Working through our Smart Books

Do you have things that you like your children to do everyday?   Most homeschool families that I know have regular things they have their children commit to do on a daily basis with their schooling, some don't but many do.

For me it's 'do your chores' and do your dailies.   What are dailies you ask?   Dailies in our house consist of "do your smarts, your reading, math and Veritas Press materials".   These are done every day except for Fridays when we change things up.

I was talking with a mom the other day and she asked "What are those smarts you talk about?"

I like these smart books.  ESPECIALLY these made in Canada ones.  Just love them.

Days of November: Decorate

My dear sweet man is aching to decorate the house.  (more accurately to put up the tree).  

He's having to deal with a wife who is easily exhausted, so making space to put the tree is a bit beyond him without my help.

I feel badly for him.

You see...I know what it's like to be aching to decorate, to get the Christmas stuff up and organized.   I am sure you do to eh?

Art Series: Draw, Paint, Print like the Great Artists

Don't you love when you find a book that works great for a class you want to teach?   When I first saw this book "Draw  Paint Print like the Great Artists" by Marion Denchars I thought THIS book will be awesome to use in an art classes with a group of children.

And you know what... IT WAS!   :)

I have to tell you how much fun we had with this 224 page book.   18 different artists that we could discuss it was hard to break it down to just 6 classes.

Seasonal books To Enjoy

Oh... but I need to introduce you to a delightful couple of books.   I won't call them Christmas books, they are more seasonal books.   They are great picture books to enjoy with your elementary aged students.

Samson in the Snow and Over and Under the Snow.  Two delightful winter books for you and your children to enjoy.

Samson in the Snow

Author: Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook Press
Size: 10.89 x 10.01
40 pages
Ages 4-8 years

This is just an adorable book.   One lonely Samson, alone with his flowers, content to be there, but someone in need comes along and Samson helps.   The weather is calm and beautiful.   Samson returns to his life of solitude, wondering what it would be like to have a friend.    The weather turns cold and nasty, snow falls, Samson worries about the individual with flowers, would she be okay in the cold?   He hunts, he finds another, who finds the one with the flowers, and safety is found, but not only safety...much more.    This is a tender touching story and I think would make a great book to read with your children.
Samson looked and looked until he found.
I loved the look they gave to Samson... he's like a gentle giant you know?

 Over and Under the Snow

Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Chronicle Books
Available: 09/09/14
size: 8.04 x 11.96
44 pages
Ages 5-8

This is a simple fun read.  A boy and his dad out for the day skiing, and oh the discoveries they make.

Tracks in the snow and hideyholes for animals...and how they can fool some...but definitely not others.   All this life that can be found over and under the snow.    I can imagine reading this book and then saying "come on lad, let's go out looking for what might be hiding in the snow."

You will have to read the book to see who "over the snow" isn't fooled as they run under the snow.   :)
At the close of the book you have the opportunity to learn more about each of the animals

Now, can we find these books on amazon you think???  Affiliate links of course, just to help support the family and all that.  :)
Over and Under the Snow
Samson in the Snow
Over and Under the Snow
Samson in the Snow

Sunday Sermon: Keep Awake, Be Ready


Hark the herald the angels sing
Hail to the Lord's Anointed
O come O come Emmanual
The race that long in darkness pined
Rejoice, rejoice, believers
Be known to us in breaking bread
Joy to the world


Matthew 24:36-44 (ESV) 

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

During advent we are looking forward to Christ coming again.   Too often we only focus on the baby Jesus.
Or people focus on trying to figure out when Jesus will return.  Like the timing is important.

Even in Jesus' day the disciples wanted to know when Jesus would return.

Jesus answers the when question.  No one on earth knows.  Only God the Father knows.

The angels don't know, he (Jesus) doesn't know, people don't know, only God the Father knows that time.

When Christ was on earth he was limited in many ways by his humanity.   He was still God,  but he was very human.    He walked , talked, asked questions, needed to know things and get places.

While Noah built the ark,  he was continually calling people to know the Lord,  to turn to him and be saved.

2 Peter.   Scoffers  will be around to mock the Lord and his eventual return.

Jesus is clear    we don't know when he is returning but we have an antidote for that....stay awake!!   Always be expecting.   You know it will happen so simply be alert and be ready.

Whatever we do, be prepared for the Lord to return.

We shouldn't be surprised like those who live in the dark. Always ready, always prepared.

So how does live a life of readiness?
1. Live like any moment could be your last
2. Live in grounded obedience to God's will
3. Live a life of faith.
4. Live a life of love

So stay awake.   Be alert.

Days of November: Lesson

This post is part of my Days of November series.  You can find the rest of the days here
Lesson Learned

I've watched others you know
with Pneumonia.
Thinking they look tired.
So letting them rest.

But it's not the same.
The understanding isn't there.


One has it themselves.
Then one intimately understands
The shortness of breath
The lack of desire.
The inability to move and
Breathe well at the same time.

Lessons learned.
Lessons remembered.

God only gives us what we can bear.
And so far I bear.

A husband caring, doing the dishes. :)
A boy loving, bringing me tea and blankets.
A group of friends praying, holding me to the Lord.

This bearing I can do.
As I sit and rest.
And re-discover a truth.
When one sits and loudly breathes.
And the house is quiet.

One can lift up
A boy struggling with accident results.
A young lad struggling with cancer.
A mom missing a daughter off at school.
A church in the throes of closing.
A friend in need of the Lord.
A friend's husband recovering from surgery.

These things that so often get a fleeting prayer.
That when one is sitting and feeling useless.
Longer prayers can be made.
And this lesson.

It is GOOD.

Hymn Study: Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers

This hymn is new to me.  I've never sung it before and was delighted to make it's acquaintance this morning.   I do wonder what the missing six verses were like. Anyways, it's been translated from German and I think it's a good hymn.   You'll have to let me know what you think?


Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers
By: Laurentius Laurentii, 1660-1722
Rejoice, rejoice, believers, And let your lights appear;
The evening is advancing, And darker night is near.
The bridegroom is arising And soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle; At midnight comes the cry.

The watchers on the mountain Proclaim the bridegroom near;
Go forth as He approaches With alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting; The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory; The bridegroom is at hand.

The saints, who here in patience Their cross and sufferings bore,
Shall live and reign forever When sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory The Lamb they shall behold;
In triumph cast before Him Their diadems of gold.

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for, Over this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted, We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption That sets Your people free!

Written by Laurentius Laurentii, 1660-1722.   He was the son Herr Lorenz (Laurenti) who was a burgess of Husum in Schleswig, Germany.    He was educated in the field of music and went on to become the cantor and director of music at the cathedral church in Bremen.

Laurenti was one of the best hymn-writers of the Pietistic school. His hymns are founded on the Gospels for Sundays and Festivals, and they draw out the bearing on the Christian life of the leading thoughts therein contained. They are of noble simplicity; are Scriptural, fervent, and often of genuine poetical worth.(source)

 This cento is from a hymn of ten stanzas by Laurentius Laurenti. It is his finest hymn and emphasizes our Lord’s Second Advent. The hymn was published in the author’s Evangelica Melodica, 1700, entitled “for the 27th Sunday after Trinity.” (source)

I really liked this rendition

Five Minute Friday: Surrender


When I hear this word I think of the book of Ezekiel that I am reading through.   I am currently a little less than half way through this Old Testament book. 

Ezekiel is surprising me.
God is angry, oh so angry at the start of Ezekiel.
He wants to punish the people, they are colluding with the enemy (so to speak).
He's angry and wants the people to know one very important thing.

I AM THE LORD GOD and there is no one else like me.

 He punishes and corrects the people.
I am now at the point where God has told the people how he will gather them in.  He will gather then in so that they will no longer profane his name.

And he tells them I am the Lord God.   And THAT is what he wants them to know.

HE is the Lord God there is none other.

So when I read about people questioning God's will it makes me sorrow.

We have God's word in our hands, at least us Christians AUGHT to have God's words in our hands.
We should be able to learn from our past and see how God ALWAYS carries his people through.
It's not always easy that carrying through, but he does carry us through.

And to the end purpose... So that we will know that HE is the Lord God.
HE.. not me.
HE...not my neighbour, my prime minister/president, my country collective voting rights,

HE is the Lord God.
He has it all Covered.

And knowing that.... should we not surrender ourselves to that fact?
Should we not look at history (particularly biblical history) and see that truth.

He is Lord God.  He and NO other.

Surrender to the knowledge'll do better for doing that.

Surrender is the word prompt provided for us by Kate.

Do it Different Fridays: 3D puzzle of Notre Dame

Notre Dame took 200 years to complete, started in 1163 by Bishop Maurice de Sully.   It was finally completed in 1345 It was built in the gothic style.  The whole town seemed to get involved in the building, from the finances needed, to labour, to expertise in design and what not.  It has become an icon of Paris. 

Some facts about Notre Dame:

  • .1160 Maurice de Sully (named Bishop of Paris) orders the original cathedral demolished.
  • 1163 Cornerstone laid for Notre-Dame de Paris; construction begins.
  • 1182 Apse and choir completed.
  • 1196 Bishop Maurice de Sully dies.
  • c.1200 Work begins on western facade.
  • 1208 Bishop Eudes de Sully dies. Nave vaults nearing completion.
  • 1225 Western facade completed.
  • 1250 Western towers and north rose window completed.
  • c.1245–1260s Transepts remodelled in the Rayonnant style by Jean de Chelles then Pierre de Montreuil
  • 1270  the Parisians watched over the body of the King, Saint Louis, who died in Tunis;
  • 1250–1345 Remaining elements completed.
  • 1302 King Philip the Fair opened the first Estates General of the Kingdom of France
  • 1572, it was here that King Henry IV married Marguerite de Valois
  • 1594 King Henry IV converted to Catholicism 
  • 1804 it is where Pope Pius VII crowned Napoleon I Emperor of the French
  • it was also at Notre-Dame that the Te Deum was sung at the end of the First and Second World Wars;
It is located on a small island called the Ile de la Cite in the middle of river Seine.

Notre Dame Cathedral which can also be called “our lady” is still in use today by the Roman Catholic Church for Sunday mass and it is the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. A notable and distinct historical artefact which is very popular today is the famous bell that has been redesigned to ring automatically. Any visitor to the bell tower should be prepared to climb the 140 steps staircase, if desirous of seeing the historical bell or have a glimpse of the city of Paris.

 Also inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, among so many historical artefacts, is the notable 17th century organ with all of its parts still functional.

We learned a few things about Notre Dame and then we built it.  :)   NO.. not the actual building took 200 years remember  :) but a 3-D puzzle of it.

We made this puzzle:

 I liked how the pieces were clearly marked, and made on sturdy material. They were easy to punch out and match with the clearly marked directions.

Do you see how clear the instructions are?   My son found them very easy to follow, and even corrected my decisions a couple of times.   His only complaint about putting together this puzzle was that some of the slots for sliding the pieces together are a bit too small, but they were easily made bigger using the utensil it comes with.
 Putting the puzzle together.

It was a lot of fun putting this together with my lad, even though at times, my somewhat ill lad would get impatient with the finickiness of some of the pieces.

It was a good way for us to connect again after weeks of illness and kinda just doing our own thing.

 Once again I thought about Educents and how it's having a sale this weekend and thought I'd see what they had about Notre Dame and France.  It would appear that they  have some 74 products you can choose from.  Going to link up a couple just so you can see what they have.  These are affiliate links that just help support us.
France Close Reading
France Symbols
Bastille Day
France My book

Homeschool Coffee Break

Recipe: Julia Child Sandwich Bread

 I was feeling a bit perkier today after being ill with pneumonia, and since I haven't made bread in about three weeks I thought it was about time that I made some.

My son was delighted when I first made him his favourite Cheese Breadsticks.

As our student eats sandwiches everyday I thought I would make him the kind of bread that he really likes... white sandwich bread.   That led me to this recipe "Julia Child's White Sandwich Bread".


2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
6-6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour   - only needed 6 cups
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, softened  - subbed veggie oil


Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl (preferably that of a stand mixer) and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes, unit foamy. (If the yeast doesn't do anything, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.)

Add the rest of the water and about half of the flour. Stir until well blended. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and butter and stir with the dough hook (or by hand) until well combined and shaggy. 

Continue to knead until it is smooth and elastic.

Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until it's doubled in size.

Butter two 4"x8" loaf pans. Punch the dough down (love that part!) and pat each piece into a rectangle that's about 9"x12" - or a bit bigger than a standard piece of paper.

Starting at a short end, fold it in thirds, like a letter. Place seam side down in the loaf pans, tucking the ends in. Cover with the tea towel again and leave them for an hour, until they puff right up out of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the loaves are honey brown. Immediately turn the loaves out of their pans and onto a rack to cool.

This recipe is originally found here.

Review: The Great Shelby Holmes

This was such an enjoyable read.   Seriously, it was fun.   I am going to get my lad to read it once he's done the series he is on.   Good detecting with good humour built within, and you'll find friendship blossoms in unexpected places.

Using Google Docs to make a slideshow

One of the things I loved about my previous blog A Net in Time Homeschooling that I maintained through Weebly was the ease of making a slideshow.   It was SO easy it was brainless.

BUT I've been running into issue with weebly where I have to clear my cache to post a picture, with my browser disconnecting causes me to do resets, and lately not letting my scheduled posts .. post.   It's been annoying enough that as much as I love weebly I decided to go back to blogger.

BUT what to do about the slideshow option?

I got to thinking.
A slideshow is basically a powerpoint thing right?   So how do I make a powerpoint type thing?   Something that will be easy to load into a blog?

What about Google Docs?   I found a video the supported the idea...I guess it used to be called presentation but now it's called SLIDES.

Did some research and looked into google, where HEY!!!   They have a slideshow option!!!

Open up the slide option, and make up your slide show, your presentation so to speak.

Once you are done, go to the sidebar again and find the publish to web button
That will bring up this window, it will open up on the LINK tab, so make sure you switch it to the embed tab.

I did find a youtube video that recommended changing the width to 600 as that will fit onto most websites properly.  But much of the rest of the video was old.

Once you hit the publish button it will bring you to a new screen that will have the embed code highlighted.

Copy and paste that and you will get this:

Just so you know, if you want to see what the Homeschool Review Crew picked for the all round favourties, you can go here to see them.

 Addendum due to comments: I am pretty sure this will work in any blog program as it's just HTML code.   Give it a try!

STEM: Light Up Planetarium

Since battling illness is the name of the game in this house lately, today I decided to switch things up for the lad.

"Do your reading and then we'll work on a couple of your boxes okay?"   says I.

"GREAT MOM" was the enthusiastic response.  (good to have enthusiasm again)  :)

Over the past year we've been working with kiwi crates, I decided to bump up the the tinker crates, and Light Up Planterium is the first one we received.     Below you will see my son unpacking the box.  It comes in the mail addressed to him.

Tinker Creates is a great way to teach and entertain youth from 9-16 years old.   I discovered that the instructions are different, they came as a fold out page rather than a booklet. 
My son had absolutely no problem following the instructions and figuring out where he wanted to go.  He was able to easily look ahead and problem solve before reaching the next stage as needed.

HA!!!   I made my first ever presentation, cool eh?

One thing I couldn't figure out how to show you was how neat all those pin holes stars look against a dark ceiling.  Just couldn't get a good shot regardless of what I did with the camera.

But seriously, tinker crates are a great deal of fun and you can take the learning from them into so many different directions.  Do them as is or put them into a small unit study.  We're studying astronomy this year so this box was an excellent fit.  You can order individual crates from Kiwi Crates from what I recall, so give them a look see and figure out what you can use with your students.  :) 

Fascinating Fungi

 Affiliate links may be used in this post that help to support us.  Thank you.

One of the things that I like to do when out for a walk, particularly if I have my camera is to stop and take pictures of fungi.

My boys shake their heads at me and keep walking, they simply don't understand why I wouldn't rather take pictures of birds and what not.   But Fungi are cool, they are helpful decomposers of the plant world. 

Most of the fungi I find are this lovely white/beige colour.   Aren't they gorgeous?   Just look at all the variety in them, from rounded shapes, to rosettes or jutting out like mini shelves.   They are fascinating to me.   :)

Imagine my delight when  I spotted this beauty.   It's orange!   Every fungus on the tree was this same shade of orange.   I showed it to my lad when I got home and asked "What do you think makes it that orange colour mom?   I've never seen one like this before."
I have to tell you that I don't know a whole lot about fungi, I just know they are helpful plants that are often overlooked.     They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.   Some...are edible, others will kill you.   Others are so small you wouldn't even know they were there.  

Once when we were camping we learned about a fungus that lives inside of plants and is able to figure out the shortest distance between points.   If you had the time and patience, you could map out a number of landmarks, lay out oatmeal in that pattern and that fungus will figure out the best route for you.   Amazing eh?   They are apparently using that to figure out the best ways to lay down a subway system.   Go figure.

Did you know that fungi are not plants nor are they animals.  They have a classification all their own. They are highly variable in their appearance and action. 

I love how you can find one all by itself, just doing its thing, and at other times you see so many of them, you can hardly see the wood it's growing on.    Such variety in what seems an insignificant organism.  They just delight me.

So I heard that Educents was going to have a sale and they sent me a reminder that I have a credit with them and that perhaps I might want to use it up.   This made me wonder... might they have information about fungi?

And look.. THEY DO!!!

They have this bacteria and fungi kit. Young Scientists of all ages will be fascinated by growing bacteria and fungi of all colors and textures in Petridishes. They will discover how antibiotics cure disease. Students finish the kit by “waking”the common fungus called yeast.

Or check out this product: Germs and Fungus Lessons and Experiments.  Learn how to prevent the spread of germs.  Describe the various shapes of fungi and more. 
Oh Ick.  Gives students a chance to do science, including observing fungi growing as they make a mold zoo.   Not only that, there are 114 science experiments to be found at your fingertips, so even if you aren't fascinated by fungi, you are bound to find something that intrigues you.  :)

Just think of the fun one could have working with fungi, growing it, examining, watching it and most importantly...learning about it.   And Educents will give you a discount to do so.  Cool eh?

If you are  first time member did you know you get a discount on your first order?   You can find out the details for that RIGHT HERE

For all other discount options, see the image below.