Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie Day!

Well....we are officially done with school for 2008. To help launch our 2 weeks of Christmas vacation, we had cookie day today! Some might think I am nuts, but I thought it would be fun to let the girls do their own cookies this year. I have already made a double batch of cookies for the cookie exchange and they were eager to get in on the action.

So, today was the day! I made a big batch of buttermilk Christmas cookies and split it three ways. They rolled, cut, baked (with some assistance from me for this step only), frosted and decorated a TON of cookies all on their own! I let them know their cookies are THEIR cookies. They can keep them, share them or give them....whatever they would like to do!

I cannot tell you how excited they were for today and how proud they were with their little works of art! I like to consider days like today my Christmas gifts to them. They will remember them because I remember the same kind of days with my family!

Enjoy the next couple of days before Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Old Schoolhouse Magazine Archives Page

This is a great link to keep handy. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine archives page has something for everyone! Check it out if you want a little refresher in the midst of winter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas is coming...

I always feel better after the first measurable snow of the year. I love the snow. So, now that we have had some snow, I have made some cookies and we are nearly done with our schoolwork.....Christmas is coming!

One of my favorite Christmas memories is pulling into the driveway of my Grandma and Grandpa's home in Casper, WY. They had a big picture window and we would just watch all the big snow flakes come down! They are now both in heaven and I miss them terribly, but this time of year always reminds me of all the Christmas celebrations at their home!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Moms Night Out Christmas Cookie Exchange

This is pretty adventurous for our group, but I think it will be fun and festive!! Please give it a try. We are a forgiving group and will love YOU and YOUR COOKIES TOO!

Come spend a fun and festive night out with other homeschool Moms! Sample delicious home-baked treats and end the party with a large batch of assorted holiday cookies to take home!

What: Mom’s Night Out
What will we be doing: Christmas Cookie Exchange
Where: Mary Hughes Home (Northwest of 180th and Center)
When: Friday, Dec. 12th 6:30pm
What to bring: 4-6 dozen of one type of cookie (we will eat some there and each person will be able to take home a nice selection to their family). See guidelines for a cookie exchange listed below.

RSVP by Tuesday, Dec. you can get to baking!

Guidelines for a cookie exchange
All cookies must be homemade
Please bring 4-6 dozen cookies (the variation is due to the fact that some cookies are more time intensive. You are more than welcome to bring MORE than 4 dozen…please!)
Theme is Christmas cookies – no chocolate chip unless they are really different
Avoid no bake cookies
Arrange your cookies in a basket or platter…be creative (I know….but you can do it!)
Bring a large container to carry away your cookies…remember, you’ll be able to take a bunch home to your family!
Bring a copy of your recipe
If you don’t have time to bake, feel free to buy some from a real bakery!

Bake your cookies at least 2-3 days in advance. The biggest reason for not coming is you don’t have time to bake them. This means don’t bake them on FRIDAY!!! Another reason to do it early is that it gives them time to “dry out” a bit. A freshly baked cookie is not a good cookie to take somewhere.

This Mom’s night out will take a little bit of effort and it will be worthwhile!

Ideas for cookies:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monthly Meeting Reminder

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday weekend! We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day in Auburn with over 100 people from the Darling Family (Jason's side). Then on Friday we cooked a 20+ pound turkey for dinner here as well as watched the AWESOME Husker game!

We have a monthly meeting THIS Friday. Hope you can make it!

Friday, December 5th
KNIGHTS Monthly Meeting – 2:30 to 4:00pm Gretna Community Church. We are having a Lego robotic demonstration, large group PE activity and free gym time. We will practice push ups and shuttle runs for the presidential fitness test.
*Please bring: water bottles for the kids! Bring one curriculum item you have been wanting to share with the group. We should have time to do it this month!

Some things to keep in mind for December:
· Friday, Dec. 5th – 4-H Science (for those who are enrolled)
· Friday, Dec. 12th – Presidential Fitness Training Session (for those who are participating)
· No Field Trip Scheduled for December
· Mom’s Night Out is a Cookie Exchange - Friday, Dec. 12th looks like it will work for most.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Joslyn Art Museum Trunk Rental

Did you know that the Joslyn Art Museum has trunks they check out on loan to educators and community groups? I totally forgot about this until late last night when I was thinking about our project for the week. We are studying Ancient Civilizations and it just came to me that they had this program! Feel free to check it out at their website. They have a little directory of what they have in each trunk

Here is a description from their website:
Outreach Trunks
Joslyn's Outreach Trunks are multidisciplinary education resources designed to strengthen students' appreciation of art. They are excellent stand-alone materials for use in the classroom, and can also help teachers prepare for or follow-up their visit to Joslyn Art Museum. Trunks can be used with any grade level unless otherwise noted.
Trunks are available for loan to schools and community groups at no charge, and can include materials such as:
Teacher guides with lesson plans
Hands-on objects
Poster reproductions
Classroom activities
Videos and DVDs
CDs of images
In addition, we are proud to offer two new Outreach Trunks designed specifically for students with special needs. We have also included Braille and large print descriptive labels for all hands-on objects in the trunks.
Please note that Joslyn will ship trunks via UPS to teachers outside of the Omaha metro area. Teachers within the Omaha area are to pick up and return the trunks to Joslyn Art Museum.
For more information please call (402)342-3300 or click here to email Joslyn's outreach staff.

