Mike and Sulley Popcorn

Mike and Sulley Popcorn


When we were getting ready for our family movie night last month, I wanted to still be able to incorporate popcorn, but I wanted it to be something fancier than usual.  I had recently had some pink popcorn at a friend’s house, and my friend had told me that she had found the recipe on Pinterest.  I decided that I must try to make some green and blue popcorn for our family movie night.

I found a million slightly different versions of this popcorn on Pinterest, and I used them to make my own popcorn.  I used berry blue and lime jello to make two different colors of jello, and this is the recipe that I finally settled on.

8 cups plain air-popped popcorn

1/2 stick butter

3 Tbsp. corn syrup (light or dark)

1/2 cup sugar

small (3.5 oz) pack jello (not sugar free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Melt butter and corn syrup together in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add sugar and jello and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for about five minutes.  Pour over popcorn and mix together.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then, allow to cool and break into pieces.

This Week

This week is quite a hodgepodge.  A mix of learning and Christmas fun :-)  I haven’t pushed or set up anything for the children myself this week, other than making sure that we did our Jesse Tree devotional and our Lego challenge each day, so you’ll be able to clearly see the children’s own learning choices and how they made up their week.

I did, however, continue to push the Jesse tree devotional and the Lego challenges.  I’m really quite proud of us.  This is the first year ever that I’ve actually made it past the first few days of an advent devotional.  The children also enjoy the book and the lego building we’ve been doing (even though to me the end results mostly look the same!!), so they remind me that we need to do it daily.

lego advent

Firecracker is still really into Pokemon, and from what I’ve heard from the relatives, he’s going to be receiving lots of Pokemon cards, video games and plush toys to help him to continue his interest long after Christmas is over.  This week, he worked on Bulbasaur and his evolution cycle.  It is my intention to eventually get him his own “Pokemon Handbook,” but right now, I like the way he’s making his own.

pokemon notebook

He’s also making more of his own plushies.  He designed the Mewtwo on the left, and the Oddish on the right comes from a pattern we found on Craftster.  There are some seriously fun looking crochet patterns for some of these Pokemon online, but right now, he’s not really interested in taking the time to learn crochet.

There have also been a lot of live-action Pokemon matches between the four of them over the past week or two.  They’re all really enjoying learning about and watching Pokemon, and I’m enjoying the way they’re playing together, even if it does get a little loud sometimes.


He’s also really  enjoying history and insists on it every morning after breakfast.  I never realized when we took on Veritas Press for review through the Crew how much my children would love it.  Some days, even Monkey and Owlet come and sit down in front of the computer for history time.  I’ve added a timeline so that they can combine the history that we study with their personal history and the other books we read (more as a resource to grow with them and for me).  We’ve been studying the Spanish-American War, president Teddy Roosevelt and talking about Mount Rushmore a little this week.  We also added X-rays to the timeline because I began reading a book about Wilhelm Roentgen during our read-aloud time this week.  We’ve just finished up week 23 of 32 for Veritas.  I’m still in awe over the fact that we’ve found a history that has so enthralled our kids.


As far as Rose goes this week, she and I have both been making cards–me for my CBS class and she for her relatives.  Owlet has also enjoyed gluing down bunches of sequins to make cards.

card making

She’s also been continuing to make ornaments for relatives on her list.  She’s pouring paint into the glass ornaments we were given and drawing her designs with Sharpies.  I really like the way that they’re turning out.

Roses ornaments

She also requested some Logic of English this week.  We worked a little bit on long and short vowel sounds (because she needs practice remembering), and we worked on listening for how many syllables a word has.  Because of our syllable work, I was able to introduce the idea of vowels saying their names at the end of a syllable, which is something that I think is going to help her reading and Firecracker’s spelling.

