Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kwik Stix Painting beats all!- Review

Let's just lay it all on the table now.  I am not a lover of art.  Well, I love looking at art, but the actual doing it, now that is a whole different thing.  Especially when it comes to paint.  It is messy.  And drippy. And never dries.  And did I mention, messy?  Trust me, I was a preschool teacher once upon a time, I know these things. Thanks, but no thanks!

Not only have I have now seen the light, but I also can't wait to tell you about Kwik Stix Solid Tempura Paints from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  We received the Kwik Stix 12 pk., as well as the Neons 6 pk. and Metallix 6 pks. to review and man, are we having fun!

Kwik Stix paints are solid tempera paints.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Solid.  Think an oversized tube of chapstick.  As a mater of fact, that is exactly what my son said it felt like he was painting with.  You just pop the cap off, twist up the stick, and paint away.  The paint dries in about 90 seconds and there are no drips and no messes.  Bonus- no brushes, smocks, or water is required either. Genius, right?

The sticks are big enough for little hands to use, and, because they are non-toxic, I would not hesitate to let younger children use them.  Think VBS, co-op classes, preschoolers, etc.  The parents will thank you and the kids will love you!

So how did we use these paints?

Signs, projects, and just for fun right here at home!

Our first try was our welcome home sign for Dad!  In the past, similar welcome home signs have taken much time and energy.  Because the paint sticks are on the larger size, this sign took no time and it was much easier to color in the letters.

And yes, mom played with the paints as well.  Talented, I know!

My son's favorite set is the Metallix 6 pk.  He immediately decided they were perfect for space drawings and drew a planet scape.  Perfect timing, as our church VBS theme this summer is about space.

Yes, that is a lot of black!  It makes me cringe just to think about the mess that we would have had if we had used regular paints. We did not even use a mat under this painting because there is just no mess involved!

One of the other things I love about these solid tempera paints is their vibrant colors.  They go one thick without being sticky and show up well.  Despite the more "roll on" application, they still feel and look like any other tempura paint.

Because The Pencil Grip, Inc. is such a great company, they also included one of their famous The Pencil Grip Originals in our box of fun. These soft little grips that fit on pens and pencils help children learn to correctly hold their pencil and helps prevent bad habits we often form when learning to write. While it feels uncomfortable for me to use, my youngest son likes using them a lot!  There are several different kinds designed for specific grip issues your child may have.  They will also send you a chart of correct and incorrect handwriting positions with your order of a grip to help you learn to use them.

So, yes, my feeling have somewhat changed about messy art.  Thankfully, Kwik Stix has taken the mess out of painting and I am a happy mom and a BIG fan!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Some days...

This is all I've got for you...

We are working hard to catch up on some school subjects these days.  Dad's deployment and our move set us back a bit, and though we school year round, we are usually finishing up grade levels by now.  Slow and steady...

At least the sun is out and the warm temperatures are back!

Have a blessed week,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Craziness of Life

When my mom made plans to come out and visit us she said she wanted to just live our life.  You know, be here and just participate in whatever we do in our normal life.

Ha! Normal?  Not around here, that's for sure.

I do not know where these past two weeks have gone, but I know she has gotten to participate.

Military picnic.
Smoothie dates.
Lunches out.
Co op.
Riley's play- twice.
Dinner's out.
Movie with friends.
Feeding friends.
Schooling the boys.
Movie nights.
Old friends' visit.
More shopping!
Riley's voice performance.
And yesterday a tornado in Omaha that had our kids stuck in a church hall way for 20 minutes.

Never a dull moment.

The time has flown and as always we are sad to see her go!

Here's hoping we can get her to move here eventually.

THANK YOU mom for spending time with us and putting up with our craziness!  We love you!


Monday, April 25, 2016

YWAM - C.S. Lewis Book Review

YWAM Publishing has long been a favorite in our house for finding good books when it comes to people in history.  We own quite a few!  But their equally as popular Christian Heroes series is new to us.  When the opportunity came up to review Christian Heroes- Then and Now, C.S. Lewis, Master Story Teller, by Janet and Geoff Benge, I knew it would be a good fit for us.  After all, three of my kids are C.S. Lewis crazy people.  In a nice way, of course!  We were also given the chance to use the C.S. Lewis Digital Unit Study Guide as part of this review.

C. S. Lewis. You know him, right?  Literature teacher.  Author of over 30 books.  Christian writer who believed that the story of Jesus Christ was the "truest of all stories."  
This 180 page paperback book tells his story.  Written for kids ages 10 and up and containing 17 chapters, it is a fairly easy read, but filled with fun facts and exciting stories.

How have we used this book?
For sheer pleasure reading, of course!  My 14 year old son eagerly agreed to be the first to read it. More like ran off with it before anyone else could claim it!  Because we added it to his daily Bible time, he was assigned to read one chapter a day.  Getting him to agree to that schedule was difficult, and I think in the end he cheated and finished it with several chapters in one sitting.  Every day following his reading he would join me in the school area to tell me about what he read.  Not because I asked him to, but because he couldn't wait to share what he had learned.

Things like-
  • C.S. Lewis spent his early childhood in Ireland.
  • He met his wife through letter writing, and eventually married her to keep her from being deported, though they eventually fell in love.
  • Despite what you have heard, he had a precarious friendship with JRR Tolkien.  

It was fun to see him get so excited about what he read!  One of the things that we liked the most is that one of the stories he had heard about C.S. Lewis was also in this book, but with much more detail.  THAT I am not giving away so you will have to read it for yourself!  He has since passed the book on to his 18 year old sister and she is now reading it, with our 22 year old next in line.  

As far as the Digital Unit Study goes, because we were using this as an additional Bible assignment, we did the study loosely, much of it orally together.  Each chapter has 6 questions for review.  The first question is vocabulary related, then a fact question about the text read, 2 comprehension questions, and finally two open ended questions for opinions.  The first three questions are geared for younger students, while the next three require a little higher understanding. In hindsight, especially for an older child, I will have them do any other study guides on their own in a notebook, to be graded.

Also included in the study guides are applicable Bible verses, essay questions, creative writing assignments, hands on project ideas, and audio/visual projects, as well as art ideas. If you want to explore even deeper, there are community links, social studies notes, and even reproducibles!  They are so complete that they could easily be incorporated into unit studies. 
With 35 additional Christian Heroes books, many with study guide available, I am confident you will be able to find one that fits your school course work, or just tickles your fancy!  We have already made a list of the ones we want to read next, with Nate Saint in the lead.  Who would you choose?

Our Review Crew reviewed many other titles, including some from the Heroes of History series, so make sure you pop over and take a look!

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Updates and Plans

I love my little house.

Honestly, it is not at all what I thought we would end up in and yet, every day I find something else about it that I just love.

But I also moved in knowing that there were some changes I wanted to make.

Like the kids' bathroom.  It was original to the house, so at 15 years old it was a tad outdated.  Since we knew we could make a big difference with just a few minor changes that is where we started this past week.  Hubby having a week off was super helpful.

Here are a few before picture-

Lovely, huh?

We removed the stock builder's mirror and replaced it with two I found at Bed, Bath and Beyond-

  Took off the counter top and painted the wood cabinets black-

Reinstalled the old cabinet top, but replaced the sink fixtures-

Painted the walls a crisp white

Hung the two towel racks next to each other

Added new light fixtures-

And a few final touches!


I love it!  Can you tell? ;)

Another thing we have done is transform our front porch with back patio areas soon to come. Both were clean slates, so it was a lot of fun.  The only change left is painting the front door.  I love the wood, but again, it is 15 years old and quite weather worn.  Thinking about black, but if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

Here is the before-
And the afters-

There are little trees in the pots now.  Guess I need a picture of that!

Still several projects left, but remember what my hubby says, Rome was not built in a day!

Yes, dear!