Other trunks are also available through the Nebraska Humanities Council. They have 4 cultural encounter kits available.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Baktoberfest was a success!

Baktoberfest was a success! I thought we would share some pictures!

Shelby had a teddy bear party!

Sierra had a horse party!

Savannah had a pottery party!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rotella Bakery

November Field Trip to Rotella Bakery
6949 S. 108th St.
LaVista, NE
2:30pm – 3:30pm
RSVP Required * Cost is FREE!
Plan to arrive a few minutes early and enter through the retail store. We will take a tour through their new facility and plant. We will see 3 different mixers that can hold up to 1600 lbs of dough, ovens, cooling conveyers and bread lines.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adoremus Sale

You might not have realized it, but we have a great store in town that carries homeschool materials. The store name is Adoremus and it is located on 84th street, just south of center near the Shopko (in the old Baker's building). They have a sale going on right now and are offering 20% off the ENTIRE store...including homeschool material! This is a great sale. Check them out and enjoy the savings!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fun at home!

Well, we had a fun few days with the girls, the weather and the election. Most political races came out the way we had hoped. The girls got involved and learned they could help impact local races! (Yeah for Scott Price!) It was so fun to see them actually recognize the candidates names scrolling at the bottom of the television. The pictures proudly show our efforts with the leaves and our first lapbook! YEAH!

Monday, November 3, 2008


The beauty of homeschooling is flexibility. We all hear it, we all have seen examples of it, but do you really practice it? Many of us take advantage of the ability to let our children get their needed sleep or choosing curriculum, but I am talking about sometimes just taking a day to enjoy your kids, your family and what is going on in the world at this point in time. We have chosen to do that the next couple of days.

This election is a very important time in our life! Our kids will be 4 years older the next time we have a Presidential election! We have decided to spend some time today and tomorrow just focusing on the election and what exactly is going on in our country. It may seem strange, but I am excited about doing this! I have always loved politics and government and what a great time to share that with my kids!

So, try not to be so tied down to your curriculum or your plan. Work and study hard with your kids so you are able to take a few days off of your normal schedule to do those special things that your kids will remember!

Here is a great lapbook to get you started:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LOVE Pandora!

One of our new favorite "techy" things is! If you haven't heard of it or checked it out, you should! It is a new kind of online radio created by the Music Genome Project. You can read about the project on their site. Basically, they have identified certain traits or sounds in music and created playlists that "fit" your style. You can further customize it as you listen to your customized playlists. Very fun!!!! My oldest enjoys the bluegrass!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Win some...lose some?!?!

As some of you know, we were kind of bummed out about our most recent field trip. For those of you who attended, I aplogize it wasn't as good as it could have been. The kids did seem to enjoy their part of it, however, the moms were a little disappointed and felt it missed the mark somewhat. While we were left feeling a little frustrated, we were also reminded why exactly that we homeschool.

We homeschool so that we can: answer any question our kids throw at us, take our time...even on our busiest day, let our kids touch and feel anything in their surroundings (including logs!), let our kids run and jump on anything in the outdoors (including more logs), let our kids participate together, have fun with the boundaries that are appropriate for our family, challenge our younger kids to levels we feel they can handle, make decisions about our kids education, and have fun!

So, on your next hike in the outdoors, take the ENTIRE family along. Take your time, touch the outdoors, collect things, answer questions and enjoy one another at a slow, casual pace!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Presidential Fitness Challenge

The first session is THIS coming Friday, October 24th from 2:30-4:00pm. Please email me your child’s name and age if you are interested in doing this with the Gretna KNIGHTS. The training sessions following this session will be scheduled with the participants’ schedule in mind. Cost of the sessions are listed below…it is a GREAT deal! You basically get 8 sessions and the test for $35 per child!

If for some reason, you are interested but have a conflict on the 24th, please also email me.

Any homeschooler between the ages of 6-18 can join us!

Presidential Fitness Challenge

The Gretna KNIGHTS are participating in the Presidential Physical Fitness Test this year. The program encourages students to make staying active a part of their everyday life. We are partnering with Fast Forward Fitness to do this as they are a qualified instructor! It is going to be a very fun activity and each child will feel a sense of accomplishment! Anyone is welcome to join us! Our goal is to have at least 50 kids between the ages of 6-18. If we do this, we can get a State Champion Award!

