Thursday, May 31, 2018

D is for Declaration of Independence (Blogging through the Alphabet)

Independence Hall in the Fog

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There are so many topics one could write about when you reach the letter D. For example, Disraeli, Charles Dickens, Dunkirk, or D-Day. For my latest post in Blogging through the Alphabet, I have chosen to write briefly about the Declaration of Independence. 

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution that the colonies are and should be free and independent states from Great Britain. As the resolution was discussed, a committee was appointed to write a declaration. The committee of five was appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence consisting of:
  • John Adams
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Robert R. Livingston 
  • Roger Sherman 
Quote from the Declaration of Independence on a photo of the Declaration; "we all these truths..."

Thomas Jefferson, who was thirty-three years old at the time, wrote the first draft. Some changes were suggested by Adams and Franklin. The most important changes to Declaration of Independence would be the removal of a passage indicting the slave trade. 

The Declaration of Independence was presented to the Continental Congress on June 28, 1776. On Thursday, July 4, Congress adopted the 1300-hundred-word Declaration. It wasn't until July 8, that the Declaration was read to the citizens of Philadelphia by John Nixon at what would become known as Independence Square at noon. 

A formal parchment copy was made available for signing on August 2 and most of the 55 signatures were written then. Matthew Thorton, of New Hampshire, was the last to sign the Declaration of Independence in November of 1776. 
Postcard of Independence Hall; postcard of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; Cards of Ben Franklin and Roger Sherman

The Declaration of Independence helped move the colonies' fight from just one about unjust taxes to one about human rights. All grievances put forth by the colonists were laid at the feet of King George III who had a "history of repeated injuries" towards the colonies. 

Resources and References 

National Archives: America's Founding Documents 

I linked up with the following blog(s):

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Crafts: Father's Day Necktie Card

Front of Children's Father's Day Card

My son, daughter, and I made a very simple Father's Day Card for my husband this weekend. I love being able to create crafts from materials that I have on hand in the house.


If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. 

1. Gather all your materials. 

Materials for the project; construction paper, markers, glue

2. After selecting what color construction paper your children want to use for their cards, fold the paper in half to make a card. 

3. Draw or trace the shape of a necktie on the inside of the card (or the front of the card if you wish).

Drawing of necktie on inside of Children's Card

4. Tear or cut up pieces of tissue paper to glue inside the necktie design. 

Making the Necktie craft

5. Write Happy Father's Day on the front of the card and sign the inside. Don't forget to include the date so Daddy will remember when he received the homemade card from his children. 

Front of Father's Day Card

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Journaling through the Bible: Eleazar

Bible journaling supplies

A little over a week ago I had the name Eleazar stuck in my head. I don't know why - especially since I had finished up the books of the Bible in which he is discussed a while ago. Eleazar is the third son of Aaron, successor to his father as high priest, and chief of the Levites.

After doing a bit of research, I learned that the name Eleazar can mean "God has helped." Maybe a message is being sent to me?

Eleazar #biblejournaling

I am going to share some of the verses in which Eleazar is mentioned in the Bible. With the exception of the water sunset photograph, the images are photographs I took of my plants in our garden.

Quote from Exodus




I linked up with the following blog(s): 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Crafts: Paper Bag Goat Puppet

Two Paper Bag Goat Puppets

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Our children love creating puppets, so we made our own paper bag goat puppets recently.



1. Gather all your materials. 

Materials of markers, construction paper, glue stick for craft

2. We glued all the pieces onto the face first and then glued it onto the bag. You could glue the face onto the bag and then complete the steps. Cut a goatee for your goat. Glue it onto the bottom of the face. 

Cutting paper during children's craft

Children's Craft

3.  Glue on the eyes for your goat. 

Putting together Paper Bag Goat PuppetPutting together Paper Bag Goat Puppet

4. Glue on the ears. (I also added a piece of tape to help secure them during puppet play.) 

Putting together Paper Bag Goat Puppet

5. Glue the goat's face onto the paper bag. 

Putting together Paper Bag Goat Puppet

6. After the glue dries, the puppet is all ready for your puppet show! 

Putting together Paper Bag Goat Puppet

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I linked up with the following blog(s):

Thursday, May 24, 2018

C is for Charleston (Blogging through the Alphabet)

American Flag and South Carolina Flag

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As you may know, I am focusing upon the subject of history for the "Blogging through the Alphabet" series this time. I have been blessed with being able to visit the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina twice now. I visited once with my mom and then again with my husband for our honeymoon. I would like to share a few of my favorite places as well as some history about Fort Sumter. I hope you enjoy the journey!

Boone Hall, Circular Church, Charleston Tea Plantation

alligator at Magnolia Plantation and GardensThere are so many interesting things to see and do in Charleston – from Colonial History to World War II. It is mostly remembered for its part in the American Civil War due to Fort Sumter and the many plantations that one can still visit today in the surrounding area. When we visited Charleston, we toured Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, Drayton Hall, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Boone Hall is known for the movies and TV series that have been filmed on location including North and South. Drayton Hall is a wonderful example of the preservation of history instead of restoration. And at Magnolia Gardens we were able to learn more about a rice plantation and see lots of wildlife in the swamps - even an alligator!

There are a great number of churches in Charleston. Being home to so many has resulted in it receiving the nickname, "The Holy City." This includes the Circular Congregational Church – which is one of the oldest continuously worshiping congregations in the South.

We also got to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation which produces American Classic Tea – the only brand of tea made of 100% exclusively American-grown tea.

Charles Towne Landing

Charles Towne Landing

At Charles Towne Landing State Historic site, you can visit where a group of English settlers landed in 1670 and started the Carolina Colony just off the Ashley River.  Being able to visit sites where the American colonies were founded is an excellent way to study history.

Fort Sumter Cannons and Parade Ground

Fort Sumter

History remembers Fort Sumter as the first battle of the American Civil War. In fact, the first shot is recorded as having been ordered by Captain George S. James of the Confederacy on April 12, 1861 at 4:30 am. This started the bombardment of Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor.

Fort Sumter was part of America's coastal defenses that was authorized after the War of 1812. The Fort was built of bricks on a granite foundation enclosing a pentagonal parade ground. There would be a 3-story barracks that could house up to 650 men and there was room for 135 pieces of artillery.

In December of 1860, Major Robert Anderson moved his troops from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter. When Major Anderson and his men (about 85) arrived at Fort Sumter, it was not in the best condition. There were only 15 cannons mounted, it contained an unfinished barracks, and the parade ground still had building materials all over it. Major Anderson set his men to work mounting guns, bricking up holes, and completing other tasks to make it a working fort.

Both the North and the South continued to make preparations for war as time marched forward. New batteries were built along Sullivan's Island, James Island, and near Mount Pleasant. On March 1, 1861, General Pierre G. T. Beauregard took control of the military operations at Charleston. Beauregard had sent a message requested Anderson to leave but Anderson stayed put at Fort Sumter.

On April 4, 1861, President Lincoln decided to resupply Fort Sumter. This led to the supply from the city to the Fort being cut off and eventually Beauregard sent 3 men to offer an ultimatum to Anderson – evacuate or face the consequences of staying. Anderson refused to give up the Fort.

On April 12, 1861 at 4:30 a.m., a bombardment of 2-and-a-half hours began. Even though the men were relatively safe in the Fort, there wasn't really the chance that they would be able to do more than remain there during the siege. The cannons on the island were not successful at destroying any targets. On April 13, 1861 at 1:30 pm the Stars and Stripes was shot down and this led Louis T. Wigfall, former Senator from Texas, to travel to the Fort to ask about surrender. Anderson decided it was time to surrender and on April 14, 1861 the US flag at Fort Sumter was lowered to a 50-gun salute. Anderson and his men boarded a steamer to the North as heroes.

H. L. Hunley 

The first submarine was used by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Rumor was that it actually killed more Confederates than Union soldiers during its testing and use. On February 17, 1864, the Hunley slammed into the USS Housatonic. It exploded its torpedo, the Union ship broke apart and sank, and so did the Hunley. In 1995, it was found off the coast of Charleston.

H. L. Hunley submarine replica

I think one of my few regrets from my trip to Charleston was not being able to visit the Hunley. They only offer tours on weekends and we were already leaving when I found out we could tour the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to see it in a 75,000-gallon steel tank.

I hope you join me in the following weeks as I write about other favorite people and places of history like Henry VIII, mummies, and the Tower of London!

Resources and References 

Hunley Submarine Site 

Fort Sumter National Monument 

I linked up with the following blog(s):

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Club: Reviewing The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy. Thank you.

This was the first time I have read any books by Beverly Lewis and I was pleasantly surprised. In The Road Home, we follow the journey of Lena Rose Schwartz after the death of her parents, as she travels from the Amish community of Centreville, Michigan to the Leacock Community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The book details Lena Rose's yearning for her nine siblings who remained in Centreville, her experiences helping her cousins Harley and Mimi Stoltzfus, providing companionship to Solomon, Lydia, James, and Rebekah, and her growing friendship with Arden.

From the beginning of the book we are introduced to a host of characters and in general I feel it was rather easy to feel connected to them. The only characters with whom I had some difficulty developing a connection were some of Lena Rose's siblings. This may or may not have been intentional as I feel that Lewis spent more time introducing and describing the siblings that Lena Rose seemed more involved with back in Centreville – Chris and Emma.
photo by M.Y.
I would have appreciated a bit more detail explaining the differences that Lena Rose notes between her former life – different clothing, different carriages than the horse and buggy, etc. – to that of the life in Lancaster County. Perhaps I am at a disadvantage not having read other books by Lewis. In fact, I have not read a lot of fiction or non-fiction relating to the Amish community even though we do not live far from Lancaster County.

I enjoyed reading about Lena celebrating the different holidays with Harley and Mimi and the rest of the family and friends in Lancaster County. While my heart was sad for her character missing home, I was glad to see she was accepting God's current path or plan for her. She was finding a way to make positive impacts in her temporary home by helping Rebekah, cleaning James' home, and also participating in the various youth activities like singing, hay rides, and ice skating. In fact, one of my favorite descriptions is about the hay ride during the winter.

I would recommend The Road Home by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House to individuals looking for Christian fiction that includes a bit of clean romance and is inspirational. After reading The Road Home, I will be looking for other books of Lewis' to read as well.

I am a member of the Bethany House Blogger Review Program.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Reviewing Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum

Home School Navigator Logo

Our son is having a fantastic time reading new books, writing his own stories, and learning about setting, characters, inference, and more as we review Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum. There are six levels which range from the equivalent of kindergarten to fifth grade that offer nine months' work of lessons and activities to build better readers and writers. There are 60 instructional videos that help teach key concepts as well as review games, a word study program, the ability to create an online portfolio, and more!

Children's books, Home School Navigator Lesson Plan
Teaching Guide, current Read Aloud book, and necessary worksheets. 

How We Use Home School Navigator

The program is designed with lessons for five days a week. We are working through Level Red (meant for kindergarten level) and there are nine months available. For most of the review period, we completed the lessons spread out over three to five days depending on our schedule. We were able to do this because there are some days that are meant as review or catch-up days. (This is fantastic planning, in my opinion.)

Each day's lesson took anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending on what we were doing, how much our son focused on the task at hand, and whether or not his younger sister wanted to join in to help. (In the case of his three-year-old sister joining in, things often took longer because we did things twice or the game or activity was explained multiple times.)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Game from Home School Navigagtor
We played the game that went along with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie several times as both our son and daughter really enjoyed it. We grabbed our own dice and markers so we could play the game.

Each day is broken up into a series of activities on the Teaching Guide:

  1. Read Aloud
  2. Literature/Comprehension 
  3. Writing/Grammar
  4. Word Study/Vocabulary 
  5. How Books and Print Work
  6. Independent Reading 
  7. Understanding Reading Skills and Strategies
  8. Compiling notes, assignments for the portfolio, prep/planning for next week, or extension activities 

As suggested by Home School Navigator, one can do all the activities or a few of them. It all depends on you, your child(ren), and your needs. There is also a list of materials needed that accompanies the Teaching Guide.

During the first month of Level Red, we read several circular stories and repeating stories. While reading books like If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and The Napping House, our son learned vocabulary and finding the setting of a story.

Finding the Setting of a Story
Directions for Finding the Setting of a Story. 

In addition to reading stories, our son also worked on learning about sounds. There were several Sound Match activities that we completed during our first month including a rhyming activity. One of the activities that our daughter could join in was matching rhyming words such as pail and whale or flag and bag. These cards are great because – in addition to the word – there is a picture, too.

Matching Rhyming Cards
Rhyming cards from Month 2.

Our son has also had the opportunity to write several times each week in a Writer's Notebook and write his own circular story (about a cow and a map). He has also been practicing writing by tracing letters and names. There is a series of suggested activities from using sand to shaving cream to helping children practice writing.

Circular Story
Illustrating If You Give a Cat a Cupcake 

What We Like

Even though I need to print out the materials, worksheets, and papers for the course, I do not need to print out everything. It is all laid out very clearly what activities we can choose for each day. So, I can decide what to print based on what available activities will be used as part of each day's lesson.
  • You can print out every lesson and worksheet that accompanies the lesson OR just use the lessons as they are presented online 
  • If you can't find a copy of the book in your library, they are uploading Read Alouds for the books online – we have been fortunate that our library has had ten of the fifteen books required for the first two months. 
  • Flexibility of the program – If you want to read more about why I think the program is so flexible, check out the FAQ Page from Home School Navigator. 
  • Repetition of ideas but not necessarily of stories (For example, the first week or two focused upon circular stories in Level Red. We read several books that were similar to If You Gave  Mouse a Cookie but they were different stories – not the same one read over and over.) 
  • In printing out the necessary materials for Home School Navigator, I was actually able to plan out the upcoming month in my head 
  • Even though some of the worksheets and printables have color, nothing was lost by the fact that we only have a black-and-white printer 
  • Being able to watch the Read Alouds on the tablet, laptop, or TV 
Ready Read Aloud Video Healthy and Junk Food Vocabulary

Problems We Had

  • A few of the videos were difficult to hear at first, but they are updating the sound quality 
  • In the beginning, I found the amount of clicking necessary to navigate the site overwhelming but this has been changed!  There are still a number of pages to navigate through but to me it seems intuitive to how the program is designed. For example, you click on your level, month, week, and then individual aspects of the lesson. 
Grouchy Lady Bug Story Activities

I was a tad apprehensive that the first two months contained many stories that I had avoided reading to our children. I have to admit I was not a huge fan of either Laura Numeroff or Eric Carle. Their stories – and the illustrations in their books – weren't something I enjoyed BUT...I am pleased to say that I now see how important their particular story-telling style is to helping children learn.

Home School Navigator offers an online storage system for a portfolio but I opted to just check off when we completed each lesson. Please see other reviews to learn more about it.

Progress Page on Home School Navigator
Since we didn't use the portfolio, we have a list of assignments and the date completed
(or when I remembered to check them off).

Home School Navigator also offers Interactive Notebooks which provide children with the opportunity to do more than just answer questions about the book. They will cut out shapes and glue flaps from the studies to build their own unique notebooks with the goal to "inspire deeper, and more meaningful discussions" about the book being read.

For more about Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum please visit:

To read more about Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum, including about their interactive notebooks please visit the Homeschool Review Crew