Belle, Book Clubs and Spock

Belle Cake

My birthday is next week. It is one of those milestone years. You can guess what year. I want this Belle cake. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and Belle is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Every time I take one of those goofy Which Disney character are you? tests, I always get Belle. Did you know that a live action Beauty and the Beast is coming out next year?

Things that made me happy this week

I’ve been an avid reader all of my life, but have never joined a book club. This week, some friends (Maggie from Bright Ideas Press,  Kim from WriteShop, Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations, and Kendra from HomeschoolIRL) and I started a book club. A cyber book club, entirely online. Our first book is going to be The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.  We have lofty goals too…making sure everyone gets through this list.

Something I’ve made


Does a puzzle count? This is a fascinating 4D puzzle of New York City. The puzzle is built in layers, showing the history of the development of the city. I am not really sure where to put this when I finish, so I’ll probably just take it apart and put the pieces back in the box.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love


I finally read The Giver and couldn’t put it down. My son has read the entire series, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I read The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life by Dr. Laura, 3 history books by Morgan Llywelyn, and I just started The Last Kingdom, a book I discovered from a BBC commercial. 

All of these books can be read on Oyster, with just a $9.99 per month subscription.

In our homeschool

After taking a few weeks off, we are now back to school full time this week. Our school district started on Tuesday, so to celebrate our freedom, my son had several friends over and one ended up staying the night. Lots of history, math, science, engineering and logic are taking place this year! Now that our bookshelves are 100% organized, there are many things that we forgot we had and now want to use this year.

On my blog, in case you missed it


Linking up with my friends Kris and Mary.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Win a History Timeline Gift Basket

This giveaway is now over. Congratulations to Amber Y in Pennsylvania!


Every year around this time, the bloggers of iHomeschool Network come together to bless other homeschoolers by hosting a massive gift basket giveaway. Each blogger creates her own basket and gives it away on her own blog. This year we have 34 participants! Be sure to visit them all!

My gift basket this year is full of resources to help you get started with using timelines in your homeschool.


In addition to those books, I am including these supplies:

  • Crayola colored pencils
  • A complete 6000 year timeline printable on cardstock
  • double sided tape


a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Timeline Resources for Homeschooling History


Before I get started talking about timelines, I want to let you know that soon you’ll have a chance to win almost every single one of these books, plus a basket full of resources to help you incorporate history timelines into your homeschool. Subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media to be notified of the giveaway next month!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Keeping a history timeline has been one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling. We have had a timeline in some form or another for 9 years now. It started out with one super long strip of black tape stretching all across two walls. This lasted through our first 3 cycles of history: ancient, middle ages, and renaissance.  When we hit American history, we took the whole thing down, and started using smaller strips that covered an entire door.

When our second round of history began and we restarted ancient history, I thought it would be more convenient to place the timeline in an accordion style book. Since I could never seem to find the perfect template with dates already added, I made my own, using Excel.

Keeping a timeline has helped us perceive time in a different way. Since we often study different civilizations independently of each other, it may not occur to us that certain events or lives from different civilizations overlapped, until we place the figures on the timeline.

For example, did you know that in the same year Robert Bruce became king of Scotland, the Mongols invaded India? And that during the years that Joan of Arc campaigned with the French army, the emperor Itzcoatl began to lay the foundations for the future Aztec Empire? During the short reign of El Cid in Spain, the king of Norway conquered several areas of Scotland and Wales, while much of the world was focused on the Crusades.

Timeline Day

Timeline Day happens once every week or two. This is the day that I pull out the History Through the Ages CD, the Classical Conversations timeline cards, along with half a dozen or so other general history books.

1. We quickly review the stories, events, and people we have read about since the previous timeline day, making a list of what needs to be placed on the timeline.


2. We print out 2-inch tall images of all the relevant figures from the History Through the Ages CD. Sometimes, I will print out larger versions, like the two in the photo above, for a series on the early Roman emperors.

Timeline resources for homeschooling history

3. We look through the books in the photo above. Each of these books is arranged chronologically, which makes it very easy to see if we have missed an important historical figure or event.


4. The last step is to check the wall chart. This huge 6-foot timeline is from the book Time Chart of World History. The chart compares events that took place in different parts of the world during the same period, and shows the rise and fall of empires and countries.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

DK’s Timelines of History and Military History


DK Publishing and homeschooling go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

I love them.

I love adopting all these little gems into my library.

Coming soon, you’ll have a chance to win both of these books, plus a basket full of resources to help you with incorporating history timelines into your homeschool.

Timelines of History

Timelines of History is very similar to Timelines of Science, which I shared with you in Unique Approach to Science. One thing that you have to remember with most history books is that evolution and millions-of-years are often mentioned in the first few pages. This book is no exception, but with all DK books we find it very easy to just skip over those sections since we believe that evolution and an old Earth is a theory and should not be taught as a theory and not fact.

It contains a massive amount of information, all nicely laid out…


The table of contents divides time by era from early civilizations to technology and superpowers.


A timeline that runs along the bottom of each page of the book.


Fascinating stories of significant developments, like writing and record keeping.


Stunning photos of artifacts.




Engrossing charts that this one that shows the output of planes and warships during WWII.


Lots of maps. A book after my own heart.


Data. Lots of random tidbits demonstrated with numbers.


Artwork, like this 1830 painting from Edward Hicks.


Quotes throughout.


An excellent and very thorough index, full of directories like the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire.

Military History

Military History

Military History follows the same format as Timelines of History.


Loads of stunning photos of artifacts and equipment used throughout military history.


Stories about the development of new weapons and transitions from old.


Little known facts, like this one…Roman commanders were spoiled with heated floors.


A photo of the timeline that is spread out along the bottom of each page.


More artifacts.

Both of these books can be purchased in hardcover or paperback on Amazon. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog or follow me on social media to be notified of the timeline resources giveaway next month!

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Cornfields, Graves, and True Love

Cemetery cornfield

The little things are the big things when it comes to marriage. See that patch of trees in the middle of this cornfield? There is a cemetery in those woods. A teeny, tiny cemetery with only 9 graves. My husband happily went in there to take some headstone photos while I was a scaredy-cat and hid in the car. TrueLove‬

I am a cemetery volunteer, so I take photos of old headstones for people who are too far away to visit local cemeteries. I’ve never been in a cornfield in my entire life and I never want to. Children of the 80’s probably understand why I hate cornfields.

Things that made me happy this week

Other than the fact that I have a husband who is willing to go through a cornfield, climb over an iron fence, and take pictures of headstones to satisfy my little hobby…Christmas in July is tomorrow. We put our Christmas trees and Nutcrackers back up a couple of days ago. Fandom Christmas tree loaded with DIY ornaments from Star Trek, Star Wars, Sherlock, Once Upon a Time, Middle Earth, and Harry Potter. Minecraft Christmas Tree

We put a couple of presents under the tree and we are going to eat pot roast and watch movie all day on Saturday, just like we normally do on Christmas day.

Something I’ve made

Last year, I made my son a Doctor Who/Harry Potter/Star Wars/Lord of the Rings pillow. Don’t ever use heat transfer material on fleece. It won’t last long. I tried to recreate the pillow using regular fabric and a zipper.  The instructions for sewing your own zippered pillow case look so easy. Whatever. I won’t even show you the mess it became. So I took the easy way out and bought some zippered pillowed cases instead.

Uber-Geek pillow: Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Sherlock.
This new one is so much nicer than the old one. I’ve tried to steal it from him several times, just like I stole his K9 slippers the day I took this photo.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love

Books for history loving geeks

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home is by far one of the BEST books I have ever read. A description from Amazon: Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two “dirty centuries”? Why, for centuries, did rich people fear fruit? In her brilliantly and creatively researched book, Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen, covering the history of each room and exploring what people actually did in each – providing a compelling account of how the four rooms of the home have evolved from medieval times to today, charting revolutionary changes in society.

Harry Potter and History and Star Trek and History are fantastic books that explore the REAL history on which the stories are rooted. 

All three of these books can be read for free at Oyster (unlimited ebooks for only $9.95 per month.) If you use my affiliate link, you’ll get a $15 credit and I’ll get one too!

In our homeschool

Lessons   TED Ed

School this month has been consisting of just math, science and history. We’ve had a lot of lazy days full of reading and TEDEd videos. My son is also doing the Brain Chase summer challenge, which he says is a ton of fun. Because I was paid to promote the program, he is not eligible to win the prize, but he is still really enjoying the challenges.

He is also taking the CAT test this week. We use this as part of the portfolio for our end of the year assessment.

Linking up with my friend Kris.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

In a world fill of Cheerios, be a Froot Loop

In a world fill of Cheerios, be a Froot Loop
This is my image of the week. I love this picture. I actually have it hanging on my refrigerator right now as a reminder to my son to not be a conformist, to be himself and follow his own interests, regardless of how weird other people may think those interests are.  I know we all worry about our kids, especially when they hit the teenage years and they really start to feel the effects of peer pressure.  The pressure to just fit in or to completely disappear into the shadows can be a strong pull. But just like Alice told the Mat Hatter when he asked her if he had gone mad, “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” 

Things that made me happy this week

Oyster Books. There is just something about this service that makes me read more than ever. Maybe it is because it shows similar suggestions at the bottom and through this I have discovered books I never knew existed. Maybe it is because, unlike being on Amazon, I don’t have to think about whether or not I really truly want to read a book before buying it. Oyster has unlimited ebooks for only $9.95 per month. If you use my affiliate link, you’ll get a $15 credit and I’ll get one too!

Here are some of the books I have read recently, all free at Oyster:


Creating Innovators  |  To Marry an English Lord  |  Keeping a Princess Heart: In a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World  |  Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha  |  Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine  |  The Last King of Wales: Gruffudd ap Llywelyn

And right now I am reading:


Star Trek and History (Wiley Pop Culture and History Series)  |  Xenophobe’s Guide to the Welsh

Something I’ve made

Framed Star Wars O-H-I-O, made with vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo. Go Buckeyes!
I made this for my husband. He said he might even take it to work and hang it in his office.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love

We discovered a series of books about the history of Scotland and its famous residents, written by Allan Burnett. In Macbeth and All That, you’ll learn the difference between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the real Macbeth * Discover how dark the dark ages truly were * Investigate Macbeth’s dealings with witches and Vikings * Uncover the true Lady Macbeth. There are also books about Saint Columba, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and more. The Kindle versions are $3.99 on Amazon or you can read them for free through Oyster Books.

On my blog, in case you missed it

Linking up with my friend Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.