Thursday, August 13, 2009

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes ROCK!

We have been gluten free here at the Sandbox for about 18 months. In that time we have all experience a drastic improvement in our overall health most directly with our yearly allergies. We have gone from almost daily doctor visits during high allergy times to monitored check-ups. It has truly been a blessing.

Now the journey has not always been a tasty treat. One incident with gluten free croissants has become a cautionary tale in our home. We have tasted some incredible food and learned to appreciate cooking from scratch. But there is a lot to be said for time saving good gluten free food. This is where Betty Crocker comes in…..

In the past I would buy three types of flour and mix my own cake flour to avoid that grainy taste you can get from a lot of off the self gluten free cake mixes. This was time consuming but well worth the effort. Then imagine my surprise when we found Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes at Super Target. It was not organic but very few birthday cakes are these days. So we decided to give it a try. Everyone LOVED them. Of course we did alter the directions rice milk instead of water and little bit more vanilla extract.

TS did all the measuring and read the directions too. He says now he wants to be like Alton Brown. LOL

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our Homeschool School Room


This is "School Room" week at Life with My 3 Boybarians . Darcy will be doing a four week Not Back to School blog hop. This gave me a personal goal to have our room put together in time to share it. We have officially been in our new home here a little over two months. Yes, there are still boxes unpacked and pictures are not on the wall but we are working slowing toward normal.

First let's start with my homeschooler planner. All the sections were pulled from Donna Young's Free Homeschool Planner as well as organization charts from Sue Patrick's Workbox System.

Each month is colored to match the files in our Five In A Row planning box.

I have printed out all the lapbook material for each book. This works because I can load up the workbox system without a marathon night before printing session. Kendall from FIAR Forums shared this great planning system last year.

We downsized with this move which has been a blessing and adjustment. You will be amazed how simple life can be with less stuff. TS desk is the right fit and can grow with him. Next to his desk are the workboxes waiting for work. We were also gifted a digital microscope that will be using on the kitchen table.

Our world map is going up this weekend in this cozy spot with the easel and library and coloring books.

We have been so incredibly blessed with this move and look forward to an exciting year of learning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We Love Legos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

During our exploration of our new environment we discovered the Lego store. Joy pure and utter joy! Dad and son were beside themselves. As were most of the kids in the store. This was a great find. As most of you know TS has been a Lego kiddo for about two years now. He takes the kits assembles them and then pulls them apart to make his own wonderfully inspired designs. So imagine his extreme pleasure to find this wall of spare parts.
(This photo is especially for my THL sister KK !)

"Mom I can create anything!!!"

2009-2010 1st Grade Homeschool Plan Version 1.0 (Subject to change based on life.)

After much prayer and review here is our official plan of record for the 2009-2010 school year. I wanted share this with the great folks at The Homeschool Lounge who have been a source of inspiration and support during our homeschool journey. Please click over to find the one of the best homeschool resources on the web.

Like everyone our challenge for this school year will be doing more with less money in a new location. However with some creative planning, sharing, swapping, re-purposing and fieldtrips I think it is going to be a year full of adventure. We will also be using Sue Patrick's Workbox System.

Also note that while technically TS is a first grader we will included some activities that are designated for 2nd grade and above during this school year.

Core Curriculum

Read Alouds

  • TS choices from the library which right now includes the following series:
    • The Magic Tree House
    • Transformers DK Level 4
    • The High-Rise Private Eyes
    • Henry and Mudge
  • Five-in-a-Row read alongs


  • Hooked On Phonics 2nd Grade



  • Handwriting Without Tears 1st Grade Printing Book
  • TV Teacher for drawing Scenes


  • Horizons Math 1s Grade
    • Collecting Data
    • Area
    • 3-Dimensional Shapes
    • Rounding
    • Subtracting
    • Regrouping
    • Timelines
    • Understanding Halves
    • Symmetry
    • Addition Strategies
    • Comparing Numbers
    • Calendars
    • Probability
    • Perimeter
    • Making Predictions
    • Counting by 2s, 3s, 4s
    • Measuring
    • Tally


  • Five-in-a-Row
  • Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Master’s


Bible and Character Development


Science & Nature

  • Five-in-a-Row
  • Fieldtrips to zoo, aquarium, natural science museum and nature walks
  • Co-op


  • Start Family Tree and timeline study
  • Fieldtrips to historic venues


  • Tae
    Kwon Do
  • Sports Galore Class

Fine Motor Skills

Our primary record keeping will be using Lapbooks with the exception of History which will be notebooking with the goal to turn it into electronic media for a family resource.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting Back To The Basics: Homeschool planning 2009

This week was originally meant to be my homeschooling planning and printing week. Last year I had a comfortable chair, a desk, headphones and time to listen to the homeschool conference as I printed out material for the next year. It was a peaceful beginning to a rather peace first half of our school year. This time things are different…much different.

I have been in whirlwind all week trying to find the right planner and to pull together the "right" curriculum because this year it counts. TS is first grade and with new state laws he will be tested at the end of the year. In my mind I had to cover it all, not miss a thing because this year is the beginning of "real school". But I have found myself tied up in knots and can't seem to make even the simplest decisions.

Homeschool planner: Should I buy it or custom make it? Should I do online? Should it be bond or spiral?

Homeschool curriculum: Should we stick to what was working and add in elements or go totally with a boxed curriculum? I printed out the school curriculum how am I going to teach all of this with my current curriculum? How do I fit co-op into our day? How we going to fit lunch into our day?

Homeschool location: Since we have moved we no longer have a homeschool classroom.

Old Classroom

How will that effect TS's concentration? I still have boxes unopened and things to unpack to make this place a home. How can I do that while homeschooling? How is the workbox system going to work in this small space?

I have spent hours blog hopping looking for answers and making list. You should see my bookmark list from this week alone…..89 entries for just planners. I felt so helpless and swamped I actually considered public school. I think public school is great if it fits your child. It does not fit our child and I know he would be miserable after the social aspect wore off.

So last night after a marathon of printing and planning I went to bed praying for guidance and this morning I got this in my email from Alpha Omega:

"If you're starting your new school year depending on your own abilities, be careful. Only the Lord can show you those things that will make your homeschooling truly successful. As you depend on the Holy Spirit, you will not only discover wisdom to teach, but you'll also have your eyes opened to see all that God desires for your family. "Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God" (Psalm 123:1-2a). Lord, forgive me for my foolish pride that fails to acknowledge You as Lord. Open my eyes to see Your plans for our family this homeschool year and teach me to constantly depend on You. In Jesus' name, Amen."