Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trials

"If you're experiencing a trial right now, recognize its ultimate outcome: a deeper dependence upon God and gratefulness for your victory in Christ." … David Jeremiah, Turning Point Devotional, April 27, 2010

I really like this quote. We are commanded to “give thanks in everything.” Frankly, that is tough to do through financial difficulties and family troubles. I have always had blessings outside of my trials that I can be thankful for, but it can be so hard to find blessings IN the trials.  Sometimes I struggle to understand how God can work good out of the evil that is happening around us and to us. But if I grab hold of this thought—that every trial results in a greater dependence on God and gratitude that He will bring me through to the other side, really, what greater blessing could there be?

I know through my experiences that trials do drive me to a greater faith and a greater dependence on God. When everything else fails, when everyone else leaves me, God is there.

“And we know that in all things God works for good with those who love him; those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Emily!

My baby turned 10 today.  I’m not sure how that happened!!! Where did the last 10 years go?

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When she was baptized in November of 2000, Chris read this story of how she came to us:

Long before I was born, there was a family in the United States that seemed to be full. The Lotts had three children, ages 8, 10, and 12. If my Dad had told anyone that I would be their new child soon, he would have been told to quit kidding around.

But the Lotts began to feel a strong longing for another child, an adopted one like me. My Mom quickly answered the call from God to add to the family in this way. Dad, being stubborn at times, took a little longer. But eventually they agreed that the Lott family would grow by one little adopted girl.

So, sight unseen, they began a long process of getting approved for an adoption. They had to be fingerprinted by the INS, have an FBI background check, and even had a stranger come into their home and study it! It took them about 3 months to complete. They were put on a waiting list for the next available baby girl.

Now I come onto the scene. I was born, and my mother took me to an orphanage called Casa Quivira….I was cared for by a bunch of very nice and loving nannies, and had lots of friends at Casa Quivira.

When I was 2 days old, I was assigned to Mom an Dad. My birth Mom named me Maria Irene, and Mom and Dad decided to keep “Maria” as my new middle name. They sent Mom and Dad pictures of me, which were really cute, and they posted them on their refrigerator.

Mom joined an e-mail list and a weekly internet chat on Sunday nights sponsored by Casa Quivira. This communication formed a vital link to Guatemala during the remaining waiting period. She had to wait for all sorts of legal proceedings to play out in Guatemala. This included a social worker’s report on me and my birth mother, a review by 2 different courts, DNA testing of my and my birth mother, and getting me a Guatemalan passport and an American visa.

….When I was three weeks old, something went wrong. I started to hurt, and the doctors determined I needed a minor operation. I was packed into the van with Juan Jose, and was driven off at a maddening speed to a far away hospital. Fortunately for me, it was a minor operation and everything went well. I was back in my crib in 24 hours.

One effect from my surgery was that the nannies were told not to let me exert myself, for example, with strenuous crying. The nannies obeyed the doctor precisely, and from then on, they carried my everywhere so I wouldn’t cry. I was very happy to have such attention, but my Mom and Dad have since insisted that I learn to sleep alone in a crib.

Finally, when I was 3 1/2 months old, Mom and Dad, and my new sister, Katie, came one Sunday morning to pick me up. I have been with them since. After I game Mom and Dad a long tour of the baby orphanage, Juan Jose drove us to the nearby toddler’s home. We spent a long time there playing with the older kids, and everyone had a good time.

I am happy Mom and Dad decided to answer God’s call, and come get me. Although Guatemala is a really beautiful country, it is also very poor. Were I to have stayed in Guatemala, I would have been lucky to grow up and get a job in the fields. Now in America I have much better opportunities when I get a little older and can walk.

Besides getting to pick me up, Mom an Dad also got to meet some other really neat folks. Many of my buddies were going home to their new homes that weekend, too. Mom and Dad got to visit and met with them. We took a long trip one day to tour the Guatemalan countryside, we visited the American Embassy where I was given official permission to come home, and then we had a celebration lunch afterwards with all my buddies and their parents. Since then, Mom still keeps in touch with them, but less frequently now that she ahs to take care of me.

We feel that God has truly blessed us with Emily. The process of getting her here was long and arduous at times. But in the end, it was all more than worth the effort. Just to hold her in your arms and see her little face smiling at you reinforces our belief that this was in God’s plan for our family.

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Happy Birthday, Baby!

Reading to Your Child

Young Boy Reading Story Books

I blogged about reading to your children on my Super Star Speech blog.

One of the best activities you can do with your children to encourage  language acquisition is reading together. I started reading to my children when they were two or three months old. The first books we read were bright and colorful board books with a single word or short sentence per page. We soon progressed to books of nursery rhymes and books that were illustrated songs. Although my babies didn’t understand the words at first, they enjoyed the bright pictures, the rhythm of the words, rhymes, and songs, and the cuddling with Mommy. Story time became a treasured part of the day for both of us.

Most parents know that reading to their children is very important. But did you know that reading straight through the book from beginning to end is not always the very best way to stimulate your child’s language skills? Studies have shown that when children are engaged more actively in reading, their vocabulary, comprehension, and language expression are greatly improved.  Here are some ideas for new ways to read a book…

The rest of this post is on my Super Star Speech Blog!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Five Question Friday

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1. Do you have an iPhone and, if so, how do you get apps and what are your favorites?

No, I don’t. My phone makes phone calls and texts (and I’m pretty pathetic at even sending texts). Guess I’m living in the dark ages!

2. What is your fondest memory of K-3rd grade?

This is more of a funny memory than a fond one….When I was in second grade, I walked to school. One morning a small child (maybe 4 years old) followed me all the way to school and into my classroom. I kept ignoring her, hoping that she would turn around and go home, but she didn’t! I think the teacher and principal had a time figuring out who she belonged to and where she lived!

And then there’s the time in Kindergarten that we visited a petting zoo and the cow started munching on my teacher’s dress!

3. What makes you cringe at the thought of touching?

Well, I watched a show on Animal Planet last night that featured a guy going down into a septic tank to rescue a donkey, so that’s on my mind right now.  Ick Ick Ick!


4. If you could have any celebrity show up on your doorstep who would it be and why?

Maybe one of the “Women of Faith” folks—Sheila Walsh, Patsy Clairmont, Lisa Welchel….They all seem like lots of fun as well as warm and caring.


5. What would you say is your best physical feature?

My overall figure—I’ve pretty slim and am happy with my size, although I don’t know if any particular feature stands out.

 

To participate in Five Question Friday, visit My Little Life!

Indivisible Giveaway

Tricia is the winner of the Indivisible (Kristen Heitzmann) giveaway. Random.org picked comment #1!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Haircut!

Emily has been begging to have her hair cut for months now. I love her long hair.

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She wanted it SHORT like she had it three years ago.

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We compromised. I think it is cute and will be a little easier for her to take care of. (And it will grow back in a year!)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Freschetta Winner

The winner of the Freschetta Giveaway is Cheryl. (Random.org chose entry #7.)  She has been contacted by email. Thanks for entering!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-a-Clean Power Sprayer

Last week, I was sent a free Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-a-Clean Power Sprayer to try out. This product claims to cut through soap scum and grim AND keep cleaning for up to four days. The one chore that I hate to do and don’t keep up with very well is scrubbing the bathtubs. My tub doesn’t look bad, but the kids’ tub….yuck! It’s hard to keep up with the soap scum and tub rings. So I was eager to try this out to see if it would be an improvement over my current product. This was my experience:

1. Emily was excited to receive this in the mail and wanted to clean the bathrooms immediately—A big plus!

2. The power sprayer is cool. Just pull the trigger and the product sprays continually. Quick and even kind of fun! This would be great for people with arthritis. It could be disastrous in the hands of unsupervised kids!

3. It seemed to clean well and left a wonderful orange scent. The instructions were to spray, to wipe with a sponge, then to rinse. The Extend-a-Clean product is supposed to leave a light film that will prevent soap scum and grim from sticking to the sink or shower. It had been 5 days since this sink had been cleaned. Because it is taupe colored, it shows soap scum or toothpaste well. I cleaned it with the Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-a-Clean  Power Sprayer, waited 5 days, and compared the condition of the sink. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but I do think that it stayed cleaner looking longer. The cleaning chore was also very easy. Maybe I’ll do it more often!

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4. After cleaning  two bathrooms and tubs, the sprayer bottle seemed to be about 1/4 empty, so it does seem as if it won’t last long, making it more expensive to use.

The suggested retail price is $8.99 for the starter kit and $3.99 for refills. Visit www.scrubbingbubbles.com for more information.

I received the Scrubbing Bubbles Power Sprayer and 2 refill bottles free from Bzzagent.com to try out and tell others about my experience.

Review Favorites for the Year

If I’m counting right, I’ve reviewed 53 products this year with the TOS Crew! Most have been homeschooling curricula or books for kids, but a few have been family or even “fun for mom” items. I’ve been looking through each of these reviews and have picked out my very favorites. In no particular order…..

All About Spelling: We loved this innovative approach to spelling and phonics. We progressed very quickly through levels 1 and 2.  I plan to buy 3 and 4 for next year. We are on a very tight budget for schooling next year and since Emily is the fourth child, we have a lot of available curricula here at the house already. This may be the only school purchase I make next year.

imageVirginia Soaps and Scents: This wasn’t even a homeschooling item, but such a treat to review. I made a large order from the company last fall to try out more of their wonderful products. image

Artistic Pursuits: This is my favorite art curriculum and I’ve tried several different ones. It is easy to use and is a great balance of art appreciation and creating art.

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 Sue Patrick’s Workbox System: We love using workboxes in our homeschool! The system keeps Emily more on track and forces me to be more organized each day. It also allows us to add more fun activities—games and projects—to our day.

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 Graphics Toolbox: This is an amazing graphics programs that I use frequently.

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Nutrition 101: This is a very comprehension hands-on nutrition, health, and science book. It was a bit too advanced for Emily, but we’ll be coming back to it next year.

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Journey Through Learning: Emily has found a love for lapbooks this year. I am very pleased with the quality of the ones we have tried.

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Educaching: We haven’t done as much as this as I would have liked, in part because my GPS receiver is barely adequate for the task, but this was innovative and fun!

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A few others I really liked were Math Mammoth, Mathletics, and Christian Kids Explore Biology. Emily loves Wigglington and Wenks too.

We have been blessed and are grateful to these companies for allowing us to try out and blog about their products!

 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Freschetta Flat Bread Pizza—Yum! (Giveaway)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Freschetta. All opinions are 100% mine.
We love frozen pizza at our house. It is something I keep stocked in the freezer for a quick meal. In fact, it is is our usual Sunday lunch because I generally take Sunday off from cooking.
I was recently given the opportunity to try out Freschetta FlatBread , Freschetta’s new variety of ultra thin crispy crust pizza. The company sent me some coupons for free pizza, so I headed to the store to get some. The first thing I found is that Freschetta FlatBread is hard to find. I had to check four stores before I found one that carried this variety! I felt like I was on a treasure hunt!  Anyway, the store I finally found that carried Freschetta FlatBread was Super WalMart, so I would suggest that you look there first.
We were starving by the time I finally located the pizza for our dinner tonight, so the first plus was that it cooked up in 7-9 minutes. The variety we tried was the Zesty Italian Style Pizza. I also picked up a Roasted Garlic and Spinach FlatBread for later.  Freschetta FlatBread also comes in Pepperoni and 5-Cheese varieties, but WalMart didn’t carry those varieties.
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We all agreed that it was delicious. The Zesty Italian flavor includes pepperoni, sausage, Genoa salami, mozzarella, and Asiago Cheese with Zest Red Sauce. The crust was indeed very thin and crispy. Katie loved that because she prefers thin crust pizzas. Emily commented that it was salty—I think the salami was the cause of the saltiness. (And I see in the photo that her slice had a lot of salami on it!) I thought the flavor was excellent. The sauce seemed a little spicier than the typical pizza and the amount of toppings was generous. The three of us finished off the pizza quickly and probably could have eaten a few more slices. I think Freschetta FlatBread will be one of our new favorites.

After I first posted this, John Michael came home, asked what smelled so good, and cooked himself a FlatBread--they are going fast!
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I encourage you to try it out! You can go online to get a coupon for Freschetta FlatBread here.
I have 2 more coupons for free Freschetta Pizza (any variety)  to give away. The coupons expire on May 31, so this giveaway will end at midnight Monday, May 17. I will mail the coupons ASAP, so the winner should have them by the end of the week.  To enter, just leave a comment. For a second entry, follow my blog and leave a comment saying that you do.
Visit my sponsor: Freschetta Pizza

Saturday, May 15, 2010

TOS Year in Review

My year with The Old Schoolhouse Crew is coming to an end. It has been an amazing year of learning new skills, trying lots of new homeschool products, and making new friends.

Just a little over a year ago, I wasn’t even a blogger. I started this blog when I “tried out” for the Crew in April 2009. Since then, not only have I learned about blogging, memes, carnivals, and widgets (!), but I’ve even started a second blog at www.superstarspeech.com/blog that focuses solely on speech and language topics. I am “challenged” in technology, so this has been a great learning experience for me, in addition to (hopefully) developing my writing skills.

I was honored and blessed to be part of the 2009/10 Crew. Emily and I have kept very busy testing and reviewing over 50 items in the past year.  It was exciting all year wondering what products we would receive next. We had to be very flexible in our curriculum this year, putting plans on hold at times, to fit in all the review items. Although many of the review items were not ones I would have chosen to buy, and a few weren’t useable for Emily’s grade level, I found something to like about every single item. And I found many jewels that I would never have discovered on my own.

Probably the biggest blessings of the year were the relationships formed with the Crew. The Crew board was a wonderful place for chatting, for homeschooling support, for silliness and laughter, for prayer, and more. I will miss that.

I don’t know yet what the next year will hold. I plan to do some more reviewing of books and other items, although not nearly as much as I did this past year with the crew. I will continue with both my blogs and plan to work on writing more Super Star Games this summer.

I will continue to monitor the TOS Crew blog to see what next year’s Crew is up to!

I will be posting about my favorite products of the year in a few days.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Field Trips for All Contest

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Lunchables. All opinions are 100% mine.
Field Trips For All
As a homeschooler, I have a lot of freedom to “make the world my classroom.” If we want to spend the afternoon at a creek looking for tadpoles or drawing spring flowers, we have the freedom to do so. If we want to go to a local museum, it’s easy to pick up and do so. We can vacation during less busy seasons and make that vacation into a learning experience by visiting historical sites or aquariums.  We consider hands-on experiences a very valuable part of education.  Unfortunately, many kids don’t have enough of these experiences.
Lunchables Lunch Combinations wants to help deserving kids across the country go on inspiring, educational experiences with the launch of the program, “Field Trips for All.”
 “Field Trips For All” is the first effort from the Lunchables Team’s new initiative called Project Potential. Aimed at empowering kids with opportunities to help them reach their full potential, Project Potential will provide enriching experiences kids might otherwise not have.
Why:
According to a 2009 report from The American Association of School Administrators, it’s estimated that over the course of the current school year, the number of school districts eliminating field trips will increase by 56 percent. That’s more than 30,000 schools.
How:
Anyone 6 years of age or older can nominate a deserving classroom through one of the previous links. From all nominations received, 50 classrooms will be selected to go on an inspiring, educational experience.
I think this is a pretty cool idea. I’m going to nominate a school in a lower income area in our city whose students don’t have a lot of extra-curricular opportunities. I encourage you to nominate your school or a school you know about whose students could benefit from this and to spread the news about this contest.
Here is a cute video about a group of students on an "Alien Field Trip" that you might enjoy watching.
 

Visit my sponsor: Field Trips For AllClick Here

Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure

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Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure is the fifth book in  a series of mystery/adventure books for tweens. Although I haven’t read others in the series, I had no trouble jumping into this series in the middle.

Andrea (Andi) is a tomboy who lives on a California ranch in the late 1800’s. She is brave, adventurous, and loyal to her friends and family. In this book,  Andi, her two friends, and her older brother take a trip into the Sierra Nevada mountains, expecting the most exciting event to be the prospect of panning for gold and finding a few flakes. Instead, they have run-ins with bank robbers, rattlesnakes, and a dishonest deputy. The courage and ingenuity of these young people is fully tested throughout their adventure.

I thought this book was engaging and well-written. This action packed story is sure to be a hit with any child. We look forward to reading more books in this series.

Emily says, “I like this book because it is exciting and scary.”

I received this book free from Kregel Publications for review purposes.

To read more reviews, be sure to visit the TOS Crew site.

Five Question Friday

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1. Take your pick...date night, girls night out, or night out alone?

Alone? No, I don’t like to go out alone. I would pick “date night” if that were possible, but since I don’t have a “date,” a girls night out is always fun.

2. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

No, not even close. And I would want to…..why???

3. What is your favorite flower and why?

Whichever kind I’m given! But to pick a type—I’m not sure I have a favorite. I had daisies in my wedding and I do enjoy them in my garden as well.

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Slow down and enjoy my kids more. They grow up so fast!

5. If you won the lottery, what is the very first thing you would do?

Well, since I don’t play the lottery, that is unlikely :), but if I did….I would pay off some debts. I'd probably take the family on a vacation. Then the rest would go straight to savings. I’m definitely a “saver!”  I would make it last!

This Blog hop is sponsored by Mama M at My Little Life. Hop on over there to participate or to read more responses to these questions!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Schoolhouse Expo

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The Schoolhouse Expo starts today! I’m going to try to catch a couple of the sessions live—today I really want to join Susan Wise Bauer’s writing workshop and Diana Waring’s session. I can’t take three days off from my other responsibilities, so I will download the mp3’s of most of the sessions to listen to later. I plan to have my own private conference by listening to the recordings while I scrape and stain my deck in the next few weeks!

If you're researching or buying homeschool curriculum, you have to check out the Vendor Hall at the Schoolhouse Expo! It's open to everyone. Browse through companies such as Rainbow Resource, WriteShop, Apologia, Latin Road/Phonics Road, Multiplication Shake, Go Phonics, and MANY MORE!

Latin Road/Phonics Road has freebies in their booth. Rainbow Resource has a free shipping offer. Spears Art Studio has a free CD. Real Science by Gravitas has a 25% discount coupon. There is just so much to see. Stop by and meet the virtual hostess from each company, browse their selection, and look for "conference specials".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Molly’s Digest-May (Review)

image The feature in this month’s Molly’s Digest that interested me most were the articles about economical weddings and graduations. The articles contain numerous tips, links, recipes, and even a personal frugal wedding story. One of my daughters is graduating from high school this month and, although we are not planning anything big, we’ll have a family party and I was eager to find some clever ideas for decorating and refreshments. We don’t have any weddings in the near future, but my oldest daughter,  Allison, has several friends getting married and will be in two weddings this summer, so it probably won’t be too many years before one or more of my own children are planning a wedding. And let me tell you—I am shocked and concerned when I hear how much weddings cost these days. I need to start gathering tasteful, elegant, and thrifty celebration ideas now! Just today, Allison mentioned that she was going to make some invitations for a bridal shower and I was able to point her to some lovely homemade invitations that were linked to from this month’s digest.

The Kid’s Corner is another monthly feature that I continue to print out for Emily. This month’s theme is “Manners, Money, and More.” It includes three pages of manners instruction and a goal chart to motivate the child to develop some of her own goals in the area of manners. I think Emily will enjoy this and its always nice when the rules come from someone else!

Molly’s Digest is available at the Schoolhouse Store for $4.95 BUT a Molly’s Membership is only $3.95 a month and includes bonus e-books and resources each month.  This month’s goodies include:

  • Tons of freezer cooking goodies
  • Wedding freebies (along with tips, ideas, and frugal gifts)
  • Inexpensive Organization E-book (creative organization ideas)
  • A Baby Shower for Jesus E-book (encouragement for Moms)
  • Mother's and Father's Day ideas
  • Ideas for hospitality and parties
  • A Free Kids' Cookbook
  • And more!

Don’t forget to check out the Econobusters blog, which is loaded with frugal tips, decorating ideas, and freebies!

I received a free issue of Molly’s Digest in order to write this review.

Indivisible, by Kristen Heitzmann (review and giveaway)

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I have enjoyed other books by Kristen Heitzmann, so I was eager to read her newest book, Indivisible. Indivisible is the story of police chief, Jonah Westfall, and his neighbor, Tia Manning, who are each struggling to deal with their troubled pasts by isolating themselves from others.  When mutilated animals are  found and strange people start making appearances, the chief becomes alarmed that the peace of his small town will soon be greatly disturbed.
I thought this book had a bit of a slow start. So many characters were introduced in the early chapters that I found the story a bit difficult to follow at first.  Once I was several chapters into the book, however, the story and characters drew me in, and the book became hard to put down. Kristen Heitzmann  has woven an suspenseful story with twists and turns that will keep the reader turning pages to see what happens next.
I was also interested to read in Ms. Heitzmann’s biography that she wrote her first novel while homeschooling her four children!
To read the first chapter of this exciting book, go here. Listen to an interview with Kristen Heitzmann about Indivisible here.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

GIVEAWAY!
The Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group sent me an extra copy of Indivisible to give away.  To enter, please leave a comment and a way to reach you. Winner will be chosen by random.org on May 20.
For additional entries (Leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect.
2. Visit my Super Star Speech site or blog and let me know something you learned there or follow my Super Star Speech blog.

Friday, May 7, 2010

AP English Language and Composition Test Prep

image Cerebellum Corporation, the producers of the Standard Deviants videos, has a new series of AP (Advanced Placement) preparation DVD’s. This is what Cerebellum has to say:

“This Light Speed Video Learning is a fun and effective way for students to understand a subject.  Lively presentations by actors and comedians combined with colorful graphics teach students skills they will use in real-life applications.”

“Each video program includes a digital workbook with an outline, video notes, practice questions, games, and quizzes.”

-The four available titles are:

-Chemistry AP Exam Prep

-History of the US AP Exam Prep

-AP English Language and Composition Exam Prep

-U.S. Gov and Politics AP Exam Prep

As part of the TOS Crew, I received the AP English Language and Composition Exam Prep to review.

The program consists of two components. The 52 minute DVD includes test taking tips and an explanation of types of questions and essays that are included on the AP English Language and Composition exam. It also contains discussion of literary genre and styles.

The  digital workbook contains video notes, literary terms and some writing instruction, practice writing prompts, and worksheets that cover both test taking tips and literary questions.

Since I don’t have a child who is preparing to take this AP test, I looked over the materials and watched the DVD myself. It was fast paced, interesting, and informative. It appeared to be something that would be useful to a student preparing to take the exam. I would suggest that the student cover the materials many months ahead of time to get an idea of the crucial skills to develop, then again shortly before the test as a last-minute review. Certainly, the best test preparation for a composition exam would  be to spend many hours writing and that is something a DVD can’t do for you, but I think this could be a useful addition to a student’s test-taking preparation.

The AP English Language and Composition Exam Prep lists for $14.95 and is currently on sale for $11.24.

Cerebellum Corporation is offering my readers a 20% discount off any product purchased online for the rest of 2010 with the coupon code “OSH20.”

I received this DVD/CD set free from Cerebellum Corporation for review purposes.

Today’s Cat-astrophe!

I am asking myself if I’ll ever have a day that flows smoothly! Today started out so well. Emily was doing her schoolwork with a great attitude. The windows and doors were open, letting in the cool morning air, the fragrance of flowers and the songs of the birds. We were well on track to a smooth, pleasant day. Or maybe not…

“Mom! Anubis has a chipmunk in the house!”  The cat had caught a chipmunk, carried it right on into the dining room through the open doors, leaving a dripping trail of blood through the house. So, I captured the cat and threw him back outside, wrapped up the poor wounded chipmunk and put him back outside (although I doubt if he will make it.) Meanwhile Emily was screaming the whole time…that she hated the cat, that I had to fix the poor chipmunk, and so on. Then I had to mop the three rooms involved—not on the schedule for middle of school-time.

Did I mention that this isn’t even my cat?  And that I don’t really like cats? My son, John Michael, has moved back home for 4 months, bringing this cat with him.

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Friday’s Fave Five

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I am enjoying participating in Friday’s Fave 5, which requires me to stop and consider this week’s blessings.  Some of this week’s “faves'” are:

1. I have slept with the windows open the past few nights. I love awakening to the sounds of the birds! I’ve heard many different bird calls—I wish I could identify them by their calls! A couple of nights ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night by owls—hooting and screeching. I’m wondering if we have a nest in our yard.

2. Katie performed at her high school’s choral concert last night. She is not in choral class, but was required to perform as part of her musical theatre class. She played a violin/piano piece that she had composed herself. (She played the violin. The school accompanist played the piano part.) It was beautiful and I was a proud mom!

3. Emily and I have done schoolwork outside the past few days. The weather is perfect now and we are enjoying the out-of-doors before it gets too hot.

4. Allison, my oldest daughter, has finished her second year of med. school. Half-way there! Yay!

5. Cream cheese pound cake. Yum! I made some Wednesday to eat with some strawberries my in-laws brought over for us.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lobster Network

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Lobster Network is a new site that helps to to “share your stuff safely and securely.” Use of Lobster Network is totally free. To use Lobster Network, you first enter your “stuff” into the database. You have the option to stop right there and use the site  simply as a way to keep track of your belongings. You can create a household inventory, catalog your books, and so on.

Or…you can make your “stuff” visible and available to your friends, a private community, or everyone.

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This feature enables you to sell your things or to lend them to friends. In turn you are able to see the things your friends may have for sale or loan. The system is set up to remind the user of due dates for returning borrowed items.

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You may also enter “wanted” items into your inventory. Then someone who has that item to lend or sell can contact you.

This is a pretty cool idea. The TOS Crew has set up a private community and is testing out the features. I can see that this could be a very useful system within a local homeschool group  for borrowing, buying, or selling curriculum.

Once again, Lobster Network is free to use, so go check it out!