Friday, May 31, 2013

See The Light Dreams of Joseph Art Review (Review Crew)

 
 
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If you are looking for a biblically based art curriculum, you most definitely want to check out See the Light: Drawing Children to Him.  I jumped on board this opportunity as the lessons are all through DVD.  As long as you have all the supplies needed, you are good to go.
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I chose for Kelly (10) to do the art lesson on Dreams of Joseph.  I was beyond impressed on how all of this was laid out.  Before I go into more detail about her art lesson, I would like to talk about See the Light briefly.

All See the Light lessons are featured with master artist Pat Knepley.  They offer a variety of lessons in specific categories:
If you click each link above, you will see all of the different types of lessons available.  Pretty awesome. 

Part 1 of Lesson

Kelly and I chose to review a lesson from Art Projects: Dreams of Joseph in the style of Marc Chagall.  This particular lesson is for ages 10+.  It's broken up into 4 parts so that you don't get lost and can pause or rewind if needed.  The 4 parts are as follows:
  • Outline Key Elements in Black
  • Paint the Background
  • Paint Joseph's Colorful Robe
  • Finish your Painting with Joseph's Dream Details
Part 2 of Lesson

Here are the materials we needed for this See the Light art lesson:
  • A "12x16" sheet of white or manila Bristol board or poster board
  • Craft or Tempura paint: White, Green, Yellow, Red, Orange, Blue, Green, Violet, Black, and Brown
  • Wax coated white paper plates
  • Variety of different sizes of paintbrushes
  • Tablecloth or newspapers to protect the surface you are using
  • Bowl of water or a sink within reach
  • Paper Towels
  • #2 Pencil
  • White or Gray Kneaded Eraser
Part 3 of Lesson

I love how master artist Pat Knepley actually takes the time to discuss why they are painting the particular piece.  She also reads Bible scriptures to back it all up. So great! Kelly actually really enjoyed this part of it as well.  She was more than anxious to get started on this particular See the Light art lesson as she loves drawing.

Pat takes the kids step by step on how to mix proper colors, etc., to achieve the proper outcome for the painting.  As you can see, Kelly did pretty amazing with hers from beginning to end.  She got frustrated with color mixing the greens at one point as at first her shade of green didn't turn out the way Pat's did.  The great thing about painting is you can just paint right over it. So she backed up that part of the lesson a little bit and started over that process until she achieved the proper shade. Kelly wanted it to be perfect, so I just rolled with it. LOL!

Part 4 of Lesson

When she finally made it to the end of the lesson, the end result was absolutely beautiful.  For painting the robe, Pat allows the children to use the colors however they wish to make it unique.  Not everyone's robe should look exactly alike.  A child's perception!  Gotta love that.

I honestly love See the Light and highly recommend it for homeschooling art lessons or even just for fun.  My 6.5 year old is wanting to do a lesson.  I will most definitely be purchasing more lessons in the future. 

How much does one art lesson cost? You can purchase Dreams of Joseph for $14.99.

Finished Product!

I was always curious how we could achieve art in the home, and these DVD lessons are perfect! I think that your child would like it too.  The face of accomplishment is priceless!  Kelly was so proud of her masterpiece!

Have you ever heard of See the Light?  Maybe this has sparked your interest?  Would love to hear from you.

Feel free to read other reviews from the TOS Review Crew. 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paperless Home Organization from Simplified Pantry Review


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Is your world full of paper clutter?  Even before homeschooling, paper clutter became a major issue in our home whether it was all over the fridge, scattered all over the tables, etc.  It would be so easy to toss it all in the garbage if they weren't so important, right?  I was so excited to be introduced to Paperless Home Organization by Simplified Pantry.  This is from The Old Schoolhouse's sister site, Molly Green Magazine (econobusters.com.) If you struggle with paper clutter.  Keep reading, Paperless Home Organization is  most definitely for you. 

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First off, what is Simplified Pantry?  As busy moms, we are always searching for quick, easy, and very healthy recipes for our families, correct?  Simplified Pantry was created by Mystie Winckler, a concerned mom looking for simple recipes for her family.  She also took it up a notch with home organization.

Now you may be curious as to what Paperless Home Organization is?  "Paperless" most certainly caught my attention.  Author, Mystie Winckler, teaches you how to create a digital home management notebook.  Awesome!  Here is a few of the many things that are covered in this eBook:

  • Benefits of Home Management Binder
  • Benefits of Going Paperless
  • Keeping it Simple
  • Basic GTD Concepts & Terms
  • Initial Set-Up Instructions
  • Using Gmail
  • Principals for Your Email Inbox
  • Gmail Tips and Tricks
  • Using Google Calendar
  • Principals for your Calendar
  • Using Remember the Milk
  • Principals for Remember the Milk
and much more.

If you use Gmail often, you are on the right track to utilizing Paperless Home Organization.  It basically will take a step at a time to build your system, but it's definitely worth it. I am going to continue working with mine to achieve what is needed.  I already utilize Gmail, Google Calendar, etc., so it wasn't difficult on my part to get started on my digital home management notebook. 

You will also want to set up an account with Remember the Milk and Evernote.  I honestly have never heard of these two sites and was excited to move forward to give it a shot.  Sign-ups are free and easy to use and help you manage your tasks when needed.  They are also great if you run a home business as well and need to keep track of that on top of your household duties and children's extra-curricular activities.    The other great thing about Evernote is you can use it for blogging as well.  This is a definite plus for me as blogging is a part of my home business.  Can't wait to use this in this particular area.

There is so much to all of this, it can almost be overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it all and how you would like to apply it to your schedules, it's heaven!

With Paperless Home Organization  you can also say goodbye to all the paper clutter of sticky notes around the house.  Those can also become overwhelming and become easily lost in the clutter causing you to miss an important meeting, event, etc.  Wouldn't you agree?

Another great thing about Paperless Home Organization is that it's tune with the modern times.  Who needs all of this paper anyways?  With all of these tools made available to us, it should be quite simple to manage everything all in one place; online!  After all, moms these days are avid users of the Internet and computer.  It's so easy to just go on and keep everything organized for our homeschool and even our business.

I most definitely would recommend this eBook to every mom looking to go paperless in their schedules.   It is an answer to prayers, honestly.  I don't know what I would do without it.  I plan on revamping my notebook slightly in the days ahead as to become more organized now that I understand how this system works.  It will be greatly beneficial when we start a new homeschooling year this coming fall.


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The Paperless Home Organization eBook is currently only $3.99! Awesome price for something that will change your life in this department.  Along with this eBook I received Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free.  Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free are currently $12.99 each.  These are also eBooks.

A big thank you to Mystie for creating something such as this for all of us busy moms! These are great tools I plan on sharing with fellow homeschoolers, etc.  So excited to use these to better myself in the recipe department as well!

What do you think?  Do you think you could utilize something like Paperless Home Organization?  Want to read more reviews? Check them out at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.


SPECIAL: Enter TOS2013 at checkout from May 20 to June 3, 2013 to receive a 30% discount from any or all of Mystie’s ebooks!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring Elation Event at the Detroit Zoo



This past week I won an awesome ticket giveaway through a friend's blog.  I was so surprised! I never win anything, haha.  It was 4 tickets to the Spring Elation event at the Detroit Zoo through JARC

JARC is an organization dedicated to helping families living with disabilities, etc.  The event was a private gathering at the Detroit Zoo.  Free parking, free dinner, fun with animals, etc.  It was a fun time.  The girls of course loved it.

When we arrived, the sky began growing dark and it became very windy.  Kelly and I started praying it away and that it would clear up.  Within an hour the sky was clear and it was sunny.  Beautiful!  So blessed and thankful God answers prayers.  I would have hated for the event to have been completely rained out.

The girls got to ride on the zoo's carousel.  That was Bethany's first time on one.  She was nervous at first, but discovered it was tons of fun.  Her face was priceless.  The train ride at the end of the evening was fun too.  It was funny, after the train was loaded and ready to go, it had a hard time getting started.  I thought we were going to have to get off and walk back.  A worker came over and gave it a few shoves.  It finally moved forward.  Since it was late evening, the train tunnel was a blast for the kids, haha.

It was a fun evening and wasn't your traditional trip to the zoo.  I love the private events that they put on for the public as well.  It was just nice to have one 4 tickets.  Originally $25 per ticket.  Nice!

Since the Detroit Zoo has been on my mind, it's finally time to get our yearly membership pass.  I think we will be spending a lot of our homeschooling adventures there.  The girls are beyond excited about that. Haha!

What is your favorite zoo memory with your children?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Homeschool Planning




I can't believe May is winding down already.  We are slowly fizzling out of all of our activities and I am so ready for our summer schedule.

We do homeschooling in the summer just not as extensive.  More unit studies, lapbooks, and library visits.  We keep up on important subjects such as: Math, Writing, Reading, Language, etc.  Will we homeschool every single day?  No.  Probably will do the 3 day a week thing with occasional field trips, etc.

I am also trying to incorporate summer fun into the mix with waterpark ideas, a possible trip to Cedar Point, the beach, etc.  Gotta be traditional when it comes to "Summer Vacation." Haha!

On top of summer homeschool planning, I am slowly starting to plan out our next year.  I may be changing gears from curriculum.  The past two years I have done A Beka.  I love the curriculum, but it doesn't feel flexible enough for me to actually feel like we are homeschoolers.  Since I am a teacher trying to break away from rigid routines, I feel it's best to steer away for the time being.  I will; however, will be sticking with A Beka Math!  Love it!

