Friday, December 30, 2005

winter activities

Early Childhood website - Winter Activities for toddlers/preschoolers. 

Friday, December 16, 2005

Long Time No See

The reason I've been away for a couple of months is that I was so tired
and not feeling good from getting so pregnant that I just quit doing
school and most other stuff, too, LOL. But now, I am all done with
that, thank goodness.   Baelin David was born at 5:50 am,
December 6, and was 7lbs, 18.5 inches long.    Sometime
in January I'm going to get back to posting stuff and doing school
again with the kids!

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Bobbie Kalman

I am finding that Bobbie Kalman has a
ton of excellent books for preschool-2nd(ish) grade.  They're
written for early elementary kids to read, and so they are sometimes
too texty for preschoolers, so I just summarize it when we read
them.  But they have tons of pictures, and the information is
really good.   It's a good review for mom    Here's a link to all of her books on Amazon - Bobbie Kalman
She's worth checking out at the library - we have a small-town library
but it is suprisingly well-stocked.  I've been really impressed.
  And they have a ton of her books, which have been really

good book

This is a book I picked up at the library today.  It's a good book, with lots and lots of simple ideas in it.   The Ultimate Preschool Playbook : Easy, Educational, and Entertaining Activities for Your Two- to Five-Year-Old by Dorothy Einon
It's linked to Amazon....I see they have them used for $1.25 - not
bad.  Some of her other books look good, too.   Worth
checking to see if your library has it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Fun food ideas

trying to come up with fun ways to eat/serve food for the kids lunches
and breakfast.  Here are some links that have some good ideas.

Kid's Recipes

Family Fun recipes and ideas
Fun Kraft Food ideas
Snacking Fun

lots of fun food ideas

Chinese Music

I was looking up asian music and came across this:

Chinese Children's songs - mp3's

I had to LOL - one of the songs is called Communist Young Pioneers.

Here's a bunch more Chinese music

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Learning Objectives

is a list of learning objectives that I think Alysa should know by the
end of the year.  Most of these are taken off the Michigan Dept.
of Ed. website.  Most of them are actually kindergarten goals, but
I picked all the ones that I thought she should/could know.  This
is more to give me an idea of what to work on casually with her, and
not really have it be an intense learning experience.

  • Recognize colors.
  • Recognize and name capital and lower case letters and sounds.
  • Comprehend beginning sound-symbol relationships.
  • Identify opposites.
  • Match letters, words and designs.
  • Recognize rhyming words.
  • Develop listening and speaking skills.
  • Follow directions.
  • Sequence events.
  • Develop ability to print letters and copy words.
  • Recognize that literature comes in many forms.
  • Recognize that writing goes from left to right.
  • Acquire emergent (beginning) reading skills.
  • Recognize a few  basic sight words.
  • Follow familiar written text while pointing to matching words.
  • Identify a variety of narrative genre including
    —nursery rhymes
  •  Discuss simple story elements in narrative text
  • Form upper and lower case letters.
  • Identify basic shapes.
  • Complete patterns.
  • Identify and reproduce sets 1-10.
  • Classify by shape, color, and size.
  • Print numbers 0-20.
  • Understand the concept of addition and subtraction.
  • Develop problem solving skills.
  • Develop concepts and comparisons of measurement.
  • Read and write numerals to 30 and connect them to the quantities they represent.
  • Count orally to 100 by ones. Count to 30 by 2s, 5s and10s using grouped
    objects as needed.
  • Create, describe, and extend simple number patterns.
  • Know and use the common words for the parts of the day (morning, afternoon,
    evening, night) and relative time (yesterday, today, tomorrow, last week, next year).
  •  Identify tools that measure time (clocks measure hours and minutes; calendars
    measure days, weeks, and months).
  • Compare two or more objects by length, weight and capacity, e.g., which is
    shorter, longer, taller?
  • Compare length and weight of objects by comparing to reference objects, and
    use terms such as shorter, longer, taller, lighter, heavier.
  • Identify, sort and classify objects by attribute and identify objects that do not
    belong in a particular group.
  • Create, describe, and extend simple geometric patterns.
  • Know and understand money values

  • Identify characteristics associated with the four seasons.
  • Understand the importance and functions of the five senses.
  • Observe and discuss concept of change.
  • Describe seasonal changes in weather.

October Unit Studies

Australia Unit Study
Fall Unit Study
South America Unit Study
Farm Unit Study

Australia 5 Day Plan
5 Day Plan
South America 5 Day Plan
Farm 5 Day Plan

Australia 5 Day Plan

Do coloring sheets all week,
using different art methods


Money Flashcards
Air activities
Lesson 1 art curriculum
Sandpaper prints
Look up
Australia on Google Earth
Color map

