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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ARTistic Pursuits Elements of Composition Grades 4-6

One thing my girls ask to do every day during school is art. They love to draw, create, and craft just about anything. I had heard some very good things about ARTistic Pursuits so when the Crew had the opportunity to review their art curriculum I knew we wanted to try it.

We received ARTistic Pursuits for grade 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Composition. This 88 page book by Brenda Ellis is $42.95 and is divided into 16 Units.
  1. Space
  2. Line and Shape
  3. Texture
  4. Value
  5. Form
  6. Form using Value
  7. Local Value
  8. Contrast
  9. The Shapes of Natural Forms
  10. Edges
  11. Balance
  12. Rhythm
  13. Overlap
  14. Depth
  15. Proportion, the Face
  16. Movement
This curriculum can last a year by doing 2 one hour classes a week. Each unit contains 4 sections Building a Visual Vocabulary, American Art Appreciation and History, Techniques, and Application. This book wants the student to observe the things around them & to focus on one element of art at a time.

We love this book, I used this curriculum with all three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10. We spent more time on art during this review than suggested so that we could get farther into the book. This book is non-consumable and there is an art supply list in the front of the book. I read the lesson to them and then they spent time drawing. My 6 year old daughter's pictures didn't turn out as nice as her sisters but she didn't have any trouble following the directions or getting the concept that was taught and I will have her repeat the book in a few years. The girls loved looking around the house or outside to find the objects suggested in the lesson. It is so nice to have Art Appreciation included in the book. Brenda Ellis does a great job explaining the concept we just learned in paintings or drawings by other artists. She also includes information about each artist. This book is written so the child can read and complete the lessons on their own and my older girls will probably finish the book this way.

The book also includes work done by former students. I really like this because it gives my children the opportunity to see how other kids draw instead of always seeing artwork from a professional. If you give your children number or letter grades there is an Evaluation Sheet in the back of the book to help.

I decorate birthday and wedding cakes from my home and I pipe or draw pictures on a lot of my cakes I do this by using a sharpened wooden dowel or an icing bag. I use the very same concepts taught in this book with my icing and I have picked up some great pointers from this book to make my decorating even better. It also showed my girls that the elements of art can be used with any medium.

Sample Pages

As you can tell from the sample pages the student is taught the proper way to draw, how to sit, hold the pencil, and erase. Paying attention to details are very important.

ARTistic Pursuits was created by Brenda Ellis and they offer curriculum and art packs for preschool through 12th grade. Brenda has a very unique way of homeschooling her children.

The TOS Crew members reviewed different books from ARTistic Pursuits to give you a glimpse of a wide range of their products. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read the other members thought about ARTistic Pursuits.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received Grade 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Compostition free of charge from ARTistic Pursuits to use in our homeschool in exchange for my review.

Gratitude Challenge Day 30

Today is the last day of the 2010 Gratitude Challenge. I missed a couple of days but I am very Grateful for Brenda hosting this again. It is such a blessing to think about things we are thankful for every day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cooper and Me Review & Giveaway

Christmas is my favorite time of year & one thing I love to do in the winter is curl up on the couch with my kids and read stories together. I love story books that teach my kids something while we are reading.

We have been enjoying Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure! This cute little book is about Bella and her dog Cooper. They can't wait to go sledding but they wander a little to far from home and a snow storm sets in and it becomes difficult for them to find their way home. This story teaches kids the importance of making good decisions and gives them a lesson of how to be prepared in case they get lost.

Each Cooper and Me book has a free Reading Guide, coloring and activity pages to go along with the book. When you purchase a Cooper and Me book you get a free download of the theme song.

My girls really like the Cooper and Me books because they are about a dog and they are co-written and illustrated by a young girl. My girls love to write stories so this has been a big encouragement to them. We liked Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure just as much as we did the original Cooper and Me book.

Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure retails for $12.99 and they will donate $1 of every book sold until February 2012 to the Lustgarten Foundation. The Lustgarten Foundation ensures that 100% of all donations go to pancreatic cancer research.

Now through December 15, 2011 you can get free shipping on orders of $25.00 or more at 
Promotional code: COOPERBLOG

Cooper and Me was illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters. The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences. A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art. Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 28

Today I am very grateful for my sisters. I have 4 and there have been times in our lives when we haven't gotten along. Ok.... a lot of times!! Escpecially while we were growing up. There have been times when we spend hours talking on the phone and there have been times when we don't talk for a couple of months. One thing I know for sure is that they will always be my sisters and if I ever need them they are only a phone call away.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 26

Today we put up our Christmas Tree and it always makes a huge mess all over the house. So I am very thankful for leftovers. My family loves Leftover Thanksgiving Soup. Every year after Thanksgiving we put all of our left over thanksgiving dinner in the crock pot to make soup. I put everything in it: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, noodles, and stuffing. Sometimes I will add a little water if it is to thick.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 25

Today I thankful for deals & shopping with friends. We had so much fun shopping the after Thanksgiving Day sales. We went out at 9:00 last night got home around 2:30 am and then headed back out at 4:30 am. I came home at 7:00 am and didn't get up until 10:30, I'm so glad my kids like to sleep in. I was able to get everything that was on my list (I can't tell you what I bought because someone in my family might read this). So excited!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 24

We have had company all week so I didn't get my gratitude post written yesterday. My husband, kids, and I went with my dad, my sister & her kids to the bowling alley yesterday. After that we went swimming at their hotel pool, and then we had church last night. We had so much fun. Today they all came over and we played games this morning and went for a walk after we ate. Morgan got home last night and we got to spend the day with her too. So today I am thankful for the time I got to spend with my family.

I'm sure I will be thankful for shopping tomorrow. I can't wait to see what deals I get tonight and in the morning.

Thank you Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 22

Today I am thankful for games, it is so much fun to have people over to play with. Today we played Euchre, Wits & Wagers, Scum, and Liar Liar. My dad, step mom, one sister,  two nieces and two nephews are here visiting from Indiana and we had so much fun playing games today.
Thank You Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

My family loves to eat homemade bread & I love to make bread. These dinner rolls made with oatmeal are my family's favorite and everyone who I make them for loves them. I serve them for everyday meals, holidays, potlucks, and I even served them at my son's wedding. I also make them into bread bowls and they are great with cheesy potatoe soup or beef stew.

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls or Bread Bowls

2 cups water
1 cup oatmeal
3 Tablespoons butter
1 package of yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 3/4 – 5 1/4 cups flour

~Bring water to boil add oatmeal and butter. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool  to lukewarm.
~In mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm water and add the oatmeal, sugar, honey, salt and 4 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add enough flour to form soft dough.
~Knead 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in size about 1 hour.
~Punch down dough and let rest 10 minutes.

For Dinner Rolls:
~Divide dough into 18 pieces and shape into balls. Let rise for 45 minutes.
~Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

For Bread Bowls:
~Make 9 balls the size of a large gumball. Divide the remaining dough into 9 large balls. Place the small ball on top of the large ball using a dab of water to adhere them.
~Let dough rise about 45 minutes.
~Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.
~Using a serrated knife cut downward into the roll (kinda like a pumpkin) to make a lid. Scoop out the middle of the roll and fill with soup. To serve place lid on bread bowl.

Homeschool Review Crew Winter Cooking Inspiration

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 21

Coffee is my number one favorite drink when I'm cold or when I'm not cold. My second favorite drink when I'm cold is the Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice herbal tea. Yummy!! I am thankful for the quiet time of night when everyone else is in bed and I can actually enjoy my Gingerbread Spice tea without anyone drinking it or adding sugar to it.

Thanks Brenda for hosting the Gratitude Challenge.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 20

I love it when I actually plan ahead and figure out what we are having for lunch on Sunday after church but sometimes I wake up Sunday morning and I haven't thought of anything. Today was one of those days. So after I got out of the shower I cooked a pound of hamburger put it in the crock pot with a can of corn, a can of green beans, water, beef bouillon, Italian seasoning & pepper. As soon as we got home from church I added a package of egg noodles and it was ready by the time we all changed our clothes. It is so nice when lunch is over and cleaned up before 1:00, it gives us more time to enjoy our afternoon. I am very thankful for my crock pot. 

Thanks Brenda for the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 19


This is my second year as part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. It has been such a blessing to be part of such a great group of homeschool moms & dads. It just amazes me that so many people from around the world can come together to make everything happen. I am very grateful to be part of this group and for Brenda Emmett and Heidi Strawser who put so much time and energy into this program. I almost forgot we also love getting new product to review.

Thank You Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 18

I have been decorating cakes for 21 years. I am very grateful for my talents and the extra money that it has provided our family with. A few times in our marriage we needed all the extra money we could get just to live on. Now the extra income is great for fueling my scrapbooking and Cricut habits. 
Thank You Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 17

I love giveaways.....I don't win a lot but when I do it is so much fun. This week I won $20.00 to spend at Chikadeedee's hair bows and a coupon for a Torani coffee syrup!!
And this weekend Starbucks is having BOGO Holiday Flavor coffees. Yum!
I am thankful for my free things what about you have you got anything free lately?

Thanks Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 16

The first snowflakes of the year are so pretty. My girls were so excited this morning because it was snowing. They figured that later in the day it would be melted so they wanted to go outside and play this morning. We started our school later so they could enjoy the snow and a cup of hot chocolate. Another great reason to homeschool! Flexibility.

Thanks Brenda for the Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 15

Happy Birthday Mike!!
Today is my husbands birthday and I am very thankful for him. He has been a great provider for us financially and spiritually throughout the years. He always puts the needs of me and the kids before his own & actually he spoils us all. I love him more today than ever before.

Head over to Garden of Learning and see what other people are thankful for today!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Math Mammoth

Math has never been Amber's favorite subject, she hasn't had trouble learning it she just dislikes it. When the Crew was offered Math Mammoth to review I was a little curious about it because I would like her to enjoy math more. I did not review it last year but the Crew members who did gave it the Homeschool Crew Seaworthy Award so if it was that good I wanted to try it.

Marie Miller was very generous to the Crew, she let us choose what we would like to review. I sent her an email telling her what Amber (age 10) is using for her math curriculum, that she doesn't have trouble with it & that she loves fractions. She was nice enough to send us 3 PDF books, Arithmetic 1, Introduction to Fractions, and Geometry 1. Amber has been using all three of the books and her regular math during our review. We printed all 3 of our books and had them spiral bound at our local office supply store.

Geometry I
Amber learns better if she can physically do something with her hands, she is not big on reading directions. When she is learning something new she just wants to try it & figure it out on her own. (Just like her mother). She said "I really like the Geometry book because I get to draw and use my tools, I like when I can work with things instead of just answering the questions."

Math Mammoth Geometry I gives a thorough view of basic plane geometry. This book can be purchased for $7.00 as a PDF download or $12.50 for a black & white book. It is recommended for grade 4-6 with an emphasis on learning through drawing. This is a very hands on book and the drawing required in it helps the child achieve an understanding of Geometry. In this book the student should keep a notebook that will contain all the new terms or concepts that are learned. They will also need a protractor and a triangle-shaped ruler. The first part of the book deals with angles, shapes, and classifying triangles. The student will learn the seven different terms used for classifying quadrilaterals and there is a brief section on congruent and similar figures. The students are then taught to calculate areas of triangles and parallelograms with the end of the book studying solids. The PDF download may be printed or your student can fill it in on the computer, using the typewriter and drawing tools in Acrobat Reader version 9 or greater.
Arithmetic I
Amber said that she likes Arithmetic I better than her regular math book. She could relate to the real situations that were in the problems. She also loves history and geography so she was very excited when she had problems with information she could share with the rest of us. We will definitely be buying more books in this series.

Make It Real Learning Arithmetic I focuses on real world situations using addition, subtraction, estimation, division, bar graphs, etc. Each problem uses real companies, countries and real issues. This 46 page PDF download written by Frank C. Wilson is recommended for grades 3-6 and retails for $4.99. With this PDF file you have the option of printing the book or having the student complete their work on the computer, using the typewriter and drawing tools in Acrobat Reader version 9 or greater. Fruit Snacks: Working with Averages is a   free sample of one of the 10 activities included in the book and the complete Activity Objectives are listed on the website and in the front of the book. Some of the activities include Australia, South Africa, sharing snacks, country populations, and coins in the United States.

Introduction to Fractions
The Introduction to Fraction is very easy for Amber, Fraction 1 would probably been more challenging but she loves fractions and had fun with this book. This book is very pleasing to the eye when it is printed. The fraction pictures are all in color and it is very clear to see what part you are looking at. The book is taught directly to the child and Amber understood all the directions and she didn't need any help with this book.

Math Mammoth Introduction to Fractions is a self-teaching worktext geared for children in the 2-4 grade. The first two lessons are for second grade and the rest of the book is for third and forth. All the answers are in the back of the book. The PDF download for this 84 page book is $4.00 and the black & white printed copy is $10.50.

The topics covered are
  • one-half and fourth parts
  • concept of a fraction
  • concept of a mixed number
  • adding and subtracting like fractions
  • adding and subtracting mixed numbers with like fractional parts
  • equivalent fractions with pictures
  • comparing fractions - special cases
  • finding fractional part of a whole using division
Marie Miller is the author of the Math Mammoth books. Her aim is to help parents to teach math so their kids can understand it. The books are written so that the parent and child can understand the concept making it a self-teaching curriculum. She wants to make her materials affordable, a full curriculum can be purchased for $32.00. There are also over 300 free sample worksheets and pages from her books. All items can be purchased in bundles for considerable savings.

Math Mammoth offers math products for grades 1-8 in these options.
The curriculum is color coded:
If you are not sure where to start I would definatly sign up for the free samples and the newsletter. There are also placement tests to help you decide.

mammoth stuffed toyOf course if you use Math Mammoth your kids might want to buy one. Maybe it could be used as an incentive for having a great year of math.

I'm thinking Amber would really like the States by the Numbers in the Make it Real Series. There are 50 workbooks in this one and the data comes from the Census Bureau.

The members of the Crew all received different math products from Math Mammoth. You can sail over to the Crew blog to read what other members thought about the different books. I know I'll be reading them.
As a member of the TOS Crew I received Introduction to Fractions, Geometry I, and Arithmetic I PDF downloads free of charge from Math Mammoth to use with my children in exchange for my review.

One Silent Night

If I had to pick my favorite type of music I would pick Christmas music. I love to listen to Christmas songs so I was very anxious to listen to FFH's very first Christmas Album One Silent Night.

FFH wanted this album to to be more of the classic style of Christmas music rather than something that is trendy. For them Christmas is a time for slowing down to see what is important and to be reminded of the birth of Christ. They spent 4 years working on this album to bring a mix of new and traditional Christmas songs. I'm sure you will recognize a few.
  • Baby It's Cold Outside
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • One Silent Night
  • I'll Be Home For Christmas
  • The Birthday Of The King
  • O Come O Come Emmanuel
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Glorious Impossible
  • O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  • Heaven And Nature Sing
I'm not sure if I can pick a favorite on this album because I liked them all. This will definitely be an album that I will listen to every Christmas season. (Don't tell anyone but I like to listen to Christmas music all year so it will stay on my iPhone throughout the year!)

A preview of One Silent Night can listened to on iTunes and the album can purchased there for $9.90.

Pop vocal group FFH has released thirteen projects, sold more than two million albums, and garnered 24 radio hits, including seven No. 1 singles and ten Top 5 radio singles. In addition to multiple Dove Award nominations, FFH has been recognized at the Inspirational Life Awards as well as the Billboard Music Video Awards. The group has performed more than 1000 dates since 2000 and continues to be a favorite on the tour circuit. FFH is also known for its work with the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Kurt Warner’s “First Things First Foundation,” and for its contributions to national ad campaigns for Coca Cola and IBM.

I have one download copy of One Silent Night by FFH to giveaway to one of my readers. I will choose a winner on Monday morning November 21, 2011. To enter leave a separate comment for each entry and be sure that I have access to your email address so I can notify you if you win.

  • Leave me a comment telling me you all time favorite Christmas song.
  • Follow FFH on Facebook.
  • Follw me on Facebook.
  • Follow FFH on Twitter.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Follow my blog with Google Friend connect.
  • Follow my blog with Networked Blogs.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Gratitude Challenge Day 14

Every family probably has a clown and Alaina, our youngest, happens to be ours. She is very goofy!! She is also very tender hearted, if something is bothering her she tends to wait a couple of days and then she will cry about it no matter what it was. Her favorite animal is a pig and she seems to find something pig related every time we go any where. I am very thankful for my baby!!

Thanks Brenda for hosting the 2011 Gratitude Challenge.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keyboard Town Pals

Keyboard Town Pals is a typing program that claims to teach children ages 7-12 to type in one hour. The student will learn the entire alphabet and it is available on CD for $35.00 or web based for $30.00.  Keyboard Town Pals was founded by Rita Herman and Donna Katz and is based on five years of research and it was created to help children develop and refine their typing. It is recommended that the eight 6-8 minute lessons be broken up into two 30 minute time periods or you could complete one lesson per day.  This program uses the same four psycho-motor skills to teach typing as you use to learn to ride a bike.
  1. Conscious Learning - focus attention on a new activity. 
  2. Trial and Error - mimic the action. 
  3. Refinement and Practice - repeat the action and build muscle memory.
  4. Automatic Performance – execute without conscience thought.

Keyboard Town Pals use ragtime music and puppets to teach the three rows of letters on the keyboard. Sunny takes the children down 3 streets to visit each letter home. The letter is introduced and the child meets the puppet that lives there. A keyboard with a hand then demonstrates the move of the finger used to type the letter that was just introduced. Sunny starts on Homekey Street with the letter A and Amy lives there. Amy then take us to visit the zebra in the Z house on Downtown street. Then Amy takes us to visit the Q house on Uptown Street. Amy then repeats what has just been taught and has the child type them. They continue through the rest of the alphabet. Once both hands are used the child is directed to type short words. There is also an assessment page where the alphabet is typed in order and then backwards for practice. Additional typing practice should be added.

I used this program with all three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10. My 9 year old was the only one who wanted to use the program more than once. They liked the puppets and they loved learning all the letters at once but they didn't like the way the puppets spoke to them. They told me that the puppets spoke to them as if they were babies.

I really like the concept of this program but I have to agree with my girls that it seems like the puppets are speaking to a younger age group than the 7-12 that this program is recommended for. When the kids are typing the letters show up in the typing box but the child is not told if they hit the wrong key or even if they don't type at all. I understand that Typing Town Pals doesn't want to discourage the child but as a homeschool family we grade everything we do immediately so we can correct out mistakes right away while the subject is still fresh on our minds. It would be nice if you had the option for the program to let the child know they were typing the wrong letter. My children were more familiar with the keyboard after using Town Pals but they will need more practice before they are typing well.

Keyboard Town Pals also has finger puppets and coloring books to go along with the typing program and they are offering free shipping until December 31, 2011.
Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other members thought about Keyboard Town Pals.

As a member of the TOS Crew I received a 30 day trial subscription to Keyboard Town Pals to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Gratitude Challenge Day 13

Some kids get whiny when they are tired...not Delaney she gets giggly. She is a giggle box!! She has the most contagious laugh ever and when she gets the giggles you can't help but laugh with her. There have been a few times....ok a lot of times during church that she will start giggling. Do you know how hard it is to get on to your child when they are so cute & giggly? It's not easy so usually we all get the giggles right along with her. She was a very good baby and has always been a happy child. Today I am thankful for Delaney, her good attitude, and her giggles!

Thank you Brenda for hosting the Gratitude Challenge!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gratitude Challenge Day 12

Today I am very thankful for Amber. She was a very fussy as a baby but now she is the sweetest most caring 10 year old that I know. She has so much ambition for anything. She loves to cook and took third in the cooking contest in town today. She is always eager to do her school work. Her idea of fun is raking leaves and mowing the grass. She loves to play the piano and she even helps her dad on the vehicles. She give 100% in all that she does.

Thanks Brenda for hosting the Gratitude Challenge.
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