Monday, January 31, 2011

365 Project–Day 26

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!



Backward hat…. Mommy I can only see from one eye!   Maybe she is pretending to be an one eyed monster?

Increasing your family

This week question for the blog cruise is:

“How to homeschool while pregnant or with a new baby?”

This is a very good question.

And even though I am not expecting or have a baby anymore, I can write about it because three years ago I experienced it.

WoW!  Time flies…

My baby days are over until my own kids have children of their own.   But when we entered in our homeschool journey I was expecting our fourth child.

What made it easy for me is that fortunately I had only one child to homeschool back then – my oldest son who was entering grade 1.

How did I planned it – knowing that I would have a c-section in December and a brand new baby for the new year?   I decided to give a big boom like we say and advanced as much as I could before the month of December.2007_08_17_06_49_00

I must admit that we started earlier that year – right in the beginning of August and that throughout of that school year, I concentrated on the basic skills of writing, reading and mathematics.   This gave me the confidence to pursue homeschooling and not having too much on my shoulder as my family was adjusting in the arrival of our only daughter.    I must also be honest with you in admitting that I had also planned to do Mystery of History but somehow it was too much for a new homeschooler so I decided to drop it with plans to pick it up eventually in the years to come.   I am just starting to re-consider it…

2007_11_30_13_41_48While homeschooling Alexandre and letting the other ones play and get use to the new schedule as well, I was able to take my time and savour the joy of homeschooling without too much stress.  Have only the basics to concentrate on what a definite plus for me.    I didn’t have to worry much about history, geography and science.   We did a bit of these subjects but having our family life getting use to the homeschool and welcoming a new baby in our midst was enough changes for that year.

Baby Jasmine joined us in December – just in time for Christmas.   It was nice to take a break and enjoy our new daughter.   Alexandre had advanced quite a bit in his school so he was able to enjoy life with 6 people in the family.    Looking back, I realize that I was blessed back then to have a child who is gifted with an extraordinary memory and who has facility to learn.    I realize now that he is an easy child to learn.   Not all my kids are like that and I realize that I need to be flexible to adapt my style of teaching to their style of learning.  

That first year, taking one day at a time was the smartest thing I did.   Concentrating on the basics was another smart move.    Welcoming a new little one in a family can bring changes and disruptions in the regular schedules.   Take the time to adjust your pace and take it slower.    In the end, it will be beneficial for you, your family and your homeschool.



City Creek Press


As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I never know what product we might received.   Before Christmas though, we got offered to apply on a review.   Usually, I would not take math products because we have a curriculum we love but I made an exception for this product for various reasons.

PhotobucketCity Creek Press was founded in 1992 after the owner had found a way to help her students at a learning centre to learn math tables in a fun and meaningful way. She created a unique method that connected visual images, stories, and songs to mundane number facts.  Further studies demonstrated that students using her method retained 95% of the facts on average. 

The Times Alive! program makes learning multiplication facts more fun than ever. It is based on the Times Tables the Fun Way Book for Kids and teaches the zero's through the nine times tables.

Students can read along while they hear the storyteller while lively animation makes the number characters come alive.    I find that having animation will help to retain the multiplication facts.   Also, each story is followed by a music video that has a catchy song.   I discovered that one of my kids learns better with songs and for this reason alone I invest in the CDs for his AWANA memorization.    Knowing that Times Alive! offers such a learning experience is a relief for me who sees that he will get into the multiplication within the next two years.

To make the learning experience more concrete, the software also contains interactive games and fun quizzes that will engage the student while applying what he learned.   

image   image

As the student goes through the multiplication tables, the parent can access progress reports that will indicate which lessons have been completed, the scores obtained during the quizzes and the time spend as well.    I find it important to be able to get such a report when my child is learning something on the computer.    It would be easy to not make a follow up and discover where he/she has problems.   Having access to such reports is an advantage.

Finally, anytime during the learning of the multiplication facts, the student can stop it and resume where he/she has left off.  

Alexandre’s thoughts – age 9 1/2 years old

I found it too easy and I got tired of the songs.   They are good stories for younger kids who are learning their multiplication facts.  But having done so last year, I didn’t enjoy it as much as my younger siblings would.   

Mom’s comments:  Alexandre is very mature and already knows his multiplication facts.   I have opted to take this program because I could see that my 2nd son is learning better with songs and fun stories.   Dominic is not quite at the level of learning his multiplication facts as he is doing grade 1 mathematics right now.   But I can see the potential that this program might have in the future for him.  Just having the songs incorporated in the software will be more than likely a blessing for my song who learn that way!   Dominic tried to use the software a bit but he found it a bit difficult.   I came to the conclusion that Times Alive!  will be a wonderful product to have when he arrives to the multiplication tables but for the time being it would be better for him to stick with his current lessons.

