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Play With Me ~ Pond Life {Before FI♥AR}

In Play With Me, by Marie Hall Ets, a little girl goes to a meadow to play with the animals by the pond and one by one they all hop, slither or run away from her, until she sits still and quiet - then they all come out to play.

Our B4FIAR activities this week focused on the animals from the story and pond life. We did some lap journal activities, made an edible craft, went on a nature walk to see what animals we could find to "play with" and more!

Who Am I?
In this lapbook component from HSS, I read the clues to Malachi, he picked the animal that matched, cut it out and then glued it into the matchbook. 

While he did that, Eliana put together a squirrel puzzle from the Kumon cut and paste book. 
She was having a hard time with it, so I placed 2 of the pieces and had her place the other 2. {I love her facial expressions when she is frustrated!}

I think she was tired, so I put on the Young Minds Numbers and Counting video, (which featured a frog and other animals). 

Play Dough Mats
Another day, Malachi sculpted the letter Ff (for frog) while Eliana worked on the letter Rr (for rabbit).  

Pond Field Trip

We took a trip to a local pond, hoping to see some of the animals from the book. We saw a snake and a grasshopper and caught a frog and a turtle.

Sitting quietly.
Nathan caught the frog!
Eliana loved to hold the frog . . .
and the turtle Nathan caught. . . but Malachi did not! 
Edible Craft ~ Turtle Candy
Pecans, caramel and melted chocolate. . . Turtles we can eat!
I had the kids flatten the caramel, add the feet, put another caramel on top (to keep the feet from falling off) and then I poured chocolate on top. Yum!

I loved the two-color matchup in this game which made for a little more of a challenge for her. 

Counting at the Pond:

This was a great activity for number recognition. She can easily count to ten orally, but does not know the numbers to 10 on paper. So I made this into a game for her. I called out the number first and gave her a chance to spot it by counting, then I helped her by calling out the animal on the cards and she put them in order. 

"I Like Ponds" Tot-Book:

This was a fun little book about all the animals that like ponds. . . ending with a spot for her to put her picture. 

Would You Play With Them?
I printed the animal classification cards from HSS along with the lapbook component and asked Malachi if he would want to play with each animal. He wrote yes or no under the animal and glued the animal on the paper if he would like to play with it. 

Malachi put the sequencing cards in order and pasted them.

Lap Journal/Memory Book:
Recently I started adding a color copy of the cover of the book to our lap journal ~ this gives the kids a visual memory of the book and also helps to organize the journal. It also becomes their B4 portfolio of sorts.

Narrations and Story Telling:

Each story we "row" I try to have Malachi and Eliana narrate or tell the story back to me. Malachi summarized the story and Eliana "read" the story to me.

Malachi's narration:

"A little girl found a frog. Then when she could barely touch it, it leaped away. Then she found a snake. Before she could touch it, it slithered back in its hole. Then she found a bunny in front of a tree. It was wiggling his nose on a flower. Then before she could touch it, it hopped in the woods. Then she found a turtle on its log to get some sun. Before she could touch it, it got back in the water. Then she sit on a rock and they all came back on their places. Then a baby fawn licked her on the cheek. They were playing with her! The End." ~ Malachi

Eliana telling the story:

This is a 3 minute long video. I love it because she surprised me by remembering little details from the story.

We are taking a little break from Before Five in a Row to read some Fall books and do some Fall themed activities. I love the changing seasons, so I am excited that Fall is here!

Delightful Links:

Homeschool Highlights ~ Weeks 3 and 4

Here is what we have been up to over the last 2 weeks ~ 18 days completed this year.

Biblical and Ancient History:

We picked up Ancient Civilizations and the Bible this week and are working in Unit 4: The Children of Israel. We will continue working with with Grapevine's OT Overview (we are on the Kings) for Phase 1, but have already moved on to Phase 2 ~ the research phase. I *might* pick back up with my Biblical History posts and share when we are done with this unit.

We also pulled out our Biblical Feasts and Holy Days study from Grapevine. We covered the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement and read from The Scriptures.

Nutrition 101:

Unit 2 Digestion ~ Chapters 3 & 4: Enzymes and Elimination

In chapter 3, we read about the role of enzymes in digestion and health and made the Quinoa Vegetable Risotto Power Recipe which included raw vegetables.

