June 30, 2013

Homeschool Mother's Journal~ June 30th

It's a new week and time for another weekly check in with...

  • In my life this week…we just got home from our vacation to visit my parents and extended family back in Washington state. It was a very great time for all, but my week has been so screwed up! We flew red-eye which meant overnight...and flying towards the east meant I instantly lost 3 hrs to my night. Then I didn't sleep on the plane---which means I spent the first 2 days I was home dealing with sleep deprivation!

  • In our homeschool this week…we did nothing! hahahah--see above answer! LOL!

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…don't be afraid to NOT DO ANYTHING. There are weeks you just need to keep your head above the water even without the pressure of homeschooling. And don't be afraid to tell everyone you are taking the summer off. Year-round school just doesn't work well for some homeschooling families. Mine is one of them!

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…we are good for now...but wow. We saw tons and tons of relatives. It was great for the boys to get a sense of belonging to a family. They don't have any cousins out here...but back there, LOTS!

  • My favorite thing this week was…date night with my hubby! We both got dressed up and then he took me to dinner and a movie. The boys spent the night with my in-laws and everyone just had a great time. I missed him soooooo much while I was gone since he had to stay behind.

  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…coming home to daddy!

  • Things I’m working on…I've got 3 book reviews to write up, I need to finish my review on an e-book for an affiliate program, as well as get started on a pre-school review for an affilitate program. Busy Busy week.

  • I’m cooking…mmm, yesterday I made absolutely fabulous lemon bars. Wow! So delicious!

  • I’m grateful for…having a home and husband to come back too.

  • I’m praying for…strength to stay focused and stick to what needs to be done this week.

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

  • My Little Britches photo bombed this photo I was taking...but he looks so cute, I had to keep it!

    June 29, 2013

    Sabbath Silence for June 29th

     I have two of my Nature and Verse for you today. I love both of these passages and hope you enjoy the graphics...feel free to pin them and share with others!
    Photo Source

    Have a blessed Sabbath day!


    June 24, 2013

    Poppins Book Nook~ All about Travel and Transportation

    It's time for our June edition of...
    Last month all of the co-hosts shared with you some great books and activities related to dinosaurs--this month we are focusing on Travel and Transportation!

    I am a mom of boys. I'm well versed in all things related to transportation vehicles--and with grandparents living on the other side of the country, travel is a very common subject!

    In fact, I am at this very moment back in WA visiting my family so we are most definitely focusing on travel! Rather nice coincidence, huh? LOL!

    When it comes to books, anything with vehicles is a must-read. We are all about planes, trains and automobiles in this house! So here are some of our family favorites relating to this subject!
    Mo Willems is a genius for writing kids books. And this pigeon. Oh how they ADORE this pigeon. The hilarious that can ensue makes reading these books.

    Did you know there is also a series by the same author about Elephant and Piggie?
    I think my oldest likes these ones even more. He loves the interaction between the characters. This book is one of his favorites. He's read it about 5 times by himself already.

    One that we own and love to read regularly is this classic by Virginia Lee Burton.
    Did you know it is a Five in a Row curriculum book? And that there is a lapbook for it on Homeschoolshare.com? Yep! You can do a weeks worth of multi-subject activities with this book which is another reason why I love it! My boys love it because it's about a crawler tractor. 'Nuff said. LOL!

    A sweet and great book for the Pre-K to 1st grade level is one of the Little Critter series.
    This book goes through the ABC's of a trip with very funny pictures. Little Britches read it to Baby Britches---with Baby Britches saying the letters as they went.

    A great chapter book is one that my boys enjoy reading is from the Ralph Mouse series.
    We are on book #3 of the series now--and there is always transportation and travel involved in each one.

    There are a lot other books I recommend from our family---(see the widget below for more) but these are our favorites.

    A great video for this subject is...
    We watched it as part of the theme this month.

    But we EXPERIENCED travel this week on our trip from KY to WA...
    The boys are excellent travellers and adore airplanes and all the airport vehicles so it was an easy trip!

    I will be posting a second book nook post later this month to share our activity we did before we left.
    {These are affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my family!}


    June 19, 2013

    Wordless Wednesday

    I'm currently on vacation back in the Pacific Northwest visiting my family and friends so I just wanted to share a few photos with you...
     Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity
     We live on a farm--they live in a city...yet this was Little Britches first time hunting for eggs and he had fun!
     "Where are the chickies???"
     Baby Britches picking berries with Papa
     Baby Britches with two cousins (my cousin's boys)
     Little Britches and Baby Britches got to enjoy playing with other kids (all homeschooled like them!)
    And I got to enjoy chatting and seeing some of MY friends--and holding that darling little muffin of a boy!
    So far it's been a lovely trip and we still have quite a few more days!
    Don't forget to get entered to win in the giveaway I'm co-hosting from Blue Manor Academy!


    June 17, 2013

    iPad Mini and Learning Ebooks for Kids Giveaway

    The best time to start teaching your young children is right now! If you have a child going into preschool or kindergarten then you've checked in at just the right time because I've partnered with Blue Manor Academy to bring you an amazing sale and giveaway! 
    Did I mention freebies??!

    Preschool and Kindergarten eBook Sale!
    Give your child a tremendous head start with Blue Manor Christian Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum eBooks. They are easy to teach and easy to learn! All book sets come with a comprehensive teaching manual to help you educate your child at home. 
    Use the special offer code: FFAdventures30 to receive 20%...no, make it 30% off any Blue Manor eBook Set in the Curriculum Store!
    30% off is an AMAZING deal when this curriculum is so reasonably priced to start with!

    See the Curriculum in Action!

    Christian Preschool Curriculum
     How about an iPad Mini to use with the curriculum??

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    iPad Mini Giveaway!

    The Grand Prize winner gets an iPad mini and our Full Prek and K eBook Sets. 
      A $410 value!!! 
     4 runners-up will win our complete Prek and K eBook Sets. 
     If you have already purchased an eBook set and win the giveaway, we will give you a full refund!

    To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter Below. 
     For more information, please read the official rules.

    Free Pintables!

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    Then visit the Grand Opening Sale Page for 
    10+ Free Homeschool Printables and Curriculum
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    Who is Blue Manor?

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    We believe that an Elite Education begins in the Home. We are on a mission to help parents raise sons and daughters, whose legacies honor their families and glorify their God. We create learning books for kids ages 1-12 and early learning curriculum - new books are added every month! We inform and inspire parents and homeschoolers through our two blogs: Blue Manor Homeschool and  True Aim.

    We need your support because WE are in this together. Please join the Manor Homeschool Community today!

    I hope you will take advantage of this giveaway from Blue Manor Academy! It's an incredible offer! I am looking forward to bringing you my own review of the Pre-School Curriculum from this amazing company later this summer, so stay tuned!

    June 12, 2013

    Fresh from the Bookshelf~ When Mockingbirds Sing

    I am eager to share with you my latest book review for the book When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey. Let me start off by admitting that the summary on the back of the book did not make me eager to read the book. It didn’t seem like my style---but I decided to step out of the box and give it a go.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson press as part of the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. 

    One of the first things that intrigued me was the way the chapters were titled. It wasn’t “chapter one” but rather “Saturday: Seven Days before the Carnival”. Without even reading a word of the story, I was immediately sucked in! I started asking myself “What carnival?” And then I started speculating that something must happen at a carnival and eagerly sought references to it from then on as I read. I think this was a genius move by the author and one I’ve never seen before.

    The first sentence of the story is ripe with premonition…
    "In those long days between the town’s death and its rebirth, everyone had a story of how the magic came to Leah Norcross." (p.1, Coffey)
    And from that sentence I decided that this looming carnival must be related to the town’s death and jumped into the story with both feet.

    I would best liken the plot of the story to an onion. As the story plays out, more and more layers are shown until you finally get to the climax and then you realize how everything comes together—and yes, as you peel it there will be tears!

    The primary plot focuses on the character of Leah Norcross. Leah is a troubled introverted girl with a very strong stutter. As the story opens we meet her father (a psychologist) and mother who have their own marriage demons they are battling which play out in their relationship with Leah. As readers, we get pieces of this shared as we watch the event of Leah’s 9th birthday party play out.

    Before the scene is over, we peel back another layer on the “onion”—the closed mindedness of the townspeople of Mattingly who don’t like people from “Away”. There are secrets in this town and they are slow to trust any newcomers.

    Our next chapter begins the next day and Leah who, on an easel she received for her birthday, paints a masterpiece—a picture which seems to come alive in its depth and vibrance…something a 9 year old girl should not be able to do. When questioned, she tells her speechless parents that she painted what the Rainbow Man sang to her. Through this painting, we get introduced into another layer of the plot “onion” in the form of Barney, the man who made Leah the easel—and who wins the mega jackpot lottery because of numbers he sees in the painting Leah makes him. And from this point on the story kicks into high gear as it moves ever closer to the looming "Day of the Carnival"!

    Through the course of the story we get involved in the lives of the Norcross family, Barney and Mabel Moore, Reverend “Reggie” Goggins and Allie (Leah’s new best friend). The personal faith of each one and the faith of the town of Mattingly is put to the test because of Leah and her Rainbow Man. Like the back cover says, the story makes you question “What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?”

    You will be sucked into the story if you give it a chance—making predictions about where the plot is going to go—and then be shocked when it takes an unexpected twist. You will see the images in your mind because of the author’s vivid vocabulary and word pictures. And when the story is over, you might be like me and just go “wow.”

    Even though When Mockingbirds Sing is considered inspirational fiction, I think that even those who aren’t hot on this genre would still enjoy it because of the richness of the plot. For those who love this genre, I highly recommend it as well as the Reading Group Guide at the back of the book. This book will definitely make you ask questions about your own faith and allow you to ask yourself about your own thoughts on truly walking by faith and not by sight—which is the underlying message of the story.

    I review for BookSneeze®


    June 11, 2013

    Real Life Homeschooling Blog Hop~ Goin' to the Zoo, Zoo Zoo!

    Are you excited for our first monthly blog hop for the new series Real Life Homeschooling?
    Every second Tuesday of the month, me and several other co-host will be sharing ways to take homeschooling OUTSIDE of the typical classroom setting! This week (in case you haven't guessed) I'm focusing on my family field trip to the zoo!
    Clearly I've been listening to too much Raffi lately! I had that song pop straight into my head! What can I say...I just introduced the boys to Raffi music and they ADORE IT! But yes--we went to the ZOO on a Co-op field trip!

    We unfortunately live in an area where there is NOT a good Co-Op. We might meet once a year. Yeah. I know. PATHETIC! But I do NOT have time nor energy to put a new Co-Op together.

    Fortunately, I have an amazing group of friends who live in Cincinnati who all homeschool their children and have put together their OWN Co-Op! I live 2 hrs away, but it's so worth it for me to not only let my boys spend time with their kids, but to get to spend time with my friends! So we travel up for the monthly field trips--we even have matching T-shirts which makes us feel "special". LOL!

    We met up and car pooled with a friend to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It is a GORGEOUS zoo...I should know. I've been to about 5 different zoos around the country and this one is very beautiful.

    I just wanted to share some of the photos I took of our day...
    Here is our group---not large, but big enough for everyone to have a buddy and have fun!

    Another aspect of our trip was a class given for our group about Life Cycles...and the best part---they got to touch some of the creatures!
    Here the three boys are investigating a black beetle...

    This frog looked like just a big pile of poo. I guess that works for camouflage in the woods. He was so ugly. LOL!

    Yuck. This is the Skink. Basically a cross between a snake and lizard. So it is nasty. I strongly dislike snakey things...so you bet your boots I didn't touch him. But the boys did.

    This was a super cute small owl. The children loved how it could turn it's head so far around! 
    The final animal and the class favorite was the cutest armadillo I've ever seen! okay--so like if they COULD be cute...she was. She just ran around and around and around our circle and the kids LOVED IT! 
    Every time Baby Britches saw her, he kept saying "Ball!" because the minute someone touched her she'd curl up into a...yep, ball! I tried to get him to say "'dillo" but he refused insisting on calling her a "ball!"

    There were several of these stunning beauties roaming the zoo and you can't help BUT snap photos of him with his feathers spread. Talk about stunning masterpiece of our Creator!
    As part of the field trip, each of the kids gave a report on an animal they had chosen prior to the trip. Little Britches chose the lion! Here he is with the White Lions at the zoo. It was very cool that though napping when we got there, this beautiful one lifted up his head for photos!

    Here is the report he did. It was his first poster ever and he LOVED learning how to use stencils for the main word. Then he filled out the little shapes with information, colored a picture and cut/pasted other lion images! He was so proud.

    Just look at that smile!

    We were able to experience their amazing Cheetah encounter and we saw them run a couple of the cheetahs on their training track. A-MA-ZING! You just watch in awe...They are truly a work of art in their perfection. Did you know the current world record holder for the fastest cheetah lives at that zoo? I didn't either. Her name is Sarah. We didn't get to see her run because she was taking a nap...but it still was amazing to watch the other two run.
    Beautiful creature...

    After a long day, we finished at the children's playground...
    My Little Britches loved this net--he played killer spider! LOL!

    A long day led to sleepy boys on the journey home. It was such a wonderful time and gave them time with other children. He enjoyed hearing the other students animal reports and was happy to be a part of it with his own. Well worth the inconvenience of having to drive 2 hrs each way.

    Can't wait until our next field trip!

    Now it's time to see YOUR Real Life Homeschooling Experiences! Share with us any activities that takes you beyond the classroom for learning! And make sure you check out what some of the other linkers post too!