Short, a word prompt post

The Homeschool Review Crew does word prompts for Instagram fun, I think it's great to have these words prompts for doing quick posts.  :)   I find them fun as sometimes it surprises me where my brain goes.  :)

The word for today is Short.  Let's follow my brain where it goes eh?


Not long
Not tall
Not average.
Just short

Short a nickel
Short a dime
Slip me a penny won't you?

A brick short of a full load
A few screws short of a hardware store
  A burger short of a combo meal. 

I query this.
Is to be short bad?

Short can slip through crowds
Short can pass unnoticed.
Short can be youth.
Short can be senior.
Short is my mom.
And that is not a bad thing.

Short is different.
Short is good.
Short is easy leg room.
Short is less head bonks.

Short is not me..
Unless I am next to a tall cousin.
Which shows that 
Short is totally relative. :)

Review: Armstrong & Charlie

This middle school book was simply a good read. A white boy and a black boy... learning they really weren't so different after all.   A good book for middle schoolers (and their older siblings or parents too!).  :) 

Book Synopsis:
 Charlie isn't looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he'll finish it. And when he does, he'll grow older than the brother he recently lost. 

Armstrong isn't looking forward to sixth grade, either. His parents have signed him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the Hollywood Hill.

So from September to June, arms will wrestle, fists will fly, and bottles will spin. There'll be Ho Hos spiked with hot sauce, sleepovers, boy talk about girls, and a little guidance from the stars.

Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Armstrong and Charlie is the hilarious, heartwarming tale of two boys from opposite worlds, Different, yet the same.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit, it took me a while to cotton to the fact that the story jumped back and forth between Charlie and Armstrong's stories.   But once I did it worked.

Seeing the thoughts of two sixth grade boys as they work through not only sixth grade and all that means, but through integration of blacks and whites in the same school.  Armstrong being one of the children bused into a predominately white school.  Charlie having to deal with his school friends abandoning his integrated school for the security of all white schools.

It's a neat book where two boys had to work through a variety of challenges... involving fights and ho ho's and misunderstandings, and then... a sleepover in which they discovered... they are both boys and aren't as different as they thought they might be.

That doesn't mean the challenges stopped, it just means they changed.  Through it all, lessons are learned and friendships are forged and change happened. 

My suggestion: This is a good, enjoyable read.  Could easily make the type of book to do a report on and be good for conversation starters.  NOTE: there is some astrology in this book for parents who would rather avoid that, but it's not a huge part.

 Armstrong & Charlie
By Steven B. Frank
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Size: 6.1 x 8.56
304 pages
Ages 10-12 years

Received: Softcover book

Reviewed for: Raincoast Books. Armstrong and Charlie Armstrong and Charlie

Recipe: Tasty Buns

I really liked the dough in this recipe, hopefully they taste as good as the recipe was to make.   Just so you know... THEY DID!!!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour(I used one whole wheat, one white)
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages dry yeast 
  •  1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  •  2-3 cups all-purpose flour(I used one whole wheat and almost 2 white)
  • fine grated cheddar cheese


  1. Stir together 2 cups flour and the yeast, add in sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, heat milk, water, and oil heat to lukewarm in microwave.(in my microwave took 3 minutes). Add all at once to the flour mixture, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Use a mixer.
  2. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, 2 to 3 cups. Mix well. Dust a flat surface with flour, turn dough out onto floured surface, and let rest under bowl for about 10 minutes.  I kneaded it for a minute before letting it rest.
  3. Shape dough into 12 slightly flat balls, and place on greased baking sheet to rise until doubled in size.  Made enough for 12 flat buns and a bunch of little rolls.
  4. I added cheese to the little rolls once they had risen
  5. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

I keep trying to make cheese buns like what I can buy in the store with cheese that you pull apart and taste ever so yummy.  Hoping these will do the trick.

End result:
The boy (age 11) devoured, "adding they need more cheese, and better than the store mom"
Hubby said "good buns hun, better than store bought"  
Me: Enjoyed them.. both with and without cheese, though the ones without cheese seemed a tad flat (probably cause I made them smaller than they should have been) 

Linked up at 
Hip Homeschoolers
Turn it up Tuesdays.

The Greats of Canada!

Welcome to blogging through the alphabet, this week we are on letter G!   I weeks in already...time just flies doesn't it?   I hope you are taking part in this blog linky, or at least having fun with it.  :)

Others in this series:
A: Sidney Altman, Canadian Scientist. 
B: Beavers!
C: Chant National/O Canada.
D: Dog Sledding.
E: Edgewalk.
F. Tailed Frogs.  

