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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moon Dough Magic Zoo & Gomu Review & Giveaway!

I’ve recently had the opportunity to review a couple of great kids products.

The first is Moon Dough Magic Zoo.  You have probably already heard of Moon Dough, but they added some really cool features to this product that make it more fun!  

The Moon Dough Magic Zoo has little holder thingy (that’s a technical termWinking smile) that you put the moon dough in to make the desired animal shape.  After you put the moon dough in it, you put it on the wind up base, then into the the zoo.  You wind the handle at the top of the zoo and out pops your animal and it walks across the floor or table (whatever surface you are playing on)!!!  The set comes with penguin, gorilla, bear and fence molds.

The box says it is for ages 3 and up.  That is accurate, however… my 3 year old had a hard time doing it all… without making a huge mess!  She was able to do it… just not in a way that made mommy happy.  And, even my 9 year old thought it was cool when the animal came waddling out of the cage!

View albumView albumView albumView albumView album
View albumView albumView albumView albumJust a few pics of my kiddos playing with their Moon Dough!

The other product we got to check out is called Gomu.  They are collectable erasers.  For my kids, they are more a collectable than an eraser… think silly bands… did your kids get crazy with silly bands like mine did (or maybe your kids are still into them?… yeah, mine tooSmile)?

They took a little while figuring out who would get which Gomu and then we put them in little baggies with their name on them so that there would be no arguing about whose are whose!  They like to take their Gomu with them and play with them in the van.

View album
“Organized” Gomu fun! ;)

Besides being fun to collect all the different varieties of Gomu (there are over 100 different erasers to collect!), one of the most fun parts of Gomu is that each one has 3 or more pieces that you can take apart and put back together again over and over, just like you would a puzzle!  Of course, that feature is a winner for the kiddos!

Who wants a Moon Dough Magic Zoo and a pack of Gomu for their kids?

Of course you all do!  Well, I’m giving you one of my sets of each!

Wanna know how to win??  Wanna?  … Wanna?  It’s easy, just fill out the rafflecopter form below and you are entered to win!  The first entry listed is the only mandatory entry.  All the rest are just extra… the more you do, the more entries you have!  Good luck!

*Disclaimer: Just in case it wasn’t obvious to the wonderful FTC people, yes, I was given product to facilitate this review.  The company did not obligate me to write a positive review.  All thoughts are my own.  The company did not send me product to give away to readers, that decision was my own, just since I love my readers. Smile

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 WINNERS!!


I know that some of you are on the edge of your seats waiting for an email from me saying you won one of my prize packs for A Blogtastic Extravaganza.... 

Well,  if you are




then you know that you are the winners of my giveaways!

Colleen won the Back to 'Home' School prize pack
Kari won the Back to 'After' School prize pack

Congrats to you both!!  I know you will enjoy all of your goodies!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 Giveaway Event Is Here!


Okay… the moment you all have been waiting for is finally here!

For those who don't already know, A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 is a giveaway event hosted by Jessica from My Silly Monkeys that is held on over 100 blogs.  Each blog will be hosting a different giveaway on their blog that is worth $50 or more! All you do is hop from blog to blog entering all the giveaways that interest you!  I have 2 packages to give away!!

You already know about the sponsors, but I will tell you one more time what you can win!

For the Back to ‘Home’ School Package (worth $1036):
  • Preschool Activities in a Bag e-books 1 and 2 , Science Experiments in a Bag e-books 1-3, and Math Games in a Bag e-book from Activity Bags.

For the Back to ‘After’ School Package (worth $135.97)(Open to the US only):
  • Word Girl Word Builder, Alphabet Matcher, and Clifford Category Matcher from Twisterz Toys

What do you have to do to win???
It’s easy!  All you have to do, is use the rafflecopter form below to do all your entries.  For the mandatory entries, you just have to tell me which package you would rather win (if you love both… tell me that too!) and you need to follow my blog in a new way and let me know in the extra info area on the form (after you click, “I DID THIS!”) how you are following me.  If you are already following me in all ways, let me know that, as well!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett #ABE2 Sponsor Spotlight

Have you entered to win the prize packs in my A Blogtastic Extravaganza giveaway yet??

