Monday, August 8, 2011

100 Books-a-Month Challenge :: Ending

After much thought and reading (smile), I've decided that we've come to the end of this challenge. It's been almost two years since I decided to do it with my three and invite others to do it too.  Some months were great--we read beyond the 100 book mark.  Others were a little below the mark.  It was fun and I'm glad to have been able to do it.

I decided to write a blog about it, since there were several of you who joined in and actively read with us.  I wanted to say 'thanks' for journeying along side us.  It was nice to read through your lists, get recommendations and see that we enjoyed some of the same titles & authors.  Here's to those of you who joined us for the entire time or for selected months:

This in no way means we're not going to be reading here--we love stories waaaay too much for that!  We just won't be cataloging it in the same way.  As we wind down, enjoy the last bit of our summer break, I'm sure we'll find something else to challenge ourselves to.

Happy Reading to each of you!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Hello there!
Yes, I know....
but what can I say?
I've been thinking about my blog(s) and the fact that I haven't been here in ages (it seems).
But that's just how things are flowing for me right now.
We've been only doing what we want to do....and not always that! lol!
The summer is just getting started, really, but it's been HOT for awhile now, so I guess that's why it feels like such a long time.
I've been reading up a storm!
Been outside doing things with other homeschooling families.
We've been on a little vacation.
Did some camping!!
Attended a festival.
Now, I'm getting things in place for the Fall.
Yeah, I know. But after doing 'nothing' this week, I'm getting my mind right to get back into the swing of things.
How have you been?  By the looks of my blog roll, many of you are probably doing the same (which you should be!).  I hope that you are well.  That your little corner of the world is full of joy and hope.  I will be back....soon.  I think! lol
Until then,
Peace & blessings!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


So after picking all those strawberries we set out to make this year's patch of strawberry preserves!  (That was the purpose of picking them!)  I refreshed my memory on the process.

We stopped by the store to pick up a few jars.  Treated myself to a new with an adjustable mouth for different size jars (this was a GREAT thing to have on hand!!!)

 We started by washing the jars & lids in hot, soapy water.

 Sterilized them by placing them on a cookie sheet and heating them in the oven until hot & dry.

 Put the lids in hot water to keep hot until I needed them.

Each of the children got a chance to mash the cut strawberries (after they were washed, capped and cut into fourths). Sweetie pie got the large glass measuring cup.

 Pretty Girl got to cut with me.

 The Boy having his turn at mashing with the potato masher.

Then we placed them into a large pot, added the pectin and sugar.  Stirred them continuously until they boiled.

Using the funnel (this thing is the BEST!) made pouring the hot mixture into the jars a breeze!  As you can see there is a good bit of foam still in the first four jars.  It didn't spoon off as nicely as it did the last time I did this.

I can't remember where I learned this trick.  I was to say I read about this on Gypsy Forest, but I've gone back to look for it and haven't been able to find it.  Anyway, instead of doing a hot bottle bath, as all the books say to do, I simply turned the hot jars over (after securely closing the lids) and allow them to sit this way for about 15 minutes.  The heat from the jar itself, along with the heat of the jam inside will make the seal that's needed to preserve the jam and eliminate any spoilage.  I think I actually left them this way for an hour (ran out to the post office).  When we returned, I checked the seal--and all of them are locked tight!  I'll leave them out the full 24 hours that are recommended in all the books before storing them in a dark, cool place. 

We have 11 jars of jam to enjoy for the rest of the year! Now, to make some bread....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Picking :: GA Style

We have had this field trip on the calendar for several weeks now and were thrilled at going to pick strawberries again this year with our homeschooling friends.  I was a bit annoyed though, that we were running late.  Turns out it was a good thing! One of the other mothers called me to say that she had arrive early and that the farms were closed.  It was rather random, as I had just spoken to someone at the end of last week.  Anyway, since I was still at home, I was able to find another strawberry farm within 7miles, contact the others attending and we were still able to pick!!

Now, our experience wasn't what we'd had in mind.  The people in charge there were politely rude.  You know what that is, the stiff smile, polite gestures but the overall rudeness.  Perhaps it was more sweet rudeness.  Either way, we made the most of our time.  Hopefully next time we'll get to the original spot, as they allow for 'fun' and 'tasting' of their fruit.

Yes, we were NOT allowed to sample any of the fruit we picked until we paid for it.  Now, I get the whole "this is not a meal" thing--but part of the fun of picking your own is the sampling and snacking!!  The kids did well--no one complained OR ate one strawberry!  The overseer, I mean, the man made sure of that!  We lived, we learned, we will do better next time.

But you can't tell that was going on from the photos! :D

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's Working For Us [At This Moment]

As I read different blogs, I really enjoy reading what's working (and what's not) for the different home schooling families on my blog roll.  Granted, I read a variety of blogs, whose authors uses a variety of methods.  I like all the variety.  I like learning from others, getting a fresh and sometimes different perspective on how to approach a particular subject matter, using an array of materials/curricula/etc.  I  like how it can often stretch my imagination of what could work for us.

I have learned and already implemented these new (and not so new) ideas & approaches to learning.  A few years back, before we 'officially' started home learning, I read a lot from parents who were using an unschooling approach.  These blogs assisted me in relaxing, being flexible, and just allowing our day to unfold--which is definitely a good way to be in general with home learning, no matter what method you use.  Being able to change, readjust, reformulate, let go of what doesn't work and move on to what does/will, is one of the benefits of homeschooling.

Anyway.  There are things we do daily, that are just part of our routine regardless of how the day unfolds.  There are other things that 'show up' only when they're planned. We are all learning to be a bit more structured in certain areas of our lives and to be more relaxed in others.  It's all a balance, right?

I am still using Saxon Phonics with Pretty Girl, and now Sweetie-pie, daily.  There are an assortment of phonics programs, books, kits, supplements to choose from.  I like the approach, how it includes spelling and reading and since it's working for both the girls, we are going to stick with it.  From a teacher perspective, phonics is phonics no matter how it's taught (alphabetically or another ordering).  I've been blessed with all the material for all the levels they have (K-2).  I did have to purchase the teacher's editions, but found them on ebay for pennies!  So, this is a keeper!

English/Grammar is one of my strengths (my husbands as well) and I rarely used a textbook while in the classroom.  We use a call and response method for learning rules and I've been pulling activities from several places--my head (smile), the Shurley Method (jingles & diagramming sentences--I used this method while a teacher), several teacher resource books (specifically for grammar practice) and an old language book that I actually used when I was in school many moons ago.  The good things about grammar is that it really hasn't changed.  The things that have changed are on the HS or College Level, so although we may not be doing the exact same things as everyone else, we're learning parts of speech/sentence, how to diagram sentences (which reinforces the knowledge of parts of speech/sentence), proper use of punctuation and subject verb agreement.  For now, I feel confident in what we're doing and the children enjoy the call and response way in which I lead them in learning.

I just finished reading the book Writing with Ease by Susan Bauer and decided that I liked how her suggestions gentle taught writing.  I took a weekend to hand-copy the pertinent information from the book so that I can use it with Pretty Girl in the fall.  I've been doing little bits of this approach already--sentence dictation, reading and asking comprehension questions, copying sentences from text we've already read (doubling as handwriting, some call it note-booking).  The plan Susan sets out in her book is a weekly plan making sure each piece is done strategically, building on the previous learning.  I think this will work for us since it takes the pressure of writing independently before the student is ready--which can be a source for early frustration with writing.  I want to avoid as much of that as I can! lol

Reading.  That's a big one, as it pulls together all the smaller parts.  Right now we're not using a specific series or curriculum.  I've been looking at several options and trying to decide which one will benefit us.  Presently, we've been using easy readers--the ones you can find anywhere, specifically the library! :D  I have a nice easy reader library here at home as well.  I'd like something a little more systematic, that may be because that's just what I'm used to.  Pretty Girl does do well with a predictable way of material being presented.  I've been using volume one of the McGruffy Readers, but don't really care of the images.  I have found a couple series of readers without images and will take a closer look at them at our upcoming homeschool conference this summer.  Reading is reading and so on some level, I question whether we really need anything specific.  One the other hand, there is something to be said about a systematic approach to reading, especially those children who learn best this way, as Pretty Girl does.  We'll see what I figure out from viewing them first hand.

Mathematics is still a very hands-on subject for us.  We have a nice collection of manipulatives, which I'm looking to expand a bit more for The Boy this fall.  Pretty Girl really likes having a workbook--so a workbook is what she has!  She does work in it daily.  I also give her a daily word problem from the book Read! Draw! Solve!  The approach is to draw out the problem to make it something you can visualize and then solve it.  Pretty Girl has liked this because she enjoys drawing!!  I've changed it up slightly now that she knows what key words mean addition or subtraction.  When I saw that she was spending more time on the drawing (wanting to color it, giving great details and features to people and animals) part of the problem, I now only have her do the drawing part of a problem once a week.  She breezes through them now and will ask to leave out the drawing step since she "has it" (her words) now.  I'm thankful it worked so well.  I remember loathing word problems in school.

We also use several board games with reinforce math skills.  One of our favorites is Chutes and Ladders.  It's good for reinforcing counting skills (like more board games generally can).  But I really like the numbers on the board.  We can do addition with each forward move; subtraction with each backward move.  The children also like the different versions of Bingo we can play with numbers, number sentences and other math concepts.

Science and Social Studies are learn directly through literature right now.  We learn and study based on our interests.  We spent a good part of this year reading about animals--mammals specifically--for science.  We've done experiments with water, magnets, plants, etc. using resource books from the library.  Social Studies was more of a discussion lead time, although I did read a lot about people and topics on community, cooperation, work.  Our homeschool group's geography club, Globetrotters, gave us direction in our study of the world--continents.  We did in depth study of a few countries in which we presented during our meeting each month.

I incorporate art and music this way as well--based on our interest or desire to hear something new.  Music is usually playing in the back ground of our days.  We've then read books about several jazz musicians.  I've found some great 'how to draw' books there as well.  We've just checked out one that shows how to use letters and numbers to draw just about anything (that children are interested in).  I've also picked of a few good ones at thrift stores.  The Boy enjoys art and drawing pirates, dinosaurs, sharks and reptiles.  He uses these books to help him illustrate the stories he composes (I write them out for him--we have quite a nice system! lol).

Of course our daily routine plays into the overall learning that takes place in our home.  The field trips and outings we have done this year also add to our experience as well.

I've decided that we will continue our 'school time' throughout the summer.  We spent 2 to 4 hours daily on our structured learning time, more flexible on some days than others.  Since I'll have to report both girls in the Fall, I will use that time to 'start' the new things I'd like to implement.  The things I've shared above are things I'm planning to keep in our daily learning time.  There are a few other things I'm planning to add.  Until then, I'll continuing reading, investigating, talking to those who've used the materials.  Once I get to view the materials this summer I'm looking forward to moving on the choices I'll be making for our learning experience at home.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Our Way

I've been away from my computer/the internet for a good while now, on a regular basis.  I've gotten really involved in life here.  I've missed reading the many blogs that I follow, of feeling connected to many of you who've become my support system online.

There are days I feel very overwhelmed with all the things I feel like we need to be doing and are doing.  I've revamped our 'out of the house' schedule and am now tailoring our 'in the house' schedule to better meet our ever-changing needs.  I'm reevaluating my decisions regarding homeschooling (how we do it, what we do, what we use), allowing for what each of us needs at this time.  I'm contemplating how we could better do things, making the day go a bit smoother, less stress for me (yeah, it's true!), finding activities that will work for each of my children on the multiple levels they function on. 

For the past month, we've been doing a lot better about involving everyone in chores.  I am thankful that these 'little' jobs make such a big difference on the amount of time/energy I spend in doing them alone.  Last year I spent a lot of time looking and finding ways to limit our consumption and creating of waste.  This still remains a priority for our family.  However, some of the things I was able to do previously, without a whole lot of drama/stress/etc. on my part, have now become that.  I shared with a dear friend the other day that MY SANITY costs and there are definitely times when that--the care of me--is going to come first.  So one of the first things I've put into place is everyone's involvement in keeping our kitchen in order.  We are blessed to have an energy-efficient dishwasher with several cycles/options for washing.  With everyone rinsing and loading after each meal and selecting a short cycle wash, we're using less water and no one person is stuck with washing all the dishes (nor am I in the kitchen all day!!).

Another thing that is helping with keeping me OUT of the kitchen is that I let the girls make lunches.  They take turns and make several different lunches, that have been planned at the top of the week, for each other.  Although they take longer in prep time than I, they are building up their skills and really pitching in.  They are also learning to appreciate what I do (smile)!

I've also started doing less laundry.  Yeah, you read that right! lol!  Everyone has their own clothes basket in which they put their dirty clothes.  I assist on 'their day' to wash their laundry, but after the clothes have been washed, they must either put in the dryer or hang up themselves.  They then collect their dry clothes, fold them and put them away.  This is another area in which I've been pleasantly surprised!!  This method is working for us and actually limits the questions of, "Mommy, where are my socks?" or "Mommy, I don't have any clean...."

We've also made a little chart to keep up with whose turn it is to feed the pets and other wildlife in our lives (birds, squirrels).  We rotate daily as they each like frequent turns at each job.  There are the dogs: food and water, the Koi in the pond and the bird and squirrel feeders--which don't need daily attention (thank goodness!).  Although I do have to oversee all of this, for all the obvious reasons, we're developing patterns/rhythms for the days that will come when I won't have to.

Now that we're settled (for the most part) in our new home, it's easy to give each of the children responsibilities for keeping different area in order as well.  Years ago I remember joining The Fly Lady's email list and reading her blog/website.  Several of her tips I've kept although I don't get those 10-minute reminders flooding my email account anymore! (smile)  Taking 10-15 minutes two times every day, once in the morning, once in the evening for us, and "restoring the environment" makes for a space where company can actually 'drop in' on us unannounced!  (However, I phone call and plan prior to your arrive is appreciated! lol)

After working hard to purge and organize our classroom, our learning time has definitely worked better for all of us.  Everyone has there own designated area/space/drawer with all the supplies they need.  It makes it easy to see who needs what at the end of the month when we restock.  The children have done extremely well (better than I'd hoped) in keeping our bookshelf in order.  I gave them lessons on how to restore things and did set limits on just how many books they could take off the shelf at a time.  I just think we were all excited about things being in a order that worked for all of us.  There are shelves they can't bother books on (top two rows) and after getting detailed explanations as to why, I've had no issues.

Perhaps we're all just growing up.

I'm also putting perimeters on our involvement in our community.  It's been exciting to be 'back home' and we've jumped right back into the flow of things--connecting with old friends, participating in our local homeschool group, joining in library events, making friends within our neighborhood.  For awhile there, we were spending most everyday OUT of the house.  Which was fun, at first, but then became a struggle.  I've helped to start a friends' group for our neighborhood library and although that hasn't put me out of the house more, it has changed my computer time--I do things for the group, which can be time-consuming, and then don't find my way here!  That seems to be the nature of the beginning of things, I guess. 

I also organize our local homeschool group.  Since being back in the area, I've sought to reconnect with those I know and make connections with those who have joined during my absence.  That has been interesting!  Many of the mothers that I started out with are no longer homeschooling.  I've talked with others who would like to see the group be more this...or more that...learning, anew, that you can't please everyone; realizing that I don't really want to.  I've also made some wonderful new connections with others who are looking for similar things as I.  This has taken a lot of energy and time as well.  I'm making plans with several mothers who are committed to developing a supportive community and putting some things in place to make that happen.  Having others to encourage me and be of encouragement to is something I need as a woman, mother and homeschooling parent.  I'm thankful to be finally in a place where they can be a positive thing!

We have joined some new friends in our neighborhood in working in/on the community garden.  This is the third one to be started in the neighborhood--there are waiting lists to join the other two. So I jumped at the opportunity to meet/work/get to know our neighbors while growing food for the late summer/fall.  We have finally found a day that works for us and have been going regularly to weed and check on our crops!  Another homeschooling family joins us there too.  The peppers, squash, tomatoes, and beans are growing nicely--plants that is, no fruit just yet.  But just wait!! :D

Our personal garden is coming along.  I have vision of grandeur that haven't quite come to fruition.  I don't have everything in the ground yet. Mainly because we have puppies (that need forever homes) and I don't have chicken wire to cover/separate everything just yet.  Our little plants are fairing well and I may even do some containers to house the others permanently.  Either way, I am making plans to do some canning later in the year.  We have a field trip to a strawberry farm next week to pick a gallon or two of berries.  Remember last year?  I sure do!  I'm on our LAST jar of strawberry preserves so am looking forward to doing this again with the children.  I also want to can some green beans and tomatoes (mainly sauces).  We'll see how our growing season goes!

I guess it's all a balancing act, really.  There are ebbs and flows to life.  This is definitely a flowing time for us.  I'm choosing to enjoy this time/space knowing that the ebb will come.  It's funny how you can get caught up in living in the other time/space, missing that time, wishing you had it back, instead of living in the present.  I have to remind the children of this as well.  I remind them of days gone by when they were 'tired of just being in the house' or 'wanting to be with friends,' etc.  It helps to remember these times as it gives perspective.

Right now, I'm looking out the window at what my children have created--a tent and pretending they're living during the frontier days.  And isn't that just how it should be?  Enjoying the sunshine, being present in the moment, creating, imagining, exploring, dreaming....

I think we're all learning as we find our way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Is it Monday????

So I guess we've made it through the day, most of it anyway, and I'm just now realizing it's Monday!  This can be a good or bad thing...depending upon what Mondays are like at your house. (smile)

I must say that we had a very productive lesson time today.  Pretty girl made it all the way through her lessons and independent work without ONE issue.  This is a BIG DEAL for us.  Sweetie pie had some challenges but we all made it through.

We got some work in after lunch working in the community garden just around the corner from our house.  We walked.  The boy found his sticks.  And we weeded in several of the beds.  Crops are already growing well.  It was a lot hotter out once we got to the garden, so only stayed about an hour instead of our usual 2 hour work time.  I guess we'll have to either go out earlier or later in the evening.

I was in the midst of meal planning for this week when I realized it was Monday.  Not a bad Monday, if I do say so myself.  (and I do!) lol

I am definitely tired!  Spent several evenings up late reading and planning, talking and thinking.  Being in the sun also took some out of me as well.  I'm looking forward to my 'clock-out' time.  I may treat myself to an early bedtime tonight.  [I always promise myself this, but don't always follow through.]

How has Monday treated you?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Craft It Forward 2011

I've just joined Tracey in Craft It Forward.  The idea is simple.  Create something for the first five people who leave a comment and send it to them by the end of 2011.  It can be whatever you'd like it to be: something painted, something sewn, something knitted, something crocheted, a photograph, just anything you'd like.  Those five, who leave comments, in turn extend it to five of their readers...and so on...and so on....

Wanna play?? (sure you do!)

Grab the button above and copy this to your blog.

Come on, it'll be fun!!! :D

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Park Day

The playground at the park
We spent most of the yesterday at the park with some friends.  It was such a beautiful day--warm enough, sunny enough, the right amount of breeze, a good amount of shade!  I purposely left my camera at home so that I could just ENJOY that day instead of snapping pictures, capturing the energy/excitement/thoughtfulness of the day.  Now, I wish I had. lol

We really like this park.  There's a great playground (see photo) but it's surrounded by open space, a few picnic tables, a lake w/ ducks.  There are also clean restrooms (which really matter when you have little ones)!

It was a planned activity for our homeschool group.  It was good to see our friends and great to be able to hold adult conversations.  The children have spent enough time together so that they can pretty much do things without a whole lot of supervision.  We were actively watching them, but didn't have to intervene much at all.  It was fun to watch them create games and hear their excitement as they retold what happened on our ride home.  We stayed until 5pm (arriving about 11am)--so we were ALL full of fun & sun! :D

They slept great last night.  So did I.  Sometimes you just need a day out of doors playing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So this is what it looks like after 2 and a half days of sorting, purging and organizing!  I'm pretty excited about this.  I have three storage containers in the closet: 1 with our art supplies, 1 containing the future kits of Saxon Phonics, the last one with 3rd-6th grade resources.  Anyone who knows me will KNOW this is a BIG deal!!! (that I am down so a bookshelf and 3 containers!!!)  I'm glad to be down to so little and hope to streamline more as necessary.

We've also started our 'new' schedule.  The children have always had chores and other responsibilities around the house, but due to all of the packing, moving, waiting, unpacking, adjusting, etc. I haven't been consistent in these areas.  Each day has been it's 'own' day--literally.  We need some predictability in our flexibility, if you know what I mean.  So, I did some talking about what we'd be doing and some demonstrating so they'd know exactly what to far it's going smoothly!  (Yes, I know it's only Tuesday! lol)

Our 'school' time is already going better since we're better organized!!  The good thing is that Pretty Girl is used to our routine so have a specific space and time that we're focusing on it, with scheduled breaks, is working for her.  She still likes to fuss at the beginning of things--which can be bothersome on days that I'm not in the best place--but that is even starting to lessen.

Sweetie-pie and The Boy are still doing strictly hands-on activities during this time.  I let them choose what they'd like to "do for school" each day--it's still working well.

After lunch, which I allow the girls to make, on alternate days, I read-aloud to them.  Mostly books of their choosing, from the library, as well as a chapter book of my choosing.

Our day is still quick flexible to include outside time, free time/play time, working in the community garden, participating with our homeschool group/field trips/activities/ and going to the library. Each week the children get to choose an activity that they get to do with me alone.  Last week they each wanted to make something (food-wise).  This week we've planned similar activities.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Starting Place

I'm organizing our classroom bookshelf.  I've always had in mind how I want it to work--like things together (near each other), things for the children in reach, books I don't want them into--out of reach! (smile).  Well, after a few years of having this wonderful bookshelf, I am finally taking the time to get it the way I'd like it.

A little background: I usually start off with it heading in this direction, but usually run out of time (or get tired of seeing boxes full of books) and just start putting things on it.  This time I let the children help

I've already been working on it a day, pulling things I don't need/want anymore and making stacks on the floor around the room.  So far, this is how it looks (don't gasp!).  Today I've taken out my sticky notes and written little subject/category headings and placed them where I'd like to find these things.  Simple enough, huh?

We'll see.  I'll take/post a finished photo when I get there (I'm hoping later day....if I don't have too many interruptions).

It's a good starting place, if nothing else. :D

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life in the Fast Lane!

Photo credit

I can't seem to slow down.
But I am making every effort to. 
As I compare our calendar for April to the one for March, I've cut things in half...and am cutting half again for May.

It's been so nice to be about, in and out of the house, participating in home school activities, community activities, library activities.  But I'm feeling a bit dizzy! :D

I've also been doing a lot of reading/researching options for our homeschooling journey.  We are very flexible right now, perhaps a bit too much, and I'd like a little more structure.  Better yet, Pretty Girl needs some more structure.  So I've been reading, browsing, reviewing, asking other homeschooler's what's been working for them, reading, get the idea. :D

I've also decided to get rid of another big chunk of my 'stash.'  If you've been around any length of time, you know that I go through a 'purging' stage every so often.  Well, it's here again.  Perhaps Spring has brought it on, perhaps I see that I need to give away what I'm not using (or intend to use).

Our home school group will be having it's first curriculum sale/swap/giveaway at the end of next month--and so I'd like to be able to unload some of those things there.  What I leave with from that event I'll donate to our library's friends' group.

We've sure been taking advantage of the longer days.  The kids enjoy being outside in the yard until sunset most days.  It's nice to see them making up games and stories as they play together and alone.  We've been identifying birds, plants, trees and insects.  We haven't started planting outside, which has actually turned out to be a good thing since the weather keeps changing up on us!  It been dropping to the low 40s at night and jumping to the low 70s in the day.  (crazy!)

The other night we had terrible storms and a tree fell down in the backyard.  No roof damage!! but it's all over the deck and knocked over the overhang (umbrella-style shade) as well.  In the daylight, we saw that it wasn't just a few light branches but a HUGE portion of the tree.  Something else to add to the list of things to do in the back yard! :D

I'm going to make my rounds again---to see just what you've been up to!  We've been good. Learning, growing, doing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Moment

{this moment}

she was terrified to make her presentation on Tanzania--but did a FABULOUS job!  she was so courageous!! 

A Friday ritual.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

hosted by SouleMama

Thursday, March 31, 2011

100 Books-a-Month Challenge :: March 2011

...and so it goes....

  1. Goldilicious by Victoria Kann
  2. The Boy Who Painted Dragons by Demi
  3. Terrible Tyrannosaurus by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  4. Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaurs by "Dino" Don Lessem
  5. What Santa Can't Do by Douglas Wood
  6. The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
  7. Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine by Herman Parish
  8. Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh
  9. Under the Bed by Paul Bright
  10. The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm by Paul Bright
  11. Where There's a Bear, There's Trouble! by Michael Catchpool
  12. One Drowsy Dragon by Ethan Long
  13. Good Morning, Garden by Barbara Brenner
  14. Bye, Mis'Lela by Dorothy Carter
  15. Wild Wild Sunflower Child Anna by Nancy White Carlstrom
  16. The Mitten adapted by Jan Brett
  17. More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby
  18. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill
  19. Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright
  20. The Monster Princess by D.J. Machale
  21. Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman
  22. The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
  23. Peace Week In Miss Fox's Class by Eileen Spinelli
  24. An African Princess by Lyra Edmonds
  25. Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller
  26. Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
  27. Olivia forms a band by Ian Falconer
  28. Angelina's New School based on Angelia Ballerina
  29. The Emperor Penguin's New Clothes by Janet Perlman
  30. T is for Terrible by Peter McCarty
  31. Backbeard, Pirate for Hire by Matthew McElligott
  32. What's So Bad About Being an Only Child? by Cari Best
  33. Paul Bunyan retold by Steven Kellogg
  34. Aida told by Leontyne Price
  35. Poodlena by E. B. McHenry
  36. Did You Hear Wind Sing Your Name? by Sandra De Coteau Orie
  37. Maasai by Tiyambe Zeleza, Ph.D.
  38. Ancient African Town by Fiona Macdonald
  39. Jubela by Cristina Kessler
  40. HELP! A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller
  41. Dreams by Ezra Jack Keats
  42. Jack of All Tails by Kim Norman
  43. The Trial of the Stone: a folktale retold by Richardo Keens-Douglas
  44. Hunches in Bunches by Dr. Seuss
  45. Jake Starts School by Michael Wright
  46. A Cup for Everyone by Yusuke Yonezu
  47. Disney's Up adapted by Lisa Marsoli
  48. Say A Little Prayer by Dionne Warwick
  49. Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells
  50. Africa is Not a Country by Margy Burns Knight & Mark Melnicove
  51. A True Book: Africa by David Petersen
  52. Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck
  53. Just My Luck by Emily Moore
  54. The Best Mouse Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  55. Otto Runs for President by Rosemary Wells
  56. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle
  57. Dear Child by John Farrell
  58. A Stormy Ride on Noah's Ark by Patricia Hooper

Read to The Boy
59. Stegosaurus by Elaine Landau
60. Triceratops by Elaine Landau
61. Tyrannosaurus Rex by Elaine Landau
62. Velociraptor by Elaine Landau
63. Ready for Takeoff! by Sonia Sander
64. The Penguins of Madagascar Comic Reader: Penguins on a Mission by Arie Kaplan
65. 101 Facts About Ferrets by Claire Horton-Bussey

Read to Pretty Girl
66. Tinker Bell and the Wings of Rani by Papercut
67. A Dozen Fairy Dresses by Tennant Redbank
68. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Stage Fright by Meg Cabot

Read to Sweetie Pie
69. The Frog Princess by Rosalind Allchin
70. Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words by Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser
71. The Sweetest Spring by Apple Jordan
72. The Princess and the Frog by adapted by Lisa Marsoli

Read by Pretty Girl
73. The Sweetest Spring by Apple Jordan
74. Joshua James Like Trucks by Catherine Petrie
75. Pickles in My Soup by Mary Pearson
76. Biscuit's Day at the Farm by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
77. This is Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
78. Biscuit and the Cat by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
79. Biscuit and the Hen by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
80. Biscuit's Tub Fun by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
81. Biscuit's Trick by Alyssa Satin Capucili
82. Biscuit and the Box by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
83. Biscuit and Sam by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
84. Biscuit and the Nest by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
85. Biscuit and the Duck by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
86. Biscuit and the Kittens by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
87. Biscuit and the Frog by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
88. Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
89. Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Books on Tape/CD
90. Trouble According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
91. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
92. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
93. The Mona Mousa Code by Geronimo Stilton
94. A Cheese-Colored Camper by Geronimo Stilton

My List
95. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Latin by Natalie Harwood
96. A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons by Rick Van Noy
97. Writing With Ease by Susan Wise Bauer
98. Books Every Child Should Know by Nancy Polette
99. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
100. The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
101. Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith
102. The Kite Runner by  Khaled Hosseini

how'd you make out this month?

Happy Reading!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Sharing Monday

This Monday we're sharing Princess Grace by Mary Hoffman.  I thought we'd read all in the series of Grace and was pleasantly surprised to find this one in the library last week.  But what was even better about finding this book and checking it out, was the story.  Both my girls are firmly in the 'princess' stage of things.  I find myself somewhat challenged to find princesses that look like us.  That being said, this story speaks to my concerns--the ideas of what princesses do, wear, look like, etc.  It ends in a very positive way affirming the many different princesses!!

I highly recommend this book for your little princess!

Interested in getting other book recommendations or participating? Hop over to Canadian Home Learning for more information.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Sharing Monday-- & Give Away WINNER!

I had all intentions of posting this long before now.  Please forgive me!

And without further ado I say Congratulations to Debbie in winning the gift of the book When Will It Be Spring? by Catherine Walters.  I wish I had another, since there were only two of you interested in it.  I'll see what I can do! :D

(Debbie, please send me your mailing address. Thanks!)

Today, we're sharing this book: The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons

We've been reading a lot about gardening and plants, so this book went right in with out learning.  It's a colorful book and gives descriptions of the different types of vegetables we eat: roots, stalks, leaves, etc.  Eating from each kind not only give variety but keeps our bodies healthy!

If you'd like to join in or see others who participate in Book Sharing Monday please hop over to Alex's blog: Canadian Home Learning to check them out!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

100 Books-a-Month Challenge :: February 2011

Although February is a short month, and it's flown by, we were able to get a good bit of reading done.  As you can see there are some repeats, especially in Pretty Girl's list.  We're finding favorite titles as well as favorite authors.

