Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Festivities

Due to all the hustle and bustle of shopping, baking, and cleaning in preparation for Christmas, I haven't had much time to post on my blog.  Not to mention some minor household repairs and projects we had to complete.  Some time back, a shelf in the closet came off the wall and resulted in several sizeable holes in the wall and a big mess!  We had to patch the holes, sand, paint, and replace the shelf.  In the end, we decided to replace it with a storage shelf with square cubbies that we got from Ikea.  We were using it for books in another area of our home but find that it's much more functional inside the closet.  It was too deep for books but is perfect for linens.

I decided to paint the lower half of a couple kitchen walls and gave much of the house an overhaul with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which I've determined really is magical!  That thing took all the dirty fingerprints off the walls & doors and removed scuff marks from the baseboards.  I felt like I was spring cleaning!  Then, a friend came over to help me prepare for company - God bless her!  Now I need to straighten up the basement since I'll have 14 kids and 15 adults here tomorrow night!  Oh yeah, I also have a little shopping to do tomorrow.

All that said, I'm thankful to be able to do all this while making time for my family and not stressing out too much!  I'm also thankful for good health and pray it continues.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Science - Arches

The strength of an arch was proven in our science experiment today.  We carefully cracked four eggs at one end and  poured them into a bowl to scramble and eat for lunch.
Then we stuck tape around the center of each egg and carefully cracked the open end off until we reached the tape. This allowed the eggs to sit on their own with the arch side up.
Next, we place all four egg shells on the counter and placed books on them until the eggs completely cracked.
Our eggs held over 9 1/2 pounds of books!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things Made from a Cow

Ok, so I'm not always a rule follower!  Instead of making a chart as suggested by MFW-K, we made a small poster with glued-on images found on the internet.  The cow was a coloring page that Katie colored, cut out and glued to the green cardstock.  The other images (milk, cheese, butter, leather, yogurt, ice cream) were printed in color and she cut them out and glued them around the cow.  It's very colorful and was fun to do.

Later on (in her free time), Katie was making her own drawing of things made from cows.  How cute is that?  She really enjoyed this activity.

From Cows to Butter!

We shook heavy whipping cream into butter and spread it on crackers for a nice little snack. Yum! We've done this before but it's been quite a while. It's a very easy experiment and lots of fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Break Time!

After spending one week in South America, we are taking a week off school for Thanksgiving week.  Oh, don't worry.  There will still be plenty of learning going on.  Plenty of measuring in the kitchen as we practice home economics, geography as we travel, reading & writing as we look through the black Friday ads and make our shopping lists!  Loads of fun is in store for next week!!!

So, I wish everyone a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brazil Potato Question

Do potatoes grow indoors?  I'd love to attempt this science experiment but don't want to bother with the mess if they won't grow inside.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Canada Highlights

We have left Canada and entered Brazil.  But I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some of our Canadian adventure.  Until our recent studies, I never desired to visit Canada.  Now, I think it would be really neat to see the Inuits that I grew up to know as Eskimos.  And to see the Northern Lights would just be phenomenal!  We learned that the Aurora Borealis shows a display at least once a week, which is quite often, but the Canadians never tire of seeing it.  They say it's never the same, so it's always amazing.

We made soap sculptures similar to how the Inuits carve into soapstone, which is how many of them make a living.

And some of them really do live in igloos! So, we made our own igloos from sugar cubes. I got to the igloo a little late with my camera and it was already falling apart by the time I snapped the picture! Nonetheless, they were fun to make!

We found many great books at the library on Canada - some we read, others we looked through.  I think I had about 100 books checked out at one point (for both kids)!

At the end of our last week in Canada (Friday night), we popped some popcorn, nestled under blankets on the couch and had a girl movie night while Daddy worked.  We watched Anne of Green Gables since it was made in Canada on Prince Edward Island.  I wasn't sure how my girls would like it, but they both loved it.  I even overheard my youngest talking to her friend about it the next day!  The book would have been a great read, but it's quite long and too much for either of my girls.  I did check it out anyway, hoping to read it myself, and to show them that the movie was made from the book.  Yes, I admit, I've never read this book!  Add it to the list of books I've never read but always wanted to!

One other fascination with Canada was Niagra Falls.  Emily really wants to go there now.  What a fun trip that would be!

Even though Canada wasn't quite as "festive" as Mexico, I think we learned more on this trip because we didn't know as much about the people, provinces, and territories; and we had fun doing it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

MFW Kindergarten Phonics

We are using this curriculum with our youngest daughter (age 6).  We waited until the end of our last school year to start her in K because she wasn't quite ready until then.  We are starting week 12 this week and we're working on phonics.  My question is, should I make flash cards/ring cards with the words she's learning on the workbook pages each week?  Some of them are names, are the rest of them site words? 

She really wants to learn how to read, but can't learn it all at once!  She gets frustrated with phonics at times, so I don't want to push to the point where she'll hate to read.  I have a big book of Dick and Jane stories.  Any thoughts on using this with our curriculum?

When we read, I move my finger along the words and sometimes she tries to say some of the words and other times she asks me to stop doing that so that she can just look at the pictures.  Does anyone have any insight to offer?  At this point, should I be teaching her site words or wait until we get to first grade?  Should I just stick with the curriculum or add the to it???

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I-i-insect Badge

Katie's current letter is I/i so she made an insect badge - a ladybug, to be specific.  I was excited to use some of my stamping/scrapbooking supplies that are collecting dust right now from lack of use!  Anyway, she used a large circle punch to punch out a black circle.  Then used a slightly smaller circle punch to punch out a red circle, which I helped her cut in half.  She glued the two red circle halves onto the black circle to look like opened wings.  Then, she punched small black circles to place on the ladybug.  She drew eyes (which even have eyelashes!) and I helped her cut out antennas and then she glued the whole thing onto "grass" (a green piece of cardstock).  I wrote the lesson phrase on the green paper.  It turned out so cute!

Canada - Leaf Suncatcher

We collected some colorful fall leaves on our Science Nature Walk a couple weeks ago that came from many different types of trees.  We placed them between wax paper, put them in large books, and left them alone.  At the time, I really didn't know what we would do with them, other than stick them in our nature notebook.

So today, we read a book about Canada that had some neat project suggestions.  One was to make a suncatcher with dried leaves pressed between wax paper.  Ding-ding-ding!!!  The bell rang in my head, alerting me to use the leaves we collected from our nature walk!  So, we pulled them out of the books, and voila...we now have gorgeous suncatchers!  (Had we kept solely with the Canadian project, we would have only used maple leaves, but the others were too pretty not to use!)

Here is Emily placing her leaves just the way she wants them.

And we're pressing with a hot iron.

Emily's finished piece of art.

It's lovely!

The only thing left to do is attach a hanger to it.  I'm thinking of having her put brads on each of the top corners and attach a string to them so that we hang it on the window with a suction cup.  Although she's think about using her piece of art as a placemat instead.  Hummm.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Afternoon at the Park

It was a beautiful day so we enjoyed part of it at the park.  I did my own version of "spinning" as I pushed the girls on the merry-go-round, and I even jumped on and took a ride with them!

We walked along the path and found 6 catapillars that the girls brought home to add to their bug cage, making a total of 7 now.  I hope they get along ok! =)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Celery Experiment Photo

The xylem tubes were removed from the stalk on the right yesterday, and it's already wilting!  And as you can see, the undisturbed stalk on the left is flourishing.

Autumn at the Zoo

-- Sent from my Palm Prē

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ECC Celery Experiment TIP

Peeling the strings off celery takes a while, so we peeled some by hand and then used a vegetable peeler to finish the job.  This was much faster and had the same end result. 

I recommend doing this experiment, although it's optional in the curriculum.  My daughter grasped the concept pretty quickly and using the vegetable peeler makes it fast and easy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Our Fiesta was a big hit today! We made taquitos, Mexican rice, and refried beans, and we had a taco bar with chips & salsa. And since no party is complete without ice cream, we had some of that, too! We had a total of 16 people here! We set up a display area where we put some books about Mexico, our tissue paper flowers, geography notebook, and passport. We had to show our family and friends what we've learned so far and this was a great way to do it. Some of the kids (and adults) enjoyed looking through the books and I think they were impressed with the passport and notebook. All in all, it was a great fiesta! Even so, I think our next few celebrations will be low-key - this was a lot of work!!! I'm exhausted!

This is the tin punch project.  We had to use aluminum flashing found in a roll at Lowe's and we couldn't get pencil to show up so the kids used permanent marker.  We didn't even attempt to get the marker off.  Emily likes hers the way it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Science Experiment

Our experiment today involved ice cubes. We were to put ice cubes in two separate baggies, bury one in the dirt and leave the other in the sun. It would have worked great if we had dug the one up sooner! So, we did the same thing inside, only this time we put ice cubes in two bowls and place one inside the cabinet (shade) and one on the sunny windowsill. Success! The cube in the sun melted quicker.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Katie's Zoo

Today, our 6-yr-old decided that she would be a zoo-keeper. She brought all her stuffed animals down to the living room and set them up in "exhibits" and then proceded to give me a tour of the zoo. This, of course, was after she swiped my zoo card at the "entrance" (a stool in the hallway)! All the monkeys were in one exhibit, the zebras in another, and so on. Somehow, when she showed me the dog exhibit, our pet dog made her way in! It was too cute. What great fun she had telling me all about the animals in her zoo! The girl loves her animals!

Giraffe Exhibit:
Opossum Exhibit:
Monkey Exhibit:
Dog Exhibit:
(Yes, the dog on the left is our pet, Maggie!)
Zebra Exhibit:
Bird Exhibit:
Zookeeper Katie:
Upon entry, I even got a magnifying glass to examine the animals more closely!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Some of What We've Done So Far...

I haven't been great about posting pictures...or taking pictures for that matter! I'm trying to improve. I like to keep a picture record of what we do. Especially since many of our art projects end up destroyed. It saves so much space to have a photo of some of them rather than keeping them all!

Hard at work...

Park Day:

Matthew bookmark from Week 3:

Indian Sand Painting from Week 3: