Thursday, June 26, 2014

Library and Educational Services {Review}

Go Science Review

Library and Educational Services provides quality materials at discounted prices for teachers, home educators, missionaries, licensed day cares, church leaders and wholesalers. From Bibles to Educational DVD's, this company provides great deals to those who qualify as one of the above, (as most of you reading this do.) For our homeschool, we recently received two, (yes, TWO,) DVD's from the Go Science DVD Series 2. This series contains seven volumes and I chose, Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
and  Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight

Go Science Review
  
                                 Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
                                                            
                                 Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
                                 
                                 Volume 3: Air
  
                                 Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
                                                            
                                 Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
                                                            
                                 Volume 6: Chemistry
                                                            
                                 Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight 

When I first received these DVD's in the mail, I didn't know what to expect. Would the focus be creationist or evolutionist based? This is always my biggest concern when venturing out in the area of science. Fortunately, it didn't take me long to realize that not only were these DVD's presented from a Creationist perspective but an Evangelical Creationist perspective! 
Score! 
These DVD's are both a keeper and ones that I am excited to share with with you! Why? Simply because I have never seen a DVD series whose focus is to present both science and Biblical truths, together! These videos are recommended for children ages 4-12. The biggest draw for this particular audience is that there are children in about that age range who are performing the experiments on the videos!

The way the DVD's are set up, is each volume consists of many clips related to that theme. Each clip is a different science experiment performed for kids, by kids. Ben Roy begins either in a studio, school or outdoor setting surrounded by a group of kids. He then begins by introducing his helpers by asking them questions about themselves so we, the audience can get to know them! Most experiments have about three or four helpers. Roy then explains the experiment and allows the helpers to have a go. He then describes the science beyond the experiment and how it points to the Creator, God! The clips are short, quick and to the point, which is perfect for little ones with short attention spans. I showed these videos to all three of mine, ages four, six and seven. Even my four year old was able to both sit through the videos AND get something out of them!
 
Go Science Review
$8.97

Go Science Review
$8.97 

Even though the way that we approached these DVD's was to simply watch them, some of the experiments seemed easy enough to do at home! One day, my six year old kept asking me for different materials to make a rocket. It took me a while to figure out that his new interest was inspired by these DVD's! He also was pretty excited to see an episode with an experiment using a large trebuchet! He had received a small one for his birthday earlier in the year and loved it, so to see a larger one shoot balls across a gymnasium was quite impressive! Of all my kids, he was most drawn to these DVD's.

My favorite aspect of this series was the evangelical aspect. I don't know where these episodes were filmed, but as I was watching them I was reminded of street meetings for children that I've been a part of to share the Gospel. I've seen puppet ministry, music, clothes and drama ministries share the Gospel  I have never seen science experiments used to lead to others to God as the Creator; not until now! There is a genuine need for this type of ministry in our schools, neighborhoods and communities today and I am excited that they have been made into DVD's so they can be shared with others!

I also have to say, the prices of this company are certainly outstanding! I have been looking for a Bible for my seven year old and when I looked at the local Christian bookstore for a decent, leather Bible the prices were too high! I was able to purchase one for my son through this company for only a little over $10 (compared to over $20 at the bookstore,) very reasonable!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Salad {For Breakfast}

It's not every day that we serve up salad for breakfast in our house. But when I went to check out my garden in the cool of the morning, I couldn't resist! After several days of weather in the 90's, I just had to get outside before the sun began to reveal it's torturous beams of fire. When I headed to the garden, I was pleased to find some lettuce and cucumber ripe for the picking!


When everyone woke up, I was determined to keep them cool and hydrated. It seemed that the day before had caught us of guard and even though meager attempts were made to quench our thirst, the weather still had it's toll on everyone.

When I told my seven year old we were having salad that morning, he ran outside and found some dandelion greens to throw in last minute!


If your looking for a refreshing breakfast to stay cool on those scorching days, try some tasty green leaves topped with whatever is on hand! On this particular morning we simply had leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and of course our favorite vinaigrette! This was accompanied with simple watermelon slices and scrambled eggs cooked with tomatoes and salt. That's it! Easy, refreshing and energizing!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Traci Michele Designs {Review & Giveaway}


 No, you are not in the wrong place! This is still Heather and this is still Thrift Schooling! I just have a new and improved look thanks to Traci Michele Designs. (Hope you like it as much as I do.) If you want to know how you can receive an affordable (or FREE) custom design for your blog, keep reading!

