Our Family

Our Family

Friday, September 30, 2011

Homeschool Art Class Week 4

This week in our Art class, we had a fun project.  They made swords, shields, and other accessories (belts and arm guards) out of a thick white cardboard.  Then they could decorate them however they wanted using pencils, markers, or paints.  The children loved this!  Even Chelsea created a shield.  The children also had the option to draw or paint another picture, but the boys used up all of their time on their "knight costumes." Chelsea did start another drawing but didn't finish it.

Notice the picture above of Alex.  He decided he wanted to use an Exacto knife instead of cutting with scissors.  My sweet Alex is not always as careful as he should be and can be easily distracted.  Needless to say a couple of minutes after I took this picture he had cut two of his fingers.  I thought at first he was going to need a stitch, but the cut thankfully was not as deep as I first thought.  Some pressure, Neosporin, and some Bandaids did the trick and after resting for a few minutes Alex was ready to finish making his sword, using scissors this time.  Next week our class is cancelled because the teacher has a meeting in the morning and the choices were to cancel or attend her afternoon session.  Afternoons are too hard with two sleepy little girls so we are taking the day off.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Biggest Challenge in My Homeschool Right Now

Don't let that beautiful smile fool you!  Miss Emelia Rose is full of trouble these days!  At almost seven months old she is not only sitting up and crawling, she is also pulling herself up on everything she can get her hands on.  Her new skills have forced me to change the way we through our day especially since Emelia and Lily (2) do not nap at the same time.

Even a week ago we could put Emelia on the floor with a few toys and she would be content to sit and play beside us for a long time.  Now that is only working for a very short period of time.  We are still starting our morning work together (with all of us in there we can keep her out of trouble.)  After we finish reading, I have to confine her to the exersaucer or hold her to do our morning projects.  Then we move to the family room and I sit on the floor with her while Alex does Reading Kingdom followed by Nick doing Visual Latin.  When we switch to one on one afternoon work, Chelsea has been doing her work upstairs while putting Lily down for her nap (Lily goes to sleep great by herself at night but during the day she likes someone to sit with her.)  Then while I am working with Nick, Alex plays with Emelia.  Then while I am working with Anthony and Alex Nick plays with Emelia.  Someone has to sit with her so she doesn't  fall over and get hurt.  I am very thankful for our play mats these days!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Timberdoodle Review: WonderMaps

I really feel so blessed to be able to review so many great products.  Sometimes it is an extra special blessing when a review item comes along that compliments my curriculum so perfectly.  That is what happened with WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press.  I started using Mystery of History Vol 1 with my 10 th, 4th, 2nd, and Kindergarten this year.  Mapping is a big part of this curriculum and although the maps are available to copy (within your family) at the back of the book, I no longer have a copier, just a printer.  WonderMaps came to me at just the perfect time!

Pick your features! Print your maps!  It really is that easy with WonderMaps!  Whether you are teaching history, literature, Bible, science, or art, maps play a big part of understanding the topic at hand.  WonderMaps is a customizable collection of over 350 maps.  It includes:
  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II
WonderMaps is designed with easy to use layers that allow you to customize your map with a click of the mouse.  You can select:

  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps
  • features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules
Here are some pictures of maps of Arkansas I printed out for the children today, changing the features by a click of the mouse.

black and white with states, cities, and rivers

black and white, no states, city locations but no names of cities

color, state and city names and locations
Those are just a few of the variety of customizable features available for each and every map!

As I mentioned, we are using MOH Vol 1 and WonderMaps has all of the MOH maps and keys included in it's collection which is wonderful!  But, I am also using WonderMaps not just to teach the mapping portion, but during my reading of the lessons.  We sit down with the laptop and when we are reading about the early Egyptians and upper and lower Egypt, I pull up a map of Egypt and show them exactly where and what we are talking about.  In the words of my 9 year old, "Boy, WonderMaps really comes in handy!"  Yes it does!  I think showing them on a map where we are talking about makes it more concrete in their minds and much easier to understand and remember.  WonderMaps has been a wonderful addition to our homeschool!  It is one of those things that I didn't really know I needed but now can't imagine doing without!

