Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Craft Ideas for Littles {Preschoolers and Toddlers}

It's officially Fall, my favorite season! I love all things about Fall... pumpkin everything, changing leaves, cooler days (open windows, yay!), apples and nutmeg in everything!

In celebration of the first day of Fall, I've found a few craft ideas for my little ones to do.. with supervision of course. :)

First and foremost.. I LOVE this Turkey Table Runner from Those Alaskan Girls. If we made one each year, eventually we could put all the runners together as a quilt!
These Sticky Trees from Twodaloo look like great fun and even the littlest of little could participate! Everything used can be found at the Dollar Store. Yay frugal craft!

We all know the possibilities with salt dough are endless, these Salt Dough Leaf Prints from that artist woman are proof! Of course, nothing my two and three year old do would look this precise BUT it is something the bigs could get in on too!

These Owl Hand Prints that Today's Parent featured are too cute and super simple! Do these on a canvas and bring them out each year as part of the fall decorations in your home.

Last but certainly not least are these Paper Plate Owls by Happy Hooligans (one of my go-to blogs for preschool/toddler activities!) These are a bit more parent intensive but SUPER cute!
Now that we have a few ideas to get us started in the Fall season, time to get busy! I'll post how our crafts turn out!
Do you have Fall/Autumn traditions? Are there crafts you make every year? Let me know!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up (on a Monday?)

Life with a newborn again has almost become normal. Almost. I still underestimate how long it will take to get out the door and am late for nearly everything. I look forward to the days we have no where to go the most. Pajama days are a regular around here.

Last week... hmm... I can't remember last week. I know there was some awesome blueberry cheesecake, a few doctor appointments and... well... that's all I remember. My days are running together like never before. I dated a paper the 15th yesterday (it was the 21st!).

I'm sleep deprived and my.. ahem.. udders as Max calls them.. are on fire. Ana has a confirmed case of thrush so we're both a bit sore. We did get some medicine today so hopefully it clears up soon.

I have succumbed to the fact that my ability to focus on small tasks or maintain housework to a reasonable extent is nonexistent right now. And I'm okay with that.

Please do not misunderstand, these are not complaints. This is my life. It's messy and at times smelly but I wouldn't' change it for the world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories {a FlyBy Review} Plus GIVEAWAY!

About the Book Featuring lyrical stories that will make you laugh, this colorful collection is perfect for reading out loud. Magnificent Tales are rhyming Bible stories with clever art and clear lessons the whole family will enjoy. The stories and illustrations are so engaging that you won’t grow tired of reading a Magnificent Tale night after night! From “The Salty Tale of Noah’s Ark” to “The Lasting Story of the Last Supper,” the rhyming tales in this book remind us that God loves His people—in the Bible and today!
What we thought Treasury of Bible Stories is a fantastical book full of stories your children are sure to love. From the moment I first started reading the stories to my two and three year olds, they were hooked. They pick it up often and ask for it to be read. They each have their favorite stories that they want read over and over. We read on the couch, before bed and while they took baths. This book will without a doubt be a favorite for some time.
The 351 page book is full of Bible stories that are fun to read and easy for the kids to understand. 20 different stories from Creation to the Ascension fill the colorful pages. Each story has a fun name like Every Beast Times Two The Salty Tale of Noah’s Ark, Food for a Fish The Whopping Story of Jonah and the Whale, and The Good Dunking The Refreshing Story of John the Baptist.
Check out the book trailer below!

This fun book is available on Christianbook.com for $14.99.

About the Author Kelly Pulley has illustrated dozens of books in The Beginner’s Bible series and has authored and illustrated several other children’s books, including Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn and The Cycling Wangdoos. He enjoys spending time with his four grown children and his beautiful wife, Vickie, in the Nashville area.

