Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer. Our tradition each year includes swimming at our club's pool and enjoying the wonderful buffet they put out.

Ava Mae caused quite a commotion when she slipped on her mermaid tail and began swimming around the pool in it. It was quite the conversation piece - lots of girls wanted to know where they could buy one. Ava Mae learned that swimming like a mermaid is not an easy undertaking - she had to be rescued more than once, when she got tired.

So happy summer is here!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOS Crew Review : Heritage History for Young Readers


I love history and I have so much more of an appreciation for it now - much more so than when I was in school. I think part of this new found interest is because of the great living books we use for history - no boring textbooks here! I will admit we are running out of space on our bookshelves and running out of places to put all the bookshelves we have bought. I was so excited to get the opportunity to review Heritage History for Young Readers - not just because of all the great short stories but, because, I was able to load the CD into my Kindle on my iPad {no looking for extra space on the bookshelf this time}.
The Young Readers Classical Curriculum represents a broad and age-appropriate introduction to all of Western Civilization. Primary subjects include American, European, and Ancient history, Bible and saint stories, legends and literature. The collection of books touches upon all of the major elements of Western Civilization, but in a child-friendly, easy-to-understand manner.
All of the books in the Young Readers library can be read by an older grammar school student, but they are also appropriate for read-aloud to younger children. And although the stories are told in simple enough terms for a nine or ten-year-old to understand, they are engaging enough to be of interest to older students as well.
The Young Readers library is one of our largest collections, with over eighty books to choose from. Many of the books in this collect are simple enough for a fluent reader to complete in only a few hours, so avid readers may be able to read dozens of books from the collection before moving on to more challenging curriculums. Reading a few dozen of these books will expose students to hundreds of famous historical characters and will be an excellent foundation for future learning.

The kids and I enjoyed reading through many of the selections included on the CD. I loved the fact that Heritage History offers a Teacher's Guide {PDF Format} to help put together a plan for reading through all these wonderful books.
While we did not use Heritage History for Young Readers as a stand alone curriculum - it was wonderful as a supplement to our Early American History study. We really enjoyed Stories of American Life and Adventure and Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans. Our CD offered 86 books in all but, Heritage History offers four other CD's - Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages and British Empire. Each of those CD's contains maps, teaching aids, and study guides along with the library of books. 

Each CD is priced at just $24.99 - a bargain price on any budget for all the books you receive on each CD. Orders can be placed directly through Heritage History on their website.

Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of Heritage History? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this curriculum on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than a copy of Heritage History for Young Readers, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the product.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Fun Schedule

I saw this great idea on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect for our summer fun schedule each week. {Each day Monday - Friday has a theme for something fun to do.} The printable and idea was created by Stephanie Dulgarian over at Somewhat Simple . She was so sweet to place a link on her blog so that you can download your own schedule sheet.

Steph suggests printing and laminating but, I figured it would look nice in a frame on our kitchen counter and the glass would serve as our "dry erase" surface.

I found some cute summer themed scrapbook paper in my stash and just cut out the box from the printable and glued it on. Also, picked up a set of dry erase markers and a frame at our Dollar Store, while I was out and about today. The craft took less than five minutes and just $2 to complete from start to finish. The kids love it, and so do I!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Catching Up : {Ballet, Baseball, and more}

The last two weeks have been a blur ... dance recitals, baseball playoffs and All-Stars, the end of our school year and standardized testing. And, in the midst of all of that ... my computer caught a virus and completely crashed losing all of my files and pictures. {Thankfully, we were able to pay someone to recover and restore my main computer and I have an iPad and laptop which I was able to use. I now vow to actually begin using the backup drive my husband bought for my computer over a year ago.}

Lexi and Ava Mae's ballet recital was beautiful ... both girls did a great job! It was a long two days but, it is always so nice to see them dance on stage and to see the improvement they have made over the last year.

Devin's baseball team {that my husband coaches} finished their season in 3rd place after a week long double elimination tournament. In amazing end ... we actually entered the playoffs in 6th place. All the kids played their hearts out and we lost to the 2nd best team in the league by just one run.

Devin attended the league championship game where he was awarded a trophy for being named the best hitter in the league with a .787 batting average and an .800 on base percentage. {I am told these numbers are really good.

And, last but, definitely not the least ... we finished our school year and all of our standardized testing last week!! Devin and Lexi celebrated by going to Six Flags with my husband. A fun way to the end the school year.

So what lies ahead... lots of swimming, a month of ballet intensive for Lexi, a month of travel baseball for Devin, VBS at our church, a camp here at our home, ballet camp for Ava Mae, a trip to our friend's lakehouse, lots of playdates, and a week long trip to the beach when everyone else heads back to school in August. So thankful, summer is here!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

TOS Crew Review : CapJaxMathFax


With summer here and our school year becoming just a faint memory - one thing I always make sure to have on our schedule is some time for math drills. In the past that has taken the form of either math fact card games or iPad apps. This year we get to add a fun software program to the mix.

CapJaxMathFax is a fun drill program for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Created by Jack Fretwell of Starboard Training Systems, CapJaxMathFacts  is a downloadable software program that works with any math curriculum. It is easily customized for each child.


My kids enjoyed "drilling" on the computer and I liked the fact that I could easily set the kids up and have them working in no time. This is definitely a system we will enjoy adding to our mix of ways to drill math facts.

The only drawbacks we found were it took a little more effort to get the program downloaded and installed on our main computer. It was a strange glitch and one the customer support helped us work through. My kids also complained of the screen seeming too "crowded" at times. I think it was just that there were quite a few colors and background data on the screen.

CapJaxMathFax can be purchased, starting at $29.95, and downloaded directly from their site. If you would like to give it a try before buying, here is a link to a trial version.

Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of CapJaxMathFax? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this website on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than a downloaded copy of CapJaxMathFax, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the product.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Super Moon

Saturday night we enjoyed looking at the "Super Moon". We live in a heavily wooded neighborhood so a trip a few miles up the street to our church parking lot was needed for the best view.  It was amazing the detail we could see of the moon through our telescope. The kids were so excited to be able to look up close at the large craters and trenches on the moon's surface.

Even our dog, Maggie, got in on the fun.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Year : Another Year Older

This week I celebrated my "41st" birthday! For some reason that number hit me harder than turning "40", maybe because I am now in my 40's, rather than just "40". ;) At least I have a great bunch of girlfriends who are all my age - we get to commiserate together.

My husband and kids made me a wonderful dinner the night before my birthday. The menu included an amazing cheese platter with selections from around the world. The main entree was swordfish and roasted red potatoes - all super yummy. I even got a little chocolate birthday cake from Whole Foods.

My actual birthday night was spent with at an End-of-Year dinner for homeschool moms. It was at one of my favorite restaurants, owned by our friends. It was so nice to hang out with some of my best friends.

This year I asked for a Pandora bracelet and some charms ... the kids and Daune had a fun time picking out charms to add. I will cherish it for years and years to come.

So thankful for my loving family and wonderful friends - I am so blessed by each of them!