Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Another Project

I made these little beauties for a friend who flys a powered para-glider. They are media etched with 220 Aluminium oxide.  I started out just making him one then I decided that a set would be nice. I think they came out nice and my etching is getting better and better. I also made a few more ornaments for my girls other karate instructor and their new baby but my silly bum forgot to take a picture of them and the Babies first Christmas one came out amazing.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Anyone else making these ?

Thanks to my sister a few years a go my girls got an Elf on the Shelf. Then I introduced them to shrink a dinks and they decided that miniature letters to Santa were in order. Today we made our shrink a dink letters to Santa. Now our Elf has agreed to take the letters to Santa then bring them back so that Mommy can hang them on the tree. They now sell a kit to do this but its more pricey than a pack of shrink a dink paper. I buy either the frosted like you see below or the white. You want to make sure it is not the glossy one or the pencil or marker will not stay after its shrunk. If you by chance get the glossy one you will need to get some steel wool and then scrub it tell there is no shine left. I buy a pack of 8 1/2 by 11 shrink a dink paper then I cut them in half and round the corners or use some scrap-booking scissors to give them a shape around the edge. You then bake them at 325 for about 3 minutes. My tip to you is to watch them carefully and have a wooden tooth pick handy because if it curls up and the ends touch each other they will not flatten back out. So if the edges start looking like they are going to touch another part of the paper simply use the tooth pick to gently stop it. Once they flatten back out let them bake for another 30 seconds or so then take them out and let them cool slightly. Don't forget to punch the hole and put the kids name and year on it.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

This is happening in our house

There is trend among most youth sports where kids smack talk to each other and parents argue and fight with other parents cotches and referees. The amazing group of kids you see before you is changing that trend. 

The girls began martial arts classes about 3 months a go. Next to Homeschooling this was the best decision I have ever made for them. The kids in there classes amaze me every week. They support and encourage each other at every session. This week GabbyGirl went up for yellow belt testing. As she stood in line waiting for her name to be called every other child there whether they knew her or not either wished her good luck or said something encouraging like you've got this. When she was awarded her yellow belt every one of them shook her hand. Near the end of the night the kids that were yellow belt and above came out to spar. Each kid shook hands before the match. They battled it out martial arts style and when it was over they shook hands and told each other how well they had done. I even caught snatches of conversations where opponents were helping each other by showing them how they could improve a kick or punch or stance or form.  Not all the kids in this photo are from our regular class but they are all from with in the same organization they compete together they practice together and they learn together. 

Training Principles that we Live by:

Be Polite
Be Patient
Be Brave
Be Alert
 Do Your Best
Respect Yourself and Others 
Never Give Up!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I found these silicone donut pans on amazon a few weeks a go and thought the girls would like to have donut soap. This is my first try at it. They look realistic enough although I will probably do something a little different for the sprinkles next time. The coloring on these transferred a little to the white frosting. All and all they look great and I think the kids will have fun with these in the tub.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rocket Ship Trip

We went camping a back in October and I forgot to share our camping projects. We were expecting rain so my sister brought the kids some modeling clay and these are a few of the creatures they came up with. This kept them busy for hours I couldn't believe it. We are defiantly keeping some of this in the camper from now on. The last picture is of our dog, she has an issue with her eye something that happens with older dogs. She was stuck in the cone of shame for a few weeks while it healed. This is how she chose to ride in the truck. She needed comfort from her best human.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veterans Day. There will never be enough words to express the gratitude that my family and I have for the men and women that have served this great country. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Soaping fun

Me and my sidekicks grew our own sponges in the garden this year. The girls didn't believe me that you could actually grow your own sponge. So we did and they were completely amazed. So now I have a bucket of luffa sponges hanging out in my basement. This week I finally decided what to do with all of those sponges. We made home made luffa soap scented in North Pole. This fragrance smells just like Santa's house at least what I always pictured Santa's house smelling like. 

Master Kitz The Starry Night Review

Snoopy girl has gotten into painting and drawing lately. She was very excited when I told her she we were given the chance to review  the Master Kitz The Starry Night by You can locate it on their website

This is a kit to help your child easily recreate Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. This kit comes in a box with 2 sheets of heavy weight water color type paper, one stencil for making the buildings, some round stickers to make the void for the stars, one textured roller that makes the swirl design, one foam roller for applying the black on the stencil for the buildings, it also contains a couple of colors of acrylic paint crayons, one bottle of blue acrylic paint, one bottle of white, and one bottle of black.

