Monday, January 31, 2011

Learning Multiplication Facts

I remember as a kid having a difficult time memorizing my multiplication facts. I've seen that  my older children have struggled too. We've tried many things so far, but the facts haven't stuck--especially for my oldest daughter. I was very optimistic and hopeful after reading about Times Alive! I couldn't wait to try it with my kids to see what type of results we would get.

What is it?

Times Alive, by City Creek Press, is an interactive game that uses stories, songs, and quizzes to help teach children multiplication facts from the zero's through the nine's times tables.

What We Thought:

My oldest daughter (12yr.old) used this program the most. Though it was a little childish for her (the songs and stories), she was desperate to get these facts down pat. Having the stories plus the facts put to song helped my daughter get over her mental memorization block. She completed the whole program and now feels much more confident with her math skills.

My 11yr. old son also used this program. He endured the stories and singing, but told me that the songs helped him learn his facts.

I plan to start this with my 8yr. old daughter soon as I think the different ways the material is presented will be beneficial for her. She is a more auditory learner, so I think the songs and stories will help her learn her multiplication facts. I think City Creek has done a great job of coming up with ways to help children learn their facts. They also have an addition curriculum that looks like something I might have to add to our homeschool!

Times Alive! CD-ROM/: $48.95  Download: $44.95
Sign up for City Creek Press' Mailing list for more information and online promotions.

For More Times Alive! Reviews See:

Disclosure: I am a member of TOS and I was given this product free for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Using Education Cubes


Photo blocks are so versatile! We’ve been using our set quite a bit lately. From the baby all the way to the big kids!


By adding printables from Education Cubes, we are able to use these blocks in so many different ways. I added pictures of the continents in the block. My daughter rolled the block and then had to name the continent and then color it on a map.

We used them in a color matching game which I blogged about earlier.

Our newest game we call “Feed the Cat.”  I made this cat out of a soup can and printed some cupcakes (big hint---check out Totally Tots on Wed. and you can make your own!) My preschooler would roll the cube and whatever number was on top, that was the number of cupcakes she had to feed the cat. Both my 4 yr. old and 2yr. old loved to feed the cat!


Our family has been enjoying our photo blocks and our membership to Education Cubes so I’ve decided to host a giveaway! Mama Jenn, the creator of Education Cubes, has agreed to give one lucky reader a membership to Education Cubes! And since it’s helpful to have the cubes to use the membership, whoever wins the membership will also win a $20 gift card to Amazon to purchase a set of photo-blocks—courtesy of Spell Outloud!

Learn all about joining Education Cubes here!  The membership is only $10 right now, but will be going up soon!

The Rules:
Mandatory Entry: Visit and tell us what activity or printable set would be on your list to try first.

Extra Entries (Please put each entry in a separate comment. Your email MUST be in each comment/or enabled in blogger).)

1. If you are a fan of Spell Outloud on Facebook give yourself 1 extra entry.
2. If you are a fan of Education Cubes on Facebook give yourself 1 extra entry.

This giveaway is open from Jan. 30 – Feb. 6.  The winner will be announced on Monday, Feb. 7th.  The winner must reply to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. The winner will receive an online membership to Education Cubes and emailed a $20 Amazon gift card. No physical product will be sent.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meatballs and Marinara Dinner


Yep, I have another budding chef in the house! This past week we were able to take another online cooking class, but this time it was geared for kids ages 8+ .  Sandie from Mixing Bowl Academy had another yummy class planned—meatballs and marinara. A week before the class, we were sent an email with all the ingredients and tools needed.


Logging on was very easy to do. For this class, Sandie’s daughter helped show the kids how to make things along with Sandie.

This was my daughter’s first time cutting up onions, parsley and green peppers. We ran a little behind because this was a new skill (and my knives were dull—very dull), but were able to catch up. When we did fall behind, we were able to ask Sandie to slow down.

meatballsThen she made the meatballs. She was a trooper rolling meatballs—especially since she didn’t really want to touch the meat.

finshed-dinner  All her hard work paid off! The whole family got to enjoy her yummy meal.

My daughters have enjoyed these online classes and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try them. Sandie does a wonderful job planning and conducting the class. This is truly a great resource. I plan to utilize more of the classes in the future.

Jr. Chef Classes (ages 8+) at Currclick. All month-long classes are $30.00 and meet at 3pm Central Time.

February Class: "Sopita" with Beef, Homemade Soft Pretzels, Ratatouille w/ Giant Croutons, Tamal Bake

March: Spaghetti Pizza, St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes, Fettucini Primavera, BBQ Chicken Wraps w/Seasonal Fruit Salad

April: Milkshakes!,Matzo Ball Soup, Quick n Easy Hot Cross Buns , Beef Stuffed Zucchini

If you can’t make the live classes, Sandie has several pre-recorded classes available for purchase. I think the Apple Crisp w/ homemade whipped cream sounds yummy! I think I’ll pick up that class for my daughter so that I can reap the benefits—lol!

Related Post:
Lil Chef! Ages 5-7

Disclosure: I was allowed to take this class for free in order to provide a review. I was not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own. All links are affiliate links and will help my daughter take additional classes :)


Our Valentine Colors

We are getting ready to start our local co-op up again, and I’ve been busy planning classes for the toddler/preschoolers. I thought I’d share what I have planned for our Valentine’s Day lesson---the Wordless Book.
What’s the Wordless Book?
The Wordless Book is a tool to help Christians tell others about God's plan of salvation.
I have done the Wordless Book in a preschool class a couple years ago. I compiled all my findings, links, and printables in my Wordless Book lens on Squidoo. While working on that piece, I came across the idea of The Gospel Fuzzies from Quirky Momma’s blog. After researching it a bit, I decided that this presentation of the Wordless book would be perfect for my young co-op class this year.
To start off, I purchased pom poms in the colors of the Wordless book: red, green, white, black, gold/yellow. I have them placed in a container for our sensory bin.
Then I have plastic tongs and craft foam to use as sorting mats. We’ll sort some of the pom poms by color.
After having some sorting fun, I’ll say something to the effect that these colors remind me of a song. I’ll then pull out the Gospel Fuzzy glove and teach them the song and the meaning of the colors. [I am going to make a glove ahead of time for each child.]
I created a mini-booklet of the song. Each child will glue the correct Gospel Fuzzy on the page.
We might do some patterning too.
gfthumbsI’ve created all these resources for my class and hopefully you will find them useful too!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids


When this book first arrived, my 12 yr. old daughter called dibs and took this Bible dictionary to look through it. She sat on the couch for over an hour reading and glancing through the whole book. I knew then that this was going to be a keeper.

What it is:

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary explains Biblical terms and definitions in a way for children ages 5-10 to understand. Using colorful photos, charts , maps and illustrations, this Bible dictionary helps children understand what they are reading in the Bible. With 750 definitions and over 500 pictures, it is packed with a lot of useful information.

What We Though:


It is a sturdy reference book with the information presented in an appealing way. We love it! In fact, I use it when reading through my B90 Bible study---so it’s  not just for kids!

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids 
can be purchased at LifeWay Christian Stores for $14.99

For More Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary Reviews See: Disclosure: I am a member of TOS and I was given this product free for review purposes only. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Critical Thinking Resources


Critical thinking---that’s a skill I want my children to possess. When I was asked by Timberdoodle to review a couple of books from Critical Thinking Press, I had a hard time deciding which ones, as we probably could  benefit from many on the list. I decided that it would be a good idea to start working on critical thinking skills with my preschooler. I was sent Can You Find Me? 

This is a non-consumable thinking skills book geared toward preschoolers. When my daughter and I opened the book we were pleasantly surprised. Each page contained a riddle and pictures. My daughter was interested right away and wanted to look through the whole book. After looking, I sat down and went through a couple riddles with her. She had so much fun trying to answer the riddles. When we would get to one that was too hard, we’d skip it and come back to it later. Some days she could only handle doing one riddle, and other days she wanted to do a slew of them. When we hit a bunch in a row that were just a tad hard, I set the book aside for a week. We are still moving through the book and it has become a wonderful addition to her preschool work.


What I liked:

* It is non-consumable, so I can use it for the upcoming girls :)

* It makes a child think and reason. The child has to use the clues in the riddle and pictures to find the answer.

Well my older kids weren’t left out!  I was also sent Editor-In-Chief B1 to review.

Editor in Chief improves your child's grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and attention to detail using a standards-based thinking approach rather than drill and practice. This effective method teaches students to carefully analyze and edit stories that contain errors in writing mechanics and story details.

This series is geared toward middle-schoolers (12-14 yrs.) I had my 11yr. old son and 12 yr. old daughter work through this workbook. It was challenging work for them at times, mainly do to the fact that we hadn’t covered some of the grammar/mechanics, but it was something that challenged them in a good way. My kids used a highlighter and highlighted things they thought were wrong in the text. Then they rewrote the text so that the mistakes were corrected. We would then go over it together. When I saw that they missed things etc. we did a mini-lesson right then (Not all corrections were grammar-related. Some were punctuation, spelling, & mechanics). We will continue using this book and plan on adding Editor In Chief B2 to our homeschool curriculum next year.

What I liked:

*My kids enjoyed the challenge of trying to find all the errors on the page. It was a great way to see what they knew and what I needed to teach.

*Complete scope-and sequence of skills used are listed in the book, so that you can easily see if that particular piece will need skills taught beforehand.

You can view a sample of Editor In Chief  here.

I highly recommend checking out what Critical Thinking Press has to offer.

Disclosure:  As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received the products listed above for free in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Dollar to Make A Difference

My kids were given a dollar with a challenge to make a difference with it. So they combined their dollar and had $2.00. Then they went around the house and collected loose change. They found my money-left-in-the-laundry stash, dug through drawers and couch cushions. With that they bought…


Two baby outfits. And with those two baby outfits they headed to a baby shower,


where their two outfits were added to other gifts—many of them handmade  or bought by kids. And each person’s one gift added up to many.


And these gifts will be used to stock a baby store for moms who might need a little help.


Two kids, two dollars, two outfits = made a difference.



Friday, January 21, 2011


Summary: A little lion cub just wants to find someone to play with but all the animals get scared away. A cute animal counting book that young children will enjoy.
After reading the book (multiple times), we pulled out our play jungle figures.  We didn’t have all the exact animals from the book, but my 2yr. old pretended she was the little lion cub and she “roared” at the animals asking them to play. It was cute. She came up with that on  her own.
lioncraftThen we made a lion craft out of craft foam. I traced a circle lid on light brown craft foam. Then I made a slightly larger mane. The girls helped put the lion together using Glue Dots. Then we decided to make it a magnet to place on our fridge.
Next I pulled out some learning activities from a wildlife kit I purchased from Time for Tots. I thought this activity was so clever—I wish I would have thought of it myself! Time for Tots created an animal mat which contained pictures of various jungle animals. My daughter had to match the appropriate animal print to the animal picture. My four year old loved this activity! In fact, one day I came into the school room and found out that she had gone into the file, pulled this activity out and did it correctly (and left it all over the floor-lol!)
This was another activity included in the Time for Tots kit. My 4yr. old used tongs to sort the animal beads into the appropriate section of the sorting bin.
Included in the kit we purchased were a variety of plastic animals. We added our own jungle animal collection and then sorted them by how they move (there was a third card with “swim” included). We could have also sorted by size, whether they lived on land or in water etc. All those sorting cards were included in the kit.

We also reviewed our jungle animals word cards. We had previously did a J is for Jungle unit earlier this year. We talked about the different animals and the sounds they made (if we knew them—what sound does a hippo or giraffe make?—lol)

This actually was an unplanned mini-unit on my part (we did these activities over a period of three days.) My girls found the book and wanted to read it again. Since I had just received my wildlife kit from Time for Tots, it was so easy to come up with activities! I liked having these activities to choose from and not having to spend the time printing, laminating, and cutting them out myself. I highly recommend looking into what Time for Tots has to offer.

For More Book/Craft/Preschool ideas see:
stART : A Mommy's Adventures
Read. Learn. Explore.
Preschool Corner
abc button

Best toys for toddlers

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

No-Bake Cupcake Craft

Here's a sweet treat that every mom won't mind their kids having! I got this craft idea from Elise's Totally Tot Craft article.


paper cups
construction paper
glitter glue
white glue


First I had my daughter decorate her heart toothpick with glitter glue (I purchased them like this).

Then I had her crumple up a piece of construction paper. I then arranged it in the cup so that it looked like the top of a cupcake. (I trimmed a regular sized paper cup so that it looked more like a cupcake liner. You could probably use Dixie cups or smaller cups.)


Then my daughter glued some glitter hearts onto the cup. Once the toothpick heart was dry, we added that to our no-bake cupcake! A simple, cute craft!

Labels: , ,