Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some New Things Around The House

For the time being we are putting fixing the stove on hold and my parents gifted us with a really nice toaster oven. This baby can do just about anything a regular stove can do. This is a kitchenaid model that can bake cookies, muffins, 12inch pizzas, chicken, roast, and casseroles. It has a broil setting and toasting, as well as warming and defrosting. This morning I baked biscuits and they turned out better than normal.

Grace's favorite thing in the world to eat is french fries and potato chips. Whenever she is hungry for a snack she always wants to reach for chips. Finally she has come to the conclusion to start picking healthier snack items. Top photo has pistachios, granola bars, Asian snack mix, and a granola and nut mix. 
Fruit is always available and hopefully she will start choosing more of these also. The past week she ate salad two nights and rice with one dinner choice which is a huge accomplishment on her part. Also as always trying to incorporate more exercise into our week.

Today at the office store this cork board was 1/2 price. We got it for $7.00. Tonight hanging this in Grace's room to display more of her artwork.

Planning For A School Year


If you ask any homeschool mother they will tell you that planning for the next school year is "the most wonderful time of the year". Researching products takes time, prayer and discernment and can be somewhat overwhelming. In years past I have put a lot of thought, research, and time into the process of my decisions for products to purchase and how to use them throughout the year. This year the planning process seemed easier. I will not be planning what lesson for what day, Grace will simply work through her books until she is done. Probably because of the more relaxed unschooled methods we are putting in place. In May as a family we visited our state homeschool convention and purchased the items we would need for the year. I focused on items that Grace could work on independently and at her own pace. I will go into more detail tomorrow with the actual curriculum we chose and how we will use it. The one item I use for planning is actually for record keeping through the Notgrass Company.

Each two page spread contains:

Spiritual Life - Bible Study, Worship, and Christian Fellowship
Learning to Work - Chores, Service, and Life Skills
Relating to Others - Character and Relationships
Learning About God's Creation - Science and Technology
Learning About People and Places - Geography, Government, and Foreign Language
Learning About the Event of People of the Past - History and Biography
Learning About the Thoughts of Others - Reading and Literature
Being Creative - Art, Crafts, Music, Drama, and other Creative Activities
Learning to Communicate - Letter Writing, Grammar, Handwriting, Creative Writing and Journaling
Caring for My Body - Exercise, Sports, and Health
Learning Math - Problem Solving, and Thinking Skills

This type of recording works better with our new lifestyle. Not just recording workbooks and textbooks but also everything we consider a learning experience in our everyday lives.

Edited after the hop closed: Just noticed that I put the wrong post up for today. So looks like tomorrow will be curriculum for me then Thursday will be back on track. Sorry to all the fellow hoppers out there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Controversial Home School Method

When I pulled my then 2nd grade daughter out of school we choose the very structured, textbook method of homeschooling. After all, that's what I knew and I turned out all right. One year of textbooks and lots of tears sent us down the path of looking for another way of schooling at home. In walked Charlotte Mason and we thought this was the answer to many prayers. Charlotte Mason was a part of our lives for almost five years when I decided this year to change things up a bit. When a parent discovers that they have a child not academically inclined, the first thought is what a failure you must be in the homeschooling world. Once I got over these feelings (still working on it) I realized that all children are different. Mine happens to have strengths in the fine arts and weaknesses in the academic arena. This leads me to the method chosen for my daughter's remaining years of education, unschooling/very relaxed homeschooling. The term unschooling really means different things to many families. To use it means if she learns one or two new things a day, or a week, we are okay with that. If she chooses her learning experiences she absorbs more of it as opposed to me choosing. As a family we have many learning experiences available on a daily basis: gardening, raising chickens, fine arts co-op, chores, reviews for TOS, anime convention, essay classes, and Jr. gardening classes. The biggest change will be not worrying about getting every subject accomplished every day. It will be her choice each day what she accomplishes. In unschooling a child there is a misconception that the parent is very hands off and that the child is off in front of the TV or computer all day. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unschooling parents are very hands on and always available to encourage and make opportunities available for the child's interests. This year will be full of many surprises on the horizons of learning for our family.