Coin Rubbings
Lesson 2 art
Puzzle prints

File Folder
Map collage
Anzac Biscuits
talk about ecosystems of Australia

Coin Patterns
Jumping Kangaroo

File Folder
sorting and sizing
Koala Craft


Farm 5 Day Plan

Do animal flashcards and coloring sheets all



Eggs are

Little Boy

Paper Plate


Little Boy Blue little




Little Bo Peep


Little Bo Peep little




3 Pigs Houses


Animal 3-in-a-row




Sponge Paint Farm, Sheep,



Do patterns with 3-in-a-row







Fall 5 Day Plan

To get some more fun crafts for fall,
I did a swap with a few other women.  We picked out a few
crafts from Oriental
Trading Company

and then we each got a few of each craft - that way we weren't each

stuck with 12 of the same craft.  So the kids will be doing





Planting Acorns
Scarecrow Fun
Scarecrow Art
Pumpkin Pudding
Fall Book


Fall Sensory Box
Apple Wreaths
Fall Book


Open and Closed Pinecone
Corn Cob painting
Leaf Sugar
Fall Book


talk about
Fall Smells
Tissue Paper Pumpkin
Fall Book
Apple Hide
and Seek

More or

Pumpkin Patch

Fall Smells
Scented/Pumpkin Playdough
Fall Book

Australia Unit Study

Australia 5 Day Plan

Animals to Study:

Tasmanian Devil - Coloring Sheet (convert to b/w)
Koala - Coloring Sheet
Kangaroo - Coloring Sheet
Platypus - Coloring Sheet
Sugar Glider - Coloring Sheet (convert to b/w)
Bandicoot - coloring sheet (convert to b/w)
Frilly-Necked Lizard - coloring sheet (convert to b/w)
Look up Australia on Google Earth
Color map of Australia
Paint the flag

work on money
Buried Treasure: Bury coins in a bowl of rice or sand. Have her find specific coins.
Coin Rubbing:
Hot-glue several coins onto index cards.  Lay thin paper on top
and clip it with clothespins to hold the paper it place. Use the flat
side of a crayon to rub over the paper and make an impression of the

Patterns: Make patterns with coins. For example, heads, tails, heads, tails; or, penny, nickel, penny, nickel.
work on recognizing and writing numbers 1-20
sorting and sizing with koala craft

air/gliding activities

Fill a bowl with water.  Place a cup in it, open side down. 
Tip the edge up and watch what happens.  Talk about the air
bubbles and the air leaving the cup, letting water in.   Blow
up a balloon.  Talk about air from our lungs; slowly let the air
out of the balloon and feel it.  Blow up a balloon and let go of
it - watch it fly around.

Straw Glider

What You Need
  1. Straw
  2. Construction paper
  3. Scissors
  4. Tape
  5. Pencil
  6. Ruler
What You Do
  1. First,
    lay a piece of construction paper down on your table. With your ruler,
    measure and mark with your pencil a strip that is 1 inch wide and 8
    inches long. Then carefully cut out this strip.
  2. With
    your ruler and pencil, measure and mark a second strip of paper that is
    1/2 inch wide and 6 inches long. Cut this strip out of the paper.
  3. Take the longer strip and form a circle or loop. Tape the two ends together.
  4. Take the shorter strip of paper and form a circle or loop. Tape the two ends together.
  5. Put the longer strip on one end of your straw. Tape it in place.
  6. Put the shorter strip on the other end of your straw. Tape it in place.
  7. Try
    sailing or flying your straw glider. Try sailing it with the smaller
    loop at the front; try sailing it with the bigger loop at the front.
    What happens?
  8. You might try adding
    some more loops or wings to the straw. Or try making a glider with two
    straws taped together. Or try twisting paper strips to see if that
    makes a difference.

The paper rings or loops are like wings. The air pressure that is on
top and below the loops create what we call "lift." This lift makes it
possible for the object or straw glider to sail in the air.

Australia is the leading producer of wool.
Gather clothes made of different material such as wool, rayon/silk,
cotton, etc.  Compare textures and weight.  Do an experiment
with the clothes. "Which material will dry the fastest?
Soak each piece of material in water.
Place the wet pieces on a tray and place the tray in the sun.
Check them periodically and record the order in which the different materials dried.

Talk about the different ecosystems/habitats in Australia.

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 drops vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
Passion fruit pulp, fruit salad, or strawberries
1 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until frothy.
3. Gradually beat in sugar a little at a time.
4. Continue beating until stiff and sugar is dissolved. Beat in vanilla.
5. Cover a cookie sheet with brown paper. Draw a 9" circle and spread meringue
evenly within the lines. Make a slight hollow, in the center for filling.
6. Bake 1 hour.
7. Turn off heat and let dry at least 2 hours.
8. When ready to serve, whip cream until thick, fold in fruit and fill center of pavlova.

Anzac Biscuits
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup white flour (sifted)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded coconut
4 oz. butter or margarine
2 tblsp light-colored pancake syrup, molasses, or treacle
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tblsp boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar, and coconut.
3. Combine butter/margarine with syrup in sauce pan; stir over low heat until
melted and thoroughly blended.
4. Mix baking soda with boiling water and add to butter and syrup mixture.
5. Stir liquid mixture into dry ingredients until batter is formed.
6. Place teaspoons of batter onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart to
allow for spreading.
7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
8. Place biscuits on rack to cool.

Jumping Kangaroo
Australia map collage
Cut a boomerang shape out of cardboard, let them paint it.
Puzzle prints (from

What You Need:

  • old puzzle pieces
  • white glue
  • cereal box cardboard
  • safety scissors
  • paint or printmaking ink
  • paintbrush or printmaking brayer (or roller)
  • Printmaking 101 (click here)
  • Basic printmaking supply list (see below)
  • Printing with a brayer instructions (see below)
  • A word about paper (see below)
  • construction paper

What You Do:

  1. Read through Printmaking 101 and Printmaking 102
  2. Talk about printmaking and how when you make a print, you can make several of the same image.
  3. Cut a piece of cereal box down to a nice size (about 6" x 8")
  4. Take
    several puzzle pieces and arrange them on the cereal box cardboard. The
    pieces can be arranged to create a picture, or they can just be laid
    down in a random pattern.
  5. Once you are happy with the way the pieces look, glue them down and let the glue dry for an hour or so.
  6. If
    you have a printmaking brayer, follow the directions below for printing
    with a brayer. If you don't have a printmaking brayer, use a paintbrush
    to cover the puzzle pieces with paint (or ink).
  7. Lay a sheet of paper on top of the painted puzzle pieces and rub gently with the palm of your hand.
  8. Remove the paper and sign the print and add the numbers 1/4
  9. Do
    3 more prints so you have four all together. The second print should
    have the numbers 2/4; the third soul have the numbers 3/4 and the
    fourth should have the number 4/4 (of course you can do more than four,
    but then you have to number accordingly)
Do lesson 1 and 2 from the art curriculum
Koala Craft
Sandpaper Prints
(mock aboriginal cave drawings)
Use crayons to draw and color a design on sandpaper, pressing
hard.  Color in as much as possible.  Place the sandpaper
colored side down onto white construction paper.  Place both
pieces of paper in between two pieces of newspaper.  Press the
newspaper with a hot iron.  Let cool and then remove the
newspaper.  Peel the sandpaper off of the white paper.  The
print is now on the white paper.


listen to some opera (Sydney Opera House)
The rough guide to Australian Aboriginal music CD
Books to Read
In search of the real Tasmanian devil / by James Preller J 599.2 P
Australia J 994
Into wild Australia / John Woodward J590
The aboriginal peoples of Australia / Anne Bartlett J 305.89915 BAR
Coco's surprise / written by Karen van Holst Pellekaan E H
Koalas / by Gail Saunders-Smith E S
The koala : the bear that's not a bear / Diana Star Helmer J 599.25 H
platypus 599.29
Wombat & Bandicoot : best of friends :three stories / by Kerry Argent. E A
Bush walkabout.
Lowe, Beulah. J 398.2 P
Island ancestors Oceanic art from the Masco Collection Allen Wardwell 709.011099 W
World of the koala [videorecording]
Kangaroos faces in the mob / [videorecording]
Good Links:
Australian Animals -since this isn't an 'official' site, I would double check all the facts they have on there.
Australian Theme links
Rainforest Australia  (I didn't know they had one)
Arthur's Australian Clipart
22 Australian Activities/Lessons
Australia at San Diego Zoo - includes video clips of animals

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Africa WebCam animal question

You can see a live webcam out in Botswana 24/7 - it's awesome.  Tons of animals all the time.  Africa Cam
I have a question though - this is probably dumb but oh well LOL.
    Those of you that are watching this, do you know what
those little birds are?  There are always tons of them around -
the little gray ones that look like the size of a chicken.   I
want to say it's a pheasant, but I have no idea if a pheasant even
lives in Africa.   It's driving me nuts though, b/c they are
always there.

And does anyone else think it would be cool to see a cheetah or a lion come over sometime and attack an animal????  (deep down you know it would )

Farm Unit Study

Farm 5 Day Plan


Make butter with real cream.
Taste a variety of dairy products.

Animal Sort
Have their barn set out (or a picture of a barn) and have their safari
mat set out (or a picture of a safari area).   Gather all
their plastic animals into one pile, and have them separate the animals
between safari and farm, putting the animals in their correct homes.

Animal Match
out images of animals, cut in half, and have them match them up. 
To make it harder, cut into a couple of pieces.  Arthur's Clipart Images


Eggs Are Hatching - activity in a reproducible math book I have
Farm Animal Shadow Matching worksheet
make farm animal pattern worksheets
dot to dot worksheets 1 2
maze worksheets 1 2
more/less worksheet


Little Boy Blue shape craft  hay
* Ask and help child to identify the shapes   Talk about the different shades of blue.
*  Encourage child to glue the template pieces to the body outline template.
*  When Little Boy Blue is assembled cut around and then glue
Little Boy Blue to "sleep" over the hay mat template (suggest to color
the mat in different shades of yellow & brown).  You can also
have the children glue some real hay, or cut-up raffia, construction
paper in a coordinating color to the hay mat first and then glue Little
Boy Blue on top (beige, brown).
* There is a small marking on the
hay mat marking to use a hole punch to insert a piece of yarn, string
or raffia to hang as a decoration.

Little Bo Peep Mobile

Muddy Pig
Cut out a pig out of construction paper and have children fingerpaint the pig with chocolate pudding.

Cow Prints
sponges into chunks. Pour black paint into shallow dishes. Paint cow
spots on large sheets of paper. Later after the paint dries you can cut
the paper into the shape of a cow if so desired.

Paper Plate Pig Craft

Sponge Print Farm

Obtain sponges shaped as cows, pigs, farm houses, fences, clouds, etc.
Have your child dip the sponges into paint and press on a piece of
paper to create a farm scene.

Paint with tractors - run through paint, and then onto paper to make tracks.
Three Pigs House
What You Need:
Paper, Twigs, Spaghetti or straw, Glue, Paint
What You Do:
your children create the three little pigs houses by using red paper
(bricks), spaghetti (straw), and small twigs (sticks). 

Sponge Painted Black Sheep

the sheep template onto heavy construction paper. Dip a sponge in black
paint and sponge paint the sheep's black wool. Let dry.  Cut out
and glue onto a popsicle stick for a puppet.

Farm Mobile


Cow Milk Shakes
Blend the following together:
Milk, Ice Cream, Chocolate Syrup
Bake bread

Play with animal flashcards - matching mothers to babies
Farm Animals coloring sheets
Farm coloring sheet
animal coloring sheets
good coloring sheets

the coloring sheets, have them use a variety of art mediums to color -
different paints, pastels, colored pencils, chalks, etc.

Do Little Boy Blue and Little Bo-Peep little books
Animal 3-in-a-row
both from Early Childhood Units for Nursery Rhymes
I've discovered the Bobbie Kalman books are great.

The Usborne book of tractors / Caroline Young J 629.225 Y
All about farm animals / Brenda Cook J 636.01 C
Hooray for sheep farming! / Bobbie Kalman J 636.3145 KAL
Hooray for orchards! / Bobbie Kalman J 634 K
Life on a cattle farm / by Judy Wolfman J 636.222 WOL
Life on a crop farm / by Judy Wolfman J 630 WOL
Life on a pig farm / by Judy Wolfman J 636.4 WOL
Richard Scarry's On the farm
Little Red Hen
Pioneer projects / Bobbie Kalman J 745.5 K
Pioneer life from A to Z / created by Bobbie Kalman J 973 K
Pioneer farm cooking / by Mary Gunderson : J 641.5973 G
Pioneer farm : living on a farm in the 1880s ; by Megan O'Hara J 630 0
Nursery Rhymes
Baa Baa Black Sheep - coloring pages
Little Bo Peep (read Jesus and lost sheep - compare) - coloring sheets
Little Boy Blue
3 Little Pigs - coloring pages

Thursday, September 22, 2005

First Day of Fall!!!!

Finally!   Fall is here.  After such a hot, hot, hot, humid summer, I am so glad it is finally the first day of Autumn
In honor of the new season, I did a little redecorating.  
Fall is definately my favorite season.  I love the cooler nights
and mornings, and being able to be comfy in a sweater and
jeans.   And the smells....I love the smell of leaves, and
now it's finally cool enough that I can have my windows open throughout
the house.   I always have a pan of potpourri simmering on
the stove - water with cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla, and
apple slices when I have them handy.    Fall just smells
so good.  The only bad thing about fall is that it means that 5
months of cold winter is just around the corner.

Images from

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fall Unit Study

Fall 5 Day Plan

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater - make little book, do coloring sheets.  Talk about different kinds of houses.

Scarecrow Coloring Sheet
Squirrel Coloring Sheet 1 2

Books to Read
Autumn : an alphabet acrostic / by Steven Schnur E S
Autumn : signs of the season around North America / by Mary Pat Finnegan J 508.2
Raking leaves with Max / Hanne Turk E T
Where do all the birds go? / Tracey Lewis E L
Rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks / by Mel Boring J 559.32 B
Homes / Margaret C. Hall  J 643.1 HAL
Right at home / by Jennifer Waters J 392.3 WAT
Smell J612.86

More or Less game

Number Matching

Take 20 paper plates, write number on each of them.  Get a bunch
of leaves (foam or paper) and they have to place the correct number of
leaves on each plate.

Make apple puzzles....cut a paper apple into a puzzle shape - put back together.  Apple Template

Acorn Numbers Worksheets

Leaf Graph
Go on a nature walk and collect leaves.
Have them count the number of leaves they collected from each type of
tree, and graph the results. After doing leaf graph, make a placemat
with the leaves and contact paper.

Leaf Sticker Match 
Place two identical leaf stickers on one index card. One on the left
side and one on the right. Then cut the card in half in a puzzle shape.
Follow with all the stickers. Then set out the cards and ask the child
to pick out one, then find it's match. Next, place the cards together.

Pumpkin Patch printable book


Planting Acorns
Collect acorns  on a fall nature walk. Place the acorns in a damp
paper towel and place in a sunny place. Keep the towels damp over the
next few days. Watch the acorns sprout.  Observe the acorns with a
magnifying lens. Place the acorns in potting soil in individual cups.

Fall Sensory Box

Leaves, acorns, pine cones, nuts, apples, and other things found on
nature walk.  You'll need a box the children can fit their hands
into without seeing inside.  Put the objects in the box. 
Have them take turns feeling inside the box.  Ask them to describe
what he or she feels and what they think it is. 

Talk about what animals do during Fall in order to prepare for the upcoming winter weather.

