SpeedyPrep CLEP Test Prep {Review}

With Ryan being our very first high school senior, we sometimes feel like we are exploring a foreign planet. I mean, sure, we were seniors ourselves at one point, but it’s all different now! One of these new to us things are CLEP tests! CLEP tests assess your knowledge of college level courses and allow you to get credit for those courses without having to take them in college. Ryan has been exploring Principles of Microeconomics using SpeedyPrep.

SpeedyPrep

What is SpeedyPrep? Ahh, glad you asked. 😉 But really, this is a great thing if you have kids that are planning on taking those aforementioned CLEP tests!

SpeedyPrep has 24 courses to choose from to aid you in passing your tests! What is really great is that with your subscription you can study for any or all of these tests, you don’t have to pick just one.

SpeedyPrep Courses

While Ryan doesn’t have immediate plans to attend a 4 year university, he has been taking college classes at the local community college for two years now. He is currently taking a microeconomics class this semester so he thought it would be interesting to try out that same class with SpeedyPrep!

As you are on the course menu you can click either on the course title that you want to start, or click on the Intro and/or Videos links. The intro links are actually very informative and break down in percentages the things that are being studied. The videos link has all of the videos that are used throughout the lesson in one place, which is helpful if you want to watch it again after getting to that part in the course.

When you log on for the first time, I wouldn’t suggest clicking on the videos button, as you will be able to see them as you are taking the course. If you watch them now, it will be out of context and you probably won’t remember them all anyway! (Please note that you are learning via the questions asked and not the videos.)

SpeedyPrep Question

As you start taking the course, you may be surprised to see it is fill in the blank style! Now, if you are like me, that is kind of scary…ha! Even if I know the answer I get flustered with fill in the blank questions.

SpeedyPrep QandA

Ryan gave me a little side eye when he started the course, but right away he got many answers correct! :whew: When he did miss a question he liked the fact that there is an explanation as to why you got the answer wrong along with the correct answer.

This is a good time to check out the videos! When you miss a question and want a little more explanation than what is given, or an example, sometimes a video works out better! Ryan said that the videos were quite helpful and helped him understand more.

He did notice that spelling is important! Some things were off by a letter, so make sure you know the spelling of words..ha! If you miss it due to spelling, just make a note of the correct spelling for next time.. 😉

As you continue through the course, you will start to see some similar questions. They do this because with repetition comes learning. You really have no excuse to miss these after seeing them so often! That’s one of the reasons they can offer a 100% Pass Guarantee! Mastery Learning! If you fail your CLEP test they will refund your subscription fee!

SpeedyPrep

So, while Ryan isn’t using this course to pass a CLEP test at the moment…knowing that he CAN is actually very helpful! I would highly suggest using SpeedyPrep if you have a child planning on taking a CLEP test! If you have questions, feel free to check out their FAQ page to see if your answer is there, if not, when you log on you are given the option to chat with SpeedyPrep!

Feel free to check out what others thought of this great resource by clicking the banner below!

College Level Examination Program Preparation {SpeedyPrep Reviews}

SpeedyPrep CLEP Test Prep

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Gotta hate it…

So, I am a pretty happy person. Even when things are crazy, I am a ‘bright side’ person. Every now and again I get a little streak of pessimist running through me though. I guess it happens! I talk on here frequently about things I love. On Thursday’s I mention things that I liked about the week.. It is a common thing around here. But today? I talk about things that I just don’t like. I don’t have to love everything, but sometimes I gotta hate it… lol.

A lot of these things are loved by a lot of my friends. I don’t care that you love these things, just like I am sure that you don’t care that I don’t like these things. So, we are all good… 😉

Gotta hate it...mango–.jpg

  1. Mango. I have tried mango, I really have. I mean, how fun are you? Mango on a stick in Mexcio? All kinds of pretty foods made with you.. Drinks.. I just can’t do it. It’s not you, it’s me…

Gotta hate it-brass2. Brass. I know a lot of people are decorating their houses with brass, brass and more
brass. I just don’t like it. I have been on a silver kick for ages.. I even like grey (gray)
clothes more lately.

Gotta hate it...salt3. Salt. I just don’t like added salt in my food. I don’t mind it on like, tortilla chips (corn chips?) but don’t be putting it on the food that is on my plate. I like the taste of the food as it is, thank you very much…

Gotta hate it...scared

4. Being scared. I don’t like scary movies, horror stories, ghost houses at Halloween. None of that nonsense. Even surprise parties.. Gah… I sound like such a fun person, eh? lol.

Gotta hate it...lobster

5. Lobster. Have I ever tried it? No. But look at that thing. :gag: Would I want it as a pet? No. I just don’t see it being anything that I would like…lol.

So, there are five things that I just don’t like all that much. It seems fitting for a Monday. 😉

What are some things that you don’t like? Because I am all curious now, lol.

 

 

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CompuScholar, Inc. Java Programming {Review}

A while back I did a review for Homeschool Programming. Kyle used the site for a while and was very happy with it! They have since changed everything up including their name! They are now CompuScholar, Inc. This time around Kyle tried out the Java Programming.

CompuScholar, Inc. Java Programming

Coding courses are such an important thing for kids these days. Almost everything has something to do with computers! Even if your child isn’t interested in the computer field per se, even taking one course would be helpful in my opinion… So many fields use computers in some way!

I have linked it before, and it is a few years old, but this video sums up the importance of starting this at a young age. You never know if your child will change their interests or who they will be! And any experience with coding could definitely be a plus!

As we logged on to the new and improved CompuScholar, Inc. I was very impressed with all of the changes. Automatically I could see that it was much more user friendly! You just know where everything is, the colors are bright where they need to, and the site is just easy on the eyes…

I was quickly able to set up an account and then basically just handed it all over to Kyle! Right away he noticed that it was a more difficult course than the one he did previously, which is what he wanted, and needed!

CompuScholar, Inc. chapter list

 

You can see what the site looks like as you are looking at the different chapters. So very easy to see where everything is! You can then click on the first chapter and start your course!

CompuScholar, Inc. Chapter 1

Each chapter is pretty much the same as far as layout goes. There is a lesson video, lesson text and lesson quiz. Kyle said the video is very helpful and easy to understand. I listened to one for a while and sure, I had no idea what was being talked about, but he did and that is what is important. haha! But I did see how the video was put out and it reminded me of a quality powerpoint slideshow. Quite a few different examples throughout the lesson that help. I like that you can go back and listen to something again if you didn’t quite grasp it at first.

CompuScholar, Inc. video

The text reminds me of a school textbook but on a screen. It has very detailed illustrations that go well with the text on the screen. I was very impressed with that. I am one that likes text broken up by photos every now and again…well, except for novels, I am past that point in life, ha!

CompuScholar, Inc. text

Chapter one is basically an intro to everything computer and things that you may already know, but maybe some things that don’t know. For sure it is good for a refresher, especially the computer security section. I am sure it is a good mix for most kids. I definitely wouldn’t skip over it though!

After lesson five is done, there is a Chapter One exam. Everything is super easy to see what comes next and what you have already done.

On the student menu on the left of the screen you can easily check on your grades to see what is going on, what you might want to do again for a better grade, that sort of thing.

CompuScholar, Inc. grades

Now, Kyle did the lesson 4 quiz, but I think it must have been one of the numerous times when our internet died and it didn’t record. I did this screenshot at the beginning and Kyle just noticed it as I was writing this and said that he did it a while back and he remembers, so he went back upstairs to do it again to get rid of that empty space, ha!

The whole course is very thorough and impressive. I read on the website that it is on the College Board recommended list for the AP CS A exam. That’s huge! You know it has to be a quality item for that as I heard that courses get a lot of review before it can be on the recommended list for an AP exam.

