A Sneak Peek!

I’m getting close to finishing The Science of Seasons Learn-and-Play Activities book!

Here’s the rough draft front cover:The Science of Seasons Learn and Play Activities book

 

Here is the rough draft back cover:

cover2

It’s 142 pages long, so I’m going to change the “Over 100 pages!” quote to something bigger like “Over 140 pages!”, lol.

It’s chock full of fun activities and will be sold in both a softcover and PDF format. In fact, I just finished testing my new online store that will be up-and-running sometime next month! I’m so excited to share all of my hard work with you! I’ll post more sneak peeks very soon!

In other news, I started an illustration blog that will be dedicated to illustration, art and self publishing topics. Those topics are a little different flavor than this blog, so I decided those types of posts needed their own home. You can take a look here! If you want to follow my work as an illustrator and read about me babbling about Photoshop or Prismacolors or some such, feel free to subscribe to those posts at the link above. :-)

Book update!

My book, The Science of Seasons, is almost ready to be published! I recently received the proof copy. After making a few changes I’ll send for a 2nd proof. If everything looks good, it will be ready to sell on Amazon sometime next month!

I’m also almost finished with the accompanying activity book. It’s over 90 pages long and chock full of goodies. Stay tuned to my blog to see some sneak peeks in the next few weeks!

For now, here’s a low-res copy of The Science of Seasons front cover! I’m so excited to share it with you all!

The Science of Seasons book

 

Amazing deal on The Elements book by Theodore Gray

The Elements (book)

Amazon is having a Daily Deal on the Kindle version of this book for 1.99!! We have the hardcover and it’s a book Otter has taken off the shelf repeatedly for years now. He still thumbs through it at times and really loves it.

The Elements is such an amazing book. Each element has a variety of beautiful and clear photographs to illustrate it along with interesting information. It’s so neat to see the different elements being used in a multitude of different products as well as in their pure forms.

Every homeschooler should have this book and at 1.99, it’s a steal! Make sure you click on the KINDLE version. The other versions of the book are not on sale. You can look at the Kindle version even if you don’t have a Kindle reader through one of the free apps for PC’s, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Happy homeschooling!

My up-and-coming book is closer to being finished!

I have five illustrations left to create for the children’s book I’m working on (not counting the cover art). I’m really excited to get everything finished up so I can send out copies to my beta testers & proofreaders!

Here is a screenshot from one of the pages (just a portion of a page spread with a watermark added).

abigail

 

My first book in this series is about seasons and not only covers the science behind the seasons but also contains information about different cultures, holidays, geography, some simple recipes and even a tidbit of math. The characters are homeschooled siblings (older sister, younger brother, adopted toddler) with their fox terrier (Beowulf). Homeschooling is not a huge component of the book, so it should appeal to all kids whether they are homeschooled or not. :-)

I’ll be creating optional unit study materials and a printable playset (and possibly a teacher’s manual) that can be purchased from my website but the book can stand alone and will be available via Amazon as a paperback and also as an ebook.

The book itself is heavily illustrated with a mix of comics, text and even some theater style dialogue that should draw in reluctant readers and help boost retention and clarity. Science concepts are clearly illustrated and while there are Christian elements, they don’t dominate the book but are rather integrated where appropriate (kind of like how I taught my own children). God was always just a part of our life and studies as He is for the kids in the story.

I’m just so tired at not being able to find Christian books on science topics that aren’t a part of some curriculum textbook and that also contain solid scientific concepts without just decorating things up with willy nilly Bible verses for no reason. I always had a huge library of science books for my kids to browse but 98% of them were secular where evolution was heavily promoted (or there was some other type of inappropriate material). The Christian books we had were often boring or stuffy or ugly (I’m a sucker for lavishly illustrated books) or only about creation (or the flood or other similar things) and not your garden variety science topics that my kids NEEDED to learn. I hope my new series will address these issues and give Christian families an alternative they can safely hand over to their kids to learn real science (and other subjects).

Christian parents can be assured that there are no “millions of years” comments to have to skip over or cringe at . For those of you who don’t care, I remain neutral on that subject, but do give credit to God for how things work. I do so without “shoving it down your throat”, if that makes sense. ;-) The book has plenty of great science and other info that should still appeal to secular families.

Anyway, I’m in the home stretch and can’t wait to finish this book up and get started on the next one in the series!

If you want to be in the lottery to be a beta tester, please send an email to guesthollow(at sign)memorableplaces(dot)com with the subject “beta tester”. Please make sure you can meet the following requirements:

  • You will post an honest review of the book on your blog or website (if you don’t have a blog, but use social media, that is an acceptable alternative) and Amazon.com.
  • You are willing to let me know if you run across any typos or information that is not clear, etc.
  • If you read the book to any children, I’d love their feedback too. :-)

Stay tuned to my blog for updates and an announcement when the book is finished!

Happy New Year!

Most kids want to party for New Year’s, but Otter wants to go on a ride-along and bust the drunks, lol. What a way to bring in the New Years – sitting in a police car! ;-)
His favorite Christmas present this year: a campaign hat just like the CHP wear (and Boy Scouts too). He said if that was the ONLY thing he got this year, he’d be happy. Needless to say that’s the last thing he opened, lol. I’m such a mean mom!

