Make It Work Monday – horse jumps

Make It Work Monday Title

All three of the giggly girls love to play. One of the favorite forms of play at this time is pretending that at least one of the dolls is an equestrian. The horses come out with the dolls and all sorts of ideas go flying. During one of these intense sessions of equestrian play, L decided that she wanted a series of horse jumps for her 18″ dolls. She is very creative and an out-of-the-box thinker. She began thinking about how to make jumps. What came to mind was her favorite medium – paper.

She brainstormed a number of ideas but realized that while paper would work for the bar of the jumps, she would need something different to hold it up. Toilet paper roll tubes were the final decision and they have worked well.

horse jump 2

What she did:

  1. Take the toilet paper tube and cut a narrow half circle out of one side of one end. Opposite that at the same end, cut another narrow half circle. This is where the bar will sit.
  2. Cover the tube with paper. You could also color it or paint it but L chose to use construction paper.
  3. Make another one for the other side of the jump.
  4. Decide how wide you want your jump to be. L wanted it to be as long as a piece of paper and a half. So she took some of our pile of scrap paper, taped two pieces together, and rolled up it long-ways. She then used colored scotch tape and covered the whole thing.
  5. Place your bar on the two posts that you made.
  6. If desired, cut some fabric or felt to be the ground under the jump. This one has “grass” under it. We also cut some blue for water and some brown for mud or dirt. Options are always good.

Here is the final product, with her little sister using it for the pets.

horse jump horse jump 3

She has made two of these so far and there are plans for more. They have worked great for the horses, even for the Barbie-sized dolls, as well as pets. Recycling fun! At Home.

Y is for…Yummy!

Y is for YummyLast night’s dinner was yummy! I got it straight from my daughter’s mouth. No kidding! And it included goat cheese and green chili. Strange, I know.

So what was this yummy dinner? Josephina-inspired burritos. We are currently listening to the books about the American Girl Josephina. We are on the last one and have enjoyed them a lot. Josephina is a young girl from New Mexico, living near Santa Fe in the early 1800s. Her little pet is a goat and they talk about goats being needed for meat, milk, and cheese.

I grew up in New Mexico so green chili is in my blood. I LOVE green chili! I put them in lots of things! Tonight’s dinner was a natural outcome of listening to Josephina’s books and loving green chili. Goat cheese and green chili – YUM!!!

Y burritos

On to the recipe -

Green Chili Goat Cheese Burritos

1 lb ground meat
1/4 of an onion, minced
salt – to taste
pepper – to taste
garlic powder – to taste
diced green chili – fresh or canned (I am picky – mine has to be from New Mexico! It just tastes better.)
2-4 oz crumbled goat cheese
flour tortillas

1 – Brown 1 lb of ground meat with 1/4 of an onion, minced, until done. (We use turkey in our house but you could use whatever you want.)
2 – Season your meat to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. (I use a lot of garlic powder!)
3 – Add 3 large spoonfuls of diced green chili. (This is probably about the equivalent of a 4 ounce can if you are buying it in a can.) You can add more or less to satisfy you desired heat and flavor level. I would have added more but the girls were going to be eating this as well.
4 – Add 2 – 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese and stir well. As the goat cheese melts, it will stir throughout the mixture well.
5 – Serve rolled up in warm flour tortillas.

Y green chili goat cheese burritos

green chili goat cheese burritos

(Click on the words above for a printable version of the recipe.)

If you decide to try this, I would love to know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you. At Home.

This post is linked up with ABC Blogging on Ben And Me.

Ben and Me

A Review: iWitness

iWitness title page

When the review came up for Apologia’s iWitness series, I knew that I wanted the opportunity to take a look at these books. I am always on the lookout for materials that will help me show the girls the truth of the Bible and that all that is found within it is truth. I was really hopeful about these materials, though I wasn’t sure they were on the best level for the girls. I wasn’t disappointed in the iWitness series.