We received this kit a few weeks a go and my girls quickly wanted to jump in. The paper and stencil came rolled up in the box so the first thing we did was lay it out flat and put some books on top of it. We read through the directions and took a look at all the items that were included in the box. The directions are very easy to follow they are broke down into steps with little pictures to show you what you need to do. We started off by taping down the white paper. The next step has you use the round stickers to make the voids for the yellow stars. Then it has you use the textured roller to apply blue paint across the hole paper, then you will roll on a little white with the same roller. Next they tape the stencil over the paper you just painted, lining it up with the top edge. They use the solid roller to roll black paint over the stencil. Then you carefully remove the stencil. The next step has you peeling off the round stickers this is easier said then done. Ours stuck so well that they started to tear the paper they were stuck to. I ended up having to help get them off and we managed to remove them with out tearing the paper all the way through. After this you must wait for the paint to dry. We sang the baby shark song while we waited. Takes about 10 min for it to dry depending on the humidity in your house. The steps then have you using those acrylic paint crayons to finish up the details.

Since the kit came with two sheets of paper both of the girls tried out this project. They enjoyed almost every aspect of it except when the round stickers started to tear the paper. I think their painting came out great and for a beginner artist kit this was fun. Do their paintings look exactly like the original? Of course not they used stencils and foam rollers instead of brushes and pallet knives. But when someone looks at it they can recognize where the idea came from. They got a little art history because we looked up some of his other works of art. They also got to try out some new painting methods. All in all they had loads of fun with this one and we would are interested in other products by Kidzaw.

So here are the final paintings. The final paintings they look great don't you think? Be sure to click the banner below and see what amazing art the other Crew Kids have done.

Master Kitz The Starry Night { Reviews}
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Saturday, October 27, 2018

We skipped Fall

In my neck of the woods Mother Nature went from 80 degrees to 28 degrees like she saw a State Trooper. Can you believe it got that cold that quick. Just the day before we were in the upper 70's and low 80's then bam I come out of work at 0700 its 28 degrees. Winter is coming on fast I hope your ready for it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

When you are a homeschool mom you can grade papers with any pen you want and with any color you want. Todays pen is fuzzy with a face and guess what I used green because I can. #DareToBeDifferent

Monday, September 24, 2018

My latest soaping project. Shave soap for the ladies the orange one is Scented in Marshmallow Pumpkin and the Blue one is scented in Snow Fairy. They both smell amazing and I will probably give a few away for Christmas gifts this year. Review

I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade
Are you looking for a good math supplement for your student how about giving I Know It a try. This is an online comprehensive math practice site for students K-5th grade. This program can be used for those that are struggling in math, just need some extra practice, or you can even use it for homework assignments. Students can work a their own pace, the program is based on mastery of skills and is aligned with common core. You can check out pricing by visiting the website at
I Know It Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade

I am not big on common core based curriculum. But we decided to give this a try any way the Gabby girl has been trying this out as some extra practice work for some of the areas that she is having a little trouble with. 

I set up our account listing her as a student. She gets her own log in etc. then you put the child in an assigned grade level as well as math ability. You can then give them assignments for specific areas that you want them to work on. You can also view progress from the parent account. Progress comes in the form of a chart shows the lesson the status of the lesson and completion date as well as score. Then you can click on more info and get an html version of the questions and answers, score time spent etc. Its all printable or you can do a screen shot of it for your records if need be.

When they log in it takes them to a home page. The first thing they see is those  assignments. They can also explore topics that are under their assigned level. I prefer giving her assignments because I can guide her to the areas that she is needing to work on. I have also let her have some free time to just browse around and work on some areas she feels she needs more practice with. 

We did not find in-depth explanations on how to do the problems but there is a hint button for each question that does help a little. However the number of hints they can use is limited for each lesson. I did not see where this could be changed. I could see a child that struggles with math running out of hints fairly quick. I feel like the program covers a range of topics. Things like Measurement, Numbers and place value, addition and subtraction, basic multiplication, basic division, multi digit multiplication, word problems, fractions, time, money, geometry, graphing, measurement in both SAE and metric. The program tells them if the questions are right or wrong as soon as they submit the answer. There is a cute little robot looking guy in the side bar at the right of the page that does a little trick when you get it right. You can change it from the robot to a smile face or turn it off all together. That same side bar also tells them how many questions they have completed and how many they have left. 

