Thursday, September 4, 2014

Magical Mask Making

We had the best time this week making a plaster mask which was something I hadn't even done before! It was such an easy process and something I don't think I would have thought to do had it not been for our super creative Oak Meadow curriculum nudging us along!  Here is how you can make it at home:

What you will need:

  • Plaster cloth wrap.  We found ours at Hobby Lobby for 8.99 with a 40% off coupon and we had enough left over to make at least 10 more masks.  Well worth the money! 
  • Vaseline
  • Paint, feathers, gems, anything your little one might like to decorate their mask with once it is dry.
  • Hot glue gun 

Here is how you make it:

Tightly pull back all hair and liberally apply vaseline to the entire face taking extra care around the hairline and eyebrows.  This prevents the plaster from sticking to the child's face once it has hardened (we had absolutely no issues getting it off).

Cut your plaster cloth into strips of various sizes.  I found that it was easier to cut them as we went along.  Dip your cloth into a warm bowl of water and place on your child's face.  

Cover your child's entire face except for their eyes (in some cases nose) and mouth.  Allow the mask to sit for about 15 minutes so that it hardens.  You will be able to feel the mask and tell when it is about done.  At that point tell your child to make funny faces and with a little tug,  the mask will pop right off.

The inside of our mask was not entirely dry so we placed it in the toaster oven on "warm" for about a twenty minutes.  

Now is the fun part!  Time to decorate!! 

AG began decorating by painting her entire mask with acrylic paints.  After the paint had dried,  she instructed me as to where she wanted her gems and feathers and I hot glued them onto the mask for her.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Story Problems Using the Four Processes

The above picture may suggest that I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, but in reality this is a fun activity that we have been using to help AG become more comfortable with the four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) in preparation for her upcoming studies of her times tables.  Eeep!   We have spent a lot of time this week solving story-problems with the help of these four little creatures and twelve colorful acorns and it really has been such a fun way to work through dozens of math problems without any complaints of boredom! Here is an example of a story-problem that we used to practice the four processes. 

Our Characters:

 Baby Monkey 

Baby Monkey loves to take walks through the forest and spends most of his time gathering acorns. Today on his walk he found six acorns in the morning, three acorns in the afternoon and three more acorns right before dark.  Baby Monkey put all of his acorns in his basket and took them home to show his Mom.  How many acorns did Baby Monkey have in his basket? 

Yesterday Baby Monkey only found six acorns on his walk.  How many more acorns did Baby Monkey find today on his walk than he did yesterday? 

That night when Baby Monkey came home from his walk in the forest, he showed his Mom the twelve acorns that were in his basket.  She was very impressed with his basket full of acorns and told him that if he wanted, he could invite a friend over in the morning to help him paint them but first, he had to divide his acorns into two separate piles.  One pile for him and one pile for his friend.  Baby monkey sat down at the kitchen table and divided his twelve acorns into two equal piles.  How many acorns did each pile have in it? 

The next morning Baby Monkey could not wait for his friend Dino to arrive so that they could begin paining their acorns!  He had separated the acorns into two equal piles of six so imagine his surprise when Dino brought their friend Goldie!  Baby Monkey needed to act quickly and divide the acorns into three equal piles!  After Baby Monkey is all done dividing the acorns into three equal piles, how many acorns are in each friend pile? 

Dino, Baby Monkey, and Goldie spent all day painting their acorns and when they were finished, knew that their artwork was far too beautiful to put back into the basket.  So they decided that they would tie a small string around the top of their acorns and hang them from a branch that they had found in the backyard.  At that moment, Mare game galloping up and asked if she could help them with their project.  The friends decided it would be much quicker with another helper and decided they would each give Mare one of their acorns.  If each friend had four acorns and they each gave one to Mare, how many acorns does each friend have? 

The friends each took a turn hanging their acorns from the branch.  Dino was first hanging his three. Goldie was next and hung her three acorns.  Next, Mare hung her three acorns from the branch. Baby Monkey began walking towards the branch to hang his three acorns when suddenly he tripped causing him to drop his three acorns into the mud.  His friends quickly helped him up and picked his acorns up out of the mud,  but they needed to be rinsed off before they could be hung up with the rest. If baby monkey didn't hang up his three acorns, but the others hung up three a piece, how many acorns are hanging on the branch? 

The three friends helped Baby Monkey rinse off his three acorns and offered to each hang one up for him.  How many acorns did each friend hang on the branch?

Now that the acorns were hung beautifully from the branch, the four friends took a step back and admired all of the beautiful acorns that they had carefully painted all of the colors of the rainbow!  

Baby Monkey couldn't wait until he could paint acorns again with his three friends!  He told his three friends that he was going to search every day until he found three acorns for each of them.  If he found three acorns per day, how many days would he need to search for acorns?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Travel Tangram in a Tin

This week in our Oak Meadow second grade curriculum, we learned about a Tangrams, a seven piece square that can be rearranged into thousands of shapes!  We had so much fun with the Tangram that was provided to us in our Oak Meadow curriculum that we decided to make our own teeny tiny Tangram to take with us in the car! Here's how you can make yours at home.

What you will need:

  • The following printables.  Please know that I resized many before printing and they may need to be resized on your end as well in order to fit the box you are using.  

1. "Tangram Puzzle" Printable 
2. Tangram Printable
3. Tangram Diagram Printable

  • An empty Altoids tin 
  • A sheet of magnetic contact paper (can be found at Walmart, made by Avery)
  • Mod Podge 
  • Hobby knife

Peel the backing off of the magnetic paper 

Stick the Tangram printable to the back of the magnetic sheet and trim the sides.  

Carefully cut along the edges of the shapes within the Tangram. 

I found that you don't have to cut all of the way through the magnet.  Just a light knick and the magnet will bend and snap.  

Brush the inside bottom of the tin with Mod Podge and stick the diagram printable to the bottom.  Apply another coat of Mod Podge over the top of the diagram printable to.

Brush the top of the tin with Mod Podge and lay the "Tangram Puzzle" printable on top.  Apply another coat of Mod Podge over the top to seal. 

When the Mod Podge has dried, your Travel Tangram is ready to use!  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Word Families / Onset and Rime Paint Chip Sliders

Now that we are homeschooling, I try to do everything possible to find exciting ways to teach the kids things that might normally be kind of a bore.  This week AG is reviewing her Oak Meadow word families from the first grade curriculum, so I decided to make some fun (and colorful) sliders for her to review with.  

What you will need:
  • Paint chips found at any store that sells paint.  You will need large chips displaying only one color and the long strips that display multiple colors.  The large chips will be for the "onsets" and the long strip will be for the "rimes."
  • A large square paper puncher or you can do what I did and make a template and cut the squares using a hobby knife.  
  • A black permanent marker. 

There really isn't a whole lot to this DIY project.  All you really need to do is make sure that you have a square cut large enough on your "onset" paint chip to display your "rime" paint chip.   Decide how big your hole needs to be, cut or punch (again, I cut by making a template from one of the "rime" chips), and write your onset and rimes accordingly!

For the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, you will need the following twenty-one word families:

  • ad
  • ag
  • an
  • ap
  • ar
  • at
  • aw
  • ay
  • ed
  • et
  • id
  • ig
  • ill
  • in 
  • ip
  • it 
  • go
  • ot
  • ow
  • ug
  • ut

I copied the pages out of the Oak Meadow "Word Families" book so that AG could use the sliders side by side with the story.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tiny Blue Surpise!

Last fall we had a broody hen who decided that she was going to sit on a pile of eggs. We accidentally ended up with an EE Roo and we thought it would be fun to let the hen hatch them out and see what we ended up with (I'm sure this is against chicken breeding protocol, but hey.....). Two of the chicks that hatched grew up to be unusually small and had many characteristics of our Seramas.  Yesterday it was confirmed when I discovered a tiny blue egg in the egg box!!! The EESerama egg is on the left and puts my EE blue egg to shame!! What a gem! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Low-Cal Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Batter Shake

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
4 tablespoons of Truvia 
1/4 cup of pumpkin purée
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Splash of caramel extract (optional)
1/2 ice 

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender and enjoy! 

This shake has approximately 150 calories......for the ENTIRE shake! Very low sugar, no guilt here! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Farmhouse 38 "Hello Spring Giveaway"

Kate, over at Farmhouse 38 is hosting a pretty awesome Spring giveaway!  Enter HERE for your chance to win these awesome goodies:

  • 6 Month Seeds of the Month Subscription 
  • A Sampler Pack of Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea 
  • A Copy of "Vertical Vegetable Gardening"
  • A Hand-Painted Reclaimed Steel Message Board 
  • Garden Themed Magnets 
  • William Sonoma Seed Packs 
  • Garden Gnome and Garden Gloves from Threshold Target 
  • William Sonoma Copper Garden Tools 
  • William Sonoma Egg Gathering Baskey 

Giveaway ends Wedensday, April 9th at Midnight! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thinning Out Tomato Seedlings

Even though winter won't completely loosen its grip on us in the Midwest, Spring is in the air!  I have somewhat of a schedule that I follow every year when it comes to starting my seeds, and this year has been a little different. Sprouting seeds requires a little warmer temperature then I am able to provide out in my greenhouse, so I typically start them off inside in a mini greenhouse setup that I have by a south facing window.  Once the seeds have germinated, I usually wait until the seedlings get their second set of leaves before moving them out into the greenhouse.  This year however has been a little challenging.  The lack of sunlight inside has been causing some of my plants to become leggy.  Fortunately it is very difficult to kill a tomato plant so I have been putting my seedlings out in the greenhouse under the grow lights a little sooner than I normally would and they have been doing fine.    The joys of gardening... 

I decided to snap a few pictures as I relocated one of the tomato flats and my thinning process in hopes it may help someone out.

Tomato seedlings that need to be separated. 

With a bbq skewer, lightly lift up from the bottom to loosen the cell a little. 

Make a new hole for you relocated tomato seedling.

When handling tomato seedlings, do so by the first set of leaves to grow.
The plant will eventually lose these anyways. 

Place tomato seedling into its own cell. 

Lightly fill in the hole with your mix. 

Water in the tomato seedlings to ensure the growing mix fills in around
the roots.

Do not let your tomato plants get to large of a root ball.  Try to be a step
ahead and replant into larger containers or outside before
they completely fill out the containers they are in.

Let me know how your seedling are doing this year or if you had to make any changes due to the weather.  If you have any questions, feel free to also post those below in the comment section and someone will help you out.

Cheers! ~ Kevin

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