Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stick With It Saturday

It's Saturday and time for a Stick with it Saturday post. I lost another 1.2 this week!  I have almost reached 2 WW milestones and will likely get 2 stickers at my next meeting (2 weeks from now since I go on Wednesdays and this week is the 4th of July.)  I am all about the little rewards.

Oh and I went down another pants size too!

Sunday- 6 miles on my pedometer including a C25K run

Monday- 4.57 miles on my pedometer. I was having some sciataca pain and needed to take it easy for a few days.

Tuesday-3.75 miles on my pedometer. Still having some sciataca pain and needed to take it easy for a few days.  I was worried about losing all I had built up to in running and wondered if I would  be able to run again.

Wednesday-4.11 miles including the first day of the Jeff Galloway 5K program.  (more on that in a minute)

Thursday-4.4 miles on my pedometer

Friday-  Did a Jeff Galloway 5K training program.  I ran/walked 2.5 miles then I walked home 2.5 miles.  I also swam for 20 minutes and ended the day with over 15,000 steps (over 6 miles) on my pedometer.

Saturday- I have no formal plans for exercise today.

So, I have been spending some time reading about running.  I came across the Jeff Galloway method for running and was very intrigued.  I ordered one of his books from the library and after reading half of the book I got the 5K app for my iPod Touch.  I have had a bit of trouble familiarizing myself with it and yesterday when I ran I ended up doing something to it and had to do part of one day and then start another day.  I also downloaded the music that comes with the app but I hate it.  I think I figured out how to get it to just play my music now.

One of the really cool features of this app is that it takes your music and syncs it to the beat you should be running to.  I love that!  I also like how it tells you how many minutes have passed at each minute.  I ran less total time today but I'm sure I covered more ground because I took walking breaks.  It was wonderful.  I am very excited about the possibilities with this method of running.  My last C25K run had me running 10 minutes with a 5 minute walking break and then another 10 minute run.  It was ROUGH.  But today I went further and didn't feel half as exhausted. I honestly cannot wait until my next run.  Who'da thought??

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Child Training Bible

Have you heard of the Child Training Bible?  I noticed a lot of homeschool bloggers reviewing this lately and from the first time I saw it I knew I wanted to use this in my home.  Over the years, I have read MANY books on parenting and child training, but ultimately it's the Bible I want to use to train my children.  I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review this and give one away! (so keep reading to the end)

The Child Training Bible Kit is a set of 4 laminated cards that allow you to mark your own Bible or one you purchase just for this purpose. I purchased this Bible for $9.99 which I am very happy with.  It took me a few hours to get my new Bible all set up and it was a blessing to do it.  This kit would make a wonderful baby shower gift or gift for any parent.  You could set it up for whoever you are giving it to but I am glad I had the opportunity to do it myself.  

My Child Training Bible completed with all the tabs.
The Child Training Bible Kit

As mentioned the CTB kit comes with 4 laminated cards.  The cards are sturdy and look like they will hold up over a long period of time.  The first card is the key that you tape using double sided tape to the inside cover of your Bible and makes it easy to find the verses for each "offense".  The remaining cards called tabbers are printed on both sides.  The first side lists the Bible verses for each tab and is used to help you set up your Bible.  The opposite side is divided into 3 sections.  The first two sections have questions to help open up the discussion after reading the scriptures and the third section contains prayers with scripture that you can pray with your child at the end of a training session.  You can clip these cards inside the back cover of your Bible with a binder clip or make a pocket to slide them into.

Inside the Bible.  Verses are highlighted.
I found that with some of the darker colors it was better to underline rather than highlight.
The Bible I bought has lighter ink so it might just be because of that.
This video is a great overview of what the Child Training Bible is, how to put it together and how to use it.

You can purchase your own Child Training Bible kit for $9 plus $4.99 shipping for up to 2 kits. She also offers discounts for orders of 10 or more. You will also need a 9"x6" Bible, post it flags and highlighters to complete your kit. Product suggestions can be found on the CTB Order Supplies page. Visit the Child Training Bible website to learn how it came into existence and more about the creator.


I am so excited to be able to give away on Child Training Bible kit through the generosity of Mindy at The Child Training Bible.  This giveaway ends on Friday, June 29 at midnight, so enter now!

Winner is Katrina B!  Congratulations!  (Contact has been made.)  Thank you to all who entered to win.  I would encourage you to follow Child Training Bible on facebook (other giveaways are posted) or just BUY your own kit!

This is my first Rafflecopter giveaway. It seemed easy to set up so I hope everything is working properly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

disclaimer:  I was given a free Child Bible Training Kit in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stick with it Saturday

It's Saturday and time for a Stick with it Saturday post.

Sunday- Today was not supposed to be a running day but I decided I wanted to try running Couch to 5K-day 1 to see how far I've come.  It was amazing to me how much easier it was to run for just 1 minute.  I ran harder than I usually do and by the end my right knee hurt....but by Monday it was OK.  I ended up with almost 7 miles (including my run) on my pedometer.

Monday- Couch to 5 K Week 5 Day 1  I was really nervous about this run.  It increased to running 5 minutes with a walking break, run 6 minutes (walk break) and another 5 minute run.  I have to say, it was NOT easy.  I had to keep fighting the negative voice in my head saying that I couldn't do it.  I did it.  I always feel better when I'm done.

Tuesday-Just a light day.  I only had 2.59 miles on my pedometer and I didn't do any other exercise

Wednesday-C25K today.  It was more running but went better than on Monday.  I ended up walking a couple of miles immediately after my run.  It was so hot out.  I had 6.68 miles on my pedometer including my C25K workout

Thursday-Another hot day.  I walked 5.4 miles in the morning, then we went swimming and I put in three 20 minutes sessions of constant movement/swimming in the pool.  I ended up with 7.32 miles on my pedometer.

Friday-   It was the third day in a row here of temps in the 90s with high humidity. I slept late so by the time I got up it was too hot to run. I had some things to do in the morning then went to my in-law's pool. I spent 30 minutes in the pool. When we got home from swimming, I decided I would just do a Leslie Sansone walking DVD and stay inside (we have AC). I did the 5 minute warm up and a 15 minute mile then decided since I was already all sweaty I might as well go out and run. So I did....this included 2 sessions of running 8 minutes straight. Then, I came back in and did another mile on the DVD which included strength training with a stretchy band.

Saturday- I have no formal plans for exercise today.

As far as weight loss, I was down 1.2 lbs this week at my Wednesday weigh in.  So happy to see some weight loss as I was up a bit the week before.

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

IXL  is a web-based math practice tool.  Students have access to unlimited math problems and over 1,000 topics from preschool right up through Algebra. IXL also offers a reports component that you can use monitor student progress closely. A detailed user guide is available that tells you how to best use IXL and directions for implementing some of the options available such as hiding the left navigation panel, grade levels and/or timer.


We first used about a year ago.  IXL is short for I excel.  Did you already know that?  I had no idea until I started this review.  I just never put it together myself.  :)  Without purchasing ixl you can do 20 problems per day and this is what we did at the end of last school year.  I even considered purchasing it but ended up doing something else.

I mainly had my 4 year old and 9 year old daughters giving this one a try.  Ellie (4) does like this, but has a short attention span with it and only wants to do it for a few minutes (she is only 4 after all.)  Emma (9) doesn't like it (it IS math you know.)  I personally think it makes a great supplement for math practice for any child.  For younger children I think you could easily use this as your complete curriculum.  For older children I think it would be best used as a supplement because it is practice. No teaching is given. Explanations are given after incorrect answers if you click for them. (An example is shown below.)

You can go on to the next problem by clicking OK or click on  "Explanation"  and a
box like the one below will come up.

If important to you, IXL is fully aligned to each of the 50 state's standards and you are able to monitor your child's progress toward those standards if you wish.  (This is not something I do, but thought my readers might like to know.)

IXL provides a multitude of different reports so you can monitor your child's progress.  Using charts and graphs such as the one above you can find out exactly how your child is doing, what they've spent time working on (and how long), what they have mastered and what they need work on. Reports are emailed to you each week so you don't even have to think about it. :)

Under settings you can hide grade levels (they show as letters instead), skill menus and the timer if you wish.
This can be less distracting for your children. (We kept ours on.)

Membership benefits:
  • Complete coverage of math curriculum from pre-K to algebra. 
  • Unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.
  • Fun and colorful practice formats.
  • Questions that adapt to your child's ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
  • Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept.
  • Audio for all pre-K through first-grade skills.
  • Weekly e-mail updates on your child's progress.
  • Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones.

IXL Awards and Games

One of my favorite features of IXL is the awards tab.  Each grade level has a page as shown above and they earn "prizes" to fill up the board as they go. If you have a child that is motivated by this sort of thing (I would be) it will be wonderful for you.  (My kids don't seem to be motivated by it unfortunately.)  To the right of the chart they will see the details of what awards they've earned, how many questions they have answered, how long they have practiced for, how many topics they have mastered, the prizes they have revealed and what they have to do to get their next award.

In the first three levels there are sound icons that students can click on to have the problems read to them.  You can see it just before the sentence, "Which picture shows 2 dots?" below.
The one capability this program is missing is the ability to assign certain problems or even set it so students can only see their own grade level.

Don't forget you can try free.  (20 problems a day)  IXL is completely online.  There is nothing to download.  You just sign in and go.

You can purchase IXL math subscriptions for $9.95 a month or $79 a year (which is only $6.58 a month).  Extra children are just $2 more a month or $20 more a year for a subscription.

IXL Fee Buttons

IXL supports the following Operating Systems and browsers:
It is recommended that you have at least 256MB of installed RAM, and you should set your display to a resolution of 1024x768 with 32-bit color depth. You will need an internet connection as well as Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader (both available free).

See what others are saying about IXL on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.


disclaimer:  I received 6 month subscriptions for 3 children in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stick with it Saturday

It's Saturday again and time for a Stick with it Saturday post. It was inevitable. This week when I went to Weight Watchers I had gained .4 lbs.  I didn't do anything different.  I was just up a little.  I really hate that, but after over a year and a half on this weight loss journey I know that it just happens sometimes. I went to my meeting on Wednesday.  I weighed myself today and I'm still the same.  Hopefully I'll be back down some by my next meeting.

As far as exercise, I am continuing on with Couch to 5K using this app and walking as much as I can using my pedometer which is very motivating.  Today I reached the halfway point of Couch to 5K and I'm up to running 16 minutes with my maximum run time of 5 minutes at a time.  When I started I could hardly run for one minute.  It's really great to see progress!

This week at my Weight Watchers meeting, my leader shared a recipe for a grilled portobello mushroom and onion.  I put 2 tsp. of fat free italian dressing on the underside of the mushroom and grill it (along with a 1/2" slice of onion) for 6 minutes on each side. I put it in a Hungry Girl wrap (you could use a light hamburger roll) with 1 T. goat cheese, some mixed greens and tomato....delicious!

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pearson Learning-My World

myWorld Social Studies by Pearson Learning is a colorful, consumable curriculum  that we have been using for the past several weeks. (We used 4th grade.)  I was very impressed by the quality of the worktext.  Our homeschooling style in general is using living books and not a lot of textbooks, but I really like this book.


myWorld Social Studies Homeschool Bundle includes:
  • Student Worktext (well over 300 pages)
  • myStory video DVD
  • Teacher Resource Library DVD

Each chapter begins with a myStory feature which is a real life story that relates to the lesson.  You will find highlighted vocabulary words at the beginning of each lesson. Other parts of the lesson include the Got it? section which has questions designed to ensure your child understands the lesson and a Try It activity.  At the end of the lesson there is a Review and Assessment activity.  

