Plum Creek - Week 1 {Prairie Primer}

Plum Creek was a slow, lazy summer (over three months ago!) unit. It was just what I needed, and we took a long break before starting the next book in the Prairie Primer. I'm behind in sharing, but hope to catch up quick as we have finished Shores and are ready to start Long Winter!

In our last unit, Little House on the Prairie, the Ingalls left Indian Territory and eventually settled again on the banks of Plum Creek. 

Our main project this unit was to study the classification of living things. Instead, I quickly covered it with Eliana and had Malachi do General Science Module 10 - Classifying Life at the beginning of our next unit when school started this fall instead of over the summer, as it tied in with our next unit as well. 

General Activities included reading a biography of Noah Webster, memorize Psalm 51, and sew a nine-patch square, which we did at the very end of this unit. 

This "week", Week 1, we studied willows and the parts of a tree, identified the flowers Laura found on the banks of Plum Creek, did an experiment on heat exchange, and studied badgers, butterflies, bees, water purification, and more. We tasted horehound candy for the first time, had parched corn (Inka Corn Nuts), grew wheat grass, and explored a local pond. 

Day 1: The Door in the Ground, The House in the Ground and Rushes and Flags

Pa trades his wagon team for land, oxen, and an earthen dugout built right into the creek bank. After chores were done, Laura was able to go outside. She played in the creek and saw flags (flowers), rushes (plants), bees, minnows, and water bugs. There was a willow tree by the bank. We read books, found flowers from the book, and became little explorers of creeks and ponds. 

Helpful link: How to draw a willow tree.

Since the Ingalls lived in a dugout on Plum Creek, we studied the three methods of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. 

We heated water by pouring it over hot rocks. 

We have a home built into the side of a hill on our property in Montana, so in the summer it stays cool in the downstairs, even when it is 100 degrees outside. I like to stay nice and cool inside, but I often had to go outside (or upstairs) to warm up!  The earth is an insulator, so the Ingalls stayed comfortable in their little dugout. 

For fun, we made peanut butter cup s'mores using another form of heat transfer: radiation. 

We let them cook while we explored another pond. 

Instead of visiting a water purification plant, we read about one. 

Day 2Deep Water, Strange Animal, and Wreath of Roses 

Pa takes Mary and Laura to the swimming hole up the creek and Laura goes a little too deep. Pa tells the girls to never go to the swimming hole without him, and Laura meets a strange animal, a badger, on her way. Then Laura helps Pa pick out a pretty new milk cow. The girls play on a "tableland" and catch butterflies.  

We have a type of wild coneflower growing around our house in Montana. 

We loved reading about Digger the Badger in Old Man Coyote and also in Burgess Animal Stories. "He has very few friends, for he is grumpy and very apt to be out of sorts." This interesting creature stopped Laura from going to the deep pool. 

We read about them in Exploring Creation with Zoology 1. 

We also watched aWild Kratts clip on an American badgerBadger & Coyotte and then Mali and Elli drew a badger in their notebooks.

Reading about tablelands:

We learned about lichen during our Botany study last summer, so we reviewed what we learned and identified lichen growing at our place in Montana.  

Fruticose lichen 
Day 3: Ox on the Roof, Straw-Stack, and Grasshopper Weather

We studied honey bees, wheat, preserving plums, and foreshadowing this day. 

A Pioneer Sampler has been such a wonderful go-along book for the Prairie Primer! 

We made chewing gum from wheat berries and then grew wheat grass. 

We didn't preserve plums today, but we did enjoy some fresh.

Day 4: Cattle in the Hay, Runaway, and The Christmas Horses

We made corn dodgers, and ate horehound candy and parched corn (instead of making it). 

Malachi and Eliana made the corn dodgers all by themselves. They cooked three, which were quickly eaten up and said they were done, haha, but they had more batter so I had them cook the rest. 

And that was Week 1 of Plum Creek. :) 

See what we are using and books and resources we use for more details!

When We're Under the Weather {52 Lists}

52 lists with Chasing Slow

This week: List things you do when you (and/or a family member) are sick.

