Friday, October 17, 2014

Collage Fall Friday


It's been very unseasonably warm this week here in New York.  We don't ever see temps this high in mid October - WE WANT FALL BACK!  I actually had to turn on the air conditioner on Wednesday night because of the heat and humidity in the house, just to sleep!    

Was able to get a little sketching in here and activity that calms me but don't spend nearly enough time as I would like to.

 Wednesday we made a pit stop at Carvel, they have BOGO on their soft serve sundaes. It's a treat that we partake in about every two months or so, but it's oh so good and the price is right!  

The book in the upper corner was from a lecture that I went to at our local library.  The speaker was a "ghost hunter" and it was fascinating listen to what she had to say.  Not being a believer in ghosts myself, she has a passion for it and it's always fun to hear about what other people believe in! 

We have had a lot of friends and family of friends sick lately and our morning (pre school) prayer time has been great for the soul.  Starting off our morning with prayer and then a "family meeting" as to what is happening during the day and week ensures we are all on the same page! 

Making a fun stop at our "farm" pet store was fun this week. Baby bunnies!  Oh how Sam wanted to take one home!

I had planned out all these new recipes in the crock pot for the week, since we are so busy with practices and scouts, but a few of them had to wait because it was just too darn hot to eat soup 3 times this week!  The creamy mushroom veggie soup was a huge hit with me and my husband - it's a keeper!  (recipe at the end of the post)

Got out to the park with other homeschoolers this week, on Tuesday and it was a much needed run around time!

No rest for us on Monday - we studied Christopher Columbus for school.  The girls also had an assignment using their pastels. They love using them! 

Thursday - Zachary had his 10 yr physical and we all had flu shots...WELL...while at the park playing on Tuesday, they were all playing tag and Molly fell right onto Zachary's hand...little blood here and there..but Z hurt his hand...swollen and bruised...I put ice on and he seemed ok, moving fingers with little pain...WELL....on Thursday while at dr, I had him look at it...he sent us to the hospital right away...YUP - worst MOM EVER - it was to an ortho surgeon whom we were very familiar with from his arm brake 5 yrs ago (which needed 2 surgeries and rods) ...two hours in the room - it got a cast..and no surgery - Thank you Jesus! we on hold and any writing for school - guess it's a lot of reading and IPAD work for him for 3 weeks....sigh....plum tuckered out this week....

Ok so that brings us to Friday - I need to stop and say a simple Thank You Jesus for getting us through this week.  We are hoping for nice cooler weather this weekend and putting the finishing touches on our Family Halloween Party (next Saturday). So far we are expecting 88 victims guests to haunt our party.  This year is a fundraiser for our friend Danielle. If you feel in your heart to donate, you can do so by clicking on the icon at the top right side of the sidebar.   They can use any donation, no matter the size. 

I used THIS recipe I found on Pinterest and modified it. 
Not using any sour cream and adding an entire bag or organic frozen mixed veggies.  Otherwise as was awesome! 

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to count your blessings each day! 

Join me, won't you, with other homeschoolers over at Collage Friday link up party!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Collage Friday

Happy Friday Y'All!

Did you see my review of The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm?

Teaming up with Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton was so much fun to bring this review to you! 


The fall weather and everything that comes with it is in full swing in New York.  We have started our USA Studies - one state per week and last week was Maine (Where Are We Wednesdays) This week - New Hampshire.  On Fridays we review what we learned by playing Jeopardy. The kids love it and are very competitive. They win Tech Tokens that they can use towards their technology time. 

Using the board books from Graham Blanchard for our Bible character studies has been real fun. 

Last weekend was our last camping weekend of the season (boooo) but we got to spend it with our best friends and had a blast. The rain did not dampen our fun (on Saturday morning) and the clearing on Saturday night was perfect for the children to Trick Or Treat. 

On Tuesday we went on a cruise up the Hudson River. We met up with 4 other homeschooling moms and their children for the cruise. We made new friends and had a wonderful two hours.   The other guests aboard were a senior group on a Northeast tour. We received many compliments on how well behaved our children were and how wonderful it was that we were home educating them.  It is always nice to get those kuddos. 

We are on another field trip today with many other homeschoolers at a YMCA camp learning about Wildlife Ecology. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Join me over at Mary's blog - Homegrown Learners as she hosts a great Collage Friday link up! 

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm: Book Review

I am honored to be able to share this book review with you!   Like most homeschoolers we are hoarders lovers of books. It's a love affair that only gets more intense as the children get older.

The book I am bringing to you today is a special one. It's published by a company that I am sure you are all familiar with, Reading Rainbow.  Who didn't watch Reading Rainbow as a child?  I love their products. 

