Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Latin Alive! Book 1~ a Review

My oldest son loves languages. We have yet to settle on one language and work consistently through one program, but in the past he’s studied a bit of German, Spanish and Greek. He has a growing list of languages that he has expressed interest in and watching him learn, I’d have to say that I believe he is one of those people that is truly gifted when it comes to undertaking such a study.  He seems to have an ‘ear’ for languages.

latinalive_MED Having given you a bit of background on this child, imagine his delight when we received a package from Classical Academic Press containing Latin Alive! Book 1, both student and teacher texts, and a DVD & CD set which present the lessons and offer pronunciation help. He didn’t waste much time getting started.

From a teacher’s or parent’s perspective, the teacher’s manual is very user friendly, laid out well and offers suggestions and guidance as your child works through the course.  I was pleased to find that the entire student text is included with additional tips and notes for the teacher in clear, easy to find boxes that offer additional guidance as needed.

la1dvd_MED The student text is written directly to the student and honestly, other than trying to read through my manual a step ahead of my son, I’ve offered very little assistance. He watches the DVD lesson and proceeds on his own with very little to no direction from me.

So, what did he think? He has really enjoyed stepping up to a formal Latin study. He has felt a little overwhelmed and commented that maybe the program begins a bit quickly for someone that has no previous background with the Latin language. However, this has not deterred him and he looks forward to the challenge of marching on and continuing with Latin Alive! Book 1 though our official review period has concluded with this review.  As a visual and auditory learner, he has enjoyed watching the lessons on DVD and appreciates that the video segments are clear, professional and presented by a knowledgeable teacher.

This program is certainly for the serious middle school to high school age student. You can purchase individual components of this program or purchaase the entire Latin Alive! Book 1 set for the bundled price of $139.95.  This set is broken down into 36 weekly lessons and is intended to be the first in a three year series.

If you have younger children, or don’t feel that your child is quite ready for Latin Alive! you may consider Song School Latin for children in Kindergarten to 3rd grade and three levels of Latin for Children geared for 3rd grade and up. 

You can read reviews of all three programs by visiting The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew

You’ll find Classical Academic Press online or at the following address:                           3920 Market Street                                                                                                                             Camp Hill, PA 17011
Toll free: 866-730-0711 or 717-730-0711 - Fax: 717-730-0721

Just so you know, I received this product bundle free of charge to use with my child  in exchange for sharing my opinion about the program with you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten Ways to Save Money on Prom Expenses

There’s no doubt about it, prom is not an inexpensive outing. No matter how hard you try to get around it, you may as well resign yourself to the fact that your checking account is going to be a bit lighter after the event.  With three children attending prom for the first time and less than three weeks notice, it was imperative that I uncover a few ways to save money on prom expenses.

1. Prom Tickets

If you’re going to go to prom, you must buy a ticket. It’s that simple. Purchasing your ticket early can allow you to save a few dollars with early bird pricing. We would have saved $40 had we planned ahead- that would have been nearly enough money to pay for the pre-prom dinner!

We also saved money buying a couples ticket over the cost of individual tickets- even though my children were attending together and not with a date. 

2. The Prom Dress

prom60 Most little girls (and big girls, too) love to look like a million bucks; but that doesn’t mean you need to shell out the big bucks on a dress you’re likely to wear once. You can save money by borrowing a dress, renting a dress,  shopping at store that sells discounted formal wear, shopping at a consignment shop, buying online through Craigslist or eBay, or browsing thrift stores for a great deal. 

This time around, we had the rare luxury of not spending any money on a dress because my daughter already had three dresses to choose from hanging  in her closet. After much debate, she finally selected one that we’d purchased at a thrift store for $5!      

3. The Tuxedo Dilemma

I don’t know about where you live, but in our neck of the woods, weprom58 discovered that  tuxes rent from $109 to $179, plus insurance, tax and a deposit! I thought that was a pretty hefty expense.      

Luckily, we stumbled upon a sale at JC Penney’s and realized that we could buy a tux for both the boys for not too much more than it would cost to rent one tux. Since our boys are likely to go to at least one other prom before finishing school, we decided  $226, which included almost $40 for alterations was a great deal.

If your prom is semi-formal, you could also consider wearing a nice suit which your son may already own.

