Showing posts from April, 2013

Blogging Every Day in May

So here it is the day before Mayday.  Tomorrow is May 1st.  Already?  Really? Almost half way through 2013. WOW. I set a personal goal for 2013 that I would blog an average of every other day.  It doesn’t always work out to be every other day.  Some weeks I blog 3 or 4 days in a row followed by 3 or 4 days of no posts so that the numbers average every other day. Basically, I’m striving for roughly 15 blog posts a month. That’s the measurable part of the goal.  The underlying goal is to be more consistent and intentional with blogging. What does this have to do with May? Well, my friend Miranda (yes the one who hosts the 5 on Fridays!) introduced me to the idea of a “Blogging Every Day in May” challenge.  Sitting here on April 30th and knowing that this is holy week, I’m thinking “nope.  I really shouldn’t start this right now.”  But the idea keeps tickling my brain.  Miranda suggested checking out the May Challenge over at Story of My Life . I like some of the theme suggestions.  W

E and F are for Expecting Feasting

I completely missed the letter E last week.  I wanted to combine e and f so that I could “catch up” but I kept thinking of things like “Evergreen Forests” (um, yes, I can see one in my backyard but that doesn’t mean I have anything to say about it!) or “Everlasting Father” (a great sounding topic that I am sure I could find something to say about our heavenly Father!) but then Supergirl said this: “Is Lent almost over yet? I want to have biscuits and gravy. With Bacon. And sausage too!” Lent officially ended Friday but the fasting won’t end for another week. This weekend is Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday.  They are not part of Lent and not part of Holy Week and we still keep the fast until after the Paschal Divine Liturgy. (We’ll break the fast together as a Church with a potluck of finger foods around 3am!) So there is an air of expectation that the fasting will end soon and the feasting will begin! We’ll be making special bread made with milk, butter and eggs and a special chees

Five on Friday {April 26th Edition}

The one problem with doing these weekly is that it causes me to realize just how fast time is moving.  And I completely missed the April 19th Edition so I’m combining a couple of things I would have posted last week. I know today is Saturday but better late than never right? (I hope?!) 1.  Last Wednesday, the 17th, would have been my parents 48th Wedding Anniversary. Dad and mom were married 37 1/2 years when dad passed away. Sometimes I am very selfish and I forget that I didn’t just lose a father, but that my mother lost a husband. Memory Eternal, Daddy, we all miss you very much! 2.  Tailorbear and Honeybear worked on the garden over the last two weeks.  Tailorbear would check daily to see if grass or weeds were trying to sprout and she prettied up the sides of the garden with some rocks so there is a definite edge or border around the small space.  Honeybear and Tailorbear got the rows planted earlier this week.  They planted two rows of peas, two rows or green beans and one row

Writing Fiction [In High School] {Crew Review}

For quite some time now Tailorbear has been begging to be allowed to write short stories or a novel.  She complains about having to write essays and other academic style papers for school. She thinks writing is boring, hard, and she dislikes it. Both Tailorbear and Turtlegirl have active imaginations and create stories ~sometimes written, sometimes oral ~ for fun on rainy and sometimes not so rainy afternoons. When I saw Writing Fiction [in High School] by Sharon Watson on the Schoolhouse Review Upcoming Vendors list I knew that Tailorbear would be all over the idea of a writing class teaching how to write fiction. Turtlegirl, my avid book loving, book devouring daughter, fills notebooks full of story ideas and poetry, was equally as excited as Tailorbear to try this curriculum from Writing with Sharon Watson . What is it?  Writing Fiction [in High School] is a two semester high school level English curriculum written directly to the student. This course will teach students h

{Giveaway!} A Cry from Egypt ~ Signed Copy!

