Friday, March 29, 2013

Bacon flavored Scope? For breath that sizzles...


Just wondering if this is real?  Did Scope get the jump on April Fool's Day or is it in fact a real product? Hmmm, I can not imagine that it would taste good but you never know.  Scope send me some bacon flavored mouthwash and I'll let you know what I think!


Thanks for reading,
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adventus MusIQ Homeschool-review

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For Christmas Makenzie asked for and received a keyboard so she could play around and eventually take some piano lessons.  I was thrilled to see that MusIQ Homeschool from Adventus came up for review because I knew that Makenzie would be really excited.  

First I wanted to let you know that if you want to use this program you need a MIDI piano keyboard. Adventus does offer one that you can purchase on their website that's a plug and play and is $114.95. Thankfully the keyboard we had purchased for Kenzie at Christmas was compatible and all we had to purchase was a USB cable to hook it up to the computer. Although it did take me a little while to figure out why everything wasn't working correctly at first.  I'm affectionately called the "geek squad" of our family so I got it figured out and working and then Makenzie was off on her music journey!
 Kenzie hasn't had any piano or music lessons ever so we decided to start her at the very beginning with Children's Music Journey Vol. 1 (each volume has between 25-35 lessons).  She's 12 years old and caught on really quickly so she was able to skip ahead quite a bit and is now on Vol. 3.  As you can tell from the picture this software is all animated and would really appeal to a younger crowd of ages 4-10.  Even though she's 12 she's still enjoying the lessons.  Each lesson would begin with a piece of music by a famous composer and then that composer would teach the lesson for the day.  As you can see in the picture up above the first lesson began with Ludwig Von Beethoven.  After each lesson then 10 games open up and they help reinforce what the student has just learned.  Another fun component is that you are able to compose your own music with dozens of different instruments.

Recommended ages are 4-18 and they offer a 7 year curriculum that includes over 20 levels and is for beginner to advanced intermediate students.

2 different options are available, you can download the software onto your computer which does require a monthly subscription (lesson plans are not included with the monthly subscriptions) and is only $10.95 per month or you can purchase the software and they will send you CD-ROM's. Depending on which software you choose then your price could start at $89.95 and go up to $489.95 for the complete bundle.  I really think any of these options are a wonderful price because I was checking piano lesson prices in our area and they were about $20 per lesson per child and most of them require at least 4 lessons per month.

Makenzie has been enjoying her keyboard lessons and practices quite often.  I told her that her "required" practice per day was 30 min. I feel that's very fair and is exactly how long I had to practice the piano when I was a child.  Although lesson plans were included in our package I'm just letting her move at her own pace right now, when she's been playing for several months that option might change. This has not been a problem for her at all since she loves this software so much she can easily play for an hour or more (if I let her).  She's soaking it up like a sponge and is so excited about music now!

 I'm hoping Kylan will catch her enthusiasm and try the curriculum for himself.  Which brings me to my next plus about this curriculum, you have the option for many different students to use the curriculum.  It keeps track of each students profile and remembers where they are at and how often they have practiced.  That's a bonus in my world, especially if you have multiple children that want to learn to play the piano.





Thanks for reading,
 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The American Bible Challenge review and giveaway




My family and I really enjoyed The American Bible Challenge last year and I'm so excited about the new season.  Once again this year will be hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and you are sure to learn a lot about the Bible.  Test your skills and see if you have what it takes and do you really know your Bible like you thought you did?
I received a copy of the book The American Bible Challenge Daily Reader and so I'm loving it! My children and I have been reading it every morning and quizzing each other on some of the questions asked in the book.  Enter today and you could have a chance to win your own copy of The American Bible Challenge Daily Reader, it was writen by Troy Schmidt.  Troy began writing animation in 1985 for Dennis the Menace and Heathcliff as well as The Mickey Mouse Club.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
















Thanks for reading,
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Essentials in Writing

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Our family struggles in writing and I'm not sure why.  When I was in high school I enjoyed English and Writing, they were my all time favorite classes but finding a curriculum that works well for both of my children's learning styles has been sort of an adventure.  We've tried all different kinds of programs and liked some of them but not LOVED any of them.  Finally, our quest is over!  Kylan enjoys Essentials in Writing so much that he will ask if he can move on and do more lessons in the 5th grade curriculum each day.  Say what???  I know, it's crazy talk.  Let me tell you a little bit more about the curriculum and then we'll get into the reasons that it works for our family.

The fifth grade level of Essentials in Writing consists of 64 lessons.  The first 33 lessons were devoted to grammar, and the rest of the lessons focusing on composition. We received 2 DVD's and a CD rom with printable worksheet files, you can also choose to have all the files printed out and bound for an additional $20 which, in my opinion is a pretty great deal.

Here's a list of things that he worked on in the fifth grade level.

~Sentence structure

~Parts of speech

~Writing dialogue

~Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

~The writing process

~Writing a narrative

~Writing a friendly letter

~Persuasive writing

~Descriptive writing

~Figurative language

~Poetry

Click on the link if you would like to see a copy of the syllabus and to look at a complete list of what is covered.  There isn't a schedule to follow but rather a suggested approach of watching the lesson and then only doing 1 worksheet per day.  This didn't work for Kylan so I allowed him to do several worksheets per day if he felt like it.  This is a non consumable product that includes grammar and compostition so it is very economical, especially if you have several children.  Priced at $40 you can use it over and over because it comes with a CD that has printable worksheet files.  Yes, you have to print them yourself or you can purchase them pre-printed for $20.





Kylan loves Essentials in Writing because of the following:

~He can pop the video in and watch his lesson at any time (he doesn't have to wait for me to help him).

~He can re-watch the lesson if he needs to.

~Mr. Stephens presents everything slowly and at a pace that Kylan can keep up with.

~Mr. Stephens shows the students how to apply what they are learning.

~Kylan knows that he's only required to do 1 worksheet per day but many days he will finish 5 or 6 worksheets because he's enjoying the video and understands the concepts.

~Kylan just told me that his favorite reason is that he's getting grammar and writing done all at the same time so he feels like he's accomplishing a lot!
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What didn't work for us:

~The teacher would speak too quickly and Kylan coudln't understand him but that was easily fixed by re-playing it over and over until he understood what was said. It did get a bit frustrating though when I coudln't figure it out either.

~I thought the lessons were too short.

~I wish there was more worksheets available for students that struggle in specific areas.

~There were not any tests or quizzes.  I like to test my children and make sure they totally understood a concept.





Overall we found that Essentials in Writing works well for both Kylan and Makenzie.  Yes, it worked so well for fifth grade that I had to check out the 7th grade curriculum as well.

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Makenzie is enjoying it immensly and LOVES the fact that she can move as slowly or quickly as she needs to.  She had already finished her 7th grade grammar and writing curriculum for this year. A friend let us borrow their 7th grade Essientials in Writing to see if it would work for us.  We noticed that in 7th grade it focuses more on compostition and grammar is supplemental. 

I am such a believer in this curriculum that I'm ready to purchase the 6th and 8th grade curriclum for next year!

Last but not least you know it's working for our family if I'm willing to recommend it to other homeschoolers in our co-op.  I'm very honest with them about works and doesn't work and will say that I don't like a curriculum.  Today, I posted in our homeschool group recommending Essentials in Writing and giving it a rave review.





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Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nutella cookie mishap




I was so excited to find this recipe for Nutella cookies, and it only takes 3 ingredients to make them. 

1 Cup Nutella
1 egg
1 cup sugar (or so I thought)

Then mix for about a minute or until well bleded.



Scoop out a spoonful and roll into approx. 1" balls.  Make sure you space them pretty far apart because they spread like crazy.

Bake for 7 minutes in 350 degree oven.

We were not all that thrilled with how these cookies came out and I couldn't figure out what had gone wrong until my friend texted me and said, "Sorry the ingredients in the Nutella cookies is 1 cup flour not sugar!"  Oh my goodness no wonder they were so sweet and flat, not at all what I expected after the rave reviews from my friends.  So Kenzie and I are headed back into the kitchen to try again!


Thanks for reading,
 

Friday, March 08, 2013

1,000th blog post


I can't believe that this is my 1,000th blog post!  That's a lot of typing, editing and photo sharing.  I remember when I posted my 500th post back in June of 2009.  I did a fun giveaway for that post.  At this point I've got nothing for you...no giveaways or anything.  I've been a slacker in the blogging area of my life, we've partially moved 2 times in the past 6 months and the rest of our stuff is in storage.  Still trying to find a house and waiting on insurance...don't even ask it's not a pretty story.  Oh, I turned 40 years old on the 5th,  I hear that the 40's are fabulous so I'm super excited because the 30's were just ok. I'm sure I'll share more about the house hunt, living with in-laws and house sitting for some wonderful friends with you in the not so distant future.  Until then please keep reading Just Wedeminute!



Thanks for reading,
 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words.



Lone Star Learning offers some really neat flashcards to help remember words that are very common in  Math, Science and Language Arts.  They come in sets of 40,  full color, and are coated.

 The size of the Science Vocabulary cards seemed a little large and were double the size of the Target Vocabulary Cards.  The size of the Get the Picture cards seemed perfect for my 5th and 7th graders. They are nice and sturdy almost like card stock, so they will hold up well with repeated use. They will still tear, though, so be sure to keep an eye on any little ones who handle them!

 Each card shows a vocabulary word, and has pictures within the word to show its meaning. The card sets are NOT arranged by grade level, so you do need to look over the word lists to see what will work for your children. There are 5 word lists to choose from!





Price is $29.99 per set


We love science and were thrilled when Lone Star Learning sent us the Science Vocabulary Pictures set 1. We were accidentally sent a set of the Target Vocabulary Pictures, Set 1 and we were allowed to keep them too.  After going through the cards only one time and discussing them my 5th grader remembered them all and actually told me that he used some of them on a math test.  This means he remembered what he had learned and we all know that's the big battle!  Even though these cards are for the target grades 3rd-9th my 7th grader thought they were too easy but a great idea.  She even started trying to come up with her own version when studying for a history test.

Each set of cards comes with an information sheet that helps with ideas on how to use the cards.  Some of the examples were the following:

Use the words to make acrostic poetry

Make each card a "Word of the Day"

Write and illustrate the word

and many more creative ideas were given.

You know that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words".  Well, in my son's case this is very true because he's such a visual learner so these cards are perfect for his style of learning!



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Thanks for reading,
 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

If you give a homeschooler a book...

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Inspiring the American Dream graciously sent us a copy of the children's book Abraham's Journey to review.   The cover is glossy with an interesting illustration that made my children curious.  After opening the package our conversation went something like this, "Mom what's that book?  Why does it have Abraham Lincoln on a smart phone?  I know he's dead and certainly can't be speaking on a smart phone.  Is that an iPhone?  I bet he would have loved the iPhone because all kinds of info would have been at his fingertips!  I think I just want to take a peek at that book. Is that ok?"  Well, that was a one sided conversation for sure and that was the start of our day that turned into something resembling the book If You Give a Mouse A Cookie.

 Makenzie planned on only taking a peek but of course she finished the 32 page book quickly which caused us to do some research about several of the characters.  The first one she wanted to know about was Norman Rockwell.  Which spurred us on into painting some Norman Rockwell style pictures, searching the web for any information we could find about Mr. Rockwell and of course ordering a couple of library books. 
 Next she wanted to know more about Amelia Earhart so we found a lapbook and started putting it together, while in the middle of the lapbook I found a show about Ms. Earhart on Netflix so we started watching it, it was pretty good. 
 Kenzie wasn't sure who the Gates were so that was a great opportunity to talk about philanthropy and we tied that in to her Punky Monkey Missions projects.  By this time we were getting pretty tired but touched on Martin Luther King, Jr (we had just finished a unit study on him in January) and Mark Zuckerberg.  After finishing all of that, Kylan woke up from a nap (he was a sick boy) and said, "Hey mom can I read that book?"

As you can tell my children enjoyed this book and we really did learn a lot from it!  I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just say that this book is all about the American Dream and takes you on a journey with some famous Americans that all had one thing in common...big DREAMS!  This book, written by Kathleen Basmadjian, PhD and Robert K. Basmadjian Jr., retails for $14.99, and is also available via Kindle for $9.99 .Click on the link to purchase Abraham's Journey.  This book is recommended for ages 7-12 year olds.


Pros:
~Colorful, wonderful illustrations

~Easy read

~Definition of terms in the back of the book

~Character Biographies



Cons: 

~ I didn't really like the fact that Mark Zuckerberg was considered a role model and the child actually ends up giving him his email address at the end of the book.  I don't think that's a smart idea and certainly would not allow my children to share that info with someone they had just met.

~I wish more info was given about Abraham Lincoln because he overcame a lot of hardships to live his American Dream.

~Both of my children wondered why the boy had a smart phone if the family was having financial issues and why he didn't just sell it to make some money.







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Thanks for reading,