Homeschool Creations

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Removing the “Showing posts with…” Label

I'm not super fond of that little box that shows up at the top of searches that I do for specific topics on my own blog. Pretty much unnecessary for the most part.

This is the one that I’m talking about:image

Want to know a quick and easy way to remove it?

1. BACK UP YOUR TEMPLATE. I know it seems easy, but trust me ~ you just never know!

2. In your Blogger account, go to DASHBOARD ~ LAYOUT ~ EDIT HTML  and be sure to click the little box that says ‘expand widgets’.

image 3. Find the following block of coding in your html {you can copy the first line and use the CTRL + F keys to find the line}:

<b:includable id='status-message'>
<b:if cond='data:navMessage'>
<div class='status-msg-wrap'>
<div class='status-msg-body'>
<div class='status-msg-border'>
<div class='status-msg-bg'>
<div class='status-msg-hidden'><data:navMessage/></div>
<div style='clear: both;'/>

4. Replace the above coding with the following block of coding:

<b:includable id='status-message'>
<b:if cond='data:navMessage'>
<div style='clear: both;'/>

5. Save your template and the box will be gone!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Hang in There…

If you are stopping by and things are looking all crazy… I’m reorganzing.

It should hopefully be done quickly {and painlessly}, but don’t panic if it looks all out of whack! :) Back up and running soon.

Build a Bunny Printable Game

Since Easter is coming soon, I had to share this with you all now!! We have had a lot of fun playing it together and I’m sure you all will love it too!

build a bunny 1

To play Build a Bunny cut out the pieces of the bunny and then use a die to roll numbers. Have your little one count the number s/he rolled and then pick that bunny piece.

build a bunny 2

For older children, you can use the second sheet ~ Draw a Bunny. Same idea, but you use the outline of the bunny as a guide and then add in the different pieces. Just a little more involved for older preschoolers and kindergarteners!

Have fun playing!

Labels: , ,

Math Galaxy {Review}

Math Galaxy is a math tutorial program for grades K – 12 that covers topics from Whole Numbers to Word Problems, all the way up to Algebra Fundamentals. It offers you the opportunity to have your own personal tutor in the comfort of your own home. 

Unlike most math textbooks, which throw a mass of material at the student, Math Galaxy focuses student attention on concepts sequentially and interactively, based upon the ideas behind math manipulatives (such as counting blocks) and connecting new concepts to familiar experiences. Unlike most math software, it goes beyond simple games, low-level operations or rule memorization to link familiar and concrete experiences to higher-level processes.

~ Math Galaxy website

We were given the opportunity to review Fractions Fun {$29.95}, a tutorial that covers topics such as comparing fractions, reducing fractions, prime factors, greatest common factor, least common multiple and more. The program includes games for learning and the website also offers online resources as well as printables.


My Thoughts

This year we’ve had the opportunity to review several computer math games with our kids. While there isn’t anything wrong with the program, this one did not grab the attention of our kids like many of the others did. The graphics aren’t as ‘flashy’, so I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with it.

I do like the fact that it is a one time cost to purchase the program {rather than a monthly fee to use it online}. The games/review seemed a little slow overall ~ but they are thorough and do not lack in information. The worksheet generator would be very useful too ~ over 500 to print off and use as you like.

For More Information

Math Galaxy offers six different products that are all available for download at $29.95 each. They also have worksheet generators priced at $29.95 each. You can also take a guided tour of their programs to find out more. Math Galaxy also offers a 30-day Money Back Guarantee.

System Requirements

Windows 98 or later or Mac OS X.  Math Riddler Worksheet Generators require a printer.  Programs also require Java plug-in.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Playdough Mats

This week has been a little ‘off’ at our house and I didn’t figure out why until early this morning when Zachary complained that his ear was hurting. One lovely ear infection diagnosed.

Fortunately I brought Kaleb along for the visit and our doctor checked him out too ~ and he has one in both ears. Why I’m so slow to catch onto these things is beyond me sometimes…

Since both boys were really in rare form, we spent much time ‘playing’ and learning rather than doing our actual work. Our toy of choice?


I put together some playdough mats for both of the boys to use {and to share with you all, of course}. I just printed them off onto cardstock and rather than laminating them, I slide the sheet we are using into a plastic page protector. Then we can change it out as we want to!


Kaleb’s playdough mats are all alphabet based. Each one is 8 1/2” x 11” and has both the uppercase and lowercase letter on the sheet along with a picture of something that starts with that letter/letter sound.

alphabet playdough matsalphabet playdough mat

We tried rolling the playdough, but Kaleb preferred snipping, snipping, snipping it instead. Needless to say, we had chunks of playdough everywhere and that is how Kaleb filled in the letters. We talked about the letters, traced them with our fingers, made the letter sounds together ~ and just had fun!


Zachary’s playdough mats are actually tied into our All About Spelling lessons {I’m sneaky like that}. He said he was ‘too big’ for the letter mats and wanted his own to use. :)

spelling playdough mats

Since we’re using All About Spelling with him, I put together some spelling word mats to go along with most of the lessons in Level 1. Nothing fancy, mind you, but it has been great reinforcement for him on the phonics rules that he is learning each week. Each mat has the lesson equivalent in the bottom corner {i.e. 1.15 is level 1 lesson 15}.

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.


Labels: , , ,

Melissa and Doug SALE!!

Barnes & Noble is having a HUGE sale right now on all of their Melissa and Doug toys ~ 45% off with free shipping when you hit $25. Thanks so much to one of my readers that sent me this heads up ~ because she knows how much I love Melissa and Doug toys!!

image           image

Many of the toys and puzzles that we’ve used during our Tot School and Preschool Corner time are included in the sale! I’m browsing the selection of stuff right now and finding some great deals, so I wanted to pass the info along to you…before I snag too much!

Pizza Hut ~ Book It for Homeschoolers


Do you have a Pizza Hut in your area? You might want to look into their ‘BOOK IT!’ reading program for grades K-6 if you do! Homeschoolers are allowed to participate too! Here’s some information from their website:

BOOK IT! runs every school year from October through March.  The teacher sets a reading goal for each child in the class.  A tracking chart and reproducibles are included to make it that much easier.  As soon as a child meets the monthly reading goal, the teacher gives him or her a Reading Award Certificate. 

BOOK IT! goals are based on reading ability.  Number of books, number of pages, or number of minutes – they all work.  BOOK IT! can also be used with the reading curriculum or as support for comprehension or intervention programs.  For children not reading independently, the goal can be set where a parent or others read to the child.

Pizza Hut is proud of all BOOK IT! readers!  The restaurant manager and team congratulate every child for meeting the monthly reading goal and reward them with a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza, BOOK IT! card and backpack clip.

If you want to learn more about the BOOK IT! program, you can follow this link. Enrollment is open until the end of June.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Interested in a Good Read?


If you love to read ~ you know, assuming you can sneak off for a few moments of your own…head on over to our family blog and enter the giveaway that I have for the fabulous new book, Here Burns My Candle, by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Her new book is a great retelling of the story of Ruth and Naomi and set in Scotland during the late 1700’s.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raising Rock Stars ~ from Moses to Jesus

Raising Rock Stars

Over the last week and a half, we’ve been busy learning a few new verses {both the girls and Zachary} and talking about some different people in the Bible to go along with those verses.

Zachary {Awana HangGlider}

One of the verses that Zachary worked on was John 3:14 {HangGlider Green Jewel 3:2 & 3:3}. God has a special plan for each of us. He has given each one of us special gifts and talents.


Zachary’s lesson focused on the life of Moses. A few of the things that we talked about:

  • Moses’ parents trusted God
  • God had a plan for Moses’ life
  • Moses was the one God had to bring the Israelites out of Egypt
  • Even though Moses didn’t think he could do it ~ God helped him!

The Girls {Awana WingRunner}

Both girls have learned John 1:1-3 {WingRunner Red Jewel 4:1, 4:2, and 4:3}. 

image image

The girls learned more about Zechariah and his son, John the Baptist this week. Zechariah didn’t believe what the angel came to tell him ~ and ended up silent for quite some time! They also learned about Mary ~ her visit with the angel was different from Zechariah’s. She believed and was willing! A few key points this week:

  • Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist, was the prophet that the Bible told about
  • What God says is true ~ even if it seems unbelieveable!
  • We should obey God right away.
  • God kept his promise to send a Savior {Genesis 3:15}
  • Jesus is that Savior

You can click on either the thumbnail images above to find the verses on my Bible printables page {listed by reference}. Be sure to visit Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and see what she’s been doing with her kids for Raising Rock Stars ~ she has some great Resurrection Egg printables for this week that we are going to be using!


Labels: , ,

Where We Are in Our Travel Studies

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting about our geography studies. We have still been doing them, I’ve just been doing so much else that it got put on a back burner for a bit.

If you are following behind me, I’ll be posting in the next few weeks/month about the rest of our studies in Africa ~ Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania. Right now we’re learning about Australia, so stay tuned!

In case you haven’t visited it yet, be sure to check out my geography pages on my website. Eventually all of my printables will be hosted there ~ and they are nicely sorted by continent and country for you all. Here are the links:

Main Geography Page ~ You’ll find my weekly planning pages here as well as some notebooking pages, flag matching cards, and links to the various continents we’ve studied: Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Links for the other continents will go active as soon as we ‘travel’ there!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Seasons of Faith ~ Children’s Bible Hour {Review}

Our children really enjoy listening to audio books while we run errands and just drive around town. We have a wide variety of books that we like to listen too, and many times I find myself enjoying the books {as much as the quiet that ensues when all the kids are listening!}.  Children’s Bible Hour Ministries recently sent us the Seasons of Faith book series to review with our kids.

Seasons of Faith

This series is intended to encourage children in their walks with God and each book focuses on a ‘season’ in our walks. Each book in the series is beautifully illustrated and includes an audio CD telling of the story.


Each book in the series is beautifully illustrated and includes an audio CD telling of the story. From the website, here is a description of each of the stories:


“Becky spends spring break on her cousin Sarah’s horse farm in Montana. Taking horse rides amidst the beautiful mountains and valleys, Becky tries to share her faith with Sarah as she talks about God’s creation. Will Sarah listen?”


“Adam and his new friend Zack decide to build a tree fort one warm summer day. After zooming down a hill and falling into a muddy pond, Zack asks Adam about going to church and salvation. Will Adam be able to explain his faith to Zack?”


“Batter up! When Brad accidentally breaks the ice cream shop’s sign, the owner forgives Brad. But when his best friend Doug ruins Brad’s favorite baseball cap, will he be able to forgive Doug?”


“When Thomás moves away from his neighborhood and into a mobile home in his grandparents’ backyard, he misses his friends. There’s nothing to do around the apple orchard with no friends, his dad works a lot, and his little brother was hurt in an accident. All his sister wants to do is play with her dolls. Will Thomás be able to rely on God to get through the difficult times?”

My Thoughts

For our family, these books have brought up some great ‘discussion’ questions, but have especially encouraged our children to reach out to their friends and talk more about their love for God ~ which has been very wonderful to see. Somehow hearing the children in the stories talk with their friends about God triggered something in our two oldest and gave them a little boost of confidence to more openly talk with several neighborhood children about coming to church with them.

The Children’s Bible Hour website also provides a list of discussion questions that can be used to go along with each of the books in the series.

Find Out More

Each book in the series is available for $10. When you use the code FREESHIPAPR15 between March 17 and April 15, 2010, you can receive free standard shipping with the purchase of the 4 book set.


Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flip Along Fun Winner!

Congratulation to Shannon @ Our Family Journey! She was the winner of the Flip Along Fun giveaway!

Don’t forget to use the special coupon code H-02  if you would like to order your own copy ~ it’s good for $3 off your purchase and will work until April 30, 2010.

FlipAlongFun Button


Friday, March 19, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Rainbows and Leprechauns

Notice a difference in the button to the left? Preschool Corner is expanding a little bit to incorporate 5K {or Kindergarten} too! You can read a little more about it in the post I wrote yesterday {and grab the new button too if you would like!}.

Starting this week, I'll be sharing what we've been doing with BOTH of our boys. I'm focusing on one theme each week with them, but will be showing how we cover the same theme with activities geared for different ages or modified so they both can participate.

This week’s fun {a.k.a. learning} was all about leprechauns and rainbows. We had to have a little fun with St. Patrick’s Day! A lot of the activities we did eventually ended up in our Rainbow Lapbooks.

