Posted by & filed under Holidays.

St. Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun. Not only are you supposed to wear green on March 17th but there are a lot of other fun things you can do and learn about:

Do you know the history of St. Patrick’s Day?  Or that in Chicago they dye the Chicago River green on St. Patty’s?

PARTY [fun learning] TIME!

For our party, we started with Coffee Filter Clovers

The first steps we so easy, even the toddlers could participate – scribble blue and yellow on coffee filters. Next, spray them with water and let them dry.  (This is a fantastic project showing early learners how two colors on the color wheel are combined to make a new color.)

Afterwards, you can easily trim the filters and assemble the into clovers.

St. Patrick's Day Clover Craft

Our next project was Wee Little Shamrock Men...

This was too cute to pass up!  Recycle – you can use any supplies that you have around. I almost threw away old shelf liner but decided to hold on to it just in case.  Well, it is green so we used it to decorate our shamrock men.

St. Patrick's Day Clover Men Craft

The little three year old really got into the project and decided to add hair!!! LOVE it and I love that it was a young children that was so creative all on her own.  Now go get creative and plan your own St. Patrick’s Day events!!  Here is a St. Patrick’s Day CLIP (Creative Learning in a Pinch) to help.

St. Patrick’s Day CLIP


Posted by & filed under History, Reviews.

Over the years I have been interested in the Mystery of History, a Classical, Chronological, Complete Christian History for All Ages.  I had always heard great things about it, so when the opportunity came to do a review I was very excited!

My first impression of the Mystery of History Volume 1  – it’s huge!  It is 635 pages.  Wow.  Check out this Table of Contents!  The volume begins with a letter to the student (three different letters to cover the various grade levels – elementary, middle school and high school).  The next section is  34 pages of instruction including a lengthy letter to the teacher explaining everything from curriculum layout to suggested schedules to methods of education .  Linda Lacour Hobar goes into great detail on how to best complete activities, create memory cards and timelines and information on grading.  Initially I felt a little bogged down by so much to read to get started, but then I recognized the great value in having such detailed explanations.  Several times Hobar mentions that she goes into such detail because so many people have had questions on a particular topic.  That is wonderful – it is nice to have all the resources needed in one place.

Each week begins with a pretest to see what the students know.  Check out this 42 page sample lesson - imagine that 42 pages out of the book for a free sample!!  My children were not real excited about this aspect but I think it is a great tool for creating a sneak peek into what is coming.  One child in particular always wants to know what will happen and what the outcome is going to be so I find the pretest helpful in answering those common questions.

The Mystery of History heavily uses the Bible.  Seeing how stories in the scriptures tie in with stories in history is one of the things that caused us to fall in love with the study of history.  The Mystery of History goes chronologically through the Bible and relates world history to that.

I love that this curriculum works for all of my children at the same time.  I am teaching six kids all different grade levels.  That makes life a bit crazy, but with multiple activities and ideas for various grade levels simplifies my life.

My favorite things about the Mystery of History:

  • bite sized lessons
  • hands on activities for every lesson on each of the three different grade levels
  • printable maps
  • great resource list of additional books to explore
  • many of the tough to pronounce words have the pronunciation right in the text
  • and the all important (at least for me) pronunciation guide is broken into weeks for quick referencing
  • the “Wall of Fame” timeline activities – this is the BEST!!!  We have had so much fun with this!

Other things you might really look for:

  • quizzes frequently and even comprehensive semester tests
  • Bible reading list to go along with every lesson
  • Strong Christian worldview
  • answer keys and good index

Things I wish it had:

    • tabs or a way to break up the hundreds and hundreds of pages -(ie. it is difficult to find the map section)
    • more pictures
    • printable worksheets
    • maybe having the book broken into smaller sections so it is easier to photocopy

Overall, this is a very comprehensive history program.   The curriculum follows the Bible chronologically while tying in history.   This is an important thing to point out as I have shared this with others and some people love that and others prefer history with the Bible tied in.  The author really addresses just about every need explaining just what to do and when to do it.  This is great for both new and veteran homeschoolers.   It can easily be used for any size of a  group and even multiple age groups at the same time.

Please visit The Mystery of History for more information.

*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary  Mystery of History Volume 1 for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*

Posted by & filed under Holidays.

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t know about you but I LOVE holidays!!  In fact, my husband and I have actually searched for crazy holidays like Rubber Eraser Day!  I have even been accused of partying for no reason at all.  Hey, if my kids tackle a goal they have been seeking or my toddler potty trains – I am all about making a cake and throwing a party!  So St. Patrick’s Day is no different.

St. Patrick’s Day ideas

  • History

History behind St. Patrick’s Day

  • Events

St. Patrick’s Day site – includes Irish limericks and jokes, Irish songs, list of fun runs around the United States, and a list of parades worldwide

  • Activities

Enchanted Learning – a lot of craft ideas and educational activities

DLTK’s educational site – craft ideas, games, coloring pages, poems, songs and printables

Family Fun – I usually end up at this site because they have such clever ideas

Lapbook – books to read and a ton of games and printables to add to the lapbook

Homeschool Share lapbook that even covers science, art, math, language arts, social studies and more

  • Recipes

Recipes from Family Fun –  dinners, drinks and dessert recipe

Irish recipes – leprechaun cheese, Dublin chocolate mint milk and more

Posted by & filed under Holidays.

Love is in the air!

Kids love Valentine’s Day because it is another excuse to get a bunch of candy. I love Valentine’s Day because people focus on being nice to people.

Planning is Key

There are so many wonderful crafts, cards, treats and Valentine box ideas on Pinterest. So check out our Valentine’s board for tons of ideas.

If you are looking for clever ideas of Valentine’s to make and give away this site has 50 – and they are awesome!!

Party Time!

Again, I planned way more than we could accomplish in our hour and a half. But it is great to have several ideas to choose from at the drop of a hat. You can never be quite sure what they kids will be interested in most from day to day.

We began our party by playing games with Conversation Hearts candy.

Next we were going to do secret messages and fold up Valentines, but opted to just create our own Valentine boxes. The kids did a great job. In fact, my kids enjoyed it so much they want to do another one today! We used this site for inspiration but really just gave the kids a ton of supplies and let them do as they wished. For more ideas of Valentine boxes and cards visit our pinterest board.

Here are the Valentine’s box creations:

For snacks we planned to make chocolate covered pretzels, but someone brought cupcakes so we let the kids use the sprinkles for the cupcakes. Yum!

Valentine’s Day CLIP complete

Posted by & filed under Holidays, New Year.

newYearsInterviewI found this great idea of completing a Family Interview Sheet for each family member each year to see how much everyone changes.  Unfortunately the one copy I found is one where you have to sign up for the site.  So I decided I would just make my own – New Year’s Interview 2013.  Besides, that way I could add things that my children will likely be interested in.

The interview sheet could easily be couple with a time capsule.  With my first six kids I made time capsules for them to open when they are older.  But it is eating them up – I might have to change that plan and let them open them soon while they are very interested in them.  But I like the idea in the link above because it does not take the child’s item and bury it for years – they can access it any time if they really need to do so.  Or make a memory string of important events and memories of the year.  This could be fun to do throughout the year to  help keep memories fresh.


Posted by & filed under Holidays.

As I search for holidays to celebrate with my children, sometimes I have a difficult time deciding which holiday to celebrate each week.  Often I choose the major holidays like Thanksgiving because it seems crazy not to take advantage of all the amazing resources out there.  But then, there are holidays which may not be talked about, but should be.  This is why I chose Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Since it is a day of remembrance and not a “happy” event, there is not as many resources for a holiday celebration.  But children need to learn the important, somber events as well.

In the CLIP, I focused on resources about Pearl Harbor, but you could also study airplanes (check out May 22nd holiday links), navy ships, Hawaii, or more.   There are some great coloring pages you can use or check to see if there is a Navy Ship tour near you.

Our family will focus on the amazing sacrifice that our soldiers made then and continue to make today, so that we can live our lives with a sense of security.  My heart is deeply touched that people willingly sign up to defend our country knowing the possibilities and the sacrifices that are and may be required.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day CLIP

Posted by & filed under Christmas, Holidays.

Merry Christmas!!  One thing I absolutely LOVE about Christmas is that so much of my world shuts down and pauses for a day.  Stores are closed, people stay home and spend time with their families!  So make Christmas Day special.  Do something new that you have never done with your children and make it a new tradition.  Making memories – that is what is going to last – not the gifts.

Day 25

Days 1 – 25




Posted by & filed under Christmas, Holidays.

Our life has been super crazy this year.  In fact, we have not decorated AT ALL except for the nativities that we made.  At first, I felt bad, but then I realized – we are really trying to focus on activities, and with the nativity, we have the true meaning of Christmas represented.

Of course, I do have the nagging guilt when someone comes by and says “Oh, where is your tree?”  But  my husband’s schedule has been ridiculous and he just has not gotten to the attic.  And as much as I want a Christmas tree and decorations, it is NOT enough to get me to go in the attic!

I just have to share something with you.  Actually two things:

First, this month has really helped me learn to let go.  We did so many crafts and things and I kept reminding myself to just let the kids do it their way.  In fact, after we made the nativities, I took pictures of all the creations.

This is the boy’s nativity

I love the pipe cleaner hair!  They never finished the animals but I am impressed they did as much as they did!

This is the girls’ nativity.  

They were pretty funny in staging the people – notice the donkey under the manger and the angel peeking in through the back of the stable.  They said the angel had the best seat because nothing was blocking the view of the baby Jesus.

I also took a picture of my friend’s nativity

…her children lost interest so she made it.  This picture was before she added the angel – you can see the little angel on the left side of the picture.  But the later one turned out blurry.  Ugh. Sorry about the pics – I am having one of those days (but it is lasting for weeks. he he)  She asked me why I was taking a picture of hers and I said “So I can see what I wanted it to look like.”  But I love the ones my kids made.  I love to see individual tastes and preferences.  I love to see their creativity!  All these years I have been stifling them.

The second thing is this – while we were making the stables my friend brought up this pin from pinterest.  I nearly died laughing inside as I made a pathetic looking stable.  Yep, I nailed it!!  So many of my projects end that way yet I am the one trying to force my children to do it a certain way – now THAT is ridiculous.

So anyway, the nativities we made we are a combination of this nativity pin and this stable.  As we explained to our friends who joined us – we took this simple nativity and made it a huge project including animals, shepherds, wise men, etc.  But hey, that is the way we do it – Go big or do not bother! I must express a certain level of joy though, because we finished the project!!! Wahoo! Normally, if we do not finish a project during our holiday celebration then we never get around to it.  So, as Christmas rolls around we will focus on the baby Jesus in a stable and our one completed project!


There are some really great reindeer crafts – far more than I could list on the CLIP.  Definitely check out Pinterest!

 Days 1 – 24

Days 23 & 24



Posted by & filed under Christmas, Holidays.

Well, I had no idea that the Twelve days of Christmas begin ON Christmas and continue until the Epiphany (January 6th). I had commented that we were doing the Twelve days of Christmas starting on the 14th and a friend informed me otherwise.  How could I have gone so long in life without knowing that?  I have participated in countless 12 Days events but it never came up before.  So I thought I would share it with you in case you have never heard that either.

Days 1 – 22

Days 21 & 22  

Days 1-25





Posted by & filed under Christmas, Holidays.

This month is flying!!  Have you had the chance to step back from the hustle and bustle and make lasting memories?  I hope so.  Do your children remember the gifts they received last Christmas?  Most of mine do not, but they DO remember what we DID and what they GAVE.

Days 1 – 20

Days 19 & 20  Shepherds and Garland

Days 1 – 25



Posted by & filed under Christmas, Holidays.

Wow – over half of the way done with the Countdown to Christmas!  Time is going crazy fast.

As usual, there are a lot of ideas to choose from.  If you do not like something I have listed, be sure to check out Pinterest or do a internet search for the topic you desire.

No surprise to anyone, you will find a candle craft using paper plates, but they are actually really cute!  Recycle by creating luminaries out of tin cans – yes, with a Christmas theme.  Once you burn the candle there are crafts you can use with the candle wax – like these snowmen.

Another fun option is to print out this poem A Christmas Candle, stick it with a tea light, and you have a Random Acts of Christmas Kindness gift.

Then for day 18 (which is one of my kid’s birthdays) celebrate with music – Christmas carols.  There are fun puzzles and games to play, lots of carols to sing, and even ideas on how to throw a caroling party!  You could also go caroling and drop off a RACK gift or treat!


Days 1 – 18

Days 17 & 18

Days 1- 25