Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Apologia Educational Ministries Review

Apologia Review

Product and Price: What on Earth Can I Do? (hardback book) $39

Age: Grades 1-6

Apologia Educational Ministries has been one of my most favorite companies to work with. I am always happy to see when they come out with something else that looks like my kids can enjoy. So as you can see we were very excited to try out What on Earth Can I Do? by John Hay and David Webb. What on Earth Can I Do? is book #4 of a series of books. For this review I received the hardcover textbook, Notebooking Journal, Junior Notebooking Journal, and the coloring book.

Apologia Review

This is the last book in the four part series of What We Believe.  Though all these books work on their own you do not have to do them in order.  This book uses God's word to build upon teaching what our role in life is. We are made by God and for a reason.  The book uses stories to show how we are all a part of His story.
Each lesson is divided up, starting with the Big Idea and then a real world page of history, followed by a fiction story that ties into it all.  There are eight lessons and the suggested time is 3 weeks per lesson.  There is a lesson plan at the first of the text book but also the notebooking journals have lesson plans in them as well. They show you how to incorporate them into the lessons from the textbook. Since I used this with 3 of my kids we took a bit longer for the lessons to make sure the younger ones understood everything as well. The book is brightly colored with wonderful pictures that go along with the stories.  The writing is big enough to be easily read by my readers.
Apologia Review

The Notebooking Journal I used with my 9 year old.  She is an avid reader and does well with writing out answers.  This book has questions for each lesson that she has to write her own answer out to them. There are more involved word puzzles that are a bit more advanced to do than the Junior book.  The vocabulary is just the word and she has to fill in the definition herself.  This book has mini books which help add a little but more crafting fun that the kids love.  Also at the end of the book there are the answers to the word puzzles, if your kids like to cheat like mine you might want to pull these out first thing.

Apologia Review

I used the Junior Notebooking Journal with my 8 year old that is dyslexic.  She is still not really a reader and really despises doing to much writing. This book was great for her with coloring pages, easy word puzzles, and fill in the blank vocabulary lessons.  It was nice to have less writing for her but still things that made her think and show that she was listening to the story from the textbook.  She is also enjoying the mini books, although she wants to finish them all now instead of when we get to the lesson it belongs in.

Apologia Review

For the coloring book I decided it would be best to let my five year old be in charge of this.  This made him feel a part of class and got him to sit with us and listen.  This little boy has a heart for God and loves hearing about him, although he has ADHD it is hard for him to sit still just to hear a story.  Having the coloring pages allowed him to keep his hands busy while listening to the story.  The Bible verses are used in the book so followed right along with what we were learning.

Overall I think that we all enjoyed this lesson.  I always find it hard to teach the kids about why things happen and that it is all in God's plan.  This book was a perfect fit and I loved how it gave real life examples to explain it to the kids in a way that they could understand better.  God had a place for all of us and He had made his story for us already.  Sometimes kids always ask why and I think this book would be a good starting point when your child gets into the why stage. I hope if you check it out you will be blessed as well as your children.  I hope that it will show your kids that God has them in his story and that is why things happen.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Try a new recipe Tuesday

Easy Chicken and Dumplings



3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
5 chicken breasts shredded

I first boiled my chicken breasts until done then shredded with a fork.  Next I added the broth and soup on medium for about 10 minutes (or as long as it took me to do the next part).


2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tbl spoon Baking Pwder
2 TBL spoon vegetable oil
1 Cup luke warm Water

Add dry ingredients together well. add oil and mix with a fork. add water to the consistancy you like. Drop a spoonful of dumpling into your broth mix.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes or until no longer doughy. 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Field Trip Friday Skidaway Island, GA

Skidaway Island State Park

Each week I try to take the kids to a new place and explore or learn something.  This week we went to Skidaway Island State Park here in Georgia.  We decided to do the 3 mile hike and see what we could find.

The Spanish Moss was beautiful.  It hung from the trees helping create a nice shade over our trail.  We also learned that Spanish Moss is free growing.  It gets everything it needs from the air around it.  That means it can grow anywhere and it is not rooted into anything.

The trees that were along the stream have their roots exposed from the tide going out and taking the sand/dirt with it.  This tree was slowly starting to fall over while still being fully alive.  Such a breath taking image.  We plan to go back and get some family pictures done around this tree.

Seriously everything here was breath taking. Even the kids enjoyed every mile of it with no complaints which was a shock.

We also learned about a Giant Sloth that was found here in Savannah.  This thing was HUGE!  I mean when you think of the Sloths we have now you do not ever imagine one being this size.  How would you even react to seeing something of this size?

Even little Syler enjoyed the view and he hates the heat and usually fusses.  He passed out a couple times along the walk but never fussed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Second co-op

Yesterday marked the second co-op class that we had.  I am glad I started this adventure. There are tons of homeschool options around Savannah but the co-ops are really pricey when you have several kids.  I wanted something the kids could socialize and do fun things not just book work as well. Starting a co-op is not easy but it is well worth it.

We made it super early to class so the kids were hanging their feet over the fountain waiting. So much nicer class room then in a brick building.

The kids working on their rain makers.  They all had a blast making these.  The boys did in turn decide they were swords.

We also did crab races and water balloon races. I think everyone had a blast.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trident Case Review

Vendor: Trident Case
Price: $69.95
Age: For all Ages!

I have never had a case for my iPad 2 (though I have always used them on my phone) and was very excited to get the Trident Case for review.  The features according to the website are; shock absorbing silicone, hardened outer casing, built in screen protector, silicone plugs to protect power ports, and meets Military Standard for drops/vibration/sand/rain.

First of all I will say I have three children who use my iPad.  They are 5, 8, and 9 years old.  We use it for school work, watching movies/shows, playing games, and it is on the go a lot.  I have had it for probably two years now and it travels with us on any trip we make and so on.  We have already cracked the screen once so since then I have been extra careful with it.  I always freak on car trips now thinking it will get busted again or something worse.  KRAKEN A.M.S. CASE FOR APPLE IPAD 2/3/4 sounded like it would fit all the needs that I wanted it for.

Upon arrival I was a bit bummed that the instructions were INSIDE the case.  So for those of you that have never used the case before may have a bit of a time getting it open.  When you do get to the instructions you will find they are simply made and generic, so not a huge help.  However, first glance at the case and it seem sturdy and the lime green accents (there are other color options) were nice. I put it on the iPad immediately so we could start trying it out.  The protective screen works great and fit snugly so that there were no bubbles and did not bother the touch screen function.  The overall fit was nice and snug too so that nothing was moving around in there. This was great because I knew buttons would be where they needed to be.  The holes and covers for all the buttons were right where they needed to be and covered.

The things I liked about it was the fact it did seem very sturdy for bump and drops.  The silicone gave a cushion on the edges.  It was good for my cooking to be able to look at the recipes and not worry about getting stuff on it, the screen wiped off really well.  The bright accents make it easier to find when someone loses it :) not that it has happened a billion times.  The screen protector did not make a glare when light hit it.  I was greatly impressed with the sound.  I know some cases muffle sound and the way they have the sound routed to come out the front of the case works really well.  I found leaving open the charging port allowed for more sound to come out as well.  It is still light weight and didn't add any bulk to the case.  This was good because it made it so I could still slide it into my carrier with no problems.  Like the picture above it comes apart so that it is easy to wipe down the dust and anything else that may get on it from use. Once you have figured out how to take it on and off initially there was no further problems and I could get it off and on with ease.

Our iPad gets used everyday.  From my school work, the kids school work, games, movies, and much more.  This case really got the use out of it during our review period.  We put it on the day we got it in the mail and it has not been off since.  I will say the iPad has been dropped and the case did not break so it done its job.  I use it propped up on the kitchen counter to look at recipes while I cook.  It was nice not to worry about scrolling with a dirty finger.  If it got to messy I could wipe with a damp cloth and not worry about the iPad getting damaged.  The kids played videos on it while all over the house.  There is a cover over the front camera but not the back.  It did not seem to harm the picture quality.

The things I did not like about the case.  I wanted to be able to let the kids take this outside and do exploring with it.  However the silicone cover for the charging port did not stay pushed in, it come out very easily all the time.  Also the edges of the silicone stayed pulled out.  I kept opening the case in order to push it back like it went and it always came out again. The silicone over the home was a tad bit raised so it promoted little fingers to pull on it like in the picture below. Also the protective cover over the screen scratched up easily.

They offer a whole line of other types of cases and colors.  Be sure to check them out on the following links.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Golden Prairie Press Review

Golden Prairie Press Review

Age: 1st-6th grade but older can use this as well
Price: $98.99

Golden Prairie Press Review
I am always looking for new exciting curriculum for History.  In public school that I went to people fell asleep in class so I never got into it.  So when given the chance to review Golden Prairie Press's Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum I was excited.  To this point I have not found a curriculum that I could understand to even teach let alone the kids be able to use it with ease.  
Included in the package:
Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 ebook

Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 ebook
Additional Materials Downloads
Historical Skits ebook 

Sing Some History CD

Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 CD
Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is by Amy Puetz.  It is set up to be a 30 week curriculum. A fun thing about it is that it is grouped two different ways.  The first part is larger print and more keyed to 1st and 2nd grade learners.  Easier terminology and easier to read.  The second part is a bit more advanced for those in 3rd and up grades.  After each lesson there is activities for the kids to do.  They range from songs, cooking, crafts and such. They are not a must to complete but they do help break up the same old reading a story and moving on. The lessons take about 30 minutes to an hour to complete, more if you are doing cooking or a craft.  There are also question pages and the answer key as well.

Golden Prairie Press ReviewWhen we used this curriculum we started using it about 4 days a week.  Since I have kids at different levels we spent about an hour on each lesson just to make sure everyone got it.  The teachers guide shows you all the available activities that you can do at the end of each lesson. It also reminds you not all are required. The options were great because then we got to pick the things we were interested in doing.  So we would read the story for the lesson and then we could answer the comprehension questions. These were pretty simple questions just to make sure the child was listening to the story. I think it also promoted some great conversations to continue with the learning. There were also some writing prompts that are great for the older kids to get some language arts in the mix. Last we would pick out which activity we wanted to do.  Everything you need to complete the activity is included, minus craft supplies and cooking supplies. My kids of course are always all about food.  They also have Bible versus to memorize and have you to come back at the end of the week to recite them.  There is also some extra reading ideas to bring the topic into all of your learning for the day.  Since my kids doing this are girls it was very fun for them to learn about all the heroins in history.  Many were things I never even learned it school which was fun.

I believe their favorite thing was doing the Morse Code activity in lesson 2.  I found little papers around the house where they were trying to make their own.

The curriculum is pretty much a timeline of events with some events briefed over to give the idea of what happened during that time.  For my kids I think it was great.  They get bored easily if things go to in depth and it was easy for me to guide them since I am not to polished on History myself.  We did not extend onto the living books though as we already had some heavy reading we have been doing for other things.  I think branching out would be great for the older kids, especially on the stories and topics that they found interesting.

Golden Prairie Press ReviewOverall I think this is a greatly put together curriculum for a family with young ones and ones new to the history world.  Like I said I am not great on history myself so this was easy for me to get into and help without having to do a ton on pre-work in order to be prepared to teach it.  The audios also provided a break for me and a different spin on learning. 

Golden Prairie Press Review
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Save 20% on Britax

May 12 to Aug 12 save 20% on Britax baby. Only on Amazon! Click the following link to get the discount!

Shop Amazon - Save Up to 20% on Britax

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime, do you have it?  Want to try it out for free for 30 days?  You get to watch unlimited TV episodes and movies, free 2 day  prime shipping, and free book rentals.  I love it and its much cheaper than cable.

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Badger Anti-Bug Review

Badger Anti-Bug Spray repels insects naturally with the pleasant aroma of Citronella, Rosemary, and Wintergreen essential oils. There are no synthetic chemicals, DEET, or petroleum products in it. This is a certified organic and all natural bug spray.

Living in the south there are tons of bugs. I always hate using things on the kids though for fear the chemical is worse than the bug bite. This stuff is safe and effective. I believe it has a pleasant natural aroma that is not over powering and it is not greasy.

The price on Amazon is great!  Very comparable to other natural bug repellents. 

For those of you that like to see what is really in it, here is the list of ingredients;
Active Ingredients: 23% *Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, 10% *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, and Essential Oils of 4% *Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella), 2% *Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar), 2% *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), 1.5% *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), 1% *Pelagonium Graveolens (Geranium), and 1% *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint).

Inactive Ingredients: Water and 0.5% *Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen).

This page contains Amazon affiliate links.

Garden Tips

So tis' the season for gardening.  If you are like me you have been outside getting your yard work caught up and starting your garden.  Spring time is when you want to get your plants in the ground but also it isn't to hot yet so you can stay out longer. 

So in light of the season here are a few tips I have learned along the way to making my yard look presentable, as well as growing some yummy food.

My first should be easy for those of you that know me, vinegar...have I not told you there is nothing this stuff can't do??!!  Anyways, to kill weeds you can put straight vinegar in a spray bottle and spray directly to the weeds.

If you live near the ocean get some seaweed. It is great to chop up with your compost and put in your garden, makes a great rich soil.

Cheaper way to feed the humming birds is to mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.  It works best if you boil water first so that the sugar dissolves better.  The humming birds love it, if you do not have a colored feeder you can add some red dye to it or paint your feeder.

Roses I always found to be a booger to get nice pretty blooms.  I learned if you sprinkle your used (unflavored) coffee grounds around your bush and work it into your soil that you will get better plants.  Coffee is an insect repellent so you wont get nibbles on your pants either.

When you finish your gallon of milk you can fill up with water (do not rinse milk out) and use that milky solution to water your plants.  It will perk and green them up.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The insomniac

It seems that about once a week I have a night that I can't sleep. My mind just keeps racing and thinking of the past, present, and future of my life. My life seems to change every time I turn around. When things are going smooth a curve ball is thrown at me. 

I have to say sleep or not that this smiling face first thing in the morning melts my heart. Though this little guy was not in my  plans for life God must have known I needed him. He is a needy little guy unlike my other three were. In reality I think I needed that feeling. Sometime I feel like no one needs me anymore and I'm just in the midst of nothing. This little guy brought my purpose back. I think he is also trying to teach me to be a stronger person.