Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017-2018 Kindergarten Curriculum Choices

Last year, my son came home from preschool at the age of 4 begging me to teach him to read. He's always been a smart kid and has always LOVED books but something had flipped in him and he was ready....I was not. I wasn't prepared for him to be ready, we were getting ready to have baby #3 and I wasn't in the mindset, however he was eager, so I began my search for the best place to start. 
During this search, I came across numerous homeschoolers and homeschool curriculum and at the same time, God started showing my husband and I that Homeschooling was going to be the best option for us. 
Fast forward to the summer and we had tried a reading program but it wasn't clicking in his young brain. When I look back at it now, he just wasn't quiet ready for the program I selected but it gave us a good start. We slowly worked our way through All About Reading and started Horizons Math. He looked forward to doing school but I was preoccupied with a newborn and had postpartum depression so my focus just wasn't there. We had decided at the end of the school year that it was best to send our Hippo to his preschool for one more year, and while looking back I'm not sure I would make that decision again, it was what we needed to do in our season. During that time, we continued our reading practice with him, dropped the All About Reading program for the most part and switched to Bob Books and the All About Reading 1 Readers as our source of reading practice. We continued with Horizons Math K here and there and by the end of his Junior Kindergarten year, we are at about a half-way through Kindergarten level. He has most of the kinder skills but needs some work on a few things.
Our goal for this year, is to go back and make sure that concepts are solidly there before we jump ahead to 1st grade material. There are the programs we are using to do just that.

Language Arts:

We have decided to go with IEW PAL: Primary Arts of Language for our Kindergarten Language Arts program. It is an all encompassing program that works on the 4 areas of LA: Reading, Writing (and Penmanship), Spelling and Speaking/memory. The program is a K-2 program and can be used with kids in all areas of this age level. The beginning stages of the program will be easy and will be review for the Hippo, however, we want to make sure concepts are solidly in place before we move ahead. We also, want to start from the beginning with this so he learns the concepts in the order they do it. You can watch my Unboxing here:

For Math this year, we have decided to go with RightStart Math Level A. This program teaches Math in a different method and is a manipulative and game based program. It is teacher intensive but we are really looking forward to it. 
We have also decided to use Math Lessons for a Living Education 1 as a supplemental application based program. This isn't something we will spend lots of time on but something that is just a little different or to use during our breaks.

Additional Stuff:

For some independent work time, we have picked up a variety of things for him to do.
For Critical Thinking Skills we are using Can You Find Me?
For Drawing we are using My First I Can Draw

If you'd like to see what we are doing as a whole group, you can watch this video below or check out this blog post here.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

2017-2018 Pre-K Curriculum

Over the past year and a half, I have done a TON of research...maybe too much research 😜. Anyways, one thing I continued to return to was My Father's World Curriculum. They aren't a huge, in your face kind of company however they have been around for a while and have been used by a lot of families. The reason I keep going back to them is that their "Core" is heavily focus on Bible and History and how the two interact. Not being raised in the church and going to public school until college made large gaps in the connections in my mind of between Biblical History and the History taught without those aspects. I also really like that MFW is a mix of Classical and Charlotte Mason approaches because those are the two my husband and I relate to the most.

Do to a variety of reason, we decided to not use their Kinder or 1st grade curriculum for The Hippo Boy but will likely use them for our Mountain Lion. To begin this, we decided we'd try them out with their Pre-K curriculum. It is a full Pre-K curriculum that has a large enfaces on Bible story's, learning the Alphabet and Numbers 1-10 as well as a lot of play! You can watch my unboxing video here:

Now along with this Pre-K Curriculum, we are adding some things she will do along side the Hippo if she wants to. You can see our whole group curriculum here. We also picked up a few other items as well so that she had her own workbooks to do while the Hippo did his. You can see the video here:

Here is the list and links for what we will be using:
-Usborne's Illustrated Alphabet
-Get Ready for the Code A and B
-Handwriting without Tears: First School Book
-Bob Books Alphabet and Pre-Reading
-Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K
-Get Ready for School Alphabet Sticker Book
-Get Ready for School Number Sticker Books
-Preschool Scissor Skills
-Developing the Early Learner Books 1-4

Thank you for stopping by to check out what we are going to be using! I hope these ideas are helpful if you are looking for options. I'm planning to review all these things and will be sure to let you know how it all goes :)

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum

Within the last year and a half, my husband and I have felt called to homeschool our children. We have a variety of reasons that brought this on but we are SO EXCITED about this new adventure God has us on and we can't wait to get started.

Over the next month, I hope to get our plans on here for anyone who is interested. I'm one of those crazy people who research a TON and have looked at so much so I thought I'd share what we are going to be using and how we are organizing. Also, I have started a YouTube channel where I've been kind of blogging lately so if you want to see more, check it out!

Alright onto the reason we are here:

2017-2018 Homeschool Curriculum

Morning Time-everyday

We will be doing a morning time routine where we will begin our day together doing our Bible Time,  Character studies and calendar time.
Ideally, we will begin this prior to Tiger Boy's nap so he can be apart of it.

To tell the kids it's time, we will be using The Unlikely Homeschoolers idea or a "call to worship." This is a song that will be played each morning to tell the kids it's time to begin and they will have the entirety of the song to get to our location with an attitude of worship.
  • Call to worship: 
  • MFW Bible: Using the Preschoolers Bible
  • Memory verses from the MFW Pre-K Curriculum and AWANA verses.
  • Hymn: we will be learning a new hymn each month that we will also be learning the story of using the book "Then Sing's My Soul."
  • Sing fun kid's Bible songs and preschool songs to go with the season
  • Calendar Time will be us going over what the day is, weather, temperature, etc.
  • This may also be a time where we read a picture book.


Science is the Hippo Boy's favorite subject so we will be doing this every day. We have chosen to use Sonlight Science A. It is an everyday program that uses lots of Usborne books that we own so it was a good choice for us. I'm hopeful this will be a good program.


We will be alternating History(Social Studies) and Geography every other day. 
  • Geography: Evan Moor Beginning Geography
  • Social Studies/History will be a variety of topics and unit studies we pull together. We will discuss Community Helpers, Native American's, National Holidays, US Presidents, and anything else we feel we'd like to use. If I have time, I'll post resources I use for these units.
Art- 1x a week
We have decided to go with HomeArt Studio for our curriculum. It's a video based program and I'm really looking forward to the kids learning art in this way. We will be using the Kindergarten, 1st Grade and Holiday Art's and Crafts DVD's which we purchased from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. We will also be using the Usborne Big Book of Colors and the Usborne Art Treasury. Both books are great and I explain how we will be using them in my video below.

Health and Wellness
In California, it is recommended that you teach health in some capacity. The topic is covered some in the My Father's World Pre-K Curriculum we are using for Leia and partially for Aston as whole group content however we are adding these two books to the mix throughout the year as it fits: Why do People Eat? and What Makes Us Ill? We will also talk about safety as well.

I created a video with all the details below! 

Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be sure to review how the year went as things go. 

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Word of the Year 2017

A few weeks ago, I purchased Lara Casey's Powersheets for 2017. I started working on them and finished them off just in time for the new year. I have LOVED the process and the freedom to make a mess and dream big on paper without it being perfect. If you think you can get a little messy and "brain dump" onto some paper, I'd recommend these! (My workbook is the year notebook that is now sold out as are the 6 month version HOWEVER last I heard, they were taking pre-orders for a Summer shipment! Link here)

What Matter's Most

One of the aspects of the Powersheets, is to look back at the time prior, to look at yourself and to think about what really Matter's most to you. In this process, I was reminded of what matters and what really could be worked on in my life, not just this year but always. So I created this Big Picture Vision Board. My life is pretty simple as a stay at home mom but these Powersheets can be used for even the stay at home mom whose goals are not big time career or life goals.

Word of the year

Another aspect of the Powersheets are to decide on a word that will describe what you want to focus on or what your year will embody. After working through the Powersheets Prep, I came up with my word:
Pinterest Link

I choose the word Joy after actually picking a different word but woke up the next morning feeling like Joy was more fitting. I am a melancholy personality and tend to live in the "glass half empty" world. Things in my environment affect me greatly, and can cause me to loss hope easily. I'm the ultimate introvert and need some alone time to recharge but in our current life, that isn't always possible :) So this year, I am deciding to do only things that bring me Joy and weed out the other stuff in my life that causes me to stumble. The following things are what I hope to Cultivate out of that Joy: A clean home (because it makes me happy and helps in my Joy), Growth in my Faith, My Marriage, a Life Giving Home and my Usborne Business. 

Theopedia's definition and comment on Joy is:
Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness. It appears 88 times in the Old Testament in 22 books; 57 times in the New Testament in 18 books.^[1]^
Webster's dictionary definition: 1) to experience great pleasure or delight : REJOICE, 2) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT.

So far, having this reminder and this word to focus on has been a great benefit to my day to day life! I'm grateful for the reminder to be Joyful in my circumstances and can't wait to see all I learn this year while having this be my word! Hopefully in the next few days, I'll have a post about my GOALS for 2017!!! I'm excited about these!!

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Saturday, December 31, 2016


Wow, when 2016 began, I didn't know what the year was going to look like. I am the true melancholy personality and topped with pregnancy, I just lacked motivation all around. I was exhausted and just didn't feel like doing much so the normal things I used to do ended and a different type of year began. It was a year of pulling back, refocusing, doing research, some resting(before #3 came) and just being very introspective.

I grew a lot this year in my walk with the Lord. I went through some amazing Bible Studies, which I'll share below. My faith and relationship with God grew in a wonderful, yet quiet and personal way. And I found rest in Him.
Life Lived Beautifully Studies: Flourish, Proverbs 31 and Planted, She Reads Truth: Moses, Acts and Advent, Lifeway:Seamless, Living Free
In 2016, we added Tobias to our family...our 3rd beautiful baby we got to take home. His delivery was simple and easy and we were home 24 hours later. He slept most of his first 3 months and has been our most joyful baby. He brings so much life to our home and we are incredibly blessed! I however discovered in this time that I struggle with Post-partum Depression. Everything in life was beyond overwhelming and I just didn't feel like I could cope with it all. Thankfully the fog lifted quickly at around 3 months but the season was rough and I'm glad to be on the other side of it.

My husband was amazing this year, stepping in and taking over all the things. He has become the primary family chef this year and has done a great job stepping into my role. This is one of the reasons why I stopped my meal planning posts...because I wasn't planning any meals. 2017 will hopefully bring back the routine of it all.
In 2016, I had the privilege of teaching our oldest son to read at 4.5 years old. He was begging to learn, so we jumped in head first. This among a variety of other things, lead to us deciding to homeschool our children starting summer of 2017. I've done a TON of research, praying and YouTube watching and am so excited about the new adventure we have ahead for us in 2017.
And in this crazy year of change and different paths then I had planned, we decided that it would be a good challenge and opportunity for me to sign up as an Independent Consultant with Usborne Books and More. I began this journey on September 2, 2016 and God has lead me down a path I never thought I would have headed down. I've had more success then I ever thought I'd have. It's been a fun and crazy ride and I don't know where God is taking it from here but I look forward to seeing His hand at work and we are thankful for the extra income it has brought us in the last 4 months.
All of this to say, I've missed this space of mine, I've missed the ability to share my thoughts and enjoy this space to write and share and be creative. I don't know what God has in store for 2017. I'd love to spend a little more time on here in some capacity but life is CRAZY with 3 kids 5 and under and all the other things on my plate...who knows what will come but I sure hope some more order and time to think is on the schedule which in turn means more time to write, create, plan, organize and cook.
How was your 2016? Was it what you thought it would be? Did something catch you off guard? I'd love to hear from your so please share in the comments below!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

Over the last 2 years as we've grown our own winter squash, I've started to play with some recipes and have some favorites. This is one of those and is just so comforting when it's cold outside! The kids love it and it's a great side for dinner or with a grilled cheese for lunch!

Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash or 1 argonaut (one of our favorites), cut in half and deseeded
4 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon of butter and olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2-3 Tablespoons of heavy cream

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees and roast squash flesh side down for 30-60 minutes until a fork a pierce through all areas. Once the squash a cooled enough, flip the squash over and remove the flesh. This can be done a few days before you make the soup if you'd like.
2. In a heavy pot (I use my dutch oven, a cheaper option here), sauce the apples in the butter and olive oil, about 5 minutes.
3. Once apples are softened, add the squash, spices and broth. Simmer covered, for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Using an emersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You can use a regular blender for this part too, just remember to be very careful and not over fill your blender. You'll have to work in batches.)
5. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste and Enjoy!
I add pepitats to the tops sometimes for an extra crunch. You could also put plain croutons on top too if you'd like. 

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Meal Plan Monthly: February 2016

How is the first week of February already almost over???? This week flew by faster than I had anticipated and I meant to have this post up earlier but I became an AUNT! and celebrated my wonderful husbands birthday so life took over :) So sorry it's a bit late but here is what we are having this month:

Chicken Recipes

Ham and Cheese Stuffed Chicken (we baked our instead of frying)
Grilled Chicken and Veggie Burritos (we add the grilled chicken into the burritos)
Coconut Chicken Strips
Chicken Quesadilla's with Bell Peppers
Greek Chicken and Homemade Pita (so good!!!)
Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Beef Recipes

Spaghetti and Meatballs (premade and frozen for a fast dinner)
Salisbury Steak
Beef Stroganoff 
Corned Beef and Sautéed Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts
Sloppy Joes
Mongolian Beef
Seven Layer Dip
Thai Marinaded Flap Steak (I use a similar marinade from this recipe)

Pork Recipes

Pork Chops with Apples
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Kalua Pork
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (using Kalua Pork Leftovers)
Breakfast Pizza (crust recipe with eggs, bacon and cheese on top: bake as crust recipe instructs)
What are you having this month? Please share in the comments below!!

If you are looking for more ideas or are interested in how I meal plan for a whole month, check out my Meal Planning page.
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