Monday, April 30, 2012

The Blog Train Blog - A "Royal" Wedding

To be truthful, a large part of my hard drive is filled up with wedding kits, and I really didn't need another one.  I made some confetti papers that could be used for wedding pictures or anything else.  Click image to download from Mediafire!  PU/S4H/S4O.

Hop on the rest of the Blog Train at to get the rest of the goodies!

Happy Scrapping!  :)

Road Trip with Stuff to Scrap!

It's the May Road Trip with Stuff to Scrap - "Bicycle Blues"!  You've reached the end of the road trip!

Here are my papers for you!  Click image to download from Mediafire.  PU/S4H/S4O.

If you've been following the road map, you probably came here from Manda Lane Scraps, and this is your last stop.  If you've missed any, here's the list!

DoubleTrouble Scraps
WinksArt Graphics
Hat of Bunny
The Scrappy Kat
Created by Jill Scraps
Scraps N Pieces
Scraps By Andrea
Growing Pains Scrapped
B2N2 Scraps
Robin's Nest
Keystone Scraps
LdyMcBeth's Spot
MDK Scraps
Designs by Snowlady
Queen Bee Scraps
Scrappin Serenity
Busy Crafting Mommy Designs
JMC Designs
Let Me Scrapbook!
Mommy Me Time Scrapper
Leaving a Legacy Designs
Saphira's Scraps
Cami Jo Designs
Ponytails Designs
BeeHaven Designz
Mommy Made This
Sheri's Scrappin' Spot
Karen Diamond Designs
Manda Lane Scraps
Note-able Scraps

Happy Scrapping!  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Spring Things" by Dandelion Dust Designs and FREEBIES!

I don't know how it is in your part of the country (or the world), but here it does not feel like it is almost May!  We were having unseasonable temps in the high 70s and almost 80s in February, and now the temperature has dipped back down to what I would have expected in February!  Well, it's a good time to put on a cheery smile and scrap some spring pictures, and maybe the weather will follow our lead!!  In the spirit of spring, Dandelion Dust Designs has released this delightful new kit, "Spring Things."

You can pick up the whole kit exclusively at ScrapDelicious.

And don't forget your Free QPs from Mediafire!  PU only.

Happy Scrapping!  :)

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

TOS Review: Balance Math Algebra

I have always enjoyed Math myself, but teaching it to my children, who do not share my exuberance for the subject, has been a challenge.  My oldest son has been doing Pre-Algebra and is moving into Algebra, and so I have been searching for curriculums to make it palatable for both of us!

Balance Math Teaches Algebra, from The Critical Thinking Company, is a winner.  By showing opposite sides of each equation like they are on opposite sides of a scale, my very visual and hands-on learner is able to visualize how he needs to keep the equation balanced.  This makes missing number equations, and moving on into algebraic equations, easier to understand.  The "puzzle-like" feel of the book made Math class almost fun!

While I was assigned to review Balance Math Teaches Algebra, I was blessed to also receive Balance Math & More, Level 2, which was excellent preparation for the Algebra course.  Both are workbooks that will each serve as a long and complete unit, but not necessarily as a full-year course by themselves.  You could use a series of these as your complete Math curriculum, or use one as a supplement in an area where you need help.  When it comes to Math, we can use all the help we can get!

I highly recommend Balance Math Teaches Algebra for anyone who is introducing the concepts of Algebra, especially if your learner is very visual or needs very practical applications for learning.

Important Information

Product:  Balance Math Teaches Algebra from The Critical Thinking Company
Ages:  Grades 4-12+
Price:  $14.99 at The Critical Thinking Company

The Critical Thinking Company carries an entire award-winning core curriculum.  You can see all their products on their website.

Members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed several products from The Critical Thinking Company.  Find their reviews linked here.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of Balance Math Teaches Algebra in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

TOS Review: Amazing Science!

We have received several science products to review recently, which has been great for me, because my kids absolutely love science experiments, but because of the time and prep work involved, I frequently get behind on them.  At first, I am ashamed to admit that I used the Amazing Science DVD set, Vol. 1, as a time filler.  I thought the kids could "just watch" the experiments on the DVD while I got some other things done.  Well, that didn't last long.  After each segment, the kids came running to me.

"Mom!  May we please do this experiment?  It's so cool!!!!"

Most of the experiments used items that were readily available in my house, and if they didn't involve fire, I let the kids get them together and do them by themselves.  (Of course, the ones that involve fire are their favorites!)

After each amazing science experiment is performed on the DVD - many of which look like magic tricks - a thorough scientific explanation is given as to why the experiment works.  Since the children are dying to know why that "trick" worked, they are really paying attention and learning.  They couldn't wait to do the experiments over and over again to amaze their dad and their friends.

If your kids love science, or if you need to find a way to encourage them to love science, you will love this DVD.  It's great fun for any level of student; the more advanced the student is, the more he or she will learn from these projects, while the younger students will just have fun and fan the flame of their interest in science.

Color-changing Milk

Picking up an Ice Cube with a String (without touching the Ice Cube)

Important Information

Product:  Amazing Science DVD set, Vol 1, from
Ages:  I used this product with my 1st-8th graders
Price:  $19.95 for 2-DVD set at Science And Math Dot Com

Other terrific science and math products are available from the company here.
Check out some free sample experiments here, or click on image below!

See what my TOS crewmates thought of these DVDs at The Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclaimer:  I received these free DVDs in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TOS Review: Bright Ideas Press Chemistry

It was a real treat to review Christian Kids Explore Chemistry from Bright Ideas Press!

Bright Ideas Press is a company that offers Christian-oriented curriculum for a variety of subjects for all ages. In general, each curriculum is easy to use with different ages as well as being affordable to families.  Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Grade Levels 4-8 contains units on the basics of chemistry, atoms and molecules, the nature of chemistry, states of matter, and organic chemistry.

There are a number of things I love, love, love about this curriculum:

1)  The Christian Worldview - The original purpose of the study of science was to learn more about God's world.  Bright Ideas Press teaches science for that purpose, even including memory verses from the Bible that accompany each unit.  If you think that's stretching the "Jesus" thing, it's not.  The Bible has far more to say about science than most of us were ever taught!

2) Excellent Organization of Material - Along with the comprehensive 385-page text (which was a little overwhelming to me when we started), we received a "Start Here" outline, CKEC Lesson Plans, a CKEC Student Activity Book, a CKEC Supply List, and the Literature resource A Piece of the Mountain.  I received everything in PDF format, and I was able to use the textbook on my computer without printing it out, while printing out just the Student Activity pages for the kids to use.  The Lesson Plans and Supply List made organizing the lessons easy and prep time minimal.

3) Complete Curriculum - As I said in #2, everything I needed was included.  The 4th-8th grade level worked great for me, since my older 3 children are all in that range.  Add in the coloring pages after the glossary in the text, and my 1st-grader was also occupied.  As I already mentioned, Bible passages are included, and there is also an extensive resource list of supplemental reading and research that you may or may not want to use to accompany the curriculum.  This makes it easy to work with all your grade levels together, giving an extra challenge to the more advanced students while covering the basics with the younger ones.

We had a little fun with the coloring pages in Photoshop as well as with printing them out and coloring them!

4) It's Fun! - OK, if you read all my reviews, you may realize this is a common theme, but you know, it never hurts to make real learning fun for kids!  (And moms!)  Every unit includes hands-on activities - including making model atoms, breaking covalent bonds, and making gas expand - to cement the learning.

In short, I may use this for my complete science curriculum in the future, and I highly recommend it.  Christian Kids Explore Chemistry is for 4th-8th Grade.  As I mentioned, younger kids may learn some basics and enjoy the coloring pages, but they will of course need to repeat the curriculum when they are in the age range to really learn the material.  Likewise, older children could do this curriculum along with their younger siblings and complete some extra projects or research, but once you get into high school levels you will need to be sure you are satisfying your state requirements for high school.  I believe this is best used for the age range indicated.

You can learn more about Bright Ideas Press and the other marvelous Christian curriculums they produce on their website.  You can find sample pages and purchase the Christian Kids Explore Chemistry for $39.95 on this page.  I would highly recommend also getting the Resource CD Download here, which is now on sale for $9.95.  You may get it for Mac or PC.