This week I really had to ponder what I would do for the letter G.   I thought for a while of doing the Go-Train which was on my brain because a friend recently found it more cost effective than taking VIA.  But that wasn't setting well... then I thought about the great lakes and thought hmm.... and my smart alecky 11 year popped up with "you can do the great cat Milo!!!"....and therefore the Greats of Canada was born!   :)

Did you know that Canada is one of Great Britain's offspring?  Yes indeed, a long time ago England sent explorers off to North America (1600's).  There were a variety of skirmishes over the years, but overtime England and France settled their differences, the different parts of Canada joined together and eventually became known as the Dominion of Canada.  Unlike the USA we didn't have a rebellion, we did the Canadian thing and negotiated a peace.   So our first Great is .. .  Great Britain.

Great Lakes is the second Great.  :)
Canada is home to four of the five great lakes.  We have a great deal of fresh water (fourth of all countries in the world) and host to the deepest lake in North America, and 8th deepest in the world.   In fact the deepest lake in Canada is another great!   Great Slave Lake!    For curiousities sake....our favourite place to walk in Pinery Provincial Park which borders Lake Huron.

Great Seal of Canada
Then of course we come to another great, called the Great Seal of Canada.
This seal "is a symbol used on all state documents for authority and authenticity. Documents such as proclamations, commissions of cabinet ministers, senators, judges and senior government officials.    The Great Seal of Canada provides the formal sanction of the Crown to a document......The current seal is complete with an image of Queen Elizabeth in her robes, holding the orb and scepter, while seated on the coronation chair." (source)

Great White North  oooh...'s another Great!!!   :)
This can refer to Canada (woot woot) or the show by the McKenzie Brothers. 

Bob and Doug McKenzie were a pair of fictional Canadian brothers who did a sketch called "Great White North".  It started on SCTV  then moved to CBC Television in 1980.   Bob was played by Rick Moranis and Doug was played by Dave Thomas.   It was created as a mock filler to suit network demands for Canadian Content but quickly became a phenomenon in Canada and the United States. 

Great Cat Milo... it's my last great for tonight as hmm... bed time is approaching.  This was the lad's contribution.. who is the biggest Milo fan in the world!   

 Milo is an 8 year old cat (will turn 9 this year) that the lad picked out as a wee three year old.  This boy has been cat focused ever since he fell out of my arms into a bin of stuffed cats at IKEA as a wee lad.  Milo likes to be read to, comes when called, and is ever so patient with the lad MOST of the time.  He does suffer from some back-pain and that occasionally makes him very grumpy, and he catches colds easily, but overall is a great cat for the lad.   We call him the doggiest cat that we know.  But seriously...isn't he a beaut?

  So what do you think? Want to join us? If you live in Canada what other greats can you think of for Canada?? 

A Net In Time Schooling

Review: Math Mammoth International Light Blue

My lad has been working through the International Series (Light Blue Version) Grade 6 curriculum from Math Mammoth for the past several weeks.  Let me tell you how well this program is working for us.

Do you ever battle with your children over math?  Well, my son is GOOD at math, but that doesn't mean he likes being TAUGHT math.  We have over the years started various math programs to the delight of my lad until he runs into a part of the teaching that he doesn't like and it will quickly fall apart of from there...usually takes about 1-2 months to kick in.  Imagine now, my delight to have a program that is working well for my lad.  Oh.. it's amazing!!!!   :)  

Math Mammoth...I LOVE YOU!!!   (so does my lad).  :)

What is Math Mammoth, International Grade 6 you ask?
 It is a complete maths program for sixth grade. It consists of two student worktexts (A and B), a separate answer key for each, tests, mixed revisions, and in the download version, an additional worksheet maker (Internet access required) to make extra practice worksheets when needed.

Now I will admit there was a bit of a learning curve and a needing to figure out how we would do the program.   See Math Mammoth doesn't set out and say "Day one do this, day two do that".. WHICH I admit I love. I have a strong aversion to being told what to do and when to do it.  I like figuring things out on my own.  Ergo I printed off what I thought my lad could reasonably be expected to complete in a week.  10 pages, means 2 pages a day.

Uh..rebellion.  "Way too much work mom!   I can't do ALL THIS".  This was his shocked response to being handed that reef of papers. 

I broke it down for him... just two pages a day AND asked him this: What do we do when we run into a snag?   "We stop and figure it out mom".   

