Thursday, December 28, 2017

Life's little Blessings

The Lord has blessed me with the Midnight shift so that I never miss the beauty of a sunrise. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Elf Shenanigans

Look what our crazy elf and cow are up to today!

Save me Santa Save me!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Shenanigans

The girls decided they were more than big enough to do the tree them selves this year. I helped them get the top on because I wouldn't let the climb the ladder. After that I let them at it. I ran down stairs to grab the box of ornaments for them when I hear MOM we have a situation. I ran in and found this. 

The silly girls pulled the lights to hard and it started to fall over. They were just standing their holding the tree laughing like crazy. 

Let the Christmas Shenanigans Begin!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dispatch Life

When you are a Dispatcher coffee is your best friend. It's just a part of dispatch life. Having a good coffee cup is essential. Meet my second best friend my coffee cup. I had this custom made and I love it. Not only does it look cool but it keeps my coffee hot for hours not that a cup of coffee last for house most of the time. But if it gets busy its almost always hot when I can finally get back to it. Anyone else have a favorite coffee cup. Show them to me in the comments. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Innovators Tribe Thinking Like an Engineer Review

Innovators Tribe

Do you have a child that's interested in engineering or architecture? If you do than this program might be the perfect way to get them started. My 5th grader is currently doing a great program called Thinking Like an Engineer . This program and their sister Thinking Like an Architect is by the Innovators Tribe. This program is for grades 6-12 although my 5th grader is having a blast with it and only needs a little help on certain projects. This is an online course so you must have internet. The classes are not live so your child can do them when ever it fits into your day. The program included video lessons and the 3D software your child will need to complete the course. 

Course length is about 30 hours give or take. You should be able to get at least 1 quarter per course. For an elective that is good. If you have more than one child all of them can take the course as you can use it for more than one child. I feel like this really adds a great value to the program and makes it very budget friendly. You get access to the course for 18 months and the 3D software is yours to keep.

Innovators Tribe What You Get

What your child will learn: Lots....

What an engineer does and the different types of engineers, Math, problem solving, how to think like an engineer etc. 

                                                          What will they do....

Have lots of fun while learning of course...
They will also do challenging activities like how to build a tower or a water filter. They will build and design a bridge, a roller coaster and many other fun and exciting projects using the 3D software. The program also includes printable work pages that go along with each lesson. The printable's are a nice way  to reinforce the information they are getting from the videos and we placed them in our portfolio to document what they studied in the course.

The program says its for a 6-12 grade. I let my 5th grader review this one for me. She was really excited to try it and knew going into it that she might need help with some of the lessons. She was prepared for having to have help with the 3D software.  

I decided I would set her up with her log in and see how far she could go on her own. Right out of the gate she was excited. It gives an introduction that tells them how to navigate the program and lessons. It give all the information they need to get started on their own. She even found and printer her work pages and put them in a binder on her own.  One of her favorite projects was to build a structure out of 1 sheets of paper and 24in of masking tape that could hold as many books as possible. The first one was a total flop it fell after like 3 small books. She took a step back watched the video lesson again and gave her design some more thought. The next one was a better design and held a few more books. She gave it a third try and it topped out at 22lbs. 

She was impressed and eager to move on in to the next assignment. She build a water filter (which I committed a homeschool parenting fail and didn't get pictures of.) She worked on this one for several hours. She tried every thing from moss out of the yard, to scrap fabric of different blends. She settled on a blend of cotton fabric with a coffee filter as a secondary filter. 

She has just got into the 3D software part of the program she is still working on her first project. It was easy to get installed and she is starting to really figure out how to use it. So far she seems to be picking up how to design things fairly quickly and really has not needed much help from me. She is putting a lot of time into getting it just the way she wants. I cant wait to see how it comes out.  We are looking forward to seeing what else we get to design in the course. 

Thinking Like an Engineer

The hands on aspect of this program is priceless. She is having so much fun. I love seeing her excitement as she starts figuring out how to build/design something. She is remembering so much more than what she would have, had she just read the information in a book. Just the other day as we crossed a small bridge in town she began to tell me how bridges are built and the different types. Score one for The Homeschool Mom. Click the banner below and see what other homeschooler are saying about Thinking Line an Engineer and Thinking Like a Architect. 

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Magic Stories Review

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}
We are trying a new reading program in our house. This one is The Magic Stories Reading Program from Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series. This program is designed for readers in grades 2-3. I used it with my 3rd grader. We reviewed the full set it includes 6 Magic Stories, a printable card deck and 4 reading, writing and comprehension worksheets for each of the books. It also includes a parent/teacher resource section on the website. This is a downloadable/printable set so you will need a way to download and print. If you don't have a printer I recommend a local library they will usually let you print things for a small fee. This is not a full years worth of reading curriculum. But it is a great supplemental. If you do the full 6 book set like we did. You could do one book and set of worksheets a month and get 6 months of reading practice out of this downloadable program.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}

The Printable card deck has around 40 sight words on each set. These are intended to be used as flash cards. They contain 40 of the hardest words your child will encounter in each book. You should go over these cards with your child before they read each book. The cards shows the word and an example sentence. We printed ours on regular paper but if you anticipate needing to use them for an extended period of time  I would recommend printing on card stock and laminating with that clear shelving paper. I felt like the card decks covered a lot of the harder words we came across in each of the stories. My 3rd grader seemed to like them well enough and gave no complaint about practicing with them. We currently have them stored in a little container on her desk for review. She did the pre test or assessment with them and was able to read and explain the meaning of each word for most of the books. I did expect this as she is on the upper end of the 3rd grade reading level. But we like to practice and it did have some a few words she was not familiar with.

The complete set includes 6 books. 

    The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}
  1. The Magic Hole
  2. The Magic Ax
  3. The Magic Joke
  4. The Magic Hotdog
  5. The Magic Boots
  6. The Magic Box
We found the stories to be fun and interesting. My third grader was able to read each story in about 20 minutes. If your child is just beginning 3rd grade or is a struggling reader it might take them longer and that is OK. Each book is black and white and does include some pictures or drawings. She chose to color the drawings when she was finished with the book. We store them in a small three ring binder because that makes them easy to access and keeps them all together. You can also download the books to a tablet and your child could just read them from the tablet if they prefer that method. 

The set also comes with worksheets. Approximately 5 worksheets and a Pre/Post Flash Card Assessment for each of the books in the set. These worksheets are used to help with reading comprehension and writing. My daughters favorite worksheet was the Maze. This is a true and false activity where they answer questions about the story with either a true or false answer to get through the maze. Some of the other worksheets include Finish the Sentence, Real and Imaginary, Write the Story etc. I thought the worksheets were well done. A couple of times I felt like the directions could have been a little clearer. My daughter needed a little help understanding what to do on one of them. But I when she was done with each book I was able to look at each worksheet and the post assessment and see that she was indeed understanding what she was reading or if she needed to a little help.

Over all I can say that I would recommend this set it would be great for a 2-3rd grader. Don't forget to click the banner below and see what other crew reviewers are saying about this great reading program.

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}
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Not my image I found it on a free clip art site. Thank you to whoever designed it. It's amazing !

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Green House

Tempatures are beginning to drop where we live. I have closed up the green house for the winter to try and keep as much warmth in as possible. I am using straw bails to grow some winter lettuce. I'm not sure if it will be warm enough to keep it growing all winter but I am giving it a try. The straw bails will also help to add some heat in the green house. I have put in a 55 gallon drum of water. The idea behind this is the water will absorb heat during the day and then release it at night when the temps start t drop. Giving my green house a little boost of warmth. I would like to at a couple more drums eventually. Or may be some sort of solar heating that would be cheep and efficient. So here are some pictures. The top shelf has some baby strawberry plants that I separated from the mother plants a week or so a go. I am hoping the protection of the green house will keep them going tell they are established. The long black trays are winter lettuce another experiment to see show it grows in this type of container. I also have some herbs growing and some potatos. Then last down on the far end are some peppers that decided to start producing again and my artichoke plants. These are 1st year plants and I hope to see some artichokes this next year if they do well over the winter.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My View

This was my view from the end of my camping chair 

And this was my view from the front of my bike. You guessed it we took a rocker ship trip to the campground. We did some star gazing and some hiking and biking. We also helped out with a river clean up crew. 

Reading Eggs Review

Reading Eggs

Reading EggsReading is all the rage in our house at the moment. My girls enjoy trying out new reading programs. An we are always excited to try something new. We are using Reading Eggs to brush up on the girls overall reading skills. Reading Eggs is a online subscription base program so you must have a computer and internet access. It has several levels Reading Eggs Junior is for ages 2-4, Reading Eggs is for ages 3-7, and Reading Eggspress is ages 7-13. They also have Mathseeds that is for ages 3-9.

Since my girls are already well into reading we mostly used the Eggspress portion of the program. I do not consider this a complete curriculum but it is an excellent supplemental program if you are looking to brush up on some skills or if you have a reluctant reader.

The Eggspress part of the program is designed to build a child's skill in reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. The age range for this part of the program is 7-13 or grades 1-6. It is packed full literacy activities and games to keep their interest. They earn rewards as they move through the program in the form of eggs. These eggs can then be spent to play games or get virtual pets.  Although my daughter says you don't have to take care of the pet and she said that seemed a little unfair. I guess she wants to be able to feed it. All of the program levels work on both PC and tablet and Ipads. We are mostly using it on our laptop.

Navigation is easy for kids and very self explanatory. At the start of the program your child will take an assessment or placement test. This will help the program to know where to place your child within the program. If they are having a bad day or what ever their is an option to have them redo the placement test or you can adjust the level to fit them a little better. Their is a learning path that the assessment puts them on and they simply click on the part of the path their character is on and it takes them to their lesson.

The Reading Eggspress library has over 2500 online books. We found that it offered a good variety of books. The girls described it as a LOAD of books. Both of the girls were able to find books that they enjoyed and were excited to read. The library is broke down by category like science fiction, mysteries, sea creatures, adventures etc. After they read a book they are given a few short questions to assess reading comprehension and critical literacy etc.

It has a reporting for parents so you can easily see what kind of progress your child is making at a glance. I like this feature a great deal, I have yet to figure out if I can print off these reports and it is something I will have to investigate if nothing else I will take screen shots for my records.

I wanted to mention real quick that they have just added some new resource guides that you will be able to find under the bonus material tab. These look to be wonderful and I plan on downloading a few this week.

Even though Reading Eggs is to low of a level for both my girls. We did cruse around it and we found it to be set up a lot like the Reading Eggs Express. I felt like the lessons would be easy for a younger child to follow. I can see it being a great supplemental program for a young child who needs a little extra help with reading. Reading Eggs also offers Math Seeds and I would encourage you to stop in and take a look at it.

Try out this Free Trial and Experience Reading Eggs for your self.
Reading Eggs*

Reading Eggs

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Monday, October 9, 2017

CTCMath Review


Good morning families who are trying to teach math. I know math is a hard subject for some families to teach. I know it is not my best subject. This is just one of the reasons why my girls have been using  CTCMath for the last 3 years. The second reason we use CTCMath is because my girls love it. I have done reviews on CTC before and we are using it again this year. We have the CTCMath Family Membership so we can use it with more than one student. I wanted to remind everyone that with your subscription your child will have access to all the grade levels. So if your 3rd grader does 4th grade addition but 2nd grade multiplication they can do that at no extra cost.  The best part is Homeschoolers can get 60% off + 6 bonus months.

This year we are using the 5th grade and the 3rd grade. I have reviewed about the 3rd grade before and I don't think it has changed much since my oldest used it.  The 5th grade level is new for us. They have also added some new features to make things that my 3rd grader likes. 

Each grade level covers a lot of information, I feel that it is well rounded and we are comfortable using it as a complete curriculum.  The 3rd and 5th grade levels have about 114 lessons and approximately 19 diagnostic test or assessments. It covers patterns and algebra, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, numbers II, decimals,fractions, problem solving, time, speed, units of measure, area and volume, plane shapes and solids, angles, lines, position, chance and graphs. It basically covers everything a 5th grader needs to know. The 3rd grade level covers similar topics just as a grade appropriate level in other words they are quite a bit simpler than the 5th grade lessons are. CTC uses a mastery approach to teaching so once your student masters a lesson and gets a passing grade they can move on to the next section. 

Each lesson includes an instructional video. Most of these videos are under 4-8 minutes in length. The girls like the way the videos are done. They get right to the point of how to do the problem and have zero fluff. Everything is broke down in simple steps and the girls usually pick up how to do the lesson the first time watching the video. Your child can go back and watch the video as many times as necessary. This is great for review and I often have them go back and watch the lesson videos just to be sure they don't forget to how to do something. 

After each video lesson and when they are ready, your child will click the question's tab at the top of the lesson. This tab will take them to the practice questions. The number of questions vary from lesson to lesson we seem to average about 15 or so questions for the 5th grade level a few less for the 3rd grade level. The questions are graded right away so as soon as they hit submit they find out if they did it correctly. If they get the question wrong it shows them what the correct answer is. They can click on the questions tab over and over so your child can practice as much as they need to. Each time you click to start the questions again it will give them different questions. Their is a large variety of practice problems and we have yet to get the same question twice. 

CTCMath offers some different testing options the standard and the comprehensive test. The standard test is different in the since that it does not have as many questions, its some where in the ball park of 20 questions. The comprehensive test has some where in the ball park of 40 questions. The comprehensive covers a broader range of content. We usually use the comprehensive test at the end of each unit. We do use the standard test as a practice test as it seems to give them an idea of what they might need to work on a little more. 

Now for some of the fun teacher stuff. You can set a required score that your child must achieve before the lesson is marked completed or passed. I have set ours at 80% because we aim high in our house and I know my girls are capable of achieving this score if they do their work and keep their paws off the toys during math time. You can print out a chart that shows what lessons they have taken and what scored they have received on each one. CTCMath has added some great new features this time around. We now have the ability to set specific task for each student. So at the beginning of the school year I assigned each lesson on a specific day for each of the girls. The girls then log in at the start of the day and click the task tab at the top of their student account. This will tell them what they should be doing for the day. I admit it is a bit time consuming do set this up all at once. But if you have a child like my 3rd grader that likes to skip around this feature is a huge help. Now for my 5th grader who is becoming more independent we have some printable charts. You can find the charts under the tools section of your parent account. You simply download and print what ever grade level you need. These charts allow your child to keep track of his or her own scores on each of their lessons it also has a line for them to mark down the date that they completed the lesson.  Their is also a sheet where they can mark the date and score that they get on an assessment test. We have only been testing this feature out for a few weeks but so far it has been a great visual reminder to her on how well she is doing and what she has left to complete for the year. If she has to repeat a lesson because she didn't do so hot it shows her how she is improving each time she tries again. For her that is very encouraging to be able to see her hard work paying off.

I really can't say enough great things about CTCmath and I wanted to share these great offers so that you can try it out for your self.


Free trial

60% off + 6 bonus months

CTCMath Online Math Tutoring {Reviews}

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

The girls found this slime stuff on a YouTube science video. We decided to try it out. We made the kind using borax a year or so ago. This one uses school glue, baking soda, and contact solution. The more contact solution you add the more rubbery and thicker it gets. We used 6oz of glue a table spoon of baking soda and a good squirt of contact solution.

It came out stretchy and cold feeling. It doesent stick to their hands but does stick to clothing. You can roll it up in a ball. But if you put the ball down and let it sit it will look like it's slowly melting. So their you have it our quick fun Wensday science project. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks Review

 Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks
The girls have begun to learn cursive handwriting. I think all kids should learn how to write and read cursive. So much of our history is written in cursive and everyone needs to have a nice readable signature. We have tried several different books and so far the one by Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks has been our favorite. It is called Easy Peasy Cursive and is geared for grades 1st to 3rd.

Channie's Easy Peasy Cursive WorkbookThis is a very simple cursive workbook, it has around 80 pages. It is bound on the top so it is great for left handed kids. No binding fight for the lefties. I have both a left and a right handed child. Both feel that the top binding is easier to write in. I consider this a great starter cursive book. The lines are quite large for an older child. It has angled guidelines to help them keep the proper slant to each letter. It has this green shaded area to help them remember where the lower case letters go. The letters are simple and do not contain flourishes and extra curls. 

My 5th grader wanted to try this book. Their was a bit of a squabble over it. So we used the tried and true method of coin flipping to see who got to try it out. She flipped a coin with my 3rd grader and apparently won. She has been excited to learn cursive. Her grandma had beautiful cursive writing and she has always wanted to learn to write like her. She has been doing one page a day with out a lick of complaining. It does not take her very long to complete a page around 10

min or so. She does some time get some blank binder paper and do a little extra practice. She has reported back that the pages are easy to follow and the arrows and number on each letter were great in showing her which part to make first and what direction to make the lines. She is very quickly picking up how to form each letter correctly. I did receive a few complaints about the lines being so big. But both my girls frequently complain when writing pages use big lines. They feel the bigger lines make their writing look sloppy. They just do better on college ruled paper. But that is just a preference that my kids have. Like I said above once she has practiced in this book and gets the hang of how to form each letter she will change over to favorite type of paper. Take a look at the pictures I have included it will give you a great idea of whats in the book and some samples of how my daughter is doing.

Over all we are both happy with this writing book. I would buy this book for any child that is just starting out with cursive. Be sure to click the banner below and Read what the Other Crew Members are saying about Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks.

 Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks

Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math Workbooks {Reviews}
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Things

Well my 35 year old tent gave up on us. It just didn't have another season in her. She was experiencing dry rot and the floor was getting holy. So we start a new chapter in our camping life with this tent upgrade. This tent is bigger than our old 8x10 colman canvas tent.  Our new one is a 10x14 Kodiak Flex bow canvas tent. It sports a door on each side and 6 windows. Yup that's right this baby has 6 windows when they are all open its almost like sleeping under the stars but with out the bugs. Because it has so many windows it is great for the warmer summer months and when you close it up its is great for the cool fall months and good for the colder winter months if you take along a little heater.

This is probably the easiest and fastest tent I have ever put up. It has two flexible bows on each end, one ridge pole and then 2 support poles ones on each side. The awning is optional so you don't have to use it if you don't want to. We put it out just for grins and giggles and from the looks of the pictures I should have pulled it a little straighter. To put it up you  pound in the stakes, stick the flex bows in to the pockets on each end and into the holes on the ridge pole push the two pieces of the ridge pole together and slip the collar over the joint. After that you put the side poles into the end of the ridge pole and slip the hook on the bottom of the tent into the bottom of the pole and you are done. With out the kids help the tent is up in about 15 min. A little longer if my girls help and if the ground is rocky and the stakes are hard to pound in. If you are looking for a new tent I can safely recommend this one. 

   We are off to enjoy our new tent see you on the flip side.