Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Miami Vineyard Live Music CD~ Review and Giveaway

Uplifting music

I received the Miami Vineyard LIVE CD.  This is a unique collection of worship music.  It is really fun to move to.  We listened to it as we were cleaning our house and it really kept the spirits up and we were able to clean to this fun music. It reminds me of Summer at the beach!  Ahhhh, relaxing and praising.  It is very hip gospel music.

About Miami Vineyard LIVE:
What happens when a group of 20+ musicians and 10+ songwriters steeped deep in their own musical traditions of Black Gospel, Latin, Caribbean, and Anglo come together to create a new tradition and sound? What happens when the fusion of Black, Anglo, Latino, Caribbean, and Cuban voices unite together to worship in one voice? Among the 2000 people that attend the Miami Vineyard Community Church, there are over a hundred singers, instrumentalists and songwriters that make up its eclectic worship ministry. For one night, these musicians joined together in worship and invited the church to document the sound that is uniquely MIAMI VINEYARD LIVE.
This distinctive bi-lingual liturgy is filled with many flavors, from Latino claves to gospel two-step to funk and soul to delay-laden rock guitars of modern worship, yet they all work together seamlessly to create a new sound and voice that is authentic and refreshing. From anthems of praise and proclamation to songs of intimacy and adoration, there is a common thread running deep throughout this recording and that is true worship of the Living God as an expression of His Kingdom breaking in on the streets and beaches of Miami, FL.

Would you like to more about this type of music? 
Miami Vineyard LIVE (released 10/18)
The CD sells for $11.99 
A Download of the Album is $9.99

You can win a free copy of your very own. 
This is also my first Rafflecopter Giveaway.  You will need to sign in with Facebook.  These are so easy to enter in!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reading Eggs, YES IT WORKS!!

Reading Eggs has been an “eggcellent” resource for Katey and Tyler too.
Reading eggs is a reading website for children ages 3-12.

First of all both Katey and Tyler love online learning that they can do themselves.  I love that they can each spend about 30 minutes a day doing something double educational without my help and I can use that time for teaching other children or getting lunch or dinner ready, etc.

Reading Eggs is an online educational website.  Your child works through maps.  There is a placement test for your child and it is supposed to place your child at the correct level.  Katey took the placement test.
I felt like it did place her at a lower level than she actually was at.  However, I let it go since I figured it would give her a chance to get used to the website and a little review never hurt anyone.   I just had Tyler start at the beginning. 
Then it puts you on the “map” at your level.  Each number is a lesson, each lesson has about 10-12 sections.   While at the map you can choose to do puzzles, play games, spend your eggs, and more.  Each place on the side unlocks after certain levels. 

The interactive lessons are all fun, and if you get one wrong it gently guides you to the correct answer.  The activities within the lessons vary widely.  This is so great about it.  Katey never got bored.  There is always new “games” to play. P1010054
The beginning lessons are all about learning the letters and their sounds.  They also start with simple words like am.  Tyler has been playing on these easier lessons. While he is only 2, he is actually very computer literate.  I do not put any pressure on him to learn things, he just plays on it when we wants to.  He does do very good at finding the letters that he is supposed to find.
Each lesson also has corresponding worksheets to go with it.  This really helps reinforcing the lessons offline. 
Then there is the Reading Eggspress side. It is for better readers.  It focuses more on comprehension. In the comprehension gym you read stories and answer questions play games that show your comprehension level.

There is also a comprehension assessments.

Katey spends most of her time with Reading Eggs, sometimes she goes over to the Reading Eggspress side with the comprehension gym.

Another things about this program is the parental dashboard. It shows you right where your child is at.
reading eggs screenshot
reading eggspress

Reading Eggs has a variety of subscription options.
Yearly is $75 with a 50% discount for each additional child.
6 months is $49.95 with a 50% discount for each additional child.
Monthly is $9.95
They also offer optional book packs. They range in price from $65 to $110.
The Mega Book Pack is our BEST VALUE PACK. It contains all of the Level 1 and Level 2 books matching the first 80 lessons of the Reading eggs program. The pack includes 80 reading books + 400 stickers, 8 mini posters, 8 Activity books and two packs of durable Flashcards with games. These would normally retail for $244.20. You save a massive $104.20!

You can try Reading Eggs out for FREE!  Sign up for a free 2 week trial.

Check out the Reading Eggs FAQ page.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.