If not, you still have until Sunday night to get your entries in!

I wanted to tell you a little bit more about one of my sponsors, first, though.

Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett was gracious enough to offer up their One Year of Download ‘N Go Unit Studies to the winner of my Back to ‘Home’ School package!!!  That is 36 downloadable one week unit studies!!  Here’s a list of the units you will get if you win:
  1. Amelia Earhart
  2. Astonishing Animals
  3. Ben Franklin
  4. Chocolate Challenge
  5. Constitution Celebration
  6. Crazy Cartoons
  7. Creation Camouflage
  8. Crunchy Cookies
  9. Davy Crockett
  10. Dolphin Days
  11. Easter Promise
  12. Expedition Africa
  13. Expedition Australia
  14. Expedition Canada
  15. Expedition China
  16. Expedition Ireland
  17. Expedition Israel
  18. Expedition Mexico
  19. George Washington
  20. Goofy Gecko
  21. Handsome Horses
  22. Hoppin’ Popcorn
  23. Kite Capers
  24. Lewis & Clark
  25. Magnificent Moon
  26. Pizza Party
  27. Prairie Pioneers
  28. Rocking Robots
  29. Roller Coasters
  30. Simply Soccer
  31. Sunny Seashells
  32. Terrific Tigers
  33. Tremendous Trees
  34. Twisting Tornadoes
  35. Valentine’s Day
  36. Whale Tales
Seriously, I’m jealous!

While I didn’t have time to review what she is offering my winner (because I didn’t have 36 weeks to do it!! Smile), I did have the opportunity to see the Pizza Party Unit Study.  That may sound like kind of a silly thing to ‘study’ with your child (at least that’s what I thought when I first saw the title… maybe it’s just me), but I tell you what… there is a lot you can pack in to a study about pizza!  Amanda did a great job!  With this one, your child will learn soooo much about Italy and the famous people from there!  Oh yeah… and they get to eat pizza…. it’s an automatic win for the kids!

Okay, what are you waiting for???

Go enter to win!!!

And while you’re on a roll, go get some extra entries into the giveaway too and give all my sponsors some love! Smile  That’s how I get more awesome stuff for you guys. Winking smile

Activity Bags Sponsor Spotlight #ABE2

One of my awesome sponsors for A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 is Activity Bags!!
Just to be clear, when you get Activity Bags, you are not actually getting a bag.  What you get is an e-book with tons of different activities for you to put together in a bag.  Then, when it is time to do one of them, it is ready to go.  I know that may sound like a lot of work at first, but it really can be fun just putting them together!

Activity Bags was generous enough to send my family the Preschool Activities in a Bag 1 & 2, Science Experiments in a Bag 1, 2, & 3, and Math Games in a Bag.  We have 3 plastic boxes with lids.  One for each subject and the bags are in their respective boxes. (pictures will be coming soon)

As I’ve stated before, when a child is able to play a game AND learn something it is such a great thing!  Momma is happy knowing her child is learning and having fun and the child is happy he gets to play all day!  Activity Bags’ tagline is, “Where fun and education fit in the same bag!” and I do believe they have achieved their goal.

I am so excited to be able to use these bags with my kids this school year.  I am soooo happy to have the Preschool Activities bags so that my 3 year old can feel like she is a part of the school day.  She is really too young for a lot of it, yet, but she want to do ‘cool’ so badly!  She watches her brother and sister do it and she wants to, too.  In fact, lately, she has been taking out blank paper and a pencil and telling me she’s doing her math.  She then just scribbles on the paper.  It’s super cute.  She is going to LOVE the stuff that is just for her!

The science experiments and math games are sure to be a big hit in our house, too.  I’m lucky, in that there really is no subject that my kids don’t like.  I’m happy to have things like Activity Bags that keep their enthusiasm for learning at a high level!

Okay, so on to the giveaway…. the winner of the A Blogtastic Extravaganza, Back to ‘Home’ School prize pack will win:
Preschool Activities in a Bag e-books 1 &2
Science Experiments in a Bag e-books 1, 2, & 3
Math Games in a Bag e-book

All you have to do to win is go to my A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 post and fill out the form (takes 2 minutes, tops)!

Good luck!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New American Cursive–Sponsor Spotlight–#ABE2

My last sponsor for A Blogtastic Extravaganza is New American Cursive!
New American Cursive
New American Cursive is a handwriting curriculum that is just wonderful!  I know that sounds weird… I mean, it’s handwriting… but it is!  The reason I like it so much is because it teaches cursive in the way that most of us currently write.  You know those fancy F’s and T’s??  There are none of those is New American Cursive!  I love this!  Who writes like that anymore??  Okay… I know some of you do… and more power to ya… but for the most part when people are writing in cursive and they need to do a capital T, they just do a print capital T, and then continue the rest of the word in cursive.  Right??  I know that’s what I do.

Well, New American Cursive took notice and made some workbooks that will teach a child cursive, while leaving out all the crazy letters that none very few of us write anymore.  Some of the advantages to this handwriting curriculum as stated on their website are:
  • Unnecessary strokes eliminated -- NAC® has from 5 to 31 fewer strokes than the current five most used cursive styles.
  • "T" & "F" capitals are printed forms to reduce confusion between them; printed capital "Z" is easier & more fun to make.
  • "M" & "N" have less retracing, allowing the writer to move forward on the page more fluidly.
  • Balanced length on the upper and lower extensions of the f, g, j, p, q, y & z.
Also, check out 7 year old Grazia Ferraro’s awesome handwriting on the New American Cursive’s Facebook page.  She won the World Penmanship Contest in her age group. Congratulations Grazia!  Oh, did I mention she is a New American Cursive student?? Smile

Alright, so what will New American Cursive send to the winner of my A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 Back to ‘Home’ School winner??  I’m glad you asked… the winner will receive (among the other prizes) New American Cursive Workbooks 1 AND 2.

Just head on over to the A Blogtastic Extravaganza giveaway post and enter to win!

AND… if you ‘like’ the New American Cursive Facebook page, you get an extra entry into the giveaway!!  Yay!  You have to go to the extra entries post to make it count, but it is well worth it and there are other extra entries you can do while you are there!

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Twisterz Toys Sponsor Spotlight #ABE2

My next sponsor spotlight for A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 (ABE2) is Twisterz Toys.

Twisterz Toys has non electronic toys that can help your child learn their letters, spell words, sort objects into groups, and more.  I love that they are extremely portable!  It is an easy toy to keep in your vehicle so that when the kids are bored on a trip, whether 10 minutes or 10 hours, they can get out their Twisterz Toys and have some fun!

My older two have had a good time helping my 3 yr. old with the sorting Twisterz Toy.  They love to help her learn!

I love that these are non electronic AND portable.  I know I already said this, but it is so important!  I don’t allow my kids to play their DS in the grocery store, restaurant or anywhere else I feel like they should be interacting with human beings instead of staring at a screen!  That being said, I would totally let my kids bring their Twisterz Toys into a restaurant or grocery store or where ever!!

Another great thing about the Twisterz Toys is that you can change them up.  The end twists off so that you can change out what your child is learning!  This is especially true for the Alphabet Matcher, because with it comes extra pieces so you can switch up which letters your child is working on.  We just keep our extra pieces in a plastic baggy for when we want to change them up so they all stay together when we aren’t using them.  That system is working well so far (as long as the 3 yr. old doesn’t find the bag…).

Twisterz Toys is offering the same Twisterz products that they sent me to the winner of the A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 Back to ‘After’ School prize pack on my blog!

The winner will receive:
Word Girl Word Builder
Alphabet Matcher
Clifford Category Matcher

Also, check out the extra content you can download and teach your kids on their site!

Go check out the early entries post to get some early entries into the giveaway before it begins tonight!!

Early Entries for A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 #ABE2

Alright guys, A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 is starting tomorrow!!!!

I’m so excited for all of you to have a chance to win these awesome prizes!

Today, I am giving you all the opportunity to get some extra entries into the event before it even starts.  I’m not going to babble on about this, but here’s how it works:  You do any and all of the entries on the Rafflecopter form below that you would like to do and they will get you extra entries into the event.  Then tomorrow, all you have to do is come back and do one more entry and you’re in!

These are extra entries… which means that if you don’t come back tomorrow to do the actual ABE 2.0 mandatory entry, I will have to delete all your other entries.  Please make sure to remember to come back tomorrow so all your entries will count!

Just a reminder of what you can win:

Back to 'Home' School Package:

Back to 'After' School Package:

    Okay, now enter away and good luck!!!

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Simply Fun-Sponsor Spotlight #ABE2

    The next A Blogtastic Extravaganza sponsor I want to brag about it Simply Fun.

    They were kind enough to send me these three games:

    Bank It!


    Telling Time with Tibbar


    Our World Puzzle Set


    Out of the 3, Bank It! is by far, the most popular game in our family.  That’s not to say they don’t enjoy the other 2, it’s just that they LOOOOOOOOVE Bank It! Smile

    072                     073

    Here they are playing the game.  Basically, you have to go to stores and buy something, but you also have to make sure to save enough money to buy a bicycle at the end of the game.  It is a great game to teach about how much to spend and has already helped my kids with their money counting skills.

    The Telling Time with Tibbar game is memory game that teaches you how to tell time by traditional clock, digitally and military time (24 hour).  I like that, because even my 9 year old can learn something from it.  I haven’t taught her military time, but she will learn it now!

    The Our World Puzzle Set is the perfect addition to any child’s puzzle set!  It will be especially beneficial if you are teaching the solar system or doing a study on geography.

    I love all these games because the kids are learning while playing a game.  There really is no better way to learn, in my opinion.

    Wanna hear the good news??

    Simply Fun is providing these same games to the winner of my A Blogtastic Extravaganza Back to ‘Home’ School Package!!

    Come back right before the event so you can score some extra entries into the giveaway.  Then, of course, come by Aug. 17-21 for the actual event and enter on my blog and then on everyone else’s too!



    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Learning Aids–Sponsor Spotlight #ABE2

    My next sponsor spotlight is for Learning Aids.  This program is great for children with learning disabilities, BUT your child does not have to have a learning disability to benefit from this program.

    Learning Aids Logo

    Also, your child (or you!) may have a slight learning disability that you are unaware of and Learning Aids offers tests to see if your child has problems with Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and more.

    Click on these links to take you to the pages where your child can test.

    Dyscalculia Testing

    Dyslexia Test

    Learning Aids has given me the opportunity to use the online program with my kids this school year.  I am very interested to see how it improves their ability to understand school lessons!

    I will come back in a few months and update you all on how the kids are doing with the program and my thoughts on it, in the meantime…

    Learning Aids is offering a one year membership to their online brain training system to our winner of the A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 Back to ‘Home’ School package!



    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Dave Ramsey Just Say No Rant

    Anyone else here a fan of Dave Ramsey??

    I live near Nashville (where he lives), so I get to listen to him on the radio every day for 3 hours.  I don't get to do it every day, but if I'm in the car at that time, that is the station the radio goes on!

    Anyway, if you haven't heard his Just Say NO rant, please do.  It really is great!

    A Well Planned Day Sponsor Spotlight #ABE2

    I told you I would start telling you all about my A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 sponsors, and indeed, I will!

    Today, I’ll be talking about A Well Planned Day.

    They have beautiful planners for everyone!  They have homeschool planners, student planners and multipurpose planners.

    They were kind enough to send me their popular Well Planned Day planner so I could tell you all about it!  I have heard about this planner quite a bit in the homeschooling community and I’m not sure exactly what I expected, but wow, is this planner ever organized!!!

    I’ll be honest, when I first got this planner, I thought there was no way I would use it because of how detailed it was, but every time I look at it I get excited about the prospect!  It is quite large, too, which I am not used to, but I think I can definitely get used to it if it means my day is more organized. 

    Here are some of the details of the planner:

    • Spiral Bound with Three Hole Drilled to Fit into Binder
    • Over 230 Full Color Pages
    • Full Year Planner: July 2011 - June 2012
    • Home Management with weekly cleaning schedule, monthly projects, greeting card registry, and monthly budgeting.
    • NEW in 2011, Holiday Organization Section: Greeting card registry, activities and event schedules, gift giving, around town shopping, and internet shopping.
    • Organize and plan for up to 4 children in one convenient book
    • Four Student Class Plans: Schedule each student's class assignments.
    • Four Student Time Schedules: Track each day by the hour
    • Weekly Schedule: Organize your week with class assignments, weekly priorities, prayer requests, dinner menu, and notes.
    • Month at a Glance: Plan field trips, enrichment activities and books to read
    • Semester Attendance & Progress Reports
    • Perforated Report Cards
    • Menu Planning: Plan weekly meals and conveniently shop with perforated shopping lists.
    • Family Worship: Read through the Bible in a year.
    • Insightful homeschool articles and tips to inspire you throughout the year.
    • and much more....

    If you have been reading my blog lately, you know that I am changing up the way we homeschool in our house and this planner is going to be a huge help in making that a successful endeavor!  It’s a little overwhelming for this non planning homeschool momma, but the great thing is that even if you don’t want to use it as a planner, you can use it as a recorder.  Just record everything that your children have done from day to day and you can look back and see what you have done for the year.  I do plan on using it as a planner, though and I’m excited about being so organized!

    Basically, you can use it however it best benefits your own family!  Perfect!

    The winner of my Back to ‘Home’ School package will win
    A Well Planned Day Planner and Binder

    AND a one year magazine subscription to the Home Educating Family Publishing!

    Remember, this is only part of the package!  I will be posting more about all the sponsors, so keep your eye out!


    A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 is Almost Here! #ABE2



    You all remember A Blogtastic Extravaganza that I participated in back in January?

    Well, A Blogtastic Extravaganza 2.0 is coming soon… really soon!  It will be August 17-21.  There are over 100 blogs participating again and again, all the blogs will have a prize packaged valued at no less than $50!

    My prize package is called Back to ‘Home’ School and is valued at almost $1200!!

    Are you excited?  I knew you would be!

    My sponsors for the event (in no particular order):

    As you can see from the sponsor list, you don’t have to be a homeschooler to enjoy my package… it’s just all ways for your children to learn at home (except for the Well Planned Day Planner and magazine… maybe you could gift that to a friend if you don’t homeschool?)!

    Over the next few days before the big event, I will be telling you more about these companies and what they have offered to send the big winner.  There will be an opportunity to get some extra entries into to the giveaway before the event on the 17th, so be sure to be watching for that!



    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Easy Grammar

    I seriously love Easy Grammar!  And I’m not just saying that because they were kind enough to send me books to review.

    My oldest has been using Easy Grammar for quite a few months now, and it is great!

    I barely have to do anything with her, because the book explains everything so clearly.  How great is that??

    She still finds it boring some of the time, but for the most part it makes a boring subject (for some) an enjoyable experience!  In general, she’s not a big fan of “Grammar” or “Language Arts” or “English” or whatever you want to call it.  I honestly don’t care if she likes it, though.  I do care if she is learning what needs to be learned.  (To be fair, I have been making her do more than one lesson a day, because I am making her review a past grade to make sure we haven't missed anything... so that is a big part of her boredom, I think.)

    As you may know from my homeschool 'styles' post, we have practically been unschooling since we began our homeschool journey.  It has been great and I don’t want any unschoolers out there to think I am bad mouthing unschooling, because I’m not.  We are just done with it and will be using more school type learning.  At least for next year anyway!

    Easy Grammar has made the switch to traditional schooling, well, easy!

    The lessons are pretty fast, so the fact that Samantha doesn’t love grammar isn’t really a big deal because she can be done with it pretty quickly.  And as the parent/teacher, I love that the book builds upon itself and reviews previously learned concepts.

