Pixie dust doesn’t change fairies, only the stuff around them that it happens to land on. Most of the time Sophie doesn’t even notice the strange things she makes happen when she sneezes! She must have heard that Fiddlebug, Bart and Craig were talking about what might happen to them if her pixie dust fell on them though because she stopped by Fiddlebug’s playroom window and happily offered to help them out. Sophie’s always got a sneeze ready after all. Luckily for the three friends the window was shut and they could explain to her from a safe distance that they were just playing pretend! The misunderstanding made everyone laugh including the little fairy which set off –you guessed it – a sneeze! A cloud of sparkles puffed out and caught the morning breeze. It drifted around the outside of the cave until it came to Mother Dragon’s kitchen window where a vase of wildflowers was sitting in the sunshine. When Mother Dragon went to her kitchen she found that instead of flowers, she had a vase of sparkly star-shaped crispy cookies! What great luck! Mother Dragon decided to serve them with applesauce to dip in which made them even better.
Would you like some yummy cookies of your own? Get your big person and here’s what you do:
What you need:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar
Melted butter or margarine (Spray margarine works GREAT too)
Cookie cutter (I used a star)
What you do:
1) Have your big person preheat the oven to 350. Toaster ovens work great for this recipe too. Remember that your big person should be the one in charge of the oven and anything that is hot!
2) Use the cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the tortillas.
3) Lay the shapes side by side on the cookie sheet. It’s fine if they are touching each other you just don’t want them to be overlapped.
4) Use the basting brush to coat the shapes in a thin layer of melted butter or margarine.
5) Mix the cinnamon and sugar very well and sprinkle some over all of the shapes.
6) Flip the butter and cinnamon/sugar coated shapes over so you can coat the back the same way.
7) Now it’s time for the cookie sheet to go in the oven. Your big person needs to keep a close eye on how quickly everything cooks and flip the cookies over halfway though. Mine took about 5 minutes on each side.
8) When the cookies are nice and crispy they can come out and cool down on a wire rack for a few minutes while you fill a little bowl with applesauce to dunk them in.
Mother Dragon wanted you to know that another great dunker for these is cottage cheese. Father Dragon likes them with both cottage cheese and applesauce! What else can you think of that would taste good with them?
Bart’s parents are both teachers. This means they have a whole lot to remember! Sometimes they write notes to remind them of important things like when the next game night in the meadow will be, or to pick up an extra bag of meal worms since they will be having company for dinner. They also like to leave notes in each others lunch boxes just to add a smile to the day. You can only imagine how important it is for them to have a notepad handy all the time!
Bart got a terrific idea to make each of his parents a very special notepad to remind them of just how much they are loved. He traced his wing onto a whole bunch of different colors of paper and cut the shapes. Then he put two stacks together to make two handy notepads. Bart knows he will only be this size for a little while so the notepads are one of a kind!
Bart gave me the directions, and I couldn’t pass up making one too! (Check out the note after the directions for an additional idea!) Here’s what you need to do to make this really “handy” notepad for someone you love:
What you need:
1 hand to trace
A few sheets of construction paper
Scissors (and a big person to help use them)
1-Hole punch (optional)
A piece of yarn or ribbon that is about 12 inches long
A pen with a clip on it
What you do:
1) Use the pencil to trace your hand as many times as you can on one piece of construction paper without overlapping. You may want a big person to help with this.
2) Each handprint needs to be cut out of the construction paper. If you could use your big persons help here that’s just fine.
3) The 1-hole punch is used to add a hole to put your yarn or ribbon through. I chose to add the hole at the bottom part of the hand, but you can put it somewhere else if you’d like. Try to keep each hole in the same place on each hand to make it easier to put your notepad together when you’re done.
4) Fold the yarn or ribbon in half so you have a loop at one end and two free ends at the other.
5) Thread the looped end of your yarn or ribbon through each hole in the paper hands so they form a stack.
6) Tie the yarn or ribbon into a bow that will hold the stack of hand prints together. You will want to leave the looped end a little longer. If you need help, ask your big person.
7) Slide the pen clip onto the dangling loop end of your ribbon or string so the lucky person who gets this notepad will always be able to find a pen to jot their notes with!
NOTE: My “little boys” have grown very large these days, so making this notepad required a little creativity on my part. I actually used a copy made from a plaster impression of Mason’s hand from when he was small (he is now 21 years old). I used the copy to make a template to trace around. This got me thinking. To make an extra special gift, see if you can get a copy of that person’s hand print when they were small. Make a template and some note cards. Arrange the notebook so each person’s handprints alternate. If you can’t get a small handprint from the person you want to gift, get a large one and do the same thing. This would work great as a family project too!
The chilly air is not getting along with Mr. Ringneck Snake. Cold nights make his back hurt, and snakes have an awful lot of back! Poor Mr. Ringneck Snake is feeling creaky and slow and this makes him sad. Old Mrs. Mole, his neighbor, told Mr. Ringneck Snake to pay a visit to Mother Dragon to see if there was anything she could do to help. He slithered a little crookedly up to the Dragon Family’s cave early the next morning and talked to Mother Dragon about his problem. Mother Dragon smiled and called Fiddlebug, Bart and Craig to the kitchen. The younglings quickly came up with a plan to help their achy neighbor feel better. They called it a Snake Warmer! You might know someone who could use some help with an achy body too. With a big person’s help, making your own version of a Snake Warmer is pretty easy. Here’s what you do:
What you need
One old cotton tube sock (the cotton part is important because it won’t melt in the microwave)
Cotton thread and a needle so you or your big person can sew the open end closed when the time comes
A bag of uncooked rice
What you do
1) Cut the elastic end off of the tube sock. Since the toe is already sewn closed, this will give you a bag.
2) Fill the sock bag with uncooked rice.
3) If you need help, let your big person sew the open end closed so none of the rice can spill out.
4) Microwave your new rice filled sock for about 2 minutes and feel how warm it gets! Now you can snuggle it around sore muscles and let the heat help them relax.
The three friends made Mr. Ringneck Snake’s Snake Warmer very plain because he likes to keep things simple. They wanted you to know that so long as your choices of decorations can go in the microwave without a problem and any markers or paints you use won’t come off on the person using the warmer, feel free to decorate to your heart’s content! Bart also wanted to let everyone know that this works great to make ear aches feel better!
Craig thought that it would be great if the Lightning Bugs had cousins that came out to brighten up rainy days. He would call them Sunshine Caterpillars! Since Sunshine Caterpillars wouldn’t fly, they could come out on even the rainiest days without worrying about hurting their wings. Craig thought that Sunshine Caterpillars could climb up stems and branches, hide under leaves and flash their warm yellow lights to cheer everyone up when it was dreary and drizzly outside.
The Sunshine Caterpillar he made to show everyone what they would look like if they were real doesn’t have a light, but Craig thinks it’s still more than bright and cheerful enough to make anyone smile! You can make a Sunshine Caterpillar of your very own. Here’s all you have to do:
What you need
One three section piece of a foam egg carton (paper egg cartons would work as well)
1 inch squares of yellow tissue paper
White school glue
Crayons, markers or colored pencils
What you do
1) Set the egg carton piece so that the bumps point up. (It will look a little like a caterpillar body this way)
2) On a washable or disposable surface, squeeze out a small puddle of white school glue.
3) Gather all of the edges of the tissue paper square together (not neatly) so that when you pinch it between your thumb and finger the middle sticks out.
4) Dip the part of the tissue paper bundle that sticks out of your fingers very lightly into the white glue puddle.
5) Stick the gluey tissue paper to the foam egg carton “caterpillar”. The edges and corners should be sticking out so they look sort of like flower petals or very small sun rays.
(Note: Do you have smaller younglings? Try having them stick their pointer finger out. Then gather the tissue paper around their finger. Next have them poke the glue puddle and then poke the egg carton piece with their tissue paper covered finger while you hold the piece in place. Just remember to let go of the tissue paper before they pull their finger away. This is a great teamwork exercise and wonderful practice for those developing motor skills!)
6) Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 a LOT of times to fill in the whole surface of your egg carton “caterpillar”. (Note: if you are doing this project with smaller little ones, you may want to just go around the edges or on the very top of each bump instead due to shorter attention spans.)
7) Let this part dry while you make a face for your Sunshine Caterpillar. Let your child decide what shape they want to cut out. Then they can draw the face with crayons, colored pencils or markers.
8) Glue the face onto one end of your tissue paper covered egg carton and you have a Sunshine Caterpillar!
Craig called his caterpillar Herman and gave him to Mother Bat so she could have a little sunshine in the cave that wouldn’t hurt her eyes! Mother Bat told him that he had a very “bright” idea!
Hello to you all!
I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that the breezes of change are swirling the pixie dust around here. The clock is running out for me to pay my the fee to keep my domain name. While it is not a huge amount, I made a promise to myself last year that if the money could not come out of sales from my writing, I would go back to a free option. Luckily Weebly (who I am with now) has just such an option so the transition should be relatively painless. The down side is that my address will change. I'm not sure at this point how the redirect will go. If you want an easy way to stay connected, please find my author page on Facebook. I post all of my blog updates to this page and would love for you to stop by!
My domain expires on March 23rd. Until then all things will go on as they have in the past, so no fears of losing out on projects or ramblings. Afterwards? I hope you will join me at the sites new home!
Thank you for your understanding and support! (Feel free to cheer me on in the comments. I can use all the well wishes I can get!)
Text books are expensive. Let me repeat that: Text books are EXPENSIVE. Even in the lower grades, you can easily invest hundreds of dollars in text books, workbooks, and answer keys for your year. By the time you reach high school, you can typically expect to pay anywhere from $80.00 to $350.00+ per course depending on subject and accompanying materials such as virtual labs, answer keys, CD content, and online access to accompanying materials. If you decide to go through a diploma program and have multiple children you will most likely find that text books cannot be handed down due to requirements for new editions. Often these new editions do not contain new content or significant changes, but you still have to buy the new book in order for your child to take the course. (At one point I had 2 copies each of 4 different courses here at the house.)
At the end of your school year, what happens to the books? As I've mentioned, you can often not rely on handing down the book you've got to your younger child. Even if you can, what about when they are done with it? Can you sell it? I mean, none of the knowledge you bought it for has been drained away, right? Only one or two children have had a chance to handle it. It still looks practically new! It shouldn't be a problem to get close to what you initially paid when you offer it for sale, right? Alas, this has not been my experience. Most options that I have tried for selling my used text books have produced such poor results that I finally decided to keep those books that I consider useful or interesting for the future, and donate the rest to my favorite used books store. Consider this your warning.
I could go on (and on and on and on...) about my opinion of why this happens, but instead let's focus on the positive. There are ways to homeschool your child on a budget. Many of them are dependent on state requirements, so be sure of your state's homeschooling laws before you make a plan.
Borrow course books from the public school. Most public schools have a plan in place for homeschooling parents to sign out text books for use in their curriculum. Even if you are unable to borrow all of the books in a given year, this option can greatly reduce your costs. Just be aware that you will not receive a course plan or answer key so will have to alter your schedule and grading practices accordingly.
Watch for used books. Someone might as well benefit from the plight of those of us who have purchased text books that we no longer need. You can even run across old workbooks that can be used as reference to create your own worksheets or board work. Costs for used text books are often very low when you compare them to new versions. (Example: The $89.00 English Literature book that was in excellent shape when I sold it brought me a whopping $10.00 on ebay after I caved and offered free shipping. I may actually have paid to get rid of it once you take in packaging materials and gas.) You can even occasionally find them for free. Provided you do not need a certain edition of a certain book to meet your requirements, used books are a very cost effective option no matter what grade you are teaching.
Go in with a friend. If you and another homeschooling family are both planning to use the same curriculum, why not split the cost. This works whether you plan to homeschool your children together in your own co-op, or if one of you will be handing down the curriculum once you are done with it. Make sure that you have a plan in place for reimbursement in the event that a book is damaged beyond use or your situation requires a change of plans.
Consider the GED option instead of a diploma. Although it is (sadly and inappropriately) looked at with less respect by some, the GED is a valid option for high school completion. Depending on your child's future plans, this may allow you more control over your high school student's curriculum choices. Without the requirement for specific text books, you will be able to pursue a variety of free and low cost learning options including used text books, free online content, real life application as an "unschooling" tool, and other creative educational opportunities. Again, be aware of your state's requirements before you make plans. We want everyone to be in compliance while pursuing their best option.
Online diploma programs. (This is what we are doing currently.) While online programs are going to make a dent in your wallet no matter how carefully you choose your school, the variety of programs out there provide an option that will meet just about any homeschooling family's needs and keep you from wondering what to do with all of those text books at the end of the year. Be careful when doing your research. Make sure that the school you choose is properly accredited and that the diploma will be accepted at your child's future college choices.
As for all of those curriculum books you haven't been able to find a new home for yet, why not keep them. You never know when someone in the family might need a little brush up on their skills or when you might run into a family who needs to provide a quality education while on a strict budget. Remember, no matter their resale value (or lack thereof), those books still hold all of the educational value that they did when you first purchased them.
When Three Friends Pond was being dug into Fiddlebug’s playroom, a lot of rock was removed to make the little pond deep enough to hold water. Instead of just tossing the rock out, everyone decided that it would be a great idea to build a rock town for Fiddlebug and his friends to play in beside the new pond. Everyone had a lot of fun building the town, and Mother Dragon made sure that it all held together by melting the rock with her breath.
Mother Bat, who teaches at a preschool for young animals who are awake at night instead of during the day, knows how much fun building things can be. She also knows that unless you are like Mother Dragon, stones are awfully hard to build with, so she found a recipe that will let you make your own “soft stones” or anything else you can think of! You can even squish everything back together and start over if you want to change your creation! She calls it Homemade Play Dough, and Bart thinks it’s pretty fun stuff!
You will need an adult to make the dough for you, but once it’s mixed up and cools down enough to handle, you will have lots of fun creating anything you can dream up!
What you need:
1 ½ cups boiling water
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. alum
¼ tsp. food coloring
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 ¾ cups flour
What you do:
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Keep covered when not in use.
Bart LOVES to build with his play dough when his friends are all sleeping and can’t play with him, but Mother Bat wanted me to make sure you know to be careful where you play with yours. Play dough doesn’t come out of carpet very well!
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!