Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Scribbles

That's what my planner looked like this week. Scribbles. Prairie Primer was set up so that this would be a catch-up week, which was perfect. That's a really nice touch to the curriculum because, of course, we got behind but still wanted to complete more of the fun lessons. And we did some of that. But every day past Monday seemed to have a life interruption of some kind.

Tuesday: Oh, we have Kyndal's graduation in the afternoon. We can't do that or that. **Scribble**
Wednesday: Kyndal and Brynne aren't going to be back as early as they thought from their out-of-town errand they had to run. We can't get to that or that. We'll do it Thursday. **Scribble**
Thursday: We still have things to get done from Tuesday, and we need to get to gardening class, but we can't pull ourselves away from watching Winter on the Webcam. We'll just put that and that off until Friday. **Scribble**
Friday: Art class is cancelled and the kids are so disappointed, so I better come up with something to do. Bring out the paints. I think they could paint all day! I guess we are just not going to get to that and that. **Scribble**

We had a very good week, despite the interruptions. It was just certainly not one where we were sitting doing bookwork, and certainly not doing what I had written down in the planner. We did manage to get in all of our basics every day ... Bible (Esther), reading (Eli: Zeke Meeks vs. the Gruesome Girls; Brynne: One White Dolphin; Read aloud: Finished Liar and Spy), current events (CNN Student News), math (averages), grammar (pronouns). Otherwise we learned whenever and wherever an opportunity arose.

Moon Phases

We read the book The Moon by Melanie Chrismer and watched the Youtube video Phases of the Moon Explanation for Kids - Animation Lesson Unit to learn about the moon's phases. Then we did the ever-fun Oreo Moon Phases activity. Even big sister wanted in on the fun!

Fresh vs. Salt Water

We observed our lima beans soaking in fresh and salt water all week and compared the changes. We were looking to see if salt water affects the growth of some plants. We completed our science notebook for this experiment.


In honor of the release of Dolphin Tale 2, we took advantage of the FREE curriculum provided by Homeschool Movie Club. We watched videos and completed provided activity pages. On Wednesday we celebrated Macie's 5th birthday by watching Dolphin Tale and eating dolphin-themed snacks. We plan to go see Dolphin Tale 2 the next time daddy is home for the weekend.

A real treat was watching the Live WebCam of Winter and Hope at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. We spent lots of time doing that! We even decided that we need to make a trip to Clearwater on one of our next trips to Florida. They have an overnight package that you can purchase that allows you to do some behind-the-scenes stuff and spend the night. What an amazing field trip that would be!!!

Brynne checked out some books from the library about dolphins: One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis (a novel), Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff, and Swimming with Dolphins by Miriam Coleman. Dolphins are her new obsession. We also watched the Discovery Channel video "Dolphins: The Ultimate Guide" on Netflix. Eli really enjoyed it. He loves facts. Did you know that Orca Whales are actually dolphins? I had no idea.

Life's Celebrations

On Tuesday afternoon Kyndal graduated from cosmetology school! We went to her graduation and took her to lunch afterward. It was a special day! She is now a working gal at her dream salon. It has been an awesome week for her!

Gardening Class Yummies

We had gardening class on Thursday and made some yummy fruity spread. They also tried pumpkin and sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Extra, Extra

Some of our learning this week came in the form of happenstance. Our own Charlotte made herself quite a nice web outside our back door this week. We just happened to be letting the dogs out to potty when we saw her spinning her silk around her latest prey. We all stood and watched her. In this picture she had just gone over to her second caught prey and had surrounded herself around it waiting for us to go away so she could resume spinning. It was so fascinating to watch!

Brynne had her first volleyball game of the season. Her serving was a little off, but she had some great saves. She has improved so much since last year! It's fun to watch her play!

On Friday our art class was cancelled again and the kids were really disappointed. So I pulled out some paint and scrapbook paper, scissors, glue sticks, and the like, and we got to work on a little bit of dolphin art. Like I said, the kiddos are obsessed with dolphins right now. It was a fun project. Then Macie painted ... and painted ... and painted ...

Crazy week, but fun. Our weeks are getting ready to get crazier. I'll share why in a few weeks.

Tomorrow we are going on a fantastic field trip!! Can't wait to tell you all about it! Even Grandma is going on this one. It's going to be a great day!

Random 5 on Friday

This week I have found myself being obsessed with some things ...

Obsession #1: The cool spider webs popping up around our house.

Obsession #2: Revenge. Trying to get caught up before the new season starts on the 28th.

Obsession #3: Watching Winter on the live webcam at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Here she is doing physical therapy with her prosthetic fin.

Obsession #4: I have had chili for lunch every day this week .. with shredded cheese and sour cream, on hot dogs, wrapped by a tortilla.

Obsession #5: The cool temps at night make sleeping fantastic! I snuggle up in my warm pjs and pile on an extra blanket. It's been amazing!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Student Logbook (Schoolhouse Review)

My Student Logbook Review

I love to plan. It's in my blood. I love a good checklist where I can mark off each thing as we get it accomplished. I am not, however, a digital planner kind of girl! I need good ol' paper and pencil. When it was time to plan homeschool lessons I had my husband create for me a blank printable lesson plan page that I can fill in each week as I plan lessons. It's simple and effective. Brynne is also a planner and loves a list. So when we had the opportunity to review My Student Logbook, I knew she would love it! And she did! She chose the undated My Student Logbook with the horse cover art.

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook is a paper planner that can be customized to your child's specific needs. It is extremely easy to set up. Basically you just tear out one of the list pages and tape it around the week you are working on. That way you do not have to rewrite the list each week.

Although the kids are not to the point where they receive their work to do independently, I still knew that Brynne would appreciate the accountability of the checklist fashion of My Student Logbook. There are several other things that she is keeping track of each day, such as whether or not she exercises, eats healthy, and takes her vitamins. We all know that habits are formed after 21 consecutive days, and My Student Logbook is the perfect accountability partner for achieving a 21 consecutive day streak of doing something.

When Brynne received My Student Planner (she requested the horse cover ... there are many to choose from), she sat down and made a list of all of the things she wanted to accomplish on any given day. She included specific times for doing some things, like getting up in the mornings, eating her breakfast, getting dressed, eating lunch, and going to bed. She included required minutes for some things, like reading for 30 minutes and exercising. Some things she knew that she did not do on the weekend, such as doing her schoolwork, but she included it in her general list anyway. A couple of times each day she would go through her list and put an "x" next to each things she had accomplished. If she hadn't done it like she was supposed to she just left it blank. And if it was something she did not have to do that day, like do schoolwork on Sunday, she would mark it with
a "-".

There is a notes section that is underneath the list of things to do. I just use this to write words of encouragement to Brynne, or a scripture, or a reminder.

I love the vision behind My Student Logbook. "The pursuit of excellence for the Glory of God is not just a mindset. It's hard work that manifests itself by the things we do every day. Through training in character development (i.e. chores), academics, relationships, and God's bountiful grace, our children will be changing the world." Isn't that beautiful?? It is also intended to place some of the parents' responsibilities back on the children so that the parents' can be freed up to work on continuing to point their children back to Jesus.

There are different options for purchase: a dated 2014/2015 school year spiral bound physical logbook ($15 with cover art of your choice), a 2015 calendar year spiral bound physical logbook ($15 with cover art of your choice), a printable pdf logbook of either the school year or calendar year logbook (single license $10, family license $20, no cover art), or an undated spiral bound physical logbook ($15 with cover art of your choice.) All of the logbooks can be purchased at the new site store. It is there that you can also see all of the cover selections.

We received the undated spiral bound physical logbook with the horses cover art for the purposes of this review. The planner was very easy to use, very effective, and cost efficient.

My Student Logbook is intended for children from grades 2nd and up. Brynne is in the 4th grade and it was perfect for her age.

Click to read Crew Reviews

To read other reviews about My Student Logbook, you can visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. You can also visit My Student Logbook on Facebook and Youtube.

Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From This Side of the Pond had these questions to ponder this week on Wednesday Hodgepodge:

I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, "You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not, why not?

Doubt, fear and despair weigh you down. Those emotions suck so much energy and make you feel so tired and old! Faith, self-confidence, and hope lift you up and make you feel light and young, like you can conquer anything.

What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event, occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birth year, just the same date/same month.

It was a musical day on August 1, 1960 .... Aretha Franklin had her first recording session and Chubby Checker released "The Twist". (But let's be clear ... I was not born in 1960! In fact, my mother was only 9 years old on that date!)

Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too'.

After law school I was working full time, married, and trying to be a mother to Kyndal and Dawson. I wanted the professional life and the family life. The problem was I just couldn't pull it off. I was miserable. I was miserable in my professional life and miserable in my marriage. I wanted to be home with my kids full time but have the financial security of working full time. And it was my income that gave us a secure lifestyle. I was stuck. There might be women who can do it all, but I was not one of those women.

What's something you do to make you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Being a mom does both to me. And it varies from day to day, sometimes from minute to minute. They keep me moving and shaking and feeling like I need to take a nap, all at the same time.

When did you last do something that was a 'piece of cake'?

Is anything a piece of cake these days? I will say that ever since we moved to Missouri and began small town living things sure seem easier. There aren't a lot of life's complications. Day-to-day living is just a piece of cake.

Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage)

A good pair of shoes. You know the ones ... we all have them. They are the shoes that you cherish and take care of and that have been worn in perfectly and fit like a glove. They are the ones that you just feel at home in when your feet slip into them. They are the ones you plan whole outfits around.

If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.

How about a $200 Amazon gift card? (not asking for too much, huh?) I already have Christmas gifts sitting in my cart!

Insert your own random thought here.

I am back to binge watching Revenge on Netflix. Kyndal and I started it last winter during some snow days and I haven't watched any more since then. I am on Episode 15 of Season 2. I officially have to watch 30 more episodes before Season 4's premiere on September 26th. You will know where to find me over the next two weeks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pomp and Circumstance

This afternoon Kyndal graduated from cosmetology school! Oh what a day!!! She started attending class on October 1st of last year and graduated at 12:45 p.m. today, September 16th. My mom, Collin, Dawson, Eli, Brynne, and I all drove up to school and watched her receive her certificate of completion and clock out for the very last time. Then we all went to eat lunch at Applebee's. It was such a great day and one that Kyndal has been waiting such a long time to enjoy. I am so proud of my girl and excited for her future!

On her first day of kindergarten.

On her last day of cosmetology school.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Cheese, Degrees and Honey Bees {Prairie Primer: Big Woods Week 3}

Our week started off much like last week. Brynne developed pink eye and then her virus moved a little further south. We just took Monday off. She put on her new prairie dress and apron, grabbed her rag doll and stuffed cat, and played with some of the new updates on Minecraft. I cleaned like a crazy woman. I disinfected every surface, door knob, cabinet pull, and did lots of laundry. I was determined to take a step toward getting this virus out of our house! It was a day well spent. She was feeling much better by Monday night so we got to bed early to get ready for a good day of school on Tuesday.

And we did have a pretty good school day on Tuesday. We did all of our regular daily lessons: Bible (the building of the second Temple in Ezra), math (the area of triangles), grammar (quotations), current events, and reading (We finished Little House in the Big Woods. Brynne is reading On the Other Side of the Hill by Roger Lea MacBride. And Eli is reading Zeke Meeks vs. the Gruesome Girls by D. L. Green.) We watched a video on beekeeping and collecting honey (this video was very quiet on the computer so we had to watch it on Youtube on the television) and another one on animal tracks. Then we got out our white playdoh and the kids made animal tracks and tried to guess each other's.

Remember the blue cupcakes we made on Friday as part of our Gastrointestinal Blue Cupcake Experiment? Here are the results: Exactly 29 hours after Brynne ate the blue cupcakes she excreted them. I heard her yelling my name from the bathroom and there was her pretty aqua blue poopy. I so wanted to take a picture of it for science sake, but I spared you all the agony of it. But believe me, the experiment worked. Her system is right on schedule as it typically takes between 24 and 36 hours for a food to be processed through the gastrointestinal system. Everybody who ate the cupcakes had a similar "experience" at about the same time interval.

We learned all about how oats were harvested in the frontier by using a cradle and hand-stocking. We watched a couple of different videos on Youtube and sampled three different types of oats: steel cut, rolled, and processed into Cheerios. We also learned about threshing and the origin of "horsepower".

Honeybees and yellow jackets are easily mistaken for one another. But if you compare them, they are nothing alike except for their size. We did a Venn Diagram to see the differences.

When Dawson came home from school that same afternoon he said that right after school he and his friend found a beehive in his friend's backyard. Look at that beauty!!

We made cheese. As we did not have a rennet available (oh, yuck), we used vinegar in the first batch and peach juice in the second. The peach juice wasn't quite acidic enough so it didn't work. But the vinegar cheese actually turned out pretty good with some added salt! A little sour but still not bad. We are going to get some lemon juice this weekend and make it all again doing a taste test.

In the fall Ma had lots of food prepping to do to prepare for winter. This involved stewing their pumpkins. But when they were done they had some yummy treats. We love pumpkin bread! So the kids and I made some and also pumpkin muffins. And it couldn't have happened on a better day. We woke up to 50 degree temperatures with a high of about 65 in the afternoon. The warm treats were so soothing on a chilly day!

The kids picked the last of their vegetables from the community garden they have helped take care of as part of their gardening class at the library. Afterward they all sat together and discussed their plans for next year. This class is single-handedly responsible for getting Brynne and Eli to at least try some vegetables. Brynne has even liked some she tried.

Yesterday was a crazy day. We made sure we started right on time because we needed to end school early for some Life Skills training (aka going to get groceries). We made sure we completed our math and grammar assignments for the week, got caught up on current events on CNN Student News (We will NEVER skip this! My kids love it!), and then started a science experiment on salt and worked in our science notebooks.

While shopping the sodium/salt content came up many times when reading labels (see school was happening!). And we also enjoyed spending time together.

We had a snake program to attend at our library so we rushed back to town, but it had been cancelled. I can't say I was too sorry about that. I hate snakes!! But we also had to pick up our baby Chloe. She had surgery yesterday morning to remove a bladder full of stones, and I mean full. The picture below shows all that they took out of her poor little bladder. Her bladder is about the size of an egg and it was stuffed full of all of these. See how the big ones are bigger than a penny? Our sweet baby. She is in some pain now and recovering at home with her mommy and daddy. Kyndal and Collin were under a lot of emotional stress all day waiting for the results of her surgery. But she is going to be just fine. While picking up Chloe we also got quite a lesson from our vet about the stones. It is really fascinating.

In older kid news, Kyndal and I went to a Ladies Night at her new salon. She starts there next week and already has several clients booked. It's a super cool place and she is so excited to finally be going to work!! I am so proud of her! It's awesome! She attended her last full day of school today. She graduates on Tuesday.

We have another great week planned next week with a fabulous field trip scheduled for Saturday. Prairie Primer has been an excellent study for us. We are really loving it and learning so much.

Linking up this week with ...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Random 5 on Friday

1. I am thankful for the friendships I have with my children. In talking with teens and watching others I see how it is more than possible to be friends with your kids. Don't get me wrong, you have to be a true friend ... one who is willing to tell your kids what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear and holding them accountable for their actions. Isn't that the kind of friend you really want? But you can talk with your kids instead of at them. And you can fill their lives with encouraging words instead of criticizing them. We should definitely show our kids we love them instead of just telling them. All our kids really want is to know that we support them in all their decisions, even if they aren't the decisions we would personally make. Support through the good decisions draws you close. Support through the bad decisions and being there to help them should they fall draws you closer. I'm not talking about enabling bad behavior. I'm talking about supporting them as they grow and navigate life. They just need a safe place to fall. I don't understand why parents can't get this. And then they wonder why they don't have good relationships with their kids. It's really not that hard.

2. Brynne and I are binge watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix. If you want a solid and clean show to watch with your children, this is one! She is learning all about famous fairy tales and I am getting to reminisce. It's good family television, and that's almost impossible to come by these days (unless you watch Little House on the Prairie, which we are watching every day, too.) And it also gives us something to do together.

3. I really NEED a few hundred dollars so I can buy up as many cardigan sweaters from Charlotte Russe as I can. I was helping Taylar shop online to spend the gift card we gave her for her birthday and I was slobbering over all of the cardigan sweaters! They are my favorite thing to wear, with a comfy long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans and boots!! There were so many I wanted, especially the aztec prints. Oooooohhh so pretty!

4. I am pretty certain three of my four kids have had the enterovirus that is sweeping the Midwest. But, it's a virus and none of my kids have asthma or respiratory allergies and it just has to run its course, so I didn't even take any of them to the doctor. Instead we treated the symptoms ... took decongestants and expectorants, lots of Tylenol, and lots of fluids. One of them even got pink eye. It's been a nasty virus and absolutely no fun, but we survived. I wish others I knew would take the same approach instead of rushing their kid to the hospital for admittance because it's on the news and it's an opportunity to get attention.

5. Kyndal took Chloe to the vet yesterday because of some probable urinary tract issues. He found that her bladder is full of stones. She is having surgery this morning to clear them out. The biggest complication would be if she has one lodged in her urethra, and then he would not be able to do anything for her. This would completely devastate Collin and Kyndal as Chloe is their baby. She is the triplet sister to our Buck and Quincy and we love her so much.