This Week in Homeschooling

Motherhood, Uncategorized

My week started with an email from our town’s public school that we used to attend letting me know that a threat of violence was made against our school and every student & their mom. A former student threatened to shoot up the school on September 22.

This news reassured me that I made the right decision in pulling my children out of traditional school. I’m sure I sounded crazy as can be explaining myself away in the beginning days of being enrolled. “I’m not going to worry each day I drop them off if it will be the last time I see them.” Not even a month into the traditional school year and there has already been a shooting threat. How long until the threat doesn’t happen before the action? I’m not willing to find out.

This is what a typical morning looks like for us. The girls eat breakfast, do their morning jobs (brush teeth, brush hair, get dressed, etc) & chores. Once we finish those tasks, they sit down at the table or their school desks to work on their individual work baskets until I’m ready to do our together reading. Moses lives on his own terms 😂.

Our first field trip this week was to A&M Apple Orchard. It was a bit of a drive, but totally worth it. Each girl got to fill a bag of apples for only $5 each.

They picked different apples they wanted. We got a nice variety. Ella wanted yellow apples for a health spell she’s working on.

Ella had a lot of fun climbing the trees to get the apples from the tops.

Moses loved walking around and testing all the apples (which we were allowed to do!) He couldn’t believe the amount of apples everywhere he looked! He was so excited!

We made out like bandits with our apples! So excited to make apple snacks and desserts this week!

The first recipe we made was Cinnamon Applesauce. Since we are planning to make several other apple desserts this week, we decided to use all of our very small apples for the applesauce so they could still get used up.

We peeled them, sliced them, & put them in the slow cooker with some big shakes of cinnamon, a little sugar, & 1/2 cup water.

It was delicious 😋! The kids agreed that anything homemade tastes better than storebought. This was even better though because they went the extra mile and picked these apples themselves!

Since Fall began this week, we pulled out our seasons cookbooks & planned some yummy fall recipes to cook together this week to celebrate & welcome fall.

For the children, we use the book, At The Farmers Market with Kids. It teaches the children what fruits/veggies are available seasonally & has simple recipes that they are able to make using those seasonal produce items.

The first meal we made to welcome in Fall was Butternut Squash Pasta. It had pasta, butternut squash, spinach, minced garlic, and onion + salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, & toasted pine nuts. Super easy weeknight meal. I thought it was great, the kids wouldn’t pick it again. They do better with Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese.

Of course we had to examine the Butternut Squash from the inside out before eating it.

I gave them each a slice with seeds to examine with their senses & pick apart.

We went to Friday Connections with our homeschool friends and took a kid-led hike through the woods of French Park.

Ella kept a list of all the different plants she identified using the app, Picture This.

It’s a very neat app. You take a picture of any plant and it gives you the name and information about each plant. You will learn if it is poisonous or not, if it attracts any birds or bugs, along with any poetry or art it has been mentioned in.

This very beautiful butterfly also landed on Ella. Such beautiful colors, like our own little Ukrainian sign from the universe.

We collected cool nature we found in this cute little bag.

And checked some of it out under the microscope.

Once we got home, we took out all of our nature we collected to see what we got!

We used construction paper & contact paper to make these cute window-scapes of our nature we collected to finally replace our summer tissue-paper kites with.

Overall, it has been a great week! Oddly enough though, our week ended just as it began. Another report of a shooter, this one turning out to be a “hoax.”

Not sure why or how children’s safety is considered funny to anyone, but I for one am really freaking glad that I don’t have to worry out of my mind about whether my kids are safe each day or not. So freaking grateful.

This really was the best decision I could have made. It’s been amazing getting to know my children on a level that I wouldn’t be able to with them in school. I love finding projects to do with them and watch their faces light up as they begin to understand new things. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Our Homeschool Update

Uncategorized, Motherhood

These last two weeks have been a bit of a change-up. I love Charlotte Mason, but I need a bit more focus. I still love her philosophy and will be using her method, but I found a year of homeschool themes and I am going to be using those weekly themes to better organize our time. Last week our theme was Farms.

