Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why I Became an Usborne Consultant Part 2

Here are my other favourite Usborne books:

1.  Picture Dictionary in English:  This was another absolute favourite with my eldest son.  He adored this book!

2. Illustrated Thesaurus:  This is a must have for any child that is starting the writing process.  It has fantastic illustrations and an easy to use approach, especially for your first-time writers.

3.  Latin Word Sticker Book: The sticker books are great and there is a whole variety of them.  I especially love the language ones.  It's a great way to introduce some vocabulary words but at the same time it's hands-on.

4.  See Inside Your Body:  These interactive "see inside" books are great for science, special interest or just for leisure.  Your kids will thoroughly enjoy them!

5. Complete Book of Art Ideas:  If you want to have fun art activities to do with your kids...especially during the summer time then this is the perfect book for you!  It has a ton of great projects for all age levels.

Usborne books have so many titles to choose from.  Check out their online catalogue at: 

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why I Became an Usborne Consultant - Part 1

About 13 years ago, I was invited to an Usborne book party.  I had never come across these books before and instantly I fell in love with them.
They were bright, engaging and had vivid colours.  I knew I wanted them for my son who was just a baby at the time.
A few years later, I decided to become a consultant so that I could buy as many as I liked with a discount and at the same time sell to family and friends while making a little money on the side.

Here are some of our favourites:

That's not my princess....  This is a great board book for babies.  It has different textures inside for the child to feel...including velvet, satin, bumpy and shiny...they also have "That's not my prince..." along with other collections.

Very First Book of Things to Spot at Home.  This is my all-time favourite book.  My son loved this book.  We would pack it around with us everywhere.  It kept him preoccupied when we were at a restaurant or at a friend's home.

Animals Hide-and-Seek.  This is another cherished book in our family.  You get to know Poppy and Sam and their animal friends throughout a series of Usborne books.  You can also spot the little yellow duck in each picture.  

First Experiences: Going to the Dentist.  These "First Experiences" are great books to introduce different events in a young child's life.  I remember reading this to my daughter before she went to her first dentist appointment.

On the Moon.  This book is a great one to learn about the moon.  It even has actual real life pictures of the moon.  A favourite in our house!

Ted in a Red Bed.  The Usborne phonics readers are awesome.  They are cute, fun and colourful.  They have many of them to chose from.

Look Inside a Farm.  The "Look Inside" books are a great way to explore different places.  There are a whole variety of them to check out.

Classic Stories for Little Children.  Time-less tales with gorgeous illustrations.  It's definitely a book to keep for ages.

On Monday in Part 2, I will share books for older children that our family loves.
You can check out the Usborne online catalogue at: 

Monday, July 11, 2016

25 Reasons Why I Homeschool

*The following post is my opinion and what works for our family, under no circumstances do I ever judge or criticize what other families choose for education, whether it be, public, private or homeschool.  For us it was a calling...

When my eldest was around 3 years old, I was watching a program on TV and it had a mother talking about homeschooling her kindergartener and a couple other moms disagreeing with her idea.  I had NEVER considered homeschooling, but I found myself agreeing more with the mom wanting to homeschool.  This was a new concept to me and I decided to explore it.  After reading and researching about homeschooling, I decided this was what I wanted to do.  I felt God planted this seed in me for a reason.  I didn't feel comfortable handing over my baby to other people just because he turned 5 and was expected to attend school.  It felt very unnatural to me.  Once I got my husband on board, we never looked back.  And thus the journey began...

Here are 25 reasons why I homeschool:

1.  My husband and I are the main influences in our children's lives.

2.  I get to spend lots of time with my kids (I know right, crazy!)

3.  It develops a stronger sibling bond.

4.  My children can go at their own pace.

5.  We can provide an well-rounded education.

6.  We can share our faith with our children on a daily basis and intertwine it through their subjects.

7.  We can get lots done in a short amount of time.

8.  Lots of one-on-one direction.

9.  The kids have more time to develop their talents...piano, soccer, dance, art etc...

10.  Our children are spared the playground antics.

11.  Our kids are not peer-oriented.

12.  I don't have to pay for their education.

13.  They can join extra-curricular activities and we don't feel like they're missing out on family time.

14.  I get to witness them: learning to read, have the lightbulb go on and have an ah-ha moment.

15.  There's lots of time for discussion.

16.  There's lots of time for reading.

17.  They're in touch with their community on a regular basis...library, grocery store, community

18.  We get to go on lots of field trips.

19.  I can make sure they're eating healthy meals and finishing it.

20.  We can spend time with my husband if he has a day off during the week.

21.  We can take holidays whenever we want and not during peek seasons.

22.  We can do "school" outside.

23.  There is no homework!

24.  My children socialize with people of all ages and not just kids the same age as them.

25.  I get to pour my wisdom, love and knowledge into them each and every day!

Friday, July 8, 2016

What I'm Into


On my nightstand: Books: The BFG, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up.

