Thursday, December 30, 2010

Boggle Jr. Games

So I am planning for next week's return to workboxes and serious school time. While I was writing up plans last night I decided to focus on word families a little more in hopes of helping Cameron with reading and inspiring fun learning for Nathan. We are starting out United States unit that will last about 25 weeks (2 states per week).  I finally decide to do the states in Alphabetical order for simplicity and also to work on Alphabetical order with the boys.  Alabama and Alaska will be the first 2 states. I decided we will do word families _at  and _ad during the week as well.  I had planned on making word family cards using Sherwin Williams paint swatch cards I picked up while dreaming on new house colors (they already had a hole punched in them for a block). I traced the word family letters onto 2 of the cards and began playing with the Boggle jr cubes.  After a couple of minutes Nathan joined me and told me it would be easier if we just used the game board that comes with the blocks.  So the Boggle jr. game 'board' is now housing --at and --ad blocks ready for next week's lessons.. ( I picked up Boggle jr. at Goodwill and actually ended up with 2 games so each of the boys will be able to work on the word families at the same time. Might even make a game/ contest out of it)

Other than traditional Boggle jr. rules, have you played games using the cubes or the board? I would love to hear any other uses for these fun blocks and boards.

Monday, December 27, 2010

400th Unit coming soon giveaway

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you probably know we love In the Hands of a Child. I love their project packs in both lapbooking and notebooking, mostly for the fact that I don't have to do the research to teach the unit, everything is there for me already. I also have a Lifetime Super Membership and love getting 2 free units each month. I know I won't use every single unit, but the variety is great and the differing levels make it possible to use some of the older graded items to add to the younger units.

To celebrate the upcoming 400th unit In the Hands of a Child is offering a giveaway to one lucky reader.  One lucky reader will win a bundle pack of their choice from In the Hands of a Child.

Here's what you need to do:

Head over the In the Hands of a Child and sign up for their newsletter (you can also download the current freebies while you are there..)

Come back and comment here that you did that. (1 entry)

Next create a wishlist of your top 5 choices and comment here with the list. (1 entry)

Drawing will be held on January 3rd. All comments must be in by January 2, 2011 .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent half way point.

Since I only bought one Advent calendar from Learning Palace I decided to hold it until 12 nights before Christmas so each boy will open a door tonight.  UnvlDad picked the advent calendar out when we went shopping last month and picked the Knights and Dragon one (not Mom's first choice but the boys are excited).

Last night we added another element to our Advent evenings, A Hymn of The Week from Raising Real Men, Melanie has a wonderful daily lesson to go with a Christmas Carol, this week is  "O Come All Ye Faithful", a wonderful song. She has a classical piece of art to go with the lesson as well as all the verses in English and Latin.  After our reading last night I moved us to the piano and played the song for the boys then read the lesson and showed them the picture... They weren't as excited as I had hoped but they are only 5 and 8 so I can only hope this will set a foundation for years to come. During our reading last night  Cameron actually took part in the discussion and added his only little angle to the readings from Isaiah. It opened the door to further discussion that I hope will continue tonight.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent Night 1

We found a great Advent reading to use this year.
Anyway, since the budget is tight this year I decided to use what I had for candles, 3 burgandy and 1 white. After dinner we all sat at the table while Mike read John 1: 1-18 and the boys squirmed alot. Mike got so into the reading that he kept going. I told him I thought he read too far and he laughed and said he could never read too far in the Bible (good point). Anyway, we talked about "The Light of the World" and then sang some Carols around the piano. Tomorrow we will do a couple of Light themed art pictures and a copy-work from the scripture for school, then read night 2 after dinner.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Shopping or rather planning for..

Today I met my mom in town and she took the boys for the weekend, so I decided to do a little Christmas Shopping/ planning.. I stopped by 2 local stores and spent almost an hour thinking about what I could get for some of the family.
The art store seemed like it had something for so many people on our list... It was fun to try out the different pens, look through the art instruction books as well as the Dover books, and check out the various paint mediums... I enjoyed visiting with the mom of the owner... I then ventured next door to a wonderful yarn store... While I did not purchase anything I did look at several books on crocheting that would be great editions to my collection and found a fun instructional book for the boys (yes my boys want to learn to crochet and I will teach them... they can learn to make their own hats and socks... why not???)

Anyway, it was a fun afternoon thinking about things that will bless our family through art and craft..

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hanukkah 2010, Advent Activities, and our #workboxes

After I posted our plans for Advent calendar activities I started searching for a couple things and had the idea I should be searching for Hanukkah things as well to save myself some time. Then the streamliner in me thought I should blend the school activities and include the Hanukkah activities in the Advent calendar pocket chart...So now I'm searching for Messianic themed Hanukkah activities.

I think I've found a couple good ideas... I will gather pennies (I think I  can put the boys onto searching the house for pennies) for driedel games.  I found 3 recipes (beef brisket, cheese wafers, and potato latkes) that the boys can help make (might even try our hand at jelly donuts).  I found some good coloring pages and have some Creative Memories stickers from my past life as a consultant (2 or 3 different styles) that I can have the boys use to make ATCs as well as some other art projects.   I would love to find some good verses for them to work on as well..

I am going to create 2 word lists for their journal work and them some count down math activities and such... I think we will go back and work on +8 facts for Hanukkah and then combinations that add up to 24 (I'm not sure on that one though.)

It will be a fun filled month though.. and probably more schooling then we have done in a while..

Advent Calendar Planning and workboxes.

(if you are a subscriber I'm sorry for the multiple postings today, but I'm playing catch up)

I'm planning activites for the boys for the Holiday Season including Advent Calendar activities. I'm thinking that I will have several different ones going and incorporate them into our workboxes. We've been pretty relaxed in school the past couple weeks  (the boys and I just weren't getting into the way we should  have, so I basically worked with an unschooling mentality for a couple weeks...)

I received a link to another blog with a great list of activities for Advent.. The Activity Mom has great printable and downloadable activities for the Advent season.

I am printing the cards 1/2 size and on my shipping labels, the boys will be able to attached the card to a piece of card stock (another workbox activity) and help with the prep work for the "calendar". I think we will make a paper Christmas tree and "hang" the ornament cards on it...

We will also using a Playmobil Advent calendar, I'm thinking I will also get them a Santa Playmobil character, although I had thought of getting the Nativity, but still undecided...

Click on the image please, in order to see the content of this item.


I do know we will be working through the current Hands of a Child  $5 special, Symbols of Christmas, we will do a couple vocabulary each day and 1 or 2 additional activities. If you are interested in doing this unit, grab your copy before Wednesday the 17th when it will go back to the regular price.

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Veteran's Day Special

Hands of a Child is offering a great Veteran's Day Special. I haven't completed this units but I'm considering purchasing them for our library to work up later with the boys...

In Honor of Vetrans Day we would like you to enjoy three great Project Packs,
Unites States Air Force, United States Navy, and U.S. Army First Infantry Division. Use this coupon code: VETERANS 2010 and recieve 40% off. Hurry and do it soon this Coupon Expires 11/15! Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!


and don't miss the currently weekly $5.00 project pack, Symbols of Christmas (we will be working on this one next month as part of our Advent Activities)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Project Gutenberg


Image via Wikipedia



If you haven't tried Project Gutenberg yet, you need to try it... With HTML, PDF, EPUB, and even TXT formats you are bound to find a format that will work for you..