Over all I think its a nice supplement for some additional math practice. I feel like the grade level is about right although a few topics seemed to be a little easy for her grade at times. Be sure to click the banner below to see what the other Crew Members had to say about of the other grade levels.

Interactive Math Lessons K - 5 grade {I Know It Reviews}
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Friday, September 21, 2018

This a little Saturday morning project I thought I would share this week. I have been making some new work shirts the last few weeks. This is my latest one I think it came out nice it says saving lives one call at a time. The thin gold line on the flag is done in glitter HTV. Down the sleeve it says 911 Dispatcher. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018


We are big on tradition in our family.  When ever a new slab of cement gets laid someone is going to get there hand put in it that's just how we do it in our family. When me and my brother and sisters were little it was us. Our little hands and big hands are forever in cement in my now brothers back yard. Now at our forever home my girls were just 1 and 3 when we laid the last of the cement for the shop and they smash their little chubby hands into it. Now at the ages of 9 and 11 we have laid another bit of cement this time for the stairs for our new deck. Once again they waited with eager anticipation to smash there not so little hands into the cement once again. Next time you lay a little cement down at you house consider letting your little or not so little ones smash their hands into it. Make a good hand print write their name in it and make a beautiful memory that will last a life time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

GrammarPlanet Review


Good morning homeschool parents do you struggle to teach grammar? Are you looking for a online video bases program for your kid. Than GrammarPlanet Might be just what you are looking for.  GrammarPlanet is aimed at kids 10+, adults can use it also. It is a complete online grammar, punctuation and usage curriculum.  The free version has ads and the paid version does not. I prefer the no ad version it is less distracting for the girls. The ad free version is a one time fee of $39.00 for each student.

To get started you will create a parent account and add in each student that you want in your class. From there you will create them each an individual log in. Each unit will start out with a video lesson and a printable page. The printable page contains notes we are storing them in a three ring binder as we print them for use as needed. The notes are colored but they look just fine in black and white. Next your student will watch the video lesson. During the video lessons they get a little pop up they click that says take quiz. Once they finish the quiz questions and the video they click a box at the bottom right that says start practice. This gives them practice questions. If they get to many wrong it locks them out and the parent has to go into the parent account and reset it so they can do it again. 

We are using the program as a supplement to our core language arts curriculum. My 4th grader is the main child using GrammarPlanet. She is struggling with it some. She does well in our core grammar program but this one just seems hard for her. She is was stuck on level 2 for quite some time. She became frustrated when I had to keep resetting the lesson so she could try again. I feel like there was a little something lacking in the explanation portion of the video. Maybe it just needed more examples of the common nouns that are no so obvious. We ended up looking up more common noun examples and explanations before she was finally able to move on to lesson 3 articles and adjectives. She is doing ok on the articles part but we are still having trouble identifying all the adjectives. The lessons are asking her to identify more than one thing at a time and that is overwhelming her. She is trying to remember what a noun, adjective and now article is. She is flipping back and forth between  the note pages trying to figure out what each word is. I think we will be on unit 3 for a while... She says the videos are ok but was a bit confused as to what she needed to do when the video paused. This is when the pop up comes up on the bottom corner of the video for the  quiz. She did not realize that it was clickable she thought it was just part of the video. Once we figured that out she does ok navigating the videos quizzes and lessons. 

The parent dashboard is very simple. It gives you your classroom or group. You click on this and it will give you the students you have created. You can click the three little dots on the right of each student to change user name password etc. Under each student the units are highlights to show which ones they have done. It also provides you a test percentage. I would like to see the parent dashboard have a break down of what is being covered in each unit and how they are doing. From the student dash board your child can see what unit they are on and they can view their test scores. I would love it if they could make the test scores printable. I like to put a copy in their portfolio every now and then. 

This is marketed as a complete grammar, punctuation and usage curriculum. I don't think we would be able to use it as such considering how hard of a time she is having with the program. But I can see it working well for other kids maybe a bit older than 4th grade. I also think it makes a good supplement for visual learners and for those of us that are not so hot at explaining prepositions, conjunctions, articles and adjectives. 

Grammar Program Online {GrammarPlannet Reviews}

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reading Eggs Review

Online Reading Eggs Suite
Online Reading Eggs Suite
We used Reading Eggs some time back when the girls were younger. They loved the online program then and still do. My oldest has aged out of the online program but my 4th grader still has a bit of time with it. Its much the same as when we last used it. We still love the explanations and the activities she still thinks they are fun. The ease of use is still very child friendly. They have just released something new that you can use in partnership with the online program. This is a physical workbook called 200 essential Reading Sills for Fourth Grade (it is available in other grade levels this is just the one we received) You can purchase and take a look at all the books through this link

The lessons in the book are designed to coincide with the lessons in Reading Eggs. The book covers reading comprehension, spelling and grammar. The lessons are designed to be completed in 15 minutes a day. Each lesson is labeled Week 1 Day 1 and so on making it very easy to follow. They are given 2 reading comprehension lessons and 2 spelling lessons and 1 grammar lesson a week. So the book will give you 15 min a day for 5 days a week for 36 weeks. This would get you through a hole school year. Do I consider the book alone a complete curriculum, no I feel its more of a supplemental program but if you were to combine it with the online program I might be able to consider it a fairly compete program. I feel like the workbook blends in well with the online program and gives them the best of both worlds. They get the instant feed back and auditory learning from the online program but they also get the hands on learning from the physical book. If you were to use both the online program and the work book I think it would take around 20-30 a day to do both. The shorter lessons help to make it less overwhelming and I think together both programs would be great for a struggling reader.

The book is in color and that makes it a little more interesting. Snoopy likes the reading
comprehension stories they start out easier and get a little more complex as you go through the book. They get a little blip at the top of the page that tells them what they are looking for. Like the week 1 day 1 lesson tells about making predictions. Then it gives the passage in the top middle of the page and along each side of the passage it ask them to circle or underline things in the passage. Like circle what the goats did to the children or highlight how Mr. Kent was standing when he looked at the crabs. This is the hands on it gives them something to look for and by highlighting or circling or underlining it helps to reinforce understanding. Down at the bottom of the page it will ask them a couple of questions about what they read. The spelling lessons vary on what it wants them to do. There is always a short simple explanation at the top and then the activity. Some times its just a write the words. Some times its a fill in the missing letters or maybe a complete the sentence. I like that it changes and is not always the same activity. On grammar days they get an explanation at the top of the page and then a few questions or activities to reinforce what they learned. One day it might be a word maze where they color in the pronouns to find the finish line or it might be a complete the sentences with an adjective. There are also some review days thrown in here and there.

For parents there is an answer key in the back of the book. We grade together and talk about any mistakes that were made. You will also find some standards listed at the bottom of each days lesson. This would be helpful for those of you that are required to list them on lesson plans etc.

For she is in the Reading Eggspress level which is for ages 7-13. There is a placement test you can have your child take to help start them off in the right area. They can also re-take the placement test at any time. It covers all the same topics that the book does but its interactive. The interactive part is great for auditory learners and those that are visual learners. My daughter is using the app version of it this time on her Ipad 2. So far we have had not technical issues with using it on the app. It logs in just like it does when on her laptop. She is able to navigate the lessons and so far as long as she does one lesson a day they have matched up with what she has been working on in the workbook. I really like that they go hand in hand to reinforce each lesson. She loves the video lessons and how interactive the program is. She thinks earning her targets are cool but doesn't really get the point of the trading cards.

She has a dashboard that shows her progress in each area: Comprehension, Lexile level and growth, books read, assessments completed, progress by category, spelling lessons, trophies earned as well as what she has done in the stadium (these are the games she plays). The page is printable for record keeping it is in color but looks just fine in black and white. I am impressed with the progress chart and find it helpful for keeping track of how she is doing since its a self grading online program.

Don't forget you can purchase the workbooks through

If you purchase the books through this link be sure to enter the code :WK10HFTPKW6 at check out to receive 10% off. In addition to this you can use this link to receive 4 free weeks of Reading Eggs: 

Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

Deck Construction 101

Things to remember when building a deck:

1. Bigger is better...
2. Measure twice cut once....
3. Guilt a neighbor into helping you lift 16ft beams and 12ft 6x6 post...