For those of you interested in seeing what Times Alive! is all about, a demo is available at

System Requirements

Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista
Pentium II 400 and higher
64 MB of Ram or greater
Soundcard and speakers
Mouse or other pointing Device
CD-Rom or DVD-Rom Drives
Video at 1024x768 or higher
OS 8.6 or higher or OS X
400 mhz or greater
128 MB of RAM or greater
Mouse or other pointing device
Video at 1024x768 or higher

Times Alive! for Windows or Macintosh instant download is available for 44.95$ US.  The CD-Rom version is available for 48.95$ US.

Disclaimer: Thanks to City Creek Press  for sending me to above mentioned instant download version of the software for review purpose through the TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Destination Disney–Unique Disney Picture


My friend Heidi, at Reviews & Reflections, has a meme titled Destination Disney.

This week she asked that we post a unique Disney Picture.

Well, the last time we went to Disney was in 1998 during our honeymoon.

But I found this picture quite unique…. You don’t see these everywhere…LOL

1-30-2011 5;48;26 PM

365 Project–Day 25

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!



Waiting for warmer days….

Sausage Penne Kick

My husband loves to create new recipes when he can.   In fact, it is well known in his family that when he was younger he wanted to open a restaurant.

Every now and then, he takes whatever we have and created a new meal.

Yesterday was such a day as he decided to created a new meal for supper…

And what he made was super DELICIOUS!   

Here’s the recipe

Sausage Penne Kick

1 L homemade diced tomatoes

1 L homemade onion jelly

1 L homemade tomato sauce

1 big onion chopped

Mushrooms to taste

Hot sauce to taste

1/2 tbsp crushed clove

1/2 tbspo parsley

10 links of cooked Italian sausages, sliced

1/2 bag of pasta cooked (we used penne but you could used rotini or radiatore)


Cooked the onion and the mushrooms.

Stir in clove, parsley, as well as diced tomatoes, onion jelly, tomato sauce and hot sauce. 

Let simmer a little.   Add the Italian sausage and the pasta.


Bon Appétit!



As homeschoolers we know the important of introducing our children to technology. To do so, most of us at least have computers at home. On them you can find games, educational software and productivity software. But homeschooling can also be done while using a Nintendo DS, the Wii, the iPod or iPhone. Allow me to present to you some of the ones I’ve discovered so far.

Nintendo DS

Nintendo has been on the market for many years but not until a couple of years ago have I realized the possibilities to use it as a homeschool tool. Yes we do have games to go on it but we also have some educational titles. Have you ever looked into Brain Age I and II as well as Flash Focus? These games are quite interesting in training your brain and eyes. Since the apparition of these games, you can now find a multitude of “brain” type games on the market from various companies. Also, I would like to present you some of the other interesting games I have discovered over the past year that might be of interest to you.

My Spanish Coach helps you to learn Spanish while having fun. You will learn Spanish vocabulary, grammar and sentence structures while you go through a series of games. There are over 1,000 interactive lessons and you can learn 10,000 words and 700 phrases. You can also test your pronunciation by recording your voice using the built-in microphone.

Learn Geography is all about the world. I recently discovered this game for the Nintendo DS and decided to get it. You can learn more about the continents and the cultures around the world. It is a perfect tool to learn worldwide geography for grades 2 to 8.

Math Play will put your math skills to the test as you go through a variety of difficulty levels. It covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This little game is perfect to revise what your child has learned during a math lesson!

Spelling Challenges is based on a spelling game show. You will need to compete in 11 different games and as your spelling improves you will advance to different levels. There is over 100 difficulty levels and more than 25,000 words to spell. This game is perfect for parents and kids.

Zoo Tycoon 2 is simply fantastic! What else can I say about this very popular game? The child builds his own zoo with animals, habitats, and many features. He will learn to manage a zoo by making money, hiring people, building restaurants, stores and much more. My oldest son really enjoys this game.

CrossworDS is a great way to expand your vocabulary! Not only will you find crosswords in this game but you will also find word searches and anagrams. You will also find more than 1,000 crossword puzzles. It is a great way to spend time while waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office.

Civilization Revolution will allow you to travel through history from the dawn of man to the space age and beyond. You will be among the greatest leaders of history and battle to win territory, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies and build an empire. This particular game is a bit similar to Zoo Tycoon 2 but is geared for 10 and up.

