Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Free Reading Level Assessment

School is about to officially start for our prehistoric household. Jackasaurus and Mopsy have finished their summer school work, and I've given them a week off before we kick off our school year on the 3rd of September. I wanted to know how they have done, and where their reading levels were at for the year. Looking online can be daunting, especially if you don't know exactly what you are looking for. Most of the tests can cost quite a bit, which is frustrating when you just want to know where your kids are at for the start of the year. A fellow blogger turned up an amazing find, which led me to another find that helped with the problem of where my kids were reading at. The first link is an amazing website filled with tons of free homeschool things! Check them out and if you like what you see, subscribe to them! Homeschool Freebie.

On the Homeschool Freebie website I found a link to a Reading Level Assessment. I had Jackasaurus and Mopsy take both the tests, just to make sure that they were right on target. Mopsy, who will turn 5 in a few days, and is going into the 1st grade, tested at a 1st grade reading level! She was super excited, as she has been working really hard on learning to read. She wants to be so much like her big brother, and read as well as he does! I'm super impressed at how far she's come!

Jackasaurus blew me out of the water, on his reading level. For a 6 year old boy, who is going into the 2nd grade, he tested out at a 5th grade reading level, on both tests. I was stunned! If it had been just one of the tests, I would have called it a fluke, and gone for the lower reading level on the other test, but he scored that high on both. I've seen him read some hard books, so I feel rather confident that the tests are accurate and worth the time to test your kids.

Being a homeschool family can be rough, especially with people who don't understand why you homeschool. I feel that homeschool families are kept under a microscope, watching to make sure that your kids are really learning. I know that it was the case when I was homeschooled, as a child. Having a test that helps show how your kids are doing can alleviate some of those worries. Every child is different, and learns on a different schedule. As long as your child continues to learn, you are doing a great job! Check out some of those freebies, I posted above, and let the new school year begin!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Free Word Art #6

And the last one! I really enjoyed making these and hope that you enjoy them. Feel free to right click on them and save them to your computer and print them off for someone that you love. Everyone deserves to feel loved and special, especially our children. I can't tell you how often my own dinosaurs look at their pictures and smile, because they know that they are loved. Not just by mom and dad's actions but because they have that reminder. It really does help, especially if they have had to be punished and need that reminder while they are in timeout, in their room. Just please remember to link back to my blog if you do decide to share! Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Word Art #5

Just right click on the image and save to your computer! Remember to link back to this blog if you decide to share.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Word Art #4

I'm so sorry for not posting this yesterday. It's been rather crazy here lately; getting ready for school, doing the monthly grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Anyway, here's the next free print. Just right click on the picture and download to your PC, and remember to refer people to this blog if you decide to share! Thanks!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Word Art Freebie #3

Half way there! I'm glad that so many of you are enjoying these. Just right click on the picture and save to your computer. Remember to reference this blog if you decide to share! Thank you!

Until Next Time,

Monday, August 18, 2014

Word Art Freebie #2

Please link back to me, if you decide to share these! I hung my kids' pictures today and heard that my brother in law hung the pictures up in his boys' rooms. They are super proud of them! Once again, just right click on the picture and save to your computer!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Free Word Art

It's been amazing how many people have private messaged me, asking for the free printables of the word art that I made for my nephews and children. So, I've decided to share! I'll share one a day, to space them out. Just right click on the image and save to your computer. Remember to link back to me if you're showing these off. Thank you!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dinosaur Camp

This past week we've had the honor of having three more dinosaurs added to our household- my nephews on my husband's side. It was a fun time of arts and crafts, exploring, creating, and probably the least favored activity- school work. Yep, my dinosaurs do school work in the summer; it's a year round affair in our house. The only difference between the normal school year and summer time is that school work is generally done while Alexsaur is napping, in the summer, versus during the daytime the rest of the year.

My brother in law dropped his boys off, Hadrosaur (10), Corythosaurus (8), and Segisaurus (6) off on Tuesday afternoon and then the fun began. We started off with the greatly loved (I hope you can sense my sarcasm in text) school work. The boys have some catching up to do, but for not doing school work in months they did well enough. I had to teach them a lot of things to help them get the work right, however. After school was over, we were ready to have some real fun. And what Dino Camp would be complete without a lot of crafts!

Tuesday we decided to make our own crystals. I got two different kits, at the Dollar Tree.

I got the green, pink, and purple kits. I only got 4 of them, as I had already bought the trees weeks ago, thinking to do them as a science experiment during school with my kids.

The Crystal Tree. I had these on hand already.
There wasn't a whole lot that the kids could actually do with these. Alexsaur and Segisaurus got to put together the paper part for their trees, but the liquid gel said that it should only be handled by an adult. With the crystal rock kits, Jackasaurus, Mopsy, Hadrosaur, and Corythosaurus got to help mix the crystal gel and place their rocks in the trays. As I was the only adult there, I wasn't able to take pictures of the during process, but the results were kind of cool!

 Alexsaur and Segisaurus' trees and Mopsy's rocks

  Corythosaurus, Hadrosaur, Jackasaurus' rocks
One thing I will caution you with, if you do decide to get the tree kit. They can not be moved. Those 'crystals' just flake off. The kids loved watching them grow, but they had to stay in one spot the whole time. I ended up going back to the Dollar Tree and buying two more packages of the rock crystals, so that the two boys could have them to keep.

A note, about the rock crystals, is use less water. I followed the instructions perfectly for Mopsy's and Corythosaurus' rocks, and they didn't have as many crystals on the top as Hadrosaur and Jackasuarus' did. I used less water and mixed in only about 1/2 of the crystal mix, then poured the rest of the crystal mix onto the rocks themselves, for Jackasaurus and Hadrosaur's crystals. The effect was more crystals on top, and less goo on the bottom.

Wednesday we decided to take it outside and just explore, after our schoolwork was done. Boy, did they explore! They found cool, dead bugs, and learned all about teamwork!

Hadrosaur found a dead cicada, which he named "Dave". The only way I was letting that creepy thing into my house was if it was in a clear, sealed container! Cicadas creep me out!

You can't see the rest of them, but everyone worked together, as a team. to move a huge branch that had fallen last week, during a storm. I was very impressed how they decided to work together and move as one unit to get it moved!
Thursday we did more arts and crafts. I know that everyone had a blast with all the cool stuff we were making! For starters I had them make posters, for their rooms, to remind them how awesome they were. They really spent a lot of time decorating their posters, and adding lots of stickers to them!

Sorry, but even with the extra kids here I'm not showing their faces. Call me paranoid, but I refuse to do it!
After the schooltime, came the moment that they had been waiting for. Making our own erasers! I found this incredible kit at Wal-Mart for $5 on clearance. Man, I love clearance! It was fun to watch their imaginations soar and make some really cool looking erasers.

Corythosaurus and Jackasaurus made me a snowman eraser. Jackasaurus made a Legoman (he's laying down, but it does look like a Legoman. Alexsaur made his own thing (kind of looks like a brown ear drum, but hey! He's only 2!) Segisaurus made a cupcake, Mopsy made the butterfly. Hadrosaur made an alien and Corythosaurus made a skeleton.
I did end up baking these a bit longer than they said; about 20 min, at 250* F total. I found it necessary, since there were some pieces that were bigger than the others. They still turned out great and the kids were so excited to have them!

Friday was another fun day, in our Dino Camp. A wonderful friend gave me a lot of scrap fabric. I really had no clue what to do with it, until I heard the boys were coming up. I let them pick their own fabric, and we made pillows! I had no idea how much of a hit it would turn out to be! The kids adore their pillows; the nephews have carried them everywhere with them. They got to pick out the fabric themselves, the older kids got to hand sew their pillows, and I sewed up everything else on the machine. Then they got to stuff their pillows themselves. Boy, they loved stuffing those pillows with poly fiber!

They are absolutely in love with these pillows, and I'm glad they had so much fun!

I was praying last night, after everyone was asleep, I started praying for all of the kids and I felt impressed that I needed to make sure that the boys went home knowing that they were loved. As great of a week as we have had, there have still been times when I had to discipline wayward boys, and even though I've always followed it up by telling them how much I do love them, and I only discipline them so they know how they should behave, the truth is that they live over 4 hours away. I don't get to see them much. So I made them these.

Each one is different, for every child. I'll show close ups down below. I'll admit, these aren't the most crafty things I've ever made. I literally made these in Photoshop, printed them in black and white, and hand colored them in with markers (our printer only does black and white for right now). Then I bought some cheap frames, again from the Dollar Tree, and framed everyone. They loved them, and were so touched by them. Segisaurus wanted to carry his around everywhere he went. It might not look like much, but my hope is that, when they go home, they remember how loved they are and how special they are to our prehistoric family. Here are the close ups.

Tomorrow my nephews go home. We'll miss them, and wish them the best when they start school on Monday. I know it's not the last time they will be over, but next time I think I'll have them stay one at a time, for some one on one action. As much fun as it was, going from 3 to 6 overnight was overwhelming!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August's Room Makeover

Last month we worked on our boys' room, and we thought that was a big job! It was nothing compared to doing Mopsy's room, however! Her room was truly a labor of love, one that we knew would be well worth it when our little princess saw it- and we were not disappointed!

One thing I forgot to do, and I apologize for, was give you a total for how much the boys room cost us. It was a bit pricy, considering that we had to actually buy the bunk beds for them, but in all it wasn't bad. I'll edit that post, and give you a break down of what we bought and how much it cost.

Mopsy's room was, by far, the cheapest remodel I've done to date. Most everything we did, we used materials that we already had, or were given to us. It's all about thinking outside of the box, when trying to save money. 

On Saturday we started the painting. Mopsy picked the colors herself- a light daffodil yellow and a bright princess pink. We were able to paint her entire room and closet before lunch time. I think that set a new record for hubby and me! That left plenty of room to decorate, which we actually needed.

When we started to put her bed together, it became painfully evident that whomever made the head and foot board had a totally different bed frame in mind, than a standard bed frame. I have no clue how anyone could attach the head and foot board to a standard frame. It just wouldn't work! I am so lucky that I married such a handy man, who knows how to build stuff. Instead of scrapping the whole bed idea, he went out and built her a brand new bed! To say I was impressed would be an understatement!

YAY! We were able to use the head and foot board after all!

Sadly, building the bed took most of the afternoon, and left very little time for us to actually decorate. I was able to do most of the decorating myself, but some of it had to be left for the next day. The results were so worth it, though!

View from the door, into the room. Thank Aunt A for the amazing artwork!

Canopy bed, which I will share how I made in another post. View from the door. The adorable artwork was made by her Aunt D. Mopsy adores her pictures!

Princess bedding fit for a Princess and her Princess Mouse (gift from Aunt D)

Another view of the canopy bed. We are going to put up a chandelier, that was a gift from Aunt D, at a later date. It will require hard wiring the whole thing in, so it will have a wait a few days! I'll show pics once it's put up though!

The shelf was built by hubby, and I painted and lacquered the dresser, putting new drawer pulls on as well. The little doll, on the shelf, was made by her Aunt K. 

Her school desk/ vanity that we got for free out of someone's trash! Perfect area for a princess to do her schoolwork!

Close up of the Tinkerbell decal. I got this at the Dollar Tree. Yes, the entire thing was $1!
These hanging balls were from Aunt A's wedding, and she gave them to Mopsy. The decal in the corner will be shown, in greater detail, down below.

Close up of the yarn balls that Aunt A made for her wedding.

I got this decal, which just rubs on and peels off for easy removal, at the Dollar Tree. Yes, it only cost me $1!

More amazing art work by Aunt A! It's like Aunt A knows Mopsy, or something!

I hand painted these letters, and free drew the designs on each one. I also got the adorable wooden pieces at Hobby Lobby for less than $1 each. Calendar was bought at the Dollar Tree as well. Cork board was left in this house, when we moved in, so another freebie!

Close up of the letter J. All this was done with Sharpies.

Close up of the letter R. All done with Sharpies, and a very steady hand!

Letter S. Also done in Sharpie.

Now for the totals. This room was really actually really cheap, because we used what we already had on hand to decorate it with.

Paint- $40 for 1 gallon of the Princess Pink and one of Daffodil yellow
Wood to make the bed and the shelf- $20
Decals- $2 total, for the Tinkerbell and Dandelion
Princess bedding- $30 from Walmart The price has gone back up, but I was able to get it on roll-back.
Drawer pulls- $5 each one, from Lowe's. Total cost $15 for the pulls.
Head board and footboard- Free. They used to be Alexsaur's old crib and we painted it white with paint that we had leftover from another project. 
Dresser- Free. Was given to me by my parents years ago. Painted it with the same paint that I painted the head and foot board, and lacquered it. 
Vanity- Free. Found on the curb and it was in perfect condition. Painted it with the same paint that I painted the head and footboard with and lacquered it. 
All the artwork were gifts from Mopsy's aunts. The only frames I bought were the silver ones, and I can't remember where I got it. It was years ago!
Rug- $10 on clearance at Walmart. I love how the grey color compliments the silver accents in her room!
Lettering- I bought when Mopsy was born, so I think the little pre-decorated ones were about $1 each, and the letters were about $2 each, but I know I had a 1/2 off coupon for Hobby Lobby at the time. Once again, bought and decorated these years ago.
Canopy- Less than $6. The large, 14" embroidery hoop I used was a gift from a friend, and I got the tulle at Walmart for $0.96 a yard. I bought 2 pieces that were 3 yards long. 

Total cost for the makeover- $123

It does help to reuse items that you have, around the house, and use up some paint that you might have sitting around the house. This makeover could have cost a lot more, if we had bought everything brand new. I really love how the paint seems to change color with the different lighting. It's all the same paint, but where you stand, it can look like a different shade! Yay for Disney paint! As I said, the only thing we have left to do, in her room, is to hang the chandelier. That was also free, as it was a gift from her aunt. I really love how this room turned out, and most importantly how cheap it was to makeover!

Until Next Time,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Let's Hear it for the Men in Our Lives!