Things we do when sick:

  • Scan - to see what supplements and oils we need
  • Rest - make a bed on the couch or living room floor, rest, sleep, read a book/watch a movie, stay home as much as possible
  • Nourish - chicken soup, bone broth (avoid milk and dairy)
  • Hydrate - hot toddy (hot water, apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon essential oil), ginger ale or peach juice from canned peaches when trouble keeping foods down
  • Support - immune boosting oils and supplements
  • Comfort - diffuser, tissues, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, warm bath
  • Clean - Wash light switches, handles and doorknobs
  • Pray! 

Supplements and oils we go for:

  • Immune support - Thyme, Thieves, Clove, Longevity, Vitamin C, Elderberry syrup, Echinacea Tea
  • Throat support - Thieves (dropped in the back of the throat or via the spray), Lemon and Purification rubbed externally 
  • Respiratory support - RC, Eucalyptus radiata, Peppermint, Pine (diffused, steam inhalation, or topically)
  • Tummy support - Digize, Peppermint (internally or topically)
  • Ear support - Melrose and Lavender (diluted 2:10 with carrier oil and dropped on cotton ball and placed in ear, then rubbed on external ear)
  • Fever support - Peppermint on feet
  • Sleep support - Lavender, Cedarwood, Orange
  • Eye support - colloidal silver 

My husband's list is short: sleep, oils, and leave him alone. He doesn't like to be pampered at all.

We used to get sick all the time and it would last for 3 weeks or longer as it made its way through family members. We now take oils and supplements, get plenty of sunshine/vitamin D, take fermented cod liver oil, and make healthy lifestyle choices, so if/when we do get sick our recovery is much quicker!

Family Traditions {52 Lists}

52 lists with Chasing Slow

This week is grace week at Beauty Full Slow, so I thought I'd jump in and do a past list on Family Traditions. Our family is a little unusual as we don't keep most traditional holidays, so I'd like to document it as a part of our story.

  • Keep the spring and fall Biblical festivals:
    • Biblical New Year - watch for the signs of the new Biblical year (new moon, aviv barley)
    • Passover - keep Passover at home as a family and remember the sacrifice of of our Savior
    • First Fruits - the first Sunday after Passover - we study the fruits of the Spirit, have a fruity dish and drink, and celebrate the resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus.
    • Feast of Unleavened Bread - remove the leaven (symbolic of sin) from our homes, eat unleavened bread for 7 days, keep the 1st and last days as rest days, then count 50 days to...
    • Shavuot/Pentecost - gather with family or brethren to fellowship and keep a rest day
    • Feast of Trumpets - make a moon cake, blow trumpets to call family to dinner, give small gifts, keep a rest day, and look forward to the return of Christ
    • Day of Atonement - afflict our souls (fast and turn away from doing our pleasure on this day), repent from our sins, and we usually eat out to break our fast, but not always. 
    • Feast of Tabernacles - look forward to when we will tabernacle with Yeshua/Jesus! We watch for the harvest moon the first day of the Feast, camp out for 8 days, keep the 1st and 8th days as rest days, attend services, fellowship with brethren, roast marshmallows and sing hymns around a camp fire, fish, canoe, do the zipline, attend a dance (this year's theme is a square dance), attend a ladies tea, go bowling, and have a family day with field games, amazing race, family fun, and a BBQ. We give the kids some spending money at the feast.  This is always a fun time that we all look forward to. 
  • We don't keep the Jewish holidays, but we play dreidel every year during Hanukkah, ever since a dear friend sent us a Hanukkah games set. We buy a big bag of chocolate coins at Costco and we play a few rounds with the whole family and then my kids play for hours.
  • Spring and fall nature walk to look for signs of spring/ fall.
  • Because we celebrate the harvest with The Feast of Tabernacles, we keep an American Thanksgiving a day late and eat all kinds of traditional Thanksgiving foods for our Sabbath meal the next day. :)
  • And we watch fireworks on the 4th of July. 

  • Watch for the new moon and celebrate a time of renewal. Sometimes we give small gifts to each other or others without them knowing. 

  • Prep food on Friday for Saturday, Family Sabbath dinner on Friday night, a Sabbath treat on Saturday, and church at home
  • Family movie or episode from a favorite series (currently on season 6 of Heartland)
  • Sunday home blessing day (we deep clean once a week)

  • We have family centered birthdays to celebrate the growth of our family and mark the occasions with a special dinner and dessert of the individual's choosing. Sometimes I do a fun theme, but not always. This coming year, I want to eat out as a family on each birthday.
  • $1 for each year of birth at birthdays. I get creative with this! Last year, I put one dollar in 5 balloons for Bo's 5th, for example.
  • We put streamers on the birthday child's bunk bed or door.  

Random Traditions
  • Ice cream cones after a hair cut.
  • "What's Behind Box #1" - this is where I buy a bunch of board games or family centered activities, wrap them, and put them in a big box. I started doing this to wean my children off of TV. Once a week, I gave them a choice to watch a movie or pick from Box #1. They almost always pick from the box and sometimes there is a wrapped DVD in there. :)
  • "Roodabumps" - this where we give each member of the family a sum of money and as a family we pick what we will do with it/where we will go. On the trip, we each contribute to the cost of the trip - including gas and food! This is great to teach the kids to choose wisely - especially when eating out. Any left over money is spent at the toy store.
  • Dinner table games - this is where my husband makes a silly game to play at the dinner table. Sometimes it is an add-on game or conversation starters to get the kids talking or dreaming.
  • Taxi Rides at Bedtime - this is where my husband dresses funny, calls himself "Pedro" and takes calls for taxi rides to bed. The kids climb up on the couch and get a wild piggy back ride to bed.

School Traditions
  • Reading aloud at bedtime.
  • Not-back-to-school celebration on the first day of public school.
  • Back-to-school breakfast with one waffle for each grade the child is in.
  • Themed meals and school parties just because they tie in to the theme or row!

I'd love to incorporate more simple (and slowing) traditions, so I plan to start by adding a seasonal themed tea party. I am planning a woodland tea theme for the Feast, so that will be our first themed tea for fall. :)

Do you have any simple little traditions that are special to your family? 

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel {FI♥AR}

~Bo is 5 years, 8 months~

I thought Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, which is a classic book about hard work and good stewardship, would be a great book to start on Labor Day, so we celebrated September 5th this year with red, white and blue cupcakes and my fav - BBQ chicken and baked potatoes.

(That's the first baked potato I've had in a very long time - and with butter and sour cream, too!)

But, that's all we did that week, which was also our first week back to school. So, I tried again the next week starting on Tuesday, September 13th.

After reading Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, I had Bo paint his Land of Make Believe map so we could place our Story Disk on the map. 

We'll be rowing around the world next year, so I thought I'd focus on books that have a fictional setting first, which include: Mike Mulligan and His Steam ShovelHarold and the Purple Crayon, Henry the Castaway, and Katy and the Big Snow (links to my rows with Mali and Elli). I'm only planning one row a month - we'll see how it goes. Bo sits in with us on Prairie Primer, which is geared towards the older kids, and I am reading through the Old Mother West Wind collection to him, but I really want to make Bo's kindergarten year special and memorable, and rowing with Five in a Row is the best way I know how right now. 

Since we had paint out, I had him paint a Digger from LearnCreateLove.

Social Studies

We watched the History of Steam Power on YouTube and visited a CB&Q steam locomotive on display. 

Language Arts

We talked about the Elements of a Good Story, and I had Bo name each element:

Setting: "Poppervile"
Characters: "Mary Anne and Mike Mulligan"
Conflict: #1 "There were no jobs."
Important Events: "Mike takes good care of MaryAnne"
Resolution: "They go to Popperville to build the town cellar."

Theme: Stewardship (I explained this to him since he said Mike takes good care of MayAnne).

