July 30, 2013

Blossoming Through Books Printable List

I am excited to let you know that I have joined Enchanted Homeschooling Mom to bring you a wonderful collection of books which have been separated out by SEASON! Yes, think how handy it will be to have this list as you prepare for thematic projects, or to just fill those book baskets!

We've put together a PRINTABLE list that separates each season out by months and offers an extensive list of books to use for each month! Simply print it off and head on over to your local library! These book titles have been contributed by MANY homeschooling families in order to bring you "homeschool family recommended" selections to enjoy!

Jill and I are offering this list FREE to you! Simply head on over to Jill's blog to snag it!


Chats on the Farmhouse Porch for July 30th (a new series!)

As I was checking my Feedly feeds, I stumbled across a new weekly series that is right up my alley! So I'm very tickled to be joining in for the first time this week to...
Everyday Ruralty

Are you looking forward to fall?
Absolutely! Fall is my #1 most favorite season...especially since I moved to rural Kentucky. Oh the vibrancy the season brings! 
Picture from Fall 2012 here on the farm
Growing up I lived in Washington and all the trees and foliage is pretty much evergreen! Which is great during the winter, but you miss out so much during the fall! I also love fall because all my favorite colors are represented and I can live in my jeans and long sleeved T-shirts!

What are the three best colors for you to wear, and the three worst?
Best colors--intense sapphire blue, plumby purple, cheery apple Red!
Worst colors--pastels. It is so hard for me (A BLONDIE!) to find pastels that work for me. Let's not even mention the color yellow!

What is your favorite kind of juice? If you are not into juice, you can tell us your favorite flavor of soda, tea, coffee, Tang, mud, etc.
Juice. I have a thing for pineapple juice. Or those yummy 100% tropical juices with guava, pineapple, orange mixed together. I adore that stuff!

Have you ever been in the hospital (at least an overnight)? You don't need to share the ailment, but tell us what the longest time is.
The only time I've ever had to stay the night was for my two boys birth's. They were both born at night, and since the hospital has a 24 hr rule, I always had to stay the night. The only surgery I ever had was outpatient for the D&C I had to have for my second pregnancy. But I didn't stay the night.

Do jingles, songs from ads, and TV or movie themes stick in your head? Do you find yourself singing them?
Oh yes. I am very musical. But sometimes the DUMBEST stuff gets stuck on repeat in my head. But right now it's my boys Raffi songs. Oy! I'm could strangle "Baby Baluga" and "Joshua Giraffe"!

I am looking forward to joining in on this series each week--and found a great new blog to follow at Everyday Ruralty!


July 29, 2013

Poppins Book Nook ~ Beach and Ocean Books and Activities

If you are here for the first time, let me give you a run down on what the Poppins Book Nook is all about. We are a group of Homeschooling Bloggers who work around a theme each month. On the last Monday of the month we come together to share with you what books we read about that theme...and share any activities, field trips, crafts, ect that we might have done relating to that theme! Because our books are for ages PreK to 12th, visiting each blog in the blog hop lets you get a plethora of ideas for your children regardless of their age! Last month's theme was all about Travel/Transportation (you can see my post here), but this month it's all about the Ocean/Beach! Rather fitting in July wouldn't you say?

Let me start by saying I had GRAND plans for this month's theme. Projects, crafts, worksheets--the WORKS! But then July turned in to a crazy month and we pretty much just read books! But since this is a BOOK NOOK share, I suppose that works perfectly, don't you think?

Our #1 most favorite read this month was the book The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.
Oh how both boys adore reading this book aloud! It doesn't matter whether it's me or the Love of My Life...there is just something about the Pout-Pout fishes song that makes us laugh and anytime we see someone pouting, we start singing it to them....
I'm a Pout-Pout Fish
With a Pout-Pout Face
And I spread Dreary-Wearies
All Over the Place

The pictures are BEAUTIFUL and it's fun to look through the pages to see the different animals...and then the boys LOVE how the story ends. I won't spoil it, but please, if you have early elementary age children, you need to read this book! The boys are delighted to know that there are other Pout-Pout fish books for us to find...

