Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Homeschooling at the Zoo - and a FREE DOWNLOAD!

We love heading to the zoo for a field trip!

*Fun for all ages
*Offers abundant learning opportunities
*Each experience is unique
*Purchasing an annual membership makes it an affordable option for large families

You can easily alter the experience to teach various grade levels and subjects.  Here are just a few ideas to help you brainstorm how to make your field trip to the zoo a memorable, enjoyable, and educational event.

Geography: Classify animals by native continents.  Study the habitats.  You can also practice your map reading skills if the zoo offers a map.

History: How were the animals used by humans throughout the ages? Meat? Clothing? Transportation? Tools? Weapons?

Science: Study and classify the animals.  How is each animal uniquely designed?  Where does the animal fall into the food chain? What kind of habitat does the animal live in and why?  We love The Complete Zoo Adventure: A Field Trip in a Book by Gary and Mary Parker.

Math: Graph your observations. Calculate how many pounds of food different animals would consume in a year.  Calculate how long it would take a particular animal to travel 1 mile.  For younger children, play "I Spy" with different colors, shapes, or patterns.

Phonics, Reading, and Writing: There are plenty of opportunities to read signs around the zoo or play "I Spy" a letter.  Find an animal that begins or ends with a particular letter.  We love to increase our vocabulary with flashcards from PBS Cubed, and pull out a few new cards before each trip to the zoo.  Do a word search or cross word puzzle.  Write down five new facts you learned.  Observe an animal and see how many adjectives you can come up with to describe the animal. Bring a journal and do some creative writing, such as "If I were a tiger..." or "Lost in Africa". 

Art - Sketch, draw, or paint an animal or habitat. 

Grab your free "I Spy" and "Monkey Observation" activity sheets below!

Turn the Monkey Observation into a long term project by comparing behavior in different seasons/weather, different times of day, or between different species of monkeys.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bath Salt Ornaments

Bless your friends and family with a relaxing bath.  These make wonderful Christmas presents for teachers, coaches, or others who work hard to serve your family throughout the year.  They can be used as stocking stuffers.
Quick. Simple. Beautiful.
Mix 2 cups Epsom Salts, 1/2 cup Baking Soda, and 5 drops of Young Living essential oils (Lavender or Peace & Calming are my favorite!) .  Use a funnel to add it to a large ornament*.
To use, simply remove the top and add the desired amount (anywhere from 1/2 cup to the full 2 cups) to the bath.  Relax and Enjoy!
Learn more about  Young Living Essential Oils!

*I recommend plastic ornaments for these bath salts to protect against breakage and glass in your bath.  Essential oils should never be mixed or stored in plastic when intended for consumption.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Perfect Homemade Teacher's Gift in 1 Minute or Less!

Looking for an awesome teacher's gift?  You have come to the right place!

Even though we are a homeschooling family, we are blessed with a wonderful co-op and a bunch of wonderful ladies who pour into the lives of our children.  I wanted to give back to them a bit this Christmas.  So I decided to help make their Christmas merry and bright with some Happiness Spray.  I find this aroma absolutely heavenly and love to wear it as a perfume.

Between our five children I needed gifts for 12 different teachers, so I wanted an elegant, homemade gift, that was quick and easy to make.  Happiness Spray can be whipped up in one minute or less!

Gather your supplies.
Labels (I used Rollerball Mood but you can make your own)

Add 3 drops of each essential oil to the spray bottle, top with purified water, and add label.  
Congrats, you're done!  If only teaching were so easy!


Be sure to check out my Young Living Gift Guide for more ideas for everyone you know!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Young Living Gift Guide

All I want for Christmas is more Young Living products!

Want to really win your hubby over this Christmas?  Wrap some Shutran up with some bedroom coupons or a weekend getaway for just the two of you!

Want to win your wife over?  Buy some flowers and tea candles to decorate the bathroom and offer to watch the kids while you draw her a bath!

Our kids flipped when they saw these diffusers at the Young Living convention, and they cannot wait to get them in their bedroom.  Stuff their stockings with some play dinosaurs or bracelets (the clam shell on the Dolphin Reef is meant to store jewelry) to let their imagination run wild.

Fill empty baby food jars with pre-measured scoops of the Pure Protein Complete and gift in a basket with the Shaker Bottle.

Buy an apron with a pocket and tuck the bottle of essential oil in it before wrapping.  Taste of Italy is just one of many different oils you could choose.  Lemon, Lime, Jade Lemon, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Basil, and Ginger are just a few others.

I like to make a gift basket with some Zyng and Bath Salt; something to help them keep up through this busy season, but also to have some much needed and well-deserved relaxation time.

Here's a cost saving tip: Turn one bottle of Orange Blossom into several gifts.  Place 2 TBSPs Orange Blossom Face Wash into a foaming bottle and fill the rest with purified water to creating a Foaming Facial Wash that makes a wonderful, cost-effective gift.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Paper Christmas Tree: Small Book Edition

Don't have a phone book? A paperback book will work, and you can try this alternative technique for a slightly different finished look. I think we used Reader's Digest books as a kid.

To start, find a paperback book (mine was 150 pages) and rip off the front and back cover.

Fold top right corner down to spine, and then bottom right corner up.

Fold page in to spine again.

Repeat until your done!

You can decorate if you like. We went to Hobby Lobby yesterday to get some spray paint, glitter, tinsel, mini lights, and charms (to glue on as ornaments).

Have fun!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Paper Christmas Tree

Wondering what to do with all those phone books (or any unwanted book) stacked in your closet? Turn them into Christmas trees - a fun, beautiful, easy Christmas decoration or gift.

To start, you'll need a paperback book with the covers torn off.

Repeat the process for every page. You can use a large binder clip to help you hold back finished pages. Here is one our daughter finished for her Grandma for her birthday.

When you are done you may spray paint and decorate.  Here is one that our daughter made for her piano teacher as a recital gift.  

Check out this how-to video our daughters made!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sight Words Christmas Tree: A Multi-Sensory Learning Experience

Why Incorporate Olfactory Sense into Learning?
I encourage you, if you do not already, to begin incorporating essential oils into your homeschool classroom (and if your children go to school outside of the home, use essential oils with homework and studying).  The Out-Of-Sync Child Has Fun explains, "smell plays an important part in establishing and reviving memories.  When we smell something, the olfactory stimulus zips directly to an ancient structure in our brain, the limbic system, without taking a detour.  (Other senses send information to the brain through more circuitous routes)."  Higley's Reference Guide for Essential Oils states, "The limbic system includes structures such as the hippocampus (long-term memory), the amygdala (emotions), the hypothalamus (autonomic nervous system and hormones), and the cingulate gyrus (regulates blood pressure, heart rate, and attention).  It is due to the fact that the olfactory system is so closely connected to the limbic system that essential oils have such profound physiological and psychological effects."  Smelling certain scents may improve memory and attention (i.e. peppermint), while smelling other scents may help a child relax (i.e. lavender).  As you incorporate more senses into learning, memory, attention, and association increases. 

Christmas Tree Painting and Sight Words
Here is an example of a multisensory lesson for preschool and early-elementary aged students.  You can easily alter this activity for older students.
To prepare, mix:
 5 drops of an "earthy" essential oil
2 tsps. salt (for texture)
1/2 cup green paint 
I used Sandalwood EO because it is the most "earthy" smelling oil we have. Other choices may be Frankincense, Cedar, Cypress, Fir, Pine, Spruce, Evergreen Essence, Christmas Spirit, or 3 Wise Men. 
Have the children paint a tree.  Discuss the way the paint smells.  Ask them if it reminds them of anything.  Talk about a time you went for a walk thru the woods (or maybe talk about last Christmas if you had a live tree in your house).  What did you see?  What did you hear?

You can continue onto the next part of the lesson later that day (when the paint dries) or the following day.  To prepare, write letters or words onto multi-colored paper ornaments.  For our older daughter (Kindergarten), I used the words on her vocabulary list for December.  If using words, hold up the ornaments one at a time and give your child a chance to read the word.  Help him/her if you need to.  Repeat the word a few times and then have the child glue it onto the tree.  While he/she is gluing, talk about the way the object the word represents smells, looks, feels, and/or tastes.  Compare and contrast that to the way the tree smells, looks, and feels.  After the child has glued the word ornament onto the tree, point to it and repeat the word one more time before moving onto the next word.

The Out-Of-Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.
Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mount Magazine: Just keep on moving... just keep on grooving!

Our family decided to have some Oola Fun and Oola Family time and took the RV to Mount Magazine State Park in Arkansas.

By the time we had finished winding our way up the steep mountain road it was pitch black outside and we found ourselves lost.  We drove in circles for some time but could not find the campground or where to check in.  A park ranger finally flagged us down and escorted us to our site.  He mentioned to check in at the Visitor Center before 10am the following morning.  No big deal, I thought...

