Monday, December 5, 2016

Build a Shelf for Lego Minifigures

Do you have a child with a multitude of Lego Minifigures?  I never realized how many my children have until we tried to find them all.  We have Way Too Many.  We have full Minifigures, random Minifig pieces, and pieces that I don't know what they are.

I'm the kind of person who likes to have things organized and in their own places, but that hope never really materializes.  In order to corral and display the many Minifigures my son has, I re-purposed some shelves for him.

My child wrote about the shelves on his blog in this post.  You can find more photos there.  I helped with the materials and directions portion, so that gives me the mama-right to also talk about the shelves here.  They're pretty straight forward and easy to make.  You could probably figure out how to do it just by looking at the photos.  If you want the directions, you'll have to pop over to the kids' blog.  (A little mama shout-out to my kiddos!)

I originally built some photo shelves (picture ledges?  frame holders?) that were up in our old guest room/office/bonus room.  When the room was converted to a school room, the shelves came down and got stored in the garage.

One day I was frustrated with the Lego mess in my son's room and decided to put those picture shelves to another use.  I measured them and found out they would easily hold some 4x12 Lego pieces.  I ordered some at and when they arrived I hot glued them to the shelves.  We installed the shelves above the "Lego shelf" in my son's room and he neatly arranged the Minifigures for display and use.  The neatness probably lasted about 14 hours.  I had him reorganize the shelves to take the photos.  I guess that is one way to get him to clean up.

About 80% of the time, nearly 3/4 of the Minifigures are on his floor.  I'm not kidding.  It drives me nuts.  I want all the Minifigures displayed on the shelf and all his sets neatly arranged on his Lego shelf, but my child doesn't think like that.  He prefers millions of Lego scattered on his floor so that he can mix and match and build to his heart's desire.  I have to take deep breaths when I enter his room, but he does make up some fantastic creations.

How do you organize Lego stuff?  And do your kids keep it organized?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Making Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

It's that time of the year again where traditions abound.  We make turkey cookies every Thanksgiving, and only at Thanksgiving time.  This year our count was 192 cookies or 4 batches of dough.  One hundred and ninety-two!  Wow!

You can find my recipe for the cookies in this post from 2011.  Gosh, time flies.  I originally wrote about them in this post from 2009.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Updating the Bench Post

It's time I start trying to show this blog a little more love. It falls to the wayside in the midst of life. I thought I would start by trying to update my top post. The post is on how to build an easy bench.
I have since painted the bench white.  We also rounded the sharp corners with a router to avoid as many bumps and bruises.  The bench lies in the main part of our house.  Right between the laundry room (where we enter the house) and the entryway (where guests enter the house).  It's on the walkway to the kitchen and pretty much resides in the "living room."  We have a very open floor plan, so it's seen from everywhere in the house.  Our laundry room (aka: mudroom) is small, so we don't have room for shoes in it.  This is where our most commonly used shoes go.  Don't ask me how the youngest family member seems to have four times more shoes than the rest of us.
So I'm going to update that post with some more recent photos.  My hope is to get up a post about the loft we built our son with some plans.  We built it years ago, but I never posted plans.  It seems the woodworking plans are my most popular ones.  I wish I had more time to build things.  I'd love to build a dresser/shelf/bench seat combo surrounding the windows in our master bedroom.  Maybe when the kids are in college?  Oh, I like to keep it real.  Even when I try to style up my bench, it's not style worthy.  We're just your normal family where things get piled up on the bench.  It drives me nuts when the kids leave their stuff all over the bench.  But, oh well, a happy home is a messy home.
Enjoy the remainder of the week!  Here's to crafting things, even if we only get to think about them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fourth and Sixth Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Yes, my posts are far and few between.  Busy, busy, busy.

We had our first day of school, so I thought I should jump in with my yearly curriculum choices.

This is our fourth year of homeschooling.  I'm no expert, but we're starting to get down what we like to do.  The boy is in sixth grade this year and the girl is in fourth grade.

Here's what we're doing:

Math:  The boy is doing Teaching Textbooks 7.  We've gone back to Teaching Textbooks and I'm hoping he still likes it in a few weeks!  The girl can't wait to get to it.  She'll be doing Horizons 4 and 5 this year.  She's over halfway through 4, so she'll start 5 when she gets there.

English:  We're still sticking with Bob Jones because we all like it.  Both kids are doing Bob Jones English 6 this year.  I like how it alternates between grammar and writing.  The kids like the colorful workbooks with a short guided practice section and a short independent work section.

Vocabulary:  Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day.  So fun and the kids love them!

Spelling:  We're trying workbooks this year.  We'll be using Evan-Moor Building Spelling Skills.  The boy will be using Grade 6 and the girl will be using Grade 5.

Reading Comprehension:  The kids will do two short readings a week.  One from science and one from social studies.  Both will do the Grade 6 books.

Social Studies/History:  We're continuing with Mystery of History and doing Volume 2 this year.  I will be adding on some additional weeks of studies involving Castles, Catherdals, and more Middle Age stuff.  Plus some Nanoblocks, cause we love those things.  We'll be doing the Tower of Pisa, Mont Saint-Michel, and Kinkaku-Ji.  We'll do some others only if I find a good deal on them.

Extracurricular: We're adding in Computer Coding and Spanish.  I got some DK Workbooks to get us started with Computer Coding.  We're starting with Scratch at  The kids tried it on the first day and loved it!  It was a hit.  It's kind of like block programming with Mindstorms, so the boy already understands it.  The girl had fun playing around with it.  We're using Realidades A for Spanish lessons.

Science:  This year we're studying Earth Science.  I love science!  I was more of a life science and chemistry science teacher, but I took plenty of earth science classes when I was getting my undergrad and masters.  I'm excited to do this with the kids and review what I haven't done in awhile. I'm again piecing things together for the kids.  We're using the books pictured above with the 100+ Earth Science series for some worksheets.  I'm using selected lessons/readings from Earth Science as our "textbook."  They do have a free middle school Earth Science textbook that you can download on Amazon, but I'm using the readings on their website.  We'll have lots of hands-on lessons and field trips this year.

Reading:  Oh my!  I love books.  I went crazy here!  Here's a selection of read-alouds and personal reading that the kids will be doing.  (I read the read-alouds to them, they read the personal ones on their own.)  Many of the read-alouds are historical fiction related to the time periods that we are studying.

Planning:  Let's just say I'm a planner.  I like to have the year planned out.  We may not follow it exactly, but I'm more likely to have the kids do stuff if I have it written down.  The kids are using planners this year to keep track of assignments.  The one pictured below is my master teacher planner.

Since we have more work this year, I'm trying a Lean Homeschooling Board. This helps me to keep track of what needs to be done for the day/week and shows me what  the kids have completed.  That way I don't have to ask them what still needs to be done.  We start in the morning by completing the subjects that we do together (orange post-its).  After lunch the kids continue with their separate subjects (blue for the boy and yellow for the girl).

Of course, we do a yearly picture.  Here's a collage of all the ones that have been taken since the boy started kindergarten.

Here's hoping it's a good year, it's off to a great start!
How is your year shaping up?


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