Monday, October 12, 2020

Awakening Wonder {Review}


Sally Clarkson's latest book, Awakening Wonder, deals with inspiring your children toward unlocking the beauty in learning.  She shares her personal experiences as a homeschooler in a deeply vulnerable way, sharing both the triumphs and the areas where she sometimes fell short.  Clarkson says she hopes that this book will be a help to all parents, but as a homeschooling mom, I will attest that it is sometimes hard to separate the two roles and this book comes off as directed more toward homeschoolers.  Still there is a lot to be gleaned from this book, including:
    *"What we need to do is provide them (children) with excellent food for thought as well as superior resources, giving them personal attention, asking questions, letting them ask questions, and providing lots of interactive time."

    *"Capturing their (children's) heart with an imagination of why character is important is our goal.  one who has grasped a vision for why character matters will be much more likely to pursue what is right than one who is just living by an arbitrary rule."

    *"Stick close to your teens; tell them how much you like them and try to mean it.  They will soon be entering an adult world filled with challenges, temptations, loneliness, work to master, and adult responsibility."

I have so many notes from this book; it would be impossible to include all of them.  Starting homeschool this fall has been a daunting task considering all that's happening in the world.  But I found Clarkson's book to be challenging and encouraging.  Her writing style feels like speaking with a gentle mentor and my biggest takeaway was a quiet reminder that parenting and homeschooling is a reflection of my own heart.  And it requires growth on my part in order to raise healthy, strong children.  For the homeschool mom needing an encouraging read,  Awakening Wonder should be on your to read list.

*Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Unafraid {Review}

Traveling through life, it can often feel like we're doing it all alone.  But God is with us every step the way.  This Unafraid devotional features more than 120 readings along with prayers and Scripture selections encouraging readers to develop a personal one on one time with the creator.  The readings focuse on finding peace in your relationship with the Lord and developing an unwavering courage to face life.

2020 has been a year of challenges and unpredectible events.  It's been a year where fear has run rampant.  If there's ever been a time that we've needed courage, it's today.  While reading through this devotional, I was reminded that fear doesn't come from the Lord.  The author keeps pointing it all back to God and how He walks with us through every situation.  This devotional was a timely and encouraging read. 

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Our 2020 Summer Bucket List

June is here and the temperatures are rising.  The kids and I sat down to work out our summer bucket list and discovered this summer is going to be unlike any we've ever experienced.  Although we're still hoping to do lots of swimming, a lot of our outside activities have been cancelled.  That challenged us to get creative and think of some simpler ideas to keep us busy over the summer.  In case you're looking for ideas to help your kids stay busy, here's what we have planned:

Play with Perler Beads
Go on Bike Rides
Play in Sprinklers
Slip N Slide
Have a Talent Show
Learn some ASL
Watch the sun rise
Go to the beach
Hike Crystal Creek Falls
Tie Dye T-Shirts
Go hiking
Hike Whiskeytown Falls
Start Sourdough
Star Gaze
Watch Fireworks
Read Vanderbeeks of 141st St
Go to Icee Shack
Make Homemade Ice Cream
Make Bead and Bell Wind Chimes
Rainbow Loom bracelets
Butterfly Origami
National Geographic Heads Up
Start a Baking Business
Make Friendship Bracelets
Learn some Digital Photography
Attend Online VBS
Practice Multiplication
Build a Solar Oven
Visit a Splash Pad
Have a Water Fight
Go to the Lake
Sew Felt Friends
Make Amish Friendship Bread
Read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Paint a Rainbow Tree
Complete the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading
Make Safety Pin Bracelets
Take Swim Lessons
Have a Picnic at the Dam
Roll Candles
Make Origami Stars
Read Letter from Rifka
Go Camping
Work on  Creative Kids Cooking Challenge
Make Sugar Cone Parafaits
Do an Egg Drop
Review the Books of the Bible
Go Fishing
Complete the Library Summer Reading
Paint Rocks

What would you add to the list?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Ocean Anatomy {Review]

Julia Rothman's Anatomy series takes a deep dive with this latest addition: Ocean Anatomy.  From the shoreline, to the layers of the ocean, to all its various inhabitants, Ocean Anatomy takes its readers on a delightful journey of discovery.  A wonderful mix of colorful illustrations, informational diagrams, and engaging content, Rothman's newest book has something for everyone.

I've never had the privilege of owning one of Rothman's books so I wasn't sure what to expect.  But Ocean Anatomy blew away any preconceived ideas I had.  Although marketed as a children's book, this latest additional would surely appeal to audiences of all ages.  The informational goes beyond introductory without being overwhelming, and the illustrations are a mix of whimsy and scientific accuracy.  This would make a wonderful addition to any home library, with particular appeal to homeschooling families.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Writing Wild {Review}

In this book, author Kathryn Aalto celebrates 25 women writers who have contributed to our understanding of the natural world.  Scholars, conservationists, essay writers, explorers and more... each of these women have added to our connection with nature in their own unique ways through hundreds of years of history.  Part biography, part travel essay, Writing Wild guides the reader through the lives of these writers and the legacy they left behind, and encourages the next generation of women to continue.

Writing Wild introduced me to a whole new genre.   Many of these female writers were new to me, although some I'd met in history before.  Still Aalto does a wonderful job of adding the details needed to see them as whole women and their unique place in literature.  Aalto does a wonderful job of introducing the environment in which each of these writers would have been immersed.  She takes the reader on a journey of highlighting each woman's contributions to history while allowing their own voices to shine through.  Writing Wild would make a delightful read for anyone interested in women's history, or environmental issues.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.  

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Accordionly {Review}

Accordionly is the story of a little boy who loves and celebrates his culture.  His Abuelo plays an accordion in a mariachi band and his Opa plays the accordion in a polka band.  This little boys loves to hear his grandfathers play, but when the grandparents are together, they don't know how to communicate.  Can the little boy teach them to connect without words?

This sweet picture book is all about music, family, and communicating from the heart.  At the end of the day, the two grandfathers are more alike than different and it's music that brings them together.  I loved the focus on mixed culture, as well as the colorful illustrations.  This would make a fun read aloud book for the preschool years.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Gold Rush Girl {Review}

Adventurous Victoria Blaisdell sees her chance for a new life when her father decides to sail to California in search of gold.  Disguised as a boy, Tori boards the boat and hides until they are well on their way.  Upon arriving in California, she realizes that she may have left Rhode Island, but her father's idea of who she is still remains.  As he leaves for the gold fields, Tori is left to mind her brother and keep house, once again.  Determined to have her own adventure, Victoria finds a job and quickly makes herself at home in San Francisco.  But one night her younger brother doesn't return.  Rumors of kidnappers quickly follow.  Tori and her friends are left with no choice, but to find him on their own.  Will Victoria rise to the occasion as a heroine?  

Set during the Gold Rush of 1894, Gold Rush Girl is filled with details and adventure that quickly draw the reader in.  There is so much to like about this book.  Tori is a strong female character.  She embraces the unknown and refuses to be underestimated.  She's a good friend and empathetic toward others.  Further more, she becomes aware of her own shortcomings.  Not in a way that belittles her strong character, but rather supplies depth to who she is and shows the even with shortcomings, the reader doesn't need to back down.  But rather grow.  All this wrapped into one and set during one of the most exciting times in history?  Yep, Gold Rush Girl definitely deserves a read... and a second... and a third.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Being Known {Review}

Being Known is the story of Jennalyn, a mother of two grieving the loss of her own mom.  Her husband, Joel, is struggling to balance family and a start up business, leaving Jennalyn lost in a sea of emotions.  An unexpected encounter with an old flame also has her feeling confused and vulnerable.  Although committed to her marriage, Jennalyn finds her heart quickly entangled.  Can Joel and Jennalyn find their way back to each other before it's too late?

The second book in the Haven Makers series, Being Known follows the group of five women... supporting each other through the ups and downs of life.  Unlike the first book (Becoming Us), this book follows the life of a new character.  The other four women have storylines in this book as well, but all are secondary to Jennalyn and Joel's life, allowing the reader to know them better.  Their struggle and emotions feel authentic, and it's easy to fall in love with the characters.

My biggest struggle with Being Known is that the issues are too easily resolved.  Although Jennalyn's struggle with her emotions is very real, once she and Jowl communicate these issues seem to melt away almost too nicely.  Being Known is a nice light read for a relaxing weekend.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

50+ Titles for Family Movie Night

For years, our family has done a weekly Family Movie Night.  This tradition started back when we had littles and my husband working nights.  Every Friday morning when he'd get off work, he'd take a couple hour nap and then try to readjust his internal clock for the weekend.  By Fridays, I was also tired of chasing two very active littles and just needed a moment where we were all sitting down together.  Thus our Friday night tradition was born.  Over the years, the kids have come to know the routine... always homemade pizza, always popcorn, and a movie for us all to enjoy.  Having a wide range of ages, it can be tough to find something that appeals to everyone, but the following is a list of 50+ parent approved movies for early elementary (some lower) on up through middle school.  As always use your own judgment based on your family values, but we've found this list to be mostly clean and suitable for those ages.  Enjoy!

*The Adventures of Milo and Otis
*Adventures of the Wilderness Family
*Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
*The Aristocats
*Because of Winn-Dixie
*The Black Stallion
*Cheaper by the Dozen (old and new)
*City of Ember
*Cool Runnings
*Daddy Day Care
*Finding Nemo
*The Game Plan
*Girl of the Limber-lost
*The Greatest Showman
*The Herbie Movies
*High School Musical
*The Incredible Journey
*The Invention of Hugo Cabret
*Little Women
*The Mandie Movies
*Mary Poppins
*Mr. Popper's Penguins
*My Big Fat Greek Wedding
*Night at the Museum
*Nim's Island
*The Parent Trap (old is our favorite)
*Pippi Longstockings
*The Queen of Katwe
*Return to Me
*Robin Hood (Disney)
*Sarah, Plain and Tall
*The Secret Garden
*The Sign of the Beaver
*The Silver Skates
*The Original Star Wars
*Sound of Music
*Snowball Express
*Stuart Little
*The Swiss Family Robinson
*The Ugly Duschund
*We Bought a Zoo (some mild language)
*Wizard of Oz
*Yours, Mine, and Ours (old and new)

What would you add to the list?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

32 Indoor Toddler Activities

*Originally posted on 1/13/16. Reposted to be helpful while we're all quarantined.  Enjoy!

Winter is in full swing.  And with that comes, cold weather.  Even in a mild climate like where we live, this particular winter has been bitterly cold. So with this colder weather, we are spending more time indoors and I'm looking for more ways to entertain and wear out my kiddo.  If you're in the same boat, there are just a few ideas for indoor activities:

*Take out the cookie cutters and playdoh--Don't put those Christmas cookie cutters away just yet.  Mix up a batch of homemade playdoh and see what kind of creations you can make.

*Have a dance party--The temperatures are cool so warm up with a dance party.  Turn on some Pandora and wiggle away the giggles, grumpies, or energy.

*Play Hullabaloo--We love Hullabaloo.  It's a great game for getting out some energy, developing listening skills, playing together.

*Do some marble painting--Marble painting is a great way to mix it up.  Make sure you're supervising with the marbles, but this can be a really fun one for any afternoon.

*Play with sensory bins--There are so many sensory bin ideas out there.  We've loved scented rice and the animals in the ice bins.  There are plenty to keep your toddler busy.

*Make a tent under the table--Throw some blankets over the dinning room table to create a tent, reading nock, cave, or submarine.  Use your imagination and see where it takes you.

*Do some water painting--Water painting really is a skill and can take time to develop.  Take some time to teach your toddler how to add the water and mix colors on the paper to create some lovely masterpieces.

*Thread pasta or pony beads--Threading pasta or beads is great for hand-eye coordination.  Pasta can easily be dyed and pony beads can be found at most dollar stores.

*Have tea time with your stuffed animals--Tea, juice, or even water can be made fun when combined with the idea of a tea party.  Serve some finger foods and add stuffed animals and you've got yourself a party.

*Make leaf prints--Whether leafs, pine needles or flower, go on a nature hunt for your supplies and return home to do some prints.  You can combine nature ideas that make a ton of different designs and prints.

*Create shadow puppets--When the sun peaks out from behind the clouds, be ready to make some shadow puppets.  Either on the walls or if it warms up a bit, make some in the driveway and trace with sidewalk chalk.

*Make lunch together--Kids love being in the kitchen.  It's a great way to learn listening skills, measurements, hand-eye coordination, and so much more.  Budget in a little extra time and get your kids in the kitchen with you.

*Go "swimming" in the bathtub--Find some fishy toys from the toy box, put on a bathing suit, and let your kids kick away in the bathtub.

*Make cookies--Back in the kitchen, why not let your kiddos help you make some cookies?  It's always a treat when Mommy lets you bake AND eat cookies.

*Use Daubbers on a white board--Invest in a new set of color daubbers and let your little one get creating.  Small white boards can often be found at the $ spot in Target or Dollar Tree.

*Go on an alphabet hunt--Whether in your home or neighborhood, print out the ABC's for your child and go on a hunt.  Whenever they spot a letter, let them cross it off their list.  It's a great way to improve letter recognition and sounds.

*Create an obstacle course--Obstacle courses can be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Use footstools, dining room chairs, pillows, and couch cushions to create a fun obstacle course to wear them out.

*Make a balance beam--Use a roll of masking tape to create an inexpensive balance beam.  Great for coordination and balance.  Once they master balance, try walking backwards, chasses, or ski jumps.

*Play with balloons--Blow up some balloons and see how long you can keep it up in the air.  Hit it back and forth, toss it to each other or create paddles with paper plates.

*Thread straws--Cut some plastic straws and thread with string.  Another great hand eye coordination activity.

*Draw and create yourself--Find a small handheld mirror and challenge your child to draw what they see.  Do you have long or short hair?  Blue or green eyes?  How is the face shaped?  What's on top: the eyes or mouth?

*Practice with scissors--Pull out a piece of scratch paper and start with straight lines.  Then draw curvy lines, circles, or letters.  Sit patiently with them and allow them to practice their scissor skills.

*Do a puzzle-- Puzzles are great for expanding vocabulary, hand eye coordination and time spent together.  Toddler puzzles can easily be found used or at the dollar store.

*Discover new ways to paint: Q-tips, cotton balls, toy cars, etc--There are so many new ways to paint.  Look around your home and you'll be surprised what you'll find.

*String fruit loops--Another low cost threading activity, stringing fruit loops can not only be great for coordination, but provide a fun treat afterwards.

*Play with oobleck--Oobleck is a fun homemade substance that is once liquid and then a solid.  It's fun to run through your fingers and squish around. 

*Drive cars through shaving cream--Find an inexpensive bottle of shaving cream and a few hot wheels cars.  Spray some shaving cream on the table and let the kids drive their cars through.  Easily cleaned up.

*Glue beans on letters-- Draw out a block letter and glue beans, pebbles, and pasta to fill in.  A great activity for learning letters, pairing upper and lower case and learning letter sounds.

*Have a "car wash" in the kitchen sink--Run a sink of warm water, provide some rags, and those hot wheel cars and create a car wash.

*Finger paint--Who can say no to finger painting?  Even as a mom, I love this one.  Use some blank paper for imaginations to run wild or if your child is nervous getting started, tear a page out of a Dollar Store coloring book.

*Make bean noise makers--Staple together a couple of paper plates and fill in with dried beans to create fun, inexpensive noise makers.  Decorate the outside with crayons, markers, and stickers.

*Create a one-man band--Look around your home for musical instruments, including the noise makers you just made.  Can your child come up with a fun beat or creative lyrics?  March around the house singing your new songs.

What about you?
What are your creative ideas for indoor toddler play?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

What We Read ll Feb 2020

(Click on Post for Video)

Winter Reading List: The Englisch Daughter: Join The Creative2xmom Family on their journey of being a family of 5! 💑18yrs led to 👱14 yrs, 👧12 yrs, and 👱 8 yrs. Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations: C O N N E C T subscribe at read at like me on follow me on FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Our February Morning Basket

(Click on Post for Video)

Sharing the books and ideas in our May Morning Baskets. Join The Creative2xmom Family on their journey of being a family of 5! 💑18yrs led to 👱14 yrs, 👧12 yrs, and 👱 8 yrs. Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations: C O N N E C T subscribe at read at like me on follow me on FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Englisch Daughter {Review}

Husband and wife, Roy and Jemima, have weathered the storm and come out stronger.  Or so it would seem.  After Roy recovers from a devastating accident, the two start to pull their lives back together.  But as time goes on, Roy begins behaving stranger than ever.  Till one day Jemima discovers that her life savings, meant to buy a food truck and start a business, has mysteriously disappeared.  And that's only the tip of the giant secret Roy has been keeping from her.

Can Jemima recover from this betrayal in order to love an innocent child?  And can Roy begin to unravel the mystery of what truly happened?  Or will the two simply find this secret to be too much?

A long time Cindy Woodsmall fan, I was excited to read this newest novel written in partnership with Erin Woodsmall.  These two have collaborated in recent years and written some incredible books.  The Englisch Daughter follows the tale of a man riddled with guilt and a family fraying at the seams. At times, I wanted to scream at both Roy and Jemima, begging them to see what was happening.  Raw and real, this novel takes a hard look at the work, and the rewards, of marriage.  And the grit required to find, and bring out, the best in each other.  An entirely different storyline than I've ever seen in Amish fiction and satisfyingly good to the very end.  If you enjoy this genre, The Englisch Daughter ranks right up there with one of the best I've read.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

February Goals ll Mom of Three

(Click on Post for Video)

Vlogger fail.... forgot to post this one... Hope you enjoy! Join The Creative2xmom Family on their journey of being a family of 5! 💑18yrs led to 👱14 yrs, 👧12 yrs, and 👱 8 yrs. Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations: C O N N E C T subscribe at read at like me on follow me on FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

My Winter Reading List ll Jan 2020

(Click on Post for Video)

So excited to share my Winter Reading List for 2020! Too many good books, too little time. Click "show more" for links and details! Forever Hidden (Review): Coming Soon! Join The Creative2xmom Family on their journey of being a family of 5! 💑18yrs led to 👱14 yrs, 👧12 yrs, and 👱 8 yrs. Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations: C O N N E C T subscribe at read at like me on follow me on FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Forever Hidden {Review]

At 23 years old, Hayvn Powell lives an enchanted life in Nome, Alaska.  Supported by her loving mother and grandfather, Hayvn and her sisters have grown into a trio of strong women.  All seems ideal, until a mysterious illness strikes her grandfather, leaving the family looking for a way to hang on to their livelihood.

An unknown gentleman arrives to keep the farm running, but the girls uncover documents that may prove him less than noble.   With grandfather and then their mother both falling ill, the girls must search out the truth amidst a sea of secrets and romance.  Before they lose everything.  

Another wonderful read by Peterson and Woodhouse.  The authors of The Heart of Alaska series return to a familiar setting and place this story in the 1900's gold rush.  Melding history and romance, they write a cast of well-rounded characters, each unique and distinct in their own right.  Forever Hidden also includes the rich details of both the gold rush period and Alaska itself that make it an interesting read.

While some aspects of the story were predictable, others were not.  And some characters that seem flat later came to life, providing twists and turns throughout the story.  For anyone that loves historical Christian reads, Forever Hidden will not disappoint.  The only problem is... now I'm anxiously awaiting book #2.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 Read Aloud List

Journey to Jo'Burg

Snow Treasure

The Whipping Boy

Call it Courage

The Family Under the Bridge

Caddie Woodlawn

The Vanderbeeks of 141 Street

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Letters from Rifka

Number the Stars

The Chestry Oak

Homer Price

What are you adding to your read aloud list?
Related Posts with Thumbnails