Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TGIF Linky Party #7 - Featured!

Check out the TGIF Linky Party # 7 over at Living Life Intentionally - there are lots of cool ideas featured, including Noodle's Tornado Science Fair project. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekly Report 11/28-12/2

After two weeks off, it was good to get back to work.  It is also good to be back on track with a healthier lifestyle.  I am staying on plan by being in the right calorie range, been exercising 20 minutes a day and logging all my food and exercise at  Previously I used Fitday, but honestly, My Fitness Pal is much more user friendly and like Facebook, you can have friends.  They are a support and encouragement team.  To be totally honest, my being on track is being driven by fear.  I am 40 years old and I have Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and some kidney damage because of it all.  What I am currently waiting to find out is just how much kidney damage I have. I pray it isn't much and that I can salvage/give them longer life by eating right, losing weight and getting exercise. My doctor previously told me that if I lost weight the Diabetes and high blood pressure would most likely right themselves.  I have procrastinated and been in denial too long though and may have done myself more harm.

I go to the doctor Dec 5th and I will find out more.  Pray for me to continue to be disciplined and for as little damage as possible.
On a happier note, we have been busy with school this week. 

Monday:  Noodle mainly did the 3 R's. In the evening he had Cub Scouts and they built a bird house. Bear spent the day doing Algebra, Biology and Russian.  We went to the library to bring home a new slew of books.
Building a bird house at Cub Scouts.

Tuesday: Before school Noodle built a small Star Wars Lego set.  Then he spent 45 minutes reading me Small Wolf - 63 pages.  He was so proud of himself!  After that big feat, for a break he watched "The Pack" on National Geographic Channel.  He completed a math lesson, a narration and dictation lesson from WWE2 and a CLE LA lesson.  Bear impressed his Algebra tutor with how much progress he made since he last saw her. 

Grandma came home from her honeymoon and unfortunately from the airport we headed straight to the vet where her 14 year old kitty spent the week.  He had diabetes complications and shortly after we got there she held him while they put him to rest.  We cried.  Losing pets is so hard. 

Wednesday:  Noodle did a math lesson, CLE LA Test, Explode the Code and he read aloud to me.  Bear continued his usual workload and completed another Apologia Biology Module. 

Thursday: More of the same!  Noodle had a speech therapy session today and he did the three R's. Plus, he did an art assignment - using Artistic Pursuits.  We spent the afternoon shopping and running errands.  Bear stayed home to do school work, which included finishing almost a whole Algebra chapter since Tuesday!

Friday:  Another day of mainly the three R's.  Noodle did a Math test, Explode the Code and reading aloud.  I wasn't feeling well so I took a 45 minute nap with the dog. LOL  I think I was up too late last night and up too early this morning.  Bear took the Chapter 10 Algebra test and got a 94.  He was so excited, as he has been working really hard at conquering Algebra. It's a great way for him to end the school week.

This certainly wasn't our most productive week, but we got all the important things done.  I am hoping to make some organizational progress this weekend and be well prepared to do full time work next week. 

You can check out other Weekly Reports at Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Day

The last two weeks have felt really unproductive for me.  It all started on the 11th when friends and family started arriving from out of state for my mother's wedding.  The 11th to the 18th was consumed by wedding and tourist activities.  Then last week started out with a field trip after a week of no school.  For two days last week I did a tiny bit of school with Noodle and then - BAM- Thanksgiving was here with a long weekend.  Oh, and my mom is on her honey moon so Bear has been taking care of her house and pets. 

Bear was the most productive out of all of us.  He has been doing his Algebra everyday, even over the weekends.  Also, he worked on a project for what I call Operation Rat Breeding.  As many of you may already know, Bear breeds rats to feed his five snakes.  He has been wanting to build a "rat rack" for some time now.  He has had them in tubs that he modified, but the tubs take up a lot of space.  Over the weekend he and his Dad went to Lowe's to buy all the supplies.  As soon as he got home from Lowe's, the building began.


Shelves he assembled.

Putting on the hardware cloth (screen).

Attaching the shelves to the frame.

Attaching the wheels for easy maneuvering.

Done! Finally, a smile from Bear. These are rare in photos, so enjoy!
So, now here we are on Monday, a new week and a new day! The plan for today is "getting back to normal."  The boys will be getting up soon and we will start our school day.  If our time management is good today we will also be going to the library, and upon returning home we will set up the Christmas tree.  Noodle has Cub Scouts tonight.  I have big plans for today so we shall see how it turns out!

