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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Nick cleans up good!!!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday May 2008. #tt #funonthelake #throwbackthursday

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday NICK is going to Central Michigan University in the Fall! #growingup #firstbornson #offtocollegesoon

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mango Languages A Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2014 #hsreviews #hsmommas #foreignlanguage

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Mango Languages Review


       I admit I was starting to stress a tad with the fact that the boys need a minimum of one foreign language credit to Graduate. Everything we have tried to date has not lasted as the boys get frustrated and lose interest! What is a homeschool Mom to do when this problem occurs? Mango Languages to the rescue with their brand new curriculum, Mango Homeschool Edition.  Mango Languages has been around for approximately 7 years but mostly in libraries. Now while the library version is free, it does not include the ability to do multiple languages at once and also does not include multiple levels like the Mango Homeschool Edition does. Free is not always better.

   Trying to get the boys to agree on one language they could both learn together has proved to be one of our biggest challenges. They have such different interests. That problem was solved with Mango Languages right from the start, with over 60 languages and counting there is something to spark the interest of even the pickiest little learner beginning at age 6 and growing with them through Adulthood. One of the things that caught peeked my curiosity was that the boys could not only pick the language they wanted but they could choose more than one and work on them at the same time, there was even fun languages like Pirate. Oh Boy! What boy of any age would not want to learn true Pirate Speak? I know this would get Taylor excited and could be used as leverage to get him to do the assignments for a language that could count as his credit toward graduation.

Mango Languages Review
   Alyx has been dabbling with Spanish but has struggled with the way other programs taught him, so he chose to stick with Spanish and even got to take a placement test to see where it would be best for him to begin. This was great as it did not make him feel like he was starting all over at the beginning. The first thing I noticed was that Alyx was actually logging in and doing the assignments without being asked or me having to argue or beg. SCORE!

   Taylor has wanted to learn Chinese for a long while but after recently taking a Korean cooking class at our co-op had a change of heart and opted for Korean. It was a little more complicated than he bargained for and after just a week ended up switching to Spanish after seeing how much fun Alyx was having with it. Really?? When I wanted them to both take Spanish all I heard was griping. I digress! All I care about is making sure they get the credit they need and if that means they both take Spanish then so be it. A little Pirate thrown in for good measure and everyone is happy, even Mom!

   We do school 4 days a week since we are at co-op on Thursdays, which aligns perfectly for what Mango suggests for their programs. Some lessons take more than a day to complete, we allot for 30 minutes to an hour per day. Working at this pace you could complete an entire language in one school year. We were given a one year membership for up to 5 people. My oldest who is in public school and has taken Spanish and Italian is utilizing one of the accounts and I am even refreshing myself on French. I took 4 years in High School which was 20 years ago this June( yes I am that old) and I honestly do not remember much at all. I guess the old saying if you don't use it you lose it holds true, but I was amazed at how much came back to me after only a few short lessons. It was there in my head it was just hiding.


    Now you are probably wondering, what makes Mango Languages so different from other programs on the market? Well for one you need no equipment other than a computer and no special operating system to run it. Secondly you can learn more than one language at a time. Also what sets this apart is that it is taught in conversational style which makes it easier to pick up. Using colored words to show you the order the words would be spoken in both English and the Foreign Language helps so much for visual learners, my boys are total visual learners. For the Auditory folks not only do you hear the words and phrases spoken to you, but with your computer's built in microphone or a plug in one you can record your voice and replay it back so you can hear how it sounds. This also helps the program to recognize any errors the student may be making with pronunciation. If at any point you are not sure how something is supposed to be pronounced you can click on the word and it will show it to your phonetically. This is helpful for all types of learners.

   How easy is it you ask? Well you sign up for an account either by the month or save some money and sign up for a whole year.... Here is the cost breakdowns...
Introductory pricing.  

1 subscription is $18/month or $125/year total  
2 subscriptions is $28/month or $175 /year total                      
3 subscriptions is $38/month or $225/year total                     
4 subscriptions is $48/month or $275/year total                 
5 subscriptions is $58/month or $325/year total

Anything over 6 subscriptions is a special group rate that will depend on the number in the group.

 Next you Activate your account and login. I will admit I was a little intimidated at first as there is so much to take in, but Mango Languages thought of everything and there are video tutorials to walk you through every step. Once I got it all figured out and showed the boys, who by the way did not really need my help. Why is it kids are so much more technologically in tune than us parents. It is starting to make me feel really old. Anyhow, the biggest challenge for my kids was picking one main language and then of course signing up for Pirate for fun. You choose your "Passport" in the commons area. This is the language you are going to learn, and within each Passport is the "Journey" these are the lessons that get you to your destination, completion.
Mango Languages Review


Mango Languages Review
One of the things my kids liked the most is that there is no writing requirements, although Alyx did choose to make some flash cards on Quizlet and Taylor ended up using them as well. My kids are not big writers so this was a big advantage to this program for us. 
After the lessons there are quizzes and although there was not a certain score required to move onto the next level, I did impose a 80% or better rule. This helped prevent the boys from skipping ahead if they were not truly ready. It made them much more accountable. I made them show me their quiz before moving on. There are some modifications to some aspects of the program that are noted below, we tested the beta version so improvements are being made to enhance the program. I did not feel that any of the things we encountered were notable enough to deter us from sharing a rave review, and we have faith that Mango Languages will only make their Homeschool Edition even better than it already is. 

Mango Languages Review
If you feel comfortable with your kids chatting in a safe online environment there are clubs that you can join for the different languages, here you can chat with others and practice what you have learned. My kids are not much into online chat rooms but some older kids and adults might find this addition fun and engaging. 
Mango Languages Review

We have been testing the beta version of Mango Homeschool Edition, in other words taking it for a Test Drive, so many features were not available at the time we started or as of right now but are coming soon. Here are the features that are currently available and those that will be rolling out soon. 
What is currently available on the site:

Over 60 different languages
Progress Assessments

Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
Collaborative learning spaces
eNote messaging
/chat rooms

Access to embedded/downloadable content

Support from other community members

Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

Over the next several months, we'll be introducing other exciting features like:

Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring - including seat time (for students and parents)
Goals and Personal Lesson Plans (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)

Resume and Portfolio Builder

I cannot honestly say enough about Mango Languages and Mango Homeschool Edition. My kids are truly enjoying their foreign language studies for the first time ever. I do not have to ask to get them to do their work and they often go above and beyond what is expected of them for the day. This in itself speaks VOLUMES! There is no way possible for me to touch on everything there is to be offered in this comprehensive program so please click the banner below and visit all of the Schoolhouse Reviews from the Crew.

Keep up to date with Mango Languages on all of their social media pages by clicking the links below.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MangoLanguages
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mangolanguages/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MangoLanguages


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Friday, March 14, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook March 14, 2014 #simplewomansdaybook #mobsociety #chaosandlife

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Welcome to...



FOR TODAY

Outside my window... Snow once again, we did finally see grass on Tuesday but then we were hit with a blizzard again on Wednesday

I am thinking...I have too much to do today and not enough hours in the day!

I am thankful...for my family and kids and good friends!

In the kitchen...chicken thawing, I am thinking of making chicken and peapods for dinner over rice! A new recipe, my kids love Asian cuisine

I am wearing... A sweatshirt and blue jeans

I am creating...a plan for what I am going to work on at a 12 hour crop I am going to tomorrow with my good friend Jan. 

I am going...to go grocery shopping today and to that 12 hour crop tomorrow.

I am wondering...How it is possible that this Summer, my oldest will Graduate from High School, my middle will Get his Driver's License and then my oldest will Leave for College all in an 8 week span. Life is moving way too fast.

I am reading.. The Movie Version of Heaven is for Real

I am hoping...To get a lot accomplished tomorrow.

I am looking forward to...Going to the Homeschool Convention in Cini in April and seeing one of my best friends Sarah and spending some quality girl time together, we both need it.

I am learning... To embrace the fact that my children are growing up and becoming adults right before my very eyes. It is not an easy lesson to learn.

Around the house...Everything is in order and it is quiet, lots of studying going on, which gives me time to blog.

I am pondering...actually getting motivated to get things on my to do list accomplished. Blogging is one of them so I am not too far off the mark. 

A favorite quote for today...
Irish Blessings for Your St Patricks Day
One of my favorite things... Is watching my children become Godly Men right before my very eyes. 

A few plans for the rest of the week:Alyx is going with CAP to a Drill Competition tomorrow in Howell. Nick is going to a new student Orientation on Monday for the College he picked CMU with his 3 friends that he will be rooming with. Monday is also St Patty's Day so Irish Dinner at my parents, Tuesday is CAP and Thursday Enrich and then Friday we leave for Lansing for the CAP conference for the weekend. I swear from now until the end of Summer there is not a lot of free time, I am worried we will not even get much camping in this Summer.

A peek into my day...
My son was accepted and chose to go to CMU, that is where I was going to go when I was in school but chose to stay home!! I am so excited for him! 







An Egg-cellent Adventure in Christ! Egglo Entertainment Schoolhouse Review Crew Review 2014 #hsmommas #hsreviews #egghunt

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Egglo Review


    Are you looking for a way to show your kids how the Light of Christ shines? Egglo Entertainment has a unique way to help you do that very thing. We had the exciting opportunity to review some products from them, we were sent Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book). We also had the chance to enjoy some add on products as well, but we will talk more about those in a bit.


