Monday, May 29, 2017

Field trip: Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery

A few weeks ago Daddy took half a day off and we went up to see the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery about an hour and fifteen minutes from us. It's a nice drive in the gorge along the Columbia river.


We saw how the fish ladder works for Salmon to swim back upstream, and we saw them from down below too where there was a viewing window.


 This whole place was pretty amazing just to watch the water flowing.


We walked all around the visitors center and there were some nice benches to sit on, and some viewing up on the top floors.


We got lucky to catch the guy before he closed up the powerhouse visitor area. We got to go inside and hear the big turbines that generate power.


They had some nice murals painted in the stairwells, like the fish swimming up the ladder in the river, we were swimming up the stairs. It was pretty cute.


The force of the water coming out of the dam's spillway was amazing to watch. See all that whitewater!?

20170510_163021After the dam, we walked around the fish hatchery. The boys saw this truck with a picture of fish on the side. That's how they transport all those fish to the local ponds to re-stock them.

20170510_163953The ponds were beautiful. All these fish expected food from us. We didn't have quarters to feed the machine, so we just watched them.


More fish!


This guy was huge! 


On the way home we were going to stop and hike at a trail right across from the dam entrance, but it turned out to be a fee park. We decided to try it another day, and drove down to check out Multnomah falls on the way. We didn't hike to the top of the falls, but we did make it to the bridge.

It was a nice field trip day with the family. The boys loved checking out the dam and the fish hatchery. We do live in a pretty beautiful place!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thin Stix Paint Sticks (A REVIEW)

The Pencil Grip, Inc
We've used these tempera paint sticks before, but this time we had the opportunity to try a thinner version of Kwik Stix, the Thin Stix 6pk of Classic Colors from The Pencil Grip, Inc. When we've used the regular ones in the past, I had wondered what it would be like to have a bit smaller of a tip, so I was excited to give these a try.
Thin Stix by KwikStix
We received a nice box containing 6 Thin Stix in the mail. I love the packaging for these, so inviting and fun, and sturdy. The colors we received in this pack were yellow, red, green, blue, brown, and black. Very basic colors which was a little hard because we wanted more colors to choose from, but they are very bright and bold.
Thin Stix by KwikStix

We tried a few different projects with our thin stix. First, Alex had these wooden letters laying around waiting for us to do something with them. I took them out so he could paint them with our new thin stix. He was excited to try the thin ones out. These fit in his hands well, and he was able to control them better. No action pictures, but here is the end result:


He also had fun drawing some pictures with his brother. They liked drawing with these a lot because they dry fast, and they make thinner lines for great stick figures, and names. There were several other pictures, too many to picture.


We love the mess free painting that can be done with Kwik Stix. They are the best art supply, and we use our regular ones a lot too. Both are great products, and I'm excited to have the thinner ones to add to our collection.


I really wanted to do a project with the kids to see if these would be good to use on drawings that are smaller, and more detailed. I was going to have the kids do a drawing tutorial online, and then paint it with the Thin Stix, but they decided to make up their own! They just got these fidget spinners, so they really wanted to paint some paper ones. They just traced around their spinner, and painted it in with the Thin Stix.


Then I had the idea to put a wire brad into it, to see if we could make it into a homemade spinner. It worked pretty good. By the way, we painted on cardstock paper.


This was a quick, kid created, project because the paint dried quickly, and we were able to cut them out and add a wire brad.


I've said this before, and I want to say it again. These Stix are so fun that even the big kids (teens, Moms) enjoy them. My daughter made this pineapple picture. She did cheat a little and used some of our regular Kwik Stix because she really wanted to have some silver for the glasses, but for the most part she used the Thin Stix.


I could go on and on about Thin Stix. They are just a great and fun way to paint. And, with our busy schedule we don't get around to regular painting often, but these are great to just pull out anytime of day. The paint always comes up off the table when I wipe it down, so super easy clean up. If you'd like to see what others had to say about these fun things you can click on the banner below.

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

R is for Rummikub

We have a regular Rummikub game, but for this post I decided to share our Disney Rummikub game.

This is a much easier version of the regular Rummikub game, made especially for the younger crowd, but it has the same general idea. You make runs of color or number, and you can add to others or start new ones. This was excellent math practice for Alex this week!


All the Rummikub games we have have nifty little holders for all the numbers.


Now if we could remember the rules for the regular version, we might play it sometime. Maybe I just have to print some up! That concludes our game for the letter R.

We are linking up to:

A Net In Time Schooling

All the other games from past abc posts:

A is for aggravation
B is for Bingo
C is for Chess
D is for Derby
E is for Evening of Games
F is for Face
H is for Hullabaloo  
I is for It 
J is for Jenga  
K is for Kitten (coming soon)
L is for Laser Maze
M is for Math
N is for Nothing yet (lol, I need an N!)
O is for out 
P is for Pictionary (coming soon)  
Q is for Qwirkle

Friday, May 19, 2017

Captain Absolutely (A REVIEW)

Focus On The Family

This is one of those reviews where a child has personally asked me to "get that review." He looked at the cover of Captain Absolutely from Focus On The Family, and was immediately interested because it looks just like many of the comic books that he reads everyday. With 3 boys in the house I thought we should give it a try.

 Captain Absolutely

We received a soft cover, physical copy of Captain Absolutely. My 8-year-old son, who requested this book, checked the mail faithfully everyday waiting for this book to come. As soon as he opened it he dug right in, and read most of it in one sitting. The second sitting he finished. It was a quick read for him. While I didn't read the whole thing, I skimmed through the book, and read the the first part of it, and I found it to be humorous, and actually okay for a comic book. The story weaves scripture, and truth throughout, but not in an overbearing way. When there is a nugget of truth, the scripture reference is very small next to the word bubble. That's all. Very simple, but it's there. I could see that being a fun challenge for a boy who would like to know more.

Book Synopsis:

There are two men working in a library. There is an explosion from the computer that turns one into Captain Absolutely, who discovers the Bible, and the other becomes Dr. Relative, who becomes his enemy. Captain Absolutely is called to help in the city of Metropolitanville, like any superhero would, when there is danger in the city. He also finds that he also needs to defend truth and the Bible.There are also character descriptions in the back that explain all the characters details. Along with the characters there is also a page of "Big questions" that go along with some of the things that happen in the book, and the pages are referenced. I think these would be some great discussion questions.


Interview with Aric:

Mom: "What did you like about the book?"
Aric: "I liked the fighting"
Mom: "What did you think about the story?"
Aric: "It was okay"
Mom:  "Will you read this book again?"
Aric: "I would, but I usually read the whole book, and sometimes skip to the good or interesting parts the next time."
Mom: "Who would you recommend this book to?"
Aric: "I would recommend this book to probably kids 7-10"
Mom: "I agree"
Mom: "What was your favorite part of the story?"
Aric: "My favorite part in the story is the first time that Dr. Relative and Captain Absolutely fight."
Mom: "Why?"
Aric: "I don't know why, I just like it."
Mom: "Are you happy with the outcome of the book"
Aric: "A little"
Mom: "Could you expound on that?"
Aric: "No"

Well, that's about the best I could get out of him.  In reading other reviews though it looks like this book could be well read up into the teens, and I think I would agree with that. It's got a lot packed into a comic book, and could be good for discussion too. I wasn't able to get my older by who is almost 11 to read it, but I think he may someday. He is just not a "bookish" kid. I am hoping that changes someday, and will keep this around for him. Same with my 6-year-old. I might read this to him, but haven't gotten him interested yet since he is so young. I am happy to add this great book to add to our collection.

If you'd like to read more reviews you can click on the banner below.

You can also find Focus On The Family at these social media sites:

Captain Absolutely {Focus On The Family Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Homeschool Rescue (A REVIEW)

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

I am noticing a trend, no that's not the right word, maybe a plague, yes that's the right word, in the homeschooling world right now. Among my homeschool Mom friends there seems to be a common thread among our conversations right now. It is this, we are tired, stretched thin, and some are not sure if we can do it anymore. Or, just questioning what we are doing, a lot. I am feeling it, and I can tell a lot of Mom's in my co-ops and close groups are too. I don't know if it's something in the air, but I do know that I have needed to refocus and regroup. This review of Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity has come at the perfect time for me, and I feel it maybe be great timing for many other Homeschool parents out there as well. It really breaks down much of the homeschool lifestyle, and helps you to figure out what's going on.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

Homeschool Rescue is an online course for you, the homeschooling parent. There are several modules broken down into lessons. Each lesson has a short video where Heather (the creator of this program) talks about the topic, shares quotes, encourages you, and gives homework. Yes, there is some homework with this course, something with each lesson. But, it's all so so helpful! There are even links to books and websites that are recommended to help with each lesson as well. There are many easy to download printables. Also, there is an awesome 60-day course plan/calendar to follow and helped keep me on track.

Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue

For this review I was given full lifetime access to all the modules, and access to a private facebook group where I could find others who are also taking this course to chat about things that we are learning, needing help with, finding mentors, and support. The lessons are self-paced, and can be done on any computer or device.

This is an example of the printable workbook pages for one of the first lessons. These really get you thinking! This course is very hands on!
One of the homework assignments worked us through a mission statement. I've never had a homeschool mission statement. Never really even crossed my mind. We were encouraged to work through finding our mission statement as a family, but I did it on my own first because that is where I am at right now. I love what I came up with, but may do this again with the children later in the summer. I am curious to see what they come up with together. Here is mine:

"We are dedicated to seeking and finding knowledge and truth through great opportunities at home, church, field trips, or classroom. We can accomplish many great things through dedication and hard work."

I have been homeschooling for many years, and I found this course a great challenge. A good challenge though, it got me thinking. It was full of great reminders, and information that I have forgotten over the years. I took pages of notes for each lesson, and am looking forward to going back through them. I only made it through 2 modules because I really wanted to take the time to do each assignment, and do it right. I really wanted to think and mull about things. In fact, that is what Heather encourages you to do in many of the lessons. She really emphasizes that "it's okay to take this course at your own pace". I am thankful for that, and I am looking forward to continuing this course over the summer as I get ready for a new school year. There are some hard realities to face when you look at your own homeschool ups and downs.

I have really enjoyed this course so far, and I highly recommend this if you are feeling tired, worn out, confused, unsure, overwhelmed, or even if you are just starting out. This is for anyone on the homeschool track. It helps to know you aren't alone, and you can do it.

If you want to see what others thought about this course you can click on the banner below. You can also find Homeschool Rescue at these other social media sites:


Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, May 15, 2017

Q is for Qwirkle

I am just getting so behind on these game posts! The problem is that I like to play the game with the kids before I post about it, and sometimes they just don't want to play the particular game that I want them to play, even though they've played it before and usually love it. And then, there is life, that happens too. Sigh!

Well, better late than never, here is Qwirkle! Our letter Q game to continue our abc theme.


This can be kind of a slow game for the younger crowd, but my 6 year-old is starting to enjoy these longer sit down games. He didn't always enjoy this game before. We also discovered that it is a keep the score game. They enjoyed it more when we actually kept the score. I don't know why we missed that before!


He still needs some help sometimes. He will ask me if he can use certain pieces, and other times he figures it out.


The purpose of the game is to make lines with all the same color or all the same shape, and it works kinda like crosswords where the intersecting pieces have to still make a line going both ways. 

IMG_1974 Sometimes it's fun to just play with the pieces too. They are fun little squares with fun colorful shapes on them. They make great sorting pieces for preschoolers too, which is how we used the game for a long time when we first bought it. I love that he's excited to play it now.

IMG_1975 And that wraps up the letter Q!

I missed the link up 'again', but normally we would link up to:

A Net In Time Schooling

Here are my past abc game posts:

A is for aggravation
B is for Bingo
C is for Chess
D is for Derby
E is for Evening of Games
F is for Face
H is for Hullabaloo  
I is for It 
J is for Jenga  
K is for Kitten (coming soon)
L is for Laser Maze
M is for Math
N is for Nothing yet (lol, I need an N!)
O is for out 
P is for Pictionary (coming soon) 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Homeschool Mother's Journal: Mother's Day

I am going old school. Back to the prompts of the old Homeschool Mother's Journal. I really like it that way. It gives me something to reflect on each week, and helps me to to talk more. I can do pictures really good, but sometimes I don't talk much here. I need to do that more.

Life this week...

I ended up having a really bad allergy day on Tuesday. It made me really sleepy, sneezy, itchy eyes,  and foggy headed. On our drive up to Summit for testing I even had to pull the van over and get out to walk around because I was so drowsy. It didn't help that I had to take Sudafed because my allergies were so bad (I only take that stuff when absolutely necessary). Having that bad allergy day left me pretty drained and behind the rest of the week. It kind of stinks how losing one day can just throw the whole week off.

Homeschool this week...

We didn't do much other than math and science, and reading. We had our most productive morning on Friday morning before our library time. It was great, then the week was over. We have a lot of reviews going right now, Spanish for Alex, Latin for Aric, a biography, etc. Other than that not much else to report on the school "work" front.

Helpful homeschool tips and advice to share...

Summer's almost here, hold on a few more weeks! (that's what I keep telling myself)

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We had our last co-op class on Wednesday. Next week is a field day, and then we are done for this school year! I am excited for things to start winding down.


We learned about Guatemala in Alex's last class, and made homemade tortillas. The Mom that taught the class has a husband that is from Guatemala, so she had some experience and information to share with the children. We had fun traveling around the world this school year. We had a foreign exchange student teach us about Germany, another Mom taught us about Egypt (she traveled there for several months). It was an enriching year. Aaron's class ended up as a field trip class, so he had a fun field trip every week for the last few months. He loved that.


We also had fun at the library with our Woodburn homeschool friends playing games. We brought Tenzi, and the boys played the "twenzi" (twenty dice) version.


My favorite thing this week was...

Getting my hair permed. It was wild and crazy and thrilling and exciting. I am glad I did it.

My kids' favorite thing this week was...

Spending Friday lunch at Pietro's pizza with some friends. I met up with my good friend to talk about life and stuff, and the kids played tons of games. I didn't get a single picture. I was just trying to be there and listen, and not worry about anything else. It was good.

Things I'm working on...

Switching over to a completely electronic calendar. I may possibly be doing a review for an online homeschool planner, but right now I am just using the trial version to see how it goes. I like not having to write things in every week, but sometimes I get a little antsy that it's not on paper. What's your preference, paper or electronic?

Something I accomplished...

I can't think of anything except watching several episodes of Gilmore Girls with April. I need to start accomplishing more!

What we're reading...

I am reading I Know How She Does It – How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time by Laura Vanderkam. It's a book that was recommended for me to read to go along with some time management stuff. I am intrigued by this book, because I often wonder how some women do so much. I am not sure I'll relate to much of what's in this book because it talks mostly about how working women handle work and family and life. But, I think there'll be something in there for me, I hope.

I'm cooking...

I made Hamburger soup, and we pretty much ate it for leftovers all week. It was delicious. The hubby made me a yummy Mother's Day dinner of Beef Brisket that was delicious. I made some clean eating oatmeal one morning, and I put fruit and nuts in it which I never do. It was only sweetened with honey and it had egg whites in it. It was interesting, but pretty good.

My oatmeal, and I was even able to get some scripture reading in that morning.

What's working/not working for me...

Having boxes of books in the front room is not working for me. I am hoping to figure out where to put all these books soon while I go through them.

Questions/thoughts I have...

Carpet or hardwood? We have had this debate for a while, and it's coming time to need to replace our flooring. We walked around Lowe's for date night on Saturday and looked at both. Both have their benefits, and both can be equally expensive. We just aren't sure which one. So many possibilities!

I'm grateful for...

Being a mother. It has been a nice Mother's day weekend. I wish I would have gotten at least one picture with my kiddos though! I am so grateful for my kids and the gift that each one is to me.

Linking this up to:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A new me (at least the hair)

I've been trying to decide what exactly I should do with my hair. I've tossed around the idea of coloring it, but haven't been brave enough to try it yet. I decided I'd go curly! At least with curly the color is still the same, but color may be next.


I wasn't sure if I just wanted wavy, or full on ringlet curls. In the end I obviously went a little more than wavy. I've never had a perm. I've never really done anything with my hair except cut it! This was a fun change though. I'm excited to learn how to take care of curly hair, and keep the curls as long as possible. This was a fun Mother's Day treat.


Happy Mother's Day!
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