Monday, June 29, 2015

Summertime Volunteering

Adisson has a love for cats.  He's our resident Cat Lady.  In fact, in a recent conversation, we asked him what his plans were for the future (regarding a career).  We discussed the idea of being a veterinary technician or possibly even a veterinarian, an idea he's had in the past.  He then said, "Can I be a vet just for cats?  A caterinarian?"  
When the opportunity to volunteer with the local animal rescue group presented itself, Adisson was more than excited to have the chance to play with some cats!  
His "job" is visiting a local pet store once per week.  At the store there are kittens and cats that are available for adoption through the rescue.  He's responsible for cleaning out the cat cubbies.  His favorite part, though, is snuggling the cats.  In fact, I think he's going to guest post for me sometime in the coming weeks to talk about what he does .  
In the meantime, we spend our Wednesday afternoons playing with some super lovey kitty cats.  
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Quick Trip to the Beach

My brother and his family decided to swing on down to North Carolina for a visit.  What made it even better was that we planned a quick trip to the coast, so his kids could see the ocean for the very first time.

Fortunately, we managed to get this awesome beach visit in prior to all of the shark bites.  In fact, our trips to the coast in May and June were at beaches that sharks have attacked.  Thankfully, our trip was fun and uneventful.  
Everyone had a great time!  It was so exciting to watch kids fall in love with the ocean.  My boys have been fans since the first time their toes hit the sand (8 years ago) and I wasn't surprised to see my brother's kids enjoy it just as much.

Unfortunately, our week-long vacation to the beach has been put on hold indefinitely due to safety in the water.  I want to respect the big giant animals with a whole lotta teeth and it appears as though they are saying that they'd like some personal space.  
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal by Apologia Educational Ministries (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

We love field trips.  We try to take them a few times each month!  I was incredibly excited to hear about the brand new Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal from Apologia Educational Ministries.  I couldn't wait to review it!

We've used Apologia products before and they have always been of very high quality.  I was not surprised when the journal arrived to find that it also was very nice and put together very well.  The spiral bound notebook-style book has full-color pages.  They are set-up similar to a scrapbook page and make it very easy to record several different facets of trips, some of which you may not have thought of remembering.  

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

The first few pages are dedicated to preparing for a field trip.  There is information for teachers and a separate paragraph for the student for The Week Before, The Night Before, On the Way, and At the "Field."  The tips included are really helpful because sometimes it's easy to forget that we're supposed to be using the field trip as an educational tool.  This section helped inspire us to really think about where we were and what we were doing.  

The pages that follow up are dozens of field trip ideas.  Ideas that you may not have considered as field trips for your homeschool but once you see them, it's like...Ohhhh, yeah, let's try there!  Some of the more unique ideas of field trip locations are to see a personal trainer, witness an autopsy, the sewer system, or a furniture store.  

Prior to the section dedicated to field trips is a neat page that has a How-To on using the field trip portion of the journal.  It reminds students to take notes, establish an emergency meeting spot, draw something that captures their attention, and to record something you never want to forget about the day.

Next up is a section called "My Special Spot."  The pages that follow include places to record your favorite things about a place you find special in the fall, the winter, the spring, and the summer.  If you ask my sons, their special spot will be the beach in each season.  I often wonder if I'll have beach bum sons once they are older.  I'd be thrilled with that because then I'd always have a place to go when I felt called to be at the coast.  Anyway, the How-To for the special spot tells the student that they are to select a special place in nature that isn't maintained by mankind.  Each season, they should go there and explore the area, noting changes.  

Finally, we reach the portion of the journal labeled "As I See It."  This is just a section meant for thoughts, drawings, and reflection.  Sometimes, there's a prompt to encourage writing, other times the pages are blank.   It's a really thought-provoking section because it inspires you to really record something worth preserving.

This is an incredible field trip journal.  It is my FAVORITE Apologia product and I'll recommend it to everyone.  I was truly impressed with the quality and the beauty of the book.  This will be something that we use and save for years to come.  If you're reading this as you are making decisions on what to purchase for the upcoming school year, purchase this journal.  Plan your field trips, make yourself be purposeful in creating everlasting memories with your kids.  Seriously, I'm calling this one a must-have! :)


If you are familiar with Apologia books at all, you know there's a "secret" online section filled with book extras.  Even though this is a journal, it still has some extra goodies available online.  There are so many ideas for field trips that I couldn't even begin to list them here....and I won't because they are reserved for those who snag this incredible resource.

Don't forget to follow Apologia on social media:

Google +:

Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

Crew Disclaimer

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Just Another Manners Monday

On a quick visit to the bookstore a few weeks ago, I picked up this book: Manners That Matter for Moms.  I haven't finished it but I'm loving what I've read so far.  In fact, the skills are so relevant and important that I've decided to incorporate an etiquette class into our upcoming school year.  Because I like to think that I'm clever, I'm going to call it Manners Monday.  

This is a book that goes beyond saying please at the table and thank you when crayons are shared.  It discusses the hows and whys of lifelong skills as well as tips and tricks for learning them so they can become habits.

Would you add a manners class to your homeschool?  

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DrumsWithWillie by JazzEdge (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

My oldest son received a drum set for Christmas.  Thankfully, I had the sense during this impulse buy to purchase electronic drums.  I was excited to get word that we would be reviewing DrumsWithWillie by JazzEdge.  After all, there's only so long I can listen to someone pound on drums without it making any sense.

DrumsWithWillie consists of online, streaming video lessons.  Naturally, an internet connection and drum set are required to utilize this program.  A basic drum set including a kick drum, snare, hi-hat, and at least one cymbal as well as at least on set of sticks.  An electronic drum set can also be used.  

JazzEdge  Review

Adisson has big dreams to make and produce music.  His father and I have been trying to cultivate that passion through different avenues.  One way that we've been looking to help him hone his skills was by finding drum lessons.  DrumsWithWillie seemed to be a perfect fit for us since it's an online program.  Having the ability to learn how to play the drums right here at home, without having to load up all of the boys, take everyone somewhere for Adisson's lesson, keep the younger boys busy during that time frame, and then take everyone home sounded like a better fit for our family.  Additionally, Adisson sometimes prefers to garner a basic understanding of something (in this case, drums) prior to allowing anyone else to hear him.  

I set up Adisson's account with his own login so he'd be ready to go.  He got started with the CoreDrums section but because he was using an electronic drum set, not a lot of the information applied to him.  He did pay close attention to the section regarding how to hold the sticks correctly.  He then moved on to Unit 1, Lesson 1.  He played and played and played.  And then played some more.  (PSA: If you think that because the drum set is electronic, I can't hear him play drums all day, you'd be wrong.  He can't have his headphones on because he needs to hear the video.  Thankfully, I can hear him getting better!)  

He enjoys the lessons.  He says that he can follow them and can apply what he's learning.  He feels like he can build on his skills as he progresses and that he is getting better at drumming.  He likes the video course because he likes that he can go at his own pace and in the comfort and privacy of his own room.  

JazzEdge  Review

Our thoughts on DrumsWithWillie are really positive!  Adisson will continue to use the program going forward so he can learn more, practice, and get better.  If you are looking for a way to put a drum set to use in your house, or someone has been begging for their own, you should look into JazzEdge and DrumsWithWillie.  Additionally, JazzEdge also afters two other courses called PianoWithWillie and Easy Piano Basics.  If drums aren't your thing but the piano is, then here are a few other programs you can explore.  

Find DrumsWithWillie on your favorite social media network: 


JazzEdge Review

Crew Disclaimer

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Making Summer Plans with My Boys

Ahhhhhh, summer.  It's a lovely break in the day to day routine and the chance to regroup, reconnect, and renew.  I am so incredibly ready for it.  When the month of June begins, I have several ideas for how we'll spend our summer: trips, activities, events, and nothingness.  

By the end of June, however, I'm done.  I'm tired of browsing Pinterest looking for activities and I'm over hearing my two least favorite words..."I'm bored."  This summer, I'm ready to really enjoy the time with my sons.  My oldest kiddo is 12 and I'm not sure how many family activities remain that don't include eye rolling and heavy sighs. Wait...he already does that.  

I want very much to spend time with my sons being engaged and active WITH them and create memories WITH them.  There's certainly a time for them to run outside to play basketball with friends.  Our time together, however, is fleeting.  As they grow, I want them to think about that one time, we did that one thing that made us laugh for hours.  I want them to say "Remember when we went to the beach and found that jellyfish?"  and "Remember that one time Mom chased us around the yard with Nerf guns?"  I want to Enjoy the HERE and NOW with my guys.  For soon, they will be enjoying the here and now with their own children.

This summer, I'm participating in the #ETHANproject, put together by the lovely gals over at Grounded & Surrounded.  ETHAN stands for Enjoying the Here and Now.  That's what I want to do with my guys.  Each week, there is a new challenge.  I'd love for you to participate with us each week or as you are able.  

The Hit List:
When participating, use #ETHANproject across your social media platforms.
Follow Home With My Sons on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.  
There's even an #ETHANproject Facebook Group, so join in!
Plus, if you're feeling super friendly, you can even subscribe to my fledgling newsletter! (over on the right)

Be sure to check back here each Friday for my challenge post.  Can't wait to "see" you each Friday and to spend time this summer enjoying time with our children.  

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Do You Need to Make Over Your Mornings?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  That means if you click on one and make a purchase, I'll be able to continue buying endless LEGO sets and keep camo-themed bandages in stock for the boys.  
I've recently said that nearly all of the stress in my daily life could be cured by one thing: better time management.  If I learned to manage my time more effectively, I could alleviate or eliminate much of the chaos.  Eliminating chaos is probably going to be a lifelong goal of mine.  Welcome to raising boys, right?!

I recently started blogging about my weekly goals.  Unfortunately, my progress isn't what I had hoped it would be at this point.  One of my goals was to be up early.  Do you know what early is for me?  8:00.  I know there are scores of people who have nearly conquered the world by 8:00 am.  Me?  I'm just trying to get out of bed.  I finally get up, have hopes to get started on the daily tasks of housekeeping, or whatever else I need to do, but then I find the internet and lose an hour.  Or two.  

Something has to change.  That something, though, is me.  I have to change.  

Once again, my pal Crystal from Money Saving Mom is here to help.  (Though, it's a bit misleading to call her my friend, when I really I'm just a Money Saving Mom fangirl.  I mean, like, SUPERFAN.)  Crystal has been working for the last several months on a 14-day online course that includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects.

From Money Saving Mom:
This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.

Sounds awesome, right?  Ok, so here's the thing.  This course goes on sale on Tuesday, June 2.  Crystal is offering some AMAZING deals for the launch.  

The Crazy-Can’t-Miss-Low-Low-Low Launch Sale Prices:

I'm going to get started on the morning of June 3rd.  Do you want to join me?  If you purchase Make Over Your Mornings on Launch Day at the great prices listed above, you'll be ready to get started with Day One on Wednesday.  Check out my Facebook page ----> Home With My Sons and join in with me.  We can make over our mornings together!

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