Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arm Knitting

I'm wondering how many people have tried Arm Knitting? I met someone yesterday who made a scarf in one evening by doing this technique. I was able to find a great you tube video showing the how to. I'm so going to go buy some chunky yarn and try this! I'll post pictures once I'm done and let you know what I think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Still at it

M in her Heritage Girl uniform!
We have completed more than fifty days! The kids are very excited about this since we are planning on having a 100 day celebration. Honestly, with only the three of us I'm at a loss as to what to do! I think I will bake a cake and put a 100 candle on it, do a few count 100 items activity...but after that I'm not sure. I suppose I will spend some time on pinterest for ideas.

So far, on average everything has been going relatively well. Don't get me wrong C has had a few major meltdowns when he hasn't wanted to do work. I have had to explain to him it doesn't matter if he doesn't want to do it, he has too. I have found overall my patience with the kids has really grown. I've gotten to the point, "well go throw your fit and when you are done you can join us." Seems to have worked.

One thing I did notice is I'm not allowing for as much fun as I had originally planned too. To some extent it is hard, I mean I still have a house to run and there is still work to be done. Yet at the same time I don't step away from the worksheets and allow them to learn in other ways. This is something I am planning on changing. Don't get me wrong most days will still be worksheets, but I want to pull out some fun activities I've come across.

My husband, who is musical, works with them once a week for a music lesson. He started teaching C the recorder and worked with M on the piano. He has also been playing with them on Djembe drums (using a metronome), campfire songs, and playground clap songs. They really love music time!

We do have lots of time to do artwork (thank-you pinterest!) There are so many fun things to make this time of year! I would love to make everything, but I'll be honest with you...I hate all the added mess. I know that is wrong. I am working on having C and M help more with clean-up, but I still do the bulk of it. I still try to do at least one project a week plus they can pull out stamps or beads anytime they want. I should try to do a little more with them. I will add the links to the great sites I found these projects on if you would like to do them with your kids (all pretty easy).

How to draw a scarecrow
Toilet paper ghost 

The pumpkins were just a combination of ideas. I just used paper plates and let the kids paint them orange. They made faces with black construction paper and cut them out and glued them. We also have a stencil (I've been buying them at Hobby Lobby makes my life easier for art, lol) of leaves, so they picked the leaves, traced on green construction paper and cut. Voila!

The trees were just some printed trees (I can't find the link I used). I then let them pick finger paints for fall leaves and they put finger print leaves on their trees (I have also seen this with q-tips instead of finger prints).


Monday, October 6, 2014

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

My thoughts...

This is the second book by Diane Chamberlain I've read and I can say her books keep me wanting to read more! The Silent Sister really made me think what would I do in the case of Riley. She is in so many ways left alone to deal with her father's estate. Her brother has metal and emotional issues from his time in service, as well as from his childhood.  She has Jeannie, an old family friend, and her daughter Christine who seem to fly in from out of nowhere and take over the tearing apart of Riley's father's home. I'll be honest when I say I did not trust those two for one minute! Nor did I like them! I mean did they not get she JUST lost her dad! They infuriated me!You'll have to read to see if I was right or not!

Actually, the whole book is filled with people I didn't trust! It was as if everyone was in one this big secret except Riley. It was maddening! I constantly felt like I was waiting for the second shoe to drop in the story. I can't say I was surprised by the overall story that came out...many things I kind of guessed. However, there were a number of things I was surprised about! Things would go in this direction when I wouldn't expect them too. Even though I thought I knew how it may end I could never be sure of anything! I was completely absorbed by the story! Not to be missed--I'm recommending THE SILENT SISTER!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Nine Weeks

This was taken during outside play!
Today is huge! We have completed nine weeks of homeschool, we have survived! It has definitely had its ups and downs, but I honestly want to keep it up. I feel so much more engaged with my kids. I know what and how they are learning. I've seen C (2nd grader) really fall in love with reading! He had an interest in it last year and somewhat over the summer. Then one day after 'school' he sat down with one of his Magic Tree House books and read the whole thing. He is averaging a chapter book a day. When we leave the house he grabs a book. He no longer sees reading as a chore or a school assignment, but something to enjoy.

They both love art the most. I love art myself, but I always press to do all the school work first. This week I did start our Tuesday with art to change things up. It slowed our day down, but the kids seemed more relaxed. I am hoping to do a lot more fun projects before Halloween! I love Pinterst for coming up with lots of easy crafts for us to make!

Today will also be report card day! I can't believe how quickly everything has gone by! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Six weeks done!

I can not believe I've been homeschooling for six weeks! The time has really flown by! I've been thrilled with the progress of everything! I can see the kids are learning and every week I'm learning how to more effective in our classroom and in prepping. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There has also been sweet finds along the way...C has really stepped up numerous times and helped M when she has a question or a problem. They work pretty well together (minus the time they are arguing, lol). C really enjoys being able to read to his sister and she loves helping him with artwork and she is always good about telling him how well he is doing!

