Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Zirrly


Zirrly has sold arts and crafts supplies since 1956.  They strive to stir children's imagination and help them be creative while improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  My children, especially my girls, love to do all kinds of crafts.  I knew they would be very excited to receive our latest review product, Super Beads from Zirrly.  We had an opportunity to use and review the Jungle Animals set.

Super Beads are colorful beads that can be used to make designs that stick together using only water.  There are several different kits available such as: Jungle Animals, 3 D Animals, Birds, 3 D Car and Truck, Spinning Tops, Jewelry Set, and Mega Pack.  This review will focus on the Jungle Animals.

In the Jungle Animals set you will find:

6 Plastic Boards to build your designs on
6 design templates-lion, rhino, elephant, zebra, owl, and monkey
1 design tool
1 spray bottle
Plastic Work Tray
Super Beads-(the box says 2000+) yellow, blue, red, orange, white, black, brown, green
Instruction Book

The only other thing you need to complete the designs is water.  Jungle Animals is recommended for ages 5 and up.  You can purchase Jungle Animals for $24.99.

Our package arrived on a cold and yucky Saturday morning.  The girls (6 and 8) wanted to dive right in and start making the Jungle Animals.  Lily started with the owl, and Emmie made the Zebra, following the design template for each.

Once you have all the beads on the board, you press down the beads, carefully remove the template, and spray them down with water from the water bottle.  Then you let them dry for around 60 minutes and  carefully remove them from the board using the design tool.  Flip the design over and spray the other side.  Once dry you are finished.
After making the black and white zebra, Emmie decided she wanted to make a different color zebra, and after that made a whole family of zebras.  Lily also made a family of owls. 
The boys (10 and 12) wanted to make something with the Super Beads as well.  They wanted to try their own design and make a Minecraft family.

By the end of the day we had a whole crew of Jungle Animals and this family.  Between the four of them they used the entire set of beads in one day.

They LOVED the Super Beads!  The included templates in the kits were great to get them started while still allowing for creativity in color and design.  They had no trouble placing the beads on the boards.  The trickiest part when getting started was knowing how much water to use.  I let the girls spray down their first designs on their own, but when I went back to take them off, the beads had not connected.  I think after I warned them to be careful not to use too much water they did not spray enough. I sprayed them down myself and waited another 60 minutes and had no trouble getting them off, they stuck together perfectly.  The first time Christian (10) sprayed his design he used way to much water and they turned into a mushy mess that never did dry.  The second time I sat with him while he sprayed and it turned out perfect.  Once you get the idea of how much water to use it is really easy and they had no trouble.  I absolutely loved that all you needed was water to make them stick!  No ironing required!  I also loved that the beads were packaged into smaller packages so we didn't have to have them all opened at the same time and could open them as needed.  The little water bottle that was included was great and the tool to lift the designs off of the board was very helpful.  The designs are flexible and even after playing with them have held together really well.

We had a lot of fun with our Super Beads and would love to purchase more kits in the future!

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Home School in the Woods Á La Carte Products

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Home School in the Woods offers a variety of different types of products that help bring history to life.  I have used many of their products over the last 10 years and have been impressed with all of them.  Recently they started offering some of the projects that are part of their larger studies as Á La Carte products able to be purchased separately to enhance any study you may be using in your homeschool. We recently had the opportunity to use and review the Early Nineteenth Century Timeline and the Orchestra File Folder Project.

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

The Early Nineteenth Century Timeline is a 26 page PDF download that was originally created as part of Time Travelers of the Early 19th Century.  The download contains tips, tricks, and instructions for printing and creating the timeline, 9 lined pages spanning from the years 1790-1850 that are labeled with where to place each figure, 4 pages of timeline figures, and an answer key showing all of the figures placed on the timeline.  You can purchase a family license for the download for $5.45.

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
We chose the Early Nineteenth Century Timeline because we are studying American History this year.  We have used Home School in the Woods timeline figures in the past to go along with other history studies we have done and they are the best timeline figures I have ever seen.  This project was very easy to print out and put together.  It includes 98 different figures with clear direction on how to place them on the timeline.  I think using a timeline is a great way to bring history to life and make it make more sense to children and am impressed with the finished result of this one.  Instead of connecting our pages, we 3 hole punched them and placed them in a notebook.

Our second project was the Orchestra File Folder Project.  This was a 13 page download originally created for the Composers Activity Pack.  It includes tips, tricks, and instructions for printing and assembly, 2 pages of stage background, 2 pages of instrument cards, 2 pages of period cards, 2 pages of pockets, and one page of cover art.  You will need a file folder to complete this project along with scissors, glue, double sided tape, and colored pencils if you wish to color.  You can purchase this download for $4.95. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
I chose Orchestra File Folder Project because we were getting ready to start a Music Appreciation course and I wanted the children to have an understanding of the orchestra and the instruments that it is made up of.  The instructions for the project were easy to follow and everything was easy to print out.  Putting it together does take a bit of time, especially cutting and folding all of the pockets.  But I thought it was a great project that enhanced our understanding of the orchestra.

Members of the Crew reviewed a variety of the available Á La Carte products. Stop by the Crew Blog to read the reviews.  I thought that the Art of Quilling and the Art Gallery File Folder Game looked very interesting!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 26

Bible: We finished Know Who You Are, Live Like it Matters.  I ordered the Elementary Apologetics curriculum from Master Books for us to start after spring break.

Read Aloud: We read 3 chapters from Brady.

Geography: This week we studied Mongolia.

History: We read Lesson 2 of America's Story Vol 2 on the Story of Abraham Lincoln Part 1.

Music Appreciation: We completed lesson 4 of Music Appreciation 1 on Bach and the musical concept of Tutti.

Math: 4 lessons completed in MLFLE.

Language Arts: Anthony and Christian completed 4 lessons in Readers in Residence on Winn Dixie.I ordered Basic Language Skills from Master Books for Emmie to start after the break.

Spelling/Reading: The boys completed Step 9 in AAR Level 5.  I did not get to AAR with Lily this week.  Emmie completed lesson 41 in AAR Level 1.

Science: We finished lesson 1 in Apologia Anatomy and Physiology.  We checked on our lab experiment from last week, finished our cell drawings, made a cell mini book, did some vocabulary notebooking exercises, and built a model of a cell.  That was fun!

Other Activities this Week

Monday we had the 4 H cooking contest.

Tuesday the girls had gymnastics.

Lily is teaching Liam some piano.

Wednesday was Kid's Club.

Thursday we had piano, parent teacher conference at the school, ballet, and Lily's birthday!

Friday we had pizza and a movie at Chelsea's house.

Saturday Nick took himself to do some yard work for a couple from our church.

I was outside reading for a little bit and heard a very loud baaaa in my ear.  The children decided to take the goats for a walk....

It was a rough week. Parenting is hard.  Homeschooling is hard.  Some days/weeks are harder then others.  I really, really felt defeated this week by a variety of things.  On the day after my hardest day I opened up the Bible study to do for the kids and the verse it was focusing on was Galatians 6: 9" Let us not loose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."

Next week we are on spring break!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

4 H Egg and Dairy Contest

A few weeks ago, I posted about our county 4 H Bread and Cookie Contest.  Our second county cooking contest each year is the Egg and Dairy.  We try to do some recipes and learn new skills when we cook for the contests.  I am very thankful that as my children get older they can do more of these things independently. I know this will shock you, but it is a lot of work cooking with 6 children!

Alex started not feeling well Sunday night, so he did not participate in Monday's cooking contest.

Christian wanted to make a caramel pie he had eaten at a church potluck a few weeks ago.  We just changed out the cool whip on the recipe for real whipped cream (cool whip is not a dairy product.)  He won 1st place.

In the egg contest, he made a brunch pizza and won 1st place.

Anthony made French Toast for the egg contest and won 2nd place.

Lily made a Butterfinger Ice Cream Cake for the dairy and won 1st place.

Emmie made homemade Mac N Cheese for the dairy contest and won 2nd.  She was not able to attend the competition but we brought home her ribbon.

Nick made Mac N Cheese Pizza for the dairy contest and won 3rd place.  He was not able to attend either, but we brought home his ribbon.

Review: The View From Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble

Book Description -" After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has. When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son. Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden. In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State."

The View From Rainshadow Bay is the first book in Collen Coble's brand new series, Lavender Tides that takes place in Washington State.  The book draws you in very quickly and keeps you page turning all the way to the end.  Colleen Coble crafts a very good suspense novel without the need for it to be overly gory or graphic.  Several people do die during the story.  The element of romance is always a nice addition to her stories, especially since it is not overly romantic.  I really enjoyed reading about Shauna and Zach, and especially liked Zach's character.  It is a fiction suspense story, with a lot of suspense elements, so there are many parts of the story that seem a bit unbelievable but that's why it's fiction.  There were a few loose ends that I didn't think were fully resolved but this is a series with 2 more books planned and that could be why.  I looked forward to reading the other books in this series.

