Saturday, October 11, 2014

FIAR - How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World

GET READY.....this post is long winded!  Not for the faint of homeschooling heart.  ;-)

I decided to row the book How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World during the weeks of September 22nd and 29th.  I planned for this to be a two week unit because...

1.  I planned to take a day off school to go to Arkansas to visit my Dad,
2.  I wanted to incorporate a study of Johnny Appleseed along with this book, and
3.  There are millions of FUN apple activities for young kids floating around out there!!!

This row turned out to be a happy coincidence on a few different levels.  For one, we happened to be finishing a botany unit in Nancy Larson science, during which we studied the life cycle of the apple tree rather extensively.  And two, I had no idea when I started this that Johnny Appleseed day would fall on the very week that I wanted to study Johnny Appleseed!  SCORE!  (I can't ever seem to get myself as organized and coordinated as I want to be, so when it happens "accidentally", I get so very excited.)

It was a great two weeks, truly, but I will tell you........I tried to cram in waaaaaay too much.  This became readily apparent toward the end of week two when she plopped down on the couch during reading time and snarled, "Don't you have ANY books about peaches or pears?  Or ANY other subject???"  Ha!!!  At that point, I was right along with her.  We read (and read and read) about apples, ate a great multitude of apple snacks, and wore ourselves a little silly with apple activities.

So, I erred on the side of well prepared for apple season.  ;-) we are on DAY ONE, when our enthusiasm was still full boar!

Her little present for this row was the Appletters game.  I've been looking for an excuse to buy this forever.  It's a little challenging for her, but the boys and I have enjoyed it, and she'll get there.

One thing we DIDN'T get tired of was reading this precious book!  How sweet a tale!
It starts off by saying how EASY it is to bake an apple pie....just gather the ingredients, mix and bake.  Unless, of course, the market is closed.....
THEN you have to travel the world gathering your supplies.  This charming book is remarkably humorous and definitely joins the ranks as a family favorite.

We spent many days with our fabric map and these amazing matching cards from Five In A Row Circle.  (If you're trying to prioritize, this is a GREAT activity for this book.)

I never get tired of map work!  I love how many places we "visited" with this book.

I used a colored string and safety pins to make a trail of the stops in the story.  We followed that trail every day with our little story disk.

At the end of the row it was hard to decide where we wanted to hang our disk permanently on the wall map.  (We picked Vermont.)

She did some of the reading aloud too.  Her reading is really taking off, and it THRILLS me to the moon!!!!!

In the story, the girl gathers...

So....we followed suit!  One day, we churned butter from cream.  I poured whipping cream into a glass jar and added a few marbles.  Then we shook, shook, shook!

I forgot how LONG this takes, so we cheated and made big brother help with his arm muscles!

We also made a concentrated salt water solution by boiling salt and water.  We poured it onto a plate, then set it out in the sun to evaporate.

She was quite impressed by the beauty of the salt crystals!

There were SO many good videos on youtube about the ingredient list....

We watched movies about salt harvesting, sugar cane growth, grinding cinnamon, and apple orchard packing and processing.

(I had it on the list to make snicker doodles one day, since that would have incorporated many of our ingredients, but we never did get around to making them.  Sadly, I've been craving snicker doodles ever since!)

I made a sensory bin to go along with this unit.  I filled it with black beans and made little pom-pom apples to go in it.  I had an assortment of other fall items in there too, but I took it outside to play before I snapped pictures.  Several neighbors came over to enjoy the bin with us, which was great, but it is a total mess now.  I don't do sensory bins too terribly often, but as our outside playdate definitely proved, kids LOVE them!  I thought maybe she was getting too old by first grade, but they spent HOURS on my driveway digging and scooping and pouring those beans.  I included some tiny pumpkin gems and sparkly fall leaves that I got from the dollar spot at Target last year, as well as many containers and scoops.  I even found an apple shaped ice cube tray at the dollar store.   The kids had a ball with this, and the neighbors are still asking for me to bring it back out.  Sweet!

I also made apple pie play doh.  Homemade play doh is always a huge hit, and this one smelled divine.  We also took this outside, and same story.  Lots of kids showed up to enjoy!


1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1/2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp red food coloring (I used less)
1 cup water

Combine dry ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan.
Add in oil, food color, and water.  Stir well.
Cook over medium heat until dough pulls away from pan and becomes dry.
Turn off heat, cool slightly, then knead until smooth.

As I mentioned, this unit happened to fall nicely with our science botany unit, in which we read the book Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree.  We studied, studied, studied apple trees!  We don't have many apple trees in the south.  ;-(  I would love to visit an orchard in the fall and have a true apple picking experience someday!

We checked out DOZENS of apple books from the library.

This is my favorite picture from this row.....we had beautiful music playing this day, and something yummy baking in the oven. We finished reading a beautifully illustrated book about apples, and she sat down to illustrate and label the parts of an apple blossom by her own initiative.  These moments capture the beauty of homeschool for me!

I way (way, way, way) overdid the printables for this (never ending) apple unit.  Ha!  I won't even begin to share them all, but suffice it to say, if there was an apple worksheet, I found it on the internet and printed it for us to do.  Oh, mylanta!  

We did an apple even and odd tree...(First Grade Parade)

We made a book of flags from very country in the story (I googled line images to make these.)

We did worksheets about the life of John Chapman  (Mama's Learning Corner has cute ones)

We colored maps about where Johnny Appleseed traveled  (Homeschool Share has some)

We wrote apple facts on cute apple papers :-)
We labeled apple trees, apple blossoms, and the apple fruit
We did apple pie math, apple pie vocabulary, and apple pie sentences

We have a PhD in apples!!!!  :-)

One day we stopped at the market and each picked out a special apple. Any apple in the store...we got to pick our favorite one!

Then, we brought those two apples home and did an investigation.  Surprise, surprise, we wrote a whole book about it.  :-)

Apple Investigation sheets from

This was a pretty cute activity, and one she really enjoyed.
I chose a Honeycrisp.  (YUM.)
She chose a Yellow Delicious.

She found 17 seeds inside her apple.  SEVENTEEN!!!!!!
She won the seed competition.  ;-)

I had a printable left over in my files from preschool.  It was for the book "Ten Apples Up On Top".  That printable would be too easy for her now, so we ramped it up and used it to do some skip counting.  We counted by two's, three's, four's, etc. to make our little book.

Then she ran upstairs, all on her own, and grabbed the book to bring down and read aloud to me.  I'm telling you, ON FIRE for reading this girl is!!!  Love it!!!

Of course we had to include a couple cute apple crafts, like this paper plate apple core.

A highlight of our study was our apple tasting extravaganza.  I've done this with all my kids, and it is always a big hit.  We go to the specialty market in town and buy a big variety of apples that we have never heard of before.  Then we all get a chance to vote on what we like, and we each pick our favorite.

I think I paid well over a dollar a piece for each of these......ridiculous!  Ha!  Those "special" apples are an investment!

I made cute little plates and "scorecards"

Apparently, I was far too busy carving apples to bother with ironing my tablecloth.
(My Mom is shuddering right now that I'm showing this photo to the general public.)

Envy was my favorite.  Amazingly sweet and crunchy.

Daddy came home for lunch to participate, and Oma stopped by real quick too.  I bought caramel dip as a special treat.

I didn't really take many pictures of our Johnny Appleseed studies, but this is something I have marked my calendar to do next year too.  (Johnny Appleseed day is September 26th, by the way.  His birthdate.)  I love the story of how this gentle man shared the Gospel message and left an indelible mark on frontier history in such a quiet and unassuming way.  His example of servanthood is certainly worth revisiting again and again.  The boys fondly remembered their old, worn copy (by Steven Kellogg) when I pulled it from the shelf, and happily joined in on the read aloud for old time's sake.  I bought a new version this year Jodie Shepherd.  I treasured story, for sure!

The capstone of this row, is, OF COURSE, making the apple pie!!!!  How in the world do you do this row and forget to take a picture of the apple pie???  Goes to show how incredibly sick I was of apples by the last day of week two, I guess. :-)  There is a recipe in the back of the story book, but I chose instead to try something new I found online.  THIS recipe got fabulous reviews online, and I was intrigued because it is made in a very unconventional way.  I thought the reviews were well was delicious!


We've been busy.

I'll admit.....we were ready to moooove on.  This may have been a good lesson for me in that old Jewish saying..... "just enough is plenty".  I think I'm still trying to find a good rhythm with Five In A Row.  There are so many great opportunities out there and it's hard to leave good ideas behind!  While I may have packed in a slightly ambitious row these two weeks, we really did have a great time, and together we learned a LOT about how to see the world while baking an apple pie!


  1. I love to see moms doing such an amazing job with FIAR! It looks like SO much fun! I borrowed the first guide last year, and we almost switched over to doing it, but I was absolutely overwhelmed by the planning & structure that I would need to add to it. Looks like you're doing an AMAZING job with FIAR, though! :)

  2. What a wonderful row! Full of apple fun! It's so hard to know when to move on ~ that's the only downfall to unit studies - when is enough enough?! It's hard as a homeschool mom to know ~ until it's too late, haha! I personally LOVE your rowing style!