Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time is flying…


Wow, can you believe that February has flown by? I mean, it seems like just yesterday I was saying, “February is here”. Now I’m asking where it went..

We had some fun times in February. We went bowling, the kids learned to roller skate, and we had some fun times with friends. Little Monkey turned 8, and it seems like the month just got busier after that.


I’m in the process of doing some work around our house. I’m trying to paint Little Monkey’s room (all the new rooms we built last year are still just sheet rock). She requested a Lala Loopsy room. Of course I said sure, why not?! I have managed to get the sky painted, and the rolling green hills in the last month, on one side of the room. (still finishing up some mudding on the other side) Next up, we are going to put in the clouds, sun, and tree’s (which will have buttons on them). It will be very cute when it is done.


Then I will still have the other 2 monkey’s rooms to finish. Still debating colors for my living room, and my bedroom. Hubby and I can’t seem to agree on a color. Haha! I’m a bright color kinda girl, and he is a lighter tone person. We will find the perfect color eventually!


Of course, instead of finishing one project at a time, I’m trying to do like 5! I’m also trying to clean up my homeschool bookshelf, and rearrange it, so I can find things more easily. With our year coming to an end (we are done next week.. already put in our 180 days), and our new year starting within the month of March. I would like to start out fresh, and organized. Do you think that will happen?! We also started painting the upstairs hallway, where the washer and dryer were. That was a quick job, so we could install our new washer and dryer this week. Love them though! Plus the washer isn’t sounding like a monster trying to break free!


That has been our February in a nutshell. I still have lots of projects to finish, but hoping to make a dent the first of March. Not holding my breathe though, as we approach Girl Scout Cookie time, they are being delivered this next week, and then it will be cookie booths, and more cookie booths!


Monday, February 25, 2013

TOS Crew: Handwriting Without Tears–2nd Grade Review


Does your child struggle with handwriting? My son had the best boy handwriting some teachers have ever seen. My girls though, that is another story! Little Monkey who is just finishing up 2nd Grade, has been struggling with some of her letters for a while now. She writes her b & d backwards all the time, and also the numbers 2,3,4, & 5! I had heard great reviews about Handwriting Without Tears, and thought why not give them a try. The name alone gives me confidence I won’t want to pull my hair out while using it. Haha!

Let me give you a bit of background about Handwriting Without Tears. It was founded by Jan Olsen, an occupational therapist. So she has first hand experience with the struggles kids have when learning to write. Why does it work so well? Well, they use multisensory tools and strategies to help it be more effective. Such as teaching strategies, word design, teaching order, letter style, line success, and research. 

I have to tell you, upon receiving the 2nd Grade Printing Power workbook, Little Monkey was ready to dive in. “Mom, Mom, can I start it NOW!” was all I heard. I have never seen a child so excited to do work! The lessons are only meant to be about 15 minutes a day, so the kids don’t get frustrated our angry with them. My daughter so far, has wanted to do more than that!



How we used it:

As I stated Little Monkey was very anxious to get started on this one. We use it 4 times a week (cause we have fun days on Friday’s). Every day she does a new lesson, and usually asks to do another. Depending on our schedule, I sometimes let her go another lesson. Here are the letters when she started.




You can get extra things to help with the learning online at Handwriting Without Tears website. You can have them watch video’s on how to write certain letters, print off more worksheets, lots of things. I have had Little Monkey watch a couple video’s since she still struggles with a few letters. In another week, I’m going to give her a proficiency test, that you can get free here. To see what she needs more work on. I can already see some great improvements in some of her letters. Here are a few other sheets she has done…







My thoughts:

I was very excited to try this with Little Monkey, because when just handing her sheets of words to copy, she would get frustrated. I mean what kids wouldn’t right? I wasn’t sure how else to teach her though. This was a life saver! When I received the book and started to look it over, I was very excited to see that it was fun, and not to overwhelming. I love the little boxes they learn to make the letters in first, kind of showing them the space. Her letters were always to big or way to small, so this helps her to see how big they are suppose to be.


