All About Reading Level 1 comes out today

And I’m super excited because I’ve been waiting for it for a while.  Now to ensure there’s money in the budget for it……..  But, All About Reading Level 1 is on sale right now!

Why am I so excited about All About Reading Level 1?


1.  We love All About Spelling, and this looks to be in the same genre.


2.  I’ve been using the sample of the program with Princess for the past few weeks and I haven’t had any fights recently about reading.


3.  Did I mention I love All About Spelling?


4.  I’ve looked at the samples of the book online and the length of the stories are a good length, as opposed to some of the other early readers I’ve gotten.



5.  Another use for my spelling board………  Which by the way is working marvelously!


Now the only thing I’m debating about, and I’d love your thoughts, should I order the entire kit or just the teacher’s manual and workbooks?


Here’s my dilemma, I’m trying to be a good steward, and I have a lot of readers already.  So, I probably don’t need them, but I want them.


I need opinions fast because IT’S ON SALE RIGHT NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 6!

Bible Alive: Baby Moses


Earlier this year I studied Moses with my 2nd/3rd graders (there’s a ridiculously detailed post explaining the original project), and since we’ve started on our grand “Study the Bible in 2 Years” plan we’re going to be covering it again soon, so I’m trying out the lessons on my kids to start out.



Well, the other day Batman was happily running a dungeon with Jeff on a computer game, so to make Superman and Princess happier I let them make our craft.  I got out some of the wooden babies from Casey’s Wood Products and an egg carton and let them have at it decorating their craft.



Of course we tested if our baskets floated in water, which they did quite successfully.  This then led to the kids NEEDING to take a bath right then with their peg dolls.


That ended our Bible lesson until the next morning.


At which point we acted out the entire story using our peg dolls.  Princess quite happily shared the mommy and little girl she colored, I contributed some of the ones I colored, and Superman contributed the basket.



Once there was a family who had a baby boy.  It was against the law to have a baby boy, and the soldiers were going to come and kill the baby.  So his mommy and daddy hid him for 3 months.  It’s very hard to hide a baby that long because babies cry and are noisy.




Finally, they could hide the baby no longer, so they made a basket and covered it in tar (you could bring in this science experiment), and Miriam watched over him in the reeds.





While the basket was floating in the reeds, Pharaoh’s daughter came down and found him there.  “A baby!,” she said, “I’ll name him Moses because I drew him out of the water.”





Miriam came up to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Would you like me to find someone who can take care of him for you?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Pharaoh’s daughter, “and I will play her to do it.”




Miriam brought her mother and Pharaoh’s daughter said, “I will pay you to take care of him, and when he is grown bring him back to me.”




One of the things I noticed when I was preparing for this lesson that I had never noticed before, Miriam was sitting right there watching over Moses.  Admittedly, she was hiding, but it’s not like the scene in “Prince of Egypt” where he’s just randomly floating down the Nile river.  He was being watched.


Have you ever suddenly noticed something in a story you’ve read many times?

Christmas traditions: buying presents for your sibling



For the past several years we’ve had a Christmas tradition of taking one kid out at a time to do their Christmas shopping.  We make a fun outing of it, letting them choose a place to eat, and getting things they usually don’t (desert).



This year we’ve done our shopping early, because Jeff took Batman to work and he got his shopping done the other two desperately had to do that as well.  But Jeff got sick, so he couldn’t do that, instead I took Superman and Princess out on the same day, but different times.



It’s fun because you get to see their different personalities as they choose for different people.  They all have a plan and are quite sure they know what they want to do.  I don’t always understand their plans, but it is interesting to see for me.





We do the same thing for birthdays, and I love to see how much they love each other.  These past few weeks I have been so thankful to see how well they play together.  It’s really helped that it’s cooled down and they can go spend hours outside.  I do mean hours.  My neighbors must think I’m crazy, my kids are always in the front yard playing.  What is it about front yards?

Science Sunday:

Science Sunday

Way back when we were studying Thomas Edison I got Snap Circuits Jr. to do with the whole group, but one of the other moms convinced me not to because of the large numbers of kids involved at the time.  So, I’ve been saving it for the perfect “Mom, I’m bored….” activity.  Aside from my standard response of “Go clean _________”, that answer they don’t like so much.



Well, earlier this week Jeff took Batman to work with him, leaving me with Superman and Princess.  I was at a bit of a loss what to do with 2 of the 3 kids, I knew if I did any art projects Batman would be sad he missed it, and I didn’t want to do any lesson from our curriculum because then Batman would be missing out on the work……  You get the idea.



I got the kit out and we got to work trying out different experiments with it.  I have to say I highly recommend this as a way to introduce early engineering and electricity, you can’t really hurt yourself or seriously cause any problems because of the design.


The projects are straight forward (or at least the first few), Superman and Princess were able to do them with some help, and after completing the first project once were able to repeat it without much help from me.


I foresee this being something we fiddle around with from time to time as we delve into it more.  This will also be great for answering their many questions about electricity and such stuff…….


Cool posts linked up last week:

Cloud in a bottle from All Things Beautiful.

Solids and Liquids using melted crayons from Learning in Mayapur.

Pine Cone Hygometer from Tiger Chronicles.


How about you guys?  This is probably the most open-ended science kit I’ve ever seen.  It has about 100 projects you can do in this one kit, and there is a lot of opportunity for hands on learning.  Have you found any kits like this one?  There’s several others in the series that I can see eventually buying, in particular the one for making cars.

Advent Project part 1

So, I showed you my plans and pictures of bits and bobs that I had completed, but I’m going to show you step by step and pictures of what it looks like completed, because I figure there’s got to be quite a few of you who are visual learners.  Also, my plans are still revising as I go along.

Supplies needed for days 1-12: cardstock, 6×9 manila envelopes, small boxes to hold peg people, plastic animals, green felt, pipe cleaners, green fabric, popsicle sticks, blue paper, peg people (3 men, 4 women, 2 babies, 1 boy, and 1 giant [I get my peg people from Casey’s Wood Products]), acrylic paint (for peg people, could use markers)
Day 1: Creation- 2 peg dolls for Adam and Eve, and various small plastic animal toys from around the house, and a fat quarter of green fabric (could also be a sheet of felt).  Additional activities: watch What’s In the Bible DVD 1, part 1.  Potentially also play with the Creation bean bags.

Day 2- Fall of Man- felt leaves with pipe cleaners for the fig leaves, a small “fruit” made from beads and pipe cleaners, they’re going to make a snake from play dough for acting the story out.  I hot glued the beads on to make it “more” child friendly, but it’s still not the best for little guys unsupervised.  Also watch “What’s in the Bible DVD 1, part 2.”

Day3- Noah- play Memory or Go Fish with the cards found for this game (I printed two copies of the each page) and act out the story using animals from Day 1, and the 2 new peg dolls.  Watch “Veggietales: Noah’s Umbrella.”

Abraham game
Day 4- Abraham- Abraham’s Journey game and act out the story using the peg dolls.  Watch “Veggietales: Abe and the Amazing Promise.”
Day 5-Isaac- ram craft from Little Blots.  I currently don’t have any random extra stories or videos aside from one I wrote.

Day 6-Jacob, Jacob’s ladder craft, read the story of Jacob and Esau.
Day 7- Judah,  act out the story with popsicle sticks.  I’m planning on emphasizing Judah’s growth from planning to sell Joseph to making himself responsible for Benjamin’s safety.  Also watch “Veggietales: The Ballad of Little Joe”  or listen to the Adventures in Odyssey.

Day 8- Moses, since I want this also to be the story of God’s Redemptive history, I’m including people not specifically in Jesus’ lineage.  We’ll act out the story of God acting to save Moses as a baby.  Afterwards we’ll watch “Veggietales: Moe and the Big Exit.”  Or possibly “Prince of Egypt.”
Day 9- Rahab-make a red bookmark by braiding yarn.  Thanks to Annette for this suggestion!  We’ll watch “Veggietales: Josh and the Big Wall.”

Day 10- Ruth- We’ll build an obstacle course and go through it in pairs, like Ruth stayed with Naomi.  We’ll also watch “Veggietales: Duke and the Great Pie War.”

Day 11- David- Read the story and act it out with the peg dolls.  Then we’ll watch “Veggietales: Dave and the Giant Pickle.”
Day 12- King David- Read the story of David bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem.  Make crowns for ourselves and decorate them.
And here are the printables I’ve created so far for this project, I have a small paper for each day that goes in or on the container, the dolls for acting out Judah’s story, and the angels for Jacob’s ladder.
Advent Printable(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();
And that is all I have done to show in pictures.  I’m hoping to get the rest of it all finished tonight/tomorrow to share on Saturday.  I’ve changed my original plan somewhat.  Tightened up some parts, and added in some others.We PlayKatie's Nesting Spot

Quick tip: Calendar time

Use double sided calendar cards (or just use single-sided ones, but double sided have more interest), and when it actually reaches that day turn it around.
Okay for whatever reason this has really helped my kids with keeping what day it is straight and they really like turning the card around.