I received a complimentary download version of WonderMaps as part of the Timberdoodle Blogger View Team for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

*this post contains affiliate links

Menu Plan Monday

We are in the middle of our busiest time of year....soccer season.  With soccer games 3 times a week, it is necessary to have a good menu plan to avoid the dreaded and expensive drive thru food.  I have been preparing supper early on soccer days and taking a plate to the fields with us so Art can eat before 9:00 pm.  Here's what on this week's menu:

Friday 9/23- homemade pizza (of course)
Saturday 9/24-carolina pork chops, glazed carrots
Sunday- 9/25 BBQ chicken salad, garlic bread
Monday- 9/26 French Dip Sandwiches, corn on the cob
Tuesday 9/27- Bacon Cobb Pitas, chips, grapes
Wednesday 9/28-Country Fried Steak Bits, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday 9/29-Grilled Sausage Hoagies, roasted potatoes

This yummy menu plan (except for the homemade pizza) is from a product I am reviewing called Emealz.  Look for my complete review on Oct. 14th.

See some great menu plans at www.orgjunkie.com.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Birthday Bash!

It's time to celebrate TOS's tenth birthday,
and we have birthday gifts and exciting news for YOU!

As of January 2012 TOS Magazine will transition into a monthly interactive digital format!  The only print edition will be a 300 page yearly edition.  The fall issue will be the last quarterly paper and ink issue.  TOS will continue to offer encouragement, educational tools, access to great products, and high quality articles arriving in your inbox 12 times a year!

  • Enjoy The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine on your desktop computer, or curl up on the couch with your laptop.
  • Read on the go with electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and E-Readers. And of course, TOS will have an App for that in the fall of 2011!
  • Share special articles with friends with the click of a button.
  • Print articles in a printer-friendly version when you need a hard copy.
  • View videos, 360-degree panoramic views, slide-shows, and more!

To celebrate, TOS is offering to new and current subscribers during the first 60 days of their announcement (until Nov 22, 2011) a wide variety of Birthday Bash gifts including over $500 worth of programs, and a free print copy of their brand new2012/2013 print annual edition!  What are you waiting for?  Click on the banner above to subscribe and see all of your free Birthday Bash gifts!

Book Review: There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

Book Description

Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.
She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will’s travel journal. It’s the place he felt closest to God, and she’s hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.
Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.
Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?
Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she’s been looking for has been with her all along?

I wanted to review this book because I read Save the Date by this author and it was one of my most favorite books that I reviewed this year.  There You'll Find Me focuses on Save the Date's main character Alex Sinclair's younger sister Finley and comes after Save the Date, although you are given enough background and information that it would be great as a stand alone read.  The book definitely lived up to my expectations.  Although There You'll Find Me falls under the teen fiction genre, it is a book that can definitely be enjoyed by adults as well.  I could identify with Finley's character and  experiences even though she is 18 and I am....well not 18.  I love the way  Jenny B. Jones creates a story that is meaningful and important and at the same time full of humor that makes me laugh at loud while reading.  The characters she creates are so real and the descriptions so vivid you really feel as though you are part of the story.  The story does have some teen romance/dating with hand holding and kissing that parents might want to know about before handing it to your teen.  I would definitely recommend There You'll Be for ages 16 and up.

I received a complimentary e book copy of There You'll Find Me from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homeschool Art Class Week 3

This week the children had the opportunity to paint their houses that they built last week.  You never can go wrong with kids and paint!  She also had some supplies for them to construct a trojan horse.  They used a soda bottle, toilet paper rolls, tape, and streamers.  Nick made the horse, but when Alex saw the supplies, he thought it would make a great rocket ship.  So, the instructor encouraged him to construct a rocket ship instead and helped him draw and cut out a door for an astronaut to get in.  Anthony saw Alex's ship and he just had to have one too, so she helped him put one together.  The boys were thrilled!  Chelsea worked on drawing and painting a horse.  Christian and Lily were thrilled that the instructor brought a whole basket of stuffed animals that they could play with during the class.  Everyone had a great time and the weather was so beautiful we went to the park and ate a picnic lunch with 2 other homeschool families that came to the class.