If you’ve done Logic of English, you know that we’re doing occasional small chunks of it, and not hitting it hard daily.  It’s because Rose needs the time to internalize whatever we learn and begin applying it before she’s ready to move on, and she can only handle so much at a time.  She’s really working on reading and spelling right now though, so her desire to learn more drives her back to Logic of English almost weekly.

logic of english

Rose is also having us continue to read the Kaya books.  This week we read Kaya’s Hero.  It’s sweet, touching and nearly made her cry at the end.  She even found her little Kaya mini-doll I gave her for Christmas last year and is excited about Kaya’s books.

Also in this collage, is a drawing she drew of Jesus based on Revelation chapter one where we just began studying Revelation in Community Bible Study.  I love the fire in His eyes and the strong feet that she drew.

I also have one of Owlet’s creations right here because I needed a place to put it.  You can barely see the men, but it’s her fiery furnace from our Cubbies lesson last week!


Speaking of Community Bible Study, the preschoolers made these beautiful handprint angels for our tree this week as they learned about how the angel appeared to Mary.

angel ornaments

They’ve also been really pushing us back to using Easy-Peasy for preschool or as they call it, “preschool on the computer.”  As part of that, we made blue circle collages for our circle book this week.  I think that we’ll make the cover for the books and maybe a fishbowl with the letter F and be done with them so that the little kids can turn their focus to triangles.  I’ll show off Monkey’s in a separate post once we’re done so you can get a feel for what we included in the projects.

circle collages

We also made handprint elephants for “E is for Elephant.”  I was real excited about those because all four children did that.  I always wonder when Firecracker lets me paint his hand for a craft if it will be the last time he’ll let me.  He let me this time (because he loves animals), and his is on the bottom left :-)  I think they turned out so cute!!

e is for elephant

We also made paper bag elephants.  This was Monkey’s pick, but all four kids were really excited about making them.  We haven’t done a paper bag animal since the one we did for C is for cat, and I think that was back in October.

paper bag elephant

Monkey has spent a lot of time dressing up like Santa.  He took his reindeer he got from Build-A-Bear last Christmas and a little riding toy we still have and hooked them up together, and then he and Owlet have been pretending he’s delivering toys.  It’s the cutest thing.


santa claus

Of course, Santa’s not the only character the little ones have been dressing up as.  This week, they’ve been Mario and Belle (TL), a soldier from the Spanish-American war (TR), a fashion model in the snow (BL), and Elsa and Superman (BR).  I’m sure there was more too, and I just didn’t get pictures of it.  I know Monkey’s dressed up as Ash from Pokemon several times this week!

dress up

Our elves have been getting into trouble.  Not too much though because I touched them on Monday or Tuesday, and they haven’t moved since.  I think I killed their Christmas magic.


We also have our tree up and the lights mostly working.  I think I’m going to have to get new lights or a new tree or something next year because I don’t even have my garland on where Hubby’s had to tinker with the lights so much.

We also had a Christmas party at the church and the kids got their picture made with Santa again this week.  I really like this one because for once they’re all looking!!

I also received a cute ornament this week, and I’m nearly panicking over the idea that there’s less than two weeks to Christmas and I haven’t even attended to anyone except for my children.  I’m trying to just push it out of my mind and do what I need to do for each day so that I don’t get overwhelmed with a huge to-do list.

Christmas prep

You may have noticed that I’ve posted a little less over the past couple of weeks, and I’m pretty sure that’s a trend that will continue.  I always have something that I want to share and to write about, but I just don’t have time.  I’m coming out of a period that was spiritually a little dry, and many times my morning quiet time for prayer and Bible time were short.  That left me more time to write.  Now that I’m hearing more from God again and feeling closer, my morning times that I was using to write are quickly becoming dominated by times for study, prayer and personal writing and reflection.  Today is the first time I’ve spent more than fifteen or twenty minutes on the computer at a time in a week (because I just don’t feel right if I don’t wrap up my week!).  I’ll still be here.  It’ll just be a little less for a while.  (That’s also why I haven’t been reading and commenting on as much lately.)

Also, while I’m writing this really long wrap-up, if you think about it, please pray for my brother-in-law.  He’s been in the hospital a month with pancreas issues, and they expect him to be in the hospital for some time yet.  It’s hard to have a loved one in the hospital, but it’s especially hard at the holidays.

Beloved Dust Review

Beloved Dust
I had recently confessed that my prayer life felt dry and forced.  I confessed that I felt as if I wasn’t close to God, and as if my prayers were merely lists like to Santa or just one more thing on my to-do list.  The same day I confessed this I received Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself in the mail.  I knew that this was a book sent to me directly from God as soon as I read these words in the introduction:

We make prayer another item on the Christian to-do list.  We allow prayer to serve our idolatrous endeavors for fix-its and experiences.  We allow prayer to undermine a relationship with God by using it as a mechanism to grant us the kind of life we want.

Conviction straight from the introduction!!  As I continued to meander through this book, I found plenty of other areas of conviction and connection with God.  Goggin and Strobel’s thesis is that the reason why we don’t have a meaningful prayer life is that we use prayer as a tool instead of as a point of connection with the Almighty God who loves us.  We are dust, and we are loved, but God isn’t here to give us the life we desire.  Instead our God wants and deserves our constant communion with him.

The text is dense, and at times the book can feel repetitive, especially if you’re reading speedily through it.  This is a book that is meant to be read slowly and contemplatively.  However, I think this is a message that every Christian needs to hear, especially if you’re feeling that your relationship with God and your prayer life is feeling shallow.

Dislcaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers Program.  I was not required to write a positive review, just an honest one.

Creating Norman Castles

Until we studied the Viking invasion of England last year (and the subsequent Norman invasion), I did not realize how much castle design evolved during the middle ages.  They started out as very simple stone houses on a hill, often overlooking the village that the lord protected, and eventually turned into the ornate castles with moats and drawbridges that we associate with medieval times and see in most movies.

As we had just finished studying Alfred the Great and we were about to go into the Norman Conquest, I felt that we should attempt to build a simple castle design from that time period.  In this way, we would be able to compare and contrast the designs with what would come later.

To complete these castle designs, you will need:

  • a large piece of cardboard to be the base
  • newspapers
  • masking tape
  • paper mache paste (optional)
  • small pieces of cardboard to form into buildings
  • toilet paper rolls
  • construction paper (in yellows, browns and greens)
  • paint (in greens, browns, grays, etc.)

To begin, you’re going to take your large cardboard base and draw two large interlocking circles on it.  Choose one of them to be your castle hill.  Wad together newspaper into a hill and tape it to your board.  If you’re wanting to make a “nice” model, this is a great time to apply additional layers of newspaper and paper mache paste to shape it into a hill.  I was doing this with two boys.  They just wanted to paint hill and be done with it.  We also painted the other circle green to be our little village’s grass.


It may take a couple of coats of paint to get everything covered nicely.


While your mountain is drying, all you need to do is to make your buildings.  Use the small boxes and toilet paper rolls to make your castle.  You can also use cut up paper tubes, and tiny boxes to make the little houses in your village.  We cut and hot glued brown and yellow construction paper to the tops of our houses for roofs.


As a final touch for the village part, we hot glued a long strip of cardboard around the little village.


Finally, we attached everything together and our project was done.  Now we had a simple early castle model to compare with the later and more elaborate castles we were studying and reading about.

norman castles

This Week: Lego Advent and Pokemon Plushies

We’ve definitely had fun and excitement as we’ve approached our week this week!  Some of the fun has even been Christmas-related!!  We’ve also done a few things that could be considered schoolwork this week :-D  So, let me start with the work, and then, I’ll show you some of the fun we’re doing!!

