Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Last Day of the Month

Whew~!!  Another month has come and gone.  They just whizz on by, don't they?

Right now we are on a school break. We still have another week and a half left to go, so I'm enjoying it while I can.  
 Our 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off is working VERY well this year. So far we've completed 24 weeks. Yay~!! That's more than half way through the school year. The girls are enjoying their current break. Although, Miss Hannah Banana is still doing the odd bit of work.  She likes it. The girls are still reading too, but shhhhh, don't tell them that it's school work, and we'll be all good to continue with that as well.

Today I discovered that I can add a cart function to my blog.  I was pretty excited to hear and see about that.  Imagine being able to sell my ebooks direct from my blog.  Wow, look how far technology has come with that.  Of course I'd have to pay a monthly fee to be able to offer my books that way, but yeah, the thought is pretty very extremely inviting, but would it be worth it?  I might have to get a bit more serious about making stuff for that, hey.

Talking about making things.  This morning I whipped up another times tables pack - but it's totally PLAIN.  There were no cutesy cliparts attached at all.   So far I managed to get to the tens times tables.  It's 82 pages already.  It'll fill out with a few more pages when/if I get it finished. I made them a really good size, with a great sized font.

{ Check out my sample of the 2 x set }

I had a bit of fun with them this morning.  I even printed them up on cardstock. So they'll last a little longer than paper. 

Ok, we'll that's my news for today.  Hope your month went well.  :o)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Three Decades of Fertility { Review }

     What happens when you put 10 veteran mothers together to talk about their fertility and faith, and then you open up an avenue to share about how it has affected their family life?  Yep, you get an awesome book full of Godly encouragement.

Today I am very happy to present to you:

Three Decades of Fertility
     Brought to you by Natalie Klejwa from Visionary Womanhood. Don't miss this brand new, must read book; launch date: 29th July, 2013. This book is a beautiful offering on the realities of life and fertility.  Imagine being able to peek into the life of another, spanning 30 years of time.  What would we see?  What would we hear?  These ladies have been so gracious to share some of their triumphs, and some of their sadness with us too.

{ What's the Book About }

"What would happen if a married woman gave the best years of her life to her Creator? Could He be trusted? Would her life be wasted? Ten women did just that and joyfully discovered that the God of LIFE was faithful."

     And with that in mind, you'll meet ten awesome women and hear their personal testimonies.  There is such a blessing to hear from those who have gone before us, that we may benefit from their knowledge and life experience.

A quick snipet taken from the contents page:

1. Progressive Revelation by Carmon Friedrich, age 51
2. Tracing God’s Hand by Jeanette Paulson, age 55
3. Eternal Treasure by Natalie Klejwa, age 46
4. Just Another Mother in Love by Stacy McDonald, age 46
5. God Changed My Heart by Molly Evert, age 43
6. Not Our Plan,Yet Not Unplanned by Ruth Einfeld, age 49
7. The Lord Directs Our Steps by Terry Covey, age 52
8. God’s Faithfulness in Life and Death by Heather Olsson, age 46
9. Embracing His Plan by Sue Liesmake, age 45
10. Through Children’s Children by Yvonne Harink, age 46

Followed by an additional bonus chapter called: A Body Built for Baby Building by Dr. Regina Brott.

And a final chapter on nutrition by Donielle Baker.

As you can see they have a lot of years, and therefore many life experiences to share about fertility.  

At the end of each chapter, each of the women answer a questionnaire of eleven questions on issues such as:

  • matters on miscarriage, infant loss, birth defects
  • having older children and small babies in the house at the same time
  • ethical issues on repeated miscarriages 
  • physical recovery - especially over the age of 40
  • how they deal with extended family members and the community in regard to their family size
  • about being 'older' parents
  • how they share miscarriage with older children
  • how having babies in their 40's affected their relationships with their husbands
  • specific tips for specific pregnancy related problems
  • general thoughts on pregnancy in ones 40's - statistics and odds
  • hindsight 20/20 - do they have any regrets, what would they have done differently

     If you've ever wanted to hear from women share about these types of things, now's your chance. You can read all about them in this 171 page book.  There is so much information shared.

{ What I thought of About It }

     I was very quickly drawn to this book because of my own fertility issues.  I've been on a mummy { I'm Australian - so I'll sometimes insert Australian spelling } journey for almost 25 years. I've given birth to 8 living children, and lost a few babies along the way. We've had 7 years of IN-fertility { in the middle } due to a vasectomy included in the mix as well.  But God IS good, and truly faithful.  He not only restored our fertility, but has blessed us with the 4 little girls that you so often hear me talking about on this blog { that's why there's a big gap between our older children and the younger ones}.  As I approach my older years, I'm 43 now, I see how the hand of God has truly blessed us.  I have been most blessed when I finally trusted God with my own fertility, and surrendered myself to His hand.

     In regard to the book:  I love how each lady develops a personal testimony on her journey through life as they came to each step of the way.  As a mother I really enjoyed the birth stories.  I loved how each lady shares private thoughts and family issues so candidly with the world.  That type of openness is so friendly.  I would that I knew each of them in real life.  It was very interesting how life just has a way of happening, with or without our planning, but more importantly how God manifests his hands and heart in each of their lives.

For any woman who has ever thought about having a child.

Don't forget to have a quick peek at their introductory video.  

{ How Much Does it Cost? }

The book is available in several different formats.  

If you're over at Amazon, you can pick up the beginning of the book for free as a sample.  

If you've ever wondered about any of the issues listed from the book, perhaps you have a natural curiosity about how the other half live, maybe you've even felt God speak to you about your own fertility, then this book is for you. 

Could you trust God with not only your life, but your fertility as well? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Printing Up Books

Over the course of the many years that we've been homeschooling, I have on occasion printed up a few books.  These are the FREE books that you can get online, and work out great when you can't get them in real life already printed and bound.  

I do have a preference for the publisher printed books, but if they aren't available, I'm not opposed to letting my good friend printer help me out. 

My most recent set of book printing has been for these:

Ten little novels by Arthur Scott Bailey.

"Mr. Bailey centered all his plots in the animal, bird and insect worlds, weaving natural history into the stories in a way that won educator's approval without arousing the suspicions of his young readers. He made it a habit to never 'write down' to children and frequently used words beyond the average juvenile vocabulary, believing that youngsters respond to the stimulus of the unfamiliar."

He wrote them between 1915 - 1923.  In addition, he continued to write after 1923 as well.  In all he had over 40 books published. 

I only printed up ten of them to see how they'd go before I commit to doing anymore.

I just copy and pasted them into word and printed them out.  Then I added some light green cardstock to the front and backs and stapled them together.

Chloe has already read The Tale of Jolly Robin, and now Phebe has started reading it too.  Chloe is now onto The Tale of Henrietta Hen.  So, so far, so good.  :o)

{ You can get them FREE on Books Should Be Free }

What great online books have you printed out?

This week I am linking up with:

Every bed of Roses

 I hope you will join us.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Skip Counting Chart { freebie }

Today I'm popping in super quick to share a copy of my skip counting chart - just in case it might be handy for you, as it has been for us.

Just click the chart to go and grab a copy.

This week I am linking up with:


I hope you can join us.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Circle Time { Review }

     A couple of days ago I mentioned about how I've been trying to teach my children to sit using a purposeful sit time, and casually added that I had been using Circle Time. Today I want to talk about a neat little ebook that I got given to review that can help you set up a circle time too. The book comes from Preschoolers and Peace, and is written by a lady called: Kendra Fletcher.  The e-book is called: Circle Time.

Website logo photo circletimelogo2_zps58ab71e5.jpg

{ About the Book }

     The book comes as a pdf download.  It's a quick and easy read, and has 33 pages.  There are a number of photos within the book as examples to inspire and encourage you.  At the end of the book are some printables to help you plan out a circle time too. Even though the book is only 33 pages, it will spark your imagination into quick action.

     Circle Time is all about having interactive group time. While the name Preschoolers and Peace leads you to think that it's just for preschoolers, you'll find that the book is actually geared for the whole family.  It's focus is for "group time" to get to all those little things that mean a lot to you that you might not get to otherwise.  It can be anywhere from 20 mins to 2 hours, depending on what you want to do.

     The book briefly looks at planning, strategies, getting your children on board, questions from other mums, words of wisdom, resources and ideas.

     Kendra uses her Circle Time to do all sorts of things. Including normal school subjects. She has some great ideas in there for a memory box. So much so, that she rotates them on different days. She also has some great christian ideas to implement too.

{ How We Used It }

     After reading the book I was certainly now armed with a couple of ideas to run with, so here's what I ended up doing.  Oh, and while it's called circle time, it LOOKS like straight line time in my house.

     For those who are following on from my other post the other day: here are the chairs that I have the girls sit on.  Cute, hey?

     The girls - Chloe 8, Hannah 4, Phebe 6, and Charlotte nearly 2. Yes, I include Charlotte as well.  She doesn't really pull it off, but the chair is there for her so that she can feel like she's part of the group.  I just usually let her wander around the room for the most part though.  To be fair, she does like to sit in for short periods of time.

     To begin, I first had to think about what I wanted from our Circle Time. I figured that we needed a review time for vocabulary, skip counting, and bits and pieces. So I opted to make it all about Memory Work, with a short reading thrown in on History or Science, depending on what was scheduled for the day. 

     Additionally, I also wasn't sure if I should start off with a memory box or a folder, what to choose?  In the end the display folder won out.  It meant that I could keep a LOT of stuff in the folder itself behind other things.  Which in turn meant that it was going to make it easier to swap in and out when the time came.  I also picked the folder due to it's size. I can put a lot of stuff on one page, at a reasonable font, and they'd all be able to see it from their seats.

So, let's do some show and tell.  :o)

What my folder looks like.  Just a plain A4 plastic folder on the outside with about 20 plastic see through sleeves on the inside.

When I open it up I have a nice little title page so we all know what the folder is for.  I also made nice title pages for each of my subject areas too.

The first thing, each time we sit, is that I want to tackle is some skip counting. At the moment we are doing several different levels.  Here is my 2 x skip counting chart.  We just chant through them a couple of times.

We have also started some Latin, so reviewing the vocabulary is also included.  What's not here is a photo of the next lesson's words - the're also in the folder but, we'll, there's only so many photos one needs for a show and tell right?

For Bible I have a memory verse for us all to recite.  It's super nice hearing them all reading and counting together.

Days of the Week, and Months of the Year.  Some of us need a quick revision, while others are just coming to it and need to learn it whole.

Yep, I even have a little Art section.  We usually pause long enough for me to pull the pictures out and let the girls have a close up look.  I want them to know who the artist is.

Also in the folder is a character definition.  We have a bit of a read through, and sometimes discuss the character trait.  What is great about being in a folder is that I can have the remainder of the set already printed and sitting the back waiting for us for when we need to swap it out and get a new character to start looking at.

Another page of the folder. I keep additional language work like Greek.

And then, some more skip counting.  I keep thinking to myself that I want to re-organize the folder a little so that I can keep all the same stuff in the right order, but I just haven't gotten there, yet.  I've just been adding things after all the other stuff as I want to include them.

Don't you love the cute little frogs?

I also found an alphabet of bible verses for the children that I thought would work awesome for this type of get together.  We just recite the verses as we go through.

     Whew~!!  Yeah, so that is what I have in the folder at the moment. After this, we usually do a little reading.  I'll read Life of Fred, and then a History or Science reading to extend the time.  I want to use this time to help teach the girls to SIT and focus on the front.

     Now that I've sort of got my hands a bit wet with the concept, I am sure that I can bend and adapt it to include many other things.

{ So, How Much Does It Cost? }

The e-book comes as a pdf instant download, and costs $4.99. 

     So, tell me, do you do Circle Time?  What do you do?  Please share your thoughts and ideas.  I would love to hear about them, just in case they might work for us too. :o)  

     As always, thank you so much for visiting, and don't forget to visit Preschoolers and Peace for additional information about Circle Time.  Oh, and please do check out some of the other awesome reviews done by my fellow crew members as well. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Apricot Danish

Well, it's been a while since I shared any food posts, so on that account, and the fact that I actually had a cooking success, I thought that I'd pop in with a recent dessert that I made.  

{ Made today, in fact. }

Super simple, and easy, but absolutely a winner at the table.

{ Ingredients: }

1.  Custard - if home made you'll need the custard powder, milk, and sugar.
2.  Puff pastry.
3.  A tin of apricot halves.
4.  Icing sugar, dash of milk, a spoon of butter.

{ Method: }

1.  Make a batch of custard and let cool.

2.  Defrost your puff pastry.

3.  Cut your pastry into 4 squares.  Place a big dollop of custard in the center of each little square and fold over the corners to the center.  

4.  Add a half apricot to the top.

5.  Place in oven till pastry looks golden brown.

6.  Add icing.

7.  Enjoy~!!

Such an easy dessert, but oh so delicious.  If you ever need an awesome dessert, but don't have the money, or the time, this is definitely the one to go.  :o)

Today I'm joining up with:

{ Try a New Recipe Tuesday }

Thanks for visiting.

Doctor DoLittle

This week we got through Doctor DoLittle.  It's only a junior classic, but it was perfect for the little girls.  They absolutely loved it.  

In particular, Phebe, my 6 year old, loved it so much that she has begun reading it for herself.  She's done the first 7 chapters already. I was initially horrified that she's been ticking off the contents page, { I discovered this when I enquired as to how she was keeping track of where she was up to } but oh well, who am I to complain?  I trash books sometimes too.  She's also handled the pages more roughly than what I might have done. However, thank goodness that it didn't cost me very much.  A mere $3.50, in excellent condition when we purchased it.   A small price to pay for the pleasure that it has brought.

  • Author/s:  Hugh Lofting
  • Retold by: Ellen Miles
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 140
  • Vendor: Scholastic Junior Classics
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Ages: 6-12

  • Thanks for visiting.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    How to Prepare Children to SIT

    If you've ever met my children you'd know that they are jumpy and can't sit very well, especially when in a "church" setting.  Not that we frequent churches often, but on occasion we do try out new ones.  

    Recently we returned to more visiting.  This brought us to visit another church last weekend, and since we do NOT believe in Sunday School, the children needed to sit with us.

    It didn't go so well.  They just aren't trained for it.  

    There was rolling about in their chairs.  A couple of times a child ended up on the floor to roll around there too, and it wasn't even the baby.  The girls in dresses didn't mind folding up their knees to expose themselves.  It was pretty embarrassing.  So, if you ever want to know exactly WHAT behaviours you need to work on in your children, just take them out in public, specifically to a place that requires a standard of decorum, and you'll soon be set to find out exactly what you need to work on.

    I just want to interject here that asking for practical advice from other women usually gets you either, 1.  spiritual answers { oh, pray about it, hang in there, it'll happen } 2.  no clear practical path on how to achieve a desired outcome. { Maybe I just haven't found the very specific questions to get the answers I need. }  Perhaps you'll even get a book recommendation.

    In short, I never seem to find women who can be up front and very straight with you about their practicalities.   They'll hedge around it, they'll hint about it.  But they most certainly won't let you see them in action. In our modern, judgmental society women have become afraid of sharing the nitty gritty's.  In a society that is godless, in rebellion, the ability to mentor and share is becoming more and more fraught with danger to outside attack.  So the woman does her best in her own home, and keeps the doors closed.

    Either way, if I see your children sit an entire day in a conference and they behave the whole way through, I REALLY want to know the practicalities of HOW you got that to happen.

    I want to know HOW you trained them to be able to do that.   What do you do in your home that enables that to take place?  

    Now while I want to know, I'm not going to be brazen and say, "Can I come to your home and hang out with you for 12 hours so I can see you in action with your children".  Now that would FREAK any mother out.   Knowing someone was looking over their shoulder, even if it was for learning purposes.  So you just look for social visits so you can get peeks into WHAT and HOW to run your own family.

    No, I can't rely on my own experiences from when I was a child.  I come from a really dysfunctional and broken family home.  What I got as a child, needs to go straight to the bin.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, put straight into the bin.

    In the mean time this is all I got.  It's NEW, so I'm still ironing out the creases.

    We have started doing a very purposeful SIT time.  Also known as "Circle Time".

    I use this time to get them to SIT on a little chair - all the little chairs are placed in a row next to each other - all facing the front { looking at me } while we go through our memory folder.  We also do a History reading or a Science lesson.  At the moment we are aiming for 20 - 30 mins.  This is helping to train them to SIT and to face the speaker at the front.  I am shuddering inside at the thought of that, but hey, if we want to visit churches or even go on a regular basis then I'm just going to have to get past that, and get these children able.

    As you can guess, I think like this:  this unfortunate method also resembles the prison co-op commonly known as a public school.  I feel a bit ridiculous that I've had to practice sitting in a row like where in a concert hall.  This doesn't leave the children much wiggle room.  Or space to get comfy on the sofa.  Nope, that's out.

    This is the method that I am using to try and get them to learn to SIT still long enough for us to go to a church service without all the embarrassment.  I hope it works.

    In addition, I'll be talking about our "Circle Time" in a couple of days.  I'll be reviewing a neat little book that's worked out well for min this department.  So I hope you'll come back for another visit soon.  :o)

    Monday, July 22, 2013

    All Things Robinson Curriculum

    I've been wandering all over the internet, in an effort to try and pick up as much additional information as I can about how this Robinson Curriculum works.

    I like it's very appealing, simple, but effective method.  We have to keep things easy, especially if you have several children homeschooling at once.  The Robinson philosophy does exactly that.  After implementation you'll find the school day as such: 2 hours of maths, 2 hours of reading, and 1 hour of writing { or an essay / page }.  The early grades do preparation in lead up to this.  Basically the concept is to get the children to be SELF teaching.  Yep, they have to become responsible for their own learning.

    So here's a list of the links of where I visited this week:

    Moving right along with things that work with RC.  In particular the book lists.

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Homeschoool Programming TeenCoder C# { Review }

    TeenCoder Year Pack from Homeschool ProgrammingToday I've got a review about a product for the highschoolers in your home!  For the last 8 weeks we've had the awesome opportunity to check out some computer programming for the big boys in the house.  Every teenager that I know loves computers.  Many want to know how it works, and some even want to know how to program as well.

    What about Computer Science?  This is where this great company can help you as a parent.  Outsourcing can make all the difference with a subject.  Particularly when needing help to teach those difficult and technical subjects as the senior years approach. Definitely a subject that I'd need help with.  So it was great to find out about Homeschool Programming Inc.  They have several different courses that teach children how to write programs, games, and Android applications.  Today I'll be sharing all about their TeenCoder C# course.  Designed for 9-12th Grade.

    The TeenCoder C# series includes two semesters of work.  The first semester is for the Windows Programming, the second semester is for the Game Programming.  My 16 year old son needed to start out with the Windows Programming, since the Games programming needs pre-requisite information laid down in the Windows programming course, so that is what he worked on.

    The course requires Windows and a CD ROM to run.  

    The information on the website says that it isn't necessary to have any programming background before beginning the course.  They will teach programming skills from the ground up.  So I thought, ok, we can do this.

    Included are useful videos to help get your child up and running.  Perfect for visual learners too, I might add.

    TeenCoder Series

    TeenCoderTopics Covered in the Windows Programming Course:

    • Introduction to the C# programming language
    • Creating graphical Windows screens
    • Using dialog controls
    • C# data types and variables
    • User input and flow control
    • Math functions and string operations
    • C# debugging and exception handling
    • Object-oriented programming concepts
    • Classes, inheritance, and polymorphism
    • Collections, sorting, and recursion
    • File Input / Output

    Topics Covered in the Games Programming Course:
    • Introduction to the XNA Game StudioHomeschool Programming
    • Game design, game engines, and timer loops
    • Screen coordinates and color concepts
    • Drawing, scaling, and rotating images
    • Handling keyboard, mouse, and XBox 360 Gamepad controller inputs
    • Creating Sprite objects
    • Collision detection
    • 2D animation techniques
    • Playing music and sound effects
    • Game physics
    • Maze generation and solution algorithms
    • Menus, overlays, and deployment models
    • Multi-player scrolling games
    • Game artificial intelligence (AI)

    Those lists and topics look terribly scary to me, but don't worry mum or dad if you can't do the work, or have any interest whatsoever in the material yourself - like me.  The course is totally set up for your child to work through by themselves.  Well, that's the plan anyway.  :o)

    Additionally - if your child does need any help at all with the course, there is always help available through the website.  I highly recommend using their service.  It's there to help make your course successful.

    { What my son thought of it }

    Installation was straight forward and easy.   The following is from an interview I did with him about the course. 

    What did you get to do the course with?

    We had 2 pdf's and 2 programs, { installation files } one for the Windows programming, and one for the Games programming.  This is how I knew what to do the work from.  There was also a web based link to instructional videos - one for each piece of software.

    Why did you want to try out programming?

    I initially thought that it would help me to work out how to do programming for the games that I play.

    Have you had any computing or programming background?

    No, not really, just a little bit from playing roblox.  But I liked the idea of it.

    Were the materials in the course easy to follow?

    In the beginning it was easy to follow, but then I got up to a part that I couldn't work out, so I stopped.

    What did you learn in the course?

    I learnt how to make window pop up boxes.  So that was a good start.

    Overall, how did you find the course?

    I found that it didn't keep me interested long enough to finish it.  The pdf was easy to read though.

    Would you recommend the course for other homeschoolers?

    It's real school work, so I don't want to.  This course would be great if you really liked doing school, and wanted to learn about programming.  I was really interested in it, but then I realised it was real work.  Hey, I'm only 16, I'm a geek, not a nerd.  { Apparently there is a difference:  geek = plays computer / games, nerd = knows about computer / games. }

    * * * * * * *

    As the mum, I thought that it was a great little course.  Certainly something that I would want my upper highschoolers to at least try.    Especially in our computer driven age.   

    I do think that he would of done more of the work, and had more success with it if dad or I had sat with him.   I'm totally out of my league with programming, but at least the thought was there. 

    I guess some children would be better at this subject than others.  I think that it really just depends upon personal drive and interest.  

    { How much does it cost? }

    If you're interested in the course:

    TeenCoder: Windows Programming { Course Only } $ 75.00

    TeenCoder: Windows Programming { Course & Video } $90.00

    TeenCoder: Windows Programming { Video only } $ 20.00

    TeenCoder: Games Programming { Course only } $75.00 

    TeenCoder: Games Programming { Course & Video } $90.00

    TeenCoder: Games Programming { Video only } $20.00

    All together the FULL YEAR course is:

    TeenCoder: C# Year Pack { Course only } $ 130.00

    TeenCoder: C# Year Pack { Course & Videos } $155.00

    TeenCoder: C# Year Pack { Videos only } $30.00

    Thanks so much for visiting, and don't forget to visit Homeschool Programming Inc. for additional information about their TeenCoder C# course and other products that are also available.  Oh, and please do check out some of the other awesome reviews done by my fellow crew members as well.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    What's In All Those Plastic Freezer Tubs On My Shelf?

    You know, the cute little dressed up owl themed plastic freezer tubs I have on my shelf?  What's in them?

    So I grabbed my camera, and just started pulling them off one by one, opening them up, and taking a quick snap for show and tell.

    { A Number Jigsaw }

    { A big Jigsaw }

    { Letters and Pictures that interlock }

    { Yep, Another Jigsaw }

    { My center box - filled with all sorts of center work }

    { Everything from multiplication, to months of the year, to days of the week }

    { A small collection of letters with flash cards for making the phrases }

    { Peg Counting - just a box filled with pegs, I occasionally rotate different card themes }

    { Alphabet and Counting cards }

    { Flash Cards }

    { Another really big Jigsaw }

    { Playdough Tools }

    { A Matching Activity }

    { Bits and Pieces - including some Peg Counting Cards }

    { A set of little readers }

    { Another different set of letters }

    { Ha ha ha ha, MORE playdough tools }

    { A different set of mini readers }

    { Another big jigsaw }

     { Odds and Ends - I may discard this pile }

    I even had one that was empty.  But now that I know that, I will have to find something to put in it.  Ha ha ha ha ha.

    Whew~!!  So this is how I keep all those awesome little center and fiddly pieces all neat and tidy, but in easy reach.

    Thanks for visiting.