Friday, November 20, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Pre-Thanksgiving

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and all the homeschoolers are studying the Pilgrim’s and coloring turkeys and such.   Except for us.  We’ve done nary a thing Pilgrim related this year.   Maybe I’m just no fun anymore, maybe I’m just too busy this year….maybe you can only do so much with a paper turkey?   I do have some lovely older posts, from when the kids were younger, so I’ll share those links here in case you want to be amazed and inspired (or at least so you know we DID do all that stuff at some point), ahem. 

This little long house is one of my favorite crafts we’ve done.  We soaked small tree branches in water to make them pliable, then used twine to tie them together forming the frame.   We used brown paper bags for the outside (wood bark) and then used dried pine needles to cover the roof and door flap.   Fun stuff when the kids are small!


My other favorite thing was the big study of Squanto we did in 2009.  The girls were young and we made a big mural (which I still have).  We also did a lovely little Thanksgiving Mini – Unit a couple of years later.  In 2013 we revisited Plymouth Colony as we journeyed through early American history.

This week, Olivia earned her first green stripe in karate.  She was really excited to get that belt and stripe.  Getting her to pose wearing it, not so much.

Meanwhile, in Nutcracker world, this is the last week of regular classes.  We’re off all next week and then it’s full steam ahead to stage.    Here’s our promo video for this year’s production if you’d like to check it out.   Both of my girls are in the video in several scenes, grins.

We’re on break next week.  I’ll be transporting family to medical appointments, Olivia will be working at her museum and we’ll be feasting with the family.   I’ll also be working on more Nutcracker props, hopefully I’ll have photos next week.

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours!

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Mouse Heads & Snowflakes

Yes, we’re in the final weeks leading up to Nutcracker, so it’s time for all those crazy last minute prop making jobs to start popping up.   This week I refurbished a box full of mouse heads (no real mice were harmed in this process) and created some snowflakes on a stick.  Yes really, snowflakes on a stick.

Here are my squashed mouse heads.


Here are my nice fluffy, fresh whiskered mouse heads.


The snowflakes will be used in the party scene and in the big snow scene of the 2nd act.  You can not image how much fabric stiffener is needed to get these doilies to hold their shape!



On to academics!  We’ve wrapped up our geography for this calendar year.   We’ve covered North America, South America and Europe in the first 11 weeks of school.  In January we’ll move on to Asia, Africa, Australia and Antarctica.  We should be finished by late April.

From now until January, we’ll be doubling up on science, having lessons four days a week instead of two.   This should put Olivia at the midway point, or beyond, in her curriculum, and help Lindsey and I revisit the first portion of her curriculum.  

The rest of our subjects are going according to schedule.  Both girls are doing really well with math and language arts.   I’m floored at how well Lindsey has taken to Latin this year.  Although on a side note, I have to crack up every time we listen to the pronunciation CD.  Every time the guy translates the Latin for “you will have” into English, he say’s “ya’ll have” and I just lose it.

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the weigh in.  Now keep in mind that for FIVE WEEKS I walked at least 2 miles a day, sometimes more.  FIVE WEEKS.  I cut out soda, most sweets and cut back on helping sizes and added more veggies.  And…drum roll… I lost less than three stinking pounds.  I cried, I admit it.   However, I did not give up, give in or quit.  I continue to walk every day, twice today….and am hoping that at some point my body gets with the program.

How has your week been?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Earthquakes & Volcanoes

As I mentioned a few weeks back, science wasn’t going so well this year for the youngest child.  I decided to back up and punt and I’m really glad I did.   This week we’ve studied earthquakes and volcanoes (we had a small 2.2 earthquake close by as an added bonus, ahem).   We read a pile of books (ok I read, she yawned and looked bored).   Then I pulled out my secret weapon….


That’s right folks, a Magic School Bus Volcano Kit.  This changed the whole dynamic of the learning experience as my little scientist did experiments, painted her volcano and then made it erupt over and over, and in every color imaginable.





The best part, was that after we ran out of vinegar and cleaned up the mess, I found her curled up like this, totally engrossed in the volcano book that had caused yawns earlier in the week.   Score!!


Olivia started karate, because we don’t have nearly enough going on as it is, snark.   The class she is in is for 8-12 year olds.  She’s the only new student, and the only girl in class.   Week one went well, until they put her in the sparring circle at the end of class against the top ranked student in the class.   The moment the instructor said “Go!”, Olivia drilled the boy right square on the nose and knocked him backwards out of the circle.   I had to laugh out loud as the stunned instructor waffled back and forth between “No, you can’t take a head shot” and “That was a beautiful punch, great rotation!”

Overall it was another good week, although the time change has been really hard for some reason.  The evenings just seem to drag on forever and  we’re all just dragging a bit. Hoping we adjust soon.

This week is the end of the 5-week challenge I’m doing.  I’m still exercising every day (I’ve missed 2 days in 5 weeks).  Monday I weigh in, gulp!   How was your week?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Arbonne Healthy Living Products - Review

I love getting the opportunity to review products. Typically my reviews are educational products, but this time I got to participate in a wonderful grown up review, Arbonne Healthy Living Products.

Pictured below are the items I received for this review.  The package included:  Vanilla Protein Powder, Chocolate Protein Powder, Essentials Daily Detox Tea, Essentials Energy Fizz Sticks (citrus & pomegranate), Digestion Plus, Greens Balance, Fiber Booster and Essentials Fit Chews (chocolate peppermint, chocolate, lemon, caramel and coco-cabana).


I used one product per day so that I could tell if any one thing didn’t agree with me, or if anything really just totally rocked.   I’ll list each item and it’s description, followed by my thoughts.

Essentials Daily Detox Tea – Supports overall health and aids in liver, kidney, and blood detoxification.  Key ingredients include milk thistle, couch grass root, sarsaparilla root and burdock root.   My thoughts:   This had a nice herbal/earthy flavor, I added a bit of stevia for sweetener.   I found that just the one cup of tea did appear to begin to detox my kidney’s.   The first hour saw me having to “go” 4 times. 

Essentials Energy Fizz Stick -  Only 10 calories per serving, this packet boosts energy and increases metabolism.  Key ingredients include chromium, green tea and guarana.   Available in pomegranate or citrus.   My thoughts:   I made both of these the night before consuming, allowing for plenty of time for the drinks to chill.   I honestly didn’t care for either flavor.   I should have tried adding stevia, as they both were a bit tart.  

Essentials Protein Powder – (Vanilla and chocolate)   Replaces one or two meals daily while satisfying hunger and boosting energy, use as a recovery shake after a strenuous workout or have as a healthy snack.  Contains more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals.  Key ingredients include pea protein, cranberry protein, rice protein, flaxseed, stevia, alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, alfalfa kelp and ginseng.  100% vegan, no dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, sugar or artificial sweeteners.   My thoughts:  I used unsweetened almond milk to make both shakes   The chocolate was absolutely delish!  It had a wonderful chocolaty-sweet taste that would really help with cravings for sweets.   The chocolate seemed to have a bit more of a fibrous texture than the vanilla shake.   The vanilla was very tasty and almost made me think of eggnog in it’s flavor, was that a hint of nutmeg?   I loved both of these products, by far the best tasting protein shakes I’ve ever had!

Essentials Fit Chews - When hunger strikes between meals, Fit Chews are a perfect, guilt-free supplement to help satisfy
cravings and deliver a quick pick-me-up. They’re also a great way to support a weight-management regimen. Additionally, the tasty bites contain a unique, botanically based, herbal adaptogen blend to
help support good health and do not contain any artificial ingredients.  My thoughts:   I loved the texture of these “candies”, they were just like eating a soft taffy or caramel.   The caramel and chocolate were my favorites.   The chocolate peppermint was good, but the peppermint was a bit over powering.  The coco cabana was fair.  I did NOT like the lemon, but I don’t like fruit flavored candies, and lemon is a bit boo for me in any food.  You can have up to eight (8 ) of these a day, great for when a craving hits!

Greens Balance – With it’s spectrum of proprietary color blends of whole fruit and vegetable powders – delivering the antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber you need to have a more balanced, healthier diet every day.   Key ingredients:  Arbonne proprietary fruit and vegetable blends of greens, reds, blues and yellows.  My thoughts:  This product (pictured below) worried me to be honest.   Just the thought of drinking something green and healthy just sounded gross.  The directions said to add to either fizz, water or protein shake.   I opted to put it in my regular chocolate protein drink.   I was happy that adding the Greens Balance didn’t change the flavor a great deal.  It did add a bit of an “earthy” undertone, but did not make it bitter.   Another keeper!


Digestion Plus – Prebiotics, probiotics and 11 digestive enzymes in an easy to carry travel pack.   Complete support for your digestive tract.   Place daily in small amount of water, in protein shake or directly on tongue for amazing benefits.   My thoughts:  I tried placing a small amount directly on my tongue, and found that I did not like the flavor at all.   I added the remaining product to a small amount of water and chugged it down.    Honestly, I wish I’d put it in a protein shake as the flavor in the water was just yuck and made me feel just a bit spoogey.

Fiber Boost – Supplements daily fiber intake while assisting with appetite control.   Also helps stabilize blood sugars.  A natural blend of soluble fiber derived from fruits and grains.  A tasteless and convenient powder, it can be added to any beverage or soft food.  Recommend to add to protein shakes, binds to sugars and releases more slowly into the blood system.   My thoughts: I added this to my daily protein shake and could not tell it was there.   There was no change in flavor or texture to the shake when adding the fiber boost.  

If you’d like to find out more about these and other wonderful health, skin, hair and body products, check out my friend Stephanie’s website.

The opinions shared in this review are mine.  I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up–Pumpkins and Such

We don’t “do” Halloween, however we do enjoy fall and some of the things you see this time of year are just too interesting not to share.  This weeks wrap up will be a little of this and that, with a bit of academics thrown in.

First of all, we always have a family weenie roast in October.  We enjoy getting together and enjoying the cool night weather and sitting around the fire roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.  My brother always hosts this event at his house….if only I’d taken my camera I could be sharing those photos..ahem.    I do have this photo of his pumpkin that he carved (swapped from his Facebook page).   The girls got the reference right away, as I’m sure most of you do…you do, right?


We spent time this week making popcorn balls, teaching Lindsey to cook a little and we carved up a few pumpkins of our own.  It may have been a bit gross.




One of the houses down the street from us really goes all out for Halloween.  Every year they add new gruesome things.  I find great humor in a few of their tombstones.


We’ve been trying to get out enjoy the crisp days before the bitter cold of winter sets in.  Here’s the view from this morning’s walk.  That little blue dot would be Lindsey on her bike.


Science went well this week.  Lindsey and I spent the week studying the solar system, revisiting the model we’d made and working on our understanding of orbiting.   Olivia joined in, as she’s studying constellations and it kind of fit for her too.   Below, Olivia is the sun, Lindsey’s little planet (the white Styrofoam ball) is orbiting around the sun and rotating to change the seasons as well.


This is my fourth week of exercising.   It’s starting to get easier, which I guess means I need to add more now!

Have a safe Halloween weekend, and don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up and Collage Friday.

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