Today's Wisdom

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Grocery Budget Update

Well, we are over again.  Not by much though and it was kind of planned so that's counts for something, right?!

Monthly Budget - $500.00
Amount Spent -   $546.34
Over By -             $46.34

So, on to a new month!  I can't believe it is so close to June! Since we homeschool, our monthly grocery budget stays the same because nothing changes.  :)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Build Your Bundle Coming Soon - Homeschool Edition

Coming this summer will be a new build your own bundle sale!  Right now, you can join the promotion/affiliate team. 

I've only joined one bundle sale before but one on homeschooling is totally up my alley!

Click the banner below for more information!

*This is my affiliate link.  I would love for you to join me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Micro Business For Teens

Micro Business for Teens Review
I can't believe that we now have 2 teens in our house!  Life is definitely changing for us and for them as well.  When we received Micro Business For Teens, I knew I wanted my then 15 year old, Jonathan, to start it first.  He is now 16 years old.

We received Starting a Micro BusinessRunning a Micro Business, and the Micro Business for Teens Workbook in Ebook format to review.  These books are recommended for ages 10-18.  

So, what is a Micro Business?  They are usually small home based businesses that are easy to start and have very low economical risk such as babysitting, yard maintenance, website design, etc.

As a parent, I have always wanted to teach my children to have a good work ethic no matter what they are doing.  Jonathan has been cutting grass for his grandmother since he was 13 and she was his 1st employer. If the job wasn't done right, his pay was affected.  So, he already had a foot in the door for a micro business but Micro Business For Teens really taught him how to take it a step further.  I read along with him and learned so much for myself as well.  I'm always looking for extra income for our family and a micro business sounds like a great fit for stay at home moms too!

The three books we reviewed and details of each were:

1.  Starting a Micro Business
    Micro Business for Teens Review
    Paperback $9.95
    Ebook (pdf) $4.95
    Kindle $4.95
    60 pages
In this book you will learn exactly what a micro business is and you are given a few ideas of actual micro businesses.  This book really makes your teen think about the advantages of a micro business but also helps them to foresee any pitfalls that may happen.  They will learn how to write their own business plan, gain encouragement on how to start a business with minimal debt, learn how to calculate their start up costs and so much more. Scattered throughout the text are examples of true life examples of students who have started their own micro businesses successfully.  In fact, a whole chapter is filled with websites your student can visit to help them get started.  Overall, this book gives lots of encouragement and practical steps for your teen to begin their own micro business including scripture quotes.   Jonathan found it very encouraging and a great guide to assist him in growing his business.  

2.  Running a Micro Business
Micro Business for Teens Review
Paperback $9.95
Ebook (pdf) $4.95
Kindle $4.95
80 pages

In this book, your teen will learn more about business concepts.  They will learn about sales presentation, marketing, record keeping, time management, legal names, and more.  Included are websites on starting your own blog, newsletter, ezines, etc.  It is full of information on how to run your own business.  It's like a mini business manual!  

This book contains some of the same information that I was taught while taking a small business and tax course at our community college! The price is incomparable for all the information and concepts you are taught!

    Micro Business for Teens Review

Paperback $14.95
Ebook (pdf) $9.95

102 pages

This book is where you will find all of your student sheets for Starting a Micro Business and Running a Micro Business.  I really liked having the PDF copies so that we could print out what we wanted.  

Here is sample sheet where Jonathan practiced filling in an invoice for his micro business (please excuse the boy craziness).  This was a pretend invoice but his rates were what he would normally charge and it was fun to see he included a large yard and a small yard in the fees.

I look forward to going through this curriculum with all my children!  They saw him filling out the invoice and have already been talking about what businesses they can start too!

Be sure to visit the teacher's resource section at Micro Business For Teens which includes videos, podcasts, a free teacher's guide and lots of other goodies to help you.

Other Places To Find Micro Business for Teens

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap - Only 1 Week of Regular School Left!

In my life this week…
We had a full week!  Our homeschool group had it's annual promotion/graduation ceremony which is always so beautiful.  I always get teary eyed watching everyone move up and we had a record number of graduates this year - 5!  I can't imagine how I'll be when my own graduate.  I need to stock up on kleenex now!  

I also had a Mom's Night Out with a great group of ladies in which we went to see Mom's Night Out.  It was so good and so funny!  If you are like me, you will laugh and cry.  I think all mom's need to see it!  It was also co-directed and produced by a homeschooler!

Pre-recital time is in full swing so we're practicing our hair and make-up routine for Sarah.  

In our homeschool this week…
We are completing things fast!  Next week, we finish our regular school.  We still have end of year testing and some review items but our regular school will be through.  Bring on Summer!  Summer is just as much for me as is my kids!!

Weigh In
I finally saw a loss - 2.6 pounds for a total of 22 pounds - woohoo!  

