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Things to Read.....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beyond the Book Report~ REVIEW 

Mahala and I were given the chance to Review Beyond the Book Report from Analytical Grammar which is a Middle School and Early High School language arts curriculum. This Program was Newly developed by Erin Karl and her Mom, Robin Finley.  They have a true passion for Grammar and Literature and it shows!  They both believe Middle School kids aren't just short Future High Schoolers.  That this is the time to really cover all those previously learned Elementary skills and get them totally prepared for High School Literature and Writing.  

Beyond the Book Report is designed to work along with Analytical Grammar for the perfect, complete Middle School language arts course.  Beyond the Book Report (Seasons 1 and 2) are for grades 6th-8th and (Season 3) are recommended for grades 8th-10th.  Each Season Costs only $24.95.  Or you can buy the whole bundle of the Three Seasons together for just $69.95.  We were Blessed with all Three Seasons for this Review...let's take a closer look at them.

Each Season contains a Teacher Packet and DVD.  My Kiddos and I are very Visual learners so it was Awesome to be able to have video instructions from the Authors Robin Finley and her Daughter, Erin Karl.  The videos were bite sized which made them very easy to listen to and watch.  I felt like they held the Kiddo's attention better then just reading the instructions from a book.  It gave a personable touch too. :)  On the DVDs they also give you a step-by-step schedule, printable handouts, rubrics, examples of the work your Kiddos will be doing and other activities/ideas, like crossword puzzles and reading logs.  I loved that they even have Special print outs for the Kiddos to take notes on.  This has given me the chance to really drive home the importance of good note taking. 

Here is an Inside Look at SEASON ONE (3 Separate Sections)
1. The Basic Book Report-
Your Kiddos will learn how to follow a Rubric,Conflict, Point of View, Climax, Protagonist, Antagonist
    Paraphrase and Plot Summary. 
2.  The Pamphlet Book Report-
 Here you learn about elements of the Plot, Mood, Tone, Setting and Genre.
3.  The News Article Book Report-
The Concepts introduced here include Headline, Byline, Dateline, Inverted Pyramid, Lead
    Objectivity, Bias and Objective Point of View.
SEASON TWO (2 Separate Sections)
1.  The Poetry Book Report-
The Concepts taught in this Section cover Figurative language like (alliteration, metaphor, hyperbole, simile, personification).  They will learn terms like stanza, rhyme scheme and verse.  Kinds of Poetry like a Sonnet, Haiku, Limerick and others.
2.  The Drama Book Report- 
Kiddos will learn about terms like Dialogue, Monologue, Cast, Props, Staging, Aside and Blocking.  They will read about different Genres like Comedy, Drama, Farce and Melodrama.

SEASON THREE (3 Separate Sections)
1.  The Essay-
This Season covers the Personal Essay, Literary Essay and the SAT Essay.
2. The Oral Book Report- 
Here you will get the DOs and DON'Ts on how to give an Oral Presentation with Power Point.  
3.  The Research Paper-
Easy Step by Step Instructions on how to Write a Research Paper.
I have always enjoyed writing papers for as long as I remember.  But, my Kids would rather go to the dentist and have all their teeth pulled without anesthesia!  Am I, I promise you my Kids have some Paper writing phobia/ illness.  So, a few years ago I decided to let them off the hook.  I had them do Oral book reports only.  And they actually did very well doing the research and organizing their thoughts.  I thought that was enough and figured when they started High School I would be firm about the written papers.  Well, Skylar graduated a year ago and he probably only did a handful of papers.  Now that he's in college he figured out that Mom wasn't crazy, that you have to do a TON of papers in college.  Thankfully he gets by with his writing.  By the end of his 2nd Semester he was pulling A- papers, but it wasn't easy.  I hated to see him struggle, but I used his situation to show Mahala the Importance of Writing papers.  But, since I never had her do them in the past it was a difficult struggle.  And then this little Gem fell into my lap.  Thank You Lord!!! :)  

It was nice to have back up, that's exactly how it felt to me.  It took us almost 2 weeks to get started.  She reads like crazy, so I let her pick which Season to start with.  She chose Season 2 and fell in love with a New world of Literature that she never thought was possible.  Poems were never her thing, but after giving Season 2 an Honest try she feel differently.  I have always been an Edgar Allen Poe Fan and I was excited to see her world open up to his writing too.  Right now as I type she is over on the floor writing poetry.  A Mother's Dream has come true. :)  The Drama Book Report she thought was just Pure Fun!!  That was music to my ears...she said it felt more like an Elective then a Boring English Class.  I will take that as a compliment, actually Erin and Robin should.  

