Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We are done crawling under the bed….

The girls just got bunk beds.  They used to have 2 single beds and they had posts on them where they hung their bedtime items in bags.  These new bunk beds did not have anywhere to hang bags from.  
They love building forts out of it.
There items kept falling down under the beds.
We had some shower caddy type baskets. That is what they have been storing their stuff in.   Emily’s has her chargers, her Nook, a notebook to draw or write in, a paperback book she refers to often, a cute little owl stuffed animal, her cell phone, iPod, and remote control to her radio.  This really keeps all her stuff together.  So it has a place up on her bed, and won’t get lost or tangled. 
Katey’s has her Tag reader, some Tag books, a flashlight, and a stuffed animal.
This has really saved them from having to crawl under the bottom bunk to get the things that dropped.  

This is linked to Works for me Wednesday

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pick and Draw Review and Giveaway.

Giveaway closed!  Congratulations to Kimberly, Comment #22.

 Learn to draw cartoons the fun way!

I have a few questions for you. 

Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to spend more quality time with your family?
If so I have found a great way to make it fun for all.
It is a game.  It is called Pick and Draw. Rich Davis created this game. He has illustrated many children’s books, greeting cards, he has even drawn coloring books.  He also has free art lessons here!  Check those out for sure!

What makes a game user friendly?
Is it quick to set up, quick to learn, and fun to play? Does it get you interacting with those playing it too?
Pick and Draw does all those things.

What makes a game family friendly?
Is it that it can be played by a wide variety of ages and any number of people?
Pick and Draw is that.

What if no one can play with you?
Pick and Draw can be played alone or with any number of players.

Is the price reasonable?
Pick and Draw is just $10 for hours of endless fun.

Now you ask me, What is Pick and Draw?
It is a simple game made from sturdy plastic cards,  (my 2 year old got ahold of them and they are still fine). There are 5 categories.  Face, Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Hair.  (You add your own ears if you would like.)  Each feature is simple to draw.  Don’t worry, we are not going for perfection here anyways, just fun!  Each card category has 8 different types.  That makes for 60,000 different designs
How does you play?
You divide the cards into their categories and choose one card from each category, without looking.  You then flip each card over one at a time. drawing that feature.  After you have drawn all the features, you can then name your character and write a story about them, or you can just go on creating more.  P1010037P1010039P1010038
The drawings above were all drawn using the same features, they look different due to placement of the items.

How did we play?
We began by playing the same way as stated above.  We then decided to switch it up a bit.  Each person was assigned a feature.  They would draw their feature and then pass the paper to the next person for them to draw their feature.  
Another way we played was to have someone else name and tell the story about the creation done by person who was next to them. 
Emily even played it using all the cards.  She created 9 faces this way. Never using the same feature twice. Then she went through and named them all.

You will need some supplies to play Pick and Draw, you can be as plain or as creative as you want.  Any drawing device and canvas will do.  We started out with just paper and pencil.  Then we went on to Dry Erase. Then onto paper and Crayons.  Markers and construction paper.  Chalk and chalkboards or sidewalk.  Window markers and windows.  The possibilities are endless.

The Nitty Gritty
Pick and Draw is a fun family game that can be played as a group or individually.  It was created by an actual artist! You do not have to be “artistic” in order to play it and enjoy playing it.  Open the door to creative fun for the whole family by ordering Pick and Draw here for just $10.

I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway for you to win your very own Pick and Draw game! Entering is easy!!!  Leave each entry in a separate comment.  The winner will be drawn by Random.org on Feb 6th.  There are 4 ways to enter
1. Leave a comment on this post to be entered.
2. Follow Family Style School on Google Friend Connect.
3. Check out one of Rich Davis’ websites.  Pick and Draw website, The Draw with Rich blog, or his Art Website.  Tell me which one you went to.
4. Like Family Style School on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Also one last thing I wanted to mention:  I love giving unique gifts for Birthdays or Christmas.  It seems to me that people are always more surprised about something they have never seen.  It may not provide the same shock value for the child as the trendy toys, but this game will provide long time creative fun.  All their friends will want to play it with them.  Or think about a friends and family game night with this game.  Even a baby shower game (This is what your baby will look like.)  SO MUCH FUN!!!

I was generously provided this game for free in order to be able to write an honest review.  All opinions are my own. He also generously provided a free copy for the giveaway.   Thank you, Rich Davis.

*Affiliate links are used,  I became an affiliate after I saw how great this game really was. If you prefer not to use the affiliate links you can purchase Pick and Draw here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Minimizing Distractions.

We have a smaller house, and not a dedicated school room.  We learn right in our living room/kitchen area.  Sometimes the children do schoolwork in their rooms, but that is not always where they want to be they want to be able to be with the family while working, plus it sure does make answering questions easier than having each child yell for me to come to various rooms.

Schoolwork obviously has to get done while other things around the house do too.  It can be the other children distracting them from doing their work, or even just what others are doing. 

I have came up with a few tricks I would like to share.

When the child on the computer is the one getting distracted, we create a “fort” for them.  I still check in on what they are doing often and they usually wear headphones, just to minimize the outside noise. 
We also have a “privacy folder” which helps with laptop time, or even worksheet time.  It has a very basic Alphabet and 100’s chart to help Katey when she needs it.P1010030

We also have wireless TV headphones, (you know kinda like many dentist offices have).  These really help out when I have one that is watching a video. Tyler did not want to try them on for this photo.

A chair that does not face the rest of the room.  This chair is actually near our front door and is often used for friends and neighbors coats and such.  We also sit in it to put our shoes on and off when using the front door. Anyway, it faces the front door and stairs, while still in our main living area.  This makes a great reading chair.  We can read in the chair, still being in the same room.  While not having so many visual distractions. It does NOT feel like you are staring into a corner or anything like that.  As you can see it is also right next to a window.
One other thing I recently began doing is letting them go outside and play while keeping one inside for a 10 minute lesson.  Then when one is done, we rotate.  I keep this special for the lessons I really need one on one concentration with and it doesn’t happen very often.

Often times we are all learning together, however, there are those times when we need to minimize distractions. 

I really hope some of these ideas can help you out.

Do you have any great ideas about minimizing distractions while all learning together?

This is linked to Works for Me Wednesday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Eating Healthier

One of my January Goals included eating healthier snacks.

I have purchased my produce from Bountiful Baskets for about 2 1/2 years now.  It wasn’t as popular when I started as it is now.  I knew it would catch on.  It is amazing.  The produce is fresher, the amount you get for just $16.50 (baskets are $15 each with $1.50 processing fee).  The way is brings a community together to volunteer to put the baskets together. 

I have been making more of an effort to offer the fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of just sides to meals. 

Here is an example of what I got this week. 


1 bunch Broccoli

1 huge bunch Cauliflower

1 bag Brussels Sprouts

4 ears corn on the cob

1 bunch lettuce

5 big tomatoes

10 Fuji Apples

4 large Oranges

7 Kiwis

2 Pomegranates

8 Bosc Pears

9 Bananas

Whenever I bring my produce home I check out this website as to how and store it so it lasts the longest. 

While some of the veggies I will be using for sides.  All the fruit can be snacks, as well as the broccoli and cauliflower.  We can dip them in Ranch dressing.

I am just so impressed with my basket this week.  I don’t get to choose what is in it, that just adds to the fun.  And my children are more willing to try new foods knowing it is a surprise what we get.

I highly recommend Bountiful Baskets.  If they are not in your area yet, I think it is only a matter of time.  They are growing like mad!!! 

Check out their FAQ page here, to see why we don’t get to choose what is in our baskets, and also why not every sites baskets are the same.

Don’t forget to follow me!!  I have some great ideas coming up!!


Friday, January 20, 2012

We Choose Virtues

We Choose Virtues was created by a mother that asked herself how can my children succeed in life without the skills that come from good character?   She knows how important character training is.  She has created a curriculum that instill amazing character traits in children (and adults too) in just 10 minutes a day.

There are 12 Virtues in the Early Childhood through Elementary set.  They are…I am Diligent, I am Kind, I am Helpful, I am Obedient, I am Forgiving, I am Perseverant, I am Gentle, I am Patient, I am Self-Controlled, I am Content, I am Honest, and I am Attentive.

What I received was the Virtue Clue Cards

as well as the Teacher’s Handbook, Kids of Virtueville Coloring Book, Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths as well as the Family Character Assessment.



The way I used these items is first I read through the Teacher’s Handbook.  Which gave me some insight on many of the products We Choose Virtues products as well as how they can be used. 

Next I decided to have a separate meeting with each of my children over the Family Character Assessment.  I had each child take their own, as well as I gave my input to them.  It was truly amazing to me how honest they were about their faults.  I even took an assessment of my own. 

Now I was able to see what each child (and myself) needed to work on the most. 

We had the coloring book, which was great for the younger two.  It really helped Katey to get to know the Kids of Virtueville.

Now for my favorite part, what I did with the cards, is I simply kept them in my purse.  Whenever I noticed a behavior that they were doing great at or needed a reminder to work on, I pulled out the card for that virtue. 

For example we recently went to a funeral and the kids were getting restless.  I pulled out the reminder card and then I pulled out the patience card.  It worked perfectly.


At the grocery store, same thing. One child was wanting, I pulled out the first card as well as the Content card.  P1010033

I never even had to say anything to anyone.  They understood as soon as they saw the cards. 

Here is the back of those two cards.  It helps you to learn the names of the kids as well as an enthusiastic statement.


We Choose Virtues offers a multitude of products from individually to kits.  Their homeschool kit is $99.99.  They also offer community school classroom kits.

The Virtue clue cards (which I received) are on sale for $5.99.  You can also get the Family Character Assessment and Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths for FREE while you are there. 

The coloring book is available as a download for just $3.00

The Teacher’s Handbook is $4.99 for the download.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to write my review.

Pin It

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making a little bit of everything.


Emily has been learning about Indians and their dwellings.  She made a version of Adobe houses.  She put vent holes for the smoke from the fire to escape.  She even painted Pictographs on the sides. 




When the clay comes out all kids want to create!!  Katey created a bowl and a spoon.  She was really upset when I wouldn’t let her eat her cereal out of it.  I had to explain that these were just for decoration. 


Tyler was trying to live up his shirt.  LOL. 




Well, that’s a day in the life, right? 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012



It clearly must take some patience on my husbands part to work on his remote control car like this.    Love it.  I am so glad he takes the time to teach the boys.

Friday, January 13, 2012




I know that everyone gets busy especially around the holidays but I just don’t know this year has been absolutely insane for us.

Before Christmas even began, we had a funeral.  One of my Grandmother-in-Law’s. While it was expected, you are just never ready for these things.


Then all the wrapping of gifts.  Yes, these are my gifts from my Husband.  He used electrical tape to wrap them, how manly of him!!  Smile with tongue out 


There was also the making of Santa’s treats on Christmas Eve.  We made Chocolate and Peanut Butter covered Pretzel Sticks.  YUMMY!!IMGP3290

Then we opened pajamas to sleep in. Tyler was so excited to get Thomas the Train pajamas that is what he wanted me to take a picture of.


We had such a fun with our annual tradition of smashing our gingerbread houses on New Year’s Eve.


Yes, I  know, don’t mind the pumpkins, I can assure you they are in the garbage now.  LOL


I know this may not sound busy, but it sure feels busier than it looks.  It has also felt like the last 6 weeks have went by with the blink of an eye.  And as I plan on slowing things way down.  It just doesn’t look like I can just yet. 

To top it off my other Grandmother-in-Law, whom I am close to, is now sick.  I just want to say, it sucks, it is hard, it makes me so sad.  It emotionally drains me.   I know that I want her to be at peace, but what if I am just not ready for it yet?  I know God is in control.  It is still hard!!  Sad smile 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012




These are my top ten most read posts of 2011 according to Google Analytics.

Mud is here, Spring is near ~ About a family hiking trip, in the mud!!

Our School Area ~ Our educational area in our new house.

2011-2012 School Year Choices ~ The route we are on this year.

Our Skin, A Preschool Science Experiment ~ A ticklish discovery.

Easiest Way to Keep Your Car Clean ~ Believe it or not this simple trick really works!! 

Handmade Personalized Gifts ~  Make an inexpensive personalized gift, that is unique and will be cherished!!  Great for weddings, hostess gifts, birthdays, Christmas, and any occasion.

Cleaning Playlist ~ A fun upbeat way to clean

Packing in Zip-Loc Bags ~ How I stayed organized on vacation.

Sometimes Homemade is Better ~ Homemade soap and syrup!!

Repurposing Old Clothes ~ My daughters favorite skort (skirt with shorts) that she just wasn’t ready to give up!

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  It really is so encouraging to see how much it is actually read!!


Friday, January 6, 2012

Maestro Classics ~ Swan Lake

Maestro Classics has been around since 2004.  Stephen Simon and Bonnie Ward Simon have been involved in the orchestra long before that, directing sold out symphonies. 

Together the Simons created their signature format, alternating music with talking, explanations with musical adventures. The title track is always a work for narrator and orchestra, where the music is just as important as the story. This is followed by background information about the life and times of the work and/or the composer. Then a new musical genre is introduced, taking a theme form the title track and transforming it into jazz, folk, Dixieland, heavy metal, or other style. This is followed by the conductor talking about what to listen for in the music with musical examples. You are then invited to listen again, sometimes with the narration, sometimes without, and people are always astounded at how much more they hear with their new “educated” ears. Finally, each CD ends with a play-along, sing-along, or dance-along track, because participating in the music making is always fun

~ from their website.

You can hear a sample from any of the music right here on their website.

Their passion for music and educating others in it shines through in their products.  It really is an amazing thing. 

After listening to the CD once through, our favorite thing to do is act out the symphony with the music and narrator on in the background.

Maestro Classics is more that just music.  They offer many educational materials to go along with their CD’s as well.    Check those out here

Swan Lake isn’t all they have. 

They also offer:

  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • Casey at the Bat
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • Peter and The Wolf, (which I reviewed previously here.)
  • Juanita the Spanish Lobster
  • My Name is Handel
  • The Soldiers Tale

The CD’s are sold individually at a price of $16.98.  They offer MP3’s also for $9.98.  They have package deals available too. 

With the CD you get a great little booklet with some fun activities to do as well, a rebus story, a crossword puzzle, a coloring page. 

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to write my review.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zeezok~ Teaching History through movies


Having past experience with Zeezok publishing and their Z Guides, I was ecstatic to be chosen to review another one. 

I chose Kit Kittredge this time.  Emily’s history focus this year has been American History, and I thought that now would be a great time to teach them what the Great Depression was all about.  

Now, I would like to say that I have been extremely busy lately.  The holidays, and we had a funeral, as well as traveling, (we don’t live close to any family).  It was so nice to be able to continue our history, while I was so busy packing and doing laundry and packing and doing laundry. 

This Z guide really had no teacher prep work, none, nada, zilch.  It was perfect. 


Ok, Ok, what is a Z-Guide you ask? 

It is a resource that helps you to dig deeper into a movie to learn more about the topic. 

The 10 activities in the Kit Kittredge one range from movie review questions, vocabulary for the times, and researching the Great Depression, to a Depression style fashion show, and an acting game. 

There is also a For Family Discussion section.

Of course the answer key is available in the guide as well. 

Z Guides are really great:

  • to switch up the teaching style
  • if you are extra busy for a week, and want something super teacher friendly
  • to reinforce a time period you have already taught.
  • for a fun, educational family night
  • you can get laundry done while watching the movie Winking smile

At a Glance:

Zeezok Publishing

Product: Z Guide to the movies, Kit Kittredge
Cost: $12.99 for the guide only, you will need access to the movie, which they also sell, or you can get it from you own source.

Age Range: They have guides for many movies, from Elementary all the way up to High School.  Kit Kittridge is a movie for Elementary through Middle School age. 

Do I recommend it?  ABSOLUTLEY!!

I already knew how great their Z Guide for the movie Johnny Tremain is. I reviewed that last year. Check out that review here.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to write my review.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...