Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Cookies and Hair

Okay that’s odd – but oh well, it’s my blog, right?

Anyway, I wanted to share some yummy cookies that a friend of mine baked and actually brought out to me while I was waiting for my son at his Dojo in the cold and snow!  Yes, I have been blessed with some really, really awesome friends – thank you Lord!!!!!

Today I’m giving a shout out to Marianne of Marianne’s Kitchen.  She has done two birthday cakes for us this year that were wonderful and my husband just recently said her cookies were better than a local bakery that shall remained un-named.  These beautiful cookies lasted no time and now my hubby wants me to bake more!  I told him let’s just buy off Marianne!

Now about the hair.  My 7 year old is starting to do her own hair, basic ponytails but still so she now feels confident in doing my hair.  I let her do it the other night with the caveat that she can’t use any styling products (I don’t like build up and I can’t stand the smell) and she better not tangle it (my hair is THICK and tangles are BAD).  She agreed and got started on making a bun.  While it’s not exactly a bun it did turn out sort of pretty, now I just need to teach her how to hide the bobby pins!

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Botany Preservation experiment

I’ve done the borax preservation method for flowers and it turned out good – I used it to preserve flowers from my Grandpa’s funeral – however I couldn’t get all the borax powder out so I just decided to toss them.  However they did keep their shapes and their color.

This was one of the experiments for our Apologia botany study.

Aren’t the purty??

Well fast forward way past the recommended two weeks…….okay I got lazy, the girls would remind me, then I’d forget and with being so tired and other things going on we finally opened them about 4 weeks after we first put them in.

Beginning to uncover them:

Fully uncovered and out of the box:

As you can see they didn’t stay together well and lost almost all their color.  So if you do this experiment I suggest you don’t leave or forget them.  We ended up having to toss the flowers as they were just so brittle and too much of the powder was retained.  The children enjoyed seeing the effect though that the borax drew out the fluids and dried the flowers out.

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Science Museum Fun

On Friday the 11th the children and I went with my mom to COSI (Center of Science and Industry) which is a cool hands-on children’s museum.  Of course we were hoping schools were in session even though it was Veteran’s Day – but that wasn’t to be but since we drove 40 minutes to Columbus we decided to brave it, little did we know there was a business hosting a conference there as well.  I think the adults in the group forgot they were in a museum geared primarily for children – as they weren’t paying the children any mind.  I digress.  We decided after taking in the 3-D movie African Adventure: Safari in the Okavango to go to lunch at the near by Spaghetti Warehouse – which at 1:30 was also very packed.

There was a Dora the Explorer exhibit and after stopping in and looking around decided that it was too young for my children.  Although Christian and Bethanne did find a couple things that held their interest for a bit – including pictures with Dora, smelling the flowers, a climbing wall and monkey bars (Hannah was too big for them but she tried it anyway LOL)

At the risk of sounding hohchmeedich (Pennsylvania Deitsh for proud) I have to say I loved the expression on the COSI volunteer’s face when my children were watching a traveling exhibit on air pressure.  The young girl asked if they knew what air pressure was and/or how it works.  My 5 year old proceeded to tell her “yes, it’s like when you put air in your tire on your car”.  She looked at me (I had a big smile as did Grandma) then back to him before saying “wow, I never thought of it like that!”  I have to say I couldn’t keep myself from thinking that if he were in school that this learning would have been stifled and even discouraged.

We had a fun day even though it was busy and of course the children are begging to go back.

Please don’t forget to go and vote for me over at the HSBA!  I’m listed in the Best Homeschool Variety Blog and Favorite Homeschool Mom Blog!


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TOS Crew Review: Time Timer

Vendor Name: Time Timer

Vendor Contact:  Email:

Name of ProductTime Timer 3″

Price:  $30.00

Age Range:  all ages

Other Products Available: 8 and 12 inch Time Timers, wrist timer,  software and apps, Time Timer puzzle, accessories

Do you have a child with special learning needs such as Autism?

Does your child have a hard time staying on track?

Do you want your child to do their math work in a certain time or timed speed drills?

Does your child need to be able to ‘see’ how much time is left to do their chores?

Well then – I have the answer!  The Time Timer – this small, 3″ timer will be able to help you and your child or children keep on track in whatever it is you’re doing.  My 7 year old daughter has a hard time staying on task and needed constant reminders and while I’m not saying the Time Timer is a cure all it sure has made our school day less of a struggle.  She knows she now has 30 minutes to complete her math work (the area of the most struggles) – I set the time timer and walk away (unless she needs help, in which case I stay).  I use the audible sound setting (a low beep-beep sound) so she’ll know when time is up.

I thought there had to be more than just using this for my daughter’s math so I now use it for their speed drills as well.  Each will have 3 minutes to finish their speed drills – with the Time Timer I set it for the allotted time and they know when time is up if they don’t finish before.  I’ve also used it so they know they have so much time on the computer or if we have to leave for an errand and I’ve even used it for knowing when I had to drink something or when I have a meal in the oven.  This Time Timer is a great way to keep track and manage time so that things that need done get done.

What I like about it as well is the fact that it has a cover that doubles as a stand so if I wanted to I could throw it in my purse and take it with me to places that need to have time limits.  I can see great potential in using it at a children’s museum where if you’re not careful the children will spend four hours at the water table.  With the Time Timer you can set a time limit of anything from 0 to 60 minutes and let your children know that when that time is up it’s time to move on.

To use the Time Timer you simply move the red disk counterclockwise to whatever time increment you need – again it’s from 0 to 60 minutes with 5 minute intervals displayed.  You can turn the sound off or on depending on your needs or your child’s needs and it only takes one AA battery.  I’ve been using this almost everyday for our school and home needs and I have yet to replace the battery.  I’m so happy that I’ve added the Time Timer to our school and home day as it even helps me, who also gets easily sidetracked, to stay on task and focus on what needs focused on.

**If you’d like to see what other homeschoolers are saying about the Time Timer please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

**This is a TOS Crew Review.  I was given the 3″ Time Timer from Time Timer to facilitate my review, no other compensation was given.





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Fun times with the children

Each time my children go to AWANA they earn points which can then be used in the AWANA store – they earn points for doing verses, bringing their Bibles, and wearing their uniform then they can choose from AWANA items, toys, jewelery, stickers, etc.  Bethanne found a pair of woodworking protective safety goggles:

Then Bethanne decided she wanted to portray Mary – yes, the Mother of Jesus:

We also went to the resevoir to take some pictures that I was hoping to use on my Christmas cards but they didn’t turn out good enough for cards but they are okay for enjoying:

This was a grasshopper that we found and then Christian tried to catch:


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TOS Crew Review: Ooka Island

Vendor Name: Ooka Island

Vendor ContactContact Page

Name of ProductOoka Island Early Literacy Program

Price:  1-month $12.95 for one child; 1-month for up to 4 children $19.95; other pricing options available on the pricing chart.

Age Range:  ages 3 to 7

Ooka Island is a neat learning experience that combines great 3-D graphics with early literacy that is great for those who are beginning to read or need some extra help.  My 5 year old is enjoying it, although I will say that his patience level doesn’t allow him to fully listen to instructions and listen for the sounds he is supposed to find, so either my older daughters or I sit with him to help guide him.

This is a large download, 2 GB in size so don’t be alarmed if you find your computer telling you it could take 2 hours just make sure your computer has enough space on it.  You may be asking yourself why the file is so large and that is a great question and the answer to that is that it contains 85 digital books, instructions in digital format, full 3-D graphics and nine original Ooka tunes.  I will say the time that this download takes is very much worth it once your child begins playing on the computer.

The games start by teaching children that letters have individual sounds and then moves on to showing how these sounds are blended to form words and begin reading.  This learning is facilitated by the friendly Ooka Island host, Zobot, that guides your child through the Island taking them to such places as Cave of Sounds, Alphabet Mountain and other places.  As they play children earn Ooka Island money or currency that they can use to buy items in the Misty Mart, after they’ve earned their free time to roam.  After lesson time, children are given eight minutes of free time where they can roam wherever they want on the Island.

My son really likes the Cave of Sounds as it features what looks like a roller coaster in a mine shaft and he says he feels like he’s riding a roller coaster.  He also enjoys the virtual stickers he can earn for each activity he completes as well as the digital books that are earned along the way and can be accessed in the Popcorn Library.

This is a really interesting and educational reading program for children and while I received it mainly to test out with my son even my older daughters thought the graphics were “cool” and they were very interested in it as well and I had to remind them that it was for their brother since they are already fluent readers.  If you’d like to try it out there is a free 14 day trial or you can use the above promo code to save 30% on a monthly subscription.  I know this will be a program that my son will continue to enjoy as we work on reading with him

**If you’d like to read what other homeschoolers thought about this product please stop by the TOS Homeschool Crew blog and click on the linky.

**This is a TOS Crew Review.  I was given a subscription to Ooka Island for the purpose of the review and no other compensation was given.

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Idle Hour Ranch – 10/8/11

On October 8, 2011 we went with my mom to a place called Idle Hour Ranch.  This is a ministry  about 40 minutes from us that has some exotic animals and allows visitors to get up close and personal with animals that wouldn’t survive in the wild.  My children and I enjoyed this trip very much, getting to see and even pet and feed some of God’s creation that normally we couldn’t do.

The macaw

Christian was bound and determined to catch and hold a bunny:

The see-saw (Bethanne ended up getting hurt on it when Christian jumped off right before we left for the day.)

The cougar:

The Patagodian Cavy (we found this neat as these animals are related to the domestic cavies commonly known as guinea pigs)

Feeding a giraffe:

Feeding a camel:

Feeding the goats:

Miniature ponies:

Hannah doing some gem mining (she found some really pretty gems):

The African elephant we got to ride:

This was an awesome and we topped it off with lunch at Bob Evans which was delicious.  I’m very blessed that my mom was willing to go with us otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to take in this very neat attraction – hopefully despite Ohio wanting to enact exotic animal laws – this will be around for years to come.

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Late birthday celebration – another trip to a museum

Well we were late in getting Bethanne’s birthday celebration where she gets to invite a friend to go with us to an area children’s museum, so we went on the 21st.  It was packed the day we went so it was somewhat crowded but the children still had fun and they had a couple new exhibits as well.

Bethanne inspecting the water samples in the all new permanent water exhibit:

Christian posing as something LOL:

Hannah and Christian seeing what it’d be like to use a pump and bucket to transport water:

All of the children on a turtle shell:

Seeing what it would be like to be a fly and how they can walk up walls:

Bethanne standing next to a display about jewelry (a traveling exhibit) from Ancient Egypt:

Hannah building a platypus:

Demonstrating how camouflage can work in the wild:

Cooking pizza:

Serving at the deli:

Getting up close with Madison, the bobcat:

The children participated in some hands-on science experiment.  This one was to take tubing and make loops and such and see who could get a little bb through it:

Normally I don’t let mine do the dance wall as the music isn’t always the best but this day’s was a decent selection and they had fun seeing their motions on the wall and got some good patterns going:

It was a fun day and we were all tuckered out but not enough apparently for the girls to plan an sleep over!  I’m so glad that we are fortunate enough to have some great children’s museums within driving distance that we can enjoy and get some educational stuff out of a visit – even if some of it doesn’t align with our beliefs.

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Kregel Review: Jumbo Bible Activity Book 3

About the Book:

Now there are even more games and activities to help children learn about their favorite Bible stories. The third in this popular series, Jumbo Bible Activity Book 3 is packed with puzzles, pictures, dot-to-dots, hidden objects, coloring pages, and fascinating Bible stories that will keep even the most inquisitive young minds busy! Fun for all the family as they learn and play.

My Opinion:

What child doesn’t love to color, find the hidden objects or do dot to dots?  Mine really enjoy the activities in this book and while the pages aren’t perforated I have to tear out the pages or else I’d probably have a riot on my hands.  Each child goes about the activities differently, my youngest needs help with the dot to dots but loves to color, my puzzle loving daughter enjoys finding the spot the differences and the mazes whereas my oldest just prefers to help her brother or just color.

The illustrations are whimsical and the book is oversized, 11.7 X 8.25 so there is plenty of space for coloring and completing the activities.  This would be great for long car rides or to provide something for children to do while you prepare dinner or even if one child finishes their school work and is waiting for more.  There are questions for each picture relating to the Bible story and the Scripture reference is also given so that children and their parents can find the answers and discover Biblical truths.

**I was provided a copy of this book through Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Little boyness

Having a son has proved to be interesting.   A son is much different from daughters – which is great and how the Lord made them to be – and I wouldn’t change that.  My 5 year old son is full of energy and for whatever reason I will never understand how his brain works or what he’s thinking when he does things like:

  • do flips that makes it look like he’s going to break his neck – even after he’s been told no!
  • Climb on things that he knows he’ll probably break something!
  • Constantly beg for something to eat – all……the…….time (I dread when he’s a teen)
  • Eat his sister’s candy corn off her AWANA project AFTER it’s been glued on for several days

  • Use way too much glue on his candy corn project from AWANA when left unsupervised but all the other children are staying on task

But then there are the times when he’s a gentleman and will help to carry in the bag of clothes my husband’s co-worker gave to him (he doesn’t mind that 4 other little boys have worn these clothes)

Or when he’s giving me a hug and kiss (or 10 and counts them!) telling me how much he loves me and I’m the “bestest” mom.

When he’s sitting on my lap in rapt attention listening to me read a story or Biblical account.

Having a boy is different, my brain works like a female’s, so I can’t ‘get him’ but he brings a whole other aspect to our house with his energy (no I won’t medicate him and no I don’t think it’s a condition – unless the condition is being a boy) and ultimately his love.  He does get angry and we work on that – but having a boy has been an adventure and I’m sure it’s only going to get better as he grows into the man that God wants him to be.

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