Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:



HMJ Logo Large Summer




July 27, 2013



  • In my life this week…

it has been challenging
we had to prepare for a funeral

Say goodbye to a special man . .
My stepfather and my kids grandfather

They did so well, Monkey Man was a Pall Bearer
then the three of them put a rose on the casket.

Our spirits have been kind of low this week. . .
so we are trying to find things to bring us back up.



  • In our homeschool this week…

Can you believe that we are on our 6th week of school
already? Wow!!!

We didn’t stay on task this week, due to all that was going on
but the kids are almost done with the week, probably a few things
to make up over the weekend and we are good.

We are working hard on our regular, Math, English, Science,
Poetry, and Handwriting. Then Monkey man has been really enjoying the
new History that you will see a review for shortly!

On vacation for 2 weeks after today!


  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Schedule really is key…
If we get off our schedule, everything goes downhill.


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

Next week, the girls and I are going to be doing a 3 day
Day Camp that me and a Co-leader are putting on for them.

We have library, book club, piano,
a couple appts, maybe a movie, and playground time.

Hoping to either get a game night in, or a play date.



  • My favorite thing this week was…

Seeing all my family



  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Having a movie night, and tenting out in the living room!



  • Things I’m working on…

Plans for our next 6 weeks of school…

And purging some of our stuff… I’m organizing and cleaning.
It is getting scary in here!



  • I’m cooking…

Tonight we are having spaghetti
salad, and garlic bread


  • I’m grateful for…

My amazing friends that listened when I needed to just vent,
and my kids.


  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

I haven’t had a chance to reward them yet this week..
So we are going to have to make it up next week.

Maybe a movie. . . They want to see Turbo, and Despicable Me 2


  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Nothing right now…



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

    Playing with the camera again!


Friday, July 26, 2013

TOS Crew: Circle Time Review



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I’m always looking for ways to improve our homeschool schedule. Or ways to make things run more smoothly. I had the opportunity over the last few weeks to review Circle Time by Preschoolers and Peace.


What is Circle Time:


Is meant for kids of all ages. You bring everyone together for a group teaching time, where you can pray, work, laugh, and just enjoy each other.

This book helps you break down what you are going to do, and how to utilize your time.

Here are a few things you will find in the book . . .

  • Planning Circle Time
  • Strategies for Peaceful Time Together
  • How to Get Your Kids on Board
  • Questions from Other Moms Like You
  • Words of Wisdom
  • Resources
  • Activities
  • Printable Planner Sheet




How we used it:

To implement this we had our “Circle Time” in the morning. We started with calendar time, what chores were expected of them for the day, and if we had any plans for the day. Due to the span of ages of my two monkey’s, we only do science together. We would work on that, and then they would work on  their memorization. Little Monkey is working on Subtraction Facts, and Monkey Man is working on Multiplication (while he is past this, he still struggles to remember them).

Some days we would spice it up with a poem read by one of them, or they picked a song to sing.

I really liked that we came together for about an hour to an hour and a half in the morning before starting our day. Gives us a nice start to the day.


About the Author:


Circle Time is written by Kendra the mom of 8 kids. She started the website Preschoolers and Peace after giving a workshop on how to homeschool older kids with younger kids underfoot. Currently she still writes and speaks to women whenever it is possible.



My Thoughts:


I found this e-book to be good. I do wish their was a bit more information on how to get a schedule started, or more how to. I felt a bit lost trying to get it all together and making it work for us. However, maybe I was just overwhelmed.

I think this 33 page e-book would be really good for a first time homeschooler. This would be a great place for them to start.

I only have two children that I homeschool currently, and they are pretty close in age. Therefore, I do not have the underfoot problem of younger children.

I did give this a try just the same. I needed a good way to get our homeschool day going, so I used this to help with the start of our day. This is our peaceful time, and we sit and start with our day.  

On the website she has a nice list of resources too.



While this may not have been perfect for us, I do believe this would work great for a bigger family. I think it is a great product overall.



You can purchase Circle Time e-book for $4.99 here.



See what some of the other TOS Crew members are saying about it.








Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wedding Bliss. . .



Over the last few days, I have been super crazy with helping my best friend with last minute wedding details. We have been friends 15 years. We have been there for births of our children, during sad times, moving, and so much more.


