Friday, February 29, 2008

Saratoga Campaign - Benedict Arnold's Plan

Here we are doing an obstacle course with heavy backpacks, getting the idea of why the Brittish Soldiers had a difficult time traveling - they were slow, as slow as 1 mile a day (Americans traveled up to 20 miles a day). But the British were carrying 100 lb packs and having to travel through swampy land and fallen trees that the American colonists had created to slow them down:

The Flanagan Kids history segment today is on the Saratoga Campaign and Benedict Arnold's Plan. You'll have to excuse the quality of the video on this one - I didn't realize my camera wasn't focusing properly. There is still good information and a cute performance from the kids at the end. The Saratoga Campaign involved a plan from the British for a three pronged attack on the American Fort at Albany, New York. Part of this plan involved a segment of the British Army lead by a man named Ledger. Half of his force were Indians. They ambushed a group of our reinforcements, but we had another reinforcement coming lead by Benedict Arnold. He new he was outnumbers 2:1 so he came up with a scheme to get the Indians to leave the British. It involved a half crazy loyalist who was a prisoner of the Americans. Benedict made a deal with him that if he went to the Indians and told him a great American force was coming, the loyalist could go free. Indians were very superstitious of crazy people. So, please ignore the fuzziness and watch cute performance by the kiddos!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Battle of Brandywine and Germantown

Well, after Trenton and Princeton, Washington had a little trouble with 2 battles - Brandywine and Germantown, PA. We have some news reporters interviewing General Washington about what happened at Germantown:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why I'm Laughing Today

I found this link on how to take care of a baby from Dooce's  blog.  All of the cartoons were ridiculously funny but for some reason the very first one is the funniest thing to me and every time I think about it or look at it I get the giggles.  Why does this tickle my funny bone?  Somehow this is how I pictured Dave when we first brought Jill home.  Not that I saw him test a bottle with his tongue but he was about this clueless. 

I always feel so much better if I am laughing and I usually do that several times throughout the day...mostly at myself.  So come on all you out there in blog land, delurk and tell us in the comments what made you laugh out loud today? 

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh The Aching Back

Oh so many things rambling through my wee tiny brain today.  I decided I need to do my back exercises because I....well just because I am a lazy arse and have not done them in quite a long time.  If anyone does exercises to stabilize their back what that really means is abdominal exercises.  Yes, dreaded know the squishy, place in front where firm muscles used to be about four kids and million years ago.  My doctor gave me this sheet of exercises and I told him I was really hoping after ten years that back exercises had changed to the equivalent of sitting on the couch eating popcorn and watching a good movie.  He just stared me in the eye and said "do them".  So to avoid yet a third back surgery I am trying to do these.  So this morning I began with a fervor and got through about two minutes of the first few then decided that it would be better if I walked on the treadmill.  He said I could you know but I think he meant after all of the exercises.  

Perhaps tomorrow I will be good.  

Doubt it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Loretta

Although I wasn't around at the time fifty three years ago our parents brought home a second little girl. I look back over the years and I remember how loyal and softhearted you always were and still are. You have always been a loving and supportive sister and I want you to know how in awe I am of your strength. You have had a very hard personal life and through it all you held your head up proudly and pushed on no matter how bleak each day might have looked. Your strength and ability to love so strongly taught me how to be strong in the most difficult time of my life, that of losing my daughter. Your sense of family, strong determination and love touches so very many people. You deserve all things wonderful.

Happy Birthday sis. I love you.

Groovin to the Blues

I promised Vonda I'd put up a video of Jordan playing the guitar. Vonda, this isn't "The Entertainer" (I'll talk him into doing that later), but he is playing one of his favorite things (and the girls') to play: the blues - check out Lexie's moves:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Crossing the Delaware - The Battle of Trenton & Princeton

Hey sisters and nieces - here is another way I torture my homeschooled children. Send them out barefoot in the snow to see what the soldiers in the revolution felt like. You know, many had just rags on their feet, if anything, as they marched in the cold, icy snow. They left bloody footprints - so of course my children need to "feel their pain":

Of course, Soldier Lexie was insubordinate - no way was she going to be "foolish enough" to go outside with bare feet in the snow. She did, however, enjoy watching her siblings! So, now for a little education on crossing the Delaware and the battles of Trenton and Princeton:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Birthday Girl

Today is a great day to celebrate because it is Kamisha's birthday.  Kamisha is Barb's beautiful and favorite daughter.  Of course she only has one daughter so it is pretty easy to be a favorite daughter isn't it?  Hard to believe that little sweet girl is 31 and a mom.  Happy Birthday sweet girl!  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Salad of Salads

Years ago I ran across a green salad recipe in a magazine that looked simple.  Of course it was also from Erma Bombeck whom I absolutely loved.  There is something about a person that can make you laugh about the silly and simple things in life so I knew I could trust that this salad would be great.  Overwhelmed With Joy is hosting her Favorite Ingredients Friday (Side Dishes Edition). 

Erma Bombeck's Overnight Layered Salad Recipe

1 med. head lettuce, shredded
1/2 c. green onion, thinly sliced
1 c. celery, thinly sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained, sliced
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peas
2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 hard-cooked eggs, mashed
1/2 to 3/4 lb. bacon, sliced, crisply fried, drained, crumbled
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

Place shredded lettuce in shallow 4-quart bowl. Top with green onion, celery, and water chestnuts. Break frozen peas apart; sprinkle over salad. Spread mayonnaise over top. Sprinkle with sugar, Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Cover; chill in refrigerator 24 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle with mashed hard-cooked eggs and crumbled bacon. Garnish with tomato wedges.

The Battles at Moores Creek, Fort Sullivan

Did you know that not all the battles in the American Revolution were against the British soldiers? Take a look at this battle - The Battle of Moores Creek in North Carolina.

Who are these people and why are they dressed in skirts? Well in this battle a group of Scottish decent Tories attacked the Whigs. What are Tories and Whigs? Tories were colonists who were loyal to the Crown (England) and the Whigs were the patriots. A group of Scottish Tories attacked the patriots over a bridge at Moores Creek - they failed miserably and the patriots were able to confiscate quite a bit of ammunition and supplies from them.

Now for the Battle at Fort Sullivan in South Carolina. Take a look at this guy:
This is Sir Peter Parker who got the back side of his britches blown off by a revolutionist's cannon ball.

We had fun with an experiment while learning about this battle. Fort Sullivan was a rickety old fort. When the revolutionists found out that the British were going to attack, they fortified it with the only thing available: Palmetto (Palm) trees. These spongy trees were used along with sand behind them. Did it work? Were the Revolutionists better protected with Palmetto trees than with regular trees? 

We tried an experiment with sponge for our Palmetto trees:

And toothpicks as regular trees:

Then we went a shoot'n with Jordie's BB gun:

We discovered that Pamletto trees worked quite nicely. They "swallowed up the ammunition"

While the regular trees tended to just break off:

So yes, the Revolutionists at Fort Sullivan were well protected, they won the battle, and South Carolina still has the Palmetto Tree on its flag!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dave Does Ham Glaze

So Dave decided he wanted to make this ham glaze that he found in Cooks Illustrated. He read, re-read , discussed it with BBQ Wade a million times and then went on to re-read about 229 times more. Of course those of you who know Dave he has a method about every thing he does. It is study, study, ponder, study, ponder, ponder, ponder....well you get my drift. So after a few years weeks he went shopping for ingredients. I have learned that if it is for a major item I let him do all the research and shopping ahead of time and narrow it down a few of the brands we are comparing and then I will go look at those two or three for our final decision. Otherwise we spend enormous amounts of wasted time walking around, reading, pondering, discussing and on and on and on. This really wasn't a major purchase but it seemed like it after all the discussion he and BBQ Wade had about this ham glaze.

