Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First grade spelling, writing and more for week 2

It just occurred to me yesterday that I don't have a spelling curriculum for my first grader.  I also feel like I need to work with her on her writing skills.  She seems a little paralyzed when I say, "write a sentence about...."  She doesn't know what to do with that.  She wants to be able to write things, and she writes words and phrases she knows how to spell, but when she doesn't know how to spell a word she wants help.  I want her to be able to cross over to writing things out even if she doesn't know how to spell it...just write how it sounds.  We've got some work to do.  So I called up a teacher friend of mine and she gave me some good ideas.  I also started a Pinterest search for some spelling word and writing ideas.  Here are a few spelling resources I found:
*  This link is awesome!!  It has 36 weeks worth of spelling lists.  There is also a link to a list of dictation sentences to use for each spelling test as well as a spelling activity sheet for each list.  And it's FREE!  Hello!  I think I'm going to go with this!
*  What a cute set of spelling lists!  It's theme based and apparently goes along with a curriculum they use in California.  Some of the words are "challenge" words to use with gifted students.  Another freebie!

There are lots more with cute little graphics, but many of them you have to pay for.  I can't help it...I'm cheap.  I like the free stuff ; ).

I've just scratched the surface with different writing activities, but I found this adorable (and free) writing activity that I think will be perfect for my first grader.  Another thing I loved was that it included a rubric, which I think will be helpful to me as I evaluate her writing.  There's a princess word bank with a little writing mini-book and a Star Wars word bank with a mini book to go with it.  Both are adorable!  Here is the link.  It's to a Teachers Pay Teachers page, but it's free to sign up and this is a free download.  Well worth the few minutes it takes to sign up.  Teachers Pay Teachers has some great little freebies and if you sign up for their newsletter, they'll often send you 10 freebies each month.

The writing activity on this blog post looks adorable!  Great for a winter day.  It's entitled "Loco for Cocoa"...and the way my kids love hot chocolate, this would be a hit!

This writing activity packet is so nice!  Right where my beginning writer I think I'll be printing several of these FREE sheets!  : )  

Another cute writing activity about ice cream that includes a rubric.  I really like having these free writing helps me to keep my girlie on track.  I've done a writing activity about ice cream before.  I used a poem by Shel Silverstein about ice cream and there are recipes out there for making homemade ice cream with ziplock baggies.  I did it during my student teaching but I used 2 different sized coffee cans instead of the baggies.  The kids were able to roll them across the floor....they thought it was so fun : ).  If you look at the writing activities this teacher has done on her blog...she has some GREAT ideas!  I was just skimming a few of her other ones and I am sure I'm going to try and use them.  I need to come up with a creative writing time in our school schedule.  I'll need the Lord's help because I feel like I struggle as it is to keep all the other subjects covered each day! : )

I'm sure there are a zillion writing activities out there, too.  But I thought these were some good ones!

Here are a few more Classical Conversations activities I ran across for this week.  Some look really fun.  I hope I can get to them all.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I am really loving this Medieval period study.  

* Another video on carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores....interesting but some of the background music was a little strange to me.
*A Lego video reenacting the Battle of Hastings (William the Conqueror).  The filming was a little jerky, but the kids enjoyed it.

I have lots more resources on my Pinterest board...I'd love for you to follow me!  (Stacey Daniel)

Hope you're all having a great week!  God bless~

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Planning for Cycle 2, week 2 and letter B...LOTS of resources!!

Oh my...this is a little overwhelming!  But FUN, too!  My inner teacher is cheering the tired Mommy on, because I know that my kids are going to benefit from all the hard work.  With my PreK guy, I wanted to move on to letter B...going in order is just easier for me.  He seems to be doing well with it, too, and my little class on Mondays did so great last week with letter A.  I hope the trend continues.  The key for me...plan activities in 10 minute or so segments.  That's about the limit for most 3-5 year olds.  When you see the glassy eyes and fidgeting, you know it's time to move on.  So you have to have LOTS of stuff to do, even for a 2 hour or so class time.  I also plan in some show and tell/free play time, just so they don't have to keep sitting down and paying attention.

With my cute little alphabet cards I printed last week, the letter B had "B is for bear", so I thought I'd go with that.  I have a lot of Eric Carle books, and my aunt (who is a wonderful Kindergarten teacher) gave my kids a homemade felt board, the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," and some felt pieces that matched the book for their birthday one year.  I thought that would be the perfect book for this week and a great way to tell the story.  I started my search (on Pinterest) for activities to go with this book.  There are SO many.  Here are some links to some things I thought would be fun:

*Here is a link to a free Brown Bear printables pack.  I heart freebies!
*This page has individual black and white or color printables for the characters in Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
*Oh, I LOVE this packet this teacher put together.  SO CUTE!  You do have pay for it, though, but it's only $1 on her Teachers Pay Teachers site.  Great deal!  I also got the idea for a retelling necklace on her site, so I was determined to find a freebie to use for it.
*Here is where I found my freebie sheet.  My son can color the picture and cut them out and we'll make a retelling necklace with it!
*Another activity I wanted to do was use the story and do an M&M sort with the colors of the characters, then do a graph.  I got the idea...and the free printables...from here.
*Hubbard's Cupboard has some good ideas to use with this book, too.
*This link is for things that have bears on it...specifically brown bears, but it's not necessarily connected with the book.
*Here's another link to different bear printables including a link for "Brown Bear, Brown Bear"
*Here is a letter B coloring page that has a boy and a barn on it...just to change things up a little bit.
*If you want to do the story, "Going on a Bear Hunt", here is a link to a pack of free printables.

There are SO many more activities out there.  This was just a few I found and liked.  Now on to our Classical Conversations stuff....
I had a little dilemma last week.  In my efforts to save money, I purchased used Classical Conversations materials (foundations guide and audio cd for cycle 2), and they were an older version.  Last year this was not a problem at all.  For Cycle 2, however, there are more changes and it was a little difficult for me to get it straight.  Particularly the Latin.  I've gotten some free Latin resources that I mentioned here, but I was still a little lost.  This video helped me out:

and then I found a few more helpful videos after I found this one.  I thought this video of the timeline song was pretty cool:

We're definitely going to use this!  I also found a video that covers all of the Cycle 2 Grammar stuff for weeks 1-24.  Yes!  This will definitely help me.  And the kids always respond well to visuals and catchy things.

On to William the Conqueror.  The kids really absorbed the stuff about Charlemagne last week.  I was really impressed...and I learned a lot, too!  I have a great set of posters I bought at the school supply store that is all about the Middle Ages.  It has one poster devoted to feudalism, so we'll look at that this week.  Here's the link to a YouTube video about the feudal system. It's very helpful and explains it well. It wouldn't let me embed it, so be sure to check it out.  Here is another great link to information about William the Conqueror and the feudal system with pictures.
More ideas:
*Here's a blog post about how this Mom made a Middle Ages lapbook.  This is the link to her Flicker pages that show all the things she did for the lapbook.  Looks so neat!
*The link to a William the Conqueror video on Youtube.  I haven't watched it yet, so I don't know what age is appropriate.  On the side you can see the links to part 2, part 3, etc.
*This blog post is definitely for grownups or older kids, but it has a good picture of the way the feudal system worked.
*Here is the link to a HUGE, FREE medieval pack of printables...geared towards ages 2-8.  I haven't looked at it yet, but I am!  I'm going to run out of ink SO FAST!
*This page is another great resource!!  Several links to different aspects of life in the Middle Ages...geared towards kids.
*BBC for kids looks like a good resource.  I haven't explored it yet, but the headings look like things that would connect with what we're studying this year.  I'm not sure if there's anything about William the Conqueror.

On to Science.  We're learning about the 3 types of consumers...carnivore, omnivore and herbivore.  Here's a video to go with that:

For English grammar: pronouns.  Here is a picture of a pronoun chart.

I haven't done well with the fine arts.  We're supposed to be studying drawing.  I'm going to try this project with to draw a dandelion.  Looks like something she would enjoy doing.  And I might try this one with to draw a dragon.  But, of course, they can do whichever one they like : ).

And that, my friends, is all this girl has time to put together!  Honestly, this is really helpful for me...sort of an online lesson plan.  I can just go to this during the week and look up stuff and it's all in one place.  Hope it helps you!

God bless~

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More Cycle 2, Week 1 resources

We're over halfway through our homeschool week and I'm continuing to run across some great resources for our school time.  I really wanted to share!

We've been focusing on the Armor of God for our Bible time, since we're trying to focus on Ephesians 6 this year.  I thought these coloring pages with the verses on them were PERFECT!  The boy and girl picture links are both on this blog page and are free!  They are also dressed sort of medieval, so that goes right along with our studying medieval history this year.  Awesome.  I've seen this floating around on I'm glad I checked it out.

We have also been playing our "Kingdom Chronicles" Vacation Bible School cd from earlier this summer.  I LOVE these songs an they fit right in with Ephesians 6 AND the medieval theme.  It's so neat how God puts these things together!  Here is a youtube video of "The Battle" song we've been listening to every day:

In the subject area of biomes, I found several links to some neat sites that some of you might enjoy.  One that I used today with my kids is the National Geographic page on biomes.  It explains what a biome is and gives some neat pictures of some animals in different parts of the world.  The pictures are great.  It would be nice if I could find some videos that showed some of the same things.

This page from Kids Konnect also has some info on biomes as well as several links to other fun sites.

I don't know if any of you have ever tried Brain Pop, but it is a lot of fun.  They have some great little cartoons that are funny and educational.  Way back when I first started teaching, my students and I discovered it and loved it...and fortunately it was free.  Then the price started going up, up, and up.  Now you can still see a few free ones and of course, you can pay to subscribe.  They do have a biomes video, but you have to subscribe to watch it.  But I did want to give you the heads up because I think they do have a few freebies for each subject area and it's worth checking out.

I think that's about it for now.  I really LOVE our Cycle 2 flip book that I've been using that is created by Melody Stroud at the blog And Here We Go!.  She has a page on CC Connected that I think has it there.  She also has TONS of great resources and links to other great resources on her blog.  

Hope this helps some of you and hope you have a great first week!  God bless!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cycle we come!

I'm up really late right now because....I've been on cold meds for the past couple of days and I think they're keeping me up.  So...I've been working on tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the big day.  My Sophie starts 1st grade and my I-Man starts PreK.  Oh, the adventure we're going to have! ; )  I will begin this post with a shout-out to those parents and teachers who put together amazing blogs and resources for so many of us to enjoy.  There's no way I could mention them all, but I am VERY grateful for you!!  I would like to share, in a small way, what we are going to be working on this week and some of the resources I was able to pull together.  I hope it makes sense.  I still haven't figured out how to put pictures of internet pages up here on the there may just be some links and pictures for now.  Hope it helps!

We will be following Classical Conversations' memory work this year and adding on some other things with it.  I am so excited about all of the fun things the kids are going to be learning.  I'm also teaching the 3-5 year olds in our weekly homeschool get-together.  I am planning to do a letter with them each week and fun activities connected to each letter.  Let's start with that...

Here are some ADORABLE alphabet cards that I just printed off for Isaac and his friends to use.  I probably just used up a bunch of my color ink, but oh well!

Here is the link to these fun little cards.  You do have to sign up (for free) and get a membership to this site.  You are allowed 3 free downloads a month (I think that's what it said), but I really just wanted these.  They'll be perfect for reviewing and trying out some games with the kids.

These cards are bigger (4 to a page as opposed to 6) and also include 2 cards per letter.  They are adorable!  They are also free.  Just go to this site and you can follow the link on her blog to print them out.  So worth the ink I just used up! ; )

Because we are doing letter A, I thought it would be fun to do an apple theme.  I already had some apple punch outs that I used for counting, so we're going to go on a "apple hunt" and try to make a graph afterwards.  But I was able to get a ton of good ideas from this blog post on the blog, Oopsey Daisy.  This chick is amazing.  There are SO many good ideas of all kinds on this blog, but her "Mommy School" posts and packets are out of sight.  The "A is for Apples" packet is the one I used for this week and look forward to using more!

I am also planning on reading "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein to the class.  It goes right along with the apple theme.  I also have an apple peeler/corer/slicer.  I thought we could make some "apple sandwiches"....round apple slices with peanut butter between.  My kids always enjoy the crazy looking contraption that peels, cores, and slices the apples, so I think it'll be fun.

Our Classical Conversations topics for this week include Charlemagne.  I don't know a whole lot about him, so I went searching (starting with Pinterest) from some ideas.  I was able to find the site Middle Ages for Kids.  The link I just gave you should go directly to the info on Charlemagne.  We'll probably watch this video:

and/or this one:

We are also learning about biomes.  I printed these cute little matching cards from this blog.  I believe you do have to pay for the rest of the packet, but the creator of it offered the matching cards for free (thank you!!).  There is also a free biomes map with several cards you can pin onto the map here.

Latin is also on the schedule.  On the blog Sola Gratia Mom, she has offered a free file folder review thing and some pronunciation cards here.  I am honestly in awe of this lady and so many others.  Where do they find the time?  Praise the Lord that they do because I am so thankful for these wonderful resources!!

Well, this is just scratching the surface.  We have other subjects we're covering with our first grader, but I believe my energy is running out!  The alarm clock is going to be going off early in the morning!  : )  Hope this helps some of you.

God bless!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eating Eggless...with a recipe!

A few weeks ago I took my youngest guy to get allergy tested.  He's had long bouts of ecsema (sp?) along with ear and sinus issues.  Honestly, he had started getting better so I thought maybe the testing wasn't necessary.  I really don't like to put them through medical procedures if it isn't necessary.  But after talking with my husband about it, we decided it would be good to know if he had any issues.  I'm SO glad we did!
The results: little man is highly allergic to eggs!  He's also allergic to dogs and cats as well as peanuts.  That was just round one of testing.  There may be more before it's over with.  But eggs?  I had no idea.  I bake with eggs, I'm sure some of his medicines or shots had egg derivatives in them...I've even given him scrambled eggs!  Thankfully he never cared for them, so I didn't really fix them for him very often.  So I've been on a mission to figure out how to adapt.  Pinterest has been VERY helpful!

There are plenty of other charts and things that are available, but so far I've just been using 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for 1 egg.  It's worked great!  I've used it in muffins, pancakes, and my zucchini bread recipe.  Here is a recipe I have tried recently that is healthy and delicious.  A friend of mine made it for us while we were visiting her and we all loved it!  I believe she told me she adapted it from Joy the Baker's recipe.  I'll put the original recipe and in parenthesis I'll put my adaptations.
Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins
Makes 12-15 muffins
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur's White Wheat)
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I didn't have any, so I just used regular milk)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil (I used coconut oil)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I used another 1/3 cup of applesauce)
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen....I used fresh)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Or you could grease and flour the muffin pan.  In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg (or substitute).  Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture.  Stir until just moist.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 16-18 minutes.
These muffins are hearty and not overly sweet.  The blueberries add little bursts of flavor.  No one said anything about them not being sweet fact, they were gone within 24 hours!  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reviewer's Bookshelf: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers to give an unbiased review.* 

It's the late 19th century, and Chicago is booming.  Mollie Knox is the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company and is determined to keep her father's dream alive by producing the most beautiful handmade watches.  She's also determined that no matter what, she will provide jobs and security for the veterans of the 57th that fought with her father in the Civil War.  When the Great Chicago Fire destroys the city, Mollie's life is turned upside down.  As she fights for her life and livelihood, Zack Kazmarek is there by her side.  But up to this point, Mollie has only seen Zack as the intimidating attorney that acts on behalf of one of Chicago's biggest department stores.  When Zack reveals his heart to Mollie, she is swept into a whirlwind...and Zack is a powerful force. As events unfold and Mollie learns other aspects of her dealings with Zack and the veterans of the 57th swoop in to rescue Mollie's beloved watch company, will business or love guide her heart?

I'm a big Elizabeth Camden fan.  First of all, her characters are so well developed, interesting, and even cultural.  They are not flawless, though, which is another thing I like.  Camden's female characters show a lot of strength and determination, often in the midst of adversity and danger.  Her male characters usually have strength...often physical...but in most of her books they have overcome poverty or hardship and risen above it.  In at least two of her books, the male character also has an interesting ethnic background that is infused into his story.  This is definitely the case in Into the Whirlwind.  Mollie is smart, determined, and she won't back down from a challenge.  Zack is from a Polish background, so his parents and their culture are a big part of his story.  He also came from humble beginnings, working his way up from nothing to being one of the most powerful attorneys in Chicago.  These are all things I liked about the story.  I enjoyed the backdrop of this story being the Chicago Fire, as I didn't know much about it beforehand.  The only thing I didn't like about the story was in the first third of it, specifically in the romantic aspect.  I felt like it was just too easy for Zack to be so head over heels for Mollie. I know his feelings for her had been brewing for a long time, but we come into the story after he'd known of her for quite a while.  Even though I love a good romance, I got a little bored, to be honest.  But then the story took a few unexpected turns, and I definitely wasn't bored anymore : ).  I liked the change in pace.  I liked Zack's persona...very masculine and yet made himself vulnerable to Mollie.  Even though Mollie said things she regretted and struggled with a strong need for structure in her life, it wasn't irritating.  I thought those aspects of her character were believable and dealt with well.  Overall, I enjoyed the book . Even though the ending/epilogue didn't give me the closure I really wanted, I can still say that it was a good read.  However, I don't think I can say that I enjoyed it more than Against the Tide, which is probably my favorite Elizabeth Camden novel.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I Am Second

Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you.
The authentic stories on provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. 
You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.

I was first exposed to I Am Second at church.  One of the testimonies was played on our big screen and I was intrigued.  Shortly afterwards I went onto the website and watched testimony after testimony and was so encouraged...and see people from different walks of life take the time to share about Christ and his role in their lives.  When I had the opportunity to share about this on my blog, I jumped at the chance!  These testimonies are powerful and glorify the Lord.  Some of those who are testifying include: Scott Hamilton (athlete), LeCrae (Christian rap artist), Albert Pujols (athlete), Mike Huckabee (politician), Michelle Aguilar (Biggest Loser winner) and Jason Castro (American Idol contestant).  I could honestly spend all day just watching these videos.  Here are just a few:

Pretty incredible, right?!  There are so many more, too.  You should definitely check it out.

About: Seconds Change
Give Change, Make Change- Many more stories are waiting to be told.  You can help.  Commit $2 every Tuesday to build film funds, and your contribution will be used to develop, produce and promote new films. Join the project and become an I am Second insider with access to exclusive content via Facebook.

More Resources: 

And what about you?  Do you have a moment where Christ broke through and changed you?  I do.  When I was 9 years old, I spoke a simple prayer and surrendered my life to Christ.  As a young child it was hard to see a drastic change in my life, but  even then God was at work in my heart.  He prompted me to tell others about what He had done for me on the cross.  He gave me a desire to study His word and hide it in my heart.  There have been times over the years that I have not listened to the Holy Spirit and did things that pleased me, but He has always been faithful to work in my heart.  I have never regretted turning back to Him, repenting, and walking in the path He has set before me.  I am so thankful for His faithfulness, provision, and love for me.  I was listening to this song in the car the other day and it really spoke to me.  I think it does a great job of expressing what Christ has done in my life and what He can do in yours.

God bless~

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Free books and Bibles!

Hey friends....
I have just recently signed up for Tyndale Publishers rewards program and I wanted to tell you about it. First of all, I have really enjoyed doing review programs for different Christian product companies!  I have been really impressed with the quality of the products and like the fact that I have things I can give away to YOU!  This rewards program is EASY to sign up for and earning points is easy, too. It also gives you lots of opportunities to build your own personal library or have nice gifts for friends and family.

The Tyndale Rewards program is designed to provide you with opportunities to get books and Bibles for zero dollars. That’s right—F. R. E. E. As a member of the Tyndale Rewards program, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more.
Other member incentives include a free gift on your birthday, along with opportunities to share your personal recommendations and feedback concerning Tyndale products. The more participation you have with the program, the more points you earn—and points translate into free stuff!
The Tyndale Rewards program is a great way to get free books and Bibles that you can keep for yourself or give to friends and family. Your journey to earning free faith-based products is here!
Redeeming Points...
Log in to your account on to see how many points you have collected in your account. Next, browse the product available for redemption. If you find a product you like and you have accumulated enough points, click the “Redeem” button.
Your Points will never expire!
And here is the link you can use to sign up:

Here's a link to a video describing how it works:

It took me a few minutes to sign up and a few more minutes to earn 40 points!  It doesn't take much to earn enough for a free product, either.

Not only does your sign up help YOU to earn free stuff, but it will also help me!  From now until August 30th, the more people I have to sign up with the special code I gave you will give me an opportunity to win a Kindle Fire HD!!  I would really love the opportunity to have this for my kiddos to use.

Thanks for reading and please check out Tyndale Rewards!
God bless!