Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Color It–A Color By Number Review


I have 2 boys and sometimes coloring books were never really something they used very much. Oh I tried to get them to but they just like to freehand it on scraps of paper. Any paper actually, I always had (and still do) little bits of bills or notes with their doodles on them.

Now my daughter on the other hand loves to color in coloring books and at 2 is getting pretty good. She knows which color she wants to use for which part of the picture and everything. I am going to begin doing some preschool work with her soon and have been using a few aps on the phone with her every once in a great while.


Imagine an app that combines the simple exercise of a coloring book with number and color exploration and recognition. Well I got the chance to review just this type of product, Color It By Numbers. I wasn’t sure what to expect but remember those anti coloring boys I have? Yep, they love to do these too.


It is an application for Mac, Windows and Linux where you color in pictures according to numbers. The program helps children learn numbers while having fun.
Program features:
-three coloring modes
-easy to change preset colors
-cute and exciting images
-beautiful effects.
-adapted for all screen resolutions
-the picture is automatically saved after exiting the program
-music and sounds
As well as being in English, the program has been translated into German, Spanish, French and Russian.


There are 3 themes which are purchased individually, animals, princesses, and vehicles. Each theme has 21 images you can color in 3 different ways; by number, to find the image, and favorite colors. Coloring by number has the image numbered by color for each part, Color to find it has the image broken up into smaller pieces and as you fill in the color the pictures becomes visible, and finally favorite colors is just using whatever colors you would like to color the picture.

I really enjoyed letting my kids play with these and my 8 y/o son really liked it the best. My daughter is 2 and was a little impatient with the whole process but I know she will just love it when she masters the mouse! I loved the themes and the music set to each one. The princess music is especially beautiful and I could let it play during school time to encourage the children to work diligently so they can use the ap. I highly recommend heading over to get your free trial.

Each app costs $9.99 to buy


If you choose to download the trial and then purchase it you will receive a key that needs to be entered into the trial version to make it fully functional. Check out the video for more information on how this product works.

And the best part I have saved for last. I am having a super cool contest since I missed doing one on my 200th post (this is 210)! I am giving away one of each theme to my wonderful readers absolutely free.

*All you need to do is leave a comment here about any of my other posts.*

Additional entries:

1. Follow my blog

2. Like Color It By Numbers on FB

3. Follow Mrs. Mandy’s Musings on Twitter

4. Follow Color It By Numbers on Twitter

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry! I will draw the 3 winner’s on July 1st and post them here on July 2nd. Be sure I have an email to contact you or I will pick a new winner.

Disclaimer: I received this product free in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.


My Son’s First Review

Recently my son had an opportunity to review a planner for High Schoolers from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I have used the planner from last year and loved it you can read my review here and here. So when the chance came up for him to try it out he jumped on it. My boys share a blog but it has not been well loved yet. Please feel free to follow as I hope to have them do more with it this year.He would love you all to read it and leave some comments on their blog. You can find his review by clicking on the following link:

Purple Biker Gamer Guy


Friday, June 10, 2011

Family Movie Night


Field Of Vision Saturday June 11th 8/7 c


Through mysterious footage captured on an old malfunctioning video camera, Sinclair High School's star quarterback, Tyler McFarland, learns that some of his teammates have been bullying Cory Walker, a troubled new transfer student. Aware that sharing this information with the coach might get his friends kicked off the team and ultimately cost the school the state championship, Tyler must choose what's more important: winning or doing what's right.

As these events unfold, the camera also reveals more surprising footage to Tyler's kid sister Lucy. She learns that Cory has a secret past, unknown even to him. Now Lucy must convince her mom (Faith Ford, Murphy Brown) and family that the camera's revealing insight is not a product of her imagination as she enlists their help to find the answers Cory so desperately needs. It's a compelling and intriguing story that shows both the challenges and rewards of doing the right thing even when it's tough to do.

Preview Trailer

My Thoughts:

This is a wonderful heartwarming movie about the struggle to do the right thing. I did expect it to be centered on the character who is the popular kid and must make this tough decision but after viewing it was pleasantly surprised to see there was no single main character as each is focused on as the movie progresses. I watched it with my boys and we all enjoyed it immensely.

We do not have cable and usually watch Netflix but I am wonderfully thankful that P&G and Wal-Mart have partnered to bring Family Movie Nights to households all across the United States. Wholesome movies with good family values are needed more than ever. This endeavor brings back memories of what watching TV with the family was like when I was a child.

Please be sure and watch it this Saturday (tomorrow) with your family at 8/7 central on NBC.

"Field of Vision" is an uplifting movie that addresses bullying in schools and the importance of standing up in the face of adversity. Nearly three-quarters of Americans consider bullying harassment a serious problem and more than 45% of students admitted to having been bullied in school. This movie provides a great opportunity for families to spend time together in watching and discussing the issue of bullying from a biblical world view. 

