Thursday, December 30, 2010

Join Me?

(This is the Bible I am currently reading and will be using for this 90 day challenge)

I am joining Mom's Toolbox in reading the Bible in 90 days, and I want to extend the invitation.

All you need to do is visit Mom's Toolbox, read all of the information, pray about it, and then sign up if you want to join.

We will check in on Mondays, starting Jan. 3rd.

I have tried this before, and never finished.

As a matter of fact, I tried this not too long ago, and only got to the beginning of Dueteronomy, so I am picking up there, and will continue through.

I really want to finish this.

I think it will be awesome to read it through so close together and get the big picture, and put it all together.

I am sure we will understand the Bible as a whole much better after doing this.

So, why don't you join me, and we can discuss what we are reading?

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The American Patriots Almanac by William J. Bennett

How much do you know about American History?

Do you remember all that you learned about it in school?

Would you love to learn more about America and our history, but don't have the time?

Would you like to see that your children are well informed of our  country's history, so that they can appreciate where we have come from as a country?

With this newly revised, and updated edition of The American Patriot's ALMANAC, you will be able to do just that.

This book is set up in a really cool fashion so as to let you learn important facts of American History, little by little, by the date.

The format is similar to a devotional. You will have dated daily readings.

For example, if it was April 10th, you would be reading that on April 10th, Andrew Jackson was born in a log cabin, about his family life, how he was captured by the militia, and much more.

On Feb. 6th, you will learn about Ronald Reagan. On Feb. 7th, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and so on and so on.

In between each months readings are neat charts, information about America, pictures of the history of the American Flag, American songs, etc...

I think this book is awesome!

It is a great learning tool!

It is so helpful, and interesting to learn about American History this way.

I plan to use it in our homeschool.

We will start fresh on January 1st, and read from this book each day.

You can use this as a daily reader, or if you wanted to study a particular topic, there is a very large index that you could use to easily find what you are looking for.

I honestly think that this would be such an enjoyable way to learn about American History.

While it obviously would not be a complete curriculum, it is definitely a fun way to learn the really important and interesting facts of our country's  history.

I think you and your children will learn a lot from this book, and I highly recommend it it to anyone. of any age, who is interested in learning more about America and it's history. 

For other reviews of this book and many others, check out Booksneeze!

*I have been provided with a free copy of this book, from booksneeze,  in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for my review.*

Planning for School While Getting Ready for the New Year

Wow! I need to take a deep breath and just relax a little.

I have so much I want to get done, and it is just not getting there.

I am still cleaning up after Christmas. It is amazing how much can happen in one day.

I had really been doing a great job of keeping the house up, and it was all destroyed in one day.

It is hard to keep things up though, when you are getting ready for the holidays.

Oh well, I know I will get it back in order, but I just wish I were farther along.

Oh well, I will buck up and just get er done! HA HA HA

So, as far as school goes, we will keep it light for the next couple of weeks as I try to get the house in order for the new year.

We will be focusing mainly on TOS review items until we really get back in the swing of things.

I think what we will do is to have my daughter doing Ten Marks, completing one worksheet a day, and then moving on to Math Facts Now for review.

I am having her do 25 multiplication, and 25 division each day. (She already know all this, as she is in the 8th grade, but we are reviewing this item, and hey, you can always use some good review, right?)

Then my son will do Math Facts Now as well, although he will be doing very basic addition. (He is just starting Kindergarten)

Following that, I think I will have them watch a video from Speekee.

It is funny because I can't get those spanish songs out of my head when I watch the videos! HA

They are loving Dig It! I am going to keep it to once or twice a week for now as we finish up these other review items.

After the new year begins, we are really going to dive into I See Sam, a reading program that we are reviewing.

I love it! We have done a little of it, but we are going to do it daily after we really get back into the swing of things this year.

And for my daughter, we are really going to dig into the Writing program we received from The Institute for Excellence in Writing. 

It is awesome!!!

We will also be listening to Peter and the Wolf from Maestro Classics. 

We have listened to this already once, and my son thought parts of it were kind of scary, but it is pretty cool.

I have never listened to anything like this before. It is a mix of a story and the Philharmonic Orchestra!

I will let you know more about these products as I get my reviews done, but you can check out their websites for now if you would like to.

So, I got our living room and my son's room picked up, and now I have the kitchen, our bedroom and bathroom, and my daughters room.

I still have the study, but it is a disaster ,and has been for a long, long time.

It is full of books, school and crafts supplies, etc.

I will take pictures of that for you. I am sure it will be amusing! HA

Well, I am off to get some of this stuff done. Hopefully I will get it all done this week.

I want to, at minimum, get everything done except for the study. If that is all I have to do next week, that will be great.

I'll keep you updated.

What are you all doing for school until the new year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

How was your Christmas?

We had a good Christmas. We had a really good time in the morning with our kids, watching them open their presents.

We had most of the day to ourselves, and then we spent the rest of the day with family.

My sister-in-law came early and helped me cook dinner. It was really helpful to have another person in the kitchen.

We got the funniest gift from my my husband's parents.

