Saturday, May 31, 2014

Random 5 on Friday - May 30th

1.  The husband and I had an adult only date Monday, where we had tea and conversation with Paula Deen!   It was for a fundraiser, and she is one of my husband's favorite celebrity chefs, so I got tickets for his birthday.  Even better, she hugged all over him and proclaimed he was so handsome!  I have a few cell phone pictures, but my cell is on the other side of the house, and I'm not going anywhere right now.  Maybe tomorrow.  We weren't allowed to take personal pictures with her because I didn't pay out the nose for the meet-and-greet session, but for the 'official' picture, we are in the 2nd column, 2nd from the bottom--she has her arm around my husband and the priest of the church who hosted the even is next to me.  I don't want to re-post and infringe on copyright.

2.  I mentioned before that the boys are taking a homeschool gymnastics class and that the coach told me he "sees qualities" in Elliott and asked me to consider putting him in his Boys program.  Elliott off course, was all about it and has been begging me since then.  However, that was back in mid-April and our May was booked up, so he finally starts in June!

3.  Speaking of that class, we've been going since it started several months ago.  We continue to go because Elliott loves it, and I've tried not to miss any classes because I wanted them to have the attendance to continue it.  Not just for my sake (they offer such a discount that both my boys go weekly for less than one month of regular classes) but for homeschooling in general.  I want them, and hopefully other businesses, to recognize the need to offer things like this to the homeschool community.  I live in a small town that doesn't offer a whole lot for homeschoolers, and I think it's important for us to get out there and show them that we're HERE and we'd love to be more active if they offered unique opportunities like this.

4.  Doggy.  Doooogy. Doggy.  Doggy.  Doggiiieee.  Doggy.  Yeah, that's what we've heard all week.  It was really bad the first day that Eleanor transitioned from dog to doggy, because she said it for nearly two hours straight.  Sometimes she branches out and says "It ta dog" or "it ta bay dog" (Bailey, our chocolate lab), and of course if she's near the refrigerator or pantry, she has a full arsenal of food related words.  The girl likes to eat, and she has wasted NO time learning how to say strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, cheese stick, or cookie, among many other favorite foods.

5.  The first trimester of pregnancy stinks.  I've been slacking lately.  On dinner.  The housework.  The schoolwork.  The blog.  I keep telling myself it won't last forever....

The Pebble Pond

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

LEGO Love Week 21: Decorating a LEGO room

The boys are wanting to redecorate their room.  They've never really had a "themed" room since they started sharing and I doubt we will go all out with wall paintings and the like, because let's face it:  kid's change their minds, outgrow themes and I don't want to put that kind of effort into something they may not love in another year. However, it is time to spruce up their room!

As you can guess, we're considering LEGO, so I've been looking up some simple decorative ideas.  I'm thinking of bedspreads in primary colors to match LEGO colors, so it's not overwhelming and can outlive a "theme" if need be.  Then I just want something minimal; something that when outgrown, I don't feel like I've wasted a ton of money.

So in my online quest for fun and fresh LEGO ideas, a fellow TOS reviewer, Kathy from Kathy's Cluttered Mind, shared this inexpensive, yet personalized DIY LEGO Wall Art!  These are so fun I had to share them!

If you PIN this picture, please pin from the original source as she as graciously allowed me to share this photo on Mom's Heart!

I love it!  It is very simple to create, the kids can help personalize it, and it is done with simple supplies and seemingly little effort.  For the full list of supplies needed and the tutorial, check out DIY LEGO Wall Art for Less Than $5.00 by Kathy!

I am so doing this with my boys.  They would love to create personalized art for their room, and I can't wait to share how they turn out!

Do you have any other simple, fun ideas for young LEGO lovers to decorate their room?  I'm all ears!

LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site. 

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ May 23rd, 2014

1.   Emory finished his first FULL year in Cubbies.  He was supposed to start the year we moved, but as we searched for a home church, they didn't always have the AWANA program so he was in and out of different classes.  I considered letting him go another year in Cubbies since he has a late-summer birthday and will be so young next school year, but he's determined to move up to Sparks and spend a year in the same group as his brother. Do I have to let him grow up!?

2.  Because of said move last school year, and churches not always having an AWANA program, Elliott didn't finish his first book until the beginning of this year.  He also finished a chunk of the second book, but he misplaced his vest for several weeks, which is why there's no blue patch or wings--we didn't find it until the last minute!  He's determined to finish Books 2 and 3 next year though, so we shall see.

3.  Love this picture!  Pawpaw gave the boys an area of his garden this year.  They have planted a few different things.  Hope pawpaw can get them some produce, because we all know I can't do it!

4.  Somebody now thinks she cannot take a nap or go to bed without ALL FOUR of these stuffed animals.  Two bears, a rabbit and a Minnie Mouse.  They can't just be in the bed either; there must be two on each side.  Of course she still sneaks down to the foot of the bed and sleeps against it, so we hear a lot of kicking and banging throughout the night.

5. I'm pregnant.  AHHH!  :)

The Pebble Pond

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trident Case for iPads {Schoolhouse Review}

Trident Case Review

Trident Case is a company who strives to make the sturdiest cases available for phones and tablets.  I was given the opportunity to review the Kraken A.M.S. Case for Apple iPad 2/3/4 and you can bet I was thrilled.  Why, you ask?  Well you see, this is what could happen when you don't have a case on your iPad.

Trident Case Review

Ask me how I know.

Once that mess is fixed, or preferably before that ever happens, you should have a sturdy, durable case.  Trident's cases are manufactured in the USA and are eco-friendly with degradable, compostable and recyclable materials.  The Kraken A.M.S. Case has a hardened polycarbonate outer shell, built-in screen protector and silicone inner layer for shock absorbancy.  According to the company's website, this particular case was independently tested and meets Military Standards for Drop, Vibration, Dust, Sand and Rain.  Sounds pretty sturdy to me!

Trident Case Review

I asked to be surprised on the color, and we received Trident Green.  My 4 year old was thrilled, because green is his favorite color!  I gladly put the new case right on our iPad and put it into action.  I found the assembly easy and self-explanatory.

When we go outdoors, it's to enjoy the outdoors.  That means we don't generally take our iPads to the outside to the park or anywhere that would actually test how resistant the case is to natural elements like dust, sand and rain.  Nor am I willing to experiment with my iPad in that regard, so I can't really speak to those features.  However, I've seen this iPad dropped on several occasions recently.  The case is still locked tight, the iPad is fine, and this momma is happy!  I don't worry when my kids carry the iPad around the house in this case!  We've had no problems with sound quality, the touch screen or inserting the charger--or anything for that matter.  Overall, I am happy with the case.

The Kraken A.M.S. for iPad costs $69.95, but for the solid protection we've had, it would be a good investment. (Trident Case also offers free shipping to the U.S. and Canada.)  The Kraken A.M.S. Case is compatible with the Apple New iPad, Apple iPad 2, Apple iPad 3, and Apple iPad 4 and comes in eight different colors.  Trident Case offers cases for many different phones and devices, the color options vary, and even includes a create-your-own and custom options.  That means there's something for all ages:  the young, and the young at heart, something for every style and personality!

We use the iPads for things like educational games, quiet time choices, and entertainment on excruciatingly long car rides, so while having two iPads may not be necessary, it's nice to have this protective case when handing an expensive tablet over to a 4 or 7 year old child.  They understand they need to be careful, but accidents do happen, so I like having the reassurance of this case!

Trident Case Review

The crew reviewed several different cases in addition to this iPad case, including cases for other iPads, iPhones, Kindles and Samsung Galaxy Notes.  If you're interested in a new case for your device, I highly recommend checking out the other crew reviews!  You can also find Trident Case online, or on the following social media:

 Facebook –
 Instagram –
 Twitter –
 Google+ -
 Pinterest –
 Vine -
 YouTube -

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

LEGO Love Week 20: LEGOLAND Atlanta

For the last two years when we've visited GA, we have gone to LEGOLAND Discovery Center (You can see our 2012 and 2013 trips, if you want) and the boys have loved it!  This year our spring vacation focused on our trip to LEGOLAND Florida, but we managed to squeeze in a pit stop on the way home and the boys had fun, as usual!  We always seem to focus on something a little different each time we go.  This is a fun field trip or vacation spot for the elementary crowd.

Greeted by Batman!

 And takin' a ride with with some LEGO friends.

The boys thought this was fantastic, in honor of the movie.

Daddy had to boost him up, but "I was in the LEGO Movie!!" he said!

Hey momma, get my picture!  

Thank you to the employee who offered to take our picture so I'd be in one!  :)

Daddy's not a fan of rides, but he did take Emory on this one.  He said Emory was a little scared at first when it lifted into the air, but he enjoyed it!

Elliott of course spent some time at the Earthquake table, as always.  He was experimenting with taller additions to the building.

Elliott was tall enough, but little Emory couldn't see over the top of the track to watch his car!  Pictures of him just look like the track, with hands sticking out!

This year the boys decided they should go in the LEGO Friends (aka "the girly") area, since Eleanor is a girl.  There is a karaoke area in there, and she loved dancing to the music, but for the most part she just liked taking handfuls of LEGO bricks and throwing them.  I quickly got tired of cleaning her mess, so we left.  Kind of like how I get tired of putting "bow bow" (hair bows) in her hair repeatedly only for her to rip them out and hand them back to me.

She was, however, fascinated with the animals in the toddler area.  The giraffe was her favorite!

 "Dog, dog!"

She wanted to share with Daddy.

She spent time here playing while the boys played in the fire house (obstacle course type play area), on the ride and watched the 4D movie.

Emory's young enough for this area too, and liked building with the giant bricks as well.  (Elliott liked having large bricks to build higher than he is tall, so he built for a few minutes since there were no other kids in the area at the time.)

 Emory also wanted to pose . . . and act like an elephant!

He specifically asked me to get a picture of him making "THIS FACE, Momma!"

Great time, as always!

LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Random 5 on Friday

1.  Elliott and Emory have still been going to homeschool gymnastics, and a few weeks ago the coach approached me about putting Elliott in his boys class.  We've discussed it at home, and I talked to the coach again, and I think we'll start with their new summer schedule in June.  How's Emory doing?  Well, the coach said he calls him "the sleepy one" because he's basically always daydreaming and off in his own little world!  That's my Emory.

2.  Wednesday night was the AWANA store, and on the way home, my Emory tells me he picked out a surprise for me.  He got me a little bracelet.  "You look a little beautiful in it momma!"  My sweet little boy!  Elliott also purchased things that he could share with his brother and sister.  So proud of my little boys with big hearts!

3.  Reviews have been fun lately.  See the concentration on Emory's face?  We're loving Learning Wrap-Ups so far!

4.  Eleanor's vocabulary is taking off.  It's so fun to hear real words mixed in with baby babble!

5.  Now, it's time for another round of The Many Faces of Eleanor!

The Pebble Pond

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum (Schoolhouse Review)

History is one of those areas we have generally covered informally so far, mostly using living books and choosing topics as they applied to holidays or specific areas of interest.  However, I was recently asked to review a history program from Golden Prairie Press, and I realized this was a good opportunity for a broader exposure to history and to help determine if we had any new specific interests to explore.

Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Curriculum (review)

Golden Prairie Press was started by Amy Puitz, a homeschool graduate and history enthusiast.  I was given access to her curriculum, Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Curriculum ($98.99), which is for 1st-6th graders and includes:
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Part 1 e-book
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Part 2 e-book
  • Additional Materials Download (timelines, coloring pages and other supplements)
  • Historical Skits e-book
  • Sing Some History Audio Download
  • Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 Audio Download

Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Curriculum (review)

Note:  While I received the digital version, there is a physical version that sells for the same price--to my knowledge, the main difference is that the psychical version is only in black and white, while the digital version is in color.

The lessons begin with The Period of Discovery (Native Americans, Vikings, Columbus, etc) and end with a brief overview of modern American history and the last few Presidential Administrations.  There are 30 Sections, each with 5 Lessons, for a full year curriculum.

There are also supplemental items that can be used, such as a coloring book, Bible study and literature selections--the books are edited versions of public domain books.  Having these might help you round out the program if you're working with various ages at one time.

How Do We Use It?
This program is very adaptable to almost any homeschooling style or schedule.  There are two sets of lessons with the same information, but written towards different age groups.  The 1st-2nd Grade lessons are approximately one page each, which is the perfect length for this age range to follow along.  The 3rd-6th Grade lessons are two or three pages in length and cover more details.  Sometimes a lesson is for everyone, and those are usually biographical sketches.  Additional literature readings are written into the older lesson plans, and can be used as read-aloud material or assigned reading, depending on the age and abilities of your child.

Following the readings (which are written mostly in a pleasant "living-book" style) there are a variety of different activities that help round out this curriculum so that it is not just textbook reading.  Some things you might find after a lesson:
  • Questions
  • Writing Topics
  • Geography/Mapping
  • Historical Art and Music
  • Timeline Activities
  • Activities like crafts, skits, cooking, etc
  • Memory Verses
  • Recommended Resources (additional books to consider)
Elliott could easily follow along with the older lessons, but since Emory (4 years old) is tagging along I just stuck to the younger version.  It is enough for a simple overview, but I can skim the 3rd-6th grade material when I feel like I need to offer Elliott more.  It's designed to do one lesson per day, but we don't cover History every day, we prefer short lessons, and we're on the younger end of the age range, so I stretch it out.  Typically we do Heroes and Heroines three days a week, stretching one lesson over the whole week.

On the first day we read the lesson in the curriculum, cover the geography, and discuss any artwork.  On the second day we review with the questions and writing topics, although we do these as oral narrations.  If we are doing more than one of the other activities, we will do one here on the second day too.  On the third day we will do at least one activity and review what we've been learning.  I spread additional readings throughout the week.  The supplemental materials only list a few books for each section, but you can easily add your own living books to it for a more well-rounded perspective. 

Elliott loves geography, so we often spend a lot of time studying the maps and following the courses of explorers.  Emory just prefers to listen to the readings and do some of the hands-on activities, such as coloring Columbus' Coat of Arms.

Heroes and Heroines of the Past:  American History Curriculum (review)
He colored that castle pink/purple for his little sister!

I like when things just fall into place.  Shortly after we did the first lesson on Native Americans, we could hear some Native American music being played outdoors near our home, and we had another discussion about Native Americans and different cultures.  Recently among some family members there was a discussion about Columbus and the "discovery" of America, and Elliott interjected with things he had learned!  So it is memorable material for him. 

Final Thoughts
I like that the program focuses a lot on the stories of the people of the past, rather than just names and dates.  Although it's geared for 1st-6th grade students, you could include 7th and 8th graders if you add in more work like additional non-fiction reading, research assignments and historical documentaries.  I did feel like most of the lessons were a general overview--enough for the youngest, but just skimming the surface for older students; for instance, I glanced ahead and noticed more negative things like the Trail of Tears and Japanese Internment Camps were glossed over within one paragraph of a lesson that focused on something else, even in the older lesson plans.  This is probably enough for younger students, but I believe you would definitely need to add in supplemental resources and assignments for older students to give them a more thorough understanding of the hows and the whys of events like this.

The multitude of activities available not only help make the lessons come alive, but help make the curriculum appeal to all learning styles--the music, the mapping, the skits, the art study--there's something for everyone.  I love that it helps you understand many pieces of art and music in their historical context.  You can try to do everything from each lesson, but I love the pick-and-choose aspect of it.  We focused primarily on the geography and art, but some families might enjoy turning the writing topics into notebooking, and others will want to enjoy all of the artsy/crafty activities.  I like it is easily adaptable without compromising the integrity of the curriculum.

The dual lesson plans makes it ideal for families with multiple children working at different levels (or even co-ops!), however I think my family will get more use out of it in another year or two when both boys can work in it more thoroughly, so I think we'll be saving it for then!

Heroes and Heroines of the Past is certainly an interesting curriculum with a lot to offer, so check out Golden Prairie Press on Facebook, and be sure to read more crew reviews to find out what others thought of this American History Curriculum!

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©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Those Little Moments

Just a sneak peak into the little moments in our lives lately.

Doing cartwheels . . .

. . . and running and jumping and the park!

Playing with Daddy! 

Stopping at a Civil War cemetery for Daddy. 

Playing at the park.

Feeding whatever comes our way.

Including this fella who followed us around.

Daddy took this picture on a walking trail.  It reminded me and Elliott of our rainforest painting from a bug's eye view where we discussed perspective and vanishing points!

Quick stop for some frozen yogurt!

There's something about big rocks! 

Somebody loves when she can get out and run with the big kids.

A perfect moment of mommy and babies!  Eleanor was delighted.  "Duck, duck, duck!" she squealed!

Why did the ducks cross the road?  Reminds me of Make Way for Ducklings!

"Duck, Duck, Duck!" says Eleanor again!  Elliott decided they were playing follow the leader!  


©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.