Most if not all the books listed are public domain and are a wonderful option for the tight budget that so many of us are on.

When I was blessed with a Nook during e-book week earlier this year I started uploading all kinds of pdf files to my new toy... Tonight I realized if I uploaded EPUB format I could use all the features of the NOOK. I was even more excited to find several books I am currently reading (The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, and several others) all available in EPUB format.. now I can read the books and make notes without carry a huge book bag everywhere.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rainy Trip to the Beach.

Today my husband and I headed to the beach for our anniversary (10/20).. It started out ok, overcast, but ended up windy and rainy (not uncommon for Oregon beaches in October)... Anyway, we made a day of it stopping in Lincoln City at my friend's scrapbook store (Stacy's Scrap Shack), then heading south stopping at most of the view points along the way to enjoy the waves and views. We stopped in Depot Bay and watched the spouting horn for a while, then countinued down US 101... We detoured off the highway onto the Otter Crest Trail and stopped at the Lookout and Gift Shop, where I got a history lesson... Cape Foul-weather (yes that is it's name) gift shop (it was built as as Gift Shop in the 1920's) was actually used by the US Navy as a lookout during WWII and at one point what was thought to be an enemy sub was fired on from a Navy blimp (turned out to be a grey whale... poor guy)...
We continued our journey down 101 to the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport before turning around and heading back to Lincoln City to meet up with some friends (we did meet up with them for a couple minutes in a rainy parking lot...)
Long story short, I am excited to start planning our unit study of WWII with an Oregon Twist... There is so much WWII history in Oregon..

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Scribe Copy work special

I downloaded this wonderful freebie from Westvon Publishing over the weekend.

I also receive word that they are extended there special deals through the end of the month so you have a week or more to check them out on Currclick...

We have used several Westvon Publishing Happy Scribe pieces in our workboxes over the last year and I highly recommend them to any mom that uses copywork in their homeschool.

Selected Products

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Webkinz Jr. Party and playtime


Today is another fun Hip Homeschool Hop so I thought I would post a quick review from our 5th year old Nathan's birthday party last week.  We were blessed to be chosen to host a Webkinz Jr. Party as part of MomSelect. About 2 weeks before the party I received an email about the party (I honestly had totally forgotten I even applied), then I received this huge box via UPS. Inside the box was party supplies, ideas, and 10 goody bag complete with coloring books, song CD's, stickers, and Webkinz jr. pets.

Nathan picked out an adorable puppy.

and Cameron selected a cute white mouse.

Both little critters are super soft and each comes with a code to set up Webkinz Jr. activities online

This week we set up the boys' webkinz jr. accounts and let them play. The website is geared toward ages 3-6 but Cameron who is 7 1/2 still had fun. The games are fun , colorful and educational. There is a parent's area as well where you can view , set up and change your children's accounts, send them cards, and if you choose to go with the deluze memership you can even print out activities that match the monthy themes. ( I'm still trying to decide on the deluze membership as we are already signed up with a couple other online activities).

Anyway, I handed out all 10 of the critters (2 stayed at our house), so far the kids that got the critters are loving them, I even received the cutest voicemail from my 3 year old nephew telling me how much fun he was having with Ohso (his giraffe) and the coloring book.

I am planning on adding a Webkinz jr. Card to Nathan's workbox activities  as we add more boxes and activiites for the year.

If you have Webkinz I would love to hear your opinion especially on how a little boy age 7 1/2 would enjoy it... (He really is too old for the .jr edition). and if you stopped here from the Hip Homeschool Hop, let me know.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer balancing act...


Its another Hip Homeschool Hop! I thought I would share my summer balancing act with you all.

We live in a rural farming community so there aren't a lot of kids/ neighbors and this is harvest season so there is a lot of activty outside.. We aren't farmers but all our neighbors are... One neighbor up the road as 4 kids on rotating weeks... My boys love to play with the kids, but now that we are back in school it is hard to balance the summer playdate mentality with our school schedule.. So, this week we are perfecting said balancing act!

Today, Cameron had a shortened load, 1 Math-U-See lesson and 1 Houghton Mifflin Phonics/ Spelling lesson. He was told if he got dressed, ate his breakfast, and got his school work done his friends could come over at 11:00 for 2 hours.. He got it all done with only a little whining... so for 2 hours we had 3 extra kiddos... Feed everyone lunch (Thank goodness for homemade mac and cheese and garden fresh cabbage salad!!).

Tomorrow will be the big day... The kids will arrive at 10:15 tomorrow and instead of regular school lessons for my boys, we will do a mini Vacation Bible School; crafts, music, games, etc...

I attended a training conference this weekend for our youth group and got a wonderful idea for scented water color paint that we will be using. 1 package of Kool-Aid powder (without sugar) and 2 Tbsp water... mix and paint... when it dries it smells like the kool aid flavor... We stopped by our local Win-Co and picked up 6 packages of kool-aid for painting... should be fun!

We are also going to do chalk art (sidewalk chalk and large sheets of paper).. The kids can draw or do rubbings, and then I spray them with hairspray.

How do you balance the homeschool schedule with Public School friends?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hio Homeschool Blog Hop and building project


So many people know I have been wanting a larger wipe off / magnetic board for the classroom. Well after endless stops and phone calls trying to figure out something I ended up at Salem Heating and Sheet Metal. I purchased a 3' x 4' piece of heaver gauge sheet metal ($16) to put into an old chalkboard frame.

Got it home to find it was 1" too large one direction and 2 1/2 " too large the otheer directio. Mike set me up with tin snips to cut one edge.. Ok note to shelf my hands are too small for tin snips in gloves.

After I finished the one edge, we smoothed it out and then sanded down the edge of the old chalkboard and slid the 2 pieces back into the frame. I then learned how to use the air tools, specifically the grinder... what a fun tool!!! I ground off the 1" side and smoothed it with sanding wheel... we nailed it into the frame and brought it into the classroom where it is mounted on the wall... Magnets are hanging on it, waiting for the workbox charts and calendar and lists to join them.  I will post pictures later, now I'm off to a tweet chat with Hip Homeschool Chick

[caption id="attachment_616" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="finished magnetic wipe off board"][/caption]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Staples and Back to School

If you are a Staples customer then you know what I am talking about. Staples has some of the most awesome deals for Back-to-School. This week I picked up 2 reams of regular copy paper that after rebate will have cost me just $0.01 each and 2 8 GB USB thumb drives that after rebate will be $14.99 each (not the best deal but still a good deal). I also picked up pocket folders during a previous trip that were $0.01 each and with my teacher rewards card I was able to get 25... I had to spend $5.00 to get the deal but that wasn't a problem as I was able to pick up a couple packs of CD sleeves to stick in some books as well as a few other bits and pieces.  It is silly but I look forward to the Back-to-School extreme deals Staples does.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Note to Self

This morning I am tackling a project.

