Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We're BACK~~~Our Trip out West by Numbers

     I know my blog has been pretty empty the last 2 weeks...my family (including my mom and dad) have been on a trip of a lifetime out WEST!  Here is a quick synopsis...by the numbers:

        2 nights with friends  (How great to see great friends from college/seminary!!)
        5 National parks
        6 souvenirs (just for me)
        8 hamburgers eaten by my youngest
        9 days that I counted as "school days"
             10 nights in hotels
       11 states (not counting our own)
       13 days on the road
       35 new birds logged by my oldest son
     773 pictures taken by me
  5,000 miles driven
10,600 feet...our highest elevation

And here are a "few" pictures....
"Pops" on Rt. 66

"Cross" in Grooms, TX
(Lots of statues...all the events surrounding the crucifixion/resurrection....WONDERFUL way to spend our Sunday!)

St. Francis Church in Santa Fe, NM

Lunch in Santa Fe
My oldest son and dad....taking any and every opportunity to birdwatch!

Durango-Silverton Train

Mesa Verde
Climbing up from the Kiva. 
Monument Valley


Ain't She GRAND??

Bryce Canyon National Park

Arches National Park
Fall in Colorado
Last Stop.....the Gateway to the West!  (or for us the Gateway out of the WEST!)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

TOS Review: Family Time Fitness

     The arrival of Family Time Fitness came at the perfect time~~right around the time of the Olympics.  My kids and I were already inspired by all the athletes and their training and dedication---and then Family Time Fitness pushed us a little farther! 
     We used (and will use all this school year!) the Core 1, K-8 Curriculum.  It is physical education curriculum,  designed to use every school day for a year (There are 260 lessons!) The age range is Kindergarten through 8th grade.  Lessons come in a down loadable format. There are video demonstrations for every exercise and activity.  Each lesson takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.  The cost is just $57 for the entire program.


     Included in each lesson you will find the following:
  • List of skills taught for that specific lesson
  • Equipment needed (very basic things like jump ropes, hula hoops, cones, balls, etc.)
  • Suggested recovery time (how long to rest after each activity)
  • Warm-up activities/exercises
  • Activity/Game Play
  • Cool Down
  • Outdoor Activity (optional---adds 10-15 minutes)
Additional Features that come with the Curriculum:
  • Physical Fitness Assessment Tool: Every 6 weeks you test certain skills (like how fast you can run a mile).  There is a log to record your times for each. 
  • Nutritional Logs
  • Meal Planner 
  • Reminder/encourager emails
  • Access to online webinars and much more!!
  • Note: this is a one time purchase for your family! You don't have to pay a renewal fee year after year.   

Family Time Fitness 4 Homeschool is set up with families in mind.  (Not a classroom of 25 children)
You will not have to modify a thing. 
Our Homeschool's Experience:
     After downloading the program, I took some time to read the introduction.  There were two statements that really stuck out.  The first was:  "Just like other academic disciplines, physical education must be taught."  My children are always active either in sports or just playing outside.  They even attended a homeschool P.E. class for a year or more. Beyond that, though, we have never had an organized "P.E." as part of our homeschool curriculum.  Family Time Fitness has completely changed my mind on this.  After just using Family Time Fitness for a short time, I can already see improvement in not only certain skills with my boys, but with an overall desire for physical fitness.
     The other statement from Family Time Fitness that struck a chord with me was, "Physical activity helps to activate the brain and improves on task behavior during the other academic instruction time."  I have always known this intuitively...many times if my kids were in a "slump", I'd send them outside for 30-45 minutes.  It always helps.  Now, with Family Time Fitness as part of our weekly schedule, it is already worked in.  We found the best time of day for us to be an hour before lunch, or an hour after. 
     Before we began the lessons with Family Time Fitness, we took a few days to do some of the assessments.  My boys really enjoyed and were very motivated by this.  For example, my children have, on their own, worked on improving their running time.  The other evening they ran around the house up teen times.  They want to beat their last time on running the mile.  Assessments are scheduled every 6 weeks. Being boys, competition comes easy.   
     After several assessments, we began the lessons.  To start, I'd print out the 1-2 pages of instructions, so that I could have them on hand.  I then watched all of the video demonstrations, to ensure we did all the exercises properly.  Those were VERY helpful.  We are fortunate to have a gym at our church, so we had some "P.E." times there.  The other day it was nice and cool outside, so we had fitness in our backyard.  I think the gym worked out better, but it was easier and quicker to just walk out the backdoor.  Some of the warm-ups we did in our living room.  If you have a basement or other large room, most everything could be done there as well.
My kids enjoying some outside play: jump rope!
Jump roping was not scheduled for this day, but something we all enjoy doing...so we added it on.
We also added all 3 of us doing jump rope together...2 turning the rope and one jumping.  Great memories!

