January 31, 2014

Random 5 for Friday Ramblings

So I just love taking a break for random ramblings, so I will be starting to join in with the weekly Random 5 on Friday postings!
Link up your Random 5!
1. Guess what? We actually had a warm day today!! Now, let me clarify. We have been in the single digits and sub-zero temps for the last two weeks or so. So the fact that today hit 40...an absolute HEAT WAVE!! LOL!

2. I made pizza last night. I used all the same ingredients that I did two weeks ago when my pizza was amazing. But last night it was almost...tasteless. It was so weird. Love-Of-My-Life thought the same thing and agreed that it was really really weird. He saw me cooking the sausage (yes we even used ground sausage!) in diced peppers and onions. But it was like I had just put plain old unseasoned meat on it! So weird. We aren't sure what happened...hopefully it never will again! It's such a bummer to be expecting this amazing explosion of flavor and then getting the blahs.

3. I have a love-hate relationship with blogging. I LOVE the responses I get. I LOVE sharing bits and pieces of my life here on the farm. But I hate the time it takes to keep it going! LOL! But I think I'm just warn out from last week's 5 day blog series....LOL! Don't worry. I'm not going to be stopping any time soon. It was just a bit of honesty. :0)

4. I still have to get a soup going for tomorrows evening social at church. I'm so grateful for crockpots!!!! I have a nice big one that is programmable and the normal small 3qt one. I love them both. And dinner tonight...Love-Of-My-Life requested steak. So I dug some out and will be doing that with baked potatoes, corn on the cob and biscuits. Quite tasty!

5. I am so happy because I found the PERFECT gift for my Little Britches birthday! Do you know about Zulily.com? They sell fabulous name brands in clothing, accessories, toys and games for children and moms at about 40-70% off. Well someone sent me a note that they just listed a ton of John Deere items. And since my boys are hardcore JD fans I decided to go peak. And I found the PERFECT GIFT!
Yeah!!! Farm-opoly! I've had this in my sights for quite awhile but it was always a bit too high. But it's on sale for a price I can do over at Zulily.com so I just had to get it for him. Between the fact that it's all John Deere and the little tractor player pieces to the buying of the equipment. Oh man. This one is going to quickly be a favorite for our family I'm sure. I am sure even DADDY will be wanting to pull this one out!

Have a most beautiful weekend! I have heard (haha) that it's Super Bowl Sunday this weekend. No one in our family really knew because we aren't football fans. But the irony is that we actually DO watch the Super Bowl. It's like this once a year tradition where we cheer for a team. LOL! I will naturally choose the Seahawks because I'm still in shock they made it...and they are from my home state so I HAVE to, right?!

Blessings and peace to you all!


January 29, 2014

Homeschool Photo Journal of Second Grade and PreK

I owe all my readers a LOT of posts about how our homeschooling has been going this year. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to catch it all up with words. I did decide that I could give you a photo journal about what we've been doing...everyone loves pictures, right?!

So bear with me...this is going to be photo heavy!

I did try to separate it by subject to help you get a balance of what we've done throughout the year!


photo journal second grade english
Cursive work (Little Britches)
Little Britches will be finishing up the Pentime Transition 2 book this week and moving into his Pentime Cursive Level 3 book. His cursive is very well done and he has enjoyed learning how to write the letters.
photo journal preschool homeschool
Matching Letters for Words
 I had all these letters from an old curriculum a friend gave me. I laminated them and we use them to help Baby Britches build words. I copy down words and names that he knows and then he hunts for the letters to match. He sometimes needs a little help, but doesn't most of it on his own.
English (Little Britches)
 This is part of our First Language Lessons of a Well-Trained Mind Level 2 curriculum. He was building sentences using linking verbs with his nouns and adjectives.
photo journal homeschool preschool
ABC's (Baby Britches)
We've been working through the ABC's with Baby Britches. We aren't as consistent as I'd like to be with him, but I just maximize the learning time when he gives me his attention. I like to use worksheets from education.com for the alphabet.
photo journal homeschool preschool ABC
ABC's Baby Britches
 He's finding all the G's that are in the words on his page...
photo journal homeschool preschool ABC
ABC's (Baby Britches)
Here is the "B is for Bus" from the Royal Baloo Zoomin' Moving ABC's set. We love this set and it's our primary choice for worksheets for Baby Britches. Here he is stamping letters onto the bus.


photo journal homeschool second grade
History (Little Britches)
 Filling out his notebook page on Columbus for his history binder from My Father's World Second Grade.
photo journal homeschool history
Building wigwams
The boys enjoyed the study on Native Americans--especially building a wigwam. LOTS of glue. Make sure you use LOTS of glue. LOL!


photo journal homeschool science
Floating Boats
As part of our exploration of the pilgrims, the boys had to attempt to float some foil boats with straw masts.
Seeing how the water and air work together to keep a piece of paper from getting wet and all the water inside a cup.

Exploring water and salt. Will salt water float an egg?

By changing the shape of a piece of paper we can change how quickly it moves in the wind...and what better way to test that theory by having a race??
Hot air rises...and so it can make a paper snake wiggle if you get it in an updraft. He's as close as I'd let him get on his own...and thanks to the ceiling fan overhead, "my 'nake wiggle, Mommy!"


He is playing with all the colors on his palate


Decorating his Native American (bag) vest with stencils

Decorating his vest with his markers

 Adding leaf foam stickers to his woven placemat

 Weaving a placemat

A Foam Kit Turkey (found at the $1 store!)


Loves working with the corn and noodle box

Working with the Guidecraft 3D Feel and Find World Icons and Shapes. He loves matching these up and it's great for recognition skills.

I hope you enjoyed this little photo journal of things we have been working on! I plan on doing another one very soon as I just scratched the surface of our studies!


January 28, 2014

Chats on the Farmhouse Front Porch for 1/28

Everyday Ruralty
1. Have you tried any DIY cleaning products or skin care products from the many recipes on the internet?
Yes! I love making my own cleaning supplies. I actually made two up on Sunday--my All Purpose Cleaner and my Grease Cutter (I will share those recipes soon as I mixed a couple recipes together to fit what I needed! It's about time to make my next batch of Laundry Detergent. I also have a great recipe for a sugar scrub that I'm going to be posting soon.

2. Do you like to enter sweepstakes, giveaways, or prize drawings?
If it's something I will definitely use or really want. And if it doesn't require me to do extra stuff. I figure that someone has to win, so why not me?! And I have won a few giveaways so I know it's possible!

3. How often do you visit your local library? Do you have a local library?
Oh yes. If you are a regular reader you know that our library is just 5 minutes away and it's very nice. They work with me to get me whatever I need for our homeschooling and I'm at the top of the list for reading new books. We visit about once a week. Usually on Friday when it's storytime.

4. Do you have a simple mobile phone or one that does lots of things?
I always joke that I have a NON-smart phone. We don't want to pay the price for the data plans to make it do all the bells and whistles. So we just use it for calling and text. That means it's also a lot cheaper to replace! LOL!

5. Tell me something new or interesting. Please:)
Hmmm. Something new or interesting. Well I'm getting ready to start my window sill herb garden. I've got to go out to my barn and bring in a few more mason jars. I want to get a jump start on having some fresh basil, thyme, cilatro and sage and I have the perfect window sills (wide, deep and facing the morning sun) for them. I've wanted to do this since I saw THIS PIN on Pinterest. (psst. while you there, why not follow me?!) After all of this deep freeze, I'm ready to get my green thumb active! I totally understand how our pioneer ancestors eagerly awaited their seed catalogs and poured over them all winter long to keep them thinking about the spring thaw to come!

Spring always comes...I am eager for it's arrival and itching to get my hands dirty again!


January 27, 2014

Poppins Book Nook: Greek Mythology (aka. I love Percy Jackson)

It's the last week of January and that means that it's time for a new theme for Poppins Book Nook! The theme for November (we took December off) was all about Pets and Animals. This month our theme revolves around Greek Mythology. Now this is a more advanced theme so some of your children might not be ready to tackle this in any great depth. But I think there are still some great ways to introduce your children to this fascinating subject.

We have studied things relating to Greek Mythology before. I have ALWAYS been fascinated by the extensive realm of Greek (or Roman) Mythology! I always loved studying this subject in school. My husband also is fascinated with them, so we sheepishly admit that we love the Percy Jackson movies! I have read the complete Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, including his spinoff series (Heroes of Olympus) and his Kane Chronicles series (focusing on Egyptian myths). Yes, I am a Greek Mythology addict. I think it just fascinates me to think that this was a real religion going on at the same time as Christianity was getting off the ground and that the apostles (especially Apostle Paul) had to deal with it all the time.

Sadly our library does not have any good books on this written for the young reader. But we did pick a few to go through. Here are the ones that we had to work with:

This is a very complete book with lesser and greater characters from both versions of the mythology. I didn't really like using this one overly well because it was more of a text book. It was great for me as an adult because I could read short concise summaries about each entry. But without the pictures it was very boring for the boys.

The next book we read was called Persephone: Bringer of Spring. This one is by Sarah F. Tomaino and our version had beautiful illustrations by Ati Forberg. It's very hard to find this version but it's well worth it! It tells the story (one of my favorites) beautifully! The ISBN #0-690-61448-9 if you want to seek it out. None of the versions I found online matched the edition we read.

Ironically the book that was the most useful was by Rick Riordan
The photos are colorful and very kid friendly. The information relating to the major gods and goddesses is very well written and easy to understand. My Little Britches liked this book the most.

Now, as for our activity?
Well we watched Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters! Yes, I know that's lame as an activity. But it was what we did this month and it was enjoyable by us all. And it's an easy and gentle way to introduce the idea of gods/goddesses. Little Britches summed it up by saying they were like Superman, Spiderman and all the other super heroes. But more crazy.

I think that sounds about right, don't you??! LOL!

We've got a great book about Greek Mythology up for grabs as part of this months giveaway!
This month, one randomly drawn winner will receive a copy of D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths--an excellent resource for your classroom or just a great book for your shelf!

Want to check out what some of my Poppins Book Nook Co-Hosts did this month?

And remember--you can link up any of your OWN posts relating to Greek Mythology books or activities too!


January 26, 2014

The Homeschool Mother's Journal for 1/26

Join us this week!
In my life this week…
Well it looks like it’s going to be cold! We have about 6” of snow outside right now and it’s not going to be melting anytime soon. I look forward to more fun playing outside, but also staying toasty warm in the house. I have some cards to mail out. I plan on enjoying more of my language studies as I help review the Mango Language curriculum with Little Brtiches. It’s rather fun to learn a new language and it helps him do better with it too.  My sweetheart is trying to see if he can get out of work this week because the weather is going to be so nasty. Being a mechanic, means winter weather increases his workload because of frozen lines and the like. I won’t mind having him home this week!

In our homeschool this week…
We are continuing our journey westward with American Pioneers. We will also be continuing our science studies using Science4Us.com as part of our review. We will be using Mango languages for our foreign language study of Spanish. And continuing our music with Kinderbach which Baby Britches is really enjoying.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
For now we are going to enjoy not going anywhere…sometimes that’s a thing to enjoy!

My favorite thing this week was…
Hmmm. I enjoyed getting the new snow! It made everything white and clean again. Taking away the muddiness of melted winter.

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
Definitely starting Science4Us.com as Little Britches is a huge Science lover. I would say a close 2nd place was the snow!

Things I’m working on…
I’m trying to finish a greeting card order for a friend. I’ve been so busy these days with school that I just don’t have the time or energy to work on my old hobby. I am also working on making parts CD’s for my women’s choir. We are going to be performing mid-March so I need to get our song out to everyone to work on. I love it, but it takes a bit of time getting the CD’s burned and mailed out.

I’m cooking…
Well I made a Venison Sausage Barley Vegetable soup which was supposed to be for our church potluck yesterday….but since the weather cancelled that, we get to enjoy it this week!

I’m grateful for…
Can I say my woodstove again this week? I love that thing. Last weekend we were in SC and my aunt and uncle’s house was so cold with its furnace heat! We were never warm enough! We just got spoiled with our wood heat and anyone who has it knows what I’m talking about!

I rewarded my kids this week by…
Making homemade cocoa. Oh the boys love that stuff!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

About 6" of snow on Saturday! Isn't it pretty?

January 25, 2014

A Summary of My Homeschooling Essentials--and a Giveaway!

Over the last 5 days I shared posts dedicated to five different things that I consider Homeschooling Essentials:
#1 Love
#2 My Laminator
#3 Flexibility
#4 My Printer
#5 Other Homeschoolers

I hope you will take a moment to read one or two or all of them and if you homeschool, let me know what you think. Are any of these on YOUR essentials list?

I also want to remind you to get entered to win the iPad Mini we have up for grabs!!

Click *HERE* to get entered! All of my email and Facebook subscribers get a free entry each!


January 24, 2014

Five Days of Homeschooling Essentials~Homeschoolers Unite!

Have you ever been to a big convention of some sort? It's a rush! I experienced my very first one (of my own choosing--tractor shows aren't my thing LOL!) last spring when I was able to go to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Cincinnati, OH. Wow. It was amazing. A building FULL of homeschoolers! I think the absolute coolest thing is that you could start conversations with ANYONE there. I shared experiences in curriculum. I advised about manipulatives. I commiserated with scheduling. And I didn't know a single person I was talking with.

Homeschoolers share a special bond because we are blazing a path contrary to what's expected. We need each other which is why it is an essential for homeschooling!
#5 Other Homeschoolers
Let's face it. There is no easy way to say it. "Traditional Academia" frowns on homeschooling and frankly, most people don't really understand what present day homeschooling is even like. Most of society today is confused and misinformed about homeschoolers. And if we are honest with ourselves we must admit that it's just easier to avoid what we don't know much about.

Let me use an analogy: 
Let's say I go to the grocery store and head into the produce section. Boy, there are TONS of fruit to pick from. Apples in several varieties. Oranges big and small. Grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, cherries, grapes and yes the beautiful simple banana. There are even a few mango, papaya and kiwis. All the fruit that I know and am familiar with. The fruit I see all the time and that I know everyone enjoys. There is also coconut, limes and a...hmm. What is this thing? 
It's kind of unusual looking. There aren't many of them here. Hmm. The sign says it's a star fruit?! Well I've heard of that before. And I kinda know what it is--but not very much because I mean...who buys star fruit for their fruit salad or to snack on? They are kinda weird now that I look at them. I don't really know anyone who eats them--well maybe just one person who has ever tried it. I don't know what it looks like inside...or how it tastes and it's something different and I probably won't like it. So I'm just going to stay away from this weird fruit and go back to the normal fruits. I mean clearly they must taste bad since stores don't carry many of them and if they were good, then I'm sure I'd have been told about it--now where is that bag of apples I wanted?

Most parents with school age children believe that it's safer and better to just go with what they know in regards to education for their children. I know. This was me. I'd based my opinion of homeschooling on what I knew from a distance. I had a just a few homeschooled friends growing up. Like two. But I didn't bother asking them about it because they were my friends and they were clearly normal (since they were MY friends. LOL!) so it didn't matter and I didn't give it any thought. I also saw some less than spectacular examples of homeschooling growing up and decided that must represent the homeschooling world at large (except for MY friends of course. LOL). I was public schooled. I planned on doing the same for my children. 

Until I was faced with a choice at the brink of starting Kindergarten with my son. Do I choose the red apple education (and I have absolutely nothing against the parents who do--I was even in college to get my education degree at the time) or do I dare to try the lesser known star fruit variety?? I noticed that a large amount of my close friends were reaching for the star fruit of homeschooling and claimed it was amazing. And so with a sense of excitement and eagerness we chose the "star fruit" and we've discovered a rich vibrant world of education we never knew even existed!

That's why homeschoolers NEED other homeschoolers. Because unlike everyone else, we get what the big deal about homeschooling is. We speak the same language. We speak the language of "star fruit". We know what it's like to not be the norm. We know what it's like to deal with the facial expressions after we say "Oh we don't attend public school. We choose to homeschool." We get the experiences with the crazy questions (you know the ones I mean). We know the drill. And we know how awesomely amazing homeschooling really is!

We need each other for so many reasons. I need my homeschooling friends so I can share my teaching triumphs and my woes. To have someone to say "Oh I've so been there! It will get better!". To have a homeschool friend send you silly text messages to make you smile on a day when you are battling the "Monday's" with your kids. 
One of my best friends who homeschools like me. We send each other texts all the time.
To be able to share insight on curriculum. To collaborate on ideas and help each other solve problems. We need to experience group settings with other homeschooled families so that our children can see that they AREN'T alone. That it's NOT weird to be homeschooled. To learn how to interact with other children being taught the same morals and character as they are. 
We need to hang out with other homeschoolers to remember just how amazing homeschoolers really are! Look at the star fruit...it gets it's name because when you slice it cross-wise, it makes beautiful perfect stars with every slice. No other fruit does that! Star fruits make traditional fruit look--ordinary! The same can be said about homeschoolers--they are extraordinary when compared with the mainstream educational system!

Having access to other homeschoolers is a homeschooling essential, because we need each other to make it through the homeschooling experience.

Here are some things that a few of my fellow homeschooling friends shared when I asked them why homeschoolers needed to communicate with and/or be around other homeschoolers:

*a shoutout to my friend Laura who shared some of her own homeschooling photos with me for today's post*

Teresa: I need to learn how to better plan/organize my day/time. I need the social interaction. My son needs to see on a more regular basis that other children go in the potty too and that being a scary dinosaur to his friends isn't socially acceptable.

Renee: My children especially need to see that they are not the only "weird" kids who don't want to go to public school, and that having common decency and manners is actually expected of children other than themselves.
Ruth: I need support from other homeschooling parents, just as much as my kids need support from their homeschooling peers. I need to be able to ask questions and vent my concerns and frustrations to people who understand what it is like to homeschool. My kids need to see that there are other kids just like them and understand they are not alone.

Stacey: We all need friends, especially those who will reinforce the values we are striving for. I find that I typically connect more quickly with other homeschooling moms than I do with moms in general. The commitment to homeschooling is such a big part of my life, and I already have that in common with other homeschooling mothers.
My son doesn't have the blessing of a co-op to be a part of and we live far from any other homeschooled friends. Thankfully, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get him around other homeschooled children; therefore, I meet up for nice field trips with my homeschooling friends up in Cincinnati about two hours away. We have a delightful group and the kids, as well as the moms, enjoy being together. I am also extremely grateful for the internet as it keeps me in easy communication with my fellow homeschooling moms from all backgrounds.
My son's best friend is homeschooled far away in Georgia. His mom and I schedule them times to Skype at least every other week. It has kept them close. In fact they did an online class together which they loved.

I do what it takes to keep my boys (and myself!) in communication with other homeschooling families. It's an essential part of our homeschooling experience and one of the most vital! I can't WAIT to head back to the GHC convention this year and experience the incredible rush of being surrounded by thousands of fellow homeschoolers--all of us star fruit gathered together to shine!

If you homeschool, how often are you able to meet up with other homeschooling families?

This post concludes my week talking about my homeschooling essentials of love, my laminator, flexibilitymy printer and other homeschoolers...I hope that you've enjoyed my posts and I hope I "see" you around again sometime!

Don't forget about the GIVEAWAY going on now thru January 28th!!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Head on over to our anchor post to see the full list of participants in this week's blog series...or if the thought of 80+ blogs is overwhelming...here is a great group of nine to get started with!

Make sure you get entered in our giveaway for this week--we've got a iPad mini up for grabs which is a great prize and a homeschooling essential for many! You can get entered to win, and because I am one of the co-hosts for the giveaway all of my Facebook fans and email subscribers get free entries (one for each!)! Deadline to enter is midnight January 28th, so don't wait!