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Saturday, September 29, 2012


DJ loved the Schoolhouse Rock videos, and they helped him remember parts of speech by resinging the song. So, I am going to try it with Caitlin as well. She has nouns and verbs down real well, now she needs to get pronouns. There is a Schoolhouse Rock video and a cute PBS Kids video. If your kids need to learn pronouns, teach them in a song.

Caitlin is doing well with sentences and fragmented sentences, which she eased into pretty easily. I am very happy for that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Art Class, Baby Frogs and Snakes

Today was painting, drawing and sewing class. Caitlin is working on her doll blanket, which should be finished by the next class. So, pictures will come then. DJ drew and color penciled in this cute dog shown. I painted, and my Mom worked with the kids. I am currently in the process of upcycling, reusing, or repurposing glass jars. People call it different things. I take old jars, not bottles, and paint on them, then add sand or marbles and a candle and it makes a lovely candle holder. Of course you could use them for a toothbrush holder, silverware, hair ties, pencils and pens whatever. But, they do look exceptionally nice with a candle lit inside them. Today I did all Fall theme jars. One is shown below. Some I list in my Etsy store and some will be gifts. We are having a garage sale, as a charity event for our Earth Kids group, no one has agreed as to when yet though. Some of these will go for that.

We have had an explosion of baby tree frogs. They are everywhere in the evening. The kids have been having a ball looking for them, catching them, and then letting them go. We have tried to keep frogs as pets, but have always been unsuccessful so I told the kids they have to release them from now on. They even sit on their heads and just stay there, LOL!

Last evening was our Earths Kids Club meeting. Faith did a presentation on the Water Moccasin, a nasty snake indeed. She had a dead baby one, but it turns out it wasn't a water moccasin, but still cool to see up close. Well for some, for me I thought I was going to pass out at first. Yes, I have a deep fear of snakes, even dead ones. Fears are a funny thing. There usually is no rational reason to be afraid of something, like heights, another thing I fear. I don't like to live in fear, so after I compose myself I actually could look, no touching, quite closely at the snake. I think they should dissect it. How cool would that be? Faith had a cool snake craft too. You just take egg shell cartons, cut them up, and tie them together with a string, then paint the shells any way you want. The boys were not very creative with theirs, but the girls made some pretty fancy snakes. Next meeting Caitlin is doing the Anaconda, with the help of her brother. Should be fun!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peaceful Homeschool Day

I love these peaceful homeschool days. Mondays and Fridays are usually our days where we mix it up a bit, from regular textbook schooling. Totally off topic, for my Entrecard friends, I have not been able to get on there in almost a week, so I apologize for not being able to drop on anyone. I hope I am not the only one. Now back to homeschool. We are back to walking at least twice a week, and I prefer to do three. Last week we were very social during school hours, this week is more traditional schooling. We walked this morning, then did some stretching and some mild aerobics. I have been nursing a sore shoulder, so I left off the push ups for now. Then everyone had their chores to do. All chores were completed before lunch, and then recess after that. In the afternoon each child had to do Math and Reading. Caitlin also did Head of the Class, and DJ had a writing assignment to do. He did it on dragons. Since it was his turn to pick the topic he went with dragons. Next week he gets another poetry writing assignment. Then I grade the Math and go over anything that needs to be reviewed, and poof that is a Monday wrap. We love Saxon Math. I know a lot of homeschoolers who don't like it, but it works for us, so I am sticking with it. I did get to paint this evening, for the first time in two weeks. I missed it. Hope everyone had a splendid Monday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baby Frogs In A Tube

We have had a frog living in a old pipe in our backyard for years. Last year we finally got a picture of it sticking its head out of the pipe. DJ got a cool shot of it inside the pipe, in the early Spring. We just assumed he was a boy, and we also assume it is the same frog each year. Of course we have no way to know this. Today, Caitlin was outside for recess. She came running in to inform me that the frog in the tube was not a boy. Oh boy! But I had no clue what she was talking about. So she took me out to show me. She meant the frog in the pipe was a girl. How did she know? Because there were three baby frogs in the pipe with the big frog. So of course DJ had to get a shot. The mom and third baby must have been camera shy, because they moved behind the other two babies, out of sight. Aren't they cute?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Piranhas and Poetry!

I have probably mentioned this before but I hate teaching Grammar. There are so many rules to remember, argh! It is boring too! But, I will get to that in a minute.

