Thursday, January 10, 2013


I will start the New Year with a review of a hobby that we have been doing for nearly two years.  


 We heard about Postcrossing from one of the blogs that I read, and it sounded like a fun little project.  All you have to do is sign up for an account at with your mailing address and you are all set.  You request an address by clicking on Send a postcard, and you are assigned a random address from somewhere around the world.  Simply mail the postcard, wait for it to be received, and you are all set to mail another card.  You will start off being able to send five postcards at a time.  The more cards you send and are received, your limit gets increased.  Once you sign up, your address also gets added to the random address list, and you will begin receiving postcards.  When you receive a postcard, all you do is click on the link Register a postcard and enter in the Postcard ID.

Tips for sending postcards.

  • Remember that the postcards are going international (or you may send some to your home country if you select that option under Account).  You will need to affix international postage, in the United States, the current rate for international is $1.05.  You can buy stamps in this denomination.  
  • Make sure that you write the Postcard ID in an obvious place, and write it clearly!  
  • I try to scan the images of the postcards I send and attach them when I send the cards.  That way, when the person receives the card, the image is already loaded, and the best part, is when I receive the email saying they received it with their message, I can see what card was sent!  (I keep a file on my computer of all the postcards I send.  This is handy because I usually buy more than one of each card and this way the image is ready to attach straight from my computer).  
  • Buy multiple copies of postcards you like (and when traveling, buy LOTS of postcards!)  I have been known to buy 25 or more of each design, it is amazing how fast you go through them.  
  • Places likely to have postcards, gift shops, National Parks, drug stores, grocery stores, and gas stations.  I have found that some Walmart stores have a good selection of postcards at a good price, and some don't have any at all.  When I was on vacation this past summer I bought 200+ postcards at various Walmart stores.  For about twenty cents a piece, this is one of most reasonable places I've found to buy.  

Each month you will get an email showing a summary of your activities from the previous month.  I always find this interesting.  It will tell you how many postcards were sent and received, which countries were sent to and received from, average travel time to get to destinations, and pictures of your cards that have been liked.    You can see one of my blog posts with this summary included at

You can also view your statistics on the webpage, and it includes that data for all time.  You can also view a map showing each place you've sent to and received from.

We have sent 238 postcards and have received 232 postcards.  Sent over 1.9 million kilometers or 1.18 million miles.  This is such a fun way to learn more about other countries and cultures.  We have put our postcards into scrapbooks and enjoy looking through them.  They are sorted by continent and then by country.  Europe had to be separated into it's own book long ago, and is ready to be split again!

I hope you learned a bit about Postcrossing.  It is a fun hobby and you can learn so much about the world!
Be sure to send me any questions you may have.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I had grand ideas of reviewing the places we visited on out trips; campgrounds, restaurants, attractions, parks... I had even written a few of them and saved them to my live writer.  All my good intentions were for nothing when the laptop with all my notes and files were stolen.  I will see how many I re-write since I'm a little sensitive to the fact that I've already done it once and don't want to cry all over my keyboard...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Frogs and Toads Thematic Unit, Teacher Created Resources

Frogs and Toads Thematic Unit
I purchased this book at our local educator resource store when it was going out of business. I was able to pick up a handful of these books that I had never looked through before during their store closing sale.  I flipped through one or two and thought that they looked like they had some good ideas, and since they were on sale for 50% off, I picked up a few. This book is recommended for "Primary" or 1st to 3rd graders.  I am homeschooling two girls, ages 5 and 4.

My first impressions were very positive, I read through the table of contents and introduction and immediately made plans to use most of the activities in the book.  The book utilizes three age-appropriate books, "Frog and Toad Are Friends" by Arnold Lobel (Harper & Roe, 1970), "Red Eyed Tree Frog" by Joy Cowley (Scholastic, 1999), and "Tuesday" by David Wiesner (Clarion, 1991).  I found this resource to have some easy projects as well as some very challenging projects that we will have to return to in a few years.  We spent 8 weeks studying frogs and habitats.

We really enjoyed all of the activities we did throughout the book.  For "Frog And Toad Are Friends.” We especially liked Buttons, Buttons Everywhere, A Jacket for Frog and Help for an Embarrassing Swimsuit.   We also read the other “Frog and Toad” books.

The “Red Eyed Tree Frog” section has some very good information in it, and one of the most fun parts of the whole unit was the “Rainforest in a Box.”  We got a large appliance box and covered it in green poster paper from the dollar store, then did an Eric Carle inspired painting session to paint the layer pieces,  followed up with the addition of some gold wrapping paper vines and a few rubber snakes and it was just about perfect.  We enjoyed putting all of our stuffed animals and bugs that would live in a rainforest inside,  and sit in there to read stories.  Writing center included copy work about each of the layers of the rainforest and what animals live in each layer. 
We supplemented this part of the studies with LOTS of books from the library about the rainforest.

The book “Tuesday” is a story about magical flying frogs on lily pads.  I’ll admit that this was a story that my kids didn’t particularly enjoy. They like a good story line and this one was just too silly.  We used this section to add in our pond habitat information to follow up from the rainforest habitat.  Our writing center continued on with copy work about pond habitats and some labeling and drawing sheets.  We supplemented in more library books.  A lot of the project sheets in this section were too advanced for my kids, and I look forward to returning to this unit in a few years.  I’m especially looking forward to; An Evening Stroll in the Neighborhood, Frog Facts, Frog Math, and Design A Pond.

The annotated bibliography at the end of the book has a great list of books to read and look into. 

If you are planning on demonstrating the life cycle of the frog in your classroom or home, don't forget to order your tadpole eggs so they arrive when you begin your unit.  Also, make sure you are aware of the restrictions on shipping the tadpoles to your area.  As recommended in the book, we ordered ours from Insect Lore, we ordered the Frog Hatchery Kit With Certificate, the kit comes with a small plastic habitat for the eggs to hatch in and the tadpoles to live in until they become froglets, magnifying glass, supply of tadpole food and a coupon for 6-10 live frog embryos.  We also purchased the Frog Life Cycle Stages models.

Additional resources that we used are listed in the Amazon box to the right called Frog Unit Resources.  Additional books were checked out from the library.

As we finished the unit, I found that we used less of the book then I originally anticipated, due to the complexity of the worksheets.  We will definitely revisit this unit in 2 or 3 years, and I think at that time, the things we did do will be too easy, but the other sheets will be just right.  I would 100% recommend this resource to a parent or teacher putting together a unit study on frogs.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. The items mentioned above and seen in the pictures were purchased for my personal use in homeschooling my children.  I honestly review the items I use, so others can know what to expect when they use the same resources.  Everything stated in the review is my own honest opinion.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I'm excited to have a place to write my opinions, thoughts, feelings and whatever else.  I've been waiting to write my first post about something really cool and make it sound awesome, but since I'm always going to be me that will probably never happen.
I read TONS of books that is probably what I will review the most.  I plan on writing about the resources I use for homeschooling.