Introducing music into your homeschool routine doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! We've considered violin and piano lessons, but I wasn’t sure if my kids were ready to invest themselves in the topic, and their knowledge of music was very limited. Then we were introduced to Merry-Bells, a perfect introductory to music concepts in a neat red box! Merry-Bells features eight colorful bells, each labeled with the musical note that they make.
My kids were instantly drawn to the colors and the sounds, and I quite enjoyed them as well as the ringing was peaceful and sounded much like wind chimes.
We popped in an accompanying DVD, which features popular children’s songs, handed out the bells, and started making music! Immediately, my kids were immersed in learning about each bell's sound, practicing timing, hand-eye coordination, and working as a team to develop their bell-playing skills.
For our first lesson, I expected to try out a few songs, but my kids insisted on ringing their bells for every song on the CD! With kids 8, 6, 4, and 2, our songs were more clanging and less recognizable tunes, but we all had so much fun!
We received three DVDs, " 30 Christmas Songs,” “30 Children's Songs,” and “30 Patriotic Songs,” Each offers an array of songs in two forms, the harmony version, and the melody version. We worked on the harmony version with multiple players, but the melody version is perfect for a single bell player. I appreciated the wide variety of tunes available; most tunes were easily recognizable and allowed for us to sing along to help maintain our place in the song. My kids felt like they were playing in an interactive video game and have asked to play bells as a daily part of schooling our routine.
My older students benefited from the musical charts, which allowed them to practice songs individually and at their own pace. Simply be reading the colors on the chart and matching them to the bells, they were able to play fun tunes and get a sense of how different sounds blend together.
I'm thrilled that as my children play, they're developing their timing skills, listening skills, and working as a team to create beautiful music. I'd highly recommend incorporating Merry-Bells into your homeschool routine if you're looking to introduce music at a level that multiple ages can enjoy and want to encourage a love of music in a fun, interactive way!
With baby number 5, I went to my first prenatal appointment around 13 weeks, after waiting for my referral and then another month for the next available appointment.
I was thrilled to get that first peak at baby on the dating ultrasound, and it was equally exciting to see a much more developed ultrasound image than the typical first ones that look like an abstract bean- a lovely bean, don't get me wrong...
Nearing the end, the tech was taking some notes and making some marks. then, I went to see the midwife and do the rest of the appointment.
The midwife mentioned the placenta was circumvallate, which was an "irregularity." I left, feeling great, though still nauseous, and went about my day.
Later, I remembered that strange word the midwife mentioned and decided to google it to learn more. That was a bad idea...
When searching for "circumvallate placenta" across the internet, you'll learn that it's a rare condition where the placenta curls away from the baby, which can lead to poor nutrient transfer, preterm birth, excessive bleeding/hemorrhaging, placental abruption and potential death to mom and baby.
I was paralyzed with fear! Was my doctor doing enough? What could actually be done? If something went wrong before 20 weeks, then there was nothing to do to save the baby, but should I be preparing for a preterm baby? Birth defects due to lack of nutrients?
I just wanted to scream:
SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
I decided to not announce my pregnancy until 20 weeks, in case something happened, I didn't want to be bombarded with questions, and I waited in pins and needles for my next appointment.
I finally had another ultrasound at 23 weeks, and guess what? Placenta looks great. The tech didn't think it was circumvallate anymore, but the ultrasound needed to be reviewed by a doctor. Baby is doing well, though on the smaller 35th percentile (uncommon for me).
The reason for this post is essentially this: if you've been diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta, take a deep breath and let those worries go.
I wish I didn't worry so much about something I had no control over. I spent so much time fretting about potential complications that haven't happened, and reading through forums of other moms, it seems most people are diagnosed, read WebMD, totally panic, then eventually realize their worry isn't needed.
The midwife's term of "irregularity" sums it up the best. The placenta is different, or appears different in shape. For me, it seems to have adjusted- though medical personnel will say it doesn't do that and was falsely diagnosed. I'm not sure what the actual deal was, I just know that I was totally panicked for months about every little ache or pain, kick, or lack of kick, and it was simply fruitless and ducked the joy out of the beginning of this pregnancy- so my advice is to not do the same but embrace the irregularity, and your precious bundle of joy growing within you!
Have you been diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta? I'd love to hear your story in the comment section!
Learning to correctly form letters and practice penmanship can be one of the most tedious parts of the early learning process. Inspiring children to want to practice their handwriting is half the battle! We recently checked out a unique handwriting practice book that offers some creative ways make writing fun! Handwriting Practice: Reusable Letter & Number Tracing Workbook features a spiral bound book with letters etched into each page for easy tracing and comes with a disappearing pen to make this product fun and reusable with multiple children!
My [almost] 5 year old loved tracing the letters and then waiting for the ink to disappear, it made her writing time exciting and the etched letters made the task simple while muscle memory was being built!
Similar products could be found on apps like Wish, but the shipping time took weeks and many complained the product was too small. This handwriting practice book solved those problems, bringing the book to your door swiftly and at a reasonable price!
On top of covering the traditional upper case and lower case ABC’s, the book features number practice and tips on how to implement proper posture for your students. It’s colorfully illustrated, thorough, and easy to use for your smallest learners!
My daughter completed this page multiple times, and there is no ink residue left over!
If you have a student who is in need of a fresh and fun approach to handwriting, consider checking out Handwriting Practice: Reusable Letter & Number Tracing Workbook on Amazon, and let the fun begin!
Have a great week!
It's been quiet around the blog for a few weeks, which is normally a sign of exciting things brewing! One portion has been the decision to launch a "birth with faith" zoom call for mom's curious or looking forward to a supernatural childbirth (see some beautiful supernatural childbirth testimonies here!) ! Inspired by Jackie Mize's book, Supernatural Childbirth, expecting mom's curious about the concept of supernatural childbirth can learn about the premise of birth being redeemed by the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
Since writing Re:Birth in 2017, I've been blessed to pray for expecting mom's who are looking for God to do more in their births, from birth without pain to quick and peaceful births, I've kept a prayer calendar of due dates to surround them in prayer as their delivery approaches!
Prayer requests have increased and I've noticed groups of moms, all anticipating supernatural births with due dates close to one another, so I wanted to invite them to join in a time of fellowship, prayer, and testimonies to encourage each other! The calls will be a time of questions, encouragement, prayer and testimonies and organized based on one's due date!
If you'd like to join in, please fill out the form below with your contact info and due date!
You might also be interested in:
When I was pregnant with my first baby back in 2011, our insurance wouldn't cover a 20 week ultrasound because they deemed it not medically necessary. The OB practice said this was pretty unheard of, and despite everything progressing normally, we desperately wanted to find out the gender of our first baby to start planning for the nursery and baby showers.
We opted to go to a local 3d ultrasound business and find out what we were having!
I was thrilled, starting listing baby names, and buying a plethora of pink baby clothes [because that's what you do with your first!!]. My sister and a friend planned beautiful baby showers where I was gifted every beautiful pink thing I needed and I patiently awaited our little ones birth! I share my first birth story here.
During this pregnancy, I was having some minor health issues, my heart rate was running high, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, so I was sent to a cardiologist and pulmonologist and had an echocardiogram done to make sure all was well.
During my echocardiogram, I had the sweetest technician who performed the heart ultrasound, and then said, "let's take a quick look at baby!"
She moved the ultrasound wand to my belly and asked what we were having. I gleamed, "a girl!" And she got really quiet for a moment...
In hindsight, she was trying to think of the best way to break it to me...
She showed me the screen, which revealed with certainty that the baby was not actually a girl! I was so surprised, and thinking about alllllllllll the returning I would have to do.... but I was also releaved to have that news broken to us outside of the delivery room so I could prepare with some boy items instead of bringing home a newborn boy in a pink layette set...
We contacted the first ultrasound place, and they offered us a free ultrasound package to confirm the gender... which was in fact a boy!
Ultrasounds are such a wonderful thing, but they're operated by humans and there's always a margin of error! Since then, we've take every gender announcement as a prediction and I appreciate the techs guess!
Have you had an ultrasound tell the wrong gender??
I'm sure we're all happy to say goodbye to 2020 and jump into 2021! Though, I recall a lesson learned back in December 1999 when I was convinced that January of 2,000 would bring an array of flying cars and alien life. True change takes time....
Speaking of change, I've decided to take the year off from writing curricula reviews with the Homeschool Review Crew. Working with them has been an incredible blessing in my life, and my families lives, and I look forward to working with them more in the future but for the time being I'm shifting my focus solely to finishing up my degree- and of course, our normal homeschool routine.
I'll likely be off of social media for some time, and not continuing with weekly blog posts, but, I'll be sure to keep you up to date with all the important stuff as it develops! You're welcome to subscribe for the occasional e-mail updates!
For now, I'll leave you with some of my favorite "New Years Resolutions" to ensure the best year yet!
Yay! You're Here for Free Books!
I'm so excited to use these titles to help give back! Birth and Blantyre was written in 2018 to raise awareness of the birth crisis in Malawi. In researching and interviewing moms and birth professionals, I was shocked to learn about the high maternal mortality rate and the conditions women faced in Malawi.
This week, you'll be able to download this brief title for free WHILE being a part of the change !
Here's the link to the Amazon download:
and if you like this offer- please share it with your friends so we can raise as much awareness as possible!
Reviews are also super helpful for the Amazon platform!
Next Up is Re:Birth
Re:Birth is where it all began and how I began encouraging expecting mama's. In it, you'll journey through Scripture to uncover the redemption of birth through Jesus, while reading incredible birth stories from around the world. From miscarriages supernaturally stopping, to my own son who didn't have a heart beat for three weeks (he's 8 now!), you'll leave encouraged and expectant for God to do amazing things in your own pregnancy and birth!
Yours for FREE with the link below:
Be Blessed, friends!
(Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.)
It's been a wonderful year, filled with amazing products to review for the Homeschool Review Crew! It makes perfect sense, then, that my final review would be a new book that's inspiring, wholesome, and biblical for young girls. The Adventures of Rooney Cruz RINGLEADERS from Truth Becomes Her takes young girls on an voyage through the Bible to glean an important lesson!
In chapter one, readers are introduced to Rooney Cruz, a young girl who is nervous about trying out for a play. A visit from her angel friend Mari helps remind her that God has a special purpose for her to be a messenger- and that Mari will bring her to meet some Biblical "ringleaders" that helped deliver the message of God to the world.
In chapter two, Rooney auditions for her play and is swooped back in time with Mari to meet Elizabeth and learn about the purpose of her baby John. The lesson brings about a reflection of her own purpose in God’s plan.
Chapter three, Rooney faces disappointment about her school play, but Mari comes and Rooney's bracelet takes her back in time to meet Mary who had her own plans that rapidly changed with the visit from the angel Gabriel. This journey helps Rooney find acceptance in her own disappointment and look forward with anticipation for God’s plan.
In chapter four, Rooney participates as a backup in the play despite her disappointment. Mari takes Rooney back to meet Jesus during his ministry to a Samaritan woman at the well where she sees God’s love extends to someone outside of the traditional role of the day.
Chapter five Rooney apologizes to her classmates for having a bad attitude and is surprised that her role in the play has quickly changed. Chapter six takes her back to be with Mary and Martha as they host Jesus. Here, Rooney learns that simply spending time with Jesus is more important than worrying about her role in the play.
Chapter seven, Rooney witnesses Jesus’s power when He raises Lazarus from the dead. Chapter eight, Rooney experiences Jesus’s death and resurrection. Here, she understands the importance of going and telling others about Jesus- the special message she was meant to tell. In the final chapter, Rooney takes center stage, understanding it’s her job to shine for Jesus and glorify Him in her performance.
My six year old loved reading this story with me! She felt the Bible verses included were important, special, and “made her feel happy.” As a mom, I could feel the love poured into this book and know that others will be positively impacted by its empowering message!
In addition to the book, we received a coloring book with corresponding pages to the story, a devotional story, and a mother/ daughter journal.
Overall, The Adventures of Rooney Cruz RINGLEADERS was a fantastic story that teaches girls valuable lessons! I'd highly recommend this story collection to families looking to instill positive values in their children and empower them with the word of God!
Many other members of the Crew checked out The Adventures of Rooney Cruz- check out their review below!
This year has been so painfully polarizing for us in America. Masks or no masks? Lockdown or no lockdown? Protests or riots? Blue or Red?
Of course, I hold my own political opinion and have for the last decade or so, but with election day looming and only one President being declared, it's time for America to stop focusing on the political party and embrace the individual behind the belief.
We all fear, we all hope, we all bleed, and a particular political opinion doesn't degrade a human to a level any less than our own human fragility.
It's time to say, I voted! And, I'll be your friend regardless of who you vote for!
Warm Springs is a delightful little town south of Atlanta, Georgia. The mountain is famous for its warm springs which attracted Franklin Delano Roosevelt on his quest for a cure for his polio related paralysis.
The reason for our travel was to soak up as much Roosevelt-related history as we could. I adored our visit to Springwood back in March, and The Little White House had been on my "to-visit" check list for years!
Upon arrival, we purchased our tickets and walked through a well assembled museum, with a short opening video followed by hundreds of artifacts, including two of Roosevelt's cars. After, we walked through a path of state flags as a tribute to the late president.
My husband was thrilled to find an old version of the US Army flag
Next, we passed through security points that were erected for the President's safety and followed a path that lead to a small two room guest cabin and a separate two bedroom servant's quarters.
After touring the two outside buildings, we went into The Little White House through a ramp to the side door. The kitchen looked to be fully original, even including a spot on the wall where FDR's chef wrote the dates she had served his first and last meals to him,
We saw his secretary's small room and bathroom, his living and eating area, bedroom and Eleanor's separate room.
Below, is Roosevelt's bed.
After visiting Springwood, I was surprised at the quaint size of The Little White House. A park ranger informed us that both Eleanor and Sara objected to him purchasing the property at Warm Springs and Eleanor warned him Sara wouldn't give him another dime if he needed more for the project. I also felt a sense of finality there. Not death, or anything creepy, the rooms just represented where his book closed.
When our visit to the Little White House was complete, we enjoyed a great lunch break at Dinner's Ready by Chad. The food was deliciously southern, though I was able to stay gluten-free with their taco salad while the rest of the crew enjoyed chicken tenders and fries!
To finish up our Roosevelt tour of Warm Springs, we went to Dowdell's Knob, a favorite picnic spot of Roosevelt's. The view was beautiful- and has we been a few weeks later, I bet we would have seen some more fall foliage! Nevertheless, it was meaningful to spend some time enjoying the view and reflect on the time Franklin spent there. I bet he had much to ponder on that mountain top, and perhaps he pondered eternity as he visited it two days before his death.
I pondered our own family's Roosevelt mystery. Was he my great-grandfather, or not? More on that another time...
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!