Sensory Fun Friday

The boys absolutely LOVE sensory activities so for Fun Friday this past week we had sensory activity day!

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Slimy Eyes

The first activity we did was a belated Halloween activity using hair gel and googly eyes.

wpid-IMG_20131107_101439.jpg wpid-IMG_20131107_101522.jpgIt was a hit! They played with it for a good hour, which gave me just enough time to prepare our next sensory activity!

wpid-20131107_112558.jpgRainbow Spaghetti

This had absolutely nothing to do with anything we are learning, but I have seen it all over Pinterest and thought the boys would think it was cool. So I boiled up the spaghetti, dyed the noodles, and sent the kids outside to play! I was right! They all loved it, even the big kid!

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They played outside with this activity for several hours. They ate it, the squished between their fingers and toes, and they even have spaghetti fights. I will say though that spaghetti is a very hard thing to clean off your driveway!!!

-Nicki

 

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MFW: Creation to the Greeks-Egyptian Fun

We have been busy little Egyptians around our house lately as we study all things related to Ancient Egypt. The kids, especially Bug, are thoroughly enjoying all of the fun projects and experiments we are doing as we study our way through ancient civilizations with My Father’s World. Although, My Father’s World, provided us with plenty of reading and activities to help us learn about Ancient Egypt we decided to add Story of the World Vol. 1 as well as substitute some of our own science experiments for the ones that they provided; just because we like projects! Lots and lots of projects! I thought I would share some of the projects we have done the past few weeks.

Model of the Nile River

wpid-IMG_20131104_171249.jpgBug made a model of the Nile River in Egypt in order to simulate the way farmers watered their crops back in the times of Ancient Egypt. She put potting soil in an aluminum roasting pan and split it down the middle with double layered aluminum foil. She then lined the aluminum foil with small pebbles (we used leftover fish tank rocks) to hold the aluminum foil in place. She used large rocks to simulate mountains and built pyramids out of clay. She then sprinkled both sides of the river with grass seed and “flooded” the river with water.

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After a week she already had a whole bunch of grass growing so the model definitely worked to support what we learned about ancient farmers using the flooding of  the Nile River to grow their crops.

Mummified Hotdog

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We decided to experiment with mummification in many different ways. Mummifying a hot dog was one of them. We placed a hot dog on a bed of baking soda in a Tupperware dish.

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We then completely covered the hotdog with baking soda and sealed the Tupperware with a lid. We placed the hotdog in a dark cupboard and waited for one week.

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We then took the lid off and examined the hotdog. The first thing we noted was…

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the awful smell!!! The second thing that we noticed was the hotdog had turned slightly green in color and had lost all of its moisture. The baking soda surrounding the hotdog was soaking wet where it had absorbed all of the moisture and the hotdog was hard. This was an awesome example of mummification; however be prepared for the horrible smell that comes with it!!!

Mummifying Apples

We also mummified apples. This experiment,however, was geared more toward determining which household ingredients could be used as a mummifying agent. First we gathered up our supplies…

2 apples-cut into 10 slices

Gauze

baking soda

salt

vinegar

sugar

10 cups

We then took the apple slices and placed them in labeled cups. The labels read apple, apple w/ gauze, baking soda, baking soda w/ gauze, sugar, sugar w/ gauze, vinegar, and vinegar w/gauze. Then we covered the apples in the various ingredients, making sure to cover some with gauze,

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and then we placed them in the cupboard. A week later we pulled them out and recorded our observations.

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We decided that if we ever had to be mummified salt would be our ingredient of choice!

Edible Mummified Apples

One of our favorite experiments were our edible mummies!

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We made these to simulate the mummification process.

wpid-20131107_153142.jpg First we cored the apple, which simulated the removal of the internal organs of the mummy.

wpid-20131107_153205.jpgThen we mixed up butter, raisins, oats, and brown sugar to simulate the spices that the ancient Egyptians stuffed the mummies with.

wpid-20131107_153345.jpgThen we stuffed our apple mummies. We placed them on a plate and microwaved them for 2 minutes to simulate the drying out process. We then wrapped the apples with puff pastry shells that we had cut into 1/2 inch strips and brushed with egg and we added cloves for the eyes. This simulated the wrapping the mummy in linen cloth.

wpid-20131107_161435.jpgWe placed them on a cookie sheet and baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. This was to simulate the laying of the mummy in his tomb or pyramid.

wpid-20131107_163426.jpgAfter the were all baked up, we ate them! Yum!!! This didn’t simulate anything but our inability to resist a yummy snack!!! If you would like the recipe for the Mummy Apples I found it here.