Blogging through the Alphabet- Letter A



My friend Marcy over at Ben and Me is hosting a meme, Blogging Through the Alphabet. It is 26 weeks of blogging about a topic that starts with the letter of the week. 


This week is letter A.


I use alarms for everything. 

Just on my phone:

  • An alarm to wake up. 
  • An alarm to wake the kids up.
  • An alarm to order my Bountiful Baskets
  • Alarms for Tommy’s outside activites.
  • Alarms for Katey’s outside activities.
  • Alarms for Emily to attend her outside activities
  • An alarm to take the garbage out to the street, once a week.
  • I set up alarms for medicine if someone in the family requires some.
  • Bed times

I use a timer alarm for other things:

  • How long friends can be over.
  • When to switch the laundry
  • How long someone can be on the computer or TV.
  • How long until we have to get ready to leave somewhere. 

I use alarms for so much more, I am sure.  They just come in so handy to keep me on track.  I really do get a lot more done this way.

Join us blogging through the alphabet.  Next week Letter B.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kids Answer ~ What do you like best about homeschooling?


This weeks Blog Cruise.

I actually asked my children:

Are you glad we homeschool?  Why or why not?

What do you dislike the most about homeschooling?

What do you like best about homeschooling?

Here are what they said:  I was kind of surprised at some of their answers.


Are you glad we homeschool? Why or why not?  Yes,  I like being home.  I like that we don’t have to sit in hard chairs all day. I like that if I am behind and I don’t understand we can take the time for me to figure it out and not move on too soon. 

What do you dislike the most about homeschooling?  Nothing. 

What do you like best about homeschooling?  Pajamas!!!


Are you glad we homeschool? Why or why not? Yes, because we get to go to so many homeschool activities.  I do not feel rushed through stuff.

What do you dislike the most about homeschooling?  I don’t know.

What do you like best about homeschooling?  All the field trips and outings.  Sleeping in. 


Are you glad we homeschool? Why or why not?  Yes, I just am.

What do you dislike the most about homeschooling?  Math. 

What do you like best about homeschooling?  Everything else but math.

Yikes, I guess I am probably going to have to make math more fun for her.

Check out what other families think here.

Pinewood Derby ~ Modifieds


Our church held a Pinewood Derby “anything goes”.  It didn’t matter what your car weighed or what it looked like, as long as it could fit the track. 

Tommy had an old Pinewood Derby car, and we just bought another wedge shaped car and screwed it to the top of the old car.  We added extra screws all over for more weight as well as drilled holes in the back of the new car and added Pinewood Derby weights. 


It was really neat.  It was double elimination style and Tommy won first place in the modified division.  (They also had a regular Pinewood Derby going on).  He was so proud.  He said to me, “Mom, that is pretty cool that I won and it took me less than an


hour to build the car!” 


They had trophies made and everything.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The easiest BEST cobbler recipe ever!



I have been making versions of this cobbler for years.  We often make it in our Dutch Ovens.  Tonight I did an indoor version in a glass dish and my oven. 


What you’ll need:

~A can of soda

~A box of cake mix

~ A jar/can of fruit 

What you’ll do:

Pour fruit into bottom of dish

Pour Dry cake mix onto fruit -DO NOT STIR!!!

Pour about a can of soda on top of the cake mix.


It will look like this with the soda. (if you want you can sprinkle some brown sugar on top)


Bake at 350 degrees until you can smell it. (about 30-40 minutes)

Once you pull it out of the oven it will look like this.


Serve with ice cream!!!



Some variations

Peaches, yellow cake, cream soda  ~ the one I did in this pic

Cherries, chocolate cake, coke

Apples, spice cake, sprite

Any variety you can think of.


Friday, February 24, 2012

All About Reading Level 1

Remember last year, when I was so excited to review the brand new All About Reading Pre Level 1?  Let me refresh your memory.  Here is my review

This year I was even more excited to when I found out I was chosen to review Level 1 because I knew how great Pre Level 1 was.  This one had to be great too. 

This level did not disappoint.  It has just as much thought put into it.   

It is an amazing bonding experience to teach your child to All About Reading is written in a way that takes away all the nervousness that comes with teaching your child to read. It really puts you at ease, in turn, putting your child at ease. When you are both at ease, learning to read becomes fun for both of you. 

Did you know there are 5 key components of reading?

They are

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics and Decoding
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

All About Reading teaches all of them.  No gaps are left.  Each lesson is also multisensory, adding sight, sound and touch. 


