Saturday, July 14, 2018

Picture Book Saturday: July 14th, 2018

Picture Book Saturday

Picture Book Saturday is where I share the picture books we have been reading as a family, focusing specifically on the books we are using for homeschooling, though sometimes I may add in some of the other fun books, especially if there is one that we really enjoyed. The chapter books we are enjoying are shared in my Fun Fiction Friday posts.

Today I am just going to focus on the books we have out that go along with the book, The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr.

We are actually reading this book as a part of a review. We are reviewing the eGuide from Progeny Press. In the past we have reviewed a couple of their reviews and we really enjoyed them, so I was excited to get another one for review. In fact, you'll get to read all about it next week.

Listed in the back of the guide were different resources, including additional books to read. The topics of these books are either quilts or traveling west.

Here are the additional picture books

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

There are also some chapter books listed, which I am having the older girls read. The eGuide is geared toward the younger children, but I wanted to include the older girls as well, so this worked perfectly.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
Pioneer Cat by William H. Hooks

And there are some easier, "I Can Read" Chapter books.

The Long Way Westward by Joan Sandin
Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner

Finally, I took out some more informational books to go along with the story.

...If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon by Ellen Levine
The Amish Circle Quilt by Rosemary Youngs
Westward Ho! An Activity Guide to the Wild West by Laurie Carlson

It's been fun taking a bit of a break from ancient history to look at American History again. However, next week we will again be looking at Ancient Greece. In fact, we are reviewing Home School in the Woods' Ancient Greece Time Line. I hope we like it as much as we liked the time line for Ancient Egypt.

I have also received quite a few books for review lately. In fact, I just finished writing my review of Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings. I hope to have reviews posted for a few more books within the next few weeks, hopefully with some giveaways.

Don't miss your chance to win a copy of this sweet book . The giveaway is open to US residents and ends July 29th, 2018.

Can I Be Your Dog? Picture Book {A Review and Giveaway}

We had the opportunity to read an adorable picture book titled Can I Be Your Dog?.

This 36-page, hardcover book is written by author/illustrator Troy Cummings. It is suitable for young preschool and early-elementary school children, around 3-7 years old, give or take a couple of years. My children all enjoyed this book.

Can I Be Your Dog? is a sweet, heart-warming tale of a homeless mutt who is looking for a home. The story is told through a series of letters Arfy the dog writes and the responses he receives. He tries finding a home with all the people on Butternut Street, telling each prospective owner how he would make a great pet just for them.

For example, he tells the family in the yellow house how good he would be as a pet for children. And he tells the butcher lady how he could help keep her floor clean. For each of the five places, he lists what would be beneficial for the owner.

Unfortunately, he keeps getting rejected.

He gets more and more dejected after each time he is turned down.

Though usually the owners are at least polite about it.

That is until he asks the junk shop owner.

Who is just plain rude to him.

Sadly he runs out of places on Butternut Street to ask. But the next morning, he is in for a pleasant surprise.

He receives a letter asking if the sender can be his person. And he runs off to find the person.

I'm not going to tell you who that person is, but maybe you can figure it out. Either way, it's a sweet, sweet ending to this story. A story about a pet who searches and searches, and finally finds a home.

This story really does tug at your heartstrings. Personally, we can't have pets because of my allergies, but there are so many animals out there that need homes, I wish we could.

I love that the story is told through the letters. Not only can children read a sweet tale, but they can learn about letter writing and even how to address envelopes. There are different kinds of letters as well.

The double page spread in the front of the book features different dog-related stamps.

And the back of the book shows a map of the neighborhood. You'll also find a list of ways to help a homeless animal.

As I mentioned, the children really enjoyed this story. Harold had a blast reading it himself.

This is such a sweet book and I fell in love with it instantly. I highly recommend Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings.

Can I Be Your Dog? is published by Random House Children's Books. You can purchase the book for $16.99.

Here's a little more information about the author/illustrator:

Troy Cummings has written and illustrated a pile of picture books, including The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out, Little Red Gliding Hood, and the Notebook of Doom chapter-book series. In addition to books, Troy's illustrations have appeared on animated backdrops for an opera, a package of fish sticks, jigsaw puzzles, iPad pop-up books, posters, a cookbook for dogs, newspapters, magazines, and greeting cards. You can find him at

And now for the great news! One of my readers will get to win their own copy of Can I Be Your Dog?
Giveaway Time!

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. 
There are only 2 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. 
Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning. 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over. 
The giveaway runs July 14th through July 29th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a hardcover copy of Can I Be Your Dog? in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was given. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fun Fiction Friday - July 13th, 2018

Fun Fiction Friday
November 17th, 2017

Welcome back to Fun Fiction Friday.

In my Fun Fiction Friday I share the books the older girls and I are reading, and a short review of a Young Adult or Juvenile book I have finished, if applicable. I will also ask the girls to tell me something they would like to share about at least one of the books they are currently reading.

At least that is what I was doing. I didn't realize it has been more than half a year since I actually posted a Fun Fiction Friday. Another thing I forgot was that I actually started this during Summer Reading Program of last year. So, it was a year ago exactly that I posted my first post. I would love to try to stay faithful with it this time. I am not going to be sharing any book reviews or thoughts this week. Instead, I am just going to share what the children and I are reading. Tomorrow I will be sharing my Picture Book Saturday, plus a review/giveaway for a sweet little children's book titled, Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings.

Tabitha has been reading a wide variety of books.

She is trying to finish the Warriors: The New Prophecy series by Erin Hunter. She really enjoyed the original Warriors series. My oldest son read them years ago and also loved them. He was thrilled that she was reading them. Knowing how much she loves mysteries I encouraged her to try out the original Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene that I read and loved as a kid. She finished book 1 and is ready to start book 2: The Hidden Staircase. I also took out A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I remember enjoying it as a child and we went to see the movie at the library so she became interested in it.

Of course, she also enjoys these Disney fairy books.

I had the following series recommended to me a while back and was thrilled to find it in our library system. Funnily enough, Tabitha's penpal had told her about them, and I hadn't realized it. So, I started the first one, Keeper of the Lost Cities, and couldn't put it down. I told her she HAD to read it. I zinged through the second book, Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile and handed it to her yesterday morning. Now I am reading some Christian suspense books by Ted Dekker, which I will be sharing about on my book blog. I had to wait for the third book, Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze to become available through inter-library loan. As you can see, it is here now. So, I am reading two books.

Amelia couldn't really get into the Warriors books, but for some reason has really been enjoying these Survivors books by Erin Hunter.

Hannah started reading the Tales of Sasha books before going to camp a couple of weeks ago. She zinged through the first three quite fast. Then I put the other three on hold. We were shocked to see they were available for her today. Amelia and Tabitha also decided they wanted to read them. These are a very quick read for them. I finished the first book in half an hour.

Harold tried reading some superhero books, but they ended up being a little difficult for him. He did enjoy the first book in the Magic Tree House series, so is trying the next one. I had him take out several in case he really gets into them. I know he really liked the first one because it was about dinosaurs, but I am hoping he can get into the rest of the books. 

Hopefully next week I will have a chance to have the girls tell a little about the books they are reading.

As a family, we are also reading Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan, and the Kane Chronicles: The Serpent's Shadow, by the same author. These have been fun ways to learn a little about the mythology of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #212: July 12, 2018

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around July 12th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. Sadly, I am going to have to say, I will be deleting posts that do not follow the rules. The spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past. Please follow the guidelines.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted July 12th, 2016
Littles Learning Link Up: Camping Fun Round Up

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Stacey Pardoe shared 

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: July 11, 2018 (w/linky) - Amazing Nature

Just some random pictures of God's amazing creation.

The river was a bit higher than it was last week, thanks to some heavy rain we had at the beginning of the week.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button on your Wordless Wednesday post or in a list of Wordless Wednesday linkies. Just link it to my Wordless Wednesday permalink please.

Strengthening MY Math Skills in order to SuccessfullyTeach My Children {A TOS Review of Math Refresher for Adults}

Do you know what it feels like to struggle with trying to teach your children a subject in your homeschool? I have a feeling most homeschool parents could answer "yes" to this question. What if it was a subject you actually really loved when you were in school, but through the years the information has slipped from your mind? This is what I have been dealing with when it comes to math. Not knowing for sure how to explain concepts that once came easily to me. I mean, I had made it all the way to college-level calculus (though I admit, I didn't do very well in that class), yet now I am struggling to explain such concepts as fractions and lowest common denominators to my daughter, figuring she would have to understand them for her standardized tests. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was chosen to review Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials.

Just what is Math Refresher for Adults? Well, it is a math book which is "the perfect solution" for those who desire to strengthen their math skills. There are many reasons someone might need this book. One listed on the cover states "You want to be able to help your kids with their homework." For us, all work is of course "home" work. Yes, my children have their math curriculum they are using. But there are just times, as mentioned above, when mom still needs to come to the rescue and be able to help explain what is being taught. Another of the reasons is "You have forgotten most of the math that you learned." I may not have forgotten everything I had learned, but I was shocked when I struggled trying to explain simple things to Tabitha, such as how to turn mixed numbers into improper fractions. Or that I couldn't remember that flipping a fraction upside down meant I was finding the reciprocals. 


Math Refresher for Adults is a 270-page, softcover book which is a combination workbook/textbook. What I mean by this is that you can feel free to work in it to figure out the solutions or you may copy the problems into a notebook to work them out that way. 

The book begins with a Preface, About This Book page, and some tips for using the book and helping our kids enjoy math. The majority of the book is focused on General Math and then it concludes with a section on Pre-Algebra and Algebra. In the General Math section you will find the following topics:
  • Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Geometry
  • Integers
  • Charts and Graphs 
  • Word Problems. 
You will find the solutions in the back of the book, along with a six-page glossary and helpful charts. The charts you will find are:
  • Important Symbols
  • Multiplication Table
  • Commonly Used Prime Numbers
  • Squares and Square Roots
  • Fraction/Decimal Equivalents
Each of the workbook/lesson pages follow the same format. At the top you will find room for note-taking and four review exercises

In the middle of the page you will find a Helpful Hints section. You will find step-by-step instructions along with a couple of examples on how to work out the problems. Remember, this is a math "refresher" book, so you aren't going to find full lessons here.

The bottom of the page contains the problems that go with the lesson. There are always two sample questions so you can practice before working on the other ten questions. To the right there is space to write your answers. Then there is a Problem Solving word problem that gives some extra real-world practice. This problem may be related to the current lesson or one taught previously.

If you come to a page where you don't understand the instructions, you can find corresponding video lessons on the website. 

These videos technically go with different Math Essential books, as you can see from the picture. However, we were able to find the correct videos for the sections we needed. These videos actually have someone teaching a lesson off-screen while the information is added digitally to the screen. The following screenshots show part of a lesson on expressing fractions in their simplest form.

How did I use the book Math Refresher for Adults?

Well, originally I planned on being the only one in my family utilizing the book. I wanted to make sure I understood forgotten concepts so I could better explain them to the children. After I received the book, I realized I could have Tabitha use the beginning chapters of the book to make sure she understood certain concepts before she had to take her standardized tests. I figured, even though I knew she could add and subtract, a little bit of basic math practice would be helpful. Also, the Problem Solving questions at the bottom of each page gave her some practice with word problems. I did only have her work on the sample problems, checking for skills she needed to work on. I have to say, I'm glad I had her do this. I discovered that even though she knows how to multiply bigger numbers, she was making silly mistakes. 

She spent quite a bit of time working on fractions, as this wasn't something she had been focusing on with her curriculum recently. The video lessons really helped improve her comprehension of such things as changing improper fractions to mixed numerals, finding the least common denominator, and adding/subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. 

I was also using the book during this timeframe. I noticed the tips section in the front of the book recommended copying the problems onto a piece of paper to work on them. It is stated that "copying a problem down and then working it . . . seems to help in accuracy as well as understanding." Which I can definitely agree with. I decided to use my notebook to work out problems on topics I felt I could use that refresher in. 

I have been taking the books up to bed with me. Sometimes I would work on my math before I went to sleep, other times I worked on it after I woke up in the morning. I would do anywhere between 1 and 4 pages at a time, depending upon how tired I was or how early I woke up. I started out working with fractions. I appreciated being able to practice working with fractions with unlike denominators. And I learned something I either completely forgot or was never taught. Did you know "if the numerator of one fraction and the denominator of another have a common factor, they can be divided out before you multiply the fractions."? That was an interesting "lightbulb" moment. 

I've also spent time working with decimals and percents. I have just been going page by page, reading the information, looking at the problems and sometimes working on them, only if I determined it was a skill I needed practice in. Though, I did try to work on the Problem Solving example on each page as word problems never were my strongpoint. 

Personally, I've always loved math, so this has actually been quite an enjoyable time. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm actually having fun working on math. No stress as there are no tests or people to compete with. Just me having fun playing with math and improving my knowledge. And of course, I am making sure I can better help my children from here on out. 

So, what do we think of Math Refresher for Adults from Math Essentials?

I think it is a wonderful book! The instructions given are clear and concise. However, if more thorough instruction is required, it is only some keystrokes and mouse-clicks away. I like that there are review questions on each page so topics can continue to be practiced. And there are only 12 problems to solve, in addition to the word problem at the bottom of the page. This is something that can be worked on here and there throughout the day or in one sitting. It won't take up a lot of your time, but you get to improve your math skills. I also appreciate that I can work in my notebook, so when my children need to work on some of these topics they won't have to worry about seeing the answer. It also helps to know you aren't limited in the space needed to work out the problem. 

If you are looking to improve your math skills, or if your children need some help, I can highly recommend this combo workbook/textbook. It is thorough and orderly in its approach, with lessons building on the ones before. However, if you have specific skills you want to work on, it is easy enough to skip around. All you have to do is look for the specific topic in the Table of Contents. It is also very helpful that the solutions can be found in the back of the book. 

You can find Math Essentials on Facebook.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Math Refresher for Adults.

Math Refresher for Adults {Math Essentials}
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