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Showing posts from September, 2014

Apple Picking at Prairie Sky Orchard

One of our family fall traditions is to go apple picking. Around the Chicagoland area there are several orchards, the only problem is that some of them aren't sure if they want to be orchards or amusement parks.  Now I have nothing wrong with amusement parks, I quite enjoy them actually, but when I think about picking apples I'm not really wanting rides or concerts. I personally believe apple picking should be simple: a pretty setting, a wagon, and my family. What about you? Do like to keep apple picking simple or do you prefer to make an event out of it? 

So we are very glad we stumbled upon Prairie Sky Orchard by accident. This year we had picked out an orchard in Woodstock to visit but when I was checking details the night before, I found out they were out of u-pick apples for the week. A few google searches led us to Prairie Sky, and since it was actually twenty minutes closer to our home we figured we'd give it try. 

We are so glad that we did. We're pretty certa…

Literature Based Kindergarten Curriculum, "Over In The Meadow"

Primary LiteratureOver in the Meadow, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. I choose this for our second book for a couple reasons. First, it's a classic counting rhyme, one that I wanted to make sure my children were familiar with. I also enjoy Keats's illustrations in this book,  they are entrancing! Finally, I find it fascinating how many versions of this rhyme/story exist. Many people credit Olive Wadsworth for writing this rhyme in the late 1800's but it may in fact be even older. 

Vocabulary words to reviewMeadow - grassland Chirp - a short high-pitched soundEven - equal/sameBask - to lie in a warm spotShady - free of sun and heat
Complementary Literature: We read a couple other versions of Over in the Olive A. Wadsworth and Anna Vojtechby John Langstaff and Feodor Rojankovsky This book also has great illustrations, the colored pencil drawings are enchanting. We  read a few similar themed books but with different locations.Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Mar…

Parenting is Hard...or...Why Can't They Just Use the Freaking Toilet

I've debated about sharing difficult/awkward stuff like this on my blog, but this past weekend when talking to a friend, she laughed and sighed, "I am so glad my boys aren't the only ones." My kids are amazing and I have complete faith that they are going to grow up to be some pretty outstanding adults. There are times though that parenting them is hard, and just simply a struggle.

One such area is my boys aversion to using the toilet. I kind of thought I was a bit of a rockstar parent, all my children were potty trained by two and half. It wasn't a struggle, we didn't follow any programs, it just happened. Then I started discovering urine in drawers and corners.  In their defensive, we live in an old home, so we only have one bathroom and it's on the second floor. Their playroom, on the other hand, is in the basement. I partly blame Jeremy, because several summers ago he taught the boys that they could pee in discrete locations outside. They then thought …

Literature Based Kindergarten Curriculum, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom"

Primary Literature:
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, I thought this was a great book to start out with since Mini Man and Little Lady are still mastering their letters. They know the ones that are 'important' to them, like the ones in their name or the beginning letters of their family/friends' names, but still struggle with a few of the rest. 
Complementary Literature:
They memorized, ABC from The Real Mother Goose.
"Great A, little a, 
Bouncing B
The cat's in the cupboard, and can't see me."

We read two of Bill Martin's other books: Chicka Chicka 123 and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?On Market Street, is cute alphabet book introducing all the merchants on market street. This is a Caldecott honor book and my children were completely mesmerized by the pictures...there may have been a little tussle over who was the first to look through the book when I was done reading it. Bruno Munari's ABC, another fabulously illustrated book. Simple watercolor painti…

Mini Man's and Little Lady's PreK/Kindergarten Literature Curriculum

When Big Buddy was in Kindergarten, we did a lot of monthly unit studies. You can see some of them here. However, now that Mini Man and Little Lady are Kindergarten/PreK I've decided to take a different route. Instead of doing unit studies we are going to focus on one great picture book a week.
This works well for our family because all our kids are book lovers. It's funny because it doesn't matter what book is being read aloud in our house, they will all gather as soon as they hear it. Another reason it works well for us is that Big Buddy's (classical) history and science curriculum take up any space we might have to focus on a unit. This also allows for all the children from, L (a child I babysit) age two, to Big Buddy age 7, to participate on some level.

The books I have chosen are picked with Mini Man and Little Lady in mind. They are seventeen months apart with Mini Man having just turned five and Little Lady will be four in January. Jeremy and I have debated abo…

A crazy, happy, exhausting, fun, tiring summer.

This was a good summer. It was also a hard summer. As I get older, I've realized that most good things come with their share of hardship.
Most of our energy this summer has gone to painting our house. 

There are a still a few things that need to be touched up (storm windows, sealing the porches, etc) but we are pretty much done! It looks amazing and has made me fall in love with our house all over again. Can't wait to tackle some more of the landscaping next summer.