This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Monday, January 31, 2011

031 ~ 365

rockstar meet misc 010

finally got a bokeh, definitely need more practice but I will take it!


TOS Review ~ Times Alive!



times alive 2011-365 001 “Math is FUN!”

Wait…did that just come out of my 4th graders mouth?

Yes…YES, it did!!!!

We received a download of Times Alive! from City Creek Press in December to review. I will just tell you now, flat out, that if you have a child that struggles with there multiplication facts, drop everything and purchase this product. Yes, it’s that good! Anything that can make my non-math liking 4th grader say, “math is fun” is worth every penny to me. Not to mention she now has a full grasp of her multiplication facts.


Times Alive! is a fun, engaging, supplementary math program founded by former Sylvan Learning Center owner                     Judy Liautaud that has been “Helping Kids Get a Kick Out of learning since 1992.” Times Alive! is an interactive game that uses stories, songs, and quizzes to help teach children multiplication facts from zero's through the nine's times tables. By viewing short animated video clips with catchy lyrics my students were eager for math all day.

Features of the program include:

*taken from City Creek Press website*

  • Students read along while they hear the storyteller.

  • Lively animation makes the number characters come alive.

  • Each story is followed by a music video with a catchy song.
  • Interactive games and fun quizzes engage the student while testing recall.
  • Progress reports summarize date lesson completed, quiz scores, and time elapsed.
  • Students may stop anywhere and resume where they left off. The program remembers.


    Times Alive! software is available for purchase either as an electronic download, $44.95 or on a CD-Rom, $48.95.  PC and Mac versions are both available.  Additional multiplication and addition resource kits containing other helpful materials to reinforce learning the math facts are also available at budget-saving discounts.

    times alive 2011-365 002 

    2 thumbs up, what a great product!!! I recommend this to any struggling math facts learner. Our favorite math fact story was 6 x 8.  My girls couldn't get enough of the program and actually begged to do math.  See what others on the TOS Crew thought by clicking here.

  • Product: Times Alive software

    Company: City Creek Press

    Ages: Anyone needing to master multiplication facts

  • Video Samples: City Creek’s YouTube channel

  • Price: $44.95 for download; $48.95 for CD-ROM

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a download of Times Alive! in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

  • Sunday, January 30, 2011

    030 ~365 Rocked it

    rockstar meet 1stplace team

    Level 4 girls rocked it on Sunday afternoon! Our team with 4 girls beat out 5 other teams to take first place overall. In the individual level our three girls aged 6-8 year old swept the podiums top three spots in the All-Around. Mikayla ended up 2nd All-Around. Madison our 10 year old Level 4 earned the 3rd Place All-Around spot.

    *I’m waiting on the official results page to post the girls scores, but we are so proud of them!!!*

    Way to go girls, you Rocked it!


    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    028 ~ 365

    23 365 mike award 015

    Farewell Rampagers…hail to the Vanguards! That is after 30 days of much needed R&R.


    TOS Review ~ TenMarks


    Since late December 2010, I have been using an online math program with Mikayla called TenMarks. It has been a wonderful supplement to our current math curriculum.  Mikayla was able to work on new concepts and reinforce the concepts that we had already covered. 

    The TenMarks website states: “TenMarks is the only online math program that helps students refresh, learn, and master math concepts – in their own time, at their own pace.”

    TenMarks is an subscription based, online math program offering course for grades 3 through 10, including Algebra 1, 2 and Geometry. The company has incorporated over 100 core concepts into each grade level to make sure students are prepared. Your student works through a series of multiple choice worksheets grouped by concepts. There is the option to watch a whiteboard videos if needed to teach a new lesson. If your child is still  having trouble after the lesson, there are hints that can be called for to help them better understand the concepts. 

    The TenMarks approach (taken from TenMarks website) is to offer effective math learning based on 3 simple principles.

    1. Personalized Learning Makes All the Difference.
    2. On-Demand Instruction Provides Help When You Need it.
    3. Practice Builds Confidence and Improves Achievement.

    tenmarks-masteryWorksheets are assigned to the student at the rate of 4 per week. The worksheets are laid out with 10 questions in a  multiple choice answers format. If your child speeds through the assigned 4 worksheets there is an option to "fast track" or have more worksheets opened up.  A handy feature is the ability to pause the program so that no new worksheets are generated for a period of time. This was especially helpful during the holidays. 


    Tests are scheduled after the worksheets are finished and can be retaken if more practice if needed. A handy feature that I appreciated was the fact that TenMarks sent out weekly emails to remind the parent there are worksheets to be completed. I personally needed that reminder and appreciated it for planning purposes.

    tenmarks-certificate-300x177I found Ten Marks to be an great way for Mikayla to practice mental math.  She did this naturally for the first few weeks and then figured out that she needed a pencil and paper as the concepts got harder. But I loved the challenge that she had. I would recommend this program to any needing a stand alone math program or just a supplemental one.

    Pricing Options (per student):

    $10/ month

    $49/ 6 months

    $89/ 12 months

    Visit the  TenMarks for complete program information and informational videos about the program. TenMarks comes with a money back guarantee.


    I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a 6 month subscription to TenMarks in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    027 ~ 365

    23 365 mike award 003

    I was scrapping the bottom of the jar so I broke down and bought a new box of Tide. Maybe one day this year I will finally make some of my own…


    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    026 ~ 365 Homemade granola bars

     23 365 mike award 002

    Madison and I whipped up a batch of homemade granola bars this morning. They turned out delicious and well worth the $11.99 I paid for the coconut oil.


    TOS Review ~ The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids


    We received The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids ($14.99)  from Lifeway Christian Stores to review a few weeks ago.  Wow, what an  amazing reference book this is!  It’s a hard cover reference dictionary with over 200 pages,  covering  750 Bible terms.  Including over 500 terms that have colorful illustrations, photographs, maps and more.  Each entry also includes the phonetic spelling (which comes in handy for some of those more difficult names and places) and the biblical verse the term(s) is associated with.

     23 365 mike award 017

    This book is geared towards children ages 5 to 10, but I found it especially helpful during my Bible in 90 days readings when I wanted a visual for the section I was reading. While this book is not a complete reference, there are more than enough entries to keep kids learning about the Bible for hours on end.  

    Some special content features include:

    ~Names of God and Jesus

    ~12 Apostles

    ~10 Plagues on Egypt

    ~Jewish Feasts and Festivals

    ~ Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus

    ~ Parables of Jesus

    ~Plants of the Bible

    ~Animals of the Bible

    ~Foods of the Bible

    ~Musical instruments of the Bible

    ~Armor of a Roman Soldier

    23 365 mike award 019 

    The excellent quality and layout of this book makes it very engaging for the reader. You won’t find any dry and boring stuff here. I recommend this book hands down to anyone looking to add a Bible reference book to there collection. I’m pleased as punch that it is now added to ours!!!

    To see what other members of the homeschool crew thought, hop on over here.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    025 ~ 365

    Jan misc. 2011-265 241

    I met a new friend at our co-op a few weeks ago. She has been a blessing in more ways than one. I so much appreciate the help she has been giving me as I start to plan out Marie’s high school years.  Last week she brought the huge box of curriculum that she was giving away. The familiar cover of the Saxon brand immediately caught my eye. What a blessing as these will be put into good use in a few years with Madison.


    Dear Grandma


    2011 365 girls 024

    How are you doing? Don’t you just love my new smile…it makes Mommy and sisters crack up so I do it all the time. We are all doing pretty dandy out here. It is cold though so I don’t get to go outside too much. But you know what, I been keeping myself pretty busy with markers, books, and toys. Look what I can do now…

    2011 365 girls 023

    almost have my forward roll…

    Jan misc. 2011-265 120and sooo close to doing a handstand like sisters. Did you see me wearing Montana’s leo?

    Not much else going just staying busy as a bee and keeping Mommy on her toes. My favorite thing is flushing the potty. Mommy says if you can’t use it, you can’t flush it. But I love flushing it, All. Day. Long. Those sisters of mine really do need to keep the door closed.

    Jan misc. 2011-265 020Jan misc. 2011-265 056Jan misc. 2011-265 040Jan misc. 2011-265 076

    I am off for now because it’s Girl Scouts today and I love sitting at the table with my Daisy friends. Love you and can’t wait until your visit this summer!

    Jan misc. 2011-265 070

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    023 ~ 365 McKenzie’s leo

    McKenzie leo 001

    she’s rockin’ this leo and baby legs!


    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    022 ~ 365 outRAGEous

    Jan misc. 2011-265 189

    Competition season begins in full force today…our  weekends will never be the same…well at least not until June!


    Friday, January 21, 2011

    TOS Review ~ Speekee


    Have you ever wanted a Spanish foreign language program that utilizes interactive songs, animation, puppets, and real Spanish speaking children? An immersion program that uses only the targeted language to immerse your child? Well look no more.


    Speekee is a purple puppet, similar to a Sesame Street puppet, that  from the moment you start speaks to your child in Spanish. Your child will learn Spanish the same way they learn your home language, through hearing and mimicking their family group.


    Subscriptions cost $7.50 per month (but there is a free two-week trial, so you can check it out before you buy) to Speekee TV as a streaming program over the internet.  Every episode contains native speakers, puppets, and cartoons engaging in regular activities at everyday places, like the park,  the market, or at home.   Each of the 10 episodes (nearly 150 minutes of video) takes you on a learning adventure to learn new vocabulary.

    1. El parque – the park.
    2. El café – the restaurant.
    3. La casa – the home.
    4. El zoo – the zoo.
    5. La clase – the classroom.
    6. El mercado – the market.
    7. La estacion – the bus station.
    8. La playa – the beach.
    9. El jardin – the garden.
    10. La fiesta – the party.


    My younger girls were attracted to Speekee from the beginning because of the songs and animation of the videos. I thought it was well put together and I whole-heartedly agree that learning a foreign language is  important for our girls, but I wasn’t fully convinced that this Spanish program is right for our family.  However, it may be the perfect fit for your family so definitely check out the free 2 week trial. To see what other members of the TOS Crew thought, click HERE.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and as such received a copy of Speekee in exchange for a thorough and honest review.  Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews.  The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but are not influenced by the company or the free product provided .

    Large Family Logistics Giveaway

    lfl-book-300x291Raising Olives is giving away 2 copies of the book "Large Family Logistics".   Head on over to her bog and enter to win!


    021 ~ 365 Level 4 leos

    Jan misc. 2011-265 234

    Madison & Mikayla are moving up in the gymnastics leo world. We just picked up our new Level 4 competition leos and they wanted to model them. Last year about this time they were competing in their first Fun Meet, now we are onto the USA-G meets.



    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    020 ~ 365 Fever

    IMG00054-20110120-2242I caught a bug yesterday from somewhere and someone. When I woke up this morning it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. The girls and I made it to co-op but I knew by 2PM,  that we were not going to make it to church group that evening. Of course it was our family's snack day for church group, so I ran to the store and then brought the snacks to the church. By 7PM I was feeling the full effects of the ever rising fever and climbed straight into bed. My whole body ached and everything, including my clothes, that touched my skin hurt.

    By 1030PM I was seriously delirious and craving a Whopper.  The Lt. thought I had lost my marbles when I was telling him that every person born before the year 2000 and there age for 2011 would add up to 111. Every child born in 2000 to the present would equal 11.  Did I confuse you? Okay take my birth year, ‘78 and add my age that I will be in 2011, which is 33, then add them together. You get 111. Okay now do yours and what did you get? 111, right? Interesting factoid for 2011.

    My fever ended up reaching 102.0 degrees, almost my limit to where I will break down and take some medicine, but it started falling by 330 AM. So today (Friday 01-21, because I am back dating this post) I’m feeling pretty good, albeit a little weak and achy.  My throat is  sore and I am losing my voice but I am fever free and on the mend.