GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Wi-Fi


I have a great husband!!!  I know I don’t say that enough either here or in life to him but I do, he is great.  My dad gave him a gift cert to Best Buy as part of his Christmas gift and guess what he went out and bought?  He went out and bought a wi-fi converter box for us.  My mom gave us her laptop but we didn’t have anywhere to store our desktop for the children so we went wi-fi 😀  I can now sit on the couch and type while Don or the children are on the desktop.  This is awesome and will come in handy for school so now if I need to look up info for our lapbooks I can do it from the couch beside Hannah instead of moving around the house to the desktop.  So we are now wireless and it’s great.

My SIL showed me how to download ebooks onto my mp3 player and right now I have Pride and Prejudice on there 🙂  I’d like to find Gone with the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird.

Also if you could please keep me in your prayers as the last couple days I have been having frequent headaches/migraines.  It seems things have been going good and now all of a sudden they are back.  I don’t know if it’s the odd weather patterns (day after Christmas it got up to almost 70) and now we are expecting a winter mix tomorrow.  Well if that isn’t Ohio weather I don’t know what it is LOL.

God bless.

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99 Things on a wall meme


I saw this over at Surviving the Testosterone blog and thought it looked like fun so while we wait on my brother and SIL to arrive…….

The things I’ve done are in bold.  Let me know if you play along!

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars 
3. Played in a band 
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train – from Romania to Hungary
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon 

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice 
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – both
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise 
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community  (I stayed with a New Order Amish Family)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 
62. Gone whale watching 
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone 
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book 
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House (for me the outside)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (I used to work for an attorney, so I was involved in a lot of them LOL)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

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Excited!


I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas 🙂  We did, I know that reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and also reading The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry kept in mind what Christmas was about and it isn’t about presents.

I do admit though that my husband and I were spoiled this year.  My dad and step mom gave us a Wii system for our entire family 🙂  Hannah is having a ball with the sports as are my husband and I.  He plans to go out tomorrow and buy another controller so we can go head to head in boxing LOL.

My mom gave us a joint gift of a 6.5 quart slow cooker, the thing is HUGE!!!!  We still don’t know where we are going to put it in our tiny kitchen.  It looks like this except ours is retangular in shape:

cooks 6.5-qt. Oval Slow CookerMy mom bought it as it will accomodate more food for our, hopefully, continuing to grow family of 5.  I think I will be making soups to freeze as well 🙂

My mom gave me for my personal play time this stand mixer!

cooks 12-Speed 5-qt. Stand MixerI used it last night to make our dough for our homemade pizza night and I was amazed at how much time was cut down from my old stand mixer to using this one.  I didn’t have to mix in any flour by hand and once it was blended it was ready for me to knead it.  I could have let the mixer knead it but I love the feel and smell of bread dough being kneaded by hand 🙂  Now if only she had gotten it in blue or pink LOL.  Just kidding Mom!

Then there is my DH who gave me a great surprise, he bought me not one but two MP3 players.  He knew I wanted one with video so when Hannah is at ballet or we are at co-op, etc but he couldn’t find one anywhere!  So he bought me one that just played music.  Then Christmas Eve Eve he stopped in a store and saw the last MP3 player with video, so he got that one.  He gave me both on Christmas morning.  The one with video plays music, movies, ebooks (how cool is that for a bookworm?), records, and I can download pictures and have a slideshow of my favorite family :D.  The second MP3 player he said I could return and get something else but I didn’t really need anything else so…….we gave it to Hannah, who wants to download Christian music on it so she can listen to it in the van on trips.  Now to get the earphones that can’t be turned up loud.  She actually does very well in not turning the earphones up though, so that is a good thing.  I just have to figure out how to get the ebook files onto my MP3 player!

On a side note, I took Hannah out and gave her the rest of her Christmas present which was to get her ears pierced.  She choose very modest, feminine, birthstone earings.  They are amethyst for her birth month of February.  You almost wouldn’t notice them unless you look at her long enough.  She did very well, didn’t cry or anything.  I will try to get a picture of her later and post it.

