Chicka Chicka 123 and Apple Week

We took a break from Five in a Row this week to do some activities with apples, Johnny Appleseed, and work on our Ivy Kids box which featured Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin.  Each month the box includes activities and all materials needed to complete a short unit study on a picture book.  We’ve been getting subscription boxes from Ivy Kids for about six month and I’ve really liked them.   It’s so nice to have everything planned and prepared when you’re in a pinch.

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We played an apple picking game where I threw pompom apples all over the floor and they raced to pick them up with tweezers and counted what we picked by 1’s and 5’s.

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We studied the life cycle of an apple tree, read a lot about Johnny Appleseed, and examined the parts of an apple

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We had a tasting party.  The BX doesn’t offer too many choices, but we sampled what we could.  Benny’s favorite was the Granny Smith – Clara’s the red delicious.  20170926-DSC0183020170926-DSC0183220170926-DSC01831

After tasting different varieties, we used the apple chunks to build structures.

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Benny made a digger truck

We made a Chicka Chicka apple tree.  I loved how Benjamin thought to put 100 at the top of his tree – just like in the story.

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We painted apples.  Benjamin is starting to be a little more careful with his designs.  Clara is still loves using all colors at once! Ben loved to try his hand at color mixing when his apple was finished.

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We tried matching and filling in missing letters with stickers.

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In our nature study we observed how the force of wind is able to move things.  We created our own wind with the fan and blowdryer.  Who knew this could be so amusing?  We predicted which objects could and could not be moved by the wind.

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I made a pendulum and the kids built towers to knock down with a  wrecking ball.

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This was Benjamin’s creation with his Keva blocks.  He was so proud of it and spent hours working on it.  He said the tunnel was the Autostrada.

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We also joined the base homeschool group for a field trip on base.  They visited the base weather tower. They explained some of the tools they use to predict the weather and let them go up the lookout tower.  Much of it was a bit too advanced for them, but the loved the tower and looking at the computer monitors.

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The Yellow Ball

We read The Yellow Ball by Molly Bang for Five in a Row this week.  There are many similarities to My Blue Boat, but the journey belongs to a child’s yellow ball that gets lost at sea for a time.

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Monday is our laundry day, so we usually try to take some stories and read while the clothes are washing.  After we read the story, the kids had fun swatting yellow balloons around with a (clean) fly swatter.

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We found the oceans, learned a song about them by Dr. Jean and spent a lot of time comparing The Yellow Ball to My Blue Boat.  The past two weeks we have read many stories about the sea, dolphins, and whales.  We made list of things we might spot at the beach.

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In The Yellow Ball, the ball is shown from many different perspectives — under, above, far away, up close, behind.  We played a game practicing positional words with a  ball and cup.  They had a hard time with this.  It is no wonder that they can’t find things when I tell them where they are.

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We recreated the cover  of the book with watercolor and cotton balls.  It didn’t work very well because the paper got too soggy, but they enjoyed squirting from the pipettes anyway.

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We locked ourselves in the playroom and bounced many bouncy balls at one time.  Benjamin LOVED this! It was a little scary, but we somehow escaped without any injuries.

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We played many ball games.  Unfortunately I had ordered a yellow beach ball, but it didn’t arrive in time —  one of the joys of living over seas (sigh).  We substituted with Benny’s basketball.  We practiced catching, kicking, and passing, tossing, and throwing.

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We had fun with a yellow splat.  Benjamin’s exploded fairly quickly and I believe Clara’s splat it still stuck to the ceiling somewhere.

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In the story, the yellow ball weathers a storm and arrives safely on shore when the storm calms.  We related this to Luke 8:22-25 and discussed having faith and how Jesus also went through a storm, calmed the winds, and arrived safely on the other side.

We read a lot about thunderstorms this week and tried some experiments.  This one was somewhat of a fail, but they loved it anyway.  I’ll try it again someday with more blue in the  ice.  It is supposed to show how a thunderstorm is created.  We were watching to see what happens when a cold air front runs into a warm air front. The cold air forces the warm air up causing unstable air, thus creating a thunderstorm.

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When the ice began to melt, you could see the red water rise and the blue sink to the bottom.

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We tried to create the sound of thunder from WeatherWiz Kids .They explain it like this:  hitting the bag causes the air to compress so quickly that the air rushes out and pushes the outside air away.  The air continues to move forward in a wave. When the moving air reaches your  ear, you hear the sound.  When lighting strikes, the air is heated so quickly and expands producing waves of air resulting in thunder.

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For teatime this week, we had yellow ball sea theme.  We sipped yellow lemonade, ate lemon Oreos, and made a jello sea complete with swimming fish.  After teatime, we ventured outside to put those water balloons to good use.

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Neither one of them liked the jello and went fishing for Swedish fish instead, so I cooked up the rest of the boxes and turned into a sensory bin.  I think they would have loved this, but it wasn’t a very hot day (despite the boy in underpants) and the jello was cold.  Next time I’ll bring it to room temperature.

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It was a fun week!  Apple week is next!

Fall Fun

It was far too beautiful a day to stay inside and do school so we went to Lago di Barcis for a picnic and a nature study.  We tried to find a place to eat, but this guy wouldn’t leave us alone.  He followed us everywhere!  He would stand there looking around for us and then he’d come flying on over.

