So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90.12

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Book Review - Starflower

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
(fantasy genre)

Three very different characters' stories intertwine in this fantasy novel.  Hri Sora the dragon woman seeks revenge on the one who had enslaved her.  Starflower/Imraldera, a mortal girl, flees from her terrible and turbulent past.  Eanrin (who regularly shape-shifts into an orange cat), chief poet to King Iubdan and Queen Bebo of Rudiobus,  hopes to rescue the Lady Gleamdren who has been kidnapped.  All these characters are  searching for something - will they be successful in their pursuit?

I found Part One of this book to be very confusing with the different stories all going on at the same time.  There was very little explanation given for why things were happening, but perhaps I would have understood better if I had read all the previous books in the series (this is #4 in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series).  Part Two did clear up the confusion of the first part.  Everything fell in place and made sense to me, eventually.

I enjoyed the story moderately.  The confusion of all the different stories running at the same time diminished my enjoyment of the book considerably.  There is quite a bit of violence (not graphic for the most part but certainly implied) that readers should be aware of before beginning this book.  Also, the contrast between good and evil wasn't as strong as it could have been, but it is a fantasy story with moral principles.

Having previously read Heartless (by the same author), which I enjoyed immensely, I had high expectations for this book.  Unfortunately, it fell short of my anticipations.

My Rating : 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Please note : I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Book Review - A Home in Drayton Valley

A Home in Drayton Valley by Kim Vogel Sawyer
(historical Christian fiction)

Tarsie Raines and her friends Joss and Mary Brubacher need to escape the terrible conditions of living in the tenements of New York City circa 1880. Tarsie dreams of heading west by wagon train and convinces her friends to join her in search of a better life in Kansas.  Tragedy strikes along the way and difficult decisions have to be made.  Hard lessons are learned about life, family, and faith.

I liked this book and appreciated the way the author dealt with the issue of racism.  I found the plot a little thin at times and slightly unbelievable, but overall the story was good.  It was a clean and enjoyable read.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Please note: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Let It Snow Cards

I've been working on some more Christmas cards.  These aren't really typical of my crafting style - there are no layers and there is glitter!  I have a love/hate relationship with glitter because it can be so messy.  I've recently discovered a cheaper version of Stickles and I really like it.  It's much easier to use than any other glitter glue I've bought before and it gives a touch of class to a project.  At $1.50 a bottle, it's much more affordable than the brand names.

So here are my cards.  The supplies used are listed at the end of this post if you're interested.

I also made a red version, but it didn't turn out very well.  I really love how simple and elegant these are.  They were quick and easy to make as well.  I made 6 of them in an hour but it took a while for the glitter glue to dry, so that stretched out the process.  I don't think I've ever made a card using just card stock, ink, and stamps before this.  I'm looking forward to making more cards like this and trying out some more designs.

Thanks for visiting today!

Card Details

Cardstock - Recollections brand in light blue and white
Stamps - all by Inkadinkadoo
Ink - Silver pigment ink (dollar store), Dark red pigment ink (All Night Media), Blue pigment ink (Studio g )
Glitter glue -  Studio g

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

How Much Does Homeschooling Cost? Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my series on the cost of homeschooling!  Today, I would like to discuss the costs associated with books used in homeschooling.  I have previously written a post on choosing books (which can be found here), but now I am going to deal with how to obtain books without spending a fortune and running out of room to store them.  By books, I mean "living books" (Charlotte Mason's term) - good quality literature, both fiction and non-fiction, written by someone who has a real interest in the subject.

Some seem to have the idea that you must buy every book you need, brand-new from a homeschool supplier or bookshop.  This is simply not true.  I, for one, would long since have run out of space and money if I followed this practice.  Here are a few ideas for procuring books in a budget friendly fashion.

1.  Use your local library - I know not everybody has access to a good local library but that really is my top recommendation for keeping book costs down.  I can empathise with the situation of not having that service from our time of living and homeschooling in Quebec (where there was no provincially funded English library).  Our provincial library system here on PEI is set up so every local library on the Island is connected through a central database.  I can access this database on their website and sign into my account using my library card, search for, and order books.  If my local branch does not have a book, it can be brought in from another library.  If you have a library near you, check it out and find what services they offer.  Taking a "field trip" to the library is a great way to look over their selection of books and chat with the staff.

2. Buy books secondhand - As I suggested for curricula, look for good used books at yard/garage sales, thrift/charity shops, homeschool conferences or groups, library discard sales, etc.  Our local thrift shop is a great place to pick up paperbacks very inexpensively.  It's a good idea to make a list of books you are looking for and keep it in your purse.  

3. Look for free books - This sounds a little weird but it may not be as hard as you think to get books for free.  Your local homeschool support group members may have books they no longer need and just want to get rid of.  Swaps and bartering are also a good way to get books without actual money changing hands.  Say I have an extra copy of Anne of Green Gables I don't need.  I could work out a trade with somebody who wants Anne and has a book I want.  You could even barter a product (like a jar of homemade strawberry jam) or a service (such as a photography session) for books that you need.

4.  Kindle app for free classics and living books - Did you know you don't need a Kindle (an eBook reader) to read Kindle books?   You can download a free Kindle app here for 10 different devices including smartphones, computers, and tablets.  I have the app for PC on our laptop.  It probably isn't as convenient as the actual Kindle, but the app is free!  I can imagine the app for smartphones would be good for being able to take your reading everywhere without buying an additional device.  You can find thousands of free books on Amazon, many of them classics.  Two other sites where you can download free books for your Kindle app are Project Gutenberg and  Reading books this way is not ideal in my opinion, but there are advantages - it is free, you can have many books without worrying about storing them, it is quite portable, and you can often find older books that are not in print.  Right now, I have over 900 books on my Kindle app and I haven't spent a penny yet.  There are also websites dedicated to helping people find free Kindle books.  One that is specifically dedicated to homeschooling families is Free Homeschool Deals (she not only lists free books for Kindle but passes along many other freebies and deals).

So there you have a few ideas about keeping book costs down.  I hope this post has been useful to you and thank you for reading!

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop today.

Also linking to Look What We Did!

Caveat:  I would always recommend previewing reading materials before giving them to your children to make sure they are things you want them to be reading and learning about.  A great book review site is Squeaky Clean Reviews.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

How Much Does Homeschooling Cost? Part 1

We have been homeschooling for about 4 years now and have moved beyond the "curriculum-in-a-box" method and have been enjoying the "build-your-own"  approach.  I never knew I would ever get to this point.  When we started "formal" homeschool, I relied on packaged curriculum because I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to teach everything my daughter should be learning.  Packaged curriculum is a wonderful blessing and we are fortunate there are so many great options available today.  Having said that, I also have to say that it can be very expensive (especially if you are schooling a number of children).  Some packages can be hundreds of dollars per child per year and often the materials are not reusable.

So, what should you do if curriculum is outside of your budget?  Should you not homeschool?  Certainly not!   I've thought of a few options but, first, let me say that you do not need a complete prepackaged kit in order to homeschool.  You can mix and match curriculum as well as piece materials together to create your own.  First of all, lets look at some options for curriculum:

1. Get curriculum from your school board/school district - Now, this is obviously not an option for folks who dislike the public school curriculum (or find it lacking in some way), but I'm going to throw it out there.  I could see this being a good choice for, say, mathematics, especially if you aren't much of a math person.  Here in PEI, you can get textbooks and other resources from the Provincial Learning Materials Distribution Centre.  They require that you pay a $50 deposit per child per year (I'm fairly certain it is refunded when the materials are returned).

2.  Buy second-hand/used curriculum - Keep an eye out at thrift stores and yard sales for homeschool and academic materials.  This may be difficult if you're not in an area where homeschooling is popular.  However, if you can find a local homeschool support group, often families are selling (or giving away) items that they no longer need or want.

3. Borrow curriculum - If you know some families that homeschool (perhaps through your church), ask if they have some materials that you could borrow to try out before you commit to buying anything.

4. Free curriculum available online - Free, of course, providing you have access to a computer, the Internet, and possibly a printer.  Many public libraries have computers with Internet access available for their patrons to use.  Some examples of curricula available online are:
Ambleside Online
An Old-Fashioned Education
Mathematics Enhancement Programme

Of course, there are tons and tons of free resources (books, worksheets, lapbook materials, copywork pages, etc) available online on many different sites.  Homeschool Freebie of the Day is a great site for free materials.  DLTK is a good site for all sorts of education, craft, and colouring stuff for younger children.  Honestly, there are too many places to list (you should see my bookmarks in my "Education" folder!).  Do a Google search for "free homeschool curriculum" to get you started.

As, you can see, there are many options for low cost curriculum and home education does not have to be a costly venture.  I hope this has been helpful to you and thank you for visiting!

Linking to the Hip Homeschool Hop today

This post is also linked to Look What We Did!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A Quick Post

Here are a few cards I made for Thanksgiving, which was a couple of weeks ago for us Canadians.  I love Thanksgiving and fall colours!

Everything I used was from my stash and some items were quite old (like the patterned paper).  The newest item I used was the Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint on the chipboard pieces.  I have wanted to try some of the Tim Holtz products for a long time, but they are pricey!  I got these two pots of paint on clearance at Michaels for $2.99 each (regular price $7.99).  There is a brush attached inside the lid of the jar which make these really easy to use.  The paint adds a really cool, antique looking texture to your project.

Thanks for visiting today!

Supply List
Cardstock - Recollections
Patterned Paper - ? (toile), ? (plaid)
Tags - dollar store
Mini Telegram Forms - wish I remembered!
Stickers - dollar store
Twill ribbon - dollar store
Embossed paper leaves - Michaels $1.50 bin
Chipboard shapes - Paper Salon
Paint - Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paint in Vintage Photo and Picket Fence

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Adventures With Meat

I hope you get a chuckle out of this ...

Last week, my in-laws gave us a bag of game meat (deer and moose) that a hunter from Nova Scotia had given them.  My mother-in-law has no experience cooking this type of meat (even though she is a fantastic almost-gourmet cook, they are not common foods here on PEI as we don't have any wildlife of that sort).  I was excited to have this to cook because I love deer meat especially and it has been years since I've had any.

So, I cooked up 2 huge steaks last Saturday night.  I think they were moose as the meat was really dark, almost black.  It was delicious, but as we were eating it, my husband commented, "I'll bet this is what horse tastes like."  YUCK!

Monday was Thanksgiving here in Canada.  We were invited over to my husband's parents for dinner - lunch for those "from away" :)  When we arrived, we found my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and one of the other guests huddled around the beautifully roasted farm chicken.  My mother-in-law turned to me and said, "Have you ever seen anything like that before?"  I looked where she was pointing.  There were two lime green patches in the breast meat!  We ended up throwing out the chicken, the dressing, and the gravy.  We had a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year.  (By the way, I found out later that this is what was probably wrong with the chicken - deep pectoral myopathy)

Last night, I cooked a roast (either deer or moose again).  Laddie walks into the kitchen, smells the meat cooking, and says, "What kind of animal is in the oven tonight?"

Eating has become an adventure...

Monday, 1 October 2012

Getting A Start On Christmas Cards

Like I've said before, we're not big on "celebrating" Christmas (see this post), but we do send out cards every year.  It is a great time to touch base with people and let them know we are thinking of them.

The last few years, I have made our cards ... or bought cards and  personalised them ;)  When I saw the October challenge over at Christmas Cards All Year 'Round, my creative juices started to flow.  The challenge is to:

"Create a card using a non traditional image with traditional Christmas colours 


Create a card with a traditional Christmas image using non traditional colours."

It just so happened that I picked up a couple of sheets of GORGEOUS paper on clearance at Michaels last week.  I love aqua and red together.  They aren't "traditional" Christmas colours, but they seem to be trendy the last few years.

I made a 6 x 6 inch card out of Medium Awesome Aqua cardstock, and then layered the patterened papers in gradually smaller squares (5x5, 4x4, 3x3, & 2x3).  I then stamped the 2x3 inch piece with a snowflake clear stamp and the "Warm Wishes" sentiment.  I gave the snowflake image a few dots of iridescent glitter glue for a little glitz.  Very quick and easy card but I really like how it turned out.  I think I'll make a few more and I may have to go searching for some more of that paper...

Thanks for dropping by today!  My supply list can be found below this post.

Card Details

Cardstock - WorldWin Papers Colormates cardstock (12x12) in Medium Awesome Aqua
Patterned paper - My Mind's Eye "Brocade" (double-sided, 12x12) 
My Mind's Eye Bohemia Bliss "Love of My Life" Tiny Dots/Blue (double-sided, 12x12)
Clear stamps - Snowflake medallion and "Warm Wishes" (Michaels $1.50 bin)
Ink - red Color Arts pigment ink pad (Great Canadian Dollar Store)
Glitter glue - studio g (Michaels $1.50 bin)

Friday, 24 August 2012


So... I've been on hiatus, I guess!  It's been almost three months since I wrote anything at all.  This is what our late spring and summer have looked like...

  • renovating our kitchen/living room (ripping out and replacing the floor due to a huge leak from our hot water heater)
  • picking out paint and getting ready to paint our front deck and the living area inside (We're using Boomerang paint inside.  I've never used it before but I'll report back on what it was like when we're finished.  We're using Fisherman's Paint on the deck.)
  • 2 weeks of Vacation Bible School, one in Upton and one in Montague.  I was in charge of crafts for both places this year.
  • Lassie went off to a week of Bible camp by herself for the first time.  She loved it!
  • Our entire family went to work camp at the Bible camp as well.
  • Robbie went away to Quebec for 10 days to preach and also spent 3 days in Nova Scotia visiting and preaching.
  • we've just been very busy!
We still have to get our flooring down and the furniture back in place before I can really get things organised for our homeschool.  Lord willing, that will happen next week!  It will be so nice to have everything back where it belongs again.  I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging regularly again.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

I am still alive!

I just realised that it has been over a month since my last post.  Things have been so crazy around here with finishing up schooling, church meetings, kids' activities, and gardening.  I hope to get back to making regular posts SOON!

Monday, 23 April 2012


I was invited to write an article on Prince Edward Island's home education regulations by the Canadian Homeschool Society.  It appeared on their blog last Friday.  Go HERE to read it.  This is the first time I have had a piece published online somewhere other than my blog.  Exciting!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Honey Substitute

My husband has many allergies.  One of the most dangerous ones he has had to deal with is his allergy to honey.  In 2000, he had an anaphylactic reaction to honey and nearly died.  We never have any in the house and I try to avoid buying foods containing honey.  Many recipes, especially "healthy" ones, call for honey as a sweetener.  Molasses (fancy type) is usually my substitute for honey, but I have found sometimes molasses is too strong of a flavour.  It's usually fine in something like bread.

After some online searching, I came up with a substitute for honey.  If the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of honey, I take a glass (liquid) 1 cup measure and put 1/2 cup of either brown or white sugar in it.  Then I carefully add enough water to bring the mixture up to the half cup line on the glass measure, stir, and use in the recipe.

Originally, I thought I could just replace honey with an equal amount of sugar.  This doesn't work, though.  Honey not only adds sweetness to your product but it also adds moisture, since it is a liquid.

Thanks for visiting today!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

95th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge - 9 April 2012

"The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during World War I. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army. The battle, which took place from 9 to 12 April 1917, was part of the opening phase of the British-led Battle of Arras, a diversionary attack for the French Nivelle Offensive.
The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern flank could advance without suffering Germanenfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The town of Thélus fell during the second day of the attack, as did the crest of the ridge once the Canadian Corps overcame asalient of considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the town of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadian Corps on 12 April. The German forces then retreated to the OppyMéricourt line.
Historians attribute the success of the Canadian Corps in capturing the ridge to a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the failure of the German Sixth Army to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine. The battle was the first occasion when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle together and thus became a Canadian nationalistic symbol of achievement and sacrifice. A 91 ha (220 acres) portion of the former battleground serves as a preserved memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.[5]"
 "By nightfall on 12 April 1917, the Canadian Corps was in firm control of the ridge. The corps suffered 10,602 casualties: 3,598 killed and 7,004 wounded.[3] The German Sixth Army suffered an unknown number of casualties with approximately 4,000 men becoming prisoners of war.[113][Note 6] Four members of the Canadian Corps received Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration awarded to British and Commonwealth forces for valour, for their actions during the battle..."

(Both are quotes from this Wikipedia article

9 - 12 April 1917

Lest We Forget

Linking to the Hip Homeschool Hop today.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Yet Another Reason to Homeschool...

... and make sure your kids actually have some practical life skills.

Yesterday, I was standing in the queue at the post office waiting to pick up a parcel.  A young lady, probably about 15 or 16 years old, came dashing in with an envelope and a handful of change.  She said to the postmistress, "Thirty-four cents should be enough to mail that, right?" indicating the envelope in her hand.  The postmistress choked back a laugh and answered, "No, dear.  It would cost AT LEAST sixty-one cents."  The girl looked back at her mail in disbelief, swore, and ran out of the post office.

It was funny, but sobering.   Our domestic postal rate hasn't been 34 cents since the late 1980's.  This girl obviously had no clue how much it currently costs to mail a letter.  Granted, in this day of email, texting, and instant messaging, mailing a letter isn't as common as it once was.  Still, being able to mail a letter is a basic life skill (as is being able to write one properly, but that's a different topic).  Our society is filled with young people who have all kinds of "education", but no practical knowledge.  They can go on and on about the environment and have opinions about all sorts of social issues, but have no idea how to make a household budget, shop for groceries, or prepare food for themselves.

I know this is quite a rant about a tiny incident in a small-town post office, but it seems to me to point to a larger issue.  There is an absence of common sense.  We don't teach our children life skills (like how to cook, clean, handle money, etc) because it is just easier for us to do it for them.  When the average student graduates at age 18, they may have all kinds of "book smarts" (and the piece of paper that proves it) and are considered adults, but they may have no ability to take care of themselves.

A final thought - are we raising children or future adults?

Thank you for stopping by today!  Linking to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

"The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge"

I spent last week fairly ill with some sort of flu.  I haven't been so sick in a long time.  Consequently, I don't have much to write about.  Instead, I'd like to share a sermon by my favourite preacher, my husband!

I hope this is helpful and encouraging to you!  Thank you for visiting today.  Linking up to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A New Schedule

We finally finished up the My Father's World curriculum and now we are using Ambleside Online as our "base" curriculum.  We've changed our schedule slightly, but we're still using our workbaskets to stay organised.  This is what our week looks like:

Bible - reading Psalms 6-10, Devotional Calendar
Copywork - verses from the Psalms this week
Poetry - poems by Christina Rossetti
Math - Money (using quarters and loonies)
Phonics - rereading some of the stories from the Bible Reader and working on spelling words from the stories
Literature - finishing up The Wind in the Willows
History - Our Island Story and Discovery of New Worlds
Science - finishing up The Burgess Animal Book for Children
Geography - working on identifying the provinces and territories of Canada and some Canadian symbols (flag, coat of arms, etc)
Free Reading - Mary Poppins by P L Travers

We're easing into the new workload and things have been surprisingly smooth.  The work seems to be getting done in a more timely fashion.  One thing I have gotten rid of gladly is written narration for now (thank you, Charlotte Mason!).  I'm asking Lassie to give me an oral narration which I write down.

The above schedule is mainly Lassie's work but Laddie listens in on all the reading.  He is doing lots of hands-on activities (pattern blocks, Lego, Cuisinaire rods), some preschool skills worksheets, and our homemade Handwriting Without Tears programme (which I hope to blog about soon!).

Thanks for visiting today!  Linking to the Hip Homeschool Hop

Friday, 2 March 2012

Learning About Time


My daughter is really struggling with learning about time and how to tell time on a clock.  So, I decided to make a clock that we could play with to try to reinforce the concepts I've been trying to teach.

I had all the supplies I needed in my craft stash (I'll provide a supply list at the end of this post for those of you interested in knowing exactly what I used).  The clock face is an image from The Graphics Fairy that I printed out on cardstock.  I went over the hour numbers with a red marker and coloured the minute marks with a blue marker (I also added in the minutes in 5 minute increments around the outside edge).  After trimming the paper a little, I put some self adhesive magnet sheets on the back.  I drew a minute hand and an hour hand on scraps of cardstock and cut them out.  I added some scraps of the magnetic sheet on the back of the hands so they would stick to the clock.  I used some leftover bits of cardstock with a little piece of magnet on the back to make schedule cards.  These have a time and an event written on them (for example - in the photo below, the card says 7.30 Breakfast and I have the hands of the clock placed correctly to show that time). 

I'm hoping to use this as a schedule reminder as well as a teaching tool to help Lass grasp the concept of time.

Thanks for visiting today!

Supplies used
(2) 6" x 9 " self adhesive magnet sheets - Dollar store
(1) 8 1/2" x 11" sheet tan cardstock - Recollections brand from Michaels
Sharp pair of scissors (DO NOT use your best scissors because the magnet sheets make them really gummy)
Scraps of red, blue, and cream cardstock
Red and blue markers - I used Crayola  SuperTips

Time from start to finish
30 minutes

Friday, 24 February 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap, Version 2 . 0

Powdered homemade laundry soap - I can't believe I didn't try this before!  I think the main thing holding me back was that the recipes I had come across for the powdered version required the use of a food processor (which I don't have and don't have any plans to purchase).  Then I came upon this recipe at DIY Natural.  It seemed too easy to not try, so why not?

I used the same basic ingredients as for my liquid version, minus the water:

1 bar Sunlight soap
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

I grated the bar of Sunlight soap in a large bowl using a cheese grater.  Then I added the washing soda and the borax.

Then I stirred and stirred and stirred some more...

...until I ended up with a powder.  It took about 10 minutes of vigorous mixing to end up with a fine powder.  You use 1 or 2 tablespoons per load.  This made enough to last me about two weeks.

I was skeptical about how well this would work and if it would leave a powdery residue on the laundry.  So far, after nearly 3 weeks of use, I haven't had any problems at all.  If a load is quite dirty (play clothes, etc.) I have been adding a scoop of Oxi-Clean to the water first.

Thanks for visiting today!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Winter Sunset

This was the western sky last night...

It was so beautiful! I couldn't decide which photo to use so I used them all.  I walked down the road a little to get a good shot of the sun over the hills and there were some people pulled over on the side of the road in their truck also snapping photos.  So, I'm not the only person who runs around taking pictures of sunsets in -10C weather.  Does that make me normal? ;)

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mid Winter on Prince Edward Island

11 February 2011

18 February 2012

It's the same lane.  It's the same car.  The car is STUCK in both photos.  The only difference is the amount of snow.   Such is life here in the winter.

Happy Islander Day to all my fellow Islanders!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


We have been using a modified version of Sue Patrick's Workbox system this year in our homeschool.  We do not have the space in our small home to do the original system, so I came up with this after looking at others homeschoolers' creative solutions.

I decided that we would each have an assigned colour - mine is green, Lassie's is pink & purple, and Laddie's is blue.  I already had the 2 white plastic baskets that are just barely big enough to hold the file folders and lots of plain manila file folders, which I decorated with patterned scrapbook paper.  I bought a few coloured file folders at our local discount store ($1.09 for 6).  The charts and number cards are from Sunflower Schoolhouse.  I laminated the charts and cards with clear contact paper and used Velcro dots (from the dollar store) to attach the cards to the chart.  So setting up this system cost less than $10 total.

This is Lassie's basket

Her pencil box is stored right in the basket so all her materials are ready to go.

Her work is sorted into the file folders.

Currently, folder #1 is calendar and Bible, #2 is her Bible Reader, #3 (pictured above) is the Bible Notebook, #4 is Math, #5 is her Read Aloud book, and #6 is Narration & Journal.  I do have the chart set up for 12 folders but we haven't done more than 8 on any given day so far. 

This is my basket.  Those 5 green file folders are labelled Monday-Friday.  I put the math worksheets, copywork pages, books, Bible verses, etc for each day into the appropriate folder.  I usually try to do this on Saturday.  That way, I can just grab my planner, pull the folder for the day, and organise the workbaskets in no time at all.  It took me some time to get the routine down, but I find this system is very helpful in keeping our homeschool on track. 

Thanks for visiting today!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Homemade Tortillas

In an effort to be frugal, I tried making my own tortillas.  They were very easy to make, just a little time consuming.  I used a recipe from (go here to get it!).

 Yes, we like bananas (and they are $0.50/lb this week!)

They came out a little thicker and more irregularly shaped than commercially prepared tortillas, but they tasted very good.  This would be a good recipe to make in bulk someday when I have some extra time (haha).

Thanks for visiting today!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Book Review: Tree in the Trail

Tree  in the Trail  by Holling Clancy Holling

This is a book scheduled for Ambleside Online Year 2.  We were supposed to start reading this in September, but our library only has one copy of it and there are several families on the Island using AO.  I put  in a request for it in August and finally got to pick it up last week.

The main constant character in the story is a cottonwood tree that "experiences" a lot of American history (although Canada is mentioned a few times!)  I found the story well written and highly enjoyable.  There are many illustrations, some in colour and some in black and white.  My children are really interested in what will happen next.  It is a simple yet accurate portrayal of history that is easy for children to grasp without being "twaddle".  This is an excellent book for elementary age students, but my husband and I enjoy it just as much as our kids do.  It would be a great book to read alongside or after reading Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  If you can't find it through your local library, it is also available on Amazon.

One reviewer on Amazon raised a concern about "mythology" in the book.  I was actually puzzled by this and went over the book again.  I guess what the reviewer was referring to was the Natives' religious practices and that they left gifts tied to the tree.  I didn't find this a problem, as it led to some good discussions.

Thanks for visiting today.  Linking up to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Gate of the Year

God Knows
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart bestill:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

-Minnie Louise Haskins