I’ve tried adding in the days as we reach it and since we’re not good about doing calendar every day (how was I so good at it when teaching and not now?) it rather confuses them.  This is BRILLIANT!  If I do say so myself.

Rhode Island: Nathaniel Greene

So, one of the famous people from Rhode Island is Nathaniel Greene, Revolutionary war hero and general.  My library had NOTHING on him.  Or nothing that is age appropriate, so I made something up.

I took no pictures of us working on this because I was busy reading, and it would just be pictures of heads looking down.  But, I have a nifty printable, and a short Lego battle totally unrelated to him to share with you:
Nathaniel Greene Rhode Island(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

The Battle of Fort Ticonderoga as enacted by Legos!
The British soldiers thought they were safe in their fort, so they all went to sleep in their beds.  Or bent over like they are bowing because that amused my boys.

The American soldiers attacked and took the fort with no shots fired.

Then came a scene of general carnage and destruction so horrible no pictures could be taken.  Or if you followed the real history they looted the cannons and took them down to Boston through an amazing feat of engineering.

Oh, I forgot to say.  I’m linking this up to All Things Beautiful and their geography/history linkie.

Rhode Island: Carousels

Rhode Island is famous for carousels, and I LOVE carousels, so I was eagerly looking forward to this idea.


I searched my library and found 10 books there about carousels, and thought I’d hit the jackpot.  Then I actually went there and all of them were checked out except for this one.


And luckily it’s a very cute story.  Not great, but cute.  It’s a story of how times change and how friendships change, but stay the same.  I loved the ending, and how the friends worked together.


Afterwards I decided to have the kids make their own carousel horses, and after a quick Google search I found this great site of carousel coloring pages.  I chose the gif one and shrunk them down to the size I wanted and printed them on cardstock.




I set them to happily coloring their menagerie of carousel creatures.  Here’s a few carousel facts:


1.  If all 4 feet are on the ground that means the animal does not go up and down.


2.  The horse with the most color and the most style is the lead horse.


3.  If the carousel has more than just horses on it, it’s called a menagerie.


017When they were done coloring we used q-tips dipped in water and smeared them for a lovely paint effect.


As you can see ours was a menagerie.  Including mythical creatures, which I am very proud to say my kids could properly name all of them.


Yes, I am a geek.


Once I can get them to sit still again.  I swear someone poured ants down their pants and they haven’t been able to sit still for longer than 10 minutes at a time….. So, once they’re sitting still again I will have them cut out the creatures and glue them to popsicle sticks for their very own carousel figure.

Princess is 5!

IMG_0646Kids & Taco Bell June 08 005




Who wouldn’t love this face?


I love her freckles.  I think she gets away with stuff just based on those freckles.  She is so full of life and energy.  She sings all the time.  I have more videos of her singing than you would believe.


I haven’t been doing gratitude posts, though I enjoy reading them, but when I think about what I’m thankful for it always comes down to pictures like those up above.  I’m grateful for a mostly happy and healthy family.  They love to  hang out together and are so loving and helpful to their siblings.

Science Sunday: frogs

Science Sunday
I thought it’d be good to review our study of frogs.

We read this book and also reread the section on frogs and toads in our science book.

Afterwards we talked about the differences between frogs and toads.


Earlier I had gone over to my swimming creatures pinboard and found this idea by Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational (printable included there).  She had linked it up to Science Sunday right after we’d studied frogs and toads, so I didn’t do it then, but saved it as a review activity for a day when the kids wanted a craft and I wasn’t up for a big craft.

So, they happily colored and talked to me about the differences.

Frogs have longer legs for hopping, and have smoother skin (generally speaking).

Toads have shorter legs and have bumpier skin.
We also looked at the difference between frogs and toads for more information.

By the way my boys decided their frogs were poisonous, so they colored them bright colors to warn predators they were poisonous.

It was even more impressive when we found a toad in a neighbor’s front yard and they correctly identified it, and then spent 10 minutes chasing the poor thing around the yard.

It’s so much fun when they show off what they’ve remembered from earlier lessons.

I’m also going to try and start showing off some posts that were linked up in previous weeks.  So, here’s a few that stood out to me:

Changed by the Maker showed off her artificial gravity experiment.

 And Next Gen Homeschooler made plastic using milk as part of her Letter M studies.  I know it is bad grammar to start off a sentence with a conjunction, but I’m lazy.

That’s it for this week, I can’t wait to see what ya’ll have done!