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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Square Foot Garden

 The best way to save money is make it yourself! This year we decided to start a garden to save a little on produce.  The materials cost us $40 (wood and chicken wire) from Lowe's.  It is a 4 foot by 4 foot raised bed garden. See the 4 foot by 8 foot Garden instructions on another post.

Beginning Gardeners: A great book recommendation to get started with whatever garden you want is  My Backyard Garden.  I had a Black Thumb before reading this book, but it is written for an elementary school aged kids so even even I could understand it.  It is broken down  month by month with easy to grow plants.  It includes when, where, and how to plant your garden. The colorful pictures of what your seedlings shoudl look like when, and even pictures of common pests for each vegetable are fun to look through with your kids as they help you weed. 

Directions for 4 x 4 with 6 foot back wires 
 We decided to do a  raised bed due to lots of roots in our yard.  also check your local recycling center for free compost to fill the bed. I didn't have the chicken wire at first, then we had a bunny eat most of my seeds.  I read you could do up to three feet high if you have jack rabbits,but I think it was a traditional rabbit and I wanted to be able to lean over the wire to weed.We got 24 inch high wire an we have had no repeats of the bunny.

Materials Needed:
  • 4—8 ft. 2x6’s  
  • 3—8 ft. 2x2’s
  • 2 ½ in screws
  • Chicken wire
  • Staple gun
1.      Cut each 2x6 in half to give you eight 4 ft. sections.  You’ll put two on top of each other to form each side (You could user wider stock and less boards, but the 2x6 are much easier to handle and rip with a table saw).
2.      Cut the 2x2’s so you get several lengths of the following dimensions:
a.       1—4 ft. section
b.      2—6 ft. sections
c.       8—1 ft. sections (I used four for this project and the other four later for a 8x4 ft. bed)
3.      Assemble the box using the 2x2 boards to brace each corner.  Use the two 6 ft. 2x2’s to brace the back, and then brace their top with the 4 ft. 2x2.
4.      Staple sections of chicken wire up the back to allow grown of vine-growing vegetables.  We also wrapped chicken wire loosely around the base to keep out seed-munching varmints.  I added some scrap rebar driven into the ground near the front corners to reinforce the wire.  It can unwrap to give you access to the garden when needed.

Our  "watering cans" are recycled milk jugs with holes poked in the top lid.. Since the boys tend to drown plants we made the holes small so that not much water came out at a time. This way the boys can help water but drown my seedlings.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Doctors & Nurses Preschool Unit/Community Helpers

This study was especially personal to us because my father in law and mother in law are both nurses. We actually focused on nurses and EMTs more than doctors because of this personal connection. My father in law is a nurse in an ER, so we asked if one his few days off he could take us on a tour.  This was so meaningful for all of us, and I think my Father-in-law like being able to show off his cute grandsons in the process.:)

During this unit we expanded on our community helpers theme of Emergency workers.  We also dove into our health a lot because the whole job of a doctor is to keep us healthy.  It seemed a natural segway into talking about food groups and eating healthy food that keeps us strong.

Circle Time Discussions-
  • What would happen if we didn’t have nurses and doctors?
  • How can we help doctors keep our bodies healthy?
Wood Wall
  •  Ambulance
  • Nurse
  • Doctor

Science Lessons: 
  •  Four food groups- use My Plate Printables
  • How to kill germs
  • Eat a rainbow everyday
  • Sing “Dem’ Bones” a lot while learning bones of our body
  • We examined my husbands real xrays of when he broke his shoulder blade

    Art activities-
    • Color, cut, and glue hospital and ambulance to our larger city map
    • Use white crayons on black paper to draw our bones
    • Color and cut out picture of food and put on a MY Plate printout -
    Math Activities-
    • Body Bingo-see in picture. We use dice and person stencil to make a fun game.
    • Make a chart of rainbow fruit and vegetables

    • The Berenstain bears go to the doctor / Stan & Jan Berenstain.
    • The X-ray picture book of amazing animals / written by Gerald Legg
    •   My body / Sally Hewitt, Angela Royston ; [illustrator, Chris Davidson]. 
    • Burger boy / by Alan Durant ; illustrated by Mei Matsuoka.
    • Oliver's fruit salad / by Vivian French ; illustrated by Alison Bartlett.
    • I know how we fight germs / Kate Rowan ; illustrated by Katharine McEwen.
    • Eat your peas / Kes Gray & Nick Sharratt.
    • Healthy food for thought [sound recording].
    • The big book of bones : an introduction to skeletons / Claire Llewellyn.

    Field Trip:
    • Papaw’s Emergency room

    First things First, the AMBULANCE! We where able to get inside the cab and the back!
    Thankfully there where no traumas in process because we where able to tour the trauma bays.
    Papaw and his boys

    And what hospital tour would be complete without a visit to the caesarian and some soft serve ice cream?

    Thursday, May 10, 2012


    I was speaking with a good friend this morning about some really tough family stuff that keeps plaguing my heart, and probably always will. But as we cried and prayed, a saying that my grandmother said to me kept coming to my mind. She passed away when I was young, but my memories of her are very clear.  She said, "You can't have the sweet without the sour."

    This simple saying seems to be the definition of wisdom to me.  I think we tend to pray for wisdom and think God will deliver it like a coin under our pillow after we deposit our first tooth.  In my short experience on this planet, any wisdom I have been blessed with has been earned through perseverance in trials and repeated mistakes.  I am learning to keep my mouth shut by sticking my foot in it too many times to count. I am learning that any type of emotional strength is like a physical muscle, it must be used to be built through pain. I am learning I am a good mother when I let my kids know I KNOW that I am not perfect. That I make mistakes. That I can be afraid.  That after we cry, the laughter feels so much deeper and stronger. 

    Thank you Grandma for the sweet.