Friday, July 27, 2012

With All The Craziness We started Back To School Yesterday

Many of you know that my dad had surgery on Monday and came home Wednesday evening. Well  yesterday and today have been tough. My dad can't seem to function. Examples: just started feeding himself today but still needs help, unable to stand and has no upper body strength, not able to get out of bed into wheel chair with 1-2 men lifting him, going to the bathroom on his own, and so much more. The family is still considering sending him to rehab for a couple of weeks to get his stamina and strength back. We do feel that he might lapse into a deep depression if we do this and just give up. So we are going to try things through the weekend and see where we are on Monday. Monday he will receive a hospital bed and his physical and occupational therapy will start on Tuesday. So during all of this me and Grace decided to start back to school. For the past 6 weeks we have been reviewing educational products and it already kind of felt like school. Plus Grace was getting bored, so hot outside, that we decided to take the plunge. Slow go is our motto at the moment. The past couple of days have consisted of geography, science, language lessons, reading, review work for TOS, and a following directions workbook (she has many problems in this area). Next week I hope to add in logic and American history, then the following week we will add in math. Some outside of the home classes start on August 14th and August 30th. Also can't wait to get in Vintage Remedies for Tweens and start concocting some of our own remedies. Please continue to pray for my family as we go through this trying time, that God will give us all wisdom in the decisions we need to make and that dad's recovery will go as smoothly as possible.

Fran - I am going to send you to a good company website to get an idea about lapbooking, it will explain it so much better than I. Go to In The Hands of a Child to check out lapbooking.

School House Teachers - TOS Review

I have been a fan of the Old Schoolhouse magazine for years. Always looking forward to the articles of encouragement, teaching, and product reviews. Now TOS has supplied us with so much more through their new website School House Teachers. To review the entire website is close to impossible. So many possibilities for the teacher of each family to choose from. The choices include: Career Exploration, Chemistry, College Choice Guidance, Economics, Figures in History, Filmmaking, Geography, High School Math, History, Home Economics, Lapbooking, Literature, Music-Voice, Reading Lessons, Special Needs, Technology, and Writing. Also available are School House Dailies: Daily Grammar, Math, Writing, Ditch the Desk, Everyday Easels, Everyday Explorers-Canada, Everyday Explorers-USA, Pre-K Activities, Summer Shakespeare, This Day in History, and This Month's Menu. School House Extras: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, TOS Back Issues, Free E-book, Schoolhouse Expo, and Schoolhouse Planners. Also included is the Schoolhouse Library with Copybooks, Homeschool Life, Monthly Themes, Reading Lists, Lesson Archives, Art Shelf, Craft Shelf, Homemaking and Housekeeping Shelf, Nature Shelf, and Spelling Shelf.

As you can see from the above categories, there is something for everyone. Lessons for preschool, elementary, middle and high school are included. Everyday new lessons, review, and studies can be found. For the purposes of this review our family concentrated on three areas: Everyday Easels, Grammar Review, and Music-Voice. We choose a study about Grandma Moses from Everyday Easels. A biography was provided with a writing lesson as well as recreating one of her pieces through painting and a home economics project of cooking apple butter. The next two weeks we worked on the music lessons which included singers, songwriters, and composers through the years. Everyday we worked on a daily review worksheet from the grammar review. Grace really enjoyed the art and music lessons and learned a lot about Grandma Moses.

Some of the items that I enjoyed as a parent include obviously the digital magazine, the monthly free e-book, and the school house planners. I am really looking forward to the Schoolhouse Expo coming this month. There is so much included on this website a family could easily use it for the entire curriculum. I am looking forward to whatever they many continue to add to the website in the future. This would be a great tool for new homeschoolers, all lessons at your fingertips for a very small price. All you need is the internet, a membership, and a printer. I whole-heartedly recommend this website to all homeschoolers for at the very least, review work and extra studies to enhance the curriculum you already use.

The first month's membership is just $1.00 then it will only go up to $5.95 a month. Nobody can beat that price. Please visit School House Teachers for more information.

Read what the rest of the crew had to say about Schoolhouse Teachers at TOS Review Crew.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Treasures of Healthy Living Bible Study

I am enjoying the Treasures of Healthy Living Bible Study that I won in a giveaway. I needed a new Bible study and reading about the foods that God gave us is very interesting. Currently the study has started in a vegetable section and this is what I learned today:

"Cruciferous refers to plants that have flowers with four petals that botanical historians describe as resembling the crucifix or cross; thus they are call cruciferous."