I'm cooking
I haven't cooked much at all this week.  We've had our quick meal menu in place which includes eggs, cereal, sandwiches, and pasta.

There's our short recap of the week!  What's happening with you?  Do you school through the summer?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review of Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum

Here is our review of  Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum by Golden Prairie Press.

Golden Prairie Press Review
Can I tell you a secret?  I use to hate History!  Until we began homeschooling, I despised history.  It was so BORING.  Just reading and reading and questions and questions.  I could not stand it.  Homeschooling opened up a whole new world of history for me.  I learned that hands on history was how I learned history best.  I've also found that to be true for my children as well - all 3!

Amy Puetz, a homeschool graduate, is the author and owner of Golden Prairie Press.  She has provided a wonderful homeschool history curriculum in Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum that contains all you need to teach your children - hands on history!  Their slogan is "History at it's Best!" and I would agree.

You can purchase the printed edition or the digital edition - both are the same price of $98.99 but you will have to pay shipping prices for the printed edition.  Both are available for purchase online here.

We reviewed the digital edition of Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum which you can immediately download on your computer and includes:
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 ebook
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 ebook
  • Historical Skits ebook
  • Additional Materials Downloads CD
  • Sing Some History CD
  • Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 CD
This is ideal for grades 1-6, but can be used with older ages.

Golden Prairie Press Review
The curriculum is broken into 30 weeks with 5 lessons per week and takes you through American History from The Period of Discovery to The Administrations of Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.  You can see an outline of the entire book here.  

Each lesson is divided into 2 sections.  The 1st section is for grades 1-2, and contains a basic overview of the history lesson. The 2nd section is for grades 3rd-6th, and contains more advanced information about the history lesson. 
Each day also contains an activity.  Some activities require more effort than others but really help bring the stories to life. You can easily pick and choose which activities you would like to complete.  Leaving activities out is completely okay.  It's not necessary to do them all.  I'm really saying that to myself.

Activities include:
  • Examining Historical Art
  • Games of the Past
  • Cook Up Some History
  • Sing Some History
  • Listen to Some History
  • Crafts
  • Experiments
Each lesson also includes comprehension questions and answers for the teacher at the end of the book.

Each week a Bible memory verse is given and scattered throughout the lessons are writing topics, maps, timeline activities,and geography questions.  

Literature Selections for 5th and 6th grades are included in the lessons but you will need to purchase these literature books separately if you would like to use this portion. The books can also be used as read alouds for younger students. It is a great addition but it is optional.
  • Ten Great Adventurers by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
  • Ten Girls from History by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
  • Heroines of the Past: Bible Study by Amy Puetz (see our review of this here)
  • Two Little Americans in Spanish California by Frances Margaret Fox
  • Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott
There is an additional recommended resource section at the end of each unit as well that help expand the lessons even further.

How We Used This Curriculum
We normally have a 4 day school week so I just mark the lessons off as we go.  I printed out the Table of Contents page and as we complete a lesson, I put a red check mark by it letting me know that lesson has been completed.  You can find a complete copy of the Table of Contents and Introduction here.

I say that to let you know that you don't have to follow the 5 lesson per week set up.  It will take longer than 30 weeks to complete that way but I love all the extras and I need to take my time to make sure I get those in.  I know that's not the route for everyone but that's one of the great things about this curriculum - flexibility to do as much or as little as you want.  I love curriculum that goes above and beyond so I can pick and choose what's important for our family!

I used Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum with my 5th and 7th grader and felt that it was a perfect fit for both ages.  It included so many choices for activities that it was easy for me to pick an activity to match each child's ability and yet we still were using the same curriculum and studying the same history lesson.  I always love curriculum that combines grades because it makes teaching simpler for me.

One of our favorite activities was studying the Historical Art selections which include questions to help examine the picture and answers in the back of the book.  Scroll down to this bottom of this sample to see the Historical Art selection and questions.  Our edition was in color.  

Here we are making canoes as an activity.  Also included was a recipe for homemade play dough but we used some clay that we already had on hand.
Some coloring activities are included but I would definitely consider purchasing the optional coloring book that goes along with each lesson if you have a student like mine who loves to color!  Here my daughter is coloring Christopher Columbus' Coat of Arms that was included with the curriculum.
We would highly recommend this curriculum to you!  You can also see what my fellow crewmates thought and how they used it by clicking the banner below.  You can also find Golden Prairie Press on facebook.
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - The One Where Things are STILL changing!

In my life this week…
As I type this my son will be completing his 1st official week of work - and he has put in 40 hours!!  It is so weird to have him driving and now working right on top of it.  Yep, another phase has hit our homeschool.

I know a lot of men who don't work 40 hours a week so to say that I am proud is an understatement.  It's a lot but it shows me what he's made of!  He's tired but he has pushed through.  He will need to have his hours adjusted. In reality, that's a whole lot of hours for a 16 year old still trying to push through school as well.

In our homeschool this week…
The countdown for summer has begun!  We will still be doing reviews and having some fun school but the structure school will be out the door.  :)

Weigh In
I'm the same weight and wanting to eat everything in sight!  I need to get back on track before there is a gain.

I'm cooking

Here's a recipe for our favorite chicken pot pie.  It's total comfort food!

Happy Mother's Day to you all!  There's no job in the world more rewarding than that!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Maestro Classics Stories in Music

Maestro Classics Review

I've been a fan of Maestro Classics since our first review product of Peter and the Wolf.  

We recently reviewed 2 more of their stories set to music. We enjoyed My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  We received the CD version of these stories but they are also available in MP3 download formats.  

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Recommended for ages 6+ and families
Can be purchased here for $16.98 plus shipping

Maestro Classics Review

On this CD, you will listen to the timeless tale of The Sorcerer's Apprentice made famous by Disney.  It's the tale of a lazy apprentice who gets into a bit of trouble when he tries to use his master's spell instead of doing his chores himself.  Included on the CD is the narrated version as well as the original version with no narration.  The CD has 7 tracks and a playing time of 41 minutes and 24 seconds.  

The tracks included are:

1. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
2. About the Story
3. March of the Brooms
4. About the Music
5. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - original version
6. Prepare to Perform
7. Play Along for Kitchen Percussion

In this video, you can see us having a blast with a little Kitchen Percussion.

You can listen to a sample of each track here.  Included with the purchase of the CD is a 24 page booklet that contains historical and timeline facts of the story, the poem, and the music, sheet music, a biography of the composer, apprentice game, crossword, dot to dot, and lots more.

My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music

Recommended for ages 5+ and families
Can be purchased here for $16.98 plus shipping

Maestro Classics Review

On this CD, you will follow the story of the Baroque Period composer, George Frideric Handel, while listening to some of his famous compositions. You will hear about his story and journey through his life to find out how he became one of England's greatest composers although he was born in Germany.  It is a wonderful story of his intellect, courage, creativity, and The Story of Water Music.  Terms like overtures, oratorio, sonata, suite, concerto, concerto grosso and so many more will be explained as well as samples played to help solidify what you've learned.  This CD has 6 tracks with a total playing time of 48 minutes and 45 seconds.

The tracks included are:

1.  The Story of Water Music
2. About Handel and the Story
3. "My Name is Handel" Song
4. About the Music with the Maestro
5. Prepare to Perform
6. "My Name is Handel" Sing Along 

You can hear samples of each track here.  Also included with the CD is a 24 page booklet containing sheet music, important churches in London, the orchestra in Handel's time, the history of the harpsichord and organ, and lots more.

The website also has so much to offer to enhance the CD. They have Educational Materials which include Homeschool Music Curriculum Guides turning each CD into a complete Unit Study including Geography, History, Science, Language Arts, Math, Art, and Music.  These guides are available for free and such a wonderful addition to your stories in music.  Under the Education Materials tab, you will also find sheet music, home projects, lapbooks and more for each CD.

We listened to about 15 minutes each day and added in a few of the activities listed in the Homeschool Music Curriculum Guides.  As a child, I never listened to any classical music or studied any composers at all.  It's fun to listen and study about these composers and see just how much they have influenced theater and TV today and realize that I was listening to famous works and I didn't even know it!

One of our favorite ways to listen to the CD is with lights off and eyes closed.  We try to imagine our own stories as we listen.  Another favorite way for us to listen is to draw while listening.

We think these CD's are well worth their cost especially for families trying to incorporate classical music into their curriculum.  It's great for parents who have no background in classical music studies as well.  The style is presented simply and easy to understand.  I learned so much!

Other places you can find Maestro Classics

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - The One Where Life is Changing!

In my life this week…
It was celebration time!! 

our 17th anniversary  

Our 1st born's 16th birthday!!!

He got his license - yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

The Prom

OK, so I wasn't his date but I loved that picture!  :)

Here is his friend date

Beach Trip - Currituck Lighthouse

God's Beautiful Ocean and His Children

Jockey's Ridge

Mini Golf Fun

Wright Brother's Museum

In all that celebrating, we did have a little scare last week.  Stephen took a pretty hard hit to the chest and it kept bothering so we took him to the doctor.  We found out he has a heart murmur which we think now was totally unrelated but involved some unknown time and many tests.  Praise God, he is now doing great and can resume normal activities which include - more soccer.  :)

In our homeschool this week…

We finished up our Spring Break this week but we completed a few days of school first.  

Weigh In
Down another .5 making it 20.5 pounds lost!  Vacation brought along many extra calories - good thing for all that walking!