More or Less Homeschooling & Home-making Adventure

I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Homemade Christmas gifts

Here are some of my favorite gifts to make and where I found them.

Sock Snowfolk - Grandmothers love this gift!! OK, Moms do too!

The cutest printable gifts you will ever see! Make gourmet popcorn, snowman soup, candy jars, and so much more!

Christmas tree garland. My sister-in-law made this gift for me one year and I made them for many families the next year. They were a big hit! It's also fun and easy for the kids to help. To make it buy a kit of beads from Walmart. They sell a plastic box of colored beads in the craft section for about $8.00 - $10.00. It has more beads than you can possibly use. Also buy thin string and 2 or 3 bags of colored letter beads. Then alternately string a several colored beads and then a family member's name. Rather than stringing 1 long continuos line of garland. We make each line just long enough for the front, exposed side of the tree. My mother and father are one their own line at the top of the tree (because it's the shortest line). Below that is my in-law's line, then a line for my family, and below that is a line for my brother's family. It's so pretty when the lights shine through the colored beads. I'll try to post a picture later.

LindaFaye's detailed booklist for K-6

I am so excited to have found LindaFaye's booklist in a Word document. Now I can keep up with what I have already have and what I have left to get from PaperBackSwap.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A real life, not so great, homeschool day

I read so many blogs about homeschooling. Most of the are homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way. They always seem to have the perfect day. The scene is so sweet. The activities were fun. The kids were excited. The day was great. Well, I'm here to share a real day in our homeschool life that was not this picture. I think it's nice to see both sides of the experience.

Today, our day started out late. This is more common than not since I have emails to check each morning for our business and I tend to allow myself to get caught up on this computer. It's a habit that I need to beak. Ms. Mason would not be proud of me there.

Anyway, my sweet children did a great job getting their chores done on their own and get their books to the table to start school. I came in and made everyone toast and juice and sat down to start reading. All was going well. We read the New Testament for 10 minutes. We read Polite Moments and talked about the character trait of having a good name and how that is more important than riches. We reviewed our CM Motto. We're memorizing this motto this year and we discuss a little more about it's meaning each week.

So far, so good!!

I pick up our American History book and ask "so, what happened last week in American History?" Normally my kids can spout off so much information that I'm left speechless. Today, NOTHING! Not one word. No one had a clue. I knew it was because last week during the reading, they were all very deep in thought about the stars wars scene they were each drawing while I was reading. I try not to get discouraged. The lesson was about James Robertson and I didn't know who he was until last week. It hasn't affected my life up to now to not know who he was and what he did for our country. (I'm not trying to say he wasn't important - just that it's not a battle I'm ready to go to war over.) I start to remind them a little about it and we discuss why no one can remember the details. They understand that they are usually better at remembering than this and that we need to try harder this week to focus.

I proceed with the reading and my daughter begins to be very disruptive. I warn her that she needs to come back to school and stop goofing around. She's trying to make her brothers laugh. I finally tell her that she is not welcome in school if she is going to be disrespectful to me while I'm reading and to her brothers who are trying to listen. She is excused to her room until further notice.

I pick up the book again (at this point, I've read 2 chapters). Now Peter Pan has to go to the bathroom but he doesn't want to call it that because he REALLY has to go. I get the idea and send him off. Daniel Boone and I are left at the table to wait. I decide to take the opportunity to make a Presidential Time Line that I've wanted to make for them for awhile. We're still in the American Revolution and we're about to move on so this is a perfect place to prepare our time line. PP finally comes back. Tinkerbell is ready to apologize and wants permission to come back to school. I tell her I forgive her and she is welcome. She asks can we carve our pumpkins now? (We haven't had time to do that yet.) I tell her no that we are in school now but maybe later today. She gets very sad and comes to the table with puppy eyes that could cut through a steel door. I am getting frustrated at the mean looks and sniffles from my left while I'm trying to continue reading. I tell her that until she can get her emotions under control she needs to stay in her room. Now, she's crying again and the boys and I are left to do History alone AGAIN!

The phone rings and it's a business call that I have to take. So, I'm off to the office for 15-20 minutes. As I leave the room, TB comes our to apologize and wants to return to school. I hug her, forgive her, explain that she can't disrupt school but she's welcome to come back. We're all smiles as we sit to pick up the same book we've been trying to read for 2 hours now. It's almost lunch time and we're all hungry.

