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My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com

Apr 17, 2014

Hazelnuts and "Caramel"

This cocoa was very "fake" tasting.  I wasn't a fan.  Roasted hazelnuts?  Don't mind if I do!


Apr 15, 2014

"What are you curious about?" Curiosity Quest Review

For this review of Curiosity Quest's DVD Combo Pack - Produce and DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea, I decided to ask Mal and Xav to tell me a favorite part, or a particular fact from each of the videos.  Since these are actually for their education, I thought you might appreciate some of their input.  Their opinions are of the 7-9 year old boy interest level.

Hands down, the favorite of all episodes was orange packing.  The banana/orange knock knock joke was a huge hit around here!  I've decided not to share the joke here so as not to ruin it for anyone, but if you're really curious, you can take a quest through Google to find it easily enough.

So, what are you curious about?  That's the question *you* get to answer by writing to Curiosity Quest.  They choose actual viewers letters to answer by making engaging videos.

My boys refer to the host as JoelGreene, like his name is one word.  Joel is high energy and was fun for the boys to watch.

Each episode asks the man (or kid) on the street questions like:
  • What's your favorite orange?
  • How much does a sea turtle weigh?
Some of the answers absolutely made me cringe and I was a little embarrassed for the interviewees. 
Another part in each episode was "Heeeere's your fun fact."  (I now have that stuck in my own head!)
  • Places mushrooms can grow.
  • How cranberries got their name.


Curiosity Quest Review


DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea
(Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, Salmon)

Curiosity Quest Review

Penguins -
At Long Beach, CA, Aquarium of the Pacific we got to see Joel get a little squeamish about touching the penguins' lunch.  We loved learning about penguins and watching them eat and play.  Xav has been asking me if every creature he sees (even land animals that *don't* have white bellies) have white bellies to hide from predators like penguins?  Huh?
Xav: I think my favorite one is the penguins because penguins are silly.  Before I ever saw that movie, I thought they had no voice box.  I thought they said, "Whack-whack.  Whack-whack."
Mom note: *whispers* Xav is a little "whack."
Mal: I like hearing the penguins make noise.

Sea Turtles -
This episode takes us to Marathon, Florida Keys to The Turtle Hospital where sick turtles go.  Over 1,300 turtles have been released from there.  They are doing great work at the hospital.  It was kind of sad to learn that some turtles can never be re-introduced to the wild.  
Xav: I like in the sea turtle one, seeing the sea turtle that had one tiny fin.  How you tell a boy from a girl, you can see the boy's tail from the outside, but not the girl's tail.
Mom note: Once a male is mature, his tail is visible outside of his shell.
Mal: I liked learning how turtles hide in their shells to hide from their enemies.

Curiosity Quest Review

Salmon -
We learn from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau that Alaska has five species of Salmon and we can remember them on our fingers.
  • Pinky - Pink 
  • Ring - Silver/Coho
  • Middle - King (They grow to as much as 100 lbs.)
  • Pointer - Sockeye (A little 3 Stooges-type reference boys will love.)
  • Thumb - Chum
At the Macauley Salmon Hatchery, we learned how hatcheries replenish the salmon supplies for the commercial fishermen.  Without this assistance, commercial fishing would have to be heavily regulated. 
Xav: They are tough.  Sometimes the salmon can even go up little waterfalls.  They have little, tiny red eggs.
Mom note: They jump as high as 25 feet.
Mal: I liked seeing the salmon jumping really high.

DVD Combo Pack - Produce
(Mushrooms, Cranberries, Orange Packing)


Curiosity Quest Review
Orange Packing -
We were able to learn about the harvesting and packing of oranges at Gillette Citrus in Danuba, CA.  I could just imagine the smell of all that magnificent oranginess when we see Joel Greene in the orchard.  I know apple orchards smell so good here in the fall.  Navel oranges are harvested in the winter (which they boys had a hard time believing since no one was dressed for winter), and valencia oranges are harvested in the summer.  An interesting tidbit is that oranges self-polinate, but bee keepers will pay to bring their hives to the orchard for the orange blossoms in the spring, making tasty orange honey.
Xav: The black lights make their bad ouchies look even worse.  So they can get rid of those oranges or make it so they don't get worse.
Mom note: The oranges get bruises or cuts that need to be treated with antiseptic to prevent spoiling.
Mal: I like when the windmill got started up and Joel Greene told the banana/orange joke.
Mom note: The windmill blows warmer air down on the oranges to prevent freezing.

Cranberries -
Wisconsin's official state fruit is the cranberry, so it makes sense to travel there to the Habelman Brothers' farm.  Cranberries are buoyant, so the fields are flooded at harvest time.  Next they head over to Russell Rezin and Son to see how berries for juice and craisins are harvested differently.
Xav: Cranberries are very strong.  Joel Greene asked if they were breaking them by standing on them.
Mal: I liked seeing the harvesting, the whole four-wheeler thing attached to the tractor thing.

Curiosity Quest Review

Mushrooms -
This episode takes us to Monterey Mushrooms, Watsonville, CA, where we find out all about our favorite fungi.  This episode was heavy on mushroom growing vocabulary. 
Xav: Mushrooms aren't grown in soil.  They grow in hay.  The brown ones are super, duper big and they are hollow inside.
Mom note:  By hollow, Xav is referring to the open veil of the mushroom underside.
Mal: My favorite part was when Joel Greene jumped in the truck thing and the guy said, "Hey, Hey.  What are you doing?"  Joel Greene is funny.

While all the episodes were both educational and entertaining, I preferred the produce DVD.  The boys seemed to just be happy I was letting them watch a funny show on TV.
Xav: They're fun learning movies.

Suggested age range is 7-14.
Price - $24.95 each for the combo pack.  That is a GREAT deal, considering individual episodes are $19.95 each 30 minute episode.


You can learn all about Curiosity Quest at their website or on social media.
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
There's even a Curiosity Quest blog!  (PS. They have a big announcement on Wednesday!)


Click to read Crew Reviews


Crew Disclaimer

Apr 10, 2014

Cocoa Nib Cookies

I made these cocoa nib cookies with the recipe on the package.  Yuck!  However, the nibs are super yummy and nutty in a regular cookie recipe.



Apr 8, 2014

THMJ Week of 3/30/14

    In my life this week…
The Longest and Most Fun Day Ever!
I took Malachi and Xavier to the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium Friday morning, then came home and got ready for the Cowboy Mystery Dinner Theater fundraiser for our homeschool co-op. I'm writing a separate post for each of those events.

Grandma and Poppa of the Forest came to visit.  Grandma April fooled the punks that she and Poppa were moving in until Christmas.  They were perfectly happy to let them.


    In our homeschool this week…
 Malachi and I started using Logic of English.  I've learned a bunch of tidbits already and we've only completed one lesson!  When I tell Micah some obscure spelling rule, he seems to not believe me.  I need to make one up and prank him. 
Xav made a compass "rose" pointing in the right direction for it's location.



    In Rangers this week... 
We all went to Rangers this week.  Rainbows are working on the bear patch.
Recent verses are
S:  Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Isaiah 55:6
T:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Proverbs 3:5
U:  Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks.  Psalm 75:1

    What we're reading...
Daddy started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
Probably the Nerf war with The Bigger (who brought the bigger littles each a new Nerf weapon) and Grandma of the Forest.  Merrick also got his first very own Nerf gun this week.  Amazingly, he slept right through the war right outside his room!


    Things I’m working on…
While Grandma of the Forest was here, we got patches sewed onto vests and aprons.  I turned a renaissance fair costume into part of an old west costume.  It didn't get finished, but I had a nice skirt.  My Mother in Law made pancakes, banana muffins, and cinnamon rolls for the boys.  It isn't a visit with her without Xav at least getting pancakes.  She stitched a couch cushion for me.  We made a TON of potato salad for the cowboy barbecue dinner. 

Xav with his giraffe from Friday School last week.
    Things Dad is working on...
Micah had a cowboy costume to put together this week.  He also needed to replace the water tank.  Enough snow finally melted that some yard work could get done.  Micah and Xav burned some downed trees and branches.  And then it snowed again, covering the rest back up.

First (non-frozen) bubbles of the year.  Indoors.

    Out of the mouths of boys...
We have some Leapfrog magnet toys with letters.  Merrick is getting pretty good with letters and sounds.  One day, he sat on the floor playing and I hear the word builder singing, "The K says /K/" over and over and Merrick is saying, louder and louder, "No!  No!  /L/ /L/ /L/"  I asked if it was reading a letter wrong and Micah checked it.  It *was* wrong.  The L was in the toy, but it was reading it as a K!  Micah took the letter out and put it back in.  It worked fine and Merrick was happy.


Linking up to Christian Fellowship Friday
Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler
The Homeschool Mother's Journal



Apr 6, 2014

THMJ Week of 3/23/14

    In my life this week…
Micah and Mal had birthdays this week.
Much boy excitement here in the loony bin.

Mal's new baseball went missing.  Merrick finally (a day or two later) said, "Ball.  Stuck."  And there it was, under his booster seat.


    In our homeschool co-op this week... 
Merrick chose the nursery over Wiggles and Giggles this week.
Magic School Bus Class - Structures episode and made gumdrop bridges.  Some eating of building supplies may have occurred.  In fact, between second and third periods, I walked into the nursery and found Merrick and Mathias had gotten into Xav's stuff and eaten half of his bridge!
Nature - Xav made a little giraffe of pipe cleaners and clay.
Arts and Crafts -Xav made a hanging bunny basket out of paper plates.
Archery - Xav did some more good shooting.
Duct Tape Class - Malachi made maracas with plastic eggs and spoons.  We started a piece of dt "fabric" to make a bag next time.
Amazing Body - Skeletons were finished and sent home.  Woo hoo!
Merrick had fun with Mrs. T. during clean-up.  She taught him how to stack blocks with a "window" between them and then he'd drive a toy car to knock them down.  Then he surreptitiously took photos with my iPhone of the moms "doing the chatting" in the nursery.
After classes, Xav flew his RC airplane in the "big room."


Everyone was so wiped out, we didn't even go to the library.  No one complained.


    In Rangers this week... 
Rangers was cancelled because so many have had a tummy bug lately.

    What we're reading... 
Daddy is reading The Great Brain

    I’m cooking…

Kitchen weirdness.  Went to do some cooking and had static-y yeast.


    Out of the mouths of boys... 
Merrick's first knock knock joke.
Merrick: knock, knock (more like na na)
Me: Who's there?
Merrick: mommy
Me: Mommy who?
Merrick: *laughs*


    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Xav's reading is good enough to read to Merrick now.

Linking up to Christian Fellowship Friday
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
and The Homeschool Mother's Journal




Apr 5, 2014

THMJ Week of 3/16/14

Happy St. Patty's Day!

    In my life this week…
Spring came this week.  Couldn't tell it here.
I had a 36ish-hour tummy bug with fever.  Not a single other person got it.  And I'm glad.
We finally saw Frozen.
Fun mail arrived this week.  Even though I can read it free online, I'm so glad for a print yearbook.


    In our homeschool this week…
For some reason it became Circus Week at our house.  Xav mentioned wanting to go to a circus and he thought he could just walk in and perform with them.  He was very upset to find out you had to actually train to be a clown.  "Clown College?!  I don't want to go to school!"  So, we watched a real circus on TV and Xav and his stuffed animals put on several "humorous" *ahem* shows for us.




    What we're reading... 
Daddy is reading The Great Brain to us.

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
Thought this screen shot from Frozen was hilarious!  But then, I am a boy mom.



What else?
Merrick sent Miss Cindy birthday wishes on her envelope.

Someone got a ticket (not me) for no inspection on a vehicle (mine).  In NY, the inspection sticker is in the lower left corner.  You see it every time you get in the car and the hole punch makes it perfectly obvious when it's due again.  In Vermont, the sticker is hidden behind the mirror.  Out of sight, out of mind.



Linking up at Christian Friday Fellowhip
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
and The Homeschool Mother's Journal


Apr 3, 2014

Do the Tootsie Roll

Another one of the cutest mugs ever created.