Monday, September 29, 2014

Weird and Wonderful Creations {Review}

Here is a book that I can confidently stand behind, Weird and Wonderful Creations. This is a science book for kids that has the Creator showcased throughout!

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time then you know that I am an avid creationist and strive to find quality resources for our homeschool that support this way of thinking! 

This can be quite a challenge as a "thrifty" mom because I am often drawn to used book sales. Usually if I am able to find any science goodies at these sales, for the most part they are evolution based. They may not scream evolution, but even the smallest hint of evolution based thinking often causes me to dismiss the book altogether.

With that said, I am willing to go out of my way and purchase quality creation based science materials that I can feel confident having my children read! This book is written at a second grade reading level which has been perfect for my first grader! From the moment this book arrived in the mail he has been thumbing through the exciting pictures asking me what each thing is! 

From Venus fly traps to the Giant Sequoias this little first grader has gained a wealth of knowledge in a short time! Some of the pages are even easy enough for him to read himself while others are challenging enough for him to keep on keeping on! Each new fact that I've read to him has captivated his attention. There are plenty of pictures and over 200 fun facts about different plants, insects, snakes and sea creatures! 

I highly recommend this book for homeschool parents and parents of children who simply love the outdoors and nature! A great gift or a great resource book! It also works well as a reader for beginning readers.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Book Look from providing this book for the purpose of this review! All opinions stated are my own.

Preschoolers and Peace {Review}

Preschoolers and Peace Review
Stressed out? Unsure if you can homeschool older ones with preschoolers in the house? Kendra Fletcher from the blog Preschoolers and Peace has written an e-book called Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids with Success While Loving the Little Ones at Your Feet to encourage homeschooling mothers from all walks of life that they CAN do it! 
Don't you just love the picture on the cover of the book? The crying toddler on the right? Yes. That is life my friend, and this book encourages you that even with the demands of preschoolers, you can find structure and stability in your homeschool! Written by a homeschool parent FOR homeschool parents!

Preschoolers and Peace Review
This e-book is a quick read, just under fifty pages. If you need a quick pick-me-up that also provides practical information and suggestions then this book is for you! The author is not a novice but has eight children ages twenty down to five. She encourages by sharing lessons learned, experiences and with Scripture!

Some topics covered in this book:

~ Planning Around Preschoolers

~ Preschool Chores

~ How do I Keep Them Busy?

~ Preschool Boys

~ Meal Planning 101
It's funny, on the first day that I officially started my daughter in homeschool preschool I was first introduced to this book. I was kind of stressed and wondering how in the world the rest of the year was going to work! My daughter is a bundle of energy who is eager to learn. So I was really excited to read this book and get some advice!
Unfortunetly, I had misinterpreted the definition of preschooler. You see, prior to kids, I taught preschool and the age range for the actual preschool class was four through five. The three year olds weren't really considered preschoolers and were in a class of their own. So in my mind, when I think of preschooler, I think of that age range. Even though that IS one definition of the word, the other definition, which is the one the author was most likely referring to was, "a child who is old enough to talk and walk but not old enough to go to school." Hence, the pre

This book is a gem and I imagine to be coveted by many moms with little ones. After reading it, I realize that it is geared more towards moms with toddlers and even though that isn't a stage in life I am in presently, I know that the information provided in this book will be a powerful encouragement to many moms with toddlers or who are expecting. I can't tell you how many moms I talk to you are just plain nervous about having another baby because they don't know how it will fit into to their homeschool routine! I always think about how I know that there are many moms who do it, all the time, and know there is a book to take a glimpse into the lives of one of those moms!

Feel free to check out her social media sites to stay in the know with her Preschoolers and Peace updates! Click on the banner below to find out what other crew members had to say about this book!
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Groovy Lab in a Box Blogger Opp

  Blogger opp Groovy Lab in a box 1 year subscription giveaway - homeschool  

Free Blogger Opp!

We are giving away a very valuable 1 year subscription to Groovy Lab in a Box. The winner will receive fabulous STEM experiments each month. You can read about our box here. Our month-long study on catapults is so much fun and very rewarding. We are learning a lot about the experimentation and design process. Groovy Lab in a Box promises that no box will ever be repeated. So, its new learning every single month!
The Giveaway will take place from 10/14-11/4 and is open to US residents only.

