Thursday, February 25, 2016 is on sale

Breaking NEWS everyone SchoolhouseTeachers is on SALE for today and tomorrow only.

coupon code (all caps) - SHORTOFFER, Come grab it today for $83 instead of $139.
Use SHORTOFFER when checking out either today or tomorrow. This is for a full year for the entire family, no matter how many kids take the classes.

I would love for everyone to use my affiliate link. By using my link it helps me to buy curriculum and pay for field trips for my girls for next school year. Each and every one of you that order through my affiliate link are a blessing to my family, and we are grateful. 

I use SchoolhouseTeachers with both my girls I wouldn't recommend it if we didn't love it. They have added a lot of new things this year. They now have a video section (the girls are digging the videos by the way)  and a lot of new courses I believe there is a photography course now and music courses and a hole host of other things to take. So if you haven't checked it out yet now is a great time to stop bye and take a look around. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

SimplyFun Archery Dice Review

SimplyFun Review

Game NIGHT !!!! That's Right Its FAMILY GAME NIGHT and we have a new game, this one is courtesy of SimplyFun and I’m reviewing Archery Dice, one of four of SimplyFun new releases. We are honored that we get to be some of the first to try it out. This game is geared for ages 7 and up. 

In this game you Stack your dice, aim and FLICK! If you hit the bull's-eye you immediately get to bank a target, You get to knock over your opponents stack of dice or even steal their targets. At the end of the round the player that has the most dice claims the target. You have to try to keep a claimed target for an entire round and bank it. The first one to bank four targets wins the game.

The Game comes with 16 targets, 12 Dice three of each color, 4 wood disk, 1 rule book.
This game got caught in the storm and we delayed getting to us for 4 days. When it finally arrived the girls practically tackled the UPS guy trying to get it from him. They tore it open and wanted to play right away.  We have had quite a few game nights with the new Archery Dice game.

The Directions are fairly simple to understand for an adult. I had to explain how to play to the girls a couple of times before they got all the rules of playing. But we were quickly on our way to flicking dice, and stealing targets.

This is what is in the box minus the direction sheet, because I forgot to put it in the picture. The game is well made, the targets are sturdy feeling and the colors are nice. So far they have held up nicely, and I think they will last a long time. The small colored disk are made of wood. I would be careful if you have small kids as the dice and small disk could be a choking hazard.

The main idea of the game is to shoot your dice at the round targets and get them to land on top. The person with the highest number die on the target at the end of the round gets the target. They then put it under the stack of dice that they are shooting. At the end of the next round if someone has not shot a dice at that target and stolen it you get to bank the target. First one to bank 4 targets wins.

Sounds easy
right! WRONG at least for me. I got beat by an 8 year old twice in a row.When I could hit the target with the dice they always bounced off. Apparently Hotrod girl has better hand eye coordination than I do. She could usually land the dice on the target. She even had the ability to knock my dice off the target. The more you play the better you get at landing the dice on the target the first flick.

Archery Dice is a 2-4 player game. I think the more people you have the better the game is to play.Me and the girls play this quite often when the cousins come over. Even my little 4 year old niece gets a kick out of it. We have had so much fun with Archery Dice that we cant wait to see what SimplyFun comes up with Next. I would love for you to click the link below and see what the other Crew reviewers are saying about SimplyFun Games.

SimplyFun Review



Instagram: @SimplyFun

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Home School in the Woods U.S. Elections Lap-Pak Review

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review
Hey everyone I'm kicking off the new year with my very first Crew Review of 2016. The first product comes from Home School in the Woods . We have had the great pleasure of reviewing HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections. Like everyone else the girls have notice all the election stuff on TV, who could miss it right. They have begun to ask questions, about why we have elections and how they work. This lap-pak has been a great way to introduce it all to them

HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections
 will introduce your kido to the United States presidential election process. It uses hands-on activities to briefly take your kido through how our country's government was established and through different aspects of a presidential campaign and how to pick our president here in the USA. It comes in CD format or you can get a downloadable version. We received the downloadable version right now it sells for $18.95. Not a bad price for a cool lesson that really has a lot in it.
U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review


Definition of "Election"
Different Forms of Government
The Presidential Campaign: stump Speaking
The Presidential Campaign: Media-News Sources
The Presidential Campaign: Campaign Advertising- Spreading the Word
The American Experiment
The Three Branches of Government
Raising Money 
Who Do We Vote For?
Election Day
Terms of Office
A "Handful" of Political Parties
The Electoral College
Caucuses and Primaries
Inauguration Day
National Conventions
The Presidential Campaign: Platform
The Electoral Rage
The "Vocabinet"

See I told you it had a lot of great stuff in it. Downloading was simple. It came with directions on how to unzip the file. I just saved it to a folder on my computer. Then I printed off the Instructions and Directions page, Lapbook Project Masters, and Reading Text pages. Then I realized that a Lapbook meant that we would actually be making a book out of a file folder. We had to make a trip to the local store to get some file folders. Our store did not have the cool colored file folders so we just got plain ones. Be sure to get a lot of double sided tape. We made two of these Lapbooks and we used 2 roles of double sided tape and ended up gluing some things on because we ran out. So pick up extra you can always use it later.

You have some different option when printing the lap-pak. I choose the pre-printed formats instead of the blank lines to write on. Both of the girls are younger and I was afraid it would be too much to write everything out. Even with the pre-printed options there is still some writing to do. Turned out to be a good choice for the girls.

When you first take the stack of papers out of the printer it seems a little over whelming, but don't fear there are great directions. I took the papers for each lesson and stapled them together. This made them easy to find when we got to that lesson. We started off at the beginning and just worked our way through each lesson reading explaining and discovering as we went. As we completed each lesson piece, we stored in a ziplock bag to assemble into the lap book at the end. The girls found most of the explanations easy to understand. Though there were one or two that were a little over their heads. Of course they are only 1st and 3rd grade, so I don't expect them to remember everything we talked about right now. They loved how hands on everything was. We did cutting, pasting and taping basically every day. Lots of coloring too. I would like to mention there are a couple things that need to be cut out with an X-Acto knife. I am going to recommend an adult do this part. Some things were suppose to be printed on colored paper but if you don't have any just color the pictures. I only ever heard one complaint through the entire lap book and that was because it was 60 degrees out side and they just wanted to play.

There is also a booklet that you make for the kids to read. Its made to be printed double sided on on single sheets of paper. I went for the double sided option just because it seemed like a good idea. It has all the information that is needed to fill in those blanks on the lap-pak lessons. Its a great booklet, It was well written and most of it was fairly easy for my 8 year old to understand.

Assembling the Lapbook was easy with the directions that were included. The directions even include pictures on how to assemble the hole lap book. Big bonus since this was our first lap-pak and I had no idea how to assemble the thing.  You have to do a little cutting and taping of the file folder but that's probably the hardest part of the hole assembly. You will want to pay attention to which side of the flaps things are stuck to. Since we clipped all the completed lessons together in a bag it went fairly quick. Now the girls have a great resource to look back on if they forget any of the information. The Lapbook also makes a great item for portfolios.

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review
So this is what part of your Lapbook should look like. Nice right ! 

Now this is ours. As you can see we are not quite finished with it we have just a couple more things to do. We didn't have any colored paper to print some of the things on so the girls opted to color in the pictures to jazz it up a little and they are still working on coloring in everything.
If you have a child that does better with hands on learning. One of these lap-packs is the way to go. They offer so much information and I can see us doing a more of them in the future.

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Twitter:  @HSintheWoods #HSReviews #HistoryUnitStudies #HomeschoolHistory

I want everyone to click on the link below and see what all the other Crew Reviewers are saying about these great Lap-Paks.

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Just a Girl and her Snow Plow!

Just a girl and her Snow Plow! 

We finally got a little snow. New plow works great only took 6 months to get it here. Two hours to install it and 30 min to clear the drive way. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Soap Making Adventure

My great grandma used to make soap and I always wanted to learn how. I prefer to make and grow what I can. Making and growing our own stuff gives my kids an appreciation for where the things we have come from.

I read up on different methods and decided I would use the cold process method that my great grandma used.

There are lots of options for molds. Wood, silicone, acrylic, etc. I'm on a budget so I opted to make mine its something similar to what my grandma would have used. I dug around in my scrap pile and pulled out some 1x3 took some measurements from various molds I had seen online and came up with this one that you see on the right.

It has pins on each end so that I can pop the sides off to get the soap out. With a wood mold you will need to line it with freezer paper do this before you ever start to mix your soap.

I bought my coconut oil and lard at the local grocery store when they had it on sale. Then I ordered the lye on amazon. I could have made my own lye from wood ash but I opted to buy the lye this time. I may try making my own some time in the future.

When you work with lye you have to be careful it can cause serious burns. When lye mixes with water it get very HOT. You need to make sure you have good gloves and eye protection. Always pour your lye into the water. Never pour the water into the lye. Always do it in a well ventilated area i prefer to do it out side. Keep a bottle of vinegar handy in case you accidentally splash it on your self vinegar will help to neutralize the lye.

Measure all your oils water and lye by weight.

I first measured my fats my lard and coconut oil into my stainless steel pot. I set that on the stove and began to heat on medium low. Put on your gloves I used chemical resistant ones just because that's what we have in the shop. Then I measured out my lye and my water placing them in separate containers. I took them out side and pored the lye into the water. I used a glass mason jar for this step. Then you need to watch the temperature of the lye mixture and the temperature of your fats. You want them both to get to about 120 F. Once they reach the same temp or close to it. You will slowly pour the lye into the oils while mixing with a spoon. Now get ready to stir. If you are mixing by hand this could take up to an hour or more to reach Trace. Trace is when your soap gets thick enough to leave a trail on top when you drizzle a little off the spoon. If you are lucky enough to have a stick blender than this will go much faster. You can reach trace in as little as 15 min. I do not have one but I do have a half worn out blender so I used that. It took about 30 minutes before it reached trace. My fats went from runny and clear to milky white and a pudding consistency when I reached trace.

Once your soap hits trace you can put in what ever additives you want. I infused vanilla in my oils while they were heating. I didn't put enough in so it really has no smell just some cool speckles.

If you are using a wood mold you should have pre lined it with freezer paper. Once it hits trace you dump it all into your prepared mold and level it out I banged mine on the counter a little to be sure I got the air bubbles out and to level it. Or you can leave swirls on the top with you spoon what ever you like. Put your top on wrap it in a towel and let it sit for 24 hours.

The next evening I pulled the pins and took the sides off. My soap came right out very easily. I used an old knife to cut it into blocks. Once your soap is cut it will need to cure for 3-6 weeks. You want to be sure your soap cures long enough so that the lye has time to finish converting the fats into soap. According to my great grandma he longer you let your soap sit the milder it will become. This soap will sit for about 6 weeks before we start using it. Next I will be making a shampoo bar and some summer time soap to help repel the ticks.