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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Cowgirls Preschool - Letter X

What?  No weekly song?  Nope!  This week we worked on spelling her name to the tune of B-I-N-G-O, in an attempt to teach Elise how to spell her name.  I think we're making progress!

Our theme for the week was pumpkins!  Of course, this time of year I start to obsess about them, and fill my house with everything pumpkin.  So, this is what we did this week:

Day 1:  We read How Do You Know It's Fall? and baked the BEST pumpkin cake ever!  She also worked on her letter X worksheet .

Day 2:  Today Elise practiced writing her name, and also worked on the oral spelling of her name a lot.  I think we sang E-L-I-S-E too many times, as she started rolling her eyes when I sang it (did you know 4 year olds could do that?!).  Anywhooo, we opened up a mini pumpkin, and were surprised at the number of seeds inside!  We put the seeds in a baggie with a wet towel and hung it on the window.  Elise will make observations and watch the roots grow over the next few weeks.  It's cool because Millie has been observing roots in her science class.  It kind of tied the two together.  

Outings this week:  Monday she tagged along to Millie's outdoor water quality class.  She had a great time spooning organisms from a bucket to a petri dish, and looking at all the squiggling creatures.  It was a bit of a hike to get to the pond (according to Elise standards), and she was a real trooper.  She tagged along to another field trip, at which she was not amused.  It was a long hike uphill, and she was tired and bored.  Nothing worth mentioning here ;)

On a side note, if you're getting the impression that Elise lives in her nightgown, you're right ;)  LOL.  If we're home, she's usually wearing her nightgown or just a top or just her bottoms.  Oy.  That's a battle I'm not going to choose.

If you're interested in seeing what other homeschoolers were up to this week, check out this link.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

If there's only one pumpkin recipe you make this season, make the cake!  It's so moist and good.  Mmm.  Seriously.  People will be begging for your recipe.

Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

4 beaten eggs                      2 c sugar
1/2 c oil                                2 1/3 c flour
2 t baking soda                    2 t cinnamon
16 oz can pumpkin puree

Cream eggs, sugar, and oil.  Mix in the dry ingredients.  Add pumpkin puree.  Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan.  Bake 35 mn at 350 degrees.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese                1/2-3/4 lb powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla                           4 T melted butter

Mix with mixer.

Spread frosting on the cake once it has cooled.

Click here for fabulous pumpkin overload!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Two Cowgirls Preschool - Letter W

911 Rap

I know a number that is really hot.  
It's only for people in a hot, hot spot.
If you see a fire, if you see a crime,
The number is the same, every single time.
This very special number is never for fun.
This very special number is 911.

Guess what we learned about this week!  Yes, fire safety!  During circle time this week, we talked about what we'd do in the event of a fire in our condo, and read a few good books.  If I was a really great homeschool mom, I would have stopped by Michaels to buy card making supplies, and the girls would have made cards for the fire people at the station across the street, and we'd have dropped them off.  But, alas, I still haven't made my Michaels trip.  I really need to do that tomorrow...

Anywhooo, here's what we did this week in preschool:

Day 1:

We started out the day going for a nature walk, in search of colorful leaves for our craft.  It was so much fun!  The weather was perfect, so we took out the bikes and started towards Irvine Park.  We were side tracked by the amazing leaves in the Alexander Ramsey House yard.  The girls had a blast playing in the leaves (since we don't have a yard, playing in leaves is amazingly fun for them).  We spent at least an hour there.  When we got back, we started working on our Fall leaf sun catchers!

Day 2:
Elise worked on her writing.  She did a "W" worksheet, which she mastered at the time, but later on showed me that she doesn't actually know what a "W" is.  She is really resisting learning her letters and numbers!!  Even though we talk about them daily, she still isn't proficient. I know she'll learn eventually, but boy, it's frustrating for this mama!  She is, however, working on mastering her fancy lettering ;)  The picture on the right below is a sheep she drew by tracing 1 inch squares during math class.  Creative kid!

Of course, I want to give credit to the blogs/website that inspire me on my preschool journey:
Jan Brett Printables (they're so pretty!) 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Day We Unschooled

There are so many different "kinds" of homeschooling, I couldn't possibly go into detail on the different methods and techniques for educating children at home.  One way that I was certain wasn't for us, was unschooling.  This is a method of educating the children by allowing them to explore the world by their own devices.

Have I mentioned how much I love planning?  My *slight* obsession with planning is what gets in my way of allowing my kidlets to explore and learn on their own (I prefer the term interest led education, personally)  Here's a snapshot of my teachers planner.

Notice the date?  I plan the entire year at once, and stick to my plan.  Granted, life has never thrown any curve balls my way to cause me to get off course, and as of now, I've been able to stick to my plan for over a year.

Well, all was good until yesterday when I ran out of steam.  We spent the day at the library, then had a picnic and watched some ballet at the Landmark Center.  By the time we got home, I was ready for a nap.  Sticking to my plan was the last thing I wanted to do.  I mean, I can normally push through, but I was exhausted.

Millie mentioned that she really wanted to look at her plant under the microscope.  So, I got out the microscope, a slide making kit, and some prepared slides.  While I napped, Millie explored the microscopic world.  She learned what all the knobs on her microscope do, what happens when you use a cover slip, etc.

Elise made her own microscope out of a styrofoam cup :)

So, I guess we had an afternoon of complete unstructured schooling.  Honestly, I think she learned things that I couldn't have taught her that day (problem solving, for example).

Now, if there was only a way for me to put down my planner and allow for some interest led education, or "unschooling" on a more regular basis, I think we'd all be a bit happier.

Hi.  I'm Leslie and I finally gave up my planner for part of the day.  ;)

I'd welcome tips from experienced unschoolers on how I can loosen up and allow learning to take place naturally, without being a slave to my planner.  Anyone?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Two Cowgirls Preschool - Letter V

Five Little Leaves Fingerplay

5 Little leaves so bright today.
Were dancing about on the tree to play.
The wind came blowing through the town,
And one little leaf came falling down

(Continue with 4, 3, 2, and 1.  Use felt, paper, or real leaves to demonstrate)

Well, Fall is officially upon us.  The air is chilly, and the wind has blown through leaving bare trees and drifts of crunchy leaves.  It was a perfect week to study Fall leaves!

Day 1:  Today we read the book How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro.  She worked on her letter V worksheet (which she loved!).  Then, when Millie finished her school work, the girls worked on quilt squares.  I drew Elise's design (an apple), and she traced it with Elmers Blue Gel glue.  Millie made her own creation.  I looked high and low and finally found the Blue Gel glue at JoAnn Fabrics in the glue isle.  ;)  You'd think that'd be the first place I'd look!

Day 2:  Today we read the book Johnny Appleseed  by Reeve Lindbergh.  The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  We spent a lot of time hunting for animals in the pictures.  They're super detailed and beautiful.  We finished up our quilt squares from Day 1, by painting them with fabric paint.  We're really excited to see what happens after we wash them!  The girls also created another quilt square.  Elise traced a pumpkin, and Millie made a spooky ghost scene.

It's hard to believe how far Elise has come since this time last year.  One year ago, she was so active, that it was terribly stressful for me to take her to piano lessons, as she never sat still.  Anytime Millie and I attended a class last year, I'd get a babysitter for Elise.  This year, she sits patiently, happily reading, coloring, or playing with her little toys.  This week Millie went to Polka dance lessons, and Elise sat quietly until the class was over.  I'm so proud of her!!  Hmmm, I wonder what life will be like in a year from now...

Of course, I want to give credit to the blogs/website that inspire me on my preschool journey:
Jan Brett Printables (they're so pretty!) 

Find out what other homeschoolers were doing this week, here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Favorite Autumn Decor

This is my absolute favorite quarter of the year.  I love everything; crunchy leaves, Fall colors, baking, scented candles, gathering with friends, food, etc.  It fills me up.  That's the only way I can describe it.

Here are some of my favorite Autumn decorations:

This has been my absolute favorite print since I was a little girl.  In fact, I'd leave it up year 'round if Bud didn't strongly disagree with me ;)  So, I leave it up from October 1st until Thanksgiving.

Plain and simple.  I love this wooden bowl full of wooden acorns.  I don't always bring them out.  I switch between acorns and decorative mixed nuts.  

I could stare at this display all day long.  My house is full of mini pumpkins and gourds.  I can't get enough of them!  They make great art projects too.  I'm pretty sure we'll be painting and cutting apart some of these mini pumpkins soon...

This sits in the middle of my dining room table.  My mommy made the pie plate cover (but I have long since lost (err...broken) the pie plate that goes with it).  On it sits a sweet acorn candle.  

If there was such thing as smell-o-vision, I'd let you smell my fall candles and hand soap.  Mmm!