Starring Faith Ford, Tony Oller and Joe Adler this movie airs on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 8/7c on NBC.

"Field of Vision" FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT



Mom's for Family TV:

Dove Foundation Review:


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What I did today…

Moved a rose bush

From here:100_5108




Ok so maybe I did not do ALL the work but I did quite a bit while the boys were complaining it was too hard. Of course then they were into it when they discovered there were only 3 roots to unearth. Although to their credit the soil was very rocky here.

To here:


Doesn’t it look happier already? Hubby dug the new hole for me since we made it a wee bit narrow, thanks hun! This is a climbing rosebush and was going up our wall and into the roof so it had to be moved. It was in a very bad spot with a ginormous honeysuckle and another bush, that I can’t think of what it is right now, blocking all the light and making it very difficult to prune.

The previous owners really had no clue as to what they were doing and much of this house is a confused mess but we hope to eventually put it to rights! If you look there is no footing for the deck post behind the bush and that is a second story deck! The deck is next on my list to get fixed.

Here is the little garden area behind our house under the kitchen:


I would love to have this as my veggie garden at some point to start with since it is right out the back door (and down the deck stairs). It would get full sun from about 10 am on if I get it all cleared of that bush but I feel bad because it has been our bird watching spot for the past 3 years. What to do, what to do?

So before I started this project I worked on an apron for little miss but need to save my pennies to buy some ribbon for ties and trim but otherwise it is finished and super simple. I post later on how to make one.





Also not sure if these are cicadas or not since I have not heard them this season but I am pretty sure they aren’t butterfly chrysalis like my son thinks. I am going to go up on the ladder tomorrow to find out for sure. I have never had them on the house like that before.


Made some yummy pasta tonight for supper with the peppers and tomatoes from my plants, added some oregano and thyme and it was super yummy! Sorry no pics though as we devoured it immediately after our hard work outside today!

Well some of us just played in the sprinkler but you know that’s hard too!





A Daughter’s Walk


What would you do to save your family’s livelihood? Would you walk cross-country, from Spokane,Washington to New York, New York in 9 months? How about in a long dress with no secure lodging or food? Well that’s just what Helga and her daughter Clara Estby did in 1896 for a $10,000 wager to save the family farm.


Jane Kirkpatrick, drawing on this factual account, takes the reader through the trials, triumphs, heartaches and losses that plague this mother and daughter throughout their trip. Something else is along for the trip and that is Helga’s firm faith and devotion to do what is right.

As the trip draws to a close Jane let’s imagination take over as she creates what might have occurred to separate Clara from her family and prompt her to live out her days away from them and make it as a successful young lady. Sources as to the speculation of this part of the novel are included and I found the information fascinating. Also included is a discussion guide for use with a group which makes it great to use in our home school.

I love historical fiction and Jane has done a superb job or crafting a tale that draws you in and holds you by the heart making you truly care and wonder about each of the characters in the story.

Here is a link to the 1st chapter:

Chapter 1-Decision

Available as an e-book $9.99, paperback $14.95 from Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishers

or audio book from $7.49

Disclaimer: I received this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishing Groups a part of Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation has been received.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

IL Homeschool Links

Welcome to Homeschooling through the 50 States today we are visiting Illinois!


Humble Gardening


I like that word, humble, it just kind of bounces out of the mouth. I have, unfortunately, not been a person that does humble very well. I am not given praise very often and I usually get haughty about that fact. I often feel that I should have been recognized for my efforts doing such and such. Now don’t get me wrong I have tried to become a more humble and contrite person but that is not my nature. I anger easily and am too darn proud to say I was wrong. The Lord knows my nature and has gently brought me to his feet to learn how to overcome it and work for His glory.



My darling 2 y/o was helping and picked these a wee bit early Winking smile

Knowing my heart the Lord has seen my family through tremendous adversity and currently we are in a season of unemployment. He has provided for our every need and I know He will continue to do so. As such he sent me my wonderful aunt who brought me a potted pepper and tomato plant when I simply mentioned I saw them at the store. I have also received an Aerogarden from the same aunt and have herbs growing there.

100_5059             Mint & Basil

100_5061    Thyme & Oregano

Let me explain a bit. My husband came from a family who on one side ran a catering business and on the other side ran a farm. In the past few years God has put it in our hearts to homestead and run a sustainable home. I am a complete city girl and have the brownest of thumbs. I am awful at growing things, or I was until about 6 years ago when the Almighty sent some amazing people to us during our years in the military. They taught me much about planting and growing the things God made. Now I am no pro but am able at least to get most things sprouted.


So as I said we have it on our hearts to homestead in the future (financially we are in a tough spot so this is on hold) but growing food is something altogether foreign to me. My tomato and pepper plants are doing well and I have fruit from the vine to prove it! We used some Impatiens for a science project and they are coming back and my son planted some seeds in Children’s church before Easter and wow are they growing! I am beginning to get a vision for container gardening since we don’t have the tools for a larger size garden that way as we are able I can plant in the ground.

