I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

This past weekend was filled with two of my most favorite things...conversations about homeschooling and books...lots and lots of books. I had the privilege of speaking and shopping at the annual Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators Conference. 

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

speaking at the MACHE homeschool convention

The Hubs, who spends many summer weekends backpacking across the trails of the upper midwest came with me and brought his biggest pack to help with the hauling. He's use to carrying his own weight in gear for days on end. But let me tell you, that pack has never seen so much action. As always, I somehow lost all my sensibilities as soon as I stepped into the used book sale room and began tossing cash at total strangers demanding they "hand over the books before someone gets hurt."

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

I was a hot mess.

But, it was worth it, because I came home with a whole trunk full of treasures. While I didn't necessarily lug home any "curriculum" items, I came home with all the fun extras and plenty of new stock for the family library

Here's a quick peek at what all came home with me. 

(Almost all of the items I purchased and that are shown in the photographs are gently used or vintage. I've supplied links to as many of them as I was able to. But, please note that the old-edition book covers shown in the photos will not always match the new-edition covers you'll find online.)

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Paper packs

With the exception of printer paper and standard notebook paper, I typically buy all of my school paper and notebooks from Miller Pad & Paper each year. Not only do I love supporting another homeschool family, I love the quality and price of their supplies.   

5 My Sketch Notebooks (for different grade levels)- I will be teaching a creative writing class in a co-op next year and these will be one of two different journals I will use in the class.

2 pads of thick-lined primary handwriting pages

pack of small-boxed graph paper- I find that it is easier for my kids to do their math work on graph paper instead of scratch paper or notebook paper because the small graph boxes help to keep their number columns in line. 

2 packs of medium-boxed graph paper- My boys write larger and need the medium-sized boxes for their number columns.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Art Supplies

The Hubs is a professional artist. Whatever he buys for work is what I try to stock in my home. Passion-directed learning requires an investment in REAL tools. Also, quality supplies seem to last so much longer than Crayola or other department store brands. 

2 packs of 24 Lyra Watercolor Pencils- Watercolor pencils are our new favorite art medium. We've already gone through an entire box this year! They are perfect for young kids who desire to have the "watercolor" look but who have trouble staying in the lines or controlling a large brush in a detailed picture.

36 Prang Colored Pencils- I've not used this particular brand before, but apparently these pencils have very durable points. They don't break easily like so many other color pencil brands. 

2 white General's charcoal pencils- The Hubs and Greased Lightning love to do charcoal and chalk drawings and are excited to have white charcoal for making highlights. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Delight-directed activities

Each of the following items was purchased with a particular child in mind. They will be strewn about over the next few weeks and will no doubt provide hours of delight-directed learning fun.

pack of collector's pocket pages- Both of my middle boys have a stamp collection that is always well-stocked thanks to eager grandparents who save their discarded mail each week. Up until this point, my boys have just used baseball card sleeves to showcase their stamps. But, I was able to find this pre-opened stack of collector's pocket pages for them instead.  

blank paperback sketch book- Greased Lightning, like his dad, is a "certified bird nerd." At only six, he's a walking bird encyclopedia and an artist. He spends at least an hour every.single.day drawing birds, and reading about birds, and drawing birds, and reading about birds. He wants to make his own bird "field guide" with this thin little sketch book and will enter it into the county fair this summer.

critter view magnifying box- The kids have voted and it looks like our summer nature study project will be INSECTS! So, I thought a magnifying box might come in handy. We'll catch them, view them, and then mount them??! 

an owl pellet- For the "bird nerds" to dissect together.

Ravensburg 35 piece puzzle- My youngest is a puzzle fiend.

Draw Cars- Blonde Warrior has been obsessed with muscle cars since he was two. 

Easy-to-Make Playtime Castle- We're smack dab in the middle of the Medieval era and I thought this paper-doll-like castle making cut-out kit would make for a fun afternoon project for the entire crew. 

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Life Skills and Morning Basket Books

While these are not books that go with any particular "curriculum," I bought them all with purpose and will use them in our morning basket activities next year or for individual life skills reading. 

Annotated Art along with Lives of the Artists- These will make for wonderful additions to an art history study. 

Who Is My Neighbor?- This is the third book in the Apologia world view series that my daughter has been working through for the past two years. 

The Boy's Body Book- I have been on the hunt for the last couple of years for a puberty book for my growing boys. While I've found several great ones for girls, I've been really disappointed in the selection available for boys. For the most part, they are all sub par...seeped with bathroom humor and crass language. While it is still not perfect, The Boy's Body Book is surprisingly pretty good.

If you should decide to purchase this title, here are a couple of things you might want to be aware of. While it is relatively clean and promotes moral behavior, it is not a "Christian" book. The author begins with the assumption that the boys reading this book:

  • go to a traditional school (A few school scenarios like homework and bullies are discussed.)
  • might want to date girls or might begin to have "feelings" for girls (While the author affirms that those feelings are perfectly normal, she encourages boys of this age to just remain friends with girls.)
  • may come from many different family situations including same-sex partnerships (Here is the only actual verbiage from the book on that issue. "You might have noticed this book mostly talks about the 'adults in your life' or 'adults at home' instead of using he more specific 'parents.' That's because not all boys are raised by their parents. Some boys are raised by a single parent, grandparents, two moms, two dads, in foster families, blended families, by aunts and uncles, and combinations of the above. We want those boys to understand that this book is for them, too. Every family is unique and different from every other family. What's important is that you have an adult in your life who you can trust.")

Big Truths for Little Kids- I actually purchased this for a friend who wants to include it in her morning basket routine next year. It is a catechism-type book for protestant/evangelical Believers. Apart from one tiny blurb about infant baptism that I always skip, it's a great book!

Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners

Created for Work- This is the second book in a series of three that my oldest son has been working his way through. It is an absolutely fantastic series that encourages strong, Biblical manhood and character.

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Field Guides

Along with being "certified bird nerds," The Hubs and Greased Lightning are naturalists and love pouring over our ridiculously large collection of field guides. If I ever see guides at garage sales or used book sales, I snag them up. This weekend was no exception. 

A Golden Guide: Weather

A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians

A Field Guide to the Birds

The Reader's Digest North American Wildlife

Our Amazing Birds

The Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Other Non-fiction Books

One of my sons is a naturalist and another one is an all-things-military/WWII enthusiast. So...

A Child's First Library of Learning: Insects

Question and Answer Book of War Vehicles

Junior Science Book of Bird Life

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag


A Discovery Book: George Rogers Clark-While I know I can easily get lots of biographies from the public library, I can rarely find Discovery Books among the shelves anymore. Their vintage look just doesn't seem to appeal to librarians. But, the series is one of my most favorites for young readers. So, when I find them, I buy them. All of them.

A Discovery Book: George Washington Carver

George C. Marshall

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Fiction and Easy Readers

The Adventures of Silly Billy

Viking Adventure and The Sword in the Tree- I am a huge fan of Clyde Robert Bulla books. They are perfect for inspiring bravery and honor in boys through a good story.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Junior Deluxe Editions)

A Place for Peter- This is the sequel to Mountain Born which we read together a couple of years ago.

The Minstrel in the Tower

Homeschool Shopping Show-n-Tell 2016-come take a peek into my shopping bag

Preschool & Picture Books

Some of these were bought as nostalgic additions to our family library, because they are titles The Hubs or I enjoyed as children. But, most of them will be included in The Dudes "curriculum" for preschool next year. 

Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever

Childhood Readers: Pets and Play Times

James Herriot's Treasury for Children- I've read and re-read this with my kids for the past ten years, but we have never owned a copy of our own...until now!

The Poky Little Puppy

Scuffy the Tugboat

The Golden Egg Book

Phew! That was quite a load. Now to find room on the shelves for all of them!


  1. A great book about boys becoming men- not so much the puberty side- is behold and beyond! Very good! And the crated for work- love that one too! Looks fun! Wish my hubs would come and carry my load, he'd rush me too fast and it wouldn't be fun. So I'll carry my own load!!! He does come when I have nursing babies to play with the baby inbetween mama time.

    1. Boyhood and Beyond is a great one. My son would say it is "the best book ever!" Sadly, there's no body changes addressed in it, and that's kind of where we are at right now.

  2. Hi Jamie! In the book Big Truths for Little Kids you spoke of a blurb about the Holy Spirit. Will it be an obvious avoidance for someone not completely familiar with reading Bible verses and what not to say?
    I always enjoy reading your book list.
    Thank you for that blessing you provide.

    1. I'm sorry, I mentioned "Holy Spirit," but it is actually about three sentences about baptism. The author mentions infant baptism which as an evangelical Believer, I do not believe Scripture promotes. It is towards the very end of the book on one of the catechism pages and can easily be skipped over.