It's recommended to work 3 days a week for about an hour each day.  Mahala worked about 3 days a week for about an hour each day while completing Season 2.  For Season 1 she worked almost the whole school week(5 days) for at least an hour each day.  But, she is a little behind in this department and there were a lot of new concepts for her to take in.

Overall, I think this is a solid curriculum and we look forward to finishing Season 1 and starting Season 3.  I Love that it's Visual Learning and is easy for the parents with Step by Step instructions.  You don't have to play the guessing game and you can be sure Nothing has been left out...It covers it all!
Don't Forget to Check out what is New at Analytical Grammar:

There are a Few other Great Products from Analytical Grammar.  Head on over and check them out! Analytical GrammarJunior Analytical Grammar and The Eternal Argument.


Click to read Crew Reviews

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms~ Review

I LOVE Books and Trying to get my Life more together then it already is.  So, I was thrilled to be chosen to Review Mary Jo Tate's latest book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from the Amazing Apologia Educational Ministries.  Even though this Book is for us Moms, I had my Teenage Daughter read it also.  She will have a Family one day herself, so I figured she would get something out of it too.  She found many Gems throughout this book. 
I know I've said this a Million times, but I truly feel Blessed whenever I purchase or receive anything from Apologia Educational Ministries.  Our Homeschool day wouldn't be complete without so many of their amazing curriculum and products.  They are a well-known, trustworthy Company that provides us homeschooling families Amazing, Quality Materials.  

This particular book is Only $15 and is just right for any Mom out there!  If your New to Homeschooling you will find Sanity, Peace and a Plan.  If your a Veteran Homeschooling Mom you will find your path back to your Reason and Balance again or for the 1st time.  Even if you aren't a Homeschooling Mom this book will quench your thirst for connecting dots in your life that you haven't been able to do on your own.  Here is a little of my experience....

With today's lifestyle I think we all can use a little more organization and balance in our lives.  Our Businesses, Kid's activities, Family and Social commitments.  Families that have decided to Homeschool have a whole other reason to get a little more keep some form of our Sanity.  This is where Mary Jo's book comes into the equation, Balance is the key word here.

I wish I could say that I'm Super Organized and that I'm Cool, Calm and Collected.  But, that would be a Big lie! :)  I'm just the opposite, I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl.  I procrastinate and rely on my not so young anymore brain to keep appointments and due dates.  So, why would I even consider reading a book like this for a Review?  Because I know deep in my heart that I can't continue living the way I do and be a Happy, Healthy, God Loving Mother and Wife.  I just can't continue to burn the candle from both ends....I need Balance.  Something needs to give and I can't let go of my 3 precious Kiddos.  So, giving this book a good read and some serious thought into it is the way I need to go.

I decided to start reading on a Saturday, that way I could start working the system right away.  I knew I would probably need to buy tons of labels, planners, notebooks, you know the usuals.  Heck, I even thought this time I would get one of those label makers too. :)  I was armed with a Serious handful of highlighters and was ready to take this journey.  Chapter 1 I was given a list of Challenges that I may or may not have encountered in my life.  Wow, so many where taken from a page of my own story.  And then I read Mary Jo's story, I could relate with her on so many levels.  Between the scripture and inspirational quotes I knew that this wasn't about putting together an amazing datebook or labeling everything in your house.  This book was about putting your life as a priority, not just something you add to a list and the scratch off. 

I wish I could grab a cup of tea with you right now and tell you everything I just learned about myself and the art of finding Balance, but I can't.  This is an amazing experience that all women should take for themselves.  Quickly here are the Chapters in her Book.
  1. An Invitation to Flourish
  2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
  3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
  4. Where Did My Time Go?
  5. Aim High: Setting Goals
  6. What Do I Do Next? Seven Essential Planning Tools
  7. We Interrupt This Program
  8. It’s Time for an Attitude Adjustment
  9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
  10. Training Your Children
  11. Making Memories
  12. Managing Your Home
  13. All of Life is Learning
  14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
  15. Home Business
  16. Moving Ahead
Here are a few things Gems that I have Applied to my Life!
~  We are talking about a movement toward Life Management, not Time Management
(This was Big for me, I had it all wrong) 
~ Mary Jo recommends you log your time spent in 30 minute increments for at least a week
(I did this and Mahala...very eye opening.  I will just say there were tears of realization from my Daughter that I know has changed her life)
~Goal Setting
(Not just life long goals, but daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)
~ 7 essential planning tools to help you get more organized
(This is a have to get the book to get these....Life Changing!!!)
~Adjusting your Attitude!
(My Teen was truly Inspired by this chapter and I was too)
~Proper Nutrition and Exercise
( We all need this....I guess ;) )
~Training your Child
(Very Surprised at this chapter.  I loved how she dives into Responsibility, Kiddos taking Initiative and being Independent.  I would have bought the book just for this Chapter!)
~Having Family time be a priority
( We are Good with this already, but to hear it done another way and with such commitment is Inspiring)
~Tons of Amazing tips on Chores and Organization
(It was like Christmas....we had a Family Meeting right after I finished Reading so that we could all discus some of my Favorites.  A Huge this that I walked away with was the fact that we needed a Routine not a Schedule.  This has changed my homeschool approach!)
~Chapters regarding Homeschool Moms, Single Moms and those of us out there with Home Based Businesses.

At the end of each Chapter is a Take Action Section that gives you a little Homework/Challenge.  Honestly this was my Favorite part, along with the wonderful way it felt like Mary Jo was speaking just to me....thank you Mary Jo! :)  I appreciated all the Charts, Lists and Resources she has included in the back.  She also gave plenty of Samples of her own personal routines and lists.  This was helpful to see how she incorporated her ideas to her own life.  I was truly Encouraged and Inspired by this book, I know of a a few Friends that I will be sending a copy to.  Order your own copy today I know you will be just as Blessed by it as I have. 
Mary Jo Tate is an Author, Book Coach, Editor, and Single Mom to 4 boys.  She's written a few other books... How Do You Do It All?Get Started as a Freelance Editor, and Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. As if that's not enough, she is also a Host of the Flourish At Home show on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. (My Favorite Place to Relax and be Inspired!) 

Head on over right now and Connect with Mary Jo Tate today on Facebook:  and Twitter:

 Crew Disclaimer
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Math Game to the Rescue!

Kaden LOVES anything to do with numbers!!!!  Can I multiply those numbers for you Mom?  I hear it every day?  Everyday Kaden asks, "whats this times this?  Do you know if you multiply this with that it will be this?"  I reply....why yes Kaden or no Kaden Mommy wasn't thinking about that right know because she's trying to take a shower. :)  Lord grant me patience......

So, here is his Iguana Factor Game he loves.  I hide it sometimes, because to me a little math goes a loooong way.  :)  If you have a little one who loves to multiply this is a fun game.  And if you have one that struggles in math, this would be a great alternative to constant book work.  We have games for Math, History, Science, Grammar, Writing, you name it I have a game for it.  It just breaks up a normal week of school and allows lots of laughter.  :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HomeSchoolPiano Review!! 

I'm thrilled to share with everyone this little Musical Gem I have had the privilege to Review the past several weeks.  HomeSchoolPiano has given us a subscription to HomeSchoolPiano- Complete Set of Books, which gives you access to Amazing Online Piano Lessons taught by Willie Myette. Willie attended and graduated from the Berklee College of Music.  Both of my Kiddos found it exciting to learn that he toured and preformed across America and Europe. And that his music has been played on almost 100 different radio stations across the country.  Willie also is the founder of JAZZEDGE, JazzKids, PianoWithWillie.  So, I didn't have to pull any teeth to get the Kiddos to sit up at the piano, they wanted to learn what he knows and to listen to what he had to say.  I wonder if he could help me out with Trigonometry too?  :)  Just Kidding, but a Mom can dream!

