Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thankful Tuesday 8/16/2017

I know I'm a day late, but I still wanted to post :) This week I'm thankful for:




So thankful to have friends that listen and are so supportive.  I've had one of my friends since I was 15! We've birthed 5 children between the two of us, survived a cross country move as well as a move to another state.  Another dear friend I met when I was pregnant with Zachary.  We shared a love of books, General Hospital and Krispy Kreme donuts.  Other friends I've know for a few years or even less.  Some homeschool, some don't and some I've never even met in person. If not for the internet I wouldn't know some of these wonderful ladies.  They all bring a unique and special perspective to my life.  There have been good and bad times, but I'm so thankful for them all.  

Yesterday I got to spend time with two special friends. One was a planned visit where the moms got to talk as well as the kids hanging out. There was even a little Nerf war happening :) I picked up a cat from the Spay/Neuter clinic and I'm thinking what's for dinner?? I decide to run into Food Lion to grab something and my daughter runs right into a friend I haven't seen for several months. I used to see her weekly at our homeschool co-op, but she's moved out of the area and we only see each other once or twice a year. It was so great to be able to chat with her unexpectedly and it seem like I just saw her yesterday. So thankful for all the wonderful ladies in my life. 




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Tessa Bauer believes she's in love with Hans, but he doesn't return that love.  He only has eyes for Betsy Zook.  Tessa wishes that Betsy will go away, so that she can have Hans for herself.  She never imagined that Betsy would be captured by Indians and taken away from them.  Hans is beside himself and because of his grief starts to do things he might not otherwise do. Tessa feels it's her fault that Betsy was taken.

Betsy struggles in her new life, but she is soon left in a place that changes all that for her. She is taken in, cared for and loved. As time goes on she starts to feel somewhat comfortable. During this time she makes a friend in Caleb. He ultimately becomes a larger part of her life than she could ever imagine.

Out of the blue Betsy reappears back at the Bauer home.  Everyone is amazed that she is alive and Hans feels like life will go back to what it was.  Nobody could imagine the turmoil within Betsy and the struggles she now feels on a daily basis.

Checkout this contest for a chance to win your own copy of this book.

** I received this item free for my honest review.

Review: Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan


I truly enjoy reading books about times where life was much simpler.  In Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan we are transported back to a time where farming was deeply ingrained in most people's lives.  We meet Grace who has longed for a family, but with her husband having passed away she feels she's lost that chance.  She's trying to maintain the farm while caring for her ailing father.  It's a daily struggle and she just doesn't know how she'll make it.  She finally decides she must place an ad for help in the local mercantile.  As she enters the store she notices three unkept children that are eyeing the candy display.  She buys them each a stick of candy and wonders who they belong to.

Unbeknownst to her Robert Frasier has arrived in town with three children.  When he married he had no idea he was becoming a father to three children.  Now that his wife has passed he feels he's to take care of them. Not knowing he was going to be a father, having no experience with children and needing to provide for them all has made life a daily struggle.  He's looking for a way to support them and goes to the mercantile looking for work.  He's told about Grace's job opportunity and decides it's something he'll go speak to her about. He is given the job, but not believing that someone will hire him knowing he has three young children to watch over he leaves them at the campsite each day.  One day on a walk Grace happens upon the children and is shocked to find out they have been left alone each day while Robert is working at her farm.  Always longing for children she insists they come to the farm and live.

Grace had longed for children, but would never truly know that joy until the children came to live with them. Life seemed so much happier for she and her father. There was life on the farm now and a truly wonderful reason to get up each day!


** I received this item free for my honest review.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week Ending 8/12/17

Spent some time working on school this week and of course reading :) I know with school starting on the 21st that my reading time will be cut WAY down. I'm trying to finish the stack I have and somehow managed to request about 20 new books to add to it (LOL) This week I've read the following:

