Category Archives: Favorites

What’s on my Kindle

I was delighted to discover one of my favorite books from childhood is available for free for the Kindle: Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter.

This is a beautiful, soulful story of an orphan who finds his home in the Limberlost and falls in love with an “angel”. The theme of redemption is moving and the vivid descriptions of the swamp creatures, birds, and foliage are mesmerizing.

The book is free, but I discovered that you can purchase the audio for many of the free classics for a few dollars (in this case $3). The girls and I have been listening to this together and the narration is wonderful; the reading level on this is probably 7th grade and up but younger listeners will enjoy. You have to grab this book for the incredible vocabulary if nothing else! Also check out these titles (and many more) by the same author:

Freckles

A Girl of the Limberlostfreckles

The Harvester

Nothing can quite take the place of the gorgeous antique copies of these titles that I was lucky enough to be gifted, but I do love digital books also! Remember that you can download the Kindle app for free for your phone or right now Amazon has some great prices on Kindles, check them out here!

Friday Favorites: Fancy Edition

This week Friday’s Favorite is a flashback favorite to one of our favorite authors, Jane O’Connor.

I try not let my prissiness get out of control, but I’m really a girly girl at heart. Fortunately, my children seem to be a little more well-rounded; loving animals, sports, books, and still playing with dolls and wearing tutus occasionally. We all love the Fancy Nancy series by Jane O’Conner.Fancy Nancys

The illustrations are beautiful and the stories sweet. Not only does the series tickle a little girl’s pink funny bone, but it teaches a lot of great vocabulary words, even some basic French, while encouraging kindness and empathy. In Fancy Nancy we meet the Clancy family, and Nancy who feels it is “hard being the only fancy person in your family”. In Fancy Nancy Bonjour Butterfly Nancy apologizes to her mother for her behavior and learns that you must choose to have a good attitude even when faced with disappointment. The Clancy family learns about responsibility in Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy. One of our favorites, Fancy Nancy and the Splendiferous Christmas talks about the importance of family and establishing traditions and memories.

The series isn’t just about glittery boas and lacy accessories, Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire delves into plants, insects, and exploration from a “fancy” perspective. I love how it shows girls can be strong and feminine at the same time. We love these books and recommend you look to Jane O’Conner’s many titles for your daily fancy fix!

Name Bubbles Coupon Code

Even though we homeschool, we have been using Name Bubbles personalized stickers for years. With identical twins, we tend to have issues keeping tracking of whose items are whose and these perfectly solve the problem. Name Bubbles has several combo packs that include laundry safe and dishwasher safe labels. I have never had a label come off or even start to show wear, even after dozens of trips through the dishwasher or washing machine. As a matter of fact, I have even pulled the laundry stickers off of outgrown items and re-used them on the bigger size with success! That’s impressive. If you think you don’t need name labels for your child’s stuff, I invite you to take a look at our Homeschool Lost & Found. The mountain of hoodies and lunchboxes says it all! Today only get 17% off with code LUCK!

Friday Favorites: Health & Comfort Edition

This week has decidedly not gone how I’d hoped. I was nauseous all day Monday until Monday night, when things went downhill, but I’ll spare you the details. Thankfully, no one else seems to have been infected, and thankfully I am finally feeling nearly normal today. On top of the vomiting, (whoops, I said no details), I was feeling truly horrible because I couldn’t stomach coffee (or anything much) until this morning. If you know me at all, you know that a lack of coffee is not compatible with my lifestyle.

But no one wants to hear about that, so I thought I would quickly share some of the things that help me feel better when I am under the weather. In the interest of full disclosure, please realize that I have become an Amazon partner, so I will receive a small (really, minuscule) compensation for any items purchased through my links. As ya’ll know I have been shamelessly raving about my favorite things for years, I just thought I would finally try to get a little cash flow from my role as consumer enabler. 

be kool

One day I was having a horrible migraine and couldn’t keep any meds down. My husband ran out and brought home these and they have been a life-saver. They aren’t recommended for kids, but there is a children’s version (which I have not purchased). I admit I have cut the adult size ones in half for feverish kids and they have helped but that’s obviously not medical advice from me. You would never receive medical advice from me. Never.

I am also a huge fan of a good heating pad, and I really love this one. Is it weird if I admit I use it like everyday? I don’t truly have chronic pain thankfully, but as a busy mom I feel like I am always in some kind of pain and this thing gets hot, fast. I actually ruined our bed because I used a heating pad too frequently when I was pregnant, but that’s a story for another day. For the kids, we like rice filled heating pads that you can make yourself and heat up in the microwave. Little Blue Boo has a great easy tutorial and if you haven’t checked out her blog-world, it’s amazing! If you want to make these heating pads therapeutic with Essential Oils please check with my friend Jessica, she can definitely help you! They also love this stuffed bear that we were gifted and it has held up great for three years of use. Thanks, Diane! These  Anti-Stress eye pillows are also fantastic and I keep one by my bed (if only the microwave was there I’d be all set).

I have never used Goody’s powder until this year, but I will always keep a stock of it now. Especially for those with a caffeine addiction, this is amazingly effective and quick. I thought it was weird to take powdered pain reliever, but results are results. We really have a lot more health related recommendations, but my morning blog time is coming to a close and it’s time to face our homeschool day. Thank you Lord for coffee and beautiful Fridays in the springtime! 3 John 1:2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Have a great weekend!

Math Makeover (Part 2)

As I mentioned in Part 1, Math has not been a favorite subject for my two girls. On the other hand, my almost four year old totally thinks he has mastered it (he perceives himself to be a master of many things). The following is an actual conversation I observed between my three children:

S&S: “What’s 1+1?”
C: “Two!”
S&S: “What’s 2+2?”
C: “Four!”
(me: getting excited about his math prowess)
S&S: “What’s 3+3?”
C: “Fire engine!”

He was looking right at them when he said this. There was no fire engine in sight. This is actually a fairly typical conversation with my son. No one really knows what he will say or do next. Anyway, back to math.

This year, I wanted to “heal” us a little from the bad math vibes from last year. I wanted to give my kids confidence in their skills so that they could realize math can be fun.

That’s when we discovered Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

bedtime2
Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

Just as it says, Bedtime Math makes math fun, relate-able and relevant. It transforms numbers from something kids dread into something they can really look forward to, (like staying up late for a bedtime story). While it isn’t a curriculum, it is a fun stand-alone story book that my kids ask to read. Each short story has three different math problems at the end, geared toward three different knowledge levels. Sometimes my three year old can answer the first question, and my older girls can usually get all three, so these are really geared towards younger children. My youngest likes to flip through just looking at the silly illustrations about food and animals. If you use any similar math “storybooks” please let me know in the comments!

lifeoffred
Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred)

educents-life-of-fred

At this time, we are using Life of Fred as our “core” math, but we’ve been supplementing heavily. Personally, I’m hesitant to endorse this yet but the reviews are excellent. There is definitely a lot to like about it: well-rounded stories with lots of educational rabbit trails (skimming into topics like geography, vocabulary, and anatomy). A silly, yet substantial introduction to math subjects that gives kids the basics while also introducing much more advanced concepts. It’s definitely the gentle approach I was looking for this year but it remains to be seen if I’d be comfortable using it all through elementary school.

boo
2 X 2= Boo!: A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories

We picked up a book from the library that all three kids enjoyed, so I wanted to mention it as a fun supplement. 2 x 2 = Boo! Although witches and creepy-crawlys have never been a favorite in this family, we thought it was a fun read. We enjoy how the author combined story/poetry elements with multiplication. Just like we expose our children to many different kinds of literature over the years, I’m starting to see the value in exposing them to math from multiple angles and formats if I expect them to enjoy it. This book definitely fits the bill. I hope you enjoyed our Math Makeover! Check out Part 1 here!

Life of Fred Elementary Series Complete 10 Book Set (Life of Fred)

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)

2 X 2= Boo!: A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories

Math Makeover (Part 1)

This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products that I use or want to try for my own family.

For multiple reasons, math has been a struggle for the girls so far. This year I am making math a high priority so that it can become more natural and less painful. My main goal was to approach math from different angles and to dissolve some of the number-angst that had become habitual; basically, integrate math into our daily lives in a fun way. IMG_6392

If these goals appeal to you, I’d like to recommend a few tools and products that I have been super pleased with this year. The first one is Times Tales, for multiplication facts memory.

Times Tales DVD

We just got this DVD last week and I am already blown away by the progress we’ve had. At first the girls were apprehensive but after watching part one only twice they have been able to complete all the worksheets quickly. To sum it up, each number has an accompanying picture, each problem has a story and they are all introduced in such a way that they are easy to remember and reference. Not only that, but they move immediately from multiplication to division so the relation between the processes is very clear. Over two days, my kids became confident with the number stories and began working on the worksheets unprompted over the weekend. To be clear, this is not typical math behavior in this family.

times tales
Times Tales DVD

Times Tales DVD

I am thrilled with this program and I have to recommend it very highly. I would buy this one again and again! Please check out Part 2 for more Math Makeover ideas!