Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wordless Wednesday~ Barn Owl



Recently, we were able to witness the release of a barn owl that had been injured and rehabilitated. 




We were thrilled to see her fly away.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

10 Things to Gift (or Donate) to a Homeschooling Family


Homeschooling can be tricky sometimes, especially when you are working with one income. Books, school supplies, more school supplies, and field trips. It's amazing how fast all those things can add up. Thankfully, we are blessed with friends and family that have asked what we needed or donated items they no longer needed. 

Here is a list of our all time favorite items we've been gifted. We have been blessed by so many people on our journey.


1. BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS

Books are a must when you homeschool. Homeschool families have textbooks, workbooks, and literature books to buy. Buying all those books can be very expensive for families. Every year, I make an Amazon Wish List for all the books I need for the upcoming school year. I include educational games, flashcards, movies, experiments, and projects on this list too.  For birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc. we have family and friends that ask what we need.  I gladly share our list. I can easily look at the list or send them a link so they can get whatever they would like. I love when the kids received gifts that we can use. 


2. Paper....all types of paper.



Homeschoolers use all kinds of paper. Copy paper, colored copy paper, card stock paper, construction paper, notebook paper, art pads, and lined hand writing paper. The uses are endless! Worksheets and tests for the students. Coloring pages and alphabet pages for the little ones. Card stock and construction paper can be used with lapbooks, unit studies and journaling.
The kid's grandmother was given a box full of paper when we first started homeschooling. A friend of hers was cleaning out her house and came across colored paper, card stock, copy paper,and more. We still have paper from that generous gift and it's been 9 years!


3. Markers, Crayons, and Colored Pencils

Markers, crayons, and pencils oh my! We have to replace these items almost yearly, especially the markers. They get used up or just dry up (especially when lids are not put on correctly).  Sometimes they get eaten by the dog too. The boxes never last through the year, so we store ours in various plastic containers. These items are essential for homeschoolers (and any family with kids). Kids need to be hands on with their learning and get involved in creating fun things.



4. Art Supplies



Art supplies are another essential in our household. These supplies vary according to what we are studying that year. We always need drawing pads, drawing pencils, paint, paint brushes,  clay, oil pastels, chalk pastels, and art canvases.


5. Electric Pencil Sharpener

An electric pencil sharpener is a must. Those little hand held ones never seem to work. The pencil tips just keep breaking off and it's very frustrating! We have the X-ACTO sharpener and is works extremely well. We've had no problems with it. We tried a few others before this one and they all broke within the year. We've had this one for 3 years now and it's still going strong. (Knock on wood)



6. Laminator


I didn't get a laminator right away. In fact, I went the first 6 years of homeschooling without one. I honestly don't know I survived. Since getting one, I have used it to laminate math fact sheets, flashcards, games I created for my kids, and prayer cards. I can see how useful they would be for families with younger kids! You can crate your own re-usable hand writing pages.



7. Craft Supplies


Craft supplies can be anything and everything. Toilet paper rolls, old shoe boxes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, sequins, glitter, buttons, ribbon, beads, egg cartons, etc. The list can go on and on. When the kids were younger, I had a plastic tub full of goodies the kids could use. We saved whatever we thought was useful, grandparents and relatives gave us stuff form their stash, we bought stuff from thrift stores and yard sales. Relatives cleaning out shelves are a great way to get some neat stuff.


8. Notebooks





Notebooks come in handy. We use notebooks for most of subjects. The kids can take notes in science and religion. They can use a notebook to do copywork, journaling, and do their math lessons. My kids love to pick out new notebooks every year. Luckily, they gave a grandma that loves to buy them new notebooks and always gets them in patterns and characters they love. I use notebooks to plan lessons, book logs, and for making notes for the upcoming year. I have a notebook for my school planning, the religious class I teach on Sunday, and my homeschool group.


9. Binders


We have a whole shelf in our schoolroom with just binders on it. Both Michael and Therese have binders for each of their subjects. We use our history ans science binders the most. They each have a portfolio binder for the year too. This binder is where they keep track of the books they have read, store their tests from various subjects, and papers they have written. Included in this binder is an All About Me page for the year and a record keeping page so they can see how well they are doing in each subject. I have a binder to keep track of my lesson plans. I also have a binder for  history and science that stores all the stuff we will be doing for the year. I love to be organized.


10. Pencils & Erasers  



Just like in regular school, pencils and erasers are important. We have tried different pencils over the year. We've been given a types. Plan yellow pencils and pencils with all cute images. I have to say not all pencils are the same. We quickly discovered that the best pencils are the Ticonderoga brand, even the box says they are the world's best pencils. The tips don't break off and the erasers actually work!


5 Bonus Items We Love in Our Schoolroom


11. Microscope




If you have a budding scientist, a microscope is a must have. We started off with a simple little kid microscope. It was colorful, had a few slides, and was easy too use. After a few years, Michael asked for a real one. We searched and searched until we found just the right one. We wanted one that would grow with him. We added it to his Christmas list and his grandparents made his wish come true. They kids have used it to look at hair, blood, leaves, feathers, and bugs. Michael has even created his own slides to keep.



12. Telescope


We are very lucky to have a wonderful telescope. A neighbor learned we were homeschooling and gave us a telescope his family was no longer using. He had bought it for his son years ago and no one was using it anymore. He said he wanted to pass it onto us so someone else could enjoy looking at the stars. We have used it a few times already. I know when we learn about Astronomy it will get used a lot. I love gazing up at the star.



