Sunday, August 31, 2014

R is for Reading: What's On Your Nightstand - August (ABC Blogging)

Ben and Me 
What's On Your Nightstand

Due to my family vacation I am woefully behind in getting my Nightstand post up. Since I am on the letter "R" for ABC Blogging I am going to kill two birds with one stone and combine these posts together.

My September list is a little on the light side, but since we will be starting school and figure out the curriculum that I will be teaching for my kids' co-op, I would rather pick less than more. I am hoping to get more read than I have picked. We'll see!

For September:

From my July Nightstand, I read:
I didn't get to:
  • How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler - I didn't read this since I picked up Two Mrs. Abbotts (see below) instead.
I also read:
  • The Baron's Honourable Daughter by Lynn Morris - I loved the Cheney Duvall Series written by Lynn Morris and Gilbert Morris, but I can't recommend this book at all. Too much detail was included which I found annoying. Give me Georgette Heyer any day.
  • Two Mrs. Abbotts (Miss Buncle Book 3) by D. E. Stevenson - I can't put my finger on why I like these books, but I do. They are just enjoyable reads.   
 I listened to:
  • Mrs.McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie - Still working my way through Poirot mysteries.
  • Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas - Sequel to The Three Musketeers. Once I got through the beginning of the story which seemed to make no sense whatsoever, I really enjoyed the story. It is full of adventure and mystery. I did feel like I needed to find a good book of French History to put everything into place. Maybe if I listened to the beginning again it would help fill in the gaps.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Q is for Quality Time (ABC Blogging)

Ben and Me

I know that I am really late in getting this posted, but life has been extremely busy the last few weeks. My in-laws celebrated 50 years of marriage with a ceremony and a dinner. The best part was that it brought about a visit of all of my husband's siblings that live far away. The most exciting was Destini's best friend and cousin, Millie.

 Everyone arrived at the beginning of last week and we spent every minute we could with everyone. If we weren't eating then we were working on different projects for the big 50th Anniversary party. My collage doesn't include all of the cousins, but I did get pictures of quite a few of them.

Quality Time Collage

1. & 2. Technology is always involved.
3. My nieces, Emily  and Millie, and my girls all went to Hobby 
Lobby to find some odds and ends for the 50th party.
4. Rook, Rook, and more Rook.
5. Decorating the tables.
6. Emily doing Delani's hair.
5. The little girl cousins had a sleepover and a day out with Aunt Candice.
8. Many of the family came to church and afterwards we went out.
9. Destini & Millie wrapping potatoes.
10. Matching shoes (Destini & Millie)!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Celebrating 22 Years of Marriage on the 22nd

22 years ago today I married my best friend. It has been a journey full of learning experiences and a lot of relying on God, but one I would gladly and willing do again without hesitation. 
Love you, Shade!

Happy Kids Songs (TOS Review)

Happy Kids Songs Review
I think most of people are aware of the importance of music and how it can enhance and help a child to learn. I recently had the opportunity to review Friends & Sharing, Happiness & Attitude, and Manners & Character, music audio entertainment products produced by Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids

Happy Kids Songs focuses on teaching children important social, emotional, and character skills all through the power of music. This program is produced by Don MacMannis, who is a music writer and director for the PBS series, Jay Jay the Jet Plane. The themes of these songs along with the words address some of the most important issues the children ages 4-8 are experiencing.

I was able to review Friends & Sharing, Manners & Characters, and Happiness & Attitude. Each set of albums include 5 songs that are available for download. These can be burned to a CD or played on the computer, iTunes, or mp3 player.

Friends and Sharing include songs that discuss such topics as ingredients of friendship, reaching out to others, including others in play, being happy with a friend, sharing time together, and saying good-bye. Manners & Characters covers honesty, learning manners, appreciating differences, the Golden Rule, honoring others perspectives. Happiness & Attitude covers having an "I can" attitude, giving complements, handling limitations, happiness, being together and apart.

Also available is the Happy Kids Songs Workbook that includes hands-on activities, coloring pages and song lyrics to help the parents and child to learn how to apply the lessons taught through the songs. This book includes activities for all the the audio albums that Happy Kids Songs offer.

I used burned these songs on a CD for my 6 year old daughter, Delani. I am not sure why, but she took a great dislike to these songs. I tried having her listen to them while she played, while she went to sleep, or just playing in the background throughout the day and she would always ask to turn them off. Outside of her being an extremely opinionated child, I wondered if many of the songs dealt with topics that she has never experienced and she didn't find them relatable.

I have to admit that I could relate with her. While I think many of the topics covered are important for kids to learn they seemed to be lacking in depth. I want my kids to learn these life lessons, but I prefer these lessons to be taught with Biblical principles. Yes, I know that these could be used along with the Bible, and yes, I am aware that a few of songs were based on Biblical principles, but I found too many of them based more on today's psychology rather than the Bible. I will admit these music albums aren't something I wouldn't purchase for my kids, but I could see how they could be fun for a very musically inclined child.

That being said, one thing I really liked about the Happy Kids Songs was the quality of the music. I consider myself a music snob and find a lot of kids' music to be very bland. Not so with these music albums. The music is modern, upbeat, catchy, and overall very pleasing to the ear.

 Head on over to Happy Kids Songs to see what they have to offer. Friends & Sharing, Manners & Character, and Happiness & Attitude are available for $4.95 for a 5 song download or .99 a single song download. The workbook is available for $12.56.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo Who Created Everything Audio Drama (TOS Review)

Wizzy Gizmo Review

I love how audio dramas can take stories to a whole new level. I recently had the opportunity to review a new Bible audio drama, Who Created Everything?, produced by Wizzy Gizmo.

Wizzy Gizmo Review

Wizzy Gizmo produces a series of Bible books, Bible audio dramas, Bible flashcards and more for kids and parents. They strive to present a "factual, historical record of the Bible, in an exegetical and expository way" along with making it family friendly by keeping having the characters display wholesome attitudes, language or actions. Wizzy Gizmo is also a professor who invents interesting and exciting gizmos. He has a great love for God and loves to explore the Bible.

In the audio drama Who Created Everything?, target for ages 4-12, we are introduced to Wizzy Gizmo and his pet duck, Quacky, and pet dog, Pepe. Wizzy Gizmo has just created the Gizmovison, a machine that allows the kids to explore any chapter of the Bible.

For the first 26 minutes of the CD, Wizzy Gizmo, his sidekicks, and a group of children explore Genesis 1. They go through each day of creation experiencing different aspects of creation. Throughout the dialogue there is music to enhance the story along with songs interspersed throughout. The second half includes a quiz and a handful of songs and music.

I thought this audio CD was very well done. Even though the story is full of adventure it has a solid Biblical foundation. I really liked the fact that when the kids were covering each day of creation that the portion of Genesis 1 was read. Though the Biblical account of Creation was treated seriously, there was plenty of humor throughout the series including a whole love song to mangoes.

I had Chantry (12) and Delani (6) listen to this. Delani struggled to follow parts of the story at times, which could be attributed to her age and experience in listening to audio dramas. On the other hand,  Chantry could follow the story and really liked the it and wanted to know if there were any more. One thing the both agreed on was that they didn't care for the additional soundtracks included on the CD. I know Chantry would have found another story more satisfying than music.

I don't think you can go wrong with investing in this series. It is fun and entertaining all the while teaching God's Word in an exciting way. A downloadable version would be more appealing to me, especially if it offered the option of just purchasing the story.

Who Created Everything? audio drama is available on CD at Wizzy Gizmo for $14.99. Don't forget to check out the other Crew Reviews of the Wizzy Gizmo books,  Who Created Everything? and In His Image  along with the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament.

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Wednesdays with Words (Murder Must Advertise)

I noticed last week while reading a post from Mystie at Simply Convivial that Wednesday with Words was being revived over at ladydusk. Needless to say, I am thrilled. This was always one of the high-lights of my week.

This weeks pick is from Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers. Lord Peter Wimsey, disguised as the new copy-writer, Mr. Bredon, is learning the ropes on how to write advertisements. His co-worker is explaining:

"...Dairyfields' 'Green Pastures' Margarine is everything that the best butter ought to be and only costs ninepence a pound. And they [Dairyfields] like a cow in a the picture."
"I see. Just something about 'Better than Butter and half the price.' Simple appeal to the pocket."
"Yes, but you mustn't knock butter. They sell butter as well."
"You can say it's as good as butter."
"But in that case, " objected Mr. Bredon, "what does one find to say in favour of butter? I mean, if the other stuff's as good and doesn't cost so much, what's the argument for buying butter?"
"You don't need an argument for buying butter. It's a natural human instinct." (p.11-12)
This portion just tickled my funny bone, especially since my Wisconsin roots come through strong when it comes to butter! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: The Extra Goodies

BTH - the Extras

Now I come to the place where I don't quite have everything planned out and a lot still rolling around in my mind. I want to focus on Circle Time, though it gets call Bible Time more often than not. So here is a look at the extras. 

BTH - The extras

Four times a week: 
One time a week: 
  • Citizenship - Plutarch's Lives. I haven't been very successful with this yet, but we will attempt it again. I also may have Destini start Ourselves by Charlotte Mason. 
  • Logic - How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren. This book starts in Ambleside Online's Year 7, but I thought if I started it now we may get through it by the time Destini graduates. 
  • Composer Study - We will listen to 2-3 composers through out the year. I haven't quite figured out which ones yet. 
  • Artist Study - I have three picked out, though I'll be happy if we get to two. Term 1 - The Hudson River School: Cole, Church, Cropsey, Durand, Term 2 - Fra Angelico, Term 3 - Diego Velazquez. 
  • Local co-op that we participate in one day a week. Chantry and Delani will have art, presentation, and P.E along with some party days and they do what is called Knights (class for the boys) and Daisies (class for the girls). Destini will be in the teen group and they will be doing a Reader's Theater, a study of personalities, and Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance
So that is a sketch of what our year will look like. Of course, many things could change. My main goal is to find a fine balance and not overwhelm me or my kids. We will start with the basics along with Bible and then slowly add in the the rest of the extras.