We read books about farms. I was able to go through our BOB Books & beginner readers and pick out Farm themed books. Having a theme made it easier to pick Sasha & Athena’s morning/individual baskets.

We went to Chrisholm Historic Farmstead. This was our first time there. They offer many free learning days for Homeschool Families. I liked being able to plan a field trip that went along with our theme. It felt like it had more of a purpose than just a random outing. We also read this week’s chapter of Charlotte’s Web on the way to the Farm which seemed fitting.

We do try to stick to free outings or free return outings (Pay for a yearly pass once for a year of free trips, ie. Glenwood Gardens, Zoo, Museum, Hamilton Co. Parks, etc.) To minimize costs. We also pack our own lunches & reusable waterbottles (or refill cups for specific places) to cut costs.

There was a fun “playscape” for the kids to play on.

We learned that fruits produce seeds (including eggplant, cucumber, & peppers- all of which we previously grouped in the vegetable category) & vegetables are edible plants that don’t have seeds (carrots, radishes, potatoes).

We enjoyed hanging out with the different animals.

We also learned that windmills were used to pump water & practiced pumping it to fill the animals water tub.

Here are some of the other classes they offer during September & October:

We also attended Grace Girls which is a group of homeschooled girls who meet up to learn skills, make friends & build strong mother/daughter relationships.

This month we are learning how to hand-sew. We learned the running stitch, the back stitch, and the blanket stitch this night. Ella & Mia also sewed their own tissue holders.

Ella is REALLY interested in sewing now, so I will have to keep my eye out for some vintage patterns for her at the thrift to get her started.

Sasha made these number counters for her math project this week. I really love how they turned out. I printed out the numbers, laminated them, and punched a whole in each one. We then fed a pipe cleaner through and Sasha counted the number of beads for each number. It kept her busy for awhile and she had a lot of fun doing it.

Each girl also made their own Abacus using the Smithsonian Math Maker Lab book that we rented from our local library.

We also made patterns out of fruit & counted our patterns before eating them for a snack.

The girls killed a wasp that got into the house then examined it.

The last couple weeks have had some obstacles & struggles in both schooling & home life, but overall I really do love homeschooling.

I have loved going on field trips with the kids. That was the biggest thing for me. It devastated me that I couldn’t participate in school events or field trips. I couldn’t be a room mom. Looking back on the photos of our field trips remind me why I wanted to do this in the first place. Having these experiences with my kids and learning alongside them is life changing.

I’ve enjoyed learning with them, being able to fully take in what we are reading (even if I have to read it three times to figure out what is being asked of me 🤪).

I’m figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Our schooling hasn’t been typical from the start. Ella only went to Kindergarten for half the year because of the world shutting down so I took up unschooling at home. First grade for her was weird because it was mostly at home but sometimes (2 days a week when in person at school, me teaching at home from their syllabus or Zoom meetings with a teacher. Second grade (Ella) & Kindergarten (Mia) were the only full year they attended school outside the home. I mostly have been homeschooling this whole time, unofficially. Somehow being “official” just feels different. Like if I mess up it’s all on my hands now. I just need to learn to relax and have faith in myself. We are doing just fine.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Last Week’s Memorable Home School Moments

Motherhood, Uncategorized

I’m a bit later getting this posted than I had hoped to since tomorrow is Friday & it’s already time to prepare another photo dump. I’m attempting to keep track of our weekly outings here & memorable moments or activities we do.

We took a trip to the Blue Ash Nature Park. They have a little story walk provided by the library. The kids played for a couple hours on the various playgrounds as well as the woods. We did a very light, child-led hike.

This is one of my favorite photos from our individual work time. It has been really nice sitting around the table together reading & learning.

I love being able to go back and re-learn with the kids. My parents gave me a really great educational opportunity and I threw it away at the time. I am blessed to be able to take this second chance, and realize how important it is to not mess it up again.

We took a field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. I learned that the animals at our zoo are there for rehabilitation purposes and/or are totally incapable of living in the wild due to an injury or other issue, so they are being helped rather than caged prisoners.

