Monday, May 21, 2018

100 Days of Science #26-- Growing our own Tickle Plants

When I was in middle school and high school, I used to babysit for this family down the street and they had a huge plant in their bay window that would close all of it's leaves when you touched it.  I always thought that was the neatest plant and I have been looking for one for years.

I finally found this kit on Amazon and the boys I decided to plan our own tickle plants.  The kit comes with three seed packets (we used one seed packet and ended up with a lot of baby plants), 6 tiny flower pots, a mini plastic greenhouse, some dehydrated soil to fit in the pots, and a full set of instructions and activity ideas.

We soaked our seeds for 24 hours before planting

You can see the re-hydrated versus the dehydrated soil in our cups.

Once all the soil was fluffed back up we mixed it up a bit with a fork and then added a few seeds in each pot.  (We had so many seeds left in our water that we also planted a large pot full of them).

We closed up our greenhouse (and covered our extra pot with cling wrap) then placed the plants in the sun.

As soon as the plant began to sprout we uncovered them and continued to watch them grow. 

The first set of leaves that show up are not ticklish but every set of leaves above that close whenever you touch them.  My boys have found this just as fascinating as I did.


They've grown so much in just a few short weeks!  

Others in this series:

2.  Field Trip to the Ecotarium 
3.  Learning About Air Molecules

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Healthy Chicken and Vegetables

I have decided it's high time I lost a little weight and the easiest way for me to do that is to begin eating healthier.  I knew I could not make chicken Parmesan this week like I was craving so I began looking around to see what ingredients I could combine into a healthy and filling meal.

I used to make a balsamic vinegar and garlic chicken that I just loved and I thought I could make it even  better by adding lots of vegetables to it.

I was right!  This dish was tasty and filling and chock full of flavor.  I know it doesn't look like much but trust me it was amazing!


1-2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
5 chicken breast tenderloins

In a large saucepan, over medium to high heat, I combined the mushrooms, broccoli, and garlic.

As soon as the garlic was fragrant (just a minute or two later) I added the can of diced tomatoes; with the juice.  I cooked the vegetables for a good 5 minutes until I could see more water and juices in the pan.  

Then I sprinkled on some Italian seasonings and added 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.  After giving it a stir, I added in all the chicken tenderloins.  I covered the pot; checking on it occasionally and turning over the chicken pieces when the bottom sides looked cook.

I knew it was done when my sauce had cooked down a bit and all the chicken pieces were cooked through.

I served our chicken with lots of veggies and a bit of pasta and sauce.

In fact, you could hardly see my chicken pieces around all the veggies on my plate.

It was so flavorful and juicy.  It's definitely a recipe I'll be making again and again.

Linking Up With:


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum

I have been wanting to get this museum for YEARS but we never seemed to be able to get there when it was opened.   Ian had went with his class when he was in kindergarten but the younger two boys had never been and we enjoyed listening to the Boxcar Children stories so I thought it would be neat to see.

We had a fun time and learned a lot.  The museum is in an actual restored Boxcar so it's quite small.  They don't charge admission but run off of donations and the staff are all volunteers.

It's pretty endearing even just looking at it!  

Inside we found so much to read and look at!  They had the actual desk that Gertrude sat at to write her stories.  Photos of her family and there were stories to go along with each item/ photograph.

Half of the boxcar is set up to look like it has been described in the books complete with things like the hay they slept on, Benny's bear, their dishes, and even a few replicas of some of their collections (like the seashells from the book where they go to the island and put together their own museum).

In this end of the boxcar there are scavenger hunts and games for the kids to play too.

They have a bunch of her books on display; including those that are not part of the Boxcar Children's series.  My boys were  quite taken with this display which shows her actual writing journal and process.

If you look closely; the left hand side of the page is upside down because Gertrude only
wrote on the right hand side of the page until reaching the end of the journal.  Then she'd flip the book over
and being writing only on the right side of the page filling up those pages that had previously been the left hand side

From the steps of the museum you can look down the street and see the actual house where Gertrude Chandler Warner lived (it's the dark green one just after the brick house).  Her home overlooked the railroad tracks and since she was home sick a lot as a child began to wonder what it would be like to live in one of the boxcars that frequently passed by her windows.

We learned that she began writing at age 7 and became a teacher at the local school during the first world war when there was a teacher shortage.  She mainly taught first grade and would have two classes of 30-40 students a day (back then first grade was a half- day program with a morning and afternoon class).  

Linking Up With:


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Friday, May 18, 2018

Weekly Wrap- Up: Mother's Day Week

We had a wonderful week!  You'll notice we got out and about much more often than normal.  I made a decision on Mother's day that it was finally time to get my butt in gear; working out more, eating less or at least eating healthier, and keeping track of any progress.  The boys aren't loving the extra hiking and walking but I know we all can benefit from a healthier lifestyle.  I had a wonderful Mother's day and the week seems to just have flown right by!

We spent a quiet day at home on Friday finishing up the week's school lessons and cleaning house.  We were planning to have the grandmothers over for a cook out on Mother's day but since I'm a mom too I refused to spend all week cooking and cleaning.  My boys each pitched in and cleaned two rooms downstairs just leaving our kitchen and 1/2 bath to clean on Sunday.  After lunch Ian headed off to work to screen loam and Alec put together a no bake coffee flavored cheesecake.  My husband and I decided to head out on a date night and enjoyed a very nice dinner at a quiet restaurant.

Ian went to work on Saturday and Alec made some chocolate ganache to go on the cheesecake.  Alec then went to paint a coat of paint on my Mother's day gift in the garage; only to realize later on in the day that pressure treated wood shouldn't really be painted.  I do love how it looks in green against the house and with the cushions though.  The younger two had me drive them to Gamestop and they used their own money to each buy a new Nintendo game.  It was a yuck rainy day and they spent most of the day in Evan's room playing video games.

I didn't have any gifts to open on Mother's day (Sunday) since I had already seen the bench as the boys were painting it and Evan had purchased me a rather large garden decoration on Friday and instead of trying to wrap it he gave it to me early.  The boys did present me with cards and my husband helped the younger two make me a delicious breakfast.  They worked together to clean the rest of the house and prepare all of the food for the mother's day cookout (that we held inside since it was raining).  My husband and I went out in the canoe in the afternoon; he fished while I read a book.  I had a very relaxing day and a wonderful night with the family.  My mother in law brought me an adorable rose plant inside a little lady bug and some real pretty flowers for a table centerpiece for dinner.

Evan's decoration

The bench Ian, Alec and my husband made

The flowers still looked beautiful on Thursday!!  

Our yummy mocha cheesecake. 

Ian headed off to work pretty early on Monday to screen some more loam while the younger boys and I worked on some schoolwork.  I talked them into a nice long hour long hike in the woods and we had a great time walking and talking.  Everything was pretty perfect except for all the bugs!  We didn't mind that much though since things are finally turning green around here.   We also found a beautiful blue tree swallow.  After dinner Ian, Evan, my husband and I headed out in the canoe and kayaks.  They did a bit of fishing while I took a few photos and read the book I had brought with me.  It was tough reading with the wind blowing my kayak around but I managed to finish a chapter while floating around.  Both Ian and my husband caught a fish or two so they were happy.

We thought Alec's karate class was canceled on Tuesday so we made plans to meet up with my mother in law at Dunkin Donuts just as soon as the younger two were done with their schoolwork.  We visited with my mother in law for about an hour before heading off for walk on the airline trails.  We made a quick stop at the library on the way home and prepared for a huge thunderstorm that was headed our way.  We lost power for a few minutes during dinner and my boys fretted a bit that we had a tornado watch for our area but thankful the storm passed quickly with no real damage in our area.

Wednesday morning the boys settled in to work on their schoolwork and we decided that we were going to head out hiking at Purgatory Chasm after lunch.  We stopped to get groceries on the way home and by the time we got home it was cloudy and threatening rain.

We had plans to go hiking and to the beach on Thursday but it was rainy and cold so they were canceled.  After finishing up our schoolwork for the day I gave the kids free reign of the house so I could really work on my blog and all the work I had piling up for it.  Alec went to play outside and Ian and Evan settled down to play Mastermind.  After a bit all three boys played a round of Harry Potter Scene it and then settled down to watch the movie during lunch. The sun came out in the afternoon and the boys went to play outside.

Health/ weight loss weekly tracker: 

I need to hold myself accountable if I'm serious about loosing weight.  I figured the weekly wrap-up was a great place to track my progress!

Monday-- Worked out on the elliptical and stationary bike for 15 minutes each, went for an hour long hike at the dam, went kayaking after dinner, and began tracking food/ exercise using the free Lose It app on my phone.

Tuesday-- Worked out for 30 minutes using a DVD and my stability ball, went for an hour walk on the airline trails and already saw a tiny fractional pound loss.  (I know it's awful but I find it so helpful to weigh myself daily!).

Wednesday-- Worked out for 30 minutes using a DVD doing Pilates with the stability ball, hiked for an hour with the kids through the chasm.

Thursday-- Worked out for 30 minute on the elliptical and went for a 25 minute walk up to get the mail in the afternoon.  I weighed myself in the morning to find I'm down 3 lbs already!

 I know I can't keep up this level of exercise or weight loss but I am loving that I got off to a great start. 

In case you missed what's been on the blog this week:

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Filling and Coffee Frosting

15 Rhode Island Attractions for Families

Favorite Family Recipe Round- Up Hop: BBQ Macaroni Salad

Love to Learn Hop: Our Favorite Things to Watch on YouTube.  

May Pinterest Challenge: Hand Forged Key Holder

Virtual Refrigerator: Iron On Vinyl T-Shirts

Our 5th Grade Curriculum 

Linking Up With:

Lucy At Home

Homeschool Coffee Break