August Photo A Day Challenge

I recently took a class on how to use my DSLR camera, which was helpful, but I definitely need more practice.  I thought that if I did a photo a day challenge it would get me using my camera every day.  I decided to go with Fat Mum Slim’s challenge.  Here are the prompts for the month:


Here is the picture for day one: Colorful

Our new hammock that I have been enjoying!


Our Favorite Series of Books to Compliment Schooling


The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne is a fantastic series of books for elementary aged students that compliment schooling really well.  It is about Jack and Annie, two kids that find this magic tree house that takes them to different points in time where they have a mission that they need to accomplish before they return home.  The kids are both respectful and there are some nice moral lessons that are prevalent throughout the series.  The best part about the series is that it actually teaches you something about the time period that the kids go to.  Mary Pope Osborne puts in factual information and at the end of each book there is a section that gives you more facts about the story in the book.  You can tell that Mary Pope Osborne put a lot of research into each book.

Many times when we are learning about history there is a Magic Tree House book that complements what we are studying.  For example we were reading about George Washington and then we happened to read one of her books that had him in it.  I don’t plan to read her books to correspond with what we are learning, but many times it just happens to work out perfectly.  The books are just long enough to keep the boys’ interest, but not too long that we all get bored with the story (one book can be read in a sitting).  I have found on multiple occasions that the boys will remember factual information about a time period easier from these books than from other books.  Mary Pope Osborne makes the information interesting and having a fun story behind it makes it more memorable.

There are 53 books in the series so far.  We get all of our books from the library, but we are thinking of buying the set because the boys love them and I am sure that once they are reading independently these will be books that they turn to.  The books are also available in audio format and Mary Pope Osborne is the reader and we all enjoy listening to her read the books.


Winslow Homer Seascape Art Project


The boys and I are reading from the book What Your First Grader Needs to Know.  In this book they have an art section and one of the artists that they talk about is Winslow Homer.  I decided that it would be fun to do a Winslow Homer art project to go along with learning about him.  We looked at his painting Snap the Whip, which was in the book and then talked about it.  I checked out the kids’ book Winslow Homer  by Mike Venezia from the library to read to the boys.  In this book they discuss more of his seascapes, which he was famous for.

The art project that we had planned was doing a seascape inspired mixed media painting.  I got the idea from ARTipelago.  The site that I got this project from did this with her fifth graders, but my Kindergartner and 2nd Grader were easily able to do this project.


  • Art paper (we used drawing paper, but I think anything will work.  We used 9×12) 2 pieces/kid.
  • Paints–blue, black, and white (tempura or BioColor)
  • Origami paper or colored paper
  • Scissors (if not doing origami)
  • Glue
  • Watercolors
  • Paintbrushes

On day one we painted a 9×12 piece of art paper with light blue, blue, black, and white BioColor Paints (these paints are pretty awesome).  We painted the page to look like the ocean.  My oldest and I made a design in the paint by using the end of the paint brush.  We then let the paint dry overnight.




Day two we cut out the shapes of sailboats.  I had looked into doing origami boats, but it looked too complicated for my boys. The origami paper that I have is the same color on both sides and it would have been nice to have different colored sides so that the sails and the boat looked different.  I freehanded both the boat and the sails and traced them onto colored paper that the boys picked out themselves.  The boys then cut out their pieces.  My kindergartner needed help with this part.

Day three we took the ocean paper and started to tear it into long horizontal strips.  When you tear the strips the top edge usually has some white of the paper where it ripped that looks like surf from the ocean.  Tearing the paper also gives the water some movement like waves.  We glued down the strips of paper onto another 9×12 piece of art paper.  We layered the paper a little bit to give it more dimension and a 3D look to it.  We glued the ocean part about 2/3rds of the way up the paper.  Next, we took some blue watercolor paints and painted the sky.  Once that was done we took our cut out boat parts and glued them to the water.  Then we let the masterpieces dry until they were ready!



This was a fun project and I’m really happy with how the results turned out!


p.s. Any links that go to Amazon are affiliate links and if you purchase the item through the link I get a small percentage of the sale which goes directly to buying more homeschool stuff!  Thanks for supporting us!



Weekly Menu


Another week has quickly gone by!  It seems like I am planning more often than once a week :).

Sunday:  BLTs (well, I guess that I should actually call them BLATs since they will have avocado)

Monday:  Roasted Chicken.  I know that I posted last week that we only do this one every other week, but we decided to do it again this week so that we could make more of the tasty chicken broth!

Tuesday:  Ramen (Courtesy of Damn Delicious) of This recipe is very easy and has become a favorite of ours and a staple.  It is so delicious and so much better than Top Ramen!

Wednesday:  Burrito Bowls.  These will be vegvegetarian/vegan burrito bowls with black beans, rice, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and salad dressing.

Thursday:  Chicken Satay (Damn Delicious) and Spring Veggie Rolls.   We’ve had two sets of friends that recently made us the Spring Veggie Rolls and they were delicious and we hope that ours turn out well too!

Friday:  Enchilada Bake (Damn Delicious).  This is one of our favorite meals, but we don’t have it as often because it uses a whole can of buttermilk biscuit dough and is not the healthiest, but oh so delicious!

Saturday:  Chicken Sweet Potato Bowls (Inspiralized).

Happy eating!


The Compassion Experience


A homeschool group that I belong to posted about The Compassion Experience online.  The Compassion Experience is a mobile caravan where you get to “experience other cultures, the realities of global poverty, and how you can change the life of a child living half a world away.”  You walk through rooms that are set-up to look like the places that other kids live and get a real feel for what it is like to live in poverty.  The few responses on the thread said that they enjoyed this experience and it was eye opening.  Someone questioned how much religion is in this experience and one mom that had previously gone stated that even though it is put on by a Christian organization(s) it didn’t have a strong religious tone to it, which is something we were looking for.  I thought that this would be perfect for my boys because they have a bad case of the gimmes and greedies lately.

We didn’t make a reservation because they were full, so we walked in.  There wasn’t a long line, but it took awhile to see the exhibit because they only let people in every five minutes.  When it was our turn we had to choose between two stories.  We decided on the story of the boy from Ethiopia (his story didn’t seem as depressing and more suitable for our boys).  We each got headphones and an iPod which would tell us a story through the exhibit.  We headed into the first room, which was this teeny tiny room that could just fit us four (they said that the max would be six per room, but I think that would be too crowded).  The story started, but they didn’t connect what we were seeing in the room to the story that much.  Then we went to the next room, which was supposed to be a portion of the house that the boy lived in.  It was hard to feel like this was an actual room because it was so small.  I had really expected that there would be an exact replica of a couple of rooms, but there were not.  Again, the story didn’t really give us much insight into how a kid in poverty lives.  The next room was a school room.  This is where the stories started mentioning Jesus and God a lot with the message that they were the only ones that could bring you out of poverty and save you; this message continued on in the next two rooms.

When we were done the first thing that the boys said was, “That was boring.”  I would have to agree with them.  I really had expected something much different than what we experienced.  I was hoping that my boys would see what it was like for others living in poverty and feel a little compassion and know that they have it really good compared to other kids in this world.  I think that if the Compassion Experience had better stories, actual replicas of rooms (instead of just a sliver of the room), and tried to explain what it was like for a kid to live in poverty it would have been much better.  I assume that if you are religious, particularly Christian, you might get more out of the experience than we did.