What We’re Reading Wednesday: Squanto & The Miracle of Thanksgiving

12 Nov

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Here’s a repost from the archives. Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving is our favorite Thanksgiving book because of how it has led our family to celebrate the greatness of God. Read more here.

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Also, this previous post features other Thanksgiving reads that our family has enjoyed. Of particular note is Thank You, Sarah, which was a new one that we read last year. It is a delightful read about the woman who petitioned for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. :)

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

 

Friday Favorites: Handprint “Thankful Tree”

24 Oct

FRIDAY Favorites

When I observe my calendar inching ever so close to November, I know that one of our family’s favorite traditions is right around the corner! Each November our family erects a tree in our kitchen. It’s not just any tree; it’s a tree filled with handprints from all 5 family members. During the month of November, we daily each add a handprint to our tree, and on each handprint is written something for which we are thankful.

Handprint Thanksgiving Tree

This short moment during breakfast or dinner seems microscopic when compared to the remaining 23 hours and 50 minutes in the day’s remainder. However, by intentionally pausing, even for only a few minutes, to reflect on God’s gracious, abundant, never ending blessings in our lives is refreshing, humbling, beautiful. I pray, too, that is memorable for my children. I pray that they will clearly see that “every good and perfect gift IS from above…” (James 1:17), that Mommy and Daddy, aka “the grown ups”, also, need the discipline of regularly, consistently coming before God to thank Him for all that He does for us.

No matter how you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, find creative ways the entire month of November to cultivate thankfulness within your family. Hearing your children and family members articulate reasons of thankfulness is truly something for which you will be thankful this year and the years to come.

For details on how to create your own Handprint Thankful Tree, read this previous post.

 

 

Tin Whistles Need Sleeping Bags (Oh, Yes They Do!)

23 Sep

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Another re-post from the archives! I know that many of you are embarking on your Tin Whistle journey. :) Here’s a funny letter I wrote to a seasoned Tutor that remains nameless to me. However, her wisdom saved me multiple migraines and additional gray hairs. :) Read more here, and you, too, will want to thank this nameless Tutor after you make sleeping bags for your Tin Whistles. :)

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Verb Conjugation Packet–free download

18 Sep

Verb Conjugation Packet 2

 

My Pronoun Packet was quite the success in my Abecedarians class last year. I decided to make something similar for the Verb Conjugations for use on my DIY Tri-fold Board that we will use during the next several weeks for English Grammar.

 

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I used the same grid from last year’s pronouns and repurposed it  for my verbs! :) I like having the visual for my Abecedarians, even though many aren’t yet readers. They can still recognize the “spot” that the word goes in after we review several times, clear them off, and ask them to reposition them in the correct “spot.” I also like the connection for the parents in class to see how the verb is conjugated and which principal part it represents. I also included a blank page in the document so that an older student can write the conjugations of a particular verb and match it with its verb principal part. I have uploaded the file to CC Connected. username: suzannemosley Or, you can download it here: Verb Conjugations Packet

Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood
This is a post in conjunction with Half a Hundred Acre Wood’s Cycle 3 Link Up. Visit there for more Cycle 3 resources.

Egg Carton Multiplication & Skip Counting Game (FREE printable!)

15 Sep

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I thought I’d resurrect this post from the archives. This is a Multiplication/Skip Counting Egg Carton game that I came up with two years ago during our first year of CC. Read the original post for detailed instructions about creating your own game at home! I made my skip counting numbers out of construction paper. After reading my post last year, the marvelous Brandy Ferrell created a FREE PRINTABLE to share with everyone for the skip-count-cards. If you don’t feel like cutting up teeny tiny construction pieces of paper, download this free printable, “Control + P” and you’re done!

Tutors, I have used this in class to do a massive “skip counting” review during our Review Game time at the end of our CC day. I had 3 stations and a parent at each station. Each station went through 2 or 3 different skip counting numbers, and then, we rotated to the different stations.

Here are a few pictures of this inexpensive, stick in the sand game. If you are not a Classical Conversations family, read the original post and know that you can use this same game at home with your kiddos to practice and review multiplication facts. Also, here’s a FABULOUS Usborne Lift The Flap Time Tables book that is another great way to review multiplication facts! (You know how I love Usborne!)

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imageEgg Carton Multiplicationimage

Tour the Nina, Pinta, and (not the) Santa Maria!

13 Sep

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The Nina

For all of my CC friends, you are singing, “The Nina, the Pinta, The Santa Maria” in your head right now, aren’t you?!?! Several years ago, I had a friend tell me that she was driving all day to see the Nina in Chattanooga. I was confused. Did she not realize that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and his ship had probably disintegrated into thin air after 500+ years? After further conversation, I learned from my friend Heidi that the Columbus Foundation  tours the waterways of the U.S. in life-size, fully-functioning replicas of the Nina and Pinta.

We were fortunate to see it last October while they were docked in Knoxville. We thoroughly enjoyed traipsing around both ships and listening to the tour provided by the knowledgeable crew. I have a greater understanding and increased respect for Columbus and crew who set out blindly on these ships back in 1492. I realized that I’m pretty wimpy! I don’t think that I would have signed up for this adventure. Ha! :)

Are you interested in visiting the Nina and Pinta (sniff, sniff! If only there was a replica of the Santa Maria!)? You’re in luck! Here is the 2014 Port Tour Schedule. Hopefully, it will be in your neck of the woods this year! If not, maybe 2015 will be the year for you!

Here are some pictures from our tour!

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 The crew slept on the deck. Again, I’m a wimp! I don’t think I would have signed up on this adventure with Captain Columbus. :) What about you??

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I love maps! This was a map similar to what the crew would have used.

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Listening to our tour guide! These men and women were great fun! I asked them a million questions about what it was like to live and work on the boats. Many of them signed up to be a part of the crew for the sheer adventure.

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Boats are for climbing (duh!)

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Fighting off the “bad guys” trying to sink the Nina!

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I loved this picture because it gives you an idea of the magnitude of the ship’s size.

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How often do you see a ship like this sailing down the river?!?! I’m sure barges and tug boats do a “double take.”

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 A fun, memorable field trip!

Want to know more about what it would have been like on the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria? Read Pedro’s Journal with your kiddos! We are reading it now and thoroughly enjoying it!

What We’re Reading Wednesday #6

3 Sep

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Here’s the latest installment of What We’re Reading Wednesday! I hope this series is inspiring you to discover unknown books or authors to introduce to your family (or yourself!)

WWRW #6

Duck in the Truck and Hit the Ball Duck–These are books that I was introduced to through my new Usborne business. My boys are LOVING these books with Duck, Frog, Goat, and Sheep as they get into some precarious, yet hilarious, predicaments. Jez Alborough is a new favorite author, thanks to these books!

Animal Trunk: Silly Poems To Read Aloud–I am trying to be more proactive about incorporating poetry into our literary diet. I grabbed this one by chance off the library shelf, and it has been a hit! My 4 year old and I had a pleasant, giggle-filled time reading this prose about various animals.

See Inside Your Body–This is another book that I was introduced to thanks to my new Usborne business! :) We are studying the human body in Classical Conversations this year. I wanted an age-appropriate yet densely informative book to read at home with  my boys so that they could glean more details about our bodies. We have, thoroughly, enjoyed it, and the “Lift-The-Flap” component makes each page an adventure! Two thumbs up for this book from all 3 of my boys.

The Read-Aloud Handbook–”This is not a book about teaching a child how to read; it’s about teaching a child to want to read.” (p. XXI Introduction) I was introduced to this book through Usborne, whose catalog includes statistics from the book.  This book has left me speechless–Wow, just WOW! I recommend that any and all parents and educators own and read this book. The statistical data Trelease compiles will make you want to spend every minute of every day reading to your children (or at least I hope it will!). The plethora of benefits that are bestowed on children when read to by a parent or adult are astronomical.  For example, Trelease quotes a longitudinal study that found, “children who were read to at least three times a week had a significantly greater phonemic awareness when they entered kindergaren than did children who were read to less often, and…they were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25 percent in reading.” (page 9)

Do you want to read to your kiddos but don’t know where to start? This book will help! The beauty of this book is its two segments. The first division of the book is the inspirational, fact-based, oh-so-convincing treatise as to why we should read aloud. The last section of the book is page after page after page of book recommendations. Each book entry contains a short summary of the book and suggested age/grade for the target audience. Take this book with you to the library and let it introduce you to some classic, “read-it-again-Mom” books and authors. Here’s your subliminal message for today–Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. (Subliminal message is over.) I truly believe that all children can become book lovers, and no, it won’t always happen overnight and takes an investment of time from the parents. However, this is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can bestow on their child. As Trelease so eloquently writes, “the least expensive thing we can give a child outside of a hug turns out to be the most valuable: words” (page 16).

The Digital Invasion: How Technology Is Shaping You and Your Relationships–I first heard about this book over the summer when I read a blog post titled The iPad is Stealing My Son’s ChildhoodI was intrigued by the title of the blog post and had to read it. The blogger wrote the post after reading The Digital Invasion. Does any other parent have to answer this question “Can I play the iPad?” oh, about a hundred times a day?!?!? I was intrigued by the premise of The Digial Invasion and immediately added this book to my “to read” list. My reservations going into the book were that there would be lots of scare tactics and undocumented assertions about technology. I actually began reading the book with much skepticism but, in the end, resonated with the book. The authors, a psychologist and a counselor, offered much food for thought regarding the influence of technology on families and relationships. Let’s face it. We have all been in a restaurant and noticed a table nearby where all gathered ’round the table have eyes glued on phones or devices. I always look at those scenarios and tell myself, “I don’t want that to be my family. I want us to talk to one another.” The Digital Invasion left me with much to ponder about technology, my sons, and our family. The bottom line is that technology is influencing us, whether we want it to or not. The Digital Invasion was an encouragement to me to evaluate, be aware and mindful, not oblivious, of technology’s role and influence in my life and my loved one’s lives. It has been the impetus to some healthy, on-going converstations between my husband and I about our desires for our family.

Owl at Home-We are huge Arnold Lobel fans in our home! My second son is currently read this aloud to us during school time, and it is a laugh-a-minute! Lobel also wrote one of our other “Mosley favorites”–the Frog and Toad series! Introduce your kiddos to Arnold Lobel! Love, love, love his books! Here is a list of Arnold Lobel’s other books.

Pocahontas and the Strangers–We are studying American History this year…and loving it!! My oldest son is reading this book aloud, and we love the author Clyde Robert Bulla, who has written a tome of fabulous books for children. We are enjoying this Pocahontas biography. We might have to watch the Disney version and compare the movie and the book! Should be interesting! HAHA!

Pedro’s Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus, August 3, 1492-February 14, 1493–This historical fiction gem is a collection of journal entries from Pedro, a young cabin boy for Christopher Columbus during his expedition with the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. This has been a fun read for us! It offers a unique perspective on the oft-told tale of Columbus and his journey “to India,” and the literary vehicle of a journal gives a personalization to this historical event that I had missed when studying it previously.

So, that’s a wrap for this week! What are YOU reading this week?!?!? Comment below to share with us!

Usborne ONLINE Book Party: Books for Classical Conversations

30 Aug

You're Invited.Usborne Party

Thanks for stopping by my Usborne ONLINE Kick-Off Party! I’ve been writing this week about some Usborne Favorites including books for Boys, Girls, “Learning to Read” & Readers, Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers. Visit those previous posts to learn about those books.
 

Even before becoming an Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant, Usborne books were always my BFFs as a Classical Conversations Tutor. My Usborne books were my “go to” resources when it came time for science experiments and projects. When I, personally, needed to read up on an aspect of rocks and minerals for Cycle 1, astronomy for Cycle 2 or the human body for Cycle 3, I grabbed my Usborne books. In addition to using them to “study up” so that I could dialog with my kiddos about a specific science topic, the vibrant, eye-capturing images and illustrations in my Usborne books have become my “go to” for visuals to share in class during science experiment time. It’s nice to not have to track down books at the library each week. (Been there, done that my first year as a Tutor. Took way too much time!)photo (9)

These are the books that I use the most to prepare for Science Experiments. The Internet-Linked Children’s Encyclopedia that I have is an older version of this one. (What are Internet-Linked books? How do they work? Read more here! Usborne Books created and launched these unique books in 2000! They’re amazing!) I also liked perusing through my Usborne Books of Science Activities Volume One and Volume Two (older editions shown below) because the exact experiment for class was often found in the book. I often glean additional insight into the experiment when exploring it in one of these books.

Books About the Body

Since we’re studying the Human Body for Cycle 3 this year, I am depending on this great book for use with our science experiments. I am also reading through it at home with my boys. As I have been preparing for each Cycle 3 science project, I have been blown away at God and His wisdom in how He created our bodies to work and function. I wanted  to give my sons some age-appropriate “depth” to the science facts they’re memorizing in class, so we have been using the See Inside Human Body book as extra reading at home. It seems as though my constant refrain after reading from this book is, “Wow, boys, isn’t it amazing how God perfectly created our bodies to work!” I, also, have been using the See Inside the Human Body book for visuals during the current experiments. Great news is that the Usborne Human Body Sticker book is $5 with an order of $40 or more when ordered by August 31. Can’t wait to use this with my boys!  As you’ll notice in this graphic here, Usborne actually has a whole host of books about the Human Body, and with Usborne’s commitment to make learning memorable and engaging, these books are gems! Your kiddos will love them!

You can also go to And Here We Go Mama’s post that links Cycle 3 with these Usborne books: Illustrated Dictionary of Science, The Usborne Science Encyclopedia, First Encyclopedia of the Human Body, and the See Inside the Human Body book.

Flags, World History & Time Traveler

These are some other books that my sons enjoy to go along with our CC learning at home. All things ancient world, history and geography are their loves.  Anytime my sons are recreating or imagining an event from world history, they pull out The Encyclopedia of World History or Time Traveler. Their current favorite book to use for down time at home or in the car is the Flags Sticker book. The flags are arranged by continents, so I am elated that they are having to remember that India is in Asia when they are trying to find where to place the Flag of India sticker. Speaking of the world, I am, also, personally in love (as are my boys!) with the Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas.

Remember…

August 2014 Customer Special

  • The GUEST SPECIAL as you shop! Download the flier here: CustomerSpecials: August 2014  or view it in the picture above. For my CC readers, the Human Body Sticker book is on the list for $5!!! For every $40 you spend, you can chose 3 books from this month’s list. Don’t you love a sale?!?!? Also, since this is an ONLINE party, you can take advantage of the Internet Specials, too.
  • Free Shipping when you spend $75! I will reimburse you via PayPal or will snail mail a check to cover your shipping costs with a retail order of $75. You will pay for the shipping with your order, and once it is processed, I will reimburse you.

Happy Shopping! If you have any questions about a book or an order, let me know! suzanneshares AT gmail DOT com

Friday Favorite: Veggie Mix (1 recipe=4 meals)

29 Aug

FRIDAY Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Friday Favorites post for you fine readers! You probably already detected the reality– I took the summer off from my regularly scheduled posts: What We’re Reading Wednesdays and Friday Favorites. Well, school is back in session at the Mosley Casa, so I am hoping to get back to my regularly scheduled bi-monthly posts. Today’s Friday Favorites is one that I’ve wanted to share for a while! I made a double batch of this Veggie Mix this week, so I knew it was time! Here’s today’s Friday Favorites….

Veggie Mix

 

This summer marks the 3rd year that we’ve participated in a CSA in our community. What is a CSA, you ask? Read more here for a long exhaustive description. My simple explanation is that we buy a “share” of a local farmer’s produce crop, and our share of the crop is delivered weekly to a local produce store. We pick our weekly stash of fruits and veggies up on Tuesdays, and it’s almost like Christmas! Each week is a surprise! We have know idea what we will be picking up each week, so it’s always exciting. :) After doing this two summers prior with the same farmer, I can anticipate what items we will receive. My hypothesis of each week’s “loot” may not be accurate, but I have learned that each CSA year we will, at some point, enjoy fresh strawberries and blueberries, cabbage, tomatoes, patty pan and spaghetti squashes, and a variety of other things. It has been an adventure in the kitchen for me each summer as I have received a variety of produce that was unknown to me! Embarassingly, I had to ask the farmer’s delivery man on more than one occasion the name of several vegetables. AND, I may or may not have googled a video on How to Cut Up a Bok Choy.  But, I digress!

Each summer, though, my excitement builds around August as I know that we’ll be showered with a ton of onions, peppers tomatoes, and eggplants. When those vegetables start appearing, it is time for me to make my Veggie Mix! I originally found this recipe in Southern Living. Its appeal was the title of the article, “Five Fast Dinners Begin with One Vegetable Mix.” Hmmm…fascinating! So, I ripped out the recipe and tried it. To summarize how this recipe works, you make a base “Veggie Mix,” and you end the day with 4 frozen packages for later use (or, you can use immediately!). The original recipe came with FIVE uniquely different recipes that can be made using one package of the “Veggie Mix” base and a few more ingredients. When I read this information, I was sold. I have been making this “Veggie Mix” for at least 5 years. Clearly, it’s a “keeper.” I love that each summer I make 8-12 frozen packages of the “Veggie Mix,” and we, literally, eat on it all winter!

Today, l share my version of the “Veggie Mix” recipe, and you can visit Southern Living’s website for the original version that contains the 5 different recipes–Individual Pizzas, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp with Rice, Beef and Vegetable Supper (aka “Spaghetti” in our house), and Black Bean Soup–to make using your “Veggie Mix” base. We have tried all of the recipes except the Individual Pizzas. When I make either of the other 4 recipes, I love that the final meal tastes entirely different than the other, unused recipes. So, you can make this mixture on Sunday afternoon and enjoy 4 different meals that week. I promise that while eating the Black Bean Soup you won’t think, “Hmmm…this tastes just like the Greek-Style Chicken Stew expect it has black beans instead of chicken.” The recipes and tastes are unique. Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

photo (35)This week’s bounty. I doubled the recipe for 8 frozen packages to enjoy this winter!

 

Veggie Mix (adapted from this Southern Living recipe)

1-2 onions, chopped
4 bell peppers, chopped (I use a mixture of green, yellow, red, and orange.)
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil (I use either.)
1 large eggplant, chopped
3 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes (or in the summer I use fresh tomatoes)
1/4 cup Greek seasoning (I make my own.)

1) Saute onions, peppers, and eggplant in oil 5-10 minutes, until cooked.
2) Add in tomatoes and Greek seasoning.
3) I bring to boil and then, turn down to lowest setting and simmer 15-20 minutes. This makes my house smell heavenly, so sometimes, I let it simmer a while!
4) Spoon 3 cups of Veggie Mix into freezer bag. Does this to create a total of 4 bags.
5) Freeze the 4 freezer bags of the “Veggie Mix.”  The original recipe says to freeze up to one month. Ummmmm, confession, I keep mine longer than a month in my freezer. :)
When you are ready to make one of the 5 recipes (Individual Pizzas, Black Bean Soup, Greek-Style Chicken Stew, Shrimp and Rice or Spaghetti) consult the original recipe for those directions. I usually pull out a ziploc bag of the “Veggie Mix” the day before I need it. I let it thaw on a plate (to avoid spills/leaks) in my fridge.

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Aren’t these pepper beautiful?!!?

Additional hint: I pulverize my veggies! The first few times I made this recipe I chopped the peppers, onions and eggplant by hand. My sons were able to “sort through” the veggies and pick out what they didn’t like. (Awesome! Grr!) I got a little wiser and started pulverizing the veggies in my food proccessor! Now, they can’t organize the vegetables by peppers, onions and eggplant and “fish” them out to avoid eating. :) I love the yumminess and healthiness that they are ingesting every time we enjoy a “Veggie Mix” recipe! Here’s a picture of what the pulverized veggies look like:

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I feel so “Sneaky Chef-ish.” :) :) Please don’t tell my boys this little secret. Let’s just keep it between us, okay?

I’m excited to share this Friday Favorite with you! If you make this “Veggie Mix,” stop back by and comment below to let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

Chronicles of Narnia Audio Books–Re-releasing October 1 (YAY!)

26 Aug

 

It’s not secret that our family loves audio books. In fact, I’ve shared about some of our favorite, favorite, favorite audio books. The top of our list is the Focus on the Family Radio Theater Chronicles of Narnia Audio Drama. Our boys received this as a gift about 7 years ago and have thoroughly savored each of the 19 cds in the set. It has been out of print for several years, sadly. We recommend this version of the Narnia audio books non-stop to anyone we meet, However, it’s always a bummer to follow our recommendation with, “However, it’s out of print, and you can no longer buy it.” :( This harsh reality will, thankfully, end on October 1, 2014! 

EEEEEEEEEEEEEK! I am overly excited to share this exciting news that I recently discovered! The Focus on the Family Radio Theater Chronicles of Narnia Audio Drama is being re-released. All Chronicles of Narnia audio books are not, not, not created equal.This dramatized version has different actresses and actors for all of the various Narnia characters.; it is not a one-man read aloud of the books! Your children (and yourself!) will be drawn in to the stories from these timeless, God-glorifying works of literature. Add this to your shopping cart and give it to your children for their next birthday, Christmas…or “just because.” They will love it; I promise!

The official release date is October 1, but you can pre-order your copy now for about 30% off. YAY! YAY! YAY! 

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