Home Art Studio {Review}

My oldest daughter is an artist.  She has been given gifts.  She’s not a prodigy or anything, but she enjoys everything about art.  When Ms. Volin asked if we would like to review her Home Art Studio DVD’s, she was stoked!  We watched the sample videos and she leapt right in on the project from the third grade DVD.

Home Art Studio Review - Third Grade

To facilitate our review, she sent us the DVD of our choice, plus the corresponding art kit.  The supplies in the art kit were really high quality.  I was especially impressed with the pigment in the acrylic paints because they were better than some of the bottles I try to paint peg dolls with.


The third grade DVD contains 16 lessons.  I think we did 7 of them.  The DVD contains a PDF you can print with a one-page summary of the lesson.  It shows the finished project and includes a supply list and step by step instructions.

I had two (minor) concerns with Home Art Studio.  The first was that the videos were only 10-15 each.  The art project takes at least twice that long depending on how meticulous your artist is.  We hit the pause button A LOT.  And the directions are always more involved than the video shows.

The other concern was that the directions called for supplies that were not in the kit (I.e. Chalk pastels). But I don’t know how closely they work with the art supply company so YMMV :).  A little more direction on how to properly use a supply (like the liquid water colors) would have been good, too.  Like I said, minor concerns :).


None of them overrode just how much we loved this program.  Remember the fun projects you used to do in art in elementary school?  These DVDs give your kids that experience.


We did 7 of the 16 projects over the last 2 months and used a variety of supplies & techniques.  And the projects were easy enough for her to do on her own.  They were easy to draw, she could get the supplies on her own and they were a ton of fun.


There aren’t enough for a full school year, but you could do 2 a month and feel like you are getting in your art class.  Ms. Volin has a good presence on the videos and is easy to watch and listen to.  I really can’t recommend them enough.


And if you act fast, you can get a deal on the Home Art DVDs through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  I just bought the build your own 3 pack & added K (for little sis) as well as second & fourth for my little artist :).


Do you do art in your homeschool?  

Jen S.

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Feast of St. Peter {Saint Picture Book Club}

So today (June 29) is the feast of St. Peter (and St. Paul). As usual, I chose a picture book for the saint picture book club that is easy to get via Amazon. I didn’t get this up in time for you to order it last minute, but you may want it anyway.

Saint Peter Books Activities & Recipes

Books about Saint Peter

Peter, Apostle of Jesus, is another joint offering between Ignatius & Magnificat. They are beautiful books and buying this one has caused me to add the rest of the series to my Amazon cart MULTIPLE times.

From the series, The Life of a Saint, this story of Saint Peter is divided into 3 parts. The first is the story of how Jesus called him, the second is the story of Jesus & Peter before and after the crucifixion, and the last is about Pentacost and the early church.


The pictures are beautifully illustrated and the story is masterfully told. It doesn’t feel like the story as told in the bible, but as a beloved children’s story, even telling s bit of Peter’s childhood. It’s lovely and approachable. It really helps me to know Peter’s story as being separate from the rest of the Apostles.

If you are interested in knowing more about St. Peter, the book Our Holy Father, the Pope, has a lot of information about Saint Peter, the Popes & the Papacy. It is also a joint Ignatius/Magnificat offering. Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with them.


If you are looking for an easy summer activity to help cement the story of Saint Peter & the Papacy, try one of these:

Prayer Rock

If you have older children, go to a beach or stream and find a smooth rock to keep in your pocket. Use it as a reminder to pray whenever you touch it. Feeling crafty? Paint it! What does this have to do with St. Peter? “You shall be called Peter (Latin for rock) and on this rock I will build my church.”


Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade before Christ called him to be a fisher of men. Go fishing and experience the frustration of being up empty nets or the excitement of having them filled.

Popes cover

Pope Guess Who

Monica @ Arma Dei has catholic-ified a ton of games. If you are into games, try her version of Guess Who using images of the popes. It’s free if you join her email list. $5, if you’d rather fork up some cash :).


Personally, my favorite way to celebrate saints days is food-inspired because I have to feed them at least 16 times a day anyway:). These three ideas are at the top of my list from easy to divine!

Easy – St. Peter’s Fishing Net Chex Mix @ Catholic Inspired
Quick & Easy Fish @ Kitchen Stewardship

Divine – Polish Papal Cream Cake

This was apparently Pope St. JPII’s favorite food and it looks crazy easy. Puff pastry, a homemade custard & powdered sugar. I wish I would have bought the pastry I saw Saturday. Never ignore the urge to buy puff pastry in the store; it could be a nudge from the Holy Spirit! :).


Are you going to celebrate the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul? Do you have any favorite traditions?


Jen S.

