Thursday, July 31, 2014

Analytical Grammar for Language Mastery *Review

Analytical Grammar Review

Analytical Grammar produces curriculum to encourage language mastery. One of their products, with the same name, Analytical Grammar has been a wonderful help for us this summer.  Geared for 6th grade and up, this program costs $94.95 for both the Teacher Book and Student Book. The Student Book is consumable and an additional Student Book can be purchased for $49.95.

So why grammar at a later age? Shouldn't they already have had a plethora of grammar by this point? For many sure, that is probably the case. For my 15 and 12 year old, not so much. We used such a variety of curriculum for them as they were growing, to try to find that 'just right' fit. I think in the transition of changing curriculum we lost some of the basic knowledge of grammar that is now hurting us as they get older. I opted to use the Analytical Grammar program with my 15 year old who is going into 10th grade. He knows some of the basics, but much of what Analytical Grammar has in the later units, he has never gotten a grasp of.

The first 10 units focus on parts of speech and parts of a sentence with some basic diagramming of sentences. These units were a bit easy for my 15 year old, Mackinley,  but I felt they were good reinforcement as well as confidence builders for the later units to come. Each unit can be completed in a week, with a test at the end. I have not always been a big 'tester' and this has given us the opportunity to be able to test and keep track of grades as well. We plan on tacking Analytical Grammar to his basic English class for the upcoming school year and including the grades as well.
Each day's lesson only takes about 20 minutes at the most and the units build off of one another in a great sequential and logical approach.

There is an option for the younger kids of taking up to 3 years to complete Analytical Grammar. The intro to the Teacher Book explains a basic outline for doing this as well as utilizing it for a year. It is recommended for the 6th and 7th graders. If I decide to go with Analytical Grammar at some point with my 7th grader we may use this approach. I do like the consistency that comes with getting it done in a year though.

We are going the one year route as Mackinley is getting into more report writing and learning additional writing skills that grammar is going to be crucial for.

Units 11-17 go over phrases and clauses, some were even a good refresher for me!
Units 18-34 tackles all things punctuation and punctuation usage. This is really for Mackinley the meat of the program.

I am looking forward to continuing Analytical Grammar this school year for him and hope that it will really hone in his writing skills grammatically.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Share a Blessing *Review & Giveaway

The summer is winding down and we are gearing up for back to school. Have you enjoyed the summer, had time to reconnect with loved ones and friends? Keep those connections strong for your young girls by utilizing the book Share a Blessing from Tommy Nelson.

*ages 6-11
*24 postcards that girls can send to friends

*Postcards include uplifting Christian messages and note

*Over 1,000 super-cute stickers girls can use whenever they want
My daughter has already sent one to her Grandma and Great Grandparents. She even found one she could make to send to her older brother at camp this week. 

There are pages after pages of awesome stickers to decorate the postcards with. We chose to decorate both sides and send it in an envelope rather than post card style. 
Help your little girl keep in touch with family and friends this school season. Writing notes is definitely a lost art and this fun set will get them back in the habit.
Enter to win Share a Blessing
US Only
Ends Aug 11

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Disney Princess Fairy Tale Moments *Review

Time Home Entertainment Inc. has launched an all-new Poster-A-Page book series for kids ages 4-12, that delivers children’s most popular Disney characters, stories, and memorable moments in a unique visual format, children the opportunity to bring their favorite friends and stories into their homes, onto their walls, and become part of their world.

Disney Princess boasts more than 100 glossy, full-color illustrations from some of Disney’s most beloved princesses, including Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Aurora, Jasmine, Merida, and Pocahantas.

 Perfect for girls ages 6 and up, each book features a poster on every page, plus nine supersize pull-out posters that can function as fantastic door signs, room decorations, or background to a little girl’s princess fantasy life. 

There is even a poster to pull out for your little princess to color herself. 

Each one of the pages is a poster of it's own. When kept together in the book, it is a stunning picture book to look through! We decided to keep the 8 by 10 posters in the book to flip through.

There were 9 posters that we pulled out of the book, and can hang up on my Princess's bedroom wall. These are a great quality poster and will look great in a collection together!

Get your Poster Book now from Amazon by clicking on the link below (affiliate link) for only $9.32
This would make a great birthday or Christmas gift!


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Number Neighborhood *Review & Giveaway

 Seeing + Hearing + Doing = Learning

Back to School is just a couple weeks away for us and we are gearing up to share some great products to help you get back in the groove!

