I've known about PicMonkey for a while now. I use it every once in a while to make a pinnable image for the blog. Recently, I have gotten back into using it more and have created my new header and I also made my favorite verse as subway art.
Click here for the free printable. This printable verse fits on letter paper (8.5 X 11).
I have read many books over the years, but there are some that I could read and read all over again many times. These are two of my favorite authors and my favorite books from them. I have a much longer list of favorite books and will post that another time.
The Inspired Bloggers Network issued a challenge ~ Try to buy groceries for $25 per person for a week. Since there are six people (2 adults, 4 children) that live in my house, that challenge puts us at $150 for the week.
My grocery budget for the month is $500, which comes out to $125 each week. I live in a fairly low cost area and I do a lot of my grocery shopping at Aldi. I also shop the sales at Food Lion and sometimes Harris Teeter.
Here is what a typical week of eating looks like for us:
We eat cereal, pancakes, eggs, muffins, and oatmeal. I buy a canister of quick oats and we add our own flavors (brown sugar and maple syrup, apple cinnamon, etc)
I try to make enough at dinner time to have leftovers for lunch the next day. If I don't make enough for leftovers, we will usually eat sandwiches or macaroni and cheese.
We usually eat things like spaghetti, tacos, soup/chili during the winter, chef salad during the summer with home grown vegetables, chicken pot pie, and bbq chicken.
I buy whatever fruit is on sale or in season. We also like to eat granola bars, raisins, and nuts for snacks.
There are some weeks I go over the budget, but there are also weeks I am under budget. It really just depends on what I have in my pantry and deep freezer at the time I go grocery shopping for the week. In the end, I am usually always on budget for the month.
I have wanted my children to be able to learn a different language for quite some time. I have had a hard time finding a foreign language that was online, user friendly, and geared for elementary age children. I thought that I would have had to wait until high school before I could get my children to learn a foreign language. I was offered the chance to review Mango Homeschool Edition by Mango Languages. About Mango Homeschool Edition:
With the Mango Homeschool Edition, you are able to pick one (or more) of over sixty foreign languages to learn.
The homeschool program is very new and there were some features that we were not able to use yet that I will list below. We were basically given a beta version to test out.
The features that are already available are as follows:
~ Progress Assessments
~ Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
~ Collaborative learning spaces
~ eNote messaging /chat rooms
~ Access to embedded/downloadable content
~ Support from other community members
~ Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups
Some other features that will be available over the next few months are as follows:
~ Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring - including seat time (for students and parents)
~ Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)
~ Resume and Portfolio Builder
Mango Homeschool Edition is priced as follows:
1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total
Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate.
Mango Homeschool Edition is geared for children ages 6 through adults.
Using the product:
I was able to set up an account for each of my 3 older children and one for myself. My daughter, younger son, and I decided we wanted to learn some Spanish. My older son wanted to learn some Latin. We used this (almost) everyday after finishing up their regular homeschool work. My 3rd grade daughter lost interest after the first couple of lessons and I did not make her use it everyday. She used it a couple of times a week or just listened in when my younger son and I did our lessons.
Once you are logged into your account, you have to then log in to the language that you are studying:
You are then taken to a welcome back screen where you can choose to resume your lesson, browse the course menu, or take a placement test:
I exited during the lesson and it remembered where I had left off:
And when you make it to the end of the lesson, you get a congratulatory screen:
When we started the lesson, we went through all of the cards in the chapter. We would listen to the word or phrase and repeat out loud what was said. We did not hook up a microphone to the computer even though the program is capable of having one hooked up to hear you say the words. See the picture below.
If we didn’t understand what was said the first time, we were able to replay the word and listen to it until we learned it. We were able to get through a lesson fairly quickly. This program only takes about 10-20 minutes a day depending on how fast or slow you go through each lesson.
What I liked:
I liked how short each lesson was to complete each day. I also liked that there are “Grammar Notes” mixed into the cards. These cards explained what some of the differences in the language meant or gave a little background history.
Another feature that I liked was the “files” section in the Spanish course. These pdf files made it easy to look back over the lessons and review some of the words. I’m hoping that each of the different languages will eventually all have their own files. The Latin course does not at the time of this review and it was difficult for my son to remember some of the words. I did try to encourage him to keep a journal.
I also liked the quizzes at the end of each chapter. It helped to know if we were retaining any of the info we were learning. I just would have liked to have had the answers to the quizzes to see what questions we missed (which they are working on).
One more thing before I end, I also went through a lesson of Pirate and had fun learning some Pirate sayings:
Have you ever wanted to do some science experiments with your child but don’t know where or how to get started? Do you want to do science experiments without the mess? Or do you want simple science experiments that use items from around the house? Then, Amazing Science, Volume 1 DVD from ScienceandMath.com may be for you.
I am going to admit that I really don’t like doing science experiments with my children because of the mess some of them can make. I also can’t explain the science behind some of the experiments that my children would want to do. I was interested in the Amazing Science DVD because it looked like something my children could benefit from.
What is Amazing Science?