BrainQuest 3&4 and 5&6 are fun games to test the knowledge of the appropriate grades. Each game contains about 6,000 questions on subjects like Math, Science, History, Geography and English. These particular games can be used as tests in your homeschool in an innovative way.

Smart Boy’s Gameroom is a fun little game that will help your boy age 3+ to build thinking skills. In this game, you will find a coloring section, a find the differences, become a train conductor, match the sounds, play piano, do puzzles, play a counting game, practice drawing, find matching pairs, play instruments, and more. Also available on the market is a Smart Girl’s Gameroom which probably contains similar games but with a “girly” theme.


Wii Fit doesn’t need any presentation I think. Many of you have probably heard of it. Well Wii Fit Plus is the 2nd version of the popular weight loss/control game that goes on the Wii. Use the Wii balance and play fun games that will tone you at the same time. Wii Fit Plus has new exercises to do, new training games, new features that will allow you to track your progress more easily as well as a customize workout area. My boys don’t have to lose weight but they love the balance games and the competition between them. It is quite entertaining to see them go through the games in the multiplayer feature. Why not consider this as the PhysEd part of the day?

Wii Music will introduce your kids to 60 different musical instruments and show them how they work. They can also become very creative and make their own music with a band.

Endless Ocean is a favourite in our household. In this game, you will discover the beauty of the ocean , the creatures that lives there and you will learn about scuba diving at the same time. This fun game gets you searching for sunken treasures and you have various tasks to perform on the boat as well. The graphics are simply stunning and you can’t help but think about the Creator behind it all.

OffShore Tycoon is a game of a fishing company that has been passed down through 10 generations. You will have to gather fish from the ocean, process them and sell them to hungry customers. While you grow you will have the opportunity to make decision on when to change the boat, to keep up the demand, plan the next step and so on. This is a wonderful introduction on how to manage a business.

Winter Sports The Ultimate Challenge will introduce your child to winter sports and how to perform them. Similarly, the Summer Sports The Ultimate Challenge will introduce the child to summer sports. Both games are similar in their settings as there is a competition between the countries – a little bit like the Olympics.

Kabooki is a family game created by the creators of the Cranium board game. Come and join Creative Cat, Data Head, Word Worm, and Star Performer in a variety of activities. The best team wins the game. Included in this game are 3D glasses that you will need from time to time.

iPod and iPhone

Okay this is something I am still exploring but let me tell you that I am quite excited about what is available for the iPod Touch and iPhone. From geography to astronomy while going through math problems or spelling or grammar lessons, there are many applications that are interesting for kids of various ages. You can also find fun books for your toddlers. One company which I discovered through my contacts is Moving Picture Books that also have a couple of books about the Bible. 

On our iPhone/iPod, we have a variety of educational apps. I’ve created a folder for various topics like math, science, writing, and so on. In the Mathematics department, I strongly recommend iLive Math which has a variety of apps to choose from base don subjects like ocean, animals from Africa, animals from Asia and much more. KidsMathFun is quite interesting as well because their apps are grade specific.

For writing, the RhymeNow app is simply fantastic. I’ve installed this app on my son’s iPod and since then he plays with it in the afternoon trying to create fun rhymes. There are also apps on spelling as well as dictionaries and verb tenses. Recently, the company behind iLive MathiHome Educator – has just released a new app titled iLive Grammar Winter which will supplement your Language Arts and Science at the same time.

Science is another subject that can be covered with apps. From anatomy to chemistry, you can find anything even physics games and quizzes on various science subjects. My favourite app in the science department is the iBird Explorer Pro which allows me to identify the birds we encounter while camping. Being an avid ornithologist, I decided to invest more on this specific app.

Believe it or not, geography is also covered with apps. Want to be challenged? You can find quizzes on the subject. Maps can be found both historically and up-to-date. One interesting app I have discovered this past week is GeoWalk which allows your child to discover the world in a very interesting way.  I could go on and on for every subject that could be covered in an homeschool environment even Latin.

For French I’ve found a couple of interesting apps for my toddler. SmarKids French teaches the alphabet, numbers, colors, fruits, animals, vegetables, and many more objects that can be found in a house. French being our primary language I was quite pleased to discover this little app. Also for toddlers, there are a multitude of books to download including Dr. Seuss books.

The popular magazine Disney Family Fun also has an app you can download. In it you will find crafts to make with you kids. It also has many activities that can be done for various ages.

For fun, I highly recommend the Geocaching app but beware that it will work only on the iPhone 3Gs since it needs the GPD feature to work. We recently started using my husband’s iPhone to discover the joy of geocaching. The kids love it. I enjoy searching through nature and finding the little treasures left by others.

As you can see, homeschooling can use a variety of educational software and electronic games to deepen the knowledge of kids. In this 21st century, it is essential to use all the tools available to enhance the homeschool experience. My kids are using workbooks and books every day and they also get to play with other fun games. The key is not to overdo it. It is essential to limit the time spent on the PC and on electronic games.

Having said that have fun with the kids. Challenge them on the Wii or Nintendo DS. Play with them on the iPhone/iPod. Embrace the electronic age and discover a wealth or possibilities.

In a future post I would like to explore the possibilities of the iPad.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

365 Project–Day 24

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!



It snowed again today.   A tree on our street has berries for the birds…

Friday, January 28, 2011

365 Project – Day 23

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!



Learning time with Caillou!

The Search

TheSearchThe Search – book 3 of the Lancaster County Secrets
Written by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published at Revell

About the book

Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many.

Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

"Beautifully written, 'The Search' is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past."

Who is Suzanne Woods Fisher?

In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple awards). With help from an agent, she now has numerous  books under contract with Revell. Also look for Suzanne's Amish non-fiction, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, as well as Amish Proverbs, and coming in Spring of 2011, look for Amish Values for Your Family. The Choice and The Waiting are the previous books in the Lancaster County Secrets Collection.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at:

My Thoughts

Once again Suzanne Woods Fisher has outdone herself and brought us a wonderful story.   Not only I got attached to the characters but I am also wondering what the future will bring for them.    I so wish she will write a sequel of The Search  as I got to know and love Bess & Lainey.   It was interesting to see how fate has intertwined their lives together.    I find Bess mature beyond her age and very wise.   She doesn’t overreact when she learn the truth about what happened in the past and seem to accept it.   I wonder deep down if I would react the same way and knowing myself I know that I would have not…

I also loved the character of Bertha.   She is very sneaky in a way and will do ANYTHING to modify the life of her brother who left the Amish faith.    And she knows a lot more than what another character would have expected…    Through the lines of this story, I have come to love the Rose Hill Farm and hope in the back of my mind that somewhere it exists.   What can I say… I love roses.   They are my favourite flowers.    Love their smell, their look, their delicateness.    It takes patience to care for them.   And I see in Bertha a woman willing to train the next generation in caring her beloved roses.

The way the book finishes, I feel as thought the story is not complete.   I want to know what would happen to Rose Hill Farm, Bess and her father, Lainey and many other characters that I grew fond off while reading The Search.

If  you love Amish novels, I think you won’t be disappointed with The Search.    It is well written and contains beautiful characters waiting for you to discover them.


The Search is available now in stores everywhere and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:

    * A brand new iPad (16KB with Wi-Fi)

    * Signed copies of all three Lancaster Country Secrets books (The Choice, The Waiting, & The Search)

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Facebook Party

Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Blog Tour Schedule: (please include this link in your post:

The Search is available at your favourite bookstore, even


Disclaimer:   Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and LitFuse.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Paradise Valley

ParadiseValleyParadise Valley
Written by Dale Cramer
Published at Bethany House

About the book

Inspired by Actual Events!

"I would do a great many things for you." Even at sixteen, Jake's handsome features hold the calm certainty and patient confidence of a man, and Rachel Bender knows--Jake Weaver is the one.

Rachel will grow into a strong young woman with powerful gifts—but in a faraway country, without her Jake. In 1921, Ohio's new law forces Caleb Bender's family to seek sanctuary in the wilds of Mexico where the government will not interfere with their Amish way of life, or take their children from them. Nor will it protect them from the bandits terrorizing the countryside.

In an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language or knows their ways, the Benders establish a homestead in exile. Sisters Emma, Rachel, and Miriam find strengths unimagined, gifts unexpected, and yearning beyond their deepest dreams. Even steadfast Caleb is compelled to wrestle with the demands of faith, only to discover that love has its own demands.

Paradise Valley—a tale of love, danger, and redeeming faith.

Who is Dale Cramer?

Dale Cramer is a husband, father, jack-of-all-trades, and author of the highly acclaimed novels Sutter's Cross and Bad Ground as well as several published works of short fiction. He and his wife and two sons make their home in northern Georgia.

My Thoughts

This is my second book from the author Dale Cramer and I must honestly say that I enjoyed this book as much if not more than the previous one.

