Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Break

Happy Good Friday to everyone! Also, Happy Earth Day and Happy early Easter! We are officially on Spring Break until May 3rd, so you won't see any posts from us for about a week and a half. We will be back in full force after that, though, so check back soon! Love to you all! Rachel and Maggie ♥

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A little dirt never hurt!

What better way to study the Earth than to get down and dirty with it?  That's what we did today ... dirt, dirt, and more dirt.  Here are some photos:

Here, we're at the library for Preschool Adventures, decorating a paper Easter basket.  She got frustrated with her gluing at one point, and I said, 'It's ok.  Just breathe.'  Her response?  'I don't like breathing!'  Ok then!  :)
 Making dirt cups ... Add 2 cups of cold milk to 1 package (3.9 oz.) of Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding mix. 
 Whisk together for two minutes, until smooth.  Let stand for five minutes.
 Next, count out 15 Oreo cookies and finely crush.
 Stir into your pudding mixture 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping and 1/2 cup of your cookie crumbs.  Then, spoon into clear plastic drinking cups.  (Our mixture made 7 cups.)
 Top each cup with your remaining cookie mixture for a layer of 'dirt.'  Refrigerate for one hour.
 Before serving, add gummy worms to your dirt cup.  (For a large crew, you could even make this in a clean plastic pail and scoop out with a clean plastic shovel!)
 So good!  :)
'Dirt Detective Maggie,' on a mission to see what she can find in dirt ...
 We poured her sample onto a tray for easier observation.
 Looking in more closely ...
 We found a worm amidst our sample!
 While doing our 'Dirt Detective' work, we saw this baby mockingbird, getting instructions from its parents on how to fly ... very neat!
 We then moved to another part of the yard, made up of a more sandy dirt.  No earthworms here!  She did, however, dub it 'Bug Beach.'  Funny girl.  :)
 The materials for our 'Worm Tracks' craft ... paper, brown paint, and a piece of yarn!
Using the yarn dipped in paint to make 'Worm Tracks' ...

Today, we:
1. We attended Preschool Adventures at North Columbus Library, where we learned about Easter (including the reading of I Need an Easter Egg! by Harriet Ziefert, and a pop-up book called Easter Egg Hunt).
1. We read Found Alphabet by Ramon Shindler and Wojciech Graniczewski.  An excerpt from that book (for the letter 'S'):
     'This spider spins from town to town
     Inside out and uspide down
     His mother says it's very clear
     The World Wide Web was his idea!'  (Cute.)
2. We played the 'Missing Letter' game using our alphabet squares from our Alphabet and Counting workbook, page 58.
3. Letter practice: We practiced writing big letter 'I' and little letter 'i' in our Alphabet and Counting workbook, page 23.  We also read the 'I' tongue twister so she could hear the 'I' sound, and we discussed the difference between the long 'i' sound (as in 'ice' or 'dime') and the short 'i' sound (as in 'milk' or 'igloo').
4. We read The Little Pink Pig by Liza Charlesworth (a Phonics Tales! book to help teach the short 'i' sound).
1. We read Blue's Egg Hunt by Deborah Reber.
2. We watched the Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol DVD that we borrowed from the library.
Earth Day:
1. We read Earth Day by Mir Tamim Ansary.
2. We read A Handful of Dirt by Raymond Bial.
3. We read Soil: A Resource Our World Depends On by Ian Graham.
4. We read the 'Dirt on My Shirt' and 'What Do You See?' poems from Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Fox worthy.
5. We read 'The Three Little Worms' story in our High Five magazine, March 2011, pages 6-9.
6. We read 'Spading,' a poem by Patricia Hubbell.
7. We watched 'The Dirt on Dirt' episode on our Sid the Science Kid: The Bug Club DVD.
8. We did the 'Worm Tracks' activity out of our The Everything Toddler Activities Book, page 146.
9. We went outside and got dirty, playing 'Dirt Detectives,' and studied a section of dirt, looking for worms and other things that make up soil.
10. We made dirt cups (complete with gummy worms) for snack! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Jemima Puddle-duck!

Happy Earth Week!  I am so excited to share this week with Maggie, who is just learning the importance of turning off lights, turning off the faucet, and putting plastic and aluminum into our recycling bin.  We kicked it off with a trip to Forest Friends, where we learned about reusing and recycling, and then we came home to do some reading on Earth Day and make a paper plate globe.  We also did some more Easter crafts, including the making of a bonnet to match that of Jemima Puddle-duck's in the tale by Beatrix Potter!  Here are some photos:

Playing with a couple of turtles at Forest Friends ...
 And feeling the scales on a couple of fish out of the pond ...
 Here, the kids are racing 'trash' to its appropriate bin for recycling ... paper, plastic, or aluminum.  (They all loved this activity!)
 Making a nature bracelet with strips of contact paper and natural materials ... wrap one strip around your child's wrist, sticky side out.  Let them add leaves, bits of bark, grass, etc., until complete, then add another strip of contact paper (sticky side in) to seal in their artwork!  So easy and lots of fun!  (Thanks, Daisy, for a great idea!)
 All done and so fashionable!  :)
 Painting the Earth on a paper plate ...
 Ready to play our 'Alphabet Fishing' game using our alphabet squares, with a paperclip attached, and a pole made with a magnet tied to the end of its string ...
 I would call out a word and she would locate the first letter of that word.  After she 'caught' it on her pole, she would have to give me another word that started with that letter before she could throw it back in the 'pond.'
 Coloring some Easter cards for Grandma and Grandpop ...
Ready to mail!
 The materials for our Jemima Puddle-duck bonnet ... a large sheet of white paper, scissors, tape (I thought it might be easier to use than glue), a pencil, some ribbon, and paper doilies!
 Rather than rewriting the instructions for the bonnet, I thought it might be easier for you to see them photographed here, with the diagrams.
If these instructions seem too daunting, they did offer an easier method:  Attach a length of ribbon to either side of a paper plate.  Decorate the plate with tissue paper, feathers, fabric, paper flowers, etc.
 Coloring her bonnet before we put it together ...
 In her bonnet, just like Jemima Puddle-duck!  :)
 Checking herself out in the mirror!  :)
'See?  I just laid my eggs!  There are ten!'  :)

Today, we:
1. We attended Forest Friends in Auburn, where we learned about Earth Day and the concepts of reusing and recycling.
1. We read Animal Alphabed by Margriet Ruurs.
2. We played the 'Alphabet Fishing' game using our alphabet squares from our Alphabet and Counting workbook, page 58.
3. Letter practice: We practiced writing big letter 'H' and little letter 'h' in our Alphabet and Counting workbook, page 21.  We also read the 'H' tongue twister so she could hear the 'H' sound.
1. We read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward.
2. We read It's Easter, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer.
3. We read The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.
4. We read Little Cottontail by Carl Memling.
5. We read Peter Rabbit's ABC by Beatrix Potter.
6. We read 'The Horned Beast' story in One-Minute Easter Stories adapted by Shari Lewis and Lan O’Kun, pages 30-31.
7. We read Bunny My Honey by Anita Jeram.
8. We read Rosita's Easter by P. J. Shaw.
9. We read The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter.
10. We made the 'Easter Bonnet' (like Jemima Puddle-duck's) as seen in our Easter Fun With Peter Rabbit activities book, page 14.
11. We decorated the Easter cards in our Easter Fun With Peter Rabbit activities book, pages 21-24, then mailed them to Grandma and Grandpop.
12. We watched our The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse DVD.
13. We watched the Barney: Egg-cellent Adventures DVD that we borrowed from the library.
Earth Day:
1. We read Earth Day by Trudi Strain Trueit.
2. We read Earth Day by Robin Nelson.
3. We read Earth Day by David F. Marx.
4. We read The Berenstain Bears: Don't Pollute (Anymore) by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
5. We watched the Sesame Street: Love the Earth! DVD that we borrowed from the library.  (This was a GREAT find!)
6. We made a paper plate Earth as seen at

Check us out tomorrow when we get the lowdown on dirt!  :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

We're here!

Well, you may have noticed that we didn't leave a post on Friday.  We were having a hectic day and then received some very unfortunate news about Al's dad, so it put a stop to the presses temporarily.  We will be posting again tomorrow after Forest Friends, with the start of a week-long curriculum on Earth Day and some last-minute Easter projects!  I also decided to extend our Alphabet curriculum by a few days, as we still have some books and letter games that I want us to cover.  Further, I am announcing next week a Spring Break week for us.  We need a breather and it will give me time to gear up on my Summer curriculum, as I don't intend to take the three-month break that many do.  (We will take a few weeks off, but not the entire summer.)  So, if we do any boredom-buster projects next week that I think you might like me to share, I will post those, but I'm taking the pressure of a full week's curriculum off the both of us until May 3!  See you soon and thanks for reading!

Rachel and Maggie  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

'Carrot Top Cupcakes'

We had nowhere to be today, so we filled it with lots of activities and had a good time.  We made some yummy 'Carrot Top Cupcakes,' followed by a really neat 'Crackled Egg Art' craft, then continued our alphabet study by taking our camera outdoors to find 'letters' in everyday objects.  Some photos from today:

Making the batter for our 'Carrot Top Cupcakes' ...
(For those of you who know it, no, we didn't make it from Mom's awesome carrot cake recipe.  We just used a boxed mix today.)
Our 'Carrot Top Cupcakes!'  After frosting them with cream cheese frosting, I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs along the edges of the cupcakes, then added a candy circus peanut on top for the 'carrot,' and cut some candy spearmint leaves for the carrot's top. 
  I placed some of the carrots across the cupcakes, and others, I inserted through the middle.
 Ready to eat!
 YUM!  (After she ate hers, Mags insisted we bring a couple to our next-door neighbors.)
 Later, after reading two books on the same, we went outdoors to find some letters not so easy to see.  (My brother will be so proud of this project.)  Here are a few of those photos.  Our 'L' photo ...
 Here are our eggshells, drying after a wash, for our 'Crackled Egg Art' project.  (This crackled egg art is an Egyptian custom in celebration of Spring.) 
Ready to dye our eggshells in water with a bit of food coloring added ...
Our dyed eggshells, drying ...
Then, we glued our dried eggshells onto a cardboard cut-out of an egg.
 Our 'Crackled Egg Art!'
Coloring the template for our 'Tumble Bunny' ...
 Our 'Tumble Bunny,' ready to go!
 Making her bunny tumble ...
A video demonstration for you ... :)

Today, we:
1. We read The City ABC Book by Zoran Milich.
2. We read Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson.
3. We did our own letter-hunting outdoors (as seen in the above two books), and took photos of the 'letters' we found.
4. Letter practice: We practiced writing big letter 'G' and little letter 'g' in our Alphabet and Counting workbook, page 19.  We also read the 'G' tongue twister so she could hear the 'G' sound, and we discussed the difference between the hard 'G' sound (as in 'grass' or 'goat') and the soft 'G' sound (as in 'gym' or 'giraffe').
1. We read The Berenstain Bears' Baby Easter Bunny by Jan & Mike Berenstain.
2. We read What Do Bunnies Do All Day? by Judy Mastrangelo.
3. We read Clifford's Happy Easter by Norman Bridwell.
4. We read Little Lamb by Piers Harper.
5. We read Coriander's Easter Adventure by Ingrid Ostheeren.
6. We read Miz Fannie Mae's Fine New Easter Hat by Melissa Milich.
7. We made the 'Crackled Egg Art' as seen in our Big Fun Craft Book, pages 80-81.
8. We watched our The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny DVD.  (She LOVED this!)
9. We made the 'Carrot Top' cupcakes (as seen in Parents magazine, November 2009, page 140) using a carrot cake mix for the cake, cream cheese frosting, graham crackers, candy circus peanuts, and green candy spearmint leaves for the carrots' leaves.
10. We made the 'Tumble Bunnies' as seen in Family Fun magazine, April 2011, page 24.
11. We watched our It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown DVD.  (Daddy, she mentioned several times that you will be seeing this on Saturday with her!)
Rhyming Words:
1. We played with our Rhyming Dominoes.
Spring/Birds/Weather (ongoing curriculums):
1. We read The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins.
2. We read Kite Flying by Grace Lin.