What's in it for Bloggers

Posting the blogger opp, the giveaway HTML, and promoting 3X weeks gives you 2 free links (Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook) into the giveaway. Of course, bloggers can also enter1
Sign-up here.
Get the HTML for the blogger opp here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Get To Know Mary {Review}

Get To Know Mary  by Nancy I. Sanders is a full-color biography written for children. This book is just about 100 pages filled with colorful photos, a timeline and maps of the land of the Bible. The way in which this book was written presents the information of this well-known historical, Biblical figure in a simple and easy way for children to understand. This is an excellent homeschool resource, especially is you are looking for biographies for your child to study. 

This book is full of historical facts from the time that Mary lived and includes pictures even from modern day Israel. Interesting facts are dispersed throughout the book and vocabulary words and their definitions are found throughout the text to help shed some little on the information presented. Bible heroes and eyewitness accounts are found throughout the book as well, keeping it engaging and entertaining for young readers!

In addition to the life of Mary, your child will learn about the following:

~ The Western Wall
~ The Dead Sea Scrolls
~ Jewish Feasts
~ Mosaic from Tabgha
~Cross of Jesus
~Much, Much More!

Disclaimer: This book was provided free from the Book Look blogger program for the purpose of this review. 
All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Franklin County Agricultural Fair {Review}

What a success! How fun! The first Franklin County Agricultural Fair in close to forty years!

We were sure to be a part of this event, and my children were glad we were! My husband was a vendor, and I'll have to say that Saturday was the best day for his business! Even though the rain affected a few of the nights, it certainly didn't last the whole time and by Saturday the crowds had gathered! The first two nights were a bit slow but I'm assuming it was because they were weeknights and for those with kids, school nights. Friday night was my children's favorite, primarily because most of their friends came that night and they were able to enjoy the rides with them!

 It was picturesque, really, because once the sun set, the lights lit up the County Recreation Park and transformed it into something special. For many kids in this area, this is the first time they've experienced a fair. It was exciting running into friends and their kids and enjoying the evening together. They enjoyed running around together and doing something a bit out the ordinary. What I loved about this fair was the fact that the wristbands provided unlimited rides for the day. Rather than paying a few dollars a ride, you pay $10 a day and can ride as many rides as you (or your child) can handle! Some of the rides my four year old wasn't able to join her older brothers on, but there were plenty for her to ride on for her age! Her favorite was the merry-go-round anyways, easy to please!

My seven year old is seen above on his favorite ride of the event. He LOVED the swings. Simple. Glad he wasn't on one of the rides for older kids like the one below the whole time, I probably would have been super nervous! Especially the ones that went upside down, yikes! Although, I remember liking them when I was a kid, my, I am getting old!

I was impressed by the professionalism and quality of the fair, especially since it was the first one in many years! I only heard positive reports from fair goers and the only negative response I heard were from people after the fact who didn't go and wish that they had! I even ran into a family two separate nights of the fair who enjoyed themselves so much the first evening that they just had to come back! They only live right down the road and their kids had never been to an amusement park so they were excited their kids could experience this right in their own town! Others simply raved about how excited they were to share this experience with their kids and their families. 

When the kids weren't riding rides, there was plenty to do! The BMX stunt show was their fav and I was surprised how much they like the clown show, but they were really into it and kept trying to use the clowns jokes on us days after the fair! The last day of the fair included fun contests such as a frying pan throwing contest for the ladies and a handsome man contest for men to show off their beards or handlebar mustaches!

 My daughter brought home her very own goldfish and my son brought home a blue ribbon for some marigolds that he grew from seed this year!

 He was so thrilled to have won a prize which I love because it will encourage him to keep on growing things in his garden. Note: he is only six, so his older brother took notice and said that he wanted to grow some things for the fair next year!