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Summer Book Basket

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links; thanks for your support!


It’s been awhile since I’ve shared our book basket selections. With the kids playing outside so much, our read-aloud time has dwindled. As it should!

But it’s really my favorite way to reconnect with them so we do a “tea time” in mid-morning or mid-afternoon (or both!). We have a snack, read & pray before going back to work & play.

summer book basket

This summer, we have been reading a few things. Keep in mind that I don’t read every book every day. We usually get to 3 or 4 before the snack has been consumed & the natives are restless. They are 7, 4, and 2.

Catholic Resources


The Story of the Bible – Old Testament
We received this to review from TAN Homeschool and we have been enjoying it. It’s a nice mix of bible story with Catholic commentary on the significance of the story. It’s intended for older children, but the accompanying teacher’s guide has extra activities. We haven’t done any yet, but it’s summer. I did pre-order the full New Testament set, though.

saints for young readers cover

Saints for Young Readers – Vol 1 (Jan-June)
Our oldest reads a saint profile to us at least once a week or so. It’s good practice and she reads aloud better than some 20 year olds :).

jesus calling cover

Jesus Calling for Little Ones
This was so awesome, I bought Jesus Calling for me. Great little book! But short. We already finished it :).


Growing With Jesus
Still plodding through this one. We really do like it, but since we don’t do it daily…


book house vol 2

My Book House – Vol. 2

This gets great reviews at the Read-Aloud Revival FB group and it turns out, I had it. Well, most of it. I hadn’t cracked one open though, but we are loving the stories & poems. Fun stuff!

linguistic development cover

Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization

This one I dug out because the girls were waxing poetic one day about swinging. I started to recite they part I knew and my younger daughter instantly ran inside to get one of our picture books with the poem. I decided to try having them memorize it and both enthusiastically agreed. Who knew?


safety comics cover

KidPower Safety Comics
I’m so worthless about teaching them safety stuff but my middle child loves this book. Summer is a great time to concentrate on safe people, getting help & tricky adults.

laying rails children

Laying Down the Rails for Children

So I’ve gone back to CM/classical homeschooling and am frustrated beyond belief with being a broken record / slave. I was able to listen to Sonya Shafer’s talk on this from the state convention and jumped for joy when I heard they published a “reader” of sorts to go with the character training. I bought it that day and dug out the book. Her talk really made it click with me and we are starting with Obedience for the remainder of summer :).



So those are the mom picks for read-aloud time this summer. They are the more educational and/or less twaddle-y ones that they would not pick up on their own, but enjoy nonetheless :).

Do you pick books, let them pick, or both for your read-aloud time?

Jen S.

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Jesus Calling For Kids {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

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


I don’t know about you, but I always grew up assuming God loved me, but it hasn’t been until recently that I started to feel like there was a relationship there.

Jesus Calling for Little Ones Giveaway

I know I am no saint so when Tommy Mommy sent me Jesus Calling for Little Ones, I was really excited to have a devotional written as if God is actually talking to them.  And shows them a bible verse they can read or memorize that shows them that.

This was my first encounter with a Jesus Calling book and it’s vague enough to apply to a lot of things but specific enough to get to your heart.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I loved these devotions so much that I bought the original one for me and a big kid version for my older daughter.


Jesus Calling for Little Ones is a padded board book with 13 devotions and is appropriate for ages 0-4, but I would guess that 3-5 might get it more.  It would be ideal for early exposure, though.  If you’ve never seen a Jesus Calling book, I really recommend them.  They are simply beautiful!

If you’d like one for a child in you life, use the widget below!

Please note that a comment answering the question is mandatory.  Thanks for you for your integrity folks!

Good luck!

Jen S.

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Noah’s Noisy Zoo – a Cut-Out Board Book {Tommy Mommy Review & Giveaway}

Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks for your support!


This month, I received two really cute board books from Tommy Mommy. The first is Noah’s Noisy Zoo .


When I had kids two and three, I started collecting fun board books for littles that had some touch friendly element to them. This book is unlike any I’ve ever seen. Noah’s Noisy Zoo has cut outs and bump-outs that fit together so the book doesn’t LOOK any bigger than normal, but it has interesting features for the littlest bookworm.

noah's noisy zoo inside texture

This is a thick page board book and features bright illustrations and very few words making it ideal for the super young. It’s super easy to interact with older children by having them make the animal sounds. My two year old really enjoys it!

This is one of those books making the short list for any baby gifts I need to buy. Very cute and appropriate for a baptism.

noah's noisy zoo

Want a copy of Noah’s Noisy Zoo for a baby you know? Use the widget below to enter!

Please note that a comment answering the question is mandatory. Thanks for you for your integrity folks!

Good luck!

Jen S.

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