Feb 042014
 

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I have two very different  children. One who fights me on phonics work. And I mean it can be a knock out, dragged kicking and screaming fight some days. I think part of the issues we have is because I let myself get pressured into trying to teach her how to read when she was still a toddler and wasn’t ready for it. Me pushing her to fast has come back and bitten us in the rear end numerous times. She has herself convinced she can’t read, so if she doesn’t get something right the first time, she gives up.

My other child is very laid back towards reading. She likes things to be fun. At least her version of fun. She loves computer games and movies.

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I was very excited to get to try Reading Eggs with both of my children. And they were both super excited to try a fun computer game. Reading Eggs was designed for children ages 3-13.

I had them each take the placement test so they could start where they were ready. I do need to warn you, the youngest didn’t want to take the placement test, so she did purposefully miss enough to get it over with. She was started on a level about 15/20 below where she should have been. She was claimed she was bored taking the test and wanted to go play (she’s 5). She then breezed through many levels of Reading Eggs in one day and is now to where it is starting to be a bit more of a challenge. The eldest started at about where she really is in her phonics journey due to test placement. She didn’t try to get it over with like her sister did.

They both enjoy playing the games on Reading Eggs. It presents new concepts in a fun and playful way, and at the end of each lesson (various activities through each stop on the map) they get a new character to hatch who says a rhyme. They get so excited to see who is being hatched next.

Since we started with our trial of Reading Eggs, I have noticed both girls just reading things in public way more than they used to. In fact, it is more organic with their reading signs, boxes at the grocery store, seeing random things out in public. They just blurt out the words they see and think nothing of their new skill. When asked how they knew what it was they just blurted out, they say amazed, I just read that! They don’t even realize they are reading things, just going ahead and doing it (which is a HUGE thing for my eldest who always even resisted trying to read things because she knew she would fail. She just is doing it now without the pressure she was putting on herself, and the transformation has been wonderful.)

I like how fun they think Reading Eggs is. I also like how after we got through the very simple assessment, and after I sat with them for a few lessons to make sure they understood what to do, I can walk off and make a cup of tea or work on another subject with the child not on the computer. It has helped me to balance my time between the girls and their very different educational needs. And I will also admit, having them do some school work online has also allowed me to get the housework done a bit better through the day (dusting in the living room, quickly cleaning the toilet) as I do not have to sit there coaching them through the whole process. It has given me some time for other tasks (even taking a shower, which us homeschool moms know can be quite a treat to get during the day) while not ignoring their education. I’m not advocating leaving them to their devices on this, but it doesn’t take as much supervision to use this program after they get acclimated so you can get a few other things done, yet still being available to help. It is fostering their independence which is a big thing, especially for our youngest.

I love how it emails me with a child report after a child gets through certain markers in the program so I know where each child is in their learning without having to go digging around in the program itself.

Reading Eggs Read to Cure Challenge Badge

Right now, Reading Eggs is partnering with the National Children’s Cancer Society for a Read to a Cure. Each person who signs up for a free trial of Reading Eggs (a 5 week trial) will have a dollar donated to the NCCS. The trial is risk-free and you don’t need a payment method for it either, so you have nothing to lose if you want to try it. Children can also earn prizes during the Read to a Cure event. Check it out!  (new customers only for the trial)

You can find Reading Eggs on their:

Website

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

PINTEREST

YOUTUBE

and their BLOG

To see what others had to say about their experience with Reading Eggs, check out the REVIEWS at Home and School Mosaics!

Feb 032014
 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

DVD cover of Unstoppable

 

Have you ever questioned why there is so much pain and suffering in the world? Felt like giving up your faith in God when it seems that He hasn’t come through for you and answered your prayers the way in which you wanted them to be answered?

I think most of us have been in the place where we question over the tragedies we face and the suffering we are witness to and go through ourselves. In Unstoppable, Kirk Cameron takes a look at how merciful and sovereign God really is and shows how through Creation and the Fall of Man, and really the entirety of the the Old Testament how God used the worst circumstances ever to draw people unto Himself.

The approach is pretty novel in this DVD. In it, we are shown through a documentary style and dramas how God has taken the worst events in the history of creation and used them for His greater plan and to point people to Him, and how He did it years after the fact. He also wove in the story of Matthew, a child who died from cancer, and how despite the prayers for God to heal him, God decided to call him home, and how the life of one person can affect the lives of many, and while Matthew’s death seems absolutely horrifying to us now, that there was a plan that God will use to His glory.

I really like the concept of presenting theology in an easy to understand way for the average person. The interweaving of documentary style presentation along with drama was a novel concept for me. I wasn’t too fond of the amount of black and white used for the duration of the film, and the first half, while very well done, felt like it took a while to get to the point and was  a bit choppy feeling, in my opinion. That said, that is a matter of preference, and I truly think this is a great film to introduce what is a very complex theological issue to people who are not so inclined to think about theology, those new in the faith, those going through a horrific trial in their lives and those searching for God.

