Friday, June 28, 2013

Camp Stitch-a-lot Bag

I pattern tested another wonderful bag pattern for Sara of SewSweetness.  I had a lot of fun making this bag as I used some yummy fabric from my stash.  This bag is huge!  It was made for the purpose of holding a lot of project pieces for retreats and it didn't disappoint!  I already put one of my larger cross-stitching projects inside and there is plenty more room to fill with stuff!  I plan on stuffing it with projects to take with me to our family's annual Cousin's Camp on the off-chance I have down time at night to stitch.  We shall see if I have energy at the end of the day to pull it out!  

Head on over to Sara's blog to see more lovely bags! (or to purchase the pattern for yourself!)

A Lovely Year of Finishes: End of the Month Finishes

It's that time again!  Remember how I said that I was going to finish all of my quilts this month?  Well, I got really close!

I bit the bullet and talked with one of my customers and we decided to send this bad boy to my friend who professionally long-arms! The quilt is 104" square and I was afraid of messing up the quilting as I've never done anything bigger than a twin!  I have no pictures of the finished top, so this picture will have to suffice until I get it back!

I finished two other quilts:

I have a third almost basted and ready to quilt.  I ran out of my basting spray!  Boohoo!

I have numbers 5, 6, and 7 cut and interfaced.  They are crib-sized and should go rather quickly.

All in all, I didn't get the entire list finished but I cut it in half!  I am linking up with Shanna over at Fiber of all Sorts for the month.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When life gets crazy!

I am still here!  Really!  I've just been very busy trying to finish up many quilts these last few weeks!  Throw in an unexpected one day round trip (14 hours of driving) to Long Island for my Great-grandmother's memorial and you can understand why I've been absent!  The quilts are nearing completion and, once they're finished, I promise to take pictures of them all for you to see.

School just ended yesterday for my oldest, her first year in public school, and she's already spending the day at a friend's house!  :)  My other kids are also finished, yay!  We're just doing reviews for the summer and they're spending lots of time outdoors!

Well, there is a quick recap of what's been happening.  I hope to write more soon! And with pictures of quilts!

Just so there is a picture in this post, here is one of the beach at the Marina where we held my G.G.'s memorial:

It was a beautiful day!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Memoria Press:Geography I: A TOS Review

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I was recently asked to review Geography Workbooks from Memoria Press for the crew.  We reviewed Geography I, which covers the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.  Also included is a review text for the United States, the material you would have covered the previous year in their curriculum line-up.  This set is their fourth grade unit and my son, who will be entering fourth grade this fall, was the lucky recipient.  I see a pattern here!  He gets to try out a ton of new material through this!  

The complete set, as pictured above, includes the student text, workbook, teacher's guide, review worktext, and review test book for $48.00.  I found this to be a great value as the review text alone was more than a review in the general sense.  To me, I found it to be more like a complete unit study.  The maps were well done, easy to navigate and very thorough.  

The actual text to review, the Geography I, was excellent!  You learned of 2-3 countries per week.  The student text is well written.  With each new area you learn, say Lebanon, it'll have it's ancient name, Phoenicia, associated with it.  It has a list of "fast facts" listing the more important details: major cities, language, population, climate, etc.  It gives a history lesson with each country as well as 'tour' of it as it looks today.  The worktext is nice in that it causes the student to learn how to use an atlas.  They learn how to read a map in order to find cities, bodies of water, land masses and the like.  I love how it doesn't just give them everything, that they have to search it out for themselves.  

I also like the price, it costs just under $10 per book, not bad for all that you receive.  And with only two of the five being consumable, you recoup your cost over time.  

Another thing that I liked was that Thomas could do it, for the most part, independently.  Searching out cities on the map or figuring out whether boarders were land/man made we'd work out together.  It's fun seeing how independent he is getting with his schooling and curriculum such as this helps spur it further!

I'm still debating on my school curriculum for the fall, but I will say that this is on the 'maybe list' as one my choices.  It's a great curriculum and they have a great array to choose from!  This is only the geography portion to their full curriculum for fourth grade.  All in all, I really liked this material.  

Click here to check out more reviews.

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Motherboard Books: A TOS Review

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I was recently asked to review Let's Make a Web Page by Phyllis Wheeler of  This is a little e-book aimed at 8-12 year old children who are interested in developing their own web page.  It's features, as listed on the site, include:
"- It's a 60-page e-book intended as a short-term homeschool project for kids 8 and up.
- Kids younger than 10 will need an adult alongside. No expertise required.
- Parents download a free trial version of CoffeeCup software.
- Software is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and later (not Mac).
- Instructions for the parent include Internet safety and uploading to the Internet.
- Tone encourages experimenting and creativity.
Price: $19.95"

My son was the lucky reviewer in this case as he is 9.  He had a lot of fun playing around with the Visual Site Designer that we had to download from CoffeeCup.  He is having so much fun designing his background and fonts and such that he hasn't finished his actual page at this point.  Personally, I don't think he'll finish as he is enjoying the process more than the finished product.

