Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

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 You can always count on playdough if  you're looking for a fun, cheap, and easy way for kids to have some creative time. After our most recent experience, I've discovered my kids are finally old enough keep everything on the table. I have many, many memories of playdough ending up in socks, smashed into the floor, beaten into the table, and tossed across the room :). Ahh, good times with toddlers.


4 cups of water

5 1/2 cups of flour

8 teaspoons cream of tartar (Don't have cream of tartar? Substitute with white vinegar...just use 3x the amount...thanks Natural Parenting Tips! )

3/4 cups of oil

4-5 ounces of canned pumpkin pie spice

2 cups of salt (I ran out after 1 1/2 cups, and the playdough still turned out fine...can you tell I was not 100% prepared to have a homemade playdough night? ;)

orange food coloring

  • Mix ingredients together in a pan over medium heat until you have a dough consistency. It will be gooey and runny until it becomes dough. My arm began to feel like it was going to fall off while I was mixing, so once it became dough, I let it cool and mushed it with my hands to get out the leftover flour globs. You, however, are probably much better in the kitchen than I am and won't have this issue!
  • Play, play, play!

Our pumpkin family

Sarah made a mask.

Pumpkin Man: Laser eyes, and razor sharp claws...Watch out Frosty!

This recipe made enough to fill up a gallon sized ziplock bag. Moms, join in the fun! Playdough is entertaining for all ages!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Just an Update {Sonlight Core A Weeks 5-8, Family, Apple Activities}

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 Family Update

The stomach flu invaded our home for a few weeks…that’s right…weeks. Each time someone would get sick, I’d go into a cleaning frenzy to stop the germs from attacking, only to have someone else come down with the bug days later.  Somehow we are still on schedule with school, but 4 field trips, 3 weeks of AWANA, and co-op days had to be cancelled. Let me tell you, doing apple themed activities and then having to cancel the big finale apple orchard trip was a huge disappointment for the girls. Once everyone showed signs of good health, I called around to reschedule, but u-pick apples and tours just so happened to be finished the day I called! Bummer!!  We went to to the park, and played with the caterpillars in our yard instead.

For the time being, we aren’t going to attend our co-op regularly until CJ recovers from his back surgery, which is scheduled to happen at the beginning of November. He is currently extremely miserable and in terrible pain, so keep him in your prayers. 

In other health related news, Samuel was diagnosed with a blood disorder last month.  At a routine well-check with our new pediatrician, Dr. S, I brought up the horrible nosebleeds he has on a fairly regular basis. I had mentioned this several times to our former pediatrician, and he was never concerned.  However, Dr. S thought that he should see a hematologist.  After two appointments, blood work, and months of waiting, we finally got a diagnosis. His condition is not life threatening, but he was pretty bummed when he found out he won’t be allowed to play soccer or football. I am relieved that this is a treatable, minor disorder.

Now onto happy news…

Samuel is doing excellent at the private school he is attending this year. He is maintaining all A’s, making new friends, and enjoys his teacher and classmates. There are pros and cons to having him in that setting, but my anxiety has pretty much subsided.  It helps that I’m involved in the school’s parent group and volunteer on Friday afternoons. Samuel still joins our monthly evening homeschool group activities. And no, we haven’t ruled out homeschooling him in the future.  

Sarah and Madelyn finished up soccer. Madelyn was the kid doing ballet twirls, somersaults, and singing while she was supposed to be playing the game. Sarah was eager to participate and learn. They both were fun to watch… for different reasons. They‘ve decided to join an American Heritage Girls troop (Samuel will be doing Cub Scouts at the same time). Somehow, maybe due to the name, they are under the impression that this is some sort of American Girl club, so AHG is now the coolest thing ever. I’ve tried to explain that the two aren’t related, but I’m pretty sure they are tuning me out. Either way, they are having fun, making new friends, and learning.

School Update Weeks 5-8, Apple Themed Activities Part 1

During weeks 5-8, we covered a lot of material. We’ve now studied the Vikings, Early Missionaries, Medieval Times, the Incas, and ancient China. I wanted to go more in depth with the Incas than what Sonlight includes, but the girls were eager to move on to China. Maybe I’ll find a way to sneak in more Inca time down the road! I've been using the camera less and less, not because I don't want to capture these wonderful moments, but because when we're in "school mode," pausing to go into "mom-photographer mode" feels like a distraction. The camera usually only comes out one or two days a week. The downside is, I can't look back through photos to remember details of certain moments...which makes trying to write about 4 weeks of school difficult...even with lesson plans in front of me :).

Sarah loves Draw Write Now...mostly the drawing, of course!

matching ending sounds

As I mentioned in our family update above, we did some fun math and literacy apple themed activities. There were so many activities to do in the pack I purchased that I'm saving some for when we read about Johnny Appleseed later.

 Next week I will be cramming in the rest of our fall and pumpkin crafts. Pinterest gave me more than enough ideas! E


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weeks 3 and 4 Highlights {Sonlight Core A}

Pin It I didn't stop to take many pictures during weeks 3 and 4. Here are the moments I did manage to capture...


We memorized Colossians 3:20, Mathew 7:12, and learned about Joseph and his brothers. I will always remember Samuel telling me this story when he was in preschool, exclaiming (in the cutest 3 year-old boy voice ever), “Those mean brudders got blood on his beautiful, beautiful coat!!” The girls used bingo dot markers to make colorful coats for Joseph.

Madelyn said, "Oops! He put on his Christmas coat!" haha!


Weeks 3 and 4 focused on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Samuel decided that the rich people must be extremely lazy since they had slaves to do everything for them, but he did think lying down for meals and eating with fingers was very cool.
Madelyn and Sarah made Olive leaf crowns.


We discussed different emotions, and how to deal with people making us angry or sad. Sarah wrote about being happy and sad in her journal.


The girls acted out a scene from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Madelyn decided Marlie needed to hear a story while she was eating...


Madelyn worked on addition problems using her Math-U-See blocks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 2 Highlights {Sonlight Core A} and a Cookie Unit Study

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Week 2


Our focus was on Ancient Egypt. Interesting fact: Ancient Egyptians would shave half of their eyebrow off when their cat died. This expressed how upset they were.


We read about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Esau. Our memory verse was Acts 16:31, and the song that helped us memorize the verse was very catchy. :) Let's just say memory work wasn't a problem for us!


Sarah used Melissa & Doug wooden letter beads and pipe cleaners to practice her new words. Since she loves this activity, I left the beads and other supplies in her spelling workbox all week so she could access them whenever she wanted.

We worked on story sequencing, similes, and wrote a paragraph about family. 

Here is what Sarah had to say about our family:
 “Our family likes to spend time together. We play games, clean, paint, and watch movies. We love to read and go places like the zoo. Being together is important to us.” :)


These lessons have been so enjoyable because they are simple, hold the girls’ attention, and have fun activities to go along with each topic. This week we played a quick game of animal charades. Can you guess what Sarah is? octopus of course! ;)


For Health, we talked about what made each of us special. The girls discussed how they were alike and different, and what special gifts they’ve been blessed with. They made self-portraits…Madelyn was pretty amused with this activity. 


This past week we took a small break from Sonlight to do an Amanda Bennett cookie unit study. C.J. was off of work for the week, so I did not want to attempt a regular schedule. Madelyn suggested that we invite some friends over to make cookies, so we had a fun week of baking and learning about the wonderful history of cookies. Does anyone know that song that Dora sings when she's mixing chocolate? Bate Bate Chocolate? Yeah, the kids sang that in over and over every time someone picked up the mixing spoon lol. Thanks for the Spanish lesson, Dora!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 1 Highlights {Sonlight Core A} and More

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We survived the first week of school! I decided we would go ahead and continue using the workbox system this year.  I really think it makes a HUGE difference in keeping our day running smoothly.  Sarah and Madelyn each have their own rolling cart with 10 boxes. Some days we use all 10, and other days we may only use 6 or 7. 

Sonlight Core A has been amazing. So far we just L-O-V-E the material we are learning. Not to mention the staff was great over the summer when it came to answering questions and helping me order the correct materials. 

Read about our curriculum choices to see what we'll be using this year.



For Bible time we discussed Creation through God’s covenant with Abraham. On most days I’ll provide the girls with a coloring page that goes along with what we’re learning. Journeys through Bible Lands (Candle Discovery Series) is not included with Sonlight, but we use the maps to help us get a visual of where people lived and traveled. Our memory verse was Romans 3:23.


This week we studied dinosaurs, and the first people, food, clothing and shelters. Sarah and Madelyn constructed dinosaurs using blocks and Zoobs. We watched videos on dinosaurs and cave paintings. Afterward, the girls became cave painters and used feathers to create animal paintings. Sarah used her Loop N Loom to practice weaving.
The book she is using to get ideas from is Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

Madelyn with her very unique looking Pterodactyl.


Sarah is currently using first grade readers. They are pretty easy for her, but we’re still working on building her confidence in this area. Madelyn reviewed You Can Read: A, And, See, The, and letter F tracing. I’m impressed with how hard Madelyn is trying on her Handwriting Without Tears pages. She is getting better every day. 
Sarah is enjoying Draw Write Now Book 3. I ordered 3 more books in the series because Madelyn wanted to do one once she saw how much Sarah liked her book, and I know Sarah will want to complete the whole series.

We are currently reading The Boxcar Children #1 together. Chapter books still don’t seem to hold Madelyn’s focus for very long unless she can fidget with something, or color, while I’m reading. Sarah sits, listens, and soaks up read aloud time.

I also read Henny Penny and the girls retold the story in their own words and drew pictures of the characters. They listened to the audio book of The Kissing Hand. I found a craft and poem to go along with the story on Pinterest.


-at family words and sight word "the"

Rainbow writing


We covered ordinal numbers, before and after, number order, and counting by 2s.


We use one science curriculum for both grades to make things easier. This week we discussed vertebrates and invertebrates. 


A fuzzy caterpillar (which has been named Catapilly) joined our family this weekend. It lives on our back patio in a bucket full of leaves, grass, and any other bugs the girls can find. Madelyn pets it like a puppy and insists it smiles when she talks to it.