Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Animals of Iowa - Unit Study





For grades K - 5th. You can easily adjust this this study to your students learning level.
This is a 35 week study, you can make it shorter or longer by simply doing more of less work each week.
Most weeks will have an extra credit portion, it is an optional way to add more to the study, perfect for adding in more for your older students.

Supplies needed -
Trapper
Notebook
Pencils
Crayons
Printer and supplies for printing worksheets and color pages



Week 1 -
Read from this site.

Watch this video.

Read from this site.
Older students can write two or three facts from this site.

Do this worksheet.

Color this page.



Extra credit -
 Have your student go through the list and write in their notebook any of the animals they have seen in real life ( not at a zoo ).

Have your student pick one or two of the creatures on the list from above and do a study on them. Have them write a paper on what they learn.


Week 2 - 
Read from this site. 

Read from this site.
Older students can write two or three facts from this site.

Watch this video.

Color this page.

Do this worksheet.


Extra credit - Have your student write a page on bats.

Week 3 - Spend time on this site.

Print this list and have your student mark what birds they have seen in the wild.

Make a bird feeder out of a pine cone, bird seed and peanut butter! Watch your feeder and talk about what birds come.

Have your student pick one or two birds from the list and watch videos about them.
Older students can write two or three facts they learn in these videos.


Have your student pick one or two birds and print color pages of them. Be sure they are colored correctly.

Extra credit -
Build a bird house or make more feeders to attract birds to your yard ( More information here - https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/education/nature-in-iowa/animals-in-iowa/backyard-bird-habitat/ )

Learn about bird watching.


Week 4 -Read from this site.

Watch this video. 

Color this page.

Read from this site.
Older students can write a short paper on what happened to the Bison.

If you are able, visit a farm or prairie that has bison. Talk about what you see, take pictures and enjoy learning about Bison!

Extra credit - 
Have your student write about why what happened to the Bison was wrong.


Week 5 - 
Read from this site

Color an elk picture.

Read from this site.
Older students can write two or three facts from this site in their notebooks.

Visit a farm or park that have elk. Talk about what you see.

Extra Credit - 
Have your student write a paper on why they think Elk left Iowa.

Week 6 - 
Read from this site. 

Read from this site ( this is optional, some kids may not like learning about these bugs as they can be scary to some. )

Spent time on this site. Look at the many different kinds of bugs in Iowa. Help your student write a list of at least ten bugs they have seen in their yards.

Extra credit - 
Have your student pick an Iowan bug to write a a paper on.

Week 7 - 10 
Have your student pick three different bugs to study more on from the sites above.
Watch videos on them, write facts and color some pages.

Extra credit -
Have your student pick a dangerous Iowan bug and write a paper on it

Week 11 -
Review week.
Spent this week reviewing some of what you have learned so far.

Week 12 - 
Read from this site

Spend the rest of the week on this site. This site is huge and full of facts, pictures, reading and more.
Have older students write 5 -10 facts from this site in the notebook.

Have younger students color a picture of a few mammals in their notebooks.

Extra Credit - 

Have your student write a list of all the Iowan mammals they have seen,

Week 13 - 16
Have your student pick one ( each week ) Iowa mammal and spend the week studying it.
Watch videos, color pictures, write a paper or whatever you decide.

Extra credit -
Have your student write a paper on the mammal they picked.

Week 17 -
Have your student pick one Iowa mammal and spend the week studying it.
Watch videos, color pictures, write a paper or whatever you decide.

Extra credit -
Have your student write a paper on the mammal they picked.

Week 18 -
Read from this site.

Look at the lizard gallery of this site.  Pick one lizard and do more studying on it.
Older students should write a paper or facts about their lizard of choice. Younger students should watch videos or be read more information on the lizard of their choice.

Extra credit -
Have your student write about an experience they had actually seeing or touching a lizard from Iowa. This can include in the wild, at a zoo or an event.

Week 19 - Read from this site.

Color this page. ( make sure it is colored correctly )

Watch this video.

Read from this site.
Older students should write at least three facts from this site in their notebook.


Extra credit - 
Spend time learning about all the other butterflies of Iowa. This may have been touched on when we did insects earlier but many students will enjoy the extra learning time focusing on just the butterflies in Iowa.

Week 20  - Read from this site.

Color this picture.

Watch this video.

