Tag Archives: Free Resource

Ice, Ice Baby (aka “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”)-Free Printable

21 Feb

Vanilla IceYou are a child of the 80s if you know who this gentleman is. Oh, come on! You know you remember! He is famous for ONE song that has been my anthem this week.

“Ice, Ice, Baby. Alright stop, collaborate and listen…”

And…I could go MUCH further into the song lyrics, but I don’t want to embarrass myself  and give you any inkling of how much of the song I actually remember! Ha!

So, this week in good ol’ Music City USA we have enjoyed a week of being snow and ice. Therefore, the words of Ice, Ice Baby have been continually on my lips, and these poetic 80s words pretty much summarize the weather that we have enjoyed for the past week. (And…as a side note, my hat goes off to those of you who live in the Northern regions of the United States. Snow on the ground, all winter-this is your reality. Wow, just wow! You are my heroes, beloved.)

Because my children have NO IDEA who Vanilla Ice is AND because my singing invokes eye-rolling and “M-O-M!” I decided to identify with this younger generation and bust out a song that they can recognize and sing along with. Fast forward to 2015 and a winter-themed chorus that is known and loved by children everywhere, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” (I am secretly laughing on the inside because can’t you just picture 25 years from now? This generation will have children of their own and their posterity will “eye roll” and gasp in horror when Frozen songs are jubilantly sung by their parents. What goes around comes around, right? But, I digress…) This musical masterpiece, thank you, Disney, has been more palatable for them when compared to Vanilla Ice, and I can’t imagine why! 🙂

So, if you’ve been frozen in all week and looking for a way to build a snowman without venturing out in the snow, or, if you need another winter-themed song to get “Ice, Ice Baby” out of your head, THIS, my friend is your lucky day!


I drew this Olaf picture for use in my Classical Conversations class during Review Game time. (See below for how I used this in my CC class.) I scanned the drawing, and you can download it here to print and use at your casa. Your Frozen fanatics will have fun with this one, I hope! AND, it’s a great way to build a snowman while staying WARM! Download here: Olaf Printable. Here’s the final product!


For those of you who are in Classical Conversations and are curious about how I used this as a Review Game, here’s what I did. 🙂 I printed and laminated two copies of Olaf. I divided my class into two teams, and each team was charged with building a snowman! For each question answered correctly, they got to add another snowman piece to their team’s Olaf. The kiddos seemed to really enjoy it!

Valentine’s Day Tradition & FREE Printable

31 Jan

I LOVE Valentine’s Day! My birthday is a few days afterwards, so I have many fabulous memories around this time of year. As I became a mom, I wanted Valentine’s Day to be a special time to show my sons how much they are loved. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be ooey-gooey-sappy love between boys and girls. It can also be a wonderful time to demonstrate love within our families!

These are two posts from the archives as we gear up for the LOVE month!

IMG_7791We have a Valentine’s Day Tradition–Valentine’s Day Stockings. I enjoy filling them with various things that remind me of my sons and husband. This year the boys will be getting some Usborne books that they’ve been eyeing (this, this, and this). Read the original post for instructions on how to make these. Seriously, I am NO seamstress, so if I can make them, anyone can!

I Corintians 13.4 to 7

I created this printable of from I Corinthians 13 for my Pre-K Sunday School class at church. They memorize verses 4-7, so I made this craft, which can be transformed into a mobile or garland for your mantle. I love having the TRUTH about love displayed during this month of LOVE! See the original post for the FREE download.

I LOVE my readers, so thanks for your kind and encouraging words! Thanks SO MUCH for  reading!

Crayola.com–FREE Cycle 3 Geography Resources

16 May

Tennessee coloring page

From my Pre-K and Kindergarten homeschooling days, Crayola’s website and I became bffs. Anytime we learned about a new country or new state, I would head straight to Crayola to find a FREE coloring sheet about a particular state or the flag of the country we were studying. For those of you who are involved with Classical Conversations, these coloring sheets would be a fun, FREE resource for your students as we work through the United States geography!

All 50 states are included on Crayola’s site. Each state’s sheet includes pertinent information about the state: its capital and some of the official state items (tree, insect, bird, flag, etc.). These would be a great resource to add to your Classical Notebook each week.

Traveling to different states for summer vacation? I also recommend using the Crayola website to print copies of the states that you’ll visit and compiling them into a Travel Notebook for your children. The Travel Notebook can include coloring sheets of the states you will visit and a printed map showing the route of your trip. Fill your Travel Notebook with other coloring sheets/games to entertain them while you travel. We made a Travel Notebook on our big trek north last year to Wisconsin and Illinois. The Travel Notebook kept our sons entertained for hours. 

US State Flash Cards - Tennessee coloring page

Another great resource on Crayola’s website are the State Flashcards. You could print Crayola’s State Flashcards for each of the 50 states and have your child decorate the flashcards of the states studied each week during New Grammar Geography. I would recommend printing on cardstock and laminating them (You know how I love my laminator!!!) after your child beautifies the cards with crayons, markers, or color pencils. You could hole punch the cards, add a metal ring and have your child’s very own homemade set of 50 States Flashcards!

U.S. President George Washington coloring page

Crayola’s website also has free printable coloring sheets for each of the 44 presidents. This would be a fun resource to use throughout the year, particularly in Classical Conversations Week 24 when the children learn all of the U.S. Presidents!

I am so excited about Cycle 3 and American geography and history! What other free resources for Cycle 3 have you found to share?

Friday Favorites: Favorite Places to find FREE Audio Books

11 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

I’m wrapping up my last post about audio books today in my Friday Favorites series. In the previous 2 posts, I wrote about an apologetic for incorporating audio books into our children’s (and family’s!) lives and a laundry list of my boys’ favorite audio books divided into three age ranges: Preschool, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary/Middle School. As promised, I am writing today about my favorite places to find FREE audio books.

Free Audio Book Resources

LibrivoxThis is an online resource that contains audio versions of public domain books. Anytime you see the phrase “public domain,” it is safe to assume that these books are old and the majority of them are in the Classics genre. Copyright stays with a book for a specific length of time, and once the said length of time has transpired the book becomes “public domain.”  Public domain books, therefore, can be used as you like. photo 1
On Librivox’s website you can search through-literally-hundreds of free audio books. Once your selection is made, you can simply listen (aka “live stream”) to the audio files via Librivox’s website or download the files to your computer or iTunes. Librivox’s website contains detailed, “how-to” instructions  for downloading the audio book files. Once downloaded onto your computer or iTunes, you can burn the audio book onto cds and enjoy in your car, or your child can use the CDs in his/her room at naptime/restime. By downloading to iTunes, you can use an MP3 player/iPod/iPad/iPhone to listen to the audio books. I especially enjoy having this audio book-on-my-iPod option for exercising. I listened to Stepping Heavenward (by Elizabeth Prentiss) thanks to Librivox, and it was great motivation for exercise. I only permitted myself to listen to the book while exercising. I was so enthralled and drawn in by the book that I easily made exercise a priority because I wanted to listen to the next chapter! 🙂

There is an expansive list of genres available on Librovox: Children’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Poetry,  just to name a few. Best of all–the books are FREE! (I love free!!!)

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Books Should Be FreeThis is another website similar in concept, access and functionality as Librivox. In fact, some of Books Should Be Free audio books are accessed via Librivox. There are a few distinctions to note on Books Should Be Free. This website makes available audio and eBook versions of books. If an eBook version of a book is available (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, .pdf) in addition to an audio book version, it will be indicated on the specific page dedicated to the book. If your kiddo enjoys following along in the Kindle version of the book while he/she listens to the audio book version, Books Should Be Free will be a tremendous resource for you! you can download both audio and eBook versions from the same page!

Another distinction with Books Should Be Free boasts itself as “a primarily visual browsing experience.” This evidences itself when perusing through their website. Instead of listing book titles in alphabetical order with pages of text, text, text to sort through, Books Should Be Free includes a photo of each book’s cover. The visual images of the books make navigating through their website simpler. Searching for a specific book becomes less of a wild-goose chase filled with frustration and more of an attainable goal with a happy ending.

Books Should Be Free mirrors Librivox in that you have the option to listen to the audio book online via live streaming or to download it to your computer, iTunes (including via Podcasts), or MP3 player.

Library–Don’t forget one of the most accessible places for FREE audio books is your local library. Our library’s children’s section has a vast expanse of audio books available for checkout. At any given moment, you’ll likely find 3 or 4 different audio books from our library in our home. All 3 of my boys (currently ages 8, 6, and 4) usually have about an hour of rest time each day in their rooms (and consequently, me, too! Woot!). The boys LOVE this time of day because 99.9 % of the time this one hour of rest includes an audio book! Another plus, thanks to audio books, is that they rarely complain about rest time; they’re eager to listen to the next chapters in their current audio book!

