Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I have enjoyed sharing what we’ve been doing with our garden. My little girls and I have had so much fun observing and learning about seeds and plants. Isn’t it just amazing how different each seed is and that from one seed grows a specific plant?


I’ve felt an urgency --- a realization that I only have a limited amount of time with my kids before they are out from under my wing. I’m finding it’s true---kids grow up fast! What kind of seeds do I want to be planting in my children?


I want to be planting the Word of God in their hearts.


I know many of you might be familiar with Seeds Family Worship. They help me plant the Word of God into my kids’ hearts and minds through music. If you haven’t heard of them, I encourage you to check them out. Each song is taken straight from God's own Word using the ESV translation.  Recently their newest cd, Seeds of Character, was placed in my van cd player (I have a captive audience then—lol!) I was looking forward to listening along with my children.

This volume contains the following songs:

  1. More Than Conquerors (Romans 8:37)
  2. The Wages and The Gift (Romans 3:23 & 6:23)
  3. The Life (John 14:6, I John 5:11-12)
  4. The Fruit (Galatians 5:16 & 22)
  5. Delight (Psalm 1)
  6. Teach Them (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
  7. The Perfect Example (John 13:12-17)
  8. Children and Fathers (Ephesians 6:1-4)
  9. Put On Love (Colossians 3:12 & 14a)
  10. The Character Song (Romans 5:1-5)
  11. Give Thanks (Psalm 105:1-5)
  12. The Only Way (The New Testament Song)

(Click here to listen to the songs)

April 2011 019 One day my 4yr. old was arguing with my 12yr. old saying that “testamoment” was a real word and my 12yr. old was saying it wasn’t. I had no clue what was going on or where my 4yr. old came up with that word. Then she said, “Mom, it’s from that song ‘This is the testamoment, that God gave us eternal life-And this life is in His son.” As she sang that song (#3 on the list) my heart smiled. So she misunderstood one word, but she knew the verse! Not only did she know that song, but out of all my kids, she has most of this cd already memorized. She loves it!

My family appreciates that SEEDS songs appeal to all age-ranges. Both my 2yr. old and 12 yr. old enjoy listening to the same songs. I love that SEEDS is serious about planting seeds. Each package has 2 CDs in it, so you can keep one and give one away. How cool is that? I am thrilled to add this newest CD to our collection.

SEEDS is offering a generous discount!  Purchasers will receive 20% off their purchase of cd's at the web store (www.seedsmusicstore.com) for the next 6 months!!  Get the special coupon code over at The Homeschool Village.

HSV Reviewer ButtonReview Disclaimer: Please note that I have been provided a complimentary copy of this resource by The Homeschool Village specifically for review purposes.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Giveaway Winner & Verse

The winner of the iShine Bible is 


My favorite verse is Jer. 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good & not for evil, to give you a future & a hope!


Click on photo for a larger version to print for yourself if you’d like. :)

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Friday, May 27, 2011

My Garden is Growing!

Thanks to some help from my parents and kids, I finally have most of  the garden in now. It has been soooo rainy here that I thought I’d never get the planting done.


A fun, unexpected surprise were these two new square foot boxes. Last year I just tried to grow things in the ground, but the weeds were out of control and there were water drainage issues. My dad came and helped me set them up. I’ve got Big Boy tomatoes and green peppers in one box.


In the second box I have some jalapenos and Roma tomatoes.


My two gardens in the backyard are planted too. I’ve got more tomatoes growing in the left-side garden along with some herbs.


I’ve got lots of bean plants growing in the other box. Oh and if you look carefully there are also some squash plants growing right along with the beans. I didn’t plan that.  I guess I threw a squash in my compost pile last year and when the compost was mixed in with the soil for this year, there were some left-over squash seeds. I’m letting them grow for now. We’ll see what happens :)

I am hoping to make some salsa and marinara sauce this year. Does anyone have any good recipes?


Garden Fun Project for Kids 
Garden Theme Activities for Kids
Garden Theme Activities for Kids 2


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Draw and Learn History at the Same Time

When I was in school, one thing I did in order to help me pay attention in class was to doodle all over my notebook. I got in trouble for that at times, but it really did help me pay attention.  I recently got to look over a book that combined history and drawing: A Kid’s Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States by Roderic Schmidt.239-president-3

There are 42 books in this series—from Washington to George W. Bush. We got to look through a book on Zachary Taylor.

I was so pleased to see that this was a hard-back book and very sturdy. The book is a perfect resource for children doing a study or report on presidents. It would also be a nice supplement to an American History unit.

In the book on Zachary Taylor there were 10 “How to Draw” pages included. They were pretty detailed drawings. This did not discourage my children because they love to doodle and draw. It would have been helpful to have bigger drawing steps and some additional steps for some of the drawings though.

The book has a ton of information. There are photos, drawings, a timeline of key events plus other presidential details. The book uses a large font which makes it easy to read.  There is even a glossary included. My 12 yr. old daughter and my 9yr. old daughter read the first pages together and then worked on their drawings.


Timberdoodle was able to get this series for a special price, and is passing on the savings to their customers. So if you are studying American History this year, you just might want to check  out A Kids Guide to Drawing the Presidents. Timberdoodle also has other  history curriculum resources available as well. You can always request a free homeschool catalog to easily see everything in the store.


We enjoyed this book and I found that it was another way to get my kids interested in history.

Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 7 months old

Lil Pumpkin is 7 months old now! She currently has 3 teeth, army crawls, and is trying to pull up to standing.


Due to all the rain we've had lately, Lil Pumpkin has had some wheezing issues. So on really bad days she gets to wear her dino-mask.



Finally some sun! She loves to be in her swing.

Joining in on Wordless Wednesday at:

Go Graham Go
5 Minutes for Mom


Monday, May 23, 2011

Creative Ideas for Teaching the Value of Money


Have you ever struggled over how to handle chores, allowance, and teaching children the value of money? I know that I have at times and am always on the look-out for creative ways of teaching good fiscal habits to my children. Recently I was sent Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child the Value of Money, Work, and Time Well Spent by Alisa T. Weinstein. It is a nice-size book and I was interested to see what approach Ms. Weinstein took on the topic of allowance and chores.

What It Is:

One subheading in the books says, “Not Your Mother’s Allowance Program,” and that about sums it up.  Ms. Weinstein wanted a way to teach her daughter to value money and hard work.  She didn’t want to give an allowance for chores that were part of helping the household run smoothly (like making the bed, setting the table etc.) Those were jobs that were expected. Instead, she came up with a creative twist on traditional allowance and chores:

Earn My Keep is an easy-to-do parent/child program that helps kids ages 4 –12 earn money for exploring and experiencing real careers. Kids pick a task from one of the fifty career profiles, complete it within a set amount of time, and earn a set amount of money.

What We Thought:

The homeschool teacher in me loves the premise of this book. How fun to have children look up careers, participate in activities related to that career and get paid for it? The book has a listing of 50 career profiles with activity ideas included.  Some careers are accountant, chef, geologist, travel agent, and more (click link for a sample). I think this is a perfect way to get kids thinking about and experiencing (on an age-appropriate level) various careers.

How It Works for Us:

Having multiple kids in the chore-age-range makes it difficult for each one of them to pick a career path. So currently I’ve picked one career for all of them that lines up with what we are already doing at home----gardening. The career is Horticulturist and I’m having my children complete various activities listed in the book on their age level. Many of the requirements are part of what we are already doing (like identifying new plants, looking at the leaves, caring for gardening tools etc.) The difference is that I’ve put a specific career name to the job. Now that they are being horticulturists, weeding isn’t half that bad. :)

Even if you already have an allowance system in place or don’t give an allowance, this book can still be a wonderful resource.  It provides so many wonderful ideas for testing out careers with children. You can use the ideas as a springboard for a mini-unit on specific career fields (which is what I will be doing this summer with my older kids.)

To find out more information check out the Earn My Keep website.

If you are interested in winning your own copy, Tonya from Live the Adventure is having a giveaway of the book.

Disclosure: I was given a book for free for review purposes only. Opinions are mine.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Princess Craft


Since I knew that Totally Tots was doing a Princess and Knights theme for this month, when I spied these craft kits at the Target Dollar Spot, I knew we’d find a good use for them.

One day this week I needed my 2yr. old and 4yr. old occupied while I took care of other things. My 12yr. old daughter agreed to help me out and did these crafts with the girls.

It took patience for my 2yr. old to get the slots in right—but she did it. Her big sister was there to help with the other sides.

The 4yr. old worked on putting her craft together too.

Once they were done the girls had their own little princess play set.

And since we were talking about princesses, it was the perfect opportunity to bring out our Melissa & Doug Princess Puzzle.   

I just want to tell you how awesome my 12yr. old dd is. She took all these pictures for me since she knew I’d want to blog about it! How thoughtful! She did a great job!

Tot School

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Friday, May 20, 2011

A Child’s Geography


I purchased A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp last summer with the intent of using it during the school year. I knew we were going to be covering geography with our local co-op and thought this would fit right in. As often happens, plans change and I just didn’t have  time to do both. Now that our local co-op has ended for the year, I recently pulled Ann’s book from our shelf and started reading it with all my children (ages 2-12). 


How can one book fit such a large age-span?

Ann Voskamp has a special way with words. A Child's Geography is written as a story. This is not a textbook filled with dry facts. Instead it begs to be read aloud. As children listen, they are encouraged to use their imagination as they view the world God made. This book is written in a Charlotte Mason-style with narration prompts plus notebooking activities included. In addition there are fun hands-on activities and a special “Reaching Out to His World” portion that shares practical ideas to be the hands of Christ to a hurting world.

globecraft1First I read aloud the chapter to all the kids (or my 12yr. old reads if I have to take care of a fussy baby). Then the older kids (12yr. 11yr. and 9yr. old) are in charge of doing the project. Even the 2yr. old and 4yr. old join in when they can. One of the first crafts in the book had the kids making paper mache globes. Ours took 3 days to dry.


When we finally got around to painting them, only 2 out of 5 globes survived. The others were MIA or used as balls around the house. Do these kind of things only happen in my family? LOL! My 12yr. old did the globe in the picture. It turned out great.


