Thursday, September 10, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Four Tier Cupcake Stand Tutorial

It's Thursday which means it is time for another Throwback Thursday post.  This week I thought I would reshare the Four Tier Cupcake Stand Tutorial that I originally posted four years ago.  I made this cupcake stand to display cupcakes for my daughter's birthday party.  All of the cupcake stands that I saw in the store were cardboard, flimsy, or didn't fit what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own.  

I will preface this post with the same disclaimer as before I have NEVER, EVER written a tutorial like this nor do I claim to be a great crafter.  In fact, I know I am a messy, non-patient crafter but I am working on that one. 

I started out with one piece of this Tri-Ply 4x4 underlayment that I bought at Michael's.  It was in the $5 to $8 range, I am not sure how much it was because I originally bought it for another project.  From this board my husband cut a 9" square, 15" square, 20" square and 24" square. 

Ignore the rectangles in the above picture I didn't end up using them.  I also used an old wooden broom handle for the center support of the stand.  We cut the broom handle into three 8" pieces.

Using Gorilla Glue Wood Glue (love that stuff) I took the 24" square and glued one support beam in the center of the square.  I allowed this beam to dry completely before I added the 20" square to the top of it.  I continued the glue, let dry process until I had added the 15" and 9" squares as well.  (I hope this makes sense - please feel free to ask questions if it doesn't).  I didn't use anything stronger than glue because the stand isn't going to be handling anything heavier than cupcakes, cookies, or sandwiches.

We ended up using masking tape to hold everything still until it dried completely.  The 20" square was still pretty wobbly, so we ended up adding cutting a dowel rod into 4 pieces and gluing it onto each corner between the 24" and 20" squares for additional support.  (See below for more details)

I painted it white with a quart of Porter Paints White Hi-Hide semi-gloss paint.  It didn't take anywhere near the whole quart and covered the wood easily.

Now were I to make it again here is what I would change:

I don't know that I would make it four tiers, I think three tiers would have been more than adequate.

I would have made more a size difference between the bottom two tiers.  Instead of making it 24" and 20" I would have probably made it 24" and 18" but then I would also have to adjust the top two tier sizes as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When What Your Doing Isn't Working....

When the kids were younger all of our schoolwork was unit study based and interest led.  As my older kids began to reach middle school, and then high school I felt the need to prepare them for college so we opted for classical history and science curriculums.  

I thought that the classical history and science curriculum was the best way to teach older kids.  However, my kids were bored to death of the classical textbook format to history and were not retaining the material the way that they did when we took a more interest led and unit study approach to history.  Last school year at the end of the year we finished our book early and did a few unit studies to finish out the school year.  Those unit studies renewed their interest in learning history and they soaked the information up like sponges.

This school year we are doing things a little bit different and going back to our roots, well sort of.  This year we are going to stay with the formal classical curriculums when it comes to math, writing, and science but for history we are going to do interest based learning.

This week we are learning about September 11th, as the anniversary of this day is this week.  After this unit study we are going to learn about colonial America as we are going to visit Colonial Williamsburg in October.  That trip will be followed up with a unit study about Lewis and Clark as our local history museum has an exhibit about the explorers we plan to visit as part of our unit study.  
As you approach this new school year I encourage you to think about what is working in your school year and what isn't working.  If something isn't working don't keep doing it because you feel like you have to, or because a homeschool how to book tells you that you have to.  My advice is to follow the lead of your kids, and do what is best for them.  Don't be afraid to do something different.

However, when making decisions you need to keep in mind your kid's future plans.  My oldest daughter entered college this year, and is studying political science.  Her career goal is not science or math based, so she could get by with a science program that was not so strenuous.  However, my youngest daughter wants to be a vet, which is very science based.  So for her a strong science program with labs is important.  

I am linking this post up to the Hip Homeschool Hop at the Hip Homeschool Moms.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - August 10-16, 2015

Breakfast - BLT sandwiches
Lunch - Dreamfields pasta with marinara sauce
Snack - fresh veggies
Dinner - chili dogs

Breakfast - sausage links and eggs
Lunch - eating out at Panera
Dinner - Big Mac Salad

Breakfast - Berry Breakfast Cake
Lunch - leftover Big Mac Salad
Dinner - Fajitas

Breakfast - waffles
Lunch - leftover Fajitas
Dinner - Salmon, wild rice

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - fried pork chops, eggs

Breakfast - oatmeal
Dinner - Festival at church

Breakfast - waffles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Homeschool Curriculum Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology

It's time for Throwback Thursday - the day that I feature some of my older posts.  For today's Throwback Thursday post I am reposting my review of Christian Kids Explore Biology.  We really enjoyed this curriculum and actually went on to use additional books in the series.

After a lot of researching and searching I decided to use Christian Kids Explore Biology this year for my third and fifth grade daughters. We are loosely following the Well Trained Mind method of education, and were looking for a classical science curriculum that could be used with both girls, and this seemed to fit the bill.

