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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Railroad Retirement Cake #retirementcake #railroadcake

I've done two railroad retirement cakes in the past couple of weeks. The same guy ordered both cakes and he didn't really care what was on them.
 One guy is retiring and moving to Michigan. I chose to put both states on the cake with rr tracks running across NE and a car taking him to Michigan.

 The other cake they had a saying to go with the cake. I just added rr tracks around the wording. I also put red stripes on the side of the cake to match the Union Pacific logo.

Clued In Kids Treasure Hunt Review #hsreviews

Clued In KidsReview
What kid (or adult) doesn't like a scavenger hunt? My girls love them!! We have used them for fun, for birthday parties & now for school. We received the Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt and the Multiplication Dragons Treasure Hunts (2X-6X Tables) from Clued in Kids.
I was originally going to have all three of my girls work on the Treasure Hunts and I would be the hunt leader. As soon as my 12 year old found out what was going on she wanted to be the hunt leader. She actually took the first hunt and did it all herself. She placed all the clues where they should be and of course she had to hide the prize too. I'm not sure if she enjoyed these more or my daughter that went on the scavenger hunts. Alaina (age 9) was the one who went on the scavenger hunts, and she was so excited between every clue. I think she was more excited about finding each clue than she was about the prize, because she was disappointed when each one was over. 

The treasure hunts are all set up the same way. Each clue contains a question that must be answered correctly to be able to find the next clue. On the bottom of the clue there is a note to the hunt leader that tells them where to hide that clue. Each clue answered correctly leads to the next clue and a prize at the end. 

The Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt is recommended for children ages 4 and up and is available for $5.99. There are 12 clues in this treasure hunt. The PDF file is 8 pages long. After printing the clue pages the hunt leader will need to cut each sheet of paper in half to separate the clues and hide them in the appropriate place indicated on the bottom of the clue. Some of the clues use word puzzles, riddles, addition problems, dares, secret code math problems, and more. All of these clues have something to do with Thanksgiving.

The Multiplication Dragons Treasure Hunts (2X-6X Tables) is recommended for children ages 7 and up and is available for $19.99. This treasure hunt is actually 5 treasure hunts in one. There is a treasure hunt for the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 multiplication facts. They each contain 12 clues and are set up the same way as the Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt. Some of the clues for these treasure hunts are riddles, message decoding, estimation, drawing, multiplication problems for each number, and more. To receive the prize at the end of these treasure hunts you are suppose to recite the multiplication facts that were used for the hunt. 

My girls loved these scavenger hunts and they would be perfect for any kid, no matter if they lead the hunt of go on the hunt. They could be used for some fun school, a play date, a rainy afternoon, or just because. The prizes don't have to be anything big or expensive, Alaina liked the exciment more than the prize. We used some candy, new markers, and a little inexpensive stuffed animal. Some of the clues are really easy and some of the clues are a little harder so they would be perfect for groups of kids that are different ages. 
Clued in Kids just started in 2013 and they offer academic treasure and scavenger hunts that teach logic, math, social studies, reading, social skills and teamwork to ages 4 and up. They offer a variety of hunts including holidays, sports, and seasons. Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed several different Treasure Hunts and you can read those reviews on the Crew Blog.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Forbidden Book Review #hsreviews

New Liberty Videos Review
I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and He has watched over and preserved it over throughout the years. I received The Forbidden Book from New Liberty Videos that tells how God used men to make sure everyone has access to His Word. 

In The Forbidden Book The History of the English Bible you will discover the fascinating story behind the preservation of the greatest Book in human history. This DVD is 58 minutes long and sells for $19.95. It is recommended for general audiences but younger children may not be interested. 
New Liberty Videos Review
This video is hosted by Dr. Craig Lampe. He takes us across Europe to show important places in Christian history as he introduces us to important people God has used to preserve His word. Dr. Lampe tells us about the original Hebrew and Greek copies of God's Word and the process it took to get the Bible we now have. He tells us a little of how the text was copied and what type of paper was used depending on where it was copied.  Several great men were introduced but we learn more about three very prominent men.

John Wycliffe was an Oxford scholar and was the first person to translate the Bible into English. He wanted the general public to be able to read God's word for themselves and he was so hated for this that his bones were dug up 40 years after his death to be burned by Pope Martin V. 

Martin Luther was the first man to translate the Bible into German. He went against church authority in the 16th Century by exposing the indulgences of the church. In the documentary we get to see the door where he nailed his 95 Theses that started the Protestant Reformation.

William Tyndale suffered the dungeon and a cruel death for printing Bibles in his illegal printing press. He was the first person to print the scriptures in English. We get to see his printing press location that is now a bookstore. 

I watched this DVD with all three of my girls ages 9, 12, & 13. My youngest didn't really watch, she just colored in the same room with us. My 12 & 13 year old liked that they were actually shown the places that were being discussed. This really helps them to remember information when they have a visual for it. There is a lot of information included in this documentary. I have studied this information on my own and with my children before, but seeing the church buildings and old copies of scripture made the information more real and memorable. Studying how we got our Bible is very eye opening and helps me appreciate the book that I love to read. This would be a wonderful addition to any church library or anyone wanting to know the history behind our Bible.   

New Liberty Videos is ran by Brian Barkley and his wife, Marilyn. After becoming a Christian in 1977 Brian and his wife have been producing Christian movies. Prior to that Brian was employed by Universal Studios in Hollywood as an editor on several television series, such as B.J. And the Bear, Sheriff Lobo, and Quincy. Marilyn retired from Hallmark Cards in 2013 where she was employed for more than 25 years. 

The Schoolhouse Review Crew had the opportunity to review six different titles from New Liberty Videos. You can read those reviews on the Crew Blog
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Manic Drive VIP CD Review & Giveaway #manicdrive

I'm always on the lookout for music that my teen and preteens will like that have lyrics that I want them to listen to. The new CD from Manic Drive is our newest favorite!! My girls have been listening to it in the car and when we are home. Amber & Delaney both like VIP the most (maybe because it features Manwell from Group 1 Crew!) and Alaina likes Good News the best and I would have to vote for Electric
Manic Drive is a Canadian Christian rock band in their twenties, and they want to encourage their generation to pursue a deeper walk with Christ. The band was formed in 2004 and consists of brothers Shawn and Michael Cavallo and Anthony Moreino. They have received two Gospel Music Association of Canada Covenant Awards and they have multiple Billboard Top 10 & 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio.
Manic Drive plays rock music and this new album has a clean clear sound that my household can listen to all day or as often as they can!! 
  • Electric (featuring Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Crutch)
  • VIP (featuring Manwell from Group 1 Crew)
  • Street Lights
  • King of Mercy
  • Good News
  • I Hide You Seek
  • Song to Sing
  • Fire
  • Indestructible
  • Rhythm  
Manic Drive on social media.

~~~~~ GIVEAWAY~~~~
I have one copy of Manic Drive VIP to giveaway to one of my readers in the United States or Canada. I will select a winner on Monday, November 3, 2014.
Enter the Rafflecopter Below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baby Shower Cake #fondantbaby #babyshowercake

 I have to admit, I have never received an order for a baby shower cake for the grandma. This lucky grandma is expecting 3 grand babies very soon. Two baby girls and on little boy. I decided to do one side of the cake in blue and one side in pink with little fondant babies.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Middlebury Interactive Language High School Spanish Semester I Review #hsreviews

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
My girls have learned a little bit of Spanish at the elementary and junior high school levels, but not enough to carry on a conversation. Amber & Delaney were excited to finally get to work on a high school program. They have been using one of the High School Spanish Courses from Middlebury Interactive Languages.
Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Middlebury Interactive Languages offer foreign language courses for Spanish, French, Chinese, and German. All of the languages are available for grade 3-12, but Spanish is available for K-12. My girls have been doing Competency High School Semester I and it is recommended for students in grades 9-12. This course covers 1 semester and is $119. without a teacher or you can choose to have a teacher for an extra fee. There is no prerequisites for this course, and the student has six months to complete the semester.
The Middlebury High School Courses are based on the immersion methodology. They develop proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking skills through video and activities. The videos are filmed on location with authentic content. Students are able to move at their own pace to learn the language and discover new cultures. The language is applied in common situations that the students understand. Students are engaged in learning by participating in conversations that introduce vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure. 
I actually had two of my girls (ages 12 & 13) work on this together even though it is intended for one student. They would sit together to do the lesson and then they would take turns answering the questions. That means they only get one grade together, but they retain a lot more if they have someone to talk in Spanish to throughout the day. They would also pause the lesson often to speak Spanish to each other. Some of the lessons have you record yourself speaking the words to compare it to the correct pronunciation. Since my girls were working on this together they didn't record themselves, they just listened to each other. 
Semester 1 is divided into 18 Units with each unit having a total of 90 lessons. It is recommended the student completes one lesson a day for 18 weeks. The lessons include grammar, reading, matching, flashcards, tests, and more. Quizzes are given throughout the lesson and there is a test at the end of each chapter. They are checked and graded automatically.  
As soon as you log in the student will be at the current lesson, but there are actually several ways to navigate your lessons. You can use the calendar that has a lesson assignment for each day, you can use the table of contents to go to the current lesson or go back and redo any other lesson. In the table of contents you can see all 18 units included with this semester. You can access any lesson at any time. Once a lesson is completed a green check mark appears in the box beside each lesson.
The Grade book can be accessed at any time. It tells you the assignment or quiz, the grade, the date taken, and the corresponding calendar information. 

My girls are really liking this program & they are retaining what they learn. We attended a wedding last weekend and a friend of the bride from Guatemala was there. She only speaks Spanish. She can understand a little bit of English, but she only speaks even less. My girls had the opportunity to try their Spanish with her. They were a little nervous at first, but they soon figured out they could understand enough of what she was saying to be able to answer her (she talked a little slower for them). They had some good laughs together & made the lady feel more comfortable. She told them that she gets nervous too using the little bit of English that she knows.
Amber and Delaney both liked that they get to experience the culture during their lessons. They also thought it was wonderful that they could just log in and they would be at the lesson that they are ready for. I like that some of the lessons they have to write their answers, this forces them to pay attention to spelling as well as sound. 
Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew used other languages & grade levels. You can read those reviews at the Crew Blog. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Standard Deviants Accelerated Review #hsreviews

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Homeschooling has never been easier. If you are worried about high school or need some AP classes they are now available to anyone with the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses from Standard Deviants Accelerate.  
Standard Deviants Accelerate is a supplementary learning website. They offer a variety of classes for ages 8 through adult including AP classes. This online resource uses videos, vocabulary, quizzes, grading and more to teach classes in mathematics, science, history, nutrition, government, and English composition. The annual cost for one class is $99.00 or you may purchase them monthly for $24.95, or AP classes are $14.95 monthly.
I had Amber (age 13) using this program for U.S. History. Standard Deviants is an online program, so Amber decided to use the program on the iPad mini so she could curl up on the couch. The program is very student friendly, as soon as Amber logged in there is a picture of her course. The student has access to the entire course from the very beginning, so it is very easy to move around in the course. US History covers:
  • American Presidents
  • Women's Movement
  • Civil Reform
  • America At War
  • Economic Changes
  • Subject Review
There are 3 or 4 topics and a review for each section. Once you select your chapter you will have tabs to navigate the Video, Vocab, Diagram, Quiz, and Written Answer sections. 

Each video is given by several young actors and comedians, they each take turns talking about the topic while including some humor. The videos may be watched in full screen or in a small box with the text beside it. The text is exactly what the actors are saying and they switch speakers with every paragraph. We see the speakers, pictures, maps, important text, and other things throughout the video segment. 
The vocabulary words are listed under another tab. It shows the list of essential terms. The student can read the terms and definitions or they can click on the speaker to have them read to them. The quizzes are made up of multiple choice answers and there are a few questions that require written answers. The quizzes are automatically graded and if an incorrect answer is chosen a "see video" button will be displayed for you to see a video of the correct answer. Some topics have a drag and drop diagram. 

The Chapter Reviews include group activities, post-test, and critical thinking. The group activities are intended to be used with 3 to 5 students. The student is given an intended audience, a topic and parameters to prepare a lesson lasting about 5 minutes to present to the rest of the class. Some of these activities include creating a song or rap, teaching children, teaching in gestures or with drawings and limited words. 

Amber loves History and was really excited about using this program. She learned from the information that was taught and thought some of the actors were entertaining. She doesn't care much for multiple choice quizzes, but that isn't something we normally do in our school. She did enjoy the group activities that she actually did on her own and presented to her younger sisters. I really like how the quizzes are automatically graded. That way she knew exactly what she missed while the information was still fresh in her mind. I also like that Amber could use this program completely on her own and didn't even need me to grade her quizzes. That freed up time during our school day so I could help her younger sisters with other subjects.  
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were able to select the subject of their choice. You can read those reviews over at the Crew Blog
If you would like to try it out for yourself they are offering a six month free trial to all homeschools. You will have access to all 14 subjects for up to 4 students. 
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Apologia iWitness Review #hsreviews

Apologia Review
We have family devotions every day and I have my girls have their own Bible time every day also, so when we had the chance to review a 3 new titles in the iWitness series from Apologia Educational Ministries we couldn't turn that down. We received iWitness Biblical Archaeology, Old Testament iWitness, and New Testament iWitness. These apologetics resources let you investigate the evidence yourself.
All three softcover books were written and designed by Doug Powell. He has a Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics from Biola University and has written several other books. In the iWitness series Doug has taken scholarly material and written these books in a way that every one ages 11 and up can and will want to read them. They actually look like a scrapbook with pictures, photos, tags, and the text is printed on sections that you might actually journal on in your own scrapbook.  
Apologia Review
iWitness Biblical Archaeology is available for $14.00. Biblical Archaeology is about discovering evidence that back up the Bible or give us a better understanding of biblical history. People try to discredit the Bible & by finding artifacts that back up what the Bible says we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is true. iWitness Biblical Archaeology shows us evidence for the flood and looking for Noah's ark, Egyptian Chronology, the Exodus, Sennacherib's Siege of Jerusalem, Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus' World, Jesus' Judges, Jesus' Burial Shroud, the oldest Old Testament copies, and more.   
Apologia Review
Old Testament iWitness is available for $14.00. The Old Testament tells us of the coming of Jesus & is just as important to us today as the New Testament. This iWitness book gives answers to a lot of questions about the Old Testament like; Where did the books come from? How were they collected? Have they changed? and more. We learned about the manuscript and how it was copied. We learned about the Hebrew Bible, the Canon, Septuagint, and the Torah. Covenants, Minor and Major Prophets along with some archaeology is also discussed. There is a also a timeline in the back of the book.
Apologia Review
The New Testament iWitness book is also available for $14.00. This book like the Old Testament iWitness book answers a lot of questions people have about the Bible. Who wrote the New Testament? How was it handed down? and more. It starts with a list of each book. We learn of early church fathers, Bishops, and early theologians. We learn about the apostles, the oldest part of the New Testament, rejected books, we even learn how the Gospels were put together in book form. There is a lot of evidence on how the New Testament was copied, and the differences between some of them.
I have been using these books with my girls (ages 9, 12, &13). The first day we got them in the mail Amber (13) snatched them up and she read through a large portion of them and couldn't wait to finish them. I would read the text to all three of my girls and then we would look at the pictures included and discuss what we had just read. We have been a Bible believing family their entire lives, so they have actually heard some of what is included in these books before. But there was a lot of information that they hadn't heard or seen pictures of. 
We love the way these books are set up. They are very visually appealing to my whole family. I really like that there is so much factual information, but they aren't dry reading for my younger kids. I appreciate that these books aren't full of opinions or any man made doctrines. My girls love seeing the pictures of the artifacts, sites, and the biblical writings in their original form. This series will make a wonderful addition to any home or church library. 
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stained Glass Cross Cake #confirmationcake

 I needed a stained glass look for a confirmation cake. My customer wanted a cross with her chosen saying. I chose to use a mixture of powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup to get the shiny look on the cross. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fortuigence Essay Rockstar Review #hsreviews

Fortuigence Review
I am fortunate that my girls all like to write. Delaney will actually get some story running through her head and she will have to write it down right that minute no matter what we are doing or where we are. The problem with her writing is that she doesn't like to work on the same thing until it is perfected. She gets it to where she likes it and then would rather have someone else edit it for her. She has been taking the class Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course from Fortuigence and it has forced her to perfect her writing assignment. 

Lily Iatridis taught in the classroom until she decided to stay home to start a family. She wanted to give students one on one support they needed but still spend time with her own family, so she created an online course called Fortuigence. 

Students in the middle and high school level writing will work at their own pace because Fortuigence courses focus on mastery. The student will use the online lessons containing audio, video, and resource materials then complete their writing assignment. Once the writing assignment is turned in an online teacher will go over the work and send a detailed email with what was done correctly or what needs to be fixed. The writing assignment will be worked on until the teacher gives the student permission to move onto the next lesson. 

Fortuigence Review
The Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Writing Course is one of the four short courses that makes up Essay Rock Star. It teaches students ages 12-18 to write a personal statement also called a personal narrative and is available for $57.00. Basically they learn to write about themselves in 5 steps.
  • Step 1 Brainstorming ~ The student is told to think about what they want to include in their writing and turned in a paper about themselves.
  • Step 2 Organization ~ Here students use the ideas from the brainstorming assignment to get their thoughts in order by making an outline.
  • Step 3 Free Writing ~ The writing assignment for this section has the student just write with no editing or revision.
  • Step 4 Revision ~ Students use their outline and their free writing to organize their thoughts into an actual essay. They are asked to add their thesis statement, introduction and conclusion paragraphs also.
  • Step 5 Editing ~ The final essay is completed in this step by reviewing grammar, punctuation, spelling and mechanics issues in detail until complete.

Before the student begins the course they are asked to submit a sample of the writing on any topic. Then they move onto the lessons that include videos from Lily where she talks about writing. There are also audios where Lily reads the lesson. There are writing samples that go along with the assignments to help the student see how to write. There are also sheets that can be printed out that include grammar rules, common words to avoid, list of transitions within and between sentences, and more. 

Delaney is 12 and she worked through the course herself. There are instructions at the beginning of the course that tell you exactly how to turn in your assignments. Once the writing assignment is turned in a grey check mark appears next to the assignment. The writing assignment is then read and critiqued by an actual person. In the response emails Delaney was told if she needed to correct anything and email it back or if she could proceed to the next lesson. When she was ready to move onto the next lesson there would be a red check mark next to the assignment indicating it had been completed and she could move on to the next one. 

Lily was Delaney's online teacher and she is very encouraging in her emails. She told Delaney things that she did well & she told her things that she needed to correct and offered suggestions to help her out. Delaney has felt very comfortable taking this course and looked forward to her feed back from each lesson.
Fortuigence Review
The courses from Fortuigence can be used by anyone needing help with their writing no matter if they are homeschooled, public schooled, or even adults that need help. The courses are completed at your own pace according to how much help the student needs. As a homeschool parent it is reassuring to see that my child can work under another teacher and that she is doing well at it. 

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew used the four different short courses that make up Rock Star Essay & you can read those reviews at the Crew Blog.   

Fortuigence Review

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