Monday, October 10, 2011

The Story about Ping

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Have you read The Story about Ping, by Marjorie Flack? It's really old. I loved it when I was a kid.

So I was really excited to find this worksheet on Homeschool Share: Color Ping's Family. (If that link doesn't work for some reason, go to and search "ping.")

Ping has a huge family. This worksheet that I found has a little duck representing every member of Ping's family, and then instructions like, "Color Ping's uncles orange." Ping has seven uncles, so Little Boy picked seven ducks to color orange. And so on.

So there ya go. Reading, counting, and coloring in one activity.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Earthly Families

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"Recognizing that we have a heavenly family helps us understand the eternal nature of our earthly families."

-Richard J. Maynes

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dinosaur Bones!

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I got this idea from...the internet somewhere.

We learned about dinosaurs a couple weeks ago, and for one of the activities Little Boy and Isaac made "fossils."

We smashed some playdough onto the table to represent mud. The idea was to stick dry pasta--representing dinosaur bones--into the playdough to make a dinosaur shape.

Little Boy started out that way--you can see a head, neck, and arms...and maybe the photo there. But then he apparently decided that wasn't 3-D enough for him. Oh, well. We weren't really going for accuracy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview with a One-Year-Old

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I don't really feel like writing a real post tonight (sorry!), so here's something funny instead. It's been all over the internet lately, but in case you haven't seen it:


Monday, August 29, 2011

Latter-day Homeschooling.Com

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I might've said this before, but I've been thinking about writing about the websites that I use to find preschool and homeschooling resources. Because literally (almost) everything I do with Little Boy for preschool comes from the internet.

I don't think I would be homeschooling if the internet weren't available.

Anyway, here's a site that I've been reading for awhile: Latter-day Homeschooling. Their About page says that the site:

"...was created as a gathering place for LDS homeschoolers to share their homeschooling experiences, offer tips, resources, ideas and encouragement to each other. Although we are not an official site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we strive to hold to the standards and values of it. If you are not a member of our church, please know that you are welcome to visit our site as well."

They have posts on all kinds of topics (well, they're all related to the Church and homeschooling, but you know what I mean)--different ages, different school subjects, teaching tools, and a big ol' list of LDS homeschooling blogs.

Some posts that I particularly like are this one about why LDS families should consider homeschooling, this one that my friend Megan wrote (she's one of their new writers), and this one that links back to my post about colored celery (haha, I had no idea they were reading my blog).

Anyway, check Latter-day Saint Homeschooling out. They're a great resource.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Teach Them All We Can

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"If a child lives with parents for 18 or 19 years, that span is only one-fourth of a parent's life. And the most formative time of all, the early years in a child's life, represents less than one-tenth of a parent's normal life. It is crucial to focus on our children for the short time we have them with us and to seek, with the help of the Lord, to teach them all we can before they leave our homes."

-M. Russell Ballard

Sunday, August 21, 2011

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"Parents can and must correct, even chasten, if their children are not to be cast adrift at the mercy of a merciless adversary. President Boyd K. Packer has observed that when a person in a position to correct another fails to do so, he is thinking of himself."

-Elder Todd D. Christofferson

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Precious Little Ones

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"God, our Father, has entrusted precious little ones to our earthly care. To them may we teach prayer, inspire faith, live truth, and honor God. Then we shall have heavenly homes and forever families. For what higher gift could we wish? For what greater blessing could we pray?"

-Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pipecleaners + a Colander =

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the best new toy ever, apparently.

Note: Do not try to use as a hat. The poky pipecleaner ends will getcha.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Preschool on the Go

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I'm gonna tell you a secret about home schooling:

You don't have to actually be at home to do it.

I know, revolutionary! Ha. We do school at home 99% of the time, because...well, we're home a lot. And usually when we're on the go, we skip school for the day.

But once in awhile, if we're going to be in the car and Little Boy will be sitting for a long time, we take a little school with us.

{Note: No, he's not wearing a seatbelt in the photo. We were in a parking lot, waiting for Isaac.}

I love clipboards, by the way. Best school-away-from-home tool ever.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Live Those Teachings

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"It is increasingly clear that we must teach the gospel to our families personally, live those teachings in our homes, or run the risk of discovering too late that a Primary teacher or priesthood adviser or seminary instructor could not do for our children what we would not do for them."

-Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Library Llamas

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No, really. There were llamas at our library.

Well, outside our library.

This was the only photo I got that doesn't have millions of random strangers' faces in it. See the baby llama? One of the cutest things I have ever seen.

{Cross-posted at Teach Me to Walk}

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Let's Play a Game: Blokus

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Have you ever played Blokus? [That's not an affiliate link. I'm just tryin' to be helpful.]

Each player has a set of colored shapes, and they have to try to fit all of their pieces into the game board. But your colored pieces can only touch at the corners. [See above. The pieces kinda remind me of Tetris.]

Little Boy loves it. But here's the thing: we've never taught him the rules. He doesn't actually know how to play the game. But he loves trying to fit all the pieces onto the board, and he likes stacking up the tiles to make different colors [like the blue and the yellow to make green].

And that's why I'm posting about it here. I wouldn't have even thought about giving it to Little Boy when I first played it, but it's turned out to be a good open-ended toy for him. He'll spend a good hour, sometimes, messing around with it.

So take a look around your house. You might have something lying around that would be a great toy for your kid. Be safe, though. I don't want any little ones choking on Blokus pieces as a result of this post.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sesame Street on YouTube

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I'm a little bit picky about what I let Little Boy watch on TV. Educational? Good. Violence? Bad. Spongebob? The boy loves it, so I let it slide.

So he's definitely allowed to watch Sesame Street. I read [in The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell] that Sesame Street was the best program at teaching for decades...until Blue's Clues came along. [Little Boy is also allowed to watch Blue's Clues. Steve is hilarious.]

I love Sesame Street's YouTube channel. It has literally hundreds of Sesame Street clips, and a dozen or so playlists. The playlists are awesome because I can start the first clip and it'll automatically move on to the next clip when the first one is over. That means no more running back-and-forth to the computer when I'm trying to make dinner.

And my absolute fav-o-rite playlist is "Sesame Street Classic Songs." I remember most of those songs from when I was a kid.

Seriously, I dare you to watch this and not dance along.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Take Time While They Are Young

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"Take time for your children and your grandchildren while they are young. Special moments may come only once. Before we are aware, they have grown older, and our best opportunity for teaching them how to live happy and fulfilling lives is past."

-M. Russell Ballard

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Little Boy Loves Scriptures. And Ice Cream.

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Last summer I posted about the new scripture chart we were using. And that we'd gone to Dairy Queen as a reward for finishing it. And that we'd printed out a new chart and started over.

Well, we finished that chart. And printed out another. And then did it again. And then...I dunno. I lost track of how many times we've been through it.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago:

That's Little Boy, at Dairy Queen, celebrating the fourth or fifth time [maybe] that we've made it through that same chart.

I had no idea that we'd stick with it for this long.

We still don't read every night. Not even close. But Little Boy loves it, and he loves ice cream, so we try to read as often as we remember.

[We actually read a page at a time out of the Book of Mormon Stories book--and we haven't finished it yet. After a year. But we have really high hopes for this year! Or next year. Or sometime before Little Boy goes to college. The point is, we're making progress.]

Sunday, July 17, 2011


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"Unfortunately, far too many parents in today’s world have abdicated the responsibility to teach these values and other Church doctrines to their families, believing that others will do it: the peer group, the school, Church leaders and teachers, or even the media. Every day our children are learning, filling their minds and hearts with experiences and perceptions that deeply influence personal value systems."

Monday, July 11, 2011


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I was going to title this post "P.E." as kind of a joke, since...Little Boy's in preschool. And homeschooling. So we don't do formal P.E. That would be silly.

But we do get outside on nice days and run around. Little Boy really likes chasing bubbles around, but we almost never get the bubbles out. So this was kind of a special occasion.

That's my cute sister, by the way. She's a fantastic bubble-blower.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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"Teaching in the home is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where the influence of the adversary is so widespread and he is attacking, attempting to erode and destroy the very foundation of our society, even the family...While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go," ultimately this responsibility rests with parents."

-L. Tom Perry

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Geography: United States Puzzle

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Little Boy got a puzzle of the United States for Christmas. The best kind, with state-shaped pieces.

He had a hard time with it, but knew he would. And I figured that he'd grow into it later this year.

Well...he did.

He looooves it. (I know I talk a lot about Little Boy looooving things. But those are the funnest things to post about. And yes, I just wrote "funnest.")

The day I took this picture, he put that puzzle together five times in a row. Haha, I love that I'm raising such a nerdy kid.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Social Studies: Memorial Day

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If there's one thing that I've learned from all of this homeschooling stuff, it's that I have to teach Little Boy at his level. (Duh, I know. But sometimes I forget.)

So that's why when we went to the park, I think? (Is there a difference between that and a cemetery?), and Little Boy was pretty bored by the whole thing:

we ended up talking mostly about flags instead of history.

Which is good, I guess, since I have a feeling that the Fourth of July will go the same way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tracing...Kind Of

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So, continuing with scaling back on the writing activities--this is another activity that I've seen in lots of places. I can't really give credit to just one source.

I printed out some BIG letters for Little Boy to "trace"--but since he's kind of over tracing with a pen, we've been using little manipulatives to trace the big letters. So it's also a fine-motor activity, yay!

Anyway, here Little Boy's using Craisins to "trace" an upper-case A. We've also used beads and goldfish crackers. I think we might do marshmallows or chocolate chips next--he likes being able to snack on his schoolwork. And really, who can blame him?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Screen Time

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I'm not really big on "screen time" for Little Boy. He gets really grouchy when he's been watching a lot of TV, and it takes a day or two for him to get back to normal.

(He's actually been watching way too much TV lately. Note to self: practice what you blog.)

Anyway, he gets to play the computer sometimes, too. I figure it's good to teach him some computer skills, and I only let him play for 15 - 20 minutes.

So what does Little Boy play when he's on the computer? Well, I'll tell ya: he plays games from PBS Kids.* That's our go-to for computer games for two reasons. 1) He's familiar with the characters. (Ahem. See the note above about too much TV lately.) 2) Most of them have an educational theme.

His favorites are games based on Word World and Sid the Science Kid. Of course, I took a picture when he was playing a not-educational game:

Yeah, the Clifford game isn't my favorite. But he likes it, and we all need some down time, right?

*He plays games from The Head of the Class, too. I swear I'll get around to posting about that site one of these days. Also, this is not a paid advertisement for PBS Kids. We are not cool enough for that kind of thing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Likes & Dislikes

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Whoa! It's been almost three weeks since I last posted on this blog. I know that I only have a handful of readers here, so thanks for sticking around even when I don't put much effort into this blog.

So. I've been a little lost lately about what to teach Little Boy. Too many options, I guess. I looked up a few kindergarten-readiness lists for some ideas, and I put together my own list from that. (He's almost at first grade in a couple of areas. Help!) The list that I put together is mostly social/emotional stuff, and it has a few science-y topics thrown in, too. We're still doing our regular routine with reading and math.

Anyway, I think this falls under the social/emotional category. Little Boy definitely knows what he likes and what he doesn't like, but I wanted to talk through that a little more with him. So I got out some papers that I had laying around (I think they're left over from teaching Primary...?) that have a big heart drawn in the middle. I asked Little Boy to think of something that he liked, and then he drew a picture of it in the heart and I wrote down a little sentence at the bottom that he dictated to me. (i.e., "Little Boy likes giraffes.")

(Why, yes, there's a banana sticking out of Little Boy's head. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, in this picture he decided that he liked his ball and his square blocks. I'm pretty sure he picked those because he knew he could draw them. He doesn't draw much. Another time, he said he liked pancakes and noodles. I don't have a picture of that one, but trust me, it's cute.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Arts & Crafts: Puzzle!

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This one was fun. We made a little puzzle out of one of Little Boy's drawings.

I gave him some cardstock, markers, and stickers, and told him to draw whatever he wanted. So he drew...a ball. I suggested that maybe he'd like to, y'know, color it in. A bunch of white space = not a fun puzzle.

Anyway, then he stuck stickers all over the paper, and I cut it into biggish puzzle pieces. He was really excited about putting it together.

After trying it once, though, he said that it was "too tricky" to get the pieces to fit together. Meaning, the pieces slid around too much. We'll try it again another time, I guess.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


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So, remember this post, when I tried to have Little Boy "write" numbers with cotton balls--and it didn't quite work?

Yeah. So I decided to take a step back with the writing-type activities. I didn't get this one from anywhere in particular; I've seen it lots of places. It's pretty basic. And it was much easier for Little Boy:

That's rice in the tray. You could put pretty much anything in the tray, though--pudding, beans, sand, shaving cream...anyway, I took the magnetic numbers off our front door again, so he could imitate the shapes of the numbers and "write" them in the rice with his finger.

Like I said, this was much easier for him. I've got a couple more activities like this up my sleeve--I hope they'll work as well as this one did.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Art: Painting in the Rain

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Okay, so this one was a little bit of an "oops" on my part.

The idea of this project is to draw a picture with washable markers on heavy paper or cardstock. Then stick it out in the rain for a few minutes, and the colors will run--if you do it right, it turns out really cool.

So I gave Little Boy a piece of cardstock and some markers and told him to draw whatever he wanted.

And now, I want to make a little side note. The picture above is cropped because Little Boy had written his name on the original paper. I don't put Little Boy's real name on my blog, and here's a decent (and scary) explanation of why.

Anyway, I put Little Boy's picture in the rain and...I forgot about it. I only left it out there for twenty minutes or so, but that was way too long.

Oops. Little Boy still thought it was pretty cool, so I guess it wasn't a total bust.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weirdest Science Project Ever

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These are normal basil seeds. Notice that they are dry. This will be important later.

I read (in The Mailbox, of course) about a cute little science experiment you can do with basil seeds--stick 'em in a bottle full of water, leave them in a sunny window sill, and they'll sprout in a few days. Cool, because then your little tyke can see the roots and the leaves sticking out of the seeds.

And, yeah, that's what happened. We got roots and sprouts within about four days.

But what the magazine did NOT tell me is what happens when you put basil seeds in water. I was seriously weirded out.

Gross, right? I thought something was horribly wrong with my seeds. They kinda look like frog eggs, which is cool, but that's a completely different science lesson and not what I was going for here.

Anyway, I consulted Dr. Google, and sweet Dr. Google assured me that this is normal. In fact, gelatinous basil seeds are a delicacy in some Asian countries.

I had no idea.

So, there ya go. A bizarre, but really cool, science experiment and a little cultural factoid that you can throw in there if you want. Two for the price of one.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Play-Doh Balls

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We don't play with Play-Doh very often. I kind of forget that we have it. So when we do get it out, it's a big occasion.

Little Boy tends to get into a Play-Doh rut. He'll learn how to do something new with it, and then do it over and over again. I don't really mind that, but sometimes we need to shake things up a little.

This time, I tried to teach Little Boy to roll Play-Doh into a ball. See those little wormy-shaped things? Those are the "balls" Little Boy made.

And then we stacked them up, just for the heck of it. Turns out that the wormy-shaped Play-Doh balls were good for sticking into the little spaces in the Play-Doh pile.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yarn Art

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I got this activity out of some kind of math-for-kids book. Little Boy liked it more than I thought he would.

First, he had to sort a bunch of strands of yarn by length--long, medium and short. He was supposed to put the yarn in the envelopes, but that turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. So he just piled the yarn on top of the envelopes.

And then I gave him a sheet of paper and a bottle of glue and let him go crazy. I didn't give any direction for the gluing--just glue the yarn wherever.

Oh! And this was the first time he's managed to squeeze a bottle of glue and move it around where he wanted it--without having a meltdown because it wasn't working like he wanted it to. So that was a small victory.

It totally looks like modern art. We could sell that for a squillion dollars, I bet.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Rest of Our Homeschool Day

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So...I forgot to finish the little series I was doing about our daily homeschool schedule.


Anyway, here's how the rest of our homeschool day goes. After we do some reading, we do...everything else. That is, whatever other activities I have planned. The subject and format of the activities changes every day, based on what I have prepared and what I feel like doing.

(Because, y'know, this whole homeschool thing is all about me and what I feel like.)

Anyway. The "other" activities are sometimes games we play on the floor:

Here he's trying to pick up beads with a clothespin. I think we were pretending that the clothespins were bird beaks and the beads were birdseed.

Tracing used to be a regular part of the routine--he was obsessed, kinda--until about a week ago. He won't trace at all now. So we'll start that again when he feels like it.

Or we do an art project or a little science experiment at the table. That's a glittery snowman, with enormous snowflakes falling around it.

Most days, we do two of the above. When we're really lucky, we do all three. Sometimes we also do a little video or game from The Head of the Class. I'm planning on doing a later blog post on The Head of the Class, because it's been a pretty good supplement to the other stuff we're doing.

Unless I totally forget to post about it, like I did with this one.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Math? Pre-writing? Both?

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Well, here's another one that didn't work out.

Little Boy was supposed to look at a number (we got these magnets at the dollar store, but they look like Melissa & Doug) and then "write" it with cotton balls.

He just couldn't quite do it. Next time, I think I'll print out big numbers, and he can lay the cotton balls right on top. Kinda like tracing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


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So, after we do a bit of calendar and weather stuff, we move on to reading. If we have some Bob books handy from the library, we'll read one of those:

And then we do a lesson out of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. If we don't have Bob books around, then we just skip straight to this book.

Little Boy is flying through Ordinary Parent's Guide. He just caught on to reading really quickly, and he can't get enough of it ever since.

I want to point out right here that I don't really think of Little Boy as "advanced" just because he reads well. Every kid has strengths, and this is one of his. If you want to read about something he was not good at, go to my personal blog and search for "potty training." Heh.

Next up in our preschool day: everything else!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weather and Calendar Time

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So, after doing all the church-y stuff, we move on to calendar stuff. It only takes a couple minutes.

We chart the weather using this graph from Confessions of a Homeschooler (scroll down to "Calendar Time" and click on "Weather Graphing"). I like this because it's also a sneaky math activity. I think this is all the weather graphing we did in November. Remember how I said we don't do everything every day?

And then there's calendar time. We take a look at a regular calendar to see what the date is, and if it's a holiday or something, we talk about that. Once in awhile, we sing a little song about Days of the Week or Months of the Year, but Little Boy memorized those so quickly that I don't really bother anymore.

And then he switches our "perpetual calendar" to the right date. (I got it at Target last fall for...I dunno, maybe two dollars.) He insists on doing this by himself.

And that's it. I'd really like one of those pocket calendar thingies (like this one), but for now what we're doing works for us.

Next up: reading!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Our Changed Schedule

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{Last May. A lot has changed since then.}

Some of my first posts on this blog were about what "Learning Time" looked like at our house.

That was almost a year ago. Looking back at those posts, I can hardly remember doing some of it--Little Boy has learned so much since then.

I think our preschool routine is more like a slow evolution than a sudden change--it changes so slowly that I hardly notice it.

So I thought I'd do a few posts on what our preschool time looks like now. I really don't do all of these things every day, but I try to do most of them. And on really, really good days, we get to all of it.

The very first thing we do is read a scripture and talk about a scripture story from this schedule that some kind lady posted on Sugardoodle. I don't follow it exactly. But we've kept up with the scripture of the month and we do a different scripture story each week, even if it's not the one on the schedule.

After that, I read a story out of the Friend. Most of the stories and activities are a bit too advanced for Little Boy, so I adapt them or skip over the ones for older kids.

Up next: calendar and weather!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marshmallows and Toothpicks

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I don't think I stole this idea from anywhere in particular, but I didn't come up with it on my own, either. It's a pretty common project.

And all you need is toothpicks and mini marshmallows. How's that for cheap?

{Had a little too much fun with the photo editing. Heh.}

Anyway, the gist is that you stick the toothpicks into the marshmallows. If your kid is pretty little, you can just leave it at that. As your kids get older, you can have them make shapes and little sculptures.

Little Boy loved it, but he insisted on copying whatever I made. He's really into this building stuff, but creativity isn't one of his strengths right now. Oh, well. I finally stopped building and made him think up some shapes on his own.

I don't have a photo of all the stuff we made, but we used up a whole lotta toothpicks and marshmallows. Not ALL the marshmallows, though. We had to save some for snacking on afterward.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Storybook Shelf

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So...I made a third blog.

Y'know, because I do such a good job of keeping up my other two blogs. (Heh.)

It's like...a children's book review blog. I love to read, and I love all kinds of books. And I love recommending books to other people.

So I started The Storybook Shelf to help me remember children's books my family has liked, and to maybe help my friends find books that their kids might like. Children's books are fun, and let's be honest...both children and adults can enjoy a good children's book.

It doesn't quite work the same with grown-up books.

So, if that sounds like something you might want to look at, click on through. I don't update it very often yet, but I hope to pick up the pace soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Science: Colored Celery

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Here's a pretty common science experiment. Cut one end off a stalk of celery, and stick the cut end in colored water.

We used A LOT blue food coloring. I wanted to make sure the color would show up.

Leave the celery alone for 24 hours. And then check out what happens!

Ta-da! Blue celery!

I checked the celery after a couple hours, and I could already see a blue tinge. The blue was much darker by the next day.

I have to admit, I have a hard time explaining science experiments to a four-year-old. But this one's good for showing how a plant sucks water up through the stem and leaves.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our Education Must Never Stop

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“Our education must never stop. If it ends at the door of the classroom on graduation day, we will fail. And we will need the help of heaven to know which of the myriad things we could study we would most wisely learn. We cannot waste time entertaining ourselves when we have the chance to read or to listen to whatever will help us learn what is true and useful. Insatiable curiosity will be our hallmark.”

-Henry B. Eyring
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