This Month's Featured Resources...

Revolutionary WarScrap Crafting Lego History Latin Calendar

Friday, April 29

Harbor Lights (Sammy Kaye)

(scroll to bottom for unit study)  

Today, we're following Team Reyneri to Pearl Harbor for a reverent field trip...

Mom writes :
This year, I had the privilege to Visit Pearl Harbor with the kids. As a homeschooling family, anything we can do to bring history to life is high on our priority list. We often are blessed to travel with dad on business, and this year led us to Hawaii.

I hope the video below gives you a glimpse of how to create a special a visit to the National Park on Oahu at Pearl Harbor. There, you can visit the memorials of the battleships : USS Oklahoma, USS Missouri (where you can actually tour the battleship), and the USS Arizona.  After December 7, 1941, the world was never the same…and after a visit to the memorial, neither are we...

Here are my top five tips for making your visit to Pearl Harbor with kids something to remember and bring history to life.
  1. Book your tickets months in advance on the National Park site, and try to go as early as possible in the morning to avoid high winds that may cancel boat tours to the actual USS Arizona Memorial, aka Valor in the Pacific. (We got a glimpse from above in a Makani Kai Helicopter tour the next day, and could actually still see the Arizona underwater leaking oil, also referred to as black tears.)
  2. Pick up a Junior Ranger Scavenger hunt guide from the gift shop when you first arrive so the kids can follow along, and make sure to turn it in to the ranger station to get a badge at the end!
  3. Make sure you see the approximately 20-minute movie, narrated by Stockard Channing. I was recognizing her voice the whole film, but couldn’t place it- and finally asked the attendant at the end to help me recognize it. You’re welcome, Grease fans.
  4. Leave the gear at home. Bags and backpacks may not be carried inside. The largest item you can bring is a wallet. I was thankful for my “wallet on a string,” and left the strap in the car.
  5. Be prepared to be emotional, especially if you knew friends or family onboard. I spent a long time explaining to my youngest son how young his Great Uncle Bill Bruesewitz was and how he served our country and gave his life for us. Then I talked about how Jesus did the same. Amazing teaching lessons, complete with mama having a “moment.” Tissues needed.
  6. BONUS tip…Go on a Wednesday and hit the Aloha Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium ahead of time.

Thursday, April 28

Neon Tiger (The Killers)

The zoo is a popular stop in our family!  We maintain a yearly membership and go often.  But this year, we've started doing 'focused trips,' meaning that the kids pick one animal to focus their trip on.  We interact with the animals' zookeepers, and get up close with the animals, whenever possible.  Today, we're studying BIG CATS!
So far, we've studied :

Crafts & Fun
Online Resources

Love watching the boys all getting along at the same time!!

Monday, April 25

Stop This World (Diana Krall)

Good things come to those who wait!!  There's a surprise for you hidden in this on!

Some might say that I’m a bit of a tea addict…it’s not really a problem.  I just love collecting good quality teas!  My brain doesn’t quite wake up before that first cup of tea in the morning, and quiet evenings are made all the calmer by a nice, hot cup of calming tea.  The boys like to make their own cups, too, albeit with considerably more sweetener than mom.
Quality tea at a decent price, however, can be difficult to come by.  We switched to loose leaf a few years ago because it tends to be higher grade and lasts longer than tea bags.  Recently, we discovered a new tea company, and we’re having a blast experimenting with the tasty new flavors! 

When you visit the Blooming with Joy page, the first things you’ll notice are the gorgeous photographs.  These mixes and gift sets are hand-crafted by Michelle, a fellow homeschool mama.  

We got the Tea Lover Gift Set, which comes with an infuser and four tins of tea.  It’s a lovely set to use for any sort of gift, but we were very happy to keep it ourselves and try out all of the flavors.  While you are able to select which four teas you would like to come in the set, we opted to have Michelle surprise us with her favorite mixes (except Earl Grey….mom just can’t abide by that one).  The goodies arrived in a sturdy, nice brown box lined with tissue paper and tied up with rustic twine.  It came with a gift card, in the event that the set is to be used for that purpose.

Brown paper packages tied up with string……these are a few of my favorite things!!!  

It was so exciting to open the box and see what goodies she had selected just for us.  We got :   
  • Berry Blast (an herbal tea) 
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries (puerh tea)
  • Orange Spice (chai tea)
  • Strawberry Fields (white tea)
  • tea infuser (lid is a mug holder)

It was a nice sampling of each of the types of blends that she offers.
The hardest part was choosing which to sample first.  After much deliberation, we chose the Chocolate Covered Strawberries.  After all…chocolate. covered. strawberries.  Those things are heaven!  The ingredients are printed right on the side of the tin, which is wonderful if you have any food allergies in the house.  Also, the steeping time is printed on the side of each tin for handy reference, which I love because I never remember how long to steep each tea.

That night, we tried Strawberry Fields. This is a roobios / white tea blend so it is naturally caffeine-free.  I really enjoy winding down with a hot mug of tea, especially on chilly evenings, so having a caffeine-free option was wonderful!   

Whether for yourself or someone you love, you can’t go wrong with Blooming with Joy Teas!  Use code GYPSYROAD right now, and you'll get 10% off your $25+ purchase!

Our favorite tea-time supplies :

Michelle also has a great option where you can host a Private Tea Tasting.  You earn free tea, and everyone has a great time!  If you'd like to to host one, use the social buttons to contact her!

Get Social with the Tea Shop!!!

Sunday, April 24

When the Goin' Gets Tough (Billy Ocean)

If you've got a keen eye, maybe you've noticed that the Gypsies haven't been travelling as much lately.  Or maybe you haven't...thanks to our fantastic guest posters!

What's up?  Well...the thing is, while you may see that $1.39 at the gas pump and do a little happy dance, we see the same thing and dread the day that it trickles down onto the oil & gas industry workers.  That day finally arrived...and yes, that's us.  What it means is that work has been scant since November, and the horizon appears to be more of the same. 
On top of the forced homecoming, natural disasters seem to be targeting our house, and we recently got unexpected health news that was of the less-than-pleasant variety. 

WHY am I telling you all of this?  It's because I feel the need to explain why we changed our stance on advertising through the blog.  While we always had a couple of little squares on the side, and showed you some cool stuff we were using in our homeschool, we've taken on a few more ideas as a way to keep the ground covered while we ride out this tide.

WHY should you care?  The truth is, you may not.  I understand.  We all have our own crosses to bear.  But I'm telling you upfront because I'm asking for help.  Please hear me out...

HOW can you help?  It's as easy as one-two-three...and it won't cost you anything that you weren't already planning to spend.  (I promise!)

  1. Bundles - We are participating in two big bundle sales very very of them is a Homemaking Bundle and one is a Homeschooling Bundle.  
    1. If you're interested in the bundles, and were planning to purchase them, please purchase directly through our links.  
    2. If you're not interested, please share the information with your friends who may be.  We will be promoting it through the blog, email, and Facebook.
  2. Buttons - Have you seen all the extra squares on the side of the page?  These are all programs with which we are now affiliated.  
    1. Our Amazon button works like this :  you click on our link to start your shopping trip, and we get a small commission when you buy a product.
    2. The other square buttons are for products that we recommend. I only recommend those products that I have used, believe in, or that come highly recommended by my friends and readers. Feel free to ask us about a product, if you're interested.   We get a small commission if you purchase through the button on our page.
  3. Educents Here, you'll find products that we've created for homemaking and homeschool use.  There are currently fifty-three products, many of which are Brick-Themed (Lego).  We also have some goodies tucked away in the store...  *wink*

NONE of these actions will cost you a cent (not if you were planning to make these purchases already), BUT they will provide us with a very small commission on that action.  And every single cent adds up.

If you've read this far, we appreciate that fact alone.  Times are tight all over, it's true.  We all try to help each other as much as we can, because it takes a community pulling together to weather the storms..............especially when the house is flooded.  Again.

And speaking of storms....I need to get outside.  We have a chicken coop to finish and a garden to get planted before the next round moves through!

My mom always says, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on!"  For us, homesteading is the knot in the rope.  

Who knows?  Depending on how the winds shift, next year the Gypsy Road could turn into the Gypsy Home.....only time will tell!

Dear Readers..............we love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We are not giving up...on the contrary, we are digging in our heels.  But if a decade of having a special needs child has taught us anything, it's not to be too proud to ask, humbly.  Please use the link above to accept our way of saying thank you.

Thursday, April 21

Crazy Old World (Moonpools & Caterpillars)

Old Salem has wonderful actors who dress up in 18th century costume and demonstrate daily living and worship in the original community.  When visiting, you get to experience life over two hundred years ago through hands-on activities.  We are all about hands-on learning!

In the kitchen, and out in the garden, we learned about :

In the barn, and out on the field, we learned about :
  • gunsmithing
  • tool repair & sharpening
  • gathering fire wood
  • building fire & baking bread in the bake oven
  • making soap over an open fire
We happened to be visiting during Homeschool Days: 250 Years of History.  The kids got to learn how the Moravians built the town in the back country of North Carolina, starting in 1766.  Some of the activities included :
  • How oats/wheat are threshed
  • Harvesting herbs for home use
  • Write with a quill pen
  • Try 18th century chocolate
  • Learn how dyes were made out of natural ingredients
The boys got to try their hand at making shoes and an ax in the Single Brothers House.
They learned how to tell time and how to use single, double, and triple pulleys.
They learned how to measure ingredients with a scale, for baking.
They also learned how to make candles, how to make ink, and how to make lye soap!
Occasionally, we get great ideas from the places that we visit.  It's wonderful to see and touch things that we've studied...and this underground root cellar / cold storage room was no exception.  We were inspired, and hope to do more research on this!