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by the Franklin County Agricultural Fair. All opinions stated are my own.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Get to Know Jesus {Book Review}

When I first received Get to Know Jesus by Nancy I. Sanders I wasn't quite sure which angle the author was going to take with a title like that! Is it talking about your relationship with Jesus, or is it more focused on his humanity and what His life here on earth was like? Well, the answer is the former and the information was presented extremely well. Basically, this book is a children's biography on the life of Jesus. And don't let that scare you! It's not simply a historical account but it clearly defines Jesus as God, man and Savior. It is a history book, and not too long, only 109 pages. The beautiful color illustrations show relevant artwork and images to help bring history to life. This book includes color maps, a timeline and fun facts! 

There is a cute key in the front of the book that explains the meanings behind certain symbols used to present certain facts throughout the margins of the book. For example, when you see and oil lamp pictured, there will be a Scripture reference or if you see a scroll, know that there is a new word to learn about! Some words include judgement, defeat and establish.

What I enjoyed the most was how complex facts and events were presented in a fun and simple way for kids to not only understand but to enjoy! Honestly, many things presented in his book such as the temple or Dead Sea Scrolls were things that I wasn't exposed to until college! It is neat to find a book that presents material that I learned in college written for elementary age students! It is valuable and interesting information with plenty of pictures and a variety of fun facts that children will enjoy. This book takes the student to the land of the Bible without leaving the comfort of their own home! 

If you are looking for biography resources for your child whether you homeschool or for a class assignment, I highly recommend this book from Sander's biography series. She also has written biographies for King David, Paul, and Mary.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the above title for the purpose of this review from the Book Look Blogger program. All opinions stated are my own.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Schwan's Home Delivery {Review}

 Guess what pulled into my driveway last week? You got it. A Schwan's truck! And, no, they didn't have the wrong address, I actually did request a delivery! How could I pass up food delivered right to your door?

Let me tell you, this truck was huge. I don't know what I was expecting but there was no missing this delivery!

Are you curious as to what I ordered?

It wasn't an appetizer, though I was tempted to order their Zesty Jalapeno Bites or Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins! It wasn't an entree, although the Chicken Alfredo Rigatoni or Prime Rib Shepherd's Pie would be perfect to order when there is a new baby in the house and there isn't any time to prepare a good home cooked meal! So, that leaves the desserts. The pies and cakes looked amazing, but I went ahead and stuck with the simplicity of  good old fashioned ice-cream! Each one of my children got to pick out a flavor of their choice, and I have to say, the frozen goodness is almost gone!


You can't go wrong with ice-cream! 

How it works is, you first head over to the Schwan's online grocery website. Once you've perused through their vast variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts, you place your order. When you place your order you can see when the next scheduled delivery date is for your area. Where I live, Schwan's delivers every two weeks but it may be different in other areas. My delivery time was on a Friday between 1-3 so I had to be sure to be home then since I did order ice-cream! (Not something I want sitting out on my front porch). 

I paid online but the tax said that it was only an estimated amount so when the delivery woman came, I still owed nine cents, so be sure to have some change on hand just in case even if you did pay online, (good thing it was only nine cents!) Or, you can choose to pay when they arrive if you aren't comfortable giving your information over the Internet. Either way, when the delivery woman comes she will go over your order and then share with you any deals that they are currently running. 

Once you confirm your order she will find your goodies in the truck, my daughter loved this part, since she doesn't frequent the typical ice-cream truck, this was the closest thing!

Having food delivered to your door isn't for the future! It's always good to have extra meals in the freezer for those days you just don't have the time or energy to prepare a meal for your family. Schwan's provides a wide variety of meals, snacks and desserts that can be a fun treat on occasion!

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Schwan's and US Family Guide. All opinions stated are my own.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Asian Pickles {Review}

The following is a Guest Post from my husband, Noah. 
A book review of Asian Pickles

This is a well done book with plenty of vivid pictures and interesting recipes. I live in a small town in the South and it is impossible to get flavors from around the world here like one finds in a large city. If I want to experience Chinese Preserved Mustard Greens, there is no China Town or Asian grocery. No, I have to make it myself. Don’t get me wrong I love good old hometown Southern cookin but sometimes I want to try some things completely different. That is what the book Asian Pickles provided. Flavors, recipes and ingredients I had no knowledge of. 

I have not had much experience with Asian pickles, so I was anxious to try some of my own. I made the Spicy Blackened Sichuan Pickled Pepper recipe but substituted the Fresno Chilies with ghost peppers; they were the closest thing I had on hand. I sold the pickled peppers for $7.00 per half pint jar and they were well received. With one recipe the book nearly paid for itself. I am excited to try some other pickled concoctions soon.

About the Book

Asian Pickles introduces the unique ingredients and techniques used in Asian pickle-making, including a vast array of quick pickles for the novice pickler, and numerous techniques that take more adventurous cooks beyond the basic brine. With fail-proof instructions, a selection of helpful resources, and more than seventy-five of the most sought-after pickle recipes from the East. Korean Whole Leaf Cabbage Kimchi, Japanese Umeboshi, Chinese Preserved Vegetable, Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney, Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickle, and more. Asian Pickles is your passport to explore this region’s preserving possibilities. 

About the Author

Karen Solomon is a food and lifestyle writer and veteran culinary tinkerer and food crafter. She is a contributor to San Francisco magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, and a former editor and columnist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Thrifty Mom

If you are curious about the Thrifty Mom behind Thrift Schooling, check out this interview done over at Our Homeschool Forum. While you're there, take a look around. There are some great resources and encouraging articles that you may enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Protein Packed Mini-Breadsticks (Review)

Recently, I was introduced to a new protein filled snack that has been a fun treat for the whole family. Crum Creek Soy Bites are a GMO-FREE snack that is great when you need a little something to munch on throughout the day, without feeling guilty! I received a variety pack which included 20 bags of these breadstick munchies! 

My first thought was that I couldn't believe how many breadsticks they could fit in the bag! In this case, looks can be deceiving! It may seem like a small bag but these bags are packed full and I rarely finished a bag in one sitting because of there were just so many!

The four breadstick flavors are; Sesame, Everything, Onion and Rosemary/Garlic.

The biggest hit in our house was definitely the Everything Breadsticks! They were the first ones gone and my kids enjoyed it's flavor the most! I would have to agree with them that the Everything flavor were the best of all four. 

$1.29 (1.5oz)

The Onion and Rosemary/Garlic were tasty as well! The Sesame flavored breadsticks weren't seasoned as much as the others but I'm sure someone who is really into Sesame would like it!

These were a perfect snack to take on the road when we wanted a simple yet healthy snack to have when we were out and about. I also enjoyed them late at night when the kids were in bed, a snack I could feel good about!

Right now, you can receive 50% off your order of  Crum Creek Soy Bites!


Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Crum Creek and US Family Guide. 
All opinions stated are my own.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Student Logbook {Review}

My Student Logbook Review
Here is something I think your child will really enjoy from the company My Student Logbook!

My Student Logbook is directed towards students in second grade and up to help keep them focused and on track during the school day. 

At times I feel like I have tried everything to help keep my kids on task and to be honest, it has been hard to stay consistent with any of them! Lets see, once I tried printing out cute little icons for every possible activity that we could possibly complete. A picture for math, spelling, science, computer games, the playground, snack, piano, everything! Then I attached nifty little Velcro on the pictures (after lamenating them of course) and then added the other piece of Velcro to a cabinet so the kids could then take off an activity after it was completed that day. 

After all that work I put into it, it last only a little over a month, the cute little pictures would stay up on the cabinet day after day without anyone touching them. Just being honest. Then, I tried to have a separate schedule listed on the wall for each child on a dry erase chart. Um, that literally lasting one week. I just wasn't organized enough. I've tried online programs and printed schedules and it would be great for a little while and then, I just couldn't keep up with them! It just always seemed like one more tedious task amidst many other more relevant things I could be doing with my time as a homeschool mom!

So, when I saw My Student Logbook I was curious. Would this be for me? Would this work? Well, my answer is a big resounding, YES! It has worked wonders not so much for me but for my third grade son! You see, before I had this logbook the question of the day was always, "how many more subjects are left?" I would rattle off a number and then while he was halfway through I would realize, oh wait, he still has to do his reading for the day! Then, he would get super frustrated, "but, you said..." Sigh. This has worked wonders because he can visually see each day what work still needs to be completed!

My Student Logbook Review

Now, what makes this different than any other planner that I've seen is the most simplest thing ever. So simple you'll say, "why didn't I think of that?" Wait for it. A folded sheet of paper with the subjects listed on them. You write the subjects ONCE, that's right only once and you are good to go! Then, each week, you fold over the list of subjects and it lines up with the dates for the week and then your child simply marks off the subjects as he completes them each day.

Sound simple? That's the point. Less work for mom, more motivation for my son, we all win.

My Student Logbook Review
I love how much my son loves this logbook, it's kind of cute. He keeps it by his desk at all times and loves the feeling of marking off a subject and then counting to see how many more he has left for the day. I think it gives him a sense of comfort since he knows what to expect the rest of the day. 

You can purchase a hardcopy or a PDF version. You also can choose from a dated copy or one where you fill in the dates. I chose the dated hardcopy and am glad I did, no printing anything out and no filling out any dates. All I had to do was write his subjects, tape the folded paper in place, and that is it! The rest is now in my son's hands!
This is absolutely a resource that I would highly recommend. Be sure to check out their different designs to see what your child might enjoy! My son is using the jungle theme pictured above!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The 7 Minute Life {Review}

 Here's a review for you, mom! Brought to you by The 7 Minute Life comes The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner. And this is not just any old planner. Honest. It's not like the fifty billion you may have purchased or printed out and attempted, only to sulk in disappointment because nothing worked out the way you planned! Because, truthfully, that is what usually happens, with me anyways! I realize how unorganized I am, get a planner with the giddy excitement like a schoolgirl with her new Trapper Keeper and backpack, and am ready to go! I get excited and fill out the planner for several months in advance only to fall short after day four, (or sooner). Then, there sits a filled out yet unused, useless planner. Am I the only one?

Sigh. It's frustrating because usually at this point the focus is on all the tasks that were not completed because we try to schedule things way in advance. What we need as moms, who have to change our course of action so frequently due to the unexpected realities of child rearing, is a way to physically see our accomplished tasks and a way to not feel guilty about the ones we didn't get to!

How many of us feel the need to share with our husbands at the end of the day all of the tasks that we didn't complete rather than focusing on what we did get done! It's easy to do. We can have a list (physical or mental) of what we want to achieve that day and if we don't get to it ALL, it's easy to feel like a failure. What the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner does, is it takes the condemnation out of the picture and helps push you along, to simply keep on going! 

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

Now one thing that I need to make clear, is that this is not just a planner. It is a life organizer. Now, obviously no one could possibly perfectly organize their day with no unexpected interruptions or changes. Way to unrealistic. But sometimes lists or planners can turn us moms into robots who simply have to accomplish everything on our list and if you get in mom's way, watch out!! This planner doesn't force you to live under unrealistic guidelines but helps keep you focused on your personal goals.
7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review
Before you get to the daily planner part of the book, you are encouraged to prioritize your values. What is important to you?  Of the list provided my TOP TEN VALUES were:

1. Faith
2. Family
3. Integrity
4. Intimacy
5. Teaching
6. Serving Others
7. Health
8. Tradition
9. Arts
10. Leaving a Legacy

Once you recognize your values you are then encouraged to write a purpose statement for your life to encourage you each day to stay on track with the values that you hold. 

You then look at your strengths and write them down. You also are encouraged to be real concerning any mental clutter and write down ways to counteract that in a practical way. 

Once you begin to be honest with what you want and where you are, then you focus on your 90 day goals. What do you hope to accomplish in three months time? Rather than trying to get a billion things done in one single day, what do you hope to achieve in a short time frame?

Then comes the daily plans. I love this because rather than attempting to map out a detailed schedule weeks in advance (as I would usually do), this daily planner focuses on the next day, and that is it! (There is a place to fill out a monthly calendar, yes, not that is not the main focus). You spend seven minutes, the day before, to sit down and focus on your goals for the next day. Apparently. the average attention span of a person is seven minutes, so if you can set aside at least that, you are golden!

The focus here is to write down several goals and then ask yourself at the end of the day, "Did I do what I said I would do today?"