The student worktext is bright and filled with photographs and illustrations. Pages are perforated which is nice if you like to pull pages out as you go or to add to a notebook.  We chose to leave ours in the book and haven't had any issues with loose pages.

The Teacher Resource Library DVD is packed with so much from detailed lesson plans to tests, worksheets, activity cards, and even audios to prepare the teacher for each lesson.  The teacher DVD is a bit difficult to navigate but once you learn how to find what is on it you will be impressed.

The bundle also includes a myStory video DVD with videos that go along with the lessons in the book. These are short (about 2 minute) video segments that are narrated and have very basic animation.  There are 9 videos included.  (one for each chapter)

The theme of the 4th grade book is Regions of Our Country.  The 328 plus page book is divided into 9 chapters as follows:

1-Geography of the United States
2-Americans and Their History
3-Government in the United States
4-The Nation's Economy
5-Regions: The Northeast
6-Regions: The Southeast
7-Regions: The Midwest
8-Regions: The Southwest
9-Regions: The West

Each chapter is divided into 3-5 lessons.Throughout the course there are many opportunities for reading and writing and learning valuable skills such as generalizing, summarizing, categorizing, learning the difference between fact and opinion, comparing and contrasting and more. 

As mentioned, the teacher's resource DVD is extensive.  However, you could easily just pick up this book and teach it without ever using anything on the DVD.

Click to view the Scope and Sequence for grades K-6.

You can purchase myWorld Social Studies homeschool bundle including the student book, Teacher Resource DVD and myStory DVD-ROM for $69.99.


See what others are saying about this and other curriculum from Pearson Homeschool including enVision Math, My Math Lab (Algebra) and Reading Street on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.


disclaimer: I received a free copy of My World Social Studies 4th grade in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stick with it Saturday

It's Saturday again and time for a Stick with it Saturday post. Last wee I had a great week on the scale losing 3 lbs.  I really thought that when I went to Weight Watchers this week I'd find that I had gained some of that 3 lbs back but I didn't.  I was actually down another .2!  I was very pleased.

As far as exercise, I am continuing on with Couch to 5K using this app . I also bought a pedometer this week which is motivating me to walk a lot.  Yesterday was my wedding anniversary (21 years!) and we were going out to dinner so I set a goal of walking 15,000 steps.  I walked 3.2 miles in the morning and later mowed our lawn.  I had over 21,000 steps before we even left for dinner.  (I had a lobster dinner and it was delicious!  I even had dessert.)

This morning I took my C25K workout on the main road and included a big hill...yeah...not doing that again for awhile.  :)

I almost forgot that this week's weight loss brings me to a total of 70 lbs lost!

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Story Builder App for iPod Touch

We were recently given the opportunity to review our very first app for my beloved iPod touch.  We received the Story Builder App by Mobile Education Tools.

Story Builder is designed to help children accomplish the following goals:
  1.  Improve paragraph formation
  2.  Improve integration of ideas
  3.  Improve higher level abstractions by inference. 

Extensive use of audio clips promotes improved auditory processing for special needs children with autism spectrum disorders or sensory processing disorders. Story Builder offers a rich and fun environment for improving the ability to create a narrative.
  • Record feature allows students to record narrative in their own voice
  • 3 levels of play
  • Simple and intuitive interface to record narrative
  • Recorded answers are stitched together to create complete narrative
  • 50 distinct story lines to create narratives from
  • Over 500 audio clips of questions to guide narrative
  • Optional question text and answer introduction reinforcement

When I first downloaded this app I wasn't sure how the kids would respond, but Emma (9) really enjoys this app. She and her 12 year old brother, Ryan have had a lot of fun making up stories and listening to them. I like how it teaches a child to use complete sentences and how to put a story together.  It can get silly pretty quickly but the kids are learning and having a good time and you can't beat that. She will ask to play it quite often.

There are 3 levels of play.  

In Level One, 4 questions are asked. Students answer questions about the picture on the screen.

In Level Two, 7 questions are asked. Students will need to make inferences about what happened before and after what is on the screen.