The plan is to have 8 sessions with the Fast Forward staff and then participate in the testing in April. The first session will be a benchmark type of test for the kids. The remaining 7 sessions will be training and conditioning sessions where the staff will work with our kids on the components. The final step is the actual fitness test in late April.

Fast Forward is willing to do it for $25 for the 8 training sessions plus $10 for the test, for a total of $35 per child. This is a GREAT deal! We will space the sessions out over the coming months.

For more information , a “Get Fit” handbook is available at this website:

Our 1st session will be Friday, October 24th from 2:30-4pm at Fast Forward Fitness. The address is 13405 I Circle. It is located on the North West side of 132nd and Industrial in a business park. All kids are welcome to attend, however, only children age 6 and older are able to participate in the actual test in April.

If you would like more information about Fast Forward, their website link is listed below. The owners are great to work with and are very excited to be working with homeschoolers!

Please email me and let me know if you are interested in participating!

The State Champion Award is given to one school in each of three categories with the highest percentage of children earning the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Winners receive free special awards for the students who earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award as well as a certificate for the school. You must have at least 50 students in order to be eligible. If your home school is part of a co-op that has 50 or more students combined, you can enter as one home school using your results.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Please Vote!

Election day is just 15 days away! Please vote! There is a great website for information in Nebraska. Please take the time to read about what is going to be on the ballot in your state, county, district and city! It is VERY important that your voice be heard!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gifford Farm

October Field Trip - October 17, 2008
Gifford Farms
*RSVP Required by Tuesday, October 14th *
$5 per child or adult. Bring check or cash the day of the field trip.

Feel free to come have lunch at 12:30 or 1pm at the picnic tables(before the field trip)!

Prek-1st grade Seedlings/Outdoor nature
2-3rd grade Saplings/Outdoor nature
4+ grade Friends of Discovery ProgramPlease email me the child’s name and grade level

When: Friday, October 17th 1:30pm-3:30 (you can plan to have lunch there before the field trip)

Where: GIFFORD FARM 700 Camp Gifford Road Bellevue. NE 68005

Gifford Farm Education Center provides educational programs to area youth and the community, serving over 25,000 visitors annually. A working farm, this multifaceted education area has more than 400 acres of farmstead, pastures, crop land, woodlands and a small pond. Located along the Missouri River bottom just outside of Bellevue, NE, it is surrounded by 1,200 acres of woodlands known as Gifford Point, which has over 5 miles of river front.

How much: $5 per child or parent

Virtual tour (really good for little ones!):

What we are doing:
We will have 2 to 3 groups of kids going on a tour, depending on the number of kids participating.
Prek-K and 1st-3rd : Woods program (Seedlings and/or Saplings & outdoor nature classroom)
3rd or 4th and up: Friends of Discovery program

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We are now in the midst of Baketoberfest (a term recently coined from a close friend)! It is a holiday time in our household that you may or may not know about. You see, we have all three girls' birthdays within a one month time frame! We have lots of parties, lots of cake and lots of celebrating! Jason usually tries to kick in a BBQ festivity in there as well! YIKES!

This year we thought it would be fun to take a school holiday (not even doing grammar or math!) on their birthdays! It seems to be a hit with the kids! It is almost 10am, they are in their pajamas and still watching cartoons....a kid's dream come true!

Enjoy your October and remember to have LOTS of fun when celebrating your birthdays!

Monday, October 6, 2008

School House Rocks new favorite thing is the new School House Rocks Anniversary DVD! This thing is just great and Amazon is selling it for only $14.99! There are over 50 songs on this 2 DVD set! We have had a lot of fun watching and singing along with the DVD! We are studying prepositions and so we went to the preposition song! The girls favorite is the Number 3 song and I'm just a Bill! There is a new song about the Electoral College, which help explain the election process! Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

On Leave

This past week has been pretty crazy for us with Jason's Dad in the hospital. He is on the mend and will be home soon. Sorry for not posting much!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Presidential Fitness Test

Hereis a great link for the Presidential Fitness Test we are practicing for this year....

Monday, September 22, 2008

One on one time

We will be starting week five of our school year this week...already?!?! It is such a cliche, but time is passing very quickly. So far, the school year is going well. I eased up on some of my scheduling, lightened our load with a little less activities, and tried spending more one on one time with each of my girls.

We have been starting our school day by reviewing their assignments and what the schedule looks like for the day (which seems to really help my middle child...she likes to know what to expect!). After our morning huddle, we do our one on one time, which has been really fun. A good friend of mine shared how she spent her mornings with her kids (Thanks Mary) and I thought it was worth a try! She spends one on one time with each of her kids in the am...sometimes it might be one hour, other times it might just be 30 minutes. Either way, the kids seem to really LOVE this idea! I rotate who starts out the one and one time and they are curiously excited to be with just me! They get to pick what we work on together. Sometimes it is grammar, sometimes it is math and sometimes it is a game with just the two of us! When they are not in their one on one time, they are doing work that can be done independently (and yes, even my 5 1/2 year old can work on her own for a while!)

