90 Must-Have eBooks for Your Homeschool Year

As a public school teacher, my summers were spent sitting in professional development learning new teaching strategies to add to my teaching toolbelt. Now that I’m a homeschool mom, I have to educate myself. While I’d love to go to homeschool conferences all the time, it isn’t always feasible. Going to conferences means investing time and money–I’m short on both.

What I’ve found that works for me is stealing moments here and there to read ebooks. I can carry them with me on my Kindle, my iPhone, or read straight from the computer screen. I can read them from the comfort of my favorite pajama pants with my feet kicked up in my recliner or read a few pages while waiting on choir practice to start. I’ve even been known to read eBooks on the beach.

Confession: I’ve become a bit of an eBook hoarder. When I see free eBooks or fantastic bundle sales, I snatch them up. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about the iHomeschool Network Omnibus Sale. It’s a fantastic deal with some of my very favorite eBooks! The best part? The value. Hands down.

Grad Your iPads

Homeschool Omnibus

The Homeschool Omnibus is a digital stockpile of books to carry you through the school year with encouragement and practical how tos.

There are 91 eBooks in the collection, valued at over $590. The authors want to bless you by offering the entire collection for only $25. That is less than 28 cents per eBook!

What comes in the Homeschool Omnibus Bundle?

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Additional Resources: Codes and Links Provided After Purchase

  • From Fortuigence: Get kids ready for writing! Grab access to a short online course that supports you in setting a powerful setting for your kids to become strong writers. A $79 value — yours free!
  • Also from A+ TutorSoft: download a free ($21.99 value) math supplement that helps to build a strong foundation and close learning gaps for struggling students.
  • From Kirsten Joy Awake: Download a free copy of Bible Writer: Volume 1, an all in one Bible Memory and Copywork curriculum.

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My Thoughts

I’ve gotten a sneak peek at every one of the eBooks in this bundle and I cannot stress enough how great this deal is. Not only that, but the knowledge and resources that come with them is invaluable. I’ve already started printing out some of the resources to implement in our homeschool! Some of the eBooks that I have had on my “buy someday” list are included. If I had purchased these separately, I would’ve paid a lot more and would’ve only been able to get a few…probably less than 5 of them. My opinion: this deal is worth it!

Homeschool Omnibus eBook Bundle Sale

How do I buy?

You can purchase the Homeschool Omnibus by clicking on the “Buy Now” button below.

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The sale will last only six days, so don’t delay! It begins at 12:00am ET on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 and ends at 11:59pm ET on Sunday, August 25, 2013.

This sale is managed by iHomeschool Network. If you have any questions, see the FAQ Page or the sale Contact Page if you have any issues during your purchase.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase this great deal, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale to put in our adoption fund.

Focus on Fine Motor Skills~Pinching

Developing Fine Motor Skills Series from @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

Pinching items and picking them up requires children to use their pincer grasp. It’s one of the first fine motor skills your child really develops as a baby, mainly to pick up Cheerios, and then they continue to use it through the “vacuum cleaner” stage when they pick up every tiny thing on the floor and try to eat it. Asher is most definitely in the “vacuum cleaner” stage. It’s amazing how much he can already manipulate with his fingers.

With his ability to tear paper and his interest in big brother’s school activities, I’ve already started to put him in the high chair and allow him to play with some of the materials we’re working with. For instance, I attached clear contact paper to his tray and gave him some tissue paper squares. After showing him how to stick them to the contact paper, he caught on quickly and made his first piece of art. It wasn’t until later that I realized this activity was helping him fine tune his fine motor skills.

Toddler Tissue Paper Mosaic from @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

Here are some ways we work on strengthening and fine tuning the pincer grasp around our house…

Clothespins

Clothespins are such a versatile tool for little hands. By pairing them up with learning concepts, clothespins packs a big punch! The pinching movement required to open them strengthens the pincer grasp, which helps you hold your pencil correctly and pick up small items. The other great thing about clothespins? Most of us already have them around our house or can get them cheaply at the closest dollar store.

  • Some of my favorite ways to use clothespins are by playing clothespin games. (Here’s a post I wrote on Totally Tots last year with a big list of printable clothespin games to help you get started.)
  • Hang some string and let your child clip ABC or number cards in order.
  • If space is a concern, write the ABC’s on the clothespins and have them clip them in order on the bottom part of a hanger.
  • When folding laundry, put the clean socks in a pile and let your child match up the socks and clip them together for you.
  • If you are using colored plastic clothespins, have your child sort the colors and clip them to the side of a plastic basket.
  • Use clothespins to pinch a small sponge or cotton ball and let them paint. (Sneaky fine motor fun!)

