Hey, It's Jade!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Week 19

All week:
(No daily update since we did the same type of stuff every day this week...)
- Daily devotionals and Bible reading each day.
Reading his devo  & eating an apple.

- We started going over 'sight words'... mostly just because it came up in his Reader Rabbit workbook.  The kid is reading already, it's a little late to teach him to read by recognizing words, he already does that.  But, I figured we could just get through it quickly.  He pretty much looked at me like I was crazy as I was explaining why they're 'sight words' because "duh, mom, I already know how to ACTUALLY READ!"  Haha.  He didn't say that, of course, but I have a feeling he was thinking it.  Anyway, easy stuff there.
Great job at coloring!
- We've talked about continents several times, but we are going over all of them this week in a little more depth.  Using the Usborne Picture Atlas to expand on some things - of course there is A LOT of information in that book, so we're not really going over all of it.  Just trying to give him an idea of what the continents are like.  I am awful at geography, so this stuff is good for me as well!  I'm learning too! 
Finding Africa on the globe.
Reading interesting facts about Africa.
We took a family trip to the library on Tuesday and checked out several continent books.


 - We did several pages of addition problems in his little math workbook - the one I picked up in the Dollar Spot at Target.  Haha, whatever works.  =)

Thursday evening I came down with a stomach bug (or food poisoning, still not sure which), and Preston soon followed my lead.  The both of us were a mess all nite long and into the morning.  So, Friday, there was definitely no 'school.'  I am soooo thankful that Michael and Callen stayed clean, whew!  Preston and I were fully recovered by Saturday morning!  It's been a while since I've had to hurl that much, that hard... I certainly don't wanna do it again for a while, thanks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mabel's Labels Review & Giveaway (Closed)


Congratulations to Commenter #1: Natalie!  She picked up the Mabel's Labels Promo Item Prize Pack!  Thanks to everyone that checked out my blog and entered this giveaway!

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Mabel's Labels are super handy for keeping track of your stuff... and especially your kids' stuff!  In fact, their mottos is "Labels for the stuff kids lose!"  They have many, many different kinds of labels.  Sticky labels for your bottles or sippy cups that are dishwasher and microwave safe.  Labels that can be ironed onto kids' clothes that will survive the washing machine.  Labels to stick to the inside of their shoes even!  There are metal dog-tag type labels for backpacks and bags.  Mabel's Labels also offers household labels to organize your spices or left-overs.  They have stationary cards and return address labels.  And they have allergy alert labels or kid 4-1-1 bracelets, all in the name of safety!  So, you can see they have lots of variety in their labels.  But what makes them really special?  Their adorable designs and colors!


A tiny little icon for just about any occasion, personality or decor!  I, of course, chose the adorable spotted cow for our sticky labels.  They're super cute!  I use them on sippy cups, toys and back in October, I even used them to make sure we kept track of our Halloween bags.  Worked like a charm!


Giveaway: I have a cute Mabel's Labels prize pack to give away.  It features an adorable cloth tote bag with the Mabel's Labels humming bird design in orange and red, along with a sticky notepad, a "baby sitter info" notepad, a "be sure to pick up" grocery list notepad and a  pen/highlighter.  To enter, check out the website Mabel.ca, then come back and leave a comment on this post letting me know which of their products you like the best and how you would use it.  I will accept entries through Tuesday, February 1st at 10pm (Central).  I will use random.org to pick a winning comment and post the winner here.  Please leave  an email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you win.

Unfortunately, the prize pack does not include any actual Mabel's Labels labels.  Let me know if you are interested in purchasing some, though, because I might have a coupon code you can use to save yourself some money!


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and I receive free Mabel's Labels products for my involvement.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Wish It was Family Night EVERY Night...

On Tuesday, we got out and enjoyed the sunshine.  Michael and I took the boys to the park.  Preston rode his 4-wheeler thing and Callen got a ride in the stroller.  It was a great way to start off the evening.  We followed it up with Family Night at Chickfila, then a trip to the library, and finished off with a movie: The Absent Minded Professor.  Hooray for mid-week family time!  Here are two cute pix from the park...