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. Full of enthusiasm, I signed up for my free blogger blog, picked a pre-made blogger template and was on my way. Or so I thought. 
Aside from my lack of creativity with the design of my blog, I had no clue what I was doing in terms of what to post. "Reviews are popular among mom blogs," I think to myself. I had recently purchased a new pair of glasses from an online site so I said, "hey, I'll do a review of them and post it on my blog!" True story. Here's the sad, unedited photo I used on one of my first posts. 


Embarrassing!

What was I thinking?!!
I'm not even going to show you my first "header" I attempted!

I certainly have come a long way. I can certainly take better pictures (or at least edit them semi-decently,) and I've learned a little bit about what constitutes a quality post and a quality review. I also know now that if I want people to STAY on my site when they are visiting for reviews, then I need my blog to feel inviting! 

Recently, I was truly honest with myself. I took a step back, looked at my blog and asked myself, "If I were visiting this blog for a review or giveaway, would I be compelled to stay and look around awhile?"

Unfortunately, the answer was a big, fat, no! 
What an eye-opener.

I realized at that point that even though I had piles of good content on this blog, (recipes, curriculum reviews and homeschool encouragement,) nobody could find it! There wasn't really an invitation for readers to stick around and see what I had to offer.
Even though I receive plenty of daily hits through Google searches, I absolutely needed to make this blog more appealing at first glance so those who stop by will hopefully turn into regular visitors!

So, now what?

Clearly, I needed a blog makeover. I began looking into prices and my jaw hit the floor. I couldn't find anything under $300. And that is on the extremely low end. A complete custom blog design can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand!

At that point I almost considered the $300 design but decided to wait. Of course the whole time knowing that I needed to offer my readers something better!

Then I stumbled across a website, Traci Michele Designs: Affordable Blog Designs. And let me tell you, she really is affordable! She only charges $50 to get started and $50 when the job is done. That's it. An amazing deal.


Traci will then work on your header using any colors or images you request. You can send her a pic of your family, a basket of eggs or a flying fish, whatever. And if you don't have a picture of what you are envisioning, she can find it for you! Seriously. I mentioned in an email that I thought it would be cool to have an image of a magnifying glass with a butterfly. Now, look at my header. I'm just saying. This girl delivers. 

I adore this header. It wasn't a long, drawn out process to get it made because as soon as I saw it, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for. The fonts, colors, images, everything just came together and I'm extremely pleased with her work!

After the header, you'll work on your Pages, mine are the blue labels on the top of the page. In my previous design, the pages were so obscure and hard to read. Now, I adore the bold blue color, placed directly below the header.

Then she will coordinate the rest of the goodies to match. For my blog, the features were:

Meet {Insert Name}
 This is where you can have your image, logo, or write up from your About Page. 

Social Media Icons
Love this feature. I've tried adding these buttons myself in the past but had no clue what I was doing. I'll just leave it to the professionals for now!

 Grab a Button



Background Design
You'll receive a matching background that fits with your header


Other Labels
Other labels that you currently have on your blog can be made to match. 




In less than a week, this design was complete and LIVE on the blog for my readers (and random visitors) to enjoy. I was very impressed with Traci's quality of work, comittment to getting it done, comunication and skill! I highly recommend Traci for anyone on Blogger looking for a custom design. Check out some of the creative headers she has created for other customers:







Order a Custom Blogger Blog Design 
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

101 Bible Stories From Creation to Revelation {Review}


101 Bible Stories From Creation To Revelation provides short one page summaries of classic Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament. Each passage is written in story form with quotations taken from the NIV translation. This 217 page hardback is perfect for your independent reader! Each story is one page long (except for Esther which is a bit longer), and includes a full page color image accompanying the passage.

The passages are written both in a way that is easy to read and easy to understand. It is certainly perfect for my second grader because the passages aren't too long. The wording is captivating and engaging for his age.

Jesus looked up and saw a rich man proudly place money into the temple treasury. Then a poor widow quietly dropped two small coins into the box. "The truth is that poor widow gave more than all the others. The others gave out of many riches, but she gave all the money she has in the world.

Obviously these stories are not a word for word translation, but they are written in a simple fashion for young readers. 

When looking at the stories there are certainly some added opinions such as "back then the earth was a lonely place," and "it was as if all of God's sorrow was pouring down in raindrop tears." Although, you'll find that in any children's Bible storybook. The key factor I look for in children's Bible storybooks is to be sure there are no blatant Biblical contradictions and from what I've read in this book, nothing stood out to me. Crazy as it may seem, many, many children's books are filled to the brim with contradictions! Some of the  stories I pay close attention to are usually Noah, David and Jonah.

Some books will say that Noah closed the door on the ark, not God. Oftentimes books will claim that the stone killed  Goliath when in reality it knocked him down and David used the sword to kill him. And then comes the classic "Jonah and the Big Fish." The Bible says big fish, as this book points out but most children's books depict a whale. The cover of this book says it all, really. How many times do you actually see a drawing of Jonah swallowed by a fish rather  than a whale? Love it.



Disclaimer: I received this book as a part of the Book Look Blogger program. All opinions stated here are my own.

Wildly Easy Last-Minute Chili



This is one of those go-to meals that I run to when days are running a tad wild and I need to get something on the table, fast. It's also something I'll plan ahead of time when I know we have a busy day scheduled and there isn't much time to prepare. In the event that I  actually do have time, I may prepare this in the morning and put it in the crock pot (minus the corn- I'll throw that in last minute,) but recently I've been cooking this on the stove top and have it on the table quicker than you can say, "Rachael Ray 30- minute meals."


INGREDIENTS
1 lb Ground Beef
2 Cans Chili Beans
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Rice (uncooked)
2 cups water
1 cup Corn (frozen)
Spices of Choice (I use Cajan Spices)
Cheddar Cheese and Sour Cream (to garnish)
------------------------------------------------------------
In a medium uncovered saucepan bring rice and water to a small rolling boil.
Cover with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
While rice is cooking, brown ground beef in skillet.
Fill large Dutch Oven or Skillet with beans, tomatoes, corn, beef and spices. Cook for 15 minutes or until heated through.
Add corn and cook for 5 minutes more.
Serve over rice garnished with sour cream and cheese.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Along Came You by Karona Drummond {Book Review}


I was excited to receive this handy little board book in the mail so I could share it with my little girl. (Of course I hid it away in a drawer before she could find it so I could check it out first)! Along Came You written by homeschool mom Karona Drummond, is a story that follows a mother and her daughter as the mother shares about how life is now since her daughter came along. 

The mom expresses what life was like "before you," and now how it has changed, "after you." For example, one page shows the mother dressing up for a fancy evening out where she says how before... I would dress up, then you see a picture of her playing "dress up" with her daughter. That's basically the theme of the book, before you... I did this and now that you were born I now do this. 

 I have to say though, I left the book feeling like it was written more for a snicker from mom that can relate than for the child! I don't think the author intentionally was trying to make children feel bad but for me, it kind of left that impression. Again, I don't think this was the intention of the book but that is how it seemed to come across the first time around. Although, once I read the book through a few times, I did find it quite cute and captivating with fun images that my daughter did in fact enjoy. And yes, this book is currently on her bookshelf and yes, she did ask daddy to read it to her!

I received this book as part of the Book Look Blogger Program. All opinions stated are my own.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

SmileBrilliant! {Review & Giveaway}



Custom Teeth Whitening Trays by SmileBrilliant!


$129.95 
 FREE Shipping

{Giveaway at Bottom of Post}

SmileBrilliant! was created by Betty Shah, a 30 year veteran in the dental industry. Realizing that much of the cost and time associated with professional teeth whitening revolved around trips to the dentist, Betty began experimenting with a system to allow customers to make dental impressions themselves!

In less than a year, she perfected the product and was working with some of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional strength whitening gel.

With the support of her sons and close friends, she began delivering product and creating trays from a make-shift lab in her home basement.

It was not long before the world took notice. Many people who saw meager results from over-the-counter products began searching for better results. For most people, the $500+ price tag of custom-fitted trays from a local cosmetic dentist was simply too much.

SmileBrilliant! began to take off as fashion/beauty writers reviewed the product and customers told their friends. Over the past 2 years, SmileBrilliant! has grown to service thousands of customers worldwide.

