Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday's Five

It is 8:30 pm and I decided that I skipped last week and I really shouldn't do the same this week. This week's topic will be 5 random things.

1. I discovered a new and so easy brownie recipe. I made a pan, posted on Facebook, a friend wanted me to share the recipe, and instead I shared some brownies. I love having friends so close. I then had to make another pan as I am to take them to Away Day.

2. I am working on a 2,000 piece puzzle. I have never done one that big. It doesn't even fit on my table. I am slowly making progress.

3. We had snow flurries today and a few other times this week. Crazy weather.

4. This past week we learned to play Ticket to Ride. That might become my new favourite game.

5. I love getting up in the morning and seeing the sun shining. I am enjoying our long days. The sun rises at 5:35 and sets at 8:33.

Well, that is my five random things for this week. Now I need to get ready for tomorrow.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dear Self,

A letter written to myself in 10 years.

Dear Beth,

Ten years have past where are you living now? When I was 40, I was in Asia and never dreamed of living in the USA for five years and then moving in England. So I wonder where I will be living in 10 years. I thin the more important question is not where I will be living but how I will be living. So keep living for the Lord, loving him and serving him.

My children will be 21 and 25. We will have made it through the teen years. I wonder what they will be doing, where they will be. My desire is that most of all they will know that God loves them and know God's grace.

With the children older I hope that means that my husband and I will have time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee together and talk, explore a new place, or wander through a museum. Maybe we will read all those books that we have dreamed or reading. Most of all I hope we still laugh together, share our thoughts, and love each other more than we do today.

I will be 60 and getting close to retirement. My 50 year old self still doesn't feel 50 so thinking about being 60 is just causing me not know what to say. (pause) So at that age it will be a time of figuring finances towards retirement or whatever God has for us. I think the real thing for me to know at 60 is that I can still trust the Lord.

I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
Psalm 37:25

Ten years seems like a long time. Each of those years is made of seasons and seasons of months and months of days and days of hours and hours of minutes and minutes of seconds so in the seconds of life, I want to be living for the Lord, loving the Lord and those around me, and trusting the Lord. I do think age has given experiences which allow me to see God and know him more so my desire is that in the next ten years I will know God more.

Life is exciting and an adventure. Enjoy each day. 


So what would you write to yourself in ten years? 

This was inspired by The Circle Linkup from In His Time.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

British History - Shelf of Resources

I love history. I think at one time I even considered majoring in that at university. History is a big part of our learning. Over the past few years I have collected a few books on British history. Now we are using them as we study British history together.

I will share some of the books that are on my shelves and how I am using these.

British History by James P. Sobaugh - This is a High School Level curriculum but I felt that it wasn't enough for high school credit. It has short sections to read, a page or at the most 3 and an essay question. J is answering the essay questions but I am giving him some additional work. I am using this book as my guide but have added more reading to it.

Kingfisher Encyclopaedia of British History -- This is available as one volume or small books for various time periods. This is easy reading with lots of pictures and illustrations.

Oxford History of Britain and Ireland - This is a bit deeper of a book compared to Kingfisher. I have assigned some readings from here.

Britannia is a book just full os various stories. It is in chronological order.

2000 Years of Christian Faith in Britain - This is a book that I recently purchased. We have just read a bit in this book.

Our Island Story - I have that on my Kindle but I have been reading bits of that.

I also have British Literature by James Stobaugh and my plan is to add some of that to our learning as we go through the various time periods. We have just gotten to the Anglo-Saxons today so we will add that. My thought is to be able to give credit for both British Literature and British History.

Those are the major resources that I am using. I have a few other books on the shelves that I reference and some that we will read as we go through history.

I am teaching this at a high school level and yet working to keep Miss K interested. I will say she is still talking about Boudicca so I do know that she is listening and learning.

Some of the things that I have added to this to give it a bit more learning and assignments are maps, timeline, important people, readings, and a few tests as well as the essay questions. I will also add some of the assignments from British Literature.

Map - each week we have traced one map corresponding to what we are studying that week. So the first week we did a map during Roman time. This will be a graded assignment.

Timeline - we are creating a timeline and just adding details as we are going through. This will also be a graded assignment.

Additional Readings - I have assigned J some additional readings. These are just to give him additional learning and to prepare him for further courses and reading assignments. These are not graded.

Important People - As we go through our course, we are creating cards of various important people that we are learning about. This is graded and will be graded based on variety of people, neatness, and number of cards.

Essay questions - James Stobough's book has essay questions. These are just short questions about a paragraph. I think it is good to do these questions but I feel that just grading on essay alone is not enough.

Tests - There are tests with the James Stobough curriculum but again these are all essay. I also feel that there are bits missing so I will be writing my own tests. Miss K wants a test so I will have to give her one.

I feel that with the additional projects and assignments that this is a well-rounded course that will help us to understand British history.

We have covered Pre-historic and Roman history. I will share a bit more specifics on those times.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Literary Inspiration

What inspires a writer? What gives the mental picture for a writer? In 1845 Charlotte Bronte stayed in Hathersage. Two years later the novel Jane Eyre was published. It is believed that North Lees Hall was the inspiration for Thornfield Hall. It is known that Charlotte visited this two or three times while she was in Hathersage. North Lees Hall was built around 1410 by Robert Eyre.

This weekend marks the 200 anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth. In celebration North Lees Hall was open for a few hours Saturday and Sunday. A friend and I went this afternoon. We have walked in that area before and see it from a distance.

The house was smaller than I thought. I imagined a large grand house but that is not the case. It  has been used as a holiday house for the past few years. There were just three bedrooms, a sitting room, dining room, and kitchen.

I think the steps might have been original. The circular staircase goes all the way up to the roof.

The view is amazing. I live in the most beautiful part of England.

Throughout the house there are bits of things referenced in Jane Eyre. Now I want to sit and read Jane Eyre again.

It was a fun afternoon and I am glad that we were able to go and visit the inside.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two Years Ago

Two yeas ago we packed all our suitcases and a few extra boxes to be shipped. Two years ago the kids and I left Seattle flying all the way to England. Two years ago we arrived in England to begin our ministry here.

In the past two years I have learned so many things.

1. I have learned that just because it is raining it doesn't mean you need to bring in the laundry because by the time you have it down it will stop raining.

2. I have learned to make a cup of tea with milk for friends, for the piano teacher, and for all kinds of occasions. I have learned to drink a cup of tea with a bit of milk. My drink of choice is still coffee.

3. I have learned that coins have value and you can use them for parking, groceries, bus fare, and even a handful can be used to pay Brownie subs. I am sure the leader loved have £5 in coins but that is what I had. There are eight coins in use and they are used versus the four coins that are used in the US.

4. I have learned what swede is, have eaten it, bought it, and even cooked with it.

5. I have learned the many uses of the word pop. I"" will pop down to the shops and buy some milk. "Pop a signature on this document and we will be finished." "Pop in if you have any questions." "I will pop you on hold."

6. I have learned to drive on the other side of the road. I took driving lessons and passed the test.

7. I check the diary to see if I have anything on that day and then mark it in my diary.

8. I have learned that I wear trousers.

9. I have learned to shorten words. That is brill or fab. I wonder if the subs I pay for Brownies are subscriptions. Subs were due this week for Brownies.

10. I have added some new cookbooks to my shelves -- Mary Berry, Delia, and Jamie Oliver.

11. I have learned to go outside and enjoy the sun while it is shining.

12. I have learned that the best place to be is exactly where God wants you even thought at times it might be difficult. I am thankful for the past two years of being here where God has led and provided for us.

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A+ Interactive Math - TOS Review

Math has been a struggle for Miss K. If you have read my blog for long,  you will know of various things we have used and tried and there are still struggles. I was excited to have an opportunity to try the Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

A+ Interactive Math is a multi-sensory interactive math curriculum. The goal is to help students improve their grades. The lessons include visual, voice, and text-based instructions. They offer complete program for math grades but one of the new things that they offer is Mini-Courses.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

We reviewed the Mini-Courses, which focus on a specific aspect of math. These courses are not as long but give a great opportunity to see how your child responds to this type of learning or allows the student to focus on some specific areas that need help and improvement. Some of the Mini-Courses include the following topics:

  • Elementary Fractions
  • Counting and Identifying Numbers
  • Place Value and Number Combinations
  • Naming, Comparing, and Arranging Numbers
  • Early Elementary Addition
  • Early Elementary Subtraction
  • Elementary and Middle School Multiplication
  • Elementary and Middle School Division
  • Tables, Charts, and Graphs
  • and more

The Mini-Courses have between 10 to 35 lessons.

For this review I selected two Mini-Courses that I thought would be areas that would help Miss K. I selected Place Value and Number Combinations and Early Elementary Addition. I was not sure that Miss K completely understood place value and I know that addition needs more work. That is evident when I asked her what 10 + 10 equals and she told me 11.

I found it easy to set up the account. There is a parent account and a student account. The work is all done on the student account.

We did math four times a week. There is a short video and then some interactive questions. At the end of the questions there is a certificate. Miss K has a collection of the certificates. She loved printing them and putting them in her math box.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

For me one of the benefits of doing a computer based program is giving Miss K the ability to do it on her own. I enjoy having a few minutes to just wash the dishes while still being aware of what she is working on. With A+ Interactive she was able to login herself but needed help in finding the lesson that she was on. I then needed to change the status to complete.

