Friday, December 28, 2012

Starlight Mint platters and bowls

I saw an idea on Pinterest to make serving platters using starlight mints. It looked so cool...and easy!

Well, it was...and wasn't.

It was easy to do and they turned out pretty neat, but not like the pictures online.  They are definitely one of a kind, though.  Unique.  I still like them and am a bit obsessed with getting them perfect.  I'll have to raid the after-Christmas sales to stock up on starlight mints for next year.

So, preheat your oven to 350 and arrange the mints on parchment paper (on a cookie sheet) in whatever shape you want them to slightly resemble , I mean, look like when finished.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, depending on your oven and how melted you want the candies.  Warning:  They can go from almost ready to oops, in just a matter of seconds, so you just have to experiment with the time.  I let them cool for about 5 minutes on the pan and then slid the parchment onto my counter for a few more minutes.  Carefully peel the parchment away and voila, your candy platter.

This is my first attempt 

First one finished - not bad.  Kinda groovy on the edges.  

Second attempt

First and second finished

I tried some smaller versions, which were okay, but the ones I made larger worked out better.  
When you take the mints out of the oven, they are liquefied.  As it cools, it becomes moldable, so Michael and I got the bright idea that we wanted to try and make a bowl.  So, we brainstormed and decided to spray a small metal mixing bowl with some vegetable oil and while the mints are still warm, flip the parchment over and form it around the bowl.  Peel the paper away and let it cool completely and then carefully remove the mint bowl from the metal bowl.  

It worked...pretty much  :-)  

I can't wait to work on this some more next year.  I need to look and see if there is an acrylic sealant on the market that is food safe.  If you know of one, please comment and tell me all about it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh, Pinterest, how do I love thee...

*I was going to do a post about the horrific events in Newtown last week and how it affected me both as a former public school teacher and more importantly, as a mom - they were all Julianna's age, but I've decided not to.  I refuse to read or watch any more news reports.  I just pray that God continues to wraps his arms around all those involved in this tragedy:  parents, staff, students, emergency workers, the community...and our nation. sigh*

If you've talked to me for longer than five minutes, you have heard me say "Oh, I saw this thing on Pinterest..."  I love, love, love Pinterest.  
I wanted to share with you some of my favorite pins for this Christmas.

Starlight Mint serving tray
(I will be posting separately about making these...and my unique creations. They are one of a kind.)

(How neat, huh?  Everything thing you might need in a cute little bag.)

(Yum and double yum!  Was sooooo goooood!)

(You draw a Christmas scene (when given specific instructions) on the bottom of a paper plate.  This was a lot of fun...and the pictures turned out pretty good!) 

(I had this planned to do at our Sunday School Christmas party and we ran out of time.  So bummed! Looks like fun.)

(I hope the hubby doesn't see this before Christmas.  This is sort of his "big" gift. Now to figure out the date nights...)

I'm sure there's more, so we might have a part 2 to this post, but someone is bugging me to feed her breakfast.  As if!  Lol  

Merry Christmas, Friends! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

TOS Review - Teach Kids to Sing

This is my last review of the year...I think, I better check.  Whew!  Yes, last one.  :-)  A new set of reviews will begin after the new year.  We get to take a break over the Holidays.  Yippee!

Julianna is very musical.  As I type this, she is practicing her piano, albeit reluctantly.  Her father and I neither one are musically inclined.  (Well, we're not musical instrument inclined.  Her dad was a voice major in college for a little while.) Not completely sure where her musical instrument gene came from, but there it is.  She also likes to sing, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for her to learn some proper techniques to use.  Enter Teaching Kids To Sing by Chris and Caroll Beatty.
This DVD set is part of a series of singing products from Vocal Coach.  The Beatty's have been teaching people to sing for over 40 years.

The Teaching to Kids To Sing is a 3 DVD set geared for ages 5-13:
Volume 1:  Building Foundations That Last (Posture, Tone, Breathing, Warm Ups)
Volume 2:  Essential Skills For Growing Voices (Rhythm, Diction, Dynamics, Vocal Health)
Volume 3:  Accompaniment Tracks CD (26 accompaniment tracks with and without background vocals)
My Musings:
I thought the DVDs were really informational.  I learned quite a bit, actually!  The lessons weren't too long and they kept Julianna's attention because kids were used.  One lesson was teaching about good breathing and used blowing a balloon up as a demonstration.  It really showed how constricted your airway is if you aren't using good posture.  The balloon was much more difficult to blow up when you are hunched over rather than standing straight.  I mentioned before that Julianna is taking piano lessons.  She's doing great with them except she tries to play everything as fast as she possibly can.  Drives me crazy!  I am hoping what she learned in the rhythm and tempo section will generalize into her piano lessons, as well. 

If you have musically inclined kids between the ages of 5-13, check out Teaching Kids To Sing (it is listed at $44.95).  If your kids are older (or you, as a choir member want to learn some good techniques) look at the Vocal Coach website at the products they offer.  They also have a section on how to use them in your homeschool.

You can see what the other members of the Crew thought about the Vocal Coach products:

*Disclaimer - As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a the Teaching Kids To Sing DVD set in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TOS Review - Science in a Bag

Science is a favorite subject in our house.  At this moment, I have three science experiments on my kitchen counter:  a sprouting ear of Indian corn (it has begun to sprout, but it is taking for-ev-er, so that experiment may be scrapped if it doesn't get a move on), lima bean plants and a container of oobleck that we used last week at our Co-op.  We, ahem, Julianna has been playing with it almost daily.  It is totally cool stuff.  If you like Science (and simple experiments to go along with it), then I have some good news to share with you:  Science Experiments in a Bag e-books, volumes 1-3.

Activity Bags was started by two homeschooling moms, Paula and Sherri, as a way to keep their preschoolers occupied while teaching their older kids. They came up with activities, got together with other moms, put all the materials for the activities in bags and did a swap.  It was such a success that it grew from the Preschool Activity in a Bag books to a product line that now includes Reading, Math, Travel, and Science for grades K-6 and Daily Activity Journals (with writing/activity/grammar work) for 3rd - 7th grade.  They also have a Coordinator Handbook (free download) available to help you organize your own swap.

My musings:
We received all three of the Science Experiments in a Bag e-books to review.  Each one covers different scientific areas:  Book 1- Biology, Nature and General Science,  Book 2 - Chemistry, Human Body and General Science, Book 3 - Chemistry.  Each book has 25 detailed experiments that you can do or you can gather the supplies for and put them into a ziplock bag to complete at a later time.  One of the cool things about the books is if you are planning on coordinating an activity bag swap, each experiment gives the supply lists for 1, 10, 15 or 20 bags, so all the figuring of supplies is done for you.  Less I have to plan out things the better.  We tried experiments from each book and found them all to be pretty fun and easy to do.  We did volcanoes (with baking soda/vinegar, mentos candy in diet soda (a favorite!), made butter and stuck a wooden skewer through an inflated balloon.  The majority required items we had on hand, but you might have to plan ahead for some.  I tried to get pictures, but failed miserably.  I almost had one of the balloon, but it deflated before I could get it snapped and when we tried again (or two more times), the balloons burst.  I did work once though!

Individually the e-books cost $15, but you can get books 1-2 (in the same series) bundled together for $27.  You can get a free sampler activity bag set for filling out this survey on their website.

* Disclaimer - As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a set of the 3 Science in a Bag e-books in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TOS Review - Crossbow Education

I will admit, when I read the company name, Crossbow Education, I thought about all the years I had to endure deer hunting season growing up. *sigh* Can't take the West Virginia out of the girl after all.  :-/ (A crossbow is a type of hunting bow which is why I made the correlation. I always said I would never marry a hunter or fisherman.  I am happy to report that I did not. No offense to the hunter/fisher wives out there. ;-) )   Alas, I'm happy to report that all the deer population in my neck of the woods is still safe from me.  This company has nothing to do with hunting at all, they have instead created an awesome little product called the Reading Ruler.
Crossbow Education is a Christian company (corporate offices are based in the UK with a smaller division in the US) specializing in products geared towards assisting students with Dyslexia.  (I am starting to wonder if Julianna is dyslexic.  Still trying to figure things out about that.)  
We were able to try out the Eye Level Reading Ruler.  The ruler (which comes in 10 colors) can be flipped and used to highlight a single sentence on one side or multiple sentences on the other side.  

Here is a description of the Reading Ruler from the Crossbow website:

The Eye Level Reading Ruler is a colored overlay text highlighter about the size of a six-inch ruler. Discreet and portable, the reading ruler is made of a combination of opaque and transparent plastic that both underlines the text and highlights it in a coloured tint. Simply read the text through either of the tinted plastic strips of your selected color, and track down the page: broad strip for paragraphs; narrow strip for single lines.
My Musings:
At the beginning of our new school year I got Julianna a similar product to help her focus on the text she was reading.  It was about the same size, but it only highlighted one single sentence at a time.  While I thought it was definitely beneficial and we used it frequently, it didn't help with her reading fluency because she could only see the single line.  Being able to read several sentences without sliding the ruler down each line is probably the thing that has helped us the most.  We have tried a variety of the colors, but I haven't noticed any advantages of one over another.  I wish I could say it has solved all of our struggles, but it has helped her to focus more on the words.  If your kiddo needs help staying focused on text, I would definitely recommend trying the Reading Ruler, available at the Crossbow Education website in packs of 5 for $9.45 or 10 for $16.95. 


* Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a set of the Eye Level Reading Rulers in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received. *

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Days

I love all things Fall!  
Cooler weather, turning leaves, apple cider, college football, and everything pumpkin flavored and scented.
(Just to prove that point, I am sipping Pumpkin Spice coffee as I type this post. It's yummy!)

Here are some pictures of things we've been doing so far this Fall:

Julianna getting ready to enter her zucchini in the county fair.

Barbie's sisters decided to re-enact some of our History lessons.

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We had to hunt (and hunt) for the "perfect pumpkins".  She found one for Dad that was "tall and responsible".  Lol

Pinterest inspired Science experiment, sprouting Indian Corn.  I'll post more pictures if it works.  

Cleaning out the pumpkin guts.

Julianna and Dad having a snack.

Her carved pumpkin.  We put a glow stick inside (which worked well), but it didn't last long...or photograph well.  

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

TOS Review - Beeyoutiful

This review is a little different from all my other reviews...this product is not a educational resource and it was all for ME, ME, ME! (Well, not entirely, Julianna used it as well.)

 Recently we had the opportunity to try a variety of skin care items from Beeyoutiful, a company offering products made in the USA of pure, natural ingredients. From their website: Beeyoutiful skin products contain NO Parabens, Formaldehyde, Petroleum derived ingredients or SLS Detergents. They are all manufactured in the USA using pure, all natural ingredients. No testing done on animals. All testing personally done by Beeyoutiful Staff and family.

As we are s-l-o-w-l-y adjusting our mindset towards a more natural-ish lifestyle, our focus has been more on food than other products. (We are now part owners in our local natural market...we figured, we spend enough money there, we might as well join in with them.) Burt's Bees has been the closest I've gotten to natural health and beauty products...and they may not even be, I haven't even checked! (It will never be a complete transformation I'm afraid. I am hopelessly devoted to Purell. True story.) Beeyoutiful was kind enough to send us four products to try out in a skin care package:

My musings:

I enjoyed trying all the products sent by Beeyoutiful. Here is my overview of each item:

Hair Shine Spray-In Conditioner - I used this on both mine and Julianna's hair. I loved the light feel and citrus-y scent of this conditioner.  It is listed as a detangler, as well.  I'm not completely convinced that ANY detangler on the market works well on our fine hair, so using that criteria, I'd say it performs as well as others. The website also says that it can be used as a cooling spray for sunburns and insect bites.  Good to know for next summer...or if I jump a plane and head somewhere tropical before then. My rating:  thumbs up.

Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer and Laveshmint Hydrating Toner - I love the scent of this moisturizer and the toner spray.  It's a light, lavender/peppermint blend.  It is recommended for all skin types.  I tend to have oily skin, so I'm not one to use any type of moisturizer.  I didn't really like the feel of this on my face (even though the cooling from the peppermint was nice), but I did start using it on my hands since I'm quite harsh on them, washing them all the time.  I did love the toner spray, though.  I use it in the morning and night after washing my face.  My rating:  thumbs up.

Vanilla Dream Body Butter - I have a love/hate relationship with body butters (and sugar scrubs, too).  I love how soft my skin feels after I use them, but I hate the greasiness on my hands to get to the softness.  Oh, the difficulties we must overcome in life.  This body butter has a nice, light vanilla's not too strong like most vanilla items, which usually make me queasy.  My rating:  neutral.  It has nothing to do with the product itself, though and everything to do with my greasy hands issues.  

If you are interested in natural products for yourself and your family, please check out Beeyoutiful.  They have a great selection of a variety of things.  You'll be glad you did.  

You can see what my other Crew Members thought by clicking the banner below.


* Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received the Beeyoutiful skin care package in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TOS Review - Homeschool Legacy

This year our history curriculum is focusing on the first colonies. How serendipitous (There's a good "vocabulary word of the day" for you!) that this unit study popped up for us to review!

Homeschool Legacy's Once-a-Week Unit Studies are Biblically based, Science and History units for grades 2 - 12 created by fellow homeschooling Mom, Sharon Gibson.  As stated on their website: Our goal is to help you instill a love of learning in your children and to help you get them fired up for the Lord.  The studies are designed to be used one day a week either as a supplement to your curriculum or as a stand alone unit that covers all areas of study.  Probably one of the coolest features of the unit studies (other than the "Stump Dad Trivia" questions that are added at the end of each section) is there are activities and ideas included so Boy Scouts and American Hertitage Girls can earn merit badges. If you have kids involved in those groups, that is a very awesome feature. I know Julianna was all about earning petals when she was a Daisy Scout...unfortunately that was solely at the discretion of her troop leader. They didn't get many petals that year. :-( 

Sorry, I digress. To go along with our history, we chose the Early Settlers in America title to review. This unit study was organized into six comprehensive weekly lessons covering the "lost colony" - Roanoke, NC, Jamestown, Holland, Plymouth, Pennsylvania and NY, as well as giving tips on how to schedule your week and the information needed for earning badges.  

My musings:
We enjoyed going through this unit study.  It worked better for us to split the lessons up into smaller parts to supplement our history rather than complete each weekly section in a day. Plus, we could introduce some of the colonies that we won't be learning about until a little later on throughout the year.  Each lesson comes with suggested readings and activities to do, so some pre-planning (to make sure you have all the materials available) and a trip to the library is probably required to get the books.  I wasn't able to find some of the titles listed, so I substituted books I already had or found ones from on the same subjects at the library.  We're flexible. Some of the activities listed we had already done recently either while on vacation (writing with quills at Monticello) or on a recent field trip to a local historical park (making ink and writing (again) with quills), but we did enjoy making a Bilbo Catcher toy (Anytime I hear the name of this toy I can't help but think of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. Lol It's actually from Bilboa, Spain.)  We'd played with a wooden one before, so we were familiar with how it works.
Here are a few pictures:

Early Settlers in America is only one of eleven different once-a-week unit study titles available.  It is available for purchase from the Homeschool Legacy website for $17.95.  Check them out.  :-)

* Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of the Early Settlers unit study in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TOS Review - Family Time Fitness

I just realized that one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that Julianna will never have to wear a uniform in a Phys Ed class.  Mine in Junior High was bad.  So bad that on the last day of our 9th grade year, we had a slumber party and burned those uniforms. (Yes, I went to school when it was 7th-9th grade and called Junior High. I'm a child of the 80's.) They were one piece, red and white striped jersey knit. Think prison uniforms. *shiver*   Gosh, those were traumatic years.  On the flip side, we used to play awesome games like Dodge Ball, Kill Ball (This was Dodge Ball's older, meaner brother - played with basketballs thrown by the strongest kids in class while all of us prison-uniformed students lined up against the gym walls.), Dead Man's Tag (If you were tagged you had to sit down and then your friends could drag you by your arms and legs back to safety as they ran passed - limb dislocation rocked!) and Crab Soccer (Think crab walking all over the gymnasium kicking each other in the shins trying to score a goal.)  Gosh, those were great years.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, my friends.  So, what made me have nightmarish flashbacks to my formidable Phys Ed years?  Planning Phys Ed activities for Julianna.  Thankfully, I have found something that eases the bad memories, Family Time Fitness.

The hubs and I (along with many friends at church :-) ) have been on a diet (or as Julianna calls it "pain and suffering") since early February and since Julianna is a total carb kid and a self proclaimed "sweetenarian", I thought it might not be a bad idea if we had a more structured Phys Ed program to help foster a healthier lifestyle, other than just playing outside, which we still do.  I had gotten some information about Family Time Fitness' Fitness 4 Homeschool curriculum at a homeschool conference last Spring, but in the hubbub of planning everything else, it sort of worked it's way down the "must have" ladder.  But, see how cool the Lord is?  I was totally stoked when it popped up as a review.  Yes, please!

We received their Core 1, K-8 Curriculum to review.  For only $57 it includes 260 detailed lessons (downloadable pdf) that are progressive and sequential.  The only equipment you need are things that you already have, most likely, or can easily substitute.  You'll need bean bags or small balls (one suggestion given was balled up socks), hula hoop (the dollar stores sell them, if you don't have one), cones (or something to mark boundaries), stopwatch (hello, cell phone), outside balls / foam balls (can be used for activities both inside and outside depending on if you have to adapt due to the weather), jump rope, measuring tape and an exercise mat (or in our house, blankets and pillows/cushions).  

The lesson plans are all laid out the same (and feels very much like a traditional gym class):  the skills that will be taught (i.e. mobility, coordination, etc.) along with the equipment needed and recovery times between activities that are suggested (which are generally 30 seconds to 1 minute), warm ups, activity/game time, cool downs and an outdoor activity.  Also included in the curriculum are additional forms for downloading:  assessment tracking sheets, activity tracking sheets, and other health related forms:  meal planning, shopping lists, food diary and a nutrition journal.  

The majority of the activities could easily be done with just Julianna and myself.  The outdoor games/activities are saved for when Dad comes home.  Even then we still have a small group, but at least 3 participants is a little more fun for most games than just 2.  In my opinion, one of the best features of the curriculum are the video demonstration links that are included for every activity and game planned.  For example, say you were reading your lesson plan and you didn't know what it meant by the activity, crabwalk (unlike me since you already know I lettered in crab soccer in Jr High), you just click the handy dandy link and viola!  A YouTube demonstration video pops up.  Did I mention it's for every activity and game? Every one.  

So, friends, don't let your traumatic experiences from your past school years scare you off from teaching your kiddos Phys Ed.  Family Time Fitness makes it a very easy decision.  And at $57 for the whole family, it's a pretty economical one too!  

You can read what my other Crew Mates thought of the program here

*Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of the Core 1 Curriculum in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *


Thursday, September 6, 2012

TOS Review - Reading Kingdom

Hello again, Reading. You have become my arch nemesis in this homeschooling journey. You are the Captain Hook to my Peter Pan. The salad to my pumpkin pie. The Lex Luthor to my Superman. But, alas, I shall prevail.

Teaching Julianna to read has been the most difficult part of homeschooling to date. (I know the difficulties will change as we continue on, but it's currently one of those "trees for the forest" situations.) It's very difficult to watch your child struggle and fall behind peers in an area that is completely essential. It's a hopeless feeling and it seems never ending. So, since reading is a trouble area for us, I take any help I can get. Julianna does well with online activities, so I was hoping that Reading Kingdom would be a good fit for us. So far, so good.

Current reading programs are generally taught based on three approaches: phonics (sounding words out), whole language (memorizing whole words) or a combination of both.  Reading Kingdom, created by Columbia University's Dr. Marion Blank, differs from other programs because it teaches kiddos 4-10 years old, reading and writing by focusing on six skills:  sequencing (letter order), motor skills (keyboarding), sounds (phonology), meaning (semantics), grammar (syntax) and comprehension (text).

After taking the Skills Assessment (which the program instructs must be done without direct help), the program will then be "kid customized", so the lessons are meaningful and appropriate, not repetitive (which Julianna gets frustrated with...especially if she's balking at the subject anyway.)

My musings:

So far, I really like this program.  The initial assessment lessons were a bit longer (maybe 15 minutes or so) and she would complain about having to complete them, but our saving grace was the progress meter (it gave the percentage complete of the skills assessment and the program as a whole).  Being able to see that she was 75% done with the assessment part one day and now 98% done, etc. was a BIG motivator.  Since she has completed the assessments and now is into the actual reading lessons, things are going swimmingly.  She has been completing the lessons much quicker, so there hasn't been a fight when it's time to get them done.  The games and activities have had enough variety, so she's not getting bored with them.  We are using this as a supplement to our other Language Arts, but it could easily be used as a stand alone curriculum.
Parents can check the progress of their child at any time online and are also kept in the loop through emails when certain criteria (completing levels, etc.) are met.

If you have a youngster that is in the process of learning to read, give Reading Kingdom a looksie.  

They offer a 30 day free trial and then memberships are $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year.  Additional children receive a 50% discount.  


*Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a subscription for Reading Kingdom in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was given.*

Sunday, September 2, 2012

TOS Molly Crew Review - Everyday Homemaking - The Everyday Family Chore System


Julianna has been begging me to set up a chore chart for her for quite a while. Yes, I know that sounds very noble of her, but she does have ulterior motives (read: she wants things.) Nevertheless, I have never been able to come up with a successful (or consistent) chore chart, so when I was given the chance to review The Everyday Family Chore System by Everyday Homemaking, I jumped at it.

The chore system was created by Vicki Bentley "to encourage you and provide some tools to help you to mentor your children in what it means to be a responsible, caring, sharing part of your family. That will include some training in appropriate attitudes and character, as well as the physical teaching of how to accomplish a task."

The book is split into three parts:

Part 1:  Laying the Foundation (training your children to become responsible, serving members of the family and in living skills)
The foundation of this system is based on the following four principles:
  • Having realistic and age-appropriate expectations (For example, in the 5-12 age range we are creating a chart for we'll focus on training on being consistent, respectful, thinking of others first, being diligent, being thorough and cheerfully obeying)
  • Establishing rules and standards (Kids must know what is expected of them and parents need to change their automatic "no" (which I am very proficient in) to a "yes" and let the responsibility of the actions fall onto the child.  An example was given of instead of saying, "No, you may not have dessert because you didn't eat your supper." You change it to, "Yes, you may have dessert if you finish your healthy food."  I am allllllll about personal responsibility (Do not get me on my soap box about how that is a key component that is lacking in today's world!), so I'm definitely implementing this strategy, um, today!)
  • Having a working knowledge of family discipline (Do not correct in anger, but rather train in love teaching both repentance and restoration.)
  • Tie strings to their hearts (Connect with your kids through time, love and their interests in turn showing them they are an important part of the family.)
Part 2:  Implementing the Plan (assignment of age appropriate chores and designing the system you will use)
This is the part of the system that I think is most helpful.  It gives a list of age appropriate chores from age 2 - 13+.  That has probably been the hardest part of putting a chore chart together - what should the chores be?  It gives a lot of ideas deciding how often the chores need to be completed (Is it daily?  Weekly?) and how to create the system.  Her original chart used clothes pins that had the chore written on them attached to a piece of cardstock.  Her daughter's names were written down the middle and the chore pins were split into weekly and daily chores on either side of the card.  Index-like cards that give specific instructions for the chores (called how-to-do-it cards) are also in a pocket on the board.  Since we are starting small, I used a foam door hanger, wrote Julianna's name at the top and split the bottom into two sides:  To do and Done.  I am using the idea of the clothes pins, but she will need to move the chore pin from the "to do" side to the "done" side as they are completed.  After we get this established, we may need to move onto a more elaborate board.  My main reason for going small at first is we (meaning ME) need to get it established and we (again MOI) need to be consistent in following through to completion.

Part 3:  The Chore System (all of the premade labels and how-to-do-it cards ready to print and use)
Pre-made chore labels (also blank ones) and all of the instruction cards are already available for you to print and use! Timesaver.

I am excited to try our chore system out.  I will update periodically about what works and didn't and what changes needed to be made.

The Everyday Family Chore System is available in print form (spiral bound) for $19.99 and as an ebook download for $14.99.  You can order on the Everyday Homemaking website or through their Amazon store.

*Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Molly Crew Review, I was given an ebook download of the book The Everyday Family Chore System to feature on my blog in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The End

Well, another family vacation week is coming to an end. I always hate for it to be over. It's kind of like all the planning that goes into Christmas...and then it's done. There's probably a name for it, but I'll refer to it as Post-Vacation Mullygrubs Syndrome or PVMS, for short. Feel free to substitute other special events in the title as you see fit: PCMS (Post-Christmas Mullygrubs Syndrome), PBMS (Post Birthday Mullygrubs Syndrome) *Note: PBMS has a shorter time span, however. It generally only lasts from ages 3 to 29.*

We just returned from our week in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It's so beautiful there. And quiet. Now, it's no secret that I love the beach. The powerful majesty of the rolling waves  overwhelms my emotions. It's also a little bit frightening. It can look calm, but have an unseen under current that can take you by surprise...not to mention large, fast swimming fish with huge mouths of razor sharp teeth...not that either stop me from being in the water. I love being at the ocean with my friends: sun, sand, waves, talking, laughter, food (although being on a diet put a monkey wrench in that part of the fun), repeat as needed. With my family, I love the mountains. The peacefulness. The beauty. The country. The mountains speak to me in a different way from the ocean. The ocean's waves crash in symbiotic time with the beat of my heart. They know the inner turmoils that churn and they are there to calm them with their constant being. High tide, low tide. Rough waves, calm waves. It's their way. The mountains whisper to my soul. Be still. Slow down. Breathe. When I'm there, I never want to leave. But, all good things must come to an end. (Unless we somehow become independently wealthy and could convince the owner to sell, then you'd be visiting me in the mountains.)  I can't wait to return.

P.S. I'll post pictures of our trip in another post...once my PVMS has eased a little. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mountain Mama

We are heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains tomorrow for our family vacation.

This will be the morning view I will have for the next week.

Of course, ideally THIS would be my morning view, but it's okay.  (I love this picture of Julianna standing in her jammies by the ocean.  I love to stand and stare at it's beauty myself...just not in my jammies.)

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

TOS Review - Jeepers Peepers

"Jeepers Creepers where'd you get those peepers? Jeepers Creepers where'd you get those eyes?" Sorry, the name of this game takes me back to elementary school (forever ago) when we sang this song for a class performance. I can also break out in "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover" if the situation arises. I digress... 

I was first introduced to the Super Duper Publications company when I was in college -Let's Goooo Mountaineers! 41 days until the 2012 football season kicks off! 

Again, I digress. I am having issues focusing today. My apologies. 

As I was saying, I discovered the Super Duper Publications company in college. In the field of Special Needs education, they are a premiere resource for learning materials. However, you don't have to be working with a kiddo with special needs to use their learning products. They have something for everyone! I just love, love, love educational materials! (Bonus points if you can name the literary character that would have said that previous line...well, the "love, love, love" part.)
We had the pleasure of reviewing the game "Jeepers Peepers, The Ask and Answer Question Game". 
 The game works on the following educational skills:  questioning, describing, categorizing and problem solving, as well as, turn taking and social skills.

The object is for a player to choose a photo card (and not look at it - which caused a couple extra drawings from the photo card pile by a certain smallish player who shall remain nameless), put the card into the wacky plastic glasses (which you are wearing, of course) and then ask yes/no questions of the other players to guess what the photo card is.  The game comes with six pair of glasses, 101 photo cards (in five categories:  animals, food, transportation, people, and things), a spinner, bingo chips, cue cards and instructions.  
My musings:
We really enjoyed playing this game.  There is a similar game on the mainstream market that we also have, but this one is of much nicer quality (Which I totally expected from Super Duper.  Their products really are top notch.) and has added features (spinner to tell you the number of chips you've won, cue cards to give direction for questions to ask, etc.) to the game which are nice. I especially love that the pictures are real photos and not cartoon drawings.  Sometimes you can't even tell what those drawings  are!
Check out Super Duper's website.  Tons of great stuff there.  :-)
Jeepers Peepers can be ordered from the Super Duper site.  They are offering YOU, my friend, a 30% discount on the game if you order before August 31, 2012.  Use the coupon code: 
Age:  Grade K and up
Price:  $29.95
Extra glasses and an add on photo card set are also available.

You can read what other Crew members thought of this game and a couple other Super Duper products by clicking here.

*Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of the Jeepers Peepers game in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *