Farm Unit Printables

I prepared this unit late last summer, when I was getting things ready for homeschooling Little Guy in Kindergarten.  While combing the web, I realized that there were some really great printables available for preschoolers, but not many for kindergarteners.  I wanted to do a farm unit, and there wasn't much out there, so I thought I'd make my own.
free farm printables

Knowing how scarce free kindergarten material is, I felt a little guilty leaving the files just sitting on my computer when I could be sharing it. So I figured out how to convert these files to pdf format and make them available to you for free!

Here's a peek at some of the pages:


Hope you like them!

*If you use the printables and blog about them, leave a comment and let me know, and I'll add a link to your post! 

Castillo de San Marco in St. Augustine

We took a drive over to St. Augustine this weekend with the intention of doing a little thrifting and enjoying a picnic at this fantastic wooden park there.  Every time we find ourselves in the old city Little Guy asks to run on the grass near the fort, so Hubby decided we'd picnic on the grounds of the Castillo de San Marco instead.
St. Augustine is by far, one of my favorite cities.  Strolling along the streets, you can actually feel the history.  We hadn't been to the fort (as we call it) in a few years, though we'd walked past numerous times.  With the holiday weekend, the streets were full of people, taking in the sights so we knew the fort might be overwhelming.  Our intentions were to picnic on the grass and take a walk around outside, but as we passed the front of the fort, a ranger invited us in free of charge in honor of Martin Luther King day (apparently all Florida State Parks are free on some holidays).  How could we pass that up?

                                                         
The Rangers offered all the children a chance to earn a Junior Ranger badge and patch by answering questions in a complimentary workbook during their tour of the fort.  Little Guy was all over that!  He didn't even want to see anything until he completed the questions and earned his badge and certificate!  It was a really great way to get kids interested in the history. 
It turned out to be a fantastic day.  The fort wasn't as crowded as it appeared, the weather was beautiful, and we had a lovely picnic.  And Little Guy frolicked on the grass to his heart's delight until he wore himself out completely.  
And we have the grass stains to prove it.


Co-Sleeping

Last week  I came down with whatever has been going around, so I gave myself a sick day to lay around  and heal and finished reading Beyond the Sling by Mayim Bialik.
This book has been really amazing for me in more ways than one.  It has been interesting to realize that I agree with much of what is said in the book.  Though we've never practiced Elimination Communication (nor had the thought ever occurred to us), we do practice many of the parenting examples from the book.

Just today I came across This Article at Science Daily stating how modern parenting practices are hindering our children's development, and I wouldn't doubt it.

While we certainly weren't avid followers of the Attachment Parenting practice, I can say that those ideas that we did adhere to while raising Little Guy have certainly proven to be beneficial in his growth.
Before becoming parents we were flabbergasted at the idea that my husband's brother let their child sleep with them in their bed so often.  Once I became a mother, my primal instincts were so strong that I'd wake up a few seconds before Little Guy in the middle of the night and await his cry so that I could run to him in his crib.  It wasn't long before the exhaustion of running back and forth across the house began to take its toll, and we started having Little Guy sleep in our bed nearly every night.  Which soon turned into definitely every night.

Well, that is certainly a way to raise a clingy child isn't it?  One who will never be able to leave our sides.  One who will most certainly be one of those children who grab hold of their parent with a death grip and scream and cry when it's time to go off to school.
Actually no.  Not the case for us.  While it's true that I homeschooled Little Guy for preschool, he asked to go to Kindergarten at a traditional school.  The first day, there were no tears, only excitement.  And he's handled a sudden transition into a new school very well.  No tears there either.

Little Guy does fall asleep in his own bed (Hubby and I do need our own time), but most nights ends up in our bed sometime through the night.  I'm not going to lie, once or twice the thought crossed our mind that maybe he's too old to be coming into our bed, or that we should find a way to get him to stay in his own bed.  Easier said than done.

I read one book that said we should shut and lock our door!  That thought was so horrifying!  Can you imagine your sweet little 3 or 4 year old waking in the middle of the night, running to your room, finding your door locked, knocking and banging on it, crying, and realizing that the two people he trusts most in this world, that he relies on for safety and comfort and everything are not going to let him in?  It hurt my heart just thinking about it, and I knew we'd never do that.  And really, what am I doing at 3 in the morning anyway but sleeping?  I can think of no reason why he shouldn't come on in.

As he's gotten older, the nighttime visits have become much less frequent, although they do still happen.  I see this as a sign that he's growing more comfortable with himself and his ability to feel confident in being in his own space.

He's really very confident in himself, so much so that he taught himself to swim last summer.  Much as I'd like to say I helped, whenever I tried I was only met with, "I can do it myself!"
Though it may not be for everyone, we believe that co-sleeping has really worked for us and for our Little Guy.

Does your family practice co-sleeping?


Simple Coconut Macaroon Recipe

Coconut Macaroons were my Grandpa's very favorite treat, and who can blame him?  They are delicious.  On our journey to move away from store bought items whenever possible and make things ourselves, I decided I'd try and make these little goodies on my own.  After a couple of batches, one where I mistakenly added peppermint (eek!) extract (they actually weren't bad at all), I think I've made my way to a version that we like.
coconut macaroons

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup wheat flour
1/4 tbsp salt
4 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt.
Stir in the egg whites and vanilla extract.
Scoop rounded teaspoon sized mounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes.
You'll know they are done when the bits of coconut around the edges have turned a lovely golden brown color.

Enjoy!


The Power of Emotion


One phone call.  Sometimes that's all it takes to change your little world.
                              
    
The day before Little Guy was slated to head back to school, to his friends, to his teacher, we recieved a completely unexpected phone message from his principal stating that, due to extreme financial concerns, the school would be closing its doors effective immediately. 

Um...what?

I was in shock.  I was sad.  I was starting to freak out a little.  

What are we going to do?  Where will Little Guy school?  He will never see his little friends again!  He didn't get to say goodbye to them...or his teacher!  What will she do?  What will all the staff do??

There were some definite tears that entire evening.  It was such a feeling of loss.  Little Guy had acclimated so well to his school.  We loved the small environment.  We loved his teacher and his friends.  And now it was just gone...all gone with no goodbyes.  No preparations.

I fretted all night with Hubby wondering what we should do, and we came up with the idea that we'd just put him on the waiting list for the school that we'd originally intended for him (and the school his big brother had attended), and homeschool until a slot became available.
We awoke the next morning at peace.  I knew that whatever happened, we would be just fine.
Little Guy and I went to the school we knew we had no chance of getting into, and put his name on the waiting list.  While it was very nice to see the familiar faces from when Big Bro attended in the office, we left feeling good that we'd be on the waiting list, and hoping that he'd make it in for first grade next year.

We drove over to Little Guy's closed (for business, but not literally) school to see what we should do about his records, and to our great surprise, his teacher happened to be there cleaning out her room.  I was so glad that Little Guy got to see her one last time and say goodbye.  As was he.

Not more than an hour later, I realized I'd gotten a call from the school we had no chance at.  They'd left a message saying that they were going to make a spot for Little Guy!  After dancing like fools, jumping up and down, and sending out gratitude into the universe, we drove back to the school and enrolled Little Guy.
Ever the social diplomat, he is excited at the prospect of making new friends, and we are all glad that everything worked out.  I've found many, many times in my life, that when I've stayed calm and trusted in life's ability to work things out, it usually does.  Despite the inconvenience, we never got angry at the situation.  I think that, in our minds, the children and the teachers with no where to go took precedence over our minor inconvenience of a last minute change.  While I'm sure that other families were not as lucky as ours, I have confidence that all will work out for them in the way it is meant.

Have you had a time in your life where you knew that trusting in God/Life/The Universe would get you to where you needed to be?


Healthy Ice Cream....Really

We've all been in the mood for ice cream lately, but you can only make so many trips to the local frozen yogurt place before you start feeling guilty, and maybe a little sickish.  We needed a healthy alternative to our ice cream cravings. 
healthy ice cream
I'd read somewhere that you can put frozen bananas in the blender and make them into ice cream, so I thought an experiment was in order.  We have no blender, but we do have a food processor, so we got to work.

I used:

frozen bananas
a couple of strawberries
a dash of coconut milk


Process it until it looks like this:
and scoop it into your dish.  I put the remaining ice cream into a container in the freezer since 2-3 bananas makes enough for 3-4 servings. 
Over the past few weeks, I've learned that you can really alter this any way you'd like.  Sometimes I subsitute yogurt for the milk, and sometimes I omit the milk completely.  You can pretty much mix the bananas with any fruit you'd like, or add in a few drops of a flavored extract.  So easy, so tasty, and much better for you than real ice cream.  I never feel guilty giving any to Little Guy for a "treat." 


You can also find this post on Homemade Mondays at:



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