Picture of the Week: 3 Brothers

3 brothers

Love.

We’ve been walking a lot lately. Small Fry usually rides in his stroller, but he would almost always prefer to walk as well, and sometimes we let him. It really all depends on how big a hurry we’re in to get to where we’re going. The other day was one of the happy days when he got to walk, and the three boys were just too adorable walking in front of us to not document.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Blessings,

Wendy

Eight

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My Munchkin turned eight last week.

Eight!

I can’t believe it.

In the past, we’ve done a family-only-party (and by family, I mean extended family, not just the five of us) for the kids. But now they’re getting to an age where they have more friends – friends they want to include in their celebration. On the other hand, we don’t want to alienate the grandparents who have been part of the boys’ birthdays since they were born. So the way we handle it now is to do a special birthday dinner for extended family on or near their birthday, and then sometime in between the two (they’re only six weeks apart) we have a shared party for their friends.

We started this last year, limiting the guest list to only the grandparents, and it worked quite well. This year we opened the list up a little more to include one set of great-grandparents (the rest have either passed away or live too far away to come) and the aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was considerably more chaotic, but still a nice time. Continue reading

Homeschool Product Review: My Student Logbook

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student logbook 1I have a really cool product to talk to you guys about today. I’ve heard it described as “the homeschool product you didn’t know you needed,” and that sentiment is pretty accurate in our experience.

My Student Logbook is a local (to me) company owned by a homeschooling couple, and they offer . . . you guessed it: student planners for homeschooling students. I received one student logbook for the purposes of this review, which was pretty great because my kids, Seahawk in particular (who was the beneficiary of this product), thrive on having a to-do list.

The way the product works is very simple. First, you “set up” the logbook. This is done by simply tearing out one of the copies of the “tasks” page (each logbook includes several copies of this page with permission to copy more as needed), folding it in half, and taping it to the back of the current week’s checklist. Now here’s the beauty of this product . . .  If your kids don’t need a new list for next week, you just turn the page to the new week and tuck it under the existing to-do list. They’re all set with a new page of check-off boxes, and you don’t have to rewrite the list. Brilliant! Continue reading

First Week of Homeschool

First Week Back

As I mentioned last Monday, we started school last week, and I just want to take a moment to reflect and share our progress with one week down.

A lot of homeschooling families do the “ease into it” approach at the beginning of the school year. I don’t think that would work very well for us; my kids just don’t have that personality. You give them an inch (in this case, a light day of school) and they’ll take a mile (requesting to have the entire day off instead). So last Tuesday, we just dove in head first.

I mentioned in my post last week (about our curriculum for this year) the list of subjects, so I won’t go too overkill on listing them all again. Instead, I’ll talk about how they’re working so far and how we like them. Continue reading

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-15

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I know I’m a little late to the party here considering school starts tomorrow (!!), but I wanted to share what my kiddos will be learning this year.

Bible

In addition to the Bible itself (which is all you need, and I’m not suggesting otherwise), we’ll be continuing our worldview study using Apologia’s What on Earth Can I Do? We received this as a review last (school) year, and it’s really good, so after a summer off from it, we’ll be diving back in this week. Our history (which I’ll discuss in a minute) will also be very Bible-heavy this year.

Continue reading

Simplicity: Limiting Waste

simplicity copyI’ve talked a few times about how important it is to me to reduce the amount of waste we produce. I’ve read numerous books on the subject, too. And you know what? No matter how “easy” those authors say it is to live a “zero waste lifestyle,” they’re WRONG. It’s really hard. At least it is where I live.

But I try. And I think we do okay (if my neighbors’ full garbage cans every week are any indication, anyway). We go through, on average, one plastic grocery bag two to three times a week in waste. By limiting our waste, we’re not only contributing less to the landfill (a passion of mine), but also saving the money on garbage service – we don’t have it at all. Because we go through so little waste, we just take our bags to the grocery store and dump them in the public waste bins. And when we do get a surplus of large trash items, we borrow my dad’s truck and take a load to the “transfer center” for a small fee.

So how do we keep our waste low? There are three basic steps. Continue reading

Keep It Up! Even When it’s Hard

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I’ve said before that homeschooling is one of my greatest joys as a mother. I truly mean that. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard, especially when life gets in the way. You know what I mean: one kid is sick; the toddler is drawing all over himself – or the floor or walls – instead of taking a nap; friends want to play and your kids are not shy about bribing you to let them off early . . . We’ve all been there. Continue reading

Homeschool Curriculum Review: UberSmart Math Facts

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Have you heard of the “unschool” method of homeschooling? It’s basically taking “delight directed learning” (teaching kids what they want to learn) to a crazy level (my apologies if that’s they way you homeschool…) and saying that that’s all you will teach them. If they don’t want to learn to read yet, that’s okay. Eventually they will, and then you can teach them. Kids not interested in adding, even though they’re 10? No problem. They’ll decide to at some point.

We do not subscribe to that philosophy in our home.

There are some things you just have to learn whether you like it or not. Math facts are on that list. And you might recall from a previous review I did that math facts are something my kids and I struggle with regularly. So when the opportunity for another approach to learning these facts came up, I hastily requested this product.

What is it? It’s called UberSmart Math Facts and is offered by UberSmart Software. Continue reading

Product Review: Happy Kids Songs

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Happy Kids Songs ReviewDo your kids love music? Do you want to use their love of music in a productive way? Then Happy Kids Songs might be right up your alley. These delightful songs are all about teaching kids character, one song at a time.

For the purposes of this review, I received three of the Happy Kids Songs albums:

Each digital album sells for $4.95 through iTunes or Amazon and contains 5 songs. You can also buy the songs individually for 99 cents each. Continue reading

Book Review: Wizzy Gizmo Book 1, Who Created Everything?

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wizzy gizmo book cover
This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase using one of my links, I make a small commission on the sale. Thank you for your support of both me and Wizzy Gizmo.

We recently received for review a pretty cool new book. It’s from a company called Wizzy Gizmo, which gets its name from the main character of the book series. We received Book One: Who Created Everything? by Chris del Aguila and Justin Cummins. The book is a 58-page, full color paperback. There are seven chapters, most of which are very short. It was easy for us to read multiple chapters in a sitting, even when it was close to (or past!) bedtime. The illustrations, which were drawn by one of the authors, are beautiful. I know that word is tossed around pretty liberally these days in regards to children’s book illustrations, but I truly believe it’s fitting here. The layout of the book was really nicely done as well. There is a lot of interest from page to page, beyond just text and pictures. They did a nice job of incorporating their text into their pictures. Who Created Everything? is written with kids ages 4-12 in mind, and I think that’s pretty accurate. My kids are 2, 7, and 10, and they all enjoyed our read aloud time with this book. Small Fry, being only 2, didn’t really fully understand the book, of course, but he sat quietly and listened and looked at the pictures (for the most part) while we read. Retail price is $12.99, which is very reasonable for the quality of the book. Continue reading

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