Friday, August 28, 2009

Fix-It Fridays

fix it Friday How utterly sweet does this little girl look? I love the light green dress paired with the purple flowers and the orangish brick background. Loving the triadic color scheme! What a fun Fix-It-Friday photo!

At first glance this looked like an easy fix. There is a slight greenish color cast and the skin tone needs to be corrected. But for some reason, I have the hardest time correcting tan skin tones to make them look normal. My son has a similar coloring and I find that the adjustments I do either make his skin have a weird red tone or a blah yellow. I don't know if I'm explaining myself clearly, but I'd love some tips!

fix it black and white So here's my normal fix when I can't get the skin tones right---I convert to black and white. In this case it's called "chocolate".

using brushes And here's my corrected color version (as best as I could) paired with the black and white. I added some selective coloring, a beauty glow action and used some brushes from Designer Digitals.

Get some more tips and ideas from:


Giving a Little Praise

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.

2 Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.


3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.

6 He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
sea creatures

8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,

9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,

Psalm 148

10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,


11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,

12 young men and maidens,
old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

14 He has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his saints,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the LORD.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scrapbooking as an Educational Tool Part2

Scrapbooking as an Educational Tool
S.E.T. Scrapbooking Part 2

I listed some of the benefits of using scrapbooking as an educational tool in my previous post. I've been thinking about this subject for a couple of weeks, so the kids and I worked on some pages to show you what S.E.T. scrapbooking could look like in your school.

For one of her notebooking assignments for her insect class, my oldest daughter wrote about bees. We used a quick page, added the title and added the little bee. Then we typed in what she had written down on her notebooking page. I took the photo while visiting a butterfly garden. We just had to add it under the photo opening on the quick page. A very simple way to have kids start to scrapbook.

Now this page shows how you can incoporate 3-D memorabilia. This spring the kids went around the house and picked maple seeds/seedlings in various stages. Then they created their own visual of the stages. I took a picture of it and my oldest daughter incorporated it on her scrapbook page. She created this whole page herself.

This is a page my middle DD and I worked on. We used another quick page to make the layout. Since she is younger, I had her dictate to me about insects while I typed. The picture is of her holding a praying mantis nymph.

During the previous election season, I had my kids do their own stuffed animal elections. They each had to create a campaign poster for their candidate. This one was created by my oldest DD.

This one was created by my DS. After each campaign poster was made, they made their own 2min. campaign speech via a flip-video recorder. We uploaded both the pictures and the videos and had people vote. It was a great learning activitiy.

So here are just a few examples of S.E.T. scrapbooking. To give you a hint on how well it is going over at our house, my ds announced to me that he is only doing two things for school today, taking his math test and working on his scrapbooking page. :) Tomorrow I'll be posting on how to get started and some tips and tricks to implementing scrapbooking, whether paper or digital, into your school routine.

Bee Layout Credits:
Alicia Quick-Page by Lynn Grieveson
Alicia Alphabet by Lynn Grieveson
Whimsy Doodle Brushes by Katie Pertiet

Bug Layout Credits:
Bug Quick-Page by Katie Pertiet
Seeds Layout Credits:
Downtown papers by Katie Pertiet
Book by Katie
Clean Clusters No. by Katie Pertiet
Vote Tiger
Vote Bear

Buttons by Katie Pertiet


Monday, August 24, 2009

Scrapbooking as an Educational Tool

I've been selfish. Yep. You heard it right. I have been scrapbooking for over 10 years and my family knows that this is my hobby. Though what I scrap is usually about my kids, I rarely let them scrap with me. And now that I scrap digitally, I have to admit that I don't want to share the computer or have them access my stuff where they might mess it up.

Lately I've been feeling convicted.

While talking with my oldest DD, I casually mentioned teaching her how to digital scrapbook. Her eyes lit up. She wanted to get started right away. She was excited. So I asked my son what he thought. I was very surprised that he thought it would be fun (though the thought of him on my computer scares me because he's not afraid to click anything, move folders, create passwords, change screensavers...) So this year, as part of our homeschool curriculum, we will be using scrapbooking to document things we've learned, places we've visited, and people we love. While the kids might think they are just creating a scrapbook, I on the other hand, know what they will really be doing. We will be doing it digitally, but many of the same principles apply to paper scrapbooking too.

1. Narration Narration is retelling what you learned in your own words. We already incorporate notebooking, copywork and dictation, but digital or paper scrapbooking is another creative way to add narration into our school routine.

2. Gathering and Organizing Information

3. Project Planning

4. Introduction to Color Sense and Design Principles

5. Typing

6. Writing for an Audience

7. Developing Patience and Fortitude (yes, working with computers can sometimes be frustrating! Also, working on a whole album takes time and effort).

8. Learning software

9. Eye-hand coordination

10. Sense of Accomplishment

After seeing this list, I'm wondering why I waited so long to use this medium with our schooling. :)
Layout Supplies:
Bug Quick-Page by Katie Pertiet


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tot School Aug. 17-22

We are getting back into the swing of things with Tot school in the Spell household. I now have two tots enrolled! I still have to organize all the workbox and toddler activities that we have, so this week we kind of just pulled things out of the cabinet without much planning :)

DD#3 did some free-play with her farm magnet set. She also matched the pictures with the words (using the small picture on the word card---you know she's not reading yet :) ) and told me what each animal says.

Then she joined the older kids in illustrating Psalm 148. She glued flowers and colored. She really enjoyed gluing---almost too much! I had to take the bottle away and tell her she was done :)

Now I kind of forgot to plan something for DD#4. I quickly glanced around the room to see what I could find that would amuse her. I found my stash of plastic lids and a plastic cup. Viola! Cheap and easy activity.

The lids the perfect size for her. I didn't have to worry about her choking on them. I was very surprised to see how much she enjoyed putting them in the cup and then dumping them out.

For even more tot school ideas check out this week's round-up:


Friday, August 21, 2009

Fix-It Fridays No. 25

I have been enjoying participating in Fix It Fridays over at I Heart Faces. Today's picture is of this handsome young man. Here's what I did:

1. Levels adjustment
2. Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and decreased reds
3. Was still too dark for my liking so I did another adjustment layer.
4. Duplicated the photo on a new layer and set to soft light at 30%
5. Did Rachel Durik's hint for adjusting the "orange" ear
6. Then ran Photoblast Contra Pop
(probably should have run it through noiseware but didn't have time)

Then as usual, I just had to scrap it.

Digital supplies used:

Work Hard Play Hard Papers by Anna Aspnes
Quote by Mindy Terasawa
Roughed Up Krafty No. 2 by Katie Pertiet


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Say Cheese! Not Back to School Photos

It is back to (home)school week at the Spell household. Darcy of 3 Boybarians has been hosting a Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop since Aug. 3. I had every intention of entering the past 2 weeks, but just wasn't organized enough to get a post done (hey we were still enjoying our summer! I wasn't thinking "school" yet) :) So this week's theme was something I felt I could handle---taking first day of school photos of my kids.

Oh oldest daughter is such a joy and has picture posing down pat. She sat down and we were done with her shoot in minutes.

My son is in a not-smiling phase. I told him he couldn't leave the chair unless he let me take a good picture of him. We were out there awhile. I like the end result though!

Middle daughter always squints. I don't know what's up with that. Today she kept rolling her tongue between the missing teeth spaces in her mouth.

Two-year old DD has a mind of her own. I have not been able to take any good pictures of her for a couple of months. She refuses to look at the camera. I put my camera on continuous shooting, had my older daughter stand behind me and bribe her with a sucker. It worked! I love this photo of her.

And the baby. We weren't really planning on taking her picture today. She's still in her p.j.'s and her hair is stiff due to the fruit juice from breakfast. But she sure did turn on the cheese! Love her goofy expression.

Digital Supplies:
Back to School Twill by Ali Edwards
School Rules by Pattie Knox


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Tea

This week we have officially started school. We're easing into the routine (more for my sake!). Over the past year we have randomly done "Tuesday Tea". I blogged about one of our Tues. Tea parties last April. We were doing Shakespeare back then. Today while we enjoyed our tea, I read Johnny Tremain. It is one of our Core 3 Read-Alouds from Sonlight

Doesn't our set-up look so pretty? My mom gave us some of our family's heirloom tea cups, tea pots and glass dishes. Her philosophy is that you can't create memories with them if you leave them in a china cabinet. I still get nervous watching the kids use them.

We are such a proper tea-drinking family. Oh, you noticed---we use white tea. Ok, ok, we can't stand tea so we usually have milk, water or juice in our fancy tea cups

My older daughter made mini-blueberry muffins for use to enjoy with our "tea". My middle daughter (pic. above) and her brother (pic. below) really know how to polish off those muffins.

So here's to throwing our first tea party of the year! It is one of our favorite "school" traditions.


Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm a Girl, No a Mermaid...

I've added a new title to my list of titles-- that of official toy tester. Ebeanstalk, a toy site dedicated to selecting good, safe baby toys recently asked for mom volunteers to test their toys--and of course I volunteered. I didn't really think they'd send me anything, but was pleasantly surprised when they did. They sent me MacKenna Mermaid from Manhattan Toy, who makes great developmental toys. Being in a house with 4 young girls of varying ages, I knew this was the perfect review toy for us.

Target Age: The manufacturer recommends this toy for ages 3-8. My almost three-year old thought it was a "pretty baby", but my 7yr. old was very excited to play with this mermaid doll. There are small parts (the purse and ruffles) that could cause a choking hazard, so I wouldn't purchase this for any child under 3--in fact I'd probably wait until my younger DD was at least 4 years old.

Since my 7yr. old showed the most interest, I let her check out the toy. We've had Groovy Girls in our house before, but never one of the special mermaids. My daughter was captivated by the shimmery fabric, pink hair and the fact that you could take the tail off and the doll becomes a regular girl. She also liked that MacKenna had a neat little shell purse, and that you could remove the arm ruffles if you wanted. For her, the doll was a great catalyst for pretending. Right away she was setting up scenes and mermaid adventures.

Durability and Quality: I thought the doll seemed well-made and looked like it would hold up even with lots of use. I liked that it is a soft-body doll made of velour. It is 13" tall and light-weight. The clothes have Velcro closures and were pretty easy to change (though I occasionally found it trying to get the legs back in the mermaid tail, but DD didn't have any problem). I know my DD will probably loose the purse within a week though ;)

Pros: Fun colors, easy to carry around, well-made, and it is like getting two dolls in one.

Cons: Some of the small parts might get lost quickly. Children under 5 might have difficulty getting the tail back on by themselves.

My daughter has enjoyed this toy and now has the other mermaid dolls on her wish list. I'm pretty pleased myself and will consider adding more mermaid friends to her collection.
The product reviewed in this article was a sample provided to me by the company. These views and opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Curriculum Giveaway Winners

I have really enjoyed participating in the Big Curriculum Clean-Out over the past two weeks. I've doubled the amount of blogs in my reader because I've found so many cool blogs out there! So here are the last two winners:

Sonlight LA Beginning to Read: "Miss" Anita
Homeschooling Books: Melissa

The prizes from this week and last week will be mailed in a couple days. Thank you all for making this fun!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

One Year Old in the House

Oh where has the time gone? Today my baby is 1 year old! She already has an independent streak. I'll miss some of the baby stages, but I am looking forward to seeing how much she changes this year (and hopefully one big change will be that she sleeps through the night!)

For her birthday I finally framed the wall-art I created back in this post. I purchased a plain wood 12x12 frame from Hobby Lobby and painted it. There is a second one, basically the same, on the other side of the window for my other daughter. Actually there is a 3rd print in this series, but Hobby Lobby only had 2 frames and I was impatient and wanted it up on the wall. So now I don't know if I will ever frame the 3rd one because it will mess up the balance on that wall. We'll see. :)

I'm off to eat cake, and celebrate with family! Have a great weekend.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Fix-It Fridays #24 - using PSE

It is Fix-It Fridays over at I ♥ Faces. This week's photo is of this cute little guy. Here's what was said and some fixes from the contributors. I am learning so much from the tips that the contributors give each week. This week I kind of followed Andrea Riley's workflow, with some of my own modifications. I used PSE 4.0 for these fixes.

Ran Noiseware
Adjusted levels
Adjusted Reds
Did an adjust for skin tone layer using the hint by Andrea Riley
Ran Beauty Glow Action by Photoblast
Sharpened the eyes by selecting, using high-pass and then changing the blending mode to soft light. It looked a little bright in the catchlights so I lowered the opacity to make it more natural.
Ran Contra Pop Photoblast Action

Then I couldn't resist doing something scrappy with the photo.

Digital Supplies:
Sewn Statements No. 2 by Katie Pertiet
Samantha Rose Paper by Katie Pertiet
Stitching by Anna No. 2 Brown Anna Aspnes
Brad Bonanza by Pattie Knox


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flour Child

I posted this picture about a month ago and finally got around to scrapping it. I still remember that day. I was working on my computer and she was playing with a toy nearby. She crawled to the fake antique pie-safe and pulled down the flour cannister. I guess those snap-top lids keep air, ants and water out, but not 11 month olds. :)
Digital Supplies used:

Carissa Paper by Michelle Martin
Carissa Solids by Michelle Martin
SpeedByte No. 128 by Pattie Knox
Pinked Circles Pink by Ali Edwards
Cremerie Fruitsnoir Kit (buttons) by Katie Pertiet
Stitched by Anna WhiteNo. 2 Anna Aspnes
distressed toolset no. 6 by Anna Aspnes

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Cassie's Workbox Graphics

(Click image to download)

About a month ago, my friend Cassie allowed me to post her awesome workbox set-up, which you can find here. I received so many emails wondering where they could get her workbox schedule cards. Well we have received permission to go ahead and share with all of you! The graphics used on her cards were created by Katie Pertiet and Anna Aspnes. Thank you Cassie, Katie and Anna!

I know that many of you are planning out your workboxes or already using them for this year. Here are some more good workbox resources:

-- printable workbox activities can be found at Homeschool Share.
-- file folder games at File Folder Fun

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bug Color Sort

Since I knew my older kids were going to be studying insects this summer, I picked up these stretchy bugs from the Dollar Spot at Target this past spring. I figured I could use them with the older kids and with my toddler. I have a bad habit of picking up things at the Dollar Spot without knowing what I'm going to do with them. I always feel better when I can justify my purchase :) This is my attempt to do just that. ;)

Since the bugs only came in 6 colors, I went ahead and made a 6 color sorting mat that matched the bug colors. (Click link above if you think you might have a use for it)

Then we dumped them all out, stretched them a bit because we couldn't resist, and worked on finding the right "home" for each bug. Apparently the blue bug is visiting the orange bug ;)

This activity will be added into our toddler workbox lists. Later I'll have her divide the bugs into groups that have 6 legs and those who don't (this pack has spiders and centipedes too). She's not quite up to that skill yet. We might use them for counters, as game board pieces and for "bug hunts". So many options!

Yep, this works for me and DD#3!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bugs er Insects er Bugs?

Oh I am so blessed to have friends who like to teach and don't mind if my kids join in! A local friend and her mom are teaching a small group of kids all about insects using Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th Day as the basis of the class. The cool thing is that the class is held outdoors on a farm, where there are lots of opportunities to find living examples of the concepts being taught. Oh I like that!

So normally my DD#2 wouldn't be posing for a picture holding a bug, er, insect, er bug--I'll have to ask them what the difference is---there is a difference! She had found a praying mantis nymph. It was actually pretty fascinating. It kept jumping all over her hand, and when she would try to put it down, it would jump back onto her hand.

Now when we are out and about, the kids are noticing the things that are flying around them, instead of automatically swatting them. We marveled at the iridescent color that we saw on the dragonfly by the creek.

We thought it was so cool to find a moth camouflaged on a tree during a recent hike.

We are having so much fun looking for insects. I can't believe I'm actually photographing them and enjoying it. Do you think this might be a good enough excuse to add a macro lens to my photography toolbox? Ok, I'll just keep on wishing .... ;)

Here are some good insect resources that I've come across:

Connections ~ Insects: listing of units, lapbooks, Five in a Row books dealing with insects
Insect Print-outs @ Enchanted Learning
butterfly hand-prints: geared toward toddler/preschool
butterfly cards - you can use these for identification or print it off to create a memory game

Oh, I asked about the "bug" question. Here's what my dd read from the book, "Bugs are a special group of insects that have interesting wings and belong to the order Hemiptera."
Exploring Creation with Zoology1 by Jeannie Fulbright.

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