    Here are the books that Easy Grammar sent me:
    Easy Grammar 2                                       Easy Grammar 3
    From the Easy Grammar website:
    “Students use a "hands on" approach (deleting/marking). Innovative approaches to teaching in a simplistic, easy to understand way make learning meaningful. Students learn correct usage and why that usage is appropriate. Review and using information previously learned to teach new concepts help to insure mastery learning.  This method is both easy to teach and easy to learn. Also, it produces excellent results.”

    They have other books too… Daily Grams, Easy Writing and Ultimate Series (which is geared toward high schoolers).

    I highly recommend checking them all out!  And, as a side note, their prices can’t be beat!

    So... what are you waiting for??  Go check out all the books Easy Grammar has to offer... just don't get mad at me when you buy them all... oh wait, you won't get mad at me, I already said the prices are great! :)


    Healthy Snacks While Traveling

    I'm doing my first guest post over at my bloggy friend, Tara's, blog, Skippin' Rope.  I'm sharing with her readers a list of options for great snacks to bring on a trip with you whether traveling by plane or car.

    Here's a little snippet:

    "Hi!  I’m Nicole from Some Call It Natural and Tara asked me if I would  share with you all some easy snacks that you can take on a trip with you.  We try not to eat fast food if we don’t have to, so when we travel, we take as much food as possible.  If you are going on a plane, you want to take things with you that are disposable… meaning, when you are done eating, the only thing left is able to be thrown away. (no Tupperware boxes, etc.)"

    Want to read more?  Click on the picture below and it will take you straight to the post.  Go ahead and hop (or skip) around Tara's blog while you're there!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Top 20 Selfish Reasons to Breastfeed

    In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would give women some reasons to breastfeed that will benefit them, not the baby.  Everyone is always talking about how great it is for the baby… this post is different.  It’s all about the benefits for momma!
    1. Lose weight faster! – When you nurse, your uterus contracts and it helps to make you lose the baby weight!  No diet… no exercise… just sitting with your baby.
    2. Birth control – When your baby is nursing exclusively (and especially if also night feeding), you will have no period… therefore will be less likely to get pregnant! (Disclaimer: Because you ovulate before your period starts (because that's how the body works), then you will not know when your first ovulation will be... this means you can get pregnant before you start your period.  Some people have been known to get pregnant on that first ovulation. If this doesn't make sense, please feel free to ask in a comment or you can email me.)
    3. No period!!  I know I kind of already said this in #2, but I feel it’s good enough to stand alone! (Disclaimer: Some women start their period right away regardless of breastfeeding.)
    4. Decreases your risk for postpartum hemorrhage.
    5. Easy to pack feeding supplies and you will never misplace them!
    6. No waking up in the middle of the night to warm a bottle… just feed your baby in bed and go back to sleep.  I don’t know about you, but I highly value my sleep!
    7. People have to wait on you while you feed the baby… bring you water, get you a blanket… YOU can’t get up… you’re feeding the baby!
    8. Big breasts! … enough said.
    9. The baby won’t cry as much when he/she is teething, because nursing relieves pressure in his/her gums!  A happy baby makes a happy momma!
    10. Breastfeeding decreases your chances of developing breast cancer later on in life.
    11. Breast milk helps develop the baby’s immune system and helps give it immunity to diseases… ummmm, hello, that will save you lots of money at the doctor’s office!
    12. Speaking of money… breast milk is FREE!!!  Formula will cost you up to $2000 for one year (that doesn’t factor in bottles and everything else needed).
    13. Less dishes to wash!  Breastfeeding… no dishes.  Bottle fed… now you have to wash the bottles!!??  That’s a no-brainer for me… I’m not a fan of dishes.
    14. Decreases your risk of ovarian cancer!
    15. If you are the rebellious type, you now have the opportunity to make a lot of people uncomfortable for no real reason when you nurse in public and show NONE of your breast.
    16. If you are the really rebellious type, you can have lots of fun with these same people by feeding your baby by lowering your shirt/dress exposing your entire breast, instead of doing it discreetly.  (I am in no way condoning this… just wanted to point it out for you crazy ladies out there.)
    17. It hurts when your milk dries up (so I hear).
    18. You have permission to be lazy.  Most people sit down to nurse, so it is now acceptable to be lazy and sit on the couch all day!
    19. Permission to drink beer.  It is known that dark beers increase your milk supply. (Disclaimer: I did not just give you permission to get drunk.  One beer will be plenty.)
    20. Have to be around people you don’t care to spend time with??  Excuse yourself to another room so that you can feed your baby! (Note: you absolutely can bf in front of people, but this gives you a nice excuse to get away from people!)

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    My Homeschool Curriculum…. Almost

    If you read my post on Monday, you know that I am changing the way we homeschool this year.  With that, comes new books!

    For the last 6 months or so I have felt like a brand new homeschooler.  I’ve been quizzing all my friends on what books they use for each subject.  After all my research and talking to friends, I have all my subjects narrowed down!!

    For math, I believe I’m going to use Miquon.  I was teetering between Miquon and Mastering Mathematics.  With Mastering Mathematics, the child does one part of math at a time.  For example, they would start with “Mastering Addition”, then move on to subtraction, etc.  I’m not sure I like that, since the school system’s teach everything at once (sort of)… I mean, what if I have to put them in school unexpectedly?  I don’t want them to be way behind!  I settled on Miquon, because a homeschooled highschooler told me that’s what she used.  When she reached Algebra in high school, it was easy for her because she realized that with Miquon she had already been doing Algebra!  I like that.  I do still really like the idea of Mastering Mathematics.   A friend of mine uses it, so I got to check out one of the books and it looks great!

    For Language Arts/Grammar, I will use Easy Grammar.  Easy Grammar was nice enough to let me try out their 2nd grade review book and 3rd grade Student Workbook.  I love it!!!  I’ll be honest, my daughter isn’t a big fan, but that is because I have been making her do more than one lesson a day (try 4), because she is going into the 4th grade this year and I was having her do the 2nd grade review just to make sure we have all our bases covered. (Wow, that was a long sentence!  Maybe it is a good thing I am getting a good book to teach her grammar!)  Anyway, I think once she is only doing one lesson a day, she will be fine with it.  She says the only thing she doesn’t like is how long it takes her, so that will be solved soon!

    Easy Grammar 2

    For Science, I bought Abeka workbooks and Teacher’s editions for each of my oldest at a used curriculum sale for $1 each.  Couldn’t really pass it up!  Got one for each of my kiddos (well, the oldest two).  I will use this for now and then maybe look into something else (one thing at a time).  I have heard good things about a few science curriculums (they are escaping me right now.  I will edit the post later when I remember!), but I’m not sure which one to use yet.  So for now, it is Abeka!

    For History, I am still trying to decide.  I am looking into either Story of the World or Mystery of History.  Not sure of the differences between the two, they were just each recommended by friends.  If anyone has any info on either of these OR has a recommendation for another History curriculum, I am open to that, too.

    That’s it for all the ‘book work’.  My kiddos will also be doing an enrichment program with all subjects on Mondays.  We have been with this program a few years now and love it.  It is all day, just like a ‘regular’ school day.  We are also trying out a new one on Friday mornings where the kids will take Geography, Science, and 5 in a row.

    Do any of you homeschoolers have any feedback on any of my choices?  Seriously, I won’t take offense if you have something negative to say… like I said, I kind of feel like a new homeschooler, because I plan on doing things so differently this year.  I thank God that we are able to make these choices for our family, based on what we feel is best!


    World Breastfeeding Week {Wordless Wednesday}

    4th of July party

    I've never participated in Wordless Wednesday, but my friend over at Southern Yankee Mix posted a sweet picture of her little one breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and I thought it was such a great idea, that I stole it!

    As you can see, my WW is not wordless... I'm not even sure if that's possible! ;)

    Here are more bf pictures in honor of World Breastfeeding Week...  I really wish these kinds of pictures were more 'normal'.

