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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vocabulary Spelling City

Delaney is excited at our house!!

She loves spelling and vocabulary words. She can't wait to get started using Vocabulary

I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, personal, online review. helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt Sentences, HangMan, and Word-O-Rama. Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.
There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review
Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pick and Draw Review & Giveaway

We have been playing Pick and Draw and it is a huge hit at our house. My girls love this game. The first time we played the girls had a friend from CO over for a few days. Amber was tired of playing dress up so her and I started playing Pick and Draw. We were having such a good time that the other girls joined in after the first couple of rounds and they played for hours.

Pick and Draw is a card game where you draw cartoon characters. It is $10.00 and is being played all over the world. The cards are divided into 5 categories. One card is taken from each category without looking at it. First you turn over the Face card and draw the shape that is on the card for your face. The next card is from the Nose category then the Eyes, Mouth, and Hair. The nose, eyes, mouth, and hair can be drawn at different angles, sizes, & positions but you must use the shape that is turned over. Once the round is over everyone has a different looking character. Pick and Draw suggests that you name each character and answer a few questions about them.

We had so much fun and we thought each character had a different personality. Once we were done we named each one and decided where we thought they would work. My girls enjoyed this game so much that they have played through the cards several times at once or if they only have a few minutes they will get them out and draw a couple of characters. I'm thinking this will be fun to take in the car on vacation and use with our draw erase boards.
This is a sheet of Amber's characters.
Rich Davis created Pick and Draw so that you can draw together. He wants you to have fun and thinks you will be surprised at how well you can draw. Rich has written several children's books and gives presentations at schools and libraries.

Rich Davis was generous enough to send a Pick and Draw game to one of my lucky readers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We Choose Virtues

I watch and listen carefully
I am NOT...forgetful, distracted or distracting and I don't ignore or interrupt!
~Virtue Clue Card

It is impossible to achieve moral excellence but it is very important to continually try to gain it for ourselves and our children. We Choose Virtues wants to turn your caterpillar's character into butterflies.

I received Virtue Clue Cards, Kids of Virtue download coloring book, Family Character Assessment, Kids Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths, and the Teacher's Handbook. The character curriculum is recommended for children ages 3-18.

There are 13 colorful Virtue Clue Cards in a carrying pouch. On each card is a virtue, a phrase to go with it, and a Virtueville character. On the back is a reminder to go the whole day practicing the virtue. The Clue Cards are sold for $7.95 but they are on sale right now for $5.99.

The Kids of Virtueville Coloring Book is available for $3.00 in a download format only. All 12 Virtueville Characters are included along with a word search.


The Student Character Assessment is available for $1.00 but right now it is FREE. This assessment lists all 12 virtues with numbers 1-10 to rank the child's progress on building their character.

The Teacher's Handbook is 48 colorful pages and is available in hardback for $19.95 or download version for $4.99. This is included free in many of the kits that are available from We Choose Virtues. This handbook contains steps and tools for teaching character education in the classroom, home schools, and daycare.

The Youth Memory Verses and Heroes and Truths was also included in our products and it is available free. It contains a bible hero and a memory verse to go along with each virtue.

I have been using We Choose Virtues with all three of my girls ages 7, 9, and 10.  It has been very easy to implement into our day with very little amount of time committed. It has been good to have character traits on our mind to help ourselves and each other with our attitudes. My girls like to color so they have really been enjoying the coloring sheets and my pig loving 7 year old daughter's favorite character is Piggy Bank Frank (I'm sure I'll be printing that one several times). This character curriculum would be great to use with Sunday School class too.
Heather McMillan has created We Choose Virtues out of her love for children and her desire to see them succeed. She is a preschool teacher and a chilren's pastor and was concerned about the lack of good character in chilren.

We Choose Virtues has just updated the paper quality of their most popular posters. You may now purchase the new quality posters or the original posters at a discounted price.

Prices for these thicker posters:
  • Kids Virtue Poster now $11.99 (from $14.99)
  • 3 Rules Poster now $9.99 (from $11.99)
  • 100 Days of Virtue Chart with Butterfly Stickers now $13.99 (from $14.99)
 CLEARANCE POSTERS! While supplies last. 

  • 2011 Kids Virtue Poster $9.75 (from $14.99, 35% savings)
  • 2011 100 Days of Virtue Chart and Butterfly Stickers $11.99 (from $14.99, 20% savings)
  • 2011 3 Rules Poster $7.75 (from 11.99, 35% savings)

JANUARY/FEBRUARY-The 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers will be included FREE with any Homeschool Kit purchase during these months.

PROMO CODES: You may use only one.
  • VIRTUE15 for 15 % off the shopping cart is still available
  • SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping
Make sure you check out We Choose Virtues Facebook page. They include tips on parenting, leadership and inspiring lasting Virtue.

Sail over to the Crew Blog to see what other crew members thought of We Choose Virtues.
I received We Choose Virtues products free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tide Coldwater

Alaina loves pigs!! She has pig stuffed animals, pig slippers, a pig alarm clock, and for Christmas my sister gave her a pig hat. She loves that hat & she has worn it every day since she opened it. I have to make her take it off to wash her hair & let it dry. Well you can imagine it can get very dirty!! I should have taken a before picture because it was bad.

I had just received my bottle of Tide Coldwater and decided to wash her pig hat using this. I was very skeptical at first......I was thinking I would have to use hot water and a stain remover to get it clean. I decided I would forgo the stain remover and see just how Tide Coldwater would preform. All I can say is "WOW" her hat came out looking brand new. I am very impressed with Tide Coldwater and am happy to cut back on my hot water usage. Alaina was so excited to get her pig out of the washing machine to see if it was clean. She was very happy when it came out looking like new. Now I wonder if Tide can help me with the static she gets in her hair from her hat.

I have used about half of my Tide Coldwater on all of our laundry and it hasn't let me down.

I received one bottle of Tide Coldwater free of charge from P&G to use in my household.

A Mile In His Shoes Review & Giveaway

When I watch my kids play sports it always makes me feel good when the player with the least talent makes a goal, a basket, or gets a good hit off the pitch. You know that they are very excited to finally achieve something for the themselves and the team. That is the way A Mile In His Shoes makes you feel. It is about a young man that has Asperger's syndrome and he gets a chance to pitch for a baseball team. Pitching comes naturally to him but coping with the new environment and situation is what he really has to overcome. This uplifting movie is about determination, hope and friendships.    

In A Mile In His Shoes Mickey (Luke Schroder) is a young man with Asperger's syndrome. He helps with the family farm and has a incredible pitching arm. Arthur "Murph" Murphy is a baseball coach for the River Rats and discovers Mickey when he puts his car in a ditch right outside of the Schroder farm. Mickey's parents are reluctant to let him leave the farm because of his autism. Murph convinces Mickey's parents that their son is very special and they allow him to join the team. No one realizes how much Mickey helps the team game and their spirit. Mickey's parents especially his father finally realize that their son can succeed in the real world. A Mile In His Shoes is from the director of "Angels In the Outfield" and is based on the book "The Legend of Mickey Tussler".

My family enjoyed this movie very much and my kids have asked to watch it again several times. I really appreciate movies that can entertain my entire family without using foul language and excessive violence. There is one part of the movie where Mickey gets beat up by the bully of the team but you don't actually see him getting beat up.

I have a copy of A Mile In His Shoes to giveaway to one of my lucky readers.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Swan Lake


A story can really come to life when it is set to music. It makes you feel like you are there and that you know what the characters are experiencing and how they feel. Maestro Classics does an excellent job of making Swan Lake come alive.

If you are not familiar with Swan Lake it is a story about a prince who falls in love with a beautiful princess but she is turned into a swan by an evil magician. Only the prince's true love can break the spell.

Maestro Classics goals are to expand musical horizons, develop listening skills, and encourage families to listen to music together. Listening to complex patterns of classical/symphonic music stimulates brain development and Maestro Classics make it enjoyable.

We received Swan Lake CD along with a 24 page booklet containing information about Tchaikovsky who composed the music for Swan Lake, Stephen Simon who is the conductor of this musical story, Bonnie Ward Simon the producer, Yadu who is the narrator, and Joe Stump who arranged and plays the Speed Metal Swan. There are also puzzles, musical activities and piano music for Tchaikovsky Wrote a Great Ballet.  Swan Lake is preformed by London Philharmonic Orchestra and is available on CD for $16.98, the down loadable MP3 is available for $9.98. There is a preview available on Maestro Classics web page. The Swan Lake CD lasts 54 minutes and has 7 tracks.
  1. The Story of Swan Lake
  2. Tchaikovsky's Life
  3. Speed Metal Swan
  4. About the Music
  5. "Tchaikovsky Wrote a Great Ballet"
  6. Want to Have Some Fun? Prepare to Perform
  7. "Tchaikovsky Wrote a Great Ballet" Sing-Along
It has been such a joy to experience Swan Lake from Maestro Classics. The story and music flow together wonderfully. It has really made us appreciate classical music. My girls ages 7, 9, & 10 and I have all enjoyed listening to the CD over and over. We were very pleasantly surprised by the "Speed Metal Swan" ~ a heavy metal version of the main theme. My girls thought it was wonderful. Another additional track on this CD tells us what to listen to in music and about Tchaikovsky's life.

Maestro Classics offer several other classical music CD's. We had the pleasure of listening to Peter and the Wolf last year and you can read my review of it here. My girls and I are thinking that we would enjoy Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel next.
Photobucket JANUARY SPECIAL: Order a Swan Lake CD or MP3 download, and Maestro Classics will automatically send you an additional free MP3 Swan Lake orchestral version!

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

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Glass Etching

My daughter-in-law and I wanted to have friends over for a tea party and we wanted them to be able to take something home with them. Since we had some glass etching cream that we used on her and my son's toasting glasses for their wedding we decided to etch a glass for each guest. We wanted to keep the cost down so bought our glasses at The Dollar Tree.
This is one of the toasting glasses from the wedding. The big "M" came from Tie the Knot Cricut cartridge and the small "M" & "S" came from the Jasmine.
These are the glasses that our guest could take home. We chose 3 different size glasses.
This is our trial glass before starting the ones for our guests. It has icicles and snowflakes but since it was the holiday season we chose to use icicles holly leaves for our guests.
 First we cut the images on the Cricut using vinyl. Our icicles and snowflakes came from the Martha Stewart Seasonal Cake Art and the holly leaves were from the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge. You will want to use the reverse image so you can use the actual image for something else if you want. If you don't have access to a cutting machine you could use any adhesive stencil.
 The icicles were easy to adhere to the glass. Since it was curved we had to make sure the creases were closed, we did this by pressing them flat.

We used transfer tape with our snowflakes and holly leaves so our small pieces stayed in there exact place.

 The etching cream was applied with a foam paintbrush. We applied it pretty thick but not so thick that it dripped down.

After about 10 minutes we rinsed the etching cream off with warm water and removed the vinyl.

We had a lot of fun making the glasses and the image could be changed for any occasion. I think they would make a great personalized gift.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Side of the Mountain


My Side of the Mountain is one of my families favorite books. All of my kids really enjoy following Sam on his wilderness adventure. I just finished reading the book out loud to my kids when we were offered the Z-Guide to the movie version of My Side of the Mountain from Zeezok Publishing.

The My Side of the Mountain Z-Guide was written to be used with the 1969 movie from Paramount Pictures. This Z-Guide covers Natural Science, Henry David Thoreau, and Survival Skills it is meant to be completed over a weeks time. The topic overview and movie synopsis should be completed before watching the movie while the movie review questions should be answered during the initial viewing to help the student evaluate the message from the movie. There are 9 other activities to complete or you can pick and choose which ones to finish if your time is limited. Some of the activities included are spelling & grammar, designing a wilderness home, surviving in the wilderness, learning more about the peregrine falcon, and worldview activities. There are also family discussion questions and a list of additional resources for further study.

Amber (age 10) & Delaney (age 9) completed the Z-Guide while we watched My Side of the Mountain. We found the exact movie copy that this Z-Guide was written for at our local library or you may purchase it from Zeezok for $19.98. The Z-Guide was very easy to use and my girls didn't have any trouble hearing the answers to the questions. Their favorite part of the guide was designing a wilderness home & rewriting the ending to the movie. They also enjoyed studying more about the peregrine falcon and their wilderness plan was very interesting. The girls used the Kit Kitteredge Z-Guide last school year and we feel they are a great way to break up our regular school work.

Zeezok Publishing strives to provide quality literature and educational books to train the next generation and was established in 2003. They believe "It is better to build children than to repair men." They want to help you develop your family's love for God and country through their products.

The Z-Guides are available for $12.99 and there is a very good selection for elementary through high school students. There is a great explanation of what a Z-Guide is on their website along with a sample of the Z-Guide for The Count of Monte Cristo.

Crew members received Z-Guides to several different movies. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read what other ones were reviewed.

As a member of the TOS Crew I received the Z Guide for My Side of the Mountain free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: P & R Publishing
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.38"
ISBN: 1596382457
ISBN-13: 9781596382459
Series: Quest for Truth

If you follow my blog you know that we have been reading the new Adventures in Odyssey series from Focus on the Family. One of the authors Brock Eastman has his own series The Quest For Truth, and we just finished the first book Taken. The only complaint my kids had was that the second book, Risk, doesn't come out until May.

Oliver is the oldest kid in the Wikk family and he has to get his sister and twin brothers to another planet after his parents get taken by the Ubel renegades. Oliver must fly the family space ship in some dangerous situations to reach the planet Jahr des Eises. Oliver and Tiffany must go into town to get a part for the Phoenix. The twins Mason and Austin must stay with the ship while they are gone. The twins disobey their brother and go outside the ship, while they are out they get kidnapped by the Blauwe Mensen (blue people) and are forced to live in Cobalt Gorge forever. They become friends with Prince Obbin who helps them to escape back to the Pheonix. Oliver & Tiffany make it back to the spaceship and barely escape the attack of the Blauwe Mensen. Then the Brighton Security force want information from the Pheonix and when the kids don't respond to them they launch a torpedo at their ship. The Pheonix begins it's countdown but the kids don't know if it is the countdown to hyper flight or the impact of the torpedo!!

My 10 year old daughter started reading this book as soon as we received it in the mail but since I am writing the review I had to practically steal it from her to read out loud. She didn't want to put it down & couldn't wait for me to catch up to where she was in the book. All three of my girls ages 7, 9, & 10 enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next book in the series.

I really like taken because I like the action, excitement and it is not about every day stuff. Every night when my mom reads us a chapter book she will say time for bed and we do not want to go to bed because we want to know what happens because most of the time when we end a chapter it is usually exiting. In Taken pretty much all of the book was exciting. I was reading it by myself but then my mom caught up to where I was and she just read the rest of the book to me and my sisters and it was really hard for me to stop reading because I always wanted to know what happened next.
     -Amber age 10

Brock Eastman is the Product Marketing Manager at Focus on the Family and has worked on Adventures in Odyssey. He likes to write and with his wife's encouragement, signed a publishing deal for The Quest for Truth series in 2010.

I think Brock did a wonderful job with this book. There is plenty of suspense and adventure without a lot of graphic violence. He had all of our attention from the very beginning and kept it to the end.

I have 3 copies of Taken to give away to three lucky readers of my blog. I will choose 3 winners on January 9, 2012.

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