Monday, July 24, 2017

Actíva Products {TOS Review}

ACTÍVA Products

Summer has proven to be a great time to enjoy doing the homeschool crafts that we just didn't have time to get to during the school year.  But, like many homeschool Moms, there are some projects that I tend to avoid...  like big, messy, gooey, sticky projects! While something like paper maché makes some pretty amazing large-scale projects, I have to admit that I do not always want to gather the materials, mix the goo, and make the mess!  If only there were an easier way to put these projects together without creating a total disaster!  Well, there IS!  And I am excited that I get a chance to tell you how to have the FUN of paper maché without the mess by using this great product that we had the chance to review called Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit offered by Actíva Products!

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit

We received the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpt Kit for review.  The box contained 2 rolls of Rigid Wrap, an 8 ounce package of CelluClay, and complete instructions for creating 12 different projects.   Each product was interesting...not something I had ever used before!  
Rigid Wrap is a plaster gauze/cloth that works very much like a cast for a broken bone! When wet, the wrap becomes a plaster that is easily smoothed over your creation to give it a nice consistency and even finish.  It is very uncomplicated, just add water!

CelluClay is an "instant paper maché" that is simple to prepare and easy to use.  Again, so easy, all you have to add is water!

How we used Actíva Rigid Wrap Quik-Sculpt Starter Kit:
While the kit comes with simple black and white instructions to help you make several projects, Actíva also sent us an electronic copy of their Favorite Sculpture Kids Crafts e-book that offered even more options!  This is a free download that I highly recommend!  My girls chose to make the Totem Pole as found in the e-book since they thought it would make a great display item for their end of unit study on Early American History and Native Americans.

We started out with a simple paper towel tube...

Then we wet the Rigid Wrap using a mixing bowl filled with water and begin layering the plaster cloth gauze onto the tube...  We found that it had to be pretty moist in order for the plaster to really work well...

After letting the plaster dry (It took about 2 days to get completely dry) we moved onto the CelluClay portion of the project.  We had a little more trouble with this since we couldn't seem to get the texture quite where we wanted it but once we added a little more mixture we were able to get it to a nice thick, pasty consistency.  It really makes an instant paper maché and while it was super nice to avoid the strips of newspaper and gluey-goo we found the CelluClay to kick up quite a fine powdery dust cloud that was both concerning and challenging to clean up.  Next time I would mix the clay on the porch for better ventilation and clean up.

The clay itself worked great.  My girls glopped it on, then smoothed it down with their fingers and gave it some texture using a craft stick.  This allowed them to add special and more refined features to their critters on the Totem Pole.

Once it was dry...  Painting!  
We just used regular, tempera paint, to add color.

The completed projects turned out SO cute!  

What We Thought of the Actíva Quick-Start Sculpt Kit:
I often find that I avoid projects (or can't even do a project) because we do not have all the necessary items on hand...  We really enjoyed having the ability to do an entire project in one simple box.  

The Rigid Wrap was surprisingly easy to use!  We found less to be more when it came to the size of the pieces.  Small rectangles worked like a charm and were more manageable for small hands to manipulate.  

The CelluClay did puff up a very intimidating cloud that had me a little stressed about breathing it in.   I really recommend doing the initial mixing in a well-ventilated area.  It took a while to get the "fall out" cleaned up, but, up honest-to-goodness paper maché would've been much worse!  Oh!  I also found on their website the Material Safety Data Sheet for CelluClay and there is nothing to be worried about as far as safety goes!  While I wouldn't intentionally inhale it...there is nothing toxic in it so use it without worry.  

It took about 3 days to complete the project, not including dry-time which is GREAT for homeschool Moms who want to do a project that won't take weeks to complete!

We enjoyed using this simple project kit and we are pretty excited we have enough left in the kit to do a 2nd smaller project later in the year!  

You can learn more about Actíva Products by visiting their website
You can keep up with updates by finding them on Facebook
or Twitter
and get even more craft ideas on their Pinterest page too!

Many of my fellow crew mates also enjoyed playing with Actíva Products too!  You an read their reviews by clicking the linky below.
Thanks so much for Swinging By!
Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pops 66 Soda Ranch {Route 66}

We made a quick weekend trip to Oklahoma City and had a great time driving Route 66 back home!  We stopped at Pops 66 Soda Ranch in Arcadia, OK.
This is a must-see if you happen to be in the area...

Pops boasts over 700 varieties of Soda and they did not disappoint!

Each person chose 1 soda so we bought 6 to try (including Gramma and Papa) 

We then set up a "soda tasting" and had a great time with lots of giggling and some gagging!

First Soda:
Papa's Pick
Maple Bacon Soda
I mean, really.  Yuck.

Second Soda:
Mommy's Pick
Scotty's Butterscotch Soda
It was pretty good...tasted a little like dum dum. 

Third Soda:
Grammas Pick
Swamp Pop - Root Beer
Tasted a little medicinal due to the added sassafras root but not gross. 

Fourth Soda:
Daddy's Pick
Dr. Browns Original Cream Soda

Fifth Soda:
Kayley's Pick
Original Nehi - Peach
Yeah...totally yum! 

Sixth Soda:
Maggie's Pick
Oh So Cherry Soda
It was ok...except for the part where it tasted like a cough drop. 

Needless to say we were all bubbly and silly by the end 
and we regretted not buying a 12 pack to try!

If you want to learn more about Pops, 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer Swimming with Diventures

We have had another great summer of swimming at our local Diventures!  The girls enjoyed their refresher course and took turns with the same teacher, Ms. Reagan.  

Maggie is currently swimming in Intermediate II and working on making Flip Turns (this currently involves water snorting and she really doesn't like it) and the Whip Kick as a precursor to the Breast Stroke.

Kayley is in Advanced II.  Kayley is working hard on the Butterfly & Breast Stroke.  They require quite a bit of stamina and getting only one day per week in the pool just isn't enough at this level.  She is unsure if she wants to move up into Swim Team or just enjoy swimming and learning with her teacher.

  Both girls will continue on with swimming through the fall semester of our homeschool year which is great since it gives us some PE credit too!

If you are interested in learning more about Diventures check them out!  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our (Not Just Summer) Bucket List

We had this grand idea at the beginning of the summer to have a "Bucket List" of things that we would like to do....  We originally intended for it to be a summer bucket list, but we quickly discovered that it is just way too hot to try to do many of these things this summer, so instead, we thought we would just call it "Our Bucket List."  We currently have it written on our marker board in the kitchen.  (What?  Doesn't everybody have a big marker board in their kitchen?)  Anyway, it is pretty fluid and we have enjoyed adding things to it as we have gone along...  We have mostly chosen things that are within a days drive from our home here in Missouri, but we are branching out into Arkansas and Oklahoma!

Here is what is currently on our Bucket List!
(strike through items are completed but the links are still live!)

Our Bucket List

Sushi Night

(currently closed)



St. Genevieve:


St. Louis:



Friday, July 14, 2017

Random Summer Happenings

Well, we have had a lot of random things going on the last couple of weeks...  We have been staying quite busy and enjoying our summer.  (If only it wasn't so hot!)  We went to the Independence Day Parade where it rained and rained and rained on us.  And it was actually quite cool!
We enjoy the parade.  In fact they say that Marshfield's Independence Day Parade is the longest running parade this side of the Mississippi.  It brings in a LOT of people...  
And they throw candy and give out popsicles and lot of other fun things!

The fire trucks were LOUD! 

Back at home we have been hard at work in the yard.
We have been steadily working to clear out some of the brush and push the tree line further and further back from the house.  

We also chopped down a big tree! 

We had to try out Lamberts for dinner one night.  
It was something that was on our Summer Bucket List!
(I will share our bucket list sometime in another post) 

The girls have gotten back into building interesting creations with loom bands. 

We found this big turtle in our front yard. 

Kayley also brought in this caterpillar which is pretty sure will turn into a luna moth.  She has done a great job of taking care of it... I hope it lives!  It will be really fun to watch it change into a Luna!

Kayley also had her turn to attend zoo camp this week and spent 2 days in Animal Artistry camp.  She had a great time!

James had a birthday...  
I won't tell you how OLD he is, although you can probably figure it out.  LOL!

We also got a brand new dining room table!  
I am so excited!  It can seat 8!
You can kind of see a silly girl in the background "hugging" 
the table because she thought it was so lovely!

We are still chugging along.  We don't have too much of our summer left.  We are already in full planning mode for Back to School!  We are looking at starting the first week of August!  We have to keep that flexibility built in so we can take the rest of "summer" later in the year.  :)
Thanks for swinging by!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Home School in the Woods - Make-A-State {TOS Crew Review}

Home School in the Woods
Do you love hands-on history?  We sure do!
Our homeschool is living-books based and we really love finding a great product that allows us to combine the living books approach with fun, hands-on history activities to really solidify learning.  This summer we have enjoyed using a fun product from Home School in the Woods' Hands-On History series called Make-A-State Activity Pak in the downloadable .pdf version.
Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State
About Make-A-State
Is a state study required for your elementary school student?  
Looking to learn more about the history of your state?  
Or any state?
  This 20 project Pak is so versatile and flexible allowing you to study any state in the US (including Washington D.C.) using both generic black line masters/templates and state-specific downloads. Each Pak includes activities to prompt your student to write creatively and enjoy researching information about the state of your choice.  The Pak also includes geography & mapping activities, government, travel & tourist info, state motto, symbols, quarters, anthems, sports teams, and much more!  The Pak comes with logical, step-by-step instructions that make assembling the lap book a snap.  Also included is a "Name That State!" file folder game to help your student learn more about the states, their shape and location.   While the recommended grade range is 3rd - 8th, my 2nd grader really enjoyed this project with just a few modifications.
Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-State
What We Thought of Make-A-State
This was our first time using a product from Home School in the Woods.  I was immediately impressed with how simply laid out the program was.  Upon downloading, each item is tucked neatly away into a digital folder that I saved right to my desktop for easy access.  Following the "start here" instructions led me step-by-step through the printing process to get the materials ready for use.  Investment is minimal, using things we already had at home like colored/white card stock, color/white printer paper, glue sticks, crayons, yarn, brads, and our new best friend: double sided tape! 
The instructions provided were amazingly intuitive and uncomplicated to follow.  Believe it or not even my 2nd grader was able to complete several of the steps independently!  
My girls chose Arizona (where Maggie, grade 2, was born) and Hawaii (because Kayley, grade 6, would like to visit there someday!)  Using reference books we already owned and a little help from the Internet the girls were able to find the answers to all the research projects.  They each completed 1-2 of the 20 steps each day and completed the project in just over 2 weeks, saving one afternoon for assembly.  

The finished project is really striking.  The girls are both SO proud of their accomplishments!  The completed books currently sit on display on our hearth where the girls have wasted no-time in treating others to a narrative walk-through of their state!  They have had a lot of fun showing off their newly discovered knowledge!

I am SO pleased with the quality of Make-A-State that we already have plans to use more Home School in the Woods projects in our 2017-2018 school year!

Home School in the Woods has several other Activity Paks subjects to choose from, including:
The Old & New Testaments
and Artists!

If you are looking something to enjoy during your history studies you can also check out the Time Traveler Series that includes topics that would dovetail nicely with any American or World History curriculum.  I just purchased The American Revolution for our early modern history studies next year and we can't wait to have another beautiful project to show our friends and family!

And!  One more thing!  I saw an announcement on Home School in the Woods Facebook page that they are now offering "A-la-cart projects!"   These look fantastic!  Even more fantastic is - Home School in the Woods is currently offering the Erie Canal Project free!  Use code alacart at checkout!

You can stay up-to-date on new products by following the author, Amy Pak - Home School in the Woods on Facebook.

Many of my fellow crew mates reviewed other products from Home School in the Woods.  You can check out their reviews by clicking the linky below!  Thanks so much for Swinging By!
Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What We Are Reading {the Summer Reading Edition}

We have been busy this week but we are still plugging away at our summer reading!  The girls are working hard at earning that $25 Gift Card and have enjoyed a variety of reading.  It's been a real treat to see them find something new to read the that they wouldn't have even picked up otherwise.  

We are all currently working on "comparing a book with a movie."

We have introduced the girls to the world of Harry Potter over the last couple of months and the girls are really loving both the books, the movies and the merchandise.  It has been a lot fun!

Kayley is reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling.  To be honest, I'm impressed.  It is a monstrous book and she is clipping along through it quickly.  She hasn't seen the movie but decided that reading the book first is the way to go.  Smart girl!

Maggie opted for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  We have already seen the movie and I think it is helping her to follow the story line a bit better.  She has had a lot to say and share concerning how the movie and book are different...  

I was encouraged by a friend to read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.  Lewis.  Believe it or not, I have NOT read this classic book.  I did see the movie and I've been enjoying picking out some of the subtle differences.  One thing I have really enjoyed is getting some additional "background information" on the characters that just don't come through in the movie.   

For our read aloud, we finished off Ember Falls this week and we all groaned when we were left hanging at the end!  I think it is a clear indication that S.D. Smith must have an 3rd Green Ember book in the works?  I hope so!   

Our next read aloud is Schoolhouse in the Woods by Rebecca Caudill.  This is the 2nd book in the Fairchild Family series and we are enjoying reading something light after the drama of Ember Falls.  The Fairchild Family series follows the adventures of the youngest daughter Bonnie and her older siblings as they live, work and play in the woods of Kentucky.  Sweet stories with great morals.  If you like the Little House series then you would enjoy these!

That's it for this week!
Thanks so much for swinging by!

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