The All About Reading level one kit $99.95 comes with

1. Teacher's Manual (sample)

  All the instructions you need to teach your child to read.  In the 49 lessons you will be amazed at what you and your child can do together.  It is so well organized.  The organization of the All About Reading program is one of my most favorite things.  I am chronically unorganized and this is amazing.  Everything you need right at your fingertips. 

2. Student Packet (includes Activity Book)(sample)                  

The student packet has all the flash cards, games and teaching aids you use throughout the course.  A viewfinder bookmark- this simple tool helps take away the distractions of other words.  A great focusing tool.   This also includes a progress chart.  Which has been a wonderful tool in our house.  My daughter is so proud to be able to put the stickers on after each lesson.

3. Run, Bug, Run! reader 
4. The Runt Pig reader 
5. Cobweb the Cat reader

Each of these 3 readers is a collection of FUN short stories written at the child’s level.  This makes learning to read rewarding.


The deluxe interactive kit $48.95 comes with:

The three starred items are only in the deluxe kit.  The basic kit is $28.95.

The interactive kits are a one time purchase to be used through all the levels of All About Reading.  For me the extra items you get in the deluxe kit add to the organization of it all.  I love that it all fits in the tote bag.  I love that the Reading Review Box is sized just right that you can fit all the levels of cards and dividers in it.

The price is well worth it for the piece of mind and organization and fun this adds in teaching your child to read. 

A few points I want to share with you. 

The student book has the reading organized in such a way that your child is reading repetitively.  For instance:

The bug

The bug went on a

The bug went on a run to the park.

This really helped Katey as to not get overwhelmed with reading a big long sentence.  This also majorly helped with her comprehension.  She was able to read and understand what she was reading. 

The teacher prep time is virtually not there after the first initial set up and checking out all the materials.  This is a bonus for any mom I know.  Time is so valuable, and wouldn’t you rather use it actually teaching your child to read rather than preparing to teach your child to read. Another reason this is so great is if my child wants to read right now.  We can go ahead and do another lesson, without waiting on me. Then the passion isn’t lost on my child’s part. 

The letter tiles are color coded.  This really helps your child’s memory and it helps with organization of the teaching aids.

This is to be used after your child knows all of their letter sounds.  Which are taught in All About Reading Pre-Level 1. It is not necessary to have to have used Pre-Level 1 in order to use Level 1. 

If you have more than one child using this then you can just purchase another student kit which is $24.95 then each child will have their own workbook and progress chart.


I really hope that my excitement for this program shines through in this review.  It truly is that exciting!!

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stepping out of your comfort zone…

Recently I have been stepping out of my comfort zone more and more. 


I took a huge leap and planned a Valentine’s Day event.  I invited families I from a homeschool group that I am not all that involved with.  The party was a huge success and my children as well as their children all made new friends.  I didn’t over plan the party and left time for playing and mingling.  Everyone enjoyed that!!

I have been sticking myself in situations that I normally wouldn’t.  For instance, my daughters and I take an art class.  We are brand new at it and I have been willing to show my art work.  Even amongst the more advanced.  I felt good about it.

I have been starting up small chat conversations with random people.  Now, my husband has always done this.  He is much more outgoing than I am.  I am working on it.   I began chatting with a lady at a family church event and it turns out she is one of my neighbors.

We went bowling and I began talking to some people around us and they are homeschoolers too, with a daughter Emily’s age! 

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an awfully scary thing to do.   Often times your fear takes over.  What are you afraid of anyway?  Right?  

For me it has turned out very rewarding.

Photo Credit


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Apologia Who Am I

Apologia has some amazing resources.  Since the beginning of my homeschooling I have purchased from them.  They have all kinds of things from their very well known science curriculum to their writing curriculum and even geography and history curriculum.  They also have so many parent resources.    
Have you seen their What We Believe series?    I have reviewed the first book in the series, Who Is God?  And Can I Really Know Him? (My Review Here)

This time I am reviewing the second book in the series.  Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? 
There are 8 lessons in the book.  Each lesson easily adaptable to multiple time frames.    Each lesson has multiple activities, from reading stories, notebooking, and a “What Should I Do?” to take what you have learned into your real life.

Lesson 1: What Are We Doing Here?
Lesson 2: What Will You Make Today?
Lesson 3: What’s On Your Mind?
Lesson 4: Can You Trust Your Feelings?
Lesson 5: Will You Choose Wisely?
Lesson 6: How Will You Run The Race?
Lesson 7: What Kind Of Fruit Are You Growing?
Lesson 8: Who Do You Think You Are?

This volume offers 5 resources to help you teach this.
The book itself is all you really need which is $39
Which comes with a free resource.  A password to get into the course website.
The book is 8 chapters and more than 260 pages.  It is in true Apologia Textbook Style, which is a nice sturdy book with great photography and the way it speaks directly to the student. 
The website has teacher helps, like a teacher guide, which coloring book pages correspond with which pages in the lesson book.  Different notebooking pages as well as a House Of Truth Posters built in the various stages.  You build a House Of Truth as you work through the book.  

The MP3 Cd $19
This is the book in an MP3 Format. It will only play on MP3 specific players.

The coloring book $8
For us the coloring book is a nice thing for younger kids to do while listening.  I often feel like my daughter actually absorbs more if she has a simple non distracting task like coloring.

The Notebooking Journal which is $24
This is a truly great resource.  It helps children revisit what they have just learned into their own words.  

Since this is a Bible/Worldview curriculum.  I must evaluate with how this curriculum fits in with MY beliefs.  In order for you (the reader) to understand where I am coming from I think you must know a few things about me. 

I am LDS, otherwise known as Mormon.  I was born and raised.  I am no longer very active. (My reasons for that vary).  I do 100% believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ.  I am still trying to find my own better relationship with God, on my own.  I am still LDS.  I most definitely consider myself a Christian. 

This book focuses on the Bible and how it is right.  WHICH IT IS!  At the end of each lesson you get to learn about a different religion.  You meet a child and it explains what they believe and how they practice their religion.  There are many religions in these.  Once I got to the one on Mormonism, I read through it and that is NOT what the LDS church is like at all to me.  I felt like it made it seem like a bad religion.  I have never lived in fear of being  kicked out of my religion due to my house not being nice enough or clean enough.  I thought that this description of Mormonism is exactly why people don’t understand who we really are and what we really believe.  While in the beginning it did talk about how the Bible says we should love everyone regardless of who they are and what they believe.   I still felt like it was degrading on my religion.  I feel like if the book was misrepresenting my religion so grossly, it was possibly doing that on all the other religions it was referencing.  If you want to know what a real Mormon believes and how they act do not take the description in this book. Ask one of us, or see our website.  I have found myself wondering where they even got this information for any of the religions represented. 

So while there is that part of the curriculum, then the actual concept is great.  It really helps your children develop a self esteem and relationship of their own with God.  I like the way it incorporated stories of children in situations where they had to make decisions that weren’t always easy.  These books are written to the student and easy to follow.  They also allow your children time to ponder about decisions they will be making.  

If you want to know about a religion go to that religion and ask.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1st grade Water Cycle & Weather Science


For 1st grade science Katey has been learning all about the Water Cycle, different types of weather, and meteorologists. 


We started off simple with the outside temperature and how to read a thermometer.  Then we learned about wind and the tools meteorologists use to measure wind. 

We made an anemometer to measure wind speed.  (it broke after the first day so then we just made a homemade pinwheel.  We also make a weather vane.


She learned about clouds.  She learned that they hold rain.  She made a rain gauge.  We just used a mayonnaise jar and marked on it using a ruler.

We also made a cloud in a jar.  We used hot water in the jar, put the lid on upside down and set ice cubes on top.  The water vapor cooled and began to form a cloud.  It did turn to rain quickly.


We dove into more types of precipitation as well as sang the water cycle song.

Water Cycle Song


We learned about hailstones and how it has layers like an onion. P1010183

We had it rain in a glass.  We filled the measuring jar partly up with hot water added in a smaller glass and covered it with Saran wrap.  We then put an ice cube on top (the cold air at the high altitude). 

We saw the raindrops forming on the plastic wrap.  Then they fell and sure enough they fell into our empty glass.  We also talked about how water moved.  It can be picked up from this ocean and put into this lake kind of thing.



Then we got into the different types of clouds.   We made a cloud chart using cotton balls and black water color paint.  We also put them in order of altitude.  So each day when she is documenting the weather she can document the cloud type also.


Our last experiment/ project for this weather unit involved thunderstorms. We learned about safety during a thunderstorm as well as what causes lighting and thunder.


We rubbed a balloon on ourselves to create the electricity and touched it to tinfoil to see the spark (lightning). We did this in a dark room.  Then she got to pop the balloon to make the thunder.

Monday, February 20, 2012



Beeyoutiful  is a company that creates a variety of natural products.  We received two of them. 

