Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday with Words - Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse

Nutty fetched the water. Life is like that. There is nothing clean-cut about it, no sense of form. Instead of being permitted to concentrate his attention on his tragedy Nutty had to trudge three-quarters of a mile, conciliate a bull-terrier, and trudge back again carrying a heavy pail. It was as if one of the heroes of Greek drama, in the middle of his big scene, had been asked to run round the corner to a provision store.
I love Wodehouse! Since my kids and I are bearing through our last year of Bulfinch's mythology,this really tickled my funny bone.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand - September

What's On Your Nightstand

I had a really good reading month though I didn't get to everything from August's Nightstand. A sick day and a few nights of sleep escaping me really helped in getting through quite a few books. I also found two new (to me) series that have been hard to put down (probably attributed to those sleepless nights) plus getting back into the routine of school has made me more mindful of going to bed a little bit earlier which results in extra time to read.

I am not too sure what October holds. I do have a woman's conference to attend so I know the reading will be light that week. Other than that I am hoping to dig into quite a few books.

For October:

From August's Nightstand I read:
From August's Nightstand I am currently reading:
From August's Nightstand I didn't read:
  • The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson - This book would have been read, but I discovered after putting it on my list that it had 5 holds on it at the library. 5 HOLDS! Goodness, I hope it turns out to be a great book after waiting this long for it. Since I'm still #4 in line I probably won't see the book until the end of October or November.
I also read:
  • Etta Mae's Worst Bad-Luck Day by Ann B. Ross - Etta Mae Wiggins is a character from the Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross. I didn't realize that this book was basically a story about Etta-Mae. Personally I enjoy Etta Mae as a minor character in the Miss Julia books, rather than by herself.
  • An Impartial Witness: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd - Second Bess Crawford book. Just as good as the first.
  • Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse - A little humor in the middle of all mysteries I've been reading. I can't say this is Wodehouse's finest work, but still enjoyable. I love reading his descriptions of people.
  • Lady Emily Mysteries: And Only to Deceive , A Poisoned Season , and A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander - I found this series quite by accident. I was pricing books where I worked and came across the first two books. Set in London during the late Victorian period, and since I enjoy stories set during that time I decided to give them a try. I was hooked right away when Lady Emily becomes interested in her late husband's interest in antiquities, which sets her on a journey of educating herself in Greek. The author does portray Lady Emily as a very strong female character, but does try to keep it in check with the times she lived in, something that I appreciated.
I listened to:
After the Funeral by Agatha Christie - Still working my way through Poirot. Funny thing, now I have to guard my Poirot audios. My kids take them from me so they can listen to them!

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Friday, September 19, 2014

U is for Ugh to Ahh! (ABC Blogging)

Ben and Me

Ugh!!!! This week has just been one of those weeks. I'm sure you have experienced them.

Ours started off with a few of the kids being under the weather, which then made school work unfinished for a few days. Unfortunately, this was also the week that the honeymoon phase of the new school year ended and it was a big undertaking to finish out the week. Anyhow, the week has ended and we all have survived. I am hoping (with the help of my husband) to get everyone back on track (or prayed through), including myself.

So here is a run down of our week:
Sept 19 2014
  1. We had some odd weather on Sunday and Monday that trapped in the smoke from a forest fire burning 50 miles to the northeast of us. It was weird driving around in smoke and by Monday afternoon you could even smell it in the house. I was very grateful that my kids do not have any breathing problems. 
  2. Delani insisted that her daddy help her in math, since the big kids have dad help them. She cracks me up.
  3. We did very well getting in our Circle Time this week. We are nearing the end of the book of Exodus. I love using Balancing the Sword with our Bible readings--quick and easy. 
  4. Chantry working on Rod & Staff English--not his favorite subject. He did four lessons this week.
  5. Destini and I had lunch with our friend's Lisa and Sarah. Destini, who was hit worst with the sniffles, felt good enough to make a public appearance.
  6. I just filled my garage with 200 lbs. of apples. Thankfully, only 100 lbs. are mine, but that does mean that I will spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen making applesauce next week.
  7. Caleb got some driving time in this week. I will admit it is not easy to sit in the driver's seat and let him take my body around town. He is just learning and he is doing good, but.....I will say I have a new respect for my parents.
In our homeschool:
  • Delani: Introduced to place value with tens and units. This is a concept she hasn't caught on to yet, so I am hoping to see some understanding soon. We also spent time reading from Volume 1 & 2 of  the My Book House Series and learned some new sounds and letters for reading.
  • Chantry: His favorite subject is math, which is going along great. For science I am following Ambleside Online's suggestions for the Elements App. He covered Gold and Silver this week, along with watching the respective video's from The Periodic Table of Videos and then he wrote a narration.
  • Destini: Due to being sick, she wasn't able to keep up with her Math, English, and Spelling. 
  • Chant & Des: Since they do history together I was able to keep Destini caught up in that. I propped her up on the couch and read aloud 3 chapters from Mystery of History Volume 1 and Augustus Caesar's World. We also did readings from Age of Fable and Ben-Hur.
  • Circle Time: We added in How To Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. I am hoping that if I start now we may get through it before Destini graduates. Next week I am hoping to have composer and art study all ready to go. 
I realized while writing this post that I hadn't written out the scripture that God gave to me for this school year, in fact, I couldn't even remember the gist of it. (Shame on me, I know.) I went searching for my paper and had to smile when I saw it. Ahh!
Homegrown Learners
Weekly Wrap-Up

Homeschool Scheduling Made Easy with My School Logbook (TOS Review)

My Student Logbook Review
I discovered a few years into our homeschool journey the importance of giving my kids their own personal schedule to work from. I have been using a sheet that I created myself, but in the last few weeks Destini has been using the 2014-2015 School Year Butterfly My Student Logbook from My Student Logbook which we received for review.

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook offers an automated approach to homeschool management. In other words, it runs itself! My Student Logbook is for 2nd grade and up and comes with 53 pages, a clear plastic cover on the front and a black plastic cover on the back. 9 different cover options are offered.

The My Student Logbook starts with a checklist that is used to create your list of assignments, reading, and/or chores. The checklist is removed from the book and then taped on to the current calendar page. Next to each box on the checklist is a box for the parent to record the time they estimate it will take the student to do that subject. When you have finished the calendar page for the week you turn the page and tuck it under the assignment flap and you now have a fresh page for the week. The same checklist can be used as long as you need. Six checklists pages are included so if your student's assignment lists change you just tape a new page onto the current calendar page. The checklist page may also be copied if needed. (A how-to video here.)

The calendar page comes with seven boxes--one for each day of the week and down the left hand side is a space to record notes (this is covered by the assignment sheet).  Destini's logbook was dated with each week beginning with Monday and ending with Sunday. The boxes can be used to record the assignment, check off the box, or record time.

At the back of the logbook there are numerous pages for record keeping. They include things like:
  • "All About Me"
  • Prayer and Goals 
  • Bible Verses Memorized 
  • Books Read Record of Events, Projects, Field Trips, Presentations, & Activities 
  • Test Records 
  • Year Highlights 
You can see that these additional pages would give you a great overview of your year and how great this would be for keeping records for high school students.

Also included in the book is what I would call a "crash course" on creating high school transcripts and how My Student Logbook can help the parent keep track of grades, hours, books read, other activities to create your high school courses. Check out the helpful videos that gives clear explanations on how My School Logbook can help with high school record keeping.

As I mentioned earlier, Destini (14) used the Dated Butterfly My Student Logbook. Since we received it a little before school started we added things like piano practice and chores. When we started school I listed all of her subjects on the Checklist page and then put the lessons or page numbers in each box. When she was finished she would put an "x" in the box. One thing I noticed that she also created her own key for her symbols she used (ex. x-finished, o-need Dad's help). There was a little room at the end to list a few chores and personal things she is wanting to make into habits.

Student Logbook

She took to using this like a fish to water. I this this partly due what we have previously used, BUT the satisfying result of her using My Student Logbook is that she has taken the responsibility to plan out her own work the last few weeks! (Yes, I am doing a happy dance!!) Since I do prefer my high school student's yearly assignments to be recorded in one book this will fit the bill nicely for next year and will help to keep a record of hours, books, and activities for courses that will count for high school this year.

I will admit that I was fairly satisfied with my weekly schedule list I had created for my kids (it worked), but I am very impressed with My Student Logbook, so much so that my son will be getting his own. The biggest reason is that it is all in one book and I am not having to print or copy my sheet off every couple of weeks and then making sure I got them put in their binder when they were finished. It just made record keeping a whole lot easier! I also liked that there was plenty of room for school work, plus any extras that you wanted to include. This also would also be an excellent tool for habit training. Highly recommended!

My Student Logbook offers 3 different calendars:
  • Northern Hemisphere School Year (August 1-July 31) 
  • Calendar Year (January 1-December 31) 
  • Undated 
The My Student Logbook offer 9 different covers for the physical books and are available at My Student Logbook for $15.00 with a $5.00 flat shipping rate. A PDF instant download is also available for the dated calendars and are $10.00-Single Use License/$20.00-Family Use License.

My Student Logbook on Social Media:
Facebook – 
You Tube --

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Seven-Minute Life Daily Planner (TOS Review)

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

As much as I like planning my kids' school year, I find when it comes to my own personal life I tend to avoid it. I was intrigued when I came across the opportunity to review The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner from The 7 Minute Life.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is a unique planner that was designed by Allyson Lewis, the author of The Seven Minute Difference, as a personal training tool to help her take charge of her to-do lists and endless tasks that faced her. So what is the purpose of the planner and how is it used?

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

The goal of The 7 Minute Life is to provide strategies to Prioritize, Organize, and Simplify your life at work and home. The 7 Minute Life Planner is a tool to help you to identify your purpose and goals in life and then to actually implement and do them. To get started you begin by thinking about your purpose by finding out what your values and priorities are. You then write these goals down and put them into doable action tasks. Finally, you work on these tasks daily.

The beginning of the planner takes you step by step with detailed explanations through each worksheet. These include: ranking your priorities, discovering your purpose in life, articulating what you love to do, your strengths, getting rid of mental clutter, setting 90 day personal and work goals, writing down action steps, making financial goals and life goals along with action steps, and writing down unfinished work tasks along with home tasks and repairs. Also included are pages to write down a list of people you want to stay connected with along with annual projects & tasks, undated 90 day calendar worksheets and monthly calendars, and meeting planner worksheets.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

Next comes the Daily Progress Report which is a two spread page the covers 90 days. It takes everything you have worked through--values, goals, unfinished tasks, etc. and helps your structure them into daily activities and action steps. The page is broken down into these sections:
  • 5 before 11 - to record your highest-value activities for the day
  • "7-Minute Life" Connections - list 3 people you want to be in contact
  • Make Daily Contacts - Contact to help your business
  • Appointments - Track your appointments or how you spent your day
  • Thank You Notes - Record hand written notes that you have written
  • Voice Mail - A place to record all voice mails you have received
  • Notes - a place to record daily information
  • A place to track your intake of water, food, sleep, exercise, reflection, and reading
  • A check box answer the question "Did I do what I said I would do today?"
When I first got the planner I spent a few days working through the descriptions and then filling out the worksheets. I will admit that I didn't find this very easy to do. I then began using the daily progress report. I was most successful with the "5 before 11" though I still struggled at times to get everything finished. I begin implementing the planner before we started school and I did really well getting my 5 items done before 11 and then school happened and I was challenged to finish up my "5 before 11" in the evening!

This planner focuses a lot on making contact with other people and though I am involved in a homeschool co-op, and am a pastor's wife, plus work a small job outside the home, I just didn't have that many people I need to contact everyday. Many times these portions stayed blank or I just used it to list other things. I found many of the different sections listed were either unnecessary or hard to implement for my life at this time.

 I will admit that I really struggle to use any kind of planner. I am always leaving it upstairs or downstairs or at home or--you get the picture, I'm sure. I will also admit that though I found this hard to use, I did enjoy the ideas that she shared and have been mulling on how I can make this fit my lifestyle better.

I had written down some 90 day goals I wanted to get done and yet looking through my planning I hadn't really implemented them into my day. I believe they areto be worked on through the "5 before 11" portion, but on my "5 before 11" list I was just putting tasks down the would keep life going smoothly.

I loved the idea behind The 7-Minute Daily Planner and even though I struggled overall with the planner I know that the "5 before 11" will be something I will rely on. I do think this is an excellent resource for someone who is working (whether at a workplace or home) and wanting to implement better time management into their daily life.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is available through The 7 Minute Life for $24.95 (90 days). Also, check out the Getting Started video along with these videos which help in understanding and implementing this system.

The 7 Minute Life on Social Media:
Facebook – 
Twitter - 
Pinterest -
Google+ - 
You Tube - 

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My Favorite Reads for Homeschool Encouragement

Books encourage

 Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace 
Need a total refreshing? Check out...
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie (ebook & companion) - An encouraging book that helps the homeschool mom bring the "why" of homeschool back into focus and how to embrace a "less is more' philosophy when it comes to teaching. The heart of the message of this book is the importance of learning to depend on God for what our children need over what we thing they need. The audio's in this set are not to be missed!

Do you appreciate Charlotte Mason? Check out...
Charlotte Mason's methods hold a lot of appeal for me and we her methods in our home.  A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola is the first book I ever read about Charlotte Mason and I was immediately drawn to it and related to it so well. After learning more about Charlotte Mason I have relied a lot on When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today by Elaine Cooper which gives a lot practical tips for applying her methods. The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater gives a whole new look at keeping notebooks.

Frustrated with reading aloud? Check out...
Honey for a Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life by Gladys Hunt and Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families by Sarah Clarkson will do a great job of encouraging you to read aloud, plus they are filled with pages of book recommendations.


Are you discouraged, facing obstacles, or frustrated with struggling student? Check out...
 Marva Collins' Way by Marva Collins - This is such an encouraging read about a teacher who was willing to give kids an education that was a cut above what was being offered in the public schools. It may not solve your problems, but it will encourage you.  A Life in Balance: Discovery of a Learning Breakthrough by Frank Belgau (review) is another encouraging story of a man who was willing to work with kids with learning disabilities and eventually founded a company that offers a brain training system to help kids with learning disabilities. Since I had two kids who benefited from different programs that retrained the brain I found it a fascinating read.

Need some humor and fun in your life? Check out...
I know, I know, you're thinking, "Beth, what does this have to do with homeschooling?"  Nothing really, but...sometimes it is good for mom to take a break from the duties of life that can weigh you down and I have found the curling up with a P.G. Wodehouse book is just the ticket. Not familiar with Wodehouse, I recommend his Jeeves and Wooter series along with his Blandings series. My personal favorite: Money in the Bank . (If Wodehouse doesn't do much for you then find an author that does. Read, relax, and enjoy!)

Looking for more recommendations? Check out...

Head on over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew and see what other mom's are reading.
Books to Encourage the Homeschool Mom


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