Friday, October 17, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 10/17/14

Jake (8½), Alyssa (6½), Zac (4½), Tyler (2½)

Happy Friday! This week I hit the third trimester mark and have felt better the past few days than I have in weeks. I've been able to get caught up on some things around the house and have been able to do some extra baking with the kids. I hope you've had a great week, too!

1. Zac, looking at a picture of a little boy who was sick: "Shouldn't he have a green face if he's sick?"

2. Jake, while discussing scary dreams: "You know what would be a really bad dream for you, Mom? If you forgot how to read!"

3. Zac, excited: "Look at those eagles!"
Me: "Honey, those are seagulls."

4. Jake and Alyssa had the sidewalk in front of our house barricaded with bikes bearing signs that read "police." Anyone that dares to pass by receives a handwritten ticket for an exorbitant amount. A poor, unsuspecting lady walked by and received a paper stating that she owed $1,000,000. She laughed and thanked them. Their giggles as she walked away were priceless. Hearing my children playing and laughing together is definitely one of my favorite sounds.

5. Alyssa: "We're not going to church tonight? My life is ruined!!! . . . Well, it's not that bad."

6. Me: "I'm going to do it by myself. It's ok if I spend a few minutes by myself every now and then."
Zac: "But you can't be by yourself! We don't want you to get too scared and lonely."

7. Zac: "Mommy, I'll trade you my room for your bed. Then Jake, Ty, and I can all sleep in your big bed."
Me: "And then where would Daddy and I sleep?"
Zac: "You would sleep in Jake's top bed, and Daddy would sleep in my bottom bed."

8. Alyssa: "Your wish is my command."
Me: "Except, it wasn't a wish; it was a command."
Alyssa: "So, your command is my command."
Me: "Exactly."

9. Zac drew me a color-by-number picture.

10. Me: "Are you going to have a baby sister?"
Tyler: "Oh, yeah! Baby sisser!"
Me: "Or are you going to have a baby brother?"
Tyler: "Baby sisser."

11. Jake, naming the chickens on his paper: "Chick, Chickadee, Chickadickadee, and Scrambled Eggs."

What made you Smile this week?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Mocha Cake

It's very important to me to teach my children life skills. To me, homeschooling is about so much more than just the 3 Rs. I start bringing my kiddos in the kitchen with me at a very young age. That's why Jake was able to make cupcakes by himself at 4-and-a-half and why he had the skills necessary to create his very own cake recipe at age 6. Sometimes, he'll ask if he can make something: a cake, cookies, whatever. I like knowing that I can give him a recipe and, with minimal overseeing, can leave him in the kitchen to create.

This time was a bit different. This time, as part of his schoolwork for the day, I told him to look through some of my cookbooks and pick a recipe. He had to make sure we had the necessary ingredients or note which ones we needed, gather the supplies, and make it. By himself.

After flipping through the pages of 3 books, he showed me the picture of a slice of mocha cake.

"This one," he said.

I looked through the ingredient list. "Are you sure?"

"Yep. This is the one I want to make."

Instead of finding something in the desserts section, he chose one of the guilt-free recipes. Guilt-free meaning prune baby food in place of some of the oil. Ok, it was his choice. The baby food intrigued him, but did not deter him. And the coffee? Surely, the boy who has always hated everything coffee would want to choose something else.


"Yes, I'm sure. This one." 

Since baby food is not something we keep stocked in the pantry, he had to wait until the next day to make the cake.

He and Alyssa gathered the supplies and immediately got to work. They were measuring. Dumping. Pouring.

"What about the coffee?" I asked. "The cold coffee." I made the coffee and got it cooling in the fridge.

A minute later I heard, "Is the coffee ready?"

It made for a good lesson about the importance of reading the recipe fully before starting and making appropriate preparations. 

When the coffee was cold, he immediately poured it in the bowl. "Ugh, I was supposed to combine it with the milk." Again, we talked about reading and following the recipe, instead of just assuming you know what to do.

A minute later, another similar conversation took place.

This activity made me realize that he had gotten lazy in the kitchen. Since he had been baking by himself for a while, he had gotten overconfident in his abilities. It was a good lesson for us both.

And eventually, the cake did get baked.

And my favorite part? The kids washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen!

Jake made sure to add his own spin to the cake: a sugar & cinnamon sprinkle and mini chocolate chips. That's my boy! Adapt the recipe; make it your own. Have fun creating yummy foods!

But until you understand more about baking, follow the directions.

Despite my apprehensions, the kids all loved the cake! Jake even said it might be his favorite cake ever. Food always tastes better when you make the effort to bake it yourself.

Mocha Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 container (2.5 oz) prune baby food
3 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup cold strong brewed coffee
3 cups flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Frosting Ingredients:
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whipped topping

Cake Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, oil, prune baby food, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat until well-blended.
2. In a small bowl, mix milk and cold coffee.
3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
4. Gradually beat the flour mixture in the large bowl, alternating with the milk mixture. 
5. Bake in a greased 9x13 pan at 350* for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely.

Frosting Directions:
1. In a small bowl, dissolve coffee granules in hot water. Stir in vanilla.
2. Place whipped topping in a large bowl and gently fold in the coffee mixture.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home: Most Requested Recipes 2010.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 10/10/14

Jake (8½), Alyssa (6½), Zac (4½), Tyler (2½)

Happy Friday! For some reason, I don't have many quotes from the kiddos this week. I figured I'd add an extra picture this time. Besides, those cute faces make me smile! Did you have any Smiles this week, too?

1, Alyssa, looking at a picture of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea: "Why didn't they draw the water red? Is it poisonous?"

2. Alyssa: "Do you want red or blue?"
Tyler: "Green!"

3. Alyssa  wanted to help Zac with his reading.

4. Alyssa: "Is apple pie good for you?"
Me: "No, too bad, huh?"
Zac: "Are apples good for you?"
Me: "Yes."
Zac: "Then apple pie should be good for you! It's made with apples."

6. Tyler, and his cheesy smile, getting ready to help me make an apple pie.

7. Jake: "Is it hazelnut or nasalnut."
Me: "Hazelnut. Do you know what nasal means?"
Jake: "No."
Me: "It's referring to the nose."
Jake: "So, Zac called it a nosenut?"

8. Alyssa, praying: ". . . Thank You for letting me be in Mommy's family, and thank You for Tyler, and thank You for giving us a new baby . . ."

9.  The boys needed new tennis shoes, but Alyssa didn't need anything. Leighton let her get some pretty, pink, "high heels," just because. She was so excited! Daddy has a soft spot for his little girl.

What made you Smile this week?

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Things That Make Me Smile 10/3/14

Jake (8½), Alyssa (6½), Zac (4½), Tyler (2)

Happy Friday! I'm late in getting this posted and really, you're here for the Smiles anyway, so without further ado . . . let's Smile!

1. Jake: "If I had a nickel for every time I heard Tyler Joseph! I'd have 5 million dollars."

2. Jake: "Mom, I actually sharpened this pencil with my teeth!"

3. Tyler, pointing at dandelions: "Mama, wook! Sunfwowers!"

4. Watching Leighton get beat up, I mean, wrestle with all 4 kids.

5. Zac: "May I have a piece of cake now, please? I done all my book."
Me: "You done it? How about you did it?"
Zac: "Yeah, I did done all my book."

6. Alyssa: "May I play the iPad now, please?"
Me: "Yes."
Alyssa: "Huzzah!"

7. Jake, tasting the cake batter he made (recipe coming): "Mmm, coffee."
Me: "Who are you?"
Jake: "Jacob."
Me: "And since when do you like coffee."
Jake: "Mom, I'm almost 9. I'm going to need to start drinking coffee soon."

8. Alyssa: "Ooh, are you making apple pie?"
Me: "No, not right now. I am making apple pie oatmeal though."
Alyssa: "I'd rather have apple pie."

9.Finding Jake reading to his siblings, just because.

10. Jake: "I really hate that book! Every time I finish a chapter, something really exciting happens and I just want to keep reading!"

11. Tyler, while we were talking about our Christmas tree: "Yeah, BIG one! Ty-Ty cwimb it!"

12. While praying for breakfast . . .
Me: "Help Ty-Ty be good boy,"
Tyler: "Help Ty-Ty be good boy,"
Me: "Help Daddy be safe,"
Tyler: "Help Daddy be good boy," 

13. Alyssa: "Do you want the new baby to be a girl? So it's not trouble? I think only boys are trouble."

What made you Smile this week?

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