In Level Three, no questions are asked.  Students make up any story they wish.

To make a story, students press the record button and answer the question in a complete sentence. Once all of the answers have been recorded they can play back their story. The app keeps one story at a time in the memory.  If a child doesn't like their answer they can just hit the record button again to record a new answer.

Completed stories can be e-mailed to share. You need Quick Time in order to play the story which is just the audio though one accompanying picture does come in the email.


Story Builder is associated with SmarTots which you can access through the app.  SmarTots will send you an e-mail telling you how many minutes have been spent playing Story Builder (and other SmarTot apps you may have) along with an activity you can do with your child.  This is a nice optional feature.

You can purchase the StoryBuilder app for your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad for $5.99.  Visit the Mobile Education store for more fun educational apps like Sentence Builder and Preposition Builder.

- Compatible with iPhone or iTouch
-2nd and 3rd gen iTouch require external speaker/microphone combo
- Recommended device - HF-IPHONE3MICBK from
- Requires 4.1 software update

Read what others are saying about StoryBuilder and Rainbow Sentences for iPad on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.


disclaimer: I received the StoryBuilder app free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Bucket List

I've seen a lot of summer bucket lists this week on various blogs.  I thought it might be fun to make one for us too.

1. Go swimming at East Beach
2. Go to Mystic Seaport
3. Go to the Mystic Aquarium
4. Go to Southwick's Zoo
5. Visit NY city

6. Visit the State House
7. Go to VBS
8. Get clam cakes at Iggy's
9. Go swimming in the pool.
10. Make homemade ice cream in a bag

11. Make S'mores over a campfire
12. Build a solar oven and cook something.
13. Try ice cube painting
14. Make a butterfly feeder
15. Make homemade sidewalk chalk

16. Make a foil river
17. Walk to Napatree Point
18. Go to DQ for ice cream
19. Participate in a summer reading lots!
20. Go to the fair

21. Go to NH
22. Eat supper at the beach
23. Ride the Watch Hill Carousel and walk to the light house
24. Science Experiments from Amazing Science DVD
25. Go to the playground

26. Make campfire cones 
27. Make homemade lemonade (and read Lentil)
28. Oily Fireworks
29. Go bowling
30. Make Ice Sculptures

31. Shaving cream cloud
32. crayon melting on a candle warmer
33. paint the driveway with water and paintbrushes
34. Make soap clouds
35. Ride the escalators at the mall (yes, my kids love this)

36. Make rainbow bubble snakes
37. Visit Becca in NY
38. Make Oobleck
39. Go to Boston and walk the Freedom Trail

I think I'll keep adding to this and maybe I should cross things off as we do them too!

Besides our own family traditions much of my inspiration came from these first two links:
Homeschool Share Blog
The Home Teacher
Pinterest Summer Bucket Lists

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stick with it Saturday

It's Saturday again and time for a Stick with it Saturday post. I had a great week on the scale losing 3 lbs this past week.  After 2 weeks in a row of losing only .2 lbs it felt great!  So, I've lost 6.2 since starting Weight Watchers and a total of 69.2 lbs overall.  (I think I will not maintain the 3 lb loss this body always fluctuates after a bigger loss and will take a couple of weeks before it decides to completely let it go.)  I also feel puffy right now and can tell I am retaining fluid.

As far as exercise, I am continuing on with Couch to 5K using this app (which I did buy this week). With C25K you only run every other day so on my off days I try to get outside and shoot hoops or kick a soccer ball or just do something to keep up my activity.  I'd like to start doing some strength training on my off days but I'm not sure how to go about it yet.

I made up a new salad this week.  It's a Vegetarian Avocado BLT salad and I can't get enough of it.  It's delicious!

My sister shared this link with me this morning about a weight loss study that was done.  I actually found it a bit discouraging but it is good information to know.  It explains why it is hard to keep the weight off after we lose it.  I never want to gain this weight back.  NEVER!

Link up your own diet/exercise post over at Sam's Noggin.
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