For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Monday, January 26, 2015

Seeking Beauty: How We Tackle the Arts in our Homeschool

It is the last week of the curriculum fair. Wow, January is almost done!

This week we are talking about the Arts: Seeking beauty in our world.

Hosting this week are Susan from Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and Lisa @ Golden Grasses.

When it comes to the Arts, it has been difficult to include it on a regular basis in our homeschool routine. Last year and this year I have tried to make a conscious effort  to make sure we do some kind of Art at least once a week. So far we have been able to maintain it.

What do we use?

We have enjoyed A Child's Introduction to .... series. We are using the Poetry and the Art books. These books are engaging and deal with the subject matter heads on, yet in a very gentle and progressive way. The kids are introduced to a different poetry style or artist one  at a time with example and explanation of their work. With the poetry book sometimes I try to have them do an exercise where they apply the style just talked about. In the Art book, some of the chapters include a try it exercice where they try to practice a technique. The book also comes with a cd with the poetry read to on it. We do chapter once a week. Doing it only once a week allows us to not get overwhelmed and give us intentionality.

Also I have purchased Classical Writing: Poetry for Beginners.  Not so sure when we will get to go through it but I am hoping sometimes this year.

Other than that my oldest takes violin lessons and my youngest piano. My oldest who is 11 now has been playing once in a while at church as well, which has improved his confidence.

That's about all we do in the area our Arts in our home.

The Art of Organization…or How Clutter Almost Ruined My Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

The Shadow of Divine Perfection by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Relaxed Homeschooling: Fine Arts in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Fine Arts {Art Appreciation, Art, Composer Study Hymn Study} for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Adding Sparkle to Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

And All the Extras by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Teaching Art Using the Bible by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

Art In Every Subject by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

Letting Art Just Happen in Homeschool by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

Missing Art? by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset

Do YOU Have Time for Extracurriculars? by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

Fine Arts in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

The Science of Beauty for a Delight-Directed Daughter by Susan @ The Every Day of Education

Seeking Beauty: How we Tackle the Arts in our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Learning To Appreciate Beauty With Fine Arts Resources@ As We Walk Along the Road by Leah@ As We Walk Along the Road

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Homeschooling

I have joined a few Canadian homeschool bloggers to bring you a post every month on a specific topic. For January we are talking about Homeschooling in the Winter.

For many homeschoolers, the winter months tend to be dreary and burnt out months. The cold weather outside, the lack of sun, the lack of outside activities and the gloomy overall air can be a real mood killer for some.

In our family, only my youngest  is an outdoor kind of boy. Even in the winter he loves being out. The other three of us are quite happy to be home cuddling under blankets, reading books and watching movies. So the lack of activities during the winter months do not affect us as much. It is life as usual. As a matter of fact we get more done during the winter months, especially that we run a year round kind of homeschool schedule.

We do however enjoy the snow when it comes and sticks around long enough to go play in it.We all love watching those snowflakes fall down and sit on the tree branches. We live in the city, so we do not get much of that, but when we do, we take it in.

Because we do not do much outside activities I make sure we take advantage of our co-op sport clinic put together during the months of January to March. For the past three years the boys have been doing volleyball and enjoying it very much. It is a time to get exercise and to get together with friends as well.

That said, if you are the kind that needs to get your kids out, or you yourself need to get out of the house here are a few things to look into:
  • Library activities
  • Nature walks and studies, either as a family or through organized field trips
  • Playdates, we love doing those, as a change in the routine
  • Indoor fieldtrips such as Science Center, Legoland, Reptilia, Royal Ontario Museum, Arboretum (not so indoor but offering cool stuff in the winter).
Make sure to check how other homeschoolers handle the winter months all across Canada in the round up post over at The Canadian Homeschooler. Post to come live on the 28th. Watch out for a giveaway on that day as well.

And just in case you need resources to help you during these months, here is a giveaway just for you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Living Frugally - Homeschool and Grocery Tips

Homeschooling often means living on one income. For some this is a deal breaker and a reason why many would not even consider homeschooling. The idea of living on less money is just not thinkable. That said, even though I will admit that for many homeschooling is really a sacrifice financially, one can make it work. Today I will share with you 5 homeschooling and 5 grocery tips that I use to lessen our expenses and helps us live on one income.

In homeschooling:

  1. Use the Library: if I can find it at the library I do not bother buying the book and use the money for something else o a book I can't find at the library.
  2. Sign up for group buy: these can be really helpful as you cab get 25 to 95% off a product. My favorite to use is There are also some Facebook groups who offer this.
  3. Resist the urge to buy every curriculum you think you like or could work: This is the most difficult one. There is so much good stuff out there, we feel that we want to try everything and we often think that something else would work better. Well, not necessarily. I have learned to be very picky and not act on impulses when it comes to curriculum buying. Do your research and be sure you want to invest in what you are buying.
  4. Make use of Buy/Sell/trade site and Facebook groups: you can get good deals there. You can also make many by selling your stuff in order to buy other material.
  5. Follow blogs and website that showcase freebies:,, You can really get some col stuff through these websites. I certainly have.

On my grocery bill:

1. I keep a running list of items that I need to buy on a whiteboard in the kitchen or the fridge. I seek to stick to my list at the grocery store.

2. I try to go to the grocery store no more than twice a week. The more you go to the store, the more likely you are to pick up things that you either did not need or could have waited next pay check.

3. I shop the flyers and price match. Some items I only buy when they are on sale; items like canned goods, cheese, jam, sugar, flour. Sales are cyclical, so they always come back on a rhythm, and if one store does not have it this week, another store might next week. Just be patient.

4. I stock up the sales. Now, I do not have an indefinite amount of money, so I cannot stock up too much,(neither do I have a big storage room), but I buy enough to keep me until the next sale, usually depending on the item, that amount varies between 2-5.

5. I buy wholesale. On some items buying wholesale is really a better option. I love Costco. A lot of items sold there are sold at the sale price in a regular store, so I just buy there and same myself the headache of checking for these items on the flyers. They sometimes offer you other perks, like cheaper gas, in the case of Costco.

This post is part of the Schoolhouse Round up on Frugal Living.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Share a New Recipe Tuesday

I have mentioned before I much I love bread. I bake a lot here, but my hubby and kids are the ones eating the sweets. What I fall for is savory and most of all breads and buns.

This is my latest new bun recipe. It was a success. Soft, just sweet enough, just delightful!

Hawaiian Sweet Bread


1/2 cup Pineapple juice
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Combine the pineapple juice, milk, water, oil, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn to medium-low speed.
Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a dough begins to form.
Continue kneading until a soft and smooth ball of dough forms.
Place the dough in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy and doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hour.
Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough.
Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces.
Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan.
In a small bowl combine 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush all over the rolls. (optional)
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You want them nicely risen. So be patient!
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning About our World and History - VCF Week 3

It's week 3 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair, Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and Stacie @ Supper Mommie to the Rescue are hosting this week's theme: Exploring our World: Social Studies and more Science.

What this means is that this week I will be talking to you about what we are using to discover the world around us. For us this has to do with History, Geography, Foreign Language and Worldview.

For History and Geography we are sticking with Tapestry of Grace, We've been using TOG for 5 years now. My oldest is now working at the Dialectic level and my youngest at an Upper Elementary level. We are doing year 1: Ancient History. I find the Dialectic years hard to stay on track with, but I am plowing through. Scheduling is the biggest issue, but I am hoping to get a groove eventually. The boys are enjoying their reading in History and Zach enjoys working on his timeline this year.

Here are a few of my previous posts on what we like about Tapestry of Grace:
5 Days of Curriculum Evaluation: TOG
Top Ten Reasons why we Love Tapestry of Grace
Virtual Curriculum Fair 2012 - Social Studies

Geography is covered within our History studies.

As far as Foreign Language is concerned, as  French speaker the only language I really would like my kids to learn at the present is French, and this is what I am focusing on. Zach is enjoying working through Duolingo and I am working with Johann through the prototype of a new curriculum called Getting Started with French. He is doing great progress with it, so yes I like it and would recommend it.

When it comes to worldview, we just recently finished praying through the book Windows on the World and now are just going through a book called Guarding the Treasure about how God's people preserved the Word of God, and another one as well called Exploring Grace Together.

Tapestry of Grace has a worldview component woven into the curriculum and we do work through the questions as much as we can as a family discussion time.

In the very near future, I am hoping to start them on a new Catechism put out by the Gospel Coalition called New City Catechism.

I have also wanted to go through Philosophy for Kids with the boys, but have not been able to fit it into the schedule. I am still hoping to get through it eventually. In addition to those we are blessed to be able to enjoy a subscription to Right Now Media (through my husband being a student at Talbot University), which offers a few worldview videos that I could use with the boys. The ones in queue are Dug Deep Down by Joshua Harris and Ultimate Issues by R.C Sproul.

Here it is for our tour. Don't forget to check other homeschooler's posts on the topic.

Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom's Heart

Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education

Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats

Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest

Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

Friday, January 16, 2015

Random 5 on Friday

It's Friday and time to look back at the week and what was accomplished.
The Pebble Pond
1. School got done! Hooray for week 2 done. We tackled every subjects on the schedule. Love it when that happens.

2. We started volleyball with our Homeschool co-op this week.  Hooray for being out and exercising.

3. I had a birthday this week. Yeah I am really close to the 40 mark. One more year to go. I am so thankful for God's grace on my life.

4. We are really enjoying that science kit I mentioned last week.

5. I am officially awaiting my first review for the crew this year. Yeah! Math Analogies from the Critical Thinking Co.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Come Meet my TOS Crew Friends

Another crew year has started. I am excited to be receiving my first product to review by next week, a Critical Thinking Co resource.  One of my crewmates had the brilliant idea of showcasing our blogs, and this beautiful picture is the product.

I invite you all to visit and browse through these beautiful blogs, I am sure you will find something you like or interests you.