Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Family Weekend 2018

The gang's back together!  Family weekend at UMHB!!

Luke was covered in siblings...

Mom... the selfie Queen!

Sam couldn't escape them either...

We celebrated Luke's birthday (partially).  I miss having them all together!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Master Kitz The Starry Night from A TOS Crew Review


Master Kitz The Starry Night from

We love learning about artists and creating.  The Master Kitz The Starry Night from contains everything you need to create your very own masterpiece!  We couldn't wait to get started...

Everything you need to create your very own "Starry Night" and learn about  Vincent Van Gogh comes included in the Master Kitz Starry Night :
  • Reusable Artist’s Tool Box
  • Three Custom Paint Colors
  • Custom Van Gogh Paint Roller
  • Five Artist Quality Oil Pastels
  • Two Pieces Deluxe Art Paper – 16″ x 20″
  • Composition Stencil
  • Sponge Roller
  • Star Mask Sticker Sheet
  • Van Gogh Learning Materials
  • Easy-to-follow Instructions
Best yet, there are enough supplies to create 2 masterpieces!  You can also check out demonstration videos, PDF instructions and many other great Kitz on their website:  These would make excellent Christmas gifts.

My art loving daughters could barely wait to get started.  The instructions are printed on a nice poster, with information about Vincent Van Gogh included.  

The directions are very easy to follow, it's designed for ages 5 and up.  My testers are in 4th and 5th grade, so it was easy for them to work independently.

First, you use the star stickers on your 16 x 20 heavy paper, don't worry, you can peel them off to use again! After you have placed your stars, you use the fun textured paint roller to cover your paper with paint.  One of the things we liked best - the tools are so easy to use, and really give you a great look.

The next step involved laying down a reusable plastic stencil and using another roller to create the black image over the blue sky and stars.  This step was a bit tricky for my testers to do alone, and we found that taping the stencil down with painters tape helped us keep it in one place.  

After that, my testers moved to the oil pastels to create their "stars".  All along the way, we got the chance to discuss Vincent Van Gogh and his techniques, as well as, experiencing different art mediums like paint and oil pastels.  It truly is a great art lesson, all in one handy box!

My testers loved how their pictures were turning out!  

For the final step, they added details to their masterpieces with the oil pastels.  This is where each of them got to personalize their paintings.  They are so impressed!  The entire project took us a couple o hours, including paint drying time.  It was easy to complete, and didn't leave a big mess.  Along the way, we learned some new facts about Van Gogh.  Great project!

These kitz are very well done!  I think they would make a great gift - they have many different paintings and artists to choose from (and sculpting kitz too!) They would be excellent for coop class as well.

We can't wait to do more creating!

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Monday, November 5, 2018

King Lear

The fun continues in Famous Figures of the Renaissance class at coop!

On to Shakespeare and King Lear...

After making our theater masks, everyone got into the spirit and became the famous play...King Lear.

Our class!

Because it's Shakespeare... we had a lot of dying!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing: A TOS Crew Review

Lisa Tanner Writing

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing

Don't let this title fool you.... Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing is for every mom.

This online course is designed to help you maximize your time by streamlining your home systems.  I am a busy, homeschooling -  I am a work-at-home mom as well!  In addition to a wonderful 20 hours per week position with The Texas Homeschool Coalition, I am part of the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew team of bloggers.   I am in my 9th year of writing reviews of homeschool products and curriculum.

Even though we are past the "diapers" portion, this course was exactly what I needed.  It is a 30 lesson course you work through at your own pace.  It is very easy to use, and designed by a fellow mompreneur (with nine children too!). 

The lessons are in sections:
  • Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines 
  • Building Your Foundation with the Basics 
  • Minimize Your Decisions 
  • Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan 
  • Sustainable Growth 
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around 
  • Boost Your Productivity 
  • Closing Thoughts

Each of the units is made up of multiple lessons.  The lessons are easily read in about 10 minutes, or less.  The lessons consist of helpful tips and encouragement from the author with multiple "action steps"  you can take to begin to implement these productivity boosting tools in your home.

I found myself with plenty of extra time during my husband's surgery and recovery, and this was the perfect time to invest in my "professional development" and use some "think time".  As I read through Lisa Tanner's course - I found plenty of useful reminders,  things like meal planning and chores have been long-time staples for survival in our household.  However, I also realized that I have gotten a bit too relaxed in some of these areas, and this course was just what I needed to get back into these helpful routines!

Throughout this course, the author provides extra links to helpful articles and other courses with downloadable forms you can use and personalize.

One sections I loved was the "Growing a Business with Your Kids Around" - in this section, she offers sections for every age group.  Each sections gives you specific ideas to help keep your children productively engaged, so you can focus on your business. She even offers ideas for helping integrate your children into your business (my children have been testers for my reviews for years...) She understands the challenges of having a child with special needs, and offers great practical tips here as well.  This is a great list for all parents, not just those who are building a home business with children around!

One of the things I really enjoyed with this course was the ability to work at my own pace.  Some topics didn't necessarily apply, and I could breeze through them.  You simply mark a section complete after you finish, but you can easily return to it again, if you want to.  It's well organized, and packed with useful information.

I highly recommend this course - You will definitely find help and encouragement that you need!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}
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Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer


Next up... the great Michelangelo!

I find his quote... "I am not a painter" - such great irony!  Of course, we simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to try our hands at painting upside down, on our backs!

After the mess was finished.... upside down painting is a mess maker!  We moved into sculpting...  it's easy - "just chip away anything that isn't David"....Styrofoam balls and plastic knives made good materials!

In true Sistine Chapel style, each of our students painted a story from the Bible for our very own masterpiece!