Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Puzzle fun

Some easy mini puzzles done by the 2 little boys.

Alex's dinosaur puzzle

Aric's Harry Potter puzzle

Branch Out World (A REVIEW)

Branch Out World

I absolutely love curriculum that uses real picture storybooks as the basis of all the learning. I have used many types of these over the years starting from preschool all the way up to older elementary. That is why I was thrilled to try out a new literature based curriculum from Branch Out World. The family that created these literature studies is from the UK, and they homeschool, so these are really unique and fun units. The crew had the opportunity to try the Paddington Bear literature based unit study, which is part of the Picture Book Explorers series. They also have Chapter Book Explorers and Lapbooks that they offer.

Picture Book Explorers - Paddington

With this review we received a digital download of the unit study. That included all the instructions for the activities and lessons, and the printables. We had to acquire our own copy of the picture book, which proved to be kind of difficult. My library had several versions of this picture book, but not the one recommended for this unit. I was finally able to find a copy online. In fact, I found a whole set of the Paddington picture books, and went ahead and got those since my kids like the stories. Actually, when I first heard about this Picture Explorer Series I didn't even realize there were picture books of Paddington Bear. We had just recently finished the chapter book (which the picture book is based on), and it was delightful. The picture stories can definitely appeal to a  younger audience, and I was happy to discover them.

This is the collection of books I bought for this unit study. Only the top book in this stack was needed for the unit, but we'll enjoy reading all of them. There are other books and movie recommendations within the Picture Book Explorers as well.

How do the Branch Out World Picture Book Explorers Work?

It is crucial to have the picture book to go along with this because not only are the activities based on the story, but the book is read aloud together for 5 days. The idea is that you read the book with your child each day for 5 days, and do the days' activities after each reading. It's pretty simple, really. It's ideal to read the book 5 days consecutively, but we've done 5 days over a few weeks if you find more things to explore or just can't get to it everyday for 5 days. As long as you come back to the story each time and read it again. It can be hard to get kids to read a story for 5 days, but it is really rewarding, and so worth it. You really do discover new things each reading. The kids really grow to learn the story well, and by the end of the 5 days they usually have the story memorized.

Day 3--Exploring the Pictures

For example, on day 3 the topic is Exploring the Pictures. This includes getting to know the author, picture studies, looking at the architecture, and principles of design. All using the Paddington picture book!

One picture study uses this page, the page where they are bringing paddington home.

One suggested activity is to have the child look at this page and memorize it, then close the book and see how many things they can remember. There are a few other suggestions to go along with this page, but that will give you an idea of the fun hands on activities and ideas that are in this Picture Book Explorers unit. I also really love the pictures in the Paddington Bear book, and the quality of the book being studied.


I really enjoy the nature of these literature based studies. It includes so many subject areas including geography, spelling/vocabulary, art, history, science, math, crafts, and Language Arts. I really love learning this simply with my younger kids. The memories that are made, and the rabbit trails that we follow when we do these literature studies is great. I think Branch Out World has some great books and topics to explore. I'd definitely try out another in the future when we have time to do another unit study.

If you'd like to see what others had to say about the Paddington Bear Picture Book Explorer literature unit study click on the banner below.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, August 10, 2018

Blogging Through the alphabet: M is for Monster Cookies


It's time for a new week of blogging through the alphabet! We are on letter M this week. I am pretty sure I missed the letter L, so I will get that up soon. My brain has been on overload lately. All these letters keep spinning around in my head! But, I'm not giving up, which I've thought about doing several times over the past week. I am just having a hard time coming up with fun Pinterest ideas I actually want to do that don't take a lot of prep and time!

So, this week, I was almost stumped again, but it finally came to me. I found these delicious monster cookies a while back (like a few years ago), and have loved making them ever since.


I decided to do something that I don't usually do when I make these...I made them monster size. I usually just make them into a normal size cookie because it's just too big, but this time I decided to give the monster size a try. They baked just as great! My kids are going to love them for a treat tomorrow.


I also don't follow the recipe exactly. I like to mix my Reese's Pieces in, but the recipe has you smoosh them all over the top. I like them better all mixed in. It works good either way. They do look pretty cool all covered on the top as the pinned picture shows.


These Monster cookies have everything. Peanut Butter, chocolate chips, reese's chips, peanut butter chips,  and even some oats. They are the perfect mix of it all!


That about wraps up my letter M post! I am joining these lovely co-hosts:

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Time well spent

Our evening at the park while the youth played water kick ball and water balloons. It was hot all day, and the sky is very hazy!


