Thursday, May 28, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} May 28


Wildflowers and garden flowers are blooming all around.  I came across a lovely field of blue flax wildflowers the other day.  I also downloaded a super cool wildflower identification app, specific to Utah, which is how I know these are blue flax :)

My bleeding hearts are in bloom.  


No, our chicks are not laying eggs already.  These are eggs from the neighbors' chickens.  While they are out of town, Angela is taking care of their chickens and goats.  She is paid in eggs and a bit of cash.  She brought home 31 eggs one morning.  I've been making a lot of egg dishes--quiches, custard pies, mayonnaise, etc.


Leo was chillaxin' against a tree just enjoying the day.


While we haven't had the flooding Texas and Oklahoma have had, it has been raining nearly everyday this May.  The Weather Service as said we've had more rain this May than the last three Mays combined.  That is awesome for our yard and garden and will help with replenishing our reservoirs. Our yard and garden are full of little mushrooms from all the moisture.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lime Coconut Custard Pie

I promised the hubster a pie.  I was thinking Key Lime.  The search for the perfect recipe began with a non-dairy substitute for sweetened condensed milk.  I found several ideas for homemade sweetened condensed milk using coconut milk.  Coconut milk is a great substitute in dessert applications, but it does tend to make the final product have a coco-nutty flavor.  That is not the worst outcome, and I think lime and coconut are a good pairing anyway.  I then perused several Key Lime pie recipes and with a little tweak here and there, I think I came up with a pretty good pie, even if it isn't exactly Key Lime.

Lime Coconut Custard Pie

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

Bring two 14 oz cans of full fat coconut milk to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in 1/2 cup of turbinado (raw) sugar.  Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by 1/2.  Set aside and allow to cool.


1 package graham cracker
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/4 cup sugar
5 TBSP unsalted butter; melted

Place first three ingredients in a food processor and process until the texture of sand.  Slowly drizzle melted butter into processor and pulse until the crumbs begin to come together.  Press into a pie plate, being sure to press evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Set aside.


1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
Zest of one lime
5 egg yolks at room temperature

In a mixing bowl mix together the first three ingredients.  With the mixer running add one egg yolk at a time and mix until combined.  Pour into prepared pie crust and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until completely set.  Cool completely on a cooling rack and then chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Kingdom Animalia: Lesson 2

Continuing the lesson plans I wrote for an animal science unit for elementary students--

Lesson 2:  Animal Taxonomy

Read Come Learn With Me: Kingdoms of Life p. 12-13

Learn and memorize animal taxonomy divisions:








You might employ a mnemonic to help with memorization--Kevin's poor cow only feels good sometimes.

Go to  and explore the website.

Project:  Using poster board make an animal classification poster.  This is where having a nice assortment of Safari Ltd. Toob animals would come in handy.  For this project draw a large triangle from top to bottom on the poster board and then divide the triangle into 7 horizontal sections. Label the sections with the taxonomy divisions.  The largest section being Kingdom and the smallest section being Species.  Place all the animals on the Kingdom section.  Tell your student, "This is Kingdom Animalia." Have your child select their favorite animal and move to the next section Phylum (if you are able, select all the animals which would belong in the same phylum).  Continue moving your child's selected animal down the pyramid until you reach genus and species.  At this point you might do an internet search for the selected animal and learn the latin scientific name with usually begins with it's genus name and the species.

For example: A tiger would be part of the Kingdom Animalia; Pylum Chordata (all animals with back bones); Class Mammalia (all mammals); Order Carnivora (all meat eaters); Family Felidae (all cats); Genus Panthera (basically all large cats); Species P. tigris and therefore it's scientific name is Panthera tigris.

Objectives: Student will be able to list in order the divisions of animal taxonomy.  With parental guidance, student will be able to use internet websites as a tool in classifying and identifying different species of animals. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, May 21, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} May 21


I love these delicate little blooms in our shade garden.  I wish I knew what they were.


I love salty, crunchy snacks.  These are homemade sweet potato chips with plenty of sea salt.  They were delicious!


Leo and a blue lolly


This is the sad face of the abandoned baby brother.  Big brother had run off to play with some neighborhood kids, leaving little brother to watch wistfully out the window.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Since our home was broken into in April, Angela has been camping out in Katerina's upstairs bedroom.  Who can blame her?  Even Nadja refuses to sleep in the guest room downstairs.  She's usurped the boys room and the little boys have been sleeping on the floor when she comes for the weekend.  This is a huge problem and I am irked some creep has this much power over our peace of mind.

The little boys share a room which currently has only a twin bed.  For several weeks they have alternated between sleeping on the floor and fighting for space on a dinky bed.  On the nights they share the twin, one usually ends up on the floor and then inevitably in our bed.  We need to find a solution soon before one of them ends up injured.  A queen sized mattress is much too big for that room.  With the fan hanging so low, a bunk bed is out of the question.  The trundle bed frame in Katerina's room is much too girly.

