FIAR: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

This week, we’re reading Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Partly because it’s on Kindle FreeTime and most of our physical books are packed up for our impending move, and partly because it’s a really cute story. 

Day one we started off nice and early.  The girls really loved the story, probably because I really got into it, doing voices and sounds.  Fortunately, it was a day that involved no cutting or otherwise making a mess.  The realtor had four different families coming through the house to decide whether they wanted to take it or not. The hardest part was keeping the house clean between showings – the girls’ favorite thing to do is cut, paint and glue.  However, we managed.  And, it was a nice, easy day for schooling, too.  We talked a bit about taking care of the earth; reducing, reusing and recycling; and one of my favorites – upcycling.  When Mike and Mary Anne are done building the cellar for the new town hall, they realize they forgot to leave a way out and are stuck down there, so Mary Anne is repurposed as a heater for the town hall and Mike becomes the janitor. 

After we talked about reusing things, we then talked about what we should take care of.  Ms Action’s list was pretty comprehensive: My stuffed animals, Friends and Family, Our garden, Our animal friends, Mother Earth, and All the children of the world.  Ms Piggy’s included: Animals, Toys and Garden.

We’re also learning about the origins of the names of the days of the week.  Today, being Monday, is the Moon’s Day.  We learned a bit about that, how the moon has to do with dreams, cleansing, the astral world and children. 

Day two we read the story again, talked about plot and creating characters, did word bingo and Ms Action did handwriting while Ms Piggy colored in a letter “A”.  Since I’m doing a letter a week with Ms Piggy, I thought having Ms Action’s handwriting words sort of correspond with what Ms Piggy was doing would keep jealousies to a minimum.  One week into the letter of the week stuff and it seems to be working. 

On the days of the week front, since it’s Tuesday, we learned a wee bit about Tyr, the Norse god of war.  And how Tuesday has to do with strength, action, winning and taking charge.  I thought that was rather apropos, seeing as how the girls spent most of the morning physically pushing each other and fighting over who was going to get her way (or be in charge) and win their little altercations. 

Later, as the girls were playing outside, Ms Action caught a grasshopper and put it into her giant bug habitat thing (I’m honestly not sure of its name, it was for butterflies, it zips up, and rips constantly – after catching the grasshopper, I had to sew the side up again).  NeighborGirl was very against this observation, but Ms Action kept saying she was only going to watch the grasshopper for a little while (while making sure it had water, grass, and anything else she thought it needed) then let it go, just so she could learn about the grasshopper.  After I spoke up and said the only way to learn is to observe, NeighborGirl (who’s very bossy and opinionated, also, she lies quite a bit, which drives me batty.  I hate lies, but I digress) anyway, NeighborGirl changed her tune and was all “Yeah, that’s the way to learn.”  So, they spent the rest of the morning observing MrGrasshopper.

Day three was interesting.  Ms Piggy started having tummy troubles late the afternoon before, which continued all through the night.  She had me up nearly all night, cleaning up her vomit.  She would look at me, through miserable eyes, and say “I poo’ked, mommy.”  We still managed to do lots of fun things, though.

We started off by baking a cake, for an activity later in the day.  While it was baking, we read through our stories, paying special attention to the artwork.  We noticed how the trees were drawn from a distance, and how that changed when the perspective changed and we were closer to the trees.  We also looked at how motion was drawn in the book.  Then, we got out our canvas and acrylics and painted.  (Just for the record, I’m not at all artistic in that way.  At all. But, the girls had fun) 

Ms Piggy's artistic creation.

Ms Piggy’s artistic creation.

Ms Actions trees, flowers, and butterflies flying through the air

Ms Actions trees, flowers, and butterflies flying through the air

 After our art, we attached a digger template I found onto the front of our lapbooks after we cut the windows out. I printed up teeny pictures of the girls and put them in the front window to look like they were “driving.”

Our last project of the day involved the cake. It was a chocolate cake, which we then iced with chocolate frosting.  Then, we took two new digger truck toys and dug a square “cellar” with “four corners…neat and square”


Since today is Wednesday, we learned a bit about Odin, how we was the one who brought knowledge and learning to humankind.  Also, this day, in addition to learning, has to do with creativity (and we did art today!  Nice coincidence 🙂 ), travel, and communication.

Day four we did some math – counting for Ms Piggy and grouping by tens for Ms Action; then we did some geometry/shapes. We played outside for a while, watered our plants, and picked some dandelions and made dandelion fritters

We also learned a bit about Thor, since it’s Thursday, aka, “Thor’s Day.”  Ms Action was very, very excited “He’s the god of thunder!” she exclaimed.

Day five was busy, full and interesting.  We finished off Mike Mulligan and learned a bit about different types of energy – steam, gasoline, wind and solar.  Ms Action loves the idea of using renewable energy.  I told her I want us to move over to solar power, and someday get solar panels, she’s rather excited about that.  We also learned about the different states of matter and did a sorting activity to learn about solids, liquids, and gasses.  We also talked about how Friday is Freya’s Day, and how she’s Odin’s wife. 

We went with the husband to work, so we were doing all this in the car and at the office.  There was a change of command ceremony, so we went up to see that.  Ms Piggy was less than excited.  She decided the times of silence were the perfect time to ask “What’s that, mommy?”  and “What’s that doing he-ah?”  So I took her away from the area and we walked around.  Ms Action decided to go with us, then thought running back toward the ceremony was a good idea.  Since she ran, Ms Piggy decided to run, too, and took a spill, scraping her knee.

After that was over, we went to look at RV’s.  We’re trying to plan, to figure whether we’re going to have a house bought or in the process of being bought, by the time we move.  If not, then we’re going to need a place to stay.  Hotels are super expensive, so we’re trying to figure a way to save money – one option is trading in the green truck for an RV and towing my car, that way we don’t have hotel bills.  Then, we’d trade the RV back in for a different, more eco-friendly car, or else just sell it outright. 

Anyway, we’ll know what our plan is, or at least have a better idea of what we’re going to be doing, by next week.  It’s stressful. 

I’ve also been de-cluttering, doing 40 bags in 40 days.  So far, I’ve gotten rid of around 10 bags.  It’s nice, getting rid of junk, old toys that haven’t been played with in ages, clothes that haven’t been worn in ages or that we’ve outgrown, and lots of other things.  I keep procrastinating, though, when it comes to my craft supplies.  Most of the supplies were my grandma’s and are some of the few things I have that were hers.  But, her memory is alive and well in my mind, and a lot of the supplies are just sitting there, untouched. And they’ve been untouched for years.  So, I need to either figure out what to do with them, or get rid of them.  Excitingly, though, the house is much less cluttered. 


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