Sunday, August 30, 2009

Awesome Video!!

This song and video is so awesome and powerful! The video is a dramatic representation of the opening of the seven seals as described in the book of Revelation. God's word and love is amazing!! No matter what trials or hardships you may be going through, no matter how many people want to tear you down because of who you are and where you have been, the Holy Spirit is there to guide you direct you and walk you through the incredibly difficult and trying things in your life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quarter Mile Math - We Are Racing Our Way to Math Success!!

We have found an amazing math program that is perfect for all three of my boys. Quarter Mile Math is a computer based math program for grades K-9. The students get to choose between horses or cars that race each other. As your child solves the problem his car or horse progresses down the track. The faster he solves the problem the faster they move.

This program covers:
  • Numbers and Letters (keyboarding instruction...which I absolutely love!)
  • Whole Numbers
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents
  • Estimation
  • Integers
  • Equations
  • and so much more....

There two major options for this program. The first is the Deluxe version which is only $2.95 per month for your entire family. $2.95 per family per month, $19.95 per family for one year (save $15.45 over one year) and $34.95 per family for two years (save $35.85 over two years). That is less that a math textbook!! This version, has all 323 topics in their entire product line which contains over 70,000 problems. The student's progress is tracked with a screen that shows all the topics which your child has practiced as well as the number of races they have completed, and their scores for each topic.

This version allows your children to participate in real-time tournaments with other people in your family. Children can play with their cousins or friends in other states!! This version does require an Internet connection, but your children are never actually on the web. You can download this program directly from the website and order a backup CD if you so choose.

The other option for families is the Standard program. These disks are $39.95 to $89.95 depending on the grades that you select. This is perfect for families like ours where we have multiple computers and two of them that do not have Internet connection. You can install the program on all your computers, but you need the disk to play the game so only one student can play at a time.

My little one absolutely loves this program. He is very competitive and was loving that he could "beat" the other cars by hitting the correct numbers on the screen. This program is perfect for him as he likes loud noises and activity and this program definitely kept his interest. I also notice a lot of improvement in his keyboarding skills as he has continued to play the game.

My middle child Jonathan loved this program as well as he liked the fact that it was a game and not just online problems. He still likes workbooks better, but wanted to play this game because it was so much fun.

My oldest son Brandon has the computer with the Internet connection so he reviewed the Deluxe version. I really liked the progress chart with this program and how quickly it tracks their scores. The other perk for him is being able to play tournaments with other family members.

I really like this program. It is very easy to install and add new players. It also captures a child's attention with the racing and the fun sounds. My only wish for programs like these is that they would progressively move children through the lessons. My boys often will play the same activity over and over rather than keep moving on to harder subjects. They tend to do that will all computer learning games so it wasn't just unique to this particular program. I will say however, that it was really easy to move from topic to topic on this program and we will be using this throughout our children's home eduction!!

For my readers, Quarter Mile Math is offering $5.00 either the Standard or Deluxe versions. The code for this discount is 7M7Z7. There is a place for this on the order form! This offer is good until September 30th.

Visit The Website to Get Started Today!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tractor Baby Bootie Design Challenge!!

So I've made my tractor bootie design in red, pink, blue, green, lime-green, and orange. This month I had two interesting design challenges. One was to make the booties to match a beloved family tractor and the second one was to make a camoflauge tractor. I have to say it was so much fun doing them in a different color!! You can get these booties in my Etsy Store. If you do not see the size or color that you want, please contact me through Etsy or at

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Jungle Room Needs a Haircut!!!

For those of you who have seen pictures or have visited our "Jungle Room" you will be surprised to see how much the fig tree has overtaken the room this summer. We have been so busy with the kiddos and other things in our lives, that I haven't kept the tree trimmed down to size like I have in the past. The room seriously looks like a jungle room this summer.

View looking at the deck stairs to the "river" basin. Notice how you can't even see the stairs? This tree has decided to even climb the steps.

My son sitting on the steps to show how big the leaves are. I hoped to get more pictures of the other boys before I trim the trees, but he was the only one available so I made him be my model!

The orange tree to the left has tripled in size since we first moved into this house. In the spring when it blooms, our whole house smells like orange blossoms. For some reason this year, we did not get any fruit from the tree.

Here is a picture to show how tall the tree has gotten in such a short time! The branches have completely reached the ceiling after being completely trimmed down in May.

As you can see from the limbs on the deck...I have started the "haircut" process. One of the hardest parts about trimming this tree is that it "bleeds" this itchy sap when the branches are cut so you have to cut quickly and from bottom to top to avoid a head and arms covered in sap. I also wear a shirt with sleeves which when the room averages 100 to 110 degrees in the summer is not a fun task!! ...I will post update pictures when I get this all done.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


We recently reviewed the ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces Math program with my older two boys. ALEKS offers online courses in a variety of subjects for grades K-12, higher education and continuing education. While most of the courses are math related, there are also business, behavioral science, and higher education science programs available.

While it took awhile to get the program to work with all of our Internet security software, once the program was started it was very easy to get the boys started on their math lessons. You first start out with an evaluation for each child to see where their strengths and weaknesses are.

Once that is done, there is a pie chart that outlines the different lessons and where your child needs to improve or practice. I particularly like this part as sometimes I tend to drill my children in areas that they have already mastered. This program helps to to focus on the areas that your child needs improvement.

My boys stated that liked playing games more than just doing problems on the computer. Jonathan, my 3rd grader said that he likes workbooks and manipulatives much better. He is my more creative and hands on guy so I wasn't surprised that sitting at a computer was not fun for him. My oldest is more of a computer guru and I think that if he had the choice over math on the computer or on a workbook, he would definitely choose this program.

A subscription to ALEKS for an individual student is $19.95 per month. You can also save by subscribing for 6 months for $99.95 or a year for only $179.95. ALEKS gives you a month to try out their program for FREE!

Visit Their Website for More Information!

Web Design for Kids (...And Curious Grownups)

I was so excited to get this DVD in the mail as I had beeen talking about teach the boys basic HTML so that they could design their own websites. In addition to my clothing design, I also dabble in web and graphic design so this DVD was absolutely perfect for our family. Sometimes because Java Script and HTML language comes easy to me it's hard to describe to someone how to do their own website without just grabbing the mouse and doing it myself.

The thing that I liked most about this program was that it took the process of making a basic website and broke it down piece by piece and slowly went through the process of building your own site. Brian Richardson, a middle-school computer literacy teacher, incorporated screen shots which helps visual learners to see exactly what was going on as Mr. Richardson was describing the process of creating a website.

If you have a computer lab like we do, I would suggest that you get a small DVD player and play it at the same time that your children are sitting at their computers. If you have active learners like I do, it's the best way for them to see for themselves the process.

Currently for a limited time on their website, they have the DVD for only $19.99 which is 50% off their retail price.

Visit Their Website for More Information!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Have Fallen In Love With A Dog!!!

Who would have thought that a simple book about a dog on the ranch would bring so much fun and joy into our home. My boys fell in love with Hank and all of his wild and crazy antics.

Hank the Cowdog is a children's book series written by John R. Erickson. Erickson began his literary career in 1967 while working on ranches in Texas an Oklahoma. Hank and Drover are the actual names of dogs that he worked with while working as a cowboy, farmhand and ranch manager. In 1982 he quit his ranching career and launched his publishing company Maverick Books.

His stories definitely reflect the atmosphere and fun that happens on any farm or ranch. It brought back a lot of memories for me of my grandfather's farm and all the fun times that my brother and I had. Farm or ranching life is never boring and Erickson's books reflect a lifestyle that many children never have an opportunity to experience.

The boys absolutely loved the book The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse and how even after he was in so much trouble after accidentally tripping Sally May, he ended up being the hero in the end. They especially loved how a cat named Pete is incorporated into the story. Some of the things that Pete did reminded the boys of our cat Sophia. I had boys rushing to get ready for bed so that they could hear the next chapter of this fun and exciting story. These books sell for $4.95 on the Hank the Cowdog Website.

Hank #8

We also reviewed the Tornado Race and Chase game which is very similar to the childhood game Sorry. My five-year old absolutely loved this game and wanted me to play with him every day.

The only trouble that a younger child might have with this game, is the spinner. To fix this, all we did was add a die to the game and allowed players to either roll the die or spin. This worked out very well for younger players.

This game fold up into its own box which makes it absolutely perfect for taking on trips. I hope to take this with us the next time we go on vacation to entertain my boys who often whine that they have nothing to do. It also comes with a cassette tape which has an audio recording of The Case of the Swirling Tornado. This game can be purchased on the website for $12.99. I highly recommend it if you travel a lot or have children that love to play board games.

Tornado game

The last item we reviewed was a fun CD "Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog". It had Story excerpts from 10 of the books and 9 original songs. Our favorite song was a song called "It's Not Smart to Show Your Hiney to a Bear". This CD is perfect for playing on long trips or when your children need time to settle down between classes and is available on the website for $3.00.

Visit the Hank the Cowdog Website today and play games, meet the author and shop the store for games, cds, books and so much more.