Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our 2012 Review

2012 has been a busy year for us.  The year brought us joys and sorrows.  Overall, it was one of the best years we could have.

This week in 2011 we discovered we were expecting a new addition to our family.  Jackson Lucas Lee was born in August 2012.  9 months of morning sickness, heartburn, headaches and exhaustion brought to us the sweetest joy we could ask for in one tiny, sweet little boy.

The older kids were thrilled to have a new sibling.  They look forward to helping to raise Jax and loving him, playing with him and sharing in every joy he brings to us.  Their world circles baby brother right now.

School wasn't nearly as structured as I had wished for us this past year.  Thankfully, we had reviews for the Schoolhouse Crew which kept us going, filling in as we passed through the year.  Many items we stuck with, using almost daily and many others gave us the change we needed to keep us going.  Needless to say, we look forward to another year with the crew as we continue to adjust to having another baby in our home.



This year we upgraded items in our home too.  The kids got new tvs for Christmas.  We got new living room furniture at tax time.  Josh got the Camo chair he's always wanted and new guns and duck decoys for hunting.  He's teaching the kids to shoot now.

We have a new-to-us Tahoe. Most recently we purchased a new washer and dryer, which was much needed with washing 6 peoples clothing.  Baby things had to be purchased.

I must say my favorite purchase this year was my Nikon camera.  I've been able to work on my photography business this year and provide memories for my family and friends throughout the year.  Photos that have blessed those I love most.

This year brought about a job change for Josh which has been a hard change but a blessed one.  He's back to driving truck, which is his first love job-wise.  He's happier and less stressed by this change.

I can only hope as we head into the new year, that next year will be as good to us as this one has been.  Our lives have been so blessed throughout this past year.  I'm hoping to accomplish much in 2013, all while watching my babies grow even more.  It's the first time in a long time, I can say I'm actually looking forward to the new year.

Happy New Year to all of you.  I pray you have the best year you can too!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winston's Turning 12

Christmas is finally past and we move onto the last birthday of the year, which starts our birthday season around here.  Winston turns 12 on December 28.  I can hardly believe he's already 12.  My baby has grown up way too quickly.

Every day he comes one day closer to being a strong, patient and loving man.  In a few months, I expect that he will be taller than me.  In a few years, he will be grown and moving on.  Momma is sooo not ready for all of this.

I'm proud of my baby.  He's always supportive of me.  He does all I ask with very little attitude.  He's a servant and a man of strength.  He's kind to his siblings.  He enjoys working hard.

Recently, he's discovered a love of nature.  He enjoys hunting with Josh.  For Christmas, he shot his first gun. One of his presents was a starter bow set to learn archery, something he requested to do.

The years are getting shorter and I am trying to make the best of the time I have left with him as my child.  Children grow up way too fast.  They leave the nest before Momma is ready to let them go.  But every precious moment and memory they bring us is worth the process of going through it all.  I will never forget a single day, I've spent with my handsome son.

Happy Birthday to my precious boy.  May his life be all he wishes and his dreams come true.  He's been a blessing to my life and I pray he always knows love and happiness in his future.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Six Things We Say In Homeschool

Today I read a post that said Six Things We Say In School which I found pretty honest and cute so I decided to create my own list for homeschooling.

Six Things We Say In Homeschool
1.  I slept late.
2.  I'm warm and cozy.
3.  Explain it again, Momma.
4.  Can I help make lunch?
5.  Is it time for ____ yet?
6.  I love to be home!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Heaven In Her Arms by Catherine Hickem



Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You by Catherine Hickem is an AMAZING book.  This one really makes you stop and think.  Written in an enjoyable and thought provoking style, Heaven in Her Arms brings to the reader a look at Mary and God that most never consider.

Heaven in Her Arms takes a look at Mary as the untouched virgin, God's choice in a Mother for his son.  It shows Mary as mother to Jesus.  Mary - there the day Jesus was born, there the day he was crucified - from first to last breath.  Mary is the Mother we all wish to be.

As a Mother, I found this book touching, bringing tears both for Mary as a Mother watching her son grow, knowing his life would be short but that he'd been brought to save the world.  What an AMAZING gift to give the World!  I can only imagine the joy and pain she felt in raising this man but this book definitely helps to bring that image to life!

This isn't just a book on Mary's gift but a book that leads as a guide to Mother's everywhere.  A six-week Bible study is provided inside the book to be used for personal use or in group studies.  Heaven in Her Arms provides an experience like none that I've personally known before.

Heaven in Her Arms is a Thomas Nelson book and is priced at $15.99.  This book would make an amazing Christmas gift for Mothers of any age, as well as Christians everywhere.  It's definitely one of my favorite books.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free for review by Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze Review program in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.  I'm including this disclaimer in accordance to FTC regulations. 

Review: When The Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a best-selling Amish fiction writer.  Her books bring readers to the small private world of the Amish.  Leading readers to the small, private world where today's amenities have yet to touch.
When The Heart Cries is a part of the Sisters of the Quilt Series.  Hannah is a kind, sweet Amish girl who doesn't want to disappoint her family and upset their lives.  But Hannah has fallen in love with the neighbor, Paul, who is a Mennonite, a completely different faith than hers.  Marrying Paul would tear apart her family and change their simple, quiet lives forever.

