World Unit : France : scientists

In our World Unit we started studying France.  We looked at the geography, and have a map that we look at when a new place is named.

We are reading this encyclopedia, and reading about France in choronological order with all the historic events that come up.  We are adding other books when is something we want to learn more about, and of course looking online for more resources.

Such was the case of few scientists we wanted to focus on, like Louis Pasteur, and Marie and Pierre Curie.

Louis Pasteur

To study Louis Pasteur, we experimented a little.  Louis Pasteur came up as someone we wanted to study because of the Jack and Annie book we read first.  It was the perfect way to introduce us to French history.  I love how it brought our curiosity to Louis Pasteur, his institute and his studies.  This is what we did.

DSC_0025-smallOur experiments were with crystals, as he had done.  First one, we dissolved table salt with warm water, and then they drew on black paper.  We then put it in the warm oven to dry for few minutes and saw their secret message.

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Another experiment we did took few days to finish because we had to wait for the crystals to form.

DSC_0006-small DSC_0008-smallWe mixed water in one jar with table salt and waited for few days to see what happened when the water evaporated.  We put a strip of black construction paper to the edge, so the crystals could form on it.


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We also mixed epsom salt and water and poured it into a pie dish with a piece of black paper to see it better when crystals were formed.   Waited about 2 weeks to see what happened.

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This is what we used to learn about Louis Pasteur.

Marie and Pierre Curie.

An amazing couple.  We took one day to study them and their lives in French and World history.

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Notice the glowing around them? I am thankful for their discoveries and their hard work.   Because of them we know now what scientists and doctors use today, but it makes me sad to think they were getting radioactive as they were doing all of their research.  Thank you Marie and Pierre Curie for everything you did and sacrificed for humanity.

Note from June 9th: We also read about Jacque Cousteau, and watched one of his TV shows that I grew up watching.  It brought memories, mostly from the music they use and the photography, because his voice was dubbed in Spanish by someone else of course.  So he didn’t sound the same this time.  I’ve added the books we read in the main France Unit post I’ve posted later. 

this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

I’m playing along with Heather from Beauty That Moves sharing photos of our kitchen this week.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”

DSC_0024-smallApplesauce cake.  Because it’s good.


Contaminated water in Portland for a day.  Boil water alert.

DSC_0029-small  DSC_0045-smallWatermelon and popcorn.  As good as it is with strawberries!

DSC_0028-small DSC_0050-smallFive spice baked tofu.  (I can’t find the recipe online.)

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Lunch with a bunch of little friends running and playing outside.

DSC_0047-smallWith more popcorn of course.

Let us know what you’ve been cooking and making in your kitchen, and go to Heather’s post to check everyone else participating.  It’s lots of fun.  Thanks for coming to visit.


math : measurements

Another bag we picked at the library last month was about measurements.


It comes like all the other bags, with manipulatives.  With books, measuring cups and spoons of all sizes and a game.

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I am not sure why, but I only have pictures of these foam feet measurement helpers.  I found it very helpful, such a visual way to measure larger objects.  We were measuring in this case, our room. The kids put the feet touching each other, to measure the whole length and width of the room.


It has a great book, How Do You Measure Liquids? by Thomas K. Adamson.  We really enjoyed reading it and using the measuring cups it came with to transfer water from one container to another.  A good way to introduce volume.

It is a bag with activities for the younger side (K-3rd grade I think) but I think they worked great for us as an introduction to measurements, and a springboard to another unit later on.

Lincoln City, Oregon Coast


Last month we went to Lincoln City in the Oregon Coast, for a swim meet.


We arrived the day before the meet started and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day.


We stayed in a hotel right next to the beach.  A must.


Brought the mitts.  A must.

DSC_0052-smallAnd a coat.  A must here. DSC_0051-small DSC_0055-small

Wrote a message on the sand.  A must.



Walked on the water’s edge.  A must.

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Picked up treasures.  A must.


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Played catch. A must.

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Talked.  Told stories.  Told dreams and nervousness.


Noticed the light.


and shadows.

DSC_0111-smallNoticed the colors.


Noticed the rocks.


And the land.


Noticed the water and the immensity.


DSC_0124-smallNoticed the space.


Walked in silence.  Felt the love.  The support.


Noticed the growth.


Noticed the sand.  The water.  The body.

DSC_0167-smallYes, noticed the sand and the water.  The treasures.  The sounds.  The light.  The sun.

DSC_0197-smallNoticed the wind.


Noticed the rainbow.  And just noticed the optical illusion.

DSC_0198-smallOh… the sky. The clouds.  The blues.  The world.  Noticed my life.

gnome and fairy playing

There’s been lots of making and playing with new creatures and new friends.  Inside and outside, depending on what the weather dictates.

DSC_0018-small DSC_0007-smallSome felt houses I made in the winter and some new teepees that can be moved when needed.


Some reminder of the tree that we saw go down few months ago.

DSC_0011-small DSC_0008-small DSC_0013-smallGnomes and other friends we made few weeks ago with wooden peg people.


This felt tree house I made for Lucas for his past birthday.  They’ve used it a lot and have had fun with it, all over.

DSC_0014-small DSC_0015-small DSC_0016-small DSC_0003-smallLots of playing.



The poppies I have in the front yard are so beautiful.  They come up quietly in the early spring, and all of a sudden they open, with its paper-like petals, filled with color, and the dark filaments. So so beautiful.

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We got to enjoyed them for just few days, before the hard rains came down last week.  I think I’d like to have some red ones too.

it’s time

We don’t have a clock in our house, except the one in the kitchen in our stove.  I guess we also have the alarm clock we use in our bedroom, but it’s not prominent.  There isn’t a clock like I remember my grandparents having in their house, or even my parents in our house, growing up.

I’ve also noticed people, especially young people (just a bit younger than me maybe) that they don’t wear a watch either.  I think its because now a days people have a cell phone that has the time whenever you need it.

I stopped wearing a watch when I decided to stay home, when Siena was born, 12 years ago.  I intentionally decided that it didn’t matter the time to me any more.  I didn’t have meetings, or lunch time, nor did I have to be anywhere really, if we didn’t want to go anywhere.

I wanted to live our days as full and intentionally as we wanted and however we wanted to be.  I didn’t want to run my day by a schedule or by someone else’s schedule.  I knew when it was nap time, or ‘food time’.  Siena let me know and nursing was pretty easy.  I wanted to learn to understand her, to actually understand what her needs were, before she was able to say a word I understood.  So I left my watch in the drawer.  Where it still sits today.


A while back, when I thought everyone (in the schools) were learning to tell time I introduced it to Siena and Lucas, and after few attempts one day, I realized it didn’t make sense to them.

I mean, the kids new the difference in times, around what time we woke up and had breakfast, and around what time we ate dinner, or if we had to be on time for a class or appointment.  They learned to tell time in our kitchen (digital) clock from just talking about it and using it.  They made sense of it.  But our days are usually not really run by times.  our lives are pretty simple.

But they couldn’t figure out the analog clocks.  I worried a little as I always do, when the “I think they should be learning this or that at this age since in schools they are doing this or that” kicks in.  But then, I think again, and it is OK once again.  We are learning at our own pace.  Sometimes I forget.  But then I remember.

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And then I realized we didn’t have any analog clocks around the house anyways (until I found an old, vintage clock I set in the art studio, because I liked it.)  Siena and Lucas have had an alarm clock in their bedroom for few years now, but it is digital and they know how to tell time on that.   So, what was my worry? I don’t know.  I just worry sometimes and I wanted them to learn.  But it wasn’t the right time. 


So few months ago, the kids asked me if we could learn to tell time in the analog clocks.  So we did.  We used this really cool stamp from our Glendie, that she had when she was a teacher a long time ago and that she had given to me few years ago.  Unused until last month.  The kids voted the funnest time activity by far!

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So we worked on telling time in analog clocks, and it just took a couple of hours for them to completely understand it and be able to tell time in it, even though we only have one clock they can practice on.

And I don’t wear a watch still, because our days right now are run by stomachs growling, and we have two eager kids ready for their activities, which they can tell when it’s time to get ready and leave, because they are excited to go do them.  And they know where the clocks are.


Our days don’t get more complicated than that.  And I like it.  This was just the right time for us. 

this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

I’m playing along with Heather from Beauty That Moves sharing photos of our kitchen this week.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”

DSC_0001-small DSC_18-smallDinner with friends.  A simple couscous, salmon, asparagus and pork chops.

DSC_0048-small DSC_0025-small DSC_0027-smallPork Lo Mein.

DSC_0020-smallI’m not one to drink the beer from the bottle so this new glass I found is perfect for wine and of course, beer.  

DSC_0002-smallOur beehives both are empty now.  A sad winter for our bees.  So Mark cleaned the hives and we found ourselves with our honey bucket up working again (it’s just sitting on the stove as it drains because it’s almost our only spot without ants…)



DSC_0017-small DSC_0011-smallHere I’m cleaning the beeswax.  We didn’t get much.

DSC_0021-smallBut honey.  Yes, we got some. I feel so very lucky.

If you’d like to join us please do so.  Link up!  Happy cooking and making in your kitchen this week.  Thanks for stopping by.  

last week…

This past week went fast.  It really did.  I was hoping we’d do few more things, but then it’s Tuesday again.  I am trying to go back to posting last week’s doing on Mondays, but the days are flying by.  I want to stop a little, take a deep breathe and enjoy the right now.

Last week…

… Mark grilled for the first time this year.  And it reminds me that maybe we need a new grill.  He’s had it like this for over a year.  It works, but maybe something with legs might be a little easier to maneuver.


… we’ve been eating outside, more and more.  As the table wobbles every time we touch it, it reminds me I need to keep searching on an outdoor table.  I need to do that this week.


… Mark cleaned one of the hives we have in the backyard and ended up with more than a gallon of beautiful, delicious liquid gold.

… and every day, I am so thankful of the bees hard work.  Mostly because of the delicious honey we are enjoying, but also it reminds me of all the work they do (pollination) in keeping our world green and possible to live in.  How amazing.

… also learned that Mark is getting worse, and it appears to be a terrible allergy to the bee’s propolis or beeswax or pollen. We are not sure, but we had a huge scare and we are learning more about it.

… Lucas learned new tricks.


… I watched this video my mom directed me to.

… I received a beautiful gift from a friend’s mom who visited Chile (and Macchu Picchu) last month.  What a treat to receive something so thoughtful.  She’s so sweet.  I get to hang out with her every week as our kids (her grandson) swim.  A real treat.


… I found these photos and it makes me want to travel.  Oh such a beautiful group of photos… and one of them, our own Cannon Beach, here in Oregon done by Jim Denevan.


… the kids surprised me with a Mamá’s Day re-do, because on Mother’s Day we had to get up early (6:30 am!!!) to get to Siena’s swim meet and there was no breakfast in bed or snuggling to a slow morning.  So they woke me up with a beautiful surprise on Sunday.  Their traditional Mother’s Day morning.  A beautiful treat.

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… well, this Monday to be precise, Oregon celebrated finally, marriage equality.  For all that is.  Love wins over everything.

… the kids have moved the playing outside whenever they can.

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… Siena and I got a cold, that is still lingering a bit.

… I saw Mark’s work and wished he could be done already.  He is so close, and I know he’s counting the days too.  He is so close to being done.  So close.


… we had a fire outside with friends.

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I think spring is coming.  We have showers, and rain, and thunders, and swimsuit days, and sunshine all in one day.  Spring is definitely here.  Hope you are having fun too, wherever you are.

Our Body : nutrition : fats + grease

Fats.  The smallest portion of the food pyramid and why it should be like that.  This is what we did to study this.

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You put water in a glass and then few drops of vegetable oil.  We made observations on what happened and how it looks.

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Then we added few drops of dishwashing liquid and drew and wrote what happened.

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Another experiment we did was to make butter with whipping cream.


We counted how many shakes it took to turn into butter.  We used two different sizes of jars.  We learned that the taller jar, with less cream, had more space to shake, so it took less shakes than the shorter, fuller one.


With dinner, we ate the butter with warm home made bread.  For a treat, it is so good.


To practice how to make tables, we made a table of percentage of fats in different foods.  We wrote 0% to 100% on the left side, and then we checked different foods and wrote them down in a column.


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We found most foods with 3%, 4% up to 8% fat, few with 20%.  Now we are in search, at the stores and everywhere, what is the highest percentage we can find.   We’ll see where we find it, and hopefully not something that ends up at our table!

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And finally, we rubbed some foods in a piece of heavy craft brown paper.  We waited for a while for the liquid to try.  If it was just water (in the case of apples and lettuce and raw potatoes) it dried up.  If it had fats, the paper stayed stained.

With this, we finished our unit of Human Body and Nutrition.  We had fun and we have already started a new unit, that I’ve shared a little a while back.