Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Chocolate nut spread similar to Nutella:

No Knead Sourdough Recipe:

Homemade Noodles:

Popcorn chicken:

Hard-Boiled Eggs... in the oven!  Roasted Eggs:

Carrot Zucchini Muffins (I plan on just using regular flour since I don't have coconut flour):

Chinese Green Beans:

Coconut butter and chocolate coconut butter:

Chocolate Nut Bar (almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, chocolate coconut butter)(note to myself-try 1/2 recipe):

Nut buttery popcorn:

Popcorn and peanut butter cupcakes (can swap the puffed rice for more popcorn or use up that straggling bit left over from our rice crispy treats... I'd rather swap out)(honey, peanuts and peanut butter, mainly):

Grain-free granola bars (nuts, dried fruit, nut butter, honey):

Star-Sangled Coconut Cream Tart (almond flour, coconut flour 1/4 C).  This looks like a good all-around crust for cold desserts.  I happen to have a little coconut flour I made through my homemade coconut milk experiment for youngest dd:

Dark chocolate cake (sub white sugar for rapadura or preferred sweetener and use less):

Cake Balls (I really should stop reading recipes before breakfast! These would be a GREAT special treat for someone who loves chocolate!):

Simple banana ice cream (I've done this with mango and it's excellent - basically whir up frozen fruit into an ice cream consistency):

Graham Crackers (we're trying this right now for use in another recipe):

Peach Popup Pancakes:

Gluten free breakfast cereal bars:

Carrot cake bites (raw)(note to self: 5 dates):

Make your own baking powder:

Nut-free "nutella" (note: 1 C sunflower seeds):

Tamales (I don't use canola so I'll make some adjustments to this recipe but it is a great starter recipe.  I grew up on Salvadorean - or Salvadoran - tamales but these look really good.  I will most likely put some chicken, etc in it.  I also grew up wrapping tamales in banana leaves, not corn husks so this should be interesting...):

Ham and cheese rollups on gluten free crepes/tortillas:
The crepes/tortillas:

Banana peanut butter frozen yogurt?? Hmm - sounds good.  I would substitute the peanut butter cups and adjust it a bit but it's great inspiration:

Banana Oatmeal "Donuts" (sounds great!)(note:  I try to keep some soaked/dehydrated oats on hand for recipes like this):

Banana cupcakes:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reading Assessment Resources

What's Schoolin'?

I discussed how assessing a child's different reading levels can be helpful in this post.  Today I'm posting about some resources that I've used and a new one I'm excited about using.  As I said in the other post, you really can do this!

I have 2 r-e-a-l-l-y old ones from 1989 that I have used extensively.  They are easy to administer and still useful but now there are up to date revised editions of the same listed beside them.  I have a few newer ones as well.

Basically, you give a word list to find a starting place for the administering the actual passages.  Then you do the oral passages (and mark their oral miscues) along with their corresponding comprehension questions until you reach the frustration level.  Next you administer the silent passages with their corresponding comprehension questions.  If you want to get their "potential" reading level you then administer passages in which you read aloud to them and they answer comprehension questions.  The manuals tell you specifically how to administer and score the instruments.  Most informal reading inventories will have forms A, B, and C.

One of my ancient IRIs is:
Analytical Reading Inventory (4th Ed) by M.L. Woods and A.J. Moe (1989!).  I found an updated edition here (2006) but have only used the old one.  The new one includes 2 CDs - one is instructional and the other has support materials.  There is an even newer edition here (2010).

My old one has Forms A, B, C AND Forms S (Science) and SS (Social Studies) for content area assessment.  On the other hand, the print is rather small for the early reader passages.  There is a handy reference list in the back with resources for different reading difficulties.  It has levels Primer through Grade 9.  I'm guessing that the updated ones have better print but would have to see it.

Another that I've used much more than the above:
Informal Reading Inventory by Burns and Roe (1989 also!).  I found an updated edition here (2006).  According to the book description, "Unique to this text are its K-12 scope and its abundant strategies for assessing students' vocabulary, phonics, and comprehension of text."  If you go to the Look Inside part of the link you can see that it has a book list for each level and a section on selecting books to support the reading levels.

The type is more appropriate and it has Forms A, B, C, and D.  I've probably used this one the most.  It is clear, clean, and easy to administer.  This has levels Pre-Primer through 12.  I would love to see the newer version since I used the old one so much.

