This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TOS Review ~ Vocabulary Cartoons

vocab_cartoon_cover[4]We were sent Vocabulary Cartoons-Word Power Made Easy from New Monic Books a few weeks ago and I admittedly had no idea what to expect from the book.  We have already been doing vocabulary the old fashion way, you know, looking up words in the dictionary and writing definitions.  Well, let me tell you we were blown away by this book!

    vocaburlary cartoons 002

A mnemonic is a tool that helps you easily remember something by associating it with something you already know. One mnemonic rhyme we all know is that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 when he discovered America. The back cover states that "Vocabulary Cartoons are mnemonics designed for learning new words. Memory experts say that memory aids are the best way to remember just about anything"


Vocabulary Cartoons  is filled with  210 words that every grammar school child in grades 3-6 should know.  Each page presents a new word with a funny black and white illustration that includes a pronunciation guide,a rhyming word, and a short little story to explain the definition. A review lesson with matching and fill-in-the-blank questions to test what students have learned is given after every 10 words, with an answer key in the back. You can get a copy of Vocabulary Cartoons on there website for just $12.95. While your there take a look at the other books they have to offer including  SAT Word Power and Vocabulary Cartoons – SAT Word Power II. These books will definitely be used in our homeschool for years to come.

Check out what my crewmates had to say about Vocabulary Cartoons.


I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received Vocabulary Cartoons in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Monday, September 27, 2010

40 days

As soon as I heard the plan in church two Sunday’s ago God had laid my task upon my heart. I tried to make excuses and think of other things to do away with; TV, internet/blogging, a full or partial food fast.

Aug favorite things 032

I could easily drink 1 1/2 of these bottles a day, at the equivalent of 5 cans of soda, that’s a lot of soda! Each time I reasoned I came back to the silver bottles.  As I sat in church yesterday morning, I was at peace with my task. I don’t need caffeine, I need Him.

For the next 40 days (and more) I will be caffeine free.  My love affair addiction to caffeine is coming to an end.

It’s time…

Friday, September 24, 2010

TOS Review ~ Schleich

schleich_logo_75 We love Schleich toys! The quality of these animals and figurines is outstanding.  You can find  anything from wildlife to farm animals, pre-historic animals, knights, soldiers, American Indians, Smurfs (you remember Smurfs don’t you?) and more.  When we found out that we were chosen to do a review for them, the girls were very excited. And you know what, so was I. I secretly was hoping that we would get a giraffe to add to our ever growing collection. Instead we were blown away by receiving 8 different animals, Wowzers!

schleich 003 We received the Prezwalskis horse, a Swabian Hall piglet, a donkey, a Dartmoor pony (which has mysteriously gone MIA), an Asian elephant calf, an  okapi, a gnu,and gnu calf. Check out the detail and that Okapi’s stare is intense!

Schleich is based in Germany and has been in business for 75 years.  You can find there toys at local stores such as Target, Toys R Us, and Barnes and Noble. They also offer a  store locator on the website or you can shop online at Amazon.  Prices generally range anywhere from $5-15. depending on the size and type of figurine.  On the Schleich website each animal is listed with its zoological name, conservation status, primary habitat and its global home.

schleich 005

Mikayla has been drooling over the catalog almost daily. She has quiet the long wish list and with Christmas coming up these make perfect stocking stuffers. The covered wagon has peaked her interest to study that time period, so I am over the moon about that. Who knows, maybe I will even get that giraffe I have been eyeing.

Check out what my other crew mates have said about Schleich.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received 8 animal figures from Schleich in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TOS Review ~ Salem Ridge Press

If you know our family you know we rarely turn down the opportunity to read good books. When I found out that I was chosen to review a couple of  books from Salem Ridge Press, I honestly did a little happy dance.

Five years ago Daniel Mills—a Christian and a homeschool graduate started Salem Ridge Press. Daniel was inspired to do so after reading two old books that stirred up in him a desire to republish out-of-print books. However, not just any book will do—Salem Ridge has strong criteria for what they publish. The company’s underlying philosophy can be found  in                Philippians 4:8: 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things ."

Salem Ridge Press does not disappoint with there book selection. Each book is rooted with strong moral character and the values of yester year.  All book selections fall into four different categories;  Historical Fiction (broken down into American history, World history, and Church history), Adventure, Allegory,and Young Readers.

For this review our family was given Soldier Fritz and The Enemies He Fought, Mary Jane-Her visit (E-book), and The American Twins of the Revolution (E-book).

Soldier Fritz and The Enemies He Fought written by Emma Leslie, Illustrated by C. A. Ferrier
Softcover - $10.95, Hardcover - $20.95
Originally Published in 1871
Story Setting: Germany in 1525-1525
Notable People and Events: Martin Luther, The German Reformation.                                                                                               Ages 8 – Adult; 137 pages


Young Fritz wants to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther and be a soldier for the Lord. On his birthday he chooses a Bible from the peddler’s pack as his present. While his father, the Count, is gone away at war, Fritz and his mother and little sister are forced to flee into the forest to escape being thrown in prison for their new faith. Disguising themselves as commoners, they must trust the Lord as they wait and hope for the Count to rescue them.


Mary Jane - Her Visit
written by Clara Ingram Judson, Illustrated by Frances White       Softcover –$12.95, Hardcover - $22.95                                    Originally published in 1918                                                                Ages 6 – 10; 190 pages

In this second book in the Mary Jane series, five-year-old Mary Jane has more happy, wholesome adventures in the country on her great-grandparents farm. My girls identified with this story the most and we had great discussions about life on a farm.



The American Twins of the Revolution
written and illustrated by Lucy Fitch Perkins                             Softcover –$12.95, Hardcover - $22.95                                         Originally published in 1926                                                               Story Setting:  The Revolutionary War in 1777                                                                                                                  Ages 8 – Adult; 204 pages


This true story tells of the adventures of twins Sally and Roger as they help hide a shipment of gold which will be used to pay the American soldiers in General George Washington’s army.  This  is a thrilling adventure from our nation’s history that keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more!

I love that Salem Ridge Press has chosen to republish these  and many more wholesome, quality books for the next generation to enjoy. I already have a wish list started for a few other books I would like to read aloud to the girls.

Be sure to visit The Review Crew blog to find links to more REVIEWS from my crewmates.


I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received 3 books (1 paperback & 2 E-books) from Salem Ridge Press in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Testing FB feed

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 165

frosting overload

Cadie 4th bday cake 028     Cadie 4th bday cake 019Cadie 4th bday cake 018    Cadie 4th bday cake 022   Cadie 4th bday cake 025     Cadie 4th bday cake 030

Cadie 4th bday cake 038

teeth shot! two little tic-tacs…

Wordless Wednesday ~ a daisy, a brownie, & a junior

 gs pyramath 006

TOS Review ~ PyraMath

This week with the TOS Homeschool Crew I had the chance to review PyraMath from the makers of I See Cards. I played this with my 4th and 2nd grade daughters. One of them struggles a bit with math facts so I knew I wanted to give this a shot.


What is PyraMath you ask?

PyraMath is  a one or two player card game that helps strengthen  math fact skills. The object of the game is to quickly identify the numbers on your cards and then add, subtract, multiply or divide. Whoever completes their pyramid using by using fundamental mathematics wins!


Each card is clearly numbered and labeled with four mathematical symbols addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The cards are also labeled with English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Roman and French numerical translation and symbols.

Sounds like this would be an expensive game for all it has to offer, right? Nope, this gem of a game is economically priced at just $6.95 for the 56 card set! It’s a steal at this price. And guess what, there’s more games offered on the I See Cards website to help with fractions, prime numbers, and basic language and math skills.

gs pyramath 009

After playing the game for several weeks I have seen Madison  making the mental math connections a little bit quicker. One thing I greatly appreciate about the cards is that they have the translation for several different languages. We are studying Spanish this year so we even played using the Spanish words. All in all PyraMath is hands down fun and takes the chore out of learning math facts!

Find out what my fellow crewmates thought about PyraMath.


I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of PyraMath in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Montana

alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 067

Wow, 4 years old! Montana is so excited for her special day, everyone we meet she tells them it’s her birthday. This weekend we will be hosting a par-tea for 8 of her closest friends and her sisters too.

alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 047 alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 070 Her prized pillow pet, from Great Mama. She loves this ducky!alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 072Cadie 4th bday cake 004 Cadie 4th bday cake 009  

alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 081 alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 091

Way to grow Montana, Love you always!!!

Review ~ Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards

Have you heard of Alphabotz? A few weeks ago I contacted the company that makes the Alphabotz Superphonic Decorder Cards for review purposes. I jumped for joy when I spoke with Nicole and she sent me a set of their cards for review.

alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 019 So just who are Alphabotz?

The Alphabotz are a lively set of 46 characters that were developed by a teacher and parent to personify the sounds of the English language in a unique and fun way. The story of the Alphabotz begins with young Ben Letterman who attends Marmaduke Stanford Choke Academy. One day while in the library, the stern libraian, Miss Spella de Books calls on Ben to read aloud. Ben has a secret though, he can’t read! Feeling embarrassed he runs from the room into the old Reference Room where we discovers a golden book shining brightly in the dark. The cover of the book had an elaborate lock, gears, and a wheel with letters on it. As Ben touches the book, the wheel and gears start to turn and a bookcase magically opens up to reveal a secret hidden staircase where out pop several little robots called ALPHABOTZ.  The Alphabotz take Ben on a fantastic adventure to help him unlock the secret code of reading.

Alphabotz help to reinforce early reading  skills by creating colorful and meaningful associations between letters and sounds with 12 fun-filled letter and sound games. This in turn helps to support the idea that letters equal sounds, sounds build into words, and then those words will tell you an amazing story. alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 033

It’s no wonder the Alphabotz have won mulitiple awards including Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products. These cards are hands down fun and the song is so catchy that I find myself singing it right along with Montana. The cards are very sturdy  and come in there own storage case and the price is just right at $19.95. Right now they have a Back to School special where you get free shipping with your order!

alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 022Montana is in Pre-K this year and I knew when I first saw them that they would be a perfect compliment to our alphabet study. I have no complaints from her when I pull out the Alphabotz cards for our daily review. She has an eagerness to learn her letters and the sounds each makes.  Her favorite card right now is the hard “C”, Coco.  She loves the cupcake, and she knows that is the first letter of her name too.


This is how excited Montana gets when she gets to use her Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards for school. Major emphasis on F-U-N!!! These are definitely not your Grandma’s Flash cards!alphabotz-cadie 4th bday 040


I  received a set of Alphabotz Superphonic Decoder Cards in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I was compensated with a free products, I was not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meet me in the stairwell…

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11th, 2001.

Neither will I...

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.

Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me...Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me...this way...take my hand."

Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.
I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do.

However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

September 11th, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you.

But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go."

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

Remember: I love you…

Written by: Stacey Randall


I remember where we were that day and we will never forget…


I saw this posted over at Renee’s blog Life with My Special K’s and knew that I wanted to share it with you all too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Grandma ~12 month stats

12moFaith 001

Hi Grandma-Great! That’s what sisters have been calling you, well that and Great Mamma. Which one do you like best because I am working on saying “mamma” now. I went to the doctor’s yesterday and had my 12 month check up. Want to know how much I weigh? Do you, really?!?

12moFaith 003

A whopping 15 lbs 2 ozs and 26 1/2 inches!!! But Mommy suspects a couple of those ounces are from the cupful of juice I had before being called back. Dr. Janice and and my favorite nurse, Cindy, were so thrilled and even shocked a bit that I could walk. So I wowed them even more and showed them how I can walk backwards.

12moFaith 010

I saw a tiny baby in the waiting room and I admit I tried to attack him. I thought he was a baby doll like we have at home.  I like playing babies with Montana, even though sometimes she takes my Ruby. My day at the doctors ended with me getting 3 shots in my left leg, which I was not too happy with Nurse Cindy about. And she had to prick my big toe twice to check my blood count,TWICE! I did get a pretty Band-Aid for my toe, though but I took it off on the way home and tried to eat it. Mommy caught me at a red light an snatched it out of my hand, she’s got some good reflexes, that Mommy of mine.

12mo Faith 001

Sisters are having fun doing school. I like to take the dry erase markers and run, they chase me every time, it’s a fun game! One day I colored on the wall with a highlighter, I thought it was pretty, Mommy not so much. Sunday I am going to my NICU reunion, I get to go see the doctors and nurses that took care of me for my 21 day stay. I am pretty excited about it. So that was my day, how is yours going?

Hugs and Kisses, can’t wait to see you again, Luv you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays ~ last sunrise in OBX before Earl

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 239

Week 3 woes

I am feeling disappointed and frustrated in one of the History curriculum’s that I am using. It’s not a bad program, it just might not be what is right for my girl, Mikayla.

ay-botanical gardens 002 She is bored and not interested in it. There is no challenge, no sparkle in her eyes. But then again, maybe it’s just me.

Hmmm…Is it too early to give up on this program and move on?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weaning my last baby

Day 1 did not go so well…

Did I ever tell you this little one is very strong willedFAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 148

just like her big sister was very strong willed during the weaning process. I literally had to drape a blanket across my chest with Montana.

love that smile

I am open to suggestions…help!

Monday, September 6, 2010

More OBX pictures

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 187

We spent everyday on the beach in OBX building sandcastles and holes. It was nice to just sit and relax and listen to the sounds of the ocean.

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 089 FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 179FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 094FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 233FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 144

We went to Wings were everything was 50% off, can’t beat that! You see those cute little piggy banks, the frogs and bumble bee? Well Montana wants a piggy bank for her birthday and I totally forgot to go back to the store before leaving the island to get one for her! Not to worry though, I think she will enjoy the piggy bank I found instead for her special day next week.


We ate out at the Dolphin Den which was really yummy! This was the first time we have eaten out in a restaurant  since McKenzie was born. There was a little girl about 18 months that McKenzie was screaming talking to, except the little girl didn’t feel like talking back and just stared at McKenzie. Do you think that deterred her, No Ma’am! She kept on talking to anyone who would catch her eye. Nonetheless, she did really well until she hit her head on the solid wood table. The Lt. had to cut my steak into bite size pieces so I could eat, since there was no way she was getting back into the highchair. 

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 146

We also tried out the local Chinese restuarant. We love Asian food, their sweet and sour chicken was delish! 

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 174 FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 178     

FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 106 FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 235 FAITH ears bday, OBX vacation 238

It was a great 4 days, can’t wait to go back next year and hopefully get to stay the full week. What did you do this summer?