Friday, September 24, 2010

Horses, Okapis, and Gnus... Oh My!


Gnu Calf
 Schleich. That one word, in our family, is enough. Long time fans of Schleich animals, we were thrilled to get to do a review for this product. Once the kids heard we would be receiving Schleich figurines, they started a wish list! When the package was received and torn into opened I had to hunt down the animals to be sure I knew what we had received because they had already been divided up. We received the 8 animals pictured in throughout this post.

Indian Elephant Calf

Not every animal we own is a Schleich animal. That is why I know that Schleich makes the best animals and figurines. The detail is fantastic, the quality impressive, and the variety amazing! When Schleich makes a horse, it isn’t just any horse; it is a specific breed of horse, with correct coloring and markings.


Przewalski's Horse

As an example of the detail in these animals, I took a snapshot of one of my parent’s donkeys. Tahoe is a bit grayer than the Schleich donkey, but other markings are similar and the way he holds his ears is the same.

I took some photos of our Schleich animals the day we received them and thought the Gnu looked very protective of its baby.

In addition to the Schleich we received for this review, we own a Nativity set and a number of other animals including a family of deer, a family of zebras, a fox, rabbit ,a hedgehog, an owl…


We do not use these in a school-type setting, but they are a fabulous learning tool. As the kids played with these, they asked lots of questions. We talked about where these animals would live in the wild and which we have seen at the zoo. Maggie wondered what sound an Okapi might make and we discovered it was in the giraffe family, not the deer family as we first thought. We discussed the differences between African, Asian, and Indian Elephants.

None of the questions were structured or planned. As the kids played these things just came up in conversation. This is the kind of learning that sticks!

Swabian-Hall Pig

Dartmoor Pony

Schleich figurines are widely available; we find them at farm and ranch stores, school supply or science stores and some toy stores. Use the store locator at the Schleich website to find a retailer near you or online. These toys are unbelievably durable and very much worth their price.

Oh, and Schleich also has knights, dinosaurs, vehicles, fairies, and Smurfs – something for every child or collector!

Check out the other TOS Homeschool Bloggers reviews for Schleich here.


**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Copied Color Wheel

I found this idea on a fellow homeschoolers blog and thought the little boys would have fun with it. My Two Happy Homeschoolers is doing an entire color related lapbook that is going to be so neat!

This was such a fun, hands on way to introduce the primary colors and blend them to create secondary colors. We pulled six clear glasses out of the cabinet, filled them with water, and placed them on a white cloth. FRitW and MT got to add drops of red, yellow, or blue food coloring to three of the glasses and stir to see the color produced. (Hint: less color is better)

We talked about how these were the primary colors and that combinations of the primary colors make the secondary colors.

Then I let the boys take turns pouring one color and then another into the empty cups and watch to see what happened. FRitW has played with lots of paints and markers and crayons, so he anticipated the secondary colors, but MT was amazed!

After all of the colors had been mixed I drew six circles on white paper and they ran to their school boxes to get markers. I was very surprised at how well MT did recreating a color wheel on his paper – once he understood what was expected he colored the circles in exactly the same order as the cups on the table.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salem Ridge Press

Today’s review is of Salem Ridge Press, a publishing company with a mission to reprint quality children’s books from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.

I was delighted to receive three of their books to enjoy with my family. We received Soldier Fritz and The Enemies He Fought in a softcover edition and Mary Jane – Her Visit and American Twins of the Revolution each as an e-book. I very much enjoyed the old fashioned tone of the stories and the wholesome values each book embraced.

Soldier Fritz and The Enemies He Fought is set in Germany during the time of Martin Luther.

Mary Jane – Her Visit is such a sweet story and a wonderful read aloud book.

American Twins of the Revolution is a based on a true story from the American Revolution.

I found the soft cover edition I received to be sturdy and strong. I feel it will hold up well to repeated readings (it’s been read three times so far and still looks brand new!). In both the soft cover volume and the e-books, I noticed that the publisher had included definitions of rarely used words. The type was comfortably large and clear and illustrations appear to come from the original printings of the books. The quality of the books is superb. For more information about the publishing quality please read "About Our Books" on the website.

If you are looking for a book to supplement a specific time period or geographical location Salem Ridge Press has listed their books by date and location as well as by author and age range. They carry several books related to church history as well.

You may purchase through their website or choose “Other Sellers” to see which online dealers or brick and mortar stores carry Salem Ridge Press books.

To read reviews of Salem Ridge Press by other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew, please click here!


**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The Handbook of Nature Study blog challenged families to get out and look for signs of autumn. Fall starts September 22nd at 10:09 pm (CST). I admit that I was skeptical. With temperatures still in the mid to upper 90’s I did not expect to see many of the signs the blog mentioned.

We headed out with a camera and the list featured on Handbook of Nature Study blog. We found:

Leaves changing color and falling from the trees

Birds eating at the feeder



Beautiful clouds and a nice breeze

Lots of animal and insect tracks

Beauty Berry


A Frisky Fireflame!

The temperatures are definitely cooling off and we had a nice afternoon rain today. Fall is coming!


Monday, September 20, 2010


I love to have my children join me in the kitchen. All of them have helped with the cooking from the time they were big enough to stand in a chair. When FRitW and MT came home from Papa & Mimi’s house with 5 eggs each I knew we would have to cook something special. MT’s eggs became supper. We scrambled them and served them in Breakfast Burritos. But FRitW had big plans for his 5 eggs. His eggs were going to be made into cookies.

We decided on Snickerdoodles. I was thankful that he chose an actual recipe, because he often wants to make up his own. I pulled out the trusty, falling apart, family recipe book and read the ingredients so he could get them out. MT must have heard the measuring spoons jingle or something, because he appeared – ready to help.

FRitW cracked all of his own eggs – the recipe only calls for two, but these were banty eggs and a brand new laying hen, so they were tiny! All five went in the bowl. Both boys helped add ingredients and MT stirred the dough while FRitW mixed the cinnamon sugar.

By this time Maggie had joined us in the kitchen, and then Kirk wandered in. Soon we had an assembly line. I rolled the dough into balls while MT placed three at a time into the cinnamon sugar bowl. FRitW turned them in the sugar under Maggie’s supervision and she handed them to Kirk, who placed them in neat rows on the pan. Could it have been done more efficiently with far less tasting? Well sure, but what fun is that?

Fresh homemade cookies were dessert for Mimi, Aunt, and cousins when they came for lunch. Those Snickerdoodles tasted especially good because of the homegrown eggs!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sunday

I am joining Mama Manuscript again for Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sunday. This week was very busy and we did several crafty things, but today I will share our biggest project.

Maggie is beginning her second year of Irish Step Dance with a HUGE performance. The class will be performing at our County Fair for the Senior Day. Senior Day has a huge turnout every year and they will be performing before hundreds of people. One of the moms commented how nice it would be to have the girls wear matching costumes. Here is the last performance of last year's class:

That's Maggie in the center of the girls with their back to the camera
 Although the girls all looked nice and performed very well, you can see in the picture that they have various skirt styles. So while the girls practiced, the moms planned. One mom volunteered to make skirts for each girl. The skirts are so pretty - I'll get pictures up after the performance! But the advanced girls had matching embroidered skirts from a previous class and we wanted to have something to identify the girls as a class.

Embroidered fabric waiting to be cut into sashes
 This is where my craft for the week comes in. My mom and I have worked hard this week making sashes to attach to the skirts. It took a while to make samples and decide on a design, but this is the final result for the class sash:

Their class colors are black, purple, and white.
There is one special dance called the Trinity Reel that only three dancers perform. The teachers thought it would be nice to have a separate sash for those 3 dancers to wear, so they will change to this sash for the Trinity Reel:

Please join Mama Manuscripts for Stitching, Sketching, Scrapping Sundays next week!