My Blue Boat {Before FI♥AR}

My Blue Boat begins as a toy sailboat in the bathtub and then it catches the wind, as well as a child's imagination, as it sails past the sleeping town, through the channel, into the busy harbor and across the wide ocean. It meets a fishing fleet, sails up and down the swells, dances with whales and dolphins and looks for stars before it drifts back towards the beacon and home. Lots of wonderful ocean vocabulary and a fun story with a very similar story line to Yellow Ball. The similarity in the two stories was pointed out in the manual and I didn't even make the connection.

See, I couldn't find the manual the whole time we rowed this book and only found it at the very end. When I found the manual, here is what I read:

" this age learning should be a by-product with the enjoyment of reading together the main goal." ~ Lambert p. 18
Because I have not had much energy, we have mostly spent a lot of time reading and talking about the story and illustrations, so this was encouraging to me. It also answers a question I have been getting about B4. The manual is really meant to be simple activities ~ from art suggestions, discussion topics, oral language development, to plenty of imaginary and hands on play ideas to stimulate your child. 

This simplicity works well for me because it is enough by itself, (which may have to be enough for me until I get a little further along in my pregnancy), but it also lends itself for inspiration and creativity, which I love. So, as I mentioned in my introductory post, something planned out, but with lots of room for creativity is a perfect fit for me.

Along with reading and discussion, here are a few things that happen when you give a mom a book called My Blue Boat:

Balsa Wood Boats

I cut boat shapes out of balsa wood, and had them paint them blue. 
(The boat with the square out of the middle was a paddle boat, the piece inside was attached with a rubber band with a stapler and it was wound up to go. But, buy the time we got around to sailing our boats, the paddle had been overwound and the rubber band lost it's stretch and wouldn't work anymore). 

We experimented with different sail shapes and added a keel (keeps the boat from tipping) and rudder (steers the boat) to one of the boats and talked about what each part does and another day we sailed them in the bathtub (since the book begins with the boat in the bathtub). We also talked about other parts of a boat: stern, bow and mast.
(I guess I could have added a little more water!)

Watercolor Resist

I drew the sailboat with crayon (from Draw Write Now) and had the kids watercolor over it. They asked me to add the stars too, and they counted each one, just like we did in the book.
Elli's and then Mali's boats. 
Sketch Time

"I dance with whales. . ." Malachi's sketch of the Blue Boat dancing with whales. (Those are little fish by the whale's tail.)
I usually have him narrate the story back to me, but this was such a short story I figured he would want to tell me the whole story!

Create a Memory: {Mock} Tuna Schooners and an Imaginary Picnic 

They were so creative ~ they used the strawberries to make a flag on top of the mast.

We had a lovely picnic as we sailed in "our blue boat." They loved this! The sticks are fish that they caught while fishing. Later Elli was talking about "our picnic when we used our imagination." =)

So about that Mock Tuna. This has become a favorite around here. I've adjusted it a bit to feed our family (with plenty of leftovers).

Ingredients we used:
  • 1/2 large purple onion diced small
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 4-5 stalks of celery diced small
  • 2 15 oz.can of garbanzo beans (chick peas) drained
  • Mayo (We love and use non-gmo Hain Safflower mayonnaise)
  • Real Salt and pepper to taste
(Before the mayo is added, so colorful!)

I crush the beans in my mixer (much easier) and then stir in the rest of the ingredients.

We love, love, love this recipe and have made it several times! I love it because we no longer buy store bought tuna and haven't for years (because of the high levels of mercury it contains) and we buy chick peas in bulk. And it tastes better, so win, win for us! {Well, not all of us ~ Dylan won't eat onions, celery, or tomatoes, so he just had a cheese sandwich.}

Lap Journal and Activities:

Elli painted with bubble wrap to make bubble wrap prints on a letter B.

Elli and Mali both helped cut out and color the pieces for the lapbooks. Elli glued down the blue collage pieces for the "What is Blue" page and I glued the lapbooks on the page.
Can you believe it took me a whole month to do this?! I think we managed one decent activity a week, including shopping for supplies! 

Delightful Links:


  1. Looks great Michelle, you'll be back on top of things again, don't be too hard on yourself. :)

  2. How fun. :) I picked up a FIAR book at convention...couldn't find the BFIAR book though...

    Love the activities you did.

  3. What a great post! I love the activities :) And thank you for sharing the recipe for mock tuna...can't wait to try it!

  4. what a great week! I love your theme & activities!

  5. That is such a great theme. I think I will try and get hold of that book and copy you :-)

  6. I cannot get over how big Elli looks! Love how the lapbook turned out too!!!

  7. That looks like so much FUN!!! Oh, how I wish I knew about lapbooks when our girls were little. (but we still do them now). I know what you mean, it's not just a preggers thing, lapbooks do take time -- and paper :)). So do you do these creative things all the time, or just every so often? You are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  8. WOW! That turned out really great! You are so creative with the littles...and I really really need to try to mock tuna!

  9. We have a natural foods deli near our home that makes that mock tuna, but I've never tried it, I should!

    I love all that you did, and you need to cut yourself some slack, big time:-), all of this should have taken a month to do!! You did SO much and as always in such detail too.

    The snack is adorable, love the balsa boats and your drawing too. Sweet pictures....

    I am finding the quote about the importance of reading to be so true with Joe this year. We do little in the way of academics, I am finding it isn't needed in the detail I thought it would be. But we spend so much time reading and he learns so much from it. My favorite times are spent on the couch reading to Joe and Jack with Hanna nearby doing her school work too.

    You were the very first homeschool blog I found and have always been such an inspiration to my homeschool from day one! You gave me confidence I needed to go ahead and take the plunge I'd been wanting to for so long.

  10. I love this theme! Especially, the wooden boats and the boat bagel. Very creative.

  11. I love your blog. I noticed the 8 of a kind family title and hopped over to meet you. We love the book All of a Kind Family. I assume you've read it. I look forward to reading more about your life. We too are hoping to homestead in the west where we are from. Husband has one more year of electrical school then we may look into it more.

  12. Oh wow, I love those water color boats! Emily has the same rainbow colored dress, I love how bright and cheerful she looks when she wears it :0)

  13. This was FABULOUS! I especially love the watercolor resist.

  14. What a fantastic blog you have! I just ordered B4FIAR to use with my girls, ages almost 4 and 2....I also run a home daycare that I will be using it with!!! You have some fantastic ideas and resource!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I am now following your blog:)

    Shirley @ A Mom After God's Own Heart

  15. I am happy to hear that! Thank you for letting me know. I hope you love it and that your girls love it more! I'm off to check out your blog!

  16. Are you interested at all to sell your FIAR items. Like your Before manual and books?