The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! – Book Review

This year has been a year of making new traditions. So many times we can not or should not do what we love to do. I thought this would be a great time to start a new Christmas tradition with the kids, and Little Miss had actually mentioned doing the same thing before I got the email about this cute book.

I was thrilled to review The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever! by Jennifer Hill and Mary Walker from Side Door Communications. Check out what we thought of this book!

What Is It

This is a hardcover book with beautiful color illustrations on the pages. Through this book, we are told the story of how this family came up with the idea of a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve.

The story is told in a rhyming way that made it really fun to read. We also have the birthday cake recipe, because this is no ordinary cake. Every ingredient in the cake has a meaning and a purpose. *One note, for those who have children who believe in Santa, this book does not say anything to change their minds. This just brings the focus to Jesus.

Not only do we get the cake recipe, but we also have access to fun activities and free printables to go along with the story.

How We Used It

We sat down as a family and read this book one afternoon. The kids loved the pictures and the story was very intriguing. We loved the meanings behind each and every part of the cake and the party that they threw for Jesus.

After we read the book, we decided that we wanted to make the cake for our friends and neighbors. However, this year we are not doing a party as we would like, we still wanted to spread the message that this book carried.

Instead of making a cake, we did cupcakes (easier to carry and deliver). Also, I did not have the right cake mix or the chocolate chips, so again we improvised and used food coloring to make the white batter red. This kept the message for what we wanted to share.

Instead of making one angel for the cake, we did multiple angels to go on each plate we were delivering. Once everything was ready, we went out and brought the cupcakes to each house. We did not just drop them and go, we told the story behind the meaning of every aspect of the cupcakes.

What We Thought Of It

My kids loved this book. They also fell in love with making the cupcakes and sharing the story about Jesus’ birthday and the meanings of the different aspects of the cupcakes. By doing this activity of sharing what we learned, my kids are beginning their journey as disciples of Jesus. While the houses we went to already know and believe in Jesus, this was a great way for my kids to start talking to others about Jesus.

This will surely become a family tradition that we will do every year. We look forward to doing this again, and the kids actually want to do the sharing with others we didn’t get to with our first batch of Jesus’ birthday cupcakes. We were even told that one of the angels we shared made it to the top of a Christmas tree to remind the family of what we brought to them (and not just the cupcakes!).

If you are looking for a new tradition for this holiday season, I highly recommend grabbing this book and sharing the story of The Best Birthday Cake in the History of Ever!

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Celebrations – December Book Club

Welcome back to another month of the book club that we are starting. This book club is for anyone, kids, teens, adults, it doesn’t matter! This month our theme is Celebrations. This can mean anything, any holiday, whatever you celebrate!

Celebrations Around the World

I found a cute book at our library called Celebrations Around the World by Katy Halford. I love that this is not just the holidays that we as a family celebrate, but all the holidays that are celebrated around the world!

I do not know what I will do with the kids and this book at this time, but I am sure we will come up with some activities to help us learn and celebrate all the new holidays we will learn about.

I hope you will come back at the end of the month and see what we have learned and how we took this book and made it come alive in our homeschool!

There are other families who will be reading books about celebrations with us this month, check them out right here:

Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom 

Do you want to join? What are some books on celebrations that you will be reading this month with your family, or yourself?

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Give Thank You a Try – November Book Club

I am so excited to share with you a little about our reading for November. If you remember, I shared with you about this new book club at the beginning of the month. I am joining a few other great ladies who are all sharing the books we are reading each month and how we make it fun for our kids, or share our review at the end of the month.

This month, we had some good books picked out, but I wanted to spend some time on something other than Thanksgiving. I found Give Thank You A Try from James Patterson. I love James Patterson books, so I thought this might be a great way to get the kids thinking about being thankful for things, and this book did not disappoint!

Give Thank You A Try is a fun little book full of things that kids are thankful for. They have simple little “thank you” sentences that make up the book. There is no real story, rather just all the things these kids, and families say thank you for.