Connect with author Kelly Pulley on his Website, Facebook and Blog.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Student Logbook {a Crew Review}

My Student Logbook is one of those family run companies who created something simple yet effective and found a way to market it. Their wonderful concept, a homeschool student planner, was designed with the child in mind. Easy to read, easy to follow. Ideal for second grade and up, the planner comes with several different cover options: Rainforest, Jet Planes, Sea Life, Dinosaurs, Butterflies, Horses, Planetarium, Freedom, Vintage Map, and the one we picked... Golden Vines.
When this school year was approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to not only have my planner with all the daily goings on but to give the big kids their own planners this year, too. Unfortunately, like many of my “good ideas”, this one fell by the wayside and I never got around to doing it. So when the opportunity to review this daily student planner came, I jumped at it! Julia, my sixth grader, was all too happy to have her own daily work planner.
The concept is simple and original. Watch the video below to see how it works.

In addition to the cover options, you also have dated or undated options. There are 53 weekly pages that can be: predated August 1 to July 31, seven days a week labeled Monday – Sunday, predated January 1 to December 31, seven days a week labeled Monday – Sunday or an undated planner with seven columns so you can customize however you’d like.

We chose the undated planner.
After we got Julia's Logbook set up, we started filling in all her subjects. Actually, because there are so many lines, I broke each subject down. For example, she uses Simply Charlotte Mason’s Matthew to Acts for history but it’s actually a history/Bible/geography curriculum. It also incorporates several novels and other books. So, instead of just writing History, I wrote down each component for each subject. Then, I set about putting the corresponding lessons on the days they were due.

To be honest... I made this really hard on myself the first time we set it up. I’m the crazy lady who doesn’t like pages left half blank. I will tear a page in half and save the blank half for later use every time. So, it was just in my nature to try and fill the entire page. Looking back now on that initial fill in frenzy, I could have put chores (both daily and weekly) on there. That would have filled some space!!

Because we filled the boxes with lesson, chapter and page numbers, it didn’t seem practical to have her check off the boxes. That would likely have made the actual assignment unreadable for records purposes. Instead I had Julia highlight the completed assignments as she went. We did double check and the highlighter did not bleed through.

After the weekly pages are some records pages that would be extremely helpful if I were using this for a high schooler. There are test score sheets, reading logs, field trips and activities pages and more!

My Logbook is an 8.5” x 11” spiral bound booklet with nice plastic front and back covers. They are available for purchase for $15.00 (plus $5.00 shipping).

My Bottom Line
Honestly, the student planner has made my job a whole lot easier! There’s no more “What’s next, Mom?” With everything right in front of her, Julia knows what must be done, how much is left and where she stands in general with getting her school work done. It’s great! Thank you My Logbook for this opportunity!
Connect with My Student Logbook on Facebook and YouTube!
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up 9/12/14 {and then there were seven}

This week has been a bit of a blur. It was our week off from school work and therefore my week to get the next six weeks in the planner. I also hoped to get the freezer stocked this week. None of that happened. Want to know why? I GAVE BIRTH!! ::GRIN::

That's right, she's here! Ana Louisa came at 4:34 am on Monday, September 8th, weighing in at 6lbs 12oz and 19.5 inches long. She's perfectly healthy and labor couldn't have gone better if I could have planned it myself.

I'm still working on her birth story but will have it here soon!
Thanks for reading and God bless!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Under Drake's Flag {a Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Pirates, shipwrecks and sea-faring adventure OH MY!! UnderDrake’s Flag is the audio drama to have if there are boys of any age in your family. The swashbuckling adventure is nonstop! Heirloom Audio Productions has without a doubt released one of the most realistic, movie-quality audio theatre adventures I have ever heard. Designed with an audience of six year olds to adults in mind, the 2-disc set will entertain those of almost any age!

From the moment the story begins, you are quickly lost in the sounds of the sea, birds and general goings on aboard the ships! My boys are three and fifteen years old and they both enjoyed listening to the cds. Actually, Max (the three year old) kept asking me where the picture was, he was sure there was a movie playing somewhere he was missing! The production is about two hours in length so it was a bit longer than Max’s attention span but the big kids and I loved it from beginning to end.

Listening to audio books and reading aloud are two of my favorite pastimes to spend with the kids. As a mom with two big kids, two toddlers and now a newborn it can be hard to find the time (and hands) to sit down and read a novel for an hour. I am so thankful for quality audio books like this one that we can listen to while we fold laundry, prep a meal or just sit in the floor doing puzzles with the littles. The strong Christian morals learned and taught throughout the story are so important in a time when it can be a struggle just to find a clean adventure book, let alone one that teaches Christian character. I look forward to what comes up next from Heirloom Audio Productions.

Along with the cd set comes a study guide if you’d like to dig a bit deeper into the story. It will aid your children in understanding the storyline and the principles it teaches. You can also use it as a series of written assignments for older kids.

Divided into 16 sets of questions, each set has three parts: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words.
The Listening Well questions ask your child what he/she has heard and remembers (like narration).

The Thinking Further questions ask your child to think a bit, like to research something mentioned in the story, draw conclusions from the characters’ actions or guess as to their intentions.

The Defining Words section gives your child an opportunity to build vocabulary.

At the end of the Study Guide are three brief Bible Studies that will help you and your child come to a clearer understanding of godly character and how it was displayed within the story.

The Study Guide that comes with the cd set is an abridged version of a much longer and deeper one that is available as a download when you purchase the audio book for $29.95 (plus $6.95 shipping and handling).

My Bottom Line
Under Drake's Flag is nothing short of quality family entertainment. I'm sure it will be asked for over and over again in our home. I highly recommend this audio drama to any family with children (especially boys).

Connect with Under Drake's Flag on Facebook.
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Monday, September 1, 2014

The Identical Soundtrack Sampler {a FlyBy Review} PLUS Giveaway

About the Soundtrack Sampler:
The Identical Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Sampler features 12 of the 20 original songs by Jerry Marcellino and Yochanan Marcellino from the film.
The songs include:
1. City Lights by Blake Rayne
2. Nashville Tonight by  Blake Rayne
3. Your Love's Keepin' Me Tonight by Blake Rayne
4. Gypsy Man by Blake Rayne
5. Mellow Down Easy by The Morph Kings
6. Sumthen Boucha by The Morph Kings
7.Born For a Reason by The Morph Kings 
8 Everybody Knows It by The Morph Kings
9. Burnin Rubber by The Ricky Reece Band
10. It Don't Come Easy by Darcey & Mo
11. Angel of Mine by Darcey & Mo
12. One Child by Christopher Carmichael and Klaus Badelt

What we thought:
In general, the only music my family and I listen to is K-Love (on the radio and internet) and the worship music at church. That being said... we LOVED this Elvis-esque CD. My fifteen year old in particular. ;) This was great to listen to while cleaning up around the house or making meals. Oh how I wish the CD player in my van worked! One of my babes shoved something that didn't belong into the player and now it doesn't work. I imagine this would be a regular listening choice if it did! Most of the songs are upbeat and really get your feet tapping! Or in the littles' case, the tushies shaking! My two and three year old enjoyed the music too. Actually, at one point Caroline (the two year old) came to me and asked for "her song".. she wanted to dance. :)
All the lyrics are clean and just plain fun to listen to.

About the Movie: 
The Identical tells the compelling story of twin brothers unknowingly separated at birth during the Great Depression. DREXEL HEMSLEY becomes an iconic 50’s rock ’n’ roll star, while RYAN WADE (Blake Rayne) struggles to balance his love for music and pleasing his father. The Reverend Wade (Ray Liotta) and his wife (Ashley Judd) are sure their adopted son has been gifted and called by God to be a preacher. But Ryan challenges his parent’s vision for his life, and unflinchingly chooses to launch his own music career with his best friend (Seth Green). Encouraged by his wife (Erin Cottrell) and employer (Joe Pantoliano), Ryan embarks on an unpredictable, provocative path - performing the legendary music of Drecel Hemsley in sold out venues all across the country. As the brothers destinies tragically collide, Ryan discovers that Drexel is his identical twin which leads him to question everything he’s ever believed about God, family, and his own identity.
 Check out the trailer for the Identical Movie that comes out September 5th!!

Check out the Official Website and find them on Facebook!
And now for a chance to win your own Sampler Soundtrack!
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.