Friday, October 28, 2016

Back to Reality....Beatrix Potter, Lego, Ballet Folklorico and Swimming was a whirlwind vacation.  We were supposed to spend a week in the Outer Banks and then a week at Disney World.  But Hurricane Matthew threw a wrench in our plans.  We fortunately had hurricane insurance on our house....and for the first time in the nearly 15 years we have been visiting there, it's the first time we used it.  Our realtor told us we couldn't get into our house even if the EMA lifted the visitor ban.  So along with the other people in our group, we had to find an alternate vacation.  We decided to head to Florida early and stay in Clearwater.  While in Clearwater we played on the beach and went to Clearwater Aquarium to meet Winter and Hope the dolphins.  We also toured an orange orchard.

I actually had an agenda of computer projects I needed to finish.  With Hurricane Matthew throwing a huge wrench in our plans, I didn't get things done that I planned.  So when we finally got home over the weekend, I was exhausted unloading the van and getting life set back up for us.  Of course, grocery shopping since we had almost no food in the house.  Then getting Joe ready for his new job....did I mention we were both exhausted?

I am spending this week catching up.  The kids are working on review work, since we have a ton of field trips and activities this week.  Next week we will be back to more book work.  Chip has been helping me make it through....

We did have several activities this week.  The girls had their Girl Scout meeting on Monday.  They really enjoyed the First aid project that was set up by one of the older girls.

Caty also enjoyed the knots, even though she struggles with that.

We had Lego Robotics

The girls had their online art class.  They really love Ms. Sarah from Blossoming Artists.

This week we knew we would be seeing a play on Beatrix Potter.  So we spent time watching the stories of Beatrix Potter.  We watched a special on badgers (Tommy Brock).  And we watched the movie Miss Potter about the life of Beatrix Potter.  I have been trying to encourage more story writing.  So they wrote and illustrated a story about "Matty Meerkat" after we watched a special on Meerkats.    Each child illustrated a page, and I typed up the story as they made it up.

Caty decided to do an art project on Peter Rabbit.  She wanted to paint a picture from his story.  It took her a couple days to finish.  But it turned out nice.

The kids thought the play was corny...but they all enjoyed it.

On Thursday we had two field trips.  The morning trip was to a local metropark for a program on Orienteering.  This is something we have done with the kids before, and had fun.  But this program was with our GS Troop.  It was cold and wet, but we survived and had fun.

This week was also our field trip to the Ballet Folklorico event for our American Girl Club.  The girls spent an hour or so learning about the various dance styles in Mexico.  WOW is there a lot.  A lot of different costumes also.  Some are similar, while others are very different.

They made dolls wearing various costumes.

Then tried the dance steps also.

The girls also tried out for swim team.  They passed the tests and will be continuing.  They are both very excited!

It was a busy week, even though we didn't have typical work.  Next week we are back to including some more book work into our schedule.  We will be adjusting into swimming, on top of our other activities.

Dad will also be back to working from home.  So there will be a couple weeks of adjustment with noise levels and how we balance all 6 of us home.  But we are all excited about this new adventure.

Linking up with other moms at:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, October 27, 2016

CrossTimber - Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse Review

What do you buy the person that has just about everything?  Or are you having a hard time finding just the right or a very unique gift for a friend?  We were recently in that predicament.  I had no idea what to buy for someone who has influenced our daughters so much.  We had the opportunity to review the Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse from CrossTimber.  My gift giving needs have been fulfilled!

Some people know the story of how they got their name.  Others go through life and do not even realize that our names, just like other words we speak, have actual meanings.  CrossTimber spends time researching what your name means.  For the past 15 years they have been researching both common and unusual names.  Then printing this information on many different gift items.

We were able to review the Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse.  The ordering process was very simple.  The biggest issue that I had was narrowing down the design.  CrossTimber offers a very large selection of prints.  You can also purchase them in a 5X7 size or 8X10.

Depending on your budget, you can then select to receive a PDF file that you print, just the print or purchase your print already framed.  CrossTimber is definitely keeping the family budget in mind for their products.  They offer a wide selection of frames as well.  They offer 4 different styles.

At this part of your ordering process, you can also add extras to your order.  You can add bookmarks, greeting cards, a PDF proof and even a personalized message on the back of the print.