The Perfect Stranger


The Doctor's Blessing


An Amish Christmas


Plain Promise


Marshall's Law
 A Reluctant Bride

A Reluctant Bride


A Road Unknown


I ordered the last thing that I needed for Brianna's school which was Wordly Wise 10 and the answer key.  I also ordered The Smart Alex Series: Reading Comprehension 4.  Issac's reading has really improved over the last year, but I still don't want to push him too much. He enjoyed the 180 Days of Reading Grade 4 that he did last year. When he did his CAT testing at the end of the year I paid an additional fee for curriculum recommendations. This is one that was recommended, so I figured we'd try it.  I've ALMOST decided to order Math Mammoth Grade 4 to use for this year. He was ahead in math for a few years until we hit multiplication/division. That really slowed us now and we haven't moved forward much really in the last year.  After two reviews this past year: Times Tales the Fun Way and Math Mammoth multiplication/division got better for Issac. I had planned to finish using Teaching Textbooks 5 this year, but he doesn't want to work on it anymore. He really liked Math Mammoth and it seemed to click for him, so I thought we'd do some of their units. When I looked at the placement test I realized he probably couldn't even pass the 4th grade placement test. I decided we might try using their entire level this year and see how that goes.  We just got some exciting news this weekend that we got the Let's Go Geography review, so I'm SUPER excited about that. I think it's going to be one of Issac's favorites this year.  I was able to prepare the dividers, his passport and the first two lessons today.  I've got a few more things to prep before school starts and hopefully we'll have a great year.
The two youngest kids and my husband are in WV this weekend for a karate seminar.  I hate to admit it, but it's been SO NICE AND QUIET since they left yesterday (LOL) I love my family, but it's nice having no music/tv/kid drama/etc :) They'll be home tomorrow, so I'd better enjoy the rest of my evening and what time I have tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

UDN PEER Group's First Newsletter

I've written a few times about our experience with the Undiagnosed Disease Program.  Issac has been followed by a geneticist since he was one year old. When we moved to NC our new doctor had some different ideas and some different routes to take. While getting some information that didn't exactly give us answers we were invited to be one of the first to attend Duke's new Undiagnosed Disease Program.  We spent a week there and despite the 12+ tubes of blood taken, issues over an IV for a brain MRI and all the appointments Issac STILL asks when we get to go again!! That's my boy. He loves pretty much any appointment he has to go to and is always great even when he's not happy with them.

I was asked in late 2016 if I wanted to be part of a new PEER group to connect parents, patients and medical staff to help spread the word about the UDN.  I was very nervous about flying alone to Boston and meeting tons of people I didn't know, but I really wanted to be part of this group. We all met in January and have had several phone meetings as well as emails passed back and forth. We decided we wanted to put together a newsletter that would be shared with people that have gone through the UDN program. Most parents that have any type of medical issue with their child feel alone and struggle with all the unknowns. We wanted to let people know that we have been through the program and are here to help answer questions or just be a friend for the future. I'm super excited to say that our first newsletter came out this week and can be found HERE. The second newsletter is being worked on as I write as well as additional in person meetings in October and January.

I'm so thankful to all the people involved in the UDN. We learned information about Issac, but yet in some ways we really don't know much still seeing as there have only been 6 people found. Check out the participant pages and see some of the people that the UDN is working hard to help.  Our little guy is #5.   I think whether you have a specific answer or not you are always worried about your child and their future when there is a medical issue at hand. I'm thankful to all the people that are working so hard to find answers for us all.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thanksful Tuesday 8/8/17

Today I'm thankful for my deep freezer! We bought it used, it's beat up and not very attractive. I can't imagine living without it! We are a family of 5, but we have had some kind of deep freezer since Carl and I got married. I just can't imagine life without one!! This is such an old freezer that I have to scrape the ice out every so often. Today I decided to do that and organize everything in it because it was getting messy.  It's not beautiful, but I love it and am truly thankful for it. 





Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason



I have enjoyed the Elite Guardians series from the very first book I read. In Chasing Secrets we meet Haley Callaghan.  She hasn't had an easy life, but she's never been one to feel sorry for herself.  She had to take care of herself when she was younger and even lived on the streets for a bit. She's always tried to help others and has no idea that she has a family across the world in Ireland. 

 She meets Detective Steven Rothwell after an unusually tough day and could never imagine that that her involvement with him will help end a twenty-five year old case that she didn't even know she was involved in.  Haley had no idea that her parents were killed when she was younger and the lady she thought was her mother was really her nanny.  

 This series always keeps me interested with the way Lynette Eason develops her characters and intertwines the mystery throughout the story. She has a way with leading you in one direction about who you think is responsible for Haley's parents deaths and then turning you in another direction completely.  Once I started this book I couldn't wait to finish it because I was so involved in Haley's story and wanted to know what happened. I'm hoping this isn't the end of the series and that there will be more to come from the Elite Guardians.