Another activity they did was to create a visual example of the layers of the atmosphere. We had to improvise as we did not have the exact materials that were needed (aka Mom did not plan ahead).


Once again, my older kids were able to do this activity without my help. That is one of the nice things about the projects in this book---they are very doable.


I think our jar was a little too wide, but it still worked and got the point across.


Our visual example of the layers of the earth!

A Child’s Geography has been a refreshing change in our school routine. I planned it for earlier in the year, but God knew we’d need it now. If you are looking for a living- book style geography curriculum written from a Christian perspective, then add this book to your “must check-out” list.

Linking up to:

Granola Mom 4 God

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I had never heard of QR codes until I received a copy of the iShine Bible from Tyndale.  Maybe that’s because I still carry around a Tracfone—lol! Anyway, I got to look through this cool  Bible geared specifically for tweens.
What Is It?
The New Living Translation iShine Bible helps tweens understand their Value, Identity, and Purpose (VIP). The Bible contains three colored sections for each of those topics (VIP). Each section contains a QR code/URL to videos or music that talks about the topic.
Tweens will see
  • how they are valued by God
  • how their identity is found in Jesus
  • and the purpose that they have because of this.

(This is a good overview of the Bible)
What We Thought:
As I mentioned above, I am not up to speed with smart phone technology. You don’t need a smart phone or an Ipod touch to use this Bible. The exact URL’s are also listed so you won’t miss the special feature videos. My daughter though, does have an Ipod touch, so we used that to access the QR codes. I will admit that is a pretty cool feature (do kids say cool anymore?).  iShine is more than a Bible, it is a ministry. You can see all the musicians, actors, products and more on the iShine website
The iShine Bible is a compact LeatherLike Bible in the NLT translation. It is a great size for carrying in a backpack or purse. (I know it’s geared toward tweens because my old eyes had a hard time reading the tiny print.) In the beginning of the Bible is an index based on themes (gossip, prayer etc.) There is a short explanation plus Bible reference for the themes listed. Then there are three colored sections with the QR codes and devotional that pertain to the V.I.P. theme mentioned above.
My daughter and I both liked the QR code feature. It introduced us to some new Christian musicians and it was neat to hear teens teaching tweens. The only thing I missed was a traditional concordance, but I understand that they are targeting a younger audience, so I think the topic references are fine. I think it is awesome that Tyndale is trying to make something specifically for tweens. The Bible it attractive and well-made. The only thing that would make it better would be Bible version options. I think these would make great gifts for any tween wanting to get in the Word.
Do you have a tween that would be interested in this Bible?
I’m giving away one of these Bibles!
Giveaway Rules: *CLOSED*
This giveaway is for one iShine Bible (you get to pick either pink or blue). Open to U.S. residents only.
Giveaway runs from Wednesday, May 18 - Friday, May 27th.
Please make sure there is a way I can contact you. Winners will be picked via Random.org. and will be notified by Spell Outloud. Winners have 3 days to get back to me before another winner is chosen.

 Mandatory: What is your favorite Bible verse? 
(I’ve recently updated my Bible printable section. More to come too)
(And here’s a freebie just for you :)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Butterfly, Butterfly, Fly, Fly Away

After watching a recent episode of Barney, my girls and I were inspired (yes, Barney inspired us—lol) to do some butterfly-related crafts and activities.


We sang Butterfly, Butterfly, Fly, Fly Away (which we heard on Barney) many times this week. If you don’t know the tune, it makes a great counting poem too. (Click the photo to download.)


Next we printed out and made our own Butterfly Life Cycle book. This was a download from The Montessori Print-Shop.


The Montessori Print Shop also has Butterfly Life Cycle cards, which I printed and laminated. We looked at the pictures and went over the terminology. Then we put them in order. We also practiced ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.) I appreciate that these materials used real photographs of the butterfly stages. The materials printed nicely and are a wonderful nature resource.


For a twist, I printed another set of the Butterfly Life Cycle cards---one in grey-scale and the other in color. I mounted the grey-scale cards onto cardstock. I laminated and then cut the colored cards so that they would be individual puzzles. The grey-scale cards were the control cards to help my toddler figure out the puzzles. She would match the colored pieces and place them onto the control cards.


We made our annual coffee-filter butterflies :) My 4yr. old is getting good at carefully dipping the edges of the filter into the food coloring water. (Last year we used Do-A-Dot markers for our butterfly creations.)


My 4yr. old picked the funky fuzzy pipe cleaners—the ones that kind of look like giant caterpillars.  You could use half of one pipe cleaner to make the caterpillar (just glue wiggle eyes on it) and the other half to fold over the tie-dyed coffee filter.

BbhandwritingWe also reviewed our Letter Bb’s with this butterfly handwriting sheet/poem (click to download.)

For more butterfly craft, poem and games ideas check out:

catepillarsButterfly Unit for Young Children 

Disclosure: I was given a free download from Montessori Print Shop for review purposes only. Opinions are my own. The way I used the cards are Montessori-influenced but not necessarily the official Montessori method.

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