Saturday, 26 November 2011

Review: Karcher Home Line Steam Cleaner

I was thrilled to be chosen for this trial!!! I have always wanted a steam mop, but this is so much better than anything I had wanted.

Firstly, when it arrived, I was shocked at the weight. It was so light. I expected it to be as heavy as a vacuum cleaner, but I was wrong.

I had to wait a couple of days before putting it to the test. But as soon as the opportunity was there, out came my steam cleaner. At first I was a little daunted by all the attachments! I have never used a steam cleaner before!! And I wasn't sure if i would easily work it out! I found the instructions a little tricky. The instruction manual could be more user friendly.

But eventually, I worked it out and off I headed to the bathroom. We had always had these stains on the bath that I couldn't scrub off by hand, but a few seconds with the cleaner and my bath was shining for the first time ever!! I was thrilled! But I didn't stop there - shower, floor, sink, tiles - everything was clean. And I hadn't used any chemicals.

By this stage I was on a roll. I headed out into the hall, then the loungeroom, dining room, kitchen and then the study windows!!! The whole house was getting a steam clean! And it was so quick and easy :) I don't think my old mop will be coming out again, I love my new steam cleaner.

The steam cleaner comes with different attachments which have different functions. The steam gun can be used to unwrinkle garments, to remove dust from plants and for moist dusting furniture. The detail nozzle is used to get into those smaller areas or to get closer to the problem area. The round brush can be used for heavily soiled areas. There is a terry cloth that can be attached and used for mirrors and showers. And then there is the floor nozzle.

I was impressed that it has a child protection lock which prevents steam from escaping. This is a great feature especially in our home.

The unit itself is a little tricky to store as the cord is not retractable and so therefore needs to be wound up.

But overall I am thrilled to have trialled this Karcher steam cleaner, it will certainly get a workout here.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Downpours, celebrations and school.....

This week it rained, and rained and rained....and it is still raining :) Thank God for the water that soaks our earth, espcially after such a hot, hot week last week!! It really is a relief.

It was time for a change in focus for Avril (4). After speaking to a good friend of mine, who is a missionary in India and also a trained teacher, I decided more fun and games were needed. I had become so focused on teaching Avril that I had forgotten about making it fun. So I returned to a site that I had visited a while back, Lesson Pathways. It is a site offering FREE lessons and curriculum for kindergarten - year 5. And guess what it is based on fun and games!!! So I am now following their well planned preschool pathway for phonics and number. We still use Heart of Dakota LHTH as well, but I have found that adding these games has made learning more active. And she is responding well.

We started our new journey going for an alphabet hunt. I drew up an alphabet sheet for her to cross off as we found each letter. I created letter tags to place around the house. These tags were placed onto items that started with the letter. I placed our glossy alphabet cards in order on the floor. Then the hunt began...we sang We're going on a letter hunt!! (we're going on a bear hunt). She loved it!!! I was so excited. She found her items with the letters attached. We said the letter, she marked it off and then she headed to her alphabet line to match it up. Once it was matched, if the item could be moved we placed it above the letter. To help her find the letter we sang the alphabet song a few times :)

This week I also made a number game. This number game is called 'Worms in my apple'. I found some red paper and cut out 10 apples. I then cut out 10 coloured rectangles to glue the apples to. I then stuck the rectangles onto a manilla folder. My next job was to use a black texta to create the holes in each apple. I started with 0 and moved in sequence to 9 holes. But we still needed worms. So I cut up pipe cleaners and Avril made them all wiggly! I also made some 0 - 9 number cards to be used in the game.

This game focused on one-to-one correspondence. So we first made the worms eat the apple. Avril placed a worm onto each hole, making yum...yum...yum noises as she went. Then we counted the worms. I thought that Avril understood what zero meant and was surprised that she didn't. But she does now after this game. Once all the worms were feeding on the apples I introduced the number cards. Avril and I worked on recognising the symbols, then placing them over the right apple. She did a great job.

Our next project this week was to make an ABC caterpillar, unfortunately due to interruptions we still haven't completed this task. But we have started it. Avril and I sat down and I showed her how to cut circles from coloured paper. She had some successes :) We then compiled the circles into the body of a caterpillar. Avril stuck on goggly eyes. But that is as far as we got. Next week we plan to add the alphabet and then stick it up to use as we continue on our letter discoveries.

The big kids had a smaller week this week as Damon celebrated his 11th birthday. And this interrupted school for the week :) lol. Damon was asked to create a list of his favourite foods so I could make a birthday menu!! My goodness!!...did he create a list!!! I ended up picking out some of his suggestions for a very delicious birthday menu. Damon was delighted to discover that we were having malteser pancakes for breakfast, as this is the first recipe that he created!! And a very delicious one to! Chocolate for breakfast was certainly a treat...yum!!

Now unfortunately due to the rain, Damon was very disappointed because we were going to head to the local wetlands for a picnic. And Damon had been on-line and checked out their list of local wildlife, as he planned to do some more photography. But it was raining :( So after much discussion we headed to a local ten pin bowling centre for a family game. It was great fun, we all joined in, even Josef!

After bowling we all headed back home for hotdogs for lunch, followed by crunchies :) (Yes...more chocolate!!). Damon was delighted as he got to choose a family movie. So we all rested and enjoyed each others company.

After the movie, we all decided to play a game. And the kids had been keen to play Disney monopoly but we had never got around to it, until now. The kids sped around buying up everything and I was left with hardly any choice :) The kids loved it, swapping cards and building their castles. It was fun.

Then it was nearly party time. A very quiet party compared to last year. Damon invited a friend and we enjoyed a family celebration of his 11 years. Every year Damon requests lamb cutlets for his birthday treat. And every year we are shocked at how much these things are!! But are delighted once we taste them.

This year I made Damon a giraffe birthday cake. He asked for an African animal theme, but this was after I talked him out of a red panda!! Thankfully I found a very cute giraffe cake on the internet, and that is what I made.

But back to school...this week in Heart of Dakota, Preparing their Hearts for His Glory we continued with our history project of making paper pyramids. This week they stuck their pyramids on paper. Then they headed into a dark room with a torch, which they shone on one side of the pyramid. This created a shadow which they shaded in. Once they finished this task the kids decided to create a little paper sun to shine onto their pyramids.

Our history focus was the Israelites exodus from Egypt and their trek in the desert. We saw how they doubted God. We saw how God was faithful and just. We read about God providing for their needs miraculously. He is a Great God. Always faithful even we aren't! His love always constant and he never leaves us. He really is a Great God.

We finished with our Psalm 9: 9 -10 this week. Adele and Damon have a common place book in which they copy out the weekly Psalm.

We continued our journey in science, looking at the cactus desert. The kids read about poisonous animals, about rattlesnakes and how animals stay warm in the desert during the day and night. There was also alink with the Bible. The kids had to read Acts 28: 1 -10. They were asked to think about what this passage showed them about God's power. I love that Heart of Dakota is so God focused. They are not only growing academically but more importantly, they are growing spiritually.

Their science experiment this week was to discover how dew forms on rocks and cactuses. And as usual this was a very simple experiment that illustrated its' lesson really well. Damon filled a glass with room temperature water, then he placed several ice cubes inside. Then he added a few drops of food colouring. He waited several minutes, then noticed condensation forming on the outside of the glass. He then wiped the glass with a tissue to see if it was coloured, but it wasn't. He then had to explain where the water came from.

Both the kids have continued with their DITHOR projects this week. Damon has decided on his questions for his game and Adele has continued to decorate her patchwork.

The kids have played really well together this week. They have been engrossed in cars and dinosaurs :) About three weeks ago I switched off the tv. My son suffered screen withdrawal for about two weeks, but this week they haven't been asking for it. They have been playing :) I am amazed as I have tried this before and it has never been so successful.

Our backyard is full of frogs. Avril is scared of anything that moves. So this week I was delighted when she allowed frogs to sit on her arms! Yay Avril!! And thanks to Damon constantly talking about animals, she is able to have a conversation about nocturnal animals!!! She surprised me this week when she said nocturnal and knew what she was talking about!

And lastly here are some of damons latest photos...

Friday, 18 November 2011

A week following the Israelites in the desert.

This week started out much wetter than last week. Damon started the week suffering from headaches. So it was just Adele and I for school. Damon sat for hours listening to Jonathon Parks CD's.

I love that in HOD we are memorising some Psalms. This week it was Psalm 9: 9-10.

Psalm 9:9-10

New King James Version (NKJV)

9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

This Psalm is all about trusting God, seeking God and God being our refuge in times of trouble. And it is a reminder that he will never leave us. Reading the Psalms with my children is fantastic as we have great discussions about God and who He is. He really must be the centre of our lives.

Adele and I started the week finishing off Unit 6 day 4 in Preparing - The Israelites in Egypt. We are still thoroughly enjoying reading about a girl named Tirzah and experiencing the Israelites life in Egypt and then their escape. This book really draws us into the time, the experiences and has helped our understanding. I highly recommend this book - Tirzah by Lucille Travis.

The science experiment this week was fun. Even Damon with his sore head headed out to have a go! The question was 'How do bats help the saguaro cactus to produce seeds?' This meant that Adele had to pretend to be a bat or at least set up an experiment. She grabbed a glass, dipped the rim into water, then into some sugar (pollen). She made a flower out of paper towel and set it underneath the glass. She poured juice into the cup (nectar), cut a piece of straw smaller and this was her bat like tongue!! She then tipped the glass towards her and sipped. And she pleasantly discovered that the pollen (sugar) had stuck to her face :) This was a great illustration of how bats help cactuses by carrying pollen from flower to flower.

We moved into Unit 7 on tuesday and Damon still had a headache!! We strated looking at a new poem 'Foreign Lands' by Robert Louis Stevenson. As usual the kids were really excited about poetry and put in a great effort with their poetry writing, as they imagined that they were sitting high up in a tree. They listed all the things they'd see, then they both wrote their poems.

The history project this week was a 3D pyramid. I found that I had to help with this one, as both the kids found it difficult to make their pyramids. And they still turned out a little wonky!! lol. But they were pyramid shaped :) The kids have helped create these and have sprinkled sugar over them to make them sparkle, but the rest of the project will be finished next week.

Adele worked really hard on her internet research about pharoahs. Her computer skills are improving every week. And she drew a very cute pharoah in a pharaohs outfit! :)

Adele impressed me this week, she did not get frustrated with Draw and Write through History!!! WOW!!! She was quiet and she worked slowly, carefully on her picture of moses. And it was fantastic! She did a great job.

DITHOR this week was fun as they started their projects. Adele is making a patchwork of information and Damon is creating a game board of facts and questions.

Adele is carefully measuring out pretty material to stick onto her patchwork design and has worked out what interesting information she will add to it from her book, Louis Braille.

Damon has just started and has decided on a topic with categories.

Last week we started a new english program. It has been a long year battling with Rod and Staff. We chose to try LifePAC english. And I am glad I did. The kids are working more independently, they seem to be working better and it is not overload. I like the fact that we have one english focus for the day - spelling, grammar, handwriting, reading or a word study. We are not overloading with tasks. It is great, both the kids and I are happy!! YAY!!

This week we have also returned to piano. And Adeles teacher was amazed that after such a long break, that she has memorised the notes and is playing really well! I think all the info. sunk in whilst we were absent!!

Also at the end of the week our good friend took us material shopping for our christmas dresses. We all found what we were looking for and we can't wait for monday when we start sewing!!!

Although Adele did a great job sewing this week. Adele owned a doll that she felt was quite immodest and needed a new outfit, so she rummaged through a bag of scrap materials, creating a dress for her doll. She placed the materials on the dolls body in a beautifully modest style and sewed them on. I was very impressed.

Avril and Josef this week read about Joseph. Avril had the task of painting with a cotton bud stick, stripes onto a sheet of paper towel, just like Josephs' coat! She did this well. Whilst she was painting Josef decided to join in painting his toy plane!!! Thankfully it was old and he did a wonderful job :)