Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Series: Crochet 101 - Part 2

Happy Friday!!!  I am finally back with Part 2 of my Summer Series on Crochet 101.  If you missed Part 1 you can find it here.
This week I am talking about yarn labels.  If you have ever picked up a ball or skein of yarn you know they have a label wrapped around them.  It looks like this...
....but what does all of that mean.  This label tells you the yarn weight - it is a bulky yarn.  It tells you an approximate gauge size if you use the hook they recommend - in this case using a 9mm hook, if you made a 4"x4" square you would make 11 stitches in each row and in that size you should get 16 rows.  They recommend an 8 mm hook or size L (this is just a recommendation).  Then the bottom row is washing instructions.  You will also find the lot information on the label...what?
This shows the lot number where it says lot.  If you are doing a project that requires more than one skein of yarn, you want this number to match up on each skein you pick up.  If the numbers match, it means they were dyed in the same batch of dye.  If the numbers don't match, they were dyed at different times and they will look similar, but might have variations.  This part of the label also tells you the color name which is helpful to know.  Different brands of yarn call the same color different names.

That is pretty much it.  A nice quick break-down of the yarn label.  I will be back early next week with the instructions for getting started on crocheting.  I hope to see you then.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Review of Homeschool Planet from Homeschool Buyers Co-op

I admit it, I am a planner addict.  I need a planner to function and know what I have going on each day.  Usually I am a paper planner, hands-on kind of girl, but I have been trying out an online planner and it has my attention.  I recently got a chance to review Homeschool Planet from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and I can tell you that I am definitely impressed with it.
Homechool Planet, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, Buyers Co-op, Group Savings, Homeschool Planet, SmartPoints, Rewards, Free Curriculum, Homeschool ID Cards, Field Trip Finder
Homeschool Buyers Co-op was founded in 2005 and it is a family-owned and operated business.  They are dedicated to providing homeschool families top quality curriculum at the lowest prices possible.  They have a wide variety of lesson plans and resources available for purchase through their website, which is free to join.  They also offer many weekly deals, group buys, and free resources on their website.  It is a site I had heard of the past, but did not join until this review and I can see that I have been missing out by not being a free member.  I am happy that I have joined their website and now have access to all they have to offer.
Adding to your planner is super easy with this prompt.
Homeschool Planet is an easy-to-use online homeschool planner that allows you to not only plan out your school lessons, but you can also use this planner to keep track of your day to day life for everyone in your family.  It features multiple views, separate login for each student, a daily digest emailed to each family member, lesson planning, attendance trackers, grading, transcript help, shopping lists, helpful widgets, and more.  It is a tool to give you a daily view of everything you have on your calendar and homeschool schedule.  It is available to purchase for just $65 a year (which is a discount if you pay for the whole year at once) or $6.95 per month.  If you just want to try it to see what it is all about you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.  Right now for the month of June, if you sign up for a free 30-day trial, you will receive a free lesson plan that you can link to your planner in Homeschool Planet.  Some of the lesson plans that are available for free with this offer are:

  • All About Spelling
  • BJU Press Math
  • Fix-It Grammar
  • LIFEPAC Bible
  • Mystery of History
  • Veritas Press Self-Paced Bible
  • Wordly Wise 3000
  • More...
Once I got access to my Homeschool Planet account it was super easy to start setting up my planner so it reflects what I need.  I first set up myself in my planner so that I can keep track of all my due dates, errands, and appointments.  Then I set up each of my kids so that I can start working on putting in lesson plans for them for the upcoming school year.  Lastly I put in my hubby so that I can add his important dates, appointments, and tasks to the planner too.  It is really nice to see all my family has going on in just one big calendar.  Next I started adding some upcoming events we have as a family and some appointments that I have for each of the kids.  Then I can click the calendar view and see all the events and appointments we have coming up for each month at once.  Homeschool Planet already had some categories set up as defaults for each thing that I add, but I can also easily add my own categories to cover each thing I add to our calendar.  After that I got access to my free lesson plan since it is the month of June.  Homeschool Buyers Co-op was very generous and allowed us to pick a free lesson plan too.  I chose Words That Matter: Advanced.  This will be for my son to use this fall for vocabulary since the Advanced level is for high school.  I am very excited to try out this program and it was super easy to add to my calendar.  I had to go in and set up our new homeschool year and then I just selected how I wanted to apply the lessons for Words That Matter.  I want my son to do one lesson a day for our school days and Homeschool Planet popped that in my calendar for me.  Now it will send this to my son every school day by email and he can click through the email to get to the lesson.  The best part of that lesson is that it will be graded automatically for me....SCORE!

This site even walks you through adding lesson plans to your calendar, making it super easy.
The more I get to looking around on Homeschool Planet, the more tools I find for making this online planner mine.  They have cool widgets in the sidebar that I got to choose.  So each day I see a quote of the day, a task list (I can add tasks for each member of my family there), a shopping list so I can add groceries we need as I think of them, and I chose to add a Bible widget so I get a verse of the day.  I was also able to customize my theme for my planner and make it pretty for me.  I like that I can view this planner multiple ways.  There is calendar view which lets me see what is going on for a whole month at a time, planner view which shows me only a specific day, and resource view which shows me the resources I need to gather for my lesson plans.  This program emails us a daily digest if we have tasks or events for the day (eventually when our school year starts it will email my kids their lesson plans for the day - I just have it sent to my email and they can click through there).  There is a weekly digest to so you can see what is coming up for the week.  They do have mobile versions available so I can see my planner on the go.  I have not looked into this feature yet, but I do plan to so I can carry my calendar with me everywhere, which would be hard to do with my paper planner which is bulky.  I am in the process of adding both of my kids school lessons to this online planner.  We are still deciding some of the materials they will use this fall, but I am adding them as I figure them out.  Lesson plans are easy to add.  They are super easy if you purchase a lesson plan from the co-op as you just have to apply them to your calendar.  If you put in your own, they are still easy to add as this planner walks you through each step.  
I like being able to add extra categories I need for my family.

This is my sidebar of widgets!

This is the Daily Bible Verse widget, this happens to be today's verse.

This is calendar view.

This is the daily digest email you get.

This is the planner view.

I could go on and on and tell you how much I am enjoying each little detail of Homeschool Planet, but I really think it is something you need to try for yourself.  I still like my paper planner, but I am truly LOVING my Homeschool Planet.  You can find out more about the Homeschool Buyers Co-op on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ pages.  You can learn more about Homeschool Planet by clicking here.  Don't forget if you sign up for a free 30-day trial account by the end of June, you get a free lesson plan and that is a great deal!  You can read more about this planning tool and how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew have been using it by clicking the banner below.  
Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}

*This post does contain Referral Links.  In this case, I do not receive money for clicking the links, but I do receive points to my Homeschool Buyers Co-op Account.  I can take those points I receive and use them to purchase plans off of the co-op site.  

A Review of UnLock Geometry from UnLock Math

Buddy finished up 8th grade and Algebra I this spring so I have been keeping my eyes open for his next math curriculum.  I was very curious to see how UnLock Geometry from UnLock Math would work for him when we recently got the chance to review it.  We received a one-year subscription to this online program so that we could see what it is all about.
UnLock Math, Homeschool math, middle school math, high school math, Homeschool math curriculum, online homeschool math, bite-size chunks, Unlimited Practice, automated grading
UnLock Math was developed from the teaching passion of Alesia Blackwood.  She is a certified mathematics teacher who has developed a way of making math fun and engaging by breaking it down into bite-sized chunks that students can understand better.  UnLock Math is unique because of the engaging teaching videos, advanced assessment, immediate feedback on each question, fully explained answers, unlimited practice, unlimited review, and students only see one question at a time.  Also there is a gradebook and progress reports that make it easy to track your student's progress and grade.  They currently offer: UnLock Pre-Algebra, UnLock Algebra1, UnLock Algebra2, and UnLock Geometry.  They are in the process of developing courses for UnLock Pre-Calculus and UnLock Calculus.  You can purchase a monthly plan for their courses for just $49 a month or an annual plan for just $299.  They also have discounts if you have siblings that will be taking courses as well.
Buddy working through a lesson
We received the UnLock Geometry which is their newest course.  It is their first course to offer feedback after every question for the students.  It divides Geometry into 14 units for your student to work through.  Each unit is then divided into several lessons for your student to master.  Each lesson begins with warm-up questions then it proceeds to the video lesson presented by a certified mathematics teacher.  After the video lesson, there are practice problems and stay sharp problems for your student to complete.  There is also a challenge question for them to get them thinking deeper.  Each lesson also includes reference notes which is the video transcript in print form that students can read and refer to when they need it.  Each lesson is takes about 30 minutes to work through and if you were working on this program daily, it could be completed in about 9 months.  Buddy worked on this program 3 days a week since we are in "Summer Mode" in our school which means we do work just a few days a week to keep our minds fresh.  Just working a few days a week he was able to complete most of unit 1 which focuses on the  prerequisite skills for Geometry and some of the quizzes for the unit.  He will continue working on this program throughout the rest of summer so that he has a little bit of a head start on math when we begin our official school year this fall.
UnLock Math
Buddy is giving UnLock Geometry a mixed review.  There are parts that he really likes and there are a couple of things he doesn't particularly care for.  Before I go on I must tell you that he is my very black and white stick to the same old routine kid so please take his opinion with a grain of salt.  Buddy really like the teaching portion of this program.  He said the teacher did a very good job of explaining the concepts in the video and she was very clear about what she was teaching.  He thought her examples were good and showed exactly what was expected in each lesson.  He felt like he was really learning the concepts.  The part he didn't like is all the 6 separate steps.  He liked that it gave you a route to complete, but he felt that some of the steps could be combined so that each lesson didn't take so long.  He also disliked that when you are are working some of the problems you have to click "Verify" before you click next to go on to the next problem.  If you didn't click "Verify," it would count the problem incorrect even if you got the right answer.  He understood that this was one way the program was set up to help you make sure you understood how you got your answer.  It really, really frustrated him that he had the right answer, but got it wrong because he forgot to hit "Verify."  This caused his overall score to be really low on his login screen because the program only counts the first time you do the problems for the score, even though he would go back and re-work the problems and get 100%.  So his overall grade was higher, but the grade it shows him was not accurate because of this.
You "UnLock" the lessons once you complete all the parts of them.
As a parent, I think that UnLock Geometry is a good program.  I liked how it broke the lessons into smaller parts and required Buddy to complete several steps to complete the lesson.  I felt like this made it where he couldn't rush through the lesson just to get it done.  I liked the videos and the explanations.  They were very thorough and detailed.  I appreciated that each unit was broken down into several lesson.  I think this helps ensure that each concept is fully grasped before moving on.  I truly do understand Buddy's frustration about the "Verify" button.  This is new to him as his other math program didn't have this extra step so remembering to hit this first would take more time to get used to.  I did email the company about why his grade was not refreshed on his screen when he was re-doing the work.  A few hours after I emailed them, they called me and explained that there system took a little while to process that he had redone the work and on their end it was showing that he had a better grade than what he was seeing.  I did appreciate speaking to them and that they addressed my concerns and felt that they truly do want to make sure customers understand their system and use it correctly.  I really like this program and when we start up school again n the fall, I will have Buddy work through more UnLock Geometry because I think it is a sound program for teaching Geometry.
These are the units your student will study in UnLock Geometry
I would definitely recommend that you check out all of the math courses that UnLock Math has to offer, especially their UnLock Geometry that we got to review.  You can learn more about them on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  You can learn more about the UnLock Geometry course by clicking here.  You can also learn more about UnLock Math and the courses they offer by clicking on the banner below and checking out the reviews of my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew.  We all got to review different courses so you will want to check out their blogs to find out how the other courses worked for them.
Pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry {UnLock Math Reviews}

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Review of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh

History doesn't always feel real to students because the events happened so long ago and that can make it a boring subject for students.  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to make history fun and help our students visualize the events?  This is exactly what the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh has been doing for my students since we received this book set to review.
Adventures of Rush Revere, American History,  Rush Limbaugh,  Kathryn Adams Limbaugh,  bestseller,  true,  accurate
Rush Limbaugh is a radio host who is known for his political commentary.  Did you also know that he has a passion for history?  He has taken his passion for history and along with his wife, Kathryn, created and authored the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series.  This book series is designed for children 8-12, but as we have read these books I have enjoyed them as well so I think they are for everyone.  There are five books in this series and each one features Rush Revere, a substitute History teacher, and his trusty horse, Liberty.  Rush Revere and Liberty help history come alive to the Honors History classroom through time travel so that the students can see historical events happen first hand.  These books are fun, engaging, and a great way to learn more about important events in American History.  If the engaging books are not enough, they have created The Rush Revere Website.  This site is a valuable resource that accompanies the books.  It includes classroom and homeschool lesson plans, activities, quizzes, games, and more to help students learn more.
Look how beautifully this series was packaged.
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims is book one in this series.  It features Rush and Liberty travelling back in time to join the Pilgrims on their journey aboard the Mayflower, landing at Plymouth Rock, and experiencing the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation.   Through this story we get to meet modern day students in Rush's classroom and important historical figures.  Through Rush's interactions with these historical figures like, William Bradford, Myles Standish, and Squanto, the reader gets to learn details about what life was like for the Pilgrims, what their journey was like, and the struggles they endured.  We also learned about the courage and bravery it took to be a pilgrim on the Mayflower.

Rush Revere and the First Patriots is book two in this series.  It features Rush and Liberty travelling back in time to the days leading up to the American Revolution.  The reader can feel the tension mounting in Boston as the Americans are becoming fed up with the unfair rules that King George III is trying to force up on them.  The time travelling becomes more complicated when Rush has a student that is trying to interfere with his methods of teaching.  Lucky for us Rush and Liberty have other students on their side to help them so we get to meet Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and even King George III, himself.  This book has the reader on the edge of their seat as they cheer on the Patriots.

Rush Revere and the American Revolution is book three in this series.  As you can guess from the title, it features Rush and Liberty travelling back in time to the American Revolution.  This helps Rush teach his Honors History students about the true meaning of freedom.  How could it not when in this story we get to meet George Washington, Dr. Joseph Warren, and Paul Revere.  This exciting story not only features the American Revolution, but helps us understand more of what modern day children feel when their parents are deployed for the military like Cam's dad was.  This is also a story of courage, bravery, and making good decisions since this is what we see for all the characters in the book.

Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner is book four in this series.  In this book Rush and Liberty take their students on a field trip to Washington D.C. where they get to see all the important historical sites.  The students learn more about the American government when they visit the streets of Philadelphia that played such an important role in our nations history.  In this book they get to meet important historical figures like Francis Scott Key, Dolley Madison, and George Mason.  This book is filled with a lot of emotion, excitement, and action as the students learn a lot of history.

Rush Revere and the Presidency is book five in this series.  In this book Rush and Liberty teach their students all about elections, from a modern day student-body presidential election to the first elections in our nation's history.  Rush and Liberty get help teaching the students about elections from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.  We learn a lot about the decisions George Washington had to make as he was our first president.  We even get to hear from the wives of these three presidents and we learn how they helped their husbands.  This book really helps explain the role of a president, the process of elections, and how government works while being an action packed adventure.
Our family has been loving this series of books.  At first it took us a little bit to get used to Rush and Liberty's time traveling, but it wasn't too long before Little Miss was shouting, "Rush, Rush, Rushing to History" along with Rush Revere as he and Liberty jumped into the time portals.  Both my 8 year old, and my 13 year old, have enjoyed our family read aloud time.  I figured since it was summer I would give them a break from reading and I would read aloud to them.  They get so caught up in the adventure filled stories that they beg me to keep reading.  They felt bad for the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and couldn't believe how terrible the living conditions on the boat were.  They learned what life was like in the Plymouth Plantation and that the pilgrims really struggled and could have all died if they had not gotten help from the Indians.  Both of the kids loved trying to be the first to answer the Liberty Asks questions at the back of the book.  My kids also have been enjoying learning about the days leading up to the American Revolution.  They said they could picture how upset and angry the people were about King George III trying to rule from a different country.  They booed the British soldiers for treating the Americans badly.  They are ready to finish up book two today so they can get started on Rush Revere and the American Revolution.  What my kids don't know is that I have skimmed through books 3, 4, and 5.  I know some of the things that happen in the upcoming books and I know they will be sitting on the edge of their seats as we read through the books.
This series of books has truly captivated our attention and taught us more about historical figures and events.  My kids and I have enjoyed them and we look forward to finishing out the series this summer.  It is a great way to keep the kids learning through the summer without them even thinking they are learning.  Both of my kids have asked me to make sure we learn more about the events we have read about so far in books 1 and 2, when we start up school this fall.  I call this a HUGE win!!!  We highly recommend the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series.  You can find out more on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  You can also find out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this series by clicking the banner below.
Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


A Glimpse of Normal Blog, Rescue Dog

This sweet girl is a 6 month old red heeler/shepherd mix.  She is a rescue dog and she already has captured our hearts.  She is very social and needs to be with her peoples which is fitting because red heelers are cattle dogs and are always keeping track of the herd.  We are trying to teach her to play and a few other tricks.  We all love her and she is just so sweet!  She is getting use to her new home with us and we see a little more of her personality every day.  I am sure we will have many Mae stories in the future, but for now we are just loving on her and reassuring her that she is finally home.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Review of the Homeschool Special from MarshMedia

Health education is a very important topic to cover in school and it can be hard to find one company that covers a wide range of ages since I teach two completely different grades in our school.  This is why I was intrigued to get access to the Homeschool Special from MarshMedia to review recently.  MarshMedia's health education videos cover a wide range of ages and topics.
Health Education Products for K-8 {MarshMedia }, Special Needs Hygiene Streaming Video Health  Videos for kids Safety Videos for kids puberty  – puberty education  – human growth and development  – puberty education DVD’s  – puberty education programs  – puberty education for girls  – puberty education for boys  – hygiene DVD’s  – hand washing programs  – special needs puberty DVD’s
MarshMedia has been around since 1969.  Their goal has always been to produce distinctive educational materials that teach children to live more effectively in the diverse and fast changing world.  While they formerly focused on getting their materials into public schools, they have recently begun reaching out to homeschools.  They want to make their educational video library of over 50 videos about a range of health topics available to the homeschool world.  Their videos cover the topics of:puberty, hygiene, health, nutrition, safety, the immune system, bullying, social skills, and more.  Their videos are geared towards grades K-8 and they are around 15 minutes long (some are a little longer).  When you click on each video you can see the rating, the age recommendation, and a brief description of the video.  In order to reach homeschool families they have created the Homeschool Special.  This special offer gives you unlimited access to all of their streaming videos for only $50 until the end of this year (12-31-17).  This offer doesn't limit the amount of time you have to watch the videos and it doesn't limit the number of times a program can be viewed.  This is really a great offer they are doing for homeschool families.

When we received access to MarshMedia's video library we had to "check out" the videos by renting them.  They were still in the process of developing their Homeschool Special microsite so that now homeschoolers can find all of their videos in one place.  This one place will be really nice and easy to access for parents.  I wanted to watch some of the videos before letting my daughter and son watch the videos just to make sure that they were a good fit for us.
Helpful tips from the anger video
I first watched a video on the topic of Anger.  I thought this would be a good video for my son to watch since he is in his teenage years and just finished 8th grade.  This video presented anger clearly and gave helpful strategies for dealing with this emotion.  It showed specific situations that students may deal with and gave suggestions for dealing with those situations.  The information was good even though the video was a little dated and the kids in the video were using actually telephones with cords.  My son thought the video was good and to the point.  He understood why learning about anger was important and said they had good ideas for dealing with anger.
This was a good video, but it is truly for grade 5-7
The next video I watched was Growing Up! for Girls.  This video is recommended for grades 5-7.  I wanted to check out this video because my daughter just finished 3rd grade and we have already had talks about how her body will change and why her body will change over the next few years.  I thought this video might reinforce our talk.  I was glad that I watched this video first without her.  It is a very detailed and accurate video.  The information is presented clinically, but is very specific and even showed drawings of how the boys bodies change during this time which I have not covered with my daughter.  I knew this video was aimed at older girls and I definitely agree that it should only be viewed by older girls.
An "every day food " was explaining the foods we need to my duaghter
I did have my daughter watch Go Slow Whoa.  This was a video on nutrition which I thought would be fun for her to watch since she is very interested in cooking and she is always asking me about the food we eat.  This video was designed for grades K-3.  It presents nutrition information in the form of a fun game show where the contestants are healthy foods that are okay to eat every day versus the foods we should have occasionally.  It was informative and my daughter thought it had good facts, but she said she felt the video was geared more towards littler kids than her.

I like that MarshMedia offers a wide range of topics that can be covered in their educational videos.  I think the videos are factual and clear about the topic being discussed.  I did not watch all the videos they offer, but the ones I did watch were good.  I would advise parents if you are going to have your students watch the videos about sensitive topics like puberty, watch the video by yourself first to make sure that you know what the video will be presenting to your child.  I think the puberty video I watched for girls was well done, but it would not have been appropriate for my daughter at this time.  My kids thought the videos they watched were okay.  They said they learned from them and when I asked them questions about the videos they could answer them.  Overall this was just an okay fit for us.

You can find out more about MarshMedia on their website.  You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.  If you wish to take advantage of the opportunity to introduce the MarshMedia curriculum to your homeschooler(s) click on this link for more information:  As always you can find out more about this product by clicking the banner below to find out how my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew used these videos.
MarshMedia Reviews

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer Series - Crochet 101

The other day I sat down with Little Miss to teach her some new crochet stitches and it dawned on me that I should share here on the blog too.  I love crocheting and it is a great hobby so I thought I would share what I know with you.   There are a lot of benefits for learning to crochet - improves hand-eye coordination, relaxing (unless you are tearing out a project for the bazillionth time), helps with memory, and so much more.
Summer Series: Crochet 101, A Glimpse of Normal Blog, how to crochet
I am by no means an expert, just a girl who loves to craft and buy yarn.  I am still learning some of the more complicated stitches and I will be the first to tell you that when I get stuck, I go ask my crochet friends.  They are great resources.  If you don't know anyone that crochets, but you still want to learn, check your local craft store for classes, some local libraries have groups, or there are many great teaching videos online.

Today I am going to start with the basics.  I am going to tell you about the tools you need and a couple of extra items that can be helpful in the long run.  So what exactly do you need to start crocheting?  Here is what I, personally, recommend:

1.  CROCHET HOOKS - The hook I started with is a "J/10" hook which is 6 millimeters.  It is a nice size hook to start with and use to get the feel for crocheting.  You will quickly learn that hooks come in many, many sizes from the super small hooks used for very delicate, intricate work to the big, giant, fat hooks for big and chunky yarn.  Hooks also come in many different materials - aluminum, wood, plastic, and more.  The hook material is really a preference thing.  I started with an aluminum hook and I really like them.  I also have plastic hooks that I like.  The hook I use really depends on the yarn I am working with.  They even have crochet hooks with built in lights so you can use them in the dark and still see what you are doing.  I was lucky enough to get one of these light up hooks from Little Miss for Mother's Day and I do enjoy using it when the kids are asleep, but I still want to crochet.
Different kinds of crochet hooks

This is a set I got from Amazon...look at the tiny hooks on the right...someday I will play with those.

This is the hook I started with and recommend starting with
2.  YARN - There are SO many types of yarn out there, but when you are first starting you want to start with something basic.  I would recommend starting out with something like Red Heart Super Saver yarn.  It is a medium or worsted weight yarn and works well with just about any hook size that a beginner would use.  Just to let you know more about yarn,..Yarn comes in cotton, wool, cashmere, acrylic, silk, and more.  Yarn is categorized by weight and these weights are: lace, fingerling, sport and DK, worsted and Aran, and bulky and chunky.  The weight is important because it determines what projects you can do with the yarn.  You would not want to try and make a blanket out of lace or fingerling yarn and you wouldn't want to try and make a decorative edge out of chunky yarn.  Getting the right weight yarn for a project is important and some are interchangeable and some are not.  We will discuss this idea more next week, specifically yarn labels which are very important.
This shows different yarn side by side so you can see the difference in weights.

Chunky Yarn

Medium, worsted  cotton yarn

Medium, worsted yarn - this is the type of yarn I started with.  It is soft and easy to use.
EXTRAS - Stitch markers, ruler or measuring tape, scissors, and a yarn needle.
These extra supplies are helpful to have and chances are that you have at least half of them already.  The scissors are for cutting the yarn when you finish or if you switch colors.  The yarn needle is helpful when weaving in ends or stitching pieces together.  The ruler or measuring tape (you can use either one) is used to help you measure for gauge and length when working on projects.  Finally the stitch marker is used when you need to mark out rows, starting points, and more.  They are handy to have, but if you don't own any you can use safety pins for a stitch marker.  The stitch markers come in all different shapes and forms, but you really don't need anything too fancy since it is just used while working on your crochet and not a part of the finished product.
A Stitch Marker I have. 
These are the things you need to get started crocheting.  So gather your supplies and then come back next week for learning more about yarn and how to start crocheting.  Do you know how to crochet?  Do you want to learn how to crochet?  What information would be helpful to you while you are learning to crochet?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Dear Homeschool Mom...

Dear Homeschool Mom,

I'm just sitting here thinking of you and I wanted to offer you some encouragement today.  I know you are sitting there thinking about your school.  I know you are probably like me and you tend to dwell on all the things that went wrong this last school year, but before you get caught in that trap of thinking of all the bad things...STOP!!!  This summer instead of focusing on all the little negative things from your school,  I want you to focus on the positive things that happened this year.  What were the good things from school this year?  Was it - learning to hold a pencil properly, learning letter sounds, learning to read, putting punctuation in the proper place, finally grasping math concepts, finishing school every day, going on a field trip - I could list a million little things.  Celebrate the little parts of school, the small victories and the steps you take in a forward direction.  Don't just focus on the bad day, the lesson they didn't understand, or the tasks you didn't get done.  Celebrate the fact that you taught your child lessons this year and they learned from those lessons.  Focus on the time you got to spend with your children teaching the subjects and lessons you think are important for them to learn.  Dwell on the new skills your children have and the things they know now.  Take a moment and be thankful that you get to teach your children when they are the most receptive to learning.  When you catch your breath and see that so much more went right last year than what went wrong, smile and know you are doing a good job.  This homeschooling thing isn't always easy and sometimes we feel like we are doing it all wrong, but I assure you that you are getting it right more often than you ever know.  You may not see it right now when you are in the middle of the mess, but one day you will reap the rewards and be so grateful you chose this journey for your family.  So hang in there Mom!  You are not alone on this journey.  Just take a breath and choose to see the bright side today.

(A Fellow Homeschool Mom who sometimes gets tripped up by focusing on all the wrong things)
Dear Homeschool Mom ...
P.S. If you need a little extra encouragement this week.  Click on the picture above to read some letters from my Homeschool Review Crew Friends.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 Menu Plan

June, already?  This year has been a blur so far, but it has been good.  We are getting warmer temperatures and seeing more sunshine so that must mean summer is coming.  I am thankful for that.  June promises to be busy, fun, and we have a big adjustment coming up, but it is one the whole family is looking forward to (no, we aren't moving again 😅).  Without any further chit chat, here is June's Menu Plan.

  1. Mock KFC Chicken Bowls
  2. Stromboli
  3. Sarah's Sausage & Peppers Pasta
  4. Tex Mex Grilled Chicken Salad
  5. Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowls
  6. Cabbage Soup with Hamburger
  7. Shepherd's Pie
  8. Smothered Baked Chicken Burritos
  9. Grown-Up Pizza Wraps
  10. Italian Orzo Spinach Soup
  11. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  12. Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup
  13. Philly Cheesesteaks
  14. Slow Cooker Sausage, Kale, & Tortellini Soup
  15. Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake
  16. Stuffed Pizza Bread
  17. Stuffed Pepper Soup
  18. Brazilian Skirt Steak with Golden Garlic Butter
  19. Meatballs & Minestra Stoup
  20. Easy BLTA Wraps
  21. Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowls
  22. Slow Cooker Cuban Beef (Ropa Vieja)
  23. Pizza Casserole
  24. Mexican Zucchini & Beef Skillet
  25. Subs
  26. Jambalaya
  27. Cobb Salad
  28. Chicken Bacon Crockpot Chowder
  29. Avocado Black Bean Enchiladas
  30. Pie Iron Calzones

As always you can find links for the recipes I use on my June Menu Plan board on Pinterest. I hope you are following me on there.  I PIN lots of different things.  What is for dinner at your house this month?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Barn Home: Progress Part 4

It has been quite awhile since I updated our progress on our barn.  We have definitely been making progress,  I just haven't had a chance to sit down and put all my thoughts together.  The big change that has happened since I last posted on the barn is that we have a living room floor.  🙌 I totally do the happy dance about our living room floor because it is finished and it is gorgeous.  I am going to share pictures of it, but they just don't do it justice.  We also put in tile by our front door.  We still have to grout it, but we haven't had a day where we won't be walking on it right away so it is hard to find time to grout it.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog
This is a picture from while we were installing the floor.

This is our tile entryway
Every other change is much smaller than these 2 things.  We decided that we needed to finish some of the littler projects around the barn before we start phase 2 of major renovation.  The other changes that have occurred are much smaller, but just as important.  I got our dining room painted finally.  It only took me a couple of hours to do this, but I needed to wait until we weren't in there every morning for school.  We also started hanging decorations through out the finished areas.  I hope you all looked at my feature wall I posted about last week.  I LOVE this wall and can't wait to add to it.  We have also temporarily turned the guest room into a playroom.  Little Miss needed somewhere to set up her play kitchen and until we can figure out something better, the guest room it is.  I have been hemming curtains and getting curtains up too.  There has also been a lot of outside work done.  Our driveway is much clearer and we have started clearing out the front pasture area.  I don't think I have many pictures of this area yet, but I will work on it.
The guest playroom.  :)
Signs are getting hung

Patio curtains are hemmed and up.

Love my windmill clock I found.

I changed the orientation of all the pictures in this frame and found the perfect spot for it, the landing of our stairs.

We finally got all the stair treads down.

More curtains went up and signs.

Curtains, signs, and trophies went up

More wall decor - I apologize for the ridiculous hat, I am not sure where his love for that team comes from.  :)

This is a cool decor combo.

We purchased and put together this little dresser/table for outside our bedroom door.

Sheers went up in our room.

Paint in the dining room and our map went up.

I think that is about it for now.  We have a few more little projects to tackle before phase 2 of renovation begins, but I am sure it will start soon.  What do you think?