Weather Fun With Book and Activity Ideas (This Month's Poppins Book Nook) **Giveaway for a Kids' Meteorologist In the Making Bundle

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I'm very excited to be a part of the Poppins Book Nook again this year. If you've never been a part of this free monthly book club with reading and activity suggestions for you and your kids, you can learn more here. This month's theme is all about weather. And keep reading to find more great suggestions, free lapbook printables, and a giveaway.


Weather tied in rather nicely with some of the science the younger girls- Ashlyne and Rachel- and I have been reading about this year. Our curriculum's theme has been Ecology, so we've talked about weather in the different ecosystems and biomes of the world. I already owned a weather book that I really like, but I also checked out two from the library that we used this month.

34 Weeks of Clean: Behind Once More or How I Deep Cleaned the Bathroom and Don't Have a Family Room

Okay, I'm here confessing again that I fell behind on my 34 Weeks of Clean. I never made it through the bathrooms from Week 11. But, I lucked out because Week 12 has been Family Rooms, and we don't have one. Actually, that's not true. Pretty much every room in our house is the "family room" but the fact remains that we don't have a separate living room and family room. Now if I were very diligent, I probably would've called what we use as our schoolroom the family room and cleaned in there. But the schoolroom only gets deep cleaned and purged when we have an extended break. So I usually do that twice a year- May and December. I'm hoping I can combine that with something else later in our 34 weeks.

So for this week, I deep cleaned the bathrooms. And, I must add a disclaimer and confession here. Although I'd love to tell you that I made some kind of great homemade cleaner and concoctions using essential oils and nothing chemical or artificial, I'd be lying. I cleaned my bathroom with some good, old-fashioned, heavy duty chemicals. I had to turn on the fan and open the window, so I wouldn't die. And I didn't dare let my asthmatic child enter. (I also almost got electrocuted-which is another story.) But, my bathrooms are clean, my friend. Oh yes. I also have to add that my phone died mid bathrooms. So I don't have many after pictures. But, maybe you can take my word for it. Here goes.


So, we have two bathrooms. We have a hall bath that all four kids share. And we have a bath in our master bedroom. Both bathrooms are pretty old, and, quite honestly, in need of a total redo. But that isn't in the budget right now. So we make do. I do try to keep things cleaned up and cleaned out. But an old bathroom has issues.

The First Book In a New Series for Middle Grade Readers: Thick as Thieves- A Schoolhouse Crew Review

If you've been around As We Walk Along the Road for any length of time, you might know that reading is a passion of mine. I love to find great books for my kids to read independently and for me to read aloud. So I'm always excited to have a new book to review.

We received Thick as Thieves by Susan K. Marlow. It is the first book of her Circle C Milestones series. The book is published by Kregel Publications. We received a paperback copy of the book, and it usually sells for $9.99. There is also a free downloadable Study Guide that goes along with the book.

Circle C Milestones is the third book series written by Susan K. Marlow that features Andi Carter as the heroine of the stories. In each series, Andi has gotten older. And the stories change to reflect Andi's personal growth and to interest gradually older readers. This series is intended for readers twelve and up.


About the book...

Read Aloud Wednesdays: Resources for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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In this week's Read Aloud Wednesdays post I'm sharing some resources for one of my favorite books of all time- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This book is actually the second in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series. I first read it as a young child and have since read it- and all of the Chronicles- again and again. Instead of a regular book talk this month, I'm going to share some resources I've found on the web for reading and discussing this book with your kids.

Don't forget to link up your reading related posts at the end. If you have posts with book lists or activities that go along with books, I'd love to read them.


About the Chronicles of Narnia and C.S. Lewis:

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy books that were written by Clive Staples Lewis between 1949 and 1954. There are seven books in the series, and, although The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first published, it is the second in the chronological order of the books. In chronological order the books are:

  • The Magician's Nephew
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • Prince Caspian
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • The Silver Chair
  • The Last Battle
Although not direct allegories, the books are allegories of the Christian life and express the faith and worldview that Lewis held.

About The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

In this book- which was the first published- we meet four children- Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy- who have been sent away from London during the air raids in World War 2. They are sent to stay with an old bachelor in a house in the English countryside. The older children are trying to make the best of things for their younger sister, but Edmund is bitter and sullen.

