Monday, July 31, 2017

Week Ending 7/31/2017

As you can tell I'm a little late on my week ending post :) We were traveling to my mom's house on Friday and I had planned to write my post that night, but got busy enjoying hanging out with my mom :)  Last week was spent mostly getting ready for the trip and we had some special visitors at karate, so I was there two nights last week.  We usually only get to see these visitors once a year, so it's always a wonderful night of training when they are there. The students are always looking for ways they can improve their techniques!

I only read a few books last week. I've still got a large pile from the library, 17, that are waiting to be read! I've got to hurry and finish them before school starts :) This week I read Aunt Dimity & the Widow's Curse,  The Barefoot SummerThis Is What a Librarian Looks Like. and The Promise of an Angel.

We had a wonderful time with my family this weekend.  My mom took me to get some canning tomatoes, $10 a box, so we got three boxes!! Plan to chop them all up and freeze them for the winter.  My mom turned 74 on Sunday and it's always nice spending the day with her. We see her every few months, but it's especially wonderful to share cake, ice cream and gifts with her on her special day!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: USA Activity Bundle by The Crafty Classroom

Crafty Classroom
My youngest has really been bitten by the geography bug in the last year or so.  He loves to look things up on maps, talks constantly about the oceans and continents and chooses anything we have geography wise to do first in his school day. Even though we are technically on summer break I wanted to continue to review a few things over the summer and include more "fun" activities :) When I saw the USA Activity Bundle by The Crafty Classroom come up to review I knew this was one we HAD to have (LOL) If I didn't try to get an item that was geography related then Issac would have my head (LOL) When I first got the email to download my bundle I was super excited to see that there were multiple activities for us to do! The bundle contains the following items:
U.S.A State by State Activity Notebook
U.S.A State Bird Art Cards
U.S.A 50 State Mazes
USA Activity Bundle
I have to say that even though Issac loves geography he loves a maze even better.  I printed out all the pages for the three booklets and put them into a 3 ring notebook with dividers.  I liked the idea of putting everything for each state together, but I knew that Issac would like them separate. Besides some of the birds go with multiple states, so that would have made it hard to group only by states. As I knew he would Issac jumped right into the mazes (LOL) He told me mazes are something you don't really have to concentrate on and can go while you are watching wrestling :) I just let him know he could do whichever mazes he wanted in whatever order he chose. This bundle could easily be made into a full year curriculum by adding a few extras to it, but I just wanted to use it for some summer fun. I wanted to sit down with him to work on the state activity pages as well as the bird art cards.  We decided which states we wanted to learn about first. He chose North Carolina since we live here and California because that is where he and his siblings were born.  I helped Issac look up the information that was on the page.  They had us collect the basic information such as abbreviation, state #, nickname, flower, bird and there was an additional section for notes and more facts.  Issac and I worked on coloring the flags together because he doesn't really enjoy coloring. I've found when I do it with him then he's more willing to do it.  We worked on the bird cards last.  I thought these were really cool because they included a pre-colored picture of the bird and then a section where you could color your own.  I thought this was really neat, but honestly we found this to be the hardest part of the bundle.  We decided to color the Northern Flicker first, so we gathered the colors we thought we needed and got ready. I think this was actually a hard bird to color and we struggled to match our colors. We thought we had a matching color and when we started coloring it wasn't right.  There were a lot of details to many of the birds and it was just frustrating for Issac to try and match that. I love the idea of already having the pre-colored birds though to see what they really look like.  

Even though we were on break this USA Activity Bundle was really just summer fun for us.  You could add in the capitals, maybe which presidents came from which states as well as a few readers and have a year long course.  I would recommend this bundle to anyone wanting to work on the states and their basic information with their children.  The bird pages were great in the sense that you could really see the detail and colors and it made it a little easier to try and identify birds in our own yard. This was a fun bundle to do and according to Issac it seemed more fun than school :) 










If your interested in learning more about The Crafty Classroom check out their website and social media pages: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. The crew reviewed several of their products including items for preschool, kindergarten and older children. Below are all the items the crew reviewed this time, so head over and read what all the other moms and kids thought about the sets.  

