Friday, May 5, 2017

Historic Oakland Cemetery - Sights, Symbols & Stories

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

As strange as it may sound we love exploring cemeteries. Our favorite is Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. We visit this historic garden cemetery several times a year to learn about nature, history, geology and more. Audrey Bierhans said, “Cemeteries should be more than places where stones lie on the ground. Cemeteries hold the stories of the people who have lived in the past ... people who have shaped our past," and I couldn't agree more. 

Oakland Cemetery is a hidden treasure located less than 1 mile from the hustling and bustling city of Atlanta. It is the 3rd largest green space in Atlanta. This sanctuary was founded in 1850 and is the final resting place of many of Atlanta's settlers, builders, and most noted citizens like Bonny Jones, Margaret Mitchell  and Maynard Jackson. And it is also a showplace for some spectacular sculpture and architecture and a luscious garden with ancient oaks and magnolias.

When you walk down the paths of this outdoor museum you are transported through time, and if you listen closely you will hear stories of victories, love and tragedies. Sometimes the epitaphs, grave markers and even the graves location help tell a story, but if you are looking for more details be sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up free guides or to purchase some amazing books on Oaklands resident's.

If stories don't interest you then you can marvel at the sights and symbols that you will come across. The impressive art and architecture can be seen in many styles: Victorian, Greek Revival, Gothic, Neo-classical, Egyptian and Exotic Revival. Several mausoleums feature stained glass windows from Tiffany Studios. Bronze urns over six feet high were cast at Gorham Manufacturing Company in New York, the first art foundry in America.

Oakland also offer many fabulous events and recently started offering homeschool days and educational fieldtrip opportunities. But that's not all, they also have educational resources for parents and teachers.

Also be sure to check out my blog on Clue Town booklets there is one for Oakland.

And my Lessons From The Grave blog post which lists ways you can use cemeteries as an educational opportunity and also lists more amazing cemeteries for GA.

Also check out:

Thaleia from Something 2 Offer with her Jackson Cemetery, Piqua, Ohio post.

Leigh from Campfires & Concierges with her Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery post.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

8 Benefits of Swimming for Fitness

Swimming is a fun activity for kids and adults, but you may not realize there are also many benefits of swimming as a fitness activity. During the summer, going for a swim is a great way to entertain your children or meet up with family and friends for a relaxing, cool activity. However, you can also easily use your swimming pool as the spot for multiple exercises and workouts that bring a wealth of benefits to your body!

Low Impact Activity

Swimming is seen as one of the most popular low impact activities for fitness. There is very little risk of energy, and the water assists in supporting your weight. During a swimming session, you only have to bear 10% of your body weight, thanks to the buoyancy of the water. Because of this, people of all abilities and fitness levels can partake in swimming to get fit or stay in shape. Senior citizens or disabled people confined to wheelchairs can even take part in swimming for fitness.


No-Sweat Exercise

One of the best benefits of swimming for exercise is that you don’t have to sweat to get a good workout in! The cool water of the swimming pool keeps your body temperature down, no matter how intense you are moving in the pool. You won’t even need a shower if you need to rush off to another commitment after your swim. People who are against exercising because it makes them feel icky have no excuses when swimming is an option!

Supports Optimal Oxygen Usage

Swimming requires you to breathe efficiently in order to finish your workout. The more you hold your breath underwater, the more you train your lungs to take deeper breaths. Your body also learns to be more efficient with the oxygen you have. The deeper breaths also help you to expel more carbon dioxide, further support proper lung function.

Another cool side note on swimming benefits on the lungs: The moist air you breathe in while in the pool can help to curb symptoms of asthma, especially cases where your breathing may become difficult during exercise.

Works the Entire Body

You can get that all-body workout you need in less time with swimming. Many fitness gurus see swimming as both a cardio and strength training activity. Wouldn’t you rather be in the pool for 30 minutes and get the same benefits as one hour in the gym, lifting weights and running on the treadmill?

Promotes Cardio Health

Since you are working your entire body when you swim, your heart rate goes up and you burn more calories. Your body needs more energy, which it can get from fat storages in your body. Swimming works just as well as other cardio activities, including jogging or walking, to burn calories and develop improved cardio health.

Provides Multiple Levels of Fitness

Though it is a low impact exercise, swimming exercises can be done in different levels of intensity, depending on your needs. You can choose to participate in a vigorous water aerobics workout, or perform a more leisure swim from one side of the pool to the other multiple times. Again, it’s all about the abilities of the swimmer, and the exercise routine can easily be adjusted to fit the person who wants to get fit in the water.

water aerobics.jpg

Boosts Weight Loss

Because you are working multiple areas of your body at once, swimming is great at burning calories and speeding up your metabolism, This, in turn, will cause you to lose weight. Follow a structured swimming for fitness schedule; 3-4 times per week is sufficient. You can choose to only swim for health, since it is effective enough alone, or add in order exercises such as walking or weights.

Assists with Better Sleep

When you are swimming for an hour or more of exercise each day, you will find your body tired and ready to relax by bedtime. Many people who have had problems falling asleep have found they sleep easier when they swim a few hours before it’s time for bed. The activity also helps to relieve stress and worries that can keep you from getting enough sleep, thanks to the release of “happy” hormones when you exercise.

Creating the Perfect Swimming Atmosphere for Exercise

If you plan to reap the benefits of swimming for fitness, you need to invest in a quality swimming pool for your backyard. That way, you can take a dip and work toward shedding unwanted pounds anytime you feel like it! Create your perfect swimming spot with Rec Warehouse - a popular swimming pool company right here in Georgia. The business offers pools, liners, ladders, chemicals, and everything else you need to keep your workout space up and running.

With locations in Kennesaw, Jonesboro, and Norcross, you can come by and check out the latest pool offerings that Rec Warehouse has anytime you are free. The company’s owner, David Doebler, has grown up around pools his whole life. His father and uncle started Rec Warehouse back in the early 1970’s, and David was their first employee. You will gain all the knowledge you need to properly maintain a swimming pool for exercising from David and his employees!

*This post is a sponsored post in which I received compensation for posting. This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spark Curiosity With Guinness World Records 2017: Block Busters

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Hey homeschool moms, do you  have a child that sometimes says they are not interested in anything?  Well when we first began our unschooling journey my children sometimes would say those dreaded words and wouldn't have the slightest idea about what they wanted to learn about. But then we discovered Guinness World Records and Ripley's Believe It Or Not books. After a few minutes of paging through these books my children were full of questions and ideas about things they wanted to delve deeper into learning about. Both of these book series helped make our homeschool a little more interesting and exciting. So if you have a child that says "I am not interested in anything," hand them one of these books and watch their curiosity be sparked.

We recently received Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters the newest book in the Guinness World Record portfolio and have been having a blast learning the record-breaking low-down on the top trends and personalities in pop culture. But that is not all that this new book provides. It also adds an educational and entertaining twist by providing information about the real-life records behind  favorite fictional stories. For example you can find facts about the world's largest ocean creatures which served as inspiration for the characters in the 2016 hit movie, Finding  Dory.

Last month we went on a fieldtrip to see the last show for the Greatest Show on Earth. I immediately grabbed our Guinness World Records 2017: Blockbusters book, to see if Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was highlighted in the book.....and of course they were. They are the longest running circus in the World...147 years this year.

Over the last few months we have used our Guinness World Records book to compliment various fieldtrips, to spark interest and to settle debates. This is definitely one book the entire family will enjoy!

Throughout this book children will discover:

6 chapters featuring kid-focused activities, with captivating features, spreads quizzes and stats:
  1. Watch: learn about box office blockbusters such as X-Men, Disney, Star Trek, Finding Dory and more.
  2. Browse: explore record-breaking vloggers, memes, and impressive social media feats from the digital world.
  3. Read: dive into records from fan-favorites including Dr. Seuss, the Divergent series, Harry Potter and comic books.
  4. Play: examine amazing records relating to popular toys, from Lego and Knex to robots and drones.
  5. Go: check out jaw-dropping roller coasters, impressive circus performances, and attendance feats at sporting events in this section full of records involving outdoor activities and attractions.
  6. Consume: drool over records featuring delicious food, drinks and sweets.
Record breaking activities:   

Throughout the book young readers are encouraged to become the record breaker in the house, and potentially the world by attempting the record-breaking  challenges exclusively featured in the pages of this book. How many underwear can you put on in one minute?

Jaw dropping photographs:

Not only is this book filled with amazing records but it also is filled with fantastic full color photos.

To add to the fun Guinness World Records also has additional exclusive content including interviews with record holders, interesting photos, fun games, quizzes and tutorials on the record-challenges to try at home on their website.

There is also a fantastic Place Value Math Activity download available to compliment the book.

Now available for only $14.99 (currently it's on sale on Amazon), its colorful and kid-friendly pages are filled with fun, educational, and exclusive records of interest to ages 6-12 and will make for the perfect addition to any library. It also strongly emphasizes reading and activities (which could relate to social & cognitive development, & academic skills) and ultimately be of interest to educators.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fieldtripping With National Geographic Kids Books #NGKInsider

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Five days a week we are out exploring and fieldtripping. We cannot help it, learning is just way more fun when you are visiting a museum, going on a nature walk or hanging out with friends at a group activity. Everyone may not agree with our road-schooling style, but it is what works best for our family. The kids are more engaged and excited to learn and they retain the information they are learning better. One way we make the road-schooling work is by taking along amazing resources with us on our fieldtrips. When we head out to our fieldtrip we make sure we take along one of our fieldtrip exploration bags. We have 6 bags always ready to go which include things like books, magnifying glasses, colored pencils, clipboards, resources from the venue (which are generally available on their websites under the educator section), tracing paper, tape measures and some of my fieldtrip journal pages (digital download currently 20% off for 60+ journal page file). We have a bag for each type of museum, history museum, zoo, aquarium, etc.

Recently we received some great resources from National Geographic Kids that we will be adding to our bags for upcoming fieldtrips.

Ultimate Ocean-pedia:
This 1 inch thick, hard back book might be heavy to lug around the aquarium but that's okay it will definitely be going into our aquarium bag this year. This 272 page book is the most complete ocean reference book you can find. It is loaded with amazing facts, stunning photos, maps and detailed diagrams. The book is broken into 7 chapters and covers: Oceans, Ocean Life, Ocean in Motion, Wild Weather, Underwater Exploration, Along The Coast and When People and Oceans Meet. One of the things my kids really love about this book are the "Bet you didn't know" blurbs found throughout. Like did you know that a sea otter needs to eat up to 30% of its body weight every day in order to get the energy it needs to stay warm? For a big male otter, that means eating about 25 lbs of food! In the back of the book there is a glossary to help your kids learn the meaning to various terms, a find out more section (includes links to websites, must see movies and recommended places to visit), and a detailed index which makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. As we looked through the book we also discovered it would be a good compliment to our upcoming fieldtrip to the local science museum too. The museum is getting in a special exhibit and Imax show related to weather. So of course the Wild Weather chapter of the book will be the perfect compliment. The retail cost of this book is $24.99.

Almanac 2017:
This nifty 350 pg, softcover, New York Times bestseller book is the perfect compliment for a variety of fieldtrips. Contents include Your World, Amazing Animals, Going Green, Culture Connection, Awesome Adventure, Fun and Games, Super Science, Wonders of Nature, History Happens and Geography Rocks. So as you can see it compliments many different subjects and topics. My daughter of course found the amazing animals section fascinating and my son was mesmerized by the Awesome Adventure section. I really enjoyed reading through the Culture Connection section. As we paged through the book which includes tons of animal stories, weird-but-true facts, amazing photographs, detailed maps, fun games/jokes/activities, reference materials and more our wheels began turning on ALL the fieldtrips we could utilize this book for. So it won't go into just one will have a permanent home in the car book basket. On page 16 there are some cool events highlighted for 2017 like Star Wars Day on May 4th (which we already have plans for) and International Tiger Day on July 29th (I think we will be heading to the zoo to celebrate). And man do I love it when books contain a detailed index like the Almanac does, it makes it so much easier to find specific topics/subjects. As I was browsing through the index I soon discovered that this book will compliment our Cultural Culinary Club, that we do every other month with our homeschool group, quite nicely. This Spring we will be learning about China, India and France as we dine at authentic restaurants around Atlanta. The almanac has several pages of material on each of these countries, how awesome is that?  The retail cost of this book is $14.99.

Dirtmeister's Nitty Gritty Planet Earth:
We are a rock hound family so this book has been a huge hit with the children. Every few months we go on rock/gem digging fieldtrips so learning all about rocks, minerals, and dirt is sort of never ending for us. This softcover, 128 page book covers everything you need to know about geology in a fun and unique way. It is one of the only National Geographic kids books that actually incorporates graphic novel aspects (my kids love graphic novels as you may know and we hope that Nat Geo will continue to add more to their lineup). Throughout the book Geologist Steve Tomeck aka Dirtmeister and his sidekick Digger dig up amazing information including the origins of Earth, minerals, plate tectonics, erosion, sediments, biographies of scientists, rocks as resources and much more. The book has colorful illustrations, lots of fun facts and even simple experiments. For teachers or homeschoolers who follow educational standards the book even has a science standard correlation guide in the back of the book as well as an index. So get ready to dig in and learn all about geology with this book. The retail cost of this book is $12.99.

Tales From The Arabian Nights:
One of our favorite museums in Atlanta is the Michael C. Carlos Museum. The museum has the largest ancient art collection in the Southeast which includes objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, Africa and the ancient Americas. Tales From The Arabian Nights is a great book compliment for this fascinating museum. The hard back book is 208 pages and includes 17 tales from the areas we know today as Asia and the Middle East. The magical tales intertwined with beautiful full page colorful illustrations will take you on a journey where you will find adventure, love, royalty, monsters and even magicians. Unlike most storybooks there are sidebars throughout the book that connect the stories to history, culture, and geography. There is also a map in the back of the book that puts the stories into geographic context. Our favorite story so far has been the Ebony Horse. The retail cost of this book is $24.99.

How Things Work:
100 times a day! That is approximately how many times a day my kids ask me how something works. Seriously they are so inquisitive and curious. This book answers everything from opera singers to the waves in the ocean. The hardback book is 205 pages long and provides children with quick answers as well as more complete explanations. The book is a great compliment to many fieldtripping adventures. We used it recently during our visit to the Children's Museum of Atlanta for the launch of their new special exhibit "From Here, To There." The new special exhibit focuses on how things move by land, sea and air, and thanks to this book any questions that popped up were easy to answer! The book contains numerous detailed diagrams and spectacular photos. There are tons of facts, inspiring bios and real-life stories. And there are even hands on activities to get children experimenting. The retail cost of this book is $19.99.

I hope you learned about some new books and how books can be used compliment fieldtrips.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Teaching Liberty and Economics With The Tuttle Twins (Book Review)

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We are so blessed to be able to homeschool because it means we are able to teach our children about many things they would probably not cover if they were in public school like liberty and economics (at least not in elementary school). The Tuttle Twins books, which now have 5 books in the series, have been on my radar for about a year now but unfortunately I haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of any of them. I was recently contacted by the publishing company and asked if we would review the newest book The Road to Surfdom. Well now we are hooked and we will be definitely be adding the other 4 to our home library. And guess what fellow homeschoolers? The author Connor Boyack is a homeschool dad! He wrote this series of books after trying to find existing material that taught young children about the principles of freedom. After he realized there wasn't anything he stepped up to the plate in hopes of not only educating his own children but thousands of others!

A moms review:
As I mentioned above we received the newest book in the 5 book series The Road to Surfdom. This book teaches children about how government officials decisions, well-intentioned or otherwise, can sometimes harm others. Considering everything that has been happening recently with our country and politics this is such an important lesson for kids right now. This book is a very easy read. It is 60 pages long with full color illustrations and large text. The recommended reading age is age 5-11 years old. We chose to read the book aloud as a family so we could have a discussion afterwards.

This story is actually an introduction to F.A. Hayek's famous text The Road to Surfdom which was published in the 1940s and focuses on the dangers of central planning and collectivism and the importance of being an individual. Hayeks book however is a fairly difficult read and not one that parents would be able to easily pickup and read aloud to their young children. But the Tuttle Twins version of The Road to Surfdom takes these important lessons and boils them down to key basics, and wraps them in a fun story so that children and their parents can read and learn together about these important principles.

In this book The Tuttle Twins head to their favorite beach destination "La Playa" for a family reunion. They are eager to have the same amazing fun they always do which includes soaking up sun on the beach, surfing and snorkeling in the ocean and most of all shopping and eating at the boardwalk shops. But before they even arrive at the beach they notice things in town are not quite the same. First they have to take a long detour to get to the beach which was full of traffic and went through a neighborhood they had not seen before. Then after they arrive at the beach they notice that many of their favorite shops have closed down. Distraught and wanting answers The Tuttle Twins set out with their investigative reporter uncle named Ben, to solve the mystery.

After interviewing shop owners and the town residents they discover that a new roadway and beach town called Surfdom was to blame. The new roadway that La Playa residents thought would help their town instead brought them disruption, sadness and home and business loss. While spending the day at Surfdom The Tuttle Twins learned more about central planning, collectivism  and individualism as they built a sand castle with their parents. They learned that sometimes unintended consequences occur that were never anticipated and probably not even considered. You know how the saying goes, "be careful what you wish for"? The Tuttle Twins and Uncle Ben solve the mystery and Ben exposes the story on his news channel. But unfortunately this story has no happy ending for the town because the damage is done. But The Tuttle Twins hope that Ben's news story will go viral and provide knowledge to future towns about the damage of central planning. And the Tuttle Twins refuse to give into the new exciting stores and restaurants at Surfdom and chose to stay at La Playa and enjoy the road less traveled!

I cannot say enough good things about this book. As a mom who once had her real estate license I was very excited to see terms like eminent domain being introduced in the book. I know many adults who don't even know what eminent domain is. The story was engaging and educational and raised lots of questions, and any book that gets the kids asking questions gets 5 stars. In the back of the book there is even a glossary of terms and several discussion questions.

A kids review:
I really liked the book. It helped me learn about the responsibilities that I need to take when it comes to decisions about my home. It also taught me that even when things don't go as planned you should still never give up and should still work hard to continue to make your dreams come true. I liked the artwork in the book too. I hope mom buys the other books for us.

About the Author:
Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a public policy think tank in Utah. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, along with hundreds of columns and articles championing individual liberty. His work has been featured on international, national, and local TV, radio, and other forms of media. A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.

For $4.99 you can get a a pdf workbook that compliments the book.

Links to follow:

The Tuttle Twins - a child's foundation of freedom

Where to buy:
The retail price is $9.99 per book or you can get all 5 plus bonuses for $41.99. You can order the books on the Tuttle Twin website.

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