Thursday, September 15, 2011

Change of Season

Yes!!! I got a little creative here on the farm and made this flower display I am finding it is working great for Fall too!!!!

We are in full swing of fall at the farm this year!  After much debate on preschool ideas we finally decided on a curriculum for our little ones.  Then there are the many extras LOL.  Example: "Bugs, and I were at Barnes and Noble and she found all these little kits for American Girl Dolls. "O Mom, look at these, I really want one"  I thought to myself yes I know one more thing to pull my children into this crazy idea of what is popular!!!! Ugggg!!! Then I took her over to the books and I told her you may get ONE, just one of these books.  Which happen to be an American Girl Doll Series book!!!! Well the rest is history as we came home with "KAYA" History for sure!!!! That evening we started to read before bed and finished with the 5th chapter.  The next morning here she came book in hand dragging in "Little L" to our bed ready for more.  I started thinking, maybe we could incorporate this into preschool along with our other curriculum.  Well a trip to the library, goodwill, and the dollar tree and we were set LOL.  We checked all the Kaya books out, then went to Kayas history, Nez Perce Indians, and the audio books.  Wow what a trip that has proven to be for our girls.  It was well worth it!!!

So this is what our week has looked like:
First we do a lot of hands on activities, because lets face it little people need to stay busy, so I do different things in the day to aid in this!!!! I took all of our beads and dropped in a bag of "LETTER BEADS" and read about Indian jewelry to the girls.  We talked about what beads Kaya would have worn and how to spell her name. Then I turned them loose, gave them each a tub and had them string their own bracelets.  They each made 3, and in the middle of one they spelled out the name KAYA, so they had to search among the beads for the right letters. 
I love how serious they both were!!!
This is serious business to "Bugs"
I love using cookie sheets to do projects on, this keeps the mess off my table cloth!!!  I found these wooden Indians at Hobby Lobby last year after Thanksgiving for .50, when we started this "KAYA" unit I dug into the Thanksgiving supplies what a wonderful surprise.

Then I went to one of my favorite blogs that I follow and printed off some of her nature cards!!! To go with our "Read, Build, and Write" Mats.  We use these a lot to go with different themes we may be doing at the time!!!  I like to use educational things that will fit more then one purpose.  "Bugs" is learning how to write and identify letters, while "Little L" just identify and that is fine for us!!!

We also use workbooks. Both girls enjoy there math books of preschool skills they are working on!!

Also we use many hands on items in our workbox system. Many times when "Bugs" and I are doing workbooks "Little L" is working on her workbox activities!!! It also gives her time to do things on her own with no big sister interference!!!
Plus there is always the fun painting and crafts!!!!! We are in the process of learning about tepees and fire so I had the girls paint on a piece of poster board which will later be a tepee and we painted the logs for our fire and the tissue paper which will make the flames!!!!
One of the things I did for fun this week was went to this link: 
and printed off the Kaya AMERICAN GIRL DOLL and friends paper dolls.  Then I laminated them and put them on to magnet sheets.  I will say this was a wonderful idea as the girl have played with them all week and they get to see the clothes and tools that were used in that time.  Plus they get to make up little stories and have hands on experiences of their own. I will be doing this again!  Even if my fridge and dishwasher have turned into Indian territory LOL. I found another use for cookie sheets !!!
I truly love these moments spent with our children.  There are sometimes that I questions all the little things that we do, the moments we take out of our lives to be MOM and DAD.  I ask myself as a mother to young children is this all worth it!!! But when I over hear our daughter talking to another little girl in the library and she is telling her all about KAYA and how she was a brave Indian!!! I think of my little Indians and the things they will face in this big world and realize this foundation which we are laying right now "It is important".  It is one of the most important things I will ever do, not just for my girls but for the generations to come!!! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gardening 101

SPRING SPRING SPRING!!!!!!! Daddy has started in the field and we officially have started our garden unit!!!!I am so excited as there is so much fun stuff we are going to be doing this Summer!!!! But first let me say we joined  Homeschool Village's garden challenge and we are super excited to share all our fun ideas and moments with everyone.

The Homeschool Village  Garden Challenge we figured this would be a great way for our children to help out with the garden and still be learning along the way!!!!!This is what they have written about the challenge!!!!
We are encouraging our community to garden by joining The HSV Garden Challenge! Even if you have one tomato plant on your back porch, herbs in your window sill, or acres for potatoes … share your plan, planting, cultivating, and harvest photos with us throughout the months of March, April, May & June — and you will be entered to win a $20 visa card to use at your local grocery store!
To participate:
Join us and share once per month March 31st, April 28st, May 26th, and June 30th – sharing your latest garden update.   Include: 1 current photo, progress, lessons/resources being used, and homeschooler’s reaction / involvement!
Find out more about the Garden Challenge at the Homeschool Village. They will be hosting a monthly link-up where everyone can share what they are doing, planning and progress on their gardens and/or containers.

That being said our 1st few days looked like this, we are doing a garden preschool unit that I put together by choosing free printables off of some favorite blogs!!!! Thank you to those exceptional moms that allow us to print and teach our little sprouts with the ideas that you have provided!!!!!  There are things like practice tracing cards, cutting, matching, vocab and much more.  We love them I print, laminate and they both use over and over all week long in their work boxes.  With units like this I try to put together baking time, science, and reading!!! So for the 1st week I went and pulled all our garden books out so they can look through and read as they want too.

We got our seeds started in the Dixie cups we planted squash, watermelon, cucumbers, etc.  These will be fast growing so it will be easy for the girls to watch!!!  I love activities like this as it allows the girls to work on listening and counting.  It also allows them to get dirty!!!!!  As many of you can see we planted a ton of melons and squash.  A close family friend shared with me the idea of FRIED Flower petals from pumpkins and squash!  So excited as not all these flowers will become a product.  LOL I'll post the how too, when the time comes!  Speaking of dirty we started preparing our garden.  We burned off the old  (which gave us a perfect time to talk about matches LOL and FIRE).  We then cleaned out the chicken coop and yes the girls were rt in there with me.  "Bugs" always says the nesting boxes are her job.  She loves putting the new mulch in, and "June Bug" fills the food and water containers!  We then placed this on the garden as fertilizer.  We are patiently waiting for everything to be tilled in so we can start planting!!!!!

Sunflower seeds, this is the first year we have done these!!! I think the girlz will love watching how tall they get!!!

Plus we have been taking very good care of our newest little chicks!  The girls just do not leave them alone!!!! But maybe this is why our chickens are sooo kid friendly LOL.  We have 50 more coming at the end of the month!!!!! Can you say EGG SALES!!!!  I love that my children can see that hard work pays off, the chicken lays the egg, they collect, we wash, and they sell!!!! LOVE IT!!!

We also had mulch delivered this week compliments of Daddy and Grammy.  We work and spread all over as the Lillies and Hosta are really up!!!  The girls and I then put our herbs in and mulched around them!!!! We even planted a bunch of Peonies that were given to us by a generous lady at a garage sale that was going to mow over them!!!! (Thank you to those who give to others) .  Our Ruhbarb is really getting big this year.  We should have a ton for rhubarb salsa Yum Yum!!!!!

Next Our FUN  News came today!!!! We have been looking for a praying mantis egg sack!!!! Now anyone that knows me realizes we do tadpole, catapillers, and much more but this is one we have never tried!!!! Plus what a wonderful way to keep the pest out of the garden!!!!! So THANKYOU to our Grandma, as she found the SCIENCE EXPLORATION part of our unit!!!! I love those small glass aquirums that u find for 5.00 at someones garage sale, they make a learning experience like no other!  The girls will be glued to the tank.  Soooo make sure you check back to see how the OBSERVATION goes!!!! Until then we will be waiting its arrivial!!!!

We also planted the window boxes around the patio!!!! The girls love to help and I was really amazed at how gently they are with the plants!!!! They do so well.  It gives us a great view out the kitchen window, expecially since I hate to do dishes LOL maybe this will help!!!

