Monday, August 18, 2014

The Farm Sanctuary - Not for the faint of heart

Our family field trip to The Farm Santucary

From their site:  

New York Shelter

Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, the rolling green pastures of Farm Sanctuary’s 175-acre New York shelter are home to more than 500 rescued farm animals. Spend the day with us and take an hour-long guided tour, browse our unique gift shop, learn more about farm animals in our Education Center, or enjoy a snack on our scenic deck. 

(They have three locations in the United States.) 

I was looking for something for an educational afternoon while we were in Watkins Glen, NY camping for the NASCAR Race.  I found this place on line and it looked interesting.  What we found it to be, we were instore for something completely out of our comfort zone. 

The place is BEAUTIFUL...rolling hills...big red barns...beautiful animals roaming around.  When we arrived at 2 pm that day (beauty of a day I might add), we were told that we had to take the "tour" and it starts at 2:30 (cost for the tour was less than $ 25 for the 5 of us).

 So were invited to walk around the "barn" (store and educational center) while we waited.  Once we (and 15 others) were ready at 2:30 we were told by a delightful gal what The Farm Sanctuary does.  Rescuing farm animals.  Sounds great, right?  She showed us a short movie (not for the faint at heart and then the tour began).  I think it would have been just fine if all we did was take the entire tour and she talked about each type of animal and maybe where they came from...Believe me when I tell you that is NOT was happened. 

If you are not a vegan, I don't advise going on the tour.  Do they educate you? yes   Do they try to convert you? YES. 

 Our tour guide proceeded (with many children in our group) to inform us the horrible condition of their "guests" when they found them.  What the previous owners did to these animals and how eating meat, drinking & eating dairy products etc will kill you... At one point my son turned to me and said "oh I can't drink milk anymore mom, I will get cancer".  GEEZ...  

I am ALL for educating the public on what your farm does and how great the animals are taken care of at your facility but to try to put the fear of GOD into your paying guests is not right.  Definitely a different agenda on their plate (no pun intended) then just showing us how beautiful their facility is. 

I was thankful that our two girls seemed to be off visiting with the animals rather than listening to what the tour guide said (thank you Jesus!) . 

Eric and I really did not learn anything we did not already know (except that pigs can sleep up to 18 hours per day).  The kids loved visiting with the animals.  

At the end of the tour everyone was invited to sample the vegan ice cream (dairy free) made with coconut milk. Kids all tried it, finished their sample bar and said they don't think we should buy it (tasted like suntan lotion)

If you ever have the opportunity to visit one of The Farm Sanctuary locations just be aware of what they are all about. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our learning space....

As with most home educating families, we don't only learn in one area or room of our home.  

The world is our classroom and we take full advantage of that. Camping, traveling, exploring...learning all the time. 

We are "full time" homeschoolers and school year round. We do take a week off here and there from "formal" learning, however, aren't children learning all the time?

we learn outdoors all the time

at the ocean...

when we are camping....

But what you are probably more interested in seeing is our "home school" here you go....

We have purged A  LOT this year...donating over 100 workbooks/books, supplies to other homeschoolers.  We have purchased some new furniture and discarded others. We are a less is more family now!

My calendar board from Pottery Barn is my biggest TOOL that I could not do without.  It's all out there for everyone to see what is happening in our schedule.  LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

These pictures above are more of "my resources" as a teacher.  I have to have things in order or I don't function well. 

We school in our dining room of the home.  We also have a computer desk in there by the sunny window. Since most of our "entertaining" happens outdoors, I don't mind having most of our "school stuff" in this room. 

Books, books and more books!  We have 4 shelves full. Not all curriculum related. I have parted with many and for now we are in good shape!

Most of our unused school supplies are downstairs in a craft closet and I go there when needed. 

There you have it....enjoy your day and be blessed!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The NEW Chocolate Chip Cookie

With all the gardens in full bloom, we have friends that are blessing us with their overflow (thank you friends). Zucchini seems to be the veggie of choice lately.  I wanted to use up some of the large greens ones before they went bad.  

Looking through countless recipes on Pinterest using zucchini, I came across this one. 

WHAT?  A CC Cookie with Zucchini - could it be true?

I am here to say YES friends you can have your veggie and cookie all in one!

They were light and cake like.  I loved the little hint of cinnamon in them and the fact that they have oats makes it a win win in our home.  

These are now my go-to cookie for the summer season!  Hoping to freeze a batch too so I can bring these babies out in the fall!

Until Next Time - Be Blessed!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

My two day getaway - relaxing, NOT!

As a stay at home, homeschooling mother, I find myself never taking or allowing time out for myself.  My responsibility is take care of my families needs and our home, I do that and do that well. However, I need to also balance that act out with SOME time for me. 

I have tried to get together with gal pals for even a girls night out, but those have not pained out since April! 

Even if I try to lock myself in the bathroom with a magazine or book it never lasts longer than 10 minutes. Since my father passed away a few months ago, I have been a little disorganized, lost if you will.  I found myself, lately, needing some ALONE time - time where I hear no children, answer no questions, fix no meals...are you picking up what I am laying down?  

I needed a quick getaway...some place I did not have to take a day to drive to or fly to. 

We have a 5 star resort and spa only 30 minutes from our home right over the boarder of NY and NJ.  I thought that would be a perfect place to unwind for 24 hours, relax by the pool, get a massage, eat while my food was hot....

I booked it!

I went...I came home early...(insert sigh here) 

I paid for the upgrade of a deluxe room with a king bed, balcony, fireplace and two TV's. (the thought of actually watching an entire 30 minute show without interruption was so appealing!)  

The room was spacious, clean and from the first glance up to the standards of the price I paid.  However, things started to go slightly south....not too far...but slightly....

The TV over the fireplace did not work....called down two times to have someone come and find out one ever came 8( 

The balcony was apparently closed (see sign below)...with no signs of any repairs or crumbling building 8(  

The OTHER issue I had was apparently this resort was a popular place for families to come in the summer months.  Who would have thought a SPA, families?  children running everywhere..loud... sigh...not relaxing at all...

Don't even get me started on room service...ordered a muffin and tea for breakfast...never came 8(    

This cheese and fruit platter was apart of the package - it was plentiful and delicious!  

The view from the nailed shut balcony door - overlooking the gardens...pretty, just wish I could have sat outside and enjoyed it specially since my main TV was not working.... 8(

THE SPA treatment - a 50 min massage was part of my package...this was very nice and I would return just for a spa treatment again!

I had to take a picture of this panel by the toilet.  I was afraid to try it for fear of getting the ceiling and walls all wet...but watcha think?

My package included a late check out at 2 pm on Sunday - I was home by 1 pm... 

Thinking back, I feel that I could have just used a DAY away with a nice lunch and a spa treatment. I would have come home much more content and felt that enormous amount of money that I paid was worth it. 

PS - I do leave PROS and CONS on Trip Adviser website...and you bet that is exactly what I did with this trip and also informed the front desk of the problems...

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Monday, August 04, 2014

2014/15 Curriculum Choices - Not Back to School

This is the month I so enjoy finding new blogs, Facebook pages, watching how others school. So many other bloggers and homeschoolers are linking up to share a little of their personal choices for their homeschool for the upcoming year!

This year, we "look" a little different then we have in the past.

We have been gravitating more towards "unschooling" than what I would call "traditional homeschooling".  I have lost the battle with trying to mimic a little "school" in our home and that is fine with me. (although I have some great fun photos for next week for the Not Back to School - School Room post!)

Our children's learning style is more hands on, "out in the world" type learning and honestly so is mine!  We are learning all together in some areas and in most all others they will be working separately.

I have a tough time "labeling" the grades of our children, which is one of the reasons I LOVE homeschooling.

Our Summer School:  We school year round, taking time off when needed.  Zachary successfully completed his IOWA test this summer (per the NYS requirements for 4th grade testing). I will admit it was as much of a test of my teaching as it was to his learning. I was EXTREMELY happy with the results (even though I dislike testing as a tool).

Each child has different learning styles and needs from me, as a mom and teacher.  Having spit all that out at you.....

What has worked well for us in the past and we will continue with:

Art:  Kiwi Crate and crafts/art I find on Pinterest to go with seasons, holidays and events. (follow me on Pinterest HEREWhat I LOVE the most about Kiwi Crate is that it's not just a craft in a box, they include so much more.  A mini magazine wiht other activities and adventures. There are always "extra" craft items that the girls use for other creative crafting.  I can't say enough about this fun teaching tool.  You can try it out for FREE if you click HERE.  Would love to know what you think if you try it!

Kiwi Crate

Geography:  We will be starting a new unit for the entire year - 50 States - using a variety of different FUN teaching tools:

Phys Ed:  The children all play Fall soccer, enrolled in the Homeschooling Gym class at our local gym and also will be taking a Total Trampoline Class and a few others at the gym.   In the winter months, they all snow ski as well.   We will continue our morning bike rides when weather permits!

We will also be using OSMO in our school this year. Have you heard of it? No, then check it out!  Right now you can pre-order for 1/2 price!  click on THIS LINK:   

This is a pic from Molly when we started soccer years ago. Daddy is always a coach of one of the teams. It's not only a great way to get out and learn team sports, but it gets me out and about and talking with the moms and dads.

The rest:  From Fractions to Phonics to Pharaohs and everything in between.....we use different workbooks, living books and the world!  We travel often and will continue to use the internet for research.    Reading is a must each day for each child.  Other than that, wherever the day takes us, we will welcome it! 

Don't forget to enter the Book Giveaway - we would love to bless one home with these new  books from Scholastic.  To enter (easy) you can check out this post HERE

Until next time: Be Blessed!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Back to School Book Giveaway from The Joys of Home Educating

It's that time of year when homeschoolers are gearing up for a new school year. 

If you are like us, we really don't know when a school year ends and another begins as we school year round.   But I do love to have new books (and crayons) on the shelf for the kiddos to read.

We want to bless another homeschoolers with a great selection of NEW Scholastic Books
to start the year off. 

What you see pictured is what you get.  

These are for geared towards elementary grade level readers. 

Topics include:

Fun reading

It's easy to enter using the Rafflecopter below!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sorted Details: 

This giveaway is sponsored by me...the books are mine....they were purchased by me....they will be shipped by me!

I will only be shipping to US addresses only. 

This giveaway is in no way spoinsored by: Scholastic, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogger or Google. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good Bye July - HELLO August!

Time for our Monthly Recap - I can't believe another month (and a long one at that) is already history.  

We were busy!  

The children all needed new backpacks. They last time they had backpacks is when the Cars movie came out...LOL...they love them and have already used them for an overnight at Grammies.  

Crafting with our Kiwi Crates has been keeping our Art studies in motion.

I started exposing the children to School House Rock and I can't be happier to relive my childhood.  The tunes are still catchy and the children love them!  (say the cartoons are "old" looking...LOL)

Always lots of LEGO Learning happening. Molly made this Dragon the other morning.  

Shopping with the children is not always the best time...however, we had 1 excursion to the mall to find a suit coat for my son's upcoming wedding (even typing that makes me, so we stopped into the Disney store and Kermit happened to hop up on Z's shoulder. LOL

Getting my supplies ready for the upcoming school year!   (watch for pics of our newly downsized reorganized school room/area)

Zachary decided to make a "fish" using his TinkerToys. (one of the best presents he ever received)

The mall has a few rides...the kids were spinning out of control on the"tea cup" saucer on the carousel. 

Zachary turned 10 (sigh....double digits) on July 30th and we had a small family gathering - theme was Phineas and Ferb.  (printable song from THIS Etsy Shop)  

Some randomness...picked a lot of fresh wild raspberries from our own yard and made a few yummy treats.  Shown are some "blondies" with chocolate chips and berries.

I went a way for a few days to a spa for some R & R (more about that next week)

Had a gal pal over for some much needed girl time.  Love small intimate gatherings. 

July is one and done...August is PACKED with fun, camping and more...

This Friday - BOOK Giveaway!  Watch for it!

Until next time - be blessed!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Happy 10th Birthday Zachary!

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