Today in Pictures

7:30 am: Morning TV

8:30 am: Breakfast of Spinach fruit smoothie, eggs and toast.


9:30 am: Gymnastics (I was too busy chasing the toddler to remember to take a photo.)
10:30 am: Fabric store hell. At least M could read the name of the store, and we did survive the long search for fabric and long wait to cut said fabric.


12:30 pm: Bleeding Baby. ūüė¶ It’s amazing how much blood comes from a bit lip! And how scary it is for a parent to see.


1:00 pm: More math play.




*On the drive to speech, we were listening to an Aladdin song. I explained that Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love (the girls haven’t seen this movie yet). M mentions, again, how she married Jasmine and Aladdin. C tells M, “Mama says that Aladdin and Jasmine got inside love!”

2:00 pm: Speech class for M.


3:30 pm: Neighborhood walk to find bird nests.



*M says, “Mama, there are two different kinds of pine cones!” And C says, “There are so many different trees in our neighborhood!”

4:30 pm: I’m crying on the couch and M is crying in her bedroom. Immediately when we got to our driveway after our pleasant walk, M got angry and wouldn’t come inside. We have family safety rules about front yard play, and now was not an option. And frankly, I was hurt that she would treat me this way after our nice nest-finding walk that she has been begging me to do this week. Her outburst only happened because she was tired. But boy, parenting can be so tough! I’m glad that I at least kept my cool, but I feel so drained at the moment, and I still have two more days before Dada is back home.


(I actually am feeling much better now, and I’m sure a delish comfort-food dinner will help in my restoration as well. And maybe a shower too!)


DIY: Montessori Hundred Board

DIY Montessori Hundred Board
The LipperLoppy LIfe

A friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of her sons playing with a Montessori Hundred Board that she found at a dollar store. I had never even heard of one, but immediately knew it would be the perfect activity to help M learn her higher numbers and see number relationships. I googled and found some nice wooden hundred boards, but I was hesitant to fork over the $20-$25. I downloaded a free hundred board app, but the free version only went to 25. I am rarely willing to purchase an app (I think our homeschooling budget would go through the roof if I started buying apps) and I really thought there was value in working out the board with your hands. So I googled for ideas about how to make one.

Obviously, there is a quick simple version of printing a hundred board on cardstock and laminating it, but I wanted something more durable. I first got the idea from this blog to add magnetic strips to the numbers. How genius! Magnets would help keep all those tiles in place as one works the board!

I wanted something thicker than cardstock or posterboard, so I browsed through my local Hobby Lobby this morning hoping to find some thin wood tiles. I was so pleased when I came across wood cubes, slightly bigger than 1/2″. They were perfect! I had already had cubes in the back of my mind, because reviews of some of the hundred boards on Amazon mentioned how cubes were easier for little hands to manipulate than flat tiles.

Originally I was going to print the numbers on some adhesive cardstock I already own, but I decided I would first quickly just Sharpie the numbers on the wood. I figured I could always “upgrade” the wood blocks for a nicer look later. I wanted to finish this project!

All in all, I spent about $6 to create our very own hundred board (we already own a magnetic board, but you could use a cookie sheet too). M was so excited to get working on it. And I was so pleased that I made it! M definitely needs work figuring out the numbers; she sometimes will mix a number around, mistaking a 28 for 82, for example. As M started working the board, I realized that I should add a line underneath the numbers; it sometimes made it harder for her to recognize what the numbers were without a line. She quickly realized how to count by tens on the board! First time counting by tens!

I was going to add the link for the hundred board chart I printed out, but there is an error on the chart! It’s pretty easy to find a free chart online or make one yourself. Once M is more confident with the numbers, I will give her chart printouts with missing numbers, until she has progressed to a blank 10×10 chart. We will probably eventually play games of counting by twos, threes, etc. If you have any suggestions of games to play with the hundred board, please let me know in the comments!

DIY Montessori Hundred Board
The LipperLoppy Life

Where in the World is Grandma: Newfoundland and Labrador

To continue with our study of Grandma’s travels, we added Newfoundland and Labrador to our book. Grandma had given us a newsletter she made of her experience in this Canadian province. We really just did a quick look into Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • We used worksheets from to color maps of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland provincial flag, and the provincial bird and plant (puffin and the pitcher plant).
  • We read a few books about Newfoundland.¬†Ode to Newfoundland is a lyrical story with brilliant pictures and information.¬†The Mummer’s Song shows the Newfoundland Christmas custom of mummering. I found other great Newfoundland books online, but our local library didn’t carry them; if you’re interested, look into¬†The Killick: A Newfoundland Story,¬†The Hangashore, and¬†Moocher in the Lun.
  • We read a book about the pitcher plant and other carnivorous plants. The girls were very interested in the idea of meat-eating plants. I’m planning on getting this Carnivorous Creations Kit sometime in the next year or so for more in-depth exploration.
  • We read a lot of books about puffins.¬†Puffins,¬†A Puffin’s Year, and¬†Puffling, were factual stories/informational books, and There Once Was a Puffin and Nothing Like a Puffin were silly entertaining books.
  • And we made puffin beak masks. I couldn’t easily find a puffin craft on the internet, so I basically made this one up!

    Paper Plate Puffin Beak Instructions:

    1. Cut a paper plate in half, and then quarters. Fold two quarters in half. Mark lines on the quarters to color them orange, yellow, and blue. One folded quarter will be the top of the beak, another folded quarter will be the bottom (one paper plate makes two beaks).
    2. Attach the left top beak to the left bottom beak with a paper fastener. Do the same to the other side.
    3. Attach string, elastic, etc to each side of the top beak. (After doing the first one, I realized it’s easier to attach the elastic before attaching the brad fasteners.)
    4. Put it on and pretend you’re a puffin!

Learning About the Electoral College

In the days after the Presidential Election, we decided to color in the electoral votes and make a giant bar graph displaying the results. At first we went state by state (so it would also be a geography lesson as well as a political one), first coloring in, and then adding to the bar graph, but this was taking forever, and C could only handle a few states per day. So after a few days of doing a few states at a time, I just finished the bar graph while the girls finished coloring their maps. (C chose to use purple and pink instead of blue and red.) But it was a good introduction to the electoral college, and the bar graph provided a great visual for the girls to see the results. We discussed how looking at the map results can be deceiving (if you just look at the area that is red versus blue, without considering the numbers). We also looked at some map results of past elections. (FYI, for making the giant bar graph, we had 1/2 cm = 1 electoral vote.)

Today in Pictures

7 am: made their bed before going to watch television…what??

8 am: french toast breakfast

9 am: M decides to write math equations while I style her hair; C draws a picture of M in a tall birthday hat while I do her hair

10 am

11 am: I got to sneak in a catnap with the toddler while the big girls played together
12 pm: lunch, reading Pippi Longstocking
1 pm: quiet book time

2 pm: speech class
3 pm: purchase Thanksgiving turkey from local farm

4 pm: magnet dolls, drawing

5 pm: follow the sister, M and C going on a treasure hunt

6 pm: chicken kale enchilada dinner
7 pm: pajama movie time

Enjoying Our Freedoms

When I look back at our busy day, the theme that comes to mind is “enjoying our freedoms”. We are blessed to have a voting right in this country, to be able to live our lives as we choose to, seeking the sun and exploring our world together in our¬†homeschooling¬†journey. And it was a very joyful, sunshiny day.

Today started out with going to the polls to vote, all three kids in tow. There was no line, and empty voting machines too. C (the middle child who is constantly searching for stimulation) still managed to walk away from me, without my notice, while I was voting. But in her defense, she had walked over to the big gymnasium windows to view the city in the valley below. We had had our choice of voting machine, and I should have picked the one closest to the windows so the girls could hang out at the windows. Oh well, since it wasn’t crowded, it didn’t really matter that she had escaped me for a few minutes. When we got back out to the parking lot, it was a zoo! Our polling place was an elementary school, and it was the start of kid-dropoff time. I heard a mom tell the “traffic person” that one kid had already been almost hit with the car chaos. I’m glad it didn’t take too long to get out of the parking lot (and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with kid drop-offs/pick-ups like that!).

When we got back home, the girls spent some time in the playroom working on their secret anniversary gifts for my husband and I. It has been all M’s idea to make these gifts, and I gave them a box to store everything in. This is the first year that the girls have paid any attention to our anniversary, but it’s probably mostly due to their increased interest in weddings in general. After all, M married Princess Jasmine a few weeks ago (the service was lovely). (M hasn’t even seen the movie¬†Aladdin yet, but recognizes the princess on their princess¬†band-aids¬†and stickers they get from the doctor’s office.)

Then C helped me make meatballs, with the toddler at our side, while M played outside. M didn’t want to make meatballs because she didn’t want her hands to get messy. C loves¬†tactile¬†stimulation like this, and was an¬†excellent¬†helper. She did a great job cracking the eggs, mixing all the ingredients together, and rolling the balls.

Then we all went outside with M. M had been doing some “farm work” and I finally got to see what it was. She had carefully dug a hole and lined it with rocks. It was a feeding trough to put grass in for her horses. I was surprised that she had chosen to dig the hole in the lawn, and not in the designated digging area (which was two feet away from her chosen spot). When I asked her about it, she replied, “But Mama, there was no grass in this spot in the yard, only dirt.” Can’t argue with that! The yard is very crappy, and our landlords have really let both yards go.

M and C also picked out a spot in the backyard for their “outdoor playhouse.” It is a small area of bushes and other plants tucked behind the garage, up on a ledge, in a back corner of the yard. You can’t even see them back there when they are all the way in – a perfect hiding place. I totally prefer outside play in a natural setting over playgrounds any day. I think they get so much more out of it, which is why we would rather do ¬†a hike than go to a playground. We do visit playgrounds every so often, usually to meet friends or for biking (our neighborhood is too hilly for biking). I’m glad that our small yard provides enough interesting landscapes for them to explore!

Then the toddler went down for her nap and the rest of us ate lunch. Then dollhouse play, a visit to the library and speech class. Oh gosh, and the day wasn’t over yet!

Since we will be moving soon, I have let most of our local memberships expire. One that expired was the lovely Red Butte Garden. But luckily, the city library has this great program for exploring some of the local venues. Once a year, your family can check out the Community Exploration Card and get free access for that month to Red Butte, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, The Leonardo, and Natural History Museum of Utah. Today was a beautiful, balmy autumn day, and Red Butte is just up the street from speech class, so we headed there.

“Mama, when moose die, do they become statues?” – C, 3 and 10/12 years old

Yes, we had more discussion about mortality and moose today! The girls are pretty familiar with the garden, and it was fun to see it in a different season (last time we had visited was late spring/early summer). C shook the hydrangea branches to see the dying flower petals fall. M found the fish in the small reflecting pool. The Children’s Garden is always a hit. We walked down to the pond area, that was new-to-us and first heard, then saw the waterfall. And we noticed the fuzzy buds on a magnolia bush. C pointed out that we have a friend named Magnolia. When we got home we looked on the computer to see what the fuzzy buds became in the springtime — flowers, just has M had guessed. It was a beautiful time in the garden with the sun warming our hearts.

When we got back home, for good this time, we had a delicious snack that a friend had pinned on Pinterest. Soooo delicious! These chewy, peanut butter-chocolaty oat bars might be my go-to snack now! I added coconut flakes to it too, yummers. It was hard to stop at one, or two, and was a hit with the girls as well.

A Monday Discussing Mortality and Moose

Today was full of fun and learning, so I felt inspired to blog about it. We started the morning with a little PBS television and breakfast. Had a great conversation about death, brought up by M, stating that she doesn’t want to die because she wants to become a mommy. And ending with C saying, “If Grandma dies, you will be so sad. If you die, M, L, and I will be so sad.”

We hopped in the car to attend the nature storytime at the Swaner EcoCenter. Today’s topic was moose. They read two stories, put together a moose puzzle, saw how tall a bull moose is, and made moose masks. I’m not sure what the girls learned, because M was the student that kept answering all of the teacher’s questions. She knew that only the bulls had antlers, recognized the moose’s footprint, and could identify between a bull, cow, calf, deer, and elk. When she rambled a sentence off to the teacher, the teacher didn’t understand and just did the “uh-uh” answer, but when M spoke just a word or two, everyone understood her. I wonder if I should tell the teacher in advance that it would be helpful if she doesn’t understand to give us time for M to get it right. I know it might be distracting during the class, but it’s really rude to M — she can tell when she’s not understood, so basically the teacher is showing her that what she says isn’t important. I also wish that the class was geared more towards learning/investigating than just stories and crafts. I guess we will have to supplement with additional learning at home (it’s what we do anyway!).¬†The girls love attending and it is always a fun little trek into the mountains. The class is held twice a month, but I like just going once a month.

As a treat, we always walk to a nearby cafe to pick out a cookie afterwards. This cafe makes a bunch of yummy stuff, but they always have a sugar cookie decorated for the season/holiday. Last time it was ghosts; this time pumpkins.

Then we went home for lunch. We finished reading our Anna Hibiscus chapter book at lunch time. The girls loved this book! Each chapter starts with the same lines: “Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa.”, and the girls love to recite along with me. There are other chapter books in the series, as well as a picture book, Anna Hibiscus’ Song, which we’ve read from the library before, and I’ve since secretly purchased and saving to give to the girls.

The girls played outside, and inside, while I did some housework. Then we went to a park so I could attempt to run, with the two littles in the double jogging stroller, and M biking alongside. But early on, M complained of tired legs, and also wanted a slower pace, so I only ran a half mile for almost 10 minutes. But something is better than nothing. We hung around to see the ducks, geese, and seagulls at the pond, and then went back home.

The girls did more outside play; apparently they have been playing “yard work”, since they have been helping me this past week with raking up leaves and cleaning the gardens.

Learning about Chimpanzees and Jane Goodall

After learning about Tanzania, we decided to study chimpanzees and Jane Goodall. Jane Goodall, as you all probably know, studied the chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania.

We read a great children’s book about Jane’s life,¬†The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. We watched most of a documentary DVD about her (thanks, Netflix streaming!),¬†Jane’s Journey.

On a side note, I wish I had learned more about Jane’s life when I was in high school. It was my dream to go to East Africa and study elephants; I was so surprised to find out that she went to Tanzania on her own (with her mother) and happened to get her dream job, just like that (being in the right place at the right time). I honestly felt that only a lucky few get to study elephants, so I let my dream slide away. Maybe I would have been more determined to follow my passion if I had studied Jane’s journey too. Though I am very happy with my new life passions now. And I do wonder now if I would¬†hate living in heat; I am quite a crabby one when overheated. I have a love/hate relationship with the sun.

We read a few different books about chimpanzees from the library and colored coloring pages of chimpanzees. We watched the Disneynature Chimpanzee movie (again, thanks Netflix streaming!). I so hated the anthropomorphism in the movie, but it did make the movie entertaining for the kids. We did some of the activities from an activity packet on the Disneynature website, making a chimpanzee mask, dot-to-dot coloring, etc. We compared our footprints to a chimpanzee’s footprint, measured our arms and legs and compared them to a chimpanzee’s, and we discussed differences between monkeys and apes.

Whenever the girls and I study something together, I may write on the blog all that we studied, but that doesn’t mean that the girls learned¬†everything. For example, when we studied Tanzania, we learned how to count to ten in Swahili and some other Swahili words, but a few weeks later, M really only remembers how to say hello (Jambo), father (baba), and maybe the number 5 (tano). We can study a subject often and still learn something new every time. That’s what learning is all about, right?

So here is what the girls can tell you about chimpanzees:

  • Jane Goodall studied them in Tanzania and saw them using tools.
  • Chimpanzees sometimes hunt and eat monkeys.
  • Chimpanzees use tools, like rocks for breaking nut shells or sticks for catching termites.
  • Chimpanzees make a nest in the trees out of sticks and branches for sleeping at night.
  • Chimpanzees nurse their babies.
  • Chimpanzees are apes.
  • Chimpanzees have thumbs on their hands and feet.
  • Apes can rotate their shoulders fully to swing from branches; monkeys can not.
  • Apes don’t have tails; most monkeys have (visible) tails.
  • Apes have arms longer than their legs; monkeys do not.
  • Apes and monkeys are diurnal (active during the day).

We’ve been talking a lot lately about whether Curious George is an ape or a monkey. I think he appears to be an ape, so it¬†bothers!!! me that the author calls him a monkey all the time (this is a pet peeve of mine at the zoo, when I overhear a parent calling an orangutan a monkey to their toddler, for example. People, use the correct term, don’t dumb it down! Yes, I’m crazy….and probably too judgmental; perhaps the parent doesn’t know the difference between monkeys and apes–not everyone took a Primate class in college.). Anyhow, George is a fictional character, and the author has every right to create a new species of monkey like him. So I just need to Let. It. Go.¬†Seems to be a constant practice in my life right now: breathing and letting go. ūüôā


  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    ‚ÄúLipperLoppy‚ÄĚ is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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