Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – June 15th-21st

The weather really warmed up this week…just in time for a serious torrential thunderstorm and cooler, stormy weather thereafter.  You can tell summer is officially arriving on Saturday!


I started off the week with some baking.  I got a really great new cookbook called 101 Things to Do with a Cake Mix.  It got great reviews on Amazon

I let Hayden pick the first recipe, and he wanted this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake.  The recipe was super simple, like all the other recipes in the book, so I threw it together in no time, and here’s how it turned out.


It was so yummy!  It wasn’t overly lemony ,not too sweet, and it was super moist.  Even my husband, who is not a big fan of lemon, really liked this for all the same reasons I just mentioned.  I would definitely make this again!  I’m looking forward to trying out lots of these recipes.  They are so quick and easy to make and require so few ingredients that I could see this cookbook being a great resource for future potlucks at church.


I also picked up a new cookbook at Ollie’s Bargain Warehouse for just $5 called Cooking Light Comfort Food.  I let Hayden pick something out of it to make for dinner, and he picked the Tuna Noodle Casserole. 


It was just what you’d expect…like a homemade version of a creamy Tuna Helper.  It wasn’t anything exciting, but it was homemade, and the kids liked it.  Sometimes that’s all I can hope for!  My daughter is a big fan of tuna, and she really liked the albacore tuna in this.


On Tuesday, I took the kids to the dentist for all of our checkups.  As usual, Haylee and I came out unscathed, but the boys were a mess.  Hayden got two fillings while we were there, and I was informed he needs to see an oral surgeon to have all of his wisdom teeth removed because they are impacted.  Sigh.  He still needs braces, too.

Holden, poor kid, just can’t seem to win.  I brush and floss his teeth religiously, and he used fluoride rinse every day.  He doesn’t eat a lot of dessert, and he has about 4 oz. of juice once a week.  There’s really nothing else I can do for this kid, and yet he has the worst teeth you could imagine.  He’s had so much dental work done already for a little kid of 6 years.  But now the molar that has already had a baby root canal and 2 huge fillings has to be extracted!  He has infection in it, and a fistula has formed on the gums beside the tooth.  No wonder he’s been telling me it is sore when I brush and floss there at night!  In addition, he has another molar behind that one that needs a filling, and an upper molar on the other side with major decay that needs a baby root canal and a stainless steel crown.  ARGH!  So for all of this work, he’s being referred to a pediatric dentist who can give him nitrous oxide so he doesn’t struggle with his strong gag reflex. 

I called and set up a consultation for Hayden in early July with an oral surgeon, and they expect to do the surgery shortly thereafter.  I researched reviews on pediatric dentists for Holden because I didn’t like the one we tried before, and I found one will all 5-star reviews.  We went in for a consultation and really liked her!  The work will be done in 2 visits, and he’ll have anesthesia both times, which is not covered at all by my insurance.  Figures.  But my total out of pocket will be about $600.  He will probably need to get a space maintainer for the extracted molar when we’re all done, and I have no idea what that will cost.  I swear, it’s always something!


Wednesday was a whopping 97 degrees with a heat index of 101!  It was the perfect day to ask my husband to take the afternoon off from work and join us at Ocean Breeze Water Park.  He never takes off work, so this was a big deal that he actually went along with the plan!  It was SO incredibly hot and oppressive that day with the high humidity from all the sudden rains that kept appearing throughout the week, but it was so refreshing spending the whole afternoon in the water!  It was very busy, but we had a fabulous time! 


Steve was so happy that he took the time off from work, because he really enjoyed himself with the kids.  And of course, they loved having him along!


By Friday, the kids had finished off the bundt cake, so I’d already had Hayden pick out the next dessert he wanted to try.  He went with this simple Pineapple-Cherry Dump Cake.  Boy, was this one easy to make!  I’d heard of dump cake before, but I’d never actually made one myself.  This had only 4 ingredients, and all you had to do was dump half a dry yellow cake mix in a greased pan, then layer a can of crushed pineapple with its juice, then layer a can of cherry pie filling, then layer the other half of the dry cake mix, and then lay thin slices of 1/2 stick of butter on top and bake it for almost an hour.  Bam!  This delicious, sweet & tangy cobbler was the result!


Boy, was it tasty!  I have my doubts about this even lasting 24 hours in my house!  It was ready as we were going out the door for the evening, but Steve and Hayden ate almost half of it late that night when we got home!  Steve is not big on sweets at all, but I overheard him telling a reluctant Haylee that he was certain his life was better for having eaten it!  Smile  I had to bust out laughing because he said it so seriously.  Then I heard him tell her he was pretty sure if someone set a pan of it in front of him and left it all day, he might actually eat the entire thing!  LOL.  Needless to say, the boys were big fans of this one, and Steve said it would be awesome warm with vanilla ice cream on top.  Yum!  I loved the combination of pineapple and cherry together, but it was a bit too sweet for me.  Yummy, but maybe I would use a sugar-free cake mix next time to suit my own taste.


Friday night, we headed out late in the evening for Ocean Breeze Water Park, not so much to get in the water, but for a special movie night they were having.  They had a huge inflatable movie screen set up by the wave pool, and you could pull up the lounge chairs and enjoy the Lego Movie for free.  What fun!  I had take the kids to see that movie at the theater recently, and we absolutely loved it, but Steve hadn’t gotten to see it yet.  We’d told him how good it was, so he was really looking forward to seeing it.


It was really fun!  They all played in the wave pool beforehand, but I opted to sit and enjoy my iPad for a bit…after a huge storm the night before that blew down our back fence and downed lots of trees in the area, the weather had really cooled off, and I wasn’t up for getting wet and then freezing to death during the movie!  We ate and had popcorn and funnel cake and soda and hung out enjoying the movie together outdoors.  It was neat because it reminded me of going to a drive-in movie as a kid, which is an experience that no longer exists around here.  It was really pleasant, and we all enjoyed ourselves.  I’m sure we’ll be going again soon, as they’ve scheduled Frozen for the next movie night, which my daughter loved.


That was enough excitement for one week!  Please tell me somebody out there has kids with teeth that are cursed by bad genetics! 

See y’all next time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

REVIEW: Go Science (Series 2) DVD’s by Library and Educational Services

My kids were thrilled to be able to review a couple of the Go Science (Series 2) DVD’s by Library and Educational Services.



Go Science Series 2 - Set of 7 DVDs

The Go Science (Series 2) DVD’s are a collection of video segments depicting cool science demonstrations that were originally taped for a Christian television broadcast.  Each segment ends with the same phrase that every time you learn more about science, you learn more about our creator, God.

Each science demonstration lasts for approximately 3-10 minutes, and each DVD runs close to one hour in length.  Each DVD focuses on particular disciplines of science, so collect them all for an exciting array of demonstrations for the science enthusiast in your house!

Many of the science demonstrations show experiments that it wouldn’t be safe to conduct at home, so it gives your kids a chance to witness some things about science that they may not otherwise get to see.

These are recommended for ages 4-12, but really, the whole family can enjoy these exciting displays.  They are available to purchase for just $8.97 each and would make great gifts for the little scientists in your family!  Take a look at a video excerpt from Volume #1 to get an idea of how wonderful this series can be.

I’ll be discussing volumes 2 and 4 for this review.  Volume #2 includes these experiments:

Life Science:

  • Flashlight-Animal Eyes
  • Animal Skulls
  • Bobby Pins
  • What Are You Looking At?
  • How Much Do Your Lungs Hold?
  • Eating Nails for Breakfast
  • Naked Eggs


  • Fire Tornado
  • Ping Pong Cannon
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cloud
  • Cloud in a Bottle
  • Garbage Can Vortex

Volume #4 includes these experiments:


  • Tablecloth Trick
  • High Bounce Balls
  • Marble Gravitron
  • Yo-Yo Big Spool
  • Bowling Ball


  • Friction
  • Floating Rice


  • Simple Motor
  • Nail Magnet
  • Jumping Rings


  • Food Coloring and Bubbles



We got to select two Go Science DVD’s for the review, but my kids all wanted different ones.  They were so excited that I went ahead and selected two but then ordered the rest of the series myself to save for their birthdays!  Won’t they be surprised?!?  We settled on Volume #2 and Volume #4 for the review.