We’ve continued working on the skeleton in science.  We’ve talked about joints and motion of joints, and we’ve drew pictures of our own bodies to decorate.  Firecracker opted out of drawing his own body, choosing instead to draw around some of his stuffed toys and measure the stuffed toys height.  Unless something changes, I’m probably halting science until after Christmas when I’ll see if I can get some interest in a unit on x-rays that will combine the little kids and big kids :-D

bodies and joints

We started studying the Spanish-American war in history.  We also read Kaya’s Escape, and it’s about the Nez Perce Indians.  It’s set about 100-150 years before the period in history we’re primarily studying right now, but we’re absorbing a lot from the books about Native American culture and history in that time period.


We also continued with our ARTistic Pursuits curriculum this week.  This week we focused on still life.

still life

We spent much of the remainder of our week wrapped up in Pokemon.  Firecracker continued his Pokemon dictionary.  The children also made paper doll cutouts of various Pokemon coloring pages.  This week, we focused on charmander and squirtle, including their evolved forms.

pokemon notebook

Firecracker and Rose also made some Pokemon plushies.  Firecracker uses hot glue and felt as his mediums.  Rose only made one, but since it was sewn from felt, I was pretty happy with the work she did.

pokemon plushies

We spent the rest of the week focusing on Christmas.  Our elves are back and causing trouble!


The girls have been making ornaments!  Rose says she’s making the large ball ornaments for everyone on her Christmas list, so we shall see!

ornament making

We started our Advent devotional.  This year, we’re using Unwrapping the Greatest Gift as our primary Christmas devotional.  We’re combining it with the children’s love of Lego by using the Proverbial Homemaker’s Jesse Tree Lego challenges.  This is how our first four days went.

Lego Advent

We also spent one evening this week watching our town’s Christmas parade.  Except for Monkey, who was bothered by all the loud trucks and sirens, we all had a great time!

waiting for a parade

We didn’t do any formal preschool this week, but the children had fun.  Monkey was a cowboy half the week this week, and I think he’s the cutest thing ever!!  Owlet spent part of her time being “Nurse Joy,” a animal nurse from Pokemon.  Other than that, she’s just been going around, looking cute, and occasionally falling asleep on the days she needs a nap (or my read-alouds are especially boring!).

around the house

That about does it for our week.  We’re continuing to gallop towards Christmas!  I have a feeling that everything after this week will begin to slowly turn itself seasonal (or Pokemon) until after the first of the year :-D

Our Monsters Inc. Family Movie Night

Somehow, right after Halloween, Rose got it into her head that we hadn’t celebrated Halloween as thoroughly as we should have done.  (I think it’s because it was cold and rainy on Halloween night so trick-or-treating wasn’t as much fun as it should have been.)  So, she became really interested in the idea of doing a family movie night for Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University.  A double feature movie night with special food did sound like an excellent idea, so we went to Pinterest and started planning our movie night.  These are some of the recipes and activities that we chose and how they worked out for us.

Our Monsters Inc Family Movie Night

Our first thing we did toward our movie night is to make simple printable masks for everyone who wanted a mask.  This really helped my little monsters feel like they were a part.


We also printed out a few printable Monsters, Inc. characters for the little kids to decorate and cut out so that they would be able to help us decorate.


Rose also decorated our fireplace mantel with one of our hand-drawn pennant banners.  I know you can’t really see the details, but she worked hard on it :-)


Then, we spent a big part of the day we had the movie night preparing a meal and snacks.  For our main dish, we decided to have some homemade ramen noodle soup.  It was a lot of work, but it was easy work and Rose was able to help a lot!


To go with it, we decided to have quesadillas filled with refried beans and cheddar cheese.  Originally, I was going to use an idea of cutting them into Mike from Monsters, Inc, but I decided to just simplify and go with wedges.


With these main dishes, we made several desserts.  We made Sulley yogurt pops.  I wasn’t interested in eating them, but the kids told me they were delicious.


Monkey made “doors.”  They were graham crackers spread with marshmallow fluff and topped with Hershey bar pieces.


We also made jello popcorn.  Of course, we made ours in blue and green for Sulley and Mike!


It was a fun and delicious evening!!