Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wrapping up Summer Reading

This year we completed the summer reading programs of two different libraries. It makes it much easier when you can just track online.

The Kansas City Public library was the first one we completed. It offers small toy incentives throughout, BUT they offer Kansas City Royals tickets when you finish the whole program. When the Royals weren't doing so well, you could score tickets for the whole family, but now it was limited to two tickets.

Daddy and daughter time!

Mija was totally psyched about seeing Billy Butler play.

And she scored a new pink instead of Royal blue.

The other library we worked through was the Mid-Continent Public library. No toys or tickets though them. You earn books and maybe a hat or messenger bag at the end. Mija decided on all books.

How did summer reading go for you?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Answer to Prayer---CVS ECB

Yes, you read that correctly. CVS ExtraCare Bucks were an answer to prayer.

You see, while my husband has found a job, it doesn't offer much to live on after insurance, rent, and utilities. 

So we found ourselves facing the end of the pay period with no money and little food. In fact, the past few days I've literally been praying for food to feed my family. I'm not talking about not having anything we like. I'm talking about not having anything to fix AT ALL.

I faced today with a half pound of ground turkey, a box of couscous, and a few cans of veggies. That could be one meal, but I needed one more meal to make it until my husband gets paid tomorrow.

CVS to the rescue.

Yesterday, I received an email with a $3 ECB from CVS. At first, I dismissed it but then I realized that could be $3 in free food!

Today I scrounged up about $2 in pennies and proceeded to CVS.

Here is what I purchased:
Both items were on sale 2/$5. The total before the sale and ECB would have been $7.28, but I only paid $2.00 which is a savings of 73%.

This will give me 2+ meals. 
1.  I'll mix the Mac & Cheese with the cooked ground turkey with some canned veggies on the side. I "splurged" on the Deluxe because we are out of butter and milk; with the deluxe those items are not needed.
2. Fried sliced ham with couscous and canned veggies.
3. Left over ham with ?

So thankfully, God answered my prayer to be able to feed my family through CVS ExtraCare Bucks!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Well-Planned Day Planner----GIVEAWAY

You know the school year is drawing near when you start planning...or thinking of planning...or thinking about planners at least!

Well, think about planners no longer. The answer is The Well-Planned Day Planner. It is made by Home Educating Family which also does the Home Educating Family Blog for which I write.

I have used and shared about it before. I still really like it! It is a FAMILY homeschool planner. It has more than just room to plan lessons. It can help plan your life.
It has:
  • 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.
  • Two new elements are: Monthly Tabs and 2 page monthly layout
I really like the convenient, perforated shopping lists. I jot things down as I think of it which keeps me from being distracted during lessons. I use one of the attendance pages to keep track of our hours since that is what our state requires.

Check out THIS LINK to see what the actual planner looks like! There are 90 pages to look at so you get a good taste of what it is like.

Want some ideas on how to use the planner? Here is an article entitled 10 Ways to Use Your Well-Planned Planner.

Ready for the giveaway?

We'll be giving away one planner. It is running from now until Sunday, August 5 at midnight. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, this is for US residents only.

Congrats to Valerie!!!

Don't forget. You can always order one if don't win! They also have student planners. It comes in a floral pattern and tech pattern.
They also have their great magazine.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Liberty Kids---complete series on $7.99

We watched several episodes of Liberty's Kids while discussing the American Revolution and loved it. It really made historical events come alive. I am definitely getting this deal of all 40 episodes to use for our future school year of American history. And it is only $7.99 right now. Hope it stays that way until my hubby gets paid. Don't miss out on your copy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A+ Interactive Math gets an A

bandicam 2013-07-25 00-50-28-125
This year our curriculum choices are very eclectic because God's been providing things here and there. Who am I to argue with God that what He provides isn't what I had planned. 

One of those unplanned blessings is A+ Interactive Math.

A+ is a full curriculum that can be used online, downloaded to print up, or purchased as a CD. 