Alphabet Curriculum Notebook (26-week Curriculum)

Bible ABC Curriculum Notebook (the Bible version of the above)

Learn to R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook (36-week Curriculum)

R.E.A.D. Review Pack (28 Early Readers that Correspond with R.E.A.D. Notebook) Can be used as a stand-alone product, if you are not wanting a full curriculum

How to Write a Paragraph





Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thankful Tuesday 7/25/17

Today I'm thankful for books.  I can't imagine a world without books or without the choice to read whatever book I want :) For the last few years I've been doing the yearly book challenge on Goodreads.  Each year I say I'm going to read 100 books during the year. Most years I've hit that and a few beyond and I think it was last year that I only reached about half.  This year I've done a ton of reading this summer. I just finished my 9th book for the year, Harvest of Blessings.  This is part of the Seasons of the Heart series and they've all been wonderful.




Review: Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

ACTÍVA Products
This past year the kids and I have really worked to incorporate more homeschool arts & crafts into our weekly schedule. I've found that I've really enjoyed doing the projects with them.  I enjoyed art class in middle school and I've always enjoyed crafts in general.  We recently had the opportunity to use the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit by ACTÍVA Products. This is not a kit that we have used before, but the rigid wrap plaster coated gauze reminded me of the material that we used to make a belly cast when I was pregnant with our second child.  The kit arrived with 2-4" rolls of the Rigid Wrap, 8 oz. of the CelluClay and one project book that contained ideas for 12 different projects.  One of the first things I noticed was that there was a butterfly on the box that you could cut out for a project.  I thought that would be something fun that the three of us could do with the Rigid Wrap as our first project together, but yet they would all come out unique.  I really liked this product because it was super easy to use and there is no limit to what you could make with it.  I figured it would be easiest for me to cut out all the strips, so that we could just dip in the water and layer :)  I filled a large bowl with warm water and put it in the middle of the table, so that the three of us could easily share. I did suggest to Issac that he cover the table first with an old magazine because I figured we'd all be dripping :) This product was super easy to use and I had my butterfly covered with the recommended 3-4 layers in just a few minutes.  Issac had a little bit of trouble with trying to alternate his layers like was suggested, but we just talked him through it.  We kept recommending to him to be extra careful at the edges to get a smooth coating, but I think he was trying to get the layers on correctly, so his edges are kind of rough. His sister told him that just made his unique :)  I put a small hole in mine because I thought about hanging mine up as decoration.  We were in a hurry to paint ours, so we tried the microwave recommendations and they worked great.  We were painting in less than 15 minutes! We had two rolls of the Rigid Wrap and it took us about 1-1/2 of the rolls to do all three of our butterflies. We have enough for someone to do one more small item.  There is a neat ebook called ACTÍVA Products' Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS that has quite a few suggestions if you aren't sure what type of project you'd like to do.  
Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit
The other item included in our box was the CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit.  The kids and I talked about what we wanted to make and we all came up with a different idea.  I chose to make a cross, my daughter chose to make a capital A and Issac chose to make a hamburger with mac-cheetos. The CelluClay is easy to mix because you just add water.  When mixing I think I added a little too much water because our CelluClay was sticky. I let it sit for a while and then it was fine to work to make our items.  We baked these in the oven to dry and then painted with our acrylic paints.  These items can easily be sanded for a smooth look, but we opted to leave them with a rough texture. It suited what Issac and I were doing :) Brianna worked to make hers really smooth while forming it. Issac was super excited about his hamburger with mac-cheetos and fries :) Here are a few pictures of the items we made with our set.











The Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit would be a great item to add to your back-to-school list for an afternoon of crafting or a great birthday or Christmas gift. Pretty much any project that comes to mind can be made with one or the other of these items.  I would use this kit again and the kids and I had loads of fun making our items and painting them.  This is one of those items that can take as little time as you want to spend on it or as long as you want.  


Check out their social media as well as read what the other crew members thought.  
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Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Week Ending 7/22/2017

Seems like summer is rushing by so much quicker than I expected (LOL) I had all these grand plans and it seems as though very few have been accomplished! The last few summers have seemed the same, but I had vowed that this summer I would get things done :) We pretty much have one month left before school starts, so I guess I'd better get jumping if I want to feel that I've gotten anything done this summer :) I do have to say that the heat has been horrible and that really bothers me.  I've had so many migraines recently because it's just gotten too hot and my body doesn't deal well with it.  I LONG for cooler days and hopefully many snowy days this year! :) I know I'm probably the only one that hopes for that, but I love winter.

I have continued with my reading spree, but haven't read as much this week as a few others.  Believe it or not, but I ONLY read TWO books this week! Maybe I'm preparing for when school starts (LOL) I read The Goodbye Bride and Give the Devil His Due.  It was a busy week because Issac had another 4-H camp, so that was running back and forth twice a day.  I got to meet a homeschooling mom that is fairly new to our area, so that was cool to make a new friend! :) We also had a curriculum swap last night with a local homeschooling group.  It's nice to take all your stuff and just put it out on a table and get to walk around and pick up whatever you want from other mom's tables :) I picked up just a few things which is good, so I'm not adding too much to my shelves.  Today I worked on going through the games and got rid of quite a few that I think we are done with at this point. I love starting the new school year out with nicely organized shelves and new school supplies :)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Homeschool Philosophies Quiz-What type of homeschooler are YOU?

I recently took the Homeschool Philosophies Quiz that a friend posted about and these are the scores I received.

Score for Charlotte Mason: 12
Score for Classical Education: 9
Score for Montessori Education: 15
Score for Project-Based Learning: 6
Score for Reggio-Inspired:9
Score for Thomas Jefferson Education: 9
Score for Traditional Education: 3
Score for Unit Studies Approach: 12
Score for Unschooling Approach: 6
Score for Waldorf Education: 3

I have to admit that I've NEVER heard of Reggio-Inspired.  I've got to go look that up :) All this fun has gotten me thinking about starting a new year and what changes I would like to make this year.  It prompted me to take some of the other quizzes on the site to get some more information about my homeschooling style :) I also took the What Kind of Homeschool Mom or Dad Are You? and these are my results.  

Score for Creative: 6 
Score for Curious: 3 
Score for Diligent: 3 
Score for Free Spirit: 6 
Score for Laidback: -3 
Score for Neat and Tidy: -3 
Score for Out and About: 3 
Score for Outdoorsy: -14 
Score for Planner: 14 
Score for Playful: 6 
Score for Project Lover: 9 
Score for Storyteller (Read Alouds): 12 

Love that the outdoorsy was a NEGATIVE 14 because that is SO me (LOL) I also took the What Kind of Homeschooler Are You? quiz which is an older version of the first quiz.  It's interesting to see some of the different results.  


Score for Waldorf Education: 3 
Score for Traditional Education: 3 
Score for Unit Studies Education: 6 
Score for Montessori Education: 12 
Score for Thomas Jefferson Education: -3 
Score for Unschooling: 9 
Score for Classical Education: 9 
Score for Charlotte Mason Education: 15 

I need to work on more hands on this year and would love to hear any suggestions of things you all have done that have been big hits :) Would love to hear what your scores are if you take any of the tests :)


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thankful Tuesday 7/18/17

Today I'm thankful for rain. I have always loved the sound of rain and even just sitting on the couch watching it.  I don't think I realized until I was older and started gardening how thankful I was for that rain. In the summer our water bill can really go up due to watering the garden. I don't want to know have a garden, but sometimes you start to feel like you need to choose between the two. We have had rain almost every evening for the last two weeks, so I haven't had to water and it's filled up my rain barrel :)


Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Trust Fund Movie by Mapelle Films

Mapelle Films


I love a good family movie and especially when I can watch it from the comfort of my home! Our daughter recently had her wisdom teeth removed and we knew she was just going to be hanging out on the couch for a few days.  Our copy of the movie, Trust Fund by Mapelle Films had arrived a little earlier and I was hanging onto it in hopes that she and I could watch it together.  Isaac Alongi, producer, was raised in a homeschooling environment and learned a love of photography through the freedoms of homeschooling.  His wife, Sandra, wrote the screenplay as well as directed the movie.  I suggested to my daughter that we watch the movie together and she didn't seem too excited about it.  Then again she doesn't seem excited about much I suggest at this age (LOL) I was immediately interested and hooked into the story within the first few minutes of the movie.  Reese Donahue is a young writer who tries her hardest not to do anything.  She seems to want to approach life in the easiest way she possibly can with the least amount of work.  I think that is something very common in our society today.  While waiting for her father one day she runs across some paperwork and she learns that she and her sister were left a very large sum of money from when their mother passed away.  Being who she is at this time in her life she feels that her father has lied and cheated her and that she is due this money.  Her sister seems to be the "perfect" one while she never seems to do what her father thinks she should.  He is very supportive of her writing, but wants her to work and earn her own money.  He hadn't told her about her inheritance because he and his wife always wanted her to find something in life that truly meant the world to her and not fall back on family money.  She feels he's being extremely unfair and she makes a decision that changes her life forever.  I think we tend to focus most on Reese in this movie and what she is going through.  Her sister, Aubrey, also lost her mother.  Reese thinks her sister has it made and life is perfect for her, but she doesn't realize that her sister struggles too! It's hard to be the older sibling that everyone counts on to handle things.  This story is a modern day prodigal daughter story.  Reese pushes her family away for something she thinks will make her life what she wants it to be.  This story is truly an emotional journey teaching love, patience, trust and what family really means.



Trust Fund Movie
Love Was Near Book

We also received Love was Near which is the story of Reese's thoughts, emotions and actions during the movie.  It was suggested that it be read after watching the movie and it truly added so much to what I took away from the movie. This book was a super easy read, but one full of amazing wisdom for young adults.  Reese was like many young adults in that she saw something she wanted and nothing was going to stop her from succeeding.  That can be a good thing, but when what you are going after isn't in your best interest it can be life altering and not always in a good way!  Reese knew all along that she hadn't treated her sister or father fairly and that what she had done was wrong.  All she could think of was a young man though and those thoughts clouded her judgment.  We often get a thought in our mind and/or heart and nothing anyone says can change our mind.  Reese ultimately realized that grace is an amazing thing.  She realized why her father didn't want her to know about the money yet because she wasn't mature enough to handle it.  It's often so much easier to look back and see what we could have done, but often when we are in the thick of things our judgment is just clouded.  
There were wonderful though provoking questions throughout the book.  There is also an amazing study guide that can be downloaded to further those discussions.  So many applicable verses were throughout the book that it really made me stop and think about how I would deal with situations now verses when I was  younger. I think we often want our children to act a certain way, but we don't always remember how we were at that age. Maturity can help so many situations and ultimately grace can be a wonderful gift to give to anyone.  






Check out Mapelle Films as well as their social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.  Also check out what my fellow crew members thought!
Trust Fund Movie {Mapelle Films Reviews}


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Week Ending 7/15/07

This week has been a running week.  At some point I know I need to sit down and plan for the upcoming year :)  As of right now I'm still enjoying reading as many books as I can before the new school year starts. These are the books I read this week:

a daughter's dream

seasons in paradise

The Green Teen Cookbook

Eat Cheap but Eat Well

Flat Belly Diet

Fix, Freeze, Feast

The Fully Raw Diet

Home to Paradise

I actually did get to go out and spend time with friends TWICE!! That's so unheard of around here :) I had a late breakfast/early lunch with a friend on Wednesday. I don't want to even say how many hours we spent talking and catching up! (LOL) Friday the two younger kids and I went to a friend's house and just had a wonderful time. It's so nice when the moms can chat and the kids each have someone near their age to hang out with.  All in all it was a wonderful week.  Got to work on my Mapelle Films review, so keep your eyes open for that next week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Review: World War II Time Travelers American Series

Home School in the Woods
History is something that can easily be very dry and boring with all the dates and information.  I've recently discovered that our youngest has become more interested in learning about some of the historical events that have happened.   He also enjoys hands on learning much more than just reading a textbook.  This year we delved into lapbooks with him more than we have in previous years. I'm not sure why we haven't been doing them the last few years other than I thought he wasn't able to do the writing, so I didn't attempt them.  When the older two kids were younger we did lapbooks for almost everything we studied in science and history.  They seemed to learn so much more and be able to pull that information out when we did more hands on activities.   The last few weeks Issac and I've been exploring  World War II using the Time Travelers American series from Home School in the Woods.

Time Travelers American History Study: America in World War II
 Our first experience with Home School in the Woods was when we were able to review  HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study:Ancient Greece.  We both loved all the different parts to this program and it gave us lots of freedom to study and learn how it was best for us.The program is set up, so that you really don't have to do anything extra.  If you want to add additional books and projects that's totally up to you, but everything is included here to set you up to learn anything and everything you'd ever want to about World War II.  One thing I realize after reviewing last time was that I needed to do a bit more prep work this time before we got started.  I found that my son got easily bored with some of the cutting and prep work and if I helped him then his mind wondered and he lost interest. This time when I got my link to download I printed out everything we needed for the first eight weeks and prepped it all in one afternoon.  There are several ways that you can get started either by going through each lesson and seeing what is available or going under the masters section and just printing one thing after another. I personally like going through each lesson because sometimes there are activities that I know we won't do.  The one activity that we didn't do was the newsletter.  While I love the idea of it for my youngest his writing capabilities aren't there yet and it would be frustrating to him.  I do think a few years down the road he'd be more capable.  I'm always impressed by the quality of the activities as well as the variety.  It's not your same cookie cutter activities for every lesson.  There are some items that are consistent throughout the program like the timeline and maps, but then additional learning activities vary.  I think this is important because it helps keep the children interested.  Some of the map activities had overlays and while I loved the idea of it I found it a bit confusing.  I'm not sure why I did, but I just struggled even though there were wonderful directions. My son did feel like some of the lessons were a little long, but for the most part he was able to listen and comprehend what I was reading to him.  I'm a paper person and so I love to print the lessons and the lesson projects page, so that I have everything right in front of me.  The project page is a wonderful thing in my opinion because it breaks everything down that is offered for you all in one place.  I truly believe that children learn more and retain it at a higher rate when there is more hands on learning being done.
Time Travelers American History Study: America in World War II

Here are a few pictures of what we worked on recently.  Issac's favorite thing was the Language Bingo.  We were using words like leader, prisoner, war, battle & power in the languages of German, Italian, French, Russian & Japanese.  












Home School in the Woods has so many wonderful series.  The Time Travelers American  Series that we were reviewing has quite a few wonderful packs.  They have New World ExplorersColonial LifeThe American RevolutionThe Early 19th CenturyThe Civil WarThe Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression and World War II.  They've also got their Activity-Paks.  In this series you can chose from Make-A-StateThe Old Testament, The New TestamentComposers as well as Artists.  If you are wanting to make a timeline that can last through all your studies or you want to keep your timeline as a keepsake then you need to check out Timeline Trio.  If you are interested in Lap-Paks to really delve into a subject then there are some wonderful ones currently available.  The following are available now for grades 3-8 with more coming in the future: U.S. ElectionsThe 20th Century in America and Wonders of the World. If you have a little bit younger students, grades k-2, then currently you can study Benjamin Franklin or Knights.  

There is also a NEW item that has just come out called A La Carte projects.  These are great for hands on learning when your kids are interested in a specific subject and maybe don't want to do a large project kit.  This is so exciting for all those little rabbit trails that our kids find and want to go explore.  There are currently 50 different project choices, so something for everyone for sure! If you want to check this new item out head over and you can get the Erie Canal project FREE with code "alacarte". What a great way to check out their new series!


If you'd like to check out these products or get more information check out Home School in the Woods on social media:






My fellow reviewers have reviewed many different items this time, so jump over and check out what they thought of all the different products that are currently available.  


Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Thankful Tuesday 7/11/17h

Today I'm thankful for deals and a thrift store I almost NEVER go into (LOL) I don't care for this store because I never find anything I like. The clothing all seems older and I just don't normally go there. Today we were in the store beside it and didn't find what we were looking to buy. We had gotten Issac a Grow-a-Frog for his birthday and wen wanted a larger container for "Bob" :) My husband suggested we go in this store, so I said it can't hurt.We walk in and I immediately see a pretty nice washer/dryer set. We have been having issues with our washer for months and I've been without for over 2 weeks. My husband was given one by a friend, but he hasn't been able to fix it. I'm looking in the washer and one of the workers walks by and tells me it's HALF price.  We looked at it and decided it was worth it. I'm praying it works as well as it looks and that it ends up being the wonderful by and blessing that it seems to be :)


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Week Ending 7/8/17

This week was busy with appointments and such.  That seems to be our every week anymore (LOL) The biggest thing that happened this week was our daughter got braces.  I don't know that I've ever seen a child so excited to get braces! She got them on Thursday and then went and ate a sub sandwhich :) She was sore the next day, but says today isn't so bad.  She's had a busy few weeks with getting her wisdom teeth removed and now braces. I would be surprised if she wasn't sore (LOL)

I thought about school for next year, but haven't really done any planning.  I really want to sit down with each of the two kids and find out what they would like to do this year. I want to have us work together a little to plan our year.  My daughter pointed out that we don't have much more than a month to go before school starts. Every summer this seems to happen to me where I don't get anything done (LOL) I can say I've read a few good books this week though. That seems to be top priority for me lately! These are the books I read this week:

A Promise of Hope

$3 Meals (While I don't think these meals are $3 in this day there were a few good recipes I'm planning to try :) )

Plain Proposal

Return to Paradise

Plain Paradise

With Love

I did a little work in the yard/garden this week.  One of the most exciting things was a super huge haul of green peppers out of the garden.  I picked 22 green peppers this week. We have a ton of plants b/c my husband didn't realize the number I gave him was total plants and he bought 4-packs (LOL) I wasn't too upset because peppers are super easy to freeze, so that's our plan. I froze 8 peppers ready to stuff and the rest were cut up for things like chili and spaghetti. I'm hoping our tomatoes do well because I try to freeze enough until the following summer. Somehow my husband got the little tomatoes instead of the larger ones, so I'm not expecting much this year. It's still nice to have something though :)


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Week Ending 7/1/17

This week has been a very laid back week!  Issac was gone to my mom's house this week, so it was mostly Brianna and I home during the day. She had gotten her wisdom teeth removed last Thursday, so for several days she didn't feel like doing anything.  We watched the movie Trust Fund together, so keep an eye out for a review coming up soon :) I did do the kids attendance records for the year, so that's one thing I've done to finalize her year (LOL)  I really love reading Amish fiction type books and this week I read the following books:


Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World (Have been working on this for a few months, but finally finished it :) )

Lydia's Charm

Summer of Secrets

Breaking up with Barrett

The Proposal at Siesta Key

Brianna and I drove to Statesville this morning to meet my mom and pick up Issac.  I let Brianna drive from Sanford to Greensboro and then from Greensboro back to Sanford to get some driving time in.  I can definitely see where she has improved in her driving.  We came home and I binge watched House Hunters International and took a nap.  I didn't accomplish much this week, but it was an enjoyable one!

Review: Forbrain

Issac is 10 years old and has struggled most of his life with speech delays.  He's been though to have auditory processin...