Greens for Breakfast

I love getting in all the greens with these @veggiesmadegreat broccoli cheddar veggie cakes on an open faced gluten free bagel. These bad boys are perfect on their own, but they make the perfect meal when combined with avocado, sprouts, and melted provolone.

  1. Toast your bagel
  2. Microwave your veggie cake
  3. Top your bagel with provolone, avocado, sprouts or any toppings you have on hand
  4. Enjoy this awesome (less than) 5 minute meal and do a little dance that there are no pans to wash.

Does the quarantine have your fridge looking a little bare? Don’t worry. These veggie cakes are filled with cheese and broccoli so there is no need to add anything extra. Just pop them in the microwave for 45 minutes (or in the toaster oven) and enjoy.

With three kids and 100 meals a day, I am excited for any healthy meal that can be made without any cleanup! Can I get an amen?

Check out https://veggiesmadegreatcommunity.socialmedialink.com/ to see if you can become a Veghead for the opportunity to get free products from Veggies Made Great #ad #veghead

Homeschooling through Africa

Some affiliate links are used throughout the post. I may receive compensation.

We are having so much fun learning around the world. This week’s journey took us through Africa. My son has always had a passion for animals and dreams of going on a safari so this week was his pick. We had so much fun exploring the folktales of Africa and observing animals and their adaptations to survive in the wild. We use Beast Academy as our math foundation (with prodigy and to do math for fluency support). The rest of our learning is done through literature. Join along as we explore Africa:

Media:
1. My children love exploring the world through the eyes of the adventurous, Bucket List Family. Watch as they travel through Tanzania. We love to watch these 10-25min clips during lunch or downtime when we’re looking for a break. The family does a great job of showing the natural landscape while encouraging children to be brave.

2. Tinga Tales was a fun to start our day each morning. Each child selected the tale for the day and we enjoyed the folktales as a foundation for conversations in reading, writing, and science.

3. Wild Kratts is always a favorite to explore animal adaptations and what a fun comparison to be used with Tinga Tales to compare and contrast the two styles of shows. Both are fiction with the intention to entertain, but Tinga Tales are folktales, while Wild Kratts aims to teach about real animals and their adaptations in a fictional story.
a. The Most Deadly Animals in Africa . You can also look up the following episodes (or books) that take place in the African Savanna depending on the animals you want to explore:

101: Mom of a Croc
103: Aardvark Town
110: Honey Seekers
117: Elephant in the Room
118: Let the Rhinos Roll!
123: Cheetah Racer
125: Mimic
126: Caracal-Minton
127: Zig-Zagged
130: The Food Chain Game
135: Quillber’s Birthday Present
140: Raptor Round-Up
201: Bad Hair Day
202: Race for the Hippo Disc
203: Creature Power Challenge
204: Termites vs. Tongues
206: Neck and Neck

Reading Book List:
Chapter books for independent reading:
Magic Treehouse: Lions at Lunchtime and Good Morning, Gorillas

Picture Books for read alouds:
Living in South Africa
Beatrice’s Goat 
Anansi The Spider
Count Your Way Through Kenya
Mama Miti
Planting the trees of Kenya
A Story A Story
Wangari Maathati: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

Nonfiction:
1. Little Dreamers (story on Wangari)
2. The Atlas Obscura Explorers Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid 
3. Ready to Read: Living in South Africa


Art:
1. Use Picture Pie 2 to create a lion or an elephant using geometric shapes and vivid colors

Science:
1. Animal Atlas pg. 8-17 with focus on the Wildebeest, Sea Turtles, Fruit Bats, and African Sardines

2. A great way to explore animal adaptations is through the Who would Win Series, such as Who Would Win? Lions vs. Tiger. Children can predict the winner and then read about how they measure up to each other to see the real victor.

Writing:
1. After watching Tinga Tales daily, we brainstormed on different African animals that we could create our own Tinga Tale for. We discussed the different characteristics of each animal and silly ways they could have developed that characteristic. The brainstorming was done orally by the kids while I wrote down their ideas. On Thursday and Friday they wrote their own Tinga tales with colorful art to match their stories. We discussed how we used real facts to create a fictional story (fiction: animal, location, characteristcs nonfiction: why/how the characteristic came to be)

2. Create a Spider Story where a helpless animal is the underdog who outsmarts a more cunning animal. Day 1 brainstorm helpless animals and cunning animals. Select one of each and brainstorm a story.

Gluten & Dairy Free Cookies

I’ve had a gluten allergy for about 15 years, so we’ve got endless recipes for all of our favorite goodies but baby #3 came along and brought the challenge of a dairy allergy. So we’re slowing learning how to recreate our favorites, as well as discover new ones that are friendly to both of our tummies. These two are easy to make and don’t require a huge list of ingredients like many we’ve made in the past.

Triple Chocolate Cookies
1 Box Aldi Brownie Mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil/vegan butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup Pascha or Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/2 cup Pascha white chocolate chips

Mix the brownie mix, oil, and eggs. Once mixed, add in chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Note: the dough will feel very oily if you use vegetable oil, but once baked the cookies will lose their oily feel.

Gluten & Dairy free cookies

Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup gfdf flour (optional)
2bfree foods sunbutter cups

Mix the pb, egg, and sugar. Add flour if the dough is too runny. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Place chocolate on top of cookie immediately after pulling out of the oven.

As a mom of three, I hate having to hop from specialty store to store to find all of our gluten and dairy free needs. Want to make your shopping even easier? Check out Amazon groceries or Amazon Fresh – groceries delivered to your door!

Splendid Spoon Giveaway

The holiday season is upon us and we’re all caught up in the hustle and bustle. If you’re like me, you had amazing intentions but absolutely overbooked yourself this season and are ready to reset in 2020. I’ve been trying to prioritize my schedule and figure out what are my top priorities, as well as what are tasks that can be outsourced? There is only one of me and I’m learning time is more precious than money.

I love cooking, but lets be real…the monotony of daily prep gets old real quick, especially when there are multiple food allergies and picky eaters. On weeks that feel extra overbooked, I meal prep for the kids on Saturday/Sunday and reward myself with meals from Splendid Spoon. 5 smoothies (breakfast), 5 grain bowls/soups for lunch, and then we all eat the meal prepped foods for dinner. Sometimes I just need the break from my own cooking, because after awhile my ideas get stale.

Splendid Spoon is way more than just smoothies. Check out the new grain bowls.
Featured: Taco Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothies, Tikka Masala, and the very best curry soup….all plant based, (mostly) organic, gluten free, and delivered to my door?! Whats not to love? I know there is hesitation about being a picky eater or fear of subscriptions, but luckily for you, Splendid Spoon has an online portal that makes skipping weeks, customizing your menu, and cancelling easy pease lemon squeezy.

I’m so in love with their meals, I’m going to help one of YOU win a free week’s worth. Head over to my Instagram from December 23-27th, 2019 and be sure to enter. Now, if you’re a giveaway hater like my husband, I’ve got something for you too :

use the link splendid.to/christina to get $50 off your first order. That means 5 bowls and 5 smoothies for $45!!

Smoothies delivered frozen so you can eat for the week or leave in the freezer and pull them out on your busiest days.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Treat yourself! You deserve a break in the kitchen and your body deserves something that tastes good and makes you feel good! CLICK HERE for your first discounted order.

Gluten and Dairy free snacks for kids

As a homeschooling mom of three, constantly on the go, bouncing between dance, soccer, playdates, and frequently traveling I keep a well stocked diaper bag. It is important to me to have quality products with healthy ingredients, gluten and dairy free, and those that can survive the southern heat without melting into a puddle. Below are some of our favorite staples to keep the hangries away.

