Friday, December 31, 2010

Baby Genius Kids Dance Party CD Winners!!!

The  winners of the Baby Genius Kids Dance Party CD's are...
Commentors #4 (Mandy) and #22 (The Frugal Free Gal)!
I will be contacting each of you by email.

Claudea B.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: God Gave Us So Much (Limited -Edition)

This wonderful 3 book limited edition is the highlight of the day!  God Gave Us So Much by Lisa Tawn Bergren has won my family over and I can't wait to give you the details about it.  The illustrations were beautifully done by Laura J. Bryant, and they really bring you into the story.  Before I get a head of myself, let me give you the stats on this heartwarming book.

The book comes as a hardcover, which is a wonderful advantage when it comes to reading to the toddler ages.  The first story in the book, God Gave Us the World, is about 16 pages long and is the perfect length to keep the little ones attention.  The second story is God Gave Us Love, which is about 17 pages long, and the final story is God Gave Us Heaven, also about 17 pages.  The book includes a nifty blue ribbon to help you identify where you left off (This is handy for our impatient little tots and preschoolers).  The pages are sturdy and the rich colors make the story come alive.

Look at all of that gorgeous detail!
What I absolutely loved about all of the stories is that the little Polar Bear cub asks all of the questions that any preschooler would ask, I know mine did.  Questions like "Do all bears have pink tongues?" and "What's Heaven?"  As soon as Mama, Papa, or Grampa bear answers one question, it just raises more for Little Cub.  Doesn't that sound like the typical preschooler???
Mama, Papa, and Grampa Polar Bears continue to answer all of the little cubs questions about life in a loving and understanding way.  I think that the series helps parents to answer some of the questions for their little ones, even if they haven't been asked yet.  I can certainly feel the warmth and love that is relayed from the Polar Bear family through these stories.
God Gave Us The World, takes Little Cub on a journey to learn about different types of bears.  These bears eat different types of food, and live in far away places.  With Mama bear's guidance, the little cub learns that God created many different kinds of things. Mama lovingly helps Little Cub understand why God created so many wonderful things, including little Polar Bear cubs.
The second story, God Gave Us Love, begins with Little Cub being upset with a trio of fun-loving otters. They were scaring away the fish during Grampa and Little Cubs fishing trip.  Grampa empathizes with how Little Cub feels and helps her to understand Gods plan for us to love, because he loves.  Little Cub also learns that there are different kinds of love, such as the love between a mama and a papa, and between friends.

In the final story of this limited-edition entitled, God Gave Us Heaven, Papa answers the BIG question for Little Cub, "What's Heav'n?"  Papa explains that heaven is God's home.  Through a series of questions and interactions between Papa and Little Cub, she learns that there is a path that leads to heaven.  God provided us with his "very own son, Jesus" to be our "bridge" to get there.  I LOVE the way the book explains this to the little ones.

At the end of each story, Little Cub has learned an important lesson taught to her by her loving caregivers.  She is able to go to sleep and dream peaceful dreams because she is loved.
The perfect children's stories!
We loved the stories, my 9 year old even took the book with her to bed to read on her own.  I think the book is warm, delightful, and beautifully written...a must have, especially for parents of inquisitive kiddos:)

I received this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinion.  I attest that the opinions stated in this post are my own.

Claudea B.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Claudea's Day Off

It's a gloomy, gray-ish, damp, and breezy kind of I'm taking the day off!
Please, don't disturb my comatose-state...can't you see the sign???

I'll have wonderfully whimsical dreams of adventure and treasures untold...

No WORK...

No PLAY...

Cuz I need my beauty sleep.

So please do not disturb....It's my day off!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time For Teaching Textbooks

During our Fall Semester I have constantly thought about changing the curriculum that we currently use for math.  I've been back and forth about it simply because it is VERY important to me that my kiddos have an excellent grasp of math (mainly because I didn't).  I've been doing some research and had narrowed my top two choices down to Saxon and Teaching Textbooks.  I was completly annoyed with the Saxon website, having to sign into a guest book just to get to the product video, then having to sign in again to get to the Virtual Sample. I mean what kind of people holds the videos randsome to get email addresses...WHO??? Not to mention the 15 minutes of rambling about the research behind the design and layout of the textbooks.  I just wanted to find out what they would learn and would I be responsible for all of the lesson plans. Neither of which I found out during my 20 minute stint at the website.  So, I gathered up my limited patience and went elsewhere...specifically, to Teaching Textbooks.

My kiddos work independently for most subjects, at this juncture in their education, except for math.  I usually will prepare a lesson for them using our trusty E.D. Hirsch grade level series as my guide.  I then will have them practice the concepts learned on the dry erase board (which they love to do) as many times as needed, so that I can see that they understand the concept.  Next, I follow-up with worksheets from the Evan-Moor Math Skills workbooks.  I give them as much time as they need on any concept using this method.  I like my current method because of that, but it is the ONLY reason I like it.  