We also read and enjoyed the classic Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle
We loved that the story was about a daddy seahorse and other male sea creatures he meets who are taking care of their babies. We also loved the science lesson of HOW each of the species of animal he meets does it. The colors are so beautiful and the boys loved the transparency pages for the animals to "hide" behind. This story is so lovely and there are a lot of crafts (PINTEREST!) you could put with it. I had originally planned to do the Mr. Seahorse unit over on Homeschoolshare.com, but we didn't get to it. I might still do it later.

As for crafts, here are some ocean/sea themed crafts we have made during our school year...

And one of our favorite sea creatures videos about the mimic octopus 

Please make sure to hop on over to all of the other blogs participating in the Poppins Book Nook this month to see what other beach/ocean fun they came up with to share with everyone:

Now it's time for YOU to link up anything YOU have done relating to Ocean/Sea--was it a fieldtrip? Or a craft? Or great book? Maybe a unit study? Anything goes as long as it's related to the theme!

July 28, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal Post for July 28th

In my life this week…I am in summer camp mode! I have this week to get me and Little Britches packed up and ready to head to camp next Sunday! I also have to pull together my dorm theme decorations together and do a few little crafty things for my girls. Eeep! So little time, so much to do!

My favorite thing this week was…both boys making it back to health after a NASTY 24-36 hr bug plagued each of them. There was a moment or two of divine intervention when Little Britches fever soared into the 104-105 range...with instant healing. We were praising God for His mercy!

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…getting to watch a ton of Bob the Builder episodes because they were sick. Something they RARELY get to do. LOL!

Things I’m working on…preparing daily devotionals for my dorm at church summer camp. Working on bedtime story choices and ways to incorporate a "Remember Your Creator" theme into our daily routine at camp.

I’m cooking…A P P L E S!!!!! We were blessed with an ABUNDANCE of FREE apples this week! I made my very first apple butter (delicious!) as well as an apple crumble. Now I have MORE apples to turn into apple butter and other tasty treats!

I’m grateful for…the fact that in times of need I know that I may cry out to my Heavenly Father and know He HEARS my prayers. I called on Him many times over the past few days during our time of sickness. Mom's do that when the kidlets are sick.

I’m praying for…oh so many things. But TODAY I have a friend who is undergoing very serious surgery today as they attempt to fix a rolled over intestine which has caused her significant pain and suffering from bowel blockages. She is a mom of 3 darling kids and I can't imagine how scary it is...

I rewarded my kids this week by…making a delicious strawberry milkshake and then pouring the leftovers into popsicle molds to a cool treat later!

Something I am ogling or have my eye on… is anything to help with the peeling and coring of these apples! It takes FORVER to do enough to fill up my crockpots!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
We love this sweet music video on Courage and Faith...hope your kids do too!

My SIL's husband is "Mr. Jonathan" and Seth has a crush on "Kelsey" (she's in our Homeschool Co-Op) so we're rather partial to this video! LOL!

Are you a blogging homeschooling mom? Did you know that there is a community that has been created JUST for YOU?? It's a place where blogging homeschooling moms can share ideas, network, chat and even find out about product review opportunities! A great place where we can all support one another in our endeavors and adventures! Come and check us out at:

July 26, 2013

Five Question Friday (5QF) for July 26th

1. What is your best secret cleaning tip?
Um. Just do it? LOL! Me giving cleaning tips. Oh now THAT is classic. LOL! Seriously though, the #1 thing that has helped me in the past few months stay on top of the messes is simply "if you make it dirty, wash it. If you take it out, put it away. If you open it, close it." And with this simple mantra I've really been doing a lot better.

2. What is your favorite food to snack on during movie night?
Chips for SURE! Or maybe a nice bowl of fresh popped popcorn. But I am good with just eating a whole bag small portion of chips.

3. If it was up to you, what would you have named the royal baby?
Hmmm. I know they are all traditionalists with the names of the baby. Giving them ancestor names. But I think I would have done ALEXANDER George Louis instead of putting the George first. I like the name Alex much better.

4. If you could be any Disney character who would you choose?
Hmmm. Mary Poppins! She had a great bag of tricks, a smile on her face, a song on her lips and the pretty hand talent of snapping to make everything go back where it belonged. Do you even KNOW the time that would save me in this house of boys??? 