I also received the Handwriting Without Tears Printing Teacher’s Guide for 2nd Grade. I’m not going to lie, for handwriting this was a bit overwhelming at first to see. The book was thick! I was thinking, what could I possibly have teach her that much about? It was full of great information though. The first 20 or so pages are filled with how to use the book. It has 36 lesson plans, with corresponding activities if you want to use them. They had some great things to go along with the lessons. My daughter just wants to write, so we haven’t really been using the lesson plans to much.

Here are some of the Activities you can find in the book:

  • The Hand Activity
  • My Teacher Writes
  • Teaching with Technology
  • Air Writing
  • Letter Stories
  • Diver Letters’ school
  • Voices
  • Laser Letters


They have so many wonderful resources available. I really love a company that helps you like that. I’m very happy with the book. We also received the Kick Start Cursive book with our set. After looking through it, I’m pretty sure I will be purchasing the Cursive Curriculum for her next year. They books are very reasonably priced too.


Little Monkeys Thoughts:

She loved the book, and can’t wait to do more lessons. She finds it fun, and never complains to do them. She is very excited to start the kick start cursive. (Always head of herself)



2nd Grade Printing Power Book (42 pgs.) – $8.25

2nd Grade Printing Power Teaching Book  (190pgs) – $9.25

Printing Power Plus (with the kick start cursive 32 pgs.) – $10.25


Check out what some of the TOS Crew Members are saying about it.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Homeschooling Mother’s Journal:





  • In my life this week…

It was a long but decent week..
Took the Monkey’s Roller Skating for the first time…
Had a Girl Scout Meeting…
Went to a Valentine’s Pizza Party…
Middle Monkey spent the night at a friends house..
Visited friends, and family…
Enjoyed at Girl Scout World Thinking Day Celebration…


  • In our homeschool this week…

Since Middle Monkey had the week off
from public school, we took the week
off from school.
(Since we are done next week, finished our
175 days.. I figured what the heck)

How many more days do you have left?


  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Try new and exciting things..
So far this winter, we have
been able to take the kids to do two new things.
They love it, and makes great memories for us!


  • I am inspired by…

Myself.. I don’t say that often.
But I really need to remember
to step back and realize the amazing things
I have been able to accomplish.


  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This upcoming week…
We have doctor appts,
Dance, Scouts, Library,
Co-op, and Piano..


  • My favorite thing this week was…

Seeing the priceless looks on their faces
when they tired roller skating for the first time.


  • What’s working/not working for us…

I have to say the reviews for the TOS Crew..
have been such a blessing for us this year!
They are fitting right in, and helping with things
we were trying to incorporate! I’m so


  • Questions/thoughts I have…

Anyone use Teaching Textbooks? I am thinking of getting
this for my oldest this year for Math. Saxon, just isn’t working
for him anymore.. Not sure where to go,
and don’t have to much money to spend, so
don’t want to buy something that isn’t going to work.


  • Things I’m working on…

Painting Little Monkey’s room..
Its coming along. We have the hills up on two walls,
going to paint a tree tomorrow!
Its getting exciting!


  • I’m reading…

Still reading my Virgin River series..
Haven’t had much time to read this week..


  • I’m cooking…

Not sure..
I’m struggling on my menu’s lately.
I really need to get back to it.
I was doing so much better!



  • I’m grateful for…

Supportive friends and family!



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Strength doesn’t come from
what you can do.
It comes from OVERCOMING
the things you once thought
you COULDN’T.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

TOS Crew: A+ Tutorsoft, Inc. Review

Math is a tricky thing at our house. We have some kids that just get it, and others that struggle with some areas. Middle Monkey is the one I thought would benefit from this particular review. She is my can’t sit still, while listening and learning. However, for some reason when she is in front of the computer she does great! A+ Tutorsoft, Inc makes this wonderful math program.  I’m sure your asking what makes A+ Interactive Math stand out against the rest.
For starters A+ Interactive Math is a multi-sensory math program. It helps all learning types, Audio, Visuals, and text. Which is great if you have children that all learn different. Or even a child that learns better from a few different types. I know Middle Monkey is Audio, and Visual.

