Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DST December Blog Train - "Traditions"

We have two great blog trains coming your way this month!  All aboard for Christmas scrapbooking pages!  Here's my portion of the DST "Traditions" Blog Train:

Hop on the Blog Train at

Merry Christmas!

"Country Christmas" Road Trip with Stuff to Scrap!

December means Christmas, and I can't wait to start downloading all the digi-scrapping Christmas goodies!  Click preview to download from MediaFire.  PU/S4H/S4O.  Then continue on down the road below.  My prayers are for a joyous and meaningful Christmas season for all!

Your last stop was Heni scrappel.
Your next stop is AZ Sweetheart Scraps. Enjoy the ride!

Here's the whole road trip in case you've gotten sidetracked:

JMC Designs
Sweet Maple
Scrappin Serenity
Growing Pains Scrapped
Let Me Scrapbook!
Tina Dell's Tags
Saphira's Scraps
Junfunkie Designs
Sweet Creations
Just For Fun Designs
Queen Bee Scraps
Seal Scraps
Queen Wild Scraps
Monkey's Musings
The Digi Scrapping Mama
Mommy Made This
DoubleTrouble Scraps
The Scrappy Kat
Heni scrappel
Note-able Scraps
AZ Sweetheart Scraps

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

FFH Christmas Album GIVEAWAY

UPDATE:  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your posts!!  The winner is JAMIE!!  Send your email address to me at noteablescraps (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will have the link for the download forwarded to you!

I am extending the giveaway on the FFH Christmas Album below because NOT ONE PERSON ENTERED!  If you want it, leave a comment!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Give Thanks" Kit Freebie

Did you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving?  I hope so.  We had a lovely time with friends!  I am soooooo ready to get into the Christmas season, but I do love Thanksgiving and have enjoyed my weekend.  Before switching holidays, I needed to change some colors on my "Everyday Elegance" Thanksgiving-themed portion and add a few things to match my Thanksgiving photos.  Here is the newly-colored kit if you are interested.  Click image to download from Mediafire.  PU/S4H/S4O.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TOS Review: The Reading Game

This month, we were given the great privilege of reviewing The Reading Game, created by “Wordly Wise” author, Kenneth Hodkinson.  The Reading Game includes six illustrated storybooks and six sets of flashcards which correspond to the storybooks.  The flashcards are used to play a memory game between the student who is learning to read and the parent, teacher, or older student who is already able to read.  As the student plays the game, he or she quickly learns the words on the flashcards.  Once he learns one set, he moves to the next, until he has all the sight words for the first book learned.  Then he can read the first book.  After that, he proceeds to play the game with the memory cards for the second book, and so on.  By the end of the sixth book, he will have a reading vocabulary of 180 words, almost half of which are among the one hundred most commonly used words in the English language!


This is one of those tools that I wish I had discovered years ago to use with my first child when I was teaching him to read!  My youngest son strongly dislikes workbooks and flashcards, and he definitely learns best through games.  Whereas he is completely bored by repeating his sightwords flashcards, he loves the fast-paced memory game using cards that are almost identical to the boring ones (he especially loves it when he wins)!  I like the fact that there are no pictures on the word side of the flashcards to help him figure out the words, so he really has to learn which words use which letters.  (The animal picture on the back of the cards shows to which animal story they correspond.)  I love that he is able to learn so much so quickly through playing the game, and that he gets the immediate reward of being able to read a whole book at the end of each game.  The only thing I didn't like is that the books do not use capital letters (except for the word "I") or punctuation.  The author explains this in the instructions to the game, saying that he prefers to let the students learn the words first without worrying about things like capitalization and punctuation yet.  I believe that children learn things like correct grammar and mechanics best by reading books that use them correctly.  They just get used to seeing periods, question marks, and commas in the right places, so that they are often using these things correctly even before they learn the grammar lesson.  That small difference of opinion, however, did not diminish our enjoyment of this game.  My 6-year-old can play for hours, and then enjoys reading his new books to anyone who will listen!  His reading has improved dramatically in the couple of weeks since we have received this game.


The Reading Game is geared toward lower elementary students and is suitable for any child who is learning to read.  My older children, who are all good readers, enjoyed playing "tutor" and playing this game with their little brother.  I believe an older struggling reader could even benefit from playing this game in a "tutor" role with a younger sibling, strengthening her own reading ability and building her self-confidence.  More information about the game can be found at, where you may also purchase it for $24.95.

I highly recommend The Reading Game for anyone who has children who are learning how to read.  To see what other TOS Crew members thought of this game, click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of The Reading Game for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

4shared Freebies

Here's a little poll.  Do you prefer to download from 4shared, MediaFire, or some other sharing site?  Leave me a comment below.  I am considering switching completely to MediaFire in December, as several readers have indicated their dislike for 4shared.  In the meantime, however, all of my previous freebies at 4shared should still be available.  If you haven't gotten them all, take a few minutes to build up your Quickpage stash (as well as a few other goodies).