We had a wonderful Christmas. Here’s a picture of Gracie in front of presents under the tree. She was visiting on Christmas day and was a cute and fun ball of fluff!

Happy New Years to everyone! Hope you have a safe and happy week and a blessed new year!

gracie

Have a safe and happy Christmas!

I drew this for my daughter who will be spending her first Christmas away from us!  Totoro below is in honor of her upcoming move to Japan! We will miss her!!

Merry Christmas to all my readers! I wish you a safe and happy holiday.

4hannah2

Still plugging away at school…

It’s been awhile since I posted a homeschool post. I’m just letting everyone know that yes, we’re still plugging away at school!

Sonlight’s Core 300 has been going great. It’s not Otter’s favorite thing to do because it takes a ton of work, but he has enjoyed many of the books and he also really does like the subject matter (20th century history). In science he’s been learning about anatomy but is getting ready to move into the first aid portion of the study I made for him. Here he is working with a kit I bought him to learn about enzymes and the process of digestion:

lab

While it was fun for him, the kit was not worth the 59.95 I paid for it. Basically Otter exposed carbohydrates, proteins and lipids to different digestive enzymes. Chemical tests were performed to see if the enzymes were effective in digesting the different nutrients. I think the guide was not instructive enough and didn’t teach what was going on in clear enough language. Otter spent about a couple of hours with it (that works out to 30 buck an hour for that kit!!!). Now I have to find someone to give it to (as there is still plenty of materials left to repeat the experiments), as we won’t be using the rest of the chemicals a 2nd time. In fact, in the next couple of years I’m going to probably get rid of most of the contents of our “school closet” – specifically lots of chemistry equipment and other science kit remnants, especially if I decide not to tutor students in the future. Otter is wrapping up his years of hands-on science! Next year we’ll be doing forensics with a dash of chemistry and then? I haven’t decided what he will do for 12th grade.

The biggest hit this year has been our recent subscription to WriteGuide.com.

writeguideOtter’s been assigned a writing consultant who corresponds with him daily (during the weekdays). The lessons are totally individualized and the teacher we are working with does a FANTASTIC job. Every day Otter looks forward to seeing his teacher’s feedback and has really been enjoying the lessons which are broken down into pieces that are not overwhelming at all but very instructive. It’s the perfect match. He also lucked out getting a teacher who was an Eagle Scout and whose brother is a police detective! LOL… That’s another plus. His teacher is a male – which seems to be more rare in the homeschool world and something I am glad for. Boys need men to teach them and while my husband does teach a ton of practical things, he doesn’t really have time to teach much in the homeschool realm. I think we’re providing a good balance for Otter (all of his police instructors are also male) so that he’s not just having to deal with “mom” all the time but has a variety of people in his life, all with the goal of helping him to become more accomplished and well-rounded!

The best thing…Otter actually told me he was having FUN writing. Now for someone who has almost always treated writing like getting teeth pulled without anesthetic, Write Guide is quite the deal and worth every penny. I love getting a break teaching writing and he loves working with his instructor. I highly recommend Write Guide if you are looking for an online program that is totally customizable and while it let’s someone else do all of the teaching, you as the parent are still in charge of what is covered and how it’s covered. Want to use a specific curriculum? You still can. Write Guide will do things your way or the consultants will come up with individualized assignments with zero input. It’s up to you! I like how Otter is writing every single day (without a single complaint and I’m not even kidding about that) and that the process has been enjoyable and informative.

As far as Spanish goes, we dumped out of Avencemos. It’s a great program but very hard for a non-Spanish speaking mom to implement. We went with The Learnables instead – something we’ve used in the past that is super easy to use and doesn’t require a ton of writing, etc. I also like it because it doesn’t gobble up a bunch of time but gets the job done. Sometimes a curriculum lures you in with all the extras (hello Avencemos), but it’s the one that is simple that actually gets done and does a better job (hello Learnables). Otter isn’t into learning Spanish so we may not continue with it next year.

Everything else is going along great. Otter’s been going on ride-alongs and still learning tons in the Explorer program. He saw a big, bang-up accident not too long ago while riding out with the CHP that happened because an older teen driver was likely texting and driving at the same time (or reaching for a phone). He said it makes him totally get why you should NOT mess with a phone while driving as he’s seen the results first-hand.

So, that’s our homeschool update! Busy, productive and looking forward to Christmas! ;-)

Happy homeschooling!