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We couldn’t find safe place to eat, so we picnicked in the trunk.  They probably enjoyed this more!IMG_7842IMG_7844

Even after we finished eating and started our hike around the lake, he continued to swim along side us for half of the length of the lake. In the end, we grew quite affectionate toward him until he glided upon some fellow ducks and decided they were better company.

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We stopped to throw rocks in the water.

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Love his backwards shorts!

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Benjamin is looking so grown up.  This is the “cool bridge”.

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We hiked around the entire lake.  It turned out to be a much longer walk than I had anticipated. I don’t know why I thought it would be a quick walk…this is the only bridge and it’s on the very edge of the lake!

We found the coolest mushrooms I’ve ever seen.  We loved studying them.

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This was our favorite!

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The view of Barcis from the other side of the lake.

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These two were so cuddly today 

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The base had an event for Fire Prevention week.  They offered grilled burgers and lots of fun for the kids.  It made for a great day!

We got to watch them put out a fire in a burning car.

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They had an obstacle course for the kids. Her favorite part of the day was spraying the fire hose on the burning fire.  It was really cute.

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The cutest firemen ever!

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You can see Clara spraying the hose on the left

We got to check out the fire engines. Ben is still obsessed with big trucks.  They also had a smoking trailer for the kids.  It was smoky inside and they had to find their way to the balcony and climb the ladder down.  I guess I failed to get pictures.   We had to drag Benjamin out of there.

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We also made it to our first Boy Scout activity this weekend.  It was the Fall Boy Scout campout.  It was a great little campsite at a large park just about 30 minutes from our home.  The boys went crazy on the playground and thoroughly investigated the forest.

They had a three-legged race to find rocks…

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This was hilarious to watch!

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Walked a tight rope…

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And learned to start fires…  He had SO much fun with all of those boys.  And the great thing is that most of them are also involved with the homeschool group, so he will be able to get to know them pretty well.  IMG_7905IMG_7904

The best part was that I got to  home alone and Derek, Benjamin, and Clara stayed up in the tent overnight.  It was quite glorious to have the evening to myself though I didn’t sleep anyway because I was worried about the kids being too cold. Oh well…suppose I’m quite used to being “nocturnal” as Benjamin would say.

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Clara flipped over the sleeping bag and tent!

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

This year we are starting a program called Before Five in a Row.  It is literature based and has you “row” or read the story five days in a row completing an activity for a different subject each day.   I purchased this program a few years ago and am so excited to finally get started with it.  I chose “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”  by Michael Rosen for our first row.

We made maps and binoculars so that we would be ready for our own bear hunt.

Photo Aug 16, 3 50 53 PM Clara’s Koala Crate this month had a camping theme so we built a tent for camping, a campfire, and made a delicious “smores” snack to eat around the campfire before we reenacted the story throughout the house. I had also made a cave for the bear, but forgot to get a picture.  We must have gone on at least 20  bear hunts this day.

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We had fun reading the story while hanging out in our tent.

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We did some yoga through Cosmic Kids on YouTube where she narrates the storyline and takes them through a yoga routine.  They had a lot of fun with this and did it several times throughout the week.  We also watched the author’s read aloud of the story on YouTube.  They love this so much and still ask to watch it on occasion.

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We took a hike through the woods to gather everything we’d need for a Lego bear hunt. Benny was in charge of scooping up dirt to make thick, oozy mud.  We would’ve liked to  hike longer, but Clara and I had gotten almost 40 mosquito bites within about 20 minutes — it was pure torture.  The itchiness almost brought me to tears.

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They had a blast reenacting the story with Legos. This kept them busy for a couple hours.

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Later in the week, we drove up to Dobbiaco (about 2 hours up the Dolomites) and happened upon a delightful park — it had everything we needed to do a bear hunt (aside from the snowstorm of course)!

Long, wavy grass…

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A deep, cold river…

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Part of the kniepps course at the park – Benny loved dunking his face

Thick, oozy mud…

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And a tall, dark forest…

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The kids had so much fun playing with this dam feature.  The top of the hill had a water pump and they could stop the water in various places.  Benny could’ve worked all day on this.

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Benny has quite a knack for finding caterpillars.  He finds them everywhere and I’m always stunned to see how small and camouflage they can be.

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Can you even spot this one???

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We loved our first “row”!  Can’t wait for what’s ahead!

Soaring into a great year!

We got started on our first official day of school!  We sailed away in a hot air balloon and imagined all of the different places we can go this year.  We had fun flying around the world via google earth and made a tasty snack.

 

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We made our own hot air balloons and reenacted Hot Air:  The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman.  They both think this book is hilarious.  Much of it is wordless and I loved hearing them put words of their own to the illustrations.

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Benny should be starting kindergarten this year.  He has been in Italian school for the last two years and was supposed to start first grade in Italy.  I admit I am relieved to not have to worry about translating everything that comes home and always being in the dark when it comes to information.  I loved his little (blue) preschool, but didn’t feel first grade would be worth the effort.

We did a retake on this one.  Haha!

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Slightly more natural (maybe)…

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Clara barely turned 4 and I feel bad she went to school last year – I’m just not a believer in early childhood education.  I can’t count the days I had to force her into her class screaming.  I never felt good about it and couldn’t bear another year of it.  20170905-DSC01749