Volume #2 covered Life Science and Weather.  I’m going to summarize for you the experiments that we saw in this video.  Ben Roy is the host, so that is who I’ll be referring to in each of the demonstrations.

  • Flashlight-Animal Eyes:  He talked about how light is reflected back from a spider’s eyes into your own eyes.  It’s the same with dogs, cats, deer, etc.  God made them that way so they can see better at night.
  • Animal Skulls:  He showed different skulls and identified the animals from which they came.  He talked about the position of their eyes and how eyes on the side of the head indicate the animals is a predator that must seek out its own food, but eyes on the front of the head (like humans) indicate that the animal is not a predator.  He also talked about the kinds of teeth they have.
  • Bobby Pins:  He talked about the sense of touch and the ability to feel pressure on your hands vs. other parts of the body.  To demonstrate this, he used either one or two bobby pins and pressed them into the hand of someone with their eyes closed.  The participant had to identify whether they felt one or two points.  When placed on the hands, the participant could correctly identify either one or two points every time.  But the further up the arm he moved the bobby pins, the less accurate the participant became in identifying one or two points.
  • What Are YDSCF1984ou Looking At?:  He discussed how when you look at a person, you naturally focus only on the eyes and mouth.  To demonstrate this, he took a photo of someone the audience knew and held it upside down.  The audience members easily recognized her until he turned the photo right-side up.  Then it was crazy-looking!  This was because in the photo, her eyes and mouth were placed upside down on her face.  But because we focus on only the eyes and mouth, they recognized her when the photo was upside down but the eyes and mouth were right-side up.  Isn’t that interesting?  We thought that was pretty cool.
  • How Much Do Your Lungs Hold?:  He filled a jug with water and floated it atop an aquarium roughly 2/3 full of water.  With a tube attached to the jug, he had a participant blow into the tube to displace the water in the jug with air, pushing the water out into the aquarium.  In doing this, he was able to demonstrate the capacity of the participant’s lungs.  It was kind of surprising how much air a person’s lungs could actually hold!
  • Eating Nails for Breakfast:  He mashed up cornflakes and water together in a zippy bag until it turned to mush.  Then he stuck a bar magnet down inside the mush, rinsed it in a bowl of water, and dried it with a paper towel.  Then he showed how the filings of iron from the cereal had stuck to the magnet by floating them in a bowl of water.  Amazing!  The kids and I pretty much freaked out at that point.  We never expected to find iron filings in our food, so we vowed right then and there to try this experiment at home!  He explained how God designed our bodies to need certain minerals, and iron is one of them.  He said it’s essential to the functions of our blood.  Very interesting!
  • Naked Eggs:  He dropped an egg into a beaker full of white vinegar and shoDSCF1986wed how bubbles immediately begin to rise from the surface of the egg.  He explained how the vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate in the shell and slowly dissolves the shell itself.  He showed how after seven days, the shell is completely resolved.  All that is left is the contents of the egg inside a membrane that you can now see through.  He explained how this relates to the calcium in our bones that is needed to keep our bones strong.  He suggested that we limit our consumption of foods and beverages (like soda) that deplete the calcium from our bones.
  • Fire Tornado:  He lit a can of Sterno inside a metal screened cage.  Then when he spun the cage around, the air blowing in at an angle caused the flame to become a fire tornado!  That was pretty neat!  He related this to how our words can also become a “fire tornado” if we let them get out of control.  Very good point.
  • Ping Pong Cannon:  He took a long piece of PVC pipe and covered one end with tape.  Then he placed a ping pong ball all the way at that end inside the tube.  Then he covered the other end with tape.  He set an empty soda can in front of the empty end of the pipe.  Then he vacuumed out the air from the pipe so it was vacuum sealed.  Then he punctured the end with the ping pong ball using a pair of scissors.  The pressure of the air pushing into the tube launched the ping pong ball out of the far end of the tube with such force that it completely punctured the soda can and came out the other side!  He picked up the ball afterwards and showed the dent in it from the impact.  Wow!  We never imagined the ping pong ball would be forced out so hard that it would go right through the soda can!
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cloud:  He poured liquid nitrogen into a plastic storage tub.  The condensing moisture created a cloud above the container.  Then he poured hot water into the tub containing the liquid nitrogen, and a GIANT cloud erupted into the crowd!  It looked like an atom bomb exploding!  He related this to God returning in a giant cloud and taking us into heaven.  This experiment looked so cool that the kids and I had to rewind it and watch it several times!  Awesome!
  • Cloud in a Bottle:  He pressed the valve from an air pump onto the end of a plastic bottle that contained a small amount of alcohol.  Then he pumped air pressure into the bottle.  The pressure creates heat in the air molecules.  When he removed the valve, a thick cloud immediately formed inside the bottle!  When he pumped pressure into the bottle again, the cloud disappeared, and when he pulled the valve off, the cloud immediately reappeared!  He related this to God’s creation of the water cycle and how this is what keeps our earth moist.
  • Garbage Can Vortex:  He created a vortex with two plastic bottles taped together and swirled the liquid inside, creating a “tornado.”  Then he took the bottom out of a trash can, leaving a round hole in the end.  He filled the trash can with fog and tapped on the other end, creating rings of smoke that were sent into the air!  Then he demonstrated this again using a trash can that had a square hole in the end and asked the audience members if they thought it would create a square ring of smoke.  They thought it would, but when he tapped on it, it made the same round rings of smoke!  He explained that this is because a square is not a strong shape in nature.  It is a law of nature that strong things are round, like the egg shell we looked at earlier.

The kids really enjoyed the video.  They are ages 14, 9, and 6, and all of them thought it was cool.  I found myself telling my husband about the iron filings in the cereal as we went to bed that night, and even he was surprised by the outcome!  Pretty cool. 

So on another day, we broke out Volume #4 on Motion, Friction, Electricity, and Light.

  • Tablecloth Trick:  He talked about inertia and how things at rest want to stay at rest.  He placed a plate and a vase of flowers on a table that was covered with a tablecloth.  He counted down and then had a participant from the audience pull the tablecloth off as fast as he could.  Remarkably, the items on the table didn’t even move at all!  Inertia is a law of nature, and everything in nature obeys this law.  He related this to how we also must obey the laws of God.
  • High BoDSCF2002unce Balls:  He stated that a basketball had potential energy in it, and then he had one of the participants drop it on the ground.  It bounced high, using kinetic energy.  Then he had a participant drop a smaller rubber ball, and it also bounced high.  But neither one bounced as high as it started out.  Then he balanced the smaller ball on top of the basketball and had someone drop it from the same height.  The small rubber ball bounced VERY high.  It created a lot of kinetic energy.  He related this to how God placed a lot of energy in our universe so that we could survive.
  • Marble Gravitron:  He began spinning a marble with a glass turned upside down on the table.  Then he continued spinning it and lifted the glass and rotated it all the way over while still spinning the marble.  He explained that centripetal force got the marble spinning.  Then inertia kept it in place.  He related this to how if Jesus is our focus, then we move only in the direction God wants us to follow and will be guided by good forces.  We should seek God first every day, and our paths will stay focused.
  • Yo-Yo Big Spool:  He had the participants try to play with yo-yos.  Then he took out a big wooden spool with string wrapped around it.  He pulled it up high and showed how the spool went the opposite direction that he was pulling.  But if he pulled the string at a lower angle, it rolled along right towards him.  He related this to how sometimes we feel up, and sometimes we feel down.  But we can’t trust our feelings.  We have to trust in God, because our feelings can be just like yo-yos.
  • Bowling Ball: He had a participant begin swinging a bowling ball that was suspended with a cable.  It swung like a pendulum, and he talked about how there was not any danger of being hit with the ball as it swung back because it lost energy as it moved.  He said this was another law of nature.
  •  Friction:  He had two children sit on a plank of wood while holding a cable and then had another child attempt to pull them, but they didn’t budge due to friction.  Then he had them repeat the exercise, but this time, he placed tubes underneath the plan as the girl pulled them.  This time, the plank moved forward with the children on it because the tubes were able to roll along underneath it because they had less friction.  He talked about how friction helps us as we walk so we don’t slip. 
  • Floating Rice:  He had a child place a skewer into a container full of rice and showed how he could not lift the container by pulling up on the skewer.  Then he tried it again with a bottle.  That didn’t work, either.  Then he did it in another bottle, and the skewer did lift the bottle!  It worked this time because the rice in the bottle was more tightly packed, and it put enough pressure on the stick that it was able to lift the bottle.  He related this to how there are a lot of people packed onto the Earth, and how Jesus wants to save all of them.  He pushed down on the rice in one of the other containers, and then it lifted that container, too!  He said this is like spreading the word of God to all the people so they, too, can be saved.  We were a bit surprised at how this experiment worked.  We had thought perhaps the rice was wet until we saw him just pack it down, and then it worked. 
