Sunday, August 28, 2011

“Not” Back to School – My Students

We haven’t actually started school yet, we officially start tomorrow. BUT this was too fun to miss!


Here are my students for the year:

2011-08-29Kahlen will be entering Kindergarten


Nate will be doing tot school and whatever else he feels like, as long as it keeps him occupied and out of trouble while we do Kindergarten :P


Can’t wait for school in the morning! I’ll be posting pictures of my new school room and the first day of school later in the week.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday – Warrior Dash

2011-08-21 Warrior Dash (25) I ran in the Warrior Dash 5k obstacle course this weekend. It was as much fun as last year, although the obstacles were much harder. Still, I made it, even at 14 weeks pregnant :)

2011-08-21 Warrior Dash (14)

More pictures woto come tomorrow…


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book Review – Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley


From the Publisher

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.

When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.
Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.
Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

I was excited when I received this book because I generally love this type of story. Fantasy. Young Adult. First in a series. This book did not disappoint. From the opening chapter, described in the publisher’s synopsis, to the end the book moved at a good pace, not too slow and not too fast. There was plenty of details to build this world and it’s characters for this book and future ones.

The book opens with a map of the world and a cast of characters, which was very helpful because there are a lot of characters. The characters were easy to differentiate, though, and woven together skillfully so I rarely had to refer to the cast after I had started reading the story.

The main character, Melaia, has a strong personality but not in a forced manner. I feel like some authors, in an attempt to create a more “feminist” story, create unbelievable character traits in their female characters. Not so with this one. She is out of her comfort zone and makes mistakes just like a real person would. She also shows courage and determination to accomplish her mission.

The supporting characters were also well developed. One in particular had mystery and intrigue built in to his character development which made for an interesting subplot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am eagerly anticipating the release of book two, Eye of the Sword, in Spring 2012.



It would be a great help to me if you would please rate my review. I get the chance to review more books based on my rating, and there are cool contests and such. Thanks!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday – Our New Car!!!

I have much to be thankful for…

At the front of my mind today is this:2011-08-17 New Van (2) Hooray!!! We are no longer a one-car family! You’re looking at my brand new used Honda Odyssey :)

Other awesome things:

  • My daddy got me a compact camera for my birthday last week to replace the one Kahlen broke a few months ago.
  • My stepdad fixed my DSLR camera…there was a tiny wire behind a bunch of tiny screws that had become disconnected.
  • Went to Water World for my birthday last week with my kids and hubby. Had a great day despite nearly passing out every time I had to stand in line (thanks, baby-in-my-tummy-who-needs-a-name)2011-08-11 Water World (9)
  • Survived my first trip to Ikea today…and was very glad we had the van2011-08-17 Ikea (3) 
  • Good friends to share the experience with.2011-08-17 Ikea (2)
  • Hiking with the fam over the weekend2011-08-13 Hiking (3)
  • Enjoying this time with the kids before school starts in two weeks. Looking forward to Kindergarten, but also enjoying our last bit of summer!

Hope you too are having a great month!


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

{embrace the camera} – August 4th

Here’s one more picture from our hiking trip yesterday.


Hmm, I look like I have buck teeth :p


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday – Hiking - August 3rd

So, my camera is still dead. I lost my phone today. AND I forgot to take my loaner camera (thanks, Dad!). So I only have a few pictures from our hiking trip today, boo. My mom had her camera, but the battery died on the way to the trail head.


Both of these pictures are waiting for the shuttle that took us to the trail head. The first one is Kahlen, my sister’s son Luka, and Nate. Nate didn’t actually hike any of it, but Kahlen did! She walked almost the entire 3.4 miles, and a lot of the way there was very uphill. Good job, my little hiker girl :)


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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Product Review – Rubbabu Shape Sorter & Timberdoodle Toddler Curriculum


Seriously Soft Rubbabu 3-D Animal Shape Sorter
The soft, squishy, and downy-to-touch Rubbabu 3-D Animal Shape Sorter is a perfect first puzzle for younger children. From eight to twenty-four months, when children are too young for puzzles with small pieces, they are still ready to learn animal shapes and colors.
9 Handmade Animal Shapes
Even the tiniest of children can pick up, examine, and play with the nine brightly colored shapes, then with a gentle push place them back in their soft base. The soft, velvety surface offers tactile stimulation. Handmade of natural rubber foam, the Rubbabu 3-D Animal Shape Sorter is anti-microbial, dust-mite resistant, mildew resistant, hypo-allergenic, and flame resistant. Another outstanding component in the Timberdoodle Core Curriculum Series!

Some days, I wish I was gifted with creative writing abilities, that I was able to tell you a good story and still include all the parts that I want to and are required to say in a review. Like Jody over at GranolaMom4God. Ah well, I guess you’re just stuck with plain ol’ me :)

We received this Rubbabu 3-D Animal Shape Sorter for review along with a folder containing information about the Toddler Core Curriculum package.

Unfortunately, I think I like this toy more than my kids do. Nate is not really at a puzzle-doing stage yet, but I’m hopeful that we can use this high quality toy when we start doing Tot Trays in a few weeks for school.

I enjoy this toy because of the quality construction and the feel of the pieces. Who can resist something so velvety soft?? Kahlen likes to make a line of the animals and tell a story with them. Nate, well, he just likes to dump the pieces on the floor and have someone else put them back in…

2011-06-01 Nate and Rubbabu

I also received a planning folder detailing the contents of the Toddler Complete Curriculum Package.  I’ll let them describe what’s included in the folder:

The Planning Folders

These serve a few different purposes. First, they give mom something to show dad so that he can get a quick overview of what he bought and why.  Second, they give you some of the reasons we've included each item, and an assortment of ideas for using them. Third, the checklist gives you an easy way to keep track of what you and Junior have done this week, without juggling a formal schedule or having to remember what you did Monday and what was last week. Fourth, we've included some of the articles our customers have found most helpful through the years, for those new parents or new homeschoolers who may not have seen the articles on our blog.

I really enjoyed the information in the folder and it made me want to purchase more pieces from the curriculum package for use in our schooling. I don’t feel like I need all of it right now because we already have some things that are very similar or the exact same, like Wedgits. The inclusion of toys that we already own was encouraging though, as it made me think that I would really like the rest of the items that are included.

The detailed description of each item included, why it was included, and what you can do with it, was extremely helpful. It gave me a better picture of each tool and which ones I would like to purchase still. Here are just a few that caught my eye:

For now, I give the Rubbabu Shape Sorter 3 stars. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t hold my kid’s interest for very long. I’m still hopeful that will change, though :-)



Timberdoodle You can get a free catalog here or visit them on Facebook here. Go check them out!


As a member of
Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this item in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Monday, August 1, 2011

2011-2012 School Year – Kindergarten & Tot School

Not Back to School Blog Hop

*This is basically a repost of my curriculum plan posted in March*

After talking to some other mommies and looking at things online and a whole host of other things, we’ve decided that Kahlen is ready to start Kindergarten in the fall. She will be very young for it, as she’ll turn 5 in December, but it will be our third year of school already, with doing Kitchen Table Play and Learn with Hubbard’s Cupboard, and RRSP / Letter of the Week this year.

I’m glad I already had a plan picked out before I found out we we’re having a third child in February, otherwise I might feel a bit (more) overwhelmed. As is, I think this should work out just fine as I truly hope to have everything completely planned, purchased, and printed by the time we start school in 4 weeks.

Main curriculum: Tapestry of Grace, year 1image

A friend of mine found this curriculum and I was surprised at how much I like it. The more I look at it, the more I like it, in fact. It’s a classical education model. It’s a bit of a stretch for Kindergarten, but I think we can make it work. We’re going to stretch the first year out over two years instead, which will make it more reasonable as far as workload.

The main thing that we like about this curriculum is that it’s super-flexible as far as what assignments you do and don’t do. Since this is a classical curriculum, all grades are included with the initial purchase, so I can change what we’re doing to something more advanced halfway through the year if I need to.

The other thing I really like is the subjects covered, specifically Bible in conjunction with History and Geography. I like the literature aspect too, and I have already checked that I can get most of the books from the library, yippee!

Math: Math U Seeimage

We got a chance to look at this one at the homeschooling fair that we went to. Hubby remembered this from his childhood; he used it in preschool, and remembers all that he learned using it. After that, he went to a different school and doesn’t remember much math until college. That was recommendation enough for me. That, and I like it too. It’s very hands-on, which I think will be good for us.

Handwriting: Handwriting without Tearsimage

I looked into several handwriting programs, and I like the looks of this one. Also, it’s inexpensive, even better! Hubby said that he’s going to do it with her in the evenings, because his handwriting could use some help too ;)

Reading: Explode the Code & The Ordinary Parent’s Guideimage

image I looked at several books about teaching children how to read, and finally settled on this one. I think it’s a good match because the lessons are short, hands-on, and require not very much prep work from me. They are more interesting than some other books I saw, and more complete as well. As for a workbook, we’re going to try Explode the Code and see how that goes. It’s very black-and-white, but I think it’s still the best because it’s basic and yet covers what it needs too.

Spanish: Unknown…

I decided about, oh, a week ago, that I would like to start Spanish this year as well, but I don’t really have a plan about it yet. Any cheap ideas? I might just get some flash cards or something of that nature and do that twice a week.

Piano: Alfred’s Basic Piano Prep Course image

We started using this book last year, but she really wasn’t ready for it. She struggled with everything about it, so I didn’t push it. We’ll try again this year :) Nate might even join us since he’s already shown much more interest in actually learning how to make music than Kahlen ever has.


Tot School

Tot School:

Nothing really definite yet, actually. I’m waiting to see what he is capable and interested in doing. I know we’ll be doing Tot School Printables from Carissa at 1+1+1=1. Also, after reading several posts from Carissa about Montessori At Home! I purchased the download version. I figured for $7.95, I couldn’t really go wrong. I don’t know how much we’ll implement this year, since he’s young and a boy and not all that interested in organized activities yet. And, frankly, my attention will mostly be on Kahlen as we start Kindergarten and try to get in the swing of an actual curriculum. I’m also reviewing Before Five In A Row for TOS Homeschool Crew, which is chock-full of great ideas for this age. Watch for my review soon!

All that to say, we’ll probably mostly focus on tot trays with toys that we already have and worksheets occasionally from Tot School Printables with a few extra things thrown in occasionally.

Well, that seems like a lot quite enough to try to get through. The best part about homeschooling, though, is this is totally flexible and we can change it anytime if it’s not working for us! I’m also on the TOS Homeschool Crew for this year, which will provide us with many new things to evaluate and play with and fit into this plan.

So if we’re starting Kindergarten, does that mean we’re “officially” a homeschool family? Nah, we already were that…


Menu Plan Monday – August 1st


My poor husband has really missed our weekly menu! I’ve had somewhat of a plan, but nothing “formal”, for the last few weeks. Trying to get back on track, so here’s what we’re eating this week:

Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~  Japanese feast and presentation hosted by a group of people from our church that just got back from Japan. 
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~ Dinner at my mom’s
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Mexican Lasagna 
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep) ~ Roast Chicken & Veggies in the crockpot (no recipe yet, if this works, I’ll post one next week!) 
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~ Fontina Risotto with Chicken  
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Orange Chicken Stir Fry 
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ BBQ with friends, supposed to bring a side, but I haven’t decided what I’m bringing yet :)

So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!

I have a recipe index, just for recipes that you can find on my blog. You can also get to it by going to the food tab above. 


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