P31 Wannabe

HS: Wee Gillis (FIAR 2) September 25, 2012

Filed under: Books,FIAR,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 5:30 pm

(Resource links added at end, 10/5/12)


When Haddie saw the only black and white pictures inside Wee Gillis she kept telling me that she didn’t want to read it (this was 1-2 weeks before we were even ready to row it). She kept saying that she wanted a book with colors. She mentioned it a few more times and each time I told her we were still going to read it. And finally, a few days before we started, she started begging to read it. I’m so glad she changed her mind!

Day One
I had her guess what the story was about before we read it.
Haddie: “a horse. A horse named Wee.”
Me: “what about the gillis part?”
Haddie: “that’s the dog. There’s a dog in the story named Gillis.”

Well, she was wrong on both accounts. No dog and no horse. But she didn’t even remember once we started reading. I think this book is going to be a lot of fun. It’s a cute and interesting story.

After reading, we watched a YouTube video of a man playing bagpipes. I was just going to watch one, but she begged for more, so we watched a longer video of compiled pictures of Scotland. She liked seeing all the castles and long haired cows.

Next, we found Scotland on the big map. Well, it wasn’t marked on ours. We found the UK and I pointed out the northern area where Scotland is located (after searching google first. Yep, I’m learning a lot while teaching! Many things I should have already known, too).

Then we got to work making a pretend set of bagpipes. Haddie was very excited about these and kept going around “playing” them.


While reading the bagpipe books I pointed out the kilts and explained what they were. Her response to men wearing skirts, “that’s weird! What do the girls wear? Shorts?”

And a side note about the bagpipe books.


I found them while searching for kids’ bagpipe books at the library. They’re both fiction, but I wouldn’t recommend the Cold Feet book. I guess it’s based on a folk tale or something, but it’s creepy and not appropriate for younger children. It’s about this poor bagpiper that finds a frozen dead body in the woods. He likes the dead man’s boots so he ends up breaking of his frozen feet (because he can’t get the boots off), and waiting until the feet thaw so he can get the boots. Then playing a trick on a farmer by feeding his cow the dead man’s feet. Yikes. The story is told in a much “nicer” way but that’s basically the plot. I had already started reading the book before I realized what was happening, so I discretely edited out a lot of it while reading.

Day Two

We read Wee Gillis again and while reading we reviewed where he lived, what clothing the men wore (and difference between the highlanders and low landers), and what the first month of the year is. Then learned about fractions. I pointed out the times half is mentioned in the book (“felt pulled in half” and “standing halfway up and halfway down”). We read a really cute book about fractions and had her answer each of the questions in it. I’d highly recommend this cute story:


Then we did a couple of half fraction worksheets from education.com. Haddie decided to make her own desk from a laundry basket. And she did surprisingly well on the worksheets.


Then we made shortbread cookies since they are popular in Scotland.


Day Three

Haddie started out the day by completing two more half fraction worksheets. We reviewed the states we’ve been learning (not a FIAR activity, but school nonetheless). At nap time we spent some time looking at the pictures in a couple different books about sheep (too complicated to read to her, but we talked about the highlights), then we read Wee Gillis again, and finally a silly book about counting sheep.

Day Four

At nap time (yes, again!) we read a book about breathing and lungs and practiced breathing (pointing out that we breathe through our nose mainly), feeling where our rib cages are (talking about how they protect our lungs), and feeling our hearts beat (our hearts are in the middle left side of our lungs, and help pump the blood through our body and lungs to get the oxygen). Then we read some poems from a children’s poetry book. We talked about how many of the children’s rhymns and songs she knows are actually poems (i.e. Mary had a Little Lamb, Over the River and Through the Woods).

Day Five
I discovered a lot of math manipulatively in a bin that a teacher friend had given me a while ago so we spent some time playing with them this morning. Then we did some patterns with m&ms (from a math m&m book also from said friend).

Later on we finally got to some Wee Gillis work. We did her language arts notebook and talked about the setting, she chose a vocab word to draw (highlands) and then we wrote down what her name would have been if we added family names like Wee Gillis’.

We did some social studies by coloring the Scotland flag and finding/coloring Scotland on a Europe map. We put the months in order (using the printable list from homeschool share) and quoted them over and over until she seemed to get at least some of them right.

For art, she drew a picture and then I photocopied it on the printer to show her what itd look like as a monochrome drawing like the Wee Gillis book. We also compare and contrasted the oatmeal pictures.

Day Six
Today we took one last trip to the zoo before our year pass expires. After an attempted naptime we squeezed in some school.

We mainly focused on science today. We did a fog experiment (from online), talked about fog and watched a short video about fog on YouTube (wasn’t too impressed with it).


Next we did some lung experiments. We tested our lung capacity by blowing up balloons (more like tested our ability to even blow up balloons!).


We also did an experiment with blowing water out of a 2-liter (found it in a FIAR website). We looked through a couple books about breathing and lungs (most of it was too advanced for her).

Next we read Wee Gillis for the last time. While reading I stopped occasionally and let her fill in the sentences. We also found the shadows and traced them up using a ruler to find the light source.

Then we practiced making our own shadow drawings. I first drew a tree an sun and had her draw the shadow. Then she drew a dog house and I drew its shadow. Then we learned how to do cross-hatching like the pictures in Wee Gillis, only we did it in color. I drew a face with puffed up cheeks and cross-hatched cheeks. Then she did the same. Please excuse my lack of artist ability. My drawing’s on the left.
Just kidding. It’s the other one.


We really enjoyed this cute book and learning about Scotland. I’m looking forward to the next book we’re rowing (A New Coat For Anna). Although we probably won’t start it until next week since I have to get it ordered from another library. We’re going to have fun with weaving, bartering and dyeing fabric.

Helpful Wee Gillis Links:







Homeschool share resources: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/resources_wee_gillis.php

Bagpipes craft: http://twobarefootragamuffins.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/first-week-wee-gillis/



FIAR Quilt! September 24, 2012

Filed under: Crafts,FIAR,Homeschooling — Lacey @ 1:27 am

While searching for some resources online for the upcoming book we’ll be rowing (A New Coat for Anna), I found the neatest idea–making a FIAR quilt!

I am seriously so excited right now.  Probably not the best thing since its 1 am!  Now I can’t wait to start looking for material for each of the four books we’ve rowed so far.  I won’t need much to only make a square for each book. How small of a piece of fabric can you buy? Well, I’m guessing I’d only need a quarter of a yard or less.  I can’t wait to be on the lookout for giraffe, owl, dog and plaid (for Scotland) fabrics! This is gonna be fun.

Now, I’ll just have to come up with a consistent and somewhat easy pattern to do for the quilt.  I can’t wait! Yes, I know I’m lame…and geeky, in a crafty-homeschool-mom kinda way.



HS: Owl Moon (FIAR 2) September 15, 2012

Filed under: Books,FIAR,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 8:15 pm

(updated with resource links at bottom)

We ended up taking a week and half break from school. Not really intentionally, but it just ended up this way since Seth and I took a mini vacation at the beginning of the week and then I had to spend the rest of the week catching up on cleaning. Then we had to spend all of Saturday cleaning up our old house again. Please pray it sells soon!

Well, school has started slowly this week, too. Grandpa came to visit for Labor Day weekend and Haddie had lots of fun with him!




We also finally got some tadpoles and froglets for her tadpole aquarium from Ace Hardware for free!


Ok, enough of all that. Now to the actual book.

Day One
We squeezed in a little bit of school today. We read the story for the first time. I talked briefly about the Caldecott Medal on the front of it. Then we read Dr. Seuss’ book “All About Space.”

Day Two
While reading the book, we stopped to listen to some different owl sounds from online. I also had her make the owl sounds each time during the story.

Next, we read a simple book about Barn Owls. The owl in Owl Moon is a Great Horned Owl, so I had her look at the two pics and point out the differences:


Next we played an owl noun game I found online. She put each little owl in the right owl nest (who, what, where or why). It took her a little while to get it but she finally seemed to catch on.


Afterwards, we looked at a book about types of speech that I had ordered from the library. It ended up being quite a bit more complicated than I had expected. So we just reviewed similes and briefly introduced hyperboles. Then we looked through Owl Moon for some examples.

Also, before nap time we read a book about similes called, “My Heart is Like a Zoo.” We had previously read this one a couple weeks ago during our Three Names study.

Day Three
Today we didn’t actually read the Owl Moon book, but we did do a few related activities.

First, we read a book about the moon. Then we made the phases of the moon with Oreos. I actually had to consult Pinterest to see all 8 moon phases since the book didn’t clearly spell out each.



We also did some math by completing an owl worksheet. We took turns rolling dice and then coloring the corresponding number. I let her do all the counting. It was fun until we got stuck at the end trying to roll a 12!



We’ve also been working more on learning the states during breakfast. She’s been blowing me away recently with her ability to rattle off 20 states all by herself. She’s only needing help with 4 others!


Day Four
Today we took a break from the book activities and went to the zoo with her cousins. I did make sure to stop and see the owl. Although he was sleeping most of the time so Haddie wasn’t too impressed. But we did have a lot of fun looking at all the animals and swimming in the kids’ water area.



Day Five
Today we got back to reading Owl Moon. While reading we stopped to talk about the rule that the Pa let the little girl bend in order to go owning. Then we talked about what rules we have (bedtime, not getting out of bed, being quiet in certain places), why and what rules she’s sometimes allowed to break (staying up late to watch a movie with daddy).

We also stopped at times to talk about the character qualities the little girl showed (self control, bravery, not getting disappointed easily) and when Haddie has shown them.

I also had her guess what season it was in the book (winter) and how she could tell (snow). And of course I had her make the owl hoots during the story. It’s more fun hearing her do it than trying myself.


Next we did an owl art project.


Then we worked on some math. We talked about how the girl stared at the owl for one minute. I had Haddie stare at the owl page for as long as she thought a minute was. She lasted 8 seconds. Haha. Then I had her look at it while I timed a minute. She couldn’t believe how long the minute was. She also wanted to do a few pages of a princess math book so we did that.

She also wanted to do a couple writing pages from her princess alphabet book. She worked on writing p’s and m’s and she practiced tracing and copying the word ‘Princess’ and the names ‘Mulan,’ and ‘Tiana.’ Not that those are very important but whatever gets her excited about writing, right?

We also played an owl game called Fly By Night that taught her compass directions.


It took her quite a while to catch on and I don’t think she totally gets it yet, but it was a good introduction. I guess directions are considered social studies/geography?

And at nap time we read a book about forest and forest animals.

Day Six
We worked on learning more states. Today she pointed out 22 states on her own!

Next we read another book about the moon and did a phases of the moon worksheet. I think this is one of the first times she’s actually been able to use those white crayons/colored pencils, although it probably doesnt show up very well in the picture.


We talked about how the little girl was excited to spend time owling with her daddy and then Haddie came up a few of her favorite ways of spending time with her Daddy. Then she colored a mini book of them.


We read a book about time and talked about how many seconds are in a minute and minutes in an hour, etc.

And at nap time we read a book about woodlands and woodland animals and then “My Dog Smells Like Dirty Socks” (a cute book about similes).

Day Seven
Today is Saturday and we’re finishing up the final Owl Moon activities. Haddie has actually been begging me to do more “Owl Moon school” today. So I’m happy to oblige since we’re actually home this weekend.

First we made some moon sand (thanks to Pinterest). She played with it for quite a while and honestly it was neat to play with. The texture was neat. It was harder and dry but once you held it it become wet and loose.


Next we read another cute simile book and then Owl Moon again. During Owl Moon she practiced calling out the similes and finding the hidden animals.

Then she did some art. She practiced doing realistic drawing while looking at simple objects.


Then we did her language arts notebook by talking about the setting of the story and choosing a new word she learned. We talked about the new words she learned: Great Horned Owl, talons and nocturnal. She decided to draw nocturnal. I was impressed with her detailed drawing this time. She drew the craters on the moon and even something in the horned owl’s beak that it was bringing back for its babies.


Next we did a woodland animal picture. I used the pictures from the printable mini book on one of the homeschool sites and had Haddie draw a background and paste the pictures on it. Afterwards, we read another book about time and did a mini time book.

I had forgotten about the moon phases YouTube videos I had booked when planning the lessons so we finally watched those:

Phases of the Moon (rock version)

Phases of the Moon (funky kid version)

While on YouTube we also ended up searching “owl moon,” and watching a few short owl clips.

And later after nap time we finished our Owl Moon activities by practicing making different moon phases with powdered sugar in a pie tin.


We had a good time with all the owl and moon activities. Honestly, I wasn’t super impressed with the book otherwise. It was good but I liked the other books we’ve done already better. But I’d still recommend rowing it.

Resource links

Owl activities:





Moon Activities

Homeschool Share Resources

Five in a row blogs:






Dresser Makeover September 13, 2012

Filed under: Crafts,Life — Lacey @ 7:37 pm

My dad bought Haddie this dresser before she was born.


It was a neutral color and I never got around to repainting it to match her room better. Well, after seeing a number of dresser makeovers on pinterest, I got inspired to finally redo it. Well, my inspiration was a couple months ago and I am finally now working on it. I started the project on Haddie’s 4th bday and decided it would be a good birthday gift.

