Monday, April 27, 2015

Photo Writing Prompt Ideas for Homeschoolers

Pin It Now!

In our homeschool we do weekly writing prompts. I already wrote a post on 36 writing prompts - prompts we've personally used. If you've never incorporated writing prompts in your homeschool, I highly recommend viewing that post!

 A few months ago, I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of giving my kids a topic to write about, I decided to show them a picture to write about. It's been super fun, although somewhat more difficult on my part. Searching for interesting images for my kids to write about is far more challenging for me than coming up with a list of topics! And, good grief, it's so frustrating to see inappropriate images pull up when entering completely innocent words in the search bar. :( Ugh.

Tip: Change your safe search mode to strict. The default is moderate. I didn't see this handy dandy feature right above all the images until a few picture prompts ago.

10 Photo Writing Prompt Ideas

I wish with all my heart that I could share in this post the images we've used so far, but I don't want to break any copyright rules. So, I am just going to link to the images. I found all of our picture prompt images using the Bing search bar. (The pictures in my above graphic came from Pixabay, a great resource for free images that don't require attribution.)

Rules are simple:

* Show kids an image you've chosen (I started having my kids take turns picking a picture prompt from about 2-3 images. All kids write about the same picture. The next week a different kid gets to pick.)

* Give kids about 15-20 minutes to write about anything they want as long as it has something to do with the picture. Give a 2-5 minute warning for when time will be up, so they can wrap up their stories.

* Have kids read stories out loud. :)

Following are the picture prompts we've already used:

1. Haunted House

2. Guy Running with Ice Cream Cone in the Snow

(I was actually searching for "shiny objects in the snow" when I came across this image. I thought it was funny and figured my kids would have fun with this one! Looks like a death eater in the back ground.)

3. Hands on a Cliff

4. Guy and Banana Peel in the Middle of the Road

5. Deep, Dark Cave

6. Unicorn Bursting Through a Portal

7. Leprechaun Hat in a Field of Clover

8. Skeleton in Desert Holding Cell Phone

9. Candy House in the Woods

10. Castle in the Sky

My kids have really enjoyed photo writing prompts. Maybe yours will, too!

Linked to Hip Homeschool Hop, A Little Bird Told Me, Thoughtful Thursdays, Literacy Musing Mondays

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Find Out If Your Cleaning Products Pass or Fail the Safety Test

Pin It Now!

I learned about a website a couple of weeks ago when I attended my friend's Norwex Facebook party: EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

According to the website, it's an "online safety guide for household cleaning products, launched in 2012 to help people find safer products that fully disclose their ingredients and contain fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested. The database combines product ingredient lists gleaned from product labels, company websites and worker safety documents with information in more than 16 standard toxicity databases and extensive searches of peer-reviewed scientific literature. The database provides easy-to-navigate safety ratings for more than 2,000 cleaning products."

When I visited the website to see if my new Norwex cloths could be washed in my ALL Free and Clear laundry detergent, I was shocked to find that it received a big, fat F! I use All Free and Clear because I can't stand those chemical, flowery smells; they make my nose all itchy. I also choose ALL Free and Clear because it fits in my budget. I wasn't expecting an A or anything but an F? Wow.

So, since it is important for Norwex products to be washed in certain kinds of detergent (Norwex makes one, but it's pricey to me), I was hoping to be able to buy Seventh Generation Free and Clear powder detergent, which scored an A, on my next grocery shopping trip. Fry's didn't have it in the powder form, so I grabbed the liquid thinking it would be just as fine. Grrrr. EWG gave it a D. :(

I guess it's Amazon to the rescue!

Since my hubby's the one with Amazon Prime, I'm going to have him order this laundry powder for me ASAP! In about a week or so, I'll have quite a few more Norwex items to wash thanks to my hostess package and to all my friends who ordered from my Norwex Facebook party. :)

EWG works for me! Check it our for yourself to see what grade your cleaning products get.

Norwex works for me, too. Did you know you can purchase Norwex on Amazon? You can!

Never heard of Norwex? Feel free to watch the video below to find out more. YouTube has lots of other Norwex videos, too.

Linked to WFMW, Thoughtful Thursdays, The Art of Homemaking Mondays

Affiliate links contained in this post

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Is There a Positive Side to Experiencing Depression?

Pin It Now!

I hate depression. Most everything about depression is negative. However, for me there's a positive side, too. It's the perfect opportunity for me to humble myself before God and wait on Him, even when it seems too hard.

A few months ago when I was exerting every ounce of energy I had on going through the motions, I'd imagine myself waking up in the morning and parking myself in front of my window all day long. A window zombie. Lifeless, wasting my hours away watching about a 3 ft. by 3 ft. space of world go by.

I resisted the temptation, of course. I knew the real me, the one who loves her family deeply and desires to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel, didn't really want to spend her days that way. However, during my kids' rest time one day, I decided to "give in" to the temptation to wallow by the window. But only on one condition: I had to open up the Psalms and meditate on one.

I pulled my shabby, turquoise chair right up to my window, sat down, and then randomly opened up my Bible to somewhere in the middle thinking there was a pretty good chance I'd land on a Psalm. I did. Psalm 130. What seemed random to me at the moment wasn't really random at all. Is it ever with God?