My compadres on the TOS Crew reviewed this and several other Bright Ideas Press Products.  See their reactions here.

Disclaimer:  I received these free products from Bright Ideas Press in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Pretty Please" by Dandelion Dust Designs and Freebies!

"Pretty Please" is the adorable new kit by Dandelion Dust Designs, perfect for showcasing all of your beautiful Easter dress pictures!  Some of the elements also worked great for the malt shop pictures I just had to scrap:

You can get the "Pretty Please" kit exclusively at ScrapDelicious, but don't hurry off without checking out the freebies below!

You can pick up TWO free quickpages at Mediafire, but don't run off!  There's still one more freebie below!  Click on images to go to Mediafire.  PU only.  (Note:  My apologies, but the Mediafire link on the first one was not working, so I have now linked it to 4shared.)

And FINALLY, there is a terrific set of free journaling cards to match this kit on Facebook.  Just go to Dandelion Dust's page on FB, "Like" the page, and download your freebie!

Happy Scrapping!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the "Pretty Please" kit in exchange for the above LOs.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TOS Review: It's About Time

This review was very "timely" for me, since I have been working on "time" with my first grader.  Ha, ha!  Well, sorry, it's hard to be funny in a blogpost!

I received It's About Time from AIMS Education Foundation.  AIMS stands for Activities Integrating Math and Science, and they offer books and PDF downloads full of hands-on activities in a variety of Math and Science concepts.  These are ideal for schools or for home-schools, and some of the books are designed to specifically correlate to individual state standards.

It's About Time is a series of investigations designed to build a conceptual understanding of time and its measurement.  Experiences included have students sequencing events, measuring duration of time (long time/short time), and reading clocks.  (from the back cover)
I received a physical copy of It's About Time, which is geared towards Grades K-2.  I enjoyed having such a plethora of ideas for activities at my disposal, as I think that too many kids these days are relying on digital clocks and not learning to read an analog clock face well enough.  And as I've said before, my first grader needs hands-on activities!  This book is far more than I needed in terms of activities, which gave me the opportunity to just choose the activities that worked for me.  One of my favorites was making clock faces out of paper plates, with bobby pins for clock hands!  Some of the pages are reproducible (see back page for copyright permissions), and a handy CD is included in the back with a few of the common ones that you may want to print out over and over again.  Some of the activities, such as the "Who Has?" time game, are better suited for a classroom, but they look like so much fun that we may have to get a few friends together from the homeschool group to do them!

The activities in the book are somewhat time-consuming, and some require quite a bit of teacher preparation.  This can be a pro or a con.  If you have students who have learned to tell time quickly from their regular math worksheets, this book may be a little much for you, with 155 pages devoted only to telling time!  If, however, you have students who just aren't grasping the concept of "Time" and who need more than what the standard workbook has to offer, this may be just the help that you need.

You can find It's About Time on the AIMS website here.  You may choose the physical book or the PDF digital download for $21.95.  Personally, I am very interested in checking out some of the other books that AIMS has to offer, and you can do that in the AIMS store.  My TOS crewmates reviewed several different AIMS products.  If you are interested in some of the others, you may find those reviews here.

Disclaimer:  I received a free physical copy of It's About Time in exchange for a fair review.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TOS Review: Truth Quest History

"TruthQuest History is a deep and rich literature-based history study…but with a difference. You will not learn the story of mankind; you will learn the lovestory of mankind. You will not focus on the rise and fall of human civilizations; you will focus on the arrow-straight line of God's unchanging existence, power, love, truth, and plan for civilization. You will not simply 'meet the culture' or 'get the facts;' you will probe the truths of history so deeply that your students will be equipped to change their world!"  (from the website)

Truth Quest History is a unique history program that really suits our learning style.  I have always liked taking a period in history and using all the resources we have for that period in one big unit study:  historical books, historical fiction books, videos, crafts, recipes, etc.  This program encourages us to do just that.  In each guide, Michelle Miller goes through the predominant themes and events for that period of history, then suggests outside reading to complement the study.  She suggests various writing and discussion assignments.  The beauty of the program is that you do not have to use specific books for each unit.  You can use any resources you have at your disposal, whether books that are owned by you or that you find at your local library.  Michelle Miller's commentary ties them all together with a God-centered worldview.  More than just teaching the history itself, her long-term goal is to teach children how to learn on their own using whatever books or resources they have.

TruthQuest consists of a History Guide for each period of history:  Creation/Ancient History, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Middle Ages (500-1400), Renaissance Reformation Exploration (1400-1600), and Age of Revolution I, II, & III (1600-1800, 1800-1865, and 1865-2000, respectively) for Grades 5-12.  For Grades 1-5, the Guides go through American History only in three guides for Exploration-1800, 1800-1865, 1865-2000.  The Guides may be purchased as a PDF download or as a print copy.  There are companion resources to complement each guide, including a Binder-Builder and other map/timeline/report/notebooking helps created by A Journey Through Learning.  The companion resources make it easy to create not just a lapbook, but a complete binder or notebook in lapbooking style of each year-long history study.  The companion resources are sold as downloadable PDFs.  For purchasing information and to download samples of all the products offered, see the Truth Quest History Store.

I received the American History for Young Students I (Exploration-1800) Binder Builder to review.  I did not have the actual American History for Young Students I Truth Quest Guide, so I downloaded the sample from the website and did those lessons.  I was able to use the books that I had used studying the same period in history for my older kids, so that worked great for me.  We studied the early explorers Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus and started our binders.  I believe I will purchase the Truth Quest History Guide and continue with this program and complete our binders.  I have a 1st grader who hates to just sit and do workbooks, so getting to create a notebook using scissors, glue stick, crayons, etc. while I read to him is a fantastic way for him to learn.  My 3rd and 6th graders enjoyed it as well.  They love lapbooking and doing just about anything creative.  The program is set up well for using with students of different ages.

You can purchase the American History for Young Students I Binder Builder downloadable PDF here for $18.  The Truth Quest History Guide for that period is $19.95 for the downloadable PDF or $24.95 for the printed version.  See the website for prices of other products.  I highly recommend this series.

Other TOS Crewbies reviewed this and other Truth Quest History Guides.  To see what they thought, click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a free downloadable PDF Binder-Builder from Truth Quest History in exchange for a fair review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 9, 2012

TOS Homeschool Reviews

All of the TOS Homeschool Reviews of Amazing Animals by Design are in!  There are 100 reviews of the book (actually, I believe there are 101, thanks to Kate deciding to give me an extra!).  Find them all at The TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.  Check the comments section, too.  A few people linked up late and left their links in the "Comments" instead of on Linky Tools.

I would like to send out a great big "Thank you" to my fellow crew members on the review team for taking the time to read this book and write a review!

If you are not absolutely convinced already that you NEED to buy this book, see what all these reviewers had to say!  Here is a taste of what you will find:

Simply one of the VERY BEST books I have read.  I HIGHLY recommend Amazing Animals by Design!!!!
Amazing Animals by Design is a wonderful, kid friendly book written by Debra Haagen. I reviewed this book via a PDF file and was completely blown away by the beautiful softly laden colorful graphics which house the brilliantly illustrated accompaniment of the story.
This is the perfect book to read with your children just before visiting the zoo. It will spark interesting conversation while you wander through the park, watching for those wonderful ways God designed each animal.
- Marcy from Ben and Me
In my opinion, this book is an all-around good children’s book since it offers a total package of a story that teaches a quality lesson and also has captivating illustrations.
- Nikki from Joy in the Journey
I don’t know that there’s anything that I would change about Amazing Animals by Design, except to say that it should be made into a series.
- Cherie from  Learning Every Day

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Howdy" by Dandelion Dust Designs & FREEBIE

Howdy there, Partner!  Dandelion Dust Designs has a fun new kit out called "Howdy," and if you have "Out West" from Sprouting Seeds Studio last year, these work well together.  They also work well with pictures of certain best friends at Disney!

You can find "Howdy" exclusively at ScrapDelicious!

Also, download your free quickpages from Mediafire:

Happy Scrappin'!  :)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of "Howdy" in exchange for the above layouts.