Friday, August 5, 2016

Very Berry Muffins

Doesn't that look good?

Chocked full of cranberries and blueberries (as local as they come) and topped with a walnut, coconut struesel, these muffins are to die for.

These aren't the serve with a cup of coffee or glass of milk muffin.  No siree.  These are moist with a capital M.

I found this recipe in either a Quick Cooking or Taste of Home magazine years ago.  I think the original recipe called blueberries and raspberries, but since I have an abundance of cranberries, I normally make these with all cranberries.  If I happen to have other berries, I'll add those, too.

We were invited to pick blueberries at a neighboring cranberry marsh, so I took full advantage of the 9 pails of blueberries and made these a few times already.  I should be making a batch right now instead of blogging.  Sam's going camping with friends this weekend and these very berry muffins will make a great treat for them.

Very Berry Muffins

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar, divided
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg

In a bowl, combine berries and 1/4 c. sugar, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth.  Add eggs and beat well while drizzling in vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients, add to cream cheese mixture.  Stir on low just until combined.  Fold in berry mixture.  Fill 12 greased muffin cups.

1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. flaked coconut
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon

Mix together; sprinkle over batter.  Bake at 400 degrees (375 if using dark pans) for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.  Makes 1 dozen delicious, moist muffins.

Recipe Notes:

If using frozen berries, do not thaw.

Mix up the berry combination.  Today I'm going to use blueberries and wild blackberries.

Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days on counter or refrigerate if storing longer.  They never last that long around here.

Do you think someone else would like this recipe?  Please share.  Thank you BERRY much!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Feast of St. Christopher - July 25

Early last week I happened to notice that St. Christopher's feast day was coming up - July 25.  A medal of St. Christopher hangs on Warren's key ring.  Often he mentions that it was a gift from his mother when he got his driver's license.  As the patron saint of travelers, and summer being the official travel season, St. Christopher is the perfect summer saint to learn about.

Celebrating saint feast days is kept super simple around here.  I pulled out Picture Book of Saints and read the one page St. Christopher story.

Then Joseph grabbed the microphone and book and did a little singing for us.

I printed copies of this coloring page from The Catholic Kid.
Joseph added bits of color to his, while Peter colored his St. Christopher like a rainbow.

I like to add a craft project to our saint celebrations, so of course I went straight to Pinterest, but found nothing.  I had to be creative all on my own this time.  After looking at the coloring page, I decided to paint walking sticks.  Sam cut and peeled the bark off a few green branches.

Peter got started painting his walking stick right away.  There were no rules, just paint till your heart's content.

Joseph waiting patiently for Sam to strip the bark from his walking stick.

Mom might call these walking sticks, but little boys, they might call them fighting swords.  Either way it was a nice way to spend a summer afternoon.

St. Christopher, patron of travelers,
Pray for us.

Homeschool Curriculum & Book Sale

Every flat surface in the house is covered with books - that's a sure sign planning is underway for the 2016-17 school year. I've run across plenty of loved, but unneeded books and craft kits, and I need to make room for this year's curriculum.....SOOOOO I'm selling it.

 Jessica at Shower of Roses is hosting a curriculum sale blog hop which means if you don't find what you need here at Camp Homeschool, you can head over to her blog to find links to more curriculum sales.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the items in this post, please leave a comment listing the books you would like, along with your email address. I will send you a private email with your total, including shipping, along with my Paypal address. 

To keep it as simple as possible, I have decided to charge a flat rate to help cover the cost of packaging, postage, and any Paypal fees. This year it will be $5 for 1-3 items and $7.00 for 4+ items. 

Please only request items that you intend to purchase and are able to submit payment for promptly. I will update the post as quickly as possible with "sales pending."

Thank you!

Saxon Math 7/6 Tests & Worksheets (all tests missing) - $5
Saxon Teacher CDs Math 8/7 (excellent) - $70
Saxon Teacher CDs Algebra 2 (last cd is MISSING, otherwise excellent condition) - $40
Saxon Algebra 1/2 Text, Solutions Manual, Home Study Packet (good) - $20
Dive CD Algebra 1/2 (good) - $40

The Fun With Tangrams Kit (good, 1 set of tangrams missing, 1 set is still unpunched) - $1

First Ladies Word Search (new) - $1
Catholic Geography Bee (very good) - $25 set of student and parent guides SOLD
Story of the World vol. 2 (very good) - $7

Starline Press 10th grade English, books 6-10 + answer key - $10
Creative Communications (very good) - $10

TOPS Analysis 10 Task Cards (very good) - $2 SOLD
Earth Science (good) - $3
Beginning to Learn About Science (good) - $1
Dolphins around the World (good) - $1
Eagles (very good) - $1
The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor (well-used) - free with order

Christian Character (good) - $3
Building Christian Character (very good) - $3 SOLD
Jesus Forgives My Sins (very good) - $1
Jesus Comes to Me (very good) - $1
Through the Year with Mary (very good) - $5
Raising Catholic Children (very good) - $2

The Little Hands Art Book (good) - $2
Rainy Day Play! (good) - $2

Easy Chapter Books horse themed (well-loved) - $2 set

The Runaway Chick (very good) - $1 
Little Lamb to the Rescue (very good) - $1
The Little Match Girl (good) - $1 
Cars (very good) - $1
Magic (very good) - $1
Under the Eagle's Beak (very good) - $5
Alice in Wonderland (very good) - $2 

Star Wars beginning readers - $3 set SOLD

Set of beginning readers - $3 set

Discover Crochet for Beginners (a tiny bit of yarn was crocheted, buttons are missing, otherwise everything is in bag, including instructions) - $10

Klutz Knitting (like new, gift giving quality) - $16

materials are in binder - $10

Happy Phonics - A Delightful Method of Teaching Reading with Games
Each game is in a clear sleeve or envelope, some things may be missing; above are 2 of the beloved games: Muffin Match and The Castle Game - $30

Rug Hooking for Beginners (my son attempted, so it has been opened, but all parts are in box, including instructions) - $15

Thistle Hill Farm Penguin Needle Felting Kit (like new)
Wool Pets kitty & pony (like new)
Foam square & needles (like new)
I'd like to sell this all together for $40

Thank you for looking.
Please leave a comment or email me directly if you have any questions.
cranmomof7 at gmail dot com

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Organizing the Homeschool Closet

I can hardly believe I just typed that post title.  Why?

(ONE)  I never organize the closets until well into August!
(TWO)  It means the summer is winding down.
(and THREE) I am the world's best procrastinator.

On the procrastinating thing:  I only procrastinate the doing.  The thinking?...that I start months ahead.  I think through the entire task; I make mental lists; I talk it over with myself; I visualize; I just don't actually DO until the very last minute or even second.

It drives everyone around me nuts with a capital N.  But, I'm still married and my kids tell me they love me everyday, so it must be working.  Right?  Right!

Back to the closets.  I am so fortunate to have two large closets dedicated to homeschool materials/art project supplies/overflow chapter books.  The closets are big - lots of room for piling, stuffing, and cramming, which is what happens during the school year.  I wish I could place all the blame on my darling students, but I'm part of the problem, too.  We have to leave in 60 seconds for violin - quick, shove the art project in the closet.  And then never get back to it.

Does that happen to you?  Please say YES.  I can't be the only procrastinating, messy homeschooling mom out there.

Since I have two closets, one is for the meat and potatoes the other is for the gravy and dessert.

In other words:  science, math, language arts, history, and religion materials in one.  The other holds art supplies, games, manipulatives, puzzles and other odds & ends.

In the meat and potatoes closet I like to group the subjects together.  In the past I grouped materials by grade level, but that didn't work because I wasted too much time searching for multi-level books.  It's much easier to locate a specific language arts text if all language arts/English materials are together.

Below are two examples:  History and Language Arts

Now for the gravy.

This closet is a little trickier to organize because it contains such a variety of materials.  Basically, I clear out all the stashed in the corner garbage, put all the pieces back in the game boxes, and place similar items together.  Not rocket science, and I try not to spend too much time agonizing over the placement or grouping of like items.  One crazy, busy day and it's bound to get out of order again.

My best tip for you is to make a list of what's in the closet.

If you're like me, all kinds of awesome ideas will pop into your head while organizing the closet and you will start making plans for how and when you'll use all these cool art books and awesome manipulatives.  Then the school year begins and reading lessons and science labs push all those fun plans right out of your brain.  But, this year that's not going to happen because you're going to make a list of what's in the closet.

In all it's organized glory, here is the gravy closet.

It's definitely not perfect.  The violin storage is always a problem.  They need to be out of sight from the little ones, yet accessible.  The stands need to be close by, yet put away to avoid being tipped over.  The music - they want it put away, yet not so put away just in case they want to play one of their old songs.  Try working with that!  On the floor in a heap is our solution.

Since the closet still looks not perfect the list is important.  It's not a detailed list of every item, just the project books and activity packs that seem to get forgotten, but would bring great value to our home education plan.

Hummingbird Paint-by-Number (the Underwater Scene was painted years ago)
Canvas Boards (these are a favorite - Sam's Winter Painting)
Magic School Bus Rainbow Kit (I plan to use this very soon)
Dilemma Games (something similar)
Alphabet Bingo
U.S. puzzle (my childhood puzzle - this one is similar)
Double Take - Butterflies & Moths
Light Up Drawing Desk (ours is a much older version, but it's been a hit with all the kids)
The Window Art Book (definitely keeps kids busy for a LONG time and your windows will be colorful)
Number Flip (fun for kids and adults)
Balloon Animals (excellent for keeping boys busy when you're working with another child)

That's a BIG list.  I'll tape it inside the closet and refer to it when we're looking to add a little fun and flair to our school day.  I'm thinking it will come in handy when I need to grab a quick activity to keep a certain someone from running off while I work with a sibling.

As we encroach upon the school year I'll be sharing more of my not rocket science, but tried and true homeschool tips.  Stay tuned.  And if you know of someone in need of a little closet organizing, why not send them my way - I'd appreciate it.  Thanks.

You all are a great bunch.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wisconsin With Kids {Parfrey's Glen}

Wisconsin offers many State Natural Areas to explore.  Parfrey's Glen, Wisconsin's first State Natural Area, is a favorite.  We visited years ago; I believe Amber was a toddler (so 12 years ago), and we've been wanting to get back ever since.  Glen is a Scottish term for narrow, rocky ravine; last time we visited, a boardwalk was the path through the glen.  Since that time, the glen flooded, washing away the boardwalk.  The remaining posts are proof that the boardwalk existed.  The glen closed for a while during the clean up from the flood, but has since reopened to the public.

For directions, maps, allowable activities, and details on the flora of the glen click here.

For pictures of us enjoying Parfrey's Glen, keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling - there's a lot of them.


Gathering around the sign - I like to secure this picture first thing when everyone is smiling, still full of energy, and eagerly anticipating the hike.  This isn't my first rodeo - I know how family hikes can end.  Don't worry this is a super fun hike, bound to start and end well.

Amber's missing - she was on a bus to Washington D.C.
 A good hike always starts with nourishment.  Never attempt this with hungry children.  Today's choice - Veggie straws, Voortman oatmeal cookies, and more.

Remember brushing your teeth while camping.  This is where it happened.  It's still a draw; there's just something fun about pumping water from the ground.  Making your brother mad - that's a bonus.  Joe wanted a drink of water without Sam pumping; of course the water stopped when the pumping stopped.  This was maddening to Joe.


The path into the glen starts as a flat, easy hike.

 A grand variety of flora to be seen.  I wish I would've taken along a wildflower guide.


As we approached the glen, the path got a little narrower, much more rocky, and made for some fun tripping over tree roots.  Side note:  it's much cooler in the glen, so this hike is great for hot days.

Is it ok to treat your little sister like a lion cub?

These stone steps is the official beginning of the glen.  The absence of the boardwalk makes the hike much more challenging and hands on.  

Great practice with balancing and large motor skills.  I see everything through the eyes of "Joe's teacher" (which I am).

We made it; we're still smiling; no rock jumping injuries.  It was a success.

Our day didn't stop there, but since this post was so long, I'll save the Merrimac Ferry for another time.

For more Wisconsin With Kids posts click here.