Each lesson began with a teaching time, which was audio and visual. After the teaching, there were some practice questions about 7 to 10 questions. The video could be played again if needed. There were also additional worksheets that could be done online or be printed.

So after using this for a few weeks, what were the results? The program kept her attention. Each day she was excited to do her math and even more when she could get the certificate she had printed. We didn't have a sudden memory of all addition facts but we did discover one thing that helped and continues to help -- the addition table. Why have I never heard of that before? That is in our math box to help with math facts. I was pleased with A+ Interactive Math. I think the idea of Mini-Courses is a great way to experience the program and how it works for your child. Genius idea!

Read what other Mini-Courses others have used and their experiences with those courses.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Crew Disclaimer

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday's Five

Five signs of spring

I love spring. I love the change of seasons, the hope that warmer weather is coming (okay, I live in England so maybe there isn't much hope for hot weather but I will take warmer), the newness of spring.

Lambs in the fields are a sign of spring. I love walking along the fields and seeing the lambs scampering, hearing the baa's of the lambs looking for their mother, and watching the mothers care for their young.

Daffodils all around - I am amazed at all the daffodils that I have seen. Some are neatly planted and some are growing wild. I think daffodils are one of the first flowers to appear here signalling the beginning of spring.

The buds on trees - Sometimes you have to look close to see the buds but they are there just getting ready to burst open.

Spring clothing - It is always fun to get out the spring clothing. Miss K is modelling her Easter outfit. 

The sound of the birds - I wake up in the morning and hear the birds. I know that spring has arrived. The other day Miss K and I were at the park and it was noisy as the birds were up in the tree. You can see the nests from previous years.

Just a few of the signs of spring around here. What signs of spring do you see?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Homeschool Copywork - TOS Review

Copywork is something that at times I have added into our learning schedule. I was excited to have an opportunity to review Homeschool Copywork. I received a Lifetime Membership for this review.

Homeschool Copywork Review

Copywork is not busy work. Copywork is not just practicing handwriting. Copywork is valuable in so many areas such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, as well as learning information. It requires focus, short-term memory and builds those skills. Copywork can be just copying a sentence or it can be longer passages as well.

Amy Blevins created Homeschool Copywork after seeing the results that her daughter achieved through doing copywork on a regular basis. I love the fact that this is a homeschool mom who has designed something based on her own use and offers this for others. She understands homeschool moms and the needs.

The website has the resources separated by level -- Early Elementary Copywork, Upper Elementary Copywork, and Junior High-High School levels. The copywork is in ebooks with a variety of topics from artist to character building, from history topics or Bible passages and many other topics.

It is easy to download. You just click on the copywork book that you want and it will download directly to your computer. I wish that I could preview before downloading but that is just me with a hard drive that is quickly filling up.

There are so many topics to pick from. I downloaded a few for Miss K to use. On Friday mornings we will often study some poetry and so one week I gave her Poems of Emily Dickinson to do as copywork. That was an easier piece for her to work on as it was a shorter passage and had the lines directly below.

The other week Miss K found the book about the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse at the library. She added that to her stack and I discovered that there was copywork on that in Homeschool Copywork so I gave her those pages to work on. This was a bit harder as it was longer passages and meant that she was copying from a previous page. I learned a bit of what kind of copywork to give her and how to adjust it for her level.

The books range from 40-50 pages to over 150 pages for the Human Body Notebooking Pages. While that sounds long each book contains the variety of copywork levels from manuscript to cursive. I found it best to not print the complete book even though that would be easy but rather go through and picked the pages that I knew Miss K could do.

J is learning about vanGogh in his art class so the copywork is a good way to have the learning cover more areas.

Homeschool Copywork offers three different membership types. A free membership gives you limited resources. There are the options of a One Year Membership and a Lifetime Membership.

You can read reviews from other Crew Members and see how they used this in their learning.

Homeschool Copywork Review
Crew Disclaimer

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

March Update

I know it is now April 10 and I am sitting and writing an update for March. I had plans to do it on last weekend but was busy setting my quilting record.

So what did I do in March? I better quick write this before I forget what I did. Maybe I will just make it easier for myself and look at my notes in my planner.

I finished another project on my Unfinished Projects list. I finished Good Night Moon. I started in two years ago, added the border last autumn and quilted it and added the binding this year.

I just used some of the leftover pieces to make the binding. I love that look on the binding.

It was a split nine patch which is so easy to do.

Outing - I took the kids to the market and to the beach when we were in Spain. I am going to call that my outing for March. I also took Miss K to the mums and daughters weekend. That should count for something.

Books - I am working on my Book reading challenge. I finished four books in March. I read Number the Stars and am considering that my book for children. I also read Intentional. I couldn't decide if I was going to put that under the book your pastor recommends or written by an Anglican. It was recommended by the vicar as it is the book that the vicar wrote but I decided to put it under written by an Anglican as there is another book I am currently reading that was recommended.

March's focus was habits, routines, and schedules. I have a good evening routine with all the things I need to do so I am ready for the next day. My morning routine needs some work. We have a good laundry schedule which is posted for everyone to see and follow. I have a cleaning and schedule and I think the house is staying clean though a child told me that their room needed to be dusted and vacuumed. I guess we need to follow the schedule a bit more.

April's challenge is creative. I have begun working on a few creative projects.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday's Five

Five cookbooks that I use often. I love cookbooks. I enjoy looking at the photos and reading the recipes and tips. I have sorted through and gotten rid of a number of cookbooks but I have also added some new ones to my collection. Given the number of meals that I cook it is nice to have a variety of cookbooks.

Here are some of my cookbooks on my shelf. I love my coffee canister.

And the top shelf has some more. I love these shelves in the kitchen.

The five cookbooks that I often use.

1. America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook - There are a number of recipes that I use from here -- chicken potpie, beef potpie, chicken and mushrooms in a cream sauce, easy biscuits. I love the notes that are in the book either about ingredients or cooking gadgets.

2. More-with-Less Cookbook - My copy is worn and a bit dirty. I use this for pizza, lentils, chicken and pineapple.

I love the fact that it is spiral bound.

3. Betty Crocker New Cookbook - I am not sure how new this is. I have had it for a long time. It is a good basic one. I use it for meatloaf, chili, and a number of other recipes.

4. Delia's Complete Cookery Course - This is a new book that I have added recently. A friend here recommend Delia as a standard. I have made a number of things out of this book -- potato and leek soup, roasted potatoes, and a few other things. This is a go to book when I get some new things in my fruit and veg boxes.

5. Mary Berry - I have two Mary Berry cook books. I have not used the Baking Bible much but I have found a number of recipes in the Marry Berry Cook's. I found a delicious pork with veggies recipe that we all enjoyed. Some of the things that I have recently found easy to cook are putting the meat and veggies all in the same pan and baking -- sometimes called a tray bake.

What is your go to cookbook?

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quilting Record

I am sure that others have done this before. I am sure that others have done this faster but for me this was a quilting record.

Normally the process of a quilt for me is buy the fabric and allow it to sit in a box for a few years while I ponder the pattern, find the time, and get the courage to make the first cuts. When I finally cut the pieces then that needs to rest, a bit like dough needs to rest before you bake it. Well, then slowly over the weeks or months I assemble the pieces to begin to look like a quilt. After a year has past and the quilt is still not finished, I might add a border, find some fabric for the backing, and finally a year or two after beginning and five years after buying the fabric, I quilt it. Then a few weeks later I finish the binding. So five or so years after purchasing the fabric, I have a finished quilt.

Now for the quilting record. Pay attention to days and timing. It might go a bit fast. I should have take photos along the way but I was too busy setting the quilting record that I didn't have time to pause and document that even.

Friday afternoon my husband said that some former teammates were going to be in town the next week and coming for dinner on Thursday. Friday afternoon I was in the attic looking for some fabric to make a zipped pouch, just to be creative. There I spied some fabric, this was a puppy dog print in double wide jelly roll. The fabric had been around for a few years. Last year I had looked at it thought of making a quilt for our teammates baby but didn't do it before his birth. So I decided I had almost a week, I could make a quilt.

Friday afternoon I began cutting and sewing. Then my husband says, "I need to go out of town on Thursday so they will come on Tuesday." I had two less days for my already quilt record but I was up for a challenge.

Saturday I sewed and finished the quilt top. Next was to quilt it. I might just finish this on time. I managed to have it quilted by Sunday and sewed the binding on. All that needed to be done was hand sewing the binding. I know I could make it faster by machine sewing the binding but I just have not done that much so I opted for the hand bit.

I worked on the binding on Monday. Tuesday morning I still have half of the binding to finish. I took it with me to a friend's house and while we sat and chatted, I sewed. I still had a bit to finish but managed to finish around 4:00 so I had time to make dinner before they arrived at 5:00.

I did it began cutting on Friday afternoon and by Tuesday afternoon I had a finished quilt.

Do you want to see the other record that I set?

My scraps from this project. There was some of the yellow backing but that was left from another project so it doesn't totally count as scraps from this project. You know what that will go in my sewing machine cover pocket and be used when I need to check the tension.

I did it. In just four days I made a quilt. It might take some time until I set another quilting record.

How long does it take you to finish a project?

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