Hello All!

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Hello Everyone…

I have been MIA for a few months now and I am very sorry. The photography business has kept me extremely busy recently. My husband and I are also working on opening our farm’s business – The Freckled Farm Soap Company! Our farm’s blog is currently live and the website, where you will be able to purchase our goat milk soap, will be going live in September. I promise I will be back to posting come the Fall. We will be starting Big B (who will be 4 in October) with a kindergarten curriculum. Please check back to see all of our fun kindergarten activities and in the mean time, especially if you were a fan of my farm posts, please become a follower of our farm blog. Thank you!!


Simple Family Dinner – Cornbread Chili Bake

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The wonderful blogging network that I am a part of (Kid Blogger Network) has put together a simple family dinner recipe exchange. We love to cook in this family, so I could not miss out on being a part of this great series. It didn’t take me long to figure out what recipe to write about, of everything I cook there is one recipe that stands out. It’s the one that my husband asks for EVERY SINGLE special occasion, and every person I have ever made it for has asked for the recipe…. My Cornbread Chili Bake.

Cornbread Chili Bake

Ok.. It’s not a “pretty” meal but it’s super tasty. This recipe is great because not only is it (mostly) a crockpot meal, but it also freezes well. This recipe makes a double batch for my family, so I freeze half for a dinner later in the month.

This concept can be used with any chili recipe. I have written out my personal chili recipe out for you. I’m not sure how “traditional” it is. I’ve never followed a recipe for it. I just go by taste. It’s more bean than meat because that is how I like it (I know.. unheard of in the south) and it has diced tomatoes because I love chunks of tomato in my chili. It is also ever changing, so taste and season as you go along.

Cornbread Chili Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of meat (I use beef but you can use turkey as a healthier option)
  • Small onion
  • 28oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 15oz cans of kidney beans
  • 2 15oz cans of pinto beans
  • 1 bell pepper (whichever color you prefer)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • A few pinches of sugar (for chili and cornbread)
  • Hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 25 oz of cornbread mix

 

 

Recipe:

Cook ground beef in a pan until browned. Season with 1 tablespoon of chili powder and salt and pepper.

Dice the onion and add it to the ground beef and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans, beef/onion mixture, and cut up pepper into a crockpot.

Season with the remaining seasonings

Allow the chili to cook all day, stirring occasionally. Check every once in a while to make sure you are pleased with the seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 400 degress

Mix your cornbread as directed

Split the chili between 2 8×8 pans

Spit the cornbread batter and pour it evenly over the chili. Sprinkle the top of the cornbread with sugar

Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes (until the cornbread is fluffy). Uncover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the cornbread is brown.

Serve with cheese and sour cream… and be prepared for everyone to ask for the recipe.

Cover the second dish with foil and freeze. On the day you want to cook it put the dish straight from the freezer into a 400 degree oven and cook covered for about an hour. Uncover and cook for an additional 20 minutes until the cornbread is browned.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family always does!

The followings is a list of bloggers who are participating in the Simple Family Dinner Recipe Exchange. You can also check out the pinterest page to find all of the recipes:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom | Inspired by Family | Sun Scholars | This Reading Mama | Life by Ashley Pichea | In Culture Parent | Raising Life Long Learners | Glittering Muffins | Life at the Zoo | Octavia and Vicky | Kid World Citizen | Kitchen Counter Chronicles | Nomad Parents | Childhood 101 | Triple T Mum | Adventures in Mommydom | The Freckled Homeschooler | Teach Beside Me | The Chirping Moms | Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes | So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler | Pickle Bums | The European Mama | The Golden Gleam | Forever, For Always, No Matter What | Motherhood on a Dime | Harrington Harmonies | Rainy Day Mum | Jenni Fischer | Cakes and Sribbles | Toddling Into Madness | Mermaids’ Makings | Mud Hut Mama | Here Come the Girls | All Done Monkey | Small Potatoes | Little Artists

 


Booking Across the USA – Virginia

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I am so excited that I have the opportunity to take part in the Booking Across the USA series, and as a proud Virginian I am overjoyed that I get to represent my beautiful state….

Edna Lewis Virginia Strawberry Shortcake

Virginia

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You Apple Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

By Robbin Gowley

Edna Lewis was born and raised in Freetown, Orange County, Virginia. A farming settlement that was founded by her grandfather and two other emancipated slaves. She became an accomplished chef in a time when it was extremely unusual for a woman to be a chef, let alone a black woman. The book “Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make you Apple Pie” follows Edna’s family through the seasons as they plant, harvest, and preserve food on their small family farm.

I chose this book for several reasons… It’s a wonderful book about a famous Virginian, February is black history month and Edna Lewis is a great example of a pioneering African American woman, and finally because we are coming up to planting season here on our farm in Virginia and I felt it would be a great way to get Big B excited about planning and starting our garden.

At the end of the book there are 5 recipes (strawberry short cake, corn pudding, apple crisp, pecan drops, and nut-butter squares) that include fruits and vegetables that are harvested during the book. Big B loves strawberries and I am a bit of a sucker for strawberry shortcake, so I decided that we would do the strawberry short cake recipe after reading the book…

Strawberry Shortcake

Filling:

  • 7 cups of strawberries (1 of these cups will be used for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 pint heavy/whipping cream
  • Sugar to taste

Shortcake:

  • 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk

Recipe:

  1. Rinse and hull the strawberries. If you have large strawberries half or quarter them. Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Booking Across the USA Virginia 8
  2. Chill heavy whipping cream in the fridge. The instructions call for you to put the cream in a metal bowl, but we do not have one, so we used a glass bowl.
  3. Set oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Grease a baking sheet with butter
  5. In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the flour, cut-up butter, baking powder, and salt. Lightly process until the mixture resembles coarse meal and lumps the size of peas. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  6. Add milk and pulse until the dough is just mixed. Do not over process.
  7. Scoop dough out of the processor (once blade is removed) onto a floured surface. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  8. Gently pat the dough into a 4×8 rectangle. Handle the dough as little as possible in order to insure a fluffy shortcake. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  9. Dust a knife with flour and cut the dough into 8 squares. Place the squares onto the greased baking sheet.
  10. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkled with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry shortcake
  11. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the squares are golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake
  12. Whip the chilled heavy cream with an electric beater. Add the sugar until you reach the desired sweetness.
  13. Serve by splitting the shortcake. Spoon a generous helping of the sweetened berries over the bottom half of the shortcake. Cover with the second half of the shortcake and top with the whipped cream. Finally garnish with the fresh berries.

Virginia Edna Lewis Strawberry Shortcake

Seriously.. How amazing does this look? And it tastes just as good.

http://growingbookbybook.com/sample-page/

Here is a complete list of all the blogs that are participating in this series:

Alabama: Everyday Sanpshots

Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days

Arizona: Simply Kinder

Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas

California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom

Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now

Connecticut: The Teacher Park

Delaware: Mama Miss

Florida: Teaching Stars

Georgia: Fabulously First

Hawaii: Teaching With Style

Idaho: True Aim Education

Illinois: Growing Book by Book

Indiana: Teach Preschool

Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

Kansas: KCEdventures

Kentucky: Chicken Babies

Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog

Maine: Maine Adventure Mom and Country Fun Child Care

Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes

Massachusetts: Mama Smiles

Michigan: Play DrMom

Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory

Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!

Montana: The Honey Bunch

Nebraska: The Good Long Road

Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts

New Hampshire: Elementary Matters

New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing

New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

New York: What Do We Do All Day

North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog

North Dakota: ND HealthWorks

Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog

Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten

Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher

Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time

Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade

South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom

South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory

Tennessee: No Monkey Business

Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen

Utah: Teach Beside Me

Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog

Virgina: Once Upon a Story and The Freckled Homeschooler

Washington: Home Learning Journey and Boy Mama Teacher Mama

West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me

Wisconsin: Reading Confetti

Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle

USA: The Corner on Character

 *** This post contains an affiliate link ***



The Northern Lights Lesson

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One of my biggest goals with the homeschooling, aside from giving my children the education they need to excel in life, is to give them a life long love of learning. With this in mind I don’t shy away from exposing them to things that they might not fully understand. I believe showing them the exciting things that science and nature has to offer will spark the desire to explore, even if they don’t totally understand the science behind it. That is why I decided that I wanted to expose Big B to the Northern Lights during our Arctic Unit. The science behind the Northern Lights might be too far advanced for Big B to understand, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy them…

Northern Lights Lesson

I found this great article that explains the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in simple terms.

I started by giving Big B a very simple explanation of what the Northern Lights are, then showed him this National Geographic video:

Amazing Northern Lights Time Lapse

Northern Lights Lesson

After watching the video we did a fun project where Big B got to create his own Northern Lights…

Materials:

  • A tray or large container
  • Milk (I know it bothers many when people use food for play. It’s not something I like to do often, but this milk was “off” when we opened it, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. If it bothers you, you can use water. The milk just shows the colors nicely)
  • Food coloring
  • A dropper

Northern Lights Lesson

Pour the milk into the tray or container and make a bowl for each Northern Light color. I can never seem to find liquid food coloring anymore. Our grocery store only seems to carry the gel. So I had to mix the gel with a little warm water.

Demonstrate for your child how to collect the food coloring in the dropper and drip the color into the milk. The color will move and swirl around within the milk.

Northern Lights Lesson

Northern Lights Lesson

I allowed Big B to play with this for a while because he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit. He transferred the color into the milk, the mixture back into the individual bowls, and back again. He made quite a mess.



Feature on Play Dr. Mom!

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It’s been slow here the last few weeks. Between every. single. member. of this family being sick, horrible weather, and the photography business taking up a lot of time and energy, I haven’t had been posting much, but I hope to get back to posting 2-3 days a week next week. In the mean time I was featured on the Blog Play Dr. Mom today. Go check it out!


Preschool Penguin Unit

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We are continuing our lessons on cold climate animals with one of Big B’s favorites – Penguins.

Preschool Penguin Unit

Books: The library is always our first stop when we are starting a new unit. The following are a few fun, educational books that we found:

Movies: There are GREAT penguin movies for kids. I am sure you are familiar with them:

Science Projects:

  • The Cold Climate Animal Experiment that I did with my Hibernation Unit will work with the Penguin Unit as well.
  • The penguin’s feathers are made waterproof by an oily substance. This protects the penguin’s body from the frigid temperatures of the water. I found a great experiment that demonstrates how water is repealed from the penguin feathers on the Perpetual Preschool - Cut feather shapes or even a penguin shape (like we did) out of construction paper and have the child color the entire paper with black and/or white crayon, then drip water onto the paper. The paper will soak but the areas with the crayon will repeal the water. The waxier the crayon the better.
  • Preschool Penguin UnitPreschool Penguin Unit
  • Penguins also stay warm by huddling together. If you are teaching the unit to a group of children, and it is currently cold where you are located, you can show the kids how huddling helps provide warmth. Take the children outside and have them stand separate from each other. Talk to them about how even with their coats on it still feels cold. Then have the kids huddle together  in a tight group for a short time. Ask them if they are warmer huddled as a group. Explain to them that penguins huddle together in order to stay warm.

Physical Activities:

  • Waddle like a Penguin! Recently Big B has enjoyed pretending his is different animals. After reading our first penguin book my husband demonstrated the penguin waddle for our son and they had a great time waddling around the house.
  • Place a ball on top of child’s feet and have them waddle around like a daddy penguin protecting his egg. You can also set up races where kids waddle with the ball on top of their feet.Preschool Penguin Unit
  • Preschool Express has a version of the “Penguin Hookey Pookey.” It’s a really cute idea.

Art Projects:

Footprint Penguin – White paper, Construction Paper, Paint

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot and make a print on a piece of paper so that the toes are facing down. We didn’t have black paint so we used blue
  • Cut a circle shape out of white construction paper for the belly and a triangle out of orange construction paper for the beak. Once the paint is dry glue the shapes onto the penguin footprint
  • If you have goggly eyes glue them above the beak. We didn’t have goggly eyes, so I make eyes out of construction paper

Play:

  • A great way to reinforce the fact that penguins swim and can’t fly is by playing with penguin toys during bath time.

Snacks:

  • Penguins eat krill, squid, and fish. Give your child a chance to taste what it is like to be a penguin. If you have an adventurous eater attempt to cook a whole fish for your child to try. If not, make a tuna and mayo mixture for them to try on a cracker. This was not a great experience for Big B. He is not a fan of tuna however, Big B loves squid. We get calamari every time we go to a restaurant. Take your child out to try calamari at a local restaurant (unless you are talented enough to cook it at home).

I hope you and your children enjoy learning about penguins as much and Big B and I have!

*** This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links ***

 



Growing up on The Freckled Farm: Our Puppy was Born

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A few months back after hearing coyotes in the distance several nights in a row (when you hear a coyote you know it’s a coyote), and hearing that there was a black bear in the field beside our property the weekend before the goats moved in we decided that we needed to add a livestock guardian to our farm.

Growing up on The Freckled Farm: Our Puppy was Born

Our goats are more than pets. Since we are building a business that surrounds them, and they will hopefully be part of what supports us in the future, loosing one or more of our goats to a predator could be detrimental to our plans. There are only two breeds of dog that work well with goats; Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds. You want a breed that has been breed to deal with goats. Any other breed may be too aggressive for goats, and potentially wont do their job properly. Because we have children we went for the Great Pyrenees. They are known to be gentle giants who know when it’s time to protect and when it is time to be calm.

Our breeder sent me an email Sunday Dec 29th stating that Vixen (our puppy’s momma) had started to whelp Saturday night at 6:30pm and finally finished Sunday morning at 1:30am. She had a total of 11 puppies! One of which, a female, will be ours!

Our breeder will be sending us updates over the next few weeks as she prepares the puppies to go to their new homes. This will benefit us greatly. As I have stated in past posts, Big B is terrified of large dogs and Great Pyrenees most definitely fall into that category. I will be able to show him the growth of the puppy over the next 8 weeks and maybe he will have an easier time accepting her into our farm.

In a few weeks we will be able to go and visit the breeder, meet the puppies, and the doggy parents. I hope to be able to pick out our puppy at this time, and hopefully this too will help Big B adjust. At around 8 weeks we can bring her home and put her to work.

Photo Credit: The image above was sent to me from our breeder. They can be found here



The Very Best Kids Activities from 2012 Blog Hop

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I have been thinking quite a bit about what post I should include in this year’s “The Very Best Kids Activities from 2012 Blog Hop.” I tried to think about what craft or project Big B and I enjoyed doing together the most. There were many, but when I really started to think about which blog post got the most views, comments, and response from readers the choice was clear…

bestof2012badge

A short time ago I wrote a blog post about the benefits of raising children on a farm. The post is still to the day one of my most popular posts. So many people seem to long for the “simpler” life of farm living. I am quite proud of this post and that is why I am including it in this years Best Kid’s Activities blog hop…

The Benefits of Raising Children on a Farm

Best of 2012 Blog Hop with KBN - Benefits of raising children on a farm

Check out all the other wonderful blogs involved in this blog hop!

52 Brand New ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ angeliquefelix.com – The Magic Of Play ~ At home with Ali

B-Inspired Mama ~ Blog Me Mom ~Boy Mama Teacher Mama ~ Busy Kids = Happy Mom

Carrots Are Orange ~ Caution! Twins at Play ~ Coffee Cups and Crayons ~ Confessions of a Montessori Mom

Craft To Art ~ Creative Family Fun ~ Creative Kid Snacks ~ Creative Learning Fun ~ Creative Playhouse

Creative with Kids ~ Cute and Peculiar ~ De tout et de rien: Activités pour le Préscolaire ~ Dirt And Boogers

Edventures with Kids ~ Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ The Good Long Road ~ Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails

Glittering Muffins ~ Go Kid Yourself ~ Growing A Jeweled Rose ~ hands on : as we grow ~ Here Come the Girls

Home Learning Journey ~ Housing A Forest ~ Mama Smiles ~ In Lieu of Preschool ~ Inspiration Laboratories

Inspired by Family ~ It’s A Long Story ~ JDaniel4′s Mom ~ Kids Creative Chaos ~ Kid World Citizen

Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers ~ Kitchen Counter Chronicles ~ Laughing Kids Learn ~ Learn with Play at home

Lessons Learnt Journal ~ Life At The Zoo ~ Little Artists ~ Living Life Intentionally ~ Living Montessori Now ~ Love, Play, Learn

Loving My Nest ~ Mama Pea Pod ~ mama miss ~ Mamas Like Me ~ Mess For Less ~ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas ~ Momma’s Fun World

Montessori Tidbits ~ My Buddies and I ~ My Little Bookcase ~ My Nearest and Dearest ~ No Twiddle Twaddle ~ Nurturestore

Octavia and Vicky ~ One Perfect Day ~ ourfeminist{play}school ~ Picklebums ~ Play Activities ~ Playdough to Plato

PlayDrMom ~ playful learners ~ playing with words 365 ~ PragmaticMom ~ Putti’sWorld ~ RainbowsWithinReach

Rainy Day Mum ~ Raising Playful Tots ~ Reading Confetti ~ Red Ted Art ~ Royal Baloo ~ Science Sparks ~ Scribble Doodle and Draw

Small Potatoes ~ Smiling like Sunshine ~ Sun Hats & Wellie Boots ~ Sun Scholars ~ Teach Preschool ~ The Educators’ Spin On It

The Fairy and The Frog ~ The Freckled Homeschooler ~ The Golden Gleam ~ The Imagination Tree ~ The Iowa Farmer’s Wife

The Outlaw Mom Blog ~ The Pleasantest Thing ~ This Reading Mama ~ Toddler Approved ~ Train Up a Child ~ True Aim

Two Big Two Little ~ What Do We Do All Day? ~ Connecting Family and Seoul



Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has taught us

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It’s been an amazing year on The Freckled Farm. My husband and I purchased this property almost 5 years ago. It was simply a house on a piece of land in the country, and we have turned it into a live, active farm. All of these changes have happened in the last year. We spent 4 years working on making the house what we wanted, living as minimally as possible so we could pay for all of the “farm needs” outright, and having babies. We wanted the timing to be perfect and we have gotten it as close to perfect as possible. We went from all of our plans being on paper to coming to realization at breakneck speed. Once things started happening they REALLY started happening (The Freckled Farm).

Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught Us

What The Freckled Farm Has Taught Us In 2012

  1. Construction projects always take twice as long as you plan… which is very stressful when you have animals coming. Whether you are building a chicken coop yourself or hiring someone to do your bigger projects, like building your barn, the timeline will likely be doubled. The same goes for the cost of projects. While it might not be doubled it will always be more than you expect. Dad and Big B starting the chicken coop back in Feb 2012.Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught Us
  2. Chickens are beautiful and really personable creatures. I have to admit that I was not always a fan of birds. They are dirty and I have never understood having them as pets, but after a visit to my friend Gini’s farm in 2011 I started to warm up to the idea of having chickens. We added chickens to our farm in June of this year, and I will say that yes, they are dirty little creatures that poop everywhere, but they have really great personalities and we have grown to be very attached to them, especially Big B. When our chicks were only a few days old:Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught UsGrowing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught Us
  3. The six months or so that you are waiting for your pullets to start laying take forever. Somehow you can be saying “Wow Little B is almost 8 months old! Where has the time gone?” one minute than turn around and say “Seriously, the chickens are only 6 months old? When are these things going to start laying already? This is taking forever!!” the next… Doesn’t make a lot of sense. When you finally find that first egg it’s a pretty amazing feeling (We’ve got eggs!).
  4. Goats really keep you on your toes. They escape (The Great Escape) and you are constantly trying to make sure you don’t have any weaknesses in your fencing. Ours push past me when I open the pasture gate and make a beeline for the honeysuckle bushes. I have just gotten into the habit of letting them roam while I am doing farm chores. As you can see from the picture, I love my goats:Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught Us
  5. Not allowing Big B to do his farm chores is the worst punishment that I can give. This child loves his animals so much that keeping him from them and making him stay inside is a complete nightmare for him. This is a punishment for both of us though, because if he isn’t allowed to do his farm chores it means I have to do it! (Farm Chores)
  6. I learned how to administer vaccinations and managed to poke myself and hit a nerve on one of the goats on the first try, causing the goat to act stiff and uncomfortable the next few days… not my finest moment.
  7. You become very aware of all the noises coming from the woods when you have animals that you are trying to protect, which is why we are now adding a guard dog to our property… Not that our dogs aren’t doing a good job, but I doubt our 17 pound terrier mix and 37 pound basset hound can protect the goats and chickens from a bear or coyote.
  8. Seed catalogs can be a great teaching tool. Last year when I got my seed catalogs Big B was too young to get any real use out of them. I was also very pregnant and I decided to skip the garden. This year we are planning a huge garden and Big B and I are having a blast looking through the catalogs, talking about everything we can grow, how we can cook with them, and the nutritional values of the different fruits and vegetables. (Seed Catalogs)
  9. This year I discovered that my son really has a “way” with animals. They love him and there seems to be an understanding between them. It took him a little while to get used to each new species that we brought onto the farm (Adjusting to New Animals on the Farm) but in time he has developed a real relationship with every one of them. It’s an amazing thing to watch. Growing up on The Freckled Farm: What 2012 has Taught Us
  10. The farm has offered an education for my children that I never really anticipated and I have realized that it will teach them skills that they would not have learned otherwise. (The Benefits of Raising Children on a farm)

Our farm has grown at such an amazing rate in 2012. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for us.



Hibernation Unit

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Our preschool science curriculum features both season and animal units, so with winter here it’s the perfect time to study the change in the season and animals who are either greatly effected by the winter weather or are cold climate animals. We started out this winter season with a hibernation unit.

Hibernation Unit

It’s amazing the things that I have learned while homeschooling my son. I was doing research and learned that bears don’t “technically” hibernate under the original definition of hibernation. Animals who truly hibernate go into a very deep sleep and cannot be disturbed. They can be moved without even being aware of it. Bears however sleep for weeks at a time and can be disturbed. Animals who hibernate include; badgers, bats, chipmunks, dormouse, ground squirrels, hamsters, groundhogs, hedgehogs, nighthawks, prairie dogs, raccoons, and skunks.

Books

I started by reading Big B lots of books about bears and hibernation. Our library has an entire section of science children books on animals. I got a few books that teach about bears and other animals who generally hibernate. I also got a few story books where the animals (mostly bears) are preparing to hibernate.

Snacks

Hibernating animals build up fat reserves (and in some cases store foods) to sustain themselves through the winter. They will eat things like berries, nuts and other vegetation. Offer some of these foods to your child as snack (considering allergies) and talk to them about how these foods help the hibernating animals make it through the winter.

Cave Building

We talked about how animals build or seek out shelter to protect themselves while they are hibernating. Big B and his dad built a cave for him play bear and act like he was hibernating.

Preschool Hibernation Unit

Fat Storing Experiment

I ran across this Animals in Winter science experiment from Preschool – What Fun We Have. I felt like it was the perfect way to show Big B how animals store fat to help them stay warm during the winter.

I started out with two bags, shortening, and ice.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I covered Big B’s hand with one of the bags and then handed him a few pieces of ice

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I then liberally covered his hand with the shortening and covered it with the second bag. I handed him the ice again.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

The shortening represents the additional fat that helps protects the animal from the cold weather.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

Big B now has a better idea of how and why animals hibernate.