Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review-Snake Oil!

Out of the Box Games Review

Wahoo! Out of the Box Games has outdone themselves with the clever, family friendly game, Snake Oil. When I read that this was up for review, I had to giggle as we joke about our "snake oils" that we use everyday (essential oils). I was excited to be chosen for this review and thrilled that Big Daddy was home so we could all play together. The game needs 3 or more players and includes directions for a tournament play that can have up to 24 players! We played with all 5 of us and had so much fun!

Out of the Box Games Review
Set up and directions are simple. We didn't even take all the cards out of the holder in the box, but just set the holder on the table and got started - lol! The game is intended for ages 10 and up. Princess P is 9 but didn't have any trouble catching on and keeping up so I think you could go a little younger if wanted. We started by reading the kids about what snake oil really is. None of them had heard of it so I'm glad it was included on the instruction sheet.

What supermodel doesn't need bra glue?
Such funny combos!!

To play the game, each player gets 6 word cards. There are word cards and then a smaller deck of "Customer Cards." The customer tells who they are...such as pirate, pregnant lady, sports fan, couch potato, or cowboy. All the "non customers" choose two of their word cards and "invent" something that the customer can't live without. You have up to 30 seconds to give your spiel before it moves to the next person. After everyone goes, the customer chooses one person's product as the one they must have and that person wins that round.   

This was hilarious!! The combinations were so funny and random and we all laughed and laughed. The site says the game takes 20-30 minutes to play. We played WAY longer that our first time because no one wanted to stop! I loved how creative the kids were and how they had to think on their feet. They came up with such great spiels and were so convincing that it was hard to decide sometimes.  I really wish I had videoed some of them. They were SO convincing about why we needed their product. So funny. 

This was a great game to bring us all together. It's hard to find things sometimes that both P (at 9) and C (at almost 15) enjoy, let alone Big Daddy and I enjoy too.And finding something that isn't electronic is a huge plus for us. We are going on vacation later this month and Big Daddy said to make sure we bring this!!

At only $19.99, this is cheaper than going out to eat and has brought so much fun to our evenings. It would be fun to play with friends and family. I'd even like to try the tournament! As I said, it's hard to find something that our whole family can enjoy so this is definitely worth the price to me. These moments of hanging around together in the evening are fleeting...gotta take advantage of them while we can.
This is sadly my final review for TOS for the year and we are taking a break from reviewing next year. Talking about going out in style though!! This one was a blast! Thanks for reading and commenting on my reviews. Please keep following the Schoolhouse Review Crew as they have big things in store for next year. I'll miss it, but look forward to slowing down a bit with our homeschooling.

Check out more reviews of Snake Oil and other games by clicking on the banner below and find out more info from the vendor here:

Click to read Crew Reviews 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall....for today!

Our tree out front is gorgeous, but it usually only lasts like this for a few days. So, I drug the kids out yesterday and had them stand in front of it for a picture. This really isn't even about the kids (hence the not bothering to brush hair or change clothes!)'s all about that tree!

OK - the kids are pretty cute too. ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: Christmas Book

Christmas Book Review

     I'm always looking for new ways to teach the kids the true meaning of Christmas. It's so hard in this world that is bombarding us with materialistic reasons to celebrate this day so I was excited to get to review If He Had Not Come, by David Nicholson.  The book is recommended for ages 6 and up and is $18.95 for a  hardbound book like we got to review, or just $3.99 for an ebook.

     Before we started reading the book, I asked the kids what they thought it would be like if Jesus had never come. They had some answers, like "sad" or "boring." I was just curious of their thoughts before beginning. Princess P and I had read through the book during soccer practice a few weeks before so she and I knew what the story line was.

     Terrific T read the book aloud to us. It's only 40 pages so didn't take too long to read. Every other page is a full bleed page picture that is really beautiful. Charles Jaskiewicz illustrated this and deserves big props for capturing the feeling and story so well in pictures.
     If He Had Not Come is the story of a young boy who goes to sleep on Christmas Eve with John 15:22 on his mind. The verse says, "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin," The rest of the book follows this boy as he discovers what would be different if Jesus had not come in the flesh to the world.

     It was a very sad and different world than we know today and eye opening to the kids to think about the world like this. It was also eye opening to see that everything in our lives that is good is due to Jesus coming as a baby and then dying for our sins. Think about it!

    There are questions and activities in the back to aid in our discussion with the kids about the book. We chose to do the one that asked the kids to make a list of things that would be different in your life if He had not come. They came up with this:

     We likely wouldn't foster (why do for others? why care for the least of these?), wouldn't go to church, would have different friends. Then it hit them that Big Daddy and I MET at church...if there wasn't a church we likely wouldn't have met and they wouldn't be here!! T added that the world would be full of sin and evil and would be...bad to the bone (and not in a good way!).

     This book was a gentle reminder of the true meaning of Christmas and I liked that they included the ways to discuss and apply what we learned. The book ends with a list of ways to help you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. I'm looking forward to revisiting this book in the next few weeks as we set up our tree and start looking more towards the big day.

If He had not sad would we all be. :(
Check out more info about this book and author by checking out his facebook page or clicking the link to see what other crewmates had to say about it.


Click to read Crew Reviews

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let's talk oils...again.

Some friends and I went to a Healing Oils of the Bible class last month. It was fascinating!! God truly gave us all we needed in the Garden of Eden. He provided food and oils for staying healthy, then when sin entered the world, we had the oils already there for diseases and illnesses. It was all there for our use and still is. Thank you, Jesus! I loved smelling and applying the oils that were the same smells that Jesus and his friends used when he walked the earth. I was really drawn to one in particular...Hyssop. The smell stayed with me for days and it's on my order for this month. Hyssop was used to put the blood on the doorposts for passover, and was used to hand Jesus the sour wine when he was on the cross. Coincidence? Not a chance. I can't wait to get it!

October 4th marked the one year anniversary of us using Young Living Essential Oils in our home and I'm still learning new ways every day to help support our family's health with the oils and supplements they offer.  And I love it! It's actually a lot of fun to learn about what can make us feel better and stay well instead of just blindly popping pills or ignoring symptoms. We feel better than ever now that we are doing our Ningxia Red "shots" everyday. It's fun to keep my family healthy. I am also loving sharing these healing oils with others and trying to teach them to take control of their health. It's fun to scan people and have them shocked that the Zyto scanner is right on. Just another tool to help us with better health.

Last November, I started using Essential Rewards (ER). At first, I was confused and it seemed like a scam or something to commit to buying every month. I sent my friend a thousand questions and then decided to bite the bullet...and I'm so glad I did. See, ER isn't that scary. It's actually pretty awesome! You do commit to buying every month, but you can change up what you order each time and get only the things you want or need. The best part is you get a % back in free product credit for each oil you buy. The first 6 months, you get 10% credit. The next 6 you get 15%. And starting at month 13, you get 20% credit every month. YL is so awesome that some months, they offer an additional 10% credit if you spend 300 pv (normally that is $300).  They did this last month and are doing it again this month for a 250 PV order. So last month, I spent $300 and got $75 product credit to spend in the next 12 months. In the past year, I've received over $500 in free products from cashing in ER points. On top of that, they give away products for free for reaching certain order amounts (190/250/300) so I've really got way more than the $500 free! It's a great way to stock up your cabinet to be ready for anything.

If you haven't ventured in to the oily world, what's stopping you? Ask me anything and I'm happy to point you in the right direction. I haven't had anyone start using them and not like them!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Goodbye, October!

It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year, and now, we are just around the corner from Thanksgiving. Already?

I love the fall. The cooler weather makes me want to hunker down and stay home until spring...and I like being home. Football wraps up next week for C, which will certainly slow us down although secretly, I'm going to really miss watching him play and I know he is going to REALLY miss playing. We opted out of acting in the play this year with our CC friends. That was a hard decision.We have loved the last two plays and the kids do so well in them. Possibly if auditions weren't while we were still in the thick of football, I would have been more inclined to jump in....but as I said, I like being home!

Big Daddy has been home for the past 3 months and it has been awesome. We are getting super spoiled and loving it! We just started the final stretch of CC for the semester too - wahoo.

I have not even begun to think about Christmas gifts - there's still time, right?

We have a cruise booked for November that we can't wait to get to...but I know once it hits, it's a mad rush to Christmas. I want to plan NOW for December. I want to have a good plan laid out for how we will point our eyes on Christ during this stupidly busy time of year and not lose focus on what is the most important. We have done the Jesse Tree before, and might do that again. But I'm looking for ideas that go a little deeper since the kids are getting older. Any ideas? away!

