Monday, May 27, 2013

Cookies for Dinner

I was able to review a great book called "Cookies for Dinner" by Pan Johnson-Bennett and Kae Allen.

Author's Bios:

Pam Johnson-Bennett
 The one thing you can’t say about Pam Johnson-Bennett is that she’s a chicken. She certainly loves a challenge! After paving a career in the then-unheard-of field of cat behavior consulting and becoming a leader in the profession, she has decided to throw caution to the wind and defy the advice of family in order to reveal the REAL Pam…the Pam who is a worrying germophobe mother of two. In her “other” life, Pam is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author of 7 books. She is the star of the upcoming television series “Psycho Kitty” that is set to air on Discovery UK channel later in 2013. She is a former Vice-President of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is the founder of the IAABC Cat Division. She is one of the most well-known experts on cat behavior and her ground-breaking “Think Like a Cat” approach to cat behavior has been featured and profiled in numerous magazines and television shows. Her books are considered the “cat bibles” when it comes to understanding felines and what makes them tick. Her parenting skills, however, are still in question. Pam and her husband have been married for 15 years and have two children. The family lives in Tennessee with a dog, cat and three goldfish.

Kae Allen
On thing you can say about Kae is she likes to laugh.  No matter what the situation, you can rely on her to find the humor and share it with all around.   In Kae’s professional life she has dedicated over 21 years to building her own accounting practice. In her personal life, she is the mother of three wonderful children.  She has been married to her husband, David for 26 years.  Kae’s favorite playtime passion is bowling.  She may wish for a higher average but is thrilled at the sound of crashing pins and friendly laughter.  She is the secretary of two bowling leagues and the association manager for her local bowling association.  All of Kae’s children have graduated from college and have so far avoided the need of a therapist couch.  She spent three years enjoying her empty nest having time to travel to bowling tournaments, play golf and dote over her husband and her female goldendoodle dog, Fred.  As of the writing of this book, Kae’s empty nest has filled back up with her in-laws moving in. For Kae, the best day is one that has her house filled to the brim with family, friends and, of course, lots of laughter.

This is such a fun book about these women's real lives as moms. Each came to being a mom in very different ways and are in different places in their journeys through motherhood, but show through this book that these things don't matter...they are both moms! There are so many funny anecdotes that it was hard to choose one to highlight here, but I think Pod Gracie has to be one of my favorites. This was how Pam described her daughter Grace's personality when she was young. I don't want to ruin it because hopefully you will pick up a copy of this hilarious book and read it for yourself. You can buy it at or at This is a must-read for any mom so they know that they are not alone.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The school year is winding down and another review :)

It's hard to believe that we have less than three weeks of this school left! As trying as parts of the years were, overall it went quickly and smoothly. My daughter and I are already looking forward to next year which is a testament itself to how well this year went :) As we think about the days, months, and years ahead I know that it will all fly by way too quickly. I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a product that will help me to keep track of all that Little One is doing in and out of school in order to help her have complete transcripts when she is ready to move forward to her next adventure, whatever that may be.

My Homeschool Grades is an excellent program that allows parents, and later students themselves to keep a running record of not only grades, but all activities that the children are a part of. It's an app that can be accessed on your computer, phone, or tablet. Each student has their own area where grades, activities, and descriptions of both can be added. It's well thought out, clean, and easy to keep track of everything. I was a little overwhelmed at first because Little One is so young, but I thought about how helpful it will be as she moves along her journey.

I remember how difficult it was to remember everything that I had done in and out of school when I was getting ready to apply for colleges and jobs in high school. This tool will eliminate that stress for Little One and I when that time comes for her.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Waterproof Bible

We love to be outdoors. This time of year, we are pretty much only inside when it is dark. We love to camp, fish, and work in the garden. My husband is also an avid hunter. So, when I found out that I was reviewing a Bible that was waterproof and durable for outdoor use I was so excited. I knew that it would get a lot of use during early morning devotions when the dew is still clinging to everything and with my husband to read while he is in the tree stand. I received the KJV Waterproof Bible from Bardin Marsee Publishing. It contains the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. There are also ESV, NIV, NKJV, AND NLT versions.

The pages are made out of a synthetic material that makes them waterproof, tear resistant, and stain resistant  with normal use. It is a very durable book that dries out quickly if it does get wet. The pages don't bleed through when words are highlighted (with a dry highlighter as recommended).

We enjoyed testing out how waterproof the Bible was by putting it in the shower. The water beaded right off! I don't think that I will ever read the Bible in the shower, but maybe in the bath :) I think this and the other products offered by this publisher would be great for anyone who love the outdoors and being able to read God's word in His creation.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Little One is 7...and a Review

I can't believe that my precious one is seven already. She has brought so much joy into our lives already and I know that she will continue to bless us just by being ours.

She is blossoming at home and one thing that has happened this year before our eyes was that she learned to read. Programs like Ooka Island has helped her to learn while having fun. We had the pleasure of reviewing Ooka Island for our PC.

 We had a few technical issues in the beginning, but she has been able to play and has learned a lot while playing on the computer. What's even better is that I can track her progress on the Ooka Lighthouse. I am also able to offer to offer you, my readers 30% off an annual or monthly subscription to the Ooka Island Learn-to-Read Adventure! Just use this link:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Learning in the Garden and a Review

This morning I had two helpers in the garden. They learned and helped plant peas. I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to get my phone dirty. We talked about what plants need and why it's important to grow our own food. I love that Little One mentioned that it saves us money. At not even seven, she understands how economical being self sustaining can be. I love that I can share these moments and experiences with her (and my nephew). Hopefully, this is something that they will carry with them and teach their own children (as I was taught).

This brings me into another review that I had the pleasure of doing through Mosaic Reviews. It was for the product Saving Memories Forever. It is an app that allows you to record memories and upload them onto mp3 files so that you can save them forever. The app is free and there is a basic service that is also free. The paid service includes more features and is available for 3.99 a month. I was able to review this app right around the time that my husband's grandmother died. It was great to be able to record memories that we had of her as we were all gathered to celebrate her life.

You can add storytellers who are then prompted to answer certain questions. The answers are then recorded and can be uploaded to create stories. The only down side that I can think of for this product is that on my phone (HTC Droid) the sound quality on the recordings are not impeccable and the Welcome screen is a little jumbled and hard to read. Again, this is just the experience that I have had with my phone. I think this is a great product that will help to capture memories (like the ones that I am making with the Littles on the garden) for generations to come.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spanish For You Review

I had the pleasure of reviewing Spanish For You's Fiestas curriculum. This curriculum is for grades 3-8. It is a little above where my daughter is right now, but we loved looking at it and are looking forward to using it more in the future.

This curriculum is affordable, is suited for self-study, family, or class use, is flexible, easy to use, and fun. The whole package that I reviewed which included a physical books and digital files for Grades 3-8 is only $64.95. It includes fun drawings drawn by the author's child and accurate and informative Spanish lessons.  The author recently reorganized all the digital files so they are easy to access and keep on track with the lessons.

Learning a second (or third or fourth) language is important to many people. I think this product is a great choice for doing this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Review of a Planner (by a planner)

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner. I have OCD tendencies so I need to know when, where, how, and have everything written down. Whenever someone starts talking about any kind of plans, my trusty (very scribbled in) daily planner comes out. A lot of people have switched their lives to their planners on their phones or other electronic device, but I just can't do it. I need to be able to write, and scribble out, and write again.

So, when I found out I had the opportunity to review a Homeschool Planner I was estactic because this was one part of my life that I didn't feel I had planned out as well as I would like. I received the Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell and the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students for Little One to use. In the package was also an Apologia Catalog (which was helpful in choosing a Science curriculum for next year, but that's another post)