At 9:45am, while my husband cooked breakfast, our daughters (ages 5 and 6) and I headed out in search of the Visitor Center, with them on their bikes and me on foot.  We had already hooked the water, electric, and sewer up to the camper and figured this would be easier than disconnecting.  Besides, how far could the visitor center possibly be?  A nice couple pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way...

After twenty minutes of winding back down the mountain I'm beginning to think walking/biking was a bad idea!  Cell phone was sketchy, but I tried to keep in touch with my husband via text message. "Walking for 20 minutes and no visitor center in sight."  "We just keep going going down, down, down."  We later discovered that it was over 2 miles to visitor center!  That would have been fine if we just had to go down, but after registering we had to turn around and go back UP UP UP!!!

 I honestly was not sure we were going to make it.  I was already sore from the walk/run down the mountain trying to keep up with our girls (flip flops were probably not the best choice!).  There had been a water fountain at the visitor center, but other than that we had no water with us.  And I knew our girls would need to push their bikes up most of the 2 mile trek back up the mountain.

At that point I had a choice.  I could whine and complain (which I really wanted too!) but I knew our girls were watching me!  If I could not motivate myself and keep a positive attitude, there would definitely be no way we would make it.  Besides, this was supposed to be a weekend of Oola Fun!  I thought of Kyle Maynard's motivational talk a few weeks prior.  This guy is a quadruple amputee and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!!!  His mantra was "Not dead, don't quit".  Surely if he could accomplish such a feat, we could make it just 2 miles up a mountain!  So, I said a quick prayer, put on a smile, and started singing a silly tune as we made our way slowly but surely.

"Just keep on moving,
          Just keep on grooving,
                    We're not gonna stop,
                                 We're not gonna quit,
                                             We're gonna make it,
                                                          Just keep on moving,
                                                                       Just keep on grooving..."

And on and on we sang and sure enough, we made it!  By the time we got back breakfast was long over, I had blisters on the bottom of my feet, and our little girls were exhausted!  But we had laughed, we had overcome, and we were full of joy.

What's more important, is that our girls learned a valuable lesson that day.  I'm sure they are going to be faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in their lifetime.  There will be times in life they will probably want to complain and even quit.  It is my prayer that when those times come they will remember their hope comes from the Lord and that they will choose JOY!

Some of you may be reading this and thinking "That's nothing, you should see the mountainous trials I'm facing".  I want to encourage you to look up and turn your eyes upon Jesus for your source of strength, comfort, and hope.  Do what it takes to choose joy, even if it means singing a silly song!

"A joyful heart is good medicine..." ~Proverbs 17:22

Caldera Chicken Curry

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

'Twas the Night Before School - Winding Down with Essential Oils

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of transitioning back to school is re-establishing an early bedtime routine.

 "A good night's sleep is linked to better performance by schoolchildren in math and languages -- subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success, according to a study. The researchers reported that "sleep efficiency" is associated with higher academic performance in those key subjects" ("All in a Good Night's Sleep: How Quality of Sleep Impacts Academic Performance in Children"  - Published in Science Daily).

We have found Essential Oils to be the perfect addition to our bedtime routine.  Here are our top 3 Bedtime Essential Oils:

1.  Lavender
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a sweet, floral aroma that is soothing and refreshing; perfect for relaxing and winding down before bedtime.  Add to bath or diffuse to create a calming and comforting atmosphere.

2.  Cedarwood
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) essential oil's woodsy, warm, balsamic aroma can be added to your favorite skin care prodcuts and applied topically (perfect for a bedtime massage).  The essentail oil contains sesquiterpines and its powerful scent creates a relaxing, calming, and comforting atmosphere when diffused.

3.  Peace and Calming
Peace & Calming is a gentle, fragrant blend of Tangerine, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Patchoui, and Blue Tansy essential oils with an aroma that's comforting and freshens the air.  Diffuse to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere throughout the home.  Peace & Calming is a must have for every household, especially those with young children.  Alternatively, you can use Peace & Calming II for the gentle aroma of Tangerine, Orange, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, German Chamomile, Vetiver, Cistus, Bergamot, Cassia, Davana, and Young Living's exclusive Northern Lights Black Spruce Essential Oils.

For more on creating a successful bedtime routine, check out Young Living's Snooze Routine:

Want to know more about Young Living Essential Oils? Contact me!