One of the suggestions is to write down 5 things you plan to do before 11am. This was overwhelming to me at first because all I am doing before 11 is homeschooling. The first few days I tried adding some other things, um, no. So then I quickly changed it to five things before 5pm. That way I could have goals of things I could do between my schooling and dinner. Although I do understand why it is set up for before 11. If you work in an office or even if you have a job where you work from home, it may be more efficient to have certain things done before the afternoon so you can be more effective in your afternoon tasks.

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

Now, onto the freeing part of the planner, the unfinished tasks. Rather than becoming overwhelmed with what you did not complete, you can simply write down what you didn't do and hold yourself accountable. You can move on. I like this because you are encouraged to put into action the unfinished tasks! I certainly enjoyed this planner once I put my priorities in order. Rather than writing down what I spent, I used that section to write down what I owed so I could return them, (library books, friend's belongings etc.) I also used the Daily Contact section for prayer requests which was nice to see in front of me as a good reminder! The only thing that was a little difficult with this planner was the light green font in some places, it was a tad hard to read in some spots. This is a great concept and I would certainly recommend this planner to anyone wanting to prioritize!

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coming Up

This past week has tired me out! Seriously. But, sometimes we just need to keep on going. You'd think I'd start drinking coffee, haha. Not going to happen. So, this coming week I  have some goodies for you!

~ Agricultural Fair Review: It was awesome and I have some more great pics to prove it!

~ A Healthy Snack Option: With Several Flavors to Choose From!

~ A Simple Way For Mom To Stay Organized: It's so simple, you'll say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

~ An Effective Homeschooling Logbook: My oldest son loves it!

And don't forget to check out my giveaway in the sidebar for a Dolphin Tale 2 shirt and sunglasses! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Franklin County Agricultural Fair 2014

 Franklin County, VA Agricultural Fair
Franklin County Rec. Park

Visit With Your Family This Weekend:

Friday 4 - 11 pm
Sat. Noon - 11 pm

  • Adults and Youth 12 and up – $5
  • Youth ages 5–11 – $2
  • Youth age 4 and under – Free
  • Ride wristbands for all  – $10

My son is convinced that if he tries for a goldfish, he is going to win! That is because when we went to watch fairgoers go for the prize, he saw two winners in a matter of minutes, (they made it look so easy!) To me, seeing carnival games, such as the goldfish toss, balloon dart toss or water race were no big deal, but my kids haven't really seen them before! Another new and exciting experience for them at the fair was the BMX stunt show! They have never seen such daring tricks up close and personal and they have been genuinely intrigued! I guess I have taken for granted my fair going experiences as a kid and am excited now to share them with my own family! 

Aubrey Gill, a teacher at a local Christian School told me that as part of her teaching  Charlotte's Web to her class she asked the students who were attending the fair to take a picture of them next to their favorite exhibit and bring it into class. Since it has been close to 40 years since this county has seen a fair, her hope is for her students to make fond memories at the fair as many of us may have in our childhood. And, hopefully attending the fair will bring the book to life in a new and relatable way!

So if you want to see a camel, a kangaroo, a blacksmithing demo (hint, hint) or you just want to ride the rides, head of over this weekend! There are plenty of fried foods such as fried Oreos and funnel cakes! You can always treat your child to some cotton candy or Homestead Ice Cream too!

Hope to see you there!

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by the Franklin County Virginia Agricultural Fair. All opinions stated are my own.

Dolphin Tale 2 {Review and Giveaway}

I first heard about the original movie, Dolphin Tale, from a homeschooling friend of mine. She told me that it was a pro-homeschooling movie and she thought my kids would enjoy it! She was right! We rented it one evening and before long, we owned the movie ourselves! They also were thrilled to find out my mom was able to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and actually see Winter for herself! Of course they also enjoyed the tee shirts and stuffed dolphin (without a tail, of course) that she brought back from her ventures. My kids hope to visit Winter one of these days! But, until then, they are content with viewing Winter (and now Hope!) on the aquarium's LIVE webcam

Recently, we have been working on a Dolphin Tale Curriculum  found at! This is a neat site that provides FREE curriculum in the form of Unit Studies to go along with popular movies! My kids are looking forward to trying out the How To Train Your Dragon Curriculum next!

One thing that I love about Unit Studies is you can usually use them with children of all ages, at the same time. This unit study was perfect to use with my kids whose grades range from Pre-K to Third Grade. There are different levels that the children can work with, lower and upper elementary, we worked primarily with the lower level. There were five lessons that began with a short introductroy video with a homeschooling dad from the aquarium from the movie! Then each lesson has a downloadable, printable PDF with both instructions for the Teacher/Parent and worksheets for the children. Each day included a different and unique topic that made each day exciting in it's own way.

One day the children were learning about pods and had to pretend they were dolphins working together to gather fish! Another day they were labeling the oceans on a world map. I think some of the material stuck in their little minds because the other day my six year old was pretending to ride around on his stuffed dolphin toy saying, "Look Mom! I'm riding around on the dolphin's dorsal fin!"
Aside from the 5 day Unit Study there is also a Curriculum (FREE) from Classical Conversations available on the site!

Dolphin Tale 2 hits the theaters Friday September 12th, homeschool day! So go ahead and check it out, and why not make a Unit Study out of it while you're at it!
Inspired by true events, Dolphin Tale 2  continues the story of the brave dolphin Winter, whose miraculous rescue and recovery, (thanks to a groundbreaking prosthetic tail), made her a symbol of hope and perseverance to people around the world and inspired the 2011 family hit movie “Dolphin Tale.” This film reunites the entire main cast, led by Harry Connick Jr., Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, and of course, the remarkable dolphin Winter as herself. Champion Christian surfer Bethany Hamilton, who has been an example of courage, also appears in the film!

It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only pool mate she has ever known. However, the loss of Panama may have greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.

Enter to Win

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's Here!

After 40 years, it's finally here! The revival of the Franklin County Agricultural Fair! It surprises me how many parents I talk to who haven't yet heard the news, especially with the massive billboards inviting you as you enter the county on Route 220! So whether you've been looking forward to it or if this is your first time hearing about it, I suggest you head on over to the Franklin County Recreation Park this week and get your tickets!

  • Adults and Youth 12 and up – $5
  • Youth ages 5–11 – $2
  • Youth age 4 and under – Free
  • Ride wristbands for all  – $10

I know that my circle of friends are always looking for family friendly activities to enjoy with their kids! Especially on the cheap! So how perfect does a county fair sound? A great way to spend time with the family and visit with friends and neighbors! And, with the fair being open this Wednesday through Saturday (September 10-13th), there is sure to be at least one day most families could fit it into their schedule!

I'm in the next county over but practically live in Franklin County a majority of the time anyways, so I was excited to hear that there was a fair coming that would be so close by! Usually, for activities like this I have to travel either an hour north or an hour south, so having this right in our backyard, so to speak, I knew I had to get on board!

I also love the fact that the fair is in September, right on the brink of fall! Last year we attended a fair in July and they were struggling to find people to enter produce. Submitting produce in a fair makes so much more sense in September with the fall harvest. I am looking forward to seeing these exhibits!

Wednesday Sept. 10th     5 pm -  10 pm
Thursday    Sept. 11th     5 pm - 10 pm
Friday         Sept. 12th    4 pm -  11 pm
Saturday     Sept. 13th    Noon  - 11pm

 My husband will be providing blacksmithing demos and selling his work at the fair, so come on by to the NVable Items Tent and say hello! Presently, the rides are set up, vendors are getting ready, and the exhibits are in order, all that is needed now, is you!

If you aren't sure which day to come, you can check the schedule.

Some highlights include:

Wednesday: Rides, Petting Zoo, BMX Show, After Jack

Thursday: Rides, Petting Zoo, BMX Show, Hoppie Vaughn

Friday: Rides, Petting Zoo, BMX Show, Barefoot West

Saturday: Rides, Petting Zoo, BMX Show, The Kings, 
                  True Cadence

Keep watching, as I'll be posting some pics of the action throughout the week, so stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by the Franklin County, VA Agricultural Fair. 
All opinions stated here are my own.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Recent Online Articles

 Just wanted to share with you some articles in places other than my blog. I would love for you to check them out and share some comment love! Thanks so much!

~ Heather