Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Fall Poem by Reagan

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch
I love leaves for lunch

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

All About Reading

Hello? All About Reading people? Yes, yoohoo! Over here! I'd love to 'test' out your Pre-Level 1 on my daughter! Just saying!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homeschool Room

After much hard work this summer, I'm finally ready to start school with Reagan on the 22nd. (I asked her if she wanted to start earlier and she said 'no, thank you, she'd rather take that extra week of vacation.' Ok. Maybe that's not exactly how she put it, but you get the picture!)

Our plan for this year is to work through My Father's World K, along with quite a bit of add-ons from various blogs (Thank you to Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations and Carissa at 1+1+1=1 for all the hard work they do to provide us with items to teach our little ones!) and from various other curriculums. We're also sending Reagan to "preschool" at a local Church twice a week in the afternoons so that she can have some social interaction, along with music and art. Unfortunately she is still too young to be involved in the homeschool group music and art programs.

I think we're going to have lots of fun this year and I'm so excited! I'm going to try to remember that it's more important that she learn about Christ than anything else, and that she doesn't need pressure--this first year should be lots of fun. I'm extremely serious and competitive so this is hard for me to remember, but I'm going to pray everyday that Jesus guides us, NOT ME.

Oh-just a side note: this week I'll also post links to specific materials from other sites that I'm using AND a full list of our curriculum (and links!). But this post is getting much too long to do it here.

Alright, for those of you who are interested, here is our school room. (Technically it's one half of Reagan's playroom, so if you see a completely naked baby doll or tons of toys on the floor in parts of the pictures...just go with it! We also recently installed new UV ray blocking doors to keep the room cooler (as it was formerly a garage!) so you'll probably see installation foam still peeking out as we haven't installed the trim yet!) All that to say--well, this is it.

When you first walk in from outside, you'll see our wire rack full of puzzles and games--a great blocker between the toy side and the school side and keeps all her fun games close at hand! By the way, I get most of her puzzles and games from garage sales-a great place to find lots of homeschool activities!

Next up is a bookshelf with all of our weekly curriculum on the top shelves, msc. items lower and then tons of reference books divided into subjects on the lower shelves. (I prefer to keep these on the lower shelves so Reagan can get to them if she just wants to look at something she happens to be interested in!) We also have tons of craft supplies up top in bins.

Here are my 'filing cabinets'--I use that term loosely! More curriculum and household files here, as well as lots of Learning Packs! (Link to Homeschool Creation Packs and 1+1+1 Packs)

Here's our activity station with 'break' items (ie items in between workboxes--such as working on our number puzzle, working on screwing on and off caps, play dough, listening station, etc!) (The table and chair(s) were another garage sale find!)

Bulletin board that has our 100 chart, the map to color in of the States and our reading list--to keep a record of books Reagan reads (on her own) during the school year. The back has a cork board so I can tack up sentence strips, sequence cards, etc.

Workboxes and another activity bin (this is for smaller paper games and motor skill activities!)

Flag and Pledge of Allegiance

Dry erase board (with spots for color, number, letter and State of the day)


Weather/Seasons and Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday pieces of the calendar board

And attachment pieces..

Songs for Calendar Time and our A-Z Bible Verse Book (to go with the RRPS program that I am using from 1+1+1)

Our schedule strip for our workboxes:

Our tree which I purchased from a teacher's supply store--we plan to hang our Biblical truths from our MFW K package on here.

Reading and Alphabet oversized books (I am in love with the DK big books--I need more!!!!)

Our RRPS Board and school table.

Recyclable storage--hidden under the table! (Can you say crafts?!)

Bottle caps to use for spelling!

And finally one last picture of the room--it's not as adorable as some photos I've seen-but it feels like home :) and that's the point isn't it?

*****Remember, if you see something you are in love with, I'll be posting links later this week to those specific printables from some very talented homeschooling moms!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking the time....

It's so worth it to take the time to share a life skill with your child..but boy is it fustrating when you start! That being said, I no longer have to put Reagan's clothing away...yah! She can do it for herself!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

School time is coming, school time is coming

In case you were wondering...I have that in my head to the tune of "Santa packs are coming....Santa packs are coming..."

That's a shameless, UNPAID advertisement for Coke by the way ;)!

At any rate, school *IS* coming and we are almost ready computer and printer are working on overdrive (which means my laminator will soon be chugging along too!) My scissors are covered in Velcro tape residue and the school table is covered in glue. Reagan is eager AND apprehensive..mostly apprehensive...but nonetheless here we go.

Our final plans and school room to be revealed soon and I'll *try* to document our journey this year! School starts August 22nd--unless I get done earlier!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How hot is it?

You've heard the saying that it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? Well today Reagan and I decided to test that theory. First, we did some research. I was pretty sure that it wasn't ACTUALLY hot enough to fry an egg, as the temperature needed has to be a constant 158 F. It's not QUITE that hot here--although Indiana is suffering a major heat wave. The heat index for today is supposed to be 107 degrees!

We started out with our materials: an egg, a piece of aluminum foil (folded up on the sides so the egg doesn't escape!) and a magnifying glass.

Reagan cracked the egg and I showed her how to focus the sun's rays so that it would "cook" the egg.

She did a great job..but it still wasn't enough to actually begin frying the egg.

We gave up after a few minutes and decided to let the sun do it's job. We left it on a level surface in the direct sunlight.

And after an hour, we checked it. Unfortunately the wind had blown our experiment over and the ants were beginning to attack. But if you look just closely enough, you'll see that the egg was actually beginning to coagulate.

Pretty cool, huh? So technically it's not QUITE hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk--but it's pretty darn close!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer "Bucket" List

Apparently having a summer to-do (aka 'bucket') list is all the rage this year..and of course I had to join in!

Thanks to some clever graphics from The Crafting Chicks and some great preschool/toddler summer ideas from Sweet and Lovely Crafts, Reagan and I now have a custom to-do list of our own. Can't wait! 3-4 activities in each bag every day will ensure lots of Mommy and Reagan fun time! (Can I just admit here and now that I am NOT a play mom and I feel sooooo guilty about that all the time, but I just don't PLAY with my child..and yes, I do feel like crap about it all.the.time--I hope this helps!!!)

By the way, if you want to see my own "bucket" list, check it out here!

And now---the photos!

Up close shot of one of the bags--it contains several activities for the day (activities printed on cardstock) and some days it'll include a treat too--stickers, lip gloss rings, etc.

All the bags hung up on cute summer ribbon!

And I couldn't resist a photo of Reagan before her first day of camp!

**By the way, in case you're wondering, I did organize the slips of paper into labeled envelopes so I could find them easily to stuff in the bags every day--I have "food treats", "crafts to make", "general play", and "places to go".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spring for Susannah

Booklist says, "Inspired by [folk] lyrics, Richmond arrives on the inspirational fiction scene with a moving debut novel. Readers will be filled with hope that Susannah will learn the true meaning of love. Highly recommended where inspiring, romantic historical fiction is in demand."

Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.

When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory .

Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.

When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.

She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

About Catherine:

Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.

For more about Catherine, please visit

To buy the book, please click here.

To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:
* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just CLICK HERE and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Blog tour schedule.

My review:
Such a sweet book! I absolutely loved witnessing the changes in Susannah as she grew more in Christ and her marriage. Definitely a must-read for anyone who loves Christian romances and tales of the old west. One note however: as this is Catherine Richmond's first book, I found the husband's role and dialogue at the beginning just a little bit difficult to really get into. However, by the end, everything was perfectly flowing together! Great book!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Spring for Susannah to review. Please note that all opinions included herein are mine and do not reflect the views of any other person or company.

Friday, June 10, 2011

About Branded:

The church spends $1.5 million for every one new follower of Jesus. Apple sells 26 iPads every minute. What is it that makes Apple so exciting and Jesus so boring? What is it that compels someone to bring their iPod everywhere and their Bible nowhere? In a word: marketing. Jesus is a life-changing product with lousy salespeople-people who are intimidated and embarrassed by the word "evangelism" and who show more enthusiasm for their gadgets than their God.

What would life look like if we stopped mass-marketing Jesus and started marketing our faith like Nike and Apple market their products--sharing relationally, from person to person? Using examples from these and other successful companies, author Tim Sinclair challenges Christians to throw out their casual attitudes toward faith and sign on for a marketing campaign for the Savior.

Written with the wit and wisdom of an experienced marketer, Branded peels away the feelings of fear and encourages readers how to share their faith in ways that are honest, authentic, and, most importantly, effective.

Click here to buy the book.

About the author, Tim Sinclair:

Tim Sinclair is a radio personality on one of the top Christian morning shows in the country, Mornings with Tim and Pam. For over a decade, he has been helping radio stations and various other businesses creatively and effectively market themselves. His award-winning productions have been heard on more than 2,000 radio stations worldwide and recent clients include McDonald's, Word Records, Moody Press, and the country's most-listened to Christian nonprofit radio station KSBJ/Houston. Tim has written for CCM Magazine and the Huntsville Times. For more about Tim, please visit his website,

Check out other reviews of this book by clicking here!

And finally! My Review....

Branded was an interesting wake-up call regarding the Christian portrayal and marketing of Jesus. An interesting read that left me with more questions than answers--but perhaps that was the point. I was left with the realization that I'm quick to condemn but not quick to meet people at the place they are. I profess to be a Christian, but I truly have not answered the Great Commission that Jesus set in place for us.

I believe the book was good for a slap in the face wake up call to Christians--however, I think the author could have done a better job of giving us some cold hard examples of what to do, how to make that leap from the Christian we are to the way Jesus won over the lost. Less examples of Starbucks and Apple, and more examples of 'here is how you show compassion, understanding and love to those who support gay marriage, without compromising your values'. Interesting book. Definitely worth a read but be prepared to be left on another search for a book that really gives you some ways to "market" Jesus.

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Branded to review on my blog. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Read the inspiring story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but imagined and re-told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

About the author: Joan Wolf was born in New York City but has lived most of her adult life with her husband in Connecticut , where she raised two children and countless numbers of assorted animals. Joan is the author of numerous historical novels including The Road to Avalon which Publishers Weekly lauded as “historical fiction at its finest." For more about Joan and her other books, please visit Purchase A Relucatant Queen by clicking here.

To celebrate Joan Wolf’s debut Christian Fiction title, A Reluctant Queen, Joan and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away A Reluctant Queen prize package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:
* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (for KINDLE)

To enter, CLICK HERE. But, hurry, the contest ends on June 20th. Winner will be announced on June 21st during Joan’s A Reluctant Queen Book Club Party on Facebook (details below)! Hope to see you there – bring your friends!

Join the fun on June 21st!
Joan will be wrapping up the blog tour and Kindle giveaway promotion during her A Reluctant Queen FACEBOOK party on her FB author page. During the party she'll announce the winner of the Kindle, host a book chat discussion, test your trivia skills (Is Esther's story in A Reluctant Queen fact or fiction?), and more. Don't miss this chance to meet the author and make some new friends!

Check out other reviews of A Reluctant Queen here!

And review!!!

I absolutely loved this book! Yes, the author took plenty of liberties with the Biblical account of Esther, but this is a fiction rendering of the story and I really believe she did a great job! It definitely opened my eyes to how hard it must have been for Esther to become Queen, the courage it took to follow God and allow Him to direct her life completely, when all she really wanted to do was run home. It was endearing to see love develop between Esther and the King; and it made me hope that they really did discover love together. It would seem that way from the Biblical account, but Joan Wolf did a great job of bringing the "love story" to life for us, without lessening the biggest point of the story of Esther..that God uses everyday people to do extraordinary things! Beautifully written with vivid portrayals of both Esther and King Ahasuerus--I can't wait to read more from this author!!

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of A Reluctant Queen to review on my blog. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ordering Curriculum!~

Ordering curriculum today! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Overheard in our house: My mommy used to babysit other babies when she was a little girl, until she went to college and got a real job.....(wait for it) which is *having* babies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Eggs-periment

This weekend our family visited the Imagination Station in Toledo, Ohio. It was a fun break and Reagan enjoyed the Dino Dig area immensely. I wish I could say I had pictures to share with you, but I forgot that my camera was in my bag (oy vey) and pictures unfortunately.

HOWEVER, before we left to visit the museum, we checked out some cool science experiment ideas on their website and we were able to replicate this one at home.

First, take a glass and fill it with vinegar (they use white vinegar, all we had on hand was apple cider vinegar) and drop a raw egg into it (carefully!)

Next--the easy part (lol!) let it sit. Overnight our egg shell was completely eaten away by the acid in the vinegar (the acid eats the calcium in the shell). The scum you see floating on top of the vinegar is the calcium.

The membrane of the egg was still there so that the egg looked jelled..but it was still raw!

We let it sit a few more days and our egg began to swell because the membrane is permeable so vinegar was actually moving into our egg. We popped it open to show that it was still raw.

Reagan thought this was the coolest experiment. I bet your kids will too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'm linking up over at Tiny Talk Tuesday hosted by Not Before 7. Head over there to read more great kid-speak!

This is a Reaganism from last year, that was originally posted on my personal blog. My daughter is hilarious! You should see her Bible comparison here!

Last night I moved Reagan to our bed because she had thrown up earlier and I wanted to keep an eye on her. In the process of moving her, I woke her up..just barely. Still half asleep, she heard a train in the night and mumbled: Sometimes I hear a train and it wakes me up and then I say please, please, oh pretty please with a cherry on top, let me get some more rest!


We spent Memorial Day weekend with Josh's parents. One morning Reagan was in the kitchen with Grandma and Grandma was explaining how she doesn't really cook much. After the two of them prattled on for a while in this vein, Reagan looked up and said "So, Grandma, your kitchen is just for decoration then?"!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge

My garden at the moment is S.C.A.R.Y. It literally has not had a thing done to it since last fall..except for tossing the remains of some old plants out there. And it really didn't bother me since I didn't have to look at it at all this winter....after all, it's been covered in mounds of snow and ice for months!