Open and Closed Pinecone
a pinecone in a plastic bag and add a small amount of water to the
bag.  Let set for 24 hours.  The next morning, the pinecone
will be closed.  Take the pinecone out and place it in the
sun.  After it dries, it will open back up.

Fall Smells
Go on a smell walk outside.  Smell leaves, trees, etc.
Place some objects in a box.   With her eyes closed, have her pick up and object and try to identify it by its smell.
Soak a cotton ball in a scent.  Hide it in the house.  Have her walk around and try to find it by sniffing.
Make fall potpourri on the stove - cloves, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla


Draw a tree, cut an apple in half and dip in paint, stamp on tree.
the apples the day before you will use them for printing. Also, it is
helpful to put the paint on a piece of paper towel in a tray. It
becomes more like a stamp pad and the apples print better.

Dried Apple Wreaths
Cut a wreath shape from cardboard. Glue dried apples rings around the
wreath overlapping them. Gather some dried flowers & leaves to fill
in the wreath. Add a bow at the top if you like.

Scarecrow Fun
Cut shirt and pants shapes out of fabric and face shapes out of
construction paper. Let the children glue the shapes on pieces of
construction paper to make scarecrows. Have the children draw on facial
features on the scarecrow. Set out 1-inch pieces of straw, and have the
glue the straw pieces around the edges of the scarecrow.

Scarecrow Art
Supply precut squares, circles, rectangles and pieces of straw or hay
along with some glue and large sized paper.  Let them make their
own scarecrows.

Corn Cob Printing
Allow your child to use a dried corn cob as a brush or roll the cob in paint and onto a piece of paper.

Scented Playdough

4 c. flour,  1 c. salt, 1.5 c water, fall scents (cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, etc).  Could also add glitter to the dough.  Mix
all together and knead.   Make fall shapes - pumpkins, leaves,
etc.  Bake in a 300 oven until hard.  Paint, seal with clear
sealant (I use Future floor polish).

Pumpkin Playdough
Need: 5  cups Flour, 2 Cups Salt, 8 teaspoons Cream of Tartar , 3
Cup Oil, 1 Container Pumpkin Pie Spice, Orange Food Coloring (2 parts
yellow, 1 part red) , 4 Cups Water
 Mix all of the
ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps
appear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth.

Tissue Paper Pumpkin
Take a handful of poly-fil fiber and smash around in hands until shaped
like a ball.  Lay a orange piece of tissue paper on the table, put
ball of fiber fill in center and pull edges up around it. tie off with
what is handy for you.  Trim to a nice stem length, take a green
pipe cleaner and twist around and shape like vines.  You can also
add some  curling ribbon for a prettier look.  Let the
children cut out jack o lanter features from black construction paper,
and glue on.

Pinecone Squirrel

Baked Apples
Apple Pancakes
Sugar Cookies with fall cookie cutters

Easy Pumpkin Pudding

Materials and Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla pudding for each child 
2 tsp. Libby's easy pumpkin pie mix per child
A bowl for each child
A spoon for each child

Help them measure and place one cup of vanilla pudding in their
individual bowls. Next, measure out 2 tsp. pie mix with each child.
Have them mix the vanilla pudding and the pie mix together for a
seasonal and yummy treat.

Leaf Piles
The recipe is 6 cups cornflakes, 1 cup
karo sryup, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter.  In a microwave
melt the karo, sugar, and peanut butter together.  Pour over the
cornflakes and place them in piles.  Let them cool and dry a

Popcorn Balls

Leaf Toast
leaf cookie cutters with white bread to make leaf shapes. Put on cookie
sheet and toast in oven for short time. Give the children strawberry
and apricot jam to spread on their leaves so they turn into fall colors.


Apple Hide and Seek
Have them hide their eyes while you "hide" an apple in the room. (It
should be placed in plain view) Tell the children to find the apple,
and then let them hide the apple.

Apple Hide and Seek
Play the game the same as above, except really hide the Apple. Then
tell them whether they are "hot" or "cold" to the relation of the
Apple.   Let her hide the apple and have me find it, and she
says hot or cold. 

Visit Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch

lots of printable
Fall Books

Monday, September 19, 2005

Africa WebCam

National Geographic Botswana live webcam

They are 6 hours ahead of us, so it is almost dark there now, but
during the mornings here, this is really really really cool to
watch.  It is a motion sensored live camera and it is
awesome.  We got to see a baby elephant and her mother drinking
this morning.


This week we're doing the Community
unit study.  Today we learned about firefighters and
policemen.  After reading a couple books, we did some water
experiments, since firefighters use water.  I filled up 2 glasses
of water, and in one glass I added a ton of salt.  While we were
stirring the salt, we talked about dissolving, and how salt and sugar
dissolve, but sand wouldn't.   Then, we put an egg in the
plain water, and it sank.  Then we put the egg in the salty water,
and it floated.  (I thought that was cool LOL).   Then
we experimented with items that would or wouldn't absorb water.  I
used a sponge, washcloth, plastic bag, piece of wood and a shoelace.

After that they did a couple crafts - gluing tissue paper down in a
fire collage, and then fire painting.   This was kind of cool
to do, and Alysa liked squishing the paint around underneath the
plastic wrap.   And I liked it b/c she stayed clean
LOL.  There was actually so much paint on the plastic wrap after
we pulled it off, that I put it on another plain piece of paper and
smoothed it out and took it off.  I think that one turned out even
cooler than the first one.  The first one is on top, the second
one is on bottom.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

This week

This week we're going to be learning about our neighborhood and community.  Neighborhood Unit Study  5 Day Plan

The weather is supposed to be nice this week, so I think we'll be
taking a few field trips around town.   Living 2 blocks from
downtown has its advantages LOL.  We're also going to work on
being a bit more scheduled, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Oriental Trading Company

I just recieved my OTC catalog in the mail
and it had tons of fall/thanksgiving/christmas crafts in it.   A
lot of stuff for scrapbooking, too LOL.  You can get a catalog, or
just look at their online catalog here,  Oriental Trading Company 
They have a lot of crafts for younger kids.   And since most of
them are fairly simple, you can figure out how to do them just from the
picture.  So there are lots of ideas for crafts, even without
buying them all.  But for the ones you do want, they are really

Friday, September 16, 2005

Little Miss Muffet

sat on her tuffet, eating her toads and whey.   
That's how Alysa has been saying it all day and now she's teaching
Aiden to say it like that, too.  LOL.  It's too cute.

2 weeks done

I didn't realize how tiring this was going
to be.  I think after I finish getting the activities in a baggie
done this weekend, that will help somewhat with Aiden.  He wants
to do everything Alysa does, but then gets bored and wanders around and
gets into trouble, or just whines and whines 

I also vastly underestimated Alysa's perseverance.   She
doesn't like finishing things if she doesn't like what she's then she does something like this, when I make her finish...

So I've had to ease up a bit.    The first week they
really didn't watch many videos like they usually do, and I think such
a sharp withdrawl was hard, so they've watched a few more this
week.   At least half of them this week have been educational
ones.  Getting on a better schedule will help, too, I think.

So we haven't really done any math yet, or started her reading lessons,
which that I really want to do, and so does she.   I think I
might try a day or two of them next week and see how she
does.    I got my free reading rods sample in the mail
this week, and she loved those. 

I also got some huge, thick free book catalogs in the mail today. 
Actually they were FedExed, which was cool.  They were from Perfection Learning
which was listed in the Well-Trained Mind as a good
resource.   They look like it.   That will be fun
to sit down tonight and look through that.


Want to hear something gross???  If a
single pair of houseflies mate in April, and the female lays some eggs,
and all of the eggs hatch into larvae and become adults, and they all
mate and lay eggs.......and this goes on just for one
summer..........and the end of that summer, that single pair of flies
would have produced 190,000,000,000,000,000,000 flies.  

Is that not the grossest thing?    That doesn't happen,
obviously.....but for that potential to even be there??? 
Sometimes you have to wonder what God was thinking

We've pretty much finished up our insects for the week.  There are
a couple crafts we haven't done that we'll probably do tomorrow - the
bouncing grasshopper and the tp roll wasps colony.

We just finished the paper mache insects.   I didn't realize
what a huge project that was going to be.   But they look
cool, the kids had fun, and Alysa got to do paper mache for the first
time.  Which is really my goal in all of this -  not to
really teach her anything, but just to expose her to lots of
stuff.   They wanted to put glitter on the bugs, so we
did...the glue is still wet in the pictures, that's why there is white
swirls all over the bugs - it will dry clear eventually.  We made
an ant, a ladybug, and a jumping spider.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Creation bracelet

I saw this posted somewhere else and thought it was a cool thing to do. 

the following beads: colored beads, animal beads, flower beads, star
beads, and fish beads.  Use a pipe cleaner for the bracelet, and
string the beads.  A yellow bead for day 1, a blue bead for day 2,
a flower bead for day 3, a star bead for day 4, a fish bead for day 5,
an animal bead for day 6, and a purple bead for day 7, representing
God's royalty resting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Insect Bingo

may take awhile to load, depending on your computer and internet
connection.  The first one is a blank bingo template, and the
other 4 are Insect Bingo cards that I made up.   I got all
the clip art from
Arthur's Insect Clip Art - an awesome site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bugs, bugs, bugs

This week we're doing the Insect/Spider study.  I don't know why I'm doing this....these bugs are so gross!!   I mean in the beetle book, they show the dung beetle.  Feasting on a nice, slimy, wet piece of......well, you know.   
I keep my opinions to myself, tho....not influencing the
kids.   It's funny what they think is gross
though.   There was a picture of a bunch of black and yellow
striped caterpillars - I thought they were cute.   But Alysa
thought they looked 'ucky'.  But the picture of the maggots didn't
phase her a bit

We had a crafty day today.  I am exhausted
In between sneaking peaks at the confirmation hearings (which you can
watch live on, we finished up their African drums. 
(lesson learned....don't use bright red plastic cups.   White
tissue paper doesn't cover well LOL)

Then, I blew up ballons to make paper mache insects.  We are
making a ladybug, a spider, and an ant.  So while Aiden took a
nap, Alysa and I paper mached the balloons.   They take
forever to dry, so I have them sitting (setting???) on my air
conditioner vents.   I'll have to put a couple more layers on
tonight.    Those are going to be cute when they are all

Then, Alysa watched Magic School Bus Spins a Web, and made a ladybug
necklace while she watched.  This turned out cute. 

And, Little Hands to Heaven came today.   That looks like it's going to be a cool program to do with the kids.

Congo hippos disappearing

I just read this AP article - goes along with the Africa study.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

887 hippos are left in Congo, once home to the world's largest
population of the water-loving mammal, and they will be extinct in the
African country, an international environmental group warned Monday.

Hippos are being killed by government soldiers, local militia and poachers, the World Wildlife Fund said. The meat is sold as food while teeth end up as part of the illegal ivory trade. Hippos fetch around $50 per animal.

latest aerial survey puts the hippopotamus population in northeastern
Congo's Virunga National Park down to under 1,000 animals, compared to
some 29,000 in 1974. The last survey in 2003 counted 1,307.

continued presence of soldiers and armed groups in the park — a UNESCO
World Heritage Site with a 400-mile-long boundary — has made it
difficult to protect the animals, the WWF said.

"Soldiers are left in the park without being fed nor paid and that's a recipe for disaster," said Marc Languy, who heads WWF's regional program.

a five-year war in this central African country, the postwar
transitional government has had little success in calming the east,
where killings, looting and rapes continue almost unabated.

last month, the hippopotamus survey was carried out by the Congolese
Institute for Conservation of Nature, the European Union and WWF.

disappearance of hippos also triggers serious secondary effects for the
population, the WWF said. Because hippo dung provides vital nutrients
for the fish in Lake Edward, its absence has led to a rapid decline of
the lake's fish stocks.

the government does not take the hippo situation in Virunga seriously,
this will not only lead to an environmental disaster, but also to an
economic crisis for local communities," Languy said.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Amazing slide show of New Orleans

this isn't preschool related but you have to take a look at this.   New Orleans slideshow

197 pictures from before to 5 days in.  He has comments describing all the pictures as well.  Amazing.

Book sale finds!

Today, I went to a book sale, and hit the
jackpot.   It started at
9, and I knew I should have gotten there right at 9, but I didn't get
there until about 10:30.   Halfway thru, I saw this 12 or 13
yo kid who
had a pile of about 50 books....all of them greek and roman classics,
and various other classics.    He said he was going
through and picking
out which ones he wanted......but I never saw his discarded pile, so I
think he bought them all.  Good for him, bad for me
LOL.     But I
still got a lot of good books!  Almost all of the kids books are
hardbacks, in fairly good condition.  They're all older editions,
I like.  I think these types of books are perfect condition for
reading.  You can read them, and the kids can read them, without
fear of ruining them or getting the pages smudged up a tad, but yet
they aren't old enough where they are in danger of falling apart.
  And, they're cheap.  So, if something does happen to the
book, you're not out anything. 

I got The Trumpet of the Swan, A Little Princess, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Perrault's Complete Fairy Tales, an abridged version of Ben-Hur
(I like the idea that you read an abridged version when you're a kid, a
slightly more advanced version in jr high-ish, and then in high school
you read the actual version, and then it isn't intimidating b/c you
already know the story), Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories, an abridged Sinbad the Sailor, a cool older book of nursery rhymes, Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, a kid's version of The Nutcracker, a 1956 oversized Golden Book of Science
- this one is so cool.  Aiden has already paged through it several
times.  I found a coloring book of children of the world, that has
hardly been colored in.   It has nice, big drawings of people all
over the world in their native clothes.  So I thought that will
come in handy to make copies of and let the kids color.

 I also got - Walden, a book of selected poetry by Blake, Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy, short stories of Stephen Crane, Grapes of Wrath, a large selection of poetry and prose by Percy Bysshe Shelley, House of Seven Gables - Hawthorne (if you ever get a chance to go out to Mass. and see it, it's very pretty), Plato's Republic (somehow that kid missed this one LOL), My Life
by Golda Meir (highly recommend - fascinating woman), a large
collection of literature from the Medieval Ages, and the crowning book
I found today - The Federalist Papers
I have been wanting to read these since I read John Adams by McCullough
a couple of months ago.  This book is in brand new condition
(aside from being 50 or 60 years old LOL).   And I found it in the
Science section - someone must have just set it down.  I was so
thrilled to find it LOL.   And, the best part was........all of
those books only cost $18!!! 

quick summary of our first week.

Well our first week is over - 1 week down, 20 years to go.  
I found that the days we were more scheduled tended to go a bit
smoother, so I'm going to have to work on that.  A few notes about
the Africa study - doing the stripes on the zebras freehand is a pain
to make a matching pair.   I'd recommend doing it in a
photo-editing program.  The Sweet Potato cookies were very
good.  I was surprised.  The kids keep scarfing them
down.  The homemade ginger   It had slightly
too much of a ginger aftertaste for me, although I bet that could be
remedied by adding more water or sugar or lemon juice.   The kids
liked it for awhile, too, which I was surprised by.   I think
their favorite thing to do was do the coloring pages and watch
audio/video clips on the computer.  Next week should be fun!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Fly On the Wall - Our First Day of Preschool

In perfect timing, I've been tagged!

have to tell what your day TODAY was like...really! Not what you wish
it'd been like or what you'd planned for it to be like, but how it
really turned out. Be sure to title it "Fly on the Wall" so we can look
for those blogs. Tag about five or so friends and we can all have fun
being a fly on the wall of someone else's homeschool for a day.
Answer these questions yourself and then send this to five other people.
Are you following any special diet right now? If so, what?
What food do you love that others usually think is gross?
How many magazines do you personally subscribe to?
What is your most favorite article of clothing, and how often do you wear it?
Do either you or your husband still have clothes from High School or
college hanging in your closet? If yes- do they still fit?
What book are you reading right now?
Name an odd thing you have on your kitchen or bathroom counter.

learned 3 things today.   1, letting Alysa stay up late is
not a good idea.   She was so ornery this morning.  So
we kind of had an easy day, which is a good way to ease into this, I
suppose.   2, Teaching a 4 year old to follow directions and
finish something, when she's never really had to before - will take
some time.  And 3, her bossiness finally has an up side LOL. 
The couple of times she wanted to quit after about 5 minutes, I got her to finish by teaching Aiden.  She loved that.

I realized that I made a 5 day study for Africa, and it's a 4 day
week.   So I'm kind of combining things somewhat.  
The first thing we did was read about Africa and Hippos.  Then
they colored their maps and painted with watercolors on the hippo
coloring pages.  I think it's the first time Aiden has painted
with a brush before, and he really did good - I was impressed. 
(notice the wonderful coloring job he did on my floor the other

Then we looked at some video
and audio of hippos on the computer, and then did a little math. 
She did a couple pages in a math book I picked up at a garage sale a
year or two ago.   I think it's actually a 1st grade math book -
but it's pretty easy.  I hope I'm wrong and it really is a Kdg
book, for those poor kids at school's sake. 
I wanted her to do a few more pages but she was getting ornery so I
decided not to push it.  Instead she played a math FFG.  
Which she didn't want to do, but when I had her teach Aiden to match
them, she liked it a little better.   (And, of course, as I'm
typing this up at 6:00 at night, she found another FFG on the couch and
is sitting and playing with it, and loving it.  LOL)  

After that, I let them watch a
video while they had "munchables" (Alysa's word).   I made
homemade Lunchables for them -  lots cheaper and a little
healtheir LOL.   And then they had a nice nap.   We
worked for about an hour and a half this morning, and I had figured on
about 2, 2 1/2 hours, which I think will be about right on when I
usually do everything I have planned.   I'm planning on the
couple of hours in the morning, and then an hour or so in the afternoon
after their nap, when we'll do Little Hands to Heaven - that should be
coming next week - I'm excited to see that one.

After they got
up from their nap, we did a little bit more.  They painted with
these textured toys we have, and that morphed into fingerpainting (and
clothes painting  and body painting...not to mention the door and the floor), so after a bath, we finished up by listening to African music
and making rain sticks.  Which seems like a good idea, but boy are
those annoying LOL.  And yes, they wanted to get into their
pajamas after their bath.   And then they went and played
outside for a couple hours.

It was nice having them stay fairly
occupied all day and it was fun doing all that stuff with them.  A
little more tiring than I would have thought.   It was nice
having the tv off a lot more during the day, too. 

Ok - other questions part:

Are you following any special diet right now? If so, what?  Not
really.   I read South Beach Diet awhile ago and liked a lot
of their ideas, just as far as eating healtheir, but it is more
$$$.    We have cut out a lot of red meat tho, and eat a
lot of beans and rice.   When I remember to soak them all day
first.  And we eat some salmon....which tastes fine to me but the
thought of eating fish grosses me out, so I have to force myself to
make it.

What food do you love that others usually think is gross? I can't think of any.   But I have an opposite one - I hate bread and rarely eat it.  

How many magazines do you personally subscribe to? 4.  
2 were presents, 1 was free, and 1 gave me a lot of free stuff
LOL.   I have Somerset Magazine, Scrapbooks ETC, PCPhoto -
love love this one.   This is my free one, and I might
actually pay for it to be renewed.  And then The Old Schoolhouse.

What is your most favorite article of clothing, and how often do you wear it?  I don't have a specific one; I have a few comfy shirts that I've had for years and I wear them a lot.

Do either you or your husband still have clothes from High School or
college hanging in your closet? If yes- do they still fit? See
above, LOL.   Yes, but in all fairness, we've only been out
of high school for 5 years.   But a good portion of our
clothes are still from then and still fit and look good.

What book are you reading right now? Abigail
Adams, The Way They Learn, Well-Trained Mind, some novels by Stephanie
Grace Whitson, Roseanne Bittner, and W. Dale Cramer.

Name an odd thing you have on your kitchen or bathroom counter. 
I wish I had a bathroom counter.   On the kitchen, some dried-out
tea bags.   I'm going to open them up and dump out the tea, and
use the bags in my art stuff.  Except if I don't move them
upstairs to my craft room fast enough after they dry out, dh throws
them away 

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Classical Chaos

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