Science Sunday: Mississippi: Stetson hats and felting


When googling interesting fact on Mississippi, I learned “Hat maker John B. Stetson first practiced hat-making in Duns Falls”.  So I looked for books on cowboy hats and found “Boss of the Plains.” Widgets


All about how he started making hats, only he was in Colorado when first making the distinctive hat.


Well, after reading it we had to see if making felt was as easy as he claimed.



We got some wool roving and arranged it in a criss cross pattern, making sure to overlap it somewhat.



Than we got it wet and put it in a terry wash cloth.



Finally we rolled and pounded it a bunch to help it “mesh” together.



And after smushing it up a bunch, we created felt.  Not very high quality felt, but it was felt.


Why does wool or other natural fibers felt?

It felts because there are small barbs in it that causes it to catch on itself.  Information from Cornell University


Why did our wool not felt well?

1.  The water needed to be hot, much much hotter.

2.  We did not use soap.  Soap will help the barbs hook together better. Information from





Let’s see what others did this week:

I love the spider web they made at Raising LIfelong Learners.


At Keitha’s Chaos, they had a brain based obstacle course, what a great idea!




Science Sunday button Science Sunday

We got to see a horse, up close and personal

Maybe a little too personal, because I have a ziploc bag full of horse hair my friend nicely gave to me.  I did say she could, but still……



What’s a trip to go see horses without first stopping and looking at the lizard?  Actually I think we ended up deciding it was a gecko, but still it’s not a horse, but we had to look at it for a while.





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014First we learned how to feed a horse.  You have to make sure your hand is flat so the horse doesn’t accidentally bite your hand.  Batman wanted to feed the horse hay also, so then started another round of feeding the horse so everyone got to feed him some hay.





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Then they each got to take turns cleaning the horse.  They got to curry him, and brush him, and help pick out his hooves.  They learned it is very important to keep a horse’s hooves clean because otherwise he could get thrush, which can make his hooves hurt.



Then she showed us how she shaves the horse’s bridle path so the bridle lays on her head easier.  And that’s how I ended up with a bag full of horse hair in my car.  I have ideas of what we can use it for.  Probably doll hair on a peg doll.


And what’s seeing a horse without riding one?  And riding it bareback, even better!

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Okay, I wanted a little different way to show off the pictures.  Don’t get too used to this, it takes a lot of time.

Finally finished Little Boy Blue

It’s kind of sad it took this long.  But we got it all done.

To read about the first part of this project go here.  That also has material needed and a the blackline masters you need if you want to do the same one.

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First you cut out your pictures.  It is absolutely necessary that you cut it out in large blocks.  Or so I learned from my kids.

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Now use LARGE amounts of glue to get everything on the paper.  Then complain when Mom says you have to put on the words.

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Cut yarn, actually this time I used embroidery floss, and think I will from now on for projects I want specific colors.  Then it’s 20 cents for a skein, and it doesn’t take up as much space.

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I just love the studious look on her face.  Actually, I think that’s because she’s trying to figure out how to put back together the paper that tore from too much glue.  But, we’ll pretend it’s because she’s being serious.

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Now shred a bunch of cotton balls and glue them on the sheep.  This and cutting the yarn for the haystack was the favorite part of today’s part of the project.  Hmmmmm, that might have been a little bit of a convoluted sentence.

And here’s the finished projects:

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Mine, I’d like to claim my kids are these amazing artists…… but, then I’d by lying.

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I think this is Batman’s.  Yep, looks right when I compare the picture at the top of Batman with this.  So, this is Batman’s project.

And apparently I don’t have a picture of Superman or Princess’ completed projects.  Weird.

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And is it just me, or do I look like a chipmunk in this picture?  Superman loves to take pictures with my camera, and this is one of the more normal ones.  Really, he takes unusual pictures.

Okay, I no longer have a kid napping in my room, PRINCESS GOT HER CASTS OFF!  So, I’m off to take a bath.

I’ll post about the cast taking off process later today once I’ve uploaded the pictures.  It was really interesting to see.

Preschool Corner: Farm Animals

Just to give a quick update on Princess. She’s figure out how to walk on carpet. She can’t yet walk on the tile with her casts, but she’s figured out how to crawl. I am still very eagerly looking forward to these casts coming off because I can’t get anything done while she has the casts on. So, no house cleaning, very little cooking, make that no cooking. I’m going a little stir crazy. So, be praying I can endure……..


We had an amazing book for me reading to them. Not so much for their reading. They continued to work on Progressive Phonics, but they were in a bit of a silly mood. I think it’s going to take a while for them to settle into a routine. with it.