I don't know about you, but I'm growing increasingly sick and tired of TV shows, and even the commercials, making fun of the men in our lives. Most of the shows, and commercials, I'm thinking about have these men who, if they really acted like that, would be completely unable to even get out of bed themselves, let alone feed themselves. It seems like every TV show has this gross, overweight, and complete fool of a man, who bumbles around in these antics, only to be saved by his outrageously gorgeous, thin wife who is the only reason that man can even manage to make it through the day. The commercials, one in particular that I'm thinking about, show men that can't even comprehend how to wash the laundry, let alone do anything else! I'm not saying we need to go back to shows like "Father Knows Best", where it was the wife who was the bumbling idiot, and couldn't even comprehend what was going on in the world, but we've flipped sides completely.

I don't know about all of you, but my husband is my rock. He's the one that helps hold our prehistoric household together. Without him supporting us, I wouldn't not be a stay-at-home mom, who is homeschooling three out of our four children. It just wouldn't happen. My husband has a firm grasp on how to do things, and does them well- most of the time without me even asking! My father is an amazing man, who led our family through a lot, when I was growing up. That man worked himself to the bone trying to provide for us. His shifts were long and hard, but he never complained. My brother in laws are the same way! All of them are extremely hard working men, who, not only support their families, but lead them! My father in law worked in the Navy, was gone for most of the year, so that he could provide for his family. When he got home, he worked more to make sure that everything was working right in the house. He knows more about construction then most people I know! My sons have some wonderful examples of hard working men, and I know that the men, in my family, aren't the only examples. I know of so many examples, and yet the entertainment industry seems set on undermining these examples.

By showing how these overweight, sloppy, lazy men can somehow manage to marry this beautiful, thin, and smart woman who will fix everything that the man seems to bungle, it's teaching our sons that it's OK to just go through life not trying your best. It also undermines the father's authority over the children. That's why I was so excited to see this commercial.

Finally! Something that doesn't emasculate men, but shows how to be a dad. My husband said that within the first few minutes it was the perfect dialogue on how to be a dad. Sure it's a commercial to try and sell cereal, but the message is clear. A dad's job is to be the enforcer, and sometimes the re-enforcer. I really hope that this is just the start of more commercials, and hopefully TV shows, like this. Sadly a lot of children don't have a father figure, and without someone showing them the way they are more than likely to turn out just like that sloppy, lazy man. 

Let's lift our men up, and help them to be the fathers that they were created to be, and stop demoralizing them.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1950s Walk-a-Way Dress

As I'm sure I've told you, I'm a HUGE fan of vintage- well- everything! I found this Pattern for quite a steal at my local sewing supply store- only $0.99 for the pattern!

I love this dress, and it was so simple to make. I did a few things different on the dress, than what was instructed in the pattern. On the front piece, which gets wrapped around to the back, I did  not put a button and make a loop out of the bias. I decided to put a hook and eye on, and it holds really well. Also, I decided to use a knit type fabric. I started out making it with a gorgeous cotton fabric, but even though I serged my ends and all seams, the fabric just unraveled. And I mean, it unravelled everywhere it could! It was a nightmare, but as luck would have it I had 5 yards of a gorgeous teal knit fabric and I think the dress turned out great! Here's the pictures!

I did make a petticoat, as well, and I think it added a lot of fullness to the skirt. It's a super easy pattern to make, and if you like the vintage look, this is about as classic as it gets!

Until Next Time,

Homemade Feminine Pads

I am always trying for ways to save my family money, and one way I noticed was my monthly expense for Feminine hygiene products. While $5 a month might not seem like much, it adds up! Over $60 a year! And if a catastrophe strikes, and you can't get to the store, what are you going to do? Most people don't think about this before its too late, but I've been thinking about it for awhile.

When my 3 dinosaurs were in cloth diapers, I used Kushie's brand of all in one diapers, but I also put the cloth liners in them. I found that it helped keep them drier longer. Once they were out of diapers, I still had about sixty liners there were perfectly good.

You can find them at Here
My thought was that I could still use these! They weren't stained, in perfect condition, and the perfect size for feminine hygiene products.

To make them, I simply sewed three of them together. Why three? I wanted to make sure that they stayed absorbent, and worked well for a long time. To clean them, all I do is soak them in ice cold water and wash in hot water. I don't use bleach, as bleach tends to make fabric start to fall apart after awhile, and I really don't want that chemical anywhere near any sensitive parts! Now, full disclosure, I don't wear these when I'm out and about. I didn't put velcro on them, to keep them in place. Your underwear will do the job of keeping them in place, but I really don't want them to bunch up while I'm at the store and risk a leak. I'm still saving my family money, however, as I went from needing a bag a month, to only needing a few at most. If it's something that you are interested in, check out Kushies, or another brand that makes diaper liners, and see about making some for yourself!

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