Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last at-home Felicity Project

Our last at home project for Felicity.  I am sad to see her go, but know that we will be working with her again.  

For our last at-home project, we made the Game of Graces.  

This was a game played mostly by girls.  It was supposed to help them learn to be graceful.  I also read somewhere that it was invented because it was not proper for girls to run around, like the boys who could run with the hoop and stick.  

Here is our project.  Our friend Suzy came over to play with us.  And I didn't get to snap alot of pictures because we were using a hot glue gun....and it made me really nervous.

Caty unwrapped all the ribbon while I was helping Lydia.

Lydia kept insisting that she could use the glue gun by way!  So she unwrapped her ribbon and got it ready. 

 We got Caty's hoop done and she decided to use it as a headband.
Here's our finished hoops.  I was short of the doll rods, going to grab more this weekend so maybe we can play more.

If you would like to do this project, we found it in the Felicity - An American Girl Craft Book.

or we found some great projects (including this one) at this website.....A Book in Time.

We used lots of colored ribbon, the inner hoops of cross stitching hoops, and small doll rods.

I also found the project listed on the Nickelodeon Parents Connect site.

In January, we start Josefina.  Very excited and planning already.

Bring on December!

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I am not sure that I am ready for this.  Winter is here, even though technically it's fall for 3 more weeks.  But waking up to that icky snow.....yuck!!  But we made the best of it, I dressed the girls (who love to play in the snow) and headed out to freeze

Want to talk about super fast....put together snow suit and snow covered plastic slide.  It was like a scene out of the Chevy Chase movie when he was on the sled and went flying.  So funny!!!
 Watch the snow fly in the air when I land!
 She actually stopped quite abruptly at the bottom of the slide.
 Made snow angels.
 Look at my footprints!!
 And of course they had to eat it.
 And eat some more.
So whether I am ready for it or not...Bring on December!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What we are working on this week...

What we are working on this week....

As a group, we are working on a new art program.  Brayden is not a lover of drawing, so he is not loving art class.  But Joey and Lydia are really enjoying it.

We are working on our country for World Travelers Club.....Cyprus.  Picking out projects and we will be making a Cypriot meal tomorrow.

In Science we are finishing up the skeleton, joints and starting a section on our blood.  Even creating our own "drinkable" blood.

Joey and Brayden will be continuing Time in Math Mammoth and reviewing calendar work.  We faced some regression in these areas, so I am encouraging this.  Even moved our calendar to a more convenient place for them to work on.  Brayden is still working on his Car lapbook and Joey on his Guitar lapbook.  They are working on copywork, and I am going to introduce Joey to cursive writing again.  See if he can handle the work yet.  And they will continue using BIG IQ Kids to work on Math facts, spelling and State Geography.

Lydia is taking off on reading, so we are still working with Reading Eggs and I have added a Scholastic title on High Frequency Words to her work this week.  
Word Wall Practice! High Frequency Level 1
She was struggling with A beka, so we will re-visit that work in a couple months.  She is continuing with Math-U-See.  And we are going to learn more about Big Cats.....tigers, cheetahs, lions, pumas, cougars....she is really into animals.  We are using the lapbook components from Homeschool Share.

Joey and Lydia have guitar lessons.  Lydia and Caty have American Girl Club this week.  And of course, Basketball and Bowling.  Kind of a light week...and Mommy's excited about that!!  The girls are counting down the days to ballet though.

My favorite person in my life...

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This post will be a combination of the person I am most thankful for and my favorite person.  I am very thankful for my hubby.  Without him, I would never be able to do all that I do.

He is super supportive of all our projects.  And even if he doesn't agree with the when we adopted the cats.....he still helps out.  Our tag team approach to our daily challenges is always a work in progress.  But in the end, we come out of it on a daily basis.

We have been together 14 years now, and I am ever so grateful for each day.

I love you honey!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Great Commissions Languages-French 1-A - Review


From the first time that Lydia and I read a Fancy Nancy book she has wanted to learn French.  So we were excited to receive this product to review.  I do not speak French, and I know absolutely none. Yes I have heard the jokes about french fries and french  But hey, I studied Spanish in high school and kept up on that a little bit.  That is needed more in our area than French.  So the thought of this scared me a bit, actually a little more than learning Latin.  After all, she is wanting to learn more than some vocabulary.  She wants to learn conversation.  And my rule is to learn along with the kids so that I can help them practice.  (I am even learning guitar right now because of this same philosophy.)

Great Commission Languages is truly Simple French.  I really enjoyed the straightforward teaching style with the lesson plans laid out for me.  The simplicity and little planning effort I needed to put forth, helped me to approach this with a lot more confidence.  Instead of planning, I was able to concentrate more on learning.  If you are using this for a co-op, this is perfect for you.  Very little extra work is needed for you.

Another plus for this program are the cds.  The last thing I want is to teach her to say a sound the wrong way, so the script cds are wonderful!!!  We have used the audio not only at home, but to practice in the van.  You can also find printables on these.

Our French is definitely a work in progress, but we are truly enjoying this program and it's easy to use style.  

We have been exploring Level 1-A, which is recommended for Grades 7 and up.  And we have picked up on many new words for us.  There is a great conversational learning style here.  It's so different than just learning vocabulary.  We are hearing words used in casual conversation.  (And we can rewind the conversation and hear it over and over, so we can hopefully learn it also.)

We will be purchasing Le Français Facile! Junior since we are a bit over our heads with this level.  But yet, even though Lydia is no where near the 7th grade, she and I have been using this program level very easily.  It is helping us to get used to letter and word sounds.  

Want a complete French curriculum?
Way more than a computer game that simply teaches words, Le Français Facile! has everything you need to succeed at teaching French! If you want to go beyond "getting by on a tourist trip to France," then you need to understand the French people, their culture, and their expressions. Every lesson includes French cultural notes and trivia. French idioms (an English idiom would be "Six of one, half a dozen of another) are used in the stories, explained, and kept in your students notebook. You even get some fabulous French recipes (Marie's recipe for Ratatouille is worth the cost of the program alone)! The aim of Le Français Facile! is to turn you into a truly bilingual person, able to go into business with, or present the Gospel to, the French speaking world.

Great Commission Languages - Easy French Level 1A
You can view samples and a video on how the program works at the Great Commission Languages website.

They even offer some extra free printables.  If you are looking for a Super Easy Foreign Language curriculum, Great Commission Languages will be there for you from elementary level through high school.

I do feel that this program is a bit pricey.  Learning a foreign language is a huge plus.  But I consider it sort of an optional activity.  She doesn't need to learn French.  I like though that we can use this program with multiple children and it will not be necessary to repurchase workbooks.  So the cost can be "spread" across several children.  And the ease of use, to me, makes it truly worth the cost.  My only problem is fitting it into our already busy!

If French is not a language your family is interested in, they also carry Easy Spanish.

Great Commision Languages - 2011 Practical Homeschooling Reader Award

Product information:
Cost: Le Français Facile! Level IA is $84.95
Where to buy: Great Commission Languages
Author/Publisher: Marie Filion

Check out what other Crew Mates thought of this product.


*****I received Le Français Facile! Level IA from Great Commission Languages free of charge for the sole purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views I have expressed are my own and are real experiences with my family. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255>:"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Reality Television

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I try....try...and try harder, but I am drawn to reality TV.  I no longer am addicted to shows like Survivor.  But point the way to Storage Hunters or Storage Wars and I could sit and watch for hours....and hours.  My other weakness is Pawn Stars.  I want a Chumley shirt....he just cracks me up!  Of course so does the Old Man.  

But there is nothing like watching some person who wanted to be on the Jerry Springer show taking their frustration out on the poor repo guy as he is just doing his job.  Mistakes happen and people's lives get hard, but does that poor guy seriously need to be beaten with a stick for doing his job.  Do they deserve to be screamed at with obsenities?  Joe and I have both compared those repo shows to a Jerry Springer episode.

I like to watch reality shows like 19 Kids and Counting or even the Coupon show.  I still sit in awe of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and how they have 19 Kids, and how many compliments they get on the behavior of their kids.  I have read their books, and although I personally will not be having that many children, I do respect their choice.  I like watching what other people are up to, and all the field trips that the family gets to go on.

Joe and I were both addicted to the reality show called The Colony.  We haven't seen a 3rd season appear yet, but wow it made us think, what would happen?  I admit that shows similar to this will really scare some people into hiding.  And we still wonder how the participants were able to think that things were that bad, when they started the show knowing it was an experiment.  I would really like to know how those people are doing now, after finishing each season.  Unfortunately, the reality of that show is that people will be that cruel to each other in order to "survive" themselves.

One other I forgot about was the spouse trading shows.  I mean, come on, were you really expecting that person to come in to your house and do everything the way you wanted it to be done.  You know going in that you will be paired with a family that is exactly opposite of your beliefs and way of life.  It showed that some people were truly open to new experiences, while others had minds that were as closed as locked doors.

Joe and I joked the other day that our life would make a funny reality show.  Never know what to expect in our house.  Things can go from sunny to rainy in the matter of a few minutes around here.  Would I truly want to be on a reality  Too many bad experiences that I have read about that happen to families, and it's mainly due to the media coverage.  It's a trade that these people and families have to deal with.  Even the Duggars live under a microscope and are ridiculed for their decisions.  And this is a "Christian" family that try to do good for everyone.  So no...don't want a reality show here.

I don't know why I am drawn in.  I'll keep watching reality TV as long as there are shows like Mythbusters and Pawn Stars.  There's some educational value to these programs, and it's entertaining as well.  Now if you don't mind, Storage Hunters is on and I need to watch Daryl and Brandy get into a bidding war again......

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Guardian Book Company --- 50% off sale!!!!

“We Do It All”

There's a wonderful resource for Michigan, Ohio and Indiana homeschoolers.  Have you been to visit:

Guardian Book Company, located just across the state line in Ottawa Lake, Michigan started about 25 plus years ago as a regional special wholesaler serving both Ohio and lower Michigan. 
Guardian Book Company has a newly remodeled 16,325 square foot book showroom stocked with over 150,000 “all new” K-12 hardcover, paperback, trade and library bound books.  Our stocked books are deeply discounted at50% off of school prices!
Guardian Book Company does it all.  From special programs for selecting and ordering Accelerated Reader, Reading Counts, Fountas & Pinnell, leveled reading, chapter, picture, low readability, high interest both fiction and non-fiction books to book processing, including MARC Records, bar codes, spine labels and reading labels.
All educational personnel, administrators and librarians are invited to visit our showroom facility located on the Ohio-Michigan border. Please call for an appointment and directions.
Our friendly and helpful staff is here to assist you with all of your needs!

They are holding a huge Sale!!!!

50% off EVERYTHING!!!!!

Classroom Supplies & Furniture - Reading  & Math Kits from TOP PUBLISHERS - Leveled Readers - Accelerated Reader Collections - Math - Science - Social Studies - Literature - Bilingual - Beginning Reading - Careers - Animals - Biographies - Sports

Gift Items!!! - Activity Books - Workbooks - Supplemental - Library Books

Brand New Hardcover & Softcover

They have something for everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 30th
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Thursday, December 1st
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Friday, December 2nd
10:00 AM - Noon

Warehouse Location:
8484 Brown Street
Ottawa Lake, Michigan
For more information:  419-344-4415

Free $4.95 Board Book of your Choice.

You can find them on Facebook.
Visit their store on Ebay.

And watch for them at upcoming Conventions....Be sure to stop by and tell Norm "hello"!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Things I will Never Do

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

I signed up for the Blog Dare from Bloggy Mom.  I am pulling an old topic that I missed to blog about today.

1.  Touch a snake.  I am soooo afraid of snakes.  But the girls like to see them.  I hide my fear the best I can, but they freak me out!  I used to have nightmares about them.  Couldn't even watch a scene with a snake in it on TV.  I can now walk through the snake house at the zoo, as long as I don't have to stare into the glass cages.

2.  Climb Mt. Everest.  Please....I hate cold.....I am out of shape....and broke.  Those 3 things alone would disqualify me.  But I do love watching movies and specials about those who do trek up the summit.

3.  Eat soy again.  I used to live on soy.  I love fried tofu.  But after a friend told me about soy allergies and the dangers of soy (I still haven't finished the book yet on Soy dangers), took it out of my diet.  Once I eliminated it, turns out I have an allergy to it.

4.  Run a marathon.  This might be a possibility someday.  But vision of training for a short marathon is not a reality.  No time to really train.  I probably shouldn't put this under Never...but currently just will not happen.

5.  Understand Autism.  Every time I think I understand something the boys do, it changes.  Nothing will ever be "normal" in our house.  I am pretty sure Norman Rockwell would have turned Jackson Pollock if he was trying to paint a portrait of our daily activities.  I will never be totally used to the daily happenings of our house.

6.  Be completely organized.  I am an organized dreamer.  I try my best.  I have my calendar to keep track of appointments and activities.  I try planning meals.  But still most days I am running around trying to barely keep up with daily life.  

7.  Have a house that will appear in Good Housekeeping.  Seriously!!! do people live in those houses that appear in the House magazines?!?!  I cannot be sick for half a day before they go through our house and it looks like natural disasters kept erupting and shaking our house!  I just need to accept that our house will never even be nominated for more than Messiest House in America!

8.  I don't think I will ever get to finish my Education Degree in an actual classroom.  I have part of a Teaching Degree...that's it...just part.  But I am getting a complete education just by homeschooling the kids.  Probably will never be able to teach in a classroom now....principals have a tendency to frown upon such a loose curriculum schedule.  Guess I could be an aid someday, but may just try to tutor kids instead.  Keep me out of the classroom and possibly saying something that will get me fired (lol).

9.  Stop loving field trips.  No matter how much stress and running around that I do....will never stop loving field trips to museums and the zoo.  Field trips are sensory nightmares for our kids.  I will just work harder at watching for the issues that cause the overload and try to control that better.

10.  Eat oysters.  Sorry....this one may bite me for saying.  We have a rule in the house that if we as the parents say something negative about a food that keeps a child from trying it, we have to eat a whole plate of that item in front of the child.  Joe and I have done so far the past 11 years with this.  We even like brussel sprouts now.  But I have to say....the thought of oysters....Yuck!!!  If I don't serve them, they won't know about them.  When they are adults....they can be adventurous about them then.

Conclusion of Garbage Project

It's been a month since we started our project.  The point of the project was to see that not all items decompose.  Some garbage will last forever.  If you saw our first post, we snuck a candy wrapper in between the layers of dirt.

Two weeks ago we did an update.  

After a month of sitting in the window, the food scraps decomposed.  Everything but the candy wrapper.
We started this project as a environmental project for Girl Scouts.  We learned that we really need to take care of the precious planet we are living on.

We learned the term carbon footprint and now know that our carbon footprint leaves a mark on everything we do.  I compared their regular footprint and asked if you can see their footprint everywhere they go.  They said No.  I then explained that even though we cannot see it everytime we walk, our footprint does leave a mark with each step.  So everything we do makes an impact on the environment.  Lydia and I made this poster for our meeting.

These are some of the books we read.

I forgot we had this book, and the mom that put together this meeting showed it to us.  Do you know it takes almost 500 gallons of water to make one t-shirt??  This is a wonderful book.  I highly recommend it!!! Full of eye-opening facts!
This meeting tied in with our trip to Goodwill a couple weeks ago.  One very important way to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is to buy used.  You not only save money, but you also help the environment!

A couple ways we are working on improving our carbon footprint.  We put a recycling box directly in our schoolroom for paper scraps.
We also have started switching to environmentally friendly soaps and gradually replacing our cleaners.  We are also going to work at purchasing our clothes second hand, instead of buying new.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Deer, more deer, Elk and Bison...oh my!

We wanted to have a family day today, so we loaded up the van and it felt like we were moving for only a 3 hour  We had bought discounted passes several months ago to a local drive-thru wildlife park.  And everytime we tried to go, something always came up.  So we really tried to go today, and leaving only a half hour after we planned went on the road.  Our little pug, Rocky even came along for the ride.  

This was a new experience for all of us.  And we learned immediately....NEVER take a new vehicle to one of these places!!!

 Can you see why......
 Poor Joe was about to have a heart attack with each elk horn, deer lick and bison sniff that came our way!
This elk and deer though got into a fight and one stole the cup and the other tried to climb into the van and get the carrot.  I dropped the camera after this shot trying to keep Caty from losing a finger!
 Most were nice......
 And I loved the buffalo and bison.
 Joey was very nervous (especially after the elk hooves and head inside the van)....but just before we left they took turns feeding this cutie.
 And he pigged out.....then he got into a fight with a deer and spit carrot all over the front of our van.

 My bison buddy.  Lots of snotty kisses!

 The after effects on our new van....lots of kisses on the windows and mud on the doors.
More mud
A better look at all the snotty kisses.

 Snotty and muddy bumper.
 Carrot spit on the bumper
After all the excitement, we decided to take our picnic to a local park.  We were near Lake Erie, so we chose one right on the lake.  Unfortunately it was very windy there, so we let the kids play a bit while I made sandwiches in the van.

We watched someone on the lake that was doing something like wind-surfing with this huge kite.  It was 55 degrees and sunny, but very windy.  That water had to be in the 40s.  Don't think I would do that...but Lydia is wanting to do a polar bear swim.  So maybe doing that before I know it.  The polar bear swim is coming up in January....brrrrrr!

Lesson of the day.....Do No Take your New Van through a Drive-thru Animal Park.