Saturday Snippets

SaturdaySnippetsSometimes you need to just sit down at the computer and chill for a while. Not like Netflix and Chill though. No. Just, you know, browse for a while. So, in my down time I like to just hang out a find interesting stuff… That’s where my Saturday Snippets come in, because there has to be at least one other person out there like me, lol.

  1. We all have seen the Chewbacca video of the woman in the Kohl’s parking lot…well, here is the sequel! And she is going on GMA, lol.
  2. I am in love with these photographs of little cars in different surroundings..beautiful!
  3. You may have seen this post about appreciating teachers. I am all for it! I have quite a few friends that are teachers!
  4. This is a year old, but I just saw it…an angry ram and a tether ball combo. 😀
  5. This article is timely since Ryan is turning 17 soon…but I think he is doing pretty well!
  6. The 11th best archer in the world…you need to check him out!
  7. I love this light garland and it would be so fantastic in Lauren’s room, but I think it would die too fast and make me mad about the time spent on it, lol. Maybe fake flowers?
  8. What a wonderful idea for so many reasons. More cities should do something like it!
  9. I’ve always thought I was creative, and it seems like I fit right in with everyone else. Almost. lol
  10. And yes…I gotta end with something oh so cute…gotta hug them babies!

That’s all my Saturday Snippets for today! Let me know if you found anything fun this week on the internet! 🙂

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Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set {Review}

Early on in our homeschooling we had attempted to do a study on logic. It must have been their age, or maybe even that combined with the curriculum we were using, but it just didn’t stick. Kyle had done a logic study in co-op this year so I thought it would be good to try again with the other kiddos! Memoria Press (a favorite of ours) had sent me the Traditional Logic 1 Complete Set to review so I was excited to get started!

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
I like that they mention that it is designed for the teacher with no logic background, because that would be me. I mean, we never studied this in school! 😉 In the set you get the Student Book, a Quiz and Test book, the Teacher Key that has the workbook, quiz and test answers, and a two disc instructional dvd set.

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

This course teaches formal/traditional logic.. I hadn’t asked Kyle which he studied in co-op this year, but there are different kinds. He did mention that this was way different than what they had done. I like that this course was made for homeschoolers. I mean, others can use it, but it makes me feel better knowing that I don’t have to change anything before using it.

Generally this course is aged for high school but it does mention that they have used it with 7th and 8th graders as well as adults, so I like that it is flexible like that. Kyle is in 8th and Lauren is in 7th, so it works for us! It is supposed to be a one semester course but they mention that it is generally completed in less than a semester. If you are going to continue with book 2, they give a little schedule enhancement that will shorten the study in book 1 to allow for the more difficult studies of book 2. We just went at our own pace as we aren’t in any hurry and our school year is so different from typical.

The thing I loved the most about this curriculum is that every day is written down for you. It tells you what to read and then it lists the questions right after.

Traditional Logic I Complete SetSo, looking at day one for example, it mentions to read the entire chapter of the introduction and then go back and read a couple sections a little more thoroughly. Then it lists the questions. The kids really have to be paying attention as some of these questions have things that were only mentioned once! But the little sections that they have you read again aren’t very big, so it should work out ok. You can then go over the answers in the Teacher Key. I like how simple everything is written out, it appeals to my no-nonsense brain when it comes to school stuff…

The DVD set covers all the book chapters. The first disk is Introduction to Chapter 7 and disk two is chapter 8-13. I may have to change my player as I couldn’t tell how long to prepare for each section when we watched it. I know certain players will break it down. Or maybe this was just made as one long disk, now that I think about it. Either way, there are noticeable breaking points when new chapters start, you just have to push stop. None of the sections are very long at all, and really do expand on the information in the book and explain some things in a different way that really helps you understand.

You can then use the Quizzes & Tests book at the end of each section, even the introduction.  I love how the pages are perforated and you can just tear them out! None of the quizzes/tests are very long but in my opinion, they are quite thorough, so you want to make sure you understand it all before taking the quizzes!! 😉

We aren’t on a five day a week schedule with most of our schooling, so we aren’t done with this yet, but we are working our way through. I wasn’t sure how Kyle would take to learning logic again, but I really think with the combination of  increased ages as well as a better curriculum the kids are actually enjoying it!