I gave Haddie a choice of 3 different scrapbook paper designs at Hobby Lobby. I bought a stack of the paper and then chose a paint color that would match the paper and her room. I painted her dresser drawers first. I think I did 2 or 3 coats of paint. After the drawers dried for a day, I then mod podged the scrapbook paper to the drawer. I started to do put the glue both under and on top of the paper, but I didn’t like the look, so I settled for just brushing on the homemade mod podge (half glue half water) then carefully smoothing the paper on top. After it dried, I spray painted it with clear paint. I think I did 4 coats to seal it well. I was going to take off the handles and even bought new pretty ones, but they wouldn’t come off and I was afraid the wood was going to break. So I settled for keeping the handles. They did make it a bit more complicated in cutting the paper around the handles! But I managed.


It took a week or two until I finally got to the dresser itself. I did 2-3 coats of pink depending on the area.


After it dried for a few days I mod podged the scrapbook paper onto the doors. Thankfully I didn’t have to go around handles this time. After it dried I sprayed a good 4-5 coats of clear paint on it. I also sprayed the handles to hopefully keep any wearing of the paint down.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out! The picture and lighting really doesn’t do it justice.



Delicious Whole Wheat Pancakes

Filed under: Breakfast,Recipes — Lacey @ 6:56 pm

The past couple months I’ve been trying to keep my freezer stocked with homemade pancakes and waffles for easy and healthier breakfasts. Saving money is also a plus side, too! We ran out of both (waffles and pancakes, that is) last week so I knew I needed to have an extended breakfast cooking day soon. And that day was today. I made English muffins and pancakes. The last recipe I tried for whole wheat pancakes was good, but I wondered if there was anything better out there.

I saw the Dr. Oz recipe on pinterest, but it called for a number of ingredients I didn’t have and not likely to invest in. So, after more careful searching I found this one from skinny taste:

Whole Wheat Pancakes

These pancakes were great. The cinnamon and vanilla added a yummy and unexpected flavor and they rose a lot while cooking. More than most pancakes. So I ended up with some monsters! I’ll definitely make these again!


Cashew Chicken

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 6:49 pm


I saw cashew chicken on pinterest forever ago and finally decided to give it a try. However when I went to find the pin, it had seemingly disappeared. I searched for cashew chicken on pinterest but most of them led to spam and couldn’t be opened or had ingredients I didn’t want to buy. So I resorted to googling. After sorting through a few different recipes I finally found this one:

Cashew Chicken

I bought the hoisin sauce and rice vinegar at Walmart but skipped the sesame oil. Honestly, I don’t like buying a lot of ingredients that I’m not going to use for any other dish. Maybe I’ll have to make more Chinese so I can justify it. Haha. And believe it or not, this is the first time I have actually bought scallions. Yep. I’m not a big onion person and I’m just too cheap usually. But anyways.

This dish was yummy and pretty easy. My picky four year old actually ate all of her first plate and asked for seconds, which is unheard of when it’s not spaghetti. So it’s a winner in my book!


Summer School–Week 6&7 September 10, 2012

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 2:05 am

(I’m a bit behind on finishing and actually publishing some of the posts I started this summer. Here’s one of them from the first week of July.)

Last week we went on a family camping vacation for 3 days in the good ol’ rustic camper (think Seth spent $500 to buy it and he’s done all the repairs himself…). It was the four of us (Us parents, Haddie and Jenco). We had a great time even though Tropical storm Debby sent us lots of rain.

I was excited when I found some camping themed school activities/pages for Haddie to do. While driving we read lots of books.

She was so excited to do her “camping school” and kept begging to do it while we were driving. She did the counting game w the clothespin while we were driving but she didn’t stick with it long. Once we got all set up at the camp ground, she first did the camping dice and graphing activity.



She also did another graphing page this week and we talked about the different results. I also had her make a prediction (and explained what it was) about which camping item would get the highest results.


I also gave her a Tinkerbell drawing pad that came with cardboard stencils from the dollar section at Target. She got a lot is use of it and got to practice some fine motor skills 🙂


We also played some games on the trip that gave her a chance to practice counting, taking turns, being a good sport and just having fun. One of the games we played was Pretty Pretty Princess and we were able to rope the guys into playing with us!



The second day we went on a camping scavenger hunt (also from the free printables). We each got a small paperbag that had the list staple on it and we used highlighters to mark off what we found. We discovered that the rangers sure do keep the hiking trails clean. It sure made finding the litter items on our list hard to find.




We had fun exploring the trail. Although the rain and mosquitos made it more challenging.



After two mile hike we regrouped and emptied our soaked and torn bags onto the back of Seth’s truck to see who won (me!).



Haddie didn’t get to the rest of the camping pages during the trip so she did the rest this week. She worked on spelling camping words with a Upwords board and pieces:



She did a pattern matching activity and a what’s different page:


We read a neat book that had all kinds of facts like the coldest, hottest, highest, and deepest places on earth.


We finally used our zoo passes again and this time we went with some of our (mine & Haddie’s) best friends.






I do have to say that the guitar playing volunteer was an interesting addition to the petting zoo. And bless his heart, he wasn’t very good. But thankfully the animals didn’t seem to mind.


We finished this week with a kids’ event at church. Haddie was quite excited about going to play cakeball (messy kickball):


And she did quite well handling getting so messy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how’d she react. Although I still don’t think she’s completely gotten the whole kickball concept down.



Household Helps (Pinterest Successes) September 7, 2012

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 3:00 pm

I started thinking about all the neat tips I’ve found on Pinterest and how some of them have worked and others have flopped. For those fails, I wish someone who had tried them had warned me so I didn’t waste money or time on them. And for those successes I’d like to know, too, so I can add them into arsenal of helpful tips and projects. Anything to make life easier is great! So, that’s just want I’m going to do in this 2 hour truck ride (yes, Seth begged and begged for us to take his truck. His now green truck…).

So, here we go. The following are tips that I have tried many a time and are still using. And of course, all are pinterest inspired. I tried to include the pic and original link when possible.

Wrapping Celery in Tin Foil


This trick really does keep the celery crisper for longer. In my past few months of attempting on and off to eat more healthy, I have bought many a head of celery. And this is by far the best way to store it. I’ve tried leaving it in the package from the store, cutting it up and putting the cut stalks in a cup of water in the fridges and putting the cut stalks in a Tupperware container. However, the foil does the best, hands down! I usually wash and cut my celery stalks up then roll up in foil. Makes me much more likely to eat it if it’s clean, crisp and easy to grab!

Handscrub (Mary Kay copycat)


I have made a few different types of hand scrubs but this is probably favorite. It smells great and has the soap already in it so no need to wash your hands afterwards. Also, it doesn’t dry up like a lot of other scrubs. I made two containers of it and put it in each of our showers for easy use especially after working outside or painting or such.

Microfiber couch cleaner


I figured this would come in handy with my couch since we have the youth group over every week. There have been numerous spills on it but I still wasn’t motivated to try this until I discovered this:

I still am not sure how a permanent marker ended up open on my couch but I was so frustrated when I saw this. I was thinking, surely this is it. The ouch is never going to be the same. But once I tried this cleaning method with rubbing alcohol I was pleasantly surprised. It got the stain almost completely gone. And now it’s at least not noticeable at all. One of these days I’ll break down and clean the rest of the couch to freshen it up. Yep, one of these days.

Freshening Up Towels


I use this washing method all the time now! I don’t double wash every load of towels but every other week or so I try to do this to keep them clear of any mildew smell. Ive also used this with Haddies sheets after an accident, and with loads of laundry that I’ve forgotten too long in the washer. Just make sure you let the vinegar mix with the water a bit first before you throw your laundry in. Straight vinegar can sometimes bleach clothes.

Cleaning Stove Burners


This cleaning method is amazing. My burners and covers got sooo much cleaner than they ever have from me cleaning them my hand or sticking them in the dishwasher (the covers that is). I also didn’t have any problems with residue or using then afterwards. After leaving them to soak overnight I just had to wipe and rinse them off. Beware though, ammonia is so strong so I’d store them in ziploc bags outside
while soaking.

Tub Cleaner


Ive made a few batches of this tub cleaner. It’s amazing on soap scum! It isn’t as great on mildew stains but I’d still recommend it. Also, it does smell strong even though it’s not bleach.


Lemon Pepper Tilapia September 6, 2012

Filed under: Main Courses,Recipes — Lacey @ 8:37 pm

Made this tonight again for the third time and I think it was the best yet!


I found the recipe on Pinterest and paired it with the Best Broccoli of your life. They both have lemony flavors so they go well together. Honestly, I’m not a big broccoli or fish fan but these recipes actually make both rather delicious!

Here’s the tilapia recipe:
Lemon Pepper Tilapia

I have never used the green peppercorns it calls for and the recipe always turns out great. I usually double or triple the recipe, too.

This time I added some cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it more and after it had boiled a while I added the tilapia back in to simmer for a few minutes. Then I squeezed a little more fresh lemon juice on top. It was wonderful! My picky eater even ate it all up and asked for more! That’s a win in my book!