If you have more than 2 kids and you haven't tried the one on one time, I would highly recommend it! It has been a fun way to change up our school schedule this year!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lauritzen Gardens

We have a field trip Friday!

Friday, September 19th – Lauritzen Gardens
RSVP Required by Wednesday, September 17th

We will gather outside Lauritzen Gardens at 1:45 to collect payment and get organized. The tour starts at 2pm, so please be on time. If you would like to come early, you could check out the locomotives and even have lunch up by the locomotives (that area is free).

Come take a one hour guided tour of the garden and then play in the Kid Structure Outdoor Exhibit. The gardens are open until 5pm, so you can stay as long as you like. It is located close to Henry Doorly Zoo. You take the same exit, however, it is on the North side of the interstate and east of 10th Street. The signs will direct you to the “Botanical Gardens”.

Kids $3 (kids under 6 are free!)
Adults $7
*Please bring exact payment the day of the field trip.

Imaginative KidStructure exhibit to run through October 5, 2008

A Project of the Lauritzen Gardens Guild

Never before has a garden visit spurred such whimsy, magic and fascination for children. KidStructure, an outdoor exhibit of structures custom-designed by area architects and contractors, will ignite the imagination of all who experience these creative structures for the young and young-at-heart.

KidStructure stretches the definition of traditional playhouse design. These unique and adventurous structures will encourage interactive learning, garden exploration and, most importantly, imagination!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Star Gazing

Nebraska Star Gazing Party
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is hosting the Stargazing 2008 parties. May 9th, June 13, July 11, August 8 and September 19, join the Omaha Astronomical Society and Prairie Astronomy club and view the spectacular sky using the powerful telescopes! Stargazing begins at the golf driving range from dusk to 11 pm. Weather Permitting. Don't forget to join the 15th Annual Nebraska Star Party at Merritt Reervoir, near Valentine, NE at the Snake River camp ground. It starts July 27 and goes to August 1. A Park Entry Permit is required. Contact: Administration OfficeContact Phone: 402-944-2523 , ext 7122 Contact Email:

Thursday, September 11, 2008


What is it about Thursdays, November and February? I get tired when all of them come around. It just seems tougher to keep the normal rountine going! After nearly 3 weeks of school, I get tempted to slack off or get distracted and not complete my housework or our schoolwork. What is that all about? I know we have worked hard all week (or all year) and everyone is pretty tired. I know the weekend is right around the corner. I also know I should just push through it and I am ALWAYS bummed out when I do actually let myself slack off! In a proactive measure, I have scheduled lighter school days on Friday. So, today...I will not slack off! I will keep on track and do my chores and the school work we've scheduled! I will look forward to our lightly scheduled Friday! Hope you have a great Thursday!


If you have kids that don't remember 9/11, here are a few websites that may help.

Here is a neat prayer:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Barbie Mummification

As some of you may know, we are doing Story of the World - Volume I for history this year. We are studying Ancient Times and the book recommends we mummify a chicken. While the thought of that is intriguing, I found some links for mummifying a barbie instead. This link is to one of the best ones, especially with the cool pyramid! We'll let you know how it goes!

Here is another one...same idea

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's this caterpillar

Jason found this site and it is really cool! This is the season for caterpillars and this is a great resource for identification of the most common furry things our kids love to bring in the house!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Homeschool T-shirts

I was thinking of getting some of these for the girls (the “homeschool girl” one). If you want to go in on an order, let me know!

T-shirts are $5.99. Shipping is 0.75 cents. If we order 10 or more the group name can be added to the back of the shirt for $1.50. If we order 26 or more it can be added for $1.
They also have tote bags and other things.

Here is a link that takes you to the shirts they have:

Let me know and I would be happy to put together an order, but it has to be by end of day on Wednesday!

Shana B.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Husker Schedule

Our group toured Memorial Stadium last spring. Don't they look official at the press conference table?!?!? We are also BIG Husker fans in our house! Make sure you know when the games are by clicking on this link:

Friday, September 5, 2008

CoCo Key Homeschool Days

Feel free to take your homeschool family to CoCo Key and enjoy the water park at a great discount!

