Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun Fact Friday--Good Friday Edition 2013

Fun Fact Friday--Good Friday Edition

In honor of my Lord Jesus Christ, I have a special Fun Fact Friday for you all. . .

 Five things . . .

Jesus has done for me:

  1. Given me Eternal Life that no one in this world can steal from me. 
  2. Allowed a broken soul like mine to STILL be used for good in this evil world.
  3. Given me a beautiful, dysfunctional family on both sides of the aisle and I love them all. 
  4. Died on the cross, a horrible, shameful death, that none of us can fathom. 
  5. Allowed the Holy Spirit to give me peace like a river in the middle of chaos. 
  I have noticed as I grow in the Spirit:

  1. The closer I get to God, the more I realize how much I need Him. 
  2. God is the same yesterday, today and forever
  3. Despite all the evil in the world and the downward spiral of our precious nation, God is omniscient and will remain in control.  
  4. The spirit of discernment is a blessing. Listening to that spirit is getting a little easier each day
  5. Jesus is often in disguise--the Holy Spirit has made me keenly aware of the unloved and my responsibility to those in my path.
 Necessary for spiritual growth:
  1.   Daily time with your Lord. You can't get to know Him or His ways in the rush of life without taking specific, set aside time to lay it all at the altar, listening for His voice
  2. Daily time in the Word.  We are souls who must be fed.  Ignore the Word, risk soul starvation. Pretty simple. 
  3. Living out your purpose in the Lord.  Ignoring the calling on your heart is only putting off the blessings.  Follow that passion God has placed in your soul, and know He will provide
  4. Fellowship with other believers.  Two heads are better than one, and so are two (or more) Christians. God created our hearts for communion with others. 
  5. Loving the unlovable, and serving our Lord.  Step out of your comfort zone; walk where others won't; be the salt; be the light
~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am so honored to be alive and to belong my Lord.  I get so verklempt at how much my cup runneth over.  I am FULLY aware of the grace and mercy He has allowed in my life. 

Happy Easter to all of you! May you be able to fully enjoy your blessings this weekend! 
Check out what other "5 Fact Friday" bloggers are revealing about themselves by clicking the button below! 

©2012-2013 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

(REVIEW) Math-U-See


 “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I understand. Let me do it, I remember” ~Ancient Proverb 

I was so honored to have been chosen to review Gamma level from Math-U-See.  I have literally studied this curriculum since Abbey began school and I just had not made the purchase jump yet.  
The full level Gamma package comes with the following:

·         Single and Multiple-Digit Multiplication Student Workbook

·         Single and Multiple-Digit Multiplication Instruction Manual (with DVD of all lessons)

·         Single and Multiple-Digit Multiplication Tests

·         Manipulative Block Set 

     The Gamma level covers the following: 

Major Concepts and Skills Include:

  • Using strategies based on place value and properties of operations to multiply
  • Fluently multiplying any combination of whole numbers
  • Solving for an unknown factor
  • Solving abstract and real-world problems involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication
  • Measuring and computing area
  • Relating concepts of area to addition and multiplication

Additional Concepts and Skills:

  • Skip counting as a precursor to multiplication
  • Adding and subtracting time in hours and minutes
  • Multiplying, adding, and subtracting U.S. currency and standard units of measure
  • Representing, recording, and interpreting data
  • Understanding of basic fractions
  • Estimating and solving measurement problems

 How we used it:
To get myself familiar with the program, I first watched the DVDs by myself to learn Mr. Demme’s teaching style.  The videos show him standing in front a class (which remains off screen) teaching the particular lesson and conversing with the class, asking them questions and interacting with them.  Abbey actually liked that there is a classroom on here. I think it made her feel like part of the class to have him look at the camera and ask the questions, and to hear the class on the video answering.  Soon, she was answering right along with them. 

During each lesson in Gamma, he demonstrates a concept with the manipulative blocks—his are larger and are magnetic for teaching purposes on his whiteboard, but Abbey understood which ones he was using and how they coordinated with her set.  She would get out the same blocks and follow along with him as he taught.  While she tells me she doesn’t enjoy playing with the blocks, I really see her “getting” it on a different level than if the blocks were only on his screen and not under her fingertips.  

We found a fun, portable way to keep Abbey's manipulatives at her fingertips!

Abbey’s learning style is very visual, and she really does enjoy learning from videos and DVDs.  Even though these DVDs are not of the greatest picture quality, Abbey did not notice at all, and loved having Math-U-See creator Steve Demme teach her the new math concepts each week.

