Thursday, March 31, 2016

TOS Review~ Fifth Grade Literature Set from Memoria Press


Studying great literature is an important part of any Classical homeschooling education. We have been enjoying the Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press. With the Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set,we have been able to explore great books like Lassie Come-Home, Heidi, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Memoria Press offers a wonderful literature based curriculum.


Memoria Press Literature Guides Review
The Literature Guides from Memoria Press are a wonderful way to encourage students to read great classics. Reading great classics are important to families following a classical education approach.The literature guides help the students to focus on what they are reading and become an active reader. The guides focus on vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, and composition skills. Each lesson in the study guides will help students build a strong vocabulary base. Students will learn proper spelling while learning new challenging words. They may even be exposed to words that they might now here in every day life today. The reading comprehension questions will challenge the student to dig deeper into what they are reading. They will be asked to identify and understand important concepts and events that take place in the story. The questions provided in the study guide will encourage students to think and write.  The questions will help students learn to read with a purpose. They will help students learn how to see what the author was trying to get across to the reader. The study guide questions will help students learn how to write concise to the point answers. This will help them to answer questions with a main point and not ramble on and on. The questions will lead the students to focus on the main concepts presented in the book by the author.  Great literature provides students with a fantastic base for writing.  Great literature is important for strong writing skills and thinking skills. A well read student will accomplish so much. 
Memoria Press' study guides help students learn how to focus on their thinking and writing skills. It's an important task that isn't always easy to accomplish.  What parent doesn't want a strong reader who loves to read and write!


Memoria Press Literature Guides Review


For this review, we received the Fifth Grade Literature Guide Set. 
The set included....
Lassie Come Home Teacher Guide
Lassie Come Home Student Study Guide
Heidi Teacher Guide
Heidi Student Study Guide
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Teacher Guide
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Student Study Guide
We had all the books on our shelves at home, so we didn't need to purchase any of them. I have tried to build our bookshelves around great books. Michael read Huck Finn for the first time at 6! If you don't have the books, I'm sure most libraries would have them. It is recommended to use the Puffin Classics Edition of Heidi or an edition translated by Eileen Hall.


homeschool curriculum

Over the past few weeks, the kids and I have been reading Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight. We have been reading the book together as a read aloud. Since the literature guide we received was geared for 5th grade, I've had Therese working through the guide. Each week, we have been reading through a chapter. Lassie Come Home has 22 chapters. After reading the chapter, we discuss the chapter together. I focus more on Therese since she's in fifth grade.
Therese has been working through the different sections of the study guide.

Each study guide is broken up into section.
Reading Notes
Vocabulary
Comprehension Questions
Quotations
Discussion Questions
Enrichment


 I did have both kids create a vocabulary notebook for Lassie Come Home. They would add the new words from the reading notes and vocabulary section of the guide to their notebook each week. I added the words to their spelling lists. In their notebook, Therese and Michael would copy the word and the definition. I then encouraged them to write a sentence using the new words.

literature curriculum

I loved how the Lassie Come Home guide has gotten Therese to write complete sentences for her answers. I have enjoy how the study guide questions have gotten the kids involved in the story and has gotten their brains thinking. I see the gears turning and twisting while they try to a figure out the answer. The guides also have fun enrichment activities that we can do together....like bake bread, map skills, ideas on how to study history and events from that time period. 

We haven't been able to get to Heidi or The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe yet, but we are looking forward to study them too. These study guides seem just as thorough as Lassie Come Home. The Heidi study guide brings in the study of poetry. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe brings in drawing and Greek myths. 
All the study guides have quizzes and tests in them. They even have a final test for when you are done with the book.
All the study guides seem to work together to present a solid curriculum for the student. I love how the study guides present writing topics like setting and plot, allegories, perception, history, etc. By using the entire set throughout the year, students will receive a wonderful balanced approach to history. 

What did we think?

I liked the Fifth Grade Literature Study Guide Set from Memoria Press. At first I would say Therese disliked all the writing (which really isn't that much). As we progressed through the guide and we got into a routine, it became easier and not as tedious for her. 
She is looking forward to reading Heidi next!
I love how the study guides added extras like poetry, copywork, map work, drawing, and fun activities like baking to bring the books to life.
I will be looking into more literature guides for us to do together next year. My plan is to pick at least 2 books (maybe 3) to read and work through. I may even allow the kids to pick their own book! Michael and Therese can each pick one, while I pick the 3rd option. That way everyone will be happy.


Be sure to stop by and see what other grade level literature sets the Review Crew members reviewed. Memoria Press has so many wonderful boos to chose from. I know you're kids will definitely find a favorite.They may even beg you to do school!

Memoria Press Literature Guides Review

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents~ How to Teaching Multiple Ages



5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

For us, homeschooling has always been a joint effort with my kids. I was blessed with two wonderful gifts from God who happen to be a 16 months apart in age. The closeness in age has made homeschooling fairly simple. It has allowed us to school some subjects together. Obviously, some subjects we've had to do separately just because of age and learning abilities. Since, we lean toward a Charlotte Mason style of learning combining classes has been quite simple.



Art and music are probably the easiest to combine. Art is a way for children to express themselves. There is no right or wrong answers! Music for us was listening to great composers while working on our art projects or traveling in the car! Even as babies, I played classical music in the house. My kids can listen to many pieces and name it. Each one has found their favorite composer to listen too.



History can be easy to adapt for all ages. For example, while studying the Medieval time period, we would read books aloud together. Michael would also read books to himself, while I would read some to Therese. Michael even would read to Therese. This is a great way for siblings to come together. Michael learned to read early on and is still a strong reader. Therese on the other hand struggles with reading. Even to this day, Michael will help her if she needs help pronouncing a word. They have formed a closeness that might not have happened if we schooled separately. Projects we would work on were very hands on. Making a sword, creating a knight with a toilet paper roll, and a catapult with popsicle sticks and a spoon. One week during our Medieval study, it snowed and we lost power for the week. We pretended we were in the middle ages with no electricity. We played games, read, and cooked on the wood stove. They still talk about how we lived like people during the Medieval time period.

Science can be adapted for all ages too. Again choosing a variety of books on a particular subject allowed both Therese and Michael to learn at their own levels. We did experiments to bring in the hands on learning. I always allowed both children to participate in the experiment. A younger child can do most things with the assistance of an adult.



I'm sure many people are wondering how you can combine writing and grammar to children at different levels. I promise is can be done. Early on, I had a notebook for both kids. At the top of the page, I put a topic. For Michael, I had topics like snakes, bears, bugs, camping, flying a plane, etc. Anything that might be of interest to him was chosen as a topic. For Therese, I put more girly topics like kittens, puppies, flowers, butterflies, dolls, etc. Again I picked topics she would want to write about. For Michael, I had him write more than Therese since he was older and a stronger reader. So for example, he would have to write 5-7 sentences, while Therese would be required to write 4-5. This is were a little bit of competition is good. Therese took that as a challenge and started writing more because she wanted to be like Michael. She didn't want t be left behind. Grammar repeats every year so we just started with books at Michael's grade level. Therese is just ahead a little. If I see she is struggling, I slow down and explain it more for her. So far it's worked. There are even times now that she remembers more information than Michael when it come to writing and grammar. 

Religion is easy. We live our a faith daily. We all pray together and we focus on the Catechism. We read the Bible together. Now that they are older, we read the Bible daily. Michael and Therese now take turns reading the Bible chapter we are covering for that day. Crafts and art projects to go along with our religion lessons are a fun hands on way to learn and allows different ages to work together.

Most subjects can be combined. Math and Spelling are the two that have never been combine in our house. I don't want a child to be held back or another child pushed ahead only to struggle. 
The subjects we do combine allows the kids to work together and encourage one another. 

The biggest thing I would stress when combing subjects is offer various options while studying together. Allow differences in writing styles and what you require the child to do. Give them different levels of reading materials. You never want to hold a child back or have a child struggling to keep up. Children learn at their own pace. Be ready to make changes and things will go fine.


Don't forget to stop by and visit the other members of the Review Crew! They are sharing a ton of great homeschooling tips for parents. 

Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans



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5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents~ How to teach Kindergarten for FREE (or almost free)!


5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

When we first started homeschooling. I had no idea where to begin. I looked at different programs but felt that they were too expensive or too much work for a little one. I didn't want my five year old son sitting down and filling in workbooks all day long. So I searched for other ways for us to learn!
Many I found were free or relatively cheap. I loved using stuff we already had in the house.
Online I found a variety of free worksheets available. I printed out coloring pages, wiring pages and fun games for him to complete.
Here were a few of our favorite sites.

First School Worksheets 
Kid Zone 
DLTK

One fun thing I did was make a wall of his work. As we worked through the alphabet, we'd add the coloring page and writing page to our wall. The nice thing about "creating" my own lessons is I could easily find coloring pages and activities of something he loved to go along with our letter of the week. So for example, for the letter Dd we colored a page of a dinosaur. We read books all about dinosaurs that we checked out from the library. For fun, we'd draw pictures of dinosaurs, create a dinosaur out of playdoh, and play with his toy dinosaurs. 

Unit Studies are a great way to bring in all the subjects into learning. Homeschoolshare.com has a wonderful of unit studies geared for all ages! One unit study we did was for the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I created a giant coconut tree on the inside or our front door. I cut out all the letters and we placed them on the tree. Both kids loved having the tree in the house. We tried various types of fruit with this unit study. Michael loved star fruit and kiwi, but learned he didn't really care for papaya. 

Arts and crafts are a great way to learn. I saved everything. Plastic bottles and tubs, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, wrapping paper rolls, small and large boxes, newspapers, magazines, egg cartons, old socks, etc. We used all these things to create wild beasts, puppets, animals, robots, knights, swords. One time while learning about bats, we made bats out of black socks and hung them on a stick (which we found in the yard) from our dining room window. Michael loved it. We had four black bats hanging in our dinning room for months!

All my lesson were fairly simple and almost free. The only thing I really spent money on was the ink for the printer. We even had colored copy paper donated to us from grandparents. It was simple, fun, but definitely educational!

Stop by and see what other great tips and advice the other members of the Review Crew have to offer!

Tiffany @ The Crafty Home


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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

TOS Review~ Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English



Over the past few weeks, the kids have been working through a very thorough English program called Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English. We stopped our regular English programs and have been working through this curriculum everyday for the past few weeks. It has been amazing!
I'm so excited to be able to share with you all about this program.


Logic of English Review
Logic of English is a one-stop curriculum. In their programs, students will learn phonetic awareness, the alphabetic principle, high frequency words, handwriting, spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. When using The Essentials 2nd Edition program, students will work on reading, phonics, and spelling in one curriculum. It provides everything you need for learning to read and becoming a strong writer. You won;t need 3 or 4 different books.

Logic of English Review
For this review, we received the Essentials 2nd Edition Complete Set Volume 1. The Essentials 2nd Edition Complete Set comes with the teacher's guide book, the student workbook, the spelling journal, basic phonogram flash cards, advanced phonogram flash cards, spelling rule flash cards, grammar flash cards, morpheme flash cards set 1, phonogram game cards, deck of manuscript or cursive game cards, phonogram tile cards, phonogram and spelling quick reference lamented sheet, and the spelling analysis card. It's a lot of stuff! We also received an additional resource for this program. We were given a digital download for the The Essential Reader, The Essential Reader Student Activity Book, and The Essential Reader Teacher's Guide. These resources are optional but recommended if you have a struggling reader.
Logic of English Review
The Essentials 2nd Edition program is geared for ages 8 and up. It's a complete spelling, grammar, and vocabulary program for children in grades 2 through 6. It can easily be used for older kids who are struggling or just need a little more reinforcement. The nice thing is that there are no prerequisites to use the program. You can just just jump in! They are even working on a Volume 2 so you can continue on with this program with your middle school aged children.
The Essentials 2nd Edition program is broken up into 3 different levels...Level A, Level B, and Level C. The book provides instructions for all three levels. It's perfect for teaching multiple levels. Great for large families or small families with children close in age.
Each lesson is divided into 5 lessons/5 days. This makes it extremely easy to teach! Each lesson has detailed instructions for teaching, fun activities for the students to do, games, and helpful hints. 
How did we use the Essential 2nd Edition Curriculum?

