Follow our family as we journey through life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Workbox of the Week

I know, I know. Workbox of the Week is hit or miss lately. Illness at our house has taken a toll on the education of the youngest members of this house.
This week Margaret completed a boxed craft project. It was a Disney Princess puzzle that she received for her birthday. The actual puzzle did not color well, it was intended to be a color and wipe type of activity. Well, that drove Margaret crazy, so I photocopied the puzzle so that she could color it to keep. It got me thinking that you could do a puzzle out of any coloring sheet. Just make sure the pieces you cut are sized appropriately for the age of your child.

Activity: Turning a coloring sheet into a puzzle

Materials Needed: coloring sheet, marker/crayons, scissors

Level: Preschool and up

Cost: under $5.00

Fun Factor: 4 out of 5 for my girl

Work for the Teacher: Very little


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Try a New Recipe Tuesday~ February 26

I am linking up over at Home with 4 Kiddos to share new recipes on Tuesdays. It's a great way to add some variety to our dinners during the long winter months!
We've been making wings a lot lately because they're easy and the kids like them. This week I am sharing another simple baked wing recipe.
In one bowl, beat three eggs. In another bowl, pour two cups flour. Heat three tablespoons of oil or lard in a frying pan.
Dip each wing in egg, drench in flour and fry until brown on all sides in the oil or lard. Place browned pieces in a 11x13 casserole dish. Add more oil depending on how much chicken you are frying.
Mix together 1 cup white sugar, 4 Tbs soy sauce, 4 Tbs water, and 1 Tsp vinegar. Pour over chicken in casserole dish. Bake one hour at 375.
Now I like to run my chicken under the broiler before serving. If you want to do this transfer to a cookie sheet and set the broiler on high. Return chicken to the over for no more than three minutes.
Remember that cooking times may vary. Always check the temperature of your chicken before serving.
Have a recipe to share? Come and join the fun at Home to 4 Kiddos!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Malcolm Update

Thank you all for your thoughts, comments, and prayers about my sweet Malcolm. He is indeed on the mend and has regained his usual behavior of being a terror. At least he is now a healthy terror.

Blue and Gold Banquet

We had our annual Blue & Gold Banquet last night for Cub Scouts.
The boys baked a decorated a cake for the Father & Son cake contest.
It is a group of rock climbers going up a cake mountain. They didn't win, but I thought it was an awesome cake.

James and Isaac's group did presentations.
Isaac was really nervous up there, but he still did a great job.

James received the Arrow of Light, which is the highest honor a Cub Scout can earn. He technically should have bridged over to Boy Scouts in a ceremony held during the Banquet, but we aren't sure what our future with Boy Scouts will be at this time, so James is going to take a year or so off while we look at our options.

Henry was there as well, looking super handsome in his uniform.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sewing to Summer Challenge: Month 1

I have decided to join up with Milk & Honey Mommy and sew my way to summer! I have been really busy with homeschooling and helping create LMCA. Sewing has really taken a backseat in my life. I haven't even reopened my etsy shop since closing it for Christmas. I am hoping this little challenge will motivate me to rediscover my love of sewing.
For the month of February I mostly worked on a birthday quilt for Malcolm. SInce it's not even close to being finished you'll have to wait to see it. But I did manage to create three other items just for fun.
This skirt is for me. I think it turned out cute. I haven't tried it on yet, so I hope it fits. If it doesn't it'll be listed on etsy.
I love the brightness of these fabrics. I created this skirt for etsy.
This skirt is for Margie. I think it turned out perfectly! I have enought fabric left that I think I can do a custom-order listng on etsy for one.
I was going to do a before and after photo of my fabric cabinet, but all these skirts were made from fabric I have been carrying around in my sewing bag, so my cabinet looks exactly the same. My sewing back is a lot lighter now though!
Come on over and join the fun! Click here to link up!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Recitation Day

James recited "Casey's Revenge," Isaac did "The Jabberwockey," Henry did "How Doth the Little Crocodile," and Margie drew beautiful pictures.

7 Quick Takes

I have started a blog for Laurel Mountain Classical Academy, the homeschooling support program I am helping to start with three friends. I would love it if you could click over and tell me what you think:
Michael had a video made to promote his summer program. You should really check it out, even if the only reason is to see how well he rocks a beard.
Okay, so Malcolm is still super sick. In fact he is on his third antibiotic in seven days. I am totally not one of those antibiotic moms and so you can probably guess that I. AM. FREAKING. THE. HECK. OUT. This being Friday morning while your reading this and since I wrote this post earlier maybe I will have a positive and happy update to report.
Even though there are five kids running this house, the fact the baby is sick has turned things upsidedown. I find myself saying things like, "Well, if Malcolm is better than..."
I can almost hear the criticism over antibiotic use from all you naysayers. Well, I hope your precious babies never have blue lips from coughing so hard. Yes, his lips were blue and he could not get a big enough breath to cough. This was Wednesday so hopefully there is much improvement by the time you read this. Yeah for antibiotics to give my baby the ability to breathe!
Our piano teacher quit without warning yesterday. Please keep her in your prayers as she has some major things going on in her life right now.
We had a meeting last night with the board of a local church about using the place for LMCA. Keep your fingers crossed for us on this one. It would be a good fit for us!
Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Workbox of the Week