The SeeHeardoCompany has coming out with a new book in their lineup, The Number Neighborhood. Written much like their fantastic, Amazing Action Alphabet, this book will help your young ones learn about numbers in a fun way.

Esther Kehl uses a whole brain approach to teaching number names and values with this unique flip chart style book.
"An amazing yet simple technique of memorization by association that provides instant recall of letters and the sounds they make!"

Numbers 1-19 are illustrated and each have an association story to go along with each number.

I see that they are working on the Activity book to go along with the Number Neighborhood flip chart. That is excellent. My son really enjoyed the activity book for the Amazing Action Alphabet!

Be sure to check out the website for free ideas using the Number Neighborhood book and the Amazing Action Alphabet. He is 6 now so it may be a little young for him at this point. I can't wait to use it for preschool with the new baby!

Also find See Hear Do on Facebook

Enter to win Number Neighborhood!
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Ends August 11

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Little Leaves Kids Protective Clothing *Review

Shiloh has a skin condition called Vitiligo where she has areas on her skin without pigment. These areas are highly susceptible to sunburn and she has to be very careful when she is outside. Having this skin condition doesn't stop her from loving the sun and playing outside. Great companies like Little Leaves make it even easier for her to enjoy being outside, and being safe.

Wearing long sleeves is ideal for Shiloh because she doesn't have to cover up with chemical laden sunscreen (which needs reapplied constantly). Can you imagine wearing long sleeves in the summer though? It is Hot!

Kids sun UV protective clothing gives the protection from the sun, without the weight and heat of typical long sleeved clothes.
She loved her sun protective Chameleon shirt. She reminded me that Rapunzel had a pet chameleon. This shirt comes in girl sizes 2-10. Little Leaves also carries pants to match in both boys and girls.

The fabric is made from 67% bamboo.

Bamboo is also:
  • Naturally hypoallergenic
  • Odor resistant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • More durable than traditional cotton shirts
  • Absorbent (moisture wicking) - absorbs 4 times more moisture than cotton
  • Ultralight- weight is perfect for everyday wear
  • Cooler than traditional fabrics of similar weave, more breathable than 100% cotton
  • Environmentally friendly and chemical free - bamaboo does not need pesticides or fertilizers to grow
  • Biodegradable
 It is toxin-free, eczema-safe, fashion-friendly, sun protective playwear!

Shiloh wears her shirt very often. I really need to get her another one as well as the pants. The fabric is so incredibly soft! I look forward to Little Leaves expanding their line with additional fun prints.

Check out Little Leaves on their Blog for helpful tips on staying safe in the sun. 
You can also find them on
Facebook Little Leaves Clothing
Twitter @littleleavesco

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Jam on Rye by Randy Kaplan *Review #kids

 Randy Kaplan's lated CD isn't just for Kids. Jam on Rye works for the entire family, some of the songs being a bit more meaningful to adults actually :)

Really enjoyed some of the more unique musical instruments in this lineup.Several of the songs had a nice bluegrass style feel to them with the banjo and harmonica as well as the mandolin and banjola.
Super array of sound!

I wish they would have started with a different song than Burpity Burp Burp Burp. My 9 and 6 year old were listening to it with me and they just didn't get that song at all. They don't have a younger sibling yet and it really was not meaningful to them. They also didn't get "Ode to a Shower Door", wondering why someone would sing about a shower door. That was just the originality of Randy Kaplan and I imagine some kids would 'get it' better than mine did.. who happen to have a bathtub rather than a shower door!

Original works include
1. Burpity Burp Burp Burp
2. Jam on Rye
3. Hockey Puck
4. Virginia, Vega and I
5. Don't fill up on Chips
6. Nagasaki
9. Crew Cut
10. Slow Motion Mom
11. Slow Eater
12. Everybody Farts
13. Follow your Nose
14. So funny I forgot to Laugh
15. Time to Dream
16. Goodnight, My Someone

Purchase at CDbaby HERE

Find Randy Kaplan on these social media sites
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Twitter @RandyKaplankids

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Summer Shape Up Challenge from Balance Bar #BalanceShapeUp #spon

I am finally over the 'hump' in this pregnancy that I can eat just about anything. The life saver for me this go round during the nausea stage was Balance Bars! These were so convenient for me to slip one in my purse and to eat on the go. Also when nothing else sounded good, Balance Bar's hit the spot!
The high protein 15g per bar did wonders to ease my stomach as well as add great nutrition for my growing baby.

I was thrilled to hear that they recently came out with Cookie Dough Balance Bars! Are you kidding me, these taste way better than any nasty, unhealthy candy bar.

Know who else loves these in my home? My 17 year old son who is working out daily and really trying to build muscle for his next year of basketball. He thrives on protein and ensuring that his body is getting enough. He often will choose Balance Bar for a quick snack after working out rather than a protein shake, just for ease of it. He loves the taste as well and you can't beat having a healthy teen!

Walmart carries these in the health section near where you will find your vitamins and supplements. Each box comes with 6 bars. That is less than $1 per bar!

Be sure to check out Balance Bar on Facebook for their 40 day challenge and great workout ideas!

 The giveaway includes a $10 Walmart gift card and a variety pack of Balance Bars.
US Only
Ends August 9

In writing this review I was given a Walmart gift card as part of a sponsored collaboration with Balance Bar.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

 We are expecting a Baby Girl!!
Help even up the score a little bit. Soon 5 boys 2 girls!

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THE VIOLIN AND THE BUTTERFLY Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from @KCambronAuthor!

Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moments to Treasure Baby Book *Review

Moments to Treasure is a Baby Album and Record Book designed by Anna Award and published by  Parkwest Publications. With all of the internet sites for scrapbooking and documenting events, I have found it harder and harder to find actual books to record the information for my little ones. I still prefer the hands on experience and was super excited to get this treasure for our upcoming baby.

There is nothing like my kids sitting and holding their baby books and thumbing through them. I still have mine and just love it! So much more meaningful than booting up the computer and browsing through photos. I love that I can share my thoughts at the moment and record them in my own handwriting. The beautiful illustrations by Angela Hicks give you that soft, sweet baby feel to the book!

There are places for photos as well as areas to write down specific events and traits for your little one.
The book has a soft covered hardback that will last for generations to come. It records from birth to 5 years. I think this is the perfect amount of time. I tend to get a couple years in, and then forget about it.

 ISBN 9781841356006, Paperback, Full color throughout, 26 Pages, 11.5 X 10, $16.95

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HomeSchoolPiano *Review

Homeschool Piano Review

This program is perfect for all ages!  Success Package (One payment of $299) gives you unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.
There is also a  Payment Plan option (Payments of $99.97 per month for three months):
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all bonuses (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.
We received  HomeSchoolPiano- Complete Set of Books which includes Core, Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. You have access to all of the lessons, all of the time. This is perfect when your are utilizing the program for students of varying talents.
Homeschool Piano Review

Homeschool Piano Review
I actually took piano lessons as a kid, and even took a course in college. As time passes I get less and less comfortable with remembering the past lessons and especially how to teach my own kids what I know. HomeschoolPiano gave me the teaching ability that I needed to start my 9 year old daughter off right on learning the basics of the piano.

The program starts with DVD lessons on the core of learning piano. It teaches about posture, notes, keys, how to strike the note, rhythm and so much more. Starting with the core lessons quickly gave us the basics on "How to play the piano" prior to learning much in the way of music. It gave us the basics that you need to learn first to be successful.
Shiloh would watch the DVD and practice what she learned, quickly moving through the Core Lessons on her own. She was very excited to get through them and was able to move quickly. One key component of HomeSchoolPiano is that you can move at your own pace. No need to wait until that next weekly lesson comes around.

Homeschool Piano Review

I had a Kindle and there wasn't an app available for that. I can't wait till there is, it will make the learning so much easier. She can put the kindle right on the piano and copy as she goes. The laptop worked fine with a table right beside of her to put it on.

I love that when I return to HomeschoolPiano on the laptop it picks up right where I left off. No need for me to remember what was the last video Shiloh watched. A busy mom appreciates having one less thing to remember.

I started with with Book 2 even though I have had experience. My struggle is that I have a hard time remembering the left hand. I thought with starting with Book 2 I could refresh my memory on putting the 2 hands together. There are work book pages you can print out to use for review.
Though I don't have as much time to work with the piano as I would like, I am glad that when I do have the time it is easily accessible to me.

My daughter has already asked if we can include piano this year for school so she can keep going. SURE! I am so excited that she is enjoying it. She loves the lessons and they are easy for her to understand and mimic. She was even starting to teach her 17 year old brother who wants to learn as well.

Great program!!

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