Huh, that’s weird I just noticed I’m in the old editor…. And it’s not letting me switch back to the new.  Oh, I was in the wrong view.  Oops.


math,math U See

We started Math-U-See this week.  I came to the conclusion the kids, and the boys in particular needed something more for their math than just doing calendar time.  We started this and everyone is loving it.  I’ll be writing a more detailed post about our opinion next week.  But, they’ve been having a blast playing with the blocks and watching the videos with it.



To go with our farm studies we did a couple of projects.  We sorted animals on the farm into their different categories.  We also tried the different types of milk and cheese you get from sheep, goats, and cows.  To read a more detailed explanation, and to get a fun link to a great show go here.



I could claim this was organized physical activity, but that would just be a lie.  So to give it a more accurate title.  The boys had a blast playing.  Batman rode his bike in circles forever chasing a local kid.  Superman decided he wanted to shoot bows and arrows.  We had to go over the rules for using those again, but other than that no major problems.

Oh, I forgot.  We did have to add a new rule.  No shooting arrows straight up.  He almost landed an arrow right on top of the house that we would never have gotten down.  That and it nearly fell right on top of his head.  So rules for shooting: don’t shoot it at people, only shoot into the grass, don’t shoot straight in the air.  I’m sure there’s another I’m not thinking of as I write this morning.


Princess spent most of the time happily sitting in the chair supervising……  Sometimes I think she takes that nickname too seriously.  And, on a completely unrelated note my kids are totally addicted to Dinosaur Train right now.  Here’s Batman mesmerized by it.  I think this has even replaced heroes shows as their favorite.

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For more great weeks in review go to Homeschool Creations and Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

stART: Little Boy Blue

I’m so glad to be getting back to creating Nursery Rhyme projects.  You have no idea how happy this makes me.

Supplies needed: printout below, watercolors, poster paint, manila paper or whatever you’ll be putting this on, glue, scissors, yarn, cotton balls

Little Boy Blue

At the time I’ve started writing this we haven’t completely finished it…….  We’ll see if that changes after nap.

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1.  Paint the pictures from the printout with watercolor.  Okay, so you could just do crayons or some other such, but I wanted to do water colors that day.  Poor Princess, really is not happy here, is she?  She so needed a nap at that point.

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2.  Paint the background you’ll be gluing the pictures on.  I drew an outline of the haystack to paint, and a line to delineate the sky and the grass.  Wow, poor Princess really is not having a good day here, is she?  She was mad at me because I told her she couldn’t use pink paint.  I’m so mean.

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As you can see, Superman really started to get into this.

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Eventually Princess solved her dilemma by deciding she was going to paint her hand instead.

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And here’s the abandoned project while they take naps and it dries waiting for the next step.  This will all too soon not look so peaceful.

I’ll finish this post when we finish the project……..  And besides my music is done so that’s my cue to clean my hopelessly messy kitchen.

Oops, I meant to schedule this for tomorrow.  This is what happens when you hurriedly hit publish…..  That and I originally forgot to put in the printouts.  Now I’ve done that.

Science Sunday: Farm, part 1

So, we’re studying farm for two weeks.  In My Father’s World you study goats, cows, and horses as three separate weeks, but I’m squishing it all into two weeks.  This may end up as three weeks still because of Princess’ surgery this Tuesday, but we’ll see how I’m feeling.  I may be ready to move on anyways.

So, I have two different activities to report on.  Here’s the first one:

Supplies needed: farm animals (could be toys or pictures, I had lots of toys collected for this), barn (I found mine at the Target dollar spot which has lots of farm stuff right now), green grass, and blue water (I used a pieces of felt I had left over from another project)


First we dumped all of the toys out on a piece of foam board.  I used the foam board mainly to keep it all localized.


Next we took turns sorting animals into the different areas where they might live.  This got complicated because some of the animals could live in several areas.  Also, I realized as we were doing this I really should have included some kind of pen for animals like pigs that go in there, but oh well.  We sorted it into 4 categories: house, barn, pasture, and water.


As you might guess this was wildly popular.  Further extensions I meant to do, and might still do this upcoming week: sort them by number of legs, type of animal, type of covering (feathers, fur, etc…), what they eat.  All in all the kids had a blast with it.

Now on to the next activity.

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We went to our local Sprouts and tracked down goat milk, goat cheese, and sheep cheese.  The goat cheese I bought was actually cheddar, and the sheep cheese was feta.  My kids are usually big fans of feta……

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They also insisted we needed to get carrots with “green stuff on them.”  Maybe we’ll share these carrots for our field trip that we’re going on tomorrow (tomorrow for me being Saturday as I write this on Friday).

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Then we took it all home and had a lovely tea party the next day trying our different cheeses and using goat milk for cream for the tea.

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Okay, I just added that because I was immensely amused that Superman insisted on having ketchup to add to everything.  I thought the idea of ketchup and cheese sounded decidedly gross.

