Sciabica's Olive Oil Field Trip

Ok, so the rest of yesterday went better than the first part of the morning. I wanted to share the details of the field trip we went on with our homeschool group.

We visited Nick Sciabica & Sons Olive Oil Company which is located about 40 minutes from our house. I have to admit, I had no idea there was an olive oil producing plant so near to us. They've been there since 1936. I just buy the big jugs of olive oil at Costco without a second thought. Now, however, I have added a new favorite place to shop to my list.

I won't go into details on the history of the business; that can be found on their website.

We arrived a few minutes early and planned to spend the time browsing in the gift shop. We were greeted by one of the owners, Daniel Sciabica. What a friendly man! He chatted with us and had some questions about homeschooling, which we happily answered.

Here are my kiddos standing in front of one of the displays, looking like they're homeschooled. :)

When the rest of our group arrived, we were led into the tasting room. On the tables was a baggie that held pieces of bread for dipping, a napkin, a small bottle of water and a place mat with six samples of their oils.

Jonathan, who is a nephew and a third generation Sciabica, gave a wonderfully insightful presentation on the history of their company and olive oil. He explained the different types of oils, health benefits, how olives came to be in California (no, they are not native-they were brought by Spanish missionaries), and answered questions ranging from "how many olive varieties are there?" to "what's the best way to bake with olive oil?" You could tell this gentleman had a passion for his family business.

He shared with us the fact that his 94 year old grandfather who started the business still comes to work every day. He told us his uncle passed away last year at the age of 100. They contribute their lengthy lives to olive oil. I'm now a convert.

Back to the tastings. The top three oils in the picture are ones that are harvested at different times. They range from the #1 very light and buttery tasting (best for baking) to the #3 that has a stronger, more biting flavor. The longer the olive is on the tree, the more mild the flavor.

The bottom three oils are flavored oils-lemon, basil & garlic. All I can say is YUM! I did not know olive oil could taste so delicious. They cold-press the lemon or basil or garlic directly with the olives resulting in a phenomenal taste. Jonathan explained that this is done instead of heat infusing to avoid contaminating the oil.

Here's the kids trying some. In the background Lulu is drinking it directly from the cup.

They have several flavored oils. The kids favorite was the jalapeno.

They also stock a wonderful balsamic vinegar that is bottled in Italy just for their label.

I came home with a cookbook that I can't wait to try out, a bottle of their Marsala blend, which is used for everyday cooking, a bottle of the Mission Variety Spring Harvest, which is used for baking, a sampler pack of eight of their flavored oils (Laina cooked eggs in the jalapeno one this morning), a can of pasta sauce that is made locally using their oil and some olive oil that is pressed with edible lavender and specially bottled for skin care use. I will definitely be using their olive oils and vinegars exclusively in the future.

This was a great field trip and was enjoyed by all ages in our group. And since it included food, you just can't top that!


Homeschool Moms Have Feelings Too!

I'd like to strangle all of my children this morning. And it's only 8:30.

Oh wait, I'm sorry. Did I say that out loud?

Nope, couldn't have been me. I'm a homeschool mom. I loooove my children. We're a perfect family and my household runs smoothly. All. the. time.

Especially on the mornings that everyone needs to be ready to leave the house at a specified time for a field trip.

Snort! Laugh. Ha. Ha.

I think this is the view that a lot of people take on us homeschool moms. That we have it all together and our children actually listen the first time. And don't talk back. And get up on time. And brush their teeth without being told. You get the picture.

Now maybe there are some families out there like that. Or maybe they just give the appearance of it. But most of the ones I've talked to have the same issues I do. It's life, it's reality.

So if we grumble and complain every now and then, even though this is the choice we made for the better of our family, just grin and bear it. Homeschool moms have feelings too.

Now I'm off to load up my bright and shining pupils for that field trip.

It's going to be a long day.


The Pioneer Woman

I wanted to share this blog with you that I fell upon quite by accident.

The link was shared on another blog that I follow, because the Pioneer Woman was featured on the Fox and Friends show for her cooking. She apparently makes wonderful cinnamon rolls.

So I spent quite a bit of time exploring her blog and let me tell you, she is hilarious!

She is a homeschooling mom who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma. She shares homeschooling, photography, cooking, ranch life, her love story with her husband, all in her posts. All with a refreshing sense of humor.

I was literally laughing at loud at my computer. The kids were wondering what I was up to over here that they weren't privy to.

Go by and check her out. You won't be disappointed.


Conman's Workboxes

Another fairly smooth day today. Everyone was done by noon again without any major issues.

We started our picture study this week. I hung up a printout of Barn Owl by John James Audubon. The kids studied it and then I asked them to tell me all that they could remember about the picture. Blakester and Lulu gave me descriptions of what was in the picture and Conman told me a story about what he thought was happening. Always a little different, that one!

