Our Family

Our Family

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari

We went on a fun field trip yesterday.  I call it a field trip because it was fun and educational but it was only the children, me, and my mom and dad.  Not far from where my parents live is a place called Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari.  It is a 400 acre safari with a 4 mile drive through safari, petting zoo, and walk through interaction with animals.  The cost is $10 for adults and $8 for children 3-12.  They have over 85 animals including: exotic mammals, cats, canines, deer & antelope, birds, primates, rodents, reptiles, and farm animals.  We got there at 9:30 am and were finished by 12:30, although if the children were not hungry and tired we definitely could've stayed longer and toured the petting areas again.  The petting areas were their favorite part.  It's not every day you get to pet a baby kangaroo!  The staff was very friendly and answered all of the children's questions.  We packed a picnic lunch and there are picnic areas to eat in, but we decided to eat on the way home since Lily (3) and Emelia (1) were exhausted.   

4 H Dairy and Egg Cooking Contest

Monday was the 4 H Egg and Dairy Cooking Contest and boy were we busy cooking.  You can enter up to two dishes in two different categories including: Egg Main Dish, Egg Party Idea, Dairy Main Dish and Dairy Party Idea.  I now have 5 children who are old enough to enter the contest.  Chelsea (15) made Fettucini Alfredo and won 3rd place.  Nick made Cheesy Lasagna and got 2nd place and Cheese Quesadillas and got a participation ribbon.  Alex made Chocolate Ice Cream Pie and got 2nd place and Egg Casserole and got 1st place.  Anthony made an Extra Cheesy Pizza and got 1st place.  Christian made Banana Split Pie and got 1st place.  The only schoolwork we got done that day was bible and history.  The rest of the day we were busy in the kitchen.  I did not get any pictures of Chelsea.  She did not make hers until right before it was time to leave and I was busy feeding children and packing up to go and forgot to get her picture.

Favorite Recipes: Banana Split Pie

I really meant to get this posted a few days ago, but I have been very busy and more than a little sleep deprived.  This is the recipe that Christian (5) used for his first 4 H Dairy Cooking contest and won a blue ribbon.  He was able to make the whole thing by himself except that I had to cut the strawberries.

2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
2 cups of milk
graham cracker crust
sliced strawberries and bananas


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
sliced strawberries

Whisk together pudding and milk for 2 minutes.  Place half the pudding in the pie crust.  Do a layer of alternating bananas and strawberries.  Cover with remaining pudding.  Whip heavy cream and sugar together until forms stiff peaks.  Place whipped cream on pie.  Garnish with sliced strawberries.  Chill and serve.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 4/23/12

Friday night I was very thankful for frozen pizzas after being gone all day and getting home at 4:30 with a van full of groceries that had to be brought in (in the pouring down rain) and put away.  Here is this week's menu:

Friday 4/20-pizza
Sat 4/21- roast beef and swiss subs with sauteed mushrooms, corn on the cob, strawberries
Sun 4/22- roasted chicken, noodles, stir fry veggies
Mon 4/23- pancakes (we are cooking a ton of food for the 4 H cooking contest)
Tues 4/24- spaghetti
Wed, Thurs- hubby is eating take out as the children and I will not be home

To see some great menu ideas visit www.orgjunkie.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

TOS Review: Amazing Science Vol 1 DVD

I got to be the coolest homeschool mom ever several times over the last couple of weeks!  We have had an opportunity to review Amazing Science from ScienceandMath.com.  My children have had a wonderful time trying out the experiments and are so excited every time we get to try a new one.  Let me tell you a little about the Amazing Science Vol 1 DVD.

From the website, " Here at ScienceAndMath.com, we believe that Math is a tool to explore our world.  We also believe that all people, young or old, are fascinated by Science.  Our aim is to bring you the very best Science and Math videos to tickle your curiosity and entice you to want to learn more about the world around you!" 

 Amazing Science Vol 1  is two DVD's with 23 hands on experiments.  You will learn the fundamental principles of Science including: electricity, magnetism, heat, temperature, pressure, surface tension, buoyancy, and much more.  Each experiment is described and demonstrated step by step on screen using multiple camera views.  A list of supplies is shown at the beginning of each experiment.  Many of the experiments use common household items.  Not only will you be amazed by watching the experiments, you will understand how they work and have an opportunity to recreate the experiment yourself.

 Chapter Index

Disc 1
Color Changing Milk
Egg in a Bottle
Exploring Air Pressure
Build a Lemon Battery
Inverted Cup of Water
Candle Suction Power
Amazing Magnetic Force
Lift an Ice Cube With String
Unburnable Money
Matchstick Speedboat
Reversing an Image With Water

Disc 2
Floating Eggs
Keeping Paper Dry Underwater
Dry Ice Bubbles
Balloon in a Candle flame
Ocean in a Bottle
Build a Motor with Lights
Simple Lava Lamp
Invisible Ink
Density Tower
Soda Can Fizz
Build a Motor #2

You can purchase Amazing Science Vol 1 as a DVD for $19.95, or as a download for $17.99.  Click here to order.

I have never been very good at science experiments.  Most of the experiments that we have tried tend to have the opposite effect that they were supposed to.  I told the children we were going to watch a DVD with science experiments and then we would get to try them ourselves.  They (Nick 10, Alex 8, Anthony 6, Christian 5, and Lily 3) were quite excited and all got ready around the TV.

Not a great picture but I thought all those blonde heads in a row were pretty cute
The experiments were very well explained and shown on the DVD.  Jason (the man on the DVD) explains everything using a personal tone of voice like he is in the room teaching you.  His interest in what he does comes through on the screen.  After the short video demonstration, the children gathered everything we needed to try it ourselves.

They were amazed (and so was I) when it actually worked!  They loved the color changing milk and had to do the experiment a few more times before we moved on to another one.

All of the experiments worked!  We had a great time with the science experiments and the children want to do all of the experiments on the DVD.

There is one thing that I wish was different.  In order to see the supply list that you need for each experiment you have to turn the DVD on to that experiment and wait for it to come up on the screen.  To plan ahead and to make sure we had the necessary supplies, I turned the DVD on the computer (with the sound off so the children wouldn't know what I was doing) and write down what we needed for each one.  I think it would be easier to include a list of the experiments and necessary supplies as a file on the DVD so the supply list could be printed out.

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

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received a complimentary Amazing Science DVD for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Homeschool Art Class 4/20/12

This was our first time back in our homeschool art class in a month.  We were out for 3 weeks due to spring break, activities scheduled in the art center, and Good Friday.  Last week we were supposed to have class but Emelia was sick for the first time(she ran fever for 3 days, no other symptoms) so we stayed home.  The children were excited to be back and to paint their papier mache creations.  Something strange happened to the papier mache when the balloons were popped and removed and they caved in.  Instead of having a balloon shape, all the children had a bowl shape to paint except for Lily's who turned out fine.  They had fun painting anyway.  Next the children drew a picture in their art books of whatever they wanted to make.  Then they got to construct something using paper towel rolls and tape.  After that they did drawings with glue and chalks.  Last they did a drawing and coloring page for the up coming Peach Festival. Only 3 more classes until summer break.

April Cloverbud 4 H Meeting

This month's Cloverbud 4 H meeting was on Ancient Egypt.  I had a parent volunteer (yay!) to do this program for our club.  Our club does not have one main project area.  In fact, we try to do different things all the time to give the kids a variety of activities and also to show them the different project areas they can choose to work in as they get older and become a "regular" 4 H member.  Yesterdays meeting started with a slide show and talk about some of the most well known topics of Ancient Egypt.  Of course the thing the children were most interested in were the tombs and mummies.  One of the girls asked if a mummy came back to life would it not be very smart because they removed the brains (see they were listening.)  After the presentation the children had an opportunity to ask more questions.  There were also interesting picture books and some little statues to look at.  Next, we made two crafts.  One (from Oriental Trading) was a mobile with a Pharaoh as the top and a camel, sphinx, jar, and pyramid (2 of each)  that the children attached to the top with ribbons.  They could also color the attachments if they wanted to.  The second craft was an Egyptian headband made from construction paper and peel and stick (my favorite) foam stickers.  It was a great meeting that the children enjoyed and learned a lot!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Should Children Have A Say In The Decision to Homeschool?

I have seen this question being asked by different families considering homeschooling.  It goes a little something like this.  " My husband and I really believe that homeschooling is the best choice for our family but my 7 (8,9,10 you get the idea) year old doesn't want to.  What should we do?"  Forgive me if this sounds a little harsh, but why do they get a say?  My 6 year old doesn't want to take baths or brush his teeth but we make sure that he does.  Most of my children would rather eat candy than fruits and vegetables but we don't let them just eat candy.  My 10 year old would love to play video games all the time but he doesn't get to.  God has given us the job to be the parent and given us authority over our children.  Sometimes children don't like the decisions we make, but they are children and do not have the knowledge or maturity to understand why we make some of the decisions that we do.  If you, the parent, think that homeschooling is the best decision for your family then that's the decision you need to make.  Don't give them a choice.

