U is for… Unbelievably Sweet Princess Slumber Party

U unbelievably sweet

About a year ago, at the local library book sale, J found a cute little book on how to host a Princess Slumber Party. She has asked a number of times to do this but, in typical 5 year old fashion, doesn’t ask until it is time for bed. Well, after months of telling her she has to ask earlier in the day, she did! It was “unbelievably sweet” when she came to me, excited and breathless, knowing she had thought about it early enough that I just might say “yes!”

So, this “unbelievably sweet” girl got to host her princess slumber party. As part of school that day, we worked on how to plan and execute a party as the hostess. Using the book, she showed me what she was interested in including at the party. We talked about the practicality of some of the things – sending an invitation to a friend in the metroplex 2 hours away – and made plans for what would work. She selected some activities first (sisters sleeping on her floor, movie with dinner, stories in bed) and then we planned the food.

J chose a simple dinner, for which I am thankful. So we had turkey hot dogs, corn, and peas for dinner. She made a fancy drink to go with dinner though – fruit fizzies. This consists of a scoop of ice cream drizzled with strawberry syrup and lemonade poured over the top. We had made the lemonade earlier, which was fun for her because L usually makes lemonade.

U prepping

Now dessert – this is where the “fun” came in and what J was really planning for the whole time. She made Princess Pudding (I’ll share the recipe, which is also “unbelievably sweet”!) and got the makings for microwave s’mores. My kind of dessert! She carefully made up each dessert plate and the girls chowed down on sugar and sweet. How delicious it was!

After the movie and dessert were both finished, the girls hopped to getting ready for bed and headed into the bedroom for the slumber part of the party. We made a couple of palettes on the floor and they hit the hay. They crawled into their beds and chatted and giggled. After some chatting and giggling, which you have to have with a slumber party, they all fell asleep. Peacefully.

I am thankful tonight, reflecting on this party. I am thankful that we are in a situation where we can do spur of the moment things like this. I am thankful that I can say “yes” to the type of learning that this allowed J – planning, hostessing, shopping, serving, cooking. I am thankful for the bonding and relationships that activities like this encourage. I am thankful for my “unbelievably sweet girls”. I am thankful. At Home.


Linking up with ABC Blogging at Benandme.com.

Ben and Me


A Review: My Student Logbook

MSL Title

Something we worked on last year was a way for the giggly girls to know where we were in the day and how much more we needed to do. We created a flip chart that worked well but when the Review Crew offered the opportunity to use My Student Logbook, I was more than happy to help out. It looked like it would be perfect for E and we have not been disappointed.

My Student Logbook was created by a homeschool family who was searching for accountability, record keeping ease, and just general help. I don’t know about you but I certainly need all those things and My Student Logbook is helping!

I chose our oldest to review this product and it has been successful. She chose the ocean theme, one of several different options in the printed version, though honestly, she keeps it flipped open most of the time and doesn’t even seen the pretty cover. The pretty front page is covered by a clear plastic sheet and the back has a thick plastic page as well. It is spiral bound.

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook has a wonderful, informative video on their site that will help you learn more about their products and how to use them. Their set-up video is so helpful that, having watched it, putting together the logbook was easy.  To set it up, E and I worked together. We talked about what all needed to be accomplished each week. Then we listed them, beginning with Bible at the top of the list because I didn’t want that missed or forgotten during a busy day. We included laundry and chores in this list, as well, since these are things that I want E to become more self-directed in completing.

After we had listed all of the subjects and activities, we went through the time column and added out own marks. If there was a daily amount of time that needed to be spent, that was written in there. If there were a certain number of days that the subject needed to be covered, we wrote it in this column as well. The other thing we added to this column was a mark that indicated if it was an independent subject or a family subject. We added this because the family subjects E cannot do anything to move along but if she is finished with something and waiting on use for a family subjects, she can look at her independent activities and find something to do. (As a side note: This list is super easy to change throughout the year as the needs, curriculum, or other activities of your student change. Another bonus!)

My Student Logbook inside

E has seemed to enjoy having this guidance for her days. She pulls it out first thing each day after getting her school box out. She looks at what she needs to do, asks if we are getting ready to start a family subject, and if not, picks something to work on. I have been so pleased with the incentive the check marks have been for her. She feels more prepared, knowing what she needs to do. She also feels more confident, accomplishing things on her own and knowing that she is meeting expectations.

There are some additional pages at the back that we are just beginning to explore. These additional pages include:

  • All About Me
  • Prayers and Goals
  • Bible Verses Memorized
  • Books Read
  • Events, Projects, Field Trips, Presentations, Activities
  • Test Records
  • Year Highlights: My Favorite Memories from this Year

This logbook is designed for student use and is not a planner for the parent/teacher. It is appropriate for ages 2nd grade and up. To get your own My Student Logbook, visit http://mystudentlogbook.com/shop/. The printed version is $15.00. The downloadable version is $10 – $20, depending on the options you choose.

You can connect with My Student Logbook on social media at:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MyStudentLogbook

You Tube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMxzpy91vov8a8nDpyp2ihQ

This has been a wonderful experience for us. This is definitely a “keeper!” At Home.


Visit the Review Crew blog to see more review and how other families used My Student Logbook.

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Make It Work Monday: doll capes

capes title

I am a saver. I save WAY too many things in case I might need them later. I am working on that particular issue and doing better. Sometimes, though, that saving tendency comes in helpful. To make capes, for example.

E and J wanted to make capes for their dolls. We didn’t want to get the sewing machine out and J is a bit too new to sewing to work with doll sized clothes on the sewing machine. (If you haven’t ever done that, it takes some serious finesse!) So, we pulled out the bag of felt scraps.

Felt is excellent for this type of activity. It doesn’t unravel so it doesn’t have to be hemmed. You can hem it but you don’t have to. It is fairly easy to cut, especially if you have sharp scissors. It is easy to hand sew on. All good reasons to have this project be done with felt.

capes 3

So, the girls both picked a pretty dark blue felt to create their capes out of. To decide how wide the fabric needed to be cut, they wrapped the cape around their doll and decided how full the cape should be. This determined the short edge of the rectangle. Then, they each decided how long they wanted their capes to be. This determined the length of the long edge of the rectangle. We cut a rectangle out of felt the length they wanted. We then folded it in half lengthwise. We cut the bottom edge (short one) in a quarter-circle. We also cut the other short edge in a quarter-circle but only off of one corner. The cape J chose to make follows a slightly different bottom curve because she was designing it based on an existing piece of doll clothes and she wanted it to have a scalloped bottom edge. It was a bit trickier to cut so after, she cut the cape a bit longer than she wanted following the instructions here, I cut a scalloped edge on it for her.

capes instructions

After getting the felt cut to the right length and curves for each doll, the girls cut and sewed on small pieces of Velcro at the neckline. After teaching them how to thread needles (or reminding, in E’s case) and tying knots in the end of the thread, they sewed it on.

capes 4After they got the Velcro sewed down tight (it needs to be tight because it will take a lot of use from little hands), they rummaged through the trim bag that I have and picked some things to trim their capes with. Hand sewing trim takes different techniques depending on what kind of trim you are working with so each girl got a couple of different kinds of instruction. Then they went to work sewing down the trim.

capesAfter a short while, their capes were finished and ready to be modeled by the dolls. So, here are the finished capes.

capes 6 capes 5

And here are the dolls modeling the new fashions.
capes J finished capes E finished

Another fun sewing lesson, making use of things we already had around the house. What have you done recently to make something work? Please share your activities in the comments section and if you have a blog post or other link to pictures of it, please share that too. I’d love to visit your site to see what you have done! At Home.

Talking about Mammoths, part 2

mammoths part 2

We did a few things relating to the mammoths this week. (See the post on our field trip.) But, I was not in a terribly creative mood, I guess, because I had some real trouble thinking up some ideas. So, after we had used the files from the Waco Mammoth Site, I went with a bit broader category: fossils.

The Waco Mammoth Site has a lot of educational printables for various age groups. I went through and picked out a few for each of the girls that I felt would appropriately challenge or review materials. Here are the ones the girls did.

mammoth L mammoths E mammoths J


On E and L’s scientific name worksheet, it had them create their own animal using scientific names and draw it. After they had done that, I had them brainstorm ideas about what happened to their animal and more specific details about their animal. They had to come up with a lot of words about their animals. Once we had a white board full, each girl was asked to create a story or a poem or a written account of their animal. I don’t have copies of those finished products but the girls enjoyed that writing assignment.

On another day, we explored fossils. We got down all of the fossils that we have tucked away. E and L got down on the floor (so that dropped fossils would be less likely to break and the floor would be less likely to be damaged) and touched, examined, talked about, felt, and explored the fossils we have. We have various real fossils and then we have a few that were made by pressing a shell or other natural object into plaster of paris or air dry clay. The girls spent probably 45 minutes discussing and talking about all of the fossils.

mammoths shark teeth mammoths fossils

After their chatter began dying down, I handed them a worksheet I had created and asked them to each choose one fossil to complete the worksheet on. This included a measuring activity in both inches and centimeters. There was a box to describe, factually, what the fossil was like. They were encouraged to describe it with as many of their senses as they could, as well as anything specific they could observe about it. There was place for them to draw their fossil. One box had them describing where their fossil might have been found. And a final box had them describing what the fossil might be from and why. They were also asked to color-code their page: blue for facts and yellow for opinion/theory/hypothesis.

mammoths fossil sheet

It surprised me that the girls were excited to complete these. E actually asked to complete two of these, so I let her. They also choose to sit down together and share their findings.

mammoths sharing

After these were completed, we got out our posters on poetry styles. We reviewed poetry styles, including limericks, lyrical poems, cinquain, and more. They each chose one style of poetry to use and wrote a poem about their fossil. L’s favorite style is always lyrical; she loves rhymes and descriptive phrases and long, flowy sentences. E’s favorite style is almost always cinquain. Here is their poetry.

mammoths E poems mammoths L poem
I am linking below to the information page the girls filled out. You are welcome to use this and share it but please link back to this post when you are sharing it.

Fossil worksheet

Our mammoth and fossil study has been fun. I have a couple of other ideas that I would like to do but we’ll see if they happen or not! Please share with me if you study mammoths or fossils or something related. I’d love to know what you do. At Home.


Remembering 9/11

Remembering 911

Today, I took some time to talk with the girls about September 11, 2001. It was a rough day in our history and the significance of it is hard to teach. But the girls are extremely empathetic and understood the emotion of it all, the loss that occurred.

I shared my piece of the story – where I was, what I was doing. I was teaching and was pulled out of class to be told that our country was under attack by terrorists and that not much else was known. While I am grateful I was told, I spent the next few hours attempting to maintain normal while not having a clue what was going on. We were not allowed to tell the children anything at all. Looking back, I am glad that the school allowed the parents the opportunity to share this occurrence with their children. The girls had lots of questions about what the kids thought about it and how school went on in the days following.

Then, I shared a video with them. I was shared on Facebook but is a video from YouTube. The creator of the video asks that it be shared. To remember. To encourage. To boldly move forward. This is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJGB5XEUkA. The video is child-friendly and age-appropriate. It is not graphic but does cover the details of what occurred that day. We stopped the video a few times because the girls had questions. So, I answered them.

After the video was finished, I let the girls ask any questions they had. And they had some good ones:

Why didn’t they use the stairwells? Well, in both of the buildings, the impact severed the stairwells. Of the six possible, only one was left useable. And, it was used.

Why would anyone want to hurt others? Baby, I don’t know why. There are bad people in this world. There are people who do ugly things in this world. All we can do is pray for them and trust in God, knowing that He has this world in His hands.

Were they scared? Probably. Most certainly.

remembering 911 mister rogersBut they were brave? Absolutely. In every situation, they are helpers. Remember our quote from Mister Rogers – “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” We spent quite a bit of time talking about the helpers, what happened to them, how they helped, who helped, how they went in when others were running out. (My heart skipped a few beats when one of the girls expressed how proud she was of someone she knows who is a helper and how it must be hard to be the helper in a situation like that. Her empathy just grows daily!)

Didn’t the hijackers die, too? Why would they do something like this if they were going to die, too? Well, they did die. I don’t really know why you would do something that would kill you.

Our discussions were really good and I had to answer “I don’t know” a lot. Because, the truth is, I don’t know. Only God truly knows. Only He knows the answer to a lot of what we worry about. However, we know how it all ends and it is a good and happy ending. I reminded the girls that God calls us to a spirit of courage and bravery, not fear and timidity. Fear and timidity are from Satan so we fight against them by knowing God, knowing His powerful Word, and praying.


After our discussions, I asked the girls if they wanted to create something as a remembrance. I gave a couple of suggestions – something with a flag, a letter of thanks, a poem. Here is what they created:

remembering 911 L remembering 911 J remembering 911 E


I am thankful to be in a situation where we can not only discuss the events of our world but we can guide them daily to seek God and His will and His understanding. Especially when we learn of something dark and hurtful and scary. God is good, even when everything around us is dark and uncertain. God shines through and I am thankful. At Home.

T is for…Talking about Mammoths

T Talking About Mammoths

What do you know about mammoths? Recently, we visited the Waco Mammoth Site to talk about mammoths. The Waco Mammoth Site is an important paleontological site because it is the first and only site to have fossils of a nursery herd.

What is a nursery herd, you ask? If you have ever seen elephants defend the young, you will recall that the females adults of the herd tend to circle around the young elephants to protect them. When the dig began at the Waco site, they found a circle of adult female mammoths surrounding a group of young mammoths. The first ever nursery herd discovered.

T girls and Quincy T thigh bones

The mammoths at the Waco Mammoth Site are Columbian mammoths. They are much larger than the wooly mammoth, which is what we often think of when discussing mammoths. The Columbian mammoth bull that is being excavated, fondly known as Quincy, is estimated to be over 14 feet tall and weigh more than 20,000 pounds. The tooth of a Columbian mammoth is as big as shoe box for an adult’s shoe. The Columbian mammoth is believed to have six sets of teeth which get progressively bigger as the mammoth aged. The set of teeth in the mammoth’s mouth when it died is one of the ways that scientists can help guess the age of the animal. The Columbian mammoth’s tusks are a type of tooth, could grow up to 16 feet in length, and weigh up to 200 pounds each.

T pathway

The Waco Mammoth Site dates to the Ice Age. We don’t know exact dates for that since we believe what the Bible says about creation. This provides some difficulty when discussing the actual dates with the girls, especially when trying to be tactful during a tour. So, the exact date is unknown as far as we are concerned. We did, however, learn a lot about the Ice Age in Texas. Guess what? Many scientists actually believe we are in an Ice Age now! When you think about the Ice Age, you probably think of the same kinds of things that I do: glaciers, snow fall, packed snow, lots of wooly animals, etc.
T picture outside visitor center




Well, the Ice Age in Texas looked nothing like that! It looked much like it does today, without all the trees. (I know – you guys from true T T picture outside visitor centerpicture outside visitor centerforested lands – quit T picture outside visitor centerlaughing!) Really, though, Texas was believed to be a savannah and, during the Ice Age, to have high temperatures that were somewhere around 80-90 degrees. That makes these hundred degree temperatures seem even hotter if 90 was an Ice Age! This area that was a savannah was home to rabbits, white-tailed deer, birds, and more of what we see around here today. With a couple of big exceptions. And I do mean big! Giant sloths, which stood 20 feet tall when on their hind legs, lived in this area. Saber-toothed cats (we found out they don’t call them tigers anymore since they have determined they are not related to tigers in any way) lived and hunted here. And, of course, the Columbian mammoth lived here.

The dig site is terribly interesting and we were blessed to have Dava be our guide. She is the education coordinator for the Waco Mammoth Site so the girls got a wonderful, educational tour with lots of information. She asked plenty of thinking questions that the girls were anxious to answer and she allowed them to ask any questions they had. She encouraged them to continue to study and learn, which I always appreciate.

T QuincyA visit to the site will show you all that they are uncovering, though they are not digging currently. There is not a lab on site and the bones are extremely fragile and cannot be moved, even down the road to Baylor University, without extreme damage occurring. So, when you visit the dig shelter, you see all that they have uncovered to date. Dava talked to us about the animals that are currently exposed, including a couple of female mammoths, a bull mammoth, a juvenile mammoth, leg bones from yet another mammoth, a camel (yep you read that right – they believe that camels traveled with the matriarchal herds for protection), the tooth of a saber-tooth kitten, and a couple of bones from an unknown animal. These are in additional to the 20 or so other animals that have been excavated. It truly is an interesting site.

T fossils T female mammoth T camelT saber-tooth kitten tooth

Discovered in 1978, this site has been full of information for the scientific community. After a fund-raising campaign and building period, the site was turned into a municipal park and opened to the public in 2009. It is a wonderful experience and I highly recommend this field trip if you are in the Waco, TX, area or will be traveling through sometime.

T field journal

Join us later this week for part 2 of T is for…Talking about Mammoths. (Here is the link to Part 2.) I’ll share with you some of the worksheets and activities the girls have done with a mammoth theme, many of which are found on the Waco Mammoth Site’s web page under the education tab. At Home.


Linking up with Benandme.com for ABC Blogging.

Ben and Me

A Review: Under Drake’s Flag

Under Drake's Flag title

Adventure, exploration, pirates, danger, and yet living a life for Christ, even under the most dire of circumstances. All this and more is to be found in the audio theater production of Under Drake’s Flag. Our family fell in love with this production by Heirloom Audio Productions, a 2-CD set filled with 2 hours of adventure. This story is suggested for ages 6 to adult but our 5 year old listened along with us and enjoyed the adventure. (Please note that there are some scenes that could be scary or frightening to the younger children or children who are sensitive to emotions.)

Before receiving these CDs to review, I had not heard of audio theater. Imagine old time radio with the added clarity of high definition audio and magnificent sound effects, full high-quality acting and interaction of the characters. Imagine a full production movie without the video and you have the quality of Heirloom Audio Productions and their vision for Under Drake’s Flag.

The prayer of Sir Francis Drake begins “Disturb us Lord when we are too well pleased with ourselves…” It goes on to mention dreams being too little, being too settled in what we have, and allowing our vision of Heaven to dim. “Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly…and to push into the future, in strength, courage, hope, and love.” This is a good introduction to the story of these CDs.

This adaptation of G.A. Henty’s story focuses on Ned Hawkshaw and his adventures aboard the ship of Sir Francis Drake, the English explorer, sailor, and privateer. Sir Francis chooses Ned to join him on his ship. As Ned and his new friend Gerald learn the ropes of the ship, they also learn much about the character of Sir Francis and his reliance upon God to guide his actions, even in the toughest of circumstances. Ned and Gerald experience everything they could have imagined with Sir Francis, as well as much more than they ever dreamed. From being sailors to surviving a shipwreck, from fighting off a shark attack to protecting those weaker than themselves, from fierce battles on land and sea to standing before the Spanish Inquisition – Ned and Gerald learn so much more than just how to be a man; they learn how to stand up for God and be a Christian, holding secure their faith even when their lives depend on renouncing it.

small study guide

Under Drake’s Flag comes with a study guide that can enrich your experiences. The CD is set up to correspond to the units in the study guide. Each unit in the study guide has three parts.

  1. Listening Well gives you questions about what is heard in the story or what can be remembered. Some of the questions are easier and others are harder, broadening the challenge for different students.
  2. Thinking Further questions have the students looking deeper into meaning and purposes. They might need to look up words, draw conclusions, or speculate about the choices and actions of one of the characters.
  3. Defining Words is designed to help enrich vocabulary and deepen understanding.

Additionally, there are three Bible studies in the study guide. Each of the Bible studies covers a concept that is directly applicable to daily life. There are multiple Bible verses used to encourage the students to study the Bible and gather its meaning for themselves.

  • Bible Study 1 is on Godly Character.
  • Bible Study 2 is on True Manhood.
  • Bible Study 3 is on Confessing Christ.

The study guide that is included with the CD is a good length and very useful. However, once you purchase your copy of Under Drake’s Flag, you will have access to a fuller, longer, more comprehensive study guide for download. The 28 page study guide has more questions in each section disc and study guideand encourages even more growth in the listeners. We did not use the study guides formally but I enjoyed looking through them and used some of the questions when we were having discussions about the story. E got the study guide out a couple of times and looked through it on her own. I observed her stopping and closing her eyes, thinking about a question she had read or focusing on one of the words. So, they are easily useable by a 10 year old.

We really enjoyed getting to know Heirloom Audio Productions and Under Drake’s Flag. We listened to it in the car on a road trip. And then, when we got home, E wanted to get it out again and listen to it once more. This one will stick around with us for a while. To purchase your own copy, visit http://www.underdrakesflag.com/buy-now.php. The 2 CD set like we reviewed is $29.95. There are a couple other packages available, as well, if you are looking for gift ideas.

We just heard that they are planning to release a new audio drama this fall. It will also be based on a book by G. A. Henty and is called In Freedom’s Cause. Visit the website for In Freedom’s Cause to learn more. We are excited for the new one to be released because we enjoyed this one so much. At Home.


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Under Drake's Flag Reviews

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