My Big Tree: A Beautiful Teaching Book

Disclosure: I was given an author copy to review, but the opinions are 100% my own.

Don’t you love reading books to your children?  When I fall in love with a book, it’s because it has value.  I look for value in the words, pictures, and meaning.  My Big Tree has all of this and more.

The illustrations in My Big Tree are enchanting and drew me in immediately.  Each of the characters are adorable and happy.  The expressions on the little animals are cute and the colors vivid.  These are just the types of illustrations that will make the children remember the story and want you to read it to them again and again.

I mentioned that it was a beautiful teaching book and it really does teach children.  It’s wonderful when you can teach children skills and they don’t even know.  The story gives us a counting and color learning experience.  The book starts with one blue bird and goes through the pages as more animals join him in My Big Tree.

 The two bears, three bats, four…..keep joining the bird.  So the child is seeing a certain number of animals on each page.  Moms can point out “how many” and she and her child can count them together.  Children learn to count naturally through this type of learning.  And, they’ll also fall in love with the little animals.

The story has each animal described in some specific way.  This helps the child to learn how an animal really acts.  Here’s an example: “Three silver bats, hanging” the bats are hanging from the tree.  Children may ask questions, like:  Why are they upside down? Learning can continue, as the mom answers questions.

They also learn to make the animal sounds.  Children love to make animal sounds and will naturally join in when mom reads.  Each animal group has a specific color, too.  So, children now are learning their colors just by enjoying a sweet book.

There is one more learning opportunity with this book.  At the end, the author gives some terrific facts about each of the animals.  Mom can use this to further teach her children about the animals, their habitat and how they live.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book.  I would definitely want to read this to children and help them learn. I think this book will become a favorite in homes everywhere.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Organizing The Bedroom

Organization is not my strength, but something had to be done!  Because of Chronic Illness, my home has become a very messy and unorganized place.  When you are just trying to survive, there is honestly no time or energy for organizing tasks.

Organization Series Bedroom banner

But, this doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan.  Clutter and messes make it hard to relax and enjoy my home.  So, when I have a few minutes of feeling decent, I try to work at organizing my home.  My closet organization project was completed in early July.

I finally started to tackle my dresser and jewelry drawer this past week.  My dresser top had become a place to drop junk.  It was covered and piled-up with all kinds of stuff that didn’t belong there.

Dresser - Before
Drawer Before

Inside the jewelry drawer you can see the nightmare.  Even though I had all the divided organizing containers, they weren’t enough.  I had a tangled mess to contend with, and spent quite a while untangling necklaces.

Many people like to hang up their necklaces on the wall.  I really don’t like this look.  Since I don’t wear most of these necklaces often, I wanted to have a system that worked with my wearing schedule.

I decided to use ziploc-bags.  I have already had success with ziploc-bags when I pack jewelry for trips.  It’s easy to place one necklace or bracelet in a small ziploc-bag to keep them from becoming tangled.  

I separated all the jewelry and placed necklaces and bracelets in separate locations in the drawer.  I found numerous single-earrings and junk that could be thrown away.  After everything was cleaned-out and organized, I placed it all in the drawer.  Now, the drawer was organized for me.  And, when I get ready for a trip, I just grab the appropriate bags and am ready to go!

Drawer After
Dresser After

Cleaning the top of the dresser took many days of cleaning.  There was so much that needed to find a home and papers that needed filing.  I did short spurts of work here…..five or ten minutes at a time.  With my dizziness, cleaning up this dresser was exhausting.  I finally completed the work!

The bedroom is still a work in progress, and each corner of the room still leaves much to be desired.  I’ll share more as I can.  Chronic Illness has taken away my ability to work in the way I’m accustomed to.  A deep cleaning/organizing shouldn’t take this much time, but with my illnesses, I’m thrilled to accomplish anything!

If you have chronic illness or just don’t have the time to clean, don’t give up.  Just take your work in short spurts.  Doing 5 minutes here and there is better than 0 minutes.  Over time, you’ll be able to get your house in order and you’ll feel better.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Field Trips: Make Them Count

Field Trips

Field Trips are being planned for the new school year, and the kids are all excited!  Fall is probably the most fun season for outdoor field trips.  We have taken so many field trips, and have great memories of the time spent together.  For some of these field trips, I let some great learning opportunities slip by us.  

Here are my favorite ideas for fall field trips: 

Farms – Fall Festivals, Hayrides, Corn Mazes, Pick Pumpkins, extra Activities for kids

Nature Hunt – Choose various habitats (field, woods, around pond/lake)

      Hunt for variety of leaves, acorns, cones, animals, feathers, seeds

Museums

National Parks

Hikes

Virtual Field trips

Apple orchards

Historical Park

Living History museums

Field trips can be for fun, only.  But, if you’re going to spend the time, money, and energy, you should take the time to do more than just go through the motions.  Field trips can be tied to your curriculum.

hiking

Planning is necessary if you’re going to tie a field-trip to your content.  If you are able to tie the field trip to your curriculum, the kids will get so much more out of it.  When you’re studying plants, it’s much more interesting to do a field trip to see plants.  The kids will remember the content more, too.

If you take a field trip that doesn’t connect to your content, it’s a good idea to do a little pre-planning.  You can easily find an online lesson plan or worksheet that corresponds to something age appropriate.  Education World is an easy place to look for specific lesson plans.  Here is a list of lesson plans that would work with a trip to pick Pumpkins.

apple picking

If you venture out to the nearest Apple Orchard, you can find over 90 great ideas to supplement your learning about Apples HERE.

Tons of lesson plans and ideas can be found HERE if you’re planning a Hike.  This site allows you to search for all types of lesson plans for free.

How do you plan field trips?  Have you found any ways to add amazing learning experiences to your field trips?  I hope you’ll share your best ones!

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Showcase Your Photos With FotoJet Collage Maker

Disclosure: I was provided with the FotoJet Collage Maker app in order to review.  I wasn’t compensated otherwise.  All opinions are 100% my own.

I’ve been offered the free version of FotoJet Collage Maker for Mac to try out all the wonderful ways it can help you to showcase your photos.  The FotoJet also comes available for desktop on Mac and Windows. I’ve grown accustomed to using a variety of online photo editing sites, so I was excited to compare them.  Downloading from the App Store was very easy, and I was immediately able to begin exploring the site.

How do you show off your best photos?  Do you make your own cards?  If you would like to create beautiful collages of your photos, you should look at FotoJet Collage Maker.

The Fotojet is very user-friendly and in just minutes I found myself creating collages of some of my favorite photos.  It’s so easy to use.  I just picked a grid and begin to upload some photos.  These were easy to slide in to the various grid shapes.  The customization possibilities are huge!  It’s so easy to adjust the grid by changing colors, fonts and grid sizes.

This is actually fun to use and you’ll be surprised how creative you can be.  Even if you think you’re not creative, the large amount of possible editing offers you choices galore!  You can change colors and the large selection of art and elements can jazz up your photo grids instantly.

With 800 grid choices and thousands of other elements to choose from, you’ll never tire of this program.  You’ll be ready to create your own Christmas cards, birthday cards and so much more.  With FotoJet,  you can even do more with 3D effects, Comics and Posters.

When you’re satisfied with your creation, you can download or share on social media right from the page.  You can also save and finish it later, if you’re not done with your editing tasks.  I had a terrific time playing around with Fotojet, and I’m sure to use it often.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Action Baseball Math Review

Would you like to have a fun way to support your Math Curriculum that has proven results in improving Math Achievement?  It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Playing Baseball and improving math scores is possible with Action Math Baseball!

Action Math Baseball logo

Real-World Simulation

Learn Middle-School Math

Fun and Engaging

24/7 Internet access

No setup fee

Free customer support and training videos

Action Math Baseball follows the standards for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students.  It aligns with public school state standards and common core.  But, this also aligns with a Scope and Sequence for these grades, no matter what program you’re using.  Whatever math you use, Action Math Baseball will be an amazing addition to your math learning plan.

Action Math Baseball game screen

Teacher videos will help you to implement this fun program with your children.  The price is right, too!  If you’re using it with 1-15 children, the price is only $10.95  Moms will get a report that shows how each student is doing with the various math concepts.

There are teacher lesson plans to help you see what concepts are being reviewed, so that you can see what you want the children to learn.  Teachers can also enjoy that this program is student-directed.  They’ll be able to put their concept knowledge into action.

Here are some of the concepts covered in the Action Math Baseball program: 

  • Computing percentages
  • Comparing Ratios
  • Creating a Ranking System
  • Evaluating formulas
  • Interpreting Data
  • Using probability to make decision

And, did I say it was fun?  How is the Math Used:

“Students will transform a basic Baseball Card into actionable data points that impact decisions in the baseball game, like trading players, setting the batting order, and developing probability tables that predict how batters will hit the ball”  Think….Fantasy Football. 

eLearnster logo

You can use Action Math Baseball on Macs, PCs, iPads, Android Tablets and Chromebooks.  It works with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari with no installations! 

So, bring math to life with your children by encouraging them to play Action Math Baseball.  

  • computing percentages
  • comparing ratios
  • creating a ranking system
  • evaluating formulas
  • interpreting data
  • using probability to make decisions
  • computing percentages
  • comparing ratios
  • creating a ranking system
  • evaluating formulas
  • interpreting data
  • using probability to make decisions
  • computing percentages
  • comparing ratios
  • creating a ranking system
  • evaluating formulas
  • interpreting data
  • using probability to make decisions

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Blueberry Vegan Scones

Disclosure: Affiliate link

Since I started my healthier diet, I’ve been wanting to make Blueberry Scones.  For my birthday, my son and daughter-in-law gave me a beautiful Vegan cookbook.  The recipes and pictures are just wonderful!  This recipe is my favorite, so far!

 When I checked the recipe, I saw that it had 1/2 cup of sugar and a sweet, sugary glaze.  I omitted the glaze and substituted the 1/2 Cups sugar with 1/2 teaspoon Stevia.  I was a little nervous about the stevia substitution.  But, these turned out to be heavenly!  They are slightly sweet and the fresh blueberries added another burst of sweetness.

Here’s the recipe:

1 1/4 Cups Unsweetened Rice Milk (they suggest almond milk)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Cups Organic Flour

1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (they suggest 1/2 cup sugar)

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon salt ( I used 1/4 teaspoon, because of Kidney disease)

1/2 Cup coconut oil (solid)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 Cups fresh blueberries

 Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease baking sheet with coconut oil.  Whisk together 1 1/4 Cups of Rice milk with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.  Let it sit.

Combine the dry ingredients and then drop the coconut oil into clumps.  Use a fork or pastry cutter to work the coconut oil into the flour, until it looks like little pebbles.

Making a well in the center, add milk mixture and vanilla.  Mix until almost blended.  Next, add blueberries and gently fold them into the batter.

Shape the dough into scone shapes and place on the baking sheet.  

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until light golden brown.  Don’t overcook.

These are light and fluffy.  They are the best scones I’ve ever eaten.  (If you like a very-sweet scone, use the real sugar or make a sugar glaze.)  

Recipe adapted from The SuperFun Times-Vegan Holiday Cookbook Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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