Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome ~ Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Welcome and thanks for stopping by!  The 2011 Ultimate Blog Party is about to begin and I'm so excited because this is my first time participating! 

The Ultimate Blog Party is hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom.  Hundreds of blogs will be linking up and there will be tons of great prizes given away!  So click the link and join the fun!

But before you go, let me tell you a little about myself, my family, my blog, and my giveaways!

My name is Christine, owner of Our Homeschool Reviews.  I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to one wonderful, nature loving, animal caretaking, story writing, book reading daughter.  She is 7 1/2 and finishing up 2nd grade. 

I've been married to my husband for almost 11 years.  He's supportive of our homeschooling and we are very thankful for that!!

We have one dog, Maisy, a 6-year old Miniature Schnauzer.  She and our daughter are best buddies and she is most definitely part of the family!!

I started this blog back in May of 2010 as a way to post curriculum reviews for the TOS Homeschool Crew.  Now, almost 11 months later, I still love to review homeschool curriculum, but also enjoy reviewing anything family-friendly, hosting giveaways, or just talking about things homeschool related, fitness, photography, couponing, and our daily lives

If you are looking for some GIVEAWAYS, I am running the following (all end 4/8):

Purex Complete with Zout
The Pirate Daughter's Promise
See the Light: The Crossmaker DVD

If you like what you see, please leave a comment and follow via GFC if you would like.  I also have a Facebook page that I would love for you to visit.  If you have a blog or Facebook page, let me know and I'll stop by as well. 

Thanks again for visiting and enjoy the blog party!!


See the Light: The Crossmaker Review and Giveaway

Just in time for Easter, See the Light: The Crossmaker tells the Easter story through a beautiful chalk-art drawing and unique art lessons.

In the Easter story we meet The Crossmaker, Dominic, the son of a carpenter, who finds himself drawn into to the unforgettable trial of the mall called Jesus.  See the Light chalk artist Gloria Kohlmann draws her stunning interpretation of the Easter story.

Included with the DVD are also three step-by-step art lessons: GLORY!, He is Not Here! He is Risen!, and Three Crosses on a Hill.  The first introduces creative lettering, in the second, Pat Knepley teaches a step-by-step drawing using chalk pastels, and in the last, Jim Pence gives a tutorial in water colors.

In each drawing special extreme colors are used and a black light brings the art to life. 

My daughter wanted to create Three Crosses on a Hill.  After a trip to the local craft supply store, we were ready to start.  We both found the instructions easy to understand and simple to follow. 

I am very pleased with the end result and she was so proud of herself and her work.  We even bought the extreme color pencils and a black light so the crosses shine under the light.  She did an excellent job!!

My Thoughts:  I love that with all See the Light products you can explore the Bible through art!  The artists are very engaging and they immediately draw the viewer into the story and project.

Thoughts of a 7-Year Old:  What I like about See The Light's The Crossmaker are the art lessons. They include: chalk pastels, fluorescent chalk pastels, colored pencils, water colors, and crayons. The stories are heart touching entertainment with gorgeous drawings and a thorough-told story!   

Find Out More:  You can find out more about this DVD and others in the series at the See the Light websiteThe Crossmaker is only $14.99 but you can also purchase the Deluxe Bundle, which includes the DVD, music from the DVD The Crossmaker, including 11 tracks plus 2 bonus audio stories, Pocket Size- 6 inch See the Light black light (batteries included), and Fluorescent Pastels 4-pack containing one of each of the following colors: Orange, Pink, Red, and Green for $29.99.


So, here's how to enter to win See the Light: The CrossmakerFor each comment, you will get one (1) entry.  

1. Like the See the Light Facebook Page.

2. Follow my through GFC.

3. Like my Facebook page.

4. Follow me on Twitter @OurHSReviews.

5. Subscribe to my blog by email though Feedburner. 

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

One random winner will be selected using on Friday, April 8, 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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Lunch

And don't forget to enter my Purex Complete with Zout and The Pirate Daughter's Promise Giveaways!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Reviews and Giveaways!

I finally had a chance to update my "Upcoming Reviews" and "Giveaways" on my left sidebar.  I can't wait to tell you all about some of these wonderful products!!

Here's a sneak preview of what I have upcoming this week:

Latin for Children Primer A
How To Be God's Little Princess (My daughter will be writing this one)

The Crossmaker

I also have two giveaways currently running (If you haven't, enter now):
Purex Complete with Zout
The Pirate Daughter's Promise


Monday, March 28, 2011

Teaching the Hard Stuff

Q:  Will you homeschool through 12th grade? 

A:  We are taking it one year at a time, but that is my plan.

Q:  What about teaching the hard stuff like Calculus and Latin?

A:  We'll cross that bridge when we get to it.  ;o)

To date, I have successfully taught through 2nd grade!  Is that clapping I hear in the background?  I can see that you all are impressed!  I know my multiplication facts, I can pick out a noun when I see one, and I can successfully name the planets in order.  Oh yeah, and my daughter can too.  ;o)

And I'll be honest, I am pretty sure I can manage all of elementary school on my own...probably

Here's the plan for the future though.  If we get to a subject that I do not think I am adequate to teach, we will look into other options.  I certainly don't teach piano, dance, soccer, and swim, and I wouldn't teach Trigonometry either.  Here are just a few options available to us:

* Co-ops
* Online Classes
* Video Based Instruction

* Dual Enrollment Classes
* Tutors

I honestly do not think we will have a problem for most subjects, but homeschooling involves a lot of research, and that's what I plan to do. 


Menu Plan Monday - March 28

So I was lazy yesterday and did not look for recipes before I went grocery shopping.  Here is what's in store for us this week.

Sunday: Salmon, Zucchini, and Corn on the Cob
Monday: Spaghetti and Crescent Rolls
Tuesday: Taco Salad and Corn Bread
Wednesday: Undecided (possibly Spinach Lasagna)
Thursday: Steak and Baked Potatoes
Friday: Publix Pizzas

Not sure if they will stay in that order.  Depending on the weather, we may or may not have soccer practice tonight. 

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


The Pirate Daughter's Promise: Book Review and Giveaway

I received an email back in January from Molly Evangeline, homeschool graduate and author of the Pirate and Faith series.  She asked if I would be interested in reading Book 1 of 4 of the series, The Pirate Daughter's Promise.  Being that she was homeschooled and now a young Christian author, how could I say no?!

Let me say that I am very glad I accepted her offer!  After the first chapter I was immediately drawn into the story.  Halfway through I felt connected to the characters and couldn't put it down...I had to find out what was going to happen next.  There are twists and turns throughout and a surprise ending (where I found myself gasping out loud).  But what I love most about this book is that the characters put their trust in God, even when there seems to be no hope. 

Orphaned at a young age, Skylar McHenry grew up as little more than a servant and shunned by everyone around her because of her reputation as a pirate's daughter. Each day Skye faces is marked by some new struggle. Her only hope is to rely on her heavenly Father's care and comfort and the solace of her best friend, Will, who has become more than dear to her.

Just when an unexpected encounter gives Skye a small glimmer of hope that things might change in her favor, her world is shattered. She is awakened in the night by cannon blasts. Pirates storm the orphanage, drag her away, and force her aboard their ship. The cruel captain's intentions are clear. He will extract from her, through any means necessary, the location of the treasure hidden by her father. For Skye to divulge the location would mean breaking the last promise she made to him. She's certain she never will, but what happens when the lives of those dearest to her are at stake?

The Pirate Daughter's Promise is full of daring high seas adventure; sweet, wholesome romance; surprising discoveries; unlikely new friends; and the rewards of trusting in God even when life seems impossible. 

My Thoughts:   I truly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest in the series.  I also think my daughter, who is already an avid book reader herself, would enjoy it and plan to have her read it when she is ready (I'm sure she will want to tell you about it too)! 

Find Out More:   Molly started writing The Pirate Daughter's Promise when she was just 15.  Now at 22 she has completed three more in the Pirates and Faith series.  If you would like to read more about Molly and her books, check out her website.  You can also find her on Facebook and her blog.  The Pirate Daughter's Promise is available in paperback for only $9.99 or for your Kindle for only $2.99.


So, here's how to enter to win The Pirate Daughter's PromiseFor each comment, you will get one (1) entry.  

1. Visit Molly's website and let me know why you would like to win a FREE copy of The Pirate Daughter's Promise.

2. Become a fan of Molly Evangeline on Facebook.

3. Like my Facebook page.

4. Follow me on Twitter @OurHSReviews.

5. Subscribe to my blog by email though Feedburner. 

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

One random winner will be selected using on Friday, April 8, 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.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Places I've Been

I was over at Heidi's blog, Reviews and Reflections, saw this post, and thought I would play along.  Here's where I've been in my entire 34 years of life (and have never been out of the country, unless you count a cruise to the Western Caribbean).  Below are some of my favorite places.

1.  New York.  We took a trip to New York a couple years ago and just loved it.  We stayed one block from Times Square.  They don't lie when they say it is the city that never sleeps.  So much to do we couldn't fit it all into one trip.  We're hoping to go back soon!