Since the source of enzymes in our diet is found in raw fruits and vegetables, we spent some time looking through Paul Nison's {Raw Food Health Show} archives. We came across his video on basic raw recipes and tried this one for Blended Salad

It was so yummy! I have made it several times since.

We also did an experiment on the effects of refrigeration on veggies and fruits:

The banana on the left was stored in the fridge and the other on the counter. I knew the banana would brown quicker in the fridge from accidentally leaving them in the cold . . . but I didn't realize that this also affects other vegetables. I had been storing zucchini in the fridge and after a couple days they would become soft and rubbery ~ so leaving them on the counter is better. I am not sure why I thought refrigeration was better for them ~ except that it is supposed to preserve foods. 

We tried our fermented lemon pickles from chapter 2. {We had to work up the nerve to try them first!} They were not too bad, but are supposed to brown and get better with age, so we left them in the sunny window and will try them in another week or 2. 


This "pre-biotic" recipe is from the Unit 2 Additional Recipes section. We soaked and then sprouted whole wheat berries and then let it ferment at room temp. The liquid "rejuvelac" is poured off and served (by the tablespoon) as a pro-biotic culture that aids digestion. 

Of course, then I had to pull this book off the shelf:

{I've experimented with lacto-fermentation before, but have to thank Jodi for inspiring me to want to do more!}


We made whey for the first time. I usually just pour it off the top of the plain yogurt container, but this was so easy! and I love having a jar of it ready to go.
Plus, we have homemade cream cheese left over!

Lacto-Fermented Salsa:

Then we made NT's recipe for lacto-fermented salsa.

Nathan is my official salsa maker {and eater!}. He loves this stuff! After making the first jar he set it on the counter to culture for 2 days.  He's made 2 more quarts since then {in the last 2 days}.  We have several more recipes that we want to make very soon.

Elimination Project:

One project in chapter 4 was to make a chart of our family's elimination habits. {Dh was not too fond of this project}. :p

The one with the most stars wins :p {he he} If we are in good digestive health, we should go 2-3 times a day (after every meal). We talked about drinking more water and eating more fiber for regularity. We calculated how much water we should drink based on our weight (half your body weight in ounces). Our power recipe was Spice Cookies made with oats, but we forgot to make them with the extra activities we did from this unit. We did make a list of high fiber foods that we ate this week, though ~ homemade bread, oatmeal, beans, etc. and choose a few that we want to add to our diet. 


Jordan finished Module 9 in General Science ~ "Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism."

Nathan and Dylan finished Lesson 2 in AE Anatomy: The Skeletal System.

~ Chicken bone experiment ~ 
~ N and D's Notebook pages ~

Sports Programming:

Both older boys were facilitators for Itty Bitty Soccer. This is Luke's first season programming for Itty Bitty and I think it went extremely well. He used selected students who he thought would work well with the kids as facilitators. They focused on skill/drill, early concepts and games to teach, then they played a game against the other teams.

~ Nathan with his team: The Golden Nuggets ~ 

~ Jordan high-fiving one of his players after a goal ~

See the little girl to Jordan's right? After their first day of practice, she had her mom buy her a whistle so that she could be a coach just like Coach Jordan when she grows up. :-)

I was pleased that they both did such a great job working with the kids.

And I've decided that I am adding "Sports Programming" to Jordan's high school transcript ~ he is coaching, refereeing, and helping Luke with programming. I will log his work and volunteer hours. I will also {with Luke's help} log Nathan and Dylan's volunteer time ~ starting this school year, cuz there is no way to log all the hours they volunteered last year!

So far, Nathan has logged 10 hours and Jordan has logged 35 hours this school year. 

And my little Elle Belle played Itty Bitty Soccer on The Blue Dolphins team (Daddy's team!).

~ Juice box break~

I love this picture below because one day she told me she didn't want to go to Itty Bitty ~ she just wanted to "go give Pop a hug and get a juice box." (Daddy was her coach). :-) On her last day, she wanted to go, but I told Luke that she is all girl ~ and I meant all that that implies. ;-)


Frost season is upon us ~ so we did some research:
We tried two methods ~ the pick and let ripe on the counter, and the pull and hang.

