Friday, December 17, 2010

Bird Watching

Bird watching is hard work!


(Please excuse the very dirty door!)


Tiny Planets ~ Review

My latest mission from the Homeschool Crew:  Explore Tiny Planets with the kids.  image

Meet two new alien friends, Bing and Bong, and explore, discover and learn!image

What is Tiny Planets?

Tiny Planets is a virtual world based on a television series by the same name that provides fun, educational entertainment.  It is set in a space environment in which the kids can explore and discover. Tiny planets is geared towards children ages 4 to 12.

“It features the cosmic adventures of Bing and Bong, two whimsical aliens who travel the Universe of Tiny Planets together on their gadget-loaded plush sofa. With Bing and Bong, children are encouraged to think for themselves, assume social responsibility, take care of our planet and learn about the mysteries of space.”

Tiny Planets has six area to explore:


Our Thoughts:

I have to admit that I had a little trouble figuring out how to navigate the site and sign my kids up.  Parents must set up cadet accounts for each child and add them to the parent account.  Once I got the kids set up, we started playing!  I was immediately impressed with the graphics and that the site is basically free.  You can purchase keys to access more areas:

10 keys - $1.95  
25 keys  -$3.95 
85 keys  - $9.95  
250 keys - $25.95 
600 keys - $49.95

The site is fun, but I don’t see much educational value.  Yes, it does have some fun printable worksheets, but my kids were not interested in the printables, they wanted to play. 

Overall, it is a fun site and the kids enjoyed exploring Tiny Planets!

To see additional reviews by the Homeschool Crew click here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wits & Wagers Family {Review}


Looking for a last minute Christmas gift that everyone in the family will enjoy?  Wits & Wagers Family from North Star Games ($19.99) is a fun, fast paced trivia game.  It is recommended for ages 8 and up and can be played by 3 to 10 people. 

How to Play:

Each player or team chooses a colored dry erase board to write their answers on, and two wooded meeples in the same color.  The large meeple is worth 2 points and the small one is worth 1 point.


Image courtesy of user EndersGame

One person reads the trivia question and the teams or individuals write down their answers, which are always numbers.  After everyone has written down their answered, the cards are flipped over and placed in order from smallest to largest.  

Once the answers are flipped over you place your meeples.  You can place them on your own answer, on another players answer, or both.

After the meeples have been placed someone reads the answer on the question card.  The player that has the closest answer, without going over, wins points.  The players then add up their points, anywhere from 0 to 4, and mark them on the score card.  The player/team that has 15 points wins!

Our Thoughts:

Although the game is recommended for ages 8 and up, my daughter 7, had no problem playing the game and won the first couple of times we played.  My son, 4, also enjoyed writing the “answers” on the dry erase board. 

The games is fast paced and only took about 20 minutes to play.  I will admit that I don’t normally like trivia games, because I always lose, but I really enjoyed this game ~ since you can guess and don’t have to have an exact answer.  There are even educational questions such as: “In inches, how long was the longest insect ever found?”, or “How many chambers are there in the human heart?”.   Overall ~ great game that we will continue to play!

To Purchase:

You can purchase the game here for $19.99.

To find out what my Crewmates thought of Wits & Wagers click here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Night Tree

It has become a Christmas tradition in our house to read Night Tree by Eve Buntingimage

and decorate a tree for the squirrels, birds, owls and any other critters that wander into our yard. 


This year we put the following on our tree:


  • Strings of popcorn, cranberries, and Cheerios
  • Orange and apple slices
  • Half an orange that we filled with sunflower seed
  • Bread we cut with cookie cutters, spread peanut butter an pressed into bird seed
  • Pine cones with peanut butter and bird seed
  • Nuts ~ which we put around the tree

After we decorate the tree we always come in and have a cup of hot chocolate ~ with whip cream of course!  What Christmas traditions do you have?


Apologia Press Good Morning, God {Review}

PhotobucketI was sent the sweetest book to review from Apologia PressGood Morning, God by David Carman  ($14.00) is intended for children ages one to eight.

The story is about an energetic 4 year old boy who awakes each morning saying good morning to God.  Every day of the week the little boy worships the Lord, from morning to bedtime.  Included at the end of the book are questions and activities for each day of the week.

Our Thoughts

I instantly fell in love with the book the moment I started reading it.  The artwork is beautiful, with one page done in color and the other a pencil drawing.  The questions and activities that go along with the book have brought about some wonderful conversations and lasting memories that we will cherish and thing about every time we read the book. 