  • Simple Motor:  He had a participant wrap a wire around a D battery into a coil.  Then he removed the coiled wire from the battery and wrapped one end of it around thDSCF2003e coil to keep it coiled.  He had a participant place a ring magnet onto the side of the D battery.  Then he took a pair of scissors and scratched the insulation off the magnet wire.  Next, he placed a paper clip on each end of the battery and slid the two long ends of the coil of wire into the loops of the paper clips.  Low and behold, the coil began spinning!  They had created a motor!  He said that our bodies generate electricity, and this allows us to move and function.  God made our bodies this way so they would work!  We thought this was a pretty cool experiment, and this was one we were pretty sure we were going to try at home!
  • Nail Magnet:  He had some participants wrap coated wire around nails.  The insulation on the ends of the wire were stripped off.  Then he had them connect the ends of the wires to a battery.  This created an electromagnet.  By doing this, the kids were able to pick up a whole bunch of paper clips all at once!  The electricity from the battery strengthened the magnetic force.  He related this to how the electromagnetic field around the earth protects us from the sun.
  • Jumping Rings:  He had a big electromagnet called a jumping ring.  He had a participant place a ring on top and then turned on the magnet.  Wow!  The ring flew up into the air!  Then he poured liquid nitrogen into a cooler and dropped the aluminum rings into it so they would get to be 190 degrees Celcius just like the liquid nitrogen.  Then he put one of the cold ones onto the electromagnet and turned it on, and it flew way up even higher than before!  The cold ring was a superconductor.  He related this to how God wants us to be supercharged with His power and give our hearts to Him.
  • Food Coloring and Bubbles:  He put a couple of drops of red food coloring in some water and mixed it up.  He related this to our sin being red like crimson.  Then he said he would try to “wash our sins away,” and he added some dishwashing liquid and mixed it up to create bubble soap.  He noted that the bubbles they mixed up with their hands were white, even though the liquid was red.  He said God takes our sins away into purity like white, and the bubbles in the container looked white because when a bunch of them are together, they look white.  Then he took some plastic wrap and showed how it was clear, just like one bubble by itself looks clear.  Then he had some participants fold the plastic wrap over and over again many times and showed the audience how it now looked white!  What happens is that the light is being refracted by all the layers, just like the bubbles all bunched up together, and then it looks white.  He related this to how God takes our sins away and makes us white as snow.

Overall, we thought the videos were really good.  Haylee (age 9) said “they were cool” and she “liked all the experiments.”  Hayden (age 14) said he liked how “it had a multi-purpose format where on one hand, the experiments were informative, but at the same time, it communicated a consistent theme of following God.”  Holden (age 6) said “some of them were so cool, but the one with the cloud was awesome!”  I, too, liked the way Mr. Roy tied in real-life spiritual lessons to many of the experiments in a way that made you stop and think a little deeper about the relationship between science and God’s awesome creation.  I also liked that there was a good mix of experiments you could recreate at home if you wanted, but you could also enjoy seeing some demonstrations that you might otherwise never get to witness.

Haylee enjoyed them enough that she was already asking to watch some of the other DVD’s I purchased to save as gifts, so I guess that idea has been overruled!  Smile

Find out what other Crew members had to say about these and other Go Science DVD’s by clicking the banner below.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – June 8th-14th

This is the last week of the public school year!  I can hardly wait to have Hayden home with me again every day.  Finally, I can take ALL of the kids to do fun things this summer.  I really haven’t been able to do any kind of field trips with the kids this school year, because I was beholden to Hayden’s school schedule and the need to take him and pick him up every day.  It’s been worth it, though…he’s had a fabulous time this year!


On Monday, the kids and I were invited to join the staff and students of Green Run Collegiate School for the year-end picnic.  It was also an educational field trip for Hayden’s Design Technology class, as they had designed usable boats out of empty plastic water bottles.  This was going to the their opportunity to put them in the water and see if they would float with people on them!  To the students’ amazement, they worked great, and they took turns with their teams racing them at the park at Sandbridge. 



They had a wonderful time, and I had great conversations with some of Hayden’s teachers and the principal during the picnic.  His math teacher told me she thinks the school was a perfect fit for Hayden and that she really appreciated how genuine a person he is.  She told me that Hayden stands apart from the other students in positive ways and that she could tell he’d been homeschooled.  That was such a nice thing to say!  It was years in the making!  Winking smile

Holden really loved getting to hang out with Hayden during the school day, and Hayden made sure Holden had a front row view of the action!  We had so much fun.  Hayden is looking forward to another year of adventure at GRC.


We had a lot of rain the rest of the week that kept us from making out to Ocean Breeze Water Park, despite the fact that Hayden had half days at school the remainder of the week.  So mid-week, I suggested that we head for AMF Lynnhaven Lanes for some summer bowling fun!


They let kids bowl free all summer, up to 3 games per day.  We just have to pay for shoe rental for the 2 kids who don’t have their own shoes.  I paid $40 for an adult summer pass, so off we went to try it out.  We had so much fun!  We played all 3 games in about an hour and a half.  Hayden and I were on one lane together, and Haylee and Holden were on the next one with bumpers up on their lane to prevent gutter balls.

Believe it or not, Holden creamed all of us on the first game!  LOL.  Yes, we’re that pathetic that a 6-year old boy can chuck a ball down the lane and still leave the rest of us in the dust!  Of course, he was ecstatic about that.

I won the second round with the high score of the day of 118, much to Hayden’s chagrin.  And Hayden won the third round, beating me by ONE POINT!  He was happy about that, for sure.  Haylee was bummed that she failed to beat any of us, but she still had a great time.  I can see us bowling quite a bit this summer, but almost $9 for 2 shoe rentals was a bit steep.  I’m going to have to step up my search for shoes for them, too!


On Friday, our local Chick-Fil-A stores were offering free chicken sandwiches for teachers and students with their school i.d. cards, and homeschoolers were included!  So after school was finally over, we headed out from 2-4 PM and managed to hit 5 different locations.


We had quite a haul by the time we got home!  We had enough bags full of chicken sandwiches to last the 5 of us for 4 meals from Friday through Sunday!  Thank you, Chick-Fil-A!  You rock!


On Saturday, we headed over to Newport News to join friends from church for their youngest daughter’s birthday pool party.


It’s always nice to spend the day with good friends!  The kids had such a good time that they didn’t want to leave when the party was over, but we had to go because we had plans to meet a very special friend of mine, Yolonda Wright, for dinner. 

Yolonda moved to Florida with her husband and two homeschooled kids about two years ago.  We’ve kept in touch regularly on Facebook, of course, but I hadn’t seen her in person in all this time.  She made a huge dinner reservation for all of her friends to meet up with her at Salsa’s restaurant in Newport News while she was here.


It was so nice to see her again, and we had a great chat and caught up on things.  She looked fabulous, as you can see, and she’s enjoying living in Florida. 


So that was our busy week!  The kids and I are taking our break the rest of this month so we can enjoy some time off with Hayden and also devote some extra time to some review products I’m working on right now.  We have some really good things in the works!

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up–June 1st-7th

It’s June!  The weather is warming up, and we’re gearing up for summer fun activities.


Monday was our first official day of 1st grade for Holden and 5th grade for Haylee.  Our new 2014-2015 school year has begun! 

Of course, I had every intention of taking a first-day-of-school picture, but that never happened, as usual!  LOL.  Come on, I know you guys can surely relate!

