Archive for Books

Outer Space Sensory Fun {Poppins Book Nook}

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outer space sensory fun poppins book nook

There is just something about space, isn’t there? It’s completely fascinating to people young and old. You can see the splendor of God’s hand in creation in nearly every picture from Hubble or the APOD. My kids are no different and while we cannot touch the stars for real, we have been reading and doing hands on activities.

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Usborne Space Books

We have several books on space. I think we have several books on EVERY subject, actually. But, as usual, our two favorites are from Usborne. My oldest got Look Inside Space from her Godparents for her birthday one year. It is a fabulous lift the flap book that talks about space, stars, planets and more. Be warned, it does reference the Big Bang. We just explained that the matter still had to come from somewhere and God can do anything he wanted. He could have made a big explosion to create space; we just don’t know. That’s why it’s a theory. Because she did ask :).

We also bought On The Moon which my youngest liked the most.  Our version is the padded hardcover and its a delightful little story about what its like on the moon.  Very simple pictures, few words per page & really captures how a small child would look at the moon.

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Space Series

I also found a series called Blast Off!  Let’s Explore….   These are thin, factual paperbacks for early readers we found at a library book sale a few years ago.  There are 12 books in total and I think we are only missing the book on comets & asteroids. Lil’ Bit has been reading (and leaving) them all over the place. They are just about perfect for about the second grade level and have beautiful photographs of space on every page.

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Space Sensory Activitites

Because my younger daughter is so hands on, I decided to make our space activities hands on. We did a couple of hands-on space activities last week.

space sensory bin

Space Sensory Bin

The first thing we made was a space sensory bin. It’s not a unique idea; I saw several on Pinterest :).

Here is how we made ours. We used:

  • A plastic shoebox ($1.25 at Target)
  • 3 (2 lb) bags of aquarium rocks from PetSmart ($2.99 each)
  • Star shaped buttons (free for us. We already had this set from OTC)

Pour the rocks in the box. Add buttons. Hide. Dig. Repeat. Even my 6 year old loved this. I think she loved it more, actually. And they are beautiful to look at!

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These rocks, BTW are the larger ones. You can buy similar colored ones in a 5 lb bag that are much smaller. I wouldn’t buy those for a sensory bin. If you try to buy them online, the UPC is 7 37257 19687 2.  FYI, they do get black dust on hands. Great for my older kids!

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Oreo Moon Phases

Since we had a blood moon this month, we used the Halloween themed Oreos :). We watched a video of the eclipse and then used this free work sheet from Teachers Pay Teachers as a group. My kids don’t need that many cookies at once :). Especially with an unknown disease lurking…  I also found this awesome little song to memorize the moon phases, if you have a kid who likes to learn by song.

We intended to do several more, but the Little Man came down with a mystery illness & fever. Bah!

Poppins Book Nook

Check out posts from all Poppins Book Nook co-hosts about the Space Exploration and add your post to the linky below.

Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015  Clip Art by Melon Headz

Check out more Poppins Book Nook posts by these lovely bloggers:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am  ~ Simple Living Mama

Be sure to follow Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for more book related posts & even lapbook pages to go with each months theme!


Jen S.

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A Year With the Saints {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links; thanks for your support!


a year with the saints book review

Happy All Saints Day! Okay, so I’m a little early, but I had an opportunity to review a copy of A Year With the Saints: Daily Meditations with the Holy Ones of God from St Benedict Press and thought the timing was perfect.

A Year With the Saints is a 365 day journey in Catholicism through the eyes of the Saints. Too busy to read St. John Chrysostom? Or St. Thomas Aquinas?  Or are you like me and your eyes would glaze over anyway?

Like A Year With the Angels, I received the gorgeous leather-like edition with the gold edged pages & ribbon bookmark. If you are a bibliophile, this is your book. It is also available in for Kindle, but unless you only read digital books get the fancy one.  It’s one of those books that is so beautiful and pleasing to all the senses that you WANT to read it.