Though we also purchased classic black vests to go under the boys’ tuxes, they really wanted to add a bit of color. Since their color selections may vary by event, we found it was more cost effective to rent the vest, tie and shirt which we found at the Men’s Warehouse for only $20 each (plus tax and insurance).   

4.   Cancel the Appointment with the Stylist

Who doesn’t love to be pampered? My daughter, that’s who! She loathes visiting a salon. Just as well, in this case it was much cheaper to pluck, tease, curl and play make-up artist at home! Of course I do have a cosmetology background but it’s not too difficult to find a style online with a YouTube video or accompanying step-by-step directions that will allow you to recreate the same look you’d get from a salon.

My daughter found a picture of an updo that she liked and for the cost of bobby pins, tiny clear rubber bands and some extra hold hair spray we were able to create a style that she loved.  You can spend a weekend before prom playing around with several different styles so you’ll be comfortable when the big day arrives.

5. Don’t go Crazy with the Accessories  

prom59 When it comes to accessorizing, use what you have on hand. My oldest son wanted  to wear a hat but didn’t like the styles he saw in the store; instead he decided to wear one he already owned.  I did buy some matching ribbon to swap out the band on his hat but he thought it was too sparkly and opted not to make the change.  

We did buy the boys each the silk hankies that they shoved in their pockets, which we bought on sale.

We shopped at Claire’s for my daughter’s accessories and found they had a pretty decent selection of gloves, hair clips, fake nails and jewelry at affordable prices. Though she probably could have worn one of my necklaces, I thought it would be fun to make her a custom piece. Not only was it very affordable (save those coupons for Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabric’s and Michaels), it was also a great project for us to work on together.

6.   Free Footwear

My daughter swore that she was going to wear her Converse knee highs with her prom dress which sparked my son’s determination to wear his combat boots. I love to see them express themselves so I agreed. It turned out that we only had to buy one pair of shoes and fortunately, we found a set of tuxedo shoes and socks for 50% off. Not too bad.

7. Forget the Flowers

Okay, I’m not serious when I say forget the flowers- I love flowers and though I’d planned to make a simple boutonniere and a wrist corsage, I’m ashamed to say I forgot the flowers!   

8. Pre-Prom Meal

When it comes to selecting a restaurant for the pre-prom dinner, remember to keep in mind that though it’s nice to go somewhere that you wouldn’t normally go, you don’t want to go somewhere that you’re going to be uncomfortable or feel out of place.  Determine how much you want to spend, find something that fits your budget and then don’t forget to call ahead for advance reservations.

9. Transportation

Since our kids were heading to prom with friends, they rode  together in a 15 passenger van. Doesn’t sound very luxurious, but it fit a lot of kids and was more economical than a limo. I didn’t hear any complaints.

Of course you could drive them in the family car and that would be free. 

10. Pictures

Who doesn’t want professional pictures of their kids on their special night? Though we did purchase one package of photos, I’ve discovered over the years that it’s just as easy to take my own pictures and print them in various sizes at Walgreens or CVS. I’ll have a great picture of the three of them together for $20 and individual pictures of them for much less- in just the right size. 

prom 2011

There you have it, Ten Ways to Save Money on Prom Expenses! What are some of the ways you’ve found to save money while ensuring that your kids still look and feel like a million bucks?

This post is linked to:



Monday, March 28, 2011

I have a winner!

Congratulations to All American Family…


winner of the $45 gift certificate offered to my readers from CSN Stores.  Check your email for directions on redeeming your prize and thank you to everyone who participated!

I’d also like to remind you that the Field Trip Friday link-up will be back this week. If you’ve been on a field trip lately why not link up so we can see what you’ve been up to?  If you are new to Field Trip Friday you’ll find the guidelines by clicking on this button.


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal~ Week 10

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

I already shared a tiny glimpse of what my life has been like this week. You can read about it here if you’re really interested.

In our homeschool this week...

We’ve been moving along. Not too exciting but not everyday can be, now can it?

We did go on a field trip to our local homeless shelter for a tour and to serve lunch and work in the kitchen. It’s always a great experience for us and this time was no different. Our local shelter has a live-in program that is pretty neat. As a faith based shelter they receive no federal, state or local money for the government and yet manage to serve over 200,000 meals a year, clothe and provide housing for their residents.