Apologia Review

The iWitness series, published by Apologia Educational Ministries that we were asked to review included three books:

Do you know about Homer’s Illiad? Is it real? What about Plato? Did his writings exist? Caesar’s Gallic Wars? Sophocles? How do you know? Do you doubt their authenticity? Why not? The iWitness series, written and designed by Doug Powell, takes the reader on a path documenting the history and authenticity of the Bible, using historical documents, photographs, images, archaeological finds and other facts supported by science, culture, and history.


Apologia ReviewLet’s take a look at each of the three books, beginning with the one I felt was easiest to follow: New Testament iWitness. The New Testament is the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, the men who were with Jesus here on earth and were eyewitnesses to his teaching, healing, prayer, mistreatment, death, and resurrection. These teachings are the foundation for Christians around the world, showing by example worship, praise, prayer, and more. The New Testament iWitness brings the reader along to understand the process by which the New Testament came to us today.  The authority of the books, how each of them was included, and how ancient documents and historians support the scripture as truth are all included. I was fascinated by the discussion about the age of the books of the New Testament and how they have been traced back through history. The discussion included the differences in copies of the texts, how those occurred, and why they don’t make an appreciable difference in the text and purpose of the New Testament. This is helpful and gives the understanding needed to be able to take a stand on the truth of the Bible.


Apologia Review

Old Testament iWitness was a bit more difficult to comprehend and absorb. There are many words relating to the Old Testament, Jews, and other cultures and their documents that are discussed and defined in the book that, for me, require daily use and handling to comprehend and truly understand. The differences and uses of the Old Testament, the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and Tanakh are just a few examples of the things I struggle to understand the relationships of. There are many discussions that help to support the dating and placement of the Old Testament, including defining covenants in the Bible and examples from non-Biblical history that support the form of covenants shown in the Bible. Mr. Powell goes through each of the books included in the Old Testament, talking about the title, additional names it is known by, date, writer, and purpose. This was an interesting section to read through. As the Old Testament is followed by the New Testament in the Bible, Mr. Powell does not close it out without discussing the relevance of the two testaments to each other and including a timeline of Old Testament people and important events.


Apologia Review

Many of the people and places mentioned in the Bible have been lost in history for a long time. That is changing, though, as archaeologists look for, and find, support for what is found in the Bible. iWitness Biblical Archaeology is written as a path for the reader to follow. It comes across as a neutral study of archaeology findings. The statements of fact are presented and the reader is expected to connect the dots and follow where they lead. Mr. Powell has given us some highly interesting information, though it is somewhat difficult to follow. Supported by images of ancient documents, archaeological finds, pictures, and other writings, various parts of the Bible are given scientific support. Some of the discussions are simply to show that what is in the Bible is accurate, such as a boat that has been uncovered and dated to the time of Jesus. Other discussions lead you to understand that while different cultures don’t necessarily agree on exactly what happened at a particular time, such as the flood recorded in Genesis, most of them agree that something happened as it is clearly documented in the written, drawn, and/or oral traditions. Some names of kings or rulers in the Bible were not found in secular history until recently, but now science and history are agreeing that these rulers recorded in the Bible did in fact rule and in the time the Bible records. These are the types of documentation that Mr. Powell shares in this book.

iWitness use

This book was mainly used by the adults in our family. Apologia recommends them for ages 11 and up. I do not agree with this at all. These books were not easy to read. They required a lot of thought, a lot of follow up, and a lot of prior knowledge. I think that an age of 15 and up might be more appropriate. The 10 year old giggly girl was able to read some of the Biblical Archaeology book and understand a bit of it but I was reading right beside her, directing her to specific passages to read, and discussing what Mr. Powell meant with some of what he wrote. We also had a Bible right beside us to look up any passages included. She is an advanced reader for her age (reading around a 10th or 11th grade level) and these books would have been a major struggle for her. We have been able to use information from them in some of our Bible discussion and I have used some of it in the Bible class I teach on Sunday mornings.
iWitness books

All three of the iWitness books are written and designed by Doug Powell. Mr. Powell is a graphic designer and you will recognize that when looking through these books. For me, that actually was a drawback of the materials. They are beautiful to look at but the interaction between design, the written materials, and the photographic/image materials all interwove in such a way that I was not always able to discern the intended materials without difficulty. It looks as though the chosen font and the set up of the images on the page are intended to make one think of ancient manuscripts and images. While it does that well, the important material tends to get lost on the page or become difficult to follow. I can see that these would be visually appealing to teenagers and young adults but the importance of the material is lost in the process.

I do not take lightly that I am responsible for the material I place before my children and my readers. If I am presenting something Biblical, I need to be absolutely certain that it is full of truth and only truth before I recommend it. I feel it is a shortcoming of these materials that it required some work to discern that the material is accurate and does not lead anyone astray. While there is an included bibliography and a list of images and their origins, I did not have access to all of the materials. Even if I had, there are no footnotes or citations to know which resource to look in to support and clarify the information. I went to a trusted and knowledgeable person who understood more about these topics than I do to be sure that the information included was accurate and true. Please do the same if you have any questions. Find someone you trust and who has a background to be able to discern the truth and ask them to go through the material with you.

These books are available from Apologia Educational Ministries. Each book sells for $14.00.

These books will remain in our home and on our shelves for our use. We desire to have quality materials available to the girls when they need them, though these may not get a lot of use for a few more years. At Home.
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If you are interested in what others had to say about these same books, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Field Trip with Friends

FW Bot Gar field tripA couple of weeks ago, we were able to meet some friends in Fort Worth at the Botanical Gardens. We hadn’t seen them in almost a year, even though we live as close as we do. They are almost finished with their time at the Brown Trail School of Preaching. We are praying with them for a wonderful ministry opportunity to be presented for their family.

J has been writing to their daughter, whom we will just call S on here, since they met a year ago. S visited worship services with her family one evening and she and J just had a blast! They have been penpals ever since. J talks about her often and last Halloween, they both dressed up as Cinderella without even discussing it. They are two peas in a pod.

So, we met up with S, her mom and her brother at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. All I can say about that experience is that I want to go back to the Botanical Gardens again. It was peaceful, beautiful, interesting. There was so much to see and do.

FW Bot Gar treasures

Of course, along the way, J collected all sorts of treasures. One that I found particularly fascinating was the cap to an acorn from the giant burr oak. She collected some beautiful flower petals that just didn’t make it all the way home intact. The required rocks and feathers were also among her treasures.

FW Bot Gar scavenger hunt




They had a neat scavenger hunt brochure for the kids that had them looking for things that they could see, hear, smell, and touch. It was printed on a nice paper that could be folded up and used as a telescope to view things. What they were looking for was presented as pictures with words so that even non-readers could use it easily. J and S did look for some of the things on it but they also just went along on their own observant way, finding what was interesting.

FW Bot Gar bird calls


The Botanical Gardens had a trail that is called the Texas Native Forest Boardwalk. It is extremely kid-friendly! It is a lovely walk through a forested area. It is grown so that you can see an unmolested native forest on one side and a native forest with invasive, non-native plants affecting it on the other side. Along the boardwalk, they have set up learning stations and at each station there is a theme. The theme is FW Bot Gar bird calls 2addressed through a question with answers presented in an interactive way. At one station, the question was “what is an insect?” It had pictures of several animals that we typically call insects. You lifted the picture up and it showed whether or not you were right. At another station, the kids got to press buttons that shared the call of different birds. Still another station had examples of birds’ eggs. I don’t know how much J remembers about each of the stations but I know she had fun looking and spending time with her friends.




One section that J really liked was the lily pad ponds. There are two large ponds in front of the main building that have several varieties of lily pads growing. When we first got there, not all of the lily pads’ flowers were open but by the time we went back at the end of our visit, the flowers were all open. And, the favorite part was all of the frogs that were in the ponds. These are not big, jumping frogs. These were teensy-tinesy little froggies. They ranged in size from about 1/2″ to 1″. They were so small that we missed them for the first 10 minutes we were looking at the lily pads. It was fun to find them hiding on lily pads or swimming through the water. Sometimes, they just hung out there, still as can be, in the water.

FW Bot Gar tree hugging

We easily spent a couple of hours at the Botanical Gardens and everything that we did was free. We also could have gone into some of the other sections of the gardens that they charge a small fee to enter. We chose not to on this day but perhaps another time we will.

This was a relaxing, fun field trip that was right up our alley, though we had to travel a bit to get there. It was definitely worth the trip. Seeing friends and having fun – it is hard to ever get enough of those things. At Home.

FIAR: Madeline

Madeline title

We are using Five In A Row as a literature curriculum this year. It is directed at J, who is a kindergartener. However, all three of the giggly girls want to be a part of it, so we are trying hard to differentiate the activities so that all of them get something out of it. E, at 10, is absolutely loving the FIAR series and is upset with me when I do an activity without her.

Our first book to use with FIAR was Madeline. We have enjoyed this book for many years, since our now 10 year old was a very little one or two year old.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, it begins”

“In an old house in Paris, covered with vines,
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”

Thus, you are introduced to the Madeline and her companions. Miss Clavel is the mistress of the boarding house and the girls have all sorts of fun, some of it sanctioned and some of it not. This is a book that all little girls will be drawn to. Sorry but I cannot speak to whether or not little boys will be drawn to this book.


Madeline reading

As suggested in the curriculum, every time we planned to do an activity related to the book, we read the book. Sometimes I read. Other times, the bigger giggly girls read.


Geography/Map Work:

Madeline globe

For each book we read, we will be placing the little circle that is provided in the book on a large map that we have. J will be in charge of taping it on because this is mainly for her. J placed the circle for Madeline on France. To be sure we placed it correctly, we looked at the globe. We also pulled out an atlas and looked up where Paris was within France’s borders.



From the FIAR curriculum book:

We talked about relationships, good vs. bad, the vocabulary words suggested,


Madeline symmetryAfter discussing what symmetry is, we looked through the book, noticing all the different places Ludwig Bemelmans used symmetry in his drawings. Then, I made a page for the girls to complete. It was half finished drawings that the girls had to complete, showing the symmetry in the shapes. You can download and print this page by clicking on the link below. If you want to print it smaller in order to have older children have to work a bit harder at creating the symmetry, just change your printer settings. For the middle giggly girl, I printed it two sheets to a page, which made it half sized. For E, I changed the percentage for the print and it shrunk it down to 1/4 the size of the original.

Click here for Symmetry activities.


Madeline groupings

Using counting crystals, we created the “twelve little girls in two straight lines.” We used different colors for each of the groupings of twelve that we could come up with. This helped J to see that changing the way you group something does not change the total number that you use.








The Eiffel Tower is prominent on the cover of Madeline. We talked about the Eiffel Tower, where it is located, what is important about it, and why it is famous. We looked at some photographs of it that we found on the internet. Then, we drew it.

Art Work:

Madeline art

Symmetry is prominent throughout the books illustrations, so we discussed that. We also talked about monochromatic color schemes and how that was used in the illustrations. Another concept that Ludwig Bemelmans used in the illustrations was variation of sizing. After discussing various artistic techniques over several days, we got ready to illustrate. Using what we have learned about chalk pastels, we draw an imitation of the cover with the Eiffel Tower, Madeline and her friends, Miss Clavel, and the trees.

Since Madeline is a favorite, we really enjoyed this. Our next FIAR book will be Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

X is for … Xylophone

X is for Xylophone

While the use of the word xylophone for X is obvious, I wanted to take the opportunity to share one of my very favorite composers and pieces of music with you.

Camille Saint-Saens and Danse Macabre

The reason this falls under X is for Xylophone is because the xylophone is featured prominently in this piece. This also falls perfectly for an October theme and music study.

