Monday, October 16, 2017

A is for Apologia science

For science this year we are working through this Apologia Young Explorers book, Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. We have a lot of the elementary Apologia science books. In fact, we might have all of them at this point. I was pretty excited to add this to our collection for this school year, as were the boys.


I have had the request to study Chemistry since last school year from Aric (4th grade), so he was pretty happy to see what we would be doing for science this year. Also, I decided this lab kit was something that would be super helpful in doing all the experiments. We have made it through the first lesson, and it was pretty cool to have everything in one place.


We did almost every experiment in the first lesson which involved matter, density, volume, and mass. They enjoyed making foil boats to see if they would float with pennies.


A lot of experiments involving salt. Yes the kit came with salt, but since we had 2 boys doing their own experiment simultaneously we needed to grab our own salt as we ran out.

He finally got the layers of different salt dentsity colors to work!

These salt experiments helped us to look at density a little closer.


They discovered what the egg would do in the salt water for this experiment!


It has been fun to get into our science this school year with Apologia. There is a great round-up of resources and ideas for this book at Homeschool giveaways and freebies. I may use many of these for the rest of the school year!

I am linking this up with ABC Blogging through the alphabet at Hopkins Homeschool.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Missed that Post Monday: Columbus Day fun

This is some Columbus Day fun we had a year ago. Yep, I know, I really missed that post. It has been sitting as a draft for a year! But, I thought it'd be fun to get it up for today since it is the day!

I love looking back on what we have done. It reminds me that we do actually get some fun things in with our schoolish things. At this time last year we were reading Pedro's Journal as a read aloud. I had some coloring pages for the boys to do while I read. It looks like this particular worksheet is from Activity Village, and that website no longer offers free stuff. So bummed about that!


We made marshmallow "ships." The boys had fun cutting out their sails and adding them to toothpicks.


Alex's completed boats...


We drew some pictures of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria...


These are Aaron's drawings. Pretty good! I remember though that he only did it to complete the task. He didn't really want to do it, hence the pirate flag. He was being a little rebellious.


We painted pumpkins, and made a paper plate craft. The boats can wiggle! I can't remember if I found that somewhere or if I made it up.



I am not sure what we are going to do this year. Maybe we'll be explorers and go for a walk somewhere and have a little nature exploration.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


We have a great little town just about 10 minutes away from us called Mt. Angel, and every year they throw a really awesome Oktoberfest. It has been a few years since we've gone. You'd think with it so close that we'd go every year, but it just doesn't always happen. Well, this year I thought it'd be fun to go watch some local kids that I knew were going to be in the dancing. We didn't make it in time to see them, but we did have a fun day.

We also didn't realize in the years past that they have a whole separate kindergarten (kids area) for the kids! We've never found this area before. I don't know if it's new, or if we just didn't manage to get to it, but it made the whole Oktoberfest a lot more exciting for the kids.

Best thing was, everything was free! All the rides and bouncy houses were free of charge. So, the kids got to try these cool jumpy things for the very first time. The 2 older boys went on this first, and Alex finally got the courage up to try it on the 2nd ride. He ended up loving it, and wanting to go more.

Alex could get pretty high on this!

Aric had a good time, but got a little worried when it raised a little higher.

Aaron had a good time.
They had some fun live shows.

We got to watch these guys do a cool acrobatic type show. Here this guy had just gone under that stick doing the limbo. I didn't quite catch it in time. It was pretty fun to watch.

There was a lot of costume wearing by the human people at the Oktoberfest. The dresses for the girls are so cute. When we came across homemade doll clothes for 18' dolls we just couldn't pass up this cute little Oktoberfest dress. Alex picked it out, and he just couldn't stop talking about it all the way home. He was so excited to get it on our dolls.


Unfortunately, that is all the pictures I have. I was too busy having fun with the family that I just didn't think about taking any. Some year it would be fun to get some pictures of the whole festival and all the decorations.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Channie's Visual Handwriting (A REVIEW)

 Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks

I have a 1st grader that knows the basics of writing his letters and numbers, but are they always the same size and shape? No. Sometimes Usually he writes really big letters, and when I tell him to write smaller he goes super small. He just doesn't quite know how to make his letters consistent and legible every time, so I jumped on the opportunity to review Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks to help him. What appealed to me was an alphabet writing book that has visual cues to help place letters more accurately and improve handwriting. The crew was given the opportunity to pick one of 5 different workbooks, so I chose Easy Peasy Alphabet for my little guy to try out.

Channie's Easy Peasy Alphabet Workbook

This book is pretty simply laid out. It is a consumable workbook that looks like a "pad" of writing sheets with different letters to practice for grades PreK-1. The pages are thicker, which I like because sometimes my kiddos like to write in marker so they can see their lines better. I didn't have to worry about the marker going through as much (as long as it wasn't a really thick marker, it could still show through if you pushed really hard).

In this book each letter is practiced, and then after all the letters there are numbers to practice writing. For each and every letter the first 2 pages of the letter are tracing pages, then the third page is blank except for the first letter example so the child can practice on their own without help from the tracer lines. The box guides are on every page.


So, what sets this apart from any other handwriting workbook? The writing boxes, and boundaries. This is what drew me to want to try out this particular alphabet letter writing book. My guy hates writing letters, but he really needs some boundaries, and this workbook really helps him. He can see the space with the shaded part where his lowercase letters should be, and he can see the space that should be between letters. He can see the space below where letters should extend if they need to, and up above if they are upper case or just a tall letter. It also encourages neatness just by the virtue that there is limited space.

As I mentioned earlier we had a choice from several books from Channie's. So, what other books do they have? I didn't not receive the following books, but there are other crew members that have. I thought I would just mention them here.

Well, they have a My First Letters workbook for PreK-1st. It has pictures to go along with the letters.

Channie's My First Letter for Pre-K - 1st

There is an Easy Peasy Cursive Workbook for 1st-3rd grades.

Channie's Easy Peasy Cursive Workbook

And, this Math One Page a Day workbook looks great for helping kids line up math problems. For 1st-3rd grades.

Channie's One Page A Day Double Digit Math Problem Workbook

I really like the simplicity of these books. No teacher's manual, no instructions other than to simply follow the guides and stay in the lines. It's some great practice for handwriting for homeschool or even non homechoolers. If you want to see what other review crew members had to say about Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks you can click on the banner below.

Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks {Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Canning grape juice

Shortly after we were married I was introduced to canning grape juice by my mother-in-law. She had been doing it for years since her children were little, and taught me how to do it when April was little. I remember spending long weekends at their house in early October or sometimes late September helping her can the grape juice for only a few short years. But, several years have gone by since we have done it together. The past few years she would just give us a few jars from what she had processed on her own. I got to thinking about how we don't do that anymore more, and started asking Mike about it and mentioned that we'd be happy to go down and help her pick the grapes and process them, especially if it meant we got more! But, also because I missed doing that. The boys had never really had the opportunity like April had when she was little, and I enjoyed that time with his family. We couldn't make it down for the first batch, but when we went down last weekend there was more to pick. Oh, by the way, these grapes are picked from Mike's Grandmother's garden. So, it's even more special. She has a grape vine that grows delicious dark purple concord grapes. I need to get a picture of her grape arbor someday. I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of the picking part.

First we picked grapes at Great Grandma's house. Oh how fun it was! The boys really enjoyed it, and they all pitched in. When they were tired or couldn't reach anymore they went inside and visited with Great Grandma.

Then, we brought them home to process ourselves because we ran out of time on Saturday. We spent most of the day processing them on Sunday during our church general conference. Mom loaned us her juicer, gave us directions, and we (Mike and I) worked together to get it done. It took the better part of the day (several hours to get through it all). We started with 2--five gallon buckets, and 2 little buckets full.

The grapes after we picked them. Time to wash and get all those sticks and yard debris out.
Next we had to do a 2 step wash. The kids helped a bit with this, but mostly this was me. This is a very tedious job! But, I tell you, homemade grape juice is so worth it.

The grapes go through a 2 wash process to get all dirt and stuff off. The right is the 1st wash, the left is the 2nd.

Alex helped me with at least half a bucket before he got tired.


All the grapes nicely washed and ready for the juicer...


This is the juicer that Mom loaned us. She has had this for a very long time. Still works great! Basically it has water in the bottom that is boiled, that steams up through the grapes, and the grapes release their juice. The juice comes out that tube, and straight into the jars.


The grape juice is so hot from cooking so long that the jars don't need processing, and they seal on their own. That popping sound is always so fun to hear. We also make sure the jars are clean and the lids are fresh. We ended up with 24 quarts!


There is a lot more that goes into that whole process, but that is the basic idea. I've only canned 3 things in my life, peaches (on my own, once), apples (a handful of times, and not always successfully), and grape juice (usually with mom-in-law), and it's always such a neat feeling. I really enjoyed doing this and I am thankful to Mike's family for sharing their tradition (and grapes) with us as we pass this down to our children.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Super Teacher Worksheets (A REVIEW)


I have a weakness for worksheets, so when I was given the opportunity to try out the Super Teacher Worksheets website I have to admit I got a little excited. I was given the Individual Membership with unlimited access to all the activities (that includes over 10,000 activities). Every time I am on that website I feel like a kid in a candy shop, and want to print up all kinds of fun worksheets. They all look so fun and interesting, and they are!