Click here to scroll through them all.


Monday, November 21, 2011

"Cinnamon Twist" by Sprouting Seeds Studio

Well, I have all kinds of freebies and deals for you today, as we prepare for the holidays and the end of the month.  Here's the new release "Cinnamon Twist," another lovely autumn kit by Sprouting Seeds Studio.

Click image above to purchase the kit at ScrapDelicious.  Click the below image to download the freebie add-on from Sprouting Seeds Studio.

Don't forget to come back for your free Quickpage from 4shared or MediaFire.  PU only.

Happy Scrapping!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of "Cinnamon Twist" in return for a layout using the kit.  

"Clever Dragons" - A New Website for Boys - Limited Time Special Offer!

A few weeks ago, I posted a glowing review for Always Ice Cream, a social and educational website for girls.  (See review here.)  The only thing that seemed to be missing from this fabulous website was. . . . a place for boys.  Well, the site developers have answered the cries from the boys' parents, and have released Clever Dragons.  On this site, boys can raise dragons and build castles - but only after having earned "gold" by practicing math, languages, typing, etc.!

The best part is that they are offering a low introductory rate of $39.99 for a lifetime membership!  (This is normally $99.99.)  The membership can be purchased as a gift coupon to be given through the holidays.  Hurry, as this offer only lasts until November 27!!

Happy dragon-slaying!  :)

"My Memories" Freebie!

Chances are, if you are looking at this blog, you are probably interested in scrapbooking, homeschooling, or both.  (Or you are a very good friend of mine just offering your support, in which case I deeply thank you!)  If you have been considering digital scrapbooking but don't know where to get started, consider the My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software.  Version 3 was just released, and it provides you with everything you need to get started making your own beautiful scrapbook pages or Christmas cards.  Use the coupon code STMMMS79285 to get $10 off your purchase!

If you'd like a taste of what's included, try out this freebie.  It includes 2 quickpages and all the elements and papers used to make them!  Click image to go to download page.

Happy Scrapping!

Review: One Silent Night

UPDATE:  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your posts!!  The winner is JAMIE!!  Send your email address to me at noteablescraps (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will have the link for the download forwarded to you!

I was recently given the opportunity to review One Silent Night, a Christmas album by the husband-and-wife duo, FFH.  What a fun way to get into the holiday spirit as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach us!  Approach?  That sounds so mild.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are hurtling toward me like a speeding freight train, trying to run me over!  I'm not complaining, though; I love the holiday season, and I can't wait to put up my tree and listen to all my Christmas music on Friday!

One Silent Night is a lovely way to begin the Christmas season.  The voices are clear and mellow, and there is some nice harmony.  It contains a mix of fun songs like "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Winter Wonderland," and more spiritual favorites like "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Glorious Impossible."  If you are looking for an easy-listening mix of Christmas favorites, take a look at this new album, just released on October 18th.

You can find FFH at the following sites:


Purchase the CD for $12.99 from

OR leave a comment below to enter the drawing for a FREE copy of One Silent Night!  I love Christmas movies and music and am always looking for new things, so leave a comment recommending your favorite Christmas movie or CD for me.  For a second entry in the drawing, leave a comment telling me you "liked" my Facebook page!  I will draw a winner on Friday, November 25.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services 
mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I 
only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 
"Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TOS Review: Vocabcafe


I remember doing Vocabulary Words when I was in school.  Write the word, spell it correctly, write the pronunciation, write the definition, then use the word in a sentence.  At the end of each week, we would be quizzed on a group of the words.  Increasing a child's vocabulary is so important both for SAT and other test preparation, and also for improving general reading comprehension and communication skills.  The majority of my vocabulary, however, came from the books I read rather than from the word lists we used each week.

Children learn so much about spelling, vocabulary, and grammar simply by reading avidly.  Of course, when they come across a word that is new to them, they need to stop reading, look it up in the dictionary, and find the definition.  Um, well, I wasn't so good at that part growing up.  I usually tried to figure it out from the context and keep going, as do my kids now!

Well, we always want something better for the next generation, and now my kids have Vocabcafe Books from College Prep Genius, at  These modern, middle-to-high-school level, fiction books include 300 SAT-level vocabulary words in the text of each book, and the vocabulary words are highlighted.  You can find the definition of each highlighted word at the bottom of that very page!  There is also a word review and appendix at the end of each book.  While I hoped that my 8th-grader would enjoy the books, his 6th-grade sister enjoyed them as well.  They both agreed that this method of learning vocabulary beat looking up every word and writing down its definition hands-down!

According to the website and our own TOS Homeschool Crew page:
These original, modern novellas contain no foul language, no illicit sexual themes, and no sorcery. Parental discretion is advised, however, in the case of I.M. for Murder, which contains graphic material some readers may find upsetting.

College Prep Genius is currently offering this set of four novels at the special sale price of $38.85, or you may purchase the books individually for $12.95 each.  The set includes:  Planet Exile, The Summer of Saint Nick, IM for Murder, and Operation High School.  You may purchase them here.  College Prep Genius also offers other books and DVDs about standardized test preparation, improving your SAT scores, and finding scholarships for college.

To see what other TOS Crew members thought of the Vocabcafe Series and the SAT Prep Course, click here.

Disclaimer:  I received free copies of the four novellas in the Vocabcafe Series for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

TOS Review: Keyboard Town Pals

Over the past few weeks, we have had the opportunity to review Keyboard Town Pals, the typing program for children.  While I personally did not start typing lessons until the 7th Grade, it has become increasingly important to teach these skills to children at a young age in today's world.  With children participating in so many activities on the computer, it is important for them to learn correct fingering early on.  Not only will this be much easier and less time-consuming than the hunt-and-peck method, but also, your child will develop good habits before it becomes too difficult to break the bad ones and re-learn correct fingering at an older age.

Keyboard Town Pals, an online typing program found at, is an interactive alternative to the traditional typing programs that children may find boring.  With its bright colors and friendly characters, it reminded me of TV shows that I watched as a child, such as Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo.  Sunny, the narrator, takes the children through the three streets of Keyboard Town, introducing them to characters like "Amy, for A."  The program is suitable for any child old enough to know his letters and use a keyboard, up through about eight years old.  My 10-year-old thought that the program was too childish, but my 8-year-old enjoyed it.  She finished the eight lessons that we were given for review quickly, in one afternoon, and she is now attempting to use the correct fingers on the keyboard, and she is finding her letters more quickly.

You may purchase the web-based software or the CD-ROM for the "Learn to Type in an Hour" program for $30.00 at this link.  There is also a CD-ROM bundle available for $45.00.  Other products available include stickers, finger puppets, a coloring book, and a card game.

To see what other TOS Reviewers thought about this product, click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the Keyboard Town Pals program for the purpose of a fair review. No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Friday, November 4, 2011

To Publish A Book

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a book published? Have you thought of trying to get one published yourself?  Do you know the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and have you wondered if there are any other options?  If you'd like to follow along on a real journey to first-time publication, check out Amazing By Design.  You can follow the process step-by-step from choosing a publisher (um, yeah, that's whoever is willing to publish the book!!), to Illustrations (that's where this book is now), and on to full publication and printing (sometime after Christmas).

The Person I Marry

"Long before thinking of diamonds & glitter,
here are some things that I need to consider."

My kids are at such fun ages.  Even the youngest is learning to bathe himself and make himself peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, so my job is not nearly so custodial as it was a few years ago; yet we also are not dealing with teenage problems - YET.  My youngest son takes off running if a girl tries to hug or kiss him.  My two girls are not planning to EVER let a boy mess up their plans for their lives.  And my oldest son - well, that's where the problems are likely to start.  At age 12, he likes girls.  He is starting to like them quite a lot.

I would like to talk to my children about what type of person to marry now.  Now, while some of them still believe the opposite gender has cooties.  Now, before they are blinded by emotions and teenage hormones.  Now, while they still listen to a few of my opinions and have not quite yet decided that I am the dumbest person on earth.  I'd like to arm them with some foundational ideas about what characteristics to seek in a lifetime partner.

Gary and Jan Bower had just this in mind when they wrote the delightful book The Person I Marry for their own children.  In Gary's delightful rhyming verse, accompanied by Jan's beautiful oil-painted illustrations, they emphasize to children that qualities such as kindness, honesty, and thoughtfulness are the foundations of a good relationship; that God must be the center of the relationship; and that they should strive to have those qualities themselves.

The Person I Marry from Bower Books on Vimeo.

This 32-page, fully-illustrated, hard-cover book may be purchased for $11.99 from Bower Books at   Suitable for any preschool or elementary-aged children, other books in the "Bright Future" series cover topics such as handling money, the reality of heaven, and finding purpose in life.  Gary and Jan Bower definitely have a gift for explaining difficult, grown-up subjects to children.  My children enjoyed this book, and I loved the truth I was reading to them.

To read other TOS Homeschool Reviews of The Person I Marry by Gary and Jan Bower, click here.

Disclaimer:  I was allowed to view a free digital copy of The Person I Marry for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

"Sophisticated Fall!"

Sprouting Seeds Studio promised us lots of fall kits this year, and they have delivered!  Here's the latest release, "Sophisticated Fall."

You can pick the kit up exclusively, and right now on sale, at ScrapDelicious!

There's a cute freebie available at Sprouting Seeds Studio's blog.  Click image below to go pick it up.

Make sure you come back to pick up your free QP from 4shared!  PU only.

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the "Sophisticated Fall" kit for the purpose of review.