Having Fun With Mystery of History

This year we (10th, 4th, 2nd, K) are using Mystery of History Vol 1Creation to the Resurrection.  We are loving this curriculum!  It is especially nice to be able to do history with all of the children at the same time.  Chelsea of course being in the 10th grade has to do more of the activities to make it a  High School level.  Anthony being in K may not remember everything we are doing, but he will go through the course again  in a few years.  Since we do history 2 days a week, we are doing all 3 weekly readings and one activity on Mondays, and the timeline figures, mapping exercises, and memory cards on Wednesday, and so far that has been working out well. 

This week we learned about The Sumerians, The Tower of Babel, and The Epic of Gilgamesh.  For our activity we made our own cuneiform tablets using clay, a rolling pin, and a butter knife.  In the book, it asks how hard it would be to erase your mistakes if you wrote your schoolwork on a clay tablet.  So Anthony decided to try to erase his writings.  He took the flat side of his butter knife and scraped it across his clay and it took away all of his writings.

Here is a picture of the timeline board we created.  I used a tri fold science project board and colored strips of paper.  We are using Amy Pak's timeline figures from www.homeschoolinthewoods.com.  Making the timeline has really helped the boys understand  B.C. time.  It was very confusing to them at first why 4500 B.C. came before 3500 B.C. not after, but putting it on the timeline has made a big difference and it is their favorite part of history.

A closer shot of the timeline figures

In addition to the readings, timeline, mapping, and memory cards, Chelsea also does one activity from each section.  For example, one of the activities for older students this week was: investigate who Nimrod was in the Bible.  Find out what his name meant and what his association was with the Tower of Babel.  Write 2 paragraphs on this topic and file it in your notebook.

Friday, September 23, 2011

TOS Review: Aletheia Writing Magazine

Aletheia Logo - Blue Border

Have a teen who is talented in the art of photography, poetry, drawing, short stories, or writing book reviews?  Or maybe you have a teen who likes to read or look at other teens work and you are looking for a magazine for them that you know will contain only Christian content.  Aletheia Writing Magazine is just what you are searching for.

Aletheia Writing Magazine is a quarterly publication that is full of original literary or artistic works from  Christian teens ages 13-19 all across the country.  The Greek word Aletheia means "truth or unveiling." The magazine provides Christian teens with a platform in which they are able to express themselves. Their mission is to, " provide readers with quality fiction stories, along with poems, that uniquely unveil or glimpse Christian truths in mysterious, beautiful, or wondrous ways, and to allow young writers, artists and photographers to fulfill this provision through submissions." Each issue also offers a variety of unique features in addition to literary and artistic expressions of Christian teens such as: a Writer's challenge, the Featured Contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the beauty of nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview or other feature for enjoyment.

To see a sample of the magazine click HERE (go, have a look!)

 For the FAQ page that talks about what kind of submissions they are looking for and how to submit click here.

A US Subscription is $26 per year for four,  forty page color issues (price includes shipping and handling.)  Canadian Subscription is $29 per year.  To subscribe click here.

What a wonderful concept this magazine is!  It is about time someone came up with a platform where Christian teens writing or artistic abilities are not only taken seriously, but published alongside their peers.  The photos, poetry, drawings, and short stories in the two magazines I got to view absolutely blew me away!  I cannot believe how talented the teens in the magazine are and cannot imagine how much better they can become as their  talent and abilities grow.  I started making a list of some of my favorites in the magazine and ran out of room!  I will say that my two favorites that stood out the most was a poem entitled, "A Lost Friend" (age 13) and the story and artwork of "It Is Well" (writer and artist were both 16.)

Here is an example of artwork that is featured on their web page:

Heather Greenwood age 17
I did want to mention that because the age range is 13-19, the maturity level may also vary.  I did not see anything in either of the magazines that I viewed that would not be appropriate for my 14 year old.

If you have a teen interested in writing, art, or photography, or just want to encourage your teen by surrounding them with a magazine filled with submissions from Christian teens, I strongly recommend you check out Aletheia Writing Magazine!

To see what other crew mates had to say click here.

