Friday, March 26, 2010

Bisquick Giveaway

Kimberly @ Raising Olives is giving away this prize pack...

Pancakes are a top commodity at our house, and that cast iron skillet would be a welcome addition to my kitchen. Visit Kimberly for more information on how you can enter this fabulous giveaway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The winner is....


Welcome to everyone who joined Olive Plants during this giveaway! I hope I will see around often.

Congratulations, Amy! Your books are on their way.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Me Monday: So NOT Homeschooled

This weekend we played a game of Apples to Apples.

Are you familiar with it? It is riotous and probably our favorite game. There are a set of red apple cards which contain different nouns. These can be anything from common household items to famous people.

There is also a set of green apple adjective cards. Each player takes a turn being the "green apple". He picks a green card, reads it to the other players, and they each pick one of their red noun cards to be the perfect match for the chosen adjective.

Green Apple reads through the nouns offered by the other players and chooses the one he thinks is the best match. The player who offered the chosen card gets to keep that particular green apple card, and the first player to earn a set number of green apples wins the game.

Now, hysterical moments never arise when playing this game.

For instance, Wilbur did not match silly with silly putty and manly with men. He did not think having the definitive answer was too funny the first time. His reaction the second time was not priceless.

Wilbur did not offer "pro-wrestling" to Orville as a match for exciting. Orville decided that was the most exciting choice in his hand to which Wilbur did not exclaim, "Yea! Pro-RESTing is mine!" Orville's follow up? "Pro-resting! That's not exciting; that's just a bunch of people going to sleep!" That was not funny, and we did not laugh until our side ached!

Finally, when looking through his red apple choices for "absurd", Orville did not ask who Shania Twain is.

He did not ask, "Is she Mark Twain's wife?"

Oh... he is so not homeschooled.

And I did not laugh until I nearly hyperventilated because he knew more about literature than pop culture. Nope! Not me! Because I am not a homeschool mom!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Curriculum Clean Out Giveaway

Spring cleaning has begun at the Olive Plants house.

Boy, is it needed, too. The long, hard winter has taken its toll on our house, and it feels good to clear away the clutter, wipe away the dust, and watch order return to our home.

One of the hardest parts of spring cleaning for me is starting the process of emptying the school shelves. As a curriculum pack rat connoisseur, my shelves are always too full.

And crazy sentimental me, I do not want to let anything go because it all has such meaning...

I can't sell that book. I taught Wilbur to read with it.

I remember the day we did this. Oh, how can I part with this?

I can't throw that out. Orville told the funniest joke about the picture on p. 12.

But alas, the Olive Plants house is bursting at the seams, and books, teacher's guides, and activity packs are popping through the crevices. So it is time for me to get over it spread the wealth.

The Curriculum Choice has motivated me to get moving in my efforts to de-curriculify with their Spring Cleaning Curriculum blog hop.

Yes, I really just wrote "de-curriculify". It's my blog, and I can make words up if I want, right?

I am giving away four books in the First-Rate Reading Basics series. Each book contains activity ideas and reproducibles to support basic reading instruction. There is one book each for vocabulary, phonemic awareness and phonics, fluency, and comprehension. I used these books with both of my boys in the early years to supplement their reading and phonics instruction and have loved the results.

The boys enjoyed the activities and did not learn words like "de-curriculify". Honest!

To enter, leave a comment with the title of your favorite children's book. I will accept entries through Monday, March 22 at 11 p.m. The next day, I will select a winner using and notify the winner via email, as well as announce here and link to the winner's blog.

I will do my best to mail it promptly next week and not cling to it with my last heart string. I may stand at the post office and wave as the delivery truck departs, though.

For additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry):

  • Subscribe to receive Olive Plants via email

  • Grab the new Olive Plants button and display it on your blog (leave a link)

  • Follow Olive Plants

  • Follow me on twitter- @Homeschooldawn

If you are new to Olive Plants, welcome! Please take a little time to look around and be sure to introduce yourself.

If you are an Olive Plants regular, take a minute to hop over to The Curriculum Choice and check out their great giveaway and the other participating blogs. There are some real goodies available.

Happy De-curriculifying!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sweet Shot of the Week

This picture was not taken recently but almost 9 years ago.

We were at a favorite park, and I took several shots that day of the boys on the play equipment.
This one, taken at a clubhouse, turned out the cutest.

Wilbur, peaking through the window, is not quite 1.
Orville, leaning on the wall, is not quite 2.