If your student isn’t quite ready for learning Java, which is on the more intensive side, they also offer other courses! One of which is the Digital Savvy course which is great for any age group, but I would say that it is a great beginner course to take if you are new to things like this.

If you are interested in checking out what others had to say about this Java course, the Digital Savvy course, or the web design course, feel free to click on the banner below. There really is something for everyone!

Digital Savvy, Web Design & Java Programming {CompuScholar,Inc Reviews}

CompuScholar, Inc.

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Once Upon A Time Bibles {Review}

Most everyone I know enjoys Disney stories and movies… The artwork in these two Bible books will be familiar to those Disney fans! Once Upon A Time Bibles are both drawn to have a friendly look that children will love!
storybookBible
First is the Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible. You can tell just by the cover the way the characters are made to look friendly to little kids. This book is great quality, very well made and the cover is thick!

There are 144 pages in this book, which makes it something you can read a little each night if you wanted! It is broken down into Old and New Testaments. Rather than books of the Bible though, it is done by major stories that happened. They will more than likely be familiar ones to you and possibly your child but some of them may not be!
Storybook BibleThere is the familiar Noah’s Ark and the not so common Zacchaeus the Tax Collector! Each little story is on average only about four pages long which would be a great night time story!

At the beginning of each story is a Bible verse that is about the story.. Then there is the story and the pictures and at the end is a little summary of the story. It’s a great tool for reinforcing what was just read!

This Once Upon A Time Storybook Bible is available at Sam’s Club or wherever books are sold.

The other one, the Once Upon A Time Holy Bible,  is for older kids that will appreciate having their own Bible, but yet having some drawings and stories as well. This is a typical Bible with over 100 pages and it is the NIrV version.
Once Upon a Time Holy BibleInterspersed every so often are a few illustrated pictures along with a story. There are six of these within the Bible. They are drawn by the same person as the Storybook Bible, Omar Aranda.

Once Upon a Time Bible

I think this is a great introduction for older children to a regular Bible!

Whether you have a smaller child or an older one, you should be able to find that one of these will work for what you want! They are enjoyable for parents too! 😉

This one comes in a more typical book style as well as an imitation leather one!

This Once Upon A Time Holy Bible is available where books are sold.

At the bottom of both books it reiterates that the Bible is not a fairy tale, and that every great story happened once upon a time. I like how that carries through to the title of the Bibles..

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Thursday Things

Woah, what a week! Today was a big blur, waking up at 3am and then watching a 2yo all day is hard to get used to! Tomorrow will be better, hopefully will wake up a couple hours later, lol. So, did you like anything special about this past week? Here are my Thursday Things for this week!

Image result for popcornopolis zebra popcorn

Popcornopolis Zebra Popcorn. I don’t even know what to say about this. The kids got this from our friend for one of their Christmas presents and I never tried it. We found some at Costco over the weekend and I finally tried it. Oh man, so so good.. But just don’t tell my dentist since I was supposed to stay away from popcorn due to my root canal not being finished yet. 😉

Image result for carmax

Carmax – Jeffy and I took Ryan with us to look at Suburbans at Carmax. It’s probably the only vehicle that will fit us all. We are so close to getting another vehicle. Ever since our other one was totaled we have had to deal with being a one car family. It wouldn’t be too bad except for Ryan’s college, Jeffy’s travel and work and my general going out-ness.. It’s just so many directions throughout the week..

Image result for multi nut butter trader joe's

Mixed Nut Butter from Trader Joe’s. I love me some nut butters and look at this one…so packed full of different nuts! Man..and you have to store it in the fridge but it doesn’t get all hard like some other nut butters do. I could eat it with a spoon. 😉

Image result for fisher price tablet

Since it was kind of a last minute deal that we were doing respite care for this little girl, I scoured our toy stash for age appropriate toys. I didn’t have much! So while I was out at an appointment today, I stopped at Target to return something and happened to see a sale of Fisher Price items. It was buy two get one free! So, I picked out a variety of different things, all the same price. This was perfect as she loved the ones we opened already. There is still one left that she can open tomorrow or Monday when she comes back again. I love sales!

Thursday Things love

I know I usually put a song here…but this made me so happy this week. Last weekend Jeffy and I spent the whole weekend together. It was amazing. There weren’t any distractions like when we are at home, it was just a pleasant time, even if most of the time we were running errands. It was just so relaxing and filling for us both. 🙂

So, those are my five things! Let me know what you enjoyed this past week!

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Memoria Press First Form Greek Complete Set {Review}

With all three of my kids doing high school work, I figured I should be looking at some languages for them! Ryan has been interested in Latin but the opportunity came for us to try out the First Form Greek Complete Set from Memoria Press and I jumped on it! We have used Memoria Press for a few things and always love how thorough they are! I figured since Ryan had a little bit of experience with the Latin that he would be the best to try out the Greek. At the time, we were also finishing up a unit study on Greece, so the timing was perfect!

First Form Greek Complete Set Grades 7-12

Now, Memoria Press doesn’t mess around with their curriculum. Like I mentioned they are very thorough! The First Form Greek didn’t disappoint either! The picture above shows what all is included and I will go over it all in a bit.

I will mention…while this is designed for people with or without experience in Greek, it would be suggested to start at least after learning the alphabet. Memoria Press sells a Greek Alphabet Book that would be a great extra if your student doesn’t know the alphabet. But don’t despair, it was also suggested that you could spend more time in Lesson one to master the alphabet…and that is what we did! ha!

It took a good while for him to get the alphabet down. Once he figured that out, he was able to continue with more confidence and work on a more typical schedule. He would work on it Wed-Fri as those are the days he has extra time and he thought that it would be good to do it three days in a row as opposed to breaking it up throughout the week.

Memoria Press First Form Greek

First you have the Teacher Manual and Teacher Key. In the Teacher Key introduction they list an ideal scope and sequence to learn Greek, and that is quite interesting…Years 5+ they suggest Greek literature…wow, I just can’t imagine some of the titles they list and being able to understand. Exciting! Anyway, that section also describes how the lessons are typically and any info to help with that.. And then, if you know me you know I love this, it tells you what to do each day. It breaks it down so completely that there should be no question. Lesson one day one is the longest lesson I think, of course we haven’t made it through the whole book..but it is understandable. It tells you what to read, what to review, what to work on in the workbook and there are little squares next to each that you can check off when completed! So great!

Memoria Press First Form Greek

The Teacher Key is a book of answers for the workbook, quizzes and tests. I like how the answers are written in a very easy to see and understand format. They match up to how they are written in the student workbook. They are also listed in blue, which helps a lot as well! Some answer books are very hard to understand and aren’t very user friendly. I always appreciate when companies put extra thought into their items.

Memoria Press First Form Greek

Next are the student books. The Student Text is a very short but informative text book. It gets right into the heart of everything. But a little extra that is included with all of the language information are little snippets that are Greek related somehow. What we did was when one of these came up we spent a little extra time learning about whatever was mentioned.

Memoria Press First Form Greek

The workbook is basically like what you would think a workbook would be. It is all fill in the blank and has plenty of room to write in your answers.

Memoria Press First Form Greek

There is also a booklet of Quizzes and Tests and it has tear out pages which is so nice! I print and make copies of so many other things on a daily basis, that I appreciate the tear out pages so much!

Memoria Press First Form Greek

The last few things are great extras that really complete this package. The thing that really helped was the pronunciation CD. I mean, how many people could look at the Greek characters and know how to pronounce them..ha! So this saved us quite a few times!

The DVD’s are amazing and so full of information. There are five disks and the lessons covered aren’t very long.. Sometimes these were watched a few times in order to get it correct, it is such a good companion to the books.

Last are the flash cards. I know some people aren’t flash card people, but they really go over well here. These really helped for the quizzes and tests as well as just for the workbook.

These extras make it so much more interesting than just having the books.