It’s important to me that my kids learn to serve and realize that homelessness is something that can happen to anyone.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We visited one of the many local homeless shelters this week for a tour of the facility and to serve lunch and work in the kitchen. We learned discovered a few things that I’ve   

My favorite thing this week was...

Wrapping up a huge project that I’ve been working on that wasn’t nearly as painful as it started out to be.

What's working/not working for us...

Netflix and Zeezok are working for us this week, but I’ll have more to say about that later. 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

Do you ever just want to go back and start all over? My kids are growing up. They are all going to their first prom tomorrow and I can’t help but think that one day soon my little birds are going to fly from the nest. If only the time hadn’t passed so quickly…

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

After this weekend I’m anticipating a ton of pictures to scrapbook so I’m thinking it’s time to learn how to digi-scrap. I ran into this great site Working with Digital Quick Pages that will help me get started, so if you’re in the same predicament as me you may want to take  a look too. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time for a Giveaway- Who wants to spend $45?

What a busy week! I’m working, running my kids for fittings for tuxedo alterations for the prom, taking my van to the mechanics, making a necklace to match my daughter’s dress, taking my dog to the vet, organizing field trips, trying to write reviews, working on pieces for my Etsy shop, volunteering,  planning our largest road trip yet, and making invitations to a baby shower while trying to keep enough dishes clean to eat off, and tackling the ever growing pile of laundry under my feet—not necessarily in that order! Whew! I’m tired. And sick. Seems to be allergy season—something I personally never dealt with when I lived in Ohio, even our dog has allergies!

In my absence, I’ve decided to offer a giveaway. I have a $45 gift certificate from CSN Stores to share with one reader. The gift certificate must be used in its entirety by April 30th and can not be used to cover any shipping costs, otherwise you can use it on anything in any of the 200+ stores that are part of CSN.

I’m thinking this would be perfect to pick up a gift or two for Easter! Interested? Just leave me a comment and make sure I can reach you. 

The giveaway will be open until Friday, March 25th. I will announce the winner of Monday.      

Artistic Pursuits: A Review

I love art. When I was in high school my art teacher actually tried to encourage me to consider applying to an art school. When we first began homeschooling, I wouldn’t consider purchasing curriculum without also picking up something for art instruction. Somehow we’ve managed to get by the past few years without any real instruction but rather with a Modge Podge of ideas from here and there. We were ready for for a program that could fill some of the gaps that we have.

Enter, Artistic Pursuits, Senior High Book One which focuses on The Elements of Art and Composition.

artistic pursuits

All I can say is, Wow! I really like this art curriculum. I like how the book is laid out, how the lessons are presented, the minimal amount of preparation that is required, and the fact that I didn’t need to buy any art supplies to get started since we already had the materials needed on hand. We literally gathered our sketch pads and drawing pencils, opened the book and began our first lesson on Space.

The lessons, written directly to the student, are clear, easy to understand and follow, and the guide is broken down nicely in units. If you schedule two art classes a week, it will take two weeks to finish each unit, covering vocabulary which introduces key elements, art history and appreciation, technique and application. There are 16 units in the book that begin with teaching the elements of art and progress to drawing the human form in proportion. 

Clear examples are given throughout the text and the art appreciation pieces are in full color. If you happen to get stuck on an assignment, the company offers assistance via email or phone.

Artistic Pursuits offers curriculum guides for all ages,  from preschool through high school,  and have won several awards, including the Practical Homeschooling Reader awards for several years in a row.

Artistic Pursuits, Senior High Book One can be purchased for $42.95.   

Artistic Pursuits can be contacted at :

Artistic Pursuits Inc., 2626 East 109th Avenue, Northglenn, Colorado 80233                Phone: (303) 467-0504                                                                                                                    Or online:

My kids really enjoyed using Artistic Pursuits so much that we’ll certainly continue using the program. I really can’t recommend this program enough. You can see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say about the product at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew

Disclosure: I received this product as part of the TOS Crew,  free of charge, in exchange for sharing my personal opinion. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Homeschooling Mother’s Journal ~ Week 9

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

Things have been a bit topsy-turvy this week. My husband has been home this week with the kids and I. Let’s just say that we don’t get much accomplished when he’s here.     

