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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Seaworld Trip 2010

DJ and Caitlin's big Christmas gift was a year pass to Seaworld. That means we get to go as many times as we want, until December 2011. Yesterday was our first time ever going. It was a blast. Both kids went on their first roller coaster ride. DJ went on the Manta, and decided the Kraken could wait until the next time. We were disappointed that we didn't get into the Polar Express exhibit, but hopefully it will still be there the next time we go. You will have to wait for the kids to go back to school, for you to get to see the pictures DJ took for his 4H photography class. He will be doing a blog post on it. Unless you are a FB friend of mine, they are posted there.











Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Super Teacher Worksheets

Another great website I found to share with all of you, is Super Teacher Worksheets. I just discovered this site, so I have not actually used it yet, but I will be using it when we start back to school. I have a Health book, but these worksheets will go great for DJ along with reading assignment. They offer worksheets for almost anything you can think of. I think if they expanded the Social Studies section it would be great. Check it out. As you know I use free online resources plus the books I purchase to make our lessons more complete.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The History of Kwanzaa

So I covered Christmas, Hanukah, Sinterklaas, and now Kwanzaa. Yes, Kwanzaa is an African American celebrated holiday, founded during the Civil Rights movement. I do not personally know anyone that celebrates this, but I have asked a lot of people. You can watch the two videos below, and share them with your children to help learn about other cultures celebrations of the holidays.




Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hotchalk One Cool Website

All right this is one cool website. I will be sharing some of my favorites, and new ones I have found, while we are on Christmas break. I actually found Hotchalk three years ago, when we first started to homeschool. But I forgot about it, and now it is a huge website with tons of stuff, and it is all free. You do not have to homeschool to use it, matter of fact it is for all teachers and students alike to use. I love the lesson plan and curriculum page, they have some very creative ideas for teaching different subjects. Check it out, and take advantage of this awesome resource. If this particular website does not suit your needs, check my archives, and the links at the bottom of the blog. I am sure you will find something you love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All!

The big day is almost here. I am not sure if I will online tomorrow, so I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas today. If you want your children to learn how to say Merry Christmas in some other languages, then this website is for you. I will be sharing this with my children for sure.

Twas the Night Before Christmas, probably one of the most well known and beloved stories of all. Your kids can watch it on the video below. The Thomas Kinkade tree shown, tells the story from Mr Kinkade himself. I actually own this tree. It was a gift to me a few years ago, from my husband. My kids listen to it several times, and my daughter loves to watch all the different rooms light up as the story is told. Before we put our dog to sleep, he would bark at the tree every time we turned it on. He was an interesting dog. We have hung is name tag on our tree so he is still with us this Christmas. There are so many needy and sad people this time of year. Take a minute and donate to some holiday charity, or a family you know is in need. Cats, dogs, the homeless, ill, and poor could all use an extra blanket, hats, mittens, pajamas, food, anything you can afford. It doesn't cost a lot to make someone else feel loved on Christmas. A blanket at the Dollar General is only five bucks. This year we donated to Toys for Tots, and over 400 children right here in our very own small county were helped out this year. Be kind to those in need, and you will be rewarded ten fold. Merry Christmas to all!





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don't Forget Your Feathered Friends On Christmas!

My kids love to feed the birds, and we have several bird feeders, and one house. Some were made when we did our recycling lesson, and one was made by Grandpa Ed. We have a whole bunch of these pine cones, that were given to us, but I didn't want to just throw them away after the holidays. So voila now I can use them to make bird feeders for the birds. This is so easy it is sinful. I already have craft wire, because I use it for jewelry making, and seed and peanut butter. Now I just need to get cracking and do it. Check it out if you want a fun and easy way to thank your feathered friends.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Wetlands Biomes and Lunar Eclipse

Did you get to see the Lunar Eclipse overnight? If not you can go to http://www.nasa.gov to see it. I woke the kids up at 2 AM so they could watch some of it. It was cold so we only stayed out about 30 minutes.

