Monday, March 30, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

The Philadelphia Faith and Freedom Tour
The Birth of America's Liberty

I get so sad when someone tells me that they don't like to study history. History is the most exciting of subjects! I could live and breathe history every day and never learn enough.

The problem with the typical study of history, I believe, is that textbooks are BORING. They really are. The best, most exciting way to learn history is through living history and breathing history. To truly understand what happened in the past you have to make yourself understand how those people felt and lived.

My father loves to read about the Civil War. As a child we traveled many summer vacations throughout the southern US stopping at almost every Civil War battlefield along the way. As a concession to my mom (who loves old, historic houses) we also visited the homes of famous people along the way. Many of these battlefields, museums and homes had "living history" exhibits with people dressed and acting in the period that they represented. That is the ideal way to learn history.

If you can't travel for whatever reason Vision Forum has a great resource that can allow you to "live" history right in your home or car. Let Freedom Ring is a 13 CD listening tour of multiple historic sites pertaining to the founding of our wonderful country. You get to be part of a "bus tour" going from place to place with wonderful guides teaching you about the cultural, religious and historical heritage of different landmarks.

This is not a boring textbook type history course. I was captivated while listening. If you close your eyes you truly feel like you are right there on the tour yourself. I learned so many interesting tidbits, although I have repeatedly studied this time-period of history (most recently this year!). At $45, the 13 CD set is a value and much cheaper than a family vacation!

If you are looking for a way to interest your students in the study of early American history be sure to check out Vision Forum's many resources. I would also encourage you to travel to a nearby historical monument and just soak in the history. There is something about standing on the ground that a historical moment took place......I can't really explain it, but history is so very exciting! Give it a try!

Sickness Runs Rampant

Around here anyway.

Lee got sick and feverish Thursday. Bear and Greg got it Saturday. Greg still has it.....Bear and Lee are wimpy and I think that Norman is sick. Ick!

Effingham Taekwondo hosted its first tournament Saturday and I think that it went very well. I was busy, busy, busy all day but it was well worth the effort.

Today I am housekeeping and resting. Laundry is going, dishes are washed, bills are paid and living room is picked up. I am hoping we will be back in the swing of things tomorrow.

Would you believe we had SNOW yesterday??? It snowed for about an hour but thankfully none stuck. I am hoping the potatoes and onions are warm in the earth and that they weren't harmed. The frost this morning made all the green grass white. I gather maybe it will get warmer this week. Mom says it is gonna rain off-and-on all week. I guess spring is here!

I have been listening to some great Vision Forum CD's these past few weeks. This evening I will take a second and let you know all about them!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

ProCard International

Are you struggling to maintain health, dental and vision insurance during these tough economic times? ProCard International can help!

Procard offers discount cards for a million different medical, dental and vision providers across the US. I don't have enough room to post all the testimonials that I read about this program today. You can see them HERE.

They also offer a great work at home program that can be done in just a few minutes. If you are interested in that you can go HERE. I know that I am thankful to be able to make a little extra money to help our family out. Doing small things at home can sometimes net large results! Procard International is a great company to work for. Very helpful. They are able to keep their overhead costs low because of work-at-home associates like me and they pass the savings onto their customers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Taekwondo Tournament

Tomorrow is Effingham Taekwondo's first ATA tournament. We are so excited and very busy. If you want to see what it is all about you can check us out HERE.

If you are in the area Saturday March 28th and want to see in person what we are always doing you can stop by Teutopolis High School and say hi!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am my father's daughter....

I am a farmer's daughter :)

I love the smell of freshly tilled earth. Yesterday we spent good family time outside tilling the year and planting potatoes. We bought 25 lbs. of seed potatoes and have about a third of them planted. Today we planted 3 long rows of red onions. I cleaned out my flower bed and herb bed. I am all ready to begin planting my new herbs and flowers that are growing under lights in the bedroom.

Bear loves to be in the garden. He helped plant potatoes and onions. He was so cute! Hoes, wooden stakes and hammers became guns this afternoon while we were planting. I love to see my sons having fun!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Frugality and Creativity in the Home

Vision Forum wants to help all of us weather the current economic struggles. They are offering a great sale on products specifically designed to assist us to use our God-given talents to enrich our families with as little expense as possible.

The Backyard Homestead and the Bread, Candlemaking and Soapmaking DVDs look very interesting. I love to bake bread and have always wanted to know how to make candles. Definately something to check out!

I found a new website

It is pretty rare that I run across a "new" website that sells curriculum and interests me, but I found this one and thought that I would share. They also have an affiliate program if that interests you.

Great Deals on School & Homeschool Curriculum

It looks like they have a lot of teacher resources that might not be applicable for homeschoolers, but I found several interesting preschool products. I think that it is always a good idea to keep your eyes open for new things to use while teaching and thought that I would pass this place along!

Tapestry of Grace

Tapestry of Grace is a multi-level, integrated, 4-year classics based Christian curriculum for the whole family.

I have spent many years hearing about TOG but I hadn't ever had opportunity to check out their products. So I don't forget, you can do that now by seeing the samples that they have on their website!

The new Tapestry of Grace is completely digital. When you purchased the digital version you download it straight to your computer. Due to some copyright issues, this is a rather complicated process, but not difficult (I managed with no problems and am not computer literate)! It is my understanding that they have streamlined the process since I did my download so I am sure the issues are being resolved. The TOS crew was able to bring downloading issues to light for them as we were trying out their new product! I am sure that will make the process easier for those who follow.

Anyway, you purchase the Level and Units that you would like to use. We chose Year 3 Unit 2 (begins with John Adams through the pre-Civil War). Although the rest of the program is "there" the security measure only allow you to open what you have purchased. Interesting, huh? Anyway, your unit begins with an overview of the topics that will be covered. Then each week is laid out with the weeks topic and the resources to be used for each "grade" level. Writing assignments, study questions, teachers notes, worksheets (for literature and grammar), beginning geography information and supplements for the literature assignments are included. This is a very thorough curriculum. As far as I can tell, they have covered everything!

There are 4 units in a year and each digital unit costs $45. That makes the total yearly cost for a unit $180. This cost doesn't include the books that they are required to read. There are also supplements for map work, writing and literature at an additional cost for each year/unit. The whole year's worth of Units are available in print for $225.

I found the lesson plans to be difficult to navigate. There are decisions that need to be made by the teacher as to the level children are assigned, what books they are going to read, etc. I just didn't have time to make those decisions so frequently. I also don't have the time to acquire the needed resources (either through purchasing or the library). Although I found the downloading simple I just can't function with lesson plans on my computer; nor can I assume the cost of printing them. I can't justify the cost for "just a teacher's manual" although I do agree that it contains much in the way of background information and teacher's notes. I feel that I couldn't purchase this item and then have to spend more money on the books that are needed for the program.

With that said, I know many people who love TOG. If you are wanting to keep all of your children on the same page historically, then this is going to be a great option for you. Each student learns the same material at his level. For large families, I know that it is very helpful to keep the students together (until this week, my older boys have always been together).

I would encourage you to go to TOG, check out the different samples and run through the download tutorial. Read the other reviews at the TOS Crew blog. Feel free to ask the authors questions about their product. This may be just what YOUR family is looking for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hey, Take a Look!!!!

Little Bear is being featured with some other cuties over at the Totally Tots website! He is the 3rd picture with the black backpack on. It is as big as he is! LOL

Hip Hip Horray!!!!!

My Sonlight order is here...........
My Sonlight order is here..........

There is something about getting a huge box of fantastic books that makes my heart go flitter-flutter. I can't wait to start pre-reading them :)

Thanks Sonlight for the speedy service (would you believe I ordered on FRIDAY?????)!!!!!!!!

New Bible Cover


I made this a week or so ago to go over my new hardback Dake Large Print Bible. Let me tell you, that Bible is huge! I can't imagine what a cover for it would have cost so I made one out of stuff that I had laying around here. It bunched up a bit because I bought the wrong kind of interfacing and had to hand sew most of it (machine wouldn't sew through the interfacing) but otherwise it turned out well. I am pleased with it.

Also, I love the Dake Bible. The notes and word definitions are invaluable. I am so glad that I got the large print because I don't think that I could have read the small print.....It was definately worth the money I spent for it.

Anyway, I have some other projects that I am thinking about working on but right now other things need me more and with the great weather we are having I will probably be outside working in my herb and flower beds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tot Food - Breakfast


Carisa at Totally Tots asked me to share my little tot's meals. I would love to do that, although I will confess that our meals aren't horribly exciting. We do strive for nutrition and some variety. We can't wait for summer so that we can eat from our garden! Until then we are making do with last year's abundance :)

This morning Bear and I had our usual breakfast. I dice a potatoe and saute it in a little oil until almost tender. Then, I add some sausage and cook until both are done. I sometimes add some onion (today we had some red onion). I scramble 2 eggs in a bowl and add to the mix, cooking until done. I serve this masterpiece on shredded mexican cheese and taco sauce.


Growing up and until I was pregnant with Bear I hated eggs. I would eat eggs maybe 2 times a month. While pregnant this time I craved eggs and this was my favorite way to eat them. Sometimes I would eat this creation 2 times a day! I guess I needed the protein! Bear and I usually share this 2-3 times a week (I still like eggs).

Enjoy! To see more Tot Food creations, be sure to stop by Totally Tots.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Homeschool in the Woods

History can sometimes be boring and seems to lack hands on activities. I am always thrilled to find ways to make history fun and hands on. Homeschool in the Woods does just that with several different projects.

We had the opportunity to make the New Testament LapBook. Lapbooks are an arrangement of file folders containing mini-books with information learned during a unit, in this case, the study of the New Testament. In general, lapbooks seem to be enjoyed by younger students, but my 11 year old son always loves to do them as well.

The New Testament lapbook contains many different graphic information organizers to enhance your study. I love the New Testament newspaper, chronicling the different miracles that Jesus performed and the Armor of God model.

I am eager to tell you that Homeschool in the Woods has many different fabulous products. We love the timeline figures! Also, be sure to check out their Time Travelers series and History Activity Packs.

History is fun! To learn more ways to make it exciting be sure to check out Homeschool in the Woods.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One 2 Believe

If you missed my previous review of One 2 Believe's nativity set, please refer to the left side-bar.

This time around we received the Noah's Ark set. A plastic ark comes complete with 8 pairs of animals and Noah (with a staff). Although the set warns that it isn't appropriate for children under 3, my little Bear has been playing with the animals after I took away Noah's staff. The figures are made of hard plastic and are very durable. The ark is made of lighter plastic but so far has withstood the strains of toddler play. All the figures will fit inside the ark for easy storage. My son loves the little figures. The elephants are his favorite!

We have been very pleased with this toy and as before, One 2 Believe has a full line of Bible-based toys that are perfect for you youngsters.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


SpellQuizzer is a online spelling program that will help you help your children with their weekly spelling lists.

Are you tired of the repetitious reading and writing of the spelling lists, with a new one every week? So was Daniel Hite. A softward developer, Mr. Hite created a software program to help his children with their spelling words and now you can benefit as well!

SpellQuizzer allows you to create your own spelling lists or import a set of standard lists for each grade level. As the parent, you create the list by typing the word and either creating a prompt or recording a audio of the word. When your child is ready to practice, they hear the recording or see the prompt and type in the word. If they misspell the word, the correct spelling is immediately reinforced.

SpellQuizzer is very easy to use. I had it set up and ready to go in less time than it took to download (about 15 mins. on my medium speed internet). I will say that it makes spelling time much less stressful for a mom and student that hates going over the same words again and again.

SpellQuizzer is available as a free 30 trial download and then may be purchased for $29.99. There is an updated version also, so if you have previously used SpellQuizzer you might want to check it out as well.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


It is almost spring.....I can feel it in the air! I love spring. I get so excited about playing in the garden and beautiful flowers. I can almost taste zucchini, okra, fresh tomatoes and sweet corn. I started some lettuce and spinach in the house this week and the lettuce is already sprouting....YEAH! I always wonder exactly how that miracle works.....I can see God's hand in every part of it.

I can also see God's hand in every part of my life. He is right here next to me, walking with me and strengthening my life. He keeps me on the path He has ordained for my life. Very few things in life are easy, but like a seed struggles to grow, I struggle to reach for the goal that God has placed before me.

Take a few minutes and think about the goals that God has placed before you. Search Him and seek His will in every part of your life. God loves you and cares for you greatly. He will work miracles in your life if you will let Him.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Blog Giveaway

I've got another giveaway!

My dear friend, Crystal Wetherholt, is hosting the grand opening of her new website, Savoring the Shades of Women. I can't express how cool her new website is. She has teaching videos, great articles and a detailed message forum.

For her grand opening I am giving away the 2nd CD in her A Child's Heart, God's Garden series.

In order to win you need to:
1. register as a user on her forum and post in the introductions (linking to my blog)
2. after you check out Crystal's website and forum, please post a comment on Crystal's blog and let her know what you think of everything (tell her that Carie sent you) - Crystal has a great blog giveaway going also
3. check back in here and comment letting me know that you did that - I will be checking - with your email address so I can contact you if you win!

Good luck to everyone! Crystal's ministry has touched my life in so many ways. I know that she will be a blessing to you also!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Beyond Five in a Row

One of the first curriculums that I heard of was Five in a Row. Five in a Row is a literature based unit study. Beyond Five in a Row is a little different. Geared for ages 8-12, BFIAR uses 4 literature selections per semester; 2 fiction and 2 nonfiction. It is suggested that a chapter take 1-2 days. There are MANY activities per chapter revolving around history, science, art and literature topics.

We had the opportunity to review Volume 3. The first book is Neil Armstrong - Young Flyer by Montrew Dunham. Chapter 1 activities include learning about tri-motor airplanes, history and geography of 1936, aluminum and alloys, the eardrum, dialogue - correct punctuation, numerical phrases and there is a detailed writing and discussion question. This is all from the FIRST chapter!

Beyond Five in a Row is a very thorough unit study program. All you need to do is supplement with math, grammar and spelling program and you are ready to go! Five in a Row also has programs for older and younger students. If you are intrigued check out their website!