Luck with Potatoes

“Luck With Potatoes” is a fun book about a farmer in Tennessee who has the worst luck until one day it turns around.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how.

Well, after reading the book there was nothing to do, but to draw what was going to be found in our potatoes.
Apparently there were a lot of animals found in our potatoes.  Not to mention entire worlds.  If we were potato farmers we would have been able to make a mint off the things found in there.

I had originally planned on having the kiddos make something out of potatoes, but it didn’t come to pass, much sadness.  Maybe I’ll save that for the 20th rereading of the book.

stART: A Dragon on the Doorstep


“A Dragon on the Doorstep” is a cute story about two kids who find a dragon and they hide from it, and proceed to find several other animals in their house, and eventually play hide and seek with them.


One of the things I enjoyed about this book is seeing hints of the upcoming animals they’d discover.


After we read the book the kids wrote a sentence about the animal that was hiding in our house, and where it was hiding.  Then they wrote a picture.


Superman didn’t follow directions completely, so he only wrote “monster.”  Batman said, “Cheetah is hiding in the attic.”  Princess never let me get a picture of her horse hiding on her bed.


I had plans of starting a book of their writings for the year, and then they went and hung it up on the dining room wall.  So that’s obviously not happening……..

Georgia and the Trail of Tears


As I was researching Georgia I learned that the Trail of Tears originated here. Widgets  Now I remember reading this book before with the kids, but I can’t remember what state we did it with.  Either way it’s a long book, so I edited it down a little for reading aloud.

Afterwards we made a Cherokee rose with the kids:



Supplies: 5 petal shapes ( used a punch I had, but you could just freehand it), a piece of blue paper for the background, scrap of yellow paper, hole punch, glue





1.  Fold your paper in half. 


2.  Then put 5 lines of glue on your paper in a star shape


3.  Arrange petals on the glue (I apparently didn’t take a picture of this step)





4.  Punch out  somewhere between 5-10 circles per flower.  The kids LOVED this step and argued over who got the hole punch next.




Finished product.


On the inside they glued a slip of paper explaining the legend behind the Cherokee Rose. To be completely true to the legend I needed to add the leaves, but it didn’t work for what we were trying to do.


And sorry for no pictures of the kids in action with this one, it was easier when managing 11 kids to not try and take pictures at that moment.

stART: Chocolate and how it gets from the tree to my mouth Widgets

I bet you’re hungry already……  I know I am.


Actually, I’m thirsty, so I’m going to get a drink of water, take a few pictures of the end product, because I don’t have any of the process, and then come back and finish writing…….


So, I’m now eating some ridiculously healthy and delicious homemade chocolate that my friend made for the parents.  The kids ate chocolate chip cookies, the state cookie of Pennsylvania, and we got YUMMY homemade dark chocolate.

I took the little kid activity from All About Chocolate from Reading A to Z.  I printed an extra copy of the book and cut out the pictures for the kids to glue onto the sheets in order.  The older kids answered the worksheet that did the same thing.


073And that’s what the first 52 pictures on my camera looked like.  I’d watermark them, but I really doubt anyone is going to steal that.  I mean really.  FIFTY TWO pictures of Diego?  Okay, so as a kid I took a whole roll of my Cabbage Patch Kids, but at least I was posing them and trying to tell a story.


So, that’s what the first page looks like.  As you can tell, it’s fairly simple, especially since this one was numbered.  That’s what it looks like in the factory process.


Now, the farm to factory looks a bit different.






Okay, so picture quality isn’t all that great, but that’s partially because I saved on ink by not printing it in the best quality.


If you print as much as I do you need to save on ink somewhere, and this is where I choose to do that.


So, that’s the last activity I have for Pennsylvania.

All in all, it was a great state study.  I’m learning more and more of how to structure this co-op, so it’s getting better and better each week.

stART: Homespun Sarah

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This is a nice simple book about an Amish girl in the 1700s. I suppose it could have been any girl, but for the sake of our study it was an Amish girl.  Afterwards we made handkerchief dolls using this tutorial, and then they decorated them.

It was rather common for the little girls to be given a doll like this to play with at church because it makes no noise if it falls, and you have the supplies to make it on hand.


The big surprise for me was how popular this craft was for everyone.

All of the kids loved it, including the 4th grade boys (who made superhero dolls).  My boys made ghosts.


See how Superman’s ghost is so scary.  Batman’s was an Iron Man ghost.

I’m worried what killed Iron Man.

Preschool Corner: What to do with those sticker books Widgets


When I mentioned to my lovely contact over at Zonderkidz that we were studying Pennsylvania, she said we should read some of their most famous exports, the Berenstain Bears.


Well, what could I say but, HECK YEAH!  My kids love these books.  The instant I opened the box they disappeared upstairs.

After much searching I found one of them again.  I’m going to assume the other is awesome because seriously, I haven’t been able to recover it form the kiddos.



Summary of book: Sister Bear and her friends enjoy gossiping together, and Sister thinks nothing of it until she hears her friends talking about her.  Then she starts to realize why it’s bad with some judicious help from her family.



This particular book came with about 12 or so stickers in the back with pictures from the book.



So, after reading the book and discussing how gossip makes us feel, I sent the mob of kids off to choose a sticker from the included stickers and put it on the front of the folded booklet.





On the inside (you have to look very carefully, because Superman opted to use only pencil), they drew a picture of another scene from the book.  The older kids had to write what was happening in the sticker they chose.



Final thoughts on the books:  Would I recommend, yes.  I don’t think I’ve found a Berenstain Bears book yet my kids haven’t liked.  I still remember the effects of reading “The Messy Room” book as a kid, so I’m rather partial to them anyways.  I love their books for a non-instrusive way to teach some nice virtues.


Legal stuff: I was given a copy of these books to give my honest opinion.  I did not get any money, and I probably would have have eventually gotten them anyways.  Seriously, we have like 10 or so books at least.

stART: F is for Fireflies Widgets


I received this awesome box full of books to review from Zonderkidz, and this was one of the books.  I chose this because the firefly is the state insect of Pennsylvania, and I thought this would be a fun way to read about them.


And I wasn’t wrong.  It’s very cute.  The book goes through the alphabet picking different summertime activities and relating many of them back to God.


And that was when inspiration struck.  Our geography group has a wide range of kids, Princess being the youngest at 4, and we’ve have two 6th grade girls in the group at the oldest.

Supplies: pastels or crayons (I gave them a box of cheap pastels, which were all too similar to crayons), paper, the book for reference



Each kid got a small square of paper folded in half.  For the older kids on the outside they drew a picture and inside they wrote how that summertime activity made them think about God.


Younger kids drew a picture of a summertime activity and the letter it started with (in theory, when we actually got to the activity mass chaos happened and I don’t think any little guy did the letter writing).


My thoughts on the book:  It’s a great book for mixed age families.  The alphabet part is great for the little guys and the older kids got a bit of theology in the book.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review, I was not paid for it in any way.  The thoughts are my own, bad grammar and all.

stART: A Very Special Snowflake

With the winter weather we’re having here, I thought to use a couple of snow books for our art project this week, but we only ended up using one of those books, but this one is so cute, it’s worth being just one project. Widgets

Synopsis: The two kids go out for a walk in the snow and their dog Snowflake comes out with them and gets lost.  They ask all their neighbors and the neighbors misunderstand what they’re talking about.  Finally Snowflake is found.


My kids loved reading this book and finding the dog.  It’s fun to do, and not all that hard.


030I took the easy way out for our activity and rather than searching out a clip art of a dog, I used my new Silhouette to cut out a nice little Scotty dog out of some scrap paper.


Then I set them to drawing a picture of the kids looking for their missing dog, and then they glued their dog on.


They’re kind of hard to see what they did, so here’s mine to get you a better idea:



There’s a cute little white dog in the corner, which in the picture you can only see his head because that’s the only part of him that is over something I colored.  The kids LOVED this activity and book, so I need to find some ways to do a similar project.

stART and Geography: Aunt Minnie and the Twister Widgets

A cute story about a woman who takes in a lot of kids and how they live, and what it was like for them to live through a twister, and what happened to their house.

Now for the project.


First, make spaghetti for lunch.  At some point I will write down a recipe for this, but sufficive to say the recipe involves lots of oregano, basil, and garlic.  And it’s yummy.  If  I could I would eat it 5 times a week.  Jeff objects to that, so I don’t.


Save some of those noodles for your art.




Next have them draw a picture of some sort.  I chose to have them draw a picture of a family on a walk.


After they’ve completed this give them a spaghetti noodle and some black paint.  They’re going to drag the noodle all over the picture to make a twister.





Here’s their finished results.  It wasn’t the spectacularly amazing picture I was thinking it would be.  I saw another blog post recently where they did it and theirs turned out much better.


Here’s what I think I did wrong:


1.  I didn’t provide enough paint.


2.  I think they watered their paint down a little.


I’m not sure.  Anyone else done something like this?  What worked for you?


All right, now head on over to Debbie over at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn for more geography and history, and over to A Mommy’s Adventures for more art projects.


Now to go solve a fighting problem for some rather tired kiddos.


Everyone who guessed Kansas was of course right.  And we couldn’t just “do math,” as my kids would say, with sunflowers.  We had to paint with them and more.


I found this super cool site with some sunflower ideas, and used their sunflower life cycle page as part of our Kansas study after reading.  First we read about how they grew from this book.  I have to say this is my favorite book about plants so far because it had great pictures, and did a great explanation. Widgets



The books we used……


Then I made this recipe from Pocketful of Posies, and she’s right it makes A LOT.  So, now I have a whole tub full of finger paint waiting to be turned into different colors.


At first I was very strict on the whole you must paint a sunflower.  That was their first index card (and let me just say I’m loving this whole index card art, it’s a great size for displaying and keeping in lapbooks and such, and it’s not overwhelming for when they don’t feel like painting).


After the first one they just had at it, and I added in a few more colors.  I’m looking forward to when we try this again.


Now head on over to:

A Mommy’s Adventures for more stART projects.

Red Ted Art for more kid art projects

and JDaniel 4’s Mom for more reading and general cool projects.

Shibley Smiles