Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen #60: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time for Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen
(A weekly linky where you can share your special time in the kitchen, such a great place for learning. You can also link up Kid-Friendly Recipes)

The linky is at the bottom.

It is that time of year again. Time for pumpkin recipes galore. Hubby loves his pumpkin (especially pumpkin pie). Though I haven't made him the pie he keeps begging for yet, the girls and I did make some cookies. For the last few years we have been making these yummy soft pumpkin cookies. I don't even remember where I found the recipe originally. This year I decided to change them up slightly and make them with chocolate chips. They were really good!


2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

First we combined the dry ingredients (except the sugar).  The girls alternated holding the bowl and stirring. I love it when they cooperate so well.

We set the flour mixture aside and creamed the sugar and the butter.

Then we added the pumpkin, egg and vanilla.

Next we mixed in the flour mixture. 

Finally we stirred in the chocolate chips.

I let the girls help grease the cookie sheet and...

...they also helped scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets (about a heaping tablespoon for each).

We baked them at 350° for 16 minutes. The recommended time is 15-18 minutes.

Do you have your children help you in the kitchen?  What lessons do they learn? Do you have any kid friendly recipes to share?

I'd love to see your posts, whether you have done something this week or some time in the past. Just link up below. This is a weekly linky.

I am linking up to:


Full Time Mama
More the Merrier Monday

Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Try a New Recipe Tuesday at Home to Four Kiddos
The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane
Friday Food Frenzy at Close to Home
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Foodie Friends Friday at Robyn'sView
Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home

And here is my Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen linky

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

VocabularySpellingCity (a TOS Review)

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Spelling is a subject the hubby and I decided we wanted to add into the girl's schooling this year. Actually, it was Tabitha we were a bit concerned about because we thought she wasn't being challenged enough. The problem was, I wasn't sure how to go about adding spelling to our day. I was thrilled when the opportunity came up with the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review VocabularySpellingCity. is an award-winning game-based learning site in which students in grades K-12 can work on literacy skills such as spelling and vocabulary (hence the name of the site), but there is so much more. This family owned company has continued to introduce new features since 2008 when it was originally just a spelling practice site. They now include various language arts lessons and writing among their many Teaching Resources.

You can register with just the basic package, but there are so many benefits to signing up for the VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership and that is what we were given as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Here is a chart comparing the basic and premium features:

For only $29.99 a year for up to 5 children with a home membership I can use this for all of my girls. You can find out more about their features by checking out the videos here.

Once you are logged it you will find your Parent Toolbox at the top of the screen.

In order to get a child started you need to add a word list. You can either create your own based upon what your children are learning, or you can search the site. There are thousands of ready made word lists from Dolch Sight Words to Science and Math Vocabulary. I was able to find a set of lists I like by searching for the lists a friend had published and importing the ones I felt were appropriate. I have also created a couple of my own lists for Tabitha. 

You can search for lists by teacher/parent's name, the list name, or even by the school's name. I discovered that 3 teachers in our school district have some spelling lists shared on VocabularySpellingCity. 

Once I created my lists I was able to create assignments for the girls. I have to say, this is one of my favorite features of the Premium membership. Yes, you can create lists with a basic membership and then the children can play games to help learn how to spell the words. However, by being able to create individualized assignments for the girls, I just have to go in at the beginning of the week, pick the word list I would like each girl to work on and choose the games/activities I want to make sure they complete. I decided not to set a due date for the assignments at this point, but it is an option. 

There are many different kinds of activities to choose from. I can choose up to 10 for each assignment. I always start the girls with a Practice Spelling Test to see which of the words they know. Then I have them do the Spelling Teach Me which spells out each word for them and uses it in a sentence. (If you create your own lists one of the things you do is choose the sentence you want it to use.)

I then choose up to 7 games for the girls to play to reinforce the spelling of the word. I usually give them: Word Unscramble, Missing Letter, Test-N-Teach, Audio Word Match and Sentence Unscramble, plus Tabitha gets Sentence Writing Practice. Then I have them write the words in their notebooks. I just discovered that I can also print out handwriting worksheets, but I think I am going to continue to have them write them in their notebooks to avoid losing loose pieces of paper. After they have practiced they take the test, Spelling TestMe. Once they are all done they get to choose some of the other fun games to play. Both of them have said that their favorite game is Hang Mouse.

They love to try to guess the words and spell them correctly before the cat wakes completely up and catches the mouse by the tail. At the top left of the screen it will tell them how many guesses they have remaining, however, you can also tell because the cat wakes up a little at a time if the letter guessed is incorrect.

The Manage Assignments page will show me which assignments they have completed, though once they are working on the assignment I can not edit it. However, if I would like to have them do some other assignment with the same word list I can just create another assignment. I have to say, I would have liked to be able to edit the current assignment, that is one thing I wish was different. 

I can also check the results of their tests. For now they have only been taking spelling tests. The vocabulary is one of the features available with the premium membership. Unfortunately, the girls have to be able to read the words themselves, so we really haven't been able to use this feature as the definitions include words the girls can not read.

I also love that I can check their work. I can see how long it took them to complete each assignment, the scores on the tests and which words were missed.

I can definitely see the benefits of using the Premium Membership, though many of the fun games are available with the Basic Membership if finances are a concern. The additional premium games are fun, though the girls have been spending more time on the Basic games. 

Here are a list of the additional games/activities we have access to:

Vocabulary TestMe
Speedy Speller
Sentence Writing Practice
Paragraph Writing Practice
Match It Sentences
Match It Definitions
Which Word Sentences
Which Word Definitions
Parts of Speech.

As of now we have just used the Letter Fall. But as they get older we will be able to use more. 

This is a wonderful site for fun ways to practice spelling words. I remember, when I was in elementary school, that we would have to alphabetize our words one day, write them 5 times each another and on the third day write them in sentences.  There was so much writing involved. As the girls get older, a little more writing will be fine. But with VocabularySpellingCity they can practice their words without having to do so much writing. They really get to explore the words while reading and listening to them, filling in missing letters, rearranging letters, etc. 

You can check out more reviews by clicking here.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: October 30, 2013 (w/linky)- Pumpkins with a message

We stopped at a farmer's stand a couple of weeks ago and the children each picked out a pumpkin.

Last night we finally got around to carving our pumpkins. This was a first for all of them I think. We don't usually carve pumpkins as we do not celebrate Halloween. However, we wanted to use this opportunity to share a gospel message. I found a really cool book at the library called The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs which "illustrates how a loving Farmer can turn a simple pumkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God's transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light."

"God's word is alive and working. It is sharper than a sword sharpened on both sides. It cuts all the way into us...And God's word judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts." Hebrews 4:12

"I am the Lord, and I can look into a person's heart." Jeremiah 17:10

"He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from west." Psalm 103:12

We, however, did not put faces on our pumpkins as the farmer did in the book. I wanted to show that Jesus is the light of the world. 

We have 5 pumpkins so we could write the name JESUS. Now we just have to get them on the porch and get some light shining in them.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.


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