Even though Ryan had a little knowledge of Latin, we basically started from scratch with this. It is a pretty difficult language to learn, but I think that this set is something that will definitely help you learn it. Following their schedule in the book that I mentioned above or the one mentioned on their website would give you a very thorough education on the Greek language.

Memoria Press has so many different things to offer, one of which is a set that involves the Iliad and the Odyssey. That might be something that we look at for next year.. If you want to look and see what others thought of this First Form Greek and a few other curriculum choices, feel free to click the banner below… 🙂

First Form Greek, Iliad/Odyssey and American History {Memoria Press Reviews}
Memoria Press First Form Greek Complete Set

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What I read in March

What I read this month

Today is one of my least favorite days of the year. I just don’t like April Fool’s Day! The only good thing about it is the funny stuff that online business put little ads out for. Those make me chuckle. But I just don’t like tricks and other things like that… Blah.. But, I do like reading, right?? 😉 So, this is what I read in March!

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Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh – Fifteen-year-old Yasmin Doner is a social misfit—obese, obsessive and deemed a freak by her peers at school. With her father dead and her mother in a new relationship, Yasmin yearns for a sense of belonging, finding comfort only in food and the fantasy of being close to Alice Taylor, a girl at school. Yasmin will do anything to become friends with pretty and popular Alice—even if Alice, like everyone else, thinks she’s a freak.

When Yasmin notices a sinister-looking man watching Alice from the school fence, she sees a way of finally winning Alice’s affection—because how this stranger is staring is far more than just looking, it’s wanting. Because this stranger, Yasmin believes, is going to take Alice. Yasmin decides to find out more about this man so that when he does take Alice, Yasmin will be the only one who knows his name and where he lives…the only one who can save her.

But as Yasmin discovers more about him, her affections begin to shift. Perhaps she was wrong about him. Perhaps she doesn’t need Alice after all.

And then Alice vanishes.

What I thought: Well, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but it ended up just being an eh book for me. The way it was written, the characters.. Neither really did it for me. There were a lot of good ratings on Goodreads, so I was hopeful.. Ah well, maybe you will like it!

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The Strays by Emily Bitto – On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends Eva and her sisters Beatrice and Heloise, daughters of the infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. An only child from an unremarkable, working-class family, Lily has never experienced a household like the Trenthams’–a community of like-minded artists Evan and his wife have created, all living and working together to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930’s Australia. And Lily has never met anyone like Eva, whose unabashed confidence and worldly knowledge immediately draw her in.

Infatuated by the creative chaos of the Trenthams and the artists who orbit them, Lily aches to fully belong in their world, craving something beyond her own ordinary life. She becomes a fixture in their home, where she and Eva spend their days lounging in the garden, filching cigarettes and wine, and skirting the fringes of the adults’ glamorous lives, who create scandalous art during the day and host lavish, debauched parties by night. But as seductive as the artists’ utopian vision appears, behind it lies both darkness and dysfunction. And the further the girls are pulled in, the greater the consequences become.

With elegance and vibrancy, THE STRAYS evokes the intense bonds of girlhood friendships, the volatile undercurrents of a damaged family, and the yearning felt by an outsider looking in.

What I thought: I enjoyed the read, although it wasn’t an absolute favorite. I liked how there is a past and present. You understand more of what went on, especially toward the end.. hmm…

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The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth – With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. You really got in with the characters and I enjoyed the way the book was written. You get a sense of the different characters and you can still see the whole story.. I think I will look for more books by this author!

