Monday, September 28, 2015

We are going on a Jungle Adventure !

We are going on a Jungle Adventure! OK not really we are looking for healthy maple trees. Why are we tromping through the forest looking for Maple trees you ask.  That's because if we don't find and mark them now while they still have there leaves me and the girls wont be able to find them when it comes time to tap them. That's right we are going to explore the world of Sugaring.

In case you are not familiar with Maple Sugaring. Its is a process where you extract sap from a Maple tree and boil it down to make Maple syrup or sugar. Its quite a lengthy process and must be done when the nights are below 32 degrees and the days are above 32. That is the prime time for the sap to begin flowing in the trees. You only have about a 6 week window to collect your sap. Unfortunately there are no leaves on the trees during that time of year. So that means you either have to tromp around in the forest and mark your trees before the leave fall off in the fall. Or you have be able to identify the trees by the bark or the branches. I can identify a maple by looking at the branches but when the branches are 10 ft or more above your head they are kind of hard to see. So me and the girls have spent the last two days tramping around in the woods with a can of bright orange spray paint.

During this Maple tree finding process we have discovered several things.  First of which is that before we bought the property someone logged it and when I say logged I mean they basically clear cut it. I figure it was about two generations a go judging from the tree growth we have now. Thankfully they left enough trees so that they could reseed. The only trees that have been cut since then are the dead and damaged trees we take down for fire wood. So far we found 4 good candidates for tapping. We have also marked the saplings and Maples that are still too small for tapping. We marked them because when we begin clearing underbrush this winter we want to be sure we save the maple trees for the next generation. Second of all me and the girls learned that we need to do some serious brush clearing this winter. We ventured to the back side of the property where hardly anyone ever goes. The saplings and underbrush has gotten so thick I had to leave the girls on the other side of the creek so I could hack a path big enough to get through just to mark the tree.

So this winter I will be clearing paths to the Maple trees. I will clear a paths for both the ones that are ready to tap now and the ones that we will probably tap in the future. I may even bribe the girls into helping.

Stay Tuned for our Maple Sugaring adventures!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

USAopoly Game Review

 USAopoly Review

Game NIGHT!!!! Friday nights are official game nights in our house. Me the girls and the grandparents gather around the table. For the past few weeks we have been playing more often. That's because we received two new games from USAopoly ~ I would love to introduce to your family to Wonky: The Crazy Cubes Card Game, and Tapple: Fast Word Fun for Everyone. Both games arrived at the same time, and they just so happened to arrive on a Friday. We had to take a vote on which game to play first. Wonky won the vote. 

USAopoly ReviewWonky is a crazy game about building wobbly towers with funkie shaped blocks. The goal is to be the first one to get rid of all your cards and not be the one to knock the tower down. Its geared for ages 8+ and its made for 2 or more players. It sells for about $19.95. It comes it a cool looking box and don't worry its got easy to understand directions. It comes with 9 irregular shaped blocks, 54 strategy cards, a storage bag and the directions. I unpacked the box on the table read the directions through a few times and then explained it to the girls. We passed out the appropriate number of cards, and started to play. We quickly learned that these oddly shaped blocks were not so easy to stack. The game is simple enough that my 6 year old plays it. She can read the cards and follow what they ask her to do. She doesn't always get the blocks to stack with out falling over. This frustrated her at first and she wanted me to take them out to the wood shop and sand them all square. Now she has gotten better and she loves that she gets to play. We all end up laughing our heads off as we end up making it tumble down. So far we have only managed to stack it 7 blocks high. We are determined to stack all 9 blocks before winter is over. This game has been so good for their find motor skills. I also love that they are using it to learn team building. I watched the two of them play the other afternoon. Instead of trying to place blocks so the other would rumble it over. They were discussing which card each of them could play to help build the tower taller with out it tumbling over when the other one played a card.

 USAopoly Review We played Tapple the next night. I know your thinking what in the heck is Tapple right? I wondered the same thing when we first got it. Tapple is a word game that is designed for ages 8+ and 2-8 players. It takes around 10-20 minutes to play and it sells for around $19.95. 
The basis of Tapple is to select a category say a word that fits tap the timer and pass it on to the next person. The catch is you cant use a word that begins with the same letter more than once. So if i go first and the category is toys and I say car. No one else can say a word that starts with C. One side of the cards are red and one side is blue. The blue side has easier categories than the red side. We use the blue side so that both the girls can play. Snoopy is only 6 but she can hold her own at this game. She reads and spells well enough that she can give me a real run for my money. We usually play a couple rounds at a time. I have found that it really gets the girls thinking and using their vocabulary. I love it when they start using all those words I've been feeding to them for the last 4 years.  

our Tallest Tower to date

We have played these two games so many times since they arrived I have lost count. We are getting ready for a family camping trip and both of these games will be tagging along for some extra fun. I want to encourage everyone to click the link below and see what the other crew members are saying about these fun family games. 
Social Media:

 USAopoly Review
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, September 18, 2015

Retractable Screen Door's

I have found the greatest invention known to man. Ok its not that good but it is a wonderful invention. Our up stairs front door swings inward but has a low hanging eve. So if you have a screen door it hits the eve of the house and only opens about 2 ft wide. The house came this way when my parents bought it. Recently when my grandmothers health started getting worse we had to remove the screen door so that I could get her in and out of the house. It was so nice not having to fight the screen door just to get in. How ever as spring arrived I began to miss opening the front door. Now fall is hear and I still miss being able to open the door. This is where the trip to the home improvement store came in. Shopping for a new screen door I discovered that they make a retractable version. Holy cow batman the thing essentially roles up and out of the way. Needles to say we snatched that baby up.

So now the new front door is completed and its time to install the new screen door. I haul the box up stairs rip it open and stare at the parts for a while. The box says installs in 30 minutes. I am thinking this is more like a two hour project. I hate reading directions but it was clear this was going to be one of those projects that I was going to need the directions for. I quickly glanced over the directions and declared I knew what I was doing. The hole thing turned out to be fairly easy. You basically snap the top and bottom tracks on to the sides. Then stick it against the facing of your house and screw it on. We have a deck and our door threshold is slightly lower than the deck. I did not want the bottom track of the screen to stick up above the deck. I was thinking older parents and tripping hazard.  Out comes trusty drill, wood chisel, and my favorite ball-peen hammer. It took me an extra 15 minutes to chisel out the space I needed on the deck boards. Now out beautiful retractable screen sits flush with the deck and it actually works. If you are looking for a new screen door definitely look into one of these. Check out this handy work. Now that's one good looking screen (ignore the cut out you see on the top left that was for the old screen door to open i'll fix that one day)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

For the last 6 weeks or so, I have been supplementing the girls curriculum with Super Teacher Worksheets. I received a one year Individual membership you can find the sign up page here: This site is packed full of work sheets for math, science, reading, phonics, writing, grammar, social studies etc. You can find worksheets for grades pre k-5th grade. It also includes a worksheet generator to help you create more worksheets. All for a great low price of  $19.95 for a one year membership.

You get a good bang for your buck at There is a huge variety of worksheets on Super Teacher. I have been using first grade and 3rd grade work sheets with a few pre k tossed in when I baby sat my niece . I have been taking advantage of the science work sheets and the math worksheets. My oldest has been using a lot of multiplication worksheets. She has been having a tough time memorizing her multiplication tables. So the extra worksheets have been good for her.  I was unable to get the work book for our science curriculum this year. But so far I have been able to find at least 1-2 worksheets for the lessons we have been covering over the last 6 weeks. I found the web site its self easy to navigate. Subjects run down the left hand side. Under each subject heading you will find different sub categories. You click on what you want and it brings up worksheets under that category.

Super Teacher Worksheets ReviewThe pages download and print nicely. I use google chrome as my browser. I did try using it in the new browser that windows 10 provides. I think its called edge. I had issues getting the worksheets to open with it. But I have had lots of issues with that browser and other sites. So I simply use it on Chrome, and it works great.

I am very pleased with the variety of worksheets. I am also very happy with the content on the work sheets. All of the ones we have used are well written and easy for my kids to understand. I would like to mention that some of the work pages are aligned with common core and they are clearly marked. Some worksheets also have Spanish versions available. We have not used them but I wanted to mention it in case that is an important feature for someone. All work sheets also come with an answer key. I love a good answer key. When you are schooling two kids on your own I just don't have time to solve all the problems my self.

Super Teacher Worksheets ReviewI am also in love with the File Cabinet. It is a place where you can store the worksheets that you are going to want to use at a later date. When I am planning my week out, I skim through the work sheets and find anything that goes along with what we are going to be doing. There is a icon of a little file folder below each worksheet listing. I simply click it and it sticks it in my file cabinet. So later when I get ready to print, I don't have to go back through all the listing to get to the ones that I want. I love anything that makes doing my job easier.

I would love for everyone to click the link below and check out what the other crew members are saying about

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Thoughtful Wednesday

Someone ask me this week when homeschool parents have parent teacher conferences.  First I had to explain that as a homeschool mom I am both the parent and the teacher. I do have time when I look back over test and things and do a little evaluation to be sure I am not missing anything. At any given time I know how the girls are doing in each subject. Because I teach them, I know there strengths and weaknesses.  So do homeschool moms have parent teacher conferences. Not in the same since that public school parents do. But I can just imagine my teacher self talking to my mommy self. Can you?