13. Storage Containers

We have quite the selection of storage boxes in our schoolroom and throughout the house. We have Rubbermaid bins that store craft supplies, notebooks, and school books. We have fabric baskets on our book shelves that store items like tape, glue, paint, etc. Any item that we may use on a daily basis. On my desk, I have old jelly jars that hold paperclips, pushpins, coins, glitter, rubber-bands, and any other small items that may get lost. I have photo boxes to hold flashcards and metal buckets that hold pencils and pens. We have small plastic bins that hold markers, crayons, and colored pencils. I have the 10 drawer cart in our schoolroom. It holds loose leaf paper, colored paper, card stock, file folders, and rulers. It holds a ton of stuff but doesn't take up much of room. We love it. 


14. Outgrown Sports Equipment 



We (or my father in law) have found plenty of great sport items at yard sales. We have scooters, basketball hoop, bikes, and tennis rackets all from yard sales. We've even gotten old bikes from my parents and siblings. My in-laws have bought the kids pedal cars, go carts, and a wonderful corn hole game. The kids have bought a volleyball set, a croquet set, pool tools, and balls with birthday money and gift cards. We buy balls all the time. Unfortunately, the dog loves balls and tends to destroy them if see can get her mouth on it.


15. Gift Cards


The kids and I love gift cards. Both kids enjoy receiving them as presents. They will hold on to them until they see something they really want. Michael has used his on science experiments, books, model car kits, and games. Therese tends to use her crafts. She loves to buy jewelry making kits, fabric to sew with, items for her fairy garden. I love how gift cards can help them discover new talents and hobbies!


This is just a few of the items we have found to be a necessity for our household.
Do you have any favorite items in you schoolroom?
I loved to hear about them.
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Living Like a Saint~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


"If you follow the will of God, you know that in spite of all the terrible things that happen to you, you will never lose a final refuge. 
You know that the foundation  of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the ONE that loves you."

~Pope Benedict XVI




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Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday~ School's Back In







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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Living Like a Saint~ Saint Josephine Bakhita



"I travel slowly, one step at a time, because I am carrying to big suitcases. 
One of them contains my sins, and in the other, which is much heavier, are the infinite merits of Jesus. 
When I reach Heaven I will open the suitcases and say to God: "Eternal Father, now You can judge." 
and to Saint Peter: "Close the door, because I'm staying!"

~ Saint Josephine Bakhita






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Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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Friday, August 19, 2016

TOS Review~ Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC



Do you kids love to do puzzles? I know my kids love to figure things out. Michael has loved puzzles since he was a little thing. He'd sit for hours when he was 2 years old putting puzzles together. I am so excited to share with you about a fantastic new puzzle for kids and adults. Recently, we were given  the chance to review The Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle from Enlivenze LLC. 



Enlivenze LLC is a company that works on creating "Smart. Active. Play." products. The companies goal is to make products that encourage active play.  They want to inspire and challenge children's minds. The company is based Saint Paul, Minnesota and the puzzles are made right her in the United States. Isn't that great!

The FlipStir puzzles come in 2 different levels,  Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 puzzles have simpler pictures to put together, while Level 2 puzzles have pictures that are little trickier to put together. 

Level 1 Puzzles

Rainbow Pencils
Tyrannosaurus Rex


Level 2 Puzzles

Solar System
The Statue of Liberty
The Periodic Table

The FlipStir puzzles are geared for ages 7 and up. Perfect for kids and adults. The puzzles costs $24.95. 

The Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle is a self contained 3D puzzle. . No losing pieces! The puzzle is in a plastic jar that reminds me of the jars you used to find in barber shops. The jar is easy to clean. The puzzle itself is 10 pieces. The instructions are super easy!

Shake
Stir
Solve

It really is that simple. I will admit that it takes a lot of hand eye coordination to solve these puzzles. It helps improves fine motor skills and  child's dexterity. Once you figure out how to work the pieces around it becomes easier to solve. 




When we opened up the shipping box, our puzzle was already shaken up. Both Michael and Therese gave the puzzle a try. Neither one of them solved it on their first try. A few days later I sat down and gave it a try. I wanted to see how the puzzle worked and how difficult it was. At first, I wasn't quite sure on how to get the pieces around. I started using the wand to move the pieces around. I recommend putting the puzzle on its side to switch the pieces from the top to the bottom. I noticed that the puzzle had the title The Statue of Liberty and  New York, NY U.S.A. I worked on getting the words into the right position. Once I got the bottom 3 pieces in I knew where the other pieces went. The tricky part was getting them there. I had o move pieces around without messing up the pieces I already had in place.The first and last puzzle piece were probably the easiest to get into position.
After everyone has solved it, I figured we'd have a contest to see who can solve it the fastest. We'll time each other and see who can be #1. I think a little competition will be a great way to challenge their minds a little more.

What we thought of The Statue of Liberty FlipStir Puzzle?


When the box arrived in the mail, both kids were excited. They couldn't wait to see how the puzzle worked. We have enjoyed it. The kids are looking forward to taking in the car when we go o vacation in September. I love that they can't lose any pieces in the car. Some car games can still have lose pieces and we always seem to lose a few. I love that it's self-contained! I love that it's quiet. We won't have to listen to any annoying sounds while driving across country. Even better is requires no batteries. All it takes is your child's smart brain and their hands. 
Michael has already asked for the Solar System puzzle and he Periodic Table puzzle.



Want to learn more about these amazing puzzles? 
Check out them out!




Make sure you stop over to see what other fun puzzles the crew reviewed!

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews
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Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you. 

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