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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Popsicle goatee

end of may2011 037

I may have to start making our own popsicles from now on.  See McKenzie’s face, yes she is sporting a orange goatee today.  Her face and belly are stained orange from her snack this afternoon.

See’s pretty happy about it!

TOS Reviews ~ year 1

Reviews from March 2010 ~ May 2011

~ Download n’ Go: Expedition Australia

~ WannaBe

~ Travel the World (June 2010 Module)

~ Travel Kits

~ Peterson Direct Handwriting

~ Time 4 Learning

~ PyraMath

~ Salem Ridge Press

~ Schleich

~ Vocabulary Cartoons

~ LanSchool

~ Read, Write & Type

~ Brill Kids Little Reader

~ 2010-2011 Middle School Planner

~ Yuck

~ Corps of Re-Discovery

~ Apologia Press: Good Morning, God


~ Tiny Planets

~ Positive Action, 4th Grade

~ Math Facts Now

~ See -N-Read

~ Easy Classical

~ Maestro Classics - Peter and the Wolf

~ Speekee

~ The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

~ TenMarks

~ Times Alive!

~ Dig it! Games ~ Roman Town

~ VocabAhead: SAT Vocabulary Cartoons, Videos, & MP3s

~ Curiosity Files: Zombie Fire Ants

~ Kid Scoop’s Reluctant Reader Solution

~ Apologia- Who is God?

~ Brill Kids – Aesop’s Fables

~ Big IQ Kids

~ Classical Academic Press, Latin for Children

~ GoGo Kabongo

~ KinderBach

~ Science Weekly

~ Yesterday’s Classics

~ MonkieSee

~ GoTrybe

~ Mad Dog Math

~ Wordy Qwerty

~ Reading Street

~ Eagle’s Wings: Considering God’s Creation

~ Read for the Heart

Friday, May 27, 2011

TOS Review ~ Read for the Heart

logogif My final TOS review for the 2010 – 2011 school year is a real special treat by Sarah Clarkson called Read for the Heart. This is such an awesome book, and I am so glad that I had an opportunity to add it to our home library. 


"When we limit our ability to articulate truth about God, we limit our awareness of His presence and power in our lives." ~ Sarah Clarkson, Read For the Heart

Have you ever tried to come up with an age appropriate reading list for your children and come up blank?  Well, this book should be the very first spot you  look to.  It is loaded with a wealth of knowledge about the wholesome, quality literature you long for.

Here is the publisher’s description:
"Keeping this volume close at hand is like having a child’s librarian for a best friend! A great book spurs the imagination in childhood, inspires our dreams in adulthood, and nourishes the soul with depictions of life fully and courageously lived. Among the greatest gifts you can bequeath to a child are a love for reading and a passion for books. But how do you sort through the many thousands of books available to your children to find those that are worthwhile? Let Sarah Clarkson be your guide to the best in literature for your family. From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended within these pages. Now you can make great literature a lasting part of your child’s life and education."

I can’t say enough good things about this book and will sing it’s praises to anyone who will listen.  Go out and get your hands on a copy ASAP.  My favorite thing about this book is how the books are broken down into categories.  If you are looking  for a specific genre of book, say on History, you can go to that section and see her recommendations.

Read for the Heart is available from Apologia for just $17.00. Like I said before this book needs to be added to your home library!!!


Want to read what my crewmates thought of this book, click here.


I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of  Read for the Heart from Apologia, 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, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

may misc 030

TOS Review ~ Eagle’s Wings: Considering God’s Creation


If your a long time homeschooler then maybe you have heard of Eagle’s Wings Educational Materials.  Our family is just completing our 2nd year of homeschooling and this is my first exposure to this awesome company and there products.  Eagle’s Wings Educational Materials  has been providing resources to the homeschooling community since 1987.  They currently have products for math, phonics, history and science.

cid_E18B0FC6-F770-4DE7-B45E-6BAF1AAD8EDFcableoneWe received Considering God's Creation to review.  It  is a hands on, multi-grade life science curriculum with a Christian worldview geared toward children in the grades of 2nd to 7th.  We received the Student manual (268 pages) and the Teachers manual (128 pages) for this review as well as an audio CD.


The teachers manual includes scripted lessons that can be read or used for discussions. The answer key to the student's book is also included in the teachers manual.  Some of the 36 topics covered include the solar system, weather, reptiles, insects, and the food chain.

Each lesson includes:

  • Preparation
  • Vocabulary
  • Introduction
  • Song/Poem
  • Hands on Activity
  • Bible Reading
  • Notebook
  • Evolution Stumpers
  • Review
  • Digging Deeper

Here are a few samples of the pages included in the book.

Earth Rock Skin Zoo

Considering God’s Creation (including Teacher’s Manual, Student Notebook, and CD) is available from Eagle’s Wings for $29.95.  Additional Student workbooks are available for $13.95 each.

With this one book you can cover all areas of your science study. One of my favorite parts of this curriculum is the low amount of prep time needed to get a lesson ready.  I was able to let the girls pick a topic and then we dove right in and started learning.  I also loved that the materials needed to complete experiments were items that we already have in the house.  We plan on continuing to use this during our summer studies and throughout next school year as a supplement to our biology curriculum. 

  Check out what my crewmates had to say by clicking, HERE.



I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of  Considering God’s Creation from Eagle’s Wing Educational Materials, 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, May 23, 2011

TOS Review ~ Reading Street


Pearson Education gave our family a copy of their Second Grade Language Arts, student texts, Reading Street 2.1 and 2.2 by Scott Foresman as apart of the  of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  If you have spent any of your childhood in a public elementary school you would be familiar with the format and layout.  The two student volumes we received consist of living books that have been republished and broken up into units that each have a theme.  The story is first introduced by giving high frequency words and an introduction to the genre of the literature.  Reading comprehension questions are also included at the end with the stories.

ReaSt-2v1_1551  ReaSt-2v2_155

Mikayla and I really enjoyed these books.  I was pleasantly taken back to my elementary school days with the format and layout.  The stories were engaging  and kept Mikayla reading.  Some of my favorite things include the wide range of literary choices in the volumes (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, & folk tales), grammar reinforcement, and organized units with colorful pages.

While the pricing for the textbooks are comparable the teacher’s manuals are quite expensive.  However, one does not really need the teacher’s manual to get the job done in the home school classroom.  Weekly tests are also available  but I think that would be more for a school classroom.

Each Textbook costs $43.47, or a two book set is $86.97

DVD-ROM Version of the texts $86.97

Weekly Tests Student edition $ 7.97

Weekly Test Teacher Manual $41.47

Unit Teacher Manual $38.47 each (12 volumes in set)

Check out what my crew mates had to say by clicking HERE.

c9b3da28~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a two Reading Street textbooks from Pearson Education, 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 .

Sunday, May 22, 2011


This is the 2nd time within the last few months that I have been sick.  This time I got really sick.  Like loosing 5 pounds in one day, laying on the floor and can’t move because I am seeing bright Mike HM-14 change of command May2011blue stars, sick!  The last three plus weeks we have been on the move constantly and my body is telling me to slow down. Um, I got it, things are going to change for the better and quickly!!! Thankfully the Lt. was home to take care of me and to preoccupy the girls.  I found some great deals yesterday at the thrift store, can’t wait to show them to you.  But for now, I am off to climb back into bed and rest I will catch up with you next week…

Chat later!

Friday, May 20, 2011

TOS Review ~ Wordy Qwerty

wordy-qwertyRemember when I did my review for Talking Fingers company? Well now the company has a new program out called Wordy Qwerty.  This new program is marketed towards children aged 7 to 10 and teaches spelling skills along with typing skills at the same time.    

qwertytosideThroughout the program two keyboards named Qwerty and Midi act as your guide.  In 20 consecutive lessons  your child’s  goal is to help Midi build a music machine.  These two guide your child through  each of the 6 steps inside each lesson.  Wordy Qwerty focuses on six steps inside each lesson to guide your child to reading and writing fluency through the program:

  1. Patterns – such as sorting words by the beginning letter.
  2. Karaoke – rhyme and song combine to make spelling memorable.
  3. Recycler – word families are as simple as changing the first letter.
  4. Pop-a-Word – helps work on recognizing outlaw words.
  5. Write Stories – using recently acquired spelling rules the child types stories dictated a line at a time.
  6. Read Stories – reading a good story make learning fun, but these stories are missing some words. Students get to fix them.


Wordy Qwerty is available from the Talking Fingers website and is available in two formats. You can purchase an online edition with a 5 year license that includes an audio cd, JingleSpells of the 20 songs in the program. Below are the prices:

  • $25.00 for one user
  • $40.00 for two users
  • $52.50 for three users
  • $60.00 for four users
  • $71.25 for five users

The Home Edition is $35.00 and includes the program CD, program guide, and cd of all 20 songs contained in Wordy Qwerty.

System Requirements

Mac: OS9 with CarbonLib or OSX

Windows: 98, SE, 2000, XP

Also requires QuickTime 6 (included) or greater

Mikayla was my primary reviewer for Wordy Qwerty.  She thoroughly enjoyed logging on and using the program.  I do plan for her to continue using the program over the summer to complete all the lessons. Want to test it out for yourself? Try before you buy?  Check out the free demo online, here to use lesson one.

c9b3da28 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a subscription for Wordy Qwerty, 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 .

2011 ~ 2012 Plan of study

 F. at library             
I can’t believe we just finished up of 2nd year homeschooling!  Can I tell you a secret?!!!  I hear people tell me all the time that they can’t handle having their children home over the summer, let alone all day, Everyday.  Wow, that is pretty sad, huh? I have run across naysayers along the way who bring discouragement and I have tried to let it roll off my back.  That is a learning process for me, I am working on it with lots of prayer! 
We had a whirlwind of a year  in 2010 - 2011 but we finished on a great strong note.  I have finally figured out our “style” and the direction I want to take the girls on.  We started transitioning to a classical approach about January this year and we love it! It just makes sense to me and the girls are enjoying it too. 
Marie is my rising 9th grader, GULP! I had a lot of trepidation with processing that my baby, is entering high school. How can that be?!?  I have done A LOT of reading, praying, researching, praying, and talking with seasoned moms who have been there, done that to get her a strong 4 year college prep plan scheduled out.  I am confident  that I can get this job done and will call on the one who hears my prayers if the going gets tough. 
Here is our finalized plan of study for the 2011 – 2012 school year:
Marie ~ 9th (Freshman year)
Jan misc. 2011-265 056Bible History 110, 1 cr                                                                                        
~ Behold your God
~ Sonlight 110
English & Composition I, 1.5 cr                                                             
~ Sonlight American Historical Literature 130
~ Sonlight Writing
~Rod & Staff 9/10, book 1
History, 1 cr                                               
 ~ Sonlight Core 100: American History 120
Math, 1 cr                                                                                                  
   ~Chalk dust Algebra 1*
Science (Honors), 1.5 cr
~ Apologia Biology with living books & movies
Foreign Language, 2 cr
~Rosetta Stone Spanish 1 using MFW schedule
~Latin: Henle I
Logic, 1 cr
~ Traditional Logic 1
Typing, .5 cr (1st semester)
~Typing for Christian Service
PE, .5 cr
~ Competitive cheerleading, 2 –3 X’s a week
Total credits: 10.0 credits
* Marie took Algebra 1 in 8th grade but the Lt. and I have decided that she has not mastered the material to our standards so we are going to do a major review with a different program.
Madison ~ 5th
Jan misc. 2011-265 040 Bible
~Positive Action for Christ - Building Life Castles
~AWANA TNT ultimate challenge
Language Arts
~ Rod & Staff 5
~Rod & Staff Spelling 6
~A Reason for Writing, F
~Writing With Ease, Level 4
~ Reading lists
~Saxon, 6/5
~Menu Math
~Tapestry of Grace DE, Year 1 (Upper Grammar level)
~Poetry & Memory work using The Matrix
~Elemental Science – Biology (Logic stage)
~Health for the Glory of God
~Building Thinking Skills, Lvl 2
~Mind Benders
Latin for Children, Primer A
Foreign Language
~Spanish for Children, A * spread out over two years*
~Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers
~Art projects for Kids
~How to Teach Art to Children
~The Worlds Greatest Artist
Digitial Photography
~Level 4 competitive gymnastics team, 12+ hrs week

Mikayla ~ 3rd
Jan misc. 2011-265 005 Bible
Positive Action for Christ - Building Life Castles
Language Arts
~ Rod & Staff 3
~Rod & Staff Spelling 3
~A Reason for Writing, C
~Writing With Ease,  Level 2
~ Sonlight’s Grade 4-5 Readers 
~Reading lists
~Saxon 5/4
~Menu Math
~Tapestry of Grace DE, Year 1 (Lower Grammar  level using SOTW Yr 1 as Spine)
~Poetry & Memory work using The Matrix
~Elemental Science
– Biology (Logic stage)
~Proper Manners and Health Habits
~Building Thinking Skills, Lvl 1
~Mind Benders
Latin for Children, Primer A
~Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers
~Art projects for Kids
~How to Teach Art to Children
~The Worlds Greatest Artist
~Level 5 competitive gymnastics team, training with Level 7/8 girls, 18+ hrs week
Montana~ Kindergarten*
mento gyser-kitchen paint 043*We are officially opting Montana out of starting Kindergarten in our school district for there records, but she will be doing Kindergarten work*
~Positive Action for Christ –Learning about God
~AWANA Sparks
~Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading
~ Lots of reading
~A Reason for Handwriting, K
~Saxon 1
~Elemental Science-Intro to Science
~Song School Latin * spread out over 3 years*
Suzuki Piano
Gymnastics, Advanced Bears 1.5 hrs/week

McKenzie ~ Tot School
June misc 057
~ lots of reading and exploring
~ Reach For the Stars Toddler
~ Before Five in a Row
~ Gymnastics, Mommy & Me class, 1 hr/week

And any other blessing we receive as we sail for our second year with the TOS Homeschool Crew. 
So, what are your curriculum plans?  Don’t forget to come back next week and check out our updated school room!
I am linking this up with Weird Unscocialized Homeschoolers – 2011 Curriculum Special Edition Weekly Wrap Up, Not Back To School Blog hop

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review ~ Lead Serve Love

Wow, this little book packs a great big punch! Lead Serve Love by Gregory E. Lang is a Christian inspirational book that gives you little three-word 225_350_book-410-coverwisdoms.  Practical wisdom so we can better understand our walk with God.

The cover of the book is simple, yet cute and I was attracted to it immediately.  Each page contains the simple three-word phrases on Christian living followed by a paragraph that expands on the phrase.  The adjacent page gives 3-5 scripture references to go along with the phrase.

You could read just one three-word wisdom each day or just cruise through the book like I did.  Some of my favorite include:

Share your blessings

Give second chances

Believe in miracles

Forgive yourself too

Hold yourself accountable

Live in today

I really enjoyed this book and the sound tidbits of advice offered.  This book would make an excellent Bible study tool also.  I plan to spend more time digging deeper and practicing each three-word phrase each day.  I think it would make a great gift for any stage of your Christian walk and give it five stars!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I received this book free from the publisher through the Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program 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 .

Impaled in the trenches of motherhood surrounded by books

May misc 002      Catchy title, huh?!? Monday night I was walking downstairs around 1030PM to get my homeschool binder when I stepped off the stairs right on top of this. db_main_1

OUCH!!!! To say that it hurt would be an understatement! You guessed it, I impaled my foot on those tiny wire bristles.  I managed to hobble back upstairs bleeding with a throbbing foot while the Lt. tended to my wound with peroxide.  I will spare you the gruesome photos of my foot, but let’s just say I am now walking around with a limp and I still have little circle indentations where the brush didn’t pierce the skin.  I couldn’t even take McKenzie to her gymnastics class on Tuesday because of my injury but we did make it to the Scholastic book fair, more on that later.  No one fessed up to leaving the brush there but the girls were very apologetic in the morning for my ordeal.


Can I just say that cutting your 12 month old molars at 20 months really stinks. This normally happy, go lucky little girl is miserable at times.  Poor girl…May misc 085

May misc 014This past weekend the girls and I headed up North to attend a Mystery tea with our Auntie. We all had a blast and there were some pretty snazzy hats in attendance. No showstoppers like Princess Beatrice’s, but fancy nonetheless.  Here is our Auntie in her Pretty Woman hat.

May misc 036 May misc 031

Isn’t she lovely??? I didn’t get any pictures of the tables as I was trying to control McKenzie from taking the pretty little cupcakes cookies and devouring them.

Mikayla ended up bringing 5 dresses in the suitcase, she couldn’t decide which dress to wear until the day of, McKenzie fell out of the bed in the middle of the night on Friday and I somehow fell out of the bed too trying to catch her.  Thank goodness neither of us was injured in the process.  All in all we had a grand time and I won a prize.  I ended up winning the centerpiece at our table which was a teapot with flowers in it.  We also each took home a tea cup to match the teapot.  The girls and I have visions of sipping hot chocolate in the fall (we don’t drink tea) while having our read alouds or weekly school meetings.

May misc 008    May misc 026 

 May misc 040

Montana loves her cousin-dog, Sebastian!  She now has decided that he needs to come to our house to stay for a little bit. She even has a life size replica of him at our house, but she wants the real deal.  I remember when we first moved here and she was scared of him, but that only last 3 days and now they are the best of buds.  See McKenzie back there, she is not scared of him that much anymore either.  She likes to hold his leash and shake her finger at him an say, “No, no!”  She also learned how to say “stop” while we were there.  Her words are coming, slowly but surely.May misc 052               I can’t wait to get our dog! We have narrowed our choices down even more so now I am checking prices and trying to find a breeder.  I know that our dog will be just as love as our favorite cousin-dog!

ikea Who could make a trip up North without visiting one of our favorite stores, IKEA!  We all love that store, well maybe not the Lt. as much as the girls and I do.  We have found some pretty good finds there, some that even lasted for years and a cross country move.  I haven’t quite found what I am looking for and I may not find it at this store, but I am patient and I when I see it I will know.

We  did end up May misc 074making it to the book fair as I mentioned earlier. We came home with a lot of books and I spent way less than I did last year which is always a good thing, YAY!  I had a budget and came way under to it so that is always good.  Montana will be learning how to read in the very near future so May misc 076I was pleasantly surprised to see how many early reader books they had this year. She is pretty excited and I am excited that she is excited! Now,  I need to make room for these books plus the ones that will be arriving with our curriculum for next year. Speaking of curriculum I am in the final tweak and peak process of narrowing down our choices for next year.  I have my budget set out and I am close to having my full amount saved for so I can pay cash for everything.  I have bought a few things already because of sales and whatnot, but I am keeping a close eye on my tally. I think if I can make it through the Convention without too many impulse buys I will be right on target. I hope to share with you our Plan of Study for the 2011 ~ 2012 school year on Friday, because your dying to know, right?I’m also in the process of setting up a database of all our books and tagging them for easy reference. Not a small feat but I am hoping to have it done by August when we start school again, we’ll see…

That’s been my week so far, how is yours shaping up?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TOS Review ~ Mad Dog Math


I have a child that struggles at times with her math facts.  I am always looking for new ways to drill those facts for quick recall. We work on it with daily practice and about 6 weeks ago we were introduced to Mad Dog Math .  What is Mad Dog Math?
It is a program designed for K-5 students, but can be used in higher grades if needed.


Mad Dog Math is a one-of-a-kind program that drills addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in small chunks. This allows your  students to reach attainable goals and build confidence. All in only ten minutes a day, your child will improve math skills.

 The Essentials of Mad Dog Math *taken from website*

Enables children to master their +, -, x, and ÷ facts in a fun challenging, exciting, and motivating way

Math supplement for any math curriculum

For grades K through 5th; remedial middle school and high school

Standard, daily 10 minute time commitment from start to finish

Huge body of math facts broken down into bite-sized pieces any child can master

Applied system that works in every classroom and in every home

Students, teachers, and parents LOVE it


Mad Dog’s  products include "Mad Dog Math - At Home", a download (a Windows PC app) priced from $19.99 - $39.99; a download of the "Homeschool Mastery Binder" for $69.99 (or as a CD-Rom for the same price); the "Middle / High School Binder" for $89.99; flash cards are available for $14.99.

During the review period, I saw a bit of improvement in multiplication/division fact recall.  However, this improvement was not enough to keep my daughter interested in using the program for the recommended ten minutes a day. I found the cost to be well within the budget for my family and I think this program  would be a great summer supplement. However, I do not feel this specific program is the right fit for our family.

Be sure to check out my fellow crewmates reviews here to see what they thought.



I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a download of Mad Dog Math, 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 .