And lastly, as we close out October, I have to give all glory to God that my Grandma is doing better. We truly thought it was the end less than two weeks ago. Her body was done and mentally, she was done too. She has made HUGE strides in her recovery and is blowing me away with how well she is doing. Not quite back to where she was a month ago, but definitely heading in the right direction. I have been taking one kiddo each time I go to visit her (first in the hospital and now in the rehab facility she is in). Today, T and P dressed up for the visit and Gram joked with them a little. It was awesome!! I love her so much and am thankful for this time together!

Now to finish up a few things and get ready for our old foster son to come over. We are so excited to have him come trick-or-treat with the kids tonight. It's cold and they are young so I'm sure we won't last very long. But looking forward to visiting for a while.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Aprendamos Espanol

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

My family and I used to live in Middlebury, VT, so seeing Middlebury Interactive Languages come up for review really caught my eye! Princess P has been wanting to learn Spanish for a while now, so we chose their Elementary Spanish I course for this review period.  It is recommended for grades 3-5 and P is in 4th so we were right in the recommended range. There are no prerequisites for taking this class, so we got her set up with an account and logged in to begin.

I was a little nervous to begin because despite two years of Spanish in high school and in college, I pretty much know nothing in Spanish. Nada. (heehee...I said pretty much) But this was totally fun and easy! There are 7 units and a review in this set. For P's grade, Middlebury recommends doing 2-3 days a week. Doing that, you could easily get through this in the semester. There is a calendar on the site with lessons listed for each day. We ignored that and just went through the Table of Contents and selected the next lesson on Tues and Thurs when we did Spanish.  I like that it checks off the ones you have done so you know where you left off.  I also liked that the topics were practical things to learn and the pictures are fun and bright. There are all cartoon drawings and the speech is clear on the sound parts.

Unit 1 starts by giving you the intro and objectives and then jumps right into reading you a story in Spanish. P was a little put off by this because she "didn't understand a word they just said." After two roughly a week and a half, they told the same story again and this time she could understand enough to make sense of it! This was super cool and encouraging to her.

The lessons are simple and required nothing from me. Once we figured out the system (ie click the check mark in the top right corner when finished so it scores it for you!), she was off and running. She would normally do an entire lesson in one sitting. There is enough repetition that she was able to do it all on her own. She would sometimes ask me "do girls end in a or o?" when she started a lesson because that kept confusing her, but if she knew it, she could do them all. There are some lessons that ask you to restate the words into a mic. When our computer died, the mic went with I just sat with her on those and listened instead of recording and playing back. Since we didn't have the teacher grading us, it was no biggie to do it like this. Once we get a new computer, we can start recording again.

They mix up the teaching methods throughout the lessons so it isn't boring to the kids. They speak, quiz, practice, explore, color, sing, etc. They keep the kids moving. We spent about 30 minutes at a time on this. Most of the time, that completed an entire lesson. Sometimes, we would stop and then pick up the next day and call it review before starting the next lesson. P enjoyed it so much she would want to do several lessons at a time, but after letting her do that a few times, I realized she wasn't retaining as well when she rushed through several so started limiting it to 30 minutes. It's a tough problem to have to limit their school, right? ;o)

Like my last review, this one is online, which is awesome since our computer crashed on us! We were able to pick up the next lesson on the laptop and not miss a beat.  This site also has a gradebook for teachers to check. The only issue here is some things it gave P 100% on when I watched her miss a few. It instantly corrects, or doesn't accept incorrect answers, so the 100% is might have taken 5 tries to get the 100%, which it doesn't show. Since she's in 4th grade, I'm not keep track of her grades anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.

Middlebury Interactive Languages has several languages to choose from, and they have classes for K-12! I'm excited to have found this site and glad P is enjoying broadening her language horizon.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

The pricing is $119/semester (+ an additional $175/semester with a teacher, so $294 total - we didn't have the teacher).

Find out more info at these links or by clicking on the banner below.

Google +:

Click to read Crew Reviews

Review: Standard Deviants Accelerate - Nutrition

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
Standard Deviants Accelerate is fun, video based online learning resource for middle schoolers and high schoolers. We chose to review their Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses Nutrition curriculum for Terrific T, who is in 6th grade. It is recommended for grades 6+.
We have never done a specific nutrition class, so I was excited to have this opportunity for him (us) to learn more. I set up his account and he started the same day. There is really no prep work (score!) for this program. Since it's an online program, we were able to use it on our laptop when our computer decided to kick the bucket last month. We didn't lose anything! We just logged in from the different computer and were ready to start again. 
There are 8 chapters in the Nutrition curriculum. Each lesson contains a short (7-10 minute) video. There is a full transcript of the video posted too that you can print off or follow along with. I chose to not print these. T liked the videos (although he said they were "a little cheesy" LOL!) and I think trying to follow along would have been too distracting for him. I used them to skim what he was learning when I didn't watch with him. There is a place to take notes right on the screen and save them to your "locker." He didn't take notes as we went because typing is a little slow for him still, but I had him write a few sentences about what he learned before moving on to the next step. 
After watching the video, he moved on to the vocab section. Here they have important words and definitions from the lesson listed and a link to hear them spoken along with it. I just had him go over them several times and tell me about them. Then there is a diagram section also with drag/drop activities to use the new terms learned. 
Finally, there is a multiple choice quiz. T would select his answers and submit them (it says, "Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks!" lol!!). If you are wrong on any of them, it brings up a short (like 20 seconds!) video with the correct answer right then. I liked the immediate feedback on it and the diagram both. T learned quite a bit in these lessons. It was fun to see familiar words that he has learned about in CC (we are doing the body this year) and be able to enhance that information with more details. I think this was a perfect nutrition curriculum for him. 
Standard Deviants Accelerate ReviewAt the end of each chapter, there is a review section. This has activities that use all the learning styles. Some are better suited for larger groups of students but some we could adjust to do individually. Then there is a post test and some critical thinking questions that we did together.
This was an easy program to use with really nothing for the teacher to do once you get it started. Princess P is reviewing another online program so I had Terrific T do this alone, but I think even P (4th grade) would have enjoyed this and learned good info from it.  There is a dashboard where I can get on and see how he is doing. He didn't always submit his work as we did a lot of orally so I kept track of his progress on my own, but if you had more than one student, or a good typist, you could use their grading program also. It was simple but good to have.
The lessons took him about 20 minutes a day and we did it three days a week. It was a quick way to supplement our current science curriculum and get a comprehensive nutrition education with little effort. If you are like me, you don't have time to research and plan one.more.thing. SDA takes the planning and researching out and hands it to you with "cheesy' videos that the kids enjoyed!! That's a win in my book!
SDA offers the following online courses:
Arithmetic - Grades 3+
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
Earth Science - Grades 6+
Nutrition - Grades 6+
Algebra - Grades 7+
Biology - Grades 7+
Chemistry - Grades 9+
English Comp. - Grades 9+
U.S. History - Grades 9+
AP Biolody - Grades 11+
AP Chemistry - Grades 11+
AP U.S. Government & Politics - Grades 11+
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+
The price of the annual subscription for one student and one subject is is $24.95/month or $99/year. I'm sure we can finish the Nutrition one in two months.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

I haven't gone this long between posts in two years. Oops! I hate being this busy. By the time I can sit down to this dinosaur computer, I'm too tired to fire it up and type. Here's a quick "catch up" post...

This week is fall break for CC (and public school) so we are using this time to get caught up on everything around here.

Big Daddy has done an amazing job remodeling our master bath. Once I decorate it, I'll have to show pics. He put in new flooring and painted the walls, doors, and trim. Put in all new light fixtures, faucets, and everything so it is updated from the brass looking ones that came with the house to pretty brushed silver ones. It looks so good! He's been home for the past few months and we are being spoiled rotten with him here and not working. It's awesome!

Captain C is LOVING football. He loves being on a team, hitting people and being hit, and winning is awesome too. They are 6-0. Undefeated! He comes home bruised and sweaty and happy as can be!

Terrific T has stepped up his school work this year and is doing so well. Almost every single morning, I get up and he and Princess P have already done a couple of their subjects and are working hard. They like to knock the school work out early and play. They are so creative in their playtime and get along really well except when they don't. LOL!

We are so blessed to have a sweet little one with us again. She's a doll! Busy and determined and fits right in around here. P is loving having a roommate that she doesn't have to sleep with one eye open with. ;) We are all enjoying our time with her and getting to know her future parents as well.

My grandma also moved up to the area a couple of months ago. Her healthy is struggling and it's so heartbreaking to watch, but I'm so thankful she is close. I'm getting over there as much as I can to sit with her and visit.

Add in homeschooling, CC director duties, church activities, YL classes, a few pictures here and there, and it's no wonder we have no groceries in the house! Believe it or not, I've said no to a ton of things lately...for my own sanity. It's hard, but has to be done.

So to pick P up from a birthday party and then finish up some TOS blogs. I have sadly decided to take a year off from reviews (see above for reasons why). I love doing it and love the variety it has brought to our homeschooling but something had to go. I have 4 more reviews to finish up before the year's over.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's Talk Oils ~ So much fun!

I started using Young Living Essential Oils, as I have mentioned, to help our family with many issues. I am continually amazed at how well they work on so many things. I signed up one year ago today - Oct 4, 2013 - and never dreamed how much fun I would have thanks to YL. I have met so many great people. I'm educating myself on the chemistry and uses of the oils which is fun to be learning more things. I came into this only planning to use the oils for us and never having been in a MLM type business before so had no idea how they worked. As I shared my stories of success (how can you NOT talk about something that works so well), people have wanted to try them for their families. I'm loving seeing my friends and family using oils too. Now, I think more of my friends USE oils than don't. That wasn't the case a year ago. Anyway, I didn't even realize that by sharing my stories and others signing up, YL gives me a commission. I am now getting all my oils "free" basically. Just for telling people what works for me. I've had people as me if I sell oils. I don't. I really have NO interest (or time) to sell anyone anything. I am, however, happy to talk to anyone who will listen about taking charge of your own health and not putting tons of crap into your body blindly. How often do we question what is in the pills the doctor prescribes us or our kids? We don't. We take them and go on our way with no thought to the fact that we are destroying the good along with the bad most of the time. With oils, we can treat the issues that are presenting in our family, without worry of side effects. When T has sniffles from pollen, we don't have to plan to skip the day of school because the meds will make him sleep like a log, or bounce off the walls, or (yikes) so angry we all fear for our lives. Ugh. We, instead, rub some oils on or simply inhale them and go on with our day. I looooove it!

I also never would have guessed I would have dropped $400 on a machine that scans my electrical energy. Kookoo...kookoo!! But I'm SO glad I did! I swear this thing is right on the money! Big Daddy even asks for me to scan him or the kids anytime something comes up because he has seen how accurate it is in diagnosing. I need to do it today, actually. I have a cough that is hanging on with both hands and he told me last night to scan today...and I forgot. I will. He scanned last month as soon as he started feeling poorly and then took or used all the oils it recommended and was completely better the next day. It's pretty nuts how well it works.

I love that my whole family is seeing the benefits of YL oils now and reaching for them daily. If you have any questions, I'm happy to help. If you want to start getting your oils free too - I'd love to help you do that also. Between ER and just telling people how the oils are helping you, you can let YL foot the bill for your health. C started seeing a chiropractor about a month ago and goes after each football game to get put back together properly (LOL - it's been his hands most weeks. He keeps jamming things on the line.). They will charge our insurance but when we looked at the deductible and saw that we had only spent about $75 total for our family this year at the dr, it was going to be a long way to the deductible. I think that letting God use the oils to help us is keeping us all more healthy and out of the doctors office. Win-Win!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: IEW Fix-It! Grammar

Fix It! Grammar Review
Oh man, I was SO excited to see this up for review. I love all things Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), but had no idea they had a Grammar program. Wahooo! I was so pumped to be chosen to review Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Teacher Manual) - $19.00  and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Book 1] (Student Book) - $15.00. 

My kids have been using IEW's writing program for the past 5 years and thriving with it. I love the way they break everything down and make it easy and fun to learn writing. Knowing how much I love their writing, I had high expectations for the Fix It! Grammar books, and they didn't let me down! 

There are 6 books in this series and they are geared for grades 3 through high school. I wanted to use this for Terrific T  (6th) and Princess P (4th) so did the placement test they provided here. I decided it would be best to just start at the beginning, with Book 1: The Nose Tree. I figured this way we would learn how the program works and not miss anything. I received the teacher's book and one student book. In the front of the teacher's guide, there is a page that has things you can download for free off the IEW site. One of those things is the student book if you are going to use it in your immediate family or classroom. Sweetness! I didn't have to order a second student book after all. I downloaded and printed the book, 3 hole punched it and put it in a binder for T to use and P used the spiral book we were sent. Now, depending on how much it costs you to print things, it might be cheaper to just order another student book, but I can print really cheaply on my printer so this was a great deal for our family.

In addition to the student and teacher books, each student needs a notebook. For T, since his book was in a binder, we just added two more sections to the back with loose leaf paper. P was using the spiral book so used a new spiral notebook for her two extra sections. You basically need the book, and then a section to rewrite the passages and a section for vocab.

