Classic Pumpkin Pie

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Harrison and I made this pumpkin pie with his leftover Halloween pumpkin.  Learn how to make your own pumpkin from a left over jack o’lantern for pies, breads, muffins and so on.  This recipe makes one pie. Pie Crust 1 1/4 c. flour 1/4 t. salt 1/3 c. shortening 4 T. water Mix the salt and flour then cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry blender or with the tines of a fork.  Add the water and stir.  Knead it all together to make one smooth ball of dough.  Roll it into a circle on a floured counter … Keep on reading

Perfect Chocolate Cake

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This chocolate cake is absolutely perfect.  It is rich, dense, moist, and fudgy.  I’ve never been much of a fan of cake just because so often it is so dry.  Not this one. Start by preheating the oven to 350 deg F and prepping your pans.  If you are doing cupcakes, line the cups with paper liners.  If you are doing 9″ rounds, cut out circles from waxed paper and place them in the bottom of the pans. Then spray the inside, waxed paper and sides, with non-stick cooking spray. Now in a large mixing bowl combine all the dry … Keep on reading

Conquistador Map

Conquistador Map

Print this Conquistador Map for your kids to color when you are studying colonial history. The map shows the Aztec and Inca empires as they were at the time of conquest.  These lands both became part of the Spanish Empire.  The map also shows the Treaty of Tordesillas line.  This was a boundary line agreed upon by the Spanish and Portuguese and mediated by the Pope in 1494.  Everything to the west of the line would belong to Spain and everything to the east of the line would belong to Portugal.  The line extended all the way around the globe, to the … Keep on reading

Thanksgiving Napkin Rings

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To make these simple classic Thanksgiving napkin rings all you need is construction paper, scissors, and glue. Indian Napkin Ring Start by folding a piece of paper in half, hamburger bun style.  Then freehand draw a long oval that touches both sides of the paper.  This will help the kids make their feathers big enough and keep them close to the same size. Make little snips up the side of each feather with scissors.  Then use your fingers to bend some of the fringe pieces up so you can see them.  You need four feathers for each napkin ring. Cut … Keep on reading

Thanksgiving Craft – Turkey Countdown

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My kids wanted to make some Thanksgiving crafts for fun this month.  We just crafted this little fella to help us count down the days until Thanksgiving. His body is a simple circle, traced from a dinner plate.  We then freehand cut a thin figure eight head, a beak, and a little red gobbler.  We stacked five colors of construction paper up and freehand cut all five sheets at a time to make the feathers.  We added wiggly eyes too.  His legs were made by tracing our ruler’s width on yellow and orange construction paper, then cutting along the tracing … Keep on reading

The Battle of Mons 1914

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The Battle of Mons was the first major British engagement of the First World War.  It was fought near the border of France and Belgium.  Even though the British were forced to retreat clear to Paris over the course of two weeks it was seen as a triumph because they had so dramatically slowed the advance of the far superior German force and had inflicted far greater casualties on the Germans than the Germans had on them.  It also achieved the goal of protecting the flank of the French army. Before the Battle of Mons no one was very impressed … Keep on reading

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread

CJ and I made this yummy chocolate chip pumpkin bread for the family.  CJ got to do the cooking because it was his Halloween jack-o’-lantern we used for the recipe.  Here’s how to use your jack-o’-lantern to get actual pumpkin for cooking. Ingredients 1 1/2 c. flour 1/2 t. baking soda 1/4 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt 1 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. nutmeg 1 c. sugar 1 c. pumpkin, cooked and mashed 1/4 c. cooking oil 1 egg 1 c. chocolate chips or chunks (optional, but I may think less of you if you leave it out) 1/2 c. … Keep on reading

Cheesy Chicken Tenders

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There is nothing better than fried chicken, unless maybe you add cheese.  We had these Cheesy Chicken Tenders the other night and the kids gobbled them up . . . I might have done some gobbling as well.  We served it with homemade mashed potatoes and cheesy chicken gravy, green salad, and homemade rolls.  We’re sorta fans of cheese.  You can fry these in a pan or bake them in the oven for a less fatty option, either way they are tasty. Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken pieces 1 sleeve saltine crackers (or whatever crackers you … Keep on reading

Layers of Learning Unit 3-7

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Layers of Learning Unit 3-7 is here. This unit in the Layers of Learning Program includes: History: The Dutch Geography: Netherlands Science: Light & Optics The Arts: Baroque Art I Learn about the Dutch Golden Age with a windmill craft.  Make authentic Dutch fast food called kroketen.  Design your own experiment to prove that light travels in a straight line.  Calculate the speed of light using your microwave.  Tour the Baroque painting A Family Concert with Karen.  And try creating your own vegetable still life.  Unit 3-7 includes all of this, plus library lists, printables, and links to take you … Keep on reading

Harry Potter Halloween Feast

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Our annual Harry Potter Halloween Feast is a huge highlight of our autumn.  We usually hold it on a night other than Halloween because it is an event by itself, and leaves us plenty of time for the trick-or-treating and regular festivities of the 31st.  Here is a rundown of the basics of our feast: The Feast Decor:   A purple tablecloth with a black and orange table runner, black dishes, and Halloween napkins.  Sometimes we use black goblets, and other times these eyeball fancy drink glasses you can see above, made by gluing wiggly eyes on to dollar store … Keep on reading