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Red, White and Blue

The theme this week for Muffin Tin Monday is Patriotic/Fourth of July.  
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Mountain High Vanilla Yogurt
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • String Cheese Fireworks
  • Firecracker Roll-Ups (herbed cream cheese and cucumber roll ups)
We also made a Fountain Float - Hansen's Cherry Vanilla Cream Soda and vanilla ice cream floats. 

This edition of MTM is brought to you by my sweet boy Dylan - who did not let me forget about MTM - or the fact that we needed to go to the store to buy what we needed.  :-) 

Soccer Camp

~Malachi is 4 years 4 months~
This week Mali attended his first Y soccer camp.  He was the youngest in the camp (the divisions are K/1 and up to junior high).  He attended Challenger Soccer Camp last summer and handles the ball well, so Luke thought he would be just fine.  He has the skill to be involved, but had a hard time staying focused for so long. . . 
Here he is taking a water break.
One of their drills was to do different movements like jump down, turn around and kick the ball when his coach called "target." They had fun with this game. 
Of course, the end is always fun because they get a snack. 
This morning after camp, we went to the fountains at a neighboring park and I let Mali and Elli play.  It was nice to be there so early! We had the whole fountain for ourselves for a whole 5 minutes before people started showing up! It was a spur of the moment trip, so no pics. That's ok, though. There will be plenty of more fountain pic opportunities (we are so close to the park) and it actually feels like Summer in Wyoming!
Next week we are hoping to jump back in with the letter L!

What's Next?

Many have asked me what's next, so here it is!

We will be continuing with Prepare and Pray and Apologia Zoology 1: Exploring Creation with Flying Creatures. (We finished Zoo 2 and came back to study insects in Zoo 1) We will pick these back up in July. I am hoping to add Math to our laid back summer routine, but I know this will not come easy. I would also like to do some nature journaling.

And this fall, we will begin Biblical History.

A little about it from the website:
"a chronological history unit study designed for multi levels grades 4-12 . . ."
{I can teach all my boys together}
. . . "It includes Bible, history, geography, literature, government, composition, agriculture, religion, science, economics, and more. . . with "minimal preparation" {normally, but I am already planning to modify it, which does require some prep on my part}
"This book’s focus is on Bible history, as opposed to most ancient-history studies (even many Christian-based texts), which concentrate on the pagans in ancient times, ignoring God's people. For example, in this book's Ancient Egypt Unit the focus is on Joseph, Moses, the Exodus, and God's people (rather than on the pyramids and gods of Egypt). Our Ancient Greece and Rome units focus on the Israelites fighting against idolatry under Greek and Roman rule (rather than on Greek mythology and Roman gods). We also include an in-depth unit study of Ancient Israel." {Looking forward to this!}

And from Answers in Genesis: Ancient Civilizations and the Bible: From the website:
". . . a panorama of world history spanning from 4004 BC to AD 29, exploring creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the rise of civilizations from Mesopotamia to Rome. You will see God’s purposes worked out through His chosen people, Israel, culminating in the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ."
I have already planned out the first unit and these two books will flow together nicely with a few modifications. These along with the following books will be our main resources:

As well as a wonderful selection of living history books:

New this year, we will be adding Language Lessons from Queen Homeschool Supplies. We will continue with Writing Strands, Reading to Learn, Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting, and Singapore Math.

I'd also like to read a living grammar book called Grammar Land.

And did I mention that I am setting sail with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Blog Crew? That means I will be trying out some new curriculum and review it here (which means I will need to be flexible with my plans to schedule these in).

I ordered much more than I could possibly use this year ~ The Explorers Series, and the Wonders of Creation Series and more!

A Muffin Tin Game

This weeks theme for Muffin Tin Monday is "copycat."  So, our theme is this dice game from Our Homeschool Fun.
In the tin:
  1. Organic Honey Bears
  2. Organic Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Kashi Mighty Bites Cereal
  4. Sunspire Chocolate Sun Drops/(later filled with raisins)
  5. Chocolate Chips
  6. White Chocolate Chips
1st roll of the dice = the tin to choose from
2nd roll of the dice = the number of goodies to choose
For the little ones, this was a fun counting game, but they all had fun playing with their food. :-)
I told my older boys that the next time we play this, I am using a 12 cup tin and two die. Then they will have to multiply the dice on their turn. :-)
See what other copy cats have done here
And thanks to Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth for hosting Muffin Tin Monday. 

Spring Reading Wrap Up

Today was officially the last day of Spring, and we have wrapped up our Spring reading challenge. It would be nice to say that my kids have been scrambling to fill in the Spring Reading Chart that I got from Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments, however with the arrival of warmer weather, all but one of my boys have forgotten about it.
All but Nathan.
He has already filled his chart and then some.  My boys are very competitive, so once Nathan "won" they quit trying (even though they could have won too). 
So, now I need to quickly find a summer reading challenge.  I could make one on my own, but then the rules would be up for tweaking (oh, they tried) and it was nice to say that I didn't make the rules! 
All my boys love to read (thanks to homeschooling them) and this is the first time we have done a reading challenge.  All in all, I am happy with how it turned out - this is the most I have seen my boys read and I'm loving the results!

TOS Homeschool Crew Review: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

The thought of planning for our upcoming year is an exciting, but overwhelming one. I am almost done with my curriculum selections and am very excited to share what we will be doing. But, first I want to tell you about the The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner put out by the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's - Schoolhouse Store. When I opened up the Planner, and scanned the table of contents, I thought one thing. . . I need to clean my desk so I can get organized and start planning our school year. I just got my second big box of homeschool materials and need a plan.

I want you to know that you will find something in this Planner for everyone:

  • Yearly Calender Pages for 2009-2012
  • Monthly Calender Pages
  • Articles from well-known authors
  • The Old Schoolhouse Resource Lists
  • 24 Recipes
  • 12 "Must-Know" Lists
  • Homeschool Forms
  • Household Forms
  • Detailed Instructions
Here is a peak inside:

The Homeschool forms include:
  • Annual Plans
  • Yearly Goals
  • Curriculum Planning Sheet
  • Course of Study
  • Educational Objectives
  • Evaluation Forms
  • Progress Reports
  • Record Forms
  • Logs
  • Weekly, Daily, and Monthly Planning Forms
  • and more
Household forms include:
  • Homekeeping Reminders and Schedules
  • Home Repair Projects
  • Daily Schedules
  • Grocery Lists
  • Menu Planners
  • Chore Charts
  • Budget Record Sheets
  • Garden Planning and Checklists
  • Address Book
  • and more
What do I like about it?
  • That I can type right into the Planner.
  • All the forms. I spent hours googling homeschool forms to create our portfolio this year and even made a few of my own. This is a time saver and it is clean and attractive.
  • The "Must-Have" Charts. I printed them to put in a binder with other charts for easy reference. A second copy of the Kitchen Conversion Cheat Sheet is going right into my cookbook.
  • The Attendance Chart. I thought of a great way to use this form. To help my children to see where we are in the school year, I am having them check off a box at the end of a school day. I circled the 90th day (half way through) and the 180th day (all through) and decided we could do something special on these days to celebrate our progress. I think this will be a great visual to encourage my children to keep on plugging away.
What do I like most?

All of the ideas and motivation this Planner is giving me! It is also convicting me to apply myself more diligently to organizing, planning and scheduling.

Are there things about the Planner that I think could be improved?

The Course of Study form is the heart of my homeschool portfolio. It would be nice to be able to edit the course selections to tailor it to our homeschool. I would add a Life Skills and Bible section and combine other courses in one section. I also think workbox planning and recording forms would be a nice addition to this Planner.

Was I surprised or impressed by certain aspects of the Planner?

One thing I was surprised with is how easy it is to read online. The layout and font is pleasant and easy on the eyes. I scrolled through every single page of this 375 page Planner. I took screen shots and saved them to my desktop as I went so that I could easily remember pages that I wanted to come back too and three-quarters of my desktop was full of screen shots. Wow.
I saved a couple to share with you. :-)

Check out the large text boxes for typing!


I love that there is room for five children on this particular form. I thought it would be perfect for those once a week chores . . .

. . . or for when I have 5 kids in 5 different activities, like sports, swimming lessons, etc. so I can see at a glance who has what activity when.


$39 - Is it worth the price?

I asked my husband this because he is the saver and I am the spender in the family. I knew better, even though he totally trusts my judgement and I am very frugal. He says it is beneficial to our family and homeschool to be organized and structured (he is that kind of guy) and he was happy to see that I was actually motivated to clean off my desk, start organizing and planning . . . so yes, it is worth it. :-)

My favorite quote when I ran on the cross country team in high school, is "Logs keep you rolling towards your goals." I kept detailed logs of how much I ran, swam, biked, lifted and it encouraged me and motivated me to keep rolling. . . that is what this Planner will do for you. To see what other crew members think of the Planner, click here.

To see other products from TOS Magazine - Schoolhouse Store, click here

On The Go

This weeks theme is hitting the road, so I thought this would be a great time to share about the 1,600 mile road trip we made to Kentucky last summer. . . and how we survived it!

I have to thank my mother-in-law for this one. She gave my children a big bag full of little wrapped presents. They were to be handed out along the way.  It did not take me long to realize that this would be a great way to motivate kids to willingly get back in the car after short rest stops. 
As soon as we were all buckled back up, they got to unwrap a little gift with their name on it. It was great and the selections were wonderful.  She had little things like mini-notepads, small toys, stickers, on the go craft projects like making pipe cleaner people and animals, and even some novelty things. . . but they were new each time and that was a BIG hit!

{I made the bag in the pic for a friend of mine's daughter for their upcoming road trip ~ they make fun little "I care" gifts, too!}

For short trips and being on the go around town, I keep a supply of colored pencils (crayons can melt) and a notepad, healthy snacks, bottles of water, and small toys that I know they love in my backpack in the car.  

