Thursday, March 20, 2014

So- My life got flipped upside down and then sideways…


The good news is though that I am back upright, on one foot, but upright nonetheless.

I was working some incredibly crazy hours, along with homeschooling.  My brother moved in with us…( BIG CHANGE).  My husband started a new job and he is gone even more… I didn’t know that was possible, but any who…..

Needless to say, I dropped a lot of balls.  I just couldn’t keep up. 

Some changes I made to get myself and my family back on track are:

  • I let go of anything and everything unnecessary.
  • I cut way back on working.  I mean like one or two days a month as opposed to the 30-40 hours a week. 
  • I quit blogging for a while.
  • I quit checking my email…. (uh, sorry!) It’s on my to do list now.
  • I stopped going out on activities with my friends as much… (you know, lunch out, play dates, craft classes and such)
  • I took our homeschool down to the basics, Reading & Math daily, Writing, History and Science 2x a week. Outside co-op classes had to be on Wed.  (our co-op has multiple classes on Mon, one on Tue and the bulk are offered on Wed.)
  • I had my husband take me out on dates when he is home… A big thing in my marriage is communication.  We text and talk on the phone often. We really do love to be with each other.  Our personalities complement each other.

Once I cut back on EVERYTHING I was then able to slowly add things back into my life.  I am still not working.  I have checked my recent emails, but not gone back very far yet. I have been back in my book club, my craft club and gone to lunch and play dates. I even hosted a ladies night out party at my house. Our homeschool is slowly coming back to the old schedule of more work.  However, I do think we just might keep this year fairly easy the rest of the way… I still make my husband take me out.  We still text and talk often.  He even makes sure to take days off just for our family time.  That is REALLY NICE!  We are getting used to my brother living here, which was our biggest challenge.  It’s like having another kid, but I don’t have the control or authority over him like I do my kids.  So that has been a personal struggle for me. 

I had given up most hope of my life every going back to what I would call normal. I was definitely in a depression. Then when I was at the park with my friend and she recommended a book to me, Remembering Wholeness by Carol Tuttle.  I did this book on audio book every chance I could get.  I am a big fan.  She talks a lot about personal change and spirituality.  I’ve never been into the you can create your own future thing.  I mean I know you have some say, but she taught me how to change things now, today! Her book and the things I have learned from it, the future I have been creating from it have been simply amazing.  I have the faith in myself that I can do great things in my life now.  I have so much more confidence then I had.

My plan is to begin her next book The Child Whisperer.

I am back on track and I am feeling gggreat!!

So know that when your life is falling apart right before your eyes, take time to stop it and change it.  YOU HAVE THE POWER!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Talking Shapes- A Preschool Reading App


Talking Fingers is a company that was established in 1994 by the same team of researchers that were a part of California Neuropsychology Services (CNS), a non-profit organization for research and education which was established in 1982.  They have since created many research-proven products.

Their most recent creation is Talking Shapes.

Talking Shapes is a new iPad app teaching children that letters are just talking shapes that stand for each speech sound.  This app is aimed at the preschool and kindergarten age but

I have been loosely researching Dyslexia. In my research of that I have found that it is best for children to use as many of their senses as they can to learn a letter.  This app uses 3 of our 5 senses to teach phonemic awareness.

Sight- you see the sounds/letters

Hearing- you hear the sounds

Touch- you trace the letters

and you also

Say- the sounds (out loud into the microphone which uses voice recognition)

So by using all these you truly get interactive learning. 

When you first start the app you get 3 choices.

  • Read To Me
  • Draw Letters
  • Play Game

In Read To Me you choose from 3 stories, each story uses all the interactive ways I told you about above. 


Throughout the story the reader uses positive reinforcement to let the kids know they are doing a good job.  My son’s face lights up when she would say Good Job!

In Draw Letters you choose one of the three books to draw letters out of.  It has you say sounds, then trace the sounds all while interacting with you. It doesn’t let you turn the page until you interact with it, well it does after two chances which worked well for us since our iPad has a case over the microphone it didn’t pick up our voices very well.

In the Game You choose one of the three books again to start with. You then choose to Find the Shapes, Find the Letters, or Draw the Letters.  At the end you find a picture and then match the words to sentences as it reads you a short funny story. 


A day/week in our life:

I chose to review this with my 4 year old in mind.  He does use it quite often and it has helped him immensely in his letter and sound recognition. It has even helped him to spell simple 3 letter CVC words like Hat, Cat, Fat, Sat, and many more. I appreciate that since it shows that letters make sounds at more than just the beginning of the words.

Our thoughts and feelings:

Apps and electronic learning are really all the rage today.  While I have wavered back and forth about the use of them.  Sometimes I am all gung ho and other times I am like we are having an electronic free day, or week…

It seems to me that apps are either fun or educational, they are very rarely both.  I can generally get my kids to use an educational app for a certain length of time but they always go back to the fun less educational apps. 

Talking Shapes is different.  It is both fun and educational.  This app can hold my preschoolers attention and he loves the interactive learning.

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


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Motivated Moms

About The Company:

Motivated Moms is a company started by two moms who created a system designed to help you complete chores and tasks throughout the year so that you don’t spend your entire day doing housework.

They have an app for the IOS system and one for the Google system. (Some reviewers reviewed the app, be sure and click on the link at the bottom of the post to see more reviews.)

The Motivated Moms Planner is a simple well thought out planner that makes keeping house easy.  Literally!

The planner is not meant to cause stress it is meant to make your life so much simpler. 

How does it do that you ask?

By simply taking all the thinking out of it. Tasks are planned out for you each day.  Don’t go thinking this means you are not in control, you still are.  There are ways to personalize it and delegate tasks by using a highlighter.  There are also extra lines to be able to add tasks.  For example personalize it to your garbage day by quickly writing in garbage day on each day it is your garbage day.

The choices in a e-book planner are tremendous.  I chose the half size chore planner.  $8. 



About The Product:

The half size chore planner printed two weeks per page.  I tried to save paper and printed mine double sided.  That did not work out to have the pages in order.  I was kind of frustrated about that whole ordeal.  But afterword, I figured what does it matter. It’s not like they have to be in order. I only have to find the page once a week and they are generally close in the vicinity of the previous weeks page.  After using the planner, it really wasn’t an issue.


Ok- Each page or week on the planner has a list of things to be done daily. Things like:

  • Make Bed
  • Feed Pets
  • Sweep floor
  • Empty Garbage
  • Dishes
  • Vitamins
  • Laundry
  • and more

Each Item has a checkbox for each day of the week. You just check off when you do the item. There are blank lines too, so you can add to your daily list if you need to.


Each Page has a list of the days.  Under each day there is a list of chores for that day.  Along with checkmarks and blank lines to add your own chores.

Some examples of these chores are:

  • Change sheets
  • Water plants
  • Sweep porch
  • Clean bathroom counters
  • Straighten Closet
  • and more

These chores are what I considered the extras.  My main priority was to get all the daily ones done by either doing them myself or delegating out the task to another family member.  I also worked the second list of chores the same as far as delegating them out. 

Our thoughts and feelings:

This chore list works well for me.  My kids know where I look to assign chores and this way the house can run fairly smoothly if I am not around to assign chores or haven’t done it yet. 

I do like that it is the smaller half page papers and takes up less space on my shelf.  I even got a small half page size binder for the pages to go in.  I appreciate the simple black and white basic look as far as printer ink goes.  I wish I had chosen the color option as it is something I get to look at all year round.   That was my choice. 

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



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