All the kids (including mine) had a lot of fun getting wet. I watched from a distance while the younger kids played on the playground. The bases are little pools, and they had a sprinkler going.


We walked a loop. Enjoyed listening to the sounds of the evening. Lots of people and chatter.

  It was an evening well spent.

Linking this up to Tots and Me... Wordless Wednesday linky

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Home School in the Woods (A REVIEW)

Home School in the Woods

Hands-on-History is just about the best way to learn history in my opinion. That is exactly what you do with any Homeschool in the Woods project or activity. The review crew was given the opportunity to choose from several different products, and had to narrow it down to just a few choices, and from those choices we were given one to review. From my choices I was given the Project Passport World History Studies: Ancient Egypt to review. I have reviewed a Project Passport History study before, so I was pretty familiar with how this particular study works, so that was kind of neat to continue on and use some things that we had previously already made.


All of the materials from HSITW are digital, and needed to be printed. I received my materials through email that contained a zip file with all the links to our Ancient Egypt study. To access the whole study I click on the start button, and it brings up everything needed to print and do to complete the whole thing.

Since this is a "traveling" study the whole thing is divided up into "stops." There are several activities within each stop. There are also step-by-step in structions including a travel itinerary and a guide book text to read. These don't have to be printed, but they can for easier reference. I chose to print them up so we could read them together, and so I would have all the instructions for each activity ready. These instructions are down to what is glued where, and where to store the completed activities (lapbook, scrapbook of sights, etc.). There are crafts, cooking ideas, games, coloring, audio clips, newspaper articles to write, and so much more.

A few of the readings from each stop. There are 25 stops in total.

I mentioned a "scrapbook of sights" previously. What is that exactly? It's a book that each child makes to keep their cut-outs and other printed activities in. I made one for each child that participated in the study.

Scrapbook of Sights. This is a pretty important component of the whole History Study.

It also contains a map that will be added to throughout the study. The children have the option to cut out the words provided or write their own words in.  Every detail in these Project Passport packs are covered!

Map  of Ancient Egypt that is completed throughout the study.

They also store their passport and "suit case" that they make in here. We had already made our luggage folders from the previous passport study, so they were able to just put their new Ancient Egypt stamp in their passport.

A passport and luggage folder are part of the fun of "traveling" in a Project Passport World History Study.
The "snapshot Moments in History" is a pretty important part of the Scrapbook of sights. It's like a timeline, and as places are visited or people are discovered they cut out the picture of those and glue them into this scrapbook.


There are also lapbook components to create all throughout the stops. At the end, in the final stop, the lapbook is put together with all the completed mini-books put in to the folder. There are step-by-step instructions for this. The details in how all this works is amazing. The only prep for the teacher is printing everything up. There is a lot of printing, so you have to have a good printer for sure!


The biggest thing about these Passport Studies is that each step has to be completed. There really isn't any skipping around because it builds on the previous stops and activities. Just an FYI if you don't like to "follow the book." There are lots of opportunities for creativity within each stop though! Lots of writing, cooking, and crafts, and definitely some rabbit trails (seeking more information outside of the study) to follow!

Also, I want to mention that Homeschool in the Woods has their newest product available Project Passport : Ancient Rome. I am sure there is a lot of fun packed in that study!

Project Passport Ancient Rome

There are many other projects that the review crew tried out. If you'd like to see more of the different products click on the banner below.

Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

WriteBonnieRose (A REVIEW)

Write Bonnie Rose

We just love science around here, so I was excited to try out this science curriculum from WriteBonnieRose. Over the summer our schooling is a little more relaxed as we go about our various outdoor activities, and Learning About Science Collection, Level 3 (Print) is a great way to squeeze in some quick science learning in between it all. Whether we do it at home, or take it along with us. Reading, writing, and coloring are all that is required for this science!

Learning about Science Collection Level 3 Print

For this review we received pdf's through email for all the topics covered in Level 3. The topics are split up into books, and we received a link for each one. I was able to download them, and print them right up. I chose to just staple the binding on the edge. It works great to keep them all together for each topic, and they don't become bulky with binding. I did consider getting them comb binding all in one book too. That's another option that I often do for printed up books.

I was excited for the Rocks, Minerals, & Crystals topic. Sorry for the poor printing quality, my printer is crazy. The covers are really more colorful and pretty than this. I had to print in black and white (which really doesn't look like black and white, right?)
How does this work? It's really easy. First you read a snippet of information until there is a word to trace, or a picture to color in. That's it! The words that are focused on are vocabulary that relates to each topic covered. There are several little pictures to color on each page, and provide a great visual. The kids have fun coloring those in as they listen or they read them on their own. We took turns reading aloud because I had more than one child working on this, and some were more patient in their coloring than others. This definitely works best with a child who enjoys coloring. My 7 year old enjoyed it pretty good, and he was my main subject as this was closest to his level. I also had my 10 year-old give it a try. He was less patient with the coloring, and it was a bit too easy for him. I would love to see a higher level for him.


What topics are covered in the Level 3 collection? Here is a list, in no particular order:

  • Kinds of Animals and How They Live.
  • What's Going on Inside of Plants?
  • Life in the Ocean's Hidden Zones
  • Forecasting and Understanding the Weather
  • Discovering Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals
  • Exploring the Earth's Landforms
  • Energy and It's Many Forms.
Each of these topics can be done in any order, and are completely independent of each other. They are all just a part of the same collection. There is also Level 1 & 2, and a cursive version of Level 3 (which some other crew members reviewed). Each Level has different topics, and the difficulty of the subjects changes with each level.


I am glad to have found this author Bonnie Rose of WriteBonnieRose. I love this idea of writing and coloring while reading through something. She has a whole website of resources too, not just science. I was very happy with this science curriculum, and I really like her style and method. I think this is a great way to cover some big topics in science!

As I said earlier some of the review crew received different levels to try out. You might want to go check out the great things they did, and what they have to say about it. Just click on the banner below.

Learning About Science collections {WriteBonnieRose Reviews}
Also, there is a great discount right now 50% off until 8/15. Just use the code in this next graphic!

Learning about Science Collection Level 1

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blogging Through the Alphabet: K is for Kitchen sink

This was one of those weeks! So, no fun Pinterest activity this time around. There was no way I could get to it with the jumble of mess in the house, and the reason for the jumble of the house was the kitchen sink.

We discovered the kitchen sink was leaking badly. I had noticed some leaking previously, like just some dampness, but could never figure out where it was coming from. Well, that dampness turned into buckets full of water (over a long amount of time), and needed to be figured out now. I had to clear out the whole sink area, and Mike had to get under there and figure out where it was coming from. It was not coming from any of the pipes. That would have been easy. We figured out it was coming from the faucet. Well, we could have just changed the faucet. That would have been the next easiest thing. No, we don't do easy around here. We'd been eying a kitchen sink at Costco recently (before this happened, how ironic), and decided to just replace the whole thing! Now that it's all done, it was a good decision. Especially looking at the condition our old sink was in. Chipped and stained everywhere. And, yes the faucet didn't always work very well, but over the 2 days of working on it we were seriously wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.


Replacing a kitchen sink is not as easy as it looks. I went to pick up the sink at Costco on Monday afternoon so Mike could work on it that evening. He was really hoping it would take only one evening. Pfft! No way. at 10:30pm he needed to call it quits. The sink didn't fit exactly in the hole, so he had to do some cutting, and sanding to get the hole a little bigger. I wish I would have gotten more progress pictures.

So, Tuesday we were without a sink. We had a sinkhole in our kitchen! (ha ha). It was so weird not having a sink. I can't tell you how many times I turned around to dump something or put something into that hole. Such a habit! Thankfully we have a laundry sink just a few feet away in the laundry room. That was the only reason we survived this day. It was a pain to walk that few feet, and to remember to do so, but thankfully we only had to do it only for a day.


Finally it was getting closer to get the sink in. Mike came home a little earlier from work on Tuesday afternoon to get started (and hopefully, finished). He was also able to buy some better saw blades to cut a little cleaner. So, waiting really worked out well. A new day, and a little rest made it easier to get through. The new sink looked so pretty waiting to be put in.


This faucet looked amazing. I am so excited to have such a fancy thing. It even has a built in soap dispenser that fills from the top!


Finally the new sink is getting assembled because the hole was big enough at last. Putting the sink in was a 2 person job because we had to do it without getting the sealing putty all over the place.


Like I said, I didn't get nearly enough progress pictures. This makes it look easy. All the plumbing took some time to get it back in order too. He even had to make a Bi-mart run to get a longer pipe for one section that didn't quite reach.

Ta da! I really love my fancy new sink. It feels so new and works awesome. 


That concludes my blogging through the alphabet post for this week. Hopefully next week I can be on time!


As always, you can link up with the co-hosts...

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