1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Library Trip & Excellent Music

Look at my handsome Smudge.   Every day at group time, the kids have been placing this mat out for him.  If he is around, the mat is like a magnet that he cannot resist.  He stays until we are finished with group time, and then he moves on.  He's still my best beast.  I love everything about this cat-- even his bad moods.  
Raggedy Ann is still joining us at group time.  The kids know who she is now.  We are currently working on the letter Dd and the number 4, the color black and the square shape.
At the little table this morning is the Colorforms Silly Faces Game.  I like this for preschoolers because there is no reading necessary.  Just spin and build your face, one piece at a time!  The kids think this is so funny!
Yesterday was a strange day.  I had one small preschooler, and since the Children's Museum was closed (insert eye roll HERE) , we took a quick trip to the Snohomish Library.  We had the place to ourselves!  
I don't know about you, but I love children's books.  I try to get the kids to love them, too.  Every book is an adventure, a potential learning tool.  Today I have most of my brood back! 
♪Now playing at Henle House: "Cassandra" by Thomas Beregersen's album titles "Sun".  A child said, "Woooow!!!" about it.  He likes music.♪  This is a great classical album with such large atmospheric energy-- a piece of art.  You can download it HERE AT AMAZON.  
♥♥♥Happy Tuesday!♥♥♥

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin Bisque

There is something very satisfying to me about setting the table.  It's not something that we have ever done with our own family on a regular basis.  For us, we usually grab a plate and serve up right off of the stove and then sit down together to eat.  When we have planned guests, I like to get out a tablecloth to hide the battered table, and set the dishes out. We had my parents over for dinner last night.  I searched Pinterest for tablescapes, and decided that I felt like less was gong to be much more this time and went with a simple squash pumpkin in the middle of the table.
I didn't pull out the cloth napkins, though.  I suppose I wanted to keep it feeling casual.
The soup was a Smoky Gouda Pumpkin Bisque.  You can find the recipe HERE at Taste Of Home.
The changes that I made were simple.  We felt it was mildly bland and added some garlic salt to taste.  I always add more cheese.  It was a smooth and comforting soup!  It paired well with a Caprese Salad,  and you can find that recipe HERE.  I added some crispy pear chunks to it.  I think it worked out well.  We also served some crostini and some Italian Loaf bread.  This morning I feel like I need to go on a diet.  But since Adam and I won't be hosting any large holiday gatherings this year, it was really fun to put something small together and make it special! 
Friday was so crazy that the preschool schedule went straight out the window, and I have nothing to share about our day.  Check back tomorrow!
♥♥♥Happy Monday!♥♥♥

Friday, October 17, 2014

She's Sweet Sixteen Today!

First and foremost, Happy Sweet 16th Birthday to our Stephanie Michelle!  There she was, all 5 lbs 9 ounces of her, scaring me to death on my first day of motherhood.  I was 20 years old when I became a mom.  I can still hear her newborn cry and her sweet toddler voice.  She had earth shattering volume if she wanted to.  I remember looking at this baby and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information I wanted to teach her right away, but it would have to wait.  A mother's job is never completed!
Here she is, a smart and beautiful young woman!  We are so very proud of the person Stephanie is becoming.  Happy Birthday!
Yesterday we created a simple paper plate pumpkin pocket to hold three leaves for counting practice.  The kids are working on writing their names if they can, and numbers as well.
This project required a little bit of one on one time at the small table.  This way, I can ensure that each child had a chance to practice counting WITH me, instead of being drowned out by everyone else.
I love children's hand writing.
At the bus stop yesterday afternoon, one of the kids' dad stopped by with his police dog to say hello.
They thought he was just dressing up for the day!  Maybe sometime he will come visit and show the kids the car up close.  It was a fun distraction from waiting for the bus!
►Now playing at Henle House: "Hedwig's Theme" from the Harry Potter soundtrack.  It's a Harry potter kind of morning. ♪
♥♥♥Happy Friday!♥♥♥

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Orange

We are STILL keeping our eyes peeled for orange items around the house.   Yesterday for art, we glued orange items onto the paper.
Have you ever written a word down too many times to the point that it looks like a foreign language, and then you have to look it up to make sure you are spelling it right?  That happened with the word "orange" yesterday.  Anyway, the kids had some items already placed on a plate for them to use.
When they had glued all of their items on,  it was time for them to search for orange items of their own.  Digging through bags of small foam pieces and buttons is a good way for them to sort colors.  They put on their thinking caps and located some orange items without my help.
Kids love to do things for themselves.  This is one of my weaknesses, that I am a do-er.  It can be hard for me to remember to let go of some control about the projects they are creating.  After 12 years of working with preschoolers, I still struggle with that. 
The boys enjoyed the geo-boards yesterday.  We have been working on getting the kids to remember which toys are what we call "table toys" and need to be brought to the table.  Teaching them this usually requires a small meeting.  This keeps me from having to repeat myself over and over, as well as helps the kids to remind each other. 
♥♥♥Happy Thursday!♥♥♥

