Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Science In the Kitchen: Bricks

Over Christmas break we tried to do a few educational activities. I found this simple science experiment in a book (the name escapes me). IMG_0124We took sugar cubes and stacked them up in two separate bowls. We put a piece of plastic over the first layer in one of the bowls, while leaving the other wall stand-alone.


We then poured some colored water into each of the bowls. The sugar cubes represented bricks.


We learned that when you build a brick house it is important to put a layer between the bricks (near the bottom) to prevent moisture from seeping up through the bricks.   IMG_0126

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tot School: Counting

For Christmas, Lexie got a Melissa and Doug number train puzzle. Today was her first day putting it together and she did so good!! I haven’t worked with her in over a month on counting, so I was happy to see she retained a little bit of it.

I happened to have Treyton’s camera on hand, which has video ability, and I caught a quick video of her counting.

This mama’s heart is proud.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Extra Advent Ideas

I posted my original advent ideas at the beginning of December, but of course throughout the month I came across several other great ideas. I started compiling them together so that I would have them for next year… it’s never to early to think about next year, right?

Christmas Units

  1. Snowman Unit on Squidoo including a precious printable poem called The Trinity Snowman
  2. Free Christmas Around the World Unit on Homeschool Share
  3. Christmas Symbol Lapbook on 1+1+1=1
  4. Free Nativity Crafts & Links from Pumpkin Patch
  5. Nativity Preschool Pack from 1+1+1=1
  6. Christmas Printables from 1+1+1=1

Extra Advent Calendar Ideas:

  1. Prayer Box
  2. Rootbeer Float Night
  3. Handprint Paper Wreath
  4. Marshmallow Snowman
  5. Handprint Ornament
  6. Glitter Trees on eighteen25
  7. Salt Dough Ornaments
  8. Craft Stick Sled Ornaments

Extra Advent Links:

  1. This Sweet Life of Ours
  2. Confessions of a Homeschooler
  3. School Plans: Christmas Fun at Pumpkin Patch
  4. Christmas Printables from Around the Web from Homeschool Creations
  5. The Gingerbread Baby from Homeschool Creations
  6. Candy Cane Suncatchers from Superheroes and Princesses

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent: Day 7

I saw this cute paper Christmas Tree craft on Superheroes and Princesses, and decided to add it to the calendar last minute.


We cut out the Christmas tree shape from green construction paper.

IMG_0110We then punched out holes all over the trees. Treyton punched out all of his own holes, I helped Alexa cut out hers.


We took some of our old crayons and took the paper off, broke them into tiny pieces and placed them between two pieces of wax paper. IMG_0105We then placed the wax paper between a towel folded in half. Which we ironed until the crayons melted.


We cut out the shape of the Christmas tree from our melted wax, taped it to our construction paper tree. IMG_0111

And hung them on the window as sun catchers.

IMG_0104The kids enjoyed different aspects of this craft. Lexie enjoyed the cutting and punching out of holes while Treyton enjoyed melting the crayons.

I think they turned out really cute, they make a cute addition to our other Christmas decorations.

Awesome Deal

I just found out (from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations) that Amazon has an incredible deal on the BEST LAMINTOR in the WORLD!! (Yes, this is the one that I use…. how did you know?) image I’m not sure how long this offer lasts, but for right now you can get this laminator from amazon for $16.99!!

This is a steal!! So whether you want one for yourself or still need a gift for any paper loving mom, this is a must have!!

A couple people asked questions about pouches, I primarily use the 9” * 11.4” pouches, but I also use the 4 * 6 pouches for smaller items.

~ Disclosure: If you use the link on this post, or from my blog, I may receive a small portion of compensation. However, this does NOT affect my opinions of this product, I pass this deal on because it’s a good deal, not because of any compensation I may receive.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent: Days 5-6

And so the Advent Calendar continues.


One of my favorite activities that we are doing this year is painting a 15 piece plaster nativity set that I picked up last year from JoAnn’s. This is a process, but here is an unfinished picture of what we have done so far.

IMG_0145This has been a fun family project we pull out at night. Lexie is absolutely in love with her pig (probably because it’s pink), she sometimes calls it her oink, oink. IMG_0154Treyton’s favorite contribution is his angel, I think he likes the glitter. IMG_0153

Dad was selected to paint the center of the nativity, the stable, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.  (He isn’t finished with it) IMG_0155I have painted 2 of the 3 kings (Treyton painted King #3).     

IMG_0152Treyton and Lexie also set up their little people nativity set in their bedroom. We went through each of the pieces one at a time and talked about each of the people and what they had to do with Jesus’ birth.


There have been a few nights that they kids received Advent gifts from Tim and I (Lexie’s favorite was a new glass tea set, Treyton’s was a hot wheel set). IMG_0064

In addition to receiving gifts, we have also been working on some home made gifts for our extended family. We are just starting to work on these. 


Christmas Cards:

Like the presents, we are looking at both the giving and receiving of Christmas cards.

Treyton made a few of his friends some “magic cards” which we sent in the mail, and we also spent a night praying for the families who have already sent us Christmas cards. I plan on continuing this throughout the season as we receive more cards.

And so it continues….

We are getting lots out of our Advent Calendar this year, the kids are excited every day to open a new box, and I keep adding more and more fun ideas ;)

I should include that as we are doing our activities we are also reading the appropriate pages found in Lisa Welchel’s The ADVENTure of Christmas book. A great addition to the calendar.

So tell us about your advent plans, are you and your family doing anything special? What are some of your family’s favorite traditions?

TOS Review: Good Morning, God

image Product Description:
Good Morning, God is a story about a four-year-old boy as he goes through a week with his family. This book is designed for children age one to eight years old. Ideally, this book will help your child fall in love with our heavenly Father by thinking about Him from sunrise to sunset. The hope is that this book will introduce children to the simple and wonderful ways we can worship God daily and inspire them to enjoy the Lord with their entire being all through the day. The prayers for each day are meant to encourage your child to consider his or her relationship with Jesus and respond with childlike faith.”
Product Review:
This is an easy review to do, because I can simply tell you I love this book and I recommend it.

Written with some repetition, it’s a beautiful portrait of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Written from the perspective of the child about how and when his parents talked to Him about God, and some of the things he thinks about and prays to God about. Such a beautiful and invaluable picture.

Though it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite aspect of this book (it’s all good) I will say I really really like the question and activities found in the back. Broken down into seven days (like the book), you will find discussion questions like “What are some of the ways you can worship God?” as well as Bible verses to read and fun activities to do, like “Draw a picture of Jesus ascending into heaven.”

Full of beautiful illustrations, this adorable story can be used in many different ways in your home.

To Purchase:
To view a sample click here.
Or you can purchase your own copy of this book here for $14.00

To See What Others are Saying:
Visit the TOS Crew

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent: Days 1-4 (I think)

I had great plans to post Advent Updates every day in December, but surprise, surprise, it’s 8 (or is it 9) days in, and I’ve yet to post one day…. Oh well, like a wise man once told me – it’s more important to live the present well than record the past!! And that’s what we’re trying to do.

Christmas Tree:

For the first time our family cut down our Christmas tree.

IMG_0009 Our family has been in a slow progression with the Christmas Tree. We started out with a fake tree, then we picked out one from the lot, now finally we have graduated to cutting one down ourselves, and next year, I would really like to do what Monica and her family doIMG_0084

Christmas Decorations:

The kids really got into helping decorate this year. The past few years we have been a little “lean” when it came to decorating. But this year we went all out. We spent last Saturday, turning our house into a Christmas wonderland.

The Ornaments especially were a big deal to Treyton. I was surprised how much meaning he put into each one, and all the questions he asked. We talked about each and every one, and he had a lot to go through. At only 5 years old but has nearly 30 ornaments!!

Alexa also loved her ornaments, but was not as interested in decorating as she was in playing.

Each year we give the kids ornaments to represent something special they did that year. This Treyton got a baseball one, Lexie a butterfly and Audrey a name angel and a giraffe first year ornament. IMG_0063

Rootbeer Float Celebration

After working so hard to decorate we took a short break to have some root beer floats. It’s amazing how such a “little thing” can become such a big memory for a family.  IMG_0032 Treyton helped prepare the treats.

IMG_0033 Lexie had her own special coconut ice cream, which she thoroughly enjoyed.



IMG_0038  Yum!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 16

IMG_0022 Daily Board Elements:  

Letter of the Week: Tt

Color of the Week: Red

Shape of the Week: Square

Number of the Week: 9

Memory Verse: “In Everything Give Thanks” 1 Thessalonians 5:

State: Iowa

Phonics & Reading:

Sight words continue to be Treyton’s kryptonite in reading. He does well when we are diligent at reviewing them. We’ve come up with some fun ways to do that: sight word memory – Treyton’s favorite!! (I just put the words on 3 1/2 * 5 inch cards), we played this probably 10 times this week. I make Treyton read every sight word he turns over, and then at the end of the game we each have to read the site word pairs we made. This is an EXCELLENT game for him, giving him tons of exposure to the words.


In addition to the memory game, we also did a flash card game a timed quiz and a “spelling test”. He enjoyed doing all of these activities often repeating them at night to play with Dad. He made lots of progress with his sight words this week!!

He also finished the Explode the Code book 1!! He was so proud of himself. Being a goal-oriented kid he celebrated BIG TIME when he finished his last page. We also started the first couple of pages in books two. Learning about blends: fl, gl, cl and bl. I was surprised how easily he is taking too.


Treyton is loving Aesop Fables right now, I only read 1 every other day, but he is always asking me to read more. He almost always narrates them back to me.

We’re continuing to read Paddle-to-the-Sea, the kids really like this book, which surprises me, because I don’t really feel like they are getting very much from it. This is a great book, however, and I am sure that we will read it again in the future, going into more detail.

I also started reading a few nursery rhymes out of a book called “Pocketful of Posies” Treyton says he doesn’t like them, but I think he does. Lexie really enjoys them, which doesn’t surprise me – she is a rhythm girl for sure.

Narration & Illustration:

Treyton decided to narrate an Aesop Fable “The Fox and the Hen”, which Tim read to him this week. He also illustrated it in his art book. IMG_0032


We have started going through “Come Look with Me” I love the exposure to art, something I don’t recall having much of, so this book is as much for me as it is for him.


Daniel and the Writing on the Wall


Horizon Lessons 60-66


Treyton started adding larger numbers last week, this week he really began to get it. He learned to add the ones column first and the tens column second. They have not introduced carrying, or numbers adding to over 10 yet.


I’m so proud of him. Math is one of those subjects that you can actually see a light bulb go off in Treyton’s head when he gets it. Rewarding. 

Handwriting & Copywork:

Now that we’re not keeping on track with MFW Kindergarten, we are flying through HWTs. Treyton still really enjoys the Handwriting Without Tears program, and being an “easier” subject, one he can do completely on his own, and have mom check, motivates him even more to get it done.

Tot School:

Lexie is doing really well with her colors. She is able to hold up an item and tell me the color for white, black, green, blue, pink, red, orange and yellow. She says “orange” so cute, without the /r/ so it sounds like “oange” (imagine a real thick boston accent), it’s adorable.


She also spent part of the week, practicing her cutting skills. I had picked up some Melissa & Doug scissors for super cheap, one is a straight cut the other rigid. She loves cutting up the little pieces and paper, and I’ve been diligent about teaching her scissor safety, a lesson she has thus far taken for granted. IMG_0024

One of the exciting things that happened this week was that when I asked Treyton “Where do we live?” and Lexie yelled out “WISCONSIN!!” I was so surprised she knew it! It’s amazing how much she learns just by being around Treyton learning.