Yesterday was a co-op day, at another friend's house. We learned about piranhas. As with any misunderstood, not so attractive looking creature, people are naturally petrified of Piranhas. We watched the video below and it was quite interesting. I won't tell you the whole story, but it had to do with Piranhas being found in the US. Watch it, it was neat. We also went for a walk as a group, did a craft and had lunch together. Then the kids get to have some play time after. The next one is in two weeks. We also had our first 4H meeting of the new year last night. DJ was elected as the photographer again, so he was excited. I tried to get him to go for another position, but he had no interest. Caitlin still does not feel like she wants to hold an officer position yet. My kids are doing Photography, Entomology and Butterflies for their project books. But, the group project is First Aid. I am looking forward to them learning something so good. They decided what scarecrow they wanted to make for their group Scarecrow. This year they are doing The Cat in the Hat.

Today was a full day of lessons, and DJ had to make up his writing assignment from yesterday plus all his other work. This is how we get to do more social things. They have to make up whatever they miss on the fun day, on another day. They don't seem to mind, so it works for us. I chose his topic this week, I wanted two writing assignments a week, but it is only working out to one a week so far, and we alternate the topic. I chose for him to write a poem about a pumpkin. Hop over to his blog and check it out.

Tomorrow we have a playdate at the park. Each kid will have to complete some kind of school work before we go. DJ will probably read and Caitlin will probably do Head of the Class. I hope the weather is nice. I am so glad it is Fall and the hot sticky stuff is mostly gone for the year.

Caitlin will be really expanding her Grammar and Math this year. That will be my main focus for her. She is struggling with the rules of plural nouns, especially es, and ies. Every time I think she has it, poof there it went. So, I found this cute video for her to watch. Sometimes watching it, rather than listening to me try to explain it, helps them see it in a different way. Do you like Grammar? Did you enjoy learning it in school?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Art Class Homeschool Style

Everyone knows we have been learning to paint. I have graduated from bottles, to walls and paintings on painting paper. Some of these are for sale in my Etsy store. I am also painting a whole line of Christmas ornaments. Anyway, on Thursdays we seem to have a little bit of extra time at the end of the school day. So, Caitlin and I decided to test how durable acrylic paints, and my sealer, really are. Last Thursday we painted one wall of my shower the dark blue shown in the background. I let it sit a day, and then I sealed it. Of course I showered during the week, and none of the paint came off. Then this Thursday, we decided to paint things you would see in the sky. You can see the results. The really big bird, and dragonfly, Caitlin did, with me assisting her on filling in and some of the outline. The art of painting small is something we both are working on, LOL! I am very pleased with the results. I sealed it on Friday, and showered in it Friday evening, with not so much as a smudge. I might do the other walls, but it might be a while before I get to it. So, my conclusion is, water does not harm the acrylic paints, it is the method of submerging items, even if sealed, and then rubbing them, like if you were washing and acrylic painted plate or glass, that actually makes the paint come off, even if sealed. We have watering bottles that we painted back in April, that have been outside in torrential downpours that all the paint is still there and bright as they were when we put them there. This was a good little experiment for me, and of course we got to paint. DJ didn't think standing in the tub with two girls trying to paint a wall, sounded like fun, so he didn't join in. He has been doing a lot of drawing, and photography rather than painting. That seems to be more his speed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Coral Snakes and Luna Moth

Every other Tuesday we go to our Earth Kids Club meeting. This is a club started by us, to help children get out and enjoy nature. Since it is so hot here in Florida, until about October, our meetings have been mostly reading, discussion and some crafty type lessons. We are studying Wetlands and Reptiles. All members vote and get a say in what the group does. At the last meeting, one of the moms suggested that each kid pick a reptile and do a small demonstration at each meeting. So, we did. Not all kids have picked, they wanted to think about it. But, DJ went first, and he did the Coral Snake. He read some information, discussed it and the funny saying that goes with it, and then they all drew and colored a Coral Snake, and a Milksnake to show the difference. Then they got to eat the delicious Coral Snake cupcakes that DJ and Caitlin made. They really did make them, all by themselves. I only frosted them. Coral Snakes are actually red and yellow, not pink and yellow. But, red frosting is grossly bitter, and anytime I have ever used it no one eats the red parts, so we used pink. Then the kids get to socialize and play at the park. Once the cooler weather comes I really want them to be walking nature trails and observing nature to later be drawn and documented. So far, I am very pleased with this group, and glad I convinced myself to do it. Tuesday was also a full day of lessons before the meeting.   Oh if anyone is interested in the links we used for the Coral Snake, it is under Earths Kids on Pinterest.

Today, was another day of full lessons, plus our morning walk. DJ finally got on the Florida virtual school to begin his 7th grade lessons for Science. So far it is going much smoother than Spanish. They have changed the set up of the classes and movement around the interface, and it is much more user friendly. So DJ is doing two History currics and two Science currics, plus all his other work. So far he is handling it quite well. There is still more stuff I would like to add but I don't want to overwhelm him so I must be patient.

I hope everyone is having an awesome week so far. Be sure to stop by DJ's blog to keep up with his writing activities this year.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Canada and Snickerdoodle French Toast

Now that we are back in school we have started our Monday co-op back up. Each Monday one of three moms hosts and makes a lesson of their choosing. Since I was first, and I didn't want to do Science related topics I picked Geography, a little Math and Life Skills. I will be continuing with this on the Mondays that are mine to do.

I started with Canada because I figured that would be the easiest to locate on a map. Everyone found it easy. Since each class should be less than two hours, I have to consolidate what to learn. First though, we always go for a walk.

After the walk we all sit down and I read a little bit to everyone. Since we have ages from 6-16, I have to keep it simple yet engaging. This can sometimes be difficult. I used Kids World Travel Guide, for our reading pleasures.

Then each kid colored a map of Canadian provinces, in their own unique ways. This gives them time to socialize and discuss Canada, the size, and what they learned. There are more complicated sheets but the little ones find it too difficult, so I simplified it.

Then the best part, they got to make Snickerdoodle French Toast, which is a Canadian meal. I have to tell you it was the best French Toast I have ever eaten. We did leave off the cornflakes and did not bake it, but used a griddle. Since there are 9 of us, they had to double the ingredients, so there is some Math. Then they have to measure, mix, and cook the French Toast. They all took turns, and were quite proud of themselves.

The next class that is mine, we are going to do Great Britain.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Biscuit's New Safe Glow Dog Collar

Those of you who read my blog consistently, have already met Biscuit.  She is my 85 pound Lab mix beauty.  I was contacted by a company that makes Dog Training Collars, and asked if I would do a review of their Safe Glow LED Dog Collar.  Of course I said yes.  I love doing reviews.  Anyway I sent in my info and about ten days later I got the collar in the mail.  What you will read next might make you laugh, or you might just think I am a dingy blonde, but it is all true. 

So, the collar is delivered.  The kids are excited, a glowing dog collar, what fun!  We remove the collar from the package.  It is a very nice collar, good looking made of nice sturdy vinyl, with a lovely closing clasp that I must tell you is very durable.  I don't think a dog could get it off, I had a hard time getting it off, LOL!  Biscuit loves her dog collar.  When we removed the old one and put on the new one, it was like getting a new dress for my daughter.  Then we added her name tag to it, and her outfit was complete. 

So, we wait for dusk and out we go to check out the glowing collar.  It doesn't glow, as you can see in the first three pictures.  Nothing, nada, nil.  So, my son says maybe it needs sunlight, or some kind of light to charge it.  OK, makes sense to me.  So off it comes and we set it under a light for the next 24 hours.  The next evening, out we go to try the collar.  Nothing!  How in the world do you make it glow?  So, I said to the kids, I guess since I threw out the package I have to contact the company to ask them how to make it work.  Lucky for me, I kept the original email and it told me how to use it.  Whew!  If you look at the pictures, I am pointing to a nice square box on the collar.  I noticed the box when we first got it, but couldn't find an on/off switch, so I just thought it somehow held the charge.  Come to find out, as you can see in the next picture, there is a small round button in the center of the box that turns the collar on and off.  Poof it works!  Amazing what happens when you read directions.  So, out we go again and as you can see it glows nice and bright orange.  It has three speeds of light:  solid, slow blink and a very fast blink.  The camera doesn't pick up the blink but it is there.

Now, that we have been using it for about 9 days, let me tell you why I love it.  We have a fenced backyard.  Biscuit and Lucky are allowed to run and play at will, and are safe.  Biscuit is quite heavy, and even though she has been put on a diet, she could use some more exercise.  So, I want to walk her.  In the summer especially, we walk in the early AM or early PM.  This collar will keep me safe, and Biscuit safe, by letting people see us with the orange collar.  Also, Biscuit needs more socializing.  We want to visit out of state next year, and Biscuit will either have to stay at a doggy daycare, or we would like someone to stay at our home with her.  That means she has to be more willing to accept people into our home.  So walking will enhance her socializing as well.  Plus if she got out of the fence, and decided to go on a neighborhood excursion, we could find her if the collar was turned on, not a bad idea if you have a dog that escapes frequently.   The only one con that I can see, is that it is not 100% waterproof.  But, if you don't walk in the rain it shouldn't be a problem.  I don't walk in the rain, wet clothes gross me out.

Now more about the specifics of the Safe Glow Dog Collar:

-  It comes in three sizes:" small, medium and large.  On their website you can see the dogs recommended for each size.
-  Sturdy nylon collar
-  The Safe Glow Dog Collar uses a lithium battery that can be purchased at most stores.  It is a long lasting battery so you don't have to change it often.
-  It is lightweight only weighing about a pound.

The company that offers the Safe Glow Dog Collar, also offers Dog Training Collars.  They have a wide variety of options available for you to browse at your leisure.  To check out the Safe Glow Dog Collar, or the other dog training collars, click any of the links in this article.  The only compensation I have received for this post is the dog collar to try on my dog, and the pleasure of telling you about an awesome product.  If you have any questions you can contact the company on their website. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4H Photography Book 3

Day two of school and we are already having fun!  LOL!  This is DJ's third and last book for Photography in 4H.  The first chapter was on using different lenses.  Since we don't have interchangeable lens on our camera, we thought we would have to skip it.  But, lucky for DJ his mom is smarter than she looks, wink wink.  I will explain how we did it below.  The second chapter is all about special effects and easy affordable ways to achieve them.  We did one, which I will share below.  This chapter is a long chapter and will require some cheap purchases on our grocery shopping trip this week.  So be sure to check back next week to see what we did.  Please do not borrow, or steal DJ's images.  They are his sole property and I keep them all for personal records dated and timed for proof.

Today was another full day of lessons, with the second part of the day being History.  Caitlin is focusing on Native Americans and US Symbols.  While DJ is doing book three of The Story of the World and US History, so yes he is doing two History currics.  Plus a Marine Biology lesson everyday to be sure he can complete it in a year. 

This is Caitlin's sunflower turned green.  We achieved this effect by using a Chelsea Filter.  A Chelsea Filter is used in the identification of Emeralds which is why I own one.  Gemstone geek here.  It actually looks blue but gives the effect of green, and a very intense green if the object is already green. 
Caitlin looking like the Grinch.  Notice it doesn't really turn her green, but gives a green hue to everything.
Since we didn't have lenses to interchange, I let DJ use my 10X Loupe to take a shot of the inside of the sunflower magnified.  This is really a cool shot.  There is a better one too.
This is the clouds and the edge of the Crepe Myrtle tree using the Chelsea Filter.  For some reason my little cursor won't let me write next to the picture below. But as you can see it is the same exact shot without flash.
This is a dragonfly wing under the Loupe.  This is really cool.  Open it up to get a better look.

This is the dragonfly head under the Loupe.  This was a fun lesson and we had a ball doing it.  Caitlin wants to start photography in the next year, so DJ will get to be her prop in pictures.  Caitlin started her Butterfly book today as well.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunflowers, Toads and the First Day of School

Oh my it is the first day of school already. It seems like Summer Vacation was not nearly as long this year. We did accomplish a lot of cleaning and organizing that does not get done during the school year. This morning, nice and early, since it is still 100 degrees here by 10, not really more like 90, but I get to exaggerate it is my blog, we went for our morning walk. When we returned DJ noticed this huge toad sleeping on the top of the porch light. Now since he is sitting on his legs you can not appreciate the real size of this toad. See it looking at you? It must sleep with its eyes open. I wonder how long it has been there. I just hope he does not decide to jump on my head one of these mornings. That could end in disaster.

Caitlin's sunflower is finally starting to open, as shown in the picture. It seems to be taking a long time, but we have not had hardly any rain. People in neighboring counties say it rains everyday at their house, but for some reason at mine not even a sprinkle. So that means we have to water our garden. We did only fair with the cukes, I assume I did not water them enough, because they were awesome. I figure it is the rainy season it will rain, right, no not right. Tomatoes are still trying to get there. I had at least half a dozen tomatoes on the plant, and something ate them, and it was not me. Since I am trying to avoid pesticides at all cost, I put onion peels at the bottom of the tomato plant. That actually seems to have worked. Tomatoes require a lot of water, like inches a day, so of course I probably need to water them more. Tomatoes still have a lot of growing time here in FL, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Next year I am doing sweet potatoes. We did just plant lettuce and carrots, and I will share the containers we made to put them in, in a future post. Here in FL, you can grow a winter garden, and usually there are no bugs to worry about.

We are also doing the Earths Kids Club, since July, and we are working on some interest projects for that as well. That will be shared later as well.

Later this week I will be doing a review on a really cool dog collar, so be sure to check back for that. If you have a dog, you need it.

We did a full load of lessons today, no holding back, and it was a great day. Lots of fun ahead, so stay tuned. Hope everyone had an awesome Labor Day. We did, we didn't do anything!

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