Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please Continue to Pray!

Please continue to pray for Ben and my cousin (Steph) and her husband (Dave). If you would like to get updates about his condition you can go to his CaringBridge page.

Thank you for your prayers.


May 25, 2010
Ben is in the arms of Jesus. Thank you so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray for my cousin's family as they try to adjust to life without their precious baby boy.

(Sorry for the delay in updating. I flew to IA soon after and just got home July 3.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Prayers Needed

I have been consumed with thoughts and prayers for my sweet cousin, Steph, and her 22 month old son, Ben. Sunday afternoon they found him tangled up in the mini blind cords. He was unresponsive and flown to U of I Hospital. He is in a drug induced coma and they are concerned about the swelling in his brain. Please pray for little Ben. God is a God of miracles!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Download N Go Product Review

I have had my eye on Amanda Bennett's new unit study series, Download N Go, for a few months now and was thinking of purchasing the Davy Crockett unit for our American History study next year. I figured at $7.95 a unit, I wouldn't be out much if I wasn't satisfied. Lucky for me, I recently received a copy of her Expedition Australia unit to review for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. After working through Expedition Australia, I will be purchasing the Davy Crockett unit, as well as Twisting Tornadoes.

One of the first aspects of the Download N Go units that impressed me was the variety of activities we completed. Lapbooking and notebooking pages are incorporated into the unit study.
We completed pages where we...
***researched animals found in Australia such as the wombat (Science)
***compared the weather where we live to the weather of a particular Australian city (Science)
***learned Australian vocabulary ( case you didn't make the connection...;o)

***measured the distance between where we live to a particular Australian city (Math)

***drew a picture of the Great Barrier Reef (Art)

***researched geographic features such as the Great Victoria Desert (Geography and Science)

The colored graphics of the lapbook/notebook pages were welcomed by my visual learner, but if you choose to print in B&W, I don't feel it would lessen the effect of the image.

I found the Download N Go to be "busy homeschool mom" friendly. There is no checking the mailbox 15 times a day to see if the item you desperately need has finally arrived. Downloading is a breeze and instant. The embedded hyperlinks not only connect you to videos, online games, worksheets, ect on the web, but to the specific pages within the unit you need to print off for any given activity. The lapbooking/notebooking pages are clearly marked to let you know which activity/day they are used for. She also includes a book list, as well as a resource list if you'd like to take your study further.

You can use these one week units for your K-4th grader as your main curriculum, as a supplement, or to have on hand for one of those times when "life gets in the way".
Below are a few of the Download N Go units that are available when I wrote this review. New ones are added weekly. You can click on this link to be taken to the site where you can click on any of the units to see samples.
***Winter Wonders
***George Washington
***Expedition China
***Whale Tales
***Simply Soccer
***Pizza Party
***Autumn Treasures

Here is how the pricing works...

One study...$7.95

One Month (4 Units)...$30.00 plus Birthday Bonanza FREE! You save $1.80!

One Semester (19 Units)...$114.00 plus Birthday Bonanza AND Summer Sensations FREE! You save $37.50!

Full Year (38 Units)...$190.00 plus Birthday Bonanza, Summer Sensations, E Book: Unit Studies 101, E Book: Unit Study Journal FREE! You save $112.10!

The more you buy, the more you save!

I really appreciated the ease of use and the quality of the activities. I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

To purchase or for more information, visit Amanda Bennett's Download N Go website at You can also check out her other unit studies at

"Download N Go was designed for the specific purpose of combining the very best features of unit studies and lapbooking into one study on one topic that was fun and interactive. The Download N Go series brings all of these concepts together in smooth fashion, maximizing the learning experience while minimizing the complications of preparation. Download N Go studies are fun, engaging, interactive, and simple to use--capturing the best of all of these."~Amanda Bennett

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Morning Routine

I've been giving a lot of thought to the kind home I want. The type of atmosphere and environment I want to create for my family. I decided it needed to begin with me. I needed to take care of myself in order to take better care of my family. Not sure why it's taken me so long to realize that. Collin has been saying that for years and is always encouraging me to take "time outs". So, this is how I have been starting my days the past four weeks.

I set my alarm and don't push snooze. This has been a huge adjustment. I don't like something, especially a loud buzzing something, interrupting my sleep. However, it's been good.

After spending a few minutes getting dressed and washing up, I unlock my bike

and ride to Starbuck's. It's a beautiful 2 1/2-3 mile ride (one way) gazing at the mountains in the distance,

listening to the birds greeting me, and trying not to get run over by the more "serious" bikers in the bike lanes. It's the perfect way to sneak in some exercise.

Once I am at Starbuck's, I grab my tall, non-fat (a girl's gotta watch her figure!) caffe misto and sit at a corner table. I'm officially a "regular" now. The barrista girl has my drink ready by the time I get to the register. Pretty cool. While I am there I say my morning prayers from the Book of Common Prayer, read an encouraging book/devotional (current one is Beautiful in God's Eyes by Elizabeth George), journal, and plan out my day.

After I get home, I start setting the stage for the rest of the family's morning. I put on the appropriate uniform...

I love aprons! I feel so feminine wearing them.

I open up the windows to let the cool breeze in,

I turn some chant or classical music on softly, I light a scented candle, and check my email. The internet is a big time waster for me, especially in the morning when I should be doing other things, so I make sure I am ONLY checking email.

As I am preparing breakfast, I start hearing evidence of life. The boys know they are not to come out of their room until I call them for breakfast. This insures a more peaceful and quiet morning which Collin, especially, appreciates. Breakfast was something that was lacking. I don't like cooking or preparing food. The boys would usually fix themselves some toast or cereal. That's changed. Some mornings they'll get eggs, fruit, and OJ or maybe a muffin, fruit, and milk. Regardless of the menu, the table is always set nicely.

After the breakfast mess is picked up, the boys get started on some sort of math game while I get the homeschool materials set out for the day. Then, the school bell rings.

I have really seen and felt the benefits of taking time for myself. I am less grumpy and irritable, my family is less grumpy and irritable, and I feel good about getting some exercise (I have to fit into a bride's maid dress in June!) As Martha Stewart says, "It's a good thing."