And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February is for Love

Love is a choice not a feeling. And sometimes we need a little nudge in the right direction to protect that choice. Hubby and I have a fantastic relationship but after 10 years of marriage, sometimes we need little reminders to cherish that love. Everything Romance arrived just before Valentine's Day and I've enjoyed reading through it. Rather than a story or a self help book or even a Bible study, Everything Romance is a collection of love tidbits. Little stories, verses, quotes, recipes, ideas, and more all focusing on the themes of love and romance are included.

I love the historical stories like the one about Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. And of course the recipes are fantastic! This is a book to keep around and thumb through over and over. There are cheap date night ideas, poems, gift suggestions, and prayers. This would make a terrific gift for a newly wed couple or an anniversary gift for couples that have been married for decades.  I could even see giving this to teenagers so they know what to look for in true love. The title says romance but the theme is endearing, enduring love. It truly is "a celebration of love for couples."

The Biblical themes just make it that much better. Familiar love stories from the Bible retold with a dramatic flair are interesting little reads. Get this book, read through it, and then try out some of the recipes and ideas!

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Where Were These 4 Years Ago?

Wow I seriously wish this product was available when I was potty training Apple! And Speedy! When I was pregnant with Speedy, I had potty training bootcamp with Apple. I was determined not to have 2 kids in diapers (and I was successful!). She was obsessed with seeing every public bathroom she could. Let's face it, public bathrooms are NASTY!!! I bought her a fold up portable potty seat but it was less than perfect. It would bend as though it were going to fall in and once it pinched her leg. It also was nasty to be carrying it around because I couldn't sanitize it everytime. Plus it only covered the portion of the seat where her bottom touched. She still put hands, legs, etc all over the public toliet. FREAK OUT! UGH! We never even tried that seat with Speedy. Luckily he was not as thrilled about public bathrooms so we only had issues a few times for him. Now however he wants to stand up and lean all over the potty to go and don't even get me started about him touching the toliet to raise the lid.... EEWWWW!

Needless to say I was thrilled when our pack of PottyCovers arrived!! These disposable covers come in nifty, portable packs and are so easy to use. They unfold into a rather large cover that just sits on the potty. The WHOLE seat, around the sides, and down the front are covered. It is amazing. It is also waterproof backing so no germies seep through the cover. We have tried it for Apple and Speedy and they both like them! It takes girls a long time to develop those muscles to "hover" so Apple is just as excited to use these. They are marketed for boys standing up but let me tell you, it works for them too! Speedy was able to lean forward without worrying about his legs touching the potty and he didn't have to lift the seat. When kids are finished, you just throw the cover away.

At $5.99 for a pack of 6, I think these are a great deal. Even if you just keep them around for #2 times, you are getting your money's worth. You can buy PottyCovers on Amazon, Ebay, or at some Bed, Bath, and Beyond stores. You can also win a pack right here! PottyCovers is giving one lucky Carter Chaos reader a FREE pack to try!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Butterflies, Ladybugs, and Squirrels, Oh My!

Apple just loves to read (I know I tell you that all the time). She will read pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Of course I prefer for her to read things that will enrich her mind. Last semester we studing life forms (animals and insects) in Science so Creation Kids Club Butterflies, Ladybugs, and Squirrels by Amy Webb was a timely review. Apple just loved this book. She was very sad that I made her read each section a day at a time. This little book packs a lot of info into 28 pages.

{Please excuse the picture quality, not sure what happened}

Little Bonnie goes on an adventure to tell us about 3 of God's fascinating creatures. This is well acheived with vibrant, bright illustrations and lots of facts packed into cute tidbits. There is even a story about a princess included! Score one for the 4-7 year old girl crowd! The book is broken into a section for each life form and each section has some special activity. For butterflies it is the princess story, for squirrels it was a possible craft, and for ladybugs it was a drawing guide. Apple loved drawing the ladybugs!

 {This one is blurry too. Sorry!}

I love that the book has so many interesting little fact tidbits in it. I know the beautiful pictures really brought Apple into the book. I like that it's broken into easy "teachable" sections but it's laid out as a story about Bonnie as well. This is the kind of book that can be slipped onto a child's bookshelf as a pleasure book but it's really a learning resource. These are great as little homeschool helpers as well. Apple and Speedy take after Hubby and love Science so this is right up their alley! I think the book is geared towards girls since it's done in a "frilly" way with a female lead but boys might enjoy it as well {especially if you were reading it out loud to them}. It is perfect for young elementary age girls that can read.

Creation Kids Club Butterflies, Ladybugs, and Squirrels will be available soon! You can find more information at Creation Today.

Creation Today provided me with a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mini Me's New Bah bey!

My mini me (cousin) Ashley had her second son yesterday! He is gorgeous!

I promise I wasn't trying to eat Brantley..... I was just mocking his tiny cry!

So her older son is staying with us for a couple of days......Apple and "Bubba" are just over a year apart in age (Apple is older). They are so similar in appearance, attitude, and preferences that it just cracks us up!!!! Mini me second generation!

Apple and Speedy both love the baby!

God's greatest blessings!

Friday, February 10, 2012


Bill Myers brings us Switched! of the TJ and the Time Stumblers series. This is book number 5 in the series. We have not read any "TJ" books before, but we were very interested to see what it was about. I was intially excited to see it was a Christian author and a Christian fiction book for kids. Apple loves to read and she really enjoys mysteries so I thought she would like this book. The science fiction (ie time traveling) aspects were all new to her. Here is what she thought:

Apple's Review

I thought Switched! was an adventure. I really liked that monster thingy that changed forms. It was funny when they cut TJ's hair off on accident. I liked Tuna because he was funny. It was funny when everyone started getting switched around.

