Friday, November 14, 2014

Random 5 on Friday ~ November 14th

The Pebble Pond

Hello! Hello! Hello! Welcome to another round of Random 5 on Friday! 

1. So I started selling Jamberry Nail Wraps. I love them. I had my first Facebook party the past 2 weeks. I have my first in-home party TODAY and TOMORROW I am doing a craft show! I am so excited. Nervous but excited!

2. Carter shot a deer last night. We trailed it but lost track of him. Brian had to go to work today so my dad is coming out to help us. Its probably weird to a lot of people but I love hunting and everything about it! I am excited to go this morning. I am trying to NOT to think about the fact that I have #1 going on and a LOT to get ready. Its a good thing I work well under pressure! 

3. Alyssa turns 15 in four days! 15! There is this part of me that is so sad that my girl is growing up but there is another part of me that absolutely loves this time too. She is so much fun to be with and talk to. I try to enjoy every minute.

4. I am so excited to be on the SchoolHouse Review Crew again next year! I am planning on making some changes with my blog. I really want to start recording our life. This past year has been crazy and my blog has really been taking a hit from that. I am trying to remind myself why I started blogging in the first place. I have to take some time and really think about my goals for this here blog and get back on track. 

5. My little sister is getting married in 23 days! Oh goodness. If you remember, I am going to be a bridesmaid. I am so excited! I had to go a few days ago to exchange my dress for a smaller, YES a SMALLER size. Can I get a fist bump!? I have worked so hard to feel comfortable in that dress. I never thought I would have to go down a size. It is very form fitting so I wouldn't say I feel 100% comfortable in it but I feel much better. Now I just need to make sure I lay off the Dr. Pepper and donuts over the next 23 days. If not I may not be able to button the new dress. That would be bad. 

If you think about me over the next 2 days, I would LOVE prayer. I am kind of scared of bombing it at my in-home party and craft show! Thanks so much. I look forward to reading about your week. 

SchoolHouse Review ~ Out of the Box Games

We are a game loving family! We play games all the time. We have family pizza night once a week and that always includes a game or two. We don't have cable so our kids will pull out games a lot. For this reason, I am always on the lookout for a new game!

Out of the Box Games Review
So when I heard about Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games, I basically begged to be able to review it.

Such a FUN game! This game was right up our alley. Here is how it works....

You have 2 piles of cards. One pile is the "Customer" and the other pile is the "Seller". The Customer picks a card and can choose which side he wants to be for the round. The choices are things like Ninja, Pregnant Woman, Pirate, Dictator, Rock Star. Each Seller gets 6 cards from the pile. At that point they pick 2 of the cards in their hands to make a product. These choices range from Fluid to Insect and everything in between. Then they give a sales pitch to the customer. It can be serious or funny. Off the wall or practical.

There is no certain order in who goes first. Once you have your sales pitch together you go with it and try to sell your product to the customer. I have to admit after playing this game I came to realize my kids have my sick and twisted sense of humor. I wouldn't be being honest if I didn't admit that we laughed hysterically at made up products such as a fart tarp and a vomit net. What can I say...I have a 12 year old son. And a husband.

Out of the Box Games Review

Even though there was this silly side to the game it also really made the kids think. I was amazed with some of the products they came up with that were more on the serious side. You know, every ninja needs a set of shadow goggles and every pregnant woman needs her own remote dog. Even Taylor got in on this. That really surprised me because you have to totally make up a product. I thought it might be difficult for her but it was not. At first she was afraid that we would laugh at her but that only lasted the very first time we played. After that she was fighting to say her sales pitch first!

We spent hours playing this game and I can't even count the number of times it was pulled out on game night over the last couple of months. The whole family really enjoyed playing. Which really means something because usually we have at least ONE child that doesn't agree with the rest of the family on the game choice. Not so with Snake Oil!

If you are looking for a fun, up beat game this is it!
~ It is intended for ages 10 and up and it really is a game the whole family can enjoy.
~ It is incredibly easy to learn. There is nothing worse than being all excited about a new game and then spending an hour trying to figure out how to play.
~ 3 -10 players
~ Each game is supposed to take 20-30 minutes. It took our family about an hour. We really think through out products and push them hard on the "Customer"! ;)
~ Retails for $19.99

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SchoolHouse Review ~ IXL

I love homeschooling and I love taking the time to teach my kids. One on one interaction and group settings often occur in our home and I love it that way. Sometimes though life can get pretty busy. It is nice to have a supplement to back up what I am teaching. Especially when that back up can be done with out me right there.
Christmas Book Review

IXL has been a wonderful tool in our home over the last few months. IXL is an online Math and Language Arts learning program. It covers grades Pre-K through 12th grade. The program is great for all learning styles! It is meant to be a supplement not a full program.

I was able to review their online program for one year with up to 5 students! I had all 4 kids use it but Taylor is the one that really got a lot of use out of it! Which is rare. Usually programs don't work for her.

I set up my parent account and from there was able to add all 4 kids into the program. At that point each child could set up their own avatar and start where they wanted. Taylor actually started at the very beginning. The Pre-K level. That was ok with me. Even though she is farther ahead I loved that she took the initiative to get started on her own. She soared right through that and continued onto Kindergarten level.

One of the biggest benefits for Taylor was that I was able to download this onto her iPad for math. Her ipad helps her to be independent and most programs do not offer an app for iPad use. She knew right where her app was and I would found her "playing" many times a day. The second biggest benefit was that there was a speaker icon beside each question and answer! She did not need to ask anyone to read it to her. She could completely do the program on her own. This is HUGE for me. I have never found anything school related that she could have total independence!

The program was fun but not too much fun. If you know what I mean?! It wasn't overly busy or distracted but it kept Taylor interested.

This was my first time reviewing IXL and I am very impressed. I am going to push the other kids to keep practicing with the program as well. I really thing they would benefit from it.

I've already mentioned a few things I liked about the program but here is a couple more:
~ Getting reports through email telling me how the kids were doing
~ The HUGE variety of questions
~ Both right brain & left brain learning
~ The ability to jump around and not have to stay on one grade level at a time

The math was very straight forward and I loved that I had a program to back up what I was teaching. For Taylor this year I have been focusing on Life Skills over academics. I had searched online for an app to help reinforce those life skills. I found nothing. We even paid for 3 different apps that turned out to not work. Then we tried IXL. It helped her with learning time and money which were 2 topics I am really trying to push this year.

The only thing that I didn't like was that I had to read the Language Arts part for Taylor. She still got a lot of use out of it but not nearly as much if it read it to her. It also helped to reinforce what I was teaching. Taylor had been struggling with understanding parts of speech. Because of this program she was able to get a better understanding which helped her in her day to day school work.

I would definitely recommend this program! It has been a life saver in our home. :)

The cost of IXL for one student is $9.95/month for one subject, or $15.95/month for both math and language arts. Additional students are only an extra $2 per month.

An annual subscription is only $79 for one subject, or $129 for both math and language arts. Each additional student is only $20 a year.

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