If you wish to win a copy of Unstoppable, please take a moment and use the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the post. I’m sorry, the Rafflecopter was being wonky, so leave a comment on the bottom of this post if you want to win, a comment will be selected on Monday, February 10 to win. If you’ve won a copy of Unstoppable on another blog, you are not qualified to win at this time. Please, also if you have won off this blog in the past year, please let others have a chance to win. Giveaway ends on Friday February 7, 2014. The winner will be emailed by Created for Home and will have 48 hours to send in their mailing address so I can get it forwarded to Propellor so they can send out the prize. Winners from the US and Canada only due to shipping restrictions.

ABOUT UNSTOPPABLE

Inspired by the death of Cameron’s close friend who succumbed to cancer at the age of 15, Kirk Cameron takes viewers on an inspiring and hope-filled visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raising question in faith: “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”

Going back to the beginning—literally—Kirk investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities. UNSTOPPABLE will prompt audiences to consider the role that pain and suffering has in our lives, as they affirm their personal views on faith, and encourage conversation starters about God, suffering, and hope.

In theaters for only two weeknights (Sept 24th and Oct 3th, 2013), UNSTOPPABLE: A Live Event with Kirk Cameron sold a staggering 260,000 tickets and reached a theatrical gross of over $3.2 million dollars. In just two nights this independent project sent a loud message – audiences want thought-provoking and meaningful entertainment.

Kirk Cameron is best known for his memorable role as “Mike Seaver,” a cultural icon of the 80′s, with his mullet hairstyle, cool glasses, and wisecracking comebacks. More recently he enjoyed much success with the No. 1 grossing inspirational film of 2008, Fireproof, and his recent documentary, Monumental. Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, were on-screen sweethearts during their Growing Pains years and are the founders of Camp Firefly, where terminally and seriously ill children and their families are provided an all-expense paid retreat (www.CampFirefly.com). Together, Kirk and Chelsea live in California with their six children.

 

About Provident Films:

Provident Films, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, produces, markets, and distributes faith-based films. The company is part of Nashville-based Provident Music Group, which has been one of the world’s leading Christian entertainment companies for more than three decades.  Films from the company have included Courageous, October Baby, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. More info is available at ProvidentFilms.org.

Again, to win your copy, leave a comment on the end of this post just telling me you wish to win…A winner will be chosen on Monday February 10, 2014. Again, my apologies for the inability to use the previous methods of entry.

Congratulations Nick! An email has been sent to the address you provided, I hope you enjoy this film!

 

Jan 202014
 

The following is a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone. No compensation was received. And thanks to the state I live in with passing new tax laws in the last year, I am not an affiliate for anyone so clicking on a link on my blog doesn’t bring me any compensation for any of the work put into it.

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Do you have a child longing to learn to type? One who has a problem sitting still and concentrating for prolonged periods of time?

What if your child could master typing in about six months with just fifteen minutes of concentrated work a day?

Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t.

KEYBOARD CLASSROOM may be your answer.

It focuses on five skills that build upon each other to become a fluent typist, coupled with plastic finger guides that attach to your keyboard with velcro to keep your child’s hands in the correct positions.

I really appreciate how Keyboard Classroom is graded by the program and it won’t let the student move on until acceptable mastery has been achieved with the correct number of keystrokes in the timed lesson.

This is  well thought out program and I wish this is how I learned to type. It is pretty much self-paced and after the first several lessons, your child will be able to start to do them with less supervision from you.

There are a few drawbacks tough. The finger guides are not compatible with a laptop, so you will have to use a regular keyboard with them. And in my opinion, they are rather high, so children with shorter fingers (like mine) will have issues with how high they ride and rub on their fingers.

Some people may not appreciate the fact they assign military ranks to your child as they progress through the program. Being a military brat myself, I have no problem with it. Though, it would appeal to boys more than it did the girls. Not having any sons, I couldn’t tell you if mine would have preferred it.

You do have to have an internet connection to play the reward games. We didn’t, as we do severely limit screen/internet time for our children.

This is a single license software. You can buy a family license for a bit more (which is a WAY better deal if you have multiple children, license is good for up to five children for one computer).

I don’t like attaching anything to our keyboards or putting velcro on them. I would have preferred more of an elastic band to hold the finger guides in place than velcro. I also would love to see a version of the finger guides come out that would be laptop compatible. Perhaps even developing a special keyboard with built in finger guides and color coded caps on the keys (removable so as the child progresses the caps could be removed) that you could plug into a laptop or use in place of a regular keyboard on a standard CPU would be wonderful in the future.

I also wish the website had more information on it about the program. There is a FAQ section, but it was harder than I would have liked to find the methods of the program, the whys and hows of the program.

Are my children proficient typists? Not yet, mainly due to their ages and spelling capabilities. However, this is a great program to get your child to learn to type in short amounts of time.

Jan 172014
 

Blue banner with outlines of the continents on it with an airplane proclaiming my participation in Fawn Weaver's Happy Wive's Club Blog Tour

This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

I wasn’t given the world’s greatest example of what a happy marriage looked like. I had an example of people who barely tolerated each other and life was miserable in the home. I didn’t realize how not-ideal this was growing up as it was all I knew.

I moved away for college and the church I chose to attend while there had some terrific people in it. I watched their marriages and was amazed to see people who not only were civil to each other, but they genuinely seemed to care for each other, had fun together and really did enjoy spending time together. Their children seemed to be happy with life at home too. Seeing married people happy with their spouses was a foreign concept to me at the time. Seeing happy marriages (not to say marriages that didn’t have their struggles, but these people came through them stronger than ever) caused me to start pondering how different they were from my family growing up and I started researching marriage, relationships and studying those marriages I came into contact with.

Fast forward to my marriage. It is radically different than that of my parents. HubbaHubba and I truly do enjoy spending time together, we rarely have disagreements (we do, but they are rather rare), and I honestly can’t imagine being blessed with a husband better than HubbaHubba. It isn’t this great giant secret to how we are so happy together. It is rather simple, but it does take work and commitment.

First, we are best friends. I know that sounds cliche’ but we truly are the best of friends. We have a lot of the same interests, we find things we both enjoy to do together. We line up in theology and parenting style. In fact, before HubbaHubba even asked to court me, we had been friends for two years. During that time, we got to see each other as friends who we could do fun things with, were free to discuss issues with and just hang out. As time went on, and HubbaHubba asked if we could court each other, it just felt like a natural progression in our relationship (granted, our courtship was not a “normal” one. It was all long distance since I had graduated from college by then.) But through even that time, we put our friendship first, really learned how to talk to each other and remained focus on the purpose of the courtship.

Second, we look out for the other person. We are each other’s biggest supporters. We find ways to bless the other person on a regular basis. We took the time to learn each other’s love language and we seek out ways to use it to our advantages.

We make time for each other. After we get the girls to bed, we spend time just snuggling and talking and enjoying each other’s company.

I’m not saying that marriage isn’t a lot of work, it is. Some days it is harder to love your spouse than others. But it is so worth it. The more you work at something, the better it is. We’ll have been married for nine years in July, and it is better now than when we first got married. I look back to where we started from and see us now, and let me tell you, it just keeps getting better and better. Marriage is worth it. And with hard work, it can be the most rewarding relationship you’ve ever had. My marriage has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. And yes, even if you didn’t have a good example of a happy marriage growing up, you can change that for your future. Be purposeful, read about marriage and relationships, seek to be a blessing to your spouse, learn what makes your spouse “tick” and do what you can to strengthen and enrich your marriage. The rewards are great and so worth the effort.

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.

Jan 082014
 

Yes, I realize we are on January 8th right now and I should have probably gotten my resolutions/word for the year post done last week. Having HubbaHubba home for nearly two weeks, a weird round of winter weather hit, and our plans for the holidays get up-ended twice threw me for a loop and a half…Then we all took turns with a super severe cold that threw us intermittently into bed. Yes, it was a rather interesting holiday break for us.

I have been choosing a word to focus on for the year the last couple of years. This year, I have chosen the word Legacy. I want to remember that everything I do is leaving a legacy for my children. All of my choices for my personal life leave a legacy for them, my marriage to HubbaHubba is leaving a legacy, my choices in food, housekeeping, education, all contributes to the legacy I’m leaving them. I want them to have a terrific legacy. A legacy that I wasn’t given. I want better for them, so each decision I make, I am weighing the outcome to how it will affect my girls when they are my age and beyond. I want them to have a legacy of love, hope, joy, peace, diligence, health. And what I pass down to them is totally up to me.

I haven’t made resolutions for years. I hated breaking them in the first few days. However, I’ve come to realize that without goals and plan, nothing gets done….so, this year, I intend to:

Work on the women’s mentorship/education website I have dreamed of having for the last few years. I’m trying to settle on web design this month for it and figuring out the features and how I want it to work so my web designer can finally get to work on this rather huge project…

Continue towards a healthier me. I started Trim Healthy Mama last year in the spring. I had several weeks where I couldn’t stay on this incredible plan due to life throwing me curve ball after curve ball, but in about the seven months I was fairly faithful, I have managed to lose 40 pounds. At least 80 more to go, and with extra diligence and work, I think I can get most of it off in the next 12 months. I also got T-Tapp for working out, I need to be way more diligent on using it…I’ve seen the results of these workouts, they are way more friendly than harder ones, and I know I can do it, I just have to be more purposeful in setting aside the time to do it.

What are your goals for this year? Do you chose a word to focus on?