Our 5X7 full-color print arrived safely wrapped in bubble wrap.  As you can see, the name stands out and the meaning is located below it.  Underneath that is a Bible verse selected by CrossTimber to include.  You can choose a customized verse also.  We did not do that this time.

Your price depends on the amount of extras and frame that you choose.  We went with Artist's Choice (which means they match a frame to your print's colors), and the cost would have been $23.00.  Which is with no extras.  Unframed, your cost would be around $18.00.

Shipping is average rates, and appeared to have no extra handling charges.  So you may spend around $30.00 for a basic framed print.  Which is great price on a gift for someone you are struggling to buy for.

We did add a bookmark ($2.00) to our order.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  But it arrived in beautiful condition.  It's made of a sturdy, almost mat board material that will definitely stand up to use.

Their daughters also help out by making bracelets that you can purchase for a small fee of $8.00.  They arrived in the same package.  The colors were very beautiful, and they were nicely done.  I did offer a couple of suggestions to improve on them, since I was going to be using them as gifts.  The girls are doing these to help fund a future adoption for the family.

You can save money by purchasing multiple items in the same order.

CrossTimber also offers personalized coffee mugs.

And also Wooden Music Boxes

John from CrossTimber has been wonderful to work with.  We had a small shipping issue, and he responded right away and had the problem handled quickly.  I was very happy with the response time.
I would highly recommend using CrossTimber for your gift giving needs.  Our experience has been very positive.  The products that we received were wonderful gift items, and definitely worth the price.  This family owned business definitely puts customer service a priority.  I'm already planning our next order for gifts for those hard to buy for people.

Would you like to enter to win a special gift for someone?  CrossTimber is holding a giveaway on December 4th!!  You can enter by following the link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to review various products from CrossTimber.  Take some time to read what they received and how they felt about the quality.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Middlebury Interactive Languages - Elementary Spanish 1 Review

One subject that many homeschool parents struggle to include in their curriculum is a foreign language.  It's hard to teach another language if you are not familiar with it.  I worry about pronunciation and usage.  It's a lot of prep for me when it comes to foreign languages.  Thankfully we were able to review an online language program from Middlebury Interactive Languages that took the guess work out of teaching another language.  Caty was excited to get a chance to try out Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2.

Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 ($238 without teacher, $588 with teacher for two semesters) is an online, interactive program that provides a fun introduction to learning the Spanish language.  Instead of simply showing students a picture of an item and then giving them the word with translation, Middlebury Interactive Languages goes above all that with an approach that allows the children to even forget that they are learning.  

Through a series of stories kids learn legends from the Spanish culture, which enables students to learn vocabulary and basic grammatical principles.  Each lesson includes games and other activities including practicing vocabulary by recording what the student is saying.  

Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 has an easy to use program format that allows students to work with the program independently.  I helped Caty log into her account and follow along on the calendar for her lessons. She needed very little help from there.

I can easily track her progress even when she gets a little behind because it shows at a quick glance what lesson she just finished.  

Lessons are short and also very easy to use.  Depending on where you are in the lesson, a student might be reviewing phrases or practicing using the language by recording themselves saying basic words.  Quizzes and interactive questions are graded immediately so that she knows if she answered correctly.

We do have PDFs printed of some of the lessons, as well as the stories.  We didn't use these with Caty.  She was mainly doing online work.  But the printouts were easy to use.  We have used printouts with other language programs from Middlebury Interactive Languages and really did like them.

I really wasn't sure how Caty would handle taking a foreign language.  She had a language delay and still has some speech issues. But she has done incredibly well with Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2, and I have been impressed with the ease of use for her.  

Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 is one subject that I do not have to fight to get her to complete.  I have been very impressed and have recommended Middlebury Interactive Languages to many people.  

I really like that Middlebury Interactive has found the right balance between foreign language cartoon and still allowing kids to have interactive fun to learn a language.  Middlebury Interactive Languages has really taken the guessing game out of teaching your child a foreign language with this approach.  

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to try all the programs that Middlebury Interactive Languages. Take some time to see all that Middlebury Interactive Languages has to offer by visiting the Homeschool Review Crew blog and see how they enjoyed using this program in their homes.

Spanish, French, German or Chinese {Middlebury Interactive Languages}