Everything’s Better With Butter



Ma Ingalls followed this simple rule:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday.

I’ve always done laundry on Monday,
I try to iron on Tuesday,
my mending piles up higher than Wednesday,
and for the first time in my life,
I churned on Thursday.

Laura liked churning and baking days best.
I can understand baking day,
but not churning day.

Churning Butter

This is one of Garth Williams’ beautiful illustrations,
he certainly added delight to my childhood.
He illustrated about 100 children’s books,
you’ll recognize many of the titles.

We bought the full-color collector’s edition,
and were thrilled.
It’s a treasure you’ll want to add to your collection.

(This is page 31 published 2004 by HarperCollins to show you the beauty.)


Prairie School pics 013

I kinda’ cheated.  We saw a butter churn like the Ingalls’ at an antique store,
but I was too stingy thrifty to pay that much for one lesson.

This “modern” churn was a gift from a relative years ago.

It was displayed in my kitchen when an older friend walked and said,
”I remember when we got one of those!  It made making butter so much easier.”

Their family felt so high-tech by having one of the first updated churns in their
tiny Minnesotan farm community.

Prairie School pics 026

It was supposed to be so simple, just pour in the cream and turn the handle.

We used two baby food jars half full of cream to involve everyone.

My granddaughter, Brookelyn, loved to
shake, shake, shake,
shake, shake, shake,
shake her butter.

Well, for the first ten minutes, anyway.

Prairie School pics 028

The sun was shining, the fall day was gorgeous, so we had to work outside.

A checkered tablecloth helped set the prairie mood.

Prairie School pics 038

A prairie skirt also helped set the mood for butter making.

Prairie School pics 042

In a short time, it was already thickening.

We were excited.

Prairie School pics 048

A little while later, butter chunks started appearing.


Prairie School pics 053

It was so exciting, our neighbor Laura came to join the fun.

She also grew up reading the Little House books,
so was happy to join in our little educational activity.

Prairie School pics 054

Half an hour later, we’re still churning.


Prairie School pics 060

It wasn’t so exciting after awhile, so Ma Mindy helped churn
while the girls ran and played.

No prairie skirt for this woman,
I tried that once, and it didn’t fit.
We don’t have a corset like Ma wore in our dress-up bin.
I wear a gut-sucking tank top,
but I wouldn’t be laced in a corset for anything.


Prairie School pics 064

Beka’s wardrobe change helped build enthusiasm again.


Prairie School pics 068

We were still churning, but it seems we lost progress, instead of gaining.

It’s looked more like whipped cream again instead of butter.

I didn’t know if it was the warm weather,
over churning or under churning.
I do know we were getting a little tired of the adventure.

About 15 minutes of cranking later,
(about hour and a half all together)
we called it “whipped butter” and quit churning.

We were wondering why Laura thought churning was so fun.

Prairie School pics 086

Maybe for this reason.

Homemade biscuits were waiting in the oven, thanks to my oldest daughter, Jana.


Prairie School pics 091

She made butter in her kindergarten class years ago,
so was happy her daughter, Brookelyn,
was a participant in our butter festivities.

Prairie School pics 088

The two baby food jars made butter easily,
the kids just shook and shook and it was done more quickly than the large churn.

It’s an easy way to include a lot of kids in the activity if your group is large.

Prairie School pics 093

I loved having three generations of women making butter
and munching down hot bread with butter and honey.


But, I was so tired from churning in the hot sun,
it was hard to have ambition to clean on Friday.

I certainly don’t bake on Saturday, it’s a family day,
so I just rested on Friday
and rested on Saturday
and rested on Sunday.

After all, I’m Momma Mindy, not Ma Ingalls.


Snow Candy is Better Than No Candy

As a young bride, I received the bestest gift in the world. 

Betty Crocker Cookbook 001

I was thrilled  because even though I’d cooked most of my life,
I  wasn’t a great cook.  I wasn’t even a good cook.

Back then, I’d marvel at other women’s cookbooks, with their wrinkled, splattered pages, and marvel at the longevity of their marriages and their culinary skills.

Now I know the truth, a splattered, tattered cookbook doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good cook.

It could just mean you’ve spilled a lot on your cookbook.

One thing I have mastered is candy making. I don’t make a variety, but I can make
hard candy, caramel, and fudge. I also dip a lot of junk in chocolate and white chocolate. But, now that I’m thinking about it, I guess that doesn’t really make me a master candy maker.

But, I do know the stages of candy making.

When we were kids, my little brother Allan was always the adventurer, the one to figure out stuff. In a clearance bin at the Capital Hill Mall in Helena, MT,  he found a little vial of apricot flavoring. He was told it was flavoring for homemade candy.

He figured the $.25 to buy the flavoring to make a batch of candy, would give him a higher yield than buying $.25 worth of candy.

So, he opened my mom’s cookbook, found a recipe and made apricot hard candy.

We’ve been making hard candy ever since.

Candy Stages 001

I diligently typed this out with an old fashioned typewriter I musta’ borrowed  and glued it on the very back page.

I’ve trusted this chart over any candy thermometer I ever purchased.

Here’s a great website that explains how to do the cold water candy test.
They recommend using a candy thermometer and the cold water test while you’re making candy.

Candy making is simple.  You boil a sugar mixture until it’s the right stage.
Then you eat it.

Icing or glaze is cooked to thread stage.

Fudge is cooked to soft ball stage.

Divinity is cooked to firm ball stage.

Caramel is cooked to hard ball stage.

Toffee  and salt water taffy are cooked to soft crack stage.

Lollipops and peanut brittle are cooked to hard crack stage.

The longer you cook it, the harder it gets.
Easy Peasy.

Ma Ingalls  made molasses candy for her kids. I can imagine her dropping little bits of the candy into a bowl of cold water, explaining the stages to her girls.  I
can also imagine their impatience. It takes a LONG time to make candy.

We found the recipe for Snow Candy on a website by HarperCollins for Children.
They have a lot of valuable resources for Little House on the Prairie series,
including the recipes, quizzes, teacher resources and biographies. 

Since I am such an expert candy maker, I thought this would be a cinch.

home school projects 118

How hard could it be?  Two ingredients, a kettle, something to stir with and some snow.

That’s right.  I needed snow.  The sun was shining, I was dreaming about sun bathing, but  I needed snow.

I live in a place, FINALLY, after decades in North Dakota, where there is almost no snow.

Since I grew up with the survivalist mentality of Make-Do-or-Do-Without, I knew I could conquer this.

home school projects 121

With our little Igloo, we made snow.

home school projects 124

With my cookbook propped open to teach Rebekah the candy stages, we began our Candy Making Quest.

home school projects 125

However, as soon as she dumped in the two ingredients, she bailed.

She was playing Bananagrams on the dining room  table, ”because I’m practicing Spelling, Mom.”

I was going to say something, then realized we were really following Little House protocol.

Ma made the candy, the kids waited impatiently.

So, with all the pioneer spirit I could muster, I stirred and stirred and stirred, calling her over when I was dropping stuff in the water.

home school projects 129

Then I stirred some more.

Notice how cleverly I magneted the recipe to my stove?

Notice how I didn’t clean off the counters for that perfect blog picture?

Notice the double chin I don’t know how to Photoshop off?

Yea, so this is the real deal, here folks.

No “I have the perfect life” fake bloggy stuff for me.

home school projects 130

If ya’ happen to be stirring and stirring, and your rubber spatula is getting smaller and smaller, ya’ better take out  a wooden spoon to stir until you can go out  and buy a new spatula.

Candy making is challenging on those things, and I  have the proud claim to fame that I’ve melted a Pampered Chef spatula while making candy. This one is from one of those expensive cooking stores.

home school projects 127

Remember my bragging about my candy making skills? This thick stuff was hard to test.

At the end I wait for the candy to speak to me, because when  it’s at the hard crack stage it will literally crack in the water.  I usually yell at the kids, “Be quiet!  Be quiet!  I can’t hear my candy!”

The molasses candy wasn’t cracking a lot, but it was starting to smell burnt.

home school projects 135

We pulled it off the burner and  tried swirling designs on our “snow” like Laura and Mary.

home school projects 136

Yea, so big deal.  No fancy designs that would be worth writing about in my memoire.

I poured the rest in a buttered pan.  As it cooled, we began playing with it.

home school projects 138

OK, so we had a few shining moments. The ribbon candy is kinda’ cute.

home school projects 145

Just don’t leave your utensils in the pan with the candy, like I did.

How did it taste, you wonder?

If you like molasses, you would like this candy. If you hadn’t had sugar or sweets for a year, like Laura and Mary who are thrilled to get one piece of candy on the rare occasion Pa goes to town, you would like this candy.

But, if you’ve eaten Laffy Taffy or a Jolly Rancher, you’ll be thankful you weren’t a pioneer child.

So, to not leave you hanging on the verge of disappointment, I’m gunna’ give ya’ a freebie.

My favorite candy recipe.

Homemade Butterscotch 001

It’s amazing.  I always thought it was interesting that there is no added flavoring, but it really is butterscotch.

butterscotch p. 2 001

It’s delicious, I promise.

And it will REALLY make you thankful you aren’t a pioneer kid
who’d never seen a town and had to be content crunching on molasses candy.

Dickshunaree Skillz

During our day covering Chapter 5 in Little House in the Big Woods, Ms. Margie Gray
wanted us to cover dickshunaree skillz. 


Yea, I’m pretty sure the Ingalls family had a huge dictionary that they packed from
Minnesota, to South Dakota to Missery with them.

The little girl who had to play with a corn cob doll certainly didn’t have a dictionary.
But, I think it’s a fine skill to learn, so I pushed on with my usually joyful abandonment.

That’s a line I read once and I’ve been waiting to use it. 


Picking up a dictionary always gives me just a little bit of a frustration flashback.

In the fifth grade, I asked Mrs. Hayes how to spell tongue. 
I was writing an amazing essay on uses for the tongue,
including such wisdom as sticking out your tongue at your brother
behind your parents’ back to annoy them and get them in trouble.

She wouldn’t tell me. With wilting coffee breath foreshadowing her negative command,
she said, “Look it up in the dictionary.”

With all the wisdom a  10 year old can possess, I asked,
“How can I look it up in the dictionary, I can’t spell it?”

She glared at me over her glasses, and I knew the conversation was over.
I was OK that she glared, when she smiled, I had to see her crooked, coffee-stained teeth.

The conversation was over, but not my offense. 
I thumbed through the dictionary with exaggerated huffings and turnings,
mumbled how I couldn’t find it because I couldn’t spell it,
then spelled it TUNG in effigy.

Although Mrs. Hayes discounted my paper for misspelling tongue over and over,
she did take my paper to the teacher’s lounge and had all the other teachers read it.

I guess I won that round.

Dictionary for Children

To my chagrin, (what is chagrin anyway? do you ever use it in speaking or just writing?)
I found myself repeating this instruction to one of my kids years ago.

Then, I repented.  I gave them a little extra advice on how to find a word in the dictionary
when you don’t know how to spell it.

Begin with the first letter.


Guess at the second letter.

If you don’t find it, guess again, thinking of other phonetic rules that might impact pronunciation,
in this case, the schwa rule. If looking up tongue, you can kinda rule out “e” and “I” because they
don’t schwa.


There ya’ go.  You should find your word.

It’s important that kids feel comfortable with a dictionary, it could be their best friend.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it can’t be their enemy.

Understanding all the different terms is a good way to begin.


Parts of Dictionary 001

This is the outside back cover of the dictionary I use.
My mommy bought it for me.  She is an avid thrift shopper
and has found stacks of great books and workbooks for me over the years.


The hardest thing about using a dictionary, is remembering alphabetical order.
At least in math if you forget a fact, you can count on your fingers.
With this, you’re stuck with singing the alphabet song in your head
and over
and over
and over.

Just teach your kids to sing silently to themselves,
even if they’re the only child in the classroom.
Someday they’ll be out in the world trying to socialize,
and hometeached people who sing to themselves could be just
a little annoying. A lip-moving-while-thinking person is slightly less weird.


(Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1982)



Pronunciation Guide

Macmillan also provides a great pronunciation key.

Flip through the dictionary you’re using and familiarize yourself
with all the tools they provide.

Dickshunaree Skillz Worksheet 001

And because homeschoolers sometimes feel left out
if they don’t get worksheets, I made one using Ms. Gray’s
terms and definitions.

You can use it, too.

It’s ain’t perty, it’s ain’t fancy, but I got ‘er dun.


So, now you know how to use the dickshunaree.


If ewe think I spelt that rong, just go look it up, k?


Why Do Weasels Pop?

We’ve all grown up with the song Pop Goes the Weasel. It was a favorite folk tune when Pa played it on his violin for his family,
it’s still a favorite for kids today.

However, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know what a weasel was.  It wasn’t a species common to Montana.
I didn’t know what a cobbler was, either, or why he had a bench.

It was a catchy tune, with tricky lyrics.

You can look up weasel on the New World Encyclopedia website, but they use a lotta’ big words.
It’s Monday.  I don’t do big words on Monday.  Wait, it’s Tuesday.  I don’t do big words on Tuesday, either.

Here’s a source from the Hylebos Wetlands with smaller words.
Short words are my friends when I’m tired and school must go on.

But, I read enough to learn that even though we think negatively about the weasel,
who by tradition is sneaky and annoying, he provides something useful.
We love ermine, ya’ know, the white fur kings and queens use to trim their purple robes?
That’s  a weasel’s winter wear.
In high elevations, the weasels turn white in the winter, creating the much-desired fur.

No wonder the cobbler was chasing the weasel.
He wanted to make some ermine-trimmed boots!
I would SO wear them, just not in Washington, the animal activist state.

While Rebekah was looking up information on the weasel, I noticed she left the section for DIET blank.

“Rebekah, why didn’t you write down what he eats?  It’s right there in the dictionary.”

“What he eats?  I’m supposed to write down what he eats?  OH.  Because for a woman a diet is what she doesn’t eat.”

Good point, my dear, it’s no wonder you couldn’t finish your homework.
Women do complicate life, don’t they?

Weasels are like brothers, in that they use a anal secretion to ward off enemies.
That’s the fancy Science way of saying fart, but maybe you don’t use that word in your home.
My teacher husband got reprimanded by the principal for using this F word in the classroom years ago.
Apparently, a parent called quite offended.
Now he works in the business world where the F word they use is not the anal secretion word.

The antidote for a weasel bite is monkey secretion.  EEWWWW, is that like monkey pee? Or would that be monkey spit?
Anyway, if you’re hiking in the US and you get bit by a weasel, you’re going to have to run to the nearest zoo.

While we were pondering what the secretion was, we found a map showing our entire state is a habitat for long-trailed weasels.

Then, we found out the collective name for a group is a boogle, gang, pack and confusion.

Bing Images supplies pictures of weasels and tracks to make drawings.

But, after the research, we’re still confused about the popping of the weasel.
Why don’t we have Weasels in our Jack in the Boxes instead of a scary clown?
That would be  a popping weasel.

Just wondering.

Of course, we had to visit YouTube, the intellectually stimulating website.
OK, it’s a site where you can waste a lot of time, but we found what we were looking for.

Pop Goes the Weasel

If you want to hear the Cedarmont Kids sing a cute version, click the link.


David Scrivener is actually play Pop Goes the Weasel on Pa Ingall’s violin!

If ya’ wanna’ play and sing with your kids, here is sheet music.
It’s a little high.  You can play an octave lower, or stand on your tippy-toes.

There’s a lot of different verses, but Pa sang a scandalous one,
about the preacher kissing the cobbler’s wife.
That would be enough to make the weasel pop.

After my diligent research, OK two sites and Wikipedia,
nobody seems to know what POP GOES THE WEASEL means.

Isn’t that the way it is?

So, the fact remains.  If you’re hiking in Washington and you run into a boogle of weasels and the anal secretion doesn’t warn you in time and you are bitten,
you better run, don’t walk,  to the nearest zoo for a monkey secretion antidote.


Don’t Be Owly!

Pa told a story about an owl scaring him in the woods
when he was a young boy,
so we had to learn about owls.

As we began learning, I keep hearing my Dad’s voice in my head.
hen we were grumpy and crabby, he’d always say,
”Don’t be owly!”


I never understood it, until I watched YouTube videos on owls.


This owl showed up in someone’s yard.


Yea, it could sound like little kids bickering and snipping at one another.


This is a little baby owl “trilling.”


They say cutest owl ever, they aren’t kidding.




This is the printable we used from Daily Coloring Pages.
I was thrilled to find this resource with almost a bajillion
coloring pages for alphabets, cartoons, holidays, sports, etc.

Ya’ wanna’ bookmark this site and come back.


We used The Owl Pages to find the information on habitat and diet.

She had to look up words she didn’t know, like nocturnal and fledgling.

To help Rebekah more quickly navigate the online world,
I taught her

CUT – control C
PASTE – control V

to place words she didn’t know into


Teaching Tip:
To keep a child safe in the online world, research ahead of time
and drop safe sites in your taskbar.
If there are too many, or ones I will only visit once,
I send myself an email with the links I want to use for each topic.


After listening to several owl videos on YouTube,
we decided we didn’t hear any that sounded the way Pa described it
in the story. 

Maybe his owl story is like most men’s fishing stories,
they get better with time and telling.


Through our study on owls,
Rebekah came to the conclusion that she didn’t like them,
because they eat all the cute little animals she loves.


I realized birds are not my favorite either,
because I didn’t have any bird books on my shelf.


But, I won’t be owly about having to study owls,
OK, Dad?

Turning Beka’s Heart to Her Daddy

In the Little House books, honoring and obeying parents
is a recurring theme, as it was in those times.


Times ain’t what they used to be.


The assignment said,
”Laura’s father was an important part of her life.
What does Malachi 4:6 say?”



In looking for a visual of this verse,  I found this amazing website with free verse downloads.

Inspirational Bible Verses

But, I wanted to do something more than just look at a cool picture
and talk about Malachi 4:6.

I needed Beka to
the verse in her heart, mind and soul.

I’ve learned Satan loves to come between Christian parents and their kids.

The wicked one first sticks a toe of doubt, disappointment or hurt,
then wedges his way between the two parties.

A small offense can be harbored by Christian kids for a long time.
It might be something a parent said or did by accident or the heat of the moment.
Usually satan’s ammunition is not something intentional on a parent’s part.

To help win the battle for my kids’ souls,
I help turn their hearts to their Daddy.

It had been an unusual week for our family,
Daddy had business meetings that kept him past dinner all week.
He normally goes into work early, so he doesn’t miss family dinner.
The kids missed Pops all week,
but need to be reminded he works hard because of them.

During an ice-breaker session at a work event years ago,
the employees had to introduce themselves and list their hobbies.

My husband said, “I am Scott and I have a wife and six kids.”

We are his hobbies.

But, sometimes he’s distracted from work and doesn’t listen very well.
Sometimes he’s exhausted and he doesn’t have the energy for the Honey Do List.
He falls asleep every time he watches a movie with the kids.
He forgets things, because he has so much on his mind.

But, he’s busy and tired and stressed because
he is working for his family,
the only hobby in his life.

As moms, we need to help remind our kids to admire and love their Dads.

I decided Beka needed to create something for her Daddy.

Daddy cover

She folded several pieces of yellow paper together and sewed a seam with
my sewing machine.

She picked out her favorite picture of her Daddy for me to print.


Malachi 4 v6

She illustrated our theme verse.

Teaching Tip:
I try to have one project each day where
spontaneous creativity
is encouraged.
There is a time to follow directions,
and a time to just create!

i love my daddy

We talked about how much we love him.

i admire my daddy

We talked about how much we admire him.

i admire my daddy1

And when the project was done,
our hearts were refreshed with love and admiration
for our Pa, the head of our household.

And when he opened his gift of love,
his heart was filled with love for his Beka-Boo.

It wasn’t really an assignment,
it was a labor of love.

Hunting for Rust, Not Bears

Rust is my friend.
I love the way it flavors my eye-candy displays of old junk in my yard.


Rust was not Pa’s friend. 
His life depended on his ability to keep his tools from rusting.


If his gun was rusty, it might misfire. 
If it misfired, it might kill him.
If the misfire didn’t kill him, the bear would for sure.


We studied about rust and how it forms.
When I asked questions about the gun-cleaning passage,
she couldn’t answer very clearly,
so I  read the passage out loud and Beka acted it out.
We don’t  have a gun in the school room,
because there are no bears in our yard.

Teaching Tip:
Reading out loud can increase reading comprehension
and vocabulary. Read the material slowly, taking time
to explain parts and have them repeat new words they hear.
It will increase their understanding and retention.


Since we can’t bear hunt,
ya’ know,  I sent my daughter hunting for something else….




She didn’t come back empty handed.


Enjoy my rusty eye-candy.

Remember, rust is my friend.

First Day of School!

I was so excited to jump into blog journey through
The Prairie Primer,
I didn’t start at the beginning,
which is a very good place to start.

I even blogged  about how I organize our curriculum.


Welcome Back!

After a cup of coffee,
I wrote a greeting in my best Palmer Cursive. 
How did our teachers write against a wall?

It’s not a feat for teachers with a weak back or shaky hands.

My mom, who taught in a one-room school in North Dakota,
has the very best cursive in the whole, wide world. 
I spent hours practicing, even in college,
trying to imitate her handwriting.

I never could.

First Fourth Grade Math Lesson

Beka loves her desk, a $30 Craigslist find.

We’re using a 1930’s Arithmetic book,
so she copies each problem first.
(I’ll blog more about this curriculum later)


Math Lesson

While homeschooling my children,
I discovered I need to see and touch to learn.
So, I teach that way.

I love using a chalkboard or a whiteboard,
and have invented manipulatives over the years
for concepts we struggled with.
Grammar Girl says you can end a sentence with a preposition.)


Teaching Tip:
Kids learn in different ways.
Some need to see.
Some need to hear.
Some need to do.
If a concept isn’t easily grasped,

I’ve also learned to listen to what’s important to my kids.
Rebekah asked for our first day be Prairie  for both of us,
in dress, words, names and lunch.

That meant pulling dress-ups over my t-shirt and jean shorts,
and tying the skirt on because I’m not an skinny as my daughters.

She assured me we could have other days as regular people,
but the first day it had to be totally “back-then.”



Back to School! 012

Recess was running in a long skirt and picking flowers for the teacher.


Doncha’ love homeschooling?

Once Rebekah was bemoaning she never “went” to school.
I listened to her Kindergarten complaints, then simply said,

“Do you know when you go to public school,
you have to wear the same clothes ALL day long?
And, you can’t wear dress-ups to school.”

End of conversation.

Back to School! 018

Granddaughter Brookelyn joined us for recess and picked a love offering.




Back to School! 014

I rang the bell and the students came back to class.


It was a perfect first day of school,
although we know not all days of homeschooling go this well.

The best days are life rafts
during one of those other kind of days.
We cling to the memory until shore is in sight.


Back to School! 021


In keeping with First Day of School traditions,
this was my husband’s contribution.
You can read about it
(didja’ notice the wrapper?  didja’ didja’?)


No Sympathy really needed for our
First Day of School.

I’d say, it was a Symphony of Success.


Can I take off this long skirt now?

Are You a Yankee Doodle?


Pa loved to entertain his family with his violin and singing.
Personally, I can’t imagine how he could play and sing at the same time with
his chin tucked into the violin, but I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.

In Chapter Two,  he sang was “Yankee Doodle” so we had to discover
what that was.


Lemme’ give ya’ a hint….

…..teenage girls and chicken feathers are involved…



I printed out pictures of Yankee Doodle for the kids to color
while I read the history of the saying.


It seemed like a good idea until I had to read louder and louder
over the sound of scribbling.


A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs compiled by Amy L. Cohn
and published by Scholastic Inc., New York.

You can buy it here!


I think you NEEEEEEEEEED it.
The illustrations, stories, and historical accounts are fabulous
and would supplement any history book very well.


Actually, I kinda’ sat here and read for awhile instead of finishing this post…



Cohn's Yankee Doodle p 1

from page 376


Instead of saying “You’re killing me!”


I was so surprised I almost died!”

notice their jargon?

“Stab my vitals!”

Do you think we might start some new, cool teenager hipster homeschool jargon?


Cohn's Yankee Doodle p 2

from page 377


So even before we were a county, teenage girls were trying to set crazy fashion trends?


Ms. Cohn also provided the awesome sheet music and words below.
Thanks Ms. Cohn!


So thankful I found your book at the thrift store.


Yankee Doodle Sheet Music

I played this song poorly on the piano while Beka and the granddaughters
sang loudly, dancing around the living room holding hands.

It was one of those homeschool moments that warms your heart
so you store away in the “I AM an awesome Mom after all” file
that we try to fill with those random and rare moments of success.


It helps to relive those rare accomplishments when other days don’t go as well.


Then the teenage son walked into the room and asked
pointblank for earplugs.

Music lesson OVER!
(say OVER like the guy in Despicable Me)


Our America Textbook 001


Look what I found on my bookshelf.

Our America Title Page

Just to give credit to the author
and show you that someone scribbled
all over this book.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t MY kids. 
I’m almost positive I bought the book with the scribbles already in it.
Pretty sure my kids didn’t scribble in books.
They were too busy writing on
my walls,
their arms,
my couch,
the trim,
the door,
each other…


French and Indian War p. 1

Since Yankee Doodle was written during the
French and Indian War,
we needed to get up to speed on history.


French and Indian War p. 2


I love vintage illustrations!
(if you’re old like me and can’t read this, click to enlarge)


So there ya’ go.


We colored, read and sang our way through this study.


I have determined as patriotic as I am,
I’m not a macaroni.


Are you?

I Barely Know About No Bears

If you’ve grown up in the midwest, you likely have a bear story or two.
Come to think of it, I think most places in the United States have their tales of bear tails.

My husband has a hibernating bear story, which shall be shared at a later date.

I have a Momma bear with two cubs story, which shall be shared at a later date.

I wanna’ finish this post, but keep you in sweet suspense for as long as possible.

Since bears are a necessary part of life, and Pa had to shoot one,
we had to learn about bears.

Hmmm, maybe my husband is right, everything is better with bacon.

Our bear study began with this beautiful book by Peter and Susan Barrett.
The illustrations are so beautiful and the story line is so enticing
and educational, I enjoyed reading this book outloud, or is it aloud?
Which one is allowed?

Since my daughter is in fourth grade, you might
think I cheated and took the easy way out.

Yes, and no.

When someone needs to get up to speed on a subject,
the quickest way  to start is with a book below reading level.

For example, when I need to learn something about history,
something I missed during Mrs. S’s extremely boring history class,
I read a book at about the Junior High level.
It will have great facts, lotsa’ pics and you can cover
more material in one hour then she covered in a week.

We had to move on to meatier subject matter.
Of course, I had to read some of the biographical matter
about Audubon and Bachman.

Teaching Tip:
Look on your bookshelf first when doing unit studies!
Don’t waste a trip to the library or waste money on an unecessary purchase.
I have forgotten about many of the books I’ve bought
and visiting my own shelves is always a fun field trip.

North American Bear Center has a live stream featuring
Ted, Honey and Lucky living a bear’s life in the woods of Minnesota.
My husband grew up in the woods of Minnesota,
living a lot like these bears, kinda’ sorta’.

This website is fantastic with a lot of bear facts, pics and videos.
Ya’ might wanna’ bookmark this site.
There is a lot of family-friendly information here!

I love using YouTube, but found that even though the video
I chose is safe and family-friendly,
the ones posted on the sidebar aren’t.
Even the comments can be innapropriate.
Kids can very easily be exposed to pornography,
and we need to keep them safe,
so I don’t let them venture there alone.
I prefer to remove the videos I want and post them in
a safe environment for the kids to view.

A moving tribute to the Minnesota’s Radio Collared Research Bears
featuring Rhema Marvanne singing “The Prayer.”

Just for fun….because this is the first VHS we ever bought
for our kids years, and years, and years ago.

After 25 years, I think I know the whole movie by heart.
Maybe I know more about bears than I thought,
or at least the bare necessity about bears.