Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All-of-a-Kind Family Discussion Questions & Activity Ideas {FREE}

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Well, this is the fourth and final book from my daughter's 2015 summer book club. What's super neat about the questions for this book is that my daughter wrote them. I did proofread and give my approval, but for the most part she came up with the questions. I think she did a great job!

I didn't have time to read the book (I did read the first few chapters) since I was taking a trip to the beach with my mom. I didn't want to spend my trip writing questions for the book, and my daughter needed it to be able to read it in time for the book club meeting. Plus, All-of-a-Kind Family wasn't that interesting to me personally. However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and writing discussion questions for the other 3 books: Remarkable, Rump, and The Fairy's Mistake.

All-of-a-Kind Family is about a Jewish family who lives in New York City during the early 1900s. Amazon reviewers give it 4 stars.

Discussion Questions for All-of-a-Kind Family

*Preview the questions below, and then click on the above link to download your questions for free!*

1. The children in this book love to read. Do you like to read? What is your favorite book?

2. Who is your favorite character: Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, or Gertie? Why?

3. Do you think it was wrong of Sarah to let her friend read her library book?

4. Do you like doing chores? What is your least favorite chore? Your favorite?

5. How many siblings do you have? Are they girls or boys or both?

6. Which girl in the book are you most like?

7. Are you the oldest child, the youngest child, the middle child, or the only child in your family? If you could change your birth order, would you?

8. Do you like rainy days? Why or why not?

9. Do you do anything special on certain holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter?

10. Have you ever gotten a family member a present like the children did for Papa on his birthday?

11. Have you ever been defiant or disobedient and gotten in trouble like Sarah?

12. What is scarlet fever?

13. Have you ever had a really bad fever? Did you have to go to the doctor’s office?

14. Do you like Charlie? Why do you think he always buys gifts for the girls?

15. Do you get firecrackers on the Fourth of July? If not, what do you do?

16. Charlie left town sometimes to look for Kathy. Why do you think Charlie’s parents didn’t want him to marry Kathy?

17. The children were very excited about the new baby. Do you think that the children wished baby Charlie was a girl?

18. Do you think that Charlie was a good name for the baby? What would you name a baby boy?

19. Have you experienced the excitement of getting a new sister or brother? If not, do you wish you had a younger sibling?

20. Did you like the book? Why or why not?

Snack: Hamantashen (Purim cookie)

Hamentashen are triangular and designed to look like the hat that Haman wore in the Purim story. If you are not familiar with Purim, be sure to read the story of Esther in the Bible.


CHORES: In the book, all of the sisters have to help with chores. Like most kids, the sisters didn't like to do chores and didn't always do a satisfactory job. The mom came up with the idea to hide buttons or pennies as an incentive to do a thorough job of dusting. 

What we did:

All of our book club members had the opportunity to find pennies while doing chores around my house. ;) Each girl was assigned an area of the house and had to dust/clean with a cloth. Since pennies don't really amount to much in this day and age, the girls got to exchange their pennies for candy. :)

Food Fun

I found a recipe for homemade Hamentashen, which is a classic Jewish dessert made in the shape of triangles to represent the hat Haman wore in the story of Purim in the book of Esther.

I also served Doritos since they are shaped like triangles. :)

Our 2015 summer book club was lots of fun! My favorite book was Rump, and my daughter's favorite book was Remarkable. Hope you enjoy downloading all of our discussion questions in the above links! Blessings.

This post may be linked to one or more of the following link-up parties.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Peach Tips & Recipe Wins {from Pinterest}

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In May my hubby, my daughter, and I picked peaches at a local farm. Surrounded by the heavenly scent of spring sweetness, we carefully selected about 9 lbs. of beautiful fruit. Knowing that most of my family of 5 wouldn't eat the fruit, I turned to Pinterest and started pinning away. Here's what I've done so far. I only have about a cup of frozen peaches left, so I guess I will have to wait until next peach season to try out all the other recipes I pinned.

Peach Crumb Pie  {Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen}

The one thing I absolutely loved about this pie was that it kept it's shape when cut. The flavor was yummy, too.

I'd change the way I cut my peaches, though. I'd slice bigger pieces instead of cutting into cubes. I'd already cut all my peaches into cubes, so I had no choice when I decided to give this pie a try.

Next time, I'd like to try and make the pie just a tad bit juicer. It's a recipe I'd definitely try again and maybe experiment with different fruits.

Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler  {Stockpiling Moms}

Well, goodness. This cobbler didn't last long at our house. Huge hit. Add a little vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream, and you are all set!

How to Peel Peaches {Queen Bee Coupons}

I was thankful for this tutorial since I'd never peeled peaches this way before. It was pretty quick and easy just like the post said. I did have a couple of peaches that weren't as ripe as the rest, and those were a little harder to peel. Definitely great for when you have lots of peaches!

How to Freeze Peaches {Queen Bee Coupons}

I also followed Queen Bee Coupon's instructions on how to freeze peaches. I freeze fruit all of the time for smoothies, but I usually just throw the fruit in a zip loc freezer bag not caring if some of it clumps together. However, since I wanted to use these peach pieces for recipes, I wanted to freeze them the "right" way. :)

Easy Peach Tea {Passion for Savings}

I love peach flavored drinks. And I love tea. So, when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out. It was really yummy and refreshing. The above picture shows the peach syrup, not the peach tea. Click the above link for pictures of what the tea looks like. I didn't add actual peach slices to my tea, though.

Peach Lemonade Smoothie {Not from Pinterest}

I make smoothies quite a bit, especially now that my older boys don't really like eating fruit all that much anymore. I rarely, if ever, make peach smoothies, so this was a treat!

Since I've been making smoothies for years now, I don't really follow recipes, but here's what I did. I put about 1 frozen banana and about 2 cups frozen peaches in my Ninja blender. Then I added about 1 cup of yogurt. After that, I filled the blender with peach lemonade up to about the #6 line, so I'd have enough for 5 people. It was delicious!

What are your favorite peach recipes?

This post may be linked up to one or more of these link-up parties.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Birthday Girl ~ 11

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This green-eyed beauty is 11 today. Time has flown since that wonderful day I opened the piece of paper that said, "It's a girl!" It's been the fastest ride from all things pink to all things puppy. I want to go back and savor crowns and wands and picture-book snuggles for a week, please.

But, since that is only possible in memories, I will try to embrace the present even though the present involves a slobbery mutt puppy that my girl adores with all her heart. ;)

My girl starting in 2005 all the way to 2013 ~ such a lovely face to behold. Oh, how I wish I could scoop her up in my arms again and smother her cheeks with mama kisses!




Happy birthday Shiloh. Though we are proving to be quite opposites in so many ways, you and I, may we always share that special closeness that only and mama and her daughter can share. I love you with all my heart and more. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Island of the Blue Dolphins Study Guide {FREE}

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Literature is the one subject for which I don't use a curriculum. In my efforts of planning for my youngest child's 2016-2017 homeschool year, I came across this free study guide for Island of the Blue DolphinsEven though it does not come with an answer key, I liked the layout, biographical and historical information, questions that make you think, and the extra questions to other related reading materials.

Click on the link below for the free study guide:

Island of the Blue Dolphins Study Guide

The extra reading materials are not provided in the study guide, only the questions, so I had to do some searching on the web. Below are some links to some of the reading materials that your child will need to complete the questions. (I've already printed mine out and put them in my daughter's literature binder - except for the record-breaking journey. I'll have her read that one on line.)


California Sea Otters

The Fish

Pete at the Seashore

Harbo and Samuelsen's record-breaking journey (I will probably have my daughter read this account summary instead of the book below, Daring the Sea.)

This book below includes the tale, A Mother's Yarn. I could not find the single story on the Internet anywhere. Unfortunately, my library does not have this book, so we may skip this one.

If you'd like to add either or both of these books to your study, feel free to click on the books to purchase at Amazon. :)

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Thursday, June 09, 2016

Corn Cob Banana Pops

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I was craving my Frozen Chocobanana Bites, but I wanted something a little less messy. When I opened my silverware drawer for silverware, of course, I noticed those little corn cob thingies and, BAM, it hit me! Those would be perfect for making banana pops instead of banana bites. :)

What you'll need:
  • About 3 - 4 large bananas cut into thirds
  • 1 cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate of your choice
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 3/4 - 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (health food section)
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Corn skewers (If you don't have any or you don't have enough, try Popsicle sticks or something like that.)
This recipe could easily be doubled, but when I've made these, I haven't had enough bananas to do so. You also might be able to get your chocolate to stretch a lot further. I usually have some leftover that I end up eating with a spoon. :)

What you'll do:

First. put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Peel bananas and cut into thirds. Melt chocolate and 1 tsp. of coconut oil in microwave safe container, or melt over stove. Stir in the coconut. With your fingers, dip each banana third into the chocolate coconut mixture and set down on the cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Sprinkle nuts on top if you wish. I didn't say an amount because I only chopped enough to cover some of the bananas since most of my kids prefer theirs nut free. Finally, stick a corn cob thing (actually called corn skewers or corncob holders) in the bottom of each banana.

Now they are ready to freeze. Place the banana pops in the freezer for a couple of hours or until frozen. After the bananas are frozen, I store mine in a zip loc freezer bag. They don't last long, though. I just love how frozen bananas taste like ice cream. :) Serves 9 - 12 (or more if you stretch the chocolate and have more bananas to work with.)

Hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!

This post may be linked to one or more of the following link-up parties.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Moon Resources

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In honor of my first published children's book about the moon and in honor of my love for homeschooling science, I would like to share some moon resources that I hope you may find helpful in your own homeschooling journey.


My favorite science curriculum is Apologia. The first book I used in the elementary series was Exploring Creation with Astronomy. Out of the 14 lessons, only one is about the moon, but if you are looking for an entire astronomy curriculum, I'd recommend this one if your teaching/learning approach is more reading and notebooking than hands on activities. However, there are always activities and a project at the end of each lesson. If you'd like more details about this particular book, you can read the review I wrote for The Old Schoolhouse years ago. The book has actually been updated, and you can view the 2nd edition on the apologia website. I have used all 7 of the books in The Young Explorers series, all of the middle school books, and a couple of the high school books, :)

The following links are for the first edition book:

* I provided a couple of links for the notebooking journals. These were not available when we went through this book, but I have used notebooking journals for a couple of the other Apologia elementary science books. I really like them, but my kids prefer to use their own notebooks for taking notes and answering questions. All kids are different, though - I think I would have liked the notebooks as a kid since I like pictures, premade fill-in pages, and fun activities like crossword puzzles and stuff. ;) Some of it could be seen as unnecessary "busy work."

YouTube Videos


1. Make a cookie moon phase treat to eat! 

Here are some other activities I found on the web that I thought were really neat:

2. Make a Button Moon Collage

3. Record nightly observations of the moon with this free printable. (My kids have done this in the past even though we didn't use this exact printable. Wish I'd had it then - I hand drew mine!)

4. Create your own glittery moon rocks.

5. Make a Phases of the Moon Flip Book.

6. Eat a Moon Space Snack.

7. Have fun with a Goodnight Moon Sorting Activity

Moon Books

1. Of course I have to recommend mine: Mysterious Moon! :)

2. Other children's books: (Since others have already put in the hard work of putting lists together, and since it's been a while since I've read picture books to my kids, I am referring to other people's links:

Moon Bible Verses Printable

Linked to: Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Hip Homeschool Hop, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Thoughtful Thursdays, Funtastic Friday, Raising Homemakers, Literacy Musing Mondays

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

May ~ So Much to Love About Spring (and other stuff)

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Fairy garden love

My daughter and I started a fairy garden several years ago. It's so fun to make it different each spring and fall.

Regular garden love

Love the bench my hubby brought home from his outing at Merchant Square in Chandler. :)

Mother's Day celebrations

Breakfast and shopping with my mom and sister.

Flowers and chocolate from my sweet kids.

Celebrating our 19th anniversary

Peach picking and peach cooking

Apple picking from my own trees

Son officially taller than dad

Oh, this dog!

Going to the dog park has become a regular part of our lives. We go several times a week. It's nice to have a place where Kylo can run and sniff and play without constantly being told "No!" for something or other.

For the most part, Kylo plays nice, but he's still so young and can be annoying at times. ;) Here, though, these 2 dogs are having bunches of good fun.

One thing I just don't get is when people bring their small dogs to the big/active dog side and then get upset because your big/active dog is acting like a big/active dog. Hmmmmm.

I dared to try the pool again, and this time it was a success! Kylo didn't drink gallons of water and played a little less crazy.

Poor thing just plain tuckered out on one of his longer walks with Shiloh and me. We let him rest for a bit, and I even tried carrying him. That boy's gotten heavy!!!

Goodness, the sweetness of this girl and her doggie make me melt. :)

Memorial Day weekend Sunday drive to Sedona

The drive was beautiful.

But there was lots of traffic!

So green and peaceful and lovely in this spot.

I know. A silly car selfie + a cute little photo bomber.

Kylo is such an awesome car rider, thank goodness. :)

When he wasn't sleeping, he was enjoying the car ride. The only times he was a bit difficult were when we had to take bathroom breaks or get food. We'd take turns staying in the jeep with him, but he'd still whine and try to pace a bit waiting for whoever was gone to get back.

Too bad we weren't able to hike any trails due to overcrowding and no parking. Memories: trying to find somewhere to eat our subway lunch and ending up in a Wal-greens parking lot; Venti frappuchinos + one puppuchino. ;)


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