*Some links may include referral codes that generate money to support this growing blog and my growing family. The reviews are all my own*

Lola Snacks

We love these glutenfree, vegan probiotic bars that taste like an oatmeal cookie. Use “glutenfreefamilyadventures” at lolasnacks.com to get 20% off your order.

Bee Free Granola

These little granola bags are perfect for snacking.

Natierra

Freeze dried fruit is one of our favorites to leave in the car. We don’t have to worry about it melting and its a sweet and healthy snack to balance out all the granola bars.

Fruit pouches and applesauce

Applesauce at the house and fruit pouches on the go. We don’t have a particular brand we’re attached to, but love when there is no added sugar; such as GoGoSqueeze, Wackyapple, and Aldi brand.

Splendid Spoon

Busy moms run on Splendid Spoon.
Gluten free and vegan smoothies and meals prepped and delivered to your door.
Get $50 off this plant based delivery service using:
splendid.to/christina
First order is only $45 for 5 smoothies and 5 soups or grain bowls

Rule breakers

Brownies made with beans
Kid tested, mother approved

France and Italy for Kids

We’re lucky enough to have a well stocked library with an updated collection, but when they don’t have what we need, we listen on epic, youtube, or purchase our spines and other long lasting books from amazon. Thriftbooks is also an option, but amazon is super competitive in pricing and tends to be more likely to have things in stock.

With a history of famous artists and the year of enlightenment, we stumbled into a week overflowing with artists and the use of simple machines, so this week was heavy in the realm of art and science.

SCIENCE:
S4P3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the relationship between balanced and unbalanced forces.
a.Plan and carry out an investigation on the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on an object and communicate the results.
b.Construct an argument to support the claim that gravitational force affects the motion of an object.
c.Ask questions to identify and explain the uses of simple machines (lever, pulley, wedge, inclined plane, wheel and axle, and screw) and how forces are changed when simple machines are used to complete tasks.(Clarification statement:The use of mathematical formulas is not expected.)

  1. Media:
    1. Mystery Science: Forces
      1. Tug of War
      2. Slides
      3. Roller coaster videos and create a roller coaster challenge
  2. Hands on:
    1. Simple machines with Kiwi Co (arcade game, disc shooter, ec )
    2. Draw simple machines that you see in everyday life. Then use simple machines to complete a task (compare with and without).
    3. Read about Davinci (Neo Leo) and discuss the idea of things that stop us from succeeding and how we build on others ideas to reach success.
    4. Gravity Maze a fun game to challenge your child to build a maze while using gravity to move the ball from start to finish
    5. Create a roller coaster using a pool noodle. Provide challenges such as create a roller coaster with one hill, two hills, a taller 2nd hill, a taller 1st hill, etc. Make sure you have a way to “end” your roller coaster so the marble doesn’t fly off the end. Feel free to include challenges by changing the ball (wooden, large, small, glass marble, etc). This is a wonderful challenge to encourage the idea of design, test, and revise. There will be failures. Take the time to talk about why things worked AND why they did NOT. Need a little more guidance, look here.
  3. Books: 
    1. Neo Leo (all about Davinci’s ideas that led to modern technology. Also includes “code” that Davinci used to write in)
Stem for kids, click here for a discount code

ART:
We decided to dive in deep with this one and studied a wide variety of artists and styles. We read countless books, watch videos, mimicked originals, tested new styles, and then compiled it all together to create our own “art museum” complete with hor ‘uerves and desserts from France and Italy. We invited friends to join us by contributing a food item, beverage, or art piece and then invited the families to join us for a night of art, food, and music. The artists created self portraits and biographies so they could be properly introduced before our guests toured the “museum”.

There are so many artists to choose from so take longer and go deeper, but for now these are a few that we studied; Michaelangelo, Leonardo Davinci, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Artemisla Gentileschi with focus on Renaissance art , impressionism, and

  1. Media:
    1. Art with Mati & Dada cartoon series features many artists in a format great for kids
    2. Tate Kids art films for kids, such as What do Henri Matisse’s collages mean?
  2. Books:
    1. Use books by Eric Carle to discuss the similarities between his work and Matisse, as he was an inspiration for much of his art. Great time to discuss how we can use the ideas of others to create our own style.
  3. Hands on (Inspiration)
    1. Mona Lisa spinoff, use the template to help students create their own Mona Lisa without the intimidation of starting from scratch
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Galapagos Island and Evolution for Kids

Each week, my kids pick a country to explore. This week’s pick: The Galapagos Island. What better place could there be than these incredible islands to dive a little deeper into the discussion adaptations to discuss evolution.

Science: 

  1. Octonauts: Marine Iguanas (netflix)
  2. Star Stuff: carl Sagan and the myseries of the cosmos
  3. Annabelle & Aiden: The Story of LIfe
  4. Older Than the Stars by Karen Fox
  5. Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution by Karen Lewis ( we weren’t huge fans of this)
  6. Island: A Story of the Galapagos (great story of evolution)
  7. Hands on: Speckled moth lab
  8. Hands on:Bird beak lab
  9. Reflect: after the labs/books: pick an animal and write about the adaptations that were made over the years to better adapt to the island (finch, tortoise, penguins, etc)

SS/Culture/Geography: 

  1. Rebel Girls: Cholita Climbers pg. 36
  2. Darwin was an expert sailor. Great opportunity to learn knot tying and talk about how improper knots could lead to disaster
  3. Read: Where are the Galapagos Islands?
  4. Read: Who was Charles Darwin?

Just for fun media:

  1. Bucket List Family in the Galapagos Wk64 & Week 113
  2. National Geographic clip
  3. Plastic in Paradise (great for a conversation on how humans are impacting the environment)

Create a makerspace: Robot building for kids

While touring through Italy and France this week in our homeschool journey in , we did an artist study on the art and inventions of Leonardo Davinci. We read Neo Leo and talked about how many of his projects were “failures” in his lifetime but that they went on to be life changing successes for the world we live in today. We decided to try our own luck at building and purchased the Giggleway Robot from amazon.

Directions with pictures for clarification

Pros:
1. I love that this kit comes with multiple projects so that both my kids can have their own project or they can choose to work together.
2. $25 for the kit was worth it to see the teamwork that came as a result. The parts are small, so the kids had to be very careful in handling the parts and while assembling. Due to the meticulous manner in which they must work, what appeared to be a 5 minute project took a good amount of time, as they carefully poured of the directions and worked together.
3. My kids were absolutely delighted by the final product!
4. Its available on amazon so whats not to love about prime shipping

Assembling

Cons:
1. Parts are super small and hard to work with. I am the first to give my kids a project rated for older ages, but I do agree with Giggleway that this is best suited for ages 8+ or best partnered with a parent. You may want to be on standby, no matter what age, to assist when needed or to help clarify directions.

Assembling may require assistance due to the small parts.

It is challenging for my own kids to come up with their own inventions, so this was a great way to dive into a project where they had a little more guidance. From here, we had so much fun talking about what worked well and how we could improve on the design. The build helped them see a machine from the very tiny pieces to the final product, which helped them begin to come up with their own ideas on designs. I can’t wait to see what Giggleway comes up with next.

Almost complete

We liked it so much, we reached out and asked for a discount for our followers. If you want to give robot building a try, be sure to use the coupon code: 8GSREYCS for 50% off your order at https://amzn.to/31fK5BV

Disclosure: I am a homeschooling mom blogger that may receive compensation from some of the links. I test each product thoroughly and give my own opinions. I do not promote items that my own family does not use and enjoy.

Is Splendid Spoon worth the money?

Try Splendid Spoon and get $50 off your first order!

I don’t normally invest in meal delivery services because I have a large family to feed and with my frugal ways can make some pretty awesome meals for little money. HOWEVER, with a traveling husband and picky kids, sometimes I just want to hand my kids a pb&j and sit back and eat something that tastes great while nourishing my tired as a mother self.

I signed up with Splendid Spoon because I first and foremost, gluten free food is a must in this house, but I also loved the unique flavors and plant based meals. While we are not a vegan family, we try very hard to have plant based meals at the center of our meal planning. Whenever I treat myself to something, I try to splurge on something on I don’t know how to make or something that my kids would refuse to eat so that it is worth the spend.

Busy can be healthy

Smoothies:
I’ve tried Splendid Spoon a few times now and love the ease of the breakfast ready to go. I teach english online from 6-9am, prior to beginning our homeschool day, and love being able to sip on a smoothie before or in between classes. Paired with my morning coffee, the smoothies hold me over until lunchtime.

As is typical with my life, I thought anything with the word chocolate in it would be my favorite but I was surprised by how much I love all the green smoothies which is generally way more my husband’s speed.

Favorite flavors include: Power Greens, Plant Based probiotic (think lemon and coconut), Green Matcha, Blackberry Basil, and of course a chocolate had to make its way into the favorites list with Chocolate Cherry. Only cons on the smoothies would be Cacao Almond, the flavor is awesome but the chunks of cacao and nuts doesn’t work for me. I want a smooth creamy sip.

Splendid Spoon Smoothies

Soups:
If my husband is traveling the soup is all mine, but often I split it into two servings and serve with garlic toast and a side salad. Its just an easy way for a light, refreshing meal, without sweating in the kitchen over a big pot of soup. The soups have been another surprise for me, as I’ve fallen in love most with flavors I’ve never even heard of.

Favorite soups include: Red Beet Buddha Bowl, Masala Khichri, Kabocha Congee, Carrot Lentil Curry, Cauliflower Tikka and Green Gazpacho. In colder months, I like to cook up a big pot of rice using the gazpacho as the broth and serve with black beans or grilled chicken. It gives the rice such an insanely scrumptious flavor!

Grain bowls:
WHAT?!? I just got the email that these are releasing THIS week as I’m writing this post. I can’t give an opinion yet, but just you wait…. My love for grain bowls is equivalent to my husband’s insane love for soups year round.  I’m so excited for these. I mean check out these flavors!

What now?
Not sure if Splendid Spoon is right for you?

Click this link for $50 off your first order and try it for yourself. $45 for 5 soups and 5 smoothies cooked and delivered to your door.

That’s a price that can’t be beat. Plus, Splendid Spoons customer service as been nothing but amazing. If you are unhappy, customize your meals differently or cancel your subscription with ease. 

BIG DISCOUNTS for your first order!

Wanna see what else we’re eating? Find us on instagram

Disclosure: I am a food blogger that may receive compensation from some of the links. I test each product thoroughly and give my own opinions. I do not promote items that my own family does not use and enjoy.

3rd Grade Math Escape Room

My husband and I did an escape room with some friends while on vacation and fell in love with the the mind provoking fun. I surprised him with this at home version. We are planning to have some friends over for a game night and will report back since this game is a one time use. I felt a little bummed when I saw it was only a one timer since I misread the details online (19 activities, not 19 different plays), but then quickly remembered that this at home version is infinitely cheaper than a night out.

I am guilty of finding a new hobby and wanting to do it on the repeat (sorry honey), so this idea quickly took over my brain and now my kids have their very own escape room at home. I love the idea of using these in the classroom or as a homeschool mama to bring fun back into learning. You can find my latest escape for 3rd graders here. Your kids will hardly notice their doing math, as they problem solve through higher order multistep problems to escape the lovebugs. escapethelovebugspreview

This would be perfect as a review for before testing or a great way to make math more engaging on Valentine’s Day when finishers are rewarded with a sweet treat.

We covered these skills 3.MD.D.8, 3.OA.D.8, MP1 but are always up for the challenge of creating new games.

In the comments, drop what standards you would like seen covered?