 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Parenting Made Practical

parenting made practical

Parenting Made Practical has several books and resources to equip parents with practical tips in how to raise obedient and respectful children.  Joey Link has more then 16 years experience in youth and family ministries and his wife Carla has a degree in social work.  The Links have worked in association with Growing Families Int'l for over two decades and travel across the country speaking at conferences and churches.  Over the last several weeks I had an opportunity to read and review one of their parenting resources, Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave?

Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?

Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave? is an 147 page paperwork book that was written to parents of children in the age range of 2-12 years old.  This book is meant to be a practical teaching tool with tips on how to teach your children to obey.  The book has 9 chapters:

Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave?
What Obedience Is
The Parenting Toolbox
What Obedience is Not
First Things First
Keep Plugging Away
Do Compliant Kids Exist?
Don't Use This Toolbox!
It's Not Too Late

Each of the chapters are broken down into smaller sections so although the chapters are not incredibly long there are many natural stopping places.  There are built in real life scenarios throughout the book that people can relate to.  They also show many success stories from people that have used these methods with their children.  Why Can't I get My Kids to Behave? is not simply a list of do this, don't do this but instead shows what obedience looks like and doesn't look like and what kinds of tools parents do not want in their toolbox.  It also shows what kinds of tools parents should put in their toolbox and how to use those tools.  It also is very encouraging suggesting that parents work on one thing at a time, rather then making them feel overwhelmed with the idea of trying to fix multiple issues at once. 

I am  a homeschooling mom of 7 with children ranging from 7-21 and an 8 month old grandchild.  I am not new to parenting, but I know there are always things that we can learn to make our jobs as parents easier, or there are times when we can gain some fresh knowledge to bring new insights into our home.  Every child is different.  Some may never struggle with obedience and then there are others....Many of the suggestions in the book are things that I have used with my children, although there were a few things that I didn't necessarily agree with that may be things that work for other people.  I found the section on different temperaments very interesting and I was reminded that I give reminders too often. I also needed the reminder that I need to be consistent in my parenting even when I am busy. 

Members of the Crew reviewed a variety of resources from Parenting Made Practical including: Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (book and video), Navigating the Rapids of Parenting (video), What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (book), and Dating, Courtship, and Choosing a Mate...What Works?(video)

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 25

We were so happy to see the sun this week and were able to spend lots of time outdoors!  We also had a lot of fun diving into our new science curriculum!

Week 25 in our Homeschool

Bible: We read 4 lessons in Know Who You Are and Live Like it Matters.  We should finish it up next week.

Read Aloud: We read 4 chapters of Brady.

Geography: Our country of study for this week was China.  As part of the study we watched a really cute video on Giant Pandas in the wild.

History: We read chapter 1 of Vol 2 of America's Story which was on some of the causes leading up to the Civil War.

Music Appreciation: We completed lesson 3 of Music Appreciation 1 on Bach

Math: Christian finished his book on multiplication and picked up where he left off in MLFLE.  He is still working on practicing his multiplication tables.  Lily, Emmie, and Anthony did 4 lessons of MLFLE.

Language Arts: Anthony and Christian completed 4 lessons in Readers in Residence on Winn Dixie. 

Spelling/Reading: The boys completed Step 8 in AAS Level 5.  Lily completed lesson 27 and 28 in AAR Level 4 and Emmie completed lesson 40 in AAR Level 1.

Science: We started lesson one of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology.  We are following the suggested schedule in the notebooking journals.  We read several pages, started drawing a diagram of a cell and did two Try This experiments. 

Other Activities this Week: 

While waiting for Nick and Alex at a 4 H meeting Monday afternoon, the rest of us went to the park and walked the nature trail and the walking trail.  It was a little of 1.5 miles.  It seemed like forever since we had been on the Nature Trail.  It was a pretty day!

Tuesday the girls had gymnastics and Nick had youth.  Lily has mastered her standing back tuck and Emmie has mastered her round off back handspring.  I would post the videos but I know my internet would not cooperate.  Especially since I have delay right now and all I am doing is typing.

Wednesday we had Kid's Club.

Thursday Lily Emmie and I went back to the park in between the time we had to drop Nick off and head for piano.  It was another pretty day!  Ballet was cancelled.

Friday Nicholas took his road test and is now a licensed driver.  That is a good and bad thing ;)  The car needs a little TLC and hopefully in a few weeks he will be able to take himself back and forth to school.

Saturday we went to Texarkana and went to iJump, an indoor trampoline park that has trampolines, dodge ball, basketball, iNinja course, climbing walls, indoor play area, and more.  They had fun in their hour to play.

I  don't know about you  feel like I've lost an hour!!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!