I am clearing out my inbox. For the last 18 months, yes 18 months I have been storing stuff in my email inbox. I decided all these wonderful resources were doing me no good sitting in the inbox so starting last night I began the arduious task of cleaning out the inbox, saving files I will use , deleting old messages, replying to the last month of messages that I hadn't gotten to, and finally deleting files I won't use.

I started with 1.96 gigabytes of stuff and as of 10:00 a.m. I have deleted down to 1.5 gigabytes... What the heck??? less than .5 gigabytes cleared out... UGH!!!

I am finding some wonderful resources that I can use for workboxes, story bags, and co-op sharing so it is worth it.

Later this morning N and I are going to purge some of the classroom and bring in some of the new fun treasures we picked up yesterday at Walmart and Staples. I still need a large White Board that is magnetic. Hopefully I can get one before the end of August (I keep hoping one goes on sale for less than $20 as I can't spend more than that)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Old Schoolhouse Magazine Holiday Deal Hurry!

The Old Schoolhosue Magazine is a great resource! I loved rereading articles
for hints and tips and as a new homeschooler and still enjoy the magazine's
articles and ideas 2 years later.  This is a wonderful deal that they just
published for the upcoming Holiday weekend, a great opportunity to get a
great deal!
Hope you enjoy your 4th of July Holiday weekend and the rest of your summer.

1776 was a spectacular year, and it's a smashing, save-more-money price! Grab
your subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine during their four-day
Fourth of July sale, and check out the craziest price on July 1 only!
Supplies are limited on the July 1 deal. U.S. and Canadian residents. July 2
through July 4 the unprecedented savings continue. The sparks are flying at
TOS Magazine . . . join in the celebration and savings! Get the details here.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Workbox Expansion

So I decided that I am expanding the boys' workboxes to include their fun activities and games. With that I had to come up with 1 more cube for each of them which meant purging more of my craft area.
I now have an empty space on my office (don't worry it will fill up fast with other stuff.)
Now each of the boys have 12 slots available for workboxes. 1 slot will be their return box for finished work, while the other 3 slots will be home to fun desk activities and games they can choose to play (logic puzzles, wordgames, mazes, geoboards , etc..)

Of course now I have to come up with 6 more ITSO wide trays, oh how I wish Target would put them on sale soon.. at $4.99 a piece it will be a while before I can get them, still they are perfect for workboxes in our cubbies (JetMax Cubes). They are also the perfect depth for some of our larger activities (Reading Rods and such)

I'll try and get a picture posted later tonight. I'm thinking of hanging their white baord workbox schedules on the side of the cubbie wall, so we will play with that too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blog Planner Form

So I am still working on my central communication binder (Mommy's brain, scheduling, etc...).

I know I don't blog enough so I decided to create a Blog Planner/ Scheduler. It is pretty generic and has me blogging during the weekend and leaving weekends open ended.

I hope someone else can use it. I figured I can write in meme's and such as well as inspirations from different events along the way.

Blog Planner

Monday, June 21, 2010

What logs or forms can't you live without?

I'm creating forms and logs for our central binder. I'm trying to decide what else to include. Weekly workbox planner is done, book review log is done, and morning/ evening chore form is done.  I'm not sure what else I want to include...

I have a couple different menu planners but so far haven't found 1 that sticks, also need a shopping list with coupons and price comparisons on it, so I guess that will be one I will build...

Any suggestions? leave a comment with your can't live without forms and if you know of some great places to find forms links are always welcome.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Review Log

Just thought I would share another simple form I put together. This one is for book reviews. I am behind posting my book reviews and needed something to get me on track... I plan to use it as follows:

Rec'd: When I get the book/ curricula

Title / Company: Title of the Book or Company for curricula

Kids: Is this for the kids Y/N  (if Yes, I will have them help write the review)

Blog: posted and where (U for homeschool Blog , W for writing Blog)

Facebook/Tweet: Did I post the review on a fan page or link to the blog on twitter (Y/N)

Amazon/ BN: did I post it to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

+/ - : a positive or negative review (mostly for me so I if I'm keeping book/ curricula or something else)


Hope someone finds this useful.

Wall Timeline up and ready to fill

I finished up the wall timeline frame today and it is ready to fill with dates!!!

The wood frame is some upcycled down trim I picked up at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $.25 a foot.  I spray painted the trim with Brown Leather Glossy Krylon paint from Wal-Mart cositn $2.67. I bought more trim than I needed (at that price it was better to be safe than sorry..).  The paper is from a huge roll of cream colored paper a neighbor gave my mom about 25 years ago (no kidding)...

Now we have a 6foot x 4 foot (44 inches to be exact) framed timeline in our hallway.  I am going to day our base line and put some key century marks on it so it is ready to be filled in.  I am going to use clipart tags for some of the key events we have learned.. We will be starting with Creation and bringing to present day (I figure through 2020 should give us plenty of timeline to work with...)

Next week the boys will have tags to hang on the timeline in their workboxes (I am thinking of using tags and string to fill the space and be able to include more events..)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Simple Workbox planner

I am playing around with a simple workbox planner using 8 boxes for each of the boys. We do workboxes 4 days a week with 1 day for our co-op group. Since I created it I figured I would share with our readers. I'm attaching the .pdf file , if you would like a copy of the excel spreadsheet file leave a comment and I will send one to you that you can change as needed. workbox_4_day_planner . I will printing 2 copies and putting them in a sheet protector (1 green one for Nathan and 1 blue for Cameron). It isn't a fancy form, but right now I need simple with room for notes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer School on hold

We had plans for summer school and week 1 went pretty well, but then a few preplanned activities and Mommy's Just One Thing Challenge got in the way, so we put school on hold and took our 2 week break a little early this year...

We did however get a box for our Math-U-See blocks and a couple more ITSO boxes for the boys' workbox cubbies.. so all is not lost... I also have been shopping around for our magnetic white board for the Communications Center and have found a couple options: Costco at about $25, Target at about $17 but smaller, and Wal-Mart at $15 same size as Target but a metal frame instead of wood... so now just need to make a decision on that...
Also this week we are building a framed timeline in the hall. I hope to post pictures of it later this week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wonderful Copywork

During the Ultimate Homeschool Expo I was blessed to "meet" Jennifer Bogart during one of the sessions. Jennifer and her husband have Bogart Family Resources and have a wonderful selection of copywork available at  I recently received an e-book from her to work through and review with my boys.  I selected "All Things Bright and Beautiful" in D'Nealian format for Cameron to work on. After just 3 days of using this copywork I have already seen improvement in his writing, what a blessing. We also printed the pages of Manuscript formatting and made wall charts for him to have. What a great blessing this e-book has been in our summer school sessions. I printed out the pages he needs for the week and am ready to go. I had to adjust his workbox/ school schedule today but was able to take his coywork pages, his Math-U-See worksheet, and his spelling list and just slip them in a pee-chee folder (yes I still have Pee-Chee's laying around) with a couple blue post-It notes for directions and a small ziploc bag for blocks, markers, and pencil and Cameron is all set for Thursday's workboxes on the go.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I see visitors to the blog but no comments. I'm thinking it is time for a giveaway... I will post the give away later tonight... Stay tuned

Monday, May 31, 2010

Workboxes for the week

Since my notebook isn't put together yet, I needed a place to outline Cameron's workboxes for this week so you all get to see it, aren't you lucky!!


