Tuesday, July 7, 2015

All About Reading Level 2 Review + How I Organized It

Last year we really enjoyed using All About Reading Pre-reading and Level 1. My daughter liked Level 1 so much that she begged me to get Level 2 for this year! I'm amazed with the progress she's made in her reading journey, and I credit much of her success to All About Reading. I was so thankful for the opportunity to review Level 2!

Since we already had the Interactive Kit from last year (which contains the magnetic letter tiles and the reading review box), all we needed was the Level 2 Materials Kit. This kit contains the teacher's manual, one student packet, and two readers. 

The teacher's manual is laid out in an orderly way that is easy to follow and understand. Each lesson page tells you exactly what materials you'll need from the student packet, and also tells you which stories or pages to read in the readers.
The student activity book is full of fun reading games and activities.
My daughter really enjoys the games. They're simple to understand and quick to play, and everything you need for each game is contained right in the student activity pack. 
The Student Packet also includes word cards, phonogram cards, and syllable tags.
The readers include "Queen Bee," and "What Am I?" 
I really love the cheerful illustrations in the readers.
The kit doesn't come with the tropical frog stickers, but they're such a huge motivator to children that I highly recommend them (and they only cost $1). The stickers are used to mark the student's progress on a progress chart. Both of my children using All About Reading are very motivated by adding a sticker to their chart after each lesson.
All About Reading Level 2 is just as wonderful as Level 1 and the Pre-reading program! The lessons are well-laid-out and easy to use. We're looking forward to continuing our reading journey with All About Reading!

Organizing All About Reading to Make it Truly Open and Go

1. If possible, have a dedicated place to store your materials.
I set up a space in our finished basement to put a magnetic white board and the pre-reading poster. However, when we first started with All About Reading I didn't have a space like this. So, I just used a magnetic cake pan with a lid to store the letters (you can see it in this post). You can also just have a white board that slides under a bed, or you can just use the letter tiles on a table top. A wall-mounted board isn't a necessity. But wherever you decide to store your materials, just keeping them all together is a great help to efficiency when it comes time to do a lesson.

2. After getting your kit, separate all the cards along the perforated edges and file in the reading review box.
3. Take apart the student activity book and file everything in a 3-ring binder.
I had a binder that wasn't being used, and I had page protectors. I carefully removed all of the pages from the student activity book and filed them all in plastic page protectors. It took me a few hours, but the time I'll save this coming school year is invaluable to me! 
In the front of the binder I have the progress chart in the front pocket, and the read-aloud record in the first page protector.
Then I put together all of the word flipper books, cut out game pieces, and filed the reading practice pages.
I stored the game pieces in zippered sandwich bags and then filed them with the game in a page protector.
At the back of the binder I have the certificate of achievement page in the pocket. My daughter really looks forward to receiving her certificate.
These few hours of preparation in the summer will save me so much time during the school year as we do our All About Reading lessons!

Disclosure: I received the Level 2 materials kit and stickers for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I only review products I would use and recommend. This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks so much for your support!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What I Wore + A New Blog Link-Up!

My daughter/photographer told me to pose like this... :)

It's been awhile since I shared an outfit post. Sometimes I feel silly sharing them. For some reason I always like to see what other people wear (maybe I'm weird!), so I thought I'd start sharing "what I wore" posts again. Hope you don't mind!

We just snapped this quick photo before church last week. As usual, my hair was still wet and we were in a hurry. I had a hard time picking out an outfit that didn't look and feel just terrible. I've had some unexplained weight gain recently, and it just makes everything fit strangely.

Anyway, here's what I wore:

Royal Blue and Black Chevron Skirt: Goody's
Black ruffle top: thrift store
Black Sandals: Walmart years ago
Necklace: ?? I love this necklace, and it goes so well with this skirt. But I can't remember where it came from. It seems like someone gave it to me...

Here's what I wore to our Independence Day celebration yesterday (maybe not the most flattering, but it was comfy!):
Capri Pants: Cato brand, thrift store
Navy Tunic: thrift store
White Tee: Forever 21
Flip-flops: Target

If you've been reading here for awhile, you may remember that a few years ago I tried out a weekly blog link-up. Well, I've missed it, so I'm bringing it back!

I really want to hear from you! Please link-up any family-friendly posts about homemaking, homeschooling, recipes, what you wore, etc. And feel free to link up more than one post!

I went ahead and linked up a few of my own, just to get us started. :)

Possibly Sharing Here: Mom 2 MomThe Modest MomMama MomentsThe Art of Home-Making Monday, Monday's MusingsTitus 2 TuesdayTitus 2sdaysCapture Your JourneyA Wise WomanRaising HomemakersWholeHearted WednesdaySo Much At HomeA Little R & RHearts for HomeGraced SimplicityGrowing in Grace

Friday, July 3, 2015

5 Things on Friday

Here are 5 things I've been loving this week:
1. Sewing for my youngest daughter. I've been going through my stash of fabric and patterns and sewing up a storm! These two dresses were "trial" dresses to see if I had the size right. I had to redraw the sizes to make them fit her since these patterns didn't quite go up to her size. I'll share more specifics about these dresses later (hopefully). :)
2. This toy my parents brought over for my youngest. When my dad retired several years ago, his company gave him this John Deere "gator" as a gift. They thought his grandchildren would enjoy it. But now most of the grandchildren are older and don't fit in it, so they brought it over for my little guy. He's been having so much fun with it! I love the two dolls riding in the back. (I took this photo from my bedroom window.)
3. This make-ahead yogurt breakfast parfait. It's yummy and easy to make.
4. Planning to sew with my children. I've been putting together some easy little sewing projects for my children. Yesterday on the way home from the orthodontist, I stopped at Walmart and found these on clearance! I had looked at them before, but they seemed a bit pricey. When I found they were marked down to 50% off, I grabbed them!
5. This book. I just started it July 1st so I can work through it this month. So far it's really good!

What have you been loving? 

Hope you have a happy 4th!

Sharing Here: Frontier Dreams

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Welcome July Sponsors

I would like to warmly welcome our sponsors for the month of July!
HomemakersDepot is the place to get the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner (the planner I've been using for the past few years). They also sell Rod & Staff preschool books, healthy and gluten free cookbooks, other homemaking resources, and devotional books for all ages. Right now you can buy a 2016 daily planner and get a 2015 planner for free, when you take advantage of their Buy One, Get One sale.
All About Reading is the program that finally helped my struggling reader learn to read fluently! It's "the program that makes reading a pleasure," and we've found that to be true.
Build A Menu is a meal planning service that helps busy families save time and money. I am loving my Build A Menu membership! 

Monday, June 29, 2015


Long summer days have arrived, and most of our school books are finished. Those who worked diligently through the year now have free time, and the others are doing a bit of school work here and there each day, trying to get finished. :)

I love seeing the creative projects my children find to keep themselves busy. From artwork and making doll clothes to baking and bike riding. I so much prefer to see them reading a book or creating something than being passively entertained (which is always a temptation).

I thought this was the cutest little first aid kit that my two youngest made. They found this little box and filled it with band-aids and cotton balls. Whenever someone gets hurt, my youngest runs to find his first aid kit. So cute!
Tomorrow I have a looooong day at the orthodontist office, so I'm enjoying a day at home today. 

What's keeping you busy these days?

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 Things on Friday

Last week I shared 6 things I was loving. This Friday I decided to share 5 things just for fun. :)

1. Sewing for my youngest daughter. I haven't done much sewing lately. Saturday night I was looking in the girls' closet for something for my youngest to wear to church, and there was almost nothing there. She's been growing like a weed! We dug through the pattern and fabric stash and she picked out some bright and beautiful fabrics for some new dresses. I can't wait to get them finished!
2. This huge set of white dishes I found at the thrift store. I just love white dishes. I had been using this china hutch for herbs and spices in jars, but I decided it looked too cluttery. These dishes made the kitchen look so much cleaner and brighter.
3. My summer reading list. While I don't have a lot of time for reading, sometimes I read a bit in the morning or before bed, and these books are really encouraging me.
4. This new Laura Ashley nightgown I got for free with my Zulily credits. They had also given me free shipping for a month, so I paid nothing for this!
5. This book, Modern Herbal Medicine. We've had this book on our shelf for awhile, but I hadn't really looked at it (my husband bought it and uses it). For some reason I've been having symptoms of asthma lately and waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe. This morning I woke up around 3:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep until 6:00. I used some lobelia and an herbal antihistamine and read through this book while I waited to feel better (looking for some ideas to try to relieve my discomfort). I'm glad I finally got around to looking at this book, as it gave me some new insights into my health issues.
What are you loving this week?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Natural Skin Care {Simple Beauty Minerals}

As I've learned more about natural health and healthy eating over the years, one thing that has come up again and again is that what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our mouths. 

So, I'm always on the lookout for natural skin care and makeup options. I was so excited when a representative of Simple Beauty Minerals contacted me about the possibility of doing a review. I was so glad to learn about this company and their products!

I love that this is a small, family-owned business. Lisa, the owner, is so sweet and great to work with!

In addition to skin care products, Simple Beauty Minerals also sells some gorgeous-looking natural makeup that I'd love to try.
I love that they have an honest marketing policy, and they do not use stock photos to model their makeup! So many companies do this, but when you see a model on the Simple Beauty Minerals site, you can know that she hasn't been photo-shopped, and she's actually wearing the makeup being advertised. Also, you can "try before you buy" and get a 20% off coupon here.
I got to try out the skin care products that are for oily/blemished skin. This included the Pink Mineral Complexion Bar, the Jojoba Creme Scrub, Crisp Cucumber Toner, and the Clear Skin Serum.
I really love the complexion bar. To me it smells like roses, and it doesn't make my skin feel dry or tight after using it. I've been using it morning and evening for several weeks now.
The Jojoba Creme Scrub is really great for exfoliating your skin. You can use it every day, but I've only been using it as I sense my skin needs it (a few times a week).
Next to the pink complexion bar, the Crisp Cucumber Toner is my favorite part of this skin care set. It leaves my skin with such a fresh, clean feeling! I use this morning and evening after washing with the pink complexion bar.
The Clear Skin Serum is used after the complexion bar and the toner, and is for preventing and treating acne in teens and adults. I'm still trying to decide what I think about this serum. I've had a bad sunburn on my face so I haven't been using it regularly the past week or so, but I do love how easy it is to use and how it isn't filled with chemicals! This is a product I would feel completely comfortable with my teens using (if they happen to be dealing with blemishes or breakouts).
I've been very happy with these skin care products. If you're looking for more natural skin care and makeup options, consider Simple Beauty Minerals!

Disclosure: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review. I only review products that I would use myself, and the opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains my affiliate links--thanks so much for your support!

Possibly Sharing Here: Mom 2 MomThe Modest MomMama MomentsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTitus 2 TuesdayTitus 2sdaysCapture Your JourneyA Wise WomanRaising HomemakersWholeHearted WednesdaySo Much At HomeA Little R & RHearts for HomeGraced SimplicityGrowing in Grace