Tuesday, July 18, 2017

State Fair 2017

We had another fun year at the California State Fair!

This year we were expecting temperatures over 100 degrees so we were happy when found out we would be in the barn this year.

It was still pretty darn hot, but not as hot as it was outside.

Our first day, the day that fair opens, we have weigh ins. That night the kids had a couple of practice sessions.

Looking good.

A few kids and I decided to walk around a bit.

Crazy kids in the California County exhibit building.

We went out to the horse races and found Poppy, the fair mascot.

And got to see a horse race too.

The next day we were there early to clean out pens. We do this every day to keep the tarps and aisle ways nice and clean.

My breakfast - a hard boiled egg and bagels with cream cheese.

Today Nutsy and Bookworm were competing. We got ready, and then killed time by playing cards. Unless you are in the first class, it is hard to predict when you will show. A judge might be fast or slow, and you need to be prepared no matter what.

Nutsy's first competition was in market lamb.

This is state fair and is super competitive. We didn't place, but she looked great out there.

Bookworm then had two competitions: market goat and showmanship.

My girls are always easy to spot in the rings since they choose to wear skirts to set themselves apart. They compete in the big ring, and since I didn't get a good photo, I asked her to drive her goat out of the ring.

Again we did not place in market, but she did get 10th place in showmanship.

We all headed out this afternoon to check out the other side of the fair.

You can see my friend holding a squirt bottle in the above photo - this is our way of keeping cool in the heat.

In one of the exhibit halls we found Poppy again. This is our 8th year at state fair and we have never seen him, and this year we saw him twice.

The big exhibit this year was the Dinosaur Experience.

Dinner tonight was taco salad. We ate it while watching the selection of champions.

The next morning Nutsy had her lamb showmanship competition. There are lots and lots of good lamb showmen here and she did not get placed.

Dasher had two shows today, and got her doe ready.

Market was first. And yup, you guessed it, we didn't place very high. But at least we didn't place last.

Waiting between classes.

In showmanship she got 10th place. Pretty good for us at state fair.

We went out of the barn to find one of these: a Footsy Wootsy.

These things are awesome, and only cost a quarter. And I swear you can feel it vibrating even after it shuts off.

Each morning and evening we would walk the animals.

Today was special - this girl had her twelfth birthday.

We also brought cupcakes in that night to celebrate.

Our last day is pretty low key. We enjoyed watching Master Showmanship and Best of County. Best of County is so fun to watch. There are six different competitions and 36 showmen in the ring, all at the same time.

And the last thing we did? Nutsy took me on her favorite ride, the water ride. She shared one of her Read to Ride tickets and I'm glad she did. It was 105 degrees this day, and we did get wet.

And that was state fair 2017. We had a great time and all of the girls loved showing.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

State Fair Memories

This week we are competing at the California State Fair.

I decided to go back into my photo memories and reminisce.

We have been doing this for eight years now.


Mr. Lego was the only one who competed, and it was in rabbits.

This was also the year that we brought in pizzas and then slid down the hill with the empty boxes.

Hanging out with our friends.

Look at these babies!


These were the two competitors.

Our friends also came and we spent one day exploring.

This year we also manned the 4-H booth which was lots of fun.


The older two did rabbit showmanship. State Fair is pretty competitive so we are just happy to not have the rabbit jump off the table.

This year we went to the Fab Four concert. They used to always open our state fair, but they got too popular and this was the last year.

Our favorite exhibit at state fair, The Farm.


The older two did rabbit again.

We always do Read to Ride tickets and save them up and redeem them one day.


This year we transitioned from rabbits to goat. We still entered the rabbit breeding show, but did both market and showmanship in market goat.

Like I said before, state fair is super competitive. We are just happy when we don't make fools out of ourselves out there.

Many times Cow Appreciation Day coincides with state fair, which works really well, since we already have white clothes. All we need to do is add spots.


Dasher joined the goat kids this year. We also were completely out of rabbits so we were only in the big barn.

This year the three older ones did Champion Challenge. This is a written test on a specific species.

Hanging out with my fair peeps.


This was Nutsy's first year at state fair.

A couple of kids shared their ride tickets with me so we could cool off on this water ride.

Hanging with 4-H friends.

This was fun to look back! We'll see what kind of memories we make this week......

Monday, July 10, 2017

{Homeschool Product Review} ~ Home School in the Woods

I love companies that offer hands on learning. So when I had the opportunity to review another product from Home School in the Woods I was very excited.

Home School in the Woods

I received an Activity-Pak that was on Composers. Activity-Paks are topical, and include templates to make lapbooks. If you have never heard of lapbooks before, let me tell you, my kids LOVE them. They are made out of file folders and are put together by your child as you learn facts about different topics. You can fill these folders with anything, but Home School in the Woods makes it very easy with their downloadable templates. Currently, Home School in the Woods has four other Activity-Paks: Artists. Old Testament, New Testament, and Make-A State;  which includes templates to make a lapbook for each of the 50 states.

What We Received:

I received a download of the Activity-Pak Composers. This had everything needed to create a lapbook on different composers.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Composers

The topics covered in this study are:

  • Periods of Music
  • Keyboard Vocabulary
  • Collection of Composers
  • Composers Timeline
  • Pieces with a Purpose
  • Music Appreciation

There are two additional topics that don't fit into the lapbook but are hands-on, activity projects:
  • The Orchestra
  • Composer Cards

Check out all that you get in the photo below:

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Composers

There are 42 composers that your child will learn about, all from different music periods. And my favorite part of this Activity-Pak? There are 29 music files that you can listen to as well! So you can not only do activities and learn more about composers, but also listen to their works they have composed.

Included with your download is an Introduction page and a resource page for further study. Each topic has the downloadable templates, plus an instruction page that shows how to assemble it. And there is a file that contains the completed lapbook, so you can see how the whole things fits together.

How We Used This and What We Thought:

You can go in any order with this Activity-Pak, so let the girls choose which one to start with. Nutsy has been taking violin lessons this last year and so she decided to start with Keyboard Vocabulary.

Keyboard Vocabulary is not just vocabulary about keyboards, it is truly music vocabulary. The girls cut out all of the pieces using the instruction page, and assembled it all on their own. One of the amazing things about kids getting older is that they can do things without my instruction!

As they cut, they read the definitions and words out loud. The words are also listed on the definition sheet - It would have been neat if the words were not on there, and the girls could have tried to figure out which went with which word. But they still learned lots about music terms while creating this lapbook component.

This turned out to be Nutsy's favorite activity. We had the goal of doing one topic per week and so the girls took turns choosing which one we did each week.

Dasher's favorite activity was The Orchestra. For this topic, they cut out each instrument that are in the typical orchestra. There are also tiny pockets to cut out and glue together also. Again, these girls did this all on their own.

At the bottom of each instrument is a short description of the instrument.

After they assembled it, I read through each description with them. For fun, we then pushed all of the instruments down into their pockets so the descriptions were hidden. I would then pick random instruments and they had to give me one fact they had learned about that instrument.

When we did the section on Periods in Music the girls made booklets that described the seven music periods. That week we listened to different pieces from each period. It was very interesting to hear music progress from the Middle Ages all the way to Modern. In the Music Appreciation topic, we listened to different pieces and then they filled out a sheet that had space for the composer, time period, and facts. There was also a place to draw a picture of what you thought of when you heard the music.

All in all we really enjoyed putting these things together, and I feel that the girls learned a lot!

I have reviewed other products from Home School in the Woods before. Specifically I have reviewed products from their Lap-Paks series including Great Empires and US Elections. When we got this Activity-Pak though, I realized it is slightly different from the Lap-Paks. The Lap-Paks include text to read as you progress through the activities, while Activity-Paks do not. To help fill this gap there is a suggested resource page that has many wonderful suggestions for books that you can read as you complete these activities. When I realized this, I remembered that we had a children's biography of Bach, and so as the girls cut out and assembled their lapbooks, I would read to them from the book. Activity-Paks go along perfectly with read alouds, and they compliment each other nicely. Home School in the Woods give you hands-on learning activities and makes an ordinary book become that much more interesting.

Another product that Home School in the Woods offers is something called their Timeline Trio. This is a 12x9 binder that holds all of time inside! They also offer Timeline figures that can be added as you learn about them. I LOVE timelines and for years had one that went up our stairway. But people used to brush up against it and it got pretty worn. How cool that Home School in the Woods has figured out how to put it into a nice binder fro reference.

Another new thing that Home School in the Woods is doing is their brand new A-La-Carte projects. These are shorter activities and games that are based on so many topics.... World War II, Greek Life, The Erie Canal, US States .....currently there are 50 projects with plans to do hundreds more. These are all downloadable, and at the time of this writing, many were under $5 each.

I really encourage you to check out Home School in the Woods, especially their A-La-Carte section. There you can pick and choose hand-on activities that will make your schooling so much more fun. Other members of The Crew reviewed products from this company, check out what they thought by clicking below.

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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