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Friday, April 29, 2011

E-Book-The Curiosity Files: Blue Diamond

I have had the opportunity to review one of the The Curiosity Files E-Books from The Old Schoolhouse.  It is called Blue Diamond and teaches your kids (and you) all about the blue diamond.

Here is a list from The Old Schoolhouse website that shows what is included in the E-Book:
  • Bible study and memory verses
  • Math, history, and geography investigations
  • Literature and suggested book list
  • Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
  • Beautiful copywork pages (manuscript and cursive)
  • Science observations, projects, & experiments
  • Discussion questions
  • Art, crafts, drawing, and coloring pages
  • Lapbook/notebook pages and helpful lapbooking links
  • Special needs, hands-on discoveries
  • Internet resource and video links
  • Complete answer key

These books are perfect for ages 8-13.  As some of you know, my oldest are 7 and 9, so we are right at the lower level of ages for these books.  With that in mind, some of the material had vocabulary in it that was a little more than my kids could understand.  I didn’t mind that though, because it just gave me an opportunity to teach them some new words!  I went through the book with them, so anytime a word came along that was a little older than they are used to, I would just reword it so they could understand.  I really worked out perfectly!

I love the way the information is organized in the book.  It starts off just telling you “Everything you never wanted to know about the Blue Diamond”, as the book puts it!  It also tells stories about the history (including Biblical history) of the blue diamond and what it has been famous for and, of course, what makes it blue.  There are a few ‘in the lab’ activities you can do to further teach.  We chose the one called ‘The rock cycle in action’.  It was a big hit.  There were also a bunch of fun crafts to choose from to help teach your children more (or to just have fun).
The Rock Cycle In Action Lab
The Rock Cycle in Action Lab

This is the book that keeps on giving.  Just when you think you are nearing the end, you find more cool things!  What else, you ask?  Well… it lists other books you can check out to learn more and also a list of websites to check out too.  There are also all kinds of workbook type pages that involve, geography, math, spelling, vocabulary and history.  There is even a song about blue diamonds set to the tune of “All around the Mulberry Bush”.  It is really cute!  It really is a complete lesson, not only about the blue diamond, but about everything involved in how a rock or gem is formed.

I know I said this was for ages 8-13, but as you can see, you can get the whole family involved in the labs and crafts!
I know I said this E-Book is for ages 8-13, but the younger ones can definitely get in on the labs and crafts!

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends (and that’s you!).  My kids were a little slow to get interested in it.  I’m not sure why… maybe it was just a change from our normal subject matter; but once we got started they really enjoyed it.  Especially my oldest.  My son, is a little too young for the book, but he still learned some things and seemed to enjoy himself… particularly during the lab!

I know this was meant for my kids to learn about the blue diamond, but I definitely learned a lot too!  And, at $6.95, the price is definitely right!  And, there is a 7 day, money back guarantee.

Here is a recap of all the information about The Curiosity File Blue Diamond E-book:
  • What: The Curiosity Files – Blue Diamond E-Book
  • Who: For ages 8-13
  • Cost: $6.95, with a 7 day, money back gaurantee
  • Where to buy: The Old Schoolhouse Store
  • What you will learn: All about the blue diamond, plus much, much more.  I was impressed with all the detail involved in the information and how the E-book incorporated science, geography, math, spelling, vocabulary and history into a book about blue diamonds.
  • Size: 89 pages and can be done in one week, or one day per week for a month… or whatever schedule works best for your family!
  • Why?:  Because you I would never think to do a unit study on the blue diamond and it is actually more interesting than you may think!

If you would like to know more about the product or my thoughts on it, feel free to leave a comment below or go to The Old Schoolhouse and check it out.  And, don’t forget to look at the other Curiosity Files E-Books while you are there!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Good Earth Friday!

As most (if not all) of you know, today is Good Friday AND Earth Day.

I think it is kind of neat that the two days have fallen on the same day this year.  Undoubtedly, not for the first time, but it is the first time I have ever noticed it.

So, what's the big deal? Why is it so neat?  How do they even compare to one another?

Some of you that are annoyed that people are recognizing Earth Day on Good Friday are probably confused as to why I like that they have fallen on the same day.

Let's look at the two days...

Good Friday... the day Jesus was crucified.

Earth Day... the day to remember we need to treat the Earth that God gave us with respect.

I think Jesus would think (does think) it is pretty neat that we are celebrating and reminding ourselves to respect the Earth God gave us on the same day we are remembering the son He gave us!

Today, I wish you all a Happy Earth Day AND Happy Good Friday!

My first wish for you all, is to remember the wonderful man that Jesus was and all the things we can learn from him.

My second wish is that everyone may also remember the Earth that God gave us to live on and to give it the respect it deserves so that we may live on it for generations to come.

Happy Good Earth Friday!

No More Rack

Just wanted to share a great site with you all.

Have you heard of No More Rack, yet?

They have deals on high end name brands at up to 90% off and they have new deals every day!

The best part is that when you sign up and create an account, they will credit your account with $10!  Yay!

You don't have to make a purchase right away to get your gift, just open the account.

I hope you enjoy getting the deals!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The No Eating Out Challenge- How did you do?


I challenged my family and all of you to not eat out at all during the month of March.  I hope that all of you that accepted the challenge were able to see it through, or at least learned how to eat out less.

Why did I initiate the challenge?  Lately, I have been very bad about planning ahead when the kids and I need to leave the house for an extended period of time.  Or maybe I should say not planning ahead!  We would leave the house without realizing we would be gone during a regular meal time.  There’s really no excuse for that.  All it takes is a little planning!

So, since I would neglect to plan ahead and check to see if we would be gone during a meal time, I would find while we were out and about all of a sudden everyone is hungry (including myself)!  I am then forced to make a meal decision that I am not proud of.  This type of thing had been happening more often than I’d like to admit.  Again, I want to stress that it was all avoidable!

How was it avoidable?  Well, all during the month of March, because of the no eating out challenge, I made a concerted effort to know exactly when we were leaving the house and when we were coming home and plan accordingly.  I would make sure to make sandwiches, bring fruit, and any other snacks I had on hand.  At first, it seemed overwhelming, because I had gotten myself so out of the habit.  It quickly changed and became simple.  Making sandwiches and taking them does not take a lot of effort, really.

I am so glad that I did this challenge!  We I had really gotten our family in this horribly unhealthy habit that totally goes against all that I stand for as far as nutrition goes.  I mean, let’s face it, there is nothing ‘natural’ about going to fast food restaurants!

Here are some things that helped make our No Eating Out Challenge a success:
  1. Everyone was on board with the challenge!  That being said, if your spouse or significant other is not interested, please don’t let that discourage you from improving your health.  If he/she stopped brushing their teeth, you wouldn’t stop would you?
  2. The crock pot is my best friend!  If you normally eat dinner at 5pm and you know you will be gone until 4pm or later, that is the perfect time to put a meal in the crock pot.  Dinner is ready when you get home!  I highly recommend the Crockpot Lady’s recipes!
  3. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches and turkey wraps are quick and easy to fix when you realize you will be out of the house during lunch time.
  4. Grab a banana and/or apple on the run.
  5. If you are really on top of things, you can make a bunch of sandwiches during the weekend.  While you’re at it, cut up some apples and put them in baggies (put some lemon juice or orange juice in the bag with the apple and slices won’t change to a yucky brown that some kids won’t eat), cut up some celery and carrots and put them in baggies.  You get the idea.  Put all this in the fridge and when it is time to leave the house just grab what you need and you are set!
  6. Granola bars are a nice on the go treat.
  7. Other ideas for snacks on the go are nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cheese, and raisins.
  8. We also made guacamole quite a few times and ate that while we were out.

If you missed out on the challenge, don’t fret!  It doesn’t matter when you do the challenge.  You can start now.  You can wait till the beginning of a month or week.  Just set the dates and stick to it.  You might be surprised at how easy it is to change your eating out habits.

I hope some of the suggestions above will help you in your No eating out challenge success!

Did you join with me on the challenge?  How did you do?  What did you learn about yourself or your family?  How hard was it for you?  Do you have any tips that helped make it easier for you that might help others?

P.S. I feel the need to tell you that there was one day the kids and I ate lunch at school (we go to a school one day a week).  I made all of our lunches and then left them at home!  I was so upset!  My husband didn’t think this counted as ‘eating out’ and didn’t see the need for me to confess.  However, in an effort to be completely honest, I had to tell you! Smile

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nashville Whole Foods News!

Anyone from the Nashville area??

The Whole Foods Market in Green Hills has a couple of events coming up you will want to mark in your calendar!

On April 18th, it is Tax Free Day at Whole Foods!  This is the perfect time to stock up on any frozen items or just anything that you will be able to store for any length of time.

On Friday April 29th, they are having an organic strawberry sale!  All strawberries will be $1.99/lb.!!!  Stock up and freeze them or make jam!

Maybe I will see you there on one of those days!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Educator Discounts

We all are looking for ways to save a little cash here and there, right??  Borders and Barnes & Noble both have their Educator Appreciation days coming up starting this weekend and I have all the info you need for those.  I’ve also listed other businesses and websites that offer discounts.  I will update this post as I find more!

Borders has their Educator Appreciation Days April 8-12.  You will get 30% off most items in your purchase.  And if you You have to make purchase in store and show your teacher's ID.  If you are a homeschooler, you can print off a free ID here or if you have an umbrella school, just use the ID that they provide you.  Also, if you go on April 9th before 1pm, you will get a free recycle tote bag with your purchase.

Barnes & Noble has their Educator Appreciation Days April 9-17.  Their sale gives you up to 25% off (10% off music and movies).  You can get this discount in store AND online.  In order to purchase online, you have to register as an educator in person at a Barnes & Noble store.

The following are a few more sites that I like with Teacher's discounts:

And, finally, please take a look at Homeschooling on a Shoestring for a thorough list of discounts that she has found.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Learn Multiplication Fast! Times Tales Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Times Tales dvd from Trigger Memory Systems.  I have to say I am amazed at this product!  Admittedly, I was skeptical that my daughter could know her upper times tables within one sitting as stated in some of the testimonials.  Let me tell you, it is true!!!

The stories on the dvd make learning them so easy.  My 7 year old was sitting watching it with us and he knows them too!  He was yelling out the answer at the t.v., sometimes faster than my daughter.

For the first few minutes watching the dvd, my daughter was a little distracted and confused.  She knew we were sitting down to watch a dvd on the times tables, so why was the dvd just telling her stories?!  She looked at me a few times with this inquisitive look on her face, as if to say, “What is this?  I thought I was going to learn my times tables!”.  I reassured her and asked her to just keep watching with an open mind.  She did, and now is doing great with her times tables!  She totally gets how the stories helped her learn them!

The dvd continues on with division with equal success!  The stories make everything so easy to remember and understand.

No more painstaking reciting of the times tables over and over again until it is burned into your brain.  Multiplication is made easy and fun with the Times Tales dvd!

Here is an informative video about the Times Tales dvd program.  As you can see in the video, in addition to the dvd you play on your television, there is also a dvd you can use with your computer to print off games, worksheets and tests for more practice.

The only negative with this dvd (and it’s really not even a negative), is that because I hadn’t even started teaching my daughter her upper times tables, she doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal to know that so quickly and effortlessly.  For a child that is struggling memorizing his/her times tables, this dvd will be like their best friend!  No more struggling!  Like I said, it’s really not even a negative, because I know how unbelievable it is that she knows her times tables so well!  And, as her teacher, it is invaluable to not have to struggle with the times tables like so many homeschool parents have to do.  That being said, this is absolutely NOT just for homeschoolers!!  This is for every child that needs to learn their times tables with ease (isn’t that every child??).

If you can’t already tell, I am very pleased with this dvd program and am honored to be able to share it with you all.  I remember as a child, going over flashcards and constantly having to study and memorize my times tables.  Boring!!  I’m happy that because of the Times Tales our family will not have a difficult (and boring) time with our times tables!

Trigger Memory Systems has a group buy option on their site.  So, if you have 5 or more people that want to buy it, you can get a discount by purchasing it at the same time!

P.S.  Feel free to cruise around the Trigger Memory Systems website, but don't come back here and yell at me because you bought one of everything on their site!

Disclosure: This was not a paid post.  I received no monetary compensation for my opinion.  I did receive a complimentary copy of the product in order to obtain my frank opinion.  The opinions on Some Call It Natural will always be my honest opinion and I will never recommend a product that I wouldn’t use myself.