When we made the decision to take my then 8 year old daughter out of public school, she did not have a choice.  But, we did talk to her about our choice, a lot.  We told her the reasons why we had made the decision.   We talked about her feelings about it because we care about her feelings and reassured her that different doesn't always mean bad.  In fact, more often than not being different is a very good thing.  I also shared with her that I was nervous too!  Not only did I have a newborn, 2 year old, and 4 year old at home, I was adding homeschooling an 8 year old to my day.  But, we still stood firm in our decision and that it was the best one for our family.

Even though she didn't have a choice in the decision to homeschool, one thing she could choose was some of the things we could study.  The first year we homeschooled, Chelsea loved the Little House on the Prairie books so we decided to homeschool using The Prairie Primer.  We loved it!  We had so much fun reading through the books, learning to sew, doing other great activities, and taking field trips.  Since that year I have tried to feed my children's interest in learning by teaching using things that interest them.  That doesn't mean they like everything we do, but it does make the things that you don't like easier to deal with when you know the rest of the time you are doing something you enjoy.  

Parenting is not an easy job.  We love our children and want them to be happy, but that doesn't mean that they are always going to, or even should be.  We have to be the authority and make the best decisions that we possibly can for our families.  The decision to homeschool was one that we talked and researched and prayed over.  The first year was the most challenging but I can honestly say that within a very short period of time we knew with absolute certainty that we had made the right decision and we've been homeschooling ever since.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TOS Review: God's Great Covenant New Testament 1

From the website: " Classical Academic Press produces superlative educational materials to advance the revival of classical education. We specialize in subjects such as Latin and logic, presented clearly and creatively, to equip and engage both students and teachers."  In the past we have reviewed Latin and Logic from CAP.  This time our family (along with other members of the TOS Crew) has had the opportunity to use and review God's Great Covenant New Testament 1 student book, teacher's edition, and mp3 files.


View a sample here.

God's Great Covenant New Testament 1: A Bible Course For Children was written for ages fourth grade and up, but it can be modified to use with younger children.  Students will follow the story of Jesus as he is born and fulfills all of God's promises.  In the introduction to the text, students will learn about the historical, cultural, and geographical setting of the New Testament.  Following the introduction are 36 weekly chapters divided into 4 separate units each emphasizing one of the four names of Jesus: Son of Man, God's Servant, The Messiah, and the Son of God.  Students are taught using: stories, worksheets, memory verses, devotional guides, quizzes, and a little boy named Simon.  The student book is consumable so you will need one for each student.  The only other item you will need to complete the course is a Bible.  

View a sample here.

A detailed answer key contains the entire student text, answer keys and factual information to expand upon the historical, geographical, cultural, and theological concepts introduced in the text.

Listen to a sample here.

The audio files includes more than 3 hours of recordings.  32 stories from the four gospels are engagingly read by Christopher Perrin.  The downloadable file is in mp3 format and can be burned to CD or listened to on your computer.

You can purchase all three products as a bundle for $56.95.  Or you can purchase the student book for $26.95, the teacher's edition for $29.95, and the audio files for $9.95.

We love God's Great Covenant!  I am using it mainly with my 4th grade son with my second grade son listening in.  I loved it as soon as I opened the book.  The introduction does a fantastic job of laying the foundation by giving background on the politics, geography, culture, and daily life in New Testament times.  The maps, charts, and chronologies that are included give students great visual references.  The text is laid out very well making it easy to teach and easy for the student to learn.  Each chapter has: a theme, scripture references, memory passage, a chart with key facts, prophesy that Jesus fulfilled, story time, and review worksheets.  At the end of each unit there is a memory passage worksheet, devotional guide, and end of unit story.  The review sheets are varied so your child is not doing the same activity every time and they do a great job helping to reinforce the lesson.  Also included in the book are several helpful sections.  Appendix A shows all of the prophecies fulfilled broken down by chapter.  Appendix B explains Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King.  Appendix C is an explanation of the Lord's Prayer.  There is also a glossary and chapter quizzes.  Everything you need and more is included in the teacher's guide.  The audio files are a great addition to the curriculum, and quite honestly great to listen to even without the curriculum.  Even younger children can listen, be engaged, and learn from the audio files while playing, in the car, or even something to do on a rainy day.

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

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a complimentary copy of God's Great Covenant New Testament 1 for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation.