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A Heart For Home: May 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What's in the Bible? Memorial Day Sale

What's in the Bible large button

If you read our post about the What's in the Bible? DVDs last week, you know our family REALLY likes them! Right now we have DVDs 1 through 5.

But this weekend is the perfect time to complete our collection since all individual What's in the Bible? DVDs are on sale for only $10 each. As always, you also get free shipping on all orders over $15, no coupon code required.

These would be great to watch during hot summer afternoons or on long summer trips.

If you're just getting started on your collection, you can get all 7 available DVDs for only $70.

(By the way, I'll be putting the finishing touches on the free flashcards for DVD 3 this week, so keep an eye out for them soon.)

Now, go and check out this great sale before it ends on Tuesday, May 29th!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Plant & Garden Nature Study Extensions: Peter Rabbit & Beatrix Potter

Here are some Plant & Garden Nature Study extensions we've enjoyed so far:

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends
This DVD includes three delightful tales: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny," "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse," and "The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck." This high quality BBC production has charming animation. We love how calming it is, it's great for before nap or bedtime or in the middle of a muggy summer afternoon. (Each tale is about 25 minutes.)

If your family enjoys this first DVD you may also like The Beatrix Potter Collection. This is the complete 9 episode box set of Beatrix Potter tales produced by BBC. This set is a total of 225 minutes with each tale being about 25 minutes long.

After watching some of Beatrix Potter's work your family might enjoy the story of her life in Miss Potter. This 2007 movie is rated PG and stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, and Emily Watson. Here's a movie review from Focus on the Family. It is definitely a very clean movie (much less controversial than many animated films) and is not a complete romance as the cover would have you believe. This would also be a good way to involve the whole family and would be a good addition to an author/illustrator study of Beatrix Potter.

Here are some more activities to incorporate with Peter Rabbit:
:: Answer Mr. McGregor's questions about plants and gardening (this is really cute)
:: Peter Rabbit Stand Up Dolls Printable
:: Little Peter Rabbit Singing Hands Song
:: Emergent Reader Printable Book
:: Rabbit Pre-Writing Cards
:: P is for Peter Rabbit Do-A-Dot or Magnet Sheet
:: Feed the Rabbit Printable Game

Other Plant & Garden Nature Study Posts:
Creating a Nature Study Binder 
(and lots of ideas for what to put in it)
Plant & Garden Books for Children 
(over 25 suggestions with summaries/reviews)

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birthday Cakes {Finished Friday} come link up your projects, too!

This past Tuesday we celebrated two birthdays. Emahry and her cousin turned 5 earlier this month and we were finally able to get most of the family together for a party.

It was my job to make the cakes and I think they turned out pretty nicely (for a novice cake decorator).

I should have taken photos at home, in better light, but I was running around trying to get all the last minute stuff together, so this is the best I have :)

Emahry's cake was completely homemade. It was two layers, one strawberry and the other flavored with key lime juice, loosely based on this recipe. It was covered with homemade white chocolate butter cream frosting. Let me just say this frosting is delicious! (I used healthier, homemade powdered sucanat.) The little butterfly is from Hobby Lobby.

The birthday boy wanted a Captain America cake, so I decided to stick with pure white (store bought) frosting. I also opted for a squeezable bag of pre-colored shimmery red and blue frosting, since I know how impossible it is to make red frosting with regular food coloring. Let's just say that my fingers were stained all afternoon.

I think the birthday boy and birthday girl liked them!

Today's Questions: Do you make and decorate cakes for your child(ren)? What's the most difficult cake you've ever made? (links are welcome, too)
I'm trying to hold myself accountable to finish some of the projects on my to do list by posting each Friday about a project I've completed.
Would you like to join in? Link up to your own projects below.

Link to your project post, not your blog's home page, so we can find it easily.
2. Let us know what project you are sharing in your title, for example: Spring Wreath
3. We'd love it if your post links back here so that your readers can come join the fun. Feel free to copy & paste our Finished Friday Button into your post. (Just copy the text in the box below the button, click on the "Edit HTML" tab for your post and paste it there.)

A Heart for Home
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gardening with Kids: Plant & Garden Books for Children

Our whole family has been enjoying the start of our summer-long plant & garden nature study. Tim loves that we’re all out in the garden together, I love that we’re incorporating what we already spend our time doing with “official” learning, and the kids think it’s just plain fun!

To go along with all the garden and plant learning we’ve been doing, we’ve compiled a great list of garden themed children’s books.

There’s a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction represented. I think almost all of these books could be used in some form with children from preschool through elementary school.

A few of these books are from our home library, but the majority of them were found at our local public library. Almost all of these books can be purchased on Amazon (a great way to use gift cards from Swagbucks).

A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds
A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds
by Jean Richards 
The illustrations in this book are fantastic! The book is a good introduction to seeds, their purpose, and their growth. I did stumble upon a common misconception (that seeds need sunlight to grow), but found the book to be a good introduction and a great discussion starter about what “vegetables” are technically fruits.

A Garden Alphabet
by Isabel Wilner
Emahry received this book for her first birthday, so it’s an old favorite. Our copy was purchased second hand and is signed by the author :) The kids like the gardener dog and his (dog-sized) frog friend. This alphabet book is written in rhyming verse and includes the capital and lowercase of each letter. My favorite letter is “Uu’s underground, where some vegetables grow, Like the beet, carrot, radish, and the poe-tay-toe.”

A Gardener's Alphabet
by Mary Azarian
This is a much different style of alphabet book than the one above with only one word on each two-page spread. The illustrations are what makes this book so beautiful. The detail on each page really captures the imagination of the reader.

A Seed is Sleepy

A Seed is Sleepy
by Dianna Hutts Aston 
A wonderful mix of poetic phrases, science concepts, and beautiful watercolors makes this book a great addition to any seed study. This book really make informational text approachable and easy to understand.

Compost Stew

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

by Mary McKenna Siddals
This A to Z book of composting is written in rhyming text and tells what household “trash” can be thrown into the compost. The vibrant collage illustrations use recycled and found materials. There is one mention of “Mother Earth.”

From Seed to Daisy
by Laura Purdie Salas
This book follows the life cycle of a Shasta Daisy from seed to seed bearing flower. Plant facts and vocabulary such as germinate, photosynthesis, perennial, and pollen are naturally sprinkled throughout and accompanied with easy to understand explanations. The illustrations are crisp and bright and the book also includes fun facts and a glossary.

Grandma's Gloves
by Cecil Castellucci
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little girl whose Grandma teaches her all about flower gardening. “You are my most special flower of all” her grandma tells her. But when Grandma is hospitalized and later dies, the little girl is the only one who knows how to care for Grandma’s flowers. The book ends with hope as the girl promises to teach her mother everything Grandma taught her.

Growing Vegetable Soup

Growing Vegetable Soup
by Lois Ehlert
The story in this book follows the process of preparing a garden, planting seeds and seedlings, watering the garden, weeding, picking vegetables, and finally cutting things up and making soup. It’s a great way to lead up to a family cooking time.

How a Seed Grows

How a Seed Grows
by Helen J. Jordan 
This simple introduction of seed leads readers through the process of growing bean plants from seeds and helps with a basic understanding of how seeds work. It’s a great guide for a seed growing science experiment.

Jack's Garden

by Henry Cole
“This is the garden that Jack planted,” begins this spin-off of “The house the Jack built.” Each page adds to the description of the steps needed to plant and care for a garden. Each beautifully illustrated two-page spread is surrounded by labeled drawings of tools, insects, birds, eggs, and flowers. These detailed drawings make this a wonderful book even for older children.

Mortimer's First Garden

by Karma Wilson
We first fell in love with Mortimer last Christmas and this second story is just as sweet. When the small mouse hears about how planted seeds grow and produce more seeds he decides to plant his last sunflower seed. He is often discouraged and almost digs up his seed as he waits for the miracle to happen. The Christian message of trusting God is clear as Mortimer “hears” the voice of God and thanks God when the springtime miracle finally happens. Be sure to give Mortimer a nice squeaky voice when reading this one :)

Mud Pies and Other Recipes

by Marjorie Winslow
This isn’t exactly a gardening or plant book, but it is filled with wonderfully imaginative “recipes” for children to make outdoors. Some recipes include "Stuffed Seashells" and "Mud Puddle Soup," "Dandelion Soufflé," "Roast Rocks" and "Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake." Just don’t be surprised if your children start bringing you bowls of indistinguishable mush.

My Garden

My Garden

by Kevin Henkes 
After a young girl describes how she helps her mother in the garden she imagines the garden of her own dreams with chocolate bunnies, tomatoes as big as beach balls and flowers that grow back the instant they’re picked. This is a cute book to spark children’s imaginations and could easily lead to creative storytelling, writing, or artwork.

Oh Say Can You Seed, All About Flowering Plants

by Bonnie Worth
The Cat in the Hat examines the various parts of plants, seeds, and flowers; basic photosynthesis and pollination; and seed dispersal in this Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library book. The flow isn’t quite the same as Theodore Geisel's(original Cat in the Hat author), but it’s very close and teaches a lot of plant basics at the same time.

Planting a Rainbow

Planting a Rainbow 

by Lois Ehlert 
This colorful book follows the yearly cycle of growing a rainbow hued flower garden. It discusses planting bulbs, ordering seeds, anticipating the first spring shoots, and planting seedlings. Our kids really liked the six pages of varying width depicting all the flowers of each color of the rainbow.

Once There was a Seed

Once There was a Seed
by Judith Anderson 
This is a great little introduction to the life cycle of a seed
through the eyes of a little girl and her green-thumbed grandfather. There are notes for parents, as well as suggestions for learning activities that will reinforce the information in the book.

One Bean

One Bean

by Anne Rockwell 
This simple little book is perfect for following along with your own bean growing experiment. The illustrations are charming and show exactly what happens to the bean throughout the growing process.

Our Community Garden

Our Community Garden

by Bethany Roberts
Audrey lives in San Francisco, where she and her friends have plots in a community garden. They plant, weed, and water to raise their favorite vegetables which reflect their cultural heritage. This book discusses working, and playing, together. At the end everyone eats together to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Secrets of the Garden

Secrets of the Garden

by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld 
This book is a marvelous way for children to learn about nature and food chains. It follows a family as they prepare, plant, care for, and harvest from their backyard garden. The family’s two comical chickens lecture about the garden and how it connects to the food chain and food web.

Seeds and More Seeds

by Millicent Selsam
Published in 1963 as an “A Science I CAN READ Book” this story/science book follows a young boy name Benny as he sets up and performs his own experiments to learn more about seeds and the plants that they grow into.

Ten Seeds

Ten Seeds

by Ruth Brown 
The artwork in this book is beautiful! I also love the unique style of counting book that starts with ten seeds and one-by-one each seed or plant is destroyed until only one last flower remains—and drops ten seeds so the cycle can begin again.
The Carrot Seed
by Ruth Krauss
This is a simple story about a little boy who plants a carrot seed and knows that one day a carrot will grow. This book can begin a wonderful discussion about standing up for what you believe in and working hard for things you want.

The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown
Liam finds a struggling garden in a city all gray and dull. Over time the curious garden spreads to make the city vibrant, lush, and green. There is definitely an underlying eco-friendly theme, but nothing that jumps up on its soapbox. There’s also a wonderful inspiration from real life on the final page.

The Little Composter

by Jan Gerardi
This lift-the-flap board book is filled with playful rhymes that show what parts of foods can be added to the compost pile. Our toddler loves this book, but don’t let the fact the this is a board book keep you from sharing it with an older child—it’s a wonderful springboard to creating your own whole food to compost art projects.

The Oak Inside the Acorn

by Max Lucado
Little Acorn doesn’t believe he’ll ever be a big strong oak tree. He struggles with finding his purpose and being “the tree God made [him] to be." This is a beautifully illustrated (and heftier) book that can lead to several different discussions, including becoming who God want us to be.

The Tiny Seed

by Eric Carle
As seeds are scattered, one small seed struggles to survive while other seeds meet various disasters. This story of a small seed is a little odd if read alone. However, Amanda suggests a great way to use this book along with the Parable of the Sower found in the Bible in Matthew 13.

The Wind's Garden

by Bethany Roberts
A little girl tells the story of the garden she planted and compares it to the wild garden that is planted by the wind. This is a great way to discuss the beauty of domestic and natural gardens and a good practice for comparing and contrasting.

This is the Sunflower

This Is the Sunflower
by Lola M. Schaefer 
This book starts with one sunflower and through the “This Is the House that Jack Built” style rhyme ends with a patch of sunflowers. The watercolor illustrations are bright and vivid and it’s just plain fun to read.

Yucky Worms

by Vivian French
This fun book takes a humorous approach to explaining why worms are considered a gardener’s friends. Readers are shown where worms live, how they move, and how they help make gardens better. Great for boys or any child who loves creepy crawlies.

Do you know of any other good plant or garden books for children? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear your suggestions.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

What’s in the Bible? Review Flashcards {Finished Friday} come link up your finished projects, too!

What's in the Bible Review Flashcards DVD 2. Find more free printables at

Update: We've added the link to Volume 3's flashcards to the end of this post.

A few months ago we started looking for a DVD series for a children’s Bible study. Tim was starting an adult study and I was looking to provide more than just glorified babysitting to the children of the families that would attend.

That’s when we discovered the What’s in the Bible? DVD series.

Let me just say we LOVE these DVDs!

The kids in our Bible study range from 2 to 11 (not including the two infants) and everyone is learning about the Bible in a fun way.

I recently came across a set of flashcards for DVD 1 offered by the What’s in the Bible? team and thought they would be a great addition to our study as well as a wonderful review when we start using the What’s in the Bible? DVDs in the fall for homeschooling.

Unfortunately, there is only one set of cards for the first DVD, so I decided to use their great idea and develop some of my own.

I sent the first set I completed to the wonderful people at What’s in the Bible? and asked if it would be alright to share them with others. Here’s what they had to say:
“Thanks so much for sending this example, Allyson. These are GREAT! You have our permission to share them with others. Thanks so much for double checking first, we really appreciate it!”
What's in the Bible? Free Review Flashcards. Find more free printables at http://a-heart4home.blogspot.comSo, if you’re wanting a little extra review to go along with the What’s in the Bible? DVDs, I hope you’ll find these flashcards helpful.

We’ll share the other sets as I finish them so sign up for free blog updates so you won’t miss out.

What's in the Bible? Free Review Flashcards. Find more free printables at
click the links below to download:

What’s in the Bible? DVD 2 Part 1

What’s in the Bible? DVD 2 Part 2

Check out this post for the flashcards for DVD 3.

Today's Questions: Have you seen the What’s in the Bible? DVDs? Do you think you might like to use them with your children? Why or why not? 
I'm trying to hold myself accountable to finish some of the projects on my to do list by posting each Friday about a project I've completed.
Would you like to join in? Link up to your own projects below.

Link to your project post, not your blog's home page, so we can find it easily.
2. Let us know what project you are sharing in your title, for example: Spring Wreath
3. We'd love it if your post links back here so that your readers can come join the fun. Feel free to copy & paste our Finished Friday Button into your post. (Just copy the text in the box below the button, click on the "Edit HTML" tab for your post and paste it there.)

A Heart for Home

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer Learning Plans {TIPsters}

Make sure you visit Kristin & Christy for their thoughts on today’s topic, as well as our guest TIPster, Jenna @ Delighting in Today.
We worked out some kinks during our first year of homeschooling and we’re looking forward to homeschooling for kindergarten in the fall. But just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean we’re going to put learning on hold!
10 Ideas for Summer Learning
Here are our Top Ten suggestions for summer learning:
1. Read, read, read. Whether your child is 2 or 12, we’d suggest to read to them daily. Even kids who are more than capable of reading to themselves can learn a lot from being read to. (When I taught 5th grade, I didn’t meet a single child who didn’t like being read to, as long as the topic was interesting to them.)
2. Get your kids involved around the house. Summer can be the perfect time to teach your kids some real life, home-ec. skills. Get them involved with cleaning, laundry, or preparing meals
3. Do a nature study. Our family has decided to do a plant and garden nature study since we spend a lot of time in the garden during this time of year. This relaxed study or observation and reading is a great way to keep kids learning.
4. Learn a new skill together. Use your time together this summer to learn a skill your child is interested in whether it’s archery or baking. Build wonderful memories by learning together.
5. Focus on a few skills you want your child to master. I really want Emahry (5) to learn how to tie her shoes and to learn her phone number and address this summer. My goal for Jonathan (3) is to learn all the letters of the alphabet and how to get his shoes on the right feet. Obviously these goals will be unique to each child.
6. Continue (or start) making the Bible a priority. With a little bit of a breather from the traditional subjects, the summer is the perfect time to up your focus on the Bible. Our family is using The Jesus Storybook Bible and the What’s in the Bible? DVDs (and LOVE them both).
7. Use trips as learning experiences. Whether you’re traveling cross-country or simply going to the beach, make the most of every opportunity to show your children how all of life is learning.
8. Take advantage of free summer programs. Most areas have at least a few free summer programs sponsored by the local public library or the 4-H extension office. Take advantage of these for free learning.
9. Partner with other families to spice up learning. No one ever said you have to be your child’s only teacher. Get together with a couple other families and choose topics to share. Then prepare and meet together once a month during the summer.
10. Encourage your child to work on an interest led study. Maybe they want to learn more about constellations, Abraham Lincoln, or how a telephone works. Whatever it is, help them make goals and construct a plan of how to learn about it.
linking to Top Ten Tuesday
Today's Question: How do you plan on encouraging learning this summer?
A Heart for Home
Please visit my fellow TIPsters, Kristin @ Bits & Pieces from my Life and Christy @ A Living Homeschool, and our guest TIPster, Jenna @ Delighting in Today for more tools, tips, and tricks of the trade.
Coming Soon:
June 5th: Feeding Picky Eaters
June 19: Television Viewing (What & How Often)
July 3: Quick and Easy Summer Meals
July 17: Taking Family Photos
August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read
(Remember if you'd like to guest host an upcoming TIPster post, just let me know.)

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weekend Links

May all your wanderings be blessed!

Our Weekly Recap
:: Endless Gifts (Counting the Gifts from His Hands)
:: How to Make (Practically) Free Homemade Vegetable Broth {Finished Friday} Come and link up the projects you finished this week.
Around the Web

Follow Me on Pinterest
(Need an invitation? Leave a comment with your email address and we'll send you an invite.)

:: Other pinners say this method for keeping berries fresh longer really works.
:: I love the recycle of scrap wood and milk jugs into this compact planting stand.

greenhouse space saversource: Coach House Crafting on a budget via Lauren on Pinterest
Click HERE to repin from the original source.
linking up to Jessie’s Saturday Linky Love Party.
Today's Question: What good reads or great ideas have you come across this week? Please share a link in your comment.

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