After a quick and easy set up, we were ready to begin. Each lesson takes only 15 MINUTES A DAY. Love this! Our days are so full that I wasn't sure we could add in a long program but this fits in perfectly. each day, the kids edit a sentence using editing marks and label certain parts of speech. They look up one vocab word to add to their vocab section and copy the corrected sentence into their journal. Each sentence is in order and is writing out a longer story, which will be written in full by the end of the book. 

It's really that simple. There is no grading of the lessons as it is intended to be a teaching tool. We just worked through them together and corrected as we went. This it broken down into 4 days of assignments, which fits in great with our schedule too since we are out of the house one day a week. There is a handy Glossary in the back of the book that is wonderful. It explains everything they are learning about. This is great for teachers who aren't confident in grammar or familiar with IEW. There are also grammar cards in the student book. We cut these out and laminated and drilled on them just a few minutes a day. 

These short lessons are teaching the kids a variety of things, such as: capitalization, punctuation, homophones, grammar, parts of speech, vocab, copying and even giving them handwriting practice. So much in such a short time.  I like that it overlaps with the writing we are using from IEW too. The extra practice on who/which clauses and quality adjectives has been good reinforcement for the kids. We don't normally do a specific vocab time each day. This has been an easy way to add that in and get us talking about new words. They are looking them up in the dictionary and using context clues to decide the proper meaning. 

I like that both kids can do this together, even though they are different grades. They like that it doesn't take much time and the continuing story line is something they look forward to doing. I like the price - totally reasonable for what you are getting and especially love that you can download more for your other kiddos and not have to keep rebuying the workbooks.

Using this for the last month or so, I am extremely pleased with how well the kids are picking up the information in such a short chunk of time. It's easy to fit into our day and they have never complained about having to do it. We added it into our "Essentials" workbox and they never batted an eye. I think being familiar with IEW was helpful for them (they knew not to be scared of it) but I think anyone, even those who have never used their wonderful writing program, can jump right in and have great success with this. It is definitely a stand alone program and we are loving it. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to add this into our schooling.

Find out more info about IEW and their other products here:


You Tube:

And find out what other Crew Mates thought about their products here:

Click to read Crew ReviewsCrew Disclaimer

Thursday, September 18, 2014

No more specs!

Captain C decided he was sick of a) wearing glasses and b) not being able to see when he doesn't wear glasses (!). We decided to give contacts a shot and he is rocking them. It's been two weeks today and he went back for his visit and is doing great so ordered 6 months. He loves them. The first three days were rough and I thought he would be too frustrated but he persevered and on day three got them in and out on his own and hasn't asked me for help since. 
I'm so proud of him not giving up! He's just happy to see people and not blobs on the field now. Lol. 

Attack of the computer problems!

It's sad when you walk into the computer repairman's store and the secretary says, "Hi, Leslie." ACK! I've had the strangest computer problems ever lately. My current the blue screen of death. I need a new hard drive and new windows and it was going to be almost as much as a new computer. Not something we planned to do right now, but I guess it is time to upgrade. Ugh

Minor annoyances like this make me thankful though...because I have a computer to break, money to buy a new one, and an old one that I'm able to peck away on, even with no word processing things (yay for Google Docs so we could do the kids papers this week for CC!). We are certainly not roughing it over here with our fall-back devices. It's almost embarrassing....not almost. We are spoiled rotten and ready to make some changes.

How spoiled are we? It's a little humbling. Big Daddy and I have been talking a lot about minimizing what we have. It's time. I feel like Madame Blueberry sometimes. We are so stuffed full of stuff that we don't have time to DO anything. We have to get out of this don't be surprised if you walk by and see us throwing stuff out the door. Big Daddy is anti-garage-sales, but I'm hoping to change his mind and clear this place out.

We know how fortunate we are, but just don't want to start thinking this is normal. It's not. Ready for some changes....and it took a blue screen of death to give me a wake up call!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Let's Talk Oils - Fall Prep

September marks one year since I tried my first Young Living Essential Oil and I'm so thankful that my friend introduced me to them.

We continue to use and see great results with using oils daily in our home. We started this month taking NingXia Red - 1oz a day with various drops of oils added to it. The kids all line up and love it. I'm  honestly not sure what changes we are seeing because we are all feeling good...coincidence? Who knows. C is also taking BLM everyday since he started football. This is supposed to keep his joints and ligaments lubed up. We also visited a chiropractor for the first time this month to have him get checked. I just wanted to make sure everything was lined up correctly as a preventative measure. He found a bone that is way out of place (like he gasped audibly when he saw the xray - nice) - but this might be causing his migraines. We are praying it stays in place and C doesn't ever suffer through one of those again!

So, since I've told you month after month what we use, this month I'm going to tell you what we are stocking up on for fall/winter/germy seasons....just in case.
  • Thieves. Yes, please. Oil, hand sanitizer, soap, household cleaner, toothpaste, mouthwash, spray...we've got it covered. I love it all! I'm a little addicted to all things Thieves. If you don't have any already, this kit is a great start to stock up your house. Ask me more if you are not on Essential Rewards and interested so I can explain how it works. It is how I get so many free oils! ♥
  • DiGize is a-w-e-s-o-m-enfor digesting support. I will never be without this again!
  • RC - This is awesome for supporting your respiratory system. I put this on T's feet last week and diffused it while he slept because he was getting sick. He never needed any OTC meds. Unfortunately this is out of stock right now due to seasonal items in it. I love that YL doesn't just invent ingredients if they are not in season, they wait so it doesn't compromise the quality and pureness of it. Stock up on this when it is in stock. You won't be sorry. For now, use:
  • Raven - I use this and RC almost interchangeably. Sometimes I find that one works better on a particular person. I love this one too.
  • Eucalyptus globulus - ahhh...just the name makes me happy here. I love this smell. Ironically, I always thought I was allergic to eucalyptus. If it comes in a floral bouquet, I always take it out and trash it as I can't stand it. Kinda funny. EG is a great support for any respiratory problems and I love to diffuse it while we sleep.
Those are the big ones I'm making sure we have an extra bottle of (thankfully I got a bottle of RC last month on the couple of days it was in stock!). YL does actually sell a kit with these oils in it called the Golden Touch Kit if you want to try them out. It is in stock right now so hurry if you are interested.

I branched out this month and invested in a Zyto scanner of my own. We have been scanned several times in the past and are convinced that it helps to better target problems rather than to just wing it. It uses biofeedback to tell you what oils or supplements your body needs most at that time. If you are local and want to be scanned, let me know and I will give you the details. It's very cool! Since it's new, I'm scanning us more often than I should, but it was funny the other night. I scanned and it came up for Balance Complete, a meal replacement powder. It was almost time for dinner and I hadn't eaten lunch because I had been busy. Oops! Crazy that it knew that I was hungry. Oh and once T scanned for Parafree - I thought that was odd since it's for parasites, but remembered he had been bit by a tick the day before. Interesting!

Also if you are local, I'm hosting a class this Thursday to share more about how the oils work and are helping our family. I'd love for you to come hang out with us. Message me on here or on Facebook for details. My ER order goes through on the 8th if you need anything or if you would like to sign up to be a wholesale member yourself so your family will be ready for germy season, let me know and I can hook you up. We haven't regretted this a day in the last year!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Unsolicited advice...

     As we are a couple of weeks into our 7th year of homeschooling, I've finally found a method that is working well for us. Phew. I'm clearly a slow learner - lol. Not really - it just took lots of trial and error to find our groove. I have been talking to a lot of new-to-homeschooling families lately and try to encourage them each find what works for THEIR family and to not compare themselves to other homeschooling families.  Each family and each child is unique and if you try to match your curriculum to other people's, you just might end up miserable. If you are new to homeschooling, take some time to figure out how your kids learn best and how you teach best. Let them explore things that interest them and instill a love of learning. Even within the same family, kids learn differently. You are not trying to do school at home (aka - replicate the public shcool system in your kitchen), you are trying to educate your children at home. Big difference. Don't compare...and have fun!

     Besides not comparing yourself to others, I think you also need to be flexible. Just because something looks pretty at the store, doesn't mean your kiddo is going to love it. And just because one of your kiddos loves it, doesn't mean the others will too. And just because they loved it last week, doesn't mean they will love it this week. And just because you bought it, doesn't mean you have to finish it. Be flexible. If it isn't working, change it up. I have wasted entire semesters forcing a certain curriculum on a child when it wasn't a good fit. There were tears...from the kids AND from me. It was rough. I was venting one day to a very wise homeschooling veteran that a certain child cried and threw a fit everyday when we did a certain thing. She said...then don't do it. Wait, what? I can do that?!? YES! A perk of homeschooling is that if something isn't working you can shake it up. Now, I'm not saying that if your little darling hates math you can scrap it...but I am saying you can do odds or evens, or do them on a white board, with colorful markers, or switch vendors completely. You don't have to suffer! If it is a heart issue, that's another thing and sometimes you just have to push through, but sometimes it's just not a good fit for that kid. Some of our best lessons have been *gasp* not in the lesson plans. Be flexible...and have fun!

     My last bit of unsolicited advice for new homeschooling families is to put God first (ironic that this is last? Saving the best for last? The last shall be first?). When I made the kids schedules this year, Bible is the first thing they do. Most days, it is done before breakfast. I figure that if all else fails and the school day implodes (hey - it can happen), at the very least we have spent time with our Lord and learned more about Him. I love that in our homeschool and in CC, we can find God in every subject. I encourage you to always make time for Him in your school day. I don't promise there will be no tears if you do, but you will have a Friend close by to help you through the tears and give you hope for the future. He cares. Trust Him...and have fun!
And PS...HAVE FUN! Your kids are only young once. Enjoy them!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: UberMath

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Looking for an easy way for your kiddos to learn and practice their math facts? Then look no further than UberSmart Math Facts from UberSmart Software. We were graciously given this software program to review a few weeks ago and have had fun exploring it.

This program that was written by a homeschooling dad, is a downloadable program, so you need to be connected to the internet to play.  It is important to note that this is for Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista only. Sorry Mac users. Up to 8 kiddos can use the program and it is suggested for grades K-6, but I think it really can help older kids also.

Almost all the flashcards we buy, and math drill games we play, only go through 12x12 on multiplication. UberSmart is really uber smart - they go through 20x20! Woot! For CC, the kids have to memorize through 15x15 and it is so hard to find things to help them review these so I was pumped to see this perk. UberSmart Math Facts includes addition and subtraction problems through the 9s and multiplication and division through the 20s. There are drills and tests to see if you have mastered them. You can choose to do one number at a time or mix them up. There is really a lot of variety in this simple program.

The first thing I did when I got the software downloaded was to put Terrific T and Princess P in the program and adjust the time limit on the problems. They both freak out if they know they are being timed and I knew that would make them not even want to TRY the program. So I added in some more time for T and even more time for P so they wouldn't be stressed and could learn to use the program. This is an awesome feature in a program! I appreciate them letting me, the teacher, choose how long they have instead of having a preset time. Then I started to look around and explore. For younger kids, there are dot flash cards to help them learn the facts and typing practice to learn where the numbers are located on the keyboard. For older kids, you can start with straight flash cards. They believe in teaching the problem before you begin testing them on the facts. Another feature that I appreciate in this is it is like actually using a deck of flash cards. You don't just get random cards, you get all the cards in a set - so all the 6s or 13s or whatever you are learning.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

After you do your learning and reviewing, you can take a test to see how you are doing. During the test time, you can see the card before and after yours. At first, this was a little annoying to me and the kids, but as we got more used to the program, they liked being able to look ahead and answer fast. This is like when you do a pencil and paper test - it's not just isolated facts. During the test, it doesn't tell you right or wrong. You answer and it moves on. At the end of the test, it shows you the missed ones and you can go back and do the flash card practice with just those missed number and focus on getting those mastered.  This saves time in drilling the facts you already know. Sweet. We like saving time!

There are also reports available that show how close you are to mastering each problem. Your progress is represented with happy and sad faces in red, yellow, and green, with green being mastered. We hope to get them all filled in green and smiling in the next few months.

I also want to add that I had some trouble when I first downloaded the program (totally MY error, not theirs) and I emailed the company, not mentioning I was on the Crew. I got a quick and excellent reply from the creator of UberSmart, David Kocur. He was very kind and helpful and got me up and running quickly.

I added this into the kids math rotation. It obviously didn't replace their math program, but was a great addition to it. I had them do one set a day (4s, 5s, 6s, etc). I let them choose, as long as they weren't doing 1s or 2s or something. lol.Now that CC has started, I'm having them do the numbers we are skip counting for the week. I really think this will help with Memory Master this year! 10-15 minutes a day will pay big dividends in the end.  In all honesty, my kids don't normally love doing math on the computer, but this is different. It really is like flash cards. There are no games and distractions. It is simple and it works. My kids were happy  that you could get on and quickly get it done. They have games they like to play, but not mixed with math. lol

The software (that you can download and keep for life - no renewal fees or anything) is $24.95. And check this out....They are offering our readers a 30% discount if you purchase before September 30th. Use the code "v4 Early Bird" as the discount code on the purchasing page to receive the discount.

You can click the link below to see what other Crew Mates thought about the software.

Click to read Crew ReviewsCrew Disclaimer