June Bug loves to water, this was a nice project for her!!!
Bugs Did her own planting and really did a wonderful job!!!

What a fun week!!! To conclude we are doing a mothers day craft!!!! And hopefully finishing up some pictures!!! Hope everyone is enjoying spring!!!God Bless you all during the planting season!!!


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine appreciation of "No Words"

When "Cowboy" and I were married, my NANA sent me a newspaper clipping for our 1st Valentines day! This is what it said:
 "Lasting Love What keeps Couples Together? ,"  Pearson referred to the Velveteen Rabbit.
 "It doesn't happen all at once," stated the Skin Horse, a character in the book as he told the Velveteen Rabbit about becoming Real. "You become. It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept."  "Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you gets loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand," the skin horse added.

I have found this to be used as a metaphor for many things in life LOVE and GOD are just a few!!!!

We were very busy at our house today!!!! Little screams and giggels flowed in the air all day as our day was full of Valentines fun!!!!  We made Red velvet cake for a few family members and for "COWBOY"!!!!!

"June Bug"  hmmm think I can get my fingers in there before she notices!!!

Hope my sister doesn't come in here, she will take my job away!!!

Then the best part!!!  Last year I made a fruit basket for the bible study group I am in, it was so much fun and the girlz had helped me!!!  I had forgotten all about it until "Bugs" asked if we were going to make those yummy STARBABBIES  again!!!!  LOL. I remember how we had chocolate everywhere and so had she!!!!  So this year I picked up the berries and our tradition has made it to another year!!!

Smells like summer!!!
"Its just one mom, please can I have it!"
I had the girls dip the berries into melted chocolate and they loved it!!! Wow next year I will remember to get 3 containers of berries as we ate half of them before we even started!!!
Can we all say Sugar!!!!

A little of this
And a little of that!!!

And Wow....Happy Day to Daddy!!!

We even had  some left over cake batter so I put some Oreo's in the bottom of the cupcake holders and dumped it in!!!! At one point in time I could not find out what had happened to the Oreo's I placed in the cups....hmmmmm.....Ooooo I see now!!!!

 That is where they went!!!! hmmm and only the icing is gone!!!!  I then let the girls ice the cupcakes and lick the spoons!!!!  We had such fun this afternoon!!!!

 I am so thankful for those sticky fingers, frosting faces, and sugary screams and giggles!!!! LORD I love the life I have, maybe I don't like the way it goes some days but I always love it!!!

One Last Moment!!!
 What a wonderful Valentines Day!!! First let me set the scene!! We (Cowboy and I) do not do much for Valentines day, we never have.  Sometimes a night spent in the kitchen or a dinner out, but we keep it simple.  I am not one that wishes for roses that will die, or a big piece of jewelry just because its February 14th. It just is not us!!!  In fact the "Cowboy" is a simple man!!! A glance may give you the idea he is quite, possibly stuck up, or that he chooses to not be bothered!!! Then there is the glance that the people who really know him see, his children and I see!!!  The large hands filled with calis's, tanned by the sun, fine lines stained by Gods soil on his palms!!! The man who is always thinking!!! A man who provides for his family the same way generations before him have, an old soul, this would be my "Cowboy"  A cowboy that gets down on all fours and peels the giggles out of our 2 little girls!  "Cowboy" has taught me that some feeling are not worthy of words!!

Last evening  while I was busy thinking of the things to do with  "Bugs" and "June Bug" today, "Cowboy" told me he was sorry but he had not been anywhere to pick up anything for Valentines day, in fact his exact words were "I JUST HAVEN'T HAD TIME"  which to any woman means, I just didn't make time!!! This is pretty normal around our house!!! Cowboy and I do not make much time for each other.  It seems like between the crops, kids, and cows there just is so little left!!!! I am not very good about this any better then him!!! I have poured my heart and soul into our family.  Our children do not lack for my attention, I have a huge garden, I love to bake, so there does not seem to be much left for him either!  That being said I gave a "WHATEVER" face and carried on my way!!!!

This morning when I came down the stairs to start my STRONG coffee, this is what I found!!!

WOW I thought not because of the gift bag for me and the girlz, but because of the fact he remembered!!!! He didn't just remember the day he nailed it!!!! What a neat bag to take to the farmers market for my weekly trip to pick up honey with my mother in law, or for a field lunch during  planting.  I picked it up unopened and sat it in our office where it will sit until he comes home and we can celebrate together as a family!!!  But to "Cowboy" I say you are right,"some feeling are not worthy of words!!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

REAL facts of life!!!!

Before I post of this weeks fun, I need to jump back to a few weeks ago!!!!  Our girls spent the summer raising, showing and loving a show pig!!!! This being said, Bindi the show pig was A/I and the days passed as we waited for babies!!!!
I thought WOW what a great way to learn and have hands on fun at the same time!  So I searched the internet and found a lapbook on PIGS.  I love this idea of LAPBOOKS it is a great way to learn.  So off to do a little research and I printed off pages for coloring, cutting, and gluing.  I also put together some vocab.  We learned words like sow, litter, piglets, boar, crops, grain, pork, leather, and crate.  We placed all these things in a simple spiral notebook to be added to over the year with different activities!   As the week of delivery came we counted down the days on the calendar, we read books about pigs from the library, and did pig crafts!  

I found that this notebook idea has worked out really well.  Each one of my girls has one for nature/science and then another one for reading books.  This way I can keep all of their activities together and they can show off there books to family members when they come over! I allow the girls to cut and past and color pages.  Now I DO help with some cutting and I supervised glue as I would have everything glue to the dinning room table if I didn't! LOL.......

Bugs is learning how to cut on her own!  She loves proving to me that she CAN cut the smallest pieces!!!!

Also she loves to color, she is trying to hold her markers like she does a pencil but it is still confusing. 

Coloring is "Butter Beans" specialty, she loves cutting too, she tries so hard to keep up with "Bugs"

Now when I say we help I mean we help!!!! My husband and I have always been the type to push work ethics and its amazing the lessons that come with them! Sometimes the things not planed are the best lessons.  

Like, scooping poop!!!! Bugs, learned the lessons of scooping poop this summer, "life is full of it so you better start now."  Then theres the bucket, June Bug helps with feeding and loves to do so!!!!


The hands on experience,  one of the other sows had babies and WOW we were excited, this made the wait for BINDI'S babies that much more important!!! But for the time being we would help with REBA'S babies.  We learned that pigs do to have belly buttons, eyes, noses and most important they poop!!!!

Now I am a practical mom, some think there are things children should not now about and at "OUR" house we go with the keep it simple but tell the truth!!!! Children have the greatest questions!!!! There are times I have to hit the PAUSE but and say hmmmm "Girls let me get back to you on that one"!!!!!  This week one of the largest questions that came with the pigs was "Mama how do they eat, and how do they know where to go?"  Well let me say this was our visual.......

O my I thought, well how am I going to relate this to a child but be honest!!!! So my explanation!!!! "Girls, God was all knowing and such a good designer, that when he made mommies he made them with built in baby bottles!!!!"  "These bottles have there own nipples and each little pig will have its own."  "This is how they will eat and be nourished by their mom."  They simply looked at me and said "Wow Mom that is cool" and I exhaled!!!!!
My husband bent over the crate and explained that we will know when Bindi is close to having pigs because milk will come out of her nipples, then he squeezed one.  Later as we were getting ready to leave we caught our girls checking to see if the time had come.