    This is not the most attractive photo, but hey, it's everyday life... just please pretend you never saw those shorts!
    My littlest is about 2 weeks old in this picture!
    Hope you enjoyed my first "Wordless" Wednesday!  Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

    I'm not extremely happy with the pictures I found.... if I find some more I will post them!

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Unschool? Relaxed/Eclectic Schooling? Classical/Traditional?

    Source homeschoolcoach
    We have been a homeschooling family since my oldest was 3.  She did go to a Montessori school for a few months, but we took her out.  It just wasn’t right for her.  I still love Montessori, and if we ever move to a place with a great Montessori school, who knows, we might put our kids in it.  At the time, though, the particular school was not a good fit for us.

    We have been homeschooling ever since then and I have no doubt it is the right choice for our family right now.

    For those of you who know a little about homeschooling, you know there are lots of choices as to which ‘style' of homeschooling you want to do.  There ’s Relaxed/Eclectic, Classical/Traditional, Unschooling, Montessori, School-at-Home, Charlotte Mason, etc.

    I know not everyone can put their family in a just one classification, our family sure couldn’t!  We have always been a Relaxed/Eclectic homeschooling family with a tad slant towards unschooling.  I thought, for the longest time, that we unschooled, but then I learned that a lot of unschoolers use no workbooks and feel you can’t unschool and use books.  My kids like workbooks, so I guess that means we don’t unschool.  I never really have cared what the name of our style was, so it doesn’t really matter, I suppose.

    Annnnyway, I’m changing it up this school year!  The way we have been schooling has served its’ purpose, but it is time to move on to a more traditional approach.  Not too traditional, though… I’m not jumping all the way to Classic/Traditional and definitely not going to School-at-Home.  I am really just dropping the ‘Unschooling’ portion of our schooling and adding more structure to our daily schedule.  Also, I will be using less workbooks from wal-mart (or where ever) and more actual homeschool books.  I’m really excited for this change.  

    What kind of homeschooler are you? 

    Are you making any changes this year?  Any advice on how to be more successful with our change?

    Tomorrow, I will share with you what curriculum I have found for each subject and more details on my plan.  I know you are on the edge of your seat!

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Guacamole Recipe

    No joke… I am eating guacamole while writing this post!

    It has come to my attention recently that there are people out there that don’t know how to make their own guacamole OR they think it’s too much trouble.  I am here to remedy that at least for my readers. 

    Guacamole is easy.  It is forgiving (meaning it’s a hard recipe to mess up).  It’s good for you!!!  Seriously, it can’t get much better than that!

    So, here’s what you’ll need:
    • 3 Avocados
    • Tomato (optional)
    • Onion (optional)
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or more if you’re like me & LOVE garlic)
    • Dried, mince onion (only if you choose not to use raw onion)
    I’m going to write this as if you have never cut an avocado and tell you how to do that, too.  If you already know that, you can skip down the page a bit.

    Begin by cutting you’re a avocado in half lengthwise.  You won’t be able to cut all the way through it do the the large seed (pit) in the middle.  Just cut all around it.  Once cut, take the two halves and twist them in opposite directions like so:
    One side of the avocado will just be the meat and on the other side will contain the meat AND the pit.  Now, take a spoon and scoop out the meat of the avocado on the side with just meat.
    Now, take the half with the pit in it.  Hold it over the skin of the other half of the avocado and gently squeeze it to push the pit out.  It will land in the skin of the other half.  I do it that way instead of over the trash can, so that I don’t lose any of the meat in the trash if some comes out with the pit.  Here’s a pic to give you an idea what I’m talking about:
    Put the meat of all your avocados and mash it up in a bowl.
    Here’s what it will look like when you are finished:
    Now, dice up your tomato and onion.
    Add the tomato, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder to you’re a smashed avocado and mix it all up.

    Voila!  The final product!
    Use chips or vegetables to scoop up the guacamole and enjoy!

    You can also add diced green pepper and cilantro to your guacamole for a different spin on it.

    This is the perfect no guilt late night snack (especially if you use veggies instead of chips!).

    If you have any questions, please ask below in the comments.