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Web Design for Kids Review

Quarter Mile Math
Kids designing their own webpages? The thought never occurred to me!
But, Brian Richardson, founder of Click Drag Solutions believes that with a basic "fundamental understanding of HTML, [kids] can create a functional web page, that's hand-coded, all by themselves!"
Web Designs for Kids (. . . and Curious Grown-Ups!) is a DVD that is about 1 hour and 22 minutes long and consists of seven chapters that result in making your own web page on your C drive.
DVD contents include:
  1. 10 Basic Lines of Code
  2. Sandwiches and Colors
  3. Make Subject Stand Out
  4. Stand Alone Tags
  5. Designing Backgrounds
  6. Fonts and Paragraphs
  7. Pictures
The software necessary is already on your computer - notepad, IE (or Text Edit and Safari with modifications) and Paint.
Kids learn how to color backgrounds, use images as backgrounds, color letters, change fonts, and even make letters dance across the screen. The DVD promotes attention to detail because if something is incorrectly coded, it won't work.
The DVD uses kid friendly language - tags become sandwiches and end tags become stop signs. Brian Richardson talks right to the kids and even includes a few jokes to keep it fun (a tad bit corny, but laughable). He walks you through each step and has you pause the DVD to apply what you have learned. I also had my kids take notes so they could remember later what to do. They each had fun taking turns following the steps on how to type their code, make it look nice and how to save and view as an html.
My kids (ages 9, 10 and 13) were able to work this the DVD to create their own basic web page on my C drive! And this curious grown up made one too. :-)
It did leave me wondering how to get our web pages online for you all to see! That part was not explained in this DVD.
You can see sample websites made by kids. Note: The samples include websites that use concepts not taught in this DVD, such as using CSS to create links. I'm hoping that will be in the next DVD.
Here is one cool thing we learned - go to the top of this screen and Click "View" and then "View Source." All that "gobbly gook" is what we learned about!
Sample of the video:
There is also a Bonus Chapter on File and Folder Management including basic things like how to create a folder, how to save things inside the folder, and how to move files that were not saved in the correct place. This was especially helpful for me - my files are a mess.
Click Drag Solutions is running a summer special for $19.99 + $3.99 shipping. I think the price is worth it as it can be used with multiple kids . . . and curious grown-ups! I have already seen how it is improving my time spent on blogging. I have applied several concepts from the video to edit my html in my layout and posts.
And, I really wanted you to see what I created, so with the help of a good friend, I uploaded it to our website. Up until now, she has done all the web design, but I now have my own page! Visit my web page here to see what I created using the concepts from the DVD. Note: I used some of my blogging experience to create links.
I am very pleased with how it came out and plan to add more to my page as well as write a few articles. I had no desire to learn html coding for websites before, but now I am excited to learn more!
Jordan, my oldest, asked me if this was a curriculum that I am writing a review for and when I said yes, he gave me a thumbs up and said, "Give it a good review then." :-)
We all enjoyed becoming a little more computer literate and this added a neat dimension to our homeschool that I had not thought to add before!
To see what other crew members think of Web Design for Kids (. . . and Curious Grown-Ups!), click here.

Hank the Cowdog

Life on a cattle ranch from a dog's point of view. That's Hank the Cowdog!
As a member of The Old School House Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review several Hank items:
When John Erickson, a former cowboy himslef, wrote the first Hank book, he saw it as a story a family read out loud together, which is why he began recording the books on audio. Each story also has a song or two in them. And where else would you hear dogs, coyotes, raccons, buzzards and more singing?
Hank's Tales and Tunes provides a great introduction to many of the characters in the Hank stories as it includes excerpts from 10 of Hank's stories, plus 9 original songs. They are performed like an old time radio show with sound effects and unique voices by the author himself. After listening to the CD you will "hear" the characters when you read the books. The dogs, buzzards and coyotes not only talk, they sing! You'll hear a variety of instruments including the banjo, marimba, synthesizers, guitar and more. It is 68 minutes long and Maverick books is currently selling the Tales and Tunes CD on Hank's website for the special price of $3.
Hank's TORNADO game is a wild, fast paced race and chase game. Each person gets a Hank, Drover, and Junior the buzzard game piece and it is a race to see who can get their pieces around the board and safe in their home spaces first. Plus there is a cassete tape with 30 minutes of excerpts from Hank's 25th story, The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado. They tell a story that fits with the game. The game board folds up into it's own case and can easily be played in the car.
My boys played this with a neighbor friend and had so much fun with it that they didn't want it to end. When they got to the end and they didn't spin the correct number of spaces to win, they would go around the board again (as opposed to waiting until next turn)!
In The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse Hank encounters all kinds of trouble, including a killer horse named Tuerto. You can listen to a sample of the audio here.
Maverick offers the following on their website:
  • Paperback: $4.24
  • Hardback: $12.49
  • Cassette* $14.99
  • 1 paperback, 1 audio tape* $17.99
  • 1 paperback, 1 CD* $19.99
  • Audio CD* $17.99
  • *Cassettes and CD's unabridged.
See the complete selection of books and audio here or see their master products list here. There are now 54 books in the Hank Series, 5 more "audio only" stories, and lots of other Hank items available.
You can also visit:
Just so you know, I found Hank the Cowdog to be humorous, but slighty uncouth at times. I found some of the language and themes to be objectionable for our family. You might like this if your family is not sensitive to words like "idiot," "stupid," "dadgum" or "shut up, etc. and those kinds of things don't bother you. There was a time that we were desensitized to these kinds of things. If none of the above applies to you, you just might enjoy Hank the Cowdog.
Because John Erickson saw Hank as "a story a family read out loud together" - we did just that and substituted a few words like "silly" for "stupid." My husband did a great job reading and the boys were howling with laughter. They think it's a hoot - I say it is the kind of shenanigan humor I barely approve of! To see what other crew members think of 'ol Hank, click here.

Tot School ~ Open Ended Summer Play

Tot School
~Eliana is 30 months~
Tot School for the past two weeks has been all self taught! Summer here has been full of projects and free play time for little ones. Even so, I grabbed a few shots to share with you.
Open Ended Art
The theme was tissue paper and you can see more of what we did here!
My husband gave me a bouquet of daisies and after about a week, they were calling Elli's name to be arranged. My goal was to give her a love and appreciation for beautiful things. Hopefully one day she will be a joyful keeper at home!
We have made several trips to the fountains and this is just some of the fun she has had. Our first trip she would not even go near the water and now she is truly enjoying it! (She still stays near the smaller ones, though!)
And don't you just love her outfit? I made those pants, but not for that top! She is quite independent when it comes to dressing herself, but she still lets me do her hair. :-)
Malachi is studying the letter W, so we made several trips to the creek to go wwwading.
She loved playing in the shallow current and stayed close to the rocks. Jordan was great to spend most of his time at the creek playing with her.
I included this pic to show you how to roll your two and a half year old daughter's hair in curlers. While she is asleep, of course :-) She helped pick them out and of course chose pink. We I thought it would be fun and cute for a photo shoot for the Edwardian Apron and dress I made for her. (Coming soon!)
This week we are canning pickles, packing buckets and more, so no hope for formal tot school. But, I will tell you something - she has really impressed me with how well she plays by herself and what a wonderful imagination she has! She will sit and play for hours and have a storyline to go with it. She is also building tents out of couch cushions and just being a kid. I am thankful that she is so happy and content no matter what is going on around her! While we are missing in action, feel free to check out our past Tot School posts! And see what others are doing for Tot School here!

Open Ended Art - Tissue Paper

I have been wanting to let my little ones do more open ended art, so I am happy to participate with Open Ended Art, a weekly meme at Teaching My Little Bookworm.
Theme: Tissue Paper
My intention was to give them a variety of colors and shapes of tissue paper, glue, paintbrushes and sponges, cardstock, glass and glass jars and just let them create. I tried really hard not to "fix" their work (hardest with the littlest) and tried to emphasize the process rather than the end product. That was hard because I did have an end result in mind by offering them glass jars - see Susana's post here. (I'll do better next time). Even so, they surprised me with their creativity!


 My children never used to use their imagination during play. They do now and I have my husband to thank for that! He has done a wonderful job encouraging our children to use their imagination.  Here are some of the ways:
Create a Storyline
First, he encouraged the kids to have a "storyline" when they play. He would challenge them to play for an hour and tell him their storyline when he got home from work. 
I chuckle as I recall my son Dylan when he was 4. In his storyline, his guy was always falling. That's it.  Now, I can't keep up with all the complex plots and storylines going on! 
Second, he plays with them and they build great storylines together. It is amazing watching them play! 
Oh, and favorites to play with are cars, G.I. Joes, legos, blocks, and Playmobil, and Go Anywhere Girls and babies/dolls (for my only girl). 
He challenges them to play with anything. For example, a bowl of popcorn becomes an army. The popcorn is lined up on the table and popcorn missiles go flying! This is how Luke played as a child. He didn't need fancy toys to entertain himself. Which is why he is such a wonderful writer. He wrote a wonderful children's book about a little boy and his imagination and I hope he will have it illustrated and published one day. 
One game that he devised with the boys involves using Matchbox cars and a die with the tiled floor as a race track.  While taking turns they roll the die and move their vehicle that many spaces (tiles) forward.  If they roll a '3' then they roll again and move somebody else's car back that many spaces.  Once at our campsite, without any cars and only a die in hand, each boy selected items to represent their "vehicle".  One boy selected four flowers to represent his four cars while another selected two big logs and two plastic water jugs for his teams.  Luke chose a pine cone and a dirt clump for one team and two rocks for his other team.  It was the beginning of fun!
Table Talk Fun
During meals we play add on and memory games. One we play is called "My Buddy." We go around the table and add on a characteristic of our "buddy."  The first person picks the first feature, whether it be eyes, ears, nose, hair, etc. Then they say, "My buddy has a big freckled nose with long hair sticking out of his nostrils" (they are boys). The more descriptive words (adjectives) the better! Then everyone adds a nose to their imaginary friend. The last person begins the next round, adds another feature and repeats all the features before.  At the end everyone has a unique imaginary buddy, for example: 
"My buddy has a big freckled nose with long hair sticking out of his nostrils, big colorful elephant ears, wild frizzy hair, and purple polka dotted shoes . . . "
This is great because it encourages family time at the table. 
Pretend Play and Dress Up
This is one way that I encourage their imagination. My boy's favorite themes are "Hobos," "Hardy Boys" and "Mountain Men". They spend a lot of their free time creating and crafting props for their play.  
Hobo props:
  • Hobo stove
  • Suspenders
  • Old dirty cowboy shirt
  • Jeans
  • Old hat
  • Old beat up sunglasses
  • Soot or ashes for a mustache
  • Handkerchief
  • Deck of cards
Hardy Boys props:
  • Hardy Boy Kit (a tackle box filled with items below)
  • Homemade gadgets (such as "bugs" made from old electronic components -they take apart old machines and salvage parts for gadgets).
  • Old Cell phone with "secret compartment" (the part where the battery is stored)
  • Camera
  • Tape recorder
  • Spyware (wires, trip wires, bugs)
  • Disguises
  • Magnifying glass
  • Telescope
  • Wallet
  • Magnets
  • Flashlight
  • Book with hidden compartment
  • Tools (mini screw driver, file, etc.)
Mountain Man props:
  • Mountain man jacket (I take old leather jackets that I find at thrift stores and add fringe to them and sew on antler buttons)
  • Coon skin cap (or cowboy hat in more recent times)
  • Homemade hatchet
  • Possibles bag (leather bag to hold all their possibles (belongings)
  • Possibles (bandana, horn cup, tin cup, canteen, magnesium fire starter, tinder, coon and beaver skins for trade, ammo (discarded shells), etc.)
Here is the first Mountain Man outfit I made for Jordan 4 years ago!
And here is a recent picture - he was going for a "serious" look and couldn't stop smiling for the longest time!
You can see that the love of pretend "Mountain Man" play has lasted fours years and is going strong. Except that now that the boys are older, they are incorporating real possibles and supplies that a mountain man might carry and are building their dream "fort" in the mountains.
Imagination is Vital
Imagination is not only important, but vital. It keeps children from getting bored (and out of trouble) because it encourages them to be innovative by turning anything around them into something fun. It makes them thankful for everything they have because they can utilize practically anything to have fun. And it helps foster a creative sense that will help them become better problem solvers when the proper tool or procedure is unavailable and they must improvise.
One thing that helped them learn to solve problems with creativity and imagination was participating in D.I. (Destination Imagination). Nathan and Dylan's team took 1st place at State! Now, they see complex problems as a "D.I. challenge." In simple challenges, you are given a problem, a few supplies and they have to solve the problem, create a story, build a tool to use in solving the problem and then act it out! Great fun!
Playing with creativity and imagination encourages thinking, teaches them to solve problems creatively, keeps kids from getting bored and helps them to find joy no matter what the circumstances are! 

Adventures in Lacto-Fermentation

For Lifeskills, we made yogurt, kefir and kefir cheese.

To make the yogurt, Nathan is adding 1 cup of Mountain High Yogurt (a yogurt with live and active cultures) to 2 1/2 cups of milk in a quart jar. The jar is then placed in a warm oven (turned on to 170 degrees for 1 minute and then turned off) and allowed to culture. The yogurt was thickened after 24 hours and I took a cup of the yogurt to use for a starter, used a cup in my batch of lemon poppy seed muffins, and refrigerated the rest. The yogurt can be sweetened with honey and fruit for flavor and is an inexpensive way to always have yogurt!

To make kefir, Jordan is straining the kefir grains in a colander. I picked out the kefir grains and placed them in a quart jar and Nathan is filling the quart jar 2/3 with milk. If you get it too full, the bubbly action of the kefir will cause it to bubble over when the pressure is released upon opening the lid! I learned that the hard way! The kefir ferments at room temperature. I placed it in the oven with the yogurt to speed it up. I used the kefir in my batch of muffins, instead of milk. Kefir can also be used in place of buttermilk, in smoothies, and I don't like it straight, but some do! I plug my nose to drink it straight - and do so because it is a wonderful pro-biotic health drink!

Kefir can also be used to make cheese. This kefir had been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks, and you can see that the curds and whey have separated. We thought this would be a great time to make Kefir Laban - a fresh sour curd creamy cheese made from kefir. I strained the kefir grains out and Jordan poured the kefir into many layers of cheese cloth (muslin works better, but I had cheesecloth handy). We tied it closed and allowed the whey to drain. I used the whey to soak some oats to make Baked Oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Yummy!

The Kefir Laban is in the fridge aging. It was a sour kefir to begin with so if we let it age in the fridge, it will lose its sourness. We are hoping to make Kefir-Straightjacket dip with it! **Update, I added pizza seasonings, kalmata olives and roasted red pepper pureed, and it was fabulous! 

Stay tuned for more adventures in fermentation - I have a few more things growing around here! 

WFMW - Make Your Own Whiteboard

Want to know how you can make an oversized white board without exhausting your resources? A few years ago, my husband suggested I use Thrifty White Panel Board for a homemade white board. Home Depot carries it at $11.87 for a 4' x 8' panel. If you don't want one that big, they will cut it to size for you.

We installed our first one right on the wall with several screws (make sure to hit the studs). This makes a quick board, but beware of marker running off the board without an edge to stop it. You can add moldings (cut at 45 degree angles at the corner) for a nice finished look. Or you can use an old picture
frame like I did here.


I used duct tape to hold it in the frame. Cut to this size, it made 2 white boards 3' x 4' (with an 2 extra 1'x4' sections that would make great table top or travel boards. I saved the extra 3'x4' piece to replace this one if (when ) it gets scratched.

To see one way that we use the board, see my post here (scroll down).

It it is helpful to have a big white board that doesn't break the bank and that works for me!
P.S. A few drops of lemon essential oil on a rag is the BEST white board cleaner! It lasts a long time, is safe and all natural, smells great and also makes yummy lemon poppy seed muffins!

WFMW: Praying Scripture

God's word is powerful. Sharper than a double edged sword. When we use God's word and pray Scripture over our children, the effect is mighty. Powerful.

Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

We can be assured that if His word says it, it will happen.

So, I pray Scripture over my children and family.

One that I often pray is Psalm 133:1:
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!"

I then add my children's names so it looks like this:

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for Jordan, Nathan, Dylan, Malachi and Eliana to dwell together in unity!"

Not only am I praying Scripture, but I am also speaking a blessing over my children and that works for me!

Three Things You Didn't Know About Me

Three things you didn't know about me:

1. When I was in college the first time, my emphasis was photojournalism. I was a photographer and writer for the college newspaper. (Now, I photograph my children, blog and scrapbook).  I went to college a 2nd time and became a Dental Hygienist. I gave up my $25 an hour job so that I could homeschool. (Now, I clean my children's teeth).

2. When I submitted my life to the Lord, I wanted to serve Him in BIG ways. And now, I serve Him by serving my family.

3. I used to pray for patience until a wise, old woman told me that if you pray for patience, God will bring you tribulation. God must have heard every one of my prayers! 

G is for Gooey Gunk

~Malachi is 4 years 4 1/2 months ~

We had gobs of great fun with the letter Gg this week!

Bible Verse:
From Sing the Word A-Z
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus . . ."
1 Thes 5:18

Good Night Moon
Good Night Gorilla
Go Dog Go!


Greenhouse, Garden, Goldfish

We visited our local greenhouse and nursery and talked about all the different plants and trees growing there. The Sensitive Plant fascinated him the most. When you touch the leaves, they close up. It really is very cool. He was mostly anxious to get outside to see the pond and the goldfish (they were hiding under the lily pads).

Water Grenades

Mali threw the "Grenades" at a willing target brother - the only "catch" - if brother caught them, he got to throw them back. It was fun for him and I get to check off one more thing from our summer list. :-)

Gold Glitter and Green

This activity was inspired by Totally Tots: Now I Know My ABC's - Letter G. I originally supplied him with glitter and glue - but he wanted green paint, too. Can't argue with that!

I pre-measured all the ingredients, put them in order and let him make these all by himself. Instead of a traditional ginger snap, these are big and soft.

Frosty Green Grapes

We froze green grapes for a cool summer snack - a favorite around here!
I was happy to remember one of my boys' favorite Kid Concoction - Gooey Gunk because I had a rainbow of colored glue leftover from our fun with the letter R.


This is a recipe from Kid Concoctions. You add 1 cup water to 1 cup white glue and 2 Tbs. liquid tempera paint or 7-10 drops food coloring (solution A) and you slowly add this to 1 1/3 cup warm water mixed with 4 tsp. borax laundry booster (solution B).


Then you roll solution A around in solution B 4-5 times. Then lift the gunk out and knead for a few minutes. It will be really slimy at first, but it firms up.

We made green, blue, yellow and purple. It was a gooey hit!

Globs of Glue


Mali initiated this project and had fun freely exploring with leftover colored glue.

As I mentioned in my very first post, my vision for my preschool has been learning through creative play. One thing I need to work on, though, is to allow him more freedom in expression throughout these experiences. I have focused too much on the product instead of the process. Often, if I have an idea in my head how something should look or be, he will have something else in mind. I want to encourage his creativity, so from now on, I am going to try to do just that!

Delightful Links:
Now I Know My ABC's ~ G
To see more of our alphabet fun, click here and to see what others are doing for preschool, click here!

Tot School ~ ABC Fishing, Letter G and Pink Swim Noodle Fun

Tot School

~Eliana is 29 months old~

Here is what we have been up to this week!

I saw this fun idea at Her Cup Overfloweth and have been wanting to do it since. She has some great instructions, except I took the easy way out and had my husband cut them on his radial arm saw. I couldn't find the pipe cleaners, so I used a clothes pin instead. She carried these around for several days until I caught her biting chunks out of it.

Here is what we did with one of the noodle beads:

Pink Noodle Sponge Painting

I was trying to think of more fun ways to use a swim noodle, other than swimming of course. Any ideas?

  ABC Fishing

Now that the newness of the kiddie pool has worn off, I thought this would be a great time to do some fishing. Malachi helped her identify the letters.

I originally saw this idea to fish with a net in a pool on a Tot School post somewhere, and then more recently I saw it being done with letters. I thought this was a great idea! I can't find who that was, but I left comments on both of your posts, so if this was you, would you let me know, so I can link to your post?

Elli is so funny lately. She has caught on that letters have sounds and that words begin with letters. She will say a sound and then the word, but often gets the sound wrong for the word. It is so cute to see her trying. She is also exaggerating the syllables (ba-nan-na) to see how many a word has.

Summer Sprinkles
After our fishing fun, she ran through the sprinkler - one of her favorite things to do and I have piles of wet clothes daily to prove it!
  Gold, Glitter and Letter Gg
I was inspired by Now I Know My ABC's: Letter G. She seems interested, so I am starting to include her in Malachi's preschool activities more.

  Gooey Gunk
Another G activity with her brother! See more of the gooey fun we had here!


Mali made ginger cookies, so she joined in the fun rolling dough into balls and then in sugar and flattening them. All of the things she loves to do with playdough, but it was edible! (Note: I do let my kids eat small amounts of cookie dough because I use farm fresh eggs from happy healthy chickens and they are safe to eat raw. I would not do this with store bought eggs).


What Elli does in her spare time (besides playing with her babies). She used the whole bench and even uses the chimney cabinet for her creations.

Bike Riding

I have gotten much better about taking my camera with me when I leave the house (notice the case attached to my belt). We try to stick to the bike trails when we ride as a family. She loves this, but wants to take her helmet off after about 30 minutes. We usually stop at a park and let her play and then ride home.
It has been a fun week, but I have no idea what we are doing next week! I am working on a a few special projects for her, though. I'll share what those are next Tot School. :-)

Rainbow Resource

I love Rainbow Resource. They are a homeschool family business that is friendly and a pleasure to do business with. If I can get what I need there, I do. So when I saw Angie's review, I am so glad I didn't miss this one because I usually have a list of things I want there.   Don't miss it- head on over to My Four Monkeys for a chance to win a $30 gift certificate from Rainbow Resource!

Our Summer List

Summer is flying by at our house and before the long summer days are gone, I thought it best to make a list of what we would like to do this summer.  I sat all the boys down at the table, grabbed a board marker, and wrote on the board, in big letters, the word SUMMER.  My boys looked at me with long faces and said, isn't summer over? (We may begin our official homeschool year July 1st, but summer is FAR from over.)  So, I asked them to tell me what Summer means to them.

Summer means:
  • Camping
  • Campfires
  • Picnics
  • BBQ's
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Playing at the park
  • Swimming
  • Bike rides
  • Water fun
  • Homemade Lemonade 
  • Iced Tea
  • Homemade icecream
  • Rootbeer floats
  • Big slices of watermelon
  • Road trips
  • Roodabumps (Rooda what?)
  • Soccer camp
  • Gardening
  • Rodeo
  • Parade
  • Fair
  • BIG Splash Waterpark
When all was said and done, we realized we have already accomplished much of this list. In fact, we have already done more camping this summer than ever. And we will have plenty of opportunities to do the rest. 

Looking at the list helped put things in perspective and gave us a goal for the rest of our summer.  

We school year round, and enjoy the benefits of doing so, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a summer. Cool early mornings and evenings are filled with lots of free time, playing outside and hands on outdoor activities, while hot sunny afternoons are spent cooling off from the sun with homemade chocolate milkshakes or smoothies, avoiding sunburns, and doing "summer" school (at a more relaxed pace than normal) and that works for us! 

How about you?  What does Summer mean to you and your children? Do you have a summer plan?  What works for you in the summer?

To see what works for others, visit Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family!