This Month's Featured Resources...

Ten Days of RoadschoolingTeaching Kids About HerbsLego St. Patricks Day Mardi Gras

Tuesday, March 31

Make Me Smile (Chicago)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Laugh It Up


Laughing has some pretty amazing effects, which can last up to 45 minutes after the giggling is over...
  • decreases pain
  • relaxes muscles
  • boosts immune system
  • strengthens heart
  • reduces stress
  • releases endorphins
  • exercises abdominal muscles
  • improves circulation
  • helps us live in the moment 
 Laughter trumps stress every time.  Pencil some fun into your schedule, whether it's a comedy club date night, a funny movie, or just reading jokes with your kids!

Take it to the Next Level

If you're already the family comedienne, bring laughter to others!  You might even try some comedy at an improv class.

Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)


Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Many people think South Dakota is the home of the badlands but in reality, they can be found in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and several other western states. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the home of beautiful scenery from canyons to grasslands, with the Little Missouri River flowing through it.  The park entrance is right outside of the tiny city of Medora. A rather cute western city that has preserved its history over the years.

This is the Maltese Cross Cabin where Theodore Roosevelt lived when he came out for his hunting trips.  If I remember correctly, the writing desk in the middle and the trunk (not pictured) are the only original items to Theodore Roosevelt in the cabin.
In the park are many small herds of wild horses. And these little guys were all over the place in the Prairie dog towns throughout the park. We waited patiently for this one to stand up...
 
 We got to see the aftermath of a horse and bison knock down drag out. We saw this young stallion limping and saw the gaping wound on his leg.  After we drove past the horse, the bully bison went running after him again. Yep, I was hanging out of the truck window so I could get this picture.
 


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Lori is a Georgia Peach transplanted to the Southeastern corner of Montana. She shares about faith, family and homemaking at Frog's Lilypad.

Monday, March 30

It's NOT Greek to Me! : A Review of Greek Morphemes Lessons

Ready to Teach Review
Being a history-loving family, we are all about some classical languages here at Gypsy Road.  We have been studying Latin, alongside the children, for two years now, but recently had the chance to review Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek to Me!), by Ready to Teach.  
We set aside our Latin studies for a few weeks, and focused solely on Greek.  I was afraid that trying to teach both at the same time would get a little confusing, but turned out to be pleasantly surprised.  By the end of a few weeks, they had a better understanding of both Latin and Greek and were able to 'decode' the big words in their literature and science books!
Ready to Teach Review
We received a student workbook, instructor's manual, cd-rom with powerpoint lessons, and a usb stick with powerpoint lessons.  The publisher will soon be using only the usb stick, but you'll be able to request a cd-rom if that is your preferred media.  I really liked how the program uses different modalities for teaching.  We orally went over the weekly words, and then visually followed the powerpoint lesson as they broke each word into its roots.  Each lesson had a self-review at the end for feedback.  Also included on the digital materials were color-coded transparencies that help to reinforce note-taking skills and allow the student to kinesthetically  experience each word as he wrote it down.

We had an issue with the PowerPoint that we received, but contacted the publisher and it was amended within three days.  They were very nice and easy to deal with!
The Instructor's Manual is broken down so that each lesson encompasses a week, or five mini-lessons.  These include taking notes, breaking down words, using contextual clues to determine word meaning, creating your own words, and self-assessment.  At the back of the book is a set of perforated flash cards for each of the morphemes in the book.
Our family's personal favorite section of each lesson was the "create your own words" part -- we tended to get silly very quickly!  BUT they remembered the word roots, because they were using them to create their own silly words.  And let's face it - silly can be a great tool for getting information into the long-term memory!
The Student Book follows the same format as the Instructor's Manual, but with room for note-taking and actually writing down the exercises.  It is simple, yet effective, and I found that even my youngest child (early elementary age) was responding well to the exercises.
Each day, we did one part of the lesson (part one on Monday, part two on Tuesday, etc).  We only used the PowerPoint twice each week, but it was enough to visually reinforce the lessons for my children.  On Fridays, we played silly games and tested ourselves on the roots.  It was a great surprise to see exactly how much was retained!

I would definitely recommend this product for middle and high schoolers, particularly ones that are studying vocabulary words for the SAT or ACT.  It's a great program for getting those roots into long-term memory.

Want to try a sample lesson of Greek Morphemes Lessons?

Positive Points :
  • Multiple modalities reinforce lessons (aural, visual, kinesthetic)
  • Both paper-based and computer-based lessons
  • Fantastic vocabulary aid, even for young children
  • Good customer service from the company
  • Easy to follow format for the instructor
Negative Points :
  • Can be repetitive, but that's what the student needs
  • Flash cards are tiny
Koru Naturals Review
See what others are saying about Greek Morphemes Lessons over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Crew Disclaimer



Friday, March 27

Feel Like a Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin)

One of our resolutions this year was to try and move toward more natural products...detergents, beauty products, food, etc.  Every small change that we can make will eventually add up to large benefits.  Today, I want to share some of the small beauty product changes that we made, and what we thought of the changes.

The three companies featured here are home-based businesses that strive to make quality, luxury toiletries without the harsh chemicals that fill so many of our drugstore shelves.  They use pure ingredients and transparent labeling, and the products are safe & easy to order through Etsy stores.  The prices are very affordable, especially for the quality of the natural ingredients.  I hope that you'll consider making a switch to some of these natural products!

Our most commonly used beauty products were lotion, body spray, soap, bath soak, and sugar scrub - so these are the products that we wanted to replace first.  One of these stores is providing a great discount for readers....you're going to have to read the post to find the goodies!!

Lotion / Cream

The Lilac Meadows Whipped Shea Cream from My Body Utopia has a great pick-me-up scent for this gloomy time of year. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of shea cream, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and lilac fragrance. Their motto is : "Ahhh, simple ingredients you can pronouce!"

I used this for the first time after a bath, and found that it left my skin feeling soft and silky, but without that greasy feeling that so many moisturizers leave. It smelled wonderful, and was relaxing just before bedtime. One thing that I liked about this product was that it came cellophane wrapped, so I knew that it hadn't been tampered with, and it would be a good option for gift-giving in the future.

You can pick up this, or any of their other scented creams, at the My Body Utopia store.

Body Spray & Room Spray

The Harmony Natural Stress Relief Room & Linen Spray from God's Garden Products is the perfect blend of spicy and calm, to restore inner balance during times of stress. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of ylang ylang, sweet orange, vanilla and patchouli essential oils. The packaging is simple and attractive, and these products would be perfect for gift-giving!

While the scent couldn't get my kids to stop bickering, it did help with 'dragon time,' as my husband calls it.  It's a very light scent, not overpowering, but effective at creating a calm space.

The Four Thieves All Purpose Spray, also from God's Garden Products, makes a good surface disinfectant and antiviral hand spray. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of a proprietary blend of essential oils.

I love the spicy, yet comforting, scent of this spray.  It stands on it's scent alone!  But what makes this spray unique are it's antiviral and antibacterial properties derived from the oils used.  We used it during a time of sickness, and it helped open up sinuses, and seemed to shorten the duration of illness by a little bit.

You can pick up these sprays, or any of her wide variety of products, at the God's Garden Products store. Use code WHW15 to take 15% off your entire order. Thanks, Mignon!!

Bar Soap

The Kitchen Clean Hands Soap from My Body Utopia is tough on germs, yet gentle on skin. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of lye, water, palm kernal oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, castor oil, lemon, and tea tree essential oil. Their motto is : "Ahhh, simple ingredients you can pronouce!"

This stuff works wonders!! Typically, after hand-mincing garlic and onions for dinner, i can still smell them the next morning, even after scrubbing -- but this soap took the smell right away. I'm thinking our next bar will be the Fish-Be-Gone soap, since we use cook so much fish around here.

It should be noted that My Body Utopia also sells cute crocheted hats, homemade deodorant, and homemade toothpaste.

Bath Soak

The Lavender & Chamomile Relaxing Bath Soak from God's Garden Products is perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of epson salt and essential oils (lavender, chamomile, and rose absolute). The packaging is simple and attractive, and these products would be perfect for gift-giving!

Just a little bit goes a long way for a great pre-bedtime bath or a long soak with a good book.  The lavender scent isn't overpowering, and the chamomile and epsom salt both help with achy legs after a distance run or just a long day.

You can pick up the soak, or any of her wide variety of products, at the God's Garden Products store. Use code WHW15 to take 15% off your entire order. Thanks, Mignon!!


Sugar Scrub (we tried two different kinds, for different scents)

Peppermint Sugar 

The Peppermint Sugar Scrub from Meg's Magnificent Mixes is tough on germs, yet gentle on skin. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of coconut oil, sugar, food coloring, candy canes, and peppermint essential oil.

This worked well to lightly exfoliate the skin, without leaving a greasy film or granules behind in the tub. The scrub was especially nice when we were all sickly, as the peppermint scent helped to open up sinuses without being too overpowering. Also, it should be noted that the shabby chic packaging is very cute.

Meg hosts monthly product giveaways on her Facebook page. Join in - you might be the lucky winner next month!

You can pick up this, or any of her other sugar scrubs, at the MMM Etsy store.

Juniper Rosemary


The Juniper Rosemary Dead Sea Salt Scrub from God's Garden Products is an invigorating natural body scrub. When you order the product, is it then handmade out of Dead Sea salt, epsom salt, almond & grapeseed oils, and essential oils (juniper, berry, rosemary, and eucalyptus).

The scent of this one was a little bit much for me right now, BUT I loved how Christmas-y it was. I will definitely be setting this one aside until winter, when it will be perfect for holiday mood-enhancing. It didn't leave any sort of film or granules in the tub, and worked well to exfoliate. This would be a great morning scrub, since it was fairly invigorating!

You can pick up the scrub, or any of her wide variety of products, at the God's Garden Products store. Use code WHW15 to take 15% off your entire order. Thanks, Mignon!!

Closing

Even if you don't use these particular products, I encourage you to explore your options for chemical-free, natural beauty products. Your skin is your body's largest organ.....do you really want to continually open yourself up to ingesting a daily chemical cocktail in the name of beauty???

Thursday, March 26

Grease (Frankie Valli)

Togas, philosophers, and gyros....oh my!  We've thoroughly explored (at an elementary level) the topic of Ancient Greece, and here are my favorite resources from this unit.  Use these websites, printables, crafts, and recipes to do your own hands-on study of this exciting period in history!

Resources

Crafts

Recipes


Tuesday, March 24

Toxic (Britney Spears)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Green Your Cleaning Supplies

Many household cleaners on the market are full of toxic chemicals that can be harmful to the health of your family.  They contain ingredients linked to asthma, cancer, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, and reproductive toxicity.

Many companies today are touting their products as green, but unless you read the ingredients, you won't know if that's the truth.  Check out this list...

Take it to the Next Level

Ensure that you're getting natural cleaning products by making your own.  Using a few simple ingredients, you can easily make your household cleaning supplies.