After each lesson, which is usually less than 10 minutes each, Abbey opens her student workbook and begins working on the lesson concepts just learned on the DVD.  

Math-U-See has recently updated all student workbooks to include more practice in each chapter.  There are seven pages of new concept, review, and application for each lesson---plenty of opportunities to figure out if your child is understanding the new concept or not. 

As we began the work in the student book, I would have Abbey work each “A” worksheet. If she did well, and I could tell she was understanding, I would then have her work one or two problems on each of the next six pages for extra practice, especially focusing on the application problems so that she understands how to apply the new concepts to real life.   If she was struggling through the “A” worksheet and not quite grasping the new work, she was required to work the entire “B” worksheet.  If I felt she was still struggling, an entire “C” worksheet was done.  And yes, I would let her take a few days to get through a lesson if necessary.   

I love, love, love that Math-U-See says to the us, the teachers—"mastery of a new concept can take two hours or two weeks--listen to your child!"

The program emphasizes mastery of each concept before moving on.  “Knowing how to divide is important, understanding when to divide is equally important.” ~Math-U-See Instruction Manual. 

More tips for success with this program:

·         Build—Use the manipulatives to demonstrate and model problems from the instruction manual.
·         Write –Write down the step-by-step solutions as you work through the problems together, using the manipulatives.
·         Say—Talk through the why of the math concept as you build and write. 

Here’s what I think:
While Abbey is still not jumping up and down to do her math each day, I have seen a real change in her. She is finally understanding that pesky Times Table and is feeling proud of herself in terms of math mastery. I see her moving more and more quickly through each worksheet and enrichment activities.  I can verbally quiz her now and instead of scrunching up her face is utter frustration, she thinks for a split second and answers the math fact! This alone makes Math-U-See worth its cost!


Here’s what Abbey thinks:
I can sum that up in one statement she made recently:  “You have GOT to tell Claire’s (her BFF) mom about this program, Mama!” 

 The Math-U-See site offers sample videos, sample pages from each level, and free placement testing so you can decide which level is best for your child. The levels are not determined by grade level, so I encourage you to take time on their website, and I especially encourage you to make the purchase, considering it an investment in your child's future. 

How to purchase: 

 Gamma Instruction Pack (includes Instruction Manual with full solutions and DVD): $44.00

 There were many levels of Math-U-See reviewed by my fellow Crew Mates, so please click the banner below to see their experiences! 

©2012-2013 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

If You Give a Kid a Camera. . .

She'll want to notice the survivors. . .

And space capsules in the sky.

She'll find joy in root structures. . .

And squeal like a girl at signs of life.

She'll make sure her best friend is not forgotten. . .

Because best friends see things that others don't.

She'll see monsters rising from the deep. . .
Or proof of other things once larger than she.

She'll see God's paint palette in carved out spaces . . .

And notice the small details right under her feet.

She'll see shady spots for resting. . .

And gently remind us all that Spring is finally here.

 Try giving your kid a camera for a day.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how differently from you they view God's world.  

©2012-2013 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot--3/23/2013

Click for more beautiful photographs and scripture!

©2012-2013 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

(REVIEW) Adventus-MusicIQ HomeSchool

I think all of us that were fortunate enough to be chosen for the MusicIQ Program from Adventus feel this review could be several pages long.   The program, in its entirety, is literally a seven-year music lesson program with so many wonderful aspects. It is for beginner to intermediate, to advanced music learners.  It incorporates music appreciation, music history, piano theory, instrumentation, and more!  

Let’s dive in and see if I can give you a great overview of the program without bogging you down with too many details. I want to help you decide whether it will work for your homeschool or not! 

First of all, you will need a MIDI-capable piano keyboard with adapter (I purchased my adapter for less than $6) or a MIDI keyboard. These plug-n-play keyboards are sold at Adventus, or you may purchase one on your own.

The keyboard we have for Abbey is old, was given to us by a friend who used it for 8 – 10 years in a band, and still we found it had a MIDI input on the back of it.  So check around for older models if budget is an issue for you at this time. 

Because my daughter Abbey has had about six months of piano lessons, we began with Children’s Music Journey Volume 2.  Her first teacher was Dvorak and her second one was Mozart.  In cartoon, high-resolution video format, these great composers from history become your child's teachers!  Such a great idea, huh? Below is a screenshot of Mozart welcoming you to a lesson with him from the home page. 

