Product Review – Adapted Mind

I am pretty excited to share with you my thoughts on the website Adapted Mind. The company “turn(s) real math into a delightful game”. We signed up for this website in June to serve as a supplemental game for SJ to keep her math skills sharp. The site offers both a family and school account. We signed up for a family account. We received a free month so we tried both the reading and math programs.

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Ease of Use: Lets talk about the math segment first. When the student first logs in they are given an assessment that determines where in the program the student will start. They are then walked through a series of games. There are three modules that are recycled throughout the lessons. The equations change but the format stays the same. SJ was able to stay engaged due to the offering of badges for reaching program milestones.

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There seems to be at least 100 badges. I will catch her exciting the game to check her dashboard for the next available badge. Each “lesson” as it is called provides an assessment of what the child has “learned”. This portion of the program can use revising since the lesson is only taught if the student gets the question wrong. This is frustrating for SJ so I teach her a lesson offline and then allow her to play the game to make sure she understands the concepts. Please be advised this program uses common core so that may be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel.

The reading section of the site features Fairy Tale characters that can be unlocked through the progression of the program. This part did not have an assessment and SJ quickly grew bored of the program despite the unlocking feature the site offered. It seems this section was an afterthought so we opted out of continuing the reading section of the site but we did keep the math.

Introducing New Concepts: In the math section there is no formal introduction of a new concept, topic, or idea to the student. If your child is a perfectionist like mine and the suddenly are faced with an unfamiliar equation then are immediately quizzed it can be daunting. However, the progress report is visible to the student. SJ’s goal is all green’s.

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Parent Resources: Adapted Mine offers worksheets! These worksheets make preparing the student for the upcoming topic easy. They are very plain but serve as a great guide. You can write the problems on a white board and use manipulatives. They take the guess work out whats next while allowing you to see what grade level your child is currently working in.

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My favorite feature is the email the site sends at the end of the day. The email lets your know how much work your child did. What they need to review and where they excelled.

AdaptedMindEmailIt also allows 5 students per family account that is $2 a month per student! I recommend checking it out. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as some other sites but it may be worth giving a shot for a free month. Sign up for you free month of Adapted Mind here.

Homemade Granola Bars

Granola reminds me of early morning hikes, field trips and play dates. It is an all around healthy, easy, guilt-free comfort food. Its also extremely versatile. My kids love to help in the kitchen so this is a recipe they can do alone without much interference. It involves measuring, self awareness, and critical thinking. I ask the following questions to keep them engaged and learning.

What ingredients do you think will make you full? Why?

Which ingredients are sweet?

Why honey instead of sugar?

Which ingredient did we use they least of? The most of?

Once you start asking your students questions more questions will naturally come about as you explore what you are doing and why. Remember it doesn’t have to be a well planned lesson to be a lesson. Look for ways to teach your children as you go about your regular activities.

This is our go to recipe but feel free to sub out ingredients and please let us know your tasty combinations below.

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Homemade Granola

3 cups quick oats                                                                                                                                     1/2 cup honey (replace with Aguava to make vegan)                                                                     1 cup peanut butter                                                                                                                               3 tbs protein powder                                                                                                                             1/2 cup chopped walnuts                                                                                                                       1/2 cup sunflower seeds                                                                                                                       1/2 cup raisins                                                                                                                                         1/2 cup dried cranberries

Mix all ingredients. Pack down into a lined square pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

** If you want granola but not in bar form you can make these into balls or cut the amount of peanut butter and honey to make it more like a crumble.

 

Homemade Vegan Yogurt

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My kids love yogurt! This year we eliminated all dairy from our diet and adopted a mostly plant based diet. My kids didn’t mind to much but they did miss yogurt. I stumbled upon a two ingredient recipe from Minimalist Baker and had to try it out. It was a hit! I didn’t even need to go shopping since we had all the ingredients in house.

I simply put a can of full fat coconut oil in a glass mason jar, broke open 4 – Life 9 probiotic supplements, mixed them in and covered the jar with cheesecloth. I let the mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours. Once it is thick like yogurt you can go ahead and place it in the fridge.  This perfectly tart yogurt also works well as a vegan sour cream. Make and easy parfait with 15 Min Jam homemade granola and fresh fruit.

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Probiotics are great for your gut health and ultimate physical well being. It encourages the growth of good flora allowing you to better break down food which reducing bloating, discomfort and may even lower your chances of colon cancer. Many doctors recommend taking probiotics after a round of antibiotics to restore any micro-organisms who may have been removed by the medication.

This easy homemade yogurt is a great way to introduce students to micro-organisms and their role in the human body. Dr. Binocs has a cute video appropriate for elementary aged kids.

Followed up with questions such as:

What kind of microorganisms are there?

What are hyphae?

Why are micro-organisms important?

Are bacteria good or bad?

Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before adding any supplement to your diet.

15 Minute Jam

 

 

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We use jam in this house for quite a few things. A classic PB&J, to top some homemade yogurt, on a slice of fresh bread or to top some vegan pancakes. Once I found out how easy it is to make I began making jam at home. We have a purple plumb tree in the backyard and lots of little hands so our jam making shenanigans began. First we started with plumbs alone, then plumbs and strawberries now we mix up whatever fruits we have in the house that are about to go bad.

This is the recipe we use to make our delicious jam.

3 cups purred fruit (the picture above is blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.)

1 cup of sugar or Stevia

3 Tbs of low or no sugar pectin

(I used orange vitality oil from Young Living to give this blend a hint or orange)

Bring puree to a boil.  Mix pectin with sugar to prevent lumps. Add sugar mixture to the fruit a few tablespoons at a time until the sugar and pectin dissolve.  Once the fruit  mixture reaches a boil that cannot be stirred down remove from heat and add to hot jars.

Meanwhile place a pot of water on the stove to sterilize the jars and lids that will hold your jam. Place glass jars in the boiling water to sterilize. Remove right before filling. The jars should still be hot when they are filled with the hot jam. Put the lids on the jars while it is still hot and leave on the counter to cool. The jam will thicken as it cools.

 

 

 

Vegan Pancakes

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We’ve been a dairy free family for some time but transitioning to a mostly plant based diet has been fun especially when one member of our family is gluten intolerant. Its easy to replace meat with bread especially when snacking so I was on the hunt for a gluten-free pancake my husband could enjoy.

This simple recipe yields 6 medium sized pancakes

1 1/4 cup of gluten free flour (I used 1 to 1 baking flour so wheat flour will work as well, do not use coconut flour)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup water

1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil (plus an additional tablespoon for pan)

5 drops Young Living Tangerine Vitality Essential oil.  (We love the combination of citrus and cranberry. Fresh cranberries in the batter makes delicious pancakes.)

Mix all dry ingredients add wet ingredients. Stir well. Place a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once skillet is hot. Drop dollops onto griddle or skillet, flip when it bubbles. Cook another two minutes. This taste great with homemade 15 Min Jam. Enjoy!!

Fake It Till You Make It and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

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1. YOU CAN NOT ACT YOUR WAY SAVED Showing up to church on Sunday and to a mid-week service is not salvation. Shouting “Amen!” or running the aisles alone will not get you into heaven. You can not “Fake it Til You Make It” in the church. This is how people who are not really seeking after God end up in positions of leadership. They know the drill. When to clap, when to shout, and when to bow their heads in prayer.

We are loosing our youth and young adults in droves because the old addage “Do as I say, not as I do” simply doesn’t work. We have to BE saved not ACT saved even if it causes us to do things our local church may not agree with. If our young people are not equip with the important things like, how to pray, how to study The Word or basic apologetics they will go out into the world and waiver.  I sometimes wonder what church Jesus would go to if he were here. I’m inclined to believe it would look very different that we’d imagine.

2. DISOBEYING YOUR PASTOR IS NOT WITCHCRAFT 1 Samuel 15 makes it very clear that the Isralites were in an act of rebellion because they disobeyed a mandate from God. This was before they could go to God themselves. Before the ultimate sacrifice. In a time where the only time God’s voice was heard was through another. When you depend on the voice of another person to be the voice of God in your life you are short changing your salvation. This is a dangerous practice that can land you well outside the will of God. God wants to talk to YOU. He can and He will communicate with you in a way you can understand. Seek God daily, read your word and you will find your pastor will confirm the Word of God. What you hear on Sunday morning should not be a surprise it should be confirmation of what God has been showing you throughout the week.
3. SIN DOES NOT CAUSE DISTANCE FROM GOD (Ps. 11:5, Heb. 10:26, John 8:34) Have you ever had a sick child. I mean a child that is covered in vomit with chronic diarrhea walking towards you. Your instinct is not to rush toward them but it is to help them. You start getting them to the bathroom, the place where you can take off dirty things. Then you get them disrobed, they can’t stay in those filthy clothes. You then get them in the bath, they need to be covered with soap and water to remove the residual mess. See this is how sin is to God. The fragrance of it stops Him in His tracks and compels and answer. He summons our hearts to a place where we can be cleaned. (Rev. 3:20) He beacons us to remove the filth (Acts 2:38). He promises His Holy Spirit in return. Like a hug for our soul He beacons us into His bosom. His presence permeates our being and treats the root of our disease. Our sin nature. As long as we are willing…. Some of us choose instant gratification over treatment, conformity over treatment, apathy over treatment until we began to convince ourselves we aren’t sick with sin. Slowly but surely the symptoms show up. The stink, the filth, the justification, we bat God’s hand away as He beacons us to be cleansed. Let me tell you my friend, He will knock but you must answer, and answer and answer. Sin is a slippery slope whose intent is to kill.
The bottom line is seek God. There is no perfect church out there but if you search for God you will find Him. The most important thing is to be where He is calling you to be and serve where He is calling you to serve.

Morning Meditation

I love the tiles floors in our classroom. They have proved so useful this year! I use them in many ways but one way is to teach the kids to be still. For some time I taught English to students in China virtually. One of my students (11 years old) told me a technique her father used to teach her to study. He would have her sit quietly for a time appropriate to her age. When the time was up she got a treat. I started doing this with my kids at the beginning of the day.
My children are instructed to sit in the square. No hands or feet outside the square, no talking, no playing, be a statue. SJ closes her eyes during this time to tune out her brother and will often face away from him. KJ is wiggly (which is appropriate for 4) however, he can go the entire time without talking. The time is between 2 and 4 minutes depending on our morning.
 After meditation the receive a prize.
The objective is to teach them to be still on demand. As homeschoolers most of our day is spent up and about they are all over the classroom, the house and eventually outside. Compared to their counterparts in public school they move a lot. On Sundays at church they are in children’s church so they are able to sit still for the lesson and pay attention without any problems.
Meditation is a good practice the Bible tells us to “Meditate on the Word of God day and night.” Joshua 1:8 it also says to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Math Families

If it seems like we are all over the place when it comes to math we are. I follow SJ’s interest and try not to discourage her by the order in which I think she should learn. The way I see it addition and multiplication are similar so are subtraction and division. So while she is hitting the ground running I am still trying to insure there are no learning gaps. So we have been talking quite a bit about math families. 
This was a pretty easy concept to introduce because shes learned about word families. This concept was picked up really quickly because as my oldest child SJ likes to be in control. The ability for her to catch her mistake has been invaluable to her.

When I walk by her before she has had a chance to finish and check her work she immediately covers it, not wanting me to correct her before shes reviewed it. I’m really enjoying the responsibility she seems to be developing. I want her to take pride in her work and do well and that seems to be the case…at least when it comes to math.

Bead Multiplication

Its no secret that my oldest is a STEM girl. She loves math so I am always looking for ways to foster and grow this love. We discovered this activity when she wanted to do math but not in her math book. I keep beads on hand for the kids. In this case I wrote various multiplication problems on SJ’s white board. She then used the beads to show what each problem looked like with the beads, Once she successfully answered the question on the board and with the beads she could move to the next problem. At one point both younger kids needed me so she answered all the questions and waited for me to check her work. 
This was a fun activity that allowed her to be creative as well as practice her classification skills. When starting this activity it is important that the student understand their one’s and two’s multiplication facts. These are to be understood but don’t have to be memorized. Once the student understands the task you are only limited by the amount of materials you have on hand. 
My five year old is very familiar with this activity but recently my four year old has shown he can show the multiplication problems he sees with the beads as well. This is why I homeschool. I love seeing what my children gravitate toward while its happening then discovering how I can help them be great!

Shower Curtain Book Nook

I have been obsessed with all these cute book nooks and teepees. So I’d been thinking of a way to make it work for me and my kiddos. I found it! Shower curtains! Why should shower curtains be restricted to the suddy, steamy messy room that houses the commode. No! I will liberate the shower curtain! Free it from its prison and present it as an offering to my messy kids!

Its water resistant fabric makes it easy to clean and the hooks make for easy take 
down as I re-model in the future. 
Really though this was the easiest, quickest nook ever and they love it!

Cup Games for Kids

This past weekend I had the pleasure of helping my sister host a baby shower. We had some cups left over and in the blur of exhaustion set the cups down on the floor by the front door. Days later (don’t judge me) I finally picked up the cups. Did I mention we have a dog, a various curious dog who I am sure put her nose in the cups. So what was I to do with these paper cups? Games!

I took the cups and put letters and numbers on them. I told the kids it was game day and I set the game rules they had a blast!

For the Math Game we used our Base Ten blocks and put the appropriate tens and ones inside the cup to make the number.

As the kids filled the cup I would stack them. They loved seeing the stack grow as a mark of their accomplishments.

We then flipped the cups over and used the letters to make words. Once the kids discovered a word I would write it on the white board. My kids are motivated by praise and a sense of accomplishment so seeing there progress is important for them.

I hope you and your kids enjoy these cup games!

Touching God

I am a mother of three little beauties who are currently are 5, 3 and 9 months. I am with them most of the time since I work from home. There may be 4 out of the 24 hours of the day that I am not touched by one of them and that’s being generous. They want to cuddle, sit on my lap as I read, or crawl into my bed in the middle of the night. Sometimes they touch me for NO REASON AT ALL.

What if one day I told my three, “You can’t touch me, only daddy can. If you want to touch me, touch daddy. If you want my guidance, direction, or affirmation, ask daddy. He will ask me and get back to you. If you want to know the plans I have for you ASK. YOUR. DADDY.” Our relationship would be weak based only on daddies availability and filtered only through daddies understanding. God forbid something happen to daddy, they would no longer hear my heart, or know my will. The snippets of filtered understanding they got before would cease to exist.

Now imagine it the other way around. What if my littles ONLY wanted daddy. What if they preferred to ask him to ask me what they should do? What if rather than get a hug directly from me they asked daddy to ask me for proof of my love? What if they became comfortable with this arrangement and only touched me in passing because they were near their daddy. I would be HEARTBROKEN.

By now you get where I am going with this, I’m sure. If you are in a place where your relationship with God is dependent on another person you have to question the legitimacy of your faith. If you can only touch God through they remnant crumbs of another’s personal encounter I am here to tell you there is more.

God wants you to touch Him (Matthew 11:28). In fact He became flesh, and became a sacrifice unto Himself so that you could go directly to Him (John 1:14). You want guidance and direction? Ask Him (Psalm 119:105). If you need affirmation. You are the apple of His eye!( Psalm 139:14) You want an encounter with Him. Seek Him (Matthew 7:7).

Enough stuffing your face with scraps of anointing from the tables of our teachers encounters. Enough being satisfied with Sunday and Wednesday meat and milk. Enough with starving yourself though out the week, then leaving God’s presence unsatisfied!

The morsels are not for you! They are bites to whet the appetite of the unbeliever. The word you hear on Sunday morning should be confirmation of what God has been telling you throughout the week. How else will you know for sure that you are hearing from God through the mouth of your teacher? We have to take responsibility for our faith (Philippians 2:12). We have to stand up in our own lives least our faith be based on another.

Here’s the best part! He never tires of our touch! He doesn’t mind our dirty hands! In fact He says if we seek Him, He will answer! Oh, how He loves us! I encourage you, spend more time with Him, sneak away for moments in His presence. You will be blessed.

Let’s Build A Car

What do you do with an empty box, bored kids and art supplies? You build a car! 
In the box above I have:
A hot glue gun
Pipe Cleaners
Paint
An empty egg carton
Star cut outs
Scissors
Round make up applicators
Styrofom or paper plates
A Shower curtain
The first thing I did was hot glue the shower curtain to my tile floor. 
This made for easy clean up and the hot glue did not damage my tile at all. 
Next I put some paint on a plate and let the kids apply it with the make up applicators.
They are kids and are going to make a mess but I find the applicators are easier to hold than paint brushes and you can throw them away after. 

While the paint dried I had the kids get started on coloring the wheels. The then put a star on each wheel. For the steering wheel I used the glue gun to melt a hole in the Styrofoam plate and use a pipe cleaner to secure it. 
We put the plate inside the box and pushed the pipe cleaner through the box. 
Egg cups from the egg carton were cut out to make headlights and yellow tissue paper was glued inside. They were secured to the front of the box using a hot glue gun. 
We used stars and pieces cut from a recycled box for the tail lights. 
The kids loved this activity and they still play with their car weeks later.

Lava Lamp Experiment

My kiddos ask to do experiments just about everyday! I actually will be reviewing a site that I joined for that purpose called Mystery Science in a different post. This experiment was very easy and a lot of fun. Most importantly you probably have most if not all these ingredients in your home already.

The experiment calls for equal parts oil and water, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets. 
**We tried the experiment with aspirin and it fell flat so we re-did it with 
Alka Seltzer and red food coloring. 

First we put the oil then water into the jar and let it settle. 
I asked these questions: 
What is happening to the water? 
What is happening to the oil?
Next we added a few drops of food coloring. Add as much as you like we did 6 drops.
I asked: What is happening to the food coloring?
(If the jar is steady it should stay together and not mix very much. 

Finally we dropped in the Alka-Seltzer tablet and watched the magic happen. 
I asked: 
What is happening to the oil and water? 
Why do you think that is?
Since oil and water do not mix, the water bubbles caused by the Alka-seltzer float through the oil  causing it to take on the same effect as a lava lamp. When the mixture is shaken the oil and water in time will separate again rather than mix. 

Oobleck!

During experiment week this one was a hit! The objective was initially to have the kids walk on water. Due to the limited supply of corn starch we did this experiment in a bowl rather than our kiddie pool. 
Here’s what you need:
Corn starch
Water
Measuring cup
Food Coloring
Extras:
Shower curtain (for easy clean up)
Ball and car to explore how they react to the oobleck. 

This recipe is simple 2 parts corn starch one part water. The kids loved exploring to see the progression of consistency. Its extremely messy so here is a teaching hack I have learned. When doing messy learning I tack the curtain or table cloth to my tile floor using my hot glue gun.  
You’re welcome.
The kids had a lot of fun discovering how this liquid behaves (at times) like a solid. They were covered in oobleck by the time we were done. I let them play with it after our official lesson so they could mix various colors. 

Here are some questions and discussion points. 
1. What are the stages of matter? (We focused on three rather than five)
2. What stage is this in?
3. How does each stage behave? 
4. How do you know something is a gas? A liquid? A solid?

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns


Ingredients

Dough:
1/4 -ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

Glaze:
½ cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Granny Smith apple chopped                                                                                                 
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising. Place chopped apples in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add apples, butter, and cinnamon. Cook until sugar is dissolved and apples are soft. Add chopped walnuts. Stir well and place in a 9×13 baking dish.

Once dough is doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut with a serrated knife into 12 to 15 slices. Place into pan cut side down.
Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Remove from oven and immediately flip onto a serving dish. Allow to cool a few minutes and serve while still warm.

Raw Key Lime Pie

Crust:
½ Cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup date honey
1 cup walnuts
  Filling:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours (or overnight), then drained
 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk, well shaken
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
 3-4 large limes or 6-7 key limes (1 Tbsp zest, 1/2 cup juice)
  1/2 cup date honey (depending on preferred sweetness)
Crust Instructions
1    1.    Combine coconut and walnuts to a blender or food processor and pulse until well mixed.
2    2.    Place mixture in bowl and add date honey.
3    3.    Press mixture evenly into a pie pan and place in freezer


Filling Instructions

1.  Add all filling ingredients to a blender and blend on high (or liquefy) until creamy and         smooth. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime zest/juice for more tart, or more agave for added sweetness.
2. Pour over frozen pie crust
3. Freeze for 2-4 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer for 10-15 minutes to thaw before serving. Will keep covered in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.


DIY Bath Bombs for Kids

This past week was dubbed “Experiment Week”. Day 1 was DIY Bath Bombs. 
Here is what you need:
 Empty Christmas Ornament or a Bath Bomb mold
 1 Cup Baking Soda
 3/4 Cup Epson Salt (Blended until its a fine powder)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup water
Spray bottle
Wooden spoon
Food Coloring
Essential oils
Coconut Oil




Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
Next place the water, lemon juice, 1 tbsp coconut oil and essential oil (add per fragrance preference) into a spray bottle. Spray the liquid into the dry ingredients until the mixture has the consistency of sand. At this point we added food coloring. 
Once the mix starts to stick together start placing into the molds. Close the mod and allow to dry overnight. Due the the size of the ornament molds it took a few days to completely dry out. 

We covered the following topics: life skills, science, and math. 
Questions and discussion. 
1. Can you measure out a cup? 1/4 cup? 1/2 cup?
2. Why is it important to rest and relax?
3. What happens when the wet ingredients mix with the dry?
4. What happens when the colors mix?

Wallpaper Border Cover-Up – With Fabric

This past year we moved into our beautiful home. Unfortunately in the kids room there was this horrible wallpaper. My son loved didn’t mind it but my daughter did not approve of the sports themed room. I knew I had to find a gender neutral alternative that fit both my kids personalities. 
My husband was not excited or motivated to go through the tedious process of removing the wall paper and I was not patient enough to wait so I had to come up with a solution.
I used a staple gun, scissors, and four yards of fabric. I folded the fabric in half length wise then in fours horizontally.  This gave me the width I wanted at manageable lengths. 
Here are a few project tips. 
1. Choose a fabric with little to no stretch. 
2. Choose a dark fabric that wont allow the wallpaper to show through.
3. Don’t start a fabric end at the corner. Staple in the corner.

The kids loved the boarder once it was finished. Next time I do a project like this I will use a taller ladder so I can cover all the boarder at the top.
 For my first time on a project like this I think it went well. 

DIY Recycled Car Tunnel

For the past week or so the kids and I have been storing and stocking up on empty food boxes and toilet paper rolls. We knew we were planning for a project but we hadn’t quite decided what. Well while KJ played with cars in the corner of the classroom genius struck. 
A car tunnel!
I quickly pulled out the boxes, a plastic container we don’t use often and a glue gun. 
SJ drew a map of where everything should go then we put it all together. 
Parents I have three words for you: hours of fun! HOURS OF FUN!!
This is a great STEM activity. 
Vocabulary: Velocity, engineering, acceleration and deceleration
Questions:  How many seconds does it take for the car to go through the tunnels? Will it go faster or slower as we tilt the lid? 
You can even have your kids decorate the boxes adding an element of art to the project. When we were done with the project we carefully removed the tunnel pieces and placed them inside the container to use another time. 
Have fun with this project and please share your pictures of your tunnels below. 

Money Math


Today we had some fun with money! SJ(5) is currently working her way through Horizons 1 work book. She learned about money while working through the Horizons K book but for this level they are relating money to place value. 

This was the perfect excuse to pull out the base ten manipulatives. For this activity we used pennies, nickles and dimes. Though she uses quarters, half dollars and dollars in her math book. I think we will wait a little while to introduce them using base ten. 

I placed the money in different increments in front of SJ and she used the manipulative to assign the money value. 


We didn’t leave out KJ(3) though. I just used pennies with him and it was a great chance for him to practice counting and writing. He is having a hard time, confidence wise, writing without assistance but my husband and I have decided not to give in to his fussing about needing help at all. We have seen him control his pencil and though we don’t expect his work to be perfect we do expect him to try. When he is successful, which so far has been every time, he is so proud of himself. 


This was a great activity, the kids really enjoyed it and I think the younger children are comfortable with money they better they will be managing it in the future. 

Coding for Kids

One of the many benifits of homeschooling is the ability to teach your kids random, awesome things like…CODING!!. I stumbled upon this awesome website that teaches children code. 
My kids LOVE it. The teaching is broken into age groups the first group is geared towards kids who are ages 3 to 5. The first few lessons are simple things like teaching children to reach an objective. 
The first activity was about 4 squares. The objective was to move the character to the left one square. Once they saw an example the grid got bigger and I even threw in a few obstacles. You can see in the picture above that it took SJ and KJ the same amount of moves to reach their goal. Which was a lesson on taking different paths to reach the same objective. 

After the kids got the hang of it on the white board we decided to act it out. 
I printed out pictures of SJ and KJ’s favorite characters. I then had one child go into the living room while we placed the character face down along with some blank white pages.  

The child who placed the character had to direct the child who had just come back from the other room to their character using the sign below. They could rotate the sign to reach their objective but could not point to the picture. 

My kids are 5 and 3 and they really enjoyed this game. The next day when they got to start writing code on the computer they were able to follow along easily. We really enjoyed using www.coding.org and I believe my days will be filled with my children exploring new ways to make things happen. 

Busy or Fruitful?

As a wife, mother, caretaker, and teacher I have “busy” down. I know how to do busy. I can take on a million task willingly and sacrifice time, money and sleep to get things done. Unfortunately, one of the easiest things to overlook is my quiet time with God. Its easy to say going to services a few times a week, joining a daily prayer line and trying to commit my daily Bible verse to memory is enough, but the fact of the matter is it, isn’t.

I will use marriage as an example because my husband is the most important person in my life. If I went out with him while in a group, included him in a group conversation and only knew His characteristics by the insights others shared based on there time with him. Our marriage would be fun at times, even enlightening but it would be far from the truly intimate relationship we desire to have. How then is it okay to devalue our time with God. We should seek after Him like a bride stealing glances at her groom. Looking for opportunities to steal away.

In Luke 10:38-42 Martha, frustrated, asks Jesus to reprimand Mary for sitting in his presence rather than help her serve the group. In verse 41 Jesus says, “Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things.” Busyness equates to worry and being troubled. It is not God’s will for us to be worried in fact His word says the opposite. He instructs us to give Him our cares because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Matthew 11:30 tells us God’s yoke is easy, His burden is light.

If you follow God you should not worry. Worry equals fear. Fear equals hiding or covering, more specifically burying. In Matthew chapter 25 we find a story about a man who buried what his master gave him because he was afraid. We cannot act in fear. It goes against the nature of Christ. If we bury our talents, purpose, callings even if it is by doing good things it leads to bareness in a place where God intended there be fruit.

So how then can we as believers be fruitful?

There is really only one way. Spend one on one time with God. I recently had a friend ask me what my time with God looks like. Everyone is different but I love to start with worship. I spend time acknowledging who God is, thanking Him, talking about my hopes, and concerns then I ask His will. I read His word and just sit in silence waiting for Him to give me an impression. Then I confirm if it is God by reading and studying His word.

Luke 10:42 tells us to choose the good thing, which is spending time with God. Romans 8:14 lets us know, sons of God are led by His spirit. John 10:27 lets us know that if we are Gods sheep we follow His voice. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study the word of God.

He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. If what you are doing does not enhance your relationship with God there is no good fruit in it.

DIY Crayon Circles

We pick up crayons from everywhere! Back to school sales, dollar stores, restaurants, if they are offered to us or are being sold at a great price then we are getting them. This has led to an abundance of broken crayons. My son KJ has a real problem with things that are broken (though breaking things is his specialty) so he fights against using crayons that don’t meet his standards.

This activity was fairly easy to prep. I took all the crayons and put them in a pile on the table. I asked the kids to remove the wrappers which proved tedious so K and I joined in. After the crayons were unwrapped I had the kids sort them using disposable cupcake pans.

I then baked the crayons in the cupcake plans on 300 degrees for about 15 min. Once the crayons were completely melted I took them out the oven and put them into the freezer to harden. They easily popped out of the tins and the kids enjoyed being able to use them right away.

A Day at The Farm

Last week SJ was out of town. She got back Saturday night, we went to church Sunday and started up with school again Monday. She was pretty wiped out and after a week of informal school with KJ we needed something to look forward to. So we told the kids we would go on a field trip and today we went to Riley Farms.

It was really fun. We took a nice hike from the main cabin where we picked up a map to the apple orchards. The hike was less than a mile and the kids got to learn the proper way to pick apples. Once the apples were picked they were weighed and we paid for them.

The grounds are really neat. They have sheep on property, colonial toys, a bakery, even a cabin. The kids and I finished reading Meet Addy which takes place during the colonial era and so we got to go inside the cabin giving them a visual to a setting similar to the cabin in the book.

It was a fun, informative day, and its only 15 minutes from our house so I see many visits to this farm in the near future.