Friday, December 9, 2011

Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow

Ryan (12) loves all kinds of guns and bows and when he heard about the Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow he really wanted to get one.  So, with some birthday money we ordered it.  It would be an understatement to say that he loves this bow.

This is the video we saw that introduced us to the bow

Kind of silly..but gives you a good idea of what the bow is like.

The Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow shoots over 100 feet and comes with 1 foam suction cup arrow and 2 foam bounce back arrows.  It also comes with a clip so you can clip the arrows on your belt loop.  It is made of sturdy plastic with tubular bands that draw back. The bow hooks on two loops that are connected to the bands. It seems to be well made (unlike the toy bows I've seen in the stores).

I am taking the picture from the spot where Ryan shot the arrow from
and he is under the black arrow in the picture retrieving it.
I added the arrow because he was so far away and wearing
camo that I didn't think you'd be able to see him. He is well over 100 feet away!


shooting an arrow

Z-Curve bow and arrows. 
The bow is about 4" by 22" and the arrows are 9 1/2" long. 

clip the arrows right to your belt loops

When I asked Ryan if there was anything he didn't like about the bow he thought long and hard but the only thing he could think of was the color.  He thought it should be camouflage since it's for "hunting".  He then added that he thinks the grip would be better if it was turned around. (but it seems fine to me)  I gave it a try and he is definitely the better of the two of us with it. :)

Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow is recommended for ages 8 and up. It would make a great gift for kids young and old.  (I think a lot of Dads will like this one too!)

I have long been a fan of Timberdoodle for homeschool curriculum and cool games and toys.  It is one of my favorite places to order from and I love their catalog.  You can order a free catalog here or just check it out online.

You can order your own Air Hunterz Z-Curve Bow from Timberdoodle for $26.99 or buy a set of 2 for $49.95.

Order this or other great gifts from Timberdoodle by Monday, December 12 (noon PST) to get your order by Christmas without upgraded shipping.  Plus free shipping on all orders over $99.


Fractazmic Review

Fractazmic is a learning game from I See Cards that we recently received.  The first time we played we used the directions that were included for a simple game but it wasn't all that much fun.  THEN we found the online directions for playing Fractazmic Trap and now we're hooked.  (You can find the directions to Fractazmic Trap and other games by downloading the free e-book Dr Ron's How to Succeed in Mathematics. You will also find directions for a gin rummy type of game called Fractazmic Rummy.)

Here is a video explanation of Fractazmic Trap

and a video of how to play Fractazmic Rummy

The cards are sturdy and durable.  They are also bright and colorful and each suit features a different graphic to show the fractional part.  In the blue suit a box of eggs is used, the green suit shows liquid in a bottle and the red suit uses a ruler.   (no pies for this game)  Each fraction is shown on the top and bottom corner of the card but printed facing up.  So when the cards are dealt you have to turn them all the right way (unlike regular cards where the number on the bottom is upside down so that the number in the corner is always right side up).
You can see what a hand might look like after being dealt.
I guess you could play with them upside down but I need them all facing up.

Here you can see the different measurements used on each card.

The cards in the deck are:

Sixteenth suit (red): 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16 and 1/2
Twelfths suit (blue):1/12, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, 5/12 and 1/2
Tenths suit (green): 1/10, 1/5, 3/10, 2/5 and 1/2

Fractazmic teaches fractions, numbers and measurement.

Even though the basic game of Fractazmic will seem very simple, the game and the cards took about a year of development. The mathematics reinforced here is the addition of fractions. The game also goes one step further in that it reinforces the addition of fractions that are used in common situations.  Even though mathematics texts often have problems where children are forced to add fractions such as 1/7 and 1/25-I have never in 30 years had the requirement to add these 2 fractions. In Fractazmic there are 3 suits; tenths, twelfths, and sixteenths. In each of these suits there are cards ranging from 1/10, 1/12 and 1/16 up to ½.   -quote from Dr. Ron's How to Succeed in Mathematics

You can try an online Fractazmic  as well as Pyramath speed.  Both online games are free! If you can score in the top 10 you will win a free set of cards!

We are really enjoying Fractazmic.  It's great for a variety of ages. It makes a good review for anyone who already knows fractions and a great way to get younger kids familiar with fractions before they are  even introduced in their math curriculum. I highly recommend it.

Fractazmic is recommended for Grades 1-8 and Fun for All Ages.  The games are for 2-4 players.

I See Cards offers other educational card games: PyraMathPrimeBomb and I See Cards.  Fractazmic is only $6.95. See what others on the TOS crew are saying about Fractazmic.

disclaimer:  I received Fractazmic in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christ-Centered Christmas

Christ-Centered Christmas:The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating a Christmas Your Family Will Never Forget is a recently released e-book from Hal and Melanie Young, the authors of Raising Real Men.

Hal and Melanie Young have written this wonderful 80 page full color e-book to help you find the true meaning of Christmas.  It is filled with practical ideas you can implement this year with your family along with menus and recipes meant to help your family to truly ENJOY this season and to make it about Christ.  I absolutely adore the chapter, "What about Santa?"  It puts into words the exact reasons that we have chosen not to pretend Santa is real with our children.

The chapters include:

The Ornament of the Year
Granny’s Christmas Tea
The Advent Season
The Christmas Story
Caroling Parties (including the lyrics to 16 hymns with clickable links to the tunes)
Christmas Baking
Christmas Eve
Chrismas Eve Menu (with recipes)
What About Santa Claus?
Christmas Gifts
Christmas Day
Christmas Feast Menu (with recipes)
Old Christmas
Other Great Resources

I read most of this book on my Kindle.  I used my free Kindle address and sent the pdf file to it.  The font was a little small but I could read it without any trouble (like you sometimes have with pdf's on the Kindle).  I read the rest of it right on my laptop. This would be a wonderful book to print out and have bound but I love  keeping things on my Kindle because my bookshelves are too full as it is!

