Friday, October 4, 2013

Rufus and Ryan Go to Church ~ Book Review and Giveaway

Rufus and Ryan is a new series of pre-school board books by Kathleen Long Bostrom.  Currently in the series is Rufus and Ryan Say Their Prayers and Rufus and Ryan Go to Church

In Rufus and Ryan Go to Church, 4-year-old Ryan is explaining to his stuffed monkey, Rufus, what to expect when he goes to church.  He lets Rufus know when it’s time to sing and to pray and to be quiet.  The tender text and the beautiful illustrations are a loving setting to this story.  This board book is the perfect size and word-length for children, ages 2-5.

We have a dear friend, Becky, who loves going to church and worship.  My son, Matthew, read this book to her and she just loved it!

Becky has Down Syndrome, but my son, Matthew, says she just has an extra love chromosome.  So, as you can see, Rufus and Ryan Go to Church is not just for pre-school children.  This book can be loved by many...
  • Children's Ministry workers
  • Grandparents
  • Older children with special needs
  • Pre-school and Kindergarten teachers
  • Perfect for a birthday gift or a baby gift
You can purchase Rufus and Ryan Go to Church at the Ideals Publication website for only $7.99 HERE.  Stay in the loop and get connected at Ideal Books Facebook page HERE.

In the spirit of Rufus and Ryan Go to Church, I'm excited to share ten tips for introducing your child to worship.
  1. Attend a child-friendly church.
  2. Bring your child to church on a day other than Sunday morning.
  3. Take home a worship bulletin to go through the service at home.
  4. Play "Let's go to church" at home.
  5. Read the Bible and pray at home.
  6. Sit near an aisle or in a place where you can make an exit if needed.
  7. Be prepared with a worship notebook or bag.
  8. Teach basic church etiquette.
  9. Get to know the pastor.
  10. Don't give up!
 "Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in 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."

One lucky winner will receive a copy of their own book, Rufus and Ryan Go to Church.  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Thursday, October 17, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter... 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

He is my Dad. Plain and Simple.

Today, I took my Dad to the doctor. 

An Oncologist.

He wasn't worried and neither was I.  We both know that God is in control and "He's got this".

My father is 83 years old.  He has difficulty walking and can't walk for more than a couple of minutes before the pain is too great and he needs to stop.  There were no wheel chairs available for him at the VA hospital, so I was his support.  He wrapped his arm around me and mine was wrapped around him. 

He wanted me to join him while talking with the doctor and I was able to ensure that he understood the complicated information about his treatment options.  We exchanged a smile as we learned he would not need chemotherapy.  While leaving the doctor's office he stopped in the door way, put his arm around me and turned to the doctor.  I thought he had one last question, but he didn't.  He wanted to remind the doctor that I was his daughter and he bragged about my working towards my black belt.  I looked up at him, feeling like a charmed child, and choked back a tear while he spoke.  My Dad is proud of me.  Not just for this, but for many things.  He tells me so and his words are precious.

While walking back to the car, we needed to stop many times.   For a while, I walked in front of him as he used my shoulders to lean on.  We joked that I am nearly as short as his walker that he forgot at home.  His laughter made him have to stop, but not from the pain. 

Afterwards, we enjoyed a late breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  We took a few moments outside among the stream of rocking chairs.  We sat in silence, but much was said.  I love him and he loves me.  I wanted to get a picture of us together and I think this speaks for itself....

When we arrived back to his house and I was preparing to leave to return home, he got up from his comfortable chair and walked over to me.  I knew that wasn't easy for him.  He hugged me tightly and I knew how much he appreciated my time I gave to him today.

My father is 83.  I don't know how many more times I will get to take care of him again like today.  I'm hoping hundreds more!  I'm praying I get to bake him his favorite chocolate cake or apple pie for his birthday next month and many more to come.  I'm hoping he gets to see me at my black belt test in another year or two.  I'm looking forward to him seeing my son graduate high school in 5 years.  The grip I have on hope is tight and I trust in the Lord for all of His blessings.

But, here is the thing.  He is not my biological father.  My biological father has not been in my life for over 11 years.  This is Will.  Some would refer to him as my step-father.  Our relationship has been to hell and back.  None of that matters.  We have moved past that.  

He loves me and I love him. 

He has helped me through some of the worst times of my life and he has been there for me for all the when he proudly walked me down the aisle at my wedding when my bio-father refused to come.  

And, when my son was born, he was there to celebrate with us when my bio-father wasn't interested.

He is my Dad.  Plain and simple.

I love him and he loves me.  
He is my Dad and I am his daughter.

Monday, September 30, 2013

iTooch by Edupad App Review

iTooch by Edupad offers apps for:
  • Elementary - Grades 3-5 in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Health
  • Middle School - Grades 6-8 in Language Arts, Math, Health, and Music
  • SAT preparation in Math, Critical Thinking, Biology II, and US History II
  • Languages - TOEFL and French
Most offer free trials.  I tried the Language Arts for 8th grade which offered only the first exercise for free.  It was enough for me to get an idea of how things would roll and help me decide whether or not to go ahead with a purchase.  The app was easy to navigate and the content was grade appropriate and varied.  Otherwise, these apps are $4.99 - a fair/competitive rate in my opinion.

Here are some general factoids:
  • there are 1500 - 6000 questions per title
  • comply with Common Core Standards
  • users unlock levels and receive badges for achievements
  • math apps come with a virtual blackboard and calculator
  • a lesson summary accompanies each chapter, so the user is learning to succeed
  • no internet connection is required
  • the app will automatically sync for updates when you do have internet access
  • Apple, Android, and Windows compatible

Check out iTooch by Edupad at their website HERE.  Want to know what other reviewers are saying?  Visit my fellow Mosaic Reviewer peeps HERE

Math Mammoth ~ Light Blue Series ~ Review

I love math.  I'm a nerd.  It's my favorite subject to teach and I proudly admit that I even do Algebra for fun on my own.  There, I said it.  Don't judge me. 

Hello, my name is Doreen, and I'm a math junkie.

So, when the opportunity came up for me to review Math Mammoth, you know I was first in line.  I chose the Light Blue Series because it is the complete curriculum and I wanted to get a true feel for the comprehensive offerings of the product.  I selected Grade 6 because I tutor a child in math who is working on that grade level and, well, I thought she would make a great guinea pig for my experiments.

First, let's take a brief look at your product options:

  • Light Blue Series - full elementary math curriculum for grades 1-6; Each grade level in the curriculum consists of two student worktexts (A and B), and supportive materials, which include answer keys, tests, and additional cumulative reviews. Full Set Download $34 ;  Printed about $58 - downloads set to increase by 10% as of October 2013.
  • Blue Series - worktexts or units on specific topics for grades 1-8. "Worktext" means that the books contain both explanations of the concepts and lots of varied problems. It is like a textbook and workbook combined. Each unit only covers a few of topics. $2-7 - set to increase by 5% in October 2013.  This is an excellent selection for extra review, summer skill maintenance, or to supplement with a different curriculum.
  • Golden Series - collection of worksheets for grades 3-8.    Each collection contains 120-150 worksheets and each worksheets concentrates on one topic.  Grade Bundles $12 - 12.50  This is also a great selection for extra review, summer skill maintenance, or to supplement with a different curriculum.
  • Review Workbooks - grades 1-5.  The topics of these books correspond to the Light Blue Series. Each download $5.50; Printed $10.50
  • Make It Real Learning Workbooks - grades 3-12.   The workbooks contain activities or problem situations taken from real-life, with real data. Some examples of the situations are: cell phone plans, autism, population growth, cooking, borrowing money, credit cards, life spans, music downloads, etc. etc. $4.99 each
OK...I received the Light Blue Series for Grade 6, so that is what I'll be writing about.  You can see all of the products and categories listed above at the Math Mammoth website by clicking HERE.  But, if you are interested in what I have to say.....follow me!

I found the Grade 6 to be "spot on" for content.  Here is a list of the concepts covered:

  • four operations, whole numbers, place values
  • introduction to exponents
  • ratios, proportions, scaling
  • fractions, decimals
  • percents, integers, basic geometry
  • statistics, probability
I love the mastery method of learning/teaching.  The curriculum I have used for the past 4 years for my (now) 8th grade son uses this method and he has excelled.  We also love the worksheet style.  My son was never into the manipulatives for math.  If your child is a strong kinesthetic learner, then Math Mammoth may not be the best choice for him.

The printed books come in black and white.  This surely has helped keep the cost so affordable.  The download version has lots of color.  So, if this is important to you, it is!  You can then choose to print in black and white or color.  That brings me to my next point.  We don't use internet based or software based curriculum.  My son and I both prefer to have a book in front of us.  Now, you could print the curriculum and three ring bind it, but there are over 200 pages for each book and that is a whole lot of ink.  You could just print what you need to keep the cost down.  I would imagine that a child could work right from the computer, as well, and just show his work and answers in a notebook.  There is definitely flexibility there.

The download is large and takes some time to do, but the process was not too complicated.  The software itself is very user friendly and easy to navigate.  I like two features in particular.

Notice on the left side of the picture how there is a separate scroll/navigation menu with pictures of the pages.  It is easy just to quickly scroll through to select a page you want to see, click on it, and BAM, there it is.  

Also, the Table of Contents makes it easy to locate a concept you may want to get to quickly.  I'm all for easy and this feature does that.  At the beginning of each book, there are also many clickable links for additional resources and games. 

Here are some additional points that you may find interesting:
  • free math assessment test to get a suggested starting point
  • free samples
  • aligned with Common Core Standards
  • designed by Maria Miller - teacher turned housewife/homeschooler
  • Spanish and South African versions available
Overall, I liked this program.  I don't like downloads or curriculum used on the computer, so that prevented me from using it as I fully wanted or intended to.  But, I loved the methodology.  If I were to use Math Mammoth, I would definitely get the printed version.

Hey, don't just listen to me!  Check out all my fellow reviewer peeps at Mosaic Reviews to see what they have to say.  I've read several of them and the opinions and experiences are quite varied!  Check it out HERE.