I hope that this isn’t taken as being prideful as that isn’t my intent, I just feel very blessed this year in that we recieved things that we needed or can actually get use out of.  With the Wii my DH and I hope it will motivate us to loose some weight and get moving in a fun way to battle diabetes and the bulge 🙂  Now if anyone has some great, quick to prepare, great to freeze soup recipes for the crock pot I’d love to have them 🙂

God bless.

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Nutcracker Pictures


Here are some pictures from the Nutcracker performance.  She is in her mouse, Homeland and Party scene costumes.  I just love the mouse costume although she doesn’t want to be a mouse next year because the part requires they bow down to the mouse king – I understand that I told her we will cross that bridge when we get to it.  I have some better pictures coming but my friend has to email them to me 🙂

 

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Christmas presents


Today has been a fun but a marathon run of getting the finishing touches done on Christmas presents.  I am waiting for two more embroidered towels to dry to get the other gift basket done and then I think besides the children everything will be ready.  Oh, I have to make some fudge to go with the gift baskets but that is fairly quick.  I also have some sugar cookie dough to cut out and bake – that will go fast as well.  Anyway here is one present that I have a picture of (more will be coming).  It’s my mom’s present, it is an embroidered picture which has satin, lazy daisy and back stitches in it.  I love lazy daisy’s they are a lot of fun to make.  This was fairly easy and quick.  I embroidered the flowers on a muslin fabric cut it to size and trimmed a fat quarter of the green floral fabric and running stitched the muslin to the green and then added the wording. 

 Yes the muslin is supposed to look a little crooked 🙂  it is supposed to give it a more country, rustic feel.

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Core Learning


 

We were very excited to recieve the Crayola Art Studio from Core Learning.  With a budding artist or two in our house this was a great product for us to try.  Hannah mastered it quickly and needed little help from Mom and Dad except for me to load it on our computer.  The other two need a little help, mainly with mastering the mouse, they do great with the Art Studio.  There are 12 fantastic drawing tools on this disk ranging from pencils, paint, watercolor, markers, crayons and more!  They are realistic and look like you are drawing with each medium choosen, all of course without the mess or broken crayons or resharpening of pencils!  You can make invitations, greeting cards, decorations and much more as well with this program.  Here are some benefits and features taken from Core Learning’s website:

Benefits:

  • Fun and easy to use, these art tools inspire creative expression without boundaries
  • The best drawing and painting program for children at a great price
  • Supported by hundreds of special Crayola® art images
  • Children learn key art and computer skills
  • Fun for all family members

Features:

  • 12 realistic art tools including tempera paint, acrylic paint, watercolor, chalk, crayon, oil pastel, colored pencil, marker and more
  • Select from hundreds of pre-set colors or mix unique colors on digital palettes
  • Easy-to-use complete range of drawing tools
  • Progressive undo and redo features support experimentation
  • Several Hundred editable art images to supplement artwork and learn digital editing techniques
  • Customize the interface with selections of backgrounds, icon sizes and tool configurations
  • A special Begin to Draw level helps beginners learn basic computer drawing skills
  • The software is pressure-sensitive when used with a mouse pen or stylus that is
    enabled for pressure-sensitivity

Hannah begs to use the program and given the fact that I can know for sure that it is safe, fun and easy I don’t mind her just hopping on, double clicking and using it.  We haven’t printed anything out, but that is an option and one that would be great if you have an art lesson for a certain medium and wanted a copy to put in your child’s portfolio and just think of the possibilities for lapbooking!

The Core Learning website is easy to manuever and get around and they have a lot of other great looking software.  Along with the Crayola Art Studio I recieved some demo CD’s for math and language arts, health series demo and the CoreFX.  All the software was easy to use and install and get around the sections easily. 

The family health was very colorful and creative.  I enjoyed watching it as well.  The topics covered in the family health is:

  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Skin
  • Blood
  • Muscles
  • Skeleton
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Teeth
  • Taste & Smell
  • Immune System
  • Respiratory System
  • Digestive System
  • Endocrine System

It reminded me of an episode of The Magic Schoolbus which always seems to entertain my three children so this is great.  One word of caution one girl was dressed in a midriff baring top and another was in a spaghetti strap top.  While they are animated it is still the suggestion thankfully my daughter will overlook it as she knows that isn’t how we dress.

The math and language arts demo and the Corefx demos were also great.  The math was simple enough for the younger learner while still having some things for the older learner.  Please keep in mind what I recieved were demos and not full software so I am seeing only a glimpse of what the CD’s offer.  Corefx is somewhat like the Crayola Art Studio but is still neat to use and also has options to fix pictures that are less than perfect.

Overall I would definitely that Core Learning has a great product and I would say that homeschooling families could get a lot of use out of the Crayola Art Studio.  At the price of $24.95 I would definitely say it’s a good investment, especially if your child likes art or even yourself and if you have a budding photographer these would be great as you can also manipulate pictures with stunning effects.  You just may find yourself wanting to play too.

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Preparations


Well it’s only 3 days till Christmas!  Can you believe in just three short days we will be celebrating our Savior’s birth again?  How wonderful!!!!!  We are getting excited here.  My brother and my wonderful SIL (his wife LOL) are due to arrive in town later today/tonight.  Christmas Eve we are going over to my dad and step-mom’s house and my other brother will be coming this year too!  Then we will come back and just relax and read some Christma stories and watch some Christmas movies 🙂  I am busy getting another review written, getting dough to chill in the fridge (I already have gingerbread cookie dough in there as of last night), getting some laundry done, finishing up Christmas presents as well as some other general cleaning – like the children’s room!  We are making a double batch of sugar cookie cut out dough and the recipe I posted below last week for the other type of cookies.  I remembered I have my cookie thing from Pampered Chef so if I get really motivated I may try to make those as well.  LOL.  Well until next time, when I get my review posted 🙂 ………..

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Puppetools Review


I had the chance to review a website based product called Puppetools the creator and inventor of this site is Jeffrey Peyton.  He created this site so that schools and home schoolers could integrate play into their teaching.  The main product being a hinge that you then build your puppet around focusing on an area in whatever you are teaching. 

apple puppet

While the idea is definitely worthy and the method behind play learning is great.  I believe it is something that most homeschoolers do anyway.  That being said the website was confusing and it was hard to tell what exactly was being marketed.  I know it would have to be something about puppets but it takes a lot of time clicking and moving around to find exactly what you are supposed to be doing.  My oldest child wasn’t too thrilled either.  She thought some of the puppets were odd looking and the videos not interesting.  The main thing seemed to be the marketing of using play in learning and how to make the puppet.  There is also a forum that can be used with other educators to share information and ideas for making and using puppets.

alien3 puppet

.There are videos that you can watch that talk about using puppets and how to do so by age range. Which would come in handy for the homeschool family in how to integrate the use of puppets with multiple ages to teach.  There are several pages of reports written by others on play in education or by Peyton himself.  It seemed that most of this information was easy to find and located in one place on the site.  It would be great if Peyton could make his paper available in a hard copy format for those who don’t like or don’t have the time to sit at the computer and read.

The price for Puppetools is $99.00 per year for up to 30 users.  To me this seems a bit high as I know I wouldn’t have that many people willing to go in on it with me and I wouldn’t be going there several times over a 12 month period.  The benefits of buying a $99.00 dollar membership are the following:

* 1 year to train and master Puppetools – the "Language of Play"
* Access Puppetools’ online Educator Work Area
* Access Puppetools’ exclusive practitioner video library
* Access extensive research on play and education
* Access hundreds of puppet images, concepts, and patterns
* Access readings from the 200 page Puppetools Manual
* Access our global community forums – learn with teachers around the world
* Put Puppetools to work in just days–for many it’s just overnight
* Learn fast, flexible puppet design and construction–in just minutes
* Discover how a single paper hinge creates a limitless resource
* Engage playful, energized conversation for lessons and activities /all grades
* Use puppet know-how and techniques without acting, scripts, or theater
* Effectively harness Play and spark motivation, participation, and receptivity
* Discover the deep impact of play on students and teachers

There is also a trial membership that for $20.00 you get full access to all resources for a full 60 day period.  This is on an indvidual basis only.  This seems to be the best bet for a homeschool family that would want to take a look around, try out puppets in their home school and learn how to do the fold as well as reading papers on play integrated learning.

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The Old Schoolhouse January Module


Well TOS has done it again!  Another great module for January is being released, this module is one that goes along with their planner and is always packed chock full of information and things to use in your home school.

