Google Search

Custom Search

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Apple Jars and A Change In Plans Again

How many times have I changed the date for the start of our new school year? Good grief, it is different again. If you follow along, we have been doing Math and History, one day a week, or two over the Summer. We were officially going to start full time on Sept 15th because my FIL is coming from NY. However, I did not realize he would still be here on the 15th and that is the day my husband planned on taking him to Blue Springs. So, now Tues and Thurs of this week, we will be doing full lessons, and two days next week full lessons. Then on the 16th we will be doing 5 days a week full lessons. Whew I confuse myself sometimes. That is the beauty of homeschooling though, the flexibility it allows you to have.

I will be posting our daily activities on this blog, and my son will be keeping track of his hours on his blog. I will have to help him at first. Last week Caitlin and I, using spray paint, painted these jars, hot glued a stick to the top and voila apple jars for our Fall table. I have the Fall decorations out, but have not yet had time to rearrange and get them all out. This week, hopefully, we will get to that.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Snake Skin At the Springs!

If you follow this blog, then you know for the past several weeks we have been visiting our local springs with friends. We have one more day, next Wed, and then one more trip to Blue Springs the week after that. Yesterday, we went to Fanning Springs. I did not bring the camera, and left the phone in the car. We already have tons of pics of Fanning. It was quiet there, hardly anyone there. The kids immediately went up to the observation deck, and then they were going to jump off the dock. While up on the observation deck, one of them stepped on something. Yep you guessed it, a snake skin! I don't know when it shed the skin, but it had to be pretty recent. It has been breezy here, the past few days, and one can safely assume it would have just blown off the deck. It is very light. Of course DJ had to keep a piece of it. He was sure it was a rattlesnake skin. I was not so sure. After some research you can see from the two images, DJ's with the blue background, and the other image, and it appears it is a rat snake skin. Rat snakes are nice snakes, and help keep the environment clean. I still couldn't help looking around for the snake that lost his skin. I just ordered a new microscope, should be here today, and we will be looking at the skin under that. Awesome!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Easing Back Into A New Homeschool Year With Art Class

We don't actually star our new homeschool year until, September 15th. But, I wanted to start to ease the kids back into some lessons. We have not done any for about two weeks now, not even a day or two like we were doing. So, I decided tonight we would start our new Art classes. The first lesson was on shading. The lesson lets you choose what to draw, after sharing examples of items with shading. DJ actually free handed a Buck for his project. How impressive! I did fruit, nuts, and leaves all at the base of a tree for a Fall Harvest piece. Caitlin went with cone shape trees. She actually did color it in and added a deer to hers, but somehow it did not get a final picture. We will do one lesson each week. I thought it was going to be Tues evenings, but apparently my hubby does not want it at that time. So, probably Monday evening, during my painting time.

I will be signing Caitlin up for Time4Learning on the 1st, so she can start at least one class a day, of her choice. DJ will continue with his American History. Caitlin also has started reading Black Beauty, one of the books I was going to have her read anyways. She will do a book report and Art project when done, on her blog. She is not used to full book reports, so this will be a learning experience, and I might have to help her at first. Both kids will be doing a blog post on their Summer Vacations within the next week.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blue Springs Park in High Springs Florida

Yesterday, my kids, and some of our homeschool friends took a trip to Blue Springs Park. Blue Springs, is in Gilchrist County, and about 20 min from our home. It lies on the Santa Fe River, just up the road from Poe Springs that we visited last week. There is another Blue Springs in Levy County, but it is not nearly as beautiful as this one. There are actually three springs in this one park. Big Blue Springs, Little Blue Springs, and Naked Springs. They are all able to be swam in, but we steered clear of Lil Blue Springs. It looked icky. This is now my new favorite place to visit. Unfortunately it is not super affordable, like the state parks, but still a nice treat. We will be taking my fil here in just a few weeks. The kids just absolutely loved it. For the first hour we were the only ones there. Public school is back in session, that explains that, lol. Gilchrist County is actually home to 60 springs, some unnamed, and some only accessible by canoe or boat. It is amazing because Gilchrist County is the youngest county in FL, and the smallest. Below are some links to read up on the springs, and where they are located. I learned something new. I always wondered why most of the springs have such clear, and often blue waters. The limestone that forms them acts as a filter for the water as it comes into the spring. It is an amazing, and beautiful natural wonder to see. We decided next week we would go to Fanning Springs, for one last spring trip before we start back to homeschool lessons for the year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looking For Homeschool Moms Who Want To Join a Free Fantasy Football League

A fellow homeschool mom, and friend of mine, wants to start a Fantasy Football League, for homeschool moms.  It will be done on  I will explain below, to give you a better idea of how it works.  You do not need to know how to play Fantasy Football to join. No one knows how to play it until you do it.  It is a lot of fun.  I have been doing it for years.  It is free, and your kids can help you too.  I am willing to help anyone who needs it as well.

1-  Either comment on this blog, with your email address, so I can contact you in how to join.  Or, you can email me at and tell me you want to join.  I will get you in touch with the league developer.  We need four more homeschool moms. 

2-  Once you are in touch with Amy, and she has 8 moms, she will set up the league, with the draft date.  The draft date and time will be told to you.  You will have to go on ESPN with the invite Amy will send you, make a team name for yourself, and prepare for the draft. 

3-  The draft is live, but if you can not be present the draft will pick your team for you.  You sometimes get a better team with auto pick, especially if you never did it before.

4-  You can pre rank your players, but most people enjoy picking their own team.  You can pick anyway you see fit.  The players are ranked from number 1 and so on.  Your best strategy, is to fill all your positions with the best ranking player available. 

Come on and join us.  It is free, so you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.  It really only takes a little bit of your time, to set your team each week. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jellyfish Stings at Saint Augustine Beach

Yesterday, we made our way to Saint Augustine Beach, for the third time this Summer. I love the beach, but I am extremely leary of critters in the water. The surf was not as rough as the last time we were there. So, I was grateful for that. Caitlin and I were able to float on our noodles without difficulty. After about 30 min of being there, I felt a light sting. As I moved away from it, the creature latched onto my lower leg, stinging me severely. Of course I screeched, and of course the lifeguard nor any other swimmers paid me any attention. Out of instinct I reached down to pull the offender off of me, and swat it. It did not sting my hand, but I did get it off me. My son says he thinks I killed it when I grabbed it. He thinks that, because about an hour, or so later, it just grazed his leg, and was basically in the same exact spot. I have no idea, I just know it hurt like crazy. I had thrown vinegar in the beach bag, just because I had a feeling I would need it. Yep, I needed it, and so did DJ. You are supposed to make sure there are no stingers left in your skin. There wasn't. Then rinse area thoroughly with vinegar. I did this three separate times. Then get back in the salt water to cleanse the area. If you have hot water handy, of course I didn't you could soak the wound in that. Believe me when I say, I had enough of the ocean for that day. I went in, but not past just below my knees. I still have the red marks, a little, DJ's are gone. His was mild. I do have nausea and a headache today, but I don't think it is related. I suffer from migraines, and one of my triggers is too much fresh air. Go figure that. How dumb. We will be going back at least one more time, when my father in law comes to visit in about three weeks. Our pool is basically dead now, and actually my heart is not broken. Pools are a lot of work, and expense. My kids enjoy the springs way more than the pool anyways.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Poe Springs the Wild Florida You Should See

We have been meaning to go to Poe Springs all summer, but finally got there yesterday. Poe Springs, is located just across the Alachua County line, as you leave Gilchrist County, in High Springs. It is a very rural, and rustic spring. There are Park Rangers, and workers on staff. So, it isn't like you are just in the boonies with the wild all by yourself. There are no lifeguards however, so you have to be cognizant of that. Poe Springs is a natural spring, off the Santa Fe River. There are several springs right in this same stretch of river. The park is a county owned park, with gazebos, playground, tennis, hiking, swimming, and lots of extra picnic tables. The springs are down the boardwalk, a little walk from the play area. Keep that in mind if you decide to visit. We saw lots of turtles in the springs. DJ got a picture of one good sized one. The kids saw a gator in the river, but they don't come in the springs. They are pretty much always there. A snake passed by too, which kind of freaked me out, but he didn't want anything to do with us. Next week, we are visiting Blue Springs, just up the road from Poe. There are two Blue Springs. One in Levy County, which is not as nice, and one in Gilchrist County, that is beautiful. Stay tuned for pics from there next week. Public schools start back to school on Monday, but we have three more weeks off. Oh yeah!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gilchrist County 4H Award Banquet 2014

Those of you who follow this blog, and our activities, knows that I am a huge fan of 4H. My kids have both been in it for 4 years. Each year, usually in August, the county holds the annual award banquet. DJ accomplished so much in 4H this year, that he won 4Her of the year, for the intermediates. Both won Gold certificates for the 4H portfolio, and blue ribbons for their project books. No 100 Club this year. But, that is OK. It gives us something to strive for next year. Our little county grew a lot, in new 4Hers. There were a ton of first year pins handed out. 4H is an affordable, and fun way for kids to learn leadership and team work. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Sky Series, Book One, by William Amerman

This is a book review, for the first book in The Sky Series, by William Amerman. You can read my Smashwords review, here.

The Sky Series, is a post Apocalyptic Thriller. Nick, Jane, Storme, Carmen, and Simon all live in a world where there are limitations set on their lives every day by the government. A world where there are levels, or grounds. As you move up the levels your life improves. But, there is a price to emigrate to higher levels. When an unknown germ breaks out, and a quarantine is put in place, the need to emigrate to another level becomes an issue of life or death. The government has had these quarantines before, where large masses of the ground level are exterminated, and now it is happening again. No one knows what the germ is, they just start rounding people up and exterminating them. This book takes you through the twists, and turns these two families will take to live, and be happy. To be safe, and prosper on another higher up level. Even if that means hurting some people along the way. A thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, with an ending that will make you want to read the second book in the series, Detritus Machine. It will give you a new way of looking at immigration and the lengths people will go to, to have a better life.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Teaching Homeschool Math With A Deck of Cards

I had found many Math games that were centered around a deck of cards.  However none of them were exactly what I wanted, so I kind of made up my own.  We started real simple, and am adding harder problems every week.  We only do Math, during the Summer, two or three times a week and I have already seen so much progress in my 10 yr old.

All you need is a deck of cards, a pencil, and a notebook or other paper.  I use the notebook only because it is easier to keep track of progress with it all neatly in one book. 

Shuffle the cards.  Have the child write their name and date on the paper. 
This is what we started with.  Number 1-10 on the paper.  Have the child draw two cards.  Then tell the child they have to add the two numbers, subtract the two numbers, then multiply them.  If your child is ready to divide add that in too.

Now we have moved up to 2 digit addition, subtraction, and for multiplication she gets to pick the two numbers she wants to multiply for half the problems, and pick for the second half.  I hope to have her moved up to two digit multiplication by the end of August, but I am trying not to push. 

Starting next week she will be doing 3 digit addition, and subtraction the same for multiplication as stated above.  You have to shuffle the cards a lot as you move into larger numbers, lol

After those ten problems are done, we do place value to the millions.  She starts with two cards, then draws from the pile to add to the number.  We do not use face cards for this one.  She has to correctly tell me the number, then write it in numerical form correctly on her paper.  She does this until the number has reached the millions place value.  I hope to start place value in the other direction, ie beside the decimal point soon.

She actually likes this way of learning Math, and is retaining it well.  On the days we are not doing the card games, she is doing Saxon 54, which is a little slower going because it is a text book.  Try it see if it works with your kiddos.  We get it all done within an hour which is perfect for any class.  When she does the Saxon 54 she does half the problems, we review them and she fixes the mistakes right then and there.  Then she does the other half and we do the same thing. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Finally Decided For Fifth Grade Homeschool

Because my daughter learns differently than my son, I had a bit of a time deciding what to do for her for 5th grade.  But, I finally decided.  Here is what she will be doing.

Time4Learning:  Language Arts and Science
Evan Moor:  History books shown below.  She really likes these and retains the info well.
Writing:  Creative writing once a week, to be posted to her blog.  Topic TBD by myself
Spelling:   This website worked wonders for her last year
Reading:  Even though reading comprehension is done on T4L I will probably have her read other books as well.
Math:  We will be focusing on Math a lot.  I have decided to do Saxon 54, Life of Fred, and the Math card game we are currently playing.  I will share that on Friday.

It seems like a lot of Math, but she needs a lot of Math right now.  That is my main priority and focus.  On Friday, I will also share the standards I want each of them to accomplish.  I still have to finish them, and update or change things.  I am not making a calendar this year.  The last few years we did not stick to it anyways.  We are doing Run Club every Wed, and that is all I am certain of right now.  Time 4 Learning does Ancient Civilizations for 5th grade.  Caitlin did this in the 4th grade.  That is why I opted for the Evan Moor books. There are a couple of extra books shared, that I am still considering, but have not decided.  Right now I am holding off on the 4H project books, until I know which book our group decides the group is going to be doing.  I also like this Florida Unit Study, and she will most likely be doing that a well for History.   We will also be doing an Art curriculum this year, on Tuesdays in the evening.  She will be doing a basic cooking class in the evenings as well.  Here is the link to the cooking lessons. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Still Planning for Fifth Grade and Visit To Our Beautiful Springs

On Friday, both kids had sleepovers with friends. One was for a birthday party. So, my husband and I went out to dinner, with no children. OMG is that different, lol. Then yesterday, I met back up with the kids, at Fanning Springs State Park, for a get together with the kids who did not get to celebrate DJ's birthday with him. It was hot, and the water was beautiful. I am always leery of the springs this time of year. I have visions of crazy teens with loud music, and a lot of not nice language. But, none of that happened. It wasn't even that busy, and everyone had a blast. Our pool has bit the dust. We have had it for 7 years, and it just has worn out. I am not buying another pool. Instead I am going to buy a one year state park pass. Since the kids and I love to walk the trails, and see the wildlife, plus swim this will be perfect for us. Hopefully my husband will join in. I think next year, DJ and Craig are going to get scuba certified, then he will have to go in the springs, lol.

I am still trying to decide for fifth grade, with Caitlin. She wants Time4Learning, I am not that optimistic for it. I will let her do parts of it, like the Language Arts, History and Science. I think I still want to supplement though. She will do the Math games with me, she is doing well, and Life of Fred. So, I continue to look, read, and evaluate. She did really well with the Evan Moor books for History, two years ago. I might go back to them. I like things that were successful in the past.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Raw Organic Unfiltered Shea Butter Review Beauty by Shea/Hydracentials

I was given the opportunity to review a great product. As many of you know I love to make homemade, and handmade products. I had been wanting to try to make Body Butter for some time. I got the chance this week.

Raw Organic Unfiltered Shea Butter, is the product sent to me for review. I received a one pound block of shea butter. I immediately had to try it. It was heavenly on my hands, feet, and even my hair. I have very thick, unmanageable hair, and this shea butter made it smooth and no frizz.

So, I thought I would try to make some scented body butter. I will list my ingredients and steps. Now, mind you this was my first time, and I kind of just used odds and ends I had around the house already. Though my results were very good, I do recommend for scent, that you get some real nice essential oils.


Raw Organic Unfiltered Shea Butter the whole pound
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup jojoba fruit oil
A few sprinkles of lavender scented baby oil

Because I do not own a double boiler, and did not want to ruin my sauce pan, I put water in the sauce pan, then set a glass bowl on top. Then I put all the ingredients into the glass bowl. Heat it on low, and stir frequently. Once everything is melted, stir in the lavender scent. I then removed it from the heat right away, and put it into two mason jars. I waited about 15 minutes, but it didn't harden, so I put it in the fridge. The whole process took about two hours, until it firmed up. If I leave it out, it gets runny, so I will be keeping in the fridge for the Summer months. It was a nice white milky color. I was going to add some food coloring to it, but honestly I was chicken, lol. Even though I was worried about the ingredients not coming out of my glass bowl, it washed right out with some Dawn dish soap.

I may get some more of this, perfect my process, and give some heavenly body butter for Christmas. You totally do not have to make the body butter, like I did, the product is wonderful, and will leave you soft all over, all by itself.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Currclick for Homeschoolers


Custom Ornamental Gates

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