One of the best things about going to a homeschooling conference is the vendor hall. (But not the best thing for my bank account!) I was actually pretty restrained this year. I didn't have any major curriculum purchases, since I use nearly all non-consumable materials. Consequently I was able to get a few bonus items to use.
My first 'extra' was The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. This is a huge book which was written about 100 years ago. It is chock full of information about how to study nature and fits in really well with keeping nature journals. We have kept nature journals off and on for years. I have a canvas bag which I keep stocked with watercolors for everyone, water containers, small field guides, and journals which I can grab as we are going out the door. If I had to collect it all every time, we would never be able to do it. I have been wanting this book ever since I came across this website.
Next I found a couple of things at Joyce Herzog's booth. I found some really cool dice games for both reading and math and a set of "Mental Fitness Cards" which contain open-ended, flexible thinking type questions. Both of these items will live in my purse and we will use them whenever we find ourselves waiting for things. (A description of both items can be found here.)
I also found a neat little chart by Ginger Plowman, called Wise Words for Moms. It is used to address the root causes of poor behavior and has Scriptural references to teach right responses. I'm going to hang it on my wall.
Finally, I bought a biography called Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells by Opal Wheeler. I liked it because not only is it a good retelling of Beethoven's life, it includes music in the text so you can play the music when you get to it. (There is also a CD of the music available if you don't happen to play the piano.) Recently I've been feeling as though I have been neglecting my children's training in appreciating and knowing about classical music. This is somewhat ironic since I was a music major in college and taught piano for nearly 20 years. I'm hoping that reading this book together will encourage us to explore this area more.
A few consumable italic workbooks and a good helping of birthday presents rounds out my purchases. Considering my love of buying books and learning supplies, I'm pretty proud of myself for my restraint.