Rainbow lapbook


Rainbows = Noah. I’m sure that’s not any big surprise! We read the story of Noah from several of our kid’s Bibles each morning, played with our Noah’s Ark set and used this mini-reader as story sequencing cards for Zachary.

We also have some great flannel board punch out pieces that we used on our flannel board to have Kaleb play out the story of Noah this week.


Drawing rainbows ~ Kaleb doesn’t often like to sit down and try to draw on his own. This week I asked him to make a rainbow…and he did!! Granted it only ended up with three colors before he hit his drawing limit, but he even tried to make little arches just like a rainbow.


Dot Rainbows ~ Originally we were going to use our dot markers to make rainbows {til Mommy discovered that she had purchased the wrong set of markers…}, so instead we used this M&M Sorting mat for to Kaleb practice coloring in small circles.


Cooking ~ Pistachio Pudding


We were going to make pistachio muffins, but time ran out ~ so pudding it was! Really, the boys could have cared less ~ it was edible. And green.


The rice box got pulled out this week and a little leprechaun lost a bunch of his gold. The boys had fun digging around and filling up their bowls with the gold {spray painted kidney beans}.



Counting 1 to 10 ~ We used the same set of cards for the boys, but both did something different. Kaleb is counting from 1 to 10, so we worked on counting with 1:1 correspondence and pointing to the numbers as we said them to help him identify the numbers.

Zachary took the same cards and used them to count backwards from from 10 to 1. We printed off the rainbow numbers from Erica’s site ~ I just printed them off four to a sheet, rather than on individual pages.


Rainbow Size Sorting ~ Kaleb started sorting the rainbows by size and then lost interest.


Big sister Laurianna quickly stepped in and had him stomp on the biggest rainbow that was left in the pile to help him finish sorting them. He thought that was hilarious!


Cereal Sorting/Graphing ~ I had all the pages printed off, the Lucky Charms cereal ready to be sorted ~ and then two little boys snuck into the kitchen and ATE THE ENTIRE PROJECT. So much for our Lucky Charm sorting activity.

Roll a Rainbow ~ A fun number recognition activity where you roll the die to get pieces and build your rainbow. We ended up gluing ours onto Zachary’s lapbook.

Roll a Rainbow

Rainbow Graphing ~ These were meant to be large printables, but I just changed the print settings and printed off 2 sheets per page so that we could add it to our lapbook. Zachary had to count the rainbows and then graph how many there were on a bar graph. This was the first time he’d really done graphing and he was so proud of himself! :)


Roll a Leprechaun ~ I thought this might be a little hard for Zachary, but he was so excited to play this. Basically Zachary had to figure out the number on the die that he had rolled and then draw a specific part of the leprechaun. He was so happy with his {girl} leprechaun that he wanted her put on the front of his lapbook.


Phonics & Spelling

Zachary had fun playing this great shamrock phonics sorting game. He read each of the words and then put them into the word family they belonged.


We also worked a little more on All About Spelling {Level 1}. While it may not seem rainbow related, we tied it in by using some rainbow colored M&M’s as rewards for Zachary’s spelling work. When he finished the lesson he made a rainbow row and gobbled them up. :)




Color Mixing ~ Even though we’ve done this before, it never ceases to interest and amaze all of our kids. We just used water and food coloring in small plastic bowls.

We first read the book White Rabbits Color Book and then set up our three primary colors {red, yellow, blue}. I filled those containers up with more water and left three empty ones. The containers were each on a foam sheet that represented the color in the bowl {none under the ones that weren’t filled yet!!}.

The boys each guessed which color would result when we mixed the two choices together and then Kaleb put down the right color square for our new color to go on. We put our colors in a circle shape, similar to the color wheel that we added to our lapbooks.

Color Words ~ We named and wrote the colors in this minit book for our lapbook. Kaleb colored in the squares and named the colors {I wrote them} and Zachary wrote in the color names as I spelled them for him.

Songs and Rhymes

Color Songs ~ Carisa has some great printables for color songs that we sang this week and then added to our lapbook.

I’m a Little Leprechaun

{Tune: I’m a Little Teapot}

I’m a little leprechaun

Dressed in green

The teeniest man that you have ever seen.

If you can catch me,

So it’s told,

I’ll give you my pot of gold!

Additional Resources

Here are links to some of the great resources we used this week! I’m all about using what is already available is someone has gone through the trouble to put it together and it fits what we need!

R is for Rainbow ~ Erica has some GREAT printables all about rainbows. We used several of them this week. Don’t forget that you can make the printables smaller {i.e. fit more than one on a page} if you are worried about printing off too much.

Rainbow Lapbook ~ printables and links from Carisa @ 1+1+1=1

Little Laplinks {April} ~ Links to some lapbook printables and other sites that have completed rainbow lapbooks

Lucky Charms Graphing ~ sort cereal and graph the results of what’s in your bowl.

Shamrock File Folder Games ~ a variety of different file folder games. Pick one to use with your kiddos!

Roll a Leprechaun ~ Whatever number you roll allows you to draw another piece of your leprechaun.

Rainbow ideas from Making Learning Fun

R is for Rainbow ~ Michelle @ Delightful Learning linked up with her preschool rainbow ideas ~ she has some great ones to share!

Stories & Books We Used

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Adding 5K!!

There have been quite a few of you asking me if it would be ok for you to continue linking up with the Preschool Corner because your child had turned 5.

YES!!! Please do! :)

We’ll be transitioning our boys in the upcoming weeks and BOTH will be included in the Preschool Corner.  It will continue  to be called the Preschool Corner, but in honor of adding a ‘step-up’ level, I put together a new button for you all to use.

Those of you who already have it linked in your sidebar might have noticed the little change. Otherwise, here is the new button and code for you to use if you would like to grab it for yourself!

<center><a href=""><img src="" /></a><br /></center>

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or click the ‘contact me’ button in my sidebar and I’ll do my best to get back to you right away!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daydreaming of Wide Open Spaces

I literally laughed out loud at a comment I received from one of you all recently.

“I thought of you this weekend as I drove through your next of the woods! I couldn't help but to day dream of you and your beautiful family playing on one of the wonderful farms (of course you probably don't live on a was just part of the romantic day dream)…”

Sadly, we’re not on a  farm ~ probably much to many of my neighbors dismay. I’m sure that THEY would appreciate our family having lots of wide open space to run amuck.

If you were driving past my house, you would more than likely find me doing one of the following in our back yard:

  • telling my son to get down off the roof of the van {again}
  • yelling for my son to get off of the roof of the shed
  • yelling at my daughter to get off the roof of the shed
  • wishing my children would just climb the tree instead of every other possible fixture in our backyard
  • hiding the little play lawnmower from my children so that the incessant fighting will end peace and harmony will abound

Not that I yell at my children {ahem}.

Day dreaming about a little farm is sounding rather lovely right now…


Monday, March 15, 2010

Olde World Style Maps {Review}


After opening the first set of world map files from Home School in the Woods, the one thought running through my mind was “It would have been so nice to have had these two years ago when we started our geography studies.”


They are that lovely. And well done.

geography maps and notebookingOlde World Style Maps {for US & the World} are hand illustrated maps with an ‘old fashioned’ flavor ~ they look older and are very well done. The World Maps set {$18.95} offers maps from both the ancient world and modern day. You can print the maps with all of the information or blank, so that your child can fill in the information. Modern maps feature political lines while older maps have a physical map format. As a bonus, the Old World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps also includes 40 notebooking pages {fact sheets, information sheets, etc…} along with flag clip art and country clip art {see a sample of the world maps here}.

The United States Maps set {$18.95} includes maps for each state as well as DC and other American History maps. Like the World Maps, you can print them off with all the information or blank and ready to fill in and color. The Olde World Style Modern and Historical Maps: United States Maps set also includes bonus notebooking sheets for each state along with clip art for each state flag {see a sample of the US maps here}.

My Thoughts

After seeing the quality of these maps, I started browsing the Home School in the Woods website and managed to get myself a little distracted with some of their Time Travelers History Study Series.  Next year we’ll be studying Early American History and the unit studies that they offer make me want to learn more! Take a look at their Colonial Life pack and also the American Revolution pack. They include a ton of hands on projects that look amazingly fun ~ something we always like to have while learning!

To Purchase

Old World Style Maps are available as pdf downloads from the Home School in the Woods website. You can purchase either set for $18.95 each or as a combo for $28.95. If you prefer cd-roms, you can also purchase them on cds.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Labels: , , ,