Homeschoolers have the three choices to choose from:

I choose to go with the physical CD premium edition. I like to have the hard copies of things, just incase. Then if for some reason we lose internet, my children can’t say “oh, to bad can’t do my math today” kind of thing. (Yes, my older two would totally do this) Plus, I have another younger child that will be going into 3rd grade math half way into next year. I love when I can use a program for more than one child.

Not sure which one your would like to use? You can view a free demo, and try a free month. Along with this you can use their Math Placement Test, if you are not sure where your child should be.

What is included on your CD version:
  • There is 15 Sections your child goes over, you can see the list of contents here.
  • Contains a Full year of curriculum
  • Worksheets Pack (with printable worksheets)
  • Worksheet solution guide
  • Exams Pack (with Printable exams)
  • Exams Solution guide
  • Recommended Lesson Plans
  • Reference Sheets

How did we use it?
When we received the CD, I popped it right in, and installed it. This process was very easy. All you need is a computer that runs Microsoft Windows (xp, vista, 2000, or Windows 7).
Once it was installed, she hopped right on and got busy. I love how the video’s really show and explain everything they are trying to teach you. If you haven’t looked at the demo you really should. This really shows you how the program looks. The best part, if they don’t get it, all they have to do is re watch it.
You can follow the suggested lesson plan, or you can pace your child yourself. Since Middle Monkey has difficultly in some areas, therefore we couldn’t stay with the lesson plan since it was a bit fast paced for her. Once she went through a lesson, at the end it gives you a interactive question and answer part. The question is asked, and then they give you multiple choice answers. If you get it right, it says “Good Job” and moves on. When they are answered incorrectly it says “I’m sorry, that is incorrect” but it doesn’t just leave it at its incorrect. It then gives you a review of that skill, and presents the correct answer. I really do love that it doesn’t just go on to the next question. Gives you the chance to really go back over it.
I had Middle Monkey also do the worksheets that go along with the particular lesson. At the end of each lesson there is also an exam. The exams have roughly 20-40 questions. For Middle Monkey I think the exam is a bit overwhelming, so we haven’t done one yet, however I did look at it briefly.

Middle Monkey’s thoughts:
She really enjoyed this math. Before A+ Interactive Math, we were struggling with math. She is not the type of child that you can set the book in front of her, and ask her to do the problems.
She loved that it had video’s to show you the different concepts. Since she has started with this program, we have not had many complaints about using it. She says its FUN!

My thoughts:
I am a huge fan of the interactive questions, that they are done in such a manner that the child does not get so frustrated. I also love that this is a full curriculum, not just a helper in addition to your regular curriculum. Another huge plus for me is that I can pass it down to my next child. Being that we are one income family, ways to cut costs are always a big hit with me.

This program would also be great if you have a independent child. Middle Monkey is very independent when it comes to some things. I was able to show her how to navigate and print her worksheets, so she could do most of the things herself. I still peaked every now and again, to make sure she was really listening.

The 3rd Grade Standard CD is $99
The 3rd Grade Premium CD is $124.99
The 3rd Grade Math Online is $124.99 for full year, Quarterly $49.99, or Monthly $19.99
Overall we really recommend this to any family looking for a Math program. Best part, you can get 50% off! That really makes some great deals!
A+ Interactive Math is offering my readers 50% off at the Checkout using this code SPOFFER50 until the end of March 2013!!!!

Check out what some of the TOS Crew members are saying about this..

*Disclaimer: I was given the 3rd Grade Premium CD for free in exchange for my honest review as part of the TOS Crew. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.

Monday, February 18, 2013

TOS Crew: Classical Academic Press–Song School Spanish Review


Do you teach a foreign language in your curricula? I have always tried to incorporate it in our learning somewhere. Why? As the world continues to get harder to find jobs, I think this is going to be a valuable resource. I want my kids to have that one leg up, against someone else. Monkey Man wants to learn Chinese and Japanese, and most people think I am crazy for encouraging it, but I think that he will have an edge if he knows these things. Therefore, so far, we have studied Latin, and Spanish. My kids are doing Spanish in Co-op this year, but we needed something to help with getting those concepts to stick.

Then we were able to review The Song School Spanish Book & CD, by Classical Academic Press. The kids were super excited upon receiving this because it included songs. My two daughters are singers (or so they think). Everything is made into a song.


The Song School Book & Cd have 30 weekly lessons. Which includes review chapters, vocabulary words, and activities. Then the CD includes 42 songs.  Then in addition Classical Press also has some extra downloadable help. Like pronunciation help, which is great for us, that don’t speak Spanish. I’m always afraid I’m going to tell them how to say it wrong. You can find those here at the bottom of the page. If your children like to play games to help learn, they can try out this website HeadadventureLand. This has them play games, read stories, and watch video’s, but they all go with Song School Spanish materials, which is great!



I also received the Teachers Edition. The teachers book includes the whole Song School Spanish student text, with the answer key. Some additional teacher’s notes, and ideas for interactive activities (ie..Puppet show) I love that it also included extra activity pages, like crossword puzzles. (my kids love those)



About the Product:

  • For K-3
  • Song School Spanish Student Workbook with CD – $24.95
  • Song School Spanish Teacher’s Edition- $24.95
  • Spanish Amigo Match (we didn’t receive these) – $26.95
  • Bundle Pack – $66.95



Monkey’s Thoughts:

My Monkey’s thought that this was a great program. They loved the activities that were fun to go along with learning. They hate when some things are only book work. They loved the songs, and singing along with them! Over all I really think this curriculum was a hit!


My thoughts:

This curriculum was very easy to stick in with our schedule already. We used these lessons 2-3 times per week. The kids really enjoyed it, so it was never a “do we have to attitude”.  The lessons are only about 10-15 minutes long for the most part. We sometimes spent longer, as they didn’t want to stop singing! This went along great with our Co-op lessons, and really helped them learn the words easier.

I loved that the book/songs were both English/Spanish.. I know that would probably drive people crazy. However, the way they sang the songs in English, and then again in English, but inserting the Spanish word. Like for example- “This is my house. This is my Casa. “ So they learn the meaning with the song.

While my son (10yrs old) would probably not come right out and say he liked this. He did sit and do lessons with us, and enjoyed the songs. (Telling you my kids LOVE to sing)

The CD also came in very useful for us, because we would listen to it in the car as well. Like on our way to Co-op, or even just the store. We have found many ways to sneak or Spanish in now. We do color hunts in the grocery store, and the kids like to ask each other how they are in Spanish. I love listening to them.

Overall we really loved this curriculum, and will continue to use it.


See what the rest of the TOS Crew had to say about it.



*Disclosure: We received a copy of Song School Spanish Student book/CD and Teachers Book, in exchange for our honest opinion as part of the TOS Crew. Our opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:






  • In my life this week…

Oh it has been crazy..
Another snow storm, brought our day to a halt..
A trip to the big city to do some shopping..
Grocery shopping..
A very busy Valentine’s Day…
Crazy Friday..
and a birthday to celebrate!

  • In our homeschool this week…

    We stayed on track..
    Little Monkey started some new math,
    and English..
    Monkey Man started a new study on Poetry,
    and Writing..
    At co-op they had a guest speaker from the dentist…
    Monkey Man didn’t go cause he was sick..
    Piano Lessons this week..
    Middle Monkey got 105 on her Spelling test at school! 

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

    Looking for some good English lesson plans already done for you,
    and linked to everything you need? Check out
    Easy Peasy Online..

  • I am inspired by…

    My ability to inspire others to want to
    Homeschool now..
    I used to be the one asking all the questions,
    now I’m the one answering them!

  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

    This next week Middle Monkey is on
    February vacation..
    So not to throw her off her schedule to much,
    I have some activities planned.
    We are going roller skating (they have never been)
    We have a Girl Scout Meeting
    Co-op Party
    Visit some friends..
    and 4H.

  • My favorite thing this week was…

    Being able to attend Middle Monkey’s
    Valentine’s Party.. It made her day!

    Plus she got a 105 on her Spelling test,
    after failing all the past ones..
    Seeing her face was priceless!

  • What’s working/not working for us…

    We are finally getting into our
    new routine with Middle Monkey
    gone all day…
    This is making things go a lot

  • Questions/thoughts I have…

    What is your favorite English Curriculum?

  • Things I’m working on…

    Finishing Little Monkey’s room…
    I finally got a coat of primer on!!

  • I’m reading…

    Reading the 9th book in my Virgin River Series

  • I’m cooking…

    Not sure what is on the menu for tonight..
    What are you having?

  • I’m grateful for…

    My 3 wonderful Monkeys! They really do mean
    the world to me.. and I’m so blessed to
    spend everyday with them..

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

    Some deer that were in my yard yesterday!


Little Monkey turns 8!!!



Oh my gosh! Where has the time gone? In the blink of an eye my baby has turned into an 8 yr old!




Love that pigtail little angel


Little Monkey has brought so much to my life. She is our crazy, silly, always happy, smiling girl! Never a dull moment around here with her. Always bringing laughter to our lives!


Never afraid to try anything








I haven’t slept a whole night since she was born. But how can you get mad at a face that wakes you up just to tell you she “loves” you?! I sure can’t, even in my groggy state. Despite her lack of sleep, she never wakes up without a smile on her face.


She is the most loving little sister. Always thinking of others!




Don’t ever change my baby! You are an amazing person inside and out!



Happy Birthday Little Monkey!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Becoming a Boy Scout…



Its so hard to believe that my Monkey Man has been in scouts for that long. He is growing up so fast. We started him in it, because we liked its values. I wanted him to have something to always be steering him in the right direction and learn how to be strong, mentally and physically.

He has had his trials with his packs, and with friends in his pack. However, he used those values they taught him to approach it the right way. I’m very proud of him, and his accomplishments.


During his Blue & Gold Banquet this past weekend, he was awarded his “Arrow of Light” which is the highest award you can earn while in Cub Scouts.



Then he was crossed over to Boy Scouts. Yes, I said Boy Scouts. My little man is no longer a cub scout, he is a boy scout (which seems so grown up). I’m not ready for him to be grown up. Time is flying so fast!






Unfortunately due to the storm, they canceled the party on Saturday. Postponed it till Sunday, which meant that daddy (who is also his leader) could not be there. This really weighed heavily on Monkey Man. He did not want to go, if the person who helped him get there, was not able to share in his success. After discussing his disappointing, I explained that he would be upset with himself if he didn’t go. He finally agreed.

He was glad after the ceremony that he attended. He still was sad, but happy for the experience. We video taped it for daddy, and grandma.


Congrats Monkey Man, we are so proud of you!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fun during the Blizzard


I’m sure you have all heard by now that the Northeast got hit with a nasty Blizzard last weekend.

Let’s just say this blizzard and I are not friends.. it turned our Saturday upside down. Monkey Man was suppose to have his Blue & Gold Banquet and that got canceled. Plus we were suppose to go to Disney on Ice, which is a yearly thing we do. The kids look forward to it every year. They canceled that as well.

How do you explain this to 3 very anxious Monkey’s who just want to have fun? Well, very carefully. Of course, they understood the weather was bad, and that it wasn’t safe. However, that doesn’t always make it better (even for adults).


So super mom to the rescue.. I looked for local theatres to see what was playing. Wouldn’t you know it was the one weekend of the year, that they had no children’s movies playing!!! Great!

Then I had a light blub go off, bowling! We hadn’t been in 2 yrs, and the kids really would enjoy it, and we could have fun as a family. Off we went.. the roads were still a bit slick, but I knew I could make it to the next town over. We were the only ones in the Bowling Alley for the first hour. It was wonderful!

The kids had a blast, and I kicked everyone’s butts in both games! Despite my shoulder.. yeah, might have wanted to think that through a bit more, but the pain was worth it!  Check out our pictures.. (they are not the best, cause I took them with my cell phone)















Then we played a few arcade games, and came home to have dinner, and watch the Flintstones. So while we were disappointed we made the best of it. Where you in the Blizzard? How did you fair?


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I got an Award!!!



Liebster Award




I was given this award by Dianna @Aspiring to be… All he created me to be! Thank you!!!


The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers who have great content but not too many people may have heard of them yet; it is only given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers
Awards come with rules (and here they are):

  1. List 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions given to you.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
  4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
  5. Go to each blogger page and let them know about the award.
  6. Thank the person who nominate you and link back to their blog.


My 11 Facts:

  1. I am an only child
  2. I have never been to the west of the United States
  3. My favorite season is fall
  4. I have lived in 3 different states
  5. I love Debbie Macomber & Nicholas Sparks books
  6. I LOVE to talk
  7. My favorite color is Lime green
  8. Photography is my passion
  9. My husband says I’m to giving
  10. Lilies are my favorite flower
  11. I’m very crafty



My Answers to Dianna’s questions:


  • How long have I been Homeschooling?  3 years, and it has flown by!
  • How supportive is your family about Homeschooling? Some are ok, and encourage me. Other’s think I’m crazy, and that I’m taking away experiences from my children.
  • Are you involved in a Co-op? Yes, I actually help run one. I love it!
  • What is my favorite book? I would have to say Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
  • What is one thing your family enjoys doing together? Camping, or being outside. We love nature in the 3 of the seasons! (Not huge winter fans here)
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Oh, goodness only one place? I would have to say Greece. I love the history and culture. I’d love to be able to experience for myself.
  • What is your hobby? Taking photo’s! I love to take pictures, edit and play with them!
  • Which holiday is your favorite to celebrate? I would have to say Christmas.. but I really enjoy most holidays.
  • Do you use Pinterest? Do I ever! I’m addicted, but have found so many useful, helpful things.. and used quite a few!
  • Who is your favorite Christian musician? I don’t really have one, and haven’t really heard to many.
  • Do you attend blog conferences (if so which ones)? No, I have not yet had the pleasure. I really which I could get to one soon though.



My 11 Questions:

  1. What is your favorite subject to teach?
  2. How long have your been Homeschooling?
  3. What is your favorite curriculum?
  4. Where would you love to go on vacation and would you take your kids?
  5. What do you do with your spare time (I know what is that)?
  6. Do you have friends that homeschool?
  7. How many children do you have?
  8. What is the one thing you don’t like about homeschooling?
  9. What is the best thing you like about homeschooling?
  10. How many states have you visited?
  11. Do you do any other outside clubs/activities/sports with your children?


My 11 Nominees:


Be sure to check some of these blogs out!



TOS Review: Apologia Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology

Science is always a fun time in our house. Do you like science? My monkey’s love science. Coming up with a good curriculum can be tricky though, finding that good balance between reading, experiments, hands on activities and note taking.

Well I think we have solved your problem? Apologia has a wonderful science curriculum. The books are full of great information, and very descriptive. They go into depth without boring you, and are easy to understand. They make great analogies with Lego’s, that Monkey Man loves!

Recently we got the chance to try out Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology book. I was so excited to try this with the monkeys. I love that they have elementary versions of these subjects, that when I was in school would have never been touched! It is so inspiring! When I tell people that the monkeys are working on Anatomy, they stare at me with their mouths open in disbelief.  The most common response is “Are they in High School?”

What you find in the Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology Book. There are 14 Lessons:

  • Introduction
  • Skeletal
  • Muscular
  • Digestive
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Respiratory
  • Life in the Blood
  • Cardiovascular
  • Nervous & Endocrine System
  • Nervous System
  • Senses
  • Integumentary System
  • Lymphatic & Immune System
  • Growth & Development
My kids have done so well with this curriculum so far. We love our lessons! After receiving our book, we dove right in! I no more than took it out of the box, and the kids were looking through the book… and begging to do a lesson! Along with the book we received, the Notebooking Journal. They have two different journals you can choose from, the Junior Notebooking Journal, and the regular Notebooking Journal. Each one is designed for a certain age group. The Junior Notebooking Journal is more for children who struggle with writing or students with disabilities. While the other one is for 4th and up. Monkey Man is not a strong writer, but really needs to work on it, so I decided to go with the regular Notebooking Journal.
In the Journal if gives you a daily schedule to help with planning. The plans are based on you teaching it two-days per week. Which is the way we choose to go. The journal so far has been a great fit for us. Since Little Monkey is also doing this science book with us, I have just not expected as much writing with her journal work, but she sure tries to keep up! I really think the journal can be adaptable to work with any child.