5. What's the most important part of a healthy relationship?
Love and Respect. Too many couples have issues with respect. I see it around me all the time. The way they talk to their mates just makes me cringe. And love--learning your mates love languages can save a lot of heartache. My husband and I tested for ours early in our marriage and once we learned them a lot of things made sense and now we work to make sure we "speak" each other's languages.

Are you a blogging homeschooling mom? Did you know that there is a community that has been created JUST for YOU?? It's a place where blogging homeschooling moms can share ideas, network, chat and even find out about product review opportunities! A great place where we can all support one another in our endeavors and adventures! Come and check us out at:

July 25, 2013

Blue Manor Academy Curriculum Review and Giveaway

Over the last 6 weeks I've had the blessing of reviewing a Christian Preschool Curriculum from Blue Manor Academy.
Blue Manor Academy is a new company offering inexpensive complete Preschool and Kindergarten curriculum! Here is a blurb from the site regarding their company:
We believe "An elite education begins in the home" and have designed our books to help you give your children an early start.  We offer both a complete Preschool Curriculum and Kindergarten Curriculum, as well as several individual learning books sets. 

Since Baby Britches is getting ready to turn three, I thought he would enjoy the Preschool Curriculum so he could "do" school like his brother. We've been working on it over the last few weeks and I want to share my thoughts on how it went...
Here are the Pros:
One of the things that Blue Manor Academy claims is that their Preschool Curriculum is easy to teach and requires no preparation. And I agree 100%! I could simply pull up the e-books we were going to read and then go. No other materials are required.
Each of the books gives a summary of what it will go over on the first page and any extra information or advice the teacher/parent may need to know before working through each book. 
I loved that I could do it at any time during the day. I didn't have to pull out books or worksheets or materials. I simply brought it up on my laptop, pulled Baby Britches up with me and we started! Each of the books are easily done in 10-15 minutes which means even if you have a LOT of children who are in the Preschool age range you could do it with each of them individually and not have a lot of time invested into it.
I also liked that the wording was simple enough for Little Britches to help him go through a book too. I found that he was a lot more receptive if he had his brother reading it to him--or there with him to answer the questions with him.
This program is all about repetition. I find that this works great when the children are in the 2-4 year old range. They learn so quickly with repetition. It was after just 2 days of doing the e-book on Basic Colors that Baby Britches had picked up 5 new colors! Not only could he identify them by sight, but he was SAYING THEM! 

If you have not been following my blog, let me pause to share that Baby Britches was diagnosed back in May with severe Expressive Language Delay and has been in speech therapy once a week. Thus, the fact that he was easily repeating the colors by name so quickly is HUGE. And even better, it has carried over in our therapy sessions as he now easily names colors he had no comprehension of prior to using this curriculum every week. His speech therapist is delighted!
One thing that surprised me was that even though the photos used in the curriculum are real life and not more whimsical, it hasn't made Baby Britches less interested. I know that a lot of curriculum graphics are inclined to be cutesy images to make it more "kid friendly" but this experience with the Blue Manor program has shown me that it isn't necessary.

Here is a photo of Baby Britches working in the Basic Colors book:

In the following video you can see an example of what the Alphabet Letters book is like. There is no frills or fancy images. It's just the stripped down basics. You can hear Baby Britches saying the letters he sees...

We still have some letters to work on...but you can see how each page of the book is very clear and how he responded when he saw each letter.
The Blue Manor Academy site claims that you can use their curriculum "just 15 minutes a day, 3 to 4 days a week"...which is what we have been doing and it really does work. The retention is definitely there.
Another pro about the curriculum is that once you get it you have it...forever. And since it is completely digital, it's not taking up space on anything but your computer or flash drive. And if you have ever purchased a complete paper curriculum, you KNOW what a space saver that is! We don't have an iPad or a Notebook or anything like that--but this program would be PERFECT for someone who does because you could take the whole curriculum with you wherever you went!

Even though we haven't had a chance to work through all the books yet, from what I have flipped through myself I can see why the company can claim that it's a complete curriculum! Here is a list of what your Preschooler will learn:
"With this program your children will learn to read, recite the alphabet, count, recognize prominent historical figures, understand general concepts, identify basic anatomy, shapes, colors and money, lay a foundation for physical excellence, build a strong vocabulary of common occupations, terrain and weather, animals, electronics and transportation, learn to use their senses to discover their world, and more importantly develop healthy social skills by practicing social etiquette and building positive character traits."

I think that would be a most excellent start to any education, don't you?

Now the Cons...

Just as the fact that the curriculum is completely digital is a pro, I also list it as a con. Because I DON'T have an iPad or the like--no, not even a Kindle or Nook--I am limited to working on this curriculum from my laptop. I can't just hand a book to him or to Little Britches to work with him on. And yes, I admit it...I am NOT a huge fan of digital resources. So I can only work with him on it when my laptop is available.
I also find that some of the phrasing of the books is above Baby Britches head...now I KNOW he's only two and turning three shortly and that it's to be expected...but I found some of the pages to be very wordy--especially when trying to explain character traits or social etiquette or other concepts--thus I had to put it into words he would understand. Some of the questions asked were also something that with his speech delay he wasn't capable of doing (like saying full sentences or repeating certain words and such). So we had to work around that and we did make it work in a way he could understand. But because this program is geared for age 2-4, it is something that would probably be an issue for others too.

You can see a sample page here from the Five Senses:

For someone as young as 2 or with speech delay like my own son the response to this simple question is not so easy. For instance, he looked at this page and then just pointed and said "Nose" and "Flower". And when I asked him the scripted question, he didn't have an answer. But if I asked him, what do we do to flowers, he knew that we sniffed them and demonstrated without telling me in words. So we had to pretend to sniff things to understand what smell was since he can't quite understand the concept yet.
Just as I put the simplistic graphics as a pro, I'm going to put it here as a con. I found the lesson book pictures boring, even if he didn't. LOL! I wanted them to be more whimsical and fun, BUT that was not the case for the readers. Those were kid friendly and fun---but since we aren't even near the reading stage, I am just exclusively working with the lesson books themselves.
Another thing that I might put as a con is that the curriculum is heavy on the biblical family and stereotypical roles of the mother/father. Now that isn't bad in one sense...since that is my own personal beliefs of what a family looks like and the roles each parent plays--but for someone who does NOT have both father and mother or has non-traditional views on the roles of the parent, there are some pages that might require improvisation.
And last but none the least--if you are looking for a secular curriculum without Christian influence then obviously this program would not be for you. The title even gives you a clue that it's a Christian based program with godly principles and biblical foundations. But for our family, this would NOT be a con, since we seek out biblical based curriculum for our homeschool classroom.

In summary, I do recommend this program to anyone wanting an inexpensive all inclusive Chrisitian preschool program to kick off your child's education. At just $39.99 you will receive 23 books plus a "how to" teaching manual, making it a great price for such a comprehensive program.

Yes, I am giving away a complete set of the Christian Preschool Curriculum to one randomly drawn winner!

Get entered to win using the following widget! Deadline to enter is July 31, 2013 @11:59pm EST
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't have Preschoolers? There is a Christian Kindergarten Curriculum too!

Don't need Preschool or Kindergarten? Then check out their individual book sets! They include levels 1-3 in subjects like Math, Geography, Vocabulary, Anatomy and more! Simply scroll down on the curriculum page to find all these great books!

f you hurry, you can take advantage of a special deal going on from now until the end of the month of July use the code July10Gift for $10 off any e-Book in the Store!

Yes! Any e-book or e-book set! 
Since most of the e-book sets are under $6.00 you can apply that $10 to more than one! 
That is a great deal and gives you a chance to try out Blue Manor's products for yourself! 

Did you know you could snag ANOTHER $10 by becoming a Blue Manor Academy subscriber too? Simply go to the site and put in your email address to get subscribed and viola!

I hope that I've piqued your interest and you will check out this excellent program--click here to get started!

Blessings to you and yours!

July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday for July 24th

Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity
My SIL visiting from Arizona with the boys
Are you a blogging homeschooling mom? Did you know that there is a community that has been created JUST for YOU?? It's a place where blogging homeschooling moms can share ideas, network, chat and even find out about product review opportunities! A great place where we can all support one another in our endeavors and adventures! Come and check us out at: