Friday, July 28, 2017

My Week In Images

My Week.......

My laundry basket......

because there is a new green apron in there. (Bookworm's new job)

This fun, hands-on circuit kit........

because Nutsy loved it more than I thought.

This birthday with friends......

 because I am so thankful they still live in the same town as us.

Violin Boot Camp.......

because it is so good for these girls to learn and work together.

This precious babe......

because it has been quite a while since a wee one fell asleep on me.

This afternoon at the pool........

because friends make it all the more fun.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

{Homeschool Product Review} ~ The Crafty Classroom

Summer is a good time to spend some time on more low-key subjects. So I was excited to review a product from The Crafty Classroom. I received the USA Activity Bundle to check out the last few weeks.

Crafty Classroom

What It Is:

In this bundle, I received three different products.

  • U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook
  • U.S.A. State by State Bird Art Cards
  • U.S.A. State Mazes

Each of these came as a separate download and were easy to open on my computer. 

USA Activity Bundle

The U.S.A. State by State Activity Notebook has a page for each state. This page has lots of places to add information. There is an outline of the state, where a student can add major cities, mountain ranges, rivers, and lakes. There is the state flag, ready to be colored, along with the state flower and bird. There is also spots to fill in the state abbreviation, the state number and nickname, and also a couple of lines at the bottom to add state facts.

The U.S.A. State by State By State Bird Art Cards is a very neat resource! Each page has a different state bird. On one side of the page you can see a colored image of the bird, with a black and white image on the other side. This is perfect for copying the colors and markings of these beautiful birds. There is also a place to add bird facts. I didn't realize it but many states share birds, (The Northern Cardinal is the state bird in SEVEN states!) so some pages have multiple states listed.

You can see on the photo above that there is a colored version on the left, and then a blank one to color on the right. You can also cut out the smaller squares on the right and play a bird name matching game!

The U.S.A. State Mazes is exactly what it sounds like - a book of mazes in the shape of each state. These are not very hard to do,but hard enough that my two younger girls were challenged by them.

How We Used This and What We Thought:

We do tend to do modified school in the summer. When I received this product last month it inspired an idea in my brain for remedial schoolwork. I decided to make fun packets for my two girls to do through the summer. I chose a few states and printed off pages from all three books. 

I chose California (duh) and then chose states we had visited. For the record, the girls have only been in seven states. Not that many! So I picked a few other ones that I thought were interesting as well. I took these worksheets, added a few math fact sheets and divided them into packets of 4 to 5 worksheets to do each day through the summer. 

I own a few books that overview the states so I also got those out and put them with the packets and they were ready to go. 

Each day, the girls would pick a packet, grab a reference book, and get to work. I found the Activity pages to be very well laid out, with lots of places to add information.

My youngest one would find the state in the book and look up the information. She loved the mazes, and would see how quickly she could get to the end. She also added her own personal touch of color to her mazes.

Dasher, my older student, found that she liked looking up state facts on the internet. I liked how this got her used to researching on the computer and finding out when a state was admitted to the Union. She also loved coloring in the birds and spent lots of time perfecting her drawings. 

This was the PERFECT extra-curricular subject for us right now. I loved that it got them both to research, and did not take much time at all. And not once, did I hear them complain about doing these pages. Dasher started putting her pages in a notebook, in order of admittance into the Union, while Nutsy is keeping hers in the packets.

I could see how this would be a great product for the school year as well - if you did two states a week you could easily finish all 50 in a year. You could also add capital memorization and other state literature to make it a complete USA state curriculum.

Other members of The Crew reviewed the USA Activity Bundle, plus other products from this company, including a preschool alphabet curriculum, a kindergarten reading program, and paragraph writing for older kids. Check out what they thought by clicking below!

Crafty Classroom {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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......