  1. Hog-Eye by Susan Meddaugh
  2. Put It on the List by Kristen Darbyshire
  3. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  4. Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  5. Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
  6. I really, REALLY need actual ice skates by Lauren Child
  7. Library Lil by Suzanne Williams
  8. Wildlife Gardening: How to Bring Birds and Bugs to Your Backyard by Martyn Cox
  9. My Chickens by Heather Miller
  10. The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook by Judi Gillies & Jennifer Glossop
  11. Hide and Seek First Words by Dawn Sirett
  12. Cookbook for Girls: Festive food for fun times by Denise Smart
  13. Tomatoes by Elaine Landau
  14. 3-D Explorer: Oceans--A Journey from the surface to the seafloor by Jen Green
  15. Raptors! The Nastiest Dinosaurs by Don Lessem
  16. Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaurs by "Dino" Don Lessem
  17. Dinosaurs by John Long
  18. The Christmas Story by Rhona Davies
  19. Absolutely Not by Matthew McElligott
  20. Rainbow Fish and the Sea Monsters' Cave by Marcus Pfister
  21. Rapunzel's Amazing Hair by Kiki Thorpe
  22. Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman
  23. Lightning Was Here by Disney/Pixar
  24. Mr. Large in Charge by Jill Murphy
  25. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  26. Tally Cat Keeps Track by Trudy Harris
  27. The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
  28. A Kid's Guide to How Flowers Grow by Patricia Ayers
  29. Polly's Pink Pajamas by Vivian French
  30. Time for Ballet by Adele Geras
  31. Little Ballet Start by Adele Garas
  32. The Africa Book (more looking than reading)
  33. Earth's Cycles: The Plant Life Cycle by Cheryl Jakab
  34. When Will It be Spring? by Catherin Walters
  35. The Return to Narnia: The Rescue of Prince Caspian based on Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe based on the original book by C.S. Lewis
  37. Barack Obama 44th President of the United States by Jill C. Wheeler
  38. African Americans Who Were First by Joan Potter and Constance Claytor
  39. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  40. Dinosaurs Forever by William Wise
  41. I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell
  42. Loved Best by Patricia McKissack
  43. Math for all Seasons by Greg Tang
  44. I have a Dream, Too! by Jean Alicia Elster
  45. We All Went on Safari: a Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs
  46. Even More Parts: Idioms from Head to Toe by Tedd Arnold
  47. What Santa Can't Do by Douglas Wood
  48. Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman
  49. 10-Step Guide to Living with Your Monster by Laura Numeroff
  50. The Jumbo Book of Space by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson
  51. Every Planet Has a Place: A Book About Our Solar System by Becky Baines
  52. The Milky Way by Fran Howard
  53. The Earth in Space by Peter Riley
  54. Space by Alan Dyer
  55. No Biting Louise by Margie Palatini
  56. Tinker Bell and the Wings of Rani by Disney

Pretty Girl's List
57. Pinkalicious: Pink around the Rink by Victoria Karr
58. Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant
59. The Garden that We Grew by Joan Holub
60. Fancy Nancy: My Family History by Jane O'Connor
61. Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris by Jane O'Connor
62. Fancy Nancy Sees Starts by Jane O'Connor
63. It Could Still Be A Mammal by Allan Fowler

Books on Tape/CD
64. The Cat in the Hat read by Kelsey Grammer
65. Horton Hears a Who! read by Dustin Hoffman
66. Did I Ever Tell you How Lucky You Are? read by John Cleese
67. The Lorax read by Ted Danson
68. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! read by Walter Matthau
69. Yertle the Turtle read by John Lithogow
70. Gertrude McFuzz read by John Lithogow
71. The Big Brag read by John Lithogow
72. Thidwick, The Big-Hearted Moose read by Mercedes McCambridge
73. Horton Hatches the Egg read by Billy Crystal
74. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back read by Kelsey Grammer
75. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
76. Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
77. Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary
78. Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
79. Zelda and Ivy and the Boy Next Door by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
80. Satchmo's Blues by Alan Schroeder
81 - 87. The Horse and His Boy Chapters 1-7 by C.S. Lewis

My List
88. The Complete Herb Book by Jekka McVicar
89. Beginners' Guide to Herb Gardening by Yvonne Cuthbertson
90. The Organic Home Garden: How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables Naturally by Patrick Lima
91. Salad Gardens: Simple Secrets for Glorious Gardens--Indoors and Out by Mimi Luebbermann
92. Gardens for Birds: Hummingbirds & Butterflies by Linda D. Harris
93. 10-Minute Feng Shui Room by Room by Skye Alexander
94. Basic Composting by Stackpole Books
95. Ayurveda: A Holistic Approach to Health by Reenita Malhotra Hora

So how did you do?  Please leave your link in the comment section below.  Thanks for joining us!

Happy Reading!

    Friday, February 25, 2011


    They've asked for the past few days to paint.  Today was the day!

    Sewing Creations

    Pretty Girl spent most of the morning yesterday making her dolls some new outfits.  She used some fabric scraps I had and handmade these little get ups!

    She and I are both very pleased with her creations!

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011


    I surprised the kids with a trip to the zoo this morning.  I am always amazed at just how excited they become when we arrive.  Yeah, we've been here before (plenty of times) and seen these same faces.  But somehow, it's new every time.

    Pretty Girl and Sweetie-pie got their own maps this time and planned our path so that we could see all the animals we wanted to see (and some that weren't on the list).

    The Boy did his best to run away ahead of us the entire time, making noises at the animals and scary faces at passersby.  SMH.  What can I say?

    We were pleasantly surprised to see some new creatures that the zoo has added to their collection.  Here are a few shots of our time.

    New Parakeet Exhibit

    New Photo Op Board


    Willie B. (life-size statue)

    A Silverback

    Breakfast time!

    I liked Sweetie's reflection in this shot


    I'm thankful for my father, who knows the importance of having these experiences and has covered us over the past several years with membership.  No matter where we are in the month (financially) we can always go to the zoo!  [Thanks Daddy!]


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