I printed out Explorer Packs for the kids to fill out. It consisted of a scavenger hunt to check off animals we saw, an A to Z fill out types of animals we saw/read about at each habitat, a report about the favorite animal we saw, and a page to draw a picture of our trip. I loved bringing that to keep them focused, do our school work at the zoo, and have fun searching out knowledge rather than skipping over it just to see the animals.

Ella’s favorite animal is a Manatee. We loved watching them bounce up and down.

When we came home, the girls sat at the table and did their favorite animal reports. They used some of the Nature books I bought for our curriculum to find more facts about their favorite animal to write in their reports.

This trip to the zoo was definitely different than other trips we have taken in the past and I loved it. I’m really excited to take another trip back soon & see the other sections of the zoo we didn’t visit that day.

We went down to Lunken Airport to see, touch, and learn about historic airplanes- specifically military ones. We saw one fly & land. It was very loud (which bothers Sasha quite a bit) and the kids & I did not find this subject interesting, but it was an experience nonetheless. We skipped out on this trip pretty quickly & headed to the library instead.

They did get to stand on an airplane which was pretty cool.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Some Homeschool Happenings This Week

Motherhood, Uncategorized

We are really enjoying homeschool so far. We are still figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t, but the nice thing is we are allowed to adjust our days for what works best for our family.

Ella really enjoys insects a lot. She found a dead bumblebee and was asking lots of questions about them & inspecting it.

I scored this awesome poster that really adds to our Living Education Atmosphere.

Typically we just do school on the weekdays, but honestly education never ends & sometimes events are limited to the weekends. This Sunday, we went to the Ukrainian Festival & watched Ukrainian dancing, listened to Ukrainian music, planned on eating (pierogies sold out FAST & only meat options were left), & shopped for some items. I signed up to join the Ukrainian Women’s League of America.

We were supposed to see Shakespeare in the Park this Saturday, but we were rained out. We still had our picnic at the park, checked out the nature center (sad to learn it is still mostly shut down since covid with no plans to re-open at this time, and played on the outdoor playground.

Ella found a cicada which made her very happy. Cicadas are her favorite insect.

We went to the library for Family Storytime. It’s mostly geared toward the three younger kids, but the older kids still enjoy it too. They mostly go for the tech time after crafting & to pick out new books though. I enjoy picking up new cookbooks to try new recipes.

For math one day we made a “Hungry Adding Robot” that Mia picked from a math book we picked out at the library this week. We love our library trips. The kids had a lot of fun picking out projects for us to do over the course of this “term.” We also had a lot of fun making this.

I really love that we are able to do the activities together as a family, but the big girls still have their own individual work to do too.

For science one day we made Nature Journals to collect various nature the girls find. Each “journal” has 4 paper bags to fill with things they find interesting on our nature walks. We can use our Nature Anatomy books to identify new nature we haven’t seen before.

Today we took a field trip to Highfield Discovery Garden. The story in the garden today was Dragons Love Tacos & they got to pick Taco Topping Veggies from the garden. They got tomatoes, peppers, and radishes. They remembered that radishes were mentioned last week in The Tail of Peter Rabbit.

They played on the tree house playground & in the garden, spent time exploring in the nature center, picked a book each in the little library, and put on a puppet show. We also packed a picnic lunch to share in the garden Cafe. Moses really liked watching the trains go around the tree house tracks.

Overall we had a really good week. We completed all our group & individual work we had planned. Time to make dinner & get ready for Ella’s first volleyball game!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Morning Reflections

Uncategorized

It is time for me to play a little game I like to call “is it poop or is it nature?” I zig zag the yard picking up any poops that it was too dark to see in the early morning hours. Although, I’ve learned that if I see a poop outside of my pattern I must break it to get that poop first because they are huskies + they are puppies, & they will run through it or roll over it.

I have come to love this routine. I love the couple hours I get to spend outside alone with the pups before the kids wake up. Time I used to spend immediately focused on housework, as soon as my eyes opened.

I quit smoking cigarettes a little over four years ago. I had smoked them heavily since I was thirteen. I thought they helped me clear my head. I thought they helped me relax. I thought that it was because of not smoking that I was constantly on edge, constantly irritated.