On the Screen:  Yes I admit it! I'm a Bachelor/ette watcher, have been from the beginning.  It's my only mindless entertainment...don't judge.  I also love watching Emergency Room: Life + Death at VGH.  Most of my screen watching is Youtube though...Ellie & Jared, 8 Passengers, Bonnie Hoileen, Julie Deru.

In My Ears: Mostly podcasts: IEW, Read Aloud Revival, Ed Snapshots

What I'm Learning:  Learning to give myself grace and be ok with saying no.

Organizing:  Just finished organization my bookshelf (feels good!), then it's my pantry.  Little by little.

What I'm looking forward to:  Holidays with my family and just doing nothing!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Recipe: Chilli

My go-to meal when I'm in a pinch is chilli!  It's hearty, healthy and full of protein.  It's inexpensive and usually people have the ingredients on hand.

Here is my recipe:

- a package of ground lean ground beef (you can use chicken, turkey or tofu as well)
- 2 cans of kidney beans
- 2 cans of black beans
- 1 can of garbanzo beans
- 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
- 1 can of corn (or half a package of frozen)
- 1 package of chilli seasoning

Put a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot and add your ground meat.
Sauté till the meat is browned.
Add your cans of stewed tomatoes, kidney, black and garbanzo beans and finally the corn and chilli seasoning.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 min - 1 hour.
This feeds my family of 5!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4 Ways to Keep Our Children in the Faith

On May 25th, my son received the Sacrament of Confirmation.  For those of you who are not Catholic, Confirmation is: making strong the faith that was bestowed during one's baptism.  It completes the process of initiation into the Christian community.
My hope is that my son continues the journey in his faith and grows to develop a deep and compelling relationship with God.
This is not something that is guaranteed, but rather aspired to.
There are ways to encourage our young ones and especially teens to turn towards their faith and not fall away from it.
Here are some ideas:

First and foremost, we must pray for our children.  It's such a simple thing but yet it is so powerful.  I am trying to not only pray for my children's health, 
well-being and happiness but also their spiritual lives.  I want them to always know that the Lord has an abundance of love for them and that they can always turn to Him.  Praying to our Blessed Mother, who is the Mother of all us, can be very poignant.  Asking for her intercession when praying over our children is much needed.

Don't be afraid to live your faith in front of your children but also in front of society.  We pray before meals and we pray even if we're in a restaurant or food court at the mall.  I tell my children to not be shy to offer thanks to God before we eat, even in public.  Maybe when people see us, they'll be reminded to say a prayer themselves.  This can be a great way to apostolate.  
Going to church as a family EVERY Sunday is an effective way to foster a routine and practice of faith.  It's also important for Dad to come too.  There have been numerous studies on the effect Dad has on his children attending church when they're older.  Seeing your parents kneel and pray is a commanding image.

Confession is such an overlooked part of our faith. People just don't like to go; I get it, however, I truly believe the Sacrament of Confession is the beginning of really practicing one's faith.  It reconciles us to God.  Being humble enough to really look at ourselves and admitting our sins is part of the process of examining our conscience.  We are imperfect and it's vital to show our teenagers that it's okay to make mistakes and not be flawless. The Lord knows they'll be making tons of slips during their formative teen years but the Lord will also forgive every one of their sins.   Going to confession monthly is a great practice. 

Observing feast days and other liturgical celebrations is a significant way to encourage our children to value their faith.  The month of May is for Mary. Maybe going on a pilgrimage to a local grotto during that month is something fun to do.  All Saints' Day is super time to dress up, plan activities and have a party with friends and family.  Perhaps there is a special saint that is important to your child or your family...preparing a dessert or reading a story is a nice way to mark the day.  Basically, creating family memories around your faith can make a lasting impact.

Encouraging our children to live their faith even after they leave our nest can be a daunting task but it's not unobtainable.  Providing meaningful opportunities to share our beliefs, convictions and teachings is just another way to train them spiritually.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 Favourite Canadian Books For Kids #5Faves

My fellow homeschooling and blogger friend Bonnie Way from The Koala Mom Blog has a link up with 5 Favourite Canadian Books for Kids.  I've decided to share my faves as well:

1.  The Story of Canada - great resource for every family.

2.  Owls in the Family - my all-time favourite read as a child.

3.  The Secret World of Og - I remember reading this in school and loving it. 

4.  A Porcupine in a Pine Tree - our family reads this every Christmas!

5.  Franklin Books - always a classic!