Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

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Till Next Time,
Monique


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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ October 27, 2019

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.





Till Next Time,
Monique


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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review~ Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece 2019

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review


After studying art in high school and college, I always knew I wanted to expose both my kids to the wonderful world of art. Over the years, we've tried a variety of resources. I was thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. 



This is our second review for Creating a Masterpiece. Two years ago, we reviewed the monthly plan from Creating a Masterpiece. Creating a Masterpiece is an online fine arts curriculum for students and parents of all ages. The lessons are led by Sharon Hofer. She's the mastermind behind this online art program. Her goal is help students of all ages explore their creativity, further their artistic abilities, and grow confident in their finished projects. The program provides students with step-by-step instruction through the online videos.

 Online Art Curriculum


Creating a Masterpiece offers students a variety of art resources and curriculum.

~Drawing Program~
Step by Step instructions on basic drawing skills

~Core Program~
Learn to create 24 works of art using different media
This is what reviewed earlier.

~Unlimited Access~
Access to all the videos on the site

~Art History Program~
Art history lessons with projects to complete 

~Books~
Two series of books created by Sharon Hofer, Exploring the Art of Yesterday...To Create Art Today and Step by Step: Fine Art for Kids

Each program comes with multiple levels. Students of all skill sets can work through the programs at their own pace.


For this review, we received a one-year subscription to the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. Subscriptions can be set up monthly or for the entire year. Monthly rates are $19.99. A yearly rate is $199.
The drawing program comes with 4 different levels.

Beginning Drawing
Drawing Level 1
Drawing Level 2
Drawing Level 3


Students will listen to 48 lessons and create 30 different projects . 
Cartoons, Animals, Flowers, Scenery, Buildings, etc.

Beginning Drawing

Students are introduced to 3 different types of drawing media...colored pencil, pencil, and charcoal.

Students will learn about various art techniques and terms. 
Project planning, value, shading, proportion, composition, highlighting, and many more.
With Sharon's step by step instruction, students will be on their way to becoming better at drawing and possibly becoming an accomplished artist.

Even if your child doesn't want to become an artist, drawing is an important skill to have. Anyone can learn to draw and it will benefit them in life. I know over the years it has helped me along the way. I've had to draw garden designs for my yard, costume designs for the plays Therese is in, Halloween costume ideas, our kitchen layout when we were remodeling, science experiments with the kids, pictures on the board when teaching at co-ops, religious education classes, and even my own kids. It truly does help to have the ability to draw when teaching. Kids will not have to ask what it is that you are drawing. Stick figures only go so far!

Since neither of Michael or Therese are amazing artists, we started with the Beginning drawing level.. Both will tell you that they suck at art. Their words, not mine. I've always encouraged them and told them "with practice you will improve, just like everything else in life."

Our first project was the cartoon giraffe! He's actually kind of cute.

Drawing Program


When you click on the lesson, everything you need is listed. A supply list is there and a few helpful hints to help aid your drawing lesson. 
The first thing we did was collect all the supplies we needed. White paper and drawing pencils.



We then watch the 4 videos. I loved how the lesson videos are broken up into sections. This helped with our internet connection. Since the videos were shorter they were able to down load easier and we had almost no freezing up. This made the lessons go on without a hitch!


Following the step by step instructions, we were able to create a fun cartoon giraffe.




If you're looking for a fun, yet thorough art program,  I can't recommend Creating a Masterpiece enough. Students will enjoy the lessons. They'll be able to follow the step by step instructions, and be on their way to becoming better artists. The variety of projects allows students to find something that will appeal to them. It really is a fantastic program! The entire program is cost effective and it really is like getting personalized art lessons in your home.

Discover more about Creating a Masterpiece!
Find them on Social Media


Be sure to stop in and see what other amazing works of art the rest of the students created.
Just click the link below and you're on your way!



Till Next Time,
Monique








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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ October 20, 2019

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.




Till Next Time,
Monique




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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review~ Brain Blox- Wooden Building Planks

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


Wooden Blocks


Don't you just love it when your kids use their imaginations and create amazing things? Over the years, I have been shocked by some of the creations Michael and Therese have created. When we were asked to review Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks from Brain Blox, I was excited to see what they could do now that they are older. You're never too old to build and create. 




Brain Blox is a family-owned company that encourages creative kids to use their imaginations. Through the various educational toys, games, and resources, Brain Blox allows kids to create things they have dreamed about and test the limits of their imaginations. Brain Blox wants kids to turn off the television, put down the electronics, turn off the video games, and start using their creative genius. Don't we all want our kids to use their minds and imaginations to have fun and to learn?


Educational Toys


For this review, we received the Natural Wooden Building Plank Set (200 blocks). Families can choose from three different sets.

Natural Wooden Building Planks (100 blocks)...$29.99
Natural Wooden Building Planks (200 blocks)...$44.95
Natural Wooden Building Planks (300 blocks)...$59.99

Our set included.... 200 solid wood blocks,  full-color booklet containing ideas for building, a red canvas drawstring backpack for storage or for traveling, and the free Brain Blox World eBook with access to build ideas videos.

The wooden planks are 100% natural New Zealand Pine wood. The planks are precision cut and chemical free. They are earth friendly, non-toxic, and safe for kids of all ages! 

Brain Blox Review


The Brain Blox Building Ideas booklet contains pictures of simple projects like alphabet letters & numbers, bridges, flowers, chairs, and tables. For more advanced projects, they've included towers, puzzles, trains, the pantheon, and ships to create. The book gives kids ideas for all skill levels. Online, families can find links to videos, brain puzzles, and links to curriculum and projects to use during your school. Michael enjoyed watching the video featuring a chain reaction machine built by a teenager. They definitely had a lot of patience to build that creation. We'd have a difficult time building that with all the animals we have roaming around our house. I enjoyed giving the kids the brain puzzles to solve. These are great for thinking skills and math skills. 

When we received the blocks, I had fun setting of a few of the brain puzzles each morning. The kids had a few laughs trying to figure them out. Some of the puzzles were solved in mere seconds, while others were only solved after a few hints. We even had to look at the answers on a few.

Wooden Building Blocks

Even the animals got in on the fun!

I was excited to review these wooden planks because I wanted to add some fun into our classes. Too often we the kids get older, school can become too strict. Reading books and writing papers tend to dominate the curriculum in high school. I wanted the kids to have some fun like they did when they were little. Since we are studying Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages for history this year, I figured the kids could create some fun things with these wooden blocks....the Roman Aqueducts, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, a Viking ship, the Great Wall of China, a Medieval Castle, etc.



What Did We Think of Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks?

Brain Blox Wooden Planks

We're not that far into our Roman studies, so we haven't quite gotten to the Colosseum yet. However the kids did practice building a few bridges. We'd talked about Hadrian's Wall, but that seemed a little to easy to with the wooden planks. Building it with actual rocks would be a more challenging. Instead, I had the kids try to build the bridge that was presented in the idea booklet.

The planks are thinner and narrower than standard wooden blocks. No where near as heavy either. This allows the building to be a little (or a lot) more challenging. Table shacking and pets can easily knock down a few blocks. This may frustrate smaller kids, but maybe not. It probably depends o the kiddo. 


Brain Blox Wooden Planks

Next week, we should be talking about the Colosseum, so the kids will get a challenge then. Having arched or curved  pieces would be helpful, but they'll have to work with what they got. Maybe Brain Blox can think about adding arches and curved pieces to the sets.

Michael though that the smaller, thinner size of the planks was nice. He said he preferred the locking bricks he usually builds with especially with all the animals that run around our place. He'd have less chance of his creations being destroyed. He did say the blocks were great for quick builds that you may not want to keep around. Perfect for quick school lessons.

Therese was neither impressed or unimpressed. She was never a big fan of blocks, planks, or building bricks. She was my baby doll girl. She said the planks were easy to work with, but didn't like how easily they fell over. It frustrated her. I have to admit it frustrated me too. 

Overall, I think the planks are extremely universal and can be so many things. I love how the website offers suggestions to families on what they can be used for and how to implement them into the curriculum.  An added bonus, is that that they are very affordable. Traditional blocks are expensive, hard to find, and huge. Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks give parents another options for their kids!

Discover more about Brain Blox. Find them on social media.


Stop in and read the rest of the crew reviews. 
I know the kids of the crew have probably created some amazing things! 
Just click the link below.




Till Next Time,
Monique




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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Review~ Fun Family Chess Set from Brain Blox

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.


Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review


Do your kids love to play games? Mine do! We were thrilled when we were given the opportunity to review Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox. Michael already knows how to play chess, but no one else in the house knows how to. This was the perfect way for us to learn how to play chess. 



Brain Blox is a family-owned company that creates educational toys, games, and resources for children of all ages. Their goal is to get kids to turn off the television, unplug from the electronics, and use their creative minds to explore the world around them. They strongly believe that the happiest, healthiest kids are those that are free to be the person they were created to be! Kids should be free to express themselves, free to explore, and free to play using their imaginations.

Brain Blox

Fun Family Chess is a fantastic game! It's an easy to understand game of chess. Doesn't that comment sound strange. Chess~ easy to understand? Years ago, chess was a popular game that many people played. It was a game 2 players played that challenged their brains. It was a thinking man's game.


Brain Blox

"Chess is like the gymnasium for the mind."
~Blaise Pascal

Somewhere along the line, chess became a confusing game. Many people no longer felt they were able to comprehend the challenging aspects of the game. I know I've tried to learn over the years and just never seemed to be able to comprehend what I was supposed to be doing. Fun Family Chess solves the fear many people have about playing chess.  

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review



Fun Family Chess includes....

Folding wooden chess board (it stores the games pieces when folded)
32 wooden chess pieces with their own velvet storage bags (2 colors white & brown)
Full color chess book that explains the game
2 sturdy reference cards
Wooden game cube


Mountain of Grace Homeschooling Review


The full color chess book is like a chess manual. It explains how to set up the game, how to play the game, and offers various tips and strategies for players. The chess book actual explains how to play two different ways, how to play Fun Family Chess or standard chess. 

The Fun Family Chess way to play introduces the player to the wonderful game of chess. Players use the wooden game cube in this game. Once they roll the die, they see what move they can make. They match the color-coded symbol to their chess piece. With the help of the reference card, they make their move. It's a great way to help people learn the rules of chess. I relied heavily on the reference cards. There are a lot of rules to memorize in chess. 

The Standard way to play chess is played without the die. This is the regular way to play chess. The book explains how players can win and how the pieces can make a few different moves. The detail information clearly explains to the player what they need to know. They'll learn about checkmate, en passant, pawn promotion, and castling. Most of these terms I had never heard of before. 

The last section of the book is filled with tips and strategies that will help the players become better chess players. 

"One doesn't have to play well, 
it's enough to play better than your opponent."
~Siegbert Tarrasch

Mountain of Grace Homeschooling


What Did We Think About Fun Family Chess?

I was very impressed with this game. The actual game pieces were made extremely well and will last a long time if families take care of it. It can easily be passed down generation after generation. I loved the fact that all the pieces could be stored in the wooden game box and everything fit back nice and neat into its original box.  It locks shut and keeps everything safe and sound.

Educational Games for Kids


The instructions were easy to understand and I felt I could finally comprehend what I was supposed to be doing in this game. Michael liked the reference cards. He said when he was learning how to play he had to keep looking up the proper way to move in a book he had. He said the reference cards were great for helping kids memorize the ways to move faster. 

Fun Family Chess



He also liked the storage game box. He remembers loosing too many pawn pieces as a kid when he was little. He used to play against himself by himself. Sad, I know! He said Fun Family Chess was more fun than playing a game all by yourself.

Educational Games


Therese did give the game a try. She tough the Fun Family Chess way to play was easy and helped explain how to play the game. It broke down the rules and explained them in simple, easy to understand ways. 

The only thing I didn't like about the game is that it didn't exist when Michael was little! It would have been a great way for him to learn to play chess. I could have learned too. Instead, he learned on a computer program, since none of use knew how to play. I would have preferred him to learn in a more hands-on way. 

Fun Family Chess


Want to learn more about Brain Blox and all that they have to offer?
Find them on social media!




Be sure to head on over and see what the rest of the crew had to say about
 Fun Family Chess from Brain Blox!




Till Next Time,
Monique







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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ October 13, 2019

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.






Till Next Time, 
Monique


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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review~ Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide from Progeny Press

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.





Recently, Michael and Therese were given the opportunity to review the Hound of Baskervilles study guide from Progeny Press. We were given the down load link for the study guide. Once, we got the download, we headed to the library to check out the Hound of Baskervilles written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 








Progeny Press is a Christian company that offers homeschooling families a large selection of study guides that help students gain valuable insight into wonderful, classic literature books. We used a few of the other study guides from Progeny Press in the past.




What are the E-Guide Study Guides from Progeny Press?

The study guides come in an E-guide form and can be easily down loaded. They cost a little over $20.00. The Hound of Baskervilles study guide is recommended for students in grades 8th-12th grade. The study guides can be used in two different ways. The interactive study guide can be opened with Adobe reader. this allows the student to fill in their answers directly into the study guide while working on the computer. The second way the study guide can be used by printing out the papers for multiple student to use. I chose to print the entire study guide out at once. Of course, families can chose to print the lessons out one at a time. 

The purpose of the study guides is to help students understand literature better. The guides help students understand how the authors craft their stories, understand the the themes being presented, and the ideas the introduced during the story. The guides allow students to dig deeper into the literature. For the high school guides, students should be able to complete them in 8-10 weeks. If students work through the study guides for 8 weeks, families can complete 4 different literature guides during the school year. These guides are a great way to complete a high school English literature course. I'm currently looking at 4 different guides for next year for both Michael and Therese to work through. They'll be reading a wonderful selection of books for history, so I figured I could use these study guides to help them earn their English high school credits. 

How was the Hound of Baskervilles Study Guide Set Up?



The Hound of Baskervilles study Guide is broken up into 15 sections. 
The first section is for the teacher/instructor. This section explains how to use the study guide. 

Next up is the brief synopsis of the story. This provides the students with a brief summary of the story, introduces them to the plot, and introduces them to important characters from the story. This section is followed by an introduction to the author. Here students will read a brief biography about the author. The can easily research for more information if you wanted them to work on a small research paper. 

The next section is an introduction into Gothic Fiction. This sections gives students some knowledge into this particular writing style. 

Pre-Reading activities is up next. This section gives ideas for various projects the students can work on before they begin reading the book. Research the time period, the area the story takes place,  and the legend behind the story. There are some great ideas presented to the student. 

The next few sections are where the chapters are broken up into sections. 
Chapters 1-3
Chapters 4-5
Chapters 6-7
Chapters 8-10
Chapters 11-13
Chapters 14-15

These sections are to be completed by the student once they complete the story. They can use their books to help answer the questions. They should also have a dictionary, thesaurus, and a Bible ready to use too. Each of these sections are broken up into different topics. 

Vocabulary
Logical Thinking
Questions for Comprehension
Questions for Analysis
Dig Deeper Questions
Optional Activities for Students to complete (art projects, research papers, history projects, and science projects)

Optional Essays and Projects is the next section. This gives the students a few more ideas for a project to complete. One of the creative writing ideas I liked presented in the Hound of Baskervilles study guide was having the students write their very own mystery. This is a fantastic way for students to practice their creative writing skills.

The last section in the study guide for the students is the additional resource page. This provides students with other stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, other stories similar in style, and videos and movies to watch. I was thrilled to see the Father Brown Mysteries by G.K. Chesterton. 

Each study guide comes with a full answer key. This comes as a separate download so that only the instructor has access to it. I didn't print this out. I just looked the the answer key on the computer. 

How Did We Use the Hound of Baskervilles Study Guide?

I opted to print out the study guide for both Michael and Therese. I printed the entire study guide out, 3-hole punched the pages, and then placed them in a sturdy binder. 
I had the kids read the book first. The they worked on the chapters 1-3 according to how they are broken up into the guide. We only worked on the study guide 2 times a week this time, since they both were already taking a writing class at a local co-op. I didn't want to overwhelm them and knew we could go at our own speed. 

What Did We Think of the Hound of Baskervilles E-Guide Study Guide


I love how the study guides go along with great classic novels. I love the ability to be able to print the guides for both Michael and Therese. Since the study guides are reproducible, I can easily print two copies off and save money at the same time. One thing I found new this time was how the company had a Pinterest board for each of their study guides. These boards provided more activities to utilize. I loved the recipe section to go along with the books!



Discover more about Progeny Press. Find them on social media.



The Review Crew were given the opportunity to review a four different study guides.

Shadow Spinner for Grades 5-8
and

Want to learn more about any of these other study guides?
Click the picture below and find out more!



Till Next Time,
Monique




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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Inspiration~ October 6, 2019

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.





Till Next Time,
Monique


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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A New Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece

Please Note~ This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to click on a link, add it to your cart and complete your purchase, I will receive a small percentage. We are very grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you.




Recently, I decided to create a new fall center piece for our dinning room table. I used a few items I had on hand already and bought the rest of the items at out local Hobby Lobby. I can spend hours in that store looking at crafts to create!





Supplies Needed
Pumpkin Vase
Styrofoam
Combination of Stems

  • Leaves
  • Floral 
  • Beads Acorns
  • Wicker Pumpkin
  • Berries


I used a pumpkin vase I've had for years. My mom sent me a floral arrangement a few years ago and I saved the vase thinking I may use it again in the future. I glad I held on to it. Here are few pumpkin vases I found online that are similar. 


I took the floral styrofoam and cut it up into pieces so that the bottom of the planter was covered.




After the foam was in place, I went to work arranging the various stems until I had a bouquet I liked. I used a combination of berries, leaves, pumpkins, and flowers. I did trim a few of the stems with wire cutters.


Now, I have a beautiful fall center piece to adorn our table. It was easy to assemble and was under $25 to make since I already had the pumpkin vase. I;m sure you could use a basket and achieve the same beautiful result! I just have to pray that a certain gray and white kitty doesn't eat the berries of the stems.




Till Next Time,
Monique




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