HM Phonics pg 14-15

Math-U-See  +8s lesson 1

History : You Tube videos via facebook with a Memorial Day Theme


HM Phonics pg 16-17

Math-U-See +8s lesson 2

CopyWork: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Art: Drawing book (he gets to pick 1 of the books I have in the box)


HM Phonics pg 18-19

Math-U-See +8s Lesson 3

CopyWork: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Science: Search the internet with Mommy for Hot Air Ballons


Math-U-See +8 Lesson 4 and 5 (if we need the last lesson)

CopyWork: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Science: Assembly our finished Dinosaur unit lapbook

So that concludes week 1 of summer school... Looks  doable. I'm going to get my notebook put together and figure out Nathan's week tonight...

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Monday May 31, 2010
Outside my window... the sun is trying to peek through the clouds as the wind blows gently
I am thinking... how grateful I am for the sacrifices of so many on this Memorial Day
I am thankful for...the freedoms of this country
From the learning rooms...we are heading into summer school this week
From the kitchen...leftover lunch of BBQ'd chicken with red root greens and pasta
I am wearing... denim skirt (man I love this skirt, need to find another one)
I am creating...a bulletin board for our school central area
I am where today.. hanging at home
I am reading... Life in Defiance by Mary DeMuth
I am hoping... for a little more sun for my garden
I am hearing... teh boys watching a movie in the other room
Around the is a mess right now
One of my favorite things... fresh herbs
A few plans for the rest of the week:summer school and organizing

This is part of the Simple Woman's Daybook, stop by the blog and join in.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer School Workbox revamp

After thinking about what worked and what didn't work this year, I decided to change up our workbox cards and the in/ out set up.
I picked up 2 small magnetic dry erase boards at Staples the other day, 1 is blue and 1 is green. Well, that started a theme; Cameron's accent color/ theme color will be blue and Nathan's will be green (the obvious choice for my young tractor freak...).
I used some left over Creative Memories stickers again green and blue to create their workbox number/ activity cards, divided the white board with green/blue strips of stickers to create the grid, and am backing the cards with magnets. I decided to use magnets instead of velcro as it will carry through the other planning / schedule sections we are creating.
Once the boards are done I will hang them over their desk areas and include a little basket for their dry erase marker, eraser, magnets, etc.. again they will be green and blue.
I also found Avery brand tabs and such that are color coordinated and will help in Mommy's notebook planner for lesson notes and other scheduling... It might seem a little over the top but right now I need something with color and easy to put in place... I can take the things that worked for the past year and just add the color coding to make it a little easier...
I think this is going to help as I have 2 boys that are close academically... I am using Math-U-See for both boys, Cameron will hit Beta in September while Nathan is on track to hit Beta around mid December so while it will be nice to be in the same book, I need a way to keep them seperated.. Also I need to be able to make notes with in their books and know who the note was /is meant for...
I got a package of Post-It notes the same Staples trip I got the boards on ... anyway, turns out the 3 colors made it even easier, blue. green, and pink... I'm saving the pink ones for Mommy notes...
I like the color coded system (need to change our calender colors to match....)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Planning and sharing

Over the last month I have been blessed to attend 2 online expos and 1 local homeschool open house. I am also planning on attending several used curriculum sales over the next couple weeks and hitting one of the local Homeschool bookstores.  I have also been thinking alot about what has worked and has NOT worked over the last 2 years of our homeschool journey.

I created a simple spreadsheet and included company/ product, subjects, grades, cost, pros/ cons, learning styles, aestitics, and e-book as things to consider.

I am including a.pdf of the spreadsheet in hopes someone else can get some use out of it. curriculum shopping planning

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Slow Burn: A Review

I recently finished reading A Slow burn by Mary E DeMuth, the second book in the Definace Texas Trilogy. The powerful story of a woman struggling with the death of her daughter and her own personal demons filled with the suspence of the murder , the struggles Emory must face to find Daisy's killer, the power of love from the true people in her life, and forgiveness for so many demons she struggles with.  While I didn't read the first book, it didn't seem to matter, the story is so powerful and gripping that it stands on it's own. There are moments of tenderness and compassion, moments of edge of your seat suspence, and moments where you just want to grab a tissue. There are some very heavy concepts related to drugs and relationships battles that set this book up for older teens and adults. It would be a good book to read with as small book club that wants a solid Christian author but still possess a message for the mainstream.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ultimate Week to refresh

I'm having a blast this week with the Ulitmate Homeschool Expo hosted by Cindy Rushton. The Mommy Grab bag, Chats, and audios... I have been saving files to read on my Nook as well as MP3s to listen to.

Cindy has given my blog readers a wonderful gift article below.. If you are attending UHSE 2010 please leave a comment and tell me your favorite talk so far.

Quick Tips For the Perpetually Late, Disorganized, Stressed Out Mom!
By Cindy Rushton

Does this SPEAK to you?  Nothing is more frustrating than great intentions but failure with the time management, organization, and gentle spirit thing!  So, what can REALLY help? Need a bit of hope?  Practical ideas? Well, beloved, here are a few tips that have made a world of difference for me:

-->    Be sure to slow down and have a quiet time EACH DAY! Take time for God to fill YOUR cup each day. Let Him give you HIS peace, order, and best of all, schedule!  Take time to hear HIS plans for your day.  Throughout the day, listen to His gentle direction.  Be sure that you are willing to let go of the things that God wants to prune away. Without this, all else is only a band-aid!

-->    Invest in a Planner! I am the world’s worst at trying to do it all while trying desperately to remember those incredible details that are doomed to slip my brain! I decided to take a long, honest look at the things that were creating chaos. Most often, the biggest culprit was overcommitment or an underestimate of time involved with commitments. Writing down ALL commitments, along with an honest look at the time commitment involved (even going and coming OR planning the details around that commitment!), has made an indescribable impact on my life! Not to mention, another breeder of chaos in my life was constantly looking for information that needed to be in a dependable place like phone numbers, ordering information, etc. Keeping ONE binder with my information included eliminates the chaos, but it does even more! It gives my brain a rest!

-->    Evaluate to find the BEST that God has designed for YOU to do!  Sure, there are many “little things” that must be done to manage our homes, but if you are really struggling with balance, discipline yourself to write down everything that you are doing for a little while.  Pray over the importance of each and every thing. Time is so very precious. God gives us everything that we need to do all that He has designed for us to do, but He will not anoint those things that will choke out His best for our lives. So, really pray through…think through…weigh out everything. Listen to God for HIS goals for you.  Prune those things that are not in line with His goals for you. Get rid of any time wasters. Prioritize every activity, every day! Combine activities that can be done together to make the most of time. Delegate those things that others can do to help you be a good steward of your time. Then, make the most of your time doing the very best things that God has designed for you to do!

