Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Virtual Refrigerator: Paper Cut Beauty

Neat Stuff
I love the cool factor of this black and white art piece created by the Princess.  It's a neat addition to her art portfolio, don't you think?

Up Close Beauty

I'm joining with the Virtual Refrigerator Blog Hop to showcase my daughter's art.  
Be sure to visit and check out some of the other neat projects by some pretty great kids.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Middlebury Interactive Languages #hsreviews

Learning a foreign language not only reveals how other societies think and feel, what they have experienced and value, and how they express themselves, it also provides a cultural mirror in which we can more clearly see our own society.
‒Chancellor Edward Lee Gorsuch

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

We started school in September knowing that we would have to focus on Foreign Language for my high schooler this year.  In Mississippi, students are required to have two credits of Foreign Language for high school Graduation and althought he had taken some French and Spanish classes in middle school, my Eagle Scout has not taken any high school level language courses to date.  As we discussed curriculum together this summer, I asked him which language he would like to make his focus in our quest for credits.  He was quick to answer "German."  I'm not sure if it's his fascination with World War II (shared with him by his great-grandfather when he was just a toddler) or his conversations with his Minecraft friend who spent a month in Germany this summer, but the Eagle Scout has often expressed an interest in learning to speak the German language.  I've researched resources to help make this desire a reality and have even asked for a local instructor, but have been unsuccessful in finding a way to actually make it happen.  Until now.  

Thank goodness for Middlebury Interactive Languages.  Developed specifically for students by linguistic experts, Middlebury Interactive Languages has full semester courses for students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade.  Students can choose between Spanish, French, Chinese, and German semester courses and there's even an Arabic couse taught as a Summer Language Academy. To meet the graduation requirements, my 10th Grade Eagle Scout has been using Middlebury German Courses.   The high school level German I course ($119) is divided into 18 Units that each contain 5 Lessons.  That's 90 lessons for the first semester.  A Middlebury semester is 18 weeks so a student can easily finish the entire course by completing just one unit a week doing one lesson a day.Middlebury Interactive Languages Review
Having had no German language training prior to beginning German I, the immersive aspects of the course have proven to be somewhat trying for the Eagle Scout and he has moved at a slightly slower pace than one lesson a day.  He loves that German I is a self-paced program and he has the freedom to re-visit lessons until he feels confident enough to move on.  Instead of working online 5 days a week, he completes lessons 4 days a week and makes every effort to completely understand the day's lessons before continuing.  I like that he can work within the structure of the course and really fit it to his specific strengths.  

Middlebury courses are designed to incorporate all four of the major language skills.  Students HEAR the language, SPEAK the language, READ the language, and WRITE the language being studied.  This is accomplished through video and interactive lessons where students listen to dialogue and can follow along with written transcipts, through quizzes that test comprehesion skills, through Culture Tidbits that teach about the sights and sounds of Germany and its population taking students on a first-hand tour of important places and cities, and Conversation Stations that test coversational skills in both English and German.  The Eagle Scout enjoys the cultural visits more than anything else and struggles to speak the language clearly during the conversational training.   I especially like that it is explained WHY learning languages is important and specifically why it is important to learn the German language.  These explanations help to motivate my son to keep working and not to give up.

Each unit begins with stated objectives and goals so that students know what they will be learning and how they are expected to gain mastery of the vocabulary words taught in the unit.  There are Vocabulary Guides that offer audio for each new word introduced AND printable pages that share the German words alongside their corresponding English words.  It took the Eagle Scout a while to figure out how to use these printables -- he actually asked for a German/English Dictionary before he realized the printables gave you just what you needed for each unit -- but they have made all of the difference in his ability to succeed.  Drag and drop matching games help him to clearly SEE the words in action.

Middlebury Interactive Languages Review

Although he started out slowly, my Eagle Scout is beginning to understand and remember more German words and is beginning to grasp the very basics of the language.  He is picking up the pace of study, repeating lessons less frequently, and pushing himself to learn more.  Each lesson can be completed in about 20 minutes, so he is oftentimes working more than one lesson a day now.  He is excited to complete German I and plans to re-watch some of his favorite WWII movies to hear and understand conversations like never before.

For more information, you can find  Middlebury Interactive Languages on the following Social Media platforms:

Google +  

As always, I am excited to see my children learn new things.  
Das Leben ist schön. (Life is good.)

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review Middlebury Interactive Languages as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: Standard Deviants Accelerate #hsreviews

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
We were first introduced to the Standard Deviants family several years ago when my older daughters were in High School.  They used the Standard Deviants American Government DVDs for a modern approach to learning that was pure fun and they enjoyed it immensely.  It was the perfect way to learn and remember everything there is to know about how the American government actually works.  The were songs and dances and little bits of information that popped up on the screen to make sure that students really got it -- and they did.  Since their experience was so good, I was thrilled to be able to review the Standard Deviants Accelerate (SDA) program and use the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses for the Eagle Scout and the Princess.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses have something for all students ages 8 through adult (I'm enjoying learning new things alongside my children).  From basic Arithmetic to Advanced Placement Chemistry, there truly is a class to meet the learning needs/desires of most everyone.  SDA Homeschool Courses are refreshing because they are fun.  (And those songs, dances, and informational pop-ups my big girls enjoyed?  They are still there.)  Done entirely online, each student does need to have an email address of their own to be enrolled in a class.  But don't let this bother you  -- you link each student account to your parent account so you know exactly what is going on at all times.  Remember, YOU are the teacher and YOU are in charge.  You can even print a Progress Report of grades and completed assignments for your child's portfolio if you'd like.  

Standard Deviants Accelerate ReviewSetting up the Teacher Account is simple and once completed you easily invite your children to begin.  After you have set up the courses, you oversee more than anything else.  For us, it's a matter of setting aside time to work on SDA.  After we complete our grammar lesson each day, I have the kids each get their laptop out and choose which subject they would like to work on.  (They can also use an iPad if they'd rather.)  We devote about half an hour to completing lessons.  I make sure they sit down and begin but they complete their work entirely on their own.  Isn't that grand?

With so very much to choose from (there are 14 different courses including English, Math, Science, and History),  you'll easily find something that best suits the needs of each of your students.  We've started with the sciences and have had great fun in Biology, Earth Science, and Nutrition. (The Eagle Scout is currently working with Biology, the Princess is working in Earth Science, and they are both working at their own pace through the Nutrition course.  There are evolution mentions in some of the science coursework and we welcome the opportunity to discuss all scientific opinions.  I'm not scared.  My kids are solid in their faith.)

What I find most impressive about SDA Homeschool Courses is that a variety of learning styles are incorporated into each lesson. Students watch a fast-paced, action-filled, entertaining video for each lesson and can choose to read along with the full transcript of the video lesson while they watch or read it later if they would like. They can take notes via computer keyboard in a provided space and can also print a copy of the complete transcript if they would like to include it in their notebooks for later review. This three-fold approach affords students the opportunity to hear, read, and do in each lesson.  Each lesson also includes a vocabulary section that lists essential terms to know.  Students can hear the word (so they know the correct pronunciation) and have the definition read aloud to them.

Diagrams are included for hands-on activity that make sure students are understanding what they are being taught in the videos (these are drag and drop word banks).  There are multiple choice quizzes that follow each lesson, as well as short answer questions used to test comprehension.  What I really like is that the quizzes are graded immediately so that students have instantaneous feedback.  The written questions are graded by me as they are submitted provided I sit down to grade and I can even watch the videos, work the diagrams, and take the quizzes from my Teacher Account.
Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

We have had a great experience with the science coursework so far and I will be adding additional courses for each of my children.  The Princess will soon be starting Fundamental Mathematics and we are adding English Composition and US History to the rotation for both her and the Eagle Scout next month.  I guess you could reasonably assume I like this one.  A lot.   :)

Here is a listing of all the  SDA Homeschool Courses  currently available and which grades might find them most interesting/beneficial:

Arithmetic - Grades 3+
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
Earth Science - Grades 6+
Nutrition - Grades 6+
Algebra - Grades 7+
Biology - Grades 7+
Chemistry - Grades 9+
English Comp. - Grades 9+
U.S. History - Grades 9+
AP Biolody - Grades 11+
AP Chemistry - Grades 11+
AP U.S. Government & Politics - Grades 11+
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+

Pricing for these courses is as follows:
$24.95 per month per student OR $99 per year per student for regular courses (non AP)
$14.95 per month per student for AP courses

But if you act NOW, you can register for full access to ALL courses for FREE during the Six Months Free Promo.  Make sure you sign up before November 15.   Isn't that an amazing offer?

You can find out more about Standard Deviants Accelerate on the following Social Media platforms:



Because we all know there's nothing standard about homeschoolers . . .

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Click to read Crew Reviews
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me -- Movie Review and Soundtrack Giveaway

I'm a southern girl from a small town in southwest Mississippi and I've been listening to Glen Campbell sing and play for as long as I can remember.  My parents had several of his vinyl albums and I very carefully played them on our old recod player on many an afternoon.  (This was way back in the day so I date myself, I know.)  I have always loved his music and his storytelling songs and have sung along to Rhinestone Cowboy, tapped my toes to The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and danced around the living room to Southern Nights on more than one occasion.  The message behind the music when he sings I Will Never Pass This Way Again still warms my heart today. 

