Final Projects

In case you haven’t heard, today was our last day of school.  Not only was this the last day of our school year, but it was also the last day for our home school.  Next year, all three of our children will be in public school.  As a final assignment, Rebecca and Timothy were asked to write a letter to someone in which they talked about the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling. I decided I would publish their letters here.

Rebecca’s final project for Grade 8:

Dear You:

Hey! How’s life?  Mine’s going pretty well, today is my last day of eighth grade!  I have a bunch of plans for summer, and I know that it’s gonna be a great summer!  Then I start my freshman year as a Cowboy at Southwood High School!  Since today is my last day of Homeschool, I’m going to give you some of the benefits and downsides of Homeschooling.

There are multiple benefits to Homeschooling.  You have more free time to spend with family or other Homeschooled friends.  You never have to worry about Homework, because you git it all done in class.  You can work at your own pace, and you can get all the extra help you need!  You also have some input for what you study, and you can be pretty creative for how you do it.  Lastly your schedule can be really flexible!

For me, there were a few downsides to homeschooling too.  First, you’re in a class by yourself, and you don’t get to see your friends everyday.  It’s also hard to play sports or do extracurricular activities like choir or Student Council.  Lastly, it can be hard to decide what to do with all your free-time!  Haha.

Homeschooling has been great and I think I’m gonna miss it a little next year.  I am excited to be at a public school, but Home school will always hold a special place in my heart!

Love,

Rebecca

Timothy’s final project for Grade 5:

Dear Someone,

Hey, this is Timothy.  How are you doing?  I am doing good.  It is beautiful down here.  How is your family?  Mine is good.  Here are some benefits about homeschooling.

The benefits are you can go on more field trips in homeschool.  School is much shorter, sometimes.  You can also have some input in what you study, and if you like spending time with your parents this is for you.

There are downsides too.  There is a lot more writing.  You can’t play many sports.  This might be a downside for you – you have a small class.

My conclusion is that homeschooling is fun.  There are a couple downsides, but otherwise it is very fun.

Timothy

I found some M & Ms in my refrigerator today…

…you may be thinking I am about to make a confession regarding these M & Ms.  I am.

But I am NOT going to confess to you that I ate them.  Nope, that’s not the confession.  Even if I wasn’t trying to eat healthier, I wouldn’t have eaten these M & Ms.  You are no doubt familiar with the “5 second rule”.  Well, these candies wouldn’t have been edible if that was the “5 month rule”.  How do I know this?  The last time we had M & Ms in our fridge was June.  2010.  That’s right.  I remember it well.  Someone from our church in Michigan sent home a bag of them last June when we were getting ready to move.  She said she knew we would have lots of kids in and out of our house during the packing and moving and so we could share them.  I remember one day when there were tons of kids running around, some of the candy got spilled.  I thought I cleaned them all up.  Apparently not.  Also apparent is that no one noticed the candy in the bottom of my fridge when they moved it.

Because of this discovery, and the fact that there was an orange pop spill in my fridge (at least that was days and not weeks or months or years ago!), I decided to clean out my fridge.  Of course, the other reason I decided to clean out my fridge was because my friend Sarah (of Practical Praise) cleaned hers out weeks ago and posted pictures for me to see.  When Sarah undertakes a cleaning project (which she does often) or when she create something crafty and fantastic (which she also does often) it inspires me.  Now, it doesn’t inspire me to immediate action, mind you.  I have to let the idea sit in my brain for a while.  Then finally, either out of inspiration (in the case of her crafts) or guilt (in the case of her obsessive cleanliness), I am moved to action.

Anyway, regardless of the motivation…I now have a clean refrigerator.  Thanks Sarah :D!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

On my quest to eat healthier (thanks a lot Sarah Taplin!) I have been searching on-line for healthy snack recipes.  Yesterday I found a recipe for chocolate peanut butter banana muffins and was amazed to find that I had (almost) everything I needed to make these muffins – even the overripe bananas.

As is my way, I changed the recipe up just a little and made it my own.  I don’t think my changes made the recipe any less healthy, they just worked with what I had on hand.  The muffins turned out great and even TJ (who hates bananas, banana bread, etc.) has eaten two of them so far this afternoon.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 large overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used homemade from almonds and raw cashews, but any will work)

Method

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.  Stir in the honey, egg, and applesauce.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the pastry flour, ground flax seed, unbleached flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and gently fold together.  Add in the chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin cup about half full.

Add 1 tsp of peanut butter to the middle of each cup.

Top each muffin cup with the remaining batter and smooth over to cover the peanut butter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out with no wet chocolate batter.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 30 minutes and then remove from the pan and move to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Some notes about these muffins:

  1. The combination of the applesauce and bananas makes for a very moist muffin.  The next time I make them, I will use paper muffin liners, rather than just spraying the muffin cups.
  2. If your oven is bakes uneven like mine, you may have one or two chocolate peanut butter banana lava muffins – the two muffins in the center of our pan never get fully cooked, however they were still really good.
  3. Rebecca, TJ and I agreed that next time we will use more peanut butter in the filling.

Homemade Granola Bars

I should really make a new tag and call it “post a month” because I am way behind in this post a day thing.  Oh well…

I’ve been trying to change up our eating habits at the Cobb house.  Nothing extreme, just trying to get more fruits and vegetables into our diet while reducing the amount of processed foods we eat.  I have spent the last few days reading blogs and recipe sites looking for some new recipes to try on the family.  I was really interested in finding a granola bar recipe.  I don’t like to eat a big meal at breakfast – I would rather just grab a granola bar.  The Special K bars are my favorite – Chocolate Pretzel, Raspberry Cheesecake…YUM.

I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of making granola bars at home then they either had to be healthier, cheaper, or both.  I found several granola bar recipes, but even the ones labeled “healthy” had lots of butter and sugar added.  So, I decided to do something that I rarely do, and I created my own recipe.  I was really happy with the results.  Not only are they pretty darn yummy, but they have no preservatives, high fiber, and relatively low calories (If my numbers are correct, around 150 calories per bar).

Of course, since I didn’t know how they would turn out, I didn’t take any pictures along the way.  If I remember, I will take some more pictures of the next batch and post those (at my current rate of posting, look for those in mid-June!).  However I do have one picture of the bar, taken after they were cut and wrapped.

Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1  2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup wheat bran
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 oz dried pineapple
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp dried cherries
  • 1 oz chopped raw almonds
  • 1 oz chopped raw cashews
  • 1 Tbsp flax seed
  • 1 oz sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup nut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8X8 baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix rolled oats, wheat flour, wheat bran, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add fruit, seeds, and nuts to the dry mixture.  In a separate bowl, whisk together nut butter and honey.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix really well.  Add applesauce and mix again.

Press the mixture into the greased 8X8 baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown.  Allow to cool completely and then cut and wrap.  Makes 16 square bars.

Some notes about these bars:

  1. They are really chewy, rather than being a crisp granola bar.
  2. The dried fruits, nuts, and seeds can be exchanged for just about anything you like.  The key is to have between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of this component – it can be all fruit, all nut, or any random combination.
  3. You can use any nut butter that you like.  I made my own with a combination of raw cashews and almonds, but any nut butter will work.
  4. I think I am going to try these in a 9X13 baking dish next, just to see if I like the texture of a thinner bar.

Enjoy!!

Linden’s World

When we first moved to Louisiana, Linden experienced a total personality switch.  Gone was the self-confident, outgoing little girl from Michigan.  In her place was a quiet, shy little girl.  Oh, she could still scream and throw a tantrum with the best of them, but she was extremely quiet and clingy whenever we would go to church or anywhere else.  At one point this fall she put her hands on her hips, glared at me, and yelled, “you ruined my life by making me move to Louisiana!”  Good times.

We started the school year in August with Linden being home schooled for Kindergarten.  The less said about that, the better.  Let’s just say that about 9 weeks into the school year, we knew it wasn’t working.  Even though I had heard some not-so-great things about the local school, Tim and I decided Linden really needed to be enrolled in Kindergarten.  It has been a huge blessing.  She is completely over her shy phase – her teachers from Church are constantly commenting on how she is out of her shell and talking and playing with the other kids.  She has made huge strides in reading and writing in the few months that she has been in school.  She was even selected as Student of the Month in her class for February.  She only has 15 students in her class, which is really great for her.  She is also attending speech classes, which are already making a difference.

Linden waiting for the bus on her first day of school

This winter, Linden also participated in Upward Cheerleading.  Even though she said it was “boring”, she enjoyed it and we really think this helped with breaking through her shyness.  She was in a squad of 8 girls, all Kindergarten and 1st grade.  The girls cheered for the Kindergarten-1st grade Upward basketball teams during the 7 game season.  The girls cheered on the sidelines and also performed a halftime cheer each week.

Linden and her squad getting ready to perform a side line cheer

Linden and her squad cheering for the players as they were introduced

Linden and her squad getting ready for their half time cheer

Timothy Update

Yesterday I let everyone know what Rebecca has been doing to stay busy.  So, I thought I would post about what Timothy has been doing lately.

In school, Timothy has been learning grammar in English and working on fractions in Math.  He is studying Europe with his sister in World Cultures and has been learning about sea creatures in Science.

Timothy also recently finished up his first basketball season.  He played Upward Basketball through church and really enjoyed it.  Since this was his first season, he had a lot to learn.  Fortunately, the weather is so nice here during the winter that he was able to go out in the driveway and shoot almost every day.

Timothy has also been spending a lot of time with his good friend from church.  They got to play on the same soccer and basketball teams this year and they were kind enough to “pose” for a picture at one of their games.

Recently, Timothy was awarded with an iPod shuffle from the Children’s Minister at Cypress.  He received this award because he has memorized every scripture verse he has been given since we moved here in July.  This is definitely one of his most treasured possessions now!  Timothy also attends Bible drilling at church on Sunday night and will be competing in the church competition in May.  There are district and state competitions as well and he even has a chance to win a scholarship to youth camp this summer.  When he is not studying, playing sports, or participating in activities at church, he loves to play the Madden 2011 on the wii.

Where did the time go? Rebecca Update

Wow…It’s been almost a month since I posted.  Where did the time go???  Of course, I was really, really sick for a while (the flu, strep AND a sinus infection)…but still, a whole month??

Anyway, I decided I would use my next few posts to let you know what everyone has been up to while I have been AWOL.

Rebecca has been busy with school and lots of activities at church.  In school she is finishing up Algebra and studying Forces in Creation in her Physical Science course.  She is learning about Europe in World Cultures and working her way through a grammar workbook in English.

She has also been cooking a bunch.  Some of her recent recipes include Onigiri

and chocolate mint brownies.

These and other recipes can be found on her blog.  The chocolate mint brownies are insanely good.  Of course, after she made them, we confirmed the fact that the mint chips were a limited time item.  However, once we run out of these chips (we still have like 12 bags, so that won’t happen for a little while), she is going to try using Andes candies baking chips as a substitute.

When she isn’t slaving away in the kitchen and doing her school work, Rebecca has been keeping busy at church.  She is still singing with the youth group band every other week during Collide (the teen Wednesday evening service).   She and her friends were also on the winning team for Chicken, Cow, Duck (one of their youth pastor’s games).

This past weekend was D-Now at our church, which is short for Discipleship Now.  The teens spent the weekend at church having small group sessions, worship meetings, and competing with each other.  The highlight of the weekend for many of the teens was spending the weekend with the Christian group, Revive, who came and hung out with the teens during the weekend and then gave a concert Saturday night.

Thanks to Stacy Rains (the children’s minister at Cypress) who took this picture and also hosted the 7th and 8th grade girls during the weekend.  Hopefully by now she has had a chance to catch up on her sleep (but I doubt it!).

Just an FYI, Rebecca turns 14 next week (March 24)…That cannot be possible!