 Super Teacher Worksheets
With my membership I can access all the worksheets/activities from anywhere with an internet connection. I can log in and on the homepage browse through different subjects organized down the left column, or there are featured worksheets that pop up in a little window at the top. There's a "what's new" section as well as a "make your own printable" and "top picks" section. So, even if you come and aren't sure what you want there will surely be something on the homepage to inspire you.

 Super Teacher Worksheets

I used this website for all my kids grades 1-6. I think it tops out at about 6th grade, but I did manage to find an algebra worksheet for my high schooler (it was mostly review as it was very basic algebra).

I had planned to use this for mostly math supplement, but I found so many great worksheets that we definitely branched out. As I said earlier, there are some featured worksheets on the homepage, and right now they have their fall themed pages right there ready to check out. I thought that would be fun to try out, so we did several fall themed worksheets.

My 1st grader had a great time playing this Leaf Sum Game...

This leaf sum game is a fun way to find pairs that add up to 10.

In fact, he loved it so much that we played all 4 pages that printed up! I loved the creativity of this worksheet (and most of the others that we did). I also love how simple and clear the worksheets are. Nice bold lines, and not terribly busy.

Another of the leaf sum game pages. This time we colored the pairs.
I had so many worksheets laying around for each child (3 boys) to do that I decided we needed some organization, so I got some file folders. I made one up for each boy above their workboxes, and put a label on them with "worksheets."


Now they can each easily find their folder with worksheets if I say they need to pick a worksheet that interests them because I put several in there for each one. Sometimes I also assign a certain worksheet that I know I want them to do.

Where I keep all their worksheets so they don't get lost.
We tried some reading and writing worksheets too. The reading worksheets included a story or a poem and some questions or vocabulary to go along with it. My boys did really well with this.

My 4th grader had this scrambled words sheet to go along with a story. He was able to learn some vocabulary from the story. He really liked this.

Scrambled words worksheet
My 1st grader really liked this Apples, Apples poem. I read it to him first, and then he wanted to read it to me several times. It was fun to see him get excited, and easy enough for him to read on his own.


He then worked on the comprehension questions to Apples, Apples.


Here are some more math worksheets that the boys worked on. Just some regular math practice. This was my original plan with the Super Teacher Worksheets website, but as you can see we have used it for so much more.


Another great feature of this website is that they all have a range of grades for each activity. I was able to easily find some worksheets that would work for 2 of the 3 boys whether it was the younger with the middle, or the middle with the older. Here are the multiplication table worksheets that I had the 4th and 6th grader work on. They both needed practice in this area.


There are so many great worksheets at this website. I didn't even touch the science section, but I have peeked a little bit, and there are some great sections from animals to matter to the human body and much more. Some other sections that I didn't get to include grammar, handwriting, spelling, chapter books, social studies, holidays, and a worksheet generator. So much great stuff here! Oh, and if you want to try some out, I know there are a few freebies. You can just click through some of the subjects, and it will have a "free!" sign on it if you can just print it up for free. Check it out!

I highly recommend this if you want a great place to find good quality worksheets to go along with anything that your child is studying, or even just as a supplement. If you'd like to see what others had to say about Super Teacher Worksheets you can click on the banner below.

Super Teacher Worksheets
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Homemade white bread

I love homemade bread. My sister-in-law makes this stuff every week for their bread supply because they don't buy their bread to avoid preservatives and other ingredients. When we were visiting with them a few years ago I tried her bread and loved it, so I asked for the recipe. It's a great store bought white bread look alike. It's soft too.


I tried to get a picture of what we had from the loaf last week after I had cut it up because I didn't think about putting the recipe up until the day after I made it. This is what it looks like in a bag on day 2. Still pretty good. It doesn't last long at our house as it gets eaten fast. That's the only problem.


Here is the recipe. I will call it Michelle's bread recipe since I have no idea what the original source is, and I got it from my sister-in-law who is Michelle.

Michelle's bread recipe:

2 cups water
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup oil or butter
6 cups flour total
2 1/2 teaspoons salt

Heat water in microwave 1 minute. Pour into bowl (mix either by hand or kitchen aide). Add sugar and stir. Add yeast. Let sit about 5 min. Just until you make sure it's active. Add oil.

Stir in 2C flour until well incorporated. Add salt. Stir in rest of flour 1C at a time, making sure it is well mixed each time. When all flour has been added, knead either by hand or kitchen aide until soft and smooth. When pushed it will spring back. Cover and let rise in an oiled bowl until doubled (about 1 to 1.5 hours). Flatten dough, knead a few times in bowl, let rise again 30-45 min. Shape into loaves or rolls, and let rise again 30 min. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes for 2 loaves, or 20 minutes for 30 rolls.

Notes: This bread has a lot of rising time between 3 different rising periods. Plan to start this early in the day if you need it for a certain time.
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