     Most of the time we have been using Family Time Fitness, I kept calling it "Family Fun Fitness".  I did not do this on purpose...I just called it that.  I think it's because it is FUN!  The thing I loved most about it is the same reason I love homeschooling....time with my kids.  Family Time Fitness not only gave me TIME with my kiddos, but ACTIVE and FUN time with them!  My boys really got a "kick" out of their mom doing all of these exercises with them!  And mom had a great workout...another plus!  I usually do my exercising before or after we do school each day...it's great to have my personal exercise built into our homeschool day!!  The age range is K-8 on this product, but let me assure you...it is great for all ages!

Jumping over a rope 20X on just one foot!  Great workout for my kids (AND ME!!)
Contact Information for Family Time Fitness:
Other products from Family Time Fitness:
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
To read what other TOS reviewers said about Family Time Fitness, go HERE

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recipe~"Real" Tacos

     For years I have been a little frustrated with my kids that they would not eat tacos.  I thought, "What is wrong with them, all kids like tacos!"  (My frustration really came from the fact tacos were easy, etc....but on the other hand I was also pretty pleased that my children had a dislike for something with MSG and other "stuff".)
      Over the past year, I have been finding/collecting recipes for homemade tacos.  Homemade as in no seasoning packet.  (I finally figured out that was the part they did not like.)  After looking at several recipes, I chose the ingredients that I thought my family would like best.  I was sooo excited how much we ALL LOVED these tacos!
Here is the final concoction:
(All amounts are estimated.  I do not measure any of the ingredients.  Just season to taste.)
*Brown one lb. ground beef (We like using organic.)
*Add one small yellow onion, chopped.  (My family loves onion...I can never add too much.)
*1 clove fresh garlic, minced
*1 Serrano pepper (I love the mildness of this pepper...I have never seen this in a recipe for taco meat, but I love that it gives a good flavor without the heat.)
*After onions are cooked down, add chili powder and cumin. I add about 1 tsp. each. Add more if you want more flavor.  (You can add a pinch or two of salt here if you like.)
*Add about a 1/2 cup of water until it cooks down.

* For the "shell": We do not like the typical crunchy taco shell at our house. I found these great tortillas--I just love the "real" Mexican flavor they have...it goes perfectly with our "real" taco meat!

Add cheese, sour cream, and iceberg lettuce. 
I served this with a side of fruit...now a FAMILY FAVORITE!!  I just love it when I fix something we all love!  This was an easy, flavorful meal--- and I dare say cheaper or as cheap as the packet of taco mix.  (My Serrano pepper was 8 cents!)  I know it tasted way better, and something I feel much better about feeding my family.  :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

TOS Review: Marshall Publishing~~~Lewis and Clark DVD

     Last night, my boys and I sat down with a big bowl of popcorn to watch the "The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark, We Proceeded on" DVD.  This is one of the latest releases from Marshall Publishing.  We were excited to watch it since we'll soon be taking our own "expedition" out West.  (Although our hardships will consist of things like trying to find a restaurant everyone agrees on....a far cry from eating candles like Lewis & Clark and their crew had to do during one of the toughest parts of the journey!)