I was more than happy to help with her wedding. The wedding was a small one, right at their home. They are country people, so of course the theme of the wedding reflected that. It was an outdoor wedding, and the guys vest had real tree cameo on them.

Well you should know that if anything is going to go wrong it was going to. Friday went smoothly, we cut up the food, made the salads, got all the decorations together, and had the rehearsal. Then a huge thunderstorm came in. Which meant the wind was blowing and there was lots of rain.

Saturday morning came, and I got a wake up call at 7am. (The day of the wedding) The power had been out since 9:30pm the night before, and it wasn’t looking like it would be back on until 2pm. The wedding was at 2pm! Plus the garage had been soaked in the rain storm. Water all over the floor, and tables. (were the reception was going to be) Not to mention it was still kind of misting and rainy. Out the door I went, hoping I had everything I needed in toe.

It was just Monkey Man and me, and we went right to work. He pushed all the water to the drains, or out the door. While I went to work to finish the rest of the food. Thank goodness for a generator! Got the garage all cleaned up and dried up, and we went to work decorating it.


Maid of Honor’s Flowers


Brides Flowers


In the end, stress and all it was a beautiful wedding. The sun came out just in time, and the bride was absolutely gorgeous! I am so blessed to have been part of it. I was also the photographer, and I was super nervous about that. I hope I did a great job..

She doesn’t want all her pictures online, but I’m going to share a few of the ones I can.. Enjoy!



The rings.. (idea from pinterest)


Putting on Ring


Camo Background
My husband and I


A family picture from the day…



Monday, July 22, 2013

TOS Review: Picaboo Yearbooks



I love to take pictures! As if you couldn't have guessed that already, right?! At our 4H group, and Homeschool Co-op they call me the picture lady. I love to document our lives with pictures.


When I got the chance to get a 20 Page Softcover Yearbook by Picaboo Yearbook came up for review with the Schoolhouse Review, I jumped right on it. I was so excited!


Picaboo Yearbooks was founded in 2006. I love how they came about the name of the company! Picaboo is a play on the phrase “peek-a-boo” that is used to get those lovely smiles to people’s faces.


Right away I was going through the website, to see what they had to offer. After I set up an account which was pretty straight forward, I selected which book I wanted. Then filled in my shipping information.


At first I did find it a bit hard to navigate, so I watched the help video (This really is a must!!!)  and read a few of the frequently asked questions. Then I felt I had it pretty much under control. I named the sections I wanted, and added how many pages I wanted for each section. I went with Homeschool Co-op, Field Trips, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, Plays, Sports, and Dance. This pretty much covered everything we do in a year.


Once you have done that you can start on each section. I went through and picked what I wanted for my front page cover. I decided that I wanted to go with a full cover photo. I really like the way it came out! Then I put the name of our school, and a little saying on it. After finishing a section I would move on to the next. Picking a background color, theme, and layout for each page. Then I would go pick out which photo's I wanted to use and upload them. After picking my pictures, I would place them where I wanted them, and put in a caption. There is many different fonts to choose from, and sizes. You can even choose to change the color.


It was fairly easy to do all of that. Once I was finished with the book, I went back through to check it out again, see if there was any spelling errors, or if I just didn't like the pictures. Then I proceeded to the check out. This is where I had to go back and reread the help section. I didn't realize you had to confirm your pages in order to place your order. Once I had that part down, then I breezed right through it. They say about a 3 week turnaround to get your book, but I was surprised to see mine arrived in about 2 weeks.


Overall the program was very easy to use, and I think that the options are great!


I am very happy with my Softcover 8 1/2” x 11” book! Here are a few peeks at it . . .


Front Cover


Back cover










Our Thoughts:


I can't wait to make this a new yearly tradition so the kids have a record of their years even though they are not in public school. I think this is a great idea! I couldn't wait to show it off to my homeschool friends. They thought it was so cool as well, and we are even thinking of making one strictly for Co-op next year.


I was also so impressed with the quality and look that I am going to make a wedding book for my best friend that just got married this past week! I just absolutely love these!



For the Softcover Yearbook 8 1/2” x 11” the prices start at $8.49 plus shipping. Depends on how many pages you want.

For those of you on a really tight budget they do offer a e-yearbook for free.



Contact Info:


You can find Picaboo on Facebook and Twitter.

Or email them at

And of course at their website where there is live support.



