Amber on the Mountain {FI♥AR}

The setting for Amber on the Mountain is somewhere in the mountains - we are not told which ones, but I did a search on "swiss mountain life" and this gorgeous photo of the Swiss Alps caught my eye ~ it looks just like the mountains on the cover of the book! Then this photo of a cabin the mountains. Does that not take you right into the book?! I showed the second picture to Elli and she exclaimed, "That's Amber on the Mountain!" These photos are in a post called Tour de Swiss and truly capture the essence of Amber on the Mountain.  So, we will place our story disk on the Alps in Switzerland.

For Social Studies, we covered mountain life, Swiss culture, determination, and friendship. For Science, we covered how mountains are formed. For Language Arts, we covered similes and parallelism, and Elli wrote a letter to a friend. For Art, we made our own entertainment (the kids did skits and made their own musical instruments) and listened to mountain songs. And for Math, we covered Months and I made sure Eliana had the months of the year down pat. (It's was covered in her Math book as well.)

As usual, I spread our five days over two weeks, rather than trying to get it all done in one week along with our basics, which makes for a full day themselves.

Here's some of what we covered:

Mountain Life & Climate ~ The Usborne Living World Encyclopedia

Amber lives an isolated life, so I liked that last tie in. :)

(Lapbook from Aussie Pumpkin Patch)

(We colored the Swiss flag backwards, oops!)


For our lesson on diligence, the kids chose an activity, set a goal, and then practiced daily. Elli wants to be able to jump rope 50 times without missing.

How Mountains Are Formed

Demonstrating How Folded Mountains are Formed



Lesson on Parallelism 

 FIAR Memory Making: Swiss Cooking

Traditional Swiss Mountain Dish made with potatoes, flour and butter. Simple and delightful - Maluns

Served with applesauce and sharp cheese. 

I found this imported cheese from Switzerland at Costco, would have bought it, but it is made from animal rennet and I couldn't find the animal source. If I had more time, I would research it more, but will share in case someone else is interested!

I didn't do a formal narration with Eliana. But, I overheard her give a perfect narration to her grandma over the phone while she was telling her all about what she is doing in school. I loved every little thing she said and wished I could have caught it on tape!

And I didn't get a picture of her letter, but it was very sweet to see her first attempt and imperfect spelling. She wrote to her friend, Megan, whom she met at the Feast at Steamboat Springs. She also drew pictures for several other little friends and we mailed them. I am so bad at snail mail, but I made it happen to hopefully teach her the lost art of handwriting letters.

For their own entertainment, they made up skits and played "Big."

Their dad is always getting them to participate in crazy skits and games for family time. They are really very funny and silly.

Big is using their imagination for role playing. They usually play Sister, Brother and Little Brother. But sometimes Bo is the dog. They make up creative stories for their characters. It's like they write a story each time they play. They never get bored of playing it because it's always different. They also play "Little." Little is like Big, but with toys. I love their imaginations. :)

With her lapbook pieces, we made a little bag book.

Amber on the Mountain is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 3.


Coming Up

I have been working hard to fulfill my commitment to the TOS Crew ~ I posted and linked up my last two reviews today!  I have a break from the Crew for a couple months and have been invited back, but do plan to scale back on the reviews a bit and take breaks when I need them. I took on a little too much this year and need to learn how to balance my love of curriculum with the fact that I can't do it all.

So, now that my year with the TOS Crew is over, I am free to move my blog back to Blogger. I'm planning to do that right away so I can get all of the kinks ironed out before the new year. I never realized how much energy, time and money it would take to keep up my blog at WordPress and I'm in a little over my head. I did move to a better host, but it costs me way more than I bargained for when I justified the move to WP.

Coming up after the move, I have some Five in a Row posts to share. We've been taking some time off to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, and we collected lots of nature loot for this:

And we've enjoyed every minute of it! I can't wait to share!

Now that the weather has turned with the most recent storm, I am staying warm snuggled up with a fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot tea. I'm ready to hunker down for the winter and get some school done. . . and guess where the kids have been? Out in the snow!

When they head outside to play in the snow this week, I am going to get some work done behind the scenes. So, if my blog is down, you will know why!

Hope to see you soon!

Chuggington StackTrack Brewster’s Big Build Adventure Play-set andChuggineers Ready to Build DVD {Review}

To celebrate the release of the new “Chuggineers Ready to Build” DVD ($14.98), we got to review a copy of the DVD and a sample of the new Chuggington playset!

The Chuggington StackTrack Brewster’s Big Build Adventure Playset by TOMY (MSRP $49.99) is designed for ages 3 and up, and is available at Toys R Us and Target.

Chuggington StackTrack Brewster’s Big Build Adventure Playset has some really neat features. It has 3 levels of tracks to play on, 4 different layout designs, and some innovative features that makes play time interactive. Plus, your child can use the set to act out scenes from the show.

See a quick overview video here to see how it works!

The DVD is based on the new Chuggington TV special airing on Disney Junior this fall. We had never heard of it before, so when the DVD arrived, I had the kids watch the DVD  first (knowing the playset would be here any day!). They LOVED it! So, they were very excited when it arrived!

In fact, my three children (ages 3, 7, and 9),  were so excited, they followed the instructions to put it together all by themselves and have played with it for hours already.

The play set is very interactive and has some innovative features, like a hand-cranked working escalator that carries the engines to the top of the track for another ride down.

After the engine gets to the top, it speeds down the track. . .

 And trips the bridge to collapse.

The engine then takes the escalator to the top again so it can operate the working mega crane and repair the broken track - again and again!

The playset has 4 different track designs, but only directions for one design. So I had to help the kids put together the other designs. (Instructions for the other designs would be helpful.)

The working crane still works with this design!

Time to fix the bridge again!

There is a switch to turn off the collapsing mechanism so that you don't have to fix the bridge every time.

Designed for ages 3 and up, my 3 1/2 year old had no trouble playing, but did need some help at first to learn how to operate all of the innovative functions.

My children have enjoyed playing with the Chuggington StackTrack Brewster’s Big Build Adventure Playset and watching the "Chuggineers Ready to Build" DVD! It has helped them to discover valuable lessons about safety, responsibility and teamwork. I've enjoyed watching them work together while playing. The kids have been begging me to let them take it up to their room for days now. I wanted to keep it downstairs so I could observe them playing, but they assured me that they would play with it lots up in their room as well! :)

The Chuggineers Ready to Build DVD contains the following episodes:
  • Chuggineers: Ready to Build Special

  • Brewster Makes Tracks

  • Back Up Brewster

  • Outward Bound Olwin

  • Fault Finder Emery

As well as these bonus features:

  • "We are the Chuggineeers!" Music Video

  • Badge Quest Episode: Night Chuggers

  • Character Montages: Zack and Jackman

  • Coloring & Activity Pages

These really are cute little stories that teach hard work and responsibility. I'm really happy to have my little guy watching them!

Disclosure: I received these products for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

Snake Oil - Party Potion {An Out of the Box Games Review}

Out of the Box Games Review

Out of the Box Games has a new zany game called Snake Oil – Party Potion. This fun game has brought lots of giggles to our house lately and has inspired some creative and often crazy "snake oil" salesman antics!

Out of the Box Games Review
In this card game, you choose one player to be the "customer" and the other players combine two cards from their hand to create a fictional product to "sell" to the Customer.

Just choosing their two cards to create a product brought lots of giggles and smiles.

Then they had to sell their product and convince the Customer that they need their product.

When it is your turn to be the Customer, you have the difficult task of choosing the best product to meet your need, based on what type of Customer card you drew. The Customer cards vary from Astronaut to Toddler.

Playing with the younger kids was a lot of fun. They were smart customers and picked products that actually matched their Customer card.

Be prepared for some silly products to come up! One that had my daughter rolling in hysterics was the "Butt Trumpet." She is selling a "Butt Trumpet" to her Customer ~ a Toddler.

Every toddler needs a "Butt Trumpet" right? :) Love her giggles! And this: "I'm sure you'll love it - but not most people."

Malachi had fun coming up with different voices for his salesman antics. He presents and wins with the "Torpedo Sponge." This is the opposite of a sponge in that when you shoot it, it repels water away from a drowning victim, and no lifeguard should be without one! ;)

This game is great not only for creativity, but also for improving communication skills!

Playing with the older boys was fun, but not quite as much fun. You could have a really great product and pitch the perfect speech to sell it, and they would pick the silliest answer regardless, even if it didn't relate to their Customer card. The player with the most Customer cards wins the game, so this was not as fun for the more practical members of our family! The beauty of this game is that it can be silly or practically silly, and next time I play with the older boys, I know to be silly and not practical!

Snake Oil - Party Potion is best for ages 8 and up. It can be used with those as young as 6 if they are reading. Eliana had a hard time reading some of the words on the cards, but I helped her and she did great! (She's 7). Malachi is 9 and he had no trouble at all.

My husband enjoyed playing with us as this is right up his alley! He is always performing zany skits with the kids and this game is a perfect fuse for his creativity and silliness.

There really wasn't anything I did not like about this game. I did remove two Word cards and two Customer cards that were not a good fit for our family. The word cards were easy to remove. The Customer cards are double sided, and the two I did not want to include in our play were on two cards, so I taped those two together.

Price: $14.99

For a fun and silly family game night, I highly recommend Snake Oil – Party Potion. There is also a Snake Oil version for ages 10 and up that other Crew mates reviewed. Be sure to click below to see their review!

Out of the Box Games Review
Perhaps my teen boys would have liked this version more? :)
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