I received a complimentary print magazine and access to a complimentary digital copy of Aletheia Writing Magazine for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Visit to the Dentist

The children's pediatric dentist is an hour and 20 minute drive, but they are so good I would drive double the distance to take the children to them.  I start taking my children to see the dentist at the age of 3, so 5 of them had appointments today.  They schedule them all at once so they all are in the room together and it only takes about 45 minutes.  Parents are not allowed in the room with them except on the first visit (which would bother me if they weren't all together) so I get to hang out in the waiting room with the two little ones and all the toys.  It was a great visit, but Christian did have a small cavity so I have to make the drive again in 10 days to get that taken care of.

Usually, I take the children to McDonald's with a play place after the dentist, but since they worked so hard at the fair this year and did so great at the dentist, we decided to go play for a little while at Chuck E Cheese.  How can you go wrong with Chuck E Cheese?  Everything only costs one token and there are even games Chelsea likes to play.  I used an online coupon to get 80 tokens for $15.  We spent an hour playing and each of the children got a little prize before we left with their tickets.  One thing I loved to see was the children playing the games together.  It was so sweet when Lily ran out of money Christian asked her to come play some games with him.  They even put all their tickets together and divide it up evenly so everyone gets a prize (except for Chelsea who donates hers to the other children.)

After Chuck E Cheese we had to do some shopping.  It started pouring while we were in Walmart.  I was very glad to see the rain, but the timing for me was not the best.  I am thankful that the older children are old enough now to help out with the little ones.  We got home at 5:00 and get to leave again at 6:15 for soccer tonight.  No school for us today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And The Winner Is......

Barb K!  You have won the Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies giveaway!  I am sending you an email to get your shipping information.  Thanks so much to all who entered!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review: Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart." An internationally famous photographer, Tucker has traveled the world and seen both the serious and the strange. But when his brother escapes from a mental hospital and an old girlfriend appears with her son and a black eye, he is forced to return home and face the agony of his own tragic past. Back in rural Alabama, Tucker comes to terms with the ghosts he left behind. Miss Ella Rain once loved Tuck and his brother like they were her very own. Hiring her to take care of Waverly Hall and to keep them out of sight was the only good thing their father ever did. And though Miss Ella has been gone for many years, Tuck can still hear her voice. And she keeps telling him, encouraging him, that by reaching out to this young boy he can redeem his father's tarnished legacy and pass on the good she brought into his life.

Wrapped in Rain is a story with very complex characters.  The author shows insight into the characters by moving the story back and forth from past to present.  By showing us the  past so clearly, we know what created the situations that Mutt, Tucker, Katie, and even Rex are facing in the present.  The transition is very defined so you know when you are in time.  The title suits the story perfectly.  Everyone should be so lucky to have an Ella Rain in their lives.  Even though Wrapped in Rain is not a light and easy read, it tells a very powerful story of love, forgiveness, and second chances. It shows good and evil at work in the real world and like I always tell my children, in the end good will always win.  Evil only comes out on top if we allow it.  Keep a box of tissues close by, because you are going to need them.  This story will touch your heart and leave a lasting impression on your life.  

I received a complimentary e book copy of Wrapped in Rain from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.

2011 Premium Auction

Every year on the last day of the fair they hold a premium auction.  Local businesses and farms come out to support the youth in the county who are raising livestock by donating money to them.  The children bring the animals into the show ring and they "bid" on the animal.  Then after the animal is "sold" other people and businesses can add money on.  Some companies donate a flat amount to every exhibitor and that is added on also.  The children get to keep their animals and they get some money to help pay their expenses to raise their animals.   It is wonderful that we live in a community that is so supportive of 4 H and those that are raising animals.  Every little bit of money helps out and the money the children made this year will cover buying new chickens next year and feed for the year.  Alex and Chelsea keep talking about wanting to raise a bigger animal next year like a goat or a pig, but we will have to see about that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Warehouse Wipeout!

TOS is having a great special right now!  For only $25 you will receive:

  • 7 back issues of TOS magazine ($69.30 value)
  • homeschooling with heart tote bag ($24.95 value)
  • surprise bonus gift
  • free shipping ($10.50 value ) U.S. only
You also have the possibility of earning up to four more free gifts by telling your friends and family about this great deal by blogging, tweeting, posting on facebook, or emailing. These would make great gifts for birthday or Christmas!  Sale ends September 20th. Click on the image above to find out more about this great deal and to order yours today!

Homeschool Art Class Week 2

Today was the 2nd week of our homeschool Art Class.  The children had a good time.  The instructor is trying very hard to prepare activities that will appeal to a the wide age range that we have.  She even had some stuff out for our littlest ones who are not even really taking the class just hanging out waiting for their older siblings. They really enjoyed the little table with the play dough and the table that was set up just with paper and crayons so they could draw if they wanted to.  There were different stations set up for the older children too.  Easels were set up so they could do a drawing, play dough so they could sculpt, paper plates so they could design masks, and they also made houses out of Popsicle sticks that they will paint next week.  She had some paper with chalk pastels for the children to draw a Roman Town.  Alex went over and started drawing his town complete with telephone poles and a satellite dish.  She told him they didn't have those things in Ancient Rome he must be making a modern Roman Town.  I explained to her that we haven't covered that time period in history yet and he had no idea what she wanted.  He was pretty proud of his town anyway.  Chelsea was only there for a short time because she was out at the fair doing an educational program for the elementary school and only had time to do a drawing which I did not get a picture of before it got put away.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Timberdoodle Review: Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young

Paperback 253 pg. retail $15

I have just had the pleasure of reading the book Raising Real Men Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys by Hal and Melanie Young.  If you are raising boys this is an absolute must read!  Written by parents of 6 boys (and 2 girls) who have "been there, done that," Raising Real Men will be a blessing to all those who read it.  Although it is written from a homeschooling perspective, it is full of ideas and wisdom that would bless a family who has chosen to send their boys to school outside the home also.

This book is not a checklist of what to do to raise godly men.  Instead, it is a book written about a family's experience of what does and does not work in the area of raising boys to be godly men.  God created men and women differently.  They do not think and act the same ways.  It can be challenging for us as mothers to be able to understand how and why are sons do the things they do.  It can also be difficult for the sons to understand why we want them to do certain things.  This book does not promise that if you do things this way, parenting boys is going to be easier, but it does present a biblical perspective on how boys think, and why that is, and what can and should be done about it.  Topics like:  Is competition wrong? What does the Bible say about leadership?What about boys and weapons? Why are boys such thrill seekers? are addressed in the book and are backed up with scripture (references are listed so you can look them up and see what the Word has to say for yourself.)  Raising Real Men  will help you to appreciate your boys being the way God created them to be while at the same time spurring them on to holiness and godliness.  It will help you understand how God designed your boys and to look past the dirt and 3 day old dirty shirt and see the man he is trying to become.

The first part of the book takes a look at some of the masculine characteristics such as: aggression, competitiveness, and a sense of adventure present in all of our boys (all the things that may drive us crazy!) When these virtues are properly understood, disciplined, cultivated and practiced they ripen into the manly virtues of an adult male.  The second half of the book focuses on the things that we want them to do that will drive them crazy like: worship, wash, use manners,be prepared to head a household , etc..unless we help them to see the purposes, principals, and goals involved.

 To see a sample chapter click here.

My 4 yo doing the monkey bars all by himself!

My 7 yo on the swing

My 6 yo carving wood

My 9 yo being silly on the swing

I cannot tell you as a mom raising 4 boys how much insight I gained into my little men and how they think and how I have already started applying what I have learned into my everyday parenting.  This book has already blessed me so much!  We as moms are nurturers by design and don't want our babies to get hurt, but we have to learn to let go and let them have some healthy adventures and competitions to help them grow up to be strong and independent men (sigh...it starts so early too!)After reading this book, you will gain new perspective, patience, and joy in your little men and a better understanding on how to use their manly traits to raise them to be the godly men God created them to be.

For a free Timberdoodle Catalog click here.

To see some other great books on biblical parenting click here.

 Interested in reading other reviews on Raising Real Men click here.

I received a complimentary Copy of  Raising Real Men as part of the Timberdoodle Blogger Review team for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.