Oct 31, 2011

You Tube Monday - Halloween Picks

These are some new and old Halloween Favorites!!!

Science Jim Show: Bats! from Science Jim on Vimeo.

For the other two parts of Garfield's Halloween special visit You Tube - Part 2 & Part 3

Coming Soon - Review of Vocabulary Spelling City


I've been given a premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com for a candid, personal, online review.

VocabularySpellingCity.com helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt Sentences, HangMan, and Word-O-Rama.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review VocabularySpellingCity.com.

Oct 30, 2011

Snowtober - How crazy is this?

We got just a mushy coating and I am glad we are "somewhat" along the coast! 
We will have to shove this slush off the drive though or we are going to bust out the ice skates!

What I am Reading - October - GCK Mom

This has some great insight and TONS of links! Totally worth a read at the fabulous kindle price of $0.99!!!

Oct 29, 2011

Some Pre-Halloween Fun

Since CJ will be on the road for Halloween we were really glad we got to carve pumpkins with him last night -

He also came with us to bowling league this morning where K won 1st place for most creative girl's costume - 

Oct 26, 2011

First fire of the season ---

and it is dreary and cold outside...so I don't want to go anywhere....and we are going to work on a fabulous project....so check back later!!!!

Oct 25, 2011

Changing things up ---

We are a few weeks into our fall session, so it is that time to change things up.

KM is having some issues with Biology Demystified - she likes the program but feels she doesn't have a strong enough base to follow the higher level text, so we are stepping back and regrouping. She really likes the Virtual Web Labs and The Biology Coloring Book so I think we will stick with just those for now and see what happens. The Life Science (100+ Series) was also a flop, she didn't like the lack of instruction and the repetitive nature of the diagrams.

We also decided to stop using English Grammar 101 online. She found that she was not retaining the information. When it came to each individual lesson she was doing really well - mostly 20/20 and at the least 16/20 - but when she got to the review she couldn't get better than 28/40. This was more than a bit concerning to me.

All of these issues are leading me to question my negative feelings toward rote memorization. I have always been so against it, but it seems her retention of the information in the manner we have been going is far from adequate - in the more complex areas. I am wondering if I have been expecting too little of her. I have also been reading The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education - and will be reviewing soon - which really focuses on rote memorization skills to give a base of knowledge to draw from. If this book continues to make as much sense throughout as it has in the first few chapters, I will be changing things up even more. Be sure to check back for that full review in a few weeks!

Oct 23, 2011

Busy week - catch up with some photos

We wee quite busy this week and our calendar does not seem to be letting up much this week either, so I thought I would take a second to post a few pics that I found on my camera this morning -

K enjoying a warm afternoon and her books
K figuring out how many shingles we will need.

I finally got K's bowling badges from LAST year on her bowling bag and her punk costume for the library Halloween party really wasn't that far off from her everyday outfits. 
Took the Littles to the library and playground while K was at theater.

The Itty Bitties are getting so big!!! I don't know where the time has gone! They are almost 6
 months old already!

Oct 19, 2011

Oh the life of a dog ---

Now that Rex is the only hound in the house he gets all the perks!

Oct 17, 2011

You Tube Monday - Ruby Gloom

Don't know how we JUST found this, but it is now one of our favorites!!!
SOOOO Cute we had to share!!!

You can find many of them on You Tube, but if you have Netflix streaming you are in LUCK!!!

Oct 14, 2011

My Memories Suite 2.0 Scrapbook Software - Review and Giveaway!!! Enter by 10/28

I would like to preface this review by disclosing that I am NOT a scrapbooker!!! I have tried it in the past, I made them for friends and family members, but no matter how I tried I just could not get into it. I am however a photographer - in case you haven't seen the immense number of photos I have on my blog, I can tell you that I easily take hundreds if not thousands of pics a month. I don't know what I would do if I ever had to settle for film cameras....but back to my point...this scrapbooking software is not something that I would have ever blinked twice at, but I am glad that I was approached to try it out and host this giveaway for My Memories Suite.

So the program was super easy to install and like many other programs you have the option from the get go to design your own or use designer templates.
For the first run through I decided to do with the designer set. You then are given a screen where you can choose how many pages and which pages you would like to use. 
Next you are given the template. There are also many options on the sidebars to customize the pages utilizing the included pages, buttons, artwork etc. or you can purchase additional options in the gallery sidebar. For anyone who has been checking out my blog lately you will have noticed we had been enjoyed our unusually warm weather by going to the beach and of course I took tons of pics so I figured I would use these to make a few pages. 

When I was ready to start uploading pictures you can either upload one at a time or use the fast fill option - which took me quite some time to find when I was browsing through the toolbar. I was a bit disappointed with the small size of the picture icons - even in the preview screen there is no way to make them larger. This is an issue for me since I tend to take a lot of quickshots that have minute details so I could have between four and ten shots that are difficult to tell which is the one I want. 

Once you have your pics on the page you can twist, turn, crop,  make notes, journal, or add embellishments at the touch of a button. For the first 6 pages I picked each pic individually, but for the last 4 used the fast fill. It was really easy and quick. I do recommend knowing which pics you want to use ahead of time in order to avoid the small tile problem. 

In just over an hour and a half, here is what I had produced - 



I have not had a chance to experiment more with this software, but am interested to do so as it has some great sharing and interactive enhancement features - You can make a beautiful scrapbook an interactive memory experience for anyone who sees it. Use simple one-click options to enhance your scrapbooks, with music, narration, video, and even the Internet. Go beyond pictures by showing off video of the birthday party, or record a narration to capture the memories that pictures alone cannot. With My Memories Suite you simply don't look at a scrapbook-you experience it! Take advantage of a full suite of sharing options and turn your scrapbook into a movie to watch on a DVD-or view on an iPod. My Memories Suite allows you to share an interactive album on a disc (DVD or CD) that will automatically play on a computer (PC or Mac). Viewers can interact with your scrapbook by clicking on video, playing narration or navigating through your scrapbook like a website. You can even place in web links for them to visit or embed hidden files like Grandma's secret cookie recipe.
Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!

First we have special bonus just for reading - 
A code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value! The code is - STMMMS47520

Before you run off and purchase this great scrapbooking software you can enter here for a chance to win. We have a number of ways for you to enter, but be sure to leave a separate comment for each one and to leave contact info! - feel free to break it up in a { name at host dot com} format
  1. Mandatory entry - Pop on over to MyMemories.com and take a look around, then come back here and let everyone know which Digital Scrapbook Kit is your favorite 
  2. Become a follower of this blog - link on the right hand tool bar or click here if you already are a follower - let me know
  3. Follow me on twitter - @gckhomeschool - if you already do just let me know
  4. Follow My Memories on twitter - @MyMemoriesSuite
  5. Tweet about this giveaway with both @gckhomeschool and @mymemoriessuite in the message 
  6. Post an entry about this giveaway on your blog or website and come back here to link it! 
Do any - at least #1 - or all of these by Friday Oct. 28th at 11:59p EST to be entered to win a FREE Full version of My Memories Suite 2.0 - 

My Memories Suite Version 2.0 digital scrapbooking software is a fun and creative way to keep and share memories, whether you have a Mac or PC. The software's design tools will help you to build entire albums effortlessly using one of the many installed templates, or designing your very own pages from scratch. 

Disclaimer: I was contacted to review this product and was given the software for free, but this did not bias this review in anyway. All opinions are mine alone and represent my personal experience with the product. The winner will be contacted through link they provide no later than Tuesday 11/1/11 and will be given a code to download software directly from the site.

Congrats to @blakepro  the winner of our giveaway!!!!

Oct 13, 2011

Carl Azuz tweeted with us!!!

You can't imagine KM's excitement when she saw that he responded DIRECTLY to us!!! 
I can't imagine what would have happened if it had been Justin Beiber or Jordan Witzigreuter!!!
In case you don't know who Carl Azuz is ... you should check out CNN Student News!!!

American Math Challenge - Day 2 - Morning Results

Last Day of American Math Challenge --- Live Mathletics

Stretch those fingers and get those minds ready for some fast paced math fun!!!
Be sure to let us know how your kids have done in this fun and exciting competition!!!

Oct 12, 2011

American Math Challenge - Update 8pm - 1st Day

I think unless she has a huge surge of energy after x-factor she is done for the day! Here are her results ---

She did a great job, given this is her first try!!! Congrats to all who made it through the first day and best of luck in the speed rounds tomorrow!!! 

American Math Challenge Update - 5p - 1st day

I have a feeling she will be doing a bit more, but as of right now here are her 1st day stats ----

Today's the DAY!!! American Math Challenge --- Tomorrow Too!!!

Great fun way to test those math minds!!! Have fun and let us know how your kids did!!!
These are the first American official lead up events for World Education Games 2012!!! For more information click the pic to sign up for the official newsletter!

Oct 10, 2011

Funny direction things can take

We started out with Biology and talking about fungus and KM mentioned how many different types of mushrooms she has seen out in the yard lately. I had an idea - we should gather some samples and examine the differences. Then how would each react to heat - oh hey what a great excuse to start a fire in the pit.....

Once we we had the fire going and mushrooms were "cooking" I suddenly remembered a post that I had stumbled upon last week at the hmmm...schooling mom's blog where they microwaved various types of soap...well I wondered what would happen if we put them over the fire....

I was shocked at the various reactions melting points! 

KM was inspired to carve some shapes out as she was prepping the samples.

So from biology to mycology to scenting the neighborhood to soap sculpting.....where will the rest of our day take us?

YouTube Monday - Annoying Orange vs Angry Birds

Two of our favorite computer things - Annoying Orange and Angry Birds - together in one choose your own adventure video! TOOO FUNNY!!!

Oct 8, 2011

It's NOT too late to register...

The sooner the better, so your kids can try out the warm ups, but you still have some time!!!