Thursday, February 28, 2013

2:1 Conference Introduction

As I've mentioned before, I will be attending the Titus 2:1 conference in April. I am beyond excited and feel very blessed to have this opportunity. Lord willing, this will be the first time I will be away from my 6 children, alone. YIKES!

The conference organizers have asked us to answer a few "get to know you better" type of fun questions. So here goes nothing!

1. How long have you been blogging and homeschooling? Which is harder?

I have been blogging for just over 8 years. I started soon after my first son was born. It was my way of letting my family spread out across the country watch him grow and hear about his adventures. We are currently marching along our 4th year of homeschooling. Homeschooling is by far harder than blogging. Writing has set rules and unless I've missed something somewhere along the line there is no rule book for homeschooling or motherhood.

2. If you were a super hero, what would be your super power?

Hands down my super power would be to do a million things all at once. Imagine how much I'd get done!

3. If I could go anywhere, besides the 2:1 conference, where would be your dream "mom-cation"?

This is a tough question! There are so many places I'd love to visit. My husband and I often talk about where we are going to visit first once the kids are grown and we can afford these large trips. I'd love to travel around Ireland, experiencing the untouched and often unvisited parts. Maybe even stay with locals and experience the culture first hand if possible.

4. What would you like to get out of the 2:1 conference?

First and foremost, because I am going as a part of my job with A Moment with M.O.M. and Covenant Ranch Trucking, I want to glean as much as I can to help both of these sites grow. Secondly, I'd love to find out how to grow this blog when the time comes. Networking strategies is probably top of my list for that weekend.

Titus 2:1 Conference

Outside of blogging and homeschooling I am fervently trying to cause upheaval in my family's diet. We are removing all processed foods from our kitchen so learning to replace them with real whole foods is a full-time job. I have been blessed with 6 amazing children, 5 from my womb and one from marriage. Our family changed dramatically in 2011 when our twin girls were born far too early at 26 weeks. Being a mother of micro-preemie twins was the furthest thing from my list of life possibilities. God has a plan much greater than anything I can ever think of though. 362 days after the girls were born God blessed us with a little boy and just like that we have irish triplets. Before my career in homeschooling I was a fitness instructor for a national company that teaches exercise classes for moms and their kiddos in strollers.

Well that about does it for now, if you are attending this years 2:1 conference I am looking forward to meeting you.

If you'd like to read more introductions from my fellow attendees, head over to the 2:1 blog

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chewy Puffed Kamut & Millet Bars

2 cups organic puffed kamut
1 cup puffed millet
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1T cocoa powder, optional
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, optional

Grease an 8x8 pan. In a medium bowl add kamut and millet. In a small saucepan over medium heat mix honey and peanut butter until warm and fluid. Quickly mix the peanut butter mixture with the cereal. When thoroughly mixed press into the 8x8 pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set, cut into bars when ready. If you would like to add cocoa powder add in the peanut butter mixture and mix as usual. If you would like to have seeds in your bars, add to the cereal and mix with peanut butter mixture as usual.
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Daily Yeast Bread Recipe

I have been baking all of the bread for my family for a while now. It is so refreshing to not be dependent on store bought bread to help feed my family. Not only do I know what is in our bread but I can easily alter each loaf depending on the needs for that week. I have been adding a variety of fruits during the Christmas season for a special treat. I have also been able to keep many of the sugary treats out of my house this Holiday season because I baked bread for my friends and neighbors instead of cookies and candy.

Here is my fool proof everyday bread recipe:

2tsp yeast
.5 cup honey
1.5 cup warm water

Mix above ingredients and let stand until bubbly

3.5 cups whole wheat flour (sometimes I do all whole wheat and other times I substitute with 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1.5 tsp sea salt
1.5T butter cut in 3 chunks
.5 cup vital wheat gluten
.25 cup ground flax meal

Mix dry ingredients.

If you will be using a bread machine add the wet and dry ingredients according to your machine's instructions. Typically the wet ingredients are added first and the dry ingredients are added next.

If you are making by hand, mix the above ingredients in a stand mixer until you get a nice dough ball. Cover and let rise 1.5 -2 hours. Pound dough on floured surface. Form into a loaf shape. Added to your favorite loaf pan and let rise again until the dough has doubled in size. Bake at 375 until the crust is golden.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Handwriting Without Tears Wet Dry Try iPad App Review: TOS Review

Handwriting without Tears Logo

We live in a society with ever changing technology. As a homeschooler, I feel that it is my duty to adequately prepare my children for the technologically advanced world in which they live in. This includes teaching them to be web savvy, proficient in typing, and computer literate. One of the ways that we introduce our children to technology and incorporate it into our studies is with an iPad. I am always on the look out for quality educational iPad apps. So imagine my excitement when I found out that I would be reviewing the Wet Dry Try iPad app from Handwriting Without Tears as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
HWOT Wet/Dry App Title page

I used this app with my kindergarten, 5 year old daughter. Like most kindergartners she knows how to write her numbers and letters but could use a good deal of practice writing them more neatly. Also like most 5 year olds she still occasionally reverses a letter or number when she is writing. I was excited to introduce her to this app in the hopes that some of these common errors would be reduced.

