Jul 5, 2014

My Interview with Jim Weiss!

sort of.

A little while ago, I received an email from Jim's wife, asking if I would be interested in talking a little bit about Jim's recordings on my blog. She would send me some free CDs to listen to, and if I liked them, I would write about them. Standard blog review. No biggie.

But, this wasn't 'standard.'

Jun 18, 2014

Usborne History Match-Up for ALL CC Cycles!

Encyclopedia... what images come to mind when you see that word?

For me, it's a dry, boring book with pages and pages of text of itty-bitty font.


May 25, 2014

Parent Practicum 2014

It was so great!

Here are some more pictures of North Huntsville's (AL) Classical Conversations Parent Practicum 2014:

Our amazing Support Manager, Tammi, opened up each day in the sanctuary.

That's our speaker above, Betsy. I'm sorry that I don't have better pictures of her.

The bookstore!

Sandra, our CC book rep., is SO knowledgeable and helpful! I'm glad she could join us again this year!

Love the new Practicum t-shirts, too! 

Look who I ran into! Amanda and Sophie! Click here to read more of my sweet friend's heart-warming adoption story.


The church that hosted our Practicum is set in a beautiful location. What a blessing!

The picture below shows the Geo Drawing Camp. It looked like SO much fun! I didn't bring Mary this year, but I probably will next summer.

Below, is the IEW Camp for the older kiddos.

We were also very blessed to welcome a special guest to our second afternoon session, National Number Knockout winner (and Alabama homeschooler!) Aaron Slack!

It was jaw-dropping to watch Aaron do an N2K demo for us! I mean, WOW! I would have video'd it, but I really didn't expect him to just go for it and start rattling off math equations at lightning speed! Click here to see Aaron's audition video (although I believe he was even faster in person). And Aaron won the whole shebang in Orlando in March. The whole thing. The national winner! The first one! Wow! It really was awesome to see him in action! Thanks goes out to our SM, Tammi, for inviting him!

After lunch each day, I had the privilege to come alongside of twenty amazing tutors and directors and walk through our yearly Foundations tutor training.

 To be honest, I was nervous about being the tutor trainer, y'all. What if I forgot an important new slide? What if I was boring and they all tuned out or started texting to each other? However, I asked special people to pray for me, and I know other friends were lifting me up, too; I could actually feel God guiding and carrying me through this new adventure. It was pretty exciting!

God is faithful!

Midway through Day 2's training session, we split the tutors into groups based on the approximate ages of their classes, and they had chances to discuss what we were covering. 

Day 3 was to end with tutor presentations, but God had different plans for me. Plans like the stomach virus. 

The stomach virus of death.

I will not elaborate, except to say that I almost called 911 at one point. It was that. bad.

Anyway, I'm better now, North HSV Parent Practicum 2014 is in the books, and I'm looking forward to training another great class in July. I learned so much from the other tutors and from the entire experience itself! I can't wait to do it again (but maybe this time without the death-is-preferable-to-this stomach bug)! ;)

Have you been to one of CC's free Parent Practicum's yet? Click here to find one in your area!

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Apr 30, 2014

Usborne & CC Cycle 3 Science Match-Up!

I'm getting SO excited about Science (never thought I'd say that)!
Usborne has like a million-gazillion Science books, and it might be hard to choose the best ones when you can't pick them up and look through them. So, I thought I'd go through and pick what will work for our family this year with CC Cycle 3, take some pictures to compare my favorites, and then share them with you!
And... here we go!


Click here to get the FINAL version of this Science match-up!
First, I made an Usborne books and Cycle 3 Match-Up:
Click here to get it!
New! Click here for the updated final version!

