Monday, May 30, 2011

Hard Times For An American Girl - The Great Depression

My husband recorded a show this weekend on HBO Family called Hard Times For An American Girl - The Great Depression.  Our whole family watched it Sunday afternoon.  It was a really great mix of
  • Girls talking about Kit and the Kit books
  • Kids talking about what they have learned about the Great Depression
  • Film footage from the Great Depression
  • Interviews with elderly people that lived through the Great Depression
It was great for both boys and girls!  I am hoping they are going to do a show like this for all the different American Girls!
Here is a link where you can read more about the show.

Happy Homeschooling,


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sun Tea To Go!

I am trying to drastically reduce my diet soda intake.  Honestly the biggest draw to soda for me is that it's easy to grab and go. So in an effort to have something else to grab and go I have been making individual bottles of sun tea.

It seems every time I take one of these somewhere people ask me how I made them.  So, I thought I would share here.   It's super easy....

  1. Open up a bottle of water.
  2. Insert 2 tea bags.  (I use one Lipton Decaf and one Good Earth Original Sweet & Spicy™ Herb Tea - Caffeine Free.) 
  3. Set in the sun until it brews!  I usually put 6 bottles out every night when I start dinner.  Then in the morning I throw them in a small cooler along with water and juice pouches for the kids and a LOT of ice.)
Now when we head to the park, pool, lake I have plenty of flavorful decaf drinks.  I still allow all of us to get soda when we eat out or stop for drinks when we are out driving around.  But, this has really helped to cut the soda AND to reduce our grocery bill.

Happy Homeschooling,


Friday, May 20, 2011

Last Night To Teach American Girl Club!

Tonight was my last night to teach American Girl Club! Over the last 3 years we have met 61 times and gone through 54 books!  It's been awesome!  I can't believe it is coming to an end! I was thinking about continuing next year and doing the friends books, but then I realized that is just going to be more of the same.  It's time to let it go...

In 2 weeks we will meet one last time to have a family night.  Each family will be hosting a table on a different American Girl.  Then it's all over. 

Don't worry though...I am already planning a new book club for next school year! :^)

Happy Homeschooling,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

American Girl Club - Week 5 - Julie

So tonight was week 5 of Julie.  In this book Julie travels across the United States in a covered wagon as part of the Bicentenial Celebration.  So for our craft we HAD to do something RED, WHITE and BLUE! Believe it or not after SIXTY SEVEN nights of American Girl Club we have NEVER decorated t-shirts until this week! So this week we TYE-DYED!

So here are the girls waiting in line (sort of!  LOL) to dye their shirts.

We had them tie them up in rubber bands inside before they came out to get in line.  One of the mom's volunteered to be in charge of the actual dying process.  (Thank goodness!) The dye we used is called Tulip One Step.  I bought it at JoAnn's and I must say it was super simple!  It already comes in a sqeeze bottle and you just add water and squeeze the dye on.   There are good instructions, rubber bands and plastic gloves in each package. (We used 6 bottles to make 20 shirts.  I would have liked to have had 2 more bottles.  But I bought all they had in red in blue.)

Here is one of the girls dying her shirt.  I got them ahead of time and washed them all before I brought them.

Here are a bunch of the shirts sitting in ziploc bags ready to go home.  The mom's will have to let them sit overnight and then wash them before the girls can wear them.

The only casualty of the night was the hands of the sweet mama that helped with all the dying!  LOL
Yeah, we should have put those gloves on her first!  But, it was starting to rain and in the rush to beat the rain she forgot to put on the gloved!  LOL

Another thing we did that went along with the book is I had all the girls signa Pledge of Rededication like they did in the Julie book.  Our pledge said...


To commemorate the completion of three years of studying American History together at American Girl Club we hereby dedicate ourselves anew to the precepts of our founding fathers: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
We affix our signatures this day – May the 10th Two Thousand and Eleven
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And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Before I had the girls sign it I told them that it is my hope after all these weeks and weeks of studying American History together that they have developed a deeper love, understanding and appreciation for our Country.  I hope that they will be very patriotic Americans and that they will never take for granted and always value our country. I plan on framing the original they signed and hang it in my office.  All these girls mean the world to me and I will always treasure having something they signed.  I also will be scanning it and emailing it to the mom's to make copies for the girls too. 

After all the tye-dying we also had a special speaker!  One of girls grandmothers came and talked to us about what it was like to be an adult in the 70's.  She also brought a lot of clothes and misc objects from the 70's.  the girls and the mom's loved this!  It's always fun to have a special guest, and this one was super!  

Here she is showing the girls a mini skirt dress she wore in the 70's
 Showing us a rotary phone.
 More MOD mini dresses and a GROOVY pantsuit! (The one on the far right side is a maternity dress!)
 A crocheted vest and a coat we all LOVED!
 Bell bottoms! (We noticed on these that the pant legs were actually wider than the waistband!)
She did a great job telling the girls what the 70's were like and also telling them about the contrast of how the 50's and 60's had been.  She talked to them about a lot of inventions that came out of the 70's like the post-it note, velcro and the Apple Computer.  

We are almost to the end of all the books!  If week 3 of Julie hadn't been postponed for bad weather next week would be our last week! But, we will still be meeting for week 3 and we are having our first ever family night in a couple weeks too.  So, it's not quite over yet!  I have also decided I am not quite ready to give it up!  So next year we will be meeting once a month to go through all the American Girl friends books.  (Elizabeth, Ivy, Ruthie, Emily and Nellie.) This will give the girls a chance to still get together on a regular basis and me a chance to hang on to them all for one more year! 

Happy Homeschooling,


P.S.  Tonight one of the girl told me she thought we should start going through all the "Dear America" books next year.  I said "There are a zillion of those!  We would never get through them all!"  She looked at me, smiled and said "Exactly!"  There are no words to say how much she blessed my heart! :^)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

American Girl Club - Julie - Week 4

Theme - Earth Day/Save the Eagles

Craft - Woven Tree

Snack - Sloppy Joe's

So this week since the theme is Earth Day and the environment I wanted to do something very earthy and very 70's.  Enter That Artist Women!  That Artist Women is a website I frequent a lot because I love the creative art projects she comes up with.  I came across months ago and I knew right away we would have to make this when we got to Julie!

The hardest part about this craft was cutting 20ish sticks that are just the right size and fresh enough to bend into a circle.  I highly recommend you don't put this off until the night before you need them, especially if there is a thunder and lightening storm!  LOL  Otherwise these were fairly easy.  The girls liked making them and they came out really cute!  You will find the instructions HERE

We also did our geography worksheets this week for Julie.  I gave them the map and two coloring sheets one about California and the other of the Golden Gate Bridge.


California Coloring Pages

Golden Gate Bridge Coloring Sheet

During the discussion time we talked about the book and read the Peek Into the Past in the back of the book.  Then I also read them the Julie's Cooking Studio book and we talked about the food, new kitchen equipment (Like crockpots, microwaves and fondue pots!) and the kitchens of the 70's.  

My daughter also made a Eagle shirt based on the shirt Julie had on the front cover of the book.  She drew the Eagle and then we cut it out of fabric and she reverse appliqued it on the front of the shirt.  I just love it!
And that was it for Julie week #4!

Happy Homeschooling,


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sign Language

The kids and I have been taking a Sign Language class for almost a year now.  A friend of ours at church is a Sign Language Interpreter and so I asked her if she was interested in teaching us.  At first it was discouraging.  I really thought in the beginning that I was just too old to learn a new language.  But after about 9 months or so I started catching on!  LOL 

The kids are MUCH quicker at picking it up than I am.  My daughter is especially good at it.  She is the "go to gal" for all of us when we can't remember a sign and we want to sign something.  The boys are both getting very good too.  My 7 year old is really funny because he doesn't appear to pay a bit of attention in class.  (He sits on the side, fidgits, wiggles, etc.)  Then she will call us forward to sign a sentence and he just signs like it's no big deal!  LOL

It's fun and amazing now that I am "getting it" how I see sign language all around!  I notice people on TV or out in public signing.  It's fun to watch and see what words I can pick up and try to put together sentences. 

One of our favorite online resources is the Captain Valor channel on YouTube.  This guy is amazing!  He signs to popular songs and does an amazing job with not only signing, but with the using the proper facial expressions, which is a big part of the language.  My oldest son found him online because a lot of the songs he signs are video game songs. HERE is the link to his channel.

Another online resource I use often (And the kids tease me about!  LOL) are the Sign Language videos at Sprout online!  They can tease me all they want!  This lady is a good teacher!   HERE is the link.

There is also a free online ASL dictionary that I use alot.  It frustrates me a bit because for some reason all the translators keep a stern, sad expression on their faces.  So this is just useful for the hand part of sign language!  But it literally had thousands of words signed.  So it's a great resource! The link is HERE.

The books we have gone through are:

Signing Fun: American Sign Language Vocabulary, Phrases, Games, and Activities (Click HERE)

Signing for Dummies (Click HERE

It has been a lot of fun!  I have loved taking an actual class with my kids.  It's fun being a student WITH them instead of the teacher or mom for a few hours a week.  When I was waiting for my son to take his test the other day at the College I picked up a brochure about their Sign language Interpreter Program.  Who knows?  Maybe I will enroll in the program in 10 years when my youngest graduates from homeschooling!.

Happy Homeschooling,