I read the last 3 paragraphs. We're finally finished with this book for today! They narrate decently but not great which is understandable considering all the interruptions through it.

We do a small activity and then we sit down to read Seaman. This is their favorite book. The chapters are very long so we try to read a little each day in order to get through all I planned for the week. Each time I stop to have them narrate they get a bit crazy. They are goofy, laughing, making funny eyes. I'm trying to take it in stride because we need to laugh and enjoy school. But I'm getting frustrated each time I look at the clock and we've barely started school.

I finally get to the end of that section and ask for a narration. DB is quick to volunteer as usual. He begins with a VERY goofy narration that is funny but starts to get off course. I do not allow them to add to the narration in order to make the story better. They have to stick to the story and narrate what they heard. I remind him of this and he proceeds to act it out. TB joins in and it's getting very loud in the kitchen. I patiently watch through the whole thing. They did actually listen and they are telling me the story in their own way. But we're getting out of control and they are about to step over the line. I decide to stop it before we cross that line. I ask them to all sit down and be quiet for a minute. They look at me like "boy, we've done it now." They wait quietly and when I ask them to continue with what they heard, it's all over. They can't resist anymore! They are rolling in the floor laughing.

I tell them, this is a good time for a lesson in why we do things Mom's way. I tell DB to get out his dictation, we're going to have his test now. Fear is all over his face. I tell the other 2 to start their copywork. DB brings me his Spelling Wisdom book and prepares his paper and pencil. He's very careful to write neatly because he knows I'm frustrated with them. The other 2 are working very quietly now.

DB can't spell his words. I ask him if he studied them and he says yes. I know otherwise and decide to teach him a lesson here. I ask him to get me his card that I made him that shows him how to study his lesson. He gets it and is thankful he knows where it is. We had that discussion last week. I read it. Number 1 read through the lesson and study the words. "Did you do that?" "Yes" "so you picked up this book and read the lesson today?" "No" "Number 2, close your eyes and picture each word as a picture. Did you do this?" "No"

I'm not going on from here. I explain how it took me 4 days to make his cards that teach him to learn his words in his learning style. I continue explaining that when he doesn't use the cards, he's stealing my time and making it a waste of my time. I tear up the card and tell him if he's not going to use it, there is no need to have it. He has tears in his eyes now. I tell him that he may close up his books and clean his side of the table. I tell the other 2 the same. Their teacher has quit and DB is no longer welcome in the school since he is just going to steal from me and that I don't have time to do things over and over for him. I make sure the other 2 understand that they are only welcome in our school so long as they are ready to work. But for now, school is closed and the lessons will be done on Saturday when they were planning on going hunting with Dad. Now the tears are flowing. I'm not yelling but I do proceed to lecture about how it hurts my feelings to have them tell me how much they don't like school when I work so hard for them to have fun activities to do and fun books to read. I heard this complaint twice right before the last reading. I tell DB that he needs to tell Dad that he's been expelled from school and that he can do 4th grade all over again next year.

I do at this time decide maybe I'm over reacting. I tell DB that if he wants to be readmitted into our school then he needs to write me a paper of why he wants to come to school. I send the other 2 out to work with out neighbor in the yard and I head straight to the kitchen cabinet for my "Happy Pill". I realize that I must be PMSing to be so frustrated at them. I realize that I haven't taken my Evening Primrose all month and that I must really need it! I call this little herb my "Happy Pill". So does everyone else around me! :)

So, the day was not a total failure until I picked up my CM book "Parents and Children". I'm reading Chapter 7 this with an online group. Here is what I read:

