Friday, April 18, 2014


You know how everyone always complains about how bad their pictures are on their blogs taken with phones?  yeah, they pretty much can't complain anymore.  These two pictures were taken on phones.  I would have put more on here, but for some reason they wouldn't copy.  Go here to see the rest.

my way

View from Ayasofya

I am just going to assume that all of my phone pictures suck because of the location.  These two pics should be evidence of that alone.  And when it comes right down to it, I would rather have crappy pictures of Istanbul than rural, ugly early-Spring Northern US.  Somehow I don't think I will be able to sway Chris on an adventure with statements like this-  "But I can practice taking better pictures in Istanbul than I can here!"  I am however, seriously considering it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Is Totally Depressing

On Tuesday we had no snow at all.  And then yesterday happened.

I seriously want to cry. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Kingdom Series

I just got back from three days at a homeschool convention.  Still trying to recover from late nights and all day on my feet.

My favorite part was finding a new author.  I am beyond excited to read his books.  His name is Chuck Black and he does several series.  The one I am most excited to try is The Kingdom Series, which covers all of Biblical history during medieval times.  Someone shoot me now. Because if it has swords and knights, I am totally in.  It's like the Narnia series, only the allegory is much more obvious that they are actually talking about God and the Bible.

Kingdom's Dawn, Kingdom Series #1   -     By: Chuck Black

This is the first book in the series.  They are about $8 a piece.  There are 6 total books in this series and it covers from Genesis through Revelation.

Then he has a book called Cloak of the Light, which is a story on modern day spiritual warfare.  I haven't read it yet, but I am assuming it will be along the lines of Frank Peretti's books, which I also loved.

Cloak of the Light, War of the Realms Series #1   -     By: Chuck Black

Here to order this one at Christian Book.

I am really excited to at some point read these to Owen.  He loves this type of stuff and since the public school gave him a complex about his reading ability, we have been struggling with him declaring that he doesn't like books.  I don't know what age group they are directed to, but once I start reading I will give you an update.

And they are all on audio recording.  They hired a team from England to do the voices and apparently, it totally rocks.  There was a whole bunch of young to teenage boys around this book table, as you can totally imagine, but some of the moms that I went with also said that these series rock.  So I say give it a go.  I know I am.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Have you ever seen the movie Daddy Day Care?  I mean the original one with Eddie Murphy? We love it and laugh hard every time we see it.  Anyway, there is a part in there where they get a certificate and yell "laminated" at this crazy lady.  Its kind of become a Nelson family saying.

And since I bought a laminator for homeschooling it has taken on a whole new meaning.  As in, I love to laminate things.

Anyway, yesterday I fired up good ole' Pinterest and found all sorts of free bookmarks and such and we printed off a ton and laminated them.  Just because we can.  And then I found this beauty.

Free, beautiful journal cards.  Now, I am going to be totally honest here.  I had no idea what a journal card was.  I had to google it.  Basically, it's just a little 3X5 card and your write on it.  No stress of a bound notebook with giant pages and you are thinking how will I ever fill this up?

I tried journaling last year and did awesome for 6 months.  And then one day I stopped and never did it again.  Oops.

But, I could even use these bad boys for To-Do Lists and quick notes.  And people, they are free! The totally, wonderful word.

So, go check them out here.  Even if I never journal, I figure I can do something cool with them for homeschool.

And here are some adorable bookmarks that we did.  You can customize them with your kid's (or yours!) name.  Laminate them for long-term use.  My favorite is the fox.

Printable Woodland Bookmarks

Monday, April 7, 2014

Snoogs & Wilde

Just came across the Etsy shop Snoogs & Wilde and I love it all!

Watercolor Art.  Feather Print.  Colorful Nature Decor.  Archival Print.   Wall Art.  Watercolor.  Snake Print.

Trout Watercolor Print.  Gift for Dad.    Watercolor Fish Print.  Fish Home Decor.  Colorful Art.

Nautilus Shell.  Coastal Art Print.  Beach House Art.     Coral Watercolor Print.  Coastal Art.  Beach Decor.

Most prints are around $38.  Not too shabby.  Especially if try as you may, you just don't have the artist gift.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

To Vaccinate or Not?


As a former microbiologist, I have always leaned to the vaccinate side of the argument.  And to this day, I still tend to tip in that direction.  However, as time goes on along with research, I find myself swinging to the other side.

Recently, a Dr. posted an article in the NY Times saying that exemptions to vaccines should be curtailed by the US govt.  Meaning, if you don't want to vaccinate your children, tough, the govt. will make you. It may be no secret, but I am not a fan of the govt. telling me what to do.  I think this is very dangerous territory.

Here is the link to the article in the NY Times.

And here is an article written in response to the NY Times article.  It is quite lengthy, but very, very fascinating.

Again, take the time and read it.  I think you will be happy you did.  At the very least, it will make you want to thoroughly research any and all vaccines your child will be getting.  Pay attention to the article and the mentioned side-affects of vaccines.  It is quite frightening.

People have quite violent opinions about vaccines for either side.  I don't really think there is a happy medium.  The best thing is for parents to be as aware as they can be.  I think a lot of people spout opinions without research, and that doesn't help the argument at all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Classic Starts

So my love (obsession) with reading transferred easily to Ava.  The kid reads more than I do and that is saying something.  Which is funny because in kindergarten and first grade they wanted to stick her in extra help because she couldn't read fast enough.  But then they used sub-par worksheets like an "a" worksheet using the computer a.  She made all of hers like that, copying the worksheet and they marked them all wrong.  We quickly withdrew her from the extra help.  Now she is the top reader in her fifth grade class.  So the moral of that story is that some kids just take a little longer.

Owen is a little trickier.  He only wants to read non-fiction books.  And said that the books at school were "baby" books.  Now that he is homeschooled, we are creating our own library.  God bless the goodwill for cheap books!

Aside from non-fiction, I have picked up several of the Classic Starts for him.  They are exactly what they sound like if you are not familiar with them.  Classic books in an abridged version for children.


Now, I have to admit that I am not normally a fan of abridged books.  And I kind of assumed I would take a more purist approach with my kids.  They would read the original, and that was that. And then I started reading The Swiss Family Robinson, and there is no way on earth that my kids would stay interested in it with wording like that!  Even if I read it out loud to them I think their attention would disappear because the words are so very different than what they are used to.

For myself, unabridged all the way.  For Owen and Ava in some circumstances, abridged will be great.  We picked 6 for Owen, bought at Barnes and Noble, buy get two get one free.  The Classic Starts were super hard to find used.  They were basically the same price used as new, and we actually came out ahead with the sale at B&N.

I know they aren't non-fiction, but the stories we picked, including the three above, are close enough to non-fiction and they are filled with adventure that I think they are going to work great. We are currently reading Robin Hood and Owen loves it.  I read it aloud to them but then he wants to read some too.  The words are still a lot bigger than what he has done in first grade, but I help him out with the hard ones.

I highly recommend them for your younger readers.  Especially if you have boys like Owen who aren't quite into reading for various reasons.  These just might change their mind.

Coincidentally, though we haven't done them ourselves yet, Confessions of a Homeschooler does literature curriculum based off the Classic Starts book.  I think we will give it a whirl soon.

And just for those who may be interested, I am currently reading:

  The Goldfinch            The Swiss Family Robinson     The Land of Stories

Product Details   The Swiss Family Robinson (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)          Product Details

PS: The link for Swiss Family Robinson says that the book is $34.95.  I don't know why that is because I just paid $9 at B&N for my leatherbound addition.  Also, the reviews are horrible stating that the translation was bad.  But ours has been just fine so I am not sure what the deal is there!