Friday, December 15, 2023

Planet Earth: Land, Water, Sky Review

You guys know I love Science!  I want to share with you a fun middle school Science program from Timberdoodle, Planet Earth: Land, Water, Sky.  Planet Earth is published by Centripetal Press and is recommended for kids ages 12+ or middle school.

Our compact book is 502 pages in length and contains 15 chapters on earth science including topics on our solar system, weather systems, minerals, plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, and landforms to name a few.  There are a plethora of colorful illustrations and real life photos throughout our text to keep students engaged.

This earth science text is mastery-based.  Instead of cramming or the learn and dump method, the goal is for students to study and prepare in an effort to retain the content they are learning long term.  Because this is a rigorous text, the suggest pace is a bit slower.  It is recommended that students cover ~ 2 chapters a month.

I really like the chapter on matter and minerals.

Our homeschool mineral and rock kit

The experimental investigations in this course allow students to experience hands-on learning.  In the 2nd experimental investigation, students learn about how geologists analyze and identify minerals.  It was fun to break out our mineral and rock kit and look at their various properties as we tried to identify them ourselves.

I appreciate that this course is a slower pace so that students can really study and learn the material.  I'm excited to see what E remembers after we have completed this text and see how well the concepts transferred to her.  I'll keep you posted!

If you are looking for an easy to use science text for your middle school student, we would definitely recommend Timberdoodle's Planet Earth: Land, Water, Sky so far!

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received Planet Earth in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 8, 2023

The Prince of Egypt the Musical & Amazon Giftcard Giveaway


I have an exciting musical to share with you today, The Prince of Egypt the Musical!  If you have grown up with this story like my kids then you are already familiar with it but now you can watch a live stage production.  This is a great musical to watch with your kids and entire family, it is sure to spark conversations about Moses & the Old Testament.

Synopsis:  This production was filmed live at the West End's Dominion Theater in London.  It features a cast and orchestra of 60 performers, making it one of the biggest musicals ever staged!  Based on the classic DreamWorks Animation film the classic story has been brought to life by Stephen Schwartz's "miraculous music" (Time Out), including Academy Award winning song 'When You Believe' and Sean Cheesman's "astonishing choreography" (The Guardian).  This epic, critically acclaimed production tells and inspiring tale of resilience and hope.  Journey through the wonders of Ancient Egypt as two young men, raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege, find themselves suddenly divided by a secret past.  One must rule as Pharoah, the other must rise up and free his true people; both face a destiny that will change history forever.  Check out the trailer below.

I love this timeless classic.  The story is phenomenal and so is the music.  It can be hard nowadays to find something safe the entire family can watch.  I'm so glad this musical is now an option!  The sets, costumes, acting and singing are all incredible.  You can buy or rent this production digitally starting Dec 5th here.  

Ready for a giveaway?  One of you will win a $10 Amazon giftcard.  Just enter below and good luck!  Limited to US winners only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure:  Many thanks to NBC Universal for providing a sample of the product for review.  Opinions are 100% my own.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

D's Gymnastics Holiday Fundraiser


D at the end of her last meet season!

It's that time of year for D and her gymnastics team and their holiday fundraiser. I will say that these wreaths truly are beautiful and you do get what you pay for! Just head over here and check out all the products you can get (and don't forget you are supporting a very hard-working gymnastics team). The Fundraising Code is TEAMACTX001 and Member Name is D Cummins. Thank you so much and let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stepping Into Science Review

You guys know I love Science!  I want to share with you a fun product from Timberdoodle, Stepping Into Science.  Stepping Into Science is published by Thames & Kosmos and is recommended for kids ages 5-7+.  This all-in-one kit makes science with your little ones convenient.

The back of our kits has a nice list of its contents.

A peek inside our kit

Using this Science kit, students will study 5 main topics through 29 experiments.  These topics include Biology, Physics, Chemistry, air and water.  

G turned 7 last month and he just started 2nd grade!

I am using Stepping Into Science as part of G's 2nd grade curriculum.  I really like the convenience of a grab and go science program.  Apart from common household items like water, vinegar, paper towels, crayons, etc., everything else is included.

In Experiment 6, G learned about spinning colors.

Assembling our spinner

Creating homemade discs for our spinner

About to spin

While spinning

I loved watching this homemade disc spin

In motion

In Experiment 7, G learned about magnifying glasses and how everything looks larger when you use them.

After catching a doodle bug, he watched and observed it move around using our magnifying glass.
Watching his new friend

In Experiments 14 and 15, G learned about hovercrafts and paper airplanes.

Playing with his newly built hovercraft.

And our airplane

Flying our plane and seeing how it does

Since there are 29 experiments,  you can do 1 experiment a week to fill your school year or you can adapt and use it as best fits your needs.  I find that G likes to sit down and do several experiments at one time so that is how we use our kit.  I love that experiments are simple and easy to expand on for kids that want to learn more!  In this particular kit students will learn what makes a magnify glass magnify, how air pressure indicates weather, how suction cups work, why soap bubbles are round, how air resistance depends on an object's size and shape and so much more!  If you are looking for an easy to use, affordable Science kit for your young student, we would definitely recommend Timberdoodle's Stepping Into Science.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received this kit in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

G's 7th Birthday Party {Baby Shark}

We celebrated G's 7th birthday over the weekend (a tiny bit early)!  It was a bit of a whirlwind as we planned it last minute but we wanted A to be able to celebrate with us before she heads back to college tomorrow.  G picked Baby Shark Theme 🦈

The Birthday Boy

Water Slide Fun

We set up a small water slide, used our chocolate fountain, and cooked up a few pizzas.  We are thankful for friends who were able to join us (even if last minute).

Chocolate Fountain

Fountain Dippers

G's Baby Shark Cake

We love you G!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Stevie Dawg Tribute

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that our beloved rescue dog, Stevie (affectionately referred to as Stevie Dawg here) passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 24th at home.  He was so loved and the house has felt so empty without him.  I'm so thankful for the 9 1/2 years we had with him and all the memories.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Happy 16th Birthday C

C turned 16 this week!  I’m so proud of him and all his accomplishments.  He is now taller than both David and I (and he may have another inch or two to go - who knows).  He passed his driving test yesterday with a score of 98. We love you C!!

 Singing to C

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Level 6 Gymnastics

Level 6 is in the books for D and what a season!  She was suppose to compete at State last week and 2 days prior she ended up spraining her ankle.  While we were all bummed for her, we are so thrilled with the amazing season she had and all that she accomplished.  Way to go D, we are so proud!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Happy Birthday David

David's cake!

We celebrated David's birthday last week.  He's finally catching up to me 😉.  A was able to make David a cake and come home for a few hours on his birthday to celebrate, so fun!

Just a few candles...

45 looks good

Happy birthday David, we love you to pieces!

CompuScholar Java Programming Review

I have a fun high school product to share with you today from Timberdoodle, Java Programming.  We were blessed to receive a one-year subscription for both B and C to use for 1 high school credit.  This introductory programming course using the Java language requires no previous programming experience.  You may remember our review of CompuScholar's Python Programming back in January 2020.  This course can be used as an introductory coding course or it can be used to prepare for the AP Computer Science A exam.  There are different syllabus options available for both options.  As previously mentioned, this course is intended to last approximately 2 semesters (1 high school credit upon completion); however, students can move at their own pace whether that be faster or slower.

The format for this Java Programming course is simple.  This course contains 24 required chapters and lessons with an optional additional 9 chapters and 4 supplemental chapters as well.

What topics are covered?


  • Chapter 1:  Computing Concepts
  • Chapter 2:  Getting Started with Java
  • Chapter 3:  Data Types and Variables
  • Chapter 4:  Working with Numbers
  • Chapter 5:  Introducing Objects
  • Chapter 6:  Working with Strings
  • Chapter 7:  Numbering Systems and Java Math
  • Chapter 8:  Logic and Decision-Making
  • Chapter 9:  More Complex Logic
  • Chapter 10:  Handling Exceptions
  • Chapter 11:  Debugging
  • Chapter 12:  Iteration
  • Chapter 13:  Algorithms
  • Chapter 14:  Creating Java Classes
  • Chapter 15:  Working with Methods
  • Chapter 16:  Static Concepts
  • Chapter 17:  Mid-Term Project
  • Chapter 18:  1D Arrays
  • Chapter 19:  Lists and ArrayLists
  • Chapter 20:  Searching and Sorting
  • Chapter 21:  2D Arrays
  • Chapter 22:  Inheritance
  • Chapter 23:  Polymorphism
  • Chapter 24:  Recursion


  • Chapter 25:  File Access
  • Chapter 26:  Object Composition and Copying
  • Chapter 27:  Team Project
  • Chapter 28:  Running Java Locally
  • Chapter 29:  The Eclipse IDE
  • Chapter 30:  Graphical Java Programs
  • Chapter 31:  Swing Input Controls
  • Chapter 32:  Vector and Bitmap Images
  • Chapter 33:  Program Efficiency
  • Supplemental Chapter 1:  Enrichment Topics
  • Supplemental Chapter 2:  Software and Industry
  • Supplemental Chapter 3:  Computers and Modern Society
  • Supplemental Chapter 4:  Computer Networking 
Every chapter contains multiple lessons.  Each lesson contains an instructional video, lesson text, followed by an automated quiz.  The lesson text is required reading, whereas the instructional videos are optional and made to re-enforce lesson text and I think really adds to this course.
Above you can see the beginning of the instructional video for the first lesson in Chapter 1.
And here is a snippet of the lesson text.

Within the lesson text pages there are live code boxes where students can write code directly into their web browser,  After executing it they can see the results.  Within the lessons are "Work with Me" sections for additional hands-on practice.  And each chapter also end with an auto-graded test.  Most chapters also contain additional homework exercises as well as a larger hands-on coding project where students demonstrate skills learned.

I really appreciate that all lesson quizzes, chapter tests, and hands-on coding projects are all auto-graded in this course.  Everything is completed online in a web browser.  I do want to mention that there are optional chapters that do offer projects that require and external IDE and would be teacher/parent graded if completed, but there are rubrics provided for that if you choose to have your student complete them.

I like that through my teacher account I have access to teacher's guides for lessons, both quiz and test answer keys, activity guides, etc.  We are using this course as a self-study so I am pretty much hands-off but I really appreciate having everything so if one of the kids needs help or a hint on something I can easily do this.

Java Programming is currently included in Timberdoodle's 11th grade curriculum kit.  If you are looking for an introductory programming course, this one is great.  CompuScholar's courses are well organized and makes coding very approachable for those with little or no previous programming knowledge.  It has become a go-to in our homeschool.

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I received CompuScholar Java Programming in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


The bluebonnets are out and blooming in Texas!  It's been a few years since I got some good photos of the kids in the bluebonnets so I made sure to get a few this week.  Enjoy!