Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Unit of Inquiry: Inside The Earth

We spent the past week learning about what's inside the Earth.  The really cool part is that the light rail is coming through our "backyard", and the city has to relocate some of the utilities that are located under the street.  This gave us a first hand look at the first layers of the Earths crust.  Super cool!

We read some really good books.

And we made a volcano.  This wasn't so much a lesson about what's inside the Earth, as it was a chemistry lesson, but the kids had a blast anyway.  This led to about and hour and a half of the kids making "potions" out of liquids, spices, and powders in the kitchen.  Millie discovered that baking soda mixed with lime juice creates a lot of fizz.

Here's the recipe I used for the volcano:

Ingredients -
6 cups flour
2 cups salt
4 Tbs oil
Warm water
Liquid dish soap
Red food coloring
3 Tbs baking soda

You'll also need -

Soda bottle (20ish oz bottle)
Baking tray with sides
A funnel

Here's what you do -
Mix the flour, salt, and oil together in a large bowl.  Once it's combined, smear it onto the bottle, and make it look like a volcano.  Make sure none of the mixture gets into the bottle.  Once you're done with that, use the funnel to add warm water to the bottle (fill it half full - about 1.5 cups).  Squirt a little dish soap in (don't overdo it), and 10+ drops of red food coloring.  Now for the fun part!  Add the baking soda, and pour in the vinegar.  The reaction happens quickly, so make sure everyone is ready when you pour it in.

Have fun!

And...Just because she's cute, here's Elise at the gym:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Outdoor Hour #1 - Evidence of Rabbits

It has been my intention to incorporate nature study into our homeschool since the beginning.  Millie in particular is a nature girl, and could spend day and night exploring the outdoors.  Elise doesn't enjoy it as much, but I still think it's important for her to get out there and learn to enjoy it ;) 

Since we live in a condo in Downtown, every bit of nature exposure must be intentional, as I can't just say "go play in the yard, kids."  I also realize that all of our nature is fabricated nature.  Even the creek that we play in is man-made.  We make the best of what we have nearby, and in the future we'll have lessons at the farm, by the Mississippi, at state parks, etc.

For our first Outdoor Hour, we went in search of evidence of rabbits!  We didn't have to walk far before finding lots of clues. 

The girls searching for evidence                          Rabbit poop!  That's a sure sign.

Millie is sure this was a rabbit print                     Rabbit hole?
that melted.     

It looks like a rabbit has been chewing on this tree.

My two favorite websites for nature study are Charlotte Mason In The City 
and Handbook Of Nature Study.  Check them out!

What are your favorite resources for nature study?

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Day In The Week Of...Friday

Co-op day!  Friday is our favorite day of them all.  This is the day we get together with friends and do something fun (and educational, of course).  This Friday was unique because Bud took the day off to spend with us!  He had to opportunity to meet our homeschool friends, which was nice for him.

Today (which, if you're looking on the date of my blog you'll notice that it's actually Monday.  I'm a few days behind on my blogging) we went to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.  None of us had ever been there before. 

The kids listened to a lecture about raptors, saw up close a great horned owl, red tailed hawk, and Peregrine falcon.  Afterwards we took a tour of the facility, and saw a wide variety of their educational raptors.  Super cool.  We didn't get to see the "behind the scenes" areas because they didn't want to upset the birds. 

This was one of Millies favorite field trips!  Success :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Week In The Life Of...Thursday

Today was another stay-at-home day.  The girls were playing so nicely, that I let the play until things got ugly.  It's really fun to hear them playing together!  I love it :)

Around 10:00 we started school with spelling, reading, grammar, and history.  We're learning about the rise of Rome.  One of the things we read about was the way the Romans fought together.  It made me think of the movie Gladiator, so I showed Millie a few snippets from the movie (the scene where they soldiers work together using their shields to protect themselves).  When Bud got home from work, she proudly told him that I let her watch a rated R movie.  D'oh!  Anyway...

12:00 we had lunch, and I put Elise down for her nap.

While she was sleeping, Millie did math.  We are done learning about Antarctica and the animals that live there, so we took the day off from science.  Tomorrow begins the next unit; raptors!

Normally I like to get out and do something in the afternoon, but Elise slept until after 4, so we ended up staying in.  It was nice to take it easy.  Tomorrow is going to be another full day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Week In The Life Of...Wednesday

Wednesday is normally my day to go to the office, while the girls stay home with Grandma Susie.  I use the words "stay home" lightly, because Grandma often takes them out for a day of fun.  Last quarter she took the girls to ice skating lessons every Wednesday.  They also like to go to the Children's Museum.  Today Susie wasn't feeling well, so she just stayed long enough for me to go to the dentist and come back. 

So what do we do on an unexpected day at home together?  Make up work, of course!  Millie did xtramath.com to practice her math facts, and we had read-a-palooza (we tried having read-a-palooza last night, but I fell asleep mid-story.  Oops!).  We're reading Antarctic Journal, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Story of the Olympics.

Today is a very challenging day, as I have a lot to do (get my hair cut, do some computer work for work, shop for Christmas gifts (my friends and I are having our Christmas party this weekend in Duluth), balance my checkbook, pay bills, go to Target, go to the Grocery store, and renew my very expired drivers license (it expired in November, and no one noticed  - not even me - until a few days ago when I was at the liquor store)).  The challenge is that Bud had the car.  Being a 1 car household is really starting to take its toll on me.  I think we'll have to crack and buy a new car soon...

Since I can't do my errands, I think I'll take a nap.  Zzzzzzz.

A Week In The Life Of...Tuesday


We started out the day at 9ish, with spelling, piano, and grammar.  We finished up in time to have lunch and rush out the door! 

We stopped by Rice Park to see the (melting) ice scluptures before meeting friends at the Science Museum.  The whole point was to go to the Omni Theatre to see Wolves together.  I screwed up the times, though, so we ended up having to leave for piano lessons before the movie.  We were both disappointed, but I promised Millie we'd come back soon.


The time spent playing at the museum was super fun!  The girls got to scrape the cells off their cheeks and look at the cells under the microscope.  The had the full experience, putting on lab coats and goggles, doing the scraping, putting the cells on a slide, dying them, and looking.  It was really cool! 

We skipped math and reading, so we'll have a little make-up work to do tomorrow!