14 Gift Ideas that Keep on Giving

Although the holidays are over, gift ideas are always needed. I know that I sometimes have great ideas and sometimes I can’t think of anything cool or creative. I decided that I would make a list of 14 go to ideas for gifts that keep on giving and cause little clutter in the home.

14-Gift-Ideas

1. Magazine Subscription

I know what you’re thinking, magazines just cause clutter. They can, but you can donate old copies to local libraries, second-hand stores, schools, and I’m sure more. Another idea is digital subscriptions. They can be viewed on a computer, tablet, or phone and won’t take up space in your home.

2. Subscription Boxes (Monthly Gift Boxes)

This is a gift that really keeps on giving every month. The most important part is picking the item that your recipient would want to receive every month. After giving the gift you will want to make sure that it is going to their address. Some ideas are:

  • Meals
  • Beauty and Health
  • Clothes (socks, t-shirts)
  • Bagels, spices, hot sauce
  • One of a kind items
  • Cookies
  • Snacks
  • Drinks (beer, coffee)
  • Flowers
  • Stationery
  • Reading Clubs/Book
  • Science
  • Pets (food, grooming, toys)
  • Toys
  • Art
  • Jewelry
  • Gaming

3. Paying for Summer Camps or School Trips

When I was younger, I used to go to different 4-H camps in the summer and had a lot of fun. Camps and school trips can be very expensive for families, so you could help those you know by paying for part of the experience or the whole thing. Imagine the joy you could bring to the child that coming summer or the trip.

4. Music Lessons/Art Lessons

Do you know any budding musicians or artists? Providing them with lessons might be just what they need to build confidence or enter that contest. Online or in-person lessons are great for those you desire to learn more about their desired fine art or need guidance. Online lessons can be good, because if people are busy  then they can do it in the comfort of their own home. They can also be less expensive than traditional lessons. Traditional lessons can be useful if the fine art needs to be done in person, like pottery. I’ve discovered that string instruments can definitely be good for lessons, because if you’ve never played one it’s hard to show someone. Those lessons can be the motivation someone needs to keep moving on.

5. Online Computer Programs or Subscriptions

There are so many different computer programs available online these days. There are downloadable ones and ones that are only online. I’ve seen programs for young children, teens, and adults. There are educational games, fun interactive games, and useful tools. Some programs that I’ve had experience with and seen are

  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • MathRider
  • Minecraft
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Fortnite
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • CTC Math
  • IXL (learning program for kids)

6. Gaming Systems and the Games

Are you holding onto a gaming system and it’s games (Atari, Nintendo, PlayStation, Sega Genesis, etc.)? If you aren’t using it, why not pass it on to the next generation. They might have as much fun on that Atari as you did. If you don’t have your old systems any more you could purchase used systems and games or buy them a brand new one. Some games are even downloadable now, especially the ones for the pc or the newest gaming system.

7. Instruments/Music

Many people would love to own an instrument, but they can be expensive to purchase and fix if there is something wrong with it. You could purchase one or give money towards the purchase. You could also purchase sheet music for them. There is sheet music for almost every era and genre.

8. Clothing

I know that an abundance of clothes can cause a lot of clutter in one’s room or closet, but there can be clothes that are necessary or just for fun. If you’re looking for a young child, it could be dress-up clothes (fun) or socks and underwear (boring, but necessary). As children get older they might need special clothes for school, think sports and concerts.

9. Food

For the past few years, I’ve discovered that it’s fun to both give and receive food. I like giving food, because you can give favorites or foods that are special treats. There are subscription boxes (makes it easy for you) and also mixes, dried foods, cookies, and more. There are also gift cards for many of the different restaurants. I simply suggest that you know what your receivers like to eat.

10. Experiences and Trips

I know this wonderful lady who has taken her grandchildren on special trips. They’ve gone all over the world. I know that we can’t all take our loved ones on trips to exotic locations, but we could go on special day trips or have a stay-cation. One of my sisters gave her nieces and nephews experiences of their choice (had to be reasonable) with her. They went on hikes, to the pool, bowling, miniature golfing, and to museums. It was special one-on-one time or they could bring their siblings if they wanted to. It was a present they would remember for a long time.

11. Books/E-books

Do you know anyone who loves books? Then you can get them books as presents. Of course, you don’t want the books to turn into clutter for them, so think carefully about your choices! You could

-Give them the latest best seller with explicit instructions to pass it on.

-Ask them what they would like (depending on their choice you could have them pass it on).

-Give them one of your own books off your bookshelves.

-Give them a book you enjoyed at their age.

Just remember to stress that they don’t have to keep the book after reading it. They can pass it along. There can be great joy in passing a book along to someone who will also enjoy it.

12. Memberships/Yearly Passes

Do you need gifts for your entire family? Do you know families who like going to zoos, museums, water parks, amusement parks, to the gym or anywhere else there’s a membership needed? This will definitely be the gift that keeps on giving any time they do that activity. They might actually go out and do that fun activity with the passes. There could even be extra special summer or holiday activities they would enjoy. Our children have had passes to the bowling alley during the summer time that they used at least three times a week.

13. Movie, Theater, or Concert Tickets

I don’t know about you, but it’s getting mighty expensive to go to the movies, concerts, or to the theater. If you know anyone who enjoys these activities you could gift them with the opportunity to go to a certain number or performances. I know that some of the larger movie theaters have gift cards. If you use those, your recipient can get popcorn, drinks, and candy too.

14. Hobby Supplies

I know that hobby supplies can accumulate and clutter the room or even the home you are living in. The trick when giving hobby supplies as a gift is to get them not what they want, but what they need. My daughter loves to bake, so I could get her fun things like decorations or cupcake papers. I might even go crazy and get her items like eggs, sugar, flour, or even vanilla (wild, I know!). I’ll give items I know she’ll really use a lot. It can save her money if she receives them as gifts. I could also get her something she could really use. A cupcake carrier! She needs one so she can take her fancy cupcakes to potlucks safely.

Other hobbies are gardening, sewing, quilting, grilling, art, photography, crocheting, knitting, and more. Just remember to get what they need and will use!

Now that I’ve given you all of these different ideas, go make a list of people you know and start thinking of different gift ideas! Happy gifting.

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A Fun Grammar Curriculum from Easy Grammar Systems (Review)

We received this product to review!

Daily GRAMS

Is your family struggling with grammar? Or do you have a 7th grader who needs a little bit more help with grammar? Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7 from Easy Grammar Systems could be what you have been looking for. The purpose of this curriculum is to give students a daily review while helping them master different grammar concepts, which are usually repeated within 25 to 30 days.

Daily-GRAMS-Cover

Each of the 180 daily lesson is one page and should take 10-15 minutes. Each lesson contains capitalization review, punctuation, general concepts, and sentence combining. It also includes analogies, spelling rules, and compound/complex sentences. The Teacher Edition contains the daily lessons, answers, and extra information.

Format-Guidelines

Our Experience: 

When I learned about Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7, I was very interested. C and I have been looking for a while to find a program that would work best for her, because most of them have been too easy or too hard. I am please to say that this program works for her.

Since she is currently in 8th grade and this program is for 7th, I intend this program to be used as a review for her. Together we decided she would complete 2 days each time she worked on the program, which is 4 days a week. Since we only have the Teacher Edition, I have her work out of the book, copies of the pages can also be made. It usually takes her less than 15 minutes, and she is learning grammar that she hasn’t learned yet. When she is finished with this book, we shall see which book will work best for us. (Here are pages from near the end of the book.)

Day-174-175

Mama’s Thoughts:

-I really like this program, because C is able to work on it independently. If she doesn’t understand a certain question or concept, she can look it up on the internet or ask me for help. She is also able to do the daily lessons within the amount that it says, which is very encouraging for her.

-I like that the concepts taught are repeated every 25-30 days. I know that repetition is best for learning ,and this method will help the C remember what she is learning. There are sample pages here- Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7.

-Having answers is great! I like this, because if I don’t know it or are uncertain then I can look at them if C has come to me with a question. I have had to use this part several times.

Answers

C’s Thoughts (girl, officially in 8th grade):

I do two lessons every day because they are short and easy to do.

Here are some things I like about Daily GRAMS.

1. My favorite part of this product is the sentence combining because it is fun to combine sentences.

2. I like what a short amount of time it takes to do my lessons every day. It takes around 15 minutes.

3. I also like doing the capitalization sections.

Here are some things I did not like about Daily GRAMS.

1. I do not like the Parts of Speech: Adjectives because they are hard for me to figure out.

2. I didn’t really like doing the Antonyms/Synonyms/Homonyms either, because it was confusing.

Day-20-21

I think this product would be good for people of all ages, because it could be used as a refresher course or a learning program.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EasyGrammarSystems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Easygrammar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easygrammarsystems/

Easy-Grammar-Systems-Logo

Recap of pertinent information!

Product Link: Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7

Vendor Information Link: Easy Grammar Systems

Age Appeal: 7th grade or review for other grades

Format: Teacher’s Guide (a physical copy is what we received) and PDF versions are available. Student Workbooks are also available.

Price: Please check the product link for current prices.

Mama recommends Daily GRAMS:  Grade 7  for 7th grade or as a review for other grades!

Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought about this program and several others!


Photo of the Week!- Summer Vacation Storm Clouds, Part 1

We went for a family summer vacation in August. It was a lot of fun getting to spend time with not only my immediate family, but my extended family as well. We had a small family reunion! On the day that we began journey to the west we came upon these clouds. You know that I like sharing photos of clouds, so this is the 1st of 2 that I’m going to show you. What kind of clouds do you think these are? Please comment and share! Have a great day!

Summer-Rain-Clouds-1

Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing (Review)

We received this product to review!

Zeezok

Are you looking music appreciation program for your homeschool musc program? Or does you child want to learn more about composers, the music they wrote, and more about music theory? Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades from Zeezok Publishing has all of that and more. There are seven composers whose lives are explored in nine biographies written by Opal Wheeler (the one about Brahms was by Sybil Deucher):

  • Frederic Chopin

  • Robert Schumann

  • Richard Wagner

  • Stephen Foster

  • Johannes Brahms

  • Peter Tchaikovsky

  • Edward MacDowell

Zeezok-Biographies

The Student Activitiy Book, written by Elisabeth Tanner and Judy Wilcox, contains many different topics including history, geography, character traits, recipes, timelines, comprehension questions, music theory, activities to journal, and more. This book along with the biographies also meet all of the national benchmarks for music appreciation. There are also QR codes that link to the different songs and extras mentioned. If you don’t have a QR code reader, there is also a website that contains everything.

Student-Activity-Book

Our Experience: 

I think that it is very important for all students to learn about different genres of music and about the theory behind it all. I had originally planned on having C work on this program, since she is going into 8th grade. I couldn’t interest her at all at this time. B on the other hand showed a lot of interest (You can read his review below).

He decided to chose Richard Wagner instead of starting at the beginning with Chopin. I decided that we would work on this together. I would read the chapters from the book and we would work on the Student Activity Book together. We soon discovered that the biography was geared to children much younger than he is, but he stuck with it. He did enjoy the workbook and activities.

Richard-Wagner-Schedule

When I took a serious look at the rest of the Student Activity Book and the rest of the biographies, they contained a lot more information about music theory and the music from the different composers. I think he would have gotten more out of learning about the other composers from a music appreciation point-of-view. We did learn a lot about what Wagner was like as a child and adult.

Mama’s Thoughts:

-I think that this program is best for those in 5th and 6th grade, because while the Student Activty Book had more involved topics, I don’t think that the biographies will interest most 8th graders. I feel this way, because of the illustrations and the focus on the different composers was primarily when they were young.

-I would recommend that parents do the Student Activity Book with their child or at least look at it ahead of time. I found out the importance of this when discussing Wagner’s family life with B. Almost all of that section was dedicated to his affair with Cosima Liszt. I thought the rest of the activities and information were great.

-I liked how the Student Activity Book focused on the positive character traits of the different composers each week. I also liked the recipes and Tidbits of Interest from each of the chapters. We were able to learn more about the geography, history, and other people along with the corresponding pages from the biographies.

 Activity-Book-Character-Qualities

-It was convenient that the answers were at the end of the section for each composer.

-The QR codes were neat, but I found it easier to go to the website to find the extra songs and information.

B’s Thoughts (boy, age 15, officially in tenth grade):

When I was first looking through this product, I was quite excited. I have been playing the clarinet for several years now and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to learn about the history behind the music. Instead I was finding myself sorely disappointed.

It started when we opened the box an found that one of the books was hardback. Now, I’m not necessarily taking points off, but I did think that it was interesting, and something to note. Although it might have just been a packaging mistake. So, after starting it off with a bit of a warning, lets get into it.

The book about Richard Wagner was just boring and mostly just focused on his early life, and not the music that he has composed. Now, I do understand and know the importance of the early year on one’s life. In this case however it crowds out everything else and you don’t get to focus on the individual pieces. Another reason that the read was not very enjoyable was the writing style. Although I must say, that I am a bit above the target age range, so maybe to someone younger it is enjoyable. And if you like what you’re reading don’t let me keep you from buying it. I am just giving my own opinion and experiences.

So, it was written in a historical fiction style. And my worry with everything like that is if it introduces more fact than fiction. And that is why I prefer a more essay style, clear and concise. My major warning with this is that it contains a lot of dialogue. Which in the annals of history is hard to keep track of, so a little bit of a warning about that.

The workbook was where it got some points back from me. There were some very fun and engaging activities, that kept my interest peaked, along with some dousing of historical facts that the history geek side of my happy. For example, in the section about Wagner there was an activity where you found your favourite song and discussed its focus. I had quite a lot of fun discussing Beautiful People by Ed Sheeran and featuring Khalid (which is an awesome song if you haven’t checked it out yet)!

Music-In-Context-section

While I did have fun, in this case based on the section about Wagner, the negatives outweighed the positives, and I would pass on this one.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zeezokpublishing/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZeezokPub

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/zeezok/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ZeezokPublishing

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zeezokpub/

Zeezok-Publishing-Logo

Recap of pertinent information!

Product Link: Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades

Vendor Information Link: Zeezok Publishing

Age Appeal: Middle Grades (5th-8th)

Format: All physical copies (one Chopin book was an e-book for us)

Price: Please check the product link for current prices.

Mama recommends Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades for younger grades!

Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought about this.


Explore England With the Novel – Britfield & the Lost Crown by C. R. Stewart (Review!)

We received this product to review!

Britfield & the Lost Crown

Britfield & the Lost Crown is an adventure book that takes the reader or listener from Yorkshire to the Cliffs of Dover in England. Does this sound exciting for your family. Beginning in Yorkshire at the Weatherly Orphanage, we learn about Tom, who has spent most of his life there. Tom wants to leave with his friend, Sarah, but it is going to take the help of all of the orphans to escape from the strict and unkind people who take care of them. Shortly before they leave, Tom learns about the word Britfield. He has no idea what it means, but he plans on discovering it. They escape and are followed by a Scotland Yard detective, police officers, and people from the orphanage. With the use of a stolen hot air balloon they are able to travel from Oxford University (where they become friends with a professor who can help them learn more), to Windsor Castle, London, and to the cathedral in Canterbury. They learn that Britfield is an old British name with ties to the throne. Could Tom be the true heir to the throne? Will they be able to trust those that come in their path? Are their enemies perhaps those who really are watching out for them? What happens to the orphans who were left behind to face the wrath of their guardians?

About the Author:

C. R. Stewart is currently based in San Diego, California where he is an adjunct professor, is on the Board of Horizon University, and is working on a Master of Science in Advanced Management and a PhD in Strategy. He founded Devonfield LLC, an organization that has high quality in education, publishing, and production. He has 20 years of experience writing. He traveled for 2 years in England while researching for this book.

Britfield-&-the-Lost-Crown-Cover

Our Experience: 

I spent a month in England when I was in college and have always enjoyed sharing my memories with my children. I thought C would enjoy reading about some of the areas where I enjoyed spending time. She did! We started this book as a read aloud. When we went out of town, I had C read it on her own, because at that point in time we weren’t having much time together with just the two of us. We have both finished the book and are looking forward to the next one.

We didn’t use the Britfield & the Lost Crown Study Guide (www.britfieldinstitute.org/resources/) as much as I had planned. I was going to have us work on the Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and Going Deeper sections when we were finished with each chapter. We got so caught up in the story and with the out of town strip, that I plan on working on the study guide later. I’ll be using it as a test to see how much C can remember and her abilities to search for the information in the book.

Mama’s Thoughts:

– Since I’ve been to England, I was really excited to read this book. I knew that areas I’ve been to would discussed, and I was interested in learning how much information would be given. I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to experience Windsor Castle, London, the city of Canterbury, and Dover. It was fun and I was drawn to Tom and Sarah’s troubles and trials as they traveled across the country and met new people. This is the 1st book in a series of 5, and I can’t wait until the next one comes out in the fall of 2020 . I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to Tom and Sarah in France in Britfield & the Rise of the Lion.

-I thought the Britfield & the Lost Crown Study Guide (www.britfieldinstitute.org/resources/) was very comprehensive. Almost every chapter had its own section of:

  • Vocabulary (word search, multiple choice, match the word and definition, fill in the sentence, crossword, and more)
  • Open-ended Comprehension Questions
  • Going Deeper (Where the student puts more of their opinions into the answer)
  • Learn More With Technology (using the internet to find locations, learn history and current events, and more)
  • Conclusion with Story Elements (determining plot, conflicts, characters and their traits, and theme)
  • Vocabulary List
  • Answer Key

Inside-Britfield-&-the-Lost-Crown

B’s Thoughts (boy, age 15, officially in tenth grade and in public school):

B is busy with public school, so you will not see many reviews from him.

C’s Thoughts (girl, age 13, officially in eighth grade): 

Britfield & the Lost Crown is about 2 orphans that escape from an orphanage. One of them might be the true heir to the British throne, but it looks like they will be captured and sent back to the orphanage before they have a chance to solve the royal mystery.

I think Britfield & the Lost Crown is a really good book, because it’s something you pick up and never want to put down till you’re finished.

Here is what I like about Britfield & the Lost Crown.

1. It is a real cliff hanger in between the chapters.

2. It is a really interesting story plot and I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next.

3. It’s an action packed, mysterious, and adventurous book.

I think this book would be good for people of all ages because you can have it read it aloud or read it to yourself.

Britfield_logo

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBritfield/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BritfieldWorld
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/officialbritfield/

Recap of pertinent information!

Product Link: Britfield & the Lost Crown

Vendor Information Link: Britfield & the Lost Crown

Age Appeal: Juvenile Fiction (Middle School)

Format: We received a paperback. It is also available in an e-book format, hardcover, and audiobook. It has 386 pages and the ISBN is 978-1-7329612-1-0. There is also an 83 page PDF study guide ( www.britfieldinstitute.org/resources/).

Price: Please check the product link for current prices.

Mama highly recommends Britfield & the Lost Crown.

Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought about this.


Photo of the Week!- Dirty Truck

We recently went on a trip on a dusty dirt road. The next morning there was a lot of dew on the ground and the heavy dust turned to mud. After it dried, I was able to write infamous words, “wash me.” I don’t see many vehicles lately that have been dirty enough to do that. Have you? Have you ever written on a dirty vehicle?

Truck-Travel-Dirty-Writing

Classical Literature Guides for 8th Grade from Memoria Press (Review!)

We received this product to review!

Memoria-Press-Literature

Are you looking for a strong classical literature study for your children or a program that will challenge your children that are in 8th grade? Look no further than the Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set. This set from Memoria Press includes the Treasure Island Set, The Adventures of Tom Sawer Set, The Wind in the Willows Set, and the As You Like Set.

Our Experience: 

I want C to have a strong education. I have discovered that I really like what a classical education provides. I was happy when I learned that there would be a chance to review the literature guides from Memoria Press. Since C is going into 8th grade this year, we looked at the guides for 7th, 8th, and 9th and decided that 8th grade was going to be perfect. I waited until the guides to arrive before letting C pick which one she would work on first. I also made sure that we had easy access to all of the books, because they weren’t included with our sets. C chose to do The Wind in the Willows first. I think that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will be next followed by Treasure Island, and As You Like It.

The-Wind-In-The-Willows-Guide

Since there wasn’t a schedule given with this literature set, we have made our own schedule. The first day C will read the chapter and fill out the Reading Notes, on the second day she will answer the vocabulary definitions and quotations plus some of the comprehension questions, on the third day she will finish the comprehension questions, and on the fourth day the Focus Passages are completed. It does change a little from week to week, because sometimes discussion questions are also added. Some chapters will take a little bit longer than four days, because it takes her longer to answer everything. There are quizzes also available. The following photos are from Chapter 5, “Dulce Domum.”

The-Wind-In-The-Willows-Chapter-5


The-Wind-In-The-Willows-Chapter-5-1

The-Wind-In-The-Willows-Quiz

Mama’s Thoughts:

-As I look at the Teacher Guides for the other books, I’m wondering if C should have picked a different book to begin with. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  (Tom Sawyer Teacher Sample found here) andTreasure Island (Treasure Island Teacher Sample found here) don’t involve so much from the student. The Reading Notes are filled out for the student and there aren’t as many comprehension questions or Focus Passages. I didn’t know which book to begin with though, because there isn’t a schedule given with the program. It would be nice if a simple schedule of listing the order of the books would be nice. I would also appreciate a rough break down of what a week should look like.

The-Adventures-Of-Tom-Sawyer-Set

-The Teacher Guides forThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer andTreasure Island contain more information than does The Wind in the Willows (Wind in the Willows Teacher Sample found here). They discuss marking passages and how to use the guides (there is no schedule though). All of the Teacher Guides contain the quizzes and answers.

Treasure-Island-Set

-I like how the Treasure Island Student Guide has an appendix of nautical terms that includes an illustration of a ship and it’s parts. It will help a lot when we read this book.

-I’m glad that we will be saving As You Like It (As You Like It Teacher Sample found here) until the end of the school year. I think it will be hard for C to get into Shakespeare, so I will be working more with her. We will read it aloud and work on the guide together. 

As-You-Like-It-Set

B’s Thoughts (boy, age 15, officially in ninth grade and in public school):

B is busy with public school, so you will not see many reviews from him.

C’s Thoughts (girl, age 13, officially in seventh grade): 

I worked on The Wind in The Willows. I am looking forward to doing Treasure Island, because it looks really interesting.

Here is what I liked about The Wind in The Willows.

1. I liked the vocabulary, because it is good to learn new words.

2. I really liked reading the book because it is interesting.

Here is what I did not like about The Wind in The Willows.

1. The Comprehension Questions and the Focus Passages were difficult for me to do.

Working-On-Chapter-5

I think this product would be good for 8th grade and up.


Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memoriapress/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MemoriaPress
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/memoriapress/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/memoriapress
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memoriapress/

Recap of pertinent information!

Product Link: Eighth Grade Literature Guide Set This set included Treasure Island Set, The Adventures of Tom Sawer Set, The Wind in the Willows Set, and As You Like Set

Vendor Information Link: Memoria Press

Age Appeal: 8th Grade

Format: All physical copies

Price: Please check the product link for current prices.

Mama highly recommends these Memoria Press programs to your family!

Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought about this program and others.