Picaboo Yearbooks are a great addition to add to your homeschool!


See what the rest of the TOS Crew is saying about their experience!






Sunday, July 21, 2013

TOS Crew Review: Homeschool Programming



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As a homeschooling mom, I often worry I’m not focusing on enough areas that my children need to learn. Like the arts, computers, music, and things that I certainly do not have great knowledge in, or can teach well.


Since computers is one of them, I love to find things that can help. Recently we got the chance to review KidCoder Visual Basic Series, from Homeschool Programming.


I choose KidCoder Visual Basic for Monkey Man (11 yrs old)  to try, since he really has limited previous knowledge of this type of thing. This is designed for kids in 6th-8th grade, which was also a perfect match. With the download for this program, we got the Student book, and they offer instructional videos to go along with them.


Frist we had to make sure our computer could handle the program. The minimum requirements are 1.6GHz processor, 1024MB RAM, 1024x768 compatible video card, 3GB available space on the hard drive, and a DVD-ROM drive. With a operating system of Windows XP or higher.  We had all of that at least. My husband being a computer geek, and gamer, there was no doubt!


After making sure everything was all set and the program was downloaded, I proceeded to print off the student book for him. So it was easier to read, and he could make notes. The program was very easy to download, and open. Hubby did the downloading part, and then we let Monkey Man proceed from there.

A great aspect to this program is he can read and do the lessons all on his own. I don’t have to be here for him to get them done. So I was able to walk away and help Little Monkey on some of her lessons.

There are some things that your child should already know before starting this. Such as knowing the basic parts of a computer, how to use a mouse and keyboard, and how to navigate and use simple programs.


The program chapters include the following. . .

  • Introduction to Computers
  • Get Your Feet Wet
  • Exploring Visual Basic Programs
  • Data Types and Variables
  • Basic Flow Control
  • Getting User Input
  • Working the Numbers
  • Working with Strings
  • Using the Debugger
  • Loops in Programs
  • Functions
  • Arrays and Structures
  • Distributing Your Programs
  • Putting it All Together


How the program works. . .

Your child is able to just sit down at the computer and start their lessons. They start with watching a video or read a text lesson. After they finish with that, they then do the assignments. Total there are 14 lessons, that then are divided into 48 chapters. Each Chapter ends with a review, and a “your turn” section. In the “your turn” section your child preforms a task that they learned in the lesson.

Here you can see a sample page, and a demo video.

Our thoughts. . .

Monkey Man has done 12 of the 14 lessons. Due to a few family emergencies we couldn’t finish the last two. However, he really loved the program. He found it to be very informational and enjoyed it.

I really liked the way it was laid out. It was easy for him to understand, and I could leave him to work on it while I was doing other things. I also liked that if he had a problem, I could usually look over the work, and figure out what he didn’t do, or needed help with.


Since we didn’t get through all of the KidCoder: Windows Programming, we have yet to start KidCoder: Game Programming. So the best I can do is give you an overview of what it involves. (Though Monkey Man is very anxious to start it)


The KidCoder: Game Programming, is a 238 pg book. It also has 14 chapters that are then divided into 45 lessons.  You do need to have finished KidCoder: Windows Programming before doing this.

This program teaches your child how to write your own computer games.

What you will learn with this program. . .

  • Game Design
  • User Input
  • Screen Coordinates
  • Graphics and Drawing
  • Images and Animation
  • Sprites
  • Sound
  • Game Physics
  • and more!


Monkey Man is very excited to get to this! I love seeing him excited about what he can learn.


Price. . .

KidCoder Visual Basic Series – $120 (Courses Only)

KidCoder Visual Basic Series – $145 (Courses & Videos)

KidCoder Visual Basic Series – $30 (Videos Only)

You can find all the prices here. There are also options for buying semesters separately.


More reviews can be found on The Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.









Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

July 20, 2013

In my life this week...

We were super busy! 
Today was the wedding of my best friend . . . we helped get things prepped, and ready, and I was the photographer! 

In our homeschool this week...

We did our normal studies, of Math, Science, English, Poetry, and Grammar! 

This week we watched a few documentaries to go along with our History. 

Piano lessons, and 4H! 

One more week and we are on our first 2 week break for the new year! 

 Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Have you checked out the Old Schoolhouse Teachers Planners? I have been using it for two years! I love them! I print them out to keep track of both monkeys, and keep me sane! Having the right planner really does make a huge difference. 

