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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Where O' Where?

I know!  Where O' Where have we been?  January has been such a crazy month.  The biggest, worstest problem of all:  Our Internet.  We thought we were being so clever.  Switching to At&T Uverse would save us money AND give us FaStEr Internet...but...  nothing is every easy here in our house.  We went nearly 3 weeks with only sporadic internet access.  When we did have internet I was blasting through TOS reviews & book reviews and other essentials as quickly as a I could before my internet had a chance to crash again!  We went several days with temporary phone lines strung through our front yard but now we are finally -fingers crossed- back online!  I think.

So, what have we been up to?  I'm excited to share a whole lot of "not much" with you...

First, Kayley drove her remote control car through her hair.  It got a little tangles, so smart girl that she is...she threw it in reverse and tried to drive it back out of her hair...  Well...  

After much patient detangling... daddy finally saved the day and got the wheels free of Kayley's hair.


It has been so warm that we have had several days of playing outside....in the mud.

We have also had fun dressing up the kitty.  
Doesn't Banjo look like he is having fun??
  

 We started our countdown to our DisneyWorld Vacation!!  
(Of course...we only have 5 days left now...)

Maggie has found it very intriguing to run around with something over her head.  She is CRAZY.  But, amazingly she hasn't beaned herself on anything yet...

 It's been so dry...Kayley's hair is incredibly static-y, especially in her micro-fiber car seat!

We put safety locks on the drawers...  Maggie was NOT impressed.
Maggie has fun cooking.  
She is always stirring something in a pot or pan 
and bringing us samples to try....

Anyway.  We've done a LOT of staying home, schoolwork, housework and just trying to stay healthy.  The flu has been running rampant through the public schools and through the church.  We've been laying low (don't want to take that flu-bug with us to Orlando!).  I hope to be blogging more regularly again now that we have our internet back! 


I have some great things coming up this week!
Book Reviews:  101 Bible Adventures, Jillian Hart's Hometown Hero's, and Edenbrook from Deseret Book. 

TOS Reviews we are working on: Apologia "Who Am I?", BeeYoutiful Natural Products, Reading Eggs and K5 online learning.

I also can't wait to share with you that I made my own laundry soap and my own dishwasher detergent!  Pics and recipe to follow!

I plan to follow up on my 2012 goals as well...

If things go according to plan we will also be taking Maggie's 2 year old pics this week.

And then - Disneyworld!  Here WE COME!!!


Kinderbach - TOS Review

As a child, I played violin in elementary school.  It was a lot of fun and I really believe that learning how to read music at a young age has helped me in many different areas of my life as an adult.  I have always wanted to learn how to play piano (but never got the chance)...and it was really exciting when we were given the opportunity to review Kinderbach, online piano lessons, through the TOS crew!

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What is Kinderbach?
Kinderbach is an online piano teacher!  Recommended for children ages 3-7, Kinderbach uses colorful characters and catchy songs with fun lyrics to introduce your child to rhythm, reading music, keyboard geography, singing and simple tunes!

With Kinderbach, you log into the program, and pick the lessons for that day.   Lessons are set up by weeks, with 4 lessons per week.  They are pretty short 3-5 minutes each. You see what materials you will need (crayons, scissors, rhythm instrument, etc.) and what worksheet page (if any).  Each lesson is short and simple, yet totally effective!  The online teacher, Karri, is funny and animated.   Kayley is always singing the songs about Dodi and Frisco, her favorite characters!   I'm impressed at how well she has learned to clap along to a tune with great rhythm!  When the lesson is over, she is anxious to move on to the next - and often will until I tell her it is time to get off the computer.  To learn more about Kinderbach at Home, click HERE for an informative video.
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To go along with the lessons you will receive a downloadable book with corresponding worksheets.    See a sample worksheet page below.  You will print out the pages that you need to go with your lessons.  Kinderbach is so simple that I can walk away and my 5 year old can handle it without me.  To view more sample pages, download for free a look HERE
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Each key on the keyboard has a "piano pal"  The first one that you meet is Dodi the donkey and his pal Frisco!  Kayley was excited to point out Dodi's house on our piano at church.


To see the video about Dodi's House, watch this short YouTube video!


Kayley has had such a good time using Kinderbach.  We have had NO complaints. 

What we like about Kinderbach:
-My daughter really wanted to learn more about music, she has responded well to this program!
-She can work it independently (she does require some help logging in and getting set up)
-She has learned a lot about rhythm and keyboard geography
-You can move as fast or slow, or repeat levels, as many times as you need
-It is inexpensive (cheaper than a piano teacher!)
-2 words.  Head Phones.  Loving the keyboard with headphones!

  
How much is it?
Kinderbach piano lessons online start as low as $7.99 per month.  Kinderbach DVD & CD packages start at $40.45 (plus S&H).
You can purchase Kinderbach HERE.

Kinderbach's material comes with a 30 day Money Back Guarantee!

There is a coupon code right now for 40% off, only good through the end of January.  Check it out HERE.

Not sure what you want to do?  You can download a free online trial HERE.

For a full list of curriculum by levels, check out this link HERE!

Visit Kinderbach's FAQ pages HERE.

Kinderbach has been fun for us!  If you are looking for a music program, I hope you will give it a try!

To find out what my fellow crew mates thought of Kinderbach, click HERE.
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Disclaimer:  I received Kinderbach at Home in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Year With Jesus - Book Review


Author R.P. Nettelhorst tells us, "The greatest person who ever lived wants to spend time with you."  Using his book, A Year With Jesus, we can enjoy a daily reading and reflection, right from the words of Jesus.  Written so that you can start ANY time, (Day One, Day Two, etc) each chapter gives you a Bible excerpt for reflection and general thoughts that make the passage personal to you.  Short excerpts that are easy to read, and personal accounts from the story of the Saviors life add life to this book.  This devotional is set up so that you can make it a personal daily walk with Jesus.  Great for individuals who are short on time or for those that want to use it as a starting point for deeper study and reflection.   I will be using this book throughout the whole year!


I review for BookSneeze®


 I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  Want to learn how you can blog for books too?  Check out www.Booksneeze.com!  




Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."

One Month To Live - book review


What if you found out that you only had one month to live?  Would you do things differently?  If you had known that your time was limited, would you have lived life to the fullest?  Made amends?  Hugged more?  Taken that last vacation?  Forgiven someone?  In the book, One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-regrets Life, Kerry & Chris Shook helps the reader look beyond what they call the "someday syndrome" and start enjoying life today.  By taking the 30-Day Challenge the reader can learn the how to make the most of their time on earth, live a no-regrets life and answer the longings of the heart by following 4 simple principles.  Live passionately, love completely, learn humbly and leave boldly.  Each day/chapter offers inspiring quotes,  questions for personal reflection, a "make it count moment", how to connect with others and several "to-do" recommendations to help you "make it last for life".   This book can help you change your priorities and rearrange your life in such a way that you can discover the purpose of your life that God created for you!  This would be great as a group study or personal reflection.  To learn more you can also visit the website www.OneMonthToLive.com.   


Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

We Choose Virtues - TOS Review

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I am always looking for the best way to train up my children.  It seems that character training is always at the very top of my mind.  I worry about my children growing up to be solid, strong and ethically & morally straight.  I have used several programs in the past that focus on character qualities, many with mixed results, some with pretty good results but I wanted something simple.  I wanted something colorful.  I wanted something very kid-friendly.  BUT.  Most of all, I wanted something that WORKED and worked really well.   I had my eye on this product called We Choose Virtues for about six months now...  I am so grateful that through the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew and We Choose Virtues, we were able to review this product!


What is We Choose Virtues?
"We Choose Virtues was created by Heather McMillan...out of her love for children and her desire to see them reach their personal potential.  As a preschool teacher and a children’s pastor, it concerned her how often she came across children whose lack of self control, honesty and perseverance was almost debilitating. How could they succeed in life without the skills that come from good character?"...read more.    It was because of this gap in character education that Heather decided to create the loveable & colorful characters, their corresponding virtue and the memorizable catch-phrases!


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How Does it Work?
We Choose Virtues (WCV) is a character development tool that you use daily.  After introducing the first virtue and demonstrating them (and yes, you can start anywhere!) help your children memorize the cute catchphrases, learn the antonyms, and then watch for opportunities to see the virtue (or it's opposite) in action!  Teachable moments abound!





How do I use it?
PhotobucketWCV is so simple to implement!  We were offered an opportunity to review the Family Character Assessment, Teacher Handbook, Coloring Book and Virtue Clue's Cards.  We took the Family Character Assessment and decided to started learning Obedience with Oboe Joe!  The Teachers Handbook gives several ideas on the best ways to introduce the virtue and catch-phrases.  Kayley colored the Oboe-Joe coloring sheet.  We worked on that virtue for 2 weeks until we memorized the catch-phrase.  We have since kept Oboe-Joe on display...and moved on to our next character quality!  We plan to continuously repeat the character qualities indefinitely.  They are so cute!Photobucket


How much does it cost?

The Virtue Clue's Cards are $5.99, The Teacher's Handbook is available as download for $4.99 and hard copy for $19.99, Coloring book (download) is $3.00 and the Family Character Assessment is free!

To browse through all of WCV's products, click HERE.

What we LOVED about WCV!
-Catch phrases are fun and easy to memorize!
-Finding teachable moments is so easy and all I have to do is gently remind my daughter by saying the first few words of the catch-phrase!  She finishes reciting it...and stops the behavior!


Here is the best part!  Right now We Choose Virtues is offering a variety of coupons codes!  You can only use one at a time, but they are a great deal!  Use any of these codes in your shopping cart to start saving:

VIRTUE15     for 15 % off everything in your shopping cart 
FAMILY     for $3.00 off the Kids Virtue Poster
SHIPFREE     for free worldwide shipping



There is also a great special running right now:  Through the end of February The 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers will be included FREE with any Homeschool Kit  purchase!

Visit We Choose Virtues on Facebook!  



To see what my crewmates thought of We Choose Virtues, click HERE.


Disclaimer:  I received We Choose Virtues in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Maestro Classics Swan Lake - TOS Review

Ok, I admit it.  I have NEVER liked Classical Music.  My hubby gets out classical music and I immediately cringe.  I don't know why.  Maybe it always made me think "elevator music."  Sometimes I thought classical music was so intense it made me feel a little stressed out.  Ok, yes, it's true,  I have honestly never really listened to much classical music - I think I just always assumed I wouldn't like it.  I certainly didn't listen to enough classical music to realize that it actually told a story!  Did you?  (Ok, you probably did...sorry!)  What a fun review we received through TOS from Maestro Classics! We got to listen to The Story of Swan Lake!



First, What is Maestro Classics?  Maestro Classics produces a classical music CD/MP3 series that is entertaining and educational.  Recommended for children ages 5 to 12, these CDs are honestly wonderful for all ages.  I promise, I am over 30 and I really, really learned a lot!  (And my 2 year old loved dancing to the music).  Winners of over 45 national awards, Maestro Classics are produced by Stephen & Bonnie Simon whose mission is:  To cultivate a love of music through education and joyful performances.   They put their heart and soul into Maestro Classics -- and it shows!

About Swan Lake: 
From Maestro Classics, "The Story of Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s greatest ballet score, is the tale of a prince who falls in love with a beautiful princess. The princess, however, has been turned into a swan by an evil magician, and only the prince’s love can break the spell. This narrated version of the classic tale for children is sure to delight all who love ballet and enchanting storytelling."

This CD includes a 24-page activity book which contains a biography of Tchaikovsky, interesting  information and details about guitars, sheet music and words for a sing-along song, explanation of major and minor keys, puzzles and more.  When you buy the MP3 you will receive a PDF of the activity book. 


What we loved about Maestro Classics:
-Narration told the story!  It was like watching a movie...Amazing!
-Educational links found on the Maestro website can be used to enhance the entire audio experience.  -Check out these homeschool curriculum guides to enhance your study of Maestro Classics!
-Join the Kids Club for even more fun!
-What doesn't a little girl LOVE about ballet?  Kayley wanted to hear it over and over again so she could dance and dance and dance.


 How to purchase your own Maestro Classics experience:

There are so many Maestro Classics to choose from!  I will be adding to my collection!  To purchase Swan Lake or any other Maestro Classics, click HERE.    CD's are $16.98 and MP3 downloads are $9.98. 

To see what my fellow crewmates thought of Maestro Classics The Story of Swan Lake, click HERE.
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Disclaimer: 
I received Maestro Classics The Story of Swan Lake free of charge 
in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Toydle - TOS Review

Several weeks ago I breathed a hint of the fun that we had on the horizon when I shared that Toydle has partnered with TOS to giveaway 3 forts!  (Sorry - the winners were announced a couple of weeks ago...)  We were so fortunate to be blessed with the opportunity to receive and review our very own Toydle Fort!  Thanks so much to Toydle and The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for making our Christmas extra merry!
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So, what is a Toydle Fort?
Robert Brownfield, father of twins and president of Worry-Free Manufacturing in Boise, Idaho knew that good toys were hard to find.  In fact, finding toys that didn't become boring within a week or that fell apart after a couple hours of serious play seemed to be non-existent.  It is after this constant frustration that Toydle was born.

Robert knew that kids needed to use their imagination during play and one of the best ways to do that is to give a child the tools to build a fort!  Made in America, right in Boise ID, and using high quality PVC tubes and hand-crafted wooden blocks, toydle forts are assembled simply - all by kid-power!  Add in your own sheets and blankets, drape and hang them up with the provided clips and voila!  Fort!  Or a castle!  Or a garage!  Or a cave...  Or...well, you get the picture!

Check out how much fun we have been having with our fort!







We are loving the fort!  It has been so much more fun that fort-building with chairs!  :)    Toydle works a lot like really big Tinker Toys...assemble the frame, then use the wooden blocks to connect the corners, drape with your own sheets/blankets and affix with the provided giant clips!  So easy!


What we love about Toydle:
-It is simple to build - even my 5 year old can build much of it without help.
-It is all imagination-powered, there are no limits to what you can build with Toydle!
-It comes in a handy bag for carrying that is plenty room for putting the Toydle pieces in...there is even enough room in the bag for me to put in 3 flat sheets!

Toydle Forts would make a fun-tabulous gift 
for kids anywhere from ages 3-11, or even bigger kids! (like ME!  LOL!)
The Toydle Fort retails for 149.00
The The BIG Toydle Fort retails for 229.99.
To make a purchase, click HERE.

All Toydle Forts come with a money back guarantee!

To see what my fellow crewmates thought of Toydle, click HERE.


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Disclaimer: 
I received a Toydle Fort free of charge in exchange for an honest review.   
All the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Maggie!


Happy Birthday Maggie!  
Welcome, welcome to the terrible terrific two's!



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