There are several coloring pages that can used in your notebooking, lapbooking or just in your notebook for portfolios that look over the work done through the school year.  The coloring sheets compliment the rest of the activities in the January Module.

And of course there are your copywork pages.  Fourteen pages of copywork that can be used for almost any grade level, all your children can work together and you don’t have to worry about singaling out any child during copywork time.  A fun way to do copywork is by letting the child illustrate their copy work and also shows understanding of what they just wrote or copied. 

Have you wanted to travel the United States of America to see landmarks but just don’t have the time or money?  Well in this module there is a Cruisin’ The Country section complete with links so that you can learn more from outside sites about that particular landmark.  So wether you want to travel to the West Coast the East Coast or the South, grab your compass and go on a journey from your seat via your computer and learn about our fabulous country’s landmarks and history!

Last but not least, there are the games!  Educational, of course, but still fun!  Matching games, cross word and others.  If you want to know more then rush over to The Old Schoolhouse store and check it out to buy your own 🙂  It is definitely a purchase that is well worth it!  Plus it’s reproducible so you can use it for your children now as well as for your children down the road.

 

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1 week till Christmas


I just love Christmas!!!  Here in Ohio we are dealing with ice storms, in my area we recieved some pretty hefty ice on Tuesday and it’s still REALLY slick out, not on the main roads but you have to watch for the sidewalks, side roads, parking lots and oddly enough grass!  Thankfully no power outages.  Although my husband was awakened around midnight by something sounding like an explosion.  On the street behind us a car slammed into a tree, my husband he went out to check (he is certified in CPR/ First Aid) and saw that the paramedics and polic were already there but he said the front end of the car was crumpled up to the windshield and if the person lived it would be a miracle.  I don’t understand the people who live here that just don’t get it, you cannot drive fast on ice or snow even if you have lived here your entire life!  It angers me that people would jeopardize others in this way.

We had full dress rehearsal last night and it went horribly 😦  Some didn’t know where they were supposed to go, the orchestra sounded bad and Hannah’s party dress doesn’t fit with her leotard on and there isn’t enough time between Party and Battle for her to do a complete change.  We have a couple ideas to work with between now and the show on Friday morning so hopefully one of those will work.  On a good note, they held the inside drawing for the cast who sold raffle tickets and Hannah’s name was drawn.  There was a huge porcelain wedding doll she wanted but another girl recieved it and the only two prizes when she was able to choose was one free month of dance lessons or a coffee mug LOL.  Not a hard choice.  Due to a VERY nice Christmas gift from Grandma, the free month of lessons and just $2.00 from us she will recieve 4 months of dance lessons!  We are very excited.  Hannah has said she will buy her own leotard.  They have to wear pink tights, blue leotard and pink ballet shoes.  They can also add a pink or blue ballet skirt and leg warmers if they’d like.  Both her and my husband and I have been wanting to get her back into classes and now we are able to 🙂

I am also going to be lining up Hannah to begin her harp lessons for after Christmas.  She was able to view the orchestra last night and she got to see a huge harp and view the music for the harp and was very excited.  We are so glad that she is having these oppurtunities to learn.  She also wants to participate in our h.s. groups talent show if they will let her but I have to check on that.

Bethanne wants to be a pixie next year and a snowflake, unfortunately to be a snowflake you also have to do pointe LOL.  She is a ways off from that LOL.  I think we will be on our road to a family production next year 🙂

Also I got some more pictures into the lapbooking/notebooking section and there are more reviews posted as well.  I will be adding more so I can get things caught up and enjoy the time next week with my children and husband as my husband gets a little over 2 weeks off work for Christmas break!  A nice perk of his job.  We are blessed to have him home during this time and no school will be taking place after the 23rd of December – yes we will do school till the 23rd.  Since we missed Tuesday due to sickness and Friday due to the two performances of the Nutcracker I want to make sure everything stays in her brain until we resume in January.

Oh, and about the strep she is feeling much better and she was surprised by how well she felt yesterday.  We are going to treat the other two as Bethanne is complaining of a sore throat so we’d rather treat than have them have strep during Christmas.  Strep isn’t something I want to mess with.

God bless

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