Monday, February 28, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

Goal Planning Monday

Welcome to week #3 of Goal Planning Monday hosted by Katrina of Mama Manuscripts.

Participating in this meme has been wonderful in holding me accountable!  Before I post my goals for next week, I'll going to review last week:

Last week:

I accomplished my biggest goal of blogging everyday of February for the Blog Through February Challenge .  I actually did it!!!!  I leaned a lot about myself and my family during this time.  Though I did have 'enough' content for the month, it was hard on my family doing so everyday.....I won't be continuing this into March.

I did deliver the outgrown boys' clothes to another expecting Mom and take our items from our Toss 25 Items challenge to Goodwill!

Wrote reviews for Math Rider and How the Scots Saved Christendom

I did read the goals of the other 'entrants' from Katrina's Meme :-)

Sewed twice with my daughter and made a pretty Medieval dress

Discovered that it isn't really possible to meal plan for the whole month in this economy.  I did this frequently in the past, but, nowadays without knowing what meats are going to be on sale, I can't plan more than 2 weeks in advance.

I got on the treadmill only once ....

This week my goals are:

1)  Train my children how to clean the entire kitchen with me present and participating while they are working.
2)  Get to bed by 10:30

3)  Get on the treadmill at least 3 times

4)  Blog 2-3 times a week

5)  Sew at least once with my daughter

6)  Complete review of "Dragons:  Legends, Lore and Dinosaurs" and continue working on upcoming reviews for this month:  Reading Kingdom, Apologia, and Artistic Pursuits.

7)  Continue reading the other "Goal Planning Monday" entraints!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Oh Looky!"

The baby has entered the "Oh Looky!" stage.
Busy Toddler getting into drawers
Busy Toddler

This is the raging toddler age where you can frequently hear exclamations of "Oh Looky!  The baby can climb!"

"Oh Looky!  The Baby can reach the dishes on the counter!"

"Oh Looky!  The baby can climb AND reach the sharp things on the counter!"

Also frequently heard now-a-days:  "Oh Looky!   All the color has drained out of Mommy's face!"

Hopefully this will be a short season!

Busy Toddler

Busy Toddler playing with pans

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Princess arrives at the castle.....

Handmade Medieval dress
Handmade Medieval dress
One of my goals for our study of the Middle Ages was to make at least one time-period specific costume/outfit.  I'm challenged just to sew a straight line...but, decided to give this dress a try.

Following the directions laid out in our curriculum, Tapestry of Grace....

 I found a piece of material that once folded reaches from the shoulders to the ground. I placed it with the fold at the top on the ground and had Audrey lie in the middle of it with the top of the fabric right above her shoulders. With chalk, I started tracing approximately 4 inches from her arm pit 'diagonal' to the end of her sleeve and then from the armpit 'diagonal' to the bottom of the fabric. I cut the area along the chalkline and then folded it over and cut the other half of the material. At the top (where it is folded) I cut a 9 inch slit and had her try it on. I kept the back portion of the slit straight and tried to curve the front portion (took a little bit too much off). Then I folded the neckline over and sewed it. (They suggest using bias tape if you know how to use it).

Following directions, I turned it inside out and sewed from the armpit down to the bottom on both sides. Then turned it right side and sewed from the armpit down to the end of the sleeves.

Then, hemmed it......

There are some things I'd definitely do differently next time (with the neckline and measuring by the arm pits).

But, I do have to say, Princess Roola Mae is one happy girl!!!!

Handmade Medieval dress

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest post - Sabbath WEEK from Crazy Home Daze!

Sabbath Week from Crazy Home Daze
We homeschool year around in order to take advantage of the more 'temperate' weather and work through the crazy heat from May-September.  We take breaks when we need them. But that's just it.  Many times we wait until we NEED the break - have to HAVE the break - and are near burnout situations.

I've heard of doing X number of weeks 'on' and taking a week off, but just haven't implemented it. 

Then this week hit....and we took our own rest because we just NEEDED it. 

A few days ago, I heard about Sabbath Week from Renita at  Crazy Home Daze .  Renita is a homeschooling mom of 4, a Tapestry of Grace friend, prayer buddy, fellow reviewer and blogger.  Her explanation of this week of rest - essentially 7 weeks 'on' and 1 week 'off' inspired me to change how we schedule our school year.

She explains what Sabbath Week looks like in her house and how she goes about setting her schedule.

