Monday, August 31, 2009

AWANA back in session!

Aaron holding the flag at opening ceremonies.

Ms. Tara going over the rules.

Aaron is super happy to be back at Awana Cubbies!

Jonathan's first night EVER of Awana Puggles. . .with Ms. Linda.
Jonathan had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back on Wednesday!

Rosalie stayed with Daddy. . . and I didn't get a picture of Martin. I'll post a picture of Martin in his Awana Sparks uniform later this week!

The Hollands LOVE Awana!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Didn't work out so well . . .

I made felt "clothing". I cut out lots and lots of shirts, skirts, underwear, pants, hats, and socks. I also cut out circles, squares, rectangles, diamonds, and triangles. I was hoping that I would be providing Jonathan with hours of fun, learning, and quiet. (so that I could get some work done with my other two)
I spent lots of time cutting and preparing this activity for Jonathan.
What did it get me?
Nothing, Nilch, Nada!!! And a very frustrated 2 year old. He was not able to work the clothes clips. . . and it made him so mad and frustrated. The only thing this activity did for me was cause me grief and frustration! I am not giving up, though. I am just going to have to spend some afternoon time practicing with him. . . and then maybe he'll be able to do it on his own during school time! I'll have to keep you posted on his progress!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rosalie's First Happy Bath!!!

Okay. . . so she's almost 7 months old. . . and last night, she had her first EVER happy bath!!!
What is a happy bath, you might wonder?
It's a bath that did NOT include frantic screams from baby girl Holland!
This girl has never wanted anything to do with a bath. All 3 of my boys, as babies, loved their baths. But Rosalie was scared to death of them! Finally, I put her in the tub, and she played and splashed and had a great time! Hopefully the fear is gone and she will enjoy all of her baths now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Someone fell asleep at church. . .

I guess a 2 year old can fall asleep anywhere and in any position! (special thanks to Julie for snapping this picture!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The wannabe school boy . . .

We worked on snakes this week in Aaron's unit. . . so Jonathan had to have a snake to color!! This is his snake!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Subjects and Predicates

We had fun with subjects and predicates last week. Martin had 10 index cards He had to write 5 subjects and 5 predicates on different cards. Then he had to match subjects with predicates. The last match that he made was funny . . . we had a good laugh!
Just in case you can't read it . . . It says: Mommy eats cat food.
I suppose that's what happens when you write subjects and predicates independently and then try to match them up. Whoever, knew that subjects and predicates could be so much fun?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fishing with Daddy

Rich took Martin on his very first fishing trip this past Saturday! Rich's good friend, Eric, invited them to go fishing on his canoe out at Falls Lake. Martin was beyond excited to be able to go on a boat. . . and to fish with a real fishing pole!!I stayed at home with the rest of our little ones, so I didn't get to see him experience his first fishing trip. . . but I heard. . . that he didn't want much to do with putting the cricket on the hook for bait!
He was one proud 7 year old. . . when he came home with some GREAT catches!
Martin caught 2 catfish! Rich caught a bass. Eric caught a catfish.
Eric taught Rich how to filet the fish. . . not something I cared to watch. . . but Jonathan quite enjoyed watching them dig the guts out of the fish! (that's my boy!)

Rich breaded the fish using the breading method that I posted about on an earlier blog. (breaded chicken) And it works for fish too!!
He fried the fish in coconut oil.

Then he placed the fried catfish in front of the boy who caught the fish.

And he takes his first bite . . .

Rich joined him at the table to eat their catches. . . and they enjoyed that yummy fried fish! (it occured to us that our children had never had fried fish before!)

Jonathan had to get in on eating some of that fried fish. . . and he LOVED it!

But the greatest surprise. . . was that Aaron wanted in on the action. . . and even he liked it . . .and asked for more!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Johnny Jump Up

Rosalie has become quite good at jumping in the Johnny Jump up. It keeps her busy while I am working in the kitchen. But she is so soical. . . that she prefers for everyone to be surrounding her and talking to her. She most certainly thrives as the only daughter and youngest of 4 children . . . she LOVES being the center of attention!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My little organizer!

Martin is my boy who likes order! When the three boys sit on the couch together, I often hear Martin saying. . . "no, no, no. . . lets sit in order (meaning. . . their birth order) When they stand by the door waiting to leave. . . he'll put the boys in order by birth. When I ask him to clean up, he doesn't just throw things on the shelf. . . he organizes them. He put all the rescue vehicles on the bottom shelf, the superhero toys on the 2nd shelf, the trucks and misc. vehicles on the 3rd shelf, and the Disney Cars Toys on the top shelf. When I ask him to straighten something up. . . he is so careful about how he goes about the task! I LOVE THIS! So, who do you think I ask to straighten up the shoes by the door? Yep. . . that's right, Martin!
It's wonderful that he's a little organizer. . . but he does get very frustrated when anyone messes it up!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Aaron's attempt at spelling. . .

Aaron wrote the words in the left hand margin and then drew the picture next to it.
Anyone know what the words say? Anyone know what the picture is?
The words say: I AM UBAT
The picture is a self portrait.
He was trying to say by using both words and the picture:
"I am about to be happy"
I knew he was drawing a picture, but I had no idea he was actually writing words down. Rich picked it up later and asked me what it was . . . and when I looked at it I was so excited! This is Aaron's first attempt at trying to sound out words and write them on his own.
Aaron has a very difficult time with handwriting as you can tell. . . but he's only 4. . .he's got time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Oatmeal Raisin Granola

I have had several people asking me for this recipe, so I thought I'd post it here for easy access.

Oats and almonds

6 cups Old fashioned Oats

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

3/4 cup sliced almonds (or more if you like lots of almonds)

1 cup coconut

2 tsp cinnamon (or less if you desire)

1/2 - 1 tsp of sea salt

Bake @ 250 degree oven - stir every 15 minutes or so - bake until the desired crispiness.

I will often bake it about an hour and a half, stirring it every so often, and then turn the oven off for an hour or so, then baking it a little longer. Length of time you bake it depends on how crispy you like your granola. The longer you bake it the crispier it will be. You can use this as a base - and then make your granola however you like. You can add different kinds of dried fruit. Rich doesn't like coconut, so when I make it, I make half of it with coconut and half of it with raisins, but keep everything else the same. My dad likes his with pecans or walnuts instead of almonds. You can use 100% maple syrup instead of honey and add pecans instead of almonds. There are many variations that you can try! You can use dried cranberries instead of coconut - or raisins instead of coconut like I did in one of the pictures above. The sky is the limit. You can add sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds if you like.

Just an FYI. . . I do not add the wheat germ to the granola when I make it. I grind my grain and make fresh whole grain bread on a daily basis, so my children get PLENTY of wheat germ. However, if you don't have a rich source of wheat germ, then adding it could be a good thing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

She can sit up now!

Rosalie began sitting up on her own couple weeks ago. In the past couple of days she's really started to master it. She is able to balance pretty well and can catch herself most of the time if she starts to sway one way or the other.

Such a happy girl!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My turn!

Anytime Martin or Aaron gets up out of their chair to go get a pencil or a book that they need, Jonathan runs to their chair sits down and shouts, "MY TURN! My turn to do school!"
He's not the easiest toddler to handle while I am teaching the other two. . . he wants to be in the middle of everything that we are doing. . . and never seems to stop talking! I've had to get creative and plan things for him to do, to keep him busy. I also work in some one on one time with him, and he's so happy when I do that. On this particular day, we worked on the numbers 1, 2, and 3. I gave him some beans and he was supposed to put the number of beans on the correct number.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Breaded Chicken - The Process

I have had many people ask me how to make homemade chicken nuggets. Let's face it . . . children love them, and my children are no exception! I struggled with this for many years, because we rarely to never do fast food, and I didn't want to buy the frozen chicken nuggets with who knows what along with a million other ingredients in them. So, I made it my mission to get really good at making them from scratch. It took me awhile to figure out the process, but I finally did. . . and it works! Don't skip any step. Don't bread them and put them right on to cook. You really do need to freeze them first. Otherwise the breading won't stay on them! I've experiemented like crazy with these things, so you can benefit from all of my failures! These are super yummy . . . and super healthy! (special thanks to Rich for taking the pictures while he was cooking them!!!)The first step: Cut the chicken into the size and shape you want. Dredge in freshly milled whole grain flour, then dredge through an egg wash(combination of an egg and water), then dredge through freshly made whole grain bread crumbs plus several spices. (I used onion powder, garlic powder, lots of freshly milled pepper, and paprika-and I have no measurements to pass on. . . just a little of this and a little of that - oh, and I threw some parmesan cheese in with the bread crumbs too)

2nd step: Put them on a large cookie sheet, and throw them in the freezer for a few hours.

3rd Step: Take them off the cookie sheet once frozen and throw them in a freezer bag. Then they are ready to go whenever you need them!

4th Step: Rich takes over at this point for me. I am good at the preparation of them and he's good that the cooking of them! We cook them in coconut oil.

Here they are getting nice and golden!

A nice close up!

Out of the pan and cooling on the plate - these are for the children. I made larger pieces for Rich and myself. Typically when I make these chicken fingers, I serve it with whole grain pasta and homemade pasta sauce. (Chicken Parmesan) The children prefer to not have sauce on their chicken fingers, but they eat the pasta with sauce on the side.

This is the "adult" plate

And here it is 10 seconds later!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ice Cream Sandwiches - homemade

Many of my readers may already know that we eat a whole foods diet, limit the amount of sugar we consume to mostly natural sugars (fruits), and milling all of our grains before baking bread, etc. I have noticed that since we started eating this way, that those "treats" have become genuine treats. My children have become accustomed to our healthy lifestyle, but they are children, so of course they want to enjoy those sugary foods every now and then. It's always a joy to see their eyes widen and light up because they are going to get one of those treats.

But being the health crazed person that I am, I can't just go to the store and buy a box of ice cream sandwiches. I had to make them myself!
So, I started by making the cookie part of the ice cream sandwich. I used spelt grain for the flour - and ancient European grain that is 30% higher in protein than regular hard white or hard red wheat. I used evaporated cane juice for the sweetener, butter, eggs, baking powder, and cocoa.
I used Breyers all natural vanilla bean ice cream. (Okay, so I didn't make my own ice cream, I have to take breaks where I can get them! But I did use Breyers because it has significantly less ingredients)
I baked the cookies and waited for them to cool:
Then I softened the ice cream, and put it in between two cookies. I placed each ice cream sandwich in an individual bag.
So, yeah, it's loaded with sugar. . . but at least there isn't any soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, or partially hydrogenated oils!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Martin's first day of school

We had a really tough year of school last year. He did not struggle with any of the material, but he just didn't want to do any of the work. I struggled because everyday was pure misery. It would take him 3 hours to do about 45 minutes worth of work. I started to re-evaluate everything. I started searching for a curriculum that was more hands on and less worksheet based. I wanted something that would make learning come alive for him and that would restore his joy for learning. I wanted something that I could stick with for years to come. I wanted something Biblically centered, academically challenging, and that would produce independent thinkers. I was leaning toward the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. I don't ask for much do I? I am thankful that I found The Heart of Dakota. It has all of those things that I wanted, and it's all laid out for me in a very organized manner.
I knew that Aaron was going to love school no matter what we did because it was all new to him. Martin was the real test. This year Martin is doing a combination of 2nd and 3rd grade, but we are calling it 2nd grade.
Martin is a tenderhearted little guy, and he became teary eyed when he listened to his Bible song this week . . . I took a closeup of his eyes and you can see the tears in his eyes. I asked him why he had tears in his eyes, and he said, "because the song is so beautiful!"
Martin's curriculum includes: Bible, History, Poetry, Literature(read alouds), Reading, Grammar, Math, Science, Art, Copy Work, and Spelling.
Martin loved it! I was able to see the joy of learning return! He loves that we don't have to skip all the fun stuff to get the necessary stuff done. It typically took us about twice the amount of time each day as it did last year to complete all of his work, but he enjoyed it all so much that it didn't seem to matter. In fact, I didn't hear a single complaining word from his mouth all week long!
AND, he cried (literal tears) when we got up on Saturday morning and I told him we weren't doing school today! WOOHOO!!! The joy of learning has returned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aaron's first day of Kindergarten

Aaron was so excited to begin Kindergarten. He's been watching Martin do school with me since as far back as he can remember, and just couldn't wait for it to be his turn!
His program covers Bible,phonics, handwriting, poetry,math, science, history, literature(read aloud), art, and music. Each week he does handwriting, Bible, math, music, and phonics daily. He does history, literature, and poetry 3 times a week, Science twice a week, and Art once a week. He loves it all, but says that the writing is hard for him. Aaron tends to be a perfectionist, so if he doesn't do it exactly right the first time, he gets frustrated. So, each day we say, "it's okay to make a mistake, we just have to be persistant, keep trying, and the practice will help us to get better!" Persistant was our new word for the week! :)

He loves the read alouds. I started read alouds with him this summer, so he's already familiar with the concept, and is a great listener. We are reading Reddy, the Fox right now.
Stay tuned for more posts on Aaron has we journey through Kindergarten!
Picture above is Aaron's math project he did on his first day!