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review

If you want to check out what others thought of their Traditional Logic experience, feel free to click the box below! Some actually reviewed other offerings from Memoria Press,  Astronomy and Greek Myths! I was fascinated by both of those topics, but chose to stick to what was best for our age group.. Check them out!! 😀

Logic, Greek Myths and Astronomy Memoria Press Review
Memoria Press Traditional Logic I Complete Set {Review}

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Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization-Institute for Excellence in Writing {Review}

I may have mentioned a few times in the past about different issues my kids have. One child has the hardest time with remembering things. It’s a known fact around here that you have to tell them numerous times anything, and even then you are lucky if they remember. I was excited to review the Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing because anything that would have said child work on memorizing had to be good! 😉
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization The box came and it was exciting to open the box. The box is shown above, it is nice and you can store your materials in there again. I was surprised to find that IEW included a printed spiral bound copy of the Student Pages as well! This normally comes as an e-book download in the kit, so it was a wonderful bonus! I print things every day so it was a welcome product in this house!
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization Along with the Student Pages book that I was sent was the rest of the kit that includes a teacher’s manual and a collection of cd’s that have all the poems and speeches read on them.

In the teachers manual on the front blue page is information on how to access your student e-book AS WELL AS seven audio MP3’s. Nurturing Competent Communicators is one of the MP3’s. We got this included as a dvd in our package, which is nice, I can watch that and have notes going on my computer.

After that is a very thorough Introduction section. I highly suggest reading this! It is 15 pages, but it explains why they chose to do poetry memorization. It then goes into how it is set up as well as how to teach the program. They suggest that everyone starts at Level One and to use the program every day… Download the copy of the first poem and print it out (or if you have the student book, use that) and then listen to the poem on the CD. Then, say the title and author and the poem together. As that is learned, you can go on to the next poem.

There is an appendix in the back that gives suggestions on studies that you can do with each of the poems. We love unit studies and this is right up our alley. We took a little extra time and did a lot of these lesson enhancements. There is another appendix that lists the biographies of the authors in the book. We used these along with the other lesson enhancements.

Now, the student book has little drawings that can be colored as the child is learning each poem. My kiddos are doing a lot of drawing and art projects already and we just didn’t use the coloring section, but I think this would be fantastic for younger kids and help them remember each poem easier.

As we have moved through our poems, we have noticed that they definitely get harder! For the multi stanza poems you can take longer, they suggest one stanza a day, or whatever works for you. You can flip through the book and there are some things that I can only imagine being able to memorize…and I am curious how that will go, haha!! But I am looking forward to trying! And for the record, the child that I talked about in the beginning? They are doing the best at memorizing the poems so far…crazy, right?

If you want to check out what other families liked about their time with these poems, click on the box below! 🙂

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization-Institute for Excellence in Writing {Review}

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ARTistic Pursuits Inc. {Review}

We have been really working on art this year in school…Trying a bunch of new things, new projects.. We keep coming back to drawing. I think that basic pencil drawing starts out the beginnings of a lot of other art skills. I was excited to review ARTistic Pursuits Inc. and their High School Book 1. With my kids having different age groups I really studied their website to see which book would work the best for us. I looked at the middle school one and figured that just in a short while I would have two kids in high school and one in 8th, so I stuck with the high school book.
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneThe book has 68 lessons throughout its 92 pages. That’s a lot of lessons! I knew we wouldn’t get through all of them before this school year ended, so that was a major reason why we kept with the high school book. It will be great to keep using it for quite a while!

Honestly, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I got the book. It is a simple bound book…but looking through it, it is so full of information! I was impressed right away! It is so simple the way the lessons are laid out. The book is set in units, there are 16 of them. Each unit has four lessons.  The first lesson in each unit is Building a Visual Vocabulary. Unit 1 is about Space (not the universe kind, lol). Lesson 1 in Unit 1 explains in easy to understand words what Space means and gives examples. It has a little assignment to draw an outdoor scene. I like that they do an assignment right away! I put these drawings aside and y’know, I can’t remember where I put them, so I don’t have pictures of those drawings. I know I will find them after I post this, right??

Anyway…the second lesson of each unit is Art Appreciation and Art History. For Unit 1 they are looking at Medieval artists. There is quite a bit of explanation with a painting for example. It enlarges certain parts of the painting so that you really pay attention to those parts. Mentions things that I would have never seen if they didn’t mention it or point it out! I like that the assignments are in red and easy to see.
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneFor lesson 2 in Unit 1 the assignment was to draw a face. Now, they make it look easy…and the kids were a little frustrated at how hard it was to draw a face. Lauren is the only one that let me take a picture of her drawing. She named hers Joseph. I think she did a good job! I am showing mine as well, as we always do art together for school.

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneThe third lesson in each unit is about Techniques. Lesson 3 in Unit 1 has you setting up a group of objects and drawing that. They want you to use the space of the page, to tie in what the lesson is about.. I don’t have pictures of these either… You know how hard it is to draw simple objects? Ok, maybe we didn’t pick super simple objects….haha!!
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneLesson four in each unit is Application. The final project of each unit. Taking in everything that you learned in each unit and applying it to this final assignment. For Unit 1, they had a portion of a book and they wanted you to imagine the scene that was given and draw it. Now, I kind of cheated and looked on Google as I wasn’t exactly sure what a dragon looked like, detail wise…but I am proud of the kids and their drawings. Kyle was being very precise on his scales of his dragon and his isn’t finished yet. I am hoping to add it later as he did a very good job!

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book One

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book One

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. High School Book OneI am liking that they pretty much let you draw what you want, there isn’t a set thing that you just copy. Because true art is making your own! I think that is great for my kids as they tend to get overwhelmed when they are told to copy something, they get worried that it won’t be ‘good enough’.Now, I am still stuck on having to do a Google image search to get an idea that I want…but I still enjoy the drawing part. Maybe I can learn something from this curriculum as well!

They suggest doing two hour long classes a week for a full year, or 36 weeks. You can then have one full Visual Arts credit! They also suggest that if you wanted to use Book 1 with Book 2 that you can modify that as well. I like that they also give information on how to put together a portfolio that a college may be interested in! We are definitely looking forward to seeing what is in store in the rest of the book…

If you want to check out what everyone else in the group reviewed for Artistic Pursuits Inc., feel free to click on the box below! I love seeing the different grade level books and their projects! 🙂

ARTistic Pursuits Inc. Review
ARTistic Pursuits Inc. {Review}

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What’s in my protein shake

food-restaurant-lights-nightA couple people have randomly asked what I put in my protein shake. I didn’t know it was a ‘thing’ but I figure I will go ahead and make a post about it, because why not? 😀

So, I will go in order of how I put things in the blender, because then I won’t forget anything.

The first thing I put in is the protein powder. I get this Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vanilla Ice Cream flavor. It mixes very well with no chunks, and it has a great taste. Jeffy gets the chocolate. I stick with the vanilla since I add stuff to mine…

Product Image for Gold Standard 100% Whey - Vanilla Ice Cream (5 Pound Powder)

Next I put a couple spoonfuls of this Trader Joe’s Flax seed with blueberries. A hint, if you buy this, try and find one where there isn’t any flax seeds up on the top part of the bag…because if there is and you rip open the bag it will go everywhere. Also, it will get stuck in the resealable part of the bag and not close very well…

On top of that I put a handful of baby spinach leaves as well as a good spoonful of coconut oil. Every two weeks I cut up individual servings of one half of a banana, a few strawberries and a small handful of blueberries and put them in the freezer. I take a serving and run a little water over the fruit, but keep them frozen since I want my shake creamy and drop in that one serving.