Please - check it out Sabbath Week for yourself .  You will be blessed!

TOS Crew Math Rider Review!

Math Rider - Math Facts Fun!
Math Rider - Math Facts Fun!
Math Rider

I have a horse crazed 2nd grader living in my house.  When I saw this computer generated, math-facts game, I knew she'd love it!  We are also studying the Middle Ages - which is the time period setting for this game.

First, you choose the operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with numbers 0 - 12 and the level that you'd like to start (easy (0-5), medium (0-10), or advanced (0-12).  After completing each of the three levels within a given operation, you are rewarded with either a gem, flower or flag.  To get your own castle, you must complete the previous levels within that function with 99% accuracy before going on to the "master level" where you will have 60 seconds to answer all questions correctly.  Once you have done that, you are presented with your very own castle!  SWEET!

There are some elements of magic within the game.  These are contained to the "story" where the player  obtains and finishes a quest.  During the actual drilling (horse jumping) there's just math facts.  You can also chart your progress between rides of a quest by viewing the current quest map.

From their website:

Game Intelligence

statistics view of division  Math Rider - Math Facts Fun! 

Division statistics example - most area are mastered (green), but a few problem spots (orange and red), mainly clustered around the number 7, need more practice.  The grey areas mean that these questions have not been played yet.

While the rider is playing, the game learns what the rider knows and what he or she still needs to practice. Every single response (or non-response) is stored in an internal database and statistically analysed by the software. In this way the program is able to custom-tailor to each rider, which questions are asked next. No repetitive drilling of random number facts the rider already knows – but real practice of what actually needs to be practiced!

Plenty of feedback is given on the rider’s mastery of each number fact and operation, including an innovative overview map of mastery for each number table. This is highly beneficial for both the rider and the parent/educator. You can see with one glance where your child is at and where he or she might need further assistance. Top challenges are also listed in a separate list box for further easy reference.
Clicking on a question brings up more information on it, including a visual representation as well as some detailed statistics.

A Fun and Entertaining Math Game

multiplication practice in the enchanted forest  Math Rider - Math Facts Fun! 
Your child is taken into a land of fantasy and quests. Living in the Land of Ray and riding a horse called Shadow, he or she will set out on various noble adventures. Riding across amazing, digitally matte-painted moving backdrops of distinct fantastic lands, they will accomplish their quest, be it finding magical flowers, returning gems to the elves or even rescuing a princess!

Each operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) contains four quests, ranging from easy to master.

The four quests are the same across the four operations, however, the rewards are not. Every combination of quest and reward holds a different reward. The rewards are all animated according to how well the player answered the questions.

All rewards are displayed on the main screen of the game. In this way there is a direct feedback and incentive for your child to do as best as they can.

Math Rider isn't just for "little kids".  Don't tell anyone, but, my tough 4th and 7th grade boys enjoyed the challenge of seeing who could get the fastest time and complete each quest in the least amount of rides.  Even I gave it a spin when the boys told me, "It's hard Mom".  It was good to get those math cells working again!

Here's what other crew members are saying.

I received this item in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday - February 24

It's Lego Creation Thursday hosted by Michelle of My Blessings from Above.

This is our very first try at making and posting a video......the boys tell about the Lego addition to their Medieval castle. 


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How the Scots Saved Christendom: Tales of Bravehearts and Covenanters Review!

How the Scots Saved Christendom: Tales of Bravehearts and Covenanters Review!
How the Scots Saved Christendom: Tales of Bravehearts and Covenanters 
What if I offered you a ticket to Scotland for $35?   What if I told you that your spouse and children could use the same ticket as well?  What if I told you that in addition to getting a personalized tour of battlefields, castles, cathedrals, gravesites and monuments that you would also learn about the passion and depth of character of the early martyrs and reformers of Scotland -AND- that you wouldn't have to leave the comfort of your own home!  Would you be interested?

This "ticket" is a 900 minute, 12 cd set called "How the Scots Saved Christendom: Tales of Bravehearts and Covenanters", taped on location during Vision Forum's Faith and Freedom tour of Scotland. This audio series features messages given by Douglas W. Phillips, Dr. Joseph Morecraft, III, and historian William Potter.

At first glance, you may think that this is another one of those "easy-listening historical storytime" cd's.  I thought so too and was I mistaken!  This is an engaging, informative, thought provoking and consuming journey through the history of one of the most Christ light-bearing countries of all time.

