Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shake, Rattle & Roll!

So, we have been learning about the Earth's crust, and today, we learned more about volcanoes and earthquakes.  In our study, we read the following books:

Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Deborah Merrians (it's quite old, with a copyright date of 1975, but very informative and easy to understand) ...
 ... Earthquakes by Franklyn M. Branley ... 
 ... and Earthquakes by Ellen J. Prager.
Here is a video from YouTube, about earthquakes, that Maggie and I watched together.
For today's journal entry, I asked her, "Which would you rather not be near, a volcano or an earthquake, and why?"  She answered, "An earthquake, because it knocks over buildings."  This is her drawing in her journal, of a cracked building, with a cracked road, and trees, fallen down.  :)
We had briefly studied volcanoes prior, when we did an at-home project for our Korea study with our homeschooling co-op.  Here is the link to that blog post:  I recommend that you look at it, too, for some more reading suggestions and templates you can print, but here, I will share a few photos from that post for inspiration.
Here is Maggie, with her volcano project board, with a volcano mini book, the parts of a volcano labeled, and a mini volcano model attached.  (All of these templates are on the post I just mentioned.)
And here she is again, with our volcano model, lit up with an LED tea light!  (The instructions for this are also on that link.)
For today's study of volcanoes, we read Volcanoes: Nature's Incredible Fireworks by David L. Harrison ...
... National Geographic Kids: Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber ...
... and The Magic School  Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes by Joanna Cole and Gail Herman.
And here is a video from YouTube, about volcanoes, that Maggie and I watched together.
For our volcano activity, we decided to make the "tried and true" baking soda and vinegar volcano!  For the same, you will need a clean, dry drinking bottle (like a 20 ounce soda bottle), baking soda (the fresher, the better!), a little dish soap, red food coloring ...
 ... and, of course, white vinegar.  (We also used a measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a piece of copy paper.)
First, measure out 1 cup of vinegar, then dye red using a few drops of your food coloring.
Next, make a funnel using your piece of copy paper so that you can easily measure into the bottle 1-2 tablespoons of your baking soda.  Once the baking soda is in the bottle, add a squirt of dish soap to the bottle.  (This will add a bit of foamy fun to your volcano!)
Then, slowly pour the vinegar into the bottle.
 We have "lava flows!"
 What kid wouldn't find this cool?
For a snack, I made "Molten Lava Volcano Cakes," as seen at  For the same, you will need a chocolate cake mix (I used just a boxed cake mix, Pillsbury, but they do have a chocolate cake recipe on the site if you wish to follow that), and red and orange candy melts.  (I bought mine at Michael's craft store with coupons.)
They made mini volcano cakes, but I wanted to make one big one to emphasize the largeness of these natural beasts, so I used one of my large Pyrex bowls to bake the cake mix in.  (Also, you will notice I sprayed the bowl well, because I was very worried it might stick.)
It didn't!  :)
 I put our candy melts in two small, separate Pyrex bowls to melt in.  As per the site's suggestion, as my baked cake came out, I immediately turned off the oven to get it to a cooler temperature (otherwise, our candy melts might have burned), then stuck the candy melts in to start the melting process. 
According to the site, "it should take 8-12 minutes to melt, but check on your chocolate every couple of minutes, as each oven heats differently and stir each time. Heating on the lowest temperature of your oven melts the chocolate properly and eliminates that white coating that can appear on chocolate, usually it is around 140 degrees."
Once the candies are melted, take them out of the oven and start adding them to the cake!  First, plop on the orange color, right to the top, as shown.
 Then, make an 'X' over the orange with the red, like below.
 Finally, using your orange spoon again, make a few swirls in the top to make it look more "lava-like."  Unfortunately, my candies weren't oozing like they're supposed to (maybe my oven runs cooler?), so I decided to pop the whole thing in the oven until just oozing.  (This would take some careful watching.)
 I popped the rack into a sheet pan (so as not to mess up my oven) and stuck the whole think back in at 220 degrees.
Well, unfortunately, even after putting it back in the oven, it never really wanted to "ooze" like the site's did.   Oh well, I think it turned out ok.  (At least Maggie was happy!)  Afterwards, I had a thought ... some pink cotton candy would go perfect on this, stuck right on top for smoke!
Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Duck's Truck is Stuck in the Muck!

Today, we reviewed the short u/long u sound, and because we never finished up our alphabet critter series, we went ahead and completed U and V for those of you who were hoping we'd finish that! 

For U, we made an umbrella, copied from the one seen at, but without the purchase of a dozen!  (I copy Oriental Trading Company's ideas a lot, but just recreated with construction paper instead of foam.)
The three books we read for our short u/long u review were Short u and Long u Play a Game by Jane Belk Moncure ...
... Phonics Tales! Lucky Duck by Teddy Slater ...
 ... and Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough.
Here is an excerpt from the  Phonics Tales! Lucky Duck book by Teddy Slater:

"Short-u Cheer:
Hooray for short u, the best sound around!
Let's holler short-u words all over town!
There's mug and sun and lunch and up.
There's gum and fun and luck and cup.
There's bug and hut and hum and rug.
There's lump and run and chum and hug.
Short u, short u, give a great cheer,
For the luckiest sound you ever will hear!"
We also made another Easter egg, of course, to practice remembering words in the -uck word family.
 And, like we have with other vowels, we made a short u/long u chart, to illustrate words with the same sounds.  (We will continue these charts with letter blends and when we're done, we'll make a book that she can flip through, just like we did with our letter book two years ago.) 
For V, we made a vulture, as seen in our Alphabet and Counting workbook, by School Specialty Publishing, page 48.
And I made yet another egg for our second sound of the day, the -eep sound!
 For review of the -eep sound, we read Usborne Phonics Readers: Sam Sheep Can't Sleep by Phil Roxbee Cox.
See you again tomorrow when we continue our study of volcanoes and earthquakes!  Happy homeschooling!  :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Stuff

Hello again!  I thought I would share with you some of the things we did this past weekend, because, well, I thought they were worth sharing! 

First off, I made a post with this craft idea, these cute little candy Bibles, this past Fall when Maggie and I were talking about the importance of God's Word, in general, but told myself that I would do it again for our church members when the opportunity presented itself.  During last week's church service, our pastor started a new sermon series about the key disciplines for every Christian.  The first one we discussed was the importance of reading God's Word.  (My opportunity had just presented itself!)  Here is what I made ...
These next few pictures are from the post in the Fall, but the supplies are still basically the same.  I used black cardstock, white printer paper, two Hershey's Nuggets for each Bible (I liked the gold better than the silver wrapping), some red ribbon, scissors, and a glue stick.  (For the new Bibles, though, I nixed the glue stick and used scrapbooking squares instead.)
First, cut your cardstock so that one piece is just slightly larger than the area of two Nuggets, laid side by side.  Adhere.
 Then, run your white paper through the printer after you have chosen a Bible verse to type out and print.  The verse pictured is the one that I used in the Fall for Maggie, but for the congregation, I used Psalm 119:11: I have hidden Your word in my heart, That I might not sin against You.  Pick a verse that works for you and the situation, and cut it out to fit over your Nuggets.  Also, cut your ribbon to fit your small Bible.
 Adhere.  (Again, this is my old Bible.  For the new version, I printed the verse so that the first half could be read on the left side and the second half could be read on the right side, more like a real book, than this one here, showing the verse across both pages.  Also, I put the ribbon between the two pages versus under, because I liked how it looked better.  Scroll down to see the newest version.)
My new Bible, improved!  :)
 I made many, stuck them in baskets, and surprised the congregation!  Many of the members said it was the "sweetest Bible" they had ever received!  :)
 Well, yesterday also happened to be my baby's half birthday!  When you are five, a half a year is a big deal, so I humored her and made her half a cake for her half birthday!  (This was simply a boxed mix, baked in two 9-inch rounds, then cooled, cut down the middle, and stacked, to make a four-layer half cake!)
 I also added five and a half candles!  :)
 Happy "Half" Birthday, my girl!  (She was thrilled!)  :)
 We have been studying transportation in Social Studies and I decided this weekend that while Daddy was home, they could complete one of our projects together, a portable mat for toy cars, using a green tablecloth (which I bought at Big Lots for $3.50), black duct tape, and yellow duct tape.  (I got this idea from Family Fun magazine, May 2011, page 64.)
  Using the black duct tape, make "roads" along your green tablecloth. 
 Our cat, Emmett, was a big help with this endeavor!  :)
Once your roadway is complete, go back over the black with cuts of your yellow tape to make the center marks on your roads.
 Once done, add plastic trees, houses, road signs, etc.  (Here is an aerial shot of our toy car mat.)
 It was a winner with Mags!
 Happy crafting!