In any case, it went pretty well.  There were a couple of things I had forgotten to prepare, so we had to stop a couple of times while I got some things together, but all in all, it was a good day.  The kids actually finished on time, and that was great!

The next couple of days went even better.  Holden was finishing up around 12:30 each day, and Haylee was finishing up by 2 PM when we had to pick Hayden up from school.  Naturally, it helped to have a little incentive going…I took them to Ocean Breeze Water Park both Tuesday and Wednesday because they finished up on time so we could go right when we picked Hayden up.  That was great!  We had so much fun.  Not a bad start to the school year!  I could definitely get used to this routine!


It seems the workload is just about right for both of them this year.  I am making Holden do all of his own writing this year rather than tracing over my writing, and he’s doing remarkably well. 

I tried to choose curriculum I thought they’d both respond well to this year.  Haylee is again doing lots of workbook-based work, but since I actually planned for it rather than switched to it this year, I have it all organized and set up by day for the whole year.  I even have it scheduled out on her daily schedule.  They both seem to really like everything (well, except Holden detests handwriting, but that’s a given), so that’s a good place to start.  I’m hoping we have a really good school year.


My perennial flowers in my front flowerbed have finally begun to bloom for summer!  Now that the daffodils and tulips are all gone for the season, I get to enjoy these gorgeous beauties!  Look at all of those buds getting ready to open!  I can hardly wait. 


And I’ve got a solar lantern pole by my front door with 2 hanging baskets in it, and my petunias there are also doing beautifully!  Such happy colors!  Smile


I just love flowers!  They make me feel so happy inside and put a smile on my face very time.


Haylee is doing Sonlight’s Core F this year, and it has us studying all the major countries of the Eastern Hemisphere.  I really wanted to find some free printable lapbooks online to go with those countries that Haylee and I could put together as we go along.  She loves crafty things and hands-on activities, so I figured that would spice things up a bit for her.  So on Friday night, I stayed up really late researching, and I’m happy to say that I found most of the country lapbooks I needed for free at Homeschool Share.  I downloaded the ones I would need, and I went ahead and printed up the one for China since we’re reading about China now. 

On Saturday afternoon, Haylee and I sat together and assembled the China lapbook.  It turned out really cute!  It was just what I was looking for.  The kit included any links I would need in order to find the information to fill out the elements of the lapbook, so it came together quite nicely without taking a lot of time for research.  It was fun!  Here’s how it turned out.


Then after we’d already made it, I decided the one we’d make was oversized, and that made it awkward to store.  So when I was looking around online and found these premade lapbook bases and adhesive strips you can add so the lapbooks can be stored in a 3-ring binder, I got to thinking that I could very easily just make those myself from 3 sheets of cardstock, some clear packing tape, and a 3-hole punched 2-inch strip of cardstock with some double-sided tape on it.

So being the thrift person that I am, I set out to do just that.  I took apart the above lapbook and transferred everything to my homemade lapbook that is 8.5x11 sized and easily stores in a 3-ring binder.  I also printed the cover directly onto the front sheet of cardstock.  Here’s how it turned out:

DSCF1923     DSCF1925

And then I made a cover for the binder to hold all the country lapbooks we’ll be making to go with her core study.  With this setup, the lapbook sits nice and flat inside the binder.  I’m going to pick up some of those little Velcro coins to use as a means of keeping the lapbooks closed as we flip through them for future reference.

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Now isn’t this much better?  I’m going to do them this way from now on, for sure.


This was our first Saturday without baseball this spring.  Boy, it was nice to sleep in since we all went to bed so late!  9 AM was very late for me.  I made everybody a big brunch of omelet with smoked ham/onions/red pepper/New Zealand grass-fed cheddar, Potatoes O’Brien, bacon, herbed chicken sausage, and mini Grands biscuits with butter and local organic strawberry preserves that I got in this week’s fruit share CSA distribution.  Yum!  That was a nice treat and held us all over until dinner.

That’s about it for us this week!  We’re looking forward to spending more time at the water park this summer.  How about you?  What are your summer plans?

See ya next week.