Imagine having to uproot your family from a family area where it has been part of the life of a couple of generations before so that you can stand up to your belief regarding school.    This is what the whole story is all about and more.    The main characters will experience the unknown and broken dreams to face a new life in Mexico.   This new life is not an easy one but everyone are chipping in and face together the problems they are experiencing whether it is bandits or births and a difficult pregnancy.  

This book won’t be the only one in the series I am certain of this.   Based on a true story, I am quite certain that the author will expand more on his own family history and not let the reader down in the future.   Because honestly, I want to know what will happen to Jake and Rachel, Miriam and Domingo, as well as the rest of the family.   How can the Amish will affect the lives of the people living close by – even the bandits.  

I love reading historical fiction.  It makes the story so much more credible, more real.   And to have a true story of Amish moving to Mexico is quite interesting.   In a way, I could see how much work it was for the families who decided to move out west back in the days.  

If you like Amish fiction, you won’t be disappointed with Paradise Valley since it is based on real events that happened in the history of Dale Cramer family.

Paradise Valley is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer:   Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.


Created by Games for Competitors

tri-cross_standard_thumbAbout the game

Being hailed as the “new chess,” Tri-Cross challenges competitors in the areas of strategy, critical thinking and problem solving in a fun and entertaining way. The board game, created by an Atlanta father-son duo, is designed to accommodate 2-4 players and can be played with varying degrees of difficulty, making it a perfect game for children as young as 8, families and seasoned strategists.

With accolades ranging from being named Dr. Toy’s 2009 100 Best Children’s Products to Creative Child Magazine’s Creative Toy Awards 2008 Game of the Year and earning the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Tri-Cross has sky rocketed to fame for its ease of play and fun, competitive nature.

Our Thoughts

I discovered the game Tri-Cross before Christmas while watching a segment on games for the entire family (CBS) that was on the web.   My curiosity was picked and I emailed the company to see if I could review the game.  green-board-279x300

We received a Tri-Cross Eco-Edition and Tri-Cross Standard Edition.  Both games have the same rules to play.  What is the difference?  The eco-edition board is made of an organic cotton cloth and the box has been traded for an organic cotton bag.    Because it is less bulky and not as heavy as the regular game, I find the eco-edition to be perfect to put in the RV.

The game comes also with a little DVD which will demonstrate how the game can be played.   Before we opened the box, we watched the DVD and the explanations were clear and concise.   My husband and I decided to play a few games.   Out of five, I won only one…   But I must say that he is more strategic than me.    I was surprise on how easy it was to learn how to play – even with my lack of strategy.   I need to develop this skill if I want to beat my man (and sons!) at this game...

Another  day while I was away on an errands, he decided to play with our oldest son, Alexandre, who is 9 years old.   Both of them had a blast playing.   Alexandre really love the games.   Actually, both thinks that it is a mix between Stratego and Checkers.    I can see them spending time playing this while we camp and even at home!    Apparently, even younger children when taught how to play can enjoy the game of tri-cross.  

Tri-Cross is a fantastic game for homeschoolers.  Why?   Well it is easy to teach and play and it encourages the kids to develop their problem solving capabilities.   It will also help to develop logical thinking, cause and effect, prediction, interpretation of outcomes, abstract thinking, memory and visualization.  And it gives you great memories as you play together around the dining table.    Spending time together and playing games should be a must for every families.

Tri-Cross is available in Canada.

Games for Competitors has agreed to give me two Tri-Cross Eco-Edition for a giveaway (with the DVD).  Two of my readers in the Ottawa area will receive one game.

To participate, tell me which board games you play with your spouse. This entry is mandatory.   Don’t forget to include your email address in the comment. will be use to determine the winner.  You will have 24 hours to contact me and give me your mailing address so I can send it to my contact at Games for Competitors which in turn will ship the games to the two winners!

Open to Ottawa area residents ONLY.

Deadline:  Feb 11, 2011.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Games for Competitors for sending me the products for review purpose. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Ten Marks


Being part of the TOS Homeschool Crew has numerous advantages.  One of them for me is to discover interesting products/services geared for homeschoolers.

One of the products that I had a pleasure to discover this year is the online math program called TenMarks .  This program will help your students to refresh, learn, and master math concepts at their own time and pace.   Which is fabulous if you ask me.

We do have a Math curriculum that we love but having TenMarks was nice.    The curriculums offered on TenMarks are for grades 3 to high school.   Your child will have a personalized curriculum that will encourage him to persevere and master the concept.    If the child doesn’t understand the information on his worksheets, he/she has the possibility of accessing lessons on videos as well as looking for hints.image

The best part I think is the reward zone which greatly help to motivate a student.   The games are fun and very clean.  There is even a cute game based on the 80s game Pac Man.   This specific game only was a fun time for my 9 years old son.   He enjoyed it a lot.

imageTenMarks has impressed me quite a lot during our testing period.  Not only the screens Alexandre access are clear and concise but they give me a report via email on a regular basis.   LOVE IT!   I know when Alexandre is going online to do some worksheets and best of all I know his performance through it.   

The report section is very clear as well.  With one glance, you can identify the section where your child has had trouble and need more practice.   At one point, I realized that Alexandre wasn’t doing his tests,   So I strongly suggested that he spend some time to do them before pursuing the other worksheets.   I think he was excited because he could unlock some games to play with as a reward.    This week, I realized that he didn’t complete all his test yet.    So today I will remind him again the importance of doing the tests.   Even though he aced his worksheets, I find that he should do the tests…  As you can see with the example below, he doesn’t aced his worksheets all the time.   Some of them he found it more difficult than others.  



As I mentioned above, rewards are available within TenMarks but what could you do when your child has unlocked ALL the games.   Well TenMarks gives you the ability of setting your own rewards in the system.  Having this flexibility gives you the possibility of giving an extra treat in the afternoon, time on the Wii or Nintendo DS, time on the television, a new book and so on.   My only regret is that I can’t set up a reward for doing the tests…  I think it would be beneficial to remind the child to do so.

When you child completes his worksheets he receives a certificate of mastery for each and every section.   You can even print the certificate to file it in your paperwork of the year.  Having such a certificate gives a sense of accomplishment for the child.   I know my son is excited to be able to print his certificates.   


When we first got the email to access the site, I experience some issues with the login.   The service I received to resolve the problem was fast and precise.    Within 48 hours the problem was fixed and Alexandre was able to start using the site.  

When you register, you will have an access code for you, the parent, and an access code for each child that will use the system.   After all, using a personalized curriculum is advantageous I think.   I particularly like the fact that I can log on at anytime with my personal access code and see where my child is at.  I can see with the click of the mouse if my child used hints or videos to understand the concept.  I can pause the curriculum if we go on vacation (wow!  you don’t need to worry to meet the deadlines assigned on a worksheet…).   I can see which album he is currently doing and what is coming up according to his grade.    I can even modify his curriculum by adding previous or more advance worksheets if he is struggling on a subject.

In conclusion, I think that TenMarks is extremely well done and fun to use.   It will challenge your child to persevere and become a master of important concepts in mathematics.  I find it very flexible to answer the needs for your family.   If  you would have to consider a math program, I would suggest that you check out TenMarks thoroughly.   I find it very complete and easy to adapt at any time during the year.  

TenMarks is affordable for everyone and offers a money back guarantee.   Various options are available for homeschoolers.  These options are on a per student basis.   You can pay monthly for 10$ US per month, bi-annually for 49$ US per 6 months or annually for 89$US per year.   Now I would like to suggest that TenMarks consider to have a special price for family with multiple children.  Right now for us, only our son Alexandre would use it but in a few years, his brothers and sister could join him on this online math program.   An incentive to register multiple children would be interesting for homeschoolers.   

Disclaimer: Thanks to TenMarks for sending me to above mentioned book for review purpose through the TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

365 Project – Day 22

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!


On this day, I decided to stop and smell the roses that hubby has bought!  

Three draws – Three winners!

I had three draws closing yesterday.  And this morning thanks to, I picked all the winners…

Is it you?


12 Art Lessons on DVD 

The Winner is # 11






PINK Espresso - Solitaire pendant and matching earrings

The winner is #111





Lehman Publishing books

The winner is #13





Congratulations to all my winners!

I will email each one of them and they have to reply to me with their mailing address within the next day.   If I hear nothing from them I will pick another winner.


Don’t forget the Piggy Back Bandz contest!   Deadline January 31st  Open to Canadians and US residents!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fellow Bloggers BEWARE! Is it just me or what?

Dear fellow bloggers and readers,

This morning while surfing on a friend’s website, I saw that she had reviewed a fun puzzle from Chris Yates

So being a reviewer, I decided I could ask to review one of his products…  I mean if I don’t ask, how would I know if I would have the opportunity to review it.

So here’s the email I send EVERYTIME I request to review a product.  I have sent this email dozens of times in the past.

Good morning,

My name is Isabelle but I am known on the blogosphere as the Canadianladybug.   I stumbled on your site this morning and I was wondering if you would allow a Canadian mom who blog to review your products.

Since about 3 years I am doing various reviews for products and books.   It all started when I participated to the viral marketing project from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.   I was part of 100 participants who had to review homeschool products from many publishers over a period of 9 months.   When the time was up, I had re-discovered a love to tell others about books and products.   So I contacted other publishers and started reviewing book.   At the end of 2009, I had also included other products.   I would love to continue to expand my review opportunities. 

In case you are interested, here’s a bit more information about us.  We are a bilingual homeschooling family of 2 adults and  4 kids ages 9 (Boy), almost 7 (boy), 5 (boy) and 3 (girl).   My kids are involved in various aspects of product testing when it touches them.    In a way, it is an interesting homeschool opportunity for our kids to get involved in the reviews.  We also RV during the spring, summer and fall seasons.  As a family we love to discover new places and explore together.  

My blog is increasing in readers and my posts feed through to my Canadianladybug Reviews! Facebook like page.  I also tweet about the review I do on my Canadianladybug Reviews! Twitter account.   When it is possible I also post on and

I do not charge for reviews.  However, I request a full-version sample of the products to be reviewed which I get to keep.  If you would let a Canadian mom review some of your products, I would be interested.  

I am also open to do giveaways on my blog.  However, the only request I have if you choose to do a giveaway is that the product by shipped to the winner by you.

I look forward to discover your products and work with you!

Isabelle aka Canadianladybug

Visit me at Canadianladybug Reviews! or Mouthworthy

Like the Canadianladybug Reviews! on facebook

Follow me on twitter.



Clear. Simple. Straightforward.   Sometimes, I don’t hear back from the companies I contact.   Other times I get a simple No or Yes.   But never in the past three years during which I have been doing this have I received this kind of a reply.

This afternoon, while I was preparing supper I received an email from Chris Yates saying:

You don't charge for reviews??? And you're on facebook *and* twitter??? Wow, I should just send you all kinds of free stuff for your kids to play with!


  To this I replied to him with the email below.

Yes I don't charge for reviews. However if you do decide to send anything please make sure that you do send media mail to avoid charges when it cross

the border. If you send UPS please mention you will pay for charges as well...

That is all I ask. I could do a giveaway as well but I ask that it is shipped by the company who is making the product. I could limit the giveaway to US or or US and Canada. It is up to you.

I think the whole family would enjoy your products.

Thanks for considering it.

Isabelle aka Canadianladybug

To this he answered me…  (dear reader and fellow blogger – please sit down before continuing)

I think someone forgot to turn on their sarcasm detector today.

Excuse me? 

Granted I might be a little bit gullible but at first it actually sounded like a compliment.  What can I say?

Should I permit this person to walk over me and make fun of the whole request.   If Mr. Yates is not interested he just have to either delete the email and be done with it OR email me stating that thanks but at this time he is not interested.

Would I recommend my blogger friends to approach this guy to request to review his product?  Definitively not.

Would I consider purchasing products from Chris Yates?  Not anymore.    As cool as the products might be, I do not appreciate being treated as a door mat and being ridiculed this way.

This person obviously needs some lessons on how to treat people.    How can you expect doing business with others if you are treating them with sarcasm.


So fellow readers and bloggers, if you are considering either reviewing or purchasing his products, please don’t.


Gullible and proud.

Isabelle aka Canadianladybug


365 Project – Day 21

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!


Are you wondering what my son is doing? 

Do you know Julian Smith on the internet?   No?  Watch the video below.   Yes…. well I think you can see that Alexandre is imitating him – he was even singing the song… !   He was funny!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids

61AuxDR47XL__SS500_Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids
Published at B&H Publishers

About the Book

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids helps children ages 5 to 10 better understand more than 750 Bible terms through vivid design and clear, concise definitions. More than 500 of the featured words are paired with full-color photographs, illustrations, maps, or reconstructions to enhance comprehension.

This unique reference tool is perfect for church classrooms, families, home-schooling environments, Christian school classrooms and libraries, church libraries, and public libraries.

See it for yourself! Download the PDF sampler here. (45MB)

My Thoughts

This book is an absolute must for any Christian families and for homeschoolers who are teaching their kids about God and the Bible.   It is jammed packed with definitions, pictures, maps, charts, pronunciations, illustrations and much more.  It is very organized and bright in color.    I also like the fact that is is not packed with too much information in one page.   It is easy to read for the kids when they would have to search for a specific word.

My oldest son immediately jumped on it when we received the book and flipped through the pages.   It is organized by alphabetical order and will define any words found the Bible that need some explanation.   For example, the term salvation is define is clear and concise words that a child would understand.  My son, age 9 1/2, particularly like the special charts found here and there throughout the Bible Dictionary.   He immediately stopped on the FOODS IN BIBLE TIMES pages and proceed to determine which of these food he had eaten so far…  Let me tell you that I thought it was interesting coming from a pre-teen boy!   I better watch my cupboards and fridge in the future as I heard that teenage boys can eat a lot…   Having gone through the pages, he discovered that he never had figs or lamb.  I guess we will have to expand our taste buds in 2011 to include these two products.    Anyone have any idea on how to eat figs?   I can figure the lamb but honestly I have no idea on how a fig should be eaten…

As I mentioned earlier, this book is beautifully organized and very colourful which will grab the attention of any children I find.   It even spark my own interest in reading it and discover more about the Bible through it.

This Bible dictionary is an important book to have in every Christian household as well as for homeschoolers.   I find that my kids always have specific questions on certain words, places, people mentioned in the Bible.  Now they have a beautiful book to refer too when needed.

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is available at your favourite bookstore, even at

Disclaimer: Thanks to LifeWay Christian Stores for sending me to above mentioned book for review purpose through the TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Stylish blogger Award

My friend Vickie at Tumbleweed News has awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award.



Thanks Vickie!

I am now passing it on to my other friend, Shannon who writes Mom Loves Books.

365 Project–Day 20

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!




Kids playing and re-enacting the birth of Jesus.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

End of the rope

This week question for the blog cruise is:

“How do you avoid burn-out?”

Thought subject I find.

But it needs to be talked about because contrary to what probably most people think, homeschooling is not always easy. We have times when we doubt our decision while other times we feel overwhelmed with either the responsibility or the fact that you have three kids with different levels to teach.

Yes there are days where I feel totally and entirely inadequate.

The worse for me is always in February.   So what do I do…?

It simple and easy at the same time.   Take you days one at a time and reduce the quantity of work to be done.  Then you won’t see a HUUUUUUGE mountain in front of you but a little hill instead.

Okay the analogy is probably not the best but I think you get the idea.   When I know that the “blues” are hitting home, I just put the books aside and I would read to the kids or give them a free play.   We don’t do many snow days during the school part of the year, so taking a day off when mom is overwhelmed is good.   It reduce the possibility of having my tone of voice going up a notch….  Seriously though, when you feel you have too much on your shoulders, check your schedule and see if there is anything that could be removed.   Too many activities outside the house would be a good place to start.   In our family, I stick with swimming lessons and AWANA for now.   Time will tell if we will add something else eventually but I seriously doubt it.

Burn-out is important to recognize.   And it is also important to talk about it.   I hope that your spouse is supportive and is willing to listen to you if things are not going the way you would have hoped.    When I feel that I am burned-out, I need some time alone.   That’s when I let the kids watch a movie or play games.   Or I would cook something chocolaty and we would eat some together.  Another idea would be to take a bubble bath which is always a treat for me.  

I did had black days – like I call them.  Days that I wanted to throw everything and just send the kids to school.   As much as it would be easier to do, I know deep down that I would not honour God by doing so.  Why?  Simply because I know that God has called me to homeschool my kids right now.  Will it be like that forever?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  Our hopes is to homeschool in high school as well but we leave it in God’s hands for now.  After all, we still have a few years before coming to the high school years.

I find the important thing is to take one day at a time.  It is not working today?  Don’t worry.  There is always tomorrow.   Take a break.  Go walk outside.   Pray and ask God to guide you and your children.    Read the Bible.  You will be surprised how much peace will come over you during that time.   And don’t forget a bit of chocolate is always helpful!  

Boiling Water at -30C

Wondering what boiling water will do at –30C temperature?

Check out this video of instant freezing of boiling water at –30 Celsius.    It works as we did it this morning…


Science project of the day – CHECKED.   Now let’s tackle the rest…

365 Project–Day 19

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!


Minus 29 C outside = frozen windows this morning!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

365 Project–Day 18

Photobucket I am participating in the 2011 Mommytography 365 Project! For this year long project I will be posting an image a day, to get me out shooting, using my camera and learning new things with it daily. Anyone interested in photography can join, no need to be a Mommytographer. We have teens to adults, male and female, as well as people from all over the world. Come join the fun!



My sofa has a bobo….


Fortunately, it looks like I have a warranty on the springs…  So I am calling tomorrow the service department.