Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov Prairie Primer: "On The Banks of Plum Creek"

When I posted this picture of me trying to stuff myself , my dress and petticoat in behind the wheel of my Subaru on the way to the co-op meeting, my cousin's comment about a "pioneer airbag" made me LOL. Yes, I'm sure it has been confirmed in our neighborhood that we are officially crazy.  

How is it possible for this unit study to get any more fun? We've learned so much this month. I thought I'd share just some highlights from the two Prairie Primer co-op meetings we've had this month. 

We learned about food chains.

Oxen and animal classification.

Manners charade game. The best part about this game was just before we began, Hailey's hoop skirt came untied and dropped right in front of everyone. Everyone roared with laughter and Hailey laughed right along with them. Great way to start a game about manners, LOL.

Made grasshoppers and studied about the grasshopper infestation of the 1870s.

After reading about how the Ingalls family entertained themselves for days on end while a blizzard blew outside, we all told our favorite story or game we grew up playing. This is the mouse tickle game.

Our children are becoming good friends and it is only November! They look forward to seeing each other and are starting to make plans and such.

"Little Bunny Foo Foo".

My friend read their favorite story, "The Ox Cart Man".

Hailey recited a true poem I wrote about a rogue turkey named George who lived on our ranch when I was about 8 years old. Yep, it was mating season and poor George didn't have a gal turkey around and I guess my mom's back looked pretty good to him. He didn't make it to second base before my dad pulled him across the goat pen by the neck. He was OK, but my mom's shirt wasn't. What did I do, I commemorated the historic event (in my 8 year old mind) into a poem. My kids just think this poem is hilarious even though they don't have a clue what it is really about ;) 

OK, puttin' myself out there with this one. Don't think I'll get any awards for this one but here it is:

"Georgie Porgie turkey pie,
tore Mama's shirt and made her cry.
When Daddy came out to milk the goat,
Georgie Porgie got pulled by the throat."
The End

Then we did one I learned from my Uncle Dave called "Goin' on a Lion Hunt". Can't believe I still remember this stuff!

Josiah and I made a delicious carrot pie and strawberry rhubarb pie. He did all the lattice work and even cut out the flower and leaves.

We couldn't find a goose, so we settled for turkey with homemade biscuits, gravy and the two pies. All the kids turned their noses up when they heard about the carrot pie, but we made them try it and they ended up really liking it. I'll have to post the recipe one of these days.

This unit study has inspired me to dust off my fiddle and start playing again. I played "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" and had a blast. I'm working on "Gum Tree Canoe" and brushing up on my Christmas carols for next month. I tell you, I'm learning just as much as my kids and I'm loving it! I don't want to ever be too old to learn.

Leech presentation. I had no idea that leeches have suckers at both ends and that you never want to burn them off or they throw up in your wound possible giving you bad bacteria. Always use a blunt object or your fingernail to scrape them off gently.

We studied water samples from a pond, creek, river and a lake, identifying creatures and drawing them.

We looked at all the samples under a microscope. We all agreed the pond water was the most interesting.

Of course the best part for me is that we get to dress up! Did I tell you I never got over that as a kid? That was my favorite thing to do when growing up 'cause we didn't have TV. Here are two other homeschool moms who are good sports. We're working on the other two and I have high hopes that they'll be dressed up for the next co-op meeting.  Nothing like a little peer pressure, LOL ;) We had to have one serious pose.

But we were having too much fun not to smile! I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to join forces with these ladies and really give our kids something to look forward to twice a month.  Even though it is a lot of work, it is so worth it!

God Bless,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wildlife Field Trip in the Blues

Last month we had the opportunity to go on a field trip with a Forest Service wildlife biologist and look at animal activity as we move into the winter months. It was quite fascinating and we all learned a great deal. I thought I knew a lot about this subject, but I was surprised at how much more I now will be aware of when out in the woods. Josiah had a job cutting wood that day with a friend so I ended up just taking Hailey. It was our first field trip with just the two of us and we had a good time. It went right along with the things we've been studying in the Prairie Primer.

The biologist, Mark, passed around an deer antler and an elk antler and explained the difference between antlers and horns. Hailey's dear friend, Hannah, was by her side the entire field trip. The had a great time hiking together.

Hailey found some elk tracks and scat. Scat is a fancy word for poop.

We found lots of deer scat, too. 

Umm, chocolate jelly beans! 

Hollow logs are great habitats for wood peckers and other animals.

The kids were tearing apart this large fallen log in hopes of finding a salamander. No such luck, but they had fun trying!

Best buds!

Large gopher hole.

This was our big find of the day, a bear track! The claws are pointing down in this picture. Our homeschool group was so large we split up into two groups. The other group saw a cougar track! 

Mark is talking to us about wood peckers.

Jake is one of Josiah's good friends. Isn't he adorable in this hat?

I had never heard of a squirrel midden before. Basically it is a squirrel's garbage pile. It is made of things like ripped up pine cones as the squirrel eats the seeds out of the cone. They can be quite large. This one surrounds the squirrel's hole.

Mark brought some different track molds so we could make our own animal tracks. It was really neat. This was a bear track. 

Hailey is putting her mittened hand next to a cougar track that Mark made in the sand.

Throwing a few rocks in the creek as we walked along it. It was snowing and beautiful outside without being too cold. Of course the kids got muddy.

I think this pic says it all. Whew, we were all tired by the end of the trip, but it was a good kind of tired. So glad we went! I always love it when we can get out into the real classroom of life :) 

God Bless,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homemade Tooth Soap Recipe: Healthy Alternative to Toothpaste

Ever since reading the booklet called, "The Perfect Prescription For Your Teeth: Three Simple Steps to Perfect Teeth and Gums All the Days of Your Life", we've been using tooth soap.  At first I thought the lady who gave me the booklet was crazy.  I believe eating unrefined sugar, good fats, whole grains, raw dairy and taking excellent vitamins have also contributed to the overall health of our teeth as well as our bodies. 
Dr. Weston Price, DDS, researched "disease-free" cultures and discovered that despite different diets, they all had excellent teeth. Whole, organic foods (when possible) are essential. Necessary nutrients must be present in the body to avoid cavities. You want to see an overall picture of someone's health? Look at their teeth! Good teeth are not a product of genetics but of the chemistry of the enamel and gums. 
See book for details. It is excellent and a quick read. If you live near me, I have a coveted copy that I'm willing to share as long as I get it back :) 
I've converted some of my family members and friends to using this when they've seen my how white my teeth are. My identical twin sis is using it after we compared teeth in the mirror. Mine were significantly whiter. I made her some tooth soap before she left that day, LOL! It takes a little while to adjust to the different taste, but it is doable. The secret is to not have an option. They will get used to it, I promise.

It is very simple to make and inexpensive, too. 

Homemade Tooth Soap Recipe:
4 tsp Dr. Bronner's unscented or peppermint liquid castile soap
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 to 2 tsp Slim Sweet, xylitol (cavity preventing) or Stevia (all have no adverse effects on the teeth)
20 to 30 drops peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, clove (helps with gingivitis and sensitivity) or sweet orange essential oils

1.In a small pan, boil a small amount of water.
2. In a food processor or blender, add 2 Tbl of the boiled water, sweetener, coconut oil, soap and essential oil. Blend until frothy.
3. Pour into a clean lotion dispenser. Because it is so frothy, you'll have to work it into the dispenser using a small funnel. You can forgo this and just store it in an air tight container if you wish. I had a comment from Lisa, a cake decorator, who had the excellent suggestion of scooping it all into a quart-sized ziploc bag, snip one of the bottom corners off, and just "pipe" the tooth soap into a pump bottle. I think that would work way better than a funnel. Thank you for the suggestion, Lisa!  

Use just a small amount on your tooth brush (as shown in picture). I think using a dispenser like this just makes it easier for the kids to use. It doesn't take much on the brush.

If you're teeth feel a little greasy or you have a bad aftertaste, make sure to swish your mouth out with some water. You'll love the way the tooth soap makes your teeth feel. Super clean! 

So much for threatening to wash my kid's mouth out with soap, LOL!

Happy Teeth are Clean Teeth!

God Bless,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall Photo Shoot

I put my favorite at the top of this post. I shot these photos a couple of weeks ago at a local park known for its native grasses and forbs. God blessed me because the next day it got cold and the storms began hitting. The kids were so cooperative and I managed to get some fun pictures of them posing as well as playing. 

It freaks me out how grown up Josiah looks in this pic.

Future homesteader.

Sitting on the steps of the old log cabin.

This is one of my favorites. You can see how much they love each other in this pic.

She is getting as sweet as she is pretty. 

I love this one!

Hailey couldn't resist tickling her brother with long piece of grass. Look at the mischievous look in her eye.

My former employer who was an amazing soil scientist, has a memorial stone in this park. Hailey took some time to pray for him. Bob would have loved that.

Love my redheads!

Playing in the muddy creek bed.

I had a blast taking these pics. I don't have a fancy camera, but I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have. All you bloggy gals who are amazing photographers are inspiring me to try to do better with my pictures. I'm watching you all and what makes a good picture. So keep them coming! In the meantime, I'll keep practicing until I can afford a better camera :)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

God Bless,


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