Our Wisconsin Lapbook, more or less

Here’s what we’ve done for Wisconsin:

So, as you can guess from the random assortment, this is what my library had on Wisconsin. 

top- summary of what they remember of the Little House books and picture of one of their houses.
Superman’s memory: There was a brick house and it didn’t went down.  The Daddy sang songs and fight deers.  He shoot deers.  And they had two sons and the Mommy and the Daddy.  And then they lived happily ever after.  Then they didn’t have any lunch, was the farm picture.  Then their Daddy went in a tree to shoot the deer, and that’s all I will tell you.  THE END

Princess: There was a brick house and they lived.  And their Daddy was singing songs and the fire was on and and and and and and and their Mom was holding the baby.  They lived happily ever after.

Batman: They didn’t eat deer meat.  I don’t know.  I only know about one thing.  I don’t know what else.

Can you tell they got progressively less interested in this?  And Superman had help from his brother and sister.

Underneath it was a picture of Superman rolling out the pizza dough.  Here’s how to make pizza from scratch according to Superman: “Make it flat.  Then we roll it.  Put on the crust and then cook it.  Put on the sauce.  Yes we need cheese, so put on cheese.  Eat it.”  In case you can’t tell it took a lot of prompting to get him to say even that.  He was just going to cook it and eat it.  We also tried to make ice cream, but that didn’t turn out so well.

Oh, and next to the Little House picture is information about the state animal, the badger.


Top left, a fold out of what we get from cows.  Superman didn’t quite glue those on how I expected him to, but that’s okay.

Top right, a symbols of Wisconsin booklet.

Bottom our postcards from Treyton and Alexa at Refined Metals Academy.

And for those of you who want the printables, here they are:

What Comes From Cows   Symbols of Wisconsin

Hmmm, I’m messing with the size of it as it embeds, obviously I don’t quite have it down.  Something to fiddle with more.
For today, I am linking this up to Debbie’s awesome geography/history linky over at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn and then I’m hopping over to Homeschool Creations to link this up for their preschool corner/5k too, because I’m not going to get a week review written, but I thought this was something other preschoolers might want to try with their little guys.

Oh, and as a final note, if you want to see our Wisconsin tab in general it has a bunch of stuff from when we visited Wisconsin, including a visit to the Cheese Factory.

And one other thing, because it’s that type of morning, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for CSN stores.

stART: Deer in the Woods

Hey, it finally quit being a link when I typed!  Good.

As you may have figured out from my posts we’ve been reading the books in the “My First Little House” series.  They’ve been a lot more popular than I expected, and it’s been fun to see.  I wanted a way to expand on what we’d done so far, and then I saw a post over at Inspiration Surrounds, Creativity Abounds about their fairy houses, and I so wanted to do it!  The only problem I had is all the boxes I’d been saving I’ had recently thrown away.  I was going to solve this by going by our local recycling center, but I was put off by their website making it sound a lot more official than it probably is, but still……..

So, I rummaged all through my house and finally found 3 shoe boxes.  BINGO!

I set them off with shoe boxes, glue, and popsicle sticks of various sizes.  They happily sat there and glued sticks on and requested doors and windows cut into them.  All in all it was a happy time for them while I went through the drudgery of cleaning.
Yes, I did not have as much fun as them.

You’ll have to wait to see the finished products because I’m using pictures of them for our Wisconsin lapbook.  I’m going to make it into a card and have them tell me as much as they can remember about the girls who lived in the woods.  Which, I’m guessing will be mainly about their Dad who went hunting.
I leave you hanging on what the final products looked like.  Partially I’m leaving you hanging because I want them do more with it.  So far the boys have glued a few popsicle sticks on, and then left it that way.  I want them to paint it or color it more, but Superman’s banned from anything related to coloring until Monday (he wrote his name on the door in marker, then he tried to lie about it, ummm…… that’s your name and your handwriting, I don’t think you can get away with saying it’s not yours).
So, for more great book inspired artwork go over to A Mommy’s Adventures

Geography: Wisconsin and CHEESE!

