Google Search

Custom Search

Monday, January 30, 2012

Art, Poetry and Writing Contests Homeschool and Public School

I was contacted via email to see if I wanted to post these contests for kids. Homeschoolers are welcome, so of course I said yes. I think we might even enter one or two, especially the poetry. DJ loves poetry. Anyway this is what was sent to me:

Art Contest
Students submit a digital photo of any art (other than photography) and submit it online at Two contests each year — Next deadline is April 3rd. There are 10 winners in each grade division of K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a full color book that includes their art. Other artists of merit will be invited to be published. There are no costs to enter or to be published. Open to all students in the US and Canada. Each year we have several home schoolers who are among our national winners.

Poetry Contest
Students submit one poem 21 lines on any topic and submit it online at or mail it to Creative Communication, 159 North Main Street, Smithfield, UT 84335. Three contests each year with upcoming deadlines of April 12 and August 15. There are 10 winners in each grade division of K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a book that includes their poem. Other writers of merit will be invited to be published. There are no costs to enter or to be published.

Our website at also includes a database that is divided by grade and subject and contains over 1000 lesson plans on how to teach poetry. You can also subscribe to our newsletter with tips on teaching poetry.

Essay Contest
Students submit one non-fiction essay, 250 words or less on any topic and submit it online at or mail it to Creative Communication, 159 North Main Street, Smithfield, UT 84335. Three contests each year with upcoming deadlines of Feb 15 and July 18. There are 10 winners in each grade division of 3-6, 7-9, 10-12 who will receive $25 and a book that includes their essay. Other writers of merit will be invited to be published. There are no costs to enter or to be published.

Then there is a writing contest through the National Parks Service. This one I found on Facebook. My kids are not yet old enough, but maybe your kids are. Visit the link to get the details for the NPS writing contest.

Good luck to any and all who decide to enter these contests. Please if you enter I would love to hear from you. If you win, I definitely would love to hear from you.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Taking Panoramic Photos

DJ had to learn how to take panoramic photos in his photography book this year. With the old camera we would have needed to use a tripod. However, this new camera is so simple to take panoramic shots. You simply pick your starting point, then swing the camera slowly to the right until the yellow plus sign is inside the white plus sign, and then the camera automatically takes the shot. Then you repeat one more time. I love panoramic shots, they are my favorite. DJ took these at the nature refuge and the Gulf of Mexico on our volunteer day last week. If you click on the image it will go big so you can see the full effect.

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. We did, and tomorrow back to lessons. We are redecorating our classroom, and I can't wait to share that. Tomorrow, I will also be sharing some homeschool contests for my readers to enter. That is exciting!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

4H County Events 2012

This is DJ and Caitlin's second 4H County Events. This is a competition and fun day. Last year we just basically watched and learned. DJ did do a photo last year, and won a blue ribbon. The ladybug picture shown was his entry this year, and he won first place again. Now it will go to District Events in May. I hope to be able to attend that this year.

Caitlin did the fashion show wearing a dress she helped sew. She also assisted her brother in his demonstration. Because she is a cloverbud she won a participation green ribbon. Next year she will no longer be a clover bud.

DJ also did a demonstration on the Florida dung beetle. This was his first time doing a demonstration, and people were still talking about it later. He is a very good speaker and once he got over the jitters he did very well. He won first place for that as well, and will be able to do the same demonstration at District Events. Because he is 11 he can't go to State level, but next year he will be able to. They were both so nervous I was afraid they would back out. But they did it, and did it well, and I am one proud momma today. I am also very tired. It is a very long day, that starts way too early. I am so glad I decided to get my kids involved in 4H.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dennis Creek Hiking Trail

We have been busy, busy, busy the last two days. Yesterday, was a playdate at the park. If you look down at the very last shot you will see how hot it got. I don't ever burn, mostly because I don't let myself burn, but you need to see the raccoon eyes on me. Last night you could the whole outline of my sunglasses.

Today was our volunteer day at the nature refuge. We haven't been since before Christmas and the photography class. Today it was just us, and one other family that volunteers with us. We were privelaged to be able to walk the Dennis Creek Trail, to look for garbage or damage. Gladly we didn't find a lot of garbage, which is nice because this trail is used quite frequently. This particular trail doesn't end up at the Suwanee River, like the others, it goes to the Gulf of Mexico. So after we hiked the trail and did our work, we headed down to the Gulf. It was low tide as you can probably tell from the pictures. We did see some small fish, crabs, and some birds along the trail. We found an area where there was an obvious wildfire at some point, that did not burn through the trees. Just the outside was burnt and new green could be seen growing from the tops. We will ask Ranger Pam about this the next time we see her. It might have been caused by lightning. There is a lovely little sitting dock on this trail, that I want to return to by myself to read or just enjoy the peace and quiet. I might take a friend, it is kind of remote, lol! After visiting the Gulf, there weren't any picnic tables, just fishing dock and boat ramp, we headed back to Chiefland for lunch at the park. I am tired now and have a ton of house work to catch up on. It appears we will finally get some much needed rain over night, but severe weather is possible because it has been so warm. I don't look forward to tornado warnings, and constant lightning. Tomorrow back to regular school, movie day, and grocery shopping.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We Have Vegetables!

Well sort of, lol! I said about a week ago that we took the root of a bunch of celery, and the root of a head of lettuce and planted them in pots. To make the experiment more interesting we planted them in sand, with some regular yard dirt and then plant food. The first picture is not great but you can see it sprouting through the dirt. The second picture is much better. It is very warm here right now, so we haven't even had to bring them in at night. I have managed to keep my Poinsettia plant alive as well. I will plant it in the Spring, and was told it will grow into a bush eventually. I did not know that. This is a very good Science experiment that anyone can try at home. It didn't cost us anything because we already had everything we needed. I can't wait to see if we actually get some veggies that we can eat. Last Summer I did get a few tomatoes, but I have not perfected that yet, and forget cucumbers, I give up on them.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just A Hum Drum Day

Well it is Monday, again. The weather here in Florida is exceptionally warm for January. I am not complaining mind you, but it does make me nervous as to what the Spring and Summer will bring. There have already been Spring patterns for severe weather in the south, and I really am not happy about that. The pink flowers are already blooming, another sign that things are not normal.

I am off from work for the next three Saturdays. Though I love that, because I can get a lot done around the house, my pocketbook will be sweating it. We have two field trips coming up, in the next two months, albeit affordable ones, and my sister is coming for a visit sometime in there as well. I will have lots of extra time to paint as well. My house should be spotless by the end of the three weeks. Don't hold your breath, lol.

DJ is moving along well in the Spanish on FLVS, and is maintaining a B. I am very pleased with this, though I will not admit it is easy, because it isn't. I still have to average their grades for report cards, that should be completed soon.

I am continuing to cut calories, and exercise when I can, to lose weight and have all around better health. I have decided that at least twice a week, maybe three, I will replace baked beans with my meat source. Only I will be doing this, as no one else in my family has any interest in eating beans with me, lol! They have like 90% less fat than most meats, and tons of iron, calcium, fiber and protein. I hope I can stick with it. I am down to one Pepsi a day, and really don't see myself ever giving it up completely. Somedays I cheat and have two, but mostly when I work. DJ has finished reading Dolphin Tale, book report due today, and is starting Treasure Island.

Lesson Plans For 1/23/12:

Reading: Treasure Island 2 chapters
Writing: Book report for, Dolphin Tale
Spanish: FLVS
Language Arts: Colons
Practice Speech for County Events

Head of the Class: 3 cycles
Math: Addition, fractions, object math
Social Studies: Fire safety
Language Arts: Plural words, nouns
Science: Habitats

