Sunday, August 30, 2009

From Grapes to Juice

Today, we picked some of our muscadine grapes and made juice. The juice was so delicious. My juicer is not a very good one, so it did waste more of the grapes than I would have liked. We also didn't have a good strainer, but the juice was so sweet and we enjoyed the process of making juice together!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Florida: Mockingbird

The official bird of the state of Florida is the Mockingbird, so that is what we studied today. I wish I could have found more books specifically about Mockingbirds, but we made do with what we had.

When Andy gets home tonight and hooks up our printer, Arin will color this picture of the Mockingbird. I wanted to go ahead and write up this post now, so I might add her colored picture later.

We started the day by reading:
Mockingbird by Allan Ahlberg (this is the lull-a-bye song, but since it mentions Mockingbirds, we went ahead and used it).
Birdsongs by Betsy Franco
United Tweets of America by Hudson Talbott (we skipped most of this book and only read the beginning, the Florida section, and the ending)
Birds: Omnivorous Birds by David Chandler (we skipped to just the part about Mockingbirds. We also had the opportunity to talk about omnivores, carnivores and herbivores)
The New Enchantment of America: Florida by John Allan Carpenter (We read the first two chapters of this book)

Later in the day we also read two chapters of Freddy Goes to Florida. Arin did really good with the chapter book today. She got her pillow and blanket and sat still beside me on the floor. A few minutes after we were done reading, she came to me and said, "Where's the chapter book? I have to read it to Ella!"

For our activities, we started by making a bird feeder. We used a recycled milk carton for this. I cut out openings in the carton and Arin painted it.

Next, Arin painted with some bird feathers.

Then, we made Cheerios bird feeders, which I saw here on Chasing Cheerios blog.

We also did two egg experiments. I hard-boiled an egg and put it in the refrigerator (with the shell still on). Once it was cold, I took the cooked egg and two raw eggs and put them on the table in front of Arin. I asked her if she could tell which egg was the cooked one. She looked, but couldn't tell. Then, I showed her that you can spin the eggs to figure it out. The cooked one will spin, while the raw ones only wobble. She loved spinning the eggs.

The next experiment we attempted (but half failed at) was the classic egg in the bottle trick. I am not sure what we did wrong, other than perhaps it was because the egg had been refrigeratoed instead of kept at room temperature, or perhaps we needed to use a glass bottle? Anyways, the egg sucked half-way into the bottle and then broke in half. Arin was still amazed, so I guess that is what matters!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Florida: Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane is a has been commercially grown in southern Florida since the early 1900's. Economically, it is a very important crop in Florida. Today, we studied sugar.

A couple of Florida sugar websites:

We read:
From Cane to Sugar by Roberta Basel
Sugar by O. B. Gregory
Beginning to End Cane to Sugar by Julie Murray

Arin colored a picture of Florida.

We put four types of sugar on a plate - granulated, powdered, brown, and raw (turbinado). We looked at the different size crystals and then took a taste test of each type of sugar. I asked Arin which one she liked best and of course she said all of them!

We also made sugar glitter, which is just sugar colored with food coloring. Then, Arin put glue all over paper and sprinkled the sugar glitter onto the glue. Some of the glitter melted into the glue, but Arin didn't mind. This kept her busy for a very long time.

We also had fun building towers with sugar cubes. Arin was able to stack eight cubes before it fell over.

Next, I asked Arin if she thought that more sugar cubes would melt in cold water or in hot water. Arin said hot water. I asked her why she thought that. She said, "because it has to!" She was right. We put in one cube at a time - first into cold tap water and then into hot tap water. We should have used less water because this took forever and Arin eventually got bored with it. Twenty sugar cubes melted into the cold water and we stopped at thirty in the hot water, although I think the hot water would have melted more than that.

Next, we started our rock candy. Arin asked about this all day long. She can't believe that we are making our own lollipops. She kept asking me if it was done. I told her it'd be seven days. She counted to seven and said, "ok is it done?" I told her, no seven days, not seven seconds, so then she counted to eight and asked if she could eat it now. Silly little girl. We used this recipe. We used vanilla to flavor the rock candy.

For our last project, we made a sugar scrub using a recipe that we saw here on Chasing Cheerios. We didn't have any peppermint extract or peppermint oil, so we used orange essential oils instead (which is really better since we are studying FL). Then, we took turns using it on each other's feet - although this probably would have been better to do in the bath - but Arin thought it was great and Ella was curiously watching.

We also read some more of our chapter book, Freddy Goes to Florida. Arin was not at all interested in this book today. Also, throughout the day, I quiz her about the state's nickname and about where sugar grows and how it grows, etc.

Tomorrow we plan on learning about the state bird - the mockingbird.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Florida: The Sunshine State

I love USA geography. For a while now I have been thinking about different ways to teach the states to Arin. Nothing ever struck me as a great way to teach it to a three year old - that was, until one day when I was reading the awesome blog, Superheroes and Princesses. She has introduced the USA to her little ones through literature and activities that tie in with each state. We have decided to jump on board with that idea and use her examples to guide us while learning the states!

The first state that we are focusing on is Florida. I chose Florida first because both of the girls and Andy were born in Florida. We recently moved away from Florida, but still consider it "home".

Today we focused on locating Florida on a map (which Arin has been able to do for many months, but it is always good to practice!) We bought her this USA Sticker Atlas at Sam's (just under $9). She loved putting the Florida sticker on the map. She also loves that we hung the map up in her room. After she placed the sticker on the map, we looked at the state of Florida in the book. We didn't do too much more than look at the state and name the bordering states. There are a few stickers that we will put on the state at a different time. Then, she located Florida on her USA placemat.

I checked out Freddy Goes to Florida by Walter R. Brooks from our library. It is our chapter book for this state. Arin will sit still and listen to about one or two chapters and then she is ready to be up and running around again, so we will read that much each day while we study Florida. This book is about animals who plan to migrate to Florida for the winter. I know that Arin loves animals, so that keeps a little bit of interest for her. Even though she is still young for completely comprehending a chapter book, I like to expose her to them. They help to increase her attention span and her vocabulary.

Florida's nickname is "The Sunshine State", so we read books, sang songs, and did a few activities related to sunshine. We read the following books.

Sunshine: A Book About Sunlight by Josepha Sherman

Sunshine by Gail Saunders-Smith

Sunny Numbers: A Florida Counting Book by Carol Crane

Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn M Branley

May There Always Be Sunshine by Jim Gill

John Denver's Sunshine On My Shoulders (this book also includes a cd with the song on it)

Then we sang "You are my Sunshine" and "Mister Sun".

We talked about the sun and how you should never look directly at the sun. Arin told me that if she wears her sunglasses, the sun will not hurt her eyes. I reminded her never to look directly at the sun, even with sunglasses on.

I gave Arin a dark purple sheet of paper. She felt the paper and decided it wasn't hot or cold. We laid it in the direct sunlight for five minutes and then felt the paper again. It was warm this time. We left it in the sun for about 10 more minutes and felt it again. The paper was much warmer this time. We talked about the sun attracting the dark colors.

Then, I took six different dishes - different colors and different materials that they were made out of (plastic, glass, etc.) Arin placed one ice cube in each bowl. I had her guess which ice cube would melt the fastest. She guessed the one on the black plate, although she didn't have a reason for guessing that one. We watched the ice melt. Arin's guess was correct. The ice cube in the black dish did melt the fastest.

Next we took three new black dishes (all at room temperature). We put one ice cube on each dish. Arin put one of the dishes on the floor inside the house, one outside in direct sunlight, and the third outside in the shade. Arin guessed that the ice outside would melt faster than the ice inside. She was correct. She also guessed that the ice in the shade would melt faster than the ice in the sun. She was wrong about that, although it was pretty close. We talked about how the sun heats up the air outside, so even though there was an ice cube in the shade, it would still melt faster than the one in the house due to the temperature of each environment.

We also tried to make sunprints. However, I used scrapbook paper instead of regular construction paper, so after being outside in the direct sunlight all day long, there was no fading. We will try this again laster using regular construction paper.

For our last sunshine experiment, we peeled and grated crayons. Arin put the shavings into three different cookie cutters - s, u, and n. I showed Arin how the sun's heat melted the crayons (good example of why we don't leave crayons in a hot car!). The problem was when I tried to remove the melted (then cooled) crayons from the molds, they broke. Bummer! Not able to use the new letter crayons, but the point of that activity was to show how the sun melts things, so it was still a success.

Thank You Mrs. Lee...

...for these adorable dresses you gave the girls. Thank you also for the awesome Dora book that you gave Arin, which kept her entertained much of our LONG trip home!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sleepy Baby

My niece brought this Jumperoo over last night for Ella to play in. This morning she was bouncing and have a great time in it one minute and snoozing in it the next!

Arin's Interview

I saw this idea (and these questions) on Chasing Cheerios. I thought it was a cute idea, so decided to try it with Arin. She didn't really like this idea though because I kept asking her questions, which was interrupting her playing time.

I feel happy when...Uncle Todd makes me happy and so does forests and grass.

I feel sad when...elephants hurt me, because I don't like elephants.

I like to...see some elephants because they don't hurt me and I like to see some projects and some butterflies.

My daddy is... at work.

My mama is... at Papa and Grandma's house.

I love some projects and eat.

My favorite color

I like to eat...macaroni and cheese

I like to play...with you, momma, and with my friends and Ella.

My favorite toy is...pirate boats.

It makes me happy when...Uncle Todd growls at me.

It makes me sad when...big grasshoppers hurt me.

The best thing I do with my sister and Rylee.

I'm excited about...Matthew and Brandon getting here.

I like to playgroup and the Y.

I don't like to... see bad guys.

What are your favorite things to do? work and see the boys and watch Clifford.

What was the best thing about your birthday party? putting sprinkles on my cupcakes

What's your favorite song? Hallelujah

What's your favorite school activity? dance, color, fireworks, and finding animals

What's your favorite art activity? I like to paint.

What's the best part about being 3 years old? I like to see squirrels and eat bubble gum.

Do you love taking naps? yes

What do you like to do with your sister? I love to play with my sister - hide and seek and I spy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


While being back at my parents' house this week, I found a dress that I used to wear when I was a little younger than Arin. I wanted to try the dress on Arin, but she wanted nothing to do with it. So I put it on Ella instead. She was quite happy to be modeling!