It’s CHEESE Grommit!  Cheese!
So, did you know Wisconsin makes cheese?  My kids are very aware of this and somewhat obsessed with cheese, so as one of our final activities for Wisconsin we made a pizza.
more cheese please
This book goes through step by step how the milk goes from being milk to cheese, and even includes some fun scientific facts (which is going to be a science experiment soon enough). (click on the picture to order the book).
At the back of the book is a recipe for making your own homemade pizza.  The kids were very excited about this, and they were also excited they had friends coming to spend the night, so we made this for our friends.
Superman was quite kind enough to roll it out for me.  I would finish it off.  I never quite figured out how to roll it quite circular or rectangular.  I also had it crust up a little while it was rising, so I have a few kinks to work out.
But, we doubled the recipe in the back of the book, and ended up with enough to make two meals for us.  The first meal fed my family plus three more kids.  The second meal was me, the kids, and Aunt Tara.
 038 040
And look, you get to see a rare picture of me on the blog.  It’s a rare Ticia sighting!
In about a week or so, I’ll be posting the picture of the lapbook I’ll put together for them.  It seems to take me about a week or two after we’ve finished studying to put it together.  So, you’ll have to wait and see what it ends up looking like.  So will I because I really have no clue.
For more great geography ideas go check out Debbie’s blog over at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.

Science Sunday: Epic Fail Ice Cream


So, we checked Howtoons out from the library about a month ago and ever since I’ve been wanting to make one of the experiments in there…….  Well, I finally got it all together, everyone was healthy and we had the time.  And that’s where it went downhill.  Oh, and my excuse of how it’s related to what we’re studying?  Wisconsin has lots of cows that produce a lot of milk, and milk is used to make ice cream.  Nice reasoning huh?
001 002
I made these slightly bigger so you can see what the book looks like, and see the recipe I used.
Bag 1: 1 C heavy cream, 1/2 C whole milk, 1/3 C sugar, 3/4 t vanilla
And those sneaky leprechauns came and turned the milk green.  Pesky guys.
Bag 2: 2.5 pounds of ice, 1.5 pounds of salt
As you can see I sealed the top of the bag with tape to make sure it didn’t burst open in the mixing.

The kids quite happily helped pour the salt into the bag, and touched it and declared it was too cold.

Next, I put the first bag inside of the ice bag, which at that time was a 2 gallon bag.  So, when that got a hole within thirty seconds I decided it was because the bag was too big and more prone to tearing, so I switched to a gallon size bag, that was pretty much too small.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Really, I don’t.


Now, you’re supposed to toss it back and forth for 20 minutes.  As you can see it’s too heavy for the kids to do this.  Also, it’s cold.  They each patiently threw it once, and then said, “here Mommy.”  After everyone had their token toss I got the bag back and started shaking it when I noticed this:

Do you see that forming on the bottom of the bag?  That’s a green drop of liquid.  That means not only did my ice bag burst, but my ice cream bag did as well.  At this point, the kids had lost interest, and it just wasn’t going to work.  So we went inside and ate Blue Bell ice cream.  And everyone was happy.  Actually I think I might sneak over and nab a few more cherries.

Oh, and I posted about this epic fail on facebook, and had a friend kindly give me another recipe that she says has worked for her several times.  When I try it next, I’m going to use this one:
1 tablespoon artificial
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
6 tablespoons Table Salt
3 cups Ice
1 Sandwich Sized Ziploc
1 Gallon Sized Ziploc Bag
In the sandwich sized ziploc, combine the sugar substitute, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Seal the bag and shake lightly to mix ingredients.
In the gallon sized ziploc bag, add 3 cups of ice (or fill half the bag with ice)and add 6 tablespoons of table salt.
Place the seal sandwich sized bag into the gallon bag and seal the gallon bag. Shake the entire contents for at least 4 minutes (shake longer for harder ice cream).
Once desired hardness has been achieved, remove smaller baggies and rinse thoroughly with cold water (if you miss this step, you may wind up with salty ice cream!)
Recipe makes about a 1/2 cup of ice cream.
And here’s a scientific explanation of what happened from Teachnet (in case you can’t read the explanation in the picture from Howtoons):
What does the salt do? Just like we use salt on icy roads in the winter, salt mixed with ice in this case also causes the ice to melt. When salt comes into contact with ice, the freezing point of the ice is lowered. Water will normally freeze at 32 degrees F. A 10% salt solution freezes at 20 degrees F, and a 20% solution freezes at 2 degrees F. By lowering the temperature at which ice is frozen, we are able to create an environment in which the milk mixture can freeze at a temperature below 32 degrees F into ice cream.

So, anyone else have experiments that go wrong?  Obviously mine did, and I’m sad, but this lets us try again another time.