A xylophone is a musical instrument that falls under the percussion family. It is part of the percussion family because the sound is created by striking the bars with a mallet. A xylophone’s bars can be made of wood, metal, or plastic; sometimes they are made of whatever material is readily available by the makers. Each type of bar creates a different sound and thus each type has a different name but they are all commonly known as xylophones.


Xylophones are common instruments around the world and some of the most famous xylophone groups come from Africa. If you would like to do an instrument study about an instrument that is found in a number of cultures, the xylophone is your instrument! Africa, the Philippines, Asia, Europe, North America, South America – all have a version of the xylophone.

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) is a French composer that is well known for his tone poems and program music. You might know of his pieces Carnival of the Animals or Peter and the Wolf. Danse Macabre is much in the same line of music as these other two pieces. In addition to this style of music, Saint-Saens also wrote a number of symphonies and other orchestral works. His music is rich and full and no matter how many times you listen to a piece, there is always something else to discover in his music.

Danse Macbre was originally an art song using a text by Henri Cazalis. The text came from an old French legend or superstition that says that at midnight on October 31, every year, death come and calls forth the dead by playing his fiddle. They dance and play until the rooster crows at dawn. They all then return to their places until the next year.

The art song didn’t go over too well so Saint-Saens reworked the piece for an orchestra, featuring a solo violin as death and the xylophone as the skeletons dancing. This reworked piece for orchestra has always been a favorite of mine. It is an easy piece to teach students how to follow a listening map. (You can find some of these by doing searches on the web but I cannot share the one I have because of its copyright.)

The version of this piece that we will be listening to is found on The Classical Collection Volume 2, disc 1. Again, you can find a number of versions on YouTube or purchase one just about anywhere that sells classical music.

Because this is a topic that is so sensitive and varies significantly from family to family, I am not going to link any videos or listening maps. These are easy to search for but please do so without little ones in the room! There are a couple that may work for your family but there are a number that come up with undesirable images. Also, if you choose to show them a video, please preview it all the way through. Our little ones are special and they cannot unsee anything we show them. This is one topic that needs previewed.

xylophone 2

A couple of ideas for using this piece:

  1. Just listen. Listen for a specific instrument or musical theme. There are many options for listening.
  2. Move. The students can move anytime they hear the theme or instrument you have asked them to listen for. They can move like the skeletons that have been called out.
  3. Play along. The theme has a fairly consistent rhythm that the student could play with the music.
  4. Have the students create a piece of artwork that shows what they hear, either before or after you have shared the superstition with them.
  5. Have the students choreograph movement to go along with the piece. It does not have to show the superstition unless you or they want it to. The repetition of the piece is easy to choreograph.
  6. Borrow a xylophone if you can and play with it. You can play alongside the music (it doesn’t have to match) or allow the students to improvise and create their own pieces.
  7. The students can write a poem to describe the music. Then, they could create their own music to go along with their poem. A full circle.
  8. Create a water xylophone. Play a piece of music on it. Improvise and sing along with it.
  9. Have Fun!

I really enjoy this piece of music and hope you will try some of these ideas with your students or family. At Home.

Linking up with for the ABC Blogging series.

Ben and Me

Make It Work Monday – skirt for me

Make It Work Monday TitleToday’s Make It Work Monday is a short one. A single skirt. That would be because I have been working hard at creating a Jasmine costume for the youngest giggly girl. We finished it a bit ago (Sunday afternoon) and J is thrilled with it. All we lack for it to be completely finished is figuring out what she wants to do about shoes.

This single skirt is the only “Make It Work” work I got done. But I am thrilled with it because I have been missing this skirt. For months! The elastic died in the waist band and so it got set in the mending pile. That pile got packed away for a short time. Then, I got the skirt out, cut the dead elastic out, and other things came up. So, the skirt just sat. I decided that I was going to fix it because I wanted to wear it again before it got cool/cold. So, I did it. And, my skirt fits lovely again.

blue flower skirt

What have you worked on lately to “Make It Work?” Please share links to anything you have made work lately and I’ll go check out your post. Thanks for checking out this week’s “Make It Work Monday” post. At Home.


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