My state “collection” and our recent vacation

Ok, I got sucked into this like everyone else lately, LOL…
Here is my map of states I’ve been to:

mystates2

I feel really lucky to have been so many places in the U.S. (and some other places abroad too)! Now I just have to “collect” all those other states! ;-)

Since I’m on the subject of visiting states, here are some pics of a recent excursion to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho! Recently, my husband and I had our first kid-less vacation in, uhm….11 years or so. It was absolutely amazing! No kids asking for potty breaks! No “Let’s stop at this museum to earn Jr. Ranger badges for homeschooling purposes”. No whining in the car because someone’s leg went 3 millimeters over into the other kid’s territory. No 55 stops at McDonalds. No bored faces while mom & dad take 20 years to take just the right picture of the scenery. No little legs that are too tired to go on or it’s past someone’s bedtime. Did I say it was amazing yet? We’ve loved our multitude of trips with the kids, but now with one last teen in the nest we are speeding toward adult only territory and it’s, well, fun. Is that evil for a mom to admit that? Do I lose my ultra-homeschooling-super-involved-mom of the year badge? LOL…maybe not yet, but at least I was able to recharge my batteries with stuff like this:

Buffalo in the parking lot in Yellowstone National Park:

buffalo

My husband taking pictures of steam in the distance (Yellowstone):

yellowstone

A beautiful blue hot spring in Yellowstone:

yellowstone2

The Teton Mountains in Wyoming:

tetons

A steaming, hot waterfall in Yellowstone:

Steaming, hot waterfall in Yellowstone

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Turkeys walking in a downtown Coeur d’alene neighborhood (Idaho):

Turkeys walking in a downtown Coeur d'alene neighborhood (Idaho)

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Look at this beautiful sunset (totally unaltered and straight out of the camera) we saw from my mom’s kitchen window in Idaho:

sunset

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

A flower on the hiking trail at Round Lake in Idaho:

flower

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

The forest at Round Lake in Idaho:

forest

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

antlers

White wolf at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana:

wolf

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

A grizzly at the center:

grizzly

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

An elk by the side of the road:

elk

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

Mama and baby buffalo:

buffalo

It even snowed on us!

snow

Pic by my husband: Charles Guest of MemorablePlaces.com

We loved our trip. When the kids were little, I just couldn’t imagine life without children running around. I love being a mother, but sometimes I think there have been times I’ve been so immersed in homeschooling that I’ve forgotten I’m first and foremost a wife. :-) If you can’t go out and collect a state with your hubby, at least go out and collect a restaurant, lol.

Click here to make your own map of the states you’ve been to!

Can finally eat my dinner without laser eyes boring into me

This is a bit off-topic, but maybe it will make you smile… ;-)Kong biscuit ball dog toy

This KONG Biscuit Ball  has been the savior of our dinner hour. Before I purchased the Kong Biscuit Ball, I had this problem…Every time I sat down to eat, my otherwise lovely lab mix would suddenly apply his laser eyes stare of doom. You just cannot escape those limpid eyes, staring, staring…staring. Reaching, boring – into your very soul – tugging, pulling…an irresistible force that always ended up in me throwing choice pieces of dinner into a ready and gaping mouth. And STILL, I’d have to submit to more of those…EYES. LOOKING. WATCHING. Every forkful was intensely studied. I could feel the eyes, tracking, observing, wanting, hungering…THE PAIN on my dog’s face was palatable. We weren’t sharing. He NEEDED little morsels from our plates or he would punish us with that unremorseful STARE. It was like this EVERY NIGHT. I was at my wit’s end. My toes were being DROOLED on. I had enough. I had to do something lest my heart give in and never-ceasing tidbits leave my plate in an attempt to find relief from my beloved canine’s masterful stares and looks of dejection and starvation.

I went to the Internet on a search for answers and found the Kong Biscuit ball. RELIEF! All I have to do is load this thing up with some big boy biscuits (little ones will fall out and result in laser eyes immediately turned upon me in an instant) and suddenly my dog is absolutely and totally occupied trying to pry a biscuit from the depths of this dinner-saving contraption with all the intensity of a category 5 hurricane.

Seriously…when there is a biscuit in this thing he will sit with it balanced in between his paws and go to town trying to dig and pry the biscuit out as if it contained the answers to life. He won’t stop until he’s retrieved every little crumb from the interior. His tongue muscles could probably lift 20 lbs from the workout they get exploring the inner cavities of this amazing red ball.

So far the biscuit ball has held up to his chewing and we’ve called our dog Mr. Destruco for a REASON – but the Kong is impervious so far. It’s held up to his gnawing and slobbering as well as his claws (which are sharp as they have accidentally raked down my thigh once when he was trying to prove that a 60 lb dog really can fit in your lap) as he tries every which way to get his treat out.

All I can say is that Kong should be in the running for the Nobel prize for the peace it has brought us during dinner (no more laser eyes!) as well as when we want to watch a movie without 50 doggie restroom breaks (he has a knack for knowing when we are busy and then insists he must be let out the sliding glass door into the backyard lest he pee a lake on our Pergo floors).

You need this ball if you want to keep your precious pooch occupied. It’s like a doggie babysitter in a ball. It’s a MUST HAVE cure for laser eyes and for adding a bit of fun to your doggie’s day. :-)

Highly recommended! Don’t forget your mutt this Christmas! Max says, “Get a  KONG Biscuit Ball !”

max

I wrote this review for Amazon and thought I’d share it here. If it made you smile, click here and give my review a thumbs up!

Wow! A book-book! I want one!!!