Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

Book Description

"After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.
Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.
Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.
As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find."

Honeysuckle Dreams is the second book in the Blue Ridge series.  The first book, Blue Ridge Sunrise, was Zoe and Cruz's story.  Honeysuckle Dreams is Brady's (Zoe's brother) and Hope's (Zoe's best friend) story.  These types of books can be read as stand alone novels, but to get the whole story about all of the character it is better if you read the entire series.  Ms. Hunter does a wonderful job writing Christian romance stories.  Her stories are very romancy but not inappropriate and have many elements of faith woven in.  Her characters are well developed and believable and her stories carry an inspirational message. If you have read Denise Hunters other books, many elements of this story will seem familiar to you.  This book reminded me of a mixture of several of her other stories such as, The Convenient Groom, Dancing with Fireflies, Barefoot Summer, The Wishing House.  I enjoyed reading Brady and Hope's story and look forward to the third book, On Magnolia Lane which is expected to be released in November.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to the FTC regulations.

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 34

Only one week left in out regular school year!  Then we will take a little time off from school and then we will be working on  reading, math, and some reviews over the summer a few days a week, less then an hour per day, usually during late afternoon when it is the hottest part of the day. We just got a very good Art Appreciation curriculum called The Master and His Apprentice to review and I have Hake/Saxon Grammar and Writing 3 coming this week.  Piano will continue all summer and we have several 4 H activities going on this summer.

Activities this Week:

Monday was my Mother's Day with Chelsea and Liam.  Chelsea is off on Mondays so we skipped school to spend some time with them.  We introduced Liam to the sandbox, he was pretty impressed.

The girls had gymnastics Monday afternoon.  Only one week left until we break for the summer.

Tuesday was our wedding anniversary.

Thursday we helped set up for the piano recital and Lily had a piano lesson.

Friday we went back and helped to decorate for the recital. Then we ran errands.  That night was the recital.  Lily did a great job!  For this recital they had to play a piece of music by memory.  It was a late night. I didn't get the girls to bed until 10.

Saturday morning I had to wake them up for a ballet make-up.  After that Art and I went to Texarkana for the day alone!  We went out to lunch and did some shopping.  We had not been anywhere without the children since December.

Week 34 in our Homeschool

As our year has been coming to a close we have finished up a few things and I have decided we were in a good stopping place for a few more things so our work load has gotten a bit lighter.

Bible: We completed 6 lessons in Answers for Kids Vol 3.


Music Appreciation: We completed lesson 12 on The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Science: We finished reading chapter 5 on nutrition.  We will finish up the activities for the chapter next week.  I was thinking about continuing this curriculum through the summer because we have not done as much science this year as we usually do but I think we will set it aside and pick it back up in August.

Art: We wove different beasts together for our ARTistic Pursuits lesson.

Math: Lily, Christian, and Emmie completed 3 lessons in MLFLE.  Anthony started Pre-Algebra from the Critical Thinking Company and completed Chapter One.  Alex started Math U See Pre-Algebra.  We did not finish Pre-Algebra with UnLock Math before his subscription ran out and honestly he wasn't really getting it anyway.  I started him at the beginning of MUS Pre-Algebra and hope that at least the first few chapters will be easy and he will be able to work through them easily.

Language Arts: The boys finished their book study on Hugo Cabret.  Lily did activities based on the book Meteor by Patricia Polacco.  Emmie's story was The Napping House.

Spelling/Reading: The boys are finished with spelling until the fall.  Emmie has completed All About Spelling Level One!  I bought her Explode the Code Book One and she has been working in that some this week.  She will have to read aloud to me over the summer before we start AAR Level 2 in August.

I saw her reading to Marshmallow one day and took this from a distance so she wouldn't see me.

We have a really mean rooster.  Really mean.  I think he has to go but Christian is very attached to him.  He attacks everyone else except Christian.  As long as he is willing to grab the eggs and take care of them he can stay, but if that thing attacks anyone again....

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: PandaParents


PandaParents is releasing a brand new product called MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS. We received a 3 months of a 6 month digital subscription to use and review.
Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum
I know that MESSYLEARNING does not sound like a good thing, but it doesn't mean what you think it does. MESSY stands for:

Mixed Pre-school Subjects
Engaging Questions and Activities
Simple 1-2-3 Steps
Smart Designs
Yeah, a new way to promote STEM education and early brain growth

Each unit of MESSYLEARNING is designed to be used 2/3 days a week for 30-60 minutes a day.  There are three components to each unit: a storybook, video, and workbook.  The storybooks are designed for a parent to read aloud to child.  Then they can watch the corresponding video and complete the workbooks pages.  The workbooks have a variety of activities including a craft. Each month revolves around a different theme and teaches a variety of subjects through that theme.  For example The Scotty Skunk curriculum focuses on the letters "s and h," teaches sequences and numbers, science and nature, feelings, and home and safety. The three months we received were:

A Jolly Jingling Journey- Davy falls asleep and goes on a magical journey to Santa's cabin in the North Pole. The PDF version of the story was 50 pages, the workbook was 40 pages and the two videos totaled about 40 minutes.

Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound-Little Muffin's mommy tells him a story about a skunk finding a new home.  The PDF version of this story was 40 pages, the workbook was 50 pages and the video was 32 minutes.

Mommy's Baby-It's bedtime but Amanda is not tired.  She and her mommy play a mommy baby game before bed.  "Are you mommy's muffin? I am your blueberry muffin."  The storybook is 30 pages long, the video is 5 minutes long, and the workbook is 40 pages long.

PandaParents is recommended for ages 3-6.  I think it will work better for preschoolers then kindergarten but that will vary depending on the child.  The basic idea for the curriculum is a good one, teaching many different things at one time using a centralized theme.  There is no teacher instruction so how you use the curriculum and how much you do every day will be up to you.  I thought the workbook had some good activities.  I liked the way they had some science oriented activities in each of the workbooks like in the Mommy's Baby workbook there is a section on different types of animal tails. The craft ideas at the end of the workbooks are simple and easy to put together.

There is A LOT of color in the workbook pages and story.  I think a physical workbook would be a better option then a PDF.  The story we just read off the screen because it would be expensive to print but if you do not want to have to depend on having a screen to learn a physical book would be a better option.  The company is supposed to be releasing a physical product in December. The video length really varied.  One of ours was only 5 minutes and another was over 30.  The 30 minute video was too long in my opinion.  The drawings, animation, and voices were very different then what we are used to and were not our taste but others may enjoy it.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Homeschool Crew Review: Kids Email

Kids Email
Kids need to learn how to communicate using technology. Email can be a great way for children to communicate with friends and family that live far away, but it can be dangerous to allow children to have their own email and use the computer.  Over the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review Kids Email Safe Email for Kids from Kids Email.
Kids Email

This is not my first time to review Kids Email.  We reviewed for this company back in 2016.  I was impressed with it then and my opinion has not changed.  Kids Email has some great features that makes it a great option for your children.

While your children will have their own email address with Kids Email, there are a lot of parent controls.  Parents set up the email addressed for their children.  Younger children will have a kidsemail.org address and older children will have a kmail.org.  Parents can set up a variety of safety settings including a contacts list.  Only the people listed on the contacts list can send emails to your children and your children can only send emails to them. You can set up the account so that copies of all of the emails are sent to your own inbox.  You can also block images in the emails and not allow attachments.  Parents can set up time limits and block senders. Children cannot change their settings, only parents can do that. One of the best parts is that NO ADS ARE ALLOWED!  Your child will never see advertisements of any kind on their email page.  Also spam messages are automatically filtered out so you do not need to worry at all about an inappropriate email sneaking through.

Each child's dashboard can be personalized.  There are several background choices that will appeal to boys and girls and others that will appeal to boys or girls.  There are some that will appeal to younger children and others that older children will appreciate.

There is a drawing board icon that allows children to draw pictures within their emails.  My 7 year old loves to do this!  She has done some on the computer but it is easier on my phone.

There is also a way to attach photos to an email.  You can use a photo that already has been taken or take a photo within the app and attach it.  My 9 year old had drawn a picture that she wanted to send to my parents so she took a photo of it on my iPhone and emailed it.My mom then printed it out and put it on her fridge.

For younger users there is a Read to Me icon that will read the emails they have been sent.  This is a great feature to allow children to read their emails without waiting for someone to come and do it for them.

We do not do a lot of communicating by email, but it is a great way to stay in touch with those who do not live close by.  Emmie especially has enjoyed being able to draw her pictures and send them off to my mom and dad, and her Aunt Kelly.  She has loved getting emails back. Kids Email really takes the worry out of allowing your children to use email.

Kids Email offers a 30 day free trial.  You do not have to enter credit card information to take advantage of the free trial. Check it out for yourself!

Other member of The Crew reviewed Kids Email.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 33

Happy Mother's Day!  I love being a mom and am so thankful that God blessed me with my wonderful children!

 First bloom on one of my rose bushes.

I do not like walking in tall grass, mostly because I am afraid of snakes.  I never even used to like seeing snakes at all even if they were behind glass, but children that are fascinated by reptiles caused me to have to get over that.  I still however do not like to see them outside.  At all.  Anyway, the other day I noticed an issue with a rabbit cage and the boys had not done any weed eating around there yet.  So I put on my rubber garden shoes and went out to take care of it.  The whole time I was thinking Please do not let me see a snake.  I completed my task and went inside.  About an hour later Nick went out to weed eat and about 10 steps from where I had been standing was a Copperhead! They took care of it.  We have only seen 2 others in our yard in the 11 years we have lived here and I hope to never see another one.  I told Art later that I realized I should have been praying please son't let there be a snake but if there is a snake, please let me see it! 


Week 33 in our Homeschool

We had a hard time concentrating on school work this week, I think our brains our on summer vacation already!

Bible: We read several lessons in Answers for Kids Vol 3.  I usually do 2 questions or so a day and read the corresponding Scripture.

History:  We read chapters 18, 19, and 20 in America's Story Vol 2 on Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller.  We also watched some Youtube videos on Helen Keller.

Music Appreciation: We completed lesson 11 on Tchaikovsky's The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Science: We started Chapter 5 on Nutrition.  One of our activities was to test different foods for starch using Iodine.

Art: We made woven crowns for our ARTistic Pursuits Art of the Middle Ages lesson.

Math: They completed 3 lessons in MLFLE.

Language Arts: Emmie's stories were If You Give a Dog a Donut and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.  Lily's lessons were on the Rough Faced Girl and Christian and Anthony are working through their book study on Hugo Cabret.

Emmie's own circular story.

Spelling/Reading: The boys completed Step 17 of AAS Level 5.  Emmie completed lesson 52 in AAR Level One.  Only one lesson to go!  She just started picking up books on her own to read on her own this week.  She was reading Go Dog Go to Liam the other day.
 He didn't sit long enough though...

Other Activities this Week:

Monday the girls had gymnastics.

Tuesday was Chelsea's last day of college for the semester. 

I just love snuggling sleeping babies.

Thursday Lily had piano and then we had our 4 H meeting.

Then we left to go camping!

Camping is A LOT of work, but we do enjoy going.  I sent a text to a friend that said, "All of this relaxing is exhausting!"  We went to Kirby Landing.  It was our first time camping there and it was very nice.  We will be going back again.  The lake water was COLD!  Not that I swim.  I lifeguard from the shore.  But they could only stay in 30 minutes or so the first day we were there before lips were blue and teeth were chattering.  By Saturday they could stay in about an hour.  It was a very nice week-end around 90 each day.

Our site was right on the lake and close to the swim beach.  The children could ride bikes around the circle.  We had to drive to the playground, but I'd rather do that then drive back and forth to the beach all day.

This is a house.  My iPhone could not zoom in far enough to get a good picture of it.

It took them 3 nights to finish their Monopoly game.
 The children were feeding the fish at the marina.

Emmie's big fish.  She ate him for supper.
 The top fish was Art's.  The bottom one was mine.  Biggest fish I've ever caught.  They also got eaten.

 The boys brought a football to play catch at the playground.

Emmie asked me if she could decorate the picnic table with some flowers she picked.  I left them there until we left.

Christian thought he had a big fish but it was a turtle.
 Al cut him free and threw him back.  Art and I caught turtles too.
The children saw this sign and just had to check out the  trail.

 They loved the bridge!

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!