Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goals for 2015

For the past few years, I've shared my goals for the new year. Each year I list a TON of goals, and each year I only finish a small handful of those. I struggle with following up on those goals throughout the rest of the year; usually I only look at them during the month of January and then forget about them.

This year I'm going to focus on just a few goals for a month at a time. At the end of each month, I will evaluate how I did and decide which goals I need to work on for the next month.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

The year is coming to an end, and I wanted to take a look back at some of the top posts from 2014 here at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama. There were so many fun things that I was able to do with my family and share here. There were also some great new recipes and new homeschooling friends.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why We Don't Have an Elf on Our Shelf

Confession - I completely do not understand the Elf on the Shelf thing.

Here's what I see: A lot of families (mostly moms) competing to see who can be the most creative in getting their elf into mischief.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wisdomantics - Interactive DVD Bible Game Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

We love board games at our house, so when I was given the opportunity to review Wisdomantics, an Interactive DVD board game, I was super excited.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yearly Membership at SchoolhouseTeachers.com - Review

SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review I recently joined The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, and I'm so excited to share with you the first experience I've had as a Crew member. Members of the Crew were given a Yearly Membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to review.

All I can say is - AMAZING! There are so many incredible resources at this Christian homeschool curriculum site. I know it's cliche, but I'm a big fan of not reinventing the wheel. Now I don't have to when I want to supplement what I'm already using for curriculum.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Susie's Hope DVD - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
My kids absolutely love dogs. Our dog, Buddy, is a rescue dog. Susie's Hope is also about a rescue dog, so I was very excited for a chance to watch this DVD with my small people. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

I wanted to try a new recipe for Christmas this year, and I found this one on the side of the red velvet cake mix box. We loved them so much that I'll be making a double batch this week.

Christmas cookies


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sensational Sunflowers - Review

In our study of geography, we've made it to Europe. We learned that in parts of Europe where the climate is hot and dry, sunflowers are a popular farm product. To go along with this study, I was given a chance to review Sensational Sunflowers e-book for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It was perfect timing.

The Sensational Sunflowers e-book can be found at The Old Schoolhouse for $4.95, a great price for the activities in it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Choosing Ornaments

Each year, we get the small people one ornament. When they were very small, the hubby and I chose ones that matched their likes or personalities. Now that they're older, I let them choose their ornament.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Decorating in Spite of Myself

I am willing to admit that I have control-freak tendencies. Giving over control is difficult for me. This makes decorating for Christmas very interesting for my family. The small people joke that I am usually in my worst mood the day after Thanksgiving. I decided that this year I didn't want to be like that. I don't want the Christmas decorating memories that my small people have to be of me in a bad mood.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

No Nutcracker This Year


Back in May, we made the decision for Ballerina to leave the dance company she had been with for the past 5 years. For 5 years, October and November have been completely taken over by Nutcracker rehearsals. Here are pictures from last year's Nutcracker.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Piecing Your Own Curriculum


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Jen from Chestnut Grove Academy. She's sharing how to piece your own curriculum.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
I am having a hard time believing that Christmas is right around the corner. I had the opportunity to review the DVD Buck Denver Asks...Why Do We Call It Christmas? I was excited to start watching Christmas movies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Growing Up Social - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Everywhere I look, I see small people completely entranced by screens. In my home, in restaurants, at the ball field. Yes, even at the ball field; usually the siblings of those playing are busy watching a screen instead of the game.

Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane addresses how we can raise our kids to be relational, even in a world dominated by screens.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: I Sure Hope I'm Doing This Right


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Tawnee from Adventures in Homeschooling. She's sharing about one of the biggest worries all homeschoolers have - Are we doing this right?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Soccer Mania

I think it is safe to say that this has been the craziest soccer season our family has experienced.

Image courtesy Sira Anamwong/freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Stretching the Food Budget with Throw-Together Stove-Top Casseroles


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Karen from Tots and Me. She's sharing how to stretch your food budget with throw-together stove-top casseroles.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Lifelong Love: Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Who doesn't want a better marriage, especially one built on biblical values? Gary Thomas' A Lifelong Love shares how to make your marriage more than just being married for life but instead to make it a lifelong love.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Pleasing God, Not People


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Deana from The Frugal Homeschooling Mom. She's sharing about pleasing God rather than people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sassy!

My little Sassy Pants turns 7 today. Every year her birthday is harder for me; she's my baby and I struggle with her getting older.

I do enjoy the person she is becoming, though. She's always singing. She makes up songs all day long about whatever she's doing. Here's a song she wrote and sang for me this weekend.

video


Happy Birthday, Sassy!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Family Fun


I realize it's probably been fall for many of you for weeks now. Here in South Carolina, though, fall is just beginning. We've just seen the beginning of crisp, cool mornings. The leaves on the trees in my yard are still green, but I know they'll be turning color any time now.

Here are some fun activities you can do as a family:

  1. Go for a hike in the woods to see the changing colors.
  2. Jump in a leaf pile.
  3. Go to a high school football game.
  4. Make a fall popcorn tree.
  5. Visit a pumpkin patch.
  6. Carve pumpkins.
  7. Paint pumpkins.
  8. Make s'mores.
  9. Make coffee filter fall leaves.
  10. Make chocolate chip pumpkin bread.
  11. Make a thankful tree.
  12. Visit a corn maze.
  13. Make paper bag pumpkins.
  14. Make candy apples.
  15. Go on a hay ride.
  16. Bob for apples.
  17. Make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
  18. Visit the fair.
  19. Roast pumpkin seeds.
  20. Watch Charlie Brown Halloween and Thanksgiving specials.
  21. Watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
  22. Go on a fall nature hunt.
  23. Do leaf rubbings.
  24. Make autumn leaf placemats.
  25. Make leaf lanterns.
  26. Make chocolate chip pumpkin spice cake.
What are some of your favorite fall activities?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Hardest Peace: Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
My mom passed away almost 10 years ago from breast cancer. I still remember when she first received her diagnosis 11 years prior to that. I had just graduated college. I was old enough to understand what she was going through, or at least have a general understanding. I don't think I'll ever truly understand all of her emotional and physical turmoil through that time, unless I also develop cancer.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Mommy Guilt and Worry


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Dawn from Double O Farms. She's sharing about Mommy guilt and worry.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Just call me Alexander.

One of my all-time favorite children's books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. On Saturday, I felt like I was living out that book.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: 6 Tips for Choosing the Best Program for Your Student


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Meg from Adventures with Jude. She's sharing tips for choosing the best program for your student.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm a Softball Mom

For the past 11 years, I've been a soccer mom. At least 3 days a week, I have small people at soccer practices. Every weekend usually means at least 1 soccer game, sometimes as many at 12 among all 3 soccer players. I'm used to my soccer mom status. I've even come to embrace it.

Technically I've been a softball mom for a couple of years now. Sassy and Little Red both started playing in spring 2012. Sassy's played 2 spring seasons of t-ball, and Little Red has played 2 spring seasons of coach pitch.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mexican Tissue-Paper Flowers


To finish our study of Mexico, the girls made Mexican Tissue-Paper Flowers. These were a lot of fun to make, and you can use a variety of colors or make them solid colored.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Homeschooling as a Mom with ADHD


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Selena from Look! We're Learning! She's sharing how she homeschools as a mom with ADHD.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Overrated by Eugene Cho: Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

When I was asked to review Eugene Cho's book Overrated, I was intrigued. Today's culture talks a lot about changing the world; in fact, President Obama campaigned on a platform of change. The question Cho poses - Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world? - is definitely worth investigating.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Get Your Child to Quit Sports


35 million children play organized sports every year. 70% of these kids will quit playing by age 13, never playing again. I have some tips if you want to help your child be part of that 70%.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Homeschooling While Living with Bipolar Disorder


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight! Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week is Charity from Giggles and Grimaces. She's sharing how she homeschools while living with Bipolar Disorder.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: 7 Questions Concerning Curriculum


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Joyice from Raising Boys Homeschool. She's sharing 7 Questions Concerning Curriculum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Yarn Art

After studying the United States, our geography study traveled to Mexico. Our first project was to do Yarn Art.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Tristan from Our Busy Homeschool


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Tristan from Our Busy Homeschool. She's sharing how she homeschools her 8 (yes, EIGHT!) children.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Not Back to School Tradition


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Misty from Finding Joy in the Journey. She's sharing her favorite NOT back to school tradition.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Navajo Sand Painting

The first stop the girls and I are making on our geography study is the United States. Our first project for this study was to do Navajo Sand Paintings.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Laurie from Inspiring 2 NH Kids. She's sharing a fantastic quick and easy recipe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Boxcar Children DVD - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Are you familiar with the Boxcar Children books? My older girls love reading them. Now there's a movie that you can order from Walmart or win your own copy below. 

About The Boxcar Children DVD 

Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret - until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.

Collector's Edition Special Features 
  • THE BOXCAR CHILDREN E-BOOK PREVIEW
  • THE BOXCAR CHILDREN GUIDE TO ADVENTURE E-BOOK PREVIEW
  • PRINTABLE TOWN MAP
  • OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR/MUSEUM FEATURETTE 
  • DOWNLOADABLE ACTIVITY KIT
  • STILLS GALLERY
About the Cast
Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner's best-selling classic!

My Thoughts
We read the first book in the Boxcar Children series as a read-aloud for school a few years ago, so watching the DVD version with the small people was a lot of fun. I especially like that it is Dove Approved for all ages. Ballerina, my resident bookworm, absolutely loved how it stayed fairly true to the book. Little Red and Sassy also enjoyed the DVD; in fact, Little Red said that now she may actually try to read the books. Anything that encourages my small people to read is a plus.

You can learn more about The Boxcar Children DVD on Facebook and Twitter

Enter the giveaway below to win your own copy of The Boxcar Children DVD.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Linking Paper Dolls


I mentioned before that the girls are studying geography and cultures this year. To kick off our culture study, the girls made linking paper dolls and illustrated them to represent different cultures.

I didn't really think this through before we did the project, so all I had on hand was 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. If we do this again, I'll use longer paper so there will be more dolls.

First, I cut the paper in half lengthwise so it was 4 1/4 x 11 inches. Then the girls accordion-folded the paper into 2 inch sections. Once the paper was folded, they drew half of a person figure on the paper. One of the small people learned the hard way that you have to draw the figure against the fold.

After drawing the half figure, they cut it out while the paper was still folded, resulting in 2 figures. (Like I said, if I had used longer paper, there would have been more figures.)

After the figures were cut out, the girls colored them to represent different cultures.





Friday, August 15, 2014

Drawing to Scale

This year I'm doing a yearlong geography study with the girls using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. The first couple of weeks we've spent studying maps - learning about the compass rose, different types of maps (physical, political, and themed), and latitude and longitude lines.

We also talked about how maps are drawn to scale. Then to help them understand how scale drawings work, they created their own.

They traced their hands on a grid of 1-inch squares. Then they copied that onto a grid of 1/2-inch squares. Sassy had a difficult time understanding how to do that and pretty much just did a free draw on the smaller grid, but she's only 6. The older girls, though, really seemed to understand the concept and did a great job. They were able to see how mapmakers create maps to scale.






Thursday, August 14, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Thinking Is Work Too


Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Christy from Houseful of Chaos. She's sharing how thinking is work too.

Christy Knockleby is a homeschooling mother of three. She blogs at http://housefulofchaos.com.

Thinking is work too.

I know that I don't have to spend all day working, yet there is a part of me that still wants to feel like I have accomplished something every day. Sometimes the work is taking the kids out for adventures and sometimes it is house cleaning. I have a pretty lose definition of work and count working on my blog as work, or doing the social networking it takes to stay sane.

Today though, I realized that thinking is work too. Let me explain a bit about how I realized that.

I'm not doing much homeschooling this summer but I do insist that the children do half an hour of schoolwork on any day I ask. If we're busy at the beach or on some other adventure I don't bother asking, but two or three days a week they do their half hour. It allows me to review things with them I don't want them to forget, but more importantly it allows me to test whether things I am planning for the fall will work or not. 

Yesterday a friend had lent me a copy of the history program she uses, so I could check it out before deciding whether or not to get a copy myself. The program is History Odyssey by Kathleen Johnson, and it uses the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, which I already own a copy of, so I went ahead and assigned my oldest to do lesson one from the book today. He did the first assignment which involves reading a couple of pages and labeling a map. Then his job was done, and my job of thinking really started.

I've been wondering about doing my own history unit study with the kids, but I got bogged down in all the possibilities. One book led to another book until I couldn't picture how I could possibly know enough to teach the children what I wanted to teach them. To sit down and really look at what my children would be doing with a particular other history curriculum helped me put what I was doing in perspective and realize I can do my own unit studies instead if I tame my expectations a bit and keep them a bit closer to the size of the program.

Before I can even get around to really planning, I have a lot of thinking to do and that thinking is work too. It is easier to recognize the role of thinking as work when it is done at a place of paid employment, and harder to recognize it when it happens around the house in amongst the day to day distractions of child-raising.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Setting Up Homeschool while managing ADD


Welcome to my newest weekly feature: Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week, I will be featuring a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Amy from Six More Summers. She's sharing how to set up homeschool while managing ADD.
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