Sugar Cube Pyramids

All the kids enjoyed using sugar cubes to build a model of a pyramid!

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Our unit on Egypt is not yet finished so we are looking forward to more fun projects dealing with the Ancient Egyptian culture! If you liked these ideas feel free to steal them and if you have ideas of you own please feel free to share them!

-Nicki

 

 

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Who Knew Potty Training Could Be So Bitterweet???

It is that time in my life again, time to potty train, yet, another kid. I have been through the adventures of potty training twice before and both times were frustrating to say the least. Cleaning up mess after mess, not understanding why they can pee in the potty but REFUSE to poop in the potty, the power struggle between toddler and parent. As wonderful as the idea of being diaper free is the process of potty training is not a process that most people look forward to enduring, but yet here I stand ready to endure it one more time. However, this time it is different. This time I was looking forward to the struggle, the fight, the messes, the teaching process. This time was going to be my last time so I wanted to enjoy it, to savor all the details. My last baby is taking his rite of passage from babyhood into toddlerville and quite frankly I wasn’t overly anxious for that to happen. I wanted to hold on to the baby in him as long as possible. Of course, the one time I was willing and ready to put up with all troubles potty training related my little, big man had other plans.

He actually came to me and said that he wanted to start wearing big boy underwear like his brother. He started telling us when he was going to pee or poop in his diaper. As much as I tried to put it off (he is barely 2), to prolong his entrance into toddlerville, every sign pointed to him being ready. So I bought the underwear and the pull-ups for night-time and prepared myself for the potty training process. I was still good, as I knew from experience this was no overnight achievement, and I still had time to before he wasn’t a baby anymore. All my other kids struggled with moving into toddlerville. Diapers were their safe place in babyhood and giving them up and moving into the scary, more independent stage of toddlerville took a little coercion. So I had time. Plenty of time. However, just like in every other aspect of his life Magoo is not your typical kid. He looked toddlerville in the face and laughed. He wasn’t scared in the least and was more than ready to leave his baby days behind him. By the end of day one, he was accident free and moving in the direction of diaper freedom. We are now on day 4 and he is peeing and pooping on the potty like it is second nature. He jumped on the train to toddlerville and never looked back. As a parent, I am so proud of him, and am thankful that he was so easily trained. As a mom, who has had babies in her house for the a very long time, it makes me sad that my baby is growing up so fast. It is definitely a bittersweet time in my life.

So whenever you are secretly wishing for your babies to hurry up and roll over, crawl, walk, talk, and pee pee in the potty just remind yourself that they grow up so fast on their own so let them be little and enjoy those baby moments because they are only here for a very short time.

-Nicki

 

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Camping Fun

I grew up loving the outdoors. My family hunted, we camped, we fished, we generally just loved being outdoors. So when I had kids I wanted to make sure that I instilled the same love of nature and the great outdoors in them too. So from the time my first-born was potty trained we have been packing up our camping gear and heading out to the local state parks for fun-filled camping trips. As we had more kids, potty training wasn’t even a requirement we loaded them up pack n play, diapers, and all. Now that all of our kids are at least walking and talking our camping trips are so much more enjoyable. The kids get so excited when we have a camping trip planned and they all have their own reasons why. Bug loves to hike, Bubba loves to cook hotdogs and marshmallows over a fire, and Magoo loves to see all the different animals that nature has to offer. We live in Florida though, so camping definitely has its season and lucky for us last weekend the beautiful fall weather hit and the temps were just right for us to pack up our camping gear and head out into the great outdoors. We were even able to take the kids on their first canoe trip down the Little Manatee River and they absolutely loved it!!

Here is our camping trip in pictures…..

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Do you like to camp? What are your camping traditions?

-Nicki

 

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Fall Fun

Our family loves the fall even though Florida isn’t exactly known for its fall weather. This past weekend we decided to kick off the fall season with a trip to the pumpkin patch and night out at our local fall festival. Here are some of the cutest pictures you will ever see (yes, I know, I am a little bias)…

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-Nicki

 

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Update on Life Inside Our Classroom

Here is a quick update of some of the things that have been going on inside our classroom while I have been MIA!

The boys learned the letter H by dotting the letter H with Happy Faces!

The boys learned the letter H by dotting the letter H with Happy Faces!

They learned about various animals and their habitats. This was Bubba's bee that lives in a bee hive.

They learned about various animals and their habitats. This was Bubba’s bee that lives in a bee hive.

Here is my fridge with pictures of all the animals they learned about!

Here is my fridge with pictures of all the animals they learned about!

The just started learnign about the letter N by gluing noodles on their N's.

The just started learning about the letter N by gluing noodles on their N’s.

Bug has been learning about Ancient times and used sugar cookie dough to make hieroglyphics and cuneiform writing samples.

Bug has been learning about Ancient times and used sugar cookie dough to make hieroglyphics and cuneiform writing samples.

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That is just a few of the things we have been up to! Stay tuned to find out what else we are learning:)

 

-Nicki

 

 

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Frog Dissection Day at the Florida Aquarium

Bug wants to be a veterinarian so she loves any classes that have to do with animals. She went to a squid dissection class at the Florida Aquarium last year and I thought for sure she would be incredibly grossed out, but to my surprise she loved it and was very doctor like with her scalpel in hand so when the aquarium offered up another dissection class I signed her up! This time it was a frog. Not your typical frog, but a huge American Bullfrog. The teacher was kind enough to allow the boys to stay and help to so we all got to participate in this one. Magoo, of course loved it but Bubba wasn’t a huge fan. However, he did touch it a time or two. It was quite an eye-opening experience into a side of my daughter I had never really seen. I didn’t get to sit in on the squid dissection. I just heard what the teachers told me, but actually getting to see the down and dirty side of Bug was nice. She wasn’t at all grossed out and when given the opportunity to explore the body above and beyond the actual dissection process she went all out exploring the stomach contents, the heart, and more. I will definitely be signing her up for some more of these types of classes!

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Nature Hike: The Charlotte Mason Way

I am a huge supporter of Charlotte Mason style learning and Charlotte Mason is a huge supporter of using nature hikes to engage your students in fun, hand on learning from the world in which they live. So we occasionally head out to the parks nearby to take a hike and explore the world around us. Last week we choose Circle B Bar Reserve as our hiking place of choice and boy am I glad we did!!! Check out all the learning opportunities that presented themselves while we were there!

A super cool caterpillar!

A super cool caterpillar!

A tree to climb.

A tree to climb.

A friendly grasshopper.

A friendly grasshopper.

A curious bird.

A curious bird.

A magnificent monster (alligator).

A magnificent monster (alligator).

A talented spider.

A talented spider.

A lake to relax by when little legs got tired.

A lake to relax by when little legs got tired.

A Blue Heron

A Blue Heron

A whole lot of turkeys!

A whole lot of turkeys!

 

-Nicki

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Our Columbus Day Celebration

In honor of Columbus Day, which was on October 14, we decided to have a Columbus Day celebration during our home school hours. We started out at breakfast with homemade Columbus Day pancakes. The kids LOVED these and they were super easy to make!

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Then we settled in to watch the movie 1492: Conquest to Paradise on Netflix. The movie was really long, but really good and definitely gave us some insight into the life of Christopher Columbus that we didn’t know. After the movie was over we went outside to have lunch and a Columbus day inspired snack or ice cream dyed blue to represent the ocean, whipped cream waves, and goldfish crackers.

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After snack time we busted out the arts and crafts to make these cute paintings of Christopher Columbus’ 3 Ships.

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The boys went down for a nap after this and Bug and I worked on making a Columbus Day Lapbook, which she enjoyed doing and asked if we could do more of these in the future!

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-Nicki

 

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Homeschooling Florida Style

Daddy has hit his slower season and it also happens to be his birthday month so to celebrate we took school to the beach for a couple of weekends in a row!! The first weekend we went with the grandparents to fish, watch football, eat out on their money and general just have a good time. The second weekend we went alone, but invited some close friends of ours down for the day to hang out.  Here are some pictures I took while we were there….

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And as you all know, I like to provide learning opportunities whenever possible so I made sure that I provided plenty of that while we were away playing. I printed beach themed crosswords, word searches, fill-in the blank worksheets, etc for the older kids and beach themed coloring sheets, pattern worksheets, etc for the little kids to do. We also printed a shell identification chart and identified shells that we found. We did various art projects too. This kids favorite was painting seashells with watercolors!!

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How do you turn your vacation into a learning opportunity???

-Nicki

 

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