My first impression of both planners was just how beautiful and well put together they are. I love the plastic covers and that they are spiral bound. They are durable, yet light and easy to carry. I dove right into both of them and was even more impressed as I went on. Both planners not only included basic planning pages, but also many extra resources and helpful information.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner has a sample plan for planning a homeschool year, along with weekly and monthly planning sheets.
Weekly Plan
I have found that if I take time on Sunday to fill in my plan for the week, it goes by much more smoothly than if I hadn't. Since I received this planner mid school year I didn't use it to plan for the year. I do plan on using it to plan for the following year though. This planner costs $28 and I feel that it is more than worth it for what you get.
I also received the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students for Little One to use. This planner is geared toward students in fourth grade and up. Little One is in first so it was a little above her, but we were still able to make it work. I think that older children would get a lot out of it though. What we did was I wrote out her plan for the week into the planner and she marked when she completed them. If she was older and more independent, I would have sat with her on Sunday when I was making my plan and have her fill it our herself with what she needed to get done and when. This planner costs $19 and again I feel that it is worth the money.
These planners have been such a help to both of us and I'm excited to continue using them.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

We Choose Virtues Review

We Choose Virtues has been a great addition to our homeschool and home in general. It's a program that helps to instill virtues in children in a fun and encouraging way. I recieved a set of Virtue flashcards (mine are the NIV version, but they also come in KJV and Secular), a sample of the parenting cards, a download of the family character assessment, teacher handbook, coloring pages, and a butterfly award for when all the virtues are completed. There are many other products on the website that can be used at home, in a homeschool, or in a church setting.

I did the family character assessment and chose the virtues we were going to do and in what order. Every Monday I introduced the virtue, character, Bible verse, story behind the character, the message, and the antonyms. We reviewed all these things throughout the week and talked about how we can embody this virtue. My daughter also colored the color page for the virtue during the week as a reminder. All the virtue cards that we have done as well as the finished coloring pages are on the walls in the school room. We review them from time to time.

This program has helped my daughter to remember what each virtue means and has given her solid examples of how she can live out each one. I love when she brings up one of the characters when she is talking about what she should and shouldn't do. It shows me that it is sinking in. I would recommend this program to families, homeschoolers, and churches.

Along with this review I am able to offer a coupon to all of you. Just use the code VIRTUE 15 for 15% off your order. The best thing is there is no expiration date! I have another code too HOME20 which is good for 20% off the Homeschool kit and is only good until the end of April.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Time has gotten away from me....again :)

I have started a blog post at least 5 10 times since my last one. Time has truly just gotten away from me. We have been doing some fun things these last few weeks, but have also been working through some attitude and behavior things. I never imagined that we would be going through these things already, she is only 6! Let's focus on the positive though....

Two weeks ago I decided that we needed a Spirit Week of sorts to break things up a little bit and just have some silly fun. Monday was Pajama Day (I know some homeschoolers do everyday in their pj's and I have nothing against that, it just works better for us to get dressed everyday). I forgot to take a picture that day though :( Tuesday was Mismatch Day. I had to laugh when Little One came out in matching socks (she doesn't do that on a normal day lol)

Wednesday was Crazy Hair Day. This one was probably the most fun. It also turned into the most awkward when we went out later in the day.
Thursday was What I Want To Be When I Grow Up Day. She wants to be a Veterinarian (and a singer, and a dancer, and a cupcake baker, etc., etc.)

Friday we wore green for St. Patrick's Day (I know, not very creative but Hey! it was Friday lol)


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review of Seed Starting-The First Step to Gardening

So, this isn't exactly about homeschooling. It is related to homesteading though; where come Spring this blog may meander a bit. We have a big garden and put up what we don't eat right away for the following winter. I plan on including the planning, planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving into our homeschool days. This brings me to an e-book that I was able to review: Seed Starting-The First Step to Gardening by Gary Emmett.


This book would be great for a new gardener as well as a veteran one. It goes through starting plants from seeds step by step from planning your garden to getting ready to transplant your plants into the garden. The author goes through all these steps in detail. The book even includes links to where you can buy seeds to get started. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to start plants from seed to plant.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

At our house, we love Dr. Seuss books. One of the first books I read to our Little One was Horton Hears a Who. She was born at 2lb. 2oz. 12 weeks early so reading her "A person's a person no matter how small" seemed like the right thing to do. We have read Dr. Seuss books together ever since. She is now learning to read by reading his books. I hope that one day she will share them with her own children.

 Monday afternoon we are going to a special Dr. Seuss birthday party at our local library. This past week though we did a few activities to celebrate. One I pulled together at the last minute, but it turned out a lot better than I expected. I collect all sorts of things that I think I may be able to use at some point for a project. I was glad that I had on Friday when I saw oatmeal containers in my collection and knew that we had to make Cat in the Hat hats.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” 
― Dr. Seuss

Sunday, February 24, 2013

First Review for Mosaic Reviews

This is a practice review for Mosaic Reviews. We were given a choice of free blog planners to check out and review. I chose one from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler has a lot of great free printables and curriculum ideas, including some very affordable packages.

The blog planner had two different layout options to choose from.  I chose Option 1: Calendar Style Layout because I prefer a calendar layout to a list. I think the other option would work well for some people too. The planner has two pages per month. The first page is a calendar and the second page has sections for Reviews/Giveaways, Post Ideas, and Monthly Statistics. All the pages for the year are included, along with a yearly calendar, a cover, and back page. The planner has to be printed and can be bound. I chose to print out the pages as I needed them and 3-holed punched them and put them into a notebook.

I am a new blogger and this planner helped me to get organized and to feel that I am really getting the hang of this blogging thing. I used the planner to organize my future posts and to write out all the dates for the reviews that I am doing with Mosaic Reviews. This planner was simple enough for a new blogger like me. I also feel like it will grow with me as I get better at using social networking to grow my blog, since it has areas on the calendar to remind me to post to different social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. The second page also has a place to keep track of monthly statistics on these social media outlets.

I would recommend that all bloggers, especially new ones use a planner to help them to stay on track. This is a great one, in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Turn Your Day Around

It's not just kids, we all can have that kind of a day. You know the kind...everything is going fine, we are happy the world is rosy. Then, BAM! Everything goes downhill, fast. Anything could be the catalyst for this change...getting hurt (physically or emotionally), not getting enough rest, getting frustrated or overwhelmed. You name it, it can change a day all depends on the person. For my daughter, it is often a combination of these things with some hormones sprinkled in :) Today was one of these days.

Everything started out fine. School was running along smoothly, we were doing some fun Valentine's Day crafts and activities, and then a simple Math problem threw her day into an uproar. It wasn't simply the problem of course, it was also both of our attitudes regarding it. There was some miscommunication and some frustration (on both our ends). She did recover from it though and got her work done and we left for speech. After speech we had lunch and then went to visit family for a little while. That is when the second half of her rough day happened. She was playing with her cousin and was just having a difficult time of it. She would raise her vioce, then cry, then laugh, then be crying again all in the matter of seconds. She didn't seem to be happy being there, but she was even less happy about leaving.

When we got home she was still very upset and I told her she needed to take a nap or at least stay in her room until she "turned her day around." We also often tell her that she needs to restart or reset her day. She has even began referring to these herself and following through. We almost always pray together about it. Today what she needed was to curl herself up in her bed and "read all her books." She came out when her day was "turned around". The flexibility of homeschool is that we can finish our work when that is done or try again tomorrow.

How do you deal with these kind of days?

                              What our day looked like before it turned into "one of those days"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Creativity Abounds

I love how homeschool allows my daughter to be so creative. Not only does she have a say in what she learns and how, she also extends her learning in her own creative ways. A couple of weeks ago we were learning about birds. She did the work that I had planned and then decided that she wanted to make bird costumes and  act out a bird dance show. She even made tickets so we could all come see her show. I was just looking and sadly I didn't get any pictures. I need to become much better at that.

I also love that she can do more or less of what we are working on. She can take the subject and run with it. I asked her last night what she wanted to work specifically on in Science next year since I am looking into curriculum. She thought about it for awhile and then told me that she wanted to dance :)

Homeschooling is about learning. It's about doing what is best for our family. At our house, for the most part it's about being creative and dancing!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Homeschool Week in Review 2/3-2/9

 Homeschool Week in Review 2/3-2/9
It's my first week of linking up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal with iHomeiHomeschool Network.  

 In my life this week...

I was very thankful that we avoided the stomach bug that everyone else in our extended family suffered from this week.
 In our homeschool this week... 

My nephew was home all week because of the aformentioned stomach bug. We did miss him, but it was nice to have some one on one time with Ella. We only "did school" Monday through Thursday this week because of the storm that we had coming in on Friday. We talked about Hawaii this week. This included using a coconut cup to enjoy her drink in.

  We also talked about animals and their tracks. We did a fun activity where I hid the tracks and the animals that they belong to nearby around the room. She had fun.

My favorite thing this week was...

Having an unexpected date night with my husband.

Things I'm working on...

My blog. It's a long process because I am not tech saavy at all.




Friday, February 8, 2013


Though there are days where I worry that she isn't learning enough or that she's not "on track", the only thing I am concerned with today that she is able to spend quality time with my mom as she is transitioning into a new home. The flexibility of homeschooling allows me to say, "Yes, she can go with you for two days, actually the weather is going to be bad today just take her today after she is done with her work." It's also a nice feeling to wake up on a "snow day" and not have to stress out about whether we have school or not. I set the schedule. I know what is best for my child. It is so liberating!

I would never discourage someone for sending their child to public or private school. I know that my choice for my child is not the best for everyone. I think that is why I get frustrated when others feel that they need to express their doubts and concern about me homeschooling my child. They know what's best for their family and their child and I know what's best for mine.

I also love the flexibility of being able to homeschool year by year and not have to know what is going to be best for us or our child when she is older. I do not know if we will homeschool through high school. I do not know what God and his time will bring us. I do however know that today I amenjoying the peace that comes with knowing that we are in the right place at the right time in our lives for our family.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February already?

First of all, does Groundhog Day mess anyone else up? I keep thinking it's the first of the month. So, it is indeed the February already and Ol' Phil says it's going to be an early Spring. Little One seems to think that means that Spring weather starts tomorrow...that would be nice. We got our taxes done tonight which means I need to make some serious decisions about next year because we will be able to pay for curriculum soon :) I am leaning toward My Father's World, sticking with Horizons Math, transitioning toward cursive, and still thinking about Language Arts. I am getting really excited about starting reviews with Mosaic Reviews and am working on a test one right now on a blog planner.

Little One has shown a lot of interest in early American history lately. I kept reading about The Liberty's Kids series and how much other homeschool families love them. We do too now! Little One wants to watch them all the time. It's what she's been asking to watch during her t.v. time. She is a visual learner so I think it is helping her a lot to understand what we have been reading and talking about. She has been merging the videos with what we read in the American Girl Felicity books so she talks about the characters in the show by the corresponding characters in the books' names. It makes me feel like she is really putting it together, in her way.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Looking Ahead

I have started the task of looking into curriculum for next year. I guess it should be more of a blessing than a task because it means that we are able to homeschool another year! I am excited to be continuing on this journey, but am a little overwhelmed with the choices that I have to make for next year and the years to come. Since this year was our first year and I decided that I wanted more control over my curriculum, I pulled things together myself. For next year though, I am kisking around the idea of using an all-in-one (except math) literature based curriculum. I think I have it narrowed down to two choices at this point. I am looking at My Father's World Adventures and Trail Guide to Learning's Pathway of Exploration. They are similar in many ways. My Father's World is much more established though and I have been able to read blogs of first hand accounts of how the curriculum is being used in homeschooling families. This has swayed me slightly in that direction, though everything that I have read about Trail Guide to Learning has also been positive. I am going to continue to do research and pray. I will let you know.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year...New Opportunities

I recently found out that I was chosen to be a member of my first review team! It is the Mosaics Review Team and I am honored to be a member of it. I am so excited to see what great things I will be able to review and have the opportunity to share these reviews with other since I always look at reviews that others write so closely.

I am also in the throes of planning curriculum for next year. I am looking for a more inclusive curriculum next year than I am using this year. I am starting to feel more comfortable in my role as a homeschool mom, but I also am feeling more trust in those that have come before me and what they have learned and developed with the knowledge that they have gained.

I am looking forward to being more active on this blog and establishing more readers so I can hopefully help just one person that is embarking on this journey as I did not that long ago myself.