I will start by saying that this is not your typical educational iPad app with lots of bells and whistles and fancy music. The Wet Dry Try app is strictly an educational app with appropriate background music and positive voice reinforcement. 

                 HWOT Wet/Dry Pick and Practice     HWOT Wet/Dry App Winning Order

There are 2 different modes of play in this iPad app as illustrated in the pictures above. The first option is play and practice. In this mode of learning the child can pick and choose whichever letter or number they would like to practice. The letter or number is first introduced and a friendly female voice explains how to write the letter. The child then writes the letter or number with their finger 3 times, the first with a wet sponge, followed by a dry towel, and lastly with a piece of chalk. When the letter or number is practiced three complete times for a total of 9 individual practices, the child will earn a letter card. My daughter enjoyed this mode of play because she could jump back and forth among the letters and choose whichever one she felt like writing.

The second mode of play is called winning order. This mode of play is similar to play and practice in that each letter or number is practiced 9 times before completing that particular choice. However, in the winning order mode of learning, the letters are introduced in the simplest order of learning. In other words, the easier letters to write are first in the list versus alphabetical like in play and practice. As with the first mode of play, I enjoyed that this option not only appropriately encouraged my daughter as she was writing it also gently let her know when she got too far off course to accurately write the letter or number that she was practicing.

If you have a preschooler or younger kindergartner that is learning to write, this is a wonderful iPad app for such a purpose. This would be a great option for car or doctor office schooling, no pens or paper are needed and with the volume turned off or on low your child could learn without being a distraction to others. The sensitivity to finger motion is amazing in this app. I tried to write a few letters myself to see how well it worked and was amazed at how well it accurately tracked my true finger motions. Lastly, if you have multiple children who need handwriting practice this app has the option of adding different student names so each child can work independently. If you are a mom of multiples like I am, this feature is invaluable.

You can purchase this app for $4.99 (price at time of posting)


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Song School Spanish Classical Academic Press Review: TOS Crew


The Spanish language and culture has been a part of my life since I was very young. My childhood best friend was part Mexican, her Mother was an immigrant from Guadalajara. From a very young age I can remember sitting in the back of their car learning how to count to 100 in Spanish. Then as I entered middle and high school my love for the language exploded as I was able to take more advanced courses and challenge my Spanish literacy.

Due to the fact that I have such a love for the language teaching my children to speak Spanish from a very early age only comes naturally. While I can teach them to speak the language I have always struggled to teach them to be literate, finding a solid curriculum to teach reading and writing has been a challenge. Enter Classical Academic Press and their Song School Spanish curriculum.


As a member of this year's Schoolhouse Review Crew I was given the opportunity to review Song School Spanish teacher and student books.

As this curriculum is recommended for K-2 grades, I was able to use it primarily with my oldest daughter who is currently a Kinder. However, my 3rd grade son loves the language so much that he eagerly joined along in the lessons. As recommended we spent 3 days each week working on our spanish lessons. Day 1 of each week is a light overview of that week's handful of words and an introduction to the songs associated with the lesson. Day 2 of each week is the longest with not only review of the words but also completing work in the student workbook along with singing the songs from that week. Day 3 is a review and more practice saying and singing the words for the week. Classical Academic Press also recommends playing the CD with the songs throughout the week including in the car while you are running errands and in the house while everyone is playing. It was our experience that by day 2 of hearing the songs we were able to sing them by memory and really had fun playing with the songs, dancing around the house, and singing them amongst ourselves even when the CD wasn't playing.


During the review period we were able to complete 4 lessons in Song School Spanish and my children are excited to complete more as the year progresses. I enjoyed the fact that the workbook lessons are not lengthy but they are thorough and effective at teaching this foreign language. Each lesson in the student book begins with phrases or words to learn, chapter songs, a brief chapter lesson, an opportunity to practice writing the words for that lesson, and a fun activity or game. Some lessons include more activities but these are the basics of each lesson. Considering the age group this curriculum is intended for I feel that the lessons are excellently compiled, sections are short yet engaging which is important for this short attention span age group. I also particularly appreciated the fact that not only does the teacher's edition text have wonderful teacher's notes but it also includes the entire student book for easy reference and guidance when instructing your children, I wish all teacher manuals included that feature.

Samples of the teacher's edition book, the student book, and the songs for this curriculum are available on the Classical Academic Press website

Product Details:
Teacher Book: $24.95
Student Book: $24.95


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2:1 Conference

Do you see that beautiful button in my sidebar? Yep, I am going to be attending the 2:1 conference this year, just under 2 months from today. I am so excited to have this wonderful opportunity! I am looking forward to learning new things, meeting new people, and touring the Washington DC area after the conference. I can't thank my boss Mrs. Joseph Wood from A Moment with M.O.M. enough for this amazing opportunity!

Some of you may be wondering why she is my boss. At the beginning of this year, just over 6 weeks ago I accepted her offer to become the social media and advertising specialist for her blog. It was an opportunity that I had been praying for for quite a while, I just didn't know that this would be the answer to my prayer that God sent. So if you haven't visited us in the blogosphere or liked us on Facebook and Twitter yet, please do so. I can guarantee you will be encouraged and equipped for your journey in motherhood.

Titus 2:1 Conference

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Flowering Baby Review: TOS Crew


Have you ever wished you could get your hands on a collection of developmentally appropriate songs, craft ideas, and other fun early education tid bits just to make sure you weren't forgetting anything while your children were little? Finally you can!

Flowering Baby, LLC is a fun and interactive for your child from birth through age five. Each curriculum is a separate year and each year is broken down by months. Furthermore, each month has over 20 activities that are fun and engaging for both you and your child.

Being that I have three little ones in my family, I had the wonderful opportunity of using and reviewing two different yearly curriculums. For my youngest who just turned 1 year, I used the birth to one year program and my my twins who just turned 2, I used the one to two year program.

Photobucket Photobucket

How we used these programs:
As a large family Mom in a busy homeschool household I often worry about missing out on or forgetting those fun early childhood activities that are critical for development and learning. Of course I do the basics but I sometimes feel like I am not teaching my little ones those fun songs that I grew up with one because I simply can't remember them and also because I don't make it a point to incorporate those things into our day. For example, pat-a-cake and itsy bitsy spider are about thee extent of my early childhood hand motion sings. Enter Flowering Baby, LLC.

Now I don't have to wonder if I am remembering those fun songs or age appropriate crafts, everything is planned out for me year by year and month by month. This curriculum is also so flexible that you don't have to follow each day to the letter, rather use it as a guide for the month and fit in the suggested activities whenever and where ever you can.

One activity that my youngest and I really enjoyed from the birth to one year program was the discovery bottles. Using various water bottles we had laying around the house I filled them as suggested with water and small floating objects. After securing the lids my little guy and I set about discovering what was in each of the bottles. With lots of oohs and aahs and his trademark fish lips when he is excited we talked about each of the items floating and sloshing around in the bottles. Also recommended for this particular day was to have classical music playing in the background and reintroduce small blocks. Another activity on other days in this program is to read a particular book to your child. Now we read a lot of books in our house, but I appreciated the reminder to introduce other titles that I may have forgotten about or never heard of. I typically stick to my old favorites but this program helped remind me about others that my son might enjoy and I just needed to pick up at the library or find in our bookshelves.

My twins were nearly 2 when I started reviewing this product so I focused on the last few months in the one to two year program. One suggested activity that we particularly enjoyed was "where is it at". This game involved hiding something under a cup and then rearranging it with other similar looking cups. My girls and I giggled so much with this one, they thought it was such a fun game and little did they know the problem solving skills they were learning in the process. I enjoyed just watching their little brains work as they followed the hidden cup around. This activity is an example of one of those things I just wouldn't have thought to do on my own, I love having these programs at my finger tips to remind me of all of these fun, developmentally appropriate, and educational activities that I can do with my young children.

While I am not a big advocate for early education curriculum I thoroughly enjoyed Flowering Baby, LLC. I appreciated the hands on approach and suggestions as well as the wide variety of activities. This program did a wonderful job of incorporating hands on activities for speech, fine motor and gross motor skills, developmentally appropriate books, and songs into each day's activities.

Interested in seeing examples of the Flowering Baby, LLC programs?

Birth to one year sample
One to two year sample
Two to three year sample
Four to five year sample
Four to five year sample

Product Details:
Birth to 1 year program $30
One to two year program $30
Two to three year program $30
Three to four year program $38
Four to five year program $38
Buy all 5 programs for $132

As a special offer to my blog readers, Flowering Baby, LLC is offering 10% off all of their products. Use the code "Blog10" when ordering.


Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other form of payment or reimbursement was received.

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