Cutest Blog and Widdlytink

My Stick Family from

Jul 28, 2014

Week in Review 6/29/14

Happy birthday, America!

    In my life this week…
Merrick is starting to realize letters make words.  
Telling me the letters on the Uno Moo! game.  "U. N. O. Mommy. M. O. O. I. spell mommy!"  He sees a random M on the milk jug and tells me it spells milk.  Now if he could just learn numbers and colors as easily as he has learned letters and sounds. 

Bushnell finally sent me a rebate that I applied for in January.  The time on the phone and digging out receipts and resubmitting forms was probably not worth $30.  Next time I buy a game camera or binoculars, they will be a different brand.  

    In our homeschool co-op this week... 
Picnic at the beach day.

Merrick didn't want to walk through the rain puddles left over from the downpour right before we got there.

    What we're reading... 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Skylark (the sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall)

I'm reading Hiking Through about Paul Stutzman's hike on the Appalachian Trail.

    Helpful tips or advice to share…

Don't be a jerk.

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Iguanas church VBS closing was Sunday.  Some boys were wiped right out.

After that we ran to Walmart, then home.  To rest.  Zzzzzzzzz...

We went to the world's smallest parade.  It probably wasn't really, but it only lasted about 15 minutes.  The boys got the largest treat haul, they've ever had there!  Then we stopped at the tiny library and found a Lego book to be inspired by.

    What Micah is doing...
Still plugging away on the treehouse.  Bit by bit.

Micah got me this fantabulous cupcake for no apparent reason.  Yummo!

He also ran in a race Saturday morning before the parade.  He is too fast and we arrived too late to cheer him on. 

    We rewarded the kids this week by…

We don't often offer rewards, but this week each boy was allowed to choose a movie from the $5 bin.  After all the craziness that is VBS week x 2, they were well behaved and cooperative at both locations.  Mal chose Kung Fu Panda and Xav hemmed and hawed until Dad suggested The Lego Movie, decidedly not a $5 movie.  Now I get to hear that song all the time.  You know the one.  UGH.

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

A science calendar for July.  Yes, I know it's almost over by the time I'm posting this, but you can still use it!

Jul 26, 2014

Quilt - Little Boy Fun

My mom made this quilt for The Bigger when he was Merrick's age.  She made a toddler bed for him and this was his first big blanket.  Those tiny little crib blankets are pathetic.  They couldn't be tucked in like the blankets on a regular bed.  When you are in a big kid toddler bed, you need a big kid blanket.

Dave liked astronauts.  This quilt is about 27 years old.  Every one of The Littles have used this quilt.  As you can see, Merrick is pleased to be the latest owner.

Mom hand-tied this quilt and made it with cheery yellow trim.

Week in Review 6/22/14 Double Dose of VBS

Xav on the back porch, reading his Bible.
    In my life this week…
Merrick has decided it is time to start asking "Why?" a lot.

    In our homeschool this week…
We were on light duty this week.  I had some review items to keep up on, but we had two VBS every day.  I didn't realize how tiring that would be.

    What we're reading... 
Sarah, Plain and Tall

     Around the yard...
Micah bought me hens and chicks for the yard last year.  They make me think of my gramma and I've planted them at almost every place I've lived.  This year something happened that I never heard of before.  Apparently, this is a rooster.


Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Vacation Bible School and Vacation Bible School.  In the morning we headed to a nearby Methodist church for Weird Animals and in the evening we drove over to "Iguanas Church" (the Baptist church where we sometimes attend Awana, yes they call it iguanas) for Arrow Island, a tropical paradise.

Morning VBS did not have a class for Merrick.  We spent time at a school playground...

Merrick desperately wanted to play on the pirate ship.  He pushed, pulled, and kicked the fence.
 A town playground, the library, and just hanging out with friends.

At Weird Animals, Mal and Xav learned about the axolotl, leafy sea dragon, and other weird animals as well as Jesus Christ.

At evening VBS, they offered classes for ages 2-adult.  Merrick actually got to attend and he loved it!  This was at "Iguanas" church, so I had no problem with that.  Actually, the first night, Micah and I had an errand to run and we decided to do that alone after we signed the boys into their groups.  The rest of the week, I attended the adult VBS right along with the boys.

Iguanas church always goes all out for VBS!

Thursday morning, we found Xav sleeping in the recliner in the living room.  He did not want to miss VBS

I even got to talk with a new co-op mom who was also attend the adult class.  She and her sons visited Friday School last spring and decided they wanted to join in with our kooky group of homeschoolers.

One day, on the way out to evening VBS, I grabbed my binoculars.  I wanted to get a better look at the birds in a giant nest on the way over.  I used my phone's camera to take these pictures through the binoculars.

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
When The Bigger shared a video with me of some little remote helicopter thing with a camera interacting with smiling people all over town, I was completely creeped out.  Some stranger, sitting on a rooftop, flying around spying on people.  Ummm.  No.  Not cool.  But I guess I am the only one who sees a problem with this.  Well, this woman who was spied upon probably isn't feeling the love either.

Just to balance that out, here's one of the funniest videos about businesses and engineering I've ever seen.  Yes, you can use funny and engineer in the same sentence.

    This week's reviews...

Schoolhouse Review Crew's Go Science DVDs from Library and Ed (including my own)
Schoolhouse Review Crew's Veritas Press

Jul 21, 2014

Select a Bundle or Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition

The first ever "Build Your Bundle" - Homeschool Edition sale is here!

For one week only (July 21-28) save up to 92% on bestselling homeschooling products, including MANY on Cathy Duffy's Top 100 list!

The bundles are AMAZING, including products such as Learning Language Arts Through Literature, A Child's Geography, Character Concepts, Picture Smart Bible, Math Mammoth, and more! There are SO many incredible products to choose from, all bundled up in grades/themes OR you can "Build Your Own!"

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Our "Build Your Own" bundles offer you the opportunity to select a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top 100 Picks! When you purchase a combination of any 2 "Build Your Own" bundles, you will get the 3rd one at 50% off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Buy more & save more! Purchase 2 "build your own" bundles and get the 3rd one 50% off! See site for details.

You will also find the following pre-assembled bundles with saving up to 92% off retail: Tot/Pre-K Bundle, K-3 Bundle, 4-6 Elementary Bundle, Middle School Bundle, High School Bundle, Charlotte Mason Bundle, & the Homeschooling/Homemaking Mom Bundle!
Charlotte Mason Style Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $377.35 - On Sale for ONLY $49.00 - One Week Only! Elementary Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $220.35 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! Middle School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $361.77 - On Sale for ONLY $59.00 - One Week Only!
High School Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $381.68 - On Sale for ONLY $69.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $187.13 - On Sale for ONLY $39.00 - One Week Only! K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $171.37 - On Sale for ONLY $29.00 - One Week Only!
K-3 Homeschooling Curriculum - Normally $118.19 - On Sale for ONLY $10.00 - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Curriculum - You Choose What to Buy - Save up to 80% - One Week Only!  Homeschooling Resources, Curriculum & More - Save up to 60% - One Week Only!
(affiliate link)

Jul 19, 2014

Quilt 1 - Hippy Chic?

You know what I love about quilts?  Besides the fact that they keep you cozy and warm (which is really kind of an odd thing to be thinking about in July)?  I love that our quilts were made by some of my favorite people.

I shared cocoas with you, the good and the bad.  Now I want to show you our quilts.

The other day, the boys and I were playing a game in the car.  "Punch bug hippy!" I said as I popped Mal on the shoulder.  "What color is that?" he wanted to know.  Well, it was a crazy bright psychedelic, flowery
kind of thing.  You know.  Hippy.

My grandma's quilt is well over 40 years old, probably more like 50+, but I don't really know when she made it.  When my dad came to visit a couple of years ago, I put it on his bed.  My step-mom recognized it right away.  I used to save it, but now I want to enjoy it.  That was the first time in a *long* time I had gotten it out.  What good is a quilt stashed in the cedar chest.  I want people to see it and feel happy.  I put it on guest beds all of the time now.

Gram's quilt is hand tied.  She didn't do the intricate stitching, but I love it anyway.

Jul 11, 2014

Week in Review 6/15/14

Happy Father's Day!

    In my life this week…
Merrick is thinking he might want to give up his nap.  He is two.  I strongly disagree with him. 

    In the yard... 
I think FIVE baby birds are packed into that nest.  Obviously, they should hire different builders and plan accordingly next year.  They flew away the very day after I took this picture.

The boys enjoyed the lower level of the tree house.

That frog is gi-normous.  He has lots of friends in the pond if anyone wants to come by and catch them.