Since Margaret's illness has wiped out all by the most essential workbook activity for the last week (read: sing ABC, play Kindle (Angry Birds is math, right?), do review item related activities), I am leaving you with the option of heading over to read about Clan Donaldson's Lent adventure. Seriously folks, the lists she creates for her kids could be a universal Lent list for kids. Even my non-Catholic readers will get a good chuckle out of this.
And look for Workbox of the Week to return next week!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Try a New Recipe Tuesday~ February 19

I am linking up over a Home to 4 Kiddos to share new recipes on Tuesdays. I love to try new things in the kitchen and this blog hop is an easy way to view lots of new ideas!
This week I am sharing a super easy Baked BBQ Chicken Wing recipe. I often make this to bring to potlucks. Although it does require a little planning, it doesn't require that much work in the kitchen.
To get started, place 4 pounds of chicken wings in a deep dish. Grab a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (or make your own), and pour all but 1/2 cup of the sauce over the chicken. You will need 1/2 cup of sauce to brush on while baking. Cover chilcken with plastic wrap and refridgerate for eight hours or overnight.
Heat your oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Coat aluminum foil with no-stick spray. Place chikcen in one layer on cookie sheet. Discard sauce in dish. Using your reserved sauce, lightly brush each piece of chicken with sauce. Bake for one hour, brushing with sauce every 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and turn broiler to high. Return chicken to oven under broiler for three minutes. Transfer chicken to a serving dish and your ready to go.
Cooking times may vary. Be sure that your chicken has reached safe temperatures before serving.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Product Review: Song School Spanish

Over the last several years, Michael and I have been slowly making the shift to a more "classically focused" education for our boys. Classical Academic Press was one of the companies that we discovered that carried solid curriculum with a strong classical focus.
What originally drew me to the company were the actual books used in their programs. So many times I would come across books that were dry, colorless, and dull to teach and learn from. Classical Academic Press adds life to teaching basic subjects such as Latin, poetry, and Logic. Their books are engaging, creative, and fun to look at. All of these factors are important when you are teaching a reluctant learner.
Which brings me to my newest exposure to Classical Academic Press; their Song School Spanish program. 
Many folks I know are familiar with Song School Latin, but few know that the same interactive approach has been created for young learners for Spanish. Song School Spanish is an easy and effective curriculum for parents to expose young learners to a foreign language. This program, intended for children from Kindergarten to Grade 3, is filled with songs, lessons and activities that offer an introduction to vocabulary, simple phrases, and even some basic grammar. The Teacher's Edition offers answers to the worktext, as well as additional activities for each of the chapters.


It was pretty easy to incorporate this program into our already existing curriculum, which made me wonder why we haven't been doing a modern language study since the beginning. The CD was listened to in the car on the way to classes, co-op, and even snow tubing. We also had it in our kitchen player to rotate with our other musical selections.
In addition to listening to the CD, we "completed" activities in the student book at least once a week. Now I say "completed" because as true homeschoolers we tweaked the program to make it fit better with our needs. How we did this is by jumping around in the worktext to whatever interested Henry. We started at the beginning, but I could tell early on that I wasn't going to keep his focus. Since he is on the older end of the age recommendations, and he is a quick learner, I let him decide which chapters to study. I would skim the book and say, "Would you like to learn about manners, animals, colors, etc." and let him choose. This didn't always work the way I intended it to go, but for the most part I was pleased with his exposure to early Spanish skills.

One thing I would say is that the CD is easily adaptable to younger and older children. Margaret, age 4, was able to pick up on the catchy tunes, and although James, grade 5/6, may not have interested in the music, he listened to it as well and perhaps even improved his pronunciation because of it.

I was hoping to ad a video here, but I swear my new computer hates me. Check back at a later time when I figure out how to get the video onto the blog!


"Hey Henry, what do you think of the Spanish program we've been doing for the review program."
"Well, I think..."
"Try to use Spanish in your response."
"I can't say everything I want to say in Spanish!"
"Just say what you can."
"Muy Bweun. Ummm. Amigo. Por Faver."
"Did you like the program?"
"Yeah. It was fun."
[note: Henry's Spanish responses are written phonetically with how he said them]
Song School Spanish is available on the Classical Academic Press website for $24.95. The teacher edition is also $24.95. In addition to this Spanish program, Classical Academic Press offers many other programs for homeschooling families. The Song School Latin program I mentioned above, as well as programs in Greek, French, Logic, Bible, and Poetry. Visit the Classical Academic Press website to view their full line of products.
Other folks on The Schoolhouse Review Crew used Song School Spanish and you can read their reviews by clicking here or by clicking the banner below: 
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


7 Quick Takes

The Homeschool Science Fair made the paper!

It's such a great event, I am glad it is getting some local recognition.


It's a good thing that I am not in charge of the judging for the event because most of the winners were children of my friends. None of my kids won, and all the winners were well-deserved. But I would say that 95% of the winners were children of my friends.


We have our first real illness here. Margaret has bronchitis and pink eye, Malcolm has a sinus infection and pink eye. Both are on antibiotics. Blah.


We have some friends coming this weekend that we haven't seen since our honeymoon in France. They are from from, but living in Washington D.C. They have three little girls, which of course will just make Margaret' day.


No word yet on a location for LMCA. We have several hopeful leads, but we have had leads before that turned into nothing.


Not that we are completely desolate. We have had two locations say yes, but they are in the opposite direction of where we want to be and we are not sure the program can survive in that town. It is just that much further for everyone to drive.


A special shout out to a very important lady whom we love very much on her birthday!

Happy Birthday! We wish we were there to share pizza with you today!

Check out more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Dinner For Two

Gotta love the Lego set behind the flowers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Product Review: Flowering Baby

I have had a lot of littles go though this place. You'd think by now that I would have things figured out. And I think I probably do. But each kid is different and what works for Child One may not be the answer to bringing peace to the house with Child Four. Not only that, but after five kids some routines and practices just get old. Sometimes adding an extra activity or a fun project can really improve the dynamic of the whole family.
Flowering Baby, LLC is a program designed for children from birth to five. Part curriculum development and part lifestyle adventure, I found that Flowering Baby, LLC not only offered suggestions for activities with my littles ones, it also helped reshape the way I approach this precious age group.
Although the program offers materials for birth to five, I used it primarily with Margaret. Lately I have felt really out of sorts with the whole Pre-K/K education she is receiving. She has her workboxes, but between dealing with Manic Malcolm and homeschooling three other grade levels, Margaret gets left out of the homeschooling day a lot. We have been faithful with the workbox system, but even the routine of that was beginning to feel like a chore. Plus, this is my fourth time with this age group in five years! Motivation was not happening for me.
Upon receiving Vol. 5: Four to Five Years, I began to get inspired again about this age level. The two parts to this part of the program map out a daily schedule of basic skill learning (letters, numbers, movement, songs, etc.) as well as thematic learning (animals, holidays, space, etc.). Used simultaneously, this program offers more learning than any of my other three kids had at this age.
Not did Margaret learn new skills and facts, her interest was aroused about the world beyond this house. So much of her life is centered around our family and community. The theme units allowed her to begin to develop interests in things on a much larger scale: "Is there a song about why stars sparkle so much?" "Did you know it looks the same outside when it is cloudy and cold and cloudy and not so cold?"
This program was easy to integrate into Margaret's "school" day. I made little cards with a flower and the words "Flowering Baby" on them and put them in her workboxes.
In the same box I would put any necessary materials she would need to complete the activity such as books, crayons, weather materials, etc. The Flowering Baby card would be her signal that she would need to come and get me for the activity.
From there we would follow the suggestions outlined in the guide. Since I had already previewed the daily activities to get the workboxes ready, I had everything on hand and knew what parts of the day we were going to complete. Some of the things an average day included were a book, a song, some writing, outside exploration/ discussion and some activity pertaining to the current theme we were studying.

Being veteran homeschoolers, we of course tweaked the program to meet our needs. This was also very easy and didn't take away from the meaningfulness of the program. Usually it was just something simple like an activity I knew Margie wouldn't like (ie: dressing in blue. She is going through a purple and green phase. Blue was a couple months ago).
Creating her picture using all different shades of blue.

Weather of the day. I don't know where she lives, but it hasn't been that warm in a while!

One to one correspondence.

Learning about shapes. Look how impressed Malcolm is with that triangle!

Making triangles out of pattern blocks.
I like when the flower is in my workboxes because it is always something fun. Except when it is about bears. Bears will bite off your legs.
 Flowering Baby, LLC is available in several different workbooks to fit your needs. You can purchase the entire five year curriculum, Birth to age 5, for $132.00. Each age level is also available to be purchased on it's own for $30.00 to 38.00. These workbooks include the suggestions for daily activities. All supplemental materials (crayons, clay, picture books, etc.) must be provided by you.

Many other families used Flowering Baby, LLC and voiced their views over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog. Click here to read those reviews, or click the banner below. 
Disclaimer: As a member of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the products listed above free of charge in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I was not required to write a postive review. All views are my own or those of my family and I received no other compensation. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.