Their verdict:

Sheep cheese was not really eaten.  Everyone took a bit, but no one asked for more.  Only Superman finished his.  I thought it was a little too salty.

Goat cheese was devoured by Batman and Princess.  Superman wouldn’t finish his slice.  I’m somewhat wondering if his dislike was due more to it being white than because of a difference in taste, because he ate the orange cow cheddar just fine, and there wasn’t a noticeable difference to me.  I think we went through half of the block we bought of this one.

Goat milk, I honestly don’t know if they noticed the difference since we put it in the tea.  I might have them try it again later when it’s just by itself.

Oh, and I found the coolest new show on Food Network: How’d That Get on My Plate?  If you follow the link you can click on a clip of how they make cheese.  I’m totally addicted to the show.  So far we’ve found out how apples become apple sauce and all sort of other products, and how to make ice cream and cheese.  If you’ve got a kid who likes Reading Rainbow episodes, or likes informational shows your kid will love this.  My kids will happily sit and watch it with me.  Now, I have to sit and watch it with them because otherwise they go and play.  But…….  Still, it’s very cool.

And for my link to share this week a fun activity from Almost Unschoolers.  If anyone is doing snow or snowman activities this could be a fun one to add in for a science experiment.  Someday soon I will do this.  I’m going to have to figure out a more organized way to feature links, because I’m sure I’ll just end up featuring the same one or two eventually because I’m that forgetful.

For more about Science Sunday and participating go here.

What we’ve been reading this week: farm Widgets

I was so happy this was actually a week we got LOTS of reading done.  I was so glad to finally have a week of lots of books.
Look Once, Look Again on the Farm– The text is a little simple, but it’s fun to look at the super close-up picture and try to guess what animal or farm equipment it might be.  There was even one or two that stumped me.
Billy and Bonnie the Goats–  This is a great fact book about goats.  We used this to talk about and compare goats to different animals on the farm.  The kids enjoyed it, but weren’t really asking to read it more.
Sheep on the Farm– This was fun because it brought up things they hadn’t really thought about before, and the kids were asking lots of questions from this one.
Mrs. Goat and the Seven Little Kids– I thought this version of the fairy tale was kind of fun.  It felt like they were modernizing it a little, I could certainly see my house in her house.  And I was amused at the resolution of the story.  Oh, and it does have a happy ending, despite the brief problem of the kids being eaten.
The Seven Kids and the Wolf– This is the Richard Scary version, and while I liked the other version the art work in this one appealed to me more.  Also, in this one the Wolf doesn’t actually eat the kids, they’re just in a bag.  So, not quite as true to the original, but very fun.
The Cow on the Roof– This one cracked me up because it’s a classic story of the grass being greener on the other side.  The husband keeps seeing his wife having “life easy,” and so one day he demands to switch jobs with her.  She’ll go work out in the field, and he’ll work in the house.  He very quickly learns it’s not as easy as it looks, and has all sorts of problems with her regular housework, mostly coming about because he’s trying to do it quickly.  This was very popular.
The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down– I found this at Half Price Books and got it mainly because the title reminded me of “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” and I’m always a sucker for a Nursery Rhyme companion.  It doesn’t really have anything to do with it, but it was so cute and funny.  The kids loved it, and I think it’s buried somewhere in the boys room now.
The Happy Man and the Dump Truck– Is seriously a cute story.  Before I’d even finished reading it there was a near fight about who would get to take the book to bed with them.  Luckily Batman was happy with “The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down,” and Princess was too busy trying to convince us to let her sleep in her brother’s room.  This is one of the classic Little Golden Books, and I highly recommend getting it.  We’ve read this one several times before.
James Herriot Treasury for Children– This is a both a compilation and a subset.  These were originally produced as chapters in one of his books.  Then it was printed as picture books for kids individually, and now it’s all a compilation.  So far this week we’ve read “Moses the Kitten,” and “One Little Woof.”  I like them because it exposes the kids to a slower style of writing than is often found in modern books, you know the “living books,” so many people rave about.  It has a great set of vocabulary, and they’re a nice description of the life of a vet.  It’s probably not going to be my kids’ favorite book, but they enjoy sitting and listening to the story and waiting to see what will happen to Moses and if his mom will be found.
So, that’s all our books for the week.  Actually, there’s a few more I haven’t had a chance to dig out of the kids rooms, but that’s all the Amazon widget lets me add.  I’m sure you can guess what my posts for the week will be about.

Tot School: The Farm week 2

We continued our Farm unit, which I still think there is lots more to do, but I’ll save it for another time. We’re moving on to the Zoo and zoo animals. I think this will be a huge hit with my kids. So, here’s how we finished up our farm unit.

We made barns, this was a huge hit, and a great time sink activity. It took at least an hour to do it with all of its various parts. Find out how here.


While we were waiting to get our tires changed (which took an hour longer than expected) we sorted animal pictures. I knew it was going to be at least an hour, so I brought our school stuff for the day. We sorted the animals into 4 legs and 2 legs, fur and feathers, adults and babies, and there was a whole slew more, but that’s all they had interest for. I got the pictures from the e-book I bought. Of course you could just collect various farm animal pictures or stickers and do the same thing, but I loved that it was already put together for me (hey, I’m lazy every now and then). I also thought if you had farm animals you could do it that way.

Pretend there’s an amazing picture of my kids sorting animals, the people in the waiting room were already looking at us funny, and I figured it’d get worse if I whipped out my camera.

We also finished off our file folder farms. I really like this format for making lap books. It’s more of an art project and creates a fun play area. We made green confetti for the grass, and cut/tore a big blob of blue for the lake.


Afterwards we took our animal pictures and sorted them into the different places the animals would live on the farm. Which led to some interesting ideas and fun discussions.

Then after all of this, the kids got to take a farm sticker sheet I’d found at Target and cover their farms with it. It’s really interesting to watch the different personalities and how they place the stickers.

Princess, all of them on the barn, maybe a few elsewhere.

Superman spread out on the floor and carefully chose the silliest positioning, with lots of “look at this Mommy!”

Sadly, there’s no picture of Batman doing this one.

And one extra of the the file folder farm, because I haven’t had one yet of Batman, and I really like this shot.

We continued to use a lot of the activities we did the week before.

Other non-farm related activities:

Picnic in the family room

Playing games in the waiting room (sneaky cell phone camera), duck, duck, goose was wildly popular.

Washing dishes (I love our plastic tea sets, messy as they are)

falling off the bridge, “ahhh I’m falling, rescue me. I fell.”

For more great ideas visit Carisa here.

Tutorial: Make a barn

I know Totally Tots is going to be featuring a how to on this soon as well, but we just did this, and it was a blast. So, I figured I’d go ahead and post mine also.

Here’s what you need: an empty orange juice box or goldfish or anything that looks like the old cardboard milk cartons, construction paper, stickers or magazines to cut out, scissors, glue, markers

1. Gather your materials, sort through your stickers for things you might find in a barn. My boys had quite an imagination when it came to this (they were looking through a scrapbooking sticker kit) “Mommy, cows need to drink special drink. Let’s use this!” He was holding up a page of wine bottles, wine glasses, and grapes. I just nodded and thought, “You have no idea how special.”

2. Adult or older child, or young child if you’re not going to be worried about it fitting right cut out the sides of the barn. I did this, because my boys would have freaked out about getting it the right size, and wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

At this point your third child will wake up, and you need to find supplies for her to make it as well, enter the orange juice box.

3. Set up the kids on the floor with lots of room to spread out, and in theory you don’t have to worry about glue on the kitchen floor. Put stickers and pictures all over your barn. Honestly, pigs fly.

4. Once you’re all done decorating your walls, glue them to the boxes.

5. Now take the construction paper you’ve set aside and cut it into shingles for the roof, or as Superman did, cut it into one big piece and happily glue it on. Batman sat there and made confetti then glued little pieces on. Princess decided hers didn’t need a roof.

Extra Credit: cut holes in the barn so you can put animals in and out, we didn’t do this, but they’re perfectly happy with their barns.

And, here’s the finished product:


I linked this to Kid Friendly Friday and We Made it! Friday Showcase. Head to both of these sites for a whole slew of great ideas to do!

Preschool: the Farm

I wrote more about this yesterday, and I forsee lots more posts about farm, because I keep discovering more great things to do. I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of this topic.

I got a farm bundle from CurrClick about farms (I was going to link it but it looks like the bundle has expired, so here’s the two books: A Bundle of Hay and another book that is eluding my exhaustive search, but the linked book is the one I primarily used.

As I posted yesterday we put together our barn, and today we cut out the animals to fill it. This took a lot of skill and patience.


And then I gave a lot more directions to Princess on how to cut these out, because she had tried to make confetti.

We’re going to use these again this week to sort the animals and classify them. I think it will be lots of fun to do it.

We also put together a book about chores kids do on the farm. This was a big hit, now the pictures aren’t so understandable since it was just scribble like crazy on the pictures, but that’s okay.

I love the tongue.

Now, for Princess I did cut it out for her, she doesn’t have the control yet.

And the final step glue the picture on, and then I get to rewrite the words because they’ve glued the picture over the words. Oh well, it’s still readable that way.

And, here’s a fun shot for everyone: Batman took a picture of the rest of us since he decided he was done.