Not only am I excited about working with Reading Rainbow but the author of this children's book is non other than actor, director and educator LeVar Burton.  (Some of you might remember him as Geordi from Star Trek, the Next Generation or as Kunta Kinte in ROOTS - among other things)

This is Mr. Burton's 1st children's book but he is no stranger to education. He has been working with Reading Rainbow for years. 

Debuting today - 

The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm

(taken from the Amazon site)
When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa’s gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.

My first impression from this hardcover book was the quality of the paper and illustrations...before I read a single word, this impressed me. 

As the girls and I gathered onto the bed in our PJ's the anticipation was building!  A new book - no one had heard of...until now...

My daughters kept thinking we were "skipping" pages because the pages were so thick and glossy. Great quality of paper.  The illustrations were excellent. The attention to detail in telling this story and the way that color was used was superb! 

Originally I was reading to the two little ones (ages 5 and 7) however, Zachary (who is 10) was secretly listening to our bedtime reading and snagged the book from me as soon as the last page closed. He wanted to read it to himself. 

Another thing I loved about this book, was the way in which it was written.  A book within a book and the girls thought that was clever.  The rhyming aspect was great. Made the flow of the book easy. 

The message was great. My girls understood what was happening to the Rhino and connected with his character.  Molly noticed something I did not...the color of the Rhino changed in the story depending on the stage he was in (don't want to give it all away).

Honestly, my only "con" about it was that we wished it was longer! 

You can connect with Reading Rainbow at their site.

Connect with LeVar Burton

You can purchase The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm at Amazon. 

I was given this book to review in my own words. No other compensation was given. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Collage Friday and a Special Giveaway

Happy October!  

(don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!)

This is my favorite month!  I love the transition from summer heat to cool fall days.  I love anything and everything pumpkin, apples and UGG boots!  

If you missed my post yesterday on FINALIZING our school schedule you can view it here

Last weekend the girls and I went to their first Girl Scout Camp event. This was for Daisies and Brownies only. It was a fun filled day with many events and teaching opportunities! 

Some other happenings this past week....last weekend was so nice we decided to have a bonfire and outdoor movie both Friday and Saturday nights. Very relaxing and fun for all!   

The children and I made it to a farm market (last Friday), one state over, and purchased a few outdoor fall decorations.   Zachary had some fun trying on some costumes... 

We were back to our regular full time school schedule as of Monday and the children did fine easing back into it. Still leaving plenty of time for fun and creative play. 

While going to the Girl Scout camp day I had my husband's car because he needed my truck.  I noticed a shaking when I was stopped  - long story short, it's been in the shop since Monday and we have been without 2 vehicles.  My husband has had my truck and I have been "stuck" to the house all week (except for night time). I never really thought about only having 1 vehicle and I know others do it all the time. Grateful today for being able to afford two vehicles. 

Mom Time Out 

Age is not my friend...being over 45 is catching up with me on aches and pains and feeling run down. I need to do something about this!  I have but one body to keep whole and I am abusing it...not eating what I should...not exercising...I need to PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH! 


I started back on the tread mill this week. Goal is 4 days a week - Monday 1.5 miles at a 3 incline...Wednesday 1.5 miles on a 5 incline, Thursday 1.5 miles at a 5 incline again. Also work in some hand/arm weights while I am on. 

And Another thing....

NO WINE during the week...saving it for weekends only (or special occasions). 

Also got back to my fall crock pot cooking. With three children all having separate soccer practice schedules, gym class and other commitments, the crock pot is my best friend! 

Next week's crock pot menu: (all new ones for us)

I will also will sneak in leftovers of the chili into quesadillas and left over chicken into a Stromboli

Eating whole foods, healthy and on a budget!  We eat mostly organic and whole foods and our budget for 5 is under $ 140 a week (includes everything - not just food)

Weekend Happenings...

This weekend is our end of the season camping trip with our BFF's (whom we have not seen since June and I need my friend fix!) and it's Halloween at Jellystone!  Last year was a blast decorating our site and having all the little campers come by and trick-or-treat. 

(Last Year's Halloween Camping! - Goodie boxes shown from Pamela Smerker Designs)

I hope your week has been filled with lots of fun and love!  

Join me over at Collage Friday with other homeschoolers as we share our ups and downs! 

Now on to the fun giveaway! 

  In case you missed my post from Wednesday, it is Graham Blanchard's Publishing First Birthday!  You can read more about them at the post from Wednesday.

They are offering one of their Learn, Absorb and Praise Classic Collection of board books for 1 of my followers.  In addition to the books, you can download the parent sheets that you can create lesson plans from-   For FREE at their site! 

Enter using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Back in August when so many homeschoolers were starting their new school year, we were still in summer mode and summer school schedule.  We finally started our new year on Monday!  Happy to be back and HAPPY to have a new feel and schedule to our days...

Changes in our home school:


sigh..that felt good

Trying to keep with some sort of schedule and structure because our children work well that way....but also allowing them to have some control over their school work - I have what I think is a happy medium to our year...

We start our mornings with a "family meeting" and prayer time. 
Then go over what's happening in the week remaining.
 Question and answer time. 
 Then the kids split up. 

I started using a "folder" system this year.  One for Math, Letter of the Week (cursive for Molly and Zachary), Geography and a misc folder.

For Math - each child is given a "packet" that has one continuous theme throughout it. They work at their own pace and at their leisure.  As long as the packet is finished by the end of the month, they are good. I look at their work and answer questions as needed. 

Geography - "Where Are We Wednesday?"  - we all work together on a different state each week. Starting in the Northeast with Maine. Each child has different levels of work for the research and involvement in this. 

Letter of the Week - Starting with letter A - Sammie (K) is learning proper writing and sounds while Molly (2nd)  and Zachary  (5th) are working on cursive this year.  There are daily activities for them to do in this folder. 

Science - we are using Abeka - Investigating God's World for Zachary (5th grade) and we do this together each week. "Think About it Thursday"  The girls and I are doing Knowing God's World  together.  Loving the ease of these, the interaction between teacher and student and the fact that the tests and quizzes are there if we want to use them for check points.  We are also doing random experiments - as I have promised our youngest - 1 experiment a week (a weakness of mine).

Social Studies - varies per week on what we are talking about - this week RESPONSIBILITY.

Reading - Zachary has started Treasure Island and also reads a chapter a day to the girls from their chapter book - (Magic Tree House series this year).  Weekly library trips are also a MUST!

Phys Ed - between fall town Soccer, winter skiing and gym classes, we are plenty busy!  

Bible Study - using the books from Graham Blanchard and the FREE Parent downloads we are discussing character this month.  Loving this!

In addition to all that - using LEGOS, Kiwi Crates and different art and music mediums are thrown in there. Trying hard to continue our wonderful field trips and afternoons are set aside for FUN TIME and creativity all the way!

Enjoying the time I have with them and living each day to the FULLEST! 

Stay tuned for Collage Friday and a fun giveaway tomorrow!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy First Birthday 
Graham Blanchard!  

The only publisher specializing in publishing board books for children from infancy, Graham Blanchard!  

Putting on the party hat and blowing up the balloons today!


Don't you just love those three little powerful words? These are the categories in which Graham Blanchard's books fall into. 

I encourage you to click on over to the Graham Blanchard website and blog and find out what they are all about.

  I am honored to be a small part of this team as a Mom Mentor. Supporting other Christian moms in their walk and struggles.  There are so many resources available to you from Graham Blanchard.

Their Values are aligned with our parenting values and for us, that is a marriage made in heaven!  We are using their books along with the FREE Downloadable Parent Tips, in our homeschool this year.  

You can add your child to the Prayer Wall. Others will also lift them up and pray for them. 

You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  

Even though it's THEIR Birthday, I am helping giveaway something special from them. Watch for the giveaway on Friday on the Collage Friday post. 

Be watching for weekly updates on which Graham Blanchard book we are reading in our home and lesson plans to go with it. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Collage Friday - Wedding Edition

I am still on cloud 9 from last weekend when my oldest married the love of his life! 

We traveled just over an hour to the beautiful quaint town of Ridgefield, CT.  The town was something out of a novel set in the New England area. 

The children are no strangers to hotels these days and the Hampton Inn in Danbury did not disappoint!

Our two girls wore matching dresses from Tahari and Zachary wore his first suit coat and tie.   They were so excited for this day to come!

I wanted to say something at the reception but every time I started putting pen to paper, I would start to get this lump in my throat and tears rolling down my eyes.

I decided I needed to make it a humorous speech...worked out perfect!

This picture makes my heart SING!  Thank you Jesus for my four children and their relationship with each other. Aren't the flowers in the background beautiful...the entire garden area was breathtaking.

At their request,  keeping most of their special day private, I am sharing just a few pictures.  This picture of them right after their exchange of vows was perfect...the perfect happy smiles on them both!  The flowers were beautiful and the attention to detail was impeccable.  Kerri even had the children's table (all cousins) all decked out with stuff for them to do. 

Dancing...eating...fellowship...some champagne was PICTURE PERFECT!  

Back to school.....

We are finally getting back to our full time school schedule next week and the kids are less than excited...the summer schedule has done them well!

We have one more camping trip coming up next weekend and soccer practices and gym classes keeping our nights busy.  Fall crockpot cooking has started and I am hoping for our first fire in the fireplace soon! 

If you missed my post on the new Kiwi Crates and the different age levels they are offering now, you must check it out!  Perfect Christmas Gifts!

Enjoy your day and be blessed!

This post may contain affiliate or sponsor links. You can see our full disclosure policy at the bottom of this blog page.
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