Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm still here ....

A few weeks ago I sat down one Saturday morning and drafted out my blog posts for the remainder of the year. I chose the dates, scheduled the times for (almost) daily posts and began composing the text.

Then life happened.

Both my boys have birthdays in December. Eight days apart.

We had taekwondo belt testing mid-month.

My mom came for a visit four day visit.

We had the regular Christmas stuff - presents to buy, make and wrap. Baking to be done, meals to prepare and general house upkeep.

And pictures to take. And snow to play in (sort of.) 

Something had to be neglected.

My blog was neglected. I planned to decorate my blog for Christmas. It still shows fall. I planned several birthdays in December posts. I guess I can use them next year. I planned out some Christmas posts too but again, maybe I can use them in 2011.

So here we are close to the end of the year (my kids would say New Year's Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve) We'll be starting a new year. And a new chapter in my blog. I am not going to dwell on what I didn't get done. :)

I have been on the web writing about our life since 2001. Back then it wasn't a blog. (Were they even around back then?)

I started my first family website after we moved out-of-state with Music Man just a year old at the time. It was designed to give our family and friends a way to keep up with the goings-on in our life and chronicle Music Man's milestones. Over the years it has been a place to write about my family. When I finally gave up the website (which I was still coding myself) and created a blog, I was able to afford a little more freedom in what I wrote about. It went through several changes and makeovers before we finally settled in here.

Now I am streamlining once again. I will still write about random things. I will still post recipes, decorating and my projects and such. But I am attempting to bring about some changes in my blog for the better. I hope you will join me as I embark on this new journey!

What changes are you making this year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

TOS Review: Good Morning, God

If you are familiar with Apologia, you know they produce quality homeschool materials. I first became aware of them while researching a creation-based science curriculum and was delighted to find their series of science books for elementary through high school

A few weeks ago, I found out that the TOS Crew was going to review the book Good Morning, God and was so excited when we received it! Though my boys are 11 (gasp!) and almost 7 (in just a few days) we still enjoy picture books immensely. Good Morning, God is designed for 1-8 year olds and fits in perfectly in our home. Music Man loves looking at the pictures day after day and both boys enjoy the repetition throughout the book and prayers.

Written by Davis Carmen, this book can be used as devotional material using the daily activities in the back of the book. There are open-ended questions that allow for the child to think. My boys loved working through those questions and thinking about abstract concepts such as "meeting God in the air." In the story, each day of the week focuses on worshiping God in a different way. The little boy is quite reminiscent of some of the things my own boys do and it was delightful to see how his parents taught him throughout the book. (I especially loved seeing him jumping on the bed.) Artist Alice Ratterree did an amazing job with detail with the illustrations! A short one-sentence prayer shows children that God wants us to pray from our heart. Scripture is taken from the NIV and allows for additional reading and studying through the activity section. 

So many children's books that talk about God are too cheesy for me. My kids may love them but I do not. We all throughly enjoyed this book and I am so pleased it was added to our home library!

I received Good Morning, God free of charge from Apologia for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TOS Review: Telling Time with the Master Clock

In our very digital age when penmanship is considered outdated and card catalogs are obsolete, an analog clock could also be revered as a thing of the past. Watches are digital, if worn at all. It seems America's main time telling piece is a cell phone!

Master Innovations aims to combat some of the digital age with a simple and effective way of teaching time telling concepts through The Master Clock. The Master Clock curriculum is a breath of fresh air for homeschools and classrooms competing with the digital age. The 100-page workbook is filled with worksheets for all levels of time-telling. The three geared hands are color coordinated with three clear overlays for measuring time in varied increments. And they are also fun to adjust. :)

I've said before that when Music Man came home last summer he could not read a calendar, tell time or work a simple addition problem. As we worked on the very basic of math skills, he started to thrive. Especially as we took the time he needed to grasp the concept rather than adhering to the state mandated time constraints. I began, without a curriculum, explaining little things to Music Man as we de-schooled through the summer. We did not really begin looking at time until the fall (of '09) and once he got the hang of time to the quarter-hour, his grasp of time came to somewhat of a stand-still. So we put time aside and focused on something else. When we received Master Clock to review, I was thrilled and have not been disappointed! He is able to see so much more clearly the correlation between hours, minutes and seconds through the colors and layers of the Master Clock.

Master Clock is a bargain at $14.95! Other products available include Master Ruler, Master Fractions, Master Angles. (They are all on my list for upper level math learning!) 

Want to see the Master Clock in action??

I received Master Clock free of charge from Master Innovations for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. The opinions expressed are my own.

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