A few years ago we had to stop Piano for Mahala, it just was too expensive and the 45 minute drive there and back was not worth the 30 minute session.  Just thinking about it know seems crazy to spend almost 3 hours of my time for 30 minutes of instruction.  Well, I can tell you now with this Program every minute now is spent wisely not foolishly.  

One thing I think that this program has over many others is that Private Lesson Feel.  This is not like other online programs, I promise you it will seem as if he is teaching you in your own living room! 

HomeSchoolPiano uses a particular Teaching Method for ease and mastery of skills.  I love this!!  If I took or taught piano I would think this is the way it should be done.  It's a very natural approach.  Mahala had problems with the teaching style from her Piano school.  
So, I was very excited for her to try out HomeSchoolPiano for her to compare. The teaching Method is Pretty Simple... Prepare - Present - Review.   It follows a 6-step Cycle that adheres to the National Standards for Music Education to develop a well-rounded music curriculum that touches all of the NAfME requirements

Here are the 6 steps:
  1. Technique - Developing speed and dexterity are key goals in this section.
  2. Rhythm - It all starts with Rhythm...very important component!
  3. Ear Training - Strengthening your ability to hear rhythm, melody, and harmony.
  4. Reading - Step-by-step instruction on learning how to read music, which will make it easier to learn and compose songs.
  5. Song - No boring exercises here, just making some great music!.
  6. Improvisation - Mahala's Favorite part!!  Kids are encouraged to take what they've learned and create their own music. :)
So, let me back track and tell you exactly what my Family has been using.  I received a One-year Subscription that gave me access to all 4 books. I also want to add that members get Unlimited online access to the music and over 20 hours of streaming lessons. This lifetime subscription that You can start right now is only $299 and you will have: 
  • Unlimited, lifetime access to
  • Record keeping and quizzes for up to 5 students
  • Unlimited lesson streaming to your tablet or phone
  • Unlimited music downloads
  • Unlimited video lesson downloads
  • Downloadable Jam Track CD :) 
Here is a Quick look at the 4 books included:
  • CorePiano- Very NEW beginner
  • Book 1- Beginner with some piano knowledge
  • Book 2- Beginner to intermediate (has more complicated concepts and songs)
  • Book 3- Intermediate (midpoint into this book you will find much more advanced curriculum) 
Here at Our house we logged on with our tablet, phone and the home computer almost daily.  We loved that you could have multiple Kiddos on using different devices.  Kaden and Mahala did a lot of their piano playing together, even though they were in separate books.  Before each lesson I found the kids enjoyed a little free play on the piano for about 10 minutes.  I guess it got their creative juices flowing.  We took out whatever worksheets needed and then watched the lesson.  I couldn't get enough of the downloaded songs, such a great extra.  The quizzes were straightforward with no fuss, that was a plus especially for Kaden.  After we would finished a lesson once again the kids would play for little bit longer.  I loved how they encouraged one another and gave positive feedback to whoever was playing at the time. 

I have to admit I even learned a few things....Willie is an AMAZING teacher, Mahala has had a few for me to compare him with.  We were very pleased at the way he taught the lessons....Straight to the point in a creative way.  :)
Anyway, back to the reason why you are reading.  The main thing that I loved about this program besides the amazing teacher was that I could download and print as many copies that I wanted to from our Piano Books.  When I didn't want to print we would just sit the tablet up by the piano.  Mahala has done well and plans to continue all the way through.  Kaden on the other hand needs to take a little break.  It was a little hard for him as far as coordination goes.  But, he was drawn to the program and gave it a good try.  He practices still almost a half hour every single day after Mahala's practice time.  He just will need additional time to complete his books.  Thank goodness we have a Lifetime to do it!  HAHAHA
I did have only one complaint and that was sometimes the website would not load properly or a video.  But, it would only take a quick refresh to get it up and running appropriately.  So, it's something we can definitely live with.  I guess you already know, but I will say it again....I Love this Program.  I think any family who has at least one person longing to learn how to play the piano can benefit from HomeSchoolPiano BIG time.  You will be just as impressed as I am!

