Saturday, July 15, 2017

Around Our House Week 26


Everyone around our house is finally better, summer sickness is the worst. I have been planning and ordering all our materials for next years school! So exciting!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Around Our House Week 26


My little wild man in the grapes. He was really feeling sick yesterday and spent the day resting. It was so unusual because he spends a majority of his time outside. I usually only see him when he gets tired of eating wild plums and wants food!




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Around Our House Week 25


It's been a rough week around our house. We have all been sick. I am looking forward to all of us being well and enjoying some sunshine together.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Around Our House Week 24


Last weekend we had a blast exploring the beach for father's day! The weather was fantastic with no wind. The kids waded in the ocean and played in the sand. It was exactly what we needed!


Harvest by Stefanie Bittner & Althea Harampolis






Summer is finally here on the Oregon Coast. My garden is drying out, my plants are coming back to life in earnest. We had a long, wet winter. Honestly, it's hard for me to feel inspired to plan a garden when everything is muddy and soaked outside. On stormy days, this wonderful book by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis, was a great motivator.

Harvest is full of practical, but unexpected ways to use different plants from the garden. Featuring 47 different plants from early, mid and late season in the garden. The projects and recipes really are unique and creative. I found myself learning new uses for plants I already grow and adding a few new plants to my wish-list. I never would have thought of pickling rhubarb or turning apricots into a facial mask.

The instructions for each project are simple and easy to follow. The ingredients needed are clearly listed and each step thoroughly explained. I made the calendula-infused oil and rosewater facial toner, both with great results. I also really appreciated the list of alternative ingredients at the back of the book. The instructions in the Terms and Technique page were helpful as well.

I know sometimes it can be overwhelming when you start actually harvesting from the garden. In late August it feels like I have an abundance of everything and am running our of ides for how to use it. This book provides ample inspiration and is a delight to look at and read. Harvest helps new and long time gardeners find new uses for their harvest.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Around Our House Week 23

We have had a few days of rain and the garden is loving it! It has been nice to take a break from watering, even though the slugs are back.

The kids seem to be impervious to the rain and continue their summer fun. Lately they have been making forts in the field next to our house. The grass is taller than me! They come in with grass seed in their hair and scratches on their arms and smiles on their little faces. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Memoria Press Prima Latina Complete Set *REVIEW*

  Latin has always seemed like something totally inaccessible to our family. I learned a little bit of Latin in high school, and always found it helpful and interesting. However, it was not comprehensive enough to make me a qualified teacher. I was scared of messing up the pronunciations and grammar. I knew if I was every going to teach Latin, I needed a program that was really going to hold my hand and do the teaching for me, and Prima Latina Complete Set by Memoria Press does just that.

Prima Latina is intended for 1st-4th graders. It is perfect for younger students and takes things slowly with lots of review. There are 25 lessons. Each lesson is intended to be spread out over the week and has four corresponding student pages. In each lesson the student learns new grammar skills, a practical Latin phrase, five vocab words, and one line of a prayer. In total there are four Latin prayers learned, Sanctus, Doxology, Table Blessing, and Pater Noster.

The Prima Latina Complete Set has everything any parent needs to give their child a great start in Latin. The set includes:
  • Teacher's Manual- The Teacher's Manual contains all the answers to the Student Book as well as all the tests and keys. There is also a sample lesson plan which I found really helpful.
Student Book
  • Student Book- This is a spiral bound book that contains all the lessons and activities for the students to complete. I really liked the larger text and writing spaces, perfect for early elementary. While the rest of the materials can be re-used for another student, I'll have to purchase another workbook for my younger daughter. The price is pretty reasonable though.
  • Flashcards- This set comes with a huge stack of flashcards. These can be used for Prima Latina and Latina Christiana (the next curriculum intended for 3rd-6th graders). These are printed on thick cardstock and obviously made with students in mind. The cards are two sided- one side has the English word and the other has the Latin, lesson number, and any derivative. These cards are really helpful and get used frequently throughout the curriculum. As you can see in my picture, there are a lot of cards!
  • Instructional DVD- This DVD is really what sold me on this curriculum. The lessons are 20 minutes each and taught by Leigh Lowe. She does a great job. She is very clear and easy to understand. There is a lot of review covered in the DVD, which has been really helpful for my son.
  • Pronunciation CD- The CD is set up to accompany the student text and drills. Students can hear their vocab words, and the lines from the prayer they are working on.
I have been really pleased with the amount my son has learned from this program! On Monday we watch the DVD and then go through the workbook the rest of the week. He is only 6, so it is a lot of writing for him. However, he has been able to keep up. A few times life has gotten very hectic and we have stretched the one week lesson into two. The CD really helps with review.

What I think really sets this curriculum apart is its many components. You don't only write Latin, but listen, speak, and watch someone else speak. This has really helped my son to retain the information. Leigh does a great job teaching in the DVD and really takes care of the part I was scared of. I am so thankful for this curriculum from Memoria Press. It has truly made Latin accessible to our family.

Click the banner below to find out how other families are using Prima Latina or to see reviews of these Memoria Press Curriculums, Latina Christiana, First Form Latin, Second Form Latin, Third Form Latin, Fourth Form Latin, The Book of Trees or Nature's Beautiful Order
Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}
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Around Our House Week 22


We did something we rarely do last week, we went to the park! We have so much room outside for the kids to play, going to the park just doesn't usually happen. My dad met us in town for a picnic and some play time and it was a blast. I always forget, how simple things like that, can make a regular day a special day.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Around Our House Week 15



The sun has decided to come out for a visit, and I am making the most of outdoor days!