Carnival of Homeschooling for the Week of October 27th, 2014

Sit back, relax and enjoy  another fabulous episode of Carnival of Homeschooling!

Carol at Journey and Destination presents “Picture Books are Just for Young Children – Rubbish!” where she helps us to see the many advantages of using picture for more than just reading to our youngest kiddos. She also includes a fabulous list of her favorite picture books – I’ve found several I have never read to my kids so it’s off to the library for us tomorrow!

Harvest Moon by Hand presents “Hildegard Van Bingen – Composer Study” where we learn so much about this amazing and talented woman from long long ago. From the author: We have been studying various composers for homeschooling for several years now. We began the 2014-15 homeschool year by studying Hildegard von Bingen whose music both my daughters thoroughly enjoyed.

Annie Kate at Annie Kate’s Homeschool Reviews presents “Civics:  How our Heavenly Citizenship Affects our Earthly Countries” – Quote from the article: One of our homeschooling goals is to raise citizens of the kingdom of heaven who care about their earthly country as well. We want to equip them to influence their culture for Christ … and this includes political action. Annie Kate also includes several valuable resources on this topic.

Annie Kate also brings us a review of “The Perfect Score Project by Debbie Stier” – From the author: This is the story of one mom’s efforts to help her son study for the SAT by modelling SAT studying herself…including taking the test 7 times in one year.

Andrea at Notes From a Homeschooled Mom presents “Rote Memorization – Just Practice” where she draws homeschooling lessons about memorization from an art class video she watched – good stuff!

Julie at The Smallest Acre presents “Sea World Home School Day” – From the author: We recently took a field trip to Sea World for Sea World Home School Day.  This is a brief summary of what they have to offer.

Denise at Let’s Play Math! presents “Horseshoes: A Place Value Game” where she shows us a fun math game for all ages. You will probably also enjoy the Math Teachers at Play carnival #79 from last week: Math Teachers at Play #79

Joesette at Learning Curvey presents Happy Birthday, Picasso! where she gives us some great details on the life of this fabulous artist and shows us some of the artwork her children did in the cubist form.

Petticoat Government presents “Great Sand Dunes National Park” – From the author: We had a great autumn field trip to the sand dunes in southern Colorado, and it even tied in with our study of ancient Egypt!

Janine at Why Homeschool presents “Things I Like About Homeschooling by Baby Bop” where she shares a very sweet conversation between herself and her 8 year old homeschooler – love his replies!


I grabbed quite a few great ideas to use for school next week with my kids! I hope you did, too! Make sure to tune in next week for another fabulous Carnival. If you would like to submit an article, please click here. If you know someone who blogs about homeschooling topics, please send them this way so we can include their valuable articles too!

How To Make a Ballerina Party Tutu Table

ballerina birthday party ideas budget

As I was searching for budget-friendly ideas to decorate for our ballerina birthday party, I came across this tutu table. So adorable!

The tutorial I found (searching for it again … will post link when I find it) said to use pins to attach the tutu to the table, but I’m guessing she used a fabric tablecloth. We had to reinvent that part of the idea to work with a plastic tablecloth. This IS a ballerina party on a budget, right! 🙂

First, I measured from table to floor so I would know how long my tulling needed to be. I wanted ours as close to the ground as possible.

SAFETY NOTE: If your table is on a non-carpeted floor, you definitely do not want your tulling to touch the ground! It is very slippery to walk on!

ballerina birthday party ideas budget

Next, cut strips of tulling that are double the length of what you measured – they will be folded in the middle. I used three rolls of tulling that were 40 yards each. You may want more or less depending on how fluffy you want your table tutu.

ballerina birthday party ideas budget

Then, I took some ribbon and pulled off enough to go around the front and two small sides of the table – we did not cover the backside. For the spool of ribbon I bought, that was the whole thing so you might want to measure your table before you head to the store.

Get to a nice large, clean work surface with your tulling strips and the ribbon – I used the floor.

Stretch the ribbon out in front of you. Take three strips of tulling and neaten them up together. Fold them in half and keep that middle loop in front of you.

With the strands of tulling still in front of the ribbon, put the loop behind the ribbon …
ballerina birthday party ideas budget

and then pull those strands through the loop and pull tight.
ballerina birthday party ideas budget

It ends up looking like a man’s necktie.
ballerina birthday party ideas budget

Keep doing this all along the ribbon.

ballerina birthday party ideas budget

I wanted primarily pink on my tutu with just a very few pops of green. So, I did all the pink first and then figured out where the green should go so it looked centered.

Pick up your ribbon with the tulling attached so you can move it to the table. This part may require a friend to help. {Unless of course, you are doing this at 1am and no one in their right mind is up the night before a party!}

The next step is done with NO tablecloth on the table yet – you’re looking at a naked table! *blush*

I used packing tape to fastened the ribbon of tulling to the table. The ribbon went on the front edge of the table and I wrapped the tape from the bottom of the table all the way to almost the other side. All the tulling together felt very heavy and I wanted to make sure it held up for the entire party.

Now, you can put on the tablecloth. You’ll have to cut slits in it so that it will go around the tape.

And that’s it! A beautiful table tutu that wows your guests and makes your tiny dancer ecstatic!!

Check out the rest of my Ballerina Birthday Party series here and you can also go to my Pinterest board to see all the other awesome ballerina ideas I’ve pinned for you!

ballerina birthday party ideas budget

Printable FREEBIE For Subscribing!

Announcing! My very first FREEBIE for everyone that signs up to get updates from HomeGrownMommy!freebie post

I have always wanted to give my awesome readers something free for subscribing as a way of saying Thank You. I finally set aside a good chunk of time and made up the free download and installed the autoresponder and – wow! it was lots of work but so very very worth it.

If you look to the right side of the screen, you should see my Subscribe box with a picture of the freebie. It’s a set of 4 pieces of wall art depicting Ephesians 5:20 in two different color schemes – you can choose between pink & gray or fall colors.

freebie fall post

Originally, the set was created to print on 12×12 canvas. You could also print it in the 8X8 size on regular paper with your home printer, trim off the extra paper and frame it – just as beautiful and no waiting for the printer to send it!

What kind of emails will you get from HomeGrownMommy?

First, I have a strict privacy policy – I would never want my email sold or distributed in any way and so I will never do that with yours.

I publish articles about parenting a large family {6 kiddos here}, homeschooling, blogging, and this mommy-life I’m living. There are also reviews of products that pertain to kids or homeschooling (like various pieces of curriculumcurricula … books and stuff).

Occasionally, you will see some affiliate links and I try to make sure you know about it before you click – I receive a small commission when you purchase through those links and the funds go to support this blog and my family. When I am compensated in some way for a review, I promise to always tell you my real honest opinion about the product to help you make the best choice for your family.

Thank you so much for reading here at HomeGrownMommy!

Ballerina Party Ideas – Party Favor Bags & Free Printable Tag

Need some other ideas before you get to the party favor? See the rest of the Ballerina Party series here or the Ballerina Party Ideas Pinterest Board here. {I just pinned a bunch of cute party favor ideas for you!}

free printable ballerina bag tagThe party favor! To me, this is one portion of the party where my little ballerina can be reminded of how wonderful it is to give to her guests.

I bought a large assortment of easy bag fillers and pink paper bags and I let her go to town opening all of the pieces and creating bags for each guest. Then, I created and printed adorable bag tags and punched holes in the top. After I folded the top of each bag and punched a hole in the center of the fold, I laced some ribbon through the holes to fasten them printable ballerina party bag tag

Would you like to have that tag for your own party for free? (You can download it right here!)
Included in your freebie are three files:

  • A pdf file with 12 tags lined up, ready for printing
  • The png file of just one tag
  • And, the PowerPoint presentation on which I put all the pieces together in case you want to personalize it

The party favor bags also double as great table decorations!

Here is a small sampling of more ballerina party favor ideas from my Pinterest board that are budget-friendly:

ballerina party favor crown
These super cute Tiara and Wand favors were on but they are no longer there – it seems to me these would be easy to recreate with the tiara and wand set from a dollar store, some pink paper shreds and cellophane bag with ribbon.

ballerina party favor paper doll
This would double as a fun craft for the kids to do during the party if you misplace the notes for all of your games {ahem, not to mention names or anything}. I found this on Grey Luster Girl via Pinterest. You HAVE to go over there and read the rest of what she did for her party – too amazing!!

ballerina party favor wand
Sometimes, it really is the simplest thing that can light up a little girl’s eyes. This wand would do just that! Looks super easy to do and I found it in Adisten’s Closet via Pinterest.

Which one is your favorite?
Make sure to send me the pictures of your ballerina party favors so I can pin them on the board!



Ballerina Party Ideas – Pink Foods

ballerina birthday party pink foodWhat ballerina party would be complete without pink foods? Yum!

For this party, we didn’t have a full meal as it was after lunch-time so we had lots of little snack foods to keep our tiny dancers happy. I found so many pink food ideas, I had to create a whole Pinterest board devoted to hold them all!

We included the following on our pink table:

  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pink Malted Milk Balls
  • Red and Pink Starbursts
  • Frosted Animal Crackers
  • Birthday Cake with pink frosting

Budget-Friendly Note: I almost didn’t post a picture of my food table because it certainly does pale in comparison with the ballerina party tables you will see on my Pinterest Board devoted to this subject. With all the gorgeous cake stands filled with cupcakes, cake pops, and so many beautiful ideas, mine looks a bit boring. I had to make a decision between the time and money it would cost to fill up a table like that (certainly, there are thrift-store finds and diy projects you can utilize to be easier on the budget but then there’s the time it takes to put it together) and not putting my whole life {homeschooling, spending time with the hubby, blogging, working, volunteering, church activities …} on hold in order to accomplish it. So, I went with this table and a happy home that did not include a momma in crazy-party-planner mode!

Here are some links to other adorable pink food ideas that I didn’t use at my party:

  • ballerina slippers cookies
    Ballerina Slippers Cookies

There are 20+ more pink food ideas on the Pinterest board – go on over and check it out! What are your favorite pink foods?

Ballerina Party Ideas Series – Ballerina Cutout Wall Decoration

ballerina party ideasThis is such a fun series to write! If you want to check out the other ideas, please see the first article called Ballerina Party Ideas On A Budget. Or, you can go to my Ballerina Party Ideas board on Pinterest with even more ideas that I didn’t use at our party.

The ballerina cutout wall decoration that I put on our wall was definitely one of the highlights of the party. It really made a big impact. It took a little time to put together, but honestly it was pretty cheap.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Four pieces of poster board ($1 each)
  • Tulling
  • Stick on gems from the scrapbooking dept
  • Lots of tape
  • scissors
  • electronic file of the ballerina
  • projector
  • computer/laptop

Here are the steps I took:

First, tape the four pieces of poster board together so you make one big piece. Try to get the sheets as close together as possible to eliminate any dark gaps.

Tape/affix the large sheet on the wall.

Setup your projector and computer so that it displays the ballerina on the large poster.

Trace around the ballerina on the poster.

Cutout the ballerina.

ballerina party ideas

Add the embellishments that you would like.  I just added a pretty necklace using the stick-on gems – you could do a tiara or earrings, too.

Take the ballerina down and go to a place where you can really spread out – preferably when all kids are sleeping!

ballerina wall decoration

Measure how long you want the tulling tutu to be. I rolled off a piece of tulling in that size and folded the tulling and rolled it down to the other side and keep going like that until I had a big roll of tulling in the right length with closed off ends.

ballerina wall decoration

Then, tape one of the closed ends to the ballerina’s waist, spreading as needed if you like.

ballerina wall decoration

Spread out the other end so that the whole tutu is covered and tape the ends by folding the tape over the tulling to the back of the cutout.

ballerina wall decoration

I also taped another waistband piece of tulling across the top of the skirt to make the end look a little nicer.

That’s really about it for the ballerina. Now, we’re moving on to the stage curtains.

For this part you need:

  • Two rectangle plastic tablecloths ($1 each)
  • More tulling
  • More push pins
  • push pins (or something else to affix the plastic tablecloth to the wall if you don’t want little holes in the wall)
  • Glitter foam letters

ballet party theme

The night before the party, I hung the decorated ballerina to the right spot on the wall. When choosing a spot, keep in mind where you want the curtains to be and how wide you want the curtains so you have enough room.

I used push pins to hang my wall decoration for two reasons:

  • Our walls are covered in sand texture which makes it very very hard to get anything to stick.
  • My husband knows how to fix the holes and he said he would be willing to do it. Isn’t he sweet? 🙂

On the ballerina, I used white thumb tacks because they are flat and I thought they would blend in. For the curtains, I used clear push pins.

Once the ballerina is in place, then I started on the curtains. First, I affixed the top two corners where I wanted them – there was some slack in the middle to create the pleated effect. When the corners are in place, gather up the middle in at least two places and affix those to the wall. In the end, you’ll want the finished product to be tight to the wall all the way across.

Do the same on the other side of the ballerina with another plastic tablecloth.

ballerina party ideas

My plastic had lots of extra bunched up on the floor. So, I cut a fairly short piece of tulling and tied it in a bow around one of the curtains and puffed up some of the curtain and pinned the tulling up a bit so that the ends weren’t hanging on the floor.

Then, I hung some tulling in between the curtains, pinning them behind the curtain, making two puffy swoops {that’s a technical interior design term!}. On the lowest swoop, I placed the glitter foam letters for the word DANCE. There are small pieces of adhesive on the backs of the letters so I used those to press the letters to the tulling, but I also used some pins to hang the letters on.

On the ceiling, I hung three tissue paper balls. You can make your own with a tutorial from my Pinterest board but you can also buy them from Hobby Lobby for only $5 for three of them.

Voila! Beautiful Ballerina Wall Decoration!

I hope this series is helping you to plan your next ballerina party! Please come on over and tell us about how your planning is going!

Ballerina Party Ideas Series – The Invitation

Thanks for joining me as we talk about every little piece of this Ballerina Party! You can see all the posts in one place on my first article in the series. You can also check out the Ballerina Party Ideas board on Pinterest by clicking on the picture below.

In this article, it’s all about the invitation! It sets the tone for the whole party and it gets all those darling little guests super excited about coming.

Ballerina Party Ideas Invites

I used PowerPoint to design our invites and sent them to a friendly local printer to have them printed. My daughter was excitedly handing them out to all her buddies about three weeks prior to the party.

If your party is a surprise for your ballerina, then you get full rein on exactly how they end up looking. I had my girl look at the images I had found that I liked and let her pick her favorites.

These were printed two times on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. When you set up the size of your slide, you’ll want it to be 4.25 X 5.5 and the orientation can be to your liking.

Since I was not selling these invitations, only using them for personal use, I searched on Google Images for the right background and ballerina silhouette.

Here are the other invitations I mocked up for her – which one do you like best of the three?

ballerina party ideas invites

ballerina party ideas invites

ballerina party ideas invites

Giveaway and Sale!! All About Reading Level 4 is READY!

(*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting HGM and my family.) All about reading reviews

We love all the products from All About Learning Press, including All About Spelling and All About Reading!

If you’ve used the All About Reading products, you know that Level 4 has been in the making recently. Well, IT’S READY!!

And, to celebrate, Marie Rippel and the AALP crew are giving you a great sale, some freebies, and an awesome giveaway.

For one week only – through September 15th, 2014 – All About Reading Level 4 is $20 off!

A description of the package from Marie:

In Level 4 (the final level of the All About Reading series), your student will learn exciting new concepts, including words with multiple suffixes, fifteen new phonograms, and methods for decoding multisyllable words – and continue to establish a firm foundation for a lifetime of learning. Every component of reading is taught: decoding (phonics and structural analysis), vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

Wow! I can’t wait to dig into it! There are LOTS more details about the whole package at the AALP website and their Level 4 overview page. Three of the freebies I linked to below are sneak peeks at Level 4.

The giveaway is one full set of this brand new reading level – that’s a $140 value! Click here to check out the giveaway. Hurry, because it ends September 14th!

Four Freebies

Eagles Learn to Fly – A Game to Review Level 3 Words

Words from Greek Mythology – A Sneak Peek at Level 4

Charlie’s Sick Day – From Level 4

The Pirate Dictionary – From Level 4

Have you used the other levels of All About Reading? What’s your favorite thing about this reading tool?

Ballerina Party Ideas on a Budget

ballet party themeI love how ballet has infiltrated our home since one of my girls developed an interest (actually, an addiction!!) for the beautiful dance style.

And yet, having an aspiring prima ballerina in the house certainly isn’t cheap.

You’ve got all those ballet lessons, the ballet slippers, leotards, recital costumes, all. that. makeup., gas for driving to every event that has anything to do with ballet, and the list goes on.

You definitely don’t need to spend another fortune on her birthday party! Of course, at the same time, no one wants to throw together a Ballerina Birthday Party that looks shabby.

I’ve got you covered!

ballerina party ideas

My little ballerina turned 6 recently and we really wanted to throw her a nice party. We just moved and are finally in a space that will accommodate larger parties – our budget did not grow as large as our space did, though.

So, we invited some sweet little girls and a fabulous ballerina and had a great time – on a budget!

I’ve separated the different things we did at her party into different articles – makes for easier and quicker reading. You can also check out my Ballerina Party Ideas board on Pinterest where I’m rounding up even more great ideas for you! Please repin and share my articles!

Ballerina Birthday Party Invitation
Ballerina Cutout and Stage
Ballerina Party Theme Pink Foods
Ballerina Party Favor Bags Tag
Ballerina Party Table Tutu
Ballerina Party Balloon Avalanche
Ballerina Party Game Ideas
Ballerina Party Gift Ideas