The children begin exploring the country house which is huge and rambling. Lucy comes upon an almost empty room that contains a wardrobe. She steps into the wardrobe and pushes toward the back, only to discover that she isn't in the wardrobe at all but in a magical land- Narnia. In this land she learns of an evil witch and a curse that holds Narnia under the spell of constant winter. When she leaves and heads back to her siblings, she finds that no time at all has passed, and her siblings don't believe her fascinating tail. Of course, they can't find Narnia at all when they investigate the wardrobe.

A few days later, Edmund stumbles into the wardrobe and Narnia during a game of hide and seek. While there he meets a very harsh and powerful woman who calls herself the Queen of Narnia. She gives Edmund sweets that are enchanted and convince him that if he brings his brother and sisters back to her in Narnia that he will be made King of Narnia. Edmund, who isn't very nice at this point, promises and heads back through the wardrobe, meeting up with Lucy who has been in a second time for herself. Once back with the older siblings, however, he denies that he was there and claims to have made it all up to "play along" with Lucy. Of course Lucy is devastated that no one will believe her stories about Narnia.

Eventually all of the siblings end up in Narnia when they duck into the wardrobe to hide from a tour group that is walking around the old, rambling house. Once there, they find themselves involved in a magical story. Edmund betrays them all to try to better himself with the power hungry witch/queen but finds that she doesn't care about him at all, and he's now a traitor deserving of death. The amazing lion Aslan (a Christlike symbol) comes on to the scene then, breaking the witch's power and  taking Edmund's place when he must be punished.


I love, love, love all of The Chronicles of Narnia. Every time I read them out loud to the kids- and we've read through them quite a few times- I get something new out of them.There are so many amazing moments and well-worded passages that make me ponder my relationship with Christ and my Christian worldview. As well, they are just excellent, well-written stories to read for pure enjoyment.

Resources for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


A free educator's guide from Walden Media that goes along with the movie (I do not think the movie is nearly as good, and I think it loses much in the way of depicting the Christian worldview. However, we've watched the movie and compared it to the book. And some of the activities in this guide are fun ones that could be done in conjunction with the book without watching the movie.)

Scholastic has some resources that include writing prompts, discussion questions, and extension activities for the book.

Spark Notes has some great information, including a detailed analysis of each chapter, suggested essay questions, a quiz for the book, and a great collection of quotations.

Reading to Kids has some good discussion questions and a few craft ideas that go along with the book.

ReadWorks.org has several language arts lesson plans that use the book as a starting point.


Focus on the Family has an amazing radio theater production of all of The Chronicles of Narnia. We love listening to them. This isn't just an audio book. It's actors that act out the whole book on audio. (This isn't an affiliate link. The set is pricey, but it's definitely worth it.)



I hope that these resources motivate you to read this amazing book with your kids if you haven't already. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe gives you a chance to discuss some great things with your kids. And the story itself is beautiful and enjoyable.


Now it's your turn. Link up any reading related post in the linky below. I love hearing what you and your family are reading and finding some great book related activities. You can also grab a button below.



As We Walk Along the Road






Classic Easter Stories for the Family: A Review and a Giveaway

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I love to introduce my kids to timeless, classic stories. I love to read them myself. It is always refreshing to find old favorites and new to us classic tales. So I was thrilled to get for review Easter Stories: Classic Tales for the Holy Season.


This book- which we received as a paperback- is a collection published by Plough Publishing House. The stories are all ones that reflect the true meaning of Easter, and they are all beautiful, classic tales. Many of the authors are well-known: C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, the Brothers Grimm, and more. There were some stories that I had read before, such as "The Coming of the King" by Laura E. Richards. And there were some that were new to me, such as Clarence Jordan's "Stories From the Cotton Patch Gospel".

From the book's description:

Everyone who believes Easter is about more than Easter egg hunts will be grateful for this new anthology of short stories that illumine the true meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Holy Week and Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year.
Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.


I loved this book because it is an excellent read aloud treasury. If you've been around the blog for a while you know that reading aloud with my kids is a passion of mine. I love stories that just flow when they are read aloud. This is an excellent collection for that. Some of these are short enough to finish in one reading. Some take a few days to read in parts.Some of these are lighter readings and some are deep and thoughtful.

The illustrations are beautiful as well. They are black and white prints of original wood cuttings. They fit perfectly with the classic stories.


One of my favorite stories to read aloud with the kids was "Stories From the Cotton Patch Gospel". This is a rendering of the New Testament in the idiom of the South during the time of the Civil Rights movement. This retelling places Jesus in familiar places like Gainesville, Selma, and Washington D.C. We enjoyed reading about Jesus' death and resurrection from this very different gospel retelling.


We are really enjoying this book. I'm reading from it during our devotions time each morning through Easter. You can find it on Amazon at the link below. And keep reading for a chance to win your own copy to enjoy with your family.


Connect with Plough Publishing House through social media:
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Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

***GIVEAWAY***

You can enter the giveaway below to win your own copy of this great classic treasury.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”







The Pirate and the Firefly: A Review of a Children's Book About Choosing to Follow God, Not Friends With Bad Ideas

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Children are often faced with the choice between doing what they know is right with God and following friends with bad ideas. It can be a difficult choice. The Pirate and the Firefly by Tara McClary Reeves and Amanda Jenkins can be a great discussion starter for talking with young kids about making the right choices.

I had the opportunity to review The Pirate and the Firefly, a hardback book designed for children ages 4-8. It's the second book in this series designed to teach kids lessons from the book of Psalms.


Oliver is the hero of our story. He's a little boy who, along with his friends, is a pirate wanna be. But when his friends start doing things Oliver knows are wrong- like stealing and bullying- Oliver has to make a choice to follow what he knows God wants him to do or going along with his friends. Oliver has a firefly friend- Phineas- who shows Oliver from Psalm 1 what it means to follow God, not the way of the wicked. And Phineas helps Oliver to plot a course for following God, even when it's hard.

I loved this sweet children's story with cute illustrations and a great lesson to be learned.

  • It's written so that younger children can easily understand it read with a parent, or children a little older can read it independently.
  • The story is simple enough for little children, but it doesn't talk down to them.
  • Oliver's friend, Phineas, shows Oliver that the place to go for answers is God's Word, and Scripture is quoted as he talks to Oliver about what to do.
  • At the end of the book is a great little study that parents can do with kids with some additional Scripture, some questions for discussion, and a family activity.
The Pirate and the Firefly is a great way to talk to your kids about friends and making the right choices. It's one I can read with my younger girls- ages 9 and 10- even though they are above the target age range because the topic is one that kids will face again and again as they grow up.

You can find The Pirate and the Firefly on Amazon as a hardback book or Kindle read. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.



This Week @ As We Walk Along the Road: School Catch Up, Art, and The Gymnastics State Meet

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This week I felt as if we were making up for lost time from our sickness last week. I doubled up on some work so that we could finish last week's lessons and not be a week behind. It wasn't really that hard to catch up, and we ended up the week right on track.

Ashlyne, and Rachel and I have begun working in the 2nd elementary ARTistic Pursuits book. We reviewed Book 1 last year and really enjoyed it. This one is even better for the girls because they are learning how to use color and how watercolor pencils work. All week they've begged to do art first thing everyday.


We are currently in Asia in our country and culture studies. This week we took time to play the geography game with Asia. They have trouble remembering all of the "an" countries- Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. But they're catching on to the Asian countries.


One of the things I think is fun about homeschooling is how the big kids mysteriously show up when the younger ones are doing or reading something fun. I'm sure that Ashlyne and Rachel have made volcanoes before, but it was in our curriculum this week because we've been reading about mountains in our ecology study. Sure enough, as soon as we had our playdough mountain ready to erupt, Charles showed up.


A little baking soda and vinegar were at the ready. (And we added some orange and yellow food coloring for good measure.)


And...it's an erupting volcano.



This weekend was Ashlyne's last meet of the season- her state meet. She competed with Level 4 gymnasts from her age group from all over the state.

She's come a long way this year. With a move to a new gym and very little practice time over last summer, she's had some hurdles to overcome. But she has some great coaches, and she just has a great attitude all around. She's happy to win. She's disappointed when she doesn't. But she doesn't swing emotionally either way. She's just matter of fact about it.


This actually turned out to be her best meet this season- rather fitting for state. She scored two 9s out of her four events (and the other two were high 8s).


One of her 9s was on bars, an event she's struggled with all season.


 And this is a pretty blurry picture, but she came in fourth out of twelfth in her division in All Around. I thought that was pretty impressive for State.

I enjoy the gymnastics meets, but I am glad to have a break for now. And she can just practice and build strength and work on new skills.


This week we have Ashlyne's birthday celebrations coming up and a few other odds and ends appointments. I'm hoping that we keep plugging along where we need to be because May is right around the corner, approaching quickly!


I'm linking up, this week, with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up and Home to 4 Kiddos Week in Review.