Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Feeding the Ducks

We have a great duck pond near us!  The girls were so excited to find baby ducks there Monday.  They came quite close to us and the daddy duck even ate out of Ross' hand.

I recently learned that bread isn't the best food for ducks.  We bought a big bag of cracked corn to use instead.  (Super cheap at the local feed store, $5 for a big bag.)  I keep some in this recycled coffee container in the van so that we always have duck food handy.  The ducks gobbled it right up.

I love being prepared for spur of the moment duck feeding!  :)

It works for me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Math Mammoth Review

I like math.  Really, I do.  I want my kids to like math and understand it.

We've been using Singapore math so far (first Earlybird then 1A and 1B).  I liked the idea of it, but feel like we need more practice and explanation.  Lucy was able to complete the math pages with lots of prompting from me, but wasn't understanding the concepts fully.  Heart of Dakota has some hands on ideas we enjoyed that correlate with 1A and 1B.  Even so, part way through 1B we just couldn't go any farther.

I'm not sure how I came across Math Mammoth.  At first I was just looking for some additional practice or help, knowing that we couldn't move on to 2A yet.  I also didn't want to stop math for the summer and have Lucy forget these concepts she was barely hanging on to.  Cathy Duffy gives Math Mammoth a great review.  She compares it to Singapore Math in some ways, and really praises it.  After looking into it, I purchased their level 1 and began right away.

We just started, but so far I love Math Mammoth!  It seems to explain concepts thoroughly and from different angles.  Each page has plenty of problems on it, but remains uncluttered looking.  The beginning of each section contains helpful notes to the teacher, games to play with your child, and links to internet sites with online games relating to the topic.  The teacher/ child games are occasionally scheduled in the textbook also, which is great.

Math Mammoth is available as a download, or as purchased books.  I bought the physical books: worktext 1A, 1B, tests and reviews, and the answer key.  I like that the instruction is contained in the worktext.  (They call it a worktext because its both the textbook and the workbook together.)  We have found it very easy to use.  Even after getting through Singapore 1A and most of 1B, Math Mammoth's level one is a good place for Lucy to be.  She is able to complete the math pages, but it takes some thought.  I'm glad we did not keep going with Singapore Math.  I feel like with Math Mammoth she is going to thoroughly learn the concepts.  If she struggles, I appreciate the additional resources - games, websites, and even an online worksheet maker for additional practice.  Maria, the author, was also quick to respond to an email from me with a question that I had.

If you are interested, definitely take some time to browse the Math Mammoth website.  I found some good information, including how to use an abacus as a teaching aid, and great kindergarten math ideas.  The emails they send out are informative and fun as well. is also run by the author of Math Mammoth and is an amazing resource worth checking out too!  I am very impressed with Math Mammoth and all that it has to offer.

I purchased Math Mammoth on my own and did not receive anything in exchange for this review.

See The Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup for more reviews.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mei Tai Baby

Isaac loves to be in the mei tai.  He will fuss and fidget all day long, but if I put him in my mei tai, he is perfectly happy and settles down for a two hour nap.  The mei tai (Babyhawk) is super comfy to wear.  I love that I can be hands-free and still meet his need to be held.

My girls were not as happy to be in a baby carrier.  I would put them in one when we were shopping or out and about, but around the house they weren't interested.  They wanted to be held facing out so they could see what was going on.  I think they also felt a little trapped or squished or something.  Isaac loves it though.  He tucks his head in between me and the strap and goes to sleep.  After wearing him for a long nap he is happier and more settled the rest of the day.

The mei tai is definitely my favorite baby carrier right now.  It goes with me everywhere.  I love my mei tai baby!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wubbanub Review

When I first saw Wubbanubs, I thought they were a crazy bad idea.  Somewhere along the way I found my Amazon-addicted self reading reviews of them.  Now we have one and love it.

Okay, I thought this was a beanie baby with a pacifier attached.  Not so much.  They aren't really that heavy or big.  We have the lamb, and it is very lightweight.  You can see in the photo below that even if I put the paci in backwards so the lamb is over his face and nose, he is still perfectly fine.  It compares more to a pacifier ribbon in weight than to a beanie baby.