Saying Thank You

After reading this book, I had my kids think of things they were thankful for. We spent some time thinking about what we could say thank you for. The kids were able to say thank you to our neighbor who gave us cookie dough to make cookies with.

We could say thank you for the food we eat, our family, our church family, and just having a house to stay in. I even found that the kids loved running to the neighbor’s houses and personally telling them thank you for being who they are to us!

Overall, we loved this book as a way to remember how we have so much to say thank you for. Now, I notice them saying thank you for many things they may never have thought to say thank you for before.

I am glad we took the time to find books on thankfulness to read this month! I would love to hear of some of your favorite books on thankfulness, can you share them with me in the comments?

 

Also, make sure to stop and check out what my friends have shared for their books for the month!

Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom 

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November Book Club – Thankful

So, I am working on something. Something I want all of you to be a part of, whether you have a blog or not! A monthly book club. This can be for kids, mom, dad, the whole family, whatever works for you!

What Is the Monthly Book Club?

Every month, during the first week of the month, I will share with you the theme of the books for the month. Yes, theme, not title. I get it, most book clubs will tell you the title you should be reading, but since this is open to all ages, I just want to go with a theme.

As the month goes on, you read your book(s) that go with the theme. If you have kids, have fun with the books, do activities, watch the movie after you read the book, whatever you want. If you are doing this with older kids, or yourself, get a review going. Find out what you like or don’t like. Why should I add it to my list, or why should I avoid it?

Come back during the last week of the month and share! Share what you read and what you did. Share your review. Just come back and share. So, how do you do this if you don’t have a blog? Simple, leave your books, and review in the comments!

November Books Club 2020

This month, since we are truly just starting out, I went with an easy theme, Thanksgiving/Thankful. I know there are many books on this theme, relating to the holiday, or just the act of being thankful. Get onto GoodReads, Amazon, or your library page and start finding those books!

I am not alone in this, I have a group of fellow blogger friends who will be joining me. Check them out and give them some love!

Life on Chickadee Lane
School Days
At Home: Where Life Happens
The Life We Build
Let’s Get Real
Homeschool Coffee Break
Tots and Me
Bossy Homeschool Mom

To help you out with finding some fun books to read, I made a November Reading Challenge. Print up your free copy and let your kids have fun getting three in a row to win!

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Keeping a Book Journal Instead of Book Reports

Reading is a huge thing for children. We need to teach them to love to read. So how do we do that while still knowing what they are reading? Take out the book reports and give them a book journal instead!

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Book reports suck the fun of reading out of the book. You need to spend the time paying attention so that you can write words on paper, be it the number of words or the number of pages you need to write. Kids start to not want to read because of having to write a book report after reading the book.

So, what do you do instead? How do you know your kids are reading the books they say they are? As I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I found out about book journals. While this book is written for public school teachers, there is a wealth of information for homeschoolers as well!

Book Journals over Book Reports

I have modified the idea of the book journal from Donalyn Miller to make it work for us. However, I loved her idea of allowing a child to abandon a book that just doesn’t fit for the child. I know that I have found some books that just didn’t work for me to finish, so I agree with allowing our children to do the same.

That is why I have a section in my new book journal that not only allows us to track the books the kids have read, but also write down the books they have started and abandoned. Within this section, I have a notes column. Kids are able to write down notes about the books they have read, but they can also write down notes on the books they abandoned. Who knows, maybe they will come back to these books later.

How Do We Use the Book Journal

This is the fun part, you use it how you want! you can print the pages and just use it as it is. You can put it in a three-ring binder, bind it with a binding machine, or staple it and go. But you can also use it as a notebooking guide. You can take the pages and cut and glue them into a regular notebook. Make your child a whole notebook full of remembering the books they have journeyed through, and keep it for your records of what they have done.

Not only do you have the chance to list the books that have been read, but you also get the chance to write down the books your child wants to read. Let them take control over this. Let them find books they want to read and write them down.

I also take this further by giving space for your child’s favorite quotes from the books they read, their favorite parts of books they have read, their favorite characters from the books they have read, and a list of their favorite books. By having my kids write down these favorites, I know if they read the book or not.

I also have one page to allow children to track the different genres they are reading. This is something new for me. I hadn’t thought about making my kids read different genres, I was just happy to have them reading! This year we are making a few changes to our reading time. Not only do we have daily drop everything and read time, but we are also exploring different books and genres. I can’t wait to see what this will bring forth in my kids!

Grab Your Own Book Journal

I am in love with the book journal I have created. My kids love that I don’t pester them about the books they are reading when I can grab their journal and see for myself.  My kids love the fact that I trust them to pick books they will read. They get ideas and recommendations from me, but ultimately, I leave the choice up to them.

Give your child the freedom of their reading and allow them to love reading, by having them fill out a book journal instead of numerous book reports by grabbing your copy right here.

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Using Kindle Unlimited In Your Homeschool

A thing that I love about homeschooling is the fact that we can use books to help us learn. Reading, even if it is out loud to the children, is a great way to help your children learn. The tough part, your local library is not going to have every book you want to use in your homeschool. The answer, putting your Kindle and Amazon account to use with Kindle Unlimited.

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One thing that I love about Amazon is the Kindle Unlimited account that I have. I never realized how much this account would help with our homeschooling. It has given me options to add more books to our homeschool life.

We have found many great books within Kindle Unlimited that have helped us enrich our homeschool. I want to share a few of them with you so that you can give it a try yourself.

The Green Ember Series

Ok, so I reviewed these books in the physical format and my family LOVED them! We joined the bandwagon and wanted to read them all. Little did I know, I could get all of these books for FREE with my Kindle Unlimited account. If you have doubts about this series, this is the perfect time to sample it and see what you are missing.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This is a book that my children love! We read it together and watched the movie after. This was the first time that we did a comparison between the book and the movie. Just as I had hoped, the kids loved the book so much more. This is a well-known book and movie, so why not include it in your homeschool journey? If you have not read it before, you are missing out on so much compared to what the movie shows. Not only that, if you don’t want to use this as a read-aloud story, your older elementary children will be able to enjoy it on their own!

Fall Books

I love adding books into our homeschool that workaround the topic we are learning about. Right now we are focused on fall. There are good plenty of books available on Kindle Unlimited that will allow you to focus on fall.

Fall Leaves is a great book that is easy to read. It can be read as a short poem, or as a more in-depth study.  There are two ways to read this book, and my kids loved reading it both ways. This is a fun book to introduce fall to your children.


The Roll-Away Pumpkin is another great book to read during the fall season. This fun little story is about a pumpkin that gets away…the ending is a delicious ending that can solve a problem of a large pumpkin rolling down into the town. This is one that your kids will love!

Pumpkin Jack is a fun story about a pumpkin that doesn’t just disappear. This story takes us through the stages of a pumpkin after it is done being carved for the holiday season. This is a fun story to teach your children about how pumpkins can grow from seeds.

The Lord of the Rings

This was a fun find for me. I love this series and I love this series and being able to introduce this series to my kids is on the top of my list. Not only is this a great movie, but it is also a great book series. I read all of them before I watched the movies, and let me tell you, the books are WAY better! I am thrilled to be able to access these books within our Kindle membership to read to my kids.

The Unhurried Homeschooler

Now, this is a mom book! This is a book that I recommend homeschool moms, new and veteran, read. It has been recommended in groups that I am in, and I honestly could not have loved it more. This will help you focus on your “why” vs trying to check off all the boxes when it comes to homeschooling.

Having access to all sorts of different books with the click of a button means that we are never without a book for our homeschool. Mom and kids can read what they need to have a book on hand to read. I firmly believe that reading is an essential item in teaching anything to my kids, so having access to books for free is a huge bonus for us!

If you are homeschooling and wondering how to get access to all the books, check out Kindle Unlimited and grab those books to allow your child, and yourself to read what you want!

How have you used Kindle Unlimited in your homeschool? Or, if you are just learning about this, how do you plan to use it in your homeschool?

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Letters from Katie Luther – A Book Review

While I was growing up, I was raised Catholic. After branching out on my own and finding a church that allows me to think for myself, for the most part…as long as it follows the bible, I have come to learn more. One of the things I have learned more about is Reformation Day. Because of this, I was super excited to review Letters from Katie Luther by Shirley Casemier from Reformed Free Publishing Association.

Letter from Katie Luther Book Review

What Is It

Katie Luther, Katherine von Bora Luther, the wife of Martin Luther, is the main character of this book. We follow her through letters that she wrote to her friend Ave (ah-vay). While this is not an actual biography, the story itself had a lot of thought and research put into it to make it as accurate as it could be.

The book itself is a paperback book ($14.95) with just under 100 pages. There are a few random black and white photos spread throughout the book to show you some of the places that are being talked about.

Through the letters, we learn much about the life of Katie and Martin Luther. As a new (ish) learner of Reformation Day, Katie’s letters really helped me to understand more about the background of Martin Luther himself through his wife writing to her friend.

How We Used It

While I had all the intentions of reading this to my children to teach them about Reformation Day, and I still do plan to do this, I have claimed this book as mine for the time being. I can relate to Katie. I was Catholic, I “escaped” from that and had my eyes opened. Not only that, but I could relate to Katie dealing with her husband’s “sickness” or mental health issues. I have been dealing with this on a daily basis.

So, for this review, I have been reading the book myself. I have been laughing and crying with Katie and Ave. While I have been enjoying this book, I can tell that it is also written for older children. That is why I have no issue with reading this aloud to my children.

What We Thought

Oh my! That was my initial thought. This was a book I could not put down once I started reading it. The writing made me feel everything that was being described. I could feel the feelings Katie was going through, even without previous experience. I laughed, I cried, I yearned to know more. Even though I know the ending, I still yearned to know more about the daily life of this family.

This is a book great for any family that wants to learn more about Martin Luther and his family. The struggles they faced and the way they relied on God through it all. Breaking away from the “normal” is not easy, but having faith in the real God to guide you through will give you the strength to go on your path. 

If you are looking for a good read this month, one that will lead up to Reformation Day, you will want to grab your own copy of Letters from Katie Luther.

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October Book List

October Book List

We are doing something new this year. We are going to be reading picture books based on the month. I am going to share our October Book List before the month starts and at the end of the month, I am going to share what we did with these books.

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October Book List

Where to Find Books

We are getting our book ideas from Read-Aloud Revival (RAR). They have a great list of picture books for each month. This makes this part easy for me. The tough part, reading them and coming up with activities for them. We won’t do activities for all of the books, but we will do something that will center around the theme of the books.

Not only will we be grabbing books from the list on RAR, but I am also grabbing books from Your Morning Baskets and the Fall 3.0 guide. I will be sharing more about this in a week or two.

Our October Book List

This month, we will be reading books like The Pumpkin Runner, Fall Walk, Strega Nona’s Harvest, Seeds Move, and Swirl by Swirl.  With these books, you can see we will be getting ready for the fall and the harvest that happens. 

I am excited to make a few fun printables for the kids to do. I am thinking word finds, and things to do with nature walks. Things that will bring these books to life and allow my kids to see this wonderful transition from summer to autumn.

Want to Join Us?

Do you want to join us on this fun journey this month? I would love to have you join us! Pick some books that are good to go with October, share them, and come back to share what you did with them at the end of the month. Next month, I am hoping to have a theme for you!

If you are planning on joining us, share with me in the comments and let me know! Check back the last week of October to see what we did with our books.

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Anyone Can Homeschool ~ A Book Review

Anyone Can Homeschool

With the times that we are facing, many parents are now wondering about homeschooling. Along with thinking about homeschooling, comes the doubts and fears, trust me, I had them also! If you are in the middle of trying to figure out what you want to do with your kids this school year, or if you have doubts about homeschooling, you will want to check out this review of Anyone Can Homeschool!

I have been homeschooling for over seven years now. But, every year, I still have doubts. Am I doing enough, am I doing too much? Are my kids missing too much? How can I teach them when I haven’t gone to school to teach children? All of these questions are taken into account with the book Anyone Can Homeschool by Nicki Truesdell. I was given a preview of this book for my review. What I share now is my honest opinion.

Anyone Can Homeschool

What Is It

For my review, I was able to read chapters 1-5, 11, and 13. There are two parts to this book. The first part contains chapters 1-10, the second part contains chapters 11-16. The chapters include topics such as Rethinking School, Home Education on a Budget, Special Needs, Chronic Illness in the Family, Getting Started, and The Struggle is Real. All of the topics cover everything that would hold you back from homeschooling and helping you see how able you really are to homeschool your child.

Nicki takes us through all the myths on why you can’t homeschool and she breaks the brick wall. From the first chapter I read, I was hooked. Reading the preview of the book calmed my fears and reminded me that I was doing the best for my kids. Right away I was taken with the statement “Home education is freedom. It’s freedom to set your calendar, choose the curriculum, begin and end your lessons on your own schedule, and decide what’s working for your child. It is the freedom to change up methods and materials when the need arises. It’s the freedom to be the parent, all the time.”

And that leads me to another point. We are the parent, we raised our kids from birth. It was us that taught them to walk and talk. How are we not able to teach them after that? What changes that all of a sudden we are not able to teach our own children? If we taught them to walk and talk, why can’t we teach them to read and write? This is exactly what Nicki talks about in the first chapter. She proceeds to talk to us, I tell you that she talks to us, because that is what it feels like. I feel like she is sitting down and talking to me as I read her pages.

Anyone Can Homeschool

What Did I Think of It

I love how it feels like I am sitting down to a cup of coffee with Nicki as I read the pages. She is so honest about what she is sharing. Her words are like that of an old friend. This gave me encouragement just as it will anyone who is thinking of homeschooling and thinking they can not do it.

This book tackles all the questions you may have as you think about homeschooling. It helps to calm the fears of new homeschooling families and quenches the doubt of veteran homeschooling families who have done this and still worry.

If you are thinking about homeschooling and have doubts, you will want this book. If you have been homeschooling and have doubts, you will want this book. This book will help with all doubts that homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike have.

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July Books in Our Homeschool

Our July has been a real storm of a month. With the heat that is unbearable, and a tornado that touched down 11 miles or less away from us! We have tried to get into our normal homeschool routine, but not quite yet. What hasn’t changed…we have a stack of books to read this month!

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With our different types of curriculum that we are using, we have a great list of books to read. Even if we don’t do all our school, we will be reading all the books!

Gather Round Homeschool Books

One of our main curricula is Gather Round Homeschool. This curriculum is a unit study based curriculum as I have shared with you before. This month is Asia, so we have some great book recommendations within the teacher’s guide to find some good books. There is a book list for each unit that is broken down by age/learning level. From this study, we will be reading The Story About Ping, The Year of the Panda, The Big Wave, and Amy Carmichael. The Big Wave is a family read-aloud that we will follow up with a fun study from Lit Wits.

BibloPlan Year One: Ancients Books

As part of our Bible and History curriculum, we are using BibloPlan Year One: Ancients. There are some great Literature Readings for each grade level listed in the teacher’s guide. We are adding in some of The Answers Book for Kids during our lessons, and just about anytime we have questions. We are also reading The Ark, The Reed, and the Fire Cloud together. While we have already read them, Little Miss will be reading The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls on her own. I love how fun and simple these are to read.

Morning Time Books

This year we are adding in some Morning Time lessons to our days. I have loved this idea and played around with it on and off. Now I am ready to jump in. I love the books they have suggested for the Summer Adventure 2020. We will be reading Math Curse, His Shoes Were Far Too Tight, Are You a Dragonfly?, Tyger! Tyger! and The Very Lonely Firefly to name a few. Oh, I can’t forget to mention Catwings! This is a book that I loved as a child and I was thrilled to see it on a list for me to read to my kids!

All Through the Ages

On top of these fun lists, I love to check out book ideas in All Through the Ages, History Through Literature Guide from Nothing New Press. This book is full of book ideas for everything! They are broken up chronologically and geographically. This is great because I am doing both, history from the beginning and geographically by unit study.

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