I just laughed to myself as I looked at my husband and said "This is better then any classroom."  Wow what a teacher he is!!!!!  Later that night when I was making dinner and the girlz were in their pjs, I could hear them playing in the other room.  I knew they were building something as I could hear them giving orders back and forth and planning.  Later when I stepped in to see, there in the corner of our dinning room was a home made crate!  The pillows to my favorite chair, a laundry basket and a table chair.  But what was funny was the large stuff animal (yellow lab) laying on its side with all of these little stuffed pets laying right beside it as if they were nursing.  I just laughed and walked back to the kitchen.  I thought to myself "We really learned something today LOL!!!"
This lesson turned out to be more than I had signed on for, as our Bindi did have babies!!!  She had 6 babies and then we lost her!!! Now on the farm this is a way of life!!!!! In life this is what happens!!!! But to a child who has built a relationship with this animal and taken care of it, I must say our girlz were very torn!!!! We knew ahead of time that this was going to happen so I had a few hours to prepare the girlz.  I told them that sometimes things just happen.  There are things that I cant explain, I believe it is important that they realize mommy and daddy do not have all the answers!  When the morning came and we found Bindi the girls were with me, I felt so bad!!! But then there were the babies!!!! I had to get them off of Bindi and onto another sow!!! I took 3 and moved them, all was going well until I went to reach for numbers 4 and 5.  I couldn't reach them!!!! I stopped and thought and then it happened.  You, know one of those moments in life when you realize you are doing your job, you are being a great parent, and let me tell you those are ahhh moments in our house!!! Bugs, looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said "Mom I can get those babies."  "I said no honey I don't want you to see Bindi like this!"  She continued "But Mom you said the best thing we could do for Bindi now is to save her babies and thats what God would want us to do!"  Wow I hate it when my own words are used against me.............I just exhaled..............and then I realized she was right. I have to let her learn! I let her climb in there and hand me the babies one by one!!!!  We placed the babies in the new crate. All three of us watched as the babies began nursing off their new mom!!!! It was so peaceful in the that little shed, no sounds, all you could hear were the babies nursing and as I looked down at our girlz I looked into "Bugs" eyes and she nodded and smiled as the tears rain down her face!!! She had lost a friend her and "JuneBug", but she had also understood when I told her what God would wanted us to do!!!!

Driving home that afternoon I realized we were doing OK. Sure we have our fits, tantrums, but when the chips were down our girls were great and for that I praised God!!!! 
Some of the greatest lessons were not planned but painfully this week!!!! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The life of a toddler in our home!!!

We have so many family members and friends that live far away and I am sorry to say I am not very good at keeping in touch with you!  This is an attemp to allow you into our little piece of the world.  Thank you for all you do for our family and the impact you have made in our lives may we impact others as you have us!  God Bless!
After much thought and discussion we decided to start preschool for "Bugs" in our home last fall!  After starting I realized "Butter bean" is going to be right in there with us!!!! They absolutely LOVED the idea and I am amazed every day at how well they do and thrive for more!!!! 
That being said, I am sooooo excited for this week!  We are doing a "LETTER OF THE WEEK PROGRAM", this week we will be learning letters "D" and "N".  I do everything off the work box system, which allows them to be able to explore and work through boxes themselves at their own pace.  I thought they would be to little but they do each box filled with hands on activities everyday.  I change them out once a week to go along with our theme.  I also add laminated pages of letter tracing, color sorting, bible verse tapeline, counting cards, discovery items, etc.  I also found a great blog that had a FREE preschool packet title doctors and nurses, I am incorporating that in our theme this week!  Yesterday my husband and I took inventory in our home and collected anything that could be placed into a discovery corner.  We found q-tips, band-aids, cotton balls, stuffed animals, ace bandages, painting masks, shower caps, toy doctor set from play room, and stethoscope.  This is a discovery area which they will play in for the next week.  I will add something new to it daily.  The best part is, this item does not have to be fancy or expensive for example, I printed x-rays off the internet of broken bones and laminated them.  I will add these one day.  I have a mini microscope, a little bear and puppy that cries and moves, etc.  Small items that were just laying around being put to good use!  One trip to the local library and I have a basket of children books that go with our theme for reading time. Along with this we fit in "Messy Mondays" (Kids kitchen activity),  Weird Wednesday (Science experiment) and Free Friday (Catch up on projects not finished, go on field trip, fun time or family night to celebrate the weeks goals).  Follow along as I guide you in the path our preschoolers take in our home!!!!  It may amaze you, but mostly it should making you laugh as these are moments in our life that take our breath away!!!