-->    Write IT down! Yep! Give your brain a break!  This may seem to compound your problem, but trust me this will help more than you know! It is NOT another thing to do! Rather, once things are written down, the work is done FOR you! For example, keeping a calendar of events in your planner will help to alleviate conflicts in your schedule. Blocking off plenty of time for each entry will help you to give yourself enough margin left over for LIFE! I may live less than five miles from downtown, but if there is an appointment there, I KNOW to give myself 30 minutes to get there! Also, I cannot tell you how much my lists from years ago are beginning to really help me! I have lists for school lessons, shopping, traveling, producing the magazines, speaking, etc. I may have to add to my generic list, but I cannot tell you how many times my lists have helped me to be sure that NOTHING was left out or forgotten. Plus, now the planning process is simplified.  I just pull out my list, go over the list, add anything that is missing, and get busy! Several of my lists are typed into my computer, ready to print. Talk about EASY planning! Find ways that you can simplify what you are doing—writing it down will probably be one of your first steps too!

-->    Keep your STUFF ready to use! Whether your planner or your purse or even your Bible/journal for church, get things together and in their special spot, ready to go.  I have a tote that includes all of the things that I need for Church. I keep it together, ready to go. Our school books stay in a milk crate (one for each child), ready to use at the table or to grab for our trips with the business. Everything that we need is ready at all times. My planner stays at my chair, ready to grab to leave the house. So on. Decide on what you need for planning, church, homeschooling, or your business. Get everything together. Find its very best spot for it to be easy to use, but not in the way or forgotten.  You will be surprised at how much stress this will alleviate!

-->    Put limits on your day! For years, I battled the different aspects of my day that tend to become monsters! Funny thing, I have never seen my family life ever become one of those monsters. My sweetheart and my children are so much more patient than my nasty kitchen! Memories will always wait for schoolwork to be completed. Laughter will always let the business monster rant and rage! The best (but most difficult) lesson of my life to date was that if I wanted the legacy that God had planned for me, then I had to diligently guard the different aspects of life. I had to consciously purpose to make memories and build relationships with those I love much, much more than a clean house or thriving business or successful homeschool. A whole day can zoom by just on the internet with the business…or working through our lessons…or even re-organizing a closet. Plus, those things wear me down till I am completely zapped! Oh, and then, I am not the nicest person on earth! (ouch—confessions hurt!)  While these things are precious and wonderful in their boundaries, I have to CONSTANTLY place limits to insure that we have a balanced life that makes the most of each day AND builds a legacy.

Need MORE Help?

How about the ULTIMATE mom-time? Yep! Check out our Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010! Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the 2010 Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (May 3-7, 2010--BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Check out all of the details here:

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Night with the Clarksons

School House Expo

Last night, well  actually yesterday afternoon due to the time zones, I was blessed to hear Sally, Sara, and Clay Clarkson as part of the Schoolhouse Expo.  What  wonderful messages they shared. I was especially blessed by Sally's words about seasons of being a Mom.  I love the convience of listening to these talks at home while I am being Mom, teacher, etc.. and living in the country sometimes getting to most conferences is a challenge.

Don't have a ticket yet? unfortuneatly the live session are sold out, but you can still purchase a ticket to download the MP3's following the Expo

Monday, April 26, 2010

Making History Fun with Cindy Rushton

Quick Ideas for Making History Fun! by Cindy Rushton

Want to make the new school year better than ever?

Want studies that are interesting for the whole family?

I think I can help you! How about some quick tips for making your history studies fun? I think you will find these to make lessons fun and easy.

Let's dig in... * Get Out to See History as Much as Possible… Hunt up any Living History Days scheduled in your area. Get out to all historical sites and museums...even hands-on children’s museums. Don’t miss any historical reenactments and plays within driving distance! These all give wonderful opportunities to get your children in touch with those that love History and know it best. *

Begin a History Notebook… This is the cure to dull, lifeless texts. Let your children create their own notebooks of study! Include anything from great quotes to poetry to pictures to sketches to newspaper clippings to photographs to mementos from history sites, reenactments and postcards from friends to narrations from books read. These personalized curricula will bring life into all areas of study. * Tap Into Grandparents, Elderly, Family, and Friends… Our family and friends have been a key source of finding out neat stories that are not recorded in the history books. Sitting at their feet, we have learned many details from history that would be long lost without the gift of story telling. The key to making this come alive is to listen and record their stories for your History Notebooks. Keep this part of history alive for you and for generations to come! * Find Treasures at Antique Stores… One of our favorite past-times is “junking” at antique stores, junk shops and flea markets. Take your time to find wonderful treasures from the past, which will breathe life into your History studies. You can find journals, uniforms, books, dress up clothes, and even play gadgets to make history come alive for your little ones! *

Let the Little Ones Make Up Their Own Costumes… I have always enjoyed researching and creating authentic costumes from other time periods. I used to have more time and energy to create costumes for every time period we studied. Now, my children are using their extra time and endless supply of energy to create their own costumes. I love to see them as they pull together little things from around the house to create their own costumes! *

Let Them Make Doll Clothes… This tangent began for us when my daughter got her first American Girl doll. We combined my love of creating authentic doll clothes with my deep passion for making doll clothes. Each year for the past five years, I have spent time each December creating matching outfits for Elisabeth and her dolls. This is easy to do with today’s patterns. Just take basic designs and create your own “historical” costumes for the dolls. If you have a beginning seamstress interested in some quick projects, this would be a wonderful way to learn the basics of sewing while learning History! *

Make a Timeline…Timelines are priceless! We have had two different kinds of timelines for our studies in History. We had a huge one that took up an entire wall in our old home. It was fascinating to watch the little ones as they would “review” and “test” each other on history as they went by! When we built our home, my husband would not allow that one back on the wall, so we made our own Book of Centuries on our computer, which includes all of our history facts. We simply developed a notebook with the dates marked. We record key events, people we study and the key events of their life, our family’s key events, illustrations which remind the children of those historical figures and events, pictures that the children have collected from books and trips that we have taken, information from our Computer Encyclopedias and Internet Sites, and even charts we have collected or made ourselves. These are another “text” that we create about our studies. How priceless! *******************************************

Need MORE Help? How about the ULTIMATE mom-time? Yep! Check out our Ultimate Homeschool Expo 2010! Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, the very first online homeschool convention. She is recording Preview Chats for the 2010 Ultimate Homeschool Convention RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE as they count down to the Ultimate Homeschool Expo (May 3-7, 2010--BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE Convention!). Check out all of the details here:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2 new contributors added

I'm still working on buttons and links but did get Cameron and Daddy set up as contributors on the blog. I will have Cameron start posting his own reviews sometime next week and will have Daddy write up a summary of the science unit he is planning. In the mean time, back to tweaking for buttons and links

Friday, April 23, 2010

Updating the links and buttons

please excuse the confusion while I update the links and buttons on our sidebar. I am working to add buttons to as many of the links as I can and will be adding links to companies we support and have affiliations with.  I like the new white background and hope to do a custom design along the top bar soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Have You Heard about the Ultimate Homeschool Expo?

For the past 2 years I have enjoyed the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, even after the Expo was over. Read on for more fun details.

My friend, Cindy Rushton, has just finished her Ultimate Homeschool Expo audio set. I have been listening to several workshops and they are simply fantastic! You will love it!