Years ago, we made the mistake of designating the days he was home as “No School Days”, only because at that point he worked really long hours and if he was home it was rare and a special treat. The kids got used to that and weren’t about to allow us to rescind that ruling.

The fact that our area school’s were on spring break didn’t really help much either- not that we follow the school schedule. I’m thinking at this point we’ll wrap our school and August 1st and start back August 2nd. ha!

In our homeschool this week...

I think I already did a great job of sharing what we accomplished. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Well, let me take that back. We did discuss a lot of current events, which led to making altered books.  The kids did read quite a bit and my oldest son is working on his ongoing journal.  We also went shopping for prom. That was quite an experience.

The boys wanted to wear black tuxes with a black vest and a colored shirt under the vest. Hmmm…let me save you some embarrassment before you head to Men’s Warehouse. What the salesman told me in a bit of a hauty tone after I patiently explained not once, but three times what I was looking for (clearly showing my ignorance I might add)…

Salesman: “They are wearing a tuxedo? Not a suit? A tuxedo has a formal jacket with a lapel, duh, duh, duh,(sorry, I began to tone out a bit here) and tuxedo pants have a black stripe?”  

Me, wondering, since when do they wear suits to prom and not tuxes anyway? “Yes, that’s what they have to wear”.

Salesman, looking at me in disbelief:  “They own a tuxedo?”

Me: “Yes”.

Salesman: “A tuxedo is formal. Therefore it is only appropriate to wear formal colors.”

Me, clearly perplexed, trying to figure out why on earth it’s considered formal for boys to wear Converse high tops with the tux but can only wear ‘formal’ color shirts. Go figure.

Salesman: “Formal shirts would be white, black and ecru”.   

Me: Point learned.

By the way, Men’s Warehouse, condescending salesmen are not a great way to win over customers for a repeat business. Just saying.

I guess you could say that we had a bit of a lesson in dressing for formal engagements.  I’ll chalk that up to Life Skills 101.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

If you didn’t stop by last week, I think you have a pretty good idea from the previous question what we’ll be up to.

My favorite thing this week was...

That my husband was home with us. 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

What is the best resource you’ve used for teaching the Civil War for older students? 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

I do remember teaching my daughter to match her socks when she was younger. This is purely fashion.

socks 006

Until next week ~ Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Altered Books and a New Discovery

One of the best school years we ever had were the years that we followed the outline laid out by Ambleside Online. One of the recommended suggestions is to keep a “Current Events Notebook”. I’ve always thought it was a great idea, I’ve just never been consistent about actually implementing and sticking with one.

With the many changes taking place in our world today, I’ve thought again about scheduling a few minutes a week for my children to jot down what’s going on around the world. Originally, I thought I’d go with a simple notebook page. Somewhere the kids could record local, state, region, national and world news. They could make a note of  unusual, uplifting, political, tragic and earth-shattering events as they transpire and record their feelings, thoughts, fears and hope for the future. I even began to work on a simple notebook page that would fill  our need.

Then I ran across a website that describes how to make an altered composition book and fell in love with this simple craft and I was inspired.

altered books 004The perfect Current Events Notebook! I just love the result!

The best part? This is a fun, easy and inexpensive craft that your child can complete in a matter of minutes with items found around your home. I didn’t purchase one thing—and believe me when I say that my home is not well stocked in the craft supply department! 

I enjoyed this project so much that I stopped by the author’s blog to see if she offered any other craft ideas and what I discovered made me wish my kids were younger! 

Turns out the blog owner of Spell Out Loud, Maureen Spell,  is a homeschooling mom of six, who has a real talent in the craft department! If you have little ones (baby to late elementary), you’ll love the ideas that she shares.

According to her Facebook page, she has a huge birthday bash planned for the beginning of April with lots of giveaways.

One last thing, if you have little ones, you should take a look at these step- by-step directions for creating I Spy Bottles! I can’t wait to make one for my niece and nephew next time they visit. 

Now I can’t wait for my kids to put those Current Event Notebooks to use! 




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Apologia: It’s not all about Science

If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, chances are you’re familiar with Apologia, who are known for their thorough, creation-based, award winning science curricula. I’m guessing that many of you already own one of their textbooks, or have used one.

When I was offered an opportunity to preview the fairly new worldview program WhoIsGodWebby Apologia, there was no doubt in my mind that it would adhere to the same high quality and standards that I’ve come to expect. I wasn’t disappointed. I received a beautiful, hardback text called Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him? Written with the ages of 8 to 14 in mind, my initial thoughts had been to read the introduction and hand it to my daughter, who is 14,  to put into use. Once I began flipping through the pages I realized that my boys, though outside the target age range would benefit from the readings as well  and we added it to our current Bible study program.  

This book couldn’t be easier to implement, I simply read the 6- page introduction, which offers an overview of the program, and turned to Lesson 1. The program is enhanced when you incorporate notebooking and includes a link and password to online resources which include many notebooking pages (though I’d consider them to be more like fill-in-the-blank worksheets) and additional teacher sources.  Though notebooking would be an added benefit,  I opted not to go that route since we were moving through the textbook pretty quickly, as a worldview refresher course.

We simply sat down as a family and read through the lessons. Each lesson follows the same format. An introduction of the main topic, or what the chapter is about, followed by learning objectives. There is also a short story where you will see differing worldviews in action, thought provoking questions, vocabulary words, Bible memory verses, interesting articles that pertain to the main topic, prayer points, a worldview study and the House of Truth which allows the student to visualize their life in relation to the kingdom of God.

Though Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him is intended for younger children, I didn’t feel that the text was watered down or that it spoke down to my older students, with the exception of the short stories.  I would have skipped those readings, but they really put the lesson into perspective.

My children thoroughly enjoyed the program. You could even say it was a highlight of our day. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this program would be excellent for younger children as a wonderful, beginning  Biblical worldview course, but is equally beneficial for older children who maybe haven’t embarked on a serious worldview course, are looking for a refresher course or just want a bit of variation to their current Bible study.

You can view a sample of this program and take a peek at the table of contents by visiting Apologia.

Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) is part one of an intended 4- volume series. Vol. 2, Who Am I? (and why am I Here?) is also available, each sell for $39.00 and  can be purchased online at the Apologia website, through their catalog, or directly by phone (888) 524-4724.

Two future volumes of the series,  Who is my Brother? (and why do we Need Each Other?) and What on Earth can I Do? are scheduled to be published later in 2011 and 2012. 

You can read other reviews of this product at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew website. 

And just so you know, I received this product free of charge from Apologia in exchange for sharing my honest opinion of their product with you.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Homeschooling Mother’s Journal~ Week 8

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

Last week I confessed that I was ready for some home time. It just seems like we can get so busy so fast sometimes! When I began homeschooling my kids 12 years ago, I imagined quiet days at home, doing our schooling around the table. What a change it’s been! Not that we’ve never had the ideal homeschool setting, it’s just that the ideal setting changes with each new season of life.

I did get one day at home this week. I can’t remember the last time that happened but for one entire day I didn’t step foot in my van. Bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.

In our homeschool this week...

I’ve met just a bit of resistance as my son announced “… everyone knows the world is going to end in 2012, so tell me why I need to know this stuff ?”  *sigh* This is the same child that told me shortly after we started school when he was six years old that “…if  Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, he wouldn’t have to do school work!” Bless his heart. You just gotta love him. *smile*

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

As a family, we had a fun day after church rummaging through some of the local antique stores. I was able to pick up a couple Landmark books that we collect and my daughter, the photography buff, bought an old camera to decorate her room with. 

My kids have resumed the ballroom dancing classes, have begun attending church on Wednesday night with the youth and are planning to go to the movies with some of their friends this weekend to see Rango. I’m wondering how on earth they became old enough to do those things without me?

My favorite thing this week was...

Attending a missions fair that our church held on Sunday. We’ve all been praying about ways that we could serve our church and our community for the past few weeks and were thrilled to find the exact program that my husband has wanted for years! He and the boys will be setting off on their first assignment close to home soon!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

This isn’t really homeschooling but it does apply to the socialization aspect. I’ve never been one of those parent’s that felt my kids were missing out by not being in school. I’ve even thought of how terrible some of those events were in the first place. Like Prom. Is it really that big of deal? I can tell you from my experience that going to prom was a chance for kids to act like grown-ups in ways that they shouldn’t. Why would any parent in their right mind allow their child to go to prom?

Well, my kids want to go to prom. Not with dates. Together as siblings with a group of friends. Not as boy and girl more like part of a collective group.  And you know what? My husband and I have talked about it extensively, we’ve talked to the kids about it and we’ve decided okay. I’ve become that parent and surprisingly, I’m okay with that. 

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

May this encourage all of us to crack open those spelling books with our children!

Until next week ~ Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Medieval Times, Atlanta

I have a confession. I have often imagined what it would have been like to have lived during the Middle Ages. I’ve dreamed of wearing the rich, ornate  gowns of the nobility. Never mind that it was likely they only owned one or two dresses, that hygiene was poor and living conditions a bit unsanitary, even filthy, a major contributor to the Black Plague! Just think, if it hadn’t been for that time period, perfume may never have been invented or needed!

In my mind, I have completely romanticized the Middle Ages into something that it most definitely was not. I guess it’s that crazy notion that has attracted me to Renaissance Faires, Shakespearean plays and knights in shining armor.

In light of that admission, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when my husband was working in Georgia, one of the attractions I wanted to visit was Medieval Times Atlanta.

Last week, after waiting nearly a year, my  family finally had that opportunity. We traveled to Atlanta to be transported back in time to the 11th century as guests of King Philippe and Princess Leonore for a celebration featuring a feast and tournament. The Castle is located at the Discover Mills mall and you really can’t miss it.  Just look for the huge stone fortress in the parking lot.   

Medieval Times Atlanta

Medieval Times Atlanta, one of nine Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament locations in North America

We’d arrived early to hook up with our group, to look around and to tour the Torture Museum that was located in the Dungeon. We had been cautioned that the Torture Museum was not intended for young children due to the graphic nature of the illustrations and equipment on display. Since I have teenagers I really didn’t think it’d be a problem, we do watch the History Channel, you know. I was wrong.

I can’t say that I found the pictures terrible, in and of themselves.  After all, they were crudely drawn,  simple black and white drawings, authentic to the style of the time period. What was disturbing was to see the objects of torture and then READ how they were used by the accompanying descriptions. That was disturbing.  All fondness I had for that age quickly disappeared after glimpsing the chastity belt and other devices that I’d rather forget. As I escaped the dungeon I found myself wishing I’d never entered.

After looking at the souvenirs available for sale, we waited in the Hall of Arms  for our number to be announced which would allow us to enter the arena where the festivities were to be held.

Since we’d booked as a school group,we found small cheering banners and commemorative programs at our seats. Unlike evening shows, the matinee includes special educational programming explaining different aspects of the time period to the audience. My oldest son really enjoyed that aspect of the show. My daughter hated it.

The food was served to us by serving wenches. Keep in mind we were in the Middle Ages so there were no utensils. Our menu consisted of a piece of chicken,  corn on the cob, a potato, garlic toast and a chocolate chip cookie. Hmmm….not sure that the chocolate chip cookie fits in the time period but we ate it, so who’s complaining?

I’d love nothing more than to say that my family absolutely loved the show at Medieval Times Atlanta, or rather that I loved the show. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just wasn’t what I’d expected or built it up to be.

There were some aspects that I really enjoyed—the falcon demonstration was incredible, the dancing horse was pretty neat, and the jousting was entertaining.

Bottom line, I’m glad we went but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was just a teeny tiny little bit disappointed. But then I’ve discovered that sometimes happens when I blow things up, larger than life,  in my mind.  My biggest disappointment of the day? Medieval Times Atlanta does not have a smashed penny machine!  My son did buy a really cool sword though.

My family saved over $100 visiting as part of a school group, so if arranging a field trip is an option for you, it would be well worth checking into.

If you REALLY love horses, really LOVE the Middle Ages (and not just the clothes from that time period), and have never been to a jousting event, I think you’d be thrilled with the experience, the other families in our group seemed to be.  

Have you been to Medieval Times Atlanta or any of the other locations? What was your experience like?

Monday, March 7, 2011

The American Museum of Science and Energy Offers Free Admission


The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is offering a week of free admission from March 17 – March 22.

From the website:

AMSE Spring Break Free Admission Days sponsored by Fluor-B&W Oak Ridge. Get free admission to AMSE and see 'Where Science and History Come Alive' as you experience, experiment and discover the World War II Manhattan Project history and the science that evolved through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, audiovisuals and artifacts. Tour AMSE's original 1940's flat top house with period furnishings. Lift off with "Take Flight" and "Cold War Crisis: The U-2 Incident" traveling exhibitions, too. Lobby and Upper Level of AMSE.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Free Admission at the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis

pink palace

Did you know that every Tuesday after 1:00 p.m. you can visit The Pink Palace Museum and Lichterman Nature Center free?  That’s right, FREE! If you’re looking for something to do on spring break, or for your next Field Trip Friday post, this is a great place to stop and check out!

Two new exhibits include Our New Connections: Historic Black Memphis which focus on the history of African-American culture in Memphis and George Washington Carver, a traveling exhibit developed in part by the famous Field Museum in Chicago. This esteemed scientist is best known for his agricultural advances regarding the peanut plant.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal~ Week 7

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal meme is hosted by Sue a.k.a. The Homeschool Chick. You can click the link or the button below to see how you can participate or to read other link ups.  

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

I’ve been busy, busy, busy! Planning field trips, meeting new friends and trying to work. Some weeks it feels like it’s just hard to keep your head above water—which is why I’ve cleared our schedule next week! I’m ready for some HOME time!      

In our homeschool this week...

My daughter began crocheting a baby blanket for her yet to be born nephew. It’s turning out beautifully. I’ll count it as Home Ec. She’s also decided that she’d like to decorate and sell her own line of clothing and spent much of one day transforming a shirt she found at the thrift store. She’s not one to like the ordinary and I enjoy her creative flair.  

My 15-year old is continuing to work out at the Y. I think he’s managed to rack up enough hours in the past two months that is required for an entire 4 years of high school Phys. Ed. credits!  Now he’s ultra focused—he found out about a homeschool football team. Conveniently, the Y directed him to the coach.

My 17-year old has been spending time tuning up his car which I count as an elective, Auto Repair. He’s hoping to enter it in a couple car shows this year. Fortunately, his car isn’t the only thing on his mind. He’s also been enjoying a new Latin program and an animation program that he pulled out of the pile of curriculum we’ve just not gotten around to using, but I’m sure no one else would know what that’s like. *grin*    

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

We’ve had lots of socialization, dare I say, too much?  

Last weekend we visited Cathedral Caverns with some new friends of ours. It was a nice trip—one we’ve been planning to make for awhile and just hadn’t gotten around to. 

We also belong to a group for homeschool teens to be able to meet and hang out with other homeschool teens. If you have younger children, you may not realize how beneficial that is, but as my kids have gotten older, we’ve watched many of their friends head off to school or in different directions. Sometimes it’s hard to find teens to hang out with. This week they were able to go to a movie with the teens and my husband and I took the opportunity to have a date. Steak- N- Shake and Home Depot and my husband thought he was in heaven. Seriously.    

My favorite thing this week was...

Do I really need to choose only one thing?

What's working/not working for us...

Our full schedule isn’t really working out that well. I’m really looking forward to a bit of time at home with nothing to do but…well…SCHOOL!  

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I’ve just spent the past week thinking how fortunate I am to have been able to homeschool my children the past 12 years. They have grown into teenagers that I LOVE spending time with and I’m really going to miss this season of my life when it’s over. *tear*  

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Today we drove to Atlanta for a field trip to Medieval Times that I’d arranged. One of the moms that attended was Diane, a fellow blogger.  We’ve read each other’s blogs for a while now and it was so nice to be able to meet her and her daughter Grace. I only wish we would’ve had more time to chit chat. 

Diane homeschools using a Charlotte Mason approach and blogs about her experiences and life as a new homesteader.   I hope you’ll stop by and visit her at Cabin in the Woods.


Until next week…Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Field Trip Friday: Buffalo Soldier Monument


Well, it’s nearly the first Friday of the month which means it’s time for Field Trip Friday. My family has taken our classroom out into the world quite a bit lately.

Last week we attended a special program at Earlyworks in Alabama and traveled back in time to the days just after the Civil War.  We met many well known heroes from history. We also met a Buffalo Soldier, someone we’d not known much about  that encouraged us to spend our week digging a bit deeper. 

Buffalo soldier

After the Civil War, Congress passed a bill to establish a peacetime regiment. The result was four infantry and two Calvary troops of African Americans that came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers, many of which were freed slaves.

The nickname ‘Buffalo Soldier’ originated from the Comanche and Creek Indians who, though enemies of the Buffalo Soldiers, admired their fearlessness and courage, qualities the Indians believed the roaming buffalo possessed. The name also came because the Indians thought the soldiers’ hair resembled the tuft of hair on the bison’s head.  

After talking briefly to the presenter after his presentation, we learned that the Buffalo Soldiers had actually camped in Huntsville. In fact, there is a memorial erected in their honor. Of course I couldn’t stay away!

Located just off University Drive on the grounds of the Academy for Academics and Arts is displayed one of three Buffalo Soldier memorials in the US—the only memorial East of the Mississippi River.  Other memorials can be found in Junction City and Leavenworth- both in Kansas.

Buffalo Soldier Memorial 006 

At the end of the Spanish American War in 1889 many troops from the 10th Calvary were assigned to Camp Albert G. Force after the city of Huntsville petitioned Congress to allow the troops to station there while recovering from malaria and battle wounds. The location of the camp became known as Calvary Hill.  

The 10 foot tall, 35,000 pound black granite base tells the story of the Buffalo Soldiers. There service was an integral part of the Westward Expansion, as they protected settlers from Indian and bandit attacks while stringing telegraph lines across the West.

Bse of Buffalo Soldier Memorial

The bronze statue depicts the likeness of 10th Calvary Sgt. George Berry riding his horse up Cuba’s San Juan Hill carrying the United States flag.

Though the Buffalo Soldiers often received inferior horses, supplies and living conditions, they received 23 Medals of Honor, a hint of their courage and bravery.

Statue atop Buffalo Soldier Memorial

The Buffalo Soldiers remained segregated in service until the late 1940’s when President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order to integrate the armed forces.  

If you happen to find yourself near Huntsville, Alabama you can see the Buffalo Soldier Memorial for yourself at 2800 Poplar Avenue in Huntsville.

Have you been on a field trip lately? You can link up to Field Trip Friday so we can learn right along with you. You’ll find the guidelines here.

If  you’re already familiar to Field Trip Friday you can link up below. Until next time~ Happy Field Trippin’!

One Reason I Love Homeschooling

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Today you’ll find me at The Homeschool Classroom sharing one reason I LOVE homeschooling. I hope you’ll stop by and take a peek at some of the fun we’ve had as  taking our classroom out into the world around us.

Before you hop away, let me remind you to stop back here later this evening for Field Trip Friday. I’ll be sharing our trip back in time to the late 1800’s.  I hope you’ll consider linking up and sharing some of your adventures too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cathedral Caverns Charm Bracelet


Earlier in the week I shared my family’s trip to Cathedral Caverns, one of the best known caverns in Alabama. What I didn’t tell you was that in addition to enjoying the cave tour, I was also pleasantly surprised to find a pressed penny machine on the property. I’m not sure why I was surprised, other than the fact that this time I was actually armed with pennies and quarters—something that doesn’t normally happen.

I pressed a set of four pennies.

One pictures the State Park sign that you see as you enter the park…

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Brave the Cave depicts a flying bat since Cathedral Caverns was once known as The Bat Cave.

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The final two pennies each represent an extraordinary feature of the cave, Goliath, which claims to hold a world record for the largest stalagmite in the world.

  cathedral caverns pennies 002

And the Frozen Waterfall which is said to be the largest flow stone wall.

cathedral caverns pennies 003 

I created a Cathedral Caverns charm bracelet by adding them all to a coppertone bracelet with some natural carnelian beads that reminded me of the colors we saw in the cave.

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This bracelet and more are available to purchase at Wear the Adventure.

Who else has an Etsy shop? How long have you been in business? Do you have any tips for someone like me that is just starting out? Feel free to leave a link back to your shop. I’d love to stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Field Trip Friday Reminder


The weather is spring like here in Alabama and as a result, the kids and I have been out exploring once again and taken several field trips, one of which I will be sharing this Friday for the monthly Field Trip Friday. I hope that you’ll consider joining in this fun meme so we can all add to our “Places to Visit” list.

If you’re new to Field Trip Friday, you’ll find the guidelines here.   I’ll have my post added and ready to go by 8pm CST on Thursday so you can stop back and link up.

Can’t wait to see what you’ve all been up to!

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