We started a new read-aloud yesterday. The vote was 2 to 1 for Heidi.

Even though we're transitioning to Charlotte Mason, I'm continuing to use workboxes for their scheduling aspect. I thought I'd share what was in Conman's workboxes today.

These are in no particular order:

2 pages of Math U See Beta workbook. He is working on measuring this week. Part of the 2nd page we completed orally. It works better for him sometimes.

A synonym file folder game from Language Arts Mix and Match Games. These are fun because you choose the topic to work on and the game board, so all the games can be mixed and matched.

Copywork for Little Boys from Queen Homeschool. He does one lesson a day.

Since last week we spent our nature time scouting for bugs, I threw this book sticker book into one of his boxes. Just for fun...

We have a couple more weeks left in our science study of the human body. This week we've been focusing on lungs, breathing, air, etc. This box has a printout of a lung to label and the book Air Is All Around You. This one came from the library. I love the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Books. The illustrations are colorful and the text is simply written, making it very easy for a second grader to understand the concept being taught. This one had a simple experiment in it to show how air can be contained underwater. He was really pleased that he could do it on his own.

Language Lessons for the Very Young from Queen Homeschool. He enjoys this so we complete anywhere from one to three lessons a day. It usually equals a page of work.

Building Thinking Skills workbook. He completed the lessons today orally, since they entailed quite a bit of writing.

This is an addition chart I downloaded from themasterplanner.com. Sorry, I'm not sure if it was on the free downloads or if it came with a planner I bought. I laminated it (yes, real laminate this time-no packing tape) and had Conman use a dry erase marker to fill in the sums. Of course, he didn't complete the whole chart today. This will be an ongoing project.

And finally, another library book about fruit. This ties into our food pyramid study.

After looking at the realistic pictures in this, he requested a fruit and yogurt parfait for lunch, just like in the book.

Till tomorrow~


The Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... February 22, 2010

Outside my window...sunshine this afternoon.

I am thinking...that school today went rather well.

I am thankful for... my level-headed husband.

I am wearing... a brown t-shirt, jeans and slippers.

I am remembering...friends from high school.

I am going... to start writing out our upcoming lesson plans via Charlotte Mason. I'm very excited to put some of her ideas to paper.

Some plans for the rest of the week...exercise, orthodontist appointment for Lulu and a field trip to an olive oil plant.

I am currently reading... Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer, The Bible, A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, The Original Homeschooling Series.

I am hoping... that our tax information will come out good.

On my mind...my children's behavior lately.

From the learning room....everyone finished before lunch today!

Noticing that... again-I'm not pleased with my children's behavior lately!

Pondering these words... attention.

I am creating...a new homeschool/household planner notebook-still.

I am hearing...the kiddos playing Country Rock Band on the Wii. And arguing.

From the kitchen... roast in the crockpot with potatoes, carrots and gravy. Chocolate cake for dessert.

Around the house... calmness with my surroundings.

One of my favorite things...pajamas.

From my picture journal... a random picture I opened from my computer. This is what's painted in one of the bedrooms of our house in Texas. Not my doing-it was like that when we bought it!

Have a wonderful evening~


Book Review of "Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts"

I received Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Third Edition, complimentary from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review of it. This is my first official review for Thomas Nelson.

This is a compilation of several of the maps and study charts used in many of Nelson's previous reference books. The full color maps and charts are divided into Old Testament and New Testament, then further divided between the books of the Bible. This makes for easy reference.

The maps show locations that biblical events occurred, the configuration of lands during biblical times and routes traveled by the men of the Bible.

The variety of charts and outlines in this edition is phenomenal. Major biblical events are compared and contrasted and outlined in precise summaries.

I enjoyed reading through this book. It did not present itself strictly as a reference books full of boring details. It was like reading through a simple, concise story of the Bible, with the maps and charts there to help the story come alive.

This is a must have for homeschoolers. I plan on using it in our upcoming history cycle, beginning with the ancients.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Cheap Finds of the Week

The weather was so nice this last week. We spent as much time as we could doing some outdoor activities.

Wednesday we spent about 3 hours at a park just enjoying the sunshine.

Tuesday we ventured to the flea market and a couple of thrift stores to see if we could find any good deals.

At one of our favorite vendors I picked up a CD that I had mentioned in a previous post. It is titled 53 All-American Bird Songs and Calls. Each bird is introduced and then it plays about a minute of their song. A really fun tool to use in our nature study. I paid a whole 25 cents for it.

I picked up a few books between the flea market and a thrift store that offers 50% off on Tuesdays.

The four Dear America books and The Wizard of Oz were $2.00 total.

Charlie's Raven by Jean Craighead George and The Organized Homeschooler by Vicki Caruana were .15 cents each! I've checked The Organized Homeschooler out of the library before and she has some useful ideas so I was glad to add it to my library.

I don't usually buy knick-knack type things, but I found this cute little jar. It was 50 cents, so I decided to go ahead and get it. The top part comes off and the bottom is a little ramekin. The apples on it are very similar to a teapot I have, so I couldn't resist.

Lulu found 2 pairs of Old Navy brand capris at the thrift store. They came to $3.00 total. Great for spring weather!

Now it's back to some more cleaning out and organizing. I'm hoping to finish up this weekend so we'll start our school week fresh.

Til tomorrow~


Wednesday Nature Study

Our nature study this week was spread out between yesterday and today.

Yesterday I worked on recording information on our personal field guide that we started last week. Laina added a couple more birds she had spotted to some cards, and then I wrote down the common name, scientific name, location, size, diet and egg characteristics. I then laminated (well, not really laminated, more like covered them with packing tape) them, punched a hole through them and attached a ring to hold it all together.

We also spent some time listening to a cd of bird songs that I found at the flea market. The kids enjoyed hearing the songs and trying to figure out what they sounded like. They decided some sounded like hammers, pigs, and cats. This will definitely be listed on my cheap finds for the week.

Today we took up the Outdoor Hour Challenge #8-magnifying. The boys decided bugs would be a good focus area to try out, so armed with our bug catchers and magnifying glass, we marched outside. They unearthed a couple of things just by turning over some stones.

Blakester was happy to find an earthworm. Although technically not an insect, we counted it towards our bug finds. When he went inside he read a little about them and drew an awesome picture of one tunneling in his nature journal. He was especially interested in what they eat. Did you know earthworms are omnivorous?

Conman found a pill bug and a small white worm. He put them into his bug catcher pretty quick and wouldn't let me take a picture of them.

Lulu disturbed a colony of ants, so that is what she chose to sketch in her journal. The picture doesn't show them well, but they were scrambling all over this rock.

Lulu has already hit the computer to print out photos of the bugs to add to our field guide.

Hopefully as the weather becomes nicer, we'll be able to find more interesting critters!

Til tomorrow~


Charlotte Mason Method Update

The kids are settled in bed reading and I'm enjoying a bowl of popcorn to top off my evening.

We have a lighter school schedule this week due to some other commitments. I'm taking advantage of the in-between free time to continue cleaning out and replanning the course of our studies.

Last week I introduced dictation to Lulu and Blakester via the e-book, Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason. It went over rather well. The kids read the selection I gave them out loud, then looked it over to see if there were any words they did not know how to spell. They were able to study the paper for as many days as needed, as long as they completed the dictation part with me by Thursday. Blakester took the initiative to copy it down a couple times to practice spelling it and to work on his handwriting. Lulu just read it over. When the time for dictation came, Blakester was able to correctly write out his selection, while Lulu missed a word. As suggested, I covered up the misspelled word with a sticky note and told her to study the correctly spelled word and then rewrite it on the sticky tab when she was ready. She's been walking around muttering the word to herself to help remember it. They were given their dictation assignments yesterday to start studying, so we'll see how it goes this week.

I mentioned in a previous post the next thing I was going to add in was picture study. We chose John James Audubon to study and I was able to find free prints online at Audubon.org and picked six of them to study. I'll introduce this next week. I'm excited about starting this since the kids are on board with it.

The third thing I'll introduce is poetry study. We already read a different poem or two each day.

I'll use the Simply Charlotte Mason poetry guide and choose a poet to focus on. We'll read a short bio on that person and then concentrate on one poem a week for six weeks. This way the kids get a feel for the way that particular poet writes.

Blakester has already made it clear he does not care for his current (new) California history workbooks. When we were at the library last week we chose some living books on the missions to start reading and he can practice his narration on them. I guess for now we'll ditch the workbooks altogether!

Til tomorrow-


The Simple Womans Daybook

FOR TODAY... February 15, 2010

Outside my window...fog-although not extremely bad. It will clear up.

I am thinking...I need to visit a chiropractor.

I am thankful for... a God who loves me.

I am wearing... a black t-shirt w/stars on it, jeans and my new tennies!

I am remembering...past trips to Disneyland .

I am going... to coffee with friends this morning and then exercise. Tonight a 4H meeting with Lulu.

Some plans for the rest of the week...flea market tomorrow, taking Lulu to a youth day at church on Wednesday, babysitting my niece Thursday & Friday. And clean, clean, clean. This is why we're having a relaxed school schedule this week.

I am currently reading... Obsessed by Ted Dekker, The Bible, A Charlotte Mason Companion, The Original Homeschooling Series.

I am hoping... that I've lost some weight when I weigh in today.

On my mind...the health of my mom's husband.

From the learning room....a relaxed schedule this week due to other plans.

Noticing that... Conman is a bit more active this morning than usual. And that's saying alot!

Pondering these words... sacrifice.

I am creating...a new homeschool/household planner notebook.

I am hearing...Conman pouring cereal into a bowl and chatting to himself.

From the kitchen... leftovers from the fridge-lasagna and chicken noodle soup.

Around the house... things are looking better.

One of my favorite things...my cats.

From my picture journal...a picture of a fort that Conman created a couple weeks ago. It included a play area & a school area. The sign read something like "Kids only, no adults. Cats allowed".

Enjoy your day~


Mother's Version of 1 Corinthians 13

I received this in an e-mail newsletter from Above Rubies. It definitely helps me remember what is important when dealing with my kids.

I can read bedtime stories, till the cow jumps over the moon and sing, "Ten Little Monkeys", until I want to call the doctor--but if I don't have love, I'm as annoying as a ringing phone.

I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and listening to voice mail. I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the neighborhood and I can tell a sick child's temperature with one touch of my finger-but if I don't have love, I am nothing.

Love is patient while watching and praying by the front window when it's 30 minutes past curfew.

Love is kind when my teen says "I hate you!"

Love does not envy the neighbors' swimming pool or their brand-new mini-van, but trusts the Lord to provide every need.

Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and insecurities and love rejoices when other families succeed.

Love doesn't boast, even when I've multi-tasked all day long and my husband can't do more than one thing at a time.

Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks,
"What have you done today?"

Love does not immediately seek after glory when we see talent in our children, but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.

Love is not easily angered when my 15-year-old acts like the world revolves around her.

Love does not delight in evil (is not self-righteous) when I remind my 17 year old that he's going 83 in a 55 mph zone, but rejoices in the truth.

Love does not give up hope.

Love always protects our children's self esteem and spirit, even while doling out discipline.


Cheap Finds of the Week

I'm finding it is difficult to blog every night as I had originally intended to do. Life tends to take precedence over the computer, and it definitely did this last week.

Thursday I was able to take some time, without the kiddos, and complete some errands I was needing to do. I needed some new tennies for my exercising. My old ones were hurting my feet. I also wanted to drive up to a homeschool supply store that is about forty minutes from my home and see about trading/selling some of the curriculum I've been clearing out. I was able to accomplish those things and make a couple more fun stops on the way.

I have shopped at Eagle's Nest at the local homeschool convention, but had not been to her store. I was excited to find she carries the science, copywork and English products we use. So I will definitely be purchasing from her in the future! I only brought home a couple of items for now.

  • One was the Landmark Book John James Audubon. Next week I'll be adding picture study to our day and we had decided to start with his prints. They will tie in nicely with our nature study. We'll start reading this to go along with it, also. It was $3.00.
  • I also picked up Wisdom and The Millers by Mildred A. Martin. We'll be using this in our character trait study in the future.

I stopped at a couple thrift stores and found a few more books I thought the kids would like.

I thought the boys would enjoy this game. It was only 99 cents. The players use cards to determine what they are to build. Then they spin to find out what piece they can use next. The fun part is they get to nail the pieces to a board to complete their picture. The game came complete with a little wooden hammer, nails, pattern blocks, cards, and the wooden boards to nail to.

The last stop I made was at a teacher supply store. They had a large 50% off section I browsed through. I found a pack of construction paper crayons. They are brighter colors that show up better on construction paper and paper bags. Blakester tried them out and they really do work.

We already have the living math book Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. I found three other ones in that series that were 50% off:

That was it for this week.

It was great to find a homeschool resource close by and I will definitely be shopping at and supporting her store in the future.

Next week, weather permitting, we plan on hitting the flea market for some fun!

Till tomorrow-hopefully~


Wednesday Nature Study

Our nature study took a little different turn today.

A few days ago, I was pulling weeds and came across some new "sprouts" in the flower bed. When I yanked them up there were large seeds attached. I'm not sure which plant or tree they came from. Even an online search did not net a lot of information.

I brought the seeds inside to dry out, with the idea that the kids could dissect them. I printed off a diagram from Enchanted Learning that showed the main parts of a seed and had the kids identify the parts they could and then sketch a picture and label it. They did really well considering we were improvising with our supplies!

Here's what the seed looked like once the seed coat was taken off. If anyone knows what this is, please let me know!

Here they are working away diligently at their drawings.

Here is Conman's version of the seed. He didn't bother to label it. I think he was more concerned with getting back to his Lego army.

Lulu did a great job on the detail of hers.

And finally, Blakester's.

It was fun to do something different that felt more like natural, rather than contrived, learning.

The kids did decide to create their own field guide of birds we've spotted. Lulu found photos on the internet and printed them off. Next, we need to glue them to index cards and write out the distinguishing features of each bird. She even went a step further and printed pictures of their nests and eggs to include on our guide. I'll post pictures when they complete it.

Till tomorrow~


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...