Monday, March 29, 2010

Molly The Owl And Food Chain Lesson

My family has been watching Molly the Barn Owl live since she laid her eggs. It has been fascinating to watch the eggs hatch, see her mate bring her food, watch her eat, and even cough up owl pellets. It's amazing how much we have learned. We can now distinguish her call which tells her babies it's time to eat from her call to her mate. A homeschool has even been developed in Yahoo groups since so many homeschoolers were watching her during the day.

So I've decided to put together some curriculum to go along with all we've been learning about owls. Today the girls and I are going to start a lesson on food chains. Since I have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader I'm going to try to aim this lesson at both of them.

First we are going to define producers, consumers, and decomposers in the food chain. I made up some flashcards here . Feel free to use mine or make your own. Next thing we are going to do is go through pictures of magazines and have the girls make a chart of each of these "characters" in the chain. My preschooler will love helping with the finding of pictures in the magazine and she can make her own collage.

Next we are going to discuss food chains and have the girls draw or use their pictures to put together a food chain. This website has wonderful information about food chains as well as some fun games the kids can play. I found another website that has word searches, crosswords, and card games dealing with the food chain for the older child.

I'll post pictures tomorrow of all our activities. I ordered owl pellets yesterday to dissect so tune in for that fun lesson soon!

*Correction on the worksheets I made. The definition for consumer and producers need to be switched. When we were editing and moving things around the definitions got switched I am so sorry!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sweet Alligator Cupcake Cake!

My Little One turns 3 next Friday, but we are having a little Kindermusik birthday party for her tomorrow. She picked out Diego party plates and decorations because she loves anything to do with animals. Next, her 10 year old sister Em, asked her to look through this:

This was a gift from her Aunt Kim because Em says she will have her own cake shop one day. Oh, and that cake shop will also serve sushi!

Anyway, Little One picked out the alligator cupcake cake. So today Em baked all the cupcakes and went about putting it together. I'd peak my head in every once in awhile to see how it was going and she had it all under control. Even let her sisters watch and help out a little. All this was done while I was busy trying to figure out a way to hook up my new wireless printer.

I think the cake looks awesome! And I can say that because I'm her mom, but I think others would say it too.

Soph helped with the flowers. Pretty, huh?

We had a little Ace of Cakes moment before the cake making commenced. How were we going to transport this to the party without destroying it? It was way too big to put on a cookie sheet or any pan I had with a cover. We debated about icing it and then assembling it at the party, but that seemed to0 last minute crazy. Luckily my printer box was lying around because it was just the right size.

The Styrofoam in the bottom will help keep it elevated so we can reach in and take it out. Now just keep your fingers crossed I don't hit any large potholes driving into town!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Resurrection Cookies

Last year we fled the almost always frigid Easter temperatures of the panhandle to WB's parents in Austin. We decided to try something new the night before Easter Sunday. Something a little bitter, but sweet too. We made Resurrection Cookies, and if you haven't made them you are in for a treat.

To be made the evening before Easter.

You need: 1c. whole pecans, 1 tsp. vinegar, 3 egg whites,
pinch salt, 1c. sugar, zipper baggie, wooden spoon, tape, Bible.

Preheat oven to 300 BEFORE BEGINNING.

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life.
Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.

Add 1 c. sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know this and how to belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt.27:65-66.

Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie
Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty! Read Matt. 28:1-9

We all had fun doing this, but more than that it was a wonderful way to spend Easter Eve. Gathering around as a family, reading from the bible the story of Jesus. Remembering the true reason for joyful celebration on Easter morning.
For more fun and frugal ways to make Easter more memorable head over to Keeping The Kingdom First!
Also, head over to Beauty and Bedlam for all sorts of wonderful cuisine at Tasty Tuesdays.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Preschool Counting With Daddy

Daddy is not home very often on school days, but when he is everyone gets excited. Well, the older girls are excited until Daddy asks them to memorize the periodic chart or explain Einsteins Theory of Relativity. Then they remind him they are 7 and 10 and are not studying that. In which hubby, WB, always responds with some remark about how age shouldn't hinder there learning and how they need to challenge their minds. And before I know it I have a mutiny on my hands. Okay, this does not always happen just sometimes.

So when he was off the other day I put him in charge of Little One. He immediately said to her, "Let's go count" and scooped up an armful of fruit. I gave him some peanuts and an empty egg carton. Later I peaked in on them and found them very busy in the guest bedroom.

They were working with the peanuts and egg carton.

