Big Woods - Week 2 {Prairie Primer}

Welcome to Little House in the Big Woods Week 2!  This week we learned about maple sugaring, animal tracks, how to knit, and more. We also made maple syrup candy and hasty pudding!

Note: please keep in mind that some activities take more than one day to complete, but for the sake of sharing and documenting our journey on the blog, I will post them on the day we started the activity or on the day it is scheduled in the Primer. This will also help others who may be coming here for inspiration. See what we are using and resources we use for more details. 

Books from our Book Basket

Day 1


After reading chapter 5 and doing the comprehension questions, we did the Cause & Effect worksheet, talked about Sunday in Laura's home verses the Sabbath day in our home and sang Pop! Goes the Weasel.

We started A Pioneer Sampler. This book will be a wonderful addition to our Prairie Primer adventure. Today, we read The Robertsons and Signs of Spring.

A one-egg custard!

It is the first day of spring and a big brown hen (Granny's favorite) lays the first egg of spring. So Ma plans to make a nice egg pudding so they each can enjoy a mouthful. We have never made a one egg custard before until now, and while our hens take turns laying throughout the winter (with a heat lamp in their coop), we did run low on eggs, so we know all to well how exciting it is to have them all laying daily again.

Day 2

Two Big Bears & The Sugar Snow

After reading chapters 6 & 7 and doing the comprehension questions, we focused on maple syrup. Yummy! Since we could not arrange to collect sap and make syrup, we made maple syrup on snow candy and turned maple syrup into maple sugar. We also had a sugar snow this week - our first week of spring! It rained all day on the 22nd (March), started snowing that evening, and we woke up to a blanket of snow covering the ground. It had all melted off by that afternoon, but it was fun to have our own sugar snow.

Making Maple Syrup on Snow Candy

Making Maple Sugar

I watched a few tutorials on how to cook the syrup down into maple sugar, so I gave it a try. It has a burnt marshmallow flavor (which I love), so I may have cooked it too long.

We also read from Pioneer Story on Maple sugaring.

Sugar Science

Making sugar anti-freeze

Real vs. Maple Flavored Syrup

Since store-bought sugar was considered more precious than homemade maple sugar, we talked about what store-bought items are better than homemade throughout the week. We compared store-bought maple flavored syrup to real maple syrup. I made homemade oatmeal pancakes one morning and we all agreed they were better than store-bought pancake mix (Krusteez). One night I made homemade enchilada sauce for enchiladas and we agreed that 10 Minute Enchilada sauce (allrecipes) is much better than store-bought. We also compared other items as suggested in the manual. I'm glad it was just the three youngest kids and I having the conversation - they appreciate home-made goodness, while the older boys think everything store bought is better these days. My oldest especially likes the fake syrup.

Day 3

Dance at Grandpa's

We read chapter 8 today, did the comprehension questions, read a book on animal tracks, made hasty pudding from The Little House Cookbook, watched a video of square dancing, started a knitting project, and made plans to make wax roses.

Making Hasty Pudding

Hasty pudding (corn meal mush) with butter and maple syrup. 

Learning to Knit

Eliana's on the left, Malachi's on the right. 
I had the kids use wool since it is so forgiving when it is felted. I thought Eliana could make a headband and Malachi could make a belt. 

I had the supplies for the wax roses and found a tutorial for making them, but I let this one go. (PP is so full that I have had to accept that I can't do it all).

Day 4

Going to Town

We read chapter 9 today, did the comprehension questions, and since this is the first week of spring, we looked for signs of spring - outside our window, because it was too cold for a walk. Spring doesn't really come to Wyoming this early in the year. :)


Notebooking this week included copywork and/or illustration for each chapter, including the Ingall's Sunday routine, how to make maple syrup, what a sugar snow is, steps to making cheese, and the sayings on Mary and Laura's heart candies.



Day 5

Today, I took some time to catch up with the My First Little House series with Bo, my 5 year old.

Bo has been asking me daily to dress his rag doll. I dug out some 0-3 month sized baby clothes to tide him over and glued two buttons on for eyes at his pleading. (We add a face later on in My Little Primer).

Elli sewed a skirt for 4H sewing project.


We continue our introduction to human anatomy/physiology and cell anatomy.

We made another edible cell. This one is from Malachi's General Science. Another excuse to eat sugar... you know, in the name of science. ;-)

I made myself a giant sugar cookie too, but I put a drop of YL Peppermint oil in the frosting - my favorite. By the end of Big Woods, I've had my fill of sugar and carbs... which means plenty more to come. 😳

This week was March 21-25. 

Until next time... 


  1. your blog posts are seriously assisting me as i begin to teach my children with the prairie primer. Thank you so much. I had one question, was the cell project with the candy from the PP? I couldn't find anything to do with cells from a brief look through week 2.

    1. Hi Kelly! The cell project is from Apologia Anatomy and Physiology - something extra we added. I explain more here:

      Since PP covers a study of the human body and I already had Apologia, I went with it instead of Inspector Bodyguard Patrols the Land of U. I think it would have been much simpler to just buy it though - I am having a hard time keeping up with so much science. I love the Apologia curriculum, so we are mostly trying to use it as it ties into the PP now. I was just going through the units before because I thought it would be easier, but I am also doing PP science and Nutrition 101 as it ties into PP, but it is too much and I am slowing down. :)