I will tell you I was very excited about trying this program after checking out their website. It had everything. With Therese struggling with reading and spelling, I hoped this would be a just what we were looking for. So we signed up to review this product and was thrilled when we were picked for it!

reading curriculum

When the box came in the mail, I was very eager to open it up and dig right it. After I opened the box, I was shocked by all that came. It definitely was overwhelming when I first looked at all the materials that had been sent. I had no idea on where to begin! Thankfully it was a nice day, so the kids headed outside while I sat down to read the very thick teacher's guide. It's a big book, but it contains all 3 levels for volume 1. After reviewing the material, I decided that Therese should probably do the Pre-Lessons. The book comes with a placement test, so you don't have to guess where to start. Therese and I sat down together so that I could administer the placement test. I was correct. She needed a refresher. The books includes 10 pre-lessons. We spent 2 weeks reviewing before we jumped into Lesson 1. The book contains 15 lessons. Week 1 was a little rough. At first the books seemed very confusing when you sat down to do the work. Each lesson is broken up into the three levels. It can be very confusing at first, but once you get in to it, it will make complete sense. Each level is color coded. Some sections will be for all levels and then you'll see sections high lighted in light blue for Level A, green for level B, and yellow gold for level C. For this review, we were supposed to use level A. We did Level at first, but I found that Therese had remembered more than I thought from her previous phonics program, so we moved up to level B. We went over each lesson daily. We used the flashcards and Therese worked through the student workbook.

Homeschool curriculum

The Essential Reader was a great addition to the program. The books as broken up into lessons. Each lesson introduced a list of words. Following the words, students would read a small story containing words form the list. The students then get to work in the student workbook. Here they will copy sentences with words from the list. They have the option to do copywork in cursive or manuscript. Therese found the story easy to read but we did find that she struggles with a few words. I think the reader is a great reinforcement for students that might need a little push.

grammar program



What we thought of the Essentials 2nd Edition Curriculum? 
We love it. I am so thrilled with how the curriculum has grammar, handwriting, reading, and phonics all in one book. In the past, we had separate books for all those subjects. Logic of English definitely has saved us some time. It frees up more of our day to work on science and history. The best part even with the shortened time, Therese isn't missing a thing. It is all there. I've already added Michael into the class parts. I am ordering him his own student book to work through. I am looking forward to the volume 2! 
Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English is well liked in our house. Both kids have said the lessons are fun. They are NOT BORING! Therese loved that it wasn't just a workbook. My kids dislike workbooks a lot. We are already planning on using this program next year for English.
My only suggestion is I would recommend buying the student reader and workbook. It would be easier to read and save you the hassle of printing it out.

Find out more about Logic of English and their phenomenal English curriculum.



Be sure to stop by and visit the other members of the Review Crew to see what they thought about the English curriculum from Logic of English.




Logic of English Review

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Monday, March 28, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling ~ Preschool and Kindergarten Fun!




5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

It's been a few years since my kids were small and just starting their homeschool journey. I remember being scared but extremely excited about our new homeschooling adventure. I know lots of homeschooling parents jump in and buy a fancy homeschool curriculum. Many of our friends did. I just felt like it was a big waste of money. I believed I could do it without all the books, colorful manipulatives, and endless workbooks. I knew learning could be hands on and fun!

So what did we do? We read, played, and just had fun.

Books! Books! Books!
We used the library. We checked out tons and tons of books. We had anywhere from 30-60 books checked out at a time. We frequented local thrift stores and bought books to fill our own books shelves. You can fin great deals on new and gently used books. 
Even if the little ones are not officially reading, they can look through the books and create their own stories from the pictures. Therese loved making up her own stories.





Fun Games
We all know the classics like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Uncle Wiggly, etc. They are a great way to learn and have fun at the same time. My kids loved playing games like I Spy, Hi Ho Cherry-O,  Memory Matching Games, Cooties, Don't Break the Ice, and Don't Spill the Beans. Games like Mother May I and Red Light, Green Light are a lot of fun too!

Pretend Play
I still believe playing is the best way to learn. We'd play house, restaurant, store, vet, pirates, explorers, knights, etc. A child's imagination is truly an amazing thing. If you let them lead, they will take you to a whole new world.

I still remember one day when Therese was 2 years old. She was playing with her dollhouse, while Michael and I were practicing his reading. When Michael and I finished up, I stopped by to see what Therese was up to. She had filled the bathtub in her dollhouse up with water. She was having the mommy wash the dog. It was so cute to see her playing. She had taken a real thing from her ow life and imitated it. 

Head Outdoors

homeschool

I think the most important aspect of learning for kids it to head outside and experience nature. Talk a walk, play in a creek, look at flowers and trees, investigate and find bugs. We've been able to owls, lizards, deer, crayfish, turtles, frogs, and so much more. If kids can get out an experience life they will remember it. 


My kids are now preteens, but they still remember the time mommy stopped the car and we all got out to see a very large snapping turtle up close (not too close though). By it's size, he was over 60 years old. 


Other members of the Review Crew are joining in the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents blog hop. Be sure to visit them and see what great advice they have to offer homeschooling parents.

Annette @ A Net In Time
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
DaLynn @ Biblical Womanhood
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wordless Wednesday




The difficulties of homeschooling.....





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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

TOS Review~ The Ultimate Gift from FishFlix.com


Recently, I gave my daughter a selection of wonderful movies from FishFlix.com to choose from for this review. She immediately jumped at the chance to watch and review The Ultimate Gift! We really enjoyed our last movie from FishFlix.com, so we were very eager to get this one in the mail.



FishFlix.com Review
FishFlix.com is a Christian company that focuses on providing families with good, wholesome movies for children, families, and adults. They offer thousands of Christian movies. The selection of Christian movies is amazing and contains a variety of high quality choices. They offer children's movies, documentaries, comedies, biographies, educational movies, Easter movies, and Christmas movies. They even have a Catholic selection of movies. You'll find movies about Saint Francis, Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Therese, Saint Maria Goretti, the Vatican, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Pope Francis, Lourdes,and Fatima. There are lots of titles to choose from. Families can find a Christian movie that would fit their needs. I'm sure they'd be able to find more than one.


FishFlix.com Review
For this review, Therese and I are reviewing The Ultimate Gift DVD. The Ultimate Gift DVD is a charming tale about a spoiled young man, named Jason. Jason's wealthy grandfather passes away and leaves behind a set of challenges Jason must meet before he will be granted his inheritance. If he can meet, fulfill, and accomplish these 12 gifts, he'll receive the Ultimate Gift. The grandfather's goal is to get Jason to experience life and finally realize what truly matters. He wants him to go from being selfish to being selfless. Along his journey, Jason befriends a sweet little girl, Emily, who is sick and dying of leukemia. Emily's mom and Emily form a special bond with Jason while he learns and experiences the different gifts his grandfather wants him to learn.
Christian Movies


What we thought about The Ultimate Gift DVD......

The Ultimate Gift  was a charming tale about a young selfish man who grows up and learns to put others before himself. This is such a great lesson for people to see and learn. Being selfish is a lot of times easier and a lot more fun. It takes more strength and courage to be selfless. 

The Ultimate Gift is well done and has some great actors in it. You'll immediately recognize the grandfather, James Garner. Emily, the young girl, is played by Abigail Breslin. Emily is a sweet girl, but she definitely has some sass to her.  Michael said she has no filter when she was talking to people. She just said whatever popped in her head. 

All three of us enjoyed the movie. It was a very toughing tale that encourages its viewers to focus on what really matters in this life. While watching the movie, you can't help but pray and hope that Jason finds his path on this amazing journey his grandfather has sent him on. He struggles with poverty, homelessness, and having to work for the first time in his life. He accepts each challenge and slowly meets them with an open heart. Of course at first, he fights and struggles but over time his heart starts to see what is important. This is such a special gift his grandfather has given him. 
It's the Ultimate Gift,

My kids are middle school age and I felt the movie was a good fit for us. I do think parents with younger kids may not find the movie suitable for them. I would suggest 10 and up for this movie, maybe 8 or 9 depending on the child. It has a small reference to a mistress, immodestly dressed women, guns, a reference to drugs and drug lords. Jason is pretty shallow and selfish in the beginning. Of course, all of these points can lead to a wonderful discussion about choices we make it life. As parents, we know what our kids can handle and what they can't.

I believe The Ultimate Gift has a very powerful message that we as a society need to here. We need to put others first. I would recommend this movie for a fun family movie night.

Ready for a Giveaway?

I am super excited to share with you about a wonderful giveaway from FishFlix.com. FishFlix.com is offering readers a chance to win a collection of movies! You can enter to win a 5 movie prize pack. Over $80 worth of movies!! You can win The Ultimate Gift, War Room, Superbook: A Great Adventure, My Son, My Savior, and Owlegories 2.


To enter the drawing, just join FishFlix.com's mailing list. You can enter here!



Learn more about FishFlix.com.......








Stop by and visit to see what other great movies the review crew were able to enjoy!

FishFlix.com Review

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Farewell, My Friend





This has been a tough week for us. Last Monday, our cat suddenly became sick and got worse rather fast. It's shocking how quickly he went down hill. What we thought was a simple problem turned into a disaster. On Friday, we said goodbye to our sweet little kitty. 

He was with us only for a short four years, but they were four amazing years. He was a one of a kind cat. We rescued him when he was a few days old. His eyes barely opened. His small cries for help. His head was the size of a walnut. We feed him every few hours and we nursed him back to health. He became the best cat you could ask for. He was a cross between a cat, a dog, and a human..... at least he thought so.


He was a dear friend and companion to a sweet little girl. He listened to her read while she struggled to learn. His fur dried tears of sadness and frustration. He curled up on her bed and kept the bad dreams away. He never left the bed until she woke up in the morning.He was a constant companion who followed her around everywhere. 



Friday was a sad day for Therese as she said goodbye to her best friend. It was a hard day for this mama. It broke my heart to see her in so much pain. There was nothing I could say or do that would ease her pain. It was a lesson in life that she had to face. She bravely held him and comforted him during his last moments. I'm amazed at how strong she is. She has grown into a beautiful young lady that cares for people and animals. She truly is a special young lady.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

TOS Homeschool Crew



Over the past year and half, I have been blessed to be part of The Schoolhouse Review Crew. This wonderful group has added so much to my children's homeschooling journey.  Not only do we get to try and review great products, I get encourage and wonderful advice from fellow homeschooling moms and dads!

Are you looking for encourage, curriculum ideas, and fun ideas to implement in your schooling?
If you are be sure to stop by and like the TOS Homeschool Crew Facebook page. 
On the Facebook page, you join over 200 fellow homeschoolers who share great reviews, wonderful advice, and support for your homeschooling journey!

Be sure to visit and like the page.....



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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sharing a HUGE Sewing Deal


Wow! I logged into check emails this morning and I saw this incredible deal on a 
Brother Sewing Machine!
HUGE DEAL!!!!



It's the Brother CS6000i. It has 60 Built-in stitches, 7 styles of 1 step buttonholes, a quilting table, and a hard cover.

It usually cost $499.00, but is on sale for

$114.98 

This is a great deal!

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