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Chuggington "Snow Rescue" DVD & Escapade Action Playset {Review}

My little one fell in love with Chuggington when we received the Chuggington StackTrack Brewster’s Big Build Adventure Play-set and Chuggineers Ready to Build DVD. It was new to us and he's been asking for more Chuggers ever since. So I was very happy to have the chance to review a new playset and DVD. In fact, I was able to give it to Bo for his 4th birthday, which tied in perfectly with our winter themed celebration!

We received:

Chuggington “Snow Rescue” DVD (MSRP $14.98) Available at Amazon.com.

The fun and adorable episodes include:

1. Snow Rescue Special
2. Iron Chuggers
3. Deputy Chug Patrollers
4. Movie Maker Brewster
5. Toot's Tall Tale

Bonus Features:

1. Badge Quest Episode: Wilson's Winter Feed
2. Character Montages: Fletch, Cormac and Tyne
3. Printable Coloring and Activity Sheets

Chuggington is really a cute series full of lessons on safety, responsibility and teamwork. I enjoyed watching these with my three youngest children, ages 4, 7, and 9. The characters are hard workers, look out for each other, and take their jobs seriously. They also have a lot of fun!

Chuggington StackTrack Koko’s Icy Escapade Action Playset by TOMY (MSRP $39.99, ages 3 and up) Available at both Target.com and Amazon.com.

Koko's Icy Escapade Action Playset features Koko and the Ice Cave. Koko is pulling along his cargo car and has to be careful going down the rickety bridge with the ice cargo. My little one quickly learned how to pick-up the ice in the cargo car, crash through the ice gates and makes his rounds around the track for hours of fun delivering the icy cargo.

What I like:
  • it's easy to build ~ little ones can even construct the playset by themselves
  • it's designed for elevated layouts, several different designs can be built and sets can be connected
  • it's sturdy
  • it welcomes imaginative play or kids can "play" by reenacting scenes from the show (which focus on safety, responsibility and teamwork)
  • the Chugger trains are cute, high quality and die cast, and my littlest one loves to carry them around with him
Bo is excited to meet all the Chuggington characters. In fact, Bo's favorite way to play is to combine the two tracks we have for one big adventure.

Here's his latest layout:

"It's so fun," he says!

Disclosure: I received these products for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

Polished Cornerstones {Proverbs 31:10}

A peak at our first two week unit from Polished Cornerstones by Doorposts, which I am doing with my almost 8 year old daughter, Eliana. (My husband is doing Plants Grown Up with the boys).

{Planning page from the printable CD that comes with the book.}

Read When I'm a Mommy with tea and cookies!

(This is an adorable paraphrase of Proverbs 31 that not only makes it easier for young girls to understand, but moms too, as it describes the P31 woman in our world today.)

A Young Lady of Valor coloring book. 

Homemade "Ruby" Dolls

Eliana sewed hers with a little help, which was good for practicing patience ~ one of the fruits of a virtuous woman. There is a Ruby Doll kit you can purchase, but I opted to make our own with pipe cleaners, wooden beads, felt, and yarn.

Fruit of the Spirit Bracelets to help her memorize Galatians 5:22-23.
{Inspiration for the bracelets}

I think we both enjoyed this unit and look forward to many more! 

Around Here

My monthly auto-ship order came two days ago, and I'm still so excited to have such a wonderful stash of oils in my home! I'd like to share a little about what I ordered, but more importantly, I want to share my vision for health, wellness, and abundance. Young Living is about all three and I believe God has a desire for me to be healthy, well, and to live an abundant life.

{Unpacking my order!}

{A rainbow of colors} 

It was a fun to see that I ended up with a all the colors of the rainbow. It was an unplanned blessing. 

(I love all things rainbow.)

Back row from left to right: Vetiver and Treasure of the Season (free with my 300PV order), Frereana Frankincense, EndoFlex, Melrose, Orange, Citrus Fresh, Lemon, Relieve It, Peace & Calming, PanAway, Sacred Mountain, Valor, Clove, and Cedarwood. 

Front row: New 2015 Product Guides (beautiful!), the Wellness Collection, and the Farm Oils Collection. ♥

I bought the gift collections so that I could give a few of the oils as gifts and get my hands on some oils I've been wanting to try.

It was a happy mail day!

That's me with two of my favorite oils (though I have many favorites). These are especially important for me personally to keep my health and energy levels up so that I can fulfill all of my roles as a wife, mom, teacher, and home keeper!

EndoFlex is important to my thyroid and adrenal health and Frankincense is important to my emotional health and more.

I am not only living a healthier life, and our family is staying well and able to fight off sickness with immune boosting oils, but I am also more emotionally grounded with Frankincense. A happy mom means happy kids!

What I love about Young Living, besides the fact that I believe in the quality of their oils and love EOs, is that the business is all about helping people. It's about health, wellness, and abundance.


So, I am sooo excited about the business side of the oils.  I never imagined I would be. I joined to get my oils at wholesale prices. But, the thought of earning free oils and getting my oils paid for really appealed to me. . . and I'm doing just that. I was able to get my oils paid for my first month of trying and had a lot of fun doing it! To see how I did this, see my post Essential Oils for the Homeschool & How to Get Them.

If I didn't have such successful leaders guiding me through this process, I don't think I would have been motivated or encouraged. But, I am, and I'm excited to be growing.

I am following in the footsteps of my leader, who is following in the footsteps of her leader, who is following in the footsteps of her leader, who is a Crown Diamond. All this means that I have really successful leaders! And part of being successful is helping your team members grow.

I won't say that I don't work ~ I work hard, but it's fun work! Much of it is stretching me and pushing me outside of my comfort zone, but it is also growing me in areas that I know God wants me to grow in (like getting over my fear of putting myself out there and fear of rejection).

I knew the oils would improve our health, but I never imagined that God would use Young Living to grow me and to bless us financially, so it's such a wonderful surprise. I love how creative our God is! 

Dreaming Big

I recently learned that the first step to living an abundant life is to dream big. My husband is a dreamer and it has always driven me crazy! I'm so realistic and practical. I'm a doer. I don't dream something that I can't set my sights on doing.

But a wise man once said, "You'll never live life beyond your wildest expectations until you first have some wild expectations."

I do have a burning desire and dreams are the fuel that provide the sheer will power that allow you to say, "I can, I will, and I must" to fulfill that desire, according to Matt Morris.

I also learned from Matt Morris that

"When you don't pursue your dreams, a little part of you dies inside. Going after your dreams gives you energy. It gives you life. It gives you fulfillment. And the most widely recognized definition of success is the progressive realizations of a worthwhile dream. So what that tells me is that true success comes not from the end result but from the pursuit of your dreams. So begin to dream again."

I think that's why I love Five in a Row so much. Planning for a new row is like dreaming of our dream homeschool and for one week at a time, we get to live that dream.

I've never let myself dream big. In fact, I'm so practical and realistic that for the longest time I wouldn't Pin anything to Pinterest unless I thought I would actually do it. So I started a Pinterest Board titled "In My Wildest Dreams." So far it has reading nooks and hallways lined with book shelves!

But, beginning to dream again feels good! And Young Living is why I am dreaming again.

Who wants to dream with me? 

Wild Horses of Sweetbriar {FI♥AR}

This book seemed like a wonderful book to follow our row of The Finest Horse in Town. It is out of print, and not available at our local library, so I had to borrow it via ILL ~ which means I had to row it in a timely manner! I didn't get the notice when it was checked out to me, so I had one week to row it. So our row was simple and I didn't have time to add any extras. Our row was mostly discussion from the manual and a few other activities like learning what flora and fauna are and making fish chowder and blueberry bread (of which Eliana made all by herself!). 

Wild Horses of Sweetbriar, based on a true story, takes place on a small island near Nantucket. It is about a little girl and her love for the lonely island and the wild horses. It is hard watching the horses go through such a long, hard winter and suffer such extreme hunger, and we are left to wonder what happens to the horses after the little girl and her family move away. But, I love the fact that it is a remembrance of her time on the island. 

For Social Studies, we talked about islands of wild horses and living in isolation. For Language Arts, we covered first person point of view, and talked about remembrances of our own. I intended to have Elli write her own remembrance, but she is keeping up a Project Life Mini Album, so she is recording her memories. ♥ For Art, we did the lesson on Comparison and depicting memories and dreams. For Science, we learned what flora and fauna are and she glued cut outs from magazine on card stock for each one. We also talked about all of the flora and fauna on the island and found all of the ones listed in the manual in the book. We learned about herd behavior as a tie into our last row.  Math was supposed to be liquid measurements (which we did tie into our FIAR Recipe), but I had planned to make and can blueberry jam with Elli and read Blueberries for Sal with Bo, but I forgot all about that because I lost my planning sheet until today!

Animal Science: Horses and Herd Behavior

Science: Flora and Fauna

FIAR Recipe: Blueberry Bread and Fish Chowder

Wild Horses of Sweetbriar is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 3. 

We only have a few books left to row in Volume 3: Paul Revere's Ride, Andy and the Lion, and Andy and the Circus (the latter which is out of print and hard to find, so we'll see on that one). 

Right now, I have a stack of Volume 4 books sitting in front of me to start planning for, plus a few Volume 1 and 2 books that I want to row again with Elli. Since I started Volume 1 exactly 4 years ago (!), she doesn't remember all of our rows.  I still find it so hard to believe that she wasn't even 4 yet ~ Boaz turns 4 this month! I was also rowing with Malachi, who was going on 6 at the time, so it has been a fun adventure rowing with them both. Now that he is older, my main focus has been on her. Even so, he still likes to participate in all the fun stuff. And now she'll get a chance to have some of the same experiences. 

I have two Before books to row with Bo this winter, several this spring, and several next summer as well. He's been asking me to read more to him, so I'm hoping to finish up Sonlight P 3/4 this winter/spring. He is begging me to start the P4/5 books already. After asking me several times, I finally pulled them off the shelf for him to look at. He's not ready for some of the longer chapter books, so I'll start by reading the longer stories from P 3/4 to him at night before bed to get him ready. It's always been the best time to read chapter books to my kiddos and I really miss our read-aloud time. 

This coming year I am going back to year round schooling. I'm really excited to start fresh this spring. Since we are finishing up Volume 3, and moving into Volume 4, it will feel like a fresh start. Elli will be ready for her new math book this spring and will be close to finishing her reading and spelling as well. We'll take the rest of the year to row Volume 4 and those I've thrown in the mix. Then by spring 2016, I'll have a new plan! 

The Finest Horse in Town {FI♥AR}

The Finest Horse in Town is an unusual story in that it is actually three smaller stories that are all about guessing who took care of "the finest horse in town" ~ a horse named Prince.

"Long before my mother was born, her aunts owned a store in a small village in Maine. They had a smart gray horse who pulled a shiny black buggy when they went out riding. Prince was the finest horse in town. But no one remembers who took care of that beautiful animal while the aunts were working in their store: perhaps it was a sneaky trader who tried to steal him, perhaps it was a one-legged harmonica player who taught him to dance; perhaps it was two children who once saved Prince's life."

I had fun with the kids by having them guess which one they think likely happened by choosing their favorite one, and we did an activity for each story.

1st Story

I was inspired by the poppies in the book. They grow all over in a small mountain town near us and I enjoyed seeing them on our drives, so we did the Poppy Study from That Artist Woman.

2nd Story

We had a Patriotic Supper inspired by the Five in a Row cookbook and the 4th of July celebration in the story.

We had BBQ Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Lemonade, and Red, White & Blue cupcakes for dessert.

3rd Story

We spent the most time during this row doing fall nature studies. We collected some wonderful nature loot to study later and enjoyed the fall colors and the warm weather we were having! We went on several nature walks over the course of a week and it was really wonderful! Now that winter is here, I'm so grateful we spent so much time outside enjoying fall.

On all of our walks and adventures, our goal was to find COLOR!

With all of the nature loot we collected, we made a nature study table and invited some animal friends to play. 

Bo enjoyed sorting all of the berries and seeds by color. Then we practiced counting. 

Exploring Creation with Botany ~ Lesson 6: Leaves

Elli's science narration:
Trees lose their leaves in the fall because they loosen up and the chlorophyll gets ready to hibernate so they have to lose them in the fall so the winter doesn't hurt the tree.

Leaves are important because they get all the sunlight and make food for the tree. It takes in what we breathe out and takes out what we breathe in - carbon dioxide and oxygen.

[What does photosynthesis require?] Sunlight, air, water, and chlorophyll.

[What happens to leaves in the fall?]

The leaves fall because the leaves get looser and looser and when the leaves blow, they just fall right off. [Why do they get looser?] The scab stops the leaves from getting water. The leaves turn color because they don't have chlorophyl. Chlorophyll is what makes the leaves green.

Horse Care

Caring for Horses (Horsing Around) & Complete Horse Care Manual were both great books for learning how to care for horses.

The first book was really easy to read and had some great horse care terminology like "mucking out" "turning out." It also recommended this video on horse care. The second book helped us understand more of the terminology and offered more specifics. We skimmed through this book reading what interested us, but also used it for our next row.

Earlier this school year, we went on a field trip to learn about horse care. (I had intended to row this book back then.) We got to see a horse get re-shoed and took home some souvenir nails.

Can you guess what we rowed next?