The safest, most effective means of removing stains from your teeth is with the use of hydrogen peroxide (HP) or carbamide peroxide (CP). It’s not to say there are zero risks associated with the two but the HP and CP risks are temporary and are limited to tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Personally, I have super sensitive gums so this product is not for me. I have always had sensitive gums from childhood, primarily from not flossing well. (So floss kids, floss!)

Hydrogen peroxide generally is only used by dentists because the dentist can control the distribution of the gel using “dental dams” and cheek protractors which holds the hydrogen peroxide on the tooth and prevents it from coming in contact with the gums.

Gel freshness and packaging is of critical importance when using hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Both carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide have a shelf life of 1 year when stored at room temperature and 2 years when stored in the refrigerator. The longer is sits on a shelf the lower its rate of effectiveness.

TOOTH SENSITIVITY

It is estimated that tooth sensitivity will occur in 66% of all teeth whitening users (I'm included in that count); however for the vast majority the severity will be very mild.

Cause: Even though there are at least a dozen causes of tooth sensitivity, there’s really only one thing going on: the inside of your tooth is getting exposed to the harshness of the
outside world. In this scenario it is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

Teeth are mostly made up of dentin, which itself is filled with little tubules rife with sensitive nerve endings. Normally, these tubules in the dentin are blocked off by enamel, a protective layer on the outside of every tooth. Dentin hypersensitivity kicks in when we have receding gum lines, grind, decay or have thin or cracked enamel, exposing our teeth’s delicate insides.

Solution: Desensitizing gel is a pre-whitening application that the user applies to the teeth whitening trays and wears for 30-60 minutes before using the teeth whitening gel. The desensitizing gel has chemicals specifically designed to fill the exposed tubules in the dentin thus blocking the bleaching agent from coming in contact with the dentin.

What About Those Other Teeth Whitening Products I've Tried?

Whitening Tooth Pastes and Mouth Washes typically do NOT contain hydrogen peroxide and even if it did it would not be very effective because in order for it to remove the stains from the surface and within the tooth it would need to maintain contact with the tooth for a minimum of 45 minutes. Another downfall to whitening tooth paste is it usually contains abrasive material that wears down then enamel. Enamel cannot be restored and will result in increased tooth sensitivity.

Whitening Strips will remove all surface stains from the tooth it comes in contact with over time; however strips are not adequate for combating those stains found in the crevices where the teeth adjoin (especially when the teeth are not perfectly straight). Strips are also NOT effective around the gum lines, nor do they reach the molars.

In-office Power Bleaching with a laser is considered the most efficient means of whitening your teeth. Can't afford it? Try SmileBrilliant!



CUSTOM FITTED TEETH WHITENING TRAYS

Custom fitted teeth whitening trays are without argument the most effective means of whitening/bleaching teeth because they hold the gel to the surface of the tooth, crevices, and gum lines for hours without interruption.

The trays are fabricated using an exact impression of the consumer’s dental structure. Once the impressions have been taken they are sent to a dental lab where a lab technician will pour a plaster molding into the impression. Once the plaster has hardened they remove the impression from the plaster molding and begin fabricating the custom fitted teeth whitening trays.

Benefits of Custom Fitted Teeth Whitening Trays:

1) Last for years: maintaining stain free teeth can cost as little as $20 a year.

2) Ensures all stains on the entire tooth (molars, crevices, and gum lines included) are removed.

3) Treatments can be applied while sleeping.

4) Results will be the same as in office power bleaching with laser
Tooth sensitivity solution available.

5) More effective than strips and in the long run there is a cost savings.



Where to Buy

In the past, custom fitted teeth whitening trays were only fabricated and sold by dentist for over $400. However, SmileBrilliant! shook the industry with their lab direct process. By removing the dentist from the tray creation process SmileBrilliant! has lowered the retail price of custom fitted teeth whitening trays!

How To Order A Custom Tray

1} Order a SmileBrilliant! Custom Teeth Whitening Tray Package

2} Easy step-by-step instructions walk you through the process of making your own impressions.

3} Return dental impressions to the SmileBrilliant! lab using the pre-paid/pre-addressed envelope provided with the kit.

4} Using your dental impressions, a SmileBrilliant! Lab Technician will create an exact model of your teeth.

5} The model is then used to fabricate custom-fitted teeth whitening trays. These trays are returned to you in as little as 3-5 days.

SmileBrilliant! has a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Enter the Rafflecopter Below To Win Your Own
 Custom Fitted Trays


Friday, June 13, 2014

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND!

So... any big plans for the weekend? We have rain in our forecast so nothing terribly exciting planned on our end. I came up with a pile of suggestions for Father's Day this year that I thought Dad would enjoy, but he wasn't really into any of them. All he wants for Father's Day is a pie. I can do pie. And a good one at that, so this should be easy. Of course, the typical heart felt finger painted cards are currently hiding in the basement waiting for the big reveal first thing Sunday morning! (but shhh, don't tell)!

As with any holiday, there are times we can actually forget who we are shopping for when getting gifts. Seriously. Sometimes we think so hard about what we might like rather than what the person on the receiving end is really into. It's easy to say to our kids, "it's not about the presents," but what attitude do we ourselves have? Are we prideful in a gift we created for someone or purchased, or are we genuinely looking at others needs and wants? Especially throughout Father's Day weekend it's important to remember to honor the Father in the home and try and meet his needs rather than our own. 


With that said, I hope you have an amazing weekend blessing the one you love!
 Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Choose Virtues {Review}

We Choose Virtues Review
 
We Choose Virtues is an excellent resource to help aid in teaching virtuous behavior to your children. With our little ones, we have been using the Parenting Cards (NIrV) for children ages 3-11. There is an option to purchase KJV cards, which is normally the route I take but in this case I choose the NIrV simply because these cards include both Old and New Testament verses whereas the KJV only reference to the Old Testament. 
We Choose Virtues Review
Parenting Cards
$38.49
This program made me realize that teaching virtues to my children does not need to be as hard as I have made it out to be in the past. I think where I got caught up was I was teaching them certain traits, reading them Scriptures and then just hoping for the best. Of course when they weren't "getting it" I would feel as though I was failing. What I needed to realize is that the key to change is realizing you need a change! And not only knowing that you need a change but understanding that you can change. That is what sets this program apart from any other "method" that I've tried. This program uses Scripture, family honesty, forgiveness and practical age-appropriate activities to teach virtues not only to your children but your family as a whole. 


It begins by having each member of the family fill out a Character Assessment Form. This is basically a "test" to see how well you currently exhibit each of the Virtues that will be taught. 
This can certainly be eye-opening for children as well as adults. It was interesting to compare once we finished filling these out! One of my sons and I were almost exactly the same which was certainly interesting! I thought this test would be boring for them but they actually really enjoyed it. 

We told them that after a while we would retest them and see how they were doing with their virtues and they keep wanting to be tested each week. We haven't done another test yet, I'm still waiting, virtues take time, but honestly I was shocked as to how excited they have been about this. And, we have been doing this for several weeks, and they still are on board, and exited about it! 

Sometimes it's easy to forget that our children can indeed change that we don't always give them the opportunity to show us that they can. So giving them room to grow and change using this program has helped them grow by leaps and bounds. 

Once each family member realizes their strengths and weaknesses you are encouraged to share with your child that they are life and caterpillar that can change into a beautiful butterfly. You encourage them that they don't need to stay the way they are but that they can change! 

Of course I personally believe that every person is born a sinner and that Jesus living in us is what changes us. I also believe that until our children accept Jesus as their personal savior it is our responsibility as Christian parents to not only teach them but to provide a tangible model of what that looks like. This program encourages children to know that change is possible. Powerful. If children can understand this at a young age then they won't grow up believing, "this is who I am, I can never change," which is a lie that hinders many people from truly embracing their call in the Lord Jesus Christ. They don't think they can be what God requires of them because they are trying to do it by their own strengths. But if they realize they can change by applying Biblical principles in their lives then they are well on their way!

My seven year old struggled with this at first.  I mean, look at the first three words on the card below:

We Choose Virtues Review

It reads, I AM CONTENT. "But, I'm not content," he confesses, "If I say this then I am lying!" And no, he wasn't trying to be a smart alec because I could tell he was genuinely struggling with saying he was content when deep down inside he knew that he wasn't. This was an awesome teaching opportunity to show him and his siblings that no, you may not be content now, but yes you can change and here is how! Below shows the back of the card that you use to teach your child how to CHOOSE to use the virtue you are learning about. 
We Choose Virtues Review

The cards are simple, straight forward and take only 10 or 15 minutes to go over as a family. We have been trying to go over a card a week. We were going to do one a day but that just wasn't enough time for the children to really understand what we were doing so we have been spreading it out. 

With each virtue there is a practical application that is encouraged. For contentment, the challenge is, "The entire family should try to go the whole day without saying I want or I'm bored." This was an awesome one to try to implement because it made my kids realize how many times they say, "I want," throughout the day. And not only that, they actually were encouraged to change and not say it as much anymore! 

There is a cute character that goes along with each lesson, in this case, Cake Jake. The kids love the characters and when we go over a new card they keep asking about who they are going to be learning about that day!

I also received the PDF Download bundle which includes the following:
PDF Download Bundle ($7.99)
Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book (PDF Download)
Family Character Assessment  (PDF Download)
Teacher's Handbook (PDF Download)
Butterfly Awards for Kids (PDF Download)

I have to say that overall this program works. My four year old, when learning about patience, sat on the front porch patiently for over half an hour waiting for her best friend coming to visit. She didn't complain. She waited with books and toys and never once had a bad attitude, it was cute and impressive! Kids love an opportunity to prove themselves and this program encourages it in a healthy way!

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Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day: 70 Years!

Upon noticing that today marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, a monumental day in world history, I was reminded of my visit to the beaches of Normandy, France in 1994 during their 50th Year celebration!


If I could go back in time, one thing I would change is how I preserve my pictures and memorabilia. Seriously! Look at the yellowing on this newspaper article from 20 years ago, (oh goodness, I'm getting old). No, the student pictured directly below is not me, but, if you scroll down I'm the second one from the right. Yep, me at fifteen, a freshman in High School. Young, naive, with the future ahead of me. Yet oblivious to the past that paved the way for me to get here. Now, as a homeschooling mom, I have been embracing history with a new passion and fervor. I may not have understood as I walked the beaches of Normandy the importance of the ending of such a traumatizing war but now I am learning to view it with a new and fresh perspective. 
Fairport Student Exchange to France 1994
(I'm the second one from the right)

Even though I may not have preserved the memories of my past the way I would have liked, there is always the power of the oral and written story. We need to rehearse with our children verbally, the memories we want passed down from generation to generation.We need to write down these events so they will not be forgotten. This has recently become more and more important to me as I continually learn about different events surrounding WWII that affected my family directly. Important and powerful events that should not be forgotten or lost so negative historical events are not forgotten. Or repeated. As I am learning about these events as they happened in my family's past I am realizing the importance of keeping these memories alive for generations to come. I hope to share more of these events with you at a later date, so stay tuned!

Normandy, France
1994



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kinder Cottage Publishing {Review}

Kinder Cottage ReviewKinder Cottage Publishing has a series of ten adorable Peter Rabbit books for young readers ages 3-9. We currently have two titles in our homeschool library, Peter Rabbit's Birthday and Peter Rabbit at the Farm Originally published in the early 1900's, it is both educational and fun to share stories with my children from the turn of the century. Even though some of the wording has been modernized, the storyline and images have a vintage feel about them all the way through!
 
 
 



Kinder Cottage Review
$4.00
Just in time for my daughter's 4th birthday we were able to enjoy Peter Rabbit's Birthday! This cute little hardback is a little less than 60 pages long with a large, vintage, color photo on every other page. I chose to read this book aloud to my 6 and 4 year old. We enjoy read alouds in our homeschool and these books are perfect to just sit down and enjoy together! I had originally planned to break up this book between two days but my six year old was really into it and begged me to keep on going! So, I did end up finishing it in one sitting! In this story, little mischievous Peter heads out on the morning of his birthday to go and invite some friends to his party later in the day. Throughout his adventure he visits friends, meets a dancing monkey and comes across some surprises along the way. The big question is, will this free spirited woodland creature make it home in time for to celebrate his big day?
 
Since our life is semi-farmish, (did I tell you we are getting a pig this week?) I try to collect books and movies with 
Kinder Cottage Review
$4.00
a farm theme. My kids love them and embrace reading stories and watching movies that they can relate to so Peter Rabbit At The Farm  was perfect. They certainly could relate when Peter Rabbit ran through Mr. McGregor's hired man's legs while milking a cow. (They've seen their dad milk our goats enough to connect the two!) As usual, Peter finds himself in some sort of mischievous adventure and as usual, he finds his way home to comfort his mother's heart so she can rest assured that he is alright!
Overall, my younger two children (6 and 4 years old) truly enjoyed these stories and want to hear them again. My 7 year old listened in on the farm story and wasn't really into it, he thought it was too babyish for him. I personally think older kids such as 7 and 8 year old children could easily read and enjoy this, it just wasn't for him. I think my 6 year old thought they were library books because he said he really wanted to keep them! He was thrilled when I told him that the books were ours to keep and we could read them anytime we want! What I enjoyed the most were the vintage images and cute and memorable characters in the stories. I am glad to have added these books to our collection!

Also, those at Kinder Cottage Publishing are kindly offering a 20% discount off the product price on their website when you enter COUPON CODE: TOS 
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Advice to New Parents

Entering the new world of parenting can provide opportunities for both excitement and wonderment. We count down the days and look forward to our precious arrival. We search through baby names, seek out the perfect clothes and get a space in our homes ready for baby. We find joy in thinking about holding a new life in our arms. Then, we have to figure out how to actually get from Point A to Point B. We may have to face some difficulties that have come our way. Whether it's morning sickness, mood swings or sleepless nights, we have to remind ourselves that this is not the end. There is something great that will come of this! “For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying unto thee. Fear not, I will help thee,” (Psalm 41:13). God is with us in these times and we don't need to fear. He will help us through each day, no matter how long the days may seem at times. What has been the most difficult part of this pregnancy for each of you? How have you seen the Lord's hand working in your lives in this pregnancy thus far? Are there currently any fears about the pregnancy or birth that you would like the Lord to help you overcome? Pray together, asking the Lord to calm any fears that may have arisen. Ask Him to strengthen you, as a couple when difficulties arise, drawing you closer together as a couple and closer in your relationship with God.

Progeny Press {Review}

 Progeny Press Review
This Spring, my second grader has been finishing his school year strong with an exciting hands-on literature study by Progeny Press. They provide literature studies for grades K-12 and I chose to use the Frog and Toad Together Study Guide ($11.99) for lower elementary children grades Kindergarten through Third grade.

Frog and Toad has been a favorite in our house since my kids were young. We've read the books, listened to the stories on tape and watched the clay-mation videos! The Frog and Toad stories are classics that teach good morals and are entertaining for children as well! What better way to work on a unit study by using a story that is already familiar? The study guides are simple yet complete and a perfect way to dive deeper into the lessons taught in these.

I have really started to enjoy doing a unit study here or there for several reasons. First and foremost it provides the child with a sense of accomplishment. There is a defining beginning and end that does not take an entire year to complete. They have a goal set before them that isn't too demanding and is actually attainable! Secondly, it provides a break from the structured school day. Not that our homeschool is entirely "structured" per say, but it's easy to get into a groove, a pattern and just go with it. Unit studies help me break from the mold once in a while which brings excitement to the homeschooling day! Thirdly, unit studies help the child gain skills and knowledge in a deeper more comprehensive way since they are basically dissecting whatever they are learning about. It teaches them study skills and how to stop and actually think about what they are learning!


~ Printer: To Print out the E-Guide
~ The Book  Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel (I used a Library Copy)
~ 5 Plant Seed Packets with each Short Vowel in the Name
~ Seven Pots with Soil
~ Ingredients For Cookie Making
~ Art Supplies such as Watercolor Paints

First you print out your study guide and be sure you have all the materials needed before getting started. You begin with lesson one talking about friendship before you even begin to read the book with the child. I like how the lesson encourages the child to think about the theme of the book before diving headfirst into it. The questions are personal, thought provoking and Scriptural (a big plus)! I enjoyed how the Scriptures were written out and the child had to read them aloud and interact with them through the questions in these lessons.

Once we began studying each chapter, all three of my children and I would sit on the couch and my second grader would read it. Then he and I would go over the questions in the study guide. If there was an activity suggested for the day, we would all get involved! During the chapter about cookies we made cookies together and were able to share them at a homeschool picnic the following day! During the chapter about growing seeds we were able to plant several plants as suggested in the study guide.


It was perfect to use this study guide in the Spring because we were able to plant the flowers as suggested! We had to find five different seed packets, one to represent each short vowel sound. We had to be creative with some of them, but they work!

Overall, we enjoyed this unit study and I would absolutely download another study from them again!
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