Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Readers in Residence Volume 1 by Apologia Educational Ministries Review

Apologia Educational Ministries


Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in ResidenceWe are excited to be reviewing once again for  Apologia Educational Ministries.  We will be reviewing Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth). This is a reading comprehension program that includes literature, and vocabulary. It will help students recognize the different elements of literature. Build vocabulary as they gather up clues from their reading, Identify figures of speech etc. This is designed to be used by 4th to 6th grade or those that are a little behind in reading and can sometimes be used special needs students. We received both the student book and the answer key.  The student book is in color and very fancy for a student book. 
To use this curriculum you will need to purchase three books. Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie.  These are all great books so I was excited to see them used. All of them can be found on Amazon or at a local library. If your local library does not have them they are all very affordable and I found them for around 2 and 3$ each. It does recommend you use certain editions as the curriculum does refer to specific page numbers at times and it makes it easier for the student to find the passage if they are using the same edition so the passages are on the same pages. 

Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in ResidenceMy oldest who is finishing up her 4th grade year was the one to use this curriculum. She has not finished it yet but we are well into the curriculum. The beginning of the book gives a suggested weekly schedule of 4 days per week for 32 weeks. Some of the lessons are a little longer than others but over all its not a bad pace. You might need to slow it down a touch if you have a struggling reader. A little box is provided so that the student can check off the days lesson. The lessons are very well laid out. The schedule tells her where to go to find what she is to do for the day. She simple reads the lesson information and then completes the reading assignment if their is one and or the writing assignment. The writing assignments are usually questions or some sort of chart that go along with what they have been reading. Some assignments for the day have more questions for them to answer  than others. Some days she is finished in an hour others it takes her a bit longer. Their is a small dictionary in the back of the book with vocabulary words that they will learn while completing this curriculum. She like the dictionary and has found it useful for more than one assignment. At the end of each module the student will use a rubric grade or assess how well they have done on that module. Instructions are included so they know how to use the rubric. They are also given a checklist that is a great help for keeping my kiddo on task and on track. If you take a look to the left you can see some samples of different pages that are in Readers in Residence. 
My oldest is my avid reader, she will read anything I put in front of her, she will do it with a smile and usually lots of excitement.  She was a little intimated when she saw this book, its huge and she is not a fan of writing. I had to give her some encouragement that it was mostly reading with some writing mixed in. I sat with her for the first few lessons to be sure she was understanding what she was expected to do. After that she comes to me with questions and I check in on her to see if she has questions. I then review all her work after she has completed it for the day. I see her vocabulary improving and her ability to figure out the meaning of a word by using the information in the text around it. She doesn't mind the writing as much as I anticipated. She says" the lessons are easy to understand they just make since." The charts have been a great help for her to identify the different parts of the story and to see how a story flows. She found the charts fun, many of them are colored and that just adds a little fun to it. She has enjoyed the book selection and was eager to read them. As soon as she saw the books her eyes lit up. She recognized two of the books as ones she had been wanting to read. She said "but I have already read Charlotte's Web." I explained that it was ok to read it again and that she would probably learn some new things the second time around.

The curriculum does talk about your child participating in a book club. We were not able to do this as we live in a rural area and it just was not possible. So we varied a little and I just had her discuss the books with me or her NaNa as we have all read these books and are familiar enough with them to be able to have a discussion on them.

I was once again impressed with Apologia's curriculum and how well it covers everything that my daughter needed to learn for reading. I plan on ordering another copy when  my youngest is in 4th grade. Click the link below for some more Apologia Readers in Residence reviews written by other crew members.

Readers in Residence teaches your child how to Read to Learn. 

Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) {Apologia Educational Ministries Review}
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Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Easter!

    Happy Easter From My Family To Yours!
Image credit I have no idea found it on Facebook and it spoke to me.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Art Project

My oldest is in love with horses. They each get to decorate their side of the classroom with things they like. She has a few horse related items but not much. I found a similar idea on Pinterest and I set out to make one that was horse relates. I found someone who could make this sweet sticker for me and this is how it turned out. I got the block 40% off at Hobby Lobby and a the lights on Amazon although I could have gotten them cheaper at Hobby Lobby go figure. All and all not a bad looking decoration for under 15$.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History Set Review

Memoria Press


The girls finished their standard history curriculum a couple of weeks a go. We were given the chance to try out this wonderful set from Memoria Press. We received, The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set
and 200 Questions About American History Set.

These two sets go hand in hand and I highly recommend getting both of them. The 200 Questions About American History set is a supplemental but it added so much to the actual set that I felt it would be worth getting.

First I am going to talk a bit about The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & The Great Republic Set. This is basically a story about the birth of the United States and our government. It comes with a student work book that covers both The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and The Great Republic. It also includes a teachers guide.Then you have the actual text book. This was originally 2 books one was The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Other was The Great Republic. But because they work so well together they combined them together into a single bound book. The section of book you are in can be identified at the top of each page. The book is basically written as a story of sorts to help your child learn about our colonies and how this great country got started. The story is very easy to follow and seemed to keep the girls interest for the most part. My 9 year old seemed to be able to recall the information given in the story a bit easier than my 7 year old did. But over all they have been enjoying it.

The student books give a recommended weekly schedule. Which seems to be about the right amount of work for my 4th graders ability. It would be a tad to much for my 2nd grader to do on her own though. The schedule shows that this curriculum should cover 34 weeks of study. It has your child reading any where from 3-7 chapters a week. Not a big deal for my super reader but it might be a little much if you have a child that is not a fan of reading. If this is the case you can always do the chapters as read aloud's. We have done this on a number of occasions when one of the girls just didn't feel like reading. My 4th grader was the one to try out the work books. She is a big fan of work books and is usually the one to volunteer to try them out. She felt that the work books were simple and easy to follow when you used the schedule to tell you what questions to do. I felt that the workbook covered the information taught in the story well and the test were well rounded.

The teachers guides have a copy of the weekly schedule as well as answer keys these are very straight forward and I don't think they need a lot of explaining.

All the books and student books are black and white this disappointed the girls slightly. They don't care so much about black and white work books. But they do like to see pictures in their text book in color.

200 Questions About American History Set
Grades 5-8The second part of this Review is on the 200 Questions About American History. This is a set of flash cards a teacher guide and a student book. The teachers guide gives a weekly schedule as well as answer key and test pages with answers. These questions go along with chapters that your child will read each week. The flash cards are an additional way to study and help your child remember what they are learning. I divided the cards up in bundles and labeled them for the week that they would be studying them. The girls could then gab a pack and study them when were on the go. Flashcards are just a great way to build on what they have already been learning in The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic Set.The student book does a great job at reviewing information and the test help to show what information they have retained.

Over all we are very happy with the set and it should last the better part of a school year depending on how much you do a week and how long your school year is. Be sure to click the box below and see what other reviewers are saying about Memoria Press and its great products.


First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Summer Art

My girls made theses last year from something we got off Pinterest. Basically you take some used water bottles and color them with permanent markers. Once they are all colored and decorated you simply use a pair of scissors and cut the bottom off the bottle then you cut around the bottle forming a spiral shape. You hang them from the neck using some string or fishing line. They were very beautiful when the sun was shining on the, How ever the color only lasted a couple of weeks and then it was faded out. The lighter colors like yellow and green disappeared completely. It was a fun project and they were beautiful while they lasted.  Let me know if you give it a try and how it works out for you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Birds of a Feather

Everyone told us Guinea Fowl were not friendly birds. Not to expect them to let us handle them, to count on them trying to roost in the trees etc.  Ours how ever allow my girls to carry them around like babies. I frequently find the girls toting a bird around the yard. I always ask them what are your doing. They tell me well they let us carry them so why not. They have started laying eggs, they wont lay in a nesting box but they do always lay in one corner of there house so the eggs are super easy to find. We have been getting around 3 eggs a day or 21 eggs a week. Guinea eggs are smaller than chicken eggs but they taste just the same. So for your entertainment here is my daughter holding a Guinea like one of her baby dolls.

Bessie's Pillow Review

Strong Learning, Inc.

I had the honor to read a book called Bessie's Pillow from Strong Learning, Inc. Bessie's Pillow is considered a historical fiction book. How ever it is based on old family stories that were passed down through the generations so I guess you could consider it a biography. We had 6 weeks to read this book and to be honest with you I read the hole book in under 8 hours. It was a slow night in dispatch, it was a good thing because it was a good book and I wanted to finish it. This is a 276 page book about an 18 year old Jewish girl that flees persecution in Lithuania back in 1906.  The name Bessie's Pillow comes from a pillow she carried from her home town in Lithuania to the United States. She was to deliver the pillow to the son of a family friend who had moved to the United States. The son had left for America a year or so earlier and had forgotten the pillow. It was important to the mother that son get the pillow she had made for him. As Bessie is departing the friend tells her that it is a long trip and she may use the pillow along the way. The pillow has the words "May this Pillow bring you peace. " embroidered on it. The pillow turns out to be a great blessing and gives her comfort along the way as she endures the trials of coming to America and becoming an American citizen. Eventually the beloved pillow that gave her so much comfort in the first year of being in America leads her to her husband when she finally decides its time to take it to its rightful owner.


Bessie's PillowBessie's Pillow is for middle to high school students so my 4th grader has not read it yet but I did preview the online resources that are available for it. There is a Teachers Guide with some suggestions and ideas for expanding learning. It has a good number of discussion and essay topics, oral history and life stories, some ideas for term papers etc. It is really a great resource for those with high school age students http://bessiespillow.com/images/teachers-resources.pdf.  I will be printing off a few things for the girls to use when it comes time for them to read it.
There is also an additional resource located on the website called Bessie's America http://bessiespillow.com/bessiesamerica/. This resource offers things like photographs, radio shows the family would have listened to, Famous people, Food and recipes etc. These are all great ways to enhance your students learning experience. I loved the extra resources that were included I felt that they added a lot to the book and the learning experience.

Bessie's Story is one of tragedy and triumph. She has so many real struggles during her life but she never gave up.  I can only imagine what it was like for her to flee her home at 18. Knowing that she may never see her family again. This book is a great piece of someone family history. Family history is important for everyone with out it our children will not know where they came from. This book was a well written and It reminded me of the way my grandmother used to tell our old family stories. It drew me in so well and the next thing I knew I was turning the last page wondering how I finished it so quickly. Its a book my girls will read when they get just a bit older.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Crew Reviews on Bessie's Pillow and follow Bessie's Pillow on Facebook.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

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Monday, March 13, 2017

We have Snow

I got off work to a winter wonder land. We finally got a little snow where we live. I had to stop and take a couple pictures.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

More work on the Mustang. Looks as though the back end was hit at some point in time. I will have to do some fender repair. I also located some more cancer on the rear frame rails and trunk floor crossmember. Looks like it is going to take a bit more work than I figured on but that's the way it always is when you get into old cars. Here is picture of it after I removed the fenders, and front grill.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Look what we are building. A green house it's going to be cool. Can't wait to start to growing things.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Doughnut Day

Today is my one day off. After doing some history work and some other class work me and the girls decided to take a break and make something yummy. A few weeks a go we picked up some Doughnut pans at Goodwill and the girls have been dying to try them. We did a little searching online and found a recipe from The Pioneer Woman that sounded good. We used her Baked Crumb Cake Doughnuts. They were quick and easy to make in these fancy doughnut pans although they did not puff up as much as I expected. Next time I will fill the pans a little fuller.



This one thought they were really yummy. I think next time we will try for chocolate. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Times Tables the Fun Way Review

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}We are kicking off the new year with a great program called Times Tables the Fun Way by Times Alive. For this review both of my girls tried out this program. My oldest is in 4th grade and still struggling to remember those pesky times tables and my 2nd grader is just beginning to learn them.

Times Tables the Fun Way uses games, stories and songs to help make learning multiplication tables fun. The program covers times tables starting with 0's and goes all the way through the 9's. We received the online monthly subscription which is $9.95 a month.  The online version offers things like coloring pages and pictures games to help make learning them fun. It also offers quizzes and a pre and post test. The program will track your students progress and date of completion. The down side to the online version is you must have an internet connection. For us it seems to work best in google chrome. 

Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}
They say most kids can complete the program in a month. My girls how ever did every lesson more than once so  it took us a little bit longer. They both like the lessons enough to ask if they can do them more than once. As for ease of use, this one gets an A+ because its very easy to use. We are using the program on google chrome and it remembers the log in for the girls. All they have to do is go to the book marked page and put in their name and away they go. Navigation is super simple that neither one of them needed me to tell them how to work the program. If you look to the right this is what the main lesson page looks like. When they started they clicked the first on and it went on from there with a next button at the bottom of the lesson. When they logged in the next time they just found the last dot that was marked off and they knew where to start. 


Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}To the Left you can see what one of the lessons looks like, cute right? The fun pictures seem to keep there attention and one of them is always calling me in to tell me about the lesson. My 4th grader liked the program more than I thought. It starts out with a story and moves on to a music video. She says the songs are kind of catchy and I noticed that she is remembering some of the songs a little more easily than she was remembering the just the multiplication facts from flash cards.  I am hopeful that she will really catch on to the rest of the more difficult multiplication tables and remember them long term. 

My 2nd grader is just starting with multiplication tables. I was a little more excited for her to try this than she was. She has really been intimidated by the though of memorizing all these multiplication tables.  She has started to remember a few of them but she has not yet got all of them memorized and I think its going to take some time and may be another run or two through the program.  She has reported that she likes the games the most she say they are kinda fun for a learning game and make multiplication seem less scary. I am really proud of her for putting in so much effort 


Teacher features that come with this program are nice. Times Alive has pre and post test that help me see how and where they are improving. I can also use the Progress charts for my record keeping and that makes my life easier in the long run. Here is an image of what the progress chart looks like. It's fairly simple to read and it looks nice.



Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}


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Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}


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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mustang project

Take a look at the progress on the mustang. We got a lot done on my day off because the weather was so nice. I am hoping to make some more progress this week and get that engine bay ready for paint so I can move on to the break up grade.


This is what happens when you let a classic car sit for 5 years. A rat decided to make my engine home.


And there she goes


The original 289 is completely seized up so here we are scavenging parts that we might need at a later date. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Notes from the Shop

I have absolutely no idea what to write about today. I have been so crazy busy with work and trying to get the Mustang up and running that I haven't had time to stop and think of a good post for this week. So I am going to give you a shop update.

The boxing plates came in for the 53 this week so hopefully I will get those welded up on my next day off. The engine in the Mustang has been disconnected from everything but the motor mounts. We will pull it out hopefully later today. I have officially decided on a new engine. As we began to take things off the current engine we discovered lots of corrosion and the water pump is basically rusted on. The bolts were so rusty and stuck they basically all twisted off but one. Today we will drop the transmission support and hoist it out. I will salvage what I can and the rest will go to the bone yard. My next decision is to settle on a replacement engine and get it ordered along with the disk break conversion kit. I also need to make a final decision on rims and tires. I hope to media blast the body with in the next four weeks and get it ready for paint.

On a school note: The girls have started reviewing their very first Crew Product for the year. So far they are enjoying it and I will give you a hint it's a math product. We have one chapter left in our math curriculum and we will move on to Missouri History.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017


My daughter left this on my computer for me last night. Happy Valentines Day LOVE!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kwik Stix Thin Stix

You might remember the Kwik Stix review I did a while back. We loved them and I am excited to announce that they have up graded to something a little slimmer. My girls love the new slim design. They are quite a bit thinner than the originals so they are a little easier to paint smaller designs with. They have the same great colors and use the same amazing solid tempera paint that the first Kwik Stix used. They dry in 90 seconds and you can use them on everything from paper to wood, canvas and poster paper. They are non-toxic and safe for young children. The new thin Stix come in 6,12,and 24 packs. For colors they have the assorted like the ones shown here as well as neon, and metalix colors. 
My girls are painting nuts with these things. My niece tries to run off with them ever time she comes over. They dry so fast that I can now put paintings away as soon as they are done painting leaving my kitchen table free for meals. 





Sunday, January 15, 2017

So this was my attempt at snow flake photography a couple years a go.  I think they were decent for a first go at it. I am hoping we will get some big fluffy flakes again this year so I can try to get a better one. I never thought getting an up close photo of a snow flake would be so hard. I could never seem to get the hole flake in focus. My skills have gotten a little better since I took these and I am hoping this years results will be better.