Compost Cups Science Project

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

As we walked through the autumn forest and noticed the falling leaves, I asked the kids what happened to the piles of leaves we walked through last year. That started a conversation about decomposition.

Decomposition and Composting

Decomposition is the process in which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter (according to Wikipedia). It’s natural recycling!

When leaves fall and plants and animals die, they start this process of breaking down or decay. Insects, bacteria, and fungus all carry out decomposition. In the end, dead matter decays and is turned back into soil. That’s what happened to the piles of leaves from last fall.

You might have a compost bin or pile at your house where your yard, garden, and kitchen waste are decomposed to create nutrient rich soil that can be put back into the garden.

Make Your Own Compost Cups

To study composting up close, we decided to create our own mini compost bins in cups, so we could see decomposition in action. You can make your own compost cups science project with these easy steps.

Supplies Needed

  • 16 ounce plastic cup
  • Organic items such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy), leaves, coffee grinds, bark, etc.
  • Plastic wrap
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup dirt
  • Rubber band or tape


1. Place organic material, dirt, and water in the plastic cup.

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

2. Cover the cup with plastic wrap and seal with a rubber band or tape. Give it a good shake and place it in a warm, sunny place like a window or safe spot outside where it won’t be disturbed.

Compost Cups Science Project at The Happy Housewife

3. Every couple of days add another tablespoon of water and give it a shake. Note what is happening to the organic matter.

What Happens?

The warm environment of the cup increases the activity of the microbes inside. These bacteria and fungus go to work breaking down the organic matter in the cup. The added water and oxygen from the shaking keep the process going.

Within a day or two you can see this happening. Given enough time, you’ll be able to see the organic matter turn into dark, nutrient rich compost that can be added to garden soil.

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Love Your Library!

Love Your Library! | The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Tabitha

When I first started officially homeschooling, we lived in a small town in rural Ohio. We lived four buildings down from the library. Really. I had no vehicle for the first few months, and to this day, some of the best memories of that period of our lives (besides having our 5th child) revolve around the Coolville Ohio Public Library.

Monday through Friday usually found us there, either returning books, checking out more books, attending story time, or just visiting the librarians. Those librarians became some of our best friends. My children were only 5, 3, and 1 when we moved there, and we were just starting our homeschool journey. We left when our children were 7, 5, 3 and a baby.

Before this time, we went to the library once in a while to check out a few books that our oldest was interested in. It was great. We loved it but usually forgot about it until we ran out of books again. Living four doors down from the library was a homeschool mom’s dream come true. I think if this had happened later in our homeschool journey, I never would have the library experiences with my children that we have now!


  • We learned everything that our library had to offer. We were there every day.
  • My kids felt safe. The library wasn’t very big. (It was an old, small bank building with a vault and everything.)
  • The librarians were our friends. We were probably there more often than most, if not all, of the town’s residents.
  • If they thought something could help us, they offered it. New things were coming out all the time, and they would let us know. New books, new resources, new experiences.
  • They would learn from the central library what they could do for homeschoolers, and they would share that information with us.
  • If they didn’t have a book I wanted for a particular subject or unit, they would find it, request it, or buy it.
  • We met other people in the town that we might not have otherwise found.
Love Your Library! | The Happy Housewife

Story Time at our little library in rural Ohio

How you can  love your library.

1. Learn the librarians’ names, especially in the sections you use the most. If you go at the same time and day every week, this is pretty easy. They’ll see you come over and over and want to know you, too!

2. If you need something, ask! They are there to help you, not hide stuff from you that you could use in your learning adventures. I’ve found out all sorts of neat services like being able to use special teacher cards to check out more at a time and having the librarians check out a selection of books relating to a certain topic for you to pick up. There are many others. This information might also be online, but you can find out more from your librarians.

3. Use the library. Go to story time, summer reading programs, youth programs, and classes for adults. Volunteer!

We’ve had amazing experiences in all the different libraries we’ve visited, and I truly think we never would have even tried if we hadn’t had this little library in Ohio to remember.

I hope our family’s experience with a tiny library in a community of 700 people helps inspire you to be a part of and love your library.

Oh, and if you are ever in Coolville, Ohio, drive down Main Street and visit the library!

Even the baby loved the library!  (11 years ago!)

Even the baby loved the library! (11 years ago!)

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Trees Through the Seasons Art Project

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Marci

Trees have the ability to change all throughout the year depending on the season. In the summer, we seek shade under their lush green foliage, and in the fall, we marvel at their brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red. Trees can finally show off their  bare, strong branches and tiny twigs in the winter. Then, the leaves begin to emerge again in the warming sun of spring.

This is an interesting scientific phenomena that kids can explore through art. They can make a drawing of a tree through the seasons to show their understanding of the leaf cycle.

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

Talk with your child about the seasons and the effect the seasons have on trees. Draw how trees look during each season.

Start with one season and work your way through. Chalk pastels work great to create your trees through the seasons artwork.

Trees Through the Seasons Art Project at The Happy Housewife

Use this project and these resources to put together a leaf unit study of your own.

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Reading Under the Covers: Fun Ideas to Encourage Reading

Do you have a reluctant reader? I have several in my home. Over the past thirteen years I’ve had to come up with creative ways to get these kids to read.

One “trick” I learned years ago was letting them stay up past bedtime if they were reading. When all my kids were little we had a strict eight o’clock bedtime. Sometimes we would allow them to stay up past their bedtime if they were reading quietly in their room.

Of course this lead to a few of them reading for hours (even well past midnight) but it helped my reluctant readers pick up a book, if it meant lights on for a few extra minutes.

Another idea to encourage reading, let them read by flashlight. My kids will do just about anything for a flashlight. When I came home from Target with the EVEREADY® flashlight pack they squealed with excitement.

Not only does the flashlight provide them hours of entertainment, they think reading in the dark is the one of the coolest things in the world.

If you have a reluctant reader, I highly recommend checking out Scholastic’s Reading Under the Covers site.

It is full of ideas for encouraging children to read.

One awesome idea is to have a pajama jam reading party. This is a great activity for a Friday night to celebrate a successful week at school. You can invite friends or just make it a family affair.

You don’t need a ton of prep, just a few blankets, books, snacks and flashlights.

Find a few books in your house or at your library, it’s extra fun to find books that will coordinate around a theme.

Some of our favorite books are the “If You Give a Mouse a…” books as well as the Dr. Suess books.

Make some themed snacks to go with your book selection. Since we are living out of suitcases right now and don’t have our books, I went with gummy worms since I want the kids to be “bookworms.”

Here are a few snack ideas for our favorite books.

  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: cookies (homemade or storebought)
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish: Swedish Fish
  • Green Eggs and Ham: green eggs and ham (but probably not under the covers!)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: pancakes or meatballs
  • The Snowy Day: ice cream or snow cones
  • Bread and Jam for Francis: bread and jam

A party like this will get even the most reluctant reader excited about reading.

You can find more resources on the Scholastic website including printables, recipes, ideas, and everything you need to throw your own reading under the covers party.

You can also get a FREE Scholastic book when you purchase two specially marked packages of EVEREADY® Gold batteries or EVEREADY® flashlights. Head over to the EVEREADY® site and enter the codes to redeem.

I’ve found that if you find the right books you can turn even the most reluctant reader into a happy reader.

Scholastic and EVEREADY® are teaming up to help parents shine a light on reading, even in the dark! EVEREADY®’s high quality batteries and flashlights are reliable and affordable and can be purchased at Dollar General or Target.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of EVEREADY®. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.