All in one place: A reference post

Apparently I recommend things a lot, and I thought it might be useful to someone (ahem, Becky, Sherry… 🙂 ) to have all my recommendations in one place. SO… while this may not be every recommendation I have ever made, it will be as many as I can think of at the moment. Hopefully you find something you like; personally, I love all of these things. And I’m not getting paid by any of them to say that. (And I’m in no way guaranteeing any of them, though to the best of my knowledge and experience they work great.) I’ve included links to everything, so I’m not really going to go into too much description of what they are, just why I like them. 🙂

Crafting stuff:

Fat Quarter Shop: This is where I buy all my fabric online. They have fair prices, sometimes amazing sales, and they stock a TON of stuff. They also carry packs of fabric that’s already cut, and quilt kits. Their shipping prices are good, and they have great customer service.

Joann Fabric and Craft: This is where I buy a lot of my fabric in person. Good prices, great coupons, really nice selection.

Custom Crops: This is where I buy scrapbook and other crafting supplies online. They have the best prices on Cricut cartridges that I’ve found, if you’ve tumbled down that particular well. They also carry glimmer mist and lots of other wonderful things.

Homemaking:
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life: This book changed my entire outlook on homemaking and cleaning. Seriously life changing.

Education:

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style : This book is essential for anyone starting out homeschooling, or just trying to sort out their view of education or trying to figure out their child’s learning style. I seriously cannot recommend this book highly enough. A word of warning though- DON’T get the Kindle edition- there’s a multi page survey in graph form (that’s essential to the whole point of the book) that is rendered completely ineffective in digital form.

A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning, A Charlotte Mason Education, and More Charlotte Mason Education: Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is what we’re following for our homeschooling, and these books give the best introduction and practical application I’ve found. The first is long and is meant to be read over a period of time and thought about, the second two are super fast reads but SUPER informative. I recommend reading the second two first, and then getting into the first one. (I really should have put them in a different order, shouldn’t I? HAHA, I’m not changing it now!)

Reading:

LeapFrog – Letter Factory: This DVD, along with the Talking Words Factory, Word Caper, Learn to Read at the Storybook Factory make up a FANTASTIC introduction to letters and reading. They really work incredibly well. There are math DVDs too, but we haven’t used them as much. I should get them out again.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: This is the book we used with Z, and it is fantastic. We did have to stop at around lesson 65 as it takes the kids up to a 1st or 2nd grade reading level, and she hit her personal ceiling. HIGHLY recommended.

Now I’m Reading! Playful Pals, Level 1 : This is what we’re working through now for reading lessons, and Z is loving them. Each “book” has 10 mini books inside, and there are 5 or 6 sets.

There Is a Bird On Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book): Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series is a new hit at our house. The words are straight forward enough that Z can read them, and the pictures are hilarious enough that she WANTS to read them.

Tell Me A Story Cards: OK, so technically I haven’t actually tried these yet, but I have it on good authority that they’re amazing, and I just ordered them. There are 4 sets, “Mystery in the Forest”, “Fairy Tale Mix Up”, “Little Robot’s Mission”, and “Circus Animals’ Adventure”. The pictures on the cards look really evocative, but vague enough that you could get some really great story telling happening. At less than $10 a set, I kind of want all of them.

Art:

Come Look With Me: World of Play : This series of books is so fantastic that I want to own every single one. Each two page spread contains a full page reproduction of a piece of art, and the facing page has a little paragraph about the piece and the artist, and questions intended to get your kid really looking at the art, finding new things, thinking about it. I LOVE these.

MathArts: Exploring Math Through Art for 3 to 6 Year Olds and Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff (Mary Ann Kohl Books): Both of these are chock full of AWESOME and fairly easy art projects.

The Artful Parent: This blog is full of super fun ideas for art projects to do with kids, we’ve stolen at least 4 or 5 since I started reading it just about a month ago.

Filth Wizardry: Also full of crazy fun art ideas. So inspiring.

Yoga:

Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown: It’s a quick, intense, good workout. Lots of movement within poses to keep your heartrate up, short periods of holding the poses to build strength.

Fat Free Yoga and Ultimate Stretch Yoga Workout : Both of these are Kundalini Yoga, and so there’s lots of movement, lots of crazy breathing. 🙂 I LOVE both of these. They both come equipped with a heavy duty Matrix menu where you can pick and choose which parts you want to do, which is awesome when you have a specific amount of time.

Shiva Rea – Creative Core Abs and Yoga Shakti: Both of these are by Shiva Rea, who is a crazy amazing yogi. They’re both very flow-y, with a lot of standard yoga asanas that flow effortlessly (hah!) into each other. Yoga Shakti includes some super heavy duty moves, but they tend to be inspiring rather than depressing (at least to me). Both workouts are filmed in amazing settings- one of the beaches is seriously SO pretty. And Yoga Shakti comes with a Matrix menu. The Creative Core Abs really is “creative”; she introduces the movements and then says “do what you want! Let your body move!”, which could be kind of irritating if you don’t like that kind of thing. I enjoy it, and definitely feel it the next day.

Gaiam Kids: Yogakids Fun Collection: The two dvds in this collection are awesome. My girls LOVE them, and love yoga because of them.

Music:

Cape Verde: I love this album for it’s “multi-culturalism”, but mostly for it’s ability to make me feel like I’m living in an Ocean’s Eleven style heist movie. The girls really enjoy it too.

You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell: This is what Z calls “calm music” – calming and quiet without being boring. I turn this on when the girls are getting crazy and it tends to tone things down a bit.

Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123’s, and Here Comes Science by They Might be Giants: Awesome music that teaches basic letters, numbers, and science concepts in a way that won’t want you to cut your ears off. Seriously, some of the songs are really catchy. We listen to “High Five” in increments of about 30 times in a row.

That’s all that I can think of at the moment. If I’ve recommended something to you and forgotten and you think it would be helpful, let me know and I’ll add it.

Now it’s your turn! What do you recommend?

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