Friday, September 27, 2013

Math Mammoth {Mosaic Review}

Math was never one of my strongest subjects.  Since I know it is an area in which I am weak I have always looked carefully at any math program we use because I do not want to create a weak area in our homeschool.  I have relearned a lot of math with Kayley over the last couple of years, especially in areas of mental math.  I'm always happy to review a math product to see if it is a good fit for our family.  Thank you the Mosaic Reviews team and Maria Miller of Math Mammoth for letting us review 4 of your products from the Blue Series!

First of all:  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.

It is amazing how many Math Mammoth choices are available.  You can purchase complete curriculum or curriculum by topic.   Products are available for grades 1-12!  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.  A newer product is called "Make it Real Learning" workbooks for grades 3-12 features and topics like balancing a checkbook, population growth and loans.   Products can be purchased as a .pdf download or in hardcopy workbooks.

For review we received Measuring 1, Multiplication, Early Geometry, and Fractions.
A Brief Overview: 

Math Mammoth Measuring 1
-Covers length, weight, and volume for grades 1-3
-Offers a lot of hands-on activities
-Utilizes household items like measuring cups, ruler, bathroom scale, etc
-Minimal teacher preparation required
-Books have explanations as well as exercises - no teacher guide required
-Most activities can be done independently by the student
Measuring 1 retails for $4.50 for the .pdf download or $10.90 for the hard copy.

Math Mammoth Multiplication 1
-Learn how to multiply including order of operations
-Learn how to solve word problems
-A BIGGIE--> Memorize the times tables!
-Again, student can work fairly independently and minimal teacher prep required.
-This starts with a focus on skip counting to learn multiplication tables - NICE!
Multiplication 1 retails for $5.00 for the .pdf download or $9.20 for the hard copy.
Math Mammoth Early Geometry
-Covers geometry topics for grades 1-3 including basic shapes up to quadrilaterals and cubes.
-Studies geometric patterns and right angles
-Other concepts include area and perimeter of polygons
-Basic algebraic functions like finding and unknown when to 2 knowns are given.
-Symmetry and mirror images are also studied
-Encourages memorization of terminology and geometric equations
Early Geometry retails for $2.75 for the .pdf download or $9.05 for the hard copy.

Math Mammoth Introduction to Fractions 
-contains lessons for fraction arithmetic for grades 1-4.
-Concepts of a fraction, 1/2 and 1/4
-Mixed numbers
-Comparing fractions, equivalent fractions, adding & subtracting fractions but NO adding unlike fractions (this comes later in the 5th/6th grade)
-Basic multiplication of a fraction
-Fraction rules are not covered, this is a very basic intro to fractions.
Introduction to Fractions retails for $4.00 for the .pdf download or $10.50 for the hard copy.

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.  First, Maria offers 350 free worksheets and sample pages that will give you a feel for how Math Mammoth is set up.  You can do this by signing up for a Math Mammoth virtual tour...

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.  *As an aside you may care to know that Math Mammoth DOES follow Common Core Standards in the Blue Series.

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, next time I will probably print it all and have it comb-bound.
-The customer service is awesome!
-Little/No Mom prep work needed
-Kayley can do the majority of the work independently!

Kayley loved to be able to work independently and often snubbed her regular math in favor of doing Math Mammoth instead...  If you are looking for an affordable math option check out Math Mammoth!

Many of my team mates from the Mosaic Reviews team also reviewed products from Math Mammoth, feel free to visit the website to read their reviews.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fired Up by Mary Connealy {Bethany House Review}

Finally!!  I don't know if you remember my review of Swept Away by Mary Connealy?  You can read about it here if you want, but- just as a way of reminding you, here is how I ended that review:
I enjoyed Swept Away but I have to tell you:  In this story, Ruthie and Luke were not my biggest concern after we meet two other characters: Dare and Glynna.  I was a lot more concerned about what would happen to them than I was with Ruthie and Luke.  Hey, guess what?  Of course Mary Connealy leaves you hanging at the end!  LOL.  If you want to know what happens to Dare and Glynna, you will have to hold out (impatiently like me!) for Book 2.
Hooray!  Book 2 from the Trouble in Texas series is finally here!  You know you dearly want to know what happens to Dare and Glynna.  I'll give you a taste of what happens in Fired Up...

Widow, Glynna, came out west, as a mail-order bride.  Hoping to find a better life than the drunk, abusive man she was married to, she found herself, again married to a man who used his fists to get his point across.  Now that Flint was also dead (Glynna jokingly refers to herself as the black widow), she makes a promise to herself and her children that she will never put them in that situation again.  Glynna is determined to provide for herself and her kids by running a diner.  Nevermind the fact that her cooking is terrible...  When Dare Riker is intrigued by Glynna and finds himself trying to stomach her cooking (as well as the rest of the eligible men in town) in an effort to be close to her.  But, after an avalanche, a fire, and a stabbing nearly ends his life he begins to wonder who is trying to keep him from getting close to her.  And why?

Another fabulous, clean, romantic read from Mary Connealy that....YES...leaves you hanging at the end and makes you want to know what will happen to Tina & Vince?  And what about Jonas?  I think it is possible we will be seeing at another book or 2 coming in this series.  ;)

Disclaimer:  I received Fired Up free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Honey Heaven - Friday Field Trip!

I had been wanting to do this for a long time...start going on some Friday Field Trips.  I've seen other bloggers do something similar and it looks like a lot of fun!  I'm hoping we can get an opportunity to do this once a month.  It works out great because Daddy has Fridays as half-days and he can come along too.  

Right now in science we are using Apologia's Exploring Days of Creation with Botany.  For all the Apologia isn't very nice to Latter-day Saints (they have since apologized) I couldn't bear to part with our science curriculum.  It is THAT good. Botany we were studying pollination and it suggested that, if we can, we should learn more about bees.  

So, we headed into town and took a tour of Honey Heaven and Bee-stro.

Honey Heaven is a small company that is a cute little restaurant and gift shop.  They also have a small working beehive encased in class right in their store!  You can schedule a tour (it is $3.00 per person) and get a full lesson on bees and honey.  If you don't want the tour you can come look at the beehive anytime.  

We had a chance to sample honey (YUM!) and Kayley tried on some bee-keeper wear.   (Maggie was very intimidated by all the bees and ended up waiting on a little couch the majority of the visit).  You can even buy pollen in jars. As part of our tour the kids also got honey sticks.  The tour was fun, the people were friendly and we learned a LOT about bees!  If you want to go, Honey Heaven is on South Campbell in strip mall behind Andys.  (Yeah, because we gauge all of our destinations here on where to find the nearest Andys!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Home for My Heart {Bethany House Book Review}

 In the book A Home for My Heart by Anne Mateer we meet Sadie Sillsby.  Sadie grew up in the Raystown Home for Orphan and Friendless Children and as an adult she has been blessed with an opportunity to work as the assistant to the matron at the home.  Her heart is with the children, but she looks forward to the day when she can marry her beau Blaine (a fellow whom she grew up with in the orphan home) and begin a family of her own.  When the current matron of the home surprisingly announces that she is to be married soon she convinces the committee to offer the job of new Matron to Sadie.  BUT.  There is a big problem.  The matron of the home cannot be married!  Blaine is hurt and confused when he discovers that Sadie intends to take the job "for a year or more" and that she hopes for him to wait for her!  Upsetting Blaine is just one of her worries when she discovers the orphan home is about to close due to insurmountable debts.  Sadie is afraid that she may have taken on more than she can handle and without the support of Blaine she is left to rely solely on her faith in God.  Will she be able to turn things around and find a place to call home?

This was a wonderful read that had me worried about Sadie, Blaine and the children to the very end.   A Home for My Heart will pull your heartstrings and have you scrounging for your flashlight to finish "just one more chapter" before going to sleep!  No really.  ;)

Disclaimer:  I received Home for My Heart free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed herein are my very own.  Thank you Bethany House!

Grace Unplugged {FlyBy Review and Giveaway}

Thanks to FlyBy Promotions I had an opportunity to review 2 new books.  Grace Unplugged by Melody Carlson and Own It by Michael and Hayley DiMarco.  Grace Unplugged has a movie coming out in October and the book Own It is seen in the movie.  I get an opportunity to tell you about both of them...


Grace Trey is the daughter of one-hit-wonder Johnny Trey.  Everybody said that Johnny could've been so much more but he found God and decided to follow His plan of singing in church...instead of nightclubs.  As Grace is coming of age she is frustrated with singing in church and want to break out on her own.  When her fathers old manager hears Grace sing he whisks her off to Hollywood to help her make it big.  Leaving without saying goodbye Grace's family and friends are bewildered and hurt by her choices.  It isn't long before "Gracie Trey" has a song on the radio.  Unfortunately, as she becomes a bigger star, testimony of God dwindles.  The question is: will Grace turn her back on her faith and standards, or will she "Own It" and stand by her convictions?

I thought this was a pretty good book, and an easier, quick read.  I was a bit annoyed with Grace though.  She was a spoiled teen who didn't treat her parents very well but comes to realize that her father loved her very deeply.   Melody Carson is a great storyteller and has delivered a great message in Grace Unplugged.

Own It challenges readers by asking what it means to "own your faith."  Some of us are guilty of just borrowing faith from our parents, peers, and pastors, never really understanding Gods love for us.  Quite a few of us may be guilty of "faking it" in the hopes that others won't discover that we really don't have a firm foundation build on God.  Authors Michael and Hayley DiMarco give you guidance on how to take ownership of your own testimony and get through real-world challenges and situations.

I loved the different perspectives from Michael and Hayley dotted throughout the book.  Their individual testimonies are encouraging and refreshing and very REAL.

I can't wait for the movie to come out!  Remember, it releases October 4th!
You can see the trailer below.
You can also get more info about the movie here:
Grace Unplugged Movie Facebook:
Grace Unpluggled Movie Twitter: @GraceMovie
Grace Unplugged Website:

Here is the fun part!  I can giveaway a copy of both Own It and Grace Unplugged to one lucky reader of Swinging on Small Hinges!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below!  Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclaimer: “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 iton 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 accordancewith the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kansas City

It seems like I never find the time to sit down and update much anymore.  I have never gotten back into a groove after our move and not being on the TOS Crew anymore keeps blogging further back in my mind I think.  I keep thinking I'm going to do better and then the next thing I know - 2 or 3 weeks have gone by with NO update...   I'm working on that!  I promise!
 Anyway, last week we headed up to Kansas City.  We had to meet up with our adoption caseworker.  We are still slowly working on our homestudy and heading toward the adoption process.  Yes, I know it has been over a year since we started this process...  I'm not sure why we are moving so slow?  I guess we are just not feeling a sense of urgency?  But, that is a blog posting for another time.  This week we went to Kansas City, met up with our caseworker and then made an afternoon of it.

LDS Family Services in Independence is within walking distance of the visitors center.  Since there was nothing to do for the kids but wait, I walked down with them to the visitors center while James had his personal interview.  (Poor guy, he waited in the waiting room for me while I had mine.  I heard the kids cried over sharing the iPad and then had to have a time out...)  Anyway, the vistors center in Independence is really amazing.  They had a play area that made passing the time very pleasant.  A small playhouse, covered wagon, a "well", a chicken coop, etc had the girls role-playing "pioneer children" for an hour.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson {Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain Review}

Ooooh!  I LOVE a good romance novel.  You know I do.  I was so excited to see a couple of things with this new book.  First it was a new book in Shadow Mountain's "Proper Romance" line.  You know what that means....clean yet wonderfully swoon-worthy!  Not only was it a new Proper Romance but it was a new book from Julianne Donaldson!  You may remember my review of her last book Edenbrooke?  Well-- this one is amazing too!  I'm excited to tell you about it!
Kate "Kitty" Worthington is determined to never marry.  She bides her time waiting to go on a promised and long desired trip to Blackmoore, the estate of her dear friends Henry and Sylvia, Kate knows that once she escapes the confines of her home and the weight of her oppressive mother she can at last be free.  Free from marriage to a wretched old man, free from her tedious life and free to go to India with her aunt Charlotte. 

Kate's sly mother has other plans for her though, telling Kate that she will be free to go to India only if she receives 3 proposals of marriage and declines them during her visit to Blackmoore.  Kate thinks that her mother's bargain shouldn't be too hard...until she arrives at Blackmoore.  Upon arrival she discovers that she wasn't really invited and Henry's intended bride is there as well bringing long suppressed emotions to both Kate and Henrys friendship.   Afraid that her plans to travel with her aunt are in jeopardy, Kate asks Henry, her friend, confidante, and the man who has secretly held her heart since childhood to help her...with unexpected results.

I really don't want to tell you much more for fear I will spoil the book!  

A true Regency romance, Blackmoore is an 
addictive read that will have you 
laughing, crying and romantically sighing...

Blackmoore currently retails in paperback on for $14.39, as a Bookshelf eBook for $8.99, or as an audio book for $29.69.

To learn more about the author, visit Julianne Donaldson Facebook page!

Disclaimer: Thank you so much to Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book to review.  All opinions expressed herein are my very own!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Not Even Once Club {Deseret Book Review}

The Not Even Once Club is a cute children's book that helps kids make good choices when it comes to the commandments.  Written by Elder Russell M. Nelsons wife, Wendy Watson Nelson, and fantastically illustrated by Brandon Dorman, this book is perfect for children of all ages.

In this picture book, new-kid-in-the-ward, Tyler visits his new primary friends in their tree house club for the very first time.  At first perplexed by the "NEO" carved on the door he quickly realizes that the carving stands for "Not Even Once," the secret code word that gets him in the door to this club his friends are inviting him to join.  After entering the clubhouse Tyler's new friends offer him some surprising coffee and alcohol!  "Haven't they heard of the Word of Wisdom?" Taylor wonders.  Then understanding dawns as he hears his friends answer to the coffee, tea, and alcohol.  "Not even once!" they respond emphatically.  Happy and relieved to hear his friends agree to the Word of Wisdom Tyler realizes he passed the test to join the Not Even Once Club.  He receives a special certificate with a pledge agreeing to follow the commandments and is officially welcomed into the club!
This book is a perfect fit for family home evening!  The final page offers a guide for parents and children where the principles of the gospel, modesty & pornography, obedience and repentance are broken down into sections for discussion.  Quotes, references to talks from The Friend, and scripture references offer a lot of insight into just how important it is to our Heavenly Father that we stay away from the things that will cause us spiritual and physical harm.  A free downloadable certificate (like the one above) is available as well as more comprehensive questions for older children!

The Not Even Once Club currently retails as a hardcover at for $17.09. 

Disclaimer:  Thank you so much to Deseret Book for providing me this cute book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PreK in Pictures with Maggie

Here are some fun pictures of Maggie doing her "school work."  She loves it and she is smart as a whip!  She can count to 20, she knows all her colors and shapes.  She knows her alphabet and all of her letter sounds.  I'm really proud of her!

 "Shape Up Time" with Miss Liston...from her BJU K4 video class.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Character Corner Facebook Party!

I love, love, LOVE this time of year!  All of my favorite curriculum providers start having their annual Facebook Parties!  They always have fun Q & A, Product Reviews, interviews with authors, and best of all Giveaways!  I just wanted to quickly share in case anyone is interested in attending this one.  Hosted by Character Corner the Facebook Party is tomorrow (September 5th) from 7-9pm Eastern Time.  All you have to do is "like" the Character Corner facebook page, and meet there during the party.  Hit refresh often and have fun!  See you there!

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