And that's all we did that week. I think we got off to a slow start with this row because I printed out a lot of projects, including a lapbook, and Bo didn't want to do any of it. I had to scrap it all and start over the next week doing what we did with Before FIAR, which is reading lots of books and doing hands on activities.

The following is from my "week in the life" that I did to share how we use All About Reading in our home:

Week in the Life of All About Reading 1 {Day 1} 19th - Day 4 of our row
Week in the Life of All About Reading 1 {Day 2} 20th - Day 5 of our row
Week in the Life of All About Reading 1 {Day 3} 21st  - Memory Making
Week in the Life of All About Reading 1 {Day 4} 22nd - FIAR Recipe & Narration

Go-along Books

It was so fun to discover Mike and Mary Anne in The Little House, which is also by Virginia Lee Burton, and in Mike Mulligan and More

And see what construction workers do all day in What do People Do All Day?


I used the Characteristics of Molecules unit in Science Units for Homeschoolers (Chapter 13: Atoms and Molecules) to teach Bo about molecules. 

I explained to Bo that everything in the world is made up of atoms. Then I showed him a molecule of water and explained that it is made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen. Then I had him make a water molecule with marshmallows and toothpicks

Next, I told him that molecules move through a process called diffusion, and that they move faster or slower depending on temperature. I had him add food coloring to a glass of hot water and a glass of cold water and observe how fast or slow the food color diffuses through the water. 

I explained that when molecules are cold, they are slow and move slowly, and when they are hot, they  move quickly. Then I had him pretend he was each as he moved around the room - moving slowly or quickly depending of if he was hot or cold.

Of course, we also boiled water in the tea kettle and watched the water turn to vapor to make the kettle whistle while the steam escaped from the pot.

Then in Chapter 14: Matter, we covered states of matter. This is where I explained that molecules that are cold move closer together (as in ice) and father apart when they are hot (as in steam).

We read about States of Matter and What is Energy? in The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature.

We also read Actual Facts about Energy and we talked about how steam helps Mary Anne do work. 

I was happy today when I reviewed the three states of matter that Bo remembered gas when I showed him the steam, then liquid when I showed him the water in the kettle, and then solid after I showed him an ice cube. 

Art & Music

Bo listened to Maestro Classics Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Then I did the Drawing Tress lesson from the manual. I looked up this neat Guide to Sketching Trees (mentioned in the manual) and printed the Lesson Guide for Bo to use. 

We did do the movement in art lesson from the manual finding illustrations in the book for examples.

Math/Memory Making: Neat and Square Sugar Cookie Butter Dump Cake

FIAR Recipe: Mike's Irish Beef Stew With Mashed Potatoes

Mrs. Mcgillicuddy's Hot Apple Pie for desert.

Bo's Narration of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel:

"Mike Mulligan and his shovel dug the great canals for the boats. Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, and some others, built the long highways for the automobiles. Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, and some others, dug the mountains for the trains to go through. Then the diesel motor shovels and the gasoline shovels and the electric shovels came in and took all the jobs away.

One day, Mike Mulligan read in the newspaper that there was a new town hall. So they left the big cities and went to country to a town named Poppervile. They started early the next morning, and a little boy came long. They dug a little better and a little faster. Then the town constable and other people came along, and then the little boy had an idea. He told the milkman with his cart and horse and the farmer and his family coming in for the day and they all stayed to watch. The fire department came and the little boy said, "Do you want to stay and watch?" Then the teacher called a recess and the kids all came running out, and they stayed to watch. Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug a little better and a little faster.  
They dug the town hall in one day. The boy said, "How is Mike Mulligan going to get his steam shovel out?" Then they all had different ideas. The little boy had an idea to build the town hall over them and let Mary Anne be the furnace. They finished the town hall before winter and Mrs. McGillicuddy brings some hot apple pie. If you ever go to Poppervile, remember to go to the town hall to see Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne."

Since Mike and Mary Anne dig a little better and a little faster when people were watching, I asked Bo what he would like to do better and faster.

Things Bo would like to a little better and a little faster:
"reading words, cleaning up my room, putting my clothes away"
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