100_5067Any idea what this vine is?

So many of my homeschool, homestead, & blogging friends have given me encouragement and inspiration I realized last night the Lord sent all of them in the same way he sent the wonderful ladies to me years ago. To each of you I want to say Thank you and you are a blessing to me, may the Father Almighty pour out his blessings among you.

Tomato & Pepper Plants




Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Write Foundation ~ Essays


I had the chance to review The Write Foundation's Essay Curriculum, I reviewed their paragraph curriculum here, to see first hand the changes they had made.  At first my son still was reluctant and kind of trying to avoid doing it but I soon learned the genius of the lessons and how it worked best for us.

We began doing a lesson over an hours time which was requiring my son to work on multiple worksheets. He was feeling overwhelmed until I realized these lessons could be Charlotte Mason –ized (forgive the word creation) into short lessons if we only worked on one concept/worksheet a day.


I still wish there was a copy of the students sheets in the Teacher’s Manual because often times I would be writing what my son was to fill in on his sheet and it was already there or I would be giving him instructions and it was already printed on his page to read himself. At 15 my son likes to be able to just take the work and do it mostly with out my help unless needed. This is where I stumbled onto what worked best for us, I got tired of having to go look at his page and just gave him the TM instead of writing it on the board and then we would talk about it as he wrote, brilliant, huh?!



Now let me point out here that there is an additional resources file that you receive with your purchase that includes copies of the student pages meant to be used either on an overhead projector or from your computer. I could never remember to go to this file and get what we needed so for me sitting the TM in front of my kid is what worked best. Not I am sure the author’s intent but that is why TOS Crew just voted this the Most Adaptable Curriculum in their Blue Ribbon Awards.

Check out the video below for the How-To’s of teaching this curriculum.


Here is what you get when you purchase the  Essay Writing Curriculum package:

  • Spiral-bound Teacher Instruction Manuals with Lesson Plans (about 160 double-sided pages)

  • 1 set notebook-ready Worksheets (about 200 pages)

  • 1 downloadable Additional Resources file

    • Grading System

    • Grading Record Sheets

    • Word Games

    • Checklists

    • Teacher Presentation Sheets

    • Weekly Assignments

    • Extensive Reading list

There are a few ways to buy this package so to be clear I will explain. You can order the first half of the lessons, the second half of the lessons or all of the lessons. Basically this is so you can use it either by semester or an entire year. The complete package is 30 lessons and costs $70 plus tax and shipping. You may email or call for other package options.

To contact her:


Phone: 281-356-3556

There is also a Yahoo Group which can be found at thewritefoundation.

Overall I would say I am very pleased with the changes made and the curriculum in general. More specifically I really enjoyed the subject matter contained in the exercises for Essays and found my son was picking up on the teachings in a much easier fashion, he was learning and really did not realize it. I would say he was naturally becoming a better writer through the use of this program.

Disclaimer: I was provide with the first 15 lessons of this curriculum free of charge in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

2010-2011 TOS Crew Blue Ribbon Awards

As the 2010-2011  Crew year comes to a close, each crew member has selected their favorites, The votes have been counted and now I am proud to present the recipients of the award this year:

Favorite Language Arts Product => Institute For Excellence in Writing (IEW)

Favorite Social Studies Product => Bright Ideas Press-Wondermaps

Favorite Science Product => Eagle’s Wings-Considering God’s Creation

Favorite Math Product => I See Cards-Pyramath

Favorite Online Math Product => Ten Marks

Favorite Writing Product => Writing Tales

Favorite Reading Instruction Product => Talking Fingers

Favorite Foreign Language Product => Classical Academic Press

Favorite Fine Arts Product (art, music, etc.) => Artistic Pursuits

Favorite Preschool Product => Go Go Kabongo

Favorite Elementary Product => Speekee

Favorite Upper Grade Product => Vocab Ahead

Favorite Special Needs Product => See-N-Read

Favorite Christian Education Product => Apologia

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed => Lanschool Technologies

Best Customer Service => Peterson Directed Handwriting

Best Online Resource => Big IQ Kids

Best e-product => Zeezok Publishing-ZGuide to the Movies

Best Technology Resource => Collectorz

Best Homeschool Resource => Yesterday’s Classics

Best Book, Novel or Magazine => Zoe & Sozo Publishing-Foundlings

Best Children’s Book => Kregel Publications-Circle C Beginnings

Best Hands-On Resource => Corps of Re-Discovery

Most Adaptable Resource => The Write Foundation

Most Unique Resource => GoTrybe

Most Family-Oriented Product => Growing Healthy Homes-Nutrition 101

Kid’s Choice => Schleich Action Figures

All Around Crew Favorite => Institute For Excellence in Writing

Each winning vendor has received this wonderful award to display with pride:

If the next few days I will be posting our families favorite Crew products from the past year so be sure to check back and see what we consider our must haves for this year’s schooling!



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