What did think about the relationship between Hesper and TJ?  I thought it was funny when TJ realized that Hesper wore a girdle.

Do you think that by the end of the book TJ felt differently about Hesper? Yes I think they both understood each other better.

Did you feel like you were reading a school book? No it was just a fun adventure book.

What do you think about time travel? I think it's really cool because you go to different places but you are still yourself with your own body. (Mom- I'm feeling the urge to watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure right now!!)

Mom's Review

Well Switched! is definately unlike anything I would typically choose. However that's a good thing! Science fiction has never been a favorite genre of mine but Apple and Hubby are very science minded and this book was right up Apple's alley. She had never read anything like this before but she devoured it in less than a day. I heard her laugh out loud several times (which is the best sound ever!). It took me a little while to get use to all the crazy fonts and out of place "scripts," but many kids books are that way. It's just been awhile since I read any that weren't picture books. Apple really enjoys books with a female lead and TJ definately provided that.

In Switched!, 2 dudes from the 23 century are in TJ's time and they are trying to get home. The three encounter various hijinks in their efforts to repair the time-travel pod. As if trying to repair it isn't enough, they also must deal with Bruce Bruiseabone (Tuna and Herby's arch nemesis) and Hesper Breakahart (TJ's arch nemesis) along with the various troubles they get into. It is a very funny story and very age appropriate for Apple.

Switched! is a great homeschool book. In fact, I hope to get the other books in the series for Apple. It introduced her to a whole new genre of books, held the Christian theme of forgiveness, and presented several new vocabulary words for her. Her reading list for this school year includes the Little House on the Prairie series and then I have been very open about allowing her to choose other books on her own. Switched! is one she might not have choosen intially but she loved in the end.

Check out the video trailer for Switched! TJ and the Time Stumblers here.

I received this book from Tyndale Media for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a postive review and all opinions are my own.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Homeschoolers

My sweet Apple finished Math U See Beta yesterday!!! She is doing so well. Math still makes both of us want to pull our hair clean out but it really has NOTHING to do with her ability to do the work. She doesn't test well and she is careless with worksheets. I don't even know how to clearly describe it other than she gets bored and/ or loses focus.

In fact 2 weeks ago I turned their desks towards the wall. I had them both facing me with a closet in between them so they couldn't really see the other one's desk. Well that only worked to a degree because Speedy does most of his work at the table by my chair rather than at his desk. Apple would get so lost in what he was watching or learning or doing that she'd forget everything she was working on. So I turned them both a quarter turn so they face the side walls with their backs towards each other and the closet. It's working better because if nothing else, I can quickly tell when she's turning to see what he's doing. But I digress.....

She shows her mastery of her subjects very well however she usually needs to redo her papers. She'll get a few right and then she gets off track or just writes down whatever. I've started focusing on encouraging her to pay attention rather than just getting upset that she misses some. I don't know that there's any better solution. The curriculum is great and she enjoys it and we've altered it so that she's doing less repitition IF she show me she can do the work and do it well. She's so proud to have finished Beta! Because she is officially a second grader, I think it's really important to get her into Gamma. From everything I have found MUS is a bilevel curriculum so Primer is PreK/ K, Alpha is K/1, Beta is 1/2, etc. I want her to firmly be in third grade work by the fall so I'd like her to be finished with Gamma by then. Are my goals for her high? Yes. Do I think she can handle it? Yes. She does best when she is challenged so I always need to stay a step ahead.

I really, really wish we had done Math U See from the very start with her. I think her math would be even stronger. To begin weaning her off of counting on her fingers or with a number line or manipulatives, she started working on reviewing subtraction facts today. I bought her a great little Subtraction workbook at the Dollar Tree and I told her today that she needs to complete it before we move on. This should strengthen her math skills and handwriting numbers. Plus it has a spot on each sheet to note her time. Maybe this will increase her ability to focus until the end of the page if we make it a little competition for her with time. At the end I will decide if she needs additional addition facts work as well.

Speedy is doing fantastically with his Math U See Primer. It seems to skip around a little but I keep looking ahead and it makes total sense. Anyhow to be a noncolorer (my new word), he does very well coloring in the little blocks on his worksheets to match his manipulatives. The hardest part is convincing him that our robins egg blue color is close enough to the mint colored number 9 block. Sigh.... Steve Demming couldn't that block have been gray or black??

However Speedy is not zooming through HOP K. He has the ability but it just hasn't clicked yet. If you have children that are reading, you'll know what I'm talking about. There's a moment when they go from knowing letter sounds to understanding reading. He isn't there yet but he's sooooo close! I'm waiting with sweet anticipation for that moment! Until then we've done a couple of lessons in HOP but we've taken a step back now and we're doing 2 letter word flash cards. The first few lessons in HOP are at, an, am, -ag, and -ap words. We just keep going over those blends over and over.

All in all, we are doing really well for this school year. The kids are right on track. I think we will need some stronger social studies next year for both of them. This year Apple has done a textbook but it's very generalized social studies. I'd like her to start some early American history and then do some world history. Speedy has been doing an Abeka history called "My America." He really really likes it but we are already almost finished with it so he needs something else. I have the books "What My 1st (2nd & 3rd) Grader Needs to Know" so I will probably pull those out and go over some of the social studies lessons in them. I've done the first grade one with Apple in the past and she enjoyed it.

Speaking of Apple, she recently joined a community choir and she really likes it. I'm so happy that it's a very affordable class and she can get some real musical instruction (something I can't provide). We are also doing our Science co-op again this semester and it's going so well! This semester we are studying Water and Weather. Speedy drew a tornado in class today and Apple made a diorama of the current climate.

How is your school year going?