I think the President of Vision Forum, Douglas Phillips, says it best about the Scottish character: 

…”Built in the bath of blood, it was formulated on battlefields, it was breathed through ballads and bards who spoke and built up the National character.  It was cultivated through story telling.  It was birthed by fathers who developed a system of discipleship and of covenanting that was so superior to anything that we had seen in Christendom beforehand that the sons and the daughters embraced it in their hearts.  And from that great work of God there was 1000 buds which blossomed around the world.  In fact the National character of Scotland, though they would never see, like David, who would never live to see the palace built himself, the children of the great men of Scotland would go to the four corners of the Earth.  And that dream, that hope, those beliefs would be spread such that perhaps no country in the history of the world has had a greater impact on gospel evangelism than Scotland.”

A small sampling of the MANY historical figures and places contained in this set, you'll hear:

How William Wallace ignited the hearts of the Scots and Robert the Bruce as they fought for Scottish freedom., the historical and spiritual significance of Stirling Castle, St. Andrew Cathedral , Island of Iona and Kilmartin.

Discover how Columba leads the Picts out of darkness and helps to change the rules of war to reflect God's law.  During Columba's time, it was a common pagan practice to view women as object of warfare. The male Picts forced their wives to lead the front lines in battle armed with spears while they followed behind them flogging them to fight the opposing women.  (And people say Christianity is oppressive to women!)

Learn more about how Scotland sent out thousands of missionaries who were Covenanters.  Covenanters were steadfast Christians who uncompromisingly followed scripture and would die for their faith.  You'll hear about their lives, martyrdom and why many of their mouths were stuffed with brass balls before being burned alive at the stake.

Experience how the Reformation spread to Scotland and took hold via education as a rediscovery on grace and work of the Holy Spirit.  Literacy rates increased dramatically during this time because so many people wanted to read the Bible for themselves.

Spend time with the most famous of these men, John Knox, who worked to establish Christ as the Head of the church and reform the structure of government in accordance with the Bible.  You will hear some incredible interaction between Knox and Mary Queen of Scots as Knox is steadfast, courageous and respectful in making a Biblical stand.

You will also be introduced to the Declaration of Arbroath, learn its' importance and how this document directly influenced America's Declaration of Independence.

In regards to the formation of America as a nation, you'll learn about John Witherspoon, who was a direct descendant of John Knox, and how he trained 1/6 of our Founding Fathers.  And, the role that Samuel Rutherford took in educating our Founding Fathers at the University of New Jersey - known as Princeton.

Find out what happened to the Celtic Christians and how that should spur Christian Americans on to a greater evangelism of our own countrymen.

Of all the incredible stories that were shared, the most surprising to me was the Petroglyphics found in a cave in West Virginia.  These date back to the 1st century and are written in an Ancient Irish dialect WITH The 10 Commandments in Hebrew side by side.  These have also been found in places from Maine to Arizona and appear to be from missionaries form the island of Iona.  The significance being that the Native Americans were being evangelized long before Columbus arrived in America!

Though perhaps this set is best for Junior High and up, as a parent, you will no doubt come away from this with a greater appreciation of the Scottish sacrifice and ability to teach your children more of the middle ages conflict between the established church that was filled with superstition and corruption to that of the church laid out in the Word of God lead by flesh and blood reformers.

My husband, 12 year old son and I thoroughly enjoyed all of this set.  My younger children did listen in on some of the sessions and enjoyed them as well.  Since these sessions were recorded on location - sometimes outdoors - birds, wind and other noises can be heard.  For a great percentage of the time, the extras add to the feel of actually being in Scotland.  There are a few times, particularly on disk 8, were it is better to listen in a quiet room to catch everything that is being said.

I received these cd's for free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drawbridge down, Portcullis up, Visitors Welcomed ! Weekly Wrap Up....

Long awaited, the work on the CASTLES are done!

Completed paper mache castle!
 There's still some debate over the drawing of bricks, but, for the most part it's finished!   Arrow slits were first made cutting into the castle, but changed to using white strips of paper after the paint and paper mache began cracking.

Completed paper mache castle! Barracks
The Barracks

Completed paper mache castle! The Keep
The Keep

Completed paper mache castle! Noble Watchman
Noble Watchman!

Completed paper mache castle! An invader
The Bubbly Blue Invader - fortunately the many layers of paper mache hold up under the most rigorous play!

Brickle Bricks
Ever buy something that looks soooo cool that you think your kids will LOVE building with it?  I bought this thinking  this would be fun to actually build with bricks and mortar.

'Minstrel in the Tower'!
Well.....doesn't come close to the picture ---- it's more like the castle ruins in 'Minstrel in the Tower'!

'Minstrel in the Tower'!
Fortunately, after all the building is done, the mortar dissolves easily in water and the bricks can be put away.

We are winding down on the middle last project we have planned is making at least one time period costume.

We are moving on toward the Reformation!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Goal Planning Monday!

Goal Planning Monday

I always write down a weekly to-do list, but, don't always get it done.  I figured that participating in a weekly meme hosted by Mama Manuscripts would help hold me accountable!

This is my second week participating and last week didn't go too shabby ---  I accomplished most of my goals,

This weeks goals:

1) Deliver outgrown boys' clothes to another Mother who's expecting soon. (This is a hold over from last week)

2) Take items from 'Toss 25 items' to Goodwill.

3) Now that bedroom is cleaned and reshuffled start to use treadmill -- at least twice this week.

4)  Write reviews for Math Rider and How the Scots Saved Christendom

5)  Read the other 'goal planning' entrants on Katrina's blog ;-)

6) Meal plan for the whole month of March

7)  Sew at least one night with my daughter.

8)  Continue to blog everyday through the month of February.

That's seems like a reasonable to get to it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shhhh....The 'Circus' is Resting

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 28-30

The 'Circus' is resting today.....are you????

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sacrifice - Romans 12:10

Romans 12:10 (New King James Version)

Romans 12:10 (New King James Version)

10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

We all do it.  At least most adults do it....but sometimes the sacrifice comes from siblings.

We have four children.  Their ages are 12, 9, 7 and 16 months.  It's not so much that the sacrifice comes due to the amount of children, but from the season that child is in.

Sometimes it's the oldest skipping an activity because the baby HAS to nap.

Sometimes it's the baby who naps on the go in order for the oldest to have science co-op.

Sometimes it's the second born having his second choice of classes so his older brother and younger sister can have enrichment activities.

And, it's also the oldest making leeway for his brother's amphibian guests parked on his desk --- even though they gross him out!

In these sacrifices, my children have the opportunity to learn to minister and love each other inspite of what it may 'cost' themselves.

In this small way we remember the One who made the ultimate sacrifice!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Toss out 25 Things!

I recently saw a post about 'Tossing Out 25 Things' on the Raising Homemakers Blog and it inspired me to try it in my own home!  We live in a very small house and with 4 kids we have an abundance of 'stuff'.  I gave my three oldest the 'challenge' and, this is what our kitchen table looked like.   Here's our 75 things (25 x 3 kids) that will either be tossed out or donated.  Not bad for one hour worth of work!

Think we will make this a monthly happening!

Toss out 25 things
Remarkable how 'stuff' accumulates!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lego Creation Thursday

It's Lego Creation Thursday hosted by Michelle of My Blessings from Above.

My kiddos built these while we studied Ancient History....

Lego / Duplo Tabernacle
Lego Tabernacle

Complete w/Ark of the Covenant
Complete w/Ark of the Covenant

The 'sacrifice' is a horse....later on the boys had mercy on their sister and changed it to a pizza
The 'sacrifice' is a horse....later on the boys had mercy on their sister and changed it to a pizza 
Assyrian Battering Ram

Greek Amphitheater

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Art at Co-op!

In the midst of all our 'new baby' craziness and slowing down, I sensed that my kids could really use a little co-op participation especially in the area of fine arts and computers/science. 

We are entering week #3 of an 8 week co-op that meets one afternoon a week....

My artistic second grader is doing Ballet, Art with the Masters and Josephina (American Girls)
Salt map of the United States/Mexico in 1840 (Josephina)
Salt map of the United States/Mexico in 1840 (Josephina)

Week #1 Fr. Giovanni Angelico - Renaissance painter using Silver Leaf
Week #1 Fr. Giovanni Angelico - Renaissance painter using Silver Leaf 

Week #2 Thomas Gainsborough - Romanticism.  "Garden of Eden"
Week #2 Thomas Gainsborough - Romanticism.  "Garden of Eden"

My charismatic 4th grader opted for Dangerous Book for Boys, Art with Literature, Experimental Science Fun

Week #1 Van Gogh
Week #1 Van Gogh

Week #2 Ashanti People
Week #2 Ashanti People

And, as for my analytical 7th grader, he choose Computer Programming, Socratic Discussion of Cheaper by the Dozen and Physical Science.

And the baby?  Well....he's content just hanging out with Mom!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: Stain Glass Windows Somewhere Deep Inside the Middle Ages

 Still happily in the Middle Ages, we took some time to admire Cathedrals and stained glass windows. 

Cutting a 'template' out of black construction paper, the kids were able to take some colored tissue paper and glue it over each opening.
Making Stain Glass Windows - Cutting Tissue Paper
Making Stain Glass Windows - Cutting Tissue Paper
Making Stain Glass Windows - Cutting Tissue Paper

Baby drawing with crayons
Even the baby got to create

To make things more manageable, we did 1/2 of the 'window' at a time and then put them together when we hung them up.

Stain Glass Windows with light shinning through them
Stain Glass Windows with light shinning through them

Stain Glass Windows with light shinning through them

AND....I'm happy to say, the castle finally gets its' first coat of paint....a little grey, a little brown, a little green.....then, after it's dry the windows and other finishing touches will go on.

Paper mache castle

Paper mache castle

Paper mache castle


Monday, February 14, 2011

Goal Planning Monday

Goal Planning Monday

I always write down a weekly to-do list, but, don't always get it done.  I figured that participating in a weekly meme hosted by Mama Manuscripts would help hold me accountable!

This weeks goals:

1) Deliver baby items that we are no longer using to an expecting Mother

2) Deliver outgrown boys' clothes to another Mother who's expecting soon.

3) Reshuffle and reorganize our bedroom so I can readily get at AND use treadmill.

4)  Hunt for a new babysitter.

5)  Get to bed by 10:30 every night.

6)  Work in new Apologia bible study, Kinderbach music lessons and listening (again) to How the Scots Saved Christendom into our weekly routine.

7)  Continue to blog everyday through the month of February.

That's seems like a reasonable to get to it!

AND THE WINNER IS.....................

Drawing a winner
Winners' names
Thank you all for reading, responding and entering for a chance to win The Case of the Missing Mountain by Kim Jones

...over 100 entries for the book....

Draw a name  
             Assisted by my beautiful assistant, we drew the name......

 AND, BUBBLES is the winner!!!!!  Congratulations Bubbles - I'll be contacting your shortly.

Congratulations Bubbles

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 MORE DAYS.... get your entries submitted for The Case of the Missing Mountain book giveaway!!!

Follow the above link for contest information!

Creation Science from Master Books

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guest Post - Lesson on Materialism from Colleen's Quest

I'd like to introduce you to a wonderful, godly woman named Colleen from Colleen's Quest.  She and I have been friends and involved in local homeschooling support for the past five years.  I have turned to Colleen many times asking for guidance in child rearing.  She has ALWAYS helped me through the Word of God, focusing my energies on character building that reaches the heart and not just the head.  She is someone I truly admire!!!

This particular lesson she wrote is on the topic of Materialism with the goal of DE-CLUTTERING!  Young and old, I think we ALL can benefit from this one!!!

Please visit and read this God-breathed lesson.  If you like what you see, please sign up to receive updates or to follow her.

Be blessed!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There's still time.....

to submit your entries for a chance to win The Case of the Missing Mountain!

Winner will be chosen on Monday, February 14th.  Go here to read more about this giveaway.

Creation Science
Case of the Missing Mountain

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up: The Work on the Castle Heraldry

We are happily 'stalled out' in the middle ages.  There is just so much to do!!!

With our study of heraldry, I let the kids do whatever they wanted in regards to designing their own shields.  With the aid of Make Your Own Coat of Arms and Make Your Coat of Arms.  Designing was a snap!!!  My two middle children also went on to make their own 'free form' shields as well.

Heraldry / Coat of Arms
Heraldry / Coat of Arms

I'm very happy to report, work on the castle continues......paper mache has been applied and is STILL drying!

Front of the castle - gate
Front of the castle - gate

Sideview of Castle
A view of the Keep and the Courtyard
A view of the Keep and the Courtyard

Next week - Robin Hood, stained glass windows and hopefully a coat of paint once the castle is dry.