Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Imagination Station: Hunt for the Devil's Dragon - review

"Are you brave enough to follow cousins Beth and Patrick?  In 13th century Libya, a vicious animal is killing the townspeople's sheep. To appease the beast, the people believe they must offer up a maiden as a sacrifice.  When Beth tries to help a girl names Sabra escape from becoming the animal's next victim, she is left for an offering outside a dragon's lair.  Meanwhile, Patrick and a new friend named Hazi, join Georgius, a Roman knight who plans to kill the dragon.  But the plan goes awry when Beth and Sabra beg him not to hurt the dragon.  The girls know the true secret of Silene - the dragon isn't its worst enemy." (taken from the back cover of the book)

I had never heard of The Imagination Station series and am now wondering why.  What a great way to teach kids lessons of truth, bravery and friendship.  Cousins Beth and Patrick learn a valuable lesson about 'standing up for what's right, no matter what.' What I really liked about the book, was the way that the Roman soldier lived according to Christ's ways, even when others ridiculed him.  Such a positive powerful message to young children

The recommended reading level for this book is ages 7 and up.

(DisclaimerTyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  All I was asked was to offer my honest opinion, positive or negative). 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Final Week of 2012/2013 School Year :)

Today was our official last day of our 2012/2013 school year and yet it seems like yesterday we just started the year.  This was the plan when the kids started the year.  The following is how everything turned out:
  • Math started out strong but slid to a crawl once we hit January.  To change things up a bit, I turned to Life With Fred  - Edgewood and had the kids read a lot of living math books. 
  • Spelling also started strong at the beginning and then, again, slid to a stop.  Changing things up again, I ordered Sequential Spelling 1 to have on hand.  This didn't help much, but it is here just in case.
  • Reading was a success for both Nick and Sam.  I set a goal for each of read at least 1 chapter book a month.  They went above and beyond that goal.  
  • Delight Directed:  A lot of sewing, knitting, cooking, building with legos, reading, creating spaceships, painting, writing and illustrating books, etc.
I am not sure how long our break will be.  Sam indicated that she wants to take two weeks off and Nick wants the whole month of May off.  We will see.    

Nick has completed his end-of-year evaluation and Sam will complete hers this weekend.  In NH, we have a couple of options for end-of-year evaluations...portfolio review, standardized testing, or making arrangements to have an oral review.  This year I chose the standardized test (CAT-5), which can be administered at home.  I will be mailing in the tested material next Monday and will wait patiently for the results.  

A project was started this past week...building a chicken coop with dad.  We are planning on getting chickens and will be raising them from eggs on up.  This will be a great learning experience for all of us. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wishing on Willows - review

"A three-year-old son, a struggling cafe, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband.  As the proud owner of Willow Tree Cafe in small town Peaks, Iowa, she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her cafe and a vital town ministry are located, she isn't about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won't give up easily.  His family's business depends on his success in Peaks.  But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match.  Robin's gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal, and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of second chances." (taken from the back cover of the book.)

Katie Ganshert, author of 'Wishing on Willows' weaves a beautiful story of loss, love and sense of purpose through Robin and Ian's individual stories.  Imagine yourself in Robin's shoes and along comes Ian via a family business wanting to take your livelihood away.  Do you fight to keep everything you have?  Do you give up and move on? or Do you compromise?  A very enjoyable read that I highly recommend to all.

(Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

"For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black.  Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said the be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.
Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed:  Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well.  And the Azkaban guards hear Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."
Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends.  Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst." (taken from the inside front cover of the book)

Last night I finished reading 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban', the third book in the series, written by J.K. Rowling.  Nick and Sam enjoyed listening to the story and decided that the book is much better than the movie.  I agree!  This book seemed to be more descriptive than the other two that we have read. 

(Disclaimer:  We checked this book out from the library and I was not asked by the author or anyone else to give my opinion of this book)

Tonight, I started reading the 4th book in the series, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'.  From what I understand, this book starts turning dark in the series and the kids and I have decided that we will NOT be watching the remaining movies until they are much older.  We will see how it goes, chapter to chapter, and will decide whether we want to continue with the story or not. 

So glad our library has these books available!

Friday, April 12, 2013

This week...

Math:  usual math lessons of adding, subtracting and multiplication exercises

Reading:  Sam has been reading various books and Nick is reading 'What Was the Battle of Gettysburg?'

Computer Time:  a given each week.  Both kids usually play some sort of computer game (parental controls are always on) and browse appropriate you-tube videos - usually lego stuff

Library Visit:  I had Scott take the kids to the library today instead of going tomorrow.  Sam was all excited that 'Little House on the Prairie' Season 5 DVD was waiting for her.  Nick checked out 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' DVD and they both checked out 'Harry Potter' book number 4. 

Read Aloud:  I have been reading 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' (book 3) to the kids. We are 7 chapters away from completing the book.  Nick and Sam are loving the story and can't wait for me to start the 4th book in the series.

FreeTime:  Nick has been designing and building Iron-Man lego mini-figs and structures.  Sam made out our grocery list for the week and basically took charge at the grocery store.

Both Nick and Sam received new beds and helped with cleaning their rooms, placing the beds, making the beds and are now enjoying more play space.

How was your week?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On My Nightstand

I have this nice little nightstand that seems to get cluttered with many different things...books, magazine, pictures from my kids, DVD's, etc.  I do have a stack of books/magazines that I am either reading, planning to read or have read.  And they are the following:

Currently Reading
  • The Civil War Volume One: A Narrative -  Fort Sumpter to Perryville by Shelby Foote (I am just into chapter 2 ((very long chapters)) and am thoroughly enjoying reading about this time in our history.)
  • Ensign Magazine - April 2013 issue.  Love love love this magazine
  • Book of Mormon - I am currently reading the book of Mosiah and am on chapter 12.
Planning to Read
  • The 5 Money Personalities by Scott and Bethany Palmer
  • Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America by Mark R. Levin
 Have Read
  • Free to Learn: five ideas for a joyful unschooling life by Pam Laricchia - I was going to write a review but wanted to re-read the book.  Some great information that I need to absorb as I am starting to plan for the next school year.
So, what is on your nightstand???

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lessons Update

I have not written any lesson updates the last few weeks.  For several Friday's I have been meaning to post updates and have been sidetracked.  Such is life.

April is our last month of the 2012/2013 school year.  We are winding down lessons and the kids will be taking year end exams.  They will probably take them the last week of April/beginning week of May.

With that said, the kids have been working on the following:
  • MATH:  I leave this up to Nick and Sam.  They choose the worksheets that they want to do and leave them for me to look over when I get home from work.  Both Nick and Sam have been reading various Math books (Sir Cumference, Pythagoras, etc.)
  • READING:  Nick and Sam read on a daily basis from various books
  • HANDWRITING:  Sam has been working on her cursive and has been writing letters to her grandparents.  Nick will write when he feels like creating a story
  • READ ALOUD:  I have started this up again.  I have read the first two Harry Potter books and just beginning the read the third book to the kids.  We are enjoying this time together
  • ART:  Nick has started drawing again.  His subject has been pirates.
  • SEWING:  Sam has been designing and sewing clothes for her stuffies
  • LIBRARY:  Every Saturday we visit our favorite library and meet up with our friends.  The library is starting up a Lego Club and the kids are excited to create designs with their friends.
How has your week been?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Caption This...

The look on my son's face is priceless.  Every time I see this picture I can't help but laugh. Do you have a caption for me?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(picture from

Tonight, after about 2 weeks of reading aloud to Nick and Sam, I finished 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'.  This book follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione during their 2nd year at Hogwarts.  They ensue many challenging twists and turns and find out who was responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets. 

Both Nick and Sam enjoyed this book and look forward to me reading the next one in the series of Harry Potter. Thanks to our wonderful library for having these books available for all to enjoy :)