Saturday, November 16, 2013

BzzCampaign: Carton Smart

Yay! My first Bzz Campaign came in the mail and it was full of pantry items that usually come in a can but have been produced in a box instead. I was given Tomato Basil and Chicken Noodle soups, turkey gravy, tomato sauce and (my personal favorite) Thai Style Chicken broth!

I was most excited that the chicken broth came with a recipe on the back of the box, and that it sounded delicious! I wasn't disappointed - chicken, shrimp, noodles, red peppers, cabbage, onions, carrots... it was so good! I would definitely buy this broth again - it was full of flavor and smelled amazing. The only negative thing was that I had to add another box of regular chicken stock just to give the soup enough juice to cook the noodles. A second box of the thai chicken broth would have really given a huge boost of flavor, but it was still really good. Thanks to Bzz Agent for letting me try this campaign!

Here's the recipe:
32 oz Chicken Soup for the Soup Thai Style Chicken Broth
1 T oil
1 lb chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz peeled and deveined shrimp, split
1 t salt
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 cup sliced carrots
3 cups Nappa or white cabbage cut 1/2 inch thick
3 oz vermicelli pasta or rice noodles

Heat oil in 4 quart pot over high heat. Add chicken and shrimp and saute lightly for 2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, red pepper, carrots, cabbage, salt and broth. Mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered on the stove over low heat for 10 minute. Add pasta and mix. Simmer for 5 minutes longer and serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Theme: Down on the Farm

Theme: Down on the Farm
July 1-5, 2013
O and E: almost 5!

I've been letting the boys pick the theme of the week (within reason) and this week they really wanted to learn about farm animals. One of the best strategies I've had lately for getting them both invested in what we're doing is to let them choose a specific thing within the theme as their own individual focus. Eli chose a horse as his animal of the week and Owen chose a pig. They both created a tiny book about their animal, used it for their number of the week and wrote a Can/Have/Are chart about it. Worked like a charm!

We used a set of nouns and adjectives several different ways this week. (Don't you love it when you can reuse a material?!) They sorted them into nouns vs adjectives, sorted them into syllable piles, matched a noun and a verb to make a Mad Lib and draw a picture and put them into alphabetical order in their writing notebooks. 

I found a cute scrambled sentence game on Teachers Pay Teachers. They sorted into the right color/pattern, then made the words make the most sense. They chose their favorite silly sentence, wrote it in their writing notebook and drew a picture of it.

They LOVE anything that incorporates a magnifying glass, so these I Spy sight words pages are great! I found a cut and paste middle vowel page too (both on TpT).

These tiny books are probably my favorite thing to do with the boys. They get to use their imaginations, practice writing and spelling, draw, learn sentence structure and remember facts all in the same activity. Many times we'll space it out and complete a few pages a day until they put it all together at the end of the week. 

Owen's Pig Facts: A baby pig is called a piglet. Piglets go Oink Oink. Piglets live on the farm. Do pigs like to roll in the mud? Yes!

Eli's Horse Facts: A baby horse is called a foal. Horses run fast. Horses like to eat grass. Horses find bulls. (Not sure where that one came from!) 

Can/Have/Are charts about their individual animals. They had to come up with three for each column. Eli's been really into making hats lately - here he is sporting his 'horse hat' : )

Today's Number. They wrote down the number of legs that 'their animal' has. Then showed it in tally marks, drew a shape with that many sides, wrote the number and tally marks for one more and one less than their number, spelled their number and drew a picture of their animal.

 Next theme: Planets!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Theme: Dinosaurs!

O and E: 4.75 years old
June 17-28, 2013

Dinosaurs was such a fun theme that we covered it for two weeks! 

I hid LOTS of CVC words in Easter eggs (dino eggs) around the house. The boys raced around to find them, then record them in the right column based on the middle vowel sound. We used the same list of words several times throughout the week - separating into long vowels and short vowels, practicing ABC order and counting syllables. The spinner game was used to record real vs. nonsense words - great practice reading, writing, defining and taking turns! We used the words Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus to make as many words as we could (like Boggle). I couldn't believe how many they made on their own! Other times we would give a clue and they would guess the word and then spell it on their own. Lastly, color by sight word.

I used the Easter eggs again and hid slips of paper with triceratops on them and the numbers from 5-100 counting by 5s. They found them, colored them in on their hundreds chart, then said each number and put the triceratops in the right order. This was our first attempt at counting by 5s. We filled in a Dental Digits page and created a dino head with their chosen number of teeth. They loved this one! They created their own patterns for the spikes on a dinosaur's back and also sorted math sentences into =10 vs not=10. We practiced writing teen numbers and counting starting at 10 too.

I saw a great idea on Pinterest to use playdoh and just let it dry out to make your own fossils. So much easier than all that fuss with sand! After they had totally dried out I gave them to the boys and they had to find the toy dinosaurs that matched each fossil. They wanted to make their own fossils for the rest of the week. I couldn't believe how much they loved this! We made a Venn diagram for T-Rex vs Brachiosaurus, labeled parts of dinosaurs and filled in bubble charts for Velociraptor and Stegosaurus after reading non-fiction books about each specific dinosaur. These little guys know more about dinosaurs that I thought was possible!

This theme was well worth spending two weeks on. Next week's theme is Down on the Farm!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Theme: Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat
O and E: 4.75 years old
June 10-14, 2013

In our book basket this week:

We did a lot of writing this week, which I have realized is Owen's least favorite thing to do. I've had to get really creative about how I present the activity. We played Rainbow Roll while writing words from Pete the Cat (Pete, cat, song, love, good, along, what, all, white, etc). Basically anything that turns writing into a game is a winner. We made a sequence strip of Pete's trip down the street and drew pictures for each of the activity. The paper I found on Pinterest didn't seem to have enough boxes though, so we had to consolidate some of the pages. They both picked a color and wrote a story about how Pete's shoes changed colors and then cut and taped together their own Pete's. I love these! They each wrote two pages to go in our own Pete book - Owen's pages turned Pete's shoes Green (from grass) and Pink, Blue, Purple and Green (from gummi bears). Eli's turned wet (from ocean water) and brown and white (from oreos). We practiced writing color sight words and reading number sight words (the color by number page), and telling the difference between real and nonsense words. So much to do!

After reading Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons we did a sorting activity based on shape, color and size of our buttons. The boys made up their own color patterns for Pete's shoes too by following the instructions for the type of pattern (AB, ABC, etc)

With all this talk about colors, we had a playdough color mixing afternoon. They loved watching the colors turn into a new color. We've done this before with water, but this seemed a little more magical to them. After that I drew venn diagram type circles on their page and they colored the combinations that they had mixed.

I can see why so many people love Pete the Cat! Next week we're starting a two week theme on Dinosaurs!