Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art curriculum for sale - SOLD

Sorry but this has been sold!  Stay tuned, I'll be posting more as I come across them!

I would love to see this go to a good home. We enjoyed artistic pursuits a lot. I would like $20 plus shipping but am willing to negotiate. Leave a reply if you are interested!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shamrock Banner...Modified Pattern

I was really intrigued when I saw this pattern for a shamrock banner.  I knew I had to have one for our mantle. Ever since we lost our fireplace insert and learned that we can't put another one in due to safety concerns, I've been looking for ways to make our fireplace even more beautiful.  I told you several weeks ago about our candle jars.  That was a great start.  But now, for this week ending with St. Patrick's day we have a beautiful banner hanging over our fireplace.
Because I passionately detest finishing a product, in other words, sewing in the ends, I adjusted the shamrock pattern so it would end at the center of the top of the shamrock.  Then, when I did a cream-colored chain stitch to link all the shamrocks together, I just chained right over top of the yarn ends.  Voila!  No sewing in the ends required!

Just in case you're interested, and as lazy as I am.  Here's my adapted pattern.  Keep in mind, it is totally based on this one.

The lazy-girl's shamrock banner:

size I crochet hook
small amount green worsted weight yarn.
for my banner, I used three different Red Heart colors, Spring Green, Paddy Green, and Aran.

  1. Chain 4.  Sl st to first chain to make a circle.
  2. Chain 2 (this counts as the middle DC of the top leaf of the clover) Triple Crochet, chain 3, sling stitch, in the loop made in step one.  Middle of top leaf made
  3. Chain 3, Triple Crochet, Double Crochet, Triple Crochet, Chain 3, sling stitch in the loop.  (lower left leaf just made)
  4. Chain 5.  Single Crochet in the second chain from the hook.  Sling Stitch in the next 3 chains.  Sling Stitch in the loop.  (stem just made)
  5. Repeat step 3 to make the lower right leaf.
  6. Chain 3.  Triple Crochet in the loop.  Sling Stitch in the top of the original chain 2.  Fasten off.
You should how have a cute little shamrock with the yarn tail coming out of the top of the clover.

Repeat steps 1-6 until you have enough shamrock's to make a banner.  My banner has 15 (8 dark green and 7 light green) shamrocks and is about 68 inches in length.  I made one more dark green because I wanted my banner to begin and end with the same color.

Here's how I joined them together based on Sarahndipities' instructions with my adjustments.

  1. With another color (I used cream or Aran), chain 25.
  2. Single Crochet into the center of the top leaf of your first shamrock.  
  3. Pick up your tail from the shamrock and weave it into the chain as you are chaining to the next shamrock.  You can see on the close-up above that my cream-colored yarn has flecks of green in it where I wove in the tail from the shamrock as I chained to the next shamrock.
  4. Each shamrock has 10 chains between it and the next shamrock.  When you have secured the last shamrock with as single crochet, chain 25 (again weaving the last of your shamrock tails) and fasten off to end.

I didn't even weave in the ends of my chain!  It has a finished look all it's own.

I did make another banner where I went back over the chain and single crocheted into each chain across to make the banner a bit sturdier.  I gave that to my BFF for our upcoming St. Patrick's Day Knitty Brunch.  It made a sturdier banner, but I think I like the simple chain banner better.

So, lazy crocheters unite!  Give me your tips for avoiding that pesky finishing!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Progeny Press Literature Guides

Progeny Press: Study Guides for Literature from a Christian Perspective

These are the things about the Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature that I really like a lot:
    The Bronze Bow--Study GuideThe Screwtape Letters--Study Guide
  • They have great high school titles.
  • They are interactive!  Students can type right into the PDF file on their laptops AND teachers (moms like me) can make grading notes and comments there too!  How cool is that?
  • They include background information about the book and the author.  
  • The units are "doable."  They suggest that the student reads the whole book first and then over the course of several weeks (8-10 usually) they complete the activities in the book.
The two guides I got to review were The Bronze Bow and The Screwtape Letters.  Both books have been on my to-read list for the boys.  With the Progeny Press Study Guides, I can hand them the book to read during week 1 and then give them the PDF to complete.  Each day they work on an assignment until the study is over.  And we can discuss their assignments and work alongside one another.  Or they can complete the entire unit on their own!  That's another thing I love.  This is something the boys can do independantly.  As they are growing older I want to find more for them to do on their own.  I LOVE spending time with them and working alongside them, but when they're in college, I won't be attending classes with them.  You know what I mean?

Progeny Press has over 100 study guides.  You can start your search here.  And they are for all grades.  It's not just high school units.  If you're not finding what you're looking for, contact Progeny Press here.  

I'm hoping after we finish The Bronze Bow and The Screwtape Letters we can find two other guides to use from Progeny Press.  I think one per semester is a great rate for us.

Want to see what else the rest of the crew had to say about Progeny press?  Find links to their reviews here.

Disclaimer:  I received two literature guides from Progeny Press because I am part of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  My review reflects my honest opinion not affected by the fact that I did not have to pay for either guide.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Art of Argument

So, I'm sitting in the dentist's office reading.  The boys had back-to-back appointments, so that means I spend about an hour and a half in the paneled waiting room of our dentist.  I decided to take that time to read the introduction of the new book I had received to review.  It was The Art of Argument from Classical Academic Press.  

I've always been intrigued by the study of fallacy and logic.  I have never really introduced to the boys but I've always wanted to.  Well, wouldn't you know it this logic curriculum landed in my mailbox.  And it came from a company in Camp Hill, PA!  I could have driven there and picked it up.  I even have an uncle living in Camp Hill.  But I digress...

So, I'm reading the introduction in the teacher's guide and I lean over to T-bone, who was waiting for his turn with the dentist, and read him a paragraph from the intro.  As I finished, a young man sitting across the room said, "I took a course like that in High School and it was BY FAR the best course I ever took."  We ended up in a conversation.  This young man was a youth pastor at a nearby church.  He had been homeschooled growing up.  He took a logic/fallacy course as part of his high school and he found it to be the most valuable course throughout all his education, including college.  It is the course he most relies on in life.

And so, we are pursuing a course in logic.  "The Art of Argument" is easy to implement.  There was an introduction in the teacher's manual, but it was easy to read.  Basically, you just dive in.  I am glad I have the teacher's guide because I would not have a clue about how to answer the questions in the student book.  There was also a DVD included with my review materials.  This was a sampler covering chapters 1 through 6.  The quality of the video is excellent.  I'm glad to have it to introduce us to the content and help us through the first few chapters.

And this is a fun book too.  The student guide is a workbook, with all the content you need, but it's got great graphics that are very teenager friendly.

So, take the advice of our new youth pastor friend and pursue a course in logic with your children.  Maybe they'll sit in a waiting room when they're older and tell some homeschooling mommy that it's the best course they ever took in their life.

You will find pricing information about this product and all the others Classical Academic Press offers here.

Even though this is a glowing review, please check out the opinions of others who have also reviewed this product.  You can find links to The Art of Argument reviews here.

If you would like to contact Classical Academic Press directly, check out that information here.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the Art of Argument, teacher's guide and student guide with a sampler DVD in order to complete this honest review.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Heavens Declare...

There's stuff I want to know.  I want to know more about classical music and art and be able to speak intelligently about them.  I want to know the bible better and be able to apply memorized scripture to specific times in my life.  I want to be able to look at the stars and know the names of the constellations.  I don't know why.  I just do.

That's why I've been so pleased with the Celestial Almanack by Jay Ryan.  With just a bit of reading, the entire thing can be read in under an hour, and some time outdoors in the evening, I can become very well-versed in astronomy.  This is such a quality product.  It's only $3.  And I am learning SO much.  Even just identifying Venus and Jupiter.

We were driving around recently, maybe I've already told you this, and I told the Big Dog, "Hey, that's Venus right there."  He was amazed!  Maybe that's why I want to know more about astronomy...to amaze people.  Whatever the reason, Jay Ryan has started me on the path to knowing more.

I changed how I used the Celestial Almanack this month.  In January and February, I read it aloud to the boys over several days.  This month, I read it for myself and just shared information with them as we are star-gazing. And there is MUCH star-gazing to do!  Get your copy here, and then go to page 8 to read about the spectacular event on March 14.  You won't want to miss it.  It only happens every 8 years!  How's that for a teaser?

I have reviewed this product in January and February.  Each time I urge you to get your copy of the current Celestial Almanack.  This month is no exception.  The price is such a value for the quality of the product.  And you will be amazed at what you learn in such a short amount of time.  I truly am.

I got to hear Jay speak at a Schoolhouse Expo event on Monday.  He talked about how early farmers in America really needed to know about the stars in order to know when to plant and when to harvest.  People of all occupations in early America needed this knowledge.  As a matter of fact, astronomy was one of the core science subjects in our schools at one time.  I, for one, really want the boys to have this knowledge.  The boys have a sense of adventure and a desire for it.  If I can use knowledge of the stars and explain that they can learn to know the seasons and the calendar through the positions of the stars, planets, sun and moon then I know I've got them hooked!

And I'll have fun things to talk about at evening family gatherings, too!

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of the March Celestial Almanack in order to complete this review.  My opinions are not influenced by the fact that I received it for free.  I would TOTALLY buy this ebook each month if I weren't reviewing it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Perfectly Crispy Microwave Turkey Bacon

Put two pieces of turkey bacon on a plate.

Microwave on high for two minutes.

Eat. My favorite is a breakfast burrito. I'll tell you about that another time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Cool Art Project

The boys and I are finishing up an art project I wanted to show you.  I first saw this painting in an email from Michaels Craft Stores.  If you want to see a project sheet for it, go here.  The project is called "A Dog of Many Colors" because a dog graphic was used.  I guess if I were titling my canvas, I would call it "An Apple of Many Colors."

For our paintings, we used whatever acryllic paints we had in our paint bucket.  I had three canvases (or is it canvi?) given to us from someone who was cleaning out their art supplies.  But, I believe you can get a canvas at a craft store pretty inexpensively.  Anyway, it took us a week to complete these paintings because we taped off an area and then painted and waited for the paint to dry.  We first measured the canvas and marked off the quarters with a pencil.  Then it was just a matter of picking complimentary colors of paints and deciding on a graphic to use.  I chose this apple.  

This is my attempt:

This has been a great project.  We've played with color and complimentary color.  We've talked about measuring and drawing straight lines.  We've talked about the use of graphics and finding shapes that convey what an item is without a lot of detail.  AND the project itself is wall-hanging-worthy.  So often we make things that sit on a shelf for a while before we pitch them.  This is a project that would be giftable and looks cool on the wall.  ...at least I think so.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fun Lessons - Our Geography Course

I wrote to you last summer about our Geography course this year.  Using a freebie from the craft store and one of my favorite map resources, we have a great little country study going.  

Last week we studied India.  The projects for this country study were so cool, I just had to share.  I think when you look at them, you can really see the influence of the country on the projects:
The black papers are Crayola Color Wonder pages.  The boys did drawings of Peacocks as per the instructions.  You can't really see the detail, but they came out so neat.  And the yellow hands are the boys "henna hands."  For each country we study, the boys make a pin and pin it to a baseball cap.  The elephants are made of fun foam and the boys embellished them with sequins, beads, puff paint, and jingle bells.  

If the shortest month of the year is feeling a bit long in your homeschool, you can find instructions and ideas for your own country studies here.  We have improvised on some supplies to keep the cost a little lower, but all-in-all, it has been fun and a great learning experience!  Let me know if you choose to give it a try.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie

Set it the time of knights and fair-maidens, Lady Alexandria is not a damsel in distress!  She's a strong-willed young woman with a sense of adventure.  She made me laugh more than once while reading The Guardian Duke.  Her sincere love of the Lord and talk of prayer is endearing, too.  And then there is the Duke of St. Easton.  He is going through a major trial in his life and during that trial, is given the command to be the guardian of Alexandria, but first he needs to find Alexandria!  Their relationship is revealed in their letters to each other, but it's not a book of letters.  As you are reading both of their adventures in alternate chapters, their letters are included in the chapter to help reveal their relationship.

This was an enjoyable book.  I love Christian fiction, and this was entertaining and heart-warming.  It is light reading with a romantic feel.  I really liked it.

There are lots of ways to find out more about The Guardian Duke:

Live Action Book Trailer:
One Sheet:
USA Today Review:

Here's what the publisher has to say about The Guardian Duke:

About the Book:
The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.
Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.
When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.

And here is a bit more about the author:

About the Author:
When she was six, Jamie’s parents met Jesus and soon after started a church. It changed everything. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.
The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.
As Jamie’s relationship with God grew, she discovered her heart was filled with songs and poetry. During high school she wrote lyrics for her brother’s band. (And she sang them too!) After college, Jamie married, had two sons and decided to stay home with them. While she homeschooled she wrote skits, poems, plays and short stories for school and church.
When her eldest son turned five she dove into the world of novels. She’d read romance novels for years, but couldn’t relate to the flawless, saintly heroines in Christian romance novels. So she decided to write her own.
Snow Angel was born on a frosty night in an old farmhouse in Fishers, Indiana, where the cold floor gave plenty of motivation for the snow scene. Jamie loves to write late at night when the house is quiet and the darkness seems alive. Elizabeth and Noah had been playacting in herhead for a long time, so the story went fast.
Ten years later Snow Angel was published and won the ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, was a National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and a 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. It was the beginning of her dream career.
Jamie and her husband Tony have been married for twenty-one years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons and a giant of a dog named Leo.
If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.