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Always by Sarah Jio – While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt “right.” But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

What I thought: At one point I really got into the book, but then it kept getting stagnant again. I liked the story line idea… it was just kind of predictable in a way? A good beach read…

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Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert – May this pillow bring you peace. So reads the pillow entrusted, in 1906, to 18-year-old Boshka Markman as she prepares to board a train in Vilna, Lithuania. One of hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants who will leave Europe to escape persecution, she travels to America alone. This is not just a story about a pillow, however. A masterful blending of history and life in the early 20th century as seen through one woman’s eyes, it is also a story of resilience-one that reminds us that no matter when or from where we came to America, we are not so different. This is not only Bessie’s story-it is ours. Based on the true story of Bessie Markman Dreizen, this story crosses genres like few others, offering a glimpse of what it was like for the thousands who came to America between 1880 and 1920 and a front-row view through a child’s eyes at the persecutions endured by the Jews of the Pale of Settlement at the hands of the Russian Czar. But this book’s greatest gift is education not only of the mind…but of the heart. As Bessie says in the prologue, no matter what challenges we may face, “Happiness will come again.”

What I thought: I reviewed this book here if you wanted to see what I thought. But I definitely enjoyed this book and knowing it was based on a true story made it even better!

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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – A shipwreck. A sole survivor, stranded on a deserted island. What could be more appealing to children than Robinson Crusoe’s amazing adventure? Set in the 17th century, and unfolding over a 30-year period, it offers plenty of suspense and everyday detail about how Crusoe manages to stay alive. Additionally, it paints a fascinating portrait of the age—including references to slavery and Europe’s view of the “New World.”

What I thought: Ok…who doesn’t know this book? And again, it was one of those that I never had read! It was slow going for me, the way it was written and the whole story line. I mean, I get that it is a classic and written hundreds of years ago…so there’s that. :shrug:

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The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins – For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

What I thought: I really enjoyed this book! The main character was really well written.. There were a couple cheesy parts, but really, they had to happen anyway.. I liked the way the story was told as well. I want to say one thing but will give it away so….you will have to read it for yourself. Ahh, the easy way out, lol.

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Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld – A satirical novel about a mother whose life spirals out of control when she’s forced to rethink her bleeding heart liberal ideals

For idealistic forty-something Karen Kessler, it isn’t enough that she works full-time in the non-profit sector, aiding an organization that helps hungry children from disadvantaged homes. She’s also determined to live her personal life in accordance with her ideals. This means sending her daughter, Ruby, to an integrated public school in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

But when a troubled student from a nearby housing project begins bullying children in Ruby’s class, the distant social and economic issues Karen has always claimed to care about so passionately feel uncomfortably close to home. As the situation at school escalates, Karen can’t help but wonder whether her do-gooder husband takes himself and his causes more seriously than her work and Ruby’s wellbeing.

A daring, discussable satire about gentrification and liberal hypocrisy, and a candid take on rich and poor, white and black, CLASS is also a smartly written story that reveals how life as we live it–not as we like to imagine it–often unfolds in gray areas.

What I thought: Well, I didn’t enjoy this book much at all. There were a couple good parts. But for the main of it, I thought the character to be a whiny girl who is upset at life and who worries too much on what people think of her. Ick. It says satire, but I just say no…lol.

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The Nerdy and the Dirty by B.T. Gottfred – Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated—and not quite sure that she’s like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he’s destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different–but that’s what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?

What I thought: I totally liked this book! I mean, it went places that I wasn’t expecting, but I loved the dueling writing by the two main characters, you got to really know them. Very cute book, fast read…

Ok, I didn’t really think that I had read so many books this month, wow!! I am up to 25 for the year already! Let me know if you have read any great books, I am always up for suggestions!!

 

 

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Thursday Things

My week is so wonky!! Getting my tooth fixed and pain pills and just all of the things…I totally missed today being Thursday until I actually looked at the calendar! Sooo, it is time for Thursday Things! Let me know what has made you happy this past week! It’s always good to reflect on the good…. 🙂 Here’s what I liked about this past week!

Uncle Matt’s organic orange juice with turmeric and probiotics – I drink their regular orange juice all the time..but when we went to the store and saw this I thought it was perfect, what with being on antibiotics and such…why not? And turmeric is supposed to be good for you too… It was yummy!! 🙂

Image result for raw sugar soap

Raw Sugar Body wash in vanilla bean and sugar scent – I needed a new soap and was at Target…they didn’t have my normal stuff so I just looked at what they had. This seemed interesting so I bought it. I like how clean it feels and it smells good. 🙂 I am glad it worked out!

