Starting our Squirrel unit

We actually got a head start on our squirrel-y learning yesterday! And 2 of the books that we read were SO good that I wanted to share them. Again.

This first book is called Earl the Squirrel. It is written by Don Freeman, who also wrote Corduroy. Though I had never read about Earl the Squirrel, I figured if the author of Corduroy wrote it, then we couldn’t go wrong! This is such a cute story! And the illustrations brought back such fond memories…as they look similar to the Corduory illustrations!!

Earl the Squirrel

The second book I wanted to mention is a read aloud chapter book. Until I found this book, I did not realize that Cynthia Rylant wrote chapter books! We have read alot of her picture books, but this is the first chapter book we’ve read by her. Gooseberry Park is a funny tale about a squirrel named Stumpy who is friends with a dog named Kona and a hermit crab named Gwendolyn.  The story is super cute and funny and the illustrations are great too! We read 5 chapters in one sitting, which is a rare occurance in our house for chapter books!


Homemade Pot-pourri

We started this project when we read about Paul Revere and colonial times. We learned how to make pot-pourri the colonial way! :) But I thought I would make a separate post, because I think this makes a great gift idea!

Items needed

*flower petals (fragrant flowers)

*lemon or orange rind

*herb leaves – I used lavendar, you can also used mint, etc. for different scents

*spices – cinnamon, cloves (or you can use the actual cinnamon stick)

*orrisroot OR drops of oil – I used lavendar oil I had in the fridge.

*newspaper or paper towels to let the flower petals dry out on

*mixing spoon

*small jar containers with lids

Pot-Pourri Instructions

First, you purchase flowers – or pull them from your flower garden! I used one bouquet of roses from the clearance rack at walmart. I got them for $4 because they were about to die…but that is fine for this project! We also used some marigolds from our yard!

The next step is fun for the kids! They got to pull all the petals off of the flowers! This actually took awhile. We pulled off all the petals from the roses and marigolds and also the leaves off of the lavendar. Spread them out onto newspaper or paper towels to dry. You will need to put them in a spot where they can lay (out of direct sunlight) for several days. It may take up to a week for them to dry out, I believe ours took 3-4 days. You can hand toss and mix the flower petals up once each day as they are drying.

Use a vegetable peeler or knife to peel off some small pieces of lemon or orange rind. Add this to your flower petal mixture to dry out.

After the petals are crisp and completely dried out, you can add your spices and oils. I added cinnamon, cloves and lavendar oil to mine. Basically I just sprinkled the spices & oil all over the petals. Then use a mixing spoon to mix the petals, spices, rinds, oils and herbs. You now have your pot-pourri mixture! You can divide your mixture into piles and even add a different scent to different piles if you wish to try that out!

When you have the mixture fixed to your liking, put the mixture into your small jars. I used 4 of the really small Ball jars from walmart – they are about 1/4 of the size of a regular ball canning jar. For a pretty gift, you could tie some pretty ribbon around the far and voila – a pretty gift for someone special!

After your mixture is in the jars, put the lids on tightly and put the jars away for 2-3 weeks. This allows the spices, oils and flower mixture to settle and the scent to “stick.” Once you have allowed your mixtures to “set” in the jars, pull out a jar…take off the lid and put it in the bathroom or a bedroom. You now have a good smelling room by means of an old colonial method! :)

You could also put a little bit of your pot-pourri mixture into a teacup and set it on a table for a pretty (and good smelling!) decoration!

Happy pot-pourri making!

Our week with Paul Revere & Ben Franklin

We have enjoyed our first walk down the American History trail! I didn’t realize that I had so much to learn! ;) Everything we learned about Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin was pretty much new to me as well! I especially didn’t know all of the things that Benjamin Franklin did! I guess I knew the whole flying a kite in the thunderstorm story…but I didn’t know he created the first library, the first hospital and the first volunteer fire department! The girls learned what an “inventor” was and we discussed all the wonderful things that Ben Franklin brought into our world!

We started on the colonial project of making pot-pourri earlier this week. It is kind of a lengthy project, because you had to let the flowers dry out completely…but here is a picture of step one in the pot-pourri process!

These are all the flower petals laying out on the table drying. A few days ago we picked all the petals off of the flowers (mostly roses and marigolds) and laid them out on the table. Now, a few days later, they are mostly all dried out. So, in the next 1-2 days we will be adding a few spices and then putting the mixture in jars! (I will add more pictures as we finish the process!)

I also happened to find this book at a used bookstore, and it was a book on tape, so I snatched it up for $1 or $2 awhile back! The author is Gleiter. This book isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but told the girls the basic story of Paul Revere. And I always enjoy finding a book on tape to go with our unit! So, we started off our week listening to this so that we could understand the actual happenings of the midnight ride.

A Squirrel Unit

I know they can be a nuisance, but we have been fascinated watching these creatures in our backyard…and on top of our bird feeders! So, we decided to learn a bit more about them this next week!

NOTE: If you come across a good squirrel craft OR a realistic coloring page of a squirrel, please pass those links on to me! Those are 2 things I would like but have not found yet! Thanks!

A few books we are using

Earl the Squirrel

The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes (The World of Beatrix Potter)

Fun With Nature (Take-Along Guide)

Nutmeg and Barley: A Budding Friendship


A few links, activities and printables:

There is a multi-book unit on squirrels found on Homeschool share!

Here are some coloring pages of squirrels.

A squirrel maze.

Here is a cute little squirrel song, if you like learning new songs and finger plays with units. You can listen to the song, too!

*Play “hot acorn.” Hide a paper acorn somewhere and tell your child they are hot or cold as they get farther or closer to the acorn. Another variety of hiding the acorn would be to cut out a bunch of acorns and hide them around the house for the little “squirrels” to find.

*We will be taste testing different kinds of nuts this week, and then tallying our favorites on the graph found on HSS.

*We are going to try and attract squirrels to a different part of our yard with nuts.

*We will draw a squirrel in our nature journal.

*Here are some acorn math pages.

*We will do math on the table with real nuts!

*I would love for daddy to build some sort of squirrel feeder to put up in one of our trees! Maybe that would keep them away from the bird feeders? We’ll have to see if he’d be willing to do that next week with the kids.



This is one of those conversations that made my heart melt…and pound at the same time! I didn’t quite know how to respond to my 3 year old boy. One night before bed this is what Caleb said to me…

Mommy: night night, Caleb. I love you!

Caleb: Mommy, what is love?

Mommy: ummmmmm, welllll….ummm.

Caleb: No mommy, what is love?

Mommy: well, I love you means I care about you, you are very important to me, you are very special to me…(obviously floundering for words here!)

Caleb: but what does “love you” mean?

Mommy: well, it means that mommy loves you verrrrrry much! Now go to sleep! :)