Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - February 28

Monday: Spaghetti and Corn Bread
Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas
Wednesday: Unknown
Thursday: Chili
Friday: Vegetable Soup

This is short and sweet since today is a busy day.  For more recipes or to link up, click the picture at the top.


Visual Latin Coupon Code!

Last week I reviewed Visual Latin and this week I have some exciting news!  They have offered my readers 25% off any of their products!!  Just use coupon code "twentyfiveoff" at checkout.  This code will be available through Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

So if you are not happy with your current Latin program, looking to supplement it with something else, or want to try Latin for the first time, read my review and then check out Visual Latin!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Before and After: Under the Desk

I have a lot of things "hidden" under my office desk.  Although most people cannot see what is there, it is a mess.  Here it is pulled out from under the desk.  Most things are just packed away in overflowing shopping bags.

Now here it is all neat and tidy.  The bottom bin has all my craft and sewing supplies, the middle bin has all my scrapbooking supplies, and the top basket has all our extra school supplies (folders, scissors, etc).

The box to the right has all of my completed hair bows and accessories and then next to it on the shelf are all my ribbons. 

The best part about this organization project is that I already had the boxes and bins around the house.  I just had to find them!

The Christian Home is a weekly Blog Magazine posted every Monday morning by The Legacy of Home.  Articles are submitted by various Christian bloggers.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

And the Crypto-Capers Winner Is...

Comment # 31: Amy W - voted 2/19 

I used to pick the winner and I have already notified her via email.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Crypto-Capers Book Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews and thanks again to Renee for allowing me to offer this great book!


The Life Ready Woman Giveaway

Are you a ‘Doing it all’ or ‘Do what matters’ woman? 

Whether they are stay-at-home moms or airplane-hopping executives, students or senior adults, most women need a contemporary, encouraging vision for what it means to be a godly, biblically guided female in the twenty-first century. A biblical woman takes God's Word seriously not just at church but also in the everyday walks of life.

But can significant and satisfying twenty-first-century womanhood really be defined from Scripture? Womanhood that can apply to all women and yet not be guilty of cookie-cutter sameness, pressing all women into a common mold? Womanhood that will stay fresh even as a woman grows older? Womanhood that can guide each woman to the best in life? The answer is yes, and the result is a femininity without the excesses and regrets that mark those who just go with the flow of the world.

In Life Ready Woman, best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn helps readers take five faith steps drawn from the Bible that will help to define the best life possible. 

Each one is easy to understand, but requires bold faith to activate. The reward is being ready for the deeper life that God has planned.

In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn's Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!

Weekend To Remember Getaways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.

Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:
  1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)
  2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)
  3. 5 Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)
To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!


So, would you like to win a copy of The Life Ready Woman? 

All you have to do is follow my blog via GFC and leave a comment telling me you would like to win!  That's it!!!

One random winner will be selected using on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. (U.S. Entries only.) If I am unable to reach the winner within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you (either an email address in your comment or on your profile).

Disclosure: This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Lego Link Up

My daughter just asked me yesterday if there was another Lego project that she could work on.  I told here there was and she started working on it this morning.  Here is her creation, a maze.  Below she tells a little about it.

This is a BIG maze and pretty easy - but be careful! There are lots of dangers along the way! Bob, in the black, made it! He found the exit. Diane, on the left, is sorta lost. She just can't find the way! Gregory, with the white hair, is scared. He just entered the point of no return. Spooky! 

I'll be submitting her creation to Lego Quest.  They are currently on Quest #35, where the challenge is to create a maze or labyrinth. 

Lego Quest is a blog that Sam, crafty mom to two children, started that features weekly challenges for Lego loving kids that are home/unschooled.

I'll also be linking up with The Joys of Home Educating: Lego Mania Linky Party 


My Blessing From Above: Lego Creation Thursday.   

I'm glad I found these Lego challenges because it helps to spark some creativity and excitement making new creations!

MathRider Review

Math at our house can be a struggle at times so I am constantly on the lookout for anything that that can sharpen speed and accuracy skills of basic math facts. 

I don't tend to give math drills since my daughter does not like them and they can be tedious and boring.  She gets especially frustrated by anything that is timed, so rarely do I give her timed tests or assignments.

When I heard about MathRider, a mathematics mastery game, which includes a horse, my daughter's dream pet, I wanted to learn more. 

MathRider helps children practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from 1 to 12, as they ride their horse on noble quests through the magical MathLands.  Each operation contains four quests ranging from easy to master.  Although the quests are the same across all four operations, the rewards are not, and they are animated according to how well the rider answered the questions.

One thing I like about MathRider is that while the child is playing, the game keeps track of what they have missed and what they haven't.  So they won't continue to be asked math facts they know, but instead they will be asked those facts that they need to work on.  I also like that the speed of the rider is automatically adjusted depending on how fast or slow they answer the questions. 

Below you can see the areas mastered are green, but a few orange and red problem spots, mainly around number 7, need more practice.  The grey areas mean that these questions have not been played yet.

Throughout the game the child or parent can check several things, including their statistics, high scores, a map of their progress, a retelling of the quest story, or they can brush up on their skills in practice mode, which has no impact on their quests or statistics. 

My Thoughts:  I think this is a great game for any child who needs help with mastering their math facts.  I was a little worried at first, because as I said earlier, my daughter does not like timed tests.  Although you are not necessarily timed in the game, you do have to answer the math question before your horse reaches his jump, or you will get it wrong.  She was very nervous about this and frustrated that she couldn't type in the answer in time.  When I realized she was having trouble I would tell her to just shout out the answer and I would key it in.  After we did this for a while she tried again by herself and got the hang of it.

Also, if after you have completed the advance level you don't have mastery of the operation, you have to complete it over and over again until you have mastery before you can move on to the master level.  Although part of me thinks this idea makes sense, it can be discouraging to the child who is improving yet can't move forward in the game.

Thoughts of a 7-Year Old:  What I like about MathRider is that the questions are easy and the scenery is sometimes silly like the "Dragon Realm" and the "Elven Lands".  What I dislike is when I get frustrated!! Anytime I get something wrong I get frustrated! 

Find Out MoreMathRider is available as an instant download for $37.  Although it is not a multi-player game, it can be played by up to 10 players on the same computer.  Each person creates their own rider and chooses their own adventures.  You can then compare the performance of all players on the High Score screen.  MathRider is backed by a 30-day, 100% money back guarantee

My Crewmates are also reviewing MathRider, so you can check out what they think HERE.

Disclosure: This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and for this particular product, I will have to return it to the vendor. I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Progress Cards Review/Giveaway

I think there are times in many of our lives when we could use a little help in one area or another.  This is especially true for children! 

To assist with this in our home, I've made charts, lots of charts!  I don't know how many different charts I have made over the years...chores charts, potty charts, behavior charts...and I'm sure there will be more. 

Well, a couple weeks ago I found Progress Cards.  Scott Ertl, the founder, has worked as an elementary school counselor to help children develop goals and learn how to turn their stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

He has created 60 individual progress cards for parents and children.  Some examples include:

* Morning Routine
* Homework Routine
* Get Along Better with Siblings
* Friendship Skills
* Ways To Stick Up For Others
* Stop Being Selfish
* Boost Your Self-Confidence

My Thoughts:  Although many of the Progress Cards would not work for our family, they may work for yours.  Ones I have found helpful include Healthy Meals and Snacks and Expressing Anger Appropriately.  There are others that I could see being helpful to us in the future or when the time arises.

Find Out More:  You can visit Progress Cards to learn more.  Cards can be purchased and downloaded individually for just $0.99.  The more you purchase the cheaper they are.  A complete set of 60 can be downloaded for just $19.99.  If you would like to see some samples, go HERE to receive a coupon code for Friendship Skills and Sportsmanship Tips FREE!  You can also download a FREE Progress Book.  All Progress Cards are guaranteed with a 100% money-back guarantee.


So, here's how to enter to win the Complete Downloadable Set of 60 Progress Cards!  For each comment, you will get one (1) entry.  

1. Visit Progress Cards and let me know which cards appeal to you.

2. Like Progress Cards on Facebook.

3. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect.

4. Subscribe to my blog by email though Feedburner.

5. Like my Facebook page. 

6. Follow me on Twitter @OurHSReviews

7. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page.

8. Click HERE to vote for me (up to once a day).

9. Grab my button to the right and put in on your blog and you get TWO entries! (leave a separate comment for both).

**Remember to please leave a separate comment for each entry**

One random winner will be selected using on Friday, March 4, 2011. (U.S. Entries only.) If I am unable to reach the winner within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you (either an email address in your comment or on your profile).

Disclosure: This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


Thrifty Thursday

I'll be adding more freebies and samples throughout the day to Our Homeschool Reviews, so please check back, or better yet, follow along with Google Friend Connect on the right or "like" me on Facebook! If you find any good freebies or deals, let me know by commenting below! 

And don't forget to enter my Crypto-Capers Children's Book Giveaway!!

FREE HSLDA Trial Membership!
If you're a homeschooler and not already a member of the Home School Legal Defense Association, sign up between now and 3/31 for a FREE trial, good through 6/30!

FREE Cup of Coffee at B&N Saturday
Barnes & Noble is offering a FREE cup of coffee when you take a tour of their new Nook Color this Saturday 2/26. More details.

Walgreens FREE 8x10 Collage (TODAY ONLY)
Today’s deal is a Free 8×10 collage with FREE in-store pickup!

3 FREE Issues of Food & Wine Magazine
Sign up at Pepcid to receive 3 FREE Issues of Food & Wine with no obligation.

Maybelline's FIT ME: Free Sample
If you didn't get it last time I posted about it, you can still get a free sample of FIT ME from Maybelline.  The sample includes all 18 shades of foundation and supplies are limited.

Enter to Win a Biolage Gift Basket
Go here to enter to win a special edition Biolage hydrathĂ©rapie gift basket ($62 value)!

Living the Country Life FREE magazine Subscription 
Living the Country Life Magazine is offering a completely FREE subscription for 3 years! They send out 4 issues a year.

Borders Closing Clearance Sale
Borders announced they are closing over 200 store locations by April 2011.  Could mean good sales!  Check out the full list of closing store locations before you head in to shop.

Tylenol Keep Moving Program
Join the FREE Tylenol Keep Moving Program and receive a FREE gift.

FREE Sample Roundup
For anything I missed, you can get your FREE sample roundup from Deal Seeking Mom!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the TruKid Winner Is...

Comment #92:  Lisa - I like that all of their kid products get the safest ratings.

I used to pick the winner and I have already notified her via email.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the TruKid Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews and thanks again to TruKid for allowing me to offer these great products!

Wordless Wednesday: Cloudy Moon

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Couponing 101: Part 4

We are on Part 4 of my Couponing 101 series.  If you are just joining us, you can go back and read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to get started. 

If you have been following me from the beginning, you have about a month worth of coupons saved up.  Hopefully you have organized them in some way, separating out the inserts from the Sunday paper:  SmartSource (SS), Red Plum (RP), and Procter and Gamble (P&G).  You should also be placing the date you received them on the top of the insert.  If not, go back and read Part 1.  :o)

Today I am going to give you a few tips before heading out to your store of choice. 

*  First, find out the store's coupon policy.  Does the store double or triple coupons?  Do they take competitor store coupons?  It also helps to keep a copy of the policy with you in case you run into a problem with the cashier.  You can also just call the store and ask what their coupon policy is.

*  Start small.  Before going to your grocery store and trying to buy everything on your weekly grocery list with coupons, make a separate "test" trip and purchase only a few of the deals you found online. 

*  Don't be brand loyal!  Before I started couponing, we were brand loyal to many items.  Thinking back though, I'm not even sure why.  Maybe because our parents used the same brands.  If you can try new things, you will be able to buy what is on sale, use your coupons, and save $$!!

I hope these tips have been helpful!  Continue saving those coupon inserts and I'll resume with Couponing 101: Part 5 next week!

Visual Latin Review

A few years back when I was researching homeschooling methods, I really liked what I read about the Classical method.  With this method of schooling though came a big decision, the one where I committed to teach Latin.  

My daughter is in 2nd grade now, so for the past couple years we have mainly been focusing on vocabulary and pronunciation.  I break out in a sweat just thinking of next year though.  I've been checking out all of the Latin curriculum, still unsure of what to do.  

Then I found Visual Latin!

Visual Latin was exactly what I was looking for!  It's a combination of short videos and exercises that work together to teach Latin, and the best part is, that it is designed so that it requires no prior knowledge of the language.  

Each lesson contains one grammar video (an introduction to the new concept), one video of sentences (putting the new concept into sentences), and one Latin reading.  Each video also comes with a corresponding worksheet to complete (and answer key).  The videos are only about 5-8 minutes long and you can repeat them as much as you would like.  It is designed for the student to complete 20 lessons in a semester, or 2 lessons per week for 10 weeks. Of course, you can go as fast or as slow as you want, that is what is nice about it!

What really makes the videos work for us is Dwane Thomas, the teacher.  He has been teaching Latin for 15 years and he and his wife homeschool their 5 children.  Dwane teaches Latin in a very relaxed way, which is really refreshing, especially for such a daunting subject.  He uses his unique sense of humor to explain the complex Latin grammar in a lighthearted manner.  My daughter and I are often found laughing at his silly jokes.  He keeps to the point but makes it entertaining to keep the students engaged. 

My Thoughts:  I have been watching these videos right along with my daughter and I have been learning quite a bit.  As I said before, for the past couple years we have mainly focused on vocabulary and pronunciation, but we've also learned a little about declensions.  I have to say that Dwane explains the basics of Latin in a way that I really understand.  He puts it in very simple terms and has fun with it.  Although I am not the one who has to learn Latin, I want to be comfortable enough with it to help teach and answer questions.  I would definitely recommend Visual Latin!!

Thoughts of a 7-Year Old:  I like watching Visual Latin because Dwane does little funny jokes to make it entertaining.  I also like it when he writes more sentences because the screen will say funny stuff like, "Fear not, he's writing more sentences."  It has taught me so much more Latin then I already knew.

Find Out More:   Visual Latin is recommended for ages 9 and up and the lessons are available to download for only $2.50 each! A single/family DVD or download of lessons 1-10 or 11-20 is only $25.  Right now 30 lessons are available on the website, but there are plans to produce 80 lessons, which would be the equivalent of 2 years of Latin instruction.  Topics covered in the first 30 lessons can be seen HERE.

If you would like to check it out first, you can view four introductory lessons for FREE, which provide background and tools for learning Latin.  We watched these and I would highly recommend watching them!  You can also try a complete lesson for FREE!  Other FREE downloads can be found HERE.

Disclosure: This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Frederico, The Mouse Violinist Review

My daughter and I had the opportunity to read the book Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, by Mayra Calvani.  This is a darling book about a tiny mouse who's dream is to become a musician. 

Frederico lived in the workshop of a famous violin maker named Antonio Stradivari.  He loved to sneek out at night, when no one was around, to explore the workshop and all the violins.  When Stradivari caught the mouse playing a violin one evening, he decided to surprise Frederico with a special gift. 

This is an wonderful book for any child interested in music. 

Find Out More:  You can find out more about this book from Guardian Angel Publishing.  To learn more about the author, Mayra Calvani and her other books and reviews, check out her blog.

Disclosure: This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.


A Child's Aspirations

This week we were asked what our children want to be when they grow up and what we, as parents, are doing to help them pursue their field of interest.

So I asked my daughter about her dream job and this is what she said.

"When I grow up I want to work at the zoo because I love animals. I want to be a Veterinarian. There are some other things I want to do too (but not as much as the Vet!). I want to work at a shelter for animals and maybe an orphanage. I also want to run a store with one of my friends and call it "The Everything Store."  And that is pretty much it."  :o)    

Well, thank goodness she narrowed that!  Since she is only 7 1/2, I pretty much give her encouragement for anything she says she wants to do.  I do remind her that certain jobs require more school than others and that she will have to go to college regardless. 

She really has a kind and compassionate heart and loves both animals and children, so I can see her working in either field.  I just want her to be happy with whatever she plans to do.


Menu Plan Monday - February 21

Monday: Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Corn Bread
Wednesday: Unknown
Thursday: Black Bean Soup
Friday: Pineapple Chicken and Rice

I'm trying to keep things simple this week (and still stay fairly healthy).  The Pineapple Chicken is our daughter's favorite, although hubby thinks its a little too sweet for his taste. 

Here is the easy Pineapple Chicken and Rice recipe:

Servings: 6
Time: 1 hr 15 min

2 1/2 lbs split chicken wings, tips removed
2 cans (8 oz each) pineapple tidbits
1 cup BBQ Sauce

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400.  Place chicken wing pieces in greased 13x9" pan.  Bake for 30 min.  Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup of juice.  Mix BBQ sauce, pineapple, and reserved juice.  Add to pan with chicken, stirring well to coat.  Bake 30 min more or until well browned and sauce is thickened.  Serve over white rice.

For more recipes or to link up, click the picture at the top.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crape Myrtle P52-7

Life With My 3 Boybarians is hosting P52, one photo a week for a year.  Here's mine for week 7.  If you haven't already, come and check out the P52 Flickr Group and here's the link to my set and the link to my other photos (not in the project)! 


This Week's Blog Walk

Here are some blogs to check out this week from my fellow Crew members. And if you haven't entered my current giveaways yet, go and enter to win either some TruKid skincare products or a Crypto-Caper book!  Today is the last day to enter!

Our Best Daze
The Joy of School
Spell Outloud
to the sea with me
Half Dozen Mama
Creative Learning
Homeschooling My Miracles
Beyond The Silver and The Gold - A Filipino Family's Homeschool Journey
My Own Sense and Sensibility
Happily Homeschooling