The curriculum is written by Stephanie Redmond, who is a Christian author that has developed a full set of science books that follow the classical method of education. In addition to Christian Kids Explore Biology, she also has written Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, and Christian Kids Explore Physics. The curriculum is designed for students in third through sixth graders, but my younger son has been following along with no issues whatsoever, making it easily adaptable for younger students.

One of my factors in my decision to go with this program was the fact that the curriculum is written by a Christian author, so Biology is taught with a Christian perspective. However, the curriculum covers both the theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Even though we are Creationists, I still want my children to understand that there are other theories on how the Earth was created. I do not want them to be in high school or college before they are exposed to these ideas and I want them to be exposed to them for the first time on my terms.

Another factor in my decision for choosing this curriculum was both the cost, and publisher. Christian Kids Explore Biology is published by Bright Ideas Press, who also published Mystery of History, a history curriculum we really like and use. The book is very inexpensive compared to many science curriculums with a list price of just $29.95.

There are thirty-six lessons in the book, with the intention of students covering one lesson a week. I think that they could be covered much more quickly than that however. The book includes review questions for each lesson, coloring pages, hands on activities, experiments, bible memory verses, vocabulary words for each lesson, and plenty of supplemental reading suggestions. The curriculum is very easy to use as is, with minimal prep required on my part as a teacher. The majority of the prep work is running copies, or collecting the items needed for the day’s activity or experiment.

At this point I am absolutely thrilled with my decision to purchase this curriculum, and plan to continue through all of the books in this series by Stephanie Redmond.

Five Signs That Your Refrigerator Needs to be Repaired

Your refrigerator is the most used appliance in your home, and if it goes down it can often lead to chaos.  Luckily, your refrigerator will often show signs that it is need of repairs before it goes completely out.  Here are five warning signs that your refrigerator is in need of repairs.

Food is not as cold as it should be or it spoils quickly.

Food that isn't as cold as it should be, as well as fruits or vegetables that spoil quickly when they are stored in the refrigerator are warning signs that something major is wrong with your refrigerator.  It could mean that your refrigerator is leaking coolant, your refrigerator's thermostat needs replacing, or even that there is something wrong with your refrigerator's compressor.

The refrigerator is making noises.

While older models of refrigerators were quite loud when they were running most modern refrigerators are designed to run quietly.  Listen to how your refrigerator sounds so that if your refrigerator begins making odd noises you will notice.  Among the noises that you should look out for are is a constant humming tone, banging noises or a loud pitched tone.  If the noises are ignored they will only get worse, and ignoring the problem may lead to further damage to your refrigerator.

There is water pooled behind or underneath your refrigerator.

Some water leakage from your refrigerator is normal and you can expect to find water in the refrigerator drain pan.  However if water is overflowing out of the drain pan or is pooled behind your refrigerator it is a sign that there is an issue with your refrigerator. There are many issues that can cause water to leak from your refrigerator.  The issues could range from a cracked drain pan, to the waterline to the icemaker springing a leak, or worn out seals that need to be replaced.

There is frost built up inside of the refrigerator.

Frost building up on the inside of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator can be normal and a sign that the freezer needs defrosting.  Frost that is built up on the inside of the lower compartment of your refrigerator is a sign that you your refrigerator is malfunctioning and may be in need of repairs.

There is sweat on the outside of your refrigerator.
When your refrigerator sweats it is from a build up of condensation on the outside of your refrigerator.  It is normal for a small amount of condensation to build up on the outside of your refrigerator, especially on hot or humid days.   However if your refrigerator has an excessive buildup of condensation on the outside of it is a sign that your refrigerator might be in need of repairs.   

Monday, April 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, April 27 - May 3, 2015

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Last week was a good week food wise.  We did end up eating out a couple more times than we had originally planned but we tried some amazing recipes, many which will be hitting the blog in the near future.  I have definitely been in the mood to be creative in the kitchen the last few weeks.  When we were at Disney World we stopped by the Columbia Harbor House for dinner one night and I had lobster mac n' cheese, it was delicious!  I have been wanting to try a version of this at home, and plan to do so this week.  

Here's what I have planned for us this week:

Brunch - Bacon, Eggs, Biscuits
Dinner - Sandwiches, Pretzels, Fresh Fruit

Breakfast - oatmeal
Lunch - chili dogs, baked beans
Dinner - Shrimp Mac N Cheese, corn on the cob

Breakfast - cereal
Lunch - ravioli, garlic breadsticks
Dinner - Chili Con Queso

Breakfast - ham and egg sandwiches
Lunch - chicken noodle soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Dinner - Italian Sausage with Green Peppers and Onions, Baked Potato Wedges

Breakfast - Dutch Baby
Lunch - Loaded Baked Potatoes

Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - sandwiches, pretzels, applesauce
Dinner - Eating Out

Breakfast - Cereal
Dinner - leftover night