It is EXTREMELY time consuming using my current method, trying to find the right worksheets to correlate with the concepts from my E.D Hirsch books.  Duplicating hand-outs, because I don't let them write in the workbooks.  Researching the best way to teach a concepts such as decimals and conversions...cause I can't trust how I learned it. It's lots and lots and LOTS of work on my part.  I'm exhausted from just sharing it with you.

My plan is to find a curriculum that teaches them a bit more on their own, but to also keep them ahead of the game, which they currently are.  I reviewed the Teaching Textbooks and think that this is going to be the best fit for us.  Even though, after reviewing the placement tests offered on the website, I've determined that I may have to purchase the books that are a grade or two above my kiddos' levels. 

What I love about the Teaching Textbooks though, is that they are kid-friendly and conversational.  Both of which will appeal to my kiddos.  I love the fact that there are DVD's to explain every single problem that is in the textbooks and that my kiddos will be able to go over any concept as many times as needed.  The website itself has easily accessible samples (that you don't have to give out your email address for) as well as a demo of the grade book that is used to track your kids progress. AWESOME!  They had me at self-teaching DVD's.

Of course, I will keep you posted on how it goes.  If you have TT and have any comments or suggestions about this curriculum, or any other awesome math curriculum you've found...please share in the comments section.

Claudea B.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tot School: Week Six

We managed to get in a few things that I'd like to share this week, even though I realize that many of our Tot School Friends will not be posting this week. 

We didn't do much structured stuff, I just did a lot of parallel talking while RJ went about doing what ever his mind could conjure.  Here are some pics of his holiday week fun.

This is RJ chasing me because I was trying to take pictures of all the mayhem he was causing.
(I'm starting off with this pic because it's probably the clearest one...blasted smartphone)

Pulling things off the shelve, because that makes him happy.
Playing with his V-Tech truck for a few seconds and then...
Moving on...Next!
Animal Blocks, he's probably thinking " many ways can I throw each one of these."
RJ: "Wow, lots...let's play the banging song to celebrate"
"Guess there's nothing left to destroy"
Here he is just after confiscating his sister's DSI.
...and somehow figuring out how to work it!

One night, I actually got him to sit down and work on a puzzle...go mama, go mama!
And got a couple pics...miracle.
He even played the Chips in a Can game with me for a while.
This is a Folgers coffee can that I wrapped in some colorful wrapping paper and cut a hole in the top.  I found these cute little colorful chips at a garage sale but you can use poker chips or any other coin-like pieces you can find to make this game.
We had lots of fun playing with this together
I got so excited when he got the first one in all by himself!

Well, after that week, I could definitely use a spa retreat, but I think he learned some things.  I can't really tell you what right now, but I can tell you what I learned...I need to re-arrange his learning areas (If I'm going to keep my sanity).

Happy Homeschooling Mama's:)

Claudea B.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Giveaway: Baby Genius Kids Dance Party CD's

Baby Genius Kids' Dance Party 2 CD pack includes 24 songs...that's over an hour of music for your kiddos to enjoy.

Kids can sing and dance to party favorites such as the Mexican Dance, the Chicken Dance, and the Hokey Pokey all on one CD or enjoy some new takes on classic favorites with the remix CD.  The remix CD includes songs like B-I-N-G-O, This Old Man, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. 

My daughter still loves to dance to these songs, I have a few favorites myself.  The music is high-energy and fun to shake your hips too.  With that said, I've decided to share the fun with not one, but TWO of my readers!

Here's how to enter:  Read any other post on this blog and leave a comment, this will give you your mandatory entry. Next, just come back to this post and let me know you left your comment with your email address. That's it!


You can do any of these things for an extra entry. Make sure to leave a separate comment for EACH thing you do.

1. For TWO extra entries, subscribe to my blog via Google Friend Connect.

2. Subscribe to my blog via email.

3. For THREE extra entries, blog about this giveaway and link it back to this post.

4. Follow claudeabgood on Twitter.

Well that's it! This contest ends at 11:59pm CST on December 30, 2010. I will draw two winners at random using random integer generator, and notify them by email as well as on this site. The winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond or another entry will be selected.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Good Luck!

Claudea B.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Student and The Teacher

Here is Charlie Brown...
He's holding his Master Reader which prepares him for college level literacy courses.
He uses this book to both learn and teach.

This is his senior year and he has gotten a little bored with the traditional "classroom" style of learning.
I was sick of grading his papers and following up with written comments due to his work and social schedules.

So we decided to come up with a creative way to make both of us happy.
He does the work, learns the material, and then "teaches" it to Sunshyne and I afterwards. I grade him on how well WE grasped the information.

The Following is a demonstration of how he teaches:

He begins with a little lecture...with his trusty composition book in hand, he gives us a stern, professor's stare.

Next, he provides us with the topic and supporting materials for the lesson.  This particular day, he was teaching us how to recognize the topic sentence within a paragraph.  He used a passage from the book entitled "Making Our Money Secure."

He discussed with us the supporting sentences of the topic which included the three new security features of the $20 bill.  They consist of the security thread, the watermark, and the color changing ink of the small "20" in the lower right corner of the bill (which changes from copper to green when tilted).
See...I learned a lot!

He took us outside to show us all of the security features of the that's what I call hands-on instruction.

He finished up his lesson by giving us the opportunity to find the security features ourselves...well maybe a little help from our instructor.

He just makes me so proud!
(He got an A...just in case you were wondering)

They grow up so fast...(whimper) 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunshyne at the Beauty Salon

Today I decided that it was time to initiate my little Sunshyne to the wonderful world of Femininity, A.K.A
Beauty Salon!
(This is the face of utter FEAR...with a cute twist)

Actually I'd never thought about taking Sunshyne to the beauty salon because frankly, I thought it would cost too much.  Besides, I thought it would be more suitable for her when she was older.  However, a friend of mine was taking her daughter, who happens to be slightly younger than Sunshyne, so I thought what the heck.
(not to mention I didn't feel like doing her hair today anyway)

We went to Milan Beauty School and scored a nice deal; shampoo, conditioned, and flat ironed for $15.00 YAY!!! 

Other than that, I would have just been doing hair today.
She was soooo excited to get pampered and have her hair done by an almost-professional.
Since I don't usually let anybody mess with her hair, I was very observant of EVERYTHING going on in the school.

I loved the fact that there were instructors continuously walking the floors and checking on the students.  They were providing them with counsel and suggestions where they saw fit. 
I found this VERY comforting because my Sunshyne is kinda babified when it comes to getting her hair done and I didn't want to be all over the hair dresser's shoulder.
I'm glad the instructors were though.

As you can probably tell from the above photos, my Sunshyne has extremely curly hair...meaning resistant to straightening, but that was the mission for the day.
She wanted it straight.  I can never get it sTraIGht.

But after some jerking

...Some grappling

...A few tears

My Sunshyne was FABULOUS!
...and she worked it! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby Einstein: My First Signs DVD WINNER!!!

We have a winner of the Baby Einstein: My First Signs DVD!  Drum roll please....Comment #30 C's Mamma....Congratulations! 

Thank you to everyone that participated in this giveaway, I had a few bugs to work out but I think it was pretty successful for my first one.  I had so much fun that I think I'll do one each week for the rest of the month:)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Homemade Dino Dig For Toddlers and Preschoolers

If you've ever been inside of a Pre-K and Kindergarten classroom, you've more than likely noticed a large, plastic bin with excited children hovering around it somewhere in the room.  That bin could contain water and water toys, sand with digging and molding toys, or something a bit more special...A digging site!
A digging site where the children can find all sorts of treasures, that will make their little hearts rejoice.

I know this because this is the activity that I couldn't pry my little Sunshyne away from when she was 4,5, and 6 years of age, when ever she had to go to drop-off care.  There were plenty of other mother's that shared my struggle with their own little angels, so I've concluded that it must be FUN!

Today we are going to make our own!

Here's what you'll need:

~A Deep Bin- mine is about 5in. deep and is 11 1/2 x 9 in.
(preferably with a lid)
~About 5lb. bag of rice (maybe a little more)
~Hot Glue gun
~Hot glue sticks
~Dinosaurs or other little treasures
~A pastry brush (shown later)

*Note: This project cost me about $6.00 to make (most items purchased at the dollar store)

Do you see these cute little dino feet??? Just add a little hot glue to those and the portion of the tail that will be touching the bottom of the plastic bin.

Like so...

Next, just randomly place the little dinos around in the plastic bin.

I decided to throw this little guy in for a bit of fun...we got him at Chucky Cheese's or Mr. Gattis or maybe it was Peter Piper Pizza' of those kid frenzy places.

Your bin should look a little like this so that no matter where your toddler/preschooler is digging, they'll find something.

(Just throwing this in to see from another angle)
Let your glue dry completely...I waited about 10 minutes just to make sure, I don't want any rice to stick to the glue...yuck!

Next, we pour in the rice
I don't know about you, but this was super fun for me...I should probably look into some therapy after admitting that though.

Make sure all of your little dinos are completely covered...we want them to be a surprise.

Add your pastry brush or any other digging tools and...

Your ready to let them find the prize inside!

This can be made with soooo many different variations.  You can use different types of toys or digging tools or even the rice, using beans or sand.

Lentils, black beans, split peas....or even pasta noodles would be fun to try.
Have fun with it and I know your toddler or preschooler will too!


Claudea B.