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Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Crafts

These are from last year, when I watched the kiddos everyday after school. I never got around to posting them so here they are...finally.

I cut out paper trees with my Cricut and hole punched them. I laid them down on contact paper and let the kids put little pieces of tissue paper over the holes. Once they were done, I cover the back with contact paper and trimmed the edges.

I painted the sticks red and glued them into a triangle. I put down glue dots and the kids put cotton balls on them.

I put metal cookie cutters on some parchment paper. I put an unfolded paper clip under the top of the cookie cutter. The kids filled them with pony beads. I baked them on a low temperature and watched them to see when they melted. I pulled them out and let cool.

I cut up used Christmas cards, so that the words were gone. I gave the kids glue,  funny scissors, and lots of paper and markers. 

They made lots of Christmas cards.

This one was a fail :( We melted peppermints in the metal cookie cutters the same way we did the beads. The problem was that I used cooking spray so the edges turned brown.


I had a gingerbread man kit. I let each kid have a foam man and some glitter glue.

We had a multi-stage project. Day one we painted. I glued. Then the next day the kids used glue dots to make them into reindeer. Amelia's had to have a bow like her because it was a girl. 

I painted and glued the trees. Using glue dots and gems they decorated them. (FYI I LOVE glue dots. They make these kinds of crafts so simple and easy to clean up)

Bo requested that we make more cards, so of course we did.

I think he made one for everybody he knew.

Bo made paper snow flakes one afternoon, while Amelia was sleeping.


Of course once you make ornaments they much be hung on the tree...and moved daily.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Farmer Boy Plans, Instructions, and Resources




My favorite book series growing up was the Little House books. I decided I wanted to introduce Bo (6) to the books, even though some of the stuff was over his head. Through discussions, videos, and activities I was able to make the books understandable. I used the Prairie Primer as my starting point. I looked through and picked out the fun activities and topics I wanted to cover. I reread each book and took notes of topics and possible activity ideas for each chapter. I also scoured Pinterest and the internet for more ideas. I came up with quite a few. I picked two books to cover this summer. I made up a schedule for each week. Then I started collecting other resources.

I found videos covering some of the topics, to be discussed in the interactive folder, and songs from the book. On the schedule, the red font indicates that I have video for that item. Here is the link to my Youtube playlist the book. They are in the order they appear on my schedule.



We made an interactive folder to collect the information we learned along the way. I also collected some printable resources. Here is a link to a Pinterest board with the items I printed. The blue font on the schedule indicates that there is a printable on the topic.

To download a copy of this post, the schedule, and our interactive notebook pages visit my Teachers Pay Teachers page. It is a free download, but I would greatly appreciate a review.

I am going to go through all of the activities, trips, and food suggestions. I will explain what we did (if we actually did it) and how to repeat the activity yourself at home.

Chapter 1

Moccasins- I would suggest buying a moccasin kit, but I couldn't find one for such tiny feet. So instead, I just used leather scraps and leather string. He laced them after I punched the holes.
One Room School House- At George Washington Carver National Monument there is a one room school house set up. We were going to go visit, but for some reason didn't wind up going.
Dinner Pail Picnic-While we were there, I was going to have a picnic lunch packed in small tin buckets with food that Almanzo may have eaten.
Apple Turnovers- The recipe is on page 122 of the cookbook.


Chapter 2

Wash Basin- I set up a pitcher of water, bowl, and towel for Bo to wash his hands and face at before having a snack. 
Strawberry Jam- The recipe is on page 62 of the cookbook.
Rag Rug-We did not do a rag rug because I didn't think he had the patience for it. I was going to do a tied one. You tie fabric scraps onto a plastic mat to make a rug. You find the supplies at a craft store.


Chapter 3

Button String- Take a button with 2 or 4 holes. Poke the string through two opposite holes. Tie the ends together. Holding the ends, spin the button to wind it up. Then move your hands in and out to keep it spinning.
Popcorn and Milk- Take 2 identical cups. Fill one with air-popped popcorn and the other with milk. Pour the milk into the popcorn cup to see if it all fits.


Chapter 4 

Whips- For this, I simply showed the kids a whip I made. If they were older you could let them try one out. If neither of those is an option, Youtube can help you out.
Isaac Walton-This is a local walking trail. We were just going to go for a nice walk in the woods.


Chapter 5

Loom Weaving- Using a loom kit from a craft store, we made a pot holder. All materials and instructions are included in the kit. It cost around $6.
Donuts- The recipe is on page 88 of the cookbook.
Dyes- This can be tie-dye, RIT dye, Kool-Aid, or homemade dyes. Color some white yarn or cotton fabric. To make Kool-Aid dyes, like we did, mix a packet of Kool-Aid with some vinegar. I used only enough vinegar to cover the fabric. Soak, rinse with cold water, and let them dry.
Bird House- We didn't do this because of time. I would suggest getting a bird house kit.


Chapter 6

Saw Dust and Ice- Cover some ice cubes with saw dust, like Almanzo did in the ice house. Leave some others uncovered. See which ice melts first.


Chapter 7

Stilts- Decorate 2 tin cans of the same size. Punch two hole opposite each other with a nail near the bottom of the cans. Run some twine through the holes and make it long enough your child can hold onto it. Tie the ends and you have a set of stilts.
Water Expands when Frozen- We used a mason jar and filled it up to a certain line. After it froze, we checked to see if it was above, below, or still at the same line.
Rock Candy- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil on medium-high heat. Add 4 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved and the solution is clear. Bring it to a rolling boil. Pour it into jars. Add food coloring as desired. Place a string or a stick into the solution and hold it there by some method. I liked clothes pins. Wait for the crystals to grow. Remove and enjoy!



Chapter 8

Lye Soap- I have lye soap for when I get poison ivy. I brought a bar to let the kids see and use.
Apple Pie- The recipe is on page 124 of the cookbook.
Baths- Set up a bath like Almanzo took. A tub with water, soap, and a wash cloth, surrounded by sheets for privacy. Swimsuits can be worn too ;)
Pancakes- The recipe is on page 92 of the cookbook (or just use your favorite mix).


Chapter 9

Bonfire- Make a big bonfire and roast hotdogs or make s'mores. This is very different than a little camp fire or one in a fire pit.


Chapter 10

Beat Carpets- Hang up some old rugs or towels and let the kids hit them with sticks.
Maple Sugar- I gave the kids a taste of brown sugar. We talked about the difference between store (white) and maple (brown) sugar.


Chapter 11

Garden- Plant some seeds in a pot and watch them grow. Edible plants are a plus.



Chapter 12

Punch Tin-You could repeat the lantern activity from Little House in the Big Woods or you could make a sun catcher using a pie tin. The process is the same. Fill the tin with water. Freeze it. Using a hammer and a nail, punch holes in the tin.


Chapter 13

Bean Bag Double Can- Nail a tuna can to each end of a small board that can easily fit in a hand. They should face in opposite directions, one on top and one on bottom. A dowel rod would work nicely. It should be about a foot long.  Place a bean bag in one can. Toss it up into the air, flip the handle over and catch it in the other can.


Chapter 14
Clay Marbles- Make some salt dough. You will need 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of warm water. Mix the salt and water until the salt dissolves. Gradually add in the flour to make a dough. Roll it into marbles. Bake them at 250 degrees for an hour or two (until they're dry). After they cool, you can paint them. After they are dry, take them outside along with some chalk, to draw a circle. Play a game of marbles. (If you would rather you could just use already made marbles from the store to play the game.)


Chapter 15
Moon Phases- Twist some Oreos apart. Using a plastic knife, create a moon to match each phase. Place them on a paper plate around the edges. Once you're done, eat your phases of the moon!
Make our own Dyes-You can let the kids experiment or give some guidance. Gather onion skins, blueberries, strawberries, orange peels, red cabbage leaves or whatever you want. Use at least a cup of whatever you chose. Put it in a sauce pan and cover with twice as much water. Simmer on medium for an hour. Let the dyes cool. Strain them out. Let your fabric soak in the dyes. Rinse in cold water and soak again. Repeat this until you like the color. It helps if you soak them in something to hold the color in before you dye. For fruit dyes, simmer the fabric in salt water (1/4 cup of salt and 4 cups of water) for an hour. For vegetable dyes, do the same but use 1 cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water. 


Chapter 16
Feather Pens- Take a pen and a large feather from a craft store or found outside. Tape the stem of the feather to the pen with electrical tape. 
Pink Lemonade- Combine 2 cups of sugar, 9 cups of water, 2 cups of fresh lemon juice, and 1 cup of cranberry juice (chilled). Stir well and enjoy a glass.


Chapter 17
Picnic-Take a picnic when you go fishing. You could do foods from the book or a good ol' pbj.
Fishing- Find a pond, lake, river, or stream and take the kids fishing. State and national parks sometimes offer free kid fishing days. 


Chapter 18
Throw Black Paint at Paper- Lay out some large paper. Pour some WASHABLE black paint onto a plate or into a cup. Use large, thick brushes to throw paint at the paper.



Chapter 19
Taffy- The recipe is on page 190 of the cookbook.


Chapter 20
Homemade Ice Cream- The recipe is on page 209 of the cookbook.


Chapter 21
Fair Games- Ring toss, cake walk, duck pond...whatever you can come up with. Let the kids help make the games if they are able. This could be like a party with guests or you could go to a real fair. 
Pick Berries- If you don't have a berry patch in your backyard, head to a berry picking farm in your area.


Chapter 22 & 23
Play Wild Indian- Play just as was described in the chapter.


Chapter 24
Corn Husk Dolls- Soak 3 corn husks in warm water (at least an hour). Roll one corn husk up tight and tie the ends. This is the arms. Tie two corn husks together near the top. Pull the loose ends around the tie and tie just below the bulge. This is your head. Part the husks and slide the arms in as close to the head as you can. Tie a string around the doll's waits to make a skirt and waist. There you have your doll.


Chapter 25 & 26
Snowball Fight- Crumple up pieces of paper. Make a pillow fort. SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!
Horehound Candy- This is just a taste test. I usually find some at Atwoods and Bass Pro. 


Chapter 27-29


Here's what we did!
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

That is all for this book!


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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Farmer Boy Week 5



This was my final week with the kids. We had a blast and learned a ton, despite not finishing Farmer Boy.

Bo requested an ocean box for his final one of the summer. The base is water and water beads. I added a Coral Reef Toob, boats, and shells.

Amelia also got an ocean box. The base is water then I added sea creatures, boats and a mermaid.

Tuesday we did bags and boxes as usual.

We also did some obstacle courses.

Then we went to the park where we made fairy/elf houses in the roots.

Mom came home early, so on Wednesday we finished up our chapter and activity from the day before. We made feather pens.

Then bags and boxes as usual.




We read the chapter about Almanzo splattering black stove polish on his mother's wall paper. We went outside and splattered some black paint on big paper. One of us decided to paint her entire arm black too, but that wasn't actually part of the plan.

After a trip to the park, Bo and I talked about the phases of the moon. Using a cheat sheet from his folder we made the phases with Oreos.

He finished up 2 pages of his folder.


We left the other 2 blank because we didn't get that far in our book.


Thursday was my final day with the kids. So we partied. Well, Bo had school then we partied. I painted Amelia's pig tails pink and her finger nails.

We went to Wildcat, her request.


After getting Bo it was food fight time. We had flour balls (flour in panty hose), pudding, and water balloons for after. Then it was a shaving cream slip 'n' slide and sprinkler. 

Then some pool time. Bo had the GoPro, can you tell?

We had a wonderful summer together, but now it's back to school.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Farmer Boy Week 4



This is a combination of this week and last because I only had the kids two days of each.

Bo's box was dinosaurs. The base is cloud dough (8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil). Then I added  a Baby Dinos and a Dino Skulls Toob. The cave is from an aquarium.

Amelia had a zoo box. The base is dry oatmeal. I took the fence from a farm set I have and the animals came from a Zoo Babies Toob.

Bags and boxes of course

Both days

This was Bo's page he completed.

Surely, you know the drill by now.

Our chapter talked about gardening. We planted some seeds of our own. Side note: I forgot what kind of seeds they were. I told the kids they had to remember to water their plants if they wanted to find out.

Bo worked on a new page of his folder.

Drew wanted to play too.

Bo and I learned how to play marbles like Almanzo might have during recess.

He finished up his page.



I will be out of town next week. The week after is our final Borgy week. We won't have time to finish our book, but we'll get close. Also, we are looking forward to our last day of summer party. Check back in a couple of weeks to see our summer bash.