     A Description from the Publisher:
"The journey of Lewis and Clark stands as a true epic in documented exploration of the West.  From 1804 to 1806 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery on an 8,000 mile journey into the unknown.  Starting at the meeting of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they traveled by foot, boat, and horseback--all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back.
This is the story of that exploration, complete with diary excerpts, encounters with Indians, the sometimes beautiful and sometimes threatening landscape, and a summary of the objectives and accomplishments of this extraordinary team.
Beautiful photography, live re-enactments, illustrated maps and rare photographs make this historical adventure come to life and one that will entertain and educate all age groups for years to come."
What we thought:
      Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are no strangers at our house.  My father has been enthralled with the history of this expedition for many years, and has passed on his interest (and several books!) to my children.  We also studied them about 2 years ago in our homeschool.  I was curious what my sons would think of the video, since they knew so much already. 

We think Lewis and Clark were so cool, my oldest dressed up as one of them last Fall Festival!

     As soon as the DVD began, one of my son's first comments was, "I really like the music."  During the movie, we were all focused on the film.  It really held our attention.  There was a mix of pictures, maps, "live" footage, and statues. The thing that most impressed me was the simplicity of it.  It was very easy for an older child to understand, but interesting enough for an adult. 
     Not only was the DVD simple...it was very family friendly.  (Marshall Publishing is a recipient of the "Family Approved Award", and I can see why.)  Many times when we watch documentaries on TV, we have to be more cautious about the content.  I appreciated the family-friendliness of this DVD.
     I wondered how an exploration of the West that took 2 years could be boiled down to 35 minutes...but Marshall Publishing did a superb job.  The film gave background before the exploration, the main events and highlights of the journey and it even told what happened to (many of) the crew after their return.  (When asked what they learned that they didn't know before, my boys told me they had never heard the stories of what happened to some of the crew after their big journey out West was over.  This was very interesting to all three of us.)
     I am so glad that my children (and I) had the opportunity to watch "The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark" DVD.  It really helped for the books my boys have read to "come alive".  It also helped to "pull it all together".  Comments from my boys included, "Good", "Very Good" and "Interesting".   We will be taking this DVD along with us as we travel out West.  The Arch in St. Louis is one of our last stops.  We will stand where Louis and Clark stood at the end of their journey.  My entire family will undoubtedly recall the things we saw on the DVD and appreciate even more the sacrifice, integrity and courage this crew had so many years ago as they explored the unknown.

     A Special Deal for All Homeschoolers Reading My Review:
The normal price for the Lewis and Clark DVD is $24.95.  NOW it is just $19.95.   You can get FREE FIRST CLASS SHIPPING on the DVD by entering this code: TOS27 at checkout!!!  Item #KVFD-111 
Marshall Publishing Contact Information:
123 S. Hough St., Barrington, Illinois, 60010
Phone: 224-238-3530
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
     Marshall Publishing offers a wide variety of DVD's.  Topics range from animals to Spanish to Fire Trucks and Comedy.  "The Historic Expedition of Lewis and Clark" was just one of four DVD's that the TOS Crew reviewed.  Other DVD's that were reviewed are:
To see reviews on all these DVD's from Marshall Publishing go HERE.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Morning with My 4's and 5's~~~Jeremiah

"God told Jeremiah to write His words"

In one center, children cut out letters from Play-Doh.  They enjoyed  spelling their names.

They also spelled words like "Bible" and "Love". 

Children had lots of fun making a scroll.  We are talking about the Bible all this month.

Baruch (Jeremiah's helper) wrote lots of words on the scroll.
We made lots of words, too.  One little boy read to me what his letters said: "Jesus loves you ..... and Jesus is the best..."


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Science Lab: Chromotography

Cutting strips for the chromotography experiment.
Hanging the strips on rubber bands so they just touch the bottom.
(My boys drew lines with a different colored washable marker on the end of each strip.)
Adding water in small amounts until it touches the bottom of the paper.

Capillary action at work, separating the colors!

Results in our handy-dandy lab books.