    My boys love hunts, egg hunts, geocaching, metal detecting, or anything to do with finding treasures of any sort. When you think about it though, What is the most important treasure of all? Finding the light of Christ, of course! This program is based on the Scripture from John 1:5, “The Light shines in the dark and the darkness has not overcome it." We make our Faith an important part of our everyday life, but it is always fun to include an activity that helps cement that Faith and Belief in God a little more. As Christians we cannot get complacent on being a Faithful Follower. This is a relationship you have to work on until the day you die. Children also go through periods as they grow up where they may challenge that belief. How can you help them through this challenging time? Find activities that are both fun but full of Faith and Belief. Do you have little ones? Steering them toward the light of Christ is a parent's most important jobs! We have to train them up, by providing fun activities centered around God, it helps the little ones to get excited about God! After all God is a very exciting part of our lives as Christians.
Egglo Review


   One of the add on products we received with our Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs are Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, these scrolls each have a Bible Verse on them and help keep your egg hunt focused on Jesus. They fit conveniently inside of the Egglo Eggs. This makes the hunt for treasure fun while keeping the focus on the true meaning of Easter.

 We also were given a download of the Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book Audio Download), this made reading our story book interactive and would be especially fun for littles that are not really good readers, there is a whimsical chime that sounds when you are to turn the page, this makes following along with the story fun and easy.
Egglo Review

  Our last product we received was The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide this is the parent, teacher or fascilitator's best friend in this group. Here is where you get guidance on how to conduct your Egg Hunt and  other fun activities to tie it all together. There are decorations and invitations to help make your event memorable and exciting. There are printables to put inside the eggs too.  The Egglo products are perfect for anytime but especially at Easter time. They can be used at home with your family, in your church youth program or Sunday School or maybe with your homeschool co-op. Putting Light into your traditional Easter Egg hunt by switching it to a nighttime activity and activating your eggs so they glow to show the light of Jesus! This is done easily by setting your eggs in the natural sunlight or under a lamp. This helps get them charged up. They do not stay lit up for a long time, but what this did was make it a challenge to find them all before their "lights" went out. My kids raced the clock to see who could get the most eggs before the light of Jesus dimmed. This added a bit of a competition and only made it more fun for my boys.
Egglo Review


   The recommended ages for the Egglo products are 4-13, my boys are older than this but still enjoyed the activities and the Egg Hunts, the books were a little young for them but we look forward to sharing them with my nieces and nephews at Easter time and maybe our homeschool co-op classes as well. We did have to conduct our egg hunts during the review period in the house, since we have had snow on the ground since November, but we are praying that by the time Easter rolls around we can take the hunt outside and make it a bit more challenging. My kids loved how some of the eggs had a cross design on them, we gave extra points to the seeker who found those special eggs, we also awarded different point values to the 4 colors of eggs. For example Pink (since those are my favorite color) had 4 points in value, Blue had 3 and Green 2 and Yellow 1, if you found a Cross egg you gained and extra 5 points in addition to the egg color value. This made for some interesting games of egg seeking and never dulled the kids. I am thinking of putting raffle tickets in some with additional values on them when we do it at Easter time. The possibilities are truly endless and if you are lacking for ideas you can check out the Egglo Pinterest Boards Pinterest.com/EggloEggs . This really helped me to get inspired  and who doesn't love an excuse to hang out on Pinterest!

   I hope I have inspired you to put the Light of Jesus in your Easter time celebrations or anytime of the year for that fact. Your kids will love it and you will too!!! Below you will find a list of all of the products I mentioned above as well as their prices and if you want to learn more about Egglo Entertainment and they wonderful products click on the banner below to visit the other crew reviews. Then head over to Egglo Entertainment to place your order, there is a sale going on right now(at the time this review was written) it won't last for long so be sure to take advantage of it.
Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs      $11.99
The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure(book)$12.99 

The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book audio download)$2.99
Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls$4.29
The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide$14.99
Egglo Review
Be sure to visit Egglo Entertainment at the following Social Media Outlets as well, this will help keep you up to date on sales, new products and inspiration!
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/eggloeggs/egglo-easter-egg-hunts-about-jesus/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EggloEggs
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EggloEggs
Instagram: http://instagram.com/eggloeggs
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/EggloEggs
Google +:  plus.google.com/113761975581466698158

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday. Taylor at 18 months old May 2000. #tt #throwbackthursday. #mommasbabyboy

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday. March 12, 2014- No caption needed, I'm so over it!!! #goodbyewinter. #whenisspringcoming

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Motivated Moms to the rescue! TOS Crew Review 2014 #chorecharts #springcleaning #homemanagement

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Motivated Moms Review


 Are you struggling to keep your house in order? Do you need a straightforward chore charting system without all the cuteness? If you answered yes to any of these, then this is the review for you! Motivated Moms is all that and so much more! We have been struggling with finding a chore system that was good for our whole family, my kids have long outgrown the reward systems that go along with chore time we needed something that brought technology with it, the answer? Motivated Moms iOS App (with full year server access) was the answer for us!