We picked all the ones that were turning and let them sit on the counter ~ it only took a few days for most of them to turn red.  Late in the week, we pulled and hung all the tomato plants with green tomatoes on them and they are hanging in the mud room.

We also saved the seed from the best tomatoes and they are fermenting so that they can be germinated. After they get good and moldy, I will wash them and dry them for storage for planting next year. Read how and why in my post: My Adventures in Tomato Seed Saving.

Where'd those come from?

We had a funny thing happen this year. This past month, I started noticing some of the tomato plants shoot up and flower after all the other ones had already flowered and fruited. I thought that was strange. When I pulled my tomato cages, I noticed that they were growing between the cages. And they turned out to be my Peacevine Cherry Tomatoes that I grew last year! Somehow, the seeds ended up in my garden. It may have been that I dumped the potting soil in the garden box and am guessing that it had tomato seeds in them. The soil was dry (they were being stored in the shop and I dumped them in the box this Spring), so the conditions were not right for germination ~ until I started watering them. I never noticed them when I caged the tomatoes late in July, so was so surprised to find them ~ and some cherry tomatoes to boot!

We picked a beautiful sunny day to harvest the tomatoes, onions and peppers, clear out the zucchini and cucumber beds and get them ready for winter, and transplant some chives. I still have several square feet that need to be harvested (parsnips, carrots, and more peppers) but they seem to be doing well in our chilly weather.  I enjoy gardening, but I am ready for Fall!

Making Spicy Pickled Beats

Lately I have noticed that Eliana is asking to spend more time helping me in the kitchen. I love it!

Auto Mechanics 101:

Jordan has been tinkering with a '66 and a '63 Chevy pickup that he bought himself. He was originally hoping to restore the '66 and use the '63 for parts, but that may change. 

We watched a few videos this week:
His Papa (grandpa) came over to work on it with him it and I know Jordan loved spending that time with him and I am grateful that he will have some help with this project.

College? Planning:

Jordan and I toured the college auto mechanics shop and visited with the head of the program. When Jordan is 16 (in 2 years), he'd like to take the auto mechanics class at the college, take some core classes his Senior year (English 1 and Applied Math), and then enter the Diesel Mechanics program when he graduates.

The program director was helpful and gave us some ideas for electives that Jordan could take during highschool, such as Basic Electricity. He was also very familiar with and supportive of homeschooling ~ which helped tons!

Jordan, of course, loved the tour of the shop and classrooms and is really excited about this possibility.

Scheduling Thoughts:

I am seriously considering changing to a year round schedule. I've been watching Susana school year round this school year and I really like the idea of having breaks throughout the school year. Our plan is to school 5 weeks, take a week off, school 10 weeks and take 2 weeks off when baby comes and continue in one of these patterns. This will still give us over 9 weeks off in the Summer!

During our week off coming up, I'd like to have a day for organizing/cleaning, a day for planning, a day for crafting and projects, a day for baking/cooking and a day for preparing. I'd also like to go on our annual fall hike and get new school photos of the older boys and update their photos in my sidebar. The two week break after 10 weeks will be getting ready for baby and/or baby's arrival. 13 1/2 weeks to go!

Coming Up:

I will share our B4FIAR adventure with Play With Me.

Blueberries for Sal {Before FI♥AR}

I love this story. It has an old fashioned charm and appealed to me in so many ways. The story and illustrations are quaint and I thought it was neat that the author used his wife as a model for the mother in the story.

We used our first B4FIAR Fold and Learn for this story. (I'll say up front that while I loved the quality of the FNL, I was honestly disappointed in the price for what you get.)

Here is what we did while rowing Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey:

Blueberry Counting Game and Blueberries for Sal Math Mat Activity:

The Blueberry Counting Game is from the Blueberries for Sal Fold and Learn. This activity was too easy for Malachi but the perfect challenge for Eliana. I had her place pom-pom blueberries on the blueberries as she counted (number recognition) and then she matched the blueberries to the correct number.  We had a "blueberry" hunt with the leftover pom-poms. 

For the Math Mat Activity, she picked a number and then counted that many blueberries to put in the pail. 

Narration and Art:

I usually have the children narrate the story to me (as much as they can remember) and then draw a picture. This time, we painted blueberries. 

Eliana's Narration: (age 3 1/2)

Tell me what happens in the story:
"The daughter followed the bear and the little bear followed the mother."
Why were they on the hill?
"Because they wanted to eat blueberries and for winter."
{I love that she realized that both the mother and the mother bear were picking blueberries to store for winter.} 

Malachi also texture painted with green for the blueberry bush. 

Malachi's Narration:  (age 5 1/2)
"Little Sal and her mother went to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries. When Little Sal got tired of walking, she sat in a big clump of blueberries and ate. Then Little Sal and the bear get mixed up. They say, 'this is not my child!' and they go look for their child. Little Sal thought she heard the sound of her mother, but it was a crow. Then the mother knew what made that sound, 'Kuplick, Kuplank, Kuplunk.' Then they go home. The end." 
He is always very adamant that I add "The end" at the end. =) I don't have to prompt Malachi during his narrations anymore and often he will go on and on and I have to remind him that this is a summary. =)

Bears and Hibernation:

I read some information on bears and hibernation to them and printed a Hibernation poem for Malachi to illustrate. He drew a bear from Draw Write Now

The bear info and the following poems, songs and finger-plays came from the Blueberries for Sal Fold and Learn from FIAR.  

Lap Journal/Memory Book:

Make Blueberry Jam:

Of course, this is the reason the mother went to collect blueberries ~ to can them for winter. So, we made blueberry jam. And I loved that I personally could tie this lesson into preparing for winter, because I have been canning and dehydrating foods to put away for the winter myself. 

I wanted to go pick them ourselves ~ I planted blueberries at our homestead/cabin in Montana, but we have a resident black bear who must have beaten us to them. ;-)

Mali and Elli helped get everything ready and then I canned 7 half pints of jam.

I left a pint of jam unprocessed so that we could use it for syrup and had it over french toast. 
To make the bread, I used my favorite Challah recipe, divided the dough into 3rds, rolled the dough out to about an 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness, sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar, then rolled it up tight (roll it tight to prevent air pockets like mine), put it in a bread pan, let raise and then bake (I never bake mine as long as the recipe says ~ check after 20 minutes and cover the top with foil if it is golden brown, then bake 5 more minutes ~ not the 40 minutes the recipe calls for). 

My kids loved it so much that I made several loaves to freeze so that we could have french toast more often. I'm a "grab a bowl of granola [for breakfast]"mom on school days. ;-)

Delightful Links:

The Feast of Trumpets {Ideas for Little Ones}

This post has been updated {with photos!} Feast of Trumpets {New Ideas for Little Ones}

The Feast of Trumpets is anticipated to arrive with the new Biblical month. Here are some ideas to help those of you who want to help your little ones understand what the Feast of Trumpets is and why we would want to remember it as believers in Yeshua (Jesus)!

~ Scripture: Leviticus 23:23-25 ~ The Feast of Trumpets Observance

Concepts to understand: the Feast of Trumpets is to be observed on the first day of the 7th Biblical month. The new months are marked by new moons.

Activities: To help little ones understand, you can study the phases of the moon. Check out Amber's Moon Unit Study for inspiration. We will be keeping the Biblical calender dates on our morning calender this month and have marked the Feast of Trumpets with a star.

Concepts to understand: We observe the Feast by having a rest, a remembrance of Teru'ah, and a set-apart gathering.  (Lev. 23:24-25)
  • a rest day ~ we call it a High Sabbath ~ we do no servile work, but can prepare foods if it falls on a week day. The Feast this year falls on a weekly Sabbath so we prepare our food the day ahead (Ex. 16:23) ~ Activity: cook with your children the day before; make something special so that your children will remember it as set-apart. 
  • a remembrance of Teru'ah (Trumpets) a shout or blast by instrument or human voice ~ Activity: blow trumpets and sing a psalm of praise, joy and thanksgiving to YHVH. 
  • a set-apart gathering ~ Activity: assemble with other believers or as a family, read the Word together and sing praise and worship songs

~ Scripture: Numbers 29:1-6 ~ Offerings; Numbers 10:1-4 ~ Two Silver Trumpets

Concepts to understand: The Feast of Trumpets was observed by blowing trumpets and making a burnt offering, a grain offering, and a drink offering.

Activity: To help little one's understand the Trumpets, you can make a silver trumpet craft. Cut 2 trumpet shapes out of a giant silver gift bag ($1 @ Dollar Tree).  Or buy party horns at your local party store or Walmart. Add silver ribbon if they are colored. One year, we printed messages and tied them to the horns and gave them away.

Activity: While we cannot give the required offerings by law, help little one's understand the offerings by helping them keep the heart of this law. Teach them to give sacrificially and offer themselves up as a living sacrifice in honor of Yeshua (Jesus) who gave His life up for us.

~ Scripture: Revelations 1:9-11 ~ Trumpets and YHVH's presence; Matthew 24:30-31 Trumpets at Yeshua's return

Concepts to understand: When John heard Yeshua's voice, it was "a loud voice, as of a trumpet." When Yeshua returns, He will send His messengers (angels) with "a great sound of a trumpet" to announce his return.

Activity: Remember the Feast of Trumpets every year and be ready for Yeshua's return. 

~ Scripture: Numbers 10:1-4; 10:9-10 ~ How Trumpets are Used Throughout the Bible

Concepts to understand: Trumpets were used to gather the congregation together, for breaking camp, for going out into battle and for a remembrance.

Activity: Help little ones understand this by blowing the trumpets to gather the family for dinner, Bible study, etc. 

~ Scripture: Ezra 3:1-6 and Nehemiah 7:73-8:12 ~ Exiles and the Feast

Concepts to understand: After the exiles returned to Jerusalem (Yerushalyaim) from Babylon, they kept the Feast of Trumpets. Ezra read the book of the Torah (law of Moses) to the people. At first they mourned because the Torah had been lost to them, but then Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites who taught the people told them to not to mourn because the day was set apart to YHVH ~ and they made a great rejoicing!  As scattered Israel living in exile, we too will rejoice when Yeshua returns and gathers up His children and "the joy of YHVH [will be our] strength!" Neh. 8:10

Activity: Pray for the restoration of Yisra'el (Israel)!

Homeschool Highlights ~ Week 2

Here is what we were up to our 2nd week of school ~ 10 days completed.

Nutrition 101 ~ Highlights:

We covered Unit 2, chapter 2: Digestive Health and Nutrition.  Some of our activities included testing the body's pH. Healthy pH is from 6.0-7.5. We learned that the foods we eat can affect our body's pH, that acidic bodies are more prone to disease and what kinds of foods we should eat to restore a healthy balance. 

I have some urinalysis test strips, so we all tested our pH. 

We also made a homemade pH test using cabbage juice as an indicator. 
We tested water and lemon pickle juice. The water didn't change color (was neutral) but the lemon juice turned a dark pink indicating it is acidic. We also learned that cucumber juice and onion juice are neutral (we were testing to find something alkaline). 

Power Recipe ~ Green Apple Bean Salad:

Lots of raw veggies, lemon juice and grape-seed oil. We learned what it means to julienne carrots.  We also learned that while lemons are acidic, they have an alkalizing effect on the body. 

Activity ~ Lemon Pickles:

The lemons will ferment. After preparing them, we set the jar in a sunny window. They will be ready in 2 weeks and we be used in chapter 4. {They smell so good!}

I think this is my favorite subject to teach. =)


Nathan and Dylan finished lesson 1: Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Notebooking activities included:
  • History of Anatomy
  • Vocabulary Crossword
  • Scripture Copywork
  • Cell Miniature Book

They also started their "Personal Person" and will add body systems to this as they go. 

If I didn't stress it enough in my last HH post, I LOVE these journals! 

In General Science, Jordan finished Module 8: The Fossil Record and started Module 9: Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism. {He is more than ready to move on to the Biology section of this book and study life!}

Experiement ~ "A Simulation of Using Index Fossils to Order Rock Layers"

One thing I am trying to do this year is to keep my children more accountable. This means daily checking of their work, rather than weekly. This takes more time for me, but by the end of the week the boys were coming to me daily with stacks of notebooks and papers to show me their work. I give them a star sticker to remind myself that I saw or graded their work and this seems to be working.

New from last week:

We picked up 2 more studies this week: Writing Strands and MathScore. 

Writing Strands is a self-directed writing program. Each boy works independently. 
  • Jordan is working in book 4 and completed assignment #5: My Mistake ~ Skill: Organization. He wrote about the time he was careless while shooting his BB gun. He has great voice in his writing and when I read his paper, my heart was relieved that he organized his thoughts well, he wrote clearly and it was interesting to read. I am not sure if I am feeling the self-imposed pressure about the fact that he is in high school now, or what! but I will be focusing more on writing this year than I did last. 
  • Nathan started book 4 and did lesson #1: How a Sentence Does It ~ Skill: Basic. He had to pick a subject, list the information he wanted to give, organize the info, and write the sentence in that order. He is on day 4 and his focus is on writing the perfect sentence.  
  • Dylan is working on book 3 lesson # 9: A Very Short Story ~ Skill: Creation. He worked on developing a character, the problem, how the problem was solved and the ending. His story is for young children and is about a frog who thinks he is a bird (cute so far!). 
MathScore is an online math practice program. (You can read my review here). Each boy spends about 10 minutes online each day as a supplement to Life of Fred

  • Finished Chapter 15 in SOTW: The Phoenicians
  • Chapter test 
  • Worked on the lapbook.  

Biblical History:
  • Grapevine: Samuel and Review 4. 


We finished rowing Blueberries For Sal with a French Toast and Blueberry Syrup breakfast ~ will share more soon.  I usually start a new book towards the end of the week, but I needed a planning break. 

Malachi 5K: 

He worked on his handwriting (Getty-Dubay Italic) ~ letters and numbers and AAS phonogram cards. Math was writing numbers to 30, skip counting by 5's to 60 and 10's to 100, and telling time on the hour and half hour. 

I did a lesson out of Language and Thinking for Young Children, by Ruth Beechick, called "Triple Play" (p.30). In this game, I name 3 things and he has to use all three things in a sentence. Then he gave me 3 words to use. I played the same game with Eliana using 2 and 3 words. I drew pictures to help her remember the words. 

For example:
  • pencil - paper - desk ~ "I got my paper out, drew (with my pencil) on my desk." 
  • apples - cinnamon - brown sugar ~ "I get out the apples, dip them in cinnamon, then dip them in brown sugar." (We had recently made baked apples). 

They both had a hard time giving me things rather than sentences so I helped them. 

One night, Luke initiated a game of add on at the dinner table. We went on a picnic and took some pretty silly things! but Malachi did a great job remembering most of them. 


We made new nesting boxes for the chickens using 5 gallon buckets. I saw the plans for this in a homesteading magazine. 

We are up to about 8 eggs a day and the boys all try to be the one to get to them first. One broke (not sure how) and the chickens started eating the egg, so Luke suggested we put a golf ball in their box to keep them from pecking the eggs. (They don't like how hard the golf ball is). What we weren't expecting is that the chickens consistently lay where ever the golf ball is! So we put another one in. So far, they lay where the two golf balls are. :p 

We also finished insulating the shed for winter, made a plan for the water (which is currently outside) and the heat lamp and wondered who will be the eager one to collect the eggs once the snow flies. ;-)

In the Scriptures: 

Luke has amazed me ~ he is all caught up and on schedule to finish reading in 90 days. =) I am at Luke 21. Nathan is in Ezekiel. 


The fact that I didn't get all that I wanted done in the school room before we started is catching up with me. I need one day to just work on organizing so that our week will go more smoothly.  Here is my plan: the boys (Luke and the oldest 2) are working in Montana splitting firewood today and tomorrow, so I will take tomorrow to organize.

We will have a short week this week ~  we have a Sabbath Sabbath ~ a Feast Day on a Sabbath this Shabbat (Feast of Trumpets) ~  so we will be spending some time studying about the Fall Feasts. Our focus will be on what we can do to remember the Feasts while in outside of the Land ~ how we can keep/guard/shamar the commands of YHVH ~ while obeying/guarding all of His commands.  For example, the main requirement of Tabernacles was to keep the Feast in Jerusalem ~ we cannot ignore this command for the sake of keeping another. We must guard them all.