The Wubbanub helps keep the pacifier from falling, just because it is easy to hang on to.  Also, if it does fall, the pacifier doesn't go bouncing across the room and under the coffee table.  Isaac is just learning to hold on to things, and its super cute to see him snuggling his little lamb!

The lamb smelled a bit "new" at first so I put the whole thing through the wash.  I used the delicate cycle and air dried it; it turned out fine.  We've had several people comment about how cute the Wubbanub is and what a great idea it is.  The only problem is that there are so many adorable ones to choose from!

Isaac likes his Wubbanub lamby!

We received the Wubbanub for review.  All opinions are my own of course (and Isaac's).  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

So Little Time!

So much to write, so little time!

What have we been up to?

saving Isaac from Esther

enjoying the weather

snuggling this little guy

researching and ordering curriculum for the fall

watching little ballerinas

more snuggling

working hard to finish up our schoolwork for the year
experimenting with gluten free baking
and more!  Hopefully I'll get more blogging time this weekend.
Enjoy your day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Princess Legos!

Two of the favorite things around here are Disney princesses and Lego Duplos.  I literally gasped out loud when I saw this in the store!  Lego has a new line of Disney princess Duplos!  We actually got  a chance to review one of the small sets.

Sleeping Beauty's Room comes with the princess, her skirt, bed, blanket, chair, fairy block, and some castle pieces.

Sleeping Beauty is very cute.  She has a crown on, and can play with or without her skirt.  The girls enjoyed putting her to bed and covering her up with the blanket.

I'm fairly certain we will need to own all three of the other sets - Snow White's Cottage, Cinderella's Carriage, and Cinderella's Castle.  Unlike so many other things, Legos are quality toys that are safely made and will last a long time.  I love that Legos encourage creative play - I can just see my girls acting out endless princess stories with these.

I can hardly wait for an excuse to purchase this castle!  Maybe I can talk someone into a princess birthday party this summer.  :)

We received this Lego Duplo set for review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gluten-Free Baking

I have not one, but eleven new ingredients on my kitchen counter.  Things I have never purchased, baked with, or even heard of before!  This gluten-free baking thing is not for the faint of heart.

I am finding The Healthy Gluten-Free Life to be an amazing resource!  The author explains all of the different flours and ingredients used in gluten-free baking.  Her recipes all have full page color photos and simple instructions.  I'm excited to start trying them.

Using the book as a guide, I made my shopping list at Vitacost:

whole grain teff (never heard of this!)
potato starch
potato flour (different from potato starch?)
sorghum flour
xanthan gum (not even sure how to pronounce these two!)
tapioca flour
whole millet
whole amaranth
coconut nectar (for coconut ice cream)
green pea flour (seriously, there is such a thing?)
almond meal

So far I've only made one simple recipe - Almond Lemon Cookies.  Julia was not a fan of these, but she doesn't like lemon baked goods anyway.  Lucy and Esther enjoyed them.  I need to grind up the teff, millet, and amaranth with my Vitamix dry container and then tackle gluten-free bread baking.  I'm a little scared of how it might turn out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Silisipper Glass Tumblers

My bigger girls use glass cups at home, but Esther hasn't quite managed drinking from an open cup yet.    I was happy to discover the Silisipper that would allow her to use a glass cup too!

Esther was thrilled to have her own special cups to try out!  We received both the Picardie and Gigogne tumblers with lids to review.

We've been using them for a couple of weeks now.  Sometimes Esther ends up splashing water on herself.  I think it is because she tips the cup up before her mouth is on the hole.  Sillisippers do not have a valve or spout.  I'm actually fine with the small spills, because it is teaching her how to use a real cup.  These are very easy to clean and assemble.

I prefer the Picardie tumbler because it is narrower around and easier to grasp.  Silisippers are made of food grade silicone and extra durable glass.  There are four fun colors available to choose from.  You can also purchase glass bowls and plates to match.  The cups can even be used without the lids when the kids are older. 

We give Silisippers two thumbs up!

We received Silisipper tumblers for review.  All opinions are my own.