Favorite Homeschool Resources This Week

We’re thinking about sharing other favorite resources besides homeschool stuff. Let us know in the comments what you would find helpful – book/music/restaurant/food reviews/recommendations, kid activities, thoughts about family-related topics, or something else?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

*Liberty’s Kids

We love when we find resources that help us learn but is also so fun it doesn’t feel like learning! We discovered Liberty’s Kids after we bought the complete *Carmen Sandiego series. You can go on adventures with two young reporters who work with Benjamin Franklin from the Boston Tea Party to “We the People.”

Get your own copy *HERE.

*Ed Emberley drawing books

If you’re like me (Mom Joyce) and aren’t a natural at drawing and other art stuff, these Ed Emberley books are great. (You can see it works because here is my pirate ship.) I think Emily’s tutor used one of his books to have the class work on drawing upside down this past week. She had them draw shapes on their paper and slowly, as it came together, they saw it was an upside castle!

Get your own copy *HERE.

How Do Our Bodies Move? by SciShow Kids

Other Faves:
These are not directly homeschool-related but I have gotten so much out of the Ultimate Bundles. I have shared on social media from time-to-time which specific resources I have used and have been helpful. I don’t use all the resources, but the 70-98% off total price is completely worth it. If you are interested in the topic of healthy living, make sure to sign up to be notified when it is available to purchase. Sign up to be notified of the *Healthy Living bundle HERE. OR if you are a blogger or know lots of people interested in the topic, you can even sign up to be an affiliate and you can make a percentage when others purchase from them. *Sign up to be an affiliate HERE.

CLICK HERE to check out other favorite homeschool resources.

What are some of your current favorite school resources?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Favorite Homeschool Resources This Week

We’re thinking about sharing other favorite resources besides homeschool stuff. Let us know in the comments what you would find helpful – book/music/restaurant/food reviews/recommendations, kid activities, thoughts about family-related topics, or something else?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

*The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Vol. 3: Early Modern Times

We have had The Story of the World books for many years now. The regular books are good reads. We’ve done the map work on and off from time to time from the giant activity book. We recently got the audiobooks since we have seen/heard so many people rave about them. They seem to be great for road trips and such. This is our first year listening to the stories and the girls love them more than I thought they would. (Note: We listen to one chapter once a week and we’ve only been doing this for 2 weeks.) We are listening to the chapter that correlates to the history sentence we are working on in Foundations. While the CD is playing, the girls work on a coloring page that goes with the chapter. And then we do the map work. None of us are audio learners so this is great practice for us to work on our listening skills. I also plan to use the test books this year. The questions are a bit hard if you don’t work through more than one activity from the activity book so they will be working together on the tests.

Get your own copy *HERE.

*Basher Science Human Body

We have a bunch of these Basher books but we’ve been reading this Human Body book as well as the Astronomy and Planet Earth ones since those are the topics we were currently studying. They make learning so fun (even for parents!), as well as make hard-to-understand topics and processes easier to understand. Sidenote (or warning, depending on what knowledge you want your kiddos to have right now): Sperm and Egg are two of the “characters” in this book, as well as Hormones if you’re ready to have a discussion.
 Get your own copy *HERE.

*FORAY Mini Magnetic Dry-Erase Board, 11″x14″

Okay, to be honest, I did not think I would like having white boards in our home. If you have used white boards, you know the smell of the markers (even the low odor ones) and all the mess of the black (or whatever color you use) stuff that gets all over the place when you erase the board. We have a big board which we have yet to put up on the wall…probably the reason we don’t really use it. :p Well, this smaller board has been a game-changer and I’m going to get another one…or two. The girls love their board!! We use it for everything. They do review work. I use them to teach new concepts. They draw on them. When we have a break, I can write an encouraging note on them. Yes, the markers are still smelly and black stuff still get all over the place, but so far there are more pros than cons.

Get your own board + dry erase marker *HERE, ultra fine markers *HERE, or dry erase marker *HERE.

Kids Learning Tube

Other Faves:
National Number Knockout
– *Crayola Colored Pencils, 50 Count

CLICK HERE to check out other favorite homeschool resources.

What are some of your current favorite school resources?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Favorite Homeschool Resources This Week

I’m not sure if this will “stick” but we oftentimes get asked about resources we use for homeschooling. I will post from time to time and see if it’s something readers want to check out and/or if I have time to keep up. I love when friends share their recommendations so I can make a better decision on what is a great fit for us and what we want to include in our schooling.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

*Draw the USA

We are learning about the United States this year so we thought it would be fun to also learn to draw the states. We have worked on 6 states so far and we enjoy learning a few facts from Maps of the USA before we start our drawings.
Get your own copy *HERE.


*Draw Write Now Book 2: Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, Weather

We’d had this set of books for a few years and worked on them here and there. It is a little of everything – drawing, writing, and history.
Get your own copy *HERE.


Tour the States by Marbles The Brain Store

Other Faves:
– *Bostitch QuietSharp 6 Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener
– *Office Depot Top-Loading Sheet Protectors
– *EXPO Low-Odor Dry Erase Markers, Ultra Fine Tip

CLICK HERE to check out other favorite homeschool resources.

What are some of your current favorite school resources?

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

SF MoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

Captions by: Melody (10) and Norm (Dad)
Photos by: Dad Norm
More info here –> sfmoma.org

Before the SF MoMA

We got to ride on the BART train. I wasn’t so happy since I get motion-sickness. Once we got there, we walked, since we had to go to the Embarcadero station. We got special permission from the agent to go to Embarcadero since our tickets were damaged. I had to go through the emergency gate.

Lunch in San Francisco

Once we got there, we went to California Pizza Kitchen. Apparently, it’s also known as CPK. We sat at the bar and got great service. I got strawberry lemonade and my dad got Vitamin Water. Then, we ordered a half-pineapple, half-Margherita pizza, for us to share. I really liked it. Also, I got an extra napkin. I needed it since I was getting messy with my pizza.

Off to the SF MoMA!!!

We walked to the SF MoMA. It was quite a walk, but worth it because we got a lot of pictures with all the pieces I liked. (I’ll tell you more about that later.) So when we got there, the lady at the front desk recommended we start at the 7th floor (the museum has 7 floors) and work our way down to the bottom.


We followed her advice and went to the 7th floor, which turned out to be a music floor! My dad and I both love music, so this floor was perfect for us. This floor also had a wheel that powered all of the other machines around it. Each one powered the other.

The next room had a big “lake” with ceramic bowls floating around in it.  Once one bowl hit another bowl, a bell-like sound was emitted.  The area was very peaceful and tranquil.

We went to a room with a bunch of red cords next. Everyone was putting on headphones and walking alongside the cords. At first, I was thinking to myself, “Why are they doing that?” But when I put the headphones on, I understood. There’s an energy coming from the headphones and it sort of buzzes in your ear, getting louder, and LOUDER, and LOUDER as you get closer to the cords. I wasn’t too crazy about it since the buzzing was really loud, but my dad stayed longer. We ended up going back to the tranquil bowl place – which, luckily, did not have buzzing.

The next room had a big box with a bunch of cans and strings all across the place. Think of the game Telephone times 100. I know it’s kind of crazy, but you can actually hear the person if you find the right can! It’s sort of like a maze. Sort of like life.


One of the art pieces I liked was this water reflection painting.

This art sculpture was so amazing. I couldn’t even figure out which side was the front of it! It was really complicated, and my dad and I both agreed it looked like a stack of dominoes. All stacked up, just in a complicated – very, very, very, complicated way.


There were a lot of sculptures on this floor. If I was a namer for this museum, I would name this floor “the sculpture floor” because it’s full of sculptures. We also went to the Oculus Bridge, which isn’t a sculpture. We had to look way down to the first floor. I’m scared of heights! So I just stood back.


This is another painting that I liked. It was rainbow and hilly. There was also a distortion mirror you can look really funny in.


There’s also a sculpture garden outside where there is a “one-way” sign and people who come from way back when.  My dad wanted to take a picture with them. I refused. No matter how much he told me. Note: I am never going to blend in with historical figures. The wall behind the figures is a “living wall” that consists of 21 California native species of living plants.


On floor 2 is the Norman Zammitt (Canadian-born American) painting. We both really liked it because it was colorful and looked like a sunset so we tried to take a picture but it didn’t work. Somebody took a picture for us.

We also thought Emily would like this flower piece.


Floor 1 was the Figure 8 brown statue. We went inside it (we were allowed to go in) but it took us FOREVER, it seemed, to get out!

That was the end of our wonderful and exciting day.  Of course, our feet were tired and we were tired. But it was worth it. Because we love each other and had a good time together.

How far we walked: 4.88 miles

Have you been on a local mini-adventure lately? Where did you go?


Hayward Mural Program

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Captions by: Melody (10)
Introduction by: Melody
Photos by: Mom Joyce

More info here –> hayward-ca.gov/residents/arts-leisure/mural-program

I’ve always known that Hayward has murals. Actually, the only one I think of is the one at the theater. You probably drive past them too. But do you ever wonder, do these murals have a history? For Memorial Day this year, my family and I got a chance to get an inside glance at some of Hayward’s murals.

#2 :: Hayward Historical Society Mural by Artist Josh Powell

This was supposed to be the 2nd mural on the self-guided tour, but we saw it first because we parked our car in a parking lot nearby. This mural shows how cars changed Hayward and started an era of rapid growth in Hayward’s history.

Downtown Utility Box (diagonal from the City Gateway Mural)

There are lots of utility boxes that are decorated, just like this one, with the trees on it. You just have to look.

#1 :: City Gateway Mural by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

This one was my favorite that we saw. I liked how the artist captured the light and made so many details. It almost feels realistic!

City Gateway Mural welcomes you to Downtown Hayward, where all of the murals are located.

#3 :: Russel City Mural by Artist Josh Powell

Russel City Mural reminds people of a long-lost erof music and community.

“The city may be gone, but the memories live on.” The city of Hayward still stands strong.

Downtown Utility Box (near Russel City Mural – Artist Jean Bidwell??)

Here’s another utility box that we admired. Since it has the Grand Ole Opry on it, all of the people on the utility boxes are country singers.

#4 :: El Taquito Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

The El Taquito Mural was outside of a restaurant, so that’s why we were in a parking lot. I like the graceful curves in this mural. If I were to paint a mural (I never will!) I would have no idea where to paint these tiles so they lined up correctly.

#6 :: Italian-Themed Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

As an Italian themed mural, you’d expect it to have some kind of Italian etched into it, right? Well, it does. A staircase with roses beneath it, Italian-style houses…the beauty brings you straight to Italy.

#8 :: Avalon Jewelers Streetscape Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

The first thing I thought when I saw this mural was, “Why is there a huge soda can being dumped on this mural?” and “Why does this mural show unusual things?”

As it turns out, life isn’t always happy. There is chaos and there are unusual things, like the pet frog. But I like how this mural tells the truth: One big happy family with all of our differences. (Like the pet frog, which Emily luckily spotted first.)

#9 :: Cinema Place Parking Structure Murals by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

All of the Cinema murals are theater-themed. I liked the one below because the artist used blending. I’m an artist myself so I know how hard it is to blend. How did he make the spotlights?

#7 :: Downtown Hayward Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

Everybody was in awe and amazed by this one. It’s not every day that you get an inside look (with a magnifying glass) at what Hayward is made up of. Take a look and see if you can spot anything familiar!

When we spotted this door, we were excited because it showed where all of the utility boxes were, and everything! Side note: Where can you spot Cal State East Bay?


Downtown Utility Box (near Downtown Hayward Mural)

Our last photo on the list was this utility box. My favorite color is purple, so I took a picture in front of it with my sister.

We went to the car after that and drove home. It was about a 2-mile walk, not including the ones that we missed (below) so you can probably take your kids if they don’t mind walking. It was cold that day, so that’s why I have my hood up. We did the self-guided tour, but you can always reserve the guided one, too!

We only made it to 9 of the 12 murals this day. The murals we missed are #10 Hayward Main Library Book Drop Boxes, #11 Grand Terrace Sund Wall Mural, and #12 Jackson Street Southern Retaining Wall Mural. There are also dozens of utility boxes, more murals around the city on walls and under freeways, as well as murals at (almost all) the schools in Hayward.

Have you been on a local mini-adventure lately? Where did you go?

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Mini Lasagna Cups [Kid Food]

First in our Kid Food Summer Series is Mini Lasagna Cups. We originally found another recipe but decided to go with this one, so the ingredients aren’t exactly the same as the link in the bottom of the post. (This post is by Emily in case anyone was wondering who lovepeaceandstyle was.)

The Ingredients

I read the list of ingredients out loud and my mom got out all the stuff. (As you can see, we like to go to Trader Joe’s.)

We measured out all the stuff and it was really fun. The wonton wrappers were really flour-y.

The Process

Mommy was browning the meat.

I’m putting in the marinara sauce.

Jie (pronounced ‘jeh’ Chinese for ‘big sister’) is grinding the salt so the ricotta cheese will be tastier and more flavorful.

I did the same thing as Melody but with pepper.

I was stirring it together so the salt and pepper will not just be on top.

We were putting in the won ton wrappers after the muffin tin was sprayed with cooking spray. We like the coconut oil one from Trader Joe’s.

We put in a spoonful of ricotta cheese.

Melody put in the meat.

We put in the mozzarella cheese.

We added another layer of won ton wrappers and repeated the steps above with the cheese and meat sauce.

It’s ready for the oven!

Let’s eat!

We added a side of salad.

The Result


Our Thoughts

  • Dad – Added a bunch more meat sauce because of a bad experience with ricotta as a kid.
  • Mom – It was okay. Would have it again.
  • Big Sis – They’re okay.
  • Little Sis – They’re good.

We didn’t have a strong opinion about this recipe. It was super simple to make, but nothing fantastic. We’ll take or leave the salad too.

Recipe + Next Time…


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ground beef (probably only used a little more than a quarter pound of meat)
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (depending on the thickness, I think we could use a little less)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (if you don’t like cheese so much, decrease the amount of this one)
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 24 2-inch wonton wrappers (I don’t think ours was 2 inches)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (sounds good to us!)
  • nonstick cooking spray or oil to grease the muffin tin
  • chopped parsley, optional (the other recipe we were originally going to try didn’t have this on the list so we didn’t buy any)


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add meat and cook until browned.
  • Drain excess fat from meat.
  • Stir marinara sauce into meat.
  • Season ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. (You can skip the seasoning or season each lasagna cup layer lightly if you don’t want to measure out all the ingredients.)
  • Fit wonton wrappers into the tins.
  • Fill each cup with ricotta cheese, sauce mixture, mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat for another layer.
  • Place into the oven.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Bolded instructions can be done by younger chefs!

We probably won’t measure ingredients out next time since it is super easy to just put the ingredients in the muffin cups. Add more of what you like or use less of what you don’t like. It’s a customizable recipe! 🙂 The meat could be done ahead of time if an even quicker meal was needed.

What are you and your kiddos’ favorite recipes to make or foods to eat? Do you like sweets, savory treats, exotic flavors? Do tell!

We used this recipe. There’s a cute little video. Hover over the link before clicking on it with kiddos around in case you don’t want them to say that word.

Library Tour [Summer 2017]

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Summer Break!

[Summer Series Repost] Whether these two little words bring you feelings of panic or happiness, we probably all have to agree that we have to find a rhythm for our summer days so we don’t feel overwhelmed by feelings of having too much OR too little to do. Our family has had summers of both those dynamics. There were laid-back summers when we didn’t have any plans and just went with the flow of whatever someone called us up to do in the morning or afternoon or evening. There were full summers when we signed up for all the things and packed it in from morning to night. Haha…just kidding, we’re the Moys, we never pack it in from morning to night. :p I (Joyce) am pretty much done peopling after a half day anyhow. But we did have some summers that were fuller than not. And…after finding out how much camps costs (we’ll have to budget for them in the future or use college funds), we have come up with our own flexible schedule for the three months we are “off” for summer (because you know we never stop learning!).

If you are local to us, you can join in on our “fun,” and if you are not local to us, you can survey your own friends to find out what activities they like to do and places they like to go and come up with your on summertime calendar ‘o fun!

Library Tour

So, an afternoon activity we came up with (because afternoon sun does not agree with our skin) is visiting new-to-us libraries in the area! After asking friends about their favorite libraries near and bar, below is the list we came up with for our “library tour” for this summer.

  • Fremont Main
  • Pleasanton Public Library
  • Dublin
  • Manor
  • San Leandro Main
  • San Francisco Main
  • Union City Library
  • Newark Library
  • San Lorenzo

And here are others we may or may not have a chance to visit this summer:

  1. Castro Valley Library
  2. Little Free Libraries
  3. Cal State East Bay

And here are some other favorites of our friends that are not as close by:

  1. Sacramento Library on I St
  2. Sacramento State
  3. National Library in Washington DC
  4. Redwood Christian Elementary
  5. Dixon, IL
  6. Chabot College
  7. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Here’s what our friends had to say about their favorite libraries near and far!

We just go to the Dublin one because it’s close to our home but we love it. Clean, organized and spacious. – Yumi

When I lived in the Bay Area I loved the Manor Branch because it’s the first library I remember visiting and I loved the way it smelled and how cozy it was. There was a sunken area which I thought was really cool. My favorite library of all time might be the Sacramento Library on I St. because if the beauty of the building. – Betsy

Castro Valley Library 📚 because there’s a special corner by the window that is really comfortable. ❤️️❤️️❤️️ – Rocio

Many fond memories of young childhood at the San Leandro Main Library before the remodel. And while not glamorous, I got to know the library at Sacramento State really well. Favorite all time is our National Library in Washington D.C. I’ve done the tours, but I’ve used it for research (in the generic reading rooms as well as in the main reading room under the rotunda) too. Amazing, disorienting, awe-inspiring in both cases. All three have one particular thing in common: they have the appropriate “old book” smell. That is key. And don’t trust anyone who says otherwise. – Carrie

For public libraries, CV Library. It’s close to us and the kids have fun – checking out books and movies and finding books to keep in the used book store. I have another answer for my favorite Bay Area library. It’s not a public library though. Redwood Christian Elementary school has the best library I’ve seen in any school – mostly because of it’s awesome librarian. She makes books and reading so fun! Favorite library of all time was the one in my little hometown of Dixon, IL. The outside looked like a castle and the kids department downstairs was full of cozy bean bag chairs and fun book related decor. Summer programs were awesome! Brings back some great memories. – Beverly

Dublin library. I usually go between Dublin and CV, but I prefer Dublin. Clean. Spacious. More variety. – Karen

Castro Valley because it’s local and modern and comfy Favorite library: Chabot College. – Tori

CV for the family because of convenience. The boys make requests online and can usually get whatever they want/need. Favorite library: Probably the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. – Josie

San Lorenzo because of the awesome playground. – Christy

For AC libraries, I like the SLz Library because of the playground…one section for toddlers and one for bigger kids. I’m also partial to it because of the Japanese American history (they had a great display featuring JA history) and the Greenhouse Community Room. Many members/families from my church are listed on the plaque next to that room. Plus in general the storytimes and events aren’t as crowded (though this year the Lunar NY Dragon Dance event was super crowded). For general libraries though I think the San Leandro Main Library is one of the best because of their full care, movie “theatre”/event rooms, law library, children’s library, huge variety of dvds/blue rays and variety in general. – Jessica

We have seen some amazing libraries and would like to visit them all, but since we don’t really have time to do that, please share your pics with us! And we’ll be updating with pics from our library adventures!

Which library is your favorite? What is your favorite thing about libraries – storytime, activities, movie screenings, the books, art / collections displays?

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!