We will be taking a couple of weeks off of school, possibly starting up at the beginning of the year. We will continue to do some “light” school, but really it’s just going to be maintenance type school. Enjoy your holidays!!

Merry Christmas!

Extra Links

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1

Preschool & 5K Weekly Wrap Up @ Homeschool Creations

Friday, December 3, 2010

Art: Come Look With Me

image My Father’s World 1st Grade recommends a book called “Come Look with Me” for it’s art program.

We were able to get a copy from our library system, and have already done a few of the portrait pieces.

This past week we looked at a portrait called Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes.

I asked Treyton a few questions, from the book, I enjoyed the process so much that I wanted to include his answers here.

The boy is holding a string in his hands. Where does it go? Why?

That’s not a boy, it looks like a girl.

To the big bird. To keep it from flying.

What do you think the boy is thinking about?

God. Why? Because God is good to think about.

What do you think might happen to the bird?

It will get angry.

Describe the boy’s clothes. How do you think the clothes would feel if you touched them?

Sparkly, skinny.

Would you like to be dressed this way? Why?

No, It looks weird.


I love this process and am excited to do even more. I highly recommend Name Your Link' target=_blank>any of the books in this series if you’re looking for a way to add a depth to your current art appreciation.

* Photograph Credits
Copyright © 2000–2010 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
Source: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes: Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga (1784-1792) (49.7.41) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unit Study: Thanksgiving & Pilgrims

I should have posted this unit before Thanksgiving, I know, but time got away from me, so here it is now. I’ll try to remember to repost some of this, next year for others benefit.

We thoroughly enjoyed studying Thanksgiving this year, it was our first time, so we focused mostly on just laying a foundation, introductory stuff. 

My mom (who homeschooled me and my three sisters) combined efforts with me to teach my 4 year old niece at the same time as us. My mom is great! She found a lot more than I did, and actually started her unit prior to us, so her research really helped. In fact, my mom and niece came up one day so that we could do part of our unit together – which was really fun for the kids, to see each other learning the same things. 


The Mayflower

The first thing we did as a group was make a Mayflower – I saw this idea on Superheroes and Princesses and thought “that looks easy enough” so we decided to try it.

I cut the boat shape out of cardboard, took some white plastic kite pieces and some construction paper.



After the kids colored the boat, we assembled it with tape.

IMG_0046We talked about what it would have been like on the Mayflower, a boat that wasn’t actually made for people to travel on, but supplies. The kids knew from some of their books, that the trip took 2 months, and that 2 people died on the boat on the way to America.

Treyton colored a picture of the mayflower for his lapbook cover. He was so cute, when I would ask him what the name of the boat was he would say “flower something”.


Popcorn Balls

We made popcorn balls (out of popcorn and marshmallow) because the Indians in the Massachusetts area were thought to have invented them and they were probably at the first Thanksgiving. This was obviously a highlight for the kids, messy and tasty. IMG_0056




Pilgrim Dolls

I printed off these pilgrim dolls (already colored) from making friends. IMG_0016I cut them out, and Treyton assembled them. He really liked this activity, and I was pleased to see that there were lots of different types of dolls we could use again in the future. IMG_0014

Pilgrim Home

I’m not sure where my mom came up with this idea, but we made pilgrim houses from craft sticks (we colored them with brown markers), some type of twisted craft paper, and buttons.


I recommend using cardboard for the backing, regular cardstock or construction paper would not be strong enough.

Treyton had a lot of questions about the pilgrim’s houses. He was surprised to learn that they lived in one-room-homes and that the kids usually slept on the floor. I found some pictures of different types of pilgrim houses (I think I found 3) that we added to our lapbook on a house flip-book.


Squanto & Indians

I also had Treyton assemble the Indian paper dolls to add to our lapbook after reading “Squanto and the First Thanksgiving”.  IMG_0015 I was surprised by the amount of detail in a children’s book, but appreciated the simplicity of the read and the illustrations which helped keep Treyton’s attention.

