Our Top 10 Favorite UBAM Books for Back to School

What better time to share our favorite Usborne Books & More books than the beginning of a school year?! It’s no secret that we are big fans of UBAM and I love sharing our books with all of you!

So, buckle your seat belts! We’re going to share our top 10 favorite UBAM books for back to school!

  1. Key Skills Wipe-Clean Pack: Introduction : There are actually three packs of these, and they go up in difficulty levels. Each pack includes 4 books, a wipe-clean marker (we love UBAM markers!) and the high quality zippered plastic pouch to store them in. As a homeschool family, we use these often for extra practice, review and busy work in the van when we are on the go! Your public school kids would benefit from these as well, these are fantastic for extra practice for them and perfect for summer, winter and holiday breaks!
  2. Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Weather : This is just one out of many Lift-the-Flap books I would recommend for back to school! We have so many great ones to read and explore, they’re packed full of information and my kids LOVE these! This particular one is about weather, and as we are starting a weather science unit I thought it was a good one to share!
  3. Look Inside Space : Similar to the Lift-the-Flap books, these Look Inside books also have flaps and such to explore and read. These are also packed full of information and we have so much fun looking through these. This one about space is our favorite, though we have several! What I really love about these is that they are great for all ages! My youngest, who is 2, enjoys them (with supervision) and this mama (I’m 31!) enjoys looking at them as well! So fun!
  4. Human Body Reference Book : Reference books! This is one of our regular reference books about the human body, so many amazing illustrations and details, but we also have beginner reference books as well! You’ll be SO impressed with the details in the illustrations, my 8 year old has always been fascinated by how her body works, and this was perfect for her!
  5. My First Reference Book About Nature : This is more of a beginner reference book, my littles LOVE pouring over the pictures and illustrations in this book! The pictures and illustrations are not as detailed as the regular reference books, but still beautifully done.
  6. Secrets of the Rain Forest – Shine-a-Light : Shine-a-Light books are SO fun! Your child learns so much in these books while thinking they’re just reading a story, and using a flashlight to peek through to see the pictures on the next page is super cool! We have several of these, but this is one of our favorites! These are also exclusive to Usborne Books & More!
  7. Seasons : This is one of our Young Beginner Reader books, I love incorporating these into our homeschool lessons. Seasons in particular as we just started talking about the weather and the seasons for Science! This one fit in perfectly with what we have been discussing. There are lots more to choose from including Seashore, Bug, Dinosaurs, etc.
  8. 50 Science Things to Make and Do : Science experiments are fun to do whether you’re utilizing them for a homeschool class or for extra fun at home. This is just one book we have that has fun experiments to try, but I love this one because it’s small and more compact. It also has a great binding that allows the book to lie flat!
  9. Learning Wrap-Ups Addition : I know… this isn’t technically a book, HOWEVER, these are fantastic if your child needs some extra help with their math! We have addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even ones with states and capitals! It’s a hands-on approach and we love utilizing these when we can.
  10. Lifesize : This is one of my personal favorites, this book came out earlier this year and it’s AMAZING! Compare your hand size to that of a polar bear, go eye to eye with a squid! You get to see what lifesize animals are like up CLOSE up! So fun, educational and the illustrations are gorgeous.

So there you have it… our top 10 favorite UBAM books for back to school! Do you have some personal favorites you love for this time of year! This is only a small glimpse of all the amazing books Usborne Books & More has to offer. Feel free to contact me for more information, or check out my shopping page HERE! Book a party with me by contacting me on my Facebook page HERE and tell me this secret phrase (BACKTOSCHOOL) to get an extra $20 in FREE books with a qualifying party!

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Two Weeks Into Our School Year!

I both look forward to and dread those first few weeks of school. Getting back into routine, introducing a new school year, finding out groove… it’s all hard and exciting! This year we have a 3rd grader, 1st grader, Pre-Kinder and I’m not sure whether to call Bear a tot-schooler or a distraction! Ha!

So far things have gone pretty well, the kids enjoy their curriculum (which I’ll post about each kid individually in the next few weeks) and we’ve only had a few temper tantrums (from the 1st grader) about getting our work done!

We’ve had several outings to our local library, we even did a day of school there! We’ve been blueberry picking, made some new videos for our YouTube channel, created playdough Stonehenge replicas, painted masterpieces and more!

I think my absolute favorite aspect of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility to complete our work when and wherever we want. I’m looking forward to the temperatures getting cooler so we can take advantage of doing our work outside!

Something new we are trying this year is Reading Eggs. I was a little hesitant, I tend to steer away from using the computer or phone/tablet for school work. I do use Starfall for the littles when we need some quiet time for the big kids, and we utilize YouTube for videos, etc. I’m sold on the Reading Eggs program though! We’ve been trying the trial for about a week now and Bird is growing leaps and bounds with her letter and letter sound recognition. It’s such a fun way for them to learn their letters, she’s enjoying it and the older two have also enjoyed checking out some of the other work it offers as well!

I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings, I’m already impressed with how well the kids are doing. I also have a few fun and exciting things up my sleeve for this year!

Thank you for stopping by, don’t forget to check out my Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our YouTube channel – you can find the links under my photo in the right column of this blog! God Bless!

Hands On Homeschooling with a Sensory Kid

Since we are talking about homeschooling sensory kids, this topic is also a great one to hit on! Most kids do really well with hands on learning, but sensory kids most definitely benefit from it.

I’ve realized over the past year, Bubby’s first “official” school year, that finding hands on activities, where your child can work with their hands or do physical activities are the best fit for him. Not only is he a sensory seeker, but he is a kinesthetic learner. This means that he needs a tactile learning style, one where he has to carry out physical activities instead of just sitting and listening or doing worksheets.

I struggled with how to incorporate activities like these into all of our subjects, but have learned some pretty fun ways to utilize tactile activities for Bubby. Sonlight offers some pretty cool lap books and history project kits that fit these guidelines.

History was one I thought would be pretty difficult, but taking the time to create some of the things we are learning about can be so beneficial and FUN!

Bubby loves using LEGOs to recreate some of the monuments and places we talk about. For instance, during a world history lesson we were talking about Egyptian pyramids. He set out to create one with LEGOs! I wish I had snapped a picture of it that day, but we were having so much fun learning that I didn’t even touch my phone to grab a shot!

The Sonlight Hands-On History boxes are full of activities to incorporate into your lessons. Since we just finished up studying about Egyptians, I thought the Senet game board was perfect to put together.

It’s amazing how calm he becomes when he has something to keep his hands busy, he and Boogie put together the game pieces with the clay. We baked those and painted the sticks so they could play this game that Ancient Egyptians played.

Anytime you can incorporate hands-on activities with your children, you should! My sensory kid is not the only one that benefits from it, and it’s so fun to do something different from book work and reading. Hands-on activities can be calming, physically moving around, putting things together… all of that helps Bubby learn and absorb the information we are discussing.

You can learn more about Sonlight and their hands-on history boxes HERE or by clicking the image below.

You have an opportunity to win a Sonlight Hands-On History box for your kids! I can’t recommend these kits enough, they have everything you need for each project!

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How to Survive the Start of the New School Year – Home School Edition

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NourishWhatsNext #CollectiveBias

It’s no secret that we are homeschooling our children, it’s also no secret that we just found out that I’m expecting our fourth child! Needless to say, both of these are exhausting on top of the every day “mom tasks”. We just started our school year, Boogie is starting Kindergarten and Bubby is starting Pre-Kindergarten.

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Starting a new school year is intimidating and exciting all at the same time. You have a huge weight on your shoulders to offer an education to your children and the sense of excitement from you and your children about the upcoming school year brings so much joy! So here are 5 tips on how I survive the beginning of the new school year!

  1. Prepare ahead of time. I like to put together about 2-3 weeks of lessons to get us started, then I can see what works for us and what doesn’t. It also allows us time to be flexible and I can move things around until we find the right fit.
  2. Don’t rush into it, you may not like the curriculum or topics you originally chose. So take your time going over the materials with your children and have fun with it!
  3. Don’t limit yourself to schooling inside! Go to the library, the park, the zoo, the museum, or even your own backyard! One of the best things about homeschooling is the immense flexibility you have to school wherever you wish!
  4. Find a support system. Whether this be your family, friends, or even a home school group. While we haven’t joined a local co-op in our new city yet, I have connected with a group of local home school families on Facebook. Having that place to vent, swap ideas, and plan meet ups is so very helpful.
  5. Start every day with a good protein filled breakfast. I discovered Special K protein shakes and bars, pair these with a good fruit and you are set to start your day. Special K helps fortify you for what’s ahead!

 

I knew I needed to find something to fill my queasy tummy in the mornings and that would also sustain me through our morning chores and then our 2 hour school day. (This is a huge plus in my book for homeschooling!) Even though I’m 16 weeks pregnant, I am still suffering through “morning” sickness, it’s a plague that will not relinquish it’s hold! If I can get a good protein into my system I’m usually good to go, but most end up making me feel more sick.

I was excited for the opportunity to try some of the protein bars and shakes that Kellogg’s® Special K® offer, so I headed over to our local Kroger grocery store to hunt some down. You can find Special K products all over the store, if you head to the breakfast cereal aisle you can find granola bars, brownies and cereals. You can head to the breakfast freezer section to find crustless quiche and healthy breakfast sandwiches. However, I headed to the pharmacy department, you can find the protein shakes and protein bars in the aisle with protein powders, shakes and other miscellaneous items meant for enhancing your health. Special K products were easy to spot with their bright colors and brand labels.

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There are many flavors to choose from, I’m a chocolate girl so I chose a box of Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bars and a case of Rich Chocolate Protein Shakes. I would have loved to try the Chocolate Mocha flavor (because what’s better than chocolate AND coffee flavors?) but they were out of that particular flavor.

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The protein bars are delicious, it’s really like a candy bar! The inside is a crispy rice bar with peanut butter and then it’s coated in a smooth chocolate. I was so worried about feeling sick after eating one, because normally sweets are not good for my tummy in the mornings. However, after eating this I felt satisfied and ready to start the day. I still felt slightly queasy (but let’s get real, it never really goes away!) but I was able to function. I cleaned my entire kitchen this morning without getting sick!

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The shake was good as well, I like to mix mine with ice to make a more smoothie consistency. The shake is a little thick straight out of the bottle for me, but the taste is really good.

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Don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to win a Kroger gift card and head over to Special K Fortify to learn more about their amazing products!

#NourishWhatsNext Special K at Kroger

A Little Bit of Crazy

I thought we might be past due for a classic family update, I haven’t been doing many of those lately and while I have said over and over again that I was going to get back to writing about our family I just haven’t! There are many reasons for that but most importantly I’ve been spending more time with my kids and less time blogging. Anyways, I have big plans for this little blog of mine this year. You’ll learn more throughout the next few months, including seeing many reviews for some awesome products, and a big giveaway to celebrate my 8 year blogiversary in April!

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Anyways, things in the Mustard Seed house have been crazy and LOUD and adventurous to say the least. J has been working a lot (including staying over at work for a few days this past weekend and a few weeks ago due to poor weather) and he started his second semester of school a few weeks ago. He’s doing great, he’s tired, but I’m so proud of all the hard work he’s putting into this job and education. We are working on some projects together as well, we have really gotten into wood working since building our king sized bed last spring. We made some monogrammed ornaments for our family for Christmas, some picture holder signs for our mom’s, a coffee table, and we are currently working on loft beds for our kids! It’s so fun and a great way for us to bond when we otherwise don’t have the time or energy to do much of anything, including going out.

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Boogie has been working on some kindergarten curriculum this semester, she finished her Big Preschool Workbook last semester so we moved on to other things. We are halfway through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and she LOVES it. She’s already able to read a lot of her favorite books, with some help with the bigger words, seeing her face light up when she realized that she could read was AMAZING. Homeschool for the win! We are also using Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics that I purchased from a friend a while back, it’s no longer in print, so I’m hoping to find more similar to this as Boogie really enjoys this particular book. She flies through her school work and is hungry to learn more and more. I will have to find some easy ways to teach her all the fun things she wants to learn – she’s super interested in the human body, animals, and baking/cooking…. so I’m planning to include those in our studies these next few months.

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Bubby is growing up so fast, I was astounded to discover that he is now in a size 4T pants when we were trying on clothes for this coming year last week. His 3T pants weren’t too short yet, but I guess I’ve been in denial because the 4T fit him perfectly! We are trying out different ways to handle Bubby’s behaviors, I haven’t really posted about this much, but our sweet boy is quite a handful. Our hope is that we can help him learn to handle his emotions a little better, that’s all I really want to say about that for the moment. Bubby loves being a “big boy”, he’s officially potty trained, though he does need to wear a pull up at night as he doesn’t wake up to go potty. But he’s done a great job being independent about changing back into undies the next morning. He is super into everything super heroes, so that includes being wild and crazy all the time as well! I’ve tried some preschool/tot school stuff with him, but I’m going to have to be more creative with how I go about teaching him. That child can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes unless he’s got something to munch on or his favorite movie is on! He wants to be like his big sister and sit for school, but he just can’t handle it. Any suggestions would be great! 😀

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Bird has been the perfect addition to our family, she is a breath of fresh air. She’s definitely a toddler now (I will not cry…. I will not cry…) and is showing her desire for independence but is also very much a clingy, mommy milk loving baby still. She loves to run around with her siblings and “try” to play with them, she is not afraid to let them know she wants to play or when she doesn’t like something they are doing. She loves playing with her babies, Bubby’s super hero action figures and anything that rolls. She loves being outside and still sticks EVERYTHING in her mouth. So that’s super fun. We are still bedsharing with this sweet girl, but she’s learning to sleep in her own bed as well. As of right now she sleeps the first few hours of bedtime in her own bed and then wakes up around 1-2am and sleeps the rest of the night with us. It works for us, so we don’t mind! And let me tell you, that baby likes to sleep. If she could sleep in in the morning, she’d probably sleep until 10!

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As for me, I’m planning some fun things for Mustard Seed Mommy and I have some dreams I would like to pursue in the next year… if I can save up the money to do so I would love to sell Lularoe. If you haven’t heard about Lularoe you’re missing out. Two words…. butter pants. Check it out, you won’t regret it!

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Anyways, that’s it for now. Life is crazy and hectic for us, we are always busy and I can’t believe how big my babies are. Having a 5, 3 and 1 year old all at once is an adventurous journey. I wouldn’t want it any other way! God bless!