Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A bowl of fresh snow.

 I love snow!  This year has been pretty snowy and I just can't get enough.  I love it!!  Anyway, in The Winter Nature Study E-book there is a suggestion to collect some snow and then melt it and compare the volume.  I finally remembered to do this at the start of the storm rather than after it was over.  I wanted it to just collect in the bowl but Emma didn't know that and filled it up with the snow and packed it in.
She filled this can that was in the recycling bin too.

So I packed snow in a quart jar

Starting to can see how it is "shrinking"

Looking at the snow with a magnifying glass


This is how much water we got in the can.

This is the amount of water in the jar.
When we started Emma estimated
it would be half full.
This was a fun experiment.  I am hoping for lots more snow to play with before the winter is over!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Magnificent Moon

Last week we started studying the moon using Download N Go's Magnificent Moon.  We are 3 days into the study and have already learned so much!  I had planned to have it finished by Friday but sometimes life gets in the way of MY plans.

Download N Go unit studies are designed for children in grades K-4.  2 of my children are working on Magnificent Moon, Emma (2nd grade) and Ryan (5th grade).  This unit is easily adapted for older children.  Rather than print out this unit for Ryan I gave him a composition notebook and he is writing down what he is learning.  I still printed out maps and some of the lapbook components to glue into the notebook.

In Magnificent Moon there are 5 days of lessons:

Day 1: What Exactly Is a Moon?
Day 2: Getting to Know the Moon
Day 3: The Story of the Moon
Day 4: Science Secrets of the Moon
Day 5: Cool Things About the Moon

We have enjoyed learning about astronauts, space missions, the solar system and different aspects of the moon. This has been a wonderful time to study the moon.  Though we have had cloudy nights with no visible moon we have had daytime sitings and some spectacular views of the full moon this week.  As I am writing this, the moon is rising and it is truly magnificent. The kids have been taking turns looking at it out the window.  I was very moved by the recording we listened to this week of astronauts reading Genesis as they orbited the moon.  I was struck by what an accomplishment it was to put man on the moon.  I honestly never thought about it before.
The moon clearly visible in the afternoon.

I took this picture while writing this review.
It really doesn't do it justice as it looks so large in the sky.

In this picture you can see how it has an
 elliptical appearance.

Other subjects besides the moon are included in this study.  You will find geography, spelling and vocabulary, mathematical concepts, and even art!  Amanda Bennett has filled this study with a great book list that enhanced our study.  I would offer one word of caution in this department.  As with most "science books" you find in the library it is filled with the notion of "millions of years".  The books however, are completely optional and it is easy to skip over those statements or use them as a jumping off point for discussion.  We did  enjoy many of the moon books we got out of the library and my 15 year old who normally would not watch a documentary sat and watched a very long documentary on the first landing on the moon.  Truly a study for everyone!

I have to say I am really glad we are doing this moon study.  It really is magnificent and Magnificent Moon is a study I know that we will return to.  You could easily spend much more than a week using this unit but it can be done in a week too!  That is one of the things I really love about Download N Go.  It is very flexible.

We have a few activities that I hope to get to early next week and when we do I will add pictures.

Emma and our "Oreo" phases of the moon.
(note: Buy real Oreos..the filling in the Twist and Shout brand sticks)

Download N Go is running a wonderful special until January 31, 2011

The Cabin Fever Fun Pack, which includes Magnificent Moon, Winter Wonders, Expedition Canada, and Hoppin' Popcorn is currently on sale, and will be through 1/31/11 for $20 (regularly $28).  (I have all of these units and I can honestly say they are all great!)

This week there is a giveaway contest on the Download N Go blog for 2 standard Moon Maps by National Geographic.  (ends January 28,2011)

See what others are saying about Magnificent Moon on the blog tour:

**disclaimer: I was given a free copy of Magnificent Moon in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Wednesday-Color Walk

The Handbook of Nature Study Blog is having Winter Wednesday Challenges.

We took our challenge today since we had a large snowstorm all day yesterday.  This is week 1 and the challenge was to take a color walk.  So today Emma and I went outside and looked for colors.  There was plenty of white..that is for sure!  Here is what we saw:

It's hard to see in the picture but there is green lichen on the tree.

more green (and white)

rust colored leaves

red berries but I'm not sure what kind of tree
this is in my neighbor's yard.

The beautiful blue sky and the MOON!

yellow and brown grasses sticking up in the snow

a pink bird...oh wait..that is Emma
We didn't see as much color as I would have liked but we were very limited because there is too much snow for us to even walk in the woods.  I actually tried to walk to the middle of my yard and ended up with my boots full of snow!  OUCH!  I think I need taller boots!  I was hoping to see a cardinal or blue jay but not today.

This is my neighbor.  He drove up and wanted to know what we were taking pictures of so I told him and he said his uniform could be the black and gray.  Thanks Mike! :)

Here are a few pictures of our bird feeders: (this is what I was doing when I filled my boots with snow!)

Emma tying our pine cone bird feeders we made
 yesterday to the tree.

The birds have been very busy at all of our feeders.  Even the snowman
is a feeder.  Ryan sprinkles him with birdseed and hung a couple of pine cone
feeders on his arms.

I am really enjoying our nature study.  You can too.  Head over to the Handbook of Nature Study blog and get started.  In case you missed my earlier blog post on this, I purchased the Winter Nature Study ebook to help us with our nature study.  It also includes art and music.  I think it is well worth it but you do not have to purchase anything to do the challenges.  They are all right there on the blog free of charge.  Thank you Barbara!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Wonders

 Over the past week and a half we have been using Download N Go's Winter Wonders unit study.  We really enjoyed the Download N Go Autumn Treasures study so I was really looking forward to this one.  This unit is so jam packed that we could easily spend an entire month studying the topics included.  I think we will do this one again next year and spend more time with it.  Several of the books on the suggested book list included are also Five in a Row titles and I think it would be great fun to "row" a few books while working through Winter Wonders.

Each Download N Go unit study has 5 days of lessons.  In Winter Wonders you get:

Day 1: What is Winter?
Day 2: Science Secrets of Winter
Day 3: People and Places of Winter
Day 4: Time for Tips and Treasures of Winter
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Winter

sample pages

This is a picture of our "winter" books.  Some are from the library and others we own.  I love the book list in each DNG unit study.  It sure makes life easy when I can just go to the online card catalog and order books that I know will be pertinent to the study as well as safe!

For quite a few years now we have not had a TV.  (We did have a tiny one for the past few months that the kids used to watch old VHS tapes) but, not a TV big enough for the family to watch.  The week after Christmas we got a 40" TV and despite my original reservations I am so happy we got it because I can use it for our Download N Go studies.  We bought an HDMI cable so we can hook the laptop directly to the TV and everyone can easily see all of the great videos and links included in the studies.

TV and laptop side by side...with a Download N Go video playing on the screen

I always like to share a few pictures of our week and let the pictures speak for what we did.
Emma in front of the tree we are following this year.

Emma, Connor and Ryan

Emma on the one day we went on a nature walk.

Emma with her glittery paper snowflake card she made.

nature walk after snowfall (this is the frog pond I've shared pictures of in other studies)

Even the trees smile when it snows.  (At least in my yard they do.)

We made a snowman cake.  We found the directions for making this cake in the Pampered Chef Festive Holiday Desserts Recipe Collection.

Emma adding arms to our snowman cake

Emma with the finished snowman cake.

We also made some bird feeders. (We had a big snowstorm over the last 24 hours and these will be going out on the trees in the morning.  Our other feeders were very busy today!)

Katie helping Emma

Emma spreading peanut butter (actually it was almond butter)
 on a pine cone

Emma holding up the rice cake/almond butter/bird seed hanger

our pine cone and rice cake bird feeders
Inside of Emma's lapbook folder
The inside back cover of the lapbook folder.

This was a really great study that I would highly recommend.  We learned about all things much to learn about and so much fun!  There are a lot of things we did not get to that we might still do as we have time or save for next year.  Thank you Amanda Bennett for another great unit study!

Visit these blogs for more reviews of Winter Wonders.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Nature Study

A month or so ago I purchased Winter Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation by Barbara McCoy at the Handbook of Nature Study blog.  I loved the idea of having the challenges all in one place AND especially the addition of art and music study.

We completed the first challenge on Friday.  I had planned to do the cattail study in the autumn but we never got around to it.  I only pointed them out a few times when we drove by.  I made an effort last week to make sure we did this as I knew we had snow coming and we wouldn't be able to do it.

We weren't there too long.  It was COLD.  But we observed then Emma drew a very quick sketch and we went to the library where it was nice and warm.  I am looking forward to observing the changes of the cattails over the course of the year.

cattails in a tiny bit of snow

cattails..there is a tiny stream running through here

cattails lining both sides of the icy water

close up of the cattail
This week we've been listening to Vivaldi's Winter along with some other "winter" classical music on a CD I got from the library.  Emma (almost 8) really likes it.  She even comes out asking me where the CD is so she can listen to it.  (I find that shocking....don't ask me why, I just do.)  We haven't started our art study yet but we will soon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tips for reading the Bible

I just wanted to link to this wonderful blog post that I just read on tips for reading the Bible in 90 Days.  I am enjoying my reading so far but I expect at some point to find it much more difficult.  These are great tips and I wanted to share for anyone who might be reading the Bible in 90 days or thinking about it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011...Wow!  How is it 2011 already?  Today is not only the first day of the new year, it is also the first day that I am the parent of an adult child.  My oldest daughter, Rebecca, is 18 years old today. Time sure does fly!

Any guesses as to where Becca works?  ;)

I have a few goals this year, the first of which is to read through the Bible in 90 Days.  I have done this before though not with an accountability group.  I am looking forward to it, but it's a big undertaking so I hope I can keep up.  I believe there is still time to sign up for the group (if not, you can still print out the reading schedule and just start on your own.)


My other goals are to spend less time on Facebook (ouch), continue exercising and following the Flat Belly Diet/400 Calorie Fix that I've been doing since the end of October.  One more thing I really need to work on is going to bed earlier.  I have been staying up way too late and this one connects to the goal of less time on Facebook.

What are your goals this year?
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