Monday, February 26, 2018

My Spring Bucket List {52 lists} #8

I am pretty excited for Spring to be here. I am looking forward to the nicer weather, and all the fun activities that come along with it. So, here is my list of things I hope to do during the season of Spring.

  • Celebrate holidays: St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Mother's and Father's Day
  • Memorial Day camping
  • Visit the zoo
  • Hikes
  • Prepare a Garden
  • Get the yard in shape
  • Baseball (kids to play in homeschool baseball league)
  • Farmer's Markets
  • Spring cleaning
  • Volunteer/Service projects
  • Host a game night
  • Nature Studies
  • Wash cars
  • Peter Rabbit movie
  • Archery
  • Attend daughter's violin concert.
  • Take a trip to the coast.
  • Spring Break (time off)
  • Canoe trip
  • Spring crafts
  • Science fair
  • Visit the tulip fields
  • Pick Strawberries.
I am hoping to post about a lot of these! I may even add to the list as I think of more. What are you doing this Spring?

52 lists with Olive & Plaid

Friday, February 23, 2018

My weekly notebook: snow and olympics

Life this week...

I gave my cat a bath this week to see if we could get rid of more fleas. He was not a fan. In fact I'm pretty sure he thought it was the worst torture there is. Afterward, he just runs around trying to find a warm spot, and licks himself constantly to make the wetness go away. He did pretty good in the actual bath though. I think it only helped a little. I've also tried a homemade flea trap (unsuccessful), and brushing him with lemon water. I'm still on the search for something to get rid of these fleas. I think they are still there. He's scratching less, but still scratching suddenly.

Homeschool this week...

A lot of Olympics this week. We've been watching in the evenings as a family, and doing some projects during school time. I had some unused canvases lying around, and thought it would be fun to make an Olympics 2018 memory. I found an outline of the Olympic rings, and traced it on both canvases, and found 2 kids who wanted to paint them. It turned out to be Aric and Alex.


I set up the easel. Painting with an easel is so much fun.


I also printed up a picture of the Olympic rings for reference.


I think they both had a great time painting these. It was a good lesson in painting small areas, and figuring out techniques to keep the paint where they wanted it to be.


Reviews we are working on...

I believe I have about 7-8 reviews I'm currently doing. Yes, that is a lot, but a few of them are pretty easy ones, like MagicStix markers. I just received April's homeschool diploma yesterday, so that is another fairly easy one. But, I do think I've taken a bit too many on. It's hard to say no sometimes, there's just so many great products I want to try. April's homeschool diploma is beautiful, and the ordering was so super easy. Pictures to come soon!

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

We went to Get Air on Wednesday for the homeschool jump time.


The boys played dodge ball for the whole hour of jump time they had. April read her book, and I did some planning. It was a nice break.


My favorite thing this week was...

Watching Olympics with the family, and taking a walk in the snow before it all melted.








My kids' favorite thing this week was...

I forgot to give Alex this Valentine's day gift, so I gave it to him this week. I'm pretty sure it's his favorite right now.


I'm cooking...

I made this for lunch this week. Sheet-pan Sausage and Peppers.  It was tasty, but the peppers ended up as mush. I think just frying it next time will work better so the peppers stay crunchy. Pretty tasty otherwise.I used regular rice, but the recipe for cauliflower rice sounds really good too. I also cooked up a turkey this week. We had one in our freezer from 2 thanksgivings ago, and we're trying to clear it out so we can defrost it. Now I am going to be cooking turkey dishes for a while.


That about wraps up our week!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Bytes of Learning (A REVIEW)

UltraKey Bytes of Learning

There are so many great ways to learn to type, and Ultrakey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning has just been added to my bag of tools for teaching my homeschoolers to type.

UltraKey Online Family Edition

The Ultrakey Online Family Subscription is exactly that, an online based program, with access from any computer with internet connection. The family subscription can be purchased for 3, 5, or 8 users, and is priced $29.95-$49.95. We received the 8-user family subscription for this review, and I signed up 3 of my children. Only my younger 2 ended up using it fully (ages 7 and 9). I also used the parent account to brush up on my typing and to get to know the program better. It is good for all ages, and can be started as young as 5.


I hadn't originally intended my 7-year-old to use it, but he saw his older brother using it, and thought it looked fun, so he wanted to learn to type too. He saw the colorful, engaging lessons, and that drew him in. He got started, and flew through the first few lessons. The first lesson is pretty slow and time consuming with all the videos on posture, and how the program works. Then to the introduction of the keys. It's a lot, but he kept with it. That was the easy part. Then as more fingers were introduced, he had a harder time. The home keys were easy for him to get down, but he got bogged down and less excited with more fingers. That's a function of his age though, not the program. With him I am letting him move at his own pace/desire.

My 9-year-old did awesome with this program, and made it much farther. He is older, and I feel the perfect age to really start getting his typing skills down. He worked on it weekly, and made it through about 6 levels (the G, Y, and shift keys). I did notice that he is still trying to look at his fingers/keyboard though even though he had passed the skill check for each level. (The skill check is the "test" after each section of keys are learned to see if they got it down.)

UltraKey Online Family Edition

This program is very thorough in instruction. As you can see in the picture above the keyboard is shown throughout the lessons, and the fingers move to show the learner which fingers to use for which keys both when they learn a new key, and when they miss or need help. There are also reminders as to which finger to keep on home row when reaching for other keys, love that! Before each new part of a lesson the instructions are very clear as to what is expected. There are plenty of videos along the way as well.

What I liked about Ultrakey:

  • Flexibility. With the parent account I can change settings for each child, and customize it to their needs. From learning goals to even the background and skin tone of the hands.
  • Reports. I can see how each child is doing by looking at the reports.
  • Visually appealing. The colors and characters are fun.
  • Each person/student can log in with their own login information.
  • Stretches. There are pauses for the student to stand up and stretch. 
  • Sound effects. Each time a key is struck there is a sound, and that tells me that my little student is still typing. If I hear it stop I can see if they need help, or got distracted.
Overall, we really liked this program. It is very thorough, and easy to use. If you'd like to see how other crew members used this program, and what they thought you can click on the banner below.

UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wulf the Saxon (A REVIEW)

Heirloom Audio Productions

What's better than a great story? A great story brought to life by Heirloom Audio Productions with their audio theater adventures. Wulf the Saxon is one of their new audio productions that brings to life real history with voices and sound effects that portray the real emotion and real life action as if it were happening in front of you.

Wulf the Saxon

We have reviewd other Heirloom Audio productions so we were excited to receive another 2 compact disc set in the mail to listen to. We put it in the van CD player and listened while driving to and from lessons, errands, and field trips. It is fun to listen to in the car, or at home with a pair of headphones as it really makes you feel like you are in the middle of the story. The different characters voices are so clear and the sound effects are pretty amazing. I had ages 7-11 listening, and don't think I'd go much younger than that as there are a lot of battles in this particular adventure.

History is not my best subject both to teach and what I've learned/know. With that being said, I learned a lot just from this 2.5 hours of listening. It's quite the amazing way to learn history through a story, and really works for me and my children. I even listened more than once! I didn't catch all the facts the first time, as there are a lot of important names and places to keep track of. I also had to look up some things on the internet to get it all straight, which leads me to my next thing... a study guide.

We didn't have it this time (as we have in the past), but a study guide would be great to go along with this, and probably would have helped us keep track of it all better. If you decide to get this adventure or any others may I recommend the Live the Adventure Club where you have access to all the bonus materials including the scripts (I loved having this to read along for past adventures), the original G.A. Henty novels, access to the Live the Adventure Radio, study guide, and more.

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club
What exactly is an audio drama?

Heirloom Audio is passionate about bringing real history to life. To do this they bring in voices of different people (some whom you might recognize from movies and tv), and they "act'' out the story with their voice and sound effects. It's essentially a movie without the screen. It lets the listener use their imagination. I think this sums it up nicely:
"Our mission, simply stated… is to engage our listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in the story"
As I have listened and tried to follow carefully the story here, I am still trying to understand it well, but here is my brief synopsis:

Wulf the Saxon takes place back in the year 1065 with the King of England, Wulf a young Saxon, and Osgod who accompanies him on his many adventures. At the beginning Wulf is reprimanded for his argument with a bishop, and sent away to his land for a time. He is given a pardon by the King and welcomed back, and goes on to earn great respect from the King and others throughout his adventures. He is invited by the King to go on a ship, but the ship wrecks and they end up on the shores of Normandy. The King and the other men are taken prisoner, but Wulf and Beorn are able to escape from the castle. They find the Duke of Normandy whom helps with the release of the King. The King is tricked into taking an oath of loyalty. They go back to England, but are now facing battle after battle to maintain peace.  Wulf shows much courage and honor as he accomplishes many victories along side the King and his companions. But, it soon comes to an end, and the England crown is won by William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings.

That's it in a nutshell. There are many details that could be added, but you'll just have to listen for yourself!

If you'd like to see what others had to say about this Heirloom Audio Production, you can click on the banner below.

Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Heirloom Audio can also be found at:

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mom and Me Monday Hike: Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge

We have been enjoying some great hikes in the past few weeks. We were lucky to have very spring like weather for this one. The sunshine warmed us all up, so forgetting our jackets wasn't as bad as it could have been.


The views all around this hike were just beautiful because it was on a hill.


It was fun to find these words on the information boards throughout the hike.



Alex discovered these mushrooms.


 At the viewpoint we found "home."


 Another gorgeous view.

 The sun streaming through all the trees was just so pretty.


We were at the view point, and there was this little trail leading to that tree. Alex wanted to go check it out. He got partway there, and came back. I asked, what happened? He said there was a bee.


There was a little mud, but for the most part it was dry.


 The sun really came out good toward the end.


I was trying to get a picture of our feet, but Alex dropped the water bottle at the same time. Looks like I was trying to get a picture of the water bottle. Kind of silly.


Cool tree.


The viewpoint


The kids wanted to climb the tree to get a picture. We never got a good picture, and the rest of the group was leaving without us.


The 3 kids along for the hike. 




 Everything looked so green (that was supposed to be).


He really enjoyed this hike.


We found a sundial.


 We also found a skeleton of some sort.


A beautiful hike on a beautiful day. I really like it that way.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

P is for Pictionary

I am catching up on my past blogging through the alphabet posts from last year when I was doing our favorite games, so here is the letter P game, Disney Pictionary DVD edition.


It is a fun version of Pictionary with a DVD to add some real clips and pictures from Disney movies.


It doesn't just use the DVD, there is also drawing by team players too. It plays much like the classic Pictionary where you roll the die, draw a card, and pick the category that the color matches. If it says DVD, then the DVD draws for you.


To begin our day today I played with the 3 boys. Aaron and Alex were a team, and Aric and I were a team.


Alex was able to play this pretty well even though he is only 7. This is the first time that he's really played it "right." There is the timer on the TV for the person drawing.


We've had this game for a few years, but hadn't played it for a while. It was fun to take it out again, and enjoy a game morning for a break. Also, I think that takes care of art for the day!
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