Also, today is the day I am finding self control.  I know it is the holidays, but I must regain control of my eating and make time for exercise.  My goals for this week:
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.
  • Exercise a minimum of 20 minutes per day and continuing for as long as I can or up to an hour.  Whether walking, floor exercise, bike riding or whatever - I am going to make the time to exercise my body.
  • Track my food and calories and stay between 1500-1700 per day.  A Blogger friend (hi Nicole) introduced me to My Fitness Pal so I plan on getting back to that today too!
Wish me luck - or pray for me - I'll take it all!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review - Ramen to the Rescue Cookbook

Ramen to the Rescue Cookbook, by Jessica Harlan, has over 100 recipes you can make using Ramen Noodles.  Jessica, is a Facebook friend of mine because we went to elementary and Jr. High together, many years ago in Illinois.  When her book came out she asked for reviewers and I offered to review it here at my blog.

First, let me say, I had NO IDEA you could do so much with Ramen!  We always, always, always have Ramen in the pantry.  Bear makes it often.   

This cookbook starts out by giving the history of Ramen. Who knew there was a Ramen Museum in Japan?  How cool!

After informing readers about the history of Ramen, Jessica provides a list of frequently used ingredients you should have in your pantry, in order to make many of the recipes in the book. Also, is a list of 10 Easy Ways to Jazz Up Ramen.

There are recipes covering a whole host of categories: Snacks and Starters, Breakfasts, Soups, Salads, Side Dishes, Asian-Inspired Classics, Home Style Comfort Foods, Meatless Meals, Cooking for Company, Feeding a Crowd and Desserts and Sweets.

I made two of the recipes and they were both delicious!  First I made the Ramen -N- Cheese - it calls for Cheddar Cheese, but I didn't have any, so I used Mozzarella.  Oh.My.  It was yummy goodness!

I also made the Bacon, Egg and Noodle Scramble.  Also, delicious!  I found this to be a great breakfast.  It didn't take me any longer to make than pancakes or french toast. 

I am going to make one of the desserts next - yes - dessert!  There are versions of Ramen Haystacks and Ramen Rice Crispies and I am certain they will be a hit.

Anyone that reads this blog and knows me, knows I really don't like to cook.  I need easy and quick if I am going to cook from a cookbook and that is exactly what I got from Ramem to the Rescue.  A lot of the recipes in here were longer than I personally prefer, but there are enough that are easy for me to do.  Ramen Breaded Onion Rings here I come!

Homeschoolers, this would be a great book to add to your collection.  A fun Ramen unit study could be done - you could cover math (conversions chart in back of book), cooking, geography (China and Japan) and perhaps some science.  Maybe when I have spare time (HA!) I will put a short unit together using the Ramen to the Rescue Cookbook.

I received a free copy of Ramen to the Rescue Cookbook in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was received.

The Reading Game- TOS Review

The Reading Game was created by Kenneth Hodkinson, the author of the Wordly Wise Vocabulary series.  We used Wordly Wise for many years, and we enjoyed it, so I was excited to try this game with Noodle. In addition to their website, you can check out The Reading Game's Facebook page.

The Reading Game, for ages 4 and up, is basically a memory  matching card game with books.  It includes six story books, six decks of cards and an instruction/teacher booklet.  It retails for $24.95.  Additionally, it is made in the U.S.A., which I think is fabulous!

At their website there are sight word assessment sheets and test sentence assessment sheets.  Students are introduced to 180 words, 30 new words in each booklet.  For those of you who live in states where it matters, The Reading Game meets the Common Core State Standards.

Here's a quick intro to The Reading Game.

From The Reading Game website:
• Dolch Word List of “service words” (pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and verbs) that cannot be learned through the use of pictures. 60% of the words in “The Reading Game” are on the Dolch Word List for pre-k and k and makes up 54% of dolch words for Pre-K, K and 1st Grade.
• Of the first 100 most commonly used English words (source The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition by Fry, et al) “The Reading Game” incorporates 88% of the most common twenty-five words and 63% of the first 100.

I am a firm believer in phonics, but I recognize that some words just need to be memorized and those are some of the words this game addresses. Others can be sounded out, and this game is meant for supplemental use when learning to read, not a full reading curriculum anyway.

My only disappointment with this game, is the lack of capitalization and punctuation in the books. 

As I suspected, Noodle was way ahead of this game, but he had fun anyway because he loves reading and he loves games.  We did the assessment and he flew through them all, so I just decided to play the game from the beginning. All the books were animal stories, which was right up Noodle's alley, but he was very upset by the lack of capitalization and punctuation, and said it was "confusing" him.  I am certain it is because he is already a reader.  In fact I pointed out to him how well he was doing in spite of their being no capitalization or punctuation, as he paused in all the right places and his voice reflected when there were questions.

I think this a gentle, fun game for beginning readers, and would be an asset to any homeschool that has beginning and up and coming readers.

I received The Reading Game for free, in exchange for an honest review.  No other compensation was received.  If you'd like to know what other homeschoolers thought of The Reading Game, you can check out the TOS Crew Reviews HERE.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wow- Thank you!

Apparently, Winecup Christian Academy won one of the Homeschool Blogger Awards.  I truly am shocked.  Just to show you how clueless I was when voting started, I voted for MY favorite Opinion Blog - Cindy at Get Along Home.  After I voted for her I realized my blog was on the list of nominees - in alphabetical order down at the bottom of the list!  I literally laughed out loud.  I didn't want to go begging for votes - so I just mentioned the nomination in one blog post and I sent one email out to some friends and family members.  That's all.  So, thank you dear readers, friends and family that voted - I really appreciate it.  I have no idea what I won, but I can't wait to find out!

I am sure I will offer my not so humble opinion on something soon, so stay tuned. 

San Antonio Zoo - Field Trip

Our homeschool group went on a field trip to San Antonio Zoo today.  Like a goof, I forgot the camera, so all these were taken with the Blackberry.  Boohoo.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week in Pictures

Last week I didn't do a weekly report because I just didn't have time and most of the week we worked on the science fair project.  Then we had house guests arrive and they were here until yesterday.  My mother got married on Tuesday.  It's all been a whirlwind.

My friend of 35 years went home to Wisconsin yesterday and I missed her the minute I left her at the airport.  We had fun catching up, razzing our mothers, and of course we did a lot of shopping.

I gave the boys the week off school, but Bear still did Algebra every day.  Monday we will be back to our regular schedule.

Here's pictures from the wedding.

Super Duper with his creation.

Grandma, J, and the boys.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding Cake- Sweet Shot Tuesday

Sorry for the poor quality - I took this with my phone late last night.  This is the wedding cake my son - Super Duper- made for my mother's wedding, which is today.

Check out other Sweet Shot Tuesday posts at My 3 Boybarians.

Monday, November 14, 2011

College Prep Genius - TOS Review

College Prep Genius is an PSAT/SAT/NMSQT prep course.  The set includes 2 books - the 2nd Edition Textbook, Workbook and set of 4 DVD's.

The DVD's contain twelve lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction to the SAT
Lesson 2: Critical Reading - Long Passage
Lesson 3: Critical Reading - Short and Dual Passage
Lesson 4: Critical Reading - Sentence Completion
Lesson 5: Math- Multiple Choice
Lesson 6: Math - Multiple Choice Practice Problems and Answers
Lesson 7: Math- Student Response
Lesson 8: Math- Student Response Practice Problems and Answers
Lesson 9: Writing: The Essay
Lesson 10: Writing: The Essay
Lesson 11: Writing: Sentence Error
Lesson 12: Writing: Improving Sentences and Improving Paragraphs 

College Prep Genius is a great program for learning test taking techniques, learning the patterns, profiles and hidden strategies on all three sections (Critical Reading, Math, and Writing) of the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT.  The program will teach how to cut reading time in half, how to answer "scary" math problems without the calculator - using logic, and how to write a high scoring essay in 15 minutes.

Additionally, the program includes:
  • 300 Must Know Math Terms in order to answer the math section
  • The only vocabulary a student needs to know
  • Numerous Scholarship search websites
  • Special Motivation Test to get a student started

At this time you can get the complete program for $99 (reflects a 25% discount from regular price  of $125) at their website  The program comes with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.  This is a very good price compared to other SAT programs out there ranging from $250 - 500. There is a co-op special for only $50.  An additional workbook is $19.95 and an additional textbook is $49.95.

We like the organization of this program and although it isn't time for the SAT at our house, we are getting very close.  There is now a better understanding of what to expect.  We have the College Board SAT Practice book and we read the College Board website and do the daily SAT Practice Questions. The rate of correct answers has already gone up for us and we haven't completed the whole program yet! Woot!

I think the most valuable aspect of College Prep Genius is the test taking strategies and learning to recognize patterns.  Also, the suggestion that students keep a journal of the practice questions that they miss, is a great idea.  Journaling forms are included.  There are also helpful acronyms to memorize and aid students in choosing the correct answers.

I also like that the author is a homeschooling mom who has successfully prepared her own children for college.  Which leads to the best feature of all - how to find scholarships.

For the purpose of this review I received a set complete set including the textbook, workbook and DVD set.  If you want to see what other homeschoolers on the TOS Crew think of College Prep Genius - click HERE.

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