My kids keep a few favorite books in their rooms and the remainder stay on a bookcase in the hall.  This book has been added to my sons room since he has asked me to read it almost every night.

Find Out More

You can see a sample of the book here.  The book can be purchased from Apologia Press for $14.99 (click on the picture below).  They also have coloring book that that can be purchased for $4.00.  

                 image image

You can learn what my Crewmates thought of Good Morning, God here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gourmet Dog Treats

This week we have been busy baking and making things for our furry and feathered friends. 

We started out by making dog treats for our dog, Maggie, and some of her doggie friends.  I found the recipe here.

Gourmet Dog Treats

What You’ll Need:


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup oats

What You’ll Do:

  1. Blend the wet ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together.IMG_4555
  2. Mix them together to form a ball of dough.IMG_4558
  3. Roll out and use your favorite cookie cutters.  (We used a small Scottie dog, heart and star.)                          IMG_4559
  4. Put them on a non-stick cookie tray or lightly greased tray.
  5. Cook 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  6. DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE OVEN!  Turn off the oven and allow the biscuits to cool in the oven until they are hard and crisp.Dog Treats
  7. Store in an airtight container.

We wrapped our treats    Dog Treats

and added a dog bone gift tag.

Dog Bone Gift Tags

click on the image to download

To go along with our baking we read two of our favorite Christmas books which feature dogs:  Clifford’s Christmas and Carl’s Christmas.

   image     image


Friday, December 3, 2010

Our Week ~ Gingerbread

This week has been filled with gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, gingerbread pirates, lots of fun, and even a little bit of learning thrown in here and there! 


Every year we put together and decorate gingerbread houses.  Aiden did more sampling than assembling!  This year Emily did most of the decorating and I took pictures.IMG_4548

We made a gingerbread pirate crew after we read the book The Gingerbread Pirates



The kids decorated gingerbread pirates and gingerbread people cut out of construction paper.


I made a simple gingerbread counting printable for Aiden.

image click on the image to download

Each gingerbread man has a number 1 – 10 (numeral and written) on it.  Emily held Aiden add the correct number of buttons to each gingerbread man.



I cut gingerbread men out of sandpaper and rubbed them with spices (2 with ginger, 2 with cinnamon, and 2 with cloves).  The kids took turns matching the scents.

Then we did a little experiment to see why the gingerbread boy didn’t want to cross the river.  I let the kids guess how long it would take for the gingerbread to start crumbling?  Emily guessed 2 minutes and Aiden said 4 minutes.  It took about 1 minute and 15 seconds for it to completely disintegrate in the water.

 IMG_4511 IMG_4512

Just for fun we tested a marshmallow, pretzel, nut, and a gingerbread star to see if they would disintegrate.  IMG_4514The results:  the marshmallow got slimy, the pretzel feel apart and of course the gingerbread star became mush.  The winner was the nut!


On of the most exciting things that happened this week was finding a sticky note that Aiden wrote his name on.  AIDEN WROTE HIS NAME all by himself!



Emily has been reading to Aiden everyday during quiet time.  They like to gather all of their pillows and stuffed animals and camp out in the hall.   I absolutely LOVE hearing Emily reading to Aiden!IMG_4492

I hope everyone had a great week!

Linking up to:

 image image


Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Goals

If you have been following my blog for awhile, I’m sure you have noticed that things have been very quiet!  No posts about lessons or what we have been doing.  So just what have I been doing?  I have been dealing with a certain four year that has been having some very alarming tantrums, and truthfully it has just sucked the energy right out of me!  My son is so different from my daughter.  Emily wants to held and cuddled when she was upset.  Aiden needs to be left alone to work things out.  If you try and hold him, he lashes out ~ kicking and screaming! 

So what does this have to do with my December  goals?  While caring and worrying about my kids, I have neglected my poor husband and myself.  So, my top priorities are:

  • Find a babysitter and plan a date night with my hubby (at least every other week)!
  • Get a head start on Bible in 90 days, which starts January 3rd.