Oh, this Psalm was like Burt's Bees lip balm to my dry, cracked, flaking soul. As I personalized this Psalm and meditated on it, I felt the fog lift a little. It was just so perfect for that particular moment in time. It's now my Scripture memory passage for the next few weeks. :)

During my window wallow, I not only spent time reading God's Word, but I also spent time gazing out my window at God's handiwork. I had the privilege of watching the usually picture-perfect-blue, desert sky thicken with clouds, and I breathed in deep the rare aroma of rain-to-be. I listened to Earth's peaceful chorus of rustling leaves, chirping birds, whistling wind, tinkling wind chimes, buzzing saw, and humming motors from Queen Creek traffic and savored the feel of cool, gentle breezes on my skin. Gentle breezes turned to steady wind, and the sky finally spit a few specks of rain on my roof and windowpane. By the end of my time at the window, the clouds were drifting away revealing the sun's radiant glow once again.

God's gift.

 My "wallow" turned out to be such a sweet time of restoration and rejuvenation. I didn't leave my window fully liberated from the effects of depression, but I felt comforted by my heavenly Father. I felt loved not abandoned. He planted a seed of joy in my heart and encouraged me to keep waiting, to keep seeking, to keep believing, and to keep following - and all this under the banner of humility.

If you ever find yourself in the "depths of despair" as Anne Shirley would say, by all means take time to sit by a window and quiet yourself before the LORD. Sit and bask in His presence and meditate on His Word. And wait. Wait for the One who loves you beyond your wildest dreams to heal your brokenness, whatever it may be.

". . . but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength."  ~Isaiah 40:31

Linked to Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Thoughtful Thursdays, Inspire Me Monday

Monday, April 06, 2015

James and the Giant Peach Activities and Resources

Pin It Now!

Books for pleasure reading? No problem. Books for school reading? Bleh.

I don't know about you, but finding books for "school" that my kids actually enjoy reading on their own can be a bit tricky. My fourth grade daughter's been especially picky lately when it comes to school literature. (She can't get enough of these books - Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 6: The Complete First Series (Warriors: The Prophecies Begin), though, and devours them during her free time!)

Anyway, I recently decided to go with a Roald Dahl book, the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and she LIKED it. Yay! Since then, she's happily read James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr. Fox. My daughter answered Charlie and the Chocolate Factory questions that I found online, and currently, she's in the middle of writing a book report for Fantastic Mr. Fox. But for James and the Giant Peach, we went all out. :)

What We Did for James and the Giant Peach

Comprehension questions: I found this FREE James and the Giant Peach Reading Comprehension Activity Guide from Teachers Pay Teachers. It's a little over 20 pages and contains a variety of questions, charts, and spaces for creative drawings. My daughter even had to create a word search, and guess who had to find the words? Me. She thought that was fun. :) A great free resource that comes with an answer key!

Activity: I came up with this simple giant peach craft which was inspired by our 3-D Autumn Art.

Supplies Needed:
  • Paper bag (Link for how to make the bag)
  • Construction paper for the base of the project (The tree will be glued down to this.)
  • Styrofoam ball (We chose a size that was about 1/2 as tall as our tree.)
  • Craft paint (We just got the cheap Apple Barrel brand from Wal-Mart in apricot and tropic orange.)
  • Green paper for the leaf
  • Stick for the stem
  • Plastic insects (We found a small bag at Wal-Mart in the Easter section of all places.)
  • Sticker letters or marker for writing the title of the book on the construction paper

Paint the Styrofoam ball and let dry. Make the paper bag tree following the above link. Glue the tree to the construction paper. Write the title of the book using sticker letters or a marker. Assemble the rest of the supplies as you wish. My daughter chose not to glue down the peach or the insects because she wanted to be able to move them around.

*Tip: Foam brushes do not work on Styrofoam. ;)

Food Fun: For this, I decided to go with simple: Store bought peach pie, peach cobbler ice cream, and one of my favorite fun drinks, Tazo giant peach tea. We ate our peach food while watching the James and the Giant Peach movie. The boys and I didn't like the movie when we watched it years ago, but my daughter wanted to give it a try. She finally gave up about 1/2 way through. The food was still yummy, though!

Other James and the Giant Peach Resources from the Web


Coloring Page

Construction Paper Crafts


James and the Giant Peach Book Companion: A Mega Resource Pack (Not free)

Peach Recipes That Look Yummy

Easy Peach Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Peach Crisp Cookie Cups

Peach Cobbler

Peach Streusel Muffins

Other Peach Recipes & Peeling and Freezing Tips

Products on Amazon:

Linked to WFMW, Hip Homeschool Hop, The Homeschool Link-up, Thoughtful Thursdays, Literacy Musing Mondays

Affiliate links included in this post.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Essential Oils for Everyday Use: Soap Dispenser

Pin It Now!

Tip #6: Add essential oils to your soap dispenser. I usually can't afford to buy all-natural, super-expensive liquid soap, so whenever I refill our soap dispensers, I try to remember to add a few drops of an oil of my choice. This past time, I chose lavender.
I love lavender because it smells light and fresh and is pretty gentle as far as essential oils go. Even though it's gentle, it's one of the few oils (according to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health — Beauty — a Safe Home Environment) that has all 4 of the following properties: antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal. Great oil in my opinion!
Anyway, after adding a few drops of oil to the soap (I like to use clear), I stir, swirl, and shake to evenly disperse the oil. The soap appears a little cloudy after this, but the cloudiness eventually goes away.
Linked to WFMW

* affiliate link included in this post


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...