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This & That

See that Wisteria bloom creeping out up there?  I blame the crazy warm weather we are having.  We have really been spoiled!  This morning, however, the tables have turned.  It's pouring outside.  We got to use the umbrellas on our way to and from the bus stop.  Thank you God for the person who invented umbrellas.  I have often heard or read in passing that in Washington, we don't need to use umbrellas.  They are for tourists.  WRONG.  Maybe those people don't have to stand at the bus stop twice each day, often times in pouring rain and wind.  We love umbrellas.  They save the day!
Look who took time out of her busy schedule to stop by!  Chippy was looking brown and thin, right on schedule.  She loves the new feeder and doesn't come up to the porch as often.  We were happy to see her!
The leaves are finally falling!  Maybe I am getting old or something, but lately I am feeling "finished" and "over" Halloween.  (And  the music screeched to a halt...)  The decorations only went up this year for the children to enjoy.  My love affair with Fall is still the same, but I could do without Halloween.  I am really enjoying the coziness that comes with Fall, and am actually more excited about seeing family and looking forward to Thanksgiving next month.
She found some treasures to show me. :)
At the little red table this morning are some paper clips and note cards with some random lines drawn onto them.  The kids can try to put the paper clips onto each line or build a paper clip chain. 
 We reviewed the numbers 1, 2 and 3 by counting and gluing items.  
♥♥♥Happy Wednesday!♥♥♥

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cookies & Pumpkin Chocolate Loaves

Yesterday we created our own tray of cookies for art.   C is for cookie.  Unbelievably, we created fake ones instead of real ones.  
The kids glued a cookie sheet onto the paper.  They lined it with tin foil.  They added the cookies.  They drew the chocolate chips on.  YUM!
This was a nice way to remember what the letter C looks like and to keep busy.
I kept busy in the kitchen.  I know that I have shared this recipe on the blog before.  Preheat the oven to 350.
Pumpkin Chocolate Loaves
3-3/4 cup flour
3-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
 1-1/4 tsp cinnamon*
1-1/4 tsp ground cloves*
1/2 tsp nutmeg*
3 eggs
1 can (29 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
1-1/4 cup canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

*If you use the "Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix" that already has the spices in it, you don't need to add the cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg.  I always add more cinnamon anyway.

Throw everything in the bowl and mix.  This is a huge batch that will make 3 large loaves or 9 mini ones.  3 mini loaves is equal to one large loaf. 
I don't always have this unsweetened baker's chocolate on hand.  An easy substitute is this.
*For one ounce substitute, use 3 tbsp cocoa plus one tbsp cooking oil.*
I only had two ounces of chocolate, and so I used a substitute AND the chocolate I had left.
This recipe is too large for my Kitchenaid mixer.  It just sat there, over in the corner, looking jealous.
Mix it all up until smooth.  I know that recipes say "add this first, add this next.."  It really doesn't make a difference with this recipe.  Just load it all in and mix.
Prepare your loaf pans by greasing and flouring them.
Evenly distribute the batter.  Taste it, too.  YUM!  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the toothpick comes out of a large loaf clean.  I removed my small loaves after the hour and left the large ones for ten more minutes.  They were perfect.  Immediately cool on a rack.
These freeze wonderfully and when they thaw out, they are just as moist and wonderful as the day they were baked.  These loaves make wonderful gifts.  To freeze, once completely cooled, wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Place wrapped loaf into a freezer ziplock bag and label with the date.  Having these made ahead if time is a great time saver.  Have a game night or a Bible study coming up or a family function?  Pull one out of the freezer in the morning and serve it at the event. 
♥♥♥Happy Tuesday!♥♥♥

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cotton Ball Ghosts/Confused Gardens

At the little red table this morning, the kids will find some small jack-o-lantern buckets to play with.  I found a pack of 6 at Target for $1.00.  The kids are very alert when something new is added.
They found some buckets and costume hats in the dramatic play area also.  We have an abundance of hats in our dress up cabinet, so every few days they will see something different up on the clothes line.  Now they can play "Trick-Or-Treat".  
On Friday, we created a simple cotton ball ghost.  The kids took lots of time learning how to unroll or flatten out the cotton balls.
They just worked until their ghosts were all puffy and white.
I had some eyes and mouths cut out ahead of time.  I cut out three different mouth shapes for them to choose from.
Boo!
This crazy warm weather is confusing my gardens.  I just cut back a lot of perennials and they are sprouting again.  I found the strawberries in bloom and producing fruit AGAIN.  The Wisteria is blooming for a fourth time.  This is absurd!  I'm beginning to wonder if we will actually have a cold and snowy winter.  I hope so, but it doesn't seem like it will be...
On a note-- do not go see the 'Annabelle' movie.  It was the worst, most poorly acted waste of time and money I have ever spent.  I will never get that time back.   The movie we were aiming for was sold out, so we saw this one by default.  I hope that I save at least one of you from wasting your time, too.
♥♥♥Happy Monday!♥♥♥