Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Thanks to my SIL Jenna for sharing these pictures from their visit.  
Isn't she a great photographer?

Max Lucado: Inspirational Reader review

 New  York Times Best-selling Author Max Lucado brings us hope and encouragement for your everyday life with his new book The Lucado Inspirational Reader.  Filled with scripture, quotes and antecdotes from some of Lucado's best work, this book is a perfect read for those who need a boost in their faith or a re-affirmation of God's love.  Max Lucado is easy to read, his writing speaks to your heart.  This Lucado reader is easy to use, broken down in to topics alphabetically.  Sit down and read it through...or use it as a reference, skipping around to read topically.  This nice hard-cover book would make a lovely gift for somebody this holiday season!  Perfect for all ages!

I review for BookSneeze®

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review, all opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Reading Game


Thanks to the TOS Crew and The Reading Game, learning sight words just got a little easier!  The Reading Game is a fast action card game that works similar to Memory.   The Reading Game was created by "Wordly Wise" author Kenneth Hodkinson and includes teachers cards, 6 game decks and 6 storybooks that work together to increase your child's knowledge of sightwords!   Each set of games and storybook introduces 30 new words.  By the end of the series of games your child will have solid knowledge of 180 words.  Learning sightwords has never been more fun or easy!   This puts a new spin on traditional flashcards!

From the website, "Frequent exposure through play hard-wires these words into long-term transforming rote learning into a fast paced game where there is a winner every few seconds, learning to read becomes fun."

To see a video or read more about how The Reading Game works, click HERE.

 What we liked about The Reading Game:
-Moves fast with a winner every couple of minutes
-Learning sightwords is fun
-The Reading Game is a new spin on "flashcards"
-As the child makes a match, they get to "take the cards" - which is rewarding
-Once your child knows the sight words, they can become a tutor!  (I think Kayley will really get a kick out of this!)
-We have added this as a regular rotation into our Language Arts program

 What we didn't like about The Reading Game:
-With only 2 players, somebody had to sit out a turn during game-night

How to purchase The Reading Game:
The Reading Game retails for $24.95.  You can save 15% on orders of 8 or more!  This would make a great Christmas gift!
To purchase, click HERE.


To find out what my crewmates thought of The Reading Game click HERE.

I received The Reading Game free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rubiks Cube Giveaway!

Hop on over to Faith Family & Fun and enter for your chance to win a Rubiks Cube!  
This would make a great stocking stuffer!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bennett Springs

While my brother was here visiting with his wife Jenna, we took some time to go on this horrendous beautiful hike up to the cave in Bennett Springs State Park.  The trail was something crazy, like 7 miles or so...but, at one point I think we took a wrong turn, so I believe we went a little further than that.  Seriously...I am not in the best of shape, but I headed out anyway.  I started with Maggie on my back.  I managed to carry her for the first 2 or 3 miles...and then I had to pass her off to somebody younger, and in better shape.

Kayley easily walked 5 miles or more...


Papa carried her a bit when she got tired.

Steven carried Maggie for a LONG time after I got tired.  But, seriously, look at him.  He is, what? like, a whole decade (7 years) younger than me...and in much better shape.  

We finally reached the cave...which was, very, very cool.

I was pretty pooped by the time we got there, and we still had to hike back out (the remaining 3ish miles).   Everybody was exhausted and at that point, I think we wondered why we did something this insane in the first place.

3 miles back out... 2+ of which I bravely carried Kayley in the Ergo Baby carrier (YOU need one of these! - they hold up to 40lbs)...  because she was wiped out.
But, by then, I couldn't feel my legs anymore, so it wasn't too bad...

Friday, November 18, 2011

We have NEW carpet!!!!!!

 Many of you may remember that our living room, hall and stairs were covered in this extremely UGLY navy blue/bright pink flower carpet. was one of the things that I did NOT like about this house!!!  In fact, so many cute pictures I took ended up looking so BLAH because of the carpet in the background.  BUT!!!  The carpet is NO MORE!  BYE-bye Carpet!  WHOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!

Kayley was sad to see this carpet go...  But NOT ME!  
Can you still hear me shrieking with delight?!?!?!

A work in progress...

DONE!  Kayley crawled around on it exclaiming "Its soooo soft!!!"

We also replaced the bedroom carpet and the stair carpet...
and I could just weep for joy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time Timer - TOS Review

Thanks to The Old Schoolhouse Crew and Time Timer, my life just got a little bit easier!  Keeping Kayley (and myself) on track, on schedule and on time has always been a challenge.  We have used many traditional timers in the past for things like "time to get out of the bathtub" or "you can play on the computer for 30 minutes."  They have been effective but confusing for Kayley.  It is challenging on a traditional stove timer, microwave timer or egg timer to tell exactly how much time is left?

But!  Check out this cool product from Time Timer

This snazzy countdown-timer (we reviewed the 3") works like a traditional timer with one really cool benefit.  The amount of time in red!  So, as the time winds down, the pre-telling-time child can see exactly how much time is left...  Time Timer might be just what your family needs to help your children be better stewards of their time!

Watch this video to learn more about Time Timer!

How much does it cost?
Time Timer is perfect for ALL ages and comes in three sizes:

The 3" Timer retails for $30.00.

The 8" Timer retails for $35.00.

The 12" Timer retails for $40.00.

Time Timer also sells time-countdown watches, puzzles and an iPad app!

To make a purchase, click HERE.

What we like about Time Timer:
Kayley thinks that this is the best timer since sliced bread.  She wants to use if for everything!

Here are some cool things we have used it for (so far):
-Bathtub timer
-Computer time
-Quiet Time
-Dinner (couldn't find my kitchen timer)
-Game playing
-Time Out!  (aaaahhh!!!  It works SOOOO good for time out!!)

It is small and has a nice protective shield that protects the face of the timer.

The red countdown is easy to read and follow...especially for the young learner.

What we didn't like about Time Timer:
 It doesn't beep loud enough...and it only beeps hopefully you didn't doze off and miss the beep...    :)

To learn more about Time Timer or to make a purchase, click HERE.

To see what my crewmates thought of Time Timer, click HERE.


I received Time Timer free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Grace Effect - Book Review

What does Christianity do for our nation?  Larry Taunton addresses this question in his book, The Grace Effect.  Founder and Executive Direcotor of Fixed Point Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the public defense of the Christian Faith, Larry and his family fell in love with a 10 year old orphaned Ukranian girl and jumped through many hurdles to bring her home.  Sasha spent her whole life in an orphanage in a Godless, immoral and corrupt country.   The book takes you into the heart and history of the USSR, seeing socialism's inner workings in a country that robs the poor to feed the rich.  In a world where orphaned children are considered "stray dogs" and given spoiled/rotten food to eat, no baths, not even toilet paper.  A Godless world that leaves the reader grateful, whether they are Christian or not, that the foundations of America are built on morals and virtue.

Spending several weeks in the Ukraine - wading through waist-deep corruption, this book follows more than the Taunton's journey through international shows how something beautiful can rise out of the ashes of atheism.  A touching read that will leave you humbled.

Find The Grace Effect on Amazon HERE.

To learn more about Larry Taunton and his organization visit:
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Math Mammoth - TOS Review

For me, when I was in school, math was a dreaded subject.  I wasn't very good at it, I didn't like it, and eventually my grades were slipping...slipping...slipping...until my senior year in high school when I was finally shoved into a remedial math class in order to ensure that I actually graduated.  Embarrassing I know!  Looking back I know that my main struggles with math had to do with the fact that I didn't have a strong foundation to build on.  I knew my multiplication tables!  I was good at memorizing!  But, memorizing can not make up for a lack of understanding... so I didn't actually learn math until I had to start over.  In college.

I don't want this for my kids.  I want Math to be challenging, but doable.  I don't want math to be a source of discouragement.  Along comes Math Mammoth!  I have done very little exploring in Math so far, since we are barely in 1st grade...but I was excited for a chance to review this product complements of founder of Math Mammoth, Maria Miller and The Old Schoolhouse Crew


What is Math Mammoth?
Math Mammoth offers affordable, yet quality math worktexts and workbooks for grades 1-8, available as both downloads and printed books. These books concentrate on conceptual understanding and are strong in mental math. The directions in the worktexts are written directly to the student, and are often self-teaching, thus requiring little preparation and involvement from the teacher.

There are so many Math Mammoth choices!  You can purchase complete curriculum or curriculum by topic.   The Blue Series are worktexts by topics for grades 1-7.  Topics include:  addition & subtraction, clocks, measurement, fractions, money, multiplication/division and more.  The Light Blue Series are full curriculum options from grades 1-6.  You can also purchase individual worksheets by grade and topic for grades 3-8. 

Math Mammoth contains explanations geared toward the the worktexts really allow the child to complete the work alone.  Not only can they do the work independently -- they understand it too! 


We had the opportunity to review Money, Measuring and Clock for grades 1-3.

See a sample of Money HERE.
See a sample of Measuring HERE.
See a sample of Clock HERE.

What really worked for us in the curriculum is it is SO hands-on!   It used real-life stuff we had around the house...measuring water, using shoes as a form of measurment, a ruler, pennies & nickels, the clock.   Kayley had fun being up and moving around while doing schoolwork and using a lot of manipulatives really keeps her entertained and engaged!


How much does it cost?
Now here is something awesome about the cost of Math Mammoth.   It is low!  Credit cards/Paypal accepted.  You can purchase either downloads or printed copies.

Math Mammoth Money retails for $3.25 for the download, $9.50 for the black/white printed copy.  You can purchase it HERE.

Math Mammoth Clocks retails for $4.00 for the download, $10.85 for the black/white printed copy.
You can purchase it HERE.

Math Mammoth Meauring retails for $4.50 for the download, $10.90 for the black/white printed copy.  You can purchase it HERE.

We didn't get a chance to review the full curriculum, but I see 1st grade full curriculum is only $34.00 for the download.  I will be looking into the full curriculum sets for next year!

All the curriculum options are affordable!  I wish I could post links to all of them!

Where to start?
There are so many options that it can feel a little overwhelming to figure out where to start.  Here are a few ideas of how to get started.  When you open the website you will get this handy pop-up menu that gives you the option of signing up for a 7-day virtual tour of Math Mammoth.  Offering 300 free worksheets and sample pages plus emails that answer the most commonly asked questions!  You will also be signed up for Maria's Math Newsletter!

You can also check out the page on placement testing to give you a better idea of what level your child would be working at in the blue series. 

You can also read through the FAQ pages HERE.

You can also contact Maria directly using her contact form and she will email you back and address your concerns or questions. 

What we liked about Math Mammoth:
-It is extremely affordable.
-Downloads let me print just what I needed.  I made small packets for Kayley to work through.
-I can reprint pages as needed.
-The customer service was awesome!  I mean, really awesome!
-Little/No Mom prep work needed
-Kayley could do the majority of the work independently!

What we didn't like:
Nothing.  I really, truly, liked it all!  Yay!

To learn more or purchase Math Mammoth products click HERE.

To see what my fellow crewmates thought about Math Mammoth click HERE

I received Math Mammoth free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

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