Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's Flowers

A good husband ordered these for his wife, for their anniversary.
I was the happy florist.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

b is for butterfly - Preschool Week

Second week - the letter "b"

We went to a friend's house for our "b" class this week.
So, my lesson plan for what we are doing at home is not very extensive.

b is for butterfly
by my friend Annie
The Hungry Caterpillar - we are reading this (for the 100th time, perhaps).
Waiting for Wings - this is a really pretty book.  We loved it.
Five Stars for preschoolers.

Science - 
We ordered some caterpillars, so we can observe the life cycle of the Butterfly.
Right now they are pinned in the butterfly house, all in their own little Chrysalis.
We are waiting to watch the Painted Lady butterflies emerge!

More Science - 
Be the Butterfly.  We looked through the kaleidoscope lens of our magnifying glass,
to pretend like we were seeing our flower garden like a monarch.

And, more Science - 
Butterflies are pollinators.  So are birds, bees, & bats.  (More "b" things!)
So, we are talking about pollination this week.
We read "Flower, Why Do you Smell So Nice."
The book is okay.  It's the only kids book on pollination I could find at the library.
It has some evolution in it, that we just skipped.
And, the way it reads felt a little funny to us, the adults.
But, the kids think it is cute.
It is a conversation between a bee & a flower.
And, it was originally written in Italian, not English.
So, that may add to the awkwardness of it.

Craft - 
We made little fingerprint caterpillars &
used rubber stamps to add butterflies to our pictures.

Game - *
Butterfly Races!

You can make your own balance butterfly by going here.

Cooking - *
Pretzel Butterflies

Slowly melt Chocolate chips in a double broiler.
"Paste" your pretzel wings together with a little glob of peanut butter.
Dip your butterfly carefully into the hot chocolate.
Dip in sprinkles.
Set on wax paper & chill.

Bible - 
We are talking about butterflies representing our new life in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore if any man is in Christ, 
he is a new creature; 
the old things passed away;
behold, new things have come."

History - 
Speaking of wings & flying, we read a little book on the Wright Brothers.
Up in the Sky
We learned about when man was able to "take flight" in the first airplane.

Outdoor Excursion - 
We may go to Natural Bridges this weekend, to see the butterfly museum.
It is not quite monarch migration season for us here.
They should arrive next month.

We went to see them last year, and didn't see too much.  But, it was still exciting.
We saw one butterfly up close.

* These ideas are both from the great homeschool blog, Along the Way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

White Wedding on Pajaro Dunes

This weekend may have been our hottest weekend yet, this year.  
Not sweltering, I suppose.  But, it seemed hot to us coastal folk.  
Towards 90.
I had a small wedding job.  
All white!  
I get a little paranoid with white flowers in the heat.  
But, they turned out fine.  
Hopefully they made it through the whole wedding without showing wilt...


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The End of Apple Week

We went to an Apple Orchard to check things out.

We ate lunch, played on a tractor, ran around 
& rolled rotten apples down a hill.

We were going to end with making Apple Turnovers today.
But, it's just too hot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eat {Black Raspberry} Ice Cream & Fight Cancer

It looks like a small animal crawled onto my counter & died.  
But, that is my cutting board
 (post a good, hot, soapy scrub) 
stained with Black Raspberry juice.

I made Black Raspberry Ice Cream.  
I had some problems with it setting properly. 

it was still so good!  Enjoyed by all.

This is what I always look like in photos.  The crazy half eyes.

I pretty much used the recipe from over at Two Yolks.

I added vanilla bean to it.  
And, I think I put too much Black Raspberry puree in.  
My ice cream turned out way darker than the Two Yolks one.
And, I couldn't get it to set in the ice cream maker,
even after freezing the ice cream bowl overnight 
& churning the ice cream for over 4 hours.
We just put the liquid in the freezer & let it set & freeze.
The texture really wasn't that bad.
And, the flavor was incredible.

She's not a vampire.  She's just eating Black Raspberry Ice Cream.

Black Raspberries aren't just tasty.  
They are the top scorers in nutrition, too.
All that crazy color in the fruit is a good thing.
There are a bunch of goodies packed into these little guys.
They have far & away more antioxidants than the other fruits 
that are touted as super fruits.
They beat Blueberries, Cranberries & Pomegranates.  By a long shot.
I think pretty much Goji Berries are higher & Dark Chocolate.  
Other than that, it's Black Raspberries.
I would recommend eating your Black Raspberries with Dark Chocolate.  
That's what we do.

Oh.  One strange problem.  It's hard to find Black Raspberries in the store.  
Check your freezer section.  And, complain if they don't have them.
And then grow some in your own garden, like my husband does.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Training Children May Help Your Marriage

When your kids are throwing a crazy fit about something, what do you tell them?
When they take something without asking, what do you say?
When your daughter gets mad at her brother & smacks him in the face,
what do you say?
Right?  Parents say it all the time.

How about us.  Are we always using our words?
Hopefully we aren't hitting & screaming & flailing on the ground.
We are adults (right?).

But, sometimes we just expect that our husband knows our thoughts.
"I shouldn't have to say this, surely he already knows."
Just like moms can't (completely) read minds, neither can husbands.
Sometimes we cry or pout & don't want to talk about it.
Just like a mom wants to know what the problem is, so she can help,
a husband needs you to tell him, too.
Tell him.  That doesn't mean the tears won't flow.
But, at least he'll know why, right?

Last week I was really stressed about something, I couldn't help but cry.
(Sometimes you just have to cry, right?  Especially when your pregnant...)
The stress was over things beyond his control.
I needed to tell him what the problem was.  And that, it wasn't him.
Or else, how would he know?
I needed to use my words.
Once I did, I felt a lot better.
And, I think he did, too.
Trying to go to sleep next a woman who keeps weeping cannot be an easy thing.
It had to stop.
After we both used our words to talk out the stressful situation
& discuss all our options, things were so much better.
I could go to sleep content.  I knew we would do the best we could.  Together.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a is for apple - a Preschool Lesson Plan

We are starting our more "formal" home preschool this week.
Most of what little children learn is learned as you go about the day,
teaching things in an organic manner.
Our more structured learning is to focus on
early reading & writing skills,
listening quietly to a teacher while sitting still,
& craft time.

This week we begin with A is for Apple.

Here's my lesson plan.

When I cut out the craft foam
for the abc craft card,
(found here at Totally Tots)
I used a template for myself, 
roughly following a printed letter "a" 
in Century Gothic font, 
at text size 350.
I am not very good at free-handing 
with the scissors in craft foam!
I realized as I was cutting, 
that this is not a preschool craft. 
I was going to have 
them glue the pieces. 
But, decided to do it myself 
& just give the flashcard to the kids.

Phonic Sounds & Writing
Most of the lesson I will focus on the short sound for the letter "a".
We will also focus on the lower case.
We will do a brief introduction of capital "A".
And, talk briefly about the long sound for "a" (as in acorn).

You can find letter tracing worksheets to practice penmanship at this link.

I wrote words up on the board that contained the letter "a".
The kids learned recognition of the letter in the context of various words.
Here's a few.

  • banana
  • bat
  • cap
  • acorn
  • cat
  • alligator
  • hat 
  • pan
  • ant
  • airplane

The kids looked for the hidden letter "a" on this picture I drew.

I am not very good at drawing.
But, you have my permission to use the picture for your own kids, if you want!

We're singing this clever song in our class time -
A-P-P-L-E {to the tune of B-I-N-G-O}.

We made the Apple Shake Ups from this lesson plan.
We learned about apple varieties & did a sampling.

We drank Apple Cider & snacked on paired some 
cheeses & oatmeal cookies with our apple shakeups.

Johnny Appleseed's (John Chapman) birthday is coming up this week - Sept. 26th.
For a little history lesson, we'll read about him.

Our craft was stamping apples to make cool placemats.
Just slice apples in half & dip in paint.
Stamp them onto your construction paper.

If you want to, you can add stems & 
leaves using finger painting or paint brushes.
After they are dry, cover in laminate 
so your child can use the placemat.

We are talking about how 
God keeps His children as 
the "apple of His eye".
He loves us.  
We are his treasure.  
We are His delight.
His loving gaze is on us.
He doesn't let us out of His sight.

Deuteronomy 32:10
"He found him in a desert land, 
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, 
He cared for him,
He guarded him as 
the apple of His eye."

Psalm 17:8
"Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings,"

As His children, we are told to keep His Words to us (the Bible)
as the treasure of our heart & the apple of our eye; 
the focus of our attention should be on Him & His Word.
We should keep it always before us.

Proverbs 7:2
"Keep my commandments & live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye."

Apple trees are native to Southwestern & Central Asia; 
The region between the Black & Caspian Seas.
We found it on our map.  


We filled a bin with water & apples.  Will the apples float or fall?
They float!  25% of their volume is made up of water.
We bobbed for apples.  

Did you know that as early as 40 A.D., they were bobbing for apples in Great Britain?  
The young unmarried girls would play.  They believed that the first girl 
to bite an apple & bring it out of the water, would be the first one married that year.

We tried to guess at how many seeds are in an apple.
Then we cut it open & looked at it & gave another estimation.
Then we actually counted to seeds to see how many were really in there.

For a little exploring, we cut open some apple seeds 
& examined them under a magnifying glass.

We looked at photos of the different seasons of the apple tree.

All of the above are Apple Orchards of the Corralitos Valley

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Books this Week - A is for Apple

Here are the books we are reading for our A is for Apple.
They are either books I was able to borrow,
books I already owned,
or the books I could find at our local library.

A is for Apple Pie - Kate Greenaway
-A beautiful, sweet & clever ABC book.

How to Make an Apple Pie & See the World by Marjorie Priceman
-This is a really fun book.  It's a silly one.
The lesson of the story is where the ingredients come from
that make up a apple pie.
Good for preschoolers.

Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund
-This book is super cute.  The illustrations are adorable.  
The text is very appropriate for little ones to understand.  
We loved it!  It was my favorite, for sure.

Johnny Appleseed  - A Poem by Reeve Lindbergh
This is a beautiful book.
The poem is perfect for reading aloud.
The history is appropriately geared to young kids.

The Season's of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
-This one was a favorite for my kids, with the bright illustrations.  
They also liked watching all the fun things 
Arnold does in his apple tree throughout the year.

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro
-this book was a little "old" for my 2 1/2 year old.  
But, my nearly 4 year old was happy to stick through it.  
The fertilization of the apple was taught simply enough 
for her to understand at least some of it.

Apples by Jacqueline Farmer
 - good book, great info, pretty illustrations. 
It's a little too detailed for preschool., 
with the scion & rootstock grafting lesson & much more.  
Still it can be good reference book for the teacher.

The Apple Pie Tree looked really good to me.
But, the library didn't have it in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm a Third Born, too.

Our 3rd child is a goofy one.  Moira's 16 months old now.
She loves to makes silly faces.  
She loves to growl.  
She isn't too good at animals sounds.
They mostly all sound like a dinosaur.
She loves to say "Ewww!"
She has more words, too.
Mommy, Daddy, More, Me, "Ready, Set, Go!", Yes, No, 
Shoes, "What Dat?", "All Done..."

She's our little one.  
She can still wear some clothes that are considered 6 month old size.  
Her current placement in the weight percentile chart is at 8%.

She is terrified of the swing, if you try to push her from behind.
But, she thinks it is pleasant & relaxing if she can see you, 
as you push from the front.

She is a dexterous & rather fearless little girl.  
She is a great slider & a climber.
That has pluses & minuses.

She loves to eat.  
She doesn't take a bottle & never has.  
That's a first for us.

Although she loves her food.  She also loves to feed her dogs.  
That blur of motion is her pug dog catching a cookie in the air.

She loves her baby dolls.
She rocks them & kisses them & sings "Rock-A-Bye-Baby".
She loves to snuggle with a baby when she goes to sleep.