Beginner reader books for kindergarten/first grade

Having a large family, we go through multiple books to start the processes of reading.  Every child that begins to read, it seems I do an internet search and try and get all the easy readers so that I can order them from our local library.  With each child, it takes me time to get them ordered and then receive them only to find that they are too hard of a level, it can get frustrating.  Well with my 5th child, I finally got smart….I decided to make a list of the beginner readers and next step readers that we ordered so that it would be much easier every time a child would start reading.

We start our children out on basic phonics program–included in the free kindergarten school course.  I then start them out by doing easy reader books that we read each and every day.  These books listed are easy enough for them to become independent readers with repetitive words but short stories not to overwhelm them.

Bob books are typically one of the first “books” we introduce to our children to read.  Very simple text as you can see.

We typically go onto Dick and Jane books next as they are really easy as well.  We have this hard book copy that has multiple stories in one, but at the library they sometimes have them all separate.

Here is a sample of the text inside, lots of repetition in these books.

McGuffeys Eclectic Primer is another great resource for beginning readers.  You can get these online for free to read.  If not your local library should have a copy.

Here is my list of beginner reader books.  Most all are from Margaret Hillert.  I prefer older books as they usually portray a simpler lifestyle without all the flash to “convince” my children that reading is fun:)

Here is a sample of what the Margaret Hillert books look like inside:

Do an author search on your libraries website to find what books they have of hers.  Here are some we enjoy.

     The Snow Baby

Lets have a play

Take a walk, Johnny

The magic beans
The three bears
The yellow boat

Up, up, and away

City fun

The purple pussycat

The little cookie

A house for little Red

The little runaway

The boy and the goats

Come play with me

The little cowboy and the big cowboy

Four good friends

The funny baby

Away go the boats

The baby bunny

Why we have thanksgiving

The ball book

 The birthday car

The funny ride

Not I, not I

What am I?

I like things

Oh Cats! By Nola Buck

How many fish? by Caron Lee Cohen

Hot Dog by Molly Coxe

Bears on wheels by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The foot book by Dr seuss

The Berenstain bears and the big red kite

The berenstain bears and home sweet tree

The eye book

In a people house

Mitten series

The ear book

Go away dog

Pie for chuck by Pat Schories

Inside, outside, upside down

I know there are many more books out there.  When you start searching for one, you typically can find more like it.  These are just ones that I order for every new reader.  I’m keeping a record so that my life is easier.  Hope you can use some of these for your beginner reader.

Back to homeschool party ideas and free printables

Okay, who says that only children who physically go to school should have a back to school party?  I think we should have one for our children that are at home as well:) To celebrate school in pajamas and days of NOT having to get up and catch the bus:)  Or for the moms…..celebrating less crowded grocery stores during the day and the parks not being so busy.

Over the last year since we have moved here, we have started a small homeschooling group at our local library.  Our librarian was homeschooled herself and she knows it is hard to find other families to socialize with.  We started it and had two moms:)  There were times it was just me and the other mom for many of our gatherings, but that is okay.  We kept at it and now we have 6 families that get together and hang out.  You have to start somewhere.  It has been nice getting to know the moms and letting our children foster relationships with each other.  Good times.

We have been talking at our weekly gatherings about things we can do for the upcoming school year. One of those ideas has been a back to school party at our local library.

Here are some ideas we will be doing…….

Since we are incorporating the library……….you need books.  How hard is it to find back to school books for homeschoolers?!?!?!?  There are many older children books written in chapter format about children that are homeschooled, but for those younger children, is there any books out there??

I came across this book and love it.


It is called This is My  Home This Is My School by Jonathan BeanIMG_20160709_161456

It has great illustrations and is easy to read.  I have found a few others, but they are mostly written with lots of words and I have found that they do not keep the readers attention as much.  But this book has been great!IMG_20160709_161505

It is a fun book… your local library for it…it is something I will recommend to other homeschooling families to have on their bookshelves.

Some activities we have planned:

We will do an ice breaker game with M&Ms or some other small items in a bowl.  For every item they take, they will have to say something about themselves.  This will give them an opportunity to practice Speech skills in front of a small group.  We won’t tell them what they are doing, when they take the items:)

What is a party without food?!?!? My friend Summer, came up with doing Emoji cookies for the party.  Make simple round, cut out cookies and provide the children with yellow frosting, round candies, sprinkles, and candy eyes.  Let them create an emoji face.

We will also play find a friend Bingo using this printable.


This will be a good conversation starter for the children as well….Would you rather…… printable

would you rather

Here are some others to print off and include in a packet for them to work on at the library or to take home to do some extra pages

for the younger ones….. name boxes

how many letters in my name

a letter to mom


since we are doing the emoji cookies….we did an emoji story printable


I thought we would do a self portrait at the beginning of the year and tell the moms to save this and then we can do one at the end of the year.  Something to keep to show children’s progression in drawing.


You have to have a word search for back to school


and finally a page to have them write bubble letters of their names and then fill in different characteristics about themselves

bubble letters

We also have  huge poster size pieces of paper that Tammy is going to write an All About Me Poster for them to fill in.  We did mini versions of these back in the day that I got from Oriental Trading.  It has the children list their favorite foods, how old they are, favorite books, movies, how many people in their family, etc.  Something that they can fill in and decorate and showcase at home.  I will tell the moms to take a picture of it to hold on to for something to look back on as they are older.

Here are some other ideas to measure visual progress in your child’s learning goals.

*Do these at the beginning and at the end of your school year*

Take a photo in the same place to see how they have grown.

Have them copy a sentence to see improvement in their writing.

A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.—contains all 26 letters of the alphabet.

Do a fitness test—how many sit ups, push ups, or pull-ups can they do in 1 minute.  How long does it take them to walk/run one mile?

Keep a record log on the wall of all the books they have read this year.  Use foil stickers and have them “rate” the book on a scale of 1-5.

Here is a free printable–use cardstock for durability

book log

Hope you can use some of these ideas in  your own homeschool to have a mini celebration for back to school.  You still have plenty of time…..enjoy those summer days:)

Have a wonderful day and remember to smile and be a joyful Momma!



New Kitchen Skills Course FREE

I have had my Kitchen Skills course as a paid course that I offered here on my blog, but is is now FREE for you!

I have been using Coursepress as a plugin on my blog and for those that don’t understand computer jargon…..don’t worry I don’t either.  That is why I have deleted it.  It was complicated, users couldn’t sign in, it was freezing up my blog, hmmm I just didn’t feel good about having it on here, so it is gone.

I apologize to those that have started on there…you can still continue through this course, it is all set up with the same pattern–just easier to use.

I have now gone back to an easy to use format for you just to click and it directs you to a page on my site.  The only downfall is that you have to print off the tests and assessments.  Which is fine, you can have a paper copy of your work to have for your records.

My ultimate goal this year, is to get my other complete year of home ec course, solely on my blog.  I don’t like my children going to links that I don’t trust on the internet.  Thus I am working on getting it just within my framework.  For an easy to use course, safe, and no ads or popups to annoy you with:)  Keep watching……I will be working on that and aiming before the school year begins.

Enjoy this free kitchen skills course.  It is like my book  Home Economics Kitchen Skills but it is online only.  If you want a tangible copy and can afford to purchase it, click here.  But for those that cannot…..enjoy the free one within my site.

Click here to get started!!!!

Have a wonderful day!

My favorite books/videos for babies and toddlers

My daughter, who is away working at camp this summer, said to me the other day, “Oh I am so glad for your blog, I am able to keep up on what you guys do!”  It got me to thinking…….I know I like the idea of having family favorite recipes, different events and some of our life documented on the internet so that my children will be able to always look up something if they want to.  But I realized there is a lot that I have not put on here yet that I want to document so that I can remember it for my future.  Over the next few weeks, I will try and post things that I want to keep for reference so that in my “older” age I don’t forget about them:)

Today’s post will be some of my favorite baby/toddler books and videos that I have enjoyed over the course of having ten babies myself.

We have gone through numerous books and videos over the years and they have tons of great ones out there….but I want to document what have been my favorites to use with little ones.

Having so many little ones, I didn’t have time to sift through book lists and find the best ones out there, we just used what worked.   Over the years I have replaced these copies of books numerous times because we have used them so much.  As my children get older and have babies of their own I would love to be able to give my grandchildren a collection of books/videos that I had used with their mom and dads as a gift for a shower or something.

One of my all time favorite books was found through a friend of mine from college.  She recommended buying it as she enjoyed it with all of her children.  We have bought this book for Christmas for every baby for as long as I can remember.

Pat the bunny

This is a great interactive book.  You say Hi to Paul and Judy.  You feel Daddy’s scratchy face, you put your finger through Mommy’s ring, and so much more.  I know that they have other books in the series, and I had bought them at one time, but this has been the “keeper.”

Product Details

A Pig Tale

I received this book when my first child was born and I have read it with all of my babies over and over again.  It has good pictures and a rhyme like story.  About being resourceful with the things that you have.

Barney’s Favorite Mother Goose Rhymes

I am not big on Mother Goose Rhymes as I think some of them are such nonsense:) But, I have owned this book since my first child was born and I have read it with all of my babies over and over again.  We usually did the page with they rhyme and then the next page would have you do something like Barney did. Usually by the time we finished the story the child would be very sleepy and fall asleep as the last rhymes are Twinkle Twinkle and the I love you song.

Barney Plays Nose to Toes

Another favorite Barney book.  It is interactive and tells you to “touch your head, etc.”  We loved reading this over and over and following the actions.

The Farm Book

I have bought this with almost every toddler I think.  It is paperback and has not stood the test of time, but it is very simple and basic story with farm animals.

Bye Bye Diapers

I bought this book at a Cracker Barrel when my first daughter was being potty trained.  I still sing the song to this day….”Bye bye diapers, bye bye smell, bye bye tapes and pins as well………”  A favorite potty training book. I believe they have one with Kermit for boys.

Good Dog Carl

This was another book that I had received with my first daughter and have kept reading it over and over with all of my children.  They love the story as it is mostly pictures and no words.  They have a few more in the series and are definitely worth reading.

Only the cat saw

This is another great, simple book for toddlers.  The reason I think I liked this book was because it has a picture of a momma nursing her baby.  It doesn’t show anything but I could relate it to my little one while reading.  We have this book still on our shelf. Great vibrant coloring and pictures.

Richard Scary’s Best Book Ever

This book is great because it has a lot of scenes of daily life.  My children enjoyed me going through the book and telling what was going on with each picture.  A favorite since the beginning:)

Love you forever

Okay, who has NOT heard of this book?!?!?  It is the most heartfelt story to read.  If you are pregnant or going through emotional highs and lows, this book will put a tear in your eye.  Such a good story.  My children can recite the tag line of the story…..I love you forever, I like you for always…as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be…..

Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed

This story was turned into….Five little Maryon’s jumping on the bed by our daughter Lauren.  My children crack up and love to reenact this story while we read it.  A classic.

What Makes a Rainbow?: A Magic Ribbon Book

What makes a rainbow

We found this at a garage sale one day and my children have loved it ever since.  Whenever I see it while browsing through a Goodwill, I will grab it.  It has ribbons which make a rainbow in the story.  It is good to learn colors with.

Llama Llama red pajama

This book has made it to the list just over the last few years.  My toddlers loved this book and we have gotten all of the other books in the series as well.  This is our favorite and I will read this to my grandchildren one day as well.

Good Night Gorilla

Another great board book with lots of pictures to talk about.  My toddlers loved the “sneaky gorilla.”

Bear Snores On

This was added years later to my “list.” A good story that I will continue with over the years.

As far as videos go…….I don’t think babies need tv  time at all.  But I remember when I had many little ones and I would have a fussy baby, the only thing that would work playing over and over was Baby Einstein.

Our favorites and ones that we wore out the video cassettes were….

Baby Mozart

Baby Beethoven

Baby Einstein Neighborhood Animals

These I could play over and over again—-I kid you not.  I would be gated in a bedroom with newborn, toddler, and preschooler and we could just keep this going in the background and it kept everyone happy.

Then I discovered a Christian series of the same type of videos and we played these over and over again.

God Made Me

God Made Me

This series is exactly like Baby Einstein but has a Christian message.  I will buy myself a copy of these when I have grandchildren as well as my children.  I would hugely recommend them.

God Made Animals

God made Animals

We had gotten the Baby Faith before this series and they were okay.  Played a nice calming music selection with some different videos and I liked them as well, but when these came along, I would choose these as first place for babies.

God Made Music

God Made Music

These were the three that I owned. I would have loved to get more but my babies grew up.  I would be able to put this on and have my little ones mesmerized with the tv screen.  A definite must have for babies or toddlers!

I hope that some of these have given you some ideas for any little ones in your life.  I know some of them are going to be hard to find, but hopefully over the years I will be able to build a small library for all of my grandchildren out of these books.

Have a wonderful day today.  Get out in that sunshine, smile, and be happy for something in your day!! Be blessed!

honey bun cake

IMG_20160716_174157This recipe came about from a friend at our homeschool group, Summer.  We were discussing quick and easy meals and she shared this dessert as a go- to dessert for special occasions.  I finally got the ingredients and decided to make it this weekend.  ummmm, yes I should have made it sooner:)

Remember honey buns as a child??? This tastes just like them, but more “real.”  Try it, next time you need a dessert to take for something special.

I doubled the recipe that will be why you see “twice” as many ingredients.

In large mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream


Mix with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.IMG_20160716_124725

Take half the mixture and spread on bottom of 9 x13 greased cake pan.IMG_20160716_125040

In a small mixing bowl combine:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


Mix with a fork and then sprinkle over top of the batter in the pan.IMG_20160716_125909

Drop the rest of the batter on top of pecan topping.  Use a butter knife and spread it carefully to cover it completely.IMG_20160716_130321

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.  Take out of oven and mix in a small bowl the following:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 t vanilla

Poke with  fork holes on top of warm cake.  Spread frosting on and let cool completely.

IMG_20160716_143418  Cover with plastic wrap and keep covered.  This is delicious!!IMG_20160716_175409