Do you use a planner? If so, which one? 

Places we are going or people we are seeing..... 

This next week is going to be nuts, 
We have our normal Book Club, Summer Library,  
Boy Scout Hike, Appts, 4H, and a family reunion. 

My favorite thing thing this week...

Being part of my best friends wedding, and her asking me to be her photographer ( I just hope that I did a good enough job, I was super nervous). 

My kids favorite thing this week...

The Wedding! 

Things I'm working on...

I think we are taking this next week off, as we have a busy week coming up the week after next. Phew, does summer ever slow down? 

I'm cooking...

No cooking tonight, we ate at the wedding! 

I'm grateful for....

being part of a very special day! 

I rewarded my kids with...

a movie night with popcorn and goodies! 

A photo to share...

I don't have one this week...cause they are all on my computer. Hopefully next week, keep your fingers crossed for me!  ::Sigh:: 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mid-Summer Update:


Can you believe that summer is almost over? I mean we are only a few days away from August. Where did it go?


While we have had some pretty funky weather of lots of rain, then extreme heat, and now some relatively decent temperatures.

So, while we have struggled to keep our lawn mowed. (It became a jungle a few times) Was extremely late in getting our garden in, though its coming along nicely. We have had time to go on a trip, enjoy some swimming with friends, have some BBQ’s and play with friends.
















One thing we do every summer is go to the local library for their summer program. It breaks up our week, and gives the kids a chance to see some local friends. This week we went to see a program put on by Chewonki. Which does some really cool programs. They did one on owls last year, and this year they did one on tales and scales. So you guessed it, they brought with them a lizard, turtle, snake, and alligator. The kids loved this! Plus we could count it as a science class for the day!










If you have followed my facebook page at all, I’m sure you saw that we also got some bad news this week. My stepfather lost his long time battle with Alzheimer's. He has been progressively getting worse over the last year. The kids have done very well, with helping us with his care. As he was in our house (we live with my mom, so we could help care for him) for the last two weeks of his life. I was touched by the compassion my kids had. Little Monkey used to go in every morning and talk to him, even though he couldn’t talk back. She especially loved feeding him breakfast. They have had a rough time with his passing, but they all know he is in a better place.


Then this Saturday we are celebrating the wedding of my best friend. The kids are really looking forward to this. We are excited to have something to lift our spirits.


What have you been up to this summer?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Molly Crew Review: Christi, the Coupon Coach




Do you coupon? Have you ever watched Extreme Couponers on TLC? Did it make you not even want to try it?  I had always wanted to see it, but hadn't gotten the chance to watch it until recently. I was blown away! It was so intimidating and crazy. I recently got the chance to review Couponing Made Simple a 132 pg book, by Christi the Coupon Coach. Which is available for $18 for the book, or $4.99 for the kindle version.


I have always thought of myself as a couponer. I'm no where near an extreme, but I do use them. I on average will save around 25% on my grocery bill each time I go.

However, I want to be better. Not extreme but better. Being a one income family as many homeschooling families are, it would really help us out. I want to be able to bring up my savings to around 60-70%. I really hoping to learn a few more tricks to get me to the next level.

Upon receiving the book, I busted it right open. Within the next two hours I had read the whole book. I really loved how it was really laid out nicely for you to understand. Giving you examples, so you can see where you are saving the money! In the past I had read other books, but they just don’t show you the “HOW” of learning. They show more of the doing.


The book is designed to help the average person by showing you step by step how to use coupons in your everyday life.



I love that she is down to earth about the expectations. We all can’t be “extreme”. I mean I don’t have 40hrs a week to set aside for the work needed to be done to be an extreme couponer. As I’m sure neither do any of my readers. Honestly, I can’t even image that. The show really gave me an eye opening look at it. WOW!


Christi the Coupon Coach, tells you to look for things that you are going to use. Things that you might want 5 extra of, but don’t need to dedicate your garage to. After reading the book, I did go out and buy a few extra papers that week, but we can’t get them as cheap here. She suggests one more than there are people in your house. For us that is 7 papers. Therefore, I’m going to look into another suggestion she made using the clipping services, where you can purchase or trade coupons.

Next up was organization. I have already started a file box system, however it doesn’t always work the easiest for me. I need to tweak it a bit more for me, and then use some of her ideas about getting more specific so I’m not searching in the store. (that becomes a hassle, and frazzles you)

I already implement a lot of the sites online that help you to find a deal, or tell you about a deal, and match up deals for you. I do keep in mind that they are not always the same in every area, so I go to the store knowing my total my vary. After going back to look and see which ones she uses, I was kind of disappointed that she didn’t list any that she recommended.

Now it was time to shop….

Unfortunately, at this time, I can not sure with you any great scores. I didn’t get a chance to implement to much of what I learned yet. Due to a death in my family, the last month has been insane, and I really haven’t even been to a store. As soon as I do go to a store, with methods in hand, I will do an update!


As a person that already coupons, I did enjoy reading this book. I love having it to reference when I have a question. It was a great resource. Great book to give to a new mom, a new couponer, or even just to someone you know that likes to try and save money. (who doesn’t right?)


See what the rest of the Crew is saying. . .









Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

July 13 , 2013

In my life this week...

It has been interesting . . . 
We were all recuperating after the holiday week . . . 
It was really busy . . . 
Everyone seemed to have a rough week . . . do you ever find that happens to you after a holiday or long weekend? (Maybe its just us) 

In our homeschool this week...

We got right back into the swing of things, and got to work. We are on our 4th week of school already, which means that we will be on our 2 week break the first of August. Wow, where does the time go? Seems to fly by! 

Monkey Man is doing great with his book club. They finished the first book, Liar and Spy which I am intrigued to read myself. It sounded cute! Now they are starting their second book. I think that Monkey Man is really enjoying this time to get with kids his age and discuss the book. Which I'm really happy about. 

The kids are still taking Piano lessons through the summer. Plus we still have a month or so of 4H left before we break for a month or so. Getting our stuff ready to enter in the local fairs. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work . . . Ha-ha! 

Otherwise we are still putting away at our normal studies, Math, Science, English, and Grammar. 

 Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

Remember you don't have to go super school in the summer. We choose to stay on task all summer, but you could just do light school. Where they just work on their English, Math, and Reading for the summer. Don't try to be a super mom! 

Places we are going or people we are seeing..... 

Oh lets see . . . 
We have book club, library, 
movies, a Co-op planning meeting,
and prepping for a special friends wedding on Saturday! 

My favorite thing thing this week...

Game night at our house this week! 
My mom taught us a new game Hand & Foot . . . 
Oh my! Was that just crazy, but we had a blast! 

My kids favorite thing this week...

Chasing Frogs!!!

Things I'm working on...

More blog posts, planning for Girl Scout events, wedding planning . . . 

I'm cooking...

Kielbasa, grilled potatoes, and corn on the cob, yum! 

I'm grateful for....

Friends far away! We may not be close by, but it is nice to know that we are always there for each other no matter what!  

I rewarded my kids with...

A  trip to the lake! 

A photo to share...


Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

July 6, 2013

In my life this week...

Life has been difficult . . . 
My computer has been down . . . 
We have been crazy busy with the holiday . . . 
We were busy appointments . . . 
Spent time with friends . . . 

In our homeschool this week...

We did our normal studies, of Math, Science, English, Poetry, and Grammar! 
Then we took the Holiday off and Friday . . . 

In our mailbox arrived our new History review. We are super excited to start this and try it out. Look for the review with that soon! 

 Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share...

If something isn't working find something to spice it up a bit. We often add in a documentary of something to do with History. 

Or for Science we will add in a Science experiment or a nature walk if we are getting bored with our book studies. 

Places we are going or people we are seeing..... 

This week we are going to appts, 
maybe seeing a free movie, 
library, book club, piano, 
maybe a trip to the lake, 
and 4H . . . YOU? 

My favorite thing thing this week...

Was spending the day at the lake with family and friends on the 4th! The lake was so nice, and we had a blast playing in the water. 

My kids favorite thing this week...

Playing in the lake! 

Things I'm working on...

trying to catch up on my blog, organizing my homeschool stuff, and making plans for our Girl Scout Day Camp

I'm cooking...

Not cooking tonight, we had Chinese Food 

I'm grateful for....

The time I got to spend with friends this holiday! 

I rewarded my kids with...

ice cream! 

A photo to share...

I don't have one this week...cause they are all on my computer.  ::Sigh::