To top it all off, tragedy strikes admist all of the other challenges.  Will Hannah come through it all?  Will she and Paul marry and live happily ever after with her father's blessing?  Or will her father refuse to allow these two to be together without disowning his daughter in the meantime?

This was a heart-warming, encouraging story that I really enjoyed.  I loved the imagery provided through Cindy's writing and the love between both Hannah and Paul and also Hannah's family.  I look forward to reading more books by Cindy Woodsmall in the future.

When The Heart Cries is available in bookstores and online through Amazon for $13.99.

Disclaimer - This book was provided by Blogging for Books from Walterbrook Multnomah for free in exchange for my honest review in a blog post.  I am posting this disclaimer in accordance with FTC regulations.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Routine Neurology Visit


Yesterday, we had an appointment for Laycie at Pediatric Neurology in MUSC - Charleston, SC.  It was a routine checkup to see how she's been doing and discuss her medication.  Just another visit for us.

Of course, everything went well.  I have concerns about her medication that we discussed with our neurologist.  For some reason, Laycie has side-effects for every medication she takes.  Depakote is no exception.

Her neurologist suggested I give Laycie a multivitamin with B6 to see if that helps to improve our side-effects.  B6 is not a new vitamin but the helpful effects on patients with Epilepsy has just been noticed by many neurologists.  It's being used in the hopes to help balance out negative effects many seizure medications cause.

Medicine has come a long way in the time since I was born 33 years ago, growing up with Epilepsy and even in the past 9, almost 10 years that I've been raising children with Epilepsy.  Every year more and more is becoming known about this disorder but there is still relatively little that anyone, doctors included, can understand.

What we as parents and patients of Epilepsy must remember is that the brain is such a complex unit.  Add to that the complexity of Epilepsy itself and well you find a lot of confusion.  The brain is like a complex computer with many different areas that control every single inch of our bodies, inside and out.  This computer is only completely understood by God himself and no other being can read or understand it.

What we can do to help learn more is to detail everything we can about how Epilepsy affects each of us, how it affects our children and our families.  We can share that information with other parents and patients, along with our neurologists.  We can ask to join in on Epilepsy panels and volunteer for testing.

All of these things together work towards the medical teams learning more and more about how our brains work and how Epilepsy affects each of us.  Nothing is too small and every one of us can help.  Ask and find out how you can do your part today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harrowing Day


Some days just get you.  Break you down from morning to night.  Bring trials you cannot image when you begin them.  Today was one of those for me.

Last night, Laycie decided she needed to sleep with Mommy and Daddy.  She does that sometimes.  Sometimes it's just because she needs the extra snuggle.  Other times it's because she just feels off, which is common for her seizure type.  So of course we let her.

Last night, she wasn't feeling well so she wanted to sleep with us, and sure enough she began running a fever in the night.  She's been battling a canker sore the past few days.  We were hoping it would get better but it worsened, leading to her fever.

Having a child with Epilepsy, fevers tend to not be friendly things.  They can lead to a convulsion.  They wear a normal child out but even more so with an Epileptic child.  Needless to say this morning we were not up to going to therapy and we spent much of the day on the couch.

Since she wasn't feeling well and had a fever, I pushed liquids to keep her hydrated and Motrin to keep her fever down and help her rest.  This afternoon I offered her a butterscotch, thinking it would help sooth her throat.

She enjoyed her candy for a few minutes, then suddenly the hard candy slipped into her throat.  She began to gasp for air and clutch at her throat.  She began crying and trying to cough.  My baby was choking on her piece of candy.

I quickly grabbed her up and sent her sister to find my Mom who had gone next door to her house.  Laycie was still gasping and struggling to breath.  Her body was automatically trying to throw her candy back up to get it dislodged.

My Mom, who is CPR certified, helped Laycie while I grabbed my Tahoe key and purse and ran out my door, only to run back in and grab Jackson.  By this point Laycie was ok and breathing again but crying still and telling me she still felt like the candy was stuck and I definitely wanted to have her checked at the ER.  A normal 10 minute drive to town, only took 5 minutes or less today.

When we got to the ER they took her straight in and I was assured by the closest EMT that since she was breathing and somewhat talking to me, she was fine.  Still I had the doctor look her over, check her since she had a fever all day and had the canker sore.  He told us the sore was causing her fever and it would just have to run it's course.  And he assured me though her throat would probably be sore she was fine.

Laycie has assured me she does not want any more butterscotch after her experience today.  She is doing much better now and is soundly sleeping in my bed again tonight, not because she wants to but because Momma needs her close after such a harrowing day.

Hug your babies.  Keep them close.  We are never promised tomorrow and we never know how close we are to going "home".  I am thankful to God that my baby girl is just fine and snuggling with her Momma tonight.

This Momma is shutting down for the night but I hope you all have a blessed Wednesday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weak and Loved for Epilepsy Guest Post


Today is the release of my first guest blog post ever! Emily from Weak and Loved asked me to stop by and share our story of our life with Epilepsy for Epilepsy Awareness Month. I'm so excited. I hope you will stop over and check out our post to learn more about us and help spread the word for Epilepsy Awareness Month. You can read the post here on Weak and Loved

 ~ Dana

I spread Awareness for Epilepsy for my daughters,
Emmalee and Laycie,
who both began Life with this disorder as infants.


Always praying for a cure!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some Call It Natural

Some Call It Natural is hosting a Melissa & Doug Trunki Giveaway.  Trunki's are adorable suitcases for children.  They can stick in their favorite toys or clothes for Grandma's and tote the Trunki with them.  They can even ride on their Trunki's.  Stop by Some Call It Natural today to join in on this awesome giveaway!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mid - November Update

It's November and Winter has arrived in South Carolina.  The leaves are changing colors and falling from all the trees.  It's nice to see since it's been a while since we've had a real Winter here.

Laycie tells me Fall is her favorite time of year.  I guess she gets that from me, or Barney - not really sure there.  Either way, we both love Fall.  The change from hot summer air to cool, crisp breezes always makes me feel renewed.  Fall for me is a season of peace.  And it makes me happy to know she shares that seasonal love with me.

Unfortunately, the weather change also often brings about bad things.  Like the flu, which has hit our house full force in just 24 hours.  Josh is down for the count and Winston too.  Jackson and I have escaped from the sickies and ran to Grandma's house to hole up for the next few days.

Tonight I'm thankful my Mom lives next door and can care for my babies while I protect and care for my tiniest baby.  I'm also thankful for breastfeeding because hopefully the antibodies in my breast milk will help keep Jackson from getting sick too.  Since I chose not to vaccinate him, I'm doing my best to keep him well.

I'm hoping to wake in the morning to find everyone if feeling much better and this was just a 24 hour bug.  -Hey, a Mom can hope right?! - If not, Jackson and I will enjoy a longer vacation at Grandma's.  I must admit, it's kind of nice having the little man all to myself for a little while, but I desperately miss his older brother and sisters so I'm hoping they get well soon!

While I'm out of my house, I am working on blog posts and homekeeping plans.  With seasonal change comes my need for a fall cleaning, home organizational overhaul and boy am I in full force with overhauling my house.  The kids are learning lots of new things and didn't realize Momma could clean so much, so well or fast as I have been lately with them.  They are unsure if they like Mommy's new ways but they are quickly learning to enjoy the clean and clutter-free life.  Let's face it: Clean and organized is better.

So that's the update for now.  It's almost one here and I really need to shut down and get some sleep before the littlest man to steal my heart wakes up wanting to eat.  I hope everyone who reads this is doing well.  Much love to each of you.

Goodnight.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway



Have you seen Melissa & Doug's Terrific Twenty for the 2012 Holiday Season?  20 of their top toys have been selected for you to view and purchase through their website for Christmas.  Fun toys at prices that cannot be beat.

Melissa & Doug provide classic, sturdy toys for your children to play and learn with.  From puzzles, to trains, to everything in between for your child's enjoyment.  Your children are sure to enjoy their Melissa & Doug toys for years to come.

To view Melissa & Doug's Terrific Twenty Holiday Gifts for 2012 visit Melissa & Doug online.  Don't forget to join Melissa & Doug on Facebook, too, for a chance to WIN a gift from their Terrific Twenty everyday this holiday season.  Stay tuned to Luv'N Lambert Life for your chance to win your very own Melissa & Doug product here on our blog!






Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apologia: Journeys of Faithfulness Review


As most know, Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc is one of my absolute FAVORITE Christian curriculum companies.  I have yet to own an item from Apologia that I did not love.  Journeys of Faithfulness is included on that list of books and curriculum that I love.

Journeys of Faithfulness was written by Sarah Clarkson, author of Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families.  This wonderful book was created to be a bible study for young women to learn about the women of the Bible who have journeyed through faith before them.  This study goes deeper to show strong the strong relationships with Christ, sharing the stories of  the following women: Mary and Martha, Ruth, Esther and Mary, Mother of Jesus.

The stories in Journeys of Faithfulness are thought provoking, as well as interesting.  Sarah Clarkson has a way with words that captivates the reader.  She draws the reader into the stories, leaving them wanting to learn more about the woman in the story, as well as their relationship with God.

My daughter is nine and I chose not to use this book with her at this time, but instead I found myself reading through and enjoying the stories inside.  Journeys of Faithfulness is a book I have longed to read for quite sometime but was unaware existed.  It is a storybook, a devotional, a bible study - all in one.

The book is broken into four parts, one for each of the women it details throughout.  The book itself is 232 pages long with room for writing answers to the study questions.  Note pages are included throughout for extra writing space, and for writing out thoughts as you work through the book.  Important thought and statements are highlighted throughout the book in bold.

After reading through this amazingly written book myself and working through the bible study, I have decided that I will begin using it as a devotional and bible study for my daughter very soon.  We will work through it together and use it to bond.  It will also (hopefully) bring her closer in her relationship with God.  I look forward to sharing with her the stories of Mary and Martha, Ruth, the beautiful Esther, and Mary, Mother of Jesus.

You can purchase Sarah Clarkson's Journeys of Faithfulness through Apologia's online website or their print catalog.  It's available for $13.00 in paperback.  Journeys of Faithfulness is just one of Apologia's many amazing products.  You can see more on their website at http://www.apologia.com.

For more reviews of this product, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew!



*Disclaimer - This book, Journeys of Faithfulness by Sarah Clarkson, was provided to me free from Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog review.  I am included this disclosure in accordance with FTC rules.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Changes at Home

There are a lot of changes going on around our house lately between Josh, the kids and I.  Life is hectic, full and enjoyable.  The Lord has been leading us into many different and new directions, all for the best.

Josh has a new job.  He's back driving truck and it's one he's always wanted to drive.  Driving truck is a passion of his that anyone who meets him can see he absolutely loves.  I'm thrilled that he's back on the road and as happy as ever.

Emmalee has started with a new physical therapist, twice a week.  She is wearing her braces more often, with less complaint.  She's really trying to correct her toe-walking issues and working hard to do so.  Mommy has toughened up on her, parent-wise, too.  She appreciates the effort I've personally made to push her through this.  We will overcome her toe-walking.  I will never give up on my sweet girl.

Winston has hit puberty right on time.  He's growing taller, growing facial hair a bit and is moody.  It's odd coming out of him because usually he's my cooperative and thoughtful boy but lately he's been aloof, forgetful and emotional.  All perfectly normal and natural I know.  I couldn't be prouder of my growing boy, honestly.

Laycie is four going on twenty lately.  She's the "queen" around here.  She's bossy and sweet at the same time.  She wants to be independent while still being Mommy's baby girl.  Today she did her own makeup and painted little KK's fingernails on her own.  She even cleaned up after herself when she did it.  She's such a smart and sassy girl.  And I love every second of life with her.

Jackson is settling in more and more by the day.  He's cooing and laughing.  His smile has stolen my heart.  I found pictures of Winston today and confirmed to myself that my two sweet boys look just alike.  I cannot wait to watch them both grow into men.

As for me, I've hit the busy season.  The holidays followed by the birthdays to go.  A new year on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I'll be stepping up my blogging and working on writing (bear with me as I build upon these things).  Writing reviews for other companies and products.  Advocating for Epilepsy, homeschooling, revamping, reorganizing and deep cleaning my home and my life.  Working towards becoming healthier through eating better and exercising (with my kids).

It's sure to be a busy year ahead and an enjoyable learning experience for us all.  I hope you stick with me through our life changes and look forward to sharing lots along the way.  Until next time....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Epilepsy Truths


Every November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and every year I share posts about how Epilepsy affects our lives.  Epilepsy has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I have never experienced a day, a month or a year when it was not a part of my life.

I try to share about Epilepsy in order to help others who suffer from this disorder.  I try to share so that other Mothers know they are not alone on this journey.  I try to share what I know from my own experiences both of living with Epilepsy and raising children with this disorder to help those who need to know that others feel what they have and do daily.

The truth is though that some days, most days, I simply want to forget this disorder exists.  Lately, I find myself not wanting to share, not wanting to provide answers or experiences or thoughts about this disorder.  I just want it to all go away.

I hate HATE seeing my baby girls suffer with Epilepsy.  I hate worrying and waiting to see if their baby brother, my sweet baby boy, will also have this disorder.   I live in fear that I will wake up to find Jackson in the midst of a seizure, as I have his sisters in the past.  I don't want to even think about Epilpesy's existence in the hopes that if I don't think about it, it will all just go away.

I know it won't just disappear.  I know it will not go away.  But it doesn't stop me from wishing for that very thing.

I'm a parent to four gorgeous, kind, intelligent children.  None of them deserve to have to live with this disorder.  None of them deserve to know the helplessness living with Epilepsy evokes.  They should be children who don't have to worry.  They shouldn't know pain or suffering.  They should be able to live normal, happy lives without sickness and stress.

I often try to find the blessing in living with Epilepsy but I'm not always able to do that.  Some days, I find myself worrying and wishing it away.  Lately, I'm having a lot of those days.  I know God never gives us more than we can handle but I wonder why we do have to handle so much, especially children who are so young.  All I can hope is that there is a purpose and a reason to glorify God in the process.

I am sharing this to show my days aren't always roses and candy filled when living with this disorder.  I have the up and down Momma days, just like everyone else.  I worry, I fear and I want things to change but they only will when God is ready to make that happen.  Until then all I can do is love the gifts God gave me and help them to live up to his purposes in order to glorify him.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Late October Update

Grabbing a quick minute to post an update today while Jackson is relaxing in his bed and the bigger kids are cleaning in their room.  It's Halloween week so this week is extra busy with outside activities for us.  Any opportunity to dress up and socialize is an event we are attending.

The kids are ultra excited for Wednesday night to get here so they can don their costumes and go spend time with Justain and the Tweens.  Trick or Treating isn't for everyone but it's something we do really enjoy as a family.  Dressing up and spending time together bonding is a favorite thing to do for our family.