 We got a SodaStream Genesis Soda Maker! lol

At first I thought it was a pretty weird gift, but the more I thought about it, it's pretty cool!

We can actually make our own pop and sparkling water, with no high fructose corn syrup or aspartame!

We have been trying to make more of our own food and things around the house, so it actually fits us very well;  just had to get over the initial reaction! HA

I am going to try out all of the flavors soon and see if they really taste the same.  I'll let you know.

I am pretty excited about it!!!

Today we all weren't feeling very well, but we are starting to feel better, so tomorrow, I bet we will be much better.

The kids had a blast opening their presents, and were so grateful for everything they got.

You know, it seems as if each time we get together for the holidays, we get into some kind of biblical disagreement.

You know it is bad when you want to ban talking about scripture.

You should definitely want to talk about Jesus and the Bible, but not when it causes an argument.

Thanksgiving was ruined because of this, and there was talk that was upsetting yesterday too.

All in all though it was still nice to visit with family and celebrate Jesus, although I would like to make it even more about Him in the coming years.

On my dads side of the family, I don't even know what to say.

My dad died about 10 years ago, and after that my step mom and her kids all distanced themselves from us, and I don't know why.

She always told us that we were just like her kids, and that she could never not have us in her life.

She even promised my dad as he was dying, that we would always stay a family, but apparently, she doesn't want to.

It is so hurtful, but I try to think that it must be for the best.

And to top it all off, my aunt now doesn't want me, or my brother or sister, at their holidays.  She doesn't come out and say it, but she has her brother and his wife, and all of their kids over, and we are the only ones not invited,(my dad's kids)

 She tells me their house is too small, but we have had dozens more people there for the holidays before.
She said she can't cook that much. Me and my sister offered to do the cooking, more excuses.
She said she just didn't want to mess with it. So hurtful.

Yet, everyone else can come over, please.  My dad would be so disappointed with her and my step mom, and how things have turned out.

I don't even know what to say anymore. 

I never thought my aunt would do this. I know my nanny (grandma) doesn't want it that way, but my aunt controls things.

You probably don't know much about my mom, or that side of my family.

But my mom and I have always had problems. I don't want to get into too many details, but she has always been very hurtful, and my grandma, yes my grandma, has spread so many lies about me and my family that it is just despicable.

I don't know why she does that, but the only thing I can think of is that I am different from them. I don't get involved in their issues, and I am kind of the scapegoat of the family.  It is easier to lay the blame for everything everyone else does on me, than to lay it on them, since they all spend so much time together.

It has been very tough, because I don't feel like I have much family, and my in-laws have been more family to me than my own.

I want a good relationship with them all, but I have learned that I can't change them, so until things are changed, I can't be that involved.

Now, my mom and her sister have been calling lately, and have been being very nice. Something is up! HA HA HA

Seriously though, I have heard from them both 2 or 3 times in the last few months, and I never hear from them, so I think they are trying to make things better with family members.

I will say that my aunt has always been here for me, through everything, so we have not had any problems, but I just don't usually hear from her that often either.

My sister said that they read these books about helping with relationships, so I think that is where this is coming from.

I'll take it though! HEE HEE  I just really hope that things can be different with me and my mom. I can't keep going back to the same old stuff. I can't let my kids get hurt the way I did.

SO, I pray that things can be good. I want them to know her.

My son met her for the first time a few months ago, back when my niece got hurt from her horse, and when she told him she was his grandma, he said, "Your not MY grandma!"

Oh, I was hoping he didn't hurt her feelings, but he really thought we were tricking him.

He said, "I already have a grandma."

Anyhow, he didn't believe us, and I think he does now, after more talking, but weirdly, I think it has grown them a weird, special relationship. HA HA

He calls her his "not grandma" and she calls him her "not grandson"

I know, it is weird, but they think it is funny! 

It would be amazing to have a relationship with my mother. I have NEVER had one, and you ALWAYS want one, no matter what has been done.

You know, the way I was raised has made it so hard on me in raising my own family, but I am not going to use that as an excuse to fail. It has made me stronger, and honestly, if my husband and I hadn't went through what we did as kids, we probably wouldn't be homeschooling and raising our kids the way we are now.

I am thankful, in a weird sort of way, for the troubles.

It has made us see what we need to do for our kids.

So, I am very grateful for everything this season, good and bad, because it all brings good fruit in the end.

Thank you to all of my friends who help and support me in all that I do.

And, I am so grateful for my husband. He is truly the best man I know.

He loves me more than I can imagine, and sometimes I don't even know why.

He is a great dad, and very protective and supportive.

Well, I hope you all had a great Christmas, and I will soon be writing of all the things I would like to do this year, so I will talk to you soon!

Love You all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Zipporah Beauty

I have been meaning to tell you all about Zipporah Beauty for a long time, but just haven't had the brain to do it!  J/K.

It has been awfully busy around here though.

The reason I am telling you about Zipporah beauty, is that my wonderful sister-in-law created it!

Yep!  I know we all love home based businesses, and I wanted to share this one with you.

What is Zipporah Beauty?

I will let her own words tell you. This is directly from her website.

"About Zipporah Beauty LLC

Nakeisha James founded Zipporah Beauty in January of 2009. She's a wife & mother of 3 who has a passion for  having a healthy head of hair & soft skin. Her passion started with haircare.

In the past she had  experienced major hair breakage. Her hair was so damaged & unhealthy. So that's when she began doing extensive research & gained a wealth of knowledge on healthy haircare. She began getting her hair back to better health.

She soon began mixing ingredients together to make a few of the products that you see her store today (Green Tea Hair & Body Butter,Cocoa Butter Delight,and Vanilla Mint Moisturizing Hair Serum), it worked great for her hair as well as her family's hair. Soon Zipporah Beauty was born.

She wanted to provide products for women that didn't contain harsh ingredients. So  In June of 2009 she made the decision to go natural. To wear her hair naturally without the use chemicals that would alter/change her hairs naturally texture

She chopped off her relaxed hair. For the first time she began to truly appreciate the beauty & texture of the hair God gave her. So always remember to love the hair God gave you.

So whether your hair is relaxed, texlaxed/texturized, transitioning,or naturally wavy/curly/coily/kinky  Zipporah Beauty will provide you with products that will meet your hair's daily needs. In the future she also plans to have: a product line for baby's,a men's line,soaps,bath salts/soaks,and much more.

Zipporah Beauty's mission is to provide a way for women to achieve  beautiful glowing skin along with a healthy head of hair naturally. My natural/organic products will put a stop to dry skin & hair.

Once you've tried Zipporah Beauty products I'm certain you will agree these are wonderful products. Thank you for stopping by & I hope you find the product that meets your hair's needs.

God Bless,
Nakeisha James"
Zipporah Beauty Gift Set  

As you can see, she is passionate about her hair, and helping it to be as good as it can be, naturally. 

She has ton's of You Tube videos, and a NING website,  to help you along, as well as her product website.  
Please check her out and see if she can help you, or someone you know. 
Thanks a bunch guys. Merry Christmas!

Alphabet Snake!

I have seen some great ideas from others doing the Letter of the Week, caterpillars, trees, etc., and I wanted to do something similar, but that would be more boy friendly.

So, I decided to do an Alphabet Snake! HEE HEE

I wanted to share it with you in case it would be something that your boys would like too!

                                    See, it is a "diamond back" snake! Get it?  HA HA HA!!!

What I did was take several pieces of poster board, and I drew a snake on the darker brown piece.

I used a cookie cutter to trace out the diamonds, and I used a lighter color for these.

I took the lighter and darker browns/golds, and made the desert and rocks.

Of course, I used green for the cacti and lizards! And blue for the sky!

I bought stickers from Hobby Lobby that had gold colored Upper and Lowercase letters.

As he learns each new letter every week, he will put the pair on the next diamond!

I really wanted to make this into something that he was interested in, and I think we succeeded!!!

Let me know if you like this idea.

Another idea I had for girls, would be to use butterflies and post one letter on each wing, one uppercase and the other the lowercase!!!

Have fun creating your own Alphabet................whatever.........

*I am linking up with the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew Weekly blog link up. check it out for other homeschool blogs and ideas.*

Friday, December 17, 2010

TOS Review/ Tiny Planets


Tiny planets is an online adventure set in space, that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

There are 6 different planets that your children can explore.

1. My Tiny Planets: Here is where your planet is located. On your planet you can add plants, different atmospheres, different surfaces, etc, that you purchase from the Terra Mart.

You earn the money by flying around in Central Space and shooting stars and other objects, and by playing games.

Bing and Bong also live in Central Space, and you can visit them on their planet if they are home, but they have never been home when my children have tried to visit, so I am not really sure what you actually do here.

Bing and Bong are the main characters of Tiny Planets. 

A black hole will take you to the neighborhood where your planet is located , and here you can see other cadets planets, if you have added them to your friends list.

You can add friends and talk to each other, but it is through already written prompts, so you do not have to worry about inappropriate things being said to your children. 

In Central Space you can see other cadets flying around, and you can add them to your friends list.

2. Tiny Planets Lab: Here is where Bing's Corner is. This is my children's favorite spot on Tiny Planets.
 This is basically a planet full of arcade type games.

You earn stars, which is your money, by playing these games as well.

3. Tiny Planets Books: Here you will find interactive story books featuring Bing and Bong.

There are only 2 free books here, but you can purchase the others with Keys, which you would have to purchase for your child.

You can purchase keys for:

10 keys for $1.95
25 keys for $3.95
85 keys for $9.95
250 keys for $25.95
600  key for $49.95

You use these keys for purchasing books, videos, and other items at the Terra Mart. Tiny Planets is free of charge, unless you would like to purchase keys for some of the additional items.

Tiny Planets is free of charge, unless you would like to purchase keys for some of the additional items.

It is not nessessary to purchase the keys, but your children may like to have some so that their play may be enhanced.

4. Tiny Planets T.V.: This video series was co-created with Sesame Workshop and emphasizes science education and early learning goals.

There is one free video here, and the others can be purchased with Keys.

Once you purchase an item, you have it forever.

5.Tiny Planets Fun: This is basically more T.V., and another way to Bing's and Bong's corners.

6. Tiny Planets Learning: Here your younger child can learn his letters and numbers, and learn a few new activities. You print these worksheets off for your child.

I let my kids, 13 and 6, try this out for a couple of weeks to really get a full understanding of how it worked before I really sat down to play it!

This way they already knew what to do, and could just show me.

At first, they did not like it at all.

They thought it was really boring, and that there was not much to do.

I told them to keep at it, and really explore every part and see what they could find, and after a while of exploring they found that it really did have a lot more than they had originally thought.

Of the 6 planets, Tiny Planets Labs , was their favorite one. This is the one with the arcade games.

Tiny Planets is geared towards children ages 4-12, but older ones will still enjoy playing the games.

Tiny Planets, in my opinion, didn't really seem to have very many educational games.

It is mostly arcade type games, but if your child likes this type of game, they will enjoy Tiny Planets.

One thing that I found very frustrating though, is that you have to log out each time you want to go to a new planet, and then log back in again. I may be doing something wrong here, and maybe you don't have to do this, but I couldn't find any way to avoid it.

Overall Tiny Planets is a fun and safe site for your children to enjoy playing in outer space for a while, and have fun playing games and interacting with other space cadets.

Check out what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Tiny Planets here. 


*I was asked to review Tiny Planets, and was given items that you usually purchase, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TOS Review/ North Star Games: Wits and Wagers Family

What a great family game!

Wits and Wagers Family is a family friendly version of the original Wits and Wagers game.

We have played this so many times I can't even count.

This is honestly our family's favorite game now!

Let me tell you a little bit about how you play this game.

Up to five individuals, or ten people in pairs, can play at one time.

The box says ages 8 and up, by my 5 year old, just turned 6, loves it just as much as we do.

This game is super easy to play.

First you choose a scorekeeper, and that person will keep track of everyone's scores.

The first player, or team, will choose a question from the card tray and ask the question out loud.

Everyone takes their best guess and writes their answer on their answer boards.

You do not have to know the exact answer. Just make your best guess.

After everyone has written their answers down, everyone lays their answer board on the table, and places them in order from lowest to highest.

There is an answer board that already has a 1 written on it, which is always kept in play.

So, after all of the answer boards are laid out, everyone takes a look at all of the answers, and they will then choose which answer to place their Meeples on.

Here is a picture of some of the Meeples, just so you know what I am talking about when I say Meeples!

Each player or team gets two Meeples, one big and one small.

The big one is worth two points, and the small one is worth one point.

You can choose to place your Meeples on your own answer, someone else's answer, or split them up between two answers.

For example, if you think your answer is correct, you may place both of your Meeples on your answer, and if you win, you would get 4 points. One for guessing the correct answer, and 3 for placing both of your Meeples on the right answer.

If you were to put your big Meeple on your answer, but placed your small Meeple on another answer board, that you though may be correct, and you won, you would get three points, but if the other person won, you would also get one point because you placed your small Meeple on the correct answer.

The person who gets the closest to the actual answer without going over, wins; and the first person, or team, to fifteen points wins.

Here is a little video I made to show you how the game is played. Here are my two kiddos playing Wits and Wagers Family. 
(It's pretty funny! And, please forgive the Strawberry Shortcake music in the background!)

You get everything you need to play this game right in the box, even the dry erase markers!

The questions are fun too! Here are two questions from the game.

1. In feet, what is the farthest a Kangaroo can jump?

2. On average, how many hours per day does a wild sloth sleep?

A lot of these questions are pretty educational as well.

Wits and Wagers really is tons of fun, and I highly encourage you to check it out for yourself.

It would make an excellent Christmas gift for the whole family.

You can find Wits and Wagers Family at North Star Games for $19.99, or you can check your local retailers.

Have fun playing!

Check out what my fellow Crew members thought of Wits and Wagers Family.


*I have received Wits and Wagers, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Monday, December 13, 2010

It would be too tiring to go to school...and the other reasons my kids think we homeschool

This weeks blog criuse is a great one. it is kids answer week. 

So, I am going to ask my kids the given questions and let them respond in their own words. 

Here goes:

1. Why does your family homeschool?

Daughter(13): Because the influences at school, the school environment, we can learn more at home than we could at school, the schools teach evolution and stuff that's not right, and they do not teach Christian morals, and the Bible tells parents to teach their children.

Son(6): Because they don't want us to go away for a really long time, because they love us, because they don't want to have to drive us there and back and there and back, and it is really tiring.

2. What is your favorite part of homeschooling?

Daughter (13): you don't have to wake up early in the morning, and you can do school in you pj's, you get to use whatever curriculum you want and you are not rushed.

Son(6): You can learn what you want to, I get to be with mamma, and you teach me, and i don't have to get dressed.  

3. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Daughter(13): A mom, an author, and a vet to my own animals on my farm and maybe a small town vet where I can still be home with my kids. A horse a dog breeder.

Son(6): Like dad and working

OK, so you can see the differences in a 13 year old and a 6 year old, can't you?

My son's answers are so funny! 

This was a good question. I can't wait to read everyone elses.

TOS Review/ Aleks Math

Aleks Logo

What is Aleks?

In a nutshell, Aleks is an online math program, that is completely customizable to your individual child.

I know there are many online math programs out there, and they may not seem all that exciting, but let me ask you to please stick with me here, as this program is truly worth trying.

I was given an opportunity to try Aleks, free, for 1 month.

At first, I wasn't extremely excited to try an online math program.

You know how it goes, you already have a math program, and you don't want your children to get confused, or off track.

At least that is what I was thinking.

Boy, was I wrong! This has turned out to be a wonderful blessing to us.

Let's put it this way, my daughter is halfway through a program that is one year ahead of the math that we were doing, and she has only been using it for four weeks!

OK, now that you are still sticking with me here, let me tell you a little more about the actual program.

You, as the parent, will set up the accounts, and you will pick the level that you think your child is at.

There is a list of levels with descriptions of each program, so you can easily choose what fits your child best.

Programs begin at grade 3 and extend to Higher Education. 

After you choose the level you think fits your child, your child will log in and the first thing they will do is take an assessment test.

This is amazing because it will be able to tell you exactly what your child already knows, and what he/she doesn't know.

Student Assessment
"Assessment: Students begin in ALEKS by taking an individualized, adaptive assessment to determine what they already know and what they are ready to learn next. "

This program is completely custom to your child.They do not have to repeat the things they already know, like you would with a typical math program.

After they complete the assessment, their pie chart will be filled in with what they already know. (So encouraging for a child to see.)

If your child scores less than 20%, they will be recommended to go down a level, or if they score more than 80%, they will be recommended to move up a level.

After your child is set up where they need to be, they will be able to take a look at their pie chart.

Student MyPie 
"MyPie: The ALEKS Pie summarizes a student's current knowledge and offers topics that the student is ready to learn next. The darkened portion of each pie slice represents the topics that the student has mastered and the lighter portion represents what the student has yet to learn."

The pie chart is awesome because the child can easily see how far they are progressing, and it keeps them motivated. 

It also makes it more fun than a typical textbook, because they can pick and choose the categories they want to work in. 

For example, your child could pick Geometry, and work on it for a while, and then they may want to take a break from that, and pick some Algebra to work on for a while. 

Or, they could do one topic, then another; they can do it however they want. 

The only exception is that they can only go so far in one area, because some topics require a prior knowledge of another type of math first. So, if they get to a point in one area that they need to have prior knowledge of another area first, it won't let them do any more in that particular pie slice until they go back and learn the math needed for that topic.

Here are some examples of how your child's work will look like online.

Student Graphing Tool  
"Input Tools: ALEKS provides a free response environment and sophisticated input tools that avoid multiple-choice and require students to demonstrate content mastery."

Student Problem Two
"Learning Mode: The Learning Mode provides students with practice problems, and offers explanations of topics and procedures as needed. Once a student has demonstrated mastery in the Learning Mode, the topic is added to the ALEKS Pie, and new material that the student is now ready to learn becomes available."

Student Explanations
"Explanations: When a student is working on a particular problem, she can access an explanation of that problem by clicking on the "Explain" button. The explanation typically provides a step-by-step solution, with commentary. In some cases, an alternative or more detailed explanation is also available."

I have had no problems being able to help my daughter with this program.

The explanations are wonderful and easy to understand.

If your child does get an answer wrong the program lets them know that it was incorrect.

Your child can then click the explanation button, and the program will show them what they did wrong, and how to do the problem correctly. 

Student Feedback  
"Feedback: Students receive immediate feedback and, in some cases, suggestions for correcting mistakes."

Another great feature that I truly love is the fact that I can go in and assign an assessment or a quiz.

If you want to give your child another assessment to see where they are, or to see if they are retaining what they have learned, all you need to do is go into your parent account, and you can easily set up an assessment, and the next time your child logs in it will be ready for them.

It is pretty much the same for a quiz. With a quiz however, you can either have the program assign a random quiz of topics they have already learned , or you can pick specific problem types to quiz them on. 

This is one of my favorite features.

Master Homepage  
Easily manage all student accounts, monitor student progress, view customized resources, and more."

Something else that I love, but did not learn until very recently was the fact that I could also set up printable worksheets!

"Worksheets: Students have the ability to print out 16-question worksheets for additional practice or review. These worksheets are uniquely generated based on the student's current knowledge."

This is great for when you or your child would like a break from computer work, or when you know you are going to be away from a computer for a while, but you would still like them to do their math.

As if what I told you wasn't enough already, there is another feature that is pretty cool, and it is included with all of your levels.  It is called Quick Tables.

Quick Tables is a fun and easy way for your children to practice their math facts.

From addition and subtraction to multiplication and division, your child will have a blast practicing their math facts.

Student Problem Two
 "ALEKS QuickTables: QuickTables is a research-based, math fact mastery program for multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction."

Student QuickTables Games
 "Interactive Games: Provide additional review and built-in rewards."

There is even more to this program that you as the parent have access to, such as progress reports, attendance reports, detailed quiz results, and more.

I really think that the only way for you to fully understand how this program works and whether it is a good fit for your family is to try it out for yourselves.

Normally, you would get a free 48 hour trial, but Aleks has authorized us to offer you, our fellow homeschoolers, a free 1 month trial!

Homeschool Banner

I really think you will love this program as much as we do.

A subscription to ALEKS is
  • $19.95 per student, per month, or

  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or

  • only $179.95 every 12 months.
Learn about their family discount program here. 

 I highly recommend this program. It is the best we have ever tried, and we have tried a lot!

When you have a child that has always struggled in math, but after using this math program, asks to do their math, you will see that it is totally worth the investment.

Something else I want to let you know about the pricing is that you are not restricted to one level only.

Let's say that you purchase a 6 month subscription, and you start out in Middle School math 2, which is around grade 7.  And let's say that your child flies through this math program in 2-3 months, you can move them up to the next level without having to purchase a new subscription.

You can do as many levels as you can, or would like to, during the length of your subscription.

Something I would suggest if the price may be a little out of your reach is to only purchase a 6 month subscription.

You probably don't do math 12 months of the year anyhow, and I think if you were to focus on math for 6 months, and then possibly keep up with some paper review the rest of the year, it would work out great, and save you money, but still allow you to use this program.

And remember, you can generate worksheets, so you could use those for the other few months of the year as well.

Well, I hope I have given you enough information without going totally overboard, but I know how hard it is to make a decision on a math program, and it is hard to tell sometimes just from a website whether or not it would be a good fit for you.

I want you to have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.

AND, if you would like to see what other members of the TOS Crew thought of Aleks, please go here, and check it out!

*Thanks for sticking with me!*


*I have received a one month free trial to Aleks, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Friday, December 10, 2010

TOS Review/ Apologia - Good Morning God


Good Morning God 

Good Morning, God is such a sweet book that really draws your child into learning more about how to praise our wonderful Lord. 

This book is designed for children ages 1-8, but if you have older children, I bet they would love listening in as well. 

This book is set up in such a way that it is divided into 7 days, but is still one whole book. 

You can read this book in one sitting, or read a little each day. 

Each day starts off with "Good Morning God, Today is....", and ends with, "At bedtime, I pray to God, I say.....", and has a wonderful little prayer that your child can use to learn how to pray. 

At the end of the book there are 8 questions that correlate to a specific day. 

So, if you wanted to you could either do all of the questions in one day, or you could break it up by reading fewer questions per day.

I would suggest making this a 1 month mini-study by reading one day and 2 questions, and doing this for 4 weeks. 

That way your child will really get the meaning of this book, and will not easily forget it. 

You can read a sample chapter and see for yourself how beautiful the pictures in this book really are.  I suggest you check this out, as you will gain a better understanding of how this book is put together. 

This simple book, written especially for your younger children, is perfect for showing your child how they can praise God, and learn from Him throughout all of the day. 

There is also a Good Morning, God coloring book that you can get to go along with the book. 

You can purchase this lovely hardcover book for $14.00 through Apologia Press, and if you would like to, you can also purchase the corresponding coloring book for $4.00. 

    Teaching our children Gods word, and how to praise Him is of the utmost importance, and this book really helps you do that.  (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

I hope your family enjoys this book as much as ours did, and I think it would make a great Christmas gift for your little one this year. 

Enjoy! And if you would like to see what the other members of the TOS Crew thought of this book, you can check that out here.


*I have received a copy of this book, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pictures of the Lost Cat.

You may be wondering why I am posting this here.
I have been trying to post pics on my homeschool group because the cat may belong to someone, but for some reason, the pics are not showing up.
So, I am putting it here for a short time.

OK, here are the pics of this cat!!! LOL

Fit Mommy Friday

Alright, so, Um, Yeah, I am the same. Pathetic, I know.
BUT, let me tell you something good.
I am realizing why I am not working out and eating better, and for me, it is all about being organized.
I have been working on that, and I know that I will get it.
I have to work it in,a nd I have to have everything ready, especially food wise.
So, I have been doing better on some things, but I am def. working on getting things more organized at home, so that I can add these things in easily.
So, while I have not done well so far, I am not giving up, and I am fixing the things that are in my way.
I have been super busy, and I really think that after the holidays it will be much easier for me, so I hope we will have another challenge for the new year as well.
OK, well, I hope you all did great!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Chicken Stock/Broth in the Pressure Cooker

Making stock or broth in the pressure cooker is super easy!
This is chicken stock that I made, and all I did was take the leftover bones from my whole chicken that I made for dinner, and threw it in the pressure cooker.
I added to that some celery, carrots, garlic cloves, onions, and some of the littler pieces of chicken.
I added some spices, but can’t remember exactly what they were. Probably something like, sage, parsley, oh, and some salt, pepper and sugar.
Add enough cold water to cover the bones, and turn the pressure cooker on.
I cooked mine for an hour, but I realized that the instructions said 30 min. I misread something else and thought it said an hour.
Either way, it turned out great.
I then poured it in a big bowl and put in in the fridge to cool overnight.
Now, it wouldn’t have to stay in there overnight, but it was late when I did this.
The next morning, I put it into freezer bags. This made one 4 cup bag, and two 2 cup bags.
I froze them, and I used the 4 cup bag a couple of days later to make chicken noodle soup with the rest of the leftover chicken.
Another thing you can do if you make chicken noodle soup soon after you make your stock, is to use the veggies left over from the stock in your soup.
That way nothing goes to waste!
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can still do the exact same thing, you would just have to cook it on the stovetop for at least 4 hours.
The pressure cooker just saves so much time.
Have fun making your stock!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Food Processors

You don’t have to have a food processor, but they sure do make short work of all the prep that you have to do.
I have only had this, mmm, not even 2 weeks yet, but, I am loving it.
(I have this one, but not the Classic Red shown, I have the Gloss Cinnamon)
I have shredded up block cheese, which is cheaper and does not have a wax coating like pre-shredded cheeses does, sliced mushrooms, processed onions and celery so fine that my husband doesn’t notice them in his food, (he is fine with this by the way, as long as he can’t “crunch” them), made bread crumbs, sliced tomatoes, and sliced apples for an apple crisp.
It makes everything uniform and is so fast.
Although I haven’t done it yet, you can make pie crusts and dough in this too!
This particular model came with, a 12 cup bowl, a 10 cup bowl, a 4 cup mini bowl with a mini blade, 2 slicing discs, one shredding disc, a dough blade, an egg whip, and a citrus press.
As you know, I have just recently started cooking, but when my husband noticed that I was actually committed to doing this, he has bought me a few quality items to help me out.
All I am really wanting now is a good dutch oven and a bigger mixer.
I have found a dutch oven at Sam’s for $39.99, which is a fabulous deal for a cast iron one.
If any of you have the Classic Kitchenaid mixer,(the smallest one) and really cook a lot, you will know why I am needing the bigger one.
I was so surprised at how inadequate it really is for quantity cooking.
I didn’t use it a lot before, so I never noticed, but as I tried making breads and heavy doughs in it, I started to see a problem.
It won’t even incorporate chocolate chips into a heavy dough well.
Forget trying to mash more than 4 or 5 potatoes at a time, or make multiple loaves of bread.
I am not downing it, because it is a perfect machine for the smaller jobs.
It has worked perfectly for me for making cake or pancake batter, things like that, but I found out real fast that if you want to really cook, you need the bigger one.
Then I just the other day came across an article in Cooks Illustrated, my favorite cooking magazine, that said the the mixer I have rated poorly and is not recommended.
The reasoning behind it was the same problems I had.
So, if you are in the market for a mixer, I would highly suggest going ahead and getting the bigger one.
It will save you from having to buy two mixers.
(Unless you want to buy mine! HA)
I have a lot to learn and don’t like having to purchase tings twice, but to do what I am trying to do, I need the bigger one.
I am going to sell mine to help pay for the new one.
It is a $240 mixer, but I probably won’t be able to get more than $100 for it, I am guessing.
I think my sister is going to buy it, as she wants a mixer but does not cook a lot and it would work perfectly for her as it did me.
So, that is my next purchase, and I am keeping my eye out, as I never pay retail! lol
Right now QVC has the Profession 600 6 Qt. one for $387, which is the cheapest I have found.
I am waiting for it to go on another sale, or at least free shipping.
I am hoping closer to Christmas it will be an even better deal.
Let me know if you find this any cheaper!
I actually buy a lot from HSN or QVC, as they usually have the best prices around, unless Sam’s has the same item.
Sam’s carries a lot of Wolfgang Puck items, and they are usually cheaper there than on TV, but other than that, I have not really found any better deals.
If you have any places that you buy cheaper from, please let me know.
Ok, anyhow, I am loving my food processor, and it really aids you in doing all those professional looking dishes, and really cuts down on the prep time.
If I sound like an advertisement for the any of these products or places, I am not, I just love them, and want to share.
I will let you know if I am reviewing something or getting anything from a company.
I just love these new “toys” that I have gotten!!!
What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fresh From the Freezer Cooking Class

Use Your Freezer to Save $$

I just found out about this free freezer cooking class and thought I would pass it along.
her name is Shelly, and she has been teaching cooking online for 4 years, and was going to charge $42 for this class, but decided to give it away as a freebie!
How nice!
All you have to do is sign up here.
Now, I have never taken any of her classes, but I was sent this info from Malia Russel over at Homemaking 911, and I love her, so I am sure it will be good! lol
I will definitely be taking this class.
Let me know if you are too!
Oh, and the first handful of lessons are already up, so you can get started right away!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pressure Cooking!

My husband bought me this Wolfgang Puck pressure Cooker a few weeks ago, and I am loving it!
This is what I made my mashed potatoes in yesterday. You don’t have to cut the potatoes up and them boil them in water.
All you have to do is wash them, and plop them in the pressure cooker, add a couple cups of water, and push a button.
When they are done, they can be mashed even with the tongs you use to take them out of the pressure cooker.
Yes, they are that tender.
Th pressure cooker really takes a lot of prep out of your cooking, and saves so much time.
It will even cook beans in 20 minutes, and you don’t have to soak them overnight! Yeah!
It is also a steamer and a rice cooker too, so there is no need for more than one appliance to do the same job.
I have cooked corn on the cob in it, potatoes, fish, and stock.
I will start a pressure cooking recipes section for anyone who is interested in pressure cooking.
I am not familiar with any other brands of pressure cookers, so I do not know how they compare, but I love this one.
I got it from HSN.
I believe it is sold out right now, but it will come back.
I highly recommend getting a pressure cooker.
I am not geting anything at all for talking about this, by the way, I just love my pressure cooker!
You can cook a whole chicken in 20 min.! It’s crazy! I haven’t done that yet, but that’s what the book says.
I have cooked Tilapia, and it turns our perfect.
I will soon put all of these recipes up for you!
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Look what I did!

Yes! “I” did that! And it is all from scratch! Can you believe it?
I made homemade mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, homemade macaroni, and homemade gravy along with the chicken.
This is the first time I have ever made stuffing or gravy!
My husband only likes the Stove Top stuffing, but it has MSG in it and I can’t eat it, so I tried to find a recipe that would taste like it and I did!
He loved it! I loved it too! And I found a recipe that told me how to make the gravy from the chicken drippings too!
This is the second time I made the macaroni. It is so good. it tastes like Furr’s!
And the chicken was actually moist this time. I found a recipe from Cooks magazine that told me how to keep it moist.
I cooked the potatoes in my pressure cooker.
My husband bought me a pressure cooker a few weeks ago and I have been loving it. It works so well, and really cuts down on the prep and cooking time.
I am proud of myself. It was all actually really good.
I’ll keep you updated on all of the new things I learn to cook, and I’ll get you some of these recipes soon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What is Homesteading?

Every person might have a different idea of what homesteading means to them, but basically it is about getting back to the basics.
Things like making what you can yourself, growing what you can yourself, being self reliant, buying in bulk or on sale, and preserving it by freezing or canning, saving money, reducing expenses, re-using what you can, and possibly even having your own chickens, goats, or cows.
Each person will do this differently, and if you live in the city, it will be different for you than it would someone in the country.
I am still in the country, but I am learning now as we are going to move soon.
It’s almost like I have been doing my own unit study!
I have learned a lot so far, and have a lot more to learn, but I am loving it.
How do you homestead where you live?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Join Cindy Rushton Tomorrow - I'll Be There!

Join Me to Gear Up to Reach for Your Dreams!

Hey Sweet Friends!

Ready for a treat? Well, how about a Talk-a-Latte Re-TREAT? Yes! This one is going to be an awesome treat that you will not want to miss!

On November 22, 2010 we have an afternoon Talk-a-Latte Retreat that is a MUST!

Have your dreams been collecting dust?
Or, did you just think, "WHAT DREAMS" just then?
Are you sick and tired of going year-after-year-after -year as though you are on a treadmill--doing but not getting anywhere?
Do you pull back to plan each year, but find those plans taunting you instead of helping you reach for your goals and dreams?
Need help turning your goals into "to-do's" that GET DONE?
Sick of getting everything ready to go but getting derailed by obstacles, interruptions, chaos, and crisis situations?
At a turning point and need a friend to help you step out?
Ready to gear up and reach for your dreams?

Well, this is DEFINITELY the retreat for you!

Join Cindy Rushton as she teaches an afternoon workshop on the topic, Gearing Up to Reach for Your Dreams in 2011. It is a jam-packed, practical, and doable session that covers the following topics:

Dare to Dream!
Find YOUR Purpose, Live YOUR Purpose!
Set Goals that Get You Set!
From Brain Dumping to To-Do's to DONE!
Get Unstuck, Get Moving, and Get it DONE!
Clean Out, Revamp, Restructure
Press Toward the Mark!

We are going to join together for a fun afternoon of learning. Then, typical of Cindy Rushton, the audio from this event will be edited and made available to all who grab the set. Best of all, the set will be archived in a private, members-only membership site where Cindy will have even MORE goodies to help you kick off the new year with a bang! This is one retreat that you will not want to miss!

Quick Details:
TOPIC: Gearing Up to Reach for Your Dreams in 2011 with Cindy Rushton
DATE: Monday, November 22, 2010
WHERE: In Our Members-Only Chat Room--Yes! You must register to be able to join us live or receive the set from this retreat.

Want to join us and pre-order this set today? It is easy!

See ya there!

With Much Love,

Rushton Family Ministries, 1225 Christy Lane, Tuscumbia, AL 35674, USA

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Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday !