Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bargain Priced Books :: The Paleo Approach

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body has been one of the best and most helpful resources that I have used while trying to improve my health this past year with the autoimmune protocol. I initially checked it out from our local library, but ended up purchasing a copy last Christmas.

Right now it is 70% off over at Amazon! {affiliate link}

From the Archives:

The Autoimmune Protocol :: My Journey Towards Better Health & Weight Loss with the AIP Diet

The Autoimmune Protocol :: Seven Snacks That Helped Me Survive the AIP Diet

Additional Recipes

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Meet the Masters :: Rosa Bonheur

I'm bouncing around a bit as I catch up on sharing some of the artists we studied this past school year... Rosa Bonheur is the 5th and final artist featured in Track C.  
We completed the unit study for ages 10-Adult in May, just before the end of our school year. 
(It was very challenging for the younger children under 10... They ended up needing a little help getting started on the art project.) 

.: Master Artist Introduction :. 

Rosa Bonheur (boe-NER)

French Painter (1822-1899)

Rosa Bonheur's love of animals is shown in her realistic paintings. Nature was her favorite subject. We studied symmetry, texture, and value through her warm, inviting paintings.

Art Activity Emphasis: Realistic Drawing of Animals

Media: Chalk

Vocabulary: Realistic, earth-tones, value, highlights, shadow, texture, detail

.: Art Supplies :.

One 9"x 9" light, medium, or dark brown construction paper
(Students choose from an assortment of shades of brown. A couple of my children choose yellow.)
Paper Towel
Oil Pastels
Masking Tape
Completed Learning Packet

Junior Artist 50 Piece Oil Pastels

.: Practice Technique - Symmetrical Shapes, Drawing a Lion :.

When Bud realized that the art project was about lions he ran to get a piece from one of his favorite wooden puzzles. He insisted that his art project needed to match his puzzle piece! 

.: Art Project - The King of the Desert :.

At one point, Rose, Chiquita and Snuggles said "this art project is TOO HARD!" They persevered and, with a little help and encouragement, ended up really enjoying the rest of the project. 

The older kids nicknamed Rose's lion "Howard." 

I drew the outline and let Bud color his puzzle piece inspired lion. He loved it! 
(Our puzzle was a gift from my mom. It's similar to this one, but less animals and with wooden pegs.)

We celebrated the completion of our final art unit study for the 2015-2016 school year with donuts! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Metal Earth :: Thor's Hammer

As soon as our summer break began, Ranger pulled out some of the gifts he had been saving, from his Thor Birthday Party and this year's Easter Basket, including the Metal Earth Avengers: Thor's Hammer. He loves assembling these little models and has quite the collection. Of course, he had to make sure he was wearing his Thor t-shirt for this particular project. I also purchased Captain America's Shield for our "Captain" which will probably be another upcoming summer project.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer Reading...

... on a beautiful Sunday afternoon! 

It seems like every time I look outside lately the kids are all either playing badminton, watering the garden, or reading on the patio... We finally made it down to the library last Thursday to sign up for the summer reading program and I'm hoping to print out some of our Summer Bingo cards to start tomorrow. They are all really enjoying their summer break!

Twinkle Toes is working her way through my childhood collection of Nancy Drew books. 

Chiquita is really enjoying The Puffin in Bloom Collection she received for her birthday a couple months ago and is already over 500 pages into Little Women

Snuggles started another one of his Christmas books and is currently enjoying

We have the original OOP hardcover edition but I'm so excited to see that Hillside Education has recently republished this book along with a whole bunch of other titles from the American Background Series (biographical fiction about Catholic heroes in American history). To quote Hillside, "These books were printed over a span of 20 years in the 50s and 60s specifically for a Catholic audience. They are biographical in nature, but told like a fiction novel."

I know what's going to be showing up in this year's Stacks of Books for Christmas. You can check them all out over at Amazon {affiliate links}:

We also started a couple new read alouds this week. Author (and dear friend) Suzie Andres gave us these copies of The Adventures of Nathaniel B. Oakes and Never Squeeze a Honeybee: The Continuing Adventures of Nathaniel B. Oakes on Easter Sunday. I started reading the first book to four of the children and by the end of the first chapter I had captured the attention of six of our seven children! (Captain was outside re-reading Ranger's Apprentice otherwise he probably would have started listening too.) So far we are all enjoying these fun books, about a big family living on a farm, written by a homeschool dad! 

Additional book lists from the archives: 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brave Knights & Dragons Birthday Party

Earlier this week we celebrated a 9th birthday! How is my snuggly little baby already NINE?! I was still pregnant with him when I started this little blog... He is such a fun, thoughtful, hilarious, and loving little guy and has been such a blessing to our family!

The older boys were gone all week attending Quo Vadis Days, our diocesan vocations retreat/camp, and we thought about saving the themed birthday party until they returned, but on the morning of his birthday we decided to just have it on his actual birthday, as we always do, even though I hadn't even started preparing. I loaded all five of the younger children into the Suburban and we headed to town for supplies. I don't go shopping with all of them very frequently anymore and we had a fun morning. Our first stop was at the coffee drive-thru for his free birthday smoothie, then on to the party store to pick up a piñata (they were out of dragons but she sold me the store display at a discount!), and our last stop was the grocery store for drumsticks, veggies, candy/snacks for the piñata, and some cake decorating supplies. Sometimes the best and most enjoyable celebrations are thrown together at the last minute!

The girls covered the table in a red table cloth and set up the little boys' Medieval Castle and some of their Schleich Crusaders as decorations, while I hung up the banner I made for our last Medieval Birthday party (you can download my printable Knight Banner document here), adding some Fleur De Lis Whirls (see first picture) to it this time as well.

.: Medieval Crafts :.

Back in 2012 I purchased this Cardboard Adventure Knight Kit (thinking it would be perfect for Blue Knights but we never got around to using it) so I pulled it out for the birthday boy to assemble and decorate while I got started on his cake.

.: Castle Cake & Brave Knight Cupcakes :.

Next the birthday boy came back inside to check out the cake and add the final touches

He said "It turned out better than I even imagined!" 

I posted the Castle Cake tutorial here and you can find the Brave Knights Cupcake Kit here

.: Birthday Gift :.

At that point they were all asking when their dad would be home for work so I decided to give him one of his gifts (which had thankfully just arrived!) to entertain them for the next hour or so. 
It was a hit! 

.: Decorating Goblets :. 

One of the birthday boy's requests was to decorate goblets like we did at his older brother's party. Can you believe that five years later I still had a leftover package of glasses and some acrylic gems?! I pulled them out and set them on the patio table for the kids to decorate while I finished dinner and their dad grilled the drumsticks. 

.: Feast for a King:. 

"Oh, noooooooooo! Not another one of THOSE dragons...." - Bud, age 4

Fruit Swords
made with strawberries, green grapes, and plastic sword food picks

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

I also made some hamburger patties and mac-n-cheese. 

MOM! After we say "Cheers!" you have to take a drink!!!

.: Slaying the Dragon :.

After dinner it was time for the piñata!  
I picked ours up at a local party store for around $12 but you can find a similar one here

Bud especially loved the dragon and has requested one for one of his next birthdays... 
"After the soldier birthday!" 

He also named the dragon "Chocolate!" I thought it was because he was filled with lots of chocolate, but that wasn't the reason... "Because he is the same COLOR as chocolate!" 

We filled the piñata with fruit snacks and some chocolates that the kids picked out:

DUKE OF YORK Peppermint Patties
Hersheys GOLD Nuggets

It only took Twinkle Toes one swing to take the head off the dragon. 

We tied the rest of the body back onto the rope and the kids insisted that Sean and I each try as well. 

.: More Birthday Gifts :. 

I'm going to skip ahead to presents and then go back to the cake and candles... 

The birthday boy's siblings raided their piggy banks for dollar bills and made cards. I loved that Chiquita happened to choose the same font that was used on as his birthday banner on the letter she typed. Twinkle Toes spent some of her babysitting earnings on a Bunch O Balloons for her little brother. Rose has been making everyone cards this year with the Scratch Art Notes my parents gave her last Christmas. He loved all his gifts! 

I loved how excited he got (and how excited all his siblings got!) every time he opened a present. In addition to the game he was given earlier in the day, and the Super Soaker I let him pick out while we were out shopping that morning (it works even better with a large soda bottle!), we also gave him two LEGO sets that I had (thankfully) stashed away in my closet. His birthday really snuck up on me this year! 

The first set he opened was the LEGO Van & Caravan.  (Note: It's 26% off right now and only $14.82. With how excited ALL of my kids got when he opened this set, it might be a really great one to have on hand for any friends birthdays they are invited to this summer.) 

The second set we gave him (also on sale right now!) was the LEGO Creator Lakeside Lodge. The kids all pointed out the moose which immediately reminded them of our trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone last summer. Such a great vacation!

He was so funny to watch as he opened and read aloud his card from Grandpa and Grandma G:

For a Grandson 
who's the very best

"OHHHHH, yeaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!" 
(while fist pumping) 

a really good sport, too...
Here's hoping that 
your birthday
is a winner - 
just like you! 

"I'm a WINNER!!!" 

.: Happy Birthday :.

Happy 9th Birthday, Snuggles!