This past fall the girls and I had the opportunity to read and review A Cry from Egypt by Hope Auer . From my review : “Thought provoking and moving, A Cry from Egypt brings history to life.”  ~ me “The story was gripping, and it brought the 7 plagues to life, especially for the Egyptians. It really showed that the Egyptians were real people, with hopes, thoughts, and fears.” ~ Turtlegirl “It was a very compelling story, and not a difficult read, though thought provoking. It was also very moving at moments.” ~ BooBear Hope, a home school graduate, is celebrating the release of A Cry from Egypt by offering my readers a signed copy of her new book! This book is an excellent read aloud for ages 10 and up or a great read alone for ages 12 and up and would make an excellent literature selection to accompany a study of ancient Egypt. * I received no compensation for this post. I really like the book and I wanted to participate in the giveaway! * a Rafflecopter giv

Easy Tomato Florentine Soup {Try a New Recipe}

It’s been several weeks now since I’ve posted a recipe to link up to Lisa’s Try a New Recipe Tuesday meme. On Monday I made a tomato soup that I’ve been making for years.  It’s super easy, doesn’t take long and is a great way to get my daughters to eat spinach. It’s one of my “go to” lunch recipes for lunch when I have spinach on hand! Tomato Florentine Soup   Ingredients 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced for smaller pieces) (you can use 6-8 large fresh, peeled and chopped tomatoes but I never have) 1 tablespoon dried chopped onion (or 1/2 cup fresh onion, coarsely chopped) 3 Cups water 3/4 cup tomato juice (I use V8 juice) 2 tsp “chicken” flavored broth powder (or 1 chicken bouillon or vegetable bouillon cube or omit) 1 1/2 tsp oregano (or to taste) 1 1/2 tsp basil (or to taste) Salt and/or pepper to taste 10 (or more) ounces fresh spinach ( I use the leaf whole, but you could coarsely chop it and I use closer to 14-16 oz of spinach) Instructions

The Hobbit Study Guide from Progeny Press {Crew Review}

Several years ago the girls listened to The Hobbit on audiobook. It was a read-aloud for our literature based curriculum. They were hooked. They each over the years have re-read the book on their own. When the movie came out in December it was a “no-brainer” gift idea to purchase tickets for all of us as a family gift. Everyone loved the movie. It inspired the girls to read the book again. So when the opportunity to arrived to review The Hobbit Study Guide from Progeny press , it was another “no-brainer” to express “jumping up and down with excitement” interest in being allowed to review the guide. Not only were were excited because we could do a literature study on a much loved book but we were excited because it was a Progeny Press guide. We fell in love with Progeny Press when we reviewed The Bronze Bow Study Guide and the Screwtape Letters Study Guide during a previous crew run.     The Hobbit Study Guide: We received the instant download version of the product. The downlo

Reading Goals update for April 2013

I really intended for my reading goal update posts to be posted sometime during the first week of the month.  Here were are half way through the month and I’m just now getting around to talking about what I have haven’t read.  Yes.  That’s correct.  This is more of post of what I haven’t finished reading.  Except that I do have one very large announcement: I finished Jane Eyre ! Yes, I finally finished reading this classic novel.  I read the e-book version from Barnes and Noble.  It had 1147 pages.  That didn’t compute with me until I realized they meant 1147 NOOK book pages.  Those are tiny.  But I read them. I don’t think I loved the story.  I know my daughters enjoyed it far more than I did.  I just had such a difficult time getting past the accusations that Jane was a liar.  She was so horribly mistreated by her family that I had to stop reading the book for quite some time.  I understand that what the character experienced was not atypical for that era but I still didn’t like

D is for Disney World {Through the Alphabet}

I think it was April.  It was 2008.  Supergirl had had her regular cardiac check-up.  I got a phone call a couple of days later.  Would it be ok if Dr. S nominated Supergirl for Make-A-Wish?  The nurse made sure that we knew that all the tests were fine.  Supergirl was not facing more problems. Her condition is life-threatening (and continues to be so), but she was doing great and very stable. I learned then that Make-A-Wish is not just for children with terminal illnesses but those who are fighting life-threatening diseases as well. So we were contacted by Make-A-Wish and the process began.  Supergirl didn’t even hesitate about what she wanted.  She was adamant.  Disney World.  NOT Disneyland.  According to her Cruella lived there and she didn’t want to meet her.  She wanted to meet Buzz Lightyear.  When the volunteer tried to suggest Disneyland, Supergirl said no.  And just to prove that she knew the difference, she said “the one in Florida.”  (I didn’t know she knew the difference!