Each volume of Children’s Music Journey allows your child time with a different set of master composers. Each composer takes time at the beginning of each lesson to play pieces of music they have written.  Music appreciation is being taught even though Abbey doesn’t realize it.  The composer then teaches the student a lesson, and waits for your student to respond. Any strokes your child makes on the keyboard are "heard" by the composer and encouraged or corrected.  After each lesson, the child is directed to Miss Melody, their piano practicing teacher. She will review the lesson with  the students as often as they need.  Along the way, both master composers and Miss Melody will offer a gentle “Careful!” when your student plays the wrong note or gives the wrong count to a certain note. 

For each level that Abbey completes, she is allowed games to play that allow her practice some of the theories she has just learned in her lessons.  

Playing the notes correctly in the game pictured above allows dolphins to jump from the water in front of the guitar-playing gal on the shore.  Each dolphin jump earns the student a trophy.  These games are a wonderful reinforcement and another clever way to sneak in some extra practice.The graphics are vibrant and the sound effects are clear and engaging. 

Included with the purchase of the MusicIQ Program software program are a set of lesson plans for each volume and program. *Lesson plans are not included in the monthly subscription, only in the purchase of each software. These include timelines of each composer, biographies of each composer, theory worksheets for your student, teacher suggestions, piano music practice sheets and more.  This huge PDF really helps you wade through this program step by step with your child.  So if you are a bit hesitant to start a program like this because YOU feel intimidated, I encourage you to try it, knowing that the Adventus supporting material will help you overcome those fears. 

Abbey is doing the MusicIQ HomeSchool Program three to four times per week. She is really enjoying working through each lesson and playing on this well-done program.  There is even an "Improvisation Room" where the students can pick an instrument, play and RECORD a song in any genre of music they would like, and have fun playing it back.  
A visit to the Library allows your student to do a variety of things: Listen to the composers' pieces, listen to their OWN pieces they have recorded in the the Improv Room, practice more with Miss Melody, and more!

As we begin each new composer, we take time to locate them on the timeline, talk about their lives and how they were influenced and inspired, and listen to some of their pieces of work.  This helps increase her interest level tremendously, versus just diving into a lesson without any background about each composer. 

The only negative thing I have to report about this program is the technical aspect of the initial set up. I do wish Adventus would include more explicit instructions for "technically-challenged" parents who need to be walked through the set up of the MIDI keyboard and the downloading issues of the software.  That being said, when I called their customer service number, I was given immediate help to resolve the issues and get going.  

What’s included: MusicIQ HomeSchool Program is a multi-level music and piano program for ages 4 -94, but the Children's Music Journey volumes are recommended for ages 4 - 10.  Your subscription or purchase will allow you access to the Children's Music Journey Volumes I , II, and III; Piano Suite Premier, Ear Training Coach 1 -4; and Music IQ Challenger Game. There are several different options for purchasing and using the homeschool-designed portion of their program.  

 For a wonderful introductory lesson to MusicIQ Homeschool Program, I encourage you to go to YouTube and play the several AdventusInc uploaded videos.  This was one of the deciding factors for us deciding to pursue this review.  

Want to try it FREE for seven days? Click here

More details:
1.  Monthly Subscription—$10.95.  This allows you access to all levels of the program each month.  This is perfect for multiple ages taking piano or music lessons.  You will receive access to all of the MusicIQ Software titles, plus you will be offered a discount on purchasing a MIDI keyboard. Amazing price for so much content!  You certainly can't take piano lessons for less than that monthly price.

2.  Purchasing Only the Early Curriculum (Ages 4 - 10)  or Multi-Level (Intermediate to Advanced) Software (you will receive a CD based on your purchase).  These can be purchased in money-saving bundles, individual programs, or a customized combo that fits your needs. The prices range from $89 - $309.

3. Purchasing the Entire Bundle (All of the Above) in CD and Downloads: $489, a savings of $65.

Several other homeschool families have been using this software program from Adventus, so I encourage you to go see how their experiences were rated by clicking the banner below:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

(REVIEW) Hippie Chick Herbal Harmony

I am so blessed to be able to you all about a wonderful business called Hippie Chick Herbal Harmony.  This website and business, started by a cancer survivor named Kristi, offers all natural, chemical-free products like essential oils, homeopathic tinctures, mud masks, and bath scrubs. Her products are also very affordable, and make wonderful gifts for anyone on your list. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to review  three of her most popular products: Detox Your Socks Off Bath Salts, Body Butter-Creamcicle, Sea Salt Scrub-Invigorating Orange Mint.
If you’re like me, you LOVE your bath time. A chance to relax in a hot bath and think about yourself (gasp!) for 15 minutes is so wonderful.  The first time I ran a bath and added Detox Your Socks Off Bath Salts, I was in love. 


The light ginger scent fills the room and immediately relaxes your senses. The directions recommend running a 1/2 cup under your running bath water, and because of the epsom salts in the mixture, it also recommends drinking lots of water to help the detoxification process. I did follow those instructions with great results.  Here’s a description from Kristi’s website: “With a blend of the finest Epsom salts, Sea salts, Powders, soda, Organic herbs, Freshly ground ginger, and Essential oils, a perspiration-promoting effect will occur, possibly even after the bath, depending on your body’s need to eliminate harmful toxins.”  I  honestly felt so good after that first bath with Detox Your Socks Off! Bath Salts, I couldn’t wait for the next night and an opportunity to try it again.  If you’re a bath lover, I strongly encourage you to try this great product!
With my morning shower (I’m a clean person this week), I gave the Sea Salt Scrub a try! I was given the Invigorating Orange-Mint, and it is a very mild, citrus-y and minty scent--very, very pleasant for a morning wake-up shower!  And how much do you love putting stuff on your body that has ingredients you can pronounce?  No parabens, no chemicals, just sea salt and essential oils and good stuff !  I used it as a exfoliator on my thighs (hey, that cellulite won’t fight itself) and on my face.  I have an extremely sensitive face in terms of product usage, so I am pleased to announce that I had no adverse reactions to the scrub, only a squeaky clean face! Love it! 

And, now, last but not least, my absolute favorite of the trio I got to review--Creamcicle Body Butter! This silky, smooth thick cream is so yummy, I wanted to eat it (but didn’t).  It smells like a vanilla ice cream cone, and feels like a warm blanket going on.  I have very rough heels and work diligently to get them to feel better because they stay so dry and scratchy.  I used this Creamcicle Body Butter from Hippie Chick Herbal Harmony, and in ONE application, I could tell a significant difference.  

This has helped where other products have not.  I have continued to use it daily, and I am so pleased with the results.  And best of all, it’s ALL natural.  The older I get, the more I appreciate that word, “natural”.  The Body Butter is also available in Sweet Jasmine and Coconut-Lime scents. Get it! You will love it!
Detox Your Socks Off! Bath Salts, 16 oz. jar, $12
Sea Salt Bath Scrub, 4 oz. jar, $7
Body Butter, 4 oz. jar, $8

Please take time to explore this wonderful site and her Facebook page.  Hippie Chick Herbal Harmony is a business well worth your patronage!  Enjoy discovering more! 

***FTC Disclosure: I received these products free of charge in exchange for writing and posting this review.  I was not required to post a positive review.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fun Fact Friday--March 15, 2013


Let’s see, what should my categories be for this Fun Fact Friday?  How about . . .

Five things . . .

. . .I Am Praying About (in no particular order):

1.       The state of our precious nation
2.       My pastor and his marriage
3.       My husband and his marriage ☺
4.       My children and their relationships
5.       My friends struggling to heal in recovery

. . .I Enjoyed Doing This Week:

1.      Fishing with my family after church (even though the wind was blowing 20mph)
2.       Watching Abbey’s face when she won an Ipod at a Housing Fair
3.       Cuddling with my grandson Cooper (who will only cuddle with me when no one else is around)
4.       Watching Abbey’s face when she found Orion in the night sky for the first time
5.       Making homemade apple pie for my husband

. . .Within My Reach Right Now:

1.       My Bible/Prayer Journals
2.       My coffee cup
3.       The TV remote (currently watching Invention Hunters)
4.       Renew Lotion (I have a container in every room)
5.       My planner (which I don't think will make it all the way through 2013 without ripping)

. . .On My Short-term Wishlist:

1.       Sleeping through the night
2.       Organizing the office
3.       Organizing the schoolroom
4.       An entire day off to do absolutely nothing
5.       Completing our taxes

. . .On My Long-term Wishlist:

1.       Sleeping through the night
2.       Getting a boat large enough to take our whole family out
3.       Did I mention sleeping through the night?
4.       Eliminating sugar from my diet
5.       Developing a solid exercise routine

Have a great week and don’t forget to say your prayers!

©2012-2013 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.



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