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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ August 29

1 ~ if I had to describe this week for me in one word, it would be frazzled. There have been a lot of interruptions to our week, some good, some not so good. But we are finishing strong!

alarm_clock_10 image credit

2 ~ I have had a hard time the past few days rising at 530AM with the alarm. I am learning to cut myself some slack.

3 ~ our science class starts next Friday. We have 6 other families joining us to study Earth Science. Excited!

Faith's 5th birthday 037 

4 ~ The next three weeks are birthday weeks in our house. McKenzie turned 5 yesterday, Montana turns 8 on the 13th and the Lt will be the big 4-0 this year!

5 ~ my desk always seems to be the catch-all for everyone’s stuff. Not sure I like that so much :-)

That’s what’s on my mind. Do you have anything to share? Link up with Miranda at The Pebble Pond.

The Pebble Pond

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UberSmart Math Facts ~ a TOS review

UberSmart Math Facts Review

Ah, Math facts. Those two little words can send shivers down the spines of many. However, I am here to tell you that with the help of UberSmart Software and their UberSmart Math Facts program, you can stop stop shaking and gain confidence. I am in the camp that believes to be successful in the upper levels of math, you need to have the math facts mastered. Solid.

UberSmart Math Facts is the brainchild of a homeschooling dad, David Kocur. David is a computer programmer by trade and was unsuccessful in finding a program to teach math fact drills for his children. So he designed one himself!

We received UberSmart Math Facts as a download for the PC. It is a Windows program that will run best on Windows 8, 7, vista and XP. The program is designed to teach math facts right from the beginning with the 0's facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and progresses all the way to the 20 facts.

The program works from a mastery foundation in four sections, Learn, Practice, Test, and Compete while minimizing stress and frustration in the user while at the same time building a solid foundation from one fact family to the next. Retailing for just $24.95 for a family license with up to 8 users this math program is designed for kids in grades K to 6th. However, anyone needing to brush up on math facts will find this program valuable. There is a 30 day free trial so you can try before you buy also.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

To begin with the program there is a handy assessment test to help you determine proper placement for your child. No sense in starting from the beginning if your child already has some facts mastered, right?  While this assessment test is not a timed test, you student is encouraged to work efficiently and to do their best work.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

In this section younger children start off with dot cards similar to dominos while older children use traditional flash cards. The child is to say the answer out loud and then click the show button to reveal the correct answer.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

This section gives the student the choice between dot or flash cards. This is the section where your child is to start entering the answer with the help of the keyboard.

Do not let that four letter word scare you. This part of the program just wants to see what you know and what facts you are having a bit of a struggle with.

UberSmart Math Facts Review

If you are up for a little competition then definitely check out this section and race against the clock and show what you know. The amount of time to answer each question can be adjusted to your liking in the settings section.

To keep track of your child's hard work there is a report section included. In this colored-coded smiley face section you will easily be able to find the facts your child has been practicing along with being able to see what facts have been mastered and which ones still need a bit more practice.

I have been using this program with Mikayla (11), Montana (7), and McKenzie (4) for the past few weeks. Mikayla has mastery of most of her facts up to 12, while Montana is working hard on the upper level addition facts and beginning subtraction facts. McKenzie is a newbie to the facts world, but has a keen sense for numbers and is doing quite well with her addition facts. As a group we are working towards mastery of the multiplication facts up 15 by using the program three to four days a week for 15-20 minutes during our Morning Time Recitations {MTR}.

UberSmart Math Facts is a no fluff math facts drilling program, and I love that! Sometimes it is easy to get distracted when there is a lot going on on the screen with games and whatnot. You will not find that with this program. It is the old school flash card system put in digital form for the computer. Again I like that. I have seen progress with my girls using it and for that we give the program two thumbs up and highly recommend it!

David Kocur has graciously offered a discount to my readers. Just enter the code "v4 Early Bird" in the discount code section and receive a 30% discount off your purchase. Be sure to act fast as the discount code is only available until September 30th.
Check out what my CrewMates thought of this program by clicking the banner below to read more reviews.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Company ~ UberSmart Software
Product ~
UberSmart Math Facts
Price ~ $24.95 for a family license with up to 8 users. Price includes free upgrades and support. Newest version is expected to be released September 1st.
Ages ~ targeted for K - 6th grade but ideal for anyone needing help with math facts

UberSmart Math Facts Review
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Friday, August 22, 2014

beauty captured {105/365}


Random 5 on Friday ~ August 22

1 ~ McKenzie turns 5 in just six short days. I don’t think I am fully ready for that, but she is!

2 ~ Montana started fall ball yesterday. It turns out that there are 3 other homeschooling families on the team. YAY!

3 ~ The mosquitos ate me alive at the ball field.

4 ~ Carpool for the gym starts again on Tuesday, whohoo! Really excited about that since it works out that I will be driving more at drop off than pick up so I hope to get the littles in bed at a decent hour.

5 ~ I have been making sure to go to bed and lights out by 10PM the last two nights, I wake up so refreshed even before the 5AM alarm.

That’s my randomness for the night. Have you linked up with Miranda at The Pebble Pond?

The Pebble Pond

Weekly Wrap Up ~ week one is done


Week one is in the bag, hooray!

PicMonkey Collage wk 1

I was really excited to start the new year on Monday. I crave the routine that school brings to our days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love summer break and everything that it entails. But I am sort of an introvert {shocking, I know} who likes to stay home. Plus I love re-learning with the girls and we have big plans this year.

wwu wk1

We started our week of with our yearly back to school pictures. This year we took them in the backyard on Sunday afternoon and you can see them here. It was nice to not have to rush on Monday morning for the pictures. Not to mention the fact that I overslept on the first day! Yes, yes I did!


After my momentary freak out, we were able to get down to business after breakfast. The rest of Monday actually went pretty smoothly and we were able to get everything on our schedules done. Which makes this box checking Mama happy!


One thing that I am doing differently this year is to have a weekly planning meeting on Sunday late afternoon/early evening with my three older girls. In years past, only Marie and I had these meetings to plan her week and I would schedule out what Madison & Mikayla would do.


Instead of just buying Marie a planner, I bought three, two for the older girls and an elementary beginners planner for Mikayla. The planning meeting allows me to help the girls become some what independent and take a little bit of ownership to their studies. Marie is pretty solid in her planning. I just make sure that she doesn’t schedule too much on one day.


Next week we will add in writing and Latin as well as start our morning time recitations {MTR} time with everyday frequency. This week I also learned that I will need to read all of Core G to Mikayla. I was hoping to have her read at least the reader and Kingfisher history portion of the day but it is proving to be a little bit overwhelming for her. So I am going to to start reading everything but the Kingfisher History to her and gradually towards the end of the year transition her to more and more reading responsibility. I am also looking forward to starting a lapbook with Montana on Charlotte’s Web.


McKenzie and Micah did really well this week. Initially, I was only going to school McKenzie 4 days a week but she is such an eager learner she requested something to do today too. I tasked her to use her touch math cards and teach Micah his numbers, which she loved doing and he equally loved looking at her. Micah also spent a lot of time laying on his new plush blanket being played with or just napping away. As long as he can see me he is good to go, so I spent a lot of time on the floor near him.


Well, that’s our week in a nutshell! Have you started back to school yet? If so, how did your week go? Next week on Monday I am going to share about a day in our life with the Not Back to Homeschool Blog Hop. I hope you will come back to read about it. I also will be sharing interviews that I did for the girls. So I hope you will join me.


Weekly Wrap-Up


Happy Kids Songs ~ a TOS review

Happy Kids Songs Review

My youngest three children love music. We have found some of the most loved songs from reviews we have done. Over the last six weeks we have been listening to songs from Friends & Sharing (Set 1), Happiness & Attitude (Set 5), and Manners & Character (Set 6) from Happy Kids Songs.

Happy Kids Songs is written and produced by Dr MacMannis, a singer, songwriter, and child & family psychologist. Dr “Mac” is also the music director and songwriter for the PBS show, Jay Jay the Jet Plane. Teaming up with fellow songwriter, Brian Mann, they have produced Happy Kids Songs to help instill character, and social and emotional skills in kids.

We received digital downloads of three volumes: Friends & Sharing (Set 1), Happiness & Attitude (Set 5), and Manners & Character (Set 6) and a physical copy of the Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills. All of the songs on these volumes are recommended for children aged 3-8. However, younger kids and a few older kids will enjoy them too because of the catchy lyrics and tunes. Songs can be purchased individually for .99 or by the volume for $4.95 each. Each volume contains five songs.

Happy Kids Songs Review

Friends and sharing (set 1):
Sailing on the Seven Cs - Understanding Friendship
Everybody Wants to Find a Friend - Reaching out to others
Sharing Friends - Including others
Happy as Happy Can Be - Being happy with a friend
Together - Being together and saying goodbye

Happy Kids Songs Review

Happiness and Attitude (set 5):
Shake It Out and Dance - Thinking positively
Who Knows What's A Kudo? - Giving and receiving compliments
I Don't Understand - Asking questions
Be Good to Yourself - Being kind
Better Together - Being together and apart

Happy Kids Songs Review

Manners and Character (set 6):
H-O-N-E-S-T-Y - Being honest
The Magic Word - Using "magic" words, like "please"
Quirks - Celebrating diversity
The Golden Rule - Treat others as you would like to be treated
Six Little Kids - Honoring different perspectives

Happy Kids Songs Review

The workbook includes all the lyrics to every song available in the 8 volume set as well as activity pages for each song.activity pages include coloring pages, word searches, and easy drawing pages. Divided up into 2 sections, this 125 page soft cover book includes 80 pages of lyrics and reinforcement activities as well as 86 pages of adult directed activities in section two. The workbook is recommended for ages 3-8 and retails for $12.56.


Once we received the email containing the songs to download I loaded them onto my laptop and attempted to load them onto my iPhone. While I had no problem downloading them to the laptop, my iPhone proved to show user error on my part. The Lt came to the rescue and fixed the issue, :) {love that guy!}

I would have to say that McKenzie {4} listens to the song the most, read all day, every day, much to the dismay of her oldest three sisters. Marie has suggested letting her wear her headphones while listening but sometimes she cannot contain herself from belting out singing one of her favorite songs, Sailing on the Seven C's, at the top of her lungs.

Now, don't get me wrong these songs are not just for the young. I have heard everyone from time to time singing or humming a tune, including myself because of the fun, catchy tunes. I would recommend these songs to everyone wanting to add in some fresh new tunes to their musical playlist. I plan on purchasing each of the remaining sets so we have new songs to learn. Also be sure to check out the samples to listen before you buy. Read what my CrewMates thought about these songs from Happy Kids Songs by clicking the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Company ~ Happy Kids Songs

Product ~ Friends & Sharing (Set 1), Happiness & Attitude (Set 5), Manners & Character (Set 6); Happy Kids Songs Workbook: Hands-on Activities to Build Character, Social & Emotional Skills

Price ~ songs are $0.99 each or $4.95 for the volume. The workbook retails for $12.56

Ages ~ 3-8 yr olds

Happy Kids Songs Review


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wizzy Gizmo: Fast Track Bible Pack - New Testament ~ a TOS review

Wizzy Gizmo Review

Wizzy who? I am sure that is what you are thinking just as I did a few weeks ago when this vendor popped on the scene. This catchy name of Wizzy Gizmo belongs to a technological genius who invents fun and fantastic gizmos to help children learn about God and the Bible with the help of books, audio dramas, and Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7


We received the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament summary cards for this review. The flashcard set includes 27 cards printed on 5x9 sized sturdy cardstock. These cards are the perfect addition to any home as they are geared towards all ages and retail for just $14.99. Each of the cards in the set includes one book from the New Testament and covers:

~ the theme

~ a brief  summary

~ number of chapters

~  date of writing

~  an outline

~ key chapters & people

~ key passages &  doctrines

My greatest goal in life is to make God known to my children in every aspect of our life.  To teach them His words and help them hide them in their hearts so that when needed they can call on scripture in times of trouble. And most importantly know the truth. To utilize this resource in our homeschool we have been reading and studying one card a week. Lately, because  our main Bible curriculum has been focusing on Mark we are spending more time on this card as we dig into the word and learning about Jesus as a Servant.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

~ Mark 10:45

wg2Just after breakfast when we spend our time with Morning Time Recitations {MTR}, we focus on going over the info presented on the front and back of the card. As a great way to solidify the verses in their hearts I have the  girls draw out one key passage verse. It does not have to be an elaborate drawing, but something that they can remember the verse by. As we progress with our studies, I think that their drawings will get more and more complex and these group of verses will be a great keepsake for them. Also at dinner when the Lt is home we are able to have a quiz and fill him in on what we learned for the day.


Right now, I have the Fast Track cards stored inside of a small binder inside of sheet protectors. While the cards are printed on sturdy cardstock, I have little’s and I want to protect them just a little more. In the future, I may laminate each card. I have really enjoyed incorporating these cards into our daily work even if we have been taking it slowly. I also like that on the back of the cover card, each book is summarized, just like a table of contents for quick reference.

 wg4 wg3

If you are looking to provide an in-depth study of each book of the New Testament, then Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament is the perfect product to do this. I wholeheartedly, hands down recommend this product for everyone! I love that it is economically priced and fits my budget. My only wish is that Wizzy Gizmo will offer an Old Testament set in the near future as well! Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this set and the other products being reviewed including Audio Drama One: Who Created Everything?, Book One: Who Created Everything?, Book Two: In His Image  by clicking the banner below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Company ~ Wizzy Gizmo

Product ~ Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament

Price ~ $14.99

Ages ~ all ages

Wizzy Gizmo Review






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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

beauty captured {104/365}

Major 3 months 014

3 months old

Weight ~ 12 lbs, 6 oz

Length ~ 24 inches