Friday, May 31, 2013

Check out this newest baby of The Old Schoolhouse, For a one time fee of $25, you can have lifetime access to 175+ ebooks, audio files, etc. A virtual homeschool library at your fingertips. Your fee gets you access to everything currently on there, as well as everything they add in the future. Love it.

Knowing and working with The Old Schoolhouse for a while now, I'm sure they will continue to add and make this site even better. Here are a few highlights they have listed on their site already:
      • 2 Study Guides from YWAM
      • Draw Write Now Sampler E-Book by Barker Creek (We have 6 of these books and they kids love them. The "sampler" is 50 pages long!)
      • Heroines of the Past-Victorian unit study from Amy Puetz
      • Map Trek: Atlas and Outline Maps of World History from Knowledge Quest
      • Teaching Writing E-Book from WriteShop
      • 15 audio E-Books from My Audio School in history and literature (I'm really looking forward to this one because the kids love audio books!)
      • A Glimpse at Carnivorous Plants Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child
      • Video from Jessica Hulcy on  “Learning as a Family”
      • From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms from Mary Jo Tate
Photo: JUST RELEASED! The Schoolhouse Library from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!

Over 175 homeschool resources for $25!!! E-Books, Audio Books, White Papers and more!

There is so much stuff already listed that I can't wait to dig around this summer. Check it out and share with your friends.

Now for the mandatory disclaimer: This is not a paid post, just telling you about something new. As a member of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I will receive access to the library after I post this, but I wouldn't post something I didn't think was worth it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wordcount Blogathon!

The WordCount Blogathon

I have quite a few friends that run marathons. I don't. But I can blog. So, when Amanda at Living, Learning, and Loving Life posted about this blogathon, I signed right up. Crazy? Maybe. But it will be a nice challenge to do this summer, while the kids are off having fun at camps and such. I have done a blog-a-day-for-a-month type thing one other time in the 6 years I have been blogging. It's time to try again.

So....who will join me? All you have to do it post once a day. About anything. It can be short or long. Just post SOMETHING. They have some optional theme days if you need help getting your juices flowing. I figure that some days might be a simple picture, like Wordless Wednesdays, and there are a few things I would like to blog about that I keep putting off, like Disney or CC.

I think it will be fun. Who's with me? 

Hey! It's easier then running, Jack.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: See the Light, Paper Jungle

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I've mentioned before that my kids love art. We took the summer off of lessons because of our busy schedule, so I was excited when I was chosen to review one of See the Light's cool art projects. There are 9 different projects to chose from, and we were given Paper Jungle, which is based on the style of Henri Rousseau.

Master Artist, Pat Knepley, is a wonderful teacher in this 100 minute DVD. She breaks the project into 4 lessons and walks you through, step by step. The supplies were all things we had around the house, and are listed on the site. They also sell supplies if your project calls for something you don't have.

I was excited for the kids to do something "different" with art. They have never made a paper collage before like this so it was fun to try something new. The suggested age is 10+ but P wanted to do it too so both she and T (8 and 10) did it, and did well!

I know you technically should just do one lesson at a time, but when we finished the first lesson, and they didn't want to stop. We ended up doing all four lessons in one sitting! Ms. Knepley did a great job explaining what they were doing and talking about the artist, and I liked that she did the project right along with them. Each lesson includes training on technique (how to cut properly, how much glue to use, etc...basics that were helping for them to hear), fabulous teaching about the artist and showing his work, and Bible reading/references that applied to what we were doing. It was great!

There is a lot of cutting in this project, which would be harder for younger kids (so I can see why they put 10+ on this). P did ok, but she got a little frustrated with the little cuts now coming out like she wanted them. Also, during the fourth lesson, we finally got to start gluing everything down. That was also a little tough for P because you first lay it all out, and then have to pick them up to glue them without messing up the order of the layering. Ms. Knepley talked about perseverance during this time and P and T were both proud they persevered and finished their cool artwork.

After we finished, we were talking about what they thought. They both mentioned that they liked that they got to do different things and not exactly the same as each other, or the sample. Ms. Knepley was quick to mention that it is ok for them to be unique. T, of course, had to get a pig in there and ended up changing to a night scene before he glued everything down so he could have a "werepig" howling at the moon. P made hers be a bunny rabbit and I made a turtle that looks more like a dinosaur. :)

We really enjoyed this project. The price of the DVD is $14.99, or you can get all 9 of the Art Project DVDs for $99.99. You could break them up and do one lesson a week...or be like us and do it all in one sitting. I'm glad we did it like we did so that a)we didn't lose the little pieces from week to week and b)we only had the mess once - haha. It took us about 3 hours, start to finish. They loved it!


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Wordless Wednesday: Teamwork

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Simplified Dinners: Gluten/Dairy Free

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You know how you sometimes get a cookbook that you have to have a dictionary and a thousand ingredients to make a meal? Yeah, I don't use those. Cooking isn't really my thang (lol), so I'm always on the lookout for a good, practical cookbook. When Simplified Pantry offered two of their cookbooks for us to review, I was pumped. Since P has some trouble with dairy, I was super excited to get to review their Simplified Dinners: Gluten Free/Dairy Free cookbook. I was thrilled to also receive their original Simplified Dinners ebook as well as their Paperless Home Organization ebook.

Simplified Pantry is the creation of Mystie Winckler, a mom who began her adventure of cooking from scratch when her child was diagnosed with food allergies. Since P has a lot of trouble with dairy, I downloaded the Gluten Free/ Dairy Free book first.

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If you are like me, you have an idea of what a "cookbook" is going to look like when you open that first page, right? This ain't your grandma's cookbook...or rather, maybe it IS your grandma's cookbook. lol. Instead of telling you to put 1/4 cup of x with 1/2 cup of z, Mystie simplifies it all. She shows you HOW to make different meals, like soups, pasta, crockpot or grill. Then gives you tons of choices so you can make what you like! For example, the top of the page tells how to cook something in the crock pot, then below that, she lists many different variations you can put in the crock pot and just follow the directions at the top of the page after you choose your ingredients. Simple (even though I'm muddling up this description).  Check out this sample from her regular book and you will understand what I'm saying. It's like a cookbook that teaches you how to took, instead of what to cook.

Our family is pretty picky, so this is perfect for us...and totally genius for a cookbook! The meal ideas are endless and she even has sides and desserts. We were able to make a menu for the entire week of things we all liked - wow!  We are able to leave out things we don't like (or have - haha) and make meals that we actually wanted. It was easy to eliminate dairy when it was all laid out for us like this. I did take some of the meals from the "normal" Simplified Dinners book with gluten since we aren't avoiding that. 

I have tons of cookbooks with one or two recipes in them that we like...taking up room on our shelves. Ugh. With this, there were very few pages we didn't find something we like (we aren't big soup people so didn't try any of these ideas), and since it is an ebook, I just saved it on my ipad and didn't have to print anything at all.

Each of the cookbooks are the same layout and are $12.99. The Paperless Home Organizing is only $3.99 (and the apps I downloaded to use this were free!). Also, Mystie is graciously offering 30% off any of the ebooks when you enter TOS2013 at checkout from May 20 through June 3rd.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hard Conversations

In the past week, I've had some tough conversations with my kids. Big things that I didn't intend to talk to them about right now, but they brought them up and I am honest with them as much as I can be. (Doctors DO take babies out of mommy's tummies. See, honest.)

First, T was so excited when P brought the mail in and he had something. He can running downstairs to get it and then tossed it on the table. "Just something about skin cancer." It was his postcard that it is time to make his annual full body scan at the dermo. I didn't think much of it until the two of us were driving the next day. He started talking about his moles and when he will get more off (he is a weirdo who actually likes stitches!). He asked if moles can make him have cancer. UGH. We have been careful to not say the "C" word, just telling him that they can make people sick if they are bad ones. I asked him if he knew what cancer was and he said it was bad. It is. Thankfully, if they take the moles that are "bad" off, then you are fine, which is why we go annually to get them checked.

Then, when we were driving home from FL, we all spent the night in the same hotel room. We don't have cable at home and monitor what the kids watch. So, we turned the TV onto A&E and watched Storage Wars for a bit until it was time for bed. After it was over, P says, "What does 'damn' mean?" WHAT?!?! She said they had said it on the show and she didn't know what it meant. Oh dear! Big Daddy and I had a nice discussion on exactly what it does mean...we couldn't come up with anything so just told her it is a cuss word that we don't say. Ugh.

And everyone knows, we have had some rough weather here in OK the past few days. Thankfully, we were not affected at our house, but so many fellow Okies were. We are having our Classical Conversations Parent Practicum this week at our church. It is our first time to host and it has gone great. But yesterday, the weather was taking a turn for the worst so we shut it down early. On the drive home, the kids started asking a lot about what would happen if we were hit by a tornado. We talked about the logistics of it all, then I said, "worst case scenario....honestly...we get hit and go to heaven." That is a pretty good worse case scenario, isn't it?!?! How awesome that we don't have to fear death. I'm so thankful for Jesus, taking all my sin on Himself on the cross and beating death! What a great comfort to know that either way, we will be ok.

Wonder what next week will bring....I love these kids and love being here to teach them.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Unfailling Love

It's that time of year again, Dance Recital time! Princess P has the best dance instructor around.  She loves the kids and loves the Lord and we always leave recital with a smile. A friend came to see P dance and said he had never heard a lady "preach" like that...and she was just talking. Miss Amy loves the Lord so much that it oozes out of her and is evident in all she says and does. A great role model for P!!

Here are a few pictures from their recital: Unfailing Love was the theme. All the verses and songs reminded us of His great, unfailing love for us!

My beautiful, tiny dancer. She loved her sparkly tap outfit!

She literally has this smile on her face from the minute she steps on stage until she is done. I love it! Sharing the love of Jesus with a smile. :)

And this is so her...except she usually crosses her eyes when she is being silly.

She loves dance and loves Jesus!

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 
Psalm 32:10
PS (Do you PS on a blog? Hmmm...I'm not sure) - anyway PS. Check out the link above to another ballet post I did (or here, since I linked it again - haha) and see how much P has changed. WOW! And...big news...her top teeth broke through this last week! She had ONE top tooth, but the two next to it had been out for a LONG time. She is excited, and in a little pain! Like having a teething toddler again ;)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: College Prep Genius

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I am still hugely in denial that I have a kid that even knows the word "college," let alone is heading there anytime soon. Captain C just finished up 7th grade...crazy! When College Prep Genius had their book, High School Prep Genius: An Academic Guide to Excellence, by Jean Burk and her daughter, Judah, came up for review, I initially thought I would pass. It is too far away to be thinking about that. But then I started looking around on their site and saw that it is really for 7th grade and up. So, I was intrigued and excited when I was chosen to review it for TOS.

 photo Untitled-1_zpsac2e8af4.jpgIt is a very nice, 440 page soft bound book that is FULL of great info about preparing for college. I didn't want to freak C out, so decided to read it myself instead of asking him to read it. If your child is older, already in high school, it is a very easy read and they should probably read it along with you. For us, since he is in 7th, I read it and made notes on what to discuss with him.

The book is divided into 18 chapter, and focuses on personal success, academic success, and future success. 440 pages seemed intimidating when I received it, but as I started with the introduction (that is almost 90 pages long!), I realized that I didn't need to read every page just yet. I looked at every page, but skimmed some of them, knowing we will come back to focus on those things later.

I loved all the charts in the intro to help plan for college, including sample transcripts, and would love it if they were available as excel spreadsheets to download...I do love a good spreadsheet. ♥

After finishing the Intro at home, I started reading Chapter One while C and I were on an overnight getaway to Branson. I'm so glad I did. As we were sitting there, watching episode after episode of Storage Wars (LOL), I made it through four chapter and then we had fantastic discussion with the questions at the end of the chapters. The questions really made him think, more than just "right" answers. He is growing up and going to have to be making moral and ethical choices every was good to just talk through questions like, "Someone told you a secret and your best friend wants to know it. What would you do?" and talk about where he wants to go to college and why.

The book ends with several Appendix sections, including a reading list of the "best books of all time." I'm looking forward to working through that list with the kids.  

A lot of the subjects didn't quite relate to us just yet, but I can see it all coming...sooner than later. There are chapters on finances, organization, and even choosing classes in school.  As I finished the book, I found myself dog-earring and highlighting numerous pages and thoughts for us to come back to in the next few years. There were many things that we could do and talk about now though and fun to get a peek into my little teen's mind. ;) Each chapter has things for students to think about and discuss and also "parent homework." I love that it gets us both involved in this college process! It is a team effort, after all.

High School Prep Genius is a steal, in my opinion, at $29.95! As homeschoolers, we don't have a guidance counselor waiting to help our students at school, so we need to be educated and prepared to help them ourselves. This book is so easy to read and understand that I think all home school families should have it on their shelf (and you know I don't say that about everything!!). I can't wait to read back through it together with C in 9th grade.

** Use TOSCrew at checkout and it will give a $5 OFF discount for the purchase of High School Prep Genius. **

To read what other Crew members had to say about this book, click the banner below. 


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Wordless Wednesday (on Friday): Crazy Kids

If there were to be words in this post, it might talk about what great friends these two are and how they can have fun doing anything. Any.Thing. But I'm such a good rule follower that I will refrain from adding any words.

Random 5 on Friday ~ May 17th

I've been really swamped since getting back from vacation and haven't been able to catch up here yet so I'm starting with a quick link-up with The Pebble Pond.

1 - Our CC Parent Practicum is next week. It is our first time to host it here in O-Town and it has been a ton of work. But we have fantastic peeps here that have all stepped up to do anything needed. I think it is going to be great (and a HUGE relief when it is over!).

2 -I am so excited about P's dance recital tomorrow. I love these!!

3 - Kids are so over school, but we school through the summer so just trying to keep it light:

4 - I just got an instagram account for the first time - I'm VERY open to suggestions on what the heck I'm doing there. The whole # thing confuses me.

5 - If the kids quit fighting long enough, we are headed to the park for a friends "Gotcha Day" celebration. Adoption rocks! I'm thankful they adopted J so we could get to know him!

Now, go post 5 random things, then link it up!

Have a great weekend!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

I'm baaaaaack....

Did you miss me? Who am I one even noticed I was gone, I'm sure?

Well, Big Daddy,the kids and I spent the last 10 days in beautiful, sunny Florida with these peeps:

My parents, sisters, brother-in-laws, nieces and nephews, grandmother....and MICKEY MOUSE!

What a "magical" week!  I'm knee deep in laundry and getting back into the swing of things but will be posting an update soon.

Missed you guys...except you spammers....cut it out, already, k?!?