Our 3rd Grade Curriculum Choices


I just can’t believe that my little Tater is in 3rd grade. We are in our second week of school, and she has told me that she LOVES third grade. I think much of it has to do with our curriculum choices. I am actually writing my own Bible/history/geography/social studies/art/music curriculum this year, and I have a lot of fun stuff planned!

Here are our curriculum choices for Tater’s 3rd grade year:

Math- Horizons 3
Langauge- Abeka 3 and Latin/Greek Root Words
Spelling- All About Spelling 3
Science- Apologia Astronomy
Handwriting- Handwriting Without Tears Cursive

The history, etc., I mentioned I was writing is World History and Cultures. We are studying every country. We are studying the history, geography, art, music, and languages of each country using a lot of craft projects, hands on activities, and TONS of living books. I am checking out about 30 books a week from the library.

I’m excited for 3rd grade, and I can’t wait to share some of our activities from the year!

Book Review: Where Hope Prevails

Janette Oke has always been a fixture in the Christian fiction community. Now she co-authoring with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. Where Hope Prevail is the third book in the Return to the Canadian West series, which is a companion series to the popular Hallmark Channel TV show When Calls the Heart. It takes place in the 1920s in the Canadian West.

In this newest novel, Elizabeth Thatcher is back in Coal Valley, the Western “frontier” of Canada, after a wild and unexpected summer vacation back East with her family on a dangerous cruise. She is excited to resume her teaching job with the children she has grown to love. When she arrives back at the end of summer, however, she realizes that Coal Valley is changing. Not only is the landscape changing because of “progress”, but a new teacher has arrived and she has been moved from her boarding room at Molly’s to the abandoned home of some former residents so the new teacher can board at Molly’s. The new teacher, Mr. Robert Harris Hughes is highly academic and is an atheist. Beth is worried about his influence upon the students.

There are so many changes, and Beth is still not sure what her future with Jarrick, the Mountie, looks like. They know they want to get married, but staying in Coal Valley would mean that Jarrick would be stationed far away. Beth can’t stand the thought of leaving the small town she has come to know and love, but also wants to be with her husband-to-be every possible second once they get married.

This was a sweet book that was an easy read. Most of the conflict was interpersonal, but it was enjoyable and well-written, which is what I have come to expect upon picking up an Oke book.

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Book Review: The Loyal Heart

I’m reviewing another historical fiction novel today (surprise, surprise!) Step back into Reconstruction Era Galveston, Texas with The Loyal Heart, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s new Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series. We meet former Second Lieutenant in the Confederate Army, Robert Truax, as he travels to Galveston to look in on the widow of one of his friends and fellow Confederate officers, Phillip Markham. While they were being held captive in a Union prisoner of war camp in early 1865, the men in the unit all promised to look after each other’s families, and after the war, Robert wants to fulfill his duty to Phillip.

Miranda Markham, widow of Phillip Markham, is maligned by the community because of rumors that her husband was a traitor. She has turned her home into a boarding house to make ends meet, furthering the town’s distrust of her. Miranda is depressed, tired of being an outcast, and at times,  doesn’t even want to continue living.

Robert doesn’t tell Miranda his purpose for visiting Galveston, but he soon learns that she is in need of someone to defend her honor and give her a reason to live again.

This book was a little slow, and I didn’t feel like I got to know the characters very well. The book kept alluding to Robert Truax’s history, but it never actually told us much about the man or his past so the reader is left dangling a bit. The characters were also kind of wishy-washy, and the ending was a bit cliché and not overly satisfying. I’m not sure if there is a sequel planned or if the series will be following new characters with each book, but hopefully the next book will answer some of my questions about the characters.

**I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan Publishers and BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.


6 Things I’m NOT Doing So I Can Enjoy My Kids’ Childhoods Instead


I know it’s cliché, but kids really do grow up too fast. Tater turned 8 a few weeks ago, and I was having a Mommy Meltdown about my baby growing up, and how on earth did this happen, and so on. I kept thinking about the last four years since Junior was born, and how stressed and busy I was, and how I just wanted a break–until I looked back and realized how much I missed because I was so anxiously awaiting the day that life would calm down. Life never really calms down, the challenges just become different. But, it really made me consider how fleeting time is, and how I really just need to enjoy the kids every single day. They will never be as young again as they are today. So, here are 6 things I’m not doing, so I can enjoy my kids’ childhoods instead:


1. Not Glued to My Phone
Technology is one of those double edged swords–phones and computers are useful and often necessary, but it’s also easy to become a slave to our devices. Instead of making it a point to check my phone for messages, emails, or anything else during the day, I’ve been putting it away and only checking it when the kids are in bed. My goal is that I’m never looking at a screen when they come looking for me.


2. Not Out and About All the Time
We have had a ridiculous amount of appointments since Junior was born 4 years ago. Several days a week, we are out of the house most of the morning, and once we get home it’s time to do school, cook, clean, and otherwise get caught up on life. I never feel caught up, and it’s stressful for everyone when you’re always trying to play catch up.

A couple weeks ago, we had no therapies or doctor’s appointments planned for an entire week, and I had forgotten how blissful it is to be home. We were able to play, do art projects, do school and get all the household chores done without feeling stressed. I’m moving our schedule around so we’re home more, so I can spend more time playing than driving.


3. Not Thinking About Tomorrow
I’ll admit it–I’m terrible when it comes to living in the present. I’m always thinking about the next thing…tomorrow, next week, my to-do lists, my life goals–that I often forget to be in the present. Right now. I want to enjoy my kids’ little faces while they’re still little, and not look back and regret that I didn’t fully enjoy the time with them. Instead of thinking about the next thing when I’m with them, I’m trying to stay in the moment–thinking about what I have right here and right now. What do I see? What do I hear? I just want to soak it all in and create memories in the now.


4. Not Spending Too Much Time On Meals
How many times have I heard “Momma, can you play with us?” while I’m trying to make dinner? Too many. I have to tell them later, but of course later never happens because too soon it’s bathtime and bedtime and tomorrow. So, I’ve started incorporating more slow cooker and freezer meals into our weekly menu so dinner is healthy and yet quick. My mom always used to tell people that it didn’t matter if she spent 20 minutes or 2 hours on a meal, as long as everyone was full and happy. Luckily, there are tons of healthy crock pot recipes that are a snap to prepare. (My slow cooker black beans and chicken tacos are always a family favorite.)


5. Not Forgetting to Have a Plan
Not so much a schedule, but in order to get the most out of our time, I’ve found it to be helpful to have a bit of a plan for the day. I may plan breakfast, outdoor play time, art project, lunch, school time, and a movie. Nothing too specific, but just a guide so I’m not standing around at 2pm wondering what on earth we did all day.


6. Not Ignoring the Little Moments
My doctor’s office has a sign that says “Never forget to enjoy the little blessings of today. Someday you will look back and realize they were the big blessings.” I love that. Right now I may take for granted when Junior wants me to pick him up and carry him to the car, or when Tater reaches up to hold my hand in the parking lot, but someday I’m going to look back and miss those little hands and that soft hair, and those sweet little voices.

Years from now, I’ll be wishing for “just one more day” with them being little, so I intend to enjoy that “one more day” right now.


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Book Review: A Beauty Refined

#2: A Beauty RefinedI haven’t read or reviewed any fiction books in a while which is so unlike me! I always enjoy having a good novel to read in the evenings. We just returned from a family vacation and I brought along A Beauty Refined, Tracie Peterson’s newest novel in the Sapphire Brides series.

The novel is set in 1907 in Helena, Montana. Phoebe von Bergen, the daughter of a wealthy German count, accompanies her father to Montana as he purchases sapphires for the German royalty. Phoebe begins to explore the city and becomes intrigued with the simplicity of the West.

Ian Harper is a lapidary working in Helena, and wants to get to know the young woman who has recently come to visit America. The more he learns about her, however, the more he realizes that he knows more about her family than even she does, and that her entire family dynamic is based on deception and lies. Phoebe’s father has many secrets he has not shared, and this places Phoebe in danger. Ian must reveal the truth to her and keep her safe at any cost. Her life will never be the same as she learns about the secrets that her father has, and what truly happened to the mother that Phoebe lost when she was only 12 years old.

I enjoyed this novel. It was an easy read that flowed nicely, and I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the book was constantly providing. The ending was bittersweet, but necessary, as the secrets that Phoebe’s father had kept finally came to light and were righted.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.