Random Five on Friday {April 12 Edition}

Another week already!  Here’s my 5 on Friday: 1. I have definitely created a lapbook monster!  Supergirl has declared that we *will* do a lapbook for Marco Polo (he’s part of our China/Mongolia study) and then when we finish Marco Polo she has demanded that we create a lapbook for Galileo.  We’re still working on a lapbook for science so I’m trying to convince her that we can study Galileo for science after we finish the current science lapbook.  Good thing I found that file of blank templates for the mini-books! 2. I rarely listen to the news.  This morning I was reminded why. They were discussing pot tourism. They had interviewed a bar owner who sells legalized marijuana. Then there was the “live at the scene” story of a home invasion. And surprise surprise it’s going to rain. This was a Seattle news station.  It’s news when it ISN’T going to rain people, it’s not really news to tell me what I can already tell: it’s going to rain today. 3. 8th Ave E is not the same as 8th Ave S. 

Supercharged Science ~ E-science {Crew Review}

  I think science can be the most fun and yet the most challenging subject to teach. It’s the most fun because it can be so hands on but it’s challenging to teach because, let’s face it the average home school mom doesn’t have a degree in science and there are all kinds of technical terms and complicated concepts. Aurora Lipper founded Supercharged Science because she wants “ to get kids crazy-wild about science .”  She is a scientist who has taught science at all levels, Kindergarten to College! With her e-Science lessons , she makes science fun and understandable! Using Supercharged Science in our house: There are two levels to the e-Science subscription program .  Level 1 targets grades K-8 and is $37 per month.  Level 2 is the high school material.  For $57 a month you gain access to the material for grades 9-12 in addition to the content for grades k-8.  The grade 9-12 content would also be good for advanced grades 5-8. For this review period, I did not use Supercharged S

Breakfast Casserole: Strata {Recipe}

I have been meaning to post this recipe for several weeks. This is a family favorite weekend brunch favorite.  Years ago, before we were Orthodox, I had a rotating breakfast menu for Sunday that included make ahead casseroles.  Put it together Saturday evening, and pop it in the oven while everyone is getting ready for church. Now we don’t eat breakfast on Sunday mornings, so I don’t make these as often. This is my favorite strata to take to our Bible Study potlucks (back when I could attend, you know when we had two vehicles!).  It’s also perfect for holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Pascha (Easter). I love that this recipe is so versatile. I can use different types of breads or meats.  I could add peppers and onions (I never have, but I could!), I could even play around with different cheeses.  I usually just stick with French bread, sausage or bacon and cheddar cheese! Our Family Favorite Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole Note: I prepare this the night before and let it sit over

Getting Back to Reading Aloud

This month, April, marks the 15th anniversary of the first Home School Fair I ever attended.  It was simply a group of home school moms having a show and tell of their favorite curriculums. It was 1998 and my oldest wasn’t quite 3 years old.  The twins were 8 months old.  I knew were were going to home school and I had been encouraged to start researching curriculum, methods, etc. now because it wouldn’t be long before that not quite 3 year old would be school age (and to think that in two months, she’ll be graduating!!). This was my first glimpse of curriculum. I fell in love with the idea of Learning Language Arts through Literature and I was introduced to a company named Sonlight.  There were some who did not like Sonlight because of their use of Usborne books.  I was slightly overwhelmed and put the whole concept of curriculum on hold.  I mean she was only 2 3/4! As the months went by I realized I really did need *something* for this now active 3 year old.  She loved numbers.  Ev

April Cleaning Challenge Week 1

One of my fellow home school bloggy friends, Jennifer, shared about an April Cleaning challenge that she plans to participate in.  She blogs over at Conversaving .  MoneySaving Mom is hosting the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge and it is based on the 31 Day House Cleaning Routine from Fresh and Organized. I am hoping/planning/striving to post weekly updates about our progress.  I’m looking at this house cleaning challenge as a “getting ready for Pascha” since Pascha is May 5th. Each day at 9am Eastern Moneysaving Mom is posting the daily challenge.  She takes what the 32 Day House Cleaning Routine lists and breaks it down into tasks.  (Check out the above link to see what I mean.) I actually didn’t jump into this until April 3rd but it fairly easy to pick some things from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.   Generally speaking those days were “Surface clean Kitchen and Living Room”   Washing the dishes was one of the tasks.  This made me giggle because the dishes need to be done daily.  I gig

Random 5 on Friday! {April 5th Edition}

It’s Friday already?  Again?  Wow this week disappeared so quickly! Here’s this week’s installment of Random 5 on Friday! 1. Last weekend Honeybear cleared the old overgrown, once might have been a garden, space in the side/back yard. This weekend he’s hoping to do some planting.  We’re going to do a combo of “in the ground” and “container” gardening or at least we’re going to try. 2.  I think I’ve created a lapbooking monster!  Supergirl has really been enjoying lapbooking. I told her we could create mini-books for our Great Empires study.  She says we have to do one for Marco Polo! And when we’re done with Great Empires, she wants to do a lapbook for Galileo. 3. My oldest daughter doesn’t like bean sprouts. The kind you get in the can that is commonly used for Chow Mein.  All these years we thought she just didn’t like Chow Mein but really it might just be the canned bean sprouts. After Lent, I think I’ll make some Chow Mein and omit the bean sprouts *or* try fresh instead of can

C is for Curriculum

Maybe it’s because it is spring, the time of year when home school conventions begin, or maybe it’s because I just finished a review of A Journey Through Learning and I’ve started a study of Ancient C hina using the Great Empires study from Home School in the Woods . Maybe it is because I need to start thinking about the next school year, though I don’t want to think too hard about the fact that I’ll only be planning for 3.  Whatever the reason, my mind has been on c urriculum and c urriculum planning. Over the years, I’ve collected lots of c urriculum. I like new stuff but over the years I’ve learned that I don’t need to buy and try every new trendy curriculum.  It’s ok to stick to what is working, especially if it is working well. Sometimes change is good and sometimes curriculum changes are necessary to preserve the sanity of student and teacher! I’m not making too many changes to the line-up for Supergirl but here’s an outline of my plans for her: Supergirl: Math ~ TouchMath

A Journey Through Learning: The Earth Lapbook {Crew Review}

  I do not consider myself to be an artsy craftsy type of home school mom, but I love the idea of notebooking. I discovered the idea of lap booking years ago and we realized that lap booking was a great way to be “hands-on” and create a project without having to get too messy or complicated. We used some lapbooks as supplements to our literature based studies. Supergirl is very different from her sisters. She requires more of a hands on type of learning in order to “own” a concept. For her, lapbooks are the spine to which I add books rather than the supplement that I add to books. I had heard about A Journey Through Learning but had never tried one of their lapbooks before.  The Earth Lapbook is a great introduction to geology, meteorology, and oceanography! I confess I was thrilled with the opportunity to introduce Supergirl to the study of rocks and she already has a love affair with the ocean!   Using the Lapbook with Supergirl: Before actually starting the lapbook with Superg

Computer Science for Kids {Crew Review}

A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the world and computers were still a novelty, I was one of the few privileged students to be allowed to use the school computer. This was in the days of DOS when dial up meant actually plugging the phone receiver into a modem.  I remember playing Oregon Trail . I also have this vague memory of a short course in computer language.  I do not remember which language. It was fun.  I enjoyed it but never pursued it. Now we live in an “age of technology” and some foundational or fundamental knowledge of a computer is required for almost everything!  Of course computer programming has come a long way but still learning a programing language and running a program you wrote yourself can be exciting and fun.  Recently, Turtlegirl began to express more interest in all things techno science related. Colleges are recommending Computer Science as an elective, so when Schoolhouse Review Crew offered Computer Science for Kids as a vendor, I knew I would want t