Monday, May 30, 2011

Magical Disney Memories

With our second trip to Disney World coming up and Heidi hosting a Disney Memories link up, I thought this was the perfect time to share our one of our favorite magical memories.

The girls were nearly 3 and 4 when we went. We had, had so much fun so far and as a special treat we were eating at Epcot with The Little Einsteins and Jojo from Jojo's Circus for breakfast. The girls were so excited! They had been Jojo fans from the first time they saw the cartoon and we were excited to see them so excited! I dressed the girls up in their Disney shirts and of course we donned them in the prerequisite Mickey Mouse ears. Because our reservations were quite early and because of the time of the year we went, Epcot was quiet. We walked in pretty much alone and were instantly greeted by a park employee. She asked us if we had a moment and without thinking we said yes.

Uh oh. Now we had gone and done it. We were going to spend the next 2 hours listening to a sales pitch about season passes, time shares or whatever other new "get you to come back" scheme they had. Karl and I both looked at each other and sighed, but neither of us protested as we were led into the building. The lady led us to a room in the guest relations building labeled "Guest Holding Room". Now how ominous does that sound? They were holding us, likely until we caved and bought the time share just so that we could escape the room! She left and Karl and I discussed escape routes, what to do if one of use dropped over dead from boredom, and ways we could incapacitate the crew member without seriously hurting her. About 5 minutes after she left she returned. This was it. She was about to walk in with a pile of paper work and handcuffs. We were sure of it. Just as we were gathering the girls up to make a run for it we got the surprise of our lives (or at least our trip!). Mickey Mouse was escorted in. And this wasn't just any Mickey. Mickey is spread through out the parks in various costumes, but this one was special. This was THE MICKEY. This was Mickey all dressed up in his parade costume, the blue sequin. I might have been holding back tears and screams at this point, like one of those crazy teenyboppers at a boy band concert. My girls were shocked into silence that I might have been worried about if not for the gigantic grins plastered across their faces. We spent the next 15 minutes having our own private photo session and getting autographs. It was truly magical.

I am looking forward to seeing what memories we make on this next trip with it being my son's first time to go. However, I am honestly not sure how we will top the day we got to meet Mickey Mouse.

Using Color in Your Art Giveaway

I am not sure I could ever have enough art books. My children are allowed free reign of the art supplies, under the condition they clean up after themselves. I love the creations that come out of having this freedom to create, but I also love teaching them about technique. The only problem is that I am not an artist, so I need curriculum that teaches technique but is still fun!

How do you tell the difference between primaries and intermediate colors? How do you know which colors compliment and which clash? Have you ever wondered why some colors make us feel warm and fuzzy while others make us feel cold? Using Color in Your Art!: Choosing Colors for Impact & Pizzazz (Williamson Kids Can Books) helps parents teach these concepts and more.

Appropriate for ages 9-12 but could be adapted.

Teaches with other children's art but also introduces famous artists work as well.

Doesn't require a ton of "strange" art materials. Just some paint, brushes and paper.

Now for the fun part! I am giving away FOUR(4) Copies of Using Color in Your Art!! For one(1) entry you can Follow My Blog. For one(1) entry you can "Like" Molding Minds Homeschool on Facebook. For one(1) entry you can Share On Facebook or on on your favorite social media site (to share just cut and paste this blog into your status and let me know where you shared). For one(1) entry you can follow Molding Minds on Twitter. And for one (1) entry you can like Like The Homeschool Exchange! This is a total of FIVE(5) chances to win!

Please post a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry and be sure to leave an email address for me to contact you at if you win!

Winners will be chose JUNE 15th and will be notified via email. Winners will have 72 hours to respond.

*Note: I am currently in the process of swapping from a group page to a fan page on facebook. You MUST LIKE THE FAN PAGE for your entry to count. The group page will be changed over to just North Texas homeschoolers in a few weeks so feel free to unlike the group page once you have liked the fan page.

US Residents Only. I was not compensated for this post. I picked these books up personally to giveaway. All opinions are 100% mine. Please take a moment to read my disclosure policy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Curriculum Choices with Quick Reviews

I went to the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair with a list. I was organized and had a plan. Then I got there, and the plan went out the window. I mean seriously! Do you know how many vendors are at a typical homeschool book fair? It is unreal. I went with the full intention of getting the next level of Abeka. I browsed and picked out my books. Then the lady tells me that they don't keep stock. Now maybe this isn't the best reason to ditch a well researched and thought out curriculum choice, but I did. I walked around the corner and found Rod and Staff. I ended up purchasing the full year of language arts for both the girls.

I'm pretty excited about all of the things we are trying this year so for those of you still deciding here is what we are going with for this "semester":

Language Arts, Spelling and Reading: Rod and Staff

Coming from Abeka I thought we pretty much had intense covered. I was wrong. The 1st grade is starting a bit below where Keira is, but it picks up quickly. Brianna is struggling with her attitude with the new stuff. Not because she doesn't know the work, but more because there is so much of it compared to the Abeka. Each lesson consists of 2 phonics pages and 4 reading. She is thriving on it though and once I get her past the tantrums of having to do the pages, I think she will match very well with it. It gives a good phonemic base and has them reading stories that are very Bible based. Even better is it is reasonably priced.

Latin: Song School Latin

We will actually start this on Monday and do it either once or twice a week. I haven't decided yet. It's very basic, using songs and chants to learn vocabulary. The one thing I am worried about is the apparently huge jump between Song School and Latin for Children Book A. I have heard that they are working on Song School Latin Book 2 though. For the cost, this one is definitely worth exploring.

Bible, Science, History and Social Studies: The Weaver Volume 1

This is every parents dream, especially if you have more than one spread over multiple levels. It literally takes these 4 subjects (also included are Language Arts and Creative Writing. We will are not using the Language arts because I didn't feel it was comprehensive enough. The creative writing we wing by using journals and just writing what is interesting to us), and weaves them together. One just flows into the other. Best of all every child stays on the same topic while Weaver adjusts the difficulty to that level! Here is an example of both ideas. One day your Bible lesson is about the wise and the foolish man. You read the Bible story and talk about how Jesus is our foundation and so on. Then you go outside and collect soil samples. You pour water on them and talk about the result. The younger children then talk about things needed to build a good strong house and then build one out of Legos or what ever. Middle elementary makes a list of materials needed to build a strong building, and upper writes a paragraph on what it takes to build a strong building. Now these are just my examples (though some of these are things we have done with Weaver), but you get the idea. For a more comprehensive review you can visit Christa's Weaver Review Here.

Cursive: TBD

I just haven't found anything I love so at the moment cursive is random bits of copy work.

Art: Artistic Pursuits Book 2

We love this art. It gives us the perfect mix of art appreciation and art instructions. And it's real art. I don't feel like I need to be an artist myself to teach this book. However, I have heard some parents say they prefer more art instruction so be sure to check the book out before you buy!

Lot's of Lapbooks:

Because Weaver is designed to last 9 months and we are stretching it to a year (blog coming soon!) we will be adding in lapbooks as a fun way to supplement. Currclick offers lots of fun and sometimes FREE LAPBOOKS.

One of the great things about homeschooling is getting to start fresh and change up the things that didn't work for you. I am very excited and am looking forward to sharing how everything worked for us!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Raising Money For Tiggy's House (Dana Hanley)

If you are a part of the blogger world, you know that for one mama, the world forever changed that night. Those of us who have been following, and there are so many of us, have grieved with and for her and her family and have been fervently praying for their comfort. We have watched as she has been an amazing witness of the peace that passes understanding and only can come directly from the Lord. I have only recently gotten to know Dana personally (well through facebook anyways!), but I know her well enough to know that she won't claim to be the amazing woman she is.

Being so far away there was little I could do that was tangible. That is until I read about Tiggy's House and Tiny Hands International!

From today May 23rd through June 10th 100% of any profits on orders place through Tiggy's Link will go to help fund Tiggy's House. For every party booked and hosted I will personally donate another $5 (N.Texas residents only please. Please contact me at molder.anna@gmail .com for information). Remember that you must go through Tiggy's Link in order for your order to count towards the fundraiser! I am hoping to meet the goal of raising $500 towards Tiggy's House! Please feel free to grab the button and add it to your blog. The more we spread the word, the more likely we are to reach or even exceed our goal!

A bit of information: Orders can be placed from anywhere in the continental US. Shipping is a flat $5 on orders under $49.99 and 10% on orders $50 and up. Orders from Hawaii, Alaska, APO addresses and Canada may incur a surcharge. Order is shipped directly to your house from Scentsy so there is no waiting on me to play middle man. Scentsy is wick-less and toxin free, the wax is melted at a low enough heat that it would not cause serious burns if spilled. Bars come with 8 blocks. Each block gives between 50-80 hours depending on your preferences on how strong you like it. A bar will give you approximately 400-640 hours of burn time. Adding extra bars, open windows, fans and other external conditions may effect the strength of the blocks. Please feel free to email me with any questions!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stepping into Scentsy: Becoming a Consultant

I have always said I would never do direct sales. I actually LOVE throwing the parties but I never had interest in selling. Until I met Scentsy. Ahhh. My husband "doesn't allow" lit candles (yeah I could push it but he doesn't like it and it is sooo not worth fighting over), and frankly with all of the toxins in them, I don't care for them either. Scentsy was the perfect solution. It is wickless and and toxin free! No worries about flames and no worries about what my children are breathing in. Best of all, it is pretty and there are so many wonderful scents to choose from.

So, most of you know I quit doing pre-k and that I also occassionally make jewelry so why another "job"? Well, I quit pre-k because it took up alot of school time with the girls. As much as I loved it, I just couldn't keep up with what we needed to do and the jewelry, well I do still do that, but it requires alot of time shopping and then making. I still love to do it, but just can't make it a "full time" thing.

Scentsy is going to allow me to schedule when it is convient for me and I can do as many or as few parties as I need to each month. At the end of it, if I fail, I still have a great scentsy kit that I can use up and was worth the money!

Please take a moment to check out my site and if you live in the Dallas area and need a rep or want to host a party and earn free stuff! Any parties booked in June will also get an extra gift from me and I will provide Scentsy door prizes to give away at your party.

Anna's SCENTsational Scentsy Web Page

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Mother Met My Husband on the Internet!

10 years. Wow. That is all I can say. It goes by so fast. I am pretty sure that yesterday I was that bride waking up all doey eyed, getting ready to get married. Not really knowing or understanding all of the hard work that it would take to make our marriage great. I think I am still learning that lesson. But despite our mistakes and failures, I have been a part of something amazing for the last 10 years. We got married young, and we grew up together because of it. I am so proud to be his wife and I hope he knows that I am amazed at how God is using him to lead our family. So in honor of my 10 year anniversary to the man of my dreams, here is our story!

I was 14. That would have put me just entering the 9th grade. I had a "boyfriend" at the beginning of that year, but he had "dumped" me and left me pretty heartbroken. that was the year that AOL and the emerging chat room became popular. My mom had a friend in New York and they would often chat. The problem with public chat rooms is that anyone and everyone could and did go into them. It often meant it was hard to follow your own conversation and that there was a large amount of teenage vulgarity. So, logically, they moved into a less occupied room, the room dedicated to those who were British. That is where Karl comes in. One day, drunk (as is the culture in England. He through the grace of God has broken that habit though and no longer even touches alcohol), Karl "stumbles" in. Also, in the room is someone "hassling" my mom and her friend. Karl tells them to grow up and leave the room and there begins, under the watchful eye of my father, a sort of confidante relationship between Karl and my mom. Yes, I know, I know how that sounds. All I can say is that my mom and Karl were never inappropriate, she always emailed him in my parents bedroom so we could all easily read what they were saying, my dad was very aware of the emailing and always knew and had access to what they were saying, and it was usually advice and sometimes just general chit chat. Honest advice was what he was looking for and he got that in the anonymity of the internet. It was almost a penpal situation. As weird as it sounds, I believe with all my heart that my mom planted the seeds that would blossom into Karl's repentance and salvation.

So the years moved on, I turned 16 and for the first an only time, I spoke to Karl on the phone. It went something like "Hello?" "Mom, I can't understand a word he is saying" and I handed the phone back. He never really crossed my mind again, except when I wanted to use the internet and I couldn't because mom was on it!

My senior year my parents invited Karl to come see Texas and to watch me graduate. He couldn't make it to my graduation but he did make it that June for a 2 week visit. I had enlisted in the USAF and was busy with activities before I was supposed to head to boot camp. We really had minimal interaction. I remember him sneaking in a tickle here, brush on the arm there, but nothing that really screamed "I like you!". However, the night before he was to leave to go back to England that changed. That night, June 29th 2000, he told me he wanted to come back and see where things went. I can only imagine how his family must have felt, what they must have thought as he quit his job, sold his car and headed back to the US a week later. That August, I signed medical discharge papers (I hadn't even been to boot camp but had signed enlistment papers) for the USAF. My recruitment officer told me I would regret dropping out for a fling. I still want to find him and tell him how happy this fling turned out. About a week after he returned to the US he was saved in our church. About two weeks after that, he knelt down at Mesquite Community Park, with the ducks swimming in the pond behind us, and asked me to marry him. You can guess what I said!

The next 9 months were a whirlwind of me going to England to meet his family and wedding planning. On May 12, 2001 at 3pm we became husband and wife. He has since blessed me with 3 babies here with us and 1 in the arms of Jesus. He has grown so much over these last 10 years. I rest easy in our marriage because I know he is a leader and provider, but much more than that. He is my best friend and my love. I can not wait for the next 10 years with you dearest!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

30 Day Pantry Challenge :Cream of Mushroom Gravy

I am starting to need to be a bit more creative as the days go by. I haven't been as strict as I was hoping to be, but parts of my stockpile are finally starting to dwindle. That is except the "cream of" soups. I really wanted breakfast for dinner so tonight I am going to use this recipe to make cream of mushroom sausage gravy. Gravy seems like the perfect way to use up some of these cans! How do you use your "cream of" soups?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ice Cream Lesson Plans and Printables

Summer is here and you know what that means, ICE CREAM!!! For school today we are going to be doing all of our lesson plans with a sweet treat twist! Because I teach pre-kers on Mondays I will be including in some of the printables I used with them. July is technically National Ice Cream month but we finish with the pre-k in May so we are doing it early. You will have to excuse my excessive use of exclamation points. How can you help it when you are doing something so fun?!

Letter of the Day: I is for Ice Cream! Print this out for some penmanship work. If you have a younger child this page can be colored or stamped.

K5 and up will enjoy this Free Ice Cream Lapbook! With plenty of printables you can easily adapt this to your older or younger children. We are going to have alot of fun doing this Acrostic Poem!

For art we are going paint with popsicles that I made in advance. I used popsicle molds but ice trays and popsicle sticks are a good way to do it too!

This is a "vintage" audio clip about how ice cream is made!

Picture Credit

Of course an ice cream themed lesson plan would not be the same without some ice cream chemistry. Otherwise known as, ice cream in a bag! Learn all about the whys and hows of making ice cream and enjoy a yummy reward at the end!

Here are a few other printables I thought you might enjoy, all ice cream themed! We used this survey sheet to collect data on our friends and family's favorite flavor and then graphed it here on this ice cream themed graph paper!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Well Planned Day Planner Review and Giveaway

This post has been manually restored so comments placed before the blogger glitches will not show. However, I have all of them recorded through my email so if you have already entered you do not need to re-enter!

This could be one of my favorite review items. Seriously. The Well Planned day has taken my lesson planning from chaotic to organized. I am a writer. I love to make lists and write out plans. This planner has satisfied everyone of those needs, while being extremely easy to use. On top of that, this planner is just plain pretty!


Ok so being pretty isn't the best reason to buy something, so let me give you all of the other reasons to buy it:

Planner is spiral bound and hole punched making it easy to either turn the pages as is or move to a binder.

Runs July through June so that those of us who do school year around can use it without having to fill in the missing summer months.

230 full color pages not only hold the planner, but a myriad of other resources such as home management, budgeting and grocery lists.

Encouraging essays at the beginning of each chapter are such a nice way to be lifted up during the school year. The weekly catechisms(based on the Westminster Confessions)a great way to enrich your Bible study. There are a few I do not agree with but they are easily skipped.

Plan space for up to four children, and extra space if you don't have four.

NEW in 2011, Holiday Organization Section: Greeting card registry, activities and event schedules, gift giving, around town shopping, and internet shopping.

Extra pages for goals, reading lists, chores and more!

This planner truly has been the answer to all of my lesson planning needs. I have already started filling it up for our new "semester" which starts in July!

Now for the fun part! I am giving away ONE(1) On the Go Planner!! For one(1) entry you can Follow My Blog. For one(1) entry you can "Like" Molding Minds Homeschool on Facebook. For one(1) entry you can Share On Facebookor on on your favorite social media site (to share just cut and paste this blog into your status and let me know where you shared). For one(1) entry you can follow Molding Minds on Twitter. And for one (1) entry you can like Like The Homeschool Exchange! And finally for (1) Entry you can "Like" The Well Planned Day on Facebook.This is a total of Six(6) chances to win!

Please post a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry and be sure to leave an email address for me to contact you at if you win!

I am in the process of swapping from a group to a fan page on facebook. Please be sure to Like This Page in order for your vote to count.

Winner will be chose May 27th and will be notified via email. Winner will have 72 hours to respond.

* I was given a free copy of this planner to review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Glitches Giveaway Update

Thankfully, I get email conformation and have all of the previous comments already left and will restore the post that was lost as soon as I can. Unfortunately, blogger suffered some issues and anything from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was deleted. It is beyond frustrating and I will extend the giveaway by a few days to give everyone some extra time to enter. I apologize. I will be moving to Word Press soon and hopefully, that will eliminate these sorts of issues.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

30 Day Pantry Challenge: Unrealistic Goals?

I made my first trip to Walmart post challenge start. If you remember from my first post about our 30 Day Pantry Challenge, I have budgeted $200 for the entire month. Yeah, that was a joke. Needless to say I am a bit discouraged right now. My receipt shows a grand total of *cough* $67.55. Grant it, some of that is not food and I will break it down below to show exactly what I spent, but I don't expect it to be low enough to fit in the budget. So here it is broken down:

Food Total:$51.50

Now, to be fair, a few of those things aren't something I need to get every week (cheese and Sprite). And I will be cutting out the lemonade next week (Boo!) to cut back costs. I know some of it looks unnecessary but my DH is a very picky eater and those are his lunch items. They are non-negotiable. We are trying various healthier options, but for now it is what it is. This total also doesn't include our raw dairy which is $24 and again not an option to cut out. That total was not figured into my $200 budget though. What I do still have to figure in is my Azure order. That comes in on the 18th. While I am highly disappointed in how this shop went, I am still pleased that the total was less than 1/2 of what we normally spend so we are saving money. I think I may need to set a more realistic goal though.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

30 Day Pantry Challenge: Menu Planning out of the Pantry Stockpile

This seemed like it was going to be the hard part. I have this complete mish-mash of ingredients. Random this and that. Somehow I have to look at my pantry and plan out dinners for the month. On top of this I have to be sure that I am using everything as best as I can so that I don't end up with a pantry with nothing but 22 cans of cream soups. What I need is a program that I can input my stockpile into and it will spit out recipes for me. I need Supercook! Go check it out and play with it! Whether you are looking for appetizers, entrees or deserts, Supercook does it all! Best of all, as far as I can tell it is free!

A few neat features of Super Cook include a suggestion cloud to help you fill in anything you might have missed as well as several thousand recipes to choose from!

Can you believe that this post has no affiliate links, hehe? Nope, really, I just loved the way this site was working and wanted to share it with you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

30 Day Pantry Challenge

Since our 11 day challenge has come and gone (BTW we did OK on it. I realize I never updated it. I am the worst about that.), I decided it was time to get the pantry cleaned out so we are now doing a "30 day eat out of your pantry" challenge. Basically, I am going to do my best to only shop for what is absolutely necessary and instead of stocking more food that will be overlooked, we will be eating from what we have. It won't all be uber healthy, but it will get rid of some things and allow me more space to start stocking up healthier options. This is technically day 3 for this challenge, but I am just now finding the time to post! I will try to post some of the recipes we try as well.

The Challenge: Eat mostly out of our pantry and freezer stockpile. Shop only for fresh fruit/veggies, dairy, bread and the hubs weekly lunch supplies.

The Rules: Besides shopping only for the above each week, we will not be eating out at all the rest of the month except for the two special occasions that happen this month. We went out Sunday for Mother's Day and will go out again next week for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

The Budget: $200 for the entire month. This includes a $50 order to Azure plus gives us a little wiggle room.

The Goal: To not only use up what we have neglected or forgotten in the pantry and the freezer but to also teach the kids good stewardship of the resources we have been blessed with. We will be no doubt be getting creative as the month goes on, so it will be a chance for us to work together to find unique alternatives for the foods we have. We will also be working on a month long menu plan.

I plan on keeping a list of the things we used up so that we can have a visual of all of the things we were letting just sit and expire.

Picture Credit