Then I got these mornings back. I realized it wasn’t the lack of cigarettes. It was the lack of nature first thing in the morning, lack of relaxing in the crisp morning air hitting my cheeks before the world woke up listening to the sounds of nature. We aren’t meant to be cooped up inside like prisoners; children or adults.

Over the past month that we have had that these pups, I’ve done a lot of life reflecting during my alone time outside with them. I’ve re-evaluated what my priorities are. I have a clear vision of the path in front of my family & feel unity as a family. I have found a lot more peace & patience both in my soul & way I behave. I’ve learned to start letting go of my controlling ways. I’ve found confidence in myself & my parenting. Most of all, I’ve found real happiness for the first time in a long time.

I’ve noticed how much more well-behaved my children have been over the summer when their bodies can get proper rest, nutrition, nature, & attention. They are able to wake individually & come out to the day as they are ready, not at once like a prison. I’m not rushing them through every step of the day. I’m spending real time with them- not rushed interactions between duties, rushing to get the next task crossed off before I am out of time. I get to really know them as individuals, not as a group.

I’m really excited to be able to learn again, alongside my children. I am excited for how far they will get to go, at their pace. They will no longer be limited to only learning a dictated syllabus in a certain time frame. The world is their classroom, & my curriculum is pretty damn impressive, too.

I am excited to experience life again. No more living like a clockwork robot, living the same miserable day over & over on loop. I’m grateful that I get to spend what little time I have with them while I have them home with me, before they begin lives of their own. “The years are short, but the days are long” really is true, isn’t it? I’m excited to get to accompany my children on field trips- something I wasn’t allowed to do (on the VERY limited amount  of) at traditional school due to the mistakes I made in my past, ten years ago. Something I wouldn’t have the chance of doing even if I could because I have small children who I wouldn’t be able to bring. Now no one has to miss out.

I’m grateful for the huge amount of support I’ve received from almost every single person I’ve talked to- even strangers who don’t know me at all. This wasn’t an overnight decision- I’ve been planning for years, I just never had the confidence to take the plunge. I didn’t think I was smart enough, enough in general, to teach my children anything until I was told that I have already been homeschooling my children since birth, I just wasn’t taking the credit for it. I don’t have to be “smart enough,” I GET to learn next to them. I get the chance to learn all of the things I didn’t pay enough attention to the first time + MORE, and I could not be more excited.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Parenthood Perspectives

Motherhood, Uncategorized

I may never be the type of mom that knows how to get stains out of clothes, but I am the kind of mom that throws our stained items in a bin + throws a random “tie dye party” with the kids in the back yard every now & then.

Knowing what to use to get stains out doesn’t make you a better mother. You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to be a good mom. Life is not one size fits all. Live outside the box & find the solution that works best for you. You are already enough ♡ & so am I.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Ukrainian Pancakes (Syrniki)

Motherhood, Recipes, Uncategorized

Sasha & I made Syrniki this morning for breakfast! Syrniki are Ukrainian pancakes made from Farmers Cheese. I didn’t have time to pick up real Farmers Cheese, so I used cottage cheese as a substitute. Next time I make these, I’m going to stop in at Marina’s European Food Market and pick up some real Slavic Farmers Cheese.

In case you don’t know us personally, I am Ukrainian & my husband is from Russia. I was lucky enough to grow up learning some of the Ukrainian/Eastern European culture from my dad & his family (his sister, Mary, & her polish husband, Vince, both who are sadly no longer with us.) I loved going to their family parties! Learning the traditions, hearing the language… I loved their accents. I’d ask them to speak to me in Ukrainian, and in Ukrainian they would say, “why should I speak it if you can’t understand it?” I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. I learned a few words growing up, but never the language.

Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to marry an Eastern European man. I gave all of my children a Ukrainian (or Russian) middle name to honor our heritage: Kaden Yuri (after my dad) 💙, Ella Aleksandriya 💗, Mia Nataliya (after Niko’s birth mother) 💗, Sasha Katiya 💗, Athena Mariyah (after my dad’s sister & my mom, both Mary… *side note: it isn’t supposed to have an “h” at the end. I’m still mad at myself for agreeing to putting that) 💗, & Moses Kolya (after Niko) 💙.

Since the invasion, I have decided to go “full Ukrainian.” I’ve taught myself how to read & write their alphabet confidently. I can now speak Ukrainian at an elementary level. I am teaching my children as I learn so we can be fluent at home. My husband has tried teaching me Russian over the years (which is very similar to Ukrainian), and I’ve tried Rosetta Stone in the past so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me, but this time it just clicked- almost like it was unlocked from my DNA bank. I finally would be able to not only understand what they were saying to me, but respond too. I’m so proud of myself.

In addition to all of that, I am learning how to cook Ukrainian foods so that I will be able to pass recipes down to my children to continue embracing our culture for generations to come.

Today we made Syrniki & it turned out REALLY yummy so I decided to share it here.

Gather your ingredients.

  • 2 16oz containers cottage cheese (farmers cheese if possible)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I have a large family & wanted to make sure that I had extra to send to my parents to try. If you have a small family; cut this in half, or make & use for breakfast prep/freezer breakfast meal for later.

Mix together.

Sasha hard at work mixing everything together in a big bowl.

Meanwhile, pour some oil of your choice on a skillet on the stove and let it heat up.

Wash your hands again. Leave them a little wet, but not dripping. Grab a smallish size amount of cheese mixture and form into a patty & place on stove. Wet hands again & repeat one by one. You’ll want to fry them until they are golden brown. DO NOT move them until you see the crust forming on the bottom & the top looks flat like pancake batter, no longer like cottage cheese (the cottage cheese will slop all over the pan if you flip too soon). Flipping is more difficult than with American pancakes.

Once both sides are golden brown, transfer to a place &…

Serve.

I served these with peaches. I had planned on making cream to go with them as well, but got too overwhelmed with the flipping that I decided peaches were enough. Next time I will definitely make the cream ahead of time because it would be a very nice treat to go with them.

Now that I made them and know what to expect, I will feel more confident making them from here on out. I am excited to try them with various toppings, especially other fruits & jams. They are more savory than sweet, so the fruits bring a natural sweetness to them. They are really, really good though- the kids even said they were delicious!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Celebrating Moses

Crafts & DIY, Motherhood

We had our parents (minus my mom ☹️) & Kaden over tonight to celebrate Moses’ birthday. We were supposed to last weekend, but most of our family had a cough and/or runny nose, so we postponed to tonight, but unfortunately my mom tested positive for covid today so she stayed home.

My original plan was supposed to be a grill-out, but since it rained on & off all day, we moved it inside instead so I just threw something small together.

I used our tree stump cake stand from our fall forest wedding for a homemade chocolate cake. I made little “s’mores cups” out of garden seed starter cups & filled a fall mini loaf pan with gummy bears. I grabbed a stuffed squirrel we had & had the kids find me some sticks to place in a vase for decor.

I found these cute little cake toppers on Amazon and just stuck them in cute. My dad commented that it looked better than the ones I get from a bakery which made me sooooo happy to hear & really proud of my hardwork.

We ordered a variety tray of Subway sandwiches since our food menu changed on us. I also put out Pretzel twig sticks, wild berry mix my dad brought, and some babybel cheeses that I drew spots on to look like ladybugs.

I found this cute woodland theme party set on Amazon. They were adorable.

I made the garland finding photos on Pinterest that looked similar to the plates. I printed them out, glued them to construction paper, them laminated them & cut into individual pieces. I used a hole puncher to make holes and tried some yarn through to hang up. It barely took any time at all and looked really cute.

Moses was pretty nervous by the candle. He took a few bites of his piece before throwing it on the floor.

The handsome guest of honor with his super adorable “I’m Ukrainian, what’s your superpower?” Shirt.

It was really small, but it was only his first so realistically he had no idea what that whole shindig was for. It was still cute though and I hope everyone had a nice evening celebrating my Mosie Man.