Each day’s reading is from a famous saint.  It begins with a short summary of the reading in plain english and then the saints thoughts on the topic for the day.  Following the reading is a reflection to prayerfully consider as well as a closing prayer and I’m not going to lie. This isn’t an “easy” book which is why it’s taken me so long to review it.  I’ve easily had it for a year.  The saints are hardcore. I cannot read this with kids climbing all over me. I’ve had to read several days, several times. But it’s good to be stretched. I want to read the saints. I want to grow in holiness. I want to make the effort.

If you are short on time or feel like the saints are over your head, A Year With the Saints is a great place to start. The entries are meaty, but not overly complex. They are short, but provide food for thought for the whole day or longer. And because its not a dated entry each day, you never feel behind and can start any time you want.  Or at least *I* don’t :).

So on All Saints Day, go get your plenary indulgence and start your year of reading with the saints. You can get it on Amazon and get it in plenty of time. Two days if you have Prime and instantly if your prefer Kindle.   How’s that for putting off procrastination :).


Do you have a favorite book for reading about the saints?

Jen S.

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A REAL Bible for God’s Little Princesses {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}


The other book that we received from Thomas Nelson this month was God’s Little Princess Holy Bible (NKJV). I’m glad to finally have a girly bible because, honestly, it increases the likelyhood of use :). I mean, who doesn’t want to be a princess?


Written by Sheila Walsh, the God’s Little Princess Bible includes over 200 prayers, devotions, and bible studies. They are divided into several different types:

  • Bible Jewels – truths in the bible
  • Regal Relationships – getting along with people AND God.
  • Kingdom Living – applying the bible to everyday life.
  • Kingdom Highlights – history tidbits
  • Wise Words – words of wisdom
  • Royal Heroes – biblical figures who made a difference
  • Noble Characters – a set of 13 feature length bible studies about different people in the bible.

As I mentioned before this an honest-to-goodness bible, so you have paper thin tissue pages and small print. The God’s Little Princess Bible is the NKJV so its a common, accepted and accurate translation. The page edges are printed pink with crowns and the cover has the GLP crown with inset “jewels” and glitter like the rest of the books in the series. And the crowning feature (we like puns at Casa Steed ;D), is the hardcover binding.

god's little princess holy bible inside feature

god’s little princess holy bible inside feature

There are a few minor things I didn’t like about this bible. While I like the pink theming in the extra features, they are really hard to read because the pages are so thin. Also, the illustrations used are from GiGi. I understand that the books are intended for ages 7-10 (the same age as Gigi’s demographic) but I think Gabby is a more visually appealing character. Totally personal preference :).

While I haven’t read all 200 of the extra features, I think they are really good. I’ve read about 1/2 of them from both the old & new testaments. As a homeschool mom, my daughter probably gets sick of ME trying to tell her things. I like the Kingdom Living & Royal Relationship features best and think that she may be more open to hearing such things from a different source. She’s a lot like me; needs to figure things out on her own :). Unlike some bibles with extra features, these are placed where they occur. Even though this leads to features alternately being clumped & placed sporadically throughout the bible, I think it’s better than having to flip around.

god's little princess holy bible inside bible study

god’s little princess holy bible inside bible study

We used the profile of Esther in the Noble Characters section after our Queen Esther tea party to go into a little more depth than the Brave Girls Bible Stories went into.

While this isn’t a Catholic Bible (I wish!), I didn’t see anything problematic about any of the extras I read. I am not, however, a Catholic theologian. Just a mom. And as a mom, I really like the God’s Little Princess Holy Bible. I like the translation, I like the extras. The few things I didn’t like were super minor.

Interested in getting a copy for your little princess? Use the widget below to enter. Please note that comment that answers the question is mandatory.


Good luck!

Jen S.

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Bible Bravery for Brave Little Girls {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}


I am so excited to share two of the newest resources for girls from Thomas Nelson and its not just because I love pink ;). My first book to share this week is Brave Girls Bible Stories. This is a beautiful hardcover book with quality pages that will withstand frequent use. Good thing, too! My 4 year old claimed it as hers and reads it & talks about it constantly.

To bring each story to life, the book has 5 real girl guides (click link to read about them all!). Each has a distinct personality all her own. There is Hope, a down to earth farm girl, Glory, a girly girl whose parents just divorced, Honor, a brainy animal lover, Gracie, a girl who didn’t grow up with a faith background who found an awesome youth group & now sings at church, and Faith, a homeschooled girl who’s a bit of a perfectionist.

brave Girls bible stories - inside - review

The bible stories are all centered around a brave girl in the bible and each one is led by one of the guides. The header tells you where to find the story in your Bible and a bible verse related to the story (not necessarily from that book in the bible). The brave girl guide draws a parallel between a real life situation and the girl in the bible story to follow. Once the story is done, the guide returns to share more insights about the story and life. There is a short prayer at the end to ask God to make you more like whoever.

brave girls bible stories review inside

Brave Girls Bible Stories is aimed at girls ages 4-8. Sometimes, I think the guide commentary for the story is a little older than that age group, but kids are growing up quicker these days. I try to keep my littles, little. Nothing concerning, but I just had to explain some things, like beauty pageants.

Overall, this is an awesome book. My youngest adored it! My 6 year old would come while I read it aloud but didn’t read it on her own. I think the illustrations are gorgeous and learning about all the brave girls in the bible led to lots of talks on different ways to be brave. My youngest has even tried to BE more brave so yay! If you have young girls, I would totally recommend this book for them.

Interested in winning a copy of Brave Girls Bible Stories for a little girl YOU know?   Use the widget below to enter.  Please note that a comment answering the question is MANDATORY!


Good luck!

Jen S.

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Deceived {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links; thanks for your support!

I read a LOT of books.  Sometimes for fun and sometimes for review.  Either way, I like to read suspense novels and Christian romance when I read fiction.   One of my absolute favorite suspense novelists is Irene Hannon.   If you’ve been reading a while, you’ve seen reviews of some of her other books — Fatal Judgement, Deadly Pursuit and Vanished.   I just finished reading her newest book in the Private Justice series, Deceived.

Oh. My. Goodness.  What a KILLER book, pardon the pun.   This is the third book in the Private Justice series and while I read the first one, I haven’t read the second and don’t feel like I missed anything.  While it shares characters, it’s totally an independent book.  Deceived is the story of a woman who loses both her husband and 4-year old son in a fishing accident.  She goes through her grief and moves to St. Louis.  A small boy catches her ear when she hears him use a phrase her son used to use in a crowded mall…poppysicle.  She looks up at him and yells her sons name.   She swore she saw some sort of recognition and her doubts about the “accident” make her crazy.

She visits a PI who cautiously agrees to take the case.  She hopes that it’s her son since his body was never found but is prepared to accept the dead end she assumes the PI will get to.  Except that he doesn’t.  Over the course of investigating the case, sparks fly.  And things get tense as a series of events lead them closer to discovering the truth.

What a good read!  I should have had this review up by the 8th, but for some reason I thought I had until yesterday.  I was torn between blasting through the book because I had a short deadline (some family stuff last week put me behind) and savoring it.  I chose to savor it and didn’t get it finished in time.   It was awesome.

I will admit, there were some things that would almost NEVER happen in real life unless it was an honest to God Miracle (capital M intended).  But it IS fiction, right, so who cares.  She did a fabulous job of weaving the story and tying the different elements and story lines together.  The motivation was masterfully unraveled and was totally enjoyable.  I liked the characters and really want to check out the middle one, which I missed.

If you like suspense novels, but can’t take normal mainstream fiction due to the level of gore and detail, you will LOVE Deceived or any novel by Irene Hannon.  She does a fabulous job of making suspense have umph without gore.  If you are looking for a new book to read, you should really check it out!


Jen S.

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