Saturday, August 30, 2008

An African Apple??

Olivia bit into an apple and exclaimed, " Hey, it looks like Africa!"
Thought it was cute and wanted to share. Thanks, Uncle Mike, for the apples from Arkansas.

Backyard Fun

Last night the girls found some grasshoppers while playing outside. They ran in to grab their bug barns and their insect book. They captured one grasshopper each.

They loved watching them move about. They read that grasshoppers are herbivores, so they ran around collecting grass and leaves to feed them.

They loved watching them so much that they didn't want to let them go at the end of the day...

...but they did.
They said goodbye and told them they'll see them again another day.

We had another visitor, too....

Today, the girls learned about lacrosse, the oldest known sport in North America. They had fun practicing throwing and catching with the lacrosse stick. It definitely requires good hand-eye coordination!!
Before going outside, we watched some how-to videos on YouTube to learn the proper way of catching and throwing. Then the girls tried it out and had a blast. They LOVED it. They wanted to keep playing in the house when it got too dark outside....but I don't think so!!!!

Free Rice Update

The website Free Rice is not just vocabulary questions anymore. They have added several new subjects, such as, geography, math, and art. Each question you answer correctly will "donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger." This is paid for by advertisers on the site. So if you are bored or want to brush up on chemistry or grammar, or any of the subjects they offer, head over to .


We love playing the game Set. It's fun and it gives us quite the mental workout. A friend showed me the Set website where one can play online. I thought I'd share it here for others to try.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fair Week

Last week we had a great time at our county fair. We went nearly every day. Here are a couple slide shows of our visits....

Games and Rides


Historical Figures Bookmarks

Quite a while ago, we ordered some free bookmarks from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. We forgot about them....and then early this week they showed up in the mail. We were excited. We received seventeen bookmarks with biographies, quotes, trivia, and web resources for each person. It also shows the bill or coin that the person is on. It was pretty neat to see the $100,000 bill with Woodrow Wilson, or the $5000 bill with James Madison.
Olivia took out our US Presidents placemat to match up the bookmarks with their photos.

Here's the front of the placemat.

and the back.

Of course, the bookmarks were not of just presidents. Here's what we received:

  • Woodrow Wilson
  • James Madison
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • George Washington Carver
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Andrew Jackson
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Sacagawea
  • Hiram Ulysses Grant
  • George Washington
  • Maggie Walker
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve of Richmond is not accepting any new requests just now. They have a lot of orders to fill. But they suggest checking back occasionally to see if they are ready for new orders.

Zucchini Bread

We had a very large zucchini.
We decided to make zucchini bread and muffins.Georgia said, "You really have to know fractions to make a recipe."
All done. One large loaf, eight mini loaves, and eighteen muffins all made from one zucchini.(there are some muffins missing from the picture....wonder where they went??? YUM)

Wildflower Hunt

Today, the girls and I took a walk to see the different types of wildflowers we could find. The girls brought along their stick ponies and rode the trail.

We brought the wildflower identification book and took turns figuring out which kind of flowers we found. We found Chicory, Red Clover, Queen Anne's Lace, False Sunflower, Canada Goldenrod, Great Blue Lobelia, Jewelweed, Prairie Dock, and Woodland Sunflower.

Here's a slideshow of our walk.

Turkeyfoot Fun

We took a walk at the Turkeyfoot Preserve. It is named for the big bluestem that grow in the prairie. The big bluestem is also known as "turkeyfoot" because the forked flower cluster resembles the foot of a turkey.

As we began our walk to the prairie, the girls had fun trying to catch the grasshoppers that flitted around us.

We kept an eye out for how many different types of berries we could find. We took pictures so we could look them up once we got home. We also noticed the beautiful wildflowers along the path.

Enjoy some pictures of our walk in the slideshow below....

Watercolor Fun

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Molly, An American Girl on the Home Front

Yesterday the girls watched the movie Molly, an American Girl on the Home Front. Here's a preview...

After the movie, the girls visited the movie web site Molly's World. They particularly loved listening to the old radio there.

They also played some games at AmericanGirl site for Molly.

At supper the girls talked about life in the mid 1940s. Georgia watched a video about WWII at BrainPop, and took the quiz, as well.


Olivia worked with her number cups this week. She put them in numerical order and then counted out small shells to fill the cups. The cup with number ten received ten shells, for example. She did great. Then I took random cups and she had to put them in order, lowest to highest. Even though they skipped numbers she was able to figure it out.

Afterwards we tried some shell math. I wrote out some simple addition problems and we worked together to find the answer. For example, for the problem 1+2= we would put one shell under the number 1 and two under the number 2. Then we would count them all together to find the answer. She still writes some numbers backwards or upside-down, but that is to be expected at this age.

After the math she traced and sketched the shells on paper and colored them.

Georgia has been working in her math workbook.

Playing Yahtzee is a great way for her to practice multiple digit addition! She needs to add up her score! Also, when we have three of a kind or four of a kind I'll say something like, "I have four fives, so four times five equals twenty." Sneaky way to practice math while having fun!

Olympics & China

Georgia has learned more about the Olympics and it's history. She read about the olive branch wreath and about the Olympic flag and what the rings and colors symbolize. She made a mini book about Greece. She took a quiz on what she learned. We found a lot of good activities at the Olympic section of Enchanted Learning. She's also made a mini book on China. Olivia colored a Chinese Flag. The girls both watched a BrainPop video on the Great Wall of China, and Georgia watched one on communism. Olivia made a mini book on Chinese Animals and on Chinese New Year. These were found in the China section of Enchanted Learning. We read about the history of chopsticks.

And we have watched more of the Olympics. Georgia has been following Phelps. She tells Mark all about it when he gets home. She also likes the running races. She'll say the countries that are competing in a race and who's first. She's recognizing more country flags through this, that's for sure. She's pretty good with geography, but if she's not sure where a country is she'll check the map on the wall. We also have a world map laminated placemat that we'll have beside us for quick reference. (Those placemats are really nice. We have one of the US Presidents, a Solar System one, and a United States map placemat. On the backs they have interesting facts. I believe we picked them up for under $1 each at Walmart a couple years ago. We don't always use them as placemats, but when we do the girls love to look them over and learn something new.)

Some Internet sites we checked out were:

Animal Record Breakers Photo Gallery
2008 Summer Games (Nat.Geo.)
GeoGames (Nat.Geo.)
Olympic Timeline (Funschool)
Olympic Quiz (Funschool)
Sports Jumble (Funschool)
Sports Around the World (Funschool)

The Great Moth Experience

A couple weeks ago, while shucking some corn, Olivia found a surprise!

The girls were all excited to find him. They watching him move around munching on the corn. Olivia held out a piece for him and he ate it!

It was really neat to see him munching!
We decided to put him into a jar to watch him and figure out what kind of caterpillar he was.

The girls loved watching him crawl about and munch munch munch. We put in the tip of the corn he was found on and some things to crawl on. We didn't know if he was about to pupate or not. We thought we'd give him some options for a resting place.

Through our research we found out that he drops to the ground and buries himself about 5 to 10 cm. We emptied the jar and added some soil, then replaced the corn. We saw him digging around in it and then coming back to the surface. The next day he was gone! We hoped he had buried himself to pupate. We read that he would take about 2 weeks to complete his metamorphosis, so we marked the calendar and continued to monitor the jar.
And yesterday he emerged!!!!

He's been released into the "wild".
So exciting! The girls really enjoyed the experience.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Creepy Crawlers (Livy's Nature Class)

Olivia's nature class was about insects! Inside, the group discussed what makes an insect, the different bug families, different methods of eating and locomotion.

Afterwards, the kids went outside to try some bug catching and identifying. The naturalist layed down a white sheet and showed the kids how to sweep with a net and use the sheet to find things. Georgia helped out with the class, teaching kids how to use the net if they had trouble.

Livy sweeping away....

They had some small clear bug boxes to put their finds. Olivia found a grasshopper, a cricket, an ant....
and a Praying Mantis. They had to find a larger box for her to put it in.
She was proud of her find! It was definitely the largest insect found that day.

The kids sat in a circle and passed around the bug boxes with the bugs that were caught. They talked about what family the insect belonged to and noted special features they had.
Afterwards the kids released the insects where they were found.
Back inside, the kids made a bug craft. They made a butterfly from coffee filters and pipe cleaners.

Back home, the girls and I read about the praying mantis in our bug books, and at National Geographic, Insecta Inspecta World, Enchanted Learning, and printed a coloring sheet from ABC Teach.