Sunday, October 30, 2011

Your Sacred Calling

"The woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies...

A true mother is one of the holiest secrets of home happiness... 

God sends many beautiful things to this world, many noble gifts; but no blessing is richer than that which He bestows in a mother who has learned love's lessons well, and has realized something of the meaning of her sacred calling."
~ J.R. Miller, Excerpt from The Family

Friday, October 28, 2011

Project Dinosaur DVD ~ Family Movie Night

Project Dinosaur is the latest addition to Our Wholesome Video List. We really enjoyed this film as a family since it was entertaining while presenting the creation and evolution information to a younger audience. Your children will love it. There was also some character building lessons on "turning the other cheek" and "being prepared to give an answer for what you believe in" (whether or not it is the popular opinion). I really appreciated the fact that this required zero editing! Truly family-and-faith-friendly but fun (What a concept!!!)!

What is it about?

"InProject Dinosaur Mikey's chances of winning the science fair take a nose-dive when his experiment suffers a crash landing, but the discovery of a dinosaur bone revives his dashed hopes. Then when Mikey realizes that evolution conflicts with his Christian beliefs, he must decide what he believes and have the courage to defend it, even if it means losing the science fair. Winner of the Bronze Crown Award. A resource for families, churches, and Christian schools. Suitable for ages 7 and up." 
~ From BJU PRESS (Unusual Films)

Preview with this link and see what you thinkProject Dinosaur

Homeschool categories:
  • Science: Dinosaurs/Creation/Evolution
  • Character Building: Love thy enemy/Stand up for what you believe in

To see our criteria for choosing media for our family, click here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cabbage Rose

This is my last segment on our autumn garden series. It features the cabbage (it is not hard to figure out how the "cabbage rose" received its name, is it?). I suppose I could have named this post "Cabbage Rows" just as well... Again, we just made a row in the earth, placed in seeds and watered. I must admit that we only had a few of these do well. Some creatures were really enjoying it. Once the damage was done, we read that you could place your wood ash around each plant and that really helps deter them. So, we will try again next year with our newly acquired knowledge...

Benefits of cabbage:
  1. Excellent source of vitamin C (richer in the source than oranges!)
  2. Excellent source of fiber
  3. Good source of sulphur 
  4. Natural detoxifier
  5. Rich in iodine
  6. Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium are also present in cabbage.

Serving Suggestions:
  • Chop up and add into a vegetable garden soup
  • Creamy Cole-Slaw
  • Cabbage Salad (Recipe below can be downloaded and printed)
  • Sauerkraut

You may like to add this recipe to your "Inspirational Recipe Book".

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chocolate, A Gift from Heaven

Buy at
Chocolat by Kimberly Poloson (Art Print) Buy From

I LOVE chocolate. I mean, I really love it! I consider it God's gift to women and if our husbands would like some as well, then of course we will share (wink)! Wasn't it said in the beginning that...
"I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." 
~ Genesis 1:29
And… chocolate is made from the "seed" of a cocoa plant. There you have it! The evidence at its scientific best. Well, if someone wants to be really specific they would probably tell me that it is not the plain chocolate I eat but the kind with sugar in it that I am actually enjoying…

Well, to those who would like to rain on my philosophical parade, I simply say that sugar is made from sugar cane which is a plant. (Yes, I am having fun with this! Of course I won't let my children read this sinful entry…)

Indulgence in a bit of chocolate is surely a treat but gluttony is a sin so I do keep that in mind when enjoying my little piece of heaven on earth. Also, if you feel this posting is a bit on the silly side, just remember there is a "time to laugh" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

  • Dark chocolate contains large amount of anti-oxidents
  • Dark chocolate helps balance certain hormones in the body
  • Dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure
  • Dark chocolate can help to lower cholesterol
  • Dark chocolate contains serotonin which acts as a anti-depressent

dark chocolate is my weapon of choice… 
What about you?

(Linked up to: Raising Mighty Arrows)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Trees ~ A {Free} Unit Study

Fall has come to the northern hemisphere and the leaves are falling which beckon to the children to come out and play.  There is something so beautiful in the crisp cool weather and warm earthy colors. Let us enjoy the season by learning a bit about the trees and what makes this time of year so special.

Suggested Chapter Book to Read AloudMy Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (A story of nature about a boy who goes to live in the mountains and hollows out a tree to live in. He does tell his parents first and this theme did not present a problem in our household but I thought I would inform any concerned parents about the plot. This is a very informative but fun book!) An alternative read aloud chapter book would be a biography on the life of Johnny Appleseed.


Suggested Picture BooksTell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons (There is a reference to millions of years on one page which I whited out for my library collection.) Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Betsy Maestro,  A Tree Is a Plant (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Clyde Robert Bulla, Be a Friend to Trees (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber, Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky.


I would suggest reading together from the above chapter book for 1/2 hour a day. Read one of the pictures books per day as well since they are the non-fiction source of information in this study (though the chapter book is filled with nature information). (The books are just suggestions and you may use whatever you have available to you.) Then, have the children do some of the listed activities below each day according to their abilities.  Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. Don't forget to let them decorate their own covers with pictures of trees, stickers or clip art! Encourage them to be creative.  By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "tree scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake.

Tree Inspired Learning Activities~

Spelling/Vocabulary Words:
  1. tree
  2. autumn
  3. leaf
  4. branch
  5. photosynthesis
  6. coniferous
  7. evergreen
  8. deciduous

Science/Nature: After reading to the children, Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons, go outside on a nature walk and each day find a different kind of tree to do a tree bark rubbing and leaf rubbing of.  Cut and paste onto notebook paper and using a field guide, label your entries.

Science/Nature: Draw and diagram a tree and a leaf.

Science/Nature: Learn about root systems from an encyclopedia or other reference book. Have students write out a short description of their function.

Science/Nature: Learn about photosynthesis from an encyclopedia or other reference source.  Write a brief explanation of the process. Make sure to discuss the fact that trees provide us with oxygen and we provide them with carbon dioxide. God has created a clever system!

Science/Nature: After reading, A Tree Is a Plant (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Clyde Robert Bulla, have children draw and color what a tree would look like in all four seasons.

Science/Nature: After reading to the children, Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Betsy Maestro, see if they can explain to you the process of why leaves change color in the fall. Perhaps they can tell you why people call the autumn season "fall" as well? Older children may write the explanation on paper if you like.

Science/Nature: Read the book, Sugaring Timeby Kathryn Lasky and have the older children document the step by step process of creating maple syrup on paper.

Science/Nature: Research the difference between an evergreen tree, deciduous and coniferous trees and write a short report about your findings.

Science/Apologetics/Family Discussion: Discuss the petrified wood theory of a million years and the creationists theory of a young earth. Read linked article aloud to family and discuss the information.

Bible/Penmanship: Copy in your best writing some Bible verses about trees.  Be sure to include the proper punctuation.

Bible Discussion: Read together the passages in the Bible where it talks about human beings producing fruit (John 15:5-8) and discuss the spiritual meaning and physical meaning. This would be a good time to talk about pruning (spiritually and physically). Have your children prepare a "Fruits of the Spirit" list (Galatians 5:22). 

Language Arts: Copy the following poem, making sure to pay attention to punctuation:

The Tree by Sarah Coleridge

The Oak is called the king of trees,
The Aspen quivers in the breeze,
The Poplar grows up straight and tall,
The Peach tree spreads along the wall,
The Sycamore gives pleasant shade,
The Willow droops in watery glade,
The Fir tree useful in timber gives,
The Beech amid the forest lives.

Thinking Skills: Have older children alphabetize the trees mentioned in the poem above.

Grammar: See if the children can point out the nouns, verbs and adjectives in the poem above. Each child can do one line and so on until the poem is complete.

History: Read a biography about Johnny Appleseed and do a short report on his life. Did you know he was a God-fearing man?

Research: After reading the book, Be a Friend to Trees (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out, Stage 2) by Patricia Lauber, have children create a list of  products that come from a tree. Older children can use an encyclopedia to see if they can come up with more ideas to add.

Family/Science Project: Plant a tree in your back yard. Research what your tree needs to flourish and make sure you plant accordingly. 
Family History Project: Create a family tree and see how much your children know about their roots!  This would be a great time to share some special stories of their ancestors.
Geography: Look up your state tree in an encyclopedia and do a report on it.

Discuss Tree Terms: Barking up the wrong tree, branching out... (See what others you can come up with and make a list.)

Home Economics/Math: Make an apple pie and have the children measure and weigh out the apples and ingredients. Have children "double" the recipe and make two (you can place the extra in the freezer or give away as a homeschool gift).

Physical Education: Go climb a tree! (At your own discretion…)
Almond Branches in Blossom by Vincent Van Gogh
Art History/Picture Study: Do a picture study on the painting "Almond Branches in Blossom" by Vincent Van Gogh and have the children observe it for a week and then write an "art review" on it. Did they like it? What mood did it put them in?  What season do they think is taking place in the picture? Do they realize that the painter is Dutch? Can they find Holland on the globe or map? The artist painted this picture as a gift for his brother Theo after they had a son whom they named Vincent (explaining extra information about art and artists will help them to retain information better). Include a print out of the painting on the "art review" page and place into their scrapbooks.

  • Do some iron on leaf crafts (When you have them completed, punch holes through the top of each leaf; run yarn or ribbon through the holes and make a leaf garland for your fireplace mantle or any other place in the house to give some autumn flavor to your home.)
  • Decorate your hearth or windows with a pinecone banner. Using this clip art from the Graphics Fairy, have each child color a few "cones" and attach to string and hang as a garland. You may want to decorate with some brown glitter as well. 
Foreign Language: Memorize how to say "tree" in the foreign language you are studying.

Field Trip: Visit a local arboretum (a botanical garden devoted to trees).

Suggested Movies:
  • God's Power Plants Video by Moody Science (Children will love this video about plants and how special God made them.) (I don't think it's out on DVD but if you have a VHS player you will be glad to add this to your library or you may find it at your local library to rent.)
  • My Side of the Mountain DVD (based on the book by Jean Craighead George)

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays, Wildcrafting WednesdayCoffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpSimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Soaring with Swings

Sometimes we forget the enjoyment that an old fashioned swing could bring.

Do you have one in your backyard?

All you need is a decent sized tree and the fun can begin! 

We have two on our property (shown below)...

This old eucalyptus doesn't give much shade

but it does bring much pleasure…

A swing doesn't have to be fancy…

Be creative!

Just a few lines of rope and

something to seat yourself on to!

Why not put one up today?

Girl on a Swing by Jesse Wilcox Smith 

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing, 
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall, 
Till I can see so wide, 
River and trees and cattle and all 
Over the countryside-- 

Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown-- 
Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down!

By ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Columbus the Cartographer

Columbus Book & DVD Lists

Some picture books about Columbus you can read to your children are: 
Chapter Book:
You may want your older children to write a short report about his life after reading the above books and watching the video.

Columbus Before the Queen, by Peter Rothermel
Columbus Picture Study

Ask your children the following questions about the painting above:
  • Can you find the globe in the painting above?
  • Did you think globes existed at that point in history if people thought the world was flat?
  • Do you think the painter is showing a sense of humor?
  • Do you notice how tall Columbus is in this picture (why do you think that was done)?
Christopher Columbus by Carl von Piloty
Columbus with Geography Study

More questions to ask your children:
  • Did you know that Columbus was a cartographer? That simply means he was a "map maker".
  • Did you know that an atlas is basically a book full of maps?
  • Though a map is useful, it is not as accurate as a globe because it is impossible to make a round sphere flat without some distortion. Look at Greenland on your map. It looks larger than South America. Now, look at Greenland on your globe. Isn't there a huge difference? Your globe is the safest to use when accuracy of size is needed.

Columbus: West Indies Map (1892),
Illustrating presumed route of the first voyage of Columbus in the West Indies
  • The above map illustrates the "presumed route" and first voyage of Columbus.
  • Direction Columbus Sailed

  • Print out a copy of a blank world map and have the children label Spain on the map. See if they can find and label the island, San Salvador where he landed. Now, have your students draw a route that Columbus might have taken using a dotted line to mark the way (hint below).

Lastly, younger children may enjoy coloring the ships that Columbus sent out to sea with. Here are some additional coloring pages and a word search which you can print out.

* You may want to be cautious about creating a hero out of Columbus and only teaching the facts of his discoveries. Books being printed now are suggesting he was responsible for some undesirable events in history.

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