Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brain and Nervous System Study~ 7 Resources and Activities /wwrw

We're wrapping up our central nervous system/brain study and
 I'd love to share some of the highlights of our  unit. 
I don't use a science "spine" or text in general, as I've found none that appeal to me,
 over the ten years that we've been homeschooling. 
Either I'm waaaaaay too picky or
science textbook  publishers leave a tremendous amount to be desired?
Actually, it's  a little of both!
So  enjoy a peek into our recent science unit...
perhaps you'll find a resource that grabs you...
maybe you can even share one of your own in the combox for  all who stop by!
We'd all appreciate if you did so!

~ 1 ~

The Brain~ by  Seymour Simon 
What a fantastic journey our the human brain! 

Simon is pretty much our favorite non fiction author and
I'm sure you have a  plethora of his books on your shelves too.
Just terrific fun and loads of facts.
We'd read about a  few areas of the brain  in Seymour Simon's  book and then 
moved on to the following website.........>

~ 2 ~

Inner Body 
This interactive website is simply perfect for ongoing investigation of the
brain and nervous system study.
Of course in depth activities around all the body systems can be found here too
and we're anticipating returning when we study
the digestive and muscular systems over the next few months.
Go check it out..but I want you.....
it's addicting and an hour, minimally, will pass before you know it.....!

~ 3 ~

The Dover Human Anatomy Coloring Book
 plus the resource, below in 4,were The Best
books we could have used for our brain/nervous system study,
In particular the Anatomy Coloring Book is beautiful
 for its simple yet detailed description of neurons, each part and function.

This resource has been one of a few that have proven 
invaluable for not only our nervous system/brain study,
but also our recent  skeletal system unit.
The content is rather extensive, but why not introduce some weighty concepts?
Our kids are capable of soooooo much more than we assume.
If they internalize the basics, great and if they learn even more in depth info, even better.

~ 4 ~
The Human Body
100 Reproducible Activities for Grades 5-8

Unlike the  anatomy coloring book, above, the pages in this resource are minimally detailed
 and wonderful  for culminating a lesson and even for testing:

Yep, I'm the queen of drill and kill. so while the unit was undoubtedly fun, 
my son had to know all the parts and functions of the brain, nervous system and neurons.
This good old fashioned fill-in-the-blank book helped a lot.
We also used  flash cards before his unit test.

~ 5 ~

To intro or review any topic, we love the science guy.

~ 6 ~

~Create a Clay Brain~
My son's super crafty and enjoys developing his own creations,
whether for "fun," or to correlate with a topic of study.
We started with a lump of clay from this 25 pound package that I bought on amazon.
It's the  Amaco brand of air dry, moist clay and even though it's  a massive box,
it only cost about $18. 
We go through craft supplies like crazy; so it's perfect for us.

My son just created away, using a few of the books described above to guide him.


If you don't have those titles on hand and you'd still like to sculpt a brain,
you can also use this diagram from WebMD too.

I ordered this brain cross section model
but it has yet to arrive and I can NOT wait to
use and enjoy it with my son.
Looks pretty cool doesn't it?

~ 7 ~

Nervous System Sugar Cookies
Eating the nervous system?
Sounds kinda gross...but really,
" drawing" the central nervous system in icing was tons of fun and reinforcement!
Here's what we used--
this page from The Human Body as a guideline,
icing,  food color, sugar cookie dough.

Just bake, decorate and enjoy!

I'm happy to linkwith Jessica'sWhat We're Reading Wednesdayand 
Please visit Kelly and Jessica for tons of wonderful posts!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious tim 
here at my home on the web!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Meatless Dinners: Fish Fingers & Custard, Bow Ties are Cool Pasta, Veggie Soup & Chips, Cinnamon French Toast and Quiche Lorraine: Lenten Meal Plan Week #2 w/ Linky and #5faves

Welcome to Week #2 of the Lenten Meal linky,
organized and  hosted by my friend, Beth Anne of Beth Anne's Best!
<Here's the link to the  Meal Plan week one where there are 
 some outstanding meatless dishes! Go enjoy perusing!>

The recipes I typically blog aren't of  the practical  "meal" sort at all...
but more the celebratory, cake, party
sacramental ( confirmation dinner!)  or liturgical year adornment type
So when I joined in the fun as a co hostess of BethAnne's long standing,
popular lenten meatless meal linky,
 it occurred to me that  I needed to step up my game 
and share a decent  recipe ( or five!)
Since,  in our household, there are  several go-to dishes
 that are meatless and great stand bys for lenten Fridays, 
I'm happy to  share them---
If you've a recipe you'd like to share, please do at the bottom of the post.......
If you don't blog and you have a  recipe to share,
you can do so in the  comments if you'd like!

My Son's Vegetable Soup~

Although this  is super easy to put together,
 I have to admit, his veggie soup is better than any I've had before!
He really just peruses the produces section and 
picks what looks "good" or strikes him at the time....
peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, celery, potato, spinach
...but other veggies have been added sometimes too.
 He chops, slices, dices, adds a few spices as well: thyme, parsley,
salt, pepper.,,,At times, he'll add in some rotini or rigatoni pasta.
It's not very how-to, the way I'm describing it, is it?
But he proportions the veggies and spices beautifully and simmers all for a few hours in a pot with  a base of water and a hint of olive oil ( ! ) 
He recently used a little  tomato paste as a base too...
It's really delish and hearty! 