Right now the solution to our problem is to move the two girls into the basement, at least at night.  They'll share the queen sized bed in Angela's room and hopefully will find comfort having each other.  I pulled the mattress off of the trundle and put it directly on the floor in the boys' room and they have decided to take turns sleeping on the "big" bed.  Hopefully I can find a decent used trundle frame through KSL in the next several weeks.  And hopefully, the peeper/intruder will be arrested soon.  I'm sick of him holding us hostage. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kingdom Animalia Science Unit--Lesson 1

Several years ago I wrote a science unit study about Kingdom Animalia for use with our co-op.  This year I pulled it out and used it with Benedict for 3rd grade science and he really enjoyed it.  For the next 15 weeks I will publish here a week by week lesson plan for this unit for anyone interested.  Along with the lesson plan, I will include links to resources and materials you might need or find useful.  In my experience, this unit study would be appropriate for 1st-4th grade.  Depending on the grade level, the reading can be done aloud or assigned to the student.  I own the books used throughout the study, but I bet you might find many of them at your local library or could substitute similar titles.  Other materials you might use are a blank student sketch book, a binder to hold the lesson plans, a good animal encyclopedia (although Ben and I just ended up using Wikipedia), and an assortment of Safari Ltd. Toob animals. You may print the lesson plans by clicking on the print button at the bottom of the post.

Lesson 1: The Kingdoms of Life

Read the story of creation from the book of Genesis

Read Come Learn with Me: The Kingdoms of Life p. 6-11 and 18-19

Learn the six Kingdoms giving an example of each:

Animalia (i.e. lion)

Plantae (i.e. geranium)

Fungi (i.e. mushroom)

Protista (i.e. protozoa--while protista is no longer considered an official Kingdom, I list it here as it was historically a separate kingdom. You may include or discard as you see fit)

Archaea (i.e. halobacteria--archaea are among the ever changing and evolving kingdoms in the field of classification. As scientists continue to study and learn more about these organisms, definitions and classification will continue to change)

Eubacteria (i.e. staphylococcus aureus)

Kingdom Animalia's two major divisions:

Verterbrates (Phylum Chordata) : Amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals

Invertebrates (The other 18 Phyla) : Arthropods, echinoderms, mollusks, porifera, cnidaria, nematods, annelids, platyhelminthes, protozoa

(It is not important for students to learn the names of each kind of animal in each division, just that they are divided by whether they have a back bone or not.  Each type of animal listed will be studied separately and students will gain plenty of exposure to each type)

Objectives: Student will learn to identify and list at least three of the six Kingdoms of Life and be able to give and example for each.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} May 14

I have been completely remiss in posting here lately.  I don't have any real excuse other than a bit of blogger's block.  We do have quite a bit going on I could write about, but I just haven't had the motivation to sit down and write.  Hopefully I'll pick up the pace over the next week or so.  In the meantime, here is the latest from the Mayerle Family in photos.


Rhubarb raspberry upside down cake.  It was also pretty yummy.


It's baseball season for the Benny.  He had a pretty awesome game on Monday.  He had two singles, an RBI, and he threw out a runner on first from right field.  He's one of the youngest kiddos on the team, so he was pretty excited.


Leo loves to go to Ben's games.  Yes, he only goes for the lollipops.  I think he ended up with more lolly on his face than in his tummy.


This is what I love about homeschooling. I caught Ben and Leo deep in a fairytale.  I love the intense look on Ben's face.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} May 7


Everything is in bloom here in the valley.  The air is permeated with the sweet scent of tree blossoms.


Katerina turned 13 this last week.  She had a Japanese themed party complete with sushi for dinner and a piece of sushi shaped cake, as well as a slumber party with 6 of her friends.  I can't believe we have yet another teenager in the house!


The chicks have provided hours upon hours of entertainment for us all.  Leo loves giving them worms dug up from the garden and then watching them go crazy fighting over it.


One of the draw backs of country living is septic troubles.  Our system backed up on us over the weekend.  We've pumped, but there is a block in the line somewhere.  The line is dug up and I'm having it jetted out today and hopefully that will solve our problem.  I can't imagine anything more fun than cleaning raw sewage out of a utility closet. Sigh.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Little Boy

I took Angela and Katerina to see Alejandro Monteverde's newest offering,  Little Boy last week.  What a great movie!  Why this film is not getting more buzz is beyond me.

Little Boy chronicles the experiences of 8 year old Pepper Busby toward the end of World War II as he desperately wishes for the return of his father from the Pacific Theater of battle.  Pepper, nicknamed Little Boy, due to his diminutive size, believes he can use magic to bring his father home.  Seeking the guidance of his parish priest, Little Boy is given a "magical" list of tasks to complete and told if he completes these tasks it will prove his faith and God will bring his father home.  The "magical" list is actually the list of Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.  The priest adds one more task to the list: befriend Hashimoto, an unwelcome Japanese immigrant recently released from an internment camp. As Pepper faithfully completes each task and his hope grows, Hashimoto admonishes the priest, indicating he is misleading and giving false hope to the boy. Father Oliver insists God will bring Pepper's father home, if it is indeed His Will.

There was so much to love about this movie.  I loved the stylization of the film and Monteverde's direction was wonderful. The film was completely stolen by the performance of Jakob Salvati as the title character; with excellent supporting performances by Emily Watson as his mother, Michael Rapport as his father and Tom Wilkinson as Father Oliver.  It was lovely and refreshing to see the priesthood, faith and religion depicted in such a positive light.  The story, although dark at times is truly beautiful and uplifting.

There was very little in this movie which would make me hesitate to recommend it as a family film.  Due to some dark and emotionally disturbing moments and the repeated use of a racial slur directed at the Japanese. I would recommend this film to adolescents and older. The USCCB gives Little Boy an A-II--adolescents and adults. Print Friendly and PDF