To which I responded "Do you think just because we are starting a new math program that will change?"   No.

Off we set.

Admittedly there was some worries... do I have use their paper?   Do I have to write it all down there?  (Math Mammoth uses a grid to help learn long division).  No...but you might find it useful to write on something.   "Is my tablet okay?"  Sure.

You see, I don't care what he write it on, his tablet, in the air, on paper, with a grid, without a grid...doesn't matter.  What matters to me is this: Is he learning the material, does he understand it, AND can he explain to me how he got there?   That later is important to me because my lad often approaches math in a different direction than what I would do ... so as long as he can explain his process and gets the correct answer using the process multiple works for me.   This HAS been a problem for us.

Why do I tell you all this?

Math Mammoth links to a variety of sources to help children learn to do math.  Not all those math systems use the same way to do the math.   So when my son gets stuck, I just keep showing him how different people solve the problem until a method clicks with him and bam.... math is learned.   It means we don't get stuck knocking heads over methodology when all we want is math learned and used.

Here he's playing a game to remind him of how numbers make sense regardless of which way the math is done.

Doing math while mulling over why long division was so tough that particular day.

I was surprised that such a simple game made him think.   In the process of playing, he figured out what that problem with long division was (word usage and concern over bigger numbers).

Math Mammoth has shown us areas of weakness (like truly understanding how long division works and multiplication with really big numbers).   It's also shown us areas of unknown strength like the ease of learning exponents when he's never seen them before.

Now that we have gotten into a routine of 2 pages completely done everyday, my lad looks forward to doing his math.  To learning new math and being able to do it in a way that makes sense. He loves knowing that he can work on his math at his own speed, taking time where needed, and speeding through when he understands the concept. 

Math Mammoth has given us a logical way of doing homeschool math that is working for my lad without a lot of needless repetition, access to a variety of methods to learn, and just the right amount of work.   It provides extra worksheets to help with areas of struggle.

Should you get it?
YES!  Especially if you like the things we like:

If you have a child who dislikes images on his math pages.
If you have a child who likes straight-forward math programs.
If your student appreciates different ways of learning the same material.
If your student likes doing mental math.
If your child has an appreciation for working through material at his/her own pace
If you love excellent customer service.   We had a query with one question, asked about it, and got an answer within 24 hours.
If you like an affordable homeschool math curriculum. 

If you decide you too would like the Math Mammoth International Series (Light Blue Version)
this is what you get in your affordable downloadable link.

  Two student worktexts A & B along with answer keys for those books.  PDF's.

A variety of tests, one for each chapters.

Some additional worksheets.

A bonus soft-pak, you can use these to make up additional question sheets as remedial or more difficult as you like.    This is a package that you download onto your computer.  The math maker that I used automatically printed.

The two parts of this program (A and B) sell for $18.75 each for the Worktext and answer key, soft-pak, revisions and tests.  Full Set for $37.50 and can be used with more than one child.  Affordable indeed.

Linked up at Hip Homeschoolers.

And it was good! Our week Feb 19-25

We planned a bit of a short week this week.   Plans to go away this weekend, a vehicle in need of repair, and knowing the learning takes place in many different ways.  :)  School happened!   Life happened.  And it was good!  :)

Today was family day, so the lad did his minimal schooling that he does on days off, and off we went to first take part in a demonstration Karate Class and then to go for a walk at the Pinery.   We did some pokemon going while we are there, toured through Grand Bend and just hung out together.

Ice experiment...ooh.. fun with matches!

The lad made cake!
It was his turn to cook, he saw the cake in the cupboard and his eyes.... oh my, they just lit up!   "It's my turn to cook!    Let's have cake!"

He was a bit downcast when I mentioned that just cake for supper was not acceptable... which led him to ask for helped in making perogies.

Dad, not being a lover of perogies opted to make himself some other dish instead.

Food bank.   Regular schooling.  The lad pushed hard and was done by 1230.  :)  
Had a lovely walk together in the afternoon the lad and I did.   New Pokemon out and running around, so we had to chase them down.  :)

School, the lad's report this week on the Caribou.
Garbage day, lovely weather, car work to do... we called it done as early as we could. :)

The lad helped clean the cars out and helped dad work on the rear brakes.   They also fixed the side mirror that I accidentally broke off after over correcting from someone taking a corner really wide.   (I avoided being hit but the car mirror...not so much).

Rabbit picture taking day.

Gramma coming over since hubby and I are heading out for the weekend.   
The lad did practical schooling today making cheese buns.  :)  He'll also be doing animal husbandry and housework with gramma this weekend.   

Hubby and I just schleped around together.    We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend doing absolutely nothing but wandering around together, looking and talking and just being alone without distraction.

Faith and Word Prompts
Set your face against Mount Seir.   Devotion on Ezekiel 35
Sunday sermon.  Can you build the church for others?
A Wife's Understanding of God.  chapter two of excellent wife book
You Will know that I am the Lord.   Devotion on Ezekiel 36:1-15
Forgetting the Holiness of God. Devotion on Ezekiel 36:16-24
For His Name's Sake.  Devotion on Ezekiel 36:22-37
Pajamas are Optional.   word prompt post on pajamas
Oh to be Slow.  World Prompt on the word Slow.
Earth-Space Colouring Book.
Conspiracy of Silence.
Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush
A Dog's Purpose.

Homeschooling and Life
ABC Blogging.  F is for frogs.  Frogs with tails.. think on it.   :)
Art Series: Earth-Space Colouring book. Cool resource for astronomy lessons.
Hymn Study: Have thine Own Way Lord.  
Chicken Heart Casserole
Books for Canada, the Canadian North (Jack London).
STEM: Building a Robotic Hand.
The Lad's Research: The Caribou.

Linking up at the following Places:
Homeschool Highlights.
Family Friday Link Ups:
Weird Unsocialized homeschoolers: Weekly Wraps Up.
Homeschool blog and tell.

Review: A Dog's Purpose

Out in the theatres now is the movie A Dog's Purpose.

So I can't say I was really surprised when I was sent "A Dog's Purpose" (the book) to review.   Kind makes sense to promote both book and movie at the same time eh?   :)
I read Ellie's Story a while back and thoroughly enjoyed that book, once I got into it.  It was a nice story about a dog and her person, a dog with a job to do, a dog with a purpose in life.   It's a bit unusual reading a book from the dog's point of view, but once I got past that... a good book.

So when I was given A Dog's Purpose I was admittedly curious to see if I would like it. I have to admit, it was interesting story.   Would I like a book, meant for adults, written from the dogs' point of view?

Well.. I have to admit, it was a nice story.   It was.

I struggled though.   I dislike the idea of reincarnation..and having a dog live, die, a dog live, die and so on throughout it's life just didn't set well with me.

If I could have separated out the separate stories about the dogs' and their lives and somehow managed to have them interconnect without the reincarnation bit I more than likely would have enjoyed the book more.

It was very funny in sections... seeing how a dog might interpret what we are saying to them and how disappointed they might be at missing out on a cookie.   It was intriguing to see a dogs perspective to their family being in peril, or hurt, and how they just might see their "job".   Of course it is also the personification of dogs and the failure to see that dogs are NOT people.  Seeing things through their eyes also helps make that apparent.  Dogs are not people as much as we want to personify them.  

As it was I can say "nice overall story, but not one I would read again".
Makes me wonder how they'll end up turning it into a movie.  :)

Would I recommend it?
If you are able to separate the idea of reincarnation and simply enjoy a story from a dog's point of view, complete with the humour contained therein, then yes.   If you cannot, then I would recommend giving it a pass. 

Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Publisher: TOR
Pages:: 335
Size:  7.56 x 4.63
Book for adults

Reviewed for: Raincoast Books A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans

STEM: Building a robotic hand

Ever since we build a hand out of paper and yarn my lad has been searching for something, almost ANYTHING that would work better.  So imagine our delight when Tinker crates arrived and the topic was "Robotic Hand!"

With the use of elastic, brands, eye screws and working robotic hand was made.

I loved seeing the look of concentration on his face.
Tinker Crates give clear instructions on how to make their crates.  As long as one carefully reads EVERYTHING you can make the STEM project without any issues.  I find them affordable, and the lad likes putting them together so it's a win-win.  

It comes with a handy tinkerzine with greatly expands the learning done.  We have a couple of other projects left in this kit to do.  We just didn't get to them today.

The lad has had a great deal of fun experimenting with the robotic hand.

I really wish I could have videoed the conversation between the lad and his dad afterwards.
Figuring out why the robotic hand doesn't work as well as a human hand.
Seeing how they would change it to make it work better if they could.
It was just a great conversation and one of the top reasons why I like to do these tinker crates with my lad, the conversations with my lad.

That and this statement
"This isn't homeschooling.  This is fun!"

If you follow this affiliate link, you can get $10 off your first Tinker Crate eh?