A newer one that I have used and that was required by a local university for the Reading Assessment class I taught years ago:
Qualitative Reading Inventory-3 (QRI-3) by L. Leslie and J. Caldwell (2001... see? I'm slowly catching up with the modern age!).  The newer edition is the QRI-5 found here (2010).

I liked learning to use this instrument and have used this as my first choice in recent years.  I have mixed feelings about the illustrations for the younger passages because of the visual clues within the illustrations, although I'm not sure if the newest edition includes these.

It incorporates a 'retelling scoring sheet' for each passage to check off items if the child includes them in their retell.  This part may be helpful but is optional and not a part of the actual analysis for scoring.  The levels in this instrument are Pre-Primer, Primer, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Upper Middle School, and High School.

This instrument has several forms but they are all grouped together; for example, all Pre-Primer selections are together instead of all levels of Form A (like in the previous instruments).  Actually, it has 5 forms for Pre-Primer and Primer, One, Two, Three; 6 for Levels Four, Five, and Six; 6 in Upper Middle School; and 3 stories divided into 9 sections total in High School.

It's currently 30% off for the newest edition but it's still pricey at about $50 (new or used).  If I wanted this one but was cutting corners, the 3rd edition is still very helpful and there are some used copies for less than $1.

A new instrument that I investigated over the summer that looks promising is:
Comprehensive Reading Inventory: Measuring Reading Development in Regular and Special Education Classrooms by R.B. Cooter, Jr., E.S. Flynt, and K.S. Cooter (2007).  There is a 2006 version here .

It has Forms A, B, C, and D.  It uses sentences instead of word lists for initial passage selection.  There are levels Pre-Primer through 9 for Forms A and B; and levels 1-9 for Forms C and D.

"Alphabetics Assessments" are included that should be very useful for working with early readers.  It includes phonemic awareness, letter naming, phonics, and vocabulary assessments.  I think it could assist targeted instruction or provide a baseline.

A training audio DVD is included, as well as a CD with additional resources.  On the CD table of contents listed in the book there are Spanish versions for levels PP-9 (Forms A and B) and 1-9 (Form c) as well as 10-12 (Form D in the Spanish version).  Also included in the CD are levels 10-12 in English (Form E) but only one for each level.

Another plus for this instrument is an "If-Then" section in which strategies and resources are given for certain skills.  They also include a list of high frequency words to test and teach.

Here are the newer editions mentioned above:


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blueberry Pie!

[I interrupt this sequence of posts about Reading Assessment to share oldest daughter's wonderful pie recipe!]

Yesterday dd adjusted a recipe from Whatchagot Stew and used our simple pie crust recipe to come up with an award winning blueberry pie... award winning to us!  We overindulged after a scanty dinner and didn't leave a single crumb in the pie pan.  It will probably see its way into a few county fairs :).

It's healthier than store-bought simply by not having toxic additives nor trans fats, etc.  However, you can kick up the health factor a few notches by using sprouted whole wheat flour, a gluten-free flour mix, or a nut crust.  You could also use organic blueberries (ours are pesticide-free), raw organic butter, organic maple syrup, and coconut oil.

For Filling:
- 1 bag of frozen blueberries (original calls for 4 C fresh huckleberries)
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- Dash of salt
- 3/4 C rapadura or sweetener of your choice
- 2 tablespoons butter

For Crust (make two batches)(I originally got this recipe from but could never find it again to give the link):
- 1/2 C oil of your choice (usually I use sunflower or safflower)
- 1/4 C milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 C flour

For Crust:
Mix all of the ingredients in the pie pan and smoosh it up around the sides.  Make another to roll out for the top.

For Filling:
Mix everything except butter.  Pour into the pie crust.  Put dabs of butter on top.  Gently put the other crust on top, crimp the edges with a fork, and make slits.

Bake at 350F for approximately 45 minutes until edges are golden brown and the center is cooked.

I didn't think of a taking a picture until the cook was literally scraping the crumbs off the bottom of the pie pan.

This recipe is part of Kelly's Read Food Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Assessing Reading Levels

What's Schoolin'?

One of the most effective ways that I've seen to increase reading proficiency is to target a child's instructional reading level.  It's much more effective to scaffold them up than to start at the goal and push/pull them through frustration level reading when they are "behind" where you think they should be according to their age/grade.

I found Reading Workshop a la Nancy Atwell to be especially useful while teaching 4th graders.  By that point I had students ranging in reading levels from pre-1st to 6th and beyond PLUS the same variety of levels in their second language (English).  A few had never been to school before and had the whole gamut of print concepts and lots of catching up to do (they did :) ).  Others were ready to exit the Bilingual Ed program and be at the top of their regular class after transitioning (a few went straight into the gifted program).  A few others stayed at grade 1 reading level and were waiting to get special help through Special Ed but still maintained their positive image as readers throughout the school year.  How did I know all this?  I individually tested every single child for their reading levels.  In both languages.  Twice - at the beginning and end of the year.  Quite a few grew 2 grades + in their reading levels in one or both languages.

The trick to their growth?  Focused reading in their instructional reading level.  During Reading Workshop the kids were strewn all over the room, under desks, in corners, and some actually in chairs :).  I taught them how to select books at their targeted instructional level.  I went around constantly listening to them read and asking comprehension questions.  They knew to start vocalizing (reading aloud softly) whenever I approached them.  Then I would either move on or ask questions.  We had questions that were general to the class for them to respond to in their notebooks regarding the particular book they were reading.  It was glorious!  Seriously!

At other times they could read whatever they wanted (during SSR or after finishing work early), but during Reading Workshop they only read books at their individual instructional levels.  At other times they could also talk while they worked (you should have seen 'contract time' or cooperative group activities!) but during Reading Workshop it was truly silent reading with no distractions for an extended amount of time.

There are 3 basic reading levels:
- Independent
- Instructional
- Frustration

This fits within Montessori (in my humble opinion) because once you test and show the child how to select books at their instructional level they are empowered and can move forward on their own as they are ready.  You provide the prepared environment of appropriate books and they can select them by choice.  That said, I also firmly believe that books of interest, regardless of reading level, should also be available - they just serve a different purpose.

To find out the reading levels there are several Informal Reading Inventories that you can use.  I will post some resources in my next post.  And yes, YOU can do this! :)  

What's Cookin'?

Another cracker recipe (1 C yogurt; 3 C flour; 1/2 C butter and salt):

Oldest dd is in the middle of making a blueberry pie.  She's adjusting a recipe from Whatchagot Stew by P.McManus.  Basically she is mixing 4 C blueberries (or one bag of frozen blueberries) with 3/4 C rapadura, a dash of Real Salt , and 3 tablespoons of flour.  After putting that in the pie crust she is putting 1-2 tablespoons of butter pats on top.  She is topping it with another pie crust.  I'm sure it will be delicious and much better, health-wise, than a store-bought version with trans fats, etc. [Update:  It was so excellent that we pigged out and each had 2 pieces with dinner... no leftovers!]

Any small referral fees generated from affiliate links help to support our homeschool.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lego items at Amazon

What's Schoolin'?

Okay, it's not *exactly* for school materials but many, many children love Legos.  Here is the search page for Lego products where you can see the product and price at a glance.  All of the ones I looked at were eligible for free shipping but you would need to check the specific product you like.  Some are on sale - I saw a Green Building Plate (10" x 10") that was 27% off and a Super Heroes Batcave for 16% off.  This Space Moon Buggy is 33% off.

Lego items available at Amazon.

[Disclaimer: I obviously have not tried all of these products! These are posted as possible items of interest.] 

What's Cookin'? 

Fried cheese 'chips':

Mangoes are still on sale for $0.25 each!  Cantaloupe are on sale for $0.75.  Both of these freeze really, really well!  I also noticed that the Sprouts butter with NO genetically modified human growth hormone is only a few more cents per pound than the regular Wal-Mart butter I've been getting since we moved.  I got several pounds a few weeks ago but hope to get more next time.  Certainly not as good as organic nor as delicious as the Amish butter but much more affordable!

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Free Hands-On Equations App~Snack/Lunch "Prep Tasks"

What's Schoolin'?

I just got this in my inbox.  We've used Hands-On Equations and I'll use it with youngest dd (soon?) before reselling it.  IF I had an iPad I would try this, but I don't (shrug).  For those of you who do... here is a freebie (that I haven't tried so I can't 'recommend' it but it looks good):

There is also a raffle.

BTW, I'm also one of 2 people in the world (I think the other person is in Tibet somewhere...) that does *not* have facebook :).

What's Cookin'?

 I've got to get my kitchen duties/routine/workload under control.  I have such limited energy and it is all, literally, spent in the kitchen right now with very little left for anything else (I'm really needing to supplement our income and I can't even imagine doing it right now - that's where this started).  I had a menu going last week that worked out great for dinners, but that's not the only thing we eat around here.  I've sort of lost my helpers since we got the goat and the horse; plus, morning routines of chore before breakfast are shot because they scarf down something small and head out to the animals.  M-u-c-h later they come in very overheated and tired from the heat. [We need to get those routines under better management for schooling but that will be easier once it's cooler than, say, 112F, when the bulk of their time outside needs to be early.]

My sweet kids always come through when we try to solve things together.  Right now:  they'll help with menus more, but, more importantly at this stage, we'll make lists of snacks, lunches, etc along with an ongoing prep tasks list so that they can do things on the list as they are able instead of waiting for me to tell them to do something when I just can't do it.  We'll post a list on the fridge by the chore rotation chart and anyone can do any of them at any time.  The last few years the kitchen duty person for that day would just help me out with whatever in the kitchen.  Things are more complicated now and I don't want it all to fall on youngest dd's shoulders (thus on mine because I tend to try to lighten her load a bit compared to the others' so chores aren't so overwhelming for her).

What are prep tasks???  Well... these are usually small time stealers (plus thought stealers 'cuz you have to plan ahead and coordinate the equivalent of a rocket launching to get snacks and meals coordinated with life!).  Here are some examples of what I prepped last night. [I had a nice energy spurt and clear thinking thanks to my methyl medicine and adrenal meds that I started yesterday after months of missing them.]:

~ 2 loaves of sourdough bread are soaking
~ 1 batch of sourdough 'rolls' (same as the bread but I added garlic powder and basil - I'll shape into rolls before baking)
~ 1 batch of sourdough muffins
~ 2 batches of oatmeal/buttermilk muffins.

These don't take a lot of time to prep but it needs to be done in order to bake them the next day.  Some other prep tasks:

~ Soak peanuts, almonds (and then actually put them on the dehydrator... and plug it in!)
~ Make peanut butter
~ Soak/make tortillas
~ Process fruit
~ Shred zucchini for the freezer (for zuke bread in the winter)
~ Soak beans (and actually turn them on the next day after rinsing!)

This is the list that dc came up with that will help us have snacks and lunch items on hand without me being in the kitchen constantly (these are all homemade that need to be prepped ahead for easy meal prep)(more will depend on that week's snack/lunch/dinner menu).  I will post them for dc with their components (like soak tortilla dough; cook tortillas instead of just "tortillas").

Cream Cheese
Hard-boiled Eggs
Pre-cooked Beef and chicken
Mayonnaise (if good eggs)
Power Bars
Corn bread (in the freezer)
Rice (soaked and pre-cooked)
Peanut Butter
Almond Milk (soak almonds overnight)

These are some ideas of what they want for snacks and lunches (often the same idea can go for both or part of both so you'll see some duplicates plus some are basically the same but it's their list in their words).

Cottage cheese with fruit
Power Bars
Cupcakes (wait, how did that get in there???)
Pie (what?  Okay, oldest dd keeps sneaking those in!)
Bean and Cheese melts (on tortillas)
Crackers with cream cheese or by themselves
Chips with bean dip
Cream Cheese on toast or crackers
Pumpkin Squares
Banana Balls (?)
Rice Pudding
Bread and butter and/or homemade cream cheese
Milk Shake
Hummus on pita
Fried egg on toast
Strawberry yogurt fruit dip with apple slices and grapes
Popsicles (homemade)
Ice cream (homemade mango sorbet)
Breads such as zucchini, banana, pumpkin
Special snacks
Chicken spread on crackers

Mac and Cheese
Oatmeal (they don't even like that - not sure why this is here!)
Peanut Butter sandwiches
Bean and Cheese Melts/burritos
Hummus on pita with fruit
Tuna Salad on crackers with fruit or as sandwiches
Tuna melts (or salmon)
Chicken nuggets (homemade)
Popcorn chicken
Corn dog muffins
Sloppy Joe muffins
Salad bar with cheese toast (cooked chicken and craisins)
"Beenie Weenies"
Pizza pockets
Baked potatoes
Cheese quesadillas
Bean dip with chips and fruit
Chicken Sandwich spread
Soups (chicken noodle, potato, tortilla, alphabet)
Scrambled eggs
Meat patties
Spanish rice with leftover meat
Buffalo wings

I want to give credit to Heavenly Homemakers for her great lunch idea list.  We went over it during out 'conference' and you'll see many on our list.

Kelly has some lunch and snack ideas here:

Here are some great photos from Alyss' lunch photo stream:

I googled real food lunches and found a ton of ideas.

This topic is ever-evolving in our home and I'm sure we'll add to the list!  Dinner is sort of okay (I usually make a list of meals and check them off as we eat them (not necessarily in order) and sometimes I'll plug them into my meal planner sheet that I like (that has room for snacks/lunch also).  Focusing on snacks and lunch prep will really help out and bring more peace to our home.

I hope this gives some of you some ideas and help for your kitchen woes!  At least you can see you are not alone in struggling with snacks and lunches - especially if you have adrenal fatigue and health issues like I do. Yes, it can be done!

An Aside:
Oldest dd just walked by and saw me eating my chef salad with nuts, cranberries, and chicken for lunch.  "Mmm.  Is that for dinner?  If not, can I have that right now?"  Sure... I can eat this twice :). [Update:  I put bowls out for the following and the rule was that they had to get something from each bowl the first time and seconds could be whatever:  cheese cubes; chicken/lightly cooked onion and pepper; raw pepper; raw onion/raw shredded zucchini; tomato; lettuce; cranberries.  I put things like raw onion and the zuke in the same bowl knowing that they wouldn't want raw onion and would get some raw zuke.]

This kitchen post is part of Kelly's Kitchen Goals for August:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Watermelon Popsicles

What's Cookin'?

Halt! Don't throw away that 'past its prime' watermelon!  Use it to make watermelon popsicles - why, you can even use a fresh watermelon :).  This is what we did and it turned out fantastic.  Even dh liked it and wanted one of his own.


rapadura (optional)


1. Cube and seed watermelon and fill up the food processor bowl with the chunks (our cubes/chunks were about 1 in).

2. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of rapaduraor another unprocessed sweetener of your choice.  We didn't pick honey because, as youngest dd noted, it would just be a mix of flavors and wouldn't just sweeten it.

3. Whirl it until almost smooth.  Some texture is good.

4. Pour into your popsicle molds.  We used these by Tovolo and they are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.  My dream pops would be made in these stainless steel molds .


Dh had gotten a huge watermelon at the grocery store.  I used half of it for these pops but after we cubed and seeded it we only used 1/2 of that for our first batch.  The cubed watermelon stayed fine in the refrigerator for a day or two until we ate the first batch and were ready for more.  When I made the second batch there was just a little left so I poured it into paper cups with spoons for extras.

I had tried making 'fresco de sandia' for them years ago and dc didn't like it, but for some reason, the exact same thing frozen is delicious, lol.


This recipe is posted on Kelly's Read Food Wednesday, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, and Fat Tuesdays:

What's Schoolin'?

We finished up the 1970s yesterday and had some fun with it (the day before had been the serious lesson!).  We watched Happy Days on youtube, decorated pet rocks, practiced typing, listened to disco music I checked out from the library, and watched Peanuts (also from the library).

Great fun!

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Montessori Binomial and Trinomial Videos ~ Gottatries

What's Schoolin'?

These videos by Margaret Humfray  are SO amazing.  She trained directly with Maria Montessori.

Binomial Cube:

Trinomial Cube:

There are more here (for youngers):

What's Cookin'?

I love mangoes.  I grew up with mangoes.  The perfect mango is "sazon" - the perfect timing between too green and stringy ripe - still firm with no strings but starting to sweeten.  Mmmmm.  During every pregnancy, however, I HAVE to have green mangoes with salt.  Better yet:  green mangoes with salt and lemon juice.  If mangoes are out of season and too expensive then I have to have jicama with salt and lemon juice.  When I'm pregnant that helps with nausea and keeps me happy :).  The last time I went to E.S. to visit family was during my first pregnancy and I brought some fresh green mango with salt on the plane for the ride back.  After landing, as I got closer and closer to customs, I started eating it faster and faster and finally had to throw out the last little bit before reaching the customs person (sigh).

However, I haven't been pregnant in over 10 years so mainly I get them "sazon" (or a tiny bit on the green side to sprinkle salt on when I need something fruity and salty OR a tiny bit on the ripe side to freeze for smoothies.  Basically, any mango is a good mango!).  All this to say that mangoes are on sale at our local Wal-Mart right now for only $0.35 each!  For roughly only $3 I got 9 mangoes to freeze!  However, we ate most of them and only a few are left ;).  Hopefully they will still be on sale on Wed (payday).

[Update:  Now they are on sale for 25 cents!!!  For $5 I got 20 mangoes.  Some got a little overripe in the car on the way home (yes, it has hit 115F!) but will be fine for smoothies.  We ate some before I could process them and I left a few sazon ones for snacking.  I ended up packaging 8 bags this time, each of which would cost me $3 in the frozen food section.  Considering that only a bit over 1/2 made it to the freezer, that's pretty good savings!]


Here are some recipes from the Grain Mill Wagon blog that I would like to try.  My dream is to have a grain mill, buy the berries, soak, dehydrate, and then use freshly ground flour for breads and baking.

**Vegetable Pakoras.  These look great and use shredded potato, onion, zucchini, sweet potato, and carrots.  It uses 1 C chickpea flour.  I can soak, dehydrate, and grind some to stay with the authenticity of the recipe... or just use flour.

Carrot Oat Coconut Muffins:

Yeast-free almond biscotti:

Sour dough orange rolls:

Oatmeal raisin peanut butter cookies (it uses black bean flour for one of the ingredients but I have almond meal that I can use to substitute):

Whole Wheat Bagels!

Honey nut oat muffins (gluten free)(uses oat flour so I would need to soak, dehydrate, grind some):

Pita (I've made these a few times with other recipes but I'm always open to new ones):

Another pita:

Good-for-you cookies (try 1/2 batch)(I would only use 1/2 of the sugar in the recipe and no white):

Shrimp and cheesy grits (shrimp and grits, who woulda thought??):

Chess Pie/cornmeal pie (I would use 1/2 the amount required in corn syrup and substitute honey for it):

Whole wheat hotdog buns:

Falafel and falafel chips:

Maple oatmeal bread:

Wheat tortillas (I like the recipe I'm using but may want to try a new one):

Whole wheat buttermilk cheddar biscuits:

Chicken gyros on whole wheat pitas:

**Sweet and salty shortcakes

Corn tortillas:

English Muffins:

Another recipe for whole wheat bread and buns:

Corn muffin pancakes:

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Shortcakes:

4-H Resources

My youngest is dog crazy and my olders are horse crazy.  We just finished a state invitational livestock judging contest for the olders and they really do want to continue with that as well.  You would think that they would prefer the horse judging since they have been working horse camps for about 5 years but horse judging is really, really intense - at least the groups we have seen are!  Our family does not thrive on that level of intensity.  Horse Quiz Bowl is a definite option and one dd may jump into that next year also.  Our main problem with these team contests is the practice schedule (frequency and time of day since I can't drive after dusk and still deal with adrenal fatigue, etc).

Going back to livestock judging... I was hoping to find some 4-H resources on Amazon but there wasn't very much there; although some out-of-print materials looked like they would've been helpful.  These are a few resources that I found (not 4-H materials, though):

The only other option I've found so far is the curricula from the 4-H site.  We will have to buy separate materials for each animal (sigh) and although each is only $3.95 it'll add up with multiple publications for meat goat, dairy goat, swine, lamb, cattle - livestock judging gets a little complicated.  They are feverishly fundraising for state activities, their animal projects for next year, and incidental 4-H expenses like these manuals, fees, etc.

While looking for livestock judging I found this dog resource about dog competitions.  Youngest hopes to put her new puppy into the 4-H dog shows next year.

That's a Good Dog

 This is a much better match, though, since it is an official 4-H Guide. How can science, animal behavior, personal responsibility, and even home ec (making homemade dog training treats and treats) be more personalized and motivating than training your dog for competition? This is another way that "following the child" looks in real life :).