Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wolf Motor Away Adventure

When the boys arrived we had them experiement with buoyancy to see how many pennies it took to sink a foil boat.  Kind of like this.

Then we made juice box boats and sponge boats with popsicle sticks and kabob sticks for masts and various shapes of cardstock for sails.  An exacto knife came in handy for the juicebox boats to insert the masts.  The sponge boats were cut to a variety of shapes.  Leaders used lots of hot glue to attach sails to masts.

We tested the boats in a wrapping paper storage box on the floor surrounded by tons of towels!  We made a tin foil ramp for the boats too.  When it was time to be done I just put the lid on the water and it was out of site.  Convenient!
Indoor boat racing station:)

I pulled out my Lego box and we made spaceships while the boys arrived for the next den meeting.  Then we made paper airplanes.

The last den meeting we played the Stacking Logs game out of the den leader guide and built balloon cars.  I tried many rubberband cars, none worked, so balloon cars it was.  I found the one from here worked well: Wiki How to make a Balloon Car.  I liked the tip about lightweight cardboard.  I punched the holes in the wheels in advance and precut the cardboard.  The boys measured and cut the kabobs, and straws and taped things with very close supervision.  We used posterboard and cracker boxes.  Making cars was difficult.  We let the boys build Lego cars and then we helped just two at a time build their cars.  If we had tried to build all the cars at once (we have four boys) it would have been crazy!  We have two special needs boys who were afraid to blow up their balloons.  We found that pre-stretching them and then stretching them while the boy blew helped every scout be able to blow up their own balloon.  They were very pleased with themselves!  Maybe you could have the boys watch Disney Cars or Mater's Tall Tales or something while they wait for their turn to make a car if you don't have a gazillion Legos for the boys to keep busy with.

Valentines We Made This Year!

These random creations with Hi-Chews were designed by my second grader, he wanted "eyeball" valentines. 
My preschooler wanted to make ninja stars with starburst, but he
saw these candy wrappers on Pinterest and had to have these instead.
My fourth grader chose these, I think we
were all craving chocolate and toasted marshmallows.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Germs Alive

Cub Scouts Germs Alive! Badge

Den Meeting #1 Confetti Bombs, Glitter Trails, and Green Popcorn.
The boys that arrived right on time got to do a "when to wash your hands" penny toss.  They had ten pennies at a time and we called it a fortune teller.  Whichever box on the chart had the most pennies landed on we said was the one they needed to remember the most!

Activity 1: Hand Washing song.  It is in the book, I also talked about "wash the tips of your fingers and inbetween, front and back and then you're clean!"
Activity 2: Sneeze Experiment, I used washable marker on a white sheet to make our bulls eye and it washed right out in the laundry.  I had no confetti, so I used dots from our hole punch that were green and purple.  We called them viruses and bacteria.  I had no regular balloons, but water balloons worked great, they pop so easily and I could make one for each boy.  I used the end of a food thermometer for them to easily pop the baloons, they loved having a "popper".  We used straws to push the paper dots into the balloons through a little plastic funnel, they liked having a "pusher" too.  Here is one of my honorary cubs popping a balloon.  

Activity 3: We had translucent glitter left over from snow globes at christmas, even though it wasn't bright, it worked great.  We didn't worry about making a mess,  just went for it and then vacuumed the carpet after.  

Snack: Green Popcorn Recipe (Zombie Boogers)
Now that we are talking about germs, what do you think green popcorn looks like?
I had leftover neon green food coloring from halloween and it made great green popcorn.  Also leftover from halloween (zombie boogers).  I should have let them eat it before mentioning boogers, because it scared a few boys off and they just had regular microwave popcorn.  Oh well!
"Marshmallows make this caramel popcorn stay soft and grand!  And 

the whole recipe is very fast.


  • 12 large marshmallows (1/3 of a mini marshmallow bag, 3.6 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup (Karo syrup)
  • several drops green food coloring (neon green is best, or yellow-green)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 packages microwave popcorn, popped (8-9 cups)


  1. Cook and stir the marshmallows, sugar, food coloring, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla extract together in a pot over medium-low heat until the marshmallows are almost completely melted, the longer you cook the harder the finished product.

  2. Put the popcorn in a large bowl; pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and gently stir with a big spoon to coat.  Roll into a popcorn ball for each serving or spread out on a cookie sheet to dry or until ready to eat.

Den Meeting #2 Gross Box Game, Germ Sweep Relay, Moldy Bread, and Job Charts
On time activity was Ned's Head, using another halloween activity we had the boys grab things out of Ned's head to see who could finish finding all their items first.  You could use any box with a hole if you don't have Ned's Head.  We had them talk about which items would have the most germs!

We put a plate of items in ziplocs with a bit of water sprayed on them for the mold experiment.  I would also write on the bags MOLD GROWING EXPERIMENT. 
Mold 3 weeks later

We made job charts.  Then we had them do the germ sweep away relay.  We made "germs" out of weighted water bottles and they swept them back and forth with brooms.  I thanked them for "cleaning" the germs out of my house!

pulling faces at the mold
Germ Sweep Relay from the Den Leader Guide

Snack: regular, non-slimed popcorn this time!

Den Meeting #3  Slime 

On time activity was making germ monster pictures for pack meeting.  They were cute.

We played germ tag and then we made slime.  The recipe in the book was confusing and the "updated" one online was the same confusing thing, so I just used the one we did in my daughter's school class from a mommy blog.  I wrote the recipe down on strips and had the boys pick one or two so they each had a job to do.

1. combine borax and warm water
2. pour a small bottle of glue in a separate bowl
3. fill empty glue bottle with water, put the lid back on, shake it, pour it in with the glue
4. stir the glue and water 10 times (have someone else stir more if needed)
5. leader: add bright green food coloring
6. pour the borax into the glue and stir ten times (if you can!)
7. leader: pour the almost slime into a freezer ziplock
8. squeeze the ziploc 10 times each until it really is slime.
9. put slime on a plate and do the mucous demonstration with glitter.
10. divide the slime into baggies for the boys to take home.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Look what I made

I wanted to make some ornaments for my nursery class with their pictures, I had envisioned frames made out of felt or pipe cleaners, but I got the idea to use some old sculpey clay.  I didn't have a lot so I had to make a lot of different ones using different colors.  They are the cutest ornaments I've ever made.  I printed the pictures out and covered them with 3D mode podge which makes them look so professional!  For a last minute craft this was a winner.

Here is a super cute sleigh my daughter made at activity days, they also made faux stained glass nativity scenes.  Such a fun time of year for crafting.

Here is a big cheesy smile that he seems to have in almost all his pictures.  Happy boys.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Webelos Memory Helps for Leave No Trace Principles and Outdoor Code

Leave No Trace Principles for Kids:

Know before you go,
Choose the right path
Trash your trash
Leave what you find
Be careful with fire
Respect wild life
Be kind to other visitors

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

P is for painting pumpkins preschool day

We did modge podge pumpkins first, using cartoon eyes and pumpkin mouths.  They painted the face area of the pumpkin white with regular modge podge, stuck on a face, and then painted over that.  If the paper wouldn't mold to the pumpkin I had some watered down modgepodge they could use to paint it flat.  You can draw faces or mouths with sharpie on paper and cut it out or use computer clip art.  ( I like to put a bit of orange around the eye and mouth clip art so I don't have to cut very carefully.)

SInce it was P day I had colored polka dots they could "paint" onto their pumpkins as well while I helped the other kids.  I cut out the mouths and noses and teeth in advance and did a quick cut on the eyes.  After they picked a set of eyes, I cut it a bit more carefully for them to glue on.  I stuck  them in my dehydrator to get them to dry faster, that is cheating, but I like to have things dry at the end when parents come.

the boys pumpkins were scary

the girls pumpkins were happy.

The Nursery Rhyme of the day was "This Little Piggy" and "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater" which have cute songs online.
We read lots of books, but these were the letter P books.  We have mostly girls, so I HAD to do pinkalicious.
Since this is the week of Halloween we talked about Halloween Costumes and watched my favorite halloween book
(it is a flash movie, so won't work on my iPad, so sad).  I always turn down the volume and narrate it myself to make it more entertaining.
Then we had popcorn for our snack.  

Here is our coloring page.

Friday, October 21, 2016

2nd grade homeschool curriculum reviews

What we use:

  • Second Story Window morning work and homework, daily 5
  • Adapted Mind math
  • Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool Reading-1, Modern History, Science (selections for all four years of study), and Math-2
  • Time4Learning (offline resources only) for 2nd grade Language Arts extensions
  • Piano Wizard, Reading Rainbow, and Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • LDS scripture stories videos

Second Story Window Morning Work and Math/ELA homework:  I love both of these resources.  They are the best worksheets ever!  I was able to print out a workbook for the entire year which covers all the common core for second grade.  (I plan to send him back to public school next year, so I keep in mind what he would be doing if he was there this year)  I can use this book as a thermometer to make sure my child is on grade level and to see what areas I need to supplement.  This resource is fabulous for homeschool because it is beautifully illustrated in black and white and puts 5 times as many activities per page of paper as most workbooks.  The problems are clever and engaging too which is almost unheard of in workbooks.  We start each day with this book. (In theory, it gives me a chance to do the breakfast dishes:)
My Second Grade Math Book contains:
Second Story Window Math/ELA homework
and the Easy Peasy Math-2 pdf.
My Writing book conatains handpicked writing assignments
from Time4Learning Language Arts Extensions and pages for spelling lists

Morning Work: Covers spelling, vocabulary, reading fluency
and comprehension, sight words, writing, grammer, and math

Daily 5: I love this concept which I found on the Second Story Window website and I try to do all five each day.
  1. Read to self (we call this stamina reading and on the first day he read 3 minutes and we are working up to 30-40 minute reading sessions.  On day 40 we are at 17 minutes) 
  2. Read to someone else (We do Easy Peasy Homeschool Reading-1 selections)
  3. Listen to Reading (I try to read two or three books a day to him)
  4. Work with words (vocabulary, spelling, grammar, etc)
  5. Write  (We are also working on handwriting, forming letters correctly, speed of writing, and forming smaller letters)

This is the Math/ELA homework, it prints with Math and Language Arts on every other
page since it was intended for public school homework,  but it works:)
Chunk Spelling:  I put blank spelling pages in the back of the writing workbook
and each week we generate a new spelling list to  study.
Our read to self is library books, Read to someone else is "Easy Peasy Reading -1", and Listen to Reading is library books that I can read to my 3 and 7 year old together.  We mostly use "Second Story Window ELA homework and Morning Work" and "Time4Learing language arts extensions" for the work with words.  I also do a chunk spelling list each week that we model after the Second Story Window chunk spelling lessons.  I have the Time 4 Learning second grade spelling list and I use that for inspiration on which chunks to teach and also challenge words, I also found some great lists by googling chunk spelling.  I like studying chunks in spelling because I am such a passionate proponent of phonics.  Chunk spelling is great for homeschool because it is so easy to tailor the difficulty level.

Adapted Mind: My son and I love this!  We came across ads for this curriculum while doing Easy Peasy Math 2.  My son had been wanting to do multiplication which isn't part of Easy Peasy, but is a part of the Adapted Mind second grade math.   He can also do third grade math when he finishes, which will be long before the school year is over.  We immediately fell in love with this highly user friendly program.  The cost is $10 a month which is steep for one child, but we are hooked, and the first month is free making it $9 a month.  Getting started was so easy and navigating was easy.  Previewing the year was easy.  I get an e-mail each day showing how my child is doing which helps me know how much he actually did.  The only problem is that there are no links to the instruction videos.  I can always find them by googling the lesson topic and Kahn videos.  I think this is intentional.  The program allows you to select any video explanation you would like off of youtube if you don't want to use theirs.  I like that flexibility.  There are also worksheets for extra practice if you want them.  The one thing this program lacks is daily basic addition and subtraction practice.  Easy Peasy offers that, so they pair well together.

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool:  I think it really is easy peasy.  If I were homeschooling multiple children I would love it even more because it is designed with that in mind!  When I first looked at the curriculum I thought "that doesn't look like enough!", but don't be decieved, it is jam packed with EVERYTHING you need and it is very up to date material.  It is fun too, which was important to me.  The kids learn so much and have a lot of fun doing it.  Navigating the site and planning your year is a breeze.  I couldn't be happier.  I started with Time4Learning and that is horrible to plan your year with.  Easy Peasy also update links often.  This is a 100% free curriculum worth a bundle!  I don't use the language arts for second grade, because I like Second Story Window and Time4Learning better.

Easy Peasy Math pages
Easy Peasy Math -2 I really like how it makes math fun and has more math facts practice than public school.  The concepts for the year are grade appropriate.  I added in the second story math homework 3 times a week because I wanted him doing written work for gross motor development and I like the applied problems so much.  This math is pretty close to what he would be doing in public school and with the Second Story math homeework supplement, he is right on target so he can go back next year.

Learning about Henry Ford was our favorite History lesson so far.  We made assembly line cars with Legos!
Easy Peasy History- Modern.  I chose this since I only plan to homeschool one year and I felt that the topics in this curriculum where what my son was least likely to cover in public school.

Easy Peasy Science I use their science curriculum, but I have picked topics from Zoology (insects, animal classification, ecosystems), Earth Science (earth layers, volcanoes, weather, water cycle, rock cycle), Physics (sound, light, flight), and Biology (plants).  I looked up my state science curriculum for second grade and pulled out the Easy Peasy Lessons that matched and it worked out almost exactly to 180 days.   I wanted to use the Easy Peasy Thinking curriculum, but honestly, our day is pretty full and I don't usually get to it.

Like I said, we use Reading-1.  I started with Reading-2 and realized it was really a third grade reading level.  I went back to Reading-1 and at the same time we did something similar to their Learn to Read lessons 137-212  (advanced phonics such as  sh, ch, oy, ow, oa, or, gh, alk, ight we did two a day) since he wasn't quite ready with the phonics skills.  On day 7, Reading-1 was challenging and I helped by reading a lot of the passages, but now at day 40 and done with the phonics unit, his skills have improved so much that it is perfect for him.  I LOVE Easy Peasy Reading 1.  The literature has a rich style, is interesting, clever, vocabulary building, knowledge enhancing, grammar building, and even seasonally appropriate.  I can incorporate any Language Arts Lessons that I want (listening for details, fact vs opinions, identifying main characters, morals in the text, etc) into what we are reading.

Time4Learning: On day 1 of home school I had intended for this to be our complete curriculum.  I had done my research and it seemed to be what my son would enjoy the best.  It followed our state curriculum very closely which I also liked.  I had a DIFFICULT time planning our year despite the lesson planner on the website.  It was challenging to scan and get a feel for what he would be learning in a lesson.  It wasn't broken into 180 days either and I had know way of knowing where the natural breaks were.  I couldn't print because the format would have taken reams of paper to print.  Also, I wanted to print out workbooks for the year, but to print all the pages from the curriculum (they were all in color) was cost prohibitive (even in black and white).  Also there was a crazy high monthly fee of $20 for using the curriculum.  When my son used the website, he also had a terrible time navigating.  Then we ran into problems with the videos.  They just didn't have play bars.  This was a problem because the videos didn't move fast enough and as a parent I couldn't tell what was in each video without sitting and watching the entire thing myself.  You couldn't skip to the parts you needed.  On week 2 of homeschool, we tried Easy Peasy for one day just to compare and loved it.  I didn't have to plan the year at all, it was already divided into 180 days and scanning content was easy.  I don't use Easy Peasy Language Arts 2.  It is very light which is fine since they do a lot of language arts with other subjects.  I prefer to do more language arts and less of the reading assignments with the other subjects though.  So I do Second Story Window ELA homework, Daily 5, and Time4Learning language arts extensions for our Language Arts curriculum.

 I do like the concept of Time4Learning, but the worksheets and navigation were not user friendly.

I downloaded the Time4Learning Language Arts Extensions guide and printed out every single writing assignment, about 60 of them and made a second grade writing workbook.  We use these in combination with Second Story ELA homework and chunk spelling for our Language Arts.  We do the other worksheets in photoshop, so we didn't have to sink tons of money into printing costs.  The language arts extensions was one part of Time4Learning I could easily scan through in advance, so I liked it best.  The Language arts extensions cover science and social studies topics.  I have set up my year so that the Time4Learning science and Easy Peasy Science topics overlap.  Time4Learning Language Arts extensions has lots of picture book suggestions and when I google them there are usually videos of the books on youtube, this is good addition to our Daily 5 "Listen to Someone Read".

Other resources I like: Bill Nye the Science Guy, Reading Rainbow, and Story Bots when they apply.  I am constantly checking.
For music we use Piano Wizard which is about the only kind of music education my kids will tolerate from me.

Art: This year my son is learning Photoshop and drawing.  We use photoshop for Language Arts extensions, science and history projects.  For drawing we do drawing tutorials on Youtube of whatever sounds fun to draw or whatever we are learning about in Language Arts.  He surprises himself by what he is able to do.

LDS Video Library: Book of Mormon Stories, Old Testament Stories, New Testament Stories, and Doctrine and Covenants Stories: My younger kids watch about three stories a day during breakfast to start their school day.

P.E.: Weather permitting we go to the park for at least 30 minutes a day, I'm still trying to figure out how to keep my 3 and 8 year old physically active during the cold days of winter, but the 30 minute a day requirement comes from a specialist my son is seeing for health reasons and is one of the main reasons we chose to homeschool, so we are pretty committed to this. We also do speech and vision therapy every day.  So much therapy!  Without homeschool we would never get it all done.

Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker:  My son seemed to be really, really struggling with writing.  Each letter was painfully slow and very hard to read.  We've been doing a page a day of d'Nealian paragraphs (seem easier to make these letters so we went with it) in the smallest size letters and it seems to be helping a lot.  I've timing how fast he can complete a page and his speed is increasing.