Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Printable Camping List for You

One thing we like to do a lot of in the summer is camp.  We actually camp in a tent starting as early as Memorial Day.  Usually it is warm enough to camp around here by then, but there have been times where we have had to pack our winter coats and sleep with stocking caps on.  We might be crazy like that or maybe had one of the weirdest first camping experiences ever, but that is a different story I will share some other time.  To me the worst part of camping is the packing and unpacking, but now we have been camping long enough that we have developed a checklist of the things we need to take with us.  That is what I am sharing with you today.  Here is our list that we use to pack with when we go camping.  If you own a RV your list might be a little different, but we don't own one so I don't know.  I made this list so that you can print it.  Just click the little icon on the right hand corner and it should come up with options for you to print.
Glimpse of Normal Blog, Camping, Printable List

Do you go camping?  Is there anything missing from this list?  Did you print it?  I would love to hear your feedback on this list.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree - A Review of Star Toaster

You guys should know me well enough by now to know that I love it when a product comes along that feels like a fun game to my kids, but they are actually learning from it.  That is exactly what we received when we were recently given the app, Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster to download and use to review.  Little Miss was excited to find out what this app was all about.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review, interactive book, online reading program, early chapter book, homeschool elementary supplement, math, science, grammar, vocabulary, character, summer reading program, gifted, struggling reader
We had never heard of Star Toaster before this review so I decided to see what they are all about.  I found out that Star Toaster believes that character defines success so their programs are designed so that children are learning while having positive character traits instilled in them.  Wow!  Isn't that we all want to do as parents?  I love that this is what this company is all about.  Their Orphs of the Woodlands program, which has multiple parts, is designed so that children master a variety of subjects and develop leadership skills while learning.
The Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is a 122 page interactive, illustrated chapter book.  This iOS app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and it is made for children ages 9-11.  This storybook includes 75 lessons on math, science, grammar, vocabulary, thinking skills, life skills, and the arts.  There are over 130 "jobs" for children to test their skills on.  There is an area where you can view your child's progress and get reports on their work.  It is only $1.99 in the App Store and it can be used for an unlimited number of children.
Little Miss was very excited to get going on this app.  This story is all about Abba the Flying Squirrel who takes care of six orphs in his tree fort, Tangletree.  The orphs are orphaned critters from the Woodlands and it was her job to help take care of them.  As she read through the chapters of the book she learned all about them and what kinds of things they needed to be taken care of.  Through the reading she would click on an interactive links that would teach her lessons so she could complete the jobs in the Woodlands.  When she completed jobs she would earn stars which she could use to buy supplies that the orphs needed.
Little Miss had a great time reading the story and completing the jobs to help Abba the Flying Squirrel.  Almost every time she worked on this app, I heard her giggling at the story, thinking about new words she was learning, and she would tell me facts that she learned in the job training that is included to complete the jobs.  Don't worry the job training and jobs are not difficult, they are just helping your child learn the information needed and then checking what they learned.  She learned more about compound words, weather, similes, vocabulary, and more.  She loved completing the jobs and telling us all about what she used her stars to buy for the orphs.  She LOVES animals so this story was very, very exciting and the jobs were fun for her.  She has completed about 3/4 of this app already and never complained when I told her to grab the iPad.  I really appreciated the character traits that were highlighted and taught in this program.  I like that the story pointed out the character traits out and how the characters in the story used them.  I felt it was a safe app for her to work on by herself and I didn't have to worry about what she was being taught.  Even though Little Miss is a little younger than the recommended ages for this app, she was able to complete everything on her own.  She did ask a few questions to make sure she understood what she read, but it was not too hard for her in any way.  I also really appreciated that this app felt like a game to her and it kept her interested.  She has already asked if once she completes Tangletree, we can get the next part.
We are definitely fans of Star Toaster and their Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree story.  Little Miss will finish it up and I am sure she will go back and play it again.  You can find more information on Star Toaster at their website and you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can find Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree in the App Store for just $1.99.  Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have been reviewing this product too so click the banner below to read their thoughts.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Huge Notebooking Pages Sale!!!

...LIFETIME Memberships on sale for just $72!!!

WHEN: Wednesday, July 27 - Friday, July 29

SAVE $25 on Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Memberships
...LIFETIME Memberships on sale for just $72!!!

(3-month installment plan will be available ... $10, $31, $31)
LIFETIME Members receive all current & future notebooking products
PLUS our 2 bonuses:
Bonus 1: 12 months free subscription to The Notebooking Publisher web-app
Bonus 2: $100+ Homeschool e-book package
**I am an affiliate for because this is a product we really like. Clicking on the links in this post or on my blog for Notebooking Pages means I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase anything.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Notebooking Pages Giveaway!!!!

Today is the day!  Run, don't walk to enter this giveaway.
Our Latest News & Updates ...
HUGE Back-to-School

25 winners in all!!!
$780+ homeschooling gift package...
see full list of gifts below!!
Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Memberships
ALL participants receive a
FREE Notebooking Pages sampler.
Enter the Homeschool Giveaway here:

The Grand Prize Winner
receives all of the following prizes!
From ... a Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership
From Home School Adventure Co. ... Philosophy Adventure—Pre-Socratics Digital Edition
From Thinking Kids Press ... Bible Road Trip Year Three Curriculum, and Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, and Dialectic Notebooking Journals
From Harmony Fine Arts ... Harmony Fine Arts Bundle Grades 1-4
From Outdoor Hour Challenge ... Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership
From Enrichment Studies ... Renaissance Artists PLUS the coordinating Fine Art Pages
From Train Up a Child Publishing, LLC ... One set of our Daily Lesson Plans (first, second, third, fourth grades or middle school)
From Homeschool Copywork ... Lifetime Homeschool Copywork Membership
From Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula ... choice of levels of English Lessons Through Literature text and workbook
From Confessions of a Homeschooler ... Road Trip USA
From Katie's Homeschool Cottage ... You Can Make Your Own Unit Study Using Charlotte Mason Methods Audio Seminar Workshop Set
From How to Homeschool My Child ... Approaches to Christian Homeschooling {Complete Package}
From Mom's Tool Belt ... a LIFETIME Membership
Enter the Homeschool Giveaway here:
**I am an affiliate for because this is a product we really like. Clicking on the links in this post or on my blog for Notebooking Pages means I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase anything.

Monday, July 25, 2016

New Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream - A Bzz Agent Review

Recently we were given the opportunity to try the NEW Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream.  Since I am a BzzAgent I was sent a coupon to try out this product along with recipe cards for delicious looking recipes from Daisy and coupons to pass along to friends and family.  I received the coupon as part of a BzzCampaign so that I could try the product for free and give my honest opinion about it.
Daisy is a brand that has been around a long time and I do use their sour cream from time to time depending on what is on sale at our grocery store.  I have always loved their sour cream because it is so creamy and blends well.  So what is new about Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream?  They have made a packaged that stands up and has a specially designed valve that keeps the sour cream fresh longer.  This package is easy to use, cuts down on waste, and is less mess than a tub of sour cream.  It even fits in the fridge better and takes up less room.
So what did we think?  I must admit that I was a little skeptical of the Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream at first.  I thought it would be a mess if the sour cream separated like it tends to do in the tubs.  I was worried that I would squeeze the package and get water first before the sour cream.  That did not happen at all.  Every time I squeezed the package I got nothing but sour cream, no water, no clumps, and no mess.  The sour cream went exactly where I wanted it to go and it even came our pretty like when I use frosting tips for frosting.  We used the Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream on Taco Soup, Crunchy Taco Cups, and in a dip recipe.  Every time I got the same results - great creamy taste, no mess, and it was ready to go right from the fridge.  I loved the new stand up package and how it fit so well in my fridge.  Our family will definitely continue to buy the Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream.  I even think it will work perfectly on our next camping trip for our taco meal.  Thanks Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream for the opportunity to try your product for FREE and being able to help spread the word by being a BzzAgent.  You can find out more about the New Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream on their website, Facebook, and look for it at your local grocery store.
Membership at BzzAgent is totally free.  If you like to sample products, provide feedback on them, and share with your friends, you might love being a BzzAgent.  Just visit BzzAgent to find our more about their program.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Flashback Friday to a Room Makeover

Happy Friday!  We made it and we should celebrate!  Today I am sharing a flashback with you.  I am sharing the makeover we did on Little Miss' bedroom.  We repainted, changed the floor, made the closet opening bigger, and made the room fit for a princess.  I will give you fair warning her room is like really, really pink...bubblegum pink.  I happened to be at our local home improvement store one day and was looking through their clearance paint area and found this shade of pink.  I got the whole gallon for $5 because it was a color someone returned.  It would not be my first choice for a color for a bedroom, but when you are a little girl you love it.   Little Miss loves her very pink princess room.  So without further ado here are the pictures...
This is a before shot. The last time her room was decorated was when I was pregnant.   Her room was a neutral color because we didn't know she would be a girl before she was born.
The closet runs the length of this wall, but the opening was a normal door size.  Waste of space because we couldn't get to the ends of the closet very well.
Oh how I loved these jungle babies.  I cried when I took them down.

Last before shot

WARNING:  Pink, very pink pictures ahead!!!  :)

During - we replaced the carpet with peel and stick laminate tile to reduce allergies and it looked like a stone floor of a castle.
Goofy Little Miss!  She was so small in this picture from a few years ago.
New closet opening, we can actually reach the ends now.

After pics - The dresser got a makeover too so that it matches the room.  We painted the trim and the dresser white to accent the bubblegum pink.
I found cute princess accent pieces on clearance at Hobby Lobby.

My aunt lovingly sewed the curtains for the room and we found the perfect Tinkerbell fabric for sashes.
Finished (messy) closet with curtains we can close to hide the contents.

Stick on sayings and fairies for the princess room.
The only thing the remains of the old room is the cross stitch over the door that I did for Little Miss when she was a baby.

Excuse the messy room, but here is the castle floor complete with heart rugs.
So there you have it, a Princess Room for Little Miss.  She loves it and it is fun to go in there and hang out with her and feel like a princess.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

5 of Our Favorite Crew Review Curriculum

Choosing a curriculum can be completely overwhelming and leave you more confused than encouraged about what you will teach your students, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are a lot of great sites and resources out there for homeschooling, but who in the world has time to sort through it all?  I know I don’t and if you are a homeschooler, you probably don’t either.  There is some place you can go and check out some really great curriculum reviews and that is the Schoolhouse Review Crew website.  I know this might seem like a shameless plug for the Review Crew and I guess in a way it is, but it is a shameless plug in a good way.  Before I found out about the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I spent countless hours researching homeschool curriculum, products, and websites.   Those are hours that I can’t get back and much of the research I used to do still left me feeling confused and unsure of products, curriculum, and homeschool websites.  I wasn’t sure if these resources would really work for my kids and many times the reviews on websites are so mixed that you can’t make heads or tails of them.  Enter in the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I found it a few months before I applied to be part of the Crew.  I spent time figuring out what it was all about and how it could help me.  The Review Crew reviews several products each year and each review has multiple families with multiple learning styles and situations.  You can read the reviews and see how each family used a product and how it worked for them.  I love that the reviews are honest and the Crew will tell you when a product worked for them and why and when a product didn’t work for them and why.  They have done the research on many products and it helps me narrow my search, find a product, or know that a certain product won’t work for me.  In December of 2015 I joined the Schoolhouse Review Crew and I have told you before what a blessing it has been to us and I will tell you again…the Review Crew has been a major blessing in our homeschool.  Through my work on the Crew our family has been blessed to review many great products.  Today I thought I would share with you, in no particular order, five of our favorite curriculum we have been blessed to review.
  • – This website is a division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine which is also connected to the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It is jam packed full of courses, resources, and tools for homeschooling.  This was one of the very first products I reviewed for the Crew and I can tell you I was missing out by not knowing about this website before.  The courses alone offered on this site make it worth the subscription fee, but there is so much more on there than the courses.  We have used several of the courses and they are very well taught, easy to use, and if you have any questions you can contact the instructor.  They also offer planning resources, access to back issues of TOS Magazine, a streaming video library and more.  You can read my review of this site by clicking here
  • – This review quickly became a favorite because this was a product that I had heard of but didn’t know that I needed until we started using it.  Now that we have done some notebooking, I love using it for my kids and see the huge benefits of using notebooking.  This product allows so much creativity while encouraging learning it will definitely play a huge role in our school.  You can read my review of this site by clicking here.
  • Writers in Residence – This language arts curriculum by Debra Bell from Apologia Educational Ministries was an absolute blessing to us.  I am so, so, SO happy we had a chance to review this curriculum.  It made a huge difference in my son’s attitude about working on Language Arts.  It is very well written and we are looking forward to starting it up again this fall.  You can read my review of this product by clicking here.
  • Here to Help Learning  - I used this writing program with my daughter and it stopped the tears over writing in our school.  It helped her to stop dreading writing and to start asking if she could write more.  This fact alone made this program one of my favorites that we have reviewed.  It is also one of my favorites because it can be used for multiple grade levels.  You can read my review of this product by clicking here
  • – I really like this tracking and planning website.  It has been very helpful in my school planning since you can put in assignments and grades.  This site also helps you with transcripts and more.  It is going to make keeping track of everything this coming school year much easier for me.  You can read my review by clicking here.
We have been blessed to review many other products that we have also really enjoyed in addition to these.  Many of the products we have reviewed we will continue to use in our school year.  I hope you have been checking out my reviews and the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I also hope they have been helpful to you.  This week I am linking up this post to A Schoolhouse Review Crew Roundup about our favorite curriculum.  Just click the picture to go to the roundup.
Favorite Curriculum 2016
P.S. - This post does include affiliate links.  This means if you decide to make a purchase from one of my links, I will get a small commission for referring you. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Beric The Briton – An Heirloom Audio Productions Review

Our family loves adventure so we were very excited to receive a copy of Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions for us to review.  This is not the first review from Heirloom Audio Productions that the Schoolhouse Review Crew has done, but it is the first review we have been a part of and it is our first experience with an active listening audio drama.  I can tell you now that we have had a chance to listen to this 2-CD audio adventure, I know that have been missing out on great products that are entertaining, yet safe for the whole family.  Let me explain…
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review audio drama, audio theatre, audio theater, radio drama, radio theatre, radio theater, audio book, G.A. Henty, Beric The Briton, henty alive, heirloom audio, Christian audio drama, Christian radio theatre, focus on the family radio theatre
Heirloom Audio Productions is a company with a passion and love of history.  Their priority is bringing real history to life for their listeners.  They strive to tell the stories of true Christian heroes while teaching strong moral values.  Their audio dramas are based on the popular book series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.  George Alfred Henty, better known as G.A. Henty was a real man who is known for his contributions to literature as a historical and adventure novelist.  Although he died in 1902, his books (over 120 of them) are still widely read today.  They are filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, family, and happy endings while featuring moral values like loyalty, courage, honesty, and perseverance.  So you can see why Heirloom Audio Productions would base their audio dramas on this series.  Their mission is “to engage the listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in a great Christian story. “   This is exactly what they did for us.

Beric the Briton is the fifth story from The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty that Heirloom Audio has produced.  It is the tale of the Roman invasion of Ancient Britannia.  It tells the story of young Beric who was a hostage in Roman territory for 4 years before the story began.  Once he has returned home, he is chosen to lead his people against the Roman invasion, but the Roman army is fierce and strong.  Beric only has a little time to train his men to be ready to fight.  He chooses his best friend Bodouc to help him on his adventure.  They have some success but also some setbacks.  When the story of “Christus” begins making its way around the Roman Empire, Beric has to make some decisions.  Will he continue to seek revenge for his country or will he choose “Christus” and discover true forgiveness?  Beric the Briton features an incredible cast of actors that you may already know.
 Not only did we receive a copy of Beric the Briton which is a 2-CD Audio Adventure in a sturdy tri-fold case, we also received access to the downloadable bonus features that are included with the premium buying option of Beric the Briton.  These downloadable bonuses include:
  • an MP3 of Beric the Briton
  • a copy of the E-Book
  • Official MP3 Soundtrack
  • Printable Cast Poster
  • A 48-Page Study Guide
  • Printable Inspirational Verse Poster
  • Unlimited Access to the Live the Adventure Website
  • Behind the Scenes Video
The bonuses are amazing resources that go along with the audio adventure.  I especially appreciated the study guide which is filled with information, questions for each part of the story, words to define, questions for deep thinking, historical background, and even some Bible study material among other things.   I used the E-Book to make sure I was catching the names of the characters and some of the dialogue.  I used the Study Guide to get some questions to ask my kids to see if they were really listening to the story.  I also spent time looking through the Study Guide to see what all it included and how I can use this for school this year.  I decided we will listen to this again and using the study guide, I will put together some mini unit studies for both kids to complete.
We listened to this Audio Drama twice.  The first time we listened to it as a family and we listened just to see what it was all about.  It really captivated our attention and we found ourselves getting lost in the story.  I felt like I was really there and a part of the roaring crowd.  I was ready to join the fight with Beric.  Little Miss felt the same way and I even caught her yelling along with the crowd.  It was fun how the story just pulled us in.  The second time we listened to this, it was just me and the kids as we drove to pick blueberries.  I had looked up some questions from the study guide to ask the kids as we listened to check and make sure they were understanding what was happening.  We would pause the cd as needed and I asked questions and we discussed what was going on with the story line.  Both kids were able to answer the questions and I know they liked it because they kept telling me not to stop the story anymore.  We also had a good discussion about how Christianity was involved in this story and whether or not the characters made good decisions at different parts of the story.  Both Buddy and Little Miss enjoyed listening to the story.  They are planning on taking it with us on our next long car trip so they can listen to it again.  Buddy has asked to hear some of the other stories from Heirloom Audio Productions and Little Miss said she wants to hear them too.  Now that we know about these Audio Dramas we can’t wait to get our hands on more of them and we DEFINITELY recommend them.

You can find out more about Heirloom Audio Productions and all of the products they offer on their website.  You can also find out more about them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Instagram.  You can find Beric the Briton like we received, here.  They also have Facebook Pages for  Beric the Briton and The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Series .  Please be sure to check out all that Heirloom Audio Productions has to offer.  I know we will be checking them out as I have already planned to use another one of their series this year for school.  My friends on the Schoolhouse Review Crew have also been reviewing Beric the Briton, so make sure you read their reviews by clicking the banner below.
Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review