Posted on 1 Comment

Bugzzle Puzzle Review

Bugzzle Puzzle

Playing games is my favorite way to teach kids. They don’t know that they are learning, and they are having fun. This was just the case when we got the Bugzzle game from the TimberDoodle Kindergarten Curriculum Kit to review.

Bugzzle Puzzle

What Is It

Bugzzle is a pattern-matching puzzle bug. In the middle of this bug is a circle broken down into layers. These layers have different pieces and colors to the pieces that go together to make the circle complete. By playing with this puzzle your children can strengthen their visual-spatial thinking, problem-solving, and it is a great way to introduce your children to fractions.

The recommended age for this game is 3-8 years old. I had my 4, 8, and 11-year olds all playing with this game. They made their own games up and even started competitions among each other. This goes to show that just because there is a recommended age, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to that!

Bugzzle

How We Used It

The first day I got this, we had a long and busy day. I didn’t want to worry about school, so I opened the box and let Baby Girl play. She got the hang of following the pattern cards in under 5 minutes.  She loved that they started off easy and was asking for harder. It was fun to see her trying to figure out the brainteaser and see her connecting dots on how to make it work.

Little Miss was next to give it a try. She really enjoyed making the pattern and flipping it over to see the reverse pattern. Ray Ray was next in line. He took a minute, being the oldest, but he likes to overthink everything.

Ray Ray and Little Miss had a time when they would spread all the pattern cards out on the table and pick one blindfolded. They would try to master the pattern and the others would see if they got it right. This made it a fun and competitive way to learn.

Bugzzle Puzzle

What We Thought Of It

All the kids give this puzzle a double thumbs up. They love that it is a simple game they can play together or alone. It is also one that they can do without mom, even Baby Girl. I love that it is a game that teaches math skills in a fun way.

Bugzzle is a game that has been out of the box almost as much as it has been in the box since it got into our house. This is a game that will be used over and over again.

Bugzzle

If you want a game that is fun and teaches at the same time, Bugzzle from TimberDoodle is what you are looking for!

Posted on 4 Comments

Tegu Oceans Deluxe Wooden Blocks – A Review

The kids in this house love to play with anything that includes building. Baby Girl got some great building blocks for Christmas, but she is upset when they topple over and I don’t like not knowing much about the product itself when she wants to put it in her mouth. Lucky for me, we had the chance to try Tegu Oceans Deluxe Magnetic Wooden Blocks from Timberdoodle, and we had a great time with them!

The Tegu Oceans Deluxe Magnetic Wooden Blocks are a part of Timberdoodle’s Preschool Curriculum kit, but these have been a hit for everyone in the house! And after I did my research, I am fine with anyone using these, even if they put them in their mouth!

The magnets in these wooden blocks are like magic. You can’t see them. There is no piecing together of the wood, no way to see where they took it apart to put in the magnet. This is a huge plus in my books when I give something to my child, who will put it in her mouth.

Each of these wooden blocks is handcrafted. They contain no lead, no plastic, they are non-toxic and are painted with a water based lacquer finish. These are some safe and fun toys that I am glad we have our hands on!

Baby Girl was the intended reviewer for this product, but when the big kids saw it, they were in heaven! They wanted to build the biggest and best things possible because these wooden blocks would not topple as easy. This showed me that these blocks would get a lot of love for a lot of years! Just because Timberdoodle has them in their preschool kit, don’t worry, they will grow with your child, heck even Daddy tried to get in on the fun!

There are multiple shapes and sizes to the blocks, and the colors were “ocean” colors per the name! We also had the chance to check out the Tegu Wheels and see what kinds of cars we could make. There was a lot of trial and error on this part, and most of it involved mom helping and forgetting to take pictures!

We have loved building with these blocks. There is an e-book with ideas, but we didn’t use it. The kids loved finding their own way to play with them. I loved this! This allowed the kids to use their own minds, figure out the best way to use the magnets and have fun!

With the amount of play these blocks got in our house, they held up to it very well! We were very impressed with the quality, as well as the safety of them. We loved the imagination that came from the kids and the lessons of magnetism that they learned the hands-on way! These blocks were a hit the first day we opened them, and continue to be the favorite go to toy in the house!

Have you gotten your hands on these fabulous blocks? What is your favorite thing about them?

 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png
 photo Disclosure_zpsffvuurbi.jpg

Posted on Leave a comment

Say Something Nice Day – June 1, 2017

Welcome to another new month! Can you believe that it is June already? I am having a hard time believing this. Coming into June means that we are getting ready for summer. While we homeschool year-round, we still love to enjoy the summer months!

Nice

Today is the first day of June, do you know what that means? Today is say something nice day. Yes, as crazy as that sounds, there is a day dedicated to that! Just think, if everyone said something nice to just one person each day, what a better world we would have around us!

Say Something Nice Day began in Charleston, South Carolina. What happened was the mayors of Charleston and North Charleston came together to create a day to celebrate those who are close to us or those in our everyday life. This is a day to fight against unkindness, bullying and the lack of politeness that we see in our everyday life.

Say Something Nice Day is a great day to show our children how to cast aside our differences and be kind to those around us. While many of us do this on a regular basis, it is nice to see a day to pull us all together in making our world a better place!

After seeing numerous different posts on Facebook this last week on the effects of bullying, I thought it would be a great idea to challenge all my readers to say something nice to 5 different people today. Do you think you can do it? I am going to make sure I do! Will you do this again tomorrow, and the day after that, and after that? Will you take the first steps to make a change in our world by simply saying something nice? I hope you do, and I hope you challenge your children to do the same today!


 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png




 photo b8e837ab-4ce3-43ba-99d9-58ca6a09fd2d_zpss3zqiixa.png

Posted on Leave a comment

Art Lessons for Kids from Art Achieve ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Art is something I have never been good at. Yes, I love looking at it. And I find it peaceful to watch others create art, but to actually do it, or therefore teach it to my kids, yeah not so peaceful. I am always on the lookout art lessons for kids that are fun. We fell in love with Level I of ArtAchieve last year, and this year we got to continue with the Entire Level II.

ArtAchieve is an online art class for kids. It is broken down into 5 different levels, each containing 10 or more lessons. These lessons include everything; besides the materials, you need to teach the lesson. Or should I say have the lessons taught for you. Each lesson page on the website includes numerous ideas to make these art lessons cross-curricular. These ideas cover the subjects such as Social Studies, Science, Writing, Literature/Geography as well as Art. This project page will also give you the list of supplies you will need and approximate class time.

art lessons for kids

I would take the information for this page and plan a week-long study on each lesson. This was easy enough to do and made a great learning experience finished up with the fun of making of the official art project at the end of the week. Our week would start with an introduction to the topic at hand. We would watch the introduction on the video or read through it on the Power Point version and get an idea of what we were going to be learning.

drawing lessons for kids

We would take the Cross-Curricular Connections given to use and use a few of them. Whether we were learning about the geography of the area that the project originated from or reading some books from that area/era, it was fun to learn more. This gave us a whole new feeling and meaning to our finished projects at the end of the week.

The beginning of each Power Point lesson gives you a list of goals that can be fulfilled for The National Standards for Arts Education: National Standards for Visual Art. While I am not worried about this myself, if you wanted to know, it is there for you. After this, you see the original piece of art that you will be basing your art from, along with the history of it. There is a quick review of some basic art knowledge that you learn as you go. And then you relax before you draw.

art classes for kids

My kids thought it was funny to relax before we began, but I noticed this helped to draw their attention and focus to what they were doing. The next tip on the Power Point was to play some quiet music. This should be music without words to help you stay calm and focused on your work. This is when you complete the warm-up. Finally, we get a list of rules for drawing. These six rules, were a homerun for our house! Every problem that I have had when helping my kids learn art was included in these six rules. Hearing someone else tell them this, the kids took a step back and listened.

The video format had a similar start up. They talked about the relaxation and music to use for each lesson. They also included the rules in the video. No talking was the number one rule! The only thing I did not see in the video that I did see on the Power Point version was the standards that were met in this art lesson.

art classes for kids

We loved working through the lesson step by step and having a finished product that was wall worthy! Most of the children preferred the Power Point version, where they didn't have to push the pause button as they were perfecting their lines. We would be able to work through it at our pace and have no worry of feeling rushed. While the video lessons were great, my kids strive too much for perfect and don't like moving at someone else's pace when drawing. I loved having two options and being able to use what we needed instead of being stuck with just one choice.

art lessons for kids

Our overall impression of ArtAchieve is that we love it! The kids love that they can pick which way they want to do the lessons and I love that I don't have to be the teacher, just the supervisor. ArtAchieve offers great art classes for kids and it takes the stress off of me!
Art Lessons Inspired From Around the World {ArtAchieve Reviews}
 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png

Crew Disclaimer

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Manhood Journey Bible Study ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I have a secret for you. One that you cannot tell anyone. Are you ready? I am about to write a review for a product from Manhood Journey & City on a Hill, but I did not use it at all. I barely even touched it!

How in the world am I going to write a review on something I didn't use? Well I am going to write the words my husband has told me after he used Manhood Journey Father's Starters Kit with Moe Man. So, while I did not use this product, it has been used in our house!

Manhood Journey is a non-denominational yet Bible based approach to building up young men.

The Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit includes;

  • 1 on 1 Discussion Guide full of points and activities for fathers to use with sons
  • DVD of the introductions for the six modules
  • 10 Maprochures to track your journey
  • A Group Discussion Guide to lead a small group
  • A FREE copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You

There are six modules available for your father and son team. They include, Embarking, Manhood Myths, Working Well, Leading Lessons, Standing Strong, and Clean Hearts. This journey of six weeks is that of Embarking.

This program is a great open and go program. This was perfect for my husband, since I told him this one was on him and I would only be the one writing the review.

There are 6 chapters in this module, they include 1. Preparing for the journey, 2. Setting out on the journey, 3. Relying on the compass, 4. Seeing guidance along the way, 5. Encountering others along the way and 6. We have embarked.

Each chapter is broken into four parts for the week, building our relationship, knowing God's words, serving others, and talking with God. The 1 on 1 guide will help the father in the picture work through each week, giving the bible verses that will help to open dialogue, even giving tips and examples of what to say after reading.

Daddy was excited to have something to do while he is healing after his surgery. What he didn't know was how much he was actually going to love the bonding time he had with Moe Man.

Now quick history recap, Moe Man and Daddy are brothers. We adopted Moe Man when he was 7 years old, and he has never met his biological father. Daddy grew up without his father present, but had a great example with his grandfather. This journey was needed for these two men, for them both to grow, which I saw every week!

Daddy really enjoyed reading the 1 on 1 Guide and being able to use this to open up dialogue with a teenager who doesn't want to talk. He found that this helped him build patience, which made working together on projects so much easier and more fun for both of them.

Daddy and Moe Man spent time making this while talking about their journey.

While reading through the guide before sitting down with Moe Man, Daddy found things that helped open his eyes and broaden his perspective on fatherhood. This led to him being more in tune with all the kids, not just Moe Man.

As soon as Moe Man finishes his current book, I look forward to having him start Wise Guys. This book is a great way for another guy to talk to your son about finding wisdom from the men around them. This book will help them take what they are learning from their journey, see what others have learned and know that they are not alone. Sometimes with guys, they need to hear it from each other to really believe it.

This was a review that I did not know we needed as much as we did. I knew I wanted to have the guys in the house try it, but I didn't beg for it. I left it up to God, and he made sure it came to our house at just the right moment. If you have boys in your house, you need to have the Manhood Journey in your house as well. I am excited to see where this takes the guys in my house, and look forward to when Daddy starts this with Ray Ray as well. This is one product that we will continue to use and actually look forward to using!

Check out the reviews of these other members of the Homeschool Review Crew right here:


Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit {Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio Reviews}


 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png




Crew Disclaimer

Posted on Leave a comment

(A Review) Teach Your Baby to Sign

We all love being able to communicate with our children, especially when they are younger. But how do you go about communicating with them, if they haven't developed their speech yet? We had the chance to check out Teach Your Baby to Sign which is part of Timberdoodle's Tiny Tots Curriculum Kit.

Teach Your Baby to Sign

The Teach Your Baby to Sign Deck includes 52 sturdy, heavy cardstock cards. Each one with a different word for you to teach your "baby". These words range from eat or drink to sorry or wash hands. With these words, your child will have the ability to communicate their most basic needs with you.

Teach Your Baby to Sign

We taught Ray Ray baby sign language when he was 1.5 years old. He had shown no interest in talking, and while I knew he didn't have any huge underlying problems, I wanted to still know what he wanted to say. After watching how fast he caught on, I was hooked. We slowed down our learning after he turned 2 and decided that it was ok to verbally speak, and he hasn't slowed down since!

When I noticed that Baby Girl was acting the same way as Ray Ray, I wanted to get her signing as he had done. I did not have these cards when we taught Ray Ray, and I really wish I had. These cards are able to withstand the baby holding them and that is key if you are going to be using something with a younger child. Not only that, but they show a picture of the word being signed on the front, and the back helps mom and dad in on some quick and easy tips.

Teach Your Baby to Sign

Also included is a quick easy start guide for mom and dad. This guide tells you a brief history of baby signing, the benefits and even the alphabet. Like it is mentioned in this, and as I have witnessed, signing does not delay speech, in fact, there are more benefits that will help your child as they grow older.

Teach Your Baby to Sign

If you have a baby, toddler or child on the way, this is a deck of cards that you will truly enjoy and enjoy with your child! I know we have!

 



 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png

 

 




 

 



 photo Disclosure_zpsffvuurbi.jpg

 

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Ways to Make You a Better Mom

We are moms, we have days when we are on top of the world, but we also have days when we feel like we have failed those given to us from God. These things that seem to tear us down are changeable, and usually they are small things we need to just let go of. We work so hard at being great moms that we forget that these little things can be changed. That we can change.

Breathe

(photo credit Finding Joy.net)

With the added stress of the holidays upon us, I wanted to share a few tips with you. I have been at the point of feeling like a failure. I am sure I will have moments when that happens again. You know what, that is fine. That means I want to be a better mom. That means I know that I need to work at something a little harder.

10 Ways to be a Better Mom

To help you, and myself, I have put together 10 great ways to work at being a better mom. I hope you find at least one thing that works for you!

30 Day Mom Challenge

30 Day Mom Challenge

This sounds simple enough, but have you tried to do this yet? Each day you spend just a little time focusing on one thing. These one things add up to a whole lot of big memories for your kids. These memories are what they will remember as they grow up!

Plan for a Better Morning or a Better Evening

If you spend some conscious time planning for the morning, you will have a better morning. A better morning makes for a better you. I have been following these plans from Crystal Paine and love the little things that help me in a big way! Not only does she help you Make Over Your Mornings, but she has added a Make Over Your Evenings Course as well!

Control Your Anger

This one is hard for me. I love my kids. I love caring for them. Some days are harder than others. These are the days that remind me that I need to work on a better me for a better them. I love the information at The Orange Rhino Challenge. This was my first resource for my anger/yelling.

Triggers Book

I also fell in love with the book Triggers: Exchanging Parent's Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. This book has been my favorite go to book. I love that it is a daily study that helps me to be better for my kids and that it includes God in the helping process!

Read a Book

Yes, it can be as simple as reading a book each day. I remember lying in bed with my mom reading out loud to my brother and I at night. No matter how busy the day was, no matter how busy she was, she sat down each night. She set aside time for us. This might not seem like a lot to your kids today, but when they are grown up, they will remember this and do this for their kids.

Pick Your Battles

This is the true and tested mom tip. You will not always win. This is a fact of life. What is more important, what your kids are wearing or how they behave? Should you be more worried over if they finish their plate or if they actually eat something healthy during the day? Mom, you need to pick and choose what is important and let the other things go.

Time Outs

When I say time outs, I don't mean for the kids, I mean for you. I have found myself taking a lot more time outs when things are stressful. I simply tell the kids that mom needs a timeout. I shut the bathroom door, sit at the picnic table, anything that gives me a moment away when I know that they are safe. These timeouts don't last too long, just long enough for me to breath and ask God for a Hail Mary pass. Something to keep getting through the day.

Connect With Other Moms

Better Together Book

You are not alone in this journey. All moms feel the same way no matter what they seem to portray. I have this book on my shelf, well it is sometimes on my shelf, but most of the time I have it pulled out or within reach. Better Together Because You're Not Meant to Mom Alone is a great book to check out. Find a mom group, or start one. It doesn't have to be huge, it can just be one or two of you who get together and spend some time sharing stories, successes and failures. We need each other, more than we want to admit some days.

Exercise

Yes, I said it. Exercise. This is one of those things we throw on the back burner, but it is important. I don't do this one as much as I should. I know this. I am working on this. I do not have a gym membership, rather I go to YouTube and find the ones that work for the time I have. Some of my favorites are JessicaSmithTV or BeFit. These are free and they are just what I need to help me stay active with variety!

Make A Plan

Motivated Moms

Yes, I said it! You need a plan. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." Mom, I know you don't want to fail. You need to start making some simple plans. If the housework seems to be never ending, you can plan to conquer it. There are many great resources out there for this. I love the Fly Lady and Motivated Moms. These two are great for the homeschool mom and will help you keep at least one thing in control. One thing at a time, right?

Pray

This sounds simple enough, but are you really taking the time each day to spend with God? This is the time when we, as moms, are able to set our focus for the day. There are many different bible studies you can find online. You can different studies for the month, for the season you are going through, or for something that you need extra help in. Whatever you can think up, you can find a study on it. This can be online, in a book, or just by opening your bible and asking God to guide you.

These are my top ten ways to feel better about my job as a mom. I know that not every day is going to be perfect, I know I will make mistakes, but I know that I am trying and that is all that matters to my kids!

What are some of your tips on being a better mom?


 photo Signature_zpsgowpsmjl.png


 photo b8e837ab-4ce3-43ba-99d9-58ca6a09fd2d_zpss3zqiixa.png



Posted on Leave a comment

5 Favorite LEGO Friends Kits

Remember when I told you all about Ray Ray and his love of LEGOs? Well, Little Miss is just like him! You can't help but love that your kids love to build. And you have to love that they are actively using their minds while playing with the LEGOs. I love that the instructions have no words. That way any age can really build. Little Miss loves that she can build like her big brothers and not always have mommy or daddy helping her. Heck, I kind of like that too!
LEGO Friends

So, with that said, I wanted to share with you her top 5 favorite LEGO Friends kits. No, she does not have all of these yet. In fact, she only just got Olivia's Exploration Car this week, but she does hope to own them all soon! (Hey grandmas, here are some ideas, hint, hint!)

Olivia's Exploration Car

She fell in love with this. And this is the first set that she has officially completed the building on her own! Mommy did sit next to her and guide her, but she built it herself!

Party Train

This is one of those simpler sets. This is a set that I could see her building on her own without mom or dad guiding her.

Adventure Camp Treehouse

Now this is one of those big sets. She has not gotten one of these yet, but I think she might be getting something like this for her birthday. The way she is getting into building, I think this is the year for it.

Vet Clinic

Now this is Little Miss we are talking about. Anything animal goes. She will either end up building when she grows up or she will be a vet with the love of animals she has!

Puppy Training

The favorite of all animals for Little Miss is the puppy. She LOVES puppies. She will not be a cat lady, she will be a dog lady. I think this is a good thing and can't wait to see how happy she will be with them!

I am so happy to see that LEGO has made some fun girly sets now. I never had an issue playing with just plain LEGOs growing up, but they didn't have any real "sets" like they do now. If the boys can get their super hero set (I know girls love them too), a girl should be able to get a puppy or a girl LEGO without any problems.

Do your girls have any favorite LEGO Friends kits? I would love to hear about them so that I can get some other great ideas out since Little Miss will be having a birthday soon! Let me know below, I really want to hear from you!

 

God Bless!

Amanda

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliated links which mean that if you purchase from the links provided I may be compensated a small commission, as always thank you for your support!