Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas At the Lodge - Stuff to Scrap Road Trip

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  I LOVE Christmas!!  I don't know how it manages to get here so quickly every year, but I love it!  So here's the December Road Trip with Stuff to Scrap - "At the Lodge."  Click preview to download my portion.  PU/S4H/S4O.

You should have come from  Scrappin Serenity and your next stop is Adriana's Cafe.

Here's the rest of the road trip:
WinksArt Graphics
Desert Digi Scrap
Shuckclod's Stuff
Scrappy Chicka
Growing Pains Scrapped
Scrappin Serenity
Note-able Scraps
Adriana's Cafe
JMC Designs
Saphira's Scraps
The Scrappy Kat
Scraps N Pieces
Callaluna Creations
AK Designs
Sairi Designs
Queen Bee Scraps

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RAKScraps November Sponsor: Mags Graphics

The November Sponsor for RAKScraps is Mags Graphics.  Here is a sampling of several of her kits.  "Crayon Kids" is full of bright colors and is fun for all kinds of kid pictures.

"Home Sweet Home" has more neutral colors and is great for vintage or present-day family photos.

Check out RAK Scraps November!

Happy Scrapping!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this kit in exchange for layouts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Little Mister" and "Little Miss" Minis by Dandelion Dust Designs

Dandelion Dust Designs released two minis this week:  "Little Mister" and "Little Miss."  These mini-page kits are adorable for those precious little boy and girl photos you want to scrap!  "Little Miss" is all in pink, which is a necessity for my girls, and "Little Mister" is very versatile for your boys' pics but just happened to complement our Cub Scout pictures perfectly.

Click on the previews below to see both kits at ScrapTakeout:

Click images below to pick up your FREE QPs from Mediafire.  P/U only.

Happy Scrapping!

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy each of the "Little Mister" and "Little Miss" kits in exchange for layouts.  

Schoolhouse Review: Vocal Coach Singer

I am excited to tell you about our last product reviewed for 2012, The Vocal Coach with Chris and Carole Beatty.  While some of my Crewbies reviewed their Teaching Kids to Sing product, we had the opportunity to review Vocal Coach Singer.  This came at a great time for us, as my older two children are singing with me in the adult choir at church this Christmas, and I was wanting to start actual voice lessons with them.

Have you ever said, "I wish I could sing"?  I have heard so many people make that statement, and I always want to tell them, "You can!" Obviously, some people are clearly gifted with an exceptional voice.  I have, however, seen people who did not seem to have any vocal talent whatsoever take voice lessons and go on to do very well in various auditions.  Singing, like so many other abilities, is a skill that can be taught and learned.  Furthermore, if people have great talent in this area and do not develop it with training and practice, they will never reach their full potential.  Voice lessons are a great benefit, but they are expensive and not always readily available.  If you would like to be able to train your own voice or your child's professionally at home, Vocal Coach Singer is a great asset.

Vocal Coach Singer is a 12-CD set with the equivalent of over $2,000 worth of voice lessons.  It also includes a Guidebook telling you how to use the system, a personal singer's journal, and printable PDFs of the music lead sheets to accompany the exercises on the CD.  You can also get a downloadable version of all the PDFs and MP3s for the whole system.  This can be easily used on an iPod or other MP3 player.

I was impressed by how comprehensive and easy-to-follow this system is.  Beginning with the "Getting Started" MP3s and the Guidebook, I got a good overview of the program.  From there, a person just beginning voice lessons may progress through the CDs in order, learning about proper posture, breathing, tone, diction, and warm-ups; or you may skip around to the lessons that you need.  Since we've done a bit of singing, and spending too long on the initial "breathing" instruction would be a bit boring for my kids, I skipped around.  The workout MP3s for high or medium/low voice with accompanying printable music lead sheets are excellent and are just what I needed for moving my teen and pre-teen from singing children's music to singing with an adult choir.  Keeping track of your practice, your progress, and your song selections in the singer's journal will help you see your progress as you become a better singer.  Finally, there is a section on "Complete Performance" that will help you choose the best songs and present them in a way that will leave people wanting an encore rather than wondering what shower you practiced in.

I highly recommend this product for anyone who would like to improve their singing skills.

Vocal Coach Singer is suitable for use with older children and adults.  I am using it with my 11-year-old and my 13-year-old.  I must admit that I found some of the warm-ups a bit challenging myself.  Whew, am I out of practice!  :-)  The lessons do not teach any specific musical style; rather, they teach principles and habits that will improve any voice and can be applied to any style of music.  They are beneficial for beginners as well as accomplished professionals.

If you are ready to try Vocal Coach Singer, here's what you need to get started:

The Product:  Vocal Coach Singer12-CD set with Guidebook, Journal, and printable PDFs, also available in all-downloadable form
Vendor:  Chris and Carole Beatty of Vocal Coach
Ages:  Youth or Adult
Price:  $119.99 for the CD set
   $99.99 for the MP3 downloads

To see what my fellow Crew members thought of Vocal Coach Singer and of Teaching Kids to Sing, click the banner below.


Disclaimer:  I received a free MP3 version of Vocal Coach Singer for the purpose of a fair review.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

Sadly, this is my last review with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, at least for a while.  I have been with them for a year and a half and have loved being part of the Crew.  I hope I will be able to join them again another year.  For the year 2013, however, I have the opportunity to pursue some other exciting projects.  More about that very soon.  Keep following my blog and stay tuned!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Refreshing Frames" Freebie from Dandelion Dust Designs

On Thursday, I told you about the "Refreshing Papers" pack available from Dandelion Dust Designs.  I also used some fun frames on my layout that coordinated with the papers.

You can get those three little frames in my title block for free right now over at Dandelion Dust Designs!

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Refreshing" Paper Pack by Dandelion Dust Designs

It's Thursday, and that means new goodies in the ScrapTakeout Shoppe!  This week, Dandelion Dust Designs has the "Refreshing" Paper Pack.

It's amazing how much you can do with a pack of papers in fun designs and complementary colors!  Pick up your copy exclusively at ScrapTakeout:

Get your free QP from Mediafire!  PU only.

Happy Scrapping!  :-)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the "Refreshing" Paper Pack in exchange for a layout. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Apologia's Journeys of Faithfulness

The latest Apologia product that the Crew has had the privilege to review is the book Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson.  Through a series of stories about biblical women such as Mary, Ruth, and Esther, the author challenges young women to explore and deepen their relationship with Christ.  The 232 pages of the paperback include devotionals and journaling spots.  Each story gives a historical fiction account of one of these women, using the details we know from the Biblical story and adding the author's insight into what the characters could have felt and how they may have been affected by the events.  The book may be used as a devotional guide for adolescent women and their mothers.

My daughter and I read these stories separately and then discussed them together.  My daughter is 11, so she may be on the young side of the age range for which the book is intended.  I have always enjoyed historical fiction.  I like reading something that helps me put myself in the place of a historical character, imagining what it must have been like to experience what she experienced.  What would it have been like to have Jesus physically eat in my house, or to approach Boaz in the darkness and uncover his feet?  (And why did she uncover his feet, anyway?!)  This book took me into those characters' lives.  The author is very imaginative and descriptive.  That said, this book also pushed the limits a bit, to where I felt that the essence of the characters was being missed or changed.  My daughter did not care for the style of writing, but it may just be that she is a bit young.  Perhaps we will try it again in a few years.  I like a devotional book that will bring a mother and a daughter into these types of conversations about the women of our Christian heritage and about Jesus Himself.  I think it may be good for mothers and older teen girls.

Apologia's Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson may be purchased directly from Apologia's website.  The paperback is $13.00.  Find other Apologia inspirational and educational products at

To see what my Crewmates thought of the book, click the banner below.


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

Monday, November 5, 2012

"Sweet Temptation" by Dandelion Dust Designs

I can't help it.  I know it's only the beginning of November, but I am ready to put up the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols.  I just love Christmas!!  I have already begun scrapping the Christmas season with "Sweet Temptation" by Dandelion Dust Designs (don't worry, these are photos from past Christmases)!

You can find "Sweet Temptation" exclusively at ScrapTakeout:

Click images to download your free QPs from Mediafire.  PU only.

Happy Scrapping and Merry Christmas!  :-)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of "Sweet Temptation" in exchange for layouts.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Schoolhouse Review: Activity Bags

I am absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to review Activity Bags over the last few weeks.  These e-books by Sherri MacLean are chock-full of step-by-step instructions for fun, hands-on learning activities for kids of all ages.

I first reviewed Math Games In a Bag, eBook 1.  Have you ever noticed how kids say they "hate" Math when they are stuck with drills to do in a workbook, but how much they love using math concepts in games?  (It's a common theme on this blog!)  The games in this eBook - which are designed for elementary school children - use dice, playing cards, printables, and household materials to explain math concepts and to give your blossoming mathematician plenty of drill practice in an entertaining way.  Most of the games are designed for 2 or more people, so they can be played by several children or by the parent/teacher and the child, if your home is not full of kids.  I started using things I had around the house, like dice and cards from games we already have, but I plan to buy some manipulatives like that to put in the bags and make them permanent fixtures, so that I do not have to disassemble the math activity kits to put the game pieces back.  These activity bags can be used over and over for more fun and practice and are a great way to occupy my younger children while I'm working on something with the older ones.

In addition, I reviewed Science Experiments In A Bag: eBook 1, eBook 2, and eBook 3.  These books serve as an introduction to General Science for young students, to get children curious and wanting to learn.  As shown on the covers, eBook 1 contains Science experiments in the fields of Biology, Nature, and General Science.  Ebook 2 contains experiments in Chemistry, Human Body, and General Science.  Ebook 3 is all about Chemistry.  The experiments use household items or items that are easy to obtain.  Some of the experiments were specifically indoor or outdoor experiments - and that was noted in the instructions - and some could be done in either place.

As the name suggests, the idea behind all of the Activity Bags books is that the teacher organizes all the supplies for each activity in ziploc bags ahead of time.  Step-by-step instructions and supply lists are provided, and the eBooks contain reproducible pages to accompany the activities (in the Science activities, I am using the reproducibles as our lab reports for our lab notebooks).  There are questions to accompany the activities, and answer sheets for the teacher.  This does require some preparation time ahead of time.  Once the bags are prepared, however, you have ready-to-do lessons, games, and experiments at your fingertips.  They can be used for regular class time or as a supplement to pull out on a rainy day or when one student needs something to keep him busy while you finish with the others or while you pay bills or fold laundry.

The other thing that makes Activity Bags unique is the Swap.  Several of the books contain detailed instructions for planning an Activity Bags Swap, and that information is also found in the Coordinator Handbook (listed separately).  This is a great activity for homeschool groups.  Each mom/teacher is assigned one or two experiments to prepare.  She may then buy needed items in bulk, copy her reproducibles, and assemble 10, 15, or 20 bags for that one activity.  At the Swap, members trade so that each receives Activity Bags for all the activities assigned.  This is a quick way to get enough Science experiments lined up for an entire school year!

I have enjoyed using these books with my own kids, and I am preparing Science Activity Bags for all the students attending our Mad Scientist party this coming Friday!  I like the fact that most of the items used in the experiments are easily accessible, and I like the organization these books give me.  I like the games and experiments themselves for being both fun and educational, and the fact that I can make the experiments actually work even though I'm not much of a scientist myself!  The books are designed for elementary students, and I am just using the Math with my younger children, but I am using the Science experiments with all my kids.  The books serve as a good supplement so that I can find experiments to match what we are doing in our other curriculum, for any age.  The younger children are amazed and curious about the experiments, while the older children can actually understand the Science behind them and write up lab reports.  I did not find the activities to be as much of a do-it-on-your-own type of thing as I had expected.  For the most part, I am doing the activities with my kids, or sometimes the older kids may be able to do them with the younger ones.  The Math games were generally games to be played by 2 or more people, so the younger children need an older child or me.  The Science experiments were, for the most part, things that I would prefer to still supervise for elementary-aged children.  This is not a bad thing, however, since I am enjoying them so much!

I don't know if you can tell in this picture or not, but we managed to coat this steel paper clip with copper.  Wow!

If you would like to try out some of these activities, go to and fill out a quick survey.  You will receive a complimentary Activity Bags sampler as a thank-you!

I highly recommend Activity Bags eBooks to anyone who homeschools or works frequently with kids. Here is the info:

Product:  Activity Bags eBooks
Science Experiments in a Bag ebook 2 
Science Experiments in a Bag ebook 3
Author:  Sherri MacLean
Ages:  Elementary students (Science experiments are K-8 but can really be used with any age.)
Price:  $15 per eBook (Science Experiments 1 and 2 can be bundled for $27, or all 3 for $39)

To see what my Crewmates thought of these and several other Activity Bags eBooks, click the banner below:

Disclaimer:  I received four Activity Bags eBooks free of charge in exchange for an impartial review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.