I am planning on some sort of literary curriculum as the girls love reading and actually go through books from the library as if they were water.  I am trying to weigh my options along with comparing their interests, etc.  I am thankfully becoming more confident in our homeschooling adventures and ready to spread my wings a little bit more in some areas.

What are your plans for homeschooling in the summer?  Do you actually take the whole summer off or do you do some sort of summer enrichment to keep those brains sharp? 

Sorry so short and sweet today.  I'm a little behind on some work (life a mom, haha).  Have a blessed day!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Fun and Memories


The month of May is a fun time for our family.   I am not just talking about end of year events like choir, gymnastics, dance, piano, etc., Check out our line up:

May 2nd: Kelly's 10th Birthday
May 12th: A Family Friend's Birthday and Mother's Day
May 13th: Bethany's 4th Birthday
May 15th:  Mine and hubby's Wedding Anniversary (We celebrated 14 years, whoot)

And many more. My sister-in-law's birthday is the end of the month as well. May most definitely is a money sucking month, haha, but we have learned to really get creative and start making our gifts.  Not only does it cut down on cost, it's something that is considered valuable and can be cherished for a lifetime.  Take these "Grandmother's Day" flower pots we decorated.  We know that they are missing their mothers (Our grandmothers) so we made a little something extra just for them as you can see in the pics below. 


They call my mom "Geegum" and my hubby's mom "Mema."  So cute and sweet.  Talk about blinging out the flower pots, haha!  Hopefully they cherish these forever.

Mother's Day was very sweet on my end.  The girls made me adorable crafts.  I forgot to take pictures...so bad, lol If I remember, key word being "If" I will post those as they are so adorable.  It was a blessing to be honored on Mother's Day.  I wore my "Brandon" necklace in memory of him as I will never forget that I am a mother to a precious son in heaven.

For our anniversary, my hubby brought me home some pretty amazing roses. Amazing meaning that the aroma coming from them was so sweet and beautiful.  I don't think I have ever had roses that smelled as sweet as these.  They almost smelled like candy, not kidding!  Of course it's my opinion, haha. 


A close and dear friend of mine runs a home cake business called; Custom Cakes by Kimi!  She is so talented and the cakes are phenomenal not only in appearance, but in taste as well.  She surprised us with a Vanilla Bean Cake (Laced with Strawberries) yesterday.  So beautiful, I didn't want to cut it.  I was going to post a picture that I had taken and posted on Facebook, but for some reason the photo has disappeared.  Not sure how that happened.  Oh well!

My parents have offered to take our sweet girls for a full weekend (2 nights) so that we can have an anniversary getaway.  That is going to be so wonderful.  Pretty pumped about that!

I think that's about it.  We are winding down now with our homeschooling adventures and end of year activities.  Lyssa just has her first homeschool concert.  It was so cute!  Next, we are gearing up for Kelly's Gymfest for Gymnastics, then dance and piano. I will be ready for a nice long break, haha.

I am starting to plan our summer homeschool adventures, will keep you posted on that. 

Many blessings!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Spanish For You Crew Review: Estaciones


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Since our family culture on my mother's side is Spanish-Mexican, I have always wanted to learn Spanish (Espanol).  I took two years in high school and have been rusty ever since. I remember my sweet grandma tutoring me in the language and have always been intrigued.  Rest in Peace, grandma Dolores.  We miss you!  I am excited to teach my girls the language all the while brushing up on it myself.  Spanish For You is our recent learning adventure with the language.

Spanish For You is an affordable Spanish Curriculum for grades 3-8.  We recently utilized Estaciones (Seasons) 3rd-4th grade.  Here is what I received for this review:

  • Soft Cover Book
  • 24-30 Week Lesson Guides (PDF Downloads)
  • MP3 Audio Download for the Book
  • MP3 Audio Download with Native Speaker
  • Worksheets
  • Flashcard Pictures
Everything was easy to download.  All the downloadable items came through email and were pretty quick and easy to install onto my desktop.

Kelly and I spent a lot of time with the flashcards and book getting to know commands, etc.  Here is what we have covered so far:
  • El alfabeto (The Alphabet)
  • Common Words and Phrases: si, no, hola, adios, por favor, gracias, de nada, lo siento, etc.
  • Mandatos (Commands) 
  • Los meses (The Months)
  • Los dias (The Days)
  • El tiempo (The Weather)
In the lesson 1 worksheet (Leccion 1)  Kelly copied each sentence such as Hoy es martes and then would write it in English.  In this case the translation is "Today is Tuesday."

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She is comprehending pretty well.  So far the audios are not working the best with her as she is all visual.  I am hoping to use the audios after we master everything in lesson 1.  I cut out and created flashcards.  This seems to be helping a great deal.  Playing games such as: Memory, Listen and Draw, etc., is helping her comprehend the words and sentences.  Surprisingly she is understanding conjugation.  This is where Spanish verbs must be changed to fit who we are talking to or about.  For example:
  • Miro=I look at
  • miras= you look at
  • mira= he, she, you (formal) look at
  • miramos= we look at
  • mirais= you all look at (Spain only)
  • miran= they, you all look at
I remember disliking Conjuguemos! Haha!

I plan on continuing with the curriculum until the end of the lessons.  We are taking our time to make sure we understand the language without breezing past.  We ended up doing Spanish For You 3-4 days a week for about 30-60 minutes each.  We are continuing into the summer.  Our goal is to complete it by September and move on to the next grade level.

How much does this package cost?  Theme sets that contain materials for all grade levels is $64.95.  If you just want specific grade level, it is $39.95.  For extra books etc., it is $12.95 each.  If interested in learning more about the materials or purchasing them, click here.

I think that this Spanish Curriculum is excellent.  It is very orderly and non-confusing.  The soft cover book appears to be thin, but it is full of everything you need to know when learning the seasons.  Perfect! I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in learning Spanish.  Spanish For You is most definitely, for you!

If you liked this review, you may also like reading other reviews from my fellow reviewers from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Educational Videos on Animals: Animal Planet L!VE!




Do you and your family watch Animal Planet?  I used to and haven't given it much thought as an educational resource for homeschooling, but now considering it for the online resource.  Animal Planet now has a website; Animal Planet L!VE

The website has 11 live cameras of everything from baby chicks, calves and whales to penguins, kittens and puppies.

Here are some other fun videos that can be seen on Animal Planet L!VE:


 You can download footage here.

Animal Planet L!VE currently is available across desktop and mobile platforms at APL.TV and on Samsung Smart TVs, and will be coming to Roku and Xbox LIVE in the coming months.

Here are some other L!VE cams:


Ant Cam
apl.tv/leaf-cutter-ants.htm

A childhood ant farm has nothing on this colony of leaf cutter ants from Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans.

Beluga Cam
apl.tv/explore-beluga-whales.htm

In one of several cams from explore.org's Pearls of the Planet collection, the sleek Beluga whales from Vancouver Aquarium are put in the spotlight, entrancing audiences.

Calf Cam
apl.tv/calves.htm

Watch baby calves find their legs and explore a whole new world from the South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.

Chick Cam
apl.tv/chicks.htm

Spring has sprung for these adorable chicks that, along with the calves, call the South Mountain Creamery home.

Cockroach Cam
apl.tv/cockroaches.htm

While feelings may be mixed on these creatures that have inhabited our planet since the Cretaceous period, viewers will be mesmerized by their activity and surprise setting inspired by the southern home of Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kids and Organization


                       


The past few weeks have been a definite learning experience for my girls.  I am trying to teach them the importance of neat and tidy along with organization.  The consequences of not cleaning up after themselves and putting things back where they belong?  I take the particular toy away.  That's right, I take it away.

Wow, tough right?  I don't think so, haha.  It was getting to the point where I had to do something as they weren't keeping up with their chores properly.  You know, things like shoving things under the bed and dresser drawers thinking I will never check......  I'm sure you can relate to that one.

I pulled up boxes from downstairs and gave them all a dose of reality.  I picked up the toys that they seemed to forget about and put them in a box.  I told them it was up to them to earn it back.  Tears? A few.  They weren't taking my warnings seriously, but now they seem to understand that mama wasn't playin'.

I told them that each time they remember to put things back in their proper place, they will receive one toy back. It has been a challenging time, but hopefully they will start to see the light.  I remember shoving stuff under my bed and calling it a day. Mama is onto them...hahahaha.

Last year I decided to go to Target and pick up a bunch of bins and shelves so that it would be easy for them to see where things go.  This worked out swimmingly for a while, but kids get lazy and have to be reminded over and over again.  How about mixing up toys? Phewww that drives me nuts, but it's bound to happen from time to time.

I am thinking of creating a separate chart for each girl to go along with their chore chart.  Some sort of color coding system might be in place.  I haven't fully decided as of yet.  Because we have small spaces, it can be a challenge to keep things organized, but I want them to learn the importance of this before we end up moving and they have a bigger room to deal with.  Baby steps is best.

As far as school work goes, I bought work trays and put their names on them to keep papers organized.  It does help, until papers overload and become unsightly.  This is when it is time to sort and/or throw away.  You should see their homeschool portfolios...yikes!  I can't wait until summer when I can re-structure and reorganize our homeschool.  It will be so refreshing to do so.

What systems do you have in place to keep your kids organized?  Feel free to share.  It's always nice comparing ideas and possibly adopting new ones.

My Three Blessings

My Three Blessings
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