Personally, I didn't really care for the process as once he would try to advance to the next step, he'd have difficulty reopening the work he'd done.  I'm not sure if that is because of the software we downloaded or the programs on the computer, but the e-book unfortunately isn't a manual for those of us who aren't quite computer savvy (Me that is!)  I will agree with them and state that it's easier for the kids to navigate and figure things out than us who are slightly older, me, and have difficulty understanding tech terms.

The e-book itself is well written.  It lays out every step very well for the child to create the page by showing screen shots so they know they're in the right place in the directions.  That was really helpful when he was working through his page.

Disadvantages to me is that the software we need to download to use is only a free trial and once the time limit is up, you can't go and make changes to your web page, unless you purchase it.  The other is that I feel $19.95 for an e-book is on the high end for what it offers.

Now, just because I had difficulty navigating, don't let that put you off from trying it out for yourself!  Click here for other reviews to make a well-rounded and informed decision as I'm only one voice!  
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Math Mammoth: A TOS Review

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We were recently asked to review Math Mammoth's Light Blue Series.  For the review, we received a digital download of the product to use.  My son, Thomas, was the recipient for the review and we went through the grade 3 book.  

The pricing for the download version is as follows:

Full set grade 3: $34.00
(part A and B worktexts, answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, a worksheet maker, and Soft-Pak)

Full set for 3-A: $17.50
(part A worktext, part A answer key, tests, cumulative reviews, a worksheet maker, and Soft-Pak)

Full set for 3-B: $17.50
(part B worktext, part B answer key, tests, cumulative reviews, a worksheet maker, and Soft-Pak)

Supportive materials $8.95
(Answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, worksheet maker, and Soft-Pak. NO worktexts. Not needed when you purchase the full set.)
**The 7 programs in Soft-Pak (4 math, 1 language arts, 2 testing) offer both on-screen and printable activities in a low-graphic, high content format
You receive the Soft-pak for free when you purchase through the Korgi site.  More info is listed on the main page.
You can also choose to purchase a CD version or the printed version as well.

The main areas that are covered in the Third Grade material are:
* an understanding of multiplication and division
* understanding of fractions
* concepts of area and perimeter
* to fluently add and subtract within 1,000
* to use addition and subtraction in problem solving
From the site:
"Some main features of Math Mammoth complete curriculum (Light Blue series) are:
focuses on understanding of mathematical concepts
uses clear explanations, lots of visual exercises and pattern exercises
mastery oriented: concentrates fairly long on a topic, with fairly few topics per grade
emphasizes mental math and developing number sense
very little teacher preparation needed"

I really like the mastery oriented part of the book as he is better able to grasp a concept before moving on rather than jumping around as he had done in previous studies.
The mental math development was great as I would watch him figure problems out through talking it out rather than the writing down of everything, though there were parts where writing down was more useful for him.
I also really like the 'very little teacher preparation needed' part as with other kids needing more hands on help in other areas, this frees me up to better help them and gives Thomas the freedom he loves with his schoolwork.  During this review period, he'd have his math work done before I even came out of my bedroom in the morning!
Here is a screen shot(a poor one at that off of my phone!) of just one of the many colorful pages!

 To say that I,and my son, liked it is accurate!  It is student lead, meaning that there is no teacher's manual!  He reads exactly what he is to do and then does it!  If he has questions, he comes to me to ask and that's it!  He loved the colorful pages vivid descriptions.  His other favorite thing was the 'puzzle corner' located at the end of each lesson.  He was able to apply critical thinking skills to solve many types of problems.

My only negative about the downloaded version is that he can't work out the problems on the page, unless you want to print out the pages!  To me, I'd rather buy the printed book version and not use up all my ink on printing out near to three hundred pages for the two books.  :)
That being said, I think that this curriculum will be seeing itself into our schoolroom this fall for Thomas as he really liked the ease at which he was able to learn and how it isn't 'dry'.  Also, it's very cost effective for my house!

To see other reviews on this product and others that they offer, go here!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: June Goal Edition!

Okay, now I guess you all were right to laugh at me for last month's goals as I didn't finish them.  I did, however, gain a lot of ground on them!  So, this month I am finishing said quilts-one is sandwiched and ready to quilt, the other is ready to be basted.  I need to head to my church to do that as I need a space big enough to spread it out!

I also have three other customer orders which need to be finished so my goals are rather huge!  Thankfully, my eldest daughter is almost finished with school and can occupy the kiddos if needed.  :)

So, my official goal for this month is to finish ALL of my customer orders!  That is it.  Yep.  I've gone crazy. If you don't hear from me, that is why.  (Though I have some reviews to post, so you'll hear about those.)

I'm posting the same picture as before as the quilts are not in great positions to be photographed.  :)

So, head on over and see all the other goals being set!


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