MySchoolYear.com {Review}

I am not organized. I try to be…I get all sorts of lofty goals and even start some kind of system, but I just don’t get very far. I think it will definitely be easier once we remodel, but at least for our homeschool stuff, there are online programs like My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) by MySchoolYear.com.

MySchoolYear.com Review

If I can have one more thing that I don’t have to write down and find a home for, that makes everyone happy. You can only have so many sticky notes and papers taped to the walls and mirrors before you start to get looks. Yes. Still excited for the remodel… 😉

Basically My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) is an online…well, I call it an organizational tool, lol…for homeschoolers. You can keep track of lessons, hours, and attendance…as well as other records. You can print these reports as well as transcripts. Everything is on this easy to read website that you can access via computer OR smart phone or tablet. Great for if you do a lot of school stuff on the go…

Since we are still about half way through our school year, I was able to really use quite a few of these options, but I didn’t use all of them.

There are a few classes that are more…fly by the seat of our pants type classes? They don’t really have a lesson plan or anything, so I left those off. But especially for things like Apologia curriculum that have a schedule already printed out, this was fantastic! I was able to just copy everything down.

Adding lessons is so very easy, just clicking buttons and then filling it out! I’ll show you! So, since Kyle is listed first in my school because of alphabetical order, I will pick on him…ha! Here is what the screen looks like when I get to his lessons section in his science.

My School Year KyleI would then click on the new lesson button, the blue one there…and there is a drop down menu.

My School Year KyleI would fill that all out and click the green add button and it is done! It shows it added at the very bottom of the page. Now, you can also click the show more options for a few more things to add such as ‘allow rescheduling’…that is big for us, especially this month as my niece is visiting all month. Sometimes we skip a day of school and go to a museum or something and we have to reschedule that days school.. If you need help you can click on the ‘need help’ orange button there at the top. I love how clean and easy to read this site is!

Another favorite thing that I am loving is the reading log list. I tried to get them on board to join in on Goodreads with me, but they didn’t love it… :sigh: But they can easily add what books they have read or are reading to this site and then print out a report for a given time range to show the books read during that time. Kyle only has two books listed because we are reading some long and more difficult books, Eragon and Great Expectations. (woah…) But it will be great to see the final list at the end of our school year…because we read a LOT of books for school, lol. But this is what that screen looks like if you wanted to print that report. I love how cohesive the screens are from screen to screen. Everything is pretty similar with clicking a few buttons, maybe filling out a few things, and you are done. See how this screen is like the ones above! Easy peasy!

My School Year Kyle

There are so many features that you can use on this site, I could write about it all day! If your kids are big on extracurricular activities, there is a button for that. My kids aren’t all about ‘extra’ anything at this point, so we didn’t use this section, lol. But I know most homeschool kids are busy busy busy! This is great for keeping it all organized..

I will definitely try out the transcript option when I have to turn in a transcript for Ryan’s college classes next semester. That will be helpful too.

But definitely check out My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) and look at all they offer..there is so much that I didn’t even get to list. I am pretty sure it will help organize your homeschool! 🙂 Also, feel free to check out what others had to say about it. I know everyone probably had some favorite bits to share so it is definitely work clicking on that banner below! 🙂

Homeschool Record Keeping {MySchoolYear.com Review}

MySchoolYear.com {Review}

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LearnBop for Families {Review}

 

What comes to your mind when I say the word math? I don’t know about you, but I cringe..and maybe do a little eye roll. I know that is bad, being a homeschool parent and all, but I just can’t help it, lol. With that being the case, I am constantly looking for new ways for the kids to learn math. LearnBop has come out with LearnBop for Families and we have been playing with it for a few weeks now!

LearnBop for Families Review

We haven’t done a ton of math stuff online, so this was new to us for the most part. Everyone has their own computer, so I thought it was worth a try! LearnBop for Families isn’t one of those programs that is made for schools and then as an afterthought offered to families, it was made for students and parents for at home use! I love that!

LearnBop for Families Review

It is a simple program but with a lot built in, if that makes sense, lol. I will go into how we used it. First, I signed in as the parent. Now, with the family subscription, you are able to do the math too if you’d like! Hey, who doesn’t need a refresher, eh? 😉 You can add each child onto the account and note what math level/grade level they are in as well as make up their screen name and password.

Then it is time to log your kids in! When they first log in they can choose their little avatar. I was curious as to which ones my kids would pick, just for the fun of it, lol. When they first log in, they will each see their own dashboard. It is a very clean layout, I love the ease of it on my eyes and it just makes sense.

One of the first things they will see is this:

learnbop starting outSince the account is already set up, the next thing they want is for them to do a warm-up. It will basically figure out where they are in this math concept, what needs to be worked on, and come up with a plan. Then, they can get to work on the 5 Bops. Bops are basically just each question that is given.

For my kids, I just entered their grade level. It mentions it is geared towards kids in grades 3-12, but I would imagine there is some wiggle room on either side depending on how your kids are doing in math. What I love about this program is that you can just switch to a student account without having to log out and log someone else in. It seems like such a simple thing, but it is totally great!
LearnBop LaurenFor Lauren, I put her down for 7th grade and she did the warm up. The unit it put her in was Proportional Reasoning. It started her on using variables to write expressions. She did that all relatively easily. Next was Operations with Radicals. That was fairly simple for her as well, although sometimes the wording of the questions threw her a little and she had to work harder on that. She did comment that it wanted her to do math a different way than how she has learned in the past and it made no sense to her but she was able to figure out how to do what they were asking even if it was different than what she was used to.LearnBop KyleFor Kyle, I put him down for 8th grade. It started him on Developing Understanding of Similarity and the first concept was to Describe Effects of Rotations/Reflections. Now, we haven’t worked on this before, so it was all new to him. Once we were able to figure out what was expected it worked a lot better. It basically wanted him to figure out what to do to make a shape in one location get to another location with the same layout. It took a while for him to get what they wanted, but he finally got there.. Next was to Determine Congruence. This one was definitely easier, probably because he was used to the program and how it worked.
LearnBop RyanLastly we have Ryan. I put him in 11th grade level. The unit it put him in was An Extension of the Number System. The first concept was Graph Lin/Quad functions. I had no idea what it was talking about when I glanced at it, lol. I am glad that Ryan got it! The next concept was Explain Solutions.  He worked harder on this one. He got stumped one section because the answer that he came up with wasn’t listed as one of the choices. I looked at it and I came up with the same answer he did. Maybe we did something wrong, but there is a button at the bottom of the screen to notify if there is a problem with the answers. We pushed that and realized that it sends it to me to review and I can take further action from there. Not a big deal really…

As I mentioned previously, each child has their own dashboard and as a parent, you can also get a view of what they are doing….or not doing, lol. So as I click on Ryan’s dashboard I can see what Roadmap he is on and how well he is doing. It breaks it down from Roadmap to Current Unit to Active Concept. In the next box it shows his recent progress. It tells you how long he has spent on something and what he got done in that time. Under that is the Achievement box. This shows the little achievements they earn for doing random things such as working for an hour straight that earns a focus achievement, to Didn’t Give Up which gives him a persistence achievement. I like this idea! On the left side of the screen is a break down of the last 30 days.
LearnBop for FamiliesNow, we took some time off when family was in town visiting, but you can see that he logged in for seven days in a row! Which is crazy, because I told him that he should do it three days a week, which is a school week. Who knew he would do it on weekends too, lol… Maybe to make up for the time we took off…hmm…I am not going to argue. Anyway, he didn’t have to spend that much time, almost 2.5 hours, and he completed 29 Bops and watched 8 videos.

All of the kids said they learned a lot in the short time that they have been working on this program. They liked that the videos explained what they were going to learn and if they didn’t get the answer the first time, it would break it down until they understood it better. I am impressed that even though the concepts were new, or they didn’t understand the questions, they didn’t give up. I am looking forward to seeing how well they do over the next few months!

If you want to see what other people thought of their time with LearnBop for Families, feel free to click on the banner below!

LearnBop for Families Review
LearnBop for Families {Review}

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Saturday Snippets

I guess it is Saturday again already! About half way through June and almost the true beginning of summer. Summer is still my least favorite season. I am so looking forward to the fall already. It hasn’t been awful weather yet, so I don’t know where my animosity is coming from already. At least it isn’t very long here, as opposed to how it is in Phoenix where it is just hot and hotter for the majority of the year…

So, here are my Saturday Snippets for this week. I have found such a variety of things this past week.. Let’s hope I saved them all, lol. This week has been a little wonky for me with getting on the computer, I just didn’t as much as normal, or when I did I was working on, well, work stuff… Let’s just do this thing and see what happens.. 😉

SaturdaySnippets

  1. Surprise Adoption reveal. Has to be one of the greatest surprises out there.
  2. I love personality test type things…but this one was a little different than most! Let me know your results!!
  3. Fonts.. I hate basic fonts, but I am also not a font snob. Probably in the middle. I had to laugh at some of these descriptions though…
  4. Oh, but you have to watch all four minutes of this little short film…all the way to the end..
  5. Ok, I had no idea how easy it was to make your own snap chat geofilter! Here’s how!
  6. I love this couple chatting about being married 70 years. It’s just a quick video, but they are so cute. 🙂
  7. Wow.. This article that talks about the life of a 13yo right now, with all of the technology and likes and lol’s. I am so glad that Lauren doesn’t do social media or really care what people think. I wonder how different she would be if she weren’t homeschooled.. hmm.
  8. I am fascinated with the photos and videos that drones have produced as of late. Here is a compilation of videos from The New York City Drone Film Festival. Fantastic!
  9. Slugs I do not like…but I can deal with snails. Check out these pictures, it almost makes snails look adorable. 😉
  10. And because tomorrow is Father’s Day, this little compilation of fathers that you may or may not have seen floating around Facebook or YouTube or wherever videos like this may have been shared, lol.

So, there are a few things to keep you busy on some day that you just want to veg out a bit.. 🙂 Hope you enjoy them!

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Great Expectations E-Guide from Progeny Press {Review}

I mentioned a couple times the last few weeks about our books that we are reading for school…Well, Great Expectations is one of the books we are reading. At one point I think we were reading five books at one time, it got a little crazy around these parts for a while! I think we are down to three books at the moment which is a little more reasonable! I have been wanting to read another book by Charles Dickens for a while, so I was happy to review the Great Expectations E-Guide from Progeny Press.

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}

With classic books such as Great Expectations, I always love when I can have a study guide to go along with it. Sometimes the reading gets a little tough and it helps you understand what is going on a little easier. The kids had a lot of questions as we were reading, and sometimes I just couldn’t answer them myself!

Now, I will say, the guide suggests reading the whole book completely before starting the study guide. If you have read Great Expectations, it is what, like 59 chapters? We started this over a month ago and read one to two chapters every time we read and we still are about half way through. So, what I modified it to was that we would work on the study guide every seven chapters, or however else it is broken up in the study guide. I think that is a great amount to where you can still remember what is going on and be able to answer the questions.

Our schedule for reading was basically a 3-4 day reading week, depending on our other activities for the week. Then, when it was time to work on the study guide, we would also take a few days to go over each section. I don’t like to rush study guides because it really helps them understand the book better! We would devote one day to each section in the guide.

I love the variety of this particular study guide. It is pretty thorough, in my opinion! It starts out with a little information about the author of the study guide. There is a brief section on how to use the guide, which I found helpful, but like I said, I had to modify it for this particular book, at least for us. Next was a page about Charles Dickens as the author of the book. Following that was a synopsis of the book. I found this helpful so that the kids knew a little bit about the book before we started reading it. Lastly, there is a little background information about the time period that the book was written in.

There is a section that I am going to really enjoy, but we haven’t used much yet, and that is the pre-reading section. I felt that the kids would understand the activities more as we read, rather than before. For example, one of the activities was to draw caricatures of three characters in the book. We are at the point now that I think we could definitely each draw one for sure, so I may start that next week. There are some wonderful facial descriptions in this story, some we have laughed out loud about as we all imagined what that person would look like..

As for the e-guide itself, it is broken down into sections. The first part is vocabulary. They show the word in context of the sentence and want you to write what the word means and use it in a sentence of your own. You can fill it on the computer, or print it out. I love that option! With three kids, we actually voiced our answers frequently rather than printing or typing.

Next is a general section, basically reading comprehension style questions. These are great for having you remember what you read. Some of the questions are fairly simple, which put in your mind important matters to keep in the back of your head for further chapters.  There is also an analysis section that goes more into the actual writing of the book. Why Dickens did things the way he did for example. In the dig deeper section, it gets you thinking harder about certain parts of the book as well as bringing in Bible verses and comparing the story to the verses listed. I am quite thankful for this study guide. Some of the language and accents are hard to understand sometimes, and just to have the study guide to ask a certain question or suggest what happened in the story had us  having a lot of ‘Aha’ moments.

Also included is an answer key. I love that they gave answers to a lot of the deeper questions as that helped us in case we weren’t quite sure of the way we wanted to answer things. I will say that the answer key is all mushed together and sometimes it is hard to read. I am almost tempted to put it onto a word document and spread it out a bit more to make it easier for me to read. That is the only complaint I have at all about the whole study guide and that’s just me being picky…

Progeny Press has many study guides for all ages! We happened to pick one of the harder books due to my kids ages and it is taking us a while to get through. I don’t mind though! For the high school grade levels, they suggest giving a 1/4 credit for each study guide, I think that is very fair, with how thorough they are… There are so many selections just in the high school selection alone, some of my kids favorite books are listed!

If you have kids of different ages, feel free to click on the banner below and see what books and study guides other people chose! And make sure to check out the Progeny Press website to see the other selections in your kids grade level!

Literature Study Guides from a Christian Perspective {Progeny Press Review}
Great Expectations E-Guide from Progeny Press {Review}

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The Glass Castle {Review}

Y’all know that I love me some books. We read quite a few books for school which I always add to my Goodreads account to keep track of them. We are in the middle of a few books on the harder side right now, so we were all excited to be able to read a book that was on the easier, and yes, shorter, side.. The Glass Castle by Trisha White Priebe and Jerry B. Jenkins by Shiloh Run Press was a welcome book for us all, and even moreso as we were reading it!

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}
This book is geared toward the middle school group as the main character, Avery, is 13 years old. From the first couple sentences, the book had our attention, and most definitely by the end of the first chapter!

Avery is kidnapped by an old lady who has taken her to a castle. When she gets her bearings, she finds that the castle is full of other 13 year olds like her. Except they are all orphans, and she knows that her father would be at home wondering where she had gone. She is also concerned about her 3 year old brother, she hasn’t heard anything about where he is or if he is ok, and nobody will tell her anything.

As she spends more time in the castle she gets more information in bits and pieces. Apparently the king decided that all 13 year old children should be put to death. The old lady that kidnapped Avery was actually saving her by bringing her to the castle so that she wouldn’t be one of the ones killed.

All of the children are basically the workers of the castle without the king knowing. They cook, sew, and just do everything else that you could imagine. They also have their own set of spies. They know what is going on when, who is doing it and for how long. This comes in handy as the king is set to be married to a new queen, Angelina.

The kids are trying to make the most of their time being stuck in the castle. With frequent chess tournaments, celebrations, as well as  having their own royalty, Avery comes to not mind being there as much. She never stops thinking about her brother and father though.

I don’t want to say too much without giving things away, but there is so much that I haven’t mentioned. And some explanations that will also make more sense as you read the book. Trust me, it is a book that will have you wanting to finish it in an afternoon. We read one or two chapters a day during school and there were times we just wanting to finish it in one sitting. The chapters are all pretty short and the book itself is only about 250 pages.

All of our books that we read for school are read aloud. It is just easier that way with three kids, plus I think everyone enjoys it. This book had us all wondering which direction it was going to go, even me! I really enjoyed it! If anything, I was mostly frustrated at the end because it had the same effect as seeing a ‘to be continued’ written on the last show of the season of your favorite tv show. We all want to know what happens next!!

Luckily, there is a new book coming out in October…BUT…that’s so far away!! ha! I will definitely be on the lookout for it though, and I am sure we will be reading this one out loud as well. If you or your kids love a good story line mixed in with a ‘what’s next’ feel, this book is definitely for you.

If you want to know what others thought of this book, feel free to click the banner below! 🙂

The Glass Castle {Shiloh Run Press Review}
 The Glass Castle {Review}

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Four years ago!

Woah, so according to Timehop it was four years ago yesterday that we packed up the RV in AZ and headed east. It seems like we just moved here and I can remember it all so clearly.. Yet, it also feels like we have been in NC forever!

I wish I could have documented more of our move as it was happening, but our internet was having issues on our phones back then and Jeffy’s laptop was not the greatest. Ah well. I am still enjoying the last few days on Timehop and the few pics that were on Instagram as we traveled.

I am happy that I started this yearly family photo in front of our house. Seeing the changes in everyone is so crazy! I wonder what the total inches grown is since 2012, lol.  I basically tell everyone to come out in whatever they are wearing, whatever they look like. I do the same thing, obviously, lol. I know one year it was just after getting all of our birds in on a hot day. This year they were still out as you can see..

Check out the latest edition for 2016 at the bottom. Thanks to Emily for taking it this year! 🙂
Four years ago

Family 2012Three years ago

Family 2013Two years ago

Family 2014One year ago

Family 2015This year! 😀

Family 2016

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One chore I actually kinda like…

It’s a common occurrence as I am scrolling my Facebook feed that at least one person is complaining about laundry. It seems that nobody out there likes laundry at all, not even one little bit. They show pictures of laundry piles waiting to be folded, or washed, or washed again because it sat in the washer too long.

This got me to thinking. The one chore I actually kinda like…is laundry! What the heck? Am I alone in this?

black-and-white-clean-housework-launderette

I like how everything is sorted into colors. I like how it is just pretty easy to actually do laundry. Put it in the washer and it is done all by itself it just needs to be transferred to the dryer. I know I would be not saying that I enjoyed doing laundry if there were no washers because I couldn’t imagine cleaning our amount of clothes on a wash board and then hanging them all to dry. I think all of my days would be nothing but laundry. How did people do it?

The biggest help in my liking of laundry was having a place where we can hang stuff right there by the washer and dryer. So as soon as the dryer plays its little musical notes signifying that it has done its job I can rush in and hang everything that needs hanging and then fold everything else and put it in the basket. When the basket is full, I bring it upstairs and sort it out into piles as to each person in the house. Those piles stay there until all the laundry is done for the day. Then, once that is all done I can deliver said piles to each person.

Now, I know you may be wondering why I don’t have the kids do their own laundry. Well, since we homeschool, they aren’t changing clothes one hundred times a day, so it would take them a while to get a proper load ready to be washed. And a load of whites? Ha! They don’t have that many clothes!

On the other hand, I do have them doing their own bedding a couple times a month. (It’s better than nothing, am I right?) So, they are still getting the experience of doing laundry to be all self sufficient and such, but they aren’t going to be walking around wearing who knows what while they are waiting for a load of laundry to be big enough to wash. 😉

I will be even more excited once our remodel is done. You guys…our stair case is sooo narrow in our house. I can barely fit with our laundry baskets. And sometimes those things get heavy! Especially in winter when it is all denim in there! They are wood stairs so you know I am tempted to just shove the whole basket down and cross my fingers it all ends up ok.

Our remodel will be giving us an upstairs laundry! That will be the greatest thing. I am kinda getting low on patience for our whole remodel thing to happen. We have been waiting on plans for a while now so I am getting antsy. Can’t really remodel during the winter here, so….we were hoping we would be further along by now. Ah well…

Anyway, time to feed the birdies…but let me know if you are like me and don’t mind laundry…or if you are like ‘them’ who despises the whole thought of it. 😉

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Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 {Review}

Some of you know about my Post-it obsession from a while back. That was how I kept track of what everyone was doing, where everyone was going and all of that other nonsense. It was messy. I had them all over my desk and I did understand the mess, but it got to be too much once the kids got busier. And now I gave Kyle my desk and I am just stationed at the homeschool table until we get our remodel. I was very happy to review the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse.

Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017Now, let’s just talk about that cover for a minute. I LOVE IT! All of that old stuff just speaks to me..ahh, all the stuff we see at the antique stores here. 😀

Generally, this is a regular planner that y’all have seen… But it has so many extras that make it perfect for a homeschooling mom! Even the ‘school’ planners that are out there don’t always work for the homeschool crowd, so that was a plus for me right off the bat!

There are three years of calendars, 2016-2018. Those are listed in the beginning as full calendars. Then, it starts off with July of 2016. Each section has a little ‘Hey Mama’ note that is just wonderful for inspiration and to cheer you on throughout the school years. Sometimes they are short, sometimes they are long, but flipping through, it seems like they all well thought out. I haven’t read all of them as I didn’t want the surprise factor to be gone for later. 😉 One of my favorite things though are those little ‘Hey Mama’ sections. 🙂

Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017After the note section is the month spread out in two pages with boxes that you can fill in with whatever. This is great for a month at a glance type things when you need to schedule something fast.

There are some blank ‘Week of:____’ pages that you can use for those extra busy weeks. Some of our weeks are pretty uneventful compared to others but I know those pages will come in handy! I also know that there are many out there that have packed weeks and will fill up every single box! 😉 Throughout the weekly pages are little information pages about some of the items from the front cover. One page tells about the history of the cast iron skillet. Pretty cool!

Towards the back are some great pages.. There is a section on Monthly Goals and it breaks it down as to what kind of goal it would be. Educational, Spiritual, etc. Semester Goals are broken down the same way as well as the Yearly Goals section.

There is an attendance chart for those states that have you record attendance. I may be mean but even if my kids are sick we still do school. Ha!

One of my favorite sections is a ‘Books Read This Year’ page! We read A LOT(!!) of books for school, and usually keep track of it on our Goodreads site, but this would be so great to keep the homeschool ones separate from my other books! I can’t wait to start filling this one out. 🙂

After that is a curriculum planning sheet. We are pretty eclectic in our curriculum and with trying all sorts of new things all the time, I honestly don’t know how much I will use this section. But there are plenty of people that have a set curriculum that this will be handy to keep a record of. I will use it for keeping track of favorites that I use for Ryan so that I can look back on it for Kyle and Lauren.

There is a homeschooling contact list, basically, anyone you may want to contact, friends who homeschool with you, maybe some online friends, that sort of thing.

You know this is a homeschool planner when you get to these last few pages. There are 36 general writing prompts and almost two pages of story starters. Awesome! The thirteen colonies by date, a timeline of inventions, US Presidents and their wives are also listed. The very last few pages have branches of the federal, state and local governments broken down as well as the states and capitals listed in order of them joining the union.

The very very end has some information regarding transcripts and a transcript that you can fill out. I highly suggest making a copy of this if you have more than one child! There is also a checklist and skills learned page to break down the transcript some.
Coupon Code Hey Mama Planner 2016 2017
This ‘Hey Mama’ planner is so great for us homeschoolers! I love that it is still a good size for having almost 200 pages, not ridiculously thick or large. Just regular paper size! These are a great price too, only $29 with free shipping  if you are here in the US! More options if you live out of the US. There is a coupon code right now that makes the planner only $19! It is CREWCODE and is good through July 15th. (For out of US it will take $10 off your planner!) It is a great time to get one as they start in July! Gives you time to look through it and start filling it out, even more time if you don’t start school until fall! If you prefer, there is also a digital planner available!

Feel free to click on the box below to hear what others thought of it! 🙂

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review
 Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 {Review}

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What I read in May

What a month..everything seemed to happen! I didn’t think I read many books at all because we were so busy, but I did get a few in! I have to get a lot of work done this month, so maybe this will be the month that I won’t get as much read, who knows…

I am loving some of the book titles a few of you have sent in! Thankfully they were at the library! There are some that I am still waiting for, but that’s ok.. Feel free to send more titles for me to check out! 🙂

Here is what I read in May and let me know how you are doing on your Goodreads challenge!

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Unbecoming by Jenny Downham – Three women – three secrets – one heart-stopping story. Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can’t reveal. Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her. Katie’s grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and ‘capable of anything’, despite suffering from Alzheimers. As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is ‘badness’ genetic? In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love. Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories.

What I thought: This book was pretty enjoyable to me! The characters were well done, their personalities matched the character and the way it was written. The storyline was different than what I have been reading lately too which was nice…

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Bright Of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry – Long ago, a lone little burro roamed the high cliffs of the Grand Canyon and touched the hearts of all who knew him: a grizzled old miner, a big-game hunter, even President Teddy Roosevelt. Named Brighty by the prospector who befriended him, he remained a free spirit at heart. But when a ruthless claim-jumper murdered the prospector, loyal Brighty risked everything to bring the killer to justice.
Brighty’s adventures have delighted generations of readers, and he has become the symbol of a joyous way of life. Some people say that you can even see his spirit roving the canyon on moonlit nights-forever wild, forever free.

What I thought: Even though this was geared more toward children, I really enjoyed it! The story was well told and I love how they put so much personality into an animal the way they did. 🙂

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Daniel Boone Frontiersman by Janet & Geoff Benge – Heroes of History is a unique biography series that brings the shaping of history to life with the remarkable true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history. In search of a land to call his own, Daniel Boone fearlessly led a band of brave settlers into bountiful Kentucky wilderness, where his heroic accomplishments on the frontier made him an American legend for all time (1734-1820). Gr. 4-up

What I thought: Yes, another book for school.. This was quite fascinating though! I wrote a review about it earlier this month. I would love to read more of these books for school and I love the study guides with them!

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Baggage by S.G. Redling – Over the years, terrible things keep happening to Anna Ray on February 17. First, there was the childhood trauma she’s never been able to speak about. Then, to her horror, her husband killed himself on that date.
A year later and a thousand miles away, Anna tries to find solace in the fresh start of a new job in a new place. She takes comfort in her outspoken cousin Jeannie, the confidant and best friend who’s there whenever she needs help. On the day of the dreaded anniversary, Anna and Jeannie hit the town, planning to ease the pain with an alcohol-induced stupor and then sleep.…
When Anna awakes the next morning, she thinks she can put one more February 17 behind her, but fate is about to intervene in the form of two gruesome murders with eerie similarities to her violent past. This time, however, she won’t be an abandoned daughter or a grieving widow. This time, she’ll be a suspect.

What I thought – I had high hopes for this book, but it was just ok. I got into it fine but..it was just ok.

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Made For You by Melissa Marr – When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

What I thought – This started out like it could be very good and then it was just eh. I like it well enough, like the last book, but I think it just petered out for me.

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Mother & Son by Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D – The idea of moms respecting their sons may sound alien to some, but it seems to ignite curiosity across the board. It is easy to relate to the need for all of us to feel a mother’s love, but is that the same thing as respect? Even for young boys, the effect of respect is nothing short of astounding when applied properly.
Moms yearn to learn anything that better helps them with their sons. After all, they love their boys, but many find them more difficult to parent than their girls, especially from age four and up.
What makes this all the more urgent is that moms are coaching fathers to love their daughters, but no one has said boo to moms on specific ways to show respect to their sons, at least not in a way that is applicable and fully explained. All realize that little girls need daddy’s love, but who is strongly promoting the truth that little boys (and big ones) need Mom’s respect? No wonder mothers feel left in the dark on this topic.
Just as Emerson Eggerichs transformed millions of marital relationships with a biblical understanding of love and respect, he now turns these principles to one of the most important relationships of all, a mother and her son.

What I thought: I reviewed this book as well just the other day AND I have a contest so you can win your own copy! 🙂 But I loved the message of this book and it makes total sense!

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DC Trip by Sara Benincasa – Alicia Deats is a new teacher chaperoning her very first high school trip to Washington DC, and nothing could be more terrifying than a class full of horny, backstabbing, boundary-pushing teenagers under her watch. To make matters worse, she embarrassed herself with her co-chaperone Bryan Kenner with one too many margaritas and an ill-placed vomiting incident at last year’s teacher mixer and is hoping this trip can be a fresh start for them. Alicia believes in positive reinforcement and trust to keep her students out of trouble, but best friend high school sophomores Gertie, Sivan, and Rachel have a different idea: they plan to take full advantage of the un-parented freedom that a trip to DC offers. DC TRIP by novelist-comedian Sara Benincasa is an honest and irreverent journey of sexual confusion, bar shots, drag queens, and pot cookies in the Rose Garden.

What I thought: I thought it was a pretty funny book and that’s what had me reading it pretty quickly, just to see what happened. It may not be the most realistic storyline ever, but honestly are any of the books I read? lol. It was a fun read!

Ok, that’s it for May! I am currently reading a lot of thick books, not sure if I will finish them in June or not, but stay tuned next month to find out! 🙂

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Our new fostering journey..

Since today is the last day of May…I figured I would let you in on our little ‘thing’ that we are doing. What’s so big about May? Well, May is National Foster Care Awareness Month! And this is all about our new fostering journey..

Earlier this month we started classes to become foster parents. Now, I realize I could have said something earlier this month to help make you all more…aware…but honestly, everything happened pretty quickly! When we called our county office to get information we were told that they were having an orientation the next day! So we went! Our classes started the following week and are every week until the end of June.

We didn’t tell many people at all what we were doing since it all happened so suddenly. Is that weird? lol. We have gotten ‘in trouble’ in the past for not keeping people in the know about our lives, but really, it’s our lives, so…. :shrug: That’s neither here nor there though, so anyway….

A while back we were astounded with the stats coming from Arizona about the need for more foster homes. There was a little graphic going around listing the ages of boys and girls going around that were sleeping in offices because there just aren’t enough homes for these children. I was recently told that in one year, Arizona had 749 new foster homes open. That is awesome news for the 19,000 kids in care there. But…there were also 742 foster homes that closed. That means a gain of only seven homes for a state where 38 kids are removed daily.

I don’t have the stats for North Carolina at the moment, but I am sure it isn’t the greatest either. Every state needs help!

two kiddosAs a few more of my friends decided to foster, Jeffy and I tossed the idea around. Back and forth we went, the idea was dropped numerous times and brought back up again just as many if not more. So many things influenced our decision.

Jason Johnson wrote a blog post about loving a child that may leave. Seriously, it is such a good read. These kids NEED that kind of love. And that’s who this is really all about, the kids.

I don’t have any fancy words or anything in this post and my laptop battery is about to die, but I did want to get something out there.

If you want any information on fostering, or wanting to help out in any way, feel free to contact me! If I can’t help you, I will get you in contact with someone who will. Because I don’t know a ton right now, but I would love to help you even a little…

I love this graphic…

Foster CareFostering isn’t for everyone, and we get that. But if you feel called to help in any way, there are options both big and small!

I will be posting periodically throughout our process!

Ok, gotta post before the batter dies! 🙂

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