But the snow has melted (although I'm almost positive more will be headed our way in April..par for the course!) and I really need to start tending it if we plan on having any kind of a productive garden this year.

The Plan (no progress yet!): First things first! For the month of April, we'll be cleaning out the bed, raking it, turning over the soil and calling the utility company to come out and mark their lines so we can add on this year. We plan to triple the size of the garden as Reagan has big plans for the vegetables she wants to grow (although Mommy *did* remind her we have to eat what we grow!). Mother's Day weekend is always our planting weekend, so we'll plant seeds directly into the ground then.

Lessons/Resources Being Used: In April, we plan to make an egg carton seed starter. (Note: due to lack of warmth and good sunlight our seeds usually don't do well being grown inside so if that happens, we'll just use it to our advantage to talk about why, but we won't plan on these being used for actual planting unless-miracle of miracles, they actually grow!) In addition to the egg carton seed starter and Easter (which is our main focus in April), we plan on studying birds, weather and worms and of course, we'll be talking about how all three can help plants grow. Our library has great concept kits and this month we'll be using the WEATHER concept kit they have and using the theme "April showers bring May flowers".

Reagan is super excited about the garden this year. Right now we're both drooling over seeds and she has specifically requested to plant potatoes and corn. A great book about planting potatoes is Two Old Potatoes and Me. Definitely inspired Reagan to try something new! (By the way, in case you do decide to check this out, you'll want to know it's about a little girl who's parents have just divorced and she and her dad start planting potatoes together, thereby helping her adjust--the divorce theme is definitely toned down so if you're not a divorced family-we aren't-it should still fit in perfectly!)

And just because she's cute, here's a picture of Reagan with our garden last year (our first attempt at planting seeds directly in the ground as opposed to starting them first!) and a picture of Reagan and cousin Emily with fresh zucchinis!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Cute Tot!

Cute Tot

Reagan was featured on Totally Tots Cute Tot's page! Check out some other great homeschooling mom blogs by clicking on the Totally Tots Cute Tot page!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Kathy, please contact me at lovegrowsbest @ with your address so I can send your giveaway items to you!!!!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

People.....RUN, don't walk for this deal

Every homeschooler I know has a love affair with their laminator, and I am no exception. Right now, you can get a pouch of 100 laminating sheets for $10.99 at Amazon! I've been using these sheets for a while now and I love them! Hurry to get your sets! I'm ordering three!

And yes, I promise to post the winner of the giveaway soon!! I'm reevaluating our plan for this year to make sure we finish up what we need to by the time we start My Father's World K in September!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mining for Numbers

I took this idea from No Time For Flash Cards and tweaked it a little bit for us. My daughter is great with shapes, but we still need to get number recognition down pat.

I used the sensory box idea from No Time For Flash Cards and filled ours with puzzle numbers, number magnets and bits of craft foam with numbers written on them. Then I typed out a simple sheet that read "Find the Numbers!" with each number in a column. When she found a number in the sensory box, she had to say the correct number name and sort it into the correct column. Fun learning!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A soft answer turns away wrath..

Reagan and I have just started using My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt. I already love this book! This week we've been working on the first Bible memory verse, Proverbs 15:1: "A soft answer turns away wrath." And wow--there are tons of activities that revolve around this one tiny verse!

To start, there is an AMAZING homeschooling blog out there called 1+1+1=1. (By the way I promise to post about all of my favorite homeschooling blogs later on!) Carissa is a homeschooling mom to three and she is putting the finishing touches on Raising Rock Stars Preschool, in part based on....drum roll please ..the ABC Bible Memory Verse Book! You can see Letter A which corresponds with the Proverbs 15:1 memory verse, here.

And of coures, there are tons of other great ideas around the web. I took this idea from Spell Outloud. I have to say that the pompom jar is ingenius. After a huge blow up between my four year old and I (we have the same temper and she can push buttons no other person can push, which in the end makes me forget I'm a 30-something adult!), we started using this jar in conjunction with the Bible verse we were learning (God has an impeccable sense of timing doesn't He!) It definitely made our day much better. We recognized that we were snipping at each other and we both tried to react differently! Amazing! And she has had so much fun filling her jar with pompoms :)

Tomorrow we'll be working on the toothpaste activity found here at Spell Outloud.

Promise to share pictures soon :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainbow Rain

I saw this craft over at Funny Days with Mommy and Maddie and since today is a miserable, dreary, rainy day, we decided to make it too.

Obviously ours didn't come out quite as well as theirs did, but I learned something about us. Reagan and I, although we absolutely love to do crafts, are just really too impatient to spend much more than five minutes on one!

I also attached a photo of Reagan blowing bubbles to cheer up our sick cat, Pritsha, who had just been force fed her medication and lunch!

Hope you enjoy crafting your rainbow rain!
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