Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: March Finishes!


It's that time again!  It's the end of the month where we see if we've finished what we started.  I'm happy to report that I actually finished this month.  Woohoo!!!

The quilt I made for Jachin is now being loved on.  The parents really enjoy it and I'm so grateful!

I also finished the 241 Tote and the Gathered Clutch, both patterns by Noodlehead, for a customer:

I also sewed a lot of 2.5" squares into pairs for the customer quilt I'm working on:

I am so glad to have finished so much this month!  I also finished up a couple of pattern tests for Sara over at sewsweetness this month as well!  
The Petrillo Bag:  I used Kate Spain's Cuzco line.
The Dot.Dot.Dash Bag: I used Joel Dewberry's Aviary2.

I also made myself a Moby Wrap so that my hands would be free to accomplish more around the house:

I also made a Noodlehead, I love her patterns, divided basket for a swap on flickr:

I'm also pattern testing some paper-pieced letters for Diane over at fromblankpages.  I haven't quite finished the word yet, it'll be 'peace' when I'm finished:

All in all, a pretty productive month!
I'm linking up over at Fiber of all Sorts!  Come see some other's progress as well!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Trying this out...testing

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This is only a test.  Carry on.  :)


Friday, March 15, 2013

R.E.A.D.S: A Review

I was asked to review the R.E.A.D.S program by EGM Educational Systems, LLC for the TOS Review Crew.

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I was given all that is shown in the above picture to use.
- Parent's Manual: It explains how to use the program with your children.  How to utilize each of the components you receive from the reader strip to the question cards.
-Question Cards: There are 30 cards on a metal ring that you use to gauge how much your child has comprehended from their reading material.
-Reward Chart and Stickers: A great way to motivate your child to read and work on improving their skills.
-Magic Finger and Reading Guide Strip: The finger is a fun way to keep track of where the child is reading and the strip blocks surrounding content except the line the child is currently reading.
-Speedy Speller: Contains 1,400 spelling words with room to add more words as the child learns them.  Also includes common abbreviations and punctuation.
All of this comes in a nice reusable pouch to keep it organized.  The cost for this is $19.95 USD.

A sample of some of the benefits of  R.E.A.D.S. from the website:

  • Works with any reading material whether it’s chosen by the teacher, parent or child. There is no need to buy supplemental reading material.
  • Enhances the parent’s skills to effectively help their child with reading.
  • Provides a method to verify that the child comprehended the material read.
  • Works for elementary grades 1 – 4 for readers below, at or above grade level.
I found this benefits list to be rather accurate.  I tested the product with my 2nd grade daughter who was on the verge of truly reading, and this program helped her because it allowed her to read books she wanted rather than a text book.  She was able to grab one of the many Easy Reader 1 books we own and use the strip to guide her in the reading of the book.  The strip really helped to keep her focused on what she was reading and not wandering on the page to other words or pictures.  The sticker chart was also a great motivator as well because she was able to see her progress as she finished her goals. The nice thing with the reward chart is that it's versatile for your family.  You create the goals, whether it be to read one complete book a week or one a day.  This way, you're able to tailor the program to many in your schoolroom based upon their individual reading levels. Another aspect of the program that was neat, though I didn't use quite as much, were the question cards.  They are vague enough to be used with any book to gauge your child's comprehension of the story.  They ask questions about the main character, plot, and the like allowing you to use any book on hand.  

My favorite part of this program is the versatility.  I didn't have to buy any extra materials.  I could use what I had on hand.  Though the site says it's recommended for grades 1-4, I believe that even struggling 5th and even 6th graders would benefit from the program as it really helps them to concentrate on what they're reading as well as help them to comprehend by asking them questions from the cards.  It also allows for dialogue between the parent and child that may not have happened with use of the guided questions. 

Overall, I enjoyed the program and plan on using it with my other littles when they get to this stage.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lone Star Learning: A Review


I was recently asked to review Target Vocabulary Pictures, Math Set 1 from Lone Star Learning.  The set that I reviewed is geared for grades 3-8 and costs from $29.99+ USD and is one of four options in their Math alone.  They have many other sets in Science, we have Set 1, Measurements, Vocabulary, and others.

My son was the lucky child who fell in to this age range and he enjoyed the vivid pictures on the cards.  They were fun to look at and the definitions weren't overtly difficult for him to comprehend.  I loved how the words defined themselves in picture form.  He was able to figure out the basic meaning just by looking at the picture!  Then, he was able to write the word and it's definition, found on the provided sheet sent with the cards, into his notebook and draw a picture to describe the word in fuller detail.  He did state that writing out the definitions was boring, but then he is an 8 year old boy who hates to sit still.  :)

We chose to do one word a day and build upon them each day.  We'd review the word from the previous day and learn the current word.  This helped to re-enforce what he learned and comprehended.  

This set is one of many that the site offers which are just as vivid and fun to look at!  Their cards are well made and, if stored properly, will last for some time.  The only negative that I had was that the definitions were written on one small piece of paper which can become easily misplaced if not careful.

One thing about the sets is that they aren't grade specific, which I like.  They give you the list of words that are to be found in each set in order to determine which one would best fit your child. This is also a nice benefit so you don't buy a set with words you may have already defined in a previous curriculum and therefore have no need to purchase.

The site also provides more than just Target Cards.  They have digital products, supplements for the classroom, and many other helps.  

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Abraham's Journey: A Review


I was asked to review this quick little read, Abraham's Journey, from Inspiring the American Dream.
An excerpt from the site, "ABRAHAM’S JOURNEY: A Celebration of the American Dream tells the story of a young boy, who through his faith, imagination and entrepreneurial spirit, sets out to achieve the American dream. Colorfully and meticulously illustrated, young and old alike will be captivated as they follow Abraham on his magical journey."

Recommended ages: 3 grade on up
Price: $14.99 USD

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This book is a quick read.  My eight year old son was able to read it on his own in under 30 minutes.  He enjoyed the graphics and the story line.  At the end of the book there are quick little biographies of the characters that Abraham meets throughout his journey.

This book, in my opinion, doesn't go very deep into what the "American Dream" truly is.  It is more of a surface overview.  It quickly introduces people from history who embodied the dream, but doesn't delve into what they each stood for.

One thing that I found somewhat unrealistic in this story is that both parents have suffered job losses due to the "Great Recession" and yet Abraham has a smart phone that he is transported into for this story.  Personally, if both parents are without jobs, how does their son have one?  Maybe that is the new 'dream'?  Being able to afford products we can't pay for?  Sorry, that doesn't hold true for me.

In essence, I felt that this book needed to go further into what the American Dream really is and dig deeper into each character that he met.  Also, while I admire Abraham's spunk in finding his 'talent', I don't feel he'd be able to accomplish what he did without the upfront capital needed to purchase the supplies he needed in order to sell what was led to believe in order to purchase gifts.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: March Edition

Well, it's that time of the month for goal setting!  I have had the same quilt to finish these last two months, and sadly, this month it's the same quilt!  I've made progress on it but the quilting I chose is just taking it's time to finish!  I hope to finish this quilt before the month is out as well as finish some custom ordered quilts!

Here is a picture of the quilt that's been in progress way too long!

I only have three more white sections to quilt and then I just need to bind it.  I hope to finish before mid month.  

I also have a few orders that need completing.  I have a 241 Tote and a Gathered Clutch to make for an order as well as a queen-sized quilt.  I've cut all the pieces for the quilt and I've picked out the fabrics for the tote and clutch.

So, we'll see just how much I get done this month!  I have to squeeze this in alongside homeschooling as well as a newborn and clingy 2 year old who is adjusting to no longer being the baby of the bunch.  :)

Linking up over at Fiber of all Sorts!


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