Have older students pick one of the owls native to Iowa and write about it. Have younger students pick one and watch a video or maybe color some pictures.

Extra credit - 
Pick another  Iowan owl to study.

Week 21 -
Read from this site.
Older students should write 2 -5 facts in their notebooks

Watch this video.

Color a picture. Make sure they are colored correctly.

Extra credit - 
Learn about the Golden Eagle. Write a paper, read the linked site and watch videos.

Week 22 -
Read from this site.
( Skip the Eagle since this has been covered already. )

Have your student go bird watching! Write a list of the different birds of prey they see while out. You can spread this out over several days this week. It may help to find a list that you can print or even take pictures while doing this activity.

Extra credit - 

Have your student write a paper on one of the many birds of prey Iowa has.

Week 23 -
Review week.
Spent this week reviewing some of what you have learned so far.

Week 24 -
Read from this site. 

Read from this site.

If the weather allows, go visit a lake. Have your student write about what they see. If you are a fishing family, spend the day fishing.

If you have somewhere local that you can visit, go to a native to Iowa aquarium. The Science Center in Des Moines have many local fish on display, along with other animals.  Bass pro in Des Moines also have a tank you can visit.

Extra credit -
Have your student write a paper on a fish on their choice.

Week 25 - 29
Have your student pick one fish ( each week ) of their choice that is native to Iowa. Spend the week studying that fish. Read about it, watch videos and color pictures.

Week 30 - 
Read from this site.

Color this picture.  Make sure it is colored correctly.

Read from the snake section of this site.
Have older students pick 1 or 2 snakes from the list to write about.

Watch this video 
( This is not an Iowa video but a safety video, we do have dangerous snakes in Iowa!  )

Many children are afraid of snakes. Spend some time talking about why snakes are very useful.
Have older students write a list of five reasons why snakes are important.

Extra credit - 
Have your student write a paper and spend time studying a dangerous snake if Iowa.

Extra credit - 
Have your student spend some time studying all the snakes in Iowa. We have a lot of them. Have them pick one or two to study.


Week 31 - Read from this site.

Many children are afraid of spiders. Spend some time talking about why spiders are very useful.
Have older students write a list of five reasons why spiders are important.

Read from this site. Have older students write 2 -4 facts from this page in their notebooks.

Optional study - Have your student spend some time studying the brown recluse. Learn about how this spider can be dangerous and the best way to avoid a bite!

Extra credit - Have your student pick an Iowan spider and write a paper on it.

Week 32 - 
Review week.
Spent this week reviewing some of what you have learned so far.

Week 33 - 
Read from this site. 

We have already learned about the bison and elk. Spend the rest of the week reading on black bear and lynx.
Have older students write 2 -3 facts about each animal in their notebooks.

Color this picture. Make sure it is colored correctly.

Watch this video.

Watch this video.

Extra credit -

Have your student write a short paper on the black bear and the lynx.

Week 34 and 35 

Spend the next two weeks learning about extinct animals from Iowa.
Have your students research each one from the list above. Have older students write down why they went extinct.
Research each one with your students. Find videos, color pages and other websites to read from.

Extra credit -
Have your student pick an animal from the list to write a paper on.






Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Birthday in Heaven


I have written about my Grandma  few times over the last few months, as most of you know, I lost my Grandma this year to cancer. She died in September and I have missed her terribly.

The grief has been a bit harder this month. Not only is it Christmas but my birthday and my Grandma's birthday both fall in December.

I have found the little things are the hardest, like not getting that birthday phone call, not addressing a Christmas card to her, not buying her a gift. Each time these little things have happened, my heart just felt pained. I miss her so badly.

Her birthday is December 23rd, all week long I have been thinking about my Grandma. I so wish I could just pick up the phone tomorrow and wish her a happy birthday, I wish I could be sending her some flowers or a new book to read. Instead I only have my memories, pictures and things that were hers to comfort me now.

So Happy Birthday in heaven Grandma, even though I always miss you, I miss you just a little more this day.

                                             

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Home Schooling in the Raw - Keeping History Fun


My kids are blessed with two parents who really love history, and of course what I mean by blessed I mean two parents that like to talk way to much about subjects that they probably are not very interested in. Luckily, this is something we both know we are guilty of and we are trying to find ways to keep history fun for the kids.

Right now we are using the Story of the World , along with the activity book for Alexzander and Destiny's history class.  They do enjoy listening to the story but the map work and color pages in the activity book can get a little repetitive. Luckily, it does come with a lot of extra activities you can do ( they are written in the front of the book, along with study questions.

I think the favorite extra we have done so far with the kids was making clay cross necklaces. It was a very fun, yet simple project! All we needed was clay ( get the kind you bake ) and leather cord. They shaped and cut their cross to look the way they wanted, while I talked about how Monks would have made the crosses, why they used those materials and the history behind Monks. They had fun, learned a lot and no have a fun necklace to wear.

                                   

We have made food that would have been eaten in the time periods they were learning about, made paper dolls and were sure to look up what the clothing they wore would have looked like, made replica crowns and so much more.

We also will watch videos to learn more and keep history interesting for the kids. If they learn about something they really like learning, we will break from the book and spend some time studying that certain subject.

That is one of the best parts of home schooling, we can adapt and change what we need.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 Day of Gratitude - Day 30

I am thankful for the Holiday season. We are so close to Christmas and this is the best time of the year. I love the giving spirit. I love all that the holidays represent.
I have been spending a lot of time getting ready for Christmas. Wrapping presents, making stocking stuffers, decorating the house and the tree. I am so excited for Christmas to come!

This last year was a bit hard here for us. Chris and I both lost Grandparents, other family issues went on and it just seemed like a lot to handle at times. I am grateful that we all made it through, with the help of those we love and that the Holidays are here. It is a time to spend with each other, a time to celebrate what we have and just a time to grateful for all the great people in our lives.

I am thankful.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 29

I am thankful for books. I love reading and being able to sit down on the couch and lose myself in a good story is one of the best feelings.
I am a bit of a book hoarder. I love buying new books and I am thankful for half price book stores, library sales and other ways I am able to add to my collection!

Monday, November 28, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 28

I am thankful for quiet evenings, in a warm house, with a cup of cocoa, while I watch Netflix.
Being a mom of multiple kids is amazing but it can also be exhausting. Some days are harder, today was one of those days. On days that seem to go badly, I am very thankful for the peace and quiet after all the kids are in bed.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 27

I am thankful our town rallied together and reopened our movie theater. It had closed for many reasons and a great group of people rallied together and did a bunch of fund raising.
Eventually, the money for updating was raised and the theater was reopened. We are very happy about this and it looks amazing!
It is now volunteer ran, which means the prices are low.
I am thankful for this, we take the kids to a lot of movies and having them be available, at a very affordable rate makes it so much better!

http://www.grandtheaterknoxville.org

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 26

I am thankful for fun traditions with my family. I am thankful for the time spent together as we decorate our home for Christmas. I am thankful for the spirit of the wonderful Christmas season.
We always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, I love watching the kids decorate our tree. We turn on Christmas music and just spend the evening making our house festive.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 25

I am thankful for date nights with my husband. I am thankful for quality time we get to spend together and I am thankful we have people in our lives that we know we can trust with our children so we can have a worry free date night.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 24

I am thankful for the wonderful family I have and that I get to spend thanksgiving with them. I am thankful for the great food and wonderful company.

I am thankful I am surrounded by people I love. I am thankful for everyone in my life.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 23

I am thankful for my kitchen. I spent hours today working hard in my kitchen, making pies and other items for Thankgiving tomorrow.

I am thankful that I have a space to go that I can create wonderful things for my family to eat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Home Schooling in the Raw - Teaching Kindness


One thing that I am sure most parents have dealt with, is the sometimes embarrassing honesty of kids. This has been an ongoing issue with our seven year old and we have been looking for creative ways to encourage kindness in her.

We had tried several approaches and she was still saying things we just did not want her saying. The biggest thing was her commenting on people's body sizes. We tried telling her that people come in all shapes and sizes, we tried telling her words can hurt people and it still just did not seem to be sinking in.

One day, after another embarrassing comment, I came up with the idea of making it a school lesson. I took some time and I searched pinterest. I found several pages that we did with her. I turned a week it into a week of studies and one of our final projects was making cards and handing them out to random people we met along our walk.

It seems to have been a huge success. She loved giving away those cards and I kept encouraging her each time. Reminding her that her words were making people smile, that she was making people feel happy and she was doing a good deed.

                                        
I am hoping that we have gotten it under control, if not I will do this exercise again. It was great to be able to have a life lesson also tie in with her schooling.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 22

I am thankful for my health. I know so many people that suffer daily with health issues. I am very thankful that I am healthy, I get to enjoy my life, enjoy my family and do not have to suffer like so many others.

Monday, November 21, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 21

I am thankful for my cooking and baking abilities. I am thankful my parents invested the time into teaching my how to cook, starting at a young age.

I love that I am now able to bless my family with wholesome, high quality meals. I love spending time with my own kids, now teaching them to cook.

I hope they learn as much as I did and I hope that one day they will continue the tradition.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 20

I am thankful for my pets. We have a shih tzu named Charlie and two cats Raven and Cookie. All our animals are rescue pets. We adopted Raven from a friend, Cookie was a stray that came to our house and eventually we brought her inside and we adopted Charlie from the local shelter.

I love my animals, they are a very loved part of our family. We are very thankful for them and glad they came into our lives the ways they did.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 19

We bought out first bountiful basket, I am very thankful for this organization. I am thankful we are able to get a large amount of food for our family, at a great value!

We bought the regular basket, plus 36 pounds of apples and 42 pears.
We plan on canning apples sauce and making apple pie. We are canning the pears as well. The rest of the fruit and veggies will be eaten.

Friday, November 18, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 18

I am thankful for cool days, spent inside with my children. I am thankful forearm cups of cocoa, sweet giggles over cartoons and relaxing time spent at home.
Winter is not always my favorite season, I am not a cold weather girl. I do like the extra time spent inside together. We spend more time with each other since we have more down time in the winter.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 17

We took our kids to a local event in town today called Living Windows tonight. It is a Christmas themed event, where people set up living displays in the windows of shops around down town. Normally this is not something that Kairi gets to attend due to her cold allergy. I am thankful that tonight was a beautiful night for. Our whole family was able to enjoy the event and stay for the lighted parade after! Warm fall nights are wonderful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 16

I am thankful that Chris and I have enough to provide for our family. I am thankful I do not have to worry about how we are going to feed our family or pay our bills.

I know we are blessed and I am incredibly thankful for what we have.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Meal Plan - Part 2

November 13th - 19th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Church Thanksgiving

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Lunch meat sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Ham, potatoes and carrots

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - PBJ sandwiches and fruit
Dinner - Gone

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes and fruit
Dinner - Au gratin potatoes and veggies

Thursday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches and veggies
Dinner - Ham and bean soup

Friday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Cheesy eggs and ham and fruit
Dinner - Spaghetti ( or spaghetti squash )  and meat sauce

Saturday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Cheesy beef burgers, home made fries and veggies


November 20th - 26th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes, scrambled eggs and fruit
Dinner - Gone

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - French toast and fruit
Dinner - Chicken, rice and veggies

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Mac and cheese and veggies
Dinner - Chicken alfredo and broccoli

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch -  Scrambled eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Stroganoff and green beans

Thursday -
Thanksgiving

Friday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner - Baked potato soup

Saturday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Chili
Dinner - Meatball subs and salad

November 27th - 30th
Sunday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pancakes, eggs and fruit
Dinner - Baked ravoli and salad

Monday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Pizza and salad
Dinner - Chicken tacos, rice and beans

Tuesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Popcorn chicken, salad and cottage cheese
Dinner - Crock pot lasagna and salad

Wednesday -
Breakfast - Cereal or yogurt
Lunch - Lunch meat sandwiches and veggies in dip
Dinner - Grilled cheese and tomato soup

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 15


I am thankful for my talents and being able to learn new skills. I am thankful I am able to make fun new things for my family and have something I can do that is fun for me.

I recently learned how to crochet, I have been knitting for years but I had not learned to crochet. I am so glad I did. I recently started making play food and I am really enjoying it so far.

Monday, November 14, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14



The kids and I made a spontaneous trip to the zoo today. I am thankful that Chris and I chose to home school our kids so I have the chance to do fun things like this with them, at a moments notice.

                              


Our zoo was just lucky enough to have a brand new baby born last month! They have a baby rhino and we have been waiting to see her. They just recently allowed her to be seen by the public and we knew we wanted to get there and see her! It was very exciting to see this little rhino and watch her walk around and play. We stayed in her area for a long time, eventually she got sleepy and took a nap so we went and explored the rest of the zoo.

                                                         

I am thankful for fun days like this! I am thankful we home school and get these chances and I am thankful for time with my kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 13

I am thankful for my church. We attend a great church here in our town and I am thankful to be a part of that community. I am thankful for the charities they help, the missionaries they support, the people that attend and make up my church family, for the wonderful Pastor we have and the people that take the time to minister to my children's lives.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 12

A day late again! Chris and I were busy all day long cleaning and purging our house of clutter. We spent the day cleaning out our basement, which was a long over due task and in the evening we cleaned up our room.

We are like many other people I know, we plan and simply have to much stuff. My post today will focus on that. While I am thankful for all I have, it also makes me sit and think of those around me who do not have more than what they need, those that suffer and can not make ends meet.

I am thankful we have enough that we are able to help others, I am thankful we can use some of our over flow to help charities and people in need.

I am thankful for all I have in my life.

Friday, November 11, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 11

It is Veteran's Day today. Personally, I believe we should celebrate and honor our veterans every day but I do want to focus on Veterans for my post in honor of Veteran's Day.

I am beyond thankful for the sacrifices you make. I thank you for your willingness to fight for the rights of my family, that you protect us and keep our country the great place it is. Without our soldiers, we would fall.

Thank you for all you do. May God bless you and your families.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 10

I am sure that everyone has seen the protesting going on. It saddens me to see people disrespecting the American flag. I for one am thankful for my country, I am thankful for my flag. I am thankful for the Soldiers that gave their lives for my freedoms.

 



There is so much hate in our world today, so much division in our country. My wish is for people to ban together. I wish we all can remember what an amazing country we have and be thankful for the rights we have.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 9

Today I want to focus on my kids. I have talked about them in several other posts so far but I have not yet written a post that focuses on just them.

I love my kids, they are all amazing, unique and fun. Each one of them has a different personality and adds something extra special to our family.

I am incredibly blessed to be the mother of five amazing kids. I know that they are all going to grow up and change the world in their own very special ways.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Homeschooling in the Raw - Books I Want to Read the Kids

This post will be focusing on a list of books I want to read with my kids, all books will be linked on amazon but I am sure you can find all ( or at least most ) at your local library!

Enjoy and please add in the comments any suggestions.

I will be making updated lists down the road, when we have finished these books.

1. The Penderwick Series 
2. Holes
3. Matilda 
4. The Mouse and the Motorcycle Collection
5. The Princess and the Goblin
6. The Sword and the Stone
7. The Wind and the Willows 
8. The Tale of Despereaux
9. Stuart Little 
10. Where the Sidewalk Ends
11. Coraline 
12. Bridge to Terabithia
13. The Wrinkle in Time Set
14. My Side of the Mountain
15. The Secret Garden 
16. The Borrowers 
17. Freckle Juice 
18. Where the Red Fern Grows
19. The Chocolate Touch 
20. How to Eat Fried Worms 


30 Days of Gratitude - Day 8

It is Election Day here in America and this election season has been a roller coaster for sure. While I have no intentions of telling you who I voted for, because I feel like that is personal and not something that needs to be shared with the whole world, I will say I am thankful for the rights I have. I am thankful I live somewhere I can make my voice heard and I am thankful that I am free.

30 Days of Gratitude - Day Seven


I am again a day late, so I am going to sit down and write yesterday's post and today's post now so I am back on track.

Yesterday was a very trying day in my house. It was just one of those days where the kids did not want to listen, things were just not getting done and I was just very stressed. I was so thankful that the kids had an after school program to attend. It gave them something to do for a couple hours and gave me some time to breath. Cassandra napped the whole time and Chris and I were able to just do a whole lot of nothing, which does not happen a lot.

All parents have bad days, all children have bad days, it is just a fact of life. I am still incredibly thankful for my family though. Being a mother is a hard job, sometimes it takes everything in me and I am left feeling drained and other days it is so rewarding that my heart feel so full it could burst.

I am thankful for all parts of my family. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me to be the person I am. I am thankful for my sister and brother, we may differ but we love each other. I am thankful for all my inlaws, they helped shape my husband to be the man I love.

I am thankful for my extended family, each and every one of you have a special part in my life and I am thankful for you.




Monday, November 7, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 6

I am a day late on this but I still wanted to post for yesterday. I got busy last night and I just did not get this posted before I ended up going to bed early because I was tired.

I had a full day and spent some quality time with a friend and it was much needed. That said, I want to say how thankful I am for each and every one of my friends. You are all so unique and each bring something different into my life. I want to thank you for being a part of my life and I just want you to know I love you all! I am thankful for you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 5

For today's post I want to talk about how thankful I am for my husband. 

Chris and I have been married for eleven years now and I am so thankful for every single day we have together. I married my best friend and I am so blessed to have him. 


He is a hard worker, a wonderful father, and the best husband a women could ask for. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Home Schooling in the Raw - Keeping Little Ones Busy


One of the biggest challenges we have in our daily home schooling lives involves a certain little two year old. She is as adorable as they come but when it comes to schooling, she can be a rather large pest.

                                                     

I tried keeping her entertained with toys, cartoons and coloring but it did not last long. I knew I needed to come up with something and fast. Every time I would ask the kids to go get their school books, she would toddle along and ask, "Where's mine"?

The solution I came up with was making her a busy box. I found a cardboard box at target for $3, it was plain and I figured it would be perfect to let her decorate and keep all her items in it.
I started with buying dot markers, kumon sticker books, a block puzzle, early learning abc sticker books, crayons and stickers.

I wrote her name on the top and let her have fun decorating it. She spent most of the afternoon decorating her box while I did classes with her siblings.




The sticker books are her favorite for sure. She calls them her stickies. If you let her, she will sit down and do an entire sticker book at a time. It is great for keeping her entertained during school but it is going to start adding up price wise if I have to keep buying sticker books every week! 



We also recently redid our front porch. One of the things we added was a book shelf and each child has a shelf with their things on it. The bottom shelf is Cassandra's. It holds her blocks, her busy box, puzzles and a pull toy. I have found that if I sit on the floor and do school with the kids, she will sit quietly next to us and play with her toys on that shelf. 





I am glad that I have found ways to keep her entertained but still let her be involved in our school day. She is picking up on some of the lessons I am doing, learning her shapes and colors quickly and starting to know a few letters by sight.








Stay tuned for the next post in this series! It will be coming soon. 

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 4


Today is my niece's birthday, she turns three today! In honor of her birthday I want to write about my niece and my two nephews today.

I am incredibly thankful for my niece and my nephews. My kids love all their cousins and we enjoy having them be a part of our lives. Watching them learning and grow is a real joy for me.



                                         

Thursday, November 3, 2016

30 Day of Gratitude - Day 3

Today I want to focus on my home. I am so thankful for my home, it may not be perfect but it is warm, safe and is houses my wonderful family.

We are working on improving our home, making it more organized and livable for our large family. For awhile we wanted to move but we decided to refinance, stay where we are and make the most of our home. Lots of changes have already been made, more are coming and I am just thankful we are able to do all the things we have done so far.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Oatmeal Banana Muffins









I have been doing a lot more baking lately, not only am I trying to cut down on our grocery bill but I am also trying to get us all eating healthier.

My kids love muffins, their favorites are blueberry, banana or pumpkin. I recently went to make some banana muffins only to realize I was out of oil, so I looked around for a recipe that did not use any oil. After some looking, I decided to come up with my own and they were a huge hit.

                                                 

                                                 

                                    

Recipe:
5 over ripe bananas
4 cups of oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups of vanilla yogurt ( this can easily be made dairy free, just use a nut or soy yogurt, vanilla flavored )
2 large eggs
1.5 tbs baking soda
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tps vanilla

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas, you don't want these to be complete mush, the chunks of banana in the muffins are one of the best parts! Add all ingredients and mix well.

Spray your muffin pan well to prevent sticking, fill and bake for 17 - 20 minutes.

Easy additions for extra yum include - Chocolate chips, raisins or craisins and nuts. They are yummy on their own but this would just take it up a notch!

30 Days of Gratitude - Day Two

Iowa was rocked by a very senseless tragedy today, two police officers were murdered. There has been so many police officers killed this year, it is heart breaking.
http://www.kcci.com/article/breaking-two-officers-shot-overnight/8089441


I am thankful for every single man and women out there that has become a police officer. I am thankful that each day they get into uniform and are willing to go out and risk their lives to keep us safe. I am thankful for their sacrifice.

We all need to stand behind our Police men and women. They deserve our honor and respect, they deserve our praise and most of all our prayers.

