Thursday, September 30, 2010

Autumn 2010 OHC #2: Birds

OHC Our Outdoor Hour Challenge this week was to compare the similarities and differences between a Goose and Duck. 

Due to time, we did not make it to a local pond to view these two birds.  So yesterday, when the rain stopped, the girls and I headed outdoors to see what birds we could see and hear in our own yard!

IMG_0628 The first bird we saw on our nature walk was an American Robin.

I have to say that I do not remember every intentionally looking for birds to photograph in our yard.  It was difficult because the trees in our yard are tall and dense.  This is the best I could do.  I do like the picture though.


The girls enjoyed walking quietly to find them and listen for different sounds.

We learned several things about robins.  They are one of the best song birds. They have both a ‘good morning’ call and a different one for ‘good night’.  Robins sing best just before it rains.  A robin’s first nest will probably be in a pine, cedar, or spruce tree.  The robin usually lays 4 eggs.  They are green-blue, and each would fit on a quarter.

This is a picture of Marissa’s Robin – she is five!IMG_0631

Next we found a Blue Jay – but I was unable to take a picture.  The Blue Jay has loud calls of “Jay! Jay!”.  They have a blue crest and back, bright-white-black wings and tail.  Their under belly is white.  The big blue jay hangs around thick shrubs and trees – especially oak – all year long.  Their eggs are green with brown spots.  Usually there are 4 or 5 eggs, each a little bigger than a quarter. 

This is my older daughter’s Blue Jay – she’s seven.


We also discussed the parts of a bird.


This past Sunday, we visited our local zoo.  We viewed several birds there too – the Mallard duck and Flamingo!

Don’t forget to visit the blog Handbook of Nature Study and see what others are writing in their journals here! 

If you are interested in doing the weekly OHC don’t wait – it’s so much fun for your family to enjoy nature TOGETHER!

Link to the OHC Blog Carnival too - details here!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SpellQuizzer: Review & Give-away

Spelling software for mastering spelling words fast !

SpellQuizzer is a spelling software program that helps kids learn both their spelling and vocabulary words

It is not designed with any one spelling curriculum in mind.  In fact, it should compliment virtually any spelling curriculum since you create your own custom spelling lists!

My daughter has had very little education time on the computer, so I was surprised how much she really enjoyed SpellQuizzer!  If you are a homeschooler - check out this page on their website.  Keep reading for the give-away details…


Things I liked:

  • Instant software download – simple and very easy to use! I can enter my own spelling list or download a pre-made spelling list from the SpellQuizzer website – it’s so easy to use!
  • Compatible with ALL spelling programs -  I continued to use my All About Spelling program and entered words lists in the SpellQuizzer software. SpellQuizzer also had a built-in spellchecker.
  • No need to access the Internet
  • Ability to add voice recordings -  This feature made is very fun and interactive for my daughter.  I recorded her spelling word, then I used it in a sentence, and then I repeated the word. I purchased a PC microphone for about $18.00.


  • Make both spelling and vocabulary lists – You can make a voice recording of the vocabulary word definition and the student can type the word – added bonus – practice typing !

image  100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

  •   It only cost $29.95 for a single PC license!
  •   Download a free trial here!

View a demonstration of the spelling software here. 

SpellQuizzer has been a wonderful addition to our homeschool this year.  If you haven’t checked out their website and free-download version - don’t wait!  Your kids will love it.  Plus - it’s 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!  Oh… and read below about the GIVE-AWAY !

Give-away details:  For reviewing this product, I get to give away a free SpellQuizzer spelling software license (valued at $29.95) to one of my readers!

First entry:  Visit the SpellQuizzer website and leave a comment stating one thing you learned about their program.

More entriesLeave a separate comment for EACH entry -

  1. Follow or subscribe to my blog
  2. Blog about my giveaway and leave a link to your blog post
  3. Leave a comment about what spelling program you currently use

Please be sure I can contact you when posting a comment.  The give-away comment deadline is midnight, Friday October 8, 2010.


Disclaimer:  This product was given to me for review purposes free of charge, not to be returned to the vendor. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

MFW Adventures: Wrap-Up for Week 7

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Another lovely week with My Father’s World Adventures

Bible: Our Bible lessons continued with the promise of Jesus as “The Bread of Life”.  We discussed the story in 1 Kings 17 about the woman who gave her last bit of bread to Elijah.  There was a famine at the time.  Elijah asked her to share her food.  She then had to make a choice to entrust herself and family to God and she did.  Her unselfishness resulted in blessings and plenty from the Lord.

We have joined another family for Adventures activities and here is what we got into this week.

Napkin Holders: Jesus Is The Bread of Life

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History:  We have been reading about the Pioneers settlements.  They used canoes to transport everything they own, trade with the Indians, and for travel.  My girls could not believe that they could put the whole contents of their home in one canoe.  I think they are still trying to comprehend the hardships of the time and how few items people really need to survive.  We also discussed how God meets our needs – not stuff and we have plenty of that!

