Friday, April 29, 2011

I Have A College Student!

WOW!  I just paid for my first College class for my 16 year old son! Yesterday he took his Accuplacer test and passed with flying colors!  So today we signed him up for his first class, which he will take over the Summer.  It is an exciting time at our house!

Getting him into College at the age of 16 is something we have always worked towards.  When he was in grade school we knew several homeschoolers who were going to College at 16 and we thought that would be a great advantage for our son.  He is a very cerebral kid!  We have always had to stay on our toes to keep up with him educationally!  The last couple years he has worked VERY hard to get the bulk of his high school requirements completed.  At this point we could probably graduate him if we wanted to.  But at 16 that isn't something I am ready for!  So having him dual enrolled is perfect for us.  He can get the last few credits he needs for high school as he is getting College credit too!

Since the dual enrollment only allows him to take 2 classes at a time we are planning on having him work on "clepping" classes at the same time he is taking the dual enrollment classes.  I haven't figured out all the details on clepping yet.  But, I do know that there are books we can buy for him to study for the tests and then for $75.00 he can go take the test and when he passes it he gets full credit for the class.  This will not only be a huge time saver, but a BIG money saver too!  So if all goes according to plan when he graduates from homeschool at 18 he will have enough credits to begin his Junior year of College!  The next 2 years he can basically devote to working on College credits.

So yesterday was an exciting day!  I couldn't help but think of all the "naysayers" over the years who have sternly warned me that my poor children would never get into College because we homeschooled them!  I never believed that for a moment!  But, those nagging words were always in the back of my mind.  (What is they were right?) But, in my heart I have always known we are following God's plan for our family.  It was good to put any nagging thoughts to rest!  I must add here that for the most part we have been really blessed with very supportive people around us for our homeschool journey.  But, it still felt really amazing to have accomplished a goal we have worked towards for SO long! (My son and I had to do a little victory dance!)  Truly it was an awesome day that we will all remember forever!

Of course we can also see God's hand all over this!  One of the things that is not lost on me is that our unexpected move a year and a half ago put us in the right County for the College he will be attending.  We only moved ONE MILE!  But, if we were still at the old address we would have had to pay quite a bit more for him to go to this same school! God is in the details! 

Praise God!


For more info on clepping click HERE.

This is a duplicate post from the blog I am writing with my 16  year old son called I Can Do It With Mom's Help. You can read more about our journey from homeschool to College HERE.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clean Green Party

For our homeschool group meeting this month we hosted a Clean Green Party!  This was a fun time to get together with friends and make our own household cleaners from simple items we could buy at the store.  Not only do these end up being A LOT cheaper, but they are not loaded with unnecessary chemicals and fragrances.  I have a really hard time being around fragrances and perfumes.  They give me headaches.  I don't even walk down the cleaner aisle at the grocery store if I can avoid it. By the end of the aisle my head is aching!  For years we have used as little chemicals as possible.  We are on our third Shark Steam Mop.  (Each one has lasted about 3 years.) I love the steam mop because I can clean and disinfect the floors using just water!  I also use a lot of vinegar and baking soda for cleaning.  But at the party we learned a few new "recipes" for cleaners. 

My favorite "recipe" is for a soft scrub. 

2 cups baking soda
½ cup liquid castile soap*
4 teaspoons vegetable glycerin (acts as a preservative)
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary or any scent you prefer (optional)
Mix together and store in a sealed glass jar, shelf life of 2 years.

We made ours using the lavendar castile soap.  It smells GREAT!  I used it today to clean sinks, toilets and to scrub dishes.  LOVE IT! (I will be making more soon!)

You can find the rest of the recipes HERE.

Happy Homeschooling,


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cub Scouts

So, I was looking over my recent post the other day and I realized...there are a whole-lotta posts about my daughter!  LOL  It's not that we are not doing things with the boys.  We are for sure.  And one of the things we are doing with our youngest this year is Cub Scouts!

Cub Scouts is something all new for me!  I have to tell you it's not something I ever really thought about or checked into.  My oldest son has always been the more cerebral "indoor" type and I just never thought about Cub Scouts for him.  Our youngest however is the quintessential little boy.  He likes bugs, dirt, sweat and especially loves anything that combines the three!  So at the end of last Summer my husband announced that we were signing the little man up for Cub Scouts.

Being the naive newbie to Scouts that I am I thought..."This is perfect.  Something for him and his daddy to do together that doesn't involve me."  (Stop laughing!)  What my husband found when he went to sign our little guy up was that there was no Den Leader.  So guess who signed up to be the Den Leader?  MY HUSBAND!  I was still naively fine with this.....Then reality set in.  My husband wanted me to help him.  He has done a GREAT job, but there are just a lot of things that are out of his comfort zone.  (Like coming up with crafts and shopping for all the supplies.)

So being the Den Leader has pretty much become a shared job.  And you know what?  It's been a LOT of fun!  (Even though we have butted heads a few times trying to figure out who should do what!) We are just about to finish up his first year.  Our little man LOVED being a Tiger and can hardly wait to be promoted!  My husband and I still have a lot to learn.  Next year I am going to be the official Assistant Den Leader.  Why not?  LOL  So hopefully as we go along I will be posting about some of our adventures.  This Summer we are hoping to do a lot of planning and prepping to make next year easier.  (I am all about getting things ready over the Summer for the next school year.)  And of course we have Summer Camp (Which my daughter can come to as a tag-along since my husband and I are both volunteering.) and we have family camp outs planned too for the Summer.

It's all a new adventure.  Just as we are wrapping up American Girl Club we will be winding up Cub Scouts.
It's going to be an adventure!

Happy Homeschooling,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Egg T-shirt

My daughter and I made this together.  It's a great beginner sewing project, with a little help from mom. The egg part is all straight sewing.  So she was able to sew the entire egg by herself.  Then I reverse appliqued it onto the t-shirt. (Sewing on t-shirt fabric is a little unforgiving because the fabric likes to stretch as you sew.  So I just did that part for her.)

Here is the egg while my daughter was working on it. It's actually harder to cut out an egg shape than I had imagined. We finally ended up printing THIS ONE and then just making it bigger.

This is the finished shirt.  Cute, huh?
You will find the directions HERE.

The perfect shirt to wear to see the Easter Bunny!

HOPPY Homeschooling! ;^)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Black, White and Pink Quilt

So American Girl Club got canceled this week because of a BIG storm.  It was a bummer...but, I decided to make the best of it!  I have been designing this quilt in my head for a few months now.  A friend is adopting a little girl from Ethiopia and the nursery is all black and white.  (It's ADORABLE!)  I have never made a black and white quilt before.  So I have been really, really excited about it!  Meanwhile another friend gave me a HUGE box of quilt fabric this weekend.  All of the fabric for this quilt was in the I with a few hours on my hands and fabric just asking to be cut into....I present....My latest creation!

I LOVE IT!  I saw the rickrack on some quilts at the quilt store awhile back and immediately knew I needed to incorporate it into this quilt.  I hope she doesn't mind that I added some pink.  Every little girl needs some pink!  But, this is not really for the nursery anyway.  This is more of a throw on the floor or over the car seat type of quilt. 

If you need a quick and fun quilt, this is it!

Happy Homeschooling,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

70's Bandana Outfit!

We are just having TOO MUCH fun dressing up for the 70's!  LOL

The bandana "skort" we found at the Goodwill.  Then top we made from 2 black bandanas.  It is the same basic idea as a Bandana Dress (CLICK HERE for tutorial.) except I turned the bandana on angle. This gives us a little more fabric for a bigger girl and we get the GROOVY pointed hem!


Happy Homeschooling,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

American Girl Club - Julie - Week 2

First off I have to show you what my daughter and I wore to week 2 of Julie!

Here is an up close shot....

And a full length shot...
My daughters outfit is basically the same as she wore for week one except we found CLOGS!  LOL
They are a tiny bit big for her.  But, she loves them!  It's funny to watch her clomp around in them. She has decided shoes are much more comfortable in 2011!  My shirt we found at Goodwill.  I also added a hemp choker (And WOW is it itchy! How on earth did we survive wearing things like hemp and polyester?) and I got some cool owl earrings.  Add a head scarf and WELCOME TO 1974!  LOL

So as the girls arrived we started out the night playing BASKETBALL!

They actually just played HORSE.  But, they really liked it!  After about a half hour we headed in for book discussion time.  On the way in we had to laugh at ourselves and all our matching minivans!  LOL
So I guess even though we think of ourselves as nonconformist homeschoolers...we still conform!  ;^)

For discussion time I read the girls the Peek Into the Past in the back of book 2.  Then I also read to them from the book Don't Know Much About the Presidents.  Since there is such a big time just from Molly (1944) to Julie (1974) I started back in 1944 and read about all the Presidents since.  There is a good timeline at the bottom of the page.  So it gave the girls a good idea of what happened from the end of WWII to the end of the Vietnam War.  I also read to them from the DK book of Presidents the section on Richard Nixon. 

For snack we had Tuna Noodle Casserole and Herbal Sun Tea. 
I always try to tell the girls why we eat the snacks we do.  This is what I learned about Tuna Noodle Casserole...Casseroles became popular in the 1970's as more and more women joined the work force and had less and less time to cook.  The economic recession also made tuna a popular choice because it was much cheaper than most other meat options.

After our snack we worked on our MACRAME Keychains!
These are the 2 samples I made up before hand.  The link for the Macrame Video I watched to remember how to do this is here...

My daughter and a friend working together on their macrame.
All the girls working on their macrame.
The girls took to it very quickly.  The mom's thought it was harder than the girls did!  I thought they were going to kick me out of the building for a few minutes!  LOL  But, after a bit the mom's caught on.  ;^)

After craft the girls worked on a report similar to what Julie did in book 2.  At the end of the year we are going to have an American Girl Family Night and their reports about themselves will be on display.  HERE is the worksheet I gave them to get them started. 

Here they are working on their writing.
 So that's it for night 2!  I can't believe we are already through night 2!  I have looked forward to getting to Julie for 3 years and now it's going tooooooo fast!

Happy Homeschooling,


P.S. Oh, and as you can tell I happened to find head kerchiefs for all the girls this week!  They looked adorable in them!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

American Girl Club - Julie - Week #1

Welcome to 1974!

For night one of American Girl Club for Julie we started out the night by listening to the song Gladrags and Handbags.  (CLICK HERE for lyrics.) In the book Julie's mom owns a hip craft and resale shop in San Fransisco called Gladrags, which is named after the song.  After we listened to the song I gave them a little tour of my own little "Gladrags" store.

In my "store" I has...a fuzzy foot rug, jean purse, smiley face balloon, Disco shoes, mini bean bag chair, melted plastic snowman, macrame tree wall hanging, pillow from some pants I wore in the 70's and some Bonnie Bell Lipsmackers. (My favorite invention of the 1970's is Lipsmackers!  LOL)

And in case you missed it when I said Disco shoes! LOL
It's funny how things like this find their way into my house!  LOL  Some friends in Las Vegas gave these to my oldest son years ago to wear to crazy shoe night at AWANA.  The girls thought these were hysterical!  They all had to try them on and clomp around in them!  :^)

On the table I also had pictures from the 70's and a Felicity doll.  After I went through all the items with the girls I asked them what Felicity had to do with Julie?  It took them a few minutes and a little coaching from me to realize that their stories take place 200 years apart!  (1774 and 1974)  Then I talked to them a little about the Bicentennial of the United States.  We will be getting back to that celebration again in a few weeks.

I also had my daughter stand up and I showed them her outfit...
Doesn't she just look adorable in her halter, head scarf and jean purse?

So finally it was time for our craft...And what else could be possibly have made?  LOL
Oh yeah baby...I present the 1970's Fuzzy Foot Rug!

This was another thing that is just too crazy.  My daughter and I went out Saturday and bought the fake fur to make these.  I was going to ask my husband to draw out a foot for me.  Then that night we walked into the dollar store and they had this...

