Fight like a girl

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Friday, September 20, 2013


I thought that raising boys would be easier.  Easier than what?  I'm not sure.  When the boys were little it was diapers, feedings, rocking, and a whole lot of attention that they needed.  I am not by any means complaining.  I loved every stage of their lives.  That is, until the teenager.  I have two of these creatures.  I always thought that once I got out of the baby / little child stage that life would get easier.  You know, when they can make themselves a sandwich or cook themselves an egg or two if they were hungry. And of course pick up after themselves.  (I know those who have teens are rolling in the floor laughing-out-loud right now because anyone who has a teenager KNOW that they still don't pick up after themselves!) Oh that part is great, but the teenage years are NOT easier!  If anything, they are torture. 

I remember back to when I was a teenager and then remember a few things and decide not think back that far any longer.  I wasn't such a great teen either.  Hormones, attitudes, tiredness, and of course I knew everything.  So I pretty much got 2 of me.....but the male version. 

I can say however, that being a male teenager is a bit easier to deal with than the female teenager.  I don't have to deal with as many hormonal / physical attributes.  The 'know it all' is still there though.

I guess God didn't want my husband and I to raise any girls.  He gave us three sons.  I am grateful for each and every one of my sons.  They are all different. 

I have the oldest who is quiet, very very strong willed, a bit on the shy side, is 17 and still doesn't have his first girlfriend (I'm ok with that for sure).  He says that girls cost money.  He is a very smart kid - 4.0 gpa. 

My middle child is the funny, sarcastic, goofy, book lover (like his momma) and is not shy by any means.  He is also very smart.  The kid could read at age 4.

My youngest child is also smart, but very scatter brained, goofy, funny, and laughs about everything.  He has dyslexia, which has been a challenge for me to teach him.  So his reading isn't as well as it should be, but he is great in Math.  And he has the best sense of humor; he's a real riot.

The best thing about all my boys is that they all love the Lord.  That right there is how I know that my husband and I are doing ok and that we will live through the teen years.  The Lord is always here to help guide me in all we do.

Anyone have any 'input' on the teen years?  Please share.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Presidential Game TOS Review

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I was sent The Presidential game for review.

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The Presidential Game includes:
1 game board
2 'vote' cards (Democrat & Republican)
300 chips (150 red & 150 blue)
6 dice (3 blue & 3 red) 
80 Politics cards
40 "write your own" Politics cards
1 Electoral WebMap Calculator Access Code
1 score pad

Note:  The access code is for you to keep track of your electoral votes online as seen in the picture below.

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The score pad is if you choose to not use this access code as seen in this picture below.

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What Is This? -

This is an educational board game about the elections: campaigning, fundraising and their electoral voting system.  This game is recommended for ages 11 & up.

A little about how we played the game -

The game is played with 2 teams (or you can have just 2 players).   One Democrat site and one Republican side.  You decide on each turn whether you are going to campaign or go fundraising.  Then you roll the three dice.  The number of all three die indicate how many votes you get.  If you are campaigning, you can choose which state you are placing your votes.  If you are fundraising, you must place at least 1/2 of those votes (you rolled) to one on the 4 fundraising states.  Then choose where the other votes will be allocated.  Afterwards, you must select a 'Politics Card'. 

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That card give you some insight on what the media is saying about your election.  

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The child of your opponent's Vice Presidential candidate is arrested for disorderly conduct at the Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.
Add 4 votes to New York.

Some of these cards are pretty hillarious I must say. 

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The picture above is what the board looks like half way through our game.

There are more details to the game, but I don't want to give you the entire gaming process.  You'll need to play to find out for yourself!

We chose to use the online calculator access code to see our Electoral WebMap.  We can visualize what part of the country is Republican to Democrat here as well as keep track of our votes of course.

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This game has won 'The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval 2013' award in both 2012 & 2013.

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What I Thought - 

This was a lot of fun and of course educational.  It was really neat for my son to see the electoral votes on the online map.  When you are watching in on TV, like this past year's election, it is hard to see the electoral map as a whole with all of the 'politic talk' on TV.  For kids, this is boring (ok, for adults this is sometimes boring too).  But this game, really put the electoral voting process in perspective.  My older son is in high school and he thought it was pretty fun.  My younger son played us a bit, as we talked him through the process, he thought it was pretty neat to see the map and all the votes get calculated on there.

I think this is a wonderful educational game to play with your kids with or without the online map.  I always say that 'learning disguised as fun' is a great way to get through to kids!  ;)  I think that when we make learning fun (especially the things that may not be interesting to them such as politics) they retain more information.  

I definitely recommend this to any homeschool family, private or public school class room to learn just how our voting system works!


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Monday, September 16, 2013

Mango Languages Review

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I have received Spanish - Journey's 1, 2 & 3 
from Mango Languages for review. 

Journey 1, 2 & 3 together are $176
Journey 1 & 2 are $132
Journey 1 is $79 

They offer 60 different languages.  
Here are a few:
German, Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Dutch, Russian, Latin, and Japanese.

What Is This? -

This is an online learning course for a new language.  The Mango Passport takes you through the language of your choice step by step to learn master it.  

They are sold in Journey's (aka courses).  After you purchase the Journey(s), you will download the program to your computer using windows.  If you want to just purchase the Journey 1, you can do so.  Or you can purchase Journey 1 & 2 or all three.  My high schooler is using this as his foreign language, we have downloaded all 3 Journey's.

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Once you have downloaded the program, you can start your 'Journey' at any time.  Each Journey has chapters to go through.  It has 'conversation goals' for you to achieve.  From ordering food at a restaurant to asking for directions, this program covers it all.  It teaches you step by step on how to communicate with others in the language you have chosen.  It's like having your own personal tutor and translator!  You may go over a previous lesson, learn at your own pace and take timed tests to check your accuracy. 

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In this picture above, it shows and says a word for you.  You repeat the word and then click your mouse in the little box on the screen.  It then plays the correct pronunciation of that word for you to see if you said it correctly.  When you have acheived that word, you click the pink arrow to the right to move to the next word.  It gradually has you repeating whole sentences.  It will ask you (in English) to say something and you have to translate it in Spanish.  This program challenges your critical thinking with it's timed sections.  Each lesson has a section that you must say the required word or sentence within a certain amount of time.  When you are finished, you click the box to see if you pronounced the sentence correctly.  Then press the arrow key for your next sentence. 

I must inform you though, at this time, there is no writing portion to this program.  But I did speak with the chief-of-staff at Mango Languages and he did inform me that they are working on extended a writing portion to the program. 

So, if you are planning a trip to another area where they speak another language, this is an excellent program!  If your high schooler needs a few foreign language credits, this is great.

To 'take a tour' or 'try it free', click HERE.

What I Thought -

I had my son use this for his high school foreign language credits.  Because it doesn't offer a written course at this time, I had my son have a pencil and paper handy during all his lessons to record the words in English and then had him write the Spanish word and meaning for all.  Even though it doesn't currently have a writing course, I still feel, as my son's home educator, that this program is worth the 2 full credit(s) that he is currently earning.  Last schoolyear my son finished Journey 1.  I gave him one full credit for last year.  This year, I am having him complete Journey's 2 & 3 for the other full credit.  That will complete his 2 credits in a foreign language for high school.   

As a homeschool parent, we are used to having to tweak a curricula to accommodate our needs for our children.  Tweaking this with the writing issue was not a big deal at all for me; we simply worked around it because it is a really good program. 

Another thing I like is that you didn't have to get online at a certain time.  My son could do this in the evening, morning or anytime he was able to and do as many lessons as he wanted to.  This is a big bonus for us.  I love programs that let my children learn at their own pace.  They also offer mobile apps!  How cool is that?  For homeschoolers, having a mobile app is a big plus when you are on the go!

This course is very thorough and I am confident that if my son ever gets the opportunity to travel, he will be able to communicate very well with having this curriculum / program under his belt.   

My last thing I'd like to mention is that there are other foreign language programs out there.  They are also more expensive!  With Mango Languages, you stick to your budget and also have access to help at any time.  Whether it is a downloading problem or just a plain question about the curriculum, they are there to help via phone or email.  They have excellent communication.

To Sum It Up -

Mango Languages doesn't just teach you the basics such as grandparents, siblings, cousins, please, thank you, etc.  It teaches much more than that.  Think about the things you will need to communicate when traveling.  You will need to order food, ask directions, make reservations, etc.  This program will take you through all these necessary steps and more. 

Disclaimer:  I received this product for free in return for my honest review.  All the information given is my opinion and from my experience with using the product(s).  I was not paid for this review.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Smores - inside with no fire or stick. ;)

My friend told me about this tasty new treat that is really awesome.  It's the homemade quick version of a smore. 
No fire, no sticks.

Here is what you'll need.

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graham crackers
marshmallow fluff

Break the graham cracker in half.  Put the nutella on one side and the marshmallow fluff on the other.  Put together and OH MY!  This is a good fix for those 'I need something sweet' moments.  (No one claimed it to be healthy.)

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This is great for kids to make too.  May be a bit messy for the younger ones, but they'll learn.  But it is a snack that you don't have to make, cook or unwrap.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our first day of homeschooling this year

Well, our first day (which was yesterday) went very well.  I have found the 'key' to having a great homeschooling day.  Actually, I found this 'key' years ago.  I just have a hard time being disciplined and applying it to my routine.  Without this key, my day starts, goes and ends in disarray.  My day is most always stressful (without this key) and I am almost always tired.  The day drags on and I just want to make it through my day and finish (again, only when I don't apply the key).  Finishing is my goal; not learning....but finishing.  This is NOT the homeschool mother that I want to be.

I am not like this often.  My children and I have a very successful homeschool.  I am just making the point that my homeschool flows so much better, I'm more calm and non-stressed, the atmosphere is better and the day is very productive... with this key.

What is the key?  Seriously, you do not know?  It's very simple.  The key is the Lord.  The days I wake up, do my devotion and spend time with the Lord, those days go very well.  The days I do not apply this before starting, not so good.

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I use a certain book for my daily devotions.  I just started using this particular book this school year.  It gives not only scripture but it relates to every aspect that a homeschool mother can think of.  I can relate to these devotions.  Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the name of this book yet because it is something that I am reviewing for TOS.  

 photo index-1.jpegI can tell you though, my review (and the reveal) will be posted the very first week of October.  So you need to stay tuned!

Whether you have your own devotional or not, you need to spend time with the Lord every morning before you begin your homeschooling day.  I'm sure there are free devotions online you can read / download or pick up a book at the local department store.  Spending time in the word and with the Lord is what is important.  I guarantee that your day will be less stressful, more relaxed and more productive.  After all, HE is the reason we have this blessing of homeschooling.  The Lord guides us through each and every part of our lives.  He wants the best for us and our homeschooled children.  So let him guide you.  You won't regret it.