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Thursday, December 8, 2016

More Fall Photos at The Eno

I can hardly believe it's my fourth year in a row photographing this precious family! A and I survived our first year of motherhood hand in hand. I don't know what I would have done without her! 

Here's a look at our fun filled family session at one of my favorite spots The Eno...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fall Minis at The Eno River

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Halloween Night 2016: A Night with Anna & Elsa

We went through several Halloween costume options this year. First they were going to be superheros sporting tutus (BatGirl and SuperGirl), then they were going to be Duke cheerleaders (I even bought a Duke cheerleading shirt to coordinate) and then finally settled on some Anna & Elsa costumes from Coscto. Well at least I can use my Duke cheerleading tee come basketball season! 

We had such a fun night trick or treating our neighborhood! Our first time time really doing trick or treating! 

At the end of the night we had Caroline pick something she really really wanted (she picked footed fleece Christmas jammies, she'd been asking for them for weeks). Then we let her pick 3 pieces of candy from her bag (one for each year old) and then she traded the rest of her over stuffed bag of candy for those desired Christmas jammies. She's been very happy with the trade as is this health conscious mama. 

I think it also helped her self control that she got a Halloween cupcake from our favorite cupcake shoppe (thanks to our sweet neighbor) before trick or treating so she didn't feel like she was missing out on treats. 

Would love to know my fellow mamas how you handle the candy overload of Halloween? 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fall Homeschool Preschool Curriculum & The Ultimate Fall Book List for Preschool/Kindergarten Ages

Charlotte Mason put a strong emphasis on nature in her educational philosophy. And fall is such a wonderful time to incorporate nature studies. 

There are so many wonderful books about leaves, pumpkins, and everything fall. But I think every other mom in my area has been thinking the same thing so we're still in line waiting for several of our holds on autumn books at our library. Here's what we've enjoyed reading so far:

We also decorated our pumpkin with alphabet stickers. I had originally intended to paint our pumpkins because carving pumpkin just isn't young child friendly and I wanted them to be able to be hands on in the pumpkin decorating. But fall has gotten so busy with photography for me so we just used some alphabet stickers I had on hand for an easy mess free pumpkin decorating activity. We talked about the letters and their sounds as we decorated. 

We also visited the pumpkin patch. Now there are lots of pumpkin patch options in our area. But keeping with our theme of Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool preschool I wanted out pumpkin patch visit to not feel like we're visiting a mini fair or mini theme park. I wanted a simple setting that encouraged the girls to play and explore their natural environment. Fortunately a little nursery down the road was perfect for that. There were goats to feed, a swam to greet us, a little bridge over a trickling creek to explore and pumpkins to pick from. 

Here's a few pictures. 

It was such a great experience. The more we lean towards incorporating Charlotte Mason's ideas on learning and childhood into our homeschool preschool the more I believe in the goodness and richness of her teaching philosophy. I highly recommend this book if you're new to Charlotte Mason and want to learn more. You'll be so inspired...

Here's a list of other favorite fall homeschool preschool activities inspired by Charlotte Mason that I just haven't photographed:

1) gathering acorns and playing imagining games with them (they became "food", currency, people- all kinds of things in our imaginary play) Charlotte Mason puts a strong emphasis on these types of unorganized play for children. 

2) going on a walk and observing all the signs of fall 

3) drawing pictures of the things we see appearing in nature during fall such as leaves changing colors, pumpkins, acorns...

4) reading lots and lots of books about nature's changes during fall (see above list for a resource) 

5) saving fall leaves in a leaf press

6) doing leaf imprints and acorn imprints with clay or playdough

Like I said, keep check back as I'l be updating this post with more fun fall homeschool preschool activities through the end of November.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sticky Fingers

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Paleo Pumpkin Waffles

Tis the season. The season for pumpkin EVERYTHING. Or am I the only one?

This is one of our favorite family recipes. I make a batch of these paleo pumpkin waffles several times a week. And they're never around for long. They get eaten so quickly! I like them because they're easy to make and healthy. My oldest likes eating them the traditional way- with butter and maple syrup at the table with a fork. But my youngest and I eat them on the go- I just grab a few from the fridge, toast them in the toaster oven and eat them straight up. They're that good that they don't require all the traditional waffle fixings. Lately I've started making another paleo waffle recipe- blueberry coconut paleo waffles...I'll post that recipe later.

Now let's get to this recipe!

- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (more if you're used to sweet waffles, I prefer mine less sweet)
- 1 banana, very ripe like you'd use for banana bread
- 2 eggs
- 1 scoop Vital Proteins grassfed gelatin for an added protein punch (optional) 
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup almond meal (Bob's Red Mill is my go to)
- dash of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender (I have a Blendtec and it really does the job! Worth every penny) or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into waffle maker and away you go. I store a big container of them in my fridge. Then we just toast them as we eat them. I almost always double the batch when I make it and even doubled these waffles don't linger long in our house!

Why grassfed gelatin?
I started adding grassfed gelatin and collage peptides into my diet to help my back pain post back to back pregnancies and I've noticed a difference in my pain. It's also helped bring life back to my skin and hair which after back to back pregnancies and over a year of nursing was lacking in lustre. And postpartum hair loss anyone? It really helped that grow back so quickly. I'd recommend sticking with a grassfed brand like Vital Proteins. Bone broth is also a great way to get gelatin and collagen into your diet. I used to make my own...but mama hack here: Coscto now carries organic chicken bone broth and it's fantastic! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Time Is Precious

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Homeschool Preschool Unit: Maps, Geography, and Germany

Our most recent unit study in our homeschool preschool was a study of maps, geography, and Germany. It was so simple and lots of fun. Thought I'd share our unit study here so other homeschool mamas might find it helpful.

Books We Read on Geography & The World

We got all these from our local library so zero spent on books for this unit study. We read these books several times over and over during our unit study.

We also began to learn the countries of the world song, at least the Europe part which she really enjoyed. 

We also did this printable to color the flag of Germany. Crayola has so many wonderful free printables on their website and they have this printable for many different countries' flags all totally free. Found here. 

We also discovered many wonderful German videos for preschoolers on YouTube. Again totally free. Little Pim is a great resource for learning preschool language learning. They have lots of free YouTube videos for a variety of languages. Find Little Pim's free YouTube language learning videos here. But the girl's favorite was from Kinderlieder zum Mitsingen und Bewegen. They enjoyed them because it was real German boys and girls singing and dancing in their preschool. These are still a hit and we watch these (And a couple Little Pim videos) almost everyday even though our unit study is over.
 Here's a sample:

That's pretty much it. Super easy. Totally free. And both my girls loved it and learned from it. Even I learned from it. Learning together and enjoying it? Homeschool win! 

Would love to hear from other homeschool preschool mamas...what unit studies are you doing?