If your library has a limited, small, or non-existent audio book collection, don’t be discouraged! Talk to your librarian! You may have these options:

  • Audio Book downloads via your library’s website–With advances in technology, many libraries are expanding their online access for digital and audio versions of books. Through our library’s website, I can download audio books from my library’s collection to iTunes for a specified length of time.
  • Petition for audio books to be purchased–Most libraries add to their collection each year. If your library’s audio book section is less than ideal, communicate your desire to see their audio book collection expanded. Most libraries are eager to hear input from their patrons.
  • Make Interlibrary loan your BFF–Just hearing the words “interlibrary loan” (ILL) makes me think of my college library. ILL is a program allowing a library patron to borrow a book that is unavailable at his/her library from a partnering library. I was continually ILL-ing books during my undergrad and graduate years. I never thought of a local library having ILL; I had only associated it with college libraries. However, when my quest to find a classic, well-loved children’s book at our local library left me striking out, I mentioned this to the librarian, and she suggested using interlibrary loan. I gladly obliged. (As a note of encouragement to the previous bullet regarding suggesting books to your librarian, I noticed several months later that the book I borrowed via ILL had been ordered and added to our library!) Your librarian can assist you with the interlibrary loan process at your local library.

So, now that I’ve encouraged you to make audio book listening a part of your life and provided resources where they can be accessed for FREE, what will be your or your kiddos’ first/next audio book?!?!? If you have any suggestions to share with Suzanne Shares leaders, please comment and include them below!

Thanks for stopping by for today’s Friday Favorites!


Reading Eggs–Free 5 Week Trial: Read-to-Cure Challenge

28 Jan

Our first year of homeschooling was quite unexpected. We were moving to plant a church, our house wasn’t selling, and school options whittled away to only one–homeschooling. Having never been trained as a teacher, I had no idea what I was doing. 🙂 I love learning, so my sons and I tackled it together. (Never did I anticipate loving it as much as I did and do! NO JUDGEMENT for those who school their children other ways. I know homeschooling is not for everyone, and I promise there is nothing “special” or “amazing” about me because I do. I’m sure those of you with school-agers feel the same way I do–it’s only God’s grace that gets us through schooling our children! Can I get an AMEN?!?!) One website that we stumbled upon was Reading Eggs. My oldest son, in kindergarten at the time, enjoyed doing something on the computer, and I loved that his computer time was educational. What I also loved was that I noticed an improvement in his letter recognition and reading only after a few short weeks. Now, we’ve used it with Son #2 for kindergarten last year, and Son #3 already begs to play it as well!

Reading Eggs has a fee to use their program. However, right now, you can sign up for a FREE 5 Week Trial if you are not currently a Reading Eggs user. We “test drove” Reading Eggs via a “Free Trial” as well when we first learned about it. I was thankful for the “test drive” because I hated to spend the money if my son hated it. If you’re curious to know if it would be a good fit for your family, sign up for the FREE 5 Week Trial. Reading Eggs has lessons for ages 3-13, so there is a vast expanse of lessons to navigate and explore! Another win-win for signing up for the 5 Week Trial before March 7th is that Reading Eggs is donating $1 to the National Children’s Cancer Society for every new free trial sign up! Love it!

So, sign up and give it a go! I would love to hear if your kiddos enjoy it!

Earn $ while Christmas shopping in your pjs

19 Nov

imageI got this check in the mail last month from Shop at Home–$30! Yay! Do you know you can make some cha-ching while you’re shopping online this Christmas (and the rest of the year?!?!?)

ShopAtHome Banner

SHOP AT HOMEI love Shop at Home because it allows me to do shopping at home while in my pjs and wearing no make up if I’d like. And, while I’m shopping away, I earn money for each purchase made through Shop at Home. Do you want to get paid to shop? Yes! Me, too! Shop at Home has partnerships with different retailers. By going through the Shop at Home website to a partnering retailer you earn a percentage back based on the total of your purchase. I like free money! 🙂 I am doing 95% of my Christmas shopping online because it’s convenient and I can wear my pjs and no make up, but also I do so in order to earn part of my money back from Shop at Home.

Ready to sign up for Shop at Home?!?!? If you sign up for Shop at Home through my referral link, you and I both get $5 added to our account if you make a qualifying purchase within 30 days of signing up. :) So, go sign up and refer your friends and earn more money! You will receive a check once you accumulate $20 in rewards. I love that on “My Account” page I can always see how much I’ve earned and how much more is needed to receive my $20 reward. It also clearly states when you will receive your check, so there’s no guessing.

SWAGBUCKS-I also love SwagBucks for earning money while shopping online in my pjs with no make up. 🙂 Swagbucks, essentially, is a search engine (think Google, Bing, Yahoo). When you sign up for Swagbucks, you download a Swagbucks toolbar for your internet browser. You, then, use the toolbar as your regular search engine, and you are rewarded with Swagbucks randomly as you search. On the toolbar, it shows your total number of Swagbucks. You can use your Swagbucks to purchase items in the Swag Store. They have almost any gift card imaginable in the Swag Store. My favorite gift card to buy is the $5 Amazon.com gift card, which requires 450 Swagbucks. Since I signed up for Swagbucks about 3 years ago, I’ve probably earned the $5 Amazon.com gift card 12-15 times. There are multiple ways on their website to earn more Swagbucks rapidly. If I had more time, I’d attempt some of those. However, just by my usual internet searching online–not going out of my way to do anything extra–I’m earning the Amazon gift card 4 or 5 times per year. I love free money. 🙂 Thank you, Swagbucks. 🙂 AND, once you sign up for Swagbucks, you can refer your friends and you’ll both earn Swagbucks! (See, I’m referring you, so that means I’ll earn Swagbucks based off of my referral to you.  Thanks!)

So, if you’re like me this Christmas season and doing lots of online shopping, earn part of your money back while you shop. Don’t worry–spit-up-stained, ‘holy’ t-shirts, and “au natural” make up are all acceptable wear when you Shop at Home or search via Swagbucks. 🙂

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Mothers of sons–you need this catalog

5 Nov

photo (3)I have read on numerous blogs about JMCremp’s. It is a company specializing in toys and gear for BOYS! There are bows and arrows, fishing gear, camo, swords, pocket knives, tents, farm toys, and more. I ordered their free catalog, and it came this week–GLORIOUS! My three boys have been pouring over it non-stop. Before bed tonight, my 3 year old went through every page, and said, “We need this and this and this and this.” Hilarious!

So, if you want several afternoons of quiet solitude, order this catalog. Your sons will be entertained for hours! Or, if you have boys in your life and need some Christmas ideas, order this catalog. As a mother of sons, I guarantee they’ll love anything from the catalog (at least that’s what my 3 year old told me!)

Advent Calendar–Heart Felt Truths–10% off coupon code

22 Oct

When I read Treasuring God in Our Traditions for the first time 8 years ago, I was intrigued by the Advent Calendar that Noel Piper mentions in the book. After a few short clicks at the Desiring God website, I had an Advent Calendar ordered and heading straight to my house. Two months later was Christmas, and we used it that first year. Our son was 5 1/s months old. He had no idea what we were doing or saying, but we did it anyway. Twelve months later we did it again; he enjoyed velcro-ing the item each night. In 2 months, we will go through the same Advent Calendar again for an 8th year. My boys are giddy when I get out the cardboard box each year. I love traditions.

Sadly, the Advent Calendar mentioned in Treasuring God in Our Traditions is no longer for sale from Desiring God. It is one of the two Advent Calendars that we use each year. When I was writing about the Advent Calendar last year, I happily discovered Heart Felt Truths (thank you, Google!). On her website you can download FREE patterns to MAKE THIS ADVENT CALENDAR! Wahoo!! Last year, I had several Suzanne Shares readers make their own Advent Calendars using the FREE patterns, and they were ADORABLE! I loved seeing the pictures of the Advent Calendars and their cute kiddos using them! 🙂

Over the past year, I have gotten to know Whitney, the gifted, amazing seamstress and creator behind Heart Felt Truths. She gave me the wonderful opportunity of reviewing her Easter Banner, and I just love, love, love her stuff! If making your own Noel Piper Advent Calendar (as I like to call it) using Heart Felt Truths FREE patterns sounds intimidating, the GREAT news is that Whitney sells DIY Kits for $16 at her ETSY Shop. Or, you can buy a completed set for $45. Whitney has graciously offered Suzanne Shares readers a 10% COUPON CODE (YAY!! Thank you, Whitney!)

for 10% off (expiration 10/31/13)

I love gearing up for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I love traditions like this Advent Calendar that we use again and again and again! YAY for living life on purpose!

Pronoun Packet–free download

18 Sep

photo 3 (2)

I am a visual learner. I am thankful to know that and have figured out how to use my “visual-ness” to my advantage. For example, I have to take notes during the sermon on Sundays. The sermon notes aren’t so much about the “sermon notes” as it is a way to help me stay focused on the sermon. The moment I stop writing, the moment my brain runs in a million directions, and I am thinking about something totally unrelated. I wish that I were an auditory learner and could just sit in church, take it all in without writing and leave fully grasping everything. However, that’s just not me. 🙂 One advantage to understanding my learning style is that it has helped me in homeschooling. Because my sons and I share genes, I knew that one of them would be a visual learner like me. Son #1 and I are on the same wavelength, which has helped me know how to help him. 🙂

As a visual learner, I “think” in pictures. (I know, I know, it sounds weird!) When I was perusing through my CC Foundations Guide for the next several weeks, I noticed all of the pronouns, the variety of pronouns, and got slightly overwhelmed. For starters, my knowledge of English Grammar is, well, not that great lacking. As I looked at everything we would be memorizing, I immediately thought of a picture in my head and how to organize it. I knew that my sweet, little Abecedarians would appreciate a visual for the pronouns (and their sweet, little Tutor would to!) So, this is what I came up with here below. Of course, I incorporated my wonderful, fantabulous, DIY Tri-Fold Dry-Erase Board . Here’s what I did:

Pronoun Grid.small

First, I made a “grid” on the back flap of my board (similar to the one I used last year for Latin). It has 6 rows (for all 6 components of the order of the pronouns) and 2 columns. The second column allows me to include the corresponding pronoun with 1st person singular, 3rd person plural, etc. This is how my “mental picture” looked, so this is what I “drew.” This is going to help me, as well, remember which pronoun corresponds with which person and singular/plural. (If only I had learned these as a kid! Sigh!)
photo 4 (1)

Then, I added the cards from the packet to the 1st column, showing the order of the pronouns. In the subsequent weeks, I will use the second column to include the pronoun cards.

This was a glorious tool in my Abecedarians class this past week! I used the song “C2 W3 Pronoun Order.mp3” uploaded by: loriberlie from CC Connected to teach the kiddos. We sang through the song a few times. I ended our time by pulling the cards off the board and turned them face down on the ground. Each child had to pick one card and put it into the correct spot on the grid. They did it PERFECTLY the first time! Wahoo!

Also, I used this at home today with my boys. They just couldn’t remember the order of the pronouns. So, I taught them the song, pointed to the cards as we sang, and then played the same “game” I used in class with my Abecedarians. By golly, the order finally “clicked” for them too. 🙂 🙂 Happy sons, happy Momma!

photo 2 (1)

You can download the Pronoun Packet here: Pronoun Packet

I hope this will be helpful to your family or your class! Even if you don’t do Classical Conversations, you could easily use this at home to help your children master pronouns! Enjoy!

This is a part of the Cycle 2 Weekly Link Up at Half a Hundred Acre Wood. Go there now for other great resources. 🙂

Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

Free Castle Mini Model Build @ the Lego Store (Sept. 12)

2 Sep

Lego Castle Build

As a family of 3 boys, we have trillions a large quantity of Legos in our home. Our boys are always itchin’ to buy additional sets whenever birthday or Christmas money enters their wallets. When a Lego Store opened in Nashville, you could hear their jubilant songs sung passionately and without ceasing. Happy, happy, happy, they were! I love that they love Legos. I just wish they were as passionate about picking up their Legos as they are playing with them….but I digress! 🙂

Each month, Lego Stores ’round the country have Mini Model builds where children ages 6-14 get a free mini Lego set to assemble and take home. Yes, it’s free. Marvelous, right?!?!  I am excited that one of this month’s Mini Model builds is….a castle! Our boys adore all things knights, castles, and swords. Plus, with Classical Conversations this year, we are spending a lot of quality time in the Medieval Period with knights. The free castle Mini Model fits perfectly with our history studies. Thanks for that school tie-in, Lego!

The castle Mini Model build is Thursday, September 12. Before you head out on that Thursday, contact your local Lego Store to ensure that they are participating in the Mini Model build and to find the start time. To find a Lego Store near you, visit their website. The Mini Models are always first come, first serve, so keep that in mind.

And….not to be forgotten, there is another Mini Model build today, Tuesday, September 3. It’s a handsome little pirate. You can see him in the Lego calendar shown above.

Happy building!