Thank a police officer today, flood them with love and support.

RIP Police Sgt. Anthony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin, you will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

30 Days of Gratitude - Day One

Thanksgiving is approaching fast, so starts the time of year to really sit down and think about all the wonderful things in your life that you can be thankful for.
My family is incredibly blessed. I think about how blessed we are year round, this time of year, I just think about it more.
I will be doing a 30 days of gratitude, one post a day through out the month of November. I encourage others to do the same, it is always great to sit down and reflex upon the blessings in your life.

Day One -
I am thankful for the smell of a hot cup of coffee in the morning. The smell of the coffee brewing reminds me that I get another quiet day with my kids. Each day I wake up, make a cup of coffee and sit down to enjoy some time with my kids before we start our day. Generally I sip on my coffee while they watch a cartoon, play with toys or just do some relaxing before we start our normal day.

This laid back coffee and play time is very special to me and I cherish the time.

Monday, October 31, 2016

November Meal Plan - Part One

I keep going back and fourth on the easiest way to meal plan and I think I have finally decided that two weeks or so at a time works best. It makes it easiest for me to shop the sales and make sure I have everything here I need.


November 1st - 5th
Tuesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches, carrots and dip and string cheese
Dinner - Chicken legs, mashed potatoes and green beans

Wednesday
Breakfast - Muffins
Lunch - Mac and cheese and broccoli
Dinner - Chicken and noodles with veggies

Thursday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Butternut squash pasta 
Dinner -  Spaghetti and meat sauce or spaghetti squash

Friday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - PBJ sandwiches and apple slices
Dinner -  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies

Saturday
Breakfast - Pancakes and fruit
Lunch - Hamburgers and veggies
Dinner - Omelettes and fruit


November 6th - 12th
Sunday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Pizza and salad
Dinner - Chicken tacos and refried beans

Monday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Tuna sandwiches and carrots/dip
Dinner - Chicken, black beans and rice and veggies

Tuesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Eggs, toast and fruit
Dinner - Cheesy burgers, home made fries and veggies

Wednesday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Dinner -  Chicken tacos and beans

Thursday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Ravoli
Dinner -  One pot orzo bolognaise and veggies 

Friday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Broccoli alfredo tortellini
Dinner - Meatball subs and salads

Saturday
Breakfast - Oatmeal, toast and fruit or yogurt and fruit
Lunch - Hamburgers, fries and veggies
Dinner - Pierogi Casserole and veggies



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Homeschooling In The Raw - Introduction

I have had a series in mind for my blog for awhile now. I just have yet to had the time to sit down and really work out the details of what I wanted to write. Being a home schooling mom, that is always a topic that I personally like to read about, so I thought why not start my own series! So welcome to Homeschooling In The Raw. I will be posting weekly about different homeschooling struggles, successes and just the normal, real life of a homeschooling family. 

As most of you already know, if you are long term readers, ( if you are new welcome!! ), I am Whitney, wife of Chris and mother to five amazing kids. Chris and I chose homeschooling before Alexzander was even born. This is something we are very committed to.
                                        

Alexzander is our oldest and our only boy. He is ten and started fifth grade this year. His favorite subjects are reading and science. He really enjoys books like Call of The Wild, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and anything Minecraft related.
We are doing an in-depth study of the planet earth this year.  I actually wrote the guide myself. He is really enjoy it so far.
We do have some struggles with him. He can be a procrastinator and fights getting his school done at times. Time management is an area we need to work on with him. This seems to be most evident when we do math class.

                                                           

Destiny is our oldest daughter, she is nine and started fourth grade this year. Her favorite subjects are art and creative writing. Destiny truly is a budding artist, she has some serious talent. This year she started art lessons with my husband's uncle, who is an artist and has taught students in the past. She is doing so well!  I think the main reason she likes the creative writing so much is because of the drawing that goes along with it.
Destiny struggles in math. She has come leaps and bounds but math is her least favorite course. She also is not as avid as a reader as her older brother. She enjoys it but is happier drawing or painting.

                                              

Kairi is seven and she is in first grade. She is an eager learner and really enjoys all her school. I think her strongest area right now is math. She is a very early reader but is coming along well in her lessons. Her biggest struggle seems to be language arts and learning all of the many rules of the English language.
She is a very hands on learner. She loves cutting, pasting, coloring and crafting.

                                       

Amelia is five, she is in Kindergarten. I was not sure on starting Kindergarten this year, I had thought about doing another year of preschool, she turned five in June and just seemed so little for kindergarten. She, like Kairi, is also a very eager learner and we did several placement tests to see if she was ready for the work and she is. We are working on learning to read, she is doing amazing.
I bought her R.E.A.D ( https://craftyclassroom.com/product/r-e-a-d-curriculum-notebook/ ) from crafty classroom and she loves it. Crafty class room has a lot of great things, I suggest checking them out.
                                          

Our youngest, Cassandra, is two. We really do not do any structured learning at this age. Keeping her entertained during school is a struggle at times but that is going to be post number two ( coming soon so be watching ).

                                     

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Colore Colored Pencil Review

I am sure that everyone has noticed adult coloring is a thing. I won't lie, I have been coloring as an adult long before it became a trend, I would just color in my kids coloring books. 

Now that adult coloring books are everywhere, I have collected quite a few for myself. Some of these books are plain and simply amazing, the detail is beautiful and sitting down in the evening to color is very relaxing. 


I plan on using the pages I color to scrapbook, make art work for different rooms and more. 

My biggest complaint has been finding a colored pencil that does not break so easily when sharpened. I have a rather large stash of colored pencils, several different brands and while some are better then others, they all want to break. 


I think I may have found my favorite colored pencil.
                                       
Not only did the come in a very nice tin box, which makes for easy storage, they are also seperated nicely, have the smoothest color I have seen but they are shapening without breaking all the time!

                                       
                                       
If you enjoy coloring, have kids who enjoy coloring or are looking for a gift for someone who does, I would highly recommend looking into these pencils. The colors are very bold and go on with very little effort. It makes for a beautiful result that you are going to want to share with others.
                                       

*******While I did receive this product at a discount in exchange for a review, I do not promise a good review. My reviews are always honest. *********

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Memories



 As most of you now, I recently lost my Grandma. It will be one month since she passed this coming Friday. 

While I was there for her funereal, I took a lot of pictures. I knew it would be the last time I was in her home and I wanted to have those images so I can go back and look at them when I am missing her.

                                  

I took pictures of things that had been in her yard for as long as I can remember, flowers that were growing in the garden she loved so much, the patio furniture where we would sit when I came to visit. The large pine trees the grew in her yard. As a child, we were told repeatedly not to play under them because we would get covered in sap, yet we still played under them and of course got covered in sap.
                                              
                                               
                                              

                                                     
    
                                                     
                                                     

Walking around the yard, taking all these photographs flooded me with memories. This was the house that my Grandparents lived in most of my life. This was the yard I played in as a child, I spent weeks here in the summer as a teen, my children played in this yard. My Grandma and I would sit in her garden, both reading a book and drinking tea.The back yard is where I took the last picture of my Grandparents together before my Grandpa had to go into a nursing home after suffering multiple strokes. My Grandpa passed in 2007.
                                                 

Being inside my Grandparents home without either of them there was a feeling I really can not bring it words. It just felt empty. I will never forget the wave of heart ache walking into the kitchen without being greeted by her warm hug and sweet smile. I spent a lot of time in that kitchen. Grandma always had cookies, I had countless breakfasts of squaw corn and countless dinners of the best beef stew you can imagine. There was numberless amounts of chocolate cake, even after my mom leaving strict instructions that us children were not to eat anything else that night. As I got older, I took over the cooking when I was there for a visit. It was a privilege to serve my Grandma, it was never enough to pay back all she had done for me.

                                            

Walking around the house I took a lot of pictures of the decorations. While new things were added over the years, it stayed generally the same. A lot of the birds my Grandma adored, canisters in the kitchen that had been there for a very long time, many items that are much older then I am.

                                                 


                                   
                                              
                                                 
                                      

                                     
                                                 
                                                      
                                       

My plan is to use these pictures to make some art work for my house. Most likely I will collage them, decoupage them onto wooden slabs and hang them on my wall. When I do finally get them made, I will post again, with the finished project. For now they are all on my computer and I look at them often, sometimes they bring a smile, sometimes a tear. I miss my Grandma.

Eggless Almond Cookies

Our church had VBS this past week. I signed up to make cookies each of the three nights it was going on. When day two rolled around ...