~Two ~
Fish Fingers and Custard 
Calling all Whovians! Okay so I'm writing this post as a distraction
 from my sinus infected, brutally stuffed head,
which is a disclaimer for those of you who may read this and think,
Doctor Who food + lent = weird  
Well then, you must never have had fish fingers and custard!
(Sorry- no matter what I do, I can't flip this pic!)

Here's how easy this is:
1.Cook a bag of fish sticks.
(I buy them in bulk on amazon or at Costco)
2. Make some vanilla pudding---whatever boxed brand is your favorite.
Yes, I know...custard is not pudding......  that's ok....close enough.
Just make the recipe your own.
And voila!

Bet you ( non Whovians) never thought of this combo did you?
As a special you go...:
That shot way up there is from my son's Doctor WHo themed party
(which I've yet to blog about)
But even though it's lent, here is his  Dalek cake 
and our TARDIS cake, if you'd like...

And here's the Eleventh Doctor at his party: 

And more Gallifreyan delights......
Bow Ties Are Cool Pasta

Of course, the Eleventh Doctor made them cool. right?
So simply boil farfalle pasta and add whatever sauce your family is into!
Mine likes melted butter with garlic bread most of the time! Yum

Cinnamon French Toast
Breakfast for dinner is typical around here....we love our omelettes , pancakes
 and  french toast  on Fridays during lent....


1.We "fry" bread, dipped in a mixture of 
one beaten egg,  approx 1/2 C milk,  1 tbsp vanilla.
2 Once the toast is flipped and thoroughly cooked, 
we sprinkle cinnamon and confectioner's sugar over the slices.
Soooo delicious! 

~Five ~
Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Doesn't this look absolutely delish?
I've used this recipe...though I have no idea why mine looks completely different!
Left~ before going in the oven.......Right~cooked quiche
I picked up the quiche pan on amazon, as I do make quiche fairly often.
I'm a huge quiche kids,notsomuch!

I'm  happy to join Jenna's #5faves weekly hop well as, of course, Beth Anne's meal plan,
 Lisa's Try A New Recipe Tuesday and perhaps other parties on my sidebar.
Thank you, ladies!!
Please links those recipes down below, okay? 

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

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Until next time,


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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Goodbye Dr Pepper and Chocolate~ Hello Tradition and Sacrificial Grace! 5 Amazing Lenten Posts #5faves

Journeying to the same destination.....entering the dark night of the soul. 
Same season, same "rules," same goals. 
Different approaches. 
Forty seven days of austere. Of sacrifice. Of forfeiture.
Heck, let's face it. Forty seven days of renouncing Dr Pepper? 
Now that's self denial....for me. For you? Maybe not so much.
 Lent isn't the season of How-To-Be-Perfect, 
but rather the season of
Sixteen years ago on Shrove Tuesday 1999, I miscarried our first child.
All there was for months, let alone the lenten season, was emptiness.
Darkness, tears, black, confused nothingness.
My mom told me I'd "suffered enough." Giving up chocolate, she asked....
Well, what's the point after you lose a child?
Isn't that ample sacrifice?
But really.......the choice to enter the desert.....
 to willingly give, offer, reject is our decision....or not.
And maybe that year, maybe any year,
  the path to do more or different is better than doing less.
Than denying oneself.
It may be hard to discern the gentle and the perfect-for-me through our desire to attempt The Best and The know?
Of course, you do.
So that being said, if you are looking for one or two, or even a
few  meaningful activities to add into your family's repertoire of 
liturgical year traditions this Lenten season, you've landed at  a treasure trove today!
I'm so so so happy to share my five favorite Lenten blog posts~

So let's get started with the fun, the inspiration and the wealth of tradition:


Tracy, of A Slice of Smith Life, shares in
absolutely everything you need from 
 magnetic stations of the cross
 to  lenten chains to Holy Week Happenings!
 Tracy, I think we'll all be over for your Good Friday lunch!! 

~ TWO ~ 

Birgit also discusses her Eggstraordinary Rosary Project and 
 a fun Stations of the Cross activity....
Do. Not. Miss. This!!


is a  fun, easy  and  gorgeous way  for kids to make the 14 stations their own!
And friends, while I'm sharing Monica's ingenuity, 
 don't miss clicking over to her brand new 

Monica is the mastermind behind Equipping Catholic Families and
really, the creativity that bursts from her blog is unreal!


If you're looking for inspiration, quotes, a peek at family liturgical culture,
Emily of Our Home, Under Mary's Mantle
shares a warm, welcoming round up of traditions and reflections
When you read one of Em's blog posts, you're instantly rejuvenated, as if you've shared 
a cup of tea and a long chat.
That's how  casual, yet charming,  her style. 

Last but not least, Jennifer of Catholic Inspired, has created a phenomenal 47 page

which contains a Bible reading for each day during Lent as well as beautiful artwork as we travel through Jesus's life.
Sounds amazing, right?
To make our walk through Jesus' life even more real, Jen is including her Jesus Tree printables and info, depicting scenes from the life of our Lord.
Look  how stunning Jen's family's tree is:

So this would technically make my post SIX faves, not five....
but I have to add in my mega Lent post from last year, which is a round up of so many activities that my kids have done throughout the years,.....


The boys worked diligently on these projects
 and we actually keep them up year round as 
solid, tangible symbols  of our Faith....and of their they grow older!

Come back next week ( and for several weeks after ) for my five fave
 Doctor Who moments, season by season.
Hey, Doctor Pepper may be off limits, but  Whovian wit and epic,
wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, well........... stuff ?
 I think we're good. And please click this link if you're in the dark.
That'll clear it all up. Sort of.

Much love  and peace to you all this lent~~!!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

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