Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvest Time Week Three: Rusty, Trusty Tractor

Week 2: Rusty, Trusty Tractor

Primary Books:  

Enrichment Books:  
Tremendous Tractors (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker

Field Trip: 


Aunt Katie (of WinterFoliage) and Sarah met us at the Fair!

 We ended the day with a roll in the hay! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roba Family Farm Fun!

There was an unexpected birth this past week and I had to put some of our Harvest Time on hold.  So, to make up for the time missed we took a family trip to Roba Family Farms.  We had a blast! It wasn't a working dairy farm, but more of a harvest time amusement park surrounded by a corn maze (we conquered the mini maze but didn't even attempt the mega maze!). 

Mini maze!

And for anyone who thought I was joking when I said that Madeline was a monkey!

Swinging at the very top of the ladder.


I'm actually impressed that we got all three heads in there!

The drama of the pig races. 

Sophia cried hysterically when she wasn't chosen to cheer on the piggies. 

The educational portion of our trip.

Milking demonstration

Fun, fun family fun!

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Harvest Time: Week 2 Review

Even before we began I considered changing the topic of this week.  Both of the girls are lactose intolerant and the idea of a full week on dairy, including dairy-making activities, seems a bit silly.  In the end I thought that it was still important for Soph to understand that most people use dairy as a staple in their diet and how it is made.   The only specific change that I made was to talk about raw and cultured dairy.  Seems a bit chemistry-like, perhaps a little over most toddler's heads, but homogenization and pasteurization were both discuss in the Aliki book

I supplemented the readings with a Snipp, Snapp, Snurr book and wow!  it is now a favorite.  I plan to take a few more out of the library and see where I can fit them into our reading time. 

We began mornings with Circle Time.  With the stress of moving and all that came with it this summer I got into the habit of allowing them a morning show as soon as we all came downstairs.  This gave (groggy and sleepy) me time to brew a cup of tea and to cook breakfast.  It became a habit because it worked so well.  So, in order for our mornings to be technology free (this, of course excludes my camera and computer!) I needed to find an activity that they both enjoyed just as much as Sprout. 

We break out the big white comforter and put it in the middle of the floor.  We pick comfy spots and sing and finger-play-away!

This week's Circle Time Songs:

Fall Poem
(I'm not sure where this is from.  My mother uses it in her public school classroom)

Red and Yellow, green and brown
(Count off the colors on your fingers)
Lives are falling to the ground.
(Simulate falling leaves with hands)
We pile them up OH SO HIGH:
(pile leaves with hands)
Then we JUMP in!
(pretend to jump in)
My dog and I!
Pup Pup and Soph enjoying the "leaves"

Five Little Chipmunks
(Betty Jones/A Child's Seasonal Treasury)

5 little chipmunks by the lakeside shore, 
1 fell down and then there were 4. 
4 little chipmunks running wild and free, 
1 fell down and then there were 3. 
3 little chipmunks over logs they flew, 
1 fell down and then there were 2. 
2 little chipmunks they would race and run, 
1 fell down and then there was 1. 
1 little chipmunk basking in the sun, 
He went to his hallowed-home and then there were none!

We colored leaves red and yellow, green and brown to match the Fall Poem and decorated our mantle with them.  Sophia really enjoys using the scissors so she's likely to tell you that this was her very favorite project of the week!

We decided to bake Applesauce bread to eat with our fresh butter.  (I am still having a love affair with my bread machine.)  Yum!  I tried really hard to pump Soph up for the Butter Battle.  Girl .vs. Machine.  Told her how the process worked and how it was like magic.  You pour the cream in and shook it and it came out butter.  I thought the wonder of it all would motivate her to keeeeeeep shaking. 

Excitedly pouring the cream into her mason jar!

Now, the rest into the mixer...

30 seconds later.....She was done. 
Well, folks...She fooled me.  I thought she'd make it a few minutes and then I'd have to shake the rest.  She made it about 30 seconds into it and hit herself in the face with the mason jar.  That was it.  It was over.  White flag. 


The buttermilk is separating
She was really interested, but I think in the end the country-girl-scientist-mama was more amazed at the whole process.  To her it was just natural.

And then there were tea parties with fresh bread, butter and chamomile tea. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. 

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harvest Time: Week 1 Review

I should begin by explaining that our "week" begins on Wednesday.  I attend prenatal and homevisits on Mondays and Tuesdays with another local homebirth midwife.  The girls spend those two days with Ms. Erin, an amazing babysitter.  She usually takes them to either storytime at one of our branch libraries, one of the local parks or let's them get all painted up with our arts and craft supplies.  

So, we began our week on Wednesday morning with a big family snuggle fest at 6:30am.  I tried my best to convince the girls to cozy down and get a few more minutes of sleep but they wouldn't have it (Ugh. They never do!) Our morning routine generally includes some independent playtime while I prepare breakfast, we head upstairs to get ready for the day and then begin any "planned activities." 

This week we started off with some coloring time.  Sophia is really excited about learning her letters.  She already knows the alphabet (How that happened I don't know! It is amazing what they learn when you're not looking!).  She's especially excited about the flower fairies.
"A" is for Apple Blossom Flower Fairy

 Then we baked (and ate) bread for morning snack.  I'd like to say that we did the entire process by hand but the truth is that I am now the proud owner of a bread machine (thank you, Craigslist).  For a long time I was doing the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day...but it was never just five minutes and it never completely satisfied me.  (Geo loves and misses it though).   This is my attempt to continue to feed my family food that contains ingredients that I can (mostly) control and to fill our house with the smell of fresh bread. 
"Backpack, backpack!"
We spend time at the children's library.  I have to say that reading has always been a favorite pasttime in our house.  Both Geo and I are always juggling several things that we're reading and that love has very clearly been passed down to both the girls.  They prefer books over most things and we're so glad! 

It is actually Soph's love of reading that actually making us wonder if Waldorf school would really meet her needs and was the beginning step in this homeschooling adventure.  

Our Farmer's Market day began with some disappointment but ended happily! We arrived at the market at 9 to find out that they open at noon!  Yikes!  (Snoozing farmers?!?)  We packed up and headed to the closest library and the girls played made the best of the hours that we had to pass.  

We baked our salt dough veggies (beans, peas, potatoes, cauliflower, pumpkins and a fish....yes, a fish). We used book and produce that we brought home from the market as reference.  Madeline wasn't very entertained by this activity so I spend most of the time just chasing her around the kitchen and offering Soph verbal encouragement.

We also decorated the table for the season and spent some time playing "on the farm."  I'd like to get a special table for the girls to decorate for each season but I haven't found anything that works just yet.  It isn't the space so much as it is finding some place that Madeline won't deconstruct within 5 minutes.  So, for now, our kitchen table is our seasonal display.
Our meal blessing, some felted rocks, pipe cleaner flower bouquet and some seasonal veggies.
Everyone has a Ninja farmer, right??
The last two days of Week 1 were spend camping.  What better way to learn about the transition from summer to autumn than actually spending days and nights outdoors?  While camping doesn't always seem like a break for adults in the family, I really appreciate the change in scenery and am always reinforced when I see just how much the girls learn from getting smokey and dirty!

Soph was reminding Madeline that corn comes from the middle "just like in the book."