Friday, January 27, 2012

12 Months of Christmas January 2012 Linky Party

Welcome to the end of January and our very first 12 Months of Christmas linky! Have you been sprinkling Christmas throughout the month? 

I'll be honest, I've tried. I've thought about it. I've attempted to make our ornament a few times with my boys but it hasn't happened yet.

We've had a lot of illness in the house and 12 Months of Christmas took a backseat. Well, while we are being honest, a lot of things took a backseat. But that is one of the very reasons I love homeschooling and blogging. We can take a break when we need to.

It is also a bit challenging to think of Christmas when we have just come out of the Christmas season. We missed some things we usually do (like making ornaments!) I have a plan for one so it is on the agenda for tomorrow - with or without my boys!! With the beautiful day we have forecasted, making Christmas ornaments may not be on our minds!  

12 Months of Christmas January 2012 Linky Party!!
If you have been sprinkling Christmas throughout the month and want to share what you are doing, join in the fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Smart Sweets

I became familiar with Kitchen Stewardship a couple of years ago while  looking for more wholesome-than-I-was-cooking recipes. Katie Kimball is amazing in the kitchen. Kitchen Stewardship is now one of my go-to places when I feel a need to try a new recipe. She's taught me the ins and outs of soaking flours, dried beans and making yogurt. Kitchen Stewardship also made me realize that even though I was "cooking from scratch," it wasn't necessarily healthy. And because of her I've changed some of my ways of doing things.

I have talked about Healthy Snacks to Go (one of my most favorite ebooks ever!!) and Family Camping (which went with me on several camping trips last summer) and now Kitchen Stewardship has delighted me once again! Smart Sweets: 30 Recipes to Indulge Your Sweet Tooth is a "healthy-er" way to cook treats for your family. It has made me feel better about the times I indulge my kids' sweet tooth with cookies or brownies or even chocolate cake!! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dawn's Perfectly Pumpkin Bread

This is my most requested recipe. It comes from the very first cookbook I ever bought. We make it year round for breakfast and snacks but folks especially request it at the holidays.

Homemade Gifts from the Heart 2011

Today I am going to share what we made for last year's Christmas presents (2011.) We made more presents than we have in years past due to finances and a few other things we'll get to as the year goes on.

2011 Handmade Christmas List 
Remote Control Pocket Pillow
Fort Kits

Paper Airplane Folding Kit
I printed several copies of the easier planes along with instructions on how to fold them.

Rag Quilt 
(Made this twin sized for my hubby. Pics coming soon!) This was truly a labor of love. It consumed more time than I intended it to. I re-purposed materials (sheets and curtain panels) from the thrift store and although I knew I was going to make it and had all the materials, got started really late!

Peppermint Sugar Scrubs (Mini Tutorial coming soon!)

Re-purposed Chalkboard Frames (Mini Tutorial coming soon!)

Do you make any homemade gifts?What homemade gifts did you give last Christmas? Have you thought about making any this year?

Monday, January 16, 2012

TOS Review: We Choose Virtues

We Choose Virtues is a character training program that uses adorable cartoons and unforgettable catchphrases to teach children (and teens) the principles of biblical integrity.

With an easy 10-minute-a day-system, families, homeschools, community schools and youth groups can learn the morals our grandparents grew up with.

My boys often wait on pins and needles for our review packages to come from the post office. They also watch over my shoulder on occasion as I open various downloads that have been emailed to me. Farm Boy immediately begged for me to print out some pages from the coloring book when he walked through my office the day I received them. The coloring pages are adorable and full size with the name of the virtue at the top.

The Virtue Clue Cards are glossy, full-color and the size of business cards. They are used to introduce the virtue and provide a reminder of the character trait being developed. 

The Teacher's Handbook explains the program and is included in many of the kits. It is also available separately. This full color 48-page book is filled with helps and teaching aids for helping students learn what it is to be patient, forgiving and gentle (and nine other imperative character traits of integrity.)

What to Teach When
Character training with We Choose Virtues can begin as early as three years of age for families and homeschools. Community Programs can use the younger or older program depending on the age their are working with.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?

FAMILY KIT-faith based
There is a CLEARANCE going on right now for a couple of posters and the sticker chart.

Check It Out
Check out the Character Assessment Tool for families. There are also two Scripture Memory downloads for kids and youth.

Check out We Choose Virtues on Facebook.

Final Word
This is a really neat product. I love the concept and how much my kids enjoy it. However, the cost of the program would have prevented me from trying it in my homeschool had I not reviewed it.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a sampling of materials free of charge from We Choose Virtues for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Home Goals

My Kitchen (that seriously needs some color!!)

Today I'm joining up with Nester's 2nd Annual Home Goals Linky.  These are the things I want to get done in my house this year.

I've had this on my list for three years at least – maybe more. I LOVE this bed. I would love it in antique white as shown here but I have grown to love a pale robin's egg blue too. We will need color as we continue to rent a home with our future nomadic lifestyle. 

Ana White Farmhouse Bed
Put stuff on my walls.
Most of my walls are empty. Most walls I've lived with in the various places we've lived have been blank. I hate it. But Nester is freeing me from the need for things to be perfect. I will hang things. And I will love it. (And if I DO hate it, I'll take them down and re-hang something!)

Remove photos of fake people from the picture frames in my house.
And replace them with people I actually know! I'm not the only one in the world who has fake photos. I actually saw a few fake family pictures hanging on my sister's wall over Christmas. :)

Decorate seasonally.
I realized after decorating for fall, a month of December birthdays and then Christmas, that I love seasonal d├ęcor. Why not do that year-round too? I also want to make some sort of interchangeable wreath for the seasons as well as a few special ones for various holidays.

Make a rug for schoolroom from recycled tee shirts.
This is a big project, but we spend a lot of time in our schoolroom. I want something fun to go with our fun, mistreated, twin sheet curtains (which really need to be hung higher!!) 

De-clutter and simplify.
We aren't moving until sometime around the first of the year 2013 or spring 2013 at the latest. But I would really like to enjoy the remainder of the time we have in this house and would like to be de-cluttered by March.

Finish a few projects I started last year and never finished.Like the shower curtain for our bathroom that I made when we were snowed in for an entire week LAST January - this week in fact!! It has been waiting to be hung but doesn't have holes for the shower curtain hooks. Lame, I know. I'm scared of them. But I will be tackling that this month because it doesn't have to be perfect!! I also want to make a Family Sign.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Math, Math and More Math

Math has always been a sore subject in our house. When we began our homeschooling journey three years ago, we attempted Math U See after numerous recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, it didn't work at the time.

We then just worked on foundational basics following What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know. We covered basic calendar, addition math facts, time, intro to money and things like that. We loved the idea behind Math on the Level but weren't able to commit the resources to purchasing the program.

Various curriculum reviews for TOS on math kept us going last year but I still heard, "I HATE math!" every single day. Then we tried a few units from Math Mammoth and thought we liked it but daily worksheets on the same subject became cumbersome. I thought it might be okay if we followed a graded yearly curriculum for Math Mammoth. After it came up in our cue for reviewing I decided to wait to purchase something for this school year. We kept working on math facts, discovered Michele's Math and Life of Fred and went deeper with money and telling time. And even after a positive review period for Math Mammoth, I once again heard the dreaded, "I HATE math!!"

After many more recommendations for Math U See, we tried it again int he fall. We have been blessed by some two different sets of great friends who allowed us to borrow their sets while they took some time off during the holidays. And guess, what? We love it. All of us.

No more pouting.

No more whining about math.

In fact, they BEG me to do math every day.

We still love Life of Fred and will continue to work through his story. But Math U See is our curriculum.

Today (and each Monday in January) I am linking up with the Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Homeschooling Hearts and Minds.
The Learning of Language
Math, Math and More Math
January 16th---Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science. 
January 23rd---Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World.
January 30rd---The Nuts & Bolts: Pulling it all Together!
Be sure to check out the other participants in the Virtual Curriculum Fair!
Our Choices For Math by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

A Magnificent Math Manipulative by Letha Paulk @ justpitchingmytent

Our Math Choices - Virtual Curriculum Fair by Tristan @ Our Busy Homeschool

Math Literature?!?! by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Learning Math at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Math Using Hamburger Paper by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Math Facts or Fun? Why Not Both! by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details- Part 2 Science by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

Learning Math Block by Block by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

Plugging Along with Math by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

What's Working and What's Not: Math Edition by Leann @ Montessori Tidbits

Math Anyone? by Cindy @ For One Another

Ahh, Math. by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Flying Without a Parachute: Math with no Curriculum by Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Math in Our Homeschool by Christine T @ Our Homeschool Reviews

Math, Math, and More Math by Dawn Chandler @ tractors & tire swings

Thinking Mathematically- How I Choose Math Curriculum by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

Discovering Patterns: Math, Logic, and Some Science by Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Learning of Language

For the past two years, we have re-vamped our homeschool in January. Last school year it took me until then to find the Language Arts curriculum. We muddled through fall and began in January with Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading and First Language Lessons. We loved it. And though we were then a bit behind, I pushed through and covered a good bit in the rest of the school term we had. Because we started mid-year we did not complete the curriculum by our summer break. Picking back up in August we are still working our way through some of the lessons. We should finish by the end of February and be ready for First Language Lessons 2 on March 1. I will be pushing them to complete FLL 2 by August so we will be ready for FLL 3 for the new school year. 

What I didn't realize was that I needed to also begin Writing With Ease. So that is on our schedule to begin this month. We'll be a little behind with that but we will strive to catch up. 

Ugh. Handwriting is the thorn in my flesh of homeschooling. Both hubby and I have terrible handwriting and our boys both struggle with it as well. We've run the gamete on handwriting curriculum but I think we have decided on Getty-Dubay's Italic Handwriting. We are starting that this month too. I decided on it back in November but didn't want to start it before the holidays. 

Today (and each Monday in January) I am linking up with the Virtual Curriculum Fair hosted by Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This week's theme is Playing with Words: the Language Arts.

Be sure to check out the other participants in the Virtual Curriculum Fair!

Reading on Time by Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

Playing with Words: the Language Arts by Christa
Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

Reading and Beyond: Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World

Language Arts that Work for Us by Melissa @ Grace Christian School

Learning Language at Our House by Jessica @ Modest Mama

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Language Arts by Christine T. @ Our Homeschool

The Learning of Language by Dawn @ tractors & tire swings

Reading and Spelling: Modifying the Magic by Pam @ Pam and Everyday

An In Depth Look at All About Spelling by Missouri Mama @ Ozark

Virtual Curriculum Fair: Let's Talk About Words by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Why We Love Classical Conversations Essentials (and how I know that is not a complete sentence!) by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Curriculum Fair---Playing with Words: the Language Arts
by Angie @ Petra School

Whole Language vs. Phonics by Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

It's All About the Art of Language by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Watching Movies for Language Arts Class by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

Only 5 Spelling Tests a Year! (Can we do that?) by LP @ justpitchingmytent

with Words by Chrissy
@ Learning is an Adventure

Language Art at Our House by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week One Playing with Words: the Language Arts by
Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Blog

Playing with Words, the Language Arts by Cindy @ For One Another

Heart of Dakota- The Fine Details part 1- Language Arts by Lynn @
Ladybug Chronicles

TOS Review: REAL Homeschool Spanish

Spanish. We need it in America. (That is a funny sentence, but it is actually very true.)

I took French in high school because I thought it was a prettier language. It was fun, but not very useful. (Although I did use my French just once while I was in Amsterdam on my way to Germany 17 years ago. I attempted to order from a menu and was able to determine a few things I did not want. But other than that, well, not so much.) Spanish, however, is quite a useful language both in America and abroad.

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