2.  Hawaii.  We went to Maui and The Big Island on our honeymoon. Loved the adventure of Maui and the relaxation of The Big Island.  So beautiful!  I could seriously go on and on about all the fun we had. 

3.  Louisiana.  We have visited New Orleans twice (dh proposed to me there) and really love it.  The culture, architecture, atmosphere.  We just enjoy walking around, trying new food, and taking it easy. 

4.  California.  Wine Country, San Fransisco, Rodeo Drive.  It really has something for everyone.  We flew out there for hubby's work many years ago and we were able to have some free time to sight see.  We did everything touristy that we could find.  ;o)  It was a fun trip!

5.  Florida.  Something for everyone!  Beaches, Orlando, Disney, Miami, The Keys, beautiful parks, and beautiful weather. 

There are so many more places we would like to go!!!  We love traveling and hopefully as our daughter gets older we will do more of it!

If you’d like to create your own map and play along, you can make one here.  (They also have maps for Canada and Mexico.)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

And the TheraBreath Winner Is...

Comment #15  miloannjohnston i follow threbreath on fb

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

Thanks to everyone who participated in the TheraBreath Giveaway via Our Homeschool Reviews and thanks again to TheraBreath for allowing me to offer this great product!


Weekly Wrap-Up #19

This week was SPRING BREAK...but not for!  What better a week to push through some schoolwork when all extracurricular activities are off?!  Plus, it was good timing for a stuffy/runny little girl because we didn't have to miss anything!

So we are one week closer to finishing the school year.  Only two more weeks in our Heart of Dakota curriculum!! 

History: We are now entering the Age of Inventions, starting with the Civil War and continuing through the Industrial Revolution.  Also reading Mozart the Wonder Boy and The Family Under the Bridge.  She is reading both independently.

Science:  Reading Albert Einstein: Young Thinker.  I'm reading this one aloud and we are both enjoying it.  It's a lively and entertaining story of Albert's life growing up.

Math: Still working through Righstart C. 

Grammar: About 10 more lessons in First Language Lessons.  Once we complete this we will continue through Grammarland.  I think we left off on Chapter 3.

Latin:  Almost finished Chapter 2 of Latin for Children A.  We are both really learning a lot already. 

Handwriting:  Found out this week that there will be a New American Cursive Book 3 in the fall so once we are finished with Book 2 I think we will start on that one.

Art:  Worked on a mixed media Easter art project that I will share with you in another post. 

Piano:  I was asked to take a video of this song and post it.  So here you go.

Other than school we didn't do too much else, since the sniffles invaded.  One highlight on Monday, before any sickness, was the first pool playdate of the year at a friends house.  The water was a chilly 75 but the kids didn't seem to mind.  For me, it was a beautiful day to sit and chat with a friend (out of the water). 

Another fun time this week included volunteering to make Easter baskets for a local charity.  Several people in the community came together to help make about 350 baskets in only a couple hours.  All the baskets, grass, toys, books, candy, cellophane, and ribbon were donated.  An assembly line was created and my daughter had the best time putting together as many baskets as she could.  She seriously didn't want to leave.  I just love how she has a heart for this kind of stuff!

So that is it for the week.  Thanks for Joining Our Homeschool Reviews and for more Weekly Wrap-Up, this week I am linked up with Kris over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


Friday, March 25, 2011

BigIQKids Review

I have to tell you about a very neat educational website that I am loving!  Why?  Well, because they have fun programs for spelling, math, vocabulary, AND the U.S. states...all in one place. 

BigIQKids basically turns your computer into an online learning academy, where your children can log on to complete daily, fun and interactive lessons. 

One wonderful feature of each one of these programs is that they all can be used for FREE!  Now you can purchase a premium membership for each one, and there are several advantages of paying for a premium membership:

* You can monitor the progress of your child and advance them only when mastery of the subject material has been achieved.

* Their progress is tracked and saved, problem areas are identified, and these are reported to the parents via email.

* They are offered customized "buddies", full game page access, and the ability to save game coins and game high scores.

* The premium programs also have very limited advertisements and no ads during the lessons.

Spelling Program:  Each spelling lesson has five steps:  Intro Lesson, Robot Practice, Spelling Bee or Word Scramble, Pop Quiz, and Spelling Test.  Lessons can be modified by selecting the appropriate grade, choosing one of many preset lists of words (over 40,000), or by creating your own list of words.  I love how each lesson can be modified!!

Math:  Math lessons can also be modified.  You choose problems in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and they can be customized to use any number or number of digits you would like.  You can then choose the daily number of problems to give your child and whether or not you want a clock visible during the lesson.

Vocabulary:  This is similar to spelling in that it has five steps:  Intro Lesson, Matching, Definition Lesson, Your Pick, and Test.  Again, the lessons can be modified by selecting the appropriate grade, choosing one of many preset lists of words, or by creating your own list of words. 

U.S. States:  This is my daughter's favorite section.  You start with an Interactive Map where you can choose the state you would like to learn about (once you have picked a state, it will be checked off next time you view the map).  You are given several facts about the state and then a comprehension question before you move on. The next four steps include: State Location, State Spelling, State Capitols, and State Abbreviation. 

There is also a FREE Spelling Bee and Spelling Game, FREE Vocabulary Game, FREE Vowel Program, and an E-book Series.

Another great feature of the programs is that when you complete each step you get a coin to use to play a game.  The advantage with the Premium Membership is that you can save them for later, instead of using them right away.

My Thoughts:  As I said before, I love BigIQKids.  We have used the free programs in the past, mainly the Spelling Bee.  They offer a wide variety and I like how each program can be customized to your child and their level.  I also like how you can save coins with the premium membership so they can wait to play the games until a later time. 

Thoughts of a 7-Year Old:  I like BigIQKids' U.S. States because it's fun and simple. Every time you complete something, you earn a game coin. A game coin lets you play on the Game Menu. The other programs are good too, but my favorite is U.S. States!     

Find Out More:  All programs on BigIQKids are FREE but you have the option to purchase Premium Memberships.  Prices start at $7.99 a month for the individual programs and $19.99 for the package of four programs and go up from there.  You can see more about pricing here

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


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Financial Freedom

I was flipping channels the other day when I stopped on PBS.  They were having a special to raise money for their station, and their guest speaker, who was also promoting her new book, was Suze Orman. 

Her book is called The Money Class and she had some really good tips:

1.  You have to live below your means, but within your needs.  This is how you start saving and paying off debt.

2.  Before anything else, if you can, contribute the max amount each year to a Roth IRA.  You contribute after tax dollars now and get your investment back at retirement, TAX FREE!

3.  Next, if your employer offers a 401(k) plan with a match, contribute up to the match amount if you can.  This is FREE money!

4.  To save for your child's education, the best plan is a 529 Plan.  The 529 Plan is in your name, not your child's.  Do not put a plan in your child's name because then they may not be able to qualify for financial aid.

I thought these were some great tips!  You can find more information about her HERE.  I also found a link to a clip and information from the PBS special

Disclosure: This product was NOT given to Our Homeschool Reviews for review purposes. I just wanted to share what I learned with you! I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

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

Lego Link Up

Here are two opposites:  A drought (left) and a tsunami (right).

This week I'm linked up with The Joys of Home Educating: Lego Mania Linky Party and My Blessing From Above: Lego Creation Thursday.

I've also submitted this unique Lego creation to Lego Quest.  They are currently on Quest #37, which is Natural Disasters.

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 Purex Complete with Zout Giveaway and my TheraBreath Giveaway!!

Easter Ideas

The Webkinz Pug is only $8.05 and the Webkinz Rabbit is only $8.81, both down from $14.99.

Have Friends?  Earn Money!
Now through 3/27, for every friend you refer to Rue La La, you get a $1 (up to $100). For every friend who makes a purchase, you get $10!  First sign up for Rue La La and then go to “Invite Friends, Get $10″ in the upper corner and follow the directions to get yours.

If you've never tried it, Groupon negotiates huge discounts—usually 50-90% off—with popular businesses. They then send the deals to thousands of subscribers in their free daily email. I use it quite a bit and have gotten some really good deals.  Join now!

FREE Pouch of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice
Go here to get a FREE pouch of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice.

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!

American Girl: FREE Shipping Code 
Get FREE shipping with code SHIP041011 on purchases over $50 through 4/10.

Swagbucks = FREE Gift Cards! 
Swagbucks allows web users to earn virtual currency by doing the things they do every day, like searching the web and shopping at their favorite retailers.  You can redeem your currency for fun prizes, like amazon gift cards.  I use Swagbucks (instead of Google, Yahoo, etc) for all my searching and you can too!  Join now 80% Off
Save 80% at using code SAVE at checkout.  This makes a $25 gift card only $2 and $10 gift card only $.60.  Ends 3/27.

Armor All: FREE Product After Rebate
Purchase either Armor All Ultra Shine Butter Smooth Wax or Ultra Shine Liquid Polish AND another Armor All product and get $5 back after MIR.  Print your rebate form HERE.

FREE Nescafe Taster's Choice Sample Pack
Go HERE to request your FREE Nescafe Taster’s Choice Sample Pack.

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