HomeSchoolPiano has 2 Payment Packages-

1. Success Package (One payment of $299)
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all the Extras (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

2. Payment Plan (Payments of $99.97 per month for three months):
Unlimited life-time access to HomeSchoolPiano along with all the Extras (downloads, jam tracks, sheet music) for up to 5 students.

Don't Forget to Connect with HomeSchoolPiano 

Click to read Crew Reviews

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Looking through Windows

I'm almost 40 and every year that I reluctantly grow older I reevaluate my life and readjust who and what I allow close to me.  I thought when I was a young Mom in my early 20's I would have everything worked out by the time I turned 40.  HAHAHAHA  How funny are the lies we tell ourselves in our youth to sleep more soundly at night.  I longed for the day all my furniture matched, all windows had cute coverings and all my ends met without something having to be sacrificed.  

A long time ago I was 12 or almost 12...I revealed something horrific to my Mother.  It ended our relationship as we had known it for all the years of my life prior.  It was new now and was strained by my revealed secret.  As she screamed and cried I ran out the door.  It was the 1st of many escapes from my past.  I'm still running every time I get triggered, not in the same way but I'm running.  That day as I ran far away from our street I slowed down at a neighborhood.  All the houses mirrored one another, just different colors of trim or landscape.  The sun was almost completely gone and you could see right into their windows.  I was in awe at how happy the families looked sitting around the table for dinner.  Dad, Mom and Kiddos talking even laughing.  I wondered what they were saying....I longed for what they represented.  I felt so sad inside, dead almost to the point that I felt like I could have stood there all night and day and nobody would even know I was there.  As I walked down the sidewalk and looked at life carrying on with or without me I made a promise to have what I saw that night.  One day I will have a safe, loving family.  I felt almost like I was window shopping from house to house.  I left that night with an idea in mind and a goal in my heart.  

Who would have thought that 27 years later I still wouldn't have what I longed for that night.  I'm still searching for love, safety and wholeness.  I've found that those things don't come in the form of a house, kiddos or a husband.  Those things are never guaranteed to last.  Stuff can break and people will let you down all the time.  Only one thing can give you Love, Safety and Fulfillment and that's a Relationship with God.  My whole life I chased what I thought happiness looked like, I never measured up.  I always came up short and I used relationships as a gauge to what my self worth was for the day.  Mix in a bunch of unhealthy people with major problems of their own and you have a huge problem.  That was my life!

I've been a Christian my whole life.  When I was going through years of abuse and living on the streets I had faith.  When I lost my parents, suffered physical and emotional abuse I still loved him.  Even when 2 of my Kiddos almost died and my youngest was diagnosed with Autism I never stopped believing, not to mention battling this crazy Lupus!  But, it wasn't until I received the worst news of all, I can't even say it right now.  It wasn't until this happened back in December that I had No choice but to fall at the Lord's feet and completely rely on him.  When I did that I began to see a shift in my heart.  Here it is July and I see some light, it has been a ROUGH 8 months.  I will not lie to you, every day is a struggle, but everyday I feel Loved, Safe and Fulfilled.  I feel like I matter, I'm enough because God says I'm enough.  Even on bad days I know if someone looked into the window of my heart they would see me sitting down with Jesus laughing, talking and enjoying the highlights of the day.  I know now that all along I had my "window", I was just looking for it in the wrong place.

I am Truly, Madly, Deeply Blessed

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond The Page~ Review

Recently I received two products to review from Moving Beyond The Page.  Our first product was the Social Studies Package - World Wars I and II.  This package is $42.89 and is recommended for Kiddos 10-12 years of age.  In this Unit Study you will get a physical curriculum guide, All That Jazz - A History of US Book #9 and Where Poppies Grow by Linda Granfield.  

The second set we received was a Language Arts Package - Animal Farm.  This package was an Online Version.  Even though the guides and work is found online we received a Physical Animal Farm book written by George Orwell.  The online Unit Study is $22.92, and comes with online access to everything you need for your Kiddos.  The recommended ages for this package is 12-14.  This was my first time ever hearing about Moving Beyond the Page.  We love Literature based schooling because with a book History and Science becomes alive and exciting!  We were counting down the days till our package arrived and when it did it didn't take long till the books were cracked open. :)

Moving Beyond the Page is a Literature-based homeschool curriculum for Kiddos in Elementary and Middle school (4-14).  It can be purchased as a full year curriculum package or purchased individual Unit Studies to supplement what you already have going on.  The Unit Studies are design to work with your Kiddo's learning style, no matter what it is.  That's because they encourage both critical and creative thinking by giving your Kiddo not only challenging, but engaging activities and projects to do throughout the Study.  All Kiddos will enjoy it, especially those who are creative, gifted or just love that hands on approach.  It's pretty impressive, my Kiddos are total opposites as far as learning styles, but they both were engaged and alert with both Unit Studies we Reviewed.  Moving Beyond the Page curriculum encourages your Kiddo to explore and learn new Information and Concepts with their Unit Studies through Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Reading, and Math.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What's in Your Quiet Basket?

I found this little Blast from the past......

I find several times a week just needing a moment to fix dinner or put some laundry in the wash without Kaden following me or worrying about what he is up to.  So, to fix this problem I have this lightweight basket filled with quiet activities.  It's filled with small puzzles, mazes, dry erase boards and markers, magnetic boards, small toys and a note pad with pencils and small thing of crayons.  One of  his favorite things in his basket are the Bendaroos, he loves Bendaroos!!!
Here is a video of us playing with them.  I like that they don't dry out and you can make a little dude and then take it apart and make something else.  Check them out and see what your kiddos think.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Veritas Press Self-paced history ~ REVIEW 
Have you heard of Veritas Press before?  I have to say honestly I was a little reluctant to Review another History Curriculum.  Thank Goodness that I did though.  I have 100% fell In Love with Veritas Press Self-paced History.    We were given one year access to Veritas Press Self-Paced History ~1815 to the Present.  I can't wait to tell you all about it! :)

Veritas Press offers live courses and self-paced courses. They provide your Kiddos a classical education that ignite your Kiddo's Imagination and Hunger for education. The company began when a couple wanted a way to teach history chronologically while combining Biblical events. 

When I started homeschooling I took a textbook approach and then later kind of went with a more hands on/literature reading stand.  And that has really been where the kids have grown.  So, I thought I was happy and content.  Well, now I'm all flipped upside down.  I never thought to try an online, self-paced route.  And now that I have I think I Love it and have found a perfect fit for the whole Family.

Are you thinking, what does self-paced History mean?  

I know I was wondering what the difference was compared to what I was already doing.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why she put the Pillow over my Face

When my parents died I stayed with a cousin for a short time in Florida until school was out, then I stayed with a family friend until all Hell broke loose. (more on that later)

The night I was placed in the Foster care system was a night I will never forget.
I was a scared child with a heart so filled with guilt and sadness that I hardly even sounded like a child. I didn't look like a child. I was a child, a child that had a story. And this story she wanted to share but who would listen? Who cared? Who would save her?

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Go Science Series 2 Review!!! 
The past few weeks we were able to add some Science Pizzazz to our days.  We were given the opportunity to Review two New Go Science DVDs (Series 2), provided by Library and Education Services.  This Series is Recommended for Kiddos 4-12 yrs old and cost $8.97 each.

Library and Educational Services is a Michigan based Family owned business that has been providing CDs, DVDs and carefully selected books to ensure that they provide Christian values and evolution-free science resources for all ages.  They have been working with schools (including homeschools), churches, libraries, daycare centers, missionaries and resellers for over 35 years. 
Our Family has always loved Science, honestly I think who wouldn't love it.  :)  I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I bet you would change your mind after whatching this New Series.  Ben Roy is the host and is a Science Educator at the University of Tennessee.  He is so enthusiastic and makes learning fun.  I enjoyed watching with Kaden and we had fun trying to recreate some of the demonstrations.
Something Kaden picked up was...Every episode you hear Ben's Famous words, "every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our Creator, God!".  

Kaden went to Social Skills last week telling all the other Kiddos about the New Series and he had the Teacher write Ben's Famous words up on the board.  He is always shining his light for God where he can.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Slimmmmy Sisters?

Mahala was so Sweet the other day.  She made up these different bowls with sensory items for Kaden to play with.  

She used different bowls and placed some pasta, flour and rice with food coloring in each of them.  She also added different flavoring extracts.  He had to smell, feel, taste and guess what it was.  He Loved mixing the flour and slime and smoooooshing it with his hands. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Meltdowns, Stubbed Toes and Water Guns

What a super busy week it's been.  I'm so exhausted, I can hardly see the screen to type.  Hmmmm, what do I need to give me a little jolt?  Organic, GF Peanut butter cups.  :D  At least that's what I'm telling works for me.

Today was Kaden's last day of camp.  We had a great BBQ Family Fun Day to end the week.  Well, it ended it alright, he ended up having one of the worse meltdowns ever.  

My heart was in my throat the whole time.  After 20 minutes or more of screaming, hitting and punching himself, Skylar scooped him up and restrained him as we walked to the van.  Once there we couldn't leave for almost 30 minutes.  When we finally made it home I gave him a shower because he was covered in dirt and black stuff from the parking lot.  His knees and hands were cut up and swollen.  Not to mention Skylar's face from Kaden's punching.  :(  
A few hours of relaxation and love from Homer helped settle him down to the point we could talk.  I love Homer, as soon as Hurricane Kaden entered the house Homer ran straight up to him and Kaden immediately started petting him.  Later today we had Homer give Kaden pressure.  It seems to help when Homer does this and we talked about what happened at the church.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Let's Chalk it Up!

Life's simple pleasures....New Chalk and a cool Summer day with lot's of drawing Space.  One of Kaden's favorite things to do is use chalk for hours.  That was something as a kid I couldn't do.  It made my teeth hurt just thinking about touching chalk.  :)  He will lay on the cool concrete and rub his nails over the chalked surface.  I'm like see ya, got to go!!!! 

I can't tell you how much chalk we have gone through in Kaden's life.  We do buy it when I find it on sale, but we also like to make it here at home too.  It's a super fun project.....

All you need is:
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Tempera Paint
  • Warm Water
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Silicone Molds
  • Wax Paper
  • Duct Tape
To make for an EASY Clean Up we used plastic cups to mix in, and plastic knives to stir with. 

Mix 1 cup of Plaster of Paris with 3/4 cup warm water first. Then add a Few squirts of tempera paint and stir.
Note: Be careful not to add too much paint, it will change the consistency of the chalk, and will crumble easily. No more than 2 teaspoons will work great.

You will want to use a different cup per color, and then pour into silicone molds and toilet paper rolls that's lined with wax paper first. For the toilet paper rolls, you should also create a base by taping off the bottom with some duct tape.
Afterwards, they just needed to dry. They should be hard and ready to pop out of the silicon molds within a few hours.  But, the toilet paper rolls may take a full 24 hours before they are fully ready.

Let me know how your Chalk Making goes.  We are making some this weekend, Kaden is gathering supplies and making a shopping list right now as  I type.  :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

First Day Jitters

Kaden went to his first ever VBS/Summer Day Camp this week.  I was a wreck Day 1....and that's putting it lightly. :)  We have never been able to leave him at Sunday school so I was excited to give it a try.
This New Church we go to has an Excellent Special Needs program that basically gives each child a Buddy so they can experience Children's Church with the typical Kiddos.  What this means for Kaden is that his Buddy helps him feel comfortable between transitions with activities if he stresses.  Is there when he feels overwhelmed or needs to take a break from something.  Also, sometimes Kaden can be too literal or is unfamiliar with what peers are talking about.  I love that it gets Kaden to interact more too with the other kids.  If it was up to him he would get in and get out without one ounce of communication with anyone.  
We were lucky that his Buddy could come to camp with him.  We also had one of his BTs come with him too at first, but was able to fade her out quickly.  Now it's just Him and his Buddy, crafting away, playing in water, singing songs and learning about Our God.  Ok, maybe he isn't doing alllll those things, but he's at least being exposed to them and tolerating it.  :) 

I was overwhelmed myself at first with all the people, lights and music.....hahahahaha  But, he handled everything like a Pro!  Each day he comes home complaining and and a little overwhelmed.  But, after a nice lunch, a few minutes with Homer and some down time he's good to go.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Youth Virtue Journal ~ REVIEW 
I get to share another Great Product with you today, the Youth Virtue Journal from We Choose Virtues.  Heather McMillan started We Choose Virtues because of her love for children and the desire to see them reach their full potential. What an Amazing Passion to have and she clearly has a gift that is easily seen in the products she provides.  Learn more about her and her Fabulous Team HERE.

I have Reviewed products from We Choose Virtues before, they were more for Kaden's age.  This time we received the Youth Virtue Journal which is a paperback book recommended for ages 12-18. The Journal sells for $17 and includes PDF files for a Mentor’s Handbook, a Youth Character Assessment, Scriptures that go along with the Virtues listed in the book and a Mentor Meeting Report Form.  A lot....I know!! :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 REVIEW 
Kaden and I was able to Review another Great product for the past several weeks.   We received a full year's Subscription to from Learning Wrap-Ups .  The subscription included full access to all the levels of Reading and Math cards for up to 5 users.  There are over 7,000 questions available and the Kiddos get to work through one card after another.  And receive instant correction if they answer wrong.  I had never heard of this product before so I was really eager to get started. These are geared towards Kiddos in grades K-5th.   
The Cost for the Online Program is only $59.99 for up to 5 users.  (Get an Additional 20% discount when using the coupon code of  HOMESCHOOL)
Check out a Free Demo of the Online Program HERE.

The card format looks like a painter's color palette.  Each card consists of a circle divided into pie pieces. Each pie piece has the question or answer on it and a Brightly Color coded disc.  The Kiddo is to match the question and answer with the coordinating Brightly Colored disc that's located on the left-hand side.  This is done with the mouse by dragging the correct colored disc to the answer on the palette.  The Instructions are very minimal and really is designed to be for practice or review.  This is not to teach your Kiddo new concepts.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Horse Therapy for Autism

Kaden LOVES going to ride the horses.  Some of the things we are working on while we are there is his social skills, communication and body awareness.  We thought he would enjoy grooming Sunny before going out for his ride. This would be a great way to show affection to the horse and give him a sensory outlet.  After brushing for only a minute he stopped, without saying a word.  And Mahala asked him if it was fun, he just nodded his head no.  I was surprised, I thought he would like it.  But, he was just ready to ride.  In a few weeks we will give it another try.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Awake in God's Love

Life is getting to be a little more normal around here.  We had a huge Family situation back in December and honestly it has taken till recently for me to understand that I am not going to die from it.  I can say the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel.  I feel like a weight has been lifted and I know It's because my relationship with God has increased.  Let me rephrase relationship with God now exists.  It has been awakened because nothing else was going to change what we were going through.  Finding comfort and strength through him has once again pulled me out of a deep pit.  I am forever thankful for his Love and Unfailing Faithfulness to me.

Up until recently just taking care of the basics in my home has been about all I could manage to do.  Everything has taken a back burner so that our Family could heal and recover.  We are a Strong Family as long as God is in the Middle.  I know now it's not a Strong Mom that keeps a Family together.  It's a Strong God, Our God that keeps a Family together. 
Thank You Lord so much for Scooping me up in Your Loving arms during this time of need.  I feel like I can walk again...still tightly holding your hand.  I'm never letting go again....Never!