Motivated Moms Review


    My family is brimming with visual learners the Motivated Moms iOS App is perfect for us and anyone like us. You can color code the chart, there are so many colors that everyone is sure to get their favorite, which helps us remember. We can easily glance at the list of chores at hand and know which ones are on our list. The App was easily downloaded from the itunes store, and for an affordable price of $1.99, which includes 2 months of server access but you can easily add more time by doing an in App purchase of $.99 a month or $7.99 a year. There are free updates available as they add them like my favorite one of being able to sync all your info from device to device so with a simple login of our family's account my teens can now get the same list that is on the iPad on their own personal iPod Touch. This has been a huge help and personally is one of my biggest beefs with other companies. Being an Apple family we all have a personal Apple device and like myself I have an Iphone as well as the Ipad and I get so frustrated when I have an App on both devices and cannot get the same info on them all. So I was super excited when I saw this added feature. Now if I have the iPad with me and I am not home the kids can not use the excuse that they did not know what they were supposed to do! That earns an A+ in my book right off the bat. This is simple to use that even your youngest family member(well maybe not youngest) but you get the idea and oldest can use it. Kids and technology these days I know 2 yr olds that can use the iPad better than their parents, and on the flip side I know elderly folks in their 80's that use an Ipad with no difficulty. So this truly is for everyone.

    After downloading the App it was quite easy to navigate and get set up. There are many pre-loaded chores already for you to assign or you can easily add in your own. I also loved the fact that you can add detailed info for each chore assigned, such as the steps to get the job done correctly. The fun part was assigning colors to the family, I let them all pick their own, this way it helps them remember. Once you have assigned colors you can then move onto adding those colors to the chores that need to be completed.  You also have the option if you choose to list the daily tasks in groups by people. I found for our family it is just as easy to list them all together and then we can just see our color associated with the tasks.




   There are daily tasks, weekly and all tasks. You can chose how you assign the tasks and how often they need to be done, when you assign them to a person you can pick if it is their job all the time or just a one time deal and you can also decide how often to repeat the list. This way if your family has a set chore list you can just set it and forget it and every morning the appropriate list is ready and waiting. I was so happy to see that it was not just standard chore tasks in the list, there is even an opportunity to add a daily Bible verse for help with Bible Verse Memorization, it is a set verse each day no need for you to have to figure out which verse to learn next. This has helped with our Bible time in our homeschool as well as my personal devotion time with God each morning, I don't know about you but sometimes life gets in the way of my time alone with God and this has helped make sure that does not happen.

  There are other fun tasks such as exercising which is great for Alyx since he is trying to get in better shape for his CAP PT, this is also good for me as it helps keep me on my toes about my weight loss efforts, I even set a reminder to weigh in each week. There are also tasks that would have never occurred to me like changing the furnace filter or taking vitamins and medication. All of these choices make the App all the more valuable to my family and I. When the weather changes for the warmer months I can then unhide tasks such as lawn mowing, weeding and picking up the yard as well as washing the car and picking up after the dogs and even taking the dogs for a walk, the possibilities are truly endless. If you have to do it, add it to the list.

   Then as things are accomplished they can be checked off very easily by just touching the box, this helps as you see your list of tasks get shorter and shorter and it is fun to see who finishes their assigned jobs the quickest. After all the boxes have been checked it is time to kick back and relax.

   The Motivated Moms App can be as easy as you want it or use the customization options as you choose. It is all up to you and how Motivated you want to be. This House Routine can be the answer you have been looking for and with a glance you can get organized and on your way to a happy house once again.

  If you are not an Apple family like us there is now an Android version available as well. If neither of these techy options appeal to you feel free to download one of many printable Ebook options, that can be printed or simply viewed on your computer, these sell for $8 per choice. I honestly do not know what I ever did without this App for our family, it has decreased the stress and also the children's not knowing what needs to be accomplished. Things are running much more smoothly in our home and I am so thankful for that. I highly recommend Motivated Moms and I cannot say enough about it. You really just need to give it a try and see for yourself.

  Be sure to check out all of the Motivated Moms Crew Reviews by clicking the banner below.
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Motivated Moms Review
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday my Parent's newest addition.... A new Puppy named Cheyanne

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