 Piggy Banks & Slots

One of the activities that Jonah has always loved is playing with a plastic piggy bank and small disks used to mark your space in Bingo. (Funny Story Side Note: I found these in a box of things I inherited from my great grandmother after she passed away. Of all the things I inherited, we use these the most. Ha!) Even though he is much older now than when I introduced this game, he still likes to play store and other silly games. It’s gotten a lot of mileage. In addition to pinching coins and picking them up, your child will also be working on hand-eye coordination by placing the item in a specific, small slot. Children have to manipulate the coin/bingo marker and make adjustments to make the item fit correctly and fall through the slot.

Piggy Bank Fine Motor Skills practice from @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

Medicine Dropper

One day after I had given Asher some medicine, I placed the medicine dropper in the sink of soapy water. A few minutes later, I found Jonah exploring. He was methodically squeezing the dropper to suck up soapy water and squirt it back out. I asked him if he wanted to explore some more and quickly moved him to the table. I set up two cups; one full and the other empty. We squirted a drop of food coloring in to make it easier to see the water and off he went! He transferred the colored water back and forth between the cups for the better part of an hour while I tackled chores. It is something he enjoys and still requests. I bet your child will love it, too.

Develop Fine Motor Skills by using a medicine dropper to transfer water from @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

This post is a part of the 10 day series, Developing Fine Motor Skills. This series is part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch. To see the list of the topics from the other bloggers, visit iHomeschool Network. There are some fantastic topics and giveaways!

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How to Take a Shower When Home Alone With a Baby

Most of us who stay home with the kids would hate to admit how often we are still in our pajamas in the afternoon…ahem. While I think “pajama days” are definitely one of the perks of being a stay at home mom, I’ve come to realize that I get more done on the days I shower before noon. Not to mention, I feel better. There’s something psychological that happens to me when I stay in my jammies too often. The funk sets in.

Before Asher came, it was easy. I’d turn on PBS for a few minutes and Jonah was occupied long enough for me to shower and get ready. Once Asher came, things got a little more tricky in the shower department. At first, big brother was NOT to be trusted. Jonah’s jealousy was so thick you could slice it. The boys needed a chaperone at all times. I learned my lesson one day when I left the room for a nanosecond and returned to a screaming baby and guilty preschooler. While much better, I’m still not confident in leaving them alone together for very long. Asher has also hit the stage where he notices if you leave him. And by “notices” I mean he cries.

So, what’s a mommy to do when a shower is needed, but you’re alone with a baby that needs to see you? You improvise. And somewhere between the “lightbulb moment” and the successful shower you realize that your all-time favorite tip for a new mommy was born.

How to Take a Shower When Home Alone With a Baby:

Stick the baby in something that will keep them safe and occupied. I currently use the bouncy seat.

Using a Binder Clip, clip the decorative shower curtain up so that you will be able to see the baby.

It should look something like this…

Hurry, break the record for the fastest shower ever before the baby starts crying! FYI: Shaving is out of the question.

Linking up with We Are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesday!

Boutique Baby Series: No-Sew Pacifier Clip Tutorial {Guest Post}

Note from Sara: My friend Jenny from The Southern Institute is here today to share a tutorial with you while I snuggle up with my newest little guy. Let’s give her a warm welcome to the Happy Brown House!
Hello, everyone! It’s so good to be here today as a guest… my first time at Happy Brown House!  Sara asked if I would share a project with you and I thought this was the perfect thing.  This pacifier clip requires no sewing and it takes about 15 minutes!  It’s perfect for baby showers.

What you’ll need:
  • 1/2 inch velcro
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • grosgrain ribbon (about 12 inches)
  • one mitten clip (they come in packs of two)
Step One: Cut a piece of velcro to match the width of your ribbon.
Step Two: Apply hot glue to the edge of one end of the ribbon and fold over about 1/2 inch.  Press firmly to adhere.  This creates a “hem” of sorts.
Step Three: Take the velcro (both sides stuck together) and glue one side to the edge of the “hem”.  Place hot glue on the second side and fold the ribbon over about 1 1/2 inches.  Press firmly.
This is the side that will be attached to the pacifier.
Step Four: On the other end of the ribbon, place hot glue along the edge and fold over 1/4 inch, just as you did the first side.  Feed the ribbon up through the back side of the mitten clip.  Place hot glue along the edge, fold over, and press firmly to secure the mitten clip to the ribbon.
You now have a completed No-Sew Pacifier Clip!
Your friends will be so impressed!

Disclaimer: Please, use common sense and DO NOT leave your baby unattended with a pacifier clip attached to them.

Boutique Baby Series: Ribbon Tag Blanket Tutorial

You can buy Ribbon Tag Blankets in the store, but I figure, why buy one when I can make it with things I already have in my craft stash? Seriously, I already had all of the materials. So for me, this project was FREE~my favorite kind of project!

Ribbon Tag Blanket

Materials:

  • 12×12″ square of Minky fabric (can also use fleece, flannel, or other soft fabric)
  • 12×12″ square of Satin fabric
  • Various ribbon strips cut approximately 2-3″ long
  • thread
  • sewing machine

Directions:

1.) Cut your fabric. I like to use a 12×12″ square for a “lovey” or snuggle blanket. (Optional: If you have an embroidery machine, this would be the best time to stitch the monogram.)

2.) Cut your ribbon. I don’t measure exactly, just make sure you have atleast 2-3″ inch pieces.

3.) Fold ribbon pieces in half to form a loop. Leaving a small amount hanging over the edge, pin the ribbon around the edges of the main fabric. The loop should be facing the inside of the square. (By leaving a little hanging over the edge, we will be sewing over the ribbon at two different points to ensure they stay inside the blanket.)

4.) Tack down the ribbon loops with your sewing machine.


5.) Place the other fabric pieces right-sides-together. If you are using Minky and Satin as I did, pin very well! The minky and satin will slide around as you sew. Also, minky has lots of stretch to it. If you don’t pin well, it will be very wonky!


6.) Leaving a 3 inch opening, sew around the edges. (Leaving an opening is important!)
7.) Clip corners.


8.) Turn the fabric right side out. Push out the corners.
9.) Pin the hole shut and topstitch around the edges.


10.) Admire your work. Give to a little one to snuggle.

Ribbon Tage Blanket 2

Asher is still too young to appreciate the soothing powers of a tag blanket, but isn’t he cute?

Tutorial: How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Ok, so I know that I have an embroidery machine to make most of my cute appliques for my Etsy Shop. However, I know not everyone has a fancy embroidery machine to do all the hard work. Fear not, my friends, you too can add a cute applique to clothing, pillows, or anything else you can think of that needs some extra cuteness without an embroidery machine!

How to applique without an embroidery machine

How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine:

Materials:

  • Shirt (or item you are adding an applique to)
  • Fabric for applique
  • Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive (says “sewable” on the package)
  • Pattern for Applique (mine is an outline of Africa straight off the internet)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread

Directions:

1.  Gather your materials (Forgive me, I switched shirt colors after I took this picture)

2. Iron the Heat-N-Bond Lite on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure you are ironing the side with adhesive to the fabric…if not, you’ll have a mess on your iron! The smooth paper side should be the part you are ironing. (A word about Heat-N-Bond Lite: There are different kinds. You want to make sure you get the kind that is sewable. If you don’t, it will be really stiff and will get your needle all “gunked” up. Make sure it is the LITE version.) Read the directions if it’s the first time you’ve used Heat-N-Bond.

ironing

3.  Cut out your pattern (if you haven’t already).  Flip your pattern and trace your pattern BACKWARDS on the paper of the Heat-N-Bond. If you trace your pattern right side up, your pattern will be backwards when it is time to place it on your clothing. Trust me.

4.  Cut out your applique. Flip it over…see, told you it would look right in the end. :)

5.  Peel the paper backing off the fabric. There will be a “sheen” from the adhesive that transferred to the fabric. Find the proper placing for your applique.

6.  Using the proper heat settings (refer to the packaging), iron the applique in place.

**Oops! I missed this picture….imagine an iron :)

7. In order to make it easier to maneuver my shirt, I removed the bottom portion of my sewing machine. Now I can slide my shirt over the arm of the sewing machine.

8.  Topstich around the applique. Go slowly and stop as needed to turn your needle or adjust your shirt. I did a simple straight stitch, but you can get fancy if you’d like depending upon the stitches you have on your machine. Zig-zag is always fun, but might be hard to control the first time using this technique or if your applique is curvy…like my Africa shape.

9.  Voila!

Love For Africa Ribbon Ruffle Shirt

See, it is easy to applique without an embroidery machine!

Any questions? Ask it in the comments!

Frugal Fun Snacks & Learning, too!

Just wanted to let you know I have a guest post up on Pennies and Blessings showing a frugal fun snack for the summer…Grapesicles! In addition to that, we made some Fruit Kabobs and practiced making patterns. Super easy to set up and a fun way to let kids help prepare part of a meal!

And because I love you…I leave you with a link to Amanda at Impress Your Kids and the Fruit Of The Spirit Series…she made Fruit of the Spirit Kabobs! While you’re there, click around a bit and see some of the fabulous ideas to incorporate fun into teaching kids about God’s Word. You’ll thank me later.