Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Carole P. Roman Books and Collections

We love books in our house and were excited to have another opportunity to review books from a familiar author, Carole P. Roman.  Carole P. Roman is the author of more then 50 books for children.  She writes books that appeal to both boys and girls in a variety of ages. For this review we were able to choose 3 books from Carole P. Roman books and collections.  We chose:

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag
Oh Susannah Color With Me
If You Were Me and Lived in ...Elizabethan England

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is a 35 page paperback book.  It is the first book in the Oh Susannah series written for readers that are able to read short chapter books, approximate age range around 3rd grade.  In the book, Susannah May Logan is in the third grade.  Her day starts out with some unfinished  homework that she stuffs in her backpack.  Pretty soon a banana she doesn't want to eat is added, along with an invitation to a sleepover she doesn't want to go to.  As the day goes on Susannah keeps stuffing all of her problems into her little backpack.  How will she ever be able to tackle all of these worries?

I chose this book for my daughter Lily, who is in third grade.  Last year we had an opportunity to review Oh Susannah: Things that Go Bump, the second book in this series, and she really enjoyed it.  I knew she would love a chance to read the first book as well.  It is a very sweet book and easy for young readers to complete with only nine chapters.  Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag has a very good message for children, and adults as well.

Oh Susannah Color With Me is a 48 page paperback book.  The first half of the book has illustrations to be colored from Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, and the second half of the book has illustrations to be colored from Oh Susannah: Things that Go Bump.  After each section there are 5 questions about the story and a space for children to do their own drawing.

Since we now had read both books, I knew that Lily and  Emmie who is 6 and heard me read the books aloud, would enjoy having a coloring book to go along with the stories.  The book is full of adorable illustrations that your child will love to color.  I love that it includes both books.  It is like retelling the books over again with pictures.  The pages are on thin paper, so make sure you use colored pencils or crayons to color since marker will bleed through the pages.

I chose If You Were Me and Lived in ...Elizabethan England because we have several of the other titles in the historical series and have loved each one of them.  It is a 52 page paperback book that will take young readers back through time to visit Elizabethan England.  Your children will learn why the time period was called the Elizabethan Age, what their names might have been, what London was like, what kind of homes you might have lived in, what type of foods you ate, what kind of clothing was worn, and what kinds of toys you would've played with.  You will learn where the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" might have originated. You also learn about the type of money was used and what you could buy with it(a good shirt for a pound, a chicken for a penny,the queen earned 60,000 pounds a year) education, entertainment, and religion.  In the back of the book there is a section that lists a brief biography of some of the most important people of the time such as Sir Francis Drake and William Shakespeare, and a glossary.

I love the If You Were Me and Lived in... books.  These books are a great addition to any history curriculum.  They are full of information that is interesting to children because it makes them feel as though they are part of the story.  They are also beautifully illustrated.

 Another one of my favorite series by Carole P. Roman is the cultural series that teaches children what different cultures are like around the world.  You can read books such as If You Were Me and Lived in ...South Korea.     If You Were Me and Lived in ...Peru or many other similar titles.

Members of the Crew reviewed a variety of books by Carole P. Roman.  Stop by the Crew Blog and read the reviews!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spring Break

The week before spring break was a rough one.  I have never looked so forward to taking a break before.  We were still busy over the break, but with no school at home, and no driving Nick back and forth to school, I did get a bit of a breather.  Things did not go quite as planned over the break, but we had some fun.

My zoo passes are expiring at the end of March.  It is more then worth it for us to buy a pass.  We only have to go one time for it to pay for itself, plus we get free parking, 4 free ride passes, and discounts on food and at the gift shop.  Before it expired we wanted to go back one more time and take Chelsea and Liam with us.  Since Nick has his one class at school we had to wait until he had a day off.  We checked the weather and planned to go the first day of spring break, Monday.  Since we would be leaving early in the morning and Chelsea lives 20 minutes in the wrong direction, she and the baby were going to sleep over Sunday night so we could leave bright and early Monday.  I went and picked them up right before bed Sunday, got them to the house, unloaded Liam from his car seat to discover he was burning up with fever.  Took his temp and it was 102.  They went back home and zoo plans were postponed.

I had some disappointed children, so on Monday afternoon we took our lunch and went over to Narrows Dam and ate and played for a few hours. 

Monday afternoon Liam's fever broke and he seemed back to himself.  The girls had a make-up ballet lesson for one of the days the teacher was out sick.  Tuesday evening Chelsea and Liam came back over for zoo trip take 2.

When we got up on Wednesday morning it was only 35 degrees!! By the time we got to the zoo it was 50.  I had on two shirts and a coat and was still cold.  I was never so glad to spend time in the reptile house as I was that day!  By the time we had lunch it had warmed up to almost 60 and we weren't freezing.  It was a really good trip and everyone had a good time.  The baby was very well behaved and we enjoyed getting to see the animals.  Many of them were very active.  We saw an otter climb a tree.  We love the otters and stayed and watched them for a long time.  They also love the family farm, which I find funny because we see those animals every day! 

This possum was on top of the monkey enclosure....very odd

Thursday Lily had piano and they both had ballet.

Friday we had our regular grocery shopping and errands to run but we were able to do those in the morning and get them over with.  I cleaned out the girls closet and went through clothing.

The girls decided to do some archery.

Saturday Liam's mommy and daddy both had to work so he spent the day with us.  He was a happy little guy.

When he went home late Saturday afternoon and Nick got home from work we packed a picnic supper and headed over to Lake Greeson to eat and do some fishing.  Alex was the only one to catch anything but we had a good time.  It was a beautiful evening.

