field trip: herr’s factory tour

As a young child, I loved watching Mister Rogers.  I greatly attribute my love of cardigans to his casual, at home style.  One of things that always stood out to me on his show were the tours he took of factories.  He understood that it was important for children to know not only how things were made, but also that people work hard to make things we use in everyday life.  That was a great takeaway for me; that I should value and appreciate things more because of the hard work that goes into manufacturing and production.  This was definitely something I wanted to instill in my own kids, so off to Nottingham, PA we went!

herr's factory nottingham paWe weren’t allowed to take any photos while we were on the actual tour.  We got to see pretzel dough being formed and conditioned, tortilla chips being made and packaged, and potato chips go from potatoes to chips packed into boxes.  I know for certain, without having to question them, that my kids’ favorite part of the tour was when they got to sample warm potato chips.

I would recommend a visit to the Herr’s Factory to anyone that is in the Lancaster area for a day or two.  We were given bags of chips to sample, and we purchased a 10 pack of their new products for just $3.75. (This includes the GO LITE! popcorn I posted about on instagram.  I can’t wait to find it in stores.)

leaving herr's factory tour

You can find out more about the Herr’s factory tour here.

first days of dance class 2012-2014

Two years ago, we enrolled Micah in dance.  He has been surrounded by art and music since day one, so it was no surprise that he loved to sing and dance and perform.  I remember listening from the waiting room during his first class, and hearing him tell his classmates “great job” and offering them other encouragements.  He attends a noncompetitive studio so if images of Lifetime’s Dance Moms pops into your head, your perception might be a little skewed.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong with competition.  It can help motivate some people to try harder and strive for their very best.  I’m just not ready to foster a competitive spirit in my children.  I want them to be able to love what they do before it becomes work or a chore to them.  Luckily they aren’t yet aware of the world of pushy parents and angry coaches.  They love going to dance class and look forward to it every week.  Maeby started dance last year, and Abram is waiting (as patiently as a two year old can wait) to start next year.  I have seen Micah and Maeby mature a lot since they have started taking classes.  They have learned (and are continuously learning) structure, discipline, grace, poise, confidence, spatial awareness, patience, and French (since their studio use the classical terms).  I am so impressed with their growth and thankful that they have a very nurturing teacher.

We have a tradition of taking first (and last) day of class pictures outside of the studio.


micah's first year of dance


micah second year of dance

maeby first year of dance


micah third year of dance

maeby second year of dance

homeschool 2014

Yesterday marked our first day back to homeschool.  While we never really stop learning here, we stick to a structured day from September-June.  We started homeschooling three years ago, but this is our first year of compulsory learning and the first year we have had to declare intent.  Micah started first grade, while Maeby began her final year of preschool.  Abram is along for the ride and has been very enthusiastic to chime in.  abram homeschool maeby homeschool

micah homeschool


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This is our first year using textbook curriculums for Math and Reading.  We have mostly used workbooks and printouts, with supplemental books depending on the topics we were learning about.  We chose to go with Math to Learn because it introduces mathematic concepts and gives detailed examples of mathematical processes appropriate for grades 1-2.

I have finally stopped saying that Micah can read x amount of words.  I figured it is safe to say that he can read.  He reads anything and everything he can get his hands on.  We chose Jacob’s Ladder because it is geared towards advanced and gifted children.  We decided to start with Primary 2 (grades 1-2) because Micah already has the foundation for Primary 1 (kindergarten-grade 1).  The main objective of the book is to get students to think more critically about the text, in turn building comprehension and analytical skills.

In the next coming weeks, I’ll be giving updates on how these books are working out for us.

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Donald and Daisy

I’m not too sure that Donald is a Donald or a Donna, but it seems like we at least have a Daisy.

duck eggThis morning when I went to gather the eggs from the coop, I noticed an egg amongst the bedding in the duck house.  Our spring chickens will probably be laying within the week.  I am relieved to know that we have at least one female duck.  If we ended up with two drakes (male ducks), we would have had to find new homes for them.  Without a female duck, male ducks will try to mate with chickens (and it usually ends fatally for the chicken).  I am so glad we get to keep both of them.  We have been smitten with them since the day they came home.  Here is a look at how much they have grown since April.



maeby with duckling

daisy and the egg

maeby and a duck

Comparing the pictures of Maeby makes me realize the ducks aren’t the only ones that have gone through some serious growth spurts lately!




chapter books for preschoolers

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Ok, so maybe not all preschoolers.  These were the books we read Micah’s preschool year.  We didn’t even read them during our homeschool time.  For months, bedtime seemed to take longer and longer with the stacks of picture books we’d read growing every night.  I love Mo Willems books, but not enough to read fifteen of his books in one night.  So, we started reading chapter books.

chapter booksEach night we would talk about what had been going on in the book we were reading and what we thought might happen next.  All I would have to do is whisper a title to Micah and he would hurry to brush his teeth before climbing into bed.  We started with The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.  While there were dated references that went right over Micah’s head (“wash basin” for example), he was still hooked on Ralph and the mischief he got into.  Beverly Cleary’s writing got us into the Ramona books and we fell in love with the residents of Klickitat Street.  (Seriously.  Between the books and the Ramona and Beezus movie, Micah had asked if Ramona could come to his fifth birthday party.)

books2We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a week.  We raced to bed on those nights.  Harriet the Spy took a little longer to read because we were constantly talking about how Harriet and her friends should have acted.  There is a lot of misbehavior in Roald Dahl’s books as well, but I feel like he wrote the lessons into the books so we were able to discuss it organically.  We started the Harry Potter series.  Micah was pretty excited about that because he enjoyed the movies.  There were nights that I would read 50 pages and my mouth would be dry and my jaw would hurt.  That didn’t keep us from reading more.

During Micah’s kindergarten year, we read a lot of books from The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.  We have read so many books together that it started to seem silly to keep track of them all.  As we start another year of homeschool, we will probably do book reviews together so we can share our favorites with you.

For now, we are back to reading Mo Willems books at night.

Except this time, Micah reads the books to me.


You can find the books we read, below.

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