Archive for May, 2017

Week in the Life (Master of Illusion)

May 12, 2017

Well, after a few weeks of doing exercises to help realign my neck and spine, I am beginning to feel better. So, in honor of this small victory, how about a couple of book reviews.

*Mama’s reads*

It is kind of funny really, not to the girls so much, while reading Seize the Story with them, just how much my current reads get discussed. When talking about voice, or writers style, I can’t help myself. There are SO many wonderful examples to choose from.

I ended up ditching: Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen. It probably is a good story and all, however I just couldn’t get into it. It basically starts with the main protagonist returning home to find out her boyfriend has completely packed up all his belongings and disappears as if never existing. There could be some surprising plot twist as to why. Maybe, because of an unreliable point of view. Either way, I couldn’t relate to the protagonist enough to stick around to find out and the pacing was incredibly slow for my taste. If you can’t hook me within the first 10 chapters, I’m done.

I can’t say the same about: One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline. It starts out with the reader knowing our main protagonist is not who everyone thinks he is. This novel was a bit different from what I would generally read. I don’t even know what made me put it on my “to be read” list. I am glad I did though. This is my first novel by this author, and I can’t wait to pick up more by her. Was this the best novel ever written? No. It did hold my interest though and I quickly became invested in the characters. That makes it a winner in my opinion. If I had to pick one thing that makes this novel stand out from all the other thrillers on the self, it is the way the author writes relationships. They feel very realistic. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Next I read: The Widow by Fiona Barton. This too was a bit different from most psychological thrillers I’ve read. Not so much because of the subject, which by the way is a tough one (pedophilia), but because we get to read from the wife of the accused’s point of view. We get an inside view of how quick someone’s life can be turned upside down by other people’s choices and how judgmental, we as a society can be. Like The Woman Next Door, this novel isn’t so much of a “thriller” but instead falls more in line with the psychological. I thought the pacing was just enough to move the plot along. I did find myself at times not wanting to pick it up to read, which could be because of the subject matter, but once I did, it was hard to put down. 4 out of 5 stars.

I am reading: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon and am already more than halfway through ( I started it yesterday). If I don’t finish it tonight, I will over the weekend for sure. Even though this isn’t the best story I’ve read by her, her writing is so hypnotic that it sucks me right into the story. She has a way of developing likable characters in a very short time. She reminds me of a young Stephen King; and like King, McMahon is one author I will always choose to read.


Garden update


Our Irises and Peonies are beginning to bloom. It has been nice having fresh flowers in the house.





Language Arts

World Literature


We finished: Comet in Moominland. I am glad we picked this one up. I have chosen to finish this series over summer school. I like to pick books a little more fun to read over the summer that we normally wouldn’t have time for during the year.

We are still reading the Kalevala.


The girls copied the first half of the poem: Nocturne by Eino Leino.



Vocabulary words:

nocturne, Corncrake (that was met with all kinds of “ahs” ), rye, dale


Grammar/ Spelling

Sentence a Day

Mad Libs


Creative Writing

Reading: Seize the Story (chapter 5, The Heart of A Writer), 10 minutes of freewriting .



Both girls warmed up with XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky: Algebra 1, solving linear equation worksheets from She is ready to move on to solving  2 variable equations.





Reading: Basher Microbiology.

Watched: Growing Lambs in Plastic Bags-SciShow- YouTube. This video launched a great discussion.

*Maybe, a Small Tangent*

Bill Nye “Saves the World” has been getting lots of negative feedback in the homeschooling community as to not being a television show for children. The show carries a TV-14 rating, which tells me it wasn’t intended for young children to begin with. As I stated last week, I think a lot of the problem with the show is that it’s not long enough, however that is all beside the point. If the show is not for you, I get it.

Our family had lots and lots of great discussions from the show, not all of them resulting in positive agreement. (I disagree with Nye’s GMO opinions and agree with the man that said we don’t need them to “feed the world”. I also understand, that unless there is scientific proof that has been tested, retested, getting the same results, with those results then becoming fact, a lot of science is opinions. I’m scientifically literate and shop at farmers markets, small business economics 😉 )

One member of this family is a vegetarian and both girls are against animal cruelty, even if it is in the “name of science”. My girls are also 11 and 16 years old, not children and know what they are capable of watching more than I do. When they were younger, I hid their eyes from violent scenes until they started knocking my hand away. I knew Little Sis hated watching animals hunt each other and I would never make her watch. I support my children’s right to form their own opinions. Even those that don’t always agree with mine. I know my children, and follow what is best for them.

A lot of what I write here, might not be a good fit for your family. Only you would know that. This, is our homeschooling journey.

*End of longer tangent than I thought. 🙂


Getting back to science, ahem.

We also watched: Crash Course Animal Cells.

Biology: Cell Structure- Nucleus Medical Media- YouTube

The girls did their first lab to go along with this study. We made an animal cell pizza.