The Magnificent Twelve
Brussels Sprouts
Mustard Greens

Further Top Nutritious Vegetables
All dark leafy vegetables
Red bell peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Winter Squash                                            

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Happened Yesterday

Let me start with some background history. Almost 30 years ago my dad went in for intestinal surgery and ended up staying in ICU for 3 months. Immediately following surgery he starting throwing blood clots in his legs and had to endure more surgeries to try and blow them out with a balloon type procedure. In the process he lost his right leg right above the knee and his left big toe. During that whole process a lung collapsed, kidneys shut down, and had a heart attack. It took him a long time to recuperate and was never really the same again. Fast forward to yesterday, he was scheduled for surgery to remove an aneurysm in his abdomen (we were told this is very common in older men). A 1-2 hour procedure turned into five hours. When the surgeon began he quickly discovered that dad had so much blockage in his stump that he was at the point of losing his right kidney and the remainder of the amputated leg. Only 5 percent of blood flow in his right side for who knows how long. Very long and complicated procedure to remove everything. Once he was put in a room in the later afternoon the nurse could not find a pulse on the top of his left foot (they must check every 15 minutes for so many hours following surgery) which sent my mom back into flashbacks of 30 years ago. The doctor was called in and he found the pulse immediately. Over the past two years dad had started with high blood pressure which now we know came from the blockages leading to his kidney. The doctor thinks that now he may be able to go off the medication because the kidney will be working properly. Dad is slowly recovering from this surgery which the doctor himself said was a real ordeal on his body. He may actually be able to come home late tomorrow. Please pray for continued recovery and to be able to function at home.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

TOS Review - Math Essentials


If you asked my daughter she would probably say that math is her least favorite thing in the world to ever do. I wish I could tell you that after using Math Essential she loves math, but that would be incorrect. I will say that some aspects of Math Essentials has made math a little more bearable. For the purposes of this review we chose Pre-Algebra Concepts and Problem Solving workbooks.

Grace did one page from Pre-Algebra three days a week and one page from Problem Solving two days a week. Problem Solving sells for $10.95 and Pre-Algebra Concepts with dvd for $30.95. Each work page starts with three to six review problems. I really appreciated the review section because my daughter needs lots of it.  The next section is helpful hints which explains the new concept followed by ten problems from the new material. Pre-Algebra Concepts came with a dvd with explanations while Problem Solving did not. Here are my thoughts so far:


  1. The cost of the workbooks/dvds/online videos is very economical and the materials are worth the price you pay.
  2. Only 10 problems per new material for students that don't really like math is very attractive.
  3. Less time involved with only 20 minutes a day devoted to math.
  4. Set up of review one every work page.
  1. No solutions. If you miss a problem and can't figure it out your kind of stuck.
  2. On one of the early lessons in Pre-Algebra a question was asked that was not in my opinion properly addressed to solve the problem.
  3. All the bar graph problems in Problem Solving left room for child's interpretation which in turn meant sometimes a wrong answer. 
The books I reviewed are in line for 6th - 8th grade. On the website many more workbooks are available for grades 4 - 12. I believe we will stick with Math Essentials for now. After finishing the two books we have I plan on purchasing the Geometry workbook. Some of the books are recommended as a stand alone products for an entire course where others are supplemental. In my opinion the pros out weigh the cons and I would recommend this product especially for students that are interested in a shorter and more concise routine of math each day. Please visit Math Essentials for more information. Visit here to see what the other TOS Reviewers think. 

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew I received this product at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Look What I Just Purchased for Science

    This will be part of Grace's science for the 8th grade year. I have been wanting this book for I cannot tell you how long. Vintage Remedies had a booth out the GHEA convention in 2011 and at that time I really thought this looked interesting. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to get it. So today I took the plunge and made the purchase. Hopefully on Monday Grace will be attending a Jr. Gardner class and this would round out the week well. Vintage Remedies also has courses that high schoolers and adults can do long distance. I am thinking about Grace going that route for one of her years in high school. This is really great information to have and if Grace finds it interesting then maybe she could go down the path of becoming an herbalist. Definitely a lost art.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Coming Soon

 Make sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming Back To Homeschool Blog Hop. This will be my first time participating in a blog hop. So excited.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baking Ahead

As I have mentioned my oven is dead. Stove top is still good and I do have a slow cooker. So between last night and this morning I decided to do some baking ahead ( some here and some at my mother's house).
Last night I made 12-15 waffles to keep in the freezer for easy breakfast over the next couple of weeks. Just take a couple out of the freezer and warm up in the toaster. If interested in the recipe I got it from a friend blogger here.
Next on the agenda was muffins and blondies over at my mom's house. Also was able to spend some quality time with mom and dad (dad will have surgery on Monday to remove an aneurysm in his abdomen). Also made home made pizza for us all for lunch.

Twenty four muffins to put in the freezer. I love these also for a quick breakfast and also a late night snack.
Last but not least was blondies for snacks for the next week.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Last Child In The Woods Chapters 18,19,20

The three chapters read this week to me were mostly about what the world could be. The thoughts of villages/towns that are small and incorporate nature and such into the design would be a wonderful place to live. This is one of the reasons we moved out of the suburban sprawl 10 years ago to the North Ga Mountains. Closer to nature. Farm life appeals to me on so many levels. I feel that most of society has just lost themselves in what they think life should be about and don't pay attention to what they already have. If I went back 10 years I never would have thought I would have 20 chickens in the back yard and a huge community garden 100 yards from our house. So much needs to be done to get back to what is important, but where to start is the question? I think this book provokes many thoughtful questions and has many wonderful ideas.

Sponsoring Missionaries

I mentioned in a previous post how much I wanted to start supporting people and organizations that were out there in the world spreading God's word and love. A few months ago we started supporting a missionary through Gospel for Asia and have her information hanging on our wall in the kitchen.
Now we have a new missionary to support, a family member actually. My cousin and her husband are traveling to Uganda the beginning of August to spend a year there working with children through Mercy Uganda.
So now we have a map of Africa with there information up also. Hoping to add more to it once they arrive in Uganda. 
Next on the list will be collecting funds for World Vision or supporting a child. I really feel God speaking to me to branch out more in this area. Please pray for safety, wisdom, and protection for my cousin and her husband for the upcoming year in Africa.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

All About The Garden

Homemade tomato paste to make pizza sauce.
Finished pizza sauce that is kind of thin so may need to be pasta sauce.
Three hours tonight of cutting, blanching, drying and freezing potatoes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Snippets From This Week So Far

  • This is camp week. Grace is attending an anime camp in the morning and chemistry camp in the afternoon. Busy but fun.
  • Storms, rain, and mud. A vicious cycle in my world. Typical weather for summer but wreaking havoc  on the mud in the backyard where the chickens live. 
  • Oven is broken at the moment so no baking going on.
  • Organized all the food storage.
  • Working on art journaling sample pages for my upcoming class. Next will be puppets to make as samples.
  • Reviewing products for TOS Review Crew. Reviews will be up starting next week.
  • Working on a new Bible study that I won as a giveaway on another blog. So far I like it. It is mostly about health and how we treat our bodies according to what is in the Bible.
  • Our Tomatoes crop is not going to be good. So much for my visions of pasta and pizza sauce.

Photo Update

Won in a Giveaway.

Art Journaling Page - Layering
Art Journaling Page - Birds
Art Journaling Page - Collage
Harvest from the garden today 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Controversial Topic

Wondering if any of you out there have home churched or unchurched now or in the past. Over the past couple of years I feel my heart and desires have been changing. At this point I don't know if it is the flesh talking and my desires or if it is God talking to me to take our spiritual life on a different path. Organized religion has been a part of my life and my children's life since as early as I can remember. My husband became born again and a church attendee about 10 years into our marriage (currently our 26th year of marriage). Lately I have felt led to do something through my home for non attending church friends on another day of the week and maybe not attend our church as much as we did in the past. I feel led to reach out to individuals that for one reason or another don't feel comfortable going to church but do believe in God. Maybe younger folk that don't identify with the four walls of the church. I would like it to start off with a meal and fellowship and just learning to know people better. Am I crazy? Am I thinking the wrong things? I am 45 and have spent most of that time involved in various churches in various cities. I have sat in classes and worship services, but I feel now is the time to do something. On that same note I do help with a teen drama team that travels and performs Christian skits, and this fall I am a co-owner of a Christian fine arts cooperative (helping kids to learn their talents and perform in the community to further God's kingdom) that will start, but still feel I need to do more to make a difference. Tithing is a whole other issue. I will probably get alot of comments disagreeing with me on this, but I would what little tithing money I can give go to missionaries, etc. instead of paying for a building, etc. Does that sound wrong? Am I wrong? Recently we started supporting a missionary through Gospel for Asia and I feel led to do more. My cousin and her husband are leaving in August for Uganda as missionaries for a year. I would love to help them too, but only so much money to go around. Feedback from other Christians would really be helpful right now. Please keep it kind though. I continue to pray and ask for guidance as well as discussion with my husband. Currently his work schedule keeps him from attending church on a regular basis but that will change in the next month. Our church is small and we love them like a family and it would hurt to leave on a new adventure. Though again I come back to the fact that we are supposed to go out and make disciples of men, sometimes I don't know if I can help do that in my current situation effectively.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Index Card Challenge

This week me and Grace only got 2 index cards each finished. I was plenty busy creating journal pages to use as examples for the kids class I will be teaching in August.
Grace - Prompt Rainbow
Grace - Prompt Ladybug
Me - Prompt Draw with a ruler
Me - Prompt Ocean

Last Child In The Woods Chapters 15,16, and 17

Here are some of the items I found interesting in the three chapters:

  • The fact that PETA was campaigning for no fishing. Standing outside of schools and handing out literature to children about how bad it was to fish. What is the world coming to when a family can't enjoy fishing.
  • The need to train young persons in wildcrafting. This is an art that is very quickly dying out. 
  • What Finland is doing correctly in there educational system. Finland does not require students to attend school until 7 years of age. They offer no special programs for the gifted, and spends less money per student than the United States. Finish educators believe in the power of play (I am assuming mostly in elementary and primary grades - although the book didn't state specifics). Lessons are worked on for 45 minutes and then 15 minutes the children are allowed to run and play to blow off some steam. A substantial amount of learning has been moved to natural settings or in to the community.
  • I also liked reading the information about Ecoschools and Farm Schools. I think the idea of Farm Schools is very unique and could benefit very many students out there in the system that are don't fit into the "school type" mold. Not to mention that the farmers are dying out and not many young people are taking up the challenge to continue with family farming. What will are nation do when enough food is not grown or I should say enough chemical free foods.
  • There was one quote from chapter 16 that really stuck with me,"An environment-based education movement - at all levels of education - will help students realize that school isn't supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world".

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One of My Favorite Times of the Year - School Supplies

Although technically the supplies in the photo are for my upcoming art journaling class I will be teaching. This time of the year you can get some real deals. I was super excited to walk in to Walmart this afternoon and find the back to school sale was on. I was able to purchase 20 glue sticks, 3 packs or markers, 3 packs of colored pencils, 13 sets of watercolors, 2 pencil sharpeners, and 2 packs of crayons for 18.36. I call that a steal. Oh, I almost forgot that the price also included 4 packs of wooden spoons for the puppetry arts class.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two New Obsessions

Okay I have two new obsessions. I am little slow on jumping on the band wagon with this first:

Pinterest is my new best friend. Love looking at all the art journaling pages, homemade gift ideas, etc.  Next new obsession is art journaling.

Used watercolors and a template from Pinterest.
This is in colored pencils - a poem about caterpillars for the kids  in my art journaling class.

As far as art goes I am not very talented or creative. But when I agreed to teach an art class in the fall for 3rd - 6th grades I knew I need to step outside of my box and get to work. So each night me and Grace sit down and either do a journal page or an index card for the ICAD challenge. We have actually had alot of fun with it so far. Hoping I improve over time. In years gone by I did alot of scrapbooking which has prepared me a little for the art journaling process. I do want to learn more techniques to improve my pages. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Favorite New Reads

Lately it has been hard to find any new adult novel authors that interest me. So I moved on to youth fiction. Here are a couple of interesting ones:

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1)
This is a three book series and I am currently about to finish the second. If you like The Hunger Games you will like this series too. I am really enjoying this one and can't wait to figure out everything in the last book.
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)

I have found this one enjoyable also. I believe the author is already up to book 5 but I am about to start book 3. On Amazon it is recommended for 8th grade and up but I think more like 10th grade and up due to some thematic content and language.
Nobody's Princess (Princesses of Myth)
Grace just finished Nobody's Princess and is anxiously awaiting the second in this series from the library.
While Grace is waiting on the sequel to Nobody's Princess she has decided to start the Divergent series. I will also start this one after she finishes it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Last Child in the Woods Chapters 12, 13, 14

At this point I am still digesting alot of what I read over the past couple of days from the chapters. I guess something that really stood out to me from the chapter The Nature Child Reunion is "We need to draw an important distinction between a constructively bored mind and a negatively numbed mind". While I am collecting my thought be sure to visit Nicole here for her take on the last three chapters.

Index Card Challenge Week 5

Grace - Prompt - Butterfly
Grace - Prompt - Zebra Inspired
Grace - Prompt - Confetti
Grace - Prompt - Dramatic
Me - Prompt - Butterfly
Me - Prompt - Pink Collage
Me - Prompt - Thesaurus 
Me - Prompt - Zebra Inspired

This week Grace decided to join me with the index card challenge. As you can tell from the pictures, my work is mostly paper and collage while Grace's is drawing, because I can't draw. But I am practicing. Grace is so much more talented than myself, I hope she really takes it somewhere with her life.