In the Journal you will find things like:
  • Templates
  • Personal Person Templates
  • Project Pages
  • Field Trip Pages
  • Full color lapbook style Mini-books
  • Scripture Copy Work (in print & cursive)
  • Review Questions
  • and Final Review

Another product we received was an MP3 Audio Book. I started using this with my Middle Monkey before she went back to public school. With her SPD this helped a lot. She is not one for sitting and listening to me read. With this we were able to download the files on to our IPod and let her listen while playing. Since she no longer requires it, we use it in the car, as a review after we have read a few chapters. The monkeys love this! The MP3 Audio Book would also be great for any children that are slow or struggling readers, or Auditory learners.

I think Apologia has amazing science books. Monkey Man and I have already started making a list of more books we want to purchase. The list is getting pretty long, and we are getting excited!

Our Opinion:
My kids really enjoy doing the Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology. I never have to fight them to do their lessons, we always come to the table with excitement. As a teacher and parent, I am very happy with it. I think that it does a great job teaching them things, that I didn’t think were possible for them to understand yet. They do a great job combing learning with fun! I would absolutely recommend this to any homeschool family!

About the Product:
Vendor: Apologia Educational Ministries
Age Range: 4-6th grade
Exploring Creation with Anatomy and Physiology- $39.00
Anatomy Notebooking Journal- $24.00
Anatomy Junior Notebooking Journal- $24.00
Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD- $29.00

Check out what the rest of the TOS Crew had to say about this product and vendor!!

*Disclaimer: I was given this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review as part of the TOS Crew. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Homeschooling Mother’s Journal:






  • In my life this week…

We worked on getting some thing caught up..

Got into a new schedule..

Cleaned out a few closets…

Enjoyed each others company..



  • In our homeschool this week…

We did really good…

Stayed on task, and got all our work done..

Little Monkey is loving the English from Here

Monkey man is doing great with his work..

His Creative writing is coming along nicely..

Anatomy is going well, and we are finishing up Botany..

Went to Co-op..

4H was canceled this week, due to the snow storm we had..

Over all a great week!

  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Don’t get discouraged when you can’t find the right

Curriculum.. It takes time to find what is going to work for you.
This is our 3rd year, and I’m still finding out!

  • I am inspired by…

Encouraging words from people around the web..
I love to hear that I’m not the only one that struggles
occasionally. Cause some days it certainly feels that way.



  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week…

We are going to go to Dance, and Cub Scouts…

I need to sneak in a trip to Portland…

trip to the library..


and piano…



  • My favorite thing this week was…

Seeing my kids so eager to learn about Anatomy!

And to see that Middle Monkey is doing pretty

good at school.


  • What’s working/not working for us…

getting up and moving first thing in the morning..
I have to get up to get Middle Monkey off to school..
so, I get the other two up, and we start our day..

That way school is out of the way by noon…
and we can enjoy the rest of our day.


  • Questions/thoughts I have…

What do you use for Math?
I need to find a new math program for Monkey Man..



  • Things I’m working on…

We are trying to get rooms painted..
Little Monkey’s room is almost finished being
mudded, and then it will be time to paint!



  • I’m reading….

    Nothing at the moment.. Waiting for the next book
    in my series to come back to the library.

  • I’m cooking…

    Not sure.. Need to work on my Menu for this week.. (Sigh)

  • I’m grateful for…

All my great friends that stand by me when I need it!

  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
    Can you believe this face is going to be 8, in a week?
    Where has the time gone??!

    Little Monkey2

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Trying to enjoy the beauty…


I’ll be honest, winter is not my favorite season. I am really a spring/fall kind of girl. Winter is just to darn cold, and the wind just cuts across your face! Brr! I’m freezing just talking about it.


Well, in an attempt to get outside and enjoy some of the fresh air.. The kids and I went out and took a small walk around. It had just snowed the night before, so Monkey Man and I really wanted to get some good winter photo’s. (we love photography) Armed with our camera’s we headed out. Unfortunately the wind, had blown a great deal of snow off the tree’s.. but we made due.


If you try to think of things you enjoy, you might just find a way to trick yourself into going outside in the cold!


Here are some photo’s I took…













Here are some that Monkey Man took…
















I hope that you enjoy them!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

20 Mule Team Borax Review




I have to let you in on a little secret… Shhh… Borax is one of the most versatile cleaning agents ever!!!

What is Borax? Well that is a great question. It is 100% natural mineral from the earth. Once it has been removed from the ground, they wash, dry and box it up for consumers! It is naturally produced by evaporation of seasonal lakes. Isn’t that cool?!


So, I’m sure your all thinking great, but what can I do with Borax? Well the possibilities are endless! Here are some things that it is used for most commonly..


What do I use Borax for? In our house we go through a few boxes of borax a month. We use it to make our own homemade laundry detergent (I’ll leave the recipe at the bottom), to help remove stains,  and to clean. About 2 years ago I discovered how useful this stuff could be!

You can make Liquid Magic Cleaner with it..

  • 2 Tbs Borax
  • 12 oz of Hot water
  • 12 oz of White Vinegar
  • A few drops of your favorite scented oil (if you want a smell)
  • and a Spray Bottle

Once all ingredients are dissolved you can shake it up and start cleaning!







My favorite use for it is Laundry Detergent… Here is the recipe I use which I found HERE:

  • 1- 4lb 12oz Box of Borax
  • 1- 4lb box Baking Soda
  • 1- Box Super Washing Soda (you can find this in the detergent isle)
  • 3- Bars of Fels-Naptha Soap Shredded ( also can be found in the detergent isle)
  • 2 small containers of Oxy Clean (optional)
  • Purex Crystals (also optional, but helps soften and give your clothes a nice smell)

This is not going to smell like your average detergent and you won’t see lots of suds when you turn on your machine, but it works great! Even works great in cold water. Plus it is so much cheaper!

You combine all this ingredients together in a big bucket, and your ready to go..  When you put in your laundry, just add 1-2Tbs of the mixture depending on how dirty your clothes are.


You can also use Borax to make your own dishwasher tabs..  Like I said the uses are endless!


If can find 20 Mule Team Borax on Facebook and Pinterest.




*Disclaimer: Borax was provided a free sample of their product, so I could review them. My participation is voluntary and my opinions, as always, are my own.





Sunday, February 3, 2013

Are you getting cabin fever??

A friend of mine started a new blog hop.. (the link is above) and I thought this post was perfect for it.  I can't wait to keep participating in it! 

I don’t know about you, but we sure have been getting cabin fever lately. I find that winter is just tough.. Unless, you’re a mega outdoor kind of family, you tend to just get lazy, and kinda hold up in the house. Of course this past week, didn’t help any since the temps were extremely COLD! We had wind chills of –30 some nights. That is just crazy! The days didn’t get above a few degree’s, making it hard to get out and get that much needed fresh air.

I’m not a lazy person by any means. I just am not one to sit around and twiddle my thumbs. I can’t even just sit and watch a movie, I have to be multi-tasking. It drives my husband (maybe even my whole family) nuts! So, when we were on our 3rd day of sitting on the couch watching yet another movie… I was on the search for something to do, and get us out of the house!

We did have to endure a bit of cold wind, but it was worth it. We bundled up and headed to a friends house, and went sledding. They have this really nice trail that is about a 1/2 mile long. The kids flew down this hill, and they had so much fun! The laughter started to take over our afternoon, which is something I’m always up for! Check out the fun we had…

The view!




I think she was finally tired!

The next day, I happened to find 3 more pairs of ice skates at a local thrift shop. So all the kids, and myself had skates. (Hubby and I have the same size foot, so we just shared skates until we buy another pair) This meant the kids were super excited to head off to go ice skating for the first time! I was super excited myself to take them. I loved ice skating as a kid, and couldn’t wait to share this experience with them. The wind was crazy, and it was really, really cold, but we held out for an hour. The kids loved it! Falls, and all they were so excited!

I still remember how to skate!

She caught on really quick!

He mastered falling, but still loved it!

Daddy even gave it a spin!


That is what we did to get out some of our cabin fever. We plan to visit the ice rink at least once a week, to get out of the house, and get some exercise.
Next we would like to try snow shoeing.. but we need to get a bit more snow, and a little less ice to get this accomplished.

What have you been up to this winter?