full week after I intended to write this post, I finally find myself with enough time and mental focus to put some thoughts down on paper. Here's what did get done last week amid all the other projects.


The girls are still making progress memorizing Against Quarreling and Fighting. Jessie got the week off from spelling (the new book's not here yet), while completing her grammar, Classical Writing, and copywork. Violet's spelling is progressing well. I've decided we're going to drop grammar through December at least. I'd like to restart in January if I can find the time to sit down and make some modifications. Jessie and Violet both continued copying poetry, Jessie in cursive and Violet in manuscript. We did a few more chapters of Little Pilgrims Progess. Most days, however, it was either read history or read literature. We couldn't seem to fit both in. I'm not too worried because I expect things to get easier over the next couple of weeks. The time change over the weekend will put the kids back to being up at 7am so that should give us some more morning time. Next week is the last week of swim lessons for both girls so that will free up 2 afternoons a week giving me more time to catch up in school and in housework too.


Jessie wrapped up her final lesson on money in Singapore Math 3A and just has some review to finish up. That's part of the review lesson at the end of her workbook on the left. Violet (on right) has been up and down as far as math this week. She handled adding within 100 well. Subtracting seemed to give her more trouble. We'll wait and see how she does in the IP book on this section before deciding if we need to add in some extra practice.


We completed the Georgia booklet and started Hawaii. I forgot to add to the 50 Nifty United States Song. In history we began reading about the Pilgrims. We covered the persecution in England and their life in Holland. Lapbooks didn't get done, but I have the narrations so we'll catch up in the next couple of weeks.

No art or music.


Benny was sick for part of the week and just had no desire to do school. We did review numbers and letters one day as well as spend some time reading off and on. The week wasn't a total loss however. Saturday Benny helped me vacuum his room first by holding the vacuum with me then by running it himself. Neither of the girls would even stay in the same room as the vacuum cleaner when they were three. I guess I need to capitalize on Benny's desire to work and be helpful while it's there.

That's about it. This week we have a little bit of history to finish up tomorrow so I'll try to post a review for week 12 tomorrow afternoon or Sunday at the latest.