Niko told me that I am “the best mom in the world” when he came home from work which really meant so much to me. He knows how hard I am on myself about being a mom & always thinking I’m not good enough/not doing enough so that really meant the world to me. I just hope the kids think it, that’s what really matters.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

Meatless Mexican Rice Casserole| A Taco Tuesday Alternative

Recipes, Uncategorized

When I began meal prepping, I used “themes” to help me plan meals since too many choices cause me to feel too overwhelmed. Taco Tuesday is a pretty household common theme, but even when you switch up your ingredients frequently, tacos/burritos/burrito bowls can get overdone after so long.

For last night’s “Taco Tuesday” I made a Meatless Mexican Rice Casserole just to change it up a little. It’s a super easy pantry staple meal that can be versatile depending on what you have/what your family eats.

It was really easy to throw it together and really yummy! Everyone especially enjoyed the homemade tortilla chips! I personally would have enjoyed a bit more heat, but since more kids than adults were eating it, I kept it super mild. Next time I will also add onion.

Let’s Get Cooking

For the casserole, you’re going to need:

  • 14 oz Not Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 jar salsa of choice (*I used a chunky-ish garden style)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • Cilantro (*fresh is better, but dried works also!)
  • Salt & pepper to liking
  • Cheese (*I used Monterey Jack)

For the chips, you’re going to need:

  • Tortilla shells cut into quarters (I use corn)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sea salt

1. • Add rice and butter to pot, stir frequently until butter is all melted. • Once melted, add Not Chicken Broth & bring to a boil. • Once boiling; cover with lid, reduce heat, & set timer for 20 minutes.

2. Mix together the canned ingredients, salsa, and cilantro in a large bowl while the rice cooks.

3. • Once rice is finished cooking, move to a cold burner & fluff with a fork. Stir in sour cream. • Stir in contents from large bowl + salt & pepper until completely mixed together. • Top with cheese. • Bake 30 minutes uncovered at 375° in a 9×13 dish.

4. • While casserole is cooking, fry your quarter-cut tortillas in batches until they resemble golden tan chips (they harden more and more as they dry). • Sprinkle sea salt after each batch.

Serve casserole & chips 🌮 Enjoy!

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov

What’s Been Going on at Mama Morozov’s Home

home, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Happy Monday!! It started out a sort of overcast morning over here on this day so I’m catching up on housework. I have a sort of “unwritten rule” that dreary/overcast days are for housework and sunny days are for yardwork because I don’t want to miss any time with the sun.

We had a really great Sunday Family Day yesterday. The sun was shining, the kids were playing. We skipped church since the kids have some yucky cold symptoms going on and just hung out at home together.

My gardens have come along so much this week! There’s still tons to be done though! I’d like to get mulch down this week before the crazy amount of weeds return!

I filled my basket planter with these adorable trailing white flowers that will hang down under my Ukrainian flag. I’m really excited to see how far they grow!

I weeded & mulched this small garden bed this week. I used 2 bags and will still need to add at least one more bag here. This space was very low down compared to the grass around it and since it had probably never been mulched before I really want to get a good few layers on so the weeds don’t come back as heavy next year.

We brought our grill back out and bought a few needed grill tools for it.

Niko made hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, and the most delicious corn on the cob. I heated up the vegetarian baked beans & brought out watermelon, chips, and potato salad.

I planted this clematis in this planter. I’m so excited for the vines to take on a life of its own on this along the tower’s shapes. It’s going to be so beautiful especially when it has more purple flowers growing up it.

My ranunculus flowers are blooming and they are SO beautiful! One day I will have a much larger container filled with these beauties, but I’m SO happy with my start.

It has been so hot out lately & summer break is coming up so I decided it would be fun to get this inflatable pool for the kids to use this summer. It’s a lot of fun and the kids had a blast playing in it all day long.

Anyone have any tips on how to keep an inflatable pool clean all season? They always seem to get so gross after the first use.

I spoke with my neighbor last night and she gave me the compliment that my back yard is very pleasant to look at. That made me really happy. My hard work is making a difference for not only my own family but for my neighbors as well!!

It is my goal that while we are living in this home in Deer Park, someone nominates us for a Beautification Award. Her compliment made me really hopeful that could actually come true one day! I’ll just have to keep beautifying it for now.

Until next time ♡ Mama Morozov