I highly recommend this book if you are looking to make this Christmas and the ones to come very special in your family. Lots of great ideas!

Christ-Centered Christmas is available at the introductory price of $6.00 (regular price will be $15.00).  Buy Christ-Centered Christmas and find some new traditions to bring you and your family closer to Christ and have many fond memories for years to come. Other titles by the Youngs include Raising Real Men and We Gather Together.  Visit the store for books, CD workshops and character building gifts for your children.

disclaimer: I received a free copy of Christ-Centered Christmas in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Medieval Machines by Pitsco

Medieval Machines by Pitsco includes a model catapult and a model trebuchet with a teaching guide explaining the history behind the machines as well as experiments and mathematical problems and activities to go along with it.

This is what it all looked like when we took it out of the box.

Rob building the catapult while Ryan looks on.

Fun with the packing materials that were in the box
more fun...a giant tail

The finished catapult
I am not mechanically minded at all and didn't even attempt to build these.  Rob built them (much to his chagrin I have to say).  The catapult didn't take all that long. The pieces are precut they just need to be punched out. We had some quick grab glue that worked pretty good.  The trebuchet on the other hand took a long time and he was pretty frustrated.  We didn't have the glue we used for the catapult.  He tried a super glue (Gorilla) but it wouldn't stick and ended up using wood glue (hence the longer time because he had to wait for things to dry).  I did help with the strings because it takes tiny fingers and fine motor skills to make small loops (though I think he did end up doing some of that too.)  Anyway, this is not the kind of thing you can buy and expect your child to put together.

Ryan (12) was a little disappointed with the size of the catapult. I think he wanted a life size model. HA!  I took a picture of it next to the pencil so you can see the size of it.  It's actually a perfect size for having around and nothing is getting wrecked and there have been no injuries! :)

the trebuchet

the catapult and trebuchet side by side
The catapult worked exactly as it should.  The little tab that holds down the arm broke off but it still works.  We just have to hold it down manually...not a big deal.  In the Siege Machines book there are 5 pages of information about catapults followed by 6 pages of experiments and activities to go along with it. It covers mass vs. distance, averages, data gathering, tension vs. torsion, converting English to metric, graphing, and elasticity. Click here to see sample pages from the book.

Ryan preparing to shoot projectiles for our experiments.

You will need a balance or scale to measure your projectiles.  

The Trebuchet section of the Siege Machines book is 9 pages long and gives information about trebuchets and experiments to go along with it.  It covers gravity, levers, prediction, force, motion, scientific method and hypothesis.

A few other topics are included and the back of the book has 6 pages of standards for grades 5-8, 6-8 and 9-12 separated into ITEA, NCTM and NSTA standards.  It also has a list of additional resources including books, websites and videos to further your studies.

The Trebuchet
We had some trouble with the Trebuchet but it was completely our own doing. I had attached the sling incorrectly so it wouldn't work. I contacted Pitsco and was very impressed with the promptness and the helpfulness of Pitsco's customer service.  Once I fixed the way the sling was attached it worked.

Setting up the Trebuchet.  We used the backside of wrapping paper
and a measuring tape to see how far our projectiles would go.

I think this set makes a wonderful addition to all kinds of studies....from history to math and science.  It just happened that we were talking about how the Romans used catapults during this study.  The book that comes with it is informative and covers so many topics and is very affordable.

Kit assembly requires: Hobby knife, needle-nose pliers, ruler, scissors, sandpaper, and white glue such as HD Bond II. Siege Machines book activities require: Tape measure; digital scale or balance; 15'-20' of white roll paper such as the plain side of wrapping paper or Pitsco’s Range Paper Tape; cool-melt glue gun and glue; straw; ruler; scissors; extra rubber bands: 4 –  3-1/2" x 1/16" (#19), 1 – 3-1/2" x 1/4" (#64) (not including the one on the catapult), and 4 – 3" x 1/16"; target – either an 8.5" x 11" piece of color paper or one pack of Target Pieces; 2" x 12" sheet of balsa wood or basswood; 2 – 2.5-inch-long axles, 4 nylon axle bushings, small washers, and model car wheels (such as those for CO2 cars) (We didn't use the last few items. There was plenty to do in the book without that. I imagine we will do that some time soon though.)

Pitsco, founded in 1971, offers Science, Technology, Engineering and Math materials.  They carry an amazing array of kits and materials.  Sustainable Energy, Robotics, Engineering, Aerospace and more!


You can purchase a Medieval Machines pack at Pitsco for $21.95. (This set does not include the modeling clay that I received but any modeling clay will do.)  Be sure to check out other products from Pitsco or request a catalog. They also have a homeschool section on their website. See what others are saying about Medieval Machines on the TOS crew blog.

disclaimer: I received a free Medieval Machines pack in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Slim Down Sunday

I haven't posted for Slim Down Sunday in a while for no reason other than busyness (or laziness).  I am always amazed at when the weight comes off.  I hadn't lost anything since before Thanksgiving and was up a few ounces even though I was still following my diet (except for Thanksgiving Day.)  Yesterday, my brother in law got married and I ate everything on my plate including cake and I was down .4 more lbs.  I'll take it.

Goal: Continue losing weight at a steady pace. 

Pounds Lost: 56.4 lbs (down 1.8 from my lasts SDS post)

How is it going this week?  Still going along steadily.

My Plan for the Week Ahead: Just keep doing what I've been doing.(Which is 400 calorie meals 4 times a day.)

If you would like some encouragement or to encourage others in their weight loss join us at Heartfelt Homeschooling for Slim Down Sunday.  You can link up here
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