We had one day that was about to try my nerves. C just would not settle down and work on school. I figured I could sit and fight with him or I could give up for the day, but since this is all so new I didn't want him to think if I just throw a fit no school. Plus I want to try and stay on schedule, because I know there will be days we will need to miss. It was beautiful outside, so I grabbed most of our books and threw them in a bag. I told the kids to get in the car and we drove to a local  park. I let them run around and play, then we read from our book CHARLOTTE'S WEB, played some more and then they were happy to sit and do homework. The only fail was I forgot to pack drinks.

We've been keeping very busy. We just completed our topic of volcanoes. The kids loved erupting a volcano in our backyard! We watched videos, read books and of course did artwork. The kids are brimming with ideas, so we set up a jar where we write our ideas down and pull a topic out of the jar. This is has helped with the fighting over who gets to pick. There will be some I will pick myself. I'm very excited to do a unit on Autumn!

Our first book order!!! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

"A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life.  Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving -- this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf

Destined to be a book club favorite, a heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice for love.

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy’s mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most. Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.

My thoughts...Wow! Storytelling at its finest. Five Days Left had me sitting on the edge of my seat with every single page. This is going to be one of those reviews that is hard to write because I don't want to give too much of the story away, but I want to write a review to give this novel justice.

The novel is told from the viewpoint of Mara and Scott. They both know their lives will forever be changed in five days. One has a choice the other does not, but the choice isn't an easy one--it's heart wrenching. Storyline wise, I was more connected to Mara and her story. I could completely understand to some extent where she was mentally. I could understand her dilemma, felt her turmoil, I found myself sickened for heart in agony for what she must have been going through. I respected her fight. I personally have seen both my parents parish to cancer...I've seen the evil of what a disease can do. As a child of parents who have been ill, I scream fight for me. Mara's story is powerful.

Scott's story was also painful. He poured love into his little man for a year. He knew where it was going to end. He put all sorts of love into this little boy and he's leaving...going back to where we hate to think of kids going back to. Scott's heart is breaking, yet his wife not so much. She had opened up her home to bring the little boy there for a year-but she didn't fully invest. Now with the boy leaving, it is almost as if Scott is holding it against her for not being fully devoted, not to be falling apart like he is. He changed the rules without telling her. Then everything changes. Where will this lead this couple?

If I'm going to recommend one book this year...this is the book! 

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Saturday, August 30, 2014


Return to the golden beauty of Minnesota’s Butternut Lake in this emotional story that vividly captures the joy and pain of first love, as a mother and daughter each come to terms with the desires of her heart.

Summer at Butternut Lake—a season full of surprises . . . and life-changing choices.

Preparing for her final year of college, Daisy is crazy busy now that she’s back at Butternut Lake. She’s helping her mother, Caroline, run their coffee shop and trying to build a relationship with the absentee father who’s suddenly reappeared. She never expected to fall in love with Will, the bad-boy from high school who works at the local garage. With every passing day she and Will grow closer to each other . . . and closer to the day they will have to say goodbye. As summer’s end looms, Will and Daisy face heartbreaking choices that might tear them apart.

Caroline already has her hands full trying to make ends meet at the coffee shop without having her no-good ex suddenly show up. Now that Jack is back, he’s determined to reconnect with the family he walked out on twenty years ago. But with the bank pounding on her door and Jack’s presence reminding her of the passion they once shared, Caroline’s resolve begins to crumble. As Daisy’s departure looms and her financial worries grow, Caroline just may discover the support she needs . . . in the last place she ever imagined.

My thoughts. I absolutely loved the first book in the Butternut Lake Trilogy, Up At Butternut Lake. I was so disappointed when the book ended and had thought this would make a good series, so I was thrilled when I found out it was going to be. Now that is a lot of excitement for a book to live up too. That said, I'm sure you wanna know what I thought of book two! Well two fold. I was disappointed when didn't I read more about Allie and Jax. I loved these two characters and in the second book there was a bit of a cameo, but that was it. I really felt they easily could have made a few more appearances to help us with what Caroline was going through. It wasn't like they were needed to move the story, but I think girlfriends being there for her would have been nice. Plus they were such a part of book one.

I overall enjoyed Butternut Summer, but not nearly as much as Up At Butternut Lake. I want to add the book really pulled me in near the end. I felt the story moved at a believable speed and loved getting to know Caroline and her daughter Daisy more. I feel the book was very good, but like I said I loved the first one so much, the second one had almost too much to live up to. On the positive, you could read this as a stand alone, but don't! These are really wonderful characters I really recommend you read them in order! Now I will say I am hopeful the third book will really come back and focus on all four ladies! I'm a fan of Mary McNear and this series (I'm actually bummed it is only a trilogy)! I could see how you could add more characters and stories making a number of books, hint hint to the author! I am recommending Butternut Summer! Make sure to grab a copy for a great read this Labor Day weekend!

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