This convention NEVER ends. You can listen to it at your convenience. You can listen again and again and again. It is set up so that you can listen on your computer or you can download these workshops to your Mp3 player and carry them along with you wherever you go. Oh! You can even burn them to a CD.

It is hard to capture all of the fun in words. You have just GOT to check it out! I give it my highest recommendation Get the details here:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dinosaurs on the Loose

or at least the boys are...

Last week we started our dinosaur unit. using In  the Hands of a Child unit #1262. It is great for a couple of reasons. First off it is a PreK-6th grade unit so it has lots of traceables and cut and past answers. Next it doesn't have a timeline so we can teach Dinosaurs from a Christian perspective and not have to stumble of millions and billions of years.  Of course since it comes from one of my favorite homeschool companies I love it all around, and while it can be purchased in print form, I own it as an e-book so I was able to read the research guide to the boys (and have them read out loud some of it) via my Banrs&Noble Nook.

We are also using an ebook from Whole Word Publishing on CurrClick titled "God Created Dinosaurs", it is a copy work pack. I am having Cameron add a couple of these activities to him lapbook for some writing practice. The e-book is colorful and has wonderful scripture for copy work.

Last week we built a model of a T-Rex, this week I'm not sure but I am thinking about some painting if we the rain holds off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonderful Lapbook Deals.

The Ladies at In the Hands of a Child have done it again!

Each Wednesday a new $5.00 deal is posted.  These are e-book project packs at a great savings! Currently the project is Extreme Weather (through April 13th). If you haven't tried lapbooking yet, this is a great way to give it a try.. While you are at the site you can also download the current freebie that includes a fun new Notebooking option!

Nook learning

So last month I won a Barnes &Noble Nook thanks to and Read an E-Book Week.  For the last couple months I have been eyeing an IPod Touch but when I received word that I won the Nook I couldn't have been more excited, mostly because while eyeing the Touch, I knew the budget wouldn't allow for it.  I did hit Costco during March coupon book and purchased an 8-gig micro SD card with the OK of husband/ Principal... Since the Nook was going to be used for school he agreed that the SD card would make it a lot easier to move more of the e-books to the Nook.  I received my Nook on a Tuesday via UPS and immediately cracked open the case and started playing... First off the USB cord / charing unit, what an ingenious set up... the wall plug has the USB port of the back so I only have 1 cord..  Second the size, just big enough to see , just small enough to literally fit inside a Staples brand plastic pencil box with my other small electronics that travel with me (cords, wireless network card for the laptop, various thumbdrive, and SD cards) and stows away nicely in my purse. Couple of things I'm still getting use to, the screen itself is not lit  (saves on battery life, but hard to read at night), and need to get a card charger for it...  I love the fact that my Hands of a Child Project Packs can be read (no more printing research guides for classtime). And Barnes & Noble has a large variety of free e-books.  Can't forget the built in wi-fi and since it is At&T based it pulls from the local AT&T cell phone tower... I haven't taken it to a Barnes&Noble store yet as the closest ones to me are about 50 miles away and not high on my list of places to go.

This little piece of modern electronics has been a blessing just in the 3 weeks I have had it.. I still have over 6 gigs of space on the Nook and sd card combined, although if I really wanted to spend time sorting through all my wonderful e-book resources I could fill it in no time; can also add MP3s for the onboard MP3 player or jpegs for the screensaver/ wallpaper functions.

I have a little Nook wish list: a clip-on LED light (about $10 for one at our local book store), the card charger piece ($5.00 for parts express), a an e-book of the Bible (really want a KJV or NKJV from B&N so it will search easier...)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trip Across Canada: Game Day

Honey has posted a wonderful printable board game over at Sunflower Schoolhouse A Trip Across Canada unit. Another great freebie for the unit.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Schoolhouse Expo, Will you be there?

Schoolhouse Expo

Don't miss the Schoolhouse EXPO!! All the excitement of a homeschool convention with the convience of staying at home!  This is going to be so much fun! Great Speakers, a Goodie Bag from some awesome Sponsors, Door Prizes, Vendor Hall, and convient downloads so you can listen later and be inspired all over again...

**** Update*****

I am downloading all the wonderful e-books from the Goodie Bag....the Conference is 29.95 and the Goodie Bag is nearly $300 in fun, useful tools for homeschool and home...Unit Studies, copywork, coloring books, activity books, lapbooks, and more. You really don't want to miss this... Besides the wonderful speakers.... You are going to be Inspired!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trip Across Canada

Sunflower Schoolhouse has posted the next step in the Trip Across Canada Unit Study. Have you stopped by and picked up all the great resources?

Honey has posted tons of great links as well as worksheets, activities, a cover for your notebook, and coloring pages. While we won't be actually starting our unit until next week I downloaded and saved everything I will need. What a great resource.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Download 'n Go: Down Under

Have you always wanted to venture Down Under? Well if you haven't had the chance and want to share Australia with your children, Amanda Bennett's Download N Go unit will help you with just such a trip. Cameron recently did a continents unit with his 1st grade co-op class so picking up a single continent was the logical next step. Since I have been to Australia (albeit, almost 20 years ago) I was able to share personal experiences and add it to the wonderful unit. I love the  format and simplicity of the Download N Go units, a good variety of activities for various ages.  Learning about the world we live in outside our own country is so important and this unit did just that. Cameron was able to do the unit as a simple add on to our usual workbox activities and I didn't have to do much prep work, which is always a bonus. I tend to print most of our printables in grayscale and was happy with how the graphics printed. I will be storing this unit for future revisit in our Download N Go Binder, if you plan to try any of these units and if you get hooked like we have you will want to visit the Old School House website and download the Binder Cover and Check list in the freebie section.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lakeshore Learning: writing books

Since we were in the Lake Oswego area I figured it couldn't hurt to check our Lakeshore Learning's local store. I knew the address sounded familiar but it wasn't until we were almost there that I realized it was the South Lake Center and was actually in the location of an old J.K.Gill store that I use to travel to when I worked at the Hillsboro store years ago (almost 20 to be exact). Anyway, Mike and I were on a mission to find something for Nathan and Cameron to practice printing skills. I had thought about stamps , while Mike was thinking stencils for tracing... We found both but decided on wipe off books . I picked up the upper and lower case as well as the numbers edition.  I also found 2 basic paper journal books for Cameron to continue on his journaling adventures. Mike also found a solar balloon so his upcoming science unit on hot air balloons. Should be interesting...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wonderful Writing Practice

Recently we were blessed by winning a blog drawing Sheri Graham and receiving "Pictures and Writing" by Diane Hurst. I had actually forgotten about the blog drawing until I received the email from Diane. We looked over the e-book and decided it would be gerat for Cameron to use for writing practice. After about 2 weeks, he loves it. The book is filled with writing/ drawing prompts and lots of space. The student draws/ makes a picture based on a prompt, then writes about the picture. It is that simple and at the same time it has given Cameron and wonderful outlet to create and feel like his sentence practice has a purpose.  Diane has created a wonderful tool for younger children that want to create and enjoy sentence writing. All I can say is "Thank you" both Sheri and Diane for a wonderful addition to our homeschool workboxes.

Cameron has the entire book in a binder that is placed in workbox number 5. He looks forward to box #5 and having a child look forward to something in school that is not recess or food related is a blessing.

Trip Across Canada: an online unit study

Want to come along? Honey over at Sunflower School house is hosting an online unit study " A Trip Across Canada" . Hop on over and get the links to get started. Most of the travel guides about Canada from the links can actually be downloaded as PDF files, how awesome is that...  I can't wait to add these to our workboxes as lately we have gone back to just teh basics (Math and phonics) so the boys are looking forward to adding unit studies back into the mix.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time4Learning: a Review

Recently the boys and I received a one month trial of Time4Learning. I set each of the boys up with their own account, Nathan on Preschool and Cameron on Early Elementary.
So since they each had their own accounts I am going to have them narrate their own reviews, my parent review will follow after theirs.

Mommy: "Nathan, what was your favorite part of Time4Learning?"
Nathan: "Playground"
Mommy; "what other things did you like?"
Nathan: " the bright colors, and the sounds, me also liked the mousie.."

Mommy: "Cameron , what about you?"
Cameron: " when I played Time4Learning on your computer,  there was a really cool space game,  that worked on reading."
Mommy:"  What other things did you like?"
Cameron: " I liked the playground too , even though I didn't play there a lot."
Mommy: " Cameron, what did you not like about it?"
Cameron:" I didn't like the math games"

Ok so there is the boys' reviews.  Thinking about what the boys said and what I say, I think that sums it up. There are a couple things I struggled with; the parent reports are actually within the student sign-on area, I would have preferred the reports be in the parent administrator area, also the price but for some people that isn't a huge issue. I think the program is a great supplemental program and if I had the extra $34.95 a month I would have extended and upgraded our membership.  Overall the program has great graphics and is engaging for the kids and fun to work with them or let them work on their own.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When I grow Up...

The Old Schoolhouse Store has a wonderful find, especially with 2 little boys that are crazy about all things fire fighting related..

"When I Grow Up... I want to be a Firefighter"  from the WannaBe Series is full of tons of information as well as activities that are not only educational but fun.  Science activities and articles including a fun set on robotics in fire fighting grabbed the boys' attention... While my boys aren't usually big of worksheets, they got pretty excited about these, even before I printed them.  Copywork, word searches, crosswords, and fill in the story blanks are just a few of the activities included. I found the primary lines a little small for my boys in the copywork section as both my boys like to write larger, the primary lines included in my opinion would be perfect for a 2nd or 3rd grader but could have been enlarged for a K or 1st grader.  The space to drawer a picture with the copywork definitely adds to the fun of the activity. A good selection of vocabulary words and practice pages for them are included although on the small primary lines. (we simply used our larger primary lined wipe off boards to practice the words.).

Included scripture passages  as well as games round out this overall good unit study.  If you have a firefighter wanna be I would recommend checking this one out, or anyone of the 8 other Wanna Be Series. Have fun Learning.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Index cards in your homeschool?

Heart of Wisdom posted a wonderful article about using Index cards in her Homeschool. Reading the article got me thinking.

I love the fancy workbox cards we use but I can make others using Index cards and scrapbook supplies. Then I noticed her wonderful timeline box and thought wait a minute... I've been trying to come up with some way of sorting our workbox cards and all this time it was staring me in the face, I have inherited several old recipe boxes (various mediums and sizes), like this one: I can use the  various tabs (re purposed to create dividers for school) and then store the extra workbox cards behind each divider... Better yet, this thought just came to me... When I was young my mom used the Side Track Home Executives books and system with index cards and pictures... What a great tool for planning and organizing our workboxes. I think I can create a pocket on the divider cards to hold smaller cards and such...

I also have a stash of cigar boxes (I had planned on using for crafts) that I could use and have one box for each boy. I found a picture online that is very similar in size to the boxes I have...

Blog Energizer: MomAdvice

I received this article from Blog Energizer this morning and found some fun printables and interesting articles at MomAdvice, hope you find something usefull as well.

Moms are the ultimate managers. They often manage everyone and everything in their homes, from planning the kids’ lunches to keeping track of the family’s money. It’s not always easy to keep things running smoothly. That’s why many moms need a little help now and then. If you find that you need something to help you organize, you may want to download these printables.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Word Tile Activities

Cameron got a small package of word tiles similar to this bucket.

I am trying to figure out some fun game activities to use the tiles for besides basic sentence building.

The tiles are color coded: Blue = nouns

Red= verbs

Green= adjectives

Yellow= miscellaneous and punctuation.

So any blog readers have suggestions for activities or know of any downloadables that we could use with these?

I would love to include a sheet and the tiles in one of his workboxes for grammar and sentence structure.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Week UGH!!!

I loaded 6 workboxes this morning for Cameron..

Box 1: Hands of a Child Circus of Addition 6's activity

Box 2: The Phonic Box (I think that is the title), tape and activity Book

Box 3: Liberty Kids :The First Fourth of July DVD and 1 coloring page

Box 4: Hands of a Child: Research Guide Reading together with activities on 13 colonies

Box 5: Its America Charlie Brown DVD 1: Episode 2

Box 6: Various Colonial Times Coloring Pages

1 tag for Lego Time Choice: either brick building or game on the computer.

Well we got through 3 1/2 of the boxes with 2 melt downs... UGH!!! Mommy needs a nap... I bundled the kids up and sent them outside so I can load the washer and unload the dishes... some days...

Blog Engergizer Shared Article

***I received this article from Blog Energizer this morning and found it very interesting, I think homeschool moms especially have a hard time saying no. I hope you can glean some useful information from the article.***

Subject: Learning to say no – Moms Secret Weapon

Are you suffering from mom burn out? Do you struggle just to make it through each day? Moms everywhere are breaking down because they are too chicken to say, "No".

"No" may be a tiny, two-letter word, but it can be your secret weapon. And you can say it. Here are some ways you can say "no" without feeling guilty about it:

Sorry, I’m taking a break.
The number one reason why you should say, "no" occasionally is simply that you deserve a break. You are chef, chauffeur, dish washer, and more. You job never ends on any given day of the week. You deserve a break. If you feel bad for saying "no", say, "Sorry, I’m taking a break".

My schedule is full.
We tend to jam-pack our schedule full of activities, leaving time for nothing. Cut back on your kids activities. Start a car pool and share driving responsibilities. Do whatever you can to free up some time in your schedule.

I don’t have time.
You’re headed out the door, rushing to the next appointment when the telephone rings. What do you do? Do you come to a screeching halt and answer the phone? Let’s say you do, and it’s a family member, calling to dump their latest woes on you. Do you stand, tapping your foot impatiently while you roll your eyes and listen to the sob story? This is a typical scene for many moms.

I have another commitment that day.
Say it and mean it. Regularly schedule in time with your family or time alone and if someone ask for your help during that time look in your planner and tell them you have another commitment.

Instead of rushing to be everything to everyone, stop. Ask yourself if you truly have time for whatever comes up. If not, say no by walking away, turning off the ringer on the phone, or not answering the knock at your door.

Always remember that you are a mom—not a super hero. When you have to say no, people will understand; if they don’t at first, they will get used to it eventually.

Editor's note: Still having trouble putting your foot down? Sometimes, we just need some extra guidance, a listening ear or a gentle and loving kick in the butt. You might want to give Aurelia Williams's free coaching session (affiliate) a go. She's a life coach and mom of 3 who has adult, teen and school age children so she definitely knows what she's talking about.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thinking about desks

So we got Nathan a small school desk for free not to long ago. It is an old flip top desk with the chair attached. It was a Craigslist find for free and I'm glad we got it.. Now that we have it set up in his space, I keep thinking a smaller desk would be better for Cameron, so I'm searching for a free or VERY inexpensive matching flip top style desk.. I figure if I can get 2 to 3 years use out of them they will be worth it, we can also clean them up and paint/ refinish them and hopefully sell them once they are looking better. What do you use for a desk area for your homeschoolers?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blogging Goals for 2010

I thought I would set some goals for the blog and blogging in general for the year..

1. Blog Daily; seems easy enough... even something simple.

2. Add more pictures! So often I sit down to blog and think I don't have a photo to go along with it, so then I just don't blog.

3. Find some fun giveaways to host on the blog, I hope to host a giveaway a month..

4. Share more resources... I find all kinds of resources for homeschool and crafting that I should share... I suppose I could just pick a day during the week.

5. Join more Blog conversations. (Linking between blogs and commenting create a better sense of community.)

ok I'll add one more to the mix. I need to comment and trackback to blogs I visit and use more often. Sometimes I find myself gleaning wonderful information from blogs but forgetting to leave a note... Where are my manners.

There you have it 5 Blog goals for the new year... I will work on some other goals and share those another blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Figures In Motion. review

Have you seen Figures in Motion? This fun book is filled with history, crafts, education, and general fun.

I recently received a copy of Figures in Motion's "Famous Figures of Ancient Times". To start off the book is full of both full color and black line master style characters. This is a great activity for ancient studies and can be worked into textbook or unit study style approaches.  Since my boys are young, I photo copied 1 character for each of them to color. Assembly was easy with craft brads (pulled from my scrapbook stash). The detail does mean there will be cutting involved and depending on the age of the child, Mom may need to help. That is what I did.  I plan on using more of the figures as we work our way through history and would love to get other editions to go along with our units.

I did have a thought as we were working with the brads, you can use craft sticks and just glue them together and make puppets... a great narration tool especially for youngers and a fun way to get the whole crew involved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Fashion canning

I don't have a pressure cooker so have to water bath everything... I know you aren't suppose to water bath broth but since I don't have a pressure cooker or the funds for one, I am spending most of my day water bathing chicken stock. 15 pints to be more specific... It makes for easy steam cleaning in the kitchen, most of the counters and surfaces are wiping up a lot easier then usual.  I pulled out my old Kerr and Ball canning books (vintage 1950's and early 60's) to check on the timing and each batch gets 180 minutes of boiling water bath.  Hopefully this next year I will be able to find a used pressure cooker to do some of the canning with... I love canning especially when it means homemade and homegrown.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

re-purposing project, need ideas..

I have 2 old style medicine cabinets I received off Craigslist.

I have this vision of somehow using them to create an activity center or a message center or something...

Hoping some of my blog friends/ readers can help me come up with something... Here is a stock photo to give you an idea of what I am dealing with...

I have glass shelves that can go inside or since the inside is metal I can use it for magnets...

I stopped at ReStore the other day and found white tiles  up to 12 x12 and thought I could put a white tile on the front (mirror) along with some cork and create a message center... But not sure what to use the inside for ...

My other thought was a magnetic activity center but not sure how the mirror would work into it... I can mount it on a wall if I need to, but would prefer the "activity center" be mobile somehow...

Any ideas?  Don't worry if you can't think of something, I have a few other finds that I'm hoping someone will be able to inspire me on...

_at words games

Nathan has finished learning the alphabet... Well he can now say the whole alphabet, recognize all the letters, and write with help most of the letters. So this next week we are going to jump into word families... I found a fun simple e-book game from Sunflower Schoolhouse with a fun little penguin and fish theme... Honey has done it again, with a fun set and in blackline so we can color it before we cover it with contact paper.

If you are looking for a fun free activity, stop by Sunflower Schoolhouse... we love it

Reach for the Stars: Book Review

One of the things I am way behind on is sharing some wonderful books with our readers. So today I am going to share one and will continue with 1-2 a week for the rest of the month.

Tonight's book is "Reach for the Stars" by Susan K Marlow. While my boys are still a little young for the writing portion of the book I took the ideas and turned it into a story telling / narration activity which worked and continues to work very well for Cameron. I will return to the actual lessons of the book  when he gets a little older and can write the stories himself, but for now we love the graphics and the ideas within the book.

The graphics are fun and colorful with lots of room for the writing portion of the activity.  The copy I reviewed was an ebook with black line masters so I can print what I need when I need it. I can also print the "textbook" portion 1/2 size and store it in a small binder (watch for a later post about what I do with ebooks).

The book has an entire section on reviewing/ editing your work with great activities dealing with the ever plaguing tenses. As a hobbiest writer I enjoyed the reminder and actually worked through the activities myself; sometimes the teacher needs a refresher as well.

If you have a young writer in training or want to introduce your student to creative writing, this is a great book. Fun, engaging, and easy to use; three very important traits for any homeschooling book.

Revolutionary War and Colonial America

For the next couple weeks we are going to be studying the American Revoltion and Colonial America. I thought I would share some of the fun web links I have found for the unit as well as other resources...

We are using 2 lapbooks (both are for older grades but can be modified for youngers)

Life in Colonial America

American Revolution

We will be also using the following websites for resources:

The America Revolution for Kids

Social Studies for kids

America's Story

Liberty Kids

these are just a few...

We are also going to watch This is America, Charlie Brown as well as the Liberty Kids DVDs.

Lots of coloring and hopefully a few craft projects along the way.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Decluttering: home and school room

I found a blog today that really caught my attention, Mandi talks about decluttering and setting realistic goals for the year.. She set a goal to get rid of 721 things (that is an average of only 2 per day... realistic...), I got to thinking I can do that, especially since I had purged my own closet yesterday and today was working on the boys' bedroom getting ready to move their bunk bed out and put in two twin bed captain's beds (we will be moving the dressers out this week.)... Any way, I realized in just 2 days I had managed to get rid of (donating or selling) 50 items... and the boys' room isn't done yet... Now the next area to hit will be the classroom and the home-school closet as we have tons of things we just aren't using and most likely won't... So during the boys independent work time this coming week I will be purging books, workbooks, textbooks, and anything else home-school related to donate to our local co-op as well as Goodwill. Oh and I will be purging the mudroom as well (hoping to get rid of some of ceramic supplies and such... wonder if I can sell them on Craigslist...). If you are up for the challenge: 31 days of Organizing for a better 2010, check out the blog.. I think it is going to help me  a lot.

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010

Blog a Day for the month... might even try to keep it up all year.

Blog a Day for the month? I think I can do that... I should be doing it anyway to keep up with our school activities so if you want to join me hop on over to NaBlopomo's webpage.

The theme for the month is "Best" however I'm not sure where I will go with that...

Lets make 2010 the Best we can.