My 'emo boy' was resting, or so he said.
My 'snaggle-tooth swinger' was so happy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What I Say, What They Hear...

Me to Preston: You play in your room quietly while I take a shower (thinking: and get a break from you!).
What Preston hears: Come in the bathroom every two minutes to ask completely random questions.

Me to Callen: Good nite, baby, sleep allllll nite long!
What Callen hears: Wake up every two hours and demand to nurse every time.

Me to Preston: Your brother is sleeping, please play quietly.
What Preston hears: Play as loud as I can, bang and crash every toy I own, sing at the top of my lungs.

Me to Callen: Don't grab the spoon while I'm trying to get the food in your mouth.
What Callen hears: Grab the spoon!  Grab the spoon!  Fling the food off the spoon!

Me to Preston: You have to wait until I'm done feeding Callen to play with your DS, don't ask me again.
What Preston hears: Ask again every two seconds. Now? Now? Now?  Now?

Me to Callen: I'm going to put you down for a minute, don't fuss.
What Callen hears: She's going to put me down and wants me to scream my head off. WAAAAA!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Week 18

We are 18 weeks into Kindergarten?  Already!  Eek!  I've tried to post fun things we've been doing on this blog since we started, but I want to start posting more highlights from school each week. Every day we start with the Jesus Calling Devotional (the one I reviewed) and Scripture, then do 4 or 5 more 'subjects' or activities.  Here are a few of the things we did this week...

Monday:
 - Preston has been struggling with his letters lately, so I had him write his capital and lower case alphabet in his BEST WRITING on his "Biggest Picture Ever!*" and when he really tried, his letters came out perfect!  I knew he had it in him, he was just being lazy.
- It was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I read part of his "I Have a Dream" speech to Preston as he colored a picture. And see how nice his letters are here?!?!  SEEEEE!
- We discussed how there are "cool" colors and "warm" colors.  We looked at some painting as examples and I had him paint me something in "cool" colors.  He said he wanted it to be abstract.

Tuesday:
- We worked on syllables and recapped the 7 continents, poles, and directions (N,E,S,W) on the globe.
- Discussed place value, how to read long numbers and where the commas go.  I was VERY impressed with how quickly Preston picked this up!  And, he was able to read a long number (it was a million something!) for Daddy at dinner.  This is BIG because usually at dinner, he says he's forgotten everything and can't recall anything that we did that morning.  Ha!
- Went over different kinds of lines you see in art (straight, curved, zigzag, etc).
Drawing lines in his "Line Book"
Callen gets a little bored during school.
Wednesday & Thursday:
- Worked on place value with a couple of base ten worksheets.
- Looked at a few paintings, discussed lines, colors and mood.

Friday:
We tend to take it easy on Fridays and not do much - if anything. 
- Preston's only real assignment that day was to draw a picture in his Bible notebook about something we learned or talked about regarding God this week.  He drew a picture of him being led by the Holy Spirit.  Super cute!  There are these little fires on the ground with arrows pointing, like follow this way!  He came up with that on his own!  Love that!

All in all, it was a better week than most.  Only a few instances of defiance or "I don't wanna reaaaadddd."  So, I can't complain too much.  He got to spend the nite with his Grandma Darlene and Grandpa David on Friday nite...I think that's a pretty good reward for having a good week in school.  =)



* Preston's "Biggest Picture Ever!" idea was stolen from Ramona & Beezus (I think that's the only part of the movie he remembers), then implemented when the UPS man delivered a giant box of diapers (woo, deal on Amazon) and inside was a long sheet of brown paper (packing material) - perfect for Preston to draw on!  The first day he drew just a little bit on the paper and declared he was done, and we should hang it up!  I have convinced him that it's something we can add on to as we go - and so far, when I want him to work on something specific (like writing his alphabet, for example), doing it on the "Biggest Picture Ever!" makes it way more exciting.  Also, Daddy promised to hang it up on the wall in the garage when we're done.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Beth Brown


The Faith of Ronald Reagan, by Mary Beth Brown, was written because so many other biographies and articles written about the former president leave out a very important part of his life.  You can guess by the title, I'm talking about Reagan's faith.  He was a strong believer in God, Jesus Christ, prayer and the Bible.  Brown's book is chock full of Reagan's own words regarding these subjects - whether they were spoken candidly to his own children, written in letters to friends or spoken clearly in his many great speeches.  Brown also takes the reader through Reagan's history, from childhood to his passing, emphasizing the huge impact his mother's faith had on him all through his life.  Ronald Reagan was a man truly blessed by God in many ways.  He lived through hard times, he rose in fame and power, he loved and lost, but through it all his faith remained firm.  He believe God had a plan for him, and he was willing to let God lead.

I am not big on politics, and thankfully this book does not go down that road... it is a pleasant, interesting read.  I learned facts about the assassination attempt that I never before, I learned about Reagan's first marriage and more about his beautiful relationship with Nancy, but mostly I learned that Reagan was a man of his word and a man of God's word.  He prayed constantly, he allowed God to rule his life and his decisions.  He wasn't a perfect man, by any means... but he did what he thought was right based on Biblical principals.  I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would... I really found the fact that Reagan's faith such a vital role in his life to be of great comfort and interest.

I review for BookSneeze
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Overwhelming Inspiration...

I love Google Reader.  I spent a whole day recently organizing my RSS feeds.  Why did it take me a whole day?  Because I'm crazy and subscribe to WAYYYY too many blogs.  That's why.  But, I love reading blogs.  Well, some blogs.  Certain blogs that inspire me, or inform me or entertain me.  I have three different sets of blogs in my feed: Deal Blogs, Homeschool Blogs and Friend Blogs.  

I'm not really subscribed to that many "Friend Blogs" so those are easy to keep on top of.  The Deal Blogs are updated constantly all day long, so they are never-ending.  The Homeschool Blogs are each usually updated once a day or every other day, so there aren't as many filling up my feed, but these are the ones I spend more time on.  These are the ones I have to find time to sit and read through.  They are inspiring.  And completely overwhelming!  I find myself in awe of these moms who are so amazing at doing what they do - y'know, being a mom!  I don't know how they do it.  I have two kids.  These moms average 5 or so.  They keep their house in tip-top shape, they cook amazing meals every day, they school, play and take care of their 5 or so children... and they have time to sit and blog and create things to share with the rest of us.  HOW DO THEY DO IT?!?!?  They have these amazing plans, schedules, ideas, talents and apparently an unending supply of energy and patience.  I am jealous of them.  I rarely have any of those things, let alone any at the same time!

So, I love reading these blogs and gleaning ideas and inspiration from them (and stealing their pre-made worksheets and games), but they also beat me down.  Because they make me look like a bum!  Why can't I think of that stuff?  Why don't I take the time to do that with my kids?  Why am I hoping we can just have Taco Bell for dinner again? Oh, right... because I'm sitting here reading all these blogs instead of actually DOING THINGS!  Duh, Jade!  The only thing that keeps me going is when these Super Moms post blogs admitting that they, too, have off days.  They fail at things.  They don't know what they're doing here and there.  Oh my gosh, they ARE human?  Yay!  What?  Is that mean?  It's just nice to know that I'm not the only one who has to call off school for the day.  The only one who has to call off EVERYTHING for the day!

Isn't it bizarre you can feel so connected to and interested in people you've never met in your life, and probably never will?  You've never met them, but you can totally look into their lives, take from their experiences, get encouragement from their highs (and lows!) and just generally be "friends."  Oh, sweet World Wide Web... what would I do without you? [Answer: I'd probably have a house that is much cleaner, children who have more attention paid to them, more time to figure out a meal plan, etc...]

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Human Body Unit Study

Over the past two weeks, Preston and I worked on a unit study of the human body.  I picked out a unit study book from the The Bookcover (a home school book store in NRHills) a while back and was looking forward to making good use of it.  I figured that we would need some sort of structure coming off of Christmas break, so this worked well.  The book had a lot of activities that would be over Preston's head (it was made for kids a little older) but I went through customized it a bit.  What I liked was that it based most of it's activities and lessons off of two books: The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body and Through Grandpa's Eyes.  I got a little overzealous the first few days and Preston fought against me and my enthusiasm.  So, I laid off a little and we did less work, but talked and got through all the material I wanted to anyway.  I wish I had taken more photos during our lessons, 'cause we had a lot of fun doing all kinds of wacky things to learn about the body. 

The first thing we did was make an outline of Preston, label it and post it up on our wall so that we could refer to as we went.
He's saying "It's MEEEE!"
Then we made our way through the Magic School Bus book and lessons, learning about the inside of our body.  How many bones we have, what happens to food in our stomach, what joints do, etc.  He had writing prompts, math problems and art projects in addition to the science-y stuff.  We also did an activity where he practiced a few things every day and by the 5th day, his muscles "learned" - so he could jump farther, write faster and stand on one foot longer... that was pretty fun stuff!
Lots of paperwork, no wonder he got tired of me!
The artsy stuff was more fun to do anyway!
The second week was based on the book about a blind grandfather, and dealt a lot with the five senses and eating healthy.  There were a lot of activities that weren't paper-based, which Preston much preferred, of course.  But he still had writing prompts and some questions to answer and think about.
Not quite as much paperwork the next week

We went to the library at the beginning of the unit study and picked out some books about the body to help us learn more.  We had a good time going through these and finding out all kinds of interesting facts about what we're made of... or capable of!



Unfortunately, towards the beginning of the second week, Preston got sick... and then Callen did as well.  Just a cold or something, but it ran us down!  We spent a little more time on the couch watching tv and movies than we might should have... but oh well, we got our work done and had a nice, cozy time together.
Loving his Boppy, watching The Little Mermaid.
PJs, couch and movies - we had several days of this!
I liked having a unit study book to work off of, took a lot of stress off of me having to come up with every little thing completely on my own.  I had to alter the lessons quite a bit, but it sure made me feel like I knew what I was doing a little more - at least I had some sort of a plan.  Ha!  Now that the body study is over, we're going back to the way it was before Thanksgiving - just hitting on odd-and-end lessons... but I plan to do more of these unit studies as we go to help make sure we're really covering things fully.  I think Preston liked being able to focus on one thing at a time. Though it covered all of the different subjects (reading, writing, math, etc), it had a main focus - wasn't just all over the place.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nothing to report...

...but sickness.  Meh.  Preston and Callen have been nothing but giant snot globs for nearly a week now.  Preston seems to be practically over it, and Callen on the mend.  But, it's still so hard to see my little baby drowning in snot and coughing and not really being able to do much about it.  Poor little fella.  Michael and I also got some of "it" as well, whatever "it" is.  So... yeah... that's about all that's going on around these parts.  Carry on.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak Review & Giveaway (Closed)


Congratulations to Liz! Thanks to everyone for entering!

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Left Behind Games sent me a copy of their Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak PC CD-ROM game.  This package combines three different sets of games, each designed specially for children at different stages.We did not sample the Preschool level, however it states on the box that it is for ages 2-4 and offers games based on shapes, colors, numbers, letters and more. 

We started with the Kindergarten game for my son (age 5), who is currently being homeschooled at a Kindergarten level.  These games, for ages 4-6, offer lessons on counting, sequencing, sorting, measurements and more through Bible stories Each game allows the player to get involved in the story.  For example, in the story of the Widow who's sons are being sold because she cannot pay her debt, the player must help her find empty bottles in which to pour her oil.  The player is given instructions to find the bottles which are hidden behind other objects, honing directional skills (left, right, above, below).  This particular set of games (even on the second level - which is slightly more difficult) was not very challenging for Preston, however he enjoyed playing them.

We moved on and spent more time on the Early Elementary Level, slated for ages 6-8.  Games in this area focus on adding, subtracting, spelling, telling time and more.  Many of these games WERE challenging for Preston!  He can add and subtract a little, but the David & Goliath game required him to be able to do the math and think quickly enough to hit a moving target and the "Pearl of Great Price" game had him using coins to pay for items, requiring him to be able to add up to 99cents.  Most of the games had him using skills he has, he just needs to work on doing them faster to rack up more points!  With three difficulty levels, I imagine it will be a while before he gets bored of this one!

What Preston liked about this game set is that there are many different types of games and stories that he can navigate between, which will help keep him from burning out on it quickly.  I really expected this game to be cheesy and overly simplified, but I was pleasantly surprised at the great animation and the funny little things included to keep it fun for kids (and parents!  The random accents from some of the characters had me cracking up!). And one of my favorite parts included David getting a call on his cell phone to take food out to his brothers... and what does he take them?  Pizza, of course!   It also really does do a great job of helping kids learn, not only math and spelling, but Bible stories as well!  It brings the scriptures to life, and gets the kids involved! The different levels of Charlie Church Mouse games can be purchased separately, or as the Super Pak here.

I am giving away a copy of Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak right here on my blog!  To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me what your favorite game was as a kid.  Please also include your email address so I can contact you if you win!  Comments will be accepted through Friday, January 14th, at 9pm (central).  Prize will be mailed, unless I see you on a regular basis... then you'll get it in person!

I was provided with two games, one for my own use for review purposes and one to give away.  The review stated above is my own, honest opinion.

Monday, January 10, 2011

10 Month Update!

I almost missed it! Callen is 10 months old today! Wow, time is flying by... just a few more months and he'll be :::gasp::: ONE YEAR OLD! That's stinkin' ridiculous!

This past month:
- he's mastered the point (with his adorable, crooked, little finger).
- he forgot, then remembered how to wave (kind of).
- he can definitely clap on cue. Even if he hears applause on TV, he'll join in!
- is clearly saying "Da da," "Ma ma," "Buh buh" and the latest: "ball," which we think pretty much refers to any toy, not necessarily just an actual ball, and sounds more like "baww."
- he popped out a big 'ole top tooth, and the other is nearing the surface.
- he experienced his first Christmas, New Years and snow.
- he currently has his first cold. Boooo! Not fun, poor snotty fella!

Here's a video of Callen and Preston being silly on the living room floor. Callen LOVES his Boppy, he cuddles with it every chance he gets. He will also sometimes get mad if Preston is on it!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby's First Snow!

Well, it didn't stick...but it was lovely anyway!  Preston has the sniffles and a cough so we didn't let him get out and play in it (plus it was mostly rain and slush anyway, not that fun to play in), but Michael took the boys out for a quick minute.  It was Callen's first snow afterall!

What is going on out there?!?!
Whatever it is, I like it!





Coming in after a few minutes of fun!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Praise Champion: Karaoke World Tour Review & Giveaway (Closed)


Congratulations to Vasha! Thanks to everyone for entering, and watch for another PC-ROM review and game giveaway next week!

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Left Behind Games sent me their PC CD-ROM game entitled Praise Champion: Karaoke World Tour. This game touts 40 Christian songs, including stuff from Kari Jobe, Lincoln Brewster, Paul Baloche and more.  It also includes 20 Christmas songs.  You have the ability to take part in singing lessons, sing along to the track, record your performances, unlock new venues and outfits to wear and more.  A microphone is included in the box, along with an adapter to fit it to your computer.  The gist of the game is much like Rock Band (minus the instruments), in that you must at least try to hit the notes, though you don't have to get the words correct.  There are mini-games that help you learn pitch and tone, and practice singing to the tracks.  You start out performing in your garage, and as you improve, you get to move up into bigger venues and become more of a star!  We... couldn't get past the garage... and we constantly made the dogs next door (on the game) howl.  Personally, I thought that was a hilarious extra in the game.

