Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby Chicks, Turkeys and Ducks!


Baby cornish cross chicks, turkeys, laying chicks and ducks. They have plenty of room, they're just all huddled together since I was taking pictures of them.


With the weather trying to get warmer, it's that time of year ~ BABY CHICKS!!!

Last year, we raised a few heritage breed turkeys and they were delicious! We decided to raise 20 Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys this year, yes, for meat. We also have 33 Cornish Cross chicks, for meat.

In addition to what we're raising for meat, we added 3 little Khaki Campbell ducks (for their eggs and because they're so cute) and laying hen chicks- 4 red-sex link, 2 Americaunas, 2 Brown Leghorns, so far. I'm picking up 2 Faverolles next week and possibly 4 Black Copper Marans- they lay the really dark chocolate colored eggs, with maybe a couple cross Maran/Americauna for olive egg layers.

While we've had issues with predation, especially with the laying hens, we've been extremely successful with raising poultry for meat. We really don't eat much pork, except for bacon. We do buy that from a local grocery store. We do the best we can with what we have. I would love to buy a pig from a local farmer this year (because we do like pork!), and a lamb. But for now, we have chickens and turkeys to raise. And our 3 little ducks!



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Outside Play

The weather is finally getting warmer, or at least, we're having warmer days here and there. It's time to get ready for outside play!

Eli has 2 tables- 1 water/sand and the other just sand. I've used the sand table for all kinds of things, I don't think I've ever had just sand in it, lol!! I've used cob litter (found in the rodent section of pet stores for bedding, makes a great sensory bin filler), Insta-Snow, Cloud Dough, and now dirt. We really don't have a place for him to just dig in the dirt. I have an extra bag of dirt, so I may just dump it out in the yard somewhere for him. But for now, he has a dirt table.


I also just noticed in the picture of the dirt table are the water shooters (at the top of the picture). I bought those at the Dollar Tree. Just add a 5 gallon bucket of water and let them go! Tons of fun with water play!

The other table is his water/sand table. This year, I found colored sand. He was so excited that it came in purple, his favorite color! In the water, I put Nixall to help keep it clean and for it to not get funky/slimy. 


Nixall

Nixall is Seriously Clean stuff!! It's the Anti EVERYTHING- bacteria, virus, and fungus. AND, it's NON-TOXIC, safe to drink!! They just received the EPA/FDA results that they even kill CRE! You know, the superbug invading hospitals that makes MERSA look like a mild cold. Yep, it kills that & MERSA by the way!


There's also loads of practical in home uses. Here are just a few:

Can be taken internally- great stuff to really kick illness, colds, flu, virual or bacteria based illness. We will put Nixall in a humidifier and put Eli in his play tent with the humidifier so he's breathing it in when he has allergies/cold/cough. We call it his "Nixall Tent"

Veggie and Fruit Spray to helps them last longer. We've had strawberries last for up to 2 weeks by spraying them with Nixall

Air Deoderizer- just spray. You can add Essential Oils too, if you wish

Preservative for Liquid Soap Nuts

Diaper Pails

Any type of Skin Rash, including Diaper Rash

Stinky Dogs- including ones who have been "skunked". Will take the skunk smell away within minuets

Smell of Smoke


The company has Veterinarian reports of using it successfully with Parvo, both in disinfecting facilities and treating infected dogs (giving it internally).

Wounds and burns, even sunburns.

Staph and MERSA- We have a friend who used it to successfully treat a staph infection she had in her eye.

Poison Ivy, Sumac, etc.

Black Mold- yes, the nasty stuff. Use Nixall full strength for this.

This is my MUST have for my home!

My Homeschooling A-Ha Moment

I really struggle with curriculum. What should we be doing? What should Eli be learning? Am I leaving something out? STRESS, STRESS, STRESS!!! My a-ha moment came when I realized several things:

1) I just LOVE the Montessori Materials
2) I resonate with the Waldorf Rhythm of Learning

I really struggled with what much of the Montessori style expected from such young children. I don't think a 4 or 5 year old needs to know the Latin for the Kingdoms of Life, for example. The Waldorf relaxed style fits for us much better and I use certain Montessori materials as units are introduced. 

I do like having an outline to help keep us focused. Here's the general outline for next year.

XX means we're off, or using this time to follow Eli's interests.

1 Aug 5XX
2- 12- OCEAN
13- 9
4- 26
5- Sept 2- FARM/ SPACE
6- 9
7- 16- APPLES
8- 23- XX
9- 30 FOREST/ ANIMALS AT NIGHT
10- Oct 7
11- 14-HUMAN BODY
12- 21-
13- 28 - PUMPKINS
14- Nov 4- ANIMALS IN WINTER-
15- 11
16- 18
17- 25XX
18- Dec 2- RAINFOREST
19- 9
20- 16- WINTER SOLSTICE
21- 23XX
22- 30XX
___________________________________________________________________________________________

23- Jan 6XX
24- 13- SNOW/ ARTIC
25- 20- ANIMAL TRACKS
26- 27
27- Feb 3 HUMAN BODY
28- 10
29- 17- DINOSAURS
30- 24
31- Mar 3 BIRDS
32- 10
33-17- WEATHER
34- 24
35- 31 XX
_________________________________________________________________________________________

36- Ap7- PLANTS/ GRASSLANDS
37- 14
38- 21- EARTH DAY
39- 28
40- May 5- INSECTS
41-12
42- 19
43- 26- POND
44- June 2
45- 9- SPACE
46- 16-
47- 23- XX
48- 30XX
49- July 7XX
50- 14XX
51- 21XX
52- 28XX

Eli is really loving learning how to read, so we will continue with BOB Books, Explore the Code, Pink Language Series. We will also be adding RightStart Math. 

I have lots of hands-on activities and Sensory Bins to go with most of these units, in addition to utilizing community resources. There's also plenty of space to explore any topic further if he wishes. I've recently been inspired by Unschooling and could very easily see us going that direction, especially if Eli starts to go that direction. But for now, we're doing what works for us.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

It's that time of year, EASTER and dying eggs! We have a leghorn in our backyard flock, so with a little bit of planning, we can have as many white eggs for dying as we want. With fresh eggs, I just can't bring myself to use the chemical based dyes. Each year, I experiment with food dyes and here's how this year turned out.






Here's what I did:

Gathered my foods and prepped them.

The bowls are 4 cup bowls.

Frozen Grape Concentrate/Blueberries- 1 can and approx. 2 cups
Red Cabbage- I peeled off the outer leaves, torn them into smaller pieces, then cut about 1/4 of the cabbage up
Yellow Onion skins- the papery part

Powders:
Spirulina, Beet Powder, Paprika, Turmeric


Instructions:
I read a variety of instructions which were somewhat similar. This is what I did:

For the food ones, I mixed them with 4 cups of water, brought to a boil and then simmered for about 20 min. This made too much dye. Next time I will use about 2 1/2 cups water. I then used a splash of vinegar (approx 1T). Strained and poured into a quart canning jar- wide mouth.

For the powders: I know that the turmeric needed to be boiled, but wasn't sure about the others, so I just boiled all of them. Approx. 1T powder per 1C water, with a splash of vinegar. I wanted to make sure they were dark enough, so the tablespoons were pretty heaping. 3T for about 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 min. Pour into a quart canning jar.

I hard "boiled" the eggs by putting them in the oven. I placed them in muffin tins, put them in the oven, turned it on and to 325 and cooked for about 25 min. They're supposed to taste better and be easier to peel. Once they were done, I put them into ice water (another trick for easier peeling). I'll find out tomorrow how they turned out.

Once the dye was cool, we colored the eggs. We used crayons to decorate them, then placed them in the dyes for about 40 min.




Blue- red cabbage- The dye looked purple but I trusted what I had read and they really did turn out blue!

Orange- Yellow Onion skins

The next row is a weird orange/copper/yellow color- I wasn't happy with the paprika, so we put those eggs into the orange and yellow- pretty cool colors! I really like the dark one.

Yellow- turmeric- AWESOME!

Purple grey - grape juice/blueberries

Pink purple- beets

The spirulina didn't turn out at all. In fact, I haven't found a green yet that I really like. But with colors like this, I don't really miss the green, too much.

~So, there you have it, our naturally dyed Easter eggs~

Monday, January 28, 2013

Win BIG with Montessori Print Shop

So, here's the final giveway for the Montessori Print Shop birthday bash- and it's BIG- a CD Deluxe Collection of all of their printables! WOW!! What a great addition this would be for our little homeschool!!

Here's the link if you would like to enter-

http://blog.montessoriprintshop.com/2013/01/25/mps-birthday-bash-day-9---montessori-print-shop-deluxe-cd-rom-collection.aspx

Good Luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Montessori Print Shop Giveaways!

We love Montessori Print Shop!! Quality materials, great price. They're doing giveaways to celebrate their birthday!!

Register for the Geography Bundle- for all 7 continents

http://blog.montessoriprintshop.com/2013/01/22/mps-birthday-bash-day-6---geography-bundles-for-7-continents.aspx

Register for the Pink, Blue and Green Language Series

http://blog.montessoriprintshop.com/2013/01/24/mps-birthday-bash-day-8---pink-blue-green-montessori-language-series.aspx

Register for your chance for winning either the Teaching Manuals or the Montessori at Home ebook

http://blog.montessoriprintshop.com/2013/01/23/mps-birthday-bash-day-7---primary-montessori-teaching-manuals-bundle.aspx

I'll update with more giveaways as they're posted!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Montessori Print Shop Birthday Bash Giveaways!!

My favorite on-line homeschooling resource is doing 9 days of giveaways!!! WOOHOO! Check out Montessori Print Shop blog for all of the details of how you can enter and hopefully WIN!!

Today's Giveaway- Animal Kingdom Bundle

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homeschool Year Overview

Sooooo, after much tweaking, I think I finally came up with an overview I'm happy with, at least for now! HERE is the word document. I left it in word so you can make notes/change/etc. to fit for your homeschooling. It's on Google Drive, so I hope I uploaded it to where you can have access. Also, I think if I make changes/additions on the document throughout the year, it will save there as well. At the beginning, you can see where I have added notes for the first few weeks. I will continue this throughout the year, I hope, lol!

We do year-round school, with a longer break in July and then in December, with shorter breaks throughout the year. I have 34 weeks for homeschooling. We also have some camps scheduled. Eli is 4 1/2, and is above basic preschool, but not quite up to Kindergarten level. I'm using this basic overview as a spiral, from last year (started using WFA last Spring) through the next year or two- each year going more in depth for Science and Social Studies. LA and Math will be more linear type learning.

Subjects and what we're using:

Language Arts: BOB Books, Before the Code, Montessori Pink Language Series
Math: Montessori at Home book until we can purchase RightStart Math
Science: Montessori at Home, Montessori Print Shop, Wee Folk Art, Missouri Conservation Department (our state conservation department has amazing resources, including K-12 curriculum!)
Social Studies: Little Passports and Montessori Print Shop for Continents Study
Practical Life Skills: Montessori at Home

Here are all of the links I've used for this year long overview, plus awesome resources I will use to supplement:

Wee Folk Art Homeschooling Guides- LOVES these guides! Abbreviated WFA and is the 1st- sometimes 2nd column. I think of this as our "circle time".

Montessori at Home Book- A must have for us. I've used these activities last year and will continue through this year- and probably next. A great guide for Practical Life Skills, Math, Science- there are additional subjects as well, but I've used it mostly for those. EXCELLENT!

Montessori Print Shop- reasonably priced, beautiful printable materials. Another must have!

Additional resources: 
KidsSoup.com- I have found it to be well worth the monthly membership. You can create folders to slide activities into for later use. Easy to use, easy to organize.

KidAdvance- one place where I have purchased homeschool supplies- love their puzzle cabinets- I have the Botany, Animal and Insect cabinets. I also purchased the sandpaper letters and numbers and colored beads for math.

Montessori-N-Such- another place where I purchased some materials- I really like their pouring/scooping/sorting sets. I also purchased the leaves puzzle which is just beautiful!

TeachPreschool.com- I love her ideas, and how she pulls lessons together. Great for ideas and lessons!

1+1+1=1 and Homeschoolcreations.com- They have excellent literature based printables. They have other things as well, including religious supplement for those wishing to incorporate that aspect into homeschooling. We don't, but I do love the rest of the materials they have! There are even Kindergarten add-ons for many of the packs.

Counting Coconuts- another great blog on pulling together lessons/themes/units. LOTS of inspiration here!

Living Montessori- another great site for inspiration and lesson plan ideas.

Montessori for Everyone- printables, much like Montessori Print Shop. For me, these seem to be geared more for the elementary ages, even though I have found some to use and I loved them! They also have great Scope and Sequence Comprehensive Lists.

The Helpful Garden- has great free printables covering all subjects- including a Scope and Sequence List.

I'm pretty laid back about homeschooling- we do about 30 min, sometimes 45 min., 3-4 times a week. I also add in play based learning throughout the day. I will admit that the TV is on way too much, even though it is PBS Kids, and Eli loves playing Angry Birds on the Kindle!

So, that's what our homeschooling looks like!