Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What we've been up to...

Well!  We are still waiting...waiting...waiting on our new house to close.  It looks like 3 more weeks...  But, in the meantime we've been doing just fine.  We have been blessed to stay with some friends who have a 2nd home on their property.  While the young family that lives in this house is traveling we are fortunate enough to house sit once more.  Trust me it is NOT a hardship.  It is beautiful out here...

 The house is small and cozy.  It was once a dairy barn that has been remodeled inside.  Maggie calls it the "barn house" and we all love it and wish we could stay here forever.  ;)  It has been like a vacation!  There is so much to see, do and enjoy out here...  The weather has been perfect.
There is a slide and a swing.  
(Could those skinny little legs be any cuter?  
Bruised shins, mud, bandaids...
the girls have been playing hard and having a blast!)

The girls have had a chance to get up to their elbows in the creek playing with tadpoles.  We've seen all kinds of strange bugs, a snake, lizard and a turtle.
 While we are a little ready for our own space we are not in too much of a hurry.  We are having a nice break from regular life and enjoying a month of fun.  Everything is still going smoothly!  The girls have both had a month off from homeschool but they I know they are learning a ton through play.

The worst part of all this is having very little internet access.  We run "hot spots" on our phones to get online which...will probably cost a small fortune when my hubby finds out how much I've been using it.  LOL. 

We've got some fun things lined up over the next 3 weeks to keep us pretty busy and I'll be back hopefully posting some pictures later of our activities.  I hope your summer is off to a great start!  Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, May 24, 2013

21 Principles: Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit {Deseret Book Review and GIVEAWAY!}

“As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles,” counsels Elder Richard G. Scott. “Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.”
In this exciting book, Elder Scott offers 21 principles distilled from his life experiences. These “concentrated truths” will help you understand more fully how to be guided by the Spirit. Elder Scott's brief explanations open the way for your own discovery and exploration.
“I bear witness that Jesus Christ knows you personally,” Elder Scott writes. “He will provide answers to every difficult problem in your life as you trust Him and do all you can to understand and apply His doctrine and strive to live by the Spirit.” 21 Principles will be a valuable tool in that quest.
As we seek for spiritual knowledge and growth we are searching for principles to guide us alone our way.  Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles calls these principles "concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.  A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and challenging circumstances."  Elder Scott has put forth tremendous effort to gather all of the principles he has learned and provide them for our personal study... He continues, "Principles are anchors of safety...They will help you have confidence in new and unfamiliar circumstances.  They will provide you protection in life's storms of adversity."  We can reach worthy goals and objectives when we stick closely to correct principles and this book can provide a starting point in your personal scripture study!  There are, obviously, 21 Principles of study each with scriptural truth, historical background, personal stories, and how to follow this principle in todays world.  One of the best parts?  Each chapter ends with a real awesome "you can do this" pep talk!  Not to be missed:  The Conclusion.  It is Elder Scott's testimony - don't skip this part!  It is humbling and motivating.

I enjoyed Elder Scott's book immensely and I think you will too!  Read it as a novel...or read it as a topical scripture study.  This book is a valuable source of spiritual learning.  21 Principles currently retails as a hardback at Deseret Book for $15.29 and as a Bookshelf eBook for $9.99.  You can also get the combo for $20.28.

Don't forget you can download the Bookshelf App completely free (and get several free eBooks to get you started!)

I had the thought that this might make an excellent Father's Day Gift!  Just saying...  ;)

Now!  Thanks to Deseret Book, I get an opportunity to giveaway a 2nd copy to a lucky reader!  To enter, leave a comment below.  Don't forget to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win!  Good luck!  Entries close at midnight, May 31st.  I will draw the winners name using

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Home School Grades {Mosaic Review}

I haven't had plans to track grades for Kayley anytime soon so when we were given the opportunity to review a program through Mosaic Reviews called My Home School Grades my first thoughts were, "I'll never use this..."  I was pleasantly surprised when logging into this program I discovered that it is so much more than grade tracking!  My Home School Grades is a new program founded in 2012 by homeschool dad John Echols and homeschool grad Jordan Shute.  My Home School Grades provides the user a much needed place to gather all the information for your families homeschool in one easy-to-use database.  Not only does it track grades, it tracks classes, lessons, labs, units, activities and creates a report card/transcript!

Let me tell you all about My Home School Grades:

After logging in to the program you have an option to Add Students.  I added both Maggie and Kayley....

Clicking on your student pulls up their info where you can add classes or activities.

Adding a class is simple.  Here I input summer school classes for Kayley.  I haven't really figured out how to assign "credits" but since we are in 2nd grade I didn't feel that was essential right now.  This will be much more important for High School age students.  You have the option to input grades by clicking on the single grade tab...

or lesson plans by clicking on the lesson plans tab...