I thought my family and I would enjoy this game together, especially since it came right before Christmas and included 20 Christmas songs!  My husband spent a great deal of time attempting to get it to install on our PC, with no luck. It did, however, install just fine on our laptop.  Then, the adapter was broken so we couldn't plug the microphone into the laptop...we had to find another one.  So, once we were finally ready to sing, we were already a bit worn out.  We loaded up the Christmas songs and got ready!  My 5-year-old learned a lot of Christmas carols this year and was ready to belt them out, however the words flew by much too quickly for him to be able to read or follow along and he found it a bit overwhelming.  Also, having worked in the Christian Rock music industry for nearly 9 years, I thought for sure I'd be familiar with most of the songs on this game.  I wasn't.  I only knew a handful of the songs and had never heard of most of the artists.  Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the selections and lack of adjusting you could do to the tracks.  It would be nice to be able to slow them down or add in a background voice to assist you in getting the melody correct. 

If you are a better singer than anyone in my family is, or you are more familiar with praise and worship music, then you might enjoy this game a little more.  The graphics aren't bad, and I'm sure it's a lot more fun if you can actually advance in levels and do more with it.  We didn't have the talent or patience for it, unfortunately.  You can purchase extra microphones so that you sing along with other people as well!  This PC game retails for $29.99 and be found here or in stores like Family Christian, Lifeway, Walmart and more.  This game is rated E for "Everyone."

I am giving away a copy of Praise Champion: Karaoke World Tour right here on my blog!  It includes the CD ROM, microphone and (working) adapter.  To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me which worship song or Christmas carol is your favorite (it doesn't have to be on this game, just any will do!).  Please also include your email address so I can contact you if you win!  Comments will be accepted through Friday, January 7th, at 9pm (central).  Prize will be mailed, unless I see you on a regular basis... then you'll get it in person!

I was provided with two games, one for my own use for review purposes and one to give away.  The review stated above is my own, honest opinion.

P.S. Next week, I will be reviewing and giving away Charlie Church Mouse Super Pak (a 3 game set for ages 2-8)!  Stay tuned for that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Family Movie Night: A Change of Plans Review

I was given the chance to preview the latest Family Night Movie, Change of Plans, which airs January 8th on FOX, and stars Brooke White (American Idol, Season 7), Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show).  I love the Family Night Movies because it's rare that we are able to watch things on TV, other than cartoons, with Preston (age 5).  I was equally excited to see this film because that particular season of American Idol was the only one  I actually followed, and I LOVED Brooke White!  So it was nice to get a chance to see her again, and this time as an actress.

The story is somewhat predictable, but presented in a very modern, up-to-date way.  Married couple, Sally and Jason, are busy with their individual careers, but suddenly find themselves taking in four kids after Sally's best friend dies.  Three of the four kids were adopted from third world countries, and all of them had lived in Uganda - so not only do they have to deal with the death of their parents and being put into the custody of strangers, but also go through the experience of culture shock from being put into American schools.  Sally and Jason find themselves having to quickly learn what it takes to be responsible parents and struggle to keep it all together - their careers, their marriage and their sanity.  As I said, the storyline is a bit predictable, and  I also felt like some of the scenes were a bit clumsy or over-simplified... as in, they glossed over some situations that could have used some more depth.  But, it was a sweet story, and I really enjoyed watch Brooke as an actress, she seemed pretty natural in the role. The movie is cute, and definitely family friendly for all ages... though it may not hold the attention of younger children.
Click on the image above to see the trailer and register to win an HDTV, portable DVD player, DVD copies of the movie and more!  To enter, fill out the form that comes up once the trailer ends.

I'm looking forward to the movie airing, because the version I viewed still had some editing and technical work to be done.  Change of Plans airs on FOX on January 8th at 8/7c.