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image The American Pioneers and Patriots book has been one of our favorite read-alouds.  This is a must read for anyone studying early American history.

We just finished reading The Courage of Sarah Noble. image What a lovely book!


And to wrap up our week, we watched The Sign of the  image Beaver.

This movie gave the girls a visual for the hardships of the time period.  It also caused a few tears too. I just got the book on CD from library.


Science:  Science was in the kitchen this week. The kids did the Yeast Experiments from week 6. 

The experiment was to determine what would happen when you combine a few ingredients in a bottle with a balloon. 

Bottle 1: add water, yeast and sugar.  Bottle 2: add water, yeast and salt.


What happened?  The yeast uses sugar as food and this produces a gas called carbon dioxide. 

This is what makes bread rise. 

So we made bread, let it rise, punched it, and let it rise again!  Then we had to leave our friends so we didn’t get to see or eat the finished product…


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The girls are writing the yeast experiment results on their Science Journal pages.  Check out Mama-Jenn’s Science Observation Page.

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Well… it’s off to the creek we go……to find a toad…and

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… play in flip flops - which soon go sucked deep into the creek mud… and what’s a nature walk without a few guns to protect us….

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Ok … we didn’t make play dough yet – mom has to be in her ‘right mind’ for that project – if that ever happens

Leaf rubbings are much less messy don’t ‘ya say?

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Check out what others did this week at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

weekly wrap-up

Tune in next Friday for week 8 of MFW Adventures!  Don’t forget to see what we are doing in our Prairie Primer and Nature Study activities!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn 2010 OHC #1: Nature Journals


I am so excited to announce that we will be joining The Outdoor Hour Challenge by following a wonderful blog call The Handbook of Nature Study – check it out!

OHC is a nature study using Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.

The Autumn Outdoor Hour Challenge for Autumn 2010 has begun. OHC Autumn Challenge #1 – Create a nature journal and take the kids outside for a 15 minute walk and investigate signs of Autumn.

The girls listened to the birds, walked along the fence near the woods, collected fallen leaves, moved old logs, and enjoyed their time outdoors investigating.

What did we find that showed signs of Autumn?

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This is for our Nature Journal – a page put together by The Handbook of Nature Study - Autumn Bonus Challenge Page .


The girls drew pictures and labeled what they found on the nature walk! Their favorites: leaves, a web, berries, fall flowers in bloom and lots of walnuts!

Join us for the Handbook of Nature Study - Autumn 2010 Outdoor Hour Challenge and the Nature Journal Blog Hop!

Nature J Blog hop



Discover the world with fantasy!th_schleich_logo_75

I have had the opportunity to review several of the Schleich – World of Nature products.

The Company: Friedrich Schleich founded the company in 1935.  The now famous Schleich figurines first came to life in the 1950's.  This company has been around for a long time! IMG_0582

Their Philosophy: The design of the their products is as realistic and naturalistic as possible. This enables children to experience the large variety of nature - from domestic animals on a farm to wild animals in the jungle. 

Products:  I knew Schleich products were available at our local Target store.  In fact, we own a few.  But when I received the catalog with the full-line of figurines, I was very shocked!  I had no idea they had so many products. 

What’s available?  Check out each of their ‘Worlds’: Farm Life, Wild Life, Prehistoric Animals, The World of Knights, American Indians, and the World of Fantasy.

My Thoughts:  When the package of Schleich figures arrived at our home, the girls were so excited to open the box right away.  As they opened it, ALL of the figurines dumped onto the concrete floor in our garage. 

I instantly had a flashback … remembering that most of the model horses I played withIMG_0584 growing up had broken legs, tails or ears!  In fact, I have many of them still.

Then I picked up the Gnu, (to your right) who has larger horns, and I knew for sure it broke.  Would you believe it’s in perfect condition! 

Since that day, my girls have dropped the figurines many times.  Each of them have withstood the girls imaginary playtimes with NO damage

My husband also commented on the detail in each of the Schleich figurines and I agreed!  They look realistic in their design.

Schleich offers a diverse, durable and quality product line that every household with children will enjoy.  Their products are also a great schoolroom resource for teachers and homeschool parents alike!

Schleich figurines can be purchased at a store or on-line – just enter your location or zip code on their website.  Prices vary depending on the figure. They are also coming out with more new products in 2010.  Check out their website here.

I would definitely recommend this product line for your children, your  schoolroom, and on your holiday wish lists!

th_HSCrew468x60AnimatedDon’t forget to drop by the TOS Homeschool Crew website and read what others are saying about Schleich products here!


Disclaimer:  This product was given to me for review purposes free of charge, not to be returned to the vendor. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

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