Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!! May your family be blessed in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 Review Review

Last week I announced that I have become a member of the 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew. My exciting journey with them has now begun. For my very first Crew review I will be reviewing yearly membership. is a division of the Old School House Magazine.  It is a curriculum site designed by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. has over 100 courses taught by some really cool teachers. They have something for every grade level. Courses vary in length from daily lessons to full year courses.  They cover all the main subjects. There are also some fun things like guitar lessons and American Sign Language.  The price of a one year membership is $139. It covers every child in your house. A major bonus if you have more than one child that you are homeschooling.

Once I received my log in code I had to look around and see what goodies I could find.  It didn't matter that it was 10:30 at night. The first thing I did was cruise around to get familiar with the site and how it works. Its fairly simple to navigate and if you cant find what you are looking for they have a handy dandy search box on the right hand side. I would like to see a way to sort courses by specific grade level. Currently It lumps them together into pre k/elementary and middle/high school. It would make it more efficient to find classes for your child's specific grade level. My cruising around led me to a couple of items that really sparked my interest.

 The first thing I have to talk about is the Schoolhouse planners. The Planners come free with your yearly membership. I am a mom that struggles with the planning and tracking portion of class. I can get behind with logging our work if I'm not careful. I am always looking for a simpler way to do it, that doesn't take up half my day. The first thing had to check out the 2014-2015 Schoolhouse planner. Its a quick and simple download. Even for my slow internet it only took a couple of minute to download. The planner includes way more than I will ever use: shopping list, chore charts, field trip log, curriculum recording charts, weekly planner, monthly goals etc. Its even got a must know list with some really great facts that everyone should know. Like when Missouri entered into state hood. I am currently using the field trip planning form and field trip report form.  Hotrod princess filled out the field trip report which is handy for our portfolio. The form ask where we went, what she learned, what she liked and didn't like, and she then drew a picture showing something from the trip. She enjoyed it much more than our old form it was a lot simpler. She loved having the space to draw. For my self I am using the field trip planning form. I think it will help keep me a little more organized. It has all the important information that I need to get prepared for the trip. I can stick it in my record keeping folder to document what field trips we went on for the year. Review

My 2nd graders work
Next I discovered the Dailies. These are short simple daily lessons that run about a week. We often need a little warm up in the morning before we really get started and dailies have turned out to be perfect. There are several grade levels available. We tried out the Daily Grammar 1st Grade. I chose to try the first grade level Daily Grammar. It was review for my second grader and right on target for my kinder. Who has blew through our original kindergarten language arts curriculum like it was nothing. The Daily Grammar has been fun for my second grader she loves the pictures and the fact that she doesn't have a lot to write. I love that she can do it on her own as a review. She has taken to "teaching" her little sister about the days lesson. It has made a wonderful warm up and got the girls excited to start language arts for the day. The directions/explanations were simple and easy enough for both me and them to understand. Don't forget to check out the samples of there work.

my kinders work

All in all I like Its simple and fairly easy to navigate. It looks as though they will be adding some new lessons in future. In the two weeks that I have been using the site I have found quite a few lessons that are very useful to us. I think it gives you a decent bang for your buck.  I couldn't rely on the site for all of my curriculum, but it is a good way to get supplemental materials for your homeschool. Check out some more Crew Reviews for by clicking on the banner below. Review
Right Now is having a whopping Christmas sale. Right now through Christmas Day at 11:59 Et. Monthly memberships will be 40% off you can get it for a great price of $7.77 a month. The yearly membership is also on sale at 50% off. That makes your yearly membership $64.26 a year. The great part is homeschool families who join now at these rates get to keep them forever as long as you maintain a continuous membership. So click the ad below and get yours today. Review
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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Field trips galore

A couple weeks a go one of my sisters invited us on a homeschool field trip that lasted three days.
Yes that's right we went on a three day field trip. I know we are crazy but it was loads of fun. We visited the Saint Louis science center, planetarium, the Saint Louis Arch, The Magic House, the Museum of Transportation, and last but not least the ZOO! Because it was a three day trip there are going to be a lot of pictures in this post.

We started at the Saint Louis Arch which was finished on October 28th 1965. It cost a whopping 13 million to build. My sister gifted us with tram tickets to the top of the arch. We squeezed two adults and 4 kids into this little tiny elevator that moves both vertical and horizontal. It was a tight fit but totally worth it. We traveled all the way to the top of the arch it is 630 ft. tall and we spent near an hour just looking out the windows and taking pictures. You can actually feel the arch sway with the wind when you are inside it. It was a windy day and we were blessed with this experience. The girls thought it was cool and couldn't wait to tell Nana about it. Nana waited on the ground for us because she is scared of heights and there was no way we were going to get her up there. It was a very cool experience. We also visited the museum that is located at the bottom of the arch. It covers some American history and the girls got to try on a real buffalo skin to see how the Indians felt wearing one. It was surprisingly soft and heavy.

We tried to visit the zoo. The girls normally love the zoo and we have been quite a few times but it was so cold that day that there were hardly any animals out and after a couple of hours we decided to

call it off and head to the science center and planetarium. These two places are very cool if you are ever in Saint Louis you should try and stop in for a visit. The kids spent about 4 hours exploring the science center. The girls explored everything they could get there little hands on. Thanks to there aunt who bought them tickets they each got to watch an Imax movie which was amazing and If you ever get a chance to see one it is well worth the money. They each had there favorite part they both loved running on the hamster wheel to help power the huge erector set. Snoopy liked looking down through the windows that were in the floor of the bridge that crossed over the high way. Hotrod girl loved the Imax movie the best she is still talking about it weeks later.

We spent almost an entire day at the Magic House. Its a giant three story house and everything in it is

HANDS ON!!!!! a homeschool moms dream. They have everything from mock construction zones, play veterinary clinics, to a bubble room, to magnets and static electricity. We had to drag the girls out the door at closing time. I loved the static electricity room they had this metal ball looking thing that you put your hand on and they turned it on and it created static electricity and made your hair stand out all over. The girls basically loved everything the bubbles were cool they got to stand in the middle of a ring and make a huge bubble around them selves. They played huge musical instruments, used different pulley systems to raise them selves off the floor.  Slid down a three story slide and basically ran them selves silly trying to experience everything the place had to offer. It is defiantly on our must see list for our next trip to the city.

We also visited the Museum of Transportation. On the day we visited it was raining cats and dogs and was super cold. Since the weather was so bad we did not get to stay as long as we would have liked and some things like the miniature train ride was closed. We got soaking wet trying to explore some of the trains that they had available to climb on and we had a picnic lunch and visited some of the classic cars they had indoors HotRod girl tried spelling her name out in morse code and snoopy took her picture by an airplane and then we called it a day and went swimming at the motel.
All in all we had loads of fun and learned all sorts of fun things. We cant wait tell the next field trip. Happy Homeschooling !!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Projects

This week I have been working like a crazy woman trying to finish up some Christmas projects for
the girls and one of my nieces. I got this hair brained idea two weeks a go that the girls needed a doll high chair to go with the doll bed I made for them a year a go. I set out to find some free downloadable plans for the high chair. Lets just say, that was a total flop everything was cheesy I found one picture on line that I liked but it was one of those dead end pictures and I have no idea where it came from. So my crafty self took a look at that picture and then some measurements from three other plans that I had found and didn't like and I sort of created a plan for a doll high chair. I started it two weeks a go I had no idea if it would even work out. All I had to loose was $10 in wood and some time. I think it turned out alright but I have worn out a palm sander and I don't think I have any finger prints left from all the sanding this thing took.  I finally settled on a stain took me 30 minutes of standing in the middle of the isle at Walmart going this one! no this one! wait maybe this one is better. Finally I texted my sister and narrowed it down to two colors and then I just closed my eyes and grabbed one. Check out the Pictures and tell me what you think. If you cant tell the tray slides in and out just like a real high chair.

While I was browsing around online for the high chair plans. I came across a plan on for a tic tac toe board game. My girls love tic tac toe they play constantly, I am always finding game doodles on the back of there class work. So of course I decided they needed to have one. I rummaged around the scrap pile and found just enough for two game boards. My niece and nephew will also be receiving one. Of course me being me I couldn't just follow the plan I had to change it up a little. The original plan called for 1x4's to make the box I didn't have any so I used the left over 1x2's from the high chair project and some scrap 1/4" ply. I exchanged the 2x2 game pieces for actual X's and O's from one of my favorite stores Hobby Lobby. They are made out of 1/4" ply I probably could have cut them out my self but it only cost me $2 for enough letters to do both game boards. I really hope the kids enjoy there gifts and I managed to get them done before Christmas Eve this time !

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas stories

With Christmas well on its way I have begun collecting books four our count down tell Christmas. for 12 days before Christmas each night my girls get to open a new book to read. Thanks to ZonderKids they have provided me free of charge with four kids books that are all Christmas stories. The girls have yet to see the books so this is a super secret post and hopefully they wont see it before Christmas gets here.  I am going to use photos provide by Zonderkids for this review as I don't want the girls to catch me trying to get good shots of the books. You can find where to buy each book by clicking its name.

The first book on the list is The Legend of St. Nicholas it sells for $15.99 I know that seems like a bit
much for a kids book but this story is worth every penny. It is also a Hard back book so it will last for years to come.  As an adult I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice. It tells the story about a man named Nicholas who secretly gave to the needy and the poor all over the world. He gave gifts on Christmas Eve to remind the people of the world about the greatest gift in all the world. Jesus Christ. The illustrations in this book are just amazing. You cant tell it in the photo but the book jacket has beautiful glittery snow along the bottom that has a wonderful bumpy texture and an amazing picture of a young Nicholas carrying his pack of toys. I can just see the girls getting excited to read this book when they open it. I love that this book not only shows the true meaning of Christmas but it also helps our children to see the needs of others and that giving a gift is often better than receiving one.

The second book on our list is the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair it sells for $3.99 and is a very reasonable price for a paper back book. Its a cute little VeggieTales books who doesn't like VeggieTales right, they are just adorable. In this book the Veggies gather at the Ice Cube Fair for some winter fun. They enter a Ice Cube carving contest and have carved everything from trees to angels trying to out do each other and win the grand prize! When the smallest of carved Ice cubes is entered its of a tiny stable and shepherd on one knee that the Veggies learn that Christmas is not about the biggest or the best its about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I love everything about this book the pictures are so cute and it tells a great story that all kids should learn. This is a great story its marked for younger kids 4-8 even though I enjoyed the story and I cant wait to read it to the girls.

The First Christmas Ever sells for $1.99 so it is a wonderful paper back budget book. It tells a simple
version of the Birth of Jesus. For a $1.99 this book is just cute. I love how the story of Jesus birth is told and the illustrations are adorable cartoon images that are sure to capture your child's attention.  It would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for the little ones just learning the story of Christmas.

Last but certainly not least is The Christmas Story for Children it is a paper back book sells for $6.99. This book also tell the story of Jesus Christ birth but it takes it a little father to include his Baptism and tells some of his life as he becomes the Messiah.  Its a wonderfully illustrated book can you tell I love books that have great pictures.  It is written in a way that is easy to understand and is just perfect for children a little bit older who are ready to learn a bit more about Jesus. Its geared toward kids 4-8 years old.

Disclaimer: I received these books free of charger from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.