We are going to be homeschooling this month, however it is going to be a light month ~ reading, baking and crafts.  I’m really hoping this will be a relaxing month, where I can focus on the family and take some steps to create a calmer environment.  This brings me to my other goals for the month:

  • Declutter the house.  Seriously, the thought of more toys and stuff coming in the house causes me to have a panic attack!
  • Menu planning ~ why did I ever stop this? 
  • Establish some new rhythms in our home:
    • Monday ~Baking
    • Tuesday ~ Crafts
    • Wednesday ~ Handiwork
    • Thursday ~ Head outside to explore
    • Friday ~ Family day
    • Saturday ~ Cleaning and errand day
    • Sunday ~ Rest

Are you homeschooling this month?  What are you goals?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gingerbread Pirates

Arrrggghhh…we have a new book in our collection of Christmas favorites ~ The Gingerbread Pirates.


It’s Christmas Eve, and Jim and his mother are making pirate gingerbread men to leave for Santa. Jim’s favorite is Captain Cookie, who carries a gingerbread cutlass and has a toothpick peg leg. The captain is much too good to be eaten, so Jim keeps him close by his bed. But late that night, when Jim is fast asleep, Captain Cookie step taps away on a daring adventure to find his pirate crew — and rescue them from that mysterious character he’s heard about: a cannibal named Santa Claus.

After we read the book we set to work making our own crew of gingerbread pirates.

IMG_4498 IMG_4502

Our Captain


and his fearless crew!IMG_4507

Sorry Santa, I don’t think this crew will make it until Christmas!


Monday, November 29, 2010

My Animal Family Nanuq ~ Review

As part of the Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of My Animal Family Nanuq: A Baby Polar Bear’s Story from Smart Kids Publishing


There are currently four picture books available: Nanuq (polar bear), Ella (elephant), Leo (lion), and Korow (chimpanzee).


The books, which cost $12.99 each, are designed for children ages 3 to 9.

Each beautifully illustrated hardback book includes:

  • A live-action DVD that contains real video footage, giving the viewer a glimpse into the baby animal’s life.  The DVD also has a song and fun facts about the animal.
  • An Official Club Membership Card for My Animal Family (MAF) Kids Club.  The card includes a “secret password” that opens up the My Animal Family Club website.  

Our Thoughts:

My first thought was how beautiful the illustrations were!  The story is told by the baby polar bear, Nanuq, and while it is sweet and sometimes funny, it also shows the real life of polar bear. The DVD was really cute and my kids loved the song!  We were all very disappointed that our code never worked and we were unable to access the website.

Even though we were unable to access the online site I would still be willing to purchase the book and DVD for $12.99. 

Find Out More:

For more information about the books and membership click here.  The books are available on the website for $12.99 each.

To see what other members of the Crew Members thought click here.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Corps of Re-Discovery Cornhusk Doll Kit {Review}

PhotobucketMy daughter and I were very excited when we found out that we were going to be receiving a cornhusk doll kit from Corps of Re-Discovery to review. 

About Corps of Re-Discovery

Corps of Re-Discovery is owned by a homeschooling family and was formed after they took a 14 month journey, traveling through 47 different states learning and exploring. 

Working together as a family, we have found and created great project kits to enrich your studies of American Indians, Frontiersmen and Pioneer Americans so you, too can "re discover" America.

The Cornhusk Doll Kit

The cornhusk doll kit costs $4.50, and included everything we needed to make the doll, except for thread or glue to sew the apron and scarf.  Also included were detailed instructions with illustrations.  The illustrations where very helpful as I am a very visual person!


Our Experience

Emily and I worked on making the doll together.  I did most of the actual construction of the doll and she picked out the best pieces of cornhusks and helped me tie the pieces together. 

IMG_4338Here is the doll as she was drying (and being lovingly held).

I cut the fabric for the apron and scarf and let Emily glue the edges.  The directions suggested sewing, but Emily was much to impatient to finish the doll so we opted for fabric glue, which worked nicely.


Here is our completed doll.  IMG_4342

Our Thoughts

Emily LOVES this doll and wouldn’t put it down once we finished it ~ seriously, she didn’t even give it time to dry!  I am amazed at the cost, just $4.50!  We both had fun making the doll and when she isn’t being carried around the house, she is proudly displayed on our nature table.

Find Out More

Visit Corps of Re-Discovery to purchase the girl or boy cornhusk doll kit for $4.50.  Be sure and check out some of the other great kits they have for children {they would be perfect for Christmas}!  

Here is just a sampling of some of their other products (click on  pictures for more information):

 image image image 

See what other families have to say about Corps of Rediscovery at The Old Schoolhouse CREW.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


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