Sunday, December 16, 2012

little, littler, littlest

A mama in my MOPs group unexpectedly delivered her baby boy at 26 weeks.  The thought of any family facing a long hard road in NICU sends me straight for my yarn.  It's what I do.

I made three hats for baby Benjamin.  One in a size that will fit now, one a little bigger and one even a little bigger than that.  The largest size is the size I usually  make for preemies when I do my big stash to celebrate Hazel's NICU discharge--the size for "near-termers" like she was.  The smaller ones are super tiny!  It scares me to think that I know someone with a baby small enough to wear that tiniest one!

I started with the smallest one and prayed as I stitched that he would grow, quickly, out of each size and into the next.  I hope that he thrives and is able to come home with his family very soon!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Wrap-Up: How to Make an Apple Pie

We spent a week studying the Five in a Row book selection How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  This is the most adorable book ever!  In it, the girl decides to make an apple pie, but her supermarket is closed.  So she travels the globe to gather the ingredients for her pie--wheat from Italy, a cow (for milk, for butter) from England, a chicken (for eggs) from France, sugar cane from Jamaica, and cinnamon from Sri Lanka.  Along the way, she dips a jar into the ocean so that she can evaporate the water for salt.  Finally she lands back in the USA on a Vermont apple orchard to get the apples, makes her pie, and invites her friends to come enjoy it with her.  The illustrations are hilarious, and totally make the book. 

Obviously, this book is well suited to some geography study.  We found all of the places that the girl went on our map, and drew lines between them to trace her travels.  I forgot to take a picture of the map, but it looked crazy!  What a fun trip that would have been. 

We watched some YouTube videos about how to milk a cow and about the different varieties of chickens, their eggs, etc.  

We spent a day taste testing different varieties of apples, and learning about the different parts of an apple.  We dissected one and counted its seeds, weighed it in the bucket balance, and used it as a stamp.  

The highlight of this row, of course, was making their own apple pie.  Because Mommy is useless in the kitchen, the kids made their apple pie on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with Daddy!  David had his work cut out for him, making a gluten and dairy free apple pie, his first pie EVER, with three eager little helpers.  We ate it for dessert on Thanksgiving, and it was really good!  I was impressed. 

Following our apple theme, we kept a "thankful tree" through the month of November.  I made a brown paint on butcher paper tree trunk and bought a pack of craft foam apples on a clearance end cap at Target.  Every day we wrote down something were were thankful for on one of the apples and taped it up.  The tree looked so fun at the end of the month.   I saved the tree trunk so we can do it again next year!

This was such a fun book.  Check it out of the library and read it with yours! 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Homeschool Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving

After the election was over, we did a week on Thanksgiving, loosely following the unit study plans on this mama's blog.  We spent a day studying the Pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower, talking about what life was like aboard the ship.  We followed that up with a simple handprint craft.  

Wayflower. Love it.

The next day, we talked about the Wampanoag tribe who lived in the region that the Pilgrims settled.  We used the wonderful "virtual field trip" at to see how the Native Americans lived.

Our third day focused on the daily lives of the Pilgrims in Plymouth.  We read Sarah Morton's Day about the life of a Pilgrim girl, and a companion book called Samuel Eaton's Day about a Pilgrim boy. I can't recommend these highly enough!  They're so wonderful!  We discussed the differences between the Pilgrim children's lives and our own.

The last day, of course, we talked about the first Thanksgiving, the feast, etc.  My favorite book (out of the MANY that I checked out and previewed for this topic) was The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving.  We made Thanksgiving story bracelets after reading the book, and later that evening, I had Hazel tell me back the story using her bracelet.

Before we cleaned out all of the pumpkins that we had decorating the inside and outside of our home for the months of October and November, we took the opportunity to plant one.  We followed this suggestion and opened a pumpkin, added potting soil and water, and waited to see if some of the seeds sprouted.

And sprout they did!  Several days later, we had many shoots coming up from our soil, and our pumpkin was starting to decay.  We decided to continue the experiment and plant the entire decaying pumpkin in a pot with some more soil and let the plant keep growing.  It's doing great!

I would be surprised if we actually saw any pumpkins from our pumpkin plant seedlings, but the kids are really enjoying watching it grow.

Some other things that have been working really well for us at Wallace Academy are the refrigerator chalkboard and the rice boxes.  I have been giving kids a few letters or numbers to write for me right after breakfast, on the side of the fridge that is painted in chalkboard paint.  They're really cooperative with handwriting practice when it's presented this way, especially when it's rewarded with things like chocolate chips or mini marshmallows, which are easily found in the kitchen.  Handy.  

They use the sandpaper letters and numbers to trace if they've forgotten how to make something I ask them to write on the fridge.  I love these!  All of mine have come from this Etsy seller.  I have uppercase, lower case, and numerals.  Spendy, but so nice!  

We've also been doing letter practice in rice before we take it to pencil and paper, which is both popular and effective.

 Thank you for catching up with us!  We enjoy sharing about what we're learning and doing! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving themed ratty cage

Purely for my own entertainment, I made the rat girls a cube hammock shaped like a turkey for this week.  I crack myself up.

Someone checked it out right after I let them back into their newly cleaned cage.  (Dixie? Hard to tell without seeing the whole rat.)

Turkey backside, with Roux climbing up on the right hand side.

They prefer napping on TOP of the cube instead of inside.  Figures.  This is Mimi? I think?

That's all 3 piled up on there, and Roux facing the camera.  Mimi is facing the feathers, and Dixie was on the bottom of the pile with her head off to the right (not visible).  

Stop disturbing our nap with your camera, woman.
You can expect Christmas themed cages in the weeks to come.  I figure, why not?!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Crafty Catch Up

Halloween crafting! 

I did an order of some Minion hats for a couple of friends at church and their kiddos.  They dressed eleven boys and one girl (from only 3 families!) all as Minions together.  The big kids had yellow ski caps, but I did crochet hats for the babies and toddlers.   I had to google to find out what a Minion was when they asked me to crochet, though.  I still need to rent the movie


I only had to do one costume for my own kids this year.  My sons unanimously voted to be Spidermen, but my little lady wanted wings and feathers to go with the owl hat I did for her last fall.  



The rest of the crafting I've done lately has been for the rats.  We got a trio of pet rats a few weeks ago. Here was their cage all set up the night before we went to pick them up.  I sewed their hammocks, 

and their snuggle scarf (it helps the kids to handle them without getting scratchy toe nails on their necks or risking a rattie getting loose.

Funny story about this cube hammock.  Hazel had this nasty nightgown that was all stretched out and sad and I told her she had to stop wearing it.  She was so sad!  BUT when I suggested that maybe she let me make something for the rats out of it, she was overjoyed.  Hazel adores the rat girls.  So here it is, beloved froggy nightgown, turned cube hammock.

Wrap Up Catch Up

I fell off the blogging bandwagon, and now I have a few weeks to catch up on!

We finished our row of The Salamander Room with a diorama of Brian's room and a trip to the Insectarium.

Jono, eating a piece of cricket fudge.  Nasty.  He loved it. 
Hazel wasn't so sure. 
Our caterpillars grew and changed! We so enjoyed watching that process.  I want butterfly plants in my yard now!
all four, as chrysalises (is that how you spell that?!)
We fed them oranges until they all emerged, and then we let them all go.  
Here you can see the nasty red juice that squirted out of each chrysalis as the butterfly emerged.  Looked like quite the battle scene in there by the time they all came out to play!
Kids, waiting anxiously for our butterflies to take flight! It took some gentle encouragement in the end. 
After that, we did a unit on The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.  Daddy left town in the middle of this unit for a week, and well... mama lost steam.  We didn't do as much with this book as I had planned, but we enjoyed the story, and our DIY lighthouses were very popular nightlights for a few days.

We went on a field trip with our homeschool group to see a children's concert at the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. It was so fun! They had stations set up with a couple of people to introduce us to the various instruments.  After we cycled through the stations, we got to listen to a short concert with the whole orchestra.  

full orchestra
Mama and her entourage, after the show

While Daddy was gone, we drew and painted pumpkins, and then took a trip to the super awesome Miss Heather's Pumpkin Patch.  

face painting

"pony" rides
my adorable children!
While Daddy was gone, Grandma and Grandpa came to visit!  They were lucky enough to be in town for a Johnette Downing concert.  Everyone who knows us knows that we LOVE to go hear Ms. Downing's free children's concerts in the French Quarter.  Grandma and Grandpa were excited to get to go along.   Last week's concert was pretty crowded with field trips, but Hazel and Charlie didn't let that stop them from dancing to the Boogie Woogie Jive!

Grandma and Grandpa also took a trip with us to Storyland.  Playing at this park makes me want to go home and read fairy tales.  Or, watch Once Upon a Time. 

And then finally, with Daddy home and grandparents gone, we got back on the school bandwagon with a few day's study on the election.  On Tuesday, we read If I Ran for President, which was definitely the best overview of the election process for this age group that I found.  Then the kids came with me to vote.  On Wednesday, we colored in our US map with dry erase markers to represent election results and discovered that we had re-elected President Obama.

Next up, a unit on Thanksgiving! Thanks for catching up with us!