Emmie and Lily thought this rock was perfect for a picnic

In other news, we made a few changes in the house.  First no TV after supper.  During the winter it gets dark so early we tend to watch more TV.  Now that the days are longer and the weather is better, I am not letting them turn it on.  This has been a very good change, they are staying outside more and when inside doing more constructive things.  I have also gone back to being strict about bedtimes.  I have always been a big believer in early bedtimes, but have been letting that slide here lately.  That was a mistake.  This week I have made it a priority to make sure the children are ready for bed on time and it has a made a difference, especially for Emmie. Also, my husband gave his notice at the job he has worked for 15 years.  He has accepted a position with another company that will hopefully be a good change for him.  He starts his new job April 9th.

Back to school for us tomorrow!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Zirrly


Zirrly has sold arts and crafts supplies since 1956.  They strive to stir children's imagination and help them be creative while improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  My children, especially my girls, love to do all kinds of crafts.  I knew they would be very excited to receive our latest review product, Super Beads from Zirrly.  We had an opportunity to use and review the Jungle Animals set.

Super Beads are colorful beads that can be used to make designs that stick together using only water.  There are several different kits available such as: Jungle Animals, 3 D Animals, Birds, 3 D Car and Truck, Spinning Tops, Jewelry Set, and Mega Pack.  This review will focus on the Jungle Animals.

In the Jungle Animals set you will find:

6 Plastic Boards to build your designs on
6 design templates-lion, rhino, elephant, zebra, owl, and monkey
1 design tool
1 spray bottle
Plastic Work Tray
Super Beads-(the box says 2000+) yellow, blue, red, orange, white, black, brown, green
Instruction Book

The only other thing you need to complete the designs is water.  Jungle Animals is recommended for ages 5 and up.  You can purchase Jungle Animals for $24.99.

Our package arrived on a cold and yucky Saturday morning.  The girls (6 and 8) wanted to dive right in and start making the Jungle Animals.  Lily started with the owl, and Emmie made the Zebra, following the design template for each.

Once you have all the beads on the board, you press down the beads, carefully remove the template, and spray them down with water from the water bottle.  Then you let them dry for around 60 minutes and  carefully remove them from the board using the design tool.  Flip the design over and spray the other side.  Once dry you are finished.
After making the black and white zebra, Emmie decided she wanted to make a different color zebra, and after that made a whole family of zebras.  Lily also made a family of owls. 
The boys (10 and 12) wanted to make something with the Super Beads as well.  They wanted to try their own design and make a Minecraft family.

By the end of the day we had a whole crew of Jungle Animals and this family.  Between the four of them they used the entire set of beads in one day.

They LOVED the Super Beads!  The included templates in the kits were great to get them started while still allowing for creativity in color and design.  They had no trouble placing the beads on the boards.  The trickiest part when getting started was knowing how much water to use.  I let the girls spray down their first designs on their own, but when I went back to take them off, the beads had not connected.  I think after I warned them to be careful not to use too much water they did not spray enough. I sprayed them down myself and waited another 60 minutes and had no trouble getting them off, they stuck together perfectly.  The first time Christian (10) sprayed his design he used way to much water and they turned into a mushy mess that never did dry.  The second time I sat with him while he sprayed and it turned out perfect.  Once you get the idea of how much water to use it is really easy and they had no trouble.  I absolutely loved that all you needed was water to make them stick!  No ironing required!  I also loved that the beads were packaged into smaller packages so we didn't have to have them all opened at the same time and could open them as needed.  The little water bottle that was included was great and the tool to lift the designs off of the board was very helpful.  The designs are flexible and even after playing with them have held together really well.

We had a lot of fun with our Super Beads and would love to purchase more kits in the future!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Products

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Home School in the Woods offers a variety of different types of products that help bring history to life.  I have used many of their products over the last 10 years and have been impressed with all of them.  Recently they started offering some of the projects that are part of their larger studies as Á La Carte products able to be purchased separately to enhance any study you may be using in your homeschool. We recently had the opportunity to use and review the Early Nineteenth Century Timeline and the Orchestra File Folder Project.

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

The Early Nineteenth Century Timeline is a 26 page PDF download that was originally created as part of Time Travelers of the Early 19th Century.  The download contains tips, tricks, and instructions for printing and creating the timeline, 9 lined pages spanning from the years 1790-1850 that are labeled with where to place each figure, 4 pages of timeline figures, and an answer key showing all of the figures placed on the timeline.  You can purchase a family license for the download for $5.45.

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
We chose the Early Nineteenth Century Timeline because we are studying American History this year.  We have used Home School in the Woods timeline figures in the past to go along with other history studies we have done and they are the best timeline figures I have ever seen.  This project was very easy to print out and put together.  It includes 98 different figures with clear direction on how to place them on the timeline.  I think using a timeline is a great way to bring history to life and make it make more sense to children and am impressed with the finished result of this one.  Instead of connecting our pages, we 3 hole punched them and placed them in a notebook.

Our second project was the Orchestra File Folder Project.  This was a 13 page download originally created for the Composers Activity Pack.  It includes tips, tricks, and instructions for printing and assembly, 2 pages of stage background, 2 pages of instrument cards, 2 pages of period cards, 2 pages of pockets, and one page of cover art.  You will need a file folder to complete this project along with scissors, glue, double sided tape, and colored pencils if you wish to color.  You can purchase this download for $4.95. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
I chose Orchestra File Folder Project because we were getting ready to start a Music Appreciation course and I wanted the children to have an understanding of the orchestra and the instruments that it is made up of.  The instructions for the project were easy to follow and everything was easy to print out.  Putting it together does take a bit of time, especially cutting and folding all of the pockets.  But I thought it was a great project that enhanced our understanding of the orchestra.

Members of the Crew reviewed a variety of the available Á La Carte products. Stop by the Crew Blog to read the reviews.  I thought that the Art of Quilling and the Art Gallery File Folder Game looked very interesting!