Once you have input your courses you can edit them to assign grades, change lesson plans, etc...

My Homes School Grades also offer a place to assign activities:

I input Kayley's swimming lessons as an athletic summer activity...which counts as school!

What is really great about this program is you can print a transcript/report card of what you did through the year.  Whether you will be sending a child to college and need this for admissions or your child is like mine, 2nd grade...this is a great tool for your portfolio and allows you to keep track of activities and lessons completed throughout the year.

My Home School Grades is easy to use and really keeps all your homeschool activities organized!  I will continue using it throughout the summer and see how I like it more long-term.  I am a very disorganized individual and I like that this encourages me to do a better job of tracking my daughters activities. 

My Home School Grades is $49.99 for a Life Time Membership!

Are you interested??
You can learn more about My Home School Grades, sign up for a free 14 day trial, or watch the "How-to" Videos to discover more about My Home School Grades.

My fellow team mates reviewed My Home School Grades too, you can read their reviews at!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Well, we are officially homeless now.  We closed on our house last Friday.  While we wait for our next house to close (not until June 13th) we will be bouncing around a little staying with friends.  We are doing ok but all of us are feeling a little homesick.  We miss our own space and our own beds.   Kayley's came apart nicely and we are debating on whether we will be able to get it into our new house?  (It is about 1/2 the size of our old house).

We filled those PODS to the brim.  Ended up with 3 of them and really needed 4!  Careful when opening the POD, items may have shifted during take-off.   LOL.

In the meantime we've been trying to make an adventure of things, enjoying spending time together (aka we are bored to death)....  

We went out to eat the other night and they had this awesome soda machine.  

And we've hit Bass Pro and looked at the fish.

We will be bouncing one more time before we close on our house 
and my internet access is sporadic.  We are ready to be settled!  whew!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Waterproof Bible {Mosaic Review}

I have seen a lot of "water resistant" products but this is by far, the first time, I have ever seen a waterproof book.  Oh, not just any book - The Bible!  Now you can take your Bible with you anywhere you go!  Camping?  Do it!  The Beach?  YES!  The bathtub??  Why not?  I have to admit that I was completely intrigued by this Bible and Kayley, age 6, treated it like a science experiment!  Thanks Mosaic Reviews and Bardin Marsee Publishing for letting us enjoy this fabulous Waterproof Bible!

The Waterproof Bible is a project from the creative genius of Bobby & Anna.  Their desire to create a way to take the word of God with them wherever they went prompted them to find a way to create a Bible that is durable and weatherproof allowing you to be inspired anywhere and anytime.  The Waterproof Bible is 100% tree free and made from synthetic, recyclable, materials.

For this review we received the King James Version of the Waterproof Bible that included the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs only.  Some unique features include:

• Stain Resistant
• Ultra Clear Text
• Ideal for Gear Bag or Backpack, Tote Bag or Purse
• Dry Highlight
• Write and Underline with no bleed thru

So, once we were aware of all of its unique features we put it to the test.  Since the pages and cover have the feel of one of those "Tyvek" envelopes I was pretty sure it was going to do well.  I could tell just by feeling it that it was a tough book!

1.  Stain resistant?  Check!  We threw this baby in a mud puddle, took it inside and washed it off with NO problems.

2.  Highlight?  Yes, but it washed off. Hence the need for this handy Dry Highlighter that Bardin Marsee sells in their store for $3.25.  I didn't get to review the highlighter but it claims that it will NOT wash off.  (It comes in 4 different colors).

3.  Write and Underline with no bleed thru.  Check!  I discovered that it is actually challenging to write on the Tyvek-type pages with a regular pen.  Bardin Marsee recommends the Fisher Space Pen.  I bet this would work better than my cheap ball-point.  The Fisher Space Pen you can write standing on your head and apparently has a shelf-life of 100 years.  Wow!  It retails for $16 - $24 dollars but a small price to pay if you never have to buy a pen again!

4.  We also discovered that the Waterproof Bible does not really float very well but once it has been submerged you can pull it out of the water and it dries very fast.  The water just beads up and rolls off!

5.  I was too chicken to really test its durability by trying to tear a page or the cover so I cannot really vouch for how well it will not rip, etc.  Sorry - I just couldn't bring myself to actually do something like that to the Bible on purpose!

The Waterproof Bible gives you the freedom to take God's Word with you anywhere you go!  Take it to the beach, camping, fishing, mission trips, exercising, and so much more!  I, personally, will be storing our Bible in our 72 Hour Emergency Kits!  It is a 100% Worry Free Bible!

The Waterproof Bible is 376 pages and measures about 4 1/4" x 7".  Retail price for the one we reviewed, The Waterproof Bible New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs  is $24.95.

Interested in owning your own copy?  There is a large selection of types and styles of the Waterproof Bible ranging in price from $24.95 to $44.95. 

Several of my fellow Mosaic Reviews team members also reviewed the Waterproof Bible, to read their thoughts visit!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Beginning of Better Days {Deseret Book Blog Tour}

How important are women in the restored church of Jesus Christ? We learn something about the answer to the question from a simple historic fact: In 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith took time to attend several meetings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo and give personal instruction to the women there. He did this at a time of great personal turmoil, when persecutions were raging and his responsibilities were heavy. He did it at a time when society barely acknowledged women as having any kind of status at all. On six separate occasions, he taught the women personally about their privileges, their opportunities, their obligations, and the blessings the Lord had in store for them in His kingdom.
The Beginning of Better Days includes Joseph Smith's six timeless sermons to the women of Nauvoo, along with personal essays from Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce that help us better understand the sermons and their relevance for Latter-day Saint women today. "We have attempted to share a little about our own processes of discovery regarding the sermons," writes the authors. "This is what worked for us. What works for you may be similar — or it may be completely different. The important thing is to dig in."

Are you looking for the perfect mothers day gift?  I know!  Mothers Day is right around the corner on May 12th!

This new book, The Beginning of Better Days is a compilation of six of Joseph Smith's instructions and talks directed to the women of the church at Relief Society Meetings with personal narratives and insights written by Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce.

At  this book currently retails in hardcover for $17.09 or as a Bookshelf eBook for $10.99

Don't forget you can download Deseret Bookshelf on your eReader completely free and when you do you get 8 free eBook downloads plus the Scriptures!

I received The Beginning of Better Days free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Deseret Book!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ooka Island {Mosaic Review}

I can't believe that it is about time for Maggie to begin reading!  At our house we try really hard to make learning fun and Maggie has been anxious for an opportunity to play on the computer so we were thrilled with an opportunity to review Ooka Island! 

Ooka Island is an early reading adventure for kids age Pre-K to Second Grade.   Ooka Island is a 3D, downloadable, adventure that sets your child on the path to reading.   Using an Eye/Ear & Read Direct Method for early literacy, for homeschool families, this can be a full Language Arts curriculum...for parents this program is a fun and interactive way to boost phonics and learn reading skills while having fun playing computer games like the "big kids!"

 You follow Auntie Kay and her pal Zobot in the blimp as you work your way around the island building on phonics skills!  During your adventure you become a hero as you rescue Ooka Elves from the Flying Pigs!  (Also known as "Fligs") 

Logging in on Ooka Island is so easy!  The main login screen shows your avatar, and the login password is a picture recognition password.  Perfect for prereaders to be able to log into this program independently!

Zobot guides you to your next destination.  You click on his screen to go to your adventure. 

The Cave of Sounds...  You are riding through the mine car at the bottom of the cave of when you hear the appropriate sound to move ahead!

This is Maggies favorite!  The Clumsy Wacky Moving Company spilled the contents of their truck into the water!  Save the items by identifying the sound...before it all goes over the waterfall!

Rescue the books from underwater to add them to the Popcorn Library in the Submarine listening activity...

Then read them together with your pal Zobot....

and answer interactive comprehension questions!

Next, visit the Cake Factory to help the Ooka Elves decorate the cakes using your listening skills to hear the appropriate word blend...

Then, play at the Bubble Troubly fountain!  Retrieve sounds from the bubbly fountain and put them in Auntie Kays basket!

Practice the alphabet as you climb to the top of Alphabet Mountain.  Enjoy a fast moving skateboard ride, complete with tricks, all the way back down!

While learning you follow Zobot around the island but you earn free play time as well!  During your free play time Zobot will follow YOU around the island where you can choose your own adventure!  Visit the pencil playground and go down the slide!  Listen to the Ooka Juke Box and change your clothes and a whole lot more!

 As you travel the island you were earning mist and  unlocking items that you could buy in the mist mart!

 In the Parent Menu visit the Ooka Lighthouse where you can print report cards, reports, assessments and so forth.

We really enjoyed Ooka Island.   It was fun and really interactive.   It is the the only computer game I have seen where it involves sound recognition in addition to other basic phonics skills.   The independent log-in for prereaders is really helpful.  Using this type of log in allows Maggie to click on the icon in my toolbar and log in completely independently.   The graphics were great and the program, while big, didn't slow down my computer. 

 Visit the website to take a video tour, learn about the Ooka Island method of learning, view activity pages or workbooks that complement Ooka reading lessons, or listen to music samples.

Are you interested in purchasing Ooka Island?  A great thing about Ooka Island - It is affordable!
Also, thank you so much to Ooka Island for offering my readers an additional 30% off.  Yes, that is in addition to the already discounted 37% annual savings!  In order to get the additional 30% off you will need to purchase through this link:

Many of my friends from Mosaic Reviews reviewed Ooka Island as well, to read their reviews visit!

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