Next is a half cup of yogurt, usually plain. Sometimes if I run out of plain I will use vanilla. Then almost a half cup of Trader Joe’s tropical carrot juice blend. Any juice works and I used to just use orange juice.

The very last thing I do is put a generous amount of this cinnamon from Costco on top.

I am not one for spicy stuff and this has a little kick to it…but it is perfect!!

I also toast a cinnamon crumpet from Trader Joe’s and put a little butter on top and more of that cinnamon. I ran out of this cinnamon recently and used the ‘regular’ cinnamon that we have and it just was not the same at all…it was like it added no flavor.

This huge thing of cinnamon gets used pretty quickly as I use a ton of it every morning with my breakfast. But it is super cheap at Costco so….it’s all good… 🙂

So, there is my breakfast.. The same thing every day. I am sure eventually I will try something new, but I do tend to eat the same thing for breakfast for a long long time before I switch… 🙂


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Kwik Stix 12pk. {Review}

When the kids were quite younger they all went through a painting phase…but all three having some sort of sensory issue it looked different for each kid. One didn’t want to deal with the texture at all, one wanted the paint on everything and one just wanted all of the things to look pretty. 😉 I was happy to be able to review this Kwik Stix 12 pk. from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

I had never heard of these before, but now that I have, I have seen them a few times. But they are great for kids of all ages and hey, I enjoyed them too! We took one day as a group and painted whatever came to mind and then there have been various single painting sessions as well. This is tempera paint but in an easy to use stick. So, the best part? You don’t need a cup of water to rinse out brushes…which also means the paint dries fast. Coolest ever!

kwik stix 12 pk reviewYou use the paint sticks like you would a glue stick. Pull of the cap and then twist the bottom to get as much showing as you need and then just go! I would say the consistency of the paint is kind of like drawing with a lipstick. All the kids did a lot of painting with their paints. I just kind of played around with mine and it was all very light, so it kind of looks like crayon. I was trying to do the Nightmare Before Christmas version of Starry Night and well…it was tricky since I was using yellow construction paper. kwik stix 12 pk reviewI would say that I wish they also came in a skinnier pen type paint so as to be able to draw a little bit of the finer details. For mine I had to use the edge of the paint stick and I could only do so much with it.. I loved that you could paint some, wait 90 seconds until it dried, and then paint a different color on top. Or even layer a bit while they are still a little damp.

I thought it funny that this day the kids all decided to do a sort of nature/landscape type painting. They just kind of sat down and starting painting without looking at what the others were doing. 😀 Gotta love it.. I like how they are all varied. I can kinda get a sense of their personalities coming through the paintings as well. 🙂

kwik stix 12 pk reviewkwik stix 12 pk reviewkwik stix 12 pk reviewLauren was the only one that had light colored paper to use so hers just seems extra bright even with the bright colors she used. I had planned on using it with newsprint paper, but I couldn’t find where it got moved. Hmm… We did find out that the Kwik Stix will draw on balloons! They dry so fast that there isn’t a mess either!

I think these are a great product, and they have more choices on their site. They have metalix and neon colors as well as different quantities in each box. The 96 pk. would be great for groups of kids like in a co-op setting or even a birthday party! 🙂

The Pencil GripAs much fun as we had with these Kwik Stix, the kids spent a lot of time with a sample that we were also sent of The Pencil Grip. My kids all write horribly. I admit it! Two are lefties, but that has nothing to do with it as there are many lefties with beautiful handwriting! But they started out when they were young holding their pencils perfectly. Now? Not so much, I don’t know WHAT happened.. So, I show them how to use this Pencil Grip. They all try it. And keep trying it. And laughing. They couldn’t quite get how to use it to hold the pencil correctly because they have been so off for so long! I find it very comfortable to use because, well, I write correctly…unless I get tired…lol. These are very inexpensive and can be used with both righties and lefties. You put your thumb on either the R or the L on each Pencil Grip. I am thinking of getting a couple more to hopefully get them to write correctly again!

If you want to check out what others from the group painted, feel free to click on the box below! 🙂

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Kwik Stix 12pk. {Review}

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What I read in April

I couldn’t believe when I looked at the calendar and realized it was now May. Is every month going to be like this? Goodness…

So, what books have you loved lately? I have a sort of list going, but am slightly behind in getting them. I forget to put a hold on them at the library…

Here is what I read in April though, so let me know if you have read any of these. 🙂


Need by Joelle Charbonneau – What do you really need?

One by one, the teens in Nottawa, Wisconsin, join the newest, hottest networking site and answer one question: What do you need? A new iPhone? Backstage passes to a concert? In exchange for a seemingly minor task, the NEED site will fulfill your request. Everyone is doing it. So why shouldn’t you?

Kaylee Dunham knows what she needs—a kidney for her sick brother. She doesn’t believe a social networking site can help, but it couldn’t hurt to try.

Or could it?

After making her request, Kaylee starts to realize the price that will have to be paid for her need to be met. The demands the site makes on users in exchange for their desires are escalating, and so is the body count. Will Kaylee be able to unravel the mystery of who created the NEED network before it destroys them all?

What I thought: I kind of enjoyed this book in a weird way…lol.. It kind of gets at how social media is a crazy thing, but not in a lecture.


Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels – What if the house of your dreams is the home you have? Meet Melissa Michaels, creator of the popular blog The Inspired Room and the best contentment coach you’ll ever meet. With humor and candor Melissa reveals how to transform your rooms (and your life) from plainly livable to fabulously lovable.

Like a perfectly overstuffed chair, Melissa’s encouragement beckons you to get comfortable and then get creative as you: find beauty in the ordinary discover your style and let it shine with simple ideas entertain possibilities and people with more gratitude and joy gather inspiration in the 31-day Love Your Home Challenge leap from dreamer to doer with confidence

Much more than decor! This is your invitation to fall in love with the home you have and embrace the gifts of life, people, and blessings right where you are.

What I thought: This was ok. I enjoyed it. It seemed like a bunch of blog posts in one book with a lot of, hey come to my blog type of thing. I got confused and my thoughts kind of were all over the place while reading. :shrug:


The Secret Language of Sisters by Luanne Rice – When Ruth Ann (Roo) McCabe responds to a text message while she’s driving, her life as she knows it ends. The car flips, and Roo winds up in a hospital bed, paralyzed. Silent. Everyone thinks she’s in a coma, but Roo has locked-in syndrome—she can see and hear and understand everything around her, but no one knows it. She’s trapped inside her own body, screaming to be heard.

Mathilda (Tilly) is Roo’s sister and best friend. She was the one who texted Roo and inadvertently caused the accident. Now, Tilly must grapple with her overwhelming guilt and her growing feelings for Roo’s boyfriend, Newton—the only other person who seems to get what Tilly is going through.

But Tilly might be the only person who can solve the mystery of her sister’s condition—who can see through Roo’s silence to the truth underneath.

Somehow, through medicine or miracles, will both sisters find a way to heal?

Told from alternating perspectives, this gorgeous, unputdownable story of love, hope, and redemption marks bestselling author Luanne Rice’s dazzling entry into the world of YA.

What I thought: I enjoyed this book. I was amazed at how easily I could put myself into the story, it was told well I thought. I didn’t know how it would end either!

Zero by Tom Leveen – For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn’t materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero’s parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she’s so much more than a name.

What I thought – This author has a great storyteller quality. I have enjoyed all the ones that I have read so far. The characters are always so thought out. I enjoyed this book.


Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn – Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all.

Callie herself.

What I thought: I must be in a mood for this type of book. But this was another good one. I wanted to keep reading, not put it down. I didn’t know how this one would end either!

Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott – How far would you go to survive?

In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t stop – and in SALT & STONE, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left . . . and only one can win.

What I thought: This is the sequel to the one we read last month. I enjoyed these stories! Sure, they are kinda Hunger Game-ish, but done in a different way. I am looking forward to the next one in the series..


A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young – Eleven-year-old Margo Bandini has never been afraid of anything. Her life in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with Mama and Papa and her little brother, Charlie, has always felt secure. But it’s 1933, and the Great Depression is changing things for families all across America.

One day the impossible happens: Papa cannot make the payments for their house, and the Sheriff Sale sign goes up on their door. They have two weeks to pay the bank, or leave their home forever. Now Margo is afraid–but she’s also determined to find a way to help Papa save their home.

What I thought: This was for school, obviously.. But I thought it was told really well. It gave you a sense of how things were back then and how people thought and lived…

Dead Ringer (Rosato & Associates, #8)

Dead Ringer by Lisa Scottoline – They say that blood is thicker than water, but just how far should you go for a sister?

When ace lawyer Bennie Rosato’s twin sister returns to Philadelphia, she knows that trouble is on the horizon, for her sister never contacts her with familial love at the forefront of her agenda – if she contacts her at all. At the same time, Bennie’s law firm is in trouble, so she takes on a potentially lucrative class-action suit to try to save the day. It could be make or break – both for her family and her firm.

Meanwhile, her colleague Mary DiNunzio persists in bringing ina case that looks more like an Italian wedding than a lawsuit, and then a mysterious stranger appears just in time to help Bennie in the fight of her life – for her life.

Full of pace, suspense and laugh-out-loud humour, bestselling New York Times author Lisa Scottoline has written her strongest book ever, featuring many of the much-loved characters from teh wise-cracking all-women Philadelphia law firm of Rosato and Associates.

What I thought – Usually I LOVE books by this author as they keep my on my toes and I do nothing but read the book until finished.. This one…I liked…but it wasn’t like that. I don’t know what was missing in it for me. It was still a great story and the characters were well written.. I don’t know…

Well, that’s it for April! Now we are on to May! Don’t think I will have as many books read this month, but we will see… 😀

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Thursday Things

Seriously, now that Jeffy is working from home it is harder than ever to know what day it is… I guess it is Thursday! It’s been a rainy week for us and it seems to be continuing for a while! We will see! Let’s do this weeks Thursday Things because it is always good to think about the good things… 🙂

First of all, I was glad to get Ryan registered for another semester at college. Now, he isn’t as far along as I would like him to be because our first semester we registered on the very last possible day that you could, so he went in with provisional status and could only take math and english. This semester he took music appreciation and psychology. So now we are trying to do more each semester for his last year. This next semester he is taking art appreciation, public speaking and american history. He is also taking the little class that is full of info about transferring to another college. Even though he isn’t as far along as we would have liked, I am glad he at least got this little start! 🙂

friend timeI was able to hang out with a friend for a few hours. Y’all, it is so hard to make friends after moving across the country… So thankful that she took me in and lets me hang with her, lol. Next time I won’t bring root beer. 😉

mass transitJeffy didn’t travel this week! He has two weeks of travel after this though, so booo… But still, this week was actually pretty nice. Now that he is working from home, he doesn’t mind going out and doing things whereas before, he would be gone all day as well as driving two hours a day and he just wanted to stay home.

Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagel

Panera had a thing for the month of April that you could get a free bagel each day with your Panera card. Dude…have you tried their cinnamon crunch bagels? Soo soo good. I got quite a few this month. 😉

This song… It has been playing all week. And it is good timing too. There are probably going to be quite a bit of changes around here this year and this is just the beginning of them. I know it isn’t a new song at all, but it just fits…and I love it. 🙂

Ok, so that is my Thursday Things for this week! Let me know what you have liked about this past week! 🙂

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YWAM Publishing Heroes of History {Review}

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to read. Books, magazines, cereal boxes, you know, anything I can find! I am constantly reading! We do a lot of reading out loud in our homeschool and the kids all enjoy the different books that we end up reading. Every month or so we have a new book for their book club that we read together as well as some for history and other subjects that we do in our school. I was quite excited then when I was asked to review a book from YWAM Publishing! I hadn’t heard of them before but in looking at them closer I was fascinated.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
There was a long list of books to choose from, but as I made my way through the list the choice was clear! We picked the Heroes of History – Daniel Boone: Frontiersman book. Why did I pick him out of the many given? Because Jeffy’s side of the family is related to him! I have been wanting to find some information on him for a long time, but something that the kids would be interested in as well. This book was perfect! We started reading and everyone was immediately hooked at the story that was being told.
YWAM Publishing - Daniel BooneShortly after starting the book I reached out to Jeffy’s aunt who has done extensive research in the genealogy of Daniel Boone. While waiting for her reply I was able to log on to the Unit Study Curriculum Guide that was included for our review and see what it included. I was blown away with how thorough it is! As you log on to each author you get a great main screen that is very user friendly.
YWAM Publishing Daniel Boone Unit StudyHere is what the one for Daniel Boone looks like. The first tab is the author and for him it shows a short biography. The next tab is Unit Study.
YWAM Publishing Daniel Boone Unit StudyI love that it offers different information for various options. Small groups, classroom and homeschool. They are pretty similar, but you tend to do things differently in each of these situations. You can then click on the Unit Study tabs. You can choose from Part One or Part Two. Part one is so incredibly thorough. It is 76 pages! Now, like most Unit Studies, you can cover all sorts of different subjects in one unit study! I will get to that in a minute.. At the beginning are some quotes that go along with the book that you can use to memorize or have discussions about…anything really! Next is a section called Display Corner which suggests ideas on things to collect, research and have a more physical grasp on some of the things talked about in the book. I will say that we looked at the photo that was included of Daniel Boone and the kids were trying to find any family resemblances. hehe.
YWAM Publishing Daniel Boone - drawingWhat we have enjoyed a lot are the chapter questions. There are only six questions for each chapter but the questions chosen lend themselves to more discussion and introspection. The first question is actually a definition. They want to make sure the child knows the word well enough to be able to use it in a sentence. Next is a factual question from the book. Two more questions help gauge the comprehension that the children are getting from the story. The last two questions are more open ended and those are the ones that tend to bring out different opinions from each child. The answers to the first four questions are towards the end of the study guide.

Like I mentioned, unit studies are famous for having all sorts of subjects included. This does just that. History, of course…Geography, Essay writing, Creative writing, Reading comprehension, Public speaking, Drama, and Art. Now, of course this depends on how much you do of the unit study. We don’t usually do a ton of the Drama sections, but we have been known to do a few, they usually end in a fit of giggles…which is just fine by me! 😀 This next section in the study guide is called Student Explorations.  This is where you find essay questions, creative writing and various hands on projects. My kids have been on an art kick lately so I jumped to that section first. The kids all are pretty interested in guns but Ryan especially, so I chose to have them research and draw a flintlock rifle as well as draw the firing mechanism up close. The guide says to label all of the parts and give a presentation on how it works, but for time I chose not to have them do the labeling and since they were all researching the same thing I didn’t have them do a presentation. I think for future sections I will assign different things to each of them so that this will be able to happen.
YWAM Publishing Daniel Boone Flintlock Rifle drawingPart two of our Unit Study is just a few pages. It includes a timeline, a couple maps and a fact sheet. We have done so many of the items in the study guide that it is taking us a while to get through the book. We are about half way through at the moment. We don’t mind that it is taking us a while to get through though, which is saying something. The kids are all learning a great deal of things besides just Daniel Boone and that is one great thing about unit studies. The book is also quite fascinating and is told in an easy way to understand. Even though my kids are older, I don’t feel like it is too young for them at all. It still includes the bad things that happened.

During this time I also had heard back from Jeffy’s aunt about how the family tree went that included their side of the family. Some of the things that she said were in line with what we were reading in the story! We are working on a family tree as part of the unit study but adding to it in various ways. I think this was a great choice for a book to read for our family as the kids were extra interested to hear about his life because of their little relation to him… 🙂

I am honestly thinking of doing a bunch of these as part of our curriculum since they are so thorough. There are so many choices of books and they are always adding more! I believe that I was the only one that reviewed Daniel Boone in our group, but feel free to click the banner below to see what books others chose to review!

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}
YWAM Publishing Heroes of History {Review}
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Writers in Residence Apologia Educational Ministries {Review}

I know I have mentioned it before but Lauren is my kid who likes stories. Reading, writing, hearing…she just likes stories. She has started quite a few stories but unfortunately hasn’t finished a one yet.. She was actually as excited as I was when I told her she got to try out Writers in Residence from Apologia Educational Ministries. Apologia is what we have been using for our science curriculum and it was great news when I heard they were coming out with something for writing!

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

What comes in the set is an All-In-One Student Text and Workbook as well as an Answer Key. Now, you have to be prepared at the size of the student book. It looks overwhelming, but it totally makes sense once you open it up. It is spiral bound and that has worked well for us. Just don’t drop it while only holding on to the cover or anything.. 😉
Writers in Residence booksWhat I love about the Apologia products we have used is they have a section that mentions what to do each day. They use a four day week which also works well for us! This section is in both books too, so if you let your child do the work on their own they will know what needs to be done each day. They check off in the square on each box when they are done with that days work. Our Mondays are super busy so we worked on this Tuesday through Friday. It is meant to last for 32 weeks if you use the four day a week schedule.
Writers in Residence booksEach day only has a few things listed to do, none of which take a huge amount of time. It is meant for grades four through eight and Lauren knows quite a bit of these things already, but I am loving the way they are teaching these things and it is different than the way Lauren learned them in the past. They make it more fun! Early in the first module they had a list of action verbs and they suggested to walk like the words shown. This was so fun because we got the boys to join in and they each took a turn walking like the action verbs I told them. Some of the words were creep, dodge and prance. hehehe…I wish now that I had taken video. I will remember for a long time though..
Writers in Residence Bill MyersWe’ve been doing it for about five weeks now and it has just flown by. It doesn’t seem like work really, if that makes sense? The first part of Unit 1 is an interview with Bill Myers, a best-selling author. Lauren immediately liked him just because of the bird on his shoulder..hehe. I like some of the questions and answers in the interviews. If kids at all felt that they wanted to write book or something else, I think they could get a lot of inspiration from these author interviews. There is a different one at the beginning to each unit.

Also at the beginning of each unit is an introduction about that unit. It kind of gets you going as to what is going to be learned and uses inspiration from books, so for this first unit the book was When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. All of the modules in this unit keep using the way this book was written for the projects they want you to do. I like that they build on new things in each unit. Even though the first one was quite easy for Lauren, it builds to where sentences just aren’t simple, but full of descriptive words and nouns.

So, in using the When I was Young in the Mountains as inspiration, Lauren was able to write about when she was young and playing outside in Arizona. At first she just wrote a couple words for each memory. Throughout the unit she turned those memories into  sentences and then made those sentences even better with the vigorous verbs. Lauren then organized them using the Topical method since she thought it worked better than the Chronological that she also learned about. In the end, she came up with a short little batch of sentences that honestly remind us all about our time in Arizona.

I would definitely suggest reading the twenty or so pages at the beginning of the student text. It is so full of information and it explains why and how the book is used the way it is. There is also a small section in the answer key on how to use that book, but I almost think that is self explanatory. It does explain the rubric system and how each assignment should be graded, which is quite helpful. It has a section for the answers, which, there aren’t that many questions that need answers, but sometimes it is helpful to have. It also has a section for the daily schedule as I mentioned as well as a section for the rubrics and checklists.

I think this is a thorough writing curriculum. I would say that if you used it with a 4th grader, you may need to be a little bit more active in their learning than say if you were using it for 7th or 8th grade. Some of the items were kind of repetitious for Lauren, but she still is looking forward to doing it each day. I like that everything she learned before using Writers in Residence was explained in a way to really get her to understand why they are important, not just saying they are important.

This is volume one which is Apprentice and I am looking forward to when the other volumes come out. It will be nice that they can grow with her. Who knows, she just may finish a story sooner rather than later! 😀

Feel free to check out what others thought about Writers in Residence! Just click on the banner below! 🙂

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review
Writers in Residence Apologia Educational Ministries {Review}

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