Here’s the South America and Wisconsin books and a couple random other books we read


How’s that for a post title?  I’m sure all of those “pro-bloggers” would be rolling over in their graves……

First let me tell you about the books we read that I couldn’t put in the carousel because Amazon doesn’t like them as much.  Okay, I really don’t know why they won’t let me put it in there.

Jaguars– the kids loved this because Diego has a baby Jaguar, and they were intrigued to learn that people used to have jaguars as pets.


Legend of El Dorado– Ummm…..  This one was a little weird.  But, it did lead to some fun discussions about what other people believe.  The kids were amused that they believe a giant dragon was god.  But, I don’t think I’d really recommend it for preschoolers.  It was just a little odd.  Though, I did love the illustrations, they were so bright and vibrant.

World Book Encyclopedia presents Rain Forest Animals–  I LOVED this one, and maybe I’ll accidentally forget to return it to the library.  Okay, that would be a very expensive way to buy it.  But, it’s a nice concept.  They go through and present a few different animals of a certain type and give you some fun facts.  Then after five or six animals have been introduced they do a puzzle page.  You know, find five bats, how many claws does the sloth have?  So on and so forth……

Now to the ones in the carousel

The Little House Books– we checked out about four or five of these.  The kids were kind of luke-warm on County Fair, but enjoyed it.  It’s a nice story about a young boy waiting to see if he wins a prize.  I like the simplicity of it.  The Deer in the Woods is about when Pa goes hunting to catch a deer, but doesn’t bring home one because he wasn’t willing to shoot a mother deer with her baby.  Which of course led to a great discussion about hunting and when you should and shouldn’t hunt, and why did he need to hunt.

Edwina the Dinosaur who Didn’t Know She was Extinct– This was another hit this week.  Edwina is very popular in town, and there’s a conflict between her and a boy who is trying to convince her that dinosaurs are extinct.  I highly recommend this one, for anyone who’s kids like dinosaurs or who are having problems with another kid.  It’s a good example of how to handle conflict.

Giant Ball of String– Jeff and I loved this.  The kids liked it too, but weren’t as aware of what they were doing to solve the problem. 

Digging Armadillos–  was okay.  I’m just sad because Caroline Oswald doesn’t have any books for our current set of animals, and her books were that good.  Really, they were perfect.  Now that I’ve found a book that tells exactly what I’m looking for in kid books, I’m having a hard time with the others that aren’t.

Here’s what my kids want to know about each animal: what does it eat, what eats it, and where do they live.  They also like to learn random facts about them.  Beyond that they’re not as picky.

I totally know there were a bunch more books that were popular this week, but I am so not remembering.  Well until I do head over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns for more book suggestions.

Real quick post of a few of the books we read


And just so it’s not totally boring and without pictures…..


I present to you Robot Girl.  She has the power, through her wrapping paper tube arms, to suck up bad guys.

Oh wait, that really makes no sense.  She shoots fireballs!

Okay, seriously, we read books.  You know I think I’m rather tired, because the room is starting to get hazy.  So I better make this quick, because I told Natalie I’d tell her the book we read.



A Little House Birthday– this one fit the bill for two reasons: 1 it takes place in Wisconsin, which is our new state, because Jeff grew up there as a kid, and 2.  it has a birthday.  It’s a very cute simple story about a birthday and how hard it is to have days they have to sit quietly.  I really liked it, and am looking forward to reading some of the other books in this series we checked out.  The kids were lukewarm on it, but I think it’s still a good one to read to them.


Incidentally, does anyone have any books to recommend about Wisconsin?  I’ve picked up books about making cheese and ice cream, and I got the Laura Ingalls Wilder little books.  And we’re going to learn about badgers, but I welcome any suggestions.


That’s What Leprechauns Do-Cute book with 3 leprechauns going to put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and getting distracted along the way by doing pranks.  I’m using this to set up a series of leprechaun pranks around our house.  I’m thinking tomorrow our pancakes are going to turn green.  I was very good and didn’t turn the birthday cake green.  Congratulate me on my maturity.  And what did the kids think of the book?  Really they were more concentrated on their new flashlights and the idea of their birthday party which is going on today, so I’m going to try reading it to them again, and see if it sparks their interest more later.


