Monday, December 31, 2012

Around the World

Early Elementary New Year's Day Worksheet Freebie


The entire lesson is here, but she is offering these two pages free. Just right click on the images of the pages and save.

The first worksheet needs a comma added after "Greece"in the fourth paragraph. I'm using these with a first grade student, and we'll expand upon this information with books, including a discussion about luck from a Christian perspective.

Also see vintage children's text: Yule-tide in Many Lands, free to read online or download here.

Happy New Years!

God bless in the new year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Frugal Body Exfoliators

I could never use body exfoliaters because they were too rough on my skin. Now that I'm older, my skin is thicker, and it does not renew itself as readily.  I was having problems with dry skin where I'd have some flaky areas on my arms. Moisturizers did not help; then I tried exfoliating again and my skin became really soft! My hands look better too.

Here's what I discovered:


As Asian exfoliating washcloth. I got the extra rough one, and it's more like a towel because it is long and can be used to scrub across your back with two hands. I add a strong soap on the towel, Palmolive clear dish soap, if you can believe it. I have oily skin and this works wonders. It washes out easily and can be hung to dry on a shower caddy.
Cure Series Japanese Exfoliating Bath Towel from OHE - Super Hard Weave - Blue, 120cm

The second exfoliating tool I found useful for keeping my skin extra clear was a facial brush. It was stiff on the first use, but now it is soft. I use a gentle castile soap on my face(Dr. Bronners or an organic African black soap). My facial skin looks years younger and the blemishes have cleared.

Bass Brushes Facial Cleansing Brush


 Both items should last a good long time. Check the reviews out on these items.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Free DIY Picasa Flashcards and Worksheets

With some tweaking, Google's free Picasa makes some really nice flashcards and worksheets. I made some flashcards by using images, faded by using "pencil sketch" and the "fill light" applications, then added it to "collage". Each finished picture was copied (clicked on file), and then the original amended with the new word. If you repeat this six times, you can get an entire collage sheet of printable flashcards. Worksheets are made using the full page. Use shift dash for answer lines. I did the regular short dash for the worksheet below, and the answer lines were a little too high. Font size can be adjusted easily and so can written sections which can be moved and centered manually. The Picasa text on picture application is very user friendly.

 I love being able to add any picture that I like and customizing worksheets, copywork pages, and story starters. I used free coloring pages for these. Not my first choice, but SpongeBob really makes her eager to learn, so I go with it. She loves snails, and I guess Gary the Snail speaks to her. Anyway, this is a super inexpensive way to customize your own educational items.

I incorporated many of the sight words and sound out words that she is currently learning with the CLE Learning to Read Program. The ease of learning and smiles I got with these homemade worksheets and flashcards was wonderful. She did them eagerly in lightening time. I plan to make more to supplement her Pathway Readers and Bob Books.



ClipArtEtc has hundreds of vintage free clipart which you can used for backgrounds.
























Freebie: sight word list

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Extremely Inexpensive Garage Organization

It took half the day, but we cleared out our garage recently, decluttering 15 years of accumulation, and freeing up a lot of space in the process. We took everything out, swept the floors, and then did some extreme purging. We filled up our vehicle and donated all the stuff to a local thrift store which takes hardware type items.

 For an efficient bare budget garden tool organization, we used this method:

 

 We used leftover wood from other projects, and we already had nails and screws, so it cost us no additional money. Sometimes you can find long pieces of wood for free(with permission) in the trash bins at the end of the lumber aisles. These long thin pallet type scrap wood is easy to come by at big box stores.

We were able to hang bulkier items like the electric clippers and the weed wacker from hooks screwed in under a high shelf. I put all the hand tools and tinier items in a giant rubbermaid container with smaller containers from the dollar store inside to organize the "smalls". It's all contained in one, and simple to clean and move around.

There are no more hiding places for overwintering palmettos bugs and spiders! The floor is clear to sweep and occasionally spray down with soapy water.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Coffee Filter Cut-out Snowflakes

A bag of coffee filters from the dollar store go a long way! These make the easiest snowflakes - no rounding off the ends. More here.

Children's Viking Ship Cut-out

We are using this as an ornament on our Christmas tree this year because everyone needs a viking ship on their tree. ;)


Christmas Birds Coloring Page

DIY Disposable Stick Branch Christmas Tree

My seven year old daughter created a stick (branches)Christmas tree this year, and everyone in the house seems to like it, so it's our tree this year. We've been adding ornaments as we make them. It's been fun and after Christmas we can chuck the entire tree, ornaments and all - easy clean up! Next year we'll start the creative process all over again with a new stick tree and new ornaments. The lights were from the dollar store...we'll keep these for other projects.

The branches can be held in place with large rocks in a bucket. We took our rocks from the garden.


Here's a pretty one that has been painted white:

Source: ehow.com via Alexandra on Pinterest

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Rustic Christmas Tree for Small Spaces



I love this idea! I may do this next year with driftwood.

Make an Easy Sparkly Cat Ornament - Free Cat Outline



Use this outline as a template for a glittery cat ornament. I plan to cut it out on black paper, glue to recycled cardboard, and cover with glitter. I'll add a pretty pink bow and hang it on the tree with my pet's name on it.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

O Come, Emmanuel - Cello and Piano



"We know there are many out there who do not celebrate Christmas or believe in what it may represent. This song is not meant to exclude anyone. We hope this song is an opportunity to reflect on everything we are blessed with in life -- family, a beautiful earth, a place to rest our head, the warmth of the sun. 

The lyrics of this piece speak of being 'ransomed' from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a 'ransom' -- a rescue by someone or something -- even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. People may define the 'rescue' moments in life differently, but the meaning of the moments remain the same. To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless 'ransom' of all. To Him we dedicate this song. "~ The Piano Guys

Monday, December 03, 2012

How To Make A Desk With a Door

Poor Grammar in Modern Educational Items

It is getting more and more difficult to find educational freebies(and paid) that use proper grammar. I am not a gifted grammarian. In fact, I often have to look things up. Going through my son's Rod & Staff English with him for eight years helped a lot! Mostly, I am punctuation challenged. So if I notice mistakes, it's moderately obvious. Anyway, I was browsing a teacher authored curriculum site for first grade freebies when I came across some really nice packets for language arts. It was disappointing to see run-on sentences and incorrect grammar(colloquialisms) such as confusing "was"and "were" - "If I was a cat" instead of " If I were cat" . You can never be a cat, so "were" is correct." I feel badly for the children whose teachers are purchasing these items.I wonder if the parent's notice?! What's weirder is the perfect feedback from almost a hundred buyers. I guess if Justin Bieber says it in a song, it's okay?

Educational items offered by individuals, even if they are certified teachers, should be reviewed thoroughly before purchase. If you are poor at proof reading, I'd avoid these and go for professionally edited curriculum. There can still be mistakes, but they correct them upon notice, and errors are less frequent. While content is very important, it is also crucial that children are challenged with learning proper English.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Winter Nature Craft: Pine Cone Snowman

A Plain and Simple Christmas Season

I can across an article about Amish Christmas , and realized that we tend toward this simple stripped down version of Christmas as well. We normally keep it low key, but this year is really low key. And everyone seems okay with it. I know I feel much more relaxed. As homeschoolers we can avoid all the outside Christmas activities, if we choose.

My husband and I normally don't exchange gifts and both children are happy to receive just a few favorites. My teenage son wants two book series and my daughter just likes the  process of opening presents - she likes pretty boxes and wrappings. Every year we end up wrapping her existing toys, at her initiation, to give to her stuffed animals, the cat, or family. This involves a fun trip to the dollar store for wrappings, ribbons, and bows. I just follow her lead.

It's a special time for giving, so it's also a time of year that we gift those in need. We have our special charities that we help out. I know it's trite, but it really is better to give than receive. And the gift of love is more valuable than any "thing". How many of us have too much stuff(relative to the rest of the world)  - too many. It's a good time to clean out and declutter, and donate to a local charity. If time is all you have donate that.

Donate to your favorite charity in someone else's name. Many charities will mail a card out to the honoree,and it can be done online in a matter of minutes. My father gets a donation in his name to Saint Jude's Children'sHospital every year, and my mother to the ASPCA, her favorite charity. Some of the animal charities have an adopt-an-animal donation option, and they send some really cute stuffed animals, and an adoption certificate to the honoree. We have done this one, and for $25.00 received the cutest plush penguin and adoption certificate. My son is adopting a snow leopard in his sister's name this year. One year we made an adoption in the name of Saint Francis, and we have this framed.

My daughter likes music, so YouTube provides great children's Christmas music videos. She plays these every day. We are listening to it right now.

We didn't put up a tree this year because my daughter wanted to make a tree. So we have branches from the garden in a bucket, decorated with her crafted ornaments and dollar store lights.

Here's to a relaxed, peaceful, and spiritual Christmas season! May you all find the peace of the Lord, regardless of you religion. His peace is a gift to all. Take this instead of commercialism and consumerism. Relax and enjoy each other.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

DIY Modern Lumber Furniture

We seem to making a lot of lumber furniture these days! The more pieces we make, the more we like it. As furniture wears out, we are replacing it with homemade lumber furniture. I liken the style to be somewhere between IKEA style pine and rustic pallet furniture. You certainly can't beat the price! Rough pine lumber is very inexpensive.

Here's what we've made so far. I hope this inspires someone to try this for themselves. It takes very little skill. We are complete amateurs, and yes, it is not fine carpentry work, but we weren't going for this, nor did we expect this.

My daughter's bed with room for storage underneath.

Tall table...we are using this as a kitchen island now. 

Young children's pallet book shelf

Cat ladder and sleeping box

Pallet/scrap wood toy shelf

Entertainment center or bookshelves

Platform bed and DIY mattress

Sectional sofa 

Not lumber, but free - stump side table/stool

Free standing kitchen(full pictures will come later...we are still putting on the final touches.)
12/9/12: Okay, here is the rough unfinished version of our DIY kitchen:


My husband recently made a child sized computer table with bench for my daughter which I'll add here later.