Friday, April 29, 2011

Showing Off the Boys Link-up

Last month, our two boys shot at the state archery competition at the Farm Show building.  Our oldest has shot this competition since he was about 10 years old.  Our youngest, although he went to every archery class, never showed much interest in shooting competition.  Then one morning he surprised us and said that he would like to shoot the state competition this year.  So, we had one shooting the Junior division class A, and one shooting the Junior division class B.  I am so very pleased to brag that both of them placed.  Our oldest, Big Mac was first in his class.  Our youngest, his first year ever shooting, came in 2nd in his class!  Our boys are growing into these fine young men.  Even if they hadn't placed, I would be pleased with how they carried themselves throughout this LONG two-day tournament.   It was an exercise in perseverance, especially for T-bone, in his first year.  And persevere they did!


The Mob Society is having a Friday link-up with pictures of boys and their boyishness, so I thought this would be an appropriate post for their link up.  Check out the other mom's posts here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We Learned Latin this year!

When I learned that we were going to be reviewing a Latin level 3 book I was distressed.  We hadn't done ANY Latin at all and now we had to do level 3?!?  Well, after I was talked down from my ledge, the coordinator explained that the level just means the age of the child, not the 3rd book in a series.  Ok, I can do that.  Then I thought, "Oh, this is SO COOL.  We're going to learn Latin!"

Our material came from the company Greek 'n' Stuff a week later.  I received one student workbook ($21.95), one full-text answer key ($21.95), and one pronunciation CD ($10).  You can buy all of this as a set for $58.40.    I opened the package and we completed our first lesson that same day.  It is that easy to implement.  I did order another student workbook so that the boys could each have their own workbook for their boxes.  And I would recommend that.

The lessons are easy and fun.  Each day the boys have one worksheet where they write three or four new latin words several times as they pronounce them out loud.  Then they have flash cards at the back of the book for those words.  They cut out the flash cards and add them to their growing stack of cards.  Everyday, they quiz each other on all their flashcards for all the Latin words they have learned thus far.  And they're learning!  I don't have to do ANYTHING.  And they're learning Latin!  We are also using the pronunciation key daily just to make sure we are pronouncing everything correctly.

If you're ready to try Latin, I highly recomment "Latin's Not So Tough" from Greek 'n' Stuff.  Our level 3 product was meant for the older child, but the level one products are for very young elementary.  So there is something for every age!  You will find their contact information here.  And if you want to try any of their other products, they have a lot of great stuff.  Go to their webpage and click to receive a printed copy of their catalog or click the link to view it online.  And please read the other reviews of my fellow crew-mates there were lots of different products being reviewed, so you'll get a really good idea of what Greek 'n' Stuff has to offer.

Disclaimer:  I received the products listed above at no cost  from Greek 'n' Stuff in order to complete my fair and honest review.

EVOO update

Remember when I told you about my new favorite Olive Oil and how great it tasted?  WELL, California Olive Ranch has offered all my blog readers 10% off all online orders.  If you want to try this fabulous Extra Virgin Olive Oil and can't find it at your local market, use the coupon code BLOGFRIENDS to get 10% off your online order at California Olive Ranch.  Yay!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Showers of Blessings

Our phone rang on Easter Sunday afternoon.  It was a woman we used to go to church with a few years ago.  She knows I crochet and she had some crochet thread she wanted to be rid of.  She said, "Do you make doilees?"

Fast forward to this afternoon and the boys and I hopped into the van with the dogs and took a drive through the country.  I was so surprised when I saw the large bag of thread.  I spent some time with our friend and then we headed off to the park for a hike.  After a quick stop at the market we were home again.  I unpacked the groceries and then I got to look at the thread.  Look at what I got!

I want to make more of an effort to appreciate the blessings in life.  This woman blessed me out of her abundance.  There's an old hymn that goes, "Showers of blessings.  Showers of blessings I see.  Mercy drops round me be falling.  But for the showers I plead."   I think I just need to acknowledge the blessing more and I will see that they are showers.  Want to join me?  Leave a comment with something that has blessed you today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

From today's devotions...

"but ye shall RECIEVE power. . ." the word RECEIVE does not mean climbing up, but the coming down of something.  This is not a thing to be wrought out of one by agony and effort, but something to be put into one like a seed in the earth.  Receive, of course, one can receive.  That needs no genius, no goodness, but only want.  Any beggar can take a coin it if be given to him.

-Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Streams in the Desert II

April 26

My New Favorite Olive Oil

I needed some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so I found this really cool bottle at Giant.  It was at a good price, and I loved the shape of the bottle so I bought it.  Then I brought it home and tasted it.  Oh my shizzle this is the best olive oil I've ever tasted!  I really can't give the taste of this EVOO justice, but it's fresh tasting.  It tastes green and verdant.  I just love it.  I'm not super brand-loyal to anything, but man-oh-day this is the only Extra Virgin Olive Oil I ever want to cook with again.

One of our favorite things to make is a salad with homemade vinaigrette.  Here's what you do:

Put a few tablespoons of vinegar in the bottom of a large salad bowl.  Our favorite is balsamic.

Add a dash of salt and a few grinds of pepper, about a tsp of mustard and a dash of wostershire sauce.

Using a garlic press, squeeze one or two cloves of garlic into the vinegar mixture and whisk.

As you are whisking, pour in a thin stream of EVOO. (the California Olive Ranch brand is phenominal for this!)  You might pour in a 1/4 cup or so until the dressing looks and tastes appealing. 

Throw a chopped head of romaine lettuce or two on top of the vinaigrette.  Then, we love toasted almonds and feta cheese on top of that.  When you are ready to eat, toss the salad and enjoy!

We had friends over for Easter dinner and the mom said that her son came home from our house the other day and said, in a shocked tone, "Mom, they fight over SALAD!"  We do!  We all want the last of it when there's any left.  Give it a try, and if you do, get the California Olive Ranch Olive Oil.  It's wonderful!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Really Great Deal!

I work for TOS.  Let's get that disclaimer "out there."  All that aside, they have a FANTASTIC deal going right now for their subscriptions.  If you purchase a multi-year subscription, meaning 2 or more years, you get 19 free no strings attached gifts.  And these gifts are pretty terrific.  I was part of pulling these gifts together so I know how terric they are.  If you have been thinking about subscribing to TOS (The Old Schoolhouse Magazine), now is the time to do that!  Purchase a 2-year subscription and get 19 free-gifts!  Check out the gifts here

The other cool thing that TOS is doing, is the Teacher's Toolbox.  If you are a subscriber to the magazine, you get access to this great new online resource.  They have a ton of free resources, and not just samples, whole e-books and unit studies.  Then they have a "this day in history" section that I really love.  They have a month of menus and the recipes to go with it.  There's so much more that I can't even list here.  It's a really really valuable resource.

So, go and get your 2-year subscription.  Or if you're looking for a way to encourage another homeschooling mom, pick up a 2-year gift and your gift recipient gets 19 free-gifts.  This is a deal not to be missed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

God Used You

I told you the other day that the church we attend is having an Easter choir.  What I didn't tell you is that I directed it.  The process began months ago and we rehearsed and rehearsed, but as Easter fast-approached I got nervous.  I woke up the week of the cantata with butterflies in my stomach.  "What if the choir can't hear the music?"  "What if the video person can't hear the choir?"  Panic settled in my stomach.  In the midst of all this, Big Mac comes in one morning with the mail.  In it is a card addressed to me.  I recognized the return address.  It's a couple that we went to church with in the past.  They go to the same church we do, but I rarely see them because they go to the early service and I go to the late.  When I opened the envelope, I was floored by what I read:

Inside, the printed part of the card read:

When change is everywhere

and you are feeling overwhelmed,

please remember that God

is everywhere too,

and He is always with you.

It was just the perfect thing I needed to read and hear!  I am so amazed at how God works through others.  One of these days, I'm going to design a greeting card that says, "God Used You."  And I would send it to this couple.  God used them and I was encouraged.  I'm so glad they listened when He promped them!  So often this happens to me that someone contacts me with a card, or a phone call, or a visit just when I need it the most.  God uses them to encourage me.

The Cantata went off without a hitch.  On Easter morning, I woke up and I was calm.  I didn't have butterflies and my hands were not shaking.  I got dressed and as I looked into the mirror I realized people were praying for me.  Later at church, many people told me that they were praying for me.  I felt those prayers.  Those prayers washed over me and carried me through what could have abeen a difficult stressful morning.  God used the prayers of those people to calm me.

I just hope that I am as useful to God as all of those that blessed me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting Creative

We love art around our house.  It's never been a problem to fulfill our art requirement here in the little green cottage in the woods.  The boys are always drawing and filling sketchbooks.  As a matter of fact, right now we're away on a little weekend getaway and we had to stop at an office supply store to get some notebooks for the boys to draw in. 

Although getting lots of art time into our schedule is usually not a problem, getting formal art instruction is a problem.  I'm not an artist.  My mother and older brother paint beautifully.  The walls of our home are graced with several of my mother's paintings.  She's painted portraits of the kids and a picture of our house.  But I, however, was not graced with that gift.  And so, I can't really instruct the boys on how to properly draw something or how to use perspective, or appropriately hold a pencil.  Enter "See The Light."    We received a DVD with four art classes on it and on complimentary chalk drawing class.Magento Commerce

I loved that these art classes didn't require you to use any special art materials.  During the first lesson, the instructor lists the items needed and, although you could go and buy special charcoal art pencils, she says that a good ole #2 pencil is just fine.  When she shows colored pencils, I believe they are crayola brand.  I loved that.

The instructions are given very well.  The drawings that the boys made of a shoe on the 3rd or 4th lesson was really great.  I definitely credit the See the Light art classes for that.

The instructions wer very light and friendly in tone.  Sometimes it seemed like the instructor was talking down to the boys, but I think this is geared for a slightly younger age group.  Although I wouldn't consider the activities to be "dumbed down" at all.  The boys did learn and, as I said above, produced a fine sketch after taking these instructions.

And you can get the same DVD I worked from for free in your home too!  Just click here to get to the See the Light home page.  From there, click on "Get Your Free DVD!"  in the middle of the home page.  You will receive four art classes and one bonus chalk drawing class.

If you would like pricing and purchasing information about See the Light, please click here.  They offer 36 full lessons on their website.  During each lesson, the instructor gave a scripture and related her art and her lesson to that scripture.  Or maybe you would like to contact this vendor directly.  You can do so by clicking here

I would definitely give the free DVD a try.  It's a great opportunity to get four free art classes and see if See the Light is right for you.  Our boys enjoyed the lessons and got a lot out of them.  Maybe your students will too, who knows?  But, as always, don't take my word for it.  Check out the reviews of my fellow crew mates.

I received a copy of the See the Light DVD in exchange for this review.

Easter Cantata

More Than A Carpenter - Choral Book

On Sunday, our church will be singing the Cantata "More Than a Carpenter."  This musical presentation is based on a book by Josh McDowell.  The words to the music as well as the narration are very powerful.  The cantata hasn't been difficult to learn, but it will be beautiful when our 25 person choir sings it.

Our church has had a rocky road the past two years.  It has been difficult for many to feel worshipful on a Sunday morning.  But there's one line from the cantata that, to me, is the crux of the entire Easter worship experience.  Here it is:

"Oh church, come stand in the light.  Our God is not dead.  He's alive, He's alive!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Reads

I stumbled on these crochet  mysteries on Paperback Swap several weeks ago and I've been reading-and-reading ever since.  I actually had to go and BUY my last book and I'm still waiting for it to arrive!  The Crochet Mysteries by Betty Hechtman are quick reads that combine my love of reading fiction with my love for crochet.

I'm sure I've told you this before, but I was taught to crochet by a little Italian grandmother when I was in elementary school.  My mom and sister and I tromped a block down the street to visit my friend Lisa's Nanny and she taught us to make a shell afghan.  I picked up crochet again a little over 15 years ago when I was newly married and in need of a baby gift.  My husband said, "Do you know how to crochet?"  And my passion was ignited once again.  since that day many years ago, I have branched off from shell-stitch afghans and onto many other useful items including things I can wear.   I always have a project with me wherever we go.

Well, a few weeks ago I was cruising through Paperback Swap and I found these books.  They are mysteries that all involve a group of crocheters called the Tarzanna Hookers.  I read the first book (pictured to the right) in 3 days!  I love the characters.  The books are humerous but also mysterious.  There is always at least one sub-plot in addition to the mystery.  The characters are endearing.  I just love these books.

I loved 'em so much Isent the author a friend request on Facebook!  Can you say stalker?

Silly things give me joy.  Having a series of books that talk about a craft I love, AND have murders in them, are just fun!  While I was searching for the next book, I found that there are knitting mystery books, scrapbooking mystery books, and cooking mystery books.  Maybe there's an interest in there that you might enjoy?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Science Weekly

When I found out that I was going to get to review science weekly, the first thing I did was find their website.  On the "For Parents" page I clicked on the "sample issue" option at the bottom and downloaded their sample issue on Coral Reefs.  I was immediately impressed with the colorful pages, as well as the way this was much more than a science item, but covered language arts, had a hands-on experiment to do, and even some math!  Then I also downloaded the Teaching Notes.  This document that pairs with the student edition I downloaded was 8 pages long and packed with information. I had to wait for a color cartridge to print all these pages, but we totally used this for Friday fun lessons.

Next, I clicked on the "interactive programs" option at the top of the Science Weekly page.  Although these lessons only to to fourth grade, I'm confident that I can adapt them to our 7th and 8th grader.  And these are cool.  It's totally interactive with links and pages to fill in right on the PC.  AND when you get to the end of the lesson, there's an opportunity to download the PDF version of it.  So you can get several more free editions.

Finally, in my beginning tour of the Science Weekly website, I clicked on the "New Printable Coloring Books" option at the top of the screen.  You are now viewing a screen of coloring pages.  They are cute, just complicated enough to be interesting, but not too complicated that they can be overwhelming to a student.  Then you click on one of these coloring pages and it's not just a page, it's a 6-page book on a science subject that you can use as a companion to one of their weekly science reader packs.  Cool.

Yeah, so far I'm impressed.

Then I received a printed packet in the mail.  The printed pages I received were on fractions.  This sheet covered the history of fractions as well as how fractions work.  There were puzzles and a hands-on activity/experiment on fractions.  There was also an opportunity for research and writing.  We spent a few hours completing the pages and working on the experiments.  I gave our youngest, grade 7, the level D sheet, and our oldest the level E sheet.  Although these sheets were supposed to be slightly below the boys' grade level, they were not easy spoon-feeding.  They were colorful and interesting to read. 

In my opinion (and isn't this all about my opinion? :)) the pricing is a bargain.  For home subscriptions, you can get 15 issues for one student for $19.95.  It's a great price for a quality product.  Although these aren't complete curriculum, they could be a fun weekly unit study to break up the monotony.

I don't know about this companies approach to creation.  We are young-earth creationists around here and I can't speak to how Science Weekly approaches that, so please note this if you are thinking about pursuing this as a supplement to your homeschool.  You can contact Science Weekly for more information by using the information on this page.

And of course, please check out the reviews of my fellow crew-mates.  A bunch of different people with children of all ages have used Science Weekly for the purpose of review.  It's worth the read.

I received a copy of Science Weekly in order to complete my review.