C is for Caterpillar - A Very Hungry One

~Malachi is 4 years, 4 months~

Our focus this past week has been on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I combined this lesson with Elli's Tot School and had her focus on butterflies, while Mali focused on caterpillars (among other things) for the letter C.  I usually post the activities together when we do a literature unit, but I thought it would be easier to separate the posts this time. Just too much fun to put in one post! See Eliana's Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot School {and see our AVHC picnic!}.

So, here is what we have been doing for the letter C.


Read the book . . . many times.

The book came with a CD of Eric Carle reading the book, so we also listened to the CD and acted out the story using a caterpillar that I made with pipe cleaners. It was fun poking the caterpillar through the holes as we read the book.

And a Butterfly Life Cycle Video 

Dylan acted out the life cycle with Mali, while I was working with Elli. 

He had Mali:

1. Egg: Curl into a ball and pretend he is an egg.
2. Larva: Squirm like a worm.
3. Pupa: Roll up in a blanket.
4. Butterfly: Pop out and "fly" around the house. 

I thought he did a great job playing with him. :-)

We decided we would eat (some of) what the caterpillar eats, so we went shopping for fruit, chocolate cake, strawberry ice cream, a lollipop, pickles, etc. and planned a picnic.

For math, I asked Mali how many pieces of fruit The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate and we counted:

1 Apple
2 Pears
3 Plums
4 Strawberries
5 Oranges

And had a Very Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Muffin Tin and a butterfly sandwich and a Celery Caterpillar to go along with.

Story Sequencing

I wrote the number of fruit on a piece of paper and Mali glued the fruit down, and then we realized there were more pieces (that is what I get for sticking more than one project together) and he was finally able to put the story together. 

C Caterpillar 

I got the idea for this cute critter from Blissful Moments.

I made two circles with a circle cutter and then cut a corner out to make a C. I trimmed a piece of card stock so that the C would fit. (This helped him form the C too). Then Mali arranged them, glued them down and added googly eyes.

Caterpillar Name

This is a project that I saw at No Time For Flashcards and it fit nicely with our theme.


The caterpillar goes around the board and you feed it as it goes.  You spin and count the number of foods to add up to the number designated on the board.  Just too cute and perfect for his age.

Caterpillar Sequencing

From the Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot Book, see link below.

My First Science Kit - Color Lab

I won a My First Science Kit Color Lab from My Four Monkeys and it came just in time for the letter C!

Mali is watching the bubbles fizz as the color tablet dissolves. Then he mixed the colors with his eyes and made a test tube kaleidoscope.

He had fun squirting colors with a pipette and then did a color mixing lab making all sorts of colors.

Then he made soft water crystals to keep the colors he made. He added water-soaking crystals to absorb the liquid. It said to add one or two, but he added several.  It made some fun looking crystals. 

He added them to a bag and called it a color bag. I transferred it to a bottle because the bag was leaking.  The crystals lost their color all mixed together and grew.  It looked like a bottle of ice water.  It was a fun experience for Mali. 

I also picked up a Dover Little Activity Book called Create Your Own Dream Car (see widget below), and Mali made one super car. 

To conclude our lesson, we had a Letter C Muffin Tin

Some of the books and activities we used this week:

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot School

Tot School
~Eliana is 29 months old~
We have been reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar for Tot School and Preschool. Since Mali is learning about the the Letter C I focused on caterpillars with him and butterflies with Elli (a few things are cross posted).

Our library did not have this book available, so I bought it from our local book store. Since they gift wrap for free, I thought it would be fun to surprise Elli and Mali.

It was cute watching them open it up. (They don't often get wrapped gifts - I just don't think about it).
So, we read the book . . . many times. The book came with a CD of Eric Carle reading the book, so we also listened to the CD and acted out the story using a caterpillar that I made with pipe cleaners. It was fun poking the caterpillar through the holes as we read the book.

And here are some of the activities we did this week:

Butterfly Sequencing

Elli did this butterfly sequencing activity from Carisa's The Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot Book/Activity Pack.

Purple Handprints
This activity was to allow her some free hand painting fun before making our next activity . . .

Handprint Butterfly
I helped Elli make this handprint butterfly by positioning her hands for her. We used circles (letter C activity from Mali's lesson) for the body and I drew the eyes and antennae.

Pompom Tray
Elli likes this tray and requested it again. :-)

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Lunch

A VHC Muffin Tin, Celery Caterpillars on a leaf, and Butterfly sandwiches.

 Market Shopping
We played "Going to the Market" in preparation for our picnic.

Play Picnic

I got this cute picnic basket at Target months ago and have been saving it to go along with this lesson. I had been wanting a new tea set for her that was not breakable (like the ceramic one she has), but not plastic, and this is the perfect little tin set. I love it and she asks for it everyday, so I think she likes it too.

She even did a great job folding up the napkins to put them away.

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Picnic

A real picnic with many of the foods from the book, plus a cucumber caterpillar. We listened to the CD during our picnic and it made for a special lunch.

My Little Butterfly

She wore this several days in a row and pretended to be a butterfly, jumping off the couch pillows.
Color Mixing Lab
This was an activity from Mali's preschool lesson. She really enjoyed this!
To see what others did for Tot School this week, click here.