Saturday, November 27, 2010


A good friend of mine posted a picture of an apron she made to give to another friend for a craft fair she is doing to raise money for adoption.  I wrote "I love it! How about I buy the fabric, you sew it and I pay for it" or something like that.  Of course, she wouldn't let me get away with that.  She had me buy the fabric and showed me how to sew them.  Then I helped her make more for our friend's craft fair.  I can't believe how easy it was to make these and I have fun doing it.  That said, I won't be buying a sewing machine any time soon!

Thanksgiving Pictures

Thanksgiving was at my oldest sister's house this year.  I'm not sure why, but I never get many good Thanksgiving pictures.  My sister hooked up the karoke machine and the kids had a blast.  Of course, Creative Princess loved singing in the microphone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I'm thankful for:

a loving, caring husband
wonderful children
a large extended family
a warm house in the cold
food in the pantry
my husband having a job he really likes
two working, nice vehicles
my fantastic church family
a relationship with Christ

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Mom took the kids outside to play in the snow yesterday.  Creative Princess really loves the snow! 

Next it was inside for marshmallow snowmen and hot cocoa.

The kids then made corn husk dolls from the Pioneer kit we bought earlier in the year and didn't finish.  It was a good fall project, even if the weather outside said winter. :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

TOS review: A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers


Precise Prince enjoys classical music.  As a matter of fact, when we were boxing up some items in anticipation of selling our house, my husband's classical music CD's were accidentally packed.  We ended up going into storage and opening up a couple of boxes to find them and bring them back out.

So when I was given the chance to choose one item to review from Bright Ideas Press from a list of items, I decided A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers would be a good fit for us. 

This 298 page book is divided into 32 lessons.  Taking one lesson per week would get you through this book in one school year.  The majority of the lessons are about specific composers.  There are a few lessons giving a short overview of the different time periods of music as well.

The introduction gives you an outline of how to use the Composers book.  I want to mention here that I loved that this book starts off writing that music is from the Lord! Here's how we have incorporated the Composers study into our homeschool-using most of the suggestions in the introduction.

On day one, we listen to the recommended selections.  You can use the appendix in the book for websites that have the suggested music suggestions or if you have a husband like mine or if you have a collection yourself, you may find you own CD's with the suggested musical selections on them.

I love that the intro to this book recognizes that some kids will want to color, dance or move.  There are coloring pages at the back of the book you can print out for the kids to color while listening to the music.  My kids usually draw while listening.

After listening to the selection, I read the biography on the composer.  I gave the kids each their own copy of the note taking pages and we filled them out together as I read.  I may change this in the future and use the note taking pages at the end of reading to see how well they were listening.  That ends day one.

On the second day of our weekly lesson, we listen to the recommended selections again.  Then we fill out the Composer Info-Card.  These are 5x7 cards with the name of the composer, his musical period and a picture of him on the front of the card.  The back of the card has some basic info on the composer that the kids fill in including when he lived, a small map to color in the country where he was born or where he did most of his composing, 3 facts about the composer, two compositions he wrote and whether or not we know he was a Christian.

Next we color in the timeline and put the composer card into our folderbook.  A folderbook is similar to a lapbook but a bit quicker to put together.  I found the instructions for the folderbook a bit confusing.  But by looking at the pictures in the book and reading what a folderbook was, I was able to make one for each of the kids that works well for us.  You do not have to make a folderbook-this is simply one of a few ways Bright Ideas Press gave to help your children remember what you are reading.

Day three is listening to the selection and reviewing what we have learned. 

I want to mention that there are a couple of games you can print out to play with your kids-composer bingo and composer Jeopardy.  These would be good for review once you've spent a few months studying this book.  In addition the introduction has a map activity that you can use to add a geography component for studying the composers.  We chose not to use this component but I love that it is an option. 

I think this book is a great introduction to the Composers.  If you find that your child really enjoys certain composers, you can stop and study that composer for awhile before moving on to the next lesson and take more than one school year to get through this book.  There is a Resource List at the end of the book to help you delve deeper into some of the studies if you choose this option. 

This book is recommended for grades 4-8 but can easily be adapted for younger and older grades, in my opinion.  Older children could easily do this study on their own.  Actually, I could probably have both my third and fifth grader do the reading on their own and fill out the note taking pages and composer cards without me.  However, I just prefer this type of study to be done together.

The Composers study comes in CD format or as a regular bound softcover book.  I chose the book because when I'm reading to the kids, I prefer reading from a book than from the computer.  However, there are many things meant for printing out (note taking pages, coloring pages, Composer cards, map elements, etc.) so a CD format would be a great choice too.  Since our printer also copies, I just copied what we needed.  I also took the book to a local copy center and had it spiral bound.  (It is much easier to copy from a spiral bound book.)  Yes, you will use a fair amount of ink and paper if you copy (or print out from the CD) every resource available in this book.  However, you can pick and choose which resources to use and minimize the ink usage. 

Bottom line: I recommend this book as a great introduction to Composers and I plan to continue to use A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers in our homeschooling.  I will probably do one lesson every other week simply because we have so much in our regular schooling already but this book lends itself well for this. 

The cost for the Composers book is $34.95.  The CD-Rom version is only $29.95. 

See what my fellow crewmates had to say about this book and other resources from Bright Ideas Press here.

(I received A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Birthday dinner and party

For Precise Prince's birthday dinner with the family, he chose Japanese food.  That has become a tradition for him.  He loves Asian food.  We made gyoza, yakisoba and bought cucumber rolls from Costco.  He chose apple pie and ice cream for dessert.

For his party with his friends, he kept it simple.  The boys played Legos, had a hunt for candy around the house and after pizza, presents and ice cream cake, played a little bit of Wii.  I was a bit nervous having 9 boys at my mom's small house but it went wonderfully!  Everyone had fun.

 Creative Princess explained that she and Cole had first class seats on the couch.  :-) 

 Nathan loved all his gifts!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Precise Prince

Today Precise Prince is 11!  Time sure flies.

Words to describe him:

Precise-Ask him what time it is and you'll get the time to the exact minute.  It's not 10:00, it's 10:02.

Inquistive and curious-Precise Prince always loves learning new things and researching his current interests.

Sharing-He let his dad and me pick out the first candies from his Halloween bag. 

Helpful-He's good about helping around the house when we need it.

What a blessing Precise Prince is to our family!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

TOS review: KB Teachers


KBTeachers is an online worksheet and activity resource.  Here is some information from their website on what you get when you purchase a membership:

* One click worksheet generators and alphabet factory
* Create an unlimited number of engaging printable activities - For all ages and grade levels
* No watermarks and unlimited access
* Exclusive graphics and clipart - Decorate your websites, Blogs, activity sheets etc...
* Diverse educational resources - From simple ABC worksheets, to 20 pages exams
* Intuitive activities online or off - At home, at school or in study hall
* Free 24/7 Support - If we don't have it, we'll create it - or help you find it
* Answer Keys - Proofed and checked quality materials you can trust
* Updated regularly - New features and member created content added every week
* Nothing to download, instant access - From any internet connection
How we used KB Teachers:
Looking over the website, I decided to start with the math section first.  I do not have a specific math curriculum for either of my children.  For Creative Princess, I either write out my own math problems for her to work on or I search for worksheets on the computer to print out for her.  KB Teachers has been a great resource for this-no searching needed.  I used the telling time worksheets first. Each time I went into the time telling section, a new worksheet was generated so I was able to print out plenty of problems for her to practice with.  I did the same for addition and subtraction worksheets (so she could practice borrowing and carrying.)

I used some of the division and multiplication worksheets for Precise Prince.  While working on geometry I discovered he needed some extra work in long division so I generated a worksheet on KB Teachers and gave him that extra practice. At this time, the division worksheets do not have problems with remainders.  However, it is important to note that they are adding to the website and I would expect to see that in the future.

In the "For This Season" section, we used a couple of the links to look up information for Veteran's Day. 

I tried out the clip art and wasn't able to open anything so I sent them an email. I got a very quick reply with what to do to be able to open their clip art. It was an easy fix and I really appreciate the quick customer service.  (And I did not tell them that I was a reviewer when I sent them the email.)

I looked over the Grammar-Writing section and plan to use some of it after Thanksgiving when we get back into a regular schedule. Although most of that section states it is geared towards grades 6 and up, some of them will be useful for both my 3rd and 5th grader-especially the punctuation worksheets.

Good information to know about KB Teachers:
In addition to the sections I wrote about above, there are lessons for science (such as astronomy and geology), Biology (such as human anatomy and nutrition), social studies, and more including a dino workbook to print for younger kids and an arts and crafts section.

When you print out the math worksheets, an answer sheet prints out as well (except for the very easy worksheets, such as the counting worksheets for younger children.)
KB Teachers also has a "For This Season" section with worksheets and activities geared towards the current season. This section changes at least monthly so you never know what you'll find but for November there is clip art for Thanksgiving and Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving mazes, Thanksgiving coloring pages, copywork for Veteran's Day and more. The Thanksgiving section includes invitations and posters that you can type your own text into and print out.

The "For This Season" section also includes webquests for most days of the week.  These are worksheets usually with web links based on something that happened on that day in history.  For example, did you know that November 3rd is National Sandwich Day?  There is a printable on the November 3rd webquest page with information about Sandwiches and links to websites with more information.  The webquests are posted monthly so once the month is over, you don't have access to previous webquests. 

I think it's important to note to my readers that this is a secular website.  The dino workbook sheets include references to the Late Cretaceous Period, Pleistocene Epoch and other terms you would find in any secular resource on dinosaurs.  The geology section contains information concerning evolution and millions of years.  I didn't see a lot of pages like this and it would be easy to just not use those pages.  I use many secular websites and resources in my schooling and it's no problem to just skip anything that suggests the earth is billions of years old. 

KB Teachers does not have a search button on their website because they believe that a website should be well organized enough that a search button isn't necessary.  (I agree and I didn't have any trouble finding what I was looking for, but I still wouldn't mind a search button. :)

KB Teachers is always adding to the website.  If there is something you need, send them an email.

The bottom line:
This website is worksheet based and oriented more towards traditional schooling though there is something for everyone.  It is a good resource for when your child needs a little extra help or you want to supplement your current curriculum.  We will continue to use KB Teachers as a resource for our homeschooling.

There are a few free pages on the website you can access.  Everything else, you can still look at before buying however you won't be able to print out the pages.  A free 30 trial is available as well.

Current price:  $29 per year or $49 for two years. 

To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about KB Teachers go here.
(As part of the TOS crew, I received a free subscription to KB Teachers in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

TOS review: Corps of Re-Discovery

We received a fringe pouch kit from the Corps of Re-Discovery for review.

Having two kids, I was not looking forward to figuring out who would review this product.  I was happy when Creative Princess said Precise Prince could make the pouch.

I opened the package with Precise Prince and we looked at the directions together.  The kit parts stated that two drawstrings were included in the package but we received only one.  That was not an issue however, because we just cut the one drawstring into two.  I was concerned that would make the drawstring pieces too small but they weren't-we could have even cut them a little more and they would have been fine.

The instructions for sewing the pouch were pretty simple.  Precise Prince was able to sew the pouch easily and quickly.  It took him about 20 minutes to sew it.  The instructions for putting the drawstring on the pouch were confusing.  There was a picture included but it was not labeled.  Precise Prince was able to figure it out himself in about 10 minutes.  The drawstring ended up tight and it is easy to close the drawstring but not as easy to open it.

Precise Prince loved this project!  It would go well with any frontiersman study (such as a study of Lewis and Clark.)  I would say this project is geared to ages 7 and up, although younger ages (7-9 or so) would need some adult help. Precise Prince is almost 11 and was able to do the whole thing with minimal help--I only helped him with understanding some of the sewing instructions.  He put the whole thing together himself.

Overall, I would recommend this project as a fun way to supplement a history lesson.  I will keep this site as a reference for the next time we are studying frontiersman, Native Americans, leather working or pioneers.  They have many projects with a variety of prices.

The current price for the Fringe Pouch Kit is $11.99. You can purchase it here.  Go here to see what my fellow crewmates had to say about this and other products from Corps of Re-Discovery.

(I received the Fringe Pouch Kit free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was received.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Holiday Gift from TOS

2010 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book


The Old Schoolhouse magazine is offering this free Holiday help e-book download.  There are articles about Christmas celebrations from around the world, encouragement for the holidays, crafts, recipes, and more!  Get your free download HERE.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Creative Princess

Creative Princess is 9 years old today!

Words to describe my beautiful girl:

Creative-She makes her own Halloween costumes.  She planned her birthday party-making the games and decorations.  Her play time is spent writing and illustrating her own books.

Loving-She is always hugging and cuddling with the people she loves (much to the chagrin of her brother.)

Strong-willed-The goal is to have this strong will be used for God's glory!

Giving-She starts making Christmas presents for everyone around Halloween.  She used her allowance to buy some of the prizes for her birthday party.  She made a comic book and a gift bag for a present for her friend, Cole.

What a blessing this child is to our family.  I thank God for her every day!