History Timeline- In The Beginning

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A history timeline is something I have been wanting to do for a very long time. But I will admit, I was hesitant to start. Why? Well, I had many different ideas how I wanted to do it. My first thought was, to take a roll of butcher paper and carefully make it go all around the classroom. Adding to it every week. But that idea died, with the thought that it would be pretty high up on the wall. Making it less interactive than I would want for my kids. I did look into buying smaller timelines to put on the wall, that would be within reach for my kids. But still I wanted more. So finally, I came up with the scrapbook timeline, that my kids can make themselves. Plus, if I want to go back and expand on a time period and add to it (like I know I will,) I can just add more pages. Then at the end of the school year, we will make a cover out of cereal boxes and cover them with fabric. Until then, we will use a dollar store binder to hold the pages.

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Then I grabbed some white construction paper, a drinking glass, a pencil and scissors. I used the glass to make circles for the kids timeline pictures and cut them out. Since we went back to the beginning, we started with creation.

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This was so much fun for me, I watched as my kids took turns reading from the Bible. Here my son is reading Peanuts Bible, The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible, because her Bible must be one of the Bibles we read. Hers was actually a great place for my kids to get some inspiration to figure out what to draw in their circles.

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These are the types of project my kids LOVE! I love them too, because they are working together and quietly.

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Yes, there is peace here.

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The timeline is coming together beautifully…

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I love how each of them has their own timeline that they can be proud to share with daddy.

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Little D is putting his first pages together.

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Simple idea, 100% their own creation and the visual comprehension of what happen when and in the right order. I think we will easily love this journey.

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If you are following my A Walk Through History, please know that I am playing catchup here with the timeline, and I will continue that hands on journey with this project too.

My Homeschool Classrom

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I just thought it might be fun to share a little about my homeschool space. We all have different needs and we all have a different amount of space to work with. So a short share may be helpful to some.

The space I have is about the size of a small bedroom. So for me it has been difficult to get use to, because in our last home, my living room was my classroom. I had a lot of space to work with. Now I have to be more thoughtful about what we do.

This year we decided to do old school desks for our kids. I decided this, because I can cluster them together, like in this picture, for common subjects like history, art, and Bible. But I can easily separate them for math or reading or really anytime they are bothering eachother. So far this has been great! The best part was each desk only cost me $3.00.

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The giant shelf in the background is from Ikea. I LOVE this shelf. I have old books on the top shelves, the second selves have supplements organized be subject, the third shelf has their art caddies, the fourth shelves have puzzles organized by number of pieces and the bottom shelf has each child’s core subjects by name. Never mind that I have a whole nother shelf hiding in my closet with more supplements. I am a little crazy that way.

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Here is another view of the kids classroom, with a peek at their own bookshelf with all their favorites and then some. Sorry about the big blank space above the kids bookshelf. I decided to custom cover cork board with fabric to go with my bird theme. It took me a while to find just the right fabric.

Once it’s up I will post the kids schedule of activities for a quick glance.

Also, since it is the beginning of the school year I don’t have anything on the walls yet.

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So here is the other side of this small room. The wall with the tree was once used for a preschool calendar, weather chart, days of the week, full alphabet and so on. It was a really overwhelming wall that felt very busy. This year we are doing a fill in the date calendar that my Peanut can fill in everyday. Plus, I can post the letters Peanut is currently learning for quick easy review.

I also love our little kitchen hiding in the corner.

The cubbies hold small toys I use for activity trays for the 2 younger children. It makes it quick and easy to put together busy trays.

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Each child also has their own bulletin boards to put their favorite work. It makes a great place for daddy to come and see some of the work they’re doing.

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Simple book organization for daily readers for the kids to practice for 30 minutes.

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So that’s it! That’s the classroom. Next week I will post pictures of my garage, it  doubles as our art room and crafting studio. That is where the sewing happens and all our messy projects (like painting). I will show you how I have organized that area for a wide variety of crafts, even an anytime craft shelf where they have access to art supplies for their own creations.

I hope this has given you some ideas.

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“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:8

Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkins
Here is a simple fall project for beginners!
 All you need to do is sew a straight stitch with a machine, or you can make this by hand. Even if it’s not a perfectly straight stitch, that is okay; this project is very forgiving.
Now to find some fabric scraps and yarn in fall colors!
You will need to cut your fabric into a rectangle; the length will need to be double the height.
So for a small pumpkin, you can cut a 9 X 18, or a 12 X 24, or any combination you like, and as long as the length is double the height, you should have a nicely shaped pumpkin.
Iron your fabric if you need to, and make sure you know your fabric content in order to not melt your fabric.
Fold fabric in half lengthwise and pin together, making sure print sides are together.
You can use a fabric pen, or fabric chalk, or pencil to mark where you will need to stop sewing. You will need at least a 3 inch opening to turn your fabric right side out and to stuff.
Then put into your machine, starting on the fold and sew all the open edges leaving the 3 inch opening.
Once you get about 1/4 inch to the end, stop!
Lift the foot of your machine and rotate your fabric.
Then drop the foot and continue to sew. Do this again at the next corner.
Once you get to the spot where you made your mark (if you did), do 3 reverse stitches to lock in your stitch, so that it won’t not unravel.
Next, it is time to do a baste stitch to what will be the bottom of your pumpkin before you turn it right side out. It is the side without the opening.
Just hand stitch to the end and make a double knot to keep it gathered.
This is what the bottom of your pumpkin should look like after you turn it right side out.
Now it’s time to stuff!! Don’t worry if your pumpkin doesn’t look so good. It will.
Then you hand stitch the opening with an invisible stitch.
This is what it should look like once it is sewed closed.
The bottom is cute stuffed.
Once again, we will do a baste stitch at the top of the pumpkin and tie a double knot to hold in place.
Then, we sew the gathering together to make a tight center like the picture above.
Now we are looking more like a pumpkin!
Now, to work with the yarn. I picked up this sail needle at Beverly’s. You notice the large eye hole and the sharp point. This is exactly what you need to make this part easy.
So thread your needle with the yarn, making sure it is long but not too long. You will be making at least 5 sections on your pumpkin. Knot the end just like the picture above.
Now to begin!
Looking good!
Now we are looking like a squatty pumpkin.
Now to work on the stem. If you want a chunky stem, cut your scrap nice and wide. But if you prefer a long stem, long and skinny is the way to go.
Follow same procedure as before – fold face or print sides together and pin.
Put into your sewing machine and follow the same steps as before, leaving the bottom open.
This is how it should look after sewing.
Turn right side out and stuff. Then hand stitch into the center of your pumpkin and double knot to secure and you’re done!
Make as many as you like! (Odd numbers always look best.)
I hope you enjoyed this project!
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Little House In The Big Woods Homemade Butter

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Another great activity for the kids to do is make butter! I know it is nothing compared to all the work the Ingalls family did, but it is a small glimpse of the kind work that goes into preparing food.

We started with organic whipping cream from Straus Family Creamery.

Milk in quartThen we poured all the cream in a clean quart jar and put the lid on it.

Then the fun begins! We all took turns shaking the jar. I kept my instructions simple; hold the jar at the top and the bottom, make sure you have a tight hold on it before you start to shake it.

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As my kids begin to shake the jar, I tell them to listen to the sound of the cream as they shake it.

After a while, they realize they don’t hear anything anymore and it feels like they’re shaking something thick.

whip creamWell it’s true, we opened the jar and took a look. We have whipping cream.

So we put the lid back on, and kept on shaking, still listening for any changes in the sound.

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The all of a sudden we could hear liquid again and some solids hitting the sides of the jar! How exciting! We have the beginning of butter!

Almost butter

We took the lid off and took a look. We are close to having butter!!!

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We gave it some more shakes!

And we have butter!!!!

I absolutely love the color!

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We separated the butter from the buttermilk. I will use the buttermilk to make some homemade biscuits for the kids.

Making use of every bit of what you have just like the Ingalls.

This is the point where you can add salt to your butter if you like, and mix it in. I use unsalted butter for all my cooking so I left mine alone.

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Now, I don’t have a beautiful wooden butter mold like Ma did, with the strawberry and two strawberry leaves. But that’s okay. We will bake a loaf of bread and most likely eat it all in one sitting anyway.

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I hope you all enjoy making butter with your young ones!

Don’t forget to have your kids taste the buttermilk! My kids loved it!

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“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

A Walk Through History: The Tower of Babel and Mesopotamia

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This week we read about the tower of Babel. What a great piece of history about people and their needed to feel great and mighty.  Oh, how easy it was for God to put a stop to that. We are nothing without him and should do nothing without Him in mind. “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.” Colossians 3:23

Yes, all that we do should be for God’s glory, not our own. What a great reminder.

So the books we read are Egermeier’s Bible Story Book page 18-20, The Tower of babel. We also visited the library and picked up a selection of books on Mesopotamia and Sumeria. The first item that caught my attention, was the idea of making clay tablets and write with pictographs. The Sumerians were the first to develop a script and writing system. So giving my children the experience to use pictographs on clay really made me excited about this little project. _DSC0825

So now, to be honest, I can be pretty frugal. So instead of buying clay for this project I made my own using ingredients from my own kitchen.

So in a mixing bowl, I mixed; 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup salt, 3 drops of brown food coloring gel, and water (just enough to make it at dough).

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This is what your dough should look like when you are done mixing it.

Since I have 3 kiddos this was enough to give each child a nice square to work with.

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Next, I grabbed some twigs and used a little blade to give them a pointed tip, making it easier to work with.

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Before I set my kids to work I put a sheet of wax paper down for them to work on. Otherwise the tablet will stick to table and make a mess and a disaster of a project. Using books from the library my kids copied there favorite symbols to make their tablet.

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Now I admit, my homemade “clay” is soft. So they may need a couple practice pictures to get the hang of the stick on clay.

Now to let them dry, I let them dry overnight to get a “crust” on the top. Then I carefully flipped it over on to the palm of my hand and peeled away the wax paper. Then I placed them all on a cooling rack so that they can dry evenly on all sides. I kept mine in the garage on our craft table until they were dry.

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Now, you have clay tablets made by your kids!

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And there you have it! A little piece of history that has come to life for your kids.

I hope you enjoyed my little project!

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Little House In The Big Woods; Corn Cob Doll

Little House book Cover

So we have begun our adventure. I will be doing a craft a week for this series, for I have lots of fun stuff going on over here with history and art that I am also excited to share with you. I hope you enjoy our little trip through this series as much as I will.

As our title mentions, we begin with the corn cob doll. So if you are making a corn salad or my Summer Minestrone soup, keep those corn cobs!!! First start with firm to the touch corn. There is no need to peel back the husks to check the kernels, they should feel nice and firm through the husks. My favorite place to get my corn is the local farmers market. You can’t get any fresher than that!

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Do to the nature of this project, we have taken it outside because I know the mess my children are going to make. The shucking will be done by by little hands, let them know that the silks, or the hairs must be removed too. (The big chef knife will be my job). I am using my cookie sheet to catch all the corn kernels for my Minestrone soup.

Little House corn cob collageOnce all the husks are removed, you are ready to cut the corn kernels off the cob.

Just be sure there are no little fingers near your work space while you cut the kernels off the cob. If you have never done this, all you need to do is hold the cob with the wider side down, the side where the husks grow. Then you hold the top or the pointed end in one hand, then with the other hand, using a sharp knife in a downward angle you cut the kernels off the cob. You will know how far to go because you will be rubbing the corn cob all the way down.  Just repeat this process all the way around each corn cob.

Then you just set out the cobs to dry. I left mine out in the back yard so they could be dried by the sun.

Now traditionally, you would use pencils or colored pencils to make a face on the corn cobs. But in our house my kids really like using colorful permanent pen. If your kids are the same, let them have their fun.

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Once the faces are drawn, and the hair is colored in, it’s time to pick out a piece of calico print fabric. You can easily find quarters at you local fabric store or and old hippie skirt from the local secondhand shop.

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Once the fabric is selected cut a square big enough to swaddle your corn cob doll and secure with a safety pin . Yes, it’s that easy. You can even hand sew an little skirt or dress for your new corn cob doll just like Laura Ingalls.

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The best part of this lesson was teaching my children about being happy with what they have. This is what Laura had to play with as a baby doll, a simple toy that was truly a creative humble toy. Yes, she would have loved a rag doll like her sissy but she was learning to happy with what she had.

This made me think of this wonderful verse found in Philippians 4:12-13;

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
The Little House Series really brings this verse to mind for me.
I hope you enjoyed our first craft, and don’t worry we will be hand sewing/ machine sewing a rag doll later in this series too.
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Summer Favorite: Summer Minestrone Soup!

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I have to admit, I love soups. Okay, let me rephrase that, I love soups that celebrate their season.  Like our family favorite Summer Minestrone. It’s a great soup to celebrate the bounty of your garden or that of your local farmers market. It’s simple to make and is delicious. It’s one you can share with a vegan friend or one that enjoys clean eating.

So for this recipe you will need;

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, 2 medium onions, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 yellow squash, 1 zucchini, 7 carrots, 1-2 ears of corn, 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes or 12 fresh roma tomatoes, 1 can of red kidney beans or 1 1/2 cups of cooked red kidney beans (if from dried beans), Italian parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

This quantity should serve a family of five. Feel free to double it or add more of your favorite vegetables. The wonderful thing with homemade soups, is that you can never go wrong. The simmering will take care of all the yummy flavors.

So keeping in mind the size of shucked corn. I rough dice all my ingredients slightly larger than the fresh corn. That way everything cooks evenly.

_DSC0911Onions sure have a way of adding wonderful flavor.

So first I dice my onions and carrots. I melt my butter in my dutch oven and add my onions. I sprinkle some salt and pepper on them. Once they start to get translucent I add the carrots and sprinkle a little more salt and pepper.

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Then I put the carrots and onions aside in a bowl. Next I saute the yellow squash and zucchini. I sprinkle some salt and pepper on them too. As you can see I like to flavor my food as I go. This is also the place I add my minced garlic. I love how the summer squash takes in the yummy garlic flavor.

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Next I toss in my tomatoes (fresh or canned)! Add a little more salt and pepper, YUM!

Once the tomatoes begin to lose their shape, I toss back in the carrots and onions and add the kidney beans,  the shucked corn, and  I add about 3 to 4 cups of water. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. This will depend on how small your vegetables were cut and how long you sauted each step.

Once the soup is almost done I add the chopped Italian parsley. You may or may not need to salt and pepper your soup. At this point I don’t usually have to.

Now you are ready to serve!

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Serve with bread and butter if that’s your fancy. It’s ours.

I hope you try and enjoy my soup!

Rosalia