If you visit and enter the Store Name OMAHA HEN, you'll be taken to the homeschool discount. It's $8 per person on Tuesdays/Thursdays before 3pm, and then there's a smaller discount (20%?) the rest of the week. Or, you can buy tickets at the door by asking for the homeschool discount, but if you choose to do this, I'd recommend calling ahead to make sure that we have occupancy (really only a potential issue during public school vacation time).
Enjoy CoCo Key - they're glad to have homeschoolers back!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monthly Meeting Reminder

Gretna KNIGHTS Homeschool Group Monthly Meeting
This is a kid focused meeting so they can have some fun with other homeschooled kids! Moms come and have fun WITH your kids and the other Moms.

Gretna Community Church (the church next to the Speedee Mart on Hwy 31/6)
321 S. HWY 6 Gretna, NE 68028

Friday, September 5th from 2:30-4:00pm. Please be ON TIME! We are going to start the meetings promptly this year so we can all get home on time and make dinner! We will meet on the first Friday of the month from September until May.

What we’ll do this month:
1. Round Table Time – Introductions and birthday recognition. We’ll talk about what we are going to do this year as well (field trips, music concert, Mom’s nights, play dates, etc.)!
2. Show-n-tell – Please bring something from summer to share with a small group of other kids your age (from vacation, from family things, from school projects, from the creek, from the ER, etc.)
3. Presidential Fitness Preview – Daryl Kucera from Fast Forward will come visit with our group about some neat plans for the Presidential Fitness Challenge.
4. Free Gym Time

What to bring:
1. Bring ONE of your favorite curriculum finds this year…Only ONE thing! Please make sure it is labeled with your name. We’ll have them in one of the classrooms for you to browse through during the meeting. Feel free to ask questions!
2. Bring your calendars so we can set our 1st Mom’s Night Out!
Kids: Bring a water bottle and something for show-n-tell!

Just for Moms:
I’ll have some sign up sheets for some things this year. Please prayfully consider how you can help us out! We will have sign up sheets for you to:
· Host a Mom’s night out (ie: playing bunco, curriculum share, cookie exchange, wine/cheese/cracker night, game night, etc.).
· Lead a large group PE activity during our monthly meeting once during the year (you pick which one…Oct, Dec, Jan, Feb, Apr)
· Lead a craft activity in November or February
· Someone to help out with helping the kids do some short plays for the year?!?!?!?

We would like to work on communication skills this year with the kids, so you will start to see something small every month that will help them become more confident with speaking in a group setting! Please start to talk to them about this and introduce this concept. We know every child is different and each child’s comfort level varies, however, everyone has expressed an interest in spending time on this skill!

I look forward to starting the year off! Please call or email me if you have ANY questions! Don’t forget to check out the new blog site! There is lots of info on the site, including a calendar of activities!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September Events

Grab your calendar and mark down these dates. More details are on the google calendar at the botoom of the page.
  • Friday, September 5th - 2:30pm KNIGHTS Meeting
  • Friday, September 19th - 2pm Lauritzen Gardens KID Structure Field Trip
  • Friday, September 26th - GO (General Outing) Day at Omaha Children's Museum
  • Tuesday, September 30th - Vala's Pumpkin Patch Homeschool Day
  • Wednesdays all month - 2:30pm - Gretna Girls PE Activities (Softball & Tennis)
  • TBD - Mom's Night Out (Game night)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good and Muddy

We had a great time at our mud stomp down in the creek at the at Gretna 4-H Camp! We hiked a little bit, climbed down to the creek bottom and then got really, really muddy! Twenty-three brave kids came and stomped through the muddy creek! What a fun mess we had!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Grandparents Day

Don't forget...Grandparents Day is coming up on Sunday, September 7th! Mark your calendars and make sure to mail something soon (how about a drawing from your kids?!?!) or call them on September 7th!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Worksheet Generator

I love cool things that make my life easier and THIS is one of them. It is a worksheet generator. You type in the questions and it prints out a worksheet...Very clean and neat looking!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Thank you Darla for sharing a great new website! Check out! You tell it what ingredients you have in your cupboard and it gives you a recipe! How cool is that ! ENJOY!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mud Stomp Updates

The mud stomp has been moved to 1pm due to cooler mornings. Come to the 4-H center at 1pm for some muddy fun!

Ice Cream Social

Thank you to everyone who came and contributed with the ice cream social! We had 78 people there! What a great turn out! What a fun time! I hope you all got to visit with old friends and even meet some new friends while you enjoyed your yummy ice cream treats!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back to School for the Bakers

We start back to school next Monday. I love getting back to school! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE summer as well. It is probably my favorite time of year, but there is something about the start of a new school year. I love the cooler mornings and the bustle of activities starting to appear on my calendar. I enjoy the anticipation and getting all of our homeschool stuff ready! We had a lot of shuffling around in our house with moving rooms and things around this year (switching space with Jason's office), but that just gives us a fun, new place to be for the year!

For our first day of school, we always have a special breakfast (usually made by Dad!), we take their pictures out by the ash tree (which reminds me I need to mow this weekend!) and then start the day out with a treasure hunt for their new supplies! They love doing this and giggle with joy at finding their new things! We usually do just 1/2 days until Labor Day, so we have time to still get to the pool. We are going to start with Math, Language Arts and History and then fold in the other subjects after Labor Day.

I hope you enjoy your first day of school. I know many of you have started already and some will start after Labor Day. Enjoy these moments. Take pictures and have fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Live Talk Tuesday

This is a neat resource. You can dial in to the call on Tuesdays or listen at your convenience from your computer. They take place on Tuesdays at 1pm. If you want to listen to previous broadcasts, just scroll down to the bottom of the page. The first one aired on Aug. 12th and is about "How To Make Sure Your Child is At or Above Grade Level". The second one aired on Aug. 19th and is about "Focus On Fun – The Key to Motivation". The next one is next Tuesday! Very useful info!
About the show
To listen from your computer

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Vacations are a fun, fun time! I remember camping trips from when I was a child! I loved those times with my family. Doesn't everyone just love vacations?!?!?

The past two weeks, we spent time with our family on an actual vacation! What fun it was to get up and have nothing on the calendar, but spend time with family. I loved being able to just drive down to the beach in the mule (even if it was cooler than expected) and play in the sand with an adorable dog (how cute is he?!?!) who adopted after day! BTW, we DIDN'T bring him home!
The girls have some extraordinary memories that will last a lifetime!We were relaxed and took the time to be together! What a blessing that time was to our family.

As homeschoolers, we have the benefit to create our own vacation days. Please be purposeful in doing that! Mark out time on your calendar and in your schedule for your special days with your kids and family! Make it special and take advantage of the flexiblity you have!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Product Reviews

The Old Schoolhouse has a couple of new products out that they asked some people to review. One of them was the Schoolhouse Planner and the other was the digital version of their magazine.
The Schoolhouse Planner
Many of you may have seen this planner advertised and if you were like me you were mildly intrigued! Could all the forms you need really be in one fantastic planner? I downloaded the sample pages and read all the bullet points, but still wasn't really sure! The marketing and the sample pages don't even come close to how cool this planner is! From a planner-a-holic to the non-planner, this is a GREAT and easy tool to use! I downloaded mine into a pdf format. The planner starts out with calendars and lots of them as well as tidbits of really useful information (ie: timeline of inventions, countries & capitals, and period table of elements just to name a few). One of the great things about this planner is that you can make it your own. With the pdf format, you just type in your information and print! EASY! There are literally hundreds of forms in the planner. You pick which homeschool, household or calendar planning pages you like best, customize it to your own and you are set!
Digital The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Subscription
The magazine comes to you in an email and then you click a link to view it. I am in favor of ANYTHING that reduces the paper in our houses, so this was a neat idea and email is a great way to get it to me! I am still, however, someone who still likes to "flip" through the pages of a magazine or a book. Luckily, TOS has considered that and the graphics of their digital magazine provides that feeling! My favorite parts of the digital magazine is the ability to link to the websites or urls from the actual article or advertisement for more information as well as the convenience of being able to send the article to a friend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tips for homeschoolers

Whether you are a new homeschooler or a veteran homeschooler, sometimes it's nice to look at how others do things. I remember loving the dish pan trick! These tips may be useful to you:

Practical Tips for Home Schools

Home's Cool: Get Organized for Homeschool

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Naturalist Programs

Being a Charlotte Mason fan, I appreciate the opportunity to be outdoors. I loved it when I was growing up and my kids truly enjoy the outdoors as well. In Nebraska, we are fortunate to have so many great parks nearby! Last week, some of us went to Mahoney State Park for the trail rides. Once there, I was reminded of the naturalist program offerings they have at the park...for FREE! They are offered daily throughout the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Call the park for scheduled sessions.

Monday, August 11, 2008


We are going to host a lapbook session for Moms this year. If you don't know what a lapbook is, these links will help you out!

What is lapbooking?
For those of you interested in lapbooking, notebooking, or foldables I found this fabulous website with free printable sheets to use. There is even a whole page on American Girl books and printables to use for those books!>
In the Hands of a Child

Lap Book is a trademark owned by Mike and Tammy Duby of Tobin's Lab

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Proud Mom & Dad!

Savannah was featured in the Midlands section of the Omaha World Herald today for her 4-H O! Project. She is very excited about the article and the journalist did a great job! Thank you Chris for displaying the O! at F&M Bank! Feel free to stop by the bank to check it out. It will be there until August 21st.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Board Game Organization

Many of you know that I like to organize things! We have recently done some re-arranging in our home and it has taken quite a bit of work to get things to where I want them to be before we start school this year. I am not exactly where I want to be yet, but I am getting there! During my process, I researched some ideas on how to organize board games as I lost the bookcase I was using to Jason's office. I found this article that talked about some great ways to help store your board games...if you are brave enough to break out of your traditional molds! Even if you aren't brave enough to do what they recommend, they have some other tips (like storing them vertically) that are very easy to do. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Planning session

Thank you to those of you who sent feedback to me via email, phone or by coming to the planning session! We brainstormed some really great ideas for the 2008-2009 school year and have a lot of fun things planned for the kids (and the Moms...and even the Dads!) this year. I am looking forward to seeing you all on a more regular basis soon!

"Free Gifs & Animations"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

O! Please say yes next time!

Many of you know our family O! story. For those of you who do not, last fall we toured around to photograph all of the O!s in Omaha. I did not do this voluntarily at first. It took my girls roping their grandparents into the project for me to get on board. Our oldest daughter was the driver behind the idea. It turned into quite a long day (finding and photographing all 22 O!s in one day) and then turned into a large (literally and figuratively) 4-H project (did I mention her project earned a purple ribbon and was selected to go to State Fair?).

Many times as Moms and especially homeschoolers, we are too quick to tell our kids "no" or "not now" or "maybe later". After all, we do have school to do! I know I am guilty of putting my kids off 100 times more than I say yes to them (maybe because they ask so often!). Regardless, there are times when we should just take a deep breath and go for it. They really do have neat ideas. They really do get excited about them. They really do value being listened to from their parents. So the next time your kids ask you to do something you really don't think you have the time or energy to do, just say yes and try it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dates to Remember

Here are some dates to put on your calendar for the year...
  • Aug 7th 7pm - 2008/2009 Planning meeting (Scooters at 180th & Q)
  • Aug 24th 3pm – Ice Cream Social – Peterson Park in Gretna. We will be having Banana splits, sundaes, and root beer floats. Everyone will volunteer to bring goodies for it. RSVP Required!!!! Note: Former homeschoolers are STILL welcome!!!
  • Aug 29th 9am-11am – Mud stomp at the 4-H center in Gretna. More details will follow. Get ready to get muddy! Tennis shoes or teva style shoes required! No flip flops for the mud! We will be hosing off the kids afterwards before they come home!
  • Sept. 5th – KICK OFF Meeting! Gretna Community Church
  • Sept. 19th – Lauritzen Gardens and Kid Structur Field Trip
  • Sept. 30thVala’s Homeschool Day
  • Oct. 3rd – October monthly meeting
  • Oct. 7thVala’s Homeschool Day
  • Oct. 17th – Gifford Farm Field Trip
  • Nov. 7th - November monthly meeting
  • Nov. 21st - Rotella Italian Bakery Field Trip
  • Dec. 5th - December monthly meeting
  • Dec. 19th - Tentative Field Trip

Monday, August 4, 2008

Reasons to Homeschool

As we start seeing kids go back to public school, it is helpful to remember the reasons why we homeschool. I found this list a while ago and enjoyed it!

  1. The only "gang" your kids belong to is your family

  2. The teacher-pupil ratio is great

  3. You don't need security guards or metal detectors

  4. Your kids enjoy socializing with people of all ages

  5. You don't have to run to catch the school bus

  6. You can sleep in on rainy days

  7. School prayer is encouraged

  8. You don't have to buy "back to school clothes"

  9. You don't have to develop a taste for cafeteria food

  10. You can celebrate your birthday with a school holiday

  11. Vacations can be called "extended field trips"

  12. You get to read more books than you ever realized existed

  13. The latest fads usually never make it to your house

  14. You don't have to worry about what your kids learned in school today

  15. You don't have to raise your hand to go to the bathroom

  16. You can wear pajamas to class and not be kicked out

  17. Chores may be called "Home Ec Projects"

  18. There's always time to bake cookies

  19. Learning becomes contagious

  20. Your family is right where they ought to be...home!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer Olympics 2008

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games begins on August 8, 2008 (08/08/08!) They will be held in Beijing, China. I am sure the kids will all be very interested in them! Be ready for those questions and check out this information...

Olympic creed:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Official Emblem of Summer Olympics 2008:
Titled ‘Dancing Beijing’, the emblem is a red seal embossed with the Chinese calligraphic character jing, which means ‘the nation’s capital’. This is a reference to Beijing, China’s capital city. Modern design elements were incorporated into the traditional art forms of seal carving and Chinese calligraphy, personifying the character and imbibing it with a sense of athletic motion, hence ‘dancing’. The two strokes extending to the left and right represent the open arms of the Chinese people as they warmly welcome people from around the world. The white character is contrasted against the bright red color of the seal. Red signifies good luck to the Chinese, and in addition, symbolizes the passion for sports and the Olympic spirit.

The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 8-24, 2008

Summer Olympics Printables

Kids News Network
Kids News Network Sport is a video news channel (from the Dutch media company Free Voice) with reporting by youth from six countries: Indonesia, Burma, Afghanistan, Zambia, South Africa, Surinam and Peru. During the Olympics, they will broadcast daily updates from Beijing for kids around the world. You can see their intro video by clicking on the purple China button on the interactive map. Alternatively, you can follow them on YouTube.

Kids' Turn Central

Thursday, July 31, 2008

License Plate Game and Checklist

We are getting ready to go on another long road trip soon and we always like to play the license plate game! We actually saw ALASKA and NEW YORK the last time! What fun! Here are a couple of links to get you started. Just print them off and start the search!

This site has a neat one to print (make sure you click the print icon for no ads!)

This one would be neat in color, but some of the states are a little hard to read.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Paperwork is due August 1st

Just a reminder that your paperwork is due to the Department of Education by no later than August 1st! Papers must be notarized. Click on the link below for additional information if you have questions.

D1. When do I need to have my forms in?

For families seeking to renew their exemption for the 2008/09 school year, the completed documents must be filed with the Nebraska Department of Education by no later than August 1, 2008. For first year filers, the completed documents must be filed at least 30 days prior to when you begin your exempt school. We will start processing forms for the 2008/09 school year by mid June. For purposes of the rule, the record-keeping year is July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009 (refer to Rule 12 or Rule 13, Sections 002.04 and 003.02A).

Omaha Zoo Discovery Sheets

If you are like me, we are in need of a trip to the zoo. I always want to go, but it is always too hot, too cold or too busy! We are scheduling a day next week and I remembered some cool discovery sheets on their website that would be fun! Try to pick one or two areas each time you go and take them with you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

HEN Conference

If you are interested, the Omaha HEN conference is coming up soon!

Plan to Attend the Home Educators Network 7th Annual Summer Conference
August 9, 2008
Christ Community Church
108th & Old Mill Road
Featured speaker:Steve DemmeFounder, Math-U-See

8:30 – Registration
9:00 a.m. - Keynote-Steve Demme-“The Family That Stays Together, Stays Together”
10:30 – Exhibit Hall Opens
11:00 - Noon– Workshops
Noon-1:30 p.m. – Lunch Break –Exhibit Hall Open
1:30-2:30 p.m.-Workshops
2:30-3:30 p.m.-Workshops
3:30 p.m.-Exhibit Hall Closes
3:30-4:45 p.m.-Closing Address-Steve Demme-“The Great Commission and Home Education”

New This Year!--Admission to the resource and exhibit fair is free. You need not register for the conference to visit the resource tables in the exhibit hall. We’re pleased to have The Gardener Homeschool Group joining us in presenting this year’s resource and exhibit fair, instead of hosting its annual resource night. This year’s resource and exhibit fair will once again feature representatives and resources from community groups, homeschool clubs, sports teams, and organizations, as well as businesses, and colleges, all of whom have a special appeal to those who are choosing the home education option. An extensive list of exhibitors and resources, as well as a complete topical schedule for the conference will be available on the HEN website during the last week of July at

Conference Admission-- (speakers/workshops):
*Pre-registration (by July 31st): $10 for HEN Members, $15 for non-members
**At the door: $15 for HEN Members, $20 for non-members. Those joining HEN at the door may enjoy the conference at the member price.

There is no additional charge for spouses and students aged 12 and older attending the conference with a paying participant. There will be no childcare provided, so we ask that attendees make other childcare arrangements for children under the age of 12. Nursing babies are welcome.

To register: Send your check-made payable to HEN – and a copy of the preregistration form- by July 31st-to: Phyllis TitusHEN Summer Conference17472 Orchard Ave.Omaha, NE 68135 402-895-0817

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homeschool ID Cards

If you go to the homeschool picture day, you've probably received a Homeschool ID card for your child. If you haven't made it to that in a few years (like me), you don't have any current photo ID cards for any of your children. There isn't a necessity to have one, but the kids sure do seem to enjoy them! I just realized today the my youngest doesn't have one and she has her eye on her older sister, who carries hers around proudly in her purse. So, check out this website if you want to make one on your own or order one from them! ENJOY!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back To School

We are going to start school August 25th this year. We are only going to do half days until Labor Day (that way we have time for the pool!). When are you starting back (or did you do it through summer?)? Feel free to share your ideas on when you start back and why with the group in the comment section to this post! (last year's 1st day of school photo)

So far so good!

Yeah! I think I am figuring this out! I hope this site will be a resource for the Gretna KNIGHTS families! Come to this blog for updates on activities we are scheduling, links we enjoy and find useful as well as general sharing of information! I will still use email for reminders this year, but feel free to come here first! I hope you find this a fun and useful way to get your homeschool information!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Welcome to our blog spot! I am new at this so please be patient with me! More to come....