The kids have all chosen their costumes and all is ready to go.  Winston is going to be Darth Maul.  Emmalee is a Witch, along with Grandma and Laycie's sweet little best friend Makayla.  Laycie and Jackson are Bumble Bees - Watch out or Laycie will sting you!  Justain is a Vampire Knight and I am dressing like the 80's this year.  Even my best friend is in on the fun, dressing in a 70's costume that totally fits her style!  I already have a few pictures from a recent event in town but I plan to take a lot more.

Jackson - Jax is doing well.  He's 8 weeks old now.  He'll be two months on Halloween.  His next checkup is Thursday and we will find out his weight and length then.  He's already stretching across the narrow side of his pack and play and he fills the bassinet length-wise.  And he's certainly becoming a chunky little one too.

Breastfeeding is going amazingly.  Jackson eats every 3-4 hours now and finishes both sides.  He's gaining weight.  He's peeing and pooping lots.  I am so glad I didn't give up in those first few weeks.  I'm even pumping a little and he's enjoying having a bottle here and there.  He's doing well with it all and I'm totally thrilled.

Jackson can see across the room now.  He notices people he knows: Me, Grandma, Laycie, Winston, Emmalee and Daddy.  He smiles.  He laughs.  And most recently he's discovered his hands.  He tries to suck his fingers and thumb.  He coos too.  It's the cutest and sweetest thing!

The kids are still totally in love with him.  They are enjoying his smiles and do as much as possible to make one happen so they can see it.  Laycie has been blowing bubbles on his tummy and he laughs at her.

Having Jackson has made each one of the older kids grow up just a bit.  Laycie wants to be "big sister", not little one.  Emmalee is helping more with the baby, little sister and even around the house.  Winston is just older overall.  It's amazing how much change a new baby brings into a home.

Well, my sweet boy has awakened and is not happy.  So blogging time is over.  Hope everyone is well.  We are praying for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  May God bless everyone and keep them safe. <3 p="p">

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dayspring Christian Academy's The Pilgrim Story Review


Dayspring Christian Academy has created an online class called The Pilgrim Story, which the Schoolhouse Review Crew was asked to review.  The Pilgrim Story tells the story of how America was founded by the Pilgrims based from original sources.  Dayspring Christian Academy uses the Principle Approach with the purpose of returning America to her biblical heritage.

The Pilgrim Story shows students how the Pilgrims persevered with hard work and self-governance, along with their strong Christian characteristics.  Through 5 units and 17 lessons, students learn about the conditions Pilgrims lived through on the Mayflower, the creation of the Mayflower Compact, life under the rule of King Henry, and more.  Lessons include assessments, extra activities to expand learning and notebooking pages to use along with the provided audio of the class format.  The course ends with a virtual field trip to Plymouth, MA, lead by The Pilgrim Story author, Mary Stauffer.

The Pilgrim Story was created to be used with students in grades 3-6.  Homeschoolers who have advanced 2nd graders could also use this online program, as well as those with students above 6th grade level who haven't had full instruction in the history of America's birth.

I must admit that this was not one of my favorite reviews.  It did not go well with our laid-back, less-structured style of learning.  I found it to be too structured for my personal liking and my children quickly became bored with the program itself.

This program provides everything a teacher needs for the course, as well as thorough lessons on America's beginnings.  The program also provides a thorough understanding of the creation of America on a biblical foundation.  The Pilgrim Story is the perfect way to teach children more about America's foundation and would be perfect for a structured-styled homeschooling family, or someone who is interested in thoroughly covering every aspect of America's foundation.

The Pilgrim Story costs $99 for six months of access to the program.  Access is available within 48 hours of purchase of the course.  Classes are not set on a schedule and are available for use as you choose.  The class is audio with slide show presentations to go along with them.

For more reviews of Dayspring Christian Academy's The Pilgrim Story, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - A six month subscription to The Pilgrim Story was provided to me by Dayspring Christian Academy and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a review.  No money was exchanged.  I am including this disclosure in accordance with FTC regulations.

Monday, October 15, 2012

KinderBach Review


KinderBach has expanded their musical family with a new iPad app: KinderBach Simply Discover Piano.  This app was designed to be used with young children, as well as older ones, teaching them piano at home easily, just as the KinderBach online does.  KinderBach Simply Discover Piano is a wonderful addition to the KinderBach line-up.



Created for children ages 3-7 and enjoyed by children of all ages, KinderBach Simply Discover Piano begins teaching children the concepts of piano directly on the iPad using a digital keyboard provided in the app.  Children use the keyboard to learn the key patterns used in each lesson building upon skills as they work through the program.  



KinderBach Simply Discover Piano has 3 levels of learning, with 10 lessons each that a child works through to learn how to play piano.  Each lesson provides a video intro which summarizes the lesson, 4 videos teaching the concepts learned in the lesson and a game to practice the lesson.  Printables for each lesson are also available to build upon the concepts learned.  The lesson intro also tells the child and teacher what is needed to complete that particular lesson for the week.



All three of my children played around with this app while we reviewed it.  Lessons were easily used with all three of them since the app allows the user to choose what lesson and level to begin with.  Lessons are also easily repeated because of this setup.  And the kids can spend as little or as much time playing with the app as they'd like.  The activities were intriguing for the kids and even my 4 year old was easily able to work through her lessons without becoming frustrated.  She learned a lot from simply watching the videos and playing along.  KinderBach Simply Discover Piano is one of our family's favorite apps!



There are two versions of the KinderBach Simply Discover Piano app available: The FREE basic version and the full version for $26.99.

 

The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed both KinderBach's Online program and KinderBach's Simply Discover Piano app.  For more reviews of both products, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - I received a free download of this app from KinderBach and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.  All opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Adjusting to Baby

Wow!  I didn't realize how long it's been since I posted something other than a blog post here until I filled out my 2013 Crew Review form.  Things have certainly been busy around here for the last few months.  Preparing for our newest addition, preparing for my c-section, welcoming our sweet boy into the world, bringing him home and adjusting to life with a newborn has kept our days filled.  Even keeping up with the Crew has been a struggle for me these past few months.

And yes, you all read right.  Our newest addition, Jackson Lucas Lee Lambert has officially arrived!!  Jackson was delivered via scheduled repeat c-section on August 31, 2012.  He weighed 8lbs and was 20.5 inches long at birth.  He's now over 9lbs and 22 inches long at a month old.

Jackson has had a rough month adjusting to the world.  For the first few weeks, we had to battle Jaundice that did not want to go away.  In fact, he's just now getting better from that, though we are truly thankful he didn't require a hospital stay under the bili lights to correct it.

Breastfeeding was a challenge at first, too, but every day we get a little bit better at it.  Jackson has an excellent latch and is very good at eating.  And now that we are past the first few weeks, breastfeeding has become enjoyable for Mommy too!

The kids have adjusted well to having a new baby in the house.  Everyone around kept commenting how worried they were that the kids would have trouble adjusting to him, especially Laycie, who has been the baby for the past 4 years.  I'm happy to say, I was right - Laycie LOVES her baby brother and isn't jealous of him at all.  She's adjusted as well as Emmalee did before her and Winston did when Emmalee was born.

I'm actually really proud of how well she has adjusted to being a big sister at just 4 years old.  She loves to help out with Jackson.  She brings me diapers and wipes.  She talks to Jax when he's fussy.  She loves to touch him and sing to him.  She sits beside him in the car and gives him his Paci when he cries and sings to him then too.  She amazes me at how much she does to help out with him.

All of my kids have been a great help with their baby brother.  Emmalee was a bit shy about helping at first, simply because Jackson was sooo very tiny to her that she was afraid she'd hurt him but now even she is helping out.  She enjoys doing anything to help with Jackson so long as it benefits him and doesn't require her holding him.  His care is one of the few things she does without argument and it's really helping her grow up more and more.

Winston, as always, had no problems helping out right away.  He voluntarily changes diapers and holds Jax as much as he can.  He is going to make some woman an amazing husband one of these days.

Having a new baby in the house doesn't allow much time for anything other than loving on baby but every day we are becoming more adjusted.  It's been hard even finding time to write this post.  In fact, I'm going to have to cut this short because my little sweetie is crying for Mommy.  So until next time.... <3 p="p">

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ZooWhiz Review


As a Homeschooling Mom, I learned a long time ago that in order to motivate my children to learn, I had to find resources that would allow them to enjoy the learning experience.  Many educators frown upon the excessive use of video and web games to educate children but for us, especially for my oldest son, video and web games are the key to learning.  Providing my children with lots of interesting web games that promote education and learning has been important to our educational style and learning methods. 



As a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I find that many times we are provided with wonderful opportunities to review websites and web games.  Most of them fit us perfectly and ZooWhiz is one of those perfect learning websites filled with lots of fun educational games.  My children don't even realize they are learning while playing online.  They usually think they are just playing a game until I say "Hey, did you just learn that?"  And I find myself saying that a lot lately.



ZooWhiz is flexible.  ZooWhiz is creative and imaginative.  ZooWhiz allows children to learn while rewarding them along the way.



ZooWhiz is available to play for free by creating a FREE Keeper account or you can purchase a Premium Zoologist account for $19.95 for an entire year of fun play per child.  With ZooWhiz, your child can choose the whichever avatar they'd like to be.  Then they can begin to explore the ZooWhiz world. 


They can visit Learn and Earn to earn coins through educational activities.  Check in at Milestones to see what progress has been made.  In the Biodome, they can purchase items and animals to place in the Zoo.  Visit the arcade to play games and learn more too.


With the FREE Keeper account, your child can access the educational activities but available animals and arcade games are limited.  Play outside of school hours is also limited in the free account.  But with the PREMIUM Zoologist account, all content is available including unlimited play time, endangered zoo animals, and the ability to choose levels of play for your child.



With ZooWhiz your child will gain additional learning experience in math, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, phonics, phonemics, reading and more.  Kids ages 5-15 can learn and enjoy using ZooWhiz.  We certainly did!  



For more reviews of ZooWhiz, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!!



*Disclaimer - Access to the Premium Zoologist account on ZooWhiz was provided to me free of charge for a limited time by ZooWhiz and TOS' Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion of the website in a blog post.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

BOX of I.D.E.As. Review


     When I first responded to the BOX of I.D.E.As. review form, I was following my instincts because I wasn't at all sure that this product would work for us.  My choice for the review was for the SALT box since I figured that would go along well with past lessons we have done on Egypt.  Salt is also a hugely used item around our house so I thought, "Hmm, what a great way to teach the kids about something we use so much of!"

     BOX of I.D.E.As. SALT box has not disappointed us.  Our SALT box arrived packaged within another box and true to it's name this BOX was with great ideas.  A brochure for this product was included explaining the concept of BOX of I.D.E.As and other than the actual SALT box, it was the first thing to catch my eye.

     The brochure proclaims this product to be "All you need in one neat box!" and it really is.  10 activity based modules make up this extensive curriculum targeting ages 9-16.  All in one box, getting the child off the computer and back to learning from scratch.  It's definitely a lot of hands-on learning fun.  



     Everything you need is included in one simple box and each module is easily setup.  Each box is easily implemented and adapted to any homeschoolers curriculum.  This box reminded me of a wonderfully, complete unit study.  The box is portable to be used anywhere, even while traveling.  The included exercises are engaging and interesting, keeping the child captivated and wanting to learn more.

     Upon opening the box, the user finds a welcome note explaining the curriculum along with 10 individually zip-lock package bags of activities.  The user can simply pull one of any of the 10 modules from the box to get started learning about SALT.  The only needed accessory is a pencil or pen.  If any other supplies are necessary for the module, it can be found listed on a label on the front of the module bag.

     A related quote can be found on the label on the front of each module bag.  These quotes can be used for copywork.  They can also be used for a writing project or a discussion to further build upon the curriculum and extend it to other areas in homeschooling.

     Fact cards are another bonus provided throughout the SALT box.  These cards can be used for memorization or a creative game.  They could also be turned into a writing assignment and added to by students as they learn more about Salt working through the curriculum.

     Each module is jam-packed with activities, games, facts, weblinks and more.  The modules cover everything from the Salt March to where salt comes from to why we use salt and so much more than most of us even know.  The Great Wall of China was even paid for with money gained from taxing salt.  Colorful photos are included to expand lessons and plenty of quality flashcards are included to be used as needed within the curriculum.

    We learned so much about SALT through this wonderful curriculum and so much more than any other curriculum we have used has taught us about it.  It was also very easy to include my littlest homeschooler in lessons, allowing her to listen as absorb as we held discussions and read through the activities included in each module.  This is a box we will be returning to over and over again as we learn more about how salt is used through history and more. It's a huge bonus to have a complete subject such as this one on hand.



   Other topics are available through BOX of I.D.E.As. such as Laundry, World War II (multiple products for WWII), Quilting, Civil War and more. To purchase your own BOX of I.D.E.As., visit their website.  The SALT box like we used, which includes everything but a pencil for activities, is available through their website for $79.  A PDF for SALT is available for $49.  Extra modules can be purchased as needed for $4 each.

     For more reviews of BOX of I.D.E.As. products and of SALT, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!



*Disclaimer - BOX of I.D.E.As. and the Schoolhouse Review Crew provided me with this SALT box for free in exchange for trying the product and providing my honest opinion in a blog post review.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Music Together Review


     Music Together is an award winning music program created to be used with children in any setting from homeschool to public school.  Internationally used, this product has provided a structured music program throughout the world.  They have worked to bring music to children everywhere.

     For this review, I was asked to try out Music Together: Family Favorites with my children at home.  When my package arrived, I found the Teacher's Songbook, a full CD of music to use along with the program and a folder of information for completing my review.  The covers for this particular program are green with black font that is simple yet professional in type.

 

     The Music Together: Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers begins with a short preface explaining the purpose of the program, then provides a section of how to use the book for the program.  Next is the Introduction which goes into further detail explaining the programs usefulness and purpose.  The beginning of the book is a guide that tells the teacher how to use the program, what props to use along with the songs, and differing activities that are used as well as how to use them for each part of the program.  This section also covers how to use this program with special needs students.

     The next section of the Songbook for Teachers begins the lessons for the program.  This section, called Songs, shares a different lesson for each song provided on the CD for the program.  How to teach the song, activities, as well as lyrics for each song are covered within this section.  The songs are further broken down to explain how to use them with children of differing ages from infant through school-age and also for special needs children.

     The last section of the Teacher's Songbook is a reference section, providing information on other books in the Music Together program.  Also included is a guide for guitar playing to use with the songs for the program and a dictionary explaining the terms used throughout the program.

 

     We used this program over a period of several weeks, while working with adjustments to having a new baby in the home, and we enjoyed what we were able to complete during that time.  Music is a favorite of mine so I enjoyed teaching my children with this particular program.  I also enjoyed sharing several of my own childhood favorites that we hadn't already covered with other programming in the past.  Songs like Biddy Biddy, She Sells Sea Shells, John the Rabbit, and I've Been Working on the Railroad allowed me to share a part of my own childhood with my children that we may have otherwise missed out on.  And I found my children enjoyed those songs and others just as much as I did.  Integrating activities like clapping along, using home-made drums and rhythm sticks, and singing together was a lot of fun to share as a family activity.  Overall we give this program two-thumbs-up as far as lessons go.

      Music Together: Family Favorites is available online as a combo package for the special price of $39.95 (a $5 discount from the regular price).  Use the code "Schoolhouse" at checkout to receive an additional $2 off the program.  The Songbook for Teachers is available to purchase separately for $29.95.  The Family Favorites CD is available for $14.95.  Individual tracks can be downloaded as needed for $.99 each or for $9.99 for the entire album.

     For more reviews of Music Together: Family Favorites please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog!

 

*Disclaimer - This program was provided by Music Together and the Schoolhouse Review Crew free in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.

 
   

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Cry From Egypt - Raising Real Men Review



Great Waters Press, publishers of Raising Real Men from my dear friend and her husband, Melanie and Hal Young, has recently published a wonderful new book: A Cry From Egypt by Hope Auer.  Prior to this book I had never personally heard of Hope Auer but now I am not likely to forget her as an author.  A Cry From Egypt is a great addition to any home library.


Hope Auer began writing at a young age.  She developed a passion for HIStory and storytelling throughout her school years which eventually led to her development of "The Promised Land Series".  Hope places the Lord first in her life followed closely by church and her family.  Her joy for writing definitely shows throughout her books and her love for educating children shows through too.


A Cry For Egypt is about the family of a young girl named Jarah who is a slave in Egypt in early biblical times.  Jarah and her family are torn between God himself and the Egyptian Gods and Kings of their time.  Living through the trials and tribulations of the day, Jarah's story shows children what life was like at this crucial time period in HIStory.

This story fit in well to our daily lessons and was easily implemented into our daily story time.  As a chapter book, we read it over a period of a few weeks, having a brief break for the birth of our youngest but was easily picked back up as we adjusted to his homecoming.  My children enjoyed the stories inside, learning about Jarah and her family and in turn more about Egypt.  Books like this one become classic favorites around our house.

Hope Auer wrote this wonderful historical fiction to capture the interest of the child reading it, as well as adults.  Through it she shares life, biblical ideals and the story of the Lord in a way children can understand.  This is one story you don't want to miss.

A Cry From Egypt by Hope Auer is available as an Advanced Reader Copy for $12.50 through http://acryfromegypt.com/store/.  To learn more about Raising Real Men from Hal and Melanie Young visit http://www.raisingrealmen.com/.  More reviews of A Cry From Egypt and also Children In Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship can be found on the Schoolhouse Review Blog!



*Disclaimer - A Cry From Egypt was provided to me by Great Waters Press, Raising Real Men and the Schoolhouse Review Crew for free in exchange for my honest opinion in a blog post.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Golden Prairie Press Review

  

     Heroines of the Past Bible Study by Amy Puetz is one of the best studies I have come across.  This study was created to be used with young girls to teach them more about many great Proverbs 31 women.  The stories inside help bring the Biblical aspects of Proverbs 31 women to life for young girls, teaching them along the way and helping to promote in them the goal of achieving the life of a Proverbs 31 woman for themselves.


     Heroines of the Past Bible Study covers great women like Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for nine days, Magdalena Luther and her Mother Katherine von Bora Luther, wife and daughter of Martin Luther, the famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, and many more.  Each woman has her own story of strength and survival through trials that were placed into her path.  Each show Grace and loyalty to God throughout their personal missions, helping girls to understand their own purpose and mission in life.

     Heroines of the Past Bible Study can be used in a group, such as a church study group or homeschooling group, or it can be used individually by an independent learner or along with Mom to strengthen the Mother/Daughter relationship.  The book is sectioned into weekly lessons, sharing a different story or story part throughout a 5 day week.  Some weeks cover more than one brave girl while others take more time to cover one particular girl.  Each day ends with a review of the story portion read, asking questions for thoughts to be shared, discussing biblical verses related to the story and helping the student break the thoughts from the story down and relate them into her own daily life.

     There are suggestions for lesson extras throughout the book such as the Box of Visual Reminders which a young girl can create using just a shoe box.  The student will gather the suggested item and as they work through the book they will review the items in the box remembering the lesson and story that went along with that item, allowing them to also remember how God worked in that persons life as well as his wishes for us as Christian women ourselves.

     This was such an amazing and fun study to use.  Since the stories were broken down so they weren't complicated to use or long to learn, it made learning from them fun too.  They were stories that my daughter could relate to and have helped her to understand God's wants for her, and give her strength as a blossoming young woman.  This book has helped to strengthen my little girls love for God.

     Heroines of the Past Bible Study by Amy Puetz is available through Golden Prairie Press as an eBook for $27 and it is well worth the investment.  If you'd like, a print copy is also available from Golden Prairie Press for $27 plus shipping.

     For more reviews of Heroines of the Past and other Golden Prairie Press books, please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog!!



*Disclaimer - This ebook download was given to me free for review from Golden Prairie Press and the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest opinion shared in a blog review post.

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