Ummmm, we read other books, but honestly I don’t remember.  I think I need to work on eating better, because I’ve been having bad headaches/dizzy spells, and they’re always alleviated by eating some form of protein (usually cheese).  And I know better than to go skimpy on meals, I’ve been hypoglycemic since high school.  Now you want stories of bad eating habits from my high school days, those I can tell you.  Did you know brown sugar is not considered a healthy meal?

But, I veer off topic.  We’ve got a whole slew of South American books to read next week, and like I said some Wisconsin stuff too, and I found a random Loreen Leedy book to throw in there as well.  So, if you’re wanting to see what every one else is reading in a post that might be more coherent and written by someone who is not currently thinking her room is rocking back and forth go over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum

I’ll start off by saying this will be an awesome place to visit when they move into their permanent building. Right now it’s fun, but it’s not an overwhelming place to visit.

Still, we only left because they kicked us out as the museum closed. Oh, and I apologize right now for the picture quality. I had the kid’s camera which works great outdoors, but I haven’t mastered the art of waiting for the flash to recharge.

PhotobucketBatman playing with the ball pit. Isn’t it amazing that what entertained them for hours as a baby still entertains them that well at 4?

PhotobucketSuperman and Batman playing with the tool set. Thanks to Aunt Tara and Uncle Sam they now have a tool set at home as well.

PhotobucketThis is the only museum I’ve seen that had a loud room. It’s lots of gym equipment on a preschool level, and the kids were encouraged to be as loud as they wanted. Here Princess is climbing through a little playscape.

PhotobucketThey also had a very extensive craft room, and my kids had a lot of fun painting. I really loved Princess’ two handed painting style. It also got me thinking about getting them an easel. Any recommendations?

PhotobucketFarmer Princess surveys her crops and thinks maybe they need to be worked on a little.

PhotobucketSee the pictures turn out just fine if you wait for the flash to come back.

PhotobucketAs always grocery stores are wildly popular. I think they just like to collect stuff.

Photobucket Superman is quite happily rowing the boat.

PhotobucketThese two pictures are completely and totally because I wanted to remember how they made these cool bugs. I think I found them much more intriguing than my kids. Maybe they would have eventually found them, but they never played with them while we were there.

Photobucket Then we got treated to a puppet show! It was a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Of course I could have done without hte excitement of hte stage being knocked over…..

Photobucket My kids love to build. I totally encourage this because I love to build as well. I hope they get as addicted to Legos as I did.

So, that’s that museum down. On to the next one. That’ll come out tomorrow!

Duck rides at the Wisconsin Dells

So, Jeff’s family kept talking about going to the duck rides, and all I could think was “how are we supposed to ride the ducks?”

Well, now I know.

Okay, so it’s their promo shot, but I forgot to get a picture of the duck.

So, for those of you who like me didn’t know what these were: A duck is an amphibious car that can become a boat. They were used in WW2 and a few other wars, and were decomissioned, and now are here. They weigh like some 7 tons and are fun to ride in.


And for this trip Superman had the kid camera, so I’ll give you the ride through his eyes.

The driver seat is fasccinating, and it has an orange bucket which is my new favorite color.

We rode in the water.

See Mommy’s head

Ahhh, the duck is sinking.

cool turny thingy

rocks and trees

Princess and Mommy

Store that has postcards!

Princess sleeping

And a few Mommy shots, because they’re really cool

Statues that had been on the side of a building and were salvaged when they were remodeling.

Superman and Jeff waiting to go

Princess and I

Batman, I swear I wrote this post before. These pictures have all been edited, but no matter how I search my blog I can’t find it. Very very weird.

local legend is this is a piano that fell over in a bar fight, that is provided I understood him through the speakers.

Doesn’t she look SO tired?

Okay, that’s our adventure riding the ducks. I leave you with this fun picture:

It’s part of an amusement park there. I think they’ve built up the Dells to be this huge tourist area. It has waterparks, really cool minigolf courses and all sorts of fun stuff.

I’m probably going to have a bunch of posts out in the next few days just to give everyone a heads up, I want to get out all of the field trip places we went to, and then hopefully this weekend I can post up the useful family stuff.

La Crosse Children’s Museum

Well, I was gonna post about a different place we went, but then I realized those pictures are still on the kid’s camera. See, my camera was missing somewhere, so I used their camera and my cell phone….. Sigh, but I have my camera again, so I’m happy.

On our way out of Wisconsin we stopped for the day and started up again after visiting this museum. We figured the kids would ride better if they’d had a good morning of running around. And they did. We also got to have lots of fun laughing at what all they discovered.

And just because I’m bored and not sleepy I’m going to include what possible learning activities I thought of.

PhotobucketWe started off with a water discovery area. This was a lot of fun to explore and let everyone splash and play with boats. I was especially impressed that they had coverups to keep from getting wet. However, why keep from getting wet when you can get absolutely soaked and get upset about it?

sensory play, cause and effect, observation of water, observation of floating

I love mazes, I think they’re super fun, and I always go to them when it’s offered at Ren Fests or other places. I remember going into the hugest maze on a youth retreat in Florida. So, I was amazed when my kids solved it in less than a minute, because it seemed more complex than that. Then I discovered how they were:

gross motor skills, balance, sense of direction

Notice Princess climbing under the walls.

problem solving

My boys love firemen, what boy doesn’t. So they were thrilled when they got to dress up like firefighters and drive a fire engine that can make siren noises. I wasn’t so thrilled with the siren noises.

role playing, learning about community helpers, oh and social skills when they didn’t get to drive right away, why can’t a fire engine have 20 steering wheels?

While the boys were busy putting out fires, Princess was busy building a house, that will hopefully never ever catch fire. She got to put wall paper on, and paint, and run wiring (a rope) through the walls. Then she went outside and put shingles on, oh and finished bricking up the wall. She is quite a busy worker and finished up that house in less than 5 minutes.

role playing, learning about community helpers, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance

And here’s a memory test for me. I have no idea which boy is which, this is the problem with putting twins in matching outfits, when you look at the pictures you can’t tell who’s who. Well, actually if they turn around Superman has a huge cut on his head……

Music appreciation. This is not anywhere near as entertaining to a 2 year old as it is to her 30 year old Mom. No kidding.

However this set of knobbed blocks were endlessly fascinating. She sat there for at least 10 minutes taking them in and out and sorting them. The really amusing part to me is the station was donated by a Montessori preschool in the area that included quotes from Maria Montessori about this set. It talked about how she observed little kids would sit there and play with this for hours. While Princess didn’t play for hours, it was at least a good 15 minutes.

problem solving, organizing, sorting, general math and science observation skills, can you tell I’m getting lazier?

And as always my kids favorite area is the grocery store. I really do not understand this, they don’t find the real one anywhere near as entertaining. Okay, I do understand a little, here they get to pull whatever they want off the shelves. Incidentally that is a picture of Batman.

life skills, learning about community helpers, people in the neighborhood (cue Sesame Street song now)

Superman putting gas in a car. Again this is a life skill that I find tremendously annoying that they were finding quite fun. Notice the set of bandaids on Superman’s forehead.

Eh, I think you get the idea.

Okay, I love things with balls and gears, and apparently my kids do too. I have to admit that when I go to a museum that has stuff like this I point it out to my kids so I have an excuse to do it as well.

Oh, and the running around was successful in getting them all tired out.

So, to conclude, you can always find a way to make a visit to the Children’s Museum fit into whatever state requirements your state has for the appropriate grade level. If I felt like it I could actually find TEKS to go with this (Texas Essential Knowledge Skills).

For more even better ideas go to Carisa here. And i promise next week to actually post something we’ve done recently. I have great plans for this week. Of course most of them involve the pool and no real planned educational value, but still……..

Bowman Park, Wisconsin Dells, WI


We spent a day at the Dells because on of Jeff’s aunts lived there. This is definetely a town set up for tourists, but we had fun being a tourist there. We stopped at Bowman’s Park to meet his aunt before going to ride the ducks (which I was really wondering how you could ride them, that’s a post coming up).

I had to do this as a video because I don’t think the coolness of this activity could be conveyed in a picture. I got about 5 videos of Superman doing this over and over again. That doesn’t include the times he did it and I got pictures. He loved this.


I discovered when we went there that my boys don’t really like climbing walls. They love to climb, but don’t really use climbing walls. It was an interesting discovery.


Princess had a lot of fun climbing up and down all of the different stairs, which still sometimes is a challenging activity for her.

We were there at the same time as a group of mentally disabled teenagers were there, so the kids got lots of hands on lessons in being patient and interacting with people who are different than them. Wow, videos take a long time to upload. I’ve edited all the pictures for my next post. Checked email, fiddled on facebook…..