Back to School! Homeschool Fall 2016 Week 1-2 (ish…)


We’re back at homeschooling! This year will be a bit of pre-k with kindergarten level stuff thrown in where she’s comfortable with it. Next year, we will focus on fleshing out kindergarten and making sure she’s ready for 1st grade, but this year, I am still pretty relaxed and going with what she enjoys.

We’re structuring things a bit differently this year. We’re working through the school year with themes and using unit studies. We have a few workbooks that we’ll incorporate as well, when we need filler and when we need more on a specific subject. Our first theme was flowers & plants.

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We learned about the plant life cycle, parts of plants, observed a seed growing, dissected a few flowers to see the different parts, and did flower themed math.

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We also did several flower based art projects, like these swirly painted flowers.


She absolutely loved this new style of learning! I printed out our workbooks and crafts as well as any worksheets we’d need and then we checked out a few relevant books from the library. We spent time each day reading our books and then worked through 1-2 projects from our folder. We spent plenty of time outdoors and plenty of time with hands-on projects, less with actual bookwork. She’s so excited to tell everyone that she meets about what she’s learned!


Flower Life Cycle Foldable

Plant Observation Book

Flip Flower Craft

Gardening Unit Study

Painting Swirly Flowers


Our next theme will be backyard birds. We’re heading to the library tomorrow to pick out new books and start our new theme on Monday!


New Listing: Meet Flower!

Please meet Flower!


Hand knit out of handspun, hand dyed yarn, Flower has soft, floppy ears that go in different directions and add a lot of personality to her small face. The yarn is 100% silk that I dyed in shades of pink and purple. It is a very hard wearing yarn and Flower will hold up quite well to being someone’s new best friend. Safety eyes and nose will stay attached!


Flower is just begging to play with a special someone! Kids love to play pretend and Flower fits right in! While she was created with a bunny in mind, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination!


SnugglyBuns also make excellent photo props!

Flower doesn’t have a set expression so she won’t limit your child’s pretend scenarios. Flower’s soft, squishy body is the perfect size for hugging. A simple, rounded body allows for hugging and play without worrying about arms or legs getting stuck somewhere or being pulled off.


Flower measures 8 inches tall and 17 inches all the way around.

Flower is knit with 100% silk and stuffed with polyester fiber fill. She can be machine washed on cold in a gentle cycle, I suggest sticking her in a mesh bag first to reduce pilling. Fluff her up and let her air dry.



New Listing! Flopsy The Bunny

Please meet Flopsy! Flopsy is the first in a new line of toys from FluffyTails Handspun called SnugglyBuns.

Hand knit out of handspun, hand dyed yarn, Flopsy has soft, floppy ears that go in different directions and add a lot of personality to her small face. The yarn is 100% wool from local sheep, a Texel Romney cross. It is just a little fuzzy and will get slightly more fuzzy with love and play. It is a very hard wearing yarn and Flopsy will hold up quite well to being someone’s new best friend. Safety eyes and nose will stay attached!

Flopsy is just begging to play with a special someone! Flopsy loves to climb trees, smell the flowers, and play whatever games your little person can invent! Kids love to play pretend and Flopsy fits right in! While she was created with a bunny in mind, the possibilities are only limited by the imagination!


Flopsy doesn’t have a set expression so she won’t limit your child’s pretend scenarios. Flopsy’s soft, squishy body is the perfect size for hugging. A simple, rounded body allows for hugging and play without worrying about arms or legs getting stuck somewhere or being pulled off.

Flopsy measures 8 inches tall and 17 inches all the way around.

Flopsy is knit with 100% wool and stuffed with polyester fiber fill. She can be machine washed on cold in a gentle cycle, I suggest sticking her in a mesh bag first to reduce pilling. Fluff her up and let her air dry.


What inspired SnugglyBuns?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started a simple little bunny out of handspun yarn. I finished the body and ears, but my daughter came before I got around to finishing the arms and legs. I had the eyes attached, but no face embroidered. It got put in a box in the blur of newborn-ville and forgotten until my daughter found her when she was around 18months old. The little bunny was the perfect size and shape for snuggling! I offered to finish it, add arms and legs, but she wanted it just the way it was! Over the years, bunny has been named SnuggleBunny and is one of the toys that she reaches for when she wants to play pretend and stretch her imagination. Other toys have faces and personalities built in. SnuggleBunny can fit any scenario her little brain comes up with!

When I was going through my stash of handspun yarn, I kept petting them and thinking what great toys they would make. Each yarn has it’s own texture and it’s own personality so each SnugglyBun will be unique. If Flopsy isn’t quite what you’re looking for, please message me and we will work together to make a SnugglyBun perfect for you!


Our first month of summer has FLOWN by! We spent the first week+ visiting Nana at the beach. She got to practice her t-ball skills, visited the aquarium, and spent plenty of time playing in bubbles and visiting the ocean.

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Since getting home, we’ve been trying to find a rhythm for our days in the absence of gymnastics and our preschool curriculum. I’ve also been working on figuring out how school will go next year. We’re starting to find our rhythm for the summer. We spent most of the last week or two going to u-pick farms, stocking our freezer with local blueberries and cherries.

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We’re also starting to play with board games! She’s getting old enough to understand rules and taking turns so we’ve been exploring local thrift stores and bringing home board games to try. So far, Snakes & Ladders was the biggest hit but Candyland has also been popular.

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It is just now heating up, so we’ll start adding pool days into our routine. We still have local peaches to pick in the next week or so, then we’re done with local fruit u-pick until apples in late summer or early fall. It’s so nice to have the freezer stocked with fresh fruit for the year!

For school, we’re keeping summer simple and child-driven. We have a small pile of workbooks and when she wants to do school, she picks one and we do 10 minutes or so. Phonics is starting to CLICK and she’s asking to learn WORDS, WORDS, WORDS so we’re going to be adding some sight word practice into our weeks.

Preschool Round-Up

We’re done! We finished the rest of the alphabet over the last few weeks and are now looking forward to our summer & making plans for fall.

We finished out April with the letters Q & V as well as pattern making and practicing writing letters. She’s having some trouble with 2’s and 5’s when they’re in the same row, so we’ve been doing lots of practice on telling the difference between all the numbers as well as talking about how they combine to make bigger numbers.

The beginning of May was finishing out the alphabet with letters X, Y, and Z. Since we’d seen these letter a lot throughout the year, it was mostly just practice writing them.

She can count to 40 now with almost no errors and can identify most 2 digit numbers. She can add up to 10 and is starting to understand subtraction. She can identify all the uppercase alphabet letters and the vast majority of the lowercase as well as the sounds for all the letters. Getting her to actually identify them when you want her to is still hit or miss (she likes to tease & pretend that she doesn’t know any of them and then giggle like crazy).

So, now we’re looking towards summer plans & fall plans. We bought the 3 workbooks above to try out a few different styles & do some practice over the summer. The plan is to leave the workbooks out where she can get to them and see them and do student-led learning over the summer. When she pulls one out & asks to learn, we’ll do 10-15 minutes on whatever she wants to practice.

It’s already bright & sunny out, so we’re doing lots of outside time, bike rides, walks, and exploring. She got a magnifying glass and binoculars last time Nana visited and we’ve been having fun figuring out how things look up close. We checked out a couple bird ID books from the library this week and have been working to identify the birds at our bird feeder & the ones eating all our bugs in the backyard. We set up our planters over the last few weeks and have been talking about how plants grow and what they need to stay healthy. Once it gets hot & stays hot, we’ll start swimming at the local pool.

Our plan for next year is starting to come together. I’m putting together a list of subjects based on kindergarten skill lists. From those subjects, we’re going to pick 4 to work on next year. I’m looking at a variety of workbooks and we’ll pick one for each subject. Then it will work much like this year & this summer. The books will be out where she has access to them. We’ll have “school” mornings like we did this year, 2-3 days a week, and 2 days of gymnastics. On school mornings, she can pick 2-3 workbooks to work on and we’ll spend about 30 minutes total working on them plus some reading time. I’m getting very excited to do kindergarten science. It’s such a fun year! It’s all about life cycles and understanding how things grow. I plan to collect frog eggs or tadpoles with her next year and bring them home to watch them grow and then we’ll release them back to the pond once they’re frogs. I’m looking at a kit to raise butterflies and another to raise ladybugs. We may also build a small ecosystem fish tank with guppies and plants and shrimp or snails to study how they all work together. I have directions for a really fun ecosystem project where it even simulates the water cycle!

Mail Mondays with Country Crock

Thanks to Influenster and Country Crock, I’ve been experimenting with Country Crock Original Spread. Country Crock has been doing a #MakeItYours campaign and I receive a free tub of the original spread to use and review. They have a generic cookie recipe (see below) and then you add whatever add-ins you’d like to make your own unique cookies! Our first batch was chocolate mint chip. They turned out ok but not great. The second set was oatmeal with cranberries and white chocolate chips. Those were great!

The basic recipe, as shared by Country Crock, is:

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 12 min

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Country Crock® Spreadable Sticks or Tub, cold from the refrigerator
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 to 2 cups of your choice of mix-ins


Preheat oven to 375°. Mix Country Crock® Spread, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in large bowl until well mixed. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended. (Dough will be soft and creamy.)

Add your favorite mix-ins in any combination, and mix until every spoonful of dough has some of the delicious mix-ins.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets 3-inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack; remove from sheets and cool completely.

Add toppings and decorations if desired.

For the mint chocolate chips, we added about 1 cup of Nestle Mint Chocolate chips. The oatmeal cookies, we replaced 1 cup of flour with 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal and added 1 cup dried cranberries and 1 cup white chocolate chips. Both were made with a 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend.

So, how do we like the Country Crock? Our opinions are mixed. It is really easy to use in baking. Since it’s soft out of the fridge, there’s no planning ahead and waiting for butter to soften. However, the cookies would NOT brown. At all. They were soft and crumbly and no matter what I did (I experimented on each tray of cookies with both batches), I could not get them to brown or crisp. The plain mint chocolate chip ones had a very chemical-like after taste. I’ve used this gluten free flour blend many times before without any issues in browning and baking, so the only variable was the butter in both cases.

Outside of baking, it’s really not our favorite. It does NOT melt. It spreads beautifully but doesn’t melt. On anything. We’ve tried it on toast, potatoes, corn on the cob. It just sits on top of all of them. It leaves a strange film on the inside of your mouth when used in these applications. It tastes ok, but it’s definitely not butter. At the end of the day, we’re unlikely to actually buy any in the future. I like the convenience but it lacks flavor and usability for us.

Homeschool Preschool Winter Weeks 11 & 12

Who would think that weeks off would be so BUSY? Busy, busy, busy. We just started back at gymnastics this week, so we’re going to call this most recent week Spring week 1. The last 2 weeks of winter quarter, we did the letters E & N. This most recent week, we did the letter K.

I somehow have very few notes & pictures from E & N. Since she was very familiar with those numbers already, I printed off both weeks at once & we got through them all in about 4 days of work (about 1.5 hours TOTAL over those 4 days). We’ve been doing lots of counting as well. She’s loving practicing her addition by “adding” her fruit & veggies at lunch, the books that she reads, bites at meals, flowers in the garden. It’s amazing to watch her little brain work. Once she’s introduced to a concept, she finds it everywhere around her!

Next week, we work on the letter Q. Then we have V, X, Y, Z left for the school year! We’ll be done mid-way through May. Since we’re just about finished, I’ve been looking towards next year and trying to decide what to do. Little miss seems to have little to no interest in going to “real” school. The couple of times we’ve talked about it, she’s either been indifferent or freaked out. So we’ll likely be doing some form of homeschooling again next year. Right now I’m looking at Kindergarten prep programs and play based Kindergarten curriculums. The tentative plan is to continue our 2 days a week gymnastics, 2-3 days a week school program for next year. We don’t have any solid plans for the summer but we did pull out our level 1 Hooked on Phonics readers and she’s VERY interested in learning to sound out words so we may be doing some light phonics work over the summer in place of worksheets and such.

Homeschool Preschool Winter Week 9 & 10

Week 9 was the letter D and week 10 was the letter W. So much fun these last 2 weeks! Gymnastics is on break, we go back the first week of April. So we’re taking the opportunity to get caught up in school and enjoy the lovely early spring weather.

We also did basic math sheets & counting practice. She’s getting MUCH better with the teens and hardly ever skips around anymore. We did some spring themed addition practice this week. We also practiced identifying more/less and bigger/smaller. We also worked on seasons.

Homeschool Preschool Winter Week 8

Week 7 was the letter L. Week 8, we took off because life was so very hectic, there just wasn’t enough time for school.

We did L is for LION. We did Easter math by putting easter eggs in the baskets and decorating them. We did some animal habitat pages for science. The animal habitats are from and I can’t find the Easter sheet anymore so I’m not sure where it was from.

This week is back to normal and we’re working on the letter D. Also taking a look at seasons and doing some spring-themed math with a basic addition sheet and a greater than, less than sheet. This is our last week of gymnastics this quarter so we’ll have a few weeks of downtime before starting into our busy schedule again. Hoping to get a couple of our missed weeks caught up at that point. We are just starting month 6 of the curriculum. If we don’t miss any more weeks, we will finish the curriculum & start the review section the 3rd week of May. It would be nice to get a week or two ahead of that so that we’re totally done before our vacation at the end of May, but I’m not too concerned with totally finishing the review section.

Homeschool Preschool Winter Week 7

Week 7 was the letter U. We also did some work on body parts, shapes, and counting to 20.

Lots of letter U worksheets! One each school day this week. We found a new resource this week! The top right worksheet is from This Reading Mama and is a lot of fun! Really great phonics practice!

We did a page of happy/sad faces from Leapfrog. She has a LeapPad game with these characters and had a lot of fun making happy & sad faces for them! We also practiced tracing shapes, then drawing her own. Body parts matching with clothes. The last is counting 0-20. We’re still working through the teens. She is still struggling to get them in the right order but she’s getting better!

This coming week is the letter L. We’ll be doing more counting practice, animal habitats, and a matching game. She’s getting very, very excited for spring so I printed several of her sheets in spring themes this week! I’m searching for some other new spring themed worksheets for the next several weeks.