O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fundanoodle Workbooks- Schoolhouse Review

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Strawberry never gets a review all to herself- until now! Usually she gets to join in a little with her older sibling’s schoolwork and projects but I never review stuff just for her. Recently I was offered several workbooks from Fundanoodle. Fundanoodle is the education readiness division of Carolina Pad. They have workbooks and learning activities for children ages 3-2nd grade. I received 3 products from their orange line. The orange line is designed for Age 3+/Preschool. The three books I received are I Can Cut and I Can Do Math Level 1 and Max & Alphie's Adventure Level 1.
All three books are spiral bound across the top with perforated pages to tear out one page at a time if desired. They are also cardboard backed so children can easily use them on the floor if desired. The drawings are cute and age appropriate. The cartoon drawings are not bug-eyed or reminiscent of anime, but are age-appropriate- a huge plus in my book. I also liked that the illustrations were simple and large enough for preschool children to color.
photo photo icandomathlevel1_zps54dddca9.jpgWhen I showed Strawberry her very own learning materials for during learning time, she was so excited. She couldn’t wait to get started. She decided to do them completely and then do the next book completely. She started with the math book. I Can Do Math Level 1 costs $5.99 and contains 40 9x12 pages which cover counting to 10, comparing groups of objects to determine which has more or less, and shapes. Each page has a cute illustration and simple instruction like “Count 2 fish. Draw bubbles above the fish. The last couple of pages are pages of stickers to add to the completed page that say “I did it.” My daughter discovered that most of them have a picture that will coordinate with the activity of a given page. She loved that!           photophoto
 photo maxandalphie1_zpsaf0187ba.jpgMax & Alphie's Adventure Level 1 costs $5.99. Strawberry did the entire book in an afternoon. Max & Alphie’s Adventure includes mazes, connect the dots, coloring, and hidden objects. Like the Math book, the drawings were large and simple with cute animals and Max the little boy. Strawberry kept asking Pumpkin Pie for help so I hardly got a chance to see her do it. She proudly brought it to me FINISHED! She loved it.
 photo icancut_zps305fb4e3.jpg I Can Cut is a workbook with all sorts of cutting activities from cutting out shapes to wiggly lines to zig-zags and costs $7.99. It includes a pair of safety scissors which are entirely made of plastic so they will only cut paper. The scissors are appropriate for both left and right hands. Each page has cute pictures to go with the activity. For example, one page said, “Help Max, Alphie and friends hike over the mountains! Cut along the dotted lines.” The page consists of several cute animals  and Max the boy standing next to angled lines. There are five total lines to cut including a corner on each one. Another page has a variety of squiggles, zig zags, and straight lines with instructions to cut from Go to the Stop Sign. This is such a cute workbook, but  after about 3/4 of the book, the scissors didn’t work as well as they did when she started the book, but they still worked well enough to not cause frustration. photo
Strawberry loved all three books. She finished the math one in two afternoons, the adventures one in one afternoon, and spent a few days working on the cutting. I think her only regret is that I don’t have another book for her to do! Be sure to look at the other reviews. The Crew reviewed all levels of Fundanoodle books.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Daddy Daughter Campout

Almost every year, Tiger has gone camping with B. He looks forward to his Father/Son campout. Last year, Butterfly told B she wanted a Daddy/Daughter campout too. Unfortunately, I was too sick at the beginning of the pregnancy so they never got to go. This summer, B took the girls camping. I don’t have any pictures except the two when they came home. September 390

They came home so excited though. Butterfly says she wants to do it once a month at least!

They had so much fun, Strawberry came home like this:

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

6 Months!

Last week Little One turned 6 months. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. He started crawling 2 days before he turned 6 months. A week later he was sitting on his own. He is so cute, when he wants to sit, he kicks his little feet until they tuck up under him and then he sits proud as a peacock!

This was last week on his half-birthday.

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My sweet little guy is so happy. He grins all the time. If someone talks to him, he smiles. He is extremely busy and doesn’t want to be held unless he is sleepy. He is usually just content. He loves people. Yesterday at co-op, I was cleaning up just before it was time to leave and I put him in the stroller. It was facing the window. There were children just outside cleaning up the toys. He was happy until they came inside and he couldn’t see them any more. As soon as I turned him around where he could see everyone cleaning, he was once again happy.

Presidential Game- Schoolhouse Review

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I recently received The Presidential Game to review. The Presidential Game is designed to teach how the electoral college system works as well as various aspects of campaigning for office to gain control of the needed votes.  photo GameImage_zps8848e8d7.jpg

Intended for 2 teams (minimum 1 person per team) of players ages 11+, the game contains blue and red chips, a game board, Politics Cards (80 pre-printed and 40 write-your-own), Vote Republican and Vote Democrat cards, red and blue dice, a score sheet, directions, and an access code to the online interactive webmap.  

There are a couple of interesting features of this game- the Politics Cards are a deck of cards which are used when fundraising. These cards contain little statements like: “You give a speech in Montana and announce your opposition to logging in national parks like Yellowstone. Add 5 votes to Montana.” or “A top DC lobbyist who your opponent befriended while in Congress is indicted. Your opponent loses 3 votes from the state of your choice.” A couple of the cards are definitely more appropriate for the more mature audience and might be offensive to some families. These include a couple that deal with alcohol and one states you favor legalizing marijuana. These cards could easily be removed from play if they are offensive to your family. There are also some blank cards so you can write your own Politics Cards. The other feature is the interactive webmap. Instead of keeping score manually on the tally sheets, the map is used to show which states are controlled by whom and what the total tally of electoral votes is. Below is a picture of the webmap during the beginning phases of a game my family played.

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This game was a lot of fun. It was very interesting to see how some states really were a battle ground with gains and losses. They weren’t necessarily the ones that are battle ground states in real life, but the game creates a dynamic of states to fight over. As we played, I spent some time talking about why various Politics Cards had the effects that they had. For example, why would it matter what baseball cap a candidate was seen wearing in a given state? Why does it matter who your friends are? What effect do endorsements have? etc.

I played with all of my children from 7-11. Through playing the game, I think my children began to realize what a balancing act running for president is. They also began to see how much strategy with a little luck is involved too. At one point near the end of one of our games (Tiger, Butterfly, and Pumpkin Pie against mom), Butterfly was lobbying Tiger to leave CA alone since I only had it by a couple votes and go campaigning in several smaller large states. She rationalized that I would just come back and regain it and their turn would be wasted but if the gathered some other states before coming back to CA, then they would be further ahead. I loved listening to them strategize against me!September 007 September 009

After playing the game a few times, I realized we were making a few errors in our game. I discovered that the instructions have been updated to be a little clearer. An updated election rules is available on the website. One of our errors, which you can see in the picture above is how we were allocating chips to the board.

It would be interesting to have an optional 3rd color to work with a 3rd team and see how the strategy and dynamics changed with an additional possible candidate and how that would affect our electoral system.

This game is a good mix of strategy, luck, and education. It is available directly from The Presidential Game for $35 plus shipping. Other members of the crew reviewed this game . Be sure to check out their experiences. Photobucket photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Holy Dirt…

September 337  Little One is on the move. I put him down in the grass the other day at church. I put him a good 6 feet from the dirt pile and figured maybe the TALL grass would slow him down. Well… not so much. B and the kids let him crawl over to the dirt. When they brought him to me, he had a fist full of dirt and a mouth full too. B said that at least it was holy dirt.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Touring the Turner Joy

September 286  On our way home from camp, we decided to take the ferry home. Since we missed the ferry by a few minutes, we decided to explore the town we were in and tour the Turner Joy.

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The Turner Joy is 90% open to visitors. Tours are self-guided with yellow signs with information throughout. September 272

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Our Stake participated in the National Day of Service this past weekend. We collected donations at grocery stores and from individuals, sorted, packed, and sent off a truckload of food and toiletries to the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle. The girls were camping with their dad and didn’t quite make it back in time, but Tiger and I went to help sort. We also added handprints to the quilts of blankets that were going to be donated. Even Little One helped…

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Homeschool Camp

The week of Labor Day, our family always goes to family homeschool camp. We have gone for 6 years and already have reserved our cabin for next year! We love it- a week in the woods in cabins with homeschooling friends. The kids love to play with their friends, learn new things, play in the lake, and have campfires. It takes  a lot of work on the part of the parents to put on homeschool camp, but it is worth it.

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This year it was warm but most of the week it was a bit wet. We didn’t get to use the lake as much as we have in past years. Strawberry was ready to go anyway though!September 024

Tiger learned to play volleyball- he almost hit me with the ball as I took this picture!September 035 He also learned a little about photography- this is his picture of light as the subject:September 199

We did Polar Bear dipping, even in the rain!  September 122

Pumpkin Pie did all sorts of fun science experiments, Butterfly did cross stitch, beads, and other crafts, and Strawberry played a lot. September 174  September 252 September 249 September 250 September 251  September 203

PeopleKeys Child’s Profile- Schoolhouse Review

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Back in college, I took psychology 101 and loved the portion on personality. I personally think looking at and analyzing personality is fun. When the opportunity to review products from People Keys was presented, I jumped at the chance. PeopleKeys offers many different types of assessments from career advice, adult assessments, to children’s assessments. Some are online and some are physical books.  photo peoplekeys-childrensprofile_zps4c217fc3.jpgI was offered the  Children's Profile, a 25 page profile designed to be given to children ages 9-13. The Children’s Profile costs $15 and is designed to be an introduction to personality. It is intended that the the parent goes through the assessment with the child to discuss and facilitate its use.

The Children’s Profile is presented step-by-step with clear instructions. The first step is to answer a short 20 question list of comparative questions like “I like to” followed by 4 possible answers. The idea is the child will select the answer that most feels like themselves. Step 2 involves created a graph of which category received the most responses followed by next and eventually the least responses. After graphing responses and determining the predominant personality type, the booklet contains more in-depth analysis of each personality type. Under each of the four personality types, there are 4 pages. The first is a bullet point profile of the style child, then how to communicate with that child including the interactions between that style and other style adults, how to interact positively, and finally a page to write down people you know who are a certain style personality. The last two pages include an action plan for getting along better with others.

Butterfly and I have very different personalities, so I decided to use it with Butterfly. We went through the assessment together. In the end, the assessment gave an idea of what one aspect of her personality was, but her graph was pretty skewed showing only 1 predominate style. It really wasn’t her, although parts were. There were some questions she answered polar opposite to how I have seen her behave. Later after asking all the questions, I asked her why she chose certain answers. In the end she chose them because she didn’t really understand the question or the answers. When we discussed all the personality aspects, she didn’t feel like the assessment really described her personality either.

Despite feeling that the bullet points analysis of Butterfly’s personality type were not extremely accurate, the portions regarding how to interact with that personality type child were helpful. For example, Butterfly’s type tends to not be concerned with time or structured. One of the suggestions was to make charts to allow the child to earn rewards. I don’t normally do this type of thing because it is not part of my personality, but I have seen how making charts and stickers and rewards help Butterfly accomplish things and desire to move forward.

After looking over the questions and the assessment, I think it can be helpful, but I do believe that 9 may be a bit too young for this assessment, especially since the questions were harder for Butterfly to understand. Butterfly did like talking about personality and deciding what personality type I am vs. her dad. She also enjoyed trying to pick out her siblings.

Later, because I was trying to determine if the questions would work with an older child, I asked Tiger the questions. Please note, this workbook is intended for 1 child as it is consumable. Tiger did not fill out the workbook nor did I copy it. I did make a note in the margins for analysis, but Butterfly had consumed the book. I noticed that the questions made more sense to him and he quickly flew through them. Just listening to his answers, I could see that the assessment demonstrated his personality type very effectively.  He later read through the booklet and laughed to see the advice to a child of his personality type. All the advice included in the book are all the things that B and I tell him ALL THE TIME!

PeopleKeys offered many different products to the crew, so be sure to check out the other reviews by clicking the banner below. Personality assessments are one way to help you understand your child better. Photobucket  photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One Year Older- School Picture Time

Little One is almost 6 months. He spends his days smiling, eating grass, dirt, or paper, and cruising all over the house. Nothing is safe anymore!

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Strawberry will be 4 at the end of the month. She pretends to read, smiles a lot, bosses everyone around (she is the biggest back seat driver), plays dolls and other toys, and gives LOTS of hugs and kisses. September 321

Pumpkin Pie is 7. She has a mouth full of holes (she lost yet another tooth the other night!), loves karate, is reading better and better, loves math, loves karate, loves to do her hair creatively and pretends to put on makeup and earrings with water and stickers… oh yes, did I mention she loves karate? I think she would go every day if she could!September 318

Butterfly is 9.5. She loves to read. She is often found escaping from family work and hiding somewhere with a book. She loves art- anything from painting and drawing to sculpting. She also enjoys embroidery and wants to learn to sew with a sewing machine. She is a fabulous big sister and cares so well for her younger siblings. She is playful and has decided she needs more goals and to work harder in learning. She recently completed half a year worth of math in 2 weeks because she wanted to.

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Tiger is 11.5. He loves learning. He spends many hours each day learning, reading, and doing projects. He is currently attending an online private school for most of his studies, but he still has time for his other interests: boy scouts, karate, and board games like Dominion. He is a huge help around the house and loves to cook and bake. He is still over the moon for his little brother and is always available to hold him or play with him.

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All 5 kids looking at the camera! A miracle has occurred!September 328

And since life with 5 kids is not all nice and neat and perfectly posed…September 334 

A few years ago I took a picture of the children running up the porch to the house for school… they have insisted I do it again every year. So, for the sake of tradition, we are headed to a great year of learning!

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