GoodBelly Cranberry Watermelon drink – Again with the probiotics, and yes, another drink…but really…it seems like I have been on antibiotics for ages!! This was pretty tasty! I had some every day and went back to pick up more as well as some other flavors. I tried the blueberry acai flavor and it wasn’t as good, but not bad. I have one more to try, we will see! I just really like this combination!!

Image result for sprouts

Sprouts – Yay!! One of our favorite stores in AZ finally opened up a location here! Sure, it is like 50 minutes away, but still. With all of the times that I am taking Jeffy to the airport and picking him up, it isn’t that much of a detour to go! I hope it gets a little less busy though because parking is crazy!!!

Every Breath You Take by Eklipse – I have been into cellos so much lately. And I love this song played this way… So so good!! 🙂

So, those are my five happy Thursday Things! What did you like about this past week?

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Bessie’s Pillow {Review}

You guys know how much we like to read around here. Some more than others, but during our school days we read a LOT! We were sent a copy of the book Bessie’s Pillow published by Strong Learning, Inc. I was actually pretty excited to read this book as it is based on a true story and we don’t read near enough of those!

Bessie's Pillow

The book starts the story of then 18yo Boshka Markman as she is leaving her home in Lithuania and heading to America by herself in 1906. Her family is seeing her off and a family friend asks her to take a pillow to her son, should she meet up with him in America.

No, the story isn’t all about a pillow, but it is woven through the book here and there. I thought it would be good to mention about the pillow since it is in the title after all.

The first few chapters are about her trip to America…there are many things mentioned in these chapters. The stops she makes, how she feels about the way other people are traveling and just her general thoughts and experiences.

She makes it to America and then has to figure out housing, a job as well as learn the language. She overcomes quite a bit throughout this whole book. It is quite impressive actually. I don’t want to say too much though, because I can’t say certain things without giving other things away, it is a pretty interconnected story! I will say she is very lucky to have had friends and family in America already before she left to go there.

Sometimes the book focuses on one particular time in her life and other times the book skips a couple years into the future. As I was reading the kids joked how fast time was flying when that happened, but I know that to fit in all that told in a story you want to include the important parts and not all of the parts…

The author of the book is Linda Bress Silbert who is actually the granddaughter of the main character in the story! She even says that the events are all true! There really was a pillow!

I like at the end of the book there is an afterword that explains what has happened throughout time with the characters in the book. I love when books do that as you tend to get close to book characters like this, at least I do! And to read what happened to them in their lives gives a sort of closure.

Also at the end of the book are plenty of family photos! These are fascinating. I am one to love looking at old photos in general, so looking at these after reading about the family was really neat.

There was a lot of research done in writing this book too, as you can imagine. At the very end of the book is a section called Bessie’s America. It has different sections that are very informative! The first section talks about when the largest amount of Eastern European Jews would come to America and the traveling that it entailed as well as the general feeling in that time. The book includes a short section but there are more details online in an interactive multimedia guide that is filled with so many things!

Other sections in this part of the book are Immigration Resources, in case you wanted to look up family members or read other immigrant stories as well as ways you can see a better idea on how life was for immigrants then.

There are sections about famous people, food and recipes, health, movies, music and dancing, as well as musical theater. There is a little information about New Rochelle, which is where Bessie aka Boshka ended up. News in that time period is also featured, parks and beaches in the area, presidents, radio, social movements and more photos..

With this little section as well as the online material, you could definitely make this into a unit study or something…there are so many things that you could include! History, Geography, etc!

While the story didn’t end at her dying, which I am thankful for, it did tell the majority of her life. I found it quite fascinating and I will definitely keep this book forever. My kids all enjoyed it and I would imagine the age range for this book is huge! I read this aloud as part of our school day as they seem to enjoy that.

If you want to check out what others thought of this story, feel free to click the banner below!

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews}

Bessie’s Pillow

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Creating a Masterpiece {Review}

Ever since we have started homeschooling we have included some form of art throughout our days. There really hasn’t ever been a ton of instruction though, just some random things I have found here and there. I was glad to try out the Monthly Plan from Creating a Masterpiece.

Creating a Masterpiece

What we lacked before was someone that could teach to adults as well as to kids, and that is something that Sharon Hofer does very well in my opinion. While she was able to teach to young kids, nothing she said was ‘babyish’ to where you felt embarrassed as an older person.

With the Monthly Plan, we had access to all projects within all levels. I thought a bit on what I thought would be best for the kids to do first. I came up with the idea that I would give them each a week to do a drawing type project. It could be pencils or colored pencils..and they could pick the project. Then we could do something together as a family the following weeks. There were a few different drawing projects offered so I was curious as to what they would pick!

Nobody wanted to be identified as to which one they did, which is fine.. I think they all did a great job! I am happy to just show of their work!

The first project was from Level One and it was the Sunflower in pencil. This just needed some nice drawing pencils, a pad of paper and an eraser. Easy enough, we had that on hand! I had ordered some good quality drawing pencils and colored pencils a few months ago.

Sharon started the lesson not jumping into the sunflower, but showing the student that you really need to look at the item you are drawing. She used the example of a shell and that most of her students would just draw the main shape and call it a shell. She insisted that you have to look closer to really be able to draw it correctly. She then used the example of a kettle so that you could understand that things aren’t always straight even if they appear to be. It was also another lesson in paying attention to the things that you are drawing. Last was a lesson in drawing a duck but without lifting your pencil! That really helped in planning on what you could draw in one place before moving along to the next.

As we get to lesson 4, she starts teaching on starting the sunflower. She reiterates that every drawing is it’s own and that people see things differently and draw things differently…that it’s ok if it doesn’t look like hers. She gives tips throughout each lesson and mentions often that it is ok to stop the video if you need to catch up or look at more detail. Also included is a larger picture of her drawing that you can use for reference.

Even with all of the practice drawings this lesson still only took up our given week per child, I think it turned out great!

Creating a Masterpiece - sunflower

The next project was with colored pencils. This was also from level 1. Honestly, I have only ever seen colored pencils used lightly, not so dark, so I was very interested in the process of this one! It did look like paint when it was done!

Creating a masterpiece - fish

I like how she went into details on layering the colors…this was done with only a few different colors and none of those colors were orange!

The last project was portraiture. This project was pretty thorough so it used up more than just the one week. We typically only do art on Wednesdays and Fridays and for only a small part of the time, but it was nice that everything was explained so thoroughly! There were plenty of opportunities for practicing this project.

First was a simple drawing of a man. Then changing that into a woman. Then changing it back to a man, or whatever..

Creating a masterpiece - portraits

Then we went to a teenager..She mentioned you could change this to a girl easily as well..

Creating a masterpiece - portraits

Lastly was a little girl. This project is from Level 5. Thankfully there was no changing this to a boy because this final project went into a lot more detail than the previous projects in this lesson. I like how she builds on each part of the lesson so that the final project is easier as well as makes more sense.

Creating a masterpiece - portraits

All of the kids had a great time with working with these lessons! Unfortunately I got a wicked toothache and we never got to finish with our group projects. But once I get it fixed we will be picking out the next project for us. I am thinking of something with acrylic paint as our neighbor is a wonderful artist that uses acrylic paints…

As I was watching these videos myself, I was impressed with how she explained what she was doing, not just suggesting that you do what she does. I am looking forward to doing the next project together with all of the kids!!

If you want to check out what other families chose as their projects, feel free to click on the banner below! The lessons really are good for people of all ages!!

Creating Beautiful Art at Home {Creating A Masterpiece Reviews}

Creating a Masterpiece

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