You still have time to enter my giveaway for icaughtsanta free photo. I have four to giveaway, and only one person has entered, so you still have time. It is the post right below this one.

Even though we are doing school this week, it is relaxed. DJ is finishing up his biomes with the Wetlands, and Caitlin has African animals to add to her animal book. Over Christmas break DJ will have to do math each day, and Caitlin will have to read. Either through their regular books, or online games and activities. I do this on purpose.



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review And Giveaway For iCaughtSanta.com



I have a fun review and giveaway to share today. iCaughtSanta.com
is a new website where you can take one of your own pictures and add Santa to it.

The one shown is the picture I created at iCaughtSanta.com. I chose this picture because I wanted to show Santa sleeping in Caitlin's rocking chair. This is a picture from last year which DJ quickly noticed, since we no longer have that ugly rug, and have tile now. Caitlin was thrilled to think Santa fell asleep in her chair. There are lots of different poses to choose from, and you can make Santa bigger or smaller to suit your picture you choose. You can also make Santa brighter or darker, to fit into the scheme of the picture. I think I should have mine a bit darker. You can also move Santa around before saving the picture. It was very simple to do, and only took a few minutes. You can print copies to send to family and friends if you choose to.

I was given the opportunity to give 5 of my readers a free Santa picture. It is easy to enter, but will only last five days, so don't hesitate. If I get more than five entries, I will draw names like I do for every other contest I have. To enter is it easy go to
http://www.icaughtsanta.com/favoritesanta look at the various poses available, then come back here and in a comment tell me your favorite pose, and why you would like to win this contest. Remember I have five of these to give away. If you know someone who would like this, send them here to enter. The contest starts right now, and will end on 12/23/10 at 8 AM Eastern time. All winners will be contacted and asked for their email addresses, so I can send them the code to log on and make their picture. Good luck!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ecosmart Winner Is!

I had three entries Anne, Lori, and Kristy, and the name drawn from the magic hat was, Anne! Congrats Ms Anne you are the winner. I need you to email me at melissaruede@yahoo.com with the email address you want me to share with the promoter. Thank you to my other entries.

Today is Friday which means grocery shopping, and lesson planning for next week. At least we don't have school today, and next week is our last week before Christmas break.

I thought I was going to be making a turkey breast for Christmas dinner, but my husband came to me last night and said he knows what he wants for Christmas dinner. I could have sworn we already decided that LOL! Anyway he wants a prime rib roast. I do not cook these, or choose the meat, he does. He is overly fussy about it, and it is easier for me to just have him do it. Works for me I don't want to cook on Christmas anyways. I am unsure if friends are stopping over or not this year. My mom will be here.

I start a new giveaway tomorrow that is really cute for kids, so be sure to check back.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Immune System Week 2: Mold Experiment, and PCN

Tomorrow DJ will be on his second week of the Immune System and will be doing a mold experiment, and learn about Penicillin. The experiment is easy and you can have your kids do it too. Take a slice of bread, drip a few drops of water on it, seal it in a zip lock bag, then set in a warm sunny spot for a few days then evaluate. This will be DJ's first time of setting up the experiment and then making a hypothesis of what will happen, and then evaluating his hypothesis for results. He will also look at the results under his microscope for evaluation. Be sure to watch the mold growing video below, it is gross. Caitlin will be doing hand washing for prevention of spreading germs. Tomorrow is a half day again.

Lesson Plans For 12/16/10:

DJ:
Health: Mold experiment, Penicillin,
Math: Saxon 54

Caitlin:
Animal Book
Hand washing video below with discussion
Printing Practice
Math: Addition
Calendar work, clock work, sight words, skip counting





Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Return of Wolves To Yellowstone Week 2

DJ will continue this week with parts four, five and six, of National Geographic's series on the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Plus he will have a reading and question on the next biome Deserts. Next week will be The Wetlands for the last biome before Christmas break. He is also doing Saxon Math 54 Lesson 46 reading fractions and mixed numbers. I have stopped the Spectrum math workbook for now, and am just concentrating on the Saxon math. While the Spectrum is challenging for him, it was too much, and he was losing focus. If I want him to excel in math, I have to back off a bit. For today Caitlin will do mostly computer educational games.





Monday, December 13, 2010

Learn To Draw Christmas Designs

This is a new set of videos I have discovered, on learning to draw. I really like this instructor. If you or your children love to draw, or want to learn how to draw, these are awesome!

We have a fun relaxed week of schooling, this week. I love when it gets close to Christmas because we get to relax a bit. Today we are supposed to be waiting for Progress Energy to show up, that is why we have no lessons today, I am still waiting and getting irritated. If they don't come today I will not cancel another day for them.

So we bake two Christmas tree cakes today. They are both in the freezer awaiting decorating. One will be for 4H tonight, and one for our playdate on Wednesday. DJ can read a recipe, measure the ingredients, mix, and today even removed from the oven and checked for it being done. Caitlin helps add ingredients, mix and she loves to give orders too. We decided that on the once a month 4H meetings we will have cooking class, to make a special treat for everyone. Because it is cold we are baking. Come summer I will have to be more creative.

Caitlin and DJ also learned to wrap their first Christmas presents today. This was an interesting task, indeed. Thank goodness they each had to only do one LOL! We continued our letter addressing today as well with a few more Christmas cards sent out. If any of my husband's family doesn't get one until after Christmas I apologize, because he has not provided me with a full list yet.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Doing The Right Thing Is Not Easy

I won't go into too much detail, but how can I teach my children to have good character, if I do not have good character? My job is a challenge, to say the least, for many reasons. One of the reasons I stay there, is because I feel I am needed there, for some reason. I am not a follower and I do not take bullying well. I was once again placed in a situation where I had to choose my character, or the way that everyone else goes. I chose my dignity, and my character, unfortunately that may cost me my job. I spoke the supervisor and made my feelings known, but Monday when all the management returns from the weekend, will decide my fate. It does not help that they are do for inspection and are hoping for a good one. I felt guilty at first, as I did not know this, but then I thought why should I feel guilty for doing what was right? If you want your kids to learn good character, and to be stand up citizens, you have to do the same. It is not easy though.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Nativity Story

This is so cute. Little kids act out the story of The Nativity, while an adult reads the story. Check it out.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Immune System Week 1

Today for Health class DJ will be learning about the Immune System. He has learned in previous years about hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, things like that. Now he is going into the nitty gritty of it. The short video below will accompany a reading assignment. This is only part one, with the next two parts to be finished on consecutive Thursdays before Christmas break. Tomorrow DJ and Caitlin will learn about addressing envelopes, as we are sending out Christmas cards. With the use of online email and social networks I am afraid this will be lost in the shuffle, so we are going to get it done.

Lesson Plans For 12/09/10:

DJ:
Health: As above
Math: Fractions
Sign Language
Writing
Language Arts: Adjectives
Art: Draw a winter scene from a famous painting, Caitlin already did hers and it went in her weahter/seasons lapbook.
Reading Comprehension with WS

Caitlin:
Health: Motion, and the Immune System
Math: Addition
Language Arts: Blends, syllables
Read Sentences to Color the Picture WS
Spelling List 10
Printing Practice
Following Directions WS




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Travel In Mexico City and Ancient Egypt

Yesterday was a sort of free day. We had a play date at the park, and library trip planned. But some members were sick, and it was so cold with the wind chill, that we postponed both until next week. My children still enjoy the trip to the library and reading books hands on. I can assume at some point ebooks will enter our lives. Because we didn't do either of those things, DJ played Neopets puzzles on the Wii, a challenging puzzle game he got last year for Christmas but has refused to play, until yesterday when I made him. Now he finds it quite entertaining, and challenging. Caitlin played it a bit as well. Caitlin spent a great deal of time playing educational games online at Nickjr, GirlsGo, and watching animal videos on NatGeo Kids.

Today is Social Studies, and DJ and Caitlin partially is still doing Ancient Times. Today is about Egypt. They have a cool craft for Friday, to go along with this chapter, and one from last week, that I will share on Friday. We are still traveling to Mexico, and will be learning about Mexico City, the largest city in Mexico. Next week we start Brazil.

Lesson Plans For 12/8/10:

DJ:
Social Studies: As above, and map skills
Math: Fractions, and mixed math
Sign Language
Spelling: Chapter 10 write each word three times each

Caitlin:
Social Studies: As above, and parts of a bicycle
Math: Addition
Language Arts: Blends, contractions
Read sentences to color the picture WS
Spelling: List 10
Printing Practice
Following directions WS
Calendar work, clock work, sight words, skip counting





Tuesday, December 7, 2010

100 iPhone Apps For Homeschoolers

This is a link to a guest blogger article that I was offered to share with all of you. If you have an iPhone, which I do not, then you know all about apps. Those handy, fun, and cool tools you can download to your iPhone. Well Paula has put together 100 apps that are awesome for homeschoolers, or anyone interested in education. I have looked at them all, and now I want an iPhone LOL. To check them out for yourself go to http://phdonlinedegree.com/100-iphone-apps-that-are-awesome-for-homeschoolers/

Thank you to Paula, for offering this to me so I can share it with all of you.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eight Crazy Nights

This is a guest post from Small Town Mommy, about Hanukkah. Thank you, Anne! I am doing Christmas around the world with my kids, and would love to have more guest bloggers if anyone is interested

Eight Crazy Nights


Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, is an 8-day celebration in the Jewish faith. Hanukkah is a joyous time, dedicated to prayer and gifts along with the lighting of candles and fried food.

The first question, of course, is how to spell it. You have probably seen Hanukkah, Chanukah, or Chanukkah. Which is correct? Technically, all 3 can be used. Since the name Hanukkah is based upon a Hebrew word, some letters just don’t translate to English so people have made it up as they went along.

History
Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the revolt against the Syrian-Greek empire. At the time, the government oppressed those who practiced the Jewish faith, with worship forbidden and many of the Jewish laws made illegal. A group called the Maccabees were driven from Jerusalem but were able to create an army and return to reclaim it. After their return, the Holy Temple was rebuilt and the eternal flame, which was supposed to always burn, was lit. The builders discovered that they only had enough oil for the eternal flame to burn for one night. While new oil was being pressed, prepared and consecrated, miraculously, the flame was able to burn for 8 nights from just one day’s worth of oil.

Current Celebration
The current celebration represents the 8 days the eternal flame burned. It takes place for eight consecutive evenings with a prayer ceremony and candles in a 9-branch holder called a Menorah. Each evening, an additional candle is lit along with the Shamash (the 9th candle), which is there for religious reasons as well as used to ignite the Hanukkah candles.
Along with the candle ceremony, there are other Hanukkah traditions that are more recent. Like most holidays, there are traditional food items that are significant for the holiday. We always had brisket for Hanukkah but I believe that was more a function of the host. Latkes (potato pancakes) cooked in olive oil are eaten in many families to symbolize the oil that lasted for 8 nights. In addition, donuts, fritters or other fried pastries are often eaten for dessert for the same reason.

Kids play dreidel, a Hanukkah game involving a special top with Hebrew letters and Hanukkah geld, which can be chocolate coins, real money, raisins or other small items (my kids always prefer the chocolate coins). More recently, gifts have been added to the Hanukkah tradition, with a small gift given to children for each of the 8 nights of celebration.

Hanukkah has become more familiar to many from different faiths, thanks to the media. Adam Sandler wrote “The Chanukah Song” {} (which is where the title for this post came from). The Maccabeats have been getting quite a bit of publicity this year for their recent song “
Candlelight” {}. This, along with the chronological closeness to Christmas has made Hannukah one of the best known religious holidays in the Jewish faith.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wolves In Yellowstone National Park

Because we have a playdate, and library activities on Tuesday, we are doing Science on Monday, this week. Caitlin will be learning about wolves and the importance of their presence in the ecosystem. Reading assignments with review questions, plus the three videos below. This is a several part video, 1-3 this week. This is actually a quite interesting lesson. They have learned that the predator is a very important part of the biome, or ecosystem to maintain balance of the habitat. They have brought the wolves back to Yellowstone National Park and their numbers are increasing.

Lesson Plans For 12/6/10:

DJ:
Science: Wolves in an ecosystem, and transferring heat
Math: Fractions, mixed math
Spelling: Chapter 10 write words three times each
Sign Language
Writing: Fishy Monday Sunshine Chromis blog post

Caitlin:
Math: Addition
Science: Wolves in an ecosystem, weather lapbook winter
Printing Practice
Spelling: List 10
Read sentences to color the picture WS
Language Arts: Contractions, blends
Following Directions: WS
Clock work, calendar work, sight words, skip counting





Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Around the World Sinterklaas In The Netherlands

First I must give a big thank you to Laane for sharing this wonderful article about Sinterklaas. I will be adding her website link to this blog, as a way of saying Thank You. If you live in another part of the world, or even in the US, and you have traditions or customs you would like to share with my children and readers, I would love to have you as a guest blogger too. Just contact me at melissaruede@yahoo.com for details.

Sinterklaas is the original of Santa Claus.

He was a bishop, living in Mira, who heard the story of two girls who wanted to marry, but couldn't, because they didn't have the money to do so.
In the middle of the night he went to their house and threw a bag with money in their room.

To honor this great man and great gesture, people started to celebrate his birthday by giving presents to others.

During the ages the legend made place for the story of Sinterklaas, who was a bishop living in Spain with a lot of black people who assisted him in finding presents for children. These black people were called Zwarte Piet/black Peter.
Each year, at about the second week of november, Sinterklaas arrives on a steamship, loaded with presents and his assistants, at the harbours of The Netherlands.
The official arrival can be seen by all children on TV.

From that moment on they are allowed to put their shoes ready for a present.

When I was young we put them in front of the open fire. It was told that Sinterklaas went down through the chimney to put a present in the shoe for each child.
When the open fires disappeared people had to be creative and many children now have found another place and have created in their minds another story of how Sinterklaas is able to put a present in their shoes.
My children used to put their shoes behind the front door, telling me that Sinterklaas had a key to open all doors.

The shoes were never put there empty. They contained carrots for the horse, and water too. Sometimes even a drawing for Sinterklaas or something nice for zwarte piet.
And they never left their shoe just like that. No, traditional somgs were sung in the small hall so Sinterklaas could hear they're good kids.
Sometimes the children could hear the white horse of Sinterklaas on the roof.

All through november until december 5th these rituals take place.

In the night between December 5 and 6 Sinterklaas visits all homes before leaving to celebrate his birthday at home.
At many places he leaves the presents beside the shoes, but in our part of the country he leaves the presents on the table.
So when the children come downstairs in the morning they'll find their surprises.

Older children and grown ups draw names and make presents for each other, which are usually unpacked during a small party at the evening of December 5.

When people moved to America they took their tradition with them.
Ofcourse it was adjusted mainly in such a way that the referral to the christian background disappeared. hence the different clothes of Santa Claus.
But hopefully the reason of the gift event is as inspiring to us as it was to Sinterklaas.



Friday, December 3, 2010

Try Ecosmart Pest Control For Free!

Do you like free stuff? Of course, who doesn't. As some of you know, my children and I, did a whole 4 week course on being more Ecosmart. Now I have been given the opportunity to try Ecosmart Home Pest Control, and I get to give away a bundle of it to one of my readers. Each bundle will contain a can of ant and roach killer, home pest control, flying insect controller, and insect repellent. Each item is shown in the picture.


Ecosmart is an organic and natural pest controller, that is safe for your home. For example, do you live where pesky gnats are a bother in your home? How to kill gnats in the home, is no longer a problem. The Ecosmart products are safe for yard, homes, pets, children, and your garden. I have a dog, rabbit, and children so keeping them safe while keeping fleas, palmetto bugs, gnats, flies and all other types of nasty bugs, we get here in FL, away from my home is very important to me. I do not like bugs all that much. As my children will point out to me, they serve a purpose. While that may be true, I am not fond of sharing living quarters with them. I can not wait for my bundle to arrive, so I can try it. The winner of the Ecosmart Home Pest Control bundle will have their email and name shared with the distributor of this product. Jeffrey will then contact you for your shipping information.

To enter is about as simple as it can be. No fuss, and you don't have to give away your first born to enter. Just leave me a comment stating why you want or need the Ecosmart Home Pest Control bundle. Don't worry no answer is wrong, or better than the other. Anyone who leaves a comment stating the reason will be entered. The contest starts today 12/3/10 and will run for two weeks, until 12/17/10. I have made a fancy little badge that will be on the sidebar as a form of sticky post, to remind others to join. On 12/17, at 8 AM, all entry names will be put into a hat, and one of my children will draw the lucky winners name. Those of you who follow my blog know this is how I do all my contests. Simple and fair. You must live in the US, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, to enter. Those are the requirements of the company.

This is a great giveaway, so hurry and enter. Be sure to tell your friends too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Need Guest Bloggers For Christmas Around The World, and I Did Something I Said I Wouldn't

Some of you have noticed that I removed Entrecard from my blogs. I know you noticed because you have been emailing me, asking where it went. It has been gone for about a month, and I swore I would not put it back. Well I put it back LOL. Not because my traffic died, it didn't. Not because my PR fell, it didn't. But because I miss reading all the blogs I used to read. There was no way for me to remember to check them all, without logging into Entrecard. So it is back on three of my blogs, but only for limited usage. I won't drop 300 drops, and I will only drop blogs I know and trust. If they have popups, redirects, or malware, I will be never dropping them again.

I am hoping to find some guest bloggers who are willing to share their Christmas traditions in their home countries. We are obviously in the US, and I am teaching my children about Christmas around the world. It would be nice to have a few international friends willing to share their traditions and customs. Nothing fancy, and it doesn't have to be real long. I will post free links to your blog or site, for those who participate, for one year on this blog. If you are interested please email me at melissaruede@yahoo.com or leave me a comment here with contact info so I can contact you.

Photos are of the kids that I took, and DJ took one of me and Caitlin. It was extremely windy, that is why I am holding my hair down. I feel like Winnie the Pooh in the Blustery Day. BTW I am not nearly as photogenic as my children are. Ugh I don't like pictures.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Endocrine System

As you can see by the title of my post, tomorrow is Health class. DJ will be reading and learning about the Endocrine System. This is actually a large and complicated subject to cover. DJ will be covering the basics. For Caitlin she will be doing left to right awareness, jumping, and other balance activities. If you want to check out the advent calendar we created, using candles, head over to Melissas Jewelry. What clever ideas have you used to make an advent calendar? Please share.

Lesson Plans For 12/2/10:

DJ:
Health: The Endocrine System, About 4H
Math: Fractions, and mixed math
Language Arts: Adjectives
Writing: Sensory details
Reading Comprehension with WS
Sign Language
Proof Reading

Caitlin:
Health: Motor skills activities, About 4H
Math: Addition
Printing Practice
Language Arts: Blends, compound words
Read sentences to color the picture: WS
Spelling: List 9
Sight words, calendar work, clock work, skip counting



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