Here are the three books that we'll be using the first semester when we study the human body:
The Usborne Science Encyclopedia (or the big boy, as I call it),
First Encyclopedia of the Human Body,
See Inside Your Body.
We'll also use (absolutely fabulous!) The Usborne Flip-Flap Body Book, but I didn't include it in the Science match-up. Instead, I tried to use just one book that would target each age group.
Since you're there, and I'm here, you obviously can't flip through each book and see what will work for you next year. So, I've taken lots of pictures, and hopefully you'll get an idea of which titles would be helpful if you're considering these books.
First, The Usborne Science Encyclopedia (big boy) is the perfect general reference for all things Science. This is what I use to look up definitions and find great pictures. It's also one that we won't outgrow anytime soon. This encyclopedia has 448 pages and is for ages 9 and up. Here's a peek at the inside:

Notice the pages on Digestion above in the big boy. 
Now, to compare, here is the digestion page from First Encyclopedia of the Human Body:
The font is bigger, as well as the images. This is the perfect body book for elementary students! It's geared to ages 8 and up, and it has 64 pages of awesome information and graphics.
Here are some more pictures of the First Encyclopedia:

Next, See Inside Your Body is for ages 7 and up, and it has 16 sturdy board pages with over 50 flaps. This book is so much fun! Here is the spread on digestion, just to compare with the other books, followed by more pictures:

Even though this book is for the younger set, it's my favorite! There's just so much to explore and make learning fun!
We'll also be using The Usborne Human Body Sticker Book for some more hands-on learning. 
It has 32 pages of information plus 10 sticker pages with over 130 stickers! I like all the extra information and fun facts that are included in this one! Here's a peek inside:

I hope this little look inside some of my favorite Usborne Science books has been helpful! Don't forget to grab your copy of the Usborne and CC Cycle 3 Science Match-Up. I'll be updating the second semester page soon, using Usborne's Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry
More later, alligator!
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All of the links take you to my Usborne store. Thanks so much for your support!

Apr 19, 2014

Sneak Peek Inside an Usborne Book Party!

Well, I did it!

My Usborne Books & More kick-off party is in the books!

I had a blast, got $380 in FREE books, AND made over $200 in commission.




These results are not 'typical,' but it was pretty awesome, and I'm more excited than ever to be walking this new journey as an Usborne consultant!

Have you ever been to an Usborne party (home shows and parties are the same thing; I didn't know that until like a few weeks ago!)? My kick-off party was the first one that I've ever been to. Want a sneak peek? Sure you do, right?! Okie dokie then, here's what went down...

Meet Molly.

Molly is the (almost) team leader for our area, and she's the one who actually did my show. She arrived at my house about an hour before the party with her bags of books to set-up. She had TONS of books, which was a really good thing because my friends wanted to see as much as they could.

Molly and her mom (a teacher and fellow consultant) spread the books around my living room and dining room table. As my friends came in, we all talked and visited, then Molly asked everyone to find a book that looked interesting. We picked out our books and found a comfy spot on the couch, bean bag, or pulled up some carpet. It was very casual, which I LOVED.

Then we went around the room saying which booked we picked up and why it caught our attention. Molly or her mom would jump in sometimes and mention a special feature of the book, like the fact that Usborne has its own composer who creates the tracks for our music books (so cool!). 

My beautiful friend, Amanda (she adopted Sophie from China last year, remember her?), shared about a book her son loves called Animals at War. Did you know that dolphins wore cameras strapped to their backs to spy on ships? Yeah, pretty much everyone at the party bought the book after hearing Amanda talk about how fascinating it is (including me!). 

After everyone talked about their books, we passed them around and Molly stacked the books up in the middle of the floor. The stack of seven or so books was a good visual of how many free books the average hostess gets, which is around $70 in free books (around 75% of Usborne books are under $10, so the seven books represented $70). However, since I'm a new consultant, I'm allowed to offer my first hostesses DOUBLE free books for a limited time with one booking, which Molly also pointed out.

The average home show is around $400 (circled in green above), so the red amount is the new consultant special offer. Pretty awesome! Four of my friends at the party decided just to have their own shows to get their books (or more books!) for free. Yeah, I don't blame them!

After that, we all just looked at books... and looked... and looked. These books are just so awesome! (Don't believe me? Click here to see what the Pioneer Woman thinks about Usborne! I mean, c'mon, it's the Pioneer Woman! You've got to see what she says - great pictures, too!) Then people started checking out and enjoyed some snacks.

And that was the party! Easy, fun, relaxed.

Basically, just perfect!

(this is what my inside happy-yay looks like)

The best sellers of the night were definitely the human body books (getting ready for Cycle 3!), Encyclopedia of World History, and the war books. Click here for more CC Cycle 3 and Usborne match-ups!

As I said in an earlier post, being an Usborne consultant is like having your own small business. There's so much freedom for creativity in how each consultant operates (and each part is different depending on the consultant's personality). I decided to go nuts and create my very own VIP Club!

When someone spends $75 or more in one order, she becomes a VIP and gets one duck punched. Then, for each future order over $35, I'll punch another duck (and yes, this post will more than likely pop up on 'animal cruelty' web searches). When the ducks are all punched out (that does sound kinda bad, huh), that friend will get a free $25 gift certificate to my Usborne Book Barn! (BTW, I just posted the new internet specials at The Barn, so be sure to check those out! I'm working on getting new content up over there, too, but there just aren't enough hours in the day right now.)

Did you know that YOU could become a VIP, too? Yes, you! My virtual duck puncher just arrived! (Actually, I just keep track in a spreadsheet. ;) ) Best part - there's nothing for you to keep track of! You don't have to email me and say that you just placed an order and don't forget to punch a duck. I've got it all covered. However, if you spend over $75 and become a VIP, I'll email you a card, just so you know that I've got you down in the VIP system. Get all your ducks (virtually) punched, and enjoy your free $25 in books as a thank you!

So, at my party, I had three good friends join the club! Thanks, ladies! I also had a couple friends become charter members of the VIP Club before the party even started. So great! Please know that I'm very thankful for your support! There are many places on the internet that sell Usborne, and I'm honored that you're here (and have read this far!), and I'd love to help you find the right books for your family - not once, not twice, but every time you need quality, award-winning educational books for your children.

Well, I hope you don't mind all the Usborne posts lately. Books are just something that I've always been excited about, and Usborne books really are the best on the market (and CC is over, so what else are we going to talk about?! JK!) Our family loves them, and I'm super-excited that I can now share them with you!

Here are just a couple of quick pictures of our newest Usborne additions today at Mary's 6th birthday party:

Anna got This Is My Monster, which is soooo adorable! The monster's little roar is priceless!

(Yes, Anna gets a 'sister gift' on Mary's birthday, and vice-versa. I know that my be controversial, but it is what it is.)

Nana gave Mary the Jonathan James and the What If Monster book and huggable-lovable, which were top priority on her list!

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into an Usborne Books & More party! Molly did an amazing job with my kick-off show, and this Friday I'll actually be doing my first show for a dear friend. Eeeek! I'm beyond excited to share all of these great books with her friends and just hang out with some awesome ladies! Girls' Night!

If you're in the Huntsville, Alabama, area and want to get $300 in free and discounted books while having a fun night with your friends, send me an email and we'll get you on the calendar!

Wait, what?

$300 in free and discounted? I thought you said only $100 a few paragraphs up?! (Am I reading your mind?) $300 is what the average hostess gets in free, half-priced, and incentive books at her party - all of the hostess benefits! And, really, who's 'average' anyway? Not you and not me! I got $380 in free books, $250 half-priced, and other little incentives. Friends, if I can do it (with God's grace first and foremost), you can do it! 

Thanks again for sticking with me through this beast of a post. Check back soon when I share the best-kept secret of becoming an Usborne consultant. Really, it's pretty mind-blowing, and I'm not even sure I"m supposed to be sharing it! Shhhhhhh!

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