Friday, August 31, 2012

School Days Summary - 8/27-31/12

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!

This week we started off well and then I had to spend some time at work. That totally threw off our whole schedule. Those two days were really rough. Ugh! We were able to get back on track but we have a few things that we'll need to finish up this weekend. Here's what we did:
Things that were scheduled as usual:
Reading and Language Arts (Grammar, Spelling, Penmanship)
Tenor's reading worksheet on his hero... he chose his dad. :)
Writing for Tenor
Soprano started a new writing curriculum called Creative Writing Made Easy by New Millenium Girl Books. I got it during a currclick sale, and it is a perfect fit for her... horses and princesses.  I think it will be a gentle introduction to creative writing.
 Creative Writing Made Easy
Health: They did a worksheet on what a healthy lifestyle is.
Geography: They made a continent pie. Each slice was a representation of its land size.

My Father's World Creation to the Greeks-
Bible: We read in Genesis about the post- flood, Noah's descendants, and the Tower of Babel. We also began working on memorizing the books of the Old Testament. As we read through Genesis 10, we followed along with this Table of Nations. We mapped out the migration of Noah's sons and descendants.
Mapping out the migration of Noah's descendants
Science: We read more about how light works and tried to focus light to burn paper outside. Even though it was a super, super sunny day, it didn't work. They might try again with Daddy to see if they can get different results. Trying with mirrors:
Trying with magnifying lenses:
We also continued reading Dinosaurs of Eden and talked about dinosaurs after the flood. The kids made a mini wheel book about potential reasons for dinosaur extinction (What Happened to the Dinosaurs Wheel Book). They also had fun looking up dinosaur heights in our book basket books to fill out the Dinosaur Graph.)
History: They did a notebooking page about Noah (printable found here) and added the Tower of Babel to their timelines. We started reading about the Sumerian civilization which was one of the first. They settled in Mesopotamia, in the fertile crescent.
They also developed a system of writing using wedge-shaped characters. We went to this site to get our cuneiform monograms.
Using their cuneiform monograms, they wrote them out on "clay" tablets (sugar cookie dough.)
Tenor's attempt

Soprano's tablet
Videos watched this week:
Tower of Babel
A Summary of Mesopotamian History
Ancient Mesopotamia

Other MFW: 
Music: We finished up listening to the biography of Vivaldi. They wrote additional info from the lesson on a notebooking sheet for our portfolios.
Art: More practice with ellipses.
Phew---it was a busy week! I'm looking forward to our break next week as we head to the Creation Museum in Kentucky! I'll have lots of pics to share next week. :)

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gray Cottage Kitchen Reveal

It was a long time coming... a kitchen face-lift! I'll try to let the pics do the talking on this one.
Here's what we started with
lots of dark cabinets,
old wallpaper,
a leaky sink faucet,
scuzzy, crusty countertops,
a really, really nasty linoleum floor with weird burn spots or something on it,
a leaky dishwasher,
and an oven that was hardwired to 100amp and connected with electrical tape.
There was also a funky kinda smell going on in there.
And of course, we have the "Narnia" lamp.

Looking towards the dining room.
Looking towards the garage (on the left) and the laundry (on the right). See the weird coloration near and in the laundry room... the floor there was eaten or burnt away to the under-layer of the linoleum.

When we moved, my sister cleaned all of the cabinets out for us. Before I put anything away, I scrubbed them down again and laid down new shelf paper. Then I tried to wipe down the grimy wallpaper. Big mistake. It started disintegrating right off the wall. This is what it looked like after 2 days of "washing" and scraping...
(Oh, we also had this weird built in light cornice thing on the wall opposite the sink.)

More wallpaper removal and you can see tape at the ceiling for painting:

After all the washing, I painted the walls Misty Surf by Valspar.
Before we went any further, a friend came and installed a new floating linoleum tile floor for us. He also helped us immensely by installing a new dishwasher and redoing all of the sink plumbing. At that point, I started letting the kids take their shoes off in the house. Yeah... it was that bad. Ugh!

We removed the 'cornice' light and installed these cabinets from the Re-Store for extra food storage. They act as a pantry space for us.

The next step in this process was to remove the paneling. Bass carefully peeled off a little section next to the door to the basement to see what condition the walls might be in... it looked good so a few hours later we were paneling free (at least in the kitchen.) A day or two of putty and sanding and then I could paint with the same Misty Surf color. Here's what that same wall looks like:

The next thing we tackled was the removal of the Narnia lamp. We were going to cut back the weird half-wall but the baseboard radiators create some difficulties there. For the time being, we're going to keep that wall as is. Bass did have to build out a header because the original molding went all the way up to the ceiling.

This spring, we tackled the next big change... painting all of the trim and woodwork and cabinets. We can't swing a total gut job at this point but figured that $50 worth of paint could make enough of a difference that I would be able to live with the existing kitchen for a few more years.
The soffit, doors, and trim now all match the rest of the house (Crumb Cookie by Olympic). I wanted to lighten up the kitchen but still have contrast with the light trim and counter-tops so I chose a greige color. I painted the cabinet hinges with a spray paint that matches the cabinet doors. We got black drawer pulls for the drawers and simply spray painted the old white knobs with black. Bass did fill and re-drill the knob holes to put them in a better position. It took almost 3 weeks of daily painting but we did it.
I painted the previously gold frame on this picture black to match the space better.
I covered foam board with pretty scrapbook paper to create a faux back for this niche. It sits in front of the microwave hood plug to hide it. I'd like to collect some more white creamers to add to my collection.
New clean stove and microwave. Bass had to cut out the cabinet below the old drop-in stove to make our freestanding unit fit. He also removed an entire cabinet above the old stove hood to make room for the microwave. He used the wood from the old cabinet to face the shelf he installed to support the new micro-hood.

New light fixture to replace the old 'in-the-ceiling' square light thing.

Kitchen valance 

The view from the dining room...
One last before and after:

We're loving the lighter, more cottage-y look. Well, I'm loving the new look. Bass is just loving the happier wife. :) Next year we hope to maybe redo the back-splash and paint the counter-top. Until then, I'm enjoying it!

Linking up to these great blog parties:
Sunday: Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming; 
Tuesday: One Project at a Time at A Bowl Full of Lemons; Tutes and Tips at Home Stories A to Z; Show Me What Ya Got at Not Just a Housewife;
Wednesday: Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man, Crafty Woman; It's Overflowing at Overflowing with Creativity; Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts;
Home Decor and Organizing at Organize and Decorate Everything;
Thursday: Delightfully Inspiring Thursday at Delightful Order; Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage;
Friday: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest; Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring;

Monday, August 27, 2012

Make a Card Monday - Pink Dress

I'm trying to use up my stash of stuff. Really, I am! :) I have just a few baby stickers left-over from my little girl's scrapbook pages. This little dress was too cute to send to the yard sale pile so it made a quick and easy card.

cardstock: Georgia Pacific (white), DCWV (brown, card base)

embellishments: sticker (Creative Memories?)
tools: EK Success embossing folder (swiss dots)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

School Days Summary - 8/20-24/12

Math (measuring) and History (demonstrating the length of Noah's Ark) combined!
I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
 Our second week of official school went pretty well. The younglings have easily slipped back into the routine of school days. The only down side... we were so busy doing school that I didn't get very many pictures this week. :) Here's what we did:
Things that were scheduled as usual:
Reading and Language Arts
Writing for Tenor
Phys Ed.
PA History: They did an activity worksheet to start our PA History studies.
Civics: We talked about pharmacists and how they contribute to our community.
My Father's World Creation to the Greeks-
Bible: We read in Genesis about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the flood. We also refreshed our memorization of 2 Timothy 3:16 and added verse 17 this week.
We began reading out of Victor Journey Through the Bible and really enjoyed the insight it adds to our Bible reading. And we finished watching the second half of "What's in the Bible? with Buck Denver Volume 1". (Click on the link above for a 20% off code (also, currently free shipping on orders of $15 or more!))

Science: We read more about how light works and did a couple of experiments demonstrating how water bends light and how objects can block infrared waves. We also continued reading Dinosaurs of Eden. The kids watched several videos this week also. My folks lent us their set of 12 DVDs by Answers in Genesis. They are geared to teen-adult level but there were a few that were okay (teaching level and age-appropriate content) for them to watch (Do Animals Evolve? and The Six Days of Creation. I also found several videos at the library...
 Noah's Ark: Fact or FableAncient Secrets of the Bible: Noah's Ark - Was There a Worldwide Flood?
(Noah's Ark: Fact or Fable?; Noah's Ark: Was There a Worldwide Flood?; Noah's Ark: What Happened to It?; and D is for Dinosaur/A is for Adam.) You can watch D is for Dinosaur online.

History: We talked about the Jewish calendar versus our Gregorian calendar. It has been a help for us to have posted the reference sheet from MFW about how our months line up to Jewish months on our cork-board. We also added several early biblical figures to our timelines: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah. We also did 2 notebooking sheets to add to our history binder. They did a great job retelling what they had learned about Adam and Eve as well as Cain and Abel. I found a great printable to use for the Cain and Abel page here.
One of the most interesting things we did this week was measuring out how long Noah's Ark was. At first we tried to just go down our cul-de-sac but we ran out of room too quick.
This is us starting from just past the opening of our cul-de-sac. There was a fire hydrant there that we used a reference for our starting point.
After we finished measuring (it took awhile because for some weird reason there was a lot of traffic and we kept having to stop and wait for cars to pass), I got some shots. The little red dot way in the distance is Tenor, who is standing on our starting point; I was taking pics from 450 feet away.
I've always figured Noah's Ark would have to be pretty big to fit all the animals on there, even if they were baby or 'teenager' animals. I had no idea how huge it really was. Very cool.... except for Noah and his family who probably walked that distance dozens of times a day! LOL

Other MFW: 
Music: We began our study on our first composer of the year, Vivaldi. I had the kids write out what they remembered from the lesson on a notebooking sheet for our portfolios.
Art: We completed the next 2 lessons on long and short lines and ellipses.

Well, 2 weeks down and just 1 more before we take a week off for a break and a trip!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

School Days Summary - 8/13-17/12

I respectfully ask that you not pin pictures of my children to Pinterest. Thank you!
My New 3rd Grader

My New 5th Grader
It might be a little early for some, but we started our school year! We're trying something a little different from last year. I scheduled us to have school for 6 or 7 weeks and then take a full week off. I just recently saw on another homeschool blog that some people call it Sabbath schooling. I didn't know it had a name! :) I was just hoping to try a slightly different schedule to help prevent burn-out later in the year. In order to get our required days in and still finish up our year by June, we needed to get started.
It was about that time to start anyway... the kids were starting to be bored with their summer freedom. :)
They woke up on Monday to a treat at their seat at the table. Fun folders and notebooks for each and a pack of pencils to share.
Tenor's Gift
Soprano's gift

We also included a few additions to our school space. A real white board on the door which I can use for Soprano's math and other teaching times.

We also added some behavior jars for each kid. One says "I need to work on my attitude", while the other says, "I chose to do the right thing!" The idea is that we can use them to work on a few specific habits/behaviors/attitudes at a time. If they do a good job (with the right attitude) on whatever we're working on, they get a little die cut person shape in the 'right thing' jar. If they didn't do so great, a person will go in the other jar. At the end of the week if they have more in the 'right' jar than the 'need to work' jar, they get a treat. It worked great for our first week. We'll see how it goes as we continue our school year.
Soprano's jars

Tenor's jars

Bucket full of die cut people shapes
Math: Continuing into the next level of Saxon Math for each. Tenor will be doing 1 lesson, investigation, or test each day so we can move him into the next book before the end of the year. He will most likely pursue learning all of the advanced math subjects so we need to get him up a level before high school. Soprano did 4 days of lessons and 1 day of computer math this week in Saxon Math 3. So far she's not fussed about math and done the meeting book cheerfully.

Reading and Language Arts: We are using 'Across the Centuries' for both of them again this year. Soprano started reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, " while Tenor began reading "Jim Thorpe: Olympic Champion."

Soprano has Rod and Staff English and Spelling this year and is beginning to learn cursive writing with A Reason for Handwriting C.
Tenor did a week of lessons and worksheets in Rod and Staff English and Spelling also. He's practicing his cursive handwriting this year with the left-over half of Soprano's workbook from last year. He'll be working on his writing with Ancient History Based Writing Lessons from IEW. He completed the first lesson on choosing good adjectives and then illustrated his work.
Tenor's "The Ancient World"
Typing: They will both use Typer Island for their typing instruction this year with a bumped up WPM goal. Tenor had 1 lesson but Soprano will start next week.
Spanish: Tenor started his new Spanish curriculum and watched the first intro lesson and did a bunch of worksheet pages. Soprano jumped back into Switched on Schoolhouse Elementary Spanish where she left off last year.
Phys Ed.: We were blessed to get a huge outdoor trampoline off of Freecycle a few weeks ago so the kids have been jumping every day. They're continuing with Tae Kwon Do but have had a lighter schedule over the summer. It'll be every week this fall.
They did a worksheet that labeled each of the continents we learned last year.
PA History, Civics, and Health will start in the next few weeks.
We were quite excited to start our My Father's World studies. This year we begin our first-year of a four-year history cycle. We started at the very beginning. A very good place to start, don't you think? ;)
Bible: We read in Genesis and read about Creation. We also refreshed our memorization of 2 Timothy 3:16.
Soprano's Creation notebook page
We also celebrated our first Jewish feast, Shabbat. The kids made a challah cover, and we enjoyed a weekend of rest. We really had no idea what we were doing but the book spelled it out for us. It was a nice way to start our school year.
Bass praying a blessing over Tenor
Bass praying a blessing over Soprano
We also enjoyed watching the first half of "What's in the Bible? with Buck Denver Volume 1". You can find some of the 'What's in the Bible?' clips on youtube. (Who Do You Trust song, Genesis song, several other great clips can be found here.) We just got the Volume 1-8 set with a great sale and already love what we've seen. Click on the link above for a 20% off code (also, currently free shipping on orders of $15 or more!)

Science: We read about how God created light and how light works. We also started reading Dinosaurs of Eden. It's a great book with lots of information. The kids watched several videos to reinforce what we learned including: Flight and Spike: Earth, Flight and Spike: Crystals, Flight and Spike: Porcupine, Flight and Spike: Dinosaurs, and Magic School Bus Gets a Bright Idea,

History: We began our timelines and hung them on our timeline string. Eventually they'll be hole-punched and go into binders.
Soprano's Timeline Page
They also finished up Olympics lapbooks that they had started during the London summer games.
Tenor's cover
Soprano's cover
Soprano's interior folder 2
Other MFW: 
Music: We listened to Haydn's Creation via youtube.
Art: We read the intro and did the first 2 drawing lessons from God and the History of Art. We got 2 books so the kids can do all of their work right in the text.

We had a great first week of school! The kids weren't jumping up and down excited to start but they got right back into the routine. Tenor even said, "I think this year is going to be more fun than last year." Yes, I agree, Lord willing!
One other fun 'school' thing we did was use a gift certificate to go to the Science Factory. They kids had a blast.
Parachute Man Pipe
Build Your Own Coaster
The Kaleidoscope
Making a Paper Plane
Sand Pendulums
To finish our very first day, we went to a local dairy farm for an ice cream treat and to visit the new baby cows!

Linking up at

Disclaimer: I'm an Amazon affiliate so clicking on links to Amazon and then purchasing items will put a few pennies into our piggy bank for future homeschool purchases. Thank you!
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