This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling using a Classical approach.

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



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

ww pool

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kindergarten Summer Review Packet ~ a review & giveaway

MG4Are your kiddos getting bored as the end of summer is approaching? Well, this morning I have an awesome solution to that boredom for your Kindergarten / rising 1st grade students. Annie from The Moffat Girls has graciously given me a copy of her Kindergarten Summer Review Packet to use with Montana.

Annie is a former elementary school teacher who now homeschools her girls. The Summer Review Packet is just one of the few creations she has available for purchase on her Teacher’s Notebook shop.

LI3CGZ-Slide1

Kindergarten Summer Review Packet is filled with resources to keep your children learning while on break from official learning. Math, Reading, and Basic Skills are taught in this jam packed 92 page packet. With tons of hands-on learning opportunities your child will have a head start for 1st grade.

MGMG2MG3

For just $8.50 you can download this PDF file that includes:

~ upper & lower case letter practice

~ addition & subtraction

~ beginning sounds practice

~ ending sounds practice

~ cut & paste

~ color by sight word

~ money activities

~ Primer flashcards

~ and so much more!

Like all of Annie’s other products she creates I find this Summer Review Packet to be top notch! Montana has been completing a few pages about 2-3 times a week. I love the way it helps to reinforce the skills that Montana learned in Kindergarten. Hopefully we will not have such a hard time getting started back to school next month. The attention to detail is amazing and shows the quality and time Annie puts into each of her products. This Summer Review Packet is worth every penny!

32MEGR-Slide2

Annie has graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win your own copy of the Kindergarten Summer Review Packet. To enter the giveaway simply follow the steps below:

~ one (1) entry for leaving a blog comment on this post telling me what is your favorite part of teaching Kindergarten.

~ two (2) entries for being a blog follower of A Stable Beginning

~ four (4) entries for following The Moffat Girls on Facebook

Giveaway will close on Friday, August 2, 2013 @ 8PM EST. Winner will be announced Saturday morning and the winner will have three (3) days to contact me and supply your email address.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Company ~ The Moffat Girls

Product ~ Kindergarten Summer Review Packet

Price ~ $8.50

Ages ~ children who have completed Kindergarten

On Facebook ~ The Moffat Girls

banner_125x125_freshtweet

*Be sure to check out the 1st grade edition of the Summer Review Packet by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

I received a free copy of the Kindergarten Summer Review ButtonPacket, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are those of my own or my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day ~ a TOS review

What’s the most important time of day in your homeschool? In ours it is our Morning Time Recitations, a.k.a “Circle Time”. My older girls prefer MTR but it is essentially the same. Last year we got away from doing circle time, so I am so happy that I was able to review Kendra Fletcher’s from Preschoolers and Peace, new eBook called Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day.

 photo CircleTime_zpsf50b8efd.png

Now, you may be thinking that this book is geared only towards families with young children right? Wrong! Circle Time is for all families regardless of the age who want to incorporate group time in with mom or dad and the kids for learning. Kendra, who is a homeschooling mother of 8 children aged 5 to 20, has a simple idea. Set aside a specific time each day to gather and learn together. This 33 page eBook provides practical information and ideas to help you carve out your own Circle Time in your homeschool.

We received the PDF eBook file which retails for $4.99. This eBook is simple and quick to download and is easy to read. Divided into seven sections Circle Time helps you to organize and manage your homeschool day while accomplishing more teaching and learning. Topics include:

~ Planning a Circle Time that Works for You

~ Strategies for Peaceful times Together

~ How to get your kids on board

~ Questions From Moms Like You

~ Words of Wisdom From Other Moms Who Do Circle Time

~ Resources, Activities, and Ideas

~ Printables

Kendra really encourages you to think big of your homeschool and what you want to accomplish in it. Any subject can be apart of Circle Time, the possibilities are endless!

I really enjoyed reading this book and being rejuvenated to fully incorporate our Morning Time Recitations back in to our homeschool this year. While over the summer our MTR’s were hit or miss based off our gym schedule the days we were able to get them in went smoothly and everyone seems happier and less snippity. I know I missed them last school year and I think it will be a great re-addition for all of us to our school year come August.

Over the last few weeks we have been completing our MTR with Bible, prayers, songs and also read-alouds. Next month when we head back to school our MTR’s start at 8AM and I plan on adding in:

  • Bible
  • Memory work
  • Prayers
  • Read-alouds
  • Science
  • Poetry
  • History
  • Art
  • Poetry
  • Geography
  • Math Games Friday

I would like to start out with 25-30 minutes and then work our way up to 45 min – 1 hr  by the end of the school year with the majority of the time spent reading aloud. I know the limits of my voice so I will most likely have the girls take turns reading aloud as we stretch into longer time periods. Not every item listed above will be done every day but we will strive to get the first four items listed done daily.

I wholeheartedly recommend this eBook, it is money well spent! You will come away with so many new ideas to incorporate into your daily schedule you will be up at night thinking and planning…ask me how I know Smile. I think one of the best parts of this eBook is the inclusion of the printables. To me they are invaluable tools that help keep me on track and organized with what we are learning. Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this eBook by clicking the banner below.

Photobucket

Company ~ Preschoolers and Peace

Product ~ Circle Time: Plan The Best Part of Your Homeschool Day

Price ~ $4.99

Format ~ eBook PDF

Ages ~ all agesWebsite logo photo circletimelogo2_zps58ab71e5.jpg

    photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Friday, July 26, 2013

Color–coded homeschool planner {giveaway}

image

Have you been searching for a paper planner & record keeper? I am pleased to share with you tonight a new one called My Homeschool Daily Planner & Records. This handy planner is the brain child of Jennifer from Are We Crazy, or What?

“This is a unique planner in that each child is assigned a color and that student’s data is recorded in the area designated by that color”. ~ from planner

With 174 pages this planner is chock full of helpful sections including:

* Weekly Planning Pages
* Three Different Chore Charts
* Year At A Glance
* Grade Record
* Field Trip Planner and Recorder
* Student Goals
* Homeschooling Schedule
* Pages for Notes

all-months-displayed

One feature of this planner that I consider handy is that all the students are color-coded. With versions that include 2,3 or 4 students you can easily identify which students work you are inputting in the red, blue, green or yellow sections. Keeping track of grades and lessons for up to six subjects could not be any easier. The planner is economically priced for each student version at $4.99 each.

other-forms

I have really enjoyed using this planner as I am a paper girl at heart. Printing the planner out was a breeze with the useful included instructions. I chose not to take my printed copy to the office supply store to have it bound, instead I was able to put copies inside of my personal planning binder.

planner

My favorite section in this planner has to be the chore section. With our new family chore system I am able to keep track of the girls daily points easier. I also really like the color-coded features. My only minor complaint would be that because I have more than 4 students I would love to see an option to add more students.

example-of-how-to-use-color

Overall, I feel this is a great product that you should definitely check out if you are looking for a new planner for the upcoming school year. At $4.99 you can’t beat the price, especially for everything it has to offer.

Jennifer has graciously offer a planner to one of my readers. To enter the giveaway please leave me a blog comment for each entry:

~ Leave a comment on this post telling me when you start back to school. {1 entry}

~ Are you a blog follower of A Stable Beginning? {2 entries}

~ A Facebook follower of Are We Crazy, or What? {4 entries}

*** Giveaway will end July 31st at 12PM EST. A winner will be picked and notified. The winner has three days to respond or another winner will be chosen. ***

I received a free copy of My Homeschool Daily Planner & ButtonRecords, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are those of my own or my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.

Homeschool Programing: Beginning Web Design ~ a TOS review

 photo logo_zpsfc09b7b4.jpg

Nowadays kids are pretty computer savvy. I was really excited when we were offered to review a brand new course with Madison called KidCoder Web Series from Homeschool Programming.

 photo KC_BWD_Cover_MED_zps2e139921.jpg

KidCoder Web Series is a brand new course designed to teach your child or yourself the basics of HTML. Recommended for grades 4th-12th this course is designed to be completed in just one semester. When you finish the course you will have knowledge of what HTML means, how to read HTML and how to design your very own webpage. Sounds exciting, right?! Topics include:

~ Mark-up concepts

~ Website layouts & files

~ Backing up projects

~ Essential HTML symbols

~ Styling of text

~ Using symbols and lists

~ Internal and external hyperlinks

~ Navigation bars and footers

~ Simple CSS effects

~ Spacing and positioning

~ Graphics and image editing

~ Tables

With 234 pages and 13 chapters, with 1-4 lessons per chapter, each chapter is filled with fun activities and the final chapter contains the final project. A brief history of computers and the World Wide Web are given in the beginning. Each lesson contains “your turn” practice activities that help you put your newfound skills to the test and “work with me” practice that includes step-by-step pictorials making sure you come away with great knowledge about coding.

There is no additional software to buy, nor any external web site to configure. Students will use free text editors and web browsers to build and view web pages on their own computer. ~ website

This course works on either Windows or Mac OS and retails for $85. with a printed manual and instructional videos. The full  photo KC_AWD_Cover_MED_zps565e5910.jpgyear course is expected to be complete in August 2013 and available for $145. While the instructional videos are completely optional they do enhance the student manual with verbal instructions and complete step-by-step pictures to follow along too. These are especially helpful if you are a visual learner.

Madison and I had a great time going through this course. While we have made slower progress than I would have liked due to come computer issues we are into Chapter 5 and enjoying learning HTML. Madison has a blog that she has been working on and my goal is to get her to writing and taking photos on her blog more during this fast approaching new school year. I hope to continue on with this at a slower rate just because of my time schedule. Be sure to read what my Crewmates thought of this program and the others that were reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Photobucket

 

Company ~ Homeschool Programming

Product ~ KidCoder Web Series

Price ~ $85.00

Ages ~ 4th-12th graders

Operating System ~ Windows or Mac

on Facebook

 photo logo_zpsfc09b7b4.jpg

 

 

 

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christi the Coupon Coach: Couponing Made Simple ~ a TOS Molly Crew review

 photo christithecouponcoachlogo_zpsbe2a70cc.pngLately I have been seeing my grocery budget get tighter and tighter. I knew I needed to do something so I was so happy to see that I would be reviewing Couponing Made Simple from Christi the Coupon Coach. Even happier when I picked up some new tips to save my family money!

“Saving lots of money really can be easy if you     know the secret simple steps” ~ from website

Christi the Coupon Coach is a homeschooling mom of 4 who wrote this gem of a book as a way of sharing her step-by-step approach to using coupons to help families save money everyday. In Couponing Made Simple, Christi shows you how to stretch and save our dollars by reducing your grocery bill. This is not an extreme couponing book but rather, a practical how-to book with useful tips and tricks.

 photo christithecouponcoachbook_zpsfd7911d1.jpg

Retailing for just $20.00, but currently on sale for $18.00 for a physical book and $4.99 for an eBook you will be sure to find something useful to help you save money. With 10 short chapters  with 133 pages you will be armed with the knowledge to start saving money in know time.

Chapter 1 ~ Success Stories

Chapter 2 ~ A New Way to Shop

Chapter 3 ~ The Language of Couponing

Chapter 4 ~ Organization System

Chapter 5 ~ Step-by-Step Process

Chapter 6 ~ Tips and Tools

Chapter 7 ~ Couponing Ethics

Chapter 8 ~ Networking and Communication

Chapter 9 ~ Bonus Section

Chapter 10 ~ Beyond Couponing

Back in the day I used to use coupons a lot. It was like a game to see how much money I could save at the register. However, I had fallen off the bandwagon after switching to a “cleaner” way of eating. Now don’t get me wrong I still use coupons but I am not hardcore with a binder / organizer and all (even though I secretly wish I could be). Honestly though, the thought of that gives me a mini anxiety attack.

Couponing Made Simple has given me a refresher course in how to save money for my family. I am not the type of girl to go out shopping to 4-5 different stores…it’s just not possible for me. With this book help and in tiny little baby steps I have been able to capitalize on some really good deals.

coupon4

I also just found a little bakery on the other side of town where I can get Nature’s Own bread (I have stopped making my own for a little while) for $1.39 a loaf.  I ended up purchasing 3 loaves of bread, two packages of bagels, and a container of cookies because my little people were with me Smile, all for $I0. 39.

coupon1

At our local grocery I always try to take advantage of the store coupons and I was pleased to find that during the summer Gatorade is on sale almost every week. I have been able to stock up several times by buying four 6-packs with the coupon on the bottle, plus the store loyalty coupon for $9.00!

coupon2

And I can’t possibly forget to mention that our new favorite ice cream has coupons so I stock up on ice cream and double the coupons on Wednesdays when it’s on sale.

coupon3

I am glad that Couponing Made Simple has given me little refresher in the coupon using department. Using coupons wisely has its benefits and I can finally enjoy it without having anxiety attacks. Be sure to check out what my fellow Crewmates thought of this book and how successful they were in couponing by clicking the banner below.

Photobucket

Company ~ Christi the Coupon Coach

Product ~ Couponing Made Simple

Price ~ regularly priced at $20.00, but on sale for $18.00 for a physical book, $4.99 for eBook

Ages ~ all ages

Christi The Coupon Coach on Facebook

 photo christithecouponcoachlogo_zpsbe2a70cc.png

 

 

 

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordfilled Wednesday

TOPs camp2013

Mikayla (second row from the top, third from the right) had the opportunity to attend the  Elite TOPs Camp hosted by Excalibur Gymnastics earlier this month. The camp is run to simulate the National Team Training Camps that are held at “the Ranch” in Texas and use the National Team warm-up, conditioning and dance classes. She trained double sessions from 800-1130AM and 4-7PM for 3 days.

She had a great time and has learned a lot to polish up her gymnastics.  Her coach said that she has been super focused and motivated since returning from the camp.

See the young lady above Mikayla and to the right with the pink scrunchie? That is Valeria Pereyra a gymnast from Argentina who competed in the 2012 Olympic games. She had the Olympic rings tattooed on her neck and Mikayla thought that was really cool. That and the fact that she spoke English Smile

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Picaboo Yearbooks ~ a TOS review

I was really excited when the opportunity came up to review a yearbook from Picaboo Yearbooks. I have never made a digital photo book before and was quite surprised at the ease of design and use. photo picabooyearbook_zps0e1af50a.jpg

For this review we were given the chance to create a 20 page softcover 8.5” x 11” yearbook. Hardcopy books are also available to make as well. If 20 blank pages sounds daunting to you then don’t let it. The process was really quite easy and there is a 3 minute quick start tutorial as well as other tutorials in case you get stuck.

Picaboo Yearbooks uses an online web based software program. Since it is online, multiple users can put there creative touches upon your book if you choose.  To begin, simply log onto the site and click “create a yearbook”. The first thing that needs to be decided is how you will divide your yearbook into what is called “sections”.

image

I divided our 20 pages into the following sections:

~ A Stable Beginning Christian Academy Title page (1)

~ R. Marie (2)

~ S. Madison (2)

~ T. Mikayla (2)

~ C. Montana (2)

~ F. McKenzie (2)

~ Fun Times Throughout the Year (2)

~ Celebrations (2)

~ Let’s Get Physical (4)

~ Misc. (1)

image

 

 

 

Customizing each page was really quite simple. First you had to pick a background, if you wanted one. There were 1000’s of options for this. I narrowed it down by searching by keywords and choose each page background that way.

 

 

 

 

                image                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Next was choosing the layout of how many pictures you wanted per page. I really liked all the arrangements for layout styles. With options from 0-5+ pictures per page there is something for everyone.

 

image

 

 

 

 

Add even more customization to each page with the addition of digital stickers. Again, there is something for everyone. While I did not use any of the stickers in our finished yearbook, I do think it is a great addition to the design program.

 

 

 

 

 

Now the fun part comes once all the components of the page are in place; adding pictures! So while this should have been as easy as uploading and dragging into place it was not for me. I take lots of pictures! And I have not done the best job organizing my pictures this past year. Something that I have started to get better at since completing this review.

image

Overall, I thought this was a great product and tool for creating your own custom yearbook or photobook. For just $8.95 plus $8.99 shipping for the first book and $.99 each additional book, I think this is an affordable solution for anyone looking to create a quality keepsake.

image

Like the procrastinator that I am, I waiting until a few days before the deadline to submit my book even though it had been complete for at least a week. I am working on the procrastination thing Smile 

I was pleasantly surprised to find our yearbook in the mail 3 days after I submitted it for print! I wholeheartedly recommend Picaboo Yearbooks and I will be making several more books this year. Below is a sample of our finished product.

ybcoveryb10yb8yb7yb6yb5yb4yb2yb3yb1yb9

Be sure to check out some of the amazing yearbooks that my Crewmates designed for their families by clicking the banner below.

Photobucket

Company ~ Picaboo Yearbooks

Product ~ 20 Page Softcover Yearbook

Price ~ $8.95 plus $8.99 shipping

Facebook

 photo 67706_520522131306078_514079593_n_zps2983de7c.jpg

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif