Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rare Disease Day 2017

It feels strange to say Happy Rare Disease Day, but it's amazing how many people I know who are affected by a rare disease of some sort.  Having a rare disease affects us all in different ways. For some we just want to know what's going on with our kid and what it means for their future.  Some people need to know to try and just live each day the best they can for their family member.  For some it's all about getting the word out and trying to help others.

Rare Disease day is something to celebrate! We are all rare in our own way, whether it's medically rare or rare in another way. We have 3 children and they are all RARE!!! Two are rare because of their abilities and one is medically rare. The one that is medically rare is also rare because he differs from anyone else in the house. He has his good hours/days and his bad hours/days :) He struggles because he has to wear 2 "torture" devices every night and he doesn't understand why his friends don't have to wear them. It's hard for him to understand that he is rare in a different way than his brother and sister.  His sister is rare because she has an amazing gift for the dramatic arts. Not everyone can show the talent and emotion needed to do dramatic arts.  She is rare because she is amazingly smart, even though she will argue that fact with you :) She has a wonderful gift of recalling what she's read, whether it fact or fiction.  She is rare because she has a hard, tough exterior, but she loves deeply and hurts deeply. Our oldest is rare because he is such a hands on person. You can give him a book that tells you how to build a dump for a lawnmower or you can give him the wood and nails and watch what he makes. He's amazing with vehicles! I'm not sure there is anything on a vehicle that he hasn't worked on. Some was trial and error in the beginning on his own vehicle, but now people PAY him to fix their cars. I think that's pretty amazing for someone that just turned 18. He's rare because he can be so very sweet and thoughtful for others.  They are all rare, but in different ways.

It's great to reach out to others and help them, but what we also have to focus on is giving our medically rare children the best we can give them. If we assume they can't do certain things then they won't be able to. Issac is almost 10 years old and he's just recently exited out of ALL therapies.  For 9 years we've been in at least one if not two or three therapies a week. It was a struggle and it was hard on the other two kids. Why did we do it? If we didn't push forward then like we did I don't believe he'd be where he is today. I hope that one day my older two will really understand that they were never pushed aside, but at some moments the focus had to be on the therapy for Issac. I know deep down they understand, but as a parent it's hard when you feel like one is getting more than the others.

I hope that we can all embrace what is rare about us! Too many times people are judged and looked down upon for a difference they have. I pray that as we move forward we can all love what is different and rare about us and those that we love.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: Math Mammoth

I have met so many people that have used Math Mammoth and especially for "problem areas" that their children were struggling with. When I heard that we were getting to review something from Math Mammoth I was super excited because then I could see what all the hype was about :) We got a choice of Light Blue Series, which is an entire grade, or Blue Series, which is individual sections to work on. I chose the Blue Series and decided to go with Multiplication 1, Multiplication 2 and Division 1. My fourth grader is still having some struggles with multiplication and division, so this is the area that I wanted to focus on! They come in a PDF file and are only $3.70 each which is a great deal when you only have a few sections you want/need to focus on.

I have to admit that when I downloaded the first 20 or so sheets for us to work on my first thoughts were I don't think I like this program! I've always enjoyed math and honestly never been one for bells and whistles. Give me the problems and let me go. When I first looked at these pages it just seemed cluttered and lots of unnecessary problems.  I think I often forget that what I like or want to do isn't necessarily what works best for my kids! I sat down with my 9 year old and he just took right off. He was understanding everything that was asked of him and he enjoyed all the steps and repetition. After that first day I really sat down and looked more through the pages. I could really see then that it was building step-by-step, so that the child could have a better understanding.  The directions were very thorough and there were several pages of game suggestions to reinforce what he was learning.  

These books are really jam packed with information. Depending on your child you may need to do each and every page and for some there might be pages that can be skipped. These sets really have enough information to help a struggling child succeed!  The Multiplication 2 continues right where the first one left off.  There is continued review of what was learned in Multiplication 1 as well as moving on to other areas.  The kids work on money, double and hundred multiplication as well as many other topics.  Division 1 starts out with the same great instructions and suggestions for reinforcement!  

The contents page is a great place to start.  There might be specific areas in division that you need to focus on with your child. Starting on the contents page can help you locate exactly what you are looking for.  My son has trouble still with his handwriting.  It tires him easily to really put the effort he needs into making his handwriting legible.  We worked together on his pages and I did lots of the writing for him :)

Head over to FacebookGoogle+ and YouTube to check out Math Mammoth.  If you want to try Math Mammoth and aren't sure where to start check out the placement tests to help you figure out where your child needs to start.  If you just have a few areas that you want to help your child with then the Blue Series is where you want to be.  If you'd like to hear what other families think of the program please check out Homeschool Review Crew at the link below. 

Affordable Quality Math {Math Mammoth Reviews}

#hsreviews #mammothmath #homeschoolmath

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Freezer Meals

Many times over the years I've heard or read about making freezer meal, once a month cooking, etc.  It always sounded interested, but I just never did it (LOL) I've recently become part of a Facebook group called Dinner's Done! There has been a daily post of getting dinner done and pretty much all of it's in the crockpot.  A friend and I purchased 40#'s of chicken from Zaycon Fresh and I figured I'd try and use some recipes to set meals up for my family.  I used a 10# bag of the chicken and they were really big. I cut them almost into 1/3's and some were thick, so I cut those in 1/2's.  The friend I was sharing the chicken with sent me a link to The Creative Bite and I decided to try a few of their recipes.  I had the ingredients for the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, Honey Balsamic & Onion Chicken and the Spicy Mexican Chicken.  I also decided to try Eat at Home and currently you can use code COUNTERTOP. I know that if I plan ahead then we don't eat out and that saves money. I've never been one that likes to pay someone else to give me a plan, but this price really seemed worth it to try it out.  I had the ingredients for their Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken Sandwiches, Buffalo Chicken Loaded Baked Potatoes and the Chicken Philly Sandwiches.  The first few meals from The Creative Bite are complete and just need to be popped into the crockpot.  The other three meals are about 90% complete in the bags and I got the one item each that I needed to complete them.  I hadn't planned to do this yesterday until the last minute, so I know it took me longer to put together than it should have. Even so if I spent 2 hours I still feel like that's going to greatly benefit me in the coming weeks!  

What is really cool about signing up for Eat at Home is truly all the planning is done for you! You get the menu, recipes & grocery list. Here's one week that I printed, so you can see what it looks like.  

I'm into the planning mode now, so hopefully I can work on some beef recipes next!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study:Ancient Greece

I don't know how many of you have used any of the products from Home School in the Woods before, but I hadn't. I had checked the site out a year or so ago for something to use with our 8 year old.  At the time I wasn't sure if the price was worth it, if he'd enjoy it, so I just put it on the back burner.  Recently I was given the chance to review HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study:Ancient Greece and I was so excited.  This is one of those items I just wasn't sure was worth the money and getting to review it made me so excited.  

I have to say that the day I received the product I was so excited that I just started printing! The program is set up in stops where you have specific tasks to complete for each stop. I really like how you can go to each stop and print everything you need. There isn't a question of what is needed for each stop. There are also several things to do in a stop, so if there is something that isn't going to work for you then you can skip that. I like that it includes a timeline and maps as well as additional activities. They have also given you different options for some of the activities. Take the time line, they give two methods to put it together and it's up to you and your child which you'd prefer.  Everything is done to engage your child in what you are studying. There are really just tons of hands-on activities that you can chose from. Our middle child was fascinated with Greek Mythology for quite a while. I noticed that as we worked through Ancient Greece our youngest recognized several names that he had heard his sister mention over the years.

We ended up completing one stop a week. I was aiming for two stops a week, but unfortunately life got in the way! The child I was using it with ended up with pneumonia, so that threw a little wrench in our plan. It also depends on your child and how much they are capable of doing. For us, the map work was a little hard.  My son doesn't have the fine motor skills to do the map writing on his own. We printed out the labels and used those. That was still hard for him to always get them right in the exact places. We finally just did the printed map and that was helpful for him. He also doesn't like to color, so some of the activities that suggested coloring we just didn't do the coloring. I know they would have looked nicer colored, but that's not a battle I am willing to fight :) I plan to continue using this and will try for two stops a week. I think when my son is enjoying the activities that will be easy to do. I now know that the price, $33.95 for the downloaded version and $34.95 for the cd version is well worth it.  Everything you need to really immerse yourself in the study of  Ancient Greece is included in this set.

One thing I would suggest is that you pre-print all the activities for your stop. If you end up not using something that's ok, but it's easier to be prepared if it's all printed. Also, I found that for my son I should pre-cut everything that needed to be cut. Several times he was sitting there waiting and losing interest because I was cutting things out. It's a struggle for him to cut out or deal with too many small things. Once I took care of this we had no more bumps along the journey.

Go check out Home School in the woods at the following places:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods

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Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HSintheWoods  @HSintheWoods

They have loads of information and ideas. I've also heard they are working on Ancient Rome, so check them out for the newest information.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

Hashtags: #hsreviews #history #unitstudies #AncientCivilizations #lapbooking

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review: Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

This is the second book in the series Montana Rescue. For some reason I have a hard time getting into the books in the beginning, but once I'm in then I'm in! I don't know if maybe I need to focus a little more in the beginning because that's where they are setting the scene. I often think I skim through where the characters are being introduced and then I'm confused shortly after because I can't remember who is who!

One thing I really enjoy is how action packed these books are when you are reading them.  Susan May Warren really describes everything, so that you feel like you are right there in the scene.  The details she uses while describing the woods and wildlife really help to make this book.  Willow is one of my favorite characters. She has such a heart for God and working with teenagers. She feels like they need someone other than their parents to talk to and that she can be that person to help them. She had a rough childhood and she wants to help teens guide their way through the rocky years.  She doesn't have a degree, but the love for the kids can carry her through anything.

As with most good books there are several romances in Rescue Me.  I'm not sure any book is really good without a love triangle or something similar.  If you are looking for an easy read that you'll be happy with the ending then this book is for you.

** I received a copy of this book free for my honest review.

Week Ending 2/18/2017

I had really high hopes for this week with school and they fell flat again! I think I need to stop having those high hopes (LOL) Monday morning I ended up back at the doctor's office with Issac. They ended up saying he had atypical pneumonia. It wasn't that he was feeling poorly, it was just the bad wheezing I could hear. We didn't get much done Monday because of the appointment and just the time and distance.

Tuesday we had our homeschool group's Valentine Bowling Party. I felt like I should keep Issac home except that he didn't look sick! He was so looking forward to it, so off we went. It was the biggest bowling event that I've seen with them. We had well over 50 kids! Issac and Carl bowled 5 games and had a great time. Issac was so happy with all the valentines he got from the other kids as well as with what he handed out.

I left Issac home with Carl on Wednesday, so that I could take Brianna to her class. I left Issac a note of what to do. When I got home he and Carl were playing chess! I checked out his work and he had done one thing :( I think he was so anxious to play chess that he didn't really pay attention to what needed to be done. He and I finished it up that night while the kids were at karate.

Thursday and Friday we were pretty much able to stay home and do some work. I haven't had a printer, so that limited a few things we could do. We've really been pushing the multiplication tables with Issac because we are stuck at this point in his math. He's not remembering his facts consistently enough to move on to other things. We've used a few things recently that have seemed to be helping. We haven't even touched on division and it came up today in the car. I explained the concept to him and gave him a few easy ones. He answered 4/5 correct. I'm hoping that maybe it's clicking down and when we hit division it will go more smoothly.

We are actually doing a little school here today, Saturday. I don't tend to do that, but with the sickness and printer issues there are a few things I want to work on. I figure learning takes place anytime and a few things on a Saturday won't kill anyone :)

Review: The Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas: Volume 2

I am one who always enjoys reading what others are doing in their school. I know for some people it's overwhelming because they feel they need to do it all. For me I find I can take little pieces of what others are doing and bring it into our school day. I think most homeschooling moms are pretty real about what they do each and every day. As well as what it's really like to homeschool. I took notes while I was reading this book. I don't always do that, but when I want to make sure I don't forget something then I jot notes down. I have so many pages of blogs and little tidbits that I picked up from this book. It's really chocked full of information for middle & high school.  I'm just going to make a little list here of things that stood out to me while reading:

* We are not just teaching them skills we are teaching them and building in them good character traits.
* In middle school we need them to become independent learners.
* Loneliness adds negativity to a teen's budding self-image.
* Let your husband step in more. Boys learn to become men from their fathers.
* Professor's wish list for students: They need to get their point across while having good grammar. 
* We want them to be the following: self-starters, task-finishers, people that can focus, independent thinkers, problem-identifiers & problem-solvers. 
* Have a written mission and vision.  

I don't think anyone could read this book and not come up with at least a dozen tips, tricks or sites that they could use.  I'm thankful I read this book and can see it being one of those that I read again and again.  I encourage you all to check out this book. It's definately worth the money!

The Big Book of Homeschooling Ideas: Volume 2

** I received a copy of this book free for my honest review. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week Ending 2/10/17

This week was not very productive! The two younger kids were pretty sick.  Issac's asthma was really bad as well as he ran a fever for four days. Brianna had a sinus infection and I wondered if she had the flu as well.   Issac was up to doing some school on Thursday, but Brianna didn't do any. Hopefully next week we can get a full week of school in. We have a Valentine's Bowling party Tuesday and Thursday both kids have rechecks.  Issac is still wheezing and has completed his meds, so we'll see what happens on Thursday.
I got a little bit extra done around the house this week. Started reading a new book that a dear friend gave me.  It's called Homeschooling The Journey is The Reward

This is a book of stories about homeschoolers. The original was published in 1999. This version was published in 2007 and they've added updates to the original book. For me, reading about other homeschoolers is refreshing. I know that I'm not like everyone else, but you can easily get one little tidbit from each family and it can grow your homeschool. I enjoy also reading about people homeschooling in cities, rural areas, small families and large families.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Thankful Tuedays 2/7/17

I'm thankful today for my oldest son! He turned 18 today and I wonder where the time went. I know that tends to be something that we all say :) Seems like just yesterday that I was holding his hand while we walked around our neighborhood.  I'm so proud of the young man he's become.  He's learned to do so many things from his dad as well as on his own. I have no doubt that he can handle anything that comes his way.

Review: Times Tales the Fun Way

We recently got to review Times Alive by Times Tables the Fun Way from City Creek I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first. Our youngest son seems to find many programs and books that I think he'll love to be too "babyish" as he says. I knew he'd either love this program or hate it from the minute he sat down to try it. I am excited to say that he has really enjoyed it. I showed him how to log in with his name and helped him navigate the first lesson. He didn't complain, he sat right there engaged with the lesson.  I knew the first day would tell me what he thought and he did about 4 lessons the first day.  This program is different from others.  It's online lessons with animated songs and stories to learn times tables the fun way!  

We have been working on times tables for far too long. He seems to pick up some and then others he just can't seem to remember.  He often has trouble remembering and I've found that we need to review certain things quite often.  The times tables have been one thing that he just hasn't seemed to catch on to certain problems.  We worked on the doubles for weeks.  He'd get 2*2, 3*3, 4*4 and 5*5.  6*6, 7*7, 8*8 and 9*9 just didn't seem to stick. We did flash cards, wrote out each one he missed and he still didn't seem to remember them. As he moved through the lessons I could really see that the stories and songs were sticking with him. One day in some math we were doing he didn't remember the answer to 4*4.  That was typically a problem he did remember, but that particular day he didn't. I started out saying the story of you have to be 16 to drive a and he answered with 4 by 4.  I think continued review with this program for my son would help him master his tables. Go check out Times Alive and since they have several options you can chose from  it works for everyone!

One thing I really liked about the program is that I could see my son's progress every time he worked on the program.

You can see if they've viewed the lesson, completed it halfway or finished it completely.  Every so often there is a graded activity and you can see how they are progressing.  

A few times my son didn't complete the lesson because he thought it was over or he forgot to click next. When I printed his progress report I was able to see those incomplete lessons. We just sat down and went back to review those lessons.  We used this program 3 or 4 times a week.  He didn't find it boring or uninteresting and he was always ready to do his lessons. This program is great to learn your multiplication tables or even just to review them. This is a program that I would pay for because he genuinely was happy to do it. 

#hsreviews #onlinemath #mathsupplement #multiplication #learnmultiplication
Times Tables the Fun Way {Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, February 6, 2017

Really hate seeing what asthma does to my kids!

I really hate seeing my kids sick. I think any parent feels the same way. For those parents that deal with asthma I think it takes it to a different level. It's really hard when you see your child struggling to breathe and there isn't much you can do for them. Both kids went for allergy testing on Thursday. That morning Issac coughed a few times and told me he thought his brother made him sick. Zachary has been coughing for a bit, but nothing else. Friday evening Issac's cough was much worse. He's been running a temperature ever since that night. My kids really don't tend to run fevers or even get sick to their stomach. The asthma has probably been the biggest issue. It seems when Issac starts to get a cold that the asthma kicks in. Brianna was the same when she was younger. We thought she had outgrown the asthma like Zachary, but in May she had a terrible flair up. It was the worse I had ever seen her and even the doctor was very concerned. Issac's fever has been pretty much 100.7-102.5 ever since Friday evening. It dropped to 99.8 once, but has mostly  been 101-102. This is very unusual for him. Brianna started to feel a little icky yesterday and it seemed like she had a sinus infection. My mom seems to skip the cold and go straight to the sinus infection and Brianna seems to have inherited that from her. This morning she couldn't talk because she was struggling to breathe and every time she sneezes she yells ow :( Issac's fever was down to 99.5 this morning, so I hadn't planned to take them to the doctor. Around 11 he was already struggling to breathe more and when I felt him I knew the fever was back. I went ahead and called to take them both in. We have an appointment first thing in the morning and hopefully they'll get relief. Issac keeps asking me why he's sick. His chest hurts from coughing so much as well as struggling to breathe. When he finally fell asleep earlier he was moaning in his sleep because he felt so badly. Brianna slept for probably 3 hours and she's not wheezing right now, but the sinus infection is really bothering her. Thankful for those that don't have to deal with asthma and feel for those that do!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Review: Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

Andi Hollister is a journalist who seems to find herself in life threatening situations often. Her sister was killed when she was younger and the cousin of a family friend was convicted. He is almost to his execution date when he receives a letter that he didn't kill Stephanie. Andi doesn't believe this can be true, but Jimmy's cousin, Will, starts to search for the truth. Lacey, who wrote the letter, turns up dead and her death is thought to be a suicide. Later it is revealed to be a murder. There are too many questions and not enough answers and Will fights to have his cousin's execution stalled. This book contains diamonds, death and deceit.
** I received this book free for my honest review. #revellbooks

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thankful Tuesdays-2/1/2017

I'm thankful today for the chance to have been able to travel recently to Boston. I wish that I had thought ahead a little more and maybe I could have taken a family member and/or stayed a little longer. It's a beautiful city full of history. I'm thankful that I could leave my family. I know many people think they can't leave their husband/children or they just won't.  Things weren't perfect when I arrived home, but then again they never are. I had the support of my husband and children for me to go and be involved. I'm thankful I had them to give me that support.

Review: What's New? What's Missing? What's Different?

Homeschooling is hard and often times I've found my kids just need something fun to break up the day.  Even though Issac is in 6th grade...