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Make Your Own Valentines

OK, I know someone is going to say I am weird, trust me I have heard it before. We have been invited to two Valentines Day parties. One for our homeschool group and one for our 4H group. For some strange reason our 4H group did it Monday. We did a cookie exchange instead of Valentines. This was something we voted on, because last year the kids just threw them out, didn't really read them, and seemed uncomfortable with the corny I love you, your cute, be mine and other sayings on them. You know how teens and preteens are with that stuff. So, now for the homeschool group, of course they want to do Valentines. I was the only weirdo that voted no. Figures I know. So, I have decided we will be making our own. No, this is not less expensive, by the time you figure in the ink to print them, and the candy we will use in the center, but we will add our own sayings like, glad we are friends, your so nice, etc. I was going to add short blessings, but I can not seem to find any short blessings, other than like God loves you, but that is not really what I wanted. We will also be making a candy bouquet for the party. This is my first time attempting this, and you still have to wait to see it, lol! So, if you are weird like me, and you want to make your own Valentines, here are two links that will give you some cute free printable ideas. After you print them you color them, or paint, and then either stick a lollipop into the center, or affix a heart shaped piece of wrapped candy. Link number one, link number two.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tissue Paper Art

Every two weeks we do painting class. Those of you who follow my blog know we are learning to paint the one stroke method. My mom wanted us to try Tissue Art? What is tissue art? It is toilet tissue that they get wet and set very tightly into molds and you get a lovely piece of tissue art. I thought we were going to learn how to make the pieces to paint, but since my mom was strapped for time, due to nasty weather, we just painted the ones we already had. No one seemed to be real impressed with them, so I am guessing we won't be doing them again. I have no idea what to do with them either, now that they are done, lol! I did the heart, each kid a pig, and my mom did the tiny ones. It was fun, but not very useful in my opinion. After that DJ practiced his Spanish lessons, and Caitlin painted a pink river dolphin. Our homeschool room, which is our dining room, is getting a new look so stay tuned for that.

As for today, we have a full day of lessons with all subjects involved. It is chilly and damp, so haven't decided yet if we will walk or not. The sun is shining though, and that is never a bad thing. Have an awesome day, everyone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some Cool Science Things To Try

I read somewhere, and if I could remember I would give the credit, that if you put the end of the celery into dirt it will grow new celery. So, today we put the end of the celery and lettuce, you know the parts no one ever eats, and planted them in dirt with plant food. We will see if they actually do anything. Of course if it gets real cold we will have to place them in the garage.

DJ finished his National Zoo bear book today. This was a lengthy assignment and he is very proud of the results. If you don't wish to go to the National Zoo website, here is basically what he did. You will need an opening page with basic information about bears in general. You can pick any bears you want to cover, I think there were eight total on the curriculum. The child will need to look up pictures of each bear chosen, and draw a likeness of the bear. Then each bear needs a page of info for each bear. After all that, the last page is dedicated to how we can protect bears in the wild, and conserve for their future. DJ used his Polar Bear painting, that he did in Art class, as his cover. We stapled it together and it is a lovely reference type book he can use over and over again. He will get a very good grade on this. He worked hard and put in a lot of effort.

We also walked to the 4H extension office to turn in the County Events paperwork, and the photo he has chosen to enter this year. I will share the pic later. Caitlin has to turn in the dress she helped my mom make, next week, and the demonstration will go in the day of County Events. DJ is nervous about speaking in front of others, but he is a great orator and he will do fine. I will share that project once the board has been completely assembled.

On top of all that we did a full day of lessons. Whew I am tired now!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day

Today is the day we honor the life of the great Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. This is a federal holiday, here in the US, and public schools are closed, and more importantly my husband is home from work. Normally we would just take today off. However, I sent my husband to the firehouse to do paperwork, so we can do a half day of lessons. DJ's writing prompt for this week is about having a dream. We have watched several documentaries on Martin Luther King Jr, and his writing will be due Friday. For today DJ will be doing Spanish on FLVS, read 3 chapters of Dolphin Tale, and one math chapter. Caitlin will be doing 3 cycles of Head of the Class. Do you have today off?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tissue Art, Spanish Class, Panoramic Pictures, and Purple Roses

OK, for those of you who were wondering those are the tissue art, unpainted of course. My mom left these with me, and I just remembered to take a picture of them. The kids will be painting these ones Wednesday, and making more of the heart ones as well. They take a while to set and dry, so the second set won't get painted right away. We have decided on homemade Valentine's for our homeschool Valentine's party. I would just assume do none, but whatever. I will share how they will be done in another post. I am also going to be making a candy bouquet, which I will share at a later date as well. I got both of those ideas from Pinterest, with a little twist of my own.

Caitlin loves flowers almost as much as me. Every now and then Walmart will have a good deal and I will pick some up. I put the purple roses in the two vases that my mother and I painted just last week. I think they look pretty darn nice. I have been practicing my painting strokes, in my book, each night and am getting more comfortable. I have discovered that I paint better, at least in the book, with my left hand. I will have to see how it works out when I actually do it. I have never known myself to be ambidextrous, but maybe I am.

I had mentioned before that I bought a new camera, because we thought DJ broke the other. He didn't and he was given the old one. Now the poor thing really is dying, and needs to be retired. I have looked up to see if there is a fix, but it is ten years old, and that is a long time for a digital camera. So now him and I both need to learn how to use the new one, lol! He needs to take a panoramic shot for one of his assignments. So I went out this morning to mess with it. This camera takes very simple and easy panoramic shots. No tripod or fuss. The picture is shown below. It is just the side and front of the yard, but you get the idea. He will get one of the Gulf or something really cool.

FLVS Spanish class is proving to be very time consuming. Just when we thought we were getting the hand of it, the teacher informs us that you must turn in three tests per week. Really? That is almost insane when you are learning a language that is completely foreign to you. He has already done greetings, pronouns, adjectives, verbs and much more. I don't know how he is supposed to be able to retain this info going so fast. The teacher was very nice and helpful, so at least that is good.

Thursday we did half day of lessons, then had a playdate at the park. Friday was half day of lessons, then movie day. We watched a documentary on the Blue Whale that was really fascinating. We did manage to get all three tests in for Spanish by Friday, so we didn't have to do it over the weekend. Next week we start preparing for County Events.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kielbasa, Onions and Peppers Over Pasta

OK so I have had a very busy day today. I am trying a few new things for this blog. One I want to share more crafty ideas, ideas for experiments, and of course some favorite food recipes I love or would like to try. The kids had a full day of school, and all went as planned. I spent more time on Facebook, today, than I think I ever have, lol!

I got this idea to do Caitlin's hair in the shape of a heart from Pinterest. I didn't do it exactly as shown, but you get the idea. If you have Pinterest you can check my pins for the tutorial. It is very cute, I just need to tweak it a little. Since Caitlin does not like her hair fussed with, she was not a good model.

One of my favorite, and easy meals to make, is Kielbasa with onions, red peppers, served over angel hair pasta. Since I am trying to learn to take better pictures, I thought I would try food. If you read recipe blogs their pictures look good enough to eat themselves. So I was curious how to achieve this. I am still curious, lol. You can see the steam rising, and obviously it is cooking, but that is about it. To make simply cook the Kielbasa, with the other ingredients, in water or chicken broth. You don't need anything else, the Kielbasa adds all the flavor you need. I like to sprinkle in some brown sugar now and then. Serve it over cooked noodles, rice or potatoes. You could also cook it in butter but it adds lots of fat and calories. I cook them until the onions are golden brown and sweet.

Since it rained today, we really needed it, our playdate at the park is tomorrow. The kids will only have half lessons for the day. If anyone has any cute ideas to make snacks into heart shapes, please share. I found a couple, but would really like a few more ideas. Also if anyone knows where I can purchase kids Valentines that are not with all the corny sayings, I would love to know that too. We may just end up making our own.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spanish Is Not So Much Fun

LOL DJ is not enjoying the FLVS Spanish classes. I can't say that I blame him, navigating through it is difficult. Then we couldn't figure out how to make the accents over the vowels, for certain words. Thankfully the teacher, and help from our homeschool group, and we have figured out how to do it. I also found it is easier for him to print off the lesson each day, then trying to go back and forth through the screens to review and compare. It doesn't say you can not do this, and normally you would have a textbook, so for now it is working well for DJ. He still has a very good grade, just frustrated with the difficulties navigating.

Next week my mom is teaching us tissue art. It is done with toilet paper, no not reused or recycled, water, and cookie cutters. I tried to find a Youtube video to show you, but there weren't any. So you will have to wait and be curious just like me. She already made a few, for us to look at, and it is really amazing. We will be making more and then painting them. I have decided for my own personal painting that I am going to pick one picture and paint it over and over until I get it right. I am not sure my mom will agree with me, but that is how I learn, through repetition. After next weeks class, I have decided that the kids will have more basic art projects each week. The first one will be to create a scenic picture of their choice, using only three colors. Rather than concentrating on strokes they will concentrate on color concepts, blending, and making new colors. DJ is almost finished with his bear book, that he did through the National Zoo. This was a long project and he has worked hard on it. Next he will begin doing his Dung Beetle poster board, for his demonstration at 4H County Events. He picked this topic because we have lots of them, and Caitlin and him have been studying insects in their 4H project book. We even have one that was once alive, but found deceased in our yard. It will be for model purposes.

Lesson Plans for 01/10/12:

Science: National Zoo bears book, physical and chemical properties
Math: Saxon 65 chapter 58

Head of the Class: 3 cycles
Spelling: Matching
Math: Greater than and less than, addition, subtraction, pictographs
Language Arts: Command sentences, words ending in ING
Science: The Water Cycle, wetlands

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can You Guess What This Picture Is?

Can you guess what the picture is? I have gotten a lot of interesting responses the other place that it was posted.

Today was our first day back to lessons. It was a good day and we accomplished a lot. DJ took longer on his math than I would have liked, but it is all good. Lovely weather here in FL until Friday when it gets cold again for a few days.

Lesson Plans For 01/09/2012:

Reading: Read the last chapter of current book with book report due Friday.
Math: Saxon 65 chapter 57
Writing: Persuasive Writing: blog post
Spanish: Reading assignment on FLVS
Photography: Candid Shots

Head of the Class: 2 cycles
Months of the Year
Printing Practice
Math: Greater less and equal, time, subtraction, addition flash cards
Spelling: Matching
Language Arts: Exclamations, spelling words ending in ING

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Volunteering and Pinterest

Well we have finished out our last week of Christmas break, with a bang. Wednesday we painted, Thursday playdate at the park, Friday I felt like crap, and today we volunteered with our 4H group at Otter Springs.

This is not the same place we volunteer at with our homeschool friends. 4H is all about learning leadership and citizenship. So this year they decided to do a volunteer day. Since we have such a wide age range in our group, it wasn't easy finding someone to let us volunteer. Otter Springs was more than willing to let us help. I didn't take any pictures of the springs, well because we were busy and I forgot, lol! You can camp there as well, and they have a pool if you don't care for the springs. The first picture is a rather large sink hole, that was blocked off. If you don't know what a sink hole is, it is a part of the ground that just opens up into a hole. This one is very small in comparison to ones that people have fallen into and couldn't get out. It is so comforting to know you can wake up one day and your car our house could just be swallowed by a sink hole, not to mention your pets and children. The kids worked hard and had a good time. They filled the whole back of a truck with twigs, logs and sticks. One little boy, got himself in a mess, when he tried to pick up a rotten log that was infested with fire ants. The poor thing was covered in welts. He went home needless to say. We found a hollowed out tree stump, that the kids thought was a good time. I had to check it for curled up rattlesnakes, bees, and fire ants before they got in it. All in all a great day and the weather warmed up nice and even though there was a threat of rain, the sun didn't disappoint us. Back to school Monday.

Oh, I almost forgot! Pinterest is a new website I was introduced to. If any of you are members and want to be friends just let me know and we can get that done.

Currclick for Homeschoolers


Custom Ornamental Gates

Create your own banner at!
Copy this code to your website to display this banner!