Amazing Science, Volume 1 is a 2 disc DVD with twenty three experiments for your 1st through 3rd grader to watch. The experiments are demonstrated and explained by Jason Gibson who worked as a Rocket Scientist for NASA. Each experiment is shown step by step. The science behind the experiment is explained to the student after the experiment is shown. Each experiment is short and does not take a lot of time. Most of the experiments take under 10 minutes.
Many of the experiments use items from around the house such as milk, dish soap, empty glass, candle, string, paper, and batteries (just to name a few). A few items that you may not have around the house are copper pipe, dry ice, and a flat battery.
How We Used The DVD:
I put the DVD in for my 3rd grade daughter during our science time about three times a week. She (and her brothers who were also interested) watched the experiment on the DVD and, if we had the materials, did the experiment after watching the DVD. We did not do all of the experiments, just a handful. We only did the ones that the kids wanted to see in real life.
What We Thought:
My school age children are 12, 10, and 8 years old. Even though the recommended grades for this DVD are 1st through 3rd grade, my boys enjoyed watching these experiments and learning some new things.
Some of their favorite experiments that we did were color changing milk, egg in a bottle, ocean in a bottle, and soda can fizz. Some of the favorite experiments that we did not do were build a lemon battery, unburnable money, and dry ice bubbles.
My boys enjoyed this DVD more than my daughter. My boys are into science and love reading all that they can about science. In fact, my 12 year old wants to be a scientist when he grows up, so he really enjoyed watching and doing the experiments. My daughter said she liked watching the experiments, but the explanations were sometimes boring.
I enjoyed watching and doing the experiments with them. They are very easy to set up and only take a few minutes for us to do them.
This is just a small thing, but one con of the DVD is that the materials were listed right before each experiment. There is no main list anywhere on the DVD or website. I had to go through and watch the beginning of each experiment and write down the materials needed to make sure we had them on hand. It would be nice if a pdf list was either available on the DVD or on the website.
Trying to keep a clean house while homeschooling can sometimes be a difficult task. I have tried many other planners and house cleaning schedules, but I could still never keep up with what they wanted me to do everyday.
I had heard of Motivated Moms, but had never given it a try. I even tried to win the planner a few times, but then when I didn’t win, I also didn’t buy it. I really don’t know why I never tried it when I had heard such great things.
Having bought myself an iPod touch for Mother’s Day last year, I have been looking for apps to try out. In fact, I did try out the Motivated Mom’s lite app, which is a two week preview of the Motivated Moms iOS app.
What is Motivated Moms?
Motivated Moms is a “chore planning system to help you have a clean and organized home.” Basically, it is a daily list of tasks that can be completed in a short amount of time. There are several “daily” tasks given- meaning these are tasks you do every day. Then there are several small tasks (“today’s tasks”) to be completed around the house. Each day focuses on many different areas of the home, so that you are continually cleaning each room, just not all at once. The today tasks are divided up to include monthly, weekly, and periodic tasks that you should be doing throughout the year. For instance, some of the tasks include change sheets, water inside plants, and clean out the microwave. The task list also includes a lot of stuff that you would not normally think of such as clip children’s fingernails and clean out your purse.
Some Features of the iOS App:
You are able to check off each task after it is completed. The task moves to the bottom of the list and you are also able to hide it if you want.
You are able to assign the tasks to different people (a different color for each person). You are able to download the app to all the iOS devices in your household and sync the devises by signing in with your username and password. Each person can then look at the list on their device to see what tasks are to completed and by whom.
Another feature is that you are also able to sort the tasks for the day to each room in the house. At a quick glance, you are able to see what rooms need to be done.
Some other features of the app are as follows:
Ability to add custom tasks
No doing cleaning all in one day, the tasks are easy and spread out throughout the year
Ability to hide tasks that you don’t want to see: for instance, there is a daily Bible reading included each day. If you don’t want that to show up every day, you are able to turn it off
You are able to sort alphabetically, sort by person. sort by room, or sort it to your own liking: if you want a certain task to be first each morning, you are able to sort it so it shows up first every day
The iOS app is available in the app store for $1.99 for two months. Each additional month is $0.99 or one full year for $7.99. This app works on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It requires iOS 5.1 or higher. This app is for moms, but you are able to sync this app between two Apple devices. Motivated Moms is also available in print form and android form.
How I Used Motivated Moms:
I usually looked ahead to each day before heading to bed. I wanted to see what was coming up. Some days, I only managed to get a few tasks done. If you don’t get a task done, don’t worry because chances are it will show up again in a few weeks. I tried to get most of the daily tasks done before working on the tasks assigned for the day. I also assigned some of the tasks for the day to my children (ages 12,10, 8 and 3). Especially little things like feed the pets, empty the trash, and clear the kitchen counters.
What I Thought:
I have really enjoyed using this app. I am glad to have found a cleaning schedule that will work with my busy days. I really liked that the task list included little things like replenish the bathroom with toilet paper and clean the computer screen and mouse. These are tasks that are usually done anyway, but sometimes when you get busy doing other things, it’s nice to have a reminder. I also liked the tasks that told me to pamper myself or to spend time doing a craft. I also liked how easy this app is to customize to your needs. You can hide tasks or add tasks very easily. I would definitely recommend this app.
Be sure to check out what the rest of the Schoolhouse Crew thought about Motivated Moms.