38 weeks pregnant

Author: Michele /

I know this is usually a blog about our homeschooling journey, but these days it has been so hot here and I am so tired, we haven't done much. Mostly we have been reading, and coloring and singing the ABC song. I am counting down the days until this little one makes her appearance. Last night, or this morning rather, I woke up at about 5 with contractions. I was up with them for a couple of hours, and figured this had to be it, then I dozed off and slept until 9. When I got up, the contractions started again, mostly in my back, and they have been intermittant all morning. But, they aren't getting closer together and they aren't getting stronger (at least not yet). I am glad I didn't call Jason in the middle of the night and tell him I was in labor.

Luckily, he will be home from his class this afternoon sometime. It has been a rough couple of days here, due to some issues with family that I will not go into at this point. But as I sit here and type this, I am getting phone calls from an unknown number and so am pretty sure the family in question is up to some new tricks this morning.

I am just praying this baby gets here soon! I am so worn out and not sleeping well. But I will keep everyone who needs to know posted, and be patient with my homeschooling hiatus. I don't know why I was thinking we could manage a whole curriculum this summer. I must have been out of my mind.

Pretzel Fish

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

Pretzel Fish

2 C warm water
1 T yeast
1 t sugar
4 C flour
1 T table salt
2 T baking soda
1 T sea salt

In large bowl combine 1 1/2 C. warm water, sugar and yeast. When yeast is bubbly, add table salt and flour (1/2 c. at a time- more flour may be needed). When stiff dough is formed (similar to bread dough), place ball of dough in bowl and let rise until doubled. When dough is doubled, punch down. Pull off golf ball sized pieces and shape into long thin ropes. Twist ropes into fish shapes. Mix last 1/2 c. water with baking soda. Dip fish shaped dough into the water and place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt (or other topping of your choice) and bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Ocean Poetry

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

I apologize for the lack of postings lately. It has been sweltering here, and i have not had the energy for much. I did make Elizabeth a set of magnetic poetry. I looked online for a word list, where someone else had made a set for their own kids. However, much to my suprise the only ones I could find were overpriced commercial sets. I bought some magnetic strips at Wal-Mart (88 cents for 15 strips.) I stuck them to a piece of paper and wrote several copies of each word running from and, the and of to octopus, flashy, fish, seahorse. I covered the strips with tape and cut them apart. Elizabeth can then play with it to make sentances or poetry on a cookie sheet. I spent less that 5 dollars, (closer to three I think) on a set of magnetic poetry that would have run me closer to 15 had I bought it retail. :)

bunk beds

Author: Michele /

Well, we spent yesterday repainting the girls' bedroom and assembling and repainting some bunk beds we got used from a friend of a friend. The kids were super excited to get their bunk beds finally, and although it took us almost 9 hours, we feel like it was a job well done. I cleaned their room again and repainted the walls off-white (which they badly needed) and made the trim and the beds a powdery blue (which Rachel loved since it matched her shirt lol). Anyway, just wanted to share. :)

Ocean Floor

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , ,

Elizabeth and I made a drawing of a diagram of what the ocean floor looks like. I had found the detailed instructions to draw one (let me know if you need the directions) and then she and I painted it with tempera paint. The next morning, we added labels such as continental shelf, shoreline, plain and trench. (The goal for me is not that the girls memorize all these features, but that they are introduced to them and introduced to the idea that the ocean floor is not a flat surface. Eventually I am sure we will come back to oceans and I want the seeds of knowledge to be there.)

SAND MODELING DOUGH: (textured play doh!)

1 cup sand

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon Alum

3/4 cup hot water

food coloring if desired

Mix sand, cornstarch and Alum in bowl. Add hot water and stir vigorously. Add food coloring if desired. Cook over medium heat until thick. Let dough cool. Mold into desired shapes and let dry in the sun for several days. Store any leftover dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Then we used this recipe to make sand modeling dough to make our own ocean floors. I will get some pictures up of the finished product, but they are still drying. The directions for the floors says to have the children make diagrams of the ocean floor and label the features. We did not go quite that far (especially as the activitiy is for 2nd graders). But the girls had a wonderful time creating sea features for their ocean floor like coral beds, tunnels, starfish etc.

It always amazes me how much kids can rise up to the expectation set for them.

Texture Bags

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

While I wait for the sand dough to cool so we can make our models of the ocean floor, I thought I would post on here about some texture bags I made for the girls last night. Julia (my two year old) hardly gets as much fun school stuff in the form of games as the other girls, but she loves this. I took a very sturdy zip-loc bag and added hair gel to it. Then I took a handful of shells and wooden beads that I bought at Wal-Mart and dropped them into the gel. I sealed the bag, folding down the top and taping it. She then can squish the beads and shells around, as well as play with the gooey hait gel.

Rachel wanted a bag too, but since I was out of hair gel, I made an adaptation of it for her. I took some tempra paint and squirted it in a zip-loc bag. I then took a magic marker and wrote her name on the outside. After sealing and taping the top of the bag, I turned it over to her. She can trace the letters in her name, while playing with the squishy paint, and has a "big-girl" texture bag. Both were great hits!

Necessity is Truly the Mother of Invention

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , ,

Again, the pic is not of our experiement, but I wanted to share it with the friends and family who browse this blog.

Yesterday marked the first "official" day of our summer schooling program, although we had been doing work before then. We did the funnest experiment. Part of what we are doing prior to actually starting our first lesson on the coral reef, is learning about the ocean itself. We have learned the names of the oceans and where they are on a map (although memorization will be an ongoing proces. We are also learning what makes the ocean different from other bodies of water, both in terms of the salinity of the water and in the formations beneath. Tomorrow we will be looking at a diagram of a cut-away of the ocean floor (which I will be drawing today) and then making our own models, so I will get pics up of that. Yesterday however, we talked about the heaviness of the salt in the water, and how it makes the water sink compared to tap water.

I had found an experiment online and as the directions weren't very good, couldn't get it to work. Bless my husband, who sat there until he found an experiment online that did work, then tested it to make sure we could recreate it, then helped corral kids while we actually did it.

Luckily, I had an old water testing kit my mother had given me for aquariums that had small glass tubes. They worked perfectly. Here are a fairly concise set of directions. I hope you have as much fun with this as we did!

Take three small containers of water (100ml). Add food coloring of contrasting shades to each container. We made two of ours too close in color and it was harder to see the end result. Then add 1/2t salt to one of them and 1t of salt to the other. The third leave unsalted. With a dropper, squeeze half a dropper of water out along the edge of the tube, so it runs down the inside of the tube into the bottom. This will prevent the force of the water from mixing the colors.

First add the saltiest water. Next add the next saltiest water. Finally, put the plain water on top. What you should end up with are striped bands of colored water. Just to show what happens if you change things up a bit, make another tube, this time with the plain water on bottom, followed by the less salty and then the saltiest water. Discuss what happens and why. Why does the first tube stay banded and the second tube mix?

My kids thought this was akin to a magic trick and we did it probably 6-8 times. Then they had a great time shaking the tubes when we were done to mix the colors. This is a great chance to review color mixing too. :) Hope you have as much fun as we did.