Today's Wisdom

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review of Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree - #readingapp

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

Today's review will be added to our fun summer of learning. We had the opportunity to play with a new app by Star Toaster called Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree. This app requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  It is an interactive book about critters who are orphaned and some that think they may have become orphans (orphs) as their parents have disappeared following a dam breakage. You will follow along with Abba, the flying squirrel, as he tries to investigate exactly what has happened. Just some of the critters you will encounter on your journey are hedgehogs, toads, crows, chipmunks, beavers, and mice.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

As you are reading along with the 122 page story, you will notice links along the way that take you to other tasks to complete.  As you complete those tasks, you earn supplies to help take care of the orphs whom Abba is taking care of in his treehouse.  Each of the links is clearly marked with a different color and include activities in the subject areas of grammar, math, vocabulary, science, thinking skills, life skills, and art.  There are 75 lessons with over 130 tasks to complete.

The links work in several different ways. You may just see a pop up explaining the definition of the word, or be taken to a video with more information, or simply be taken to another page with more details. For instance the link above, "flying squirrels", brought up a page giving you details about flying squirrels. As you will notice in the yellow title, it says "job training". In order to earn the supplies needed for the orphs, students will complete various job training exercises and then answer questions about their training to earn stars. 

Each job training category has an icon that matches with the help wanted icon. So first, students need to be sure they have completed the training section (#1) before answering the questions in the help wanted section (#2). When a task is complete, they will see a green check mark to let them know it has been completed. If they miss an answer, it is identified with a red x. There is not an opportunity to correct any missed answers.

Here is an example of a vocabulary pop up link. 

In Stumptown is where students will find the tasks they need to complete. Each treehouse that needs a task completed will have a number on it with the tasks that are available. When all tasks are complete and enough stars have been earned, supplies are rewarded for the orphs such as food, clothing, and other necessities.  

I snapped a few screenshots of some of the different learning categories for you to see. This one was on tally marks. 

This lesson was on Impressionism and it was fun to see mention of Monet as we have been studying a little about him over the summer and painting a few of his water lily designs.

This science lesson was on rainbows and how to remember the colors. 

There is a progress screen available so students and parents can keep track of progress too.  More than one student can use the app as well.  


This app is recommended for ages 9-11 and I used it with my daughter who is 12. The tasks involved were fairly easy for her but also a fun way to get in some review. I read along as well and found it neat how they incorporated the subject areas right into the story line. For example, Abba was speaking once of how he had worked for Pinecone Publishers and needed to know the difference between common and proper nouns which lead to a lesson on that subject area. 

Sarah completed all of the current lessons and finished the book. There is more scheduled to be added to the app at a later date. At the end, you can put in your email to be notified when it is updated.

This app currently sells for $1.99 in the iTunes store. Overall, we would recommend this app to families who want to add a great education app to their children's screen time or supplement their current curriculum.

Find our more on Star Toaster by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 25, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - 7/25/16

It's time to eat again.  :)

Here's what is planned for the week:

  1. Sloppy Joes, ff
  2. Ham, spinach, rice
  3. Chicken pastry, yams, green beans
  4. out
  5. Creamy chicken egg noodles, garden peas
  6. BLT's, summer veggies

Friday, July 22, 2016

Review of Aquarelle Monet

Our summer has been amazing and we are really enjoying relaxing and being laid back more than we ever have before. Even though it is summer, we still like to incorporate what I call fun learning especially anything to do with art. Today's review falls into that category perfectly. We were sent the Aquarelle Monet set from Timberdoodle to review. We thought it was the perfect way to pass a hot summer day!
The Aquarelle Monet set includes the following items:
  • three pictures on thick card stock with beautiful landscape scenes from Monet's line of water lillies
  • washable liquid watercolor paints
  • a standard pipette plus a sturdy dropper (love that Timberdoodle added the sturdy dropper because they felt the one included did not hold up well - I agree!)
  • paint palette
  • a double ended paintbrush
  • a color mixing guide
I found myself really interested in the name when I first saw this set and loved the fact that it included landscape scences from Monet's line of water lillies.  Aquarelle is a style of painting using thin, typically transparent, watercolors.  I explained that to my daughter before beginning the fun. 

Getting started is really simple and easy - all you need is water!  The color mixing guide makes obtaining the color you want even easier.  Sarah really enjoyed mixing her own colors using the guide and playing around with her own combinations.  

The pictures have a wax lining that remains clear as you paint over them giving such a fantastic dimension to your painting and really making it easy to make a great water color painting. 

Here are some of our finished projects.  We experimented with adding just a little water to the picture after we finished and liked the effect it left too.  It was so fun to play around with - we had a blast making it our own.  

I didn't realize before hand that many of Claude Monet's final and most famous pieces feature the water lilies in Giverny. So, not only was this a fun activity it sparked our interest into finding more about the artist as well. 

Aquarelle Monet is recommended for ages 8 and up but with a parent's help in mixing the colors I think it would be okay to use with younger children.  The great part is the paints are easily washable because we dripped some ourselves as we were mixing and had no problems at all with clean up.  We would highly recommend this fun activity! This set currently sells for $28.50 and can be purchased here.

This set is also a part of Timberdoodle's 4th Grade 2016 Curriculum Kit.

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tenacious Thursday - Weeks 11, 12, & 13

It's hot, it's summer, I'm lazy, I'm slacking...and on and on.

My steps are falling behind because I am not intentionally focusing on them and pushing myself.  I am moving our school room into a new area and that is my current focus along with selling last year's curriculum and making sure I have all of this year's curriculum.  It is what it is but I don't like what I'm seeing in my steps and my weight is staying the exact same which is a good thing at this point because it's not going up!

Week 11 - not even half of my goal

Week 12 - pattern continues

Week 13 - forgot to even put my fitbit on half the time!  If it wasn't for Monday, this week would have been a total wash.

It's ironic that these weeks are following one of my best weeks yet.  

Thanks for those of you joining in with me and keeping me accountable!  How was your week?  What were your accomplishments?  Let me know!  It's never too late to join in! Let's keep each other accountable!

Friend me on Fitbit  -

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review of Beric The Briton

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

If you have been a reader here long you already know that we are a huge fan of Heirloom Audio Productions. Their line of audio dramas make you feel like you are right there in the moment of history. The latest radio adventure from their lineup is Beric The Briton.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Beric The Briton, the audio drama, is based on the book, Beric The Briton, by G.A. Henty.  In this historical fiction adventure, you will be transmitted back to ancient times in Rome when Nero was the Roman Emperor. You will be taken all the way to the times of the great Roman fire where Nero blames Christians for the disaster. Only you will be following a couple of Britons from the land of Brittania who were captured by the Romans and trained to be gladiators. As the background story unfolds of Beric and friend Bodouc and their struggles with revenge for themselves and country, Paulus which is Latin for Paul is out sharing about the love and sacrifice of an unknown God to them, Christus which is Latin for Christ. As the worlds of war and forgiveness collide, Beric is faced to examine himself and his beliefs.

It still amazes me the range of emotions that this time period brings to me as I read about it. You can only imagine the emotions that emerge as you not only read what happened but hear it come to life with shouting crowds, roaring lions, fierce gladiator fights, and brave Christian men and women willing to die for their beliefs. I found the hairs on the back of my neck standing up! Although, this story is fiction it is based on the true historical times of this period.

We also received access to special bonuses as well as the CDs. We received a Study Guide and discussion, a mp3 soundtrack, 2 mp3 files of the audio drama, Beric the Briton ebook, a behind-the-scenes video, and a couple of posters including this beautiful poster. 

What I love most about Beric The Briton is its portability factor. Our resources arrived just as we were heading to Alaska for vacation. I transferred the mp3 files to my tablet and I was all set. Let me just tell you that these audio adventures are the perfect resource for passing the long hours on a plane. I only wish I had brought the other ones along to listen to again. With about 8 hours of flight time one way, we were all able to enjoy this great story. The drama lasts approximately 2 1/2 hours in total. Our entire family loved this audio drama!

The study guide has always been a favorite for us when we are home. We did not use it this time however I did look over it and was very pleased with what it had to offer. First of all, it is in color making it very pleasing to the eye. Each track is clearly defined including the time stamp. Each track has its own set of questions broken down into 3 sets - The Listening Well questions, The Thinking Further questions, and The Defining Words. On some tracks were additional activities that students could do to enhance their studies further such as recipes, additional resource links, pictures of the historical period, and more. I really loved the background the questions were included on.

Our entire family loved this audio drama and would highly recommend any of the audio dramas produced so far! I remember hating history when I was in school. Oh, how I wish these were around then! I am so glad they are available for my children to help them love history. You can also see our reviews of With Lee In Virginia, In Freedom's Cause, and Under Drake's Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions. Be sure to visit the Facebook page for Beric the Briton too.

Visit Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, July 18, 2016

Menu Plan Monday

I try to plan 6 meals but I do not assign them specific days because it is just easier to plug them in the week as I go.  

Here's what is planned for the week:

  1. Italian Pasta Salad (per request again :)
  2. Salmon, slaw, sweet potato fries
  3. Chicken pot pie (didn't have last week )
  4. out on Thursday
  5. pizza, salads
  6. BLT's, summer veggies

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Review of Economics For Everybody

Economics - admittedly a word that scares me. Especially as we approach an election year, I want my children to understand the flow of how our country works and that is definitely not an area of expertise for me! I know I need to learn more about Economics as well and I am so grateful for those who share their wealth of knowledge. Today's review, Economics for Everybody from Timberdoodle is one I am greatly thankful for.

Economics for Everybody takes a somewhat complicated subject and breaks it down so students can understand how the world was formed and how God ordered us to be productive in it. The set includes a 2 DVD set and 200+ page study guide. The DVDs include the topics lasting for over 4 hours of teachings with a fun unconditional twist from teacher, Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. There are 12 lessons in total with Lessons 1-5 introducing key economic principles; Lessons 6-10 explaining the relationship between theology, philosophy, and economics; and Lessons 9-12 examine the application of economics in real-life system.
  1. And God Created Economics - Stewardship in God's Image 
  2. The Economic Problem of Sin - Law, Liberty, and Government 
  3. The Path from Work to Wealth - Production, Property, and Tools 
  4. The Route From Scarcity to Plenty - Money, Markets, and Trade 
  5. The Role of the Entrepreneur - Capital, Calculation, and Profit 
  6. A Tale of Two Theologies Part 1 - From God to Politics 
  7. A Tale of Two Theologies Part 2 - Economic Philosophies and Education 
  8. Government Intervention - Basic Principles and Education 
  9. The Two Mysteries of Monetary Policy - Inflation and Depressions 
  10. The Welfare and Corporate States of America - Cost of Redistribution 
  11. Economics Has Consequences - The Real Effects of Sin 
  12. Kingdom Economics
All lessons begin with what Scripture says and then applies those principles to how our country is to be run and shows examples of when those principles are not followed the destruction and downfall that occurs. There are so many principles taught in this series that I had never even thought of and I was glad that I was going through the lesson with my son. You are never too old to learn. For instance, I had never even had the thought that ultimately studying economics helps us to fulfill the Great Commission.  I also appreciated the fact that there is a warning that some lessons could bother younger children. 

I also really loved the combination of the book and the DVD together. The DVD teaching brought the lessons to life with fun animations and comparisons with cartoon clips and even Charlie Chaplin. (see photo above for a few clips)

The book included several great bonuses not available on the the DVD. Each lesson began with the message introduction, Scripture reading passages (another favorite), and learning objectives. It also included the lecture given on the DVD in an outline format which is perfect to show students great note taking techniques. That is an area that we are currently working on with my high school son. It also included multiple choice questions, short answer questions, discussion questions, and additional resources to further enhance your Economics study. The multiple choice questions did include the answers but the other questions did not. I know these are open ended questions but would love to have seen some examples of answers to those questions as well.

The suggested schedule for middle and high school students was to complete one lesson per week which is how we are tackling the lessons.  However, I did watch all the videos beforehand hoping to gain a little insight as we went through the study together. I would highly recommend this resource to high school students and adults.
This set currently sells for $42.25 and can be purchased here.

This set is also a part of Timberdoodle's 12th Grade 2016 Curriculum Kit.

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review of Extreme Dot to Dots: Spectacular Places

Raise your hand if you love dot to dot pictures! If so, I have a fantastic resource for you. Only thing though - this one is extreme and I do mean extreme! We were sent Extreme Dot-to-Dots: Spectacular Places from Timberdoodle to review and we have all had a blast trying our hand at it.

One of the things I loved most were the famous places and facts included. Part of the fun was looking at the fact and dots and trying to guess what the place was before finishing.

Now, these are not for young children by any means. The pictures are complex and the numbers head into the thousands so these are not for the faint of heart but these are great if you are looking for a fun challenge. Each of the 42 different puzzles contains a minimum of 1200 dots!  I even had to pull out the magnifying glass which really helped me see those tiny numbers. The only part I found a little extra tedious were numbers in a very light font color. I think the light color meant you could skip those numbers without effecting the picture too much but I found it easier to follow the sequence of numbers. Here you can see the clue and the picture about half way through. Can you guess the place?

If you just cannot figure out what the place is, there is a finished answer key in the back of the book to make it easier.

Some of the places you will visit include The Great Wall of China, The Great Sphinx (in case you couldn't tell :), The Grand Canyon, The Eiffel Tower, The Panama Canal, and so many more!

All of the pages are perforated which makes it easier for the whole family to enjoy at once. Stephen and Sarah are both still working on their final projects but they love them too! They have really enjoyed trying their hand at these during our hot summer days.  These would also make a great resource to kick off a history study or as you finish one. This book currently sells for $12.50 and can be purchased here. We think that is a great price for a combination of history and art!

This book is also a part of Timberdoodle's Eighth Grade 2016 Curriculum Kit.

**I received a free copy of this product through Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.