Little One was busy placing the peanuts in the carton as she counted them. She was doing very well. I have to say WB was right there with her, no mention of periodic tables or Noble gases or anything of the such. And my two older girls were breathing a sigh of relief in the other room.
What are some of your favorite preschool counting activities?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WFMW- Live Owl Cam

We love watching the wildlife around here. We seem to have binoculars by every window just in case we spot a red-tailed hawk feeding or spot an owl sitting on the ridge behind our home. My girls keep a wildlife journal to document the comings and goings of all the animals around here. So for this Works For Me Wednesday I thought I'd share a neat website I found through a friend.

It is a live cam on a Barn Owl nest in the wild. Her eggs are due to hatch any day. My girls think it is neat that one day soon we will see little baby owlets and we might even be lucky enough to watch it hatch. I find myself fascinating my this act of nature myself. Just click here to go to the link.

My children are so much more aware of their surroundings due to their interest in nature. They've also learned some valuable life lessons watching the animal families around our home.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips head over to We Are That Family!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


There once was a strange lady who taught her three precious daughters at home
She walked around the house wide eyed with hair looking in need of a comb
"Oh my, my, what have I done?" she asked over and over with a desperate moan
Kids crying, paper flying, and laundry that looked like it was caught in a cyclone
But she knew that it took more than a day to build the City of Rome.

That is my very poetic limerick. The good thing about limericks, especially for me, is that they can be nonsensical and silly. The girls and I had fun today writing some limericks. We went over counting syllables and that lines 1,2, and 3 rhyme and have the same number of syllables and that lines 4,5 rhyme and have the same number of syllables.

I used a worksheet with Soph to help her write her poem.

Em branched out on her own and wrote one. When we were finished we put them on a shamrock to hang in our schoolroom.

Little One worked on coloring a shamrock while we wrote our poems. Then proceeded to put together a picnic lunch for us. Almost 3 year olds are very industrious and she earns her keep.

If you head over to my main blog you can help me finish a limerick for a chance to win a St.Patrick's Day basket the girls have put together.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Leprechauns, Rainbows, St. Patrick and A Winner

This week we are kicking off a unit study on Ireland in anticipation of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day. I have a special fondness for the Emerald Isle having spent some of my middle school years under the watchful eyes of Irish nuns. Em has red hair, therefore she believes she is closer to our Irish ancestors than our German ancestors. Soph's dance for her recital this year is an Irish Jig and Little One thinks Leprechauns are loose in our house. Needless to say we're getting into the spirit of things around here.

We have several books we are using to study this unit. Here are a few of them:
Soph is read the Magic Tree House Book Leprechaun in Late Winter and I got the research guide to go along with it.Em is reading through A Pot O' Gold to learn about Irish folklore.

We love this book by Tomie dePaola is a wonderful one for kids of all ages to learn about St. Patrick.

We'll be learning about shamrocks, limericks, and some Irish cooking as well. I'll share with you our projects and links to resources as we go along.

Now for the winner part. Last week I had a contest for SpellQuizzer, in which they offered to give one application away to one of my readers. Thanks everyone who stopped by and left a comment and those of you who are now following (you got two entries). I put the numbers in the random generator and the number was: 10

Which means the winner is Our Country Road! I just found her blog through the Homeschool Hop and love it. Make sure to stop by. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spelling Help and Give Away

My 7 year old, Soph, is a character. She has this incredible vocabulary when she speaks, always curious to learn the meaning of new words but not so excited to learn how to spell them. Spelling practice is always a chore, spelling tests are a real drag. Kicking, moaning, and screaming accompany spelling practice and occasionally Soph joins in with her mother's antics. Oh, I'm just kidding. But you get the idea.

But recently I was contacted by SpellQuizzer and asked if I would like to review their product. I jumped at the chance. It's a simple program that allows you download your own spelling words using audio onto your computer. If your computer doesn't have a microphone you can download a hint for each word. I do this for each word anyway that way we are learning vocabulary as well as spelling. Then the child types out the word and is told if they are correct or not. They have the choice to try to respell the ones they missed at the end of the quiz.
This software isn't just for homeschoolers, but they do have a page that targets homeschool specifically. And you can download and share lists with other homeschoolers if you would like.

We've done flashcards, games, etc. and that is all fine and dandy, but Soph really enjoys being on the computer and typing. So far she hasn't missed a day of spelling practice and there has been no moaning either.

Guess what? They are giving me one to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment in the comment section to enter. Tweet this on twitter, or blog about it, or post it on Facebook and come back each time and tell me for more chances to win.*I'm giving everyone an extra entry if they sign up to follow me as well!* I'll be drawing the winner on Monday, March 8th. Good luck.

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