See more:
Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: Math
Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: Language Arts
Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: History
Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: Science

Rebecca @ Raventhreads 
Jennifer @ Milk & Honey 
Mommy Dawn @ Guiding Light 
Homeschool Monique @ Living Life and Learning 

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: Science Curriculum

BTH - Science 

I previously mentioned that I used many of Charlotte Mason's methods in our homeschool and if you know anything about Charlotte Mason is that she advocated the use of nature study. Since I am the poster child for "how not to do nature study", we will just be focusing on using books for our science curriculum.

In the past I have used Apologia's elementary science, but last year we followed Ambleside Online's suggestions. This year AO did add some new options and since last year went well I decided that we will keep using living science books along with a science biography throughout the year and a few more biographies listed on free read list. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to be a nature study girl, but I'm not holding my breath on it.

BTH - Science Chant 

Chantry will be doing:

BTH - Science Des 

 Destini will be doing:

Destini started this book last year and with our move it didn't get finished. I decided to have her go ahead and finish it up and after that we'll decide which direction to go. I may have her do The Mystery of the Periodic Table and The Element iPad app and just have her do it at a faster pace than her brother or I have another curriculum that I may use, but I need to do some research first.

I know many kids her age are doing tougher science programs like Apologia, but we didn't have a good experience with it when my oldest went through it so I'm really leery about using it. I am hoping by next year we come across a curriculum that works for her.

Head on over and visit these other Review Crew Blogs as they share different topics on homeschooling.

Rebecca @ Raventhreads 
Jennifer @ Milk & Honey 
Mommy Dawn @ Guiding Light 
Homeschool Monique @ Living Life and Learning 

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

P is for Pictures (ABC Blogging)

Ben and Me

P is for Pictures

Caleb graduated in June and I only got around to getting his senior pictures taken one week before graduation. The photographer did send me a few to use for his graduation, but I am finally having a chance to share all of them here. We also got family pictures done at the same time. Scroll below the slideshow for a glimpse if you so desire.

Thanks to Angelina Busewell from Beautiful Moment Photography for the great pictures!

Starr_24 cropped

Back to Homeschool 2014-2015: History Curriculum (Back to Homeschool Blog Hop)

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BTH - History

History--a favorite topic in our house. This year we are taking a little a different direction for Destini and Chantry, who have done history together since they have started school. In the past I have relied solely on Ambleside Online's history selections and this year we were due for Year 6 which covered one term of modern history and two terms of ancient history.

Years ago when I went through Year 6 with Caleb I felt there was a lot of ancient history (the Bible) that was missing. Yes, it is covered a little in AO, but I want my kids to see the big picture. I think it is very easy to just treat the Bible as its own history (which isn't bad), but I want them to see what else was going on in history at the same time Bible events were happening. So we will be using a different history book for our spine, Mystery of History Volume 1


I will probably be using Mystery of History as a spine only and not as it is written. Destini and Chantry will be doing written narrations and I am mulling over a time line or Book of Centuries. If I do a Book of Centuries I may have Destini start it now (this is one option I'm seriously considering) and wait until Chantry is older. Decisions, decisions! 

BTH-Free Reads 

You may ask what I did with the modern history covered in Term 1, well, we have slowly been working our way Story of the World Volume 4 over the summer. I also left all of the suggested free read books that cover modern times on their list to read through, along with books that cover the ancients. My kids won't mind since many of the free reads are set during World War II and honestly, we could study that period all of the time, everyday.

 Genevieve Foster's Augustus Caesar's World  is a book that we will read during the year for history, since her books are favorites in our house. 

In an earlier post I mentioned that my focus with Delani will be reading, writing, and math. I don't have a specific history book for her, except a Bible story book. I'm sure in the course of the year she will be exposed to many history tales.


Geography will included finishing up A Child's Geography of the World by V.M. Hillyer. We started this last year and it didn't get finished due to moving. I have really enjoyed this book though it is outdated, but with Google at my fingertips it is easy to look these places up and find out the updated information. It is also a book that is easy to map.

After finishing A Child's Geography we will then head into Complete Book Of Marvels by Richard Halliburton. I'm not sure exactly how I will have them fill out a map for this yet, but I think we will do notebooking with composition books. My main map resources will come from Map Trek and WonderMaps.

Mystery of History Volume 1 also has a geography component with it, which I will use in some way. I don't want to overload us in this area and will start out tentatively until I strike the right balance.

Head on over and visit these other Review Crew Blogs as they share different topics on homeschooling.

Rebecca @ Raventhreads 
Jennifer @ Milk & Honey 
Mommy Dawn @ Guiding Light 
Homeschool Monique @ Living Life and Learning 

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop


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