** I received this item free for my honest review. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Week Ending 8/5/2017

I've been trying to work a bit on school planning this week.  It seems a little strange to only have two kids to teach.  Our oldest only did one class at home last year, so he really wasn't around much. Now he's working full time, he's the manager at his store, and plans to go part time to study computers.  I think I have most of my 10th graders stuff planned out. I'm trying to let her schedule be a little lighter this year because she really felt stressed last year.  This is what I have planned and scheduled so far for this upcoming 10th grade year:

Unlock Geometry We reviewed this item recently and my daughter told me this was the best math that she had used.  She doesn't like math, so I ran with it when she didn't have anything negative to say about this program :) If you want to check out the program here is my referral link.  You'll get $50 off an annual purchase!

Brianna really liked the Abeka history she did in 8th grade, so we are going back to them.  We are doing the World History & Cultures this year.  I like Abeka because they don't have a ton of questions in each section and that makes my daughter happy. She also really seems to retain the information well!


For English this year she'll be doing Movies as Literature as well as Wordly Wise.  We tried Wordly Wise for the first time last year and my daughter was the only one out of the three that liked it (LOL) I've realized in this last year that even if I want to try other things if the kids are doing them without argument then I should probably just stick with them :) Movies as Literature I've thought about for a bit and even thought about it for the oldest.  I actually gave my daughter the choice of Movies as Literature or going with Abeka like she did last year. She liked the Abeka, but I think she liked the idea of watching movies all year!

I haven't figured out what she'll do for Bible this year and I'd like another elective for her. We did more art last year than we have in the past and both kids really like it. I'm trying to make a decision on which program to do.  I really need to figure out what I'm doing for Issac, so hopefully in this next week I'll get it finalized :)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review: In the Reign of Terror by Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions



Audio books are something that we have listened to over the years.  I have to admit that I have never been so engaged in an audio book as I have in listening to In the Reign of Terror by Heirloom Audio Productions. This is not your average audio story, but rather it's like listening to a very dramatic play.   This audio story is based on one of G.A. Henty's novels as well as being part of The Extraordinary Adventure Series of G.A. Henty.  This was our first experience listening to these audio stories and I was so pleasantly surprised with the wonderful quality of their audio products.  We received the cd set as well as access to all the special bonus materials.  The cd set has 2 cd's with over 2 hours of an exciting story about the French Revolution.  This story was made with children 6-16 in mind, but I have to tell you I was hooked within the first few minutes.  We listened to it several times and each time I seemed to hear or learn something I didn't remember from the previous time. I think this is one of those items that everyone in the family can listen to and enjoy!  

The story starts out with a young boy comparing the American and French Revolutions. An older man states that they really are not that similar and offers to tell a story to explain his response.  His story starts as young Harry has been sent by his father to live with a French Aristocratic family.  He is there to be a companion for the oldest son, but he is hoping to learn from them as well.  He could never imagine how his life would change during his stay with them.  He is warmly welcomed by the father, the Marquis, but the children treat Harry as though he's not as good as them.  As time goes by Harry proves his loyalty to the family as well as shows his faith in standing steadfast in what he believes and knows is right.  As the turmoil amongst the people starts to increase Harry knows he needs to stand up for his beliefs as well as protect the family that took him into their home.  The family is being persecuted because they have "noble" blood running through their veins.  

In the Reign of Terror
As part of reviewing In the Reign of Terror I received access to the newest edition to their site, the Live the Adventure Club.  There I had access to listening online, the original e-book, the official soundtrack, a printable cast poster, an inspirational verse poster, desktop wallpaper, the official script as well as a pretty intensive study guide.  I checked out the guide and really liked that they had three main sections to their way of studying.  The Listening Well questions are to help your child remember what they have heard.  The Thinking Further section is to help your child think more deeply, look up items that were mentioned, draw conclusions or speculate and ask follow up questions.  There are also Defining Words which gives you the chance to enhance your child's vocabulary and understanding of the story.  I asked Issac a few of the questions here and there, but we didn't truly use the study guide like it could be used. I really felt since it was summer that we would just listen to the story several times, discuss what we heard and just truly enjoy it for the dramatization that it is. I would definitely use the study guide as well as the other fun activities in the club when listening to additional stories.  





