Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors byThe Pencil Grip, Inc. *REVIEW*

When it comes to school supplies, there are two things I just can't pass up, good books and art supplies. When I saw that The Pencil Grip, Inc. makes a product we have never tried before, I knew we needed to test these out!

Tempera paint is one of my go-to's for art projects. It's vibrant, dries fast and washes easily-- basically it's great for kids. I never knew that solid tempera paint sticks even existed, but that's what Thin Stix are. The set we used are the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors.

This set comes with yellow, red, green, blue, black and brown. These Thin Stix are about the size of a marker and have a blunt, crayon like end. They are really easy to hold and perfect for little hands. Depending on the angle you move the tip, you can achieve both fine and thick lines.

I found these to be much smoother to use than I expected. I anticipated them being more crayon-like. Really, they are super smooth and almost feel like you are coloring with a glue stick. They have held up to scribbling, smashing and all other sorts of art shenanigans. They dry super fast, in only 90 seconds. Even when they are wet, they are only sticky. It is so easy for littles to catch a sleeve or elbow on their paintings, but these have minimal mess involved. They are non-toxic and they wash off easily if needed.  

We even experimented with color mixing. These dry super fast, so they are not ideal for mixing. It is possible though. We drew with two colors and then used a finger to mix. My kids enjoyed experimenting with what other colors they could make. Kwik Stix makes tons of other colors too, even metallic ones. I also learned that if any other color gets on the stix, you can easily wipe it off with a paper towel or a finger.

We have been focusing a lot on our nature study recently. We are really blessed to live in a place where we can step outside and learn so much. We packed a lunch, Thin Stix, paper and our lesson down to the creek. Generally, we use portable field watercolors to paint outside. For this lesson though, I thought the Thin Stix would be perfect.  

While the kids ate, we talked about what the riparian zone is and why it is important. We identified where our stream, riparian zone and uplands are. My goal was then to have the kids draw this and label the zones.

They did a great job using the Thin Stix to paint the stream, mud/sand, rocks, willow trees and the grassy field. These worked really well for this project. They are so easy to grab and go and would fit perfect in a backpack. There was no water needed, so nothing extra to pack. We were on rocky and uneven ground and I didn't need to worry about anything tipping over or paint running. Best of all, NO MESS at all. These aren't super ideal for detail work, but this project was more about identifying the zones, not about detailed painting.

 The kids really enjoyed using these. My daughter has since used them every day. She loves to paint and I love to encourage her to be creative. However, I don't always love the sometimes epic mess. She can get these out by herself, use them and then put them away with zero mess or spills. The caps need to be securely attached or they will dry out. They are easy to put on though, even for a four year-old. I love that they make art more accessible for my kids.  These would be absolutely perfect for toddlers even, as they are easy to grip.

Here's the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors in action! 
I would highly recommend these for the little artists in your family!

To find out more about this product and see how other families are using it, click the banner below.

No Mess Art with Thin Stix Classic Colors {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

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Around Our House Week 20

  It's beginning to feel like summer around here! We have been spending lots of time soaking in the creek and putting in the garden. The creek water is so cold it hurts, but the kids don't seem to mind..

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Around Our House Week 19

We have been enjoying the sun and closing out the school year. Titus finished up all his books and now we are working on getting in some nature study. The weather couldn't be better for it. Our yard is full of flowers and we have been journaling and observing! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Around Our House Week 18

I have had this idea in my head of us sitting outside in the green, green grass painting our apple tree and field... Except the rain has been relentless.

So we traded in our plein air painting for some dining room painting-- looking at a picture of our field on a nice day.

Before we started we looked at a bunch of different landscape paintings and talked about horizon lines and such. My favorite part was hearing my kids opinions of the artists. Titus loves Van Gogh and Cezanne with their swirly, dreamy landscapes. Violet loves Renoir and Monet, especially if there are flowers. So fun to learn about my kids in this way.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive Thru History® -- "The Gospels" *REVIEW*

The weather here this spring has been so wet, I'm not sure we will ever totally dry out. It has meant many more afternoons spent inside than we are use to. The kids get antsy, bored and bickering. I have pretty much exhausted my tricks for keeping them entertained. I always say no to TV in the afternoons, but recently I have said yes! Drive Thru History® has been a awesome, educational resource that has kept us captivated on some very dreary days.

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” takes the viewer on a trip through Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Our guide for this tour, Dave, visits over 50 ancient sites that connect with locations in the Gospels. Through it all, he presents the story of Jesus in an interesting and interactive way. He provides historical, archaeological and Biblical truths in a way that make the Gospels really come alive.

There are 18 episodes with a total of 9 hours of viewing material. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. This length was perfect for watching in the afternoon after school. It was short enough to keep the kids attention but long enough to feel like you really got something out of the lesson.

The DVD case looks like a book and contains an 118-page study guide inside. The guide goes through each of the episodes and provides a summary, questions and additional tidbits. The images in the study book full color and a real treat to look through. I thought the whole design of the guide and the general quality of the DVD's was just excellent. In my experience, sometimes resources like this can be a bit cheesy or low-budget-- that is not Drive Thru History®. The filming, music and art are incredibly well done. 

It has been exciting to see how the Lord has used this series to connect the story of Jesus together for my kids. What started as a cure for rainy day boredom, has turned into so much more. We were already learning about ancient times, right around when Jesus entered the scene. We were also reading through Luke as a family in preparation for Easter. I really think watching Dave explore the Holy Land helped in sink in that these are real places, real locations and real people. 

Growing up, I never really connected Bible history with reality. When I understood history from a Biblical perspective a lot of things in the Bible really started to click for me. I hope that with resources like this my kids can get a full picture of history.

Drive Thru History The Gospels
I watched this series with my four and six year-old. They are definitely on the young end of the spectrum for this material. I am sure that there are certain things that they didn't quite catch, but there will be many opportunities to re-watch this later. The four year-old's attention generally starts to fade toward the end of each episode, but that's okay. I have discovered the key to getting the kids excited about any educational show-- it's all about the popcorn.

This series is totally family friendly and appropriate for any age. In fact, what makes Drive Thu History® so great, is that it's entertaining and educational for young and old. I think older elementary and teens would get the most out of the study-guide. I picked a few of the questions to discuss with the kids, but in more of a conversational way. This would be a great series to do in a small group or a youth group.

I am really glad we own this series and I can see us pulling it out and re-watching it in a few years. If you are curious if Drive Thru History® is a fit for your family, you can check out a free full episode here. To see how other families are using this resource, click the banner below.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Around our House Week 17

We had a great Easter around our house! The weather was just amazing and it was a great day with family.

I also thought I would share what our morning time is looking like right now--

A few picture books- An Egg is Quiet, Where the River Begins and Rechenka's Egg.
We have been really enjoying The Story of the Orchestra. Quick, informative and really fun for the kids. We just started Old Story New this week and so far it's been working great as a devotional.
We are getting close to the end of the Story of the World: Vol 1. We are nearly done with Farmer Boy too. This month we have been leaning about John Constable and his paintings. We always pray together and work on some memorization- right now Titus is memorizing some of All Things Bright and Beautiful. They generally color as I read and squabble over the markers. Violet loves the picture booksand music but mostly loses interest after that.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Around Our House Week 16

We began our new read-aloud not long ago. My son is a huge fan of the Little House books. We read the first three last summer/fall and then I decided it was time for a break. After finishing a few other reads we are coming back to read Farmer Boy. So far it has been such a fun read and now we are nearing the end. 

I usually read a chapter or two during our morning time. This has proven to be nearly torturous as we read about Almanzo eating donuts and all sorts of his mother's cooking. I gave in and made donuts the other day because I couldn't stop thinking about them!