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Friday, December 30, 2011

Field Trip #27 Friday Blog Hop

Field Trip Friday!
A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)

On Christmas Eve we went with our ward from church to carol at an elderly home.  A member of our ward lives there.  It was such a great experience.  Singing songs about Jesus Christ and His birth really brought to life the true meaning of Christmas, and what better way to celebrate it then in his service to others!  

(I'm the one with the baby on my back and DH is on the far right in a red shirt, holding Z who is wearing a red and white aloha shirt.  You can't see C, but he was by me, I think he hid for the pictures!).

Hope all of you had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and here's hoping it's a GREAT NEW YEAR! 

**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Homeschool Brag Time Thursday Hop #8

    Chestnut Grove Academy
    Welcome to Homeschool Brag Time Thursday!

    Come link up your Homeschool related posts to 'brag' about the great things you and your kids are doing! Browse around and see what others are up to as well!
    (Please link up the direct URL of the post you are 'bragging' about!)

    Please Follow your hosts and grab our Brag Time Button to display in your post or on your blog so others can join in the fun as well! 

    (Failure to follow these specific guidelines will result in your link up being deleted, so PLEASE be sure to 1) link up the direct URL of your post and 2) post the hop button on your post or blog (where we can find it).  We also kindly ask that you follow us, we WILL follow you back!) Thank you!

    Chestnut Grove Academy

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    and a little extra Hawaiian Christmas Song

    12 Hawaiian Days of Christmas

    Christmas Treats

    So despite all the insanity of the month, I managed to get some baking done (not nearly as much as I usually do though).  Thought I would share they yumminess we made.
    Oreo Truffles
    (I have seen these on pinterest, and some friends posted on facebook, this is my spin on them).
    2 pkgs of double stuff Oreos
    Wilton melting candies (I used red and green)
    Sprinkles (red and green)
    8oz cream cheese

    Crunch up the oreos in the food processor (it’s okay to eat a few before hand).  Then melt the cream cheese in the microwave and stir in the cookie crumbs.  Roll into balls (I used my small pampered chef scoop).  Place in fridge or freezer till hardened.  After hardened, melt the melting candy according to package directions, and then coat the cookies balls, and top with sprinkles. 
    Sugar Cookies
    This is my go to sugar cookie recipe – The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies, but I usually half the recipe because it makes a TON!  Buddy from Cake Boss was on The Rachel Ray Show last week, and he suggested dipping the cookies part way in chocolate, so I gave it a try.  I melted some chocolate chips with a bit of milk and also used some of the left over melting candies.  Then topped with sprinkles.  I don’t think they look as nice as I had hoped, but they tasted good.
    Banana Bread
    Hands down BEST banana choc chip bread recipe EVER!  (I doubled it to make 8 small loaves)
    1 stick butter, softened
    1 1/4c sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2c flour
    1t baking soda
    1/2t salt
    3 bananas (1c) – I use overripe bananas that have been frozen, and thaw them…makes the bread so moist!
    4T sour cream
    1/2c chocolate chips
    1t vanilla

    Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  In separate bowl mix sour cream and baking soda, then add to butter, sugar, egg mixture.  Alternatively add dry ingredients with bananas.  Add vanilla and chocolate chips.  Beat well.  Grease and flour 9x5x3 inch pan.  Pour batter into pan (only fill about 3/4 full).  Bake at 350 degrees for 1hr.  Test.  May need another 15mins (I find it usually does).  Cool in pan 10minutes, then turn out and cool on rack.  For the mini loaves, I baked it about 45mins.
    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Brownies
    These were a first for me, I set out to make Chocolate Chip Cookies and then realized that I had no brown sugar (oops!).  So I tried to find a recipe that was similar type of product without the brown sugar…and this was on the choc chip bag and you can also find it HERE. They were good, but not my fav.  I topped them with Christmas Sprinkles before baking to give them a more Christmas Vibe!

    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Christmas Activities

    Tot School - ages 13mos, 32mos and 5yrs.

    I have not done nearly the amount of Christmas Activities I had planned to do with school.  We haven’t really done any ‘formal’ schooling the whole month…but that’s what is so great about Homeschool.  I know my kids are still constantly learning, and having priceless experiences.  But Friday was the first real ‘down’ day we have all month, so I pulled out a few things I had planned.
    Weaving Christmas Ribbons (I got this great idea from Our Montessori Home)
    Spooning/Transfer of bulb ornaments (this apricot container from Costco has gotten so much use, I LOVE it!)
    And then we talked a bit about patterns using the bulbs
    We also made some Christmas Snow Globes – I have read it is better to add some glycerin, but I didn’t find any at Wal-mart, and haven’t had time to look elsewhere.   So, we just used water and glitter and some stage 3 baby food jars.  I hot glued these little Christmas trinkets I found at Wal-mart to the lids, the kids poured their water into the jars, and added the glitter. 
    We also made some Christmas tea light lamps.  Also made from stage 3 baby food jars, we covered the outside of these in tissue paper (red, green and gold) and modge podge, and placed a tea light candle inside.  These are the ones I made as gifts, the kids made some too!  These were inexpensive and fun (I had all the supplies on hand). 
    And now, I can’t wait to hit up the AFTER Christmas Clearance Sales for lots of great things for NEXT YEAR’s school and project fun!

    Linking up with:
    Montessori MondayTot SchoolWorkbox Wednesday

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Field Trip #26 Friday Blog Hop

    Field Trip Friday!
    A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

    (does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)
    Some More Kauai pictures
    I love WATERFALLS and if there are ever anywhere where we go, we always make a point to visit them, I have been to waterfalls in several states, and even New Zealand!  Love, Love, Love ‘em!  Here are some we visited on Kauai
    kauai 062kauai 133
    This small waterfall (above) we hiked about 1.5miles down a slippery, muddy mountain.  Q landed on his behind about 2 times, and I slipped and got muddy knees.  Crocs are not the best hiking shoe in muddy conditions, haha.  It was a rough trail, but all were good sports about it (even me and Cole).  The disappointment was that just past this small falls, is a larger falls, but when you get to it…you are on the TOP of it, and can’t see it. 
    kauai 339
    The other two falls (1st and 3rd) were drive up to view, although the 2nd one had a drive up to view overlook as well….which we didn’t make it too, b/c after we got back up the mountain we were so hungry and exhausted that we went straight to get some food! 

    **NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Homeschool Brag Time Thursday Hop #8

    Chestnut Grove Academy
    Welcome to Homeschool Brag Time Thursday!
    Come link up your Homeschool related posts to 'brag' about the great things you and your kids are doing! Browse around and see what others are up to as well! (Please link up the direct URL of the post you are 'bragging' about!)
    Please Follow your hosts and grab our Brag Time Button to display in your post or on your blog so others can join in the fun as well!
    Chestnut Grove Academy

    Baked Clay Ornaments

    Tot School - 32mos, 5yrs

    So, I really didn’t think I was even going to get a post up this week for BTT, but so glad I can!  It was my turn to teach at co-op this week.  So, for Music we watched Mr. Kreuger’s Christmas.

    For Science and Art we made Baked Clay (Corn Starch Dough) Ornaments.   I had seen these on pinterest, and then was given the suggestion by 2 other friends, so we went for it.  I was really nervous about any type of ‘food item’ ornaments b/c of roaches and ants here in HI, but I don’t think they’ll find corn starch and baking soda to tasty! 
    The recipe is really easy -
    2 c. baking soda
    1 c. cornstarch
    1 1/4 c. cold water

    Mix soda and cornstarch together, blending well. Add the cold water and mix well until mixture is smooth. Boil for one minute until it has consistency of mashed potatoes. Stir constantly. Spoon out on a plate. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to cool. Knead dough and roll out on waxed paper. Cut out designs with a cookie cutter or shape by hand. Let dry until hardened, about 1 to 2 days. Or you can speed up the process by baking them @ 250 until hardened.
    Then we painted them.  We used a straw to make the holes (before baking), I forgot on one, but it was still a bit soft, so I stuck a paper clip through it.
    I made some dough ahead of time, and then made a batch to show the kids the reaction of mixing the ingredients. (for the science portion of our lesson).  That way we didn’t have to wait for it to cool, and we watched the movie while they baked, and also did another ornament craft from Oriental Trading, then we painted them!
    My kids enjoyed it so much that we even made more after everyone from co-op went home! 

    Linking up with:
    Montessori MondayTot SchoolWorkbox Wednesday

    Chestnut Grove Academy

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Field Trip #25 Friday Blog Hop

    Field Trip Friday!
    A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

    (does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)
    Sorry It’s late….we were out of town last week, and I planned to post while on vacation, but we couldn’t get the internet working, and well to be honest…I enjoyed the break from technology!
    This last week we went to Kauai to visit.  Our first day there, we did a lot of driving around (to kill time till check in, let the kids nap, etc…) and we stopped at a lighthouse and bird sanctuary! 
    It was perfect for a homeschool trip, they gave the kids workbooks to fill out as we walked the grounds, they had to identify birds and native plants.  We got to see the lighthouse, and saw some amazing views.  We also got some close ups with the NeNe (Hawaii’s state bird).
    (we left for the airport at 4am, so the kids are still in Pj’s)
    kauai 017kauai 021kauai 035
    (Also, If you have linked up over the last 2 weeks to one of my hops, I have not made my ‘rounds’ yet to visit everyone, but will….I promise!!)

    **NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE

      Wednesday, December 14, 2011

      Homeschool Brag Time Thursday Hop #7

      Chestnut Grove Academy

      Welcome to Homeschool Brag Time Thursday!

      Come link up your Homeschool related posts to 'brag' about the great things you and your kids are doing! Browse around and see what others are up to as well! (Please link up the direct URL of the post you are 'bragging' about!)

      Please Follow your hosts and grab our Brag Time Button to display in your post or on your blog so others can join in the fun as well!

      Chestnut Grove Academy

      Brag Time Thursday -Our Family Christmas Traditions: Keeping CHRIST in Christmas

      Keeping Christ in Christmas in this highly commercialized world can sometimes be a challenge.  The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season can bring about feelings of stress, dread, financial woes, etc..  Making it at times quite difficult to feel the TRUE meaning of Christmas and it’s spirit.
      I wanted to share with you some things that we do as a family to turn down the stress associated with the wonderful holiday season, and to increase it’s TRUE meaning and PURPOSE.  Here are a few of our traditions that we look forward to every year!
      Now for many, decorating for Christmas is an enjoyable thing, but for me, it’s stressful!   So we keep decorating simple.  We have a few strands of lights hung outside, a simple tree with kid safe ornaments, several kid safe nativity sets, a not-kid safe one HIGH on a shelf, a basket of Christmas books and some Christmas Beanie Babies, and 2 wreaths on the our front doors.  The kids are involved in our decorating, and the nativity sets that are kid safe are a great reminder to them of what we are celebrating!

      My husband and I both come from large families, and they just keep growing.  So gift giving to family members can be a financial strain.   When we were first married, we started giving each family a Christmas Ornament of some significance, typically something related to our year, or a family event.  Theses are small, inexpensive ornaments that I typically purchase in packs of 12 for about $15.  We love decorating our tree each year and remembering the meaning of the ornaments, who gave them, etc… and we hope that our family has found the same joy in the simple gifts we have given them each year.

      Another way to limit spending (therefore relieving financial burdens often associated with Christmas) is to limit the gifts you give.  In our home our children receive 3 gifts each, and a stocking.  Jesus Christ received 3 gifts (one from each wise man), therefore that is what my children receive (from us).  It’s also a great way to bring Christmas back to the TRUE meaning. 


      We do not do ‘Santa’ in our home.  This was a choice that my husband felt strongly about before we had children, and I’ll admit this is the first year that it’s actually been hard to follow through with (now that my oldest son is 5).  There is nothing wrong with doing Santa, if you choose to practice this tradition in your home.  BUT try to maintain an emphasis on the TRUE meaning, it is far to easy for kids to get wrapped up in Christmas being about SANTA.  Trying to explain to our children about Santa has proved slightly difficult, but I did find a great book that we read each year, which outlines the tradition of Santa, where it came from, why people do it and what the REAL meaning of Christmas is.

      We do advent in a variety of ways.  You may have seen my post on the Wooden Advent Tree I made, we fill it with some candy and a scripture to read each night. 

      For school we are doing DISCOVER CHIRSTMAS, we aren’t doing everything in the book, but we are at least doing the daily readings.


      This is a new countdown we are just starting this year, this idea was branched off of a lesson given by our Bishop’s wonderful wife, her family does it for 25days.  We will be doing a 12 days of Christmas BOOK countdown.  Twelve Christmas books will be wrapped, and attached on the outside of each one will be a scripture verse and activity from the New Era Article “Advent Calendar:  Prophecies of Christ’s Coming” from the Dec 2008 issue.  (I had previously stocked up with Christmas themed books last year from Deseret Books after Christmas sales).  Not all the books are spiritual themed, but most are.

      PCC 035

      We have always baked cookies to deliver to our neighbors, pulled an angel from a Christmas tree, donated to Toys for Tots and/or pulled a gift from the ward tree.  In years past we have given anonymous donations to families we felt had a need.  This year, some friends have asked us to go in on a 12 days of Christmas gifts program with them…and we are really excited!  No matter how big or small; nothing says CHRISTmas like giving Christ-like service to others!  I loved this idea that I found on Pinterest, and hope to maybe incorporate something similar next year (Advent and Service in ONE)!

      We always watch Mr. Kruger’s Christmas and The Nativity on Christmas Eve, this year we are blessed for PBS Hawaii to broadcast The Mormon Tabernacle Choir with David Archuleta on Christmas Eve! 

      OTHER TRADITIONS (not necessarily spiritual, but still meaningful!)

      A few other traditions we have is sending a yearly Christmas Letter, I won’t lie, this is mostly for us, we keep them each year with our Christmas Card picture; it makes a great little family history!  The Christmas Card is another tradition, we have sent one every year, with a picture since we got married!  These traditions go back to my Grandpa Hilsinger, after he passed I received copies of all his Christmas Letters past, it was such an amazing thing to read!

      Personalized ornaments for the kids each year in their stockings!  I have a handful of ornaments from my growing up that I brought with me, and I want my kids to be able to do the same!   Their first Christmas they get 2, a brass one and another one, and they always have their name and the year. 

      (Originally posted at Latter-Day Homeschooling Blog)

      Sunday, December 11, 2011

      First Presidency Christmas Devotional

      The First Presidency Christmas Message - It's about an hour, but worth every second of your time!

      Friday, December 9, 2011

      Field Trip #25 Friday Blog Hop

      Field Trip Friday!
      A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

      (does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)
      We made our first trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center this week.  Season Passes for residents are on sale this month, so we will be going back FOR SURE!  It was a lot of fun, the shows were hilarious!  It was sort of a Renaissance Faire feel, but Polynesian style!  After walking around with the kids, we took them to the babysitter and Q and I went with a friend to the dinner and Luau Show!  A great time!
      PCC 007PCC 009PCC 010PCC 025PCC 016PCC 018PCC 019PCC 020PCC 021PCC 022PCC 023PCC 027PCC 031

      **NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE


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