Can you say "perfect pattern"?  LOL  So each of the girls traced this on the back of their fur and then they cat it out.  Super simple and SO cute!  

 One of the girls cutting out her rug.

My daughter with her rug.

Since we only had one pattern to trace around the rest of the girls worked on the second craft...PET ROCKS!

The girls had a lot of fun making their pet rocks.  I explained to them that "real" pet rocks in the 70's were just plain rocks that came in a cute pet carrier type box.  (CLICK HERE to read more about pet rocks!) But, then of course kids would just find rocks and decorate them.  (I still have my pet rock!  His name is Herbert!  LOL) So the girls decorated their rocks with Sharpies and stick on googley eyes.  

For snack we had zucchini bread!

My vegetable hating daughter giving her opinion of zucchini bread!  LOL
I looked online to find out why zucchini bread was so popular in he 70's.  Basically what I read was that during WWII when people planted Victory Gardens everyone realized how easy Zucchini is to grow.  As time passed people became more and more creative with the recipes they developed to cook the zucchini.  In  the late 60's early 70's as women started entering the work force they were looking for easy and nutritious recipes. Zucchini bread, carrot bread and banana bread were thought to be healthy breads/desserts since there was not icing.  And it was much easier to make than yeast breads that had to be kneaded and raised.  I thought all this was really interesting! 

One last picture! It is not that often that we line them all up for a posed picture! We just had to get a pic with all of them with their crazy rugs!
  I love these girls!!!

Happy Homeschooling,

Monday, April 11, 2011

American Girl Club - Kit - Weeks 1 - 6

For Kit I am just going to do one post for all 6 weeks.  Not because we didn't have an amazing time with Kit, but because I just waited toooooooo long to post about it.  We met for Kit  3 weeks in November and 3 weeks in January.  (We took December off.) So it's been 5 months since the first time we met for Kit and my memory is just failing me when it comes to the details.

So here it goes...



The Depression hits Kit's house.  Kit's dad loses his job.  Mom starts a boarding house


Felt Sport Banner - I pre-cut white felt into the shape of a sports banner. (About 8"X20")  Then I had a tons of felt and felt stickers for the girls to decorate them with.  They could make them for a sport team or just to decorate their rooms. (Most ended up being very pink and girlie!  LOL)

Paper Suitcase - In week 1 of Kit we talked about what it would be like to live during the depression and lose your home.  We talked about how many people would run into a boarding home and the whole families would move into one room.  So I made up a little template for the girls to make a little suitcase.  Then I had pages inside for them to fill in what they would have taken with them.  There are 2 printables.  You will find them HERE and HERE


Sponge Cake and Iced Tea

During Book Discussion Time:

Have chunks of ice for the girls to lick.  Talk about what an icebox is as opposed to a refrigerator.

Other Ideas:
  • Borrow an old typewriter if you can and let the girls experience typing on it. (To see old typewriter we borrowed CLICK HERE.
  • Split the girls up into groups and have them work on publishing their own newspaper about the depression and the 1920's.
  • Talk about the song "Pack up your trouble in an Old Kit Bag." talk ab out how the meaning of words change over time.
  • Read excerpt from Robin Hood and His Adventures.


Thanksgiving during the Depression.


Make a cornucopia using torn magazine pages to make a mosaic.

Do geography sheets on Ohio. CLICK HERE.


Oatmeal with a sliced of canned peach on top.


Book discussion and read from In Kit's World book.



Christmas during the Depression


Scottie Dog Hair Clips
To make these the girls traced 2 Scottie dogs onto black felt with white chalk.  They they cut them out.  Then they added a bead eye to the top one and cut to vertical slits in the back one to slide the clip barrette through.  Then they used black thread to sew them together around the edge.  Then they added a red bow.

Learned how to finger knit
The girls LOVED this!  For weeks everywhere I went I saw girls wearing their creations! The directions are HERE.


Popcorn and Oranges in a Christmas stocking.  (With a pencil too.  I read this was typical of what a lucky child would have gotten on Christmas morning.)


Have girls sing Christmas Carols
Read about Amelia Earhart



Penny Pincher Birthday Party!


Paper Lanterns, newspaper hats and flower necklaces


For the necklaces the girl took a little stack of 3 pieces of tissue paper and pinched it up into a flower.  Then they tied them on their piece of yarn to make a necklace. For the paper hats they folded them with these instructions.  CLICK HERE. HERE is how we made our paper lanterns.


Mock Apple Pie, tea sandwiches, Depression Cake


Read about William Shakespeare

Kit Week 5


Kit learns about the Hobo lifestyle.


SOCK MONKEYS! - I will do a separate post just on making these! FUN, FUN, FUN!


Hobo meal...boiled potatoes, beans, slice of bread


Learn the Texas Two Step
Decode a Hobo Code

Kit Week 6


Kit learns to have hope even during hard times.


Make mittens
For these I had the girls trace around their hands on polar fleece and then they sewed these on the machine.  We had several machines.  They were VERY excited to use the machine since all the sewing to this point has been by hand.  :^)


Soup Kitchen (Vegetable) Soup and a slice homemade bread


Read about the start of WWII
Read about News Correspondent
Play checkers and dominos

So there you have Kit!

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    70's Fashion!

    My daughter wanted something 70's looking to wear for American Girl Club while we are studying Julie.  So I came up with the idea of a halter top! After Googling a bit I found THIS PICTURE as our inspiration. 

    Here is our version...
    This picture REALLY takes me back to the 70's!  The bad paneling, the jean purse, the halter top, the head scarf!  LOL  (Although in the 70's there wouldn't be a t-shirt under the halter.)

    Oh, and while I was making her top, my daughter made one for her doll!

    If imitation is the truest form of flattery then I am flattered! :^)

    Happy Homeschooling,


    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    American Girl Club - Molly Week 4

    The theme for week 4 of Molly was that it is Molly's birthday.  In the book Molly's family has a little girl from London that is staying with them because of the war that is going on in London.  So Molly is sharing her birthday with her new friend.  The girls decide to have a Princess Tea Party.  So we did the same.  :^)

    For craft the girls made crowns to wear at the tea party.  They also made jump ropes from clothesline like the girls did in the book. They really we enjoyed getting to go outside and jump rope!

    For snack we had margarine sandwiches, lemon tart and tea with sugar.  (We also did a taste test between butter and margarine.  I was surprised that almost no one, including me, could tell the difference! I am still a faithful fan of butter though!  LOL)

    I meant to do a blackout drill with the girls.  But, with all the tea party festivities I totally forgot.  Apparently I forgot to take pictures too!

    Happy Homeschooling,


    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    American Girl Club - Molly Week 3

    Week 3 of Molly is the Christmas story.  So even though it was March we celebrated Christmas!

    Now that we are getting closer to our own time period many of the things we are reading about are much closer to how we celebrate today.  Of course WWII was going on in the story and Molly's dad was away at war.  So as we discussed the book we talked about what it would be like to have dad be away for a long period of time.  My daughter has experienced that when we last moved and the kids and I spent a year at our old location trying to sell the house.  Three of the girls in our group are also in a position where there dad is in the Army and is about to be deployed.  So there was a lot we could relate to!  One of the things we talked about was how grateful we are for the technology we have now in situations like these.  Molly would only get letters from her dad and sometimes they would take months to arrive! Since the concept of writing letters is nearly extinct I decided it would be fun to have the girls write letters to their dads!  We pretended that their dad's are away at war and the girls wrote to them telling them what is going on in their lives.  It was fun!  Plus the girls got a lesson on how to address and envelope.  I also talked to them a little about the history of the postal service, prices of stamps and the history of the zip code. After the letters were done I brought them home and put a little note in the envelope to explain to the dads why they were getting these letters.  Then I dropped them in the mail.  My daughter was very excited a few days later when hers arrived for her dad!

    Our craft for the week was SUPER simple.  In the back of book 3 there are instructions for making a pile cleaner ornament.  So we made those.  The girls liked it.  They always seem to enjoy the craft that are very open ended so they can use their own creativity!

    For snack we had Cinnamon Sticky Buns like they had in the book.  We also read the Christmas story from the Bible and sang Joy to the World.

    It was a very festive night!

    Happy Homeschooling,


    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    70's Style Jean Messenger Bag

    I loved my daughters jean purse so much that I had to make one for myself!

    Can you believe I found mushroom fabric?  I don't think more 70's inspired fabric exists!  LOL

    I made mine a messenger bag style because I need it to close.  My husband has a pet peeve about me carrying a purse with an open top.  So when I saw the idea of making this style HERE I fell in LOVE!   I spent a LOT more time making this one than the one we made for my daughter.  Which is kinda funny because if you look at it mine looks a lot more rough and unfinished.  But, since I put my handbags through the wringer I knew it needed to be STURDY!

    The jeans I chose were in a bag I have collected from other people for upcycling projects just like this one.  I chose this pair mostly because it was a good size for a purse for me.  The other advantage is that this pair is SUPER worn and possible date back to the 70's!  LOL  The first thing  I had to do was patch all the holes.  I cut my mushroom fabric and put it under each hole and then zigzagged around it. This really gave it a funky 70's vibe!

    The Fabric

    I wanted it to look very hand done, because that is how these looked in the 70's.  Next I lined it with the mushroom fabric.  I highly recommend a denim needle for the machine if you make one of these!  I, of course, didn't have one and I broke a couple needles trying to sew through belt loops and seams putting in the lining.  Then I used a piece of the leg to make the flap.  I wanted to preserve the frayed bottom of the pant leg on the front.  So I sewed the other three sides and then left extra fabric to fold up inside and let the fraying hang down.  I also added rickrack to the front of the flap. I LOVE IT!

    Here you can see the inside frayed part of the flap.
    And here is the front of the flap with the fray peeking out like fringe.

    For the strap I left all the seams on the outside and then cut the edges with pinking shears.  I also tied it in a knot before sewing it on just to add a bit more funk! I am hoping the edges will unravel over time.

    The strap.

    Pretty far-out and groovy, huh? ;^) 

    I feel a bit like I have been time traveling!

    Happy Homeschooling,


    Monday, April 4, 2011

    American Girl Club - Molly Week 2

    For week 2 of Molly we started out with the flag salute and singing America The Beautiful.  Then I read the girls the War Message for Children on page 67 in book 2.

    Then we had our book discussion and got ready for our craft.  Our craft this week was a little different than anything we have done before.  This week in the book Molly and her classmates competed in a Lend-A-Hand Contest.  Molly's group ended up knitting squares and putting them together to make a blanket to donate.  So we did the modern day version of this and made polar fleece blankets to donate! 

    Here are a few of the girls working on a blanket.These are made from kits I bought at JoAnn's.  (The directions are included.)

    Here are our finished blankets.

    Our blankets were made to be donated to Project Linus.

    For snack we had Boston Brown Bread with Raisins.

    I also read to the girls from our Welcome to Molly's World book. 

    And that was night 2 for Molly!

    Happy Homeschooling,


    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    American Girl Club - Molly Week 1

    For week 1 of Molly we started out with reading about Pearl Harbor and WWII in the book Welcome to Molly's World, 1944: Growing Up in World War Two America. We also talked about the transition between Kit's time period (The Great Depression) and how WWII really brought an end to the depression.  I also downloaded a radio news report about the attacks on Pearl Harbor and had the girls listen to it.  To keep them quiet and focused I gave them Toostie Pops to eat while they listened.  (This is one of the candies Molly gets trick-or-treating in the story.)

    For our craft we made crepe paper hula skirts just like Molly did in the book. 

    For the waistband I gave each girl a long piece of white muslin they can tie around their waist.  Then they stapled strips of crepe paper to make the skirts.

    Cute, huh?

    Of course our cat had to have a skirt too!  LOL

    And our youngest American Girl got a skirt too!

    For snack we had popcorn balls and apples.  Just like Molly got in the book for Halloween.

    Another great night! :^)

    Happy Homeschooling,