Bob’s Red Mill – Field Trip

We are currently learning about where our food comes from in school this week, so today I took the kids on a trip to Milwaukie, OR to visit Bob’s Red Mill. They offer free tours to the public Monday through Friday. The tours are only offered once or twice a day, so be sure to check their website for details before you go.

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We happened to be the only people there for the second tour of the day, so we had our own personalized experience!

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You don’t enter into any of the working parts of the factory, so it isn’t overly loud and it’s a great environment for children. When “Mr. Bob” built the factory, he built windows all around so people could come and watch how everything works. They even have small staircases with platforms for the kids to stand on so you don’t have to lift them up to see everything!

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Christie was our tour guide and she was absolutely fantastic! She was patient with the kids and seemed to genuinely love her job and the company she works for. This table was filled with buckets of all sorts of different varieties of grain so the kids could see and feel what they all look like prior to being ground up.

After talking with Christie about the different varieties of flour, I admit I feel like a semi-expert now. I’m ready to do some baking using the appropriate kinds for the recipe instead of simply using all-purpose flour.

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After viewing most of the factory and learning about how it works, the kids got their chance to do a little hands-on learning.

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First, Christie showed them pictures of what a wheat field looks like when it first starts to grow, when it’s ready to be cut, and then when the tractor cuts the wheat.

Next, the kids got the chance to “thresh” the wheat by hitting it with their fists to make the seeds pop off.

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After threshing the wheat, they blew on it gently mimicking the wind that the farmer uses for winnowing the wheat. Separating the chaff from the seeds.

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Once they had their seeds, they dropped them into the mill and cranked out some flour. They probably would have stayed there all day if we would have let them!

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At the end of our tour we posed on some of the grinding stones for a picture.

I won’t tell all of the details from the tour so it will be new and interesting if you are able to go, but I will say that I left the factory highly impressed. Every single person that we came into contact with (even just looking through the windows) was friendly and stopped to wave, smile, or say hello. I learned so much during the tour and I would highly recommend their products. (And no, I am not paid to say that!)

Oh, and during our tour we happened to see “Mr. Bob” himself!

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When our tour was over, Christie asked the kids what they learned and they each got a cookie token for answering. We took our tokens and drove about a mile down the road to the store/restaurant. The kids enjoyed their giant cookies and I picked up some gluten-free pie crust mix (a surprise for a certain person) and some whole-wheat pastry flour for some scones I plan on making. The variety in the store was almost overwhelming and I plan on going back for some kid-free shopping when I can feel free to browse longer.

The tour was a big hit with the kids, who claimed it was “the best day ever” and are already asking when we will get to go back again.

 

Jenna’s Book

When Jenna found out we were going to St. Croix to do missions work, she asked if she could make a book to tell people about Jesus. It seemed like a great idea, and she could also learn about the steps I usually take when writing books.

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After I know what my book will be about, I always plan it out similarly to the picture above. I draw “pages” and then fill them in. When I write, I will just put an idea of what will be written, but because Jenna was the author, I wrote exactly what would be on the page. Then I drew the first sketch to show her how to draw a quick simple picture so you know what to plan.

In the notes section, we wrote down main ideas that she wanted to cover in her book. Then I used the space to give her some illustration tips. The first tip was to not color things in with her pencil, but to only draw the outlines and color with her colored pencils later. The second tip was showing her to draw a large picture that takes up the entire page instead of a tiny picture in the center.

After we brainstormed, I had her draw the illustrations in pencil and then color them. The lines were a bit light, so I traced over them with a marker to make them really stand out. The biggest struggle is to do it EXACTLY as it was drawn and not make any changes or improvements to keep it her work.

After all the pages were ready, I pasted them onto card-stock and laminated them for durability. Here is the finished product!

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Sweet and to the point.

MFW – Week 11

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This week we started studying the individual states and I plan on slowing down our pace just a bit so we can have more time to devote to each state. For each state, while she colors the state bird and state flower on the student sheet, I read her the state facts.

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In an effort to introduce Jenna to being able to find information, I created a worksheet for each state. She has to use the internet, her flashcards, and her MFW student page to find the answers.

We have been visiting the site facts.co for information and videos on the different states, but it is an incredibly difficult website to search. The easiest way to find the state is to google “facts.co (space) state name”. When you can find the page you are looking for, it’s worth the effort! We are also experimenting with using google’s new kid-specific search page called Kiddle as it is a safer alternative than Google.

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I am trying to do a “state snack” for each state we study, and this week we had peaches and strawberries with granola and yogurt to celebrate Delaware. It was a big hit!

Science was all about water this week. We did the experiment in the book where you put a teaspoon of water on a plate and test different items to see which one absorbs the most water. We used a tissue, receipt, and a washcloth for our experiment.

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We also did a “water walking” experiment that they really enjoyed. Basically anything that has the potential to be messy is a hit in our house!

MFW – Week 10

We took two weeks off from school for Christmas break, and it happened to be while we were right in the middle of week 10. The beginning of the week went great, but when we came back to review and continue learning, the amount of information that was forgotten was astounding!

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This was about all I could drag out of Jenna for a summary. It was painful. Coming back from break is always a little bit rough though.

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We did take the time to make quill pens and that was  a fun activity! I used the slotted spoon to strain the strawberries from the juice because my small mesh strainer disappeared after being used as a sifter in the sandbox. Once you just have the juice from the berries, you add 1 teaspoon of salt and vinegar.

I happened to have brightly colored feathers tucked away in my “random items” box. I knew they would be useful someday! I cut the tips off at an angle and the kids dipped their “pens” in the “ink” and practiced writing like they did in the “olden days”. They asked if that was how their Great-grandma Pugh had to write when she was little… I’m just glad they didn’t ask if that’s how I wrote when I was a kid!

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Jenna drew a Chinese lady, pretend Chinese writing, and the real Chinese symbol for love. Connor drew something… I’m just happy he gave it a good ten minutes of drawing before getting bored.

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We have been watching Kung Fu Panda quite a bit in our house lately, so Jenna asked if we could practice writing in Chinese. I would google the symbol for the word she wanted and then draw it and she would copy what I drew. Considering she was drawing with a feather pen and berry ink, I think she did a pretty impressive job! (My symbols are on the left and hers are on the right)

I’m glad we took the time to do this activity because it turned out to be really fun for everyone!

MFW – Week 9

I was thankful to start learning about George Washington this week so I could clear a few things up for Jenna. I overheard her talking to Connor about a week ago…

“Connor, did you know that the man who owns the entire United States of America died!?”

He was thoroughly uninterested and unimpressed (as any 3 year old should be). I kept trying to figure out who she was talking about, so I asked her. She informed me that George Washington, “our old president” owned the whole United States but he died. Considering she’s only 5 years old, I think it’s an accomplishment that she even knows who George Washington is!

In science we learned about the seasons and we were supposed to draw a tree with the current season. I feel like we do this activity every year, so to make it a little different, I taught the kids how to make paper snowflakes instead. As you can see, Connor wasn’t very thrilled at first.

In the end, they both loved making the snowflakes and I loved having a simple project to do. There is also a great SciShow Kids video on youtube on how to make six sided snowflakes that we watched but haven’t tried yet.

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Spelling lessons have been a little bit dry and boring, so this week I poured salt into a baking sheet and let Jenna write her spelling words in it. She thought it was the greatest thing ever and was super excited to practice her spelling. It’s amazing how making a small effort on my part really helps with her attitudes about certain tasks.

 

MFW – Week 8

This week we learned about Benjamin Franklin. I contacted our local newspaper about doing a tour, but because it’s very noisy, they don’t like having kids younger than ten years old to participate.

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Jenna was really interested in the stories about Benjamin Franklin, and I have to admit that I learned several new things too!

Science this week was learning what the earth is made of. There weren’t really any experiments to do, and going outside in record rainfalls and flooding wasn’t really an option, so we watched youtube videos about the earth.

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School was kept a little on the light side as we were dealing with a leaking roof, torrential downpours, and missing Daddy while he worked almost nonstop dealing with flooding and landslide issues throughout the county.

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…And Jenna came up with her own indoor exercise plan for the week.

MFW – Week 7

This week was another example of me ignoring activities in my teacher’s manual and doing other random and fun things. We did week 7 during Thanksgiving week, so making play-dough and homemade bread were very low on my list of things to do this week!

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I did an experiment with the kids to show them how water and oil won’t mix. We colored the water blue, then added oil and stirred it around. They were able to see the oil rise to the top of the water instead of staying mixed in. I cannot for the life of me remember why we did this experiment though! It wasn’t in my manual, and I’m not even confident we did it this week. I am so well organized. Ha ha!

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With it being Thanksgiving week, I decided it was a perfect time to do our Indian Corn experiment! We bought this corn when we went to the pumpkin patch in October and had been using it as a table decoration.

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I showed the kids how to take the kernels off, and we kept them separated into the three different kinds.

After separating them, I attempted to pop them in our popcorn popper to see if they would pop, and if so, how they would taste.

The red corn popped the best and the corn that was primarily yellow made a lot of noise in the popper, but the kernels were barely cracked open. The corn did have a slightly different taste than traditional popcorn.

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And just for fun, I made a batch of kettle corn to snack on while we watched a movie!