Friday, April 30, 2010

Lesson Idea for The Tiny Seed

I try to integrate as much as possible when planning lessons. I find that integration helps children make more connections to what they are learning. So for the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, I integrated science, art and literature. This lesson is for Pre-K - K.

Literature and Science
First I read the book to my son. We talked about what seeds need to grow. We established that seeds need soil, water and sunshine. Then we talked about how different plants and flowers come from seeds.

We took a field trip to the hardware store and pick out some flowers.  We then planted the flowers and watered them. We also planted some dried beans that had been soaked. We have been monitoring their growth. Our bean plant shot up pretty quickly and is now producing beans. My son was quite in awe of that! He also loves watering the plants. He says that he is giving them energy.

Art Ideas
Draw pictures of flowers
Make a collage of picture of flowers
Make a collages of different seeds

If your children are older, you can add in a writing portion.

Writing Ideas
Journal the plants growth
Write out the stages of plant growth (seed, seedling, flower, seed) with pictures
Write a story about making a garden

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I am new to homeschooling, so this blog will be detailing my journey. I am a teacher by trade, but I quit after I had my son. Now he's almost 4, so I decided this would be a good time to start with homeschooling. So far I'm on my own. I have not joined a homeschool co-op yet, but I'm looking into my options.

I have been exploring the various styles of homeschooling. The one I like so far is the Charlotte Mason method. I like that it's literature based and uses quality books. I figure I'll try out a couple styles and see what works best for my son. So I will be sharing what works, what doesn't, what we love and hate.

Here are some great books that we are reading this week:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

8 Ways to use Olive Oil

1. Add 1/4 -1/8 teaspoon of olive oil (OO) to your cat's food to prevent hairballs.

2. Use OO on a cloth to dust wood furniture.

3. OO can lubricate your hinges for quiet doors. I've also used it on a squeaky gerbil wheel!

4. Use OO to unstick a zipper. Apply OO to a Q-tip and rub on the zipper teeth.

5. Apply OO to your dry skin after a shower instead of lotion.

6. Use OO in the place of shaving cream.

7. Dab some OO under your eyes and around the eye area as a makeup remover. Then rinse with a washcloth.

8. Apply some OO around your nail beds to moisturize your cuticles.

This list is courtesy of Real Simple Magazine.

5 Ways to use Vinegar

I love to use natural cleaners around the house. Vinegar is a great cleaner and it's very inexpensive! Here's 5 ways to use white vinegar for cleaning around the house:

Use vinegar instead of jet dry in your dishwasher.

Use a spray bottle of equal parts vinegar and water to clean produce.

Use a spray bottle of equal parts vinegar and water as an all purpose cleaner.

Use one cup of vinegar in the washing machine instead of fabric softener. It softens and helps repel lint.

Use a warm vinegar and water solution to clean soap scum. Spray and leave on for 10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Product Review

I have been searching for a new face lotion. It's difficult to find lotions that are fragrance free AND free of toxic chemicals. But I found this...

..and thought I would give it a try. It is fabulous! I had my husband try it and he also likes it. We both love the light weight formula. It absorbs quickly and my skin feels really soft.

Here's the product description:
Almond-Aloe Facial Moisturizer, Fragrance Free

This ultra-light, ultra-rich lotion combines the benefits of Beta-Liposomes (nature's most effective skin softeners, soothers, and moisturizers) with herbal emollients and anti-oxidants to help protect skin from premature aging and wrinkling. Apply as needed to face, neck and hands. It also comes in an SPF 15 version.

Crafty Corner: Buttons

If you're like me, you have tons of loose buttons all over your house. Gather them up and get creative! Here's 10 tips for re-using them in creative ways.

1. Attach buttons to homemade cards.

2. Attach to scrapbook pages

3. Decorate picture frames

4. Sew on a plain shirt or sweater in a cute design or on the cuffs

5. Attach to bobby pins for a cute hair piece

6. Attach to earring posts to create earrings

7. Organize your earrings by pushing the wires through the holes

8. Attach to paper clips to jazz up your office

9. Attach to magnetic strips to create cute magnets

10. Attach to push pins to brighten up your bulletin board

You can attach the buttons using glue dots, a hot glue gun, tacky glue or gorilla glue.

Tips 1, 3 and 7 were from the August 2008 issue of Parents Magazine

Product Review

Finally a solution to the perfume crisis that won't break the bank. You can smell lovely and not have to worry about phthalates for only $8.95! Pacifica Candles makes perfume solids with this guarantee.

QUALITY GUARANTEE : Pacifica perfumes are formulated to be paraben-free and vegan using the highest quality botanical ingredients and our signature Pacifica fragrance blends with essential oils. All Pacifica products are guaranteed to meet your complete satisfaction.

I love Brazilian Mango Grapefruit. It smells fabulous and isn't overpowering.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Crafty Corner

I saw this cute craft on Kiwi Magazine's site. I will be making these and donating some of that plastic I would normally use!

'Wich Craft
Find lunchtime waste worrisome? This adorable, sandwich sack lets you bag the baggie habit for a more sustainable option.
by Vickie Howell

For an even more sustainable sandwich wrapper, use vintage oilcloth (available at flea markets) and recycled buttons.

1/2 yard oilcloth
4 large paper clips
1 hook and eye
2 buttons
1 thin hair elastic
Pinking shears
Sewing machine
Needle and thread

1. Cut two 101/2" x 101/2" squares out of oilcloth.

2. Place one square on top of the other, with wrong sides facing eachother (so pattern is facing outside). Slide a paper clip on each side of the square to hold pieces together as you sew.

3. Using a 1/4" seam, topstitch the two pieces together. Adjust the paper clips as you go to keep the oilcloth from sliding.

4. Trim around the edges of sewn square with pinking shears.

5. Lay the square so that one of the corners is pointing at you, like a diamond. Fold left and right corners toward the center so the tip of the points overlap by about 1". Repeat with top and bottom corners to create an envelope. Run a fingernail over the edges to form a crease.

6. Open the top flaps so that only the left and right corners are folded in. Hand-sew a hook about 1/8" inside the tip of the right corner flap. Hand-sew the eye on the left flap, leaving enough space inside for a sandwich (you can gauge this by using two pieces of bread).

7. Sew buttons on top and bottom corner flaps, about 1 1/2" from each tip (again allowing room for a sandwich).

8.Place hair band over top button and pinch around button with your fingers to create two loops. With needle and thread, tack the elastic so the top loop stays firmly around the top button and the bottom loop slips easily onto the other button.

The 411 on Plastic

Toxic plastic has been making big headlines over the last few months. Do you know which plastics are safe to use or which are recyclable? Well here's a breakdown of which are safe, meaning there's no leaching of chemicals, and which are toxic.

Safe to use and can be recycled:
#1 - PET or PETE: polyethylene terephthalate

#2 - HDPE: high-density polyethylene

#4 - LDPE: low-density polyethylene

#5 - PP: polypropylene
Unsafe to use and can't be recycled:
#3 - PVC: Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride. Soft PVC can leach toxic phthalates, and can also off-gas chemicals into the air (AKA new shower curtain smell). Look for a 3 on some cling wraps, children's toys, fashion accessories, shower curtains, and detergent and spray bottles.

#6 - PS: polystyrene is used in things like foam takeout containers, foam egg carton, and some plastic utensils. It has been found to leach styrene--a neurotoxin and possible human carcinogen.

#7 - includes polycarbonate (PC), which can leach bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen in the body. Too much estrogen in the body can cause tumor growth to occur.

Thanks to Planet Green for this information!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baking Soda Tips

Baking soda is for more than baking! Here's some ways to use it around the house:

1. To clear your drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar down the drain. Wait until the fizzing stops and the 2 cups of boiling hot water down the drain.

2. To absorb odors, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of trash cans and diaper pails.

3. To remove tea stains from cups, sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda into the cup and add a tablespoon of hot water. Scrub clean with a sponge.

4. To freshen your carpet, sprinkle it with baking soda and wait. After 15 minutes vacuum it up.

5. To keep your litter box odor free, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter.

Green Furniture Polish

Want to great rid of that toxic wood polish, but you don't know what to use? You probably have what you need right in your kitchen.

Step 1
In a small bowl combine:

2 parts lemon juice (real juice!)
1 part olive oil

For example:

4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil

That should be enough for a coffee table or two end tables

Step 2
Pour a little on a rag and get to polishing!

Let me know how this works for you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Product Review

picked up some Tom's of Maine liquid hand soap this week at Target. It was marked down to $3.48, so I thought I would give it a try.

Test #1: Unscented
It lathers up very well, all nice and sudsy.
Your hands feel clean after you rinse, but not dry.
It smells terrible to me. I can't really describe the after smell, but it smells sour and acidic. My husband, on the other hand, thinks it smells like dough.

Test #2: Lavender
It does as well as above, but the smell is slightly better. So now it's sour, acidic and a tiny bit lavender.

It doesn't smell that great, but it gets the job done without the toxic chemicals. So I'll deal with the smell until I find another brand that's just as healthy. Maybe adding some essential oil or almond oil will improve the smell!

Happy Earth Day!

Here's a round up of great Earth Day articles:

40 Tips to go Green at Home from Simple Mom

How to make your own Composting Bin, here

Eco Chick's Earth Day Giveaway, here

Product Review

Since I have been replacing my toxic makeup for healthy ones, I decided to try out Physician's Formula. They have an organic line out that is free of toxic chemicals. My first test is concealer. They only have stick concealer, in a recyclable container, available.

It contains jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil and avocado oil to moisturize the skin. But the stick is difficult to use. You can't smear it or dot it on your skin. You have to rub the concealer on your finger and then dot it on your face. It is not easy to rub it on your finger, either! It takes a bit of time to really blend it into the skin.

The coverage is ok, but I think I'll keep looking for a new concealer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day Tips

Here's a few eco-friendly tips from Better Homes and Gardens.

Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save you up to 8 gallons of water per day!

Choose towels made from organic cotton or rayon from bamboo. They are free of synthetic pesticides and earth friendly.

Need new counter tops? Choose counter tops made from recycled glass and concrete.

Replace one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL and save up to $83 over the life of the bulb.


In honor of Earth Day, all post we be eco-conscious this week. I'll post about eco-cleaning, eco-products, ect. After this week, this blog will be discussing homeschooling, lessons plans, ect.

Happy Reading!