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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reading Aloud Challenge

I haven't joined Debra in her Reading Aloud Challenge in quite sometime. We were gone so much this summer and then I hadn't thought about it since school started back up. I read to my kids every night before bed I just haven't taken the time to write about it.

Here is what we have read in the last week.
 

The Imagination Station book 5 Showdown with the Shepherd and book 6 Problems in Plymouth. We loved these books and we read each book all at one time. Look for my review of these 2 new books early in November.

Last night we finished The Baby-Sitter Burglaries in the Nancy Drew series. The girls love mysteries.

Christmas Lodge


Every year after Thanksgiving we start getting ready for Christmas. One thing we enjoy doing together as a family is watching Christmas movies. This year we started early with Christmas Lodge from Thomas Kinkade, this movie is very uplifting and places an importance on faith and family. It's about leaving the hustle and bustle that the world has to offer for family. What's not to like about a snow covered lodge in the mountains at Christmas time surrounded by a loving family.

When Mary takes a weekend trip to the mountains she hears a cry for help from a little girl. Mary is helping her get back home when she realizes her home is the Christmas Lodge. As a little girl, Mary spent every Christmas at the lodge with her family and had so many great memories of it. She takes it upon herself to help Jack, the owner, to restore it as it once was. She wants to make Christmas special one more time for her grandfather. Mary has been unlucky in love in the past but the lodge project renewed her faith in life and she falls in love with Jack. Once again her family celebrates Christmas at the Christmas Lodge.

You can watch the trailer on IMDB.

I have another DVD to giveaway!! This giveaway will end Friday, November 4, 2011. I will pick a winner on Saturday.

To enter do any of the following.
  • Leave a comment telling me about one of your families Christmas traditions.
  • Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect
  • Follow me with Networked Blogs
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Like me on Facebook
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Refuge on Crescent Hill


I love big old houses, mansions with secret passageways even better. I enjoyed Refuge on Crescent Hill so much I couldn't put it down. I love how this book has some history, mystery, and treasure hunt along with a little romance. Camden is like a lot of us because when things are not going so well we tend to seek out things we remember loving the most.

Camden Bristow is down on her luck, she just lost her job and her home. She had no where to turn so she decided to visit the place where she enjoyed the happiest summers as a child....her grandmothers. She traveled to the mansion on Crescent Hill only to discover that her grandmother had just recently passed away, leaving her with a 150-year-old mansion. A mystery unravels when Camden suspects someone else living in the mansion. She remembers her Grandma Rosalie's bedtime stories of runaway slaves and secret passageways. Being new to this town she isn't sure who to trust.


Melanie Beroth Dobson's first novel (Together for Good) was published in 2006, and she has now authored nine contemporary and historical novels including Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania which releases in November 2011. Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their home in the Pacific Northwest.


Prior to launching her own public relations company in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of both events and products. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Jon and Melanie have two daughters — Karly (8) and Kiki (7). The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

You can find out more about Melanie Dobson, her family, and the books she writes on her website or blog.



Refuge on Crescent Hill will be available on Amazon Kindle FREE for one week, starting Oct. 31. You can read an excerpt of this mystery here.

I received Refuge on Crescent Hill as part of a Kregel Blog tour in exchange for my review.

Thankfulness

November is a great month to be thankful! Last year my friend Brenda at Garden of Learning hosted a Gratitude Challenge that I participated in. I am very grateful that she is hosting this again this year. I will be blogging every day in November about something I am grateful for. Anyone can join and it is so much fun to read the other gratitude posts.

Let us be filled with gratitude the whole month of November!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lots and Lots of Firetrucks

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♪♫  Call 911 And Help Will come  ♫♪
♪♫  Don't Be Afraid It'll Be OK  ♫♪
♪♫ You Call 911 And Help Will Come  ♫♪
♪♫  Don't Be Afraid Help We Are On Our Way  ♫♪

I don't know if it is a girl thing or if all kids act like this but when my girls get a catchy tune in the heads they sing it all day!! They have been singing Call 911 after viewing Lots and Lots of Fire Songs & Safety Tips DVD. 

The TOS Crew received 2 items from Marshal Publishing & Promotions, Inc. One group received George Washington Carver His Life and His Work DVD and the second group received Lots & Lots of Fire Songs & Safety Tips DVD and Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks & Firefighters book. We were one of the lucky ones and received both of them and you can read my review of George Washington Carver here. All three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10 participated in this review.

The Lots & Lots of Fire Songs & Safety Tips DVD has a lot of catchy tunes that my kids loved. We got to see huge selection of firefighting and rescue equipment in action. We really needed to review our fire safety tips that were included in the video. This 30 minute DVD can be enjoyed by everyone no matter what age you are. It's not every day that we get to see firefighting equipment in action.

Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks & Firefighters book is wonderful. This 124 page book is full of brightly colored pictures of fire and rescue equipment & vehicles, firefighters in action, and even food that firefighters like to prepare while at the station. Firefighter Joe is our host throughout this book and he shows us all the clothing that a firefighter wears and explains their tools & equipment. This book not only talks about firefighting, tools, safety tips, and prevention but they also cover the science of fire which I have never gone over with my girls. In the back of the book there is a timeline of firefighting, a complete list of museums in the United States, fire related websites, and all the lyrics to the songs on the DVD. Amber wants to make all the of Firefighter Joe's Firehouse Recipes that are included in the book.

The regular price for both the book & DVD is $49.95. I have a coupon code so that you can get both the book & DVD for $19.95. That is a huge savings and well worth the price!!

Use Coupon Code: TOSC1

Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. is a media publishing organization. Their goal is to provide media fun for everyone through DVD's, books, CD's, CD-roms, and broadcast and Internet programming that will entertain and educate everyone from ages 3-93. They offer a wide variety of materials including Animals, Monster Trucks, Jet Planes, and Education Historical Documentaries. Available now - DVDs in Spanish.

Sail over to the TOS Crew blog to read more reviews of Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks and George Washington Carver DVDs.
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I received Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks book and DVD free of charge to use with my kids in exchange for my review.

George Washington Carver

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I love when my kids are inspired to complete more research on their own. Amber wanted to go to the library and get books on George Washington Carver as soon as she viewed the George Washington Carver His Life and His Work DVD from Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. The TOS Crew members received this DVD to review, we were on the list to review Lots & Lots of  Fire Songs & Safety Tips DVD and Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks & Firefighters book but Marshal Publishing also sent us the George Washington Carver DVD. You can read my review of the Firefighters here.

This 30 minute DVD talks about how George Washington Carver was born into slavery and how his dad died when he was a baby. He and his mom were stolen and he was later returned to his owners. It continues on into his adult life and his love of plants. He was a living example of the importance of hard work, a positive attitude and a good education. Carver was very instrumental in changing the stereotype that blacks were intellectually inferior to the white race. His life was full of hope, meaning, and inspiration and should not be forgotten.

George Washington Carver Day is celebrated on January 5, the anniversary of his death.

Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc. is a media publishing organization. Their goal is to provide media fun for everyone through DVD's, books, CD's, CD-roms, and broadcast and Internet programming that will entertain and educate everyone from ages 3-93. They offer a wide variety of materials including Animals, Monster Trucks, Jet Planes, and Education Historical Documentaries. Available now - DVDs in Spanish.

If you would like to order this DVD it is normally $19.95, but I have a coupon code for you to use and it will bring the price down to $16.95.

Use Coupon Code: TOSC1

The TOS Crew reviewed George Washington Carver and Lots & Lots of Firetrucks book with Lots & Lots of Fire Songs & Safety tips DVD. Sail on over to the Crew blog to read what other people thought.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I was sent George Washington Carver DVD free of charge with my Firefighter book & DVD. I am not obligated to write a review of this item but we learned a lot and wanted to share.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Say Anything

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Are you looking for a game that the entire family can play or one that the answers may never be the same. Then Say Anything Family would be a game for you. I have been enjoying 2 games from North Star Games with my family, Say Anything Family and Wits & Wagers Family.

Say Anything Family is recommended for 3-6 players ages 8+ with game time lasting about 30 minutes. It comes with a score board, 6 dry erase answer boards plus marker, question cards, Meeple coins, and the SELECT-O-MATIC 6000.

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All the players get their dry erase board with two tokens of the same color. The SELECT-O-MATIC 6000 is a dial with each board color space on it and the judge gets to hold this. A question is read and everyone will answer remembering that the judge will select the one he likes best. The judge will then turn the SELECT-O-MATIC 6000 dial to the color he chooses then the rest of the players can place their coins on the one they think the judge has chosen. Both Meeple coins can be placed on the same answer or 2 different ones. The judge will then reveal his answer by turning over the SELECT-O-MATIC 6000 to show the players what color answer he chose. Points are awarded to the player who wrote the correct answer, one point is awarded for each coin that is placed on the correct answer and the judge receives a point for each coin that is on the answer he chose. There is a maximum number of 3 points per question.




We really enjoyed this game and it helps if you really know the people you are playing with because you kinda know what answer they would pick. For example one question asks, "Which store is the most fun to shop in?" Well it would depend on who the judge is to what answer you would write down. I played this with my daughter-in-law and all three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10. There were a few questions that we had to explain to my 6 year old but for the most part she had fun playing also. While the girls waited for everyone to answer the question they loved coloring the Meeple that is on the back of their answer board.

North Star Games brings friends and families together with fun, innovative party and family games.

Meet the designers of North Star Games:

Dominic Crapuchettes
Dominic is the Founder & Co-President of North Star Games. In 8th grade, Dominic earned the much-coveted “bad boy” title when his first game, Kabloogi, was banned from school because kids were playing it during first period. It is because of his great passion for games that he stopped captaining a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska to start the most innovative board game company on the planet.

Satish Pillalamarri
Satish Pillalamarri is the Co-President of North Star Games. He was a cog in the wheel at a New York hedge fund when a life-changing event took place: he became a contestant on Jeopardy! This experience prepared him for his position as the Chief Question Writing Officer at North Star Games. Inspired by his love for having fun, Satish’s mission is to bring innovative games to every man, woman and child (and the occasional monkey).

Luke Warren
Armed with a Masters degree in Philosophy and a compelling argument, Luke Warren dedicated over a decade of his life to grassroots politics. Then he decided board games were more fun and joined North Star Games. By the way... if you are wondering if anyone has said to him, “Luke, I am your father”, yes, yes they have. Many times - So just stop it!

Say Anything Family can be purchased online at retailers such as Amazon or check your area for a retailer near you. This game retails for $19.95 but right now it is $13.85 on Amazon.

Sail on over to the TOS Crew blog and see what other families have to say about Say Anything Family.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Say Anything Family free of charge to use with my family in exchange for my review.

Wits & Wagers

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We have been playing games again!! This time from North Star Games. The TOS Crew was offered Wits & Wagers Family edition and Say Anything Family and we were lucky enough to get both. First I'll introduce you to Wits & Wagers and then you can head over and read about Say Anything Family.

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Wits & Wagers Family edition is recommended for 3-10 players ages 8+. It came with a score board, question cards, 5 dry erase answer cards with markers, and 10 Meeples. Play time takes about 20 minutes. After the question is read everyone will answer in a number. Once the answers are all displayed everyone will get a chance to wager on which answer is correct. All players or teams have 2 Meeples one is bigger than the other and will earn you more points than the small Meeple when it is played. Points are awarded by getting the correct answer, wagering your Meeples on the correct answer, and other people placing their Meeple on your correct answer.

My girls had so much fun playing with their Meeples.

We loved this games!! All of the answers are in numbers so everyone has a chance to answer even if they don't know anything about the question. It was funny because the times my daughters (ages 9&10), daughter-in-law, and myself didn't have a clue what the answer was my 6 year old would come the closest with her guess. I think it took us a little longer than 20 minutes to play the game because we are very easily distracted. one of our questions was about balancing spoons on your face so we had to stop and google it.
Of course....we had to try it.

Every time my daughter-in-law comes over to play games Wits & Wagers Family is the one she always wants to play.

North Star Games brings friends and families together with fun, innovative party and family games.


Meet the designers of North Star Games:

Dominic Crapuchettes
Dominic is the Founder & Co-President of North Star Games. In 8th grade, Dominic earned the much-coveted “bad boy” title when his first game, Kabloogi, was banned from school because kids were playing it during first period. It is because of his great passion for games that he stopped captaining a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska to start the most innovative board game company on the planet.

Satish Pillalamarri
Satish Pillalamarri is the Co-President of North Star Games. He was a cog in the wheel at a New York hedge fund when a life-changing event took place: he became a contestant on Jeopardy! This experience prepared him for his position as the Chief Question Writing Officer at North Star Games. Inspired by his love for having fun, Satish’s mission is to bring innovative games to every man, woman and child (and the occasional monkey).

Luke Warren
Armed with a Masters degree in Philosophy and a compelling argument, Luke Warren dedicated over a decade of his life to grassroots politics. Then he decided board games were more fun and joined North Star Games. By the way... if you are wondering if anyone has said to him, “Luke, I am your father”, yes, yes they have. Many times - So just stop it!

North Star Games offer several games including a regular version of Wits & Wager. We have been playing the Wits & Wager family edition and it retails for $19.99. It can be purchase online at places like Amazon or find a retailer in your local area. Right now it is on sale for $15.23 on Amazon.

There were 100 Crew members who have been playing so sail on over to the Crew Blog and see what other families thought about Wits & Wagers.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Wits & Wager Family edition free of charge to use with my family in exchange for my review.

Educating the WholeHearted Child

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 A few months ago I introduced you to the book Read For the Heart by Sarah Clarkson. I think it is a must read for every parent. So when I found out I was getting to review Educating theWholeHearted Child written by her parents, Clay and Sally Clarkson, I was very excited to read about their success.

Clay and Sally Clarkson started homeschooling in 1988 and started Whole Heart Ministries to encourage Christian parents to raise wholehearted Christian children. They have been blessed with four homeschool graduates.

Educating the WholeHearted Child is not meant to be an educational program as if they have the only right way of homeschooling but to give you a larger vision for what God can do in your home and provide a model of home education.

This 378 page book is in it's third edition and covers the Christian Home, Learning, Methods, and Living WholeHearted. I especially like their 12 pillars of WholeHearted Learning. Throughout the book they get more personal when they share with us how things are in their home. The resource section contains several pages of the Clarkson family's favorite books plus there are forms to help keep track of you WholeHearted learning.

In this book you will discover how to:
  • Make your home and family the heart of your children's education.
  • Train your children to become creative, self-directed learners.
  • Enrich life and education with living books.
  • Identify and work with each child's learning style
  • Help your children love to learn as naturally as they love to play.
  • Gain confidence to teach with practical, commonsense methods.
This book is a great encouragement for every homeschool family regardless of how many years you have been homeschooling or if you haven't started yet. It is so good to see success stories in homeschooling.
Educating the WholeHearted Child can be purchased from Apologia ministries for $22.00. The table of contents can be viewed and the first chapter read at Apologia Ministries.
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 Apologia is a family-owned corporation with the mission to help homeschooling families learn, live, and defend the Christian faith. They offer a wide variety of products in their endeavor to help us.


Sail over to the TOS Crew Blog and read what other crew members thought of Education the WholeHearted Child.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Educating the WholeHearted Child free from Apologia in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

E-Mealz


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We all have to eat. No matter if you work or stay home we all have days where we are at a loss for what to fix for dinner. E-mealz makes dinner planning easy.
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E-mealz is an online menu plan that is based on your grocery store sales. It is $15.00 for a 3-month subscription. Once you log in it only takes 3 steps to have dinner on the table for a week. After you create your account you can choose a plan that fits your needs. You will have accesss to this weeks menu and last weeks menu. When you print you get 2 pages one is a complete shopping list and the other is the meal plan.

You can choose a menu plan by your grocery store, if you are on a budget, on a specialty diet, if you have a picky family, or if you cook for only 1 or 2.

The meal plan contains the menu for 7 meals plus the recipe all on one page.

The grocery list has all your ingredients listed according to catagory. There is a spot to check off the item once you have it, the price, and the meal number that the item is used for is also listed. Things that you normally have on hand are listed at the bottom such as condiments, eggs, and butter.
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I chose the Wal-mart Menu Plan since we live in a small town and we don't have the other grocery stores locally. It was nice to actually have a plan for our dinners. I normally fix whatever I feel like making or whatever the kids or my husband have requested. It even forced us to try some different meals that we might not have tried if we were just browsing for new recipes. This plan is for a family of 4-6 and the recipes worked out perfect for my family 5.

The recipes are very easy to follow. One day I wasn't feeling good so Amber my 10 year old decided to make dinner. She chose Beef and Veggie Chow Mein from the weeks menu and it was nice because we knew we had everything she needed. She didn't have any trouble following the directions and dinner was delicious. We will definatly be making this one again.


I am very frugal with my grocery budget and I do not shop or cook the way the meal plan is suppose to work. My husband plants a big garden every year and I can and freeze it to use throughout the year. We buy our beef and chicken from ranchers and I buy as much stuff as I can in bulk instead of buying only what we need for that meal. I typically stay away from boxed foods and I like to make my bread from scratch.

After printing my Menu I checked off everything I already had at home or that I would replace with a homemade version (breadsticks, rolls, flat bread, etc). I didn't have a lot left on my list. I had no trouble finding the items I did buy but I found that our Wal-mart was a little higher than the price they had listed on the shopping list. That is probably becuase we live in a smaller town and we don't have the competition of that in a big city.

Jane Delaney, wife and mother of 4, founded E-Mealz 7 years ago with her sister Jenny Cochran, mother of 3. They credit the inspiration to their mother who fed her own family on a budget with her own meal plan. The motivation came from Jane struggling with feeding her own family every night at home.

The concept of the E-mealz is great but I feel if we ate and shopped the way this meal plan is set up we would spend more money on groceries than we do now.

Other Crew member reviewed different meal plans so sail over to the TOS Crew blog to see how e-mealz worked for their families. 
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As a member of the TOS Crew I recieved a free 3 month subscription to e-mealz in exchange for my review of their plan. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alway Ice Cream

PhotobucketWhat girl doesn't like ice cream and cute little pets? My girls certainly do and that is why Always Icecream is such a big hit at our house. The only downfall is every time the girls logged in they wanted ice cream.

Always Icecream is an online play and learning website for girls ages 7-12. Each girl has her own account and you can set up a parent account to keep track of each girls progress. It is a very secure online site because all memberships are traceable. After the trial period members are asked to provide a credit card which identifies the player.

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The parent account gives details of your daughter's learning progress, see which videos she watched, select games that she can play and award her scoops. You can chose to receive email updates of your child's progress.

The first thing your daughter can enjoy is setting up her avatar and answering a few profile questions so others can get to know her. Each girl is given a friendship code that can be used to connect with real world friends (RWF). If 2 girls know each others code they can become RWF and chat online while playing Always Icecream. All the messages are moderated before being published. There are educational games in math, language arts, science, history, geography, music, art, foreign language, religious education, computer and life skills.

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All three of my daughters ages 6, 9, and 10 enjoyed Always Icecream. They all agreed that their favorite part was taking care of their eggs and animals. A new egg could be purchased with scoops they earned while playing the games or awarded by their parent. My 10 year old made sure that her sisters remembered that mammals do not hatch from eggs, but they were very excited when their new pet hatched. The scoops that are earned can also be used to decorate homes in Miniworld.

Always Icecream subscriptions are available for girls 7-12 and can be purchased monthly for $4.99, 2 months for $9.98, annually for $29.99, or a lifetime membership for $99.99. The first month is only .99¢. If you are not sure it is right for your daughter she can try it free.

Swenja and Johannes Ziegler are co-founders of Always Icecream and are parents of five children.

Sail over to the TOS Crew Blog and see what other Crew member's thought of Always Icecream.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I recieved a lifetime membership for one of my children to use in exchange for my reivew of this website.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Visual Latin



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"Can we do Latin first?"Smiley"Please!"Smiley"Can we do one more?"

I never knew teaching Latin could be so easy!! We received the first 10 lesson of Visual Latin from Compass Cinema to review. As soon as we completed the first lesson my girls wanted to do more. Every day they asked to do Latin first and they would beg to complete more than one lesson at a time.

Visual Latin
The High Definition (HD) m4v videos we received for iTunes works great on my IPhone and computer. Every lesson contains three short videos with a worksheet for each and it only takes about 20 minutes to complete them both.  Dwane Thomas does an excellent job of keeping the kids attention with his humor during the video. The short lesson really helped my kids remember what they were taught. The focus is more on reading Latin than just memorizing words.

Visual Latin is different than most curriculum because they believe:

  • It’s better to make students laugh than yawn.
  • Shorter videos teach more effectively than longer ones.
  • Small successes lead to big successes.
  • Children like reading Latin more than memorizing it.Photobucket
The lessons are set up the same.

  • Lesson
    • Part A ~ Dwane gives a video lesson on Grammar. They are so easy to follow along and understand. He even goes over definitions of English parts of speech. Our worksheet contains any vocabulary words or rules that we just learned.
    • Part B ~ The words we learned in part A are used in sentences. We continue to use the new words or rule on the worksheet.
    • Part C ~ Dwane reads us a story in Latin, then rereads it one sentence at a time so that we can repeat after him. After a few lessons he only speaks to us in Latin. The worksheet contains the story and the student translates it into English.
Visual Latin has 30 lessons in the first level and can be purchased as a download or DVD. You can purchase 10 lessons at a time for $25.00 as a download or $30.00 on a DVD. All 30 lessons can be purchased on a DVD for $80.00. This includes all the worksheets you will need to go with the lessons. The first 2 lessons plus 4 intro lessons can be downloaded for free.
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Two homeschool dads had the idea for Visual Latin. One was a Latin teacher and the other a producer. Dwane Thomas has been teaching Latin for 15 years, and you can tell he loves his job. Thomas Purifoy, Jr. is the producer and likes to create curriculum. Together they came up with a different approach to Latin that works. 

This program is very easy to use. There is no teacher preparation needed & you do not need any knowledge of Latin before beginning. You can learn right along with your students.

Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other members thought about Visual Latin.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received a free download of the first 10 lesson of Visual Latin to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cooper & Me Review & Giveaway



My girls like to write their own stories, so it was pretty cool that we had the opportunity to review a book that was illustrated by an 11-year-old girl and she co-wrote it with her mom. Cooper and Me talks about a girl just starting school and she is upset because she can't take her dog with her. Her mom finds a solution that will help her make it through her day.

The back of the book talks about dealing with life lessons and has some great discussion questions to share with your children. The Cooper and Me website offers a variety of freebies. There are coloring sheets and puzzles for the kids, reading guides for teachers and parents. The book is based on co-author Alexa Peters life and her dog Cooper. You can visit their blog to get to know more about them. You can purchase Cooper and Me books here.

About Cooper and Me:

Cooper and Me was illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters. The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences on her first day of school. A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art. Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me.

Through rhythmic verses, Cooper and Me tells the story of a young girl who is nervous as her first day of school approaches. She is frightened about leaving home and doesn't want to go without her best friend, her dog Cooper. Fortunately her mother finds the perfect solution to help the little girl overcome her fears – a small replica of her beloved pet she can take to school with her. In Cooper and Me, the story of a child’s fears about starting school has evolved into a timeless tale about overcoming separation anxiety and trying new things – basic emotions all people experience throughout their lives – but this time, written by a child, for children.

The story behind Cooper and Me also offers an inspiring example of families working together to help others. In addition to helping young children gain emotional resilience and confidence through their books, Alexa and mom Monique wanted to go beyond that to help less fortunate kids. Their search for an organization to which they could donate a portion of the proceeds from the Cooper and Me book led to a charitable alliance with the Happy Hearts Fund, founded and run by Petra Nemcova, the supermodel who was directly affected by the tsunami in Thailand. Happy Hearts improves children’s lives through education and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas.

Cooper and Me Giveaway


I have an extra copy of Cooper and Me to giveaway to one of my readers. I will draw a winner at noon on Friday, October 21.

To enter:
  • Tell me what your favorite children's book is.
  • Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect
  • Follow my blog with Networked Blogs
  • Follow me on Twitter


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Memories Winner

Congratulations Sarah!!!
You won The My Memories Suite giveaway.

I should have picked a winner yesterday but after school we started in on our tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SCRUBLE Cube



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Games, Games, Games!! We love games & we are reviewing a lot of them this year on the Crew. This time we received the Scrubble Cube. This cube is like Scrabble and the Rubik's Cube in one. The website describes The SCRUBLE Cube as a word game and a puzzle- on steroids with over 7.4 x 1045(that’s 7,401 septillion)possible configurations that anyone who can spell can play.

The Scruble Cube contains 96 rotating letter and scoring squares. Each letter has a number which will be used for scoring. Each word you make must have 3 letters and you add up the number on each letter for your score. If you can put a bonus word score at the end you can double or triple you points. Bonus points are also awarded if you wrap a word on at least 3 sides or play off your opponents word. This cube can also be played as a puzzle by trying to get the color coded tiles to spell "Scruble Cube". This game can be purchased for $24.95 and is recommended for 1-4 players ages 8 and up. The game comes with 1 Scruble Cube, sand timer, scorepad, and instructions. The website offers some great tips for getting started and some fun lesson plan activities.

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All three of my girls played with the cube. Amber (10) & I enjoyed it the most. Delaney (9) liked playing by herself and Alaina (6) only made 2 letter words, but it's a start. We didn't use the timer but it would be nice to use if the game is played with adults or all older children. I left the cube out on our school table and the girls would pick it up throughout the day and find a couple of words before finishing their lessons. One thing we really liked about this game is that it is great for travel. We received ours the day before vacation so we took it with us on our 3000 mile round trip.

If you like word games you will want the Scruble Cube. I showed it to my friend who loves Scrabble and she said she has to have one.


Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other families thought of Scruble Cube.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received Scruble Cube free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crustless Apple & Pumpkin Pie

Amber is so sweet! The other night she wanted to  make a dessert but she didn't want me to know what it was. She loves to search out recipes until she finds just the right thing she wants to make.  That sounds easy enough but she had to keep asking me if we had certain ingredients. She knows that I really like apple pie & pumpkin pie but that I don't care for the crust. So she combined a couple of recipes to come up with this dessert for me. (She doesn't even like apple pie or pumpkin anything). It was so good!!

Crustless Apple & Pumpkin Pie

Bottom:
  • 3 Apples peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon flour
Pumpkin Layer
  • 1 15 ounce can of pumkin
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter

Lightly spray 8 individual dishes (6-ounce) with cooking spray.

Mix the first flour, cinnamon, and sugar together. Peel, core, and slice apples. Cover apples with cinnamon mixture. Lay apple slices in the bottom each dish.

Mix all pumpkin ingredients together and pour over apple slices.

For the topping combine flour and sugar. Mix in butter with pastry blender and sprinkle on top of the pumpkin mixture.

Place individual dishes on a cookie sheet and bake at 400° for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350° and bake for 15 minutes.

Cool and serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.



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I linked my recipe to Tasty Tuesday over at A Glimpse of Our Life.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Winners

I have 2 giveaways that end today. The first one is Rebecca St. James' book What is He Thinking and the second one is Math House Games.

Lynn over at This Day Has Great Potential won What is He Thinking.

Sarah blogs at Growing for Christ and has won my Carlito C. Caterpillar's Math House Games giveaway.

Congratulations Lynn & Sarah!!

The Story of Noah's Ark

My girls love the story of Noah's Ark, probably because they love animals. We received The Story of Noah's Ark storybook and wall clings to review and Alaina loved it right away. She was so excited about the wall clings and wanted to run off with them before I even had a chance to look at the book.

This 16 page paperback story is very bright and cheerful. The wall clings can be applied to any painted surface. They can be removed and replaced over and over again so the child can have hours of Noah's ark fun.

About the Author: Lori C. Froeb lives and works in Westchester County, New York. As a children’s book editor, Lori has had the opportunity to write many books for kids--which she finds both challenging and rewarding. Lori tries to carry God’s promises with her every day and it was a blessing to write this book. Her other titles include A Child’s Book of Parables, The Acorn and the Oak Tree, and The Newborn King puzzle book.
About the Illustrator: Luana Rinaldo has authored and illustrated many pictures books for babies and children. Her work has been translated into more than 14 languages. Luana’s illustrations have also appeared in magazines and on greeting cards and children’s clothes. Luana lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland.
I recieved The Story of Noah's Ark storybook with wall clings free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review of the book.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Theo Winners

I have the 2 winners of my Theo giveaway.
Congratulations Debbie & Lisa!!


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