He does his magic cooking this ham and lovingly basting it until it was the perfect caramelized crust. Looks beautiful doesn't it?

Aha! But if you look closer you can see a rough little gauge in the surface of the ham. What?

The person behind this hand better watch out or they will be drawing back a bloody stub.

This is BBQ Wade. Does he look suspicious? Licking his fingers and chops like that?

All I can say is if that would have been anyone else Dave would NOT have been quite so nice.

Apple Cider and Brown Sugar Glaze
Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough to glaze ham

1 cup apple cider
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Bring cider, brown sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves to boil in small saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes. Baste ham during the last fifteen to twenty minutes of cooking time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spring Fever

Oh how I love pussy willows. Doesn't this just make you want to plant flowers and dig in the earth? When I was young I remember walking on the county road and gathering a bunch of these to put in water at home. There is just something about the soft sweetness of a pussy willow that makes the day brighter. Spring hurry!

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Foot's Asleep, Holes in My Socks and I've Cut My Hair with Cuticle Scissors!

I bet you all are wondering what else we do besides homeschool - well, here is a typical weekend:

Addie Mae's foot was asleep so she decided this little number would wake it up:

Jordan insists on wearing clothes that are too small, with holes or so worn out you can see through them - does anyone else deal with this? He has dug WAY TOO SMALL of sweats out of the trash (size 7 - he is 11 years old mind you) and this weekend he was wearing another pair of THOSE socks - you know, the socks where you can see the soles of his feet through them because they are so thin! I had to wrestle him down and rip the sock off. Of course, he was looking to just dig it back out of the garbage. So I fixed him - well at least I tried - take a look at it now:

Now, you ask about what Lexie is up to? Well, while I was grocery shopping this weekend and Dad was watching (NOT) her, she decides to become a beautician with a pair of cuticle scissors:

Loretta: Can you help with this????? Aren't you a magician - I mean beautician? Can't you glue bangs back on? I can't help but wonder how long she was in the bathroom, I mean cuticle scissors are tiny!!! I'm lucky her hair was in braids and she only trimmed the ends of those - otherwise she might have had a crew cut when I got back!

Nathan Hale - and the Battle of Long Island (we lost this one!)

No, don't worry, we're not torturing our children (too much anyway) in homeschooling! This is Nathan Hale - one of the brave souls who gave his life for his country. He really looks dead huh? Don't worry he's not! We also have a bit of information for you about the battle at Long Island. The revolutionists were almost trapped in this one but God provides a way out and George Washington took it!

I Think They Might Be Dead

See this one (Loretta).

And this one (Barb).

I think something must have happened to them. I think they might have died. Kristi, what do you think? If they don't start writing soon I am going to invite our brothers to become sisters. Oh can you imagine what ugly girls they will make?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fort Ticonderoga and the Siege of Boston

Hi Sisters and Nieces! We had a great time with this lesson - check out the cannon we made:

Here is Ethan Allen surprising a British Soldier at Fort Ticonderoga - he was so surprised he was caught with his pants down!

Here is Henry Knox, the Ox, hauling the cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston for George Washington so that he can take over Boston from Dorchester Heights (check out Henry's belly, after all, he was 300 pounds):

And now for the video - you are going to learn all kinds of interesting facts - even how to load and fire a cannon. You never know when that information will come in handy!

The Battle of Bunker Hill

We've been learning about the Battle of Bunker Hill this week. As you know, our curriculum is really "hands-on". We made a salt dough map of the battle. Here they are making the map:

And here we have the cast of actors featured in our Bunker Hill video: Abbigail Adams:

And William Prescott:

O.k. - ready for an education? Here we go:

Favorite Ingredients Friday- Chicken Curry

I tried this for the first time a while ago and we really liked it.  It was pretty fast to make and of course it comes from Paula Deen, my cooking hero, so how can you go wrong?  For more great recipes hop over to Overwhelmed With Joy.

Chicken Curry

1/4 cup butter
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 (15 oz.) can coconut milk
1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth 
1 1/2 tbs. curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
You can add 1/4 cup raisins but we don't like them 
Hot cooked rice or couscous

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until lightly browned.  Remove from skillet, and set aside.  Add onions, garlic and ginger; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Return chicken to skillet.

Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, broth, curry powder, and cinnamon; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Stir in fish sauce; simmer uncovered 20 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and salt.  Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sunny Saturday Adventures

Saturday when Barb and Rick brought Joey and Kallista to see the rabbit it turned out to be beautiful and sunny. One of the first things that has to happen is a visit to the chickens to see if any eggs are laid. The hens have been a little lazy lately so even though one was on the nest there was nary an egg. But the chickens enjoyed the sun while free ranging.

I love to look at the hens while they are outside roaming about. Now if I could just train them not to poop wherever they feel like it.

Next we had to have a story from Grandma Barb. Isn't Kallista a doll?

Even Joey got in on the story. What a handsome young man.

Kallista looking at the rabbit very seriously.

Yep, Dave and Rick chewing the fat and solving most of the world's problems.

Notice how Kallista just couldn't stop looking at that rabbit. Barb has about the cutest grandchildren (next to mine of course). Joey and Kallista.

I gave Joe my old digital camera. Here he is intently taking photos. He is a very quick study.

This is a close up of the er, umm expired frog. I still think Grandma Barb should have let us preserve him for Joe.

O.K. One last time to dig in the Joey goes to check it out. Of course this was when Barb and Rick were trying to leave.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Frog CPR

Saturday morning Barb brought her two sweet grandchildren to visit and see Kelli's rabbit. As they were getting ready to leave Joey found a frog in our swimming pool. He was wishing it was alive but sadly most things die from chemicals fairly soon. But he retrieved it and here he is trying to give it CPR. He wanted to keep it so bad and I offered to put it in a jar and preserve it with vinegar but Barb was having no part of that.  Gosh Barb, you are kind of a mean grandma.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Revolutionary War - Battle at Concord

Well, we're at the Battle of Concord now - we even have special effects. Check out the smoke when the town is set on fire =0) The revolutionists get a bit shaken when they see the size of the Redcoat Army - they kind of look like the Don Knox Movie: Shakiest Gun in the West for a minute - but they recover nicely and send the redcoats a pack'n!!! We revolutionists seem to have caught a cold in the middle of this fighting - so please excuse the red noses and coughing! For those of you who lurk here without commenting - please comment. My kids love it! They are so excited to see if anyone has watched their videos. Sisters & nieces - pay close attention - you want to make sure you pass your test!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Look Who's Having A Birthday

This is Loretta's daughter, Schelly.

These are photos from our day visiting Loretta in Astoria. Schelly was busy showing us everything about the beach.
Happy 7th Birthday Schelly. We love you!

Who Me?

Did you ever open the newspaper and find something like this? Normally I don't but every once in a while I will go to read the continuation of some article and find it chopped up or removed completely. This seemed to be the horoscope section cut out. I have a pet peeve about Dave taking the newspaper to work with him every day and then he brings it home and reads it the entire evening as well. So by the time I get to read it the day is gone and sometimes it is the next day. I wondered if Kelli had cut this out for some strange reason but couldn't imagine that any horoscope was all that important. I do look at the horoscope but I don't really care one way or the other if I miss it. However, I. Hate. Holes. In. My. Paper.

So Dave is casually hogging reading the paper when I walk through the room. See how innocent he looks when asked who cut the hole in the paper? "Who me?" he says in mock surprise after my accusations begin to flow.

Yeah you turkey trot.
Turns out he gave away the horoscope to some desperate woman at work because she needed it for a birthday gift for a friend. Well it is a cheap cost effective gift I guess. Hope the horoscope prediction was at least a good one.