I also printed off a squanto lapbook piece (page 34 of 44) from the Amanda Bennett free unit study off of homeschool share.

Geography Specifics

We mapped out the route the Pilgrims took on a world map, which we then added to our lapbook.

We also talked about the New England states: which states are included and where specifically the Pilgrims lived (Massachusetts).


We naturally, spent some time discussing what we were thankful for and how much the Lord has blessed us. We generally do a Thanksgiving Hand Tree, which we didn’t do this year, instead we decided to add this thankful turkey craft in our lapbook for the things Treyton was thankful for, and a corn flip book for the things Lexie was thankful for.


I also made some of my own food lapbook pieces. One asking what food the Pilgrims and Indian’s had at the First Thanksgiving and Which foods we have at our Thanksgiving.


Lapbook Pieces

I printed our lapbook pieces from all over. I hope I remember them all. Some of the pieces I’ve already referred to above (the pilgrim dolls, house replica with the house flip book, and mayflower cover.

~ Church Flipbook – I drew a church flip book and wrote on the cover, “Why did the Pilgrims leave England?” on the front. I wrote Treyton’s answer on the inside.


~ I also added the pieces that we put on our timeline into our lapbook. To help reinforce what we learned. 

~ I printed off this Thanksgiving Mini-Book which Treyton, Lexie and I colored together. We had fun doing this all together.




IMG_0005~ Seasons Flip Book: Treyton  specifically asked about the pilgrims in each of the seasons, so I quickly made a lapbook piece to show Treyton what the Pilgrim’s first year was like, through the seasons.     IMG_0011  

Unit Goals – Lessons I Wanted to Teach

  • Why did the Pilgrim’s Leave England?
  • Who was here before the Pilgrims?
  • How Did the Pilgrim’s get here?
    • What was it like on the Mayflower
  • Where did the Pilgrims land in America?
  • Map Studies:
    • The Pilgrims Journey
    • Where the Pilgrims landed is called “New England”
      • Which states make up “New England”
  • What was life like for the Pilgrims?
    • Homes
    • Clothing
    • Chores
  • Who was Squanto?
    • What was Squanto’s story?
  • Thanksgiving Food:
    • What were some of the foods they ate at the first thanksgiving?
    • What foods do we like to eat to celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • What are some of the things we are thankful for this year?

On-Line Resources:

Scholastic had a bunch of incredible resources on their site that we watched and learned a lot from. Here are a few of our favorites:

Tour the Mayflower

Learn about the Daily Life of a Pilgrim

Learn more about the Pilgrims and How they Lived


Squanto and the First Thanksgiving

Sam Eaton’s Day

Links of Printables:

I made quiet a few printables to include in our lapbook.

My Thanksgiving Food Lapbook Pieces

How To Plant Corn  Grades 1-3

Coloring Picture of the Mayflower from ABC Teach

Pilgrim Coloring Pages

Thanksgiving Notebook Paper

Thanksgiving Acrostic Poem Printable

Thanksgiving Coloring Pages from Activity Village

My First Thanksgiving Mini Book

Links to Activties:

How to Make a Corn Husk Doll

Complete Mayflower Passenger List – you could use this list to select someone to be who was on the Mayflower, possibly to imagine you were them and to interview them.

Make a Thanksgiving Hand Tree

Make the Mayflower – I found this idea on Superheroes and Princesses

Possible Vocabulary Words:

Pilgrim, Freedom, Disease, Indian, Harvest, Tradition, Mayflower, Thatch – plant stalks used for roofing

Extra On-Line Links:

Amanda Bennett Free Thanksgiving Lapbook Pieces

1+1+1=1 Thanksgiving Ideas


Extra Lapbook Pictures

Like, I said before my mom and I did this unit together, she was gracious enough to send me picture of her and Shayla’s (my niece’s) lapbook that they put together. I thought you all might enjoy it.

They did an outstanding job (yeah, I’m a little jealous about how nice it turned out!!)