Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I can hardly believe tomorrow is November! Which means that today was the last day of October, or Halloween!

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We didn't carve these pumpkins, but they were just so fun. I am amazed that they carved so many! We got 2 pumpkins carved this year.

We had a pretty low key day, and just went trick-or-treating in the evening. We first headed over to the Tukwila (the "richer" part of town) neighborhood. It's also where everyone else in town goes apparently. There were people everywhere! But, it was pretty, and some of the houses were pretty decked out with decor.

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One of the many houses in Tukwila all decorated.
I only had 2 kids dressed up tonight, but April went along with me and the 2 that dressed up. It was nice to have her company.

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Alex was a black ninja.
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Aric was a blue ninja.
Then we headed over to another neighborhood where a lot of people from our church ward live, and we went to the house that always has a big display every year. This year they really went all out with a creepy circus complete with creepy clowns. It was almost like a "haunted house" where you walk through and get spooked by things. It was pretty cool. Only one kid was a little too scared about it. It wasn't who you'd think either!

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Creepy circus walk through. These people went all out!
Last Friday we had our trunk-or-treat, and I actually decorated for the first time ever. I've done a few pumpkins and streamers before, but this time I really wanted to make it fun. I decided to use lights because I knew it would be dark. 

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Our trunk. I had the candy in the cat's mouth. It was fun to tell the kids they could pick a candy from the cat.
For some reason I didn't get all the kids in their costumes this night. I guess I was so focused on the trunk that the opportunity slipped away as it got dark. But, Aaron dressed up as a construction worker, and April was Anna from Frozen. The other 2 boys were the same as the pictures above.

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This black cat is actually a cat bed that I bought for my cat, but he doesn't use it so now it will be a halloween decoration! I just might use it every year to give out the candy!

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Meow!

 Well, that wraps up another Halloween for us. Hope you had a fun and sweet night!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

C is for CD's (missing) and great curriculum

I am aiming to blog about things that are happening in my life for this round of ABC blogging. So, I pick something that has happened within the week, and this week happens to involve some curriculum mishaps.

Some of you might remember that I did a review for a writing curriculum last year called Here to Help Learning. Well, I really enjoyed that writing curriculum, and so did my boys. As I was picking curriculum a few months ago, I was perusing the Rainbow Resource online catalog for what things I wanted to use this school year. I searched writing curriculum, and this same curriculum popped up in my search. I hadn't realized it came in book and CD format! I was thrilled because I could order this through our charter.

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Fast forward to last week when we finally received the 6th grader's curriculum (it took so long because something happened and his order got lost but that's a different story). I opened up the Here to Help Learning teachers guide to look through it, and flipped to where the CD's were stored only to find that the first 3 CD's were missing. Bummer! Now something that we hadn't even gotten started on was going to take a lot longer.

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I got a little worried that we might not be able to do anything about it, or that it would take forever if I had to send the book back, since it was ordered through the charter. I wasn't sure what I should do. Should I contact Here to Help Learning? Do I contact Rainbow? I decided it would be best to just start with the charter school. I immediately sent an email off to them. Thankfully they were quick, and started the relay message to Rainbow who contacted the publisher. I am thrilled to say that I sent that email on Sunday evening, and less than a week has gone by and I received the 3 CD's today. Wow! I was impressed. What a great response by all parties.

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I wanted to give a special shout out to Here to Help Learning though. They were so quick in mailing them out, and they gave us a special gift for all the trouble. I was happy with just receiving the CD's quickly, but this was just awesome. Here is a picture of the letter they sent to us... (my son was very excited about the dog, and cut it out)

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I am excited for this little tidbit that we didn't expect. An Island of the Blue Dolphins Literature Adventure! My son immediately asked if he could do it. It'll be fun to "dive" into this!

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As a review crew member it is my job to help promote and share curriculum we try. I didn't have to share this, but having reviewed for them in the past, and really enjoying what we have used before I wanted to share about it again! I am excited to get started on our writing now!

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

B is for Beavers

Did you know that we're studying football right now? Yes, football. My boys are always asking me the rules of the game, and I just really don't know how to play it either. So, I figured it was about time we learned! I decided to use Amanda Bennett's unit study on Football to guide us since I had it from a few years ago when I had the idea to study football, but we never got around to it.

That leads us to what this post is about...

We had a special opportunity last Saturday to attend a Beavers (Oregon State University) football game. 

I had been contemplating taking all my boys to a football game to watch live. In fact I was planning to take them to a local high school game, but our neighbor offered us 2 tickets for a Beaver's game that he couldn't use because he had to work. I was happy to take those tickets off his hands! I had even contemplated a Beavers game for all of us but it was just so expensive for something I wasn't sure the boys would like. This was a great opportunity for us to see if they'd like a college football game or not. But, which kid and which parent got to go? There were only 2 tickets!

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The night before the game prep. I had to round up all our Beaver gear, and jackets. We planned for cold, but it ended up being beautiful and sunny.

We asked all the kids who they thought should get to go. It was surprisingly easy. They all decided that Aric was the most interested in this football thing, and said he could go.

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Grabbing some lunch before the game.
This kid was pretty excited the few days leading up to the game. The excitement didn't end when we got there. There was so much to see and do before the game. Lots of excitement in the air!

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Outside of Reser stadium in Corvallis, OR
We had seats way up at the top of the stadium. Seats number 205 and 206. We had to go up 2 huge escalators, and walk on this terrace that went around the building. It was pretty high, and we both felt a little woozy at first as we are both a little afraid of heights.

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Aric was a little scared about walking on the terrace to get to our seats. It was pretty high.
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It took a little bit, but he was okay after a few minutes until we got to our seats where we had to climb almost all the way to the top! This picture doesn't quite get the full effect, but these seats were steep and  high. I was a little unsure Aric would be able to sit there. He was pretty nervous at first, but after about 10 minutes we both adjusted, and our brains finally figured out that we were ok, and we could actually look down at the game without feeling scared.

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The marching band had a pretty awesome pre-game performance. They have a huge marching band! and color guard.

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Before we came to the game I had dreamed of getting a selfie of us with the field in the background. There was no way that was happening from our seats. I don't think he or I could have fathomed turning around in those seats. We were securely sitting with our backs to the seats! This would have to do.

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Oh, and we didn't buy much as far as food and snacks. This is the land of 6 dollar drinks and 4 dollar water bottles! Yikes! I went ahead and bought him a souvenir cup though. He loved that thing. He also had a pretzel that we shared.

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 I sat there during the game watching this black balloon looking thing. It pretty much stayed right there the whole game. It swayed back and forth a little. I was wondering the whole time what it was. A camera maybe? I kept expecting it to fly away, but it just stayed there. After a while I figured it must have a purpose. My only guess was a camera to catch some things from up high?

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On the way back to the car after the game we just enjoyed looking around at all the beautiful fall trees, and the different things around camps. I pointed out some of the places I used to hang out in between classes, and answered a lot of questions he had about how college works. I think he wants to go here someday.

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It was a beautiful day. Driving through Corvallis, and walking through campus brought back so many memories of our early marriage, and when April was born. I used to push her around campus in her stroller between classes, and would take her up to her Daddy in his hall while I was in class. I treasure those days, and kinda miss them. But, I am thankful to see how we've grown over the years.

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It was a special day with this guy. I love that one on one time with the kids. They are such different people sometimes without their siblings. I think he had a good day.

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By the way, he wants to do this again.

I am linking this up to ABC Blogging through the Alphabet at Hopkins Homeschool.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Pencil Grip (A REVIEW)

The Pencil Grip, Inc.


I have 2 great products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to share with you today! The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit and The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors.

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This is exactly what I received in my package. I love that the grips were on pens already so I didn't have to figure out how to put them on the right way, but I don't think they will come that way normally. I think this was just a convenience for the review crew.

The Pencil Grips

The pencil grips are a set of 3 different rubbery feeling grips (they are made of silicone, and they are latex and phthalate free). They are meant to go on a pen or pencil to help a writer who is struggling to hold the writing utensil the right way. The idea is that the writer would start with the first one and work their way through all 3 grips as they got more comfortable with the position. Each grip has a clear L or R for left or right which makes it easy to know where to put fingers, and both lefties and righties can use them.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit


The first grip is called The Crossover Grip or training grip. The "wings" on this one prevent the fingers from crossing over, and give them a nice little pocket to sit in. Begin with this tip for training.

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1st grip. This is my 6 year-old using this pen. It really helps him to keep his fingers where they should be.
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1st grip


The second grip is The Pinch Grip or transition grip. The wings on this one are a bit smaller so the fingers aren't covered up as much, and the writer can see how his or her fingers should be placed on the pencil. This is the final step before...

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The 2nd grip

...The third grip which is The Original Pencil Grip or the final graduation. This is the last and final step. This is the grip that keeps you comfortable while writing, and the smooth contour of the grip helps the fingers stay in a good position preventing bad habits while writing.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

This set is pretty neat. I wish I would have had it for my daughter (who is now high school) when she started writing. She holds her pencil in a funny way still. She tried these for a short time, and realized that she might need them for herself!

The Safety Scissors
The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors

The other product we received were the safety scissors. These look pretty intimidating, but I think they could be awesome for a young learner that doesn't want to get hurt. They are also sharp enough to cut right! The plastic guard remains on the scissors through all the cutting, and the paper is inserted through an opening by the top blade (see picture below).

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors
An example of the cutting motion of these scissors. They also have the yellow tab between the grips to help the scissors open back up which is great for little people with not a lot of strength to pull the scissors back open.


We tried them on some different materials including foam and felt. They cut right through! All of my children are a bit past the stage for needing safety scissors, so I had my daughter demonstrate the cutting power. I think these could be great for the very young preschooler or older toddler up through Kinder or 1st depending on skill.

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We were pleased with the quality and overall usefulness of these products.

Want to hear what others had to say about these products? Click on the banner below.

Ultra Safe Safety Scissors & Pencil Grip Training Kit {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.
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