Homeschool Dawn, behind the camera and exhausted from chasing two little boys with a camera all day, is smiling and cherishing this simple but precious moment.

Thank you Darcy, at Life with My 3 Boybarians, for hosting Sweet Shot Day. Visit her blog to see more heart-warming pictures.

Friday, March 12, 2010

National Pi Day

photo credit

Did you know that March 14 is National Pi Day?

Get it?

three point one four

Edited from original post: This year we have the chance to celebrate the Pi Day of the Century!

Since pi = 3.141592653...

(Thank you, Google!)

...we have the opportunity to celebrate 3-14-15
So make sure you have dinner at 9:26:53 and you will be a Super Pi Star!

But if you're like me, you'll probably just eat whenever there's time. ;)

Okay, back to the original post....

Since March 14th falls on Sunday this year (Not really! It's on Saturday in 2015), we will complete our activities on Monday. Here is what I have lined up for the day.
  1. Complete a few of the activities from this resource.
  2. Go to the pool and determine how many laps each of us can swim in 3 minutes, 14 seconds.
  3. Calculate the average number of laps we swam.
  4. Calculate the circumference and area of circles of varying sizes.
  5. Create a piece of artwork using circles only.

And last but not least...

Enjoy a Pi(e) Dinner!

Oh yeah!
Pie. For Dinner!
My people are all about the pie. Chicken pot pie is a favorite that has to make its way to the table every now and again. In fact, pie dinner became tradition at our house purely by accident.

One night, I was utterly exhausted-- completely out of spoons. (That's code for energy among those with chronic illness.) I looked something like this...

The hungry people at my house still required food, though. And for some strange reason, they looked to me to provide it. Shocking, I know.

I plodded into Kroger and didn't have the energy to make it past the bakery. The apple pie looked really good. It was already baked and everything. And it had apples... that's fruit, people! Fruit!

Don't judge me.

As healthy as my plan was, I knew Michael would want more than just pie. Perhaps some ice cream on top? So I sent the boys around to the freezer section to grab a carton of French vanilla. The clever one saw pot pies and grabbed four of them. My two little stinkers came running back up to the front of the store so proud of what they had acquired.

Look, Mommy! Pot PIIIIIES! We loooooove pot pie!!
We can eat apple pie and pot pie, and it will be a big pie dinner!

A tired, spoon-less mother cannot argue with that logic or temper that enthusiam. Pot pie and apple pie it was.

I was declared the as my sons danced around the dinner table, stuffing their mouths with various pastry delights, singing the apple pie version of Bill Cosby's "Chocolate Cake Song."

Mom is fly... give us the apple pie!
Shazam! Pie dinner was born. Now, the tradition lives on every March 14th. Pie dinner has rightfully moved to Pi Day.
This year, I have a few more available spoons and will serve my secret weapon, Ham Pie, with Michael's all-time favorite dessert, pudding pie.

Real cooked food! I'm so granola.

Ahem, here are the recipes:

Ham Pie (adapted from a Ham and Swiss Pastry Bake found in this cookbook)

2 cups cooked, cubed ham
1 cup grated cheese (we prefer swiss)
1 bag of Mirepoix Style Blend
(Kroger brand frozen veggie, thaw first; if you don't shop at Kroger it is about 1 1/2 cups combined of chopped carrots, onion, and celery)
1 tsp dried mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup light mayo
1 9 in deep dish frozen pie shell, thawed

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix all ingredients and pour into pie crust
  3. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes
  4. That's it! It's sooooo easy!

Dawn's Pudding Pie

2 large boxes of instant pudding
3 cups of milk (I use 2 %)
1 large tub or 2 smaller tubs of fat free Cool Whip
1 graham cracker pie crust

  1. Mix pudding with 2 cups of milk.
  2. Stir in additional milk, until the mixture is smooth but not runny.
  3. Stir in cool whip and mix on high until fluffy and firm.
  4. Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for about one hour before serving.
  5. Seriously, that's all! Easy Peasy, too.
Isn't Pi Day the best holiday of them all? You can't get any easier than that, folks... except maybe to get yourself something store-bought. But you would never do that, would you?! Lol!

(Go ahead... buy Marie Callender's! I won't tell.) :)
If you plan to celebrate, please share any fun activities you have planned!

Happy Pi Day!


I will get back to homeschooling posts soon...

I promise.

I know most of you read this blog for homeschooling ideas and encouragement and lately it has been a place of prayer requests and updates. But the "prayer of the upright is His delight" (Prov 15:8), and Psalm 65 calls God "thou who hearest prayer!" I know many, if not all of my readers, are people of prayer. Your emails and sweet words of encouragement have demonstrated how you consider it a privilege to serve the true and living God who not only allows us to come to Him in prayer but delights in it. I appreciate your prayers and concern, especially because many of us do not know one another in person, yet you have shown much compassion. Thank you.

My mother has made it through all of her tests and procedures without needing stints. At first it was believed she had a 50% blockage, but upon further examination, doctors found there was no blockage at all! Praise the Lord!

I would ask you to continue to pray for wisdom and continued healing as she still experiences shortness of breath and chest pain. This could be due to the effects of post-polio; however, we do not want to lump all of her health problems into this category and overlook something correctable.

Thank you also for prayers for my strength and healing. I made it through the EMG just fine. No mad scientists or electric chairs! Just a nice, Christian, pro-homeschooling man with little needles that barely hurt and electrical stimuli that did not hurt as much as the pain I feel during a "flare up" of my "condition".

A conclusive diagnosis has not been made. No spine probs. No neurological probs. My vitamin D levels were very low, and I am taking a mega dose each week. My pain has subsided; however, I do not think the source of the pain has been found. This problem has always waxed and waned, so for now, I am content to live with my mysterious "thorn in the flesh" with the prayer that I would remain humble and that God would be glorified in my weakness. My new blog will be about my efforts to improve my physical condition through prayer, exercise, and diet. I will launch it soon, Lord willing.

Again, thank you for your continued prayers and for sticking with me during this difficult season. By God's grace, we are returning to our regular routine a little more each day, and I anticipate more school-related posts in the near future.

With love in Christ,


Friday, March 5, 2010

A Yellow and Blue Kitchen

After I left the hospital today, I had to go to Home Depot.

I only had Wilbur with me. Orville was with Michael, running other errands, and we were going to meet up at a local restaurant for dinner. I found what I needed quickly. I knew Michael would not be done yet, so I decided to kill a little time by looking through flooring samples.

Wilbur LOVES Home Depot. He flipped through every sample in the store until he found the flooring he wants in his future home. He is a hard wood man- solid hard wood in natural oak. He likes the light tone because it goes well with yellow, his favorite color. It seems he is set on having a house with yellow walls.

Then we made our way to the kitchen cabinets where there are several kitchen mock-ups. We walked from mini-kitchen to mini-kitchen, and he gave me the scoop on what he liked and didn't until we found IT. A Yellow and Blue Kitchen!

The wall was painted a really lovely shade of pale yellow, the cabinets were white, and the counter top was country blue. Wilbur exclaimed, "Now, this is MY style. When I grow up, this is the kitchen I want to have."

As he opened drawers and inspected the layout, noticing there was not a sink (he's a stickler for details), he talked about how he hoped God would send him a wife who likes yellow and blue. He went on and on about how it is his dream to provide for her and how happy it would make him to give her such a lovely place to work.

I was touched by it all and told him that I thought it was a nice vision and promised to pray that God would send him the wife that he needs.

Then he said, "Mom, I know I can't know for sure yet. But I have a good idea about who I may marry, and she likes yellow and blue, too. Best of all, you will really like her. She is your kind of girl. AND she goes to our church."

I will spare him the embarrassment of announcing over the internet the exact name of whom he dreams of marrying. We don't promote dating or boyfriends/girlfriends either, so I try to deal with those little boy dreams carefully.

But I smiled when he told me because she is my kind of girl.

And if it is God's will, I will dance on their wedding day.

We concluded, however, that we should not make any definite plans but would pray about the right woman being brought to him at the right time.

And whoever she is... she is going to have one very nice, yellow and blue kitchen. My son intends to make sure of it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Silent

I am going blog silent for a few days, maybe even a week or two.

My mom is having a heart cath on Friday. She may need stints, and there may also be a valve problem. I need to use my spare time this week to help her.

The cath is a much simpler procedure than it sounds. The doctor will send a probe through a vein in her leg, and if the stints are needed, can put them in through the same "route". This has me completely amazed, yet I am always concerned for her when any procedures are completed because of her disability and already weakened body.

Please be in prayer for her. And for the boys and me- that we won't worry. Ask the Lord to guide the doctor's hand and to give him wisdom. Ask Him to heal my mother.

I will be back to the bloggy world soon, Lord willing.

Resting in Christ,