Friday, September 18, 2009

Spelling Test of a Different Kind

Things have been a bit wild around our house, lately. We are currently doing school six days a week so that we can get it all done and still be involved in a short term extra curricular activity that we have chosen to participate in. I decided to mix things up a bit and do something a bit different....and fun!
I decided to make cookies for the children to take their spelling tests with.
I have had this set of cookie cutter for many years and we have done many wonderful things with them in the past. Today was another wonderful day!
First I made the dough. It is just a simple sugar cookie recipe. I had to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours, so I made it last night and tucked it neatly in the fridge.
This morning when it was time to take spelling test, I told all the children that they needed to write down any extra letters that they needed. For instance, if one of their words needed two or three or four of a certain letter. I had one child that needed 4 E's. We took time out to cut them out, decorate them and bake them.

We decorated them with leftover cookie sprinkles from the pantry.

Then we took our spelling test. I had them write it out as well as spell it with cookies, so that I could have a copy for their folder and they could have another experience of writing the words. So important to help solidify it in their brains.
When daddy got home tonight, I had each of them spell one of their words for him and then we all had fun eating them.

With so much going on in our home, I felt that it was important to do something fun and out of the ordainary. May you be blessed with an idea to break the monotony in your home, if needed.

Blessings, Suzie

Friday, September 4, 2009

Roxaboxen Candy

Youngest son and I just finished rowing Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran and beautifully illustrated by Barbara Cooney.
This is a delightful, imagination probing book about the playful young days of children in Arizona.
This book is filled with wonderful learning experiences.
Our go alongs for this unit included:
My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter by Joseph Parramon
Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson
Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasta
Draw, Write, Now Book 3
Evan Moore's Giant Resource Book
and of course the wonderful packed Five In A Row Volume 4.
There are many online resources for this book found here.
If you are not familiar with Five In A Row, it is a fantastic unit study curriculum that is built around great children's literature.
For fun, youngest son, who is in 3rd grade this year, made this candy that looks like glass, of course with mom helping. I would recommend that you read the book to find out the 'treasure' in the candy.
This picture does not truly do it justice.

And here is my little lad, after all had been cleaned up. What a lesson. He learned how to use a candy thermometer and some patience along the way, takes a long time to get to 310 degrees.
Here is the recipe we used.

Roxaboxen Candy

1 cup of hot water, place this in a large stainless steel pan on medium heat
3 1/2 cups sugar and
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

Stir ingredients raising the temperature a little bit at a time til you get to high (on my stove at least). Insert your thermometer and let it boil until it gets to 310 degrees. At that time remove from heat and add
1 tablespoon liquid food coloring (we used blue and red) and
1 tablespoon liquid extract (we used strawberry and coconut)
Pour onto a Pam sprayed 12x18 cookie sheet with edges. Let sit for about 10 minutes then refrigerate for about an hour. Break apart and eat. Just a note, this makes a huge amount of hard candy. Make sure to have some church friends of neighbors to give it away to.

Days like this are a blessing. I am thankful to have the ability to do activities like this with my children.

Blessings for a wonderful day, Suzie