The B.A.L.M. and Miracle Skin Salve.

Let me tell you about the B.A.L.M. first.  Their balm comes in 2 flavors, orange and peppermint.  We received peppermint.

It is Winter here, and we live in the desert.  That means it gets really really dry here.  This lip balm is just $3.00 for either scent.  IT REALLY WORKS!  If anyone can test out lip balm, it is my family.  I can’t keep track of this one.  It keeps getting stolen. Winking smile 


Emily did tell me that she loves it so much.  She really loves the peppermint.

Everyone loves it.  The ingredients of the B.A.L.M. are:

GrapeSeed Oil- high in antioxidants (procyanidolic oligomers and polyphenols) and linoleic acid which nourish, moisturize, naturally provide anti-inflammatory support, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles! So instead of merely relieving your chapped lips, it is nourishing them and helping them look their best as well!

Shea Butter- also high in antioxidants, Shea Butter helps bring elasticity back to the skin, moisturizes, has natural sun protection, and helps bring healing to scars and wounds.

Beeswax- recommended by Mayo Clinic as an excellent choice for a lip balm, beeswax is high in germicidal antioxidants, possesses natural anti-inflammatory abilities, and has been shown to have antibacterial qualities. It gives body to the lip balm while providing moisture and cell restoration for your lips!

Essential Oils- (Either Orange or Peppermint Essential Oil)- Both provide refreshing flavors while providing their naturally inherent benefits to your lips! Orange is a refreshing, citrusy blast that helps to brighten your lips. Peppermint’s cool, tingly flavor will bring soothing refreshment to your lips on the driest of days!  

                                                                                   ~taken from website.

The next thing I received was their Miracle Skin Salve.   For me it really lived up to it’s name.  It is $15 for a 2oz size and $25 for a 4oz size. 

Let me just tell you a few of the things from the top of my head that we have used it on. 

  • Carpet burns  - Yes, my kids got a little wild.  Hey, it happens. 2 days of applying and it was better!  It was a really bad one too.
  • Heat burns  - I burned myself.  It took the burn right out.
  • Dry Skin spots –I had some dry skin spots, it work, ummm, miraculously!
  • Small cuts –Katey cut her foot, a small one, I rubbed it right on and it healed so fast.

Now I have only had these items a short while and it can be used for whatever ails your skin. 

The ingredients in the salve are:

Coconut and extra virgin olive oil promote healing of rashes and abrasions. Coconut oil is especially effective for rashes caused by underlying yeast problems such as eczema. Olive oil draws in external moisture to the skin while allowing normal functions like sweating, shedding of dead skin, and the release of sebum. Its antioxidant properties also elevate skin health.

Beeswax delivers the delightful consistency of the salve—even in hot summer weather. It provides a light, protective barrier on your skin to help expedite healing.

Plantain has long been used as an astringent, demulcent, and hemostatic, effective for all sorts of insect bites and stings.

Organic comfrey root possesses amazing abilities to support healing of cuts and abrasions. And it's a comforting astringent for treating inflammation and bruising.

Propolis can be used topically for skin problems ranging from ordinary abrasions to eczema, acne, skin cancers, bruises, and burns to gum infections and advanced herpes in the mouth.

Lavender essential oil is known for its emotionally calming properties, as well as the ability to hasten healing of burns and minor cuts.

Rosemary essential oil soothes sore muscles and acts as a strong anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and inflammation of abrasions.

                                                                                    ~taken from website


Check out Beeyoutiful’s extensive product line for all that ails you.  They also have a great forum for which you can register for free and use as a great natural remedy resource.

To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to share my honest opinion.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Announcing the debut of my new FREE RESOURCE PAGE!

This weeks blog cruise is about free/cheap homeschooling resources.

I have actually been working behind the scenes to release a page on my blog dedicated to free internet resources, and while it will always be a work in progress.  I am ready to debut it. 
Click on the page on my sidebar to check it out.  Also if you know of any for me to add, let me know. 

Free Education Internet Resources.

Sunday, February 12, 2012



The girls, (Emily 11, Katey 6) and I have been taking Zentangle Art classes.  They have been really great so far.  We go once a month.  We have gone twice.  It has been really neat. 

Today I drew this in about an hour.  P1010218

I just wrote my name and then Zentangled around it. 

I love it for my first try and doing it so quickly. 

Zentangle is also very relaxing. Very!

This post is property of Family Style School.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...