We have the fourth grade curriculum. Each lesson is not too long, offers interactive Q&As, and a work sheet. You can do them online or access the same lesson and worksheets to print up. 

The program even keeps track of performance and grades. If you do the worksheets and exams online, it is recorded automatically. You enter the results if you do if offline. 

You can find a demo of the program HERE. They even offer free math placement tests.

I  like the size of the lessons. I really like that we can make the program and use it however we like. For instance, we have found we like to do the online lessons and Q&As, but do the printed worksheets. A few times we've switched it up and I've read the lesson from the textbook and then used the online worksheet. There is also a lesson plan which tells you what to cover each week. I like that because it allows me to plan our week instead of the curriculum.

A couple of minor things I wish they would tweak is that the progress for online and manual lessons would all be recorded together instead of separately. Another thing I wish would be that the lessons and worksheets would have the same numbering. For instance, lesson 2-1 has worksheet number 8. I just think it would be easier (especially for the student) to match the lesson and the worksheet.

Considering I only have two minor tweaks out of the whole program should show I think this is quality.

There are big things going on at A+. They are upgrading their website and having a big Facebook party.
bandicam 2013-07-25 02-52-16-950

You can even try the program out for FREE for 30 days by going HERE.
They are even going to offering a way of using the program a month at a time or pay quarterly. You can find out more it at the Facebook party.

Thankfully through this review, I received my daughter's math curriculum for this school year!

I received the A+ Interactive Math for free in exchange for my honest opinion through the Gabby Moms program. Pay What You Want Weekend!

Pay What You Want Weekend

Friday Funny--Chemistry Cat #6

Summer starting to get closer to the end...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eclectic Homeschool Online--Thanks for the shout out!

I don't have a massive audience, but it is always fun to check out the sources who do check me out!

Eclectic Homeschool Online
I was pleasantly pleased when I saw Eclectic Homeschool Online as someone (something?) who stopped by.


I also noticed that they suggested my blog as one worth following! They even listed me in their directory under general homeschooling links!

What a compliment! Especially coming from a site which has sooooo much to offer. You can check out their full site HERE or if it overwhelms you with information, start with EHO Lite.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Educents----Kind of like a Groupon for Educators!

Do you like getting discounted deals through Groupon or Amazon Local?

That is the kind of deal you get with Educents except that all the deals are education related. Deals like:
  • 75% off a Constitution Study pack
  • 25% off Kids Music Library
  • 28% off Clifford the Big Red Dog Science Kits
  • 33% off Intro to Architecture Class
You can sign up for a daily email with the current deals. 

And if you sign up now, you can get a $5 credit to use on a purchase!  That $5 free for merely signing up for their daily emails.
This is deal is good through August 31, so sign up today!

Monday, July 22, 2013

You Can't Make Me...Strategies for your Strong-Willed Child

Watch Our Latest Video
Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

I have heard great things about Cynthia Tobias when it comes to her books on learning styles. While I have not read one of them, I knew I had to jump at the chance to read one of her books when I had it.

The first thing I learned from reading You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded): Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child is that my child is not as strong-willed as she could be! (Whew!)

The second thing I learned is that the strategies she 
suggests in dealing with a SWC (strong-willed child), are things that can be helpful in dealing with any child.

I think the one that has encouraged me the most is "Ask more questions; issue fewer orders." It does not mean not to have expectations or requirements. It does mean think about how you phrase them.

There's a big difference between:
"You still haven't emptied the dishwasher!" 
"Have you emptied the dishwasher yet?"

Tobias mentions that it is an attitude that assumes the best which, of course, makes me think of I Corinthians 13 and the characteristics of love.

She delves not only into dealing with a SWC now but also how to help them in school, as they grow into a teen and young adult, how to nurture your relationship with them, and how to attempt to restore a relationship if already lost.

I really appreciate the focus at the end of the book on God and His role in the family and parenting. She's also honestly states that strategies have an expiration date. Certain ones may work for a while but then you have to change things up. 

Cynthia Tobias' book is a help, but as she point out, the final answer is in Him.

You can read a sneak peak HERE to see what I mean!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Keep A Scientific Journal---Guest post

How to Keep a Scientific Journal 
By Aurora Lipper, Supercharged Science 

Does your child hate writing? Or reading? Or documentation of any kind? And let me guess… 
you probably need something of this sort to hand in as proof that you’re homeschooling, right? 

Here’s a quick and easy way to handle the documentation issue minimal fuss and hassle. And 
this method will even score you points toward your science curriculum requirements along with 
setting up a life-long habit, which will serve your child even greater in the future, which is really 
what we’re after. There are three simple steps to this process: Grab, Title, and Record: 

Step 1: Grab a notebook. You don’t need a 
fancy quad-ruled, glossy bound, gold-letterembossed notebook, either. Just find a regular 
spiral-bound notebook from the store and 
scribble your child’s name across the top. (You 
can even staple ten blank pages together and 
call it a notebook if you really want to.) 

Step 2: Title the top of a fresh page with the 
name of the lesson or experiment. For 
example, from Unit 1, you’d write: Gravity. 
Easy so far, right? Add the date and time to the top corner and number your pages (in case you 
need to reference them later on. Trust me – it’s a lot easier to number as you go). 

Step 3: Record by describing what you’re doing. If you’re reading about gravity, jot down a few 
notes about what you picked up. This is where you want to capture your Ah-HA! moments. If 
getting your child to write is harder than changing a car transmission in a snowstorm, then grab 
a video camera and record them as they work and talk their way through the experiment. Just 
have them describe what they are doing as they do it (you can probe them along with questions 
if they get stuck for words). For shyer kids, don’t have them look at the camera – in fact, if you 
focus the camera only on their hands as they work through an experiment, their shyness usually 
will vanish. 

A lot of scientists and engineers carry around a voice recorder, so when they have a GREAT 
IDEA, they can quickly capture it with words by hitting the ‘record’ button (even while driving!). 
This allows them to quickly capture and talk about the idea without fussing with the slowness 
of a pencil and paper. They later play it back and jot down notes and expand it when they have 
more time. 
If you love to write and draw, simply write down the experiment or reading bullet points and 
illustrate with pictures, describing it with real words that make sense to you. Don’t worry about 
it not being ‘formal’ or ‘correct’ – this is your journal, not for anyone else. 

For example, if you’re launching the potato cannonand you finally figured out how it worked, we’d rather see you write “I shoved the stick in, 
which squashed the air, and POP!” instead of “…as the lowermost potato slug was moved in an 
upward direction, the pressure increased as the volume decreased until the structural integrity 
of the uppermost potato was breached, at which time the…” Use words that really speak to you 
in your own terms. You are not writing a textbook, but rather capturing the essence of the 
experience you’re having as you learn science. Get it? 

Also, if you have any questions that pop up along the way (especially ones that require more time to search for the answers), write them down here as well. Highlight or *star* each question so you remember to go back and get them answered when you have more time. 

If you’re recording your progress on a science experimentget your picture taken as you are doing the experiment and paste it in the notebook. Add a caption about what you are doing, what you found, etc. Most scientists will also record any data they took for the experiment alongside the picture of their set up so it’s all in one place. 

An excellent idea many families have reported using is at the end of the unit, the parents will 
become the student and the kids teach the lesson back to the parent until the parent gets it. 
This may take a bit of work of the kid’s part, but most of the time, you’ll find kids are determined and creative at getting their point across because they are so excited and passionate about what they have just learned. (Don’t believe us? Try faking ignorance and see what your child comes up with.) 

And that’s it! Do you think this is something you can do? If so, you’ve just boosted yourself to 
the top 10% of the students worldwide that actually take the time to capture and record their work. If you just hear or read something only one time, you will only remember 12% of it after about a week. However, when you capture and record notes about what you’re doing, the retention after a week shoots up to over 65%. When you take it one step further and teach it to others, you’re now over 85% retention after the first month. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

World Snake Day--Easy snake crafts

Considering all the wars and international unrest it's nice to know that the world can agree on one day to celebrate snakes!

It's a start.

Here's a few ideas from Pinterest to help you celebrate.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Homeschool Learning & Summer Fun

Today I'm heading out for some intentional summer learning at a nature park. Find out what I have to say about summer learning over at my post at the Home Educating Family Blog.
Homeschool Learning & Summer Fun

Summer Learnin’ (the Musical)

When I think of homeschool summer learning, I cannot help but sing…
 (Picture Danny and Sandy in Grease)
Summer learnin’ had me a blast
Summer learnin’ happened so fast
I can learn outside of school
I can learn and still be cool
Summer days learnin’ away, including those summer nights
Uh Well-a well-a well-a huh
Tell me more, tell me more…

Okay, I will. I will tell you more about summer learning.
First, let me give you my definition of summer learning. Summer learning is any intentional or unintentional activity or event which causes learning during the summer.
I know. It is profound. It is deep.
Let us further define the definition.
- See more at:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Another Impromptu CVS Run--Only paid 2/3 of retail

Mija's face is breaking out again! I knew we needed some generic Benadryl for which you generally don't find a coupon. I also knew we needed some generic Prilosec---again not a coupon thing.

But I went to CVS anyway knowing that the selection would be better.

Still saved money.

It just took a little thinking.

First, I scanned my card at the Magic Coupon Machine.  I received $4 from my ExtraCare Card earnings and received a coupon for $2 off Softsoap Body Wash and $1.50 off any CVS brand allergy med.

Also, the CVS brand "stomach" stuff was buy one get one 50% off.

So, I purchased 2 CVS Prilosec, 1 Softsoap (which we had just run out of this morning), and a bottle of CVS Benadryl.

My retail would have be $66.75 but have the CVS coupons from the machine and sales, I only paid $45.70 which seems like a lot, BUT I saved 32% for merely running in, scanning my card, and looking for the sales!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Free Birthday Treats---a couple of options

You know I love free.
I also like birthdays.
Put the two together and your get free things on your birthday!

Free Birthday Treats for Adults, Kids and Pets
At Free Birthday Treats you can find a bunch of places which offer free or discounted items for your birthday.
The one catch is not to wait until your birthday to look because most items require that you sign up online for a free club or emails. - Free and Discounted Stuff on Your Birthday Month
Free Birthday Stuff works a little differently. You sign up for the site and then you "shop" for all the free birthday treats you want. You put free entry at the Tennessee Aquarium, a birthday card and coupon for free pet food for your dog, and a free birthday gift card from Victoria's Secret in your cart, check out and then select how you want to receive the items. You can select as many as you want but some are location specific.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Can't believe we're past July 4th!

I don't know about you, but I'm sitting here realizing that the summer is slipping away.

July the 4th is over!

Selected ProductsWe started the holiday focusing on what it was about by attending a class. It was a live Happy Birthday, America! class by Founder's Academy. Mrs. Schott of Founder's Academy always does an awesome job. It was fun to be able to talk about July 2nd (yes, 2nd) and how fireworks work. 

We were unable to watch fireworks this holiday because my hubby had to go to work, but we were still able to make it to two family gatherings and have great fun and fellowship.

Wednesday night we went to "Miss Donna's" house. Donna is my BIL's MIL. Regardless of relational status, everyone is family to Donna and Larry.

They go all out every July 3rd with burgers, hot dogs, fire pit, smores, bouncy house, live band and more. Everything just brings a side dish or dessert to share and the rest is provided.

There was an awesome bouncy house this year with one side open. I would post a picture but I made sure pictures of me in the bouncy house no longer exist!

Here's a picture of kids standing around blowing things up.
A sudden storm system broke out over the metro area. Fortunately, no major rain hit the party although the cold front definitely did. Here's mija making a smore in front of the much appreciated fire pit.
We left in time to get my hubby to work. The next day after giving him some time to sleep we head off with my mom to "Cousin Mike's" house.
This time it was warm enough to give into mija and let her play in the pool they have.
We haven't gotten to see this side of the family much in the past few years, so mija was very excited to find out she was playing with a cousin and not just a new friend.
We did get some sparkler time in before we had to leave.
Well, that was our Fourth except my hubby and I remembering that July 4th is the anniversary of our first date by ourselves. It was 25 years ago!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Love Dare---Free on Kindle

Remember The Love Dare book from the movie 
It's available now (limited time) for free on Kindle. Click on the picture on the right.

Friday Funny---Chemistry Cat Summer #3

Third in my Chemistry Cat series...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fireworks craft--coffee filters, rubber bands, markers

Here is another firework-type craft. 

I say firework-type because you can also make flowers from them or if you use fall-ish colors, they can be great turkey tails or cut out for fall leaves.

All you need is...
They do need to be washable markers in order to get the right effect.
You flatten a coffee filter, fold it in half and continue to fold the cone shape in half until it gets small. (Think folding like you do for snowflakes only using a coffee filter.)
Then you take a rubber band and wrap it around the coffee filter in different locations and tightness. It will look like this after you have folded and wrapped the rubber band.
The next step you can see started in the above picture.  You start coloring in all the different sections in whatever color you choose. It will look like this.

Next, you stick it in a cup of water or run it under a facet for a few seconds and then squeeze out the excess. Remove the rubber band and...

Ta Dah!

It's tie-dye fireworks!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Brinkman Adventures--review

Dangerous Waters

We love listening to dramatized stories. We will even stay in the car to finish listening to an episode or chapter, so we were excited to have the opportunity to listen to The Brinkman Adventures

What's really cool about these stories are they are based on a real family, and while names are changed, the family voices the characters. Many of the episodes also have missionaries or missionary stories that are based on real people as well.

We were so impressed with the acting and the quality of programming. The stories were so realistic. In fact, they sometimes give a warning about how intense the story might be. On the other hand, there are also great moments of humor. 

Totally recommend these.

You can actually listen to the stories on their website for free or purchase the CDs or downloads. We really like the CDs because we can listen to them in the car while traveling. 

In the meantime, there is a giveaway going over at Lorrie Flem's blog this week. You could win the season one CDs that we have! The winner will be announced July 7th. 

I was given the copies of The Brinkman Adventures Season One for free through the Gabby Moms program in exchange for my honest review.

Fireworks Artwork---paper, paint, glitter glue & chenille stems.

Unless you are my age group---then you need pipe cleaners instead of chenille stems! ;-)

I mentioned on my previous post about Flag Day/Fourth of July crafts. Although I had to do it differently, of course!

First, we bent 4 stem in half, twisted the "handle" and spread out the legs. We used white poster paint on black construction paper to make the basic firework shape.
Here is what one looked like after we were done with this step.
Now you could sprinkle regular glitter on the wet paint if you wanted to do so, however, I had a goal of getting some fine motor skill practice for some smaller fingers.
So, we let the paint dry and then used some glitter glue to decorate our fireworks.
Here are some of the finished fireworks!

Tomorrow we'll do a different for of "fireworks" that can also be used for flowers and other things.

Monday, July 1, 2013

For Women Only Giveaway Winners

I'm so excited!! I've got my two winners from my For Women Only giveaway.

The winner of both books is: Jenifer Metzger

The winner of only For Women Only: Amy Beutler

Congrats, ladies!!!

New Edition of Eternal Encouragement Magazine is out

It's Ready!
It's Beautiful! 
It's just what you need today!

July/August issue of Eternal Encouragement Digital Magazine
 July/August cover

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