"Education is a Discipline. Where his parents fail, the poor soul has one further chance in the discipline of life; but we must remember that, while it is the nature of the child to submit to discipline, it is the nature of the undisciplined man to run his head in passionate wilfulness against the circumstances that are for his training; so that the parent who wilfully chooses to leave his child to be 'broken in' by the schoolmaster or by life leaves him to a fight in which all the odds are against him. The physique, the temper, the disposition, the career, the affections, the aspirations of a man are all, more or less, the outcome of the discipline his parents have brought him under, or of the lawlessness they have allowed.
Discipline is not Punishment––What is discipline? Look at the word; there is no hint of punishment in it. A disciple is a follower, and discipline is the state of the follower; the learner, imitator. Mothers and fathers do not well to forget that their children are, by the very order of Nature,
Vol 2 pg 67
their disciples. Now no man sets himself up for a following of disciples who does not wish to indoctrinate these with certain principles, or at the least, maxims, rules of life. So should the parent have at heart notions of life and duty which he labours without pause to instill into his children.
How Disciples are Lured––He who would draw disciples does not trust to force; but to these three things––to the attraction of his doctrine, to the persuasion of his presentation, to the enthusiasm of his disciples; so the parent has teachings of the perfect life which he knows how to present continually with winning force until the children are quickened with such zeal for virtue and holiness as carries them forward with leaps and bounds.
Steady Progress on a Careful Plan––Again, the teacher does not indoctrinate his pupils all at once, but here a little and there a little, steady progress on a careful plan; so the parent who would have his child a partaker of the Divine nature has a scheme, an ascending scale of virtues, in which he is diligent to practise his young disciple. He adds to the faith with which the child is so richly dowered, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control. Having practised his child in self-control, he trains him in patience; and to patience he adds godliness; and to godliness, kindness; and to kindness, love. These, and such as these, wise parents cultivate as systematically and with as definite results as if they were teaching the 'three R's.'"

OK, so now I'm the worst CM homeschool mother on the planet. I put the book down and just have to laugh. I walk into DB's bedroom and he's struggling with the dictionary to spell his 7th word on the page. That's as far as he's gotten in 30 minutes. 7 words. Poor soul! I sit down with him and we have a heart to heart.

So, he's back in school. Mom should be better in a few days. Things may get better yet. But for now, there's a real life look into a not so great homeschool day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holidays are coming!!

Happy Fall!!

It's crisp and cool outside. The leaves are turning and fall is in the air! I'm searching for ideas to use this fall to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've done so much in the past but I'd like to add some new ideas this fall.

I've heard of making Thanksgiving trees before but haven't. Here's a very cute one at Chocolate on my Cranium.

As I find more, I'll add them here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"I did it" Chore Chart

We have used a chore chart called "I did my chores". It has been wonderful. You can see it at:  

I made token jars out of old icing containers with a slit in the lid. I let them decorate a piece of paper that I glue to the jar so it's their token jar. I made a "store" that I keep on the fridge to get them excited about what they are working so hard for. There were items like gum and small candies that cost 5 tokens for that instant gratification. Up to items that cost 300 tokens to teach them to save. I've included 2 of the stores we used in the past. You can make the store for anything he is interested in. I also added things like play a game or take a walk with Mom. If they earned this one, then I couldn't say "later". I had to play when they wanted to. They loved this! This is completely separate from school.  

Each night, as part of the bedtime ritual, they bring me the cards they have in their "I did it box" and I give them 1 token per chore completed. They have to set up the cards again for the morning. They are colored so it's easy. If they ever lied about doing a chore, it "cost" them 5 tokens. They learned that one quickly. If they ever did a chore incorrectly, like hiding things in their room rather than putting it away properly, then they didn't get a token. In the chores that I knew they struggled with, I always "tried" to check them before they put the chore in the " I did it " box. Any time they "stole" my time to do their chores correctly it "cost" them. The chore program can be purchased at many retail stores. At first I thought it was too much money, and after a year I decided to use Christmas money to buy 3 of them. It was the best money spent that year. It's just awesome and so easy. I didn't like their pictures, so I searched the net for "free chore pictures" and made my own stickers to put on the cards. The color coded program really makes it easy to put them on the chart quickly.  

We have changed our program now as I get bored with the same set up but we kept that one for years. We still call our morning chores "the yellows", etc. All their chores are still colored. Our current chore chart has gotten much more detailed. You can see that one under the chores label.

Chore Rewards 1

Chore Rewards

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pledge of Allegiance

What a wonderful way to remind ourselves and to teach our children what the Pledge of Allegiance actually means. Listen to Red Skelton's story here.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reading, Writing, Typing, Latin and so much more!!

I have recently come across a wonderful website ( filled with priceless information. I wish I had known of these ebooks when we were first starting phonics. I wonder if it wouldn't have been easier for Daniel Boone to learn phonics this way. I'm thinking of printing Word Mastery for the First Three Grades and allowing Daniel Boone to spend 10 minutes a day doing this phonics program to instill these concepts into his brain and making reading easier for him. Don also suggests using The Phonics Page to help older students with phonics work. I'll be reviewing this website this week also.

I'm certainly looking into the Latin ideas here. Today we have downloaded the Read, Write & Type demo from that Don Potter suggests and will try it to see if we'd like to purchase it to learn to type and as a review of phonics rules. I wish we had done this early in my children's phonics lessons. What a great idea to have them learn to type while learning to read and write.

Monday, September 14, 2009

State Fair Photo Entries

This is our first year to enter items into the state fair. I called this "handicraft" this month. I took the children to the park on our first day of school this year. I gave them my camera and told them to not just take pictures but look for art. Here are their photo entries. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed with what they came up with!!

Daniel Boone
This poor elephant had a very bad itch. DB took lots of pictures and this is the one he picked.

Daniel Boone
We called this one the "Unseen Execution". Look real close at this picture.

Tinker Bell
"Our dog"

Tinker Bell
"Flowers in Bloom"

Peter Pan
"Worm Wood"

Peter Pan
"Long neck"
This was just a picture of several flamingos to me. I told PP how nice this picture was. He said, "no mom. Look in the back. I took this picture because the water made his neck look so long." What an eye!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why do I follow HigherUpandFurtherIn's curriculum

I've been asked why do I follow Lindafay's curriculum when I love Ambleside Online so much. Well, here's the answer...from Lindafay. I just found this on a comment section of her year 3 page and she said exactly what I liked about her curriculum order. I couldn't say it any better:

The major differences between my schedules and AO are that I integrate Bible readings with ancient history and the children also learn US history during these early years rather than British History. They do the British readings, just later in fourth and fifth year. Also, in fifth year, we spend a whole year studying other non-European cultures-Africa, Middle East, Australia, Antarctica, India, etc…using great literature. (places AO doesn’t cover.) Some smaller differences are that I also changed some of the readings because they weren’t spread out evenly and easily for children, imo. I also added a few more items we found helpful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Gift

Sunday is Promotion Sunday at our church, where our children are promoted to the next grade up in Sunday School. Over at Skip to My Lou's there is a wonderful idea for a teacher appreciation gift that we are going to make this week as a thank you gift to my children's teachers. It's so cute!!! Check it out - 7 Day a Week Teacher Appreciation! She has lots of very cute ideas. I love the Scratch Off Valentine cards!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Making Flubber

How do you start school fun??? By making Flubber. Do you remember the movie Flubber. Well, this is close but of course not REAL Flubber. We had fun and it gave the kids something to put in their school fun box for when they finish a subject early. Here's how we did it:


Measuring cup
Food coloring

Pour 2 cups of glue in a bowl. Add 1 & 1/2 up of warm water. Add food color at your preference.

In another bowl, mix 3 teapoons of borax with 1 & 1/3 cup of warm water.

Pour the water/borax mixture into the colored glue mixture. Now here comes the fun part. Put away the spoons, take off your rings, and dig in. You have to life up & turn the glue mixture over and over until you are left with about 1 tablespoon of water. The mixture will begin to gel together. 

Once you think you have all the water out that will come out, pour the water off the mixture and allow the "flubber" to dry just a minute or two.

It stretches! It bounces! It rolls! 

Store your Flubber in a zip lock bag tightly. It will seep out if it can!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reading incentives

To help my children learn to read and work on their reading skills outside of our "school time", I would make game boards. I got this idea from Hooked on Phonics (which we loved!!). You can make game boards easily. Go to Donna Young's Game Board page and choose a game board. Each square could equal time increments (we used 15 minute increments) or a single book. I write what each square is worth on the square. When they complete that square, they either color it in or put a sticker in it. There is always a reward at the end. We live within 2 hours of Six Flags and they offer free tickets for reading. So our game board is always for a free day at Six Flags. We usually draw something at the end like "Yeah! We're going to Six Flags!"

We hang these on the refrigerator in plain sight. This makes it easy to remind them to do some extra reading. Also, seeing lots of stickers on a siblings map encourages others to "catch up".

This is a fun way to get them some extra practice. Most of my children are reading well, but we like this and will continue it this year!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Movie "Orphans"

I was disgusted when I saw the previews for the movie "Orphans". Then I was so saddened to think that many people will believe this movie to be true. How many children will be affected by this movie? We are to protect and support these sweet children not portray them as evil!! Please sign the petition to bring awareness to the pain and sadness of this movie at: Sign the Petition. You may also go to the link at the bottom of my blog to learn more. Thank you for your loving support of those left behind.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Reminder: World eBook Fair this month for FREE!

The free month of ebooks is going on now through Aug. 4th, 2009. All of their ebooks will be available to download for free during that month. Go check them out at: World eBook Fair.

Poison Ivy Relief

I went to an herbal class last weekend and learned a remedy for poison ivy relief....Peppermint Oil. My husband and Daniel Boone get poison ivy so bad that they are covered all summer long. They've tried every known product with no relief from the constant itch....until now. That Peppermint Oil works wonders!!!! I can't believe it. If you know someone who suffers from it too, give it a try. We've just been amazed. My husband even said yesterday that he's so glad to have something that actually works.

We use Nature's Sunshine products but I think any peppermint oil will work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That's My King!!

My church plays this for our congregation sometimes. We love it! My daughter walked by while I was loading it and asked if I could put it on the ipod. When I told her it was already there, she was very excited! AM Lockridge must've been an awesome preacher to listen to. And now he's with his King! Praise God! I hope you like it too. 

"I wish I could describe Him to you!"

Here's another version:

"I wonder, do you know Him?"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gettysburg Address

We'll be studying the Civil War next year and in my preparation I found these wonderful recordings of the Gettysburg Address.

Johnny Cash - Gettysburg Address
Found at bee mp3 search engine

There are several more options at My favorites are Johnny Cash's recording and Jeff Daniels' recording.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Vacation!!

We school all year but I'm finding that taking June off is a great idea! The kids are in VBS at a couple of churches. This gives me 2 weeks of half days to get lots of projects done in our home office. They had swim lessons last week. So much fun! Next week they will all go to day camp Summer Camp. They are so excited and I will get 5 days from 9-5 to plan and organize the next school year. This is the best time of the year for me to plan and prepare. We will start back to school for 7 weeks after July 4th weekend. That will finish out this year of school. By then, I should everything ready for the next year of schooling. We'll take a week or 2 off before starting and have some summer fun.

We like schooling in the summer because it gets so very HOT in the dog days of summer that the kids have a hard time staying outside and end up getting bored and fighting. This way they have a "summer vacation" in June with lots of play time. Then when we start back in July they are ready to work. We'll still go swimming in the afternoons and of course, we have all these animals to keep us busy!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dream Schedule

Many people have asked for my "dream schedule". I call it that because in my dream world, we follow it to a "T". But in reality our home business takes over so often and my schedule falls apart. But on those days and weeks when it works, I love this!! We do school year round. We study 6 weeks, have 1 week for exams (usually after 12 weeks) and take a week off for fun. We also take all of December off. During the exam week we put on plays for Daddy about what we learned, recite for him our poetry and memory verses. We also use this time to show off our school work. 

Thank you to who ever designed this format. I have read so many schedules that I don't know where I found it but I love it!!!
Maybe this will help someone else. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Van Gogh

We are studying Van Gogh this year very slowly!! We study a new panting each month. I've downloaded some coloring pages off the net to color this month. Someone posted on AmbleRamble this week the following clip. We loved it!! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pagoo - plankton videos

We started reading Pagoo this week and I've been searching the net for videos on plankton. I found 3 this morning that we really enjoyed. I a posting them here because of the inappropriate videos on the side bar of youtube. They were fun and we all enjoyed these.

Our favorite:

Another good one: 

The kids liked this one:

Now I'm off to find clipart and printables to use in my lapbook for Pagoo....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dogs meet chickens

Everyone has so enjoyed watching the chicks!! We have 18 chicks now. Tinkerbell especially loves to hold them. When we had chickens 2 years ago, she was 6. We called her the chicken whisperer. She would walk up to a chicken and just pick it up. It wouldn't fight her or squawk. It would simply sit there patiently until she put it back down. it was so funny! I think she's on her way to that name again.

          Just hatched                                 Less than an hour old.


      About 7 hours old                                    1 day old           


It was finally time to let the dogs in and introduce them to the chicks. We're hoping that by allowing them to be around the chickens constantly and from birth, they will leave the chickens alone. Our male, who's name is Rooster by the way - so funny, has really taken an interest in them. We're not sure what he's thinking. He watches them constantly. He's even tried to climb into the box with them. Every once in awhile he will try to pick one up. He's very gentle but we don't let him. He's either thinking that is one really cool toy or he is trying to care for them. When they go to sleep and quiet down, he has to go and nose them all to wake them up. I don't think he likes when they are quiet.


Our female, Sarah, acted like they weren't in the room. She completely ignored them. It wasn't until Daniel Boone moved the box into the middle of the room where she has to acknowledge them did she. She slowly walked up to and around the box. 


After about 5 minutes of staring at, around, and finally into the box, she became angry at Rooster. She slowly began to show her teeth, then growling softly, then finally telling him in no uncertain terms to get away from the babies! We're not sure if she didn't like them so she didn't want him around them or if she wanted to protect them from that big lug. 


It has been non-stop laughter around here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


That is the exciting screams that are going down the halls this morning. We forgot to put the last 2 pictures on our timeline since we were out of the house yesterday and we were very surprised to hear chirping this morning. We did check them every morning and evening to make sure the humidity was increased and the temperature was correct for the hatching this week. But then today we were so excited to see that baby chicken in the incubator. Tinker Bell came screaming down the hall, "we have chickens!!" How fun it has been today. When the one little chick finally hushes you can hear lots of little peeping sounds coming from eggs. Then the chick hears them too and starts chirping and looking for them. It's so cute!! Tinkerbell was listening to music and she noticed that when the music was on the chick chirped loudly. When she would turn the music off, the chick would quiet down. What a science experiment!! They are having a hard time waiting for the chicks. It's taking hours for those little chicks to peck their way out of the egg. They thought it would be so fast. They are learning the great lesson of patience that the Lord wants us all to learn. Here are some pictures from our hatching experience today. 

Chicken #1 (Cracker Jack) - it's the black spot in the corner. I'm sorry it's hard to see through the plastic window and the fog:

Listening for any more chirping in the eggs:

Chicken #2 (Annie Oakley) & #3 (Yoda) are working hard to hatch:

Watching Annie Oakley hatch:


We know for sure that there are 4 more chicks trying to peck their way out. We'll know tomorrow just how many of the 36 eggs made it. I hope everyone reading this will try this at some point. It is so fun and a great science class and testimony to God's amazing design and plans.

Friday, February 27, 2009


We have begun working in our garden to get it ready for the spring planting. We use the Square Foot Gardening method but have decided to do a lasagna garden inside each square foot plot. Lasagna gardening is an inexpensive way to build the soil and prepare the bed. We didn't do much work in our garden last year so it really became overgrown with weeds.

This is how our garden looked before we started. We had to pull all the weeds out first.


After the weeds were pulled, we dug all the dirt out of the squares and put it in a wagon.


Once all the original dirt was out, we began to layer. We started with shredded newspaper. For a correct lasagna garden, you should layer wet pages of newspaper to kill out the weeds. We had no weeds since we dug them out, so we shredded it to help the worms in the decomposition.


Next came a layer of leaves.


Then we proceeded to layer the original soil, with peat moss, and compost. 


Finally, we covered it with 2 layers of plastic. We should be using black plastic, but we don't have any. This will "cook" the compost to help it to decompose quicker.


We should be ready to plant in about 3 weeks. Next, we need to start the seedlings....

Chicken Study

Every year we try to hatch chickens. The kids love but unfortunately it doesn't always work. Our only set that has ever made it where all eaten by wild dogs. So, this year we're making changes. We started our incubation this week from eggs my mother gave us. We like the colored eggs so we have about 25 green eggs and about 10 brown eggs in the incubator. We put them in on Wednesday.

I like to make it a fun timeline study while we watch them incubate. There really isn't anything to see so by making a timeline it shows us what is going on in the eggs.  I found this idea a few years ago while researching how to incubate so I can't give credit to whomever had this idea as I have no idea where I found it.

 (here is our timeline and incubator)

We take 21 plastic Easter eggs and number them 1-21. I look for embryo pictures online and cut them out and put one picture in each corresponding egg. We make a 21 day timeline and hang it on the wall behind the incubator. Every day we open the egg that corresponds to that day and hang the picture on the timeline. No matter how many times we've done this, the kids still love it! Here they are filling the eggs with the embryo pictures.


Here are some really good sites for learning about incubation and for the embryo photos:

Mississippi State's 4-H Club - great site for black and white photos of embryo and lots of great information

Univ. of Illinois - Incubation and Embryology - cute site for lesson plan ideas (we're trying the egg in the bottle trick)

Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln - 4-H Embryology page - some good information but I don't like their embryo pictures

Enchanted Learning - lesson plans, worksheets, embryo pictures and more

Happy hatching!!