To get more information on Heirloom Audio ProductionsIn the Reign of Terror or any of their other dramatizations check out their social media pages: FacebookTwitterGoogle+ or Instagram.  As always check out what the other crew members thought.


In the Reign of Terror {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Thankful Tuesday 8/1/2017

Today I'm thankful for my mom! She's an amazing lady and has always been there for us no matter what. I was home this weekend to celebrate her 74th birthday. So thankful to still have her here with us and able to spend so much time with my children. Here she is opening her gifts from Brianna that she packaged in a Thomas bag (LOL)



Review: English Grammar Teaching Method by English on a Roll

English on a Roll
It amazes me as I've watched my children grow and learn how differently they each learn. I grew up in public schools and honestly I feel I got a great education.  I didn't struggle too much and I really could have worked harder in high school.  Grammar was a subject that I struggled with and I'm not exactly sure why.  I knew the basic nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs, but throw in all the rest and I would get a glazed look (LOL) I don't remember too much hands-on-learning it was really just book work.  All of my kids enjoy games and anything "fun" that doesn't see like "school" so much.   When I first learned about the English Grammar Teaching Method from English on a Roll I was very interested because it's a multisensory English grammar program.  Issac always seems to do better with the multisensory approach, so I was excited to check it out.  It always makes my day when a package arrives, but when your package includes 40 dice it seems more exciting because games immediately come to mind! :) We started looking through our kit and this is what was included: 

  • 40 durable, solid plastic cubes, 38 engraved with groups of related words and 2 blank cubes for customizing
  • Color-coded to facilitate learning by association
  • Easy to customize with additional vocabulary
  • 150-page instructor manual with teaching tips, lessons, games and reproducible materials
  • English on a Roll

I was instantly excited because everything seemed so well made and sturdy and that is ALWAYS needed around Issac (LOL) I sat down and started reading the guide to see exactly how this program worked.  One thing that jumped right out to me is the Cube Guide right at the front of the book.  It lets you know the groups of all the cubes, the colors, the words on them and what their use is.  It's a great "cheat sheet" to help you as you move through the program.  This program was made for anyone five years and up and especially those with English as their second language, Special Ed. programs and those in Beginner Reader programs.  This program can be used in a classroom setting, small groups or one-on-one.  The textbook was written to really have it all set up for the teacher, so there is minimal prep work needed.  Each lesson has the following:

Prep-Shows which cubes to use, pages that are needed to be copied and any additional materials needed.

Notes and Vocabulary-Has tips for teaching as well as any new vocabulary.
Teach the Concepts-Explains exactly how to teach the lesson with the cubes and printed materials.
Games/Conversation: Has games to play to practice any new concepts.
Written Exercises: Has reproducible exercises for additional practice.

I was a little surprised that the first lesson started with pronouns because most programs we've ever used taught nouns first.  Even though this program started out a little different than others we've used Issac was able to follow the initial lessons fairly easily and do the worksheets that were provided.  We printed the worksheets rather than write in the book and that is acceptable under the copyright laws.  I just prefer to print my pages and find we can work easier when we have our worksheets separate from our books.  There are 37 lessons in this program and they include a wide variety of areas.  For us the lessons got a little hard for Issac fairly quickly.  I think the lessons jumped too quickly for him, so we slowed it down and worked at a slower pace than others might.  I found that going back and redoing lessons as we moved through was a wonderful reminder for him. I think our middle child would have been able to move through this program at a little quicker rate than Issac.  Issac often forgets the definitions of things and I've seen that over the last few years with our grammar programs. I think that the multisensory approach is definitely what works best for Issac and we will continue to work through this program at the pace needed for us. That's the great thing about the  English Grammar Teaching Method that you can move as quickly or as slowly as you need for your child.  If you would like to see how the program works I recommend this video as it gives a great view of how the program can be used.  For additional information on English on a Roll you can check out their Facebook page as well as read what the other crew members thought and how they used the program.  


















English on a Roll {Reviews}

Thankful Tuesday 8/16/2017

I know I'm a day late, but I still wanted to post :) This week I'm thankful for: So thankful to have friends that listen a...