My MainMost grew up in a family that loved Glen Campbell as well (his favorite song is Wichita Lineman), so it was fun to sit down and watch the new movie Glen Campbell:  I'll Be Me together this weekend.  What a film.  We laughed, we cried, we shared, we talked . . . and then we laughed and cried some more.  Watching together was a glorious reminder of  what "in sickness and in health" truly means.

Though some may say that Glen Campbell was "just a good ole county boy who brought country music into the main stream," if you listen to him sing JESUS and Me, you'll hear the true story of his life -- the story of a man who met JESUS, the story of a man whose faith proves enough to see him through the trials of life, the story of what happens when we let JESUS be JESUS.  And if you watch Glen Campbell:  I'll Be Me you'll be blessed by the poignant story of love and laughter and what happens when a family determines to stay strong in the LORD and seek PEACE no matter what comes their way.  

Watching the journey of the Campbell family through the beginning stages and rapid progressionn of Glens' Alzheimer's Disease, I am reminded that when it's all said and done, it's not about how much information you stored inside your head, but about how much love for family and friends you stored inside your heart.  The MainMost and I were awed by the musical genius that continued to shine through as Glen performed on stage during his final concert tour.  When he couldn't quite remember names of those he loved and when the memories of times spent with them were fading, he could still remember how to sing and play his guitar.  How lovely it was to hear his daughter Ashley's proclamation of love for her father when she told him "Daddy don't you worry, I'll do the remembering."  What a testimony to a life that was good and honored the LORD.

As I watched the movie, I was especially touched by the lyrics from a beautiful song called A Better Place.  This simple song offers hope to us all -- whether we're facing battles of disease or battles of the heart, it's a great reminder that when we're confused by a past that gets in the way, we can hold tight to the promise that a better place awaits us in Heaven.  
A Better Place
I've tried and I have failed, LORD
I've won and I have lost
I've lived and I have loved, LORD
Some times at such a cost.
One thing I know
The world's been good to me
A better place
Awaits, you'll see
Some days I'm so confused, LORD
My past gets in my way
I need the ones I love, LORD
More and more each day
One thing I know
The world's been good to me
A better place
Awaits, you'll see
Oh, a better place . . .

About the movie:

In 2011, when Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he joined forces with his family to fight the biggest battle of his life. Glen and his wife, Kim, made history by going public with the diagnosis – the first time a major American celebrity would share this experience with the world. The Campbell family then embarked on a short “Goodbye Tour,” but the three-week engagement turned into an emotional and triumphant 151-show nationwide tour de force.  

This epic human drama about the undying bond between Glen and Kim, and their unwavering caring for each other, chronicles a story of love, resilience and the power of song. 

Glen Campbell:  I'll Be Me is the true tale of how America’s greatest country star would not give up his music or his family, against all odds.

The film features those who know and love Glen, including Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Taylor Swift among many, many others. Rare vintage footage and extraordinary new performances of Glen’s most beloved hits immerse this moving cinematic account in the overwhelming talent of this humble family man. With joy and a tireless sense of humor, Glen and his family live each moment in the present while preparing for the future, all while playing their music to sold out venues on a star spangled voyage spanning the country from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl.

I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch this movie and share it with you.  Please do yourself a favor and make sure you see it and share it with your friends and family.  To find out more about the faith of Glen Campbell and his family AND to see a snippet of the movie for yourself, please visit these links:  

Faith trailer link:

And if you love Glen Campbell's music as much as I do, make sure you take a moment to enter the giveaway below.  One lucky reader will receive a movie soundtrack.  How fun.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lilla Rose Fall Colors Sale #prettyhair

If you haven't had a chance to enter my Happy Monday, Happy Fall Giveaway, you still have time. Just click right over and enter to win a beautiful Lilla Rose Flexi Clip, then jump right back here and check out the Fall Colors Sale going on until Saturday.  My friend Jennifer would love to help you find the perfect accessory for your hair this fall.  You can see all the pretty fall colors at and pick up a few Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers while the price is so good.

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Schoolhouse Review: Apologia's iWitness Series #hsreviews

Apologia Review

I have yet to meet a resource from Apologia Educational Ministries that I didn't just fall right in love with and their new iWitness series is no exception.  The iWitness books are designed to look like real life field journals with handwritten notes and clippings about the discoveries made in GOD's Word. We've had the privilege of reviewing the three newest iWitness books (brand new -- as in just published this year) and the neat thing is there are currently two more that we can add to our studies now and two more coming in 2015.   The books that we've been reading are iWitness Biblical ArchaeologyNew Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness. Each one of these books can be used with students of all ages as read-alouds and/or read-togethers, but will be best suited as read alones for students ages 11 and up.  My 8th and 10th graders have enjoyed them immensely.  These gems are jam-packed with information and it is all presented in a fun, easy-to-comprehend way -- like looking first-hand at personal notes of historical archaeologists.  Isn't that neat?

In all honesty, I have enjoyed reading these books with the Eagle Scout and the Princess just as much as they have enjoyed reading through them.  We've used them as part of our daily Bible study time and I've learned all kinds of new things about the Bible that I didn't know before we got them.  I've even been able to use them as I prepare to teach children and middle schoolers at church.  They are chock-full of information.  These books have really grabbed my kid's attention because they give an opportunity to really dig deeper into understanding GOD's Word in an interactive manner.  Isn't that exciting?

Written by Doug Powell, the art director for Apologia, the iWitness series is Christian apologetics presented in a way that readers have a chance to figure out the truth for themselves.  Reading through the books offers students (and parents, too) an opportunity to find the answers to tons of questions they might have about the Bible, faith, and Christianity all by themselves through a treasure/scavenger hunt format.

And did I mention they were gorgeous books?  Beautifully crafted and magnificently designed, each of the pages invites you in and calls you home.  I totally enjoyed reading this Interview with the Author and being able to have a glimpse into his thought process as he writes creates books works of art that teach and train and help the reader own their faith and know you'll enjoy it as well.  That's a super-important goal that I have for my children -- that they own their own faith -- so this is an incredible resource for us.  I want them to KNOW anad BELIEVE in the GRACE and MERCY that is JESUS wholeheartedly.

Here's a glimpse inside the covers of the books we've been studying:

Apologia Review
iWitness Biblical Archaeology ($14.00) takes you back in time to biblical events and shows you the evidence found that proves their true existence. Beginning with the Flood in Genesis and continuing to the shroud used in the burial of JESUS, readers can answer their questions about the Bible.  There are pictures of the Dead Sea Scrolls, fragments of ancient letters and current pictures that show modern views of ancient events.  Truly fascinating.

Apologia Review
New Testament iWitness ($14.00) gives clues to the reader to find out information about each of the 27 books in the New Testament and to help you understand WHY and HOW they were written.  It explains how the writings of the New Testament were recovered, how they were copied, and how these particular books were selected to be a part of the completed New Testament of the Bible.  Readers study graphs and compare variations of Scripture to bring clarity and focus to the Gospel.

Apologia Review
Old Testament iWitness ($14.00) explains why the Hebrew Scriptures are so important to our faith and why the Old Testament is still relevant to us today.  I LOVE the explanations of its divisions and the purpose shared for each of the 39 books and was super-excited to share them with my kids. We are always looking for ways to help our Bible Drillers find the individual books of the Bible in a timely manner (they only have 8 seconds in competition) and knowing the divisions is a great way to do just that.  What a nice reinforcement at home for what I'm teaching at church.

These books are great study tools for my kids and I like that they are learning so much as they explore the field journals.  I'm looking forward to adding JESUS iWitness and  Resurrection iWitness to our library soon along with iWitness World Religions and iWitness Heresies and Cults when they are published next year.   All four of these iWitness books are intriguing to me.  You can find out more about these wonderful books and more by following Apologia on the following Social Media platforms:




Join me as we become eye witnesses to the wonders of GOD through the iWitness series,

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review the iWitness series as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Click to read Crew Reviews
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Monday Giveaway #prettyhair

Happy Monday!  Happy Fall!

We have a crazy-fun week ahead of us and I thought it would be the perfect time to share a quick giveaway for all of you dear friends.  We will be enjoying a fall family picnic at Percy Quin State Park tomorrow with many of our homeschooling friends and hiking down to the waterfalls at Clark Creek State Park on Thursday with even more of our homeschooling friends {and the MainMost!  YAY!}.  Then there's robotics, the last soccer game, a couple of Girl Scout meetings, tumble, art, and Chess Club to attend PLUS the Princess heads out for a fun night of food and fellowship mid-week. Oh, yes, there's also a Newsboys concert this weekend at Praise in the Park.  See what I mean about crazy-fun?  

There's so much going on that we'll be for sure needing to pin our hair back out of our eyes to enjoy the happenings of the day.  My girls are crazy about all of their Lilla Rose hair accessories ( that were introduced to us by my sweet friend, Jennifer, over at a glimpse of our life so we thought you might like to try one out, too.  It sure is neat to have hair accessories that are just as pretty as they are functional.  And it's super cool to have friends that share their goodies so I can share with you!  She's running a great special right now, too, so make sure you check that out.

I think you'll agree that this Turquoise Tranquility Flexi Clip is simply beautiful.  Enter to win it for yourself on the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Day Has Great Potential!  Hold on tight!
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