Instructions @:




We watched:

Lindisfarne- An Age Born in Fire- Extra History from Extra Credits-YouTube


Flag Friday- Estonia

Researching Estonia

Let’s Talk to an Estonian – all from Geography Now YouTube.



We watched: Crash Course Film History – George Melies -Master of Illusion- YouTube.

Since on the subject of illusions, we made thaumatropes.




You can find some great examples of ideas on YouTube.



We walked around the block.


The Arts


Sky has been drawing up a storm.


I meant to take more pictures. (Note to self.)

Little Sis had her last cheerleading practice before state competition this weekend. If her team places, they move on to nationals. I think I am more nervous than she is.

Wishing all the Mamas out there a happy mother’s day.

Peace for the journey.


Week(s) In The Life (Nordic Moominvalley Cool)

May 6, 2017

For starters, I want to mention Little Sis’s team made it to state competition (Yay!). Her team has been busy working hard on their routine. If they place at state, they move on to Nationals.

As for an update on my pinched nerve, it has not healed 100 percent yet. Which is making it a bit hard for me to sit and type for certain periods of time. So, as for now my posts they will just contain my homeschooling notes from the week. Hopefully, I can resume writing more detailed posts once I have fully healed.


Garden Update

Our strawberries are beginning to bloom (they are 3 times the size of last year)


as well as our garlic. Papa has tilled the garden and we are ready to plant after mother’s day.



Week 1

Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting

We discussed and The girls copied the first 2 stanzas of the poem: The Great Trouble by Harry Martinson.




We finished East of the Sun and West of the Moon.


Vocabulary/ Grammar/ Spelling

Word: evangel

A Sentence A Day


Mad Libs


Creative Writing:

We finished chapter 4: Setting, from Seize the Story.

The girls worked on writing their setting with 10 minutes of free writing everyday.



Warming up with XtraMath

Little Sis: Fractions and Decimal workbook.

Sky: Watched Solving Equations podcasts 1-3 with Mr. Karaba- YouTube

She practiced solving simple linear equations algebra worksheets from




Watched: we binged watched: Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix.

The only thing I really want to write about this show, because I have seen it getting lots of bad reviews in my homeschooling groups, is that my only complaint is that the show is not long enough. I have been a fan of StarTalk radio before Neil DeGrasse Tyson starred in Cosmos, and got his own show. His show is an hour long, giving plenty of time for discussing controversial topics. This in my opinion is why it works so well. I am hoping Netflix will make the show longer. Other than that, it lead to great jumping off points for many great discussions.

Oh, and the girls have jumped on the slime bandwagon.


It all started with a simple stocking stuffer of Aaron’s Thinking Putty that I thought would be fun. It turned into a new obsession.


Reading: Basher Microbiology



Walks around the block and Yoga Walk




We watched: The Vikings, Hip Hughes -YouTube

Crash Course: Vikings -YouTube

360 Viking Battle National Geographic -YouTube

The girls made notes for their timeline binder.




We watched: Crash Course episode 2: The First Camera.

The Great Dictator: The End of Silence from Brows Held High -YouTube

So, I want to write briefly that the girls have been raised with film history. They have been watching Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy since they were little.

We also did a brief study into vaudeville when we read: The American Girl: Rebecca series (and their mama being a George Burns and Gracie Allen fan). The girls understand the science behind the pinhole camera and how it was first invented by Mozi from watching Cosmos.

They know Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle, The Perils of Pauline, Mary Pickford, and we’ve watched the movie: A Trip to the Moon. So, there is no need for us to go over any of this again, but it might be informative to note if anyone else would be interested in this course.



The Arts

We watched: A viking voyage made from paper, National Geographic -YouTube.


We made Thumper from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.




Week 2


Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwrting

The girls finished copying: The Great Trouble by Harry Martinson.




(Little Sis)


We started reading: Comet in Moominland and The Kalevala.



Sentence of the Day

Mad Libs


Creative Writing

We started chapter 5: The Heart of a Writer from Seize the Story.

The girls are working on finding their voice while free writing 10 minutes a day.



Warming up at XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky: Continued working on simplifying linear equations algebra worksheets from



We watched:

March for Science- SciShow- YouTube

Reading: May issue of Science in the News A-Z.



Reading: Basher Microbiology.


Do You Own Your Cells -BrainCraft- YouTube

Slime Mold Time Lapse BBC One- YouTube



We Watched: Allergies SciShow Kids -YouTube



Yoga Walk and the girls had homeschool gym.





European/ Geography

We learned all about Finland. The girls filled in the country on their blank map of Europe.

We watched:

Rick Steves’ Europe Helsinki and Estonia video-YouTube.

Geography Now Finland, Finland Flag Friday, and visiting Finland and Estonia-YouTube.

We listened to a few of my favorite Finland bands that the girls are already familiar with. Nightwish, Tarja Turunen, and Within Temptation.



We watched: Crash Course episode 3: The Lumiere Brothers.


The Arts


We made Moomin from Kids Mirror- YouTube.



Extracurricular activities:

Little Sis had cheerleading practice and Sky had equestrian lessons.


Peace for the journey.