Merrick and I wandered the yard and finally saw lots of green.  And a small deer.  We found a hidden treasure of wild strawberries, a ton of green blueberries, some apples, and the peonies finally ready to bloom.

    My favorite thing this week was…

Watching Merrick, who is getting pretty good at color sorting and making rainbows.  He lines up one vehicle type and then adds other vehicles by color.

    Things Dad is working on...
More treehouse stuff.  These kids hit the treehouse dad jackpot.

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

The One Routine Guaranteed to Make You Beautiful

WriteShop B ~ A Review

WriteShop Primary is for students in grades K-3.  It was designed to teach younger children to plan and then write a short story.  We are reviewing WriteShop Primary Book B set which includes the 214 page soft cover, spiralbound WriteShop B Teacher's Guide ($35.95) and the Activity Set Worksheet Pack for students ($4.95).

WriteShop Review

WriteShop is a parent involved program which works well for families with students who enjoy parental interaction and fun preparation activities.  The program has a very thorough teacher's guide which includes an introduction to WriteShop's methods.  The materials needed, how to set up if you did not start with WriteShop A, how to get the most out of each section of the lessons, and using the activity pack will all be explained there.  The appendix has a list of picture books suggestions for each lesson.  If you don't have any of the books for that lesson, just search out books in your home or local library which fit the topic for the lesson.

WriteShop Review

WriteShop B is designed for children in 1st or 2nd grade, as well as reluctant writers in 3rd grade.  I don't know of many children more reluctant than Mal.  You'll find three suggested schedules for one to three weeks per lesson, five to three days each week.  I chose to use the three week per lesson schedule.  The punks aren't keen on writing (as in copywork or even writing their names), let alone writing, so I didn't want to push a heavier schedule on them.  This program made things fairly painless and even a little fun.  Creativity is highly encouraged.

We wrote personal letters in Lesson 1 and the suggested book theme was a trip or vacation..  We wrote several versions of our friendly letters before we were ready to send them.  I liked that spelling was not a concern for the first draft, that content should be the focus without limiting what your writer might say because they couldn't spell a word.

Lesson 2 was a bit more exciting (by our homebodies' standards), with a theme of space.  The lesson focus was on spelling and this is where we created rhyming solar systems.

The theme for Lesson 3 is holidays and we are learning about acrostics.

New skills were learned and utilized during each lesson, such as guided writing, brainstorming, editing and revising, and "publishing" the project for the lesson.  There are also optional Want to Do More? activities.

I thought the editing buddies would be a fun addition to our language arts lessons.  Editing buddies can be any stuffed animal or action figure your child wants to use.  You and your student read the current writing assignment to the editing buddy, check the assignment for errors in spelling, punctuation, and for content, and then your child reads the revised version to the editing buddy again.  My boys weren't terribly interested in including a buddy with our schooling, but I thought it was a cute idea and I'm sure many children would love that. 

I was surprised that there was only one double-sided sheet per lesson in the Activity Set Worksheet Pack, especially when I looked at the sample lesson plans which ran from one to three weeks.  Then I realized most of the lesson involved regular writing and revising lessons.  We set up a notebook for each of the punks to use for the other writing work.

WriteShop Review

A Primary Writing Skills Evaluation Chart is included in the pack.  With this chart, I am able to keep track of improvement or areas of struggle as we progress though the ten lessons in the book.

Xav's Evaluation Chart
 The Activity Set Worksheet Pack contains 20 activity pages which can be reproduced for single-family use.  I did get a second pack locally, just because we always seem to be having some sort of trouble with the printer.

Some prep was necessary since we have never used WriteShop before.  If you start with A, a lot of projects will be made then.  We used file folders to create a Super Speller! for each of the boys.  This is just a place to keep words that they are having difficulty spelling.  The drawback with this one is that the words are not alphabetical.  I haven't started a spelling dictionary yet, but I plan to.  It will make it easier to find a word if they are at least sorted by first letter.

My Garden of Rhyming Words was from WriteShop Book A.  Not being a terribly flowery couple of boys, they helped me make...  SOLAR SYSTEMS!  